Union Jack DIY Footstool

The Union Jack British flag design has been really popular in home decor over the past several years.  We have done our share of Union Jack pillows in the traditional colors.

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We’ve even used it on a sweet ring bearer pillow that was custom made for a bride.

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I love how it turned out and can’t wait to see the photos from her wedding!

           Recently, we took a more subtle approach with the Union Jack motif on a footstool makeover.

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Believe it or not this sturdy Ethan Allen footstool was out for the garbage.   I don’t have a before picture but it had a torn vinyl cover and the wood stained frame was faded and scratched.  After sanding and painting the frame black and distessing it a bit, I cut a square of burlap fabric about six inches larger all the way around than the footstool cushion.  Then I sewed  the diagonal pieces onto the burlap using jute webbing that I cut down to  about half the width of the actual webbing.   I sewed on the perpendicular pieces using the full width of the webbing.   I used a zigzag stitch and went over all of the edges twice to be sure they wouldn’t fray.

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After securing the cover to the cushion using staples, I  detailed the edge with  a burlap covered cord and used hot glue to secure it to the edge of the cushion.  I showed how to make a corded edge here.

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Then I secured  the cushion to the frame using the original screws.

There you have it – a fresh take on a traditional design.  This footstool is currently for sale in our etsy shop.

Side Table Makeover

Today I thought I’d share a recent makeover we completed of two matching side tables.

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 These babies are the real deal – solid pine through and through and super sturdy with count ‘em – 6 legs!  They are most likely from the 70’s and were in good condition when we found them… other than needing to be revived with a more current aesthetic.

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So for this project, I striped the table tops using stripping gel and then went over them with an orbital sander to remove any residue.

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I used Minwax dark walnut stain and then applied several coats of polyacrylic for a smooth, hard-wearing surface.

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For the  legs and frame I did a very light hand sanding and then applied  Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in “grain sack”.   I added bonding agent (also from Miss Mustard Seed) to the paint to get a  stronger adhesion.

Here’s what they looked like after the first coat of milk paint (Yes, I painted them on my kitchen island).  One of the great things about milk paint is it is completely natural so ventilation is not an issue.

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After the second coat, I lightly sanded them where ever  I wanted a chippy finish – this is what Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint is  known for.  If you want a lot of chippy, then you don’t need to add the bonding agent.  I finished up with two coats of polyacrylic for a smooth, durable finish.

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These tables would look great in a living room or even in a bedroom as bedside tables.  For added height next to a tall bed, they can be layered with books.

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I love how the milk paint brought out the detail in each of the legs.

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We are selling the set for $165 if anyone needs a great pair of side tables!  They are currently listed in our etsy store and are available for local pickup.

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Small changes for a healthier new year: Black Bean Brownies

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I don’t know about you, but the only way for me to make lasting change in terms of a healthier lifestyle is to make small specific baby steps. In 2014, I began to study recipes and research ways to switch unhealthy fats in my cooking for healthier one. Instead of vegetable oils and Crisco, I now primarily cook and bake with olive oil, butter and coconut oil. My all time favorite recipe from this past year is a recipe called Black Bean Brownies (or as I tell my children “double chocolate chip brownies”).  They love them!  It’s a great way to boost nutrition through desert.  Here it is:

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1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

*1/4 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup chocolate chips (opt.)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pan.  Combine beans, chocolate chips, flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, oil and vanilla in a food processor.  Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with additional chocolate chips and nuts if desired.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until set.

*note:  feel free  to experiment with using your favorite type of flour.  With only 1/4 cup, the flour is not a major component of this recipe.  I’ve used coconut flour in the past with success.  The texture of the brownies will change slightly but they’re still yummy!

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One blog that I’ve enjoyed studying this past year is the Wellness Mama.  I’ve particularly found her recipes for beauty and cleaning products to be helpful.  You can check out her 101 Uses for Coconut Oil here.

Wishing you a healthy 2015!

Elizabeth

 

Semi-Homemade Fresh Wreath and Garland

When it comes to Christmas wreaths and garlands, I prefer the real thing.  But real evergreen wreaths and garlands that are packed full with a variety of greens are hard to find and very pricey.  Likewise, starting from scratch and making my own is a time consuming process and trying to find large quantities of fresh greens isn’t always easy either.

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For the past several years, I have been going semi-homemade and its a process that has worked well for me – affordable and doable.   I start with the standard white pine garland that is readily available at the home improvements stores and even the local supermarkets.  I got mine at Shop Rite this year for around $9.   I do the same for the wreath – I purchase a plain jane evergreen wreath without any bow or decorations  for about $10.  This year, it was Shop Rite for the wreath as well.

For the garland,  I lay it out from end to end on the ground and then fold it in half.  That way I get double the thickness.  I then gather whatever evergreens are available from my yard, as well as limbs that we cut off our Christmas tree.  Holly, boxwood, arborvitaes, cedar, cypress, etc. will all work.  This year, I had boxwood.  I simply wired on a few sprigs of boxwood every foot or so to the doubled pine garland.  I secured the pieces with the floral wire  where ever needed along the whole length of the garland.  This turned my $9 skimpy garland into a garland that looked a whole lot more interesting and lush.

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For my basic wreath, I did a similar layering technique.   We had a few small boxwood wreaths leftover from the Hope Christmas Show so it was super easy to just layer a boxwood wreath on top of the basic evergreen wreath and secure it at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock with the green floral wire.  Had I not had a boxwood wreath, I would have added sprigs of whatever I had in the yard, to the wreath, just like I did to the garland.

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I like making my own bows so I can coordinate them with my decor and get the size I need.  I save them from year to year although this year I decided to make some new ones.  The plaid ribbon I chose came from Michaels.  It is actually the wrong side of a flannel ribbon which I preferred over the flannel.  I used one 25 foot roll of ribbon to make 3 large bows.

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 Making a bow can be intimidating but a very useful craft to master.  Here is a link to a bow making tutorial similar to my method.  My bows have a total of 9 loops  but  you can make them with as few as 2 loops or as many as 14 loops as shown in the tutorial.

For the bows in my urns, I wrap the wire from the bows around the top of a dowel (a pencil would work also) and then stick it deep into the soil in the urn.

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So that’s it … semi-homemade outdoor decorating!

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 Fr0m our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Debra

Paperwhites as cut flowers

Last week Debra posted about the paperwhites that we have available for sale.  We love to pot these up in vintage milk glass containers or wooden vessels.  You’ll get at least a month of enjoyment as you watch this bulb sprout up into fragrant white flowers on a tall stem.

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Sometimes the flowers can seem a little too tall and they will begin to flop over if not given some kind of support.  Here, in the top right hand corner of the photo below you can see one of these plants that has reached that stage.

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Sometimes all that is needed is a little twine or raffia tied in a bow midway up the stem.  If the plant still seems too tall, I’ve found that paperwhites make beautiful cut flowers that can extend your enjoyment of this plant for another week.  In the following photo, I simply placed a single stem in individual milk glass containers grouped together.  Couldn’t be simpler!

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Or one single bud vase placed bedside adds simple elegance and subtle fragrance.

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Hope you’re able to pause, even briefly, during this hectic holiday season to enjoy some simple beauty.

Elizabeth

Paperwhites and Boxwood Wreaths for Sale

If you are in the local area of Mt. Bethel,PA, we have several fresh boxwood wreaths for sale, as well as paperwhite bulbs in pretty containers.

Our boxwood wreaths range in price from $20 to $30 depending on size.  Right now, we have 2 14 inch, 2 17 inch and 1 16 inch remaining.

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Our individual paperwhites are planted in vintage milkglass vessels and covered with moss.  Each comes with a chalkboard like gift tag tied with pretty red baker’s twine… ready for gift giving!

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We also have two larger milk glass vases with two bulbs each:

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And we have 3-bulbs in cute chunky wood boxes that are dark stained wood on three sides and  painted on one side with chalkboard paint so you can add your own personal greeting.

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Prices:

Single bulb containers $8

Double bulb containers $10

Three bulb containers $15

If you would like to purchase any of these items, please contact us.  They are available for pickup only.

 

Scenes from the Hope Christmas Market 2014, Boxwood Wreaths and Paperwhites

Elizabeth and I are still catching our breath from a busy weekend at the Hope Christmas Craft Market. I thought we would share a few photos of this year’s booth.  In the coming days we will post some of the furniture pieces that are still available for sale, as well as fresh boxwood wreaths and paperwhite bulbs in vintage containers.

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