Easy DIY! Paint Your Cheap Plastic Pots!

May 28, 2015

Painted Pots

   Check out this Easy DIY!  Paint Your Cheap Plastic Pots!  It seems like I have been painting everything!  Life seems to get in the way of much of my progress, but how can I say no to a request from my granddaughter to watch a slide show of her year in first grade, have a picnic lunch with her, and an afternoon of games?

    Simply put, I can’t!  So the painting can wait for another day…

   This is what the pot above looked like before a little paint.  Not so good, right?

   As I painted the more ornate, Styrofoam pots from an earlier post last week, I got the idea to paint three of these plastic pots and use a stencil on them to create a little more interest.   This pot was cleaned, dried, and two coats of the Folk Art Home Decor chalk paint color Savannah were applied and allowed to dry overnight.

   Then using a Martha Stewart pack of stencils, which I found at

   Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store, I stenciled the design using three different design elements from the pack.  After the design was stenciled, three coats of the Delta Ceramcoat satin finish Exterior Varnish were applied.

 

   At this point, only one pot is finished.  Doesn’t the paint elevate this lowly pot? The pot really looked pretty scruffy didn’t it?  One more pot is waiting to be stenciled and another has not been started. Eventually, there will be three matching flower pots on this wall by the patio.

 

   While painting these pots can be done inside, another project in process is painting the deck.  I love the look of the white rails against the stained wood deck floor. When we first had the deck built, I painted it with a base coat of Kilz primer and then two coats of Sherwin Williams white paint.  That lasted for years, but it needed to be painted again last year.  

   The deck stairs needed attention.  They needed to be replaced.  Originally, we had two stairs off the deck.  One to the right, leading to a sidewalk through a little flower garden and to the front yard.  The other led to the patio to the left and down to the basement doors.

    Dave and I collaborated on a redesign of the short stairs to the right of the back door.  When I say we collaborated, I mean a picture was shown to him.  (When we were at the beach, I had taken pictures of the deck and stairs on the house where we were staying.)  The design made so much more sense than what our builder had constructed.  This is what I want.  Create it.  And he did.  (There was a “Please?” added in there!)

    The new design allowed water to drain better than the original design and hopefully, we won’t have to replace the treads again soon.  It will be easier the way they are built now even if we do.

    The short stairs were finished, next came the long stairs.  Dave took them down and was figuring dimensions for the stringers.  I took a glass of iced tea down to the patio and sat on one of the chairs.  Looking out into the backyard and the woods beyond, I realized how much of a beautiful view those stairs had blocked!  

   I suggested we do away with the stairs completely.  Dave was not convinced.  As a matter of fact, he argued with me and said we would stick to our original plan.  He always wants to stick to the original plan.

    Coaxing him to come over, sit down, have some tea, and take a look at the view, was my next move.  That worked.  Less work for him, less cost for more replacement wood, less deck to paint, and we now have a beautiful view, which is not blocked by the stairs.

   Last week, three days were devoted to painting the deck.  Unfortunately, the forecast is for rain each day of this week and that has to be put on hold.  Pictures will be posted when the deck is finished.  In the meantime, I’ll be painting everything inside the house until the rain is gone.

    This really is an Easy DIY!  Paint Your Cheap Plastic Pots!

 

 

 

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Memorial Day Decor

May 25, 2015

    We needed a new Patriotic Memorial Day wreath.  Wreaths on a front door always catch my eye.  There is just something special and inviting about them.  Spring is gone now and the spring wreath had to come down.   Memorial Day is the start of summer.  Schools out soon. The pools open, summer vacation is here and a wreath to celebrate that seemed necessary.

   This grapevine wreath was put together in no time.  I liked the round shaped grapevine wreath for this particular composition, but an oval one would work just as well.  The three sunflowers were leftover from another project.  I purchased the burlap ribbon from Michael’s and the vintage flag from The Christmas Tree Shop.

    The burlap bow was wired on the wreath first and the American flag was positioned and hot glued.  Then the sunflowers were hot glued into place.  It really couldn’t be much easier!

    The heat of the afternoon sun beats on the front door and I was worried about using the hot glue to secure the flag and the flowers, but it seems to be doing just fine.

    For twelve years, I worked at a local bank.  My first day of work was September 11, 2001.   The radio was on and a breaking report on the news as I pulled up to park at the bank.  That was when I heard the report of the first tower at the World Trade Center being hit by the plane.  Like everyone else, I will never forget where I was that day and the horror of what happened.

      I was hired as a working mom to fill in a time frame, which some college students could not cover.  It was truly genius!  It was perfect for the bank, the students and for me!   I put my youngest son on the bus and then went to work at nine o’clock and left at two o’clock in time to be home for Will to get off the bus after school.  I only worked three days a week.  It was the perfect job!  

    This little Uncle Sam lantern was being sold by one of the ladies at the bank.  When I saw it, I could not resist.  He has been on display at most of our Patriotic holidays.

    We eat a lot of meals buffet style here in our home.  I serve the food on the kitchen island and everyone can help themselves.  A few years ago, I hosted a party for my mother’s birthday, which is in August.  I came up with the idea of using bandanas as napkins.  Hobby Lobby had them two for a dollar at the time!  I bought than enough for each guest, folded, and knotted one on each fork. Click here ► directions for folding napkins.  (The entrée and sides did not require a knife or spoon so guests didn’t have to juggle silverware.) 

   Everyone was told they could take the bandanas home with them if they wished.  We had extras if their napkin was soiled.  It was funny to see how guests used their napkins!  Some used them as headbands, scarfs, and even around their necks.  It seemed to go over well.  

   This year, Memorial Day Decor will include some of those red, white, and blue bandanas with my favorite Fiesta Ware scarlet colored plates.

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Fresh Walleye And Dave’s Secret Breading Recipe

May 21, 2015

   Fresh Walleye from Lake Erie is a delicious treat we have occasionally.  You see, the man I married long ago is from north-western Wisconsin.  To say that he likes to fish is an understatement.  He began fishing as a really young boy and has never stopped.  This man drives to Wisconsin in February to sit on a frozen lake, pulling cold wet fish out of a hole in the ice!  

    Now that he has retired, he fishes even more frequently.  Last week he went to Lake Erie for a few days and came back with Walleye, which is one of my favorites.

   Dave not only catches the fish, but he also cleans and fillets them.  Early on in our marriage, he cooked fish with the bones in them and I let him know I did not like picking out fish bones. He started filleting the fish to make me happy.  He is quite adept at filleting fish now after the thousands that he has caught and cleaned over the years!   

   I have never cleaned or filleted a fish in my life and I don’t plan on it.  Why would I?  Dave does a great job and seemingly likes to do it.  (I am planning on keeping him.)  One thing he has told me about the cleaning and filleting is that the dark meat has to be cut off because it has a fishy taste.  Game fish has that gray and red meat, which pan fish does not.  He says you can fillet the pan fish right to the bone.  After filleting the fish, he brings it into the house and washes it in clean cold water for several minutes.   If we aren’t preparing it right away he stores it in water in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

    Sometimes Dave cooks the pan fish on the grill in Reynolds wrap.  He has his own concoction of seasonings for that, too.  But the walleye is always dredged in breading and fried in hot oil.

    My husband has come up with his own breading mix, which includes a mixture of half GoldenDipt fish fry breading mix and half GoldenDipt Cajun breading mix.  He usually adds about a half cup of Premium Saltine crackers, which have been ground up with the hand held blender.  I asked why he adds the saltine crackers and he said it makes the breading a little crispier.  I don’t know about that, but the end result is really tasty.

    His preference is deep frying these in vegetable oil.  Since the Walleye is a bigger and meatier fish, he cuts it into chunks before adding the breading.  ( I actually like the crappies and bluegills fried in olive oil in a skillet, but they are a thinner fish.  The olive oil with just a little bit of butter gives the fish a good flavor.)

    Fried fish is a regular meal served at our home.  Dave is known for his fishing skills and his ability to cook them, too.  Fresh walleye from Lake Erie or Wisconsin is definitely a favorite meal around here.

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DIY Planter Makeover – Paint Your Tired Pots!

May 19, 2015

   Okay, so some of my planters were looking a little tired and it became evident I needed a DIY planter makeover.  I have been hearing about chalk paint and I have been seeing a lot of things painted with this and they are looking pretty amazing!  My son has a dresser in his room, which is screaming for a makeover, but I wanted to try this paint on something smaller first.  So I bought some of the chalk paint last week, thinking I would use it for my planter makeover.  Of course, if these are to be used outside there has to also be a final coat of polyurethane.

   The first thing I had to do was clean the poor pot, before painting it.  It really did need some special attention.  I used Dawn dish soap in a tub,  scrubbed the pot with a brush and rinsed, and left it to dry on the deck.  The chalk paint suggested cleaning with alcohol, but on the foam pots, I chose to use the Dawn.

    Apparently, I am a beige kind of girl.  I love beautiful colors, but the neutral grays and beiges call my name and truthfully, they do make a great background for a pop of color from the flowers.  So the neutrals I chose were Truffle and Plaster from Waverly and Savannah from FolkArt.  This was my first experience with chalk paint and I was surprised at how thick the paint was and how great the coverage was with just one coat.  The dried paint has a beautiful almost velvety texture. 

   Halfway into this project, I realized that the Plaster color was too bright for my taste, so I tried to tone it down with some antiquing.  Then it looked better but it looked more southwestern to me.  It actually reminded me of a purse I used to have.  Hmmm…   That was not exactly what I had in mind.  Fortunately, this is paint and if you don’t like it, paint over it, and so I did, using the Savannah color this time.  I am loving this subtle color. 

   Although there is a raised design on two of the pots, I decided not to emphasize the details with another color of paint or antiquing.  I gave the pot a good coat of the Savannah color and let it dry overnight.  It was actually beautiful just like that.

    The next day it was spitting rain all day long, but sitting under the umbrella on the deck, I continued to work on the project.   I went ahead and buffed the raised surfaces with a sand block to reveal some of the white undercoats.  It is very subtle, but I like the final effect.  The velvety look of this paint is so appealing!  Unfortunately, since the pots are going to be placed outside, there had to be some sort of protective layer painted over top of it.  I had some satin exterior polyurethane varnish from another project, so I used the specified three coats for the pot, allowing each coat to dry before the next coat.

 What do you think?   In the end, I am pretty happy with the results of my DIY planter makeover.

 

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Best Burger Ever!

May 14, 2015

    Last year I was reading different recipes for a hamburger.  I came across a recipe, which called for basically the same ingredients everyone puts on a burger, but it included an egg and grated onion in it.  We usually seasoned our burgers on the outside.    This recipe required adding the ingredients and combining before creating the patties.  No seasoning on the outside needed.

   Always ready for a new recipe, I tried it while Dave was away at work.  Will and I were the only ones home, so he was my taste tester.  

    The hamburger meat is key to the best burger.  We buy ours at Sam’s.  When we first bought hamburger meat there, I couldn’t believe there could be such a huge difference in flavor, but there is. Buy the best you can.

    You take a pound of hamburger meat and sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of pepper, and one-quarter teaspoon of garlic powder.  Add one small egg or just the yolk of a large egg.   Then grate a third to half of a medium sized onion and add to the meat and seasoning.  (Cut the rest of the onion into slices.)  Mix together gently.  Shape your patties.

    Preheat your skillet or grill.  My skillet is stainless steel, so I use Pam Olive Oil spray to coat the bottom before heating it.   When your skillet or grill is hot and ready, place the patties on it and cook to desired doneness.  When the patties are done on one side, I put the onions around the outside of the pan to cook.  You can use a separate skillet to cook them or wait until the burgers are done and use the same skillet.  When Dave grills the burgers, I usually cook the onions in a skillet on the stove.

    While the burgers are cooking, spread softened butter on your hamburger buns or on both sides of pieces of bread and toast in a skillet.   You don’t have to do this, but it makes the sandwich so much better!  Will and I didn’t have buns, so I toasted bread for that first trial of this recipe.

    I shaped those first patties into squares to match the bread pieces.  When they were done, I placed a piece of buttery toasted bread on two plates, added a cooked patty to each, (The meat we get from Sam’s usually has very little grease and  there is no need to drain after cooking.) piled on cooked onions, and topped with another piece of bread. 

   Can I tell you that was the BEST BURGER I had ever had!? And it was cooked up right here in my little old kitchen!  Will totally agreed!  That is something coming from this boy, too.  Okay, he is a young man now, but still my baby boy. 

   I cut my sandwich in half.  I could only eat half of it.  It was so filling.  I wrapped it up in tin foil and, believe it or not, ate it for lunch the next day!  It was still delicious!  These are the best burgers ever!

 

 

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