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The Lollipop Guild

every year, the sweet-faced girl shown below
chooses an equally sweet theme for her 'Farm Chicks' antique show.
in 2011, she chose a candy theme - and i loved the graphic so much
that it was my inspiration for the little gift i made her
[just to say thank you for having me as a vendor]
i found some red and white cording at the fabric store, and used it to make two little lollipop pins.
i cut some words out of vintage sheet music and added them to the pins
['serena' was actually 'serenade' on the sheet music]
then i nestled them in a tiny box and embellished it with vintage trims.

this craft is so very simple, and makes a perfect accent on a gift tag, place card, 
or greeting card. here's how it looks on a manilla gift tag:

 and here's the easy 1-2-3-4 to make your own:
i used cotton baker's twine for the tags. a drop or two of glue is all it takes!
make 'em small for tags and larger for pins, like the ones i made for serena.
just cut out a circle as the backing for a pin, instead of using the whole tag.


It's a Wrap

make easy seasonal changes to your clear glass vases with paper

whether you use an assortment of vibrantly colored wrapping paper as shown here,
or the subtle tones of vintage sheet music and book pages,
it only takes a minute - and makes a big impact.

 the two papers used here are the remains of a roll of Christmas wrapping paper
[red on one side, and white with red polka dots on the reverse]
and a piece of 1970's era heart-print gift wrap that was unearthed in an old box

 there are two methods:
* cut a piece of paper to fit INSIDE the glass vase if you are using silk flowers or twigs
* cut a piece of paper to fit OUTSIDE the glass vase if you are using a candle or real flowers in water
a few small pieces of double-stick tape will hold the paper in place

[the small hearts shown on two of these vases 
were cut from the opposite side of the paper and taped in place]

 you can also use ready-made paper items:
these small vintage-look cupcake/candy cups fit perfectly 
the outside of small glass flowerpots,
creating a sweet setting for a tealight candle

one more idea:
after you've inserted the paper INSIDE the vase for use with faux flowers,
place a white heart-shaped doily between the glass and the paper
[or perhaps a special love note or photograph!]

shared online:

Be Inspired Fridays by Common Ground


Paper Swedish Hearts Tutorial

many years ago, a sweet and very excited little artist came home from school
and showed her sisters, brother, and mommy how to make hearts out of paper.
bright construction paper was precisely cut and folded and woven together,
just as she had been taught at school that day by her artistic teacher.

that was the day my third-grade daughter taught ME something!
we had hours of fun making hearts, used them on our Christmas tree,
and then kept the red and white ones up as decor in our home until Valentine's Day.
(i still have those hearts in a box)

ever since, i've used woven paper hearts in my Valentine's Day decorating...
[traditionally known as Swedish Hearts
instead of making them from construction paper, 
now i use vintage papers from books and sheet music

 they tuck into flower arrangements, dangle from ribbons, dance across inspiration boards,
and make perfect gift tags or holders for VERY tiny gifts
this is an excellent craft to do with kids of all ages !

 continue reading for my tutorial...


Tag! You're It!

i made these personalized tags from manilla tags and scrabble letter tiles.
in about three minutes! 
the only other thing you need is
double-stick tape, hot glue, or glue stick to adhere the letters to the tag.

spell out a name, a nickname, an endearment, a question ("will you?")
for your gift, a table setting, or perhaps a floral arrangement

this is so easy it should be illegal...
[you can find old scrabble games at thrift shops]


Top Tips for 'Vintage'-look Florals

I'd like to welcome guests arriving
from DEEconstructed's blog post!
 this post about working with flowers
originally appeared on HOMEWARDfoundDecor in February...
I hope you enjoy it!

 Welcome to Day 18!

 along with chocolate, the number one Valentine's Day gift is flowers.
and as much as i love a huge bouquet of fresh roses (white, please),
i really love using vintage florals in my decor. but they can be pricy!
over the years of styling retail displays and creating products for sale at vintage shows,
i've discovered a few tricks for using flowers in a way that makes them look more 'vintage'...

 * bunch 'em up into an old fashioned 'tussy mussy'

this bouquet (also shown in the top photo in this post) is a mix of about 20 fabric/silk flowers
and MOST of them aren't old. 
grabbed for pennies at garage sales, thrift stores, and even the dollar store,
those flowers form the 'base' of the bouquet, packed tightly into a bunch.

then the actual vintage flowers are inserted so that they sit above the others and at the edges of the bouquet
those are the flowers that you focus on when you look at the bouquet
[the white sweet william and deep pink mini roses, for example]

the stems are held tightly together with rubber bands,
then are wrapped up in a large vintage white doily. 
the top edge of the doily is left loose and looks like a collar around the flowers.
i also wound some vintage seam binding and ribbon around the stems,
finishing them off by dangling a cubic zirconia engagement ring and a vintage crystal.

 * create a domed arrangement

a styrofoam or floral foam ball is shoved tightly into a vase as the base of this arrangement.
snip flower stems to @ 2-3", and begin inserting them into the ball along the vase edge. 
work upward and place those flowers very closely together
[your flowers should all be the same type for this to look best - all roses, or tulips, for example]
the roses in the arrangement shown above were not vintage,
but here's a trick to making them LOOK vintage:

1. put on some gloves, and create a bleach solution of 1/4 cup bleach to 2 cups water. 
2. mix in a plastic spray bottle with a 'fine mist' spray option on the nozzle. (not 'stream')

3. take your new fabric flowers outside, and prop the flowers up in an bucket or paint can.
[you want them to be sitting as they will be when displayed]
4. sit the bucket of flowers on a large piece of cardboard or dropcloth to catch the overspray.

5. VERY LIGHTLY spray the bleach/water mixture over the flowers from @ 12" away.
spray from the TOP, and let the mist of bleach/water fall down onto the petals. 
6. let them dry, then repeat. 
7. for the second spray, move in a bit closer and focus on the ends of the petals of the large flowers.
[you may have to remove the stems from the bucket and hold each one]
8. let dry. then use in your decor!

this method will cause the flower petals on the outside of the blooms to fade and wrinkle a bit,
just as they do over time in vintage flowers.

* you can make even cheap fabric/silk flowers look more 'real':

when placing your flowers into containers, tweak the stems...
bend them and twist them just as real flowers do when growing in a garden.
have some facing downward, some reaching upward.

pull a few of the blooms open - stretch out the outer petals
[hair spray will stiffen them up so they hold]
and pull a few petals off of one bloom... scatter them on the table below the arrangement. 
it just looks a bit more 'real' that way!


Create a Cake Using Dishes?!

today, i have a 'Fast, Cheap, & Easy' TM Tutorial
showing you how to create some fanciful food decor
using everyday dishes & serving pieces!

the tutorial is at the bottom of this post.
first, the story and some inspiring photos...

many years ago, i saw this delicacy pictured 
in an issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion Magazine.
[a moment of silence, please, 
to honor the passing of one of the best creative publications ever]
 i was inspired!
and immediately grabbed some spools of ribbon and some of my white dishes
and created my own version on my dining room buffet. 
[i even topped it with our wedding cake topper!] 
it was darling and it was ridiculously easy!

over the years, i've made many other versions in various sizes and colors.
here are some white delicacies that i whipped up for a photo session:

 you can create this in literally MINUTES!
really, you can

here's the tutorial:
 * vintage trims and jewelry make fabulous additions, 
as do mini cookie cutters and candy.
 you can certainly use glue dots or tiny drops of hot glue to hold the dishes together
and double-sided tape to hold the trims on, if you'd like.

* color is limited only by your imagination!

* you can also use vintage tin cans (like cookie tins) for this...
use them with their original patterns & graphics
spray paint them all one color (perfect if they are textured tins)


Eye Candy

yes, some holidays are ALL about candy...
a few years back, i hit the motherlode:
24 boxes of white candy canes at the dollar store
[12 canes per box X 24 boxes at $1 each =
288 pieces of sheer white sweetness for $24 bux]
i'd been searching for those babies since i first saw photos of uber-stylist
tricia foley's white holiday decor in her book 'white christmas'

see the photo that's sitting under the candy-cane heart in the image above?
that's a tearsheet from a magazine that featured tricia's images. 
it's been in my inspiration file for over a decade.

not only do i use my white candy canes at Christmas,
but i use them for Valentine's Day, too!
uh huh. i make candy cane hearts with 'em.
two little drops of hot glue hold two canes together in a heart shape. 
eeeeeeeeasy. lots of people do this.

but then, i add a lil' something...
like tiny scrabble letters that spell LOVE,
a miniscule heart cut from old sheet music, or a button

 and then i display them with other fun food things....
along with a heart, i tucked a crocheted doily into a white popcorn box 
and it looked for all the world like buttered popcorn!

 one day when i was playing around making candy cane hearts, 
i must have been hungry
because i also created some other things that i dubbed 'Foo Foo Faux Food'
[and um, yeah, that product name is mine]

i was inspired by miss Betz White's famous felted cupcakes
and created my own from scraps of sweaters in my studio
[i didn't sell them, just made a few for me.]
and oh, how i love that vintage lace shirt cuff that i had - 
it looks just like a fancy-schmantzy lace cupcake paper, doesn't it?!

 if you want to learn how to make these, please buy Betz's wonderful book!

in the collage photo below, you can see a few other faux food items
that i made along with the cupcakes, popcorn, and candy cane hearts:
* teeny-tiny cupcakes (that look more like bon bons)

* a snowcone from fuzzy chenille yarn that was
wrapped around a styro ball and tucked into a paper cone.

* hot chocolate, made from a bundle of chocolate brown velvet ribbon, 
coiled in a wire teacup and topped with a sprinkle of white mini pom poms.
this is not high-functioning craft, i tell you... 
i was just playing around with stuff i was finding in my studio.
when i was done (about an hour later), 
i created a sweet little vignette on the table in front of the window.
 and it was Eye Candy that i enjoyed for the entire month of February. just for me.
[and yes, i got hungry every time i looked at it...]

i encourage you to just create!
for YOU. for your KIDS. for your FRIENDS.
not to produce products to sell. not to compete with other people.
just give yourself the gift of time to play once in awhile.

this Valentine's Day, give yourself a little Eye Candy!