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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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


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