August 30, 2014

"Go Faux It" Fall Decorating

Recently a local magazine, "Boom" was coming to my
 house to take pictures for its September issue. 

 I wanted to have Fall decorations in place to fit in with the
  the time that the magazine would be published but no real
 pumpkins, no mums or even crotons were for sale at
 any store for decorating the house. 

Usually I like to mix some real items in with artificial ones for
decorating to try to "fool the eye" of the beholder but this early
Fall decorating had to be strictly "faux" items.

Faux is the French word for "fake".  Some nicer words used
might be "artificial", "simulated", or "imitation". 
Faux in pronounced like "foe". 

I love decorating for Fall so I have quite a stash of faux
Fall things to decorate with in the attic. 

When you come in my front door, there isn't much of a foyer.
You are actually in the dining room.  This big white faux 
pumpkin sits between two lamps (which happen to be a good
Fall color) on top of a buffet in this area. 

The vines coming out of the pumpkin's stem actually are real
ones gathered from the woods. A grapevine wreath was placed
on top of the urn and decorated with artificial Fall leaves,
berries, and acorns then the pumpkin placed on top. 

To your right when you come in the front door is the dining
 room table and chairs with a hutch along the wall. 

The hutch is one that I have had for about twenty-five years.
It's one of the true antiques that I have.  I got tired of the dark

When the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint line came to America, I 
did decide to try paint on it.  It is a layered technique of her
Old Ochre and Coco colors.  Click here if you want to see
how that painting process went. 

The faux pumpkins for the hutch had to be skinny to fit 
inside.  They were held together with wooden skewers 
that you can get in the kitchen supply area in the grocery store.

The glass in the hutch is wavy so it is hard to see through.
Here is one stack of faux pumpkins with the door open. 

To make my "faux antique chandy" have some Fall flair I 
added a cut grapevine wreath onto the arms and started adding
artificial fruit, leaves and berries to the wreath.

If you want to see more details how to add the wreath to a
chandy, you can look at this tutorial where I did a similar 
decoration on the chandy in the Spring. 

The other eating area of the house is adjacent to the kitchen.
I normally don't buy black furniture but this table and chairs
was such a good deal, I couldn't pass it up.  I thought I might
paint it but it looks good in the Fall with these black candlesticks
with pumpkins on top.  

The candlesticks make the faux pumpkins have more impact
than they would just sitting on the table.  Most of the candlesticks
were from the clearance shelf at Hobby Lobby and painted black
to use at a friend's wedding reception.  

I guess I must like pumpkins on candlesticks...I did it again in
 the living room area. Because the faux pumpkins are so light,
they are easy to stack up.  These actually don't have anything
holding them together but you could use wooden skewers if 
you wanted to. 

This vignette could use some more embellishment but you 
get the idea.

These acorns are too big to be considered trying to fool someone
into thinking they are real but they make for a fun table display.
"Every great oak tree was once a nut that stood its ground."

The living room also has a faux painting over the mantle.

I've had fun adding artist gel to art prints and changing out the
out the pictures in the frame with the seasons. To see the details
of how this Fall colored print was made to look like a painting
you can click here

If you like to decorate the outside of your house for Fall, you
can also use faux things out there too provided they are
weatherproof.  Even if you don't do a lot of outside decorating
you might at least put a wreath on your front door. 

I bought a faux berry wreath but when it actually got on the 
door, it looked too skimpy.  To make it look fuller I wired the
  top of the berry wreath onto a grapevine wreath about 
the same size.  The grapevine wreath also made  good place
 to add faux  leaves and other interesting elements.
"X" marks the place the two wreaths are wired together. 

Here is a side view of the two wreaths together in a test 
shot from the magazine shoot.
After seeing this shot, more items were added to the side
of the wreath to hide the grapevine wreath a little more. 

Outside of the front door there is an urn on each side of 
the porch.  This past Spring I planted the urns with pink
Mandevilla and other sun-tolerant plants.  Most of the 
plants have survived with regular watering but not all.
I replaced the wimpy plants with Fall colored coleus.

The urns were still needing some "filler" height plants to replace
the ones that "couldn't take the heat". Instead of getting all new
live plants, I got a couple of real-looking plastic greenery bunches
at Hobby Lobby too.  They were 50% off so $4 each.

They have a tinge of Fall look to them...not super bright green.
Even though I will still need to water the urns every day for the 
live plants, I know that these faux plants will keep their height
and be good fillers for the next few months. 

Where I live in Alabama, not many of the trees have
 started changing into their Fall colors but a few have.
So for me, it is not too early to start sneaking faux Fall colors
into the urns and planting beds in the front yard.   If you do it
a little at a time (and when they are not looking), your neighbors 
will probably think that your Fall accents are real.

Mixed in with the real coleus and morning glory are the faux
greenery, little orange mums and a stem of orange and red berries.

This is another picture angle of that same group but the faux
plants don't show very much...I just think it is a pretty shot.

Right now the urns are still mostly Summery-looking.

The vines did not fill out the trellis as much as I would have liked.
 They also mostly wait till they get to the top to bloom so there are not many blooms along the way.

I'll keep adding  faux Fall stems to the urns gradually and then 
pile up pumpkins at the base so the urns will look something
like this later in the Fall:

I was hoping that I would have real pumpkin patches in the 
planting beds in the front yard this year. Sadly, all but one
of the once-flourshing pumpkin vines has died. 

Here is the last pumpkin greenery left.  See the shriveled up stem
beside it?  I don't know what I did wrong. A little faux pumpkin
sits under the lone surviving plant to give the illusion that it
is growing there.  It will be replaced by a bigger pumpkin later. 

After most of the pumpkin plants died I put out green sweet potato
vines to try to act like pumpkin vines.  Under some of the sweet
potato vines, I put little fake pumpkins so folks passing by might
think the vine and the pumpkin are the real thing. 

Here is one of the pumpkin patches from last year using a mix
of real and faux pumpkins.

The mailbox has a small planting bed around it also.  It has real
plants and flowers that go through seasonal changes but I tuck
some faux stems out there too when it gets sparse. I only use
faux flowers that are really real-looking for this. 

Here's how the mailbox area looked at Memorial Day 2014:

It was all lush with purple clematis flowers on the vine 
and day lillies and cone flowers getting ready to bloom. 
See the twine on the  side of the post to give the morning
 glory seedlings a place to climb? 

Now at Labor Day 2014 the mailbox has a different look:

The clematis vine has been joined by the passion vine 
 (that comes back on its own every year) and morning
 glory vines to make an impressive topper for the mailbox.

 It is so hot that not much is blooming on the vines now.

These passion vine flowers have found a shady spot on the backside
of the mailbox to bloom. When the weather cools down usually the
vines' flowers bloom more...the clematis even makes a comeback.

The real vines will start being joined by faux Fall leaves pretty
soon now.  They also are added a little at a time to give the 
illusion that the vines are changing colors like the trees. 
Here's a photo of the mailbox from a past Fall:

The bed at the mailbox base looks pretty scraggly even though I 
have put out some red coleus and orange blanket flowers to try to
replace the plants that have died back.
Oh yeah, those purple and pink flowers are Summer fakies...I'll pull them out soon.

Even the pumpkin vine that was out here died.  I'm trying the 
sweet potato vine and faux pumpkin look out here too.

Some orange and red faux flowers are tucked into the real
 plants to start giving this bed a Fall look and to fill in blank spaces.
If you pull some real greenery around the flowers and keep them
kinda low, most folks will not realize they are artificial. 
Pretty soon Fall mums will be available to be planted and
 the mailbox bed will look full again and ready for a new season. 

I hope you have a REAL fun Labor Day Weekend!

I'm sharing this post at
Natasha In Oz's Say G'day Link Party
Be Different/Act Normal's Show & Tell Saturday
Tatertots and Jello's Link Party Palooza
Meatloaf & Melodrama's Snickerdoodle Sunday
Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom's Inspiration Monday
Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesday

August 28, 2014

Ooopsie Ice Bucket Challenge

Have you taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
I was hoping that no one would challenge me to do it but
my daughter-in-law, Caroline, did the challenge in honor of
my mother and passed the dare on to me.   How could I not? 

My mother has a slow-moving form of ALS and as she has
gotten worse, I have moved them to my city so I can take care
of she and my father more easily.  

She was Miss Auburn (University) in 1947.  My father was
a pilot in World War II.  They are in their 80's now. 

I was explaining the Ice Bucket Challenge to her and she asked
if  she  would get the ice water poured on her and I assured her
that she would not but I wanted her to thank the many family
members that had done the challenge in her honor. 

Well, ooopsie!  I didn't step back far enough from her when
I poured the bucket of ice water on myself!

She was a very good sport about getting all wet!

If you are challenged by someone and you don't want to have
ice water dumped over your head, you can make a donation to
Over $94 million dollars has been raised by the challenge in
just a couple of months!  It has gone viral....if you haven't been
challenged yet, you probably will be!

I'm sharing this story over at 
From Gardners to Bergers' Handmade Hangout

August 20, 2014

Tips For Making A Garden Hose Wreath

Usually you would think a garden hose wreath would be
displayed mainly in the Spring but where I live in Alabama,
I have to get out the hose every day in August to keep the
flowers I planted back in the Spring from wilting in the heat.

In honor of all the time I have to spend watering with the hose
these days, I wanted a garden hose wreath for my front door. 

Back in the Spring, in addition to putting out plants, I had a
of the wreaths that I made was a garden hose wreath. 

Garden hose wreaths had been all over the internet so I was
very surprised by folks' reaction to this wreath at the raffle.
Many said that they loved the wreath and they had never
seen one before.  After making the garden hose wreath
 for the raffle, I had several requests to make more so I 
am going to share some tips that I  discovered
from putting them together. 

If you are going to make more of a fun garden hose wreath
with gardening items on it, shop for supplies at dollar stores
or other places that have inexpensive tools, gloves and seeds. 

You don't need quality items to just look cute. You can  just
use hot glue to attach the items to your coiled up hose but since
I was making most of these wreaths for other people, I wanted
to make sure that the items did not fall off later.  Attaching tools,
gloves, etc. with fishing line first (almost invisible) and then 
putting a little heavy duty glue underneath them made them
very secure. The seeds packs only needed the glue.

 In the above photo the jute string is holding the garden fork in proper position while the glue dries.
It was taken off when the glue was dry. 
 The fishing line is trimmed and stays on to help hold the tools. 

Little faux butterflies can cover up prices on the seed packs.
Garden gloves can be gathered up almost like a bow before
being attached to the hose.

Hoses can be expensive but again, don't worry about a quality
hose for these wreaths.  Dollar General had a 50-foot hose
for $ made three wreaths by cutting it up. 

  Personally, I think one of the cutest parts of the hose wreath
is the brass endings/attachment pieces.  If you start with the 
big hose and cut it up, you don't have enough brass pieces to
emphasize to others "This is a garden hose, folks!"  Did you
know that those brass pieces are over $5 each to buy 
individually?  These sprayer nozzles were only $2 each and
they give another element to the wreath of hose-i-ness. 
 The nozzles were attached with heavy duty glue like contact cement or Gorilla Glue. 
The one time I did try hot glue, the nozzle fell off in a day. 

Here's the backside of a similar wreath made for a couple
 that like to garden together.  I can't find a picture of the 
finished front...I guess I forgot to take one.  Since the elements
are the same as the above wreath, maybe you can use your
imagination to "see" what it looked like. 

The difference in the above wreath is that I added a piece of
cut dry floral foam as a base for the seed packs since they 
were going to be more suspended than in the previous wreath.
I thought they might get droopy from moisture over time if used on an exterior door.

Floral wire was used to secure the foam between loops of 
the hose.  The wire was also used to make a loop for hanging.

You can choose to have a lot of exposed hose on the wreath
 and only add a few items to it. An old hose can be used for
 a wreath. If you don't like the color you can spray paint
it like Debbie Doos did for her garden hose wreath. 

 Here's one from our yard that was going to be thrown
 away. After cleaning it up enough to be presentable, about 
 25 feet was cut off  to be used for the wreath.  

The more heavy duty the hose, the harder it is to get it to stay in
 a wreath shape.  To even get this one started, the cut end of the
hose had to be wired down to keep it from popping out of place. 

A pair of garden gloves, a garden fork and some fake
flowers were added to the side of the wound up hose. 

I tried to get away with only having this wreath secured on
one side but it needed a little bit of wire on the other side
also to help hold it into shape. To cover the extra wire,
 just a flower and a little greenery were put on the 
wreath and attached with hot glue.

I left the ends of the wire long so I could curl them
 around a pencil to make them look like vines. 

Three of the fingers of the top glove were hot glued 
onto the hose so they would not droop over time. 

Two of the fingers of the bottom glove
were glued around the handle of the fork.
 This not only made the fork more secure but it 
looked  like the glove was holding onto the handle. 

A  wreath with a non-decorated top can just have some
 of the hose loops hung on a wreath holder.  

The possibilities are endless of how you could use your
creativity to add elements to the wreath. You can use floral
wire, covered wire (that looks kind of like stems),
 fishing line or twine to tie items onto the coiled hose. 

These are also good items to use to keep the hose in a 
wreath shape.  Here's an example of how to make the
 wreath base from the hose on the first wreath I made:

Use enough wire, twine or fishing line to keep the wreath
in the shape that you want to make secure and stable for 
adding gardening objects, etc. 

If you are not going to have the foam piece added at the 
top (as a place to add elements), you can put the top 
securing tie slightly off center.  This allows most wreath
hangers to catch one loop of the hose and you don't have
to add an additional wire for hanging. I worried that the
person that won the wreath might not have a wreath
hanger so I did make a wire hanger on the back.

 The sign was one that I bought at Jo Ann's.

The wreath for the raffle was made more with flowers and
greenery than with gardening elements.  Because I wanted it
to be as attractive as possible from all angles, I did not use 
the foam as a base for the flowers but I wired floral items
together almost like a floral headpiece at a wedding.

It was pretty but time-consuming! Keep in mind how long
 you are willing to devote to making the wreath.  
A fancy wreath may take more time than a fun wreath to create.  

Faux butterflies were also wired in. 
I found a 15' hose inexpensively at Wal-Mart in the 
spring but they had sold out when I went back to get
more for additional wreaths.  That's why this wreath
does have the two brass end pieces. 

I really liked the faux ferns that I found at Michaels...quite realistic.

When a friend asked for a garden hose wreath but with 
hydrangeas on top instead of poppies, I was not  going to
wire the flowers together again.  I went for a quicker method. 

I cut a chunk of styrofoam and wired it at what would
be the top of the wreath. 
On one wreath I did glue the foam piece also but it melted some of it.
It did not affect the foam ability to do its job.

To make some greenery pieces reach the bottom of the
 wreath I did wire a few fronds midway down onto the hose loops.

Then some greenery was just glued on the end and
stuck into the foam.  I think that will make it secure.

My friend likes mostly pinks and purples in her Spring and
Summer garden but she had also amended the soil around
her hydrangeas this year and had some blue ones appear too.
These faux hydrangeas are inexpensive bunches that came
 from Michaels.  I cut them apart to have more control over
the length and placement in the foam. 

I also added a dab of glue on the end of the cut stem of 
the flowers so they would not fall out over time. 

She also wanted an extra dose of butterflies on her wreath.

Since this wreath is a little more "fancy" than "fun" I 
did not add the nozzle on it but I let the end of the hose
with the brass fitting hang down to make it easy to see.

So, it is finally late August when I get around to making 
myself a hose wreath.  I decided to use flowers that could
be a transition into Fall (even though it doesn't feel like it).

Here is what the mechanics of my wreath start out as:

Styrofoam wired into place for flowers and greenery.
The same covered wire is used to make a loop for hanging.

This greenery was a little longer so it reached far enough
down the hose wreath form by just being stuck in the foam.

Since this is just for me I didn't glue the greenery or flowers
since if something falls out, I can just stick it back in. Also
I could change the elements out later for different seasons. 

When I was going to try the half-made wreath on the hanger
that had been left on the door from a previous wreath, look
who was there:

He stayed there all night.  I think he decided it was a good 
place to catch bugs that were attracted to the inside house
lamps shining through the glass on the front door. 

He was gone the next morning so I could finally hang my
late Summer garden hose wreath.  

My wreath is a mix of "fun" and "fancy" so I did add a
left-over nozzle on it.  This wreath is also using up the end
of a cut 50' hose.  I think it probably had about 30' of hose
used on it.  You can look at the original raffle wreath that
used a 15' hose to see the difference in the amount of loops
that each size gives you in determining how much footage
of hose you need to make your own garden hose wreath. 

Have fun and make it your own by the elements you
choose to add!

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