Category Archives: Decor

Because we all need a little lift- a pot stand turned foot stool

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Because we all need a little lift- a pot stand turned foot stool

I love to cruise through my favorite bargain shops- it’s a bit of a fast paced buzz through, scanning quickly aisles and end caps looking for some clearanced cast off that no one wants. Too much time thinking results in a cart full of mediocrity. But if you work fast, only the truly inspirational things jump up and scream “Take me! Take me!

  
On one of these trips, an odd little four legged pot stand (at least I think that is what it was) made me do a double take. It sat on top of a rickety desk acting like it was 3 feet tall.  

  
But when I picked it up- it transformed in my imagination into a luxurious place to put up my feet after a busy day- or a great little place to rest a cup of coffee while I curled up in my favorite reading chair.  

  

This is one project that was pretty simple- and with a couple little tips and tricks, anyone could accomplish. 

Supplies are minimal: 

  • A round surface with legs- just imagine all the items you could repurpose! Stools with shortened legs, plywood circles with legs attached…)
  • Fabric- enough to cover top and sides and wrap under the surface
  • Foam- choose your favorite thickness, factoring in how high you would like the finished project to stand
  • Shank style button, large size
  • Stapler and staples
  • Cambric or a light weight fabric to finish the bottom of the stool. 

Step 1- cut the foam to the diameter of the surface being covered.  Tip: use an electric knife for easy cutting.  I used a good old fashioned bread knife. Not pretty, but effective!

Step 2: cut the fabric, allowing enough additional fabric to cover the top, the sides and at least 3 inches underneath. Trick: tie a string around a pencil with the tail measuring half of the following equation:Diameter+depth of foam+ 3 inches.   Hold the tail in the center of fabric and trace a complete circle.  Cut out just outside the circle. 

  
Step 3- placing the button

Find the center of the foam circle and the center of the fabric circle. (Tip: fold the fabric circle into quarters and pin the point to find the center). With a sharp pointed instrument (open scissor blade, awl, thin knife) poke a hole through both the center point on the foam and the fabric. 

Lay the fabric over the foam, right side up. With a strong thread, or dental floss, thread through the button and the foam a few times.  Pull quite right and tie off. 

  
Step 4: Stapling the fabric

Place the fabric covered foam with the fabric face down on a smooth surface. Center the wood surface over the foam. 

Now comes the fun part! 

Starting at one side, staple the fabric edge approximently 3 1/2 inches from the bottom edge.  Then, working directly opposite, pull the fabric tight and staple. 

  
Trick: work the way around leaving large spaces between staples. After placing a staple, immediately work the opposite side to keep the fabric straight and taught. Don’t be afraid to pull tight (but evenly) all the way around for a smooth firm surface. And if necessary, don’t hesitate to remove a few staples to make adjustments if needed.  

Once staples are place evenly around the wooden surface, begin softly folding small pleats to take up the slack in the fabric. (Note: if using a foam that is thinner in depth, this may not be required as slack can be eased in as you move around the circle)  
Now! Have fun with the staples! After having done a few smaller upholstery projects and removed an unimaginable number of staples- I can be quite sure that inserting staples in massive quantity has therapeutic value.  This must be why upholsterers are such happy calm people! 

  
To finish the stool off properly, attach a thin fabric such as cambric or even sewing interfacing to hide the raw edges and staples. Simply cut a circle just shy of the diameter of the top, and while folding under the edge, staple it neatly in place. 

Finally- and most importantly- grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, sit in your favorite chair and prop your feet up on your beautiful new footstool. You deserve a rest! 

Play with Color! Jazz up a canvas with a paint scraper

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This project is a great one to (re)create a a canvas into a fun bit of wall art. All you need is some paint, a paint scraper or putty knife and an old (or new) canvas -you know the one that you bought at the discount home decor store that is outdated? Or the juvenile print that your teenager has rejected?

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  1. For this bit of “art”, I had a ton of fun playing with color.  Rainbows were a favorite of mine long before they became symbolic of anything other than a promise and this project combined an image I love – a tree by a stream -with the beauty of a mosaic style background.  It felt reminiscent of my childhood days when I could squish my fingers into plates of  paint – and brought about a ton of joy as I played with the color.

The supplies are pretty simple – Acrylic paint in the color of your choice, gel medium (I recommend matte) to keep the edges of your paint raised, a paint scraper/putty knife measuring the width of the squares you would like to create and a standard paint brush to create the tree trunk and leaves.  A large plastic tray works well as a palette for mixing the color, but you could easily use disposable plates.

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First things first: choose your color palette.  The beauty of this style is that you can choose almost any color.  Blues (imagine water, sky and clouds!), greens (a deep forest, or a wide open meadow) or your favorite colors, swirling and rolling across the canvas.

Next, plan the placement of your focal point, if you have one – and the outline of how you would like the colors to lay. Sketch them lightly on your canvas with a pencil for reference.

Now, roll up your sleeves and get ready to have some fun!

Start with the lightest color, mix 1 part gel medium to 2 parts acrylic paint. This will create a paste like paint that will be slightly more opaque than it will appear when dry.  Load the putty knife’s edge with the color and beginning in the center of where your focal point will be,  lightly stroke down for one square and then stroke to the side for the second.

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Next, without cleaning your putty knife, pick up a bit of the next color and stroke on the paint palette to blend the color slightly.  As you work across your canvas, you may need to pick up some of the previous color along with the current color.  Remember to stroke the paint palette to blend the color ever so slightly on the putty knife.

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Continue  to work through the design, laying down the background in the same “stroke down, stroke across” pattern. The gel medium will give your paint body, and the edges of your squares will be slightly raised.

Once you have completed the background mosaic, allow the paint to dry completely. Because of the added gel medium, this will take a little longer than standard acrylic paint.

When the background has dried completely, begin to paint your focal point.  A field of flowers? A boat? A silhouette of a child?

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For added interest, you can add a significant amount of gel or modeling paste to the acrylic paint for the final details of your focal point.  For my tree, the leaves were quite raised.  The pedals on a flower stem, or the sail on a boat would also look quite interesting.

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Go ahead and give it a try! It might just take you back to your childhood as well.

All For the Love of Fall- A Front Porch Adorned 

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All For the Love of Fall- A Front Porch Adorned 

After living in South Africa for 9 years (where there are two seasons: HOT and Brrrr) I have a new found appreciation for all four seasons.  And here in the Pacific Northwest we get a good taste of all of them.

But when autumn hits, there is something inside me that fires up.  Maybe it’s the sensory stimulation I get. Who can’t love the brilliant colors, the crunch-crunch of leaves and that wonderful fresh fall air?

My creative juices get flowing.
And it doesn’t take much to add a little bit of seasonal flair to a space.

This year I have paired a hand painted sign I made last year with an antique  water pump and crate on my front porch.


A couple rustic wreaths….


(Isn’t this one amazing? A sweet friend makes these for sale! If you are interested in buying one, leave a comment and I will contact you)

And an old ladder with orchard buckets full of herbs…..


Now my porch is a little bit of everything I love about fall.

Hand painted Ornaments for Sale! – Show Your Christmas Tree a Little Country Love

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Hand painted Ornaments for Sale! – Show Your Christmas Tree a Little Country Love

It doesn’t matter where I travel and what I see, there is nothing that makes my heart warm like country side pastures, humble farm houses and dusty barns.  For me, it symbolizes peace and tranquility. (I do, however, have a few memories of not so tranquil moments in my childhood chasing a pig down the road or running for my life from an angry rooster – but those are stories for another day!)

Not too long ago, I decided to venture into painting some of the scenes that make me so happy – and put them onto some great blown glass ornaments to hang on the tree. A few of these, a few burlap accents, red berries and some sparkly white lights, and it is country love at first sight.

I am offering these barn scenes for sale this year on a custom order basis.  Each is hand painted onto a 4″ glass ornament

$12.00/each plus shipping

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Orders are taken on a first come, first serve basis.  I am starting early this year – and hope to be able to fill all orders before November 25.  Please allow 7-10 days until shipping.

Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – A Family Tree for the wall

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Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – A Family Tree for the wall

I grew up listening to my grandmother recount all kinds of facts about her extended family – Great Aunt So and So who loved fine china and Great Uncle So and So who grew hops out in the country.  It was a blur of names combined with interesting stories of days gone by.  These days, it is my mom who is busy researching her family tree – and she has been pretty successful.  It certainly will make passing family history down a lot easier for me (Thanks Mom!)

This year, as a little token, I decided to make Mom a little family tree for her wall.  Not generations and generations, but just her offspring – because one day we will be not just a little sapling, but a grand old oak.

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I dug into my stash of salvaged cabinet doors.

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I loved that they easily convert to a “preframed” surface just waiting for something fun.

After a quick primer coat of paint on the front and back, it was a pretty simple process. (You can totally do this!)

Here are the items that are needed to complete this project:

  • 1 salvaged cabinet door  (mine was approximately 12″ x 24″)
  • Paint brush for base coat (1 1/2″ works well)
  • White primer spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • Black chalkboard paint (or black paint with a flat finish)
  • Acrylic paint in your favorite color (for the “frame”)
  • White acrylic paint pen
  • Clear Matte finish coat

Step One:  Prepare surface by applying a thin coat of white primer spray paint to the front and back.  This makes any type of cabinet surface paint-able. Nothing is more disappointing that putting time into something to have it bubble up or slide off!)

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Step Two: Paint the frame and back. It doesn’t take much paint, so a small bottle of your favorite color purchased from a local craft supply store will give you more than enough to put down two good coats. (hint: prevent “oopsies” by taping off the “chalkboard area” with painters tape)

Step Three:  Base coat the “chalkboard”. Two coats will give you a good surface, but if you have a quality paint, one coat may just be all you need! Again, it helps to tape off the portion of the surface that you don’t want to paint – in this case, the freshly painted frame.  Make sure the paint on the frame is completely dry before you tape, or the tape may lift off the paint.

Step Four: Free hand draw, or transfer an outline of a tree.  There are many images online that work well – and you can follow a simple method such as the one used here- to transfer it onto your surface.  While you are at it, you can also free hand or transfer printed text – perhaps your family name, or “Family Tree” – or your favorite quote. (search “curly tree” for inspiration)

Step Five: Outline the transferred image with a medium tipped paint pen.  These pens work great if you are patient.  Shaking them, then pressing the tip onto a piece of scrap paper brings the paint to the tip.  Once wet, it flows pretty smoothly, giving a nice steady line. Add the names of each of the people that branch off the family “trunk” – children on the main branches, and grandchildren on the smaller branches.  Add a sweet pink heart to the trunk of the tree using either a small amount of acrylic paint, or a pink paint pen

 

Step Six: Top coat to protect the painted surface.  Make sure that your work is completely dry before application.  One or two coats of a matte finish varnish or acrylic top coat provides scratch protection as well as some moisture resistance.

Final Step: Attach hangers – such as the ones shown below –  to the back of the plaque.

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Display your Family Tree with pride, because one day, your great-great grandchildren will thank you!

A Sweet Bunny Who Totally Rocks! – a doll cradle (re)Done!

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A Sweet Bunny Who Totally Rocks! – a doll cradle (re)Done!

My grandson’s favorite book is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.  I think it is the illustrations that has captured his imagination, as well as the squeezes I give him as we read it. Capturing imagination is what it is all about!

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When I found a very tired, old cradle at a local thrift store, I couldn’t pass it up.  It brought back memories of me lovingly rocking my favorite doll and doing all the things loving mommies do.

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It wasn’t hard to decide what to do with this poor scratched doll cradle.

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Can’t you just imagine some sweet child leaning over this cradle, rocking the object of their adoration?

This item is currently available for sale! One of a kind and hand painted! $40.00 without mattress and pillow

Bed measures 23″ long and 13″ wide with cradle feet measuring 17″.

This would also make a great photo prop for newborn photos!

Little touches that take up big space- Guest Room Wall Art

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Little touches that take up big space- Guest Room Wall Art

My husband has a favorite hotel. It’s one where he stayed many times when he traveled for business. When he arrives, they speak to him as if they know him personally; the cook at breakfast remembers the way he likes his eggs; and when he walks into his room, he is greeted with not only a comfortable bed and chair, but a little box containing some refreshment and a newspaper.

Now that my children are (mostly) grown, I have a guest room! This brings me all kinds of happiness because I love having guests. It is important that they feel welcomed and a part of our family.  And it’s the little things that makes this happen.

One little touch I made for this room- that actually takes up quite a bit of space, is the wall art I made for above the bed.

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The process wasn’t too complicated at all and required minimal artistic effort.

First, I cut 4 boards to the same length. I have to confess – I’m “that lady”  who approached the work crews who were working on installing new siding to several houses in our neighborhood. Those long pallets were just so appealing! 20131104_143756

After sanding them smooth, I screwed a brace across the pieces to join them together. Depending on how long the boards are, a few may be required to hold it together firmly. All the nail holes and chipped edges added to the rustic carefree feeling I wanted for this sign.

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Next, a base coat of my favorite DIY chalk paint was applied. A light sanding makes the finish so smooth.

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The wording looks great and is so simple to do, thanks to my computer. I simply printed the letters out on my pc, and using transfer paper, traced the outline onto the boards. Once painted in, there it was! Beautiful text!                                           (Here is a helpful hint: outline your text with a paint marker for a smooth clean edged  letter). 

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Like the nightstand I painted for this room, I wanted to give it a slightly aged look, so I dry brushed and rubbed a stain into the nooks and crannies.

As a final touch to compliment my sentiment on the sign, I painted a sleeping bluebird and wrote out a favorite verse. 20131111_125209

To finish the sign, I rubbed it down with finishing wax and added some saw toothed hangers to the back.

A sweet sentiment which now defines the room as a place of rest.

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What do you think?

Autumn! I’ve fallen for you!

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Deep inside of me, somewhere under the hardworking business women and responsible mother, lies a pensive little girl, who gets giddy at the sight of a tree full of yellow, red and orange leaves – who cautiously looks around before running pell-mell into a pile of leaves and whose mouth waters at the thought of cinnamon spiced apple cider and pumpkin bread.

While I can easily ignore the urge to decorate my porch during the summer – once those leaves start to turn, it becomes a constant hum in my imagination. A hum that can easily turn into a melody that just demands that I hum along!

With that said, I say WELCOME!  to Autumn – to my friends – to my family who make my life a beautiful heap of color.

Welcome sign

While this particular sign is happy on my porch, I am taking orders for any who might be interested.  Made from repurposed pallet boards, this welcome sign has a rustic charm.  It measures 6″x30″ and has a saw tooth hanger at the back, so you can display it in your favorite place. I’m asking only $30.00 each, but will have a limited number that I am able to make.  You can expect the finished product to be ready for delivery or collection 4-5 days from order.

Tongue Depressors turned Garden Markers – Just say Awwww

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I am sure I am not the only person on the planet who has a stash of things that, upon collecting them, where JUST what was needed for that ONE idea. Seems that I am quite good at collecting, but not always so good at completing.

I’ve moved over the ocean twice in the last 10 years – and I can honestly say that it did help me to clear out a LOT of those things… but there were a few that just had too many things that they could become and I hung onto them… and packed them over the Atlantic TWICE. Why? You’ll have to ask my therapist.

One of these things is a small box of wooden gizmos- stars, hearts, wooden spools, wooden pegs and a rather strange collection of Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors. Bits and pieces that I’ve gathered from other projects, garage sales, and even an occasional Popsicle.

In search of a much needed gift for some gardening friends, I dug into my stash recently and painted up a few garden markers. I’m no artist, but I love to paint.  And these guys were crying to be put to good use.

It’s a simple project that can be completed in an evening. So simple in fact that there are really no instructions, just a few tips to make it go smoothly and to insure that they will last at least one season.

  • When base coating your sticks – it helps to either hold them with a spring loaded clothes pin. This way you can paint both sides (and not too much of your fingers). If you have a brick of styrofoam or florists foam around, you can poke the end of the clothes pin into the foam while the stick dries.
  • When painting your letters, it helps to print the words out in the font of your choice. If you don’t have any carbon paper, simply color the back of the paper with a pencil. You can then outline the letters and the pencil will transfer onto your base coated stick.
  • Finally, make sure that you seal your finished product with at least 2-3 coats of poly-urethane type clear coat. You can use clear spray-on top coat or the brush on style. Just make sure you get all sides well covered and allow them to dry completely.