DIY: Painted Porch Pumpkin

I love fall and recently spent a little time adding a few fall touches to my front porch.

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If you follow our blog, then you know that one of my go to craft projects is hand painting numbers on just about anything.

I have done it on the back door of our previous house:

On a mailbox:

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On some vintage glass jars:

And now our house numbers on a faux pumpkin:

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Just like in previous projects, I printed out the numbers using Word, rubbed across the numbers with a graphite pencil, and then taped the paper to the face of a faux pumpkin.

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The surface of the pumpkin is curved and a bit bumpy which makes taping to it challenging but the method still works fine.

Then we traced over the numbers, pressing firmly with the pencil.  Because the pumpkin is soft,the pressure of the pencil created a groove around each number. This made it even easier to paint them.

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We used black satin interior/exterior paint that I had on hand and a very fine paintbrush.

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While I used a faux pumpkin, a real pumpkin would probably also work fine.

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These projects could also be accomplished using a stencil or stickers.  I prefer the transfer method though because it costs next to nothing and doesn’t necessitate running to the store for supplies when inspiration strikes!

Happy Fall Y’all!

Debra

Four Fall Favorites

There are so many things to love about fall!  I’m sure you have a list of your favorites as well.  It’s hard to narrow it down but here are four of my fall favorites for decorating and entertaining.

1. Book Page Pumpkins:

I made this easy book page pumpkin last year.  We received such good feedback on it that I thought it was worth reposting again this year.  It’s a cute pumpkin that can be brought back year after year.  For instructions, click here.  Note the bittersweet that I added around the base of the pumpkin.  I’ll talk more about this later on in the post. Couldn’t be easier!

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2. Pumpkin Lattes:

If you’re craving a Pumpkins Spice Latte from Starbucks but don’t want to spend the money, you can try this home-make version from Farm Girl Gourmet.  

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Note: If you keep the milk and coffee to 2 cups and 1/2 cups respectively, you can play around with the amounts of the other ingredients to suite your taste.  I  prefer the following: 2 c. 2%milk, 2 tablespoons pureed pumpkin, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 c. strong brewed coffee.

I prefer this homemade version to Starbucks.  So yummy!  One for you and one to share!

3. Pumpkin Pie Cake:

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If you’re intimidated by making pie crusts, you may want to try this spin on the Pumpkin Pie classic.  It’s a crowd pleaser in my home and we look forward to it every fall.

Ingredients:

1 (30 oz.) can pumpkin pie mix

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2  cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Beat together pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk, 3/4 cup sugar and eggs.  Pour into a greased  9 x 13 inch pan.  Sprinkle yellow cake mix powder over above and pat down lightly.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Drizzle melted butter over top.  Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

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4. Bittersweet:

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Bittersweet is great for adding high impact with very little effort.  We’re fortunate in our part of the country because it grows wild on the sides of the road here in October.  If you’re not lucky enough to have it growing near you in the fall, you can purchase it here.  You need no decorating ability to add this stuff to your mantle, a shelf, chandelier or anywhere else that may need some freshening up.  Just have fun with it!  When it’s time to decorate for Christmas,  I simply throw the bittersweet into my compost pile.

Hope you give one of these ideas a try!  And of course, feel free to share your favorite fall recipe or decorating tip!

Elizabeth

DIY: Painted House Numbers

This weekend, my daughter helped me with a fun little project of painting house numbers on the mailbox of the Jersey shore house – a small detail but when viewed together with other small details, they begin to make a big impact.

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We showed how to do this simply and inexpensively in an earlier post here.  The only difference is this time we used graphite (a standard lead pencil) to transfer the numbers whereas in the prior application we used white chalk so the transfer would show up on the red door.

We selected the font and size for our numbers in Word and printed them out on plain paper.  Then we rubbed the reverse side of the paper with graphite.

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We taped the numbers to the mailbox using painter’s tape and carefully outlined each number, pressing hard with the lead pencil.

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This transfers the numbers to the mailbox so that we can paint them.

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To paint the numbers, we used some exterior black satin paint that I had on hand together with a very fine paint brush (#2) and a steady hand.

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We went over the “Mail” impression with the black paint as well.

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And here it is in place …

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Hope you all had a nice Labor Day!

Debra

Flower Bouquets

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A while ago, Debra and I were asked to come up with a craft that could be made by a group of women from our church to be given to local nursing home residents.  We came up with the idea for these fabric bouquets.  We felt that this sweet little bouquet would be just the project since it fit the following stipulations:  1).  the craft needed to be taught to and hopefully completed by a relatively large group of women (20-25 women) 3).  the finished product could not be breakable or easily damaged  and 4).  since we needed 34 completed products, the cost needed to be low (a couple of dollars per item at the most).

Since Debra and I work so much with fabric we were able to largely use left over material that we already had on hand.    After searching pinterest for ideas I created a prototype that looked like this:

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Our Women’s Ministry Coordinator set up a fun Craft Night at the Manor House complete with lots of yummy deserts.

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We had a great time teaching this craft, connecting with other women and eating! Unfortunately, we only completed about half of what we needed.  Talking and food were just too distracting!  We thought about having another craft night to finish off the rest but struggled with coordinating another night.  Consequently, they sat in a box in Debra’s basement until this past summer when they were finally dug out.  I brought them home and  got them completed while catching up on a few shows on Netflix.  Finally, a good excuse to watch lots of TV!

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Basically, to make these rosettes, you just need to cut (or rip) strips of material 1/2 to one inch in diameter.  The length can vary depending upon how large you want your rosette.   I fold  the material in half lengthwise and just start rolling, twisting and gluing every turn with a low-heat glue gun.  For a great tutorial and other ideas on how to use these fabric flowers, you can visit the blog Tatertots & Jello.

For the base of these bouquets, we used biodegradable flower pots (they’re readily available in any garden center in the spring).   We chose these because we loved how natural they look (plus, they’re super cheap!).  Since the base is light weight, we did weigh it down with a small zip lock  bag filled with sand.  We then glued a styrofoam ball to the top of the pot and attached the rosettes to the ball with hot glue,  being careful to keep the roses tightly together so as not to show any of the white styrofoam underneath.

Rosettes can also be made out of old sweaters. Debra and I led two workshops this past summer which you can see here. For a tutorial on making sweater flowers, you can click here.

My six-year-old particularly liked this bouquet with pink and purple rosettes:

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I think these are pretty enough to even be used for bridesmaids bouquets.

I’m happy with the final results and hope they spread a little love to our local friends at the Clover Nursing Home.

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Happy Crafting!

Elizabeth

 

 

 

Awnings and Porch Valances

When we are working on the Jersey shore house, I love taking a short ride over to the Bayhead area where there are so many gorgeous homes on the beach and on the bay.   They often provide the inspiration for some of the ideas we are trying out on our project.

For instance, I am smitten with awnings and porch valances.  I love how they add quaintness and a happy feel to homes.

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 Is there anything not to love about this one?

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This house has both an awning and a porch valance.

For the house we are working on, we needed to bring the color of the new bright blue shutters  over to the left side.   Since there isn’t any room for shutters on the large front window,  we decided to try a porch valance to balance out the color.

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This was a DIY project.  I purchased 2 yards of  Sunbrella Baycrest Pacific Awning Stripe fabric from Sailrite.com and cut it to the length and width I needed plus hems for the front piece and two side pieces.  My finished valance is short so as not to cut off the top of the door.  So I cut my panels at 10 inches and then machine hemmed the top and ends.  For the scallop, we made a brown paper pattern and traced it on to the fabric.  I used a coordinating acrylic braid binding also from Sailbrite that won’t rot in the weather and carefully sewed it along the scalloped edge.   For the top edge I sewed on a 3/4″ strip of velcro the entire length.  Along the top edge of the porch, we used industrial grade sticky back velcro from Lowes.

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I think with the addition of the porch valance this little house is beginning to say “hey, look at me!”  Next on the list – give that tired, old fence a facelift … stay tuned!  Debra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Pancakes

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I probably make these pancakes at least twice a week. It’s a recipe that my mom passed down to me and I’ve adapted over the years to meet the needs of my family.  We’ll eat them for breakfast, lunch, supper or snacks.  You know it’s a favorite when your recipe book looks like this:

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We even eat them cold with peanut butter and jelly on top.  I love them because they’re a comfort food that can be quite healthy.  Also, when the batter’s made the night before, they’re as easy as toast to prepare.  I have an electric griddle that sits on the counter most of the time.

Here’s the basic recipe.  I would encourage you to experiment with different oils and flours to meet the needs of your family.  I also like to sneak in pureed pumpkin, squash or sweet potatoes if I have them.  Ground oatmeal and flaxseed are also two favorites that I add often.

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk or sour milk (2 tablespoons lemon or vinegar plus milk to equal 2 cups)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons oil (the original recipe calls for vegetable oil but I’ve been experimenting with other healthier oils such as melted coconut oil with pretty good success).  Melted butter works as well.

1  1/2 to 2 cups flour (I usually grind up old-fashioned oats and add whole wheat white flour)

Pour onto a hot griddle.  Flip when bubbles appear on the surface.  Top with your favorite toppings.  My favorite topping right now is natural peanut butter or almond butter with thinly sliced or grated apple.  So yummy!

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Hope you give this recipe a try.  Great for that first day of school!  Just make up the batter the night before and be prepared with all kinds of fun toppings.  Have fun!!

Elizabeth

Beach House Exterior Color Scheme

We are making progress on the exterior of this house located at the Jersey shore.  The house was stuck in the 1970’s with its beige and brown color scheme.

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We specced a gray/blue/white color scheme for the facade to give it a more beachy vibe.  Something like this:

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The paint colors we chose are from Sherwin Williams:

Sensible Hue 6198 for the body of the house

Link Gray 6200 for the concrete porch floor

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imageSuper White for all of existing brown trim.

The house has now been painted out in Sensible  Hue.  We’ve added new vinyl board and batten style shutters from Lowes which come in a paintable finish.  They each received two coats of Sherwin Williams Blueblood.  Together with the new vinyl flower boxes from flowerwindowboxes.com, they add a cheerful look to this little house.

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We planted a mix of annuals in purples/pinks/white along with two small boxwood in each box for some ever green color throughout the year.  I can’t wait to see them filled out and overflowing with color!

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We also replaced the front door which was cracked and warped and removed the storm door altogether.  The new craftsman-style door was purchased from Lowe’s.

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The front porch was cleaned with a pressure washer and then painted with porch and patio paint in Link Gray, which is a couple shades darker than the body of the  house.

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All of the trim has gone from brown to white.  The existing porch columns received a low maintenance makeover by slipping plastic fence posts over  them and securing with screws.   The top and bottom of each column was then trimmed out with decorative molding.

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We’d like to balance out the blue shutters by adding a punch of color to the other side of the front of the house.  We are thinking of doing either a porch valance across the narrow front porch or maybe just some plump pillows on the chairs.

 This is the Sunbrella outdoor fabric we like:

A porch valance would look something like this:

Canvas Porch Valance source: pycawnings.com

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Stay tuned for decorative accents and landscaping!

Debra