Thursday, October 7, 2021

Picturing A New Fall Wreath

After being inspired by different images on the internet I decided my front door would benefit from a new wreath on the front door. 

My goal was to do it as inexpensively as possible, using what I had and what I could find at the Dollar Tree Store. 

I have said this before but I will say it again in case you're new here... Shop Your Stuff. "What does that mean", you ask?  Look around your home. What are you not using? What can be refreshed or used in a different way? I do not throw stuff away often. I will cycle items in and out of use in my home. Sometimes things will sit in a closet or on a shelf for a couple years and then be used somewhere else in a different way. Sometimes, I get tired of looking at something but simply moving it to different room or into a different arrangement makes me love it all over again. 

So, I did look around and found an old picture frame. I had painted it with white chalk paint a few years ago for a gallery wall that has since been dismantled and it sat in my stash. 

It was a little too white for my liking now so I took some sandpaper to it and sanded back to the wood on the high points. 

I spent less than $10 at the dollar store for leaf sprigs, pumpkins, flowers and wire-edged ribbon. (I did not end up using the fall sign here.)

I layed out my leaves and flowers for an idea of where I was headed and then I just jumped in. I began by cutting the excess stem and hot-gluing the leaf sprigs in place. 

Using my wire cutters I clipped the flowers from their bunches.

I made a bow using Nick's method here. He does such a great job that I'll just leave it to him! 

I wired and glued the bow into place and then added the flowers and pumpkin picks around the bow. This really is where you need to just feel your way. I don't want to put too many of these in place before my bow because I don't want the bow to cover them all up. 

And here it is. 

My front porch is the first greeting my guests receive when they come to my home and now it is ready for Autumn! 

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Monday, October 4, 2021

A Guiding Light

Mister and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary this year! In 1996 we spent our honeymoon on Nantucket and it was perfect. There is a beautiful little lighthouse on the island called Brant Point. It is iconic, quintessential New England. But lighthouses, while romantic and beautiful to look at on a beautiful summer day, are vitally important in the storm to mariners who are in dangerous, uncertain waters. 

Totally unrelated (but bear with me),  few years ago I had mister change out the light on our front porch for something more beachy looking. That old fixture became my inspiration piece. The metal was rusty and yucky but I tucked it away because it was telling me to! (Mister had wanted to throw it away!)

With a lot of time on our hands and not much to do during the pandemic we decided to build our own lighthouse as a homage to that memory. 

Planning it out took some conversation. We considered doing it out of wood. The cost of wood is prohibitive, the angles to be cut were mind boggling, and rotting would be a factor considering it was to sit in the garden. So, concrete seemed a reasonable option. 

Using an inverted tomato cage as our shape was part of our plan but that was going to be a LOT of concrete. We purchased a sonotube from Home Depot. Sonotubes are thick cardboard tubes that you fill with concrete to form columns or footings to build upon. We placed it in the center of the tomato cage and filled the space between the cage and the sonotube with concrete- leaving the center hollow. I TOOK NO PICTURES OF THIS! I get caught up in the project-sorry. 

This project took about 10 bags of quick setting concrete. We mixed one bag at a time and packed it into place. Use thick gloves or this stuff will destroy your manicure! Because this is quick setting product time is important. You cannot stop, take a call, or go to pick up the kids in between. 

Once everything was packed well another bag was mixed a little soup-ier (loose). Mister used this as a smoothing coat over everything.

The metal prongs that would normally be pushed into the ground on the tomato cage were still sticking up past that first circular ring. He cut them off with wire snips. Level out the top where your base and light fixture will sit.

I attempted to make a concrete disk to sit on the top using a plant tray, the kind that catches water under a potted plant. Without rebar it broke apart. 

Plan B. We purchased two round, wood disks at Home Depot, a can of black spray paint and solar lights (we bought 2; one for backup) used to light up walkways, doweling, small eye hooks and black chain all for less than $35, I think.

Mister glued and screwed the two wood discs together. He then drilled holes around the outer edge to accept doweling. I cut the dowels to length, glued and inserted them into the holes. After the glue dried, eye hooks were screwed into the tops of each dowel.  

We had some pvc board and mister cut and mitered pieces into a hexagonal shape to elevate our light fixture as it just sat too low and looked wimpy. That was screwed into the round discs. We did cut a large hole  through the center of the wood discs to allow water to pass.

Very little sanding happened (because that was my job)

I painted it black. When that dried we added the chain through the eye hooks.  The base got a few coats of exterior white paint.

A little deconstruction of the original light fixture, a little black spray paint and the insertion of our deconstructed solar light and we have a mighty fine (or at least functional) lighting mechanism. 

Mister used silicon to attach the disc to the top of the concrete structure. Also, lesson learned during a storm, that a dab of silicon to secure the solar light was necessary. Good thing we bought 2! 

On hot nights we sat on our porch watching the light from the summer sun retreat. Just as the last bit of sun goes out the lighthouse shines bright!  25 years of marriage... wow. 

In all the craziness of the past 2 years I am most thankful that when 
I am with my husband I am in a safe harbor. 

God has blessed us both in this marriage.

 And, though these times are dangerous and uncertain He has been our guiding light. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

Spring Basket

It's been a while since I have posted. For me, and maybe for you, the political and civil unrest in our country has just had my mind preoccupied. I have found that my peace is easily affected by what I allow to come in. More time in prayer and in the Word always serves me well. Too much time on social media or watching the television and I get discouraged. So the obvious answer is to spend more time with Jesus and less time with all the other stuff, right? A simple "I'll just check Fakebook" turns into a wasted hour and more stories and images and "I-can't-believe-that"s than I ever wanted in my day. I know I am not alone and just wanted to let you know that if that is how things have been for you, you are not alone.

I need to refocus! Spring is here and I decided I could use a change. For now I will concentrate on my arrangement for the front door. I thought I would show you what I had up the past two Spring seasons but apparently I only shared it on IG. 

Armed with a coupon and a small budget I went off to my local Michael's store. Their spring florals were 50% off. I found some ribbon in the discount section that went well with the sprays I picked out. Because everything was on sale I didn't even need to use the coupon and I spent about $20!           

I have a Longaberger basket that I have used for arrangements in years past and I always have some sort of floral foam hiding in my stash. Any basket would do. I just used what I have.

I put the floral foam into the basket. 

My basket is about 10" tall so I want my arrangement to extend about the 10" above the rim of the basket. (A good rule of thumb is to make your arrangements 1 1/2- 2 times the size of your container height.)

I left the main flowers, peonies, in the cluster they were purchased in and just moved the wired stems around. I shoved that whole stem right into the foam! The first time I inserted I realized my arrangement would be too tall so I moved them to the back side of the foam block and adjusted the blooms.

I used wire cutters to separate the cosmos and purple flowers from their bunches to allow for individual placement.

You can dip these in hot glue as you are placing them in. I tend to use and reuse and didn't want to make them so permanent so just stabbing them into the floral foam was enough for me. 

To keep the whole thing from blowing out of the basket on a windy day I crisscross floral wire through the flowers, securing the ends to the top of the basket rim. 

Lastly, I fashioned a bow. I started with one small center loop and two larger loops on either side, adding long tails. I tied the whole thing together with floral wire. For $3 worth of ribbon I am happy with the outcome. I attached it to the basket with the floral wire. 

For now it is hanging indoors but will be moved to the front door once St. Patrick's Day has passed and my wooden shamrock makes it's way back into storage for the year. 

Are you working on any springtime projects? I would love to see them. You can share them with me on either Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for visiting! 

Linking up to these parties

Monday, December 21, 2020

A Different Christmas 2020

Did you decorate for Christmas early this year? 

Reports around these parts were that tree farms were selling out early this year. At least a week before Thanksgiving I saw many tress in the windows of homes near me. Each one I passed filled me with the warm, familiar glow of hope. I think many of us decorated early attempting to find that nostalgia as we are searching for some semblance of normal, something familiar that gives us comfort.

We've not been to craft fairs, shopping sprees, and Black Friday sales this year. There were no cantatas or Christmas concerts to perform or attend.  Work parties, Christmas parties with friends and loved ones have all been canceled. These things have become traditions in our annual celebrations. What would Christmas be without them? I found myself grumbling and complaining and looking forward to turning the page on the calendar... Maybe I should just hibernate until this chaotic, unsettled year is over. 

Christmas was always a big deal when I was kid. My mother pulled out all the stops. Nothing was left untouched by Christmas magic. Tree decorating was a party night accompanied by a tray of cookies and treats, eggnog and tinsel.

I have kept that tradition with my own children. Even though they all live elsewhere now we still held the tradition this year with two of our daughters coming to spend an evening with us. We gathered around cookies and familiar decorations, each carrying memories and stories. 

While the world has spiraled out of control outside our front door the things that bind us drew us together to prepare for the celebration of Christmas. 

When my family comes home and shuts the door I want all that other stuff left outside-it can wait. Inside, it is Christmas. 

We don't celebrate because of or to do all those other fun things. Christmas has not been canceled! We keep Christmas because of the very name sake of the holiday-Christ. Our hope is not in our government, our medicine, or our masks. My hope, my reason for celebration, is a birthday celebration of Jesus. And there is where I was reminded of the source of true joy. 

I remembered the turning point for the Grinch in Dr. Suess's How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch had done everything in his earthly power to destroy the spirit of a people who extravagantly celebrated Christmas. Wasn't he surprised, baffled, and ultimately changed when he heard their voices raise in joy. 

And then in Suess rhyme I penned a new line...

They haven't stopped Christmas from coming! 
It came! 
It came without plays, 
Christmas markets.
 It came without festivals, 
or concerts! 

It came!
He came!

Jesus didn't come and sacrifice himself for me so that I could do all those many things that I fill my Christmases with. He came to remove the debt of my rebellion against the one, true God. He came to give me a peace that no earthly Grinch can steal. He came to make me a child a God; an heir of a home that is not of this world. He came to give me a mission and that mission is to glorify Him. I cannot do that grumbling about all the things I think I am missing, For truly, there is nothing missing, nothing I lack. 

He has given me everything I need. 

1 John 5:20 - And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, 
so that we may know him who is true; 
and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. 
He is the true God
 eternal life.

Praying that your celebrations are filled with the miraculous blessing of knowing this 
Christ of Christmas. 

Linking up: 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Christmas In The Dining Room

I couldn't wait to start decorating for Christmas this year. I have been taking some design classes online and I have been binge watching one of my favorite decorators. After like a bazillion Christmas videos I was ready. I did not start in the dining room out of respect for Mister who wanted it to still look Thanksgiving-y for the turkey dinner. 

I obliged but I had plans and once the turkey was put away I got busy! 

Remember the fireplace we built last year? While it was centered on the largest wall space in the room, it is not centered in the room because of doorways which bothers me at times because I LOVE symmetry. It has been cause for contention over the years between me and Mister. He eyeballs things and I pull out the measuring tape.

 Symmetry doesn't work so well in this case so I embraced asymmetry. 

The garland falls heavy to the left in an attempt to balance the room. 

The table is dressed for dinner. I like having it ready for unexpected guests. The crystal and silverware was my great-grandmother's. It seems a shame to save it for only one day a year so this way I get to enjoy it a bit longer and it becomes part of the decoration.  

A table runner and two garlands down the center of the table becomes the centerpiece. One garland is frosted evergreen, the other is sparkly, thin glitter. Battery operated fairy lights are woven into the garlands. Nestle in candles for ambiance-or just cuz it's pretty. 

Friend, my prayer is that you are blessed by those who are around your table this month. I am praying that as you gather, big or small that your hearts are secure in knowing that God is control of all the things that seem so chaotic right now. On the eve of what was to be a gut-wrenching, life ending immediate future, Jesus sat down to dine with his friends and they were at peace.

That is the same peace I am praying for you and me this year.

Joining these parties: Ducks N A Row, Follow The Yellow Brick Home, A Stroll Thru Life, Finding Silver Pennies, Love My Little Cottage, Pieced Pastimes, My Wee Abode, My Girlish Whims, Zucchini Sisters, Across The Blvd, Linda's Lunacy, April J Harris, Create With Joy, Imparting Grace, Shabby Art Boutique, The Pin Junkie, Jenerally Informed, Stone Cottage Adventures, Katherine's Corner, The Cottage Market, Our Hopeful Home, Finding Silver Pennies