Use what you have

A good way to stretch your decorating dollar is to use what you have. This cabinet has a large wide area so I need to use large pieces up there to even be seen. I borrowed this chicken feeder from a friend. The bottom is rusty but I coiled a yellow garland around the base and pulled up the pip berries to be seen above the edge. The feeder would look good sitting on the floor as well and could have ivy or flowers as well as the garland in it. An old box I had lying around houses a variegated ivy bunch and had several old jars on the top of which only one remains. These jars were found discarded and we also picked up some at yard sales and flea markets. The wreath was another yard sale find and it was taken apart and redone to add interest. None of these items were expensive in themselves.. they were brought together and repurposed in an attractive display. This allows one to splurge on something like the goose decoy . It adds interest and pulls the colors together.. especially sporting a small yellow candle ring around its neck. This entire display could remain and the florals changed out to reflect the seasons.

Ok, this is not the best picture, but again, I have used some everyday items to create a unique display. the speckled pots were pulled out of a cupboard and stacked to add height and be noticable on the top of this hutch. I turned a divided box on end to show my crocks, a pine cone from my Grandmother’s old house and an pretty blue bottle I found in the dirt somewhere. Added to this are garlands and picks in rich earth tones to pick up the colors of the crocks.

The key to shoe string decorating is to keep one eye always open to the possibilites an item may have beyond what it was origionally intended to be.

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 2:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Eggs-Actly PrimiTive

I enjoy searching the net looking for ideas and products related to Country and Primitive decor. I like to make things myself.. when I have the time.. so like to check out patterns. These Primitive Easter Eggs are darling in this small basket. The price of the pattern is only $4 and you get her staining recipe as well. Make up several to use around your home in baskets and bowels. Click on the picture or HERE for the site to order.

According to the site, this egg pattern kit is a ‘No Sew’ pattern. This might be a good project to do with kids. The eggs are beautiful and the rich colors would be great in any Prim home. An old basket, some grass or straw and these rustic eggs and you have a nice touch for the coming season. Click HERE or on the picture to check out the sellers web site.

While you are on this site check out the articles and the rest of the information contained on the site. I have been here before I have gotten a lot of info here.

Another very nice site with lots of great patterns. These eggs are very cool and I fell in love with several of the patterns on the site as well. I particularly love the Woolie Sheep.. and am tempted to get that pattern for myself. I just don’t know when I will find the time to make them. Maybe when I get moved later this year I will have a few evenings to myself.. lol.. time to wake up from that dream. 🙂 anyway, click HERE to visit the site and enjoy.

Do You Have a Great Idea..

Have you come up with a nice display combination?  Have you repurposed an item in a unique way? I know I get a lot of inspriation from seeing what others have done and I love those ‘I never would have thought about that’ ideas I stumble across.

Share your tips and ideas with others by sending them to me for posting here on our Blog. If I add them to the blog I will give you one of our highly scented and long burning candles at half price or a $5 gift card for the shop.

And if you like the little bench in the picture, click the picture or HERE to check out the Etsy shop I found it on. Nice stuff.. her motto is “ Because a Womans Place is in the Woodshop”. I love it!

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lighted Willow Branches

These lighted branches are HOT! There is a lot of buzz about these right now and they are getting hard to get as they are getting backordered because of their popularity. We have had these in and only have a few left. We are reordering more today.

 This great innovation is a fantastic way to add light to floral or twig arrangements without the hassle of dealing with an electric cord. You can also add them as light spray accents in trees. There are 20 lights on the branch and they give off a cool white light which has a slight blue hue. Branch is 17 inches long and requires 3 AA batteries (not included).

We are also getting in on some advance ordering for some branches that will have more of a warmer cast to the lighting instead of the bluish one these branches have. We do not look to have them in any earlier than May right now.

We will have a tall one at 39″ as well as a smaller one at 19″. Be sure to get some of these for yourself. the demand is high and supplies may be limited for most of the year.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm  Comments (4)  
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Cool Blogs to Visit

I love information and reading. Both are combined in searching the internet. I was spending some time looking for decorating ideas, repurposing sites and generally any kind of info for those of us who are having to tighten up and make things stretch. My search led me to several blogs dealing with Goodwill finds, crafting and being frugal. I find I enjoy reading blogs as the tone is conversational and you feel like your hanging out with one of your friends.  Here are some of the sites I found interesting while searching.

Suddenly Frugal – a cool blog with a lot of info. There are Freebie Fridays with info on free stuff from retailers and restaurants, information was given on where to find the best shopping deals during the holidays and there is lots more. I found this blog a bit later in the evening and was a bit too tired to fully explore. I plan on checking back regularly.

Primitive Lifestyle – This blogger is in Ohio and loves to hit the Goodwill store and repurpose items she finds. She posts the latest treasures and will later post her project to change the item into a new piece for her home. I enjoyed going back through the archives to see all the neat items she has reclaimed and given new life to. Though I too love to redo items, she has inspired me to look at things a little differently to find the hidden treasures.

Behind My Red Door – OK.. not really a lot of How-To-Do.. but the pictures are delightful eye candy to those that love the country/prim style of decor. Cruising thhrough her posts gave me ideas for decorating the shop. Sometimes the bets way to save money on decorating is to get some free inspiration. Enjoy..

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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BeAuTiFuL BoXeS

As stated in the earlier post.. I like to get inexpensive little containers like boxes to use in my decorating. Often old boxes can be found for a few dollars a piece and the beat up nature of old boxes in general lends itself very nicely to country and prim decor. Take this little green box, for instance. It is a reproduction but it is made to look like a little drawer from a spice box. This box actually has a hook on the back for hanging on the wall as well as sitting on a shelf like it is here. We have put all kinds of things in it and right now it is home for a twig ball. The rounded ball plays a nice complement to the little wood block’s rounded top and the box’s round pull. The square shape of the box is a sharp contrast to all the other spherical shapes in the arrangement. A nice floral pick with trailing stems ties the green color of the box to the arrangement and of course it softens and ties it all together.

This is my new favorite treatment of small rectangular boxes… masses of pip berries! We have some great, thick pip berry wreaths that I have been scrunching together and putting in boxes. The pip strands are long enough to pull up above the top of the box and the thickness of the wreath makes a very full effect in the box. With this little box I added a mini candlestick light. Is that not the cutest way to display a light?? Instead of the candle stick light try adding a small strand of christmas tree lights or the popular mini rice lights. Those tiny lights look darling in among the berries.

Once again I have taken one of our pip berry wreathes, this time a mustard color,  and flattened it sideways to fit in this box. You can see how thick and full the berries are in the box. This box has a neat rustic fence behind it that just begs attention. I stuck a star up there for no reason other to get the star up where it could be seen. I can see this box with some nice ivy trailing over the side and up the fence and some spring colored florals added in for color. Or add some brightly colored eggs or a cute little rabbit and you have a seasonal piece for your wall or table.. and it could be easily changed for the coming seasons.

The texture of time-worn boxes can also be used to set off other pieces. This candle stick is fairly new. We added a candle ring to dress it up and then put this unique box behind it duplicate the tall vertical feel of the candlestick. And of course, the beat up box adds to the rustic finish of the candle.  The compartments in the box are a nice place to tuck little things like a wood block or a small picture.

Boxes are also very useful for adding height to an arrangement. A well placed box with items on the top help to draw the eye up without drawing attention to themselves. This reason in particular is one of the best for having a collection of boxes to use in your decorating. And.. the best part.. is they are usually cheap and easy to come by so having several will be easy on your purse. First thing to do is look around for the free ones. My grandmother had several in her garage. A cool old box with items to repair shoes in it and several long, shallow boxes with compartments for screws, bolts and what have you. A quick scrub and her trash became my new found treasure. I have picked up boxes at auction for just a few dollars each. Even larger storage boxes with hinged lids can find use to get items up off a floor and to add visual appeal next to a table or hutch. Happy collecting.

TeA and CoFFee StAiNed FaBriC

crowdollI get asked a lot of questions about how to do things around the shop. My experience is candles and scented products. But I have come across others that do a wonderful job of other types of crafts and I also like to cruise the net looking for info to see how others go about doing things. So, although I have not tried these procedures for myself, I have heard and seen the results of others doing them.

Primitive decor has a palate of darker colors.. the colors you get over time. Blues and reds become muted, black gets more charcoal and anything white developes an darker antique patina. So, to get that age-old look instantly on fabric, you can tea or coffee stain.

Tea staining is the less extreme of the two methods. It will give you lightly stained, yellowish-brown areas on your fabric. Different teas will result in different tints and tones in the final product. Standard black teas will give a soft brown or cream color to your fabric, while some of the herbal teas leave more of a red tone.

 To create tea dye you will need to bring to boil enough water to soak your fabric in. Then add 1 tea bag to every half a cup of hot water and let it brew for about 10 minutes. Soak the fabric you wish to age in the bucket of tea. Swish it around every so often if you want a smooth textured finish. Leave it without moving it much for a mottled finish.

When the fabric has soaked “enough” pull it out and rinse it under cool water. You will loose a lot of the color doing this, so if it isn’t dark enough to suit you, soak it some more. Be aware that when the fabric dries it will be slightly lighter as well. It’s been found a medium light tan color can be achieved after about an hour. A richer tan can be achieved with an overnight soaking.

 Another method of staining fabrics is to sponge them. Make up the stain as before, then using an old sponge, soak up some of the tea dye and blot it onto the fabric. This gives a distinctive mottled look to your fabric. You could build up layers using different strengths of tea. The more tea dye you use, the darker the stain will be. This process gets the fabric pretty wet. You can lay the fabric out to dry, run a fan over it or bake it in the oven at about 200 degrees for a few minutes to dry it. Reapply additional coats of tea dye as necessary to get the desired color.

 Tea dye is only for natural fabrics like cotton and linen. Tea dye is also semi-permanent. What this means is that while it will not wash out easily, you can usually remove it with bleach. It may also fade in sunlight. It is not suggested for use on items (such as clothing) that will be washed regularly as modern detergents are designed to remove the tea stain.

For a richer and darker color, try coffee dye. A recipe I found was mixing 5 tablespoons of instant coffee crystals in half a cup of hot water. They also added a few drops of vanilla extract to add a bit of scent to the mix. Other recipes throw in a tablespoon of cinnamon for the aroma as well as the texture it gives.  To stain with the coffee dye, use the same sponge-blotting method described above for the tea dye. When the piece has the desired color it can then be baked in the oven. You can also spray tea or coffee dye on with a spray bottle, or dry your fabric outside in the sun on a warm day.

Since I had to get this information from other sources, here are the web sites I found the most information on and they are worth a look for other things as well:

Primitive Folk Art

Kiss My Crafts

Cinnamon Sticks and Candle Wicks ~ for the doll pictured

BaCoN ChEddAr DiP

 We are pulling the shop apart and getting ready for our Open House on November 7th. We will have some of our dip mixes made up for sampling. A favorite last year was the Bacon Cheddar mix. Great mixed as stated on the package, but here is another delicious recipe sure to please the crowds.

bgbc

Big Game Beer Cheese Dip Ingredients:
1 pkg. Bacon & Cheddar
Cheesespread Mix
16 oz. Velveeta® processed cheese
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup beer

Directions: Cut Velveeta® into 1-inch cubes and microwave in a large mixing bowl until melted. Then mix in softened cream cheese, beer and Bacon & Cheddar mix. Put mixture into a slow cooker (smaller size) and cook on high until melted together. Serve with tortilla chips, pretzels, bread chunks or wheat crackers.

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rusting Recipes

rustThe last buying trip I picked up a lot of rusty items. Rusty stuff looks so nice with primitive decor. Buying pieces already rusted is one way to get them.. and another way is to rust items yourself. I cruised the net and found some nice recipes for rusting your own items.

This recipe I got from Two old Crows and will nicely rust safety pins, jingle bells, or anything else you want to ‘age’ for your primitive creations.The most important thing to remember about rusting, is that you will want to buy the cheap brand of pins, safety pins, bells..etc that you can find. The more expensive brands have a shellac coating on them that you will have to sand off before rusting. Makes sure they are NOT brass either -brass will not rust.Do this outside away from children and pets…..the fumes are terrible !

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup bleach
1 teaspoon salt

Directions :
Combine the ingredients in an old quart jar.
Add items you want to rust and cover loosely – place in a safe spot and let set for at least 2 days.
Line a tray with a couple of layers of paper towel and remove the items with an old fork from the mixture. place in the sunshine …….the items will begin to rust as they dry. Move them around so that they dry on all sides.

Caution: do not throw the mixture down the sink- dispose of properly where no animal or child could come in contact with.

And here’s another recipe I found at the Home Decor Ideas blog.

For heavy rusting:

 Measure 2 cups of CLOROX or any household bleach and pour into a metal cookie sheet with sides.

Add l cup of APPLE CIDER vinegar and mix thoroughly.

This must be done in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Use an all-metal cookie sheet with sides. DO NOT use Teflon-coated, enamelware, glass or plastic containers.

 Immerse tin into solution. Tin has to be completely covered. It will start rusting immediately in the solution. It takes approx. 2-3 min.

Lift out of solution and stand on edge to dry. It will become very rusty. Let air dry completely for approx. 1-3 hours or overnight. When it is completely dry, wipe some of the rust off with a dry cloth…this is optional.

 I found another recipe that is not as toxic at Primitive Folk Art. First, place your items to be rusted into a container that has a lid – She used an empty glass candle jar. Pour enough bleach into the container to cover the items you are rusting, and then put the lid on. Let it sit like this for about 24 hours. Then drain the bleach into the toilet (get a second use out of it as a disinfectant!), leaving the metal items still damp in the jar. Next cover them with cider vinegar and add in a healthy dose of salt. Cover again, and let sit overnight. Pour the used vinegar down the drain (you can also get a second use of this as a drain unclogger if it follows a dose of baking soda), leaving the damp bells/safety pins/what have you in the jar. Put the jar out in the sun to dry, uncovered, and the metal items in it will rust as they dry.

Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 2:30 am  Comments (1)  
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