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Fabric Hearts Tutorial

 Many years ago, I used up some small scraps of fabrics left in my 'stash',
making little stuffed fabric hearts for my winter / Valentine's Day decor.

Created from remnants of a chenille bedspread, a matlasse' bedspread, and burlap,
I've displayed them in many ways over the years...
As my seasonal decor contribution to two lovely publications,
Creating Vintage Charm Magazine and JOYful Home & Life online,
 I'm sharing a simple tutorial for making stuffed fabric hearts for the month of February
Because the tutorial is so photo-heavy,
I am hosting it here on my blog instead of at the other locations...
Enjoy this 'fast, cheap & easy'TM craft project!

continue reading for tutorial...


A 5 Minute Project to Love

 I found a hidden-away stash of miniature metal frames!
I snagged one and did a quick project with it,  just for me.
True to form, I utilized a 'Fast, Cheap & Easy'TM method:
I grabbed a white paint pen and scribbled all over the metal!
That changed the frame from silver to white  - in a matter of three minutes.
Now the details of the carving really stand out.

I turned the photo print around, stuck a heart on it, added the word 'love',
then I sat it in the back of my miniature 'Grandpa's Truck' in my office:
This took me all of five minutes to make, my friends...
and it's a really sweet little vignette on my shelf that I see dozens of times a day.
It's not only about Valentine's Day coming soon,
but about that truck and the memories of my Grandpa's truck that I love.

I'm sharing this to remind you that
seasonal decorating doesn't have to be a huge undertaking.
It can be something you do in five minutes
just to brighten up a corner or a shelf, or a gift-wrapped present - and your day!



 In my many years of decorating homes, styling retail displays, 
and selling vintage & re-purposed items,
my favorite 'tool' has always been PAINT...
it's inexpensive, it's easy to work with,
and it can completely transform an old or salvaged object easier than anything else. 

Paint is also a handy tool for us girls who like to change up our decor a lot...
Case in point: the metal floral chandelier shown below.

I bought it in 1996, when it was the original multi-color painted finish = UGLEEEEEE!
Over the years that I owned it, I painted and RE-painted it MANY colors:
green, pink, black, green again, white, yellow, gold, black again, silver, and white again.

And WHITE paint is the one simple color that seems to have the most magical powers!

Taking an old, ugly, dated brass chandelier / light fixture and turning it into something beautiful
is really easy with white paint:
Those chandeliers were originally, from left to right: brass . black metal . brass
[and the one shown at the top of this post was muddy brown/beige]

White paint, used with a light hand, can also bring an old wood finish back to life,
lightening it up without covering the lovely details...
using a simple 'dry brush' whitewashing paint technique, 
an old plank table and pine country chairs are ready for their new starring roles:
[the new burlap seat cover helps update the chairs, too...]
Another example of 'dry-brush' painting is shown on this old front door...
The salvaged front door had a horribly damaged wood finish, with peeling clear lacquer.
Sanding the worn finish down and dry-brushing white in several coats all over the door
caused the relief carving of a sailing ship to really pop.

The door was then re-fashioned into a hall bench and coatrack,
by using an end table and chair arms for the seat, 
a piece of crown molding on the top of the door,
and three perfectly-placed ceramic knobs as coat hooks.
[piece created by my late husband for our former business]

A coat of white paint can transform the mood and style of a piece of furniture:
This giant bench was made from a salvaged king-sized black headboard and footboard,
along with a seat from a church pew.
 [ piece created by my late husband for our former business].
It looked very contemporary and masculine in the original black color - 
but was completely changed when  repainted in a warm white.  
It embraced a soft, feminine Shabby Chic style!

Small items can be reborn with a spray of white paint, too -
this gathering of old and new glass bottles went from dingy to hip!

... and sometimes, a whole BUILDING can be revitalized with a wash of white paint:
My weekend garden house makeover project 
was featured on HOMEWARDfound last spring...
see it HERE

If you don't already know about this paint trick, I'll clue you in:
Head to the paint store or paint department at the hardware store.
Ask them for 'mis-tints'. 
These are the colors that turned out WRONG.
You can pick up those babies for pennies on the dollar! 
 ...and yes, you CAN find whites!

I highly recommend Habitat for Humanity ReStore as a source for inexpensive paint!

shared online:
Funky Junk Interiors | Salvaged Whites


Charmed, I'm Sure!

This blog is, for the most part, about seasonal home decor.
But once in awhile, we girls just need to decorate OURSELVES, don'tcha' think???

Well, I do! And when I found something today that fits right in with
my 'found object' obsession and my 'fast, cheap & easy' decor style,
I wanted to share it - to hopefully inspire you to create something similar: 
a charm bracelet
This is a really easy, inexpensive and quick project made from stuff you already have.

And I'd bet that like me,
you don't even KNOW what kinda' stuff you already have...
start looking around the house, and you'll come up with a lot!

continue reading for the how-to!


The Wintered Garden

I've always been amazed at the way a landscape transforms 
when covered with the simplicity of pure white snow...

Monday morning, I sent off some of my photographs of a snowy garden landscape
[snapped in Seattle in Winter, 2012 before I moved away]
to Broadway+Thresher Magazine editor David Gobeli, 
and he's turned them into a blog post today!

See the B+T blog post here

Black & white images like those inspire a perfect decor combination for winter...

Mixed with warm wood tones, black and white create a fresh, crisp color palette
 that reflects the snowy landscape outdoors...

Find more black & white decor inspiration:  
* office
* living & dining rooms
* chalkboard-inspired


the Beauty of Simplicity

this time of year, it seems we all do a bit of cleaning and clearing, 
ready to embrace the simplicity of a blank calendar and clean rooms.
i'd like to share some inspiring 'simple' decor with you, along with a story...

once upon a time, 
there were two incredibly talented men named Joe and Jermonne
who created a style all their own...
Barn House style.

they hosted a beautiful vintage show on their farm in the Pacific Northwest,
a gathering of great ideas, original style, and a group of fun & talented people
that drove design trends and appeared in magazines everywhere.

take a look at what their own booth at the show looked like in 2011:
their own personal aesthetic in their restored home was as unique and masculine as they are...
feed sack and driftwood as art installations
simple accessories: interesting wood finds, heaped in a bowl and a stack of guest towels

 it was a rustic yet refined style,
a mix of rough farmhouse + worn industrial that felt warm and welcoming.
they filled their home with the beauty that came from simplicity...
soft, natural colors. a mix of textures. streamlined yet detailed vignettes.
a gathering of objects both found and fine that enhanced every corner of their rooms.
an old screen door on the entrance to the laundry room added charm
and that memorable 'SLAM' that we all love...

i was lucky - beyond blessed - to spend time in that lovely home, on their farm,
as a vendor in their vintage show for several years.
[they were also gracious enough to be vendors in my show -
their booth at my show is shown in the photo of them above]
in the stillness of morning, i snapped the images you see here.

they aren't perfectly staged and styled shots - 
because that's not how 'the Boys' lived.
over the years, other photographers chose to stage and style these interiors for magazines,
yet to me, their own perfected rustic style needed no help at all.
It had depth and heart and soul, all on its own - every day.
isn't that exactly what we ALL want our homes to be?
not perfect, but
simply beautiful...

the Boys sold their farm, relocated to Texas, and are no longer in business.
but that doesn't mean they can't still inspire beautiful decorating... 
and I knew you'd enjoy their wonderful style!


Creative Winter White Decor

My recent 'Winter Whites Inspiration' post is BLOWING up my stats!
Since you liked that so much, I thought I'd share a little MORE on that subject...
featuring some of the current white decor in my office.
[some of it can't be revealed yet, as it is scheduled to appear in print soon!]

Before we focus on the decor, here's a little 'New Year' development:
I don't make resolutions. I choose a 'Word of the Year' instead...
it works much better for me to have a word as a 'touchstone' of sorts,
to help me stay on track with the goals and pursuits that are most important to me.
[While resolutions just seem to feel like never-achieved, guilt-inducing lists]

My Word of the Year for 2014 is CREATE.

Not just due to the long-overdue revelation that 'I can Create the Life I want to live',
but also the pursuit of FUN. 
As in, Creating just for FUN instead of always as content for publication or this blog.

My post about the mannequin form made from a tee shirt was part of that approach:
I just made it for ME and had fun in the process.
Then when it works, I can go ahead and share it here on the blog!

When I removed all of the holiday decor from my office last week,
I replaced it with vintage-inspired winter white decor, using things I had around the house:

 I enjoy creating seasonal tableaux on these small display shelves.
Let's take a look at the elements I used -
and I know it won't surprise you when you realize that you've seen MANY of these items before!

 On the top shelf shown up above, there are three photo frames...
You've seen the one on the far left in my post about framing a sweater remnant.
The large and small baroque frames holding my word 'Create' used to say 'Dream' -
 as they did in this post.
This is a great way to focus on my Word of the Year.

The two white ceramic Space Needle figurines are salt & pepper shakers - 
I bought them in a schlock-y souvenir shop on the Seattle Waterfront at Christmas,
because I wanted an ornament to commemorate this Christmas with my family.
Problem was, every ornament in the shop was just plain TACKY. Not my style at ALL.
These shakers fit right in with my white and neutral decor scheme for everyday enjoyment,
and will easily be made into tree ornaments next Christmas!

The white ironstone creamer and mug are among the last few remnants of a HUGE collection.
[ I shudder at the thought of how many pieces shattered when the new kitchen shelves fell off the wall.
Priceless, special sentimental pieces - gathered and given to me by friends.
I posted about that project on HOMEtalk.
Or how many pieces I gave away when I moved from Seattle to California.... ]
I snuggled a rhinestone crown around the mug, just to add some icy sparkle.
The NeSt is one I made myself from daylily foliage, shared in this post,
and the branches are the antique glass-glittered ones that mysteriously appeared on my front steps!
I've used them in this years' Christmas tree and tee shirt mannequin.

On the lower shelf, I assembled some small items...

The snowflake-pattern plate showed up in this post last Winter.
The little white truck is very close to the same truck style that my Grandpa Ward used to drive...
and even without tires, it takes me on many sentimental journeys.
That little truck has been around for a LOTTA' years...
The glittered 'D' and crown way up on top came from a Michael's Crafts bargain bin last year,
and the Monopoly playing pieces are just something I love to collect when I find them.
[ I love galvanized metal and these just fit right in with that! ]

On either side of the truck are two of my funny little JUNK Snowmen.
Sweet Sweater Snowmen are the new creation that I sold this past Holiday season.
Thankfully, I was smart enough to grab two of these for myself before they were all gone!
I have happy memories attached to the little tin cans they are made in,
as well as the Cliquot Club soda caps that adorn them.

So, anyway, you can see that very nearly everything I used in this vignette
is something I already had and love.
Actually the hardest part for me is editing, because I always unearth more stuff than I need!
But the point is that it doesn't cost me anything but time, 
and it's time spent creating and having fun.
Sounds like a great way to start the New Year to me!

So, what's YOUR word or resolution?
What decor projects are you planning for this new year?

 As you read this post today, 
I am busy taking a HUGE STEP forward in pursuit of a life-long dream...
please send good thoughts and prayers my way, won't you?
I'll share more as soon as I can!

UPDATE: I interviewed for a job that I have wanted for over 30 years.

and I GOT IT!

.... at Disneyland!


DIY mannequin - from a tee shirt!

i'll admit it, i've fallen prey to the 'vintage mannequin' craze.

over the years i have admired them from afar, 
but never had the chance to get my hands on one of the 'real' ones.
oh, sure, i had a chicken-wire one picked up for a song after a gift show,
and i rehabbed a really old cardboard bust form found at a yard sale.

My friend Todd recently shared this image on facebook:
SOURCE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/132011832801322296/

When I saw it, I thought "I really want to make that.
But I don't have a dress form / mannequin anymore.
And it's Christmassy... It's too late for that."

THEN my Muse arrived....
and reminded me that I have a WHITE faux Christmas tree
that would look FAB.U.LOUS all through the winter months as the skirt for a mannequin.
I just needed a mannequin.
They say 'necessity is the mother of invention',
so I came up with one of my trademark 'Fast, Cheap & Easy' solutions:
I made a mannequin form from an old tee shirt!

It was a simple matter of cutting and stitching a few seams...
here's a quick tutorial for making your own:

[solid lines show original tee shirt outline; dotted lines are approximately where to cut for form]

once mine was done, i popped it onto the top of my small white Christmas tree!

 SAFETY TIP: if you do this, remove all lights from the area under the tee shirt form.

I removed the lights on the top branches and then bent the branches downward,
so I could easily slip the tee shirt on and stuff it with polyfil stuffing.
[ and yes, I gave her some lovely lady lumps! ]
Then I created her 'skirt' by adding my vintage metal & glitter tree branches to the tree,
and wrapping a fringe-y scarf around the very bottom of the tee shirt.

You don't have to use a tree as the base, you know...
What about a lampshade? Or a wire tomato cage? [one of my fave multi-use props]
 Up on top, I wrapped a cheap white garland around her as a scarf,
finishing it off with a vintage ribbon and rhinestone pin accent.
My own Original Ice Queen Crown encircles her neck.

I chose a tan tee shirt for the 'vintage' look, but black would look swanky! 

Shared Online:

One Project Closer | Creativity Unleashed

The Vintage Farmhouse | Creative Things Thursday