September 30, 2011

Local Celeb Bloggers

I woke up this morning to see Layla and Kevin Palmer
of the popular blog "The Lettered Cottage"
on the front of the Lifestyle section of
my local newspaper. 

Layla and Kevin live in Prattville, Alabama
which is just across the river from Montgomery
where I live.

I first heard of Layla and Kevin when the newspaper
ran a story on them and their blog in 2009.
When I entered the blog world a few months ago,
I became a follower of their blog.

In following their blog, I knew that they had filmed
a pilot for HGTV so I wrote the newspaper,
The Montgomery Advertiser, to make sure they knew
about the Palmer's new adventure.
The newspaper may have already known about the Palmer's HGTV pilot before my letter,
but I'm going to let myself think I was instrumental in the paper doing a follow-up article. 
Here is the entire article if you would like to read it:

Also, the Palmer's are in the new issue of
Better Homes and Gardens "Christmas Ideas".

I had purchased the magazine to see the article
featuring blogger Kate Riley of "Centsational Girl"
because I had read her post about the photo shoot.
(It's funny and so interesting to see the behind the scenes.)

I didn't even know that Layla and Kevin and their
home was also featured in the magazine.

I've never met the Palmer's but if they ever need other
blogger's help on a local project, I would love to
be a volunteer and work with them.

September 28, 2011

Easy Autumn Wreath

I've been a "hunter/gatherer"in my own attic to rediscover what
Fall/Autumn/Halloween things are up there from last year and
years before that.

This poor thing is what was my Fall wreath last year.  I hope it looked better than that on the door.

I think it had more stuff on it. This bunch of baby Indian corn was on the wreath last year and I found it on the attic floor.
The mice have eaten every kernel of corn off it these ears.  No telling
what else they have eaten/taken away.

It's obvious I just needed to start from scratch with this wreath.
This grapevine wreath is 24" across.  You can find them easily at the
craft stores and this time of year, you can usually find them on sale.

The only thing I bought new for this year's wreath are eight "picks" from Michael's.
Most little faux berries don't make it but one season on my front door.
They get exposed to outdoor elements and hot afternoon sun.

They were on sale for about $1 each.
What I like about the "picks" is that they are basically pre-made tiny
arrangements with different elements already built in.

To add fullness to the wreath, I added a couple of Fall leaf garlands that I had purchased last year. They are made to have coordinating colored leaves, and are already on a wire which makes adding them easy.
This is the wreath with the first garland wired on. The garlands are
at all the crafts stores now.  They range in price depending on how
much "stuff" you want already on the garland. Mine had only leaves
so they were cheap.

The second garland was added at little to the inside of the wreath.
The wreath is already pretty wide for my front door so I didn't want
to add any more width to it.

Grapevine wreaths are very easy to add elements to with pieces of floral wire.
Just twist the wire to secure the element where you want it, then bend the
tails of the wire underneath or around to hide them. I added a couple of
additional stems of leaves to areas that looked sparse.

To add the larger pieces of fruit, I had left a blank area on the lower edge of the wreath.
The pomegranates had wired stems so they were easy to add.
The gourd had to be impaled with floral wire thru its backside
(in one side, threaded through to the other side).  Leave long tails
on your wire to do this so you have plenty to work with in
order to attach the large piece securely to the wreath.
You could add a ribbon bow instead of the fruit.

Add the "picks" last so they don't get covered
up with leaves.

Although it can be a little tricky, I like to hang wreaths on my glass
door with fishing is almost invisible, especially from a distance.

There you have a quick and easy
welcoming Autumnal wreath.
If you bought everything new for this wreath on sale, I think it would be around $20.

September 26, 2011

Masculine Mantle

To me, Spring has a feminine feel
and Autumn has a more masculine feel.

I finally packed away the Summer Mantle to make way for the oranges, yellows, and browns of Autumn.
My boys go hunting for white-tailed deer and I went hunting in the attic for items to pull together to welcome in the tiniest bit  of cooler weather.

September 22, 2011

Thank U...WUSLU

On the day I awarded my first give-away,
I found out that I had won a give-away myself!

I had entered the WUSLU give-away at
Miss Mustard Seed's blog and was notified by email
from the WUSLU folks that I had won
the MMS pick of the month which was this
darling cloche on a metal stand.

WUSLU is an online home decor company
that offers one deal a day.  If you want to
see other items they have, here is their website:

For now, this cute cloche on a metal stand is sold out.  They have lots of
other unique home decor items, though.

Miss Mustard Seed's blog will be having a give-away
with WUSLU once a month (I think if I remember
correctly) so be sure to check with her blog for
your chance to win her monthly pick from WUSLU.
Thank you to Miss Mustard Seed too!
I will enjoy my new cloche for many decorating purposes.

September 21, 2011

Paper Pennant Decorations

Pennants are just so darn versatile and stylish!
When I was put in charge of decorations at a party some friends and I were giving and needed something cute AND inexpensive, I thought of the pennants I had seen in blogs over the past few months.

I think most folks make the pennants out of fabric but because I wanted to go the cheapest route possible, I decided to just use scrapbook paper. 
A mistake I made was to decide on a color scheme before actually going shopping for products.
I got in my mind a light blue and red theme and then couldn't find much in that color combo.
This pack of 12"x12" paper was at Michaels on sale for $2.50 for 24 sheets so I decided to use that 
and then add red embellishments to it.  A downside to using paper instead of fabric is
 that your pennant will not  last as long. Also if you have these out of doors at a party
 and it rains...ooops!  For this party, I was going more for quick and budget-friendly;
  not long term re-usable decor.

There may be a perfect pennant shape to strive for but I just found the center of the scrapbook paper on an edge and drew a line from each opposite corner to the center and cut from there. 
This is the back side of the paper. Always draw your lines on the back so that if your
cuts are not exactly on the line, the mark will not show on the "good" side.

If you have really cute scrapbook paper, you might not
to even add embellishments, but I needed to in order
to add the red color I had wanted in the beginning.
For red embellishments, I bought a few sheets of red paper to cut stripes and shapes out of. I wanted something else red too but I was balking at buying pre-made red stickers, etc. due to the price.

I looked around a little more at the craft store and came across a button-shaped paper punch in the Martha Stewart craft section.
  It was about $10 on sale but I reasoned that I could use scraps of paper I already had to use it to make paper buttons in all of the paper patterns to tie the elements together.
 In the end it was very cost effective and I have the punch to make more embellishments in the future.

In the above picture I was attaching the pennants to the ribbon using Tacky Glue. Tacky Glue is great but (as I found out a couple of  hours before the party) it did  not hold the paper pennants to the ribbon I was using. I think the ribbon was maybe too slick .

 I used E-6000 glue after I realized my mistake which
DID hold the pennants but also made the paper wrinkle some.
  I used "Zip-Dry" glue (available at Michaels and Jo-Anns) to attach the red embellishments to the pennants. It works great and does not wrinkle paper  (but I wasn't sure it was strong enough to use to hold the pennants to the ribbon). 

Pennants in action:
 ( opps...this picture was taken in bright kinda is bleached-out looking)

Here is a wider shot:
which leads us to...

The Paper Pennant Wreath

The wreath is not award winning but just furthers the pennant
decorating theme, and welcomes guests to the party.
The wreath itself was $2.50 on sale, ribbon $2, paper about 50 cents so all together about $5.
(well, not counting a hot glue gun and the Martha Stewart button paper punch)

The letters could have been hand-written but I was doing
some more printed decorations anyway so I included them
on the paper that was going through the printer.
For this pennant I used fabric glue (since the ribbon was more like a fabric)
and the tiny clothespins (from another project) to hold the pennants down while drying.

Flowers made from left over scrapbook paper.

  Paper buttons made from the MS paper punch...they are dimensional even. 

Hot glue the elements on the grape vine wreath and hang.

For this same party, I made pennant invitations.
This post is already too long so I put them in their own post.

OK, so that's all the pennants that actually got made for 
the party. I was having fun using the scrapbook paper and
 just kept coming up with more ideas to use it to  make more
 decorations for the party.   If you would like to see those
 too just keep scrolling down. 

These are little birdhouses that I re-used from a vignette I did a few months ago
"Springtime Nesting".  I thought the bird HOUSES were fine for a HOUSE-warming party
but my family thought it was not a good enough connection.  The birdhouses ended up
with a last-minute side-ways pennant-on-a-stick glued on top.

Here is an illustration of what I had in mind to do to the little houses...tiny pennants
hanging from the roof line.  I had more ideas than I had time.

In addition to re-using the little bird houses, I got a bigger bird house to paint and use by
itself on another table at the party.  I ended up painting it similar to the little ones in case
I wanted to use them together in the future.

Here is the larger bird house on a candle holder (to elevate it) on the main food table.

I think food and drink signs at a party are helpful and can add another layer of a party's theme. These are inexpensive and easy to make.  They are free-standing so they are easy for guests to see.
Wrap a styrofoam cube from Dollar Tree in a co-ordinating paper.
A 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper as a covering will work on the 4x4 piece of
 foam to cover all but one side. Put the "ugly" side face down on the table.
To eliminate seeing tape on this project, I use pins to hold the paper on the foam.

This is a screen shot of the printing of scrapbook paper I ran through
my printer for a food table sign (Sweet Things), an individual drink offering (Margaritas),
and also for the little pennant on the front door wreath.  If you can combine things you
are going to print, you end up using less paper for your decorations.

Here is the scrapbook paper after it was run through
the home computer with the (above pictured) fonts. 

Cut apart the now-printed on scrapbook paper into
individual signs and letters.

Glue wooden skewers on the back of your food signs.
I like to use Zip Dry glue since it does not wrinkle the paper.  
 When it is dry, push the skewers into the foam.
I didn't want to worry about what the sticks looked 
like so I pushed them all the way into the foam block. 

Here is the "Sweet Things" sign with a few red paper buttons
added for embellishment. Individual items on the table can have
smaller tent cards made with the same papers so folks will 
know what they are eating....its a nice touch. 

Here are a couple more signs:

Another easy element to add was to print text onto scrapbook paper, cut it and glue it around a candle. 
Obviously I made two runs of these.  The guest of honor's name is "Angela"; not "Anglea".
I only noticed  the mis-spelling as I was putting these out at the party...nobody ever
said anything about the boo-boo. I wasn't very precise with cutting the bands
the same size can do better, I know. These were scattered around so really the
size difference was not that noticeable.

 I added the paper buttons on back of the candles to make it (kinda, sorta) look like the
bands were buttoned on.

Directional signs to a party are also very helpful for
guests in finding the location.  They are also easy to print
on your home computer on a piece of scrapbook paper
(cut down a 12"x12" piece into a 8.5"x11" to get it
to fit in your printer if necessary). 
Cutting out an arrow from construction paper and gluing it
onto the paper is cheaper than using that much ink to print it. 

Glue your scrapbook sign on to a piece of foam board or other stiffer cardboard.  This sign was attached on to a plant 
hanger with packing tape.  The plant hangers are cheap and 
made for being easy to push into the ground. 

Place your directional signs at points where guest will need
to know which way to turn to get to your fun party decorated
with fun ideas using (inexpensive but cute) scrapbook paper. 
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