"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rustic Wedding Card Holder

Next month, my niece, Janie, wants a
rustic wedding reception.  (One of my favorite themes!)
She can decorate with natural materials, saving her
tons of money and the theme itself is so charming.
Anyway, I asked if she had a card holder. 
Can I make one for you?
Oh yeah!  Thanks!
This box was given to me by
my friend Ruth, who died a couple months ago
at the age of 92.
It was handmade by her father over a century
ago!  It doesn't get much more
rustic than this!
Originally, I was going to use typical brown
burlap, until I found this gorgeous country red. 
After cutting the burlap to fit, I pulled at
individual fibers to give it a more worn out, frayed look.
Next, using a template I painted the words
directly onto the burlap. 
I could have painted cardboard templates and glued them on,
but I preferred painting them right onto the burlap.
  It looks more homemade and rustic this way,
which is the look we're going for.
Using just a smidgen of hot glue,
I tacked down the burlap.
Then I nailed in 4 tacks to each corner.
These weren't necessary, just decorative.

With the old leather strap still attached,
Janie will have no trouble carrying her
wedding cards home.   
 Because I used red burlap, this would also
make a great place to hold Christmas cards!
What was once an
old toolbox used by a farmer over
100 years ago will
now hold wedding cards and best
wishes for a young couple just
starting their lives together. 
Am I the only one who
finds this romantic?

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Just a few pictures of Vermont
to enchant and inspire.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weeding with Vinegar and Salt

BEFORE:  This is what our walkway
looked like before trying a vinegar
and salt solution.
 AFTER:  This is what it looks
like the morning after.
 It was no miracle cure, but it did help with the weeding. 
Instead of using harsh chemicals,
I used a gallon of vinegar with a cup of salt.
 After only two hours, the weeds began to brown and crisp.
It's recommended the weeds be sprayed in direct
sunlight and in very hot weather.  Also, make sure
to only spray the area you want weeded so as to
not damage good grass or flowers.
Supposedly, if you wait a few days the weeds
will completely shrivel up.
I didn't want to wait!
 While pulling the weeds, I found the browned ones
easily popped right out, while the greener ones
still took some work.  I'm sure if I had given it more
time, my job would have been easier and quicker.
But sometimes I'm very impatient.
Next summer, I'll not only let the weeds
sit for a few days, but I'll also give them two
rounds of the vinegar and salt.  And I'll do it
during one of the summer heat waves. 
Also from what I've read, once the vinegar solution
is down deep in the soil, it makes it much
tougher for new weeds to grow.  
Only time will tell!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Look What I Discovered

After another day of clearing brush
and debris, look what I found hiding
under more dirt and weeds - MORE
bricks!  This is the first set
that actually seems to make sense though.
Rather than just laid out willie-nillie,
this looks like it was actually
once a little garden.
 See this pile?  Just a few days ago it was
two HUGE piles.  After burning them in a
small barrel, I'd had enough and brought
out the big guns.  Ted actually found this
galvanized ring and it makes the perfect
fire pit, especially while trying to get rid of
so much debris.  Today I bought a pitchfork
to clobber more of this mound of mulch.
 Our friend, Craig owns his own landscaping
business.  He and his buddy came over a few days
ago to clear out tons of grapevines, brush, stumps,
you name it.   Mary pitched right in to help.
 This is the first time since owning the house
we're seeing some real progress.  It was like a jungle
when we first bought it.  No exaggeration.  We
couldn't even get to our mailbox as it was
surrounded by thistles and thorns. 
Twelve years later we're still finding more bricks,
rocks, and who-knows-what on this land.
 I was so proud of Mary for helping without being
asked.  She made $5.00, which she wasn't expecting.
But the cutest part?  The guys tipped her $1.00.
I don't know much about yard work, but I
DO know about cleaning and organizing. 
Ted's got the outdoor vision, but too little time.
I'm hoping to just keep clearing, getting
some much needed exercise and sunlight.
It feels SO good.  And judging by
Mary's picture, she feels the same!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Took Advantage While I Could!

The past 10 days was the most perfect weather. 
I wanted to take advantage of working outside before
the heat and humidity struck again. 
OK.  What to do with this pile of bricks? 
The old man who lived here before us has
them buried all over the yard.  Bricks and
rocks, even a gravestone!
 I noticed that the kids never went inside
their tree house.  "It's too dirty, Mommy!"
Mary said, "There's no floor."
A-HA moment.
 Two-by-two I laid the bricks. 
(It was all I could hold at once).
And took many trips to the pile.
 By the time I was done lining the tree house,
I was tripping over my own feet with
exhaustion.  (I had been working on the yard
for a few hours already) so time to recruit
more help.  Poor Ted had just gotten home from
work, but jumped right in. 
 And in no time, the pile was gone!
 There were just enough bricks to make
a floor. We piled the broken ones behind
the tree house until we can figure out
what to do with them.
With work out of the way, the kids
could now enjoy some S'mores by the fire.
 Piling bricks sure makes you work
up an appetite, huh Nic?
And we burned more wood,
roasted marshmallows, and
drank some wine clear into
the night.  
THAT was a good night!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

SPELLBINDING! One Last Transformation

Hmmm.....what can we do with an
old broken music box figurine?
All that gold - too much.
She no longer sits on a base
and her music no longer plays.
But, isn't she pretty?
 How about one more Halloween
figurine?  This little witch stands
on an old distressed block
that says, "Spellbinding"
They really knew how to make a
young girl look cute and innocent back
then, didn't they?
How I wish they'd bring back
that innocence.
 Her witch's hat is made of felt
and "Fun Fur" for accents.
Added lots of sparklies
to her dress.
 Let's see the comparison one
more time.
From a golden angel....
To a Spellbinding Witch.
Love it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Such a nice white vintage planter.
But I envision more!
I've got Halloween on the brain!
How do you like my transformation? 
 Now the little girl in white turns into
the cutest little witch mailing out
invitations to her Halloween party.
 Hand-dyed and glittered bottle brush trees
are the perfect backdrop to this piece.
Notice the bat flying between them?
 Although I repainted her, I left her
original face, arms, and legs. 
Her apron and hat are made using
new and antique fabrics and trims.
Love combining old and new!
 In order to fit both trees into the planter,
the back had been opened up and then
sanded smooth with a Dremel tool.
 See the little bird on the mailbox?  He was painted
black to look like a raven!  And instead of just painting
over some flowers, I added tiny paper flowers
climbing up the mail post.
 Want to come to my Halloween party?!
This piece will be available on my Etsy shop.
As hard as it is to part with some of my creations,
I'm using the money I make to pay for art
classes for Mary and me.  So it all goes back into the
world of art!