Wednesday, February 25, 2015

stunning shutters

 
The art of repurposing has reached new heights lately. There are so many was to upcycle vintage treasures in clever ways. I recently wrote an article for American Farmhouse Style magazine showing how to create a window style mirror using old shutters.
 
 
These shutters are so beautiful just as they are but turning them into a mirror totally transformed them into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!
 


With just a few simple steps the transformation is easy to achieve...

Here’s what you will need:
shutters
wooden frame
mirror
hinges, brads, picture hanging hardware
screw driver, hammer
adhesive for glass



How to get started:
1.  Lay the pair of shutters on a flat work surface. Measure the outside dimension and add ½” to each side.
2.   Make a wooden frame to the specifications of the measurements in step one. If you are not comfortable building this step, visit your local lumber yard for assistance in creating the frame.
3.   Attach the shutters to the frame using metal hinges. Depending on the size of your frame, 2 hinges per shutter will support the weight.
4.   This is the best stage to apply any desired paint finish.
5.   Add two screw eyes to the top of the frame at equal distance from each end. Then attach a small decorative chain for hanging the mirror. Be sure the chain can support the weight of the finished mirror.
6.   Have a piece of mirror cut to the size if the outside of the wooden frame. Make sure to have the edges of the glass gently finished/sanded so they are not sharp.
7.   Lay the frame facing down on a protected work surface. Apply a bead of adhesive to the center of the wooden frame all the way around the perimeter. Carefully lay the mirror centered on the frame making sure all of the edges line up perfectly. Wipe away any excess glue and allow the adhesive to fully cure before hanging (read package instructions for dry times).
 

OPTION: If you do not wish to see the wire hanger at the top of the frame, choose wood or the frame that is at least 3-4 inches wide. Then cut the mirror 1 inch smaller than the size of the frame leaving enough room to add picture hanging wire to the back of the frame outside of the mirror. 

When it comes to any project (and if ever in doubt), ask the helpful pros at your local hardware store, lumber yard or chain home improvement center! They can not only offer advice but many provide wood and glass cutting services on site.

 
  Hold onto old world charm by giving old pieces of architectural salvage a new purpose. Repurposing is not only beneficial to the environment in which we live but it can also be a stylish approach to design and decoration. Recycling old materials such as architectural elements gives new life to old weathered treasures and adds an abundance of character to the interior décor of your home.
 



Monday, February 16, 2015

time for romance

Well the weather outside is pretty frightful in many places right now. I get spoiled living in paradise and forget how rough it can be this time of year.
As I was thinking of a story for my Valentine's article in Romantic Homes magazine I automatically thought there is noting better than a romantic picnic. That can be a real challenge for many people in the month of February! So I decided to feature an indoor picnic inspired by vintage treasures and surrounded by romance.

 
Look to old love letters and books of poetry for inspiration. The colors, imagery and words are incredibly romantic!
 
 
You don't need to spend a great deal of time or money...just be thoughtful with your selections.
 
 
Be sure to have a few sweet treats and lovely flowers.

 
No time to bake...no worries!
Store bought will do with a few added touches.

 
Make it cozy with an assortment of quilts and pillows.

 
Finger foods are good for picnics...a cup of fresh berries and a handful of lemon cookies are beautiful, delicious and easy to serve.

 
Fresh flowers are always welcome but delightfully realistic artificial will work perfectly well!

 
It was so enchanting to set up this romantic picnic that I didn't want for the day to end! I hope you will take my lead and host a whimsical indoor picnic someday too.
The entire story with more photos and ideas was featured in the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of Romantic Homes magazine.
 

I hope you're inspired!
 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

getting cozy

Are you looking for a winter craft project?
 
Well this is the perfect time to bundle up and make some sweater inspired accessories to warm your heart and home...
 
Upcycled Sweater Projects

 
When I moved to Sanibel Island I had loads of sweaters that wound up in storage bags under my bed. It seemed silly to hang onto them so I sadly placed them in the "donate" bin. Most of my sweaters are vintage...go figure! They lasted about a week in the bin before I dug them out and tucked them back into the storage bag under my bed.
 
Well flash forward a few years and I was thinking of projects for the January 2014 issue of Romantic Homes magazine.
 
Finally...I had something in mind for a few of my favorite sweaters!
 
YIPPEE!!!

 
A stretched out cardigan and an over-loved
cable knit sweater became pillow covers...

 
A fuzzy knit was fashioned into this wonderful winter bag...


 
A couple of hoodies loaned there sleeves
for these charming vase covers...
they also look lovely with a candle inside!

 
You won't believe how easy this wreath is to make!!!

 
Finally a project for all of those socks that lost their mates!!!

 
The perfect hanger is a wool knee sock finished with
a vintage over-sized safety pin!

 
It's amazing how much sweaters warm a space...

 
I made this lampshade just for the article but it's kind of fun that my lampshade has a summer and winter wardrobe too!!! 

 
These ideas were featured in my January 2014 column in
Romantic Homes magazine...I hope you saw it!!!
 
So whether you moved to a tropical island like I did and you don't need all of your winter sweaters...or maybe you have a collection of sweaters your kids have out grown...give them new life!
 
It is cold in so many parts of the world right now...donate what you can to shelters in your area and use damaged or stained sweaters for your craft projects. Help where and when you can...then create til your heart's content!
 
Happy Winter Crafting....
 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

confessions of a bad blogger...

Okay I really am a bad blogger!
I can't believe I didn't post a single thing the entire month of December.  All good crafting and decorating bloggers are peak posting in December and I didn't post once...Shame on me!!!
It was a good but busy month. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities to contribute creative ideas to all of the magazines that I love. I am so proud of these beautiful publications and I am so blessed to be a part of the beauty.
Here is a little look back at my holiday articles...

 
This was actually in the November issue but it is a holiday piece...

 
Flea Market Décor...

 
Fun with vintage fabrics...

 
Romantic Homes December 2014...

 
Crafting with vintage holiday ephemera...

 
Victorian Homes Winter 2014...

 
I learned so much writing about Christmas crackers...


 
My shop was all dressed up for a fun feature...


 
Victorian inspired wreaths....


 
Punching up the glamor factor...

 
And I simply love this picture...
it's a box of my childhood ornaments at my parent's house.
 
 
It was a fun full month. I can't believe it's mid-January and I'm just getting caught up with my December features.
I said I am a bad blogger and I meant it!
My New Year's resolution (well one of them) is to be a better blogger. Here's to high hopes!
 

Friday, November 28, 2014

don't toss the fall decor...

My goodness it has been a long time since I have posted! Fall was absolutely beautiful on Sanibel Island. I'm spending a few days getting caught up on the duties I have neglected as of late. Looking around at the fall decorations, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share my tips for drying out your gourds for next year!


 
Drying Gourds:
1.       Rinse off and dirt and debris from the gourd. Then disinfect the rind of the gourd with a diluted bleach solution or distilled vinegar. Dry the surface with a clean dry cloth.
2.       Find a suitable area for drying the gourds. The ideal environment must be dark, cool, dry, and well ventilated. Damp rooms can cause the gourds to rot. Fans help in the drying process.
3.       After choosing an area, take care in positioning the clean gourds for drying. To allow for adequate circulation, do not allow the gourds to touch each other. Placing the gourds on a wire drying rack will insure for proper air circulation.
4.       To speed up the drying time, pierce the bottom of the gourds using a nail or a small drill bit. Then place paper or plastic below the drying rack to protect the floor from any dripping. It is a good idea to rotate the gourd from time to time and inspect the gourds for signs of mold. Discard any gourds that begin to show signs of rot.
5.       To determine whether the gourds have dried completely, shake them to hear if the seeds rattling inside. The entire process can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the type of gourd and the air conditions.
 
Painting Gourds:

1.       Gourds are fragile when dry and should be handled with care.

2.       Gently sand the shell of the gourd with steel wool. Clean with a dry cloth or remove dust with a clean dry paintbrush.

3.       To achieve a natural look, paint the exterior with a clear matte polyurethane paint. Spray paint works well but be sure to protect all work surfaces and rotate gourd to seal all sides.

4.       For painted gourds, fill the nail holes with a tiny amount of spackle. Allow to dry then gently sand and wipe clean.

5.       To achieve a shabby-chic look, paint the entire surface with a cream acrylic paint. Even house paints work well for this project. Avoid shiny or gloss finishes. Don’t worry too much about coverage because several coats will be applied. Once the first coat is completely dry, lightly white wash the entire gourd using a pure white paint. Allow this stage to dry then sand the surface to acquire a “distressed” appearance.


 
Decorating with Gourds:
Think of the dried gourds as any other beautiful home accessory. For the most impact, display them clustered together in bowls, baskets or urns. They can become incredible centerpieces with the addition of dried flowers like baby’s breath and hydrangeas. For a more subtle approach, tuck the little beauties throughout the house: on bookcases, in cabinets, on shelves and along a window sill.
 
Tips to remember:
1.       It is important to display gourds in a dry place. If introduced to moisture (like in a bathroom or outdoors) they could rot.
2.       Store dried gourds in an air tight container in a cool dry dark space (closets are ideal). It is worth adding silica packets to the container to keep moisture at bay.
3.       Remember the old adage…one rotten apple can spoil the barrel. The same is true for gourds. If one rots, discard it immediately before any others are ruined.
4.        Handle gourds with care as they are fragile when dried. Clean with a dry cloth.
5.       Get creative! There are so many uses for dried gourds and endless craft project possibilities. Look online or at the library for terrific tips and ideas.
 
 
 Thanks for visiting my blog...
I hope you've been inspired to try drying gourds!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!