Author Archives: sweetwaterstyle

Easy Summer Memory Wall Decor!

Once the 4th of July is over, we are in the thick of the Summer!

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here!

Lyricist Charles Tobias 

 Well then…..

 Are you wondering why I am showing you a picture of a house taken in late fall?
Well….I want you to notice the red trimmed storm windows on this house…which is the house Mr. S grew up in!
When the house was sold….and it was time to clean out the garage…

We “rescued” one of the old stormwindows to hang in our house!

I decided to turn the window into a Summer Memory Gallery!
I dug through some photos and came up with some of my favorite family images of Summertime!
I used my trusty mat cutter to cut mats for them…..
but you could just stick the photos on the glass too!
Clockwise From the top left:
This photo is probably circa 1920….I don’t know about your family….but we really don’t wear suits for our campfires!
This is the Sweetwater Daughter helping her Grandma do the dishes in the hot kitchen!
That is little old me….at the sink at my Grandma’s House!
The next image shows a group of people on the farm…”playing”…I think it is wonderful to imagine farmers who were working so hard….having time to play!
The Sweetwater Son with a slice of watermelon….hamming it up for the camera!
Mr. S and 2 of his brothers all decked out in their swimsuits…too cute!
This is a photo of my family in 1952….swimming in the Atlantic ocean….it may be the only picture of my Grandmother in a swimsuit!
It is fun to have these memories on the wall to enjoy!
There are a few other Summer  touches on the walls here:
This little treasure is the wool swimming suit that belonged to Mr. S’s Grandfather…
It is dark navy blue….and oh so little!
Also…oh so heavy!
I had a navy and white beach bag that looks nice hanging along side!
This watermelon print is hanging on the refrgerator!
I used the trick of gluing magnets on the back of the frame!
 I was too lazy to take the chalkboard off the stairway wall….
That is why this picture is so terrible….sorry!
But…I saw this summertime message somewhere in blogland and thought it was really cute!
The lake map is actually a place mat from a lakeside restaurant we like!  
I think all of these little touches of Summer here at Sweetwater fit the philosophy of “Use What You Have”…
Have a Great SUMMER Day!

Hooray For The Red White and Blue!

Happy Fourth of July!
The flags are flying and we plan a simple celebration with family to view the fireworks from the dock at the Sweetwater Mom’s lake house!
It is a beautiful summer day here at Sweetwater!
Take a peek at the simple patriotic decorations around here.
I have a collection of “stuff” and just plop it here and there!
Really….what is more like summer than the Red White and Blue?
Flags line the front gardens and the bakers rack gets some bunting!
The little fruit box is painted and stenciled to look like a flag!
This flower arrangement of Daisies, Red Bee Balm and Campanula sits on a patriotic runner on the Kitchen Table.
The framed postcards and painted baskets with a few flags decorate the bakers rack.  The big bow is made from a piece of gorgeous ribbon I splurged on long ago…..I felt guilty when I spent ten dollars for a yard of it…..but in hindsight it was worth it!
Even the Fairy Garden House is “Flying the Flag”!
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  ~Erma Bombeck
Have A Wonderful 4th of July!

Thrifty Planters-Use What You Have!

Through the years….we have collected lots and lots of planters!

These pots could sit in a pile next in the garage….taking up space!

OR….they could be placed all over in the gardens for visual interest….

The problem is that if I need to buy flowers and foliage plants to fill them….it gets very expensive!

Here is the “Use What You Have!” Solution for this dilemma!
This is “What I Have”….
Big Flower Pots….
Lots of Perennial Sedum..
Lots of Hosta….
Lots of Artemisia…
Lots of Perennial Grasses….
Instead of buying foliage plants I dig up these “extras” from the gardens and fill in around with  just a few plants purchased from the nursery!

There are four of these big pots sitting on the ledge behind the firepit.
We purchased a Red Fountain Grass for each pot ($5 a plant)…
Three 6 packs of bright colored Celosia cost $1.99 each….
Then out to the garden to transplant these beautiful Sedum for the foliage accents!
It looks like one of the Red Bee Balm snuck in along with the Sedum and is ready to bloom soon!

Four giant planters for $26 dollars…..pretty thrifty!

The Red Fountain Grass will stay pretty even into the winter….

and the Sedum turns a nice bronze color in the Fall…..

The Copper Kettle in the front of the house got a similar “thrifty” treatment!

This time the cost was less than $2

Bee Balm
Zebra Grass
Half a packet of New Guinea Impatients

When the Bee Balm is done blooming…I might plant a Garden Mum from then Nursery when they are on sale!

Here are some other planters filled with “What I Have”!

 This old round planter has little volunteer ferns and these off shoots from a Coral Bell plant.  I think there used to be a solar light in the center…..guess I need to get a replacement.

 A few small leaf Hosta and another fern have an interesting varigated green look.  If you grow Hosta, you know that you can separate small clumps through out the season.

 There are several of these large pots along the back wall of the garden.  When I cleaned out the side hill garden, there were lots of little Astilbe plants headed to the compost pile…..these got “rescued” and look how nice they look.

The Sedum in this pot is simply “overflowing” with bright cheerful yellow!

 I think these off shoot Coral Bells like the planter better than the garden.  But I think I know the perfect spot for them in the front garden…so when the garden center stuff goes on sale next week….I will move them.

This is just an after thought of Sedum and Artemesia…..but it still makes an nice accent.

There you have it….a thrifty way to fill lots of big planters….

I hope this has inspired you to go dig through your stacks of empty planters and fill them up with “what you have”

Have A Great Day…..I am ready to spray on the insect repellent and get after all the weeds I saw when I was taking these photos!

Link Parties
Rooted in Thyme    Serenity You   
Be Different Act Normal      

DYI Window Re-Screen Tutorial

Screen doors really are the essence of Summer!
Don’t you love having the windows and doors open to let the air and sounds of summer flow through through the house?
The Old Screen Door.
Remember those old screen doors,
those made of wood with fancy corner  design?
No cool air conditioning then,
yet a fan and screen door seemed oh!  so fine …
The screen door kept out pesky flies
but squeaked open to welcome friends of mine…
and sometimes strangers,
or traveling salesmen trying hard to earn a dime…
Remember the small steel hook 
used to latch the door but rarely used anytime?
And if the door spring broke,
the door flew wide…  time out to fix and realign…
Old dog would sprawl
to nap right in the way, at the door’s front line;
pet cat thought the screen door to be
her scratching post
And oh! How Mom would whine!
“Don’t slam the door!”  Mom always called.
I never learned;  Slam! it went every time.
Old screen-door scenes beckon language memories
for which I often pine.
Author Betty Kossick
The screen on the patio door at Sweetwater has taken a beating from MARVIN!  
He just loves to stretch and put his entire weight on the door!
His little parlor trick caused the screen to push out and leave big gaps.
Unsightly…and a great spot for bugs to enter!
It was time to re-screen the door!

Mr. S. and I used to take our screens to the hardware store and have them done!
It doesn’t cost a whole lot…..but there are LOTS of screens at Sweetwater….and some of them are pretty big!  And besides….it is a pain to take the screen out….load it into the truck….take it to the store…..wait for the job to be finished….load it back in the truck…..UGH!
Then we figured out that we could DO IT OURSELVES… is really a simple process!
A few inexpensive tools and supplies are all you need!

This stuff is what holds the screen in the groove of the window.

It is called spline.

Sometimes you can use the old spline from the window you are re-screening…..but for less than $5…go wild!

The real deal is the roller knife!

Having this tool on hand means that whenever you need to re-screen….you are good to go!


A roll of 25 ft. of screen for $20 bucks is enough to do LOTS of window….no MARVIN….don’t get any big ideas about the other windows!!!

So yesterday……Mr. S. and I spent a quick half hour replacing the pushed out screen on the deck door!  This wasn’t our first time doing this….so it goes pretty quickly!

The door is easy to remove by loosening the screws that hold the wheels on the door track.

Since we didn’t want to crawl around on the floor, we covered the table with a sheet and put the screen on top.

It is a simple process to pull the old spline out of the track all the way around.

Then just take the old screening out.

Oh…don’t forget to take the handle off…because you need to get at the track underneath it.

 Lay the new screen material on the window and cut it…..leaving a generous amount on the ends.

Then….start in one corner and push the spline into the track as you pull the screening tight.

This is where it is nice to have a “buddy”!
My job is pulling and stretching….Mr. S. is the pro with the spline tool

 Don’t worry if you get a wrinkle….just pull the spline out and stretch tighter!

After the spline is pushed in all around the screen and there a NO wrinkles…..go back with a fancy tool like a spoon handle and push the spline in even tighter.

 Cut the overlapping screening close to the edge with a straight edge razor blade.

The trick here….DON’T cut too close or you run the risk of the screen pulling out with any pressure on it…..(think MARVIN)!

Then it is just a matter of putting the handle back on….
Putting the door back in place!

I timed this process…..and from start to finish…including set up and clean up….it took 38 minutes!
Here is a YouTube video of the process by “an expert”….just in case I missed something!

So now we wait… see how long before our “bad Kitty” pushes this screen out!
But for now….we can “Shut the Screen Door!”

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties
Practically Functional    
Live From the Farm Hop    It’s Overflowing  Hope Studios   

No Sew Box Cushions with a New Tip!

You can redo your cushions with this almost NO sew project!

I guess a lot of people are looking for ways to redo cushions without the cost of buying new or having them custom made at an upholstery shop!

Too funny…..but these box cushions that I posted about 3 summers ago are almost FAMOUS!

Seriously…..this post  about NO Sew Box Cushions consistently gets a hundred hits A DAY….go figure!

That is exactly the plight facing the Sweetwater Daughter this Spring.  
The cushions on the deck furniture had faded and had some serious sun rot!
The perfect project for “Almost No Sew Box Cushions”!
Steps for Perfect Cushions!
  • Measure and determine how much fabric you need!  The Sweetwater Daughter needed 10 yards because the project was to recover 2 chairs, a loveseat, and an ottoman!
  • Shop Smart!  We were able to find the perfect fabric at the store but even on sale it was $16 a yard….then we found it online for only $8…Yippee! 
P/Kaufmann Outdoor Hip Floral Sorbet 54″ Fabric
(Funny Sidebar…..this is the same print in a different color that I used for the Almost No Sew Shower Curtain in the upstairs guest bathroom!)

Back to the Deck Cushions…..
  • There is usually no need to remove the existing fabric on the cushions, but because these had welting, we thought it would be better.  We added some quilt batting to soften the edges.  Slip stitching the batting makes the cushion more stable.  (We had lots of help in this process from “Biggie Smalls”!)
  • Next it is time to cut the fabric to size with just enough overlap for a single seam.  This straight stitch on the back seam of the cushion cover is the NEW TRICK for the box cushion.  It saves a tremendous amount of time and makes a nice clean edge for the cushion.  If you don’t have a sewing machine, it can be done by hand…but the tube of fabric with the seam makes the job look pretty darn professional!


  • Slide the cushion into the tube of fabric leaving enough on each of the ends to make a turned in edge like you are wrapping a present.

  • Notice that the hand stitching is done with a curved needle.   This handy tool makes the job go so much easier!

The Finished Project

Don’t they look amazing?
Plus…..the Sweetwater Daughter and I had a fun time on a cold and rainy Spring afternoon!
And we did it for not much more money than a “fancy ladies lunch” in a restaurant!
and…..since then…
I have updated the cushions on the deck bench and the bench in the firepit!

I hope this inspires you to try updating your own cushions some time soon!
Have A Wonderful Day!