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.

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Distance photo (for size scale)

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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

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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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Spooky Halloween Fireplace

Here’s an idea for creating a spooky Halloween fireplace.  And while showing you “how” I created it, I’m also going to cover a few of the “steps” behind my design style.

In Spring 2011, I used a green bird cage as the focal point of a bird-themed design.  [By the way, the bird cage was a collectibles display that a Hallmark store was done using and decided to sell, so I picked it up for only a few dollars.  This happens often in gift shops, so you should always express your interest and leave your name & number with the manager if a unique display catches your eye.]  When I’m decorating, my first step is to find inspiration and this bird cage provided my first bit of inspiration for this spooky Halloween fireplace design.

My second step is to look for things to re-purpose, to save money.  I knew the bird cage would look very different if I simply painted it, so I covered the mirror on the back wall (to protect it) and used a can of black spray paint to give it more of a Halloween look and viola’… a bat cage was born! 

Look for decorations that provide big bang for your dollar, like this large, removable “Flying Bats” window cling.

Re-purpose, before you purchase!  I wanted to place the window cling on a mirror above my fireplace, but there was one problem – I had no mirror above my fireplace! LOL  So, I looked around and moved a mirror from another wall (this one was over a chest in my living room), leaning it up against the wall, above the fireplace.  This not only solved the problem, but once again, without spending any money.  By the way, this would also be a look you could easily create over a tabletop, in a foyer, etc.

Create stories and add “action” to make decorations more interesting.  This draws in visitors who see your seasonal decor and adds whimsy too – who doesn’t love whimsy, especially during the holidays? ;-).  Positioning the (newly painted) bird cage next to the mirror and adding a few of the window cling bats (to the mirror INside the cage) makes it look as though the bats have escaped through the open door of the bat cage.  Adding a small skeleton (inside the cage) created a little whimsy because you find yourself wondering if he was somehow helpful in unlocking the cage door, so the bats could fly free.

Include lighting (lamps, candles, etc.) in your decorations.  I absolutely LOOOOOVE these new Spider candles, so I chose them to add that eerie glow to my mantel scene.  These are some of the best battery-operated candles because they’re lightweight plastic, won’t melt, and not only does the faux wick light up, but also the silver, glittery spider on the front (creating some BONUS lighting).

Combine similar things to add layers to your look.  I got lucky and found this large, gorgeous, silver, glittered crow at a warehouse sale, for only $3.00, and couldn’t resist perching him on top of the bat cage to create even more action.

Accessorize to fill up empty spots!  I added a few small pumpkins, black twig garland (Michael’s Crafts), preserved moss and a length of wide ribbon to fill in the empty spots.

Carry the look all the way to the floor.  I placed larger pumpkins, branches (I gathered outside, spray painted black & added a couple of orange spiders to) and 3 lanterns in the fireplace opening & around the hearth. 

Again, add lighting!  To create a lit look (inside the lanterns), I took one strand of orange lights and fed a few of the lights inside each of the lanterns to give them a warm, autumn glow.

And here’s the complete look… it’s one of my favorites I’ve ever come up with… I hope you like it too!

HAPPY  HALLOWEEN… enjoy the creativity!

Eileen

P.S.  I have a limited number of a few of the items above in my SHOP, while supplies last.

Eco-friendly Cleaning Tips!

Contrary to popular belief, decorating is not the only thing that goes on at The Seasonal Home…… I also clean (when I have to ;-)).   But when it comes to cleaning, I will take any shortcut I can.  And my favorite “way” to clean is to use as many natural products as possible, with vinegar being one of my favorites!  The main reason vinegar is a favorite is because I have hard water.  Hard water is a bad thing to have when your bathroom features glass doors and blocks, but I’m going to share my method for combining vinegar and paper towels that works great to combat this while cutting my cleaning effort by 90%!

I begin by soaking paper towels in vinegar.  Each time I pull out a couple of paper towel squares from the vinegar, I apply it to my glass doors and block, smoothing it out (as if it were wallpaper).  Strangely enough, this part of the job is somehow very Zen! (LOL)

I also apply individual pieces (of vinegar-soaked paper towel) to my shower head, Off/On handle and drain, but you should not leave this on for more than 15 minutes OR use paper towels soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water because  straight vinegar can strip the finish off of metal.

Once I’ve covered everything in my vinegar-soaked paper towels, I walk away and come back a couple of hours later to remove them.  The vinegar has done most of the work for me so all that’s left to do is use a use a natural cleanser product (like Bon Ami powder ) and a scratch-free, scrub sponge to remove the hard water deposits and leave my glass doors sparkling clean and spot-free!  Check out the end result yourself –

I also have a lot of tile in my house, which was great when I had high traffic x 4 kids, but I would love to switch to wood floors now that they’re grown and on their own.  Oh well… maybe some day… but for now, I’ve been focused on finding ways to keep my tile clean, especially the grout lines because I really dislike how dirty grout makes my floors look like grid work.  So I tried a natural product I had on hand (Witch Hazel) and was very pleasantly surprised at the great job it did by lightening my grout at least 3 shades!  I just applied it straight to the grout line, used an old toothbrush to give it a light scrub and soaked up the excess with an old rag.  Check out the difference between the vertical and horizontal lines in this photo –

So, try out my ideas if you have some of the same issues and if you have any great cleaning tips, please feel free to share them in the COMMENTS section of this post.  I’m sure everyone would love to check them out.

Enjoy the Creativity!

EILEEN