Monday, May 21, 2012

In The Bag

Have you seen these signs from Ballard Designs?

How about these pillows, also from Ballard? Don't ya just love 'em?

The simple, but classically embellished everyday items served as inspiration for us this weekend. You see, last year my daughter wanted to learn to sew, so we stared with a small laundry bag project for a friend who was heading off to college. It was a total hit. It turned out so well, in fact, that she was asked to make four more laundry bags for friends and family in the weeks that followed.

So when graduation season rolled around this year, my sister-from-another-mother called wanting my daughter to make a bag for her college-bound son. This was a little more difficult because finding a heavy-duty masculine fabric that is not covered in some sort of camouflage or mallard motif is a challenge. We ended up choosing a natural colored canvas -- a little lighter than those fabulous linen pillows.

Once the bag was complete, I was given the honor of embellishing it. I had some glittery die-cut letters which I used as stencils.

With a regular ol' Sharpie marker, I carefully traced around each letter and then filled them in. 

We decided on a "laundry" logo since the bag was for a guy, but a pretty monogram
or really anything your heart desires can be used for this project.

Here is how it turned out. What do you think?  

Check out this and other great D-I-Y projects and decor on these link parties:

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


Tip Junkie handmade projects   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Epic Fail

You see that picture? That horrendous 36" x 48" canvas filled with dreary viney things was supposed to be a "BEFORE" shot of a super, awesome, incredible, amazing, upcycled art project. Instead, the "before" photo is the best thing about the whole mess of a what-was-I-thinking moment.

I am not going to bore you with the pitiful "AFTER" photos. I've burned them. Let me just say, though, that at some point in the process of carrying out this insanity, I encountered various cleaning fluids, two gigantic garden urns, a ripped-to-shreds drop cloth, spilled gasoline, and some substance that still has me smelling like death.

Despite the disastrous results, I am still in love with my idea and am not giving up on it. I am rethinking the design and will start again -- maybe even this afternoon.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Made For Mom

I went shopping for Mother's Day gifts for my mom and mother-in-law today. I could find nothing new, unique, interesting, or exciting to give them. Everything seemed like reproductions of the last ten years worth of Mother's Day gift ideas.

As I walked and walked and walked, going from one store to the next, my focus shifted to my aching feet. As I continued sifting through the same-stuff-different-store, I kept thinking that what I really wanted to do was soak in a hot bath. That's when it hit me...a basket of bath stuff would be a great gift for the moms.

Okay, so, I KNOW bath salts, bubbles and scrubs is nothing new. But bath salts, bubbles and scrubs made by yours truly is totally different!

I hopped in the car and headed to Walmart where I could get all my supplies in one place. I bought jelly jars, salts, fruits, and oils. And -- I confess -- I bought a big jug of bubble bath because I have no idea how to make bubble bath.

For the bath salts, I used plain old Epsom salts and lavender essential oils (which I had on hand). I added a few drops of oil to the bag of Epsom salts and shook it like crazy to combine. I kept on adding drops of the lavender oil until the scent was what I liked.

For the salt scrub, I used a coarse sea salt, grated lemon rind, fresh rosemary (from the planter on my table), and mineral oil. I combined the entire container of salt, rind from two fresh lemons, and six sprigs of rosemary. I mixed it together until everything was fully incorporated and the salt was a pale yellow color. Then I added mineral oil until the salt mixture was slightly thicker than the scrubs you get in the store. I find that store brand salt scrubs generally use too much oil and, therefore, do not do a very good job sloughing rough skin from heels, elbows, and knees. You can use as much as you like, but in my opinion, less is best.

After everything was mixed and prepared, I packaged each concoction in small jelly jars. I found a set of 12 jars for less than $8.00!!! Then, inspired by the hydrangeas in my yard, I chose a pair of light blue baskets to hold my handmade gifts.

I stuffed everything in the baskets, wrapped 'em in medium clear bag wraps, and tied a white ribbon to finish it off. So simple. And the great thing is that these simple but seriously tasteful and pretty gifts can be given at any time of the year and for any occasion! It's a super easy idea for all those end-of-year teacher's gifts too.

Check out other clever ideas on these awesome link parties . . . .

you are talking too muchyou are talking too much 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Herbal Remedy

I have been growing herbs for years. I love walking out the door and grabbing bursts of flavor right from the deck, so each year the number of containers on my deck grows too. Now, I am running out of space for containers on my deck.

A simple solution would be to put a big pot of herbs in the middle of my hexagonal table, but we have an umbrella that runs up through the center of the table. So that idea is out . . . or is it????

The space in the center of my patio table recently started to really bug me. It's nearly impossible to pass things across the space, and with the umbrella, you really can't use the area for flowers, candles or etc. Ever since the middle-of-the-table problem crept into my mind, I have been determined to make the space useful. I decided to reclaim the space with a pot fresh herbs -- some how, some way.

Thus began the search for a large, low-profile and lightweight pot. I searched for a full month for the right one. Yesterday I finally found it; pushed behind other pots in the outdoor area of Lowe's garden center. It's difficult to tell from the photo, but it measures about 2 ft. across and about 10 in. high. To my amazement, it was only $7.00! I grabbed it and practically ran to the plumbing department for some PVC pipe. I found a 3 ft. length of 2 in. PVC for about $3.00. My total investment in this project -- a whopping $10.00.

When I got home, I took the PVC pipe and centered it in the bottom of the pot and traced around it. I took a straight edge razor and cut the circle out of the bottom to make way for the PVC pipe. Then I got my handy dandy hubby to cut the PVC pipe slightly longer than the height of my pot.

After my pieces were cut. I inserted the PVC pipe through the hole in the bottom of the pot and secured it with insulating foam sealant. You know, the kind that you use to fill cracks around pipes (like the one I was working with). We already had some on hand, so I had no extra expense to add to my project cost. But if you had to buy some, you could expect to pay about $5 - $10.

The foam kind of went everywhere because I lack a steady hand. I used a spackling knife to push the foam into the space between the pot and the pipe. I let that dry and cure for several hours.

When the sealant was dry and the PVC pipe secure to the bottom of the pot, I took it to the deck and began planting my herbs. I made certain to start with a lightweight filler for drainage on the bottom since there are no drainage holes in the pot. I stayed away from rocks or marbles because I did not want the weight on my glass table top. Instead, I went with wine corks.

I covered the bottom of my pot with about 2 in. worth of wine corks and I really think it is going to work well. If you aren't sure about cork, Walmart carries a product made of molded shredded rubber which sits on the bottom of the pot to provide drainage. I'm sure there are lots of other options like packing peanuts, so just use whatever lightweight material you have on hand.

You could also paint the pipe to match the container or umbrella pole if you wanted to, but when the plants and soil are in the pot, the white PVC tube really does not show.

After the herbs were potted, we centered the the container over the umbrella hole in the table and slipped the umbrella through all the holes and into the stand. The finished product turned out just as great as I imagined. I could not be happier.

For more great D-I-Y project ideas, check out these link parties: