I have discovered the transformative powers of spray paint and the plethora of choices in colors and finishes! Spray paint fits right in with my desire to use what I have, recycle that which may be destined for trash, and create something that looks expensive or custom for very little money.
Today, I am going to attempt to do more of a photo montage of some of the many things I have transformed with spray paint. Preparation and patience are the keys to success with spray paint. I follow the directions for cleaning and prepping each piece, as given on the can. That usually involves a thorough cleaning with dish soap and water, sometimes alcohol, and sometimes sanding. It all depends on the object you are painting. Patience is key. Doing a few light coats helps achieve a smooth drip free finish. Then, follow the recommended drying times on the can. Most times you can give a second coat within an hour.
I gathered a variety of jars from the recycling bin to transform into bright and happy colored jars for the centerpieces of the baby shower. I had an assortment of jars from pickle jars, spaghetti sauce jars, to regular Mason jars. Left over fabric strips from a sewing project were cut with a rotary cutter with a pinking blade, and bright colored buttons were hot glued onto the jars.
My first attempt at using spray paint was in making centerpieces for a baby shower of two colleagues at school. One was having a boy and one was having a girl. The women were best friends and of course, loved books! The theme for this shower was "The Very Happy Baby Shower", after Eric Carle's "Very Happy" series of books. We decided to go with a bright and colorful theme, so I chose paints in apple green, happy yellow, turquoise blue, and shocking pink. (These are my names for the colors. Just peruse the paint aisle in your local hardware store and just see if all the beautiful colors don't entice you to spray paint "something!")
I don't have any photos to share of the jars at the baby shower. I am happy to say, that they are functional, decor pieces at my nail technician's station. Michelle had recently changed shops and was decorating her room. One day, I noticed that the colors in her curtains were the same colors as my jars. I offered some to her, and now my pickle jars and pizza sauce jars have a new life in her workplace. (A few that were left are now storing scouring pads under the kitchen sink and craft foam brushes in my craft closet. They were much to pretty to just throw away.)
The cute little table was a found piece that Robert, the shop owner, offered to Michelle. He told her she could paint it. (It was originally white, with a chippy top.) I gave her the rest of my lime green spray paint. Michelle's son came upon her spraying the table and wanted to know if he could get in on the fun. He finished it, and it is a fun, functional, sweet table!
Our theme for this wedding shower was: "Something old and something new, something borrowed and something new. The bride is ready to say 'I do'". I spray painted wine bottles in this beautiful shade of blue. Then I added the silver, glitter paper, lace, and Mr. and Mrs. (The glitter paper is actually covering the labels that we couldn't remove from the bottles. Since then, I have discovered the trick of pouring almost boiling water into a wine bottle, letting it sit a few minutes, and carefully peeling off the label. Sometimes, the label will come off completely intact.)
We had such success with the spray paint for the baby shower, that when the third grade team was planning a wedding shower and had determined our theme, I offered to spray paint empty wine bottles a beautiful shade of turquoise blue. We wanted the bottles to look like celebratory bottles of champagne.
I found spray painting mason jars, spaghetti jars, and wine bottles easy and the outcome was so fun, I moved on to other things.
The Hammered Black Spray Paint created quite a transformation after only two coats of paint. The preparation was minimal. I washed the lamp base in soapy water and let it dry. Then, it was outdoors to spray the lamp.
The first lamp turned out so well, I went hunting at the thrift stores for another lamp with a pleasing shape. I found a ceramic lamp for $3.00. It was originally cream colored with a stenciled mauve heart and blue accents on it--think Pennsylvania Dutch decor. I did replace the lighting socket with a new one using a kit from the hardware store. There really is nothing to it. I used the same Rustoleum Paint and Primer All-in-One Spray Paine in Hammered Black. The original surface of this lamp was a very smooth ceramic. The hammered paint gave it an additional texture. I purchased a burlap shade at Tuesday Morning and for very little money had a second living room lamp!
I bought two more thrift store lamps for less than $5.00. I loved the shape of this one. I also got to use the Rust-oleum Universal Advanced Formula Spray Paint in Hammered Paint & Primer in One in Rosemary. It was perfect for our bedroom.
This sweet, little beauty sits on top of a stack of books on our "telephone" table in the master bedroom. I purchased the matching shades with the geometric print at Target.
I even spray painted a plastic tissue holder and wastebasket in the master bathroom Hammered Rosemary. Once again, I was looking for a decorative tissue holder. I wasn't finding what I wanted and many were very pricey. I purchased this plastic one for a few dollars and spray painted it! I am very pleased with it.
I painted this blonde stained magazine rack black.
The painted, red, milk jug required a little more preparation. It had been sitting outside and was a little rusty. I gave it a good scrub and then applied naval jelly to it twice. I followed the directions on the bottle of naval jelly, including wearing gloves, safety goggles, and old clothes. The painting of the jug was so satisfying. Spray paint transforms a piece in a matter of minutes! My jug was missing it's lid. I decided to use it as an arrangement piece. I spray painted a medium, sized, plastic pot (from the recycling bin) to match the jug. The pot fit perfectly in the top of the milk jug and it blends right in with it.
One of my favorite projects was spray painting my childhood, Tonka truck red. Once again, I gave it a good cleaning, covered the wheels in plastic wrap and painter's tape. I covered the fender, lights, and Tonka logo in painters tape, too. Lastly, I painted it red.
I've painted jars for almost every season to hold kitchen utensils on top of the refrigerator. Most of the jars are recycled from spaghetti sauce, salsa, and pickles.
It wasn't long before I graduated to larger, furniture projects. We had a cedar chest that had been passed around Bob's family. You know the piece, the one that one aunt passes to her children, and they use it for a few years, until they can afford real furniture. It then gets offered to another cousin, and so on. We were using it as a coffee table in our family room. It was a pretty simple, straightforward design. It was perfect for our decor, but it had some gouges and dings. It looked like someone had tried to restrain it at some point. Tucker, our bichon maltese, had channeled his inner kitten as a puppy and had scratched at it, leaving his own special patina. I decided to sand it down, paint the bottom black and stain the top a rich, warm brown. I did the grunt work for this project, and my husband did the spray painting and staining of the top.
We were thrilled with the results. The piece is solid wood. The bottom box is cedar and smelled so good when I was sanding in preparation for painting. The top ended up being ash, and had beautiful graining and coloring.
I really regret not having before and during photos to show you. I did this before I started blogging and I hadn't gotten into any habit of photographing my daily escapades. Trust me, it was an amazing transformation!
The cedar chest coffee table turned out so well, we decided to do a similar staining/paint job on the dry sink in the living room. This dry sink had gone through many transformations. My friend's uncle originally made the dry sink from pieces of scrap wood. It was refinished by her mother at least once. I think Drue might have painted it. Eventually she offered it to me. I painted it again. Later, I gave it back to Drue. I got the dry sink back, when she got married and moved. I painted it a colonial golden yellow after we moved into our house. Many years later, Bob and I were painting and staining it again. I think this is its final transformation. We are so very pleased with the outcome.
After sanding this piece, removing a scalloped edging from the top shelf portion, and sanding some more, we put the first coat of spray paint on it. Once again, I do not have photos to show the progress. After the first coat of paint, the piece looked horrible. The paint was streaky and seemed to be absorbing unevenly. I was concerned that we had invested hours into prepping the piece and it was looking like an epic fail. (Oh, me, of little faith!) My fears were all for nought. The second coat went on and transformed the piece into a beautiful piece of furniture.
When spring rolled around, I wanted a few cake plates. I visited the local thrift store and purchased some candlesticks and plates for a few dollars.
I spray painted them in white and then gave them another coat of Pearl Mist on a mild spring day. (Pearl Mist spray paint and finish is another color choice of Rust-oleum Paints.)
There are days, my husband is concerned that the dog and he might get spray painted. No worries there, but as you can see, I have embraced the power of paint in home decor. It fits well with my philosophy of use what you have available, and reuse and upcycle the old into something new a amazing! I've painted everything from pickle jars, Tonka trucks, tissue boxes, lamps, and furniture. I've even begun to spray paint the heat registers in our home. They are the standard putty color and are 20 years old. A little Rust-oleum Universal Advanced Formula Spray Paint in Hammered Paint & Primer in One in Dark Bronze, and they look like new and have a lot more class.
I encourage you to take a gander down the spray paint aisle of your local hardware or big box store. All of the beautiful colors and finishes are so-o-o-o enticing. With very little preparation and time, you can transform many items into beautiful, functional pieces with a can of spray paint. Have you tried spray painting something? How did it turn out? I'd love to hear about your spray painting escapades and successes!
I decided to experiment with a more neutral palette for early fall decor. For this personal decor challenge, I decided to use creams, pale blues to turquoise, greens, and black and white. I also decided to move a few things around and use them in different places in our home. This is the joy of choosing pieces that you truly love. They can be used in many places in your home and made to look completely new.
I began with the fireplace. I have had the same basket in front of the fireplace for years. I change it up with florals and greenery to suit each season.
I liked the basket in front of the fireplace as it filled the black space of the fireplace when it wasn't lit. Sometimes, though, it is good to change out favorite pieces and try something new. The fireplace basket and mantel was the starting place.
Our mantel is very narrow. I decided to remove the pineapple lanterns that had flanked either side, and just keep it very simple. I moved a berry garland that has been draped above our window blinds in the dining room to the mantel. Then, I tucked in seeded eucalyptus leaves. I'd seen other bloggers using seeded eucalyptus and decided to give it a go. I searched in vain for it at local craft supply sites. I finally ordered some from an Etsy source: La Fleur by ArtistryinFlorals. I am very pleased with this supplier and I look forward ordering more from Brenda King in the future.
I like the airiness and laciness of the seeded eucalyptus. It has a very faint scent and I am told it dries well and can be used year after year. That's my kind of greenery.
The seeded eucalyptus and a berry garland was all I added to the mantel. I wanted to keep it simple. Sometimes, I feel like I've forced more on the mantle, than space allowed. (There have been times when gravity has done its thing and bits and pieces of "decor" have unexpectedly fallen off the mantle!) This time, I decided to decorate within the parameters I had. I'm happy with it.
Next, I began restaging the fireplace hearth. Remember, I wanted to change out the basket that had been positioned there for years. I went in search of a tall lantern. I saw some beautiful lanterns at one of our local markets. I thought I would give myself permission to splurge on this one item, until I found the lantern in the photo at TJ Maxx Home Good Store for less than half of the one I had been coveting. I purchased the flameless battery operated candle, with a remote, the lantern, and decorated it for much less than the price of just the lantern from the inspirational piece. Score!
I placed the rustic, green birdhouse next to the lantern as an accent piece. I added a green, cream, blue, and eggplant pip berry candle ring to the candle. I also placed some small, green, faux apples inside the lantern. I may need to play around with the arrangement to make the inside decor of the lantern more visible. Any ideas?
I offset the tall lantern featured on the right side of the fireplace, with a vintage coal bucket filled with faux lavender and birch logs. All of these items, including the coal bucket, were repurposed from other parts of our home. The tall lantern with the flameless candle was the only new piece in this vignette. (I did mention that I got a great deal on the lantern at Home Goods, didn't I? I love a good deal!)
Before I show you the fireplace baskets new home in the dining room, here are a few more subtle fall additions to our family room.
The change of season is a perfect time to review the treasures hidden away, deep in your cupboards. This rather large sunflower pitcher with its beautiful, blue glaze is a perfect vase for hydrangeas from the yard. (These hydrangeas are actually dried and holding their lime green color.) The stack of books and dried, log slab add height and even more texture to the vignette. I positioned a gourd gravy boat to the right of the pitcher and added more dried hydrangeas. The pumpkin scented candle from Pier One was the only new piece that I purchased.
I added a black and white piece of fleece that I purchased from JoAnn Fabrics to the back of the rocking chair. (I have a thing about rocking chairs. I like them. We have one in the family room, one in the living room, and two on the deck.) I haven't quite decided which pillow I like best on the Amish, cherry rocker in our living room. The pillow on the left is a print on canvas of a painting my husband, Bob, did of an area covered bridge. The red covered bridge gives a great pop of color.
I draped a fall quilt that I made several years ago over the back of this teal, leather recliner. As you can see, I moved the "Give Thanks" pillow to this chair--for now. I like to have choices and enjoy changing things up!
I accessorized the loveseat with a black and white buffalo plaid pillow that I had made in January. Once I made my first no sew table runner with black grow grain ribbon with white polka dots, I decided to bring back the black and white buffalo plaid pillow. It is such a classic. Click HERE for the coffee table table runner.
All is not what it seems, in this photo. The turquoise cake plate upon which the pumpkin sits, is not really a cake plate. Click HERE for the Fall Decor: Easy as 1, 2, 3 post for the secret to this vignette.
Keeping with the theme of simplicity, I moved the blue enamel bowl that has been housed on the kitchen counter to the living room side table. (I have another sunflower bowl that I can replace it with to house placemats, bananas, and basic counter clutter. It's amazing how housing items altogether on a tray or bowl, can make what was clutter, something decorative and functional.) I added my philodendron plant to the bowl and perched it on a set of books, covered with a swatch of fringed burlap. Layering and creating varying heights is a good way to add interest to a vignette. Lastly, I finished it with a (faux) white pumpkin and orange candle.
But, I'm thinking a few sprigs of seeded eucalyptus might be a nice addition.
My favorite part of decorating for different seasons, is "playing" with "stuff". When I take my time, and just "play" with my "toys", I almost enter a meditative state. Does that make sense, (or make me sound weird?) I am at my best, when I can be in the moment and experiment with textures, layers, and colors. Plus, I love having choices. I don't always leave an arrangement the same for days. Sometimes, I change it out, add, or subtract from it.
I added a layer of seeded eucalyptus in this equation. I guess it is now a 1, 2, 3, 4 arrangement:
placemat + cake plate + pumpkin + seeded eucalyptus.
This is the arrangement I settled on...for today!
My Tonka truck, that I spray painted red, is a standard in my decorating arsenal. This is my truck from childhood, that I spent many happy hours, playing in the dirt with the boys.
I added a few sprigs of seeded eucalyptus to my bright, red Tonka truck. I might need to add a few miniature pumpkins to the back end, too.
Now, to the fireplace basket, that I moved to the dining room table. This vintage basket has been a favorite of mine for years. I know I have had it for 10 years and maybe more than 15 years. This basket always holds a secret. When I arrange florals in it, I use two old bricks with holes in them. The holes act as a frog for holding and anchoring floral stems.
This fall basket arrangement has a secret, too. Most of the small pumpkins in this arrangement were orange, green metallic, or red metallic pumpkin Dollar Tree pumpkins. I painted the dollar store finds with cream and blue chalk paint. The large pumpkin was purchased at TJ Maxx. (TJ Maxx has a beautiful assortment of pumpkins this year. I don't NEED any more pumpkins, but they have some beautiful, reasonably priced velvet pumpkins, glass pumpkins, and every color you can imagine!)
This fall arrangement was really as easy as 1, 2, 3...basket, seeded eucalyptus, and pumpkins!
(Another secret: I left the bricks in the bottom of the basket as a filler and to give height to the arrangement. Plastic grocery bags were stuffed around the bricks for added filler. I am not too, proud to use what I have and "disguise" it, rather than purchasing something that will do the job, but adds to the cost of the project.)
In case you missed the post, this is the no-sew, black and white, buffalo plaid, fleece runner that I made, and you can, too. Click HERE for the post. At first, I was feeling a little guilty, because I didn't put one stitch in this runner and it came together in about an hour. I had to give up the notion, that for a project to be successful, it had to be hard and take a lot of time. Who needs that? Who has the time for that? I offer this tutorial to you, and guess what--I think I may repeat this runner for my kitchen island!
Finally, I will always have a touch of whimsy in my home decor. My Willie Rae hen with children selling eggs, just makes me smile. It's not particularly fall, it is just fun! I encourage you to always add some fun when you decorate
I'm doing fall decor in two phases. Early fall for me encompasses sometime in August through the beginning of October. The first phase for fall 2017, included a neutral color scheme in creams, blues, "pear greens", and a little eggplant. Seeded eucalyptus was a new player and one that I have completely embraced. Polka dots and black and white buffalo plaid make a strong appearance as classics that just make me happy. I also wanted to keep fall accents simple.
Phase 2 will begin in October and extends through Thanksgiving.. I will get my boxes of orange and red garlands, florals, and pumpkins out of storage. I will buy mums for outdoor. My intent, is to add touches of oranges and red to the neutral decor already in place. You may have noticed that the oak in our dining room set has a lot of yellow and orange tones. Other woods have the cherry and deep brown tones. I think the traditional colors of autumn will contrast well with the creams, blues, greens, and eggplant, and the wood tones of our home..
It has been an interesting challenge for me to decorate with more neutral colors and focus on keeping arrangements simple. At the end of the day, I find it to be a very calming palette and I'm so glad that I gave it a go. It's also been good to look at my home decor items in a new way and move them around. Like many things, when you start to make one change, it has a domino effect. The fireplace basket moved to the dining room table. The coal basket in the living room is now in front of the fireplace. The pineapple lanterns flank the bookshelves. Soon, I'll be posting about the new "Gathering Room" sign in the family room that replaced a long time floral swag. In the mean time...
One of my very favorite home decor "items" are family photos. Maybe it's because I live 800 miles from my mom and many extended family members. Maybe it's because my siblings and I "ended up at the four corners of the earth", as my parents predicted, but were truly dismayed that we fulfilled their prediction. (Actually the four of us are all in the United States, and for a few years we were all located somewhere off of Interstate 80 in various states.) Never-the-less, I had been doing a lot of "thinking" about updating family photo displays and it was finally time to get them off the floor, out of the box, and on the walls!
One inspirational lady for this post was my dad’s Aunt Leone. We stayed with Aunt Leone and Uncle Jul in Gainesville, Florida, for our first big family trip to Disney World. This was back in the late 60's or early 70's. It was a major vacation for us, made possible by the generosity and hospitality of Aunt Leone and Uncle Jul.
Aunt Leone had photos of her family all throughout their house. They were on the walls, under glass on dressers in all of the bedrooms, in the living room, and even in small frames in the bathroom. I thought it was great and loved looking at all the photos. You knew she loved each and everyone of the grandchildren, children, family, and friends in those photos.
I overheard my mom and Aunt Leone reminiscing over the photos. Then, Mom recalled that she had read a magazine article that said you should only display family photos in bedrooms, not in the living areas of your home. Aunt Leone got a twinkle in her eye and gave a little giggle, and said, "Oh, really?" Then she giggled some more, as only Aunt Leone was prone to do. The photos made her happy, and magazine articles made no difference to her. At some point in my adult life of home ownership, I made conscious decision to include family photos in my home decor, just like Aunt Leone and my mom.
I love hanging a wreath on my kitchen window. This one was made from a garland that I wound into a circle two times. I added the black grow grain ribbon with the polka dots. These make me happy, too. I first took this photo in early spring. Soon, there were little buds on the trees and eventually a wall of lush greenery. Mother Nature always completes the picture. I placed the mercury glass votives on the window sills as an afterthought. I like how they shine when the light comes through the window. Just imagine what they will look like on a sunshiny day!
So, in January, I got busy. I had been overthinking things for too long, and had photos I wanted to display and rearrange. Here is a report on my progress so far.
First up, I decided to change things out as part of my view out my kitchen window. Christmas decorations were packed away, including my favorite holiday plates that I hang on either side of my kitchen cabinets that border the window just above the sink. I decided I would replace the decorative plates with fun photos. After all, the view out the kitchen window is a little stark and bleak in January. I chose photos of my Dad and my husband, both as babies. Perhaps, the most important reason for including family photos in your décor is that you love the subjects of the photos and they bring back happy memories.
I had these particular photos in a file on my computer. This enabled me to print both of them in black and white and add the titles "Bath Time" and "Love" to the photos. I have a small laminator, and because these are near the kitchen sink, I decided to laminate them for extra protection. (I'll include a link to a tutorial for this quick and easy clipboard photo project, soon.
These photos have been lots of fun to have in the kitchen and I have gotten lots of questions and compliments on them. Family photos can be great conversation starters with guests in your home.
One of my absolute favorite photo displays is also in our kitchen/family room. My Grandma Marshall was known for her angel food cake. As a young girl, I can remember going out to get fresh eggs from the hen house for Grandma to make angel food cake. Then, I would stand on a small gray chair next to her at the countertop, and watch and chat as she made the cake.
One Mother's Day, I had the idea to have Grandma's angel food cake recipe framed with photos of Grandma and Mom and me, for my Mom. (My Aunt Phyllis helped me out with photos and the recipe.) I had the photos and recipe professionally matted and framed. I gave it to my Mom for Mother's Day and immediately vowed, that when I had a home of my own, I would make one for my kitchen. This is the result above. It was my house warming gift to me! (Since then, I've also made a similar one for my sister, using photos of Grandma and Sandra and Mom.)
Later, I had the idea to do something similar with photos of my dad and me. Photos, a silver dollar, and a song were the focus of this collage. Dad had served in the Korean War.
Prior to Dad being deployed to Korea, a good family friend, Annie Rose, gave him 4 silver dollars for good luck. Dad gave me one, when I moved from Iowa to Pittsburgh—for good luck. The silver dollar had to be in the collage. I added a photo of my dad in uniform with the family dog, Pepper.
Next, came the song. When I married my husband, Bob, I chose Nat King Cole's song, "Unforgettable" as our father/daughter dance song. That was a definite for the collage.
Lastly, I had a photo of Dad just looking at me as a baby. I took all of my treasures to the same frame shop and had them professionally mat and frame the second collage to match the first collage. (Side note: I scanned the original photos and made prints from the scans, leaving the originals intact. That is my personal preference when framing precious memories.)
I treasure these two collage photo displays. The collage of Grandma, Mom, angel food cake, and me was framed a few years before the photo collage of my dad. I am so glad I had them professionally framed and that the framer was able to match the frame and matting. The similarity in frames and matting add visual cohesiveness to this display.
The kitchen sink photos were so much fun, I decided to, change out the decorative plates in the living room for more photos. I had two matching frames. Some black and white kitchen towel ticking became the background for the photos. (Once again a tutorial for these photos will be coming soon .
My husband, Bob, took the barn photos at sunset on a cold, Iowa winter day. Obviously, these are not “family” photos, but they are photos of the barn on my grandparent’s farm in Clarion, Iowa. I have many fond memories of time “at the farm”, as we called it. I am so grateful that my husband, with his artistic eye and talent captured these images. They are displayed at the bottom of our staircase. The black frames add visual cohesiveness, and the subject matter is allowed to be center stage. Staying with one color of frame can tie a group of photos together.
I hung more photos from the same winter’s day in our bathroom of “the farm”.
Each day begins with remembering good times at "the farm" . It's a great way to start the day
I was once read that silver frames are excellent for displaying black and white vintage photos . When I lived in my townhouse, I framed many vintage black and white photos of my grandparents and some of my parents, too, and hung them altogether on a gallery wall. The silver added elegance to the photos and enhanced the coloring.
Vintage cameras make fun decorating accessories. Consider adding one to a vintage photo display. Here is one of favorite photos. This is my mom, Inez Marshall Hanig on her wedding day. Isn't she beautiful!
I love surrounding myself with "my favorites" in my sewing room/guest room. I had wanted to update this wall for ages, and after much "over thinking", I did it! The handmade mirror from an uncle of my husband, anchors the wall. More family photos surround the mirror. I also included favorite prints by Tasha Tudor from the "Secret Garden" in this gallery.
My sewing room/guest room is my sanctuary. I have always had family photos displayed here. I decided to do a little update. I purchased two new frames.
Wal-Mart had this collage frame. I put graduation photos of my nieces and nephews in it.
I put a collage of family photos in long, horizontal collage photo frame purchased at Michael’s Craft Store. It is part of their vintage frame collection.
This was a “rescued” photo from Bob’s family. His mother was going to throw it out. Fortunately, he saved it and brought it home. This is one of his dad’s older brothers, Uncle Tony. The period clothing, shoes, and hair are priceless. I love that he is posed with a book. The teacher in me, and the life long book lover had to hang this precious photo in my sewing room.
I also have a wall of photos on the wall that is the background for my sewing machine. Family photos of my grandfather with his parents, my grandparents with the beginnings of their family, and “the farm”, all flank a hand pieced quilt made by my great-grandmother.
There are more photos of family and friends displayed in our home. (I had photos of my Dad and Bob's Dad as young men in their United States Army uniforms displayed in the powder room from Memorial Day through July Fourth. It was a nod to their service to our country.)
I have so enjoyed sharing this post with you. It's been a so heart warming to remember the people I love and who have loved me.
Family photos displayed throughout our home give Bob and I so much pleasure. In some small way, I hope to be just a little bit like Aunt Leone, displaying photos above the kitchen sink, on the walls of the kitchen, in the sewing room, master bathroom, bedrooms and even in the powder room. (For the longest time, I had a photo of my cousin Mark's children as toddlers in the laundry room!) I'm sure, Aunt Leone would approve and would give a giggle. In my opinion, family photos make a house a home. They tell your story. They make you feel loved.
How and where do you display your favorite photos in your home? I'd love to hear your stories!
it took me awhile to figure out my early fall decor, but once I did, the pieces began to fall in place. I needed a second table runner for our dining room table. It seemed like a natural progression for me from a coffee table runner trimmed in black grow grain ribbon with white polka dots to a white and black buffalo plaid table runner. The white and black buffalo check plaid runner was even easier than my first table runner. (Click HERE for the first table runner.)
The first whimsical table runner is multi-seasonal, as is the second one. I like decor items that I can mix and match and change out no matter what the season. Click HERE for tutorial
I found black and white buffalo check plaid no pill fleece at Walmart for a very reasonable price. I was able to purchase 3 yards, at 60 inches wide for less than $15.00. I wanted a wider table runner to offset the size of the basket that I was planning to use as a daily center piece. I used my rotary cutter and mat to cut a piece of fleece 21 inches wide by 84 inches long.
The buffalo check fabric made it particularly easy to cut a straight line. The rotary cutter, cutting mat, and quilting ruler did the rest. My rotary cutter, self healing mat, and ruler are some of my favorite crafting tools. I use them for quilting, sewing, and paper crafts. The rotary cutter looks like a pizza cutter, but the blades are very, very sharp. There are several YouTube video tutorial on using a rotary cutter. Click HERE for one short video.
Here is a sampling of my rotary cutters. Rotary cutters, replacement blades, healing mats, and rulers can all be purchased at a fabric store. I watch for sales and coupons at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. Most people will only need one rotary cutter, but I use mine all the time and for different projects and materials. They make my crafting easier and my cutting more precise.
Once the fabric was cut, I decided to leave the long edges untouched. The rotary cutting makes such a clean edge and the fleece laid flat on my table. You have options in finishing the edges: serging the edges with a serge sewing machine, using a decorative stitch on a regular sewing machine, turing the edges and hemming, or leaving a "naked" edge. I went with the "naked" edge.
Next option was to fringe or not to fringe. Here is Option 1: The runner with a clean edge, no fridge. It hangs well and is nice and neat.
Option 2: Cut a six inch fringe, using the rotary cutter and quilting ruler as a guide. I went with option 2, as I really wanted a fringe. (I hear they are trending for 2018!) Usually, when making a fleece no-sew blanket, people cut the fringe about 2 inches wide and not it. I wanted a smoother finish with narrow strips for fringe.
I chose to use the rotary cutter and ruler to cut a six inch fringe. Each cut was about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide. I just "eyeballed" my cuts. The rotary cutter was very helpful in making clean, precise cuts. Using the quilting ruler helped to keep the cuts square, as did the plaid of the material.
Tip: Use a strip of painter's tape to mark the cutting line. This will help you to make all of your cuts the same length and not exceed your 6 inch mark. (I thought I could do this easily, since the buffalo check plaid striping was my guide. But, alas, my mind wandered and I made one cut much longer than 6 inches. That's when I decided to use the painter's tape on the opposite edge.)
That's it! Measuring, cutting, and cutting the fringe! I am very pleased with how this turned out. I am usually the one, making something that is much more labor intensive. I stuck to my goals of keeping my early fall decor simple and elegant. In this case, the fleece fabric and buffalo check were factors in the ease of this project. I have more fleece left over from my $15.00 purchase that I can use to make pillows, placemats, and more!
This sweet little fall vignette was as easy as 1, 2, 3!
I am not quite ready to go full on with the oranges and red colors of fall. I wanted to experiment with bringing in some creams, turquoise, and pops of apple greens (or in this case "pear green".)
Step 1: Create the cake plate: 1 plate + 1 smaller dish = cake plate
I specifically was looking for turquoise accent pieces for my early fall decor. I like the height a cake plate can add to a vignette. I have been known to create my own cake plates with a plate, candlestick, and spray paint. (Click HEREto see tutorial.) I thought I would have to do that, but I found a turquoise plate and the small cassoulet dish at TJ Maxx for $3.00 each. All I had to do was turn the cassoulet dish over and center the plate on top. I chose not to use glue to hold the pieces together. I like having the flexibility of reusing the pieces in another way at another time. Gluing the two pieces together is an option.
Step 2: Add a large candle ring to the plate. I used a pips berry candle ring with green, cream, blue, and eggplant colored berries. I already had this candle ring and it goes great with my vision of early, fall, home decor colors.
Step 3: Add a pumpkin and a pair of pears!
I told you it was as easy as 1, 2, 3!
I am pleased with this sweet, little vignette. I think it looks great on my no sew table runner. (Click HERE for table runner tutorial.) I wanted to keep the look clean and uncluttered. The turquoise, "pear green", and creams take center stage. This was fun to do and I am excited that I have more pumpkins, polka dot ribbon, matching candle rings that I can use else where in my living room and family room to continue my color scheme and theme. What do you think?
After "auditioning" a few different fabrics from my fabric stash, this home decor fabric in a neutral shade with a pronounced weave texture, and just a hint of sparkle made the cut for my no sew table runner. I thought the black grow grain ribbon with white polka dots added just the right amount of whimsy to give this neutral runner some fun! The best part of this project is that it is no sew and "so-o-o-o" easy to put together!
I spent the most time on this project in fabric selection. I was not ready to commit to all the oranges, reds, and golds of fall. I also wanted to try my hand at adding some neutrals with pops of turquoise and blue. Then, another factor was the beautiful graining of our coffee table and the dark stain. I considered using burlap, but I had some gorgeous lengths of home decor fabric that we had used to make pillows using my husband's art work. This particular fabric has the "look" of burlap gone glam!
I chose the lighter of the fabrics, to contrast with the dark stain of the coffee table. It has a nice weave that doesn't compete with the graining of the wood and just the slightest bit of sparkle! I love a little sparkle!
I like the punch of whimsy that the black grow grain ribbon with white polka dots added to our front door wreath. (Click HERE for Late Summer to Early Fall Wreath.) I decided to add the same ribbon to the runner. Once I decided on the materials, the rest was easy
The iron on adhesive tape is really easy to use. I used the permanent bond tape. My tape specifically said NOT to attempt to sew through it by hand or by machine. I learned the hard way on another project, that you DO NOT want to try to sew through permanent, no sew tape. Lesson Learned: When in doubt: read package directions and follow them!
Once you iron the adhesive tape down, an adhesive strip will be left. Now you can iron on the ribbon, or fold over the edge to create a smooth, no sew hem. Once again, read and follow the packaging directions. The product I used said to let the tape cool, before peeling it up. I also found that the backing came off the most cleanly by pulling the tape directly up (not at a slant) and close to the fabric.
In a matter of an hour, the runner was ready for the coffee table. All it needed was to be accessorized. I just love the polka dot ribbon. It really gives the runner personality.
I wanted to create an easy, no sew, fun, table runner. I like the simplicity of the piece, as well as the nod to whimsy. Once again, I am tickled that I used materials I already had and materials that make me happy: Sparkle + Polka Dots = FUN!
Want to see how I accessorized the table? It was all about layering and as easy as 1, 2, 3! Click HERE for more.
I was out shopping for "basics" at Walmart and "wandered" into the fall decor aisle and the home decor aisles. I noticed that they had some very reasonably priced burlap table runners. One could purchase a premade table runner and add some cute ribbon to match your decor and personal taste. In a matter of minutes a custom table runner could be created
More inspiration pieces...
I also found some no pill fleece in black and white buffalo plaid in the fabric department. I think that is going to be made up into a no sew table runner for the dining room table. What could be more fun than putting black ribbon with white polka dots and black and white buffalo plaid with pops of turquoise and "pear" green?! Oh, the places my mind is going!
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I love the deep, rich, colors of fall, but I am reluctant to begin decorating with orange leaves, pumpkins, and acorns, too, soon. After all, it is just the beginning of September, and there is still a lot of green left where we live. So, I decided to try my hand at some "transition" decor for late summer to early fall. Pale blues, creams, and apple green are the colors I have chosen, with pops of yellow sunflowers and black grow grain ribbon with white polka dots.
Where to begin? How about with the wreath on the front door? The above wreath from Yvonne of Stone Gate was my inspiration piece. I adored this wreath with its green apples, sunny sunflowers, and that very fun, striped, burlap, wired ribbon. Yvonne has an excellent tutorial on creating this wreath and some great tips for making an elegant, expensive looking wreath for minimal cost in materials. She is my hero! Please check out her post HERE and consider following her blog, on Pinterest, and Facebook. The Stone Gate blog is one of my favorites!
Even with Stone Gate's excellent tutorial, I had a difficult time recreating the beautiful wreath. The problem was me. I fell in love the the burlap ribbon she had use. I became obsessed with finding the exact ribbon she had used or at least something close to it. I searched and searched online, for days. Secondly, I loved the apple green floral and greenery she repurposed from her summer wreath. I went on a hunt at all the local craft stores for such greenery. I came up short in that pursuit, too. I even purchased some bluish, green faux eucalyptus greenery, and dusty miller that I thought might work as the greenery. I brought them home and paired them with the sunflowers. Epic fail is too, dramatic, to describe the look, but the two definitely didn't compliment each other.
Low and behold--I already had these materials! (At one point, I had even considered taping off the burlap in long stripes and spray painting the exposed stripes in black. Even I thought that was a little extreme! Thank goodness, I came to my senses and black ribbon with polka dots was the solution!)
Finally, I stopped all the madness of my perfectionistic obsessing over finding the "same" materials as the inspiration piece, and reoriented myself. I reminded myself of two of my core decorating principles: 1.) What did I already have available to me, that I loved? 2.) How can I achieve what Yvonne had accomplished, with what WAS available?. I needed to step back and analyze the elements of the inspiration piece that I liked, and that would help me create my own wreath. The elements that I liked were:
That's when everything started to fall into place. I had burlap ribbon. I had black, grow grain ribbon, with white polka dots. I love that polka dot ribbon! It adds a little whimsy to anything it graces. As for the apple green greenery that I was looking for---it was already hanging in my front door wreath! (Just like the original inspiration piece! The right greenery was right under my nose!) All I had to do, was dismantle the summer florals and I had the base of my new front door wreath. From there on, the wreath design easily came together.
First, I began my experimentation with burlap ribbon and the polka dot ribbon. I realized I could attach the black grow grain ribbon, with white polka dots with a permanent iron-on adhesive, no-sew tape. I used Heat 'n Bond Ultra Hold iron on permanent tape. The burlap ribbon and black grow grain ribbon were not wired ribbon. I had to work a little harder, twisting the ribbon combination to form the bow, but ultimately, I was able to fashion a bow to my liking. (Design principle: Use what you already have!) I think it turned our pretty well!
For a brief moment, I considered just attaching the new bow to my summer wreath. After all, the new bow gave the wreath new life. That thought lasted for about five minutes, after which, I decided to forge ahead.
I did a little shopping, and found some lime green mum, floral stems on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. The original lime green florals on my summer wreath were showing some wear from the summer sun and rain. I thought the mums would be the perfect filler, to hide any weariness.
Next, I followed the tutorial on Stone Gate. She wired two grapevine wreaths together to give the wreath more presence and depth. This was a trick she does to make her wreaths look similar to the more expensive custom wreaths you find in floral design shops. I would've never thought of that, so I gave it a go. I couldn't find the grapevine covered wire that she used, so I used a brown wire that I already had to secure the two wreaths together. (I am still going to search for the grapevine covered wire. I think that could have many uses.)
With the wreaths secure, the real fun began! I added 2 bushes of lime green mums and then 2 bushes of sunflowers. I trimmed the stems into individual flowers and workable lengths with wire cutters. I didn't use hot glue to place my florals. Instead, I poked the stems of the florals into gaps in the grapevines. In most cases, the florals stay securely in place.
(Tip: Since I forgo the hot glue, I can easily dismantle the wreath and rework it for future seasons.)
When needed, I bent the wires and intertwined them among the vines. I repeated the process for arranging the sunflowers at the top of the wreath. I attached the bow to the top center.
I continued to follow Stone Gate's tutorial for hot gluing the green, faux apples in place. I had a little difficulty with hot gluing the apples to the wreath, and had a few false starts. This was where the double wreath was an advantage. Using the hot glue gun, and one of the larger green apples, I lodged the apple into the crook between the two wreaths. Then, I added another green apple next to it. It helped to glue one apple to another and the wreath. This added stability to the apples. I did glue a small green apple to the front of the wreath, but once again, made sure I also glued the smaller apple to the other apples on the wreath.
I trimmed the ribbons, so the apples could easily be viewed. This is something I learned from studying Stone Gate's wreath. I have a tendency to leave the ribbon tails long, but often times, parts of the wreath are covered. I noticed her ribbon tails were trimmed to show off the entire wreath.
Lastly, I hung the wreath on our front door. What do you think?
I removed the nest from the center of the frame. It was very well anchored, but with scissors and patience, I was able to remove the nest and trim most of the bits and pieces away. Any excess remains, would be covered by a green apple and sunflowers. I wanted to keep it simple, The simplicity of the piece was one of the elements that pleased me. Even still, the apple with two sunflowers seemed a little stark. I glued additional pieces of sunflower leaves on the piece and added a sunflower in the corner. Now, the "Welcome" sign was complete.
Tip for hanging the wreath: Since I wired two grapevine wreaths together, the wreath is heavier. I use Command hooks to hang my wreath. This wreath requires the wreath hooks made to hold up to 5 lbs.
Once again, I want to thank Yvonne of Stone Gate for her excellent tutorial. Her wreath was the inspiration for my wreath. Once I gave up my obsession with the materials of her wreath and analyzed the elements of it, I was able to be true to my decorating sense: use what I have, and use what I love! I learned a lot from the tutorial and learned even more about myself in creating this wreath.
Now, that I have some of the elements defined for my late summer/early fall decor, I can move forward with making a new table runner (accented with black grow grain ribbon and polka dots). I predict there will be more burlap in the future and neutral accents in pale blue, creams, and pops of apple green! I will keep you "posted"!
Do you have a vintage piece of needlework, favorite photo, decorative plate, or piece of artwork stashed away in a closet that doesn't fit your current style? You know, the one that you can't seem to part with, because your really did like it and still like it, but it doesn't "fit in" with your current decor? I had just such a piece. My brother, Tom, gave me this sweet, Hummel, needlework kit of two children peaking over the fence over 30 years ago. I had moved to Pittsburgh and was very homesick. I suspect it was his way of helping me keep myself occupied. (He's a good brother!)
I have always like this image and I spent a lot of time and effort stitching it together. It hung in our home for many years, and then it got packed away in a closet. It wasn't fitting in with our decor, but it was too, good to throw away. I came across it again recently, and began to think about what I could do to update this piece. Want to see what I did? Check out the updated, very functional, and dare I say, beautiful bulletin board in my sewing room!
After perusing some blogs and pinning some pins, I came up with the idea of giving this sweet, little piece more presence. Posts such as the one above was the inspiration for the upcycle.
Originally, I was going to get a frame from a thrift shop, paint it, distress it, cover a backing piece with burlap, and attach the needlepoint to the center of the newly created frame. Then, I happened upon this white painted, distressed, bulletin board, with a burlap background, for $20.00 at TJ Maxx. It was perfect and all ready for me to implement my plan.
I realized the one thing I didn't like about the framed needlework, was the cheap looking frame. Round frames can be pricey, there seems to be a limited selection, and then there is the whole issue of finding the right size. I decided to paint the frame to match the purchased bulletin board. Paint can totally transform a piece, and it certainly made a big difference on this frame. It went from dated and a little cheap looking, to vintage and glam!
Now that I had a plan, to bring more presence to the needlepoint image by framing it within a frame, the rest of the project was very simple and quick to assemble. Waiting for paint to dry, was literally the longest part of the project.
I was delighted with it. I debated about printing a clever saying or inspirational word on it. For now, I decided against it. This board will be used to keep post-it notes, receipts, and other items organized in my sewing room.
At first, I was going to hang the bulletin board above my sewing machine. It seemed like a perfect spot to view it and appreciate it. But, I already have my great-grandmother's, hand sewn quilt hanging there. It, too, is an inspiration piece and a connection to my past. I like the scenario I have going on here. Time to check out another wall!
Ultimately, I decided to hang it on the wall perpendicular to my cutting table. I spend a lot of time at the cutting table, so the the board is still in my full view most of the time. The burlap background really made the bright colors in the needlework pop. Once again, it has become a treasured piece!
Before hanging it, I found this Parisian styled, hanging shelf on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. It was a perfect addition to accompany the bulletin board.
Now I had two pieces that are very functional, decorative, and are more in line with my current design sense.
I am so happy to have updated this sweet piece of cross stitch, that was a gift from my brother, so many years ago. I am glad I held onto it and updated it.
Do you have a needlework piece, decorative plate, photo, or piece of art work that could use a a little TLC? This technique of "framing" a smaller piece within a larger piece can give added presence and a new personality to an old favorite. I encourage you to dust off your treasures, and try your hand at up cycling. To paraphrase a saying, "what's old, can be made new again!"
Aren't these just the cutest? This is wheat grass planted in some spring pots I purchased at TJ Maxx. Wheat grass seeds or wheat grass berries as they are called can be found at some health food stores. I purchased mine from a local garden center that specializes in a wide variety of seed packets, but I just noticed that the local Giant Eagle grocery store is selling them too!
I'm calling these two photos: "Wheat Grass' First Haircut." My wheat grass sprouted within 3 days and in little over a week was twice this height and starting to flop down. Solution: Cut the grass!
Growing wheat grass is so easy. If you have little ones around, I recommend doing this with them. It's a great first little hands' gardener project. Plus, it is quite satisfying to give the grown grass a haircut.
small stones (I purchased mine at the Dollar Tree.)
Wheat grass seeds
Floral pot of your choice
Step 1: Place a layer of small rocks in the bottom of your floral pot. My containers do not have drainage holes. It is essential to have this layer of rocks to help with the drainage. Even still, I will be careful when I water the seeds/grass. Over watering or roots standing in water will kill the grass.
Step 2: Fill the pots to within an inch of the top of the pot with a good potting soil.
Step 3: Scatter seeds on top of the soil. Then cover the seeds with about 1/8 inch of soil
The packaging recommended to place the seeds 1/4 inch apart. I want my grass to be very lush and full. I wasn't too concerned about the seeds being 1/4 inch apart.
Step 4: Water the soil until damp. Place near a light source and wait for the grass to grow. Water as needed to keep the soil damp.
Right now, the two planters are flanking the orchid I received for Valentines Day. Yes, you read that correctly. I've had this orchid for more than a month. We just add 3 ice cubes to it each Saturday morning and it keeps on blooming. This orchid is even more beautiful than the day I received it because all of the buds are now in full bloom.
I have a long wooden box that I ordered from an Etsy artist. I plan to grow wheat grass in it, or maybe fill it with some 99 cent primroses from Home Depot. I'll post more photos, soon!
What happens when you spread out possible spring decor items, step back, and then select a favorite oldie, but goodie piece and decide to use it in a new, unexpected way? For me, it was the above very lush "Welcome Spring Bunny Centerpiece!" The lesson I learned in creating this arrangement was to respect the power of stepping back, playing with materials, and letting the pieces fall together.
When I did this, I gravitated to the Easter egg bedecked grapevine wreath. I have had this wreath for several years. It usually hangs in my kitchen window in the spring time. I love the way these eggs are painted. I often leave it hanging well after Easter, because it just makes me smile. I fully expected to hang it in its traditional place in the kitchen window. Then, I looked at it in a new way. What if, I used it as the base of my centerpiece for the dining room table centerpiece? I started choosing materials and playing around with them and "Welcome Spring Bunny" was born.
This centerpiece may look challenging, but it was quite simple to create. Let me walk you through the steps.
Step 1: I started with the full-sized, white, pearlized, cake stand. I made this cake stand from a candlestick purchased at Goodwill for $1.00, a plate I already had, and some spray paint. Click Here or on the image for the tutorial.
Step 2: Arrange green reindeer moss on the plate in the shape of a wreath.
Step 3: Place a small cassoulet bowl or any flat bottom bowl in the center. I found when I was playing around with this piece, that I needed to elevate the foil bunny figurine. Without this extra height, the foil mother rabbit would be dwarfed by the wreath.
Step 4: Center the wreath around the cassoulet dish and reindeer moss. At this point I thought the bottom sides of the wreath looked a little bare. After all, the original wreath was meant to be viewed head on. I pulled some of the wired pip berries and floral stems down.
Step 5: I thought the arrangement needed to be filled out to match the lushness of the rest of the wreath. I took apart one spring floral pick and used some of the pieces to enhance the wreath on the sides. Grapevine wreaths make it very easy to poke the wire pieces into the sides. Once again, I didn't use any glue or hot glue to attach the additional picks.
That's all there was to creating this lush, "Welcome Spring Mother Bunny" centerpiece.
I will be the first to admit that the wreath itself, makes this a stunning piece. I purchased it years ago from a small, local, gift shop. I love it and I haven't come across anything quite like it sense. I am sure another arrangement could be created by using a small spring wreath and perhaps adding a few more picks and it would be equally beautiful. I've put together a few more examples to show you what I mean.
This Peter Rabbit spring centerpiece was made from essentially the same materials as the "Welcome Spring Bunny". I used my Fostoria America glass cake plate, green moss, cassoulet flat-bottomed bowl, speckled eggs, and a woodsy rabbit. The "wreath" was made from a garland that I purchased last year. When the salesperson packaged it, she wound it into a circular form which made a very lush, wreath. I decided to keep it that way and used it as a wreath last year. I am using it here as an example of what you can do with a small, purchased wreath, or garland that has been doubled.
This is another variation using the same basic materials. This time, the small wreath is made of small white blossoms and pip berries. I like the contrast of the white wreath with the rustic, woodsy rabbit.
For this variation, I substituted a spring bunny vase for a rabbit figurine.
I purchased this vase/flowerpot at TJ Maxx. I liked that the front and back view are different and equally sweet. I figure I can use this piece all spring long. I have a choice of showcasing the spring bunny or spring flowers. I like pieces that give me options in how I display them. I also have plans to plant wheat grass in this pot. I'll post a photo when the grass is grown. I envision leaving the grass as it is, or adding a spring chick, bunny, or the like. Some speckled eggs might be in order, too. Like I said, I like to have lots of options when making these pieces.
Lastly, I wanted to share an example of a centerpiece that does not have a cake plate as a base. I chose to use a galvanize plate charger. The charger is hardly visible. Any large plate or platter could be used.
I hope this post inspires you to use what you have, what you like and love, and make something that truly makes you happy.
Have fun creating!