"The earth laughs in flowers." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Title: Violas and Azalea Blossoms, by Mother Nature. This lovely creation is brought to you by Mother Nature. I plant violas every spring, but the birds carry the seeds and plant them in various places around our home. These beautiful violas took root beneath the azalea plants and looked lovely among the fallen azalea blossoms. I love this display!
I think Mother Earth should be respected and celebrated every day. My mom has always been a recycler and master re-user. Glass, plastics, pop cans, newspapers are all returned or recycled, unless you can reuse them. She volunteers to help with church funeral dinners. Chinese take-out containers are perfect for packaging left-overs for families. Plastic bags are saved and given to the Farmers Market vendors. Wicker baskets have been given to me to up cycle as gift baskets and crafts. Thus, Mom has inspired me to use what I have when I am creating and recycle all things that are possible.
I had lots of fun this Earth Day planting this basket and chair that I up cycled. I was thrilled to find this chair at our local Goodwill Store for the "special price" of $3.49. I'm not sure why it was reduced. It has all four legs intact and didn't even wobble when I wiggled it. Granted the black was a little harsh, but that was an easy fix with a can of spray paint.
One of the most difficult times in life is trying to offer some words or expressions of comfort when someone is grieving the death of a loved one. Sometimes, I will state the obvious, "There are no words..." and offer a hug. Most of the time, I feel so helpless because I want to "Do" something for the grieving person. I know it is important to let a person grieve in his or her own way and time. But--I still feel the need to "Do" something. We recently lost a very, dear friend, Joe, who was an absolute delight to know. The anniversary of my dad's passing was March 25th, too. I thought I would share some things I have done, or have been done for me, or others that have been comforting.
Share a Memory: One of the most important things you can do is share a memory about the one who has passed. People are comforted by memories and often times there are memories that may have been forgotten or not even known to the loved ones family and friends. It helps one to know that loved ones were loved, honored, and admired by others. One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is to acknowledge the person that they were.
Wheat grass is so easy to grow and such a fresh addition to spring home decor. It's been a little more than a week since I planted these cute little planters and I've already had to cut the grass. The wheat grass will germinate and sprout within 3 days and within a week it will be nice a tall.
Check out the tutorial. Click here or on any image above:
I have a retired teacher friend who told me her neighbors all tease her about her seasonal/monthly decorating. She always decorates her front walk with a seasonal garden flag and other appropriate yard decor items. Inside, she changes her tea towels and knickknacks and sometimes even the duvet bedding. The screened-in porch gets a little makeover, too. The neighbors think it is something left over from her teaching days. Teachers are always changing out bulletin boards and classroom decor. Now, my friend, has just transferred decorating her classroom to her home and yard. I never looked at it like that before. Admittedly, teachers are very calendar oriented, but I just thought everyone decorated around Flag Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and on and on. Regardless, when I heard my friend changes out her tea towels, it gave me the green light to "make" new spring tea towels.
These towels were quite simple to do.
Basic Materials Needed:
I was lucky enough to stumble upon Dunroven House towels in a quilt shop while on vacation. I really like the quality of these towels. CoCo Kitchen and Home is a source for Dunroven House towels that I found online. Some sites will carry a few choices of these towels, but this sight carries many choices and colors. I love having lots of choices and the lime green border is a favorite of mine!
I chose Avery Iron-on Transfer Paper for Light Fabrics. This can be found at most office supply stores. (After the young store clerk helped me select the right product, he confided in me that his grandmother usually buys her iron-on transfer paper at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts. JoAnn's has a plethora of choices for iron-on paper and they have coupons!)
There are wonderful artists and bloggers offering clipart for free. Some ask that you subscribe to their site and or acknowledge them in any credits. Please be respectful and read the terms for personal and commercial use. Etsy also has some wonderful artist selling clip art for very reasonable prices. The clip art I used for the spring tea towels is from Keren at Free Pretty Things for You: www.freeprettythingsforyou.com.
The mason jar clip art came from Free Pretty Things for You.
Keren, site author and artist,offers initial monograms free for subscribing to her site.
Keren has so many things to offer at www.freeprettythingsforyou.com.
There are some important "details" to remember when using iron-on transfer.
Step 1: Prewash towels. Do NOT use fabric softener in the washer or dryer.
Step 2: Select clipart. Follow the directions on the iron-on package for printing on the iron-on transfer paper for your printer. The main thing to remember is to make sure you flip the image of the initial monogram to mirror image in your printer settings, prior to printing. This will insure that your monogram will be transferred correctly to your tea towels. Any image that is not symmetrical will need to be "flipped" prior to printing.
Step 3: Trim the iron-on paper according to the directions on the packaging.
Step 4: Center and iron-on the transfer according to heat and pressure directions and cooling times. The directions I used, recommended ironing the towel for a minute and then putting the iron-on transfer face down on the towel..
Step 5: Most iron-ons will recommend letting the transfer cool. Then, peel the iron-on paper away and admire your handiwork!
Follow the iron-on transfer package directions for heat settings, timing, pressure and cooling. The directions on my package specifically said NOT to use your ironing board as the flat surface. They recommended using a board covered with a pillowcase. I had this piece of laminate shelving left over from another project. This has served me very well for these iron-on transfer projects.
I used the same basic process to make some recipe towels for my mom and my sister for Christmas. These would be great gifts for Mothers' Day, birthdays, Christmas, or a hostess gift. I chose my mom's banana bread recipe towel for my sister. This recipe has become part of our Christmas morning tradition at my mom's house. Now, Mom has taken to making banana bread any time any one of us is home. I also made one for my Grandma Marshall's sugar cookies and angel food cake. Grandma Marshall was always in the kitchen and she was a fantastic baker. I have fond memories of pushing a gray chair up to the counter and chatting with her while she rolled pie dough or whipped together an angel food cake.
You'll notice that there is a slight coating observable left over from the transfer paper. The iron-on transfer directions said this will lessen with washings. It is recommended that you don't iron directly on the iron-on image after washing. Use a damp cotton cloth if you want to iron over the image on the towels.
I think these would be really sweet to do for grandmas and moms for Mother's Day using original artwork by grandchildren and children. I hope to experiment with this and do another post on gifts for Moms.
I like to think I am a master at "hiding things in plain sight". I never have enough room in closets, kitchen cabinets, and built-ins to store all of my stuff! I do try to eliminate clutter, duplicates and items that have seen better days. At the end of the day, I still need more space! My philosophy is to hide things we use, in plain sight, in practical, but pretty containers.
One case in point are these containers I purchased last fall from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. I had admired them and thought they would go perfectly with our family room decor, but I was hesitant to purchase them because after the fall season, I would have to store them away. That seemed like an unnecessary purchase and one that required storage space.
I really liked the shape of these containers and the faux burlap paper lid. After admiring them on each visit to JoAnn's and leaving the store without them, I came up with a way to use them in my decor throughout the year. The solution was wrapping paper! I figured I could wrap the bottom of the containers with a large rectangle of wrapping paper to match our decor and the season. I could utilize these boxes all year around! The containers were the perfect size for our family room side tables.
I was well into my love of all things in red and black buffalo plaid for winter decor. I purchased paper at TJ Maxx for a minimal amount and I had just what I needed and wanted. The paper was of a nice quality and thickness. The pattern made it easy to cut the large rectangle to wrap the container. I happen to have a full size laminator and I did laminate the paper. This is not necessary, but since I had a laminator, I laminated the paper, too. (I also planned to save the paper from season to season, since I loved it so much.) The last step was to wrap the container and secure it with transparent tape on the back.
Spring is fast approaching, so it is time to rewrap the containers. I found an apple green and white checked paper. All it took was measuring, cutting, laminating (optional), and securing with transparent tape.
Here they are on my side tables in the family room. They are a perfect height and shape. One box contains all my greeting cards. I'm trying to be better about sending cards to friends and family. I know that many people are sending e-cards, posts on Facebook, and email, but there is something about getting a card and letter in the mail. I still have my scrapbook of cards from childhood. There are the birthday cards from grandparents and aunts and uncles. Many still show the residual tape from nickels and dimes being taped to them and sent in the card. Good memories of loving people!
The second box holds "seasonal" items that I might be working on. In November and December the box contained our Christmas cards, Christmas letter, and postage stamps. Having the easy access helped me to get my cards done in a timely manner and have a place to put "it" all away in plain sight.
Check out some more examples of "my stuff" hiding in plain sight.
I will be sharing more secret and not-so-secret hiding places for containing and displaying useful and needed things in plain sight. One of my favorites is to use beautiful, holiday bags to hide and contain wrapping paper and bows during the holidays. I store the bags under the tree when I am not using them, and yet I have easy access and easy clean-up when I need them. Sometimes, I store items that I put away for the holidays to make room for the holiday decor in bags and decorative boxes under the tree. I even top them with a little tissue paper or bow. When my mom came for Christmas this year, she commented, "Oh, so many presents!" Mm-m-m-m--not as many as you might think, Mom.
How do you store your precious things in plain sight? Please share and keep on creating with everything that makes you happy!
The idea for this "Welcome Spring Bunny" centerpiece came to me when I laid out my spring decor pieces, sat back, and thought about which pieces I really loved. I knew I was going to use the pearl white cake plate that I had made from a candlestick and a plate. From there, I chose the small grapevine wreath with the decorated eggs and floral pip berries. This wreath is a favorite of mine that I purchased many years ago from a small, local gift shop. I usually hang it in my kitchen window in the spring and had fully expected to do the same thing this year. But then, inspiration and a question struck me. What if I used this wreath in an unexpected way? What if I used it for the base of my floral centerpiece? The other materials used were reindeer moss, a small, white, flat-bottomed dish, the foil mother bunny and her baby bunny figurine and a few extra floral pieces. Click here or on the image for the tutorial.
I was so pleased with the "formula" I used for the "Welcome Spring Bunny" centerpiece that I created some additional variations of this centerpiece. Clicking Here or on any of the images will take you the tutorial.
These centerpieces were very simple and quick to arrange. Please check out the tutorial for the details. Can you figure out where I used the white, flat-bottomed, cassoulet dish in the first four centerpieces? It really makes each these pieces, but it can't be seen. Check out the tutorial by clicking here or on any of the images.
Have fun creating!
These sweet, little, spring vignettes were as easy as 1,2,3 and completed with a few things that I already had in my spring decor box. Both feature the candlestick/saucer cake plates I made. This was one of the reasons I made these mini cake plates. I wanted to have multiple cake stands for display purposes, but I didn't want to the multiple price that would come with them. I was able to make 4 cake stands for the price of one! Cake plate stands are currently trending and are a great way to vary the height of a display or call attention to an arrangement. I use stacks of books for the same purpose, too.
For more on these vignettes, Click Here or on the images above.
A fireplace was one of the things that was on our "wish list" when we purchased our home almost twenty years ago. We love our fireplace, but when it is not in use, it is the black box in the room. No problem--just add a floral arrangement to accessorize it.
This year, I decided to change the basket up a bit and add some artificial pussy willow stems and yellow forsythia. I purchased these on sale at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts.
Several years ago, I found this basket at a shop selling vintage ware, before vintage ware was trending. The shop owner had it filled with several, very realistic, lavender stems. At the time, the lavender stems were a little more than I wanted to pay, so I purchased a few. Then, on another shopping trip, I purchased some more. I am so glad that I splurged on the lavender, as I have used them for years and have gotten many compliments on them. (Many people have asked if they are from our garden.)
I change out the basket seasonally or whenever the spirit moves me. I add evergreens, pinecones, and fruit for winter and lavender for summer. The artificial pussy willow stems and yellow forsythia are a new addition to the lavender for this spring arrangement. I purchased these on sale at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts.
There is one secret to the success of all of the arrangements.
The secret is: two bricks. These bricks have holes in them, which allow you to anchor the stems in the arrangement. It really makes designing the arrangement simple. When I purchased the basket and lavender stems, the owner of the shop offered to "throw in" the bricks, if I wanted them. I am so glad I said yes. They really help in the arranging of the floral stems.
I used wire cutters to cut the forsythia and the pussy willows to size. They were quite a bit taller than the lavender. I cut the pussy willows to be taller than the lavender. Then I worked left to right. I placed some lavender stems in the holes of the brick and interspersed the pussy willows. Lastly, I placed the forsythia branches at random to fill out the arrangement. The forsythia adds a lovely pop of color.
The only think left, is to place the basket in front of the fireplace.
Studying it now, I realize that I have the perfect spring floral sprays with miniature colored eggs. When we get closer to Easter, I can pop of few of those in the arrangement and it is updated for Easter. It is so easy to add and subtract items from an arrangement like this.
The addition of the Easter egg floral picks is subtle. I may need a few more picks, or maybe I'll find a little bird that should be in this arrangement. I know I have some beautiful butterflies that I could add to it. Or, I could leave it as it is. I like arrangements that have fun surprises.
This is a close=up view of the Easter egg floral picks addition.
This photo shows the fall fireplace basket. I used the same basket, same bricks, and autumn leaf and berry picks. I had fun adding 3 LED lighted branches to this arrangement.
I hope this gives you some ideas of using spring florals in your home decor.
I thought I'd get a little jump on spring and start to share some home decor ideas. This teacup set caught my eye at TJ Maxx. Isn't it just the sweetest? This simple, little arrangement gives me great joy and was equally simple to do.
Materials for this "Pretty as a Teacup" arrangement:
Step 1: Place your small, potted flower or plant in the teacup. I bought this mini-orchid at Home Depot. A few years ago, an employee of Home Depot told me the owner of Home Depot loves orchids and grows them. Thus, Home Depot will always sell orchids. The orchids are very reasonable. I paid $8.95 for this little beauty. Many grocery stores floral departments have little violet plants for a few dollars. This is also a great opportunity to plant succulents.
Step 2: Fill the empty space around the potted plant with small stones. I purchased mine at the Dollar Tree Store. You could eliminate the stones and just fill in the space with moss, but I wanted to stabilize my small pot and use less moss.
Step 3: Dress the top of the teapot with the moss.
Step 4: I added the little foil rabbit for additional whimsy. Tuesday Morning had a variety of these little cuties for $1.99. I decided to add some small stones on top of some of the moss.
Step 5: I like to use books in my decorating. I chose two from my collection of cherished children's books: The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams and Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep.
I am loving this little vignette and it is certainly encouraging my "Spring Fever"! I actually bought a second matching teacup set. I haven't decided what I will do with it, yet! Here's wishing you "Spring Fever", too. I'd love to know what spring things you are planning. Please share.
Finally, this is the beautiful Valentine arrangement I received from Bob, my husband. Isn't it a beauty and isn't he a sweetheart?!