Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Artsy fartsy

Ever since I was a child, I've enjoying doing art through many mediums...sewing, painting, clay, beading, etc. I took art classes in elementary, junior high and high school, and continued on in college. During the summer, I'd take the bus to the fabric shop and take a sewing class where we made hideous shorts and laundry bags. Even now as an adult, I really enjoy taking classes at bead shops, art stores and online. A couple of years ago I went to an art retreat and had a blast. I think it's good for my soul.

I was thinking the other day how it's been quite a while since I picked up a paint brush, plugged in the sewing machine or beaded a bracelet. And honestly, it makes me sad. I've been blaming my lack of interest on the fact that my craft room is such a disaster that I just can't go in there and create anything. I think that's true to some extent.

I think I enjoyed making arts and crafts more so when I was working, because it was a good creative outlet for me, a stress reliever after a long day at work. Now that I'm on "temporary hiatus" from the corporate world, I haven't really done a thing. It's kind of funny how you manage to get a heck of a lot more done when you are busy than when you aren't. That's true for me lately.

I've also noticed I go through stages. I'll be in an art making frenzy for a month or so, then won't touch it again for 6 months. I need to change that.

So in an attempt to motivate myself, I pulled out a few collages I made the last few years. I think when I feel the texture of the papers and see the bright colors of the paint, it starts to renew my love again. And I get excited. I thought I'd share a few of my funky, whimsical pieces with you. I think seeing them up on my blog will help to spark my interest again, if that makes sense. Because really, I have all the time in the world now, and there's no excuse not to use this time to do something productive, right? :)

Edited to add this little ray of sunshine from one of my posts from last fall: the proof is in the pudding as they say! ;)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lots of sales, not much loot

I was so anticipating this weekend. Several neighborhoods around town were having community garage sales. I went on both Friday and Saturday. But there just didn't seem too much out there, at least not for me. Tons of kids things, so people who were searching for those items scored big.

I've been looking for an old iron fence piece to use as a trellis in my flower bed. Every antique store I've been to has them priced ridiculously high, as in $100-$150 minimum for small pieces. So imagine my excitement when I saw this baby at one of the last sales I stopped at on Friday.


It was sitting off to the side leaning against a fence, so I wasn't sure if it was even for sale. It didn't have a price tag on it. I walked up to the lady ans asked her if she was selling it, and she said yes. She told me she'd bought it for $100 and wouldn't go any less than $50. So hubs and I were discussing it, trying to figure out where to put it and she said "It's a great piece, I won't go any lower than $40." ha! She haggled herself down $10. Love when that happens!

So we snatched that puppy up. Too bad we hadn't taken my Xterra that day. It was out of gas, so we took hub's car. Big mistake. Moral of the story: never take a car to a garage sale, because that's the day you'll find something huge you want to buy. This baby is just shy of 7 ft. long. Now picture in your mind the two of us trying to fit it into the car. Hilarious! We finally managed to put it in the trunk, but at least half of it was hanging out. We didn't have any rope (another big mistake), so the trunk lid was left open. About a mile down the road we hear a loud CRASH. Oh %&$#^!! I looked out the side mirror expecting it to be laying in the road or hitting the car behind us. Luckily, the loud crash was just the lid falling down.

I'm not sure where I'll put it. But I'd like to plant some morning glories or jasmine against it. Wouldn't that be cute?

I found this little metal watering can for 50 cents. I think it will be cute planted with petunias.

I also got a red vase for my neighbor (I got her addicted to making those glass garden totems, and she's been on the hunt for red glass pieces) and a bowling ball. What, a bowling ball you ask? Yes, for a future garden project. Stay tuned for that!

Join the fun on the Southern Hospitality blog! We're sharing our garage sale finds!

Also, a great arty giveaway at Lindsay's blog, check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day! A few simple ways an every day person like yourself can help to save the planet and your hard-earned $$

My hubs and I have had the motto of "repurpose, reuse, recycle" for a long time. It's just a way of life for us. And it's not difficult at all. Here are a couple of ideas that will not only help the planet, but will also help your pocketbook.

Reusable grocery sacks. You can purchase them at many stores these days. Or better yet, use leftover fabric and make your own! My mother made me 10 of these. They are huge. And bonus: because they are fabric, you can really load those babies down. They take a lot of abuse and won't split like paper or plastic.

Rain barrel. I have seen them for sale online and in gardening catalogs for $100+ and the cost of shipping. Nope, not for this girl. Hubs found a local ag/feed store that sells 55 gallon drums for next to nothing (though you might be able to find them on freecycle or craigslist). The spigot was purchased for next to nothing as well from Lowe's. The barrel was bright blue, so we painted it a color that was close to our brick color for camo purposes. And to dress it up even more, we put faux lattice around it and plated honeysuckle. Eventually, the honeysuckle vines will grow up and around the lattice. The result: looks pretty, smells good and more importantly, free water!

And how much free water can you get? He's some info from "For every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 square feet, you can expect to collect approximately 600 gallons of rainwater. Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater!" I can attest to this. After one rain, our barrel is full. It doesn't take long at all. And I've been watering my plants for FREE ever since.

Compost. It's so easy to recycle food and yard waste! You wouldn't believe how much healthier our outside plantings are since using our own compost. Why throw all of your yard and kitchen waste away when it can be used to keep your plants healthy? It also saves you money because you won't have to purchase this organic gold at the store.

You can find compost bins online, but like rain barrels, they are expensive. We built our own with leftover lumber from when we torn down our old fence (one less thing in the landfill!). It's on the side of the house near the garage. It's not fancy, but it works, and it was free. We cover it with a black trash bag, so in essence, it's "cooking" the compost, making it turn faster.

A healthy compost has one part green matter (i.e. fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, old flowers and garden prunings) to three parts brown matter (i.e. dry leaves, shredded brown paper, coffee grounds, egg shells and straw). I never really balance it out. I just throw whatever I have in there, and it works. However, never compost eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, mayonnaise or processed foods.

You can also just use coffee grounds in your garden as is. I pour Hub's used ground around my azalea bushes, and they've never been healthier. Compost can be used inside pots and holes dug for plants, but it can also be used as mulch.

Thrift stores. We must not forget thrifting! It's the ultimate in repurpose, reuse, recycle! I know most of you girls out there already know that. ;)

I hope everyone realizes how easy these few things are, and how much money you can save by doing so! It helps the planet, and it helps your wallet!

Monday, April 20, 2009

This little light of mine...

I'm gonna let it shine!

Remember this little garage sale lamp from last week? I bought her to go on our foyer table because she is just short enough to fit under my black and white picture grouping.

She was cute as-is, but just a little too country for this girl's style.

So she got a make over yesterday.

Now she's brushed nickel with a red shade (which matches the red in the dining room (which is adjacent to the foyer) and the red in our couches. I may add some fringe or something to the shade later so that it hangs over that white bulb holder part, but we'll see.

Oh how I love her so!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

i am second.

i am second.

Beautiful, moving, powerful testimonials about Jesus. Watch videos from people you may recognize and others you may not.

Are you second?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Latest thrift store/garage sale deals

Hubs and I have started a little tradition. We'll get up early on Friday morning, grab a coffee and chai tea latte and hit the garage sales. I used to always wonder why people had garage sales on Fridays, because I figured most people were working. Now that I'm on "forced vacation," I see the beauty of a Friday garage sale. We can get in there early and have first pick of all of the goodies before the working folk have a chance on Saturday! ;)

A few months back I'd found a chandelier at a thrift store for the kitchen. I've been really needing a new one for the dining room since it has the ugly builder chandelier up know, that ugly faux brass number. This past Friday I found one! It was the last sale we stopped at for the morning. This lady had an awesome Pottery Barn chandelier that I knew would be perfect...not too fussy, very simple and straight-forward. She was asking $25, which you know, is a great deal for a PB chandelier (or any chandelier, really). Since we'd been to other sales that morning, we only had $21 left in cash. She took it. Yay!

I may or may not change the shades. I'll have to see what I think once it's hung up. They are currently a beige fabric. The chandelier also has removable crystals. I don't think I'll leave them on year-round, because my style is more casual, but I'll definitely put them on during the holidays. Do you think they'd look too fussy year-round?

That same day, I found the perfect little lamp to go on my foyer table. I've been having such a hard time finding something short enough. I have a grouping of black and white photos on that wall, and every lamp I tried covered up some of the photos. It's very cute as-is, but it's a little too country for my style. I'm planning on painting it silver and putting a dark red or black shade on it.

Yesterday I went to the Salvation Army thrift store. They always have nice things, and the store is very organized and clean. Wednesdays are half-price clothing days, but they also had half-price shoes. I scored this pair of adorable chocolate brown suede-like wedge boots. They looked brand new to me. I'm just afraid that come next fall when it's boot season again, wedges will be out of style. I hope not!

I have also been on the hunt for a basket or tray for my foyer table for a long time now. I just haven't found anything that I liked enough. Until yesterday. I found this little gem at the Salvation Army as well. The handles are wrought iron and it's nice solid wood. How cool is this?! I just need to clean it up and it's ready to go. I can't believe someone donated this. I could think of a zillion places to put it in my house! I guess some people don't have a vision. Or maybe they just have too much stuff. All I know is that their loss is my gain. :)

Hubs won't be able to join me tomorrow, but I think I'll still hit the Friday sales. Who knows what treasures are out there this week!