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Serving Up Blooms at the Garden Bar

this is the one where Deb turns a folding patio bar into a potting bench!

I use everyday items in ways 
that no person in their right mind would ever think of or attempt...
this is no exception to that rule.

last weekend, my mom was struggling to pot up some plants for her backyard
on her glass patio table. Not the optimum surface for messy work. 
and for my mom, still recovering from back surgery, not the optimum height, either.

not five feet away from her, against the house, stood a folding outdoor bar.
[sitting there, unused, except for large parties once or twice a year.]
only I didn't SEE a bar. I saw a Potting Bench! 

i quickly dragged it over to the edge of the patio, against a shady vine wall,
set it up, gathered a few accessories and gardening staples,
and the 'Garden Bar' was born:
the metal and mesh folding bar is the perfect height for Mom to work at, 
with the bar stool being a perfect resting spot for her - or a potted plant.

 when it came to finding storage containers and accessories, 
i just went with the theme and found things that tie into the 'bar' idea...
assorted galvanized buckets and pails hold potting soil, gravel, and flower vases.
wood wine crates provide more storage for unused pots and hand tools.

inside the bar, items are stored mostly on the right side - 
so that on the left, dirt falls straight through the wire shelves to the ground for easy cleanup.
 behind the bar, a small trellis adds visual interest and a place to hang accessories,
like a small lantern and buckets to hold seed packets.
a burlap wine bag with 3 separated compartments inside
is perfect for transporting a garden kneeling pad, a spade, and gloves anywhere in the garden.

 on top of the bar, items used for beverage service are pressed into action for garden chores:
a silver ice bucket holds watering containers,
including a martini shaker for mixing up crystalized Miracle Gro fertilizer,
an old soda bottle with a vintage sprinkler spout for watering tiny garden specimens,
and empty wine bottles...

the wine bottles are a simple way to water your plants slowly - 
just fill bottle with water, invert into the soil, and gravity will do the rest as the plant soil dries out.
not to be forgotten, stemless wine glasses serve double-duty as mini-cloches over small potted plants.
if you buy the plastic versions of these, they'll fare well outdoors all year long!
[ I shared the glass-as-cloche idea HERE last spring ]

.. and last but not least, used wine corks make excellent pot-fillers - so save them!
[ find instructions for making my Seed Packet Tin Can Vases HERE ]

Mom watched me do all of this with great interest for half an hour.
when I was done arranging everything, 
she asked if I was going to create a 'signature cocktail' for the Garden Bar.

actually, I hadn't thought of that... 

seems like it needs to be made with Godiva liqueur and crushed Oreos so it looks like dirt,
or perhaps something citrus-y with basil from the garden. 
i guess I'll have to spend some time at the Garden Bar to figure it out!

shared online:

One Project Closer | Creativity Unleashed Link Party #9


ReCycled Art!

My Mom's favorite painting is Pierre-August Renoir's 'Luncheon of the Boating Party',
painted in vibrantly-colored oils in 1881.
You can see a part of that painting in the photo above,
on a beautiful wine box that I gave her one Christmas.
When I found it with her favorite scene on it, I knew it was a perfect gift.

Here is a view of the Renoir painting in its entirety:
On my parent's 20th wedding anniversary,
I wanted to find a really special and personal gift for them...
so I found a poster-sized lithograph of this painting and over-painted it.

Yes, I defaced a perfectly good print of a famous painting!

I did that because I wanted to personalize it, 
but didn't want to have to paint the whole scene from scratch...

My idea was to make the characters in the painting portray our family,
 making the original scene reflect the faces of my parents and my siblings and our spouses...
as if we were gathered together to celebrate their marriage.
(We're a blended family)

It was a surprise, so I had my siblings send me photos of themselves in certain poses.
Using those as a reference, I changed a few things from the original:
removed some characters, moved some characters, changed faces and clothes a bit,
and the end result was a NEW painting -that we call 'Luncheon of the Mendelson Family'.

Here's my 'personalized' version of Renoir's famous party:

The man in the top hat in the top center of the painting was removed, 
and woman on the top right was moved to where the man in the top hat stood .
She had blonde hair added, and now resembles my sister in law Amy, 
standing next to my brother Scott. 
(who doesn't really look all that different from the original man standing there, actually....)
The two men from the upper right have been removed, as well.

The sweet young lady leaning on the railing has had long brown hair added,
and the seated gentleman in the brown hat has his face turned a bit more to the front - 
that's my lovely sister Linda and her husband Ray.

I'm the woman at the table across from 'brown hat guy'...
with a wine glass and blonde hair 
(because when I painted this, I was blonde and worked at a winery).
I was married then, and so the man seated next to me in the painting
had glasses added so he'd resemble my husband.
When I was editing the photo for this post, I made the decision to remove him...  
he's still on the original, though, and will remain there.

The bearded man at the railing in the left foreground got sleeves added to his shirt,
and the woman seated near him had longer blonde hair added...
that's my brother Don and his sweet wife Beverly.
(If I was being totally realistic, I'd have painted Don with a fishing pole and line in the nearby water ;) )

The lovely brunette standing on the right side is a total re-do of the original character:
The manly coat and tie were repainted as a feminine blouse,
and the straight hair changed to a curly brunette style
to more accurately portray my beautiful sister Stacy.

And the two people seated at the front right corner of the table are our parents,
at the center of the celebration.

I think Mom looks a little too much like Martha Stewart here, honestly,
but that's her blonde hair and loving smile as she looks at her husband, our Dad -
who has also had sleeves added to his shirt, along with glasses and gray hair.

One added detail you can't really see is on the wine bottles on the table...
Years before, my parents had me create a custom logo for their own use at parties,
touting their 'Turtle Creek Winery' (they collect turtles).
They used the logo for napkins and aprons and even wine bottle labels,
so I put that logo on the bottles in the painting.
It was just one more way to reflect their lives and marriage...

This is what the actual painting looks like in the frame:

My Mom loves it... it hangs in her office, and she looks at it every day.
I really had fun creating it for her and Dad!

If you are searching for a truly personalized gift
for an anniversary, wedding, or birthday this year...
take someone's favorite painting and put them IN it!

See another of my altered paintings here


a Touch of Spring

If you're aching for spring to arrive,
try this simple and inexpensive decor idea with an everyday item:
hang a coffee or tea cup from a ribbon tied to its handle,
and tuck a tiny nest inside!

I make my own simple little NeSts from dried daylily and daffodil foliage...
you can too, using my tutorial here !
 'faux' nests in various sizes are always available at craft stores,
and of course you can use a tiny real birds' nest, if you have one.

 You can use other 'handled' items in a similar fashion... 
like this vintage ironstone chamber pot!

I have a precious bone china cup, saucer, and dessert plate with a golden daffodil pattern,
and I love to display it differently every Spring.

This year, I tipped the cup on its side, and tucked a little grass nest inside,
and added dried blossoms from last year's white narcissus flowers.
A lacy white cupcake wrapper adds more feminine detail to the vignette...
Just the tiniest touch of Spring does the trick!

shared online:

One Project Closer | Creativity Unleashed


Happy Hearts Day!

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day...

and for those who aren't getting flowers from someone else, 
please accept these from me!

Photos taken by me in 2013 on location at:
Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach, California
Sharyn Sowell's private garden in Mt. Vernon, Washington
The Old Irvine Ranch in Irvine, California

Click SHOP label to find my original products for sale now!
for more decorating
inspiration for every season of the year,
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Sweet Hearts Soiree

One of my goals here at HOMEWARDfound Decor is to show you
that decorating is easy, and that it doesn't have to cost you very much, or take a lot of time.

Today I have a perfect example of that philosophy.

I had a bunch of 'stuff' ready for a post with a cute Valentine party tablescape...
but you aren't going to see that.
I ran out of time to stage it and photograph it and blog about it.

So, instead, I pulled all that stuff together and in about twenty minutes, 
created a display with a sort-of 'party' theme on the sideboard in my office/studio.
Some of this stuff isn't what you normally think of as 'decor'...
but since I don't follow any rules, anyway, it worked!

 That's my Tee Shirt Mannequin (Tutorial HERE),
and I dressed her up in a REALLY cute vintage apron and a sweater with cut-off sleeves.
Yes, cut OFF. Those sleeves became the red pom pom hats for my winter Snowmen!
This part of the sweater was the 'left over' part.

Then I took the Found Item Charm Bracelet (Inspiration HERE)
and hung it on her neck like a necklace. A rhinestone Heart pin tops her off.

Then I played with a bunch of other stuff like dishes and party supplies: 
I stacked my white dinnerware to create pedestals to display other things on....
like tiny tinware coffee pots and my grandma's measuring spoons filled with heart-shaped buttons,
and Happy Pincushions (Inspiration HERE) . 
A bowl on its side spills out Fabric Hearts (Tutorial HERE) and a dotted gift box.

I've had this crate of old Coke bottles for several years...
and I have NO idea what possessed me to keep it and move it over 1600 miles
when I barely kept anything else at all... 
but I did, and I LOVE it, and when I dropped the striped paper straws into the bottles, 
which took all of 30 seconds... it made me SMILE.

I also added just a few hearts, cut from old magazine pages,
to my inspiration board that hangs above the sideboard:

This weekend, after Valentine's Day is over, I'll pull it all apart
and put all of the items back where they get stored.
I'll find something else for Miss Mannequin (still un-named) to wear
and will create a whole new display on the wall shelves and the sideboard
using stuff from drawers and the closet that will celebrate Spring.
It will completely change the way my office feels... and that's what Seasonal Decor is about.

It's not about time, or money. It's about Inspiration and Creativity.
I always ask myself' 'What did you CREATE today?'...
It doesn't have to take a lot of effort.
and it doesn't always have to be the equivalent of a masterpiece.
Sometimes, a simple finger painting is just perfect. 

so... What did YOU create today?!


Tin Can 'Painted Pails'

Last fall, I shared a project that was a 'flashback' to something I had made long ago:
[ like, ah, WAY back in the NINETIES! LOL ]
Painted tin cans - I call them little 'Painted Pails'. 

I just found more photos of that product that I created for different seasons ;)
and since 'tin can crafts' seem to be THE hot trend right now,  
I figure why not share more inspiration?!

The photo above shows the Valentine version,
where the wire handles were bent into a heart shape.

The labels evolved from the very first Painted Pails I made in the Spring of 1995,
which looked like garden seed packets and fruit pie filling labels:

I also made versions of Painted Pails for Holiday | Winter:

The Happy Snowman versions had wire handles bent into 'top hat' shapes,
and also stackable snowmen made from several sizes of cans.

I made Painted Pails in Spring, for Easter:

... and the wire handles were bent into 'floppy ear' shapes.

and of course, there were the Pumpkin Painted Pails
 that I shared last fall in my Tin Can Painted Pail Post
 click for my TUTORIAL!...

I also made Painted Pails that looked like crayons. And Leprechauns. And Firecrackers.
But I really don't think more photos are needed for you to get the general idea.
If I were to guess as to how many tin cans I painted back then,
over a five year period that I was selling them at street fairs and in my tiny store,
I'd have to say it was about 50 cans a week. Yes, really!

I tell ya', I was pretty sick of painted tin cans by the time I was done!!!

The various holiday versions of these came about because every holiday,
I would go overboard to create a fun breakfast table setting for my four young children...

Balloons, streamers, napkins, and centerpiece would decorate the dining room.
The food would even match the holiday: 
pink milk and pancakes for Valentine's Day, green for St. Patrick's Day, orange for Halloween.
 I didn't spend a lot (I bought most of the stuff at thrift shops)
but it was so much fun to decorate the table after they had gone to bed,
and then watch them get all excited the next morning!

And at each place setting, they'd find a Painted Pail -
filled to the brim with art supplies and candy and a little stuffed animal.
It was just a simple thing I could do to make them happy.
For me, that is always the best part of crafting & decorating...

shared online:

One Project Closer | Creativity Unleashed

Cupcakes & Crinoline | Project Inspire{d}