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String Me Along...

Another SUPER 'Fast, Cheap & Easy' TM project for fall, with one of my favorite approaches:
Use everyday items in ways they weren't intended to be used.
These 'pumpkins' are made from twigs, leaves, and rolls of twine, thread, and string!

Simply grab rolls of string, twine, thread or yarn that you  might have on hand,
or head to the dollar store for new ones.
Stand the roll up on one end and insert a twig from a tree into it.
Add a leaf or two - and you're done!
Display a few different kinds together, 
paired with other fall elements like canvas runners, wood serving trays and old books.
This is what I call 'temporary decor'...when fall is over, pull out the twigs and leaves,
and tuck your string back into the kitchen junk drawer :)

shared online:

funky junk interiors | diy salvaged junk projects #443

cupcakes & crinoline | Project Inspire{d}


Copper Kitchen Scrubby Pumpkins!

 I think this is, quite possibly, the EASIEST crafty idea I've come up with. EVAH.
And it's for pumpkins - go figure :)

This is so easy - I literally made it as fast as I thought of it!
It's got three 'ingredients' and two steps.
Should take you all of... oh, three minutes.... to make.
 Take the copper scrubbies out of the package that you bought for a BUCK at the Dollar Tree store.
 Break a small branch or twig from a tree or bush, and shove it into the middle of the copper scrubby.
Tuck a fall leaf or two into the copper scrubby, right next to the branch.
Tah Dah!
You have a pumpkin!
Or maybe an apple, if your stems are as long as mine shown here ;) 

That's IT.

I ALSO played with one and pulled it apart a bit,
then created a stem by twisting the copper mesh.
I don't like it as much, but that's how crafting is -  Some things work, some don't.

Anyway, that's a truly 'Fast, Cheap & Easy'TM decor project for you!
No fuss, no muss, no stress, and hardly any money. Just good, cheap fun.
Oh, wait... I shoulda' said Good CLEAN fun, huh?
'Cause they're kitchen scrubbies, right? LOL

PIN-ABLE 'how to' IMAGE:
I came up with this idea last week,
when I saw a bag of copper kitchen scrubbies at the Dollar Tree store.
I bought them then, and it wasn't until yesterday morning that I created and photographed them
(in record time, BTW).
After editing my images and preparing this blog post, 
I decided to do a quick Google search for anything slightly resembling these before publishing.

Though I have never seen anything like them,

I've learned to do my due diligence in the DIY/craft industry, 
because being professional, thoughtful, and ORIGINAL is important.
If I'm inspired by someone or something,  or find out they beat me to it,

I'll gladly credit them.

...and if I'm not the first/original, I'll 'fess up to it... 

I found ONE image from ONE blog post, back in 2012.
So, even though I did come up with this idea on my own,
I am not the first person to do so or to put it online. I'm the second :)
Check out Danyelle's version from 2012 over at Life Is A Party -
hers have the addition of wire as a stem, instead of a branch.

You can also see a pretty sweet little wreath made from the same materials,
in a post from 2010 on the Dollar Store Crafts blog.

Want more of my pumpkin ideas?

painted pumpkins
mini clay pumpkins

glass globe pumpkins 
painted pail pumpkins
sweet sweater pumpkins
... and I'll have another one in my next post!

shared online:

One Project Closer | Creativity Unleashed

Cupcakes & Crinoline | Project Inspire{d}

Thank you, MaryBeth, for including my pumpkins in your Project Inspire{d} Feature!


A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine, and Thou!

Our extreme summer heat here in Southern California has finally waned,
giving us a chance to head back outside and enjoy nature.
With the change of seasons on the horizon, it's the perfect time for a picnic!

Picnics can be elegant and fancy, plain and simple, or somewhere in the middle.
For me, whatever they look like, they should be EASY.
The movable feast shown here was packed up into a large woven tote and a big wire basket,
making it easy to transport everything from car to a grassy park in one trip...
it's not a massive meal, just a tasty repast of bread, fruit, cheese, wine, and water.
( oh, and some homemade, hand-cranked ice cream for dessert! )

Just add an iPod with music, a classic book of poetry, and someone special
for a perfectly relaxing Autumn afternoon...
in the park, at the beach, in the mountains, or even in your own backyard garden!

 * The dishes nestle into a lined basket for transport, 
while a small galvanized bucket holds flatware.

* Vintage galvanized cookie boxes hold bread, fruit and cheese. 

* A 'new but looks old' galvanized napkin holder fits right into the look.

* Tumblers work far better than stemmed glasses for wine
(steadier on rough tables, and oh so European!)

* Water is presented in re-used glass soda bottles instead of plastic.

* Galvanized candle lanterns hold citronella candles to ward off pests.

* That little vintage galvanized ice cream maker is one of my prize possessions 
(I've never seen another like it!) and oh, does it work fast!

* A simple canvas painter's tarp serves as a sturdy tablecloth - 
and can come off to lay on the ground for an afternoon nap, too!

 There's something really special about this table scape... it's the dishes.
They ARE vintage, but aren't fancy or precious or particularly valuable. Just sentimental.
 These melamine plates and bowls from a grocery store promotion in the sixties
feature seasonal-themed artwork by Currier and Ives,
along with a pretty floral border in brown and gold tones.
That border makes it perfect for a fall color scheme...
but I chose to use the dishes because for over 45 years,
these dishes have been known as 'the picnic dishes' in my family.

They belonged to my Grandma Ward, and she brought them out for every camping trip and picnic.
She kept them in her truck camper's 'kitchen box', and then in their little Shasta travel trailer.
During my childhood, that little vintage trailer was my 'playhouse',
and these dishes were my toys.
I created elaborate and artful 'salads' from leaves and flowers and errant vegetables
sneakily culled from Grandma and Grandpa's garden.
(why I didn't grow up to like cooking, I'll never know!!!)

After I grew up and had my own family, Grandma gave me her dishes.
So we used them for camping trips and backyard barbecues and picnics at the beach, too.
I treasure them, and just looking at them brings back SO many memories of happy times...
Keeping basic elements needed for a picnic ready to go in a basket or tote
makes it easy to enjoy a last-minute trip
to enjoy sunset on the beach or a temperate day at the local park...
Don't let the fact that summer is over keep you inside!

shared online: 

Yesterday on Tuesday | Project Inspire{d}

Creative Country Mom's Garden | Tuesday Garden Party


Autumn's Golden Light

I was searching for a certain image the other day,
and in the process I came across some old photos that just say 'AUTUMN' to me.

The golden glowing light captured in them is my FAVORITE thing about fall...
the way the light turns more amber and deep, especially in late afternoon.
It's my favorite time of day!

Since my last two posts have been about fall decorating 
as inspired by displays at vintage shows,
I thought I'd wrap that up with a post showing images of one of MY old booths at a show.

 From the glowing woods to glistening golds,
luxe velvet and satin fabric details to simple paper and leather,
I think this embodies that certain color of autumn light that I so love.
There's not a typical tree leaf in sight here, but the decor speaks to the pleasures of fall.

Yes, decor can be inspired by something as simple as the color of light 
that pours through your windows during a certain season or time of day!
Let the color of a summer blue sky or a winter snow be the touchpoint for your decor,

and you'll have created an ambience that speaks to your soul.

PS: It's not about spending money.
All of the items shown in the above photos were made or 'fixed up' 
using reclaimed and repurposed materials that were found or thrifted.
Though the look is 'luxe', the cost was miniscule.
Someone else took photos of my booth at that show, too...
and they ended up in Where Women Create magazine a few years later.
Where Women Create's Summer 2012 issue 
featured a story on Judy Watkins and her Remnants of the Past Antique Show,  
with beautiful photos of the show by Jenny Malott.
I am so very grateful to Jenny, Judy, and Jo Packham of WWC 
that they chose several images of my booth displays to include in the story:

Right Page: my Retreat booth & products
(looks familiar, huh?
yes, Jenny took EXACTLY the same shot that I did!)

Right Page, lower left corner: detail of Retreat booth display
Right Page: Baby Grand Piano Bar,
created with my late husband Bob Kennedy for our business, 'Retreat', in 2009
This piece truly was one of his greatest designs...
details of the piano bar:
 * exterior and interior covered with vintage player piano & sheet music
* interior re-purposed as a wine storage unit, liquor bottle & glass storage, 
and keyboard replaced with a pull-out mirrored tray for serving.

shared online:

Practically Functional | Creativity Unleashed

There's a lot more to that story....


Falling for the French

After spending nearly two days setting up and styling Rita's Mammabellarte booth
at The Vintage Marketplace at the Oaks show ( which you saw in my last post),
 I headed over to assist another vendor in the setup of her booth!

Sweet Liz Sandor, owner of 'My Little French Venue',
had been toiling in the hot sun to get all of her goods unloaded and into her space.
She just needed me to help her add the finishing touches to her displays,
and I was delighted with the beautiful things she had for me to work with!

While Rita brought a Farm Fresh mood to the show, Liz brought elegant French style...
Her display inside the tent was built around some truly stunning antiques....
The china vitrine, secretary desk, trumeau mirror, and refined armchairs set quite a stage.
So I took the small items and props she had brought along,
and grouped them into color themes so that all of her vignettes said 'Fall'
(with a French accent, of course!)

Here are some of the details of what we did:
The photo of the beautiful statue bust was the last one I snapped at the end of the day...
the sun was setting beyond the hilltops, and one shaft of glorious golden light
made its way into the front of the booth just as we were finishing up.
It didn't quite reach the statue
but a small mirror was placed to reflect it onto this lovely face,  and I got the shot!!!
Liz's fresh flower arrangements and high-end faux flowers added fall foliage to soften the scenes.

continue reading to see MORE beautiful photos of Liz's gorgeous booth...


Farmhouse Fall

 Last week I had the honor of working with and for a very good friend, Rita Reade,
who is the proprietor of the creative vintage business Mammabellarte 
and co-founder, along with her sister-in-love, Christie Repasy, of The Vintage Marketplace at the Oaks.

Rita has her hands full organizing and assisting the 65 vendors at every show,
which is held every three months in a lovely park setting NorthEast of San Diego, CA,
so she hires me as her visual designer and stylist *
to style all of her beautiful creations into an inspiring booth setting...
and I love every minute of it!

Here's what I did with her booth for the fall show, 
to coordinate with the show theme 'Farmgirl Fancies' -
I hope it inspires you for fall decorating!
 Rustic elements and a focus on ivory, white, tan, and green set a Farmhouse mood.
Rita's signature pink is still in there, but it's taking a back seat in the color palette this time...
Those are vintage window screens that I turned into an 'awning' at the back of the booth! 
It was a spur-of-the-moment idea that became my favorite part ;)

continue reading for MORE gorgeous photos!