We’ve Moved…..The Fairy House That Is!

The Fairy House or Gnome Home here at Sweetwater has good bones!

READ HERE about how to turn an old stump into a pretty fabulous Fairy Garden structure

That was a couple of years ago….

Just like any home, the Gnome home needs regular maintenance.

Well, this year instead of the usual spruce up of the property….I decided that it was time for the Gnomes to make a MOVE!

You know the saying….in real estate it is all about    LOCATION!
Instead of the busy intersection of driveway and front walk….the Gnomes deserve the woodlands and a pond view.
Luckily….the perfect “lot” was available!
Packing up to move is never any fun….but in this case it involved not just the furniture….but all of the landscaping materials….
The WHOLE house too!

 It is a good thing the move didn’t involve too much distance….

The Sweetwater Grandboy was there to help with sprucing up the place with a newly painted roof.

The landlord wasn’t so sure about the bright blue for the roof….but hey it suits a Gnome….

The process would have gone quicker….

The city utility workers showed up to flush out the water mains….and that diversion was way too interesting to miss!

So….after a short break…

The renovation continued!

As moves go, this one was pretty painless…I guess that is the magic of Fairies and Gnomes!

 I hope the Gnomes like the upgraded pond view!

Remember…..There’s No Place Like Gnome!!!

Have a Great Day!

Fancy Schmancy Refrigerator Art Display!

Back to School time means that your favorite kids will be bringing backpacks filled with their artistic endeavors!
Slapping that artwork up on the refrigerator is the typical way to display these treasures.
Why not elevate your typical refrigerator display so that it has  “Gallery” style?
Adding a mat to a any photo or art piece makes it seem special!

Now…if you follow my blog…you know that I do a lot of custom matting with my trusty Logan Mat Cutter!

The $200 spent on this tool was one great investment….but that is a story for another day!

So….for this project….I used it to cut an 11 x 14 mat with an opening of a little bigger than 8 x 10.
The ability to cut a custom opening for any piece of artwork is what makes having your own cutter so nice!

You can still do this without a mat cutter!
(or you could come over to Sweetwater and I will let you use mine!)

Amazon sells this set of 10 picture mats with backs for $19.99

Once you have the mats, you will glue JUST THE TOP of the mat to the backing.

This allows you to slide the artwork in.

It also allows you to change them easily when a new masterpiece comes your way.

I just use a bit of rolled tape in the bottom corners to secure the edge.

Amazon also sells a set of 100 round craft magnets….or you may be able to find these at the dollar store

Glue one magnet on each corner of the backing.

In about 10 minutes…
you can create something pretty “fancy schmancy”!

Have a Wonderful Day!

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Make It Pretty Monday

How to Preserve Autumn Leaves!

The weather here this fall has been amazing.  Bright sunny warm days.  For some reason, the leaves on the trees around Sweetwater have not been as colorful as usual.  I suppose there is a scientific reason for that but I don’t know what it is.

Fall leaves that are brightly colored just call to be brought in to the house to use for decorations.

I have memories of classroom art projects that involved trying to save fall leaves.

  • We ironed them between wax paper.  
  • We made leaf prints with paint.  
  • We used color crayons to make leaf etchings. 
  • We pressed leaves in heavy books.

What I really wanted was leaves that look like they are still outside on the tree.
This is the technique I tried this year and it comes pretty darn close to actually preserving the leaves.

The leaves in the silver vase have been in water for 2 days…..and you can see how dry and curled they are.

The leaves with the white pumpkins came into the house at the same time.  They got the “magic solution” and you can see they are still nice and soft.

How did this “magic” happen?

The “magic” ingredient is Glycerine.

You can buy glycerine at the drugstore or in craft stores.
I buy mine by the quart from Amazon.

What You Do:
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. …
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. …
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for a couple of days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel.

These giant red oak leaves were perfect to show you the process.

  I just put the leaves in the solution and didn’t bother to weight them down.  Every so often I would go and push the solution around with my fingers to make sure the leaves all got covered.

Look how lovely and shiny and soft the leaves are after just 2 days.

They really hold the colors too.

I am not sure what I am going to do with these.  But I am sure to think of something.

 Almost as good as the ones in nature!

Are you wondering how long these will stay looking nice?
I don’t actually know…..but the ones I did two weeks ago still look great.  I don’t know if it matters…..they really only have to last until Fall decor turns to Winter….!

Now…..Are you ready for your chemistry lesson?

Glycerin is a neutral, sweet-tasting, colorless, thick liquid which freezes to a gummy paste and has a high boiling point.
Glycerin can be dissolved into water or alcohol, but not oils.
Many things are able to dissolve into glycerin easier than they do into water or alcohol. This makes it is a good solvent.
Glycerin is a humectant.  That means that it draws moisture from the air.
Glycerin has the ability to make “water wetter” meaning that it breaks the surface tension of water.

Glycerin has lots of uses besides preserving leaves.
If it can make those leaves so nice and soft…..imagine how products containing glycerin will help soften skin and hair.

 This is a nice article with lots of information about glycerine.
Creative Uses For Glycerine 
It is worth checking it out….in fact….I discovered that glycerin mixed with water and heated over a candle flame makes a cool Halloween Fog Machine.  I can’t wait for the UPS guy to deliver my new glycerin supply so I can try this!
Glycerin is also a great additive for Home Made Bubble Solution.
Recipe for Magic Bubbles
1 oz. glycerin
2 oz dish soap (I like Dawn)
8 oz water

Hope you are having a wonderful day!

The Best Halloween Read-A-Louds!


Spiders and Witches and Bats OH MY!

It’s time to get yourself to the library or bookstore to find some great books for Halloween.

If you are volunteering at your kid’s Halloween parties….what better way to set a calming tone than a great read-a-loud.
Just have them at home to curl up on a cool evening for a family read-a-loud.

Check out this link for a nice annotated list of favorites from back in 2011.
Here are just a few of the titles on that list:

  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams
  • Night of the Pumpkinheads by Michael Rosen 
  •  The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey 
  • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies 
  • The Hobyahs by Robert San Souci 

I realized that this list needed updating.SO….here are some newer titles that are truly “beWitching”!

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler 

The skeleton can’t get rid of his hiccups and they cause him lots of problems.  Readers will giggle along as he tries all the typical remedies.

The conclusion is a satisfying one for little ones.

This is nice NON-scary story with a “scary” character.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

Poetry sometimes gets a bad rap for being boring.  Not in this book of fun poems featuring all kinds of monsters.  There are 19 in all making this a good choice for a quick read.

Click Clack Boo! A Tricky Treat by  Doreen Cronin and Besy Lewin 

The animals on Farmer Brown’s farm are up to Halloween mischief in this fun to read book in the series that never fails to be a hit with kids.  Those tricky animals continue to surprise the Grouchy Farmer with Halloween high jinx!

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

This is a Caldecott Honor book so the illustrations are sure to please.  Little rabbit is very greedy, eating carrot after carrot.  But then….he imagines the carrots are “stalking” him.  The idea is preposterous but makes for a fun and scary story!
Ghost in the House: A Lift-the-Flap Book
by Ammi-Joan Paquette

Cumulative stories make wonderful join in the fun read-a-louds.  This one has a catchy rhyming format too!  This is a perfect not-so-scary choice for the under 6 set!

I could go on and on…..but hope you take a moment to look at the books on the old post from 2011 and then head to the library for some delightfully spooky reading enjoyment!

Halloween Reading 1937 WPA Poster available at
Have a Wonderful Day!


Quick Gift Bag Ideas and a Tutorial!

As May winds to an end…..Graduations and End of Year Thank-yous are upon us! 
I have to admit that I often give gift cards for these events!  
Graduates AND Teachers love gift cards!
The trick to making a gift card personal is the presentation!

These are the simplest little gift bags that you can make using a single piece of  decorative scrapbook paper!

I like the fact that there are two little pockets on bag.

One side for the gift card….
The other side for a heartfelt note!

Remember that those notes to thank the teacher are actually MORE appreciated than the actual gift…. In fact…you wouldn’t even need a gift..just have one side include a thank-you from your student and the other side from you!

 I made the little green bag out of a half sheet of paper!
I put together a Pinterest Board with some other very fun gift card presentations!
Hop over and take a peek!


If you are looking for some PUNtastic Teacher Appreciation gifts…..hop over to this post on Skip to My Lou!  Very Clever!!!!

Oh and I just had to share this link with a tutorial for making customized gift bags out of wrapping paper….GENIUS! 

Hope this post has inspired you….or at least reminded you…..about the gifts you need to organize in the next week!

Have A Great Day!

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