Bargain Alert!

I found a great product, just arriving in The Dollar Tree stores, that won’t last!  And if you don’t think you need them, you may change your mind when you check out the suggestions I have for their use!

What is it?  Large bamboo poles (apx. 5 ft. tall x 1″ – 2″ in diameter).  Although they vary slightly, in height & diameter, I found most of them to be fairly large.  Typically, bamboo poles cost $5-$7 each in DIY, craft or floral supply stores and  make great decorative accents.  At this price ($1.00), they are very affordable and will provide inexpensive inspiration for you!

Here’s what they look like (in the store) to make it easier for you to spot them, or when asking your local Dollar Tree staff where to find them. I found them hovering between the (teeny) craft section and toy dept.

s_reeds_distance_red

Distance photo (for size scale)

s_reeds_closeup_red

By the way,  I didn’t see this item on their website, so it is probably an “in-store” item only.

The first (and easiest!) suggestion I have for you is to place a few inside a large planter, vase or pot to use as a trending, contemporary and nearly care-free decoration (just a little dusting once in a while).  It would look great inside OR (because they’re weatherproof) outside, as seen in one of the photos below:

76118_0_8-8338-contemporary-living-room

Consider a greenery base to avoid dust inside the container

Great with the new, trending Asian decor

The perfect accent with the current, popular trend of Asian decor

Consider adding a light!

Add lighting (in container) for a super-contemporary look

s_vase_1_red

Because they are weatherproof, they make the perfect outdoor accent

Another great idea is to use them to create your own fencing.  There are tons of DIY instructions for many versions of this type of project (on the internet),

from easy to complex!

bamboo bountyfence

Bamboo_fence_backyard xscapes

You could also use them as inexpensive curtain rods, “as-is”, spray painted or bundled!

gardeners cottage blog_curtain rod

photo courtesy of The Gardener’s Cottage.
For a thicker rod, bundle several together & use 2 pre-made finials or unique wine bottle stoppers as finials

etsy bamboo rod

photo courtesy of etsy shop “Copper Bamboo”

And if you’re handy enough to hang a couple of rod holders on the wall, you could use them as a shower curtain rod in a tropical-themed bathroom:

Bamboo-Shower-Curtain-Rod

Create your own floor lamp!  Or cut smaller pieces for a table lamp.

lamp

Or how about an accent to a wedding reception centerpiece?

wedding reception

Need something sturdy to help you support your garden greens?

garden

How about making a DIY frame to hold bamboo creating an inexpensive Privacy Screen… inside OR outside your home?

Adding some lighting creates even more ambiance!

bamboo fencer blog_bamboo-room-divider

OR, do you need a privacy screen from the “Sun”?  Then, use them to create a cover for your pergola.

photo courtesy of Beautiful Bamboo Blogspot

photo courtesy of Beautiful Bamboo Blogspot

Ok, as long as we’re talking back yard, HERE’S a project for ya!  Buy a bunch to create your own Tiki Bar.  LOL 😉

tiki bar

I absolutely LOVE how great they look glued to the back OR front of a mirror to create inexpensive wall art!

[clicking on either of the next 2 photos will open a separate internet window with each of these creative blogger’s free tutorials]
2.15 Mirror 1

photo courtesy of Savvydesignwest.com

photo courtesy of Domestically Speaking blog

photo courtesy of Domestically Speaking blog

And, of course, my favorite…. as part of a fountain… ahhhh serenity!

safaffect blog_fountain

photo courtesy of Saaffect.wordpress blog

Enjoy the Creativity!

EILEEN

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12 Gifts for 12 Personality-types for $10… or Less!!

[CLICK ON ANY PHOTO to view it larger]

Still scratching your head for gift ideas?  Well, since we have finally reached the 12 days of Christmas, here’s some budget-friendly suggestions that I hope will help.  Each one is $10 or less and some of them even make terrific stocking stuffers!

mags

For the Reader, Crafter or Hobbyist – a magazine on their favorite topic (there are TONS of new ones out there!)  Simply wrap it around their favorite sipping beverage and tie it closed with a length of ribbon, tied in a bow!

tire gauge

For those who have to spend a lot of time in their car

a Digital Tire Gauge is not only easier to use, but a great reminder to keep their tires inflated, for safety and better gas mileage,

-OR-

a Personalized Car (removable) Decal for their car window.

Consider their Monogram:

initial decal

Tons of these on ETSY

Family Members:

Click on photo for website

Click on photo for website

Or Fill in the Blank to create a Customized Decal:

Click on photo for site

Click on photo for website

For the Gardener – a basket of herbs.  Recycle one of your own baskets & tuck in 3 easy-to-grow, popular herbs.  My favs are Rosemary (Roasting small potatoes in fresh garlic, rosemary and olive oil is SOOO DELISH!), Cilantro & Parsley

Photo courtesy of www.Givingplants.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.Givingplants.com

For the Cosmetic-aholic – I know the store of “choice” these days is ULTA, however… I have found a new, inexpensive brand of make-up in Target, called “ELF” (LOL- this brand sounds as if it might have been made just for me, but actually, it stands for “Eyes, Lips, Face”).  It’s incredibly inexpensive and everything I’ve purchased works just as well, if not better, than the expensive brands!  Some facts I learned about them… they are: eyeliner

  • High quality
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comodogenic and their ingredients are listed, for each product
  • NOT tested on animals nor do they endorse such practices
  • NOT derived nor do they contain animal ingredients
  • Supportive of HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project

My favorite is the creme eyeliner and it comes in 11 colors, glides on like butter and stays in place without cracking or smudging.  Best of all… it’s only $3!  Here’s their website for more product review: http://www.eyeslipsface.com.

soap barAnd if you’d like to introduce someone to more natural products, consider a bar of natural soap, or make it yourself.  Once you’ve tried natural soaps, you’ll never go back!

For the Snacker, 2 suggestions (and P.S. – making several of these, at once, is a great gift idea for co-workers, neighbors, teachers, salon employees, etc.) –

Mini trays of either veggies & dip OR fruit & dip OR both!  Who wouldn’t enjoy receiving a healthy snack they didn’t have to make themselves?  And if you choose to give the fruit, don’t forget to try my family’s heirloom Fruit Cream Dip (the “How To” is located under the RECIPE tab on my website).  Party stores have small (condiment-size), lidded plastic containers or ask your local restaurant if you can have or purchase some of these to use with the dip so it won’t spill on the way.

a_veggie tray

If you would prefer to satisfy their sweet tooth, try your hand at making these easy cocoa dippers.  Purchase mugs (Dollar Tree), small box of regular-size candy canes

candy canes semi sweet morsels   marshmallows

peppermint chips

regular-size marshmallows, a bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels and a bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips.mug and cane

Break off a section of the tail-end of a candy cane (so the remainder can hang freely from the  lip of the mugs, with apx. 1-1/2″ to spare, to allow room for the marshmallow). see photo on right for approximate length

Push the broken end end of the candy cane into a marshmallow.  Melt the  mini chocolate morsels and roll one end of the marshmallow in it.

a_cane in marshmallow    a_coating marshmallow

Crush some of the Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (with the back of a spoon).  After dipping the marshmallow in the chocolate, immediately roll the chocolate end of the marshmallow in the semi-crushed chips.

a_crushing peppermints     a_completed

Allow to dry/harden and you will now have the most wonderful treat, when used as a hot cocoa dipper!  Place 1 or 2 in a plastic baggie, use ribbon to tie it closed and tuck it into a mug with a packet of hot cocoa mix.  Wrap it up or give it just like that!

cocoa dipper

For the CookCL mag

the 25th Anniversary issue of COOKING LIGHT just came out, with all of their best recipes, in magazine form so that really keeps the cost down!

Upgrade or replace one of their older cooking utensils, i.e. an ergonomic potato peeler or a sturdy, bamboo wooden spoon or spatula, etc.  Or, introduce them to a new kitchen tool on the market, ldishwasher 1ike a funnier dishwasher alert magnet or unique drink “ice mold”Eek!  Shark Fins! like the shark fin one pictured here. LOL

wine stopper

Target

For the wine connoisseur – Bottle Notes!  This new tool doubles as a bottle stopper and note board (write dates or how the wine tasted to you on this mini dry erase board)

For the Entertainer

Handmade set of Coasters (I love this idea I found on a website called Crafting Green World.com) and I included the link for details & directions:

scrabblecoaster

Click on photo to visit site

For the Organizer – dec hooks

Who couldn’t use a little extra hanging space, but not all of us are handy.  Solution:  look at how beautifully dressy “over-the-door” hangers have become!

baster duoFor the Grill Master –

2-Pack of Basters with reservoirs

grill light

Click on photo for link

Magnetic, battery-operated, LED Grill Light (found this one at Bed,Bath & Beyond for $8.99).

Or, an Apron with pockets for tools AND slots for drinks! (disclaimer: okay, I found this on the internet for $13.90 so it’s a little pricier, but provided they don’t fall over -with the weight- what a funny gift!)

grill apron

For the Designer – a decorative tile featuring their home to display on a stand…. turning it into a design feature!  This is totally do-able if you are artistic.  If not, you can always take a photo of their house and transfer it to the tile (here’s a link for directions I found on whatIlivefor.com: http://www.whatilivefor.net/2010/06/mod-podge-photo-transfers.html).

house tile_a

HELPFUL HINTS:  1)If you don’t have a laser printer, most copy shops do, and 2) be sure to find out the “Year” they moved in so you can hand paint “Established _____” somewhere on the tile also.

batonFor (my favorite) the Sentimentalist –

This requires a little detective work, accomplished by having some 1-on-1 time with the gift recipient so you can (covertly) ask questions & garner “CLUES”about their youth, i.e. favorite hobby, toy, an old skill they have that you didn’t know anything about, etc.  Doing this will give you an idea about something sentimental that you can help them revisit, via a gift.  For example, I just found out (during one of those 1-on-1 times) that a BFF used to be a majorette.  So, I headed to the toy store and brought a $7.99 hot pink baton, which I plan to wrap & give to her as a sentimental LOL.  She’s going to LOVE it!!  And you better believe that I plan to ask for a demonstration of her whirling & twirling skills of old… I can’t wait! 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS and…

Enjoy the Creativity!

EILEEN

P.S.  Next week’s blog post... a Yummy SNOWFLAKE BREAKFAST!

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:

                

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

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

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

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

 

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