Friday, January 30, 2015

No Sew Window Treatment

     Happy Friday everyone! Today I am going to share a project that my daughter and I worked on yesterday afternoon. My daughter had asked for a new comforter set for Christmas as she wanted to update her room. The one she liked was called Carina from Bed Bath & Beyond. I had tried to also purchase the matching window valance but it was out of stock. However, I was able to get a back rest in a similar coral shade to go with the set. The back rest makes it more comfortable when she wants to read in bed. She loved how the comforter and back rest looked in the room, but she wasn't as pleased with the sheets that came with the set as she said they were a little rough. She slept on them for 3 days before deciding to change back to her favorite soft flannel ones.
     Well, I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day, and Diane from In My Own Style did a post on affordable window treatments. I started looking at some of her old posts about no sew window treatments and came across a post that used a fitted sheet to create a window valance. The timing of finding that post was perfect, as I needed a window treatment for my daughter's room, and I happened to have a sheet set that matched her new comforter. To get the detailed  instructions on how  to transform a fitted sheet into a a new window treatment, you can go to Diane's blog here, as she does a great job of demonstrating the process as well as showing various looks you can achieve by altering the color of ribbon you use or whether you use a bow or knot.
     Here is a photo of the comforter, the sheets that came with it, the back rest I purchased to coordinate with the set, and the ribbon we decided to use to create our window dtreatment.

          As Diane shows in her post, you simply drape the fitted sheet over a curtain rod, and then use some ribbon to adjust the height that you want the curtain to be at, creating a balloon shade look. In Diane's post, she recommends using a tension rod, but we used the rod that we already had up from the valance that was previously hanging in the room. It took a few tries to get the curtain at the height and look we wanted, and in the end we decided to go with the no bow look. We simply slid the knot in the ribbon behind the sheet and it gave us the streamlined look we wanted. Here's how our window treatment turned out.....
     My daughter is happy with the look, and I am happy that we were able to put the uncomfortable sheets that came with the set to good use. Not a bad look for the small cost of some ribbon right? We even had some ribbon left over that we can utilize at another time.This no sew project could not have been easier, but now I just might have to bring out the sewing machine and use it to create a matching pillow from the flat sheet. Who would have thought that having the matching valance be out of stock would turn into a good thing? We got to use a sheet set that otherwise would have been wasted, and save some money in the process. Even better than that, is the fact that my daughter and I got to spend some time doing a craft project together.

Linking with:
Think Tank Thursday at Saving 4 Six
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch 
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Get Your DIY on at The Hankful House

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sensational Sugar Cookies

We've had some snowy weather lately, and yesterday my daughter's school was closed because of the storm. Nothing makes the house feel cozier during a snowstorm than baking a fresh batch of cookies while a fire roars in the fireplace. I am not usually a big fan of sugar cookies, but my daughter received this recipe from a friend and I have to admit they are amazing. There is something about them that makes them better than your average sugar cookie. Maybe it is the fact that it has both vanilla and almond extract in the recipe. Whatever it is, I assure you that they are worth trying. Traditionally, we have made these at Christmas time, but to welcome the upcoming holiday we decided to use some Valentine cookie cutters. My friend had also given my daughter some cookie stamps recently that had sweet phrases on them, and since this dough does not spread a lot when baking, it is the perfect recipe to use these stamps on, as the words do not get distorted during baking.


3/4 cup butter softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg                                                                                  
2 tsp vanilla extract                                                                   
1/4 tsp almond extract                                                     
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Assorted sprinkles or colored sugar for decorating

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamed and smooth, approximately 1 minute.
Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts and the egg, and then beat on high until fully combined, approximately 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl again with a spatula as needed.
In a medium bowl. whisk the flower and baking powder together.
With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, beating until just barely combined.
Add the rest of the flour mixture until just combined.
If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 more tablespoon of flour at a time until it is a better consistency for rolling.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
(At this point we decided to add some red food coloring into some of our dough to create some cookies that were a pinkish shade, and some that were red.)
Roll each portion out to 1/4 " thickness and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before moving  on to the next step.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper .
Remove one of the rolled dough pieces from the refrigerator and using cookie cutters, cut into your desired shapes and place the cookies on the parchment lined cookie sheets.

Decorate with sprinkles and colored sugar as desired.

Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all of the dough is used.(As we reached the end of our dough, we rolled some into small balls and placed a Hershey kiss on top, flattening the ball slightly).
Bake for 8-11 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. I mentioned how we used some edible markers for decorating a cake that my son made for his girlfriend in this post, and we used them again for decorating the cookies we made with the stamps

 Share with someone you love......

Linking with:
Think Tank Thursday at Saving 4 Six
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wooden Basket painted with French Enamel Milk Paint

Happy Friday Everyone! I recently got to experiment with yet another one of the beautiful colors in the Miss Mustard Seed milk paint line. I had this old unfinished wooden basket for a long time. My mother-in-law had given it to us many years ago, and it sat in the basement as yet another one of those projects that I just never seemed to have time to address.
 Part of the problem was that I just didn't know what I wanted to do with it. Well now that I am enjoying my new found love of milk paint, this piece became something that I could use to try out another color on. I am having fun experimenting with, and comparing the various shades of blue in the line, so for this basket I decided to give French Enamel a try. As with every other color I have tried so far, this one did not disappoint. It is an absolutely beautiful shade. My original plan was to use the clear furniture wax on this piece, but after 3 coats of paint, I gave up on that plan, because painting between all of those thin slats proved to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. I really didn't think I would be able to get the wax spread evenly in those spaces. So, I used a small thin foam brush to apply hemp oil as a finishing coat, and it worked like a charm. I'm still not sure where this basket will get used...maybe to store some extra towels in the bathroom. No matter where it ends up, I am thrilled to have been able to try another pretty color from this paint line.
 In addition to all of the original colors, this brand recently introduced six new European Colours  that will be available starting tomorrow. These colors will be available on a limited basis outside of Europe, but it looks like some of the Miss Mustard Seed on line retailers will be carrying them as well. Looks like I will be in search of more items to paint.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Surprising Winter Color

Like many parts of the country, we were hit with an ice storm this weekend. There was lots of freezing rain that made travel on the roads treacherous. I used the time to cook and bake, and enjoy having a fire in our fireplace. At least our house was warm and cozy inside. I must admit, that while the ice made it dangerous outside, it was really pretty to look at from the safety of our warm home. Even this morning, the trees were still covered in ice and the branches had a glass look to them. I tried to snap some photos to share with you, but the camera did not do justice to the natural sparkle and look of crystal that the ice gave to our yard.

But while things where icy outside, we had some surprising color blooming inside. The first colorful surprise came from our Christmas cactus. While it may be appropriate for this houseplant to bloom this time of year, our plant hasn't flowered in several years. So you can imagine our surprise to find these colorful blooms yesterday morning as they provided a sharp contrast to the ice outside.
But an even bigger surprise was this gorgeous bloom.....

We have a hibiscus tree that grows in a large pot on our deck every summer. Each year at the end of the season, we always move the large plant indoors. Usually the tree loses it's leaves over the winter, and sadly looks like we have a small dead tree in a large flower pot in our house. We tolerate the less then pretty phase each year however, as every spring it sprouts new leaves and it blesses us with bright flowers each summer. These trees can be pricey to buy each season, so it really seemed silly to throw it out and buy a new one each year. However the winters are too cold in New Jersey for the plant to survive outdoors, so every year we bring it inside. Surprisingly, the tree didn't lose it's leaves his winter, but we were really amazed when we woke up to find this gorgeous flower yesterday. This morning it has two more buds that are getting ready to open. We're not complaining however, as the house was looking a little plain after all the Christmas decorations were put away. These long cold winters can seem dreary at times, so we are thrilled to have these bright flowers around to remind us that the coming seasons will bring new color and promises. Hope things are warm and cozy and full of nice surprises where you are.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Inspired You by Marian Parsons

  It's the new year and a lot of people make resolutions or goals that have to do with getting things done around the house. I debated on whether to do this month's book recommendation on a novel or something else. As I got to thinking about some of the things I wanted to accomplish this year, I knew that sprucing up our home in some way would be on that list. Therefore, instead of writing a post about a novel I've enjoyed, I decided to write about a book that contained some creative projects to help decorate or add a little style and fun to your home. That book is Inspired You by Marian Parsons (aka Miss Mustard Seed). If you've followed this blog, you already know that I started using Marion's brand of milk last year, and quite honestly have fallen in love with this paint. I've also followed her blog for a while, and am inspired by her creativity. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I would also enjoy the book that she wrote. Inspired You is filled with beautiful photography as well as instructions for some hands-on projects, ideas for entertaining, and encouragement for developing or expanding your decorating style. Some of the projects are very basic and quick like creating a chalkboard out of a picture frame; some are more involved like making an ottoman; but all of them are inspiring and true to Marion's style. If you're looking for some creative projects to do, or just love paging through a book with some amazing photos that convey the importance of creating a cozy home, then Inspired You is a book you will enjoy. So, as you look around your home and think of all the things you want (or need) to work on this year, keep in mind Marian's words..."You don't need to make your home perfect-- just perfect for your family"..."A beautiful home is made one project at a time"...and..."The heart of hospitality is love."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Scrappy Fabric Valentine's Day Rag Wreath

     With all of the Christmas decorations down, and the cold, sometimes gray days that winter can bring, I decided to work on some cheerful and colorful decorations for our home. Since Valentine's Day is around the corner, I thought I would create a new wreath to dress up our front door with some color. These wreaths can be made with any scrap fabric that you have leftover from other projects that you have done, but since I was going for s specific color and theme, I purchased some new fabric for this project. I bought 1/2 yard each of 8 different heart themed fabrics in colors of white, red and pink, and I used an 18 inch metal wreath form. I have quite a bit of fabric left over. I'm not sure if there is enough to make another wreath this size, but I definitely think that I have enough to make a smaller version. These wreath forms are available in many sizes, so that is certainly a possibility.
    The first step is to create fabric strips.I made my strips 1inch by 6 inches. You will need quite a lot, so be prepared. I initially started off with the plan of tearing my one inch fabric strips by cutting small slits one inch apart and tearing down the length of fabric. While this method works, and creates straight strips, I didn't like how the fabric strips curled in a bit and they really started to fray more than I wanted. So, after tearing the first fabric, I decided to change methods and brought out my quilting mat, ruler and rotary cutter. The quilt mat is clearly marked in one inch increments, so getting the correct size was easy. The beauty of this craft is that size doesn't have to be exact, so don't make yourself crazy with trying to be perfect.
      Once I had the pile of 1 inch strips, I then cut each one into 6 inch long pieces. My daughter and I worked together on this part, so as one of us was cutting the 1 inch strips, the other one would take them and divide them into 6 inch long pieces. This sped up the process quite a bit.
     The next step is easy, but can take a while to complete. I did it while listening to a book on CD one day and while chatting with my son and his girlfriend on another day. You can also do it while watching television. It's really easy and doesn't take a lot of concentration, so put on the radio, TV, or audio book and get ready to make a colorful wreath. You simply tie each fabric strip you created onto the metal wreath form. I only made 1 knot as the wreath will just be hanging and not getting touched a lot, so I didn't feel the need to double knot the strips.
     The wreath forms are divided into sections, so once you tie the strip on, push it all the way over to the vertical divider, and tie the next strip on. As you tie on each strip, push it up against the previous strip. Complete one section of the wreath at a time.
      You can use any pattern you want when applying the various fabrics. I pushed my strips tightly together and made the wreath rather full. You could use less strips and make it somewhat looser if you choose to.
     I have to admit, that while simple, this part took longer than I had anticipated. I was also covered in little fabric threads when I was done. The beauty is that you can stop and start at any time, so it is easy to work on this project whenever you have a few spare minutes. It's really fun to see the scraps start to come together to form the decoration.


The front of the finished wreath looks soft and fluffy, but even the back of the wreath has a nice finished look to it. It would make a nice gift to present to a friend.
          When you are up close to the wreath, you can see the patterns of the various fabrics, but from a distance you can just see the splashes of fun colors.

     I haven't decided if I want to add any finishing embellishments like a bow to the wreath yet, but for now I chose to hang it on our front door "as is".  It adds a pop of bright color during these cold months, and is a cheerful way to welcome our guests.

Linking with:
Between Naps On The Porch
 The Scoop at Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Awesome Things Tuesday at My Craftily Ever After
Saturday Sparks Link Party at Pieced Pastimes
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
The 36th Avenue
Hit Me With Your Best Shot at Just A Girl And Her Blog
Pin- Worthy Wednesday at The Honeycomb Home
Think Tank Thursday at Saving 4 Six

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Shutter Gray Milk Paint Project

     Today I want to share a another quick project I did with Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint. There is a larger project that I plan on doing in the future, but I am having trouble deciding what color and finish I want to use on it, so for now I am experimenting with different colors, color combinations, and finishes on smaller items.
     This was a small wooden stool that my father-in-law had for many years. It's been sitting in a closet unused for quite some time, so I decided to give it a new look.

     As you can see it was dark, old, drab, scratched, and worn. Perfect item to update with fresh color. For this project I chose shutter gray milk paint. Since the existing finish on the stool was scuffed and I wasn't concerned if the milk paint chipped, I decided not to use the bonding agent.
     Shutter gray is a light gray color with bluish undertones. Since to color is on the lighter side, and the original stain was dark, it required two coats of paint to get the coverage I wanted. The paint only chipped in one tiny area on the edge. I think because the wood was so old and dry, the milk paint just absorbed in with barely any chipping.

       I decided to use hemp oil as the finish on this project. Once again, I debated on using the clear furniture wax or one of the colored waxes to give it an antique or white washed look. However, I really liked the shade the way it was, and decided to just let the hemp oil enhance the color.
     Sometimes the stool looks gray and sometimes it looks like a light blue, depending on the lighting or room I have it in. My mother-in-law used to use this as a footstool to rest her feet on when she sat in her favorite chair, but I think I may just use it to add height to decorative displays on a shelf or table. I am really impressed with this shade of milk paint, but then again, I haven't found a color in the Miss Mustard Seed line that I haven't liked.