Sunday 30 September 2012

The Ultimate In Thrifty Decor!

I know I said my front porch was entirely done with thrifted items, but I think the side porch is the ultimate in thrift, gift, reworked and found!

You see, the porch itself is a found object.  I set out to repair a broken step on the porch.  When I removed it, the boards underneath were rotten, so I removed them as well.  By the time I finished removing all the rotted boards, I had - ummmm - NO PORCH LEFT!  This is not a good thing.

As it happens, my neighbour was replacing his porch with a deck and gifted me with it.  A couple of guys carried it over to my place and there it sat, on it's side, for a year. That's attractive and oh so useful! This summer, I hired a couple of teenage guys to lay patio stones I pulled up when the landscaping was done in the back and move the porch into place on top of them.  It's set on deck post blocks that my BIL gave me when he pulled his deck off.

A couple of coats of white paint, some stencilled house numbers and Kellswater painted on the top step and she doesn't look too bad! ~

Then, I was given a very ugly, old window box. ~

Haul out the paints to give it a weathered look and draw some lines on to simulate boards with a permanent marker and it's not half bad.  Even the cascade petunias were gifted as seedlings! ~

To switch it out for Thanksgiving was about a 10 minute effort.  The old, wooden ladder was salvaged from my Dad's garage and held planters of watercress all summer.  I love the layers of paint and plaster that show how well this ladder was used!  I strung some dollar store garland, faux grapes and grapevine on it to celebrate the season. ~

I've had this wreath for several years and added some blue, silk hydrangeas to it for summer. ~

The simple switch was made with four bunches of silk leaves, from the dollar store, that I already had on hand. ~

Here she is all done. ~

Total cost for porch and decorations = $0.  I did pay the guys $60 to install the porch and bought two quarts of white paint to spruce her up.

The porch looks over the hosta bed I planted from the ones my sister pulled out of her gardens. ~

You must admit this is the ultimate in thrift, gift, reworked and found and that I have stayed true to the commitment to it that I made last summer!  Feel free to clap and shout Bravo as I take my bow!

Wednesday 26 September 2012

A Thrifted Fall Porch

As I was working on a little project for the front porch farm theme, I realized that the whole thing was put together with faux fruit and garlands that were several years old, natural elements and thrift store finds.

I copied an old egg sign I saw at a farm market. ~

The canvas I used was found at the Salvation Army for $1.99. ~

It did not come with the helpful cat but it was quite sturdy and a nice size for what I wanted. ~

A few swipes of white paint covered the original lettering and left enough of the old background to look worn.  The lettering was done in craft paint and I dry brushed some white over it for a faded look. ~

Just in case you are wondering why I chose a quarter for the price of a doz. eggs, I did a little Google research to check out prices over the years.  In 1927 they cost 24 cents.  In 1940 they were 27 cents.  By 1960 they had reached 42 cents and, by 1980, soared to 69 cents. Even at today's average of $3.00, that tells me we aren't paying farmers enough for eggs!

My table and chairs are a roadside find and I used a couple of cans of spray paint to turn the peeling, white metal matte black.  The table top is damaged and I cover it with a hand, cross stitched tablecloth that I picked up for $1.  I don't want to put anything expensive on it because either my cat or strays always seem to be snoozing there! ~

It has a homey, country feel when I add an antique Majolica pitcher with some sunflowers. ~

The mirror was another Salvation Army find and cost me a whole $3.99!  It started out looking like this. ~

I aged it with paint that was either sample pots or boo boos and you can see how I did it here. ~

I was trimming rose bushes and draped a branch with rose hips across it for some colour.

With a little effort and almost no cost, this is a nice place to sit and have an afternoon cup of tea.

The spectacular view is free! ~

Doesn't everyone have an adorable, little white church next door?

Special thanks to Lavender Garden Cottage and Have A Daily Cup Of Mrs. Olsen for featuring my front door swag!

Monday 24 September 2012

You Get Out Of It What You Put Into It

I don't always agree with that statement.  So many times we put much more into something than we ever get back.  Who hasn't poured themselves into a personal relationship and found nothing coming in return?  Or, given generously of their time and talent to a job and been passed by at promotion time or terminated when the balance sheet wasn't in their favour.  Even churches will turn on a minister or parishioner that has given years of service.

But there is something about houses that seems to respond to our love and care.  Houses are like loyal pets. You care for the land and work on the home and it shows it's appreciation with shelter and beauty and joy.

I build a dock and the river rewards me with an endless view of peace and harmony. ~

Just beyond this log lives a beaver.  I like to swim alone at dusk and just float along on the peaceful current.  One night I realized something was in the water with me and tried not to freak out.  As he came closer, I realized it was the beaver.  He turned his head my way and glided past on his way to his fishing grounds.  It has become a nightly ritual for the two of us to nod in passing.  I sometimes feel he's as happy to see me as I am to see him.  The water is too cold for swimming now and I was never able, as hard as I tried, to get a picture to show you.  Maybe next summer I'll get a waterproof camera and you can meet my aquatic friend.

This home has plenty of land to house cats and dogs and even a couple of rescued chickens.  ~

If I will build the coop and nurse the chickens back to health, they'll reward me with these every day. ~

The gardens give an abundance of vegetables and fruit and enough beauty in flowers to soothe any soul. ~

I love to work on this place, inside and out, because it gives me so much in return!  As this pitcher says, "Earth laughs in flowers" and I'm happy when I gather that laughter and bring it inside to glory in.

This home needs some urgent care and I'm setting in to give it the attention it deserves.  I'll be donning paint clothes and picking up hammers. I'll certainly be hiring roofers!  Two hundred year old houses are guaranteed to spring endless surprises on you when you work on them.  I'll get tired and cranky.  But, I will never get discouraged because, when it comes to this home, I always,

   "Get out of it what I put into it"!

I'm sharing this with ~

Friday 21 September 2012

A Touch Of Paris For Fall

One of the best things about having parents with an antique store was doing vignettes for them.  Dad would ask me to style a desk and I would make up a person that the desk belonged to.  Then, I'd dance around the store gathering items my character would have, placing them as if he/she had just stepped away from their desk for a moment.  I'd been making up stories in my head since I read my first book and it came so naturally to me to imagine the people who once touched and treasured these things.

As I started to decorate my dining room table, I thought of an elegant woman (of a certain age), living in Paris.  A party has ended and she's alone. ~

As the clock ticks away the last minutes of the night, she pours herself a brandy from the pristine William IV decanter. ~

She takes off the pearls, Art Nouveau ring and enamel butterfly hair clip and tosses them into the silver oyster shell dish.  Perhaps she glances at the sterling, pedestal trophy dish that a long ago lover  won at the S. California men's tennis tournament.  The rose from tonight's suitor is already beginning to fade. ~

She slips a cigarette from the enamelled case and glides her fingers across the silver inlay of the Brit Zone.  Another lover?  Her eyes turn to the photos on the wall, of her brief sojourn on the sun soaked streets of Greece. ~

She sips the brandy and sighs as she looks at the postcard her own mother framed when she was this age.  The inscription says, "I wonder where I'll be a year hence". ~

Now, what was it I wanted to show you?  Ah, yes.  I took a couple of very ugly orange pumpkins and painted them white last fall.  This year, I sprayed them with adhesive glue and covered them in glitter.  I glued some felt rickrack on them and added a crystal prism for dramatic detail. ~

I just thought the story was so much more interesting.  Every woman wants a little romance! ~

Have a day full of imagination!

I'm sharing this with:

Wednesday 19 September 2012

The Start Of The Fall Decorating

This is my favourite time of year to decorate!  The autumn leaves, baskets of fruits and vegetables, rose hips and sunflowers are so vivid that they look wonderful in any arrangement you try.

I started with the front porch. ~

Since I have a seemingly endless supply of burlap that I bought at Christmas, I decided to make a swag to hang over the front door.

First, make sure you have a helpful kitty to get the ribbons right. ~

All pictures with Maeve are blurry now, as she has become camera shy.  Actually, since I became a blogger, she considers me paparazzi.  It's kind of like my family who preface everything they say with, "Don't put this in your blog!".

I've decided to work with what I have on hand.  A doubled layer of burlap is the base and I made bows from a clearance $1 roll of ribbon.  It's not  wire edged or as wide as I would like, but it will work.  A couple of feather wreaths I used at Christmas are wired onto the swag as centres for the bows.

Add some faux grapes and a bit of dollar store leaf garland. ~

Here's where you use the window dresser's special tool to gather the burlap up into bunches and secure the ribbon tails in a pretty drape.  Some people call it a stapler.  Seriously, that's how we get everything to stay right where we want it.  Staplers and floral wire are indispensable!  I'm photographing this in near gale force winds and nothing is moving.

The cornucopia I picked up last year at the Salvation Army is filled with fake pumpkins, sunflowers and grapes.  This thing is huge and almost the length of a bale of straw! ~

Luckily I have chickens and already had the straw!

I bought this pail years ago.  You could easily paint a dollar store bucket in this design. ~

I want to add some little pumpkins to the overhang on the door and trail some more leaf garland down from the top but that's as much as I could do in the cold, rain and wind for one day.

I think this is starting to pull together! ~

I'm sharing the bounty with ~
Creative Things ThursdayCottage Style Linky PartyIt's Fall Y'all Autumn Link PartySunny Simple SundaySunday's Best Par.tayShare Your Cup ThursdayCrafty Cornucopia

Friday 14 September 2012

An Elmo Red Face

Tomorrow is Baby's second birthday.  Since the celebration theme is Elmo, I wanted to try my hand at working the little guy into Rice Krispie squares.  I took this notion while I was standing in the grocery store and realized I wasn't sure what colours his features were.  No problem!  There's a woman in the aisle that looks young enough to have small children. I told her I was wanting to make some Elmo balls and could she tell me what colours I should use.  She seemed rather surprised and I thought this was a good opportunity for her to connect with people instead of grabbing her groceries and getting out of there.  Young people are always in such a rush!

She pulled out her I Phone and showed me a picture.  I graciously thanked her for all her help and she passed on by.  Arm stretched to reach for the food colouring, I froze.  I told her I was making Elmo balls! Elmo BALLS!  No wonder the poor woman looked startled!

Now my face is as red as Elmo's! ~

Please let me never bump into that woman in the store again!  Please let me think before I blurt something out to a complete stranger, ever again!

Anyway, I did figure out how to make these things.  I added red food colour to the butter/marshmallow melt.  It took almost half the little food colour bottle to get the stuff to go from pink to red.

I feel very sorry for the parents who will have their kids bouncing off the walls from all that red dye! ~

It was surprisingly difficult to shape the BALLS.  The best way to do it is to dunk your hands in warm water and smooth the mixture into a BALL shape. ~

I used the can of icing that comes with decorating nozzles to make rosettes in white and added brown Skittles for the eyes.  Orange Skittles made the nose. ~

All you need to remember is to have warm water on your hands for shaping, use lots of red dye and call them Elmo HEADS, not BALLS!


Thursday 13 September 2012

I won, I won!

I'm so happy I won the giveaway from Suzan at Simply Vintageous!  I spent days standing by the mailbox and asking the mail lady, "Is it here, is it here?".  She says I'm like a kid on a long car trip.

Yesterday, it was here!  Inside the package was a lovely linen towel with a French, Napoleonic bee emblem, a luxe Candice Olsen notepad and a silver tea caddy spoon. ~

If ever a prize was made for a specific home, this is it.  It has French, it has silver, it has a tea accessory and it has black and white.  You must admit it needed to find it's way to this room! ~

The very best part of winning is the excuse to introduce you to my friend Suzan! ~

She's funny and witty and warm and serious and she makes wonderful things like this ~

I asked her to include that dresser in the package.  It must be coming in a separate post.

Don't tell her long suffering husband, John, that she shares their hilarious conversations about the joys of living with a blogger.  Read this and tell me if you don't want to check it out! ~

On my using decorative branches in the bathroom

After hearing a bellow from the bathroom - followed by mild cursing.........................
Suzan says - " are you ok in there? "
John says - " I think you're trying to kill me "
Suzan says -" I thought you were in the shower?"
John says - " that's not the problem - it's coming out of the shower that's the problem "
Suzan says - " well I didn't do anything wrong this time - I was in the living room "
John says - " who puts branches right in the path of stepping out of a shower?"
John says - " You're getting dangerous "
John says - " yeah go on, laugh ( mimicking a squeaky feminine laugth )
John says - " Now run and tell your blogger friends what I just said - quick Suzan - run.
Suzan says - " OH PLEASE, I don't tell them every single thing you know................... 

Go on readers, click here and become another Simply Vintageous fan!

Thanks Suzy!  I'm waiting by the mail box for the Anne Of Green Gables dresser!

Wednesday 12 September 2012

I Remember

As September 11 was drawing to a close, I thought of the lessons we learned on that terrible day in 2001.

I was pulling into my parent's driveway, to pick up my dad, when the radio announcer said a plane had struck the twin towers.  I assumed it was a light plane.  My dad was beckoning me to come inside, where the two of us stood and stared at CNN in horror.  We all know how the rest of the day unfolded.

As the day wore on, we felt the intended terror.  My daughter was working in the Canadian financial district. Would they be hit next?  I wanted her out of there!  Another daughter lived near a naval base.  I wanted her out of there!  We were frightened and we grieved for all the lost souls, just as the terrorists wanted us to.

But, they did not teach us the lesson they intended.  Instead, the 49th parallel disappeared and our medical and emergency personnel went to our neighbour's aid.  Every home in Newfoundland opened their doors to stranded airline passengers.  We cried with our neighbours to the south and cheered their courage and endurance.

We held our friends close and our families closer.

Business in my home decor shop dropped off dramatically. ~

For a time, no one cared what their house looked like, only that everyone was safe and snug inside.  The regular customers came in as usual, but they really only wanted to visit as friends.

That day, we learned to love, to appreciate, to care for those we don't know and to value the simple, true things in life.

We learned that the world is a small place and we are, "our brother's keeper".  We will never stop caring about goodness and right.  We will continue to send aid to those in need and speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.  We will be the best people we can be.

Beyond all the terror and the terrible price was was the knowledge that good people, from around the world, will unite against those who try to terrorize others into following their agenda. ~

image compliments of The Graphics Fairy
On this day of the year, I think all those who lost their lives look down on us and sprinkle a little angel dust to remind us of the lessons we learned.  Not once did I turn on a TV or a radio, but the dust drifted down to me and I remembered.    

Saturday 8 September 2012

Cats Think I'm Stupid!

Once again I have confirmed my cat's opinion that I am the densest thing living in this house.  Dogs don't do that.  Dogs think you are a veritable genius for being able to open fridges and drive cars!  Cats have a whole different set of criteria for intelligence.

Today, I gave this guy a kiss goodbye when I left the house. ~

He didn't move.  Not a twitch.  I called his name. Nothing.  Oh, my gosh, he's dead!  I did the only thing you can do with a dead cat and called his name louder and shook him.  He gave me a look that said, "Why would you wake me from such a good nap in that brutal way?".  Oops!  Hey, he's over 20 years old and I can't detect life in an animal that lies there like a stone!

That doesn't make me stupid does it?  Oh no.  I'm wise to their tricks.  I know they won't come when I call, if they don't feel like it.  I know they think I'm an idiot because I can't see where they are.  But, I've learned to look in the direction the other cats are looking, as they shake their heads in dismay, over my poor sense of vision, hearing and smell.  Aha, there you are!

I don't try to race this girl to the top of the stairs anymore.  She thinks I'm the slowest thing on the planet and even has time to pull most of the peacock feathers out of the vase before I get there!   If she's feeling really saucy, she'll teeter along the top rail to watch me hold my breath.~

They've no idea how I expect them to use this thing for anything other than a bed. ~

There's a perfectly good tongue and groove board wall upstairs to use for sharpening claws. ~

But the real insult came from the stray I call Black Kitty.  He can't have a name because he fights and sprays.  If he doesn't have a name he can't come inside to live. ~

Also, I already had three cats and I'm single and in danger of becoming the CRAZY CAT LADY!  For two years I've fed him outside.  The neighbours asked me not to.  Actually, they asked me not to feed any wild animals because they got a silly notion that the reason we had a wild animal problem was because I fed them all every day.  I just gave the neighbours my best, "What is wrong with you?" cat look and that ended the discussion.

Anyway, I've taught Black Kitty to roll over, which is the only trick I've ever been able to teach cats.

Get ready for it.  Start rolling! ~

Wait a minute!  Something is on his neck. ~

It's a flea collar and I didn't put it there!  Maybe I should attach a note asking if someone owns this guy. ~

My cats looked smugly at me as if to say, "We always knew you shouldn't be giving him any of our food.". Two years I have fed this guy and put up with him spraying my windows and doors!

I truly hope someone has just adopted him and I'm not losing face with the entire feline population, feral or otherwise, in this village!