Sheet music leaf wreaths – TUTORIAL.

I’ve been in the mood to work with vintage sheet music a lot lately I guess.  I’ve done the banners with it, covered the reindeer with it . . and made these new wreaths with it.

I actually keep boxes of leaf shapes that I have pre-cut ‘on hand’, so when inspiration strikes I can start creating right away.  I like to have something to do in the evenings when I watch TV.


Cutting out the leaf shapes is one of those somethings. I also ‘tea stain’ them ahead of time.  (I use my own recipe for staining; it does NOT contain actual tea or coffee or vanilla.  Those make it too sticky!)P1170027

I cut my wreath rings out of triple layer scrap cardboard.  (just glue three layers together with tacky glue)  I also use tacky glue to glue the leaves to the wreath.  This picture shows how I place the leaves; along the inside and outside rim first.

P1170026It can be quite labor intensive, gluing on one leaf at a time.  To speed up the process I lay out a couple dozen leaves; then dot them ALL with tacky glue (just a small amount on one end of the leaf shape).  Then place them on the wreath form.


This is what the leaf placement looks like close up when finished.

P1170036This is a really BIG one!

P1170035On this one I used non tea-stained leaves, which do lay nice and flat; but a little TOO flat once I got it all put together.  (tea staining the leaves causes them to curl up and wrinkle a little bit as they dry; giving them a more natural look)

P1170048I didn’t want to try to tea-stain these leaves after they were already in place, bit I thought maybe spritzing them with water might curl up the leaves a tad; giving a more natural feel it it.

P1170047It worked like a charm!  Exactly the look I was hoping to achieve.  A few of the leaves did curl up a bit too much, to where the cardboard base showed underneath.  I just put a dot of tacky glue under them and glued them down a bit more.

P1170046NOW I just have to figure out how I want to ‘embellish’ this one.  It feels a bit too BIG to leave plain.

My first thought for dressing it up was to hang a small banner across it, but that just looked too busy.  I stared at this thing for WEEKS trying to figure out ‘what else it needed’?!?!?


I finally settled upon some ‘bling berries’!


I had found a packet of these amber colored crystals at Dollar Tree, and decided to use them on the big wreath.


I just glued them on with tacky glue in little clusters of three.


I don’t think I’ll make them THIS big anymore!  SO many more options for ‘styling’ smaller ones; like this next one:

 I made this one using my pre-tea stained book pages instead of sheet music.

P1170033Added this little laser cut wood ‘love’ to the top left.

P1170031And a couple of tea stained felt birds and a little read heart to the lower right side.

P1170029Here you can see what I was talking about with the tea stained leaves curling up a bit and looking more natural.

Perfect little wreath for Valentine decorating.

STILL playing with sheet music! Sheet music leaf garlands

Have you seen all the cute paper garlands on Pinterest and in etsy shops?


LOVE how they look!!  


I wanted to do ‘something’ along those lines, but maybe with the vintage sheet music that I have.  (I did the paper chains with it a few years ago; but wanted something different now)  Love the above one, but it’s SEWN together?!?


And while I LIKE the others that I have seen that are SEWN together; with my bad back, I just don’t think I could handle sitting hunched over my sewing machine for that long.  It seems like a very loooooooooooooong  and laborious process, placing them down one by one and slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly sewing them together.  PLUS, I would think that sewing them would make them TEAR easily along the stitching, when handled??

Have any of you MADE or BOUGHT sewn paper garlands like the above shown photos from Pinterest?  I’m really curious as to how well they ‘hold up’.  (I might be needing to buy or make some for my son’s wedding!)

P1170144I decided to do a leaf garland; glued to jute.  I cut the leaves as ‘dobules’ by folding the paper in half and leaving a small part at the fold still joined.  Actually, I folded my paper into FOURTHS, and cut out 2 pairs of leaves at a time.  Cut up a big box full of leaves before I started assembly.



 Cut my jute into 6′ lengths, and tied a knot at either end so there would be a loop for hanging them from.  Once I had a bunch of leaves ‘all glued up’, I started attaching them to the jute.  With the laying in front of me, I did one leaf facing up and the next facing down, and continued to alternate.


To attach the leaves to the jute; first I’d lay out a couple dozen pairs of them like this.  Then apply tacky glue to the entire leaf on one side and about 1/4″ onto the joined end of the other side.  Slip the glued leaf under the piece of jute, (which I have laying across a board that is on my lap)  position it where I want it ( facing the opposite direction of the previously attached leaf) then carefully folding the two sides together, making sure the part where it meets the jute is ‘smooshed down really good’!

 My original thought on usage was to put them on a tree,  Which is why I didn’t put the leaves right next to each other.  I’m thinking they will be easier to drape and will flow more freely with the extra space.  But, I just MIGHT have to try one with the leaves close together and hiding the jute.


 I just know that I did not want to put the leaves ‘tip to tip’ on the garland.

P1170145Of course, I don’t HAVE a tree to try them on!  I didn’t even put up a tree in my booth at Stars this year!?!?  (Hardly ANY of the vendors do put up trees; except for maybe the vintage silver trees that are for sale)

Not really using these for anything right now.  Will be saving them for my Stars booth for next Christmas.  Just wanted to try some out now, get the process streamlined, and have my supplies all set up for quick production when the time comes.

Recent thrift store finds

P1170301Mini pie safe!  So cute.

P1170300Missing this piece of wood across the front so it was extra CHEAP!  I can easily fix it!

P1170308Little 2 drawer wood chest.  ACK!  Hate the color and the design!

P1170307But anything with little drawers always sells well.  Just have to decide HOW I want to make it over.

P1170303I have this EXACT same cedar jewelry chest!

P1170304EXACTLY the same picture.

P1170305Inside it a bit marked up, so I may have to put paper on the bottom.  Debating whether I would make-over this one or not???  Whaddya think????

I really want to start going to more estate sales next year and procuring more vintage items that I can sell ‘as is'; as opposed to always making everything over.

P1170306Is this the UGLIEST green color you have ever seen or what?!?!?  WHY would they paint such a pretty faced item such and ugly green?!?!  Poor baby!  I will pretty her up!

P1170311Vintage bird prints in AQUA (but cheap PLASTIC!) frames.

P1170312Cheapo cardboard backings.  ICK.   The pictures were very close to tearing.  I took them out and glued then to some sturdy cardboard.  Then backed that to another piece of cardboard.  Put a little loop of string under that top-notch for hanging.  Scrubbed the frames.  Gave the pictures a good coat of clear spray paint to help preserve them; then put them back together.

P1170313Nice wood chest, about the size of a bread box.  Thinking this might work for the wedding card receptacle at my son’s wedding next August.  (made over, to their preference of course!

P1170314The inside is even completely painted!

A few more Christmas banners

P1170325Switching from NOEL to JOY for this batch of banners.

P1170328And used some gold glittered reindeer ornaments on either end.

P1170327Black crepe paper rosettes with oval paper centers and gold glitter letters.

P1170330The metallic blue letters I used on this one don’t LOOK very blue in the picture, but they are a very close match to the light blue crepe paper rosettes.

P1170331Decided to not put anything on either end of this one.

P1170332I kind of like this ‘simpler’ style.

P1170334The reindeer ornaments that I used on the first (and next) one; came in a pair; like this.


Can you see the cute tiny jingle bell necklaces they have on?  Only problem is, they both face the same direction!?!?

P1170336You probably can’t really SEE this, but I took a picture anyhow!  The backs are completely glittered, so I thought maybe I’d just remove the jingle bells so I could face one the opposite direction.  WELL, the bells are just ‘wired on’ with a very thin gold wire that is twisted to stay in place.


I just untwisted it, and it easily pulled out of the two holes; flipped it over and put the bells back on the back side!  Easy peasey!  Ready for another banner!

P1170338Decided to try attaching the banner ribbon to the reindeer’s LEG on this one (as opposed to the MOUTH on the first one)  AND left the clear hanging loop (attached to the antlers) on these to hang from.

P1170325Here’s the first one again.  Ribbon attached  at the mouth and hung from the antlers.

Which banner  placement looks better to you'; attached at the MOUTH or LEG??

P1170341Back to the second reindeer banner now.

P1170340I was a bit ‘iffy’ regarding using the kraft color rosettes on this one, but I DO like it now that it is finished.

P1170338Time to pack away all my Christmas supplies now and get started on VALENTINE stuff.  (seriously!)

Reindeer do-overs

P1170243I NEVER cared for the ‘craclked paint’ look.  Not even back when it was it was really popular.  It’ always looked too FAKE to me!  Now I have seen a very FEW really GOOD crackle painted items over the years, but those were the exception.

P1170242So what in the world possessed me to buy these 2 crackle painted deer?!?!  It wasn’t the faded and dusty burgundy paper ribbon tied around their necks with some dried flowers glued on.


I cut those suckers on as soon as I got home!  (Didn’t even wait to take a picture first!)  I’m actually thinking ahead to NEXT Christmas.  I have a ‘woodland themed’ Christmas planned for my booth at Stars.

P1170297For now, I’ve covered over the ugly crackle paint with vintage sheet music.

P1170296The antlers as feet were the hardest parts to cover.

P1170298It took me about 3 evenings worth of TV time to get them done.  I always tear my strips of paper first; in various sizes.  Big pieces for the big areas and small thin strips for the small areas and corners.  Used regular white glue as my adhesive, brushing it on the strips just before I applied them.


Not sure WHAT I’m going to do to them to ‘finish them.  They are now packed away, with the rest of my Christmas supplies; until next summer when I’ll bring them back out and start working on next years Christmas items for my booth at Stars.  Hopefully by then I’ll have come up with something fabulous for the finishing touch!

zu4564215_main_tm1383857067HAD to laugh when I saw  THIS   while looking through the new offerings on Zulilly this morning!   I actually think these look a bit ‘dorky’ and cartoonish.  The ones I found are a little more ‘elegant’.  At least now I KNOW I need to come up with something MORE than just painting on eyes and hooves!  Which style do you like better?

Little button covered boxes ~ Upcycled empty powdered make up boxes


So, what do you do with the empty container after you’ve used up all of your powder foundation?

P1160854I USED to just throw them away.  Maybe sometimes use them to store small things in like paper clips or rubber bands.  Surely there is SOMEthing nobler to do with these sturdy little boxes, no?


With some tacky glue, a bunch of old buttons and a few pearls you can turn them into one of a kind trinket boxes!


I tied the sheer ribbon around them to help hold the price tag in place on the bottom.

This smallest white one was actually a ‘face cream’ jar and the bottom in glass.  Perfect size to use as a gift box for something small, like a ring or pair of earrings.

P1160831This make up box had a brown lid, so I used brown buttons.  The pearls were an afterthought, to fill in all the tiny bare spots.



This white one is really my favorite.

P1160831I wish I’d had more gold buttons to use on this one.  But, I’m really trying to only ‘use what I have’ for the time being.


This is the one made from the blue topped box shown.  My LEAST favorite.  I actually considered spray painting the entire top, buttons and all – white!

P1160857But, I’ll give it a chance to sell first.  I can always take it home and re-do it later.  (MY glue wasn’t quite dry in this picture.  It DOES dry completely clear.

P1160861The ‘finishing touch’ is a wee bit of hand cut and hand mixed paper shred.

P1170218They have all gone to my booth at Stars.

P1170207Lots of other one of a kind gift boxes in my booth too!


My love ~ hate ~ LOVE ~ relationship with Zulilly

Have you caught “Zulilly fever” yet?!?!?  I’ve got it BAD!!

I have a MAJOR redecorating project coming up next spring, so I’ve been perusing Pinterest for ideas.   From Pinterest I discovered Zulilly and their fabulous prices and LOW shipping.  Just as I did my Christmas shopping throughout the year this past year (some of it from Zulilly!)  I’m trying to ‘shop smart’ (for the best prices) and buy early for this upcoming project, so that I have everything I need and don’t have to waste time searching for stuff once I begin my re-decorating project.  I really have found a LOT of things that I want and NEED on Zulilly.

On a seemingly totally different subject (but it does come back to the subject!)  SOMEtimes working for yourself kinda sucks!  There is no one to help you when you get burnt out.  No one to tell you that you are doing a good job.  No benefits,  No sick days.  No vacations days . . . and no Christmas bonuses!

Well, this year I decided that I deserved a Christmas bonus.  I had been shopping for some essentials (storage and organizational type things) and I kept coming across this:


I fell in love instantly!  Not quite ‘my color’ but I like to mix it up a bit.  After looking at it about a dozen times, I convinced myself to SPLURGE (and reward myself!) and spend the $119.00 (+ $9.95 shipping) and buy myself this little cutie as my Christmas bonus.

I’ve worked very hard this year and I decided that I deserved a little something special!  Still, an occasional twinge of guilt would pop up, telling me that if I waited long enough and looked hard enough that I’d find something similar at the thrift store for a LOT cheaper.  NOPE!  I’m gonna splurge on myself for once and I am going to ENJOY doing so!

I waited anxiously for that little orange card in my mail box telling me I had a package too big for the mail box.  In the meantime I daydreamed about all the things my new friend and I would do together . . .

Invite friends over for tea and use the cart to artfully arrange ‘cakes and biscuits’ on.  When company came to stay I’d use it to set up in their room for those ‘little necessities’, a box of tissues, bottles of water and fresh flowers on the top shelf.  Big fluffy white towels on the bottom shelf and a bar of yummy smelling soap.  The rest of it I’d leave empty for my guests to put their stuff on.  I’d use it as a portable  craft station for my ‘craft du jour’ (which always ends up on the coffee table right now).  Then when company came I could just wheel it into a closet.  Keep it near the front door as a’catch all’ ; and when I came home with thrifted treasures I could drop them off on the cart until I was ready to use them.  Use it as a ‘holding station’ when I have my holiday cookie baking marathon to store all the ingredients on; keeping them within easy reach, but not cluttering the counter.

Oh yes!  I had such grand plans for this little darling!

 It arrived in less then 2 weeks.  I could hardly wait to tear into the box!  It felt like Christmas morning!  It was in ‘parts’ and needed to be put together; which I had assumed it would be.


There was no damage to the box it was shipped in, and it was very well packed to prevent damage in shipping.  No dents or rips on the inside protective packaging either.  It was missing the washers that were supposed to be included.  No biggie, I have spare hardware and can find some to use if I really need them.  
It went together just fine without the washers, despite the fact that the ‘special tool’ included for tightening the nuts didn’t fit the nuts!  (one end was too big and the other end too small!)  Still, not a big deal, I HAVE tools and just used a pair of pliers, which worked just fine.  
Once I got to the top shelf, I discovered that it  had a CONSIDERABLE DENT in it.  It was bent in to the extent that the screw could not even go through the hole.  My heart sank!
The screws were ‘welded in place’ so couldn’t be moved, and the holes for the screws were pre-drilled.  So I consulted with my own personal Mr. Fixit and asked if he thought we could ‘pound it out’.  I was heart broken at the thought of having to send it back because I couldn’t assemble it.
Michael  gave it ‘one good tap’ with a rubber mallet while I held it firmly in place slightly over the edge of the work bench.  Doing so, cracked a little bit of the paint, and made the ‘crack’ that coincided with the dent a bit more predominant.    But, it reversed the dent enough that I could screw the shelf in place; and  there is a sturdy metal bar behind the screws, so I didn’t think it compromised the durability of the cart.     Just a minor hiccup; not enough for me to complain about . . . YET!
Once fully assembled, I wheeled it across the room (for the obligatory photo shoot!) and it almost tipped over!  It was still empty, but it felt unbalanced and a bit top heavy; like it was leaning to one side.   Since this was on a carpeted floor, I moved it to a hard surface to see if that helped.  On the hard surface the ‘lean’ was even MORE pronounced.  So I got out a level to check if it was even.  The TOP shelf was very uneven,  the middle shelf slightly less uneven and the bottom shelf completely level.  WTH?!?!?
Even just looking at it form this angle, you can SEE how much it leans to the right.
The center bubble in the level is completely over to the left!  I just stood there and stared at it for a minute.   This IS a biggie!  I can’t use a cart that leans like the tower of Pisa!  There is nothing I can do to ‘fix’ this and nothing that I could have done wrong in assembling it that could have caused this problem.  The holes are pre-drilled in place and the screws welded in place.  Putting it together simply involved lining up the pre-set screws with the pre-drilled holes and screwing on the nuts.   Mistake proof.  Heavy sigh.  NOW what do I do?!?
 I could have ignored the dent.  I was able to pound it out quite easily after all.  And the missing washers was not a real big deal.  The tool that didn’t fit was actually kind of funny; and didn’t prevent me from being able to assemble it.  But not standing straight once put together was ‘the straw that broke the camels back’, so to speak.  (this is part of what I wrote to Zulilly in my complaint email, as is the next paragraph)
 I’m totally bummed because I LOVE ‘the look’ of this cart.   I’m going to be even MORE disgruntled if I have to Dis-assemble it and ship it back for a refund or replacement.   I had no idea where I’d find a box big enough to ship it back ‘as is’ (assembled).  I’d be content with a partial refund, and IF it was required that I send it back, I would  have; but with growing contempt towards Zililly.  (And most likely losing me as a customer forever!)
So I composed my complaint email, injecting humor where I could (Not wanting to become known as ‘that b!tchy customer’, but making my point and  diluting my disappointment.  I hit the SEND button with as much contempt as I possible could and went off to drown my sadness in a cup of peppermint tea.  (this was Saturday afternoon)
A short while later I checked my email for etsy orders and there was a response from Zulilly!  (one of those lame automated messages; thanking me for contacting them and telling me they would respond to my email as soon as possible; I assumed!)  NO!  It was a REAL response from a REAL person whom had obviously actually READ my email.  No automated file form to fill out that just asks the same questions as I already accounted for in my email.  Just a very nice person, apologizing and asking me to send a couple of photos that showed the problems.
I sent the photos,  and heard back from them again in about an hour with another sincere apology and notification of a ‘more than fair’ refund to come.  He said he appreciated the humor I had injected into my complaint letter and admitted to having to ask a co-worker to look at the photos and explain to him how a ‘level’ works!  Very refreshing honesty and human-ness!  I’m so happy that I can LOVE Zulilly again and not have to worry about what will happen if I ever get defective product again.  They handled it with the utmost professionalism and I truly felt VALUED as a customer.
So, what should I do with my refund? I chose to further reward myself for not accepting defective merchandise and sticking up for my rights as a consumer.  To thank Zulilly for their great customer service and in recognition of their speedy resolution to my receipt of an unsatisfactory item, and for restoring my faith in them . . . .  I  spent it on the Zulilly site of course.  On THIS!

TRANSPAC_76057_1354926942Swoon!!  I will still love the cattywompus  green cart, and find a use for it despite it’s flaws.  This new piece is completely for FUN!  I can see myself filling it with fresh greens and big ball ornaments as a Christmas decoration.  Or big plastic snowflakes and snowballs for a winter decor theme.  Easter grass and bunnies and faux eggs at Easter time.  Perhaps even as a PROP in my booth at Stars (with a BIG ‘not for sale!tag on it of course!)  I foresee both of them being the subject of many future blog posts.

I know this sounds like a paid advertisement for Zulilly, but I promise you it’s NOT.  I am just a firm believer of giving credit where credit is due.  And I can wholeheartedly recommend Zulilly to anyone, confident that they will become satisfied customers based upon my personal experience.

If you want a quick peek at some of the other fabulous stuff that Zulilly has, here is my Pinterest page for ‘favorite on-line finds’, MOST of which are from Zulilly!

Little NOEL banners

Just made a couple of these since it’s already a bit ‘late in the season’ to be shopping for Christmas decorations.


Holes punched in the corners of the triangles for threading the ribbon through.  (I TRIED gluing them to the ribbon once previously and this way is MUCH easier!)

P1160708Little sheet music birds with crowns (I have a ‘punch’ that makes the crowns) A loop of black string glued to the back of the bird for hanging from.

P1160710Sheet music (backed with cardboard), black tissue paper rosette; grey paper then book page scalloped circle (punches for those also) and letters from the craft store.

P1160711Hard to tell in the picture, but the letters are a satiny silver finish.

P1160713About 25″ long.


Same birds as on the first one;  but this is the one that  I glued the flags to the  black string instead of punching holes on this one.  Never again!

P1160716The little ‘four leaf clover’ on the wing is from a paper punch also.

P1160715Just used some TINY grey paper doilies (from the craft store.  They have little paper doilies in LOTS of colors now!  So fun!) on this one.  Glittered white letters.

P1160718Sweet and petite!

P1170190They have both gone to by booth at Stars.


Just a few more aqua tables . . .

Nothing new or different or exciting.  Just some more old tables that I repainted aqua.  Same old, same old!  But HEY!  They SELL!!


I can’t even count how many of this exact same style of tables I have done over the years!  A very basic, simple style.  One of those put it together yourself ‘kit’ tables.

P1160364The top had a fair amount of warping from water damage.  I suppose I could have spent HOURS sanding it to a perfectly flat surface.  But the more time I spend on a project, the more I have to charge for it.  Sometimes it’s worth the ‘investment’ (of time and effort); sometimes not.  In this case it was not.  You just can’t charge that much for a little table like this.

P1160365So I ‘worked with’ the flaws and distressed the rest of the table accordingly.

P1160367Very similar to the previous one, but not water damaged; and this one had been base-coated (POORLY so! very splotchy) with white.  I thought about continuing with the white, but then I remembered how many times in the past I have had to haul white pieces back home from my booth, to repaint aqua, because they didn’t sell!

P1160371Just a few bits of distressing on this one as I didn’t want a lot of the white to show through.

P1160374BIG, oval Danish style coffee table with lovely curved legs, but quite a scratched up top.

P1160376I was dealing with ‘weather issues’ when I painted these three pieces.  It turned really DAMP out overnight and I found them COVERED with stuck on gnats the next morning!!!  ACK!!  And the paint was WETTER than the day before.  Had to wipe off the first layer of paint and finish painting them inside the house.  Turned the washer/dryer into a make-do painting station.

I REALLY got behind on my furniture painting last summer because it was SO dang hot outside!!  I just can’t handle working outside in over 90 degree temps; which we had for MOST of the summer.  Hottest summer on record for Oregon, I think they had said.

Consequently, no really BIG furniture pieces for me this year.  sigh.  Oh well, the small ones always sell better.  But the big pieces LOOK so fabulous in my booth!

P1160382All three of these tables have gone to my booth at Stars Antique Mall in Portland.


MORE half price signs in my etsy shop!

I’ve been offering a monthly ‘half price sign’ in my etsy shop for a while now.  All of a sudden last night, FIVE of the sale signs sold within minutes!    (The ‘deal’ is, that when they’re gone, they’re GONE.  I’ll list more of them once I get them made, but at the regular price.) Most months it’s not a problem, and the sales signs DO last through the end of the month.


But, I don’t want to be ‘one of those people’ who says “There’s a sale!” quickly followed by, “but we’re sold out!”  So, I was feeling the Christmas spirit big time and I ADDED three more sign styles to the half price sale for





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