Friday, February 27, 2009

A little tip

Just a wee little tip. Tiny.

Now I sound all cryptic and you're going to think it has something to do with miniatures. Nope! Just an uncomplicated, small tip.

I mentioned in my getting to know you post that I've been growing my hair out for...around two years. Yeah I chopped it and ever since I'm just incredibly paranoid about scissors. My hair is getting pretty close to waist length now (I'm pretty short, so that's not an impressive feat) and is in desperate need of a trim. I can't afford one, so I condition like a fiend. Thankfully I have an almost unending supply of free conditioner!

My mom has short hair and colors it frequently. However, she doesn't like to condition her hair because she thinks it makes her hair flat. Okay, well that's true. Since we don't subscribe to the same hair philosophies she gives me fists full of these tubes. Problem is, they are not the most convenient packaging. In the shower you have to unscrew the cap, squeeze the tube, screw the cap back on and hope the dollop doesn't end up on the shower floor before you get that cap back in place. You can't just leave the cap off because the darn thing is so tiny it'll try to wash itself down the drain...

Oh my goodness. I just envisioned all of this as one of those ridiculous commercials where the "real life person" can't perform the simplest functions and everything is overdramatized. Kinda like this.

Okay we'd better nip that in the bud.

My solution, since there are so many of these tubes, was to empty them into a handy dandy empty (and clean) soap dispenser with pump!

Now I have perfect ease of use and my poor, tired hair thanks me. Plus no oddly shiny-metalish-tube clutter! And check out that gorgeous countertop! *cue eye roll*

Please make sure, if you are getting these from a friend or family member, that you are not putting color specific conditioners into the mix. The tube in the middle of the picture way back there was bright red. It didn't end up going in the bottle. I had flame orange hair once and it was an accident that couldn't grow out fast enough.

So there's my wee little tip for Friday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How does your garden grow?

Not too well at the moment!

But I am already excited about planting some fun, new seeds this year. A local store had seed packets for 50% off AND I'd been reading through an adorable book on potpourri so I got a little excited and did some shopping.

I already have lavender, sage, thyme, lemon thyme, and spearmint in the herb garden. I even had nice enough weather to go out and trim them all the other day - I smelled pretty good by the time I was done!

I also have plenty of roses and a couple of cedar trees which are also in many of the mixes found in the book.

Here's what I plan on adding:

I'm also a huge fan of cut and dried flowers (and also need some more for the potpourri mixes). So here's what I intend to add:

I suspicion I won't be able to leave it at that though. There's a specific area I want to till up and plant to all flowers of this variety so I can always have fresh cut flowers that last and enough pretty petals to add to all my potpourri mixes.

Another plant that's considered useful (and grows in horrific abundance) is calendula. The petals are supposed to be good for dyes and also for cold sores? Honestly I've never tried that. I just wanted to warn you that this stuff can and will take over if you don't keep on top of it. I have a HUGE garden and it almost filled the whole thing. I was pulling up enormous piles of these things so that the vegetables wouldn't choke out and die. Scary! They also seem to attract some gross looking beetle things that hang out in them and scare away any other attractive insects. Fan. Tastic.

Do you have any favorite flowers or herbs that you grow? Or would like to try? If you suggest something I'd love to try it out.

I'll leave you with some older shots of a few of the garden areas to perk you up and make you hopeful for spring!

Two colors of sunflowers with zinnias, African daisies and the odd cosmo.

One of my zinnias.

Two evil plants looking benign and lovely: morning glory and calendula.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Talk about the project that wouldn't end.
This right here is a Christmas present.

I am not even kidding you.

But I do have enough sense to be embarrassed about admitting it!

There's a perfectly reasonable (and totally long and boring) explanation as to why I just now finished it, but the key word is "finished" !! Weeee!!!

In fact it took me so long that I made a bracelet to go with it as "interest."

The reason for the post though, is the wrapping! I've seen several crafty and creative ladies taking ugly tins and making them into something really fun. If you've ever posted something like that, thanks for the idea!

I took a (sadly) empty can of Pirouette, spray-painted it black (after sanding it!) and do you recognize the flower? It was one of my leftovers from my vase project in the post below. It was a perfect embellishment (and also hid a square sticker mark that wouldn't sand off *wink*). I framed the image with polka-dot ribbon, bejewelled and monogrammed the lid and crafted a gift tag and hung it from the same ribbon as frames the image. I then lined the interior of the can with tissue paper and coiled the scarf in there - it fits perfectly! The bracelet sits atop it all. Easy and unique. Love it!

How tricky am I to get both the before and the after in the same photo? Oh so tricky!
(sadly the other one is also empty)

When I was photographing the scarf and bracelet it was dim and drizzling rain so I decided to take the photos on the front porch so I could get some light. When I was finished with the shots I turned around and was greeted by a rainbow. How lovely!

And to top it all my inspiration returned! I was complaining about losing it when B was in her funk. Ronnie got in on that with this post.

Well I don't know if I should call it inspiration or insanity. I made all of these in one night.

They are almost ready to go in the etsy shop! Whew. Once I recover that is...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I love it, I love it not...I love it!

*cue horror film music*

Where did that ugly thing come from? How did it get in my house?! I bought that ON PURPOSE?

Yep, I've said that! On more than one occasion. Isn't it funny how tastes can change or how something will be "Oh that works" one day and "Ummm no it won't!" later?

I bought a vase to hold a spray of grassy looking foliage. My only requirements were that it be a certain height and not made of glass. I found one at Goodwill for...probably two or three dollars (this was quite a while ago, so I can't be exact but it still had the original sticker on it for $14.99).

It was the right height, right price and didn't clash horribly with my room or my ideals...that is until I took my blinders off the other day as I was glancing around the bedroom and it stuck out to me...ghastly!

Are you dying to see it?

Okay it's not that bad, but it was just suddenly more than I could bear to look at.

Yeah it doesn't look that bad from way back there. Let me get it closer.

Blotchy, yellowy, green! This isn't the 70's! The Harvest Gold and Avocado colored appliances are long gone!

Down it came and to the craft room we went.

I sanded the vase to rough up the finsh and make paint more likely to stick to it. I say likely because I discovered that the vase was metal and that can sometimes be tricky. Somehow the "metal" bit did not grab my attention when I bought it. But obviously we know I must have been hypnotized or possibly medicated.

Once I'd roughed up the finish I painted it with some acrylic paint in a color called Ivory Cream. (I'm way into tone on tone whites, creams and tans lately) It would have been way faster and easier with a rattle can, but this is a multi-process vase! Just wait and see what comes next!

I didn't want a pattern I wanted a flower. So I got myself over to The Vintage Moth and printed a picture of a lovely anemone that I changed to black and white. I cut the flower out with a craft knife/razor knife and decoupaged it onto the vase. Okay that doesn't seem much like what Cy did, but that's where the inspiration came from!

Once it was down and down well, I sprayed the whole thing with my can of clear coat gloss.

And the lovely "after"...

I did only put the flower image on one side because I was thinking I could just turn it around if I wanted it plain one day. I like options! And it has nothing to do with the fact that cutting around all those wispy leaves with the razor knife took me...well, a while.

I showed it to a couple of people who asked me if I painted the flower. Ummm yeah! I painted that on there *coughcoughwink*

Now it looks great on my bedside table. Oh, you'll have to forgive the horrible shots taken with flash, that room gets practically zero natural light this time of year.

And you can peruse the book selection while you're here - I love to read!

Do you like my table? It's actually...

A plant stand with a hat box on it. And covered in a vintage table cloth (that I have yet to iron *blushes*) I stole out of the "going to Goodwill pile" I mentioned in this post.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K...

The other day I came home and caught something out of the corner of my eye...what was that movement in the old truck that no one drives? Flapping against the window was a little finchy bird looking quite exasperated. I promptly let it out and then searched for how it got in. There is no way! I still have no clue how it got in there.

Later that afternoon I wandered around the garden area, finding a spot to take some photos of new shinies to put in my etsy shop. I caught another something out of the corner of my eye in the raised garden box. What the...

Carrots! A whole row of carrots! First, it's amazing that they weren't destroyed because the deer eat everything around here. Secondly, I distinctly remember pulling all the carrots late in the Fall.

As near as I can figure, they were some leftover seed that was simply too crowded to grow while the other carrots were there. *shrug*

If you have never grown your own carrots you don't know how good they smell when you pull them and how much flavor they have as opposed to the kind you buy in baggies at the store. I don't know what they do to leech the flavor, but it happens somehow.

So I pulled me some carrots and grabbed some leeks I'd grown that hadn't been eaten yet and made a nice pan of fresh roasted garden February. What a treat!

To roast them I cut them into small pieces and lay them in a baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Then I drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle on plenty of herbs.

I got this mix for Christmas and I love it!

I baked my vegetables at 350 degrees until tender (about an hour).

And since I mentioned my photography was what led to this discovery - I did add a few new items to my etsy shop. Take a sneak peek...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do not run away before you read the explanation

Doily flowers.

Wait! Come back! It's not as bad as it sounds I promise!

Or maybe it is...I did snag these out of a "going to Goodwill" pile (tell me I'm not the only person that does this to people?)

If it makes you feel better I don't intend on keeping them, I just wanted to see if I could make something from them since I was all in the mood for pink and red, it being Valentine's Day and all.

First one is easy! It's just a little guy - might have been a coaster even - I freehanded a stem and leaves onto some paper and cut them out, put everything on a white background and put them into a frame (from Goodwill of course) that was painted white. Of course as soon as I was done with this idea I thought of how much cuter it would be if the stem and leaves were done out of fabric. I'll leave that for you to try!

I have not yet learned to crochet since I'm still working on getting some knitting concepts down BUT if you do crochet and you make a set of small, scalloped edged items you'd like to give as a gift, I think it would be really cute to do this:

Make a cone or tube from paper and pinch the doily, coaster, dish rag, what have you, directly in the center and poke it into the opening until just the top is showing. It makes a cute little flower shape. Wouldn't it be fun to give a "bouquet" of those to someone?

Okay now I have to put everything back in the Goodwill pile and try to behave myself. (Haha!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

What do you mean it's last minute?!

I still don't have all my Valentines done.

But there's still time! Because it's not the last minute's the last minute.

Jen of JLH Jewelry (stunning work - I've bought a few pieces from her) has made some Browncoat Valentines for any of you Firefly flans fans out there. All you have to do is print and cut.

I made this birthday card using stuff I found at The Vintage Moth - but you could easily make it into a Valentine's deal. I admittedly did not have a lot of time to devote to it and nearly misspelled "birthday" - horrors! Normally I would have printed the lettering but I was really running behind! But the effect looks pretty good despite my sloppiness. I mean the contrast in colors and the layers not my horrible handwriting which is normally much neater.

There's also picnik which is great for modifying images you find.

I did this one for my friend's aunt. I went camping with Karen and her aunt and uncle and cousin this summer and there was a whole weekend's worth of Tom Selleck jokes from the men in the group because Karen's aunt made a comment about him. Well I know her aunt will appreciate it anyway.

And last but certainly not least there's Cap'n Wacky's Gallery of Unfortunate Valentines. It's not a place to GET Valentines but a place to stare in bewilderment at the strange images and wordings of cards past with a sarcastic and silly commentary on each.

I'm sure I'll get many of you looking at me askance over that one but it does tickle me.

Now get back to that cutting and gluing before it really is the last minute!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Poetry in motion

The fad may be over but I am still totally in love with magnetic poetry. I remember a professor of mine (a lit and poetry prof. of course!) had some on her office door. I sometimes had two classes in that building close enough together that I could stand there and arrange the little pieces into brilliant prose (brilliant, haha!).

With that as inspiration I came up with an idea that will allow you to be a poet (even though you didn't know it) and yet won't clutter up the refrigerator.

If you care to find your own rocks that could be a fun excursion, but I just bought mine in the floral department of the craft store (I've seen these in non-craft stores as well).

For the words I printed them using a semi-frilly font. I then cut them out with a pair of funky-edged scissors and glued them to the rocks.

If you have skills with penmanship you could just use a Sharpie and freehand the words directly onto the rock.

As to which words to choose? I went with the classic piece by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Print out several lines of the poem or verse of your choice making sure to leave room between the words for cutting. Once the words are adhered to the rocks they can be arranged to say anything (although hopefully it will all be nice stuff!).

Place the rocks in a tray or shallow box. Fill the bottom of your container with luxuriant fabric for a romantic look or sand for a rock garden effect.

Have fun!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter blahs getting you down?

Are you needing a Bit O' Shine in your life?

It just so happens that I added some new shinies to my etsy.

Thrifty Decor Chick was just talking about crafting therapy and I totally agree. I'm currently bogged down in a week's worth of rain and making these colorful bits of sparkle is so therapeutic! Especially my Southwestern inspired bits...I can imagine myself basking in the sunshine on my uncle's patio in Arizona...ahhhhh I feel better already.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Valentine's decorations at no cost

In my love of all things outdoors I rescued a large birch branch from the yard after a windstorm. I put it in a vase and decorated it for Christmas. You can see my original post on that here.
But with all the colors around for Valentine's day I couldn't leave my "tree" out of the fun!

Using the same technique as I did for the window decoration in Friday's post I made a few extra hearts - remembering to cut them on a fold this time! what a time saver - and applied the same kind of wash with my Tomato Spice paint.

While those dried I cut the edge of the newspaper (the part that's blank) into thin strips about four inches long. Using a gluestick I glued their ends together forming a loop.

Then it's just a matter of applying glue to the interior of the heart and threading the end of your loop through the opening and closing it all up. Make sure you press down directly over where the loop is under the heart paper. I went to pick up a few and the loop came right out!

Now my Charlie Brown tree has joined us in the Valentine's festivity.

Easy peasy! (and don't forget free!)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Getting to know you...I mean me!

Did you ever see The King and I? The musical with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner? There's a scene where she, as the teacher, is trying to get to know her students (the king's children) and sings a little song "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me..." It's cute!

So I've been tagged by Heather to post a little about myself. How she explained it: The idea behind this tag is to find out more about our blogging buddies by having them list/describe 20 random things about themselves that we don't otherwise know from reading their blog.

Before we get started...

**WARNING** Superfluous personal information dead ahead!

Okay you've been warned. *wink*

Some of these are two for ones!

1. I love old movies! One of my recently discovered favorites is Captain Blood.
2. I name my vehicles. My current vehicle is named James.
3. One birthday I was given a hedgehog as a pet. I named her Gewndolyn and she was great to let loose in the house to eat all the spiders hiding under furniture.
4. I'm a closet history buff. (passed through Montana a couple of years ago and went to Pompey's Pillar and saw William Clark's named carved in the rock - so cool!)
5. I get nightmares from watching Animal Planet (never from scary movies though).
7. I've only been out of the U.S. once and that was to spend two weeks in Israel. Everything was so interesting and beautiful!
8. I love the smell of sagebrush and pine. Juniper is pretty good too.
9. I decided to grow an herb garden after watching (and reading) a bunch of Brother Cadfael.
10. I never fell off the horse I had as a kid. Even though she bucked, reared and we almost got run over by a log truck - somehow I always stayed in the saddle!
11. I LOVE The Gaslight Theatre in Tucson, AZ. I absolutely had the best time and can't wait to go back.
12. My friend Megan used to call me The Spider Queen because large, disgusting spiders seem to find me wherever I am! I have so many horrifying and yucky spider stories!
13. I used to keep a dream journal because my dreams are usually so absurd and bizarre. It's actually quite an entertaining read. (It's good to laugh at yourself!)
14. My dream car is this.
15. I've driven a Pettibone Super 20. (I also spent a summer sanding and painting these machines!)
16. When I was a kid I prayed every night for a baby brother - and I got one! He's six years younger than me.
17. I am just totally freaked out by slugs. Probably because I stepped barefoot on a big one when I was little and it traumatized me.
18. I chopped my hair off two years ago. It took a year of growing and trimming to get it all even and I've been growing it out for a little over a year now. My hair is now about 19 inches long.
19. I took piano lessons TWICE and now I can't even remember how to play!
20. Despite my horrible memory for piano lessons I will inherit a baby grand from my aunt. (Maybe I should give the lessons another try?)

Friday, February 6, 2009

A welcoming heart

My new favorite thing is to decorate doors and doorways because I want them to shout "welcome to my home!" - er...not literally shout of course, that would frighten everyone away, but you know what I mean.

Inspired by maya*made's newspaper heart bunting and CraftSylish's snowstorm I jumbled the two ideas together and came up with a dangling window decoration perfect for welcoming visitors into the heart of the home.

First I had to find newspaper - I don't subscribe to it so I tracked down a county publication letting all county residents know about things going on - search and rescue volunteering, 4-H events, bicycle trails maps, etc. Not exactly romantic, but it works. Using a wee little heart-shaped cookie cutter as a guide, I penciled around the shape and cut them out. Cutting them on a fold would have saved some time, but I didn't remember to try that until I was basically finished! That figures.

Since the paper was lacking in story charm I made a wash using Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paint in Tomato Spice mixed with a little water and coated my paper hearts. The papers curled themselves up and uncurled themselves in a very entertaining manner but I made sure to move them around while they were still wet so they wouldn't stick to the grocery ad I was using as countertop protection. My wash came out a little more watery than I intended so I ended up painting on three coats to get the look I wanted.

Since I already had the floss cut to the correct length for the door window from the snowstorm project, I simply removed the white dots and reused the floss from that. Thankfully the dots were super easy to unstick from each other.

I adhered two hearts back to back using regular gluestick glue and making sure the floss was directly in the middle. I tried to space them randomly but it doesn't really look like I succeeded does it?

I'm sorry I can't offer a photo of them when they are put up, but with the window light behind them you will only be able to see dark, vaguely heart-shaped blobs and it's really not very inspiring that way.

On the front of the door I'm hanging this grapevine wreath I've had kicking around here that I tied red and gold ribbon scraps left over from package wrapping at Christmas time. It's a little funky, but it didn't cost anything and I used up some scraps. Plus I love having that splash of color on the door now that the Christmas wreath is gone.

Admittedly it did not take a great deal of thought or effort, but isn't that the beauty of it?
Speaking of wreaths I love this one done by Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick.
Are you doing anything to make your entry welcoming?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Love magic

Chanel may have her No.5 but love has it's No.9 thanks to The Clovers.*

Give out some potions this Valentine's Day by decorating a glass bottle and filling it with bath oil.

I bought a case of these brown glass bottles at a garage sale for $1.00 (how could I say no to that?) and I still have about a bajillion of them despite how many I've already used. Because of the brown and the antique look of it, I rubbed some distress ink on the label before I decoupaged it. The jute string and antique brass cupid charm complete that old look for it.

But that's just because I had brown to start with!

I'd recommend using a clear bottle. Try staining your label lightly with red for effect and tie on red or pink ribbon.

You can make your own bath oil by mixing a few different kinds of oils like in the instructions here. Or you could just fill the bottle with something nice smelling like coconut oil. A few drops into a bath will really soften the skin.

Feel free to use the image I made for the label, just right click and save to your computer - it may require some resizing, just to warn you.

*I bet you thought I was going to say The Searchers since their version got the song to number 3 on the US charts, but the Clovers were the first to sing it. Personally I like the version Herb Alpert did - it has a lot of sass and swagger to it!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Talk to me Tuesday

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate"*

So sayeth Tip Junkie! So she's trying out a new strategy with her Talk to me Tuesday post and is asking bloggers what their favorite post was in 2008 - favorite post from their own blog, that is.

I think mine would have to be my scented mossy orbs tutorial.

It certainly is the strangest named project I did last year. Plus it was one of those "I wonder..." projects that actually turned out better than expected! And it didn't cost a penny to make - Yeah, definitely my favorite!

*I once made a bet with my brother on this quote. He claimed it was from some ridiculous movie and I tried, to no avail, to tell him it was from Cool Hand Luke. I won the bet of course! That's what he gets for not watching old movies. *wink*

Monday, February 2, 2009

Make someone's morning rosy

Surprise your Valentine with a new take on flowers and chocolate.

A pink (red would work great too!) cloth napkin is folded corner to corner, etc. until the right size for the cup, then rolled to create the "petals" of the bud. Make leaf tags from craft or scrapbook paper and tie on with ribbon. Don't forget to add a message! If you're creating this for friends or family how about a simple "good morning"? If meant for your sweetie add another with "my love" or whatever sobriquet you prefer.

(Speaking of sobriquets I have to insert here, since I mentioned my reading of Nicholas Nickleby, that a dialogue between a husband and wife in that book ended with the husband saying, "what, my essential juice of pineapple?" Haha! How weird is that?)

Remove the napkin and linger over a morning mocha - what better way to tell someone you love them than with some quality time?

I make a simple mocha at home by mixing a packet of hot chocolate with coffee and some vanilla creamer and a shake of cinnamon - easy and delicious.

This idea originated from a page I tore out of a Country Sampler Decorating Ideas magazine years ago. If you don't have time for morning coffee you can always plan this for a lovely dinner instead.