Monday, April 30, 2012

Outdoor Mantel Decor

You may remember this picture over the mantel from yesterday's post on tropical back porch paradise. It's actually a poster that I purchased LAST YEAR from Hobby Lobby. Yes, I've been planning this for a YEAR! My husband cut me a piece of plywood the same size as the poster. I decoupaged the poster to the plywood. While looking it, I was thinking this needs a frame. I thought of rope but then remembered the smaller pieces of bamboo I had in the urn on the back porch. I cut the bamboo into 4 pieces. The side pieces I cut a little longer for an overhang. TIP: When cutting bamboo or I guess any type of dowel rod, if you spin the wood/bamboo as you are cutting the wood will not splinter.
I flipped the picture over and started nailing a few small finishing nails into the back along the edge. I then positioned the bamboo on the front and finished driving the nails though, securing the bamboo to the picture. To finish up, I hot glued a 4 ply jute string to the edge to complete the look. The poster was made to look like it had a crackle finish which I love. By decoupaging it, I waterproofed it. So now it shouldn't mildew.
I was lucky enough to purchase this large lantern for $7 last year from Lowe's. It was regularly $40! I didn't NEED it, of course, but couldn't pass up such a good deal! This is were my inspirational came from in displaying this way "NAUTICAL ROMANCE - Place a pillar candle in a lantern, then gently surround with sand. Embellish with a few small seashells, and complete by tying a piece of rope onto the handle." Have you seen this yet? It's from the Summer 2012 issue of Phyllis Hoffman's Celebrate! I just picked it up from the store and it is filled with great ideas!
I also made the little strand of shells hanging below the shelf. I think I need to add some more, after seeing the picture it looks a little skimpy!
For a little touch of whimsy, I placed a pink flamingo, also from Lowe's, at the base of the palm tree.

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Thanks for stopping by!  Sharing with:
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Tuesdays Treasures @ Myuncommon Slice of Suburbia
Tuesday  Your Cozy Home Party @ Cozy Home Scenes
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch To Yours

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tropical Back Porch Paradise

I have been working on decorating the back porch for at least a year now!  I have been so unsatisfied with everything I did or tried!  Before it just didn't seem to have any color.  I knew I wanted a tropical theme but nothing too kiddie like.
And now, I'm think I've almost got it!  I started by painting the fireplace mantel, which is Hunter's by the way.  It was originally in his gggrandfather's house.  It's just a little plain mantel befitting a little country farmhouse.  After I primed it, I put a coat of Beach Blue (Ace Hardware) on it.  It looked a little streaky, you could see a little of the white primer.  Tim and I both thought it looked beachy just like that, so I left it alone.  It really changed the look of the porch and got the ideas rolling in my head.
I filled in the area around the mantel with palm trees and ferns.  I picked up an outdoor rug last week at a yard sale for $5.  It's under the hammock which we all love! 
I needed a low table beside the hammock then I remembered the chest in my attic.  My aunt gave this to my sister when we was small so it's about 38 years old.  I'm considering painting it but haven't made my mind up yet.  There are my striped curtains in the background.  They are actually canvas tarps that I painted 4" stripes with the same paint as the mantel.
The fireplace screen is another recycled piece from the unfortunate house fire where we obtained the cabinets used in the china closet.
The table was purchased last year at a yard sale as well the big clam shell on the table.

Thank you for stopping!

UPDATE:  To see how I made the mantel artwork,click here.

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Sharing with:

Show Us Your Life @ Kelly's Korner
Show Us Your Outdoor Spaces @ Thrifty Decor Chick
Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage 
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
White Wednesday @ Faded Charm Cottage 
Swing into Spring Party @ DIY by Design
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Thrifty Things Thursday @ The Thrifty Grove
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Before and After Party @ Thrifty Decor Chick
Thursdays Favorite Things @ Katherine's Corner

My Seashell Chargers were Featured!

The lovely Shannon at Cozy Home Scenes featured my seashell chargers as one of her Saturday Picks from this past weeks "Your Cozy Home Party." 

As I shared in my original post, I had seen an ad in a magazine for the chargers several years ago but could not find it.  After looking through every magazine I had, I still couldn't find it.  Last night I was browsing one of my favorite books and came across the chargers.  I even had the page marked!  So it wasn't an ad after all!  It was from this lovely page...
"Tablescapes-Setting the Table with Style" by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.  The chargers she used in her tablescape were rattan with a border of seashells from Amen Wardy in Aspen.  This is such a wonderful book with so many inspirational pictures!

I want to thank Shannon once again for featuring and recommend that everyone check out all the great links from the party.
Please join her every Tuesday and link up everything including:

-Home Decor
-Home Improvement
-Baking, Recipes, Cooking Tips, etc.
-Household Tips
-Gardening, Landscaping, Planting Tips, etc.
- Pets
The party will start at 8pm EST Monday night.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Boiled Cookies - For the Recipe Box

My family loves these cookies!  They are usually gone within a couple of hours of being made.  They are so easy and quick.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups oatmeal

In a medium size pot, add sugar, butter, milk and cocoa.  Once the butter is totally melted, boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add peanut butter and vanilla.  Once it's melted, add the oatmeal.  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.   
Simple and easy but super delicious!
Thanks for stopping by.

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Let's Dish @ Cuisine Kathleen
Foody Friday @ Designs by Gollum
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors

Lemonade on the Patio

Today we're on the patio in the backyard.  The weather has been SOoo nice!  I wish it would stay this way!
The daylilies are in bloom...
Today's inspiration came from the two tablescloths that I purchased this past Saturday.  The solid blue was $1 from a local thrift store and the vintage topper was from "Crossroads Junktion" for $12.50. 
The wheels on the cart remind me of lemons.  I angled the cloth so that the cart would be between each place setting.
I used rattan chargers (Walmart), robin's egg blue plates ($ Tree), and green bowls ($ Tree).  The white flatware was from the Trash to Treasure sale a couple of years ago and the turqoise glasses were a recent purchase from JCPenney.  The yellow napkins are part of a vintage set.
Peeking though the macho ferns....
For my centerpiece, I used a larger size plant thingie as a tray.  I added a vase of lemons with some fern leaves and daylilies added in.  A pitcher of refreshing lemonade..... 
and accents of a few more lemons and asparagus fern complete the arrangment.
Simple and thrify!  Thanks for stopping by!
Sharing with:

Tablescape Thursday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Let's Dish @ Cuisine Kathleen
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground 
Thrifty Things Thursday @ The Thrifty Grove    
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Tabletop Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vintage Sugar Kettles

I love sugar kettles in the landscape.  They are quite popular here in Louisiana.  In the old South, each cane plantation in Louisiana had its own sugarhouse. The cane was crushed using an animal-powered three-roller mill. The extracted cane juice was heated, clarified, & evaporated in a set of large open kettles of decreasing size which were enclosed in brickwork over a furnace.  A lot of kettles were melted down for our nations war efforts so there are not as many originals as there used to be.  An original sugar kettle made of iron can cost up to thousands of dollars.  They range in size from 2 feet in diameter to 7 feet.  At least, that's the biggest I've seen.  Fortunately for people like me on a limited budget, they make reproductions in fiberglass. 
You may remember this sugar kettle from last week's tour of Hillcroft.  This is a spectacular example of a water feature using the kettle.  I love the big green balls floating in the water and the tiki torches on each side sitting at an angle.
This one is also from the Audubon Pilgrimage...
This WAS my sugar kettle.  In 2010, we added a pergola and this outdoor kitchen.  I put in this flower bed in the corner.  It had a fountain in the middle that shot up a spray of water.  It's not there anymore though.  Last year, we put in a pool and a pond feature.  But I have high hopes for this little kettle.  Once we get our garage built on, I plan on putting in between the carport and house.  My kettle is 4 foot wide and is a reproduction.  Even the reproductions are high to me.  My husband bought it for me for Christmas one year and I think it was between $200 and $250. 

Thanks for stopping by!  I'm sharing with:

Outdoor Wednesday @ A Southern Daydreamer

Cowgirl Up! @ Farm House Porch

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pottery Barn Inspired Dispenser Tags

I love the Pottery Barn dispenser tags but I knew there had a less expensive way to make them.  I checked at Walmart and the Dollar Tree but the precut wooden disks they carried were too small.  I don't know about you but I need a little bit more space to write out "Lemonade" with chalk!  I know I could have probably went to Hobby Lobby or Michaels but I live about 40 miles away from the nearest one.  The size that Pottery Barn sold were 4 1/2 inches in diameter.  My next step was to try to make them out of a homemade baked clay.  FAILURE!  It puffed up in places in shouldn't.  So, I decided to make my own wooden disks.  We purchased a sheet of 1/4 inch smooth luan plywood.  This sells for about $18 so it's not cheap but I have other plans for it as well so it was worth it to me.

I cut a template out of poster board and Hunter cut out the disk for me.

He flew the coop on me before I could get him to drill holes but he had left this manual drill thingie on the side porch and I used it.

I painted them with several coats of chalkboard paint and inserted the jute string in the hole.

And here's my finished product!  They turned out pretty good if I may say so myself!  I'm looking forward to using them this summer.

Sharing with:

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
White Wednesday @ Faded Charm Cottage 
Inspiration Friday at the picket fence 

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sea Shell Plate Charger

A couple of years ago I saw an ad for some dinnerware that included a charger made of seashells.  Ever since that time, I wanted to make some.  I searched and searched for the magazine but was unable to find it.  I wanted to included a scan of the ad with this post.  Oh, well...
My son cut out 14 inch circles from 1/4 inch luan plywood.  I considered using a pre-made plastic charger but I wanted to have a little more height to work with.  The plastic charger has a recessed area that holds the plate but by using a flat piece I was able to build up around the plate to give it a more 3D dimensional effect.
Yes, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby! I bought a basket of shells for $7.99 (less the 40% coupon) and some 4 ply jute string.
I spray painted the circles white.  After they dried, I hot glued the jute string around the outer edge.  Then I started hot gluing shells.  I first arranged two rows on the outer edge as shown above.  This gave me a starting point to work off of.  Before I started adding more shells, I put my plate on the charger to make sure that I didn't go too high with my arranging.  And here is the finished product!
 After a couple of burnt fingertips, I was finished!...with one at least.  It took me about 1 1/2 hours to complete one but I took my time in arranging the shells.  I broke it down into four sections my gluing a larger piece on each quarter area...does that make sense?  Let's see...I glued a larger piece in the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock spot.  Is that better? I hope so. This gave me a way to focus on a section at a time and I was able to balance out the shells.
Here is a close up. You can see where I glued the string on the edge to give it a more finished look.  By placing the plate on the charger while I was working, I made sure that the height of the shells did not interfere with the plate.
I love the colors of the shells!  As I said last week in my post about my coastal art, I'm loving the coastal, nautical, tropical...whatever you want to call it, look!  and I think these chargers fit right in.
I am tickled pink over how they have turned out.  I finished 4 of them today.  Of course, after the first one, the process speeded up a little.  Now, I have to figure out to store them!

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Thanks for stopping by! I'm sharing with:
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage 
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Swing into Spring Party @ DIY by Design
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch to Yours
Your Cozy Home Party @ Cozy Home Scenes
Thrifty Things Thursday @ The Thrifty Grove