Saturday, April 11, 2015

Junque in the Garden Part 1

Its that time of year again for Spring's peek-a-boo game: now you see me, now you're covered in snow. Spring can be so moody.

The perennials and volunteers are popping up and I'm nursing some annuals indoors waiting for the overnight temps to move above freezing. 

My favorite garden planning, though, is the garden junque, because its unkillable. In fact, it appears to thrive with neglect. My kind of gardening, hands down. Everything else is so picky about needing water. ~sigh~ 

Garden Junque #1: Rusted & Patina'd Key Chime

My favorite keys are the one's with the green patina. ~love~ I followed this tutorial for creating rust and patina with vinegar and salt. Its a simple process but time consuming. 

To create, I raided the junk drawer and collected a bunch of we-don't-know-what-this-key-goes-to  keys, key rings, and random metal pieces to hang them by. Do you see the clothespin-metal-thingy, yep, random stuff. 

Its Spring Cleaning at its best: you get a clean drawer and an awesome garden decoration. 

This adorable metal butterfly was a garage sale find. Its those giant eyes and clunky feet that stole my heart. 

Here they are together buried in the snow.

Garden Junque #2: refurbished wooden crate
This old crate was a curb find. I had dropped my daughter off at school and was driving home when I saw two guys cleaning out their garage. A growing pile of goodies sat on the sidewalk. Immediately, I stopped the car, jumped out (in my pajamas), and asked if I could take the crate. Just before I asked, one of the men said, "Here they come." Sounds like they were anticipating some curb alert enthusiasts. Glad I was the first! 

It was a bit to big and deep for me to figure out what to do with it. So, I cut it up in the hopes of turning into two smaller crates. The wood was actually more degraded than I thought, so some of the pieces literally started falling apart when I tried to nail them back together. So far I have one mini-crate made and I'm deciding what to do with the leftover pieces.

I just love the rusty nail heads and the way they have bled into the wood. 

Its currently holding six primrose plants. The crate makes it easy to take them inside during the freezing nights, then back out for some sun during the day. 

Garden Junque #3: Recycled Owl
A quick search in Pinterest for a recycled owl yield so many adorable owls! Here is my own take on it:

This won't be his permanent home. I'd like to create some sort of recycled branch for him to sit on. That should be a fun project! 

There are more junque-y finds in my garden but they look better with flowers in them. Part 2 coming shortly! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pocket Paris Present

This is a combo gift for a family member. Its just a fun little something to send along with a book I've been meaning to pass their way. I like unexpected things, in the mail or by hand, and hope they enjoy this cutesy tag-a-long. 

Supplies: old metal container, Kilz primer, acrylic paint, not pictured: Mod Podge
Click here for this Paris city template:

painted the inside with French flag colors
sealed with Mod Podge

I'm coupling this present with this book: Finding Home by Jim Daly. Not saying that Paris should be home, although that point could be argued favorably, lol. I'm all for some quality wine, cheese, and bread. 

“I should be insane—or in jail.”
Instead, Jim Daly, President and CEO of Focus on the Family managed to rise above his harrowing childhood that began in the Compton suburb of Los Angeles. In this deeply personal memoir, he relives horrors no child should endure. A bloodcurdling neighborhood murder merely serves as the backdrop to the abuse and alcoholism within the four walls of his own home, a cycle broken only by the cancer that leaves him motherless. Orphaned by twelve, he somehow managed to catch enough glimpses of grace that he knew he wanted more, both from himself and from a God he had to believe existed.

This story left me figuratively speechless because I couldn't shut up about it. Like a puppy I followed my husband around our kitchen going on and on and on about this man's story. I totally agree with Jim Daly, he should be insane or in jail. Its an incredible story that it worth the read and I highly recommend it. I still find myself thinking about it and I read the book over two years ago!

If you've read it, or after you do, let me know what you think/thought. I wish I'd read this in a book club, so much food for thought. 

Now I just need to find a travel size Italy for myself! 

Friday, April 3, 2015


If I had a quarter, no, a nickle, for every time I said, "NO MORE STUFFIES!!!" I wouldn't have to worry about a 401K. Despite my verbal resolve to never allow another fluff-stuffed animal into the house, I still find them sneaking in and laying around on the floor. Always on the floor. Always.on.the.floor. I know there are other mothers out there who feel my pain as we yet again kick a marble eyed teddy-bunny-horsey-whatever-annoying-stuffy-it-is out of the walkway. Can't just be on the floor, has to be in the way on the floor.

Stuffy Zoo
I tried a stuffy rotation by hiding half of them in bags and storing it next to the Christmas decorations. The kids found them and we had a stuffy explosion. ~sigh~ Then we donated some and I even chucked a couple in the trash, shhhhhhhhh! Don't tell!

Then a genius posted a Stuffy Zoo and I nearly wanted to fall down on the ground and kiss the stuffy-free-ground they walk on! Amazing idea! And a quick sweep of Pinterest gives different options for the "bars" of the zoo: rope, bungee cords, elastic strips, or dowels. A totally doable idea.

Here is my take: 
A while back I took apart a dresser and created toy storage for my kids. My daughter ended up with the drawer-less part for her pony and doll buildings. Then she got a real doll house and this was no longer needed.

The original backing had fallen off so I replaced it with pallet boards and then painted it in Trattoria Teal to match the Fence Pieces Bookshelf in the basement. 

The "bars" are wooden dowels salvaged from an old VCR shelf. They weren't quite long enough so a small wooden board was added to the bottom. These were attached with Gorilla Glue and finishing nails. So far it looks like they are durable enough for some tugging. 


 And this isn't all of the stuffies we have...just the ones that aren't on their beds. 

Its an unfinished glamour shots here! 

How do you handle stuffed animals? 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Personalized Home-Warming Gift

Silent Saturday? Instead of a Wordless Wednesday?

I wanted a personalized house-warming gift for my friend who recently moved out of state.

Capital "M" for the their last name.
State Maps from where my friend:
1. Met her husband
2. Had her kids
3. Moved to recently


Cut around the cities where she lived. 
Tore edges and overlapped the map pieces.

Sealed with Mod Podge in matte finish.


I really liked how this turned out...think I'll make one for us. Its a fun way to tell our story. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Upcycled Beer Bottle Caps

I just can't let anything go to waste. My husband can testify to the mounds of "junk" that gets stacked everywhere. Just today I was telling him of a recent epiphany: I have an aversion to empty space and feel compelled to put something in said empty space. After ten years of marriage, this wasn't news to him. Seems he knows me better than I know myself! 

This is a few months worth of beer bottle caps originally collected for a tray makeover, an idea that I never totally committed too. 

Here the caps were sorted either according to color or interesting picture. 

PROJECT 1: Magnets
My sister collects beer bottle stickers and adores a good home brew from the state of her birth. I thought these magnet caps would make a cute house-warming gift for her newish place.

Magnets seem like a pretty straightforward craft project, one would think. How can you screw up magnets + glue + bottle cap? Oh, it can be done. Especially if the wrong glue is used. 

not the best glue choice for this project
Magnet Bottle Caps FAIL
I had made letter magnets to help the kids learn how to spell our ridiculously long last name. Great idea but the wrong glue quickly had the caps falling to the floor and under the fridge. Its a "fun" way to find out that you can rearrange the letters in your name to spell lame

Usually Tacky Glue is a favorite of mine but something about the plastic in the bottle cap and the plastic coated magnet just didn't gel with the Glue. 

Using Gorilla Glue presented its own problem: ugly bubbly. 

When all was said and done, the magnets came out cute! As a plus, they work! No falling to the floor and hanging out under the fridge. 

Project 2: Alphabet Letter Match
Upper Case & Lower Case

This project is left over from my teaching days. In class we used lima beans with the lower case letters written on them. After a few uses, though, the lima beans would start to break apart. Grrrrrrr! 

The board is actually laminated construction paper. The upper case letters were a set of stamps from Oriental Trading Company (some ten years ago). 

All these bottle caps had a gold base and the tops only were coated with chalk paint from Hobby Lobby. I used actual chalk to write the lower case letters, then sprayed with a clear coat of spray paint. 
To sharpen the letters, I retraced in chalk and resprayed. 

Already to go.

There is still a decent amount of bottle caps to use and no shortage of future caps to be added! 

Hmmmm, maybe save enough to make my own Halloween costume???? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Glass Hoarder: Distressed Pieces

I'm a sucker for quirky glass jars/vases/jugs, etc. I have absolutely no practical use for them but they are too cute to pass up!

My husband does not share in the enthusiasm, but he's a good sport about my glass hoarding as long as I keep it contained to a couple areas.

Have you seen the amazing distressed glasses at Anderson and Grant??? It was the inspiration for a few of the more fun glass pieces in my collection. Her page also has a fantastic tutorial to follow.

displayed above my kitchen cabinets

Dollar Tree Salt & Pepper Shakers

Home-made Chalkpaint in some beige color from my paint hoard...yes, glass jars and paint "collector"
 The jars above include: rum jug, spagetti jar, honey jar, maple syrup jar, and other fun finds. On occasion I have been known to buy a certain brand of sauce based on my attraction to the jar verses its contents. 

is it me, or does this kinda look like worms?

luckily the finished product didn't turn out looking like worms, lol

The jars aren't sealed yet in case I want to change the color. Day2daysupmom's colorful take on the same idea is also intriguing.

The salt & pepper shakers were sealed, though, with polycrylic. There is an imminent future of grubby hands leaving all manner of sauces and goo on their pretty selves. 

love these made-over dollar store shakers

A question for other glass hoarders: What do you do with your quirky finds?