Wednesday, November 25, 2015

OOPS! Unfortunate Floral Decor Choice!

This nice little decorative sconce with glass vases hangs on the powder room wall.
It is great for adding a bit of color with a few flowers.

Time to fill them with some greenery.

This will be a nice transition for Thanksgiving without going full on Christmas!

Here is where the story gets interesting!

I see all these cool things that people fill clear vases with.
Lemons, cranberries, etc.

I had the "genius" idea that it would look nice to have tiny little pinecones in the glass vials.

I had lots of tiny pine cones that I had dried in the oven to make them open.

HMMMM......I should have realized that putting them back in water would make them close back up!!!!

WARNING....the following image is a bit disturbing!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

This Year's Festival of Trees

This last Thursday the Sweetwater Daughter and I had so much fun decorating a Christmas tree for the Auburn Homes Festival of Trees.  This is the third year that we have participated in the event.

This annual event raises money for Senior Living facilities and services.
It is a wonderful organization....which we learned first hand when my mom was there.
Thankfully, her stay was short and now she is back living independently at home.

Each year, designers are invited to design Christmas trees that are display around the community.  It is an honor to be invited each year.

The first year, we did a themed tree using the children's story "The Mitten" as inspiration.

 Last year, we did "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" for the Christmas Carol Theme.

 Our theme this year was "And All That Jazz"!

One of the best things about participating in this project is seeing all of the other ideas that people have.  Sadly.....we didn't take photos of the other trees....too busy with our own!

These are the "take away" ideas that we have learned through the years.

Use BIG things!
The 16 inch musical instruments and felt and glitter top hats have a lot of impact!
One of the other trees used actual bird houses.

Love, love, love these snowmen!

The lantern for a tree topper is fun too!

This woodland theme with fun birds and bunches of birch is pretty and dramatic!

Even inexpensive Nutcrackers can be wired into the branches.

Pack in those inexpensive plain ornaments!
Our 7 ft.  tree has 200 plain gold, silver and black ornaments.  They are tucked way into the center of the tree to hide any gaps in the branches.  They are grouped in bunches and laid on the front parts too.  Lots of glitter and shine with very little expense.  Check out the thrift stores for even better deals than the big box store.

Don't be afraid of non-traditional color!

Apple Green, Fuscia, Bright Blue, Pink and even Orange!

Unexpected color can result in trees with high impact!

Stick some STUFF in the branches!

Birch branches, berry branches, glitter sprays, feathers, and artifical grape leaves were just some of the interesting things we saw on this year's trees.

Tucking the sprays into the branches of the tree so that they "explode" outward makes the tree look rich and full.

Our tree had tinsel picks with music notes on them.  These were tucked in everywhere.

Ribbons and Bows Oh My!

It felt really strange not to use any ribbons or bows on our tree....but it didn't fit with our plan.  That doesn't mean that you should forget how much impact a bunch of perfect bows and ribbon streamers can have.

Check out these older posts for a couple of tutorials for making beautiful bows.

Well.....decorating the Festival tree let me get my holiday decor fix...

oohh and putting 200 ornaments up made my fingers pretty sore....

It is a good thing it will be a couple of weeks before it is time to decorate the Sweetwater tree! 
HMMMM....I wonder if I can come up with something new and interesting?
Wait and see....
In the meantime, I hope you got some inspiration.  

Have a Wonderful Day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Holiday Wall Art From Table Runner

Thanksgiving is late in the month this year.  
Thanksgiving at Sweetwater is even later, as we are gathering the Saturday 
AFTER Thanksgiving.
I just can't see decorating the house for Christmas and then eating Thanksgiving dinner.
That means I won't be doing any decorating for Christmas until the 29th or 30th YIKES!

I have been looking through my holiday linens to see if they need laundering etc.
I came across the lovely Swedish table runner handed down to us from "Grandma Helga".
It is stamped or hand painted linen....and it always makes me nervous to put it case it gets stained....I have no idea how it would launder or even stand a trip to the dry cleaners.

So.....our dirty little secret....this thing is over 50 years old....and it has NEVER been cleaned!  Using it with food on a table is probably not the best idea.

Here is the AHA idea I had to display this "heirloom"!
It has become wall art!
It only took 10 minutes!

The secret is using rigid styrofoam insulation sheets.

These sheets are great to have in your craft stash....and at less than $2.00 a piece they are economical.

It was simply a matter of pinning the runner onto the foam.
The corners are mitered...and I added a bit of blue painter's tape along the back edges to secure it.
The fact that the pins do not damage the fabric is a the real bonus in using this technique.

The table runner turned wall art is now gracing the lower level hallway.  The chalk pastel is another "heirloom".  It is a painting of one ancestor painted by her uncle. This is a  little holiday decor that isn't shouting CHRISTMAS!

We would love to get a translation of the if there is anyone out there who could tell us what it says....that would be amazing!

This project would be easy to replicate.
I was at Tuesday Morning yesterday.  They had so many holiday table runners. could use smaller pieces of the styrofoam and do something with a pretty napkin or placemat!  Wouldn't these be great looking?



Ha en bra dag! (I think that is Have a Good Day in Swedish)

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Presto Chango Turtleneck to Jewel neckline Sweater!

Where do you stand on the "Great Turtleneck Debate"? 
Is this style a fashion classic or a fashion no no?
Yes, I know that this is probably not nearly as interesting as the current political debates going on.....
oh wait....
maybe it IS more interesting than the current political debates!

I kind of think that for me it is a matter of aging.  Over the years the turtlenecks that I used to love just don't fit as comfortably as they used to.

It couldn't possibly be that my neck isn't quite as smooth and thin as it used to be????

I found this fashion advisory for "a woman of a certain age".....

"You may think a ­turtleneck hides a sagging neck and chin, but it is more likely to draw attention to jowls."

Audrey Hepburn knew this....there are lots and lots of photos of her in her youth with the classic black turtleneck.  In later photos you see more v-necks and jewel necklines. 

Now....I would never aspire to looking like Audrey one  could!
But in the great turtleneck debate....I need to vote NAY!

I am a sucker for cashmere!  I find the most wonderful cashmere sweaters at the thrift store. They usually sell for less than $10.  Sadly.....many of the prettiest cashmere sweaters are turtlenecks!  I buy them anyway! Then I use some "magic" and turn them into jewel neck treasures!

Want to see how?
You really won't believe how easy it is!

 This sweater is the prettiest blue (the photo really doesn't show it well).

Notice the classic turtle neck!

All you do is pull the collar up and cut about half of it off. 

Leave enough of the ribbed knit to fold to the inside.

Use the wool setting on your iron and steam press the ribbing so that it exactly joins to the line where the ribbing joins the sweater. 

Time with the iron is well spent in making the next step easier.

It is simple to just hand stitch the raw edge to the neckline.

Use the tiniest stitches you have patience to do.....
Try to catch as many of the raw knit loops from your scissors cut as you can.
This will keep it from unraveling.

I don't get all hung up on using special knit thread.....this is a thrift store sweater after all!!

The finished jewel neck looks really nice....
It will feel so much better than the turtleneck....
It only took about 20 minutes to do this!

BTW....because my cashmere sweaters are almost all from thrift stores....I never dry clean them.  Use a gentle wash with Woolite and lay them flat to dry!  

 Where ever you stand on the turtleneck debate.....
Have A Wonderful Day!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Posh Velvet Pumpkins

 Alas....those Halloween Jack'os that looked so festive a week ago are starting to go into their decline.

Before you toss sure to "harvest" the stems.


These stems can be used for some lovely posh velvet pumpkins for your Thanksgiving table.

Simply carve away any of the pumpkin to pull the stems out.
If you are lucky, there will be some wonderful curly vines left too.

Then....trim off as much of the pulp as you can and set them to dry.

Pop them in the oven at the lowest setting with the door open and let them dry out for a couple of hours.  They should be dry enough to use right away.

I won't be making any new velvet pumpkins this year....I already have these!

You don't need to limit yourself to velvet....the silk ones are pretty too!

You know how I hate writing instead....I have found you a really well written set of directions for the project.   Check it out here.

Aren't these gorgeous?

While I was researching for a good tutorial, I found the directions for making these cute little velvet off I went to the Sweetwater woods to gather acorn tops.

I started to follow the directions.....
I made one....

And then.....I thought to myself.....what in the world will I ever do with these and they are taking a whole bunch of time....SO I QUIT!
HMMMMM....but if you want to make is the link! 

So anyway....I hope you are reading this BEFORE you threw out your pumpkins!
I collected my stems and they will get packed away when they are dried.
Or...maybe I will make some little posh pumpkins for gifts.

And finally....

If you have is a wonderful book that shows the life cycle of a pumpkin.  A fun science project if you can get over the "ick" factor.

Have a Great Weekend!
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Recover Cushions! Ice House Edition!

I bet you didn't know that Mr. S owns a Castle!  
Yes he does! 
Sadly it is not located in some faraway locale that we jet off to for getaways! !  
It is however used for getaways....of the hunting and fishing variety.

Right now the "Ice Castle" resides in our driveway awaiting the start of Deer Hunting.

Mr. S. has used my "decorating" services through the years for the decor in the trailer.

Past projects were custom curtains for the windows that attach with velcro.

This fun bulletin board was fashioned from an old wool shirt with some wine corks for a border edge! 

 The trailer is 7 years old and has seen a lot of use over those years.  The cushions for the table and sleeping area had taken the hardest hit.  
The foam was all out of shape.  NOT to mention the fact that the CAMO fabric was forgive my pun...."BUTT UGLY"!

Time for another "almost no sew box cushion" project!  If you follow this blog, you know I am all about NO SEW projects even though I do know my way around a sewing machine.

You can go to these past posts about the technique for making good looking box cushions without a lot of work. There are really specific how to instructions here:
Almost No Sew Box Cushions
Almost No Sew Box Cushions with a twist

The first step for the trailer cushions was finding the foam and picking the fabric.
It meant a trip to the huge outlet fabric store with Mr. S.  Now THAT was an adventure in shopping!

First off....the price sticker shock for the foam was pretty intense!  There are five 48 inch cushions to do.  At 75 cents an inch....YIKES!  Mr. S carefully did the math and we had them cut to length right there.

On to the fabric selection!  I could have browsed for hours to check out all the options.
  • A "manly" plaid?  
  • A subtle texture? 
  •  A bright pattern? 
  •  More CAMO (NOT)?  
That isn't exactly how it went!  One trip down the denim aisle.....BOOM....the choice was made!

Once we were back home, the cushions were cut to width using an electric knife.
I covered two cushions at a time so that Mr. S. could check for fit each time.  This was a good plan as the last cushion needed to be a tiny bit smaller to make the fit perfect.

Go check out the tutorials
Almost No Sew Box Cushions
Almost No Sew Box Cushions with a twist

The basic technique is to sew a tight tube of fabric to go the length of the cushion.
Then fold the ends like you would a present you are wrapping.
Hand stitch this.

I imagine that having these professionally recovered would have cost a pretty penny.
This project was right around $125 even with the expensive foam!

I guess the plain navy blue does look nice....

but next time how about something a little more in keeping with the CASTLE theme?

Have A Wonderful Day!

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