Secret Fairy Garden in an Upcycled Wheelbarrow

[As always, click on any photo to view it larger]

Nothing renders a trusty wheelbarrow “useless” faster than a broken handle.  And as you can see, The Seasonal Home is now the proud owner of one. (LOL)

  

My first instinct was to head to the DIY store to purchase a new handle, but let me be the first to tell you that they are only sold in pairs and are super expensive!  And as you can see (in the photos below), there is only a $20 difference between a pair of handles & a brand new wheelbarrow.  So, I decided to up-cycle my ol’ one-armed wheelbarrow and purchase a new one for yard duty.

  

First, I cleaned the wheelbarrow and let it dry completely.

  

Next, I spray painted it (using a spray paint that doesn’t require priming and adheres to most surfaces) to coordinate with the other accessories in my yard (chandelier, bird bath & outdoor planters) that I’ve also painted bright blue (check out my older garden posts to see those ideas).

It needed more color, so I accented it with light green, using a stencil to create the design, outlining the design elements (using a black marker) to make them pop.

  

Once it was painted, I looked for the perfect spot to place it, in my garden, and found an empty area next to an orange tree I recently planted.  Also, I’ll place it so the side with the missing handle faces the fence (wow!  need to re-stain that soon…lol).  So, the wheelbarrow will be perfect there, because I can move it once my tree grows large enough to fill in the area.

I knew if I filled the wheelbarrow with some soil and plants, I would have instant height, volume & color, so this was the perfect spot!  I was so excited that my wounded wheelbarrow warrior would accomplish 3 things:  bring my bright blue accent color to another garden spot, fill a hole in my garden bed and create height, becoming a triple problem-solver.

But, I had a 4th idea – to also tuck in a secret fairy garden!  I already had a little fairy, but she needed a cottage.  You can find fairy houses in stores, but they are usually pricey.  Luckily, I found this bird house in the clearance at Home Goods for only $12 and with a small renovation, it will be just as cute.

  

I turned the bird house into a fairy cottage, by gluing a doll house door (using a piece of gift wrap for a curtain) to the front.  Before I glued it to the bird house, I painted it, added an address and (snap) doorbell.  The front door step is a length of balsa wood (that I also painted).  Of course, any respectful fairy would busy herself by collecting trinkets, so I glued a few of those to the front door step also.

To protect my fairy cottage from in-climate outdoor weather, I coated it with urethane and glued it to a stand, so it wouldn’t touch the dirt.

With a few more accessories in place, my up-cycled wheelbarrow now has a secret…. a little fairy and her sweet cottage.

Click on photo to view larger detail

And now, I have a brand new, gorgeous focal point in my garden, filling up a (formerly) open space with color, texture and whimsy.  This would be a great summer project to create with children of any age.  Suggestion: consider adding a couple of new accessories to match the changing seasons (mini pumpkins/hay bales, basket of eggs, tiny Christmas tree, etc.) to keep the fun fresh, which would also make a great seasonal tradition you can all look forward to!

And now, for a touch of  “FALL” in the Fairy’s Garden:

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

P.S.  Here are a few other “everyday” items you might consider re-purposing into a garden planter before you discard them:

                

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A Patriotic Pergola Picnic!

This post is all about the ol’ Red, White and Blue and with July 4th around the corner, I hope it inspires you with its patriotic spirit… enjoy!

Feel free to click on any photo for a larger view and if you have any questions (or comments… I “heart” those! 🙂 ), please feel free to share them.

During the year, so many celebrations and holidays call for a “Patriotic” theme (Military Homecoming, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day… even the Olympics!), so here’s some creative ideas to inspire you when it’s time to wave your own flag…  on a budget, as usual! 😉

The FOOD!  Keeping it light…

For your celebration, you might want to consider challenging yourself to come up with a slightly healthier menu, starting with a lighter hotdog.  Then, some unique twists on old favorites like corn on the cob.  I call this recipe “Crunchy Corn on the Cob”.  Instead of rolling it in butter,  sprinkle it with crushed blue corn chips (blue) and a touch of chunky sea salt (white) and paprika (red).  Do this right after the corn leaves the pan, using the hot water (instead of butter) to help the crushed chips stick to the corn.  You won’t believe how incredibly tasty this is and how well the two flavors & textures go together!  Accenting the corn with the flavor of fresh cilantro was yummy too!   And check out how cute Patriotic Skewers work as holders for the corn.

Create a “bite-size” salad with Caprese’ Skewers.  Add another “patriotic twist” with a single blueberry at the end of the fresh basil leaf, mozzarella ball and cherry tomato lineup.  Place the ingredients on Patriotic Pinwheel Skewers (Pier One) for some patriotic pizzazz!  Finally, drizzle a Balsamic Glaze and sprinkle fresh herbs to keep taste high and calories low.

The dessert’s main ingredient is an old family recipe – Amoretto Fruit Cream.  It’s very similar to the one featured court-side at England’s famous Wimbledon Tennis matches, which take place around the U.S.A.’s Independence Day.  So, why not let the fruit cream pull double-duty for you by having a Wimbledon party & serving strawberries & cream?  Check out the RECIPE section of my blog for the super, simple details and directions.  You’ll never serve the old marshmallow-y stuff again! LOL   To drive your theme home even more, add the unexpected – a little, sugary sweet in the center.  I used a patriotic flag cupcake accent (found in the boxed cake section of most grocery chains) and served it all over a slice of Angel Food Loaf Cake (check the bakery dept. of your local grocery store).  

The BEVERAGES!

Keep things simple & low-cal by serving water and iced tea.  I found cute patriotic straws (also at Pier 1) and created a hole in the center of a strawberry, to push a straw through, for another decorative touch.  To add some patriotic flair to a dispenser of iced tea, use a shape mold to create “star” ice cubes, in red and blue [note:  juices melt, so if you’re going to use them in clear water, stick to 1 color because mixing colors can give it a murky look].  You’ll find this star mold at most craft stores.  I used a 50% off coupon so my cost was only $5.00.  And since I LOVE two-fers, wouldn’t this be perfect to use during Christmas too?  🙂

PARTY FAVORS!  

A party favor is extra fun & easy when you follow the lead of a theme (enlarge photo to see note card).  The note card sets up the idea behind this favor: “SNAP”  represents small fireworks, “CRACKLE” – is represented by 2 different kinds of sparklers and “POP” – a blue, over-sized blow pop.  Also, knowing how hot it can be, at outdoor parties, a hand “FAN” is a great item to include for your guest’s (individual) comfort.  To create one, cut out the flat, center circle of a sturdy, patriotic theme, paper plate.  When done, glue a wooden tongue depressor to the back.  P.S.  Don’t throw away the leftover paper plate’s outer ring… I have a fun idea for that too!

All of these goodies fit perfectly into a tall, plastic, patriotic container (Wal-Mart Party Dept. – 97 cents) and there’s no need to fill it all the way – just pop a small, red potato in the bottom of each to weight it down.   Wrap the finished favor in clear plastic, add a bow and the “theme” note card (click HERE for a printable version of the theme note card I created for mine).  For apx. $3.00 each, you have a festive party favor that’s not only colorful, but also completely “interactive”!

Time to DECORATE!

Check party stores and the Dollar Tree for inexpensive decorations.  I found these paper lanterns and pinwheels at PARTY CITY, for $14 (total).  For the price, they really add a punch of color to a picnic setting.  Be sure to check out my up-cycled thrift store chandelier idea because it looks great in this setting!

Consider a 2nd (side) table to hold and display your dessert, drinks, plastic-ware, etc.  This is also a great place to use your party favors to help you decorate (double-duty!)  More decorating ideas:  a rustic Uncle Sam (made from a fence post) and flag.  The flag is made by wrapping a large piece of foam core board with inexpensive muslin fabric, which is pulled to the back and stapled in place.  For the stripes, untwist lengths of red “twist paper ribbon”.  To create the star, glue white buttons onto a piece of dark blue construction paper.  Once everything is glued into place and dry, spray paint a light coat of “Wood Tone” by Design Master (a thinned-down brown paint), over the entire project, to give it an aged look.

Utilize cake plates, everyday plates and vases from around the house to create varying height on your table… a great technique that caterers use.  It creates visual interest and saves space!

Check discount stores for inexpensive tablecloths.  I found these at Big Lots ($3.25).  The color POP is fantastic and they coordinated perfectly with my hanging decorations.

And doesn’t it seem like every patriotic table-scape you come across features a geranium?  I love how they look also, but they have gotten expensive, so check out all of the other red, summer, flowering plants in the garden shop.  I found this Lantana for 1/3 the cost!

As promised… the reason you saved the outer rings of the paper plates is because nothing goes to waste in The Seasonal Home!  Overlap the ends and staple or tape it back together, to create a circle/ring.  It makes a fun, patriotic hat.

Imagine some of your party-goers wearing these hats while holding their sparklers… turning themselves into the famous MISS LIBERTY herself!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

http://www.TheSeasonalHome.com


Recycling to create an Outdoor Chandelier

This is what I started with – a $4.98 chandelier from a thrift store

And here’s how I took it apart to turn it into an outdoor chandelier

Avoid rust (from moisture inside cups) by coating with hot glue and then time to paint!

Hang your new recycled creation wherever you need some beautiful, (non-electric) eco-friendly, outdoor lighting to create instant ambiance and…

ENJOY!   🙂

Mother’s Day Brunch in a Up-cycled Garden

[Click on any photo for a larger view]

This post is a double-feature… an idea for a Mother’s Day celebration AND some up-cycling ideas for your garden!

First, the Garden ideas.  I’ve been busy this spring, up-cycling some items (I already own) to stay within my budget.   Before I talk about those projects, I have to share with you a bargain I found last fall.  I got SO lucky and spotted this gorgeous, cedar pergola at Sam’s Club (on sale) for around $200.   Have you priced these things?   If you have, you’ll understand what a bargain this was!  So, my advice is to watch the post-summer sales at the shopping clubs and grab a deal for yourself. 🙂

Now that I have a garden focal point, in my pergola… it’s time to add a fountain!  I was inspired by a blue ceramic, bubbler fountain at Lowe’s.  But, at $130, I decided to  instead up-cycle my old birdbath that I had turned into a planter years ago.  So, using my glue gun, I closed the drainage holes (previously created), spray painted it blue, added a small pump, “Welcome” rock (from my front garden) and added 2 bags of smaller rocks from the Dollar Tree to turn it into a simple, blue fountain.  

HINT:  spray paint the pump electrical cord the same color to camouflage it.  

I hung an old farmhouse window (from the back side of the pergola), above the fountain, to create a “back wall” to my new garden room and gathered all of my larger clay pots, spray painting the 2 white ones (blue) also.  And I filled several of my large pots with lettuce & tomatoes so I can have a homegrown salad soon!

You might also recognize the garden outdoor furniture set I up-cycled and featured in a post (last year) by spray painting it black and recovering the cushions.  And since a portion of my first (glass) gazing ball holder disintegrated, I removed the ball and replaced it with a clay pot, highlighting one of my pretty plants.

I also wanted to create some shade because it gets HOT in Florida! (LOL)  I found a pre-made cover at Lowe’s for $99, but it had no tethers or weights to keep it in place…. hmmm… the first wind will turn that into a sail!  Luckily, Lowe’s also carries the shade fabric (cuts sun & heat by 75% and is super-easy to sew, but you could also use velcro to create a customized cover) by itself for a lot less, I decided to make my own.  I measured, cut & sewed the lightweight fabric to match the dimensions of my pergola roof and added a pocket (on each end) so I could insert a piece of poplar wood (the least expensive way to weight each side down).  By the way, Lowe’s will also cut-to-size any piece of wood for about 25 cents… what a deal!   The fabric works AND looks great! [check out my $7 paper lantern too].  The rug is one I found (last year – post summer) and because it’s small enough to roll it up and store, I just bring it out for special occasions like this one.  Speaking of that — I can also roll up & remove the shade cover if a storm is headed my way (yay!)

And now, for the Mother’s Day celebration idea – creating a little bit ‘o Heaven in my backyard (on a budget) inspired me to invite my Mom over and spend some time with her going through old photos, reminiscing and enjoying some lunchtime treats for Mother’s Day…. an “ahhhhhh” day for both of us… with no standing in line and no reservation required!

Happy Mother’s Day and –

enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Spring Garden Project

Do you have some mis-matched plates, saucers, bowls, cups or votive cups tucked way in the back of your cabinets?  Or, maybe you have a chipped or cracked plate that you inherited from a relative and just can’t throw away?  Even if you don’t have any of these items, you can still enjoy the following project, I saw at my local garden shop, by shopping for the ingredients at thrift stores or garage sales and the end result will be an adorable keepsake for your garden.

When looking for the ingredients to make these flowers, the best combination is typically a dinner-size plate, bowl, tea cup, votive cup, old vase or salt-cellar.  Tap into your own style & creativity, however, keep in mind that coordinating colors makes for the best & most attractive combination.  Also consider colored glass (as one of the pieces) to create the most artistic drama in the sunlight.

Sometimes, people drill holes in the center of each ingredient and then bolt them together, however, it is much easier to glue each of the ingredients together using a weatherproof, clear adhesive called GE silicone II for Windows & Doors.  The flowers above were professionally made and the artist went to the trouble of crafting green metal leaves to weld onto a green metal stem, but that is totally beyond my own capability and I’m guessing yours as well.  So my solution is to purchase re bar (available at hardware stores) and spray paint it green.  I also love the ease (shown in photo on right) of gluing a small, straight-sided vase to the back plate of your flower (upside down) so your creation can be easily propped on top of your newly green, re bar stem before placing it in the garden.

Some helpful hints: 

  • ONLY work in a well-ventilated area (like outside)
  • Protect your work surface
  • Have a cloth rag handy to wipe any excess glue, especially off of you (lol)
  • Practice first!  Put your combinations together, before gluing, until you are happy with the completed flower look you create
  • As you place your combinations together, use chalk, a pencil or masking tape to mark around the outside of each area where the glue will attach, so you won’t have to re-position the pieces
  • Apply the adhesive to the back of each piece, at the highest, protruding point
  • Press each piece gently & firmly in place and wait at least 10-15 minutes between placements for the silicone adhesive to set up.  If it doesn’t set up in apx. 10-15 minutes, it may be old and you should return it to the store.
  • Wait 48 hours before placing the finished flower in the garden.  Use this time to spray paint your re bar green!
  • Consider using several different lengths of re bar to create different flower heights in your garden

Below are some closeups, you can click on to see a larger view and more detail.  Hopefully, they will inspire your own creations… they certainly inspired me! 🙂

             

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Early Valentine gift to Mother Nature

[click on photos, for larger view]

During Christmas, I purchased a small, inexpensive Frazier Fir tree to place inside a beautiful winter sled-tree stand given to me by one of my clients.  I loved the idea of having a fresh tree on The Seasonal Home’s front porch (close to the front door) so I can enjoy a wonderful pine smell each time I pass by.

It just so happened that I placed the tree in front of the kitchen window and one day, while doing the dishes, I noticed a sweet bird, who landed in my fir tree to rest.  I would have been thrilled if my feathered visitor had stayed long enough for me to take a photo, but as quick as it landed… it was gone.  I immediately started thinking about ways I could encourage more birds to visit the tree (it’s just too wonderful to recycle yet!), but it wasn’t until I was about to throw out a stale loaf of bread that the solution came to me… fill my tree with welcome winter bird treats!

Even though I’m still filtering my way through organizing holiday decorations, my thoughts are already heading towards St. Valentine’s Day.  And based on the huge amount of visitors, to my site, who are searching for Valentine, St. Patrick’s Day & Easter ideas, I must not be alone in that thought process (lol)!  Anyway, those thoughts gave me the idea to pull out my Valentine cookie cutter and use it to create several winter birdie (treat) ornaments to hang on my tree.

So, after gathering my jar of peanut butter, a roll of thin ribbon, my container of bird seed and the loaf of stale bread, I was ready to go into production.  First, I used my cookie cutter to create heart-shaped pieces of bread.  Next, I spread peanut butter on one side (of each piece) and using a toothpick, poked a hole in the center of the top/middle of each side of the heart.  Now, it was time to feed the ribbon through the 2 holes and tie a knot.  (HINT): I found that the bread dries out quickly, so it would be best to create the 2 holes & feed the ribbon through, as soon as you’ve spread the peanut butter.  The last step is to dip the side of the bread with peanut butter on it into a plate of bird seed and your ornaments are complete and ready to hang!

I hope lots of feathered friends visit my tree of winter treats and allow me the privilege of photographing their beauty, in exchange.

 

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

New Wreath Trend

I’ve been noticing a new wreath trend on several front doors in my area.  It is a die-cut wooden wreath that has been hand-painted and many times, personalized.  They’re very cute, unique and would definitely be easier to store than a regular seasonal wreath, so it might be something you want to consider.  Also, as one of my Facebook Community Members pointed out… this is the perfect wreath for those of you who have a screen door in front of your entry door.

Below are a few different designs (ranging in price from $29-$79) that I found on various artist websites, ready to purchase and hang:

CLICK on photo for detail & website info

Of course, if you have some artistic ability, simply head over to http://www.ebay.com and SEARCH “unfinished craft wood wreath”.  You’ll find many unfinished versions of these wreaths in different shapes and sizes and all of them are quite reasonable ($5-$7).  Keep in mind, you’ll need paint, ribbon, a drill (for bow placement), finishing glaze to protect it from the elements (unless that’s included in your paint) and either cut-to-fit felt or these handy self-adhesive rubber bumpers (available at DIY, craft & discount stores for less than $2/multi-pack) to glue or adhere to the back of the wreath to protect your door.  At that point, you may just want to take the easy route and choose a pre-made version from one of these on-line sites I found above.  Whichever idea you choose, I think you will love the style and ease of this new wreath trend and they’d make a great gift too!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

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