Do You Have A Paint Color Mistake?

Do You Have A Paint Color Mistake?

April 6, 2017

  Do You Have A Paint Color Mistake?  Have you ever done something on someone else’s advice, knowing full well that it wasn’t right, yet you went right on and did it anyway?   In your gut you knew it and as you beat yourself up, you ask, “I knew better.  Why did I do that?”

 

  Well, I did not follow my own advice when I painted our master bedroom en suite several years ago!  A well-known person with her own signature paints offered chips with coordinating colors on them.  I brought one of them home and decided to paint my ceiling a bold gold color and the walls a green from her color suggestions on that chip.  Even though I had reservations, she was way more famous than I and all of her experts knew better than I, right?

    Don’t get me wrong.  They are both beautiful colors, but the saturation of color in the paint on the ceiling is more than the paint on the walls.   It has always felt a little wrong.  For an earlier post click here► For a foolproof way to choose your Paint colors.  Or click here for another post you might like ►No Fear Paint Selection.

     Seriously, the rest of my home is painted with beautiful colors following this method.  I would not change one of them!  If I have to paint again, I would probably choose the same colors.   Do you love your color choices that much?   If you choose your colors from something you love, how can you go wrong?

     I have loved the way the afternoon sun poured in the half round window at the peak of the vaulted ceiling on the west wall and illuminated the golden color.   I loved the green on the walls more.  It’s kind of like being enveloped in a meadow.

   The two colors ‘together’ have bothered me for a long time!   You could see the ceiling had a lot more saturation of color and at certain times of the day, it was unsettling.  It’s amazing how different the colors on the walls and ceiling look at different times of the day.

      The photo above is a relatively good representation of the gold color.  (It’s hard to get a perfect match with a camera and the computer.)  It is a little garish next to the softer green and the paler color, isn’t it?

   Don’t you love vaulted ceilings?   Physically painting vaulted ceilings is not something I particularly love.   So I lived with it for awhile.

   When we were working on the bathroom/dressing area, I finally decided to fix the problem.  The paint color we chose for the bathroom, Autumn Blond from Sherwin Williams, is the new color for the ceiling in the bedroom and the dressing area, but in a flat finish.  

    You may be thinking that the Autumn Blond color is just a neutral.  It is, but I could have chosen any color on the fan with that same depth of color and it would have looked better than that stark gold.  You can see that the green and the wheat have white added.  They have a softness about them.  Clearly, the gold doesn’t.

 

    Remember in an earlier post how we cross-pollinate adjoining rooms by painting the wall color on the ceiling of the adjoining room and vice versa?  Please don’t tell me you still have all white ceilings!  If you have color on the wall, you will love the color on the ceilings!  You can paint it the same color as the wall and it will look a shade lighter.

   If you want the ceiling to look even lighter, you can skip up or down one, (depending on your fan), on the same card to a lighter tint of the wall color.

 

   If you want it to look darker, you will have to skip up or down, (depending on your fan), on the color fan and choose a step darker paint.  If you have tall ceilings and want them to look a little lower, you can visually bring them down with paint.  It will seem a little cozier, especially, if your ceilings are stark white!

    In the picture below, from an earlier post, you can see that the ceiling is the original green color and the walls are the Autumn Blond, which is a color pulled from the new ceramic tile on the bathroom floor.

  Yep, I love the new color!  The garish gold is gone.  I no longer look at the bedroom ceiling and wish I had painted it another color!  The whole house is in color harmony.

    This is an easy way to choose a perfect color for your next paint job.  Would you like more posts on paint and color?  Do you have a paint color mistake?

 

 

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

March 7, 2017

    Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated.  Perhaps that is my mantra – ‘understated’.  If it is yours, too,  you’ve come to the right place.  If not, you can always embellish with more.  These ideas will give you a good foundation upon which to embellish.

 

   Last year, I found this adorable bunny at Hobby Lobby.  I loved it so much, I decided to go back and buy another one.  Wrong.  They were all gone by the time I got there!   Don’t you hate when that happens?

 

   This year, when I saw these bunnies back again at Hobby Lobby, I purchased another and a smaller version, too.  Aren’t these the cutest bunnies?   I could just imagine them on the fireplace mantel.

    Contemplating removing the clock again, I decided against it.  I love that it is black and loving those little black touches throughout the house, I couldn’t…   (Rationalizing.)  Besides, the tips of the bunny ears show up nicely in front of it.

    After placing the two larger bunnies on the mantel, it seemed something was missing.   They needed something nestled between them.  The thought of a little nest with the antique-looking eggs I made earlier this week came to mind.  A trip to Michael’s and the Dollar Tree was necessary.  Michael’s had the little 7-inch nest and Dollar Tree had inexpensive moss.

    Have you ever heard of ‘reindeer moss’?   Turns out reindeer moss is actually a lichen of the genus Cladonia, which the reindeer eat.  Who knew?   Regardless, I liked the green color of it and picked up a bag for a dollar!

 

    Although the reindeer moss-lined nest with the eggs looked okay, it seemed to need a little something more.

   So, a couple of pieces cut from a spring floral bouquet were gently bent to curve around the nest.    While that looked nice, the thought to add a little ivy to this to give it a little more interest came to mind.

    You see the workings of my simple mind.  While the flowers added a different color and texture, there was still something missing.  The little pieces of ivy added that little extra understated touch.   Subtle, but isn’t it perfect?

 

   A few weeks ago, the two orchids in the picture were purchased at the local grocery.  Although they are still blooming, it seemed replacement flowers a little more indicative of the season were needed to welcome spring.

    So at Sam’s Club, there were more orchids but as I was reaching for a white one to put in the cart, the thought of spring tulips popped into my head.  Yes, white or ivory spring tulips just seemed right at that moment.  

   Stopping at two local Kroger stores on the way home and searching in the floral departments, I couldn’t find an appropriate pair of tulip plants.  Where are the tulips now when I need them?  

    Totally disappointed, I headed home.  Looking at the mantel again, I contemplated using a different set of vases.  Setting one on the mantel, the idea of using some of the silk floral stems leftover from the nest came to mind.  

     Isn’t the big vase on the right beautiful?  Yes, but you know what?  I think the smaller vase actually looks a little more delicate and spring-like.  Don’t you?  

 

   Using little wire cutters, the stems were cut from the bouquet and placed in the vase.  When the stems were first placed in the vase, they were too short.  Wine corks do come in handy.  I just piled some in the vase and voila!  Perfect height!

    Notice that I also switched the birds around.  With the smaller vases, it seemed the one on the right would now draw the eye back to the mantel.  I like the negative space all around the elements.   You can definitely see the triangular composition in this one, which is always pleasing to the eye.

    Notice that in this triangular composition there are multiple secondary triangular compositions, as indicated by the blue and red lines in the picture below.  Although each of these triangular compositions has almost identical items, you could create a similar triangulation with completely different items.

   Typically, liking something a little understated, this is very appealing to yours truly.  More elements could be added but sometimes restraint is a good thing. Don’t you agree?

    Hope this has helped motivate and inspire you to create your own spring mantel decor!  Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated.

 

 

 

 

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes

February 13, 2017

    13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes are simple.  Isn’t there something irresistible about cheesecakes?  It has to be one of the most loved desserts of all time.  

 

   Surprisingly, my mother and grandmothers did not attempt these delicious perfect endings to a meal.  Here are some of The Secrets For Beautiful Successful Cheesecakes, which I have discovered after baking these desserts for years.

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

   Techniques for making a perfect cheesecake are easy to master, but even as a novice, you can make an impressive cheesecake on your first attempt!

 

1.  Before starting one of these delicious desserts, make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature.  Aside from mixing together easier, the final cake will have a smoother texture.

 

2.   Combine the cream cheese and sugar thoroughly before adding flavorings, cream, or sour cream.  Stop the mixer a few times, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and the paddle.  It is impossible to remove lumps after liquid ingredients have been added.

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

 3.  Use the paddle attachment on your electric mixer.  Regular whipping beaters incorporate too much air into the batter and it will result in cracks in the final cake.

 

  4.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in whipped cream or beaten egg whites if your recipe calls for either.  Be careful not to deflate the volume of the whipped ingredients when combining with the batter.

 

  5.  Almost any cookie will make a good base for cheesecake.  Many recipes call for graham crackers, but I have even used Oreo sandwich cookies!  The cookie or cracker crumbs are usually mixed with melted butter, sugar, and sometimes nuts.  Even if a recipe doesn’t call for nuts, I sometimes decrease the amount of cookie crumbs and add some ground nuts.

  6.  Crushing the cookies can be done by grinding in the food processor using the metal blade.  If you don’t have one of these, a plastic bag filled with the cookies can be crushed with a rolling pin.

 

  7.  Although I have never heard of anyone else doing it, I put a layer of parchment over the bottom piece of the springform pan, clamp the outer ring securing it to the bottom.   Once, I had a problem releasing the crust from the pan and this method has worked perfectly for me.  After the cheesecake has chilled sufficiently, the ring is removed and the cheesecake comes off of the parchment easily.  (The cheesecake can actually be lifted up by the parchment, held by the palm of your hand, peeled back one side at a time and placed on the serving platter.)

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

    8.  After the parchment is attached to the springform pan, place two layers of heavy duty tin foil under the pan and pull up around the sides and crush to the edges.  ( You don’t want the water seeping in around the base of the pan.)

 

   Before or after pouring the batter into the springform pan, place the pan in a larger baking pan.   After the batter has been added, fill with hot water about 1/2 – 2/3 of the way up the sides of the pan.  That is called a bain marie.

Cheesecake is more like a custard than a cake.  The water bath bakes it more slowly and evenly.

 

    9.  Always Place in a preheated oven.   Make sure the oven is preheated!

 10.  Don’t open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking!  A sudden fluctuation in temperature could cause cracking.  Use your oven light to check until the cheesecake is 5 – 10 minutes away from the baking time suggested.  

 

  11. Don’t overbake.  The cheesecake should be set in the middle and jiggle when slightly shaken. It should still look slightly moist on top.  The top of the cheesecake should not brown and there should be no caramelization.  

 

  12.  When the cheesecake is finished baking, turn the oven off, prop the oven door open slightly, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for about an hour.  Cheesecakes release steam while they bake and cool.  If the steam is released too quickly it causes the top to crack.

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

  13.   Just in case there is still some steam coming off of the cheesecake, lay a paper towel over the top of the cheesecake pan and a layer of Reynold’s Wrap to hold it.  Any condensation will be absorbed by the paper towel.  (I don’t know about you, but it sometimes happens that there just isn’t sufficient time for the cake to completely cool before it has to go in the refrigerator at my house!)

 

   You don’t have to follow all of these steps, but I have found that by doing these things, the cheesecakes made in this humble home turn out perfect every time.  If you are a bit of a perfectionist, (Would you be reading this if you weren’t?) then you understand the motivation behind this!

13 Easy Tips For The Best Homemade Cheesecakes on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

    Almond cheesecake.  This was the first cheesecake recipe I ever made.  Isn’t that gorgeous?  It is simply delicious, too!  For more tried and true cheesecake recipes, click here ► Cheesecakes.

 

   Hope these 13 Easy Tips for The Best Homemade Cheesecakes ever, inspire you to create your own masterpiece!

 

 

Love Balance? Cut Your Table In Half!

Love Balance? Cut Your Table In Half!

Love Balance? Cut Your Table In Half!

February 6, 2017

|   Don’t you love balance? symmetry?  While “Create Balance… Cut your table in half!”, might sound a little contradictory, it makes perfect sense.   On our fireplace wall, we have a beautiful ledge, which holds some decorative items, old books, etc.  The fireplace is a light colored brick and in order to create balance, so the top wouldn’t seem so heavy, the lower wall needed something.

   It just so happened that we had a card table, which we had previously used as a kitchen table in our first apartment.  That table, which was relegated to the basement, gave me an idea.  After measuring it, I found it to be a perfect size.  Fortunately for me, it had a leaf at one time so I did not actually have to cut the table in half.   I merely disassembled it, removed the hardware and created matching half tables for each side of the fireplace.

   I cut a 2″ X 4″ to fit neatly under the table for support, leveled it, and then attached it to the wall.  Using a stud finder I located the studs and made sure the screws were long enough to go into the studs in the wall.  (Holes, a little smaller than the diameter of the screws, were drilled into the 2″ X 4″ to make it easier for the screws to be screwed into it.)

    Then I drilled two holes through the top of the table to accommodate two more drywall screws.  After positioning the table where I wanted it, those screws were screwed through the top of the table and into the 2″ X 4″.  This made the half-table pretty sturdy.

  Don’t have a table to cut in half or disassemble?  Lowe’s and Home Depot have wooden rounds up to 36″ in diameter, which could be cut in half.  (I know Lowe’s lumber department has a huge saw.  They charge a very small fee and they can cut these in half for you.)  They also have wooden legs available.   It would be really easy to just attach the legs and create your own half-tables.

    Next, I made a half tablecloth and coordinating topper.  The table and the fabric cloths created a great foundation for lamps, books and some decorative pieces.  

    Although I made these from scratch, it would be easy to take a regular tablecloth and cut it in half and hem the cut edge.  If you don’t sew, there is fusible hemming tape, which you can purchase at the fabric store. ► HeatnBond.

   For that matter, it wouldn’t have to be a rounded table.  Rectangular pieces of wood could be used just as easily.  A squared off tablecloth would be even easier to make.

    Two matching mirrors were added above the tables and some decorative items along with matching lamps were placed on the tables.

   This display added the much-needed weight and balance on that wall.

    In the picture on the left above, I blocked out the mirror and tables.  You can see what a difference those make on that wall.  They add a layer and depth to that room, which is needed.

    So, do you need matching tables beside your fireplace or your bed?  Maybe you should consider cutting your table in half, or just disassembling it!

 

 

7 Tips For ‘Warming Up’ Your Winter Home

7 Tips For ‘Warming Up’ Your Winter Home

7 Tips For ‘Warming Up’ Your Winter Home

January 13, 2017

   7 Tips For Warming Up Your Winter Home seems perfect right now, doesn’t it?  I was recently inspired by the Douglas Elliman Florida office to share a style board of ideas for ‘warming up’ your home for the cold winter months.  Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the nation’s fourth largest real estate company.

   Here in Northern Kentucky, warm colors and cozy details just seem appropriate during these crazy winters.  Winters here are very ‘gray’.  There seem to be lots of rain, sleet, and snow and little sunshine.

Creating a balanced and harmonious space is the key to ‘warming up’ your home.

  #1 – Balance, harmony, and scale.

 In order to create harmony, balance the amount of curved and rectangular shapes in your rooms.  Too many straight lines in a room create an uneasy feeling, the opposite of cozy.  There are a lot of straight lines on the architecture of the fireplace wall and the palladian window wall.  I deliberately bought a round coffee table to repeat the curve of the arch over the fireplace and the arches of the palladian window.  The sofas have rounded arms and the chair has a rounded back, too.

 

   Soften Sharp Edges. The palladian window has a lot of sharp edges, even though the top windows have a gentle curve.   Those sharp edges screamed for softening with fabric.  

   Scale, or how an item relates to the size of a room, is so important to consider when decorating your home.   I drew out a plan for this window, with the idea of using long columns of draping fabric for the curtains and set about to find the right hooks to use.  

    Every curtain hook I found was too small.  On one of my shopping trips, I stumbled across metal tiebacks that resembled hooks!  They were a perfect size!  Click here ► to read how I Used Ordinary Things in an Uncommon Way to Create an Extraordinary Look.

Scale.  When we moved to this house, we brought furniture from our smaller first home.  The sofa was scaled much smaller.  The back of the sofa was lower.  The sofa was not as long and had smaller, thinner arms.  It seemed dwarfed in the new family room!  That tall ceiling seemed to need larger-scaled furniture.

   Imagine that small sofa for a moment.  It did not create a warm cozy feeling.  The room seemed too large to be cozy.  Too many little items create a busy, unsettling feeling.  Yes, the scale of the items you use in your home can help create a warmer cozier look and feel.

#2 – Furniture Placement


   Place sofas and chairs in furniture groups for easy conversation.  Make sure there is a table close to the sofa and chairs for setting drinks, popcorn, etc.

The furniture was rearranged in the room so the Christmas tree could be placed in front of the palladian window and the sofa was moved to face the fireplace.   After doing that, it dawned on me that it was the perfect placement for enjoying a fire this winter!  

    Keep the seating areas off the wall if your space permits!  Have you ever visited someone who has a huge family or living room and there could have been a few bowling alleys down the middle of it?   The sofa, love seats and chairs all line the walls?  I visited one where there was no coffee table and all the chairs and sofas were against the wall.  There was just open space in the middle of the room. There was seriously enough for another good sized room!

    This is a ‘model home’ room, which is the same as our family room.  Notice the furniture placement.   Doesn’t that armoire look awkward where it’s placed? Notice the sofa arm is against the window wall?  Not so cozy, right?

 

    These rooms are 21 feet x 17-1/2 feet and two stories.  That’s a relatively large room and because of the 2-story ceiling, it seems even more so.  Regardless, it seems pretty cozy because of the furniture placement.  The sofa, love seat and chair create a nice grouping pulled toward the center of the room.

 

   Next to the backside of the sofa, which visually separates the family room from the kitchen eating area, we have a game table and two chairs.  Often, people sitting on the sofa are watching the game being played, which is most often checkers or chess.  This game table is really used a lot!  When needed, the chairs are moved over to the kitchen table for additional seating if we have friends or family over for a meal.

#3 – Color.

 Choose two or three main colors to use as accent colors to decorate your room.  The walls in our home are painted neutral tan, blue, and green colors.  They were pulled from a piece of fabric, which I loved years ago and still love today. ► (Foolproof Way to Choose Paint Colors For Your Home.)  

    Since all of the paint colors for the walls were pulled from one fabric, the pillows, lamps, and decorative items can easily be moved from one to another with no color clashing.

   The sofas and chairs are also neutral colors.  It is easy for me to change out the look and feel of the room by adding decorative items, pillows, and throws in one of those accent colors.  (My favorite is red!)

    Display some extra pillows and throws in a textural basket for easy access and added color.

    The key to creating harmony with color is spreading the color throughout the room.  If all the color is on one side of the room, it will look lopsided, right?  Spread those colorful pillows and objects around the room.  Remember to use different textures as well as color.  

    Anytime I think of coziness, I think of throws draped over the chairs and sofas and lots of pillows, don’t you?   That doesn’t mean you have to buy new pillows every time the season changes.  If you can sew a straight line, whip up a new pillow case.  Can we talk about a simple project?  

    Can’t sew?  Pillow covers of every color, texture, shape, and pattern can be bought in stores and on the internet on many different sites!  Hobby Lobby has over ninety pillow covers priced under 20 bucks online!  Some were as low as $3.95!

   These don’t have to be expensive.  Our local Hobby Lobby had this pillow cover for $14.99 and using the 40% off coupon, it ended up being $8.99.

 

   The pillow cover above was found online at Society 6 for twenty dollars.  The pillow is a copy of a page from an old album with a floral print superimposed on it.  It sits among other pillows on an antique sofa in the living room.  I love it!  The artwork for the items on Society 6 is created by hundreds of thousands of artists around the world.

 #4 – Lighting.

Overhead lighting, task lighting, and up lighting are all used in the family room.  Overhead lighting comes in handy at times, but most often we use the lamps, and the up lights, which create mood lighting and drama!  

 

   The little lights on each end of the ledge shoot light up from under the decorative items and cast interesting shadows on the wall and ceiling.  The light from the fireplace creates additional mood lighting, too!

    This little lantern with lights affixed to the top of the inside had a golden deer displayed in it for Christmas.  The faux snow was left in the bottom and this twig with pearl balls and golden leaves was manipulated into a spiral to wrap loosely around the berry red candle.  How simple is that?

 

 # 5 – Flowers.

 Fresh flowers can brighten up and give life to a room.  In the winter, they remind me of warmer days ahead.  While a bouquet of roses or cut flowers is lovely, cut flowers don’t last all that long, unfortunately.

 

   My favorite flower for inside is the potted orchid.  They are so delicate and architectural, aren’t they?  These can be purchased at the local groceries now and they are so inexpensive!  While the cut flowers might last for a week, these orchid blooms will last for weeks and sometimes, months!  

   Don’t be afraid of these plants!  They may look exotic but they are easy-care, too.  The biggest problem these plants have is someone who over waters!  Simply place 3 or 4 ice cubes at the base of the plant once a week.  That’s it!  Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can do this!

 

  # 6 – Scents to make your home a welcoming retreat.   

We often have homemade cookies, buns or bread, stew, soups, or chili during the winter.  I can’t tell you how many people come into the house and say, “That smells so good!”

Even if you don’t cook or bake on any given day, the scent from a fragrant candle or just some cinnamon, cloves, apple peel, or orange rinds in a pot simmering on the stove is a pleasant welcoming.  TipNut.com has 15  simmering pot recipes if you’d like some inspiration.

#7 – A cup of tea or a glass of wine and a good movie or some relaxing music!  

After all of your efforts ‘warming up’ your home, treat your friends, and, or yourself to a nice meal, dessert, a warming cup of tea, or a great glass of wine and a good movie or some relaxing music.  Those things are in harmony with any room, right?  (A Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with homemade chocolate chip cookies.)
 

 


   We have actually managed to engage all your 5 senses, haven’t we?  Creating a pretty room, incorporating textural elements, scents to enjoy, relaxing music, and a drink to sip, cover all of your senses, sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste.

    Most of all, surround yourself with things you love.  If you furnish your home with things you love, your friends and family are sure to feel welcome and comfortable in your home, too.

Hope these 7 Tips For Warming Up Your Winter Home inspire you!

 

 

Tips and How To Create A Magical Snowman Wreath

Tips and How To Create A Magical Snowman Wreath

November 15, 2016

   Tips and How To Create A Magical Snowman Wreath – Part 2.

 For The Snowman-Part 1,◄ Click here.  The idea for this wreath, of course, was found on Pinterest and sold on Etsy.  The wreath was so adorable, loaded with Christmas ball ornaments, but maybe just a bit ostentatious for my taste.  This is a more humble version including the tips and directions to make one of your own and put your own spin on it, which I would love to see if you do!

 

    The search for a wreath form that would accommodate the snowman head, hat, and be a good base for the extras to be added took a little bit.  Most of the craft stores had decorated wreaths, which were half-price for 40 bucks!  I settled on a ‘teardrop’ wreath found at the  ‘At Home’ store in Florence, Ky.  It was $12.99.

    Right out of the store, it needed to be fluffed, the pine cones removed, the pine branches unbent, and straightened.  In the, ‘after‘, you can actually see the teardrop shape.  It’s such a simple thing, but it’s amazing how much better your artificial wreaths, swags, and garlands look after this process.

    After fluffing the wreath, the snowman was placed on top of it for positioning.  Then, the branches of the wreath were flattened, where his head would be secured to the wreath, by forcing down the greenery with my hand.  

   Two of these berries – pine cone – greenery bushes were disassembled, cutting each where they connected to the main stem.  The red berry branches were then positioned around the wreath in a pleasing way.

 

   Floral paddle wire was used to attach greenery picks to the base wreath.  A branch of the greenery was added to the bottom of the wreath to extend it a few inches.

   A few of the pine cone greenery branches were added to the sides and one was also added to the top.

    I found that it was easier to first, lay about 1/2 – 3/4 ” of the wire along the end of the pick stem and holding it with my left hand, wrap the wire around it with my right hand to secure the wire.   Then, place it on the branch where it was to be placed and wrapping to secure, creating an extension to the branch.  At the end, I wrapped the wire 3 times and bent the end and pushed into the branch.

   Before securing the snowman head to the wreath, the plaid bow was attached.  Trying to be sure it would stay securely in place, the wire used to pull the bow up tight and securely twisted was threaded through the Styrofoam, back up and around the wooden skewer.  Then, it was secured to the skewer.

 

   At this point, I noticed the skewers inserted into the head, which would be used to secure the wreath, were really noticeable.  Painting them a pine green color with acrylic craft paint made them almost invisible.  

    After letting them dry, the skewers above the head and below were both securely wired to the main branch of the wreath.

   Then three white flocked stems, which had each been cut from a large bunch, were wired together at the base and securely wired just above the head at the base of the stems.  Two more of these were placed on either side of the head and another under the snowman head facing the bottom of the wreath

   When the wreath was hung, several times during this process, and I stood back to look at it, I realized the pine cones were not showing very much.  Using a small paint brush and white acrylic craft paint, the edges were just tipped with white.  You can see the difference in the picture above.  The pine cones on the left side were not painted yet.  What a difference that made!

     Next, was positioning the hat.  The hat I made, was half of a hat.  The back was flat and the brim stopped on both sides.  A floral pin was stitched to the brim with black thread and needle on both sides of the hat, close to where the brim and crown meet.  These were then inserted into the top of the foam head.  It worked perfectly.

   Inside the crown of the hat I made,  some quilt batting leftover from another project was added.  I thought it would help keep the hat from collapsing.

    Using the needle and thread in the center of the hat on the backside, stitches were made and wrapped around the main branch of the wreath, too.

     Five plastic snowflakes from the dollar store were added for a little more sparkle.  The snowflakes seemed appropriate.  I may tweak it a little before hanging it after Thanksgiving, but don’t you think it turned out pretty well?

    December Update:  This little bird was found at Target and was begging to sit atop the snowman’s hat.  Isn’t it perfect?

   Tips and How To Create A Magical Snowman Wreath, I hope this inspires you to create a whimsical wreath of your own!

 

 

How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display

How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display

 Beautiful Autumnal Mantel 

October 6, 2016

   To those who are observant, the inspiration for beautiful displays is all around us. Let’s walk through just ‘How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display’.

    Lots of times, inspiration is the beginning of a creative project.  This mantel display with pumpkins and gourds was no exception.  Although I liked what was on the mantel before, I really love this display.

   The summer mantel decor was taken down in the beginning of September and the angel, birds, and the fall berries, nuts, and silk leaves were added to the brass urn.  This made a nice understated arrangement.

 

   On our trip through Southern Indiana, I saw a really nice autumn arrangement at a restaurant where we stopped.  With my phone, I took a picture from across the room.  It’s nice to have a camera ready to record ideas, isn’t it?

   The picture was pretty grainy and not very clear, but you can make out most of the items in the display.   It just looked lovely.   My eye was drawn to it and I was inspired.  

    As we made our way back to Kentucky, I began to think of what fall flowers, pumpkins, and gourds we had stored away in bins.  

  The angels and the birds were removed from the display.   I really liked the blue in the vases against the oranges of the pumpkins so I decided to leave them.   Even though there was not a brass urn in the inspiration piece, I decided to leave it, too. Remember, you shouldn’t follow an inspiration exactly!  It’s an inspiration, not a replica.

    Those 3 pieces and the clock on the wall gave the foundation for the display.  I began to place the larger pumpkins and gourds on the fireplace mantel around those items.   

    Next, the smaller pumpkins were placed around larger pumpkins and the five sunflowers were added.  *The cork frogs helped to vary the height of the sunflowers to the right of each of the vases.

   When placing objects in a display, remember the negative space around those items.  If you begin at the left of the mantel, your eye goes up and down, back up and down again across the entire mantel.  The negative space around the items is interesting, too.  If everything had been placed at the same height, it would be less interesting and the space around the items would be flat.

    The large pumpkin on the right is bigger around but only about 4″ high.  It was leaned against the wall to give more interest.  You can imagine it would not do a whole lot visually if it had been placed upright.  Several of the smaller pumpkins and gourds were tilted and supported by the Spanish moss.

      The display ended up having a triangular composition as indicated by the broken lines.  I think it actually looks better than the inspiration piece.

     Monday, I had picked up a bunch of sunflowers and some curly things that would give a unique look as filler.   The curly part had wire in it so it could be manipulated, but the whole thing together was just too much.  If the pick is too big, you can disassemble it to spread it throughout the entire display or arrangement.

   After removing the floral tape and the paper-wrapped wire holding them together, you can see three stems were left intact.

   Those picks of  ‘curly things’ were added all along the display.  You can see that if the two original picks had been used whole, they would have been overwhelming.

    At first, the plan was to use a few silk mums, but getting them to stand up was an issue.  I thought about styrofoam, floral foam, and thought a small piece of either of those would not be sturdy enough to hold the flower.  Then, I had an idea.  We have quite a few wine corks accumulated.  In an earlier post on “How To Make A Valentine Heart From Wine Corks”, I also shared that I had used wine corks to create small lifts to raise potted plants to the right level in a more decorative container.

*    Fifteen of the wine corks glued together with Tacky Glue worked perfectly! After gluing them together, wrap a rubber band or two around the corks until the glue has dried.   You can see it holds the flower upright firmly.  Dang!  I am going to use that trick again!

 

   To hold some of the smaller stemmed flowers, gluing five corks together worked just as well.  I even stacked these smaller ones on top of the others for a little more height!

 

   The cork “stem holder, or frog,” was placed toward the back and to the right of the vase.  It was heavy enough to hold the flower even though I bent it over and leaned it forward.  This worked perfectly!

   Covering up the “cork frog” and the stems of the curly thing with Spanish moss was easy.  The moss was tucked here and there all across the mantel. 

   The space under the urn seemed lacking.  A couple more of the smaller gourds were traded out with some of the other small pumpkins and moved around until I was happy with their placement.

 

   The stems with small flowers were placed throughout the display to add just a little more interest.

   Maybe this will inspire you and now you know another method of “How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display!

 

 

Isn’t This Easy DIY Melted Snowman Tablescape Adorable?

Isn’t This Easy DIY Melted Snowman Tablescape Adorable?

September 26, 2016

Snowman Tablescape

      Isn’t This Easy DIY Melted Snowman Decoration Adorable?  The plan for this Snowman Tablescape has been on my mind for several years.  I saw the idea for this in a magazine and sketched the idea in one of my ‘idea notebooks’.  

    The snowman hat I made in an earlier post was the beginning of this little project.  The hat ended up being about 4″ high and 7″ wide.  My first intent was to make a larger hat for this display to be used on the kitchen table.  Then, finding the corncob pipe was difficult.

   Dave remembered seeing some at the local liquor store and he picked one up for me.  Well, this little pipe is only 3-1/2″ long.  It seems to be the perfect size for this little hat!  So, the original idea was downsized a little. 

   Since we have no coal for his eyes, I found a couple of rocks and simply painted them with black spray paint.  I deliberately chose more angular rocks to look more like coal.  Coal is not smooth and round. 

   Like Frosty, he also has a button nose.  This button was one my grandmother had in her button box, which I inherited!  It coordinates perfectly with the plaid flannel fabric. 

   A couple of snowflakes were cut from white felt and added to the arrangement.  I just cut out a ‘simple’ snowflake and pinned it to the felt.  Then, cut around the snowflake pattern. 

   The scarf was made from a plaid flannel.  It was very simple to make.  You could also use a store bought one, but this is a perfect size.

 Scarf “How To”

   To make the scarf, cut a piece of fabric 8-1/2 inches wide across the width of the fabric.  The fabric is 45″ wide.  The finished scarf will be about 45″ long and 7-1/2″ wide.  This plaid fabric was woven with different colors of thread.  All I needed to do to make a straight line was to cut following one of the lines in the fabric. 

    Fold both long edges up 1/2″ and press with a steam iron.  Then fold the loose edge in half and press again.     Cut off the selvage edge on both ends of the fabric.

    Stitch 3/4″ from the end of the scarf, catching in the folded edges.  The fringe will be made by removing cross-threads.  (I waited to stitch the long hems on the side until the fringe was made.)

 

 

    After the fringe is made, edge stitch the folded and ironed 1/4″ hems on both long edges.   If you are using a regular sewing foot, here’s a trick to keep the hem flat and not puckered.  Every 3-4″, let the needle down penetrating all three layers of the fabric.  The needle holds the fabric in place.  Lift the presser foot, straighten, and re-position the fabric around the needle.  

   You should see that the bottom fabric was beginning to be pulled through the feed a little faster than the top fabric.   Using this trick will assure that both sides of the fabric will be even at the end of the stitching.

    There is a foot for your sewing machine called the ‘walking foot’, which has top feed dogs, too.  This eliminates that problem.   Have you ever had this problem?  I seriously need to buy one of those, but this trick has served me well for years!

 

   This display may be changed a little before Christmas Eve this year.  Thinking of adding some sticks for arms or maybe some mittens I’m planning to make from burlap.  But, seriously, isn’t This Easy DIY Melted Snowman Decoration Adorable?

   

 

 

How To Make Beautiful Acorns For Displaying Now!

How To Make Beautiful Acorns For Displaying Now!

September 6, 2016

Autumn Decor

    Need some Autumn touches for your home?  Then, you’ll love this post on “How To Make Beautiful Acorns For Displaying Now!”  Last year, I saw these on a young lady’s blog.  There are really some clever people out there.

 

   Since then, there are several pins on Pinterest with variations on this idea.  Some have been covered with burlap, fabric, or yarn, some painted brightly, some glittered, and a host of other ideas have been used.   

   Liking a traditional and classic look, I chose to paint the plastic eggs black.  Don’t they look to have an understated elegance?  Wrapping them with jute just gives them an interesting textural element.  What is better than classic black?

   You won’t believe how incredibly easy this little project is!  It came together in no time at all. 

   First, you need plastic Easter eggs.  Over the years, I have accumulated plenty of them.  Take them apart and place on a piece of cardboard or a surface, where you can spray paint.   As you can see in the picture, a variety of sizes were used.  Using a variety of sizes makes things more interesting.

   You will also need Aleene’s Tacky Glue.  This glue works quickly.  If you try using regular white school glue, you will drive yourself crazy! 

   You will also need whatever type of string or yarn you choose.  If you plan to make stems, you will need a stick. 

    Next, paint the eggs with your choice of color.  I used Krylon Colormaster Paint and Primer in Black Satin.  This paint is for use on metal, wood, plastic, and more.  The keyword here is ‘plastic’.  I will say that this paint worked beautifully. 

  Follow the instructions on the can and paint outside or in a well-ventilated space. Make sure to use at least 3 light coats of paint instead of one heavy coat.  Heavy coats of paint usually result in ugly drips, which you do not want.  Patience is a virtue.  Aren’t they already beautiful?

    They dry in only 10 minutes with this paint, but it is suggested you wait 1 hour to handle.  Since I was making dinner, that was easy enough to do!

    At first, I applied the glue to the string and laid it on the egg, starting at the point of where the two pieces of the egg come together.  You want to cover the most rounded end of the egg, not the pointed end.

    Forget that!  It is much easier to just apply the glue to the egg in a line on that seam where the egg snaps together, lay the jute string over the top of it and hold it for a minute or so.  Then continue applying the glue next to the jute already applied, laying the string in the glue, and holding until almost the entire cap of the egg is covered.  

   If you are planning to attach a stem, you will need to leave an open area the diameter of your stem at the very top.   Having a river birch tree in the front yard gives us plenty of sticks to use for crafts.  One of those was used for the stems on these.  For each of the stems, just cut a small piece with the garden shears.

    In an afternoon, you could easily make a bowl full of these DIY acorns!  Who would believe they are plastic Easter eggs?    

    Need some little Autumn touches for your home?  Hopefully,  this post on “How To Make Beautiful Acorns For Displaying Now!” will inspire you, too!

   This post is linked with “Oh My Heartsie Girl’s” Friday Feature Linky Party and Friendship Friday Blog Party Social Media Boost on “Create With Joy”.

 

 

Need a Beautiful and Easy DIY Autumnal Wreath?

Need a Beautiful and Easy DIY Autumnal Wreath?

 

September 4, 2016

Autumnal Wreath

    Need a Beautiful and Easy DIY Autumnal Wreath?  Well, you are in luck!   Don’t you think so many of the wreaths decorated asymmetrically look a little more professionally done?  Maybe a little more artistic and designer?

   Well, my mother lives in an apartment at a complex for seniors.  She was in need of a wreath.  Yesterday, as I was waiting for my daughter to show up for a dress fitting, (altering one for another wedding,) I put together this wreath for her.

   Believe it or not, it only took one bush of flowers, one stem of leaves, and one stem of hickory nuts and tiny pine cones.   You can see below.

    The first thing to do is separate the individual flowers.  That will make it easier to place them on the wreath to get an idea of where you want them.

   The leaf stem was a nice large size and it was cut into three pieces.  when working with the leaves, obviously, you don’t want the backs of the leaves facing forward.  At the base of the leaf, where the leaf stem connects to the main stem, turn the leaf around to face the way you want it.    You are the master here!

   

        Place the leaf sprays on the wreath and play with it, until you find a pleasing arrangement.   As you can see in the picture, I removed one of the leaves from the stem and used it to elongate the spray at the bottom.

 

   The leaf I removed looked like this, kind of crumpled and not very pretty.  It wouldn’t be much of a background for the flowers.   I ran it under the faucet with the water on low for just a couple of seconds and manipulated and flattened it.

   (A word of caution here, don’t completely saturate it.  The dyes will bleed.  A little won’t hurt, but you don’t want a major loss of dye.  The silk leaves are also very delicate when wet, handle them gently!) 

   Then, I laid a folded dish towel on top of it and allowed it to dry flat.

   What a difference, huh?

   One thing that drives me crazy is to see an arrangement where the human hand has not touched and manipulated silk flowers and stems to make them look more natural.  You know you have seen those, too!  They look like someone took them right out of the store and stuck them in a vase or on a wreath, stiff and unnatural!

   

    These mums had such big flower heads, I cut the stems to about four or

five inches.  Regardless of the flower,  you want the stems long enough to weave into the wreath a little to give more places to secure with the hot glue.  

   The stems being a little longer also gives you the option to bend the wire stem and turn the blossoms to the side or the front.

    The bush of mums included red blooms, too.  Those really didn’t show up so well with the leaves, so they were not used.  Remember to always use an odd number of flower blooms.  An odd number almost always looks more pleasing to the eye. One of the yellow blooms was not used either. 

   This brings up another point.  Just because you have forty-five blooms, does not mean you have to use forty-five blooms.  Truly, sometimes less is more!  Have you seen the wreaths where someone just did not know when to stop?

   Allowing room for a bow on the bottom left, the blossoms were placed on top of the leaves, arranged and rearranged, until perfect.   A burlap bow with these Autumn flowers just seemed right.  The rich colors of Fall in combination with the rustic texture of the burlap is classic.

 

   At this point, the nut stem was cut into three pieces, too.  They were placed on the wreath and the overall look was pretty good.   

   Those were removed.  The bow was removed, and trying not to move the flowers too much, I began to glue the leaves in strategic places.  Always try to keep the glue in a spot where it will not be seen. 

   After the leaves were attached with the glue, the flowers were glued in place one- by-one.  Then, the bow was attached. 

   This ribbon was leftover from another project.  It’s a simple bow.  Two loops were made on each side, gathered in the middle and secured with a wire.  Then a small piece of the ribbon was folded into the center on both sides and glued to the back of the bow, covering the wire.

   After all the flowers, leaves, and the ribbon were attached with the hot glue, the nut stems were glued in place.   

   I have to admit, I was pretty pleased with the finished wreath.  My mother was home and a short while later, found that she was very pleased with it, too.  She was the first one in her hall to have an Autumn wreath! 

   Hope this inspires you!  Now, you know how simple it is, do you Need a Beautiful and Easy DIY Autumnal Wreath?

   This post is linked with “Oh My Heartsie Girl’s” Friday Feature Linky Party and Friendship Friday Blog Party Social Media Boost on “Create with Joy”.