Whatever Weather

Whether wet or dry, weather has been the Big Boss around here all week, a 50/50 toss-up between rain and shine.  Good things are we need the moisture, but haven’t suffered severe flooding like many areas.  Another positive is, the rain holds off a while in between storms, and gives enough dry out time to mow.

Mow . . . and mow . . . and mow again! I swear the grass grows two inches a day, at least!

And those dandelions, ugh.  They seem to multiply by the thousands!

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I love mowing on my rider . . .  but my back doesn’t like it so much.  Nice to have Hubs around now 24/7 to take an extra yard shift.

One of the damp days had just occasional sprinkles, which allowed me to clean out our little, front entry garden.  I forgot to take a B4, but below are Afters.

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For a few years now, I’ve been planting only perennials; hardy plants that will tolerate our cold winters and continue to thrive the next summer.

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As a natural course of things, over time, we’ve planted, and had to remove, various shrubs.  Unlike trees, shrubs have much shorter life-spans.

This corner below was emptied last summer, and we added a lilac.  This year, Hubs allowed a second stem to grow.   Lilacs can be fun to sculpt a bit as they grow. He’s going for a double trunk look here.  It’ll be fun to see if we like what develops . . . or not.

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A diablo ninebark had to go this year.  Hubs cut it way back earlier in the Spring.  We were waiting for help, to dig out the stump, but look at this.

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I like this spot of color and texture in the garden, so it’s staying . . . at least for this summer.

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Oldest daughter gave me a Mother’s Day gift card, which covered three bags of mulch for a quick cleanup and a few decorative annuals, for some instant interest and color.  (Thanks Breezer!)

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Farther out in the front yard, we have a particular variety of willow tree, not the standard weeper.  It tends to lean a bit rather than stand straight up.  We specifically picked it for that reason.  Hubs and I both love what we call “whonky” and found it perfect.  Drives our one perfectionist neighbor crazy, but no one else seems to mind  😉

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Willows are often easily started from trimmings, so this time when pruning, we saved a few cuts and popped em’ into some good dirt.  We’ve tracked their progress.

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Surprisingly, most of them survived and thrived.  They’ll be transplanted in a few weeks, out back in one of the low spots, where they’ll have a bit more moisture.  Another area to watch grow.

The beautiful spirea below is presently all by himself in the back yard.  We’ll be moving him to the front area before Fall.

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Nothing has been cleaned out in the little back garden yet, this year.

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It’s a little big jungle out there.

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But this week is peak bloom time for our big old crown wegelia.  The blooms are so full and beautiful. You would expect a wonderful fragrance too, but not so with this shrub.

Artzzle Weather FeatureThis size of bush can easily afford to gift a few branch cuttings.

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TIP:  Continue to keep fresh water up to the top of your vase, and these will open fully and be gorgeous for about a week.

FUN FINDS: Pictured here are some of my recent fun finds.

  1. Tall glass vase $3
  2. Decorative Scarf $0.75
  3. Three Tier (Pier One) display piece $2.50

They hold a few loose blossoms & leaves here, but the little sectioned holder is also great filled with candies when company comes.

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TIP:  Keep water levels up in small holders too.  Holding very little, they evaporate quickly.

That’s what we’ve been up to this week . . . Hubs and I.  What’s new with you?

Remember . . . stress less, start more!

Later – Cheryl

Fun Finds for Friday Features

Okay, YES, I’m still on the “same letter” train.  Hey, I’m likin’ it.

Lately, I’ve needed to review my stash of fun finds. Somethings had to be removed, to clear out space for the upcoming sale season.  You know … all those important sales i.e. Garage, Yard, Barn and Funky Junk sales.  Although I’ve yet to buy a garage or barn.
I find cool stuff inside them!

This week I went metal … that’s metal NOT mental
Here are three obscure pieces I grabbed.

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Well, the basket is recognizable, but I have no idea
what those other things were for, originally.
I just liked em’ and knew what I wanted to do with them.
It involved cardboard, spray-paint, wood and mineral oil. (How’s that for a teaser?)

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Oh and also coming in to play, cookbooks, dishes and jewelry.  Just wait, you’ll see.    Must mention also, that the projects included Hubs.  Very important factor here.  Using his cardboard collection and a few clamps, Hubs set up a spray booth for me.

He included ventilation, hang wires and all necessary protective equipment.  Ceiling fans and air exchanger were activated, and as it was a warmer day, the back screen was opened a bit too, for added ventilation.

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I did a quick cleanup on the bare metal pieces before starting to paint.

Metal Basket Cleanup

My product of choice for the paint was Rustoleum in a Hammered Copper color.

Artzzle Fun Finds ProjectsI always begin with small, quick sprays to avoid drips.  But have to admit,
somewhere towards the end of the project, I’m usually just spraying away to get done.

Artzzle Fun Finds ProjectsFinal step, we let the painted pieces dry over night, so as not to be sticky.

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Next comes the wood … and in this case, some of those beautiful,
raw walnut pieces Hubs has stashed away. This piece would hang on the wall.

Artzzle Fun Finds Projects Artzzle Fun Finds ProjectsBecause of the awkward shape, it wouldn’t hang level.

Artzzle Fun Find ProjectsSo I chose the pretty walnut slab as a backer and this is the final result.

Artzzle Fun Finds ProjectsThe mineral oil is an economical, all natural way to finish wood.
It brings out all the beautiful details, flaws and colors.  It’s very inexpensive and you can find it easily in grocery, big box, pharmacy and dollar stores.

Project MaterialsUse a clean, lint-free cloth and apply it generously.
Don’t worry, it will be dry-to-the-touch in just a short time.

Artzzle Fun Finds Projects, Wooden MalletsAbove and Below are two wooden mallet projects, Hubs made from scratch

Artzzle Fun Finds Projects, Wooden Mallet

Finally, we took the items in and played.
Here are the final results.
Artzzle Fun Finds Project Basket Artzzle Fun Finds Project, Basket Artzzle Fun Finds Project, Plate Rack Artzzle Fun Finds Projects Plate Rack

With the jewelry item piece, I knew immediately what I wanted it for.

Artzzle Fun Find Projects, Jewelry Rack

Hubs hooked the rack to the wood on the front, with little screw straps.  Then he pre- drilled into the wood and attached the entire piece onto the wall using mollie pieces with two decorative screws.,

Artzzle Fun Finds Project, Jewelry Rack

The basket was just a no-brainer purchase, cheap and for so many uses.  The plate rack piece … well, I REALLY HAD TO THINK about what to do with that, but just knew I wanted to bring it home.

COSTS for everything:  Walnut wood free, from friends who had storm downed trees last summer.  Paint was $6 or less, as I rarely pay more than that.  The basket was $3 and the other two metal pieces were part of a $5 basket of fun junk at a barn sale.  The little bottle of mineral oil was under $2.  Hubs keeps that on hand in his wood shop.

PLEASED with the results:  Have to tell you, I’m over the moon happy with our results. The plate and jewelry storage items were essential storage items, but turned out double-duty pieces as they are pretty for decor too!  Baskets are ALWAYS a great accessory in decorating, but I usually find them in wicker or ceramic.  I freaked out when I saw this one, and HAD TO HAVE IT.  I mean $3 … c’mon!

Have a good weekend all and as always, don’t stress too much about that project, just start it and sometimes it’ll just take off on it’s own, using all of your talents!

Later – Cheryl

Fun Finds Easter Wreath Project

Easter Wreath from Fun Finds

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This week I wanted to do another quick project, and keep it at under $5.00.

Thrift shops are no different than any other stores . . . they always have lots of seasonal items. Two of my favorite locals are DISCOVERY THRIFT and our FAMILY PATHWAYS. These stores have lots of craft supplies, papers and fabrics along with everything else.

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Here’s some of what I found.

From Discovery Thrift
• Easter grass: $0.50
• Green flocked wreath with finished back: $2.00
From Family Pathways:
• Packaged Easter table kit: $0.50
From my supply cabinet stash
• Some little green wooden garden stakes: FREE from a garage sale
• A sheet of scrapbooking paper: From a book of 100 sheets for $2.00 at a craft sale long ago

Here’s how I put it together.

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I separated the Big Bunnies piece into two individuals. I used only one for this project so have the 2nd for another time.

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Then I eyeballed the bunny behind the wreath to see where to place it.

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Now, I trimmed the piece, leaving a TAB on the bottom and one on top.

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Next, using an Xacto knife, I carefully made slits on the top/bottom of the wreath, for the tabs.

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TIP: Note that my wreath form is about 2 ½ inches deep; so I cut mid-way into the form. This gives the rabbit more depth than just gluing it flat to the back of the wreath.

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As always, I puttied a piece of wax paper on my work surface. Just to keep the mess contained a bit.

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After the glue gun warmed up, I took four full length stakes and glued them as pictured, to make the cross piece sections for my little fence.

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Next, I cut down several plant sticks, to make fence pickets. I used the pointed ends for this project, but saved the cut-off pieces for another day.

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Here’s where we are in the project.

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Now I took some paper eggs from the kit. Removing the paper from the stem left a tiny hole in the egg. So, little flowers were cut-out of the scrapbook paper, and used to disguise the holes when needed.

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Next, I glued several paper eggs behind and throughout my little fence. And then, eggs with the flowered coverings were added around the top of the wreath.

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Last part was to add some texture with the Easter grass.

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Gathering a clump of grass, I then wired the middle, and after three clumps were made, I then glued them onto the back (or inside) of my fence.

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I pulled strands through the pickets, then gave everything a jagged haircut . . . and here it is!

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Of course this is just an example of how I used my “fun finds”. Yours will be completely different . . . and speaking of yours . . . I always like to see what you’ve done. You can connect with me on PINTEREST or HOMETALK or FACEBOOK and share your photos.

TIPS:
1. For More Depth: I made large dobs of hot glue behind some of the eggs and flowers. This makes them stand away from the surface, for more depth and added interest.
2. On The Fence: The eggs were glued behind the fence and in & out some pickets. This way, after grass is added and adjusted . . . the eggs look “hidden” for the hunt.
3. I glued flat, a few partial flowers to the front and ground of the fence. This helps s tie everything together throughout the wreath.
4. You Regulars all know that I like things a little WHONKY . . . no perfect here. That’s why I glued my fence pickets on a little crooked . . . more fun to do . . . more fun to look at too! 🙂

So, it’s time to say “don’t stress too much, just start something!”

Thanks again for all of your well wishes after my “broken ribs” fiasco. Each week is a little bit better!

And naturally, I LOVE COMMENTS so keep em’ coming! Thanks.

OH, I’m linking this post to THE SCOOP linky party.

Find them through Anita at CEDAR HILL FARMHOUSE

This week’s host is Barb at THE EVERYDAY HOME
Lot’s of fun there. Take a look!

Later – Cheryl

Copyright © 2013-2014 Artzzle All Rights Reserved

Before the Pumpkins Come

September opened here with cooler nights and comfortable days. Touring our yard this past holiday, we noted all the summer beauties slipping away. For a moment I was sad, but quickly remembered that changing seasons are some of the reasons I love Minnesota. Yes, the summers are too hot sometimes, and winters can be cruel, but each of the seasons promises us the return of their own little jewels.

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Orange has always been at the top of my color charts, no matter what features it.
Autumn will offer its’ own beautiful tones soon enough, but before the pumpkins come and the leaves turn to gold, I wanted to share some of the oranges summer can hold.

Summer shows orange in brighter sheen and glows. Fall tames down the color to rusts and ochre tones.

The smoke of Autumn fires fills the evening air, but for one more day, these lilies didn’t care.

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In every season, each day presents us its’ unique agenda. Living in Minnesota, you have to learn to surrender. By accepting the beastly bad, you appreciate the beautifully good all the more.

In the past long weekend I discovered some fun finds. Keep the color orange in mind for next time, when I’ll show them off to you and we’ll do some decorating too.

Meanwhile, don’t stress, just start that project.

Later – Cheryl

Thanks for visiting. You’ve just read “Before the Pumpkins Come” my original article, first seen on Artzzle.com. I love comments and questions so send “em” my way. And be sure to spread the word about Artzzle to your friends. The more the merrier!

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