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:

                

A Passion for Purple at Easter!

MOVED Note

For my front door area,  I was eager to reuse my black footed planters (to create a similar look to last years) for Easter (https://seasonalhome.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/3759/).  But of course… it had to be a brand new look AND on a budget (translation – make it myself!)  I also had a definite passion for purple this year and here’s my inspiration…. PURPLE PEEPS!

Before I could create the entire look, I first had to create a duplicate of my inspiration – the Marshmallow PEEP Bunny.

Using a 50% off coupon, I purchased a sheet of (apx.) 2″ x 12″ x 36″ white styrofoam, drew and cut a PEEP shape and used one of the discarded pieces (as a file) to create nice, clean edges on the finished product.

  Next, I painted my PEEP shape with a styrofoam-friendly brand of spray paint (Design Master) in lavender and then while damp, sprinkled it with a light coating of iridescent glitter for a sugary look.  I also painted a bamboo wood dowel that I had cut in half and once that was dry, I inserted both pieces into the bottom of my PEEP shape, to create a stand.  Chocolate brown (my name – not the manufacturer’s – but I thought that might be more helpful) acrylic paint and a small paint brush helped me create the face.  Don’t they have the cutest faces?!!  Couldn’t you picture several smaller versions of these in your front yard (maybe in different colors?)

    

Ok, back to the project (lol)…. I spray painted one of my footed, black planters white, and even reused a styrofoam circle (note the hole made by last year’s pvc).  Then, I placed & gently pushed my PEEP’s bamboo legs into the styrofoam circle to secure it in the planter, slipped a purple-themed spring wreath over his head and added extra flowers to camouflage the styrofoam.

I added a bow to my bunny and placed my large, purple yard eggs and several other decorations around to bring my purple PEEP passion together, including using one of my outdoor greenery plants.  And I love the mossy, jumping bunnies I found at Pier 1 this year.  See what you think…

 

CLICK on any photo to view it larger.

Don’t forget to check out my entire EASTER category for even MORE creative ideas and stay tuned because I’ll be revisiting this craft in Easter 2013 in a fun & fabulous way…

Happy Easter!

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. 

CLICK on any photo to enlarge

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

Ideas for your Summer Yard

During the summer, flowers are the “star” of the show.  And it’s so much fun to explore new flowers (hybrids on the market) as well as display ideas, so here are a few suggestions, from The Seasonal Home, for you to try…

First of all, because there are 4 Patriotic holidays surrounding summertime (Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Labor Day), it’s nice to have something (on display) in patriotic colors.  Here is a display of Plumbago (blue flower) and the new red shade of Vinca together.  Both are pretty heat/sun tolerant, so they are a perfect pairing for the summer.

I also love geraniums during the summer, and here they are potted on The Seasonal Home’s front porch…

Finally, here is a fun way to display flowers inside inexpensive aluminum pails, available at most DIY stores (the most reasonable I found were at Lowes) –

CLICK on photo to visit website

The creative part is using wrought iron hangers, in multiples, to display several of them in a row.

A beautiful garden on the 1st day of SPRING

I just couldn’t resist wishing all of my readers, subscribers, followers, fans and sponsors a “Happy Spring” on this 1st day of one of my favorite seasons.  I know a lot of you have had a tough winter and year, so I hope this little bit of nature in bloom brings provides you with the inspiration to begin your own new (plant) life in your gardens or patio containers…  as soon as it’s possible, of course.

My regular blog viewers are familiar with how I love to design and decorate on a budget.  I’m always happiest when I’m creating something out of nothing.  This beautiful garden design idea completely qualifies because this is my neighbor’s handiwork… ha ha… completely FREE for me to look at and admire, so I’m sharing with you – ENJOY!  🙂

This vintage wheelbarrow was a gift from one of their relatives, as a rememberance, so it is a very special part of their design, every season

 

“Springy” Easter Kitchen & Chandelier

There are a lot of black (accents) in THE SEASONAL HOME kitchen.  That creates a slight decorating challenge for me, especially during the seasons & holidays, but one that I absolutely love!  There are a ton of colors that go great with black (lime, lemon, pumpkin, ruby, cornflower, lilac, etc.) and I am enjoying exploring them all.

For Spring and Easter, I am using yellow and green as my accent colors, in the form of  chicks and cabbage leaves.  I began with my black cabinets that I filled with a green soup tureen and other “cabbage” accents, alongside my bunnies (the silver couple are my fav).  I just had to add a little jelly bean display because it’s not Easter without jelly beans!

And I didn’t leave out my chandelier!  A few (faux) cabbage leaves, some chick-filled nests, a botanical garland, daisies and some black & white checked ribbon have transformed an ordinary light fixture into a Spring-y delight!

 

 

Yellow, at Easter… it’s not just for “CHICKS” anymore!

MOVED Note

Time to decorate for Easter!  And this year, I wanted a “HAPPY” color because it’s that time of year when everyone is ready for something new… Spring!  Pastels are pretty, but I wanted to choose something that would lift everyone’s spirits and “YELLOW” seems like the perfect color to accomplish that mission!

I know that yellow is typically paired with Easter “CHICKS”, but that would be too typical for someone like me…  so “BUNNIES” it is!  As I was spray painting my inexpensive clay pots white (as a primer) and then, yellow…

I couldn’t help but imagine how nice this painted pot would look with a textured rim.  I started looking around and thought of some great things (I had on hand) that would accomplish just that: rice, beans, bird seed, beads, ribbon, etc.    Because I already had some small yellow silk flowers on hand, I decided to use those –

which turned out great!   

Then, I got a little distracted thinking about what a nice, inexpensive gift container this pretty painted flower-pot would make… with a small Easter gift inside.  The first thing I placed in my new gift container was some pretty purple petunias.  Total cost for pot, paint, silk & real flowers – $5.00.  This would also be a nice “gift container” for a greenery plant; maybe an herb, like Rosemary or Parsley.  P.S. Don’t forget to include your best recipe that highlights the herb you are gifting!

For another gift idea, consider a “garden” theme!  Place garden gloves, gladioli bulbs, chapstick and sunscreen (all purchased at a dollar store, btw) and a a small jar of hand lotion.  Total Cost for pot, paint, flowers & items – $10.00

So, if your budget is tight, but you have some upcoming gift needs this Spring, I hope these inexpensive suggestions help.

Of course, I could continue coming up with more gift ideas, but it’s time to get back to decorating!

First, I spray painted 3 different sizes of the clay pots and stacked them (use styrofoam, plastic cups (hot glue these in place), sand, etc. inside each pot so the next pot will sit up higher inside the pot  beneath it).  Because I had decided to use some white bunny figurines (I already had), I decided to hot glue white daisies (found at Wal-Mart for 97 cents) to decorate 3 of my painted clay pots and a $1.00 roll of yellow & white gingham ribbon as an accent for the other 2.

I thought the yellow & white gingham ribbon might also make a nice “color” accent to my mantel.  So, using my hot glue gun, I put a few dots of glue – just enough to keep a length of my ribbon in place.  My mantel is painted in a high gloss paint, which is very forgiving and will allow me to peel off the hot glue, after Easter.  If your mantel’s surface is delicate, I would suggest that you use a safer product – removable velcro tabs (called COMMAND and made by 3M).  As you can see, the ribbon created a subtle, but nice accent and broke-up all of the white (of my mantel) –

I had no need to make a wreath this year because I found the perfect design at Old Time Pottery for less than $20 and added a wooden “WELCOME” white bunny sign I already had to it.  I also had an inexpensive white, yellow & green 6 foot daisy garland, which I laid across the front of the mantel, mixing in some plastic yellow & white Easter eggs, faux grass, (VERY) inexpensive fencing (from the DIY store) and a strand of carrot lights, all of which I’ve had for years. 

The orange BUNNY TREATS jar was an old Hallmark candy dish I got for free because the lid was missing, so I made lemonade out of lemons and popped a faux head of lettuce on top of it, but tied a bit of my gingham ribbon around it first, like a gift (for the bunnies, of course!)

The giant yellow daisies are a loan from my Creative Family Traditions and Ideas book displays. 

In the end, my total cost for this Spring’s design was $32.00 and I love the end result!  I hope you do too!

Don’t forget to check out my previous Spring and Easter decorations…. always done on a budget!  They can be found under the CATEGORIES of Spring and Easter, in the right hand column of this blog.  If you need an Easter gift, please check out my book.  Those ideas are all budget-minded too.

HAPPY EASTER!

Eileen

P.S.  If you don’t think lights make a difference, just check out how cozy the night view is:


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!

Easter Centerpiece

Be sure to check out my book, exclusive to my website www.creativefamilytraditions.com.  You’ll find lots of creative ideas for making memories (with family & friends) to go with my seasonal decorating ideas!

Are you searching for a unique centerpiece idea for Easter?  Start with a little imagination and a fun little figurine from your own box of seasonal goodies!  And don’t hesitate to choose one of your favorites because this idea won’t damage it.

Begin with a basket (or any other handled container) as the base for your design.   I was lucky enough to find  the one I used in my design (below) at my local Home Goods store (www.Home Goods.com for store locations) – it’s an adorable, egg-shaped basket  – perfect for a centerpiece.

Next, choose your favorite Easter figurine (from your own decorations or in a store).  When deciding, consider what the artist has the figurine busy doing.  I had 2 of the same figurine (“Gathering Treats” from the Charming Tails collectible figurine line by creative artist Dean Griff)… a little mouse carrying an armload of jelly beans… so I decided that these figurines sparked my imagination enough to create a story scene around them.

Squashville is the imaginary town the artist of these figurines created for his collection

In a dollar store, I found a small bag of glittered jelly bean ornaments, which sparked the idea that these sweet little mice could be in the process of sugaring their jelly beans to create their own sparkly Easter tree!  I purchased a small cone-shaped piece of styrofoam to add the jelly bean ornaments to and glued them on the cone base.

But, before I could put the rest of the scene together in my centerpiece, I had to fill the bottom of the container.  I added a larger piece of styrofoam, trimmed to fit inside my container and level with the bottom of the opening.  I covered the top of the styrofoam with a piece of artificial turf (from your local DIY store) before I placed it inside the bottom portion of my egg container, trimming it with tiny flowers using a low melt glue gun.

To complete the scene, I needed to create a method for sugaring the jelly beans and help tell my scene story.  I found a fashion doll lamp accessory in a dollar store and pulled off the base, which I also flowered using a glue gun, after attaching it to a spirally straw that I trimmed (most of the spiral, except 1 short curve).  Inside the base of the lamp, I added another small piece of sytrofoam and inserted clear bristles from an inexpensive hairbrush I also purchased at a dollar tree.  I added a tiny piece of floral vine to unify the lamp base & straw as one.  Then, I sprayed the whole piece with spray glue & sprinkled irridescent glitter on it.  Once I placed it into the styrofoam base (through a little slit I cut in the green turf), I had created a sugar shower these adorable figurines could  bring their jelly beans to for a generous sparkling!

For finishing touches, I added a few of the sparkled jelly beans to a tiny wheelbarrow I hand painted (available at most craft stores). Then, I made a double-sided sign (on my computer, using clip art and a tiny font), which I printed on heavy card stock, cut-out and hung inside the top portion of the basket (from tiny chains, rescued from a cheap key chain) to create more detail in my scene.  Finally, I also added some color-coordinated silk flowers (low melt hot-glued) to the top of the container and my scene was complete.   This took apx. 1 hour to make and was a big hit and the following year, it served another purpose because I donated it to a deserving, non-profit organization for their Spring fund raiser.  I’m sure your creation will make an adorable centerpiece for your Easter gathering too!

Be sure to check out my other Easter Centerpiece and decorating ideas under the “EASTER” Category.

The completed centerpiece!




SPRING, in the Recycled Garden!

GARDEN FOCAL POINT! One day, I realized that the corner of my yard simply looked boring, so I started looking around for something to hang from a large oak tree limb that protrudes over this area.  While shopping at a country store, I found a vintage farm house window, they were selling for a very reasonable price.  I brought it home & hung it from the tree limb on metal chains, using s-hooks to connect the chain to the existing window hinges.  I always feel good when I recycle things, but it is a HUGE bonus when it looks so great.  My new window not only turned out to be a superb focal point that brightened up a bland corner of my yard, but it has also proved to be a unique conversation starter for friends & family who visit.  I like to call it my very own “window to the world!”

LAYER YOUR GREENS! If you happen to have an old, outdoor container that is no longer able to be used for its original purpose (see my old birdbath in photo at right), please don’t throw it out… RECYCLE IT!  Whether it’s a clay pot or birdbath that’s developed a hole or a rusty wheelbarrow, simply use it to add another layer to a garden display.  In my back garden, I needed a display with some height, so I added a clay pot to the center of my old birdbath.  Then, I filled both the inside of the clay pot and the surrounding area (in the birdbath) with dirt.  I planted flowers that grow vertically inside the clay pot and creeping flowers that love to dangle in the remaining birdbath area.  Don’t forget to water frequently (especially after first planting your new display) and cover the soil with mulch to keep moisture from evaporating too quickly.

Alternative Ideas: Fill a large clay pot 2/3 full with soil & place a medium clay pot in the center of that.  Then, fill the medium pot 2/3 full with soil & place a small clay pot in the center of that.  Fill all 3 pots with strawberry plants or an herb garden.  There’s simply nothing better than fresh mint in your iced tea or fresh oregano in your spagetti sauce, especially when you’ve grown it yourself!

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