Garden time

Here’s a reminder of what my yard looked like when I moved it at the end of June last year:

Although summer had JUST begun, the lawn was mostly brown, covered with pine cones and LOTS of weeds.  The entire area is duplex rentals, and renters typically don’t invest much effort or money into enhancing the landscape.

p1210266There is a landscape service that mows and edges the lawn; but that is ALL they do.  Most of the tenants don’t even bother to water their lawns; even though water is included (up to a certain limit!).

p1210271The ‘rule’ for tenants as far as adding any landscaping is that we can plant in the ‘dirt areas’ only.  The unit I moved into just happened to have MORE dirt area than any other unit; and there are over 100 units!  (lucky me!)  There were a few plants (shown above) in the large front area when I moved in; but not knowing WHAT they were, I decided to just pull them in order to have a ‘blank slate’ to start with.

p1210270The ‘front’ dirt area wraps around the entire right side; but I decided initially to just tackle the ‘front’.  I kept waiting for some ‘cooler’ weather to start planting, since I was getting a late start to begin with.  It never cooled down so I forged ahead and bought gallon perennials that would be less perceptible to dying from the heat.

Since I did have a completely blank slate to start with, I even went to the expense and TROUBLE (more trouble than expense!) of tacking down that black fabric ‘weed barrier’ stuff.

HELPFUL GARDENING HINT:  Don’t bother with that weed block stuff!!  It does NOT help at all.  In fact, the weeds grow right THROUGH it just as easily, BUT the roots of those weeds ATTACH themselves TO that black mesh and are IMPOSSIBLE to pull out through it!  Believe me, I TRIED!

So before planting any more flowers this spring, I tried to pull all the weeds first.  In doing so, the weed was SO well attached to the mesh, that it actually pulled up the mesh right with it!  Enough of that, I said!  I grabbed my razor knife and cut the mesh into sections and pulled it up, weeds and all!!  Now I’m trying to get in the habit of weeding a little every week.  If I catch them early enough they will come up with a few swipes of a hand weeding tool.

P1220439This is as ‘good as it got’ in my front flower garden last summer.  I really wasn’t expecting much though; considering I got such a late start.  I just looked at it as a ‘head start’ on this years planting!  It’s not very visible in the above photo, but I found a little white wire fence section at a garage sale, that I put in to border my flower bed.  It was not long enough though, and I never did find any more matching fencing to add to it, so I pulled that this year.

I did get a few nice blooms towards the end of last summer.

P1220430This container on my porch got nice and FULL last summer!

Early this spring I desperately needed ‘some’ color in my garden; and bought a few forced bulbs (tulips, crocus and narcissus) to plant along the edge of my porch.  Again, this was more ‘thinking ahead’ to next year; because these were already in bloom, they faded quickly this year.  (this picture was BEFORE I had pulled up the dreaded black weed blocker; which you can see in the photos.  shudder!)

P1260435We had a string of GORGEOUS, early spring, sunny and warm days in late May – early April and I was itchin’ to get my hands in the dirt again!  (this is AFTER pulling up the old weed barrier) I added about 20 bags of steer manure ( broken down into 4 separate shopping trips; spread out over 2 weeks for the sake of my bad back!)

I’ll share with you how I managed to unload, haul and spread all those BIG HEAVY bags of manure with my bad back; just in case any of you also have similar back issues and limitations.

Getting them loaded into my car at the garden center is no problem, as I just ask for help and tell them I need them to load onto the cart AND into my car as I have a bad back and cannot lift them.  I specifically have them load all the bags as close to the back edge of my car as possible;  (PT Cruiser; so it’s a HATCH and not a ‘trunk’.  This method wouldn’t work in a typical trunk) as shown in the above picture.  When I got home, I pulled out my little ‘flat bed dolly’ and just rolled the bags out of the back of my car and onto the dolly; letting gravity do the heavy lifting.  (I got my dolly years ago at Costco.  It is specifically sized to carry the plastic storage bins; but can be used for anything, really)  I use this baby for EVERYTHING!!


Getting the bags to their final destination: I have an old folding ‘luggage wheely’ cart that I put next to the stack of bags on the dolly, and ‘roll and plop’ one bag onto the luggage cart.  Then I can just pull that across the yard to where I need it and roll it off and onto the ground.


Once the bag is where I need it to be, and while it is laying flat on the ground, I slit it open from end to end and side to side.  Then flip it over and pull up each corner of the bag to empty the contents.  Toss out the empty bag and spread the manure out with a garden rake.

P1220439In the areas where I already had existing plants and could NOT just dump the whole bag out:  I still slit the bag open; end to end and side to side and loosened it up if needed) with my weeder tool.  Then using my trowel, I scooped and filled a gallon container and hand poured that around the plants.  Then filled in the surrounding bare areas the same way.  It SOUNDS like a very long and drawn out process, but really it only took about 5 minutes or do to empty out each bag.P1260057 When the stack of bags is fairly high, I sit on my little garden trolley while I am scooping into the container, so I don’t have to bend over and hurt my back.  When I get down to just ONE bag, which is lower than the trolley, I kneel on my foam pad ‘knee protector’ while I scoop.


A ‘word’ about those foam pads  . . . . . they wear down QUICKLY!  Whether you buy a twenty dollar one from a pricey garden center, or get one from the dollar store; If you really USE it a lot (like I do!)  they will be totally useless before gardening season ends.  My solution this year?  I bought THREE of them and a spool of duct tape at Dollar Tree.  Taped the three of them together into one big fat knee pad!  It’s perfect!!!  AND not being quite as low to the ground makes getting back up easier on my back!  Win – WIN!!


And FINALLY I’m ready to start planting!  This load was a few herbs for the ‘back garden’ and some more perennials to fill in the front area.  My ‘vision’ is to have the whole front area COMPLETELY FULL of flowers.


This is what it looks like right now.  I was HOPING to do more ‘seed planting’ this year since I’ve got an earlier start . . .  and to minimize the expense of buying potted plants.  The neighborhood squirrel population put the kibosh on that plan though!  Those critters LOVE to dig up and bury peanuts in MY garden because my soil is nice and soft!  (and several other neighbors have bird and squirrel feeders!)

Between the squirrels digging up all the seeds and the birds eating them. . . it would have been totally futile!


So I devised some make shift mini greenhouses to start my seeds in.


And used these little starter kits I found at the thrift store.  Once they are big enough to transplant into the ground, they should be big enough to ‘survive overnight’ if dug up by the squirrels.  I seriously have to ‘check’ all the newly planted plants EVER DAY . . . and re-plant a few that have been dug up every day!

While the ground was still soft and moist for all the spring rains, I put in a cute little white picket border (which I bought at Dollar Tree!)  in the front and wrapping around the side.  It was a pretty time consuming project and each little section had to be put in ‘one by one’.

The sections are supposed to interlock, end to end; but I had to lock them together before sticking them in the ground and they kept coming apart when I put them in the ground!?!?!  My solution?  ZIP TIES!!  I just used zip ties to attach them together after I put them in the ground.

I honestly do not even remember what all I have planted!!  I just did random plants (what was on sale at the time!)  in random order for the most part.  Except under the window; where I planted three hydrangea.  Which will hopefully, eventually make a nice ‘hedge’ under the window; and a nice backdrop for the rest of the flowers.

The side of the house had been VERY problematic!!  Initially I envisioned this being filled with rose bushes, as it gets a lot of sun.  However, there are cables that run right down the middle of this 14″ deep border; from the utility boxes to the back edge.  AND there are big ole tree roots about 2″ down on the side closer to the front?!?!

I planted some mums along the back and some winter pansies towards the lawn edge last fall.  They did not do well.  Half the pansies were dug up AND carried off by the squirrels; and the mums turned dormant REALLY quickly.  Most of them are starting to sprout again, so I’m in ‘wait and see’ mode for now. I added some gladioli bulbs about a month ago, between the mums.  But I guess I’ll just make this my ‘cutting garden’ for planting annuals; since the tree roots and cables don’t leave much room for roots.


Freddy’s had little starter 4-paks of assorted color Lobelia on sale for 79 cents this week; so I splurged and bought TEN 4-paks!!  The plants are so small that they are barely visible now that I have them all planted; even with so many of them.  I planted them around the border of the front garden and placed a few in bare spots, here and there.

 The ‘back’ garden area is conjoined with the neighbors.  (In the front, our garages are in the middle and separate our front yards.)  She has given me permission to plant ‘whatever I want’; which is nice because it would look really strange to have one side filled with green and the other still dirt.  I put a few concrete stepping-stones in the middle where the water faucet is; then plan to plant each side the same.


In the center of the back garden area, and just under the bedroom window; I planted a Japanese holly and four Delphiniums, two in front of each little trellis.  (got these little wire trellises at Dollar Tree too!)  The hope is that they will grow tall enough to provide some shade.  This back side gets the hottest sun of the day all summer long.

In front of those, I’ve planted 30 ‘ever bearing’ strawberry plants.  Ordered them via the mail, as bare root starts.  We probably won’t get a lot of berries this year, but they will grow back year after year, so it’s an ‘investment’.


I bought a few herb starts; that I planted close to my patio.


And I have NO IDEA what to plant in the rest of the area  . . . yet!  Thinking marigolds along the front border (hoping the ones I started from seed actually GROW!)

And for shading the back patio door (which leads to my bedroom and was unBEARably HOT last summer!)  I got two big plastic 1/2 barrel pots, 6′ metal trellises and gallon pots of Jasmine; which should vine up nicely and generate some shade.  And I’ll fill the ladder with planters filled with petunias.  I envision them flowing over the edges and completely covering the ladder, eventually.

BARGAIN GARDENING TIP:  Sometime every spring, and for a far back as I can remember, (and usually the week before Mother’s day!) Freddy’s has ‘tray packs’ of petunias on sale for $9.99.  They are not planted in individual little pots, so you have to separate the roots yourself, but for that price; who cares!?!  There are usually at least 20 plants per tray.  (my son used to buy me one of these every year for Mother’s Day!) I think they might also have marigolds for the same price.  (I know there were two options, but I always wanted Petunias, so I’m not certain what the other offering was!?)

I’m waiting for those petunias to go on sale this year to fill the planters that I will put on the ladder rungs.  These rungs have been made deeper with an added piece of cedar fencing on them, to better hold the planters.  I’ll probably buy a few individual ‘wave petunias’ for the planters on the upper rungs so they will trail over.


Another great ‘bargain gardening tip’ is to take advantage of Freddy’s “Fuchsia  Saturday” special. It’s already come and gone for this year (April 9th), but watch, and PLAN for it for next year.  They do it ‘rain or shine’ too. This was my first time taking advantage of it; and the weather was perfect!  The guy planting my baskets was telling me that it HAILED last year for the event.  (in which case they set it op under cover in the garden center.)


There is a limit of 8 planters; maximum circumference of 18″.  The Fuchsia starts were on sale 5 for $3.00.  I got my hanging baskets and coco mat liners (individually priced) at Dollar Tree.  You have to go inside the garden center and purchase your starts FIRST; then get in line for the planting station.  I bought 3 starts for each basket; they provided the soil.  I took home 7 hanging fuchsia baskets for less than $5.00 each!!  Of course it will be a while before I get blooms on them . . . .but for that price, I can wait!

I have them hanging over my front porch where they get a bit of morning sun but mostly shade.  I really don’t NEED this many of them; so I’ll probably give them away as gifts later in the season when they are fuller.

The ‘key’ to keeping your gardening expenses from spiraling too high is:


  • Plant your own starts from seeds.  (you can ever MAKE your own ‘plantable’ starter pots from empty toilet paper rolls!)
  • Stick with PERENNIALS or bulbs that will grow back year after year.  Plant once and DONE!
  • If you MUST have ‘instant gratification’ and buy potted starts that will give you instant color; watch for sales.
  • Save your receipts!  Nearly all places that sell plants will offer some kind of guarantee.  If your plant fails to thrive, you can get a replacement or refund; but ONLY if you have a receipt as proof.

Trio of small chests


It started with this box.P1150075

Thrift store find cigar box; taller and better construction than your typical cigar box.

P1150076While the outside was a bit scratched up, the ‘innards’ are nice and clean!  I can easily ‘paper over’ the inside of the lid to cover up the wording.

P1150786I removed the broken hardware from the front and spray painted it a sea-foam green.

P1150823Perfect place for me to use this scrap book paper map to cover up the writing on the inside of the lid.


Decided it needed a little ‘something’, so I glued on a repro white skeleton key to the front.  Just right!

P1150789Then I found this box at the thrift store. Not terribly fond of the wood burned design in the top.  Not even sure I’ll be able to ‘sand it off’.  But I can always ‘paper over it’; which actually might look perfect with the raised trim around the edge of the lid.

P1150790Clean and divided inside.

P1150791  Fortunately my orbital sander fit inside the trim, and the design on the lid sanded off better than I’d expected.  A wee bit of the wood burned color still shows, but the top is smooth, so I can just paint over it.

P1150792Alas, I found a piece of trim in my stash that fit perfectly, so I decided to add it.

P1150824Used my lightest aqua acrylic paint on this one and hand distressed a bit.

P1150825I had removed the hardware on the front before I painted it.

P1150826Pretty easy to remover and reattach; one screw for the latch and an eye screw.

P1150827Decided to leave the inside ‘as found’.

P1150834Sanding detail on the wood applique.

P1150835And along the edges.

So, now I had those two individual pieces done;  but before I got them priced and stocked them in my booth at Stars; I found this:


On an ‘inspiration excursion’ to Home Goods.  It’s not at ALL the blue that I normally go for.


and it’s got a GLOSSY finish, which I NEVER do. (and which is impossible to capture in photograph!)


 But it was such a cute little chest, and for some reason it ‘spoke to me’.  And I listened and bought it!


The DARK inside was a bit TOO dark and dreary for me, so I added some vintage atlas pages (on the lid and bottom) to brighten it up a bit.  (the area was too big to use the same scrap book paper as on the first cigar box.)

P1150819I really didn’t NEED to do anything to the outside.  But I like to add my own little touches everything, so I attached a skeleton key.

P1150829Ah-HA!!!  This is why the biggest chest at Home Goods was speaking to me!

P1150833It wanted to come home with me and join the other two blue chests!

P1150832I LOVE it!  And I’m gonna KEEP them all to myself!  (for that big home redecorating project I have coming up very soon!)

P1150830Just waiting for me to fill with treasures!

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!

UPdating MY old dresser

P1150899I’ve been trying to remember WHEN I got this 8 drawer dresser.  I honestly cannot ever remember NOT having it for most of my adulthood.  I do remember that my mom bought it for me at a garage sale; and it was ‘antiqued BLUE’!  (which I LOVED at the time!)  Remember those antiquing kits in the 70’s??


These are the original drawer pulls that it came with.  Always PLANNED on replacing them, just never ‘gotaroundtoit’.  Then when my son was born, I thought I’d pass it down to him and get a NEW dresser for myself.  But that never happened.


So, the blue beast served faithfully until around 1988.  At which time I had purchased my first electric sander and decided it was time for a make-over.

P1150902Since I still had it in the back of my mind that this dresser was just a temporary fixture until I could buy REAL furniture; I didn’t want to do anything too time consuming.  Just the sanding off of the old paint took me a week!  Turns out the antiqued blue was it’s ‘second life’, and it had been white in it’s first life.

So by the time I got done sanding, I was ready to be DONE.  I gave it a quick coat of natural Danish oil and called it good.  It was very pretty wood grain, but the oil yellowed a bit over the years.

So, here we are, darn near FORTY years later and I STILL have the dresser.  Can’t imagine getting rid of it now.  Time for a face lift.

A bit of sanding to prep the wood for the new paint.


Some Ralph Lauren soft white paint, more sanding to distress.  New (upcycled!) knobs and she’s ready for another 40 years of service!

P1150794Found these knobs at the thrift store.  Fortunately the existing drawer pulls only had ONE screw, so I didn’t have to fill any holes of match preexisting ones with the new knobs of pulls.  Just needed to shabbify the knobs.


Some white spray paint and antique glaze, then a protective clear coat will do for now.


I’m not entirely ‘sold’ on these knobs, but they’ll do until something better comes along.


I’m debating whether or not to add a decorative piece along the bottom to ‘dress it up’ a bit.  I can’t believe took me SO long to do this particular make-over.  We’ll see how long THIS style holds up, eh?!?

It’s ‘officially’ now a COLLECTION!

Yippee!  I have a new collection.  Armillary spheres. .  I’ve always liked them and finally splurged and bought myself one a couple of years ago when I got my $10.00 bonus from shopping at Goodwill.  It was white and a little rusty in spots  fit in nicely with my globe collection and my shabby chic style.

P1100549I was content with just the one.  But then I found another at a price I couldn’t pass up; so now I had a pair of them.  It’s not really a ‘collection’ unless you have 3 or more; so once I got that second one, I REALLY wanted a third one!

P1100553My dear friend and thrift shopping buddy got me this smallest one for Christmas!

P1100550Is it not THE PERFECT size to round out my collection???  I do not think I could have found a more perfect one if I had tried.  Now it’s officially a collection of armillary spheres!

P1100556Here’s the other special treasure I got for Christmas, to go with my Santos (faux and repros!) collection.  Isn’t she sweet?!?

P1100555And here she is in her place of honor amongst my others.

Did you start any new, or add to your  collections over the holidays?

P.S. If anyone knows the correct plural of armillary PLEASE let me know!  I tried looking it up and can’t even find the original word.  sigh.  *** Asked and answered (thanks Pam!) and edited accordingly.

Old lamps; new (?) shades

I HATE my living room lamps!  They have those deeply pleated shades.  You know, the kind that have LOTS of deep crevices for collecting DUST.  UG!! Have been wanting to replace them for EONS.  But I just haven’t found anything that I really LIKE. 

P1080486Then I found a shade that I really liked at Ross.   Have been seeing these ‘vintage document print’ fabrics on shades for a while, but they were always out of my budget.  Gotta love the prices and Ross AND senior discount Tuesdays!

P1080488It’s even pretty when the lamp is ON!

P1080489Dare I HOPE to ever find a similar or matching one for the other big lamp in the living room?!? 

P1080484 Not more than a WEEK after I found the other shade at Ross, I found this one at Goodwill!  I was originally looking at it as one to turn into a ‘skeleton’ shade, with all the fabric removed.  

P1080485But it was SO perfectly CLEAN and in such good shape, I decided to see how it looked on the floor lamp.  Not bad, eh?!? I’ve actually toyed with the idea of trying to stencil some old style lettering onto this one.  But then if I RUIN it, I’ll be worse off than I was before, with NO shade for it!

But if I ever do find a better shade for this lamp I will for sure try to stencil this old one.  And if I ruin the fabric I’ll just do what I was originally going to do with it and ‘skeletonize’ it!  


This is what the other living room lamps look like.  

Both of these are ‘thrifted’ lamps and shades too.  The bases are the same, but the shades are slightly different.  I really like the new trend of not having everything ‘matchey’matchey’!  


Maybe it was really nothing more than I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but I like to take a ‘little’ credit and call it the reward for being patient and diligent.

You know that feeling when you find EXACTLY what you were looking for, and you can hardly even believe that no one else snatched it up already?!?!?  Those times when you really want to shout “WOO!~HOO!!” out LOUD, and do a little happy dance?!?  Yea, THAT feeling.  I had one of those last week.

P1070447I found these at the thrift store.  The smaller one w/o a lid first, in the dishes aisle.  I almost passed it by because it didn’t have the lid.  But I thought it matched the one I already had at home and I could use this one as a utensil holder.

Then as I got in line to pay I saw the two bigger ones on a front aisle display and grabbed them,

P1070449Got home and sure enough, they WERE a match to the small one with a lid I already had!  Yesssssssssssssss!

P1070450And looky here!  The salt and pepper shaker I bought at an entirely different time matched too!

Now I have a nice matching kitchen canister set!  Just gotta keep an eye out for the fourth canister.


I couldn’t do it

11.6.12 misc 036Bought these two vintage baby portraits at the thrift store a while back, intending to sell them in my booth at Stars.

1.2.13 stars room ribbon 051Finally had room for them, so got them out to price and pack up to take to Stars.  I did the little girl one first; but I just couldn’t part with the little boy one.  Such a precious little pout!

1.2.13 stars room ribbon 008So I did a little bit of quick rearranging of this newly arranged wall space in the studio/spare bedroom and made room to hang him on the wall.  When MY boy was that age he was ALL SMILES, all the time.  Maybe that is why I like this picture so much.  I never got to see such cute pouty faces on my own child.


Bedroom / craft studio progress report

Yikes!  It’s been OVER a year since I last posted about THIS PROJECT.    Finally got back to it last week when I brought home a shelf from Stars to use, and pretty much had to rearrange EVERYTHING on the ‘studio side’ of the room.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 120The big white shelf on top of the dresser is the new addition; replacing a smaller shelf that was there before.  The dresser drawers are all full of craft supplies, as are the little suitcases and picnic basket on the dresser; and ALL the other boxes and containers you see!

12.29.12 stars Val buys 111Just added all this ‘wall decor’ above the work table.  Those bulletin boards won’t be empty for long!

12.29.12 stars Val buys 133

Did you notice the super cool string and scissor holder on top of that little shelf?!?!  That was a Christmas gift from one of my best friends, and I soooooooooooooo  love it!  (Thanks B!!!)

12.29.12 stars Val buys 113

I cut out pictures that I like from magazines and glue them into notebooks and journals to save for inspiration.  Two of them you see hanging from the big key rack.  The big keys hanging with them and the ones on the bulletin board will be used for projects.  Just enjoying the ‘look of them’  on display for now.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 112Little shelf that sits on the work table.  I love having my supplies ‘on display’.  It reminds me of what I have and INSPIRES me to use the stuff. Of course I can’t artfully display EVERYTHING; so I select a few things and change them out every so often.  To the left of the shelf is a big old can covered with sheet music for me to toss paper scraps in for recycling.  (at least the scraps that are too small to save and re-use. )  My paper cutter sits just to the left of it.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 130

Close up of stuff on the shelf.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 114I TRIED putting my paper cutter away after using it.  And I really like having a ‘blank spot’ on the table when I put it away.  BUT I use that thing almost EVERY day, so now it stays out.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 115The shelf at the end of the work table and against the side wall was there before.  I just changed out what I had stored/displayed on it.  Most of those boxes are from a set of paper mache boxes, and store assorted supplies.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 118One of these days I’ll get around to making some labels for the boxes.  Jars of shells on the top to easily grab and use on projects.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 117

12.29.12 stars Val buys 116To the left of the work table shelf is a crate that sits on end and holds all my pretty scrap book paper.  And a stack of file holders on top.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 138WHY do I have that much scrapbook paper when I don’t even DO scrapbooking?!?!

12.29.12 stars Val buys 117(I need to label THESE too!)  Instead of just putting stuff in the file holders and having them look messy, I discovered that the boxes you get from the copy place when you have a LOT of copies made, fit perfectly in the slots.  But they are kinds fugly looking.  So I covered mine with plain kraft paper.  And I can store ‘little things’ in there easier this way.  I used all my old ‘checks’ boxes as little dividers in the trays.  Nice and organized!

12.29.12 stars Val buys 119And back to the newly added shelf.  Nope, it doesn’t match and no, I don’t care.  It’s functional!!  And I can ‘display’ lots of supplies on it!

12.29.12 stars Val buys 124

12.29.12 stars Val buys 125

12.29.12 stars Val buys 126

12.29.12 stars Val buys 128

12.29.12 stars Val buys 127You can see a couple more of these covered boxes on the top shelf of this shelf.  I have several more stored ‘behind closed doors’ (in my big shutter cabinet) with all my rubber stamps and inks.  At one time I had all of these ‘on display’ as you can see in this old picture:

12.29.12 stars Val buys 121MORE supplies in a stack of suitcases that sit under the work table.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 123My skeleton key collection.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 139Faux display cakes that I made to use for photo props for etsy.

12.29.12 stars Val buys 140One of two vintage grubby old electric fans.  One more and it will officially be a ‘collection’!

12.29.12 stars Val buys 136You can baaaaaaaaaaarely see my little crown collection on top of the shutter cabinet.  (Michael built it for me)

12.29.12 stars Val buys 137And a crown hook hanging on the front.

That’s IT!  That’s as far as I’ve gotten.  But I’m content.

****EDITED TO ADD ****  THIS room is not my ONLY craft work area.  It is just my ‘paper craft’ supplies in that room.  I also have a ‘craft room’ (formerly the formal living room in the house) where most (and a LOT more!) of my craft supplies are.  Here’s an old post where I showed that craft room.  And that room is almost ALWAYS too messy to take pictures of.    Usually a dozen projects in the works at any given time!

SOMEDAY, I will have whiddled down my craft supplies to a manageable amount that I can ‘pretty up’ that craft room too.  Right now, it’s half supplies and half etsy product waiting to be sold.  AND I have some etsy product out in our trailer!

BUT, when we decided to re-do that bedroom and I decided to divvy up some of my supplies to store in there, I was DETERMINED that it would stay tidy enough to STILL be used as a guest bedroom.  And it’s the one room that Michael will tolerate being ‘girly’!

I really AM ‘on a mission’ to use up my excess craft supplies and get ‘my other craft room’  as organized and pretty as the bedroom.

Even if you only have a closet or a corner to use for your craft space, SO try to ‘pretty it up a bit’.  A pretty and tidy craft area truly IS more conducive to creativity!

Mine. ALL MINE!!!

12.5.12 finds crafts Stars 002Look at my beeeeeautiful new cloches!!!  I found the link for this discount craft supply and decor site on Pinterest, and I did a little bit of ME shopping for once!

12.5.12 finds crafts Stars 001After my HUGE disappointment over the bell cloche I bought at Home Goods (practically PAPER thin glass!)  that I was going to use in my booth at Stars (but REALLY wanted to keep for myself) which broke before it even got to Stars (despite multiple payers of bubble wrap!) I decided I deserved a little something for ME!

This PAIR of HEAVY, sturdy glass cloches was only $30.00 at  Save-On-Crafts.  Of course there is shipping to add to that, but even shipping was very reasonable.  There were all kinds of things that I ‘could have’ talked myself into ‘needing to buy’; but I kept it to a minimum.

12.5.12 finds crafts Stars 005I also got three of these wood crown silhouettes.  Not sure what I’ll do with them yet; but 2 of them will be embellishments on ‘something’ one of  these days.  I’m keeping one for my personal crown collection.

12.5.12 finds crafts Stars 009I got one spool of this ‘perfect’ shade of aqua ribbon, which I can use on EVERYTHING!

12.5.12 finds crafts Stars 010And this thin BURLAP ribbon; which actually I DON’T recommend.  It’s good stuff.  It’s just so narrow that you can hardly tell it’s burlap.  They had MANY different size options; which I’ll probably try next time.

So, if you are looking for some craft supplies or pretty apothecary jars or cloches, give the Save-on-crafts website a gander!