Second Tuesday Art Walk #5

Sweet and Simple Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas

Welcome to the December edition of Second Tuesday Art Walk.  I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season.

About a week ago, I had my first gift exchange with a small group of friends.  I’d shopped early for their gifts, knowing that I would have tons of time to wrap them.  Unlike previous years, this time I would make sure that each friend received an amazing, festively wrapped package – a package so stunning that she would not even want to unwrap it.

At least that was the plan.

Of course that didn’t happen because I waited until about 20 minutes before I had to leave the house to start wrapping.  Having tons of time just meant I could procrastinate longer.

So for me, simple gift wrap ideas are always the best.  But simple can be beautiful.  Today I’m sharing a few fun and surprisingly easy gift wrap ideas.

Car and Tree Cuteness

Heather at Growing Spaces  shows us how to make a car and tree package sure to bring out the kid in all of us.

Photo courtesy of Growing Spaces

Ruffle Yarn Ribbon

A few years ago, I used ruffle yarn as ribbon – with fun results.

Easy holiday gift wrap using ruffle yarn

Easy to find at craft stores, ruffle yarn is nice to work with because it can be pulled apart for a lace-like look, and it usually contains tiny sequins for a subtle holiday glimmer.

DIY Scandinavian-Inspired Gift Wrap

White wrapping paper and a sharpie – what could be easier?  Andrea at the.beauty.dojo shows us how easy it is to get that clean, minimalist Scandinavian look.  And she also offers us free printable gift tags to complete the look.

Photo courtesy of the.beauty.dojo

Paper Doilies

Last year I became obsessed with old-fashioned paper doilies.

Easy holiday gift wrap using doilies

I mostly used them with plain craft paper, but sometimes with fancier paper.  They were easy to attach using a glue stick.

Holiday wrap using paper doilies

 

And I found they were more interesting offset on the package rather than centered.

DIY Gift Bag From Wrapping Paper

Some gifts just don’t fit in a box.  And I don’t usually realize that until the last minute.  Luckily Tasha at Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body has a simple tutorial for creating a gift bag from wrapping paper.

Photo courtesy of Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

DIY Paper Tassels

Tassels are hot this year.  And Debra at Vintage Paper Parade shares an easy way to make them.

Photo courtesy of Vintage Paper Parade

Fabric Strips

One year I used torn strips of muslin fabric, left over from a sewing project, instead of ribbons and bows.  The result was a soft, old-world look.

Easy holiday gift wrap using torn fabric

 

Happy Holidays Dear Friends!

I’m putting this blog down for her long winter’s nap, but we will pick things up again in January.  Until then, I wish you and yours every happiness that the holidays bring.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.

 

Holiday Reading


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

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Frosted Alliums for Holiday Decor

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that in September I urged you to save any allium seed heads that might be growing in your garden.  And now I’m going to show you why.

The Inspiration

Last holiday season, my talented friend Loralee gave me this adorable gift, which she made herself using an allium seed head.

It got me thinking about all the ways we can use allium seed heads in holiday decor.  So I’ve been doing a little experimenting.

Finding Seed Heads

Allium plants are grown from bulbs.  In my area, they bloom spring to summer, and then the flowers turn into seed heads that are highly ornamental.  They come in many sizes, heights, and shapes.  Some are huge, some are tiny.

I found only one seed head in my own garden, but it was pretty spectacular.

And in early fall, a neighbor offered me all of her allium seed heads.  She had a nice variety.

Some still had seeds so I left those outside for the birds until the weather turned.

And I let them all dry indoors completely before I began using them.

The Experiment

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

 

I used matte white spray paint that I had on hand.  I wanted the seed heads to look frosted, not flocked, so I used the paint sparingly.

While the paint was still wet, I dusted each seed head with Buffalo Snow Flakes iridescent sprinkles (which I also had on hand) for a subtle sparkle.  Then I carefully shook off the excess.

Even though I shook off the excess, little bits of the Buffalo Snow Flakes continued to shed.  So in this case I probably would have been better off with a spray-on sparkle.

Working with the alliums took a little patience because some of them were still shedding seeds.

And the seed heads got tangled together very easily.  They were brittle and fragile, and I had to be careful not to damage them.

Still I am happy with the results.  Here is what I’ve done with them so far.

Frozen Forest

I like to keep things simple.  By securing allium stems of varying heights to spike frogs,

I made a frozen forest to go behind the vintage putz church that once belonged to my husband’s parents.

 

Nutcracker’s Adventure

The smallest allium seed head is secured to a tiny spike frog.  It towers over a three-inch German nutcracker as he wanders through a miniature forest.

Holiday Drama

The seed heads were on long stems.  Some of them were almost as tall as me.  I had fantasies of making a full-sized allium forest with them.  But getting them to stand securely on such tall stems would have taken some doing.

Still I had one dramatically curving stem that was almost three feet tall, and I wanted to do something special with it.  I was able to secure it, and a few other stems of varying heights, by inserting stem wire into the bottom of the stems and leaving a couple of inches of floral wire out of the stem.   I used wire cutters to cut the stem wire to size where needed.

Then I secured them to a piece of styrofoam set in a shallow clay bowl.

I covered the styrofoam with preserved moss and added a some small vintage ornaments.  I chose one good example of each type of seed head to make this crazy thing.

What Mom Did

Of course I frosted way too many seed heads so I gave some to Mom.  Her first career was in floral design, so I was curious to see how she would use them.

She mixed them with materials she had on hand to make this lovely piece for her entryway.

 

Mom is amazing with all things floral.  She could have made five of these in her sleep in the time it took me to put together my “Holiday Drama” creation.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


About Putz Houses and Churches

Putz means different things to different people, but really any piece of a holiday-themed  miniature village can be considered putz.

Want to make your own?  Check out the DIY putz house kits and other putz on Etsy.

AgedWithThyme’s tiny putz saltbox house kit is especially cute.  I love that colonial look.


Holiday Reading

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

Linking up with:

Second Tuesday Art Walk #4

Small Handmade Gift Ideas

Hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for co-workers, hair stylists, and lunch buddies:  I always need small gift ideas around the holidays.

But I love the small gifts.  They are an opportunity to give something fun – something unique and handmade.

So in this Art Walk, we’ll be looking at a few DIY and artisan-made gifts.

Easy-To-Make DIY Gifts

For most people, this time of year is busy – too busy for elaborate DIY projects.  So I’m showing you a couple of my own simple projects and a couple of projects that I would love to try.

Fir Scented Sachet Ornaments

Last summer on our trip to Maine, I bought a bag of Balsam fir needles.  It smelled so wonderful – like a high-mountain hike.

Recently I made sachet ornaments using the fir needles as the filler.

Fir sachet ornaments: DIY gift idea

These ornaments are nice to hang on artificial trees to give them that “real tree” scent.

Fir sachet ornaments: DIY gift idea

And they can be bundled into gift packs.

Fir sachet ornaments: DIY gift idea

After Christmas, they can be tossed into closets, drawers, or chests to keep those smelling nice.

You can find the tutorial for making these at the end of this post.

Cute, Tiny Refrigerator Magnets

I’m in love with these adorable little magnets that Stephanie made.

Photo courtesy of Ingenious Inkling

Who wouldn’t want one (or several) of these?

This craft looks so fun and easy.  For the tutorial, click here.

Batik Dinner Napkins

Last year at a fabric store on Black Friday, I found cotton batik fabric quarters (aka “fat quarters”) for 75 cents each.

They measured 18 X 21 inches and the fabric was double sided – perfect for dinner napkins.

I bought an assortment and made a set of 8 eclectic dinner napkins.

And all I had to do was double-fold hem the edges (for how to sew a double-fold hem, see this post).

DIY Batik Dinner Napkins
Batik dinner napkins: A fun DIY gift.

What could be easier?  And the fabric was made in India, machine washable.

Rope Trivet

Jess made this elegant trivet from a clothesline rope.  The texture looks so luxurious.  Now I want to learn to crochet.

Photo courtesy of Make & Do Crew

For the tutorial, click here.

 

Artisan-Made Gifts

These handmade creations are on my list of small gift ideas for this year – although I worry that if I buy them I will want to keep them.

Disclosure:  Affiliate Links are used below.

Geometric Ornament

Elegant and contemporary, this handmade ornament by Waen would make an impressive hostess gift.

All Natural Spa Gift Set

I can think of a few people on my gift list who deserve a little pampering.  And I can feel good about giving this all natural beauty set by LittleFlowerSoapCo  because these products don’t contain palm oil.

But what I really love is that this set can be customized with several luxurious choices for the soap and the lip balm.

*If allergies or sensitivities are a concern, ask for and check the list of ingredients before purchasing.

Personalized Passport Cover

Yes, we have one in our family:  That person afflicted with wanderlust.  A personalized, embossed leather passport cover by ShopAlwaysRooney would be just the ticket for our world traveler.

Gourmet Sea Salts

This set of gourmet sea salts by purposedesign is nice for any foodie, but the presentation is handsome enough for the hard-to-shop-for men on my list – at least those who like to cook or grill.*

*If allergies or dietary restrictions are a concern, ask for and check the list of ingredients before purchasing.

Indoor Herb Garden Kit

Plants and seedlings – or even the promise of them coming soon – can brighten drab winter days.  This little seed kit by Mountainlilyfarm comes in a cute wooden berry basket, and the seeds are grown in the Ozark Mountains.

For the Crazy Cat Person

Until a few years ago, that crazy cat person would have been me.  Priscilla is now our only cat.  But for many years we had three cats – plus the occasional foster.

I wish I’d had this sign by BelvedereCollections then, since it would have answered the question that my friends and family were too polite to ask.

By the Way

Oh by the way, if you enjoy cheerful, fragrant paperwhites blooming indoors during the holidays, now is the time to start them from bulbs.

Check out my posts Growing Paperwhites for a Beautiful Holiday Centerpiece for the how-to and Start Paperwhites Now For the Holidays  for more paperwhite inspiration – and ideas for giving them as gifts.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.


Sachet Ornament Tutorial

It was so easy to make these sachets.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric cut into 4.5 inch squares (this is a great way to use up leftover fabric scraps)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Narrow fabric ribbon cut in 8-inch lengths
  • A bag of Balsam fir needles
  • A sewing machine
  • A tablespoon

How to Make:

  1. Good sides facing out, I sewed two fabric squares together on three sides, leaving 3/8″ seams.  I looped the ribbon and incorporated it into my stitching in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. So now I had a little fabric bag with a ribbon loop in one corner.  I scooped about three tablespoons of fir needles into the bag.
  3. Then I sewed up the top of the bag, again leaving a 3/8″ seam.
  4. Then I finished each edge with pinking shears.
Step 1 - sew two fabric squares together on three sides
Step 1
Step two: Fill the fabric pouch with fir needles
Step 2
Step three: sew the fourth seam
Step 3
Step 4: trim the edges using pinking shears
Step 4
Finished sachet
Voilà!



Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

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A Blue and White Thanksgiving

For the past several years, my husband Chris and I hosted Thanksgiving in our tiny dining room.  We learned that the key is to be prepared.  We planned ahead, and we divided tasks.  Chris was a natural in the kitchen, and I clumsily muddled through as his sous chef.

But my favorite part of preparing was planning the table decor. So today I’m sharing my blue and white table from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Denim Inspiration

Denim for a Thanksgiving tablecloth?  Why not.  Last year, I became obsessed with this denim fabric.  The pattern reminded me of a block print fabric from India.

Denim fabric, muslin fabric, and accent ribbon.

I got some white muslin to make napkins and some white and blue ribbon to continue the theme.

We all know that denim jeans can go anywhere.  It’s all how you put the look together.  And the same is true for a denim tablecloth.  I wanted a look for my table that was the equivalent of wearing jeans with heels and a tailored white blouse – elegant and classic.

Blue and white Thanksgiving table decor

A classic outfit deserves minimal but well-chosen accessories:

Gold painted leaves.

A DIY gold painted leaf

Blue and white serving pieces.

Blue and white serving pieces

Crystal and understated floral arrangements.

Blue and white Thanksgiving table decor

Blue and white Thanksgiving table decor

Thanksgiving table decor can be very elaborate –  but that never works for my tiny table.  It just means moving more things off the table to make way for the feast.

Small Table Solutions For Holiday Dinners

Last year, I published this post that shared some tricks and tips for hosting holiday dinners on a small table.  That post also shared a few of my previous Thanksgiving table looks.

Earth-toned Thanksgiving table decor

This year we will be dining in style in this gorgeous dining room.  Wherever your Thanksgiving takes you, I hope you have a wonderful one!

Post on this website are for entertainment only.


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

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Our Laundry Room Reveal: Before and After Photos

It’s finally time!  Today I’m taking you on a tour of our completed laundry room remodel.

If you’re a regular visitor (hi, Mom), you know that this remodel has stretched on for months, and I’ve been writing posts as the project progressed.  If you’d like to get caught up on past posts about the remodel (which was done in conjunction with our mudroom refresh), here is the list:

And at the end of this post I’ve listed sources for, and information about, some of the products that we used in this remodel.

Let’s Begin!

The laundry room measures only 7′ X 7′, so our goal was to make the best use of the space without overloading the room.  The house was built in 1927, so I wanted the laundry room to be a mix of old world charm and modern efficiency.

Although my husband Chris and I came up with a detailed plan for the room, Chris did most of the actual work.  My brother Dan gave us the initial push we needed by brainstorming with us about how to bring the plan to reality.  Dan also helped to reroute and replace the plumbing – and later in this post you will see the beautiful built-in that he made for the room.

Okay, let’s walk in through the mudroom.

The North Wall

Now we’re inside, and this is what the north wall used to look like.

Laundry Room Remodel: Before
North wall before

I liked having a utility sink.  But there was very little surface space for folding clothes, and ironing in here was too much of a hassle because the only electrical outlet was up on the wall behind the appliances.  As for storage, there was a little recessed wall cabinet, but it was very difficult to access.  Things stored in there were quickly forgotten.

Here is how it looks now.

Laundry Room Remodel: After
North wall after

I think the space actually looks bigger now.

The appliances are 36″ tall, so the new sink base cabinet, which matches our kitchen cabinets, had to be customized to be taller than an ordinary base cabinet.

The quartz countertop had to be 38″ high – but that’s only about two inches higher than your typical kitchen countertop.

And it’s 33″ deep, which is almost 10″ deeper than a kitchen countertop.  So there is lots of space for folding clothes and doing other projects.

Of course, with the deeper countertop, the upper shelves are not easy for me to reach without a ladder or stool.  Our initial plan called for cabinets instead of shelves, but cabinets would have been just as difficult to access.  And any shelf or cabinet that we hung near the window could only be 8 inches deep or it would obstruct the window.

So the shelves hold things that we don’t need often – like shoe care supplies.

A basket of rags sits on a lower shelf within reach.

And the shelves are a fun way to display a few vintage items.

 

I enjoy the look of wood and wicker against the white paneled walls.

And no matter what time it is anywhere else, it’s always 2:00 in our laundry room.

Mid Century Sunburst Clock

Chris remembers this mid century clock from very early in his childhood.  Recently he brought it upstairs from the basement to repair it, and I stashed it in the laundry room to get it out of the way.  And here it stayed – the perfect round object to go in the middle of all the straight lines on the north wall.

Chris has a plan to get it running again, but either way I love the way it looks in this room.

Mid Century Sunburst Clock

I thought about finding some way to conceal the valve box, but I turn the valves on and off every time I do laundry.  So it’s fine.

We chose a stainless deep sink to use with a Delta faucet.

Stainless deep sink with Delta Leland faucet

The East Wall

In the northeast corner, we hung hooks for a couple of vintage coat hangers – one that we found inside the kitchen wall during our kitchen remodel (and that we later realized the original home owners must have brought with them from England).  The other belonged to my German grandfather.

Vintage Coathangers

This is what the east wall used to look like.

East wall before

The little area behind the door, only 14 inches deep, was a mess.

East wall before

And this is how it looks now.

East wall after

I came up with the idea of an L-shaped shelf above a tool rack.  Chris used a couple of leftover shelves and made it happen.

L-shaped shelf to hold cleaning supplies and tools.

The portable space heater from the before photo isn’t needed anymore because Chris added ducting and a heat vent to the room.

Southeast corner after

And it all tucks neatly behind the door.

Originally I wanted a built-in ironing board, but then I realized that I was too in love with the new wall paneling.  I didn’t want a built-in ironing board to detract from the look.  So a tabletop ironing board hangs behind the door, and I just take it to the counter to use it.  This little downgrade saved us a few hundred dollars, and it’s probably just as easy to use as a built-in.

The South Wall

I didn’t get a before photo of the south wall, but this is how it looks now.  Not the best photo, but I had to climb up on the countertop to get it.

South wall after

The Southwest Corner and the West Wall

The southwest corner was a cluttery embarrassment.  Only close family members were allowed to see this.

Southwest corner before

(By the way, Chris is proud of me for getting both toilet plungers into the before photo.  Yeah, I really got my point across with this shot!)

There was a lot stored here.  I found new homes for the things that didn’t really belong in the laundry room.  And there would be some storage in the new sink base cabinet.

Still I knew we’d need more storage, and I wanted it to be easy to reach.  A rectangular- or square- shaped cabinet, placed in this corner, would eat up too much floor space – and ruin the flow.  We realized a corner cabinet would be perfect here.

Dan has built many cabinets for himself, so he offered to build us a corner cabinet – one that would match the sink base cabinet.

Southwest wall after with custom corner cabinet

The little top drawer is very convenient, and there is a surprising amount of storage here.  It works nicely in this corner, with the countertop fitting just below the window frame.

Above the corner cabinet is the expandable wall-mounted drying rack that we found on our recent trip back East.

Southwest corner after

I used a portable wooden drying rack for years.  It would collapse at unexpected times, and it was a pain to store.  I find myself using this wall-mounted rack all the time.

Wall-mounted drying rack

So this was the west wall before.

West wall before

And this is the west wall now.

West wall after

I went with inexpensive matchstick roller blinds for now, and I’m enjoying them.  But I may get something else for the windows in the future since these aren’t very easy to roll up and down.

The washer door clears the corner cabinet – barely.

West wall after

Air Space

Even air space counts in a room this small.  Between the two windows, we installed a stainless retractable clothesline.

Retractable clothesline

It stretches across the room, giving me seven feet of space to hang laundry.

It’s high enough not to strangle us when we walk in, yet low enough for me to use easily.  I love it since I have so many items that I would prefer to air dry.

The Light Fixture

With the windows, this room gets tons of natural light.  We did hang a vintage light that we had in storage.

Vintage light fixture

I guess I lied when I said this project was done.  This room still needs a small towel bar.  But we are very happy with the way it turned out.  It’s functional, it works hard for such a small room, yet it’s has a cheerful, airy vibe.  I love spending time in here – even if I am just folding clothes.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  In case you’re interested, I’ve listed a few things below that are either the same as or similar to products we used in this remodel.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Sources

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

Wall-Mounted Drying Rack

This Robbins Lumber expandable wall rack is very similar to ours, although it is unfinished wood, so it would need sanding and either finish or paint.

Stainless Deep Sink

This Enbol SD2318 23 Inch 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Sink is very similar to ours in size and quality.

Faucet

I actually won the Delta Leland faucet as a door prize when I attended the Blogpodium conference in Canada a few years ago.  Here is the information on this faucet.

It is also sold via Amazon.

Window Coverings

These Radiance Fruitwood Imperial Matchstick Bamboo Shades  are very similar to the ones we installed in the laundry room.  But as I mentioned above, ours are a little difficult to roll up and down. Their quality matches their modest price.  Still I love the way they look. They do let a lot of light in, which is what I wanted for the laundry room.  But of course that doesn’t work for every situation.

Retractable Clothesline

This KES Stainless Steel Retractable Clothesline is what we have in our laundry room.  And for the price, I am very pleased with the quality.

Shelves

Our shelves came from Home Decorators, but I believe that style has been discontinued.  This Home Decorators 23″ Classic Floating Wall Shelf is not exactly the same, but the dimensions are very similar.

Tabletop Ironing Board

This collapsible tabletop ironing board works just fine for me – especially considering the small amount of ironing that I actually do.


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

 

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries

Linking up with:

Second Tuesday Art Walk #3

My niece is learning to talk.  Her vocabulary is constantly expanding, but at the moment she is an expert at getting her point across with just a word or two.

For example, when I saw her the other day she cautioned me, in her sweet little voice, “Careful.  Heavy.”  I knew immediately that she was talking about fall decor.

She was trying to remind me that many things we use in fall decor can look heavy to the eye.  Pumpkins, sunflowers, hay bales, mums, hydrangeas:  They can all look bulky.  So I needed to be careful or I could cross that fine line between festive and foolish. 

Then she gave me a look that said “And get a move on, Auntie, it’s already October!”

Our little chat helped me choose this month’s theme:

Elegant Fall Decor

This year, I’m in the mood for something fun yet elegant.  This is what I found for inspiration.

Corn Stalk Wreath

Here corn stalks have been deconstructed and made into a whimsical wreath that would look good on any door.

Photo by Hymns & Verses

French Country Dining Room

Oui merci.  White pumpkins, candles, and hydrangeas give a relaxed, rustic vibe to this French-inspired dining room.  The simple linen tablecloth keeps the look balanced.

Photo by So Much Better With Age

Pumpkin Vignette

If the pumpkins below had been placed on a heavier table, the look might be clunky.  But by using a skinny metal table that blends with the wall behind it, we have a vignette that is airy yet still sets a fall mood.

Photo by Laurey Glenn Photography

 

Fall Porches

I found two gorgeous porches that offer endless inspiration.  I’m sharing one photo of each, but I encourage you to click through the links to see so much more.

  • Balanced Entry

White mums?  What a great idea.  Symmetry and a muted color palette keep this entrance tasteful.

Photo by Little White House Blog.

 

  • Rustic Lighting and Natural Materials

With the days getting shorter, its a fun idea to add a little extra lighting to a covered porch.  Swap the white pumpkins for other seasonal ornaments and this look will work for months.

Photo by Vin’yet Etc

Grassy Centerpiece

This gorgeous centerpiece uses grasses, fall wildflowers, and long-lasting greens.

I love how the grasses capture the natural light and add a soft texture to the arrangement.

Photo by Anna Shackleford

Little Details

It’s fun to combine tried-and-true pieces of fall decor with new items – or to put a new spin on the tried and true.

  • Faux Olive Branches

Kathy at A Delightsome Life has two tutorials for making these beautiful faux olive branches.  They are an airy complement to heavier fall decor.

Photo by A Delightsome Life

 

  • Gleaming Mini-Pumpkins

Seems I always have to go off in a different direction.  White pumpkins have been so popular, but last year I painted mini-pumpkins for a warm, metallic look that would last through Thanksgiving.  These were fun to scatter around my living room and use in table decor.

My Crocosmia Crush

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

And I found inspiration from my most reliable source:  Mom.  Her crocosmia plants had multiplied over the past summer so she had to remove some.

Crocosmia seed heads are a nice accent in floral arrangements.  She offered me a handful of the plants she’d pulled out of the ground so I could use the seed heads.  The bulbs were still attached.

The bulbs and roots looked so interesting that I decided to use the whole plant as decor.

 

It was simple:  I filled a shallow clay pot with floral foam and then covered the foam with forest moss.  I inserted a small bamboo garden stake in the middle and then secured the crocosmia stalks to it with garden twine.

I love the look of the bulbs and winding roots.

I used some seed heads elsewhere.

Featured Etsy Artist

Fabric pumpkins are everywhere this year.  Some are better than others.

To me, these needle-felted pumpkins by ForestFindsbyCassidy look like tiny works of art.


Posts on this website are for entertainment only.

You might also enjoy:

 


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 


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A Luxury Rug Pad for a Bargain Rug: Why It’s a Good Idea

You wouldn’t expect a piece of fitness equipment to come with an unhealthy odor but, a while back, I bought a new yoga mat that had such a strong chemical smell that I had to return it.

So when RugPadUSA.com asked me to review one of their eco-friendly rug pads, I thought it would be an interesting experiment.

Of course, to keep my review as accurate and impartial as possible, it was essential to shop for a new area rug to go with the new rug pad.  A sacrifice, I know, but one that I was willing to make for the sake of journalism.

The rug and pad would be going in the room where we do our morning yoga stretches. Because of the yoga, Will at RugPadUSA.com suggested I try the Superior Lock 1/4″ rug pad.  It has a natural rubber backing to keep the rug in place and a recycled felt core for comfort.

So let’s talk a little about my new rug and rug pad.

The Rug

I only buy inexpensive rugs because my cat, Priscilla, won’t let me have anything nice.  If you have a pet, I’m sure you can relate.

So I fell in love with a rug that I found at Ross.  At $49 for a 5 X 7 rug, it was a bargain.

Years ago, when I was on a budget and buying wall-to-wall carpeting for a basement, someone told me that it was okay for me to buy inexpensive carpeting as long as I upgraded the pad – because an upgraded pad would help the carpet wear better.

So I am going on the assumption that the same would apply to an area rug and a rug pad.

 

The Rug Pad

The Superior Lock 1/4″ rug pad arrived quickly and with minimal packaging.  And no chemical odor.  In fact, no smell at all that I could detect.

Rug pads are really nothing to look at, but I think this one, with its felt core, has the look of quality.

Superior Lock 1/4″ Rug Pad

So far, my experience with the rug pad has been positive.

Pros

  • No chemical smell.  And actually I learned that many rug pads sold in the big-box stores are made with PVC or plastic and could contain toxins.  The materials and chemicals in these rug pads could also harm floors and rugs.  Which leads me to:
  • My rug pad is made of natural rubber and recycled felt.  So it should not harm the floor, the rug, Priscilla, or her humans.
  • The pad is the exact dimension I need for the rug.  RugPadUSA.com custom cuts the pads at no additional cost.
  • When I do yoga stretches on the rug, the pad keeps it securely in place on the hardwood floors.
  • I feel that the thickness of the pad makes my bargain rug look and feel luxurious.
  • The rug pad has a 20-year warranty.
  • And it was made in the U.S.A.

Cons

  • The inevitable has happened.  The rug and pad have attracted the riff raff.

Actually, I can’t think of any disadvantage to this rug pad.  In my opinion, and for my needs, it’s a keeper.

 

A warm thank you to RugPadUSA.com for sponsoring this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

 


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Summer’s Last Dinner Party

Note:  I’m still redecorating My Sweet Cottage, so please pardon the dust!

Recently, we decided to invite a few friends over for dinner. We wanted to have one last party on our back patio before the weather changed.

But we didn’t stop to think about how early the sun goes down this late in summer.  The patio sits in the far corner of the garden, and there is no lighting there.  So once it got dark, candles alone would not be enough.  We had to set something up – quickly.

Desperation Lighting

If done right, outdoor lighting can be gorgeous.  I was inspired by the magical, romantic lighting at the garden concert we attended earlier in the summer.

The Nick Drummond Band during their “Under the Stars” concert.

But of course we didn’t have time for anything that elaborate. At this point, all I could hope for was lighting that was adequate but not glaring.

I had a strand of Edison-style filament bulbs that I use during the holidays.  We attached one end of the strand to a long bamboo pole. The pole was then anchored to a tree.

We ran the lights above the table.  On the other end, we attached the strand to a tree branch because that was our only option.

It wasn’t elegant, but it would get us through the night.

Heat

Once the sun goes down, so does the temperature.  So we made sure we had plenty of fuel for our heat lamp.

I momentarily considered setting out some blankets in case anyone got cold, but with the heat lamp it really wasn’t necessary.

Bug-Proofing

I used all the little bug-proofing tricks that I shared in this previous post.

The citronella centerpiece took me about 10 minutes to put together.  I set a tall glass candle holder in the center of a small clay saucer, filled the saucer with water, and added some leafy twigs from the garden.

It was compact enough for the small round table.  Flowers would have attracted bees, which is why I used only the fresh twigs to add some interest.

Little Touches

No matter how hard I try, by late summer my garden looks like an overgrown monster.  I used to let this keep me from entertaining, but I’ve come to realize that no one really minds the monster but me.

Still it’s nice to create a diversion.  Chris set up his mid-century bar across from the patio.  This was where the party would start.

 

I tossed a few blossoms into the bird bath,

Tucked a few citronella candles around the patio,

And we set up our iPod player for music.

As neglected as it was, the patio still had some charm.

 

 

Goodbye to Summer

Everything worked out.

Photo by Loralee Wenger

We were warm, the bugs stayed away, and we could see each other.

It’s raining today.  We really needed the rain, and I hear it’s going to stick around for a while.

But at least we enjoyed the last warm day of summer.

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We used the Vickerman lights, which I love.  However the bulbs are glass, not plastic, and the filaments are delicate.   The globe string lights are perhaps sturdier, although I haven’t tried them. The heat lamp is very similar to ours.

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Second Tuesday Art Walk #2

It’s time again for Second Tuesday Art Walk.  The Art Walk is a relatively new feature to my blog, and it won’t always have a theme. But this month I realized that I developed a theme without even trying.

And it is . . .

Attainable Beauty

I love browsing home decor magazines to find inspiration and to dream.  Everything looks so perfect – and so effortless.

But in the real world, most of us have to face a few challenges when we want to improve our homes.  Budgets, time constraints, a lack of help, having to compromise with family members, or simply the fear of trying something new:  These are all speed bumps that can slow down a great idea – or stop it in its tracks.

So here today are some gorgeous but realistic projects – and some inspiration – for those of us out here in the real world.

Let’s get started!

Weekend Bathroom Update

Do you have a room in your house that you’ve been meaning to remodel but the time has never been right?  Meg got tired of waiting for a full remodel of her small bathroom so she decided to do a weekend update.

What a difference a weekend can make.

Photo courtesy of hello farmhouse

Be sure to check out the before photo.

Transforming an Old Kitchen Cabinet

Rachel spent $15 on a salvage shop cabinet and turned it into a darling little desk for her daughter.

Photo courtesy of Shades of Blue Interiors

The top opens for more storage space.

 

Board and Batten Mudroom Walls

Why make a project any harder than it has to be?  Lindsey found an easy way to get the classic board-and-batten look she wanted for her mudroom walls – and she did it all herself.

Photo courtesy of repurpose and upcycle

Lindsey’s project reminds me of this beautiful dining room remodel.

Stunning Breakfast Nook Update

Kathryn transformed her average-looking breakfast nook into something that belongs in Better Homes & Gardens.  It’s so fresh and elegant.  And that high-end wallpaper?  It’s actually stencilling!

Photo courtesy of The Dedicated House

 

BurkeDecor.com

Something New For Fall

Sometimes it’s fun to toss convention aside and try something new.

Kerryanne’s charming new fall designs feature a soft pastel color palette.  It’s a fresh take on fall decor – and so gorgeous!

Image courtesy of Shabby Art Boutique

These colors make for a graceful transition from summer to fall.

Kerryanne is also offering a lovely free printable from her fall collection!

Save Your Allium Seed Heads

Last Christmas, my friend Loralee gave me this sweet little bit of holiday cheer.

To make this, she used some things she had on hand:  A small clay pot, foil wrap, and a dried allium seed head.

What a fun hostess gift!  And it got me thinking about the endless possibilities for holiday decor using allium seed heads.

So this summer I looked for them.  I only found one allium seed head in my own garden.  But what a beauty it is – like a firework frozen in time.

And recently a very nice neighbor gave me all of her allium seed heads.  She had a fun variety.

How would you use these in holiday decor?  I’m just starting to come up with ideas, but I’ll be sharing my creations with you, successful or not, later in the fall.

 

Tips for Hanging Wall Art

My husband Chris is almost a foot taller than me, so we don’t always see eye to eye on where art should be placed on a wall.

Hanging art on a wall correctly is an art in itself.  So here to help us today is invaluable’s “How to Hang a Picture” step-by-step guide.

Photo courtesy of invaluable

About the Featured Photo

So about that clock in the featured photo:  Don’t you just love it when you find the right thing by accident?

Recently Chris reorganized his basement workshop.  He was getting rid of some things and brought a mid century clock upstairs to see if it was still working.

I didn’t even know he had this clock.  He has very early memories of it from his childhood.  I cleaned it up a bit and propped it in our laundry room, on the counter, just to get it out of the way.

Then I realized it looked great there.

You’ll see it for yourself, along with (finally!) our laundry room remodel before and after photos, in a post soon.

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Second Tuesday Art Walk #1

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Welcome to “Second Tuesday Art Walk,” my new feature that comes out on the second Tuesday of every month.  After all, who can’t use a little beauty on a Tuesday?

And it will always be the second Tuesday because – well, actually I don’t remember the reason now.  But here we are.

In no rational order, we’ll be looking at interior design inspiration, fun little discoveries, and things I’m obsessed with.  You can click through the links to learn more about anything you see here.

So grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, and let’s begin.

Gorgeous, Breezy Enclosed Porch

August always has me planning ways to extend summer fun.  That would be a lot easier if I had Ashley’s gorgeous outdoor room.

I especially love those crisp, airy curtains.  Perfect!

Photo courtesy of The Houston House
Charming Repurposed Clothing Projects

Who needs the fabric store if you have old clothes on hand?

SuzerSpace’s sweet DIY purse has me sifting through my husband’s closet to see which shirt he “doesn’t need” anymore.

Photo courtesy of SuzerSpace

Mary over at In The Boondocks also has a talent for repurposing old clothes.  Actually, she’s amazing at repurposing anything.

Here is what she did with an old denim dress and a beach find.

Photo courtesy of In the Boondocks

And I love what she made from an old milk crate and an old blouse.

Beautiful Built-in Sleeping Nook

Sloped ceilings can add so much character to a room.  But they can also be challenging to work with.

Tricia really made the most of her little A-shaped dormer space with this DIY built-in bed.  I love everything about this.  Be sure to check out her before photos!

Photo courtesy of Simplicity in the South

Dream Trailer

Mandi calls her trailer, The Nugget, “the cutest vintage trailer on the internet.”  And I can’t argue with that.

Check out The Nugget’s Reveal and you’ll fall in love too.  The interior photos start about halfway through the post, and there are a lot of charming details to see here.  My favorite little detail is the kitchen faucet.

 

Photo courtesy of VR Vintage Revivals
Trending Color

Looks like brown is making a strong comeback.  In fact, Country Living is saying that brown is the new black.

Shutterfly has come out with their 75 Enchanting Brown Living Room Ideas.  And one of them features my living room!

Image courtesy of Shutterfly

Shutterfly’s post has some great examples of how brown can bring warmth and balance to a room.  And there’s lots of inspiration for integrating brown into existing decor.

Unexpected Discovery

Recently we took a road trip along the beautiful Oregon Coast.

While antiquing in the small towns there, we found these old cobbler shoe forms for children’s shoes – complete with worm holes.  

The smallest one measures only five inches.  Adorable.

Our laundry room remodel is almost compete, and these little guys will be cute in there grouped with the shoe care supplies.

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I’m intrigued by vintage children’s shoe forms now.  The varying sizes make them so fun for decorating.

 

Beauty on Sale

Yes, beauty in the form of luxury furniture and accessories!

One King’s Lane has reached out to let me know about their Labor Day sale from 8/31/17 – 9/5/17, when they are offering a site-wide discount of 20%!  And on Monday only, 9/4, they are offering free shipping in addition to the sale.  Just use the code “OKLSHIPSEPT”. Prices on all eligible items will be as marked, and some exclusions apply.

Enjoy the Summer!

Now I’m off to take a late-summer blogging break, but let’s meet back here on the second Tuesday in September.  Thanks so much for visiting today, and enjoy your summer!

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