Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Before and After - Garden Bench

How long can pleasing decay pass as a theme in my seating options? I have tried to be comfortable with the whole shabby chic approach to neglected metal garden furniture. But, it's not for everyone. Some friends look uncomfortable sitting back against a rusting, flaking settee in a strapless summer dress on a humid afternoon.

This year my list of warm weather projects was topped with a plan to refurbish the garden furniture and spiff it up a little. I am hesitantly sharing my first attempts to do just this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Garden Surprises

This week my oak leaf hydrangeas have started to bloom. The showy white flowers are fragrant and huge. As pretty as they are in early summer, the color and beauty continue to be interesting through all four seasons. In late summer and early fall, the blooms will turn a pinkish brown. They look as dreamy as a sepia tone photograph. When the weather turns cold, they lose their leaves and the bark starts to exfoliate in a pleasing texture. In early spring, they begin to leaf out and grow taller with bigger leaves at the top, creating a little canopy of shade.

This week also brought out a hungry baby bunny. The little ball of fur was undeterred in its pursuit of grass to nibble on. Thankfully, it hadn't found the hostas yet!

One recent summer, a roaming band of wild bunnies went wild in the hosta beds. They ate everything they could reach and successfully consumed every single hosta. A gardening friend suggested I sprinkle red pepper flakes to deter the cottontails the next time. The following summer, a sly red fox chased the bunnies away. So far, we haven't seen too many surprise garden visitors.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Card for Dad

This occasion to recognize Dad calls for a hand made card, or at least a card that looks hand made. These are a few examples of appealing themes that don't feature convertible historic cars, backyard grills, a mug of beer or a trophy for the number 1 Dad.

I have a weakness for cards with doodled or fabric ties, a frequent gift for my Dad. The vintage floral card seemed an unusual find addressed to Dear Father. And although the tea bag card bears a weak pun, it's refreshing token for a Dad who enjoys a spot of tea.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Make Your Own Jewelry from Miniatures

Doll house miniatures don't have to sit on the tiny mahogany table in the tiny formal parlor waiting for someone to play. It's time to bring the dainty diminutives out in the big world. Sally Cameron Griffiths shares her tips on converting her doll house finds into rings, earrings and necklaces with a little glue, jewelry parts and a pair of pliers. Here are the instructions from the Guardian to create your own recycled and wearable tea set.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Floors for Frugalistas

Summer is a time to lighten up your home and relax your furnishings a bit to reflect your more casual approach to living and entertaining, in- and out-of-doors. Offer your floors a little breather, too. Roll up your wool carpets and area rugs and let your pretty floors be exposed for an airier feel and a fresh look.

If your floors are calling for a little more interest, try a taped design. Less expensive than paint and less permanent, you can add a border design to a virtual rug in vinyl floor tape or painter's masking tape.

For a light and colorful look to decorate your stairs, try your steady hand to paint stripes or a pattern like a stair runner. Marking out your pattern with tape will keep your lines neat and even. Thrifty Chic offers a striped DIY staircase project, top. This Old House Journal offers a bolder diamond design. Interior Transformations by Ann Grafton offers a subtle solid color painted runner. Or take inspiration from Jim Lambie and his spectacular taped floor installations.