gift idea

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!

Gnome for the Holiday! A Tutorial

 Gnomes or Tomte or Nisse…..Oh My!
Whatever name you give them, you have to admit they are awfully cute!

I guess I am a little “GNOME obsessed” this year. 

When you see how easy it is to make your own Tomten I am sure you will want to join in the fun!

 I have always loved the wonderful book by Astrid Lindgren about the little Tomten.

These are the 8 inch versions that we made for the Festival of trees decor.
thrift store sweaters
costume wig
fiber fill
styrofoam ball
glue gun
wooden bead


  • Cut the sweater sleeve long enough to tuck into the top and bottom of the toilet paper roll.
  • Glue the styrofoam ball on top of the sweater.
  • Glue on some fiber fill and a fluffy piece of the wig.
  • Sew a triangular hat out of another sweater sleeve.  Use an area that has ribbing for the bottom of the hat.
  • Glue the hat over the ball.  Fluff the beard and trim as needed.
  • Glue the wooden bead nose very close to the edge of the hat.

After we made these Gnomes, I started to see the little creatures everywhere in all the fancy gift shops.

These are for sale on Etsy for $35.

Look!  You can buy 3 Gnomes for a mere $19.00 marked down from $24!

And this guy is super cute….but costs $19 too.

You know me….this was a challenge to see if I could DIY some little gnomes for our Christmas tree.
Instead of cardboard tubes and sweater sleeves, this version uses 3 to 4 inch chunks of birch logs.
These Tomtens are pretty fancy with their “cashmere caps” made from a worn out sweater.
The beards are made from the costume wigs.

Ahh….then I remembered that our AxMan Surplus store always carries scraps of sheepskin that must be left from cutting rugs or something!  I scored a great big piece for $3.50. I knew it would make a perfect Gnome beard!

You can certainly use the cardboard tube and sweater technique if you don’t want to take the trouble to cut up a birch log.

The end result is every bit as cute!

I hope this has inspired you to create some elfin magic of your own!

Have a Wonderful Day!

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Mila’s Little Things

Things To Do With Travel Photos!

Are you old enough to remember….?
Back in the day….
We actually used FILM in cameras!

 It cost bunches of money…..and even more to get developed!
AND….you usually took very few pictures….and were stuck with them whether they turned out or not!

I remember rationing how many rolls of film we would use on a vacation.  Four or five rolls of 36 pictures was a pretty big extravagance for us!

 Then….along came the Polaroid!

Instant gratification…..but kind of lousy quality!

And Still…..super expensive….especially if your photography skills (or your subjects) were not up to par!

Too funny that all of the Instagram photos are a take off on the old look of polaroid prints!

Enter the 21st Century and Digital Photography!

There are no limits to how many photos you can take!


Now taking a bazillion photos of anything… film….no developing costs….is an every day habit!

HMMMMMM….that opens a whole new can of worms!
Organizing….deleting….storing those photos!
I have to admit….I am HORRIBLE at discarding photos and honing down the ones that are worth saving!
But THAT is a post for another day!

THIS post is a collection of cool things to do with your favorite vacation photos that steps outside the traditional “make a photo book” box!
Some I have done…..and others are ideas I found on other blogs and have on my to do list.


Crop some of the scenes from your trip into a square format.

Print them on card stock.

Use Mod Podge to adhere the images to plain white ceramic tiles.

Give the coasters a quick coat of spray on gloss laquer to water proof them.

Use adhesive backed felt on the back to protect the table you will use the coasters on.

 Fun and thrifty take on this project.

Look for coasters at the thrift store.  I found these for $1.99 and will be able to glue MY images right over the top….and they already have a backing!


This is the view from the rooftop bar in the hotel we stayed at in Hong Kong.

Using the Waterlogue APP it became an impressionist painting for the family room wall.

Here is a post with another image that was done in a similar way.

Over at Lovely Etc. you can find lots of other ways to use your photos.

This custom photo map from is so fun!


There are places like Zazzle that can turn your photos into double sided placemats.

The cost is “sort of” reasonable….but the quality is really amazing!


This tutorial from Inspired Ideas Mag gives all the directions for transfering photo images to glass.

That is definitely on my list TO DO!

 You can print images on fabric using your inkjet printer (Learn how here).

 Look at the cute pillows that were for sale at some shop in Yellowstone…..

I don’t remember exactly how much they cost…..but I bet it was plenty!

Look at the photo we took in Montana at the National Bison Range…

HMMMMM….that seems doable!

So many fun ideas…..I hope one of them provides you with some inspiration.

Do any of you have examples of fun things YOU have done with your photos?
I would love for you to take a minute and share!

Now…..I think what I REALLY should be doing with ALL my photos is editing them and only keeping the best ones….Yeah….and that is gonna’ happen!

Have A Wonderful Day!

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Creative Muster  My Girlish Whims 
Katherine’s Corner    Share It One More Time   

Posh Velvet Pumpkins

 Alas….those Halloween Jack’os that looked so festive a week ago are starting to go into their decline.

Before you toss them… sure to “harvest” the stems.


These stems can be used for some lovely posh velvet pumpkins for your Thanksgiving table.

Simply carve away any of the pumpkin to pull the stems out.
If you are lucky, there will be some wonderful curly vines left too.

Then….trim off as much of the pulp as you can and set them to dry.

Pop them in the oven at the lowest setting with the door open and let them dry out for a couple of hours.  They should be dry enough to use right away.

I won’t be making any new velvet pumpkins this year….I already have these!

You don’t need to limit yourself to velvet….the silk ones are pretty too!

You know how I hate writing tutorials… instead….I have found you a really well written set of directions for the project.   Check it out here.

Aren’t these gorgeous?

While I was researching for a good tutorial, I found the directions for making these cute little velvet acorns….so off I went to the Sweetwater woods to gather acorn tops.

I started to follow the directions…..
I made one….

And then…..I thought to myself…..what in the world will I ever do with these and they are taking a whole bunch of time….SO I QUIT!
HMMMMM….but if you want to make some….here is the link! 

So anyway….I hope you are reading this BEFORE you threw out your pumpkins!
I collected my stems and they will get packed away when they are dried.
Or…maybe I will make some little posh pumpkins for gifts.

And finally….

If you have kids….here is a wonderful book that shows the life cycle of a pumpkin.  A fun science project if you can get over the “ick” factor.

Have a Great Weekend!

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Curly Crafty Mom  

Use Your Printer to Create Custom Pillows

In this post I really will show you how to use your ink jet printer to make custom pillows. I will show you how to use muslin or canvas to make your own sheets of fabric to print on.  BUT….first I need to inject a public service announcement about the wonderfulness that can be found at your public library!
This is yet another reason to love your public library.

Did you know that you can check out digital versions of many popular magazines from your library?


Just hop on your library website and do a search for Zinio.  If your library supports Zinio then you can browse the collection of magazines just like magic…..a few seconds later you can read them on your phone, ipad or computer.  Follow this link to find out the specifics!

I used Zinio to check out the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. (yes….you can read the newest issues of magazines)
I read an article, “Picture This”, about using digital photographs in interesting ways.

 Oh, that is another cool thing about reading an emagazine… can take screen shots of the stuff you want to save!

 The ideas in the article were an inspiration for a couple of pillows I wanted to make.

I knew there were some different specialty printer papers in the cupboard…..hmmm….actually I have a LOT of different papers…

some for t-shirts
some plastic decal sheets
some post-it paper

then….aha….some canvas print “paper”!

First I made a pillow from a fun vintage print I found on the internet!

It was a simple matter of printing it out and appliquing it to a square of canvas for the front of the pillow.

 Then I used this pillow sham technique to make a simple slip on pillow.

 I needed to find a personal graduation gift for a favorite young woman. 
A pillow with a quote from Dr. Seuss was the perfect solution.

I used the digital scrapbooking program called My Memories Suite to design the image I wanted to print.

I used pink thread for the applique stitch on the edge.

The whole process took about an hour! 
The result was kind of special….for a very special person!

I still had some ideas for making more pillows….but I had used up the “store bought”canvas.  I guess I could buy some more.  You can purchase ink jet canvas at a cost of about $1.70 a sheet!   But you know me….I am always looking for a thriftier way to “DO STUFF”.

 One of the staples in the “fabric stash” is plain canvas….which is about $5 a yard!
Here is how to make your own Inkjet Canvas!

Start by cutting an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of canvas.

Then cut an 8 1/2 x  12 piece of regular old freezer paper.

The freezer paper has a “plastic side” and a “paper side”,

Put the canvas on the “plastic side” and use your iron to melt the two sides together.

 The extra inch on the top gets folded down over the top edge of the canvas.

This smooth edge lets the printer “accept” the cloth and run smoothly during the printing process.

I used the My Memories Suite to design an image from our Asian trip.

Then into the printer went the freezer paper backed canvas.

It is important to tell the printer that the paper is thick.
For my printer that means using the “Glossy Photo” option.

 I always have a hard time waiting for the project to print….

Patience is NOT one of my strong suits!


The canvas texture give the photo a really nice look.

The freezer paper pulls easily off the canvas.

Now you have a piece of fabric with the printed image on it.

Now it is just a matter of getting down to business and creating the pillow.
It will be a lasting reminder of our trip….and it won’t be necessary to sit at the computer to look at the picture!

Hmmmm…..what else could I make?
Check out these ideas from the Martha Stewart Living Website. 

This pillow with a collage look would be fun to try!

The little thumb tacks and magnets are made with bottle caps….Mr. S will just have to drink a beer or two or three so that I have the necessary supplies!

I am off to look through more photos!
Have A Wonderful Day!

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