Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birch Candle Holders

I've been seeing some birch decor lately, and I really like it.
For instance~this from

and this from

I think this 
would be fun for spring. 

But I don't have a birch tree, and I have to wonder why. Why didn't I realize, 20 years ago, that I would some day want to do a project like this and plant a dang birch
I reviewed my options.

 I think a crazy lady sawing the branches off of birch trees in the park might be frowned upon.
Asking random neighbors to saw off a branch for me seemed a little off, too. 
I'm not about to buy a birch branch.
But when I was visiting my mom and dad, I noticed that their neighbors hadn't thrown out all debris from their fall clean up.
They had birch branches!
(I did ask them before I grabbed them and ran laughing like...well, a crazy lady.)

I wanted to make something simple out of them. Candle holders!
First, I cut the branch into random lengths.
 Then, because our drill has been decommissioned, I used my Dremel to hollow out spaces for the candles to go.
Be sure to wear gloves when using a Dremel~it's like a dentist's drill and could do some real damage very fast.
 (It almost looks like I'm using it, doesn't it? I did, but
not for the photo. Too much sawdust was flying around to get a really good picture.)
Then I used the sanding attachment to smooth out the holes.
(Again, no picture. Sawdust.)
Once the messy work was done, it was on to the fun stuff.
 I hot glued the candle holders to a white enamel platter I got at a flea market a few weeks ago.
 I put some gold berries around the base of the candle holders for some bling.
(I got them on clearance at Micheal's last year after Christmas.)
I had a bunch of white tapers I got at an estate sale, and I melted some wax in the holes so the candles would stick and not fall over. (Falling lit candles. Huge fire hazard.)
Then I put it near our table, 
should we ever want to eat by candlelight. 
(It could happen.)
I like how they turned out.
Rustic, but just enough glitz for me.
If you have some bigger branches, pillar candles would look nice, too.
My branches were too narrow for that.
This was a really easy project. 
Not much skill and absolutely NO money was required since I had everything on hand.
Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Holy Cow!

I won!

Happy dance!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twine Words

I had this idea the other night and decided to try it. I vaguely remember doing something like this with yarn and Elmer's glue back in grade school. 
I took regular jute twine and some Mod Podge that I'd thinned down with a little water.(Elmer's would work just as well, but I didn't have any)
I cut two yards of twine, and soaked it in the glue and water mixture for about ten minutes. This softened the twine so it was easier to manipulate.
 Then, I laid the twine out on a long strip of waxed paper 
and formed it into words.
I let it dry overnight.
When it was completely dry, I just peeled it off the waxed paper. 
You could probably do just about any design, too.
I'm going to make some stars to put on the trees for the church dinner.
This is super easy, fast and cheap. I think kids would really get a kick out of helping, too.

This is my last post for the week. We're going out of town, so I'll see you Monday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Can't Ignore It Anymore

I've tried. Believe me.
At first, it was just a few little things.
Unsettling things, but nothing big.
But these little things~they kept adding up.
I didn't want to believe it.
I didn't want to think it could be real.
I guess I didn't want my life to change.
There would be a good day, and I'd think that everything was OK.
But now I know for certain that it's not OK,
and I have to pull on my big girl panties and deal with it.
It's winter.
And there's nothing I can do about it.

(Can we all please have a moment of silence for the snapdragons? They were far to young and beautiful to go out this way.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Love My Countertops

Earlier this year, we put some butcher's block counter tops in our kitchen. I was a little worried about the maintenance. I'd read up on different finishes you can put on these counter tops, and decided that I didn't want to stain and seal them. I thought it would be easier to keep them looking nice if I just put feed-n-wax on them.
It makes the counters look nice, but it doesn't protect them from every stain. I found that out the hard way.
I just let something sit there for too long.
But it was so easy to fix!
 I used this first, and sanded until the stain wasn't visible anymore.
Then smoothed it out some more with this.
I just put some of this on the sanded spot.
And you can't even tell where the stain was.
(I love this stuff. I put it on my counters 2-3 times a week. It doesn't take any more time than it takes to wipe them down. Plus, it smells good.)
It took less than 10 minutes to get rid of the stain.
If you're looking at butcher's block for your kitchen but are kind of on the fence~
I don't think you'd regret getting them.

I don't. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Winner~and a Request

The winner of the CSN giveaway is
who said
... This would be such a blessing!!

Congratulations!  I will email you with the details.

And now for some shameless begging.
I was asked to do some decorations for a church dinner. There's no budget.
The dinner is December 15th, and they want a landscape type thing set up near the entrance. I have 6 pencil trees I can use, some sections of weathered picket fence, and an antique child's wagon. 
I really need ideas for CHEAP, EASY decorations.
This is what I have so far.
Yeah, I know. I'm just on fire with ideas.
So. Do any of you have any ideas? Links? Photos you'd like to send? Pretty please with sugar on top?
I would so appreciate it!
I'm just not much of a decorator. I want it to look nice, and I really don't mind helping them out and even spending a few bucks of my own on this. It's just that it's a little out of my normal purview, if you know what I mean.
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Soup is Good Food.

I'm making this enormous vat of soup for a church fundraiser tonight.
Soup, Salad and a Show.
It should be fun.
This soup is so good I made a triple batch. The recipe is below.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Serves 8.
1 lb. Hot Italian Sausage
2 large Russet Baking Potatoes sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices (I usually add more)
1 large Onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 bottle Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits (I sometimes leave these out~it doesn't affect the taste much)
2 cloves garlic minced
2 C. Kale or Swiss chard chopped (Kale is better)
2 cans Chicken Broth or 2 Tbsp chicken bouillon and 28 ounces water.
1 qt. Water
1 C. Heavy Whipping Cream (you can use half and half, or even evaporated milk if that's all you have on hand)

Cook sausage, drain the fat. If you can't find bulk sausage, just buy the links and remove the casings before you cook it. 
Cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are clear and soft.
Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, and the garlic in a pot, and cook on medium heat until the potatoes are done. Add the sausage, bacon, salt, and pepper to taste (you probably won't need any salt and pepper), and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat, add the kale and cream. Heat through,serve and enjoy!
Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Today is the last day to enter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Extremely Shabby Chairs

We bought our kitchen chairs at an auction more than 15 years ago. I loved them the minute I saw them. 11 of these perfectly shabby bent back chairs.
My husband had just sold some lambs, and kept bidding on the chairs until every cent he had made on the lambs made was spent. That made me love the chairs even more.
Over the years, they've gotten even shabbier. 3 of them have broken. We saved what we could for spare parts.
I was upset when I first noticed how roughed up the backs of the chairs were getting. Some of those gouges are deep.
It's from the rivets on the back pockets of my kids jeans.
I'm not sure what's happened to the edges of the seats.
These chairs are old. I'm not sure how old. 
I was standing next to an older gentleman at the auction, and he told me he thought they were from the 1890's. The store name is on the bottom of the chairs, and he said he remembered sitting on the exact same chairs from that store when he was a kid~and they were inherited from his grandmother.
I don't think I'll refinish them any time soon. I kind of like the history they have.
Even the gouge marks from the rivets on my kids jeans.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Number Tags

You know those cute metal enameled number tags that you see all over blogland but can never find?
Like this one.
(check out this blog)
Well, I ran out of patience. I found a tutorial here.
that tells you how to make your own. I know~make your own!
It's really pretty easy, and not expensive.
I did do one thing differently. I used some of these stickers 
for a few of my tags just to see if it would work. It does~but don't let it heat too long or the stickers will shrivel up and they won't look like numbers.
I like how they turned out.
(I got that bottle at TJMaxx a few weeks ago. I thought it was just a cute bottle until I got it home and realized it's an oil lamp. Now I think of it as The World's Prettiest Molotov Cocktail.)
 This one is one that I stamped. There was room for two numbers but I didn't think of that until it was too late.
I made my own tagged bucket~I looked and looked for these without any luck.
It was a fun and fast project, and it won't break the bank. You can buy these on Etsy now, but they're exactly like the ones you can make yourself. Check out the tutorial for full instructions!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 15, 2010


 CSN stores has offered to sponsor another giveaway! 
$35 to spend in any of their stores~you just pay the shipping. There's such a wide variety of things you could buy.
Are you going anywhere for Thanksgiving? 
How about Christmas?
Maybe you're going on a cruise.
If so, chances are you might need a new suitcase.
Or, maybe you could use it to buy a Christmas present for someone.
 Or something nice for yourself.
Just leave a comment to enter.
Put this on your blog (and let me know) for a second entry OR, if you don't have a blog, refer a friend. Just have them tell me who referred them in a second comment.

You have until 5:00 Thursday to enter. I'll announce the winner on Friday.
Good luck!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Basket Case

I found this basket a few days ago.

It was a good deal, so I bought it even though I wasn't crazy about the color.
 Because we all know things like that can be fixed.
I had some gel stain left over from this project so I thought I'd try it.
I just used a foam brush and slathered it on. OK. I didn't exactly slather. But I applied it. I couldn't get it into every crevice, but I was as thorough as I could be.
The stain gave it just enough "oomph".
The lid kept smashing down inside the basket, so I attached a leather button to the basket and some braided jute twine to the lid so that it will stay up.
It holds all my kids school pictures and some extra frames.

Easy fix!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Want To See Some Serious Cuteness?

I found this cabinet on the side of the road awhile ago and forgot to show you.
Not really! 
I found it in an antique store. But I did neglect to show you.
Isn't it cute? Doesn't it fit there like it's all on purpose and everything?
Look at her legs!
She's all clean and shiny inside, too.
I have a real thang for white enameled metal pieces, and if there are touches of black~I'm a goner. So there was no way I was going to pass this up.
I find my self going into the laundry room more often. Just to adore it. And sometimes I even do laundry.

Thanks for letting me show and tell!
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