Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial...

This time last year my husband and I were visiting family and sites in the Washington DC area. One of our stops was at Arlington National Cemetery. The reverence one feels at this memorial rivals any church setting. It is peaceful and beautiful and the surroundings elicit feelings of gratitude, allegiance, and honor from those who visit. One can't walk away from that setting without feeling changed.

My appreciation goes out to all those who have served and are serving our country, including my father who was in the army in WWII. He passed away 14 years ago today, and he is resting on my mind this beautiful Memorial Day. I am so grateful for the brave men and women, past and present, who have defended our country. I am also grateful for their families who, I'm sure, know as much about sacrifice as those who've served.

Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.
- Wallace Bruce

Have a wonderful day remembering those you've loved
while celebrating this meaningful holiday.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Give a Hoot" Pillow

It all started with this drawing that I doodled while I was talking on the phone yesterday. We'll affectionately call her Gladys. From the look of Gladys' eyes she's a little stressed and strung out. She could use a long hot bath, some soothing music and perhaps a sedative or two. In any case, from this sketch -- sans the psycho eyes -- an idea was born.

I followed this process.
First, I collected every artist's basic tools: a pencil, paper and a salad bowl...

a yardstick...

a cereal bowl...

and back to the salad bowl.

A snip here -- a tuck there. The sweet hum-drum of a sewing machine. A little stuffing. And an hour or so later Gladys is reborn in fabric. Fresh as a daisy and raring to go!

I used scrap fabric for the front of this little "Give a Hoot" Pillow. Some Minky fabric on the back finishes her off and makes her perfectly soft for little heads.

The half circle cutout of Glady's ears would be perfect to surround a little neck. I can picture a little one, one her back, reading her favorite book with this "Give a Hoot" pillow wrapping around her and propping up her head.

The process really was that easy.
You should try it!

Linked to:
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Looking for a Creative High @ Those Northern Skies
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chick Cottage
Get Your Craft on Thursday @ Life as Lori
Strut your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Show & Share Day @ Just a Girl

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bloomin' Tuesday

Last week on my Bloomin' Tuesday post I gave a sneak peak of these sleepy little birdies to the left and mentioned that I would be featuring them this week. Aren't they beautiful?

Saturday was my birthday and earlier in the week my husband bought me this beautiful fountain and installed it on Saturday for my birthday.

There is something about the sound of cascading water in a garden that makes my heart go flippity-flop. Seriously, I adore it. Deep down I think it has something to do with my love for the ocean. Since we are mid-country dwellers and don't own a beach house in Santa Cruz, a fountain in the back yard is the next best thing.

When we were looking at the fountains at the local nursery, I asked the gentleman waiting on us just how difficult it was to install a fountain. He said, "You put it on the ground, fill it with water, and plug it in." Knowing my husband and his attention to detail, I knew it wouldn't be that simple, but still it held definite promise of being an easy installation. And, you know what? It was quite easy...

My hubs wanted to place it on three bricks to ensure a level base. The salesman said to put it on a little sand and leave it at that, but my husband is an engineer. (For those of you whose husbands are engineers no other explanation is necessary.) Note the drawing he copied off the internet and pierced through the metal rod so the bricks would be placed "just so." Gotta love that man. After the bricks were all level we moved the base onto the bricks and checked it with the level again.

Then we moved the base off the bricks because it wasn't perfectly level. This man needs professional help. When I reminded him that it isn't healthy to be such a perfectionist, he turned to me with a smile on his face and said, "Well, it worked when I picked you!" That comment always makes me melt and shuts me up quick-like. ;o)

Then he ran the cord under the sidewalk and leveled the dirt. I had the difficult job of filling the fountain and plugging it in...

Isn't it gorgeous? I love it so much! Today I'm going to the nursery and buying a gazillion impatiens to plant around the base of the fountain. Lots of kudos to my talented hubs for a fabulous installation job!

You might also want to check out two other posts I created last week. The first was on the selection of plants for container gardens and the second was care and maintenance for container gardens.

Linked to:
Boardwalk Bragfest @ Bobbypins Boardwalk
Bloomin' Tuesday @ Ms. Green Thumb Jean's.
Woo Hoo Wednesday @ Always Nesting

Framed Vinyl

Vinyl wall decals are the rage right now and for good reason. They add a punch of color and whimsy to any room. A month or so ago I ordered a vinyl wall decal from this fantabulous site for bedroom redo #3. Dali Decals shipped my vinyl decal right out, but when it arrived it looked like this...

Yikes! I immediately called Dali and even though it wasn't their fault (the carrier service did the dastardly deed) they told me to keep the slightly damaged one, and they would ship another one out that day. Don't you just love good customer service?

So ... what to do, what to do with the damaged version? Since my daughter was decorating her living room with the same lime green color I asked if she would like it. It was only slightly damaged -- a leaf was torn off and it was lightly creased in spots. I sent it off to her, and she is graciously allowing me to show you what she came up with!

She had a vision of the vinyl being more of an art piece than an applique on the wall. She had previously bought a 2 foot x 4 foot frame at Hobby Lobby at 90% off for $8.50. She used a little spray paint magic on it to turn the frame a dark brown.

Then she bought a piece of plywood at HD and had it cut to size for the frame. She painted the plywood an aqua color (another accent color she's incorporating into her living room) and put a couple layers of Mod Podge over the paint to give it texture and a bit of shine. Then she applied the vinyl branch to the painted plywood.

She's very happy with the result, and I think it's fabulous! I love the bright colors and design of the artwork and the dark, chocolate colored frame showcases the colors perfectly!

Linked to:
Anything Related Tuesday @ All Thingz Related
Toot Your Horn Tuesday @ A Silly Little Sparrow
DIY Day @ A Soft Place to Land
Motivate me Monday @ Keeping it Simple
Met Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Craftastic Monday @ Sew Can Do

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rice Krispie Treat Cake

It's my birthday today. {Haaaappy Birthday to meeeeee...} To commemorate the day I thought I'd show you a cute shippable birthday cake. A couple of years ago I made my first Rice Krispie Treat Cake. At that time my son was serving a mission for our church away from home, and I wanted to send him a birthday cake through the mail. A few weeks before his birthday I came upon this website and decided if there was ever a cake concocted that might possibly survive the U.S. Postal Service and end up arriving intact at its destination, it might just be this one. I whipped it up, sent it off, and {hallelujah} it arrived intact! In addition by wrapping it carefully in plastic wrap, it arrived at its destination fresh and tasty!

These cakes are so easy to make. Just grab 3 containers that stack nicely on top of one another. For molds I gathered a round cake pan and two square bowls. I lined my pans with non-stick plastic wrap which made it easy to pull out the layers when they were cooled. Use the recipe from the website above. I used 1 1/2 recipes for the cake I created. Push the Rice Krispie mixture firmly into the lined pans, so the layers will be nice and dense.

When the layers are cool, stack them on top of one another, and you're ready to decorate. I used a store-bought frosting in a tube to attach the candy to the cake. Whaaaaalaaaa! So easy!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Container Gardens - Part 2

Yesterday I posted about my obsession with surrounding myself with flowers throughout the year and, specifically, about creating beautiful container gardens in the spring. I ended up planting all of the flowers I had in those pictures into 15 containers. It felt so good! Here are a few shots of the containers as they are now...

The plants look a little puny now, but within a few weeks these containers will be filled out and be overflowing in blossoms. A few hints for maintaining container gardens might be:
  • Soil - Purchase a good quality potting mix. Some come with fertilizer added, which might save you some time and money.
  • Fertilize - I fertilize (Miracle Grow works well) approximately every other week to keep the plants putting out magnificent blooms.
  • Drainage - Make sure your pot has adequate drainage. If your container doesn't have a hole in the bottom, drill one. Put a thick layer (at least several inches) of mulch, bark, or rocks in the bottom of your container before you add your soil to facilitate drainage.
  • Dead Head - For those plants that need dead-heading, do it often! I dead-head every other day. That way the plants are constantly producing beautiful blooms.
  • Water - In Colorado during the heat of the summer that sometimes means morning and evening, but usually only once a day. Keep the soil moist. Plants in clay or foam pots (more porous) will need more water than those in plastic containers.
  • Entertaining - If you have a scheduled outdoor event in your yard and you want your containers to be at their best, clip off all the flowers on them about 1 to 1 1/2 weeks before the event. This will ensure new, luscious flowers for the event.
  • As you plant the flowers into the containers, make sure to leave space around the plants for growth. Avoid packing the plants too tightly.
When I first plant a container, it usually looks a bit sparse. But it doesn't take long for the plants to fill the container. Here is an example of that. This is a photo taken the end of May (last year) just after planting:

This is the same container a month later...

Here are a few more photos from past summers of container gardens in all their glory...

There's nothing that welcomes a guest like a lush, vibrant container overflowing with blossoms situated by your front door. On a patio, container gardens can surround a sitting area with soft fragrances and can create a more charming atmosphere. I hope this post encourages you to plant a container garden, especially if it's something you've never tried. Happy planting!

Linked to:
We're Organized Wednesday @ Organize and Decorate Everything
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chic Cottage
Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple