Monday, May 30, 2011

Wedding Photos

In my last post I showed how I made the centerpieces for the wedding open house I decorated.
It was a pleasure to work with this young couple you see in the photos. I am not a "professional" wedding designer/planner but I do find enjoyment in helping newlyweds make their celebration special. They were looking for something unique and I think that's the look we were able to achieve. Their colors were bright pink, yellow, and turquoise.
The couple loved parts of the backdrop from another wedding I had done but they weren't happy with the center/door area.
So I came up with an idea they did love.
I gave my outdoor patio furniture pieces a fresh coat of turquoise paint and found some coordinating fabric to hang in place of the door. I added in some lighting and brightly painted pink windows. The backdrop took on a whole new look.
They were thrilled with the result. And their happiness was mine!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yet Another Paper Wreath Tutorial

If you do a search for paper wreath tutorials you will likely find a bazillion. There are folded paper wreaths and rolled paper wreaths just to name a few. I'm sure there is already at least one crunched paper wreath tutorial, yet I will add another just in case you haven't had the time or inclination to search. Paper wreaths are so popular because they are relatively inexpensive. However they are time, paper, and hot glue stick consuming. Each of the wreaths I made as centerpieces for the wedding reception took about an hour.
I started by using a simple wreath from the dollar store.
In order to camouflage the wreath, as well as make it easier for the crunched paper to stick,
I first covered it with strips of sheet music.
This was when I received 75% of my hot glue burns so be very careful with this step!
Next I cut pages from a music book into fourths.
My wreaths were covered completely on all sides so each took an entire music book that was about the thickness of a magazine.
Using one piece of quartered paper, I placed a dowel (a pencil would also work) into the center of the paper and then crunched the paper around the dowel.
Making sure to first flatten out the crunched end a bit for more surface area, I then applied hot glue.
Next I used the dowel to place the crunched paper onto the wreath.
I continued. . . and continued. . . and continued until the wreath was covered.
***I will now impart what little unique knowledge I gained from this procedure***
If the paper is thin it will adhere much faster than if it is thick and stiff. The stiffer the paper the longer the wait time for the glue to hold. And while you may think that the paper is stuck you will soon find out that the little stinkin' stiff paper will try to hightail it right off the wreath just as you are placing the next piece causing you to grab said piece and possibly cause additional finger burnage.
After the wreath was complete I lightly sprayed each with the desired color of spray paint. To give them more color and interest I added in pieces of crunched colored tissue paper.
To make them hang I hot glued on some evenly placed ribbons and glued the ribbons onto a large dowel that had been glued into a piece of 2x4. The dowel was topped with a finial painted to match the wreath and ribbons. I then adhered photos of the newlyweds onto the ribbon.
The centerpieces resembled little maypoles which was very appropriate since it was a May wedding.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

We have had sooooo much rain this spring that it is really dampening my spirits! Rainy days equal no spray painting outside; thus my home improvement projects have been few and far between. But all this moisture is also having an affect on my surroundings outside. While the grass is a little greener than usual, my flowering bushes are the most sparse I have even seen.
Last year my "snowball" bush was huge and laden with blooms.This year I wondered if it was half dead. But upon closer inspection it's just shriveled and sad, with smaller blooms and ugly brown spots.Last year my homegrown bouquet was abundant with blossoms.This year I gathered a small cluster of blooms, determined to not let the rain shrivel my spirits as much as it has shriveled my bushes. It may be smaller than last year's but it's still just as beautiful!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wood and Wasps

Last week we were (finally) able to experience a few days of warm weather. I lugged my scroll saw outside to the picnic table so as to take in the goodness of the sun as well as get some work done on the wedding open house I'd been hired to decorate. While cutting out the candelabras I took a moment to take in my surroundings. To the left of my saw lay a pile of firewood loving cut and left by the men of my family; an accompanying gift to what I was given for Mother's Day. This year I decided to play it safe and send an email to my family members telling them just what I wanted to receive. However, I forgot to check the link and my family was left to guess which fire pit I desired. They guessed wrong but were willing to return their first choice and buy my first choice, temporarily/creatively resting on an old pallet. Unfortunately with the wet weather and our busy schedules we haven't had a chance to enjoy it. Hence the pile of firewood on the picnic table.
To the right of my saw lay further evidence to my neighbors that they are living next door to a lunatic woman. I'm sure that's what they would have thought if they were to glance outside their windows to see me batting around the scrap of wood and then here me laugh the "HeeHee" of a jubilant pirate defending his plunder. I repeated this action at least a dozen times while cutting my project. But I was not defending myself from swarthy, sword holding attackers. I was defending myself from small, vicious flying prey. Fortunately my batting skills were on the mark and I was now surrounded by the carcasses of about a dozen of my foe. Once I no longer heard the menacing buzz of those small invaders I was able to complete my task and resume the appearance of an average "normal" woman who cuts projects outside in the warm weather, on a picnic table piled high with firewood, surrounded by deceased insects.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Letter of Warning

Dear Mr. Weed,

Will you please explain why you appear in my yard year after year. Your behavior is unacceptable. I have never given you an invitation and yet you and all of your relatives continue to arrive despite my efforts to keep you out.How is it that you can grow double the size of the flowers that I fertilize? Why do you try to crowd out my little pretties? How is it that your Weed relatives can look so different and yet have the same annoying behavior?Your Weed kin try to camouflage themselves as pretty blossoms and then they morph into nightmarish evil spawn to cause me further torment.For your information, I have hired the biggest, baddest bouncer in town to get you out of my yard for good. Consider this your final warning!

Sincerely,

Joy

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Girl Has Taste

Last week I took my three-and-a-half year old granddaughter to the thrift store to shop for a gift for her momma. Why the thrift store? Well, the thrift store and the dollar store are two of the smallest stores around which makes it much easier to keep track of a very active three year old. And out of the two choices the thrift store definitely has a wider variety of pretty junk. First we visited the toy aisle to get that distraction out of the way so we could better focus on our gift finding mission. Taking a child to the toy aisle of the thrift store can keep them entertained for quite a while. Three year olds don't seem to be bothered with the fact that most of the toys are broken or have dead or missing batteries. Once she had experienced broken toy overload we went on our journey to find the perfect gift. After searching high and low (me-high shelves, her-low) we were both ready to throw in the towel and resort to the traditional gift of a handmade card. It was then that she picked up this vintage darling off of the bottom shelf. I'm sure she didn't base her choice on the age of the item, it's color, or classic style. Her choice was likely based on how fun and easy it was the flip the lid up and down. Nonetheless she made a great choice. All that was needed to make it a perfect gift was the addition of some fresh color coordinating tulips, a tag and bow. . . along with a wish for a Happy Mother's Day and a hug and kiss. Her momma was very happy. And I, her nonnie, was pretty proud of her great taste and superb thrifting skills!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Serveware

I succumbed.
I did.
I saw this little beauty on the very bottom shelf at the thrift store.My first response was to gasp.
A little.
Then reason took over as I reminded myself that I am trying very hard to
buy only things that I know I will use.
But the hypnosis of ironstone had me under it's spell
and I picked up this pretty little piece of serving ware and placed it in my basket.
I told myself that it was possible to enjoy it's beauty while shopping.
And then leave it.
But the more I stared at it in my cart the more it had my heart.
I knew it would never be used.
I reasoned that it could always be just a gorgeous display piece.
After all it certainly appears to be vintage.Who uses these things anyway?
Although . . . . .
with Mother's day just a few days away,
my family could lovingly bring me breakfast in bed using this on a tray.
Along with a vase of beautiful flowers.
But that's not going to happen.
Ever.
My family knows that the only breakfast I enjoy is cereal.
With a little orange juice on the side.
Not exactly a breakfast in bed menu.
Nope.
This won't be used on Mother's day.
Or any of the other three-hundred-and-sixty-four days of the year.
But who made the rule that you could only enjoy things if they serve a purpose?
Not me.
My rule would be:
If it brings a smile to your face, and a dream to your heart,
and it won't break the budget,
it's okay to buy that budget smiley-face-dream-maker.
Just as long as you don't buy so many
that you end up on some TV show for hoarder's.
Or have to join Smiley-Face-Dream-Maker Anonymous.
My other rule is that a woman should always by herself
a little something for Mother's day.
So this is my gift to me.Here's where you envision me with a smile on my face
and a dream cloud floating over my head,
wishing myself a Happy Mother's Day.
And wishing you a Happy Mother's Day too!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bigger is Better

This was the light over our kitchen sink.But when you have a light like this over the table,
you really do need a bigger fixture over the sink.It's a good thing that someone donated the light I needed.And it's a good thing that a can of spray paint was all it took tounite the lights.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Welcoming Arrangment

This vignette is currently on the table in our entry
to welcome family and friends.
The arrangement is simply a grocery store bouquet
with a few flowering tree branches from our yard tucked in.Everything else {silver, faux plant, leaf ball, books}
is thrifted items.I adore how simple, thrifty items placed on a tray
can look so formal and beautiful!

Monday, May 2, 2011

To Please Or Not To Please

I started to paint my dining room wall more than a month ago and it still isn't finished! It has a few more coats of paint from techniques that I've tried and hated, but that is the only progress that I can report. It has been a source of frustration for weeks. The more frustrated I got with the wall the more I began to question, "Who am I trying to please?"Blogs are wonderful whether you write them, read them, or both. They can provide inspiration and motivation. Blogs can become one of the greatest sources for trying new ideas in our homes. However I've discovered that, for me, it's important to ask myself if my motivation for making change is because I really love and desire the change or is it because it's the popular thing to do? In other words who am I trying to please? On occasional I have fallen into the trap of creating things simply for a blog post, or because I think my readers will love it, or because I've seen the idea on several blogs so I feel the need to have it in my home. Interestingly enough I don't always recognize my motivation for creating but I do recognize that the item quickly becomes something that I don't truly love in my home. It doesn't reflect my taste because I did it to please someone else and I wasn't being true to myself.
Blogs aren't the only trap we can find ourselves caught in when trying to be true to ourselves in decorating our home. Recently I had a design appointment with a new client. As she took me through her home she would point out in nearly every room an item that someone gave her. I could tell in her voice that these were not items that she loved. The items were placed there simply because she felt a sense of obligation to the giver. She kept the item in her home because she wanted to please the giver. Yet the giver of the gift rarely, if ever, visited her home. I asked her the question, "If someone gave you a blouse that was a color you disliked, a pattern or cut that simply wasn't you, or that didn't fit, would you feel that you needed to wear it all of the time?" When her response was no, I asked, "Then why do you do that with things in your home?" I understand that there are some things given to us by those we love and/or live with that we feel obligated to keep. I know that we often have to make compromises in our home because of our loved ones, but that should not be the entire design of our home. Just as it's okay to keep the ugly blouse in the back of the closet, we can put the less desired, making a compromise, pleasing our loved one objects in a less prominent area of our home.
Our home is just that, OURS. Homes should be the one place where we find true comfort. They should be the one place that truly reflects who we are. Our home should be a haven where we please ourselves, where we are authentic to ourselves and our family.Today look around your home. Does it reflect who you are and please you? Or does it contain far too many things that please someone else? If so, I give you permission, just as I did for my client, to put away or give away those items that please someone else. Then go ahead and replace them with items you love because that is how you discover the real joys of home!
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