Last Minute Holiday Projects … in 15 minutes or less

Hi All.

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY IS … THE DAY. Anybody needing some last minute, quick little Holiday accents?  C’mon, it’s OK to admit it.  Everyone has had that dilemma at one time or another  … you have most (or almost) everything you need … BUT it just hasn’t all come together yet.

MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF.  Let me help with some easy AND economical projects, most of which can be done in 15 minutes or less. Just don’t wait until 15 minutes before your guests arrive, to do them … the night before would be better!

ALL YOU NEED IS …  a roll or two of holiday wrapping paper, some ribbon, twine or pretty string, a few unbreakable ornaments and one or two minor items that you’ll probably have around the already.  If not, a quick run to the closest Big Box Store will do the trick.   So …


Artzzle Christmas

Dress up a smaller window … YES, EVEN IN A BATHROOM!

Artzzle Christmas

Above is everything you need.
This is an adjustable little curtain rod. You set it’s length to just a bit wider than your window opening. A spring inside allows you to then push it into place in the window, and the tension holds it there.
Using unbreakable ornaments is best. Use an odd number so you have a center piece for balance.
I used narrow, paper ribbon in a copper color, to coordinate with the rest of the project and room.
You won’t need the entire roll, but you have to use rolled paper as opposed to folded, flat sheets.

FIRST, adjust the rod to fit your chosen window. Then decide how far down from the top of the window, that you want your paper to show.
NEXT, cut your paper: Make the length the same as the length of your rod. Make the width double the amount you want showing.
NOW, fold over each end on the long sides, about two inches or so, folding the excess to the back side of your paper.
NEXT, lay out your ornaments on your work table. The center one is your main ornament, and should hang from your rod, either shorter than, or longer than your side ornaments. EXAMPLE: My center piece is longer, and in a different design than the others. Then, balance one on each side of your center one, then two more and so on. Once I had my arrangement, I then cut pieces of ribbon, accordingly, to how far they would hang down from the rod.
NEXT, tie one end of ribbon to the ornaments and the other to your rod, and hang rod in window.
FINALLY, just fold your wrapping paper over the rod until you have the right amount showing in front. Gently pinch a fold in the paper at the top of the rod, to better keep it in place.
Artzzle Christmas

This one doesn’t even take 15 minutes, it’s SO EASY and QUICK.

Below is the credenza featured in the previous post. See how much more festive it looks with this easy addition.
Artzzle Christmas

All you need is
Use tape OR glue with paper and cloth ribbon.
Use glue only with metallic and/or wired ribbon (the tape doesn’t adhere to the metallic ribbon)

Just, measure the length and width of paper you want for your table. Fold an inch or so on the long edges, to the back or underside of your paper. Then, adhere ribbon to the hanging edges and done!




I’m always advising to use what you already have. It also works at Christmas.

Here’s the green one featured in our last post. Just a big glass bowl, a plant, some ornaments and wrapping paper ( also a fabric remnant ). It’s so easy you don’t need instructions.

Artzzle.  Christmas

REMEMBER Christmas doesn’t always have to be red and green. I have lots of browns, coppers and other metallics in my home. So I put this together.


I began with a beautiful copper and gold wrapping paper (same as on the window treatment)

Then I added the runner from a Thanksgiving project.

Artzzle Christmas

In this last shot I tried a big, old rusty star with it. Haven’t decided if it stays or goes. Except for the ornaments in the vase, these are everyday items … just combined differently and dressed up for the holidays … that extra SPARKLE.


Now, as they say … ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

If you’ve got BOOKS and WRAPPING PAPER … you’re set to go. And you can set the timer for 15 minutes!

I have several very pretty holiday books that I display as is. But to add color here and there, I cover others. This is a Christmas book, but Martha on Blue doesn’t fit my scheme this year.

First you need to correctly size your wrapping paper. Follow the instructions below.

Artzzle Projects

Open your book and slide the tube (pretty side up) onto the cover.


Wrap around the front, spine and to the back edge.


Now you’re almost done. Slip the open tube onto the back cover.


Now you’re finished.

Don’t waste precious time trying to wrap every single book. Just do a few, in a few sizes and different papers. Then use them wherever you need color and Christmas!


Whew, a long post! It will probably be easier to print out at least the book cover section. There will be one more before Christmas … but don’t worry … just a short one!

Dearest Readers, as the holidays draw near, I wish for all happiness, joy and peace in this special season, no matter your beliefs or celebration reasons. Stay safe and warm.

As always, try not to stress, but just start.

Later – Cheryl

This original article “Last Minute Holiday Projects … in 15 Minutes or Less” appeared first on No included content or photography can be used elsewhere without specific permission from said originators.

Copyright © 2013 Artzzle   All Rights Reserved


Fun Finds Projects

Hi All.

Lots of fun finds are stacking up in my workroom lately, so today I experimented with two quick projects. I had a clear glass serving piece bought for $3.99 at DISCOVERY THRIFT in Milaca, MN and a $0.25 metal TV tray from Hand-To-Hand Thrift in Pease, MN.

The glass piece is divided into three sections and I knew I wanted to use it for a candy dish. I’ve had an idea for the tray for quite some time. It will be a chalk and magnetic message board.

Below is the finished candy dish.

Here are the project details.

Glass piece
Clear or white contact paper
Spray Paint
Craft gloves (Optional but preferred)
Paper mask (Optional but preferred)
Exacto Knife
Well ventilated, prepared and protected area for spray painting

1. I cut seperate pieces of contact paper, measured to cover the areas I will paint.

2. On the paper backing of my contact paper, I drew out shapes and designs that I wanted to show on the glass piece. My container has 3 individual sides; I drew stars, assorted triangle shapes and rectangles with roughly rounded corners.

3. Still working from the paper side, I then used an exacto to cut and remove the individual shapes.

4. Next, I carefully removed the backing paper from the contact front, and slowly adhered it to the outside of my bowl.

5. Go slowly and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles in your contact paper, as best you can. It’s important to have all edges around your open shapes, as tight and smooth to the glass as possible.

6. Prepare your spraying area. I worked in the garage, with a window open and a ceiling fan on. The garage is heated so warm enough for painting. I secured a roomy box to a saw horse, then pulled it out into the room, where nothing would be hit by overspray. Here, you can see an outline of the TV tray I also worked on today, against the back of the box.

Shake your spray can vigorously for a minute or so, and begin.
Wearing your mask and gloves, hold the piece in one hand and begin to spray the sides.

When spray painting, do light, quick sprays from side to side.
Spray … go just beyond your target, then release. Again, side to side, spray quickly and release. Don’t hold down the nozzle for a long time and continue to spray, you’ll start getting clumps and drips in your paint.

The paint I’m using today is Rustoleum Hammered Copper. If you notice what may seem to be bumps in the paint on my finished project, it is just part of this paint’s effect, to resemble the hammering. Ideally, I probably should have used just a regular color or metallic, but this is what I had available and in the color I wanted.

7. When finished painting, carefully place your vase on newspapers, and allow it to dry thoroughly.

8. When it is dry, carefully peal off the contact paper and reveal your design.


TIP: It is nearly impossible to avoid overspray in the other areas of your piece. This has a bit on the bottom of the bowl, and some inside. I’m not too concerned about the overspray. My bowl is primarily for decoration and will hold wrapped candies. But I will probably attempt to use a touch of acetone on a cloth and wipe it out later. That should do it. And make sure if you are serving food in your bowl, that all the excess paint is removed from the inside, to avoid any contamination. Then carefully hand wash your bowl with sudsy water, before using.
TIP: ALWAYS HANDWASH your painted piece. Try not to use excess water on the painted surfaces; just a dampened cloth.


I’ll post the TV tray project tomorrow.

As always, don’t stress, just start.

Later – Cheryl

This original article “Fun Finds Project” appeared first on

No included content or photography can be used elsewhere without specific permission from said originators.

Copyright © 2013 Artzzle All Rights Reserved

Thoughts for Thursday

Hi All,

Is it really Thursday … already?! Well I’m glad, not because the weekend is coming as I’ll be doing wedding work straight through anyway. But Thursday means I can take a nice, long break and get a post out to you! So here are a few thoughts for Thursday.

My fingers are bruised and burned from all the cutting, gluing and re-doing of bouts and bouquets. NO, I’m not finished, not even close, but YES I’ll give you a teaser of progress so far. And YES, I will give you a tutorial post on the bouts, but later …. much later! Remember to click on the photos to get a better look.

As my assembly line routine moves along wih the flowers, I get some daydreaming in while working. Hey, double-duty with my time … yay. Course that might contribute to some of the burns 😦 The idea list for future projects is lengthy, and there have been some great junking and treasure trips of late, so my objects and supplies are growing too! Here’s what I’ve been daydreaming about.

Metals, Woods and Fabric Goods

A planned project is to make several toss pillows. Wal-Mart had some great fabric sales recently, so I marched right over, with definite ideas in my head. We all know that you don’t alwas automatically find what you thought you wanted when you walked in. This trip I wanted 3 (that magic number again!) patterns for the living room. Saw one terrific main design and a second, so-so workable pattern but just couldn’t come up with that third neutral texture. Okay, so mom’s voice said keep an open mind, stay positive. Low and behold, I found 3 fantastic patterns that would work in the guest room, the family room or as a change out in the master bedroom. Eurecka! So, there you go … and here they are, pictured below.


Blues, browns and tan are the main colors in the guest bedroom. Our family room walls are a mid-range tan, sort of dull gold, and the master is a lighter, brighter neutral cream so these choices will work with all three.

I’m always scouting for objects with fun shapes and of course, anything wooden is popular right now, in all styles of decor. One of our neighbors about four miles over (remember we live in the country) has a big old poll barn, make that a GIGANTIC pole barn and it’s a picker’s heaven. Here are some wooden pieces I adopted recently at one of his famous Barn Sales.

Now you’re saying, “what the heck can she do with those?”. And my answer is “how the heck do I know … yet”. But Hubs has taken to sketching out some of my ideas and when he starts drawing, something good always happens. You’ll just have to be patient along with me, as there’s often some distance between the drawing and the doing parts. HINT: I want a floor piece of artwork using at least some of the wood stuff, something that stands about 4-5 feet high, and I love copper piping. Wonder what he’ll come up with.

For some reason, I’ve become drawn to metal baskets and wire containers. You’ll remember the painted buckets from last month, but here are some tiny ones I just found.


And look at these cool baskets and weird little shelf looking objects we’ve collected. My favorites are the bigger milk box that has a Minnesota tag on it, and the wonderful, metal handled basket. I know I won’t paint over the local tag as that’s part of the history of the piece.


The basket is a dilema for me though. It’s just fine (and very appealing) as it is, after a little clean-up. But then, I keep picturing it in some bright color too. We’ll all have to wait and see on that one.


One more shot of fun finds of the fabric kind. I know, I know, I’m not staying in the right order. It’s the old “I’m so excited I just have to write it down quick” thing happening today.

Here are some beautiful scarves I’ve found recently. No collectibles like VERA or KIM PARKERs but nice just the same. Two square ones in different sizes, and two more that are oblong and perfect for table runners OR dress up. There’s that double-duty I like. Spent no more than $0.50 – $1.75 on any of these, so economical too.

Now, I really do need to get back to the flower project. Oops … it’s already 2:00 p.m. Guess it would be a good idea to eat something too! Eating … that reminds me of a great E-Z recipe a friend gave me the other day. YES, me actually talking about cooking … amazing right! But the key words here are EASY, CHEAP, DELICIOUS and PRETTY presentation and it doesn’t even take much time.

But guess what, I forgot to take a picture before I ate it (yes all of it), so you’ll have to stay in touch to find out more.

Meanwhile, have a safe, fun weekend and remember, don’t stress, just start something!

Later – Cheryl
Here’s where I always say thanks “for visiting. You’ve just read “Thoughtful Thursday” on Artzzle. I love comments and questions so send “em” my way”.

Here’s a little something else today. I know from several comments and emails that you’re enjoying and I’m so glad. Now, can I ask you (actually beg you) to spread the word to your friends … co-workers … strangers on the street … just anyone! I love doing the blog but one of my goals is to acquire some sponsors, advertisers and hopefully a little bit of green, so Hubs doesn’t have to work so hard! For that I need followers, viewers and lots of comments to build my stats and entice those customers over.

Thanks, I knew you’d understand. 🙂

Fozzy and Gracie signing off

Fozzy and Gracie signing off

Copyright © 2013 Artzzle All Rights Reserved

When things just don’t come together

Hi everyone. Sorry no posts yet this week. After two attempts, I had a lot of good ideas, yet nothing was cominig together. But you know me, three is my lucky number, so let’s hope the third time is a charm.

Everybody has times when things just don’t gel well. Interiors don’t always come together when we’d like them to, either. But hey, it’s your home. There’s no time limit on buying the right couch. Registering a polished style by a certain age, is not a requirement. You won’t receive a bad grade if you try the wrong paint color. So relax.

Last weekend my guests and I relaxed … by shopping. We explored a huge antique store in Elk River, had a sandwich lunch in a quaint little bakery there and hit some great thrift and outlet stores on the way home. Was that ever fun and look what I found.

Not sure what I’ll do with the three bright buckets but for now they are hanging on my studio rack, just looking pretty and making me feel good. They were $1 each at the Elk River Goodwill.



At the moment, my living areas have several different tans, browns and metallic colors so this rug pattern is a perfect addition. It’s also a triple duty piece, as it can be used in two other rooms as well.

Look closely and you’ll see a furry black face on a chair in the family room. That would be Fozzy! He’s never far away from me.

The 5 x 7 new rug was a bargain for $49.99 at the Milaca Unclaimed Freight outlet. An 8 x 10 would have been a better fit, but that pattern & size weren’t in the store, and though only $99.99, it wouldn’t have been in my budget either. So, I took the leaf out of the dining room table, and got a fresh new look.

Below are some fun finds from an earlier trip to Discovery Thrift Store in Milaca, Minnesota. Not a formal grouping, just wanted to show each of them to you.


The apple cookie jar jumped out at me on the shelf and $2.99 was budget friendly. The cup & tray set was a new item, still in the box. Another good deal at $2.99, with modern colors and a funky design. These mini books are popping up everywhere lately. They’re fun and just the right size for a party favor or an accent on a gift package. This is one of three purchased for just $0.49 each.

We all search out decor ideas, we want and work for a certain look, but sometimes it just doesn’t come together right away. Decorating is meant to develope with you over time, not for you on a scheduled date. Part of the fun is in the finding, the collecting of the treasures that will tell your story.

Please don’t be like a former neighbor of mine, who never felt competent or comfortable with any aspect of decorating. A living room stood empty for years. I visited one day and the door opened to reveal a fully furnished frontroom. Every item in a styled showroom had been purchased, and set up exactly that way in her room. As a stager and showroom stylist, I have to say it was beautiful. But it was staged NOT decorated.

“There, it’s done” she proclaimed. “Now I can forget about it”, and she did just that. In all the time we knew them, it remained a forgotten room, just an acceptable way to greet visitors. Her “proper” tree was displayed in the window every Christmas for passers-by to see, but no flames ever warmed the fireplace. No one ever snuggled on the cozy couch in front it.

There IS a difference between Staged and Decorated. Catch an upcoming post for more info.

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of your week and remember, don’t stress, just start.

Later – Cheryl

Thanks for stopping by. You’ve just read “When Things Just Don’t Come Together” featured on You’re invited to ask a question or leave a comment. I look forward to your input.

Copyright © 2013 Artzzle All Rights Reserved

Thrift Store Stories

It’s truly summer in Minnesota now. The 4th of July holiday has past, the weather is hot and muggy, and mosquitos are the worst we’ve had in years. You literally cannot go outside without first soaking yourself in bug spray.

While Hubs was home last week, we got tons of things done, but today it’s back to normal. I wanted to stay in the air conditioning though, so checked out some of my notebooks and photos to see what would work for a post.

If you haven’t yet realized it, I’m a big proponent of thrift store shopping. Today I’m including some shots taken at a favorite local spot, FAMILY PATHWAYS. Family Pathways has several stores and locations. These photos are from the Princeton, Minnesota store, where they graciously allow me to stroll the aisles and snap things. Look what I found this trip. As always, just click the picture to enlarge it for a better view.

Artwork is always an important part of your decor, but can be expensive, and often poorly framed. The first two items are actually original artwork, beautiful watercolors in very attractive frames.


How can you not approve of these. Prices here were $2.50 for #1 and $5.00 for #2 (look close and you can make out the little price stickers). The second piece is even double matted and in a nice, layered wood frame. Wow.

Picture #3 appears to be either a scratchboard or lino cut technique. Scratchboard gives you a reverse affect, white on black. The board has a black surface and you literally scratch your drawing into it, so it appears to be drawn in white. It could also be a lino cut piece, where you have a tile covered piece of wood and use tools to carve your drawing into the surface. You then roll ink on the surface of your tile and print it onto paper. #3 is a much larger piece and was marked $7.50.

The neutrality of this artwork gives you a double-duty piece, as you could use it with any color scheme. Wonderful.

On this same trip, I snapped these two versatile furniture pieces. The caned back, leather seated chair was $7.00 and the fantastic galss topped, all wood coffee table was $10.00. Seriously.


Just a little oil and some windex would have spruced up the table just fine, and the leather and caning were in perfect shape as is, but for those of you who like painted furniture, this would be a wonderful project for a side chair to use in any room of the house.

This trip also featured several nice toss pillows in varied styles, from $1-$3.

I do buy used toss pillows, if the fabric is tight, in good repair and clean or washable. When laundering this type of pillow, balance your load in the washer, use cold water on the gentle or shortest cycle, and dry on the fluff cycle at the lowest temperature. Most of my 2nd hand pillows are purchased to use as a filler and I make new covers. Using “as-is” or to cover, either way you’ll want to have a clean piece. If you pay such minimal amounts, you’re not out much if they don’t make it through the wash.

Regular readers know that I love pottery and have a good sized collection. This next photo is just a regular commercial piece, nothing collectible. But it has a great shape and nice decorating colors, and was only at a $3 price. You have to consider everything … this had ugly, faux leaves sticking out of it, but those could easily be removed. Don’t overlook a bargain.

One last example before I go. This modern, light framed piece features painted glass, with a sheet of floral prints behind. I broke down and bought this one (only $2). I took it home and will mount some of my own nature shots in the windows. I especially like that you can hang it vertically or horizontally. Always look for more than one use.

Don’t be shy about frequenting your area thrift stores. What some once considered a stigma is now something that everyone does. And I mean everyone. Just look at some of the fancy cars parked at those shops when you drive by! Everybody likes a great bargain!

Being retired now, I too, have to take care with my dollars, just as I did when we were younger and just starting out. But your home should be your haven, and any type of “value” you can use to make it your special place, is a great find so have fun finding things!

As always, don’t stress, just start.

Later – Cheryl

This has been “Thrift Store Stories” featured on You’re invited to ask a question or leave a comment. I look forward to your input.

Copyright © 2013 Artzzle All Rights Reserved

New, fun category

Yes, you can decorate without destroying your budget. Proof positive is found in the newest Artzzle post category. It was going to be named “Fun Finds” because I get so much fun and satisfaction in finding cost effective items. But we all want a beautiful home and with budget such an important factor for most of us, hence “Budget Beauties”, to help demonstrate what can be done on a low-zero budget!


I’ll share recent fun finds, where they were found and what they cost; from one-of-a kind pieces to great items from retail locations. Pictures above feature several great finds.

The petite, solid wood coffee table ($9.99) and the unique, copper serving tray ($0.99) were purchased in recent trips to an area thrift store, Hand-To-Hand Thrift in Pease, Minnesota. The beautiful pillows were brand new items ($4.99) purchased at Discovery Thrift in Milaca, Minnesota. The glassware is part of a 24 pc set (nearly new @ $7.49) also found at Discovery. Finally what I think is a fantastic find, is the VERA scarf for $1.00 from another area thrift store “His Savers”.

Scarves are great “double-duty” items because you can use them decorate your home OR yourself! I cap my scarf budget at $2.50, so if you catch this link VERA NEUMAN, you’ll appreciate my special love of VERA items, especially at that price.

Pictured below, at eleven years they aren’t recent finds, but our boys are certainly on our “most beloved finds” list. Fozzy and Freddy were found in the home of a daughter of one of my co-workers at the time. Litter mates from a small, yellow lab mom and a huge black & white newfoundland dad. Twelve of thirteen pups survived and Fozzy was our first choice. We already had two older dogs at home and wanted to transition a pup in to cushion an upcoming loss. But as we visited each week, my heart ached for Freddy as the runt (with a slightly deformed lower jaw), because no one had claimed him.

I cried about what a shame it was because he was just so darn cute. Hubs gave me a hug and said that we had two training crates at home … so for a short time we had four dogs! Cinnamon, our lovely lab/golden girl left us six months after, and almost a year to the day later, we lost Buddy, our lab/sharpei mix.

When I introduced Artzzle, I told you that home, family, friends and pets were most important to me. I meant it!

Enjoy our finally found Spring and as always … don’t stress, just start!