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!

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 D├ęcor...

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!

Monday, September 29, 2014

holding onto summer...

Since the last remnants of summer are fading away,
this is a good time to harvest a few succulents from the garden
and bring them inside.

One terrific way to extend the joy of this magical plant is to create a live succulent wreath.
Most times you seem them hanging on a wall or a door.
They might also appear on a tabletop
displayed around the base of a candle hurricane.
But I made a whimsical seat for an old rusty ice cream parlor chair. It may sound odd (and it is) but that's the beauty of it!

Try to find ways to bring bits of your garden indoors
before Old Man Winter appears.

When I lived in the North it would do wonders for my spirits to enjoy my miniature gardens during the dark cold days of winter.
I now live in a place of perpetual summer but I still love to find ways to bring bits of my garden inside.
Cheers to finding one more reason to dig around in the dirt.
I never need to have my arm twisted. As a matter of fact,
I think my garden is calling to me right now!
Time to play...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

summer is in the rear view mirror...

Is summer really over...?
It has been too long since I have posted anything.
Summer has flown by so quickly. It has been busy and I am always grateful for the opportunities. Since summer is officially behind us and this is the first day of fall, I thought I should get caught up.
My column for the August issue of Romantic Homes
was a labor of love...

August is the "Flea Market "issue so I thought I would feature a project that combined a flea market find
with the summertime pastime of shell collecting. 

What could be better than combining flea marketing,
shelling and crafting?

Then there was the summer issue of Cottages and Bungalows...
I was so thrilled to share a tour of this beautiful home.


And then I couldn't have been more proud when I saw one of my design restoration projects featured in the pages of Seaside Style.

August was a good month. Hot as can be on our little island
but full of blessings!!! I hope your summer was full of sunshine, happiness and good health!
I can't wait to share what is in store for fall...