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Friday, April 27, 2018

flea marketing...

I am daydreaming about all the fun times I have had flea marketing with my precious mom over the years. As soon as Spring arrived, we would grab our flea marketing bags and hit the road in search of treasures. Now that I live in southern Florida, flea market season is the exact opposite of fleaing in the North. Vendors show their wares all winter and pack up to hit the Northern summer circuit. I can't help but miss home when my mom tells me she is starting to see advertisements for outdoor flea markets in WV. I felt compelled to write a flea market inspired post.
From time well spent with my mom to experiencing the thrill of the hunt...I can't think of a better way to enjoy a beautiful day!

I always have an eye out for certain special finds...

And I try to look for things that can be upcycled or repurposed into things other than their intended use...

I love old jars. They are terrific for displaying shells, buttons and keys (and they are usually really inexpensive!).

I'm pretty sure I collect way too many things. I can find beauty in almost anything! I live by the motto "two of something is clutter but five or more is a collection!" The more the merrier!!!

My "hoard" was even featured in Romantic Homes magazine.
Here are my top 10 tips for a day of flea marketing...
Dress for the weather and comfort. Pockets are a must! A hat and sunblock are very important too!!
Take cash and make sure you have some change and small bills. Keep a small purse with a closure you can wear cross-body.
Take large bags with strong handles and/or a pull cart or wagon. Carrying all your treasures can be a challenge if you're not prepared.
Pack snacks and drinks. It's important to take breaks and stay hydrated. A small cooler in the car can be welcome on a hot sunny day.
Bring a camera and a small notepad. If a flea market is huge, it can be overwhelming. Especially if you see things you just have to have early in the day but you know you have a lot of ground yet to cover. If you don't take notes and pictures, you'll never remember where you saw that must have treasure you want to give a second look. It's always a gamble...the item could be long gone if you wait!
Take a list of items you are hunting. It's also a good idea to have prices in mind. When you see something you love, have a max price you are willing to pay. It's okay to bargain with a dealer but be prepared if they are not willing to negotiate. 
Take a tape measurer (and any measurements you might need like the size of a wall for a piece of art) and a smart phone. Google can be your best friend when shopping. Compare prices and learn how to spot fakes. 
Arrive early! Park in a place close to an entrance or exit in case you want to make trips back to your car.
Bring a friend. You can divide and conquer more area, it's more fun to shop with a friend and sometimes you just need a little feedback!
After a successful day of flea marketing it is important to pack the car with care. Have blankets or packing pads and twine or rope in the car to secure large items. Newspapers and other packing material will protect smaller treasures. Finally...get clean with sanitizing wipes.
I hope you are inspired to head out for a fun flea marketing adventure. I know I am! I just wish I lived closer to my mom...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

keepin it green

Feeling the joy of spring, I can't help but share more garden ideas.
Whether you garden or not, you can have a topiary tree!
Ivy in the foyer or rosemary in the kitchen....
Topiary trees need a container that will permit adequate room for root growth of the plant, nutritious soil mixture, plant material and a form.

English ivy is easy to work with (this one has a beautiful variegated leaf) and it's a very forgiving plant. I have this precious metal form with a tiny watering can finial that will make an adorable topiary.

Once the plant is in its new pot surrounded by potting mix, gently place the topiary form into the container. Add water then place a bit more soil. Next, train the long stems to grow around the form by securing them using a coated florist wire.

It's a lovely addition to any room! Just be sure the plant is in a place that will encourage growth with appropriate sun exposure.

Topiaries are right at home outside too!

Things to watch with outdoor topiaries, wind is the enemy...also be aware of sun exposure, rain and pests.

Topiaries take a bit of patience, but they are well worth the work!

Maybe you can give one a try. Make one for yourself, or create something special for someone special!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

garden time

It's closing in on the best season...
gardening season!
I am so unbelievably fortunate to live in a place where I can garden all year long. But for those of you who suffered through a very long winter, I'm sure you are chomping at the bit to get in the dirt. I want to share a garden project that includes two of my favorite things: upcycled vintage treasures and succulents.
Most rusty chippy vessels hold one of two things in my home: seashells or plants. This old metal container reminded me of a mini window box so it was an easy decision to repair it and fill it with succulents.

I used E6000 to fix the broken seam. A clothes pin held it together as the glue dried. I also filled the bottom seam lines with the clear adhesive. Next I painted the container with matte spray paint. Once dry, I sanded the surface to distress the finish.

Use self-stick felt feet to protect table tops.

Place a layer of plastic along the bottom of the container (I cut a clear freezer bag slightly larger than the bottom so 1/2" would overlap the sides.) Then place a thin layer of clean small pebbles or gravel for proper drainage.

When planting succulents, mix clean sand or perlite into potting soil. You can buy cactus potting mix but it can be expensive and hard to find. The sandy soil works just as well! Succulents need to have a well draining soil so the roots do not rot.

I like to combine various colors, shapes and sizes of succulents. There are so many varieties available. I used cuttings from other containers to make this centerpiece.

Once all the plants are in place, I like to top off the soil with a thin layer of pea gravel. It helps hold new cuttings in place. Plus it looks pretty!

Place your container in a spot that will ensure success. Be aware of sunlight, shade and rain. Succulents can burn with too much mid-day sun and rot if too shady and damp.

With a bit of TLC your container will be very happy!

Even Peanut can appreciate a beautiful container.

I hope you are inspired to make a succulent garden for your home, garden or patio. They also make wonderful gifts for someone special. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

nothing goes to waste

It is hard for me to be quick to throw things away. The crafter in me wants to find a use and a purpose for everything. So I wanted to share what I did with the calamondin peels from the previous post. I love to dry citrus peels for all sorts of things...from potpourri to bath salts to tea infusions.
First start with the calamondin peels...
The calamondin-ade was a big hit! And the peels were so easy to remove in large pieces. Perfect for drying!

Once dry, I added them to my pile of favorite scented things from the garden and pantry...

I tend to like scents for the home that are a blend of citrus, spice and a subtle floral note. I added the calamondin peels to a potpourri in need of a pick-me-up. I also added dried lavender, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, rosemary and a few drops of lavender oil.

I will also use the spices and peels for tea infusions! It tastes great served hot or cold. You can also package the scented mixture for sachets!

Nothing feels better than a hot bath at the end of a long day. I will take all of the items from the potpourri blend and add oatmeal then grind everything to incorporate. Add the mixture to Epsom salts and voila...the perfect homemade bath salt!

Use your favorite dried ingredients to make wonderful household scents or flavorful tea infusions. Perfect for everyday or even better to give away as gifts! Now I just need to go pick more calamondins...
I do enjoy the simple things in life.
Every day is a gift...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

happy st. patrick's day

May this St. Patrick's day be filled with happiness, love, good health and of course...lots of luck!
To you and yours...
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 9, 2018


A few months ago I moved off of Sanibel and into a dream. I feel so blessed. Every day I am exploring the house and the beautiful property. It's an old home built in 1925. Finding something old with loads of character on the Gulf Coast of South Florida was not easy, but we did it! Nesting has been so much fun! And I'm also getting to know the grounds that someone so lovingly created many years ago...from the old grape arbor to the beautiful garden paths to the side lawn that leads to the water. We've named the side of the property the orchard because of the old fruit trees. I guess it is fitting that an old property would have old trees. I was hoping the lush sweet smelling fruit were tangerines. After one bite there was no doubt that it was absolutely not a tangerine! It was my mom and dad who identified the fruit immediately when they were visiting...calamondin!
What on Earth is a calamondin...?

Well I might not know what they are, but I knew exactly what I was going to do with them!

Over the past few years I've been doing my best when life kept handing me lemons. Now it's handing me calamondins so I'm making calamondin-ade!

I dug out my old glass juicer and strained out the pulp and seeds...

...added some ice...

...and a lot of sugar!

Then I cleaned a few cute sections...

...topped off the pitcher with ice water...

...and calamondinade was born!

A sprig of mint was the perfect way...

to spruce up my refreshing treat.

When life gets tough you might get handed lemons or calamondins or something else altogether. But when it does, do your best to make the most of it. It is easier said than done and I know that all too well. Maybe we can all encourage each other through the good times and the bad. I wish I could share my pitcher of calamondinade but this is the next best thing. Sending out hugs to anyone who needs one!
Thanks for visiting...