Crazy for Daisies!

 This photo of the Sweetwater Daughter is one of my favorites.

You know it is truly summer when the field daisies bloom.

This little flower is so abundant and cheerful.

Click Here to read an old post and learn how to hand tie a daisy bouquet.

I did something a little different with my daisies this year.

 The components are:

Pachysandra, a great ground cover and a wonderful base for low floral arrangements.

Lady’s Mantle, a low mounding perennial with very pretty chartreuse colored flowers in early summer.

And of course Daisies.

The surprise is the fact that the container used here is actually a JELLO mold! I found white ceramic t one at the thrift store years ago.

It is the perfect way to arrange flowers around the outside of a candle.


 If you aren’t lucky enough to find a ceramic mold, look for molds that look like this….

You can easily use a bit of spray paint to pretty it up.
I have seen people use these as a way to encircle the patio umbrella.

Speaking of JELLO……
Take a gander at this jello salad from “The Joys of Jello”.
It absolutely strikes terror in my memories…..the only thing worse was when the whole thing got slathered with MAYO!

And last but not least…on the subject of Jello….

This is a wonderful read about the history of the family that invented and marketed our favorite guilty pleasure.

Then go out and and get yourself some Daisies to enjoy!

Have A Wonderful Day!

Get Your Holiday Tool Kit Ready

Don’t you admire/hate those people who have all of their holiday shopping done before Halloween is past?
I know I should be doing this….
Somehow…I really don’t get in the spirit of shopping until at least Thanksgiving.

I do start to put together an essential Holiday Tool Kit to have ready for the hectic holiday decorating, wrapping and shopping!
I thought I would share my “gotta have” list with you.  I would love to hear what your essentials are.

Paddle Wire
You won’t believe how many times you will use this.
It costs about $3.
I keep a paddle in the craft room and the junk drawer.
It is great for hanging decorations….without damaging surfaces.
It is the way to secure the center of a fancy bow!
Paddle wire is available at craft stores and on Amazon.
Wired Ribbon
Costco has 50 Yard spools of wired ribbon for $6.99.  I don’t think there is a better deal out there.
This ribbon works for everything.
I always buy a pure red and a burlap look.  
You won’t believe the ways this will work in your holiday wrapping and decorating. 
Here is a link to a tutorial all about tying fancy bows.
Pine Cones 

Pine cones are accents that work in November as well as December…and even up until Valentine’s Day.

If you have pine trees or access to them…..start collecting all sizes of pine cones.  We have trees with those tiny “mini” cones.  I gather tons of these to use as filler. 

Start watching at the grocery or craft store.  You can find deals on those wonderful cinnamon scented cones.  Instant Holiday atmostphere is just $5 away!

If you feel like splurging….invest in some giant Sugar Pine Cones.  I have been able to order them in bulk for around $3 a cone….but even at twice that….they have a dramatic impact. I think this arrangement could work from November to January.

 Cellophane Wrap
I love to use this simple clear cello wrap to dress up a hostess gift.  If you buy food grade…it can make that home baked treat look pretty upscale.  If you have some on hand you can add some instant glamour without much expense or fuss.

All Kinds of Tape/Adhesives
This is the time to buy those 3 packs of clear tape both single and double stick.  The ones at the dollar store work great for most things.
Zots…are great for sticking paper to paper.  You can also use them to put paper on glass….easy to remove.
Command Strips…great to have on hand to temporarily put up holdiday themed art.
Spray Mount Adhesive….make sure to have a full can.
Modge Podge…even a small bottle from the dollar store may come in handy.
 Picture Frames
Start gathering small sized frames from the thrift store.  You can frame cute family photos with a holiday theme or a beautiful holiday card from the past!  Print out a favorite quote captured from the internet and present it in a frame.  (wrap it in cellophane for a classy touch)
Those are just a few of the things that are in my arsenal. 
I know I won’t have the ambition to get the big shopping items purchased before mid-December….but I can be ready to do some small things.
The whole idea is to have things on hand so that you don’t have to take time out to go to the store when inspiration hits you.
What are the things you deem essential for your holiday preparations?  I would love to hear from you!
Have a Great Day!

Using Twinkle Lights for Fall Decor

Yesterday, the thermometer in the car said 100 degrees…..but the calendar says it is Autumn!  
Go figure!
I have been gradually switching the decor around Sweetwater to reflect the season….NOT…the temperature!
The family room was first….and honestly it took about 30 minutes to go from Summer to Fall!
The chair covers on the rattan chairs are now back to a muted color scheme. (I do love slipcovers for a quick change!)

  • These two purple pillows make sense when you look at the chair fabric.
  • A wine crate filled with interesting orbs and cotton bolls is fall like without going all “pumpkin” flavored! I often find these decorative balls at Good Will for a fraction of the cost they are at a decor store.  The same goes for the wine crate…keep an eye out for interesting containers.
  • The mantel got the “pumpkin” treatment complete with mood lighting!  I used my copper collection and a great pumpkin swag that has been around forever. 

I am totally obsessed with twinkle lights!
I love the battery powered strings that are on tiny copper wire.  The wire bends around to twist through the stuff and almost disappears.
A search on Amazon finds a really wide variety of these fun strings for a very low cost.  I have also seen them at Tuesday Morning and Dollar General.  You really want to have these in your decorating stash!!!

 I used a string to light up the Spooky Fairy Garden last season…..I will definitely do that again when October rolls around.

Look at some of the fun ways that other people have used twinkle lights:


HMMMM….I could probably weave a string into my wine crate!


Hope this inspires you to do a bit of fall decorating and add some twinkle lighting to your projects…

 I love the quote from the movie “You’ve Got Mail” when Kathleen announces that all will be fine, but “in the meantime, I’m putting up more twinkle lights.”

Have A Wonderful Day!
Link Parties

Versatile White Ceramic Vases

One of the best reasons to shop thrift stores is to build collections.
A wise woman would probably choose ONE thing to collect….but no one ever said I was WISE!

So what do I collect?
Mr. S would probably ask “what don’t you collect.

Copper, Silverplate, Fitz and Floyd, Red Wing and Haeger are just a few of my favorite collectibles.
Oh…here is my disclaimer!
When collecting is healthy, the display or storage of these things does not impede the use of active living areas of the home. When a collector expands acquisitions beyond well-defined collections and loses the ability to keep these possessions organized, it becomes a hoarding problem.  NY Times
And HEY….I use my collections all the time!
And Hey….I let my friends use my collections too!
Back to the main topic of the post….the versatility of white ceramic!

I love this ceramic “jello” ring mold.

It has a center hole that can hold a candle.

The shallow ring makes it easy to put short stemmed flowers all around.

Using a mirror to set a vase on is a fun way to add “double” the impact.

How to get this look?

Keep an eye out for pans like this at the thrift store.  You can give them  quick coat of spray paint…I would probably do white or beige…then you have a versatile vase of your own.

This photo shows the Haeger pottery collection.  The peonies are actually small bouquets that were used as favors for the Sweetwater DIL’s baby shower. 

How to get this look?
Never go to the thrift store without looking at the vases.  Then pick a color or style that you like and keep adding to the collection. 
Whether you keep them in a cupboard….boxes….or on display, you will have a way to display your pretty arrangements. 

Here are those same vases used for table arrangements for a wedding reception in an old barn.


Keep your eye on the lookout for this classic urn shape.  Flowers almost arrange themselves when you have this as a base.

This collection of white ceramic is not any fancy brand….and all of the little rectangular vases were $1 at Goodwill.  The platter is one that I have had for forever!  What an impact for not so many flowers!

How to get this look?

I think IDEA has these little vases or something like them….but of course I couldn’t find them on the web site. 
You could use little ceramic ramekins like these:

These are from a restaurant supply company if you can’t wait to score a thrift store find.

The whole idea is a cluster of similar, small vases on a tray….so simple!

Back to that whole collecting thing….I am struggling a bit to figure out how to display this particular collection.  I want it available… I opted for a shelf in the lower level….who knows how long that will last! 

Oh my….looks like I don’t have much room for any new pieces!

Happy Collecting!
Happy Flower Arranging!
Have A Great Day!

Summer Decorating on a Budget! Part One!


Time for summer decorating….bright, fresh, and airy are words that come to mind.

Lightening up the look of the family room was the first step in the summer transformation here at Sweetwater.

When we got the new oatmeal colored couch, I no longer need to slipcover the cushions with summer weight fabric.

(Read about how I used to do this with the dark colored couch using stretch twill for cushion covers that are almost no sew)

The color scheme in the family room was pretty autumnal with all the browns and copper.

Pretty…. but definitely NOT bright, fresh and airy!

 What to do?
Obviously, I wasn’t gonna mess with the new couch!
So off to to find some fabric to lighten up the cushions on the rattan chairs.

This is the fabric I picked.  It was less than $25 for the fabric and delivery.

Yes…I did have to sew for this project, but you could do a wrap and tack version that would be almost as good.

I can not believe the difference it made to switch out the dark for the bright!
Now I know why everyone says to buy a neutral colored couch!
It really was simple to change out a few things and get a new look.

Changing the color scheme of a room is always more than just changing the upholstery fabric.
Going with the teal and chartreuse meant that all the browns and rusts in the old accessories were just all wrong….
The room needed new stuff in the right colors.
It was so tempting to head over to Home Goods and buy everything summer in those appealing displays…..and I did find those great looking teal pillows for a bargain.  In fact…I would have spent way more $$ to make them.

I wanted to save my money for my other summer vice….PLANTS!

I decided I could go shopping…..but in my own house!
I walked the house….
I peeked into my over stuffed closets….
Looking for stuff that would go with the new colors.

I have always loved the summer themed pillow with the palm tree.  I was thrilled that it could take center stage(couch) with the perfect colors for the room.

The artificial pears have been around for awhile.  They have just the right green for the coffee table.

 Notice the pictures on the back wall…they were in other rooms and now have a new spot.

I kept the mantel simple.
The white candle sticks and lanterns have been around the house for a few years.
Looking at the photo makes me think that a bright beachy colored bow on the lanterns might make them pop. HMMM….maybe an artificial sunflower too!?

The image in the frame is an enlargement of a photo I took in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
I used Waterlogue…an iPad app to make it look like a watercolor. (You can read about how this works here)
It really is a perfect summery addition.
I imagine that I will find more things that will add summery touches…

A thrifty decorator’s work is never done!

Come back tomorrow for the second part of Summer Decorating on a Budget….the lower level family room has a new look too!

Have A Creative Day!

Link Parties
Eclectic Red Barn