Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Project- Stenciling

Hi all,
Beautiful Christmas decorations abound, and I'm getting in the spirit!! I always like to make something new each year so here it is....


The perfect opportunity to try something new came from Royal Design Studio.  I partnered with them to try out their new Holiday Stencils  and selected from their Christmas Stencils. There was a great collection of Christmas Stencils created by the talented Jennifer Rizzo that l had a hard time choosing from. I wanted most of them!!

Now I ordered these stencils, not really sure how I would use them. I just knew I liked them...

Reindeer Christmas Stencil
Classic Letter Christmas Stencil
Holiday Garland Christmas Stencil

A popular trend in home decor has been the use of antlers. Well, that's not really my style, but I did think the reindeer was close !

I have tried just about every craft technique out there, but stenciling has always been a challenge for me. I have avoided it on purpose, because it never looks as good as I want. But, I put on my big girl pants and decided to make this work.
 I decided to make a pillow with the reindeer and the garland. I thought I'd glam it up a bit and used gold glitter paint for my reindeer with a small glitter tassel for his tail. It worked so well. I added a little brown paint to the gold glitter for the garland and WOW!

This worked so well that I started looking for other things to stencil. Here's what I found..
A few months ago I found a bunch  (10+) of  large wooden embroidery hoops and I used my Minwax Stain Wipes in Mahogany to give them a more finished look. I had hooped one with a fun plaid that I had and .....

If you are looking for great stencils for any reason, any season you definitely want check out Royal Design Studio.

I did not receive financial compensation for this post. I did receive a gift of the stencils from Royal Design Studio. The opinions expressed in this post are all mine!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hi all,

Just before Thanksgiving, I went on a much needed vacation. JP and I met up with some longtime friends of mine from the Metro Detroit area on board Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. Our ship was destined for 4 ports in 7 days, more importantly it was destined for FUN.
Of course there’s so much you can do on a cruise that you really have to pace yourself. Each port was 1 full, but quick day. As you can imagine, with a group of 8, everybody liked to do different things so most of our time spent together was around a table eating.

 I enjoy the days at sea as much as the days in port! Luckily for us  (and mostly my hair) the first of our 2 formal nights was the day before our first port.

                                                             I think we all clean up Really Well!!
 It was great that 3 of us had new cameras so this trip was very, very well documented. I wish I had thought to take a pic of our cameras as they were often masquerading as our table centerpieces!!

                                  This is what a Retired Detroit Public School Teacher looks like, x's 3!!!

Our first port was Labadee, Haiti. This is a private resort area owned by Royal Caribbean, we spent the day frolicking in the water and soaking up the sun. The most adventurous ones took a zip line ride on the longest zip line over water!! (No, I did not).
                  The ocean floor here was covered with coral and shells and was difficult to walk on!

The next port was Falmouth, Jamaica. I had been to Falmouth and had walked up Dunns River Falls and other excursions. While the others took tours, etc. we went shopping!! Armed with Christmas shopping lists we walked and shopped almost the entire time in port. It’s a bit of a challenge to be totally disconnected from family, friends and the internet so we took advantage of the free Wi-Fi available in the larger stores like Diamond International. It was a great break to sit, sip cool drinks and connect with folks back home. Oh yeah, and trying on crazy expensive jewelry just for fun.

Every night the group reconnected at dinner and sometimes caught a show before dinner together and sometimes after or just hung out.


We all had a cute treat each evening as our cabin stewards made "animals" out of our towels. But my stewart took the prize, I cracked up over this one...

The next day was spent doing more shopping in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. The view along the shore was amazing and we carefully chose our lunch spot to sample local food. (Careful to make sure they offered free Wi-Fi!!) 

          We took a break from shopping in Grand Cayman near a beautiful fountain and along the shore!! 

The onboard activities that we enjoyed included, a great magic show by Drew Thomas, an adult comedy show,  Love & Marriage , a game show with 3 couples competing for prizes.We also enjoyed playing Putt Putt Golf on the 14th deck in the middle of the ocean .
And there was the casino. I actually took a short lesson on playing Blackjack, but ended up feeding the slots and letting JP teach me to shoot craps. My motto is as long as I leave with some of their money, I had fun. I had fun!
There was also this crazy fun adult scavenger hunt game called Quest. This was a lot of fun. The cruise director spotted JP and I doing the twist (he told everybody to do it) and called us and a very senior couple from Israel down front and center to do it for everybody!! We ended up in the DVD that they make of the cruise. For the rest of the trip people kept coming up to us and commenting on it. And no, we didn't buy a copy of the DVD!!

Our last port was Cozumel, Mexico. We took an interesting tour of the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio and finished up shopping.

                                             Iguanas were out in numbers at the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio

                                                             Dry stacked arch at San Gervasio

                                                              On the beach in Cozumel

When I saw this view of the water off the coast of Cozumel, I thought of the commercials that claim they can color match anything!! I’d like to see them try. This is headed right to my Pinterest board :Color Au-Natural!!

                                            How many shades of blue can you count?!!

       At the end of many nights we sat quietly on deck in the dark, listening to the ocean and just being still.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pack your Bags with Shoe Bags - Easy Project

HI all,

A couple of weeks ago while I was packing for my vacation (I'll share pics soon) I ran into a recurring problem. It’s a problem for me that is!! How to pack my shoes. I know you're thinking, just put them in the suitcase, duh! But, I have always hated putting my dirty bottomed shoes in with my clean clothes!  Well, the solution was so easy I'm embarrassed that I didn't think of it sooner. Shoe bags. I know simple right!!

                                                           4 vinyl covered animal print shoe bags

So, as if I didn't have enough to do, I decided that I needed at least 4 shoe bags and my “Sweetie” probably needed 3 bags.  Using fabric that I already had I got busy. The finished bags for men’s shoes were 18”x16” and for women I made them 16” x 14”. Of course they can be any size you want, just remember you need a larger bags for high heels than flats.

My first step was to fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press a crease.  Next, on the right side of the fabric approx. ¾” from the top and 1 “ from the salvage edge I stitched a ½” buttonhole. Carefully cut open buttonhole.  Oops, I was in such a hurry to finish that I didn't take pictures of every step...

Next, I located a point that was 5” down from the top and centered from the edges and embroidered monograms at this point. You can stencil your monogram using a stencil and paint, or even using a Sharpie . Or you can skip the personalization. But you know me, I’m a sucker for anything that I can put a monogram on!!

The final steps were to fold the fabric right sides together along the side and across the bottom, making a 1/2" seam. To strengthen the seams I double stitched and finished them on my serger.I highly recommend that you finish the edges if the fabric frays. Next, fold down the top just  past the buttonhole and stitch to form a casing. Make sure the buttonhole is visible on the right side. Thread the drawstring or ribbon thru the button hole and back out the same button hole. Done.

 These were super easy to make, it took me about 2 hours from cutting out the fabric to packing shoes for 7 of these bags. This easy project and that includes embroidering them!

I think these would make great gifts for bridal showers, the person who has everything, and of course Christmas gifts.  Who wouldn't like a few of these!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tile Floor No-No

Hi all,

It's been  too long since I wrote a post. There's been a lot going on. So, first things first. The ranch Reno is moving along much slower than anyone expected. There's just been a lot to slow us down ( including not getting to put in more than 2 hours in any given day!!). Well ,the tile has finally been laid in the bathroom. I say finally because this has been a long time coming.  The original plan was to create a decorative border around the 6 x 6 slate tiles ( posted here) but that was vetoed as it was going to push the bathroom over the original budget. The budget had one very big enemy, Me! I changed the plans to accommodate changing the sink and adding bead board to the walls. Well, something had to go , so no border.

                                                       So, we went from this...
To this....

to add a little more style to the floor, the tile was to have a narrow border of the same slate tiles and the rest would be laid in a diagonal pattern.
That meant getting busy with the wet saw.

There were lots of cuts to make.

We thought this would be the hardest part of this job, ha-ha. Not even!! After laying the tile,

 It still has grout haze on it and is reflecting the red from the walls. I wanted a dark grout with this tile. It looked pretty good when it was finished.  But in the light of day, the next day this is what we found...

                               Every single grout line had cracked!!! Not good, not good at all.
After consulting my new best friend, Google, I discovered there were multiple reasons for this to happen, but the fix was the same. Remove all the grout and start over!

 Here I am using a great tool for this job, the Dremel Muilti Max with the grout saw blade.  And no, I didn't do this whole floor without knee pads! But I did do the whole floor. It was surprising how easy it was.

Here's a pic of a section with all the dark grout removed.

 After talking with the tile experts at Floor and Decor we discovered that grout that has lived on a shelf in your garage for more than 1-2 years, should not be used! Who knew! So much for saving a few bucks and cleaning off that shelf. Let's not think about how much we would have saved if we had just bought a tub of premixed grout in the beginning and thrown the bag of grout on the shelf away! Back to the knee pads and bucket after bucket of water.   Finally, the floor was done, and it looks great.

Well, the next step in moving water lines for the new sink and painting. Then the bead board can go up and the toilet can be installed. From there, it's all down hill. Stay tuned for more on the ranch Reno.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall is Here Celebrate at the Country Living Fair

Hi All,

Before I moved to Georgia, I had never even heard of the Country Living Fair. My new friend Shelly invited me to go in 2011 and I've been hooked ever since. It's become a sure sign for me that Fall is here. I look forward to seeing all great ideas that people share and always come up with some of my own.

If you read or just browse through the pages at the checkout stand, you know that Country Living Magazine is chock full of great recipes, craft and home decor ideas. Well the fair is just like opening the pages of the magazine.

The Shopper- tunities are amazing. There are over 200 vendors at the fair . You can browse Stone Mountain Park shopping for great antiques, vintage items, home decor, one of a kind furniture pieces, handcrafted jewelry , re purposed items and more.

There are also seminars, how to demonstrations, cooking demos and a chance to meet the editors and celebrities.

Well, that's enough reasons for me.  So I've marked my calendar for the weekend of Oct. 24-26, 2014 and thanks to the generous folks at Explore Gwinnett, you can too!  Grabbing my sweater, a good friend and I hope to see you there.

I'm giving away TWO (2) tickets for the Country Living Fair
 at Stone Mountain, GA (Atlanta)

Here's how:

Leave a comment telling me what you would enjoy most about attending and what would you be looking for at the Country Living Fair.

This giveaway runs from : Oct. 8, 2014 until midnight Oct. 19, 2014.

One winner will be selected on Monday, Oct. 20th. I will contact you via email. Your tickets will be mailed to you on the 20th.

                                                                        Good Luck!!