Nostalgic Surprise Party: LEGEND OF ZELDA

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This creative idea is the perfect (surprise birthday) party theme for someone who grew up playing classic video games.  I have to admit that I don’t know much about video games (past or present), but that didn’t stop me from having a blast, making my share of the food & decorations for this nostalgic surprise party, based on the classic video game series – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.

Knowing that the (birthday) guest of honor typically arrives home through his front door, we concentrated our largest decorating efforts there.  We turned his living room into a scene from ZELDA – the Dungeon, where the character GANON awaits you (near the end of the game).  The decorating crew began by installing a wall scene setter from the party storeAnd we used a new removable, hanging product on the market (QUICK CLICK) to hang the BAT characters.  Recently, the manufacturer sent this product to me to test and it was definitely two thumbs up!  I plan to use them a lot during the holidays to suspend ghosts, ornaments, snowflakes, etc. (from my ceiling). This Made in the U.S.A. removable product works on any surface and holds up to 2 lbs.  Check out how the finished room looked…

And around the house, Zelda fan art was displayed…

Here’s all of the handmade Zelda-representative props, from various versions of the game, that we also displayed around the house.  I’m especially proud of the budget-friendly, DEKU Tree because I created this 8-foot, 3-D decoration with nothing more than a roll of brown paper, sponge brush, black paint and a picture (to go by)….

The Gelatinous Creatures & Bombs were made using a balloon & paper mache’

The Birthday Crew even took the party theme into consideration when planning the food…

My food contribution was the ELIXIR SOUP (White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe, located under the RECIPE tab in top tool bar of my blog) and the GUARDIAN ACORNS.  To make the acorns, I used melted chocolate to assemble 3 easy-to-find ingredients: Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, mini Vanilla Wafers and Butterscotch Morsels.  I think these acorns would also be a fun dessert snack in the Fall!

The Birthday Crew did a great job bringing this classic video game to life.  All of the planning and hard work was definitely worth it because the Guest of Honor was completely surprised and totally impressed by all of our efforts.  Personally, I also owe them a HUGE thank you for explaining the game details to me so I could share our combined, creative effort with you!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

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Mother’s Day Brunch in a Up-cycled Garden

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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

Using Paper products to help decorate your fireplace for Spring & Easter

In today’s marketplace, paper comes in so many forms and is a perfect fit for my creative, yet budget-conscious, brain.  So, if you’re looking for new ways to transform your fireplace from Winter to Spring (and Easter), read on because I think you’ll like the creative way I found to incorporate 3 different paper products to create 2 new designs.

IDEA #1

For the first fireplace look, SCRAPBOOK PAPER helped me create an “Art Comes Alive” look above The Seasonal Home’s family room mantel.

Tracing around a wood butterfly shape (Hobby Lobby – 50 cents) created the large butterflies and a cookie cutter (I already owned) helped me create the smaller butterflies.  Because I have a hard surface surrounding my fireplace, I was able to use dots of hot glue, from a low-melt glue gun, to attach my butterflies to this surface.  You could also use “Tack It” (office supply dept.) or COMMAND strips to attach them to more delicate surfaces.

I found the vintage frame at a thrift store ($3), lightly spray painted it white and placed it on the mantel.  [NOTE: Typically, these are reasonable if they don’t have artwork in them].  The yellow clay pots are a recycle from a look I created last Easter (https://seasonalhome.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/yellow-at-easter-its-not-just-for-chicks-anymore/ )… so, “zero” dollars.   The aqua, polka-dotted bunnies ($3.99 each) and the yellow, polka-dotted candles ($4.99 each) are both from Old Time Pottery.  The yellow vine came from a clearance section of one of my favorite local stores ($6.75) as did the aqua birdie ($1.99).  I picked up the yellow gingham ribbon (see clay pot trim & mantel inset) at Joann’s, etc.  for only $1.75 with a 50% off coupon and the large aqua flower at Hobby Lobby for $1.99.  If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll recognize my white candlesticks, bird nests and eggs because they roam somewhere different, every year, in The Seasonal Home.

For Part #2 of this look, I wanted to transition my fireplace hearth from Winter to Spring.  In keeping with my nature look, I thought it would be a great idea to make a cushion, flanked by some green topiaries from around the house, to create a park bench feel and also, add additional seating for my Spring and Easter guests.  The aqua gingham fabric, buttons, yellow bias tape & rope insert as well as the 2 bed pillows – $15.00 (Walmart).  So, this entire idea cost $47 to create and I love the fresh look!

IDEA #2

For the second look, I used two different paper products – Green, plaid Hallmark gift wrap (love this stuff because the lines on the opposite side make it easy to cut straight! lol) and white poster board (50 cents), both from Walmart ($4).  I taped a large piece of gift wrap to the back wall & upper inset of the fireplace and removed the logs/grate, to replace it with Dept. 56 artificial grass ($14), edged out with artificial lettuce leaves, to create a base for my 2 sitting, Mom & baby bunnies and used fuzzy Christmas snowball ornaments for their tails.  Finally, I dotted the grass with a few small daisies and also sprinkled them on the mantel and around the large, white bunny cookie jar (sitting inside the cabbage plate) to create continuity. 

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On the mantel, I used items you’ll also recognize from previous posts, including the wreath, which is the yellow & white daisy wreath from the post I shared above.  I simply added a few different colored flowers to it.   And of course, I simply cannot decorate for ANY holiday without filling up one of my apothecary jars.  This time I added a set of glittered Easter Eggs.

On the side table, you’ll recognize another one of my white candlesticks, on top of which I placed a small clay pot of pink daisies.  You can place SO many different things on top of candlesticks during different seasons, so I highly recommend investing in a set of these to help with your decorating.

This look would be hard to price out for you because I used many items I already had, but it turned out to be one of my favorite looks because it’s so bright & cheery!

Enjoy the Creativity & Happy Easter!

EILEEN

Recycle a Furniture Castoff into a Creative Potting Bench

This project turned out to be one of my favorites!   A month ago, I potted some veggies and created a space for them, on the side of my house.  As I was running between my garage and vegetable garden (to bring tools, fertilizer, potting soil, pruners and gloves to the garden, as needed), I realized how nice it would be to have a potting bench with some storage.   I also knew that it was not a project I could build myself and didn’t feel it was so necessary to spend considerable money on it either.  So, I went back to my love of recycling and repurposing and hit the garage sales, one fine Saturday.  As luck would have it, I struck gold my first time out and found an older IKEA desk top for only $4.00.

It had a work surface and plenty of storage, including dry storage (in the form of a cubby with a door), which I knew would be the perfect spot to store my garden gloves, to keep them out of the weather.

STEP #1 – a light sanding with a fine grade of sand paper, making sure I hit all surfaces, corners and crevices!

STEP #2 – remove the dust created by sanding with a slightly damp cloth.

STEP #3 – I chose a green, semi-gloss acrylic paint so my potting & storage bench would blend into the background.  However, I also gave it a sense of fun by free-painting some flowers, fauna and garden creatures to dress it up and express my creativity, using some leftover bottles of acrylic craft paint I had.  (paint used – apx. $7.00)    I have to say this was my favorite part of the project.  Not only did I enjoy the zen-ness while painting on my own, but when the adorable children I live next to caught a glimpse of what I was doing, they joined in and added a little of their own artistry.  It didn’t matter that we ended up with a hot pink & orange flower or a blue butterfly because it was simply a fun day for all of us!

Here is the result of our creative art —

POTTING BENCH - Left Side

POTTING BENCH - Left Side

POTTING BENCH TOP

POTTING BENCH - Right Side

THE FINISHED PROJECT!

STEP #4 – Drill a small hole for an inexpensive (87 cents) pink ceramic, weatherproof knob for the cabinet door and seal the potting bench with INDOOR/OUTDOOR Helmsman Spar Urethane ($10) to protect my finished project from the weather and elements.  Because the cabinet is such an inexpensive piece of furniture, it’s made from compressed wood particle board with a laminate cover.  I think the weather will eventually take its toll on my sweet potting bench, but the clear satin sealant should buy me a couple of seasons at least, I hope!  PROJECT TOTAL -apx. $22.00.

The bench is so useful because it has already saved me many back & forth trips to the garage for garden tools and necessities.  Now, they are all close by and at hand and SOOOO convenient!