Sunday, October 30, 2016

Simple Charm Necklace

At the beginning of every school year, I like to make little welcome back gifts for the office staff, which have included little chalkboards and gifty jars.  A random search on Amazon led me to jewelry findings which led me to cabuchons and chains and all sorts of other little cool trinkets.  An idea was born!

It began with the cabuchon.  Many many years ago when I was a little girl, I was given a necklace that had belonged to my great aunt.  This necklace had a four leafed clover set underneath a glass dome.  I have no idea where she got it or how old it was, but since she had always lived in England, I imagined that four-leafed clover had been found in a beautiful green field somewhere near there.  Looking at it now, with "GOOD LUCK" on the back in many different languages, I'm sure it was some sort of souvenir she picked up somewhere in her travels.  And there they were on Amazon... those glass domes similar to the one that held the four-leafed clover.

My order from Amazon consisted of cabuchons, bases for the cabuchons, chains, "steam punk" gears, E6000 flexible adhesive, and just for fun, some metal stamps.  From Michael's, I purchased some little charms, blank circles to letter punch with the school letters and "o" rings to attach everything to the chain.

I printed up a page of small school logos the same size as the cabuchon base - two for each one, since the bases were two sided.  I put a small blob of glue on each logo and pressed a cabuchon on each.  After they dried, I then glued them to the base.  "O" rings attached to each charm and then I strung everything through the chain.  

And here's the finished product!!  This was really a fun, simple and inexpensive project.  These necklaces were a hit and I've made many more since then!  Easy project for beginners and so much fun!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Simple Succulents!! Join the Fun!!

If you haven't already jumped on the succulent bandwagon, now is the time!  It's so much fun to collect, grow, split, plant and enjoy!

We've been on a mission to clean up and clean out certain areas of our house.  We started with a couple of closets and eventually ended up in the garage.  There were boxes stored away that hadn't been opened since we moved to our home in 2001.  Yikes!

It was, of course, a walk down memory lane... letters, books, toys - not uncommon for a couple of now empty-nesters.  Funny how things work out - those collectible Barbies didn't finance a college education for our daughter... tough selling them on ebay too!  All the books that came from my daughter's playroom were packed in the back of her car to be transported to the garage of the home she and her husband recently purchased.  (I admit, we did keep a few - those Thomas the Tank Engine and Carl books were too tough to get rid of!)

In one cabinet my husband found this metal container that he never used.   I thought it would look so much better with plants in it!!

I've been collecting succulents for awhile now.  We recently drove up the coast to San Francisco, and on the way there we stopped in a plant store in Cambria where I purchased a few little succulents.  Every time I go to any store with a Garden Center I look to see if there is anything unusual.  I bring it home, keep it healthy for a few weeks, then split it and let it grow in a big pot for awhile.  I'll share with my brother, who has an amazing green thumb, and together we've collected quite a few.

As you can see, these pots are filled with all sorts of different varieties - no rhyme or reason.  When I need to fill a container, it's like going shopping!!  For free!

In this case, I filled bottom of each section with some stones that I purchased for some other project.  You can use rocks, pebbles, etc. in the bottom, but you need some sort of drainage.

I then filled the spaces with a combination of dirt from the garden and potting soil and then just started placing the little plants in random spots - adding and moving them until it looks balanced and interesting.  

Some of my favorites are the large flat leafed one and the two little agave "seedlings" that I pulled from a larger one my brother gave me.  I think they'll be beautiful when they get bigger and fill in the spaces.

I highly recommend this "hobby" - not only is it relaxing, but you'll have some beautiful and interesting displays to put on a window sill or in a garden.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Firewood or Treasure?

Behind a garage, covered in years of dust, dirt and decay, beneath old pieces of wood and sun beaten tarps, a piece of wood caught my eye.  I dug through the layers and pulled this out of the debris:

At first glance I thought it was some sort of lawn chair.  But looking more closely, it resembled a mid-century modern chair that my daughter and son had been given.  I decided to cart it home and take a second look.

The design intrigued me - I have no knowledge of furniture styles, eras, etc. - but this was pretty cool.  No screws or nails.  All the pieces came apart with little or no prodding with a mallet.  Even the rails on the back of the chair pulled out into seven individual pieces.  When sanding (lots of sanding!!), the old finish came off after awhile, most of the black discoloration disappeared and it actually looked like wood.  Oak?  Teak?

The brackets were very cool... but we puzzled over the slots for the seat area.  

After some internet searching, we were able to find out how, without any staples or screws, the webbing for the seat was installed.  After putting a coat of varnish on the chair, we looped individual pieces of webbing through the slots and locking them in as we pushed down on the seat.  Amazing chair!  

My daughter will eventually get seat cushions for the chair they were given, and now they have two!  Can't wait to see the final results!

Take the time. Put in effort.  It will be well worth it.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Grateful Banner

I needed something new to decorate my office after the Fourth of July holiday.  As things get stressful and busy, I sometimes find it hard to step back a little and look at all the things, large and small, that I'm grateful for.  We have our little "grateful jar" at home that we open January 1st, and I forget to add to that too!  I guess I seriously need a reminder to focus on something positive - especially in this era of constant negativity and hateful actions filling our social media and news broadcasts.  

Pin It

I had wandered through JoAnn's and Michael's and found these wonderful "THINGS" on sale and couldn't wait to try to put them all together in some way.  It took awhile, but the idea for this banner came into focus and so it shall be!!  I added in some twine and ribbon that I had sitting around as well.

Isn't this twine from Michael's amazing???  It has wooden butterflies already strung on it and it's the perfect length!  When I found that, I knew it was time to take an hour or two and put something together!

I found a couple of sheets of scrapbook paper and blank cardstock that matched the colors of my "stuff".  I cut them in these sizes - 3" x 4 1/2" for the background paper and 2 1/2" x 3" for the cardstock.

I hand lettered the cardstock but you can easily print up letters to fit.  I also looked through my scrapbook embellishments and found some cool brads that I added to the letters.  I took a Sharpie and drew an outline.

To tie the letters to the twine I used some thick bakers twine that I found at Michael's.  I did a simple knot as seen here:

 Then, to attach the letter cardstock to the twine, I did this:

Tied a knot at the top and it drooped over the back which turned out perfect!

 I broke off most of the length of the pinwheel sticks and hot glued them to the clothespins:

 Then, I added pieces of ribbon tied to the twine.  Then all that was left was just a matter of adjusting everything and spacing it out evenly!  Voila!!

Pin It

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Crochet Bobble Blanket

Well, I finally finished.  What started out as a "quick finish" project, ended up taking longer than I thought.  But that's okay.  It's always a good thing to have some yarn and needles nearby for those moments when you are waiting... and waiting...

Pin It

I found this "Rainbow Blanket" pattern on Pinterest and loved it.  I didn't have all the colors that the pinner had, but I certainly had a lot of yarn that I had purchased, with every intention of using, but alas, it languished in my yarn box.  This pattern was the perfect solution!

The pattern can be found here on Petunia Pill.

It really is quite simple once you get the hang of it.  One suggestion - find a method for changing yarn colors that you like.  There is a lot of color changing going on in this blanket!

Then, there's the bobble edging.  I searched around on the internet and finally found one that was well-explained and matched the pattern for the blanket.  

You can find it here on Heidi Bears.

I didn't do a whole lot of measuring with this one.  Just made it as large and as long as I liked.  I hope you give it a try - it truly is a lot of fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Fountain Finally Finished!!

Quite awhile ago, back in May 2015 actually, we were looking for a quick lift to the exterior of the house and decided to spray paint our light fixtures, which went surprisingly well!  (See post here.)  When we were in the spray paint section of Home Depot, we saw some texture paint and thought it would be good for our 15 year old water fountain.

Well, that project sat.  And sat.  Problem was that the pump wasn't working.  Had to buy a new pump.  Difficult to manuever the top part of the fountain to get the pump connected.  Lots of frustration so it sat longer.  Then, the drought here in So Cal.  Lots of guilt about running water for decorative purposes if we were able to fix the pump.  Fast forward almost 10 months and it was still sitting.  With some convincing, my husband agreed that I could convert it into a planter (it's hard for him to give up on fixing something that he's convinced he CAN fix... eventually!) 

Base of fountain while waiting to be repaired

Part two of this story is my succulents.  I've always had an aversion to succulents.  However, with this ongoing drought, succulents are everywhere and I got to see how many varieties there are, how beautiful they can be and when they bloom... amazing!  So I've been collecting them here and there and putting them in pots.  When they get big enough, I separate them and put them in more pots.  I was running out of space and they were looking a little hodgepodge.  So.... enter the non-functional water fountain!

I pulled out the spray paint and painted the entire thing.

We got it put back together, minus the pump, and I filled both tiers with a layer of stones and then potting soil.  I replanted some of my favorite succulents and am excited about seeing my new planter overflow with gorgeous greens and pops of color when it's time for them to bloom.  An all around success I'd say!Total cost about $30.00.  Not too shabby!!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Playing Card Valentine's Day Garland

As promised, here is the second Valentine's Day garland I made.  This one is quick and easy too.  I got the idea from  It inspired me to do the Pom Pom Garland (link here).

Pin It

You will need strips of colored fabric - I chose four patterns and bought 1/4 yard of each.  It was WAAAY too much.  You will also need 7 feet of twine, a deck of cards (I used only the first ten cards - not the face cards), and some antique ModPodge!  That's it!

Coat the cards with ModPodge to take off the shine.  

While you're waiting for them to dry, cut your fabric into strips. My strips were 3/4" wide.

Punch two holes in each in the center of the hearts.  I used the first card I punched as a template for the rest so the holes were in the same place on all.  

String the cards on the twine and then add strips of fabric to your liking.  

When you put the fabric strips on, make a "V",  put the point of the "V" behind the string and below it, then take the two ends over the string and through the "V".  I also had some decorative fiber on hand, so I added that as well in the same "V" knot.  Space out the cards and fabric and you're done!  

Oh and I had some help.

I like the look of a double garland - these two worked together well.  I think I'll do something with the other cards - maybe use the black ones for a Halloween garland??