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6.29.2013

Custom Water Bottle Labels

Here's another of my 'Fast, Cheap & Easy'TM decorating ideas -
just in time for your weekend picnic plans!

All you need are your water bottles
and latex balloons in a color and theme that matches your party decor.
Cut off the top round part and the lower round part & neck of the balloon
as shown in the image above
then slide the MIDDLE section of the balloon over the water bottle.
[remove the paper label from the bottle if it will show]

... and just like that, you've got customized labels!

I haven't seen these anywhere else (and I looked)
so I am claiming this as an ORIGINAL idea!

6.27.2013

Easy Bandana Banner

Party Banners seem to be everywhere...
and while I know that it's not THAT hard to cut and glue or sew burlap or canvas to make one,
there's a SUPER EASY way to get this effect in no time at all...
and you'll be able to use the materials in other ways when you are done using it.
Getting double use out of decor elements? LOVE.

continue reading for my EASY version of a banner, 

made with Bandanas from the Dollar Store!

6.25.2013

It's All Bottled Up!

Don't you just LOVE it when you find something you already have
that you can make use of for your upcoming party or holiday decor? I do!

I was searching through the garage cabinets one day for paint,
and discovered a hoard of vintage soft drink bottles under there!

I knew exactly what I'd use them for: flower vases in a patriotic tablescape...
The vintage Coke and Pepsi graphics on the bottles
coordinate perfectly with the patriotic color scheme in this summer setting by the pool...

I even used some blue blown-glass plant watering bulbs to bring in more color,
because it doesn't always HAVE to be about flowers in your centerpiece.

Click the 'Read More' link for more photos and ideas!

6.20.2013

Photo Finish

I love capturing scenes, light, nature, and settings in photos.
Wherever I go, I have a camera with me. Even if it's just my iPhone.
And I take a LOT of photos!

But it took me YEARS to realize that my own photos would be 'worthy' of being displayed in my home.

I'm not a trained photographer, I just photograph what I LOVE - 
and what better images to display in my own rooms than that?
Each season, I try to capture new images of natural colors and settings 
to add to my collection, and to display on my inspiration boards and in frames.

continue reading for more tips!

6.18.2013

Embellished Bottle Wall Vase


I just came across these two photos of a past product that I made and sold,
and since they are Patriotically themed, I thought I'd share them!

It's a 'Fast, Cheap & Easy'TM project for summer,
using a scrap of wood, a sheet of vintage music, and an old bottle.

A 1" pine board scrap is painted, then covered with a piece of vintage sheet music
[the one above is 'America the Beautiful'-perfect for July decor!]

A piece of baling wire holds the bottle securely on the board.
Put a screw into the front of the board and wrap a wire around it, then tightly around the bottle.
[make it possible to untwist the wire and remove the bottle, so you can fill with water]
Then put two screws into the top outer corners of the board, 
and attach another wire to hang the whole thing on the wall.

I also added a few patriotic words snipped from old books to the front of the bottles.
[I only use damaged books for that!]

Place a single flower in the vase, or perhaps a vintage flag!

I displayed them for sale this way - 
hanging on an old crib spring that was hung on the barn wall.

Yes, you CAN do this!
Don't have scrap wood?
Grab some from the scrap bins at the local hardware store.
Don't have vintage sheet music?
Look online for images you can download and print, or use a magazine or book page instead.
 And even a new bottle will work for this project!

See more of my embellished bottle creations here

6.13.2013

Summer Color Palette: At the Beach

 In my mind, all seasonal inspiration begins with nature.
The combinations of color that appear in every natural setting on Earth are flawless...
consisting of perfectly coordinated shades and hues, contrasts and compliments.

So when people ask me 'How do you know what colors go together?'
or 'How do you pick a color scheme?',
I tell them to go outside.
Literally! Because it's outside, in nature, every season, that you'll find the 'perfect' color...
Case in Point: the photo shown above.
I snapped that image at Newport Beach, California in April.
It contains a perfect summer color scheme:

The palette of varied blues, grays, tans, browns, and whites
is crisp, fresh, and perfectly balanced between cool and warm tones, lights and darks.
This palette can be translated as a sleek modern look or a cozy country style.

Here's one way to create rooms around that palette:

 Can you see it?
The palette of varied blues, grays, tans, browns, and whites?
It's there in all of the details, materials, and surfaces.

We've changed the proportion of color use from the beach photos -
instead of blue being the primary color, neutral tans secondary, and white accents,
We have white as the overwhelming primary color here, with neutral tans secondary,
then touches of blue as an accent. 



In my small Cottage, the color scheme remains the same in each room
white backdrops, neutral surfaces, and blue accents.
That helps the small spaces flow into one another and feel larger.
In a home with larger rooms and more space, blue could be used on some walls and furnishings.


The decor is simple, fresh, and brings the feeling of summer days at the beach indoors.

A photo of a place you love to spend time is a PERFECT starting point for your decor!
If you love to go there on vacation, why not decorate your home to reflect that place, 
and enjoy it every day?!
[I've actually just completed a decor project with EXACTLY that premise, 
and will be sharing it in upcoming posts.]

So what says 'Summer' to you?

 The beach? The mountains? The lake? Mexico? Hawaii?
Find your inspiration and color schemes in the locales you love,
and bring that summer feeling HOME!

6.11.2013

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore!

I don't know about you, but I just love seashells... 
I consider them tiny, detailed works of art created by Mother Nature herself!

I've used them in my own decor for every season of the year,
simply because I love them and I was lucky enough to have lived at the beach for a few years.
Up in Washington state, there are a lot of shells on the beaches of the islands.
The most abundant ones are simple white butter clamshells. I collected lots of them!

...and I found a 'Fast, Cheap & Easy'TM way to make those shells a special summer decor element!


* Grab yourself a bunch of clamshell halves (butter, littleneck, whatever) and clean them. Let dry.
*Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
*Sit them on a cookie sheet with their 'open' side facing up. 
Nestle them into a damp dishcloth/kitchen towel so that they all sit level.

*Get some plain white tealights (the kind that come from IKEA in silver metal cups are perfect).
*Remove the silver cup from the tealights, and sit one candle inside each shell half. 
Make sure the wicks are standing straight up.

*Slide the cookie sheet into your oven. 
It should take @ five minutes for the candles to melt,  filling the whole inside of the clamshell half with wax. Keep a close eye on the process.
DO NOT MICROWAVE! The moisture in the shells makes them EXPLODE!

*Pull the cookie sheet out of the oven very slowly and keeping it level 
so that you don't spill the liquid wax. 

*Sit the sheet on a flat surface to allow the wax to re-harden in the shells. 
If any of the wicks are bent or covered in wax, 
use a wood skewer to lift them out of the wax and stand them straight up.

*When the wax has hardened and the shells have cooled (about an hour), 
remove them from the cookie sheet and store them in a cool, dry place. 
If you'd like, you can place them in the fridge to REALLY harden the wax at this point.

*When burning these candles, place the shell inside a saucer or small bowl, 
to keep the melting wax from pouring out of the shell and making a mess. 
Always be cautious when burning any kind of candle.

I'll be sharing more ideas for decorating with seashells in upcoming posts...
This week I am headed back up to Seattle, to clear out an old storage unit.
Not a fun job, but it has to be done.
Who knows, I may even find my boxes of shells in there!

6.08.2013

Glamping with Style!

let me tell you about the time I turned a 20' X 20' party tent into a Glamping Tent!
Inspired by bedouin tents and high-end resort cabanas, I pulled simple elements together
and designed a temporary living space that ended up being a true show-stopper.
My late husband and I actually LIVED in this tent for four days,
at the Battle Ground, Washington BarnHouse vintage marketplace event in 2009!
[The other vendors at the show were the ones who dubbed it 'the Taj Ma Tent']

 The floorplan:
The bedchamber is on the top right.
The kitchen area is on the lower right.
The rest is lounge space!

The elements:
Canvas drop cloths, white netting curtains, and white vinyl tarps became walls and floors.
Lightweight / collapsible furnishings are plastic chairs, blow-up beds, and an old door + some sawhorses as a kitchen counter.
Candle lanterns, tap lights, and one killer chandelier provided light in the evenings.
A small metal Oriental coal heater held sections of a firelog to warm up our toes each morning.
A collapsible gas barbecue allowed us to cook our hosts a pretty nice meal, too!

The design:
[btw, those netting curtains looked really stunning when they were hanging loose... as shown below.
But it was so windy, they had to stay tied or they ended up a tangled mess.]
The BEST and most unexpected detail was the giant chandelier hanging from the apex of the tent!
And yes, it DID light up - thanks to a car battery temporary power supply.
During the two days that the BarnHouse Marketplace vintage event was open to the public, 
the meadows were filled with cars and other campers, and thousands of attendees & shoppers.
Many of them thought that the Taj Ma Tent had been created as a resting area for them!
Since we were off in our booth selling our wares, we didn't mind sharing.


Professional photographer Robin Laws took the preceding three photos of the Taj Ma Tent.
The last one appeared on the title page of her article about the BarnHouse event
in the Winter, 2010 issue of Somerset Life Magazine.

Now, it WAS a lot of work setting that baby up. And tearing her down.
But it was fun!

I'm sharing it with you because I think this idea is something anyone can do.
OK, maybe not as overboard as a 20X20... but what about using a 10X10 popup as your base?
Set up your own cabana in your backyard for summer entertaining and relaxing,
or get brave and actually take it to a campground or beach!

I used a 10X10 popup as the base for our tent for two years, and decorated it in a similar fashion...
The walls were canvas drop cloths, and a few shutter panels to let fresh air in. 
The door was mesh curtains. The floor was vinyl and canvas tarps.
Furnishings were a blow up bed, a few crates to hold stuff, and plastic lounge chairs.
No chandelier.
Much simpler. Much faster. But people still took a lot of photos!

Just goes to show that you can scale an idea up or down and make it work for your needs.
Now go be creative and get Glamping!!!

Find Robin Laws Photography here
Sadly, the BarnHouse Marketplace event is no longer in business.

6.06.2013

All American Style: Dresser Makeover

Looking for some inspired and LOW COST ideas for your Summer home decor?
Here's what can be done with a little bit of carpentry work and a few coats of paint
to a piece that may start out very UN-inspiring...

The mid-century (1950's) dresser shown in the 'before' photo wasn't too appealing-
except for the fact that it was found for free in the remnants of a friend's garage sale!

Combined with some old boards, new knobs and feet, a little router work, and paint treatments,
the one-of-a-kind piece in the 'after' photo is ready to be a star 
in an an entryway, guest room, family room, or even on a patio for Summertime fun!

* The long tapered legs (very dated look) were chopped off just below the case. 
Then four large ball feet purchased from the hardware store were screwed into place.

 * A new top was added over the existing dresser top, 
made from some old, peely-paint T&G siding pieces, placed side by side. 
The new top measured @ 3" larger all around, to add more dimension to the piece.
* 2" crown moulding was added to make the new top a seamless fit to the old piece.

* Up close, you can see the grooves in the drawer fronts - cut in with a thin router blade to mimic barnwood.
* The entire piece was painted white.
Then, the drawers and cabinet door were all painted dark blue, then more layers of  white and red were applied. 
A dry-brush application of white over the blue and red followed, 
then a careful sanding with fine-grit sandpaper revealed the graduations of color 
and made the grooves stand out on each section.

Best part? The paint was free at the garage sale, too!

* Simple round white ceramic knobs were added to the original drawer pull holes on the piece - 
their quirky offset placement was charming!


The finished piece has no hint of the dated, Danish-inspired design it began with. 
Instead, it displays classic country lines with charming All American Style!

[This project was completed in 2010 by my late husband and I for our business 'Retreat'.
It was purchased and lives in a beach house on Camano Island, WA ]


6.03.2013

30 Upcycled Outdoor Decor Ideas!

homewardfound hometalk clipboard recycled outdoor decor
Have you heard of hometalk?

Hometalk is the largest home & garden knowledge hub on the web. 
It's fueled by the firsthand experience & advice of hundreds of thousands of home enthusiasts and professionals...
a virtual 'think tank' of information about decorating, fixing up, remodeling, and maintaining a home!

I'm part of the hometalk community, and always find loads of inspiration there...
[Yes, there are lots of photos - but it's more than that! 
You'll also find info, tips, tricks, recommendations, and feedback]

hometalk has asked me to curate a clipboard of ideas and inspiration for
Upcycled Outdoor Decor
and I found 30 INCREDIBLE ideas to share with you!

You'll see amazing feats of repurposing, upcycling, and reimagining,
from furnishings and garden decor to entertaining ideas and seasonal touches 
that all make your outdoor areas a usable part of your home for the summer months...

click on image above or here 
to view my clipboard on hometalk!
(you don't have to be a member to view - 
but after you see what's there, I'll bet you'll want to become a member!)

a few of my most popular outdoor ideas are included,
along with fabulous creations by other talented and inventive hometalk members 
and they are sure to inspire your summer outdoor projects!