April 18, 2017
Ever wonder what “style” you are? Many people do. It’s one of the topics discussed frequently in decorating groups on Facebook. You join a group of a certain style, only to find out that’s not the style you thought it was. Facebook groups can be confusing. For instance, let’s take “Farmhouse Style,” it sounds simple and straight forward, but it is NOT. There are sub-categories of farmhouse style. There’s Industrial Farmhouse, Cottage Farmhouse, Romantic Farmhouse, Prairie Farmhouse, Shabby Farmhouse…..whatever descriptive word placed in front of “Farmhouse” can be a style. Ditto for the “Cottage” look. There are as many sub-categories for cottage as there are for farmhouse. And the creator of your chosen group may have a specific version of your style in mind.
Recognize that some styles are straight forward, Mid Century Modern, Primitive (or Prim as it’s known) have a very distinct look. So do Colonial and Art Deco. Other styles seem to blend and morph into one another. And trust me, people have strong opinions on what is, or isn’t a “style.” Fair warning: This is a photo and text heavy post.
So, how do you know where you fit in the style you think you like? Or are you even the style you think you are??? How do you figure it out? There are some things you can do to help identify what style you love. Or what mix of styles. I’m not a purist and don’t fit into a neat category anymore. I’ve always loved country style. And I’ve gone through many phases over the decades. But I know I’m a blend of Country (Farmhouse) with a little Cottage thrown in. So that’s where I started. But what if you don’t know? Don’t have any idea?
What if you are tired of your current look (or non-look if you are still living with cast offs from in-laws)? You’ll have to do your homework. But it’s so worth it in the end. Trust me.
Begin by taking inventory in your own home. What do you love? A vintage chair inherited from a Great Aunt? A modern ghost chair you bought at a high end furniture store? Do you love your sofa? Your bed? The trim around your doors? Take notes, make a list. What do you dislike? This is just as important as what you do like. Make a separate “dislike” list.
Visit some model homes in your area. Take pictures of features you like. (ask permission.) Do you like a certain color on the wall? Ask what color it is and the brand. Do you like the curtains and draperies? The accessories? The furniture? Is there anything you don’t like? Take photos and notes.
Look through decorating books. Your local library will have a well stocked section of design and architecture. Check out books on the specific styles you think you like. Use your cell phone to take photos of pages that appeal to you. Browse through magazines. That’s where I started many years ago, long before Facebook and Pinterest, I was a magazine
addict subscriber. I ripped out pages of rooms I liked and put together a notebook of tear sheets. I still have it and I still browse through it, looking for ideas to incorporate. Every couple of years I remove pages that no longer appeal to me and add some that I’m now interested in.
I still subscribe to lots of magazines, old
addictions habits die hard it seems. If you don’t subscribe, go to your local thrift stores. Many of them have bins of old decorating magazines and books. Antique stores often offer bundles of past issues of decorating magazines. Buy those and use them for your tear sheets. Make notes on the pages of things that you like. Don’t leaf through a magazine quickly and think an image has nothing to offer. You may not like the color or the sofa of the room pictured, but how is it styled? Do you love the collection on the shelves? Like the panels at the windows? Perhaps the trim around the windows catches your eye. Make notes, for these are all clues.
This is the digital age and most people don’t want to bother with tear sheets, if that’s you, head to Pinterest…. if you are one of the three people in the world that haven’t already. Create “boards” for things you like. You can create as many boards as you want. I have well over twenty. (Is this a lot?) You may want one for paint colors, lighting, furniture, individual rooms, whatever keeps you organized. Or you can make ones for specific styles, American Farmhouse, Cottage, Mid Century Modern, BoHo….whatever. Then start pinning images you love.
You’ll soon notice that you are drawn to one or two styles. Then you can start researching those. Google the style(s) you like for more information. Subscribe to blogs. There are dozens of blogs, maybe hundreds. There is a blog dedicated to every style ever thought of. As you get closer to identifying what you love, start to unsubscribe to those blogs that don’t pertain to the style(s) that you are drawn to, delete the images from your Pinterest boards that don’t really support the look you want. It will become obvious what style or combination of styles you like.
And don’t worry if you love elements of several styles. Many of them play nice together and can live harmoniously in the same room. Right now you just want to identify the style or styles that seem to call your name.
Why should you go to all this trouble with lists and research???
It will help prevent investing money in things that don’t really reflect who you are. Buying furniture and accessories can get expensive. Transitioning to a new style and buying all new things because you think you like it, and two months later you’re wondering what you were thinking….. can be a financial nightmare, not to mention all that time wasted. If you know ahead of time that you are drawn to colonial style you won’t be tempted to buy that cute cottage style table. OK, you’ll be tempted, but you won’t actually purchase it. And for sure you won’t get caught up in the latest decorating trend. Refining your style and integrating it into your home is for another post. For now, enjoy the process of finding out who you are.
Loving your surroundings, feeling comfortable in your rooms is imperative in creating a sanctuary. And you deserve to live in a sanctuary, no matter the size of your home, where it’s located, or the money available to design and decorate your space, the key is to be YOU and then find those things that speak to your heart.
Create the home you see in your heart. Create your sanctuary, one room at a time.
April 15, 2017
I realized this afternoon that I’d made no plans for our dinner table. What?? Easter is tomorrow! I need to wow and impress Mr B with my clever centerpiece. Um, well, no I don’t. He likes to sit down to a nicely appointed table as much as the next man. (Read here what you will.) But I don’t need to impress him. He loves me, he really doesn’t care if I dress his plate with cute sheep, ferns and an off the cuff place card. He knows exactly where his place is. The same place he sits for every meal at that table, next to me. Still, it is a holiday and a special day so I threw some bits and bobs together.
I put this table together in about 5 minutes, 7 if you count the time getting the tablecloth out of the closet. I grabbed some things from around the house. Spent no money and the table is dressed with our normal everyday thrift store dishes, thrift store glasses and our everyday stainless. A couple of pots of greenery in a lidless tureen, with the addition of last year’s Dollar Store eggs and some candles and we’re good to go. Nothing fancy. Those little sheep have been hanging out in the dining room….they came to the breakfast table without much effort. And for fun, I ripped up an Easter note card and wrote in sharpie, “You” and “Me”…..you know, just in case one of forgets where to sit.
You don’t have to spend lots of money, or any money to set a “fancy” table. You don’t have to go over the top…..unless that’s your thing. The most important decoration at any table is the people around it. Sharing a meal with those you care most about. That’s what’s important. There isn’t enough fancy in the world to top that.
I hope that tomorrow and every day, you share your table with those you care about. Take time to savor the food, the friendship, the love. Celebrate renewal and hope.
Happy Easter from me and Mr B. We’ll be here at My Suburban Sanctuary, stop by, there’s always room at our table.
Create the home you see in your heart. Love the home you’re in no matter where it is.
April 13, 2017
I’m sooooo excited. We are finally getting started with a couple of projects to “charm up” the kitchen. I like my kitchen. It has a lot going for it. High ceilings. Lots of cabinets, a walk-in pantry, counter space. Plus wood floors, a hand made looking subway tile and granite. But it’s still lacking in charm for me. The cabinets are plain, no crown, no varying heights, just a long row of brown. I want to warm them up a bit by adding some reclaimed wood.
The problem is, we are of a “certain age,” the age where you know your time in a house is limited. We’ll be making the decision to move within the next few years. To a maintenance free home, condo or villa…. when the time is right. We’ll want to sell this home, and will have to be sensitive to the sales market in our area. That means paying attention to classic finishes. Not over renovating for our neighborhood, and going easy on trends. Beadboard, subway tile, shiplap, board and batten….. I have to weigh my desire for charm against what our market will bear. So there’s that.
But…..here’s why I’m so excited today! The country border is gone! GONE!! Oh yes, it has departed. I am thrilled. Well….. sort of. I have to do some patching and sanding before the painting is finished, I painted up to the bottom of the border last year thinking that would satisfy me (it didn’t) and I’ll have to sand the line between the new paint and the old, but the hard part is done, thanks to Mr B. So I am thrilled, albeit temporarily. I still must contend with the buzz killing, “Oh crap, I still have to do the other stuff” part. I’ll be thrilled again when it’s all done!
Removing that border was a project put off for quite some time. Mr B was reluctant to tackle it. He put the border up at my insistence, years ago, with extra glue so it would stick. He was meticulous in matching seams and going around corners. There were no visible seams at all. That border was great and I loved it…..until I didn’t.
And now I’m asking him to forget all the hard work he did to put it up…..and do even more work to take it down. Is that fair? Why yes….yes it is. It no longer compliments my style. Reason enough for it to be removed in my mind. (What’s in Mr B’s mind is altogether different).
But I digress. In recent years as I’ve been defining my style, that border became an eyesore. It was too busy. It was a remnant of my classic country days. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cute border, I searched for a good long time to find it. I collected blue graniteware at the time, and this border was the compliment. It’s lived happily up there for years. The blue graniteware is gone, packed up for someone else to enjoy. The border served its purpose.
I dislike it so much now that I hate whatever I put on top of the cabinets. Even my prized stoneware bottles and vintage crocks look a bit…off. That.border.has.to.go. Mr B wasn’t enthusiastic so I began a search for a handyman. As it turns out I didn’t need to hire a handyman, I have the handiest man of them all, annnd he works for free! Well, almost free, he does like his snickerdoodle cookies. But that’s almost free, right??
One morning last week I awoke to a most wonderful sight! Mr B on a ladder, with a bucket, sponge and assorted border removing supplies. My beloved, coming to my rescue. Again. Of course I had to assume the duty of micro-managing. Um….. I attempted it. One major stink eye later and I was safely in my chair,
reading …… pretending not to watch.
So the border is gone. And the charm may begin. We’ll be adding reclaimed wood to the vent surround, the front of the breakfast bar and removing the two cabinet doors over the fridge to add glass, or open shelves backed with the same wood to tie it all together. The paint will have to be extended up to the ceiling line. The ugly builder grade formica covered
landing spot for junk desk will be removed. Replaced with a replica of the vintage desk in my office (and built by Mr B.) I’m excited. I hope you follow along to see the changes.
It doesn’t take much to add charm to a kitchen. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the hardware, or changing light fixtures…. or adding a classic backsplash. Subway tile isn’t the only option, consider beadboard, thin brick veneer, tin, (either salvaged or new), decoupaged and sealed recipes, or pallet wood strips, sealed with a matte sealer.
Removing outdated decor is simple and mostly free. Paint is your friend. Paint your cabinets. Or paint your island a different color. Add some artwork. Rework collections to curate them for a simpler look. Or begin collecting vintage kitchen items.
Consider how long you will be in your home, and what the market is if you aren’t staying long, but in the end, do what makes you smile when you walk into your kitchen.
Create the home you see in your heart. Love the home you’re in, you deserve a sanctuary no matter where you live.
April 6, 2017
I have no walls for art in my kitchen. And only some very narrow areas in the breakfast nook. I have room for a sign or a piece of arch sal above the breakfast nook window and as soon as the wallpaper border is removed and the walls painted, I’ll hang a sign I have stored.
The kitchen itself is all cabinets, yes! I know I’m lucky, I have more cabinet space than I need, plus a walk-in pantry. And a small area for a desk with a tiny bulletin board above it. No complaints. Our kitchen isn’t huge but it has plenty of space for our life and the things we need.
I do like art and feel it’s a great way to add personality to any room. While thinking about art in my kitchen I quickly came to the conclusion there was no space. I won’t drill into my subway tile backsplash to hang something, I could use command strips, but I love my subway tile and don’t want to cover it up. I have a couple of feet above my cabinets (tall ceilings) that could take some long narrow art pieces, but I want to keep that to a minimum in order to show off a collection I have planned for there. There really isn’t a place to hang art of any significance. So I stopped thinking about it.
There is a belief in our house that countertops are for function and should be kept clear. Um…..that is not necessarily my belief, but it is someone’s. And in the spirit of compromise and a good marriage, I agree with that belief……up to a point. We’re a weird couple. I don’t like functional things displayed because most of them are ugly. My beloved doesn’t like non-functional things out…. because, well…they don’t function.
We compromise and keep most of the functional pieces under or in the cabinets. (Except for that blasted coffee pot, I lost that battle. Sigh.) And I keep most of the counters free for the cooking part. But I’ve claimed certain areas for me. I have planted my flag and designated areas for cute stuff! Yes! Because while the kitchen is used to prepare food, I get that……and I do enjoy eating, I still want it to be pretty.
I see all the photos with farmhouse signs, cows, chickens and all manner of farmhouse critters on Pinterest, in blogs and in my Facebook groups. But I’m not interested in those, as cute as they may be……and there’s the no wall space thing to contend with…. so I’ve not been on the hunt for anything for the kitchen. My mason jars and some scales and other vintage finds live on the counters and I’ve stopped thinking about framed art.
While out on one of my junking trips last year I stopped at my local Goodwill. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, just browsing, when I noticed a small matted and framed print of an old tractor thrown in with the other orphan frames. It looked hand drawn, not mass produced. I picked it up and put it down, picked it up and put it down again, then went on my way to the furniture area. That little print kept calling me. Of course I went back and got it, thinking I could use it in the guest room. And there it’s lived for a year or so, although it’s never seemed at home. I hung it up, took it down, hung it on another wall and took it down again. Then I leaned it up against the mirror on the dresser and called it a day.
Last week while moving some things around in the guest room I looked at that little tractor and decided on a whim it must go in the kitchen. I leaned it up against the backsplash in my corner just to see and it suddenly found its place. I like the way it draws your eye to that area but doesn’t overwhelm the space. I could hang it on the subway tile with command picture hanging strips, but I like it leaning….for now. Mr B has not complained…but that’s my corner and the little print can’t possibly interfere with cooking….. right?? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
You never know where something may end up, at least in my house. Things purchased for a specific area sometimes don’t want to live there. And I like to change things up. I already notice I need to re-arrange a couple of things in this photo. That’s the way of it in the Sanctuary. Look around your home for something you may have intended for one space and try it somewhere else, you may be happily surprised.
And…..if you love art but have a tiny kitchen, or one like mine with no wall space, don’t despair. Try leaning something against the backsplash, use a small easel, or command strips to hang it. Or hang it on the ends of upper cabinets. If you have space above the cabinets, hang a long, narrow print. No window over your sink? Hang a painting or enlarge a favorite photo of somewhere you love, the mountains, the beach, a field……
And if you have lots of wall space, well….I hate you. But with love.
Create the home you see in your heart. Create a sanctuary no matter where you live.
April 4, 2017
I give up. I call defeat. I am uninspired. My 2017 Spring Table is, um, not very exciting. I have no new ideas and even my old ideas bore me. I’ve fallen into the dreaded blogger’s block. So you’ve been waiting patiently to be wowed. I got nuthin. Here’s where we’ve been:
What’s happened since then:
I tried this one for about 5 minutes. Underwhelming. Why? I was using a variety of things I had that shouted Spring! Milk glass, bottles, my favorite pitcher and some McCoy pottery pots. Eh. Nothing made me smile. I asked myself what was really bothering me. And the answer came swiftly. I was trying too hard. I wanted something cute, different, and really wonderful so that you would look at the photos and say; “why didn’t I think of that!?” But the truth is, I want simple, I want what would have been on the table of my Grandmother.
She didn’t have an abundance of bunnies on the table, the table was functional. It was for meals. Maybe games after dinner. She didn’t have time to rearrange multiple decorative things when it was time to eat. She was busy. Our table had a vase of flowers from her garden or a pitcher and a bowl of fruit, or the morning’s eggs. That was it. And that’s what I wanted. So I went back to basics and put my pitcher filled with cuttings from the yard, and a bowl of eggs back on the table. Similar to what I started with. And immediately felt peace.
So here’s what it looks like now. I may add a bunny for Easter……probably not. I used to go all out for holidays and I may do so again. But not this year.
Moral of this story: Don’t decorate for others.
You won’t be comfortable in your own home. It won’t be authentic and won’t feel like a sanctuary. It’s your home, make it the way YOU want it. If you love Easter rabbits, pastel eggs, chicks or pots of flowers…..use them. Your home should reflect you. The minute you start decorating to impress other people, your home loses something vital. It loses YOU, your heart and your vision. So be true to yourself and create a home that reflects your heart.
Happy Spring everyone. Create the home you see in your heart. Be authentic. Create a sanctuary no matter where you live.
March 27, 2017
My spring table is giving me fits. I started out so simple. It was fine. I liked it. Mr B liked it. Then I found sheep. Simple went out the window. Replaced by something…..not simple. I decided to try different looks, using what I had, as in, using some of my collections that I thought might look good with those stinkin cute sheep. They don’t really stink, in fact, they don’t have any odor at all, but they are cute. Let’s recap. Version 1 was the simple one. Version 2 involved milk glass and pressed glass and plants and the afore mentioned sheep. In case you enjoy visual reminders, Versions 1 and 2 for your viewing pleasure:
Version number 2, with the milk glass vases didn’t set my heart on fire. I didn’t love it. I didn’t even really like it to be honest. Mr B walked through and said; “Wow, that’s cluttered.” Um, yeah, so that meant I was gonna be changing that table pronto. I don’t always take Mr B’s opinions to heart. Most of the time, I just ignore him. (That’s not true. I pay attention to his opinions all the time. Really.) But the man had a point. And he’d just echoed what I knew in my heart…..I didn’t like this version, even with the stinkin cute sheep. So I tried again.
For version number 3 I brought out my favorite vintage glass bottles. I love those bottles. And if you didn’t read Version 2’s post which told you about my attachment to those bottles…um, why didn’t you? In short, the bottles all bear a connection to ancestors or places I’ve lived except one, I bought that one just cause I liked it. There’s a quiz following this post to see if you can answer which one is not connected by family or location. The correct answer will win a great prize. Just kidding. No quiz. Ergo, no great prize. But for fun, leave a comment if you know which bottle is NOT connected to me in any way.
Sooo, Version 3 of My Spring Table for your enjoyment. Try to contain your squeals of wonder and amazement. It’s that good. Linda Mains, I’m talking to you.
So there you have it, Version number 3 in the seemingly never ending attempt to come up with the perfect spring centerpiece. There may be more. I make no apology. There is trial and error in my quest for perfection.
Create the home you see in your heart. You deserve a sanctuary no matter where you live. Create one.
March 23, 2017
I love spring. I love the fresh colors outside, the flush of new growth on shrubs, my day lilies are already up and will be blooming in another month…the Caladiums are up early this year, no real winter to speak of. And the Carolina Wrens have already returned to their usual nesting site in one of my pots. I posted a few days ago about my early spring table, just a pitcher and a bowl of eggs. I want simple. That’s what I said; “Simple.” So why did I suddenly grab some of my collections and pile them on my table?? I have no answer to that. (Well, I do, but you’ll have to keep reading.)
I found some adorable sheep at TJ Maxx while shopping for new towels. I normally don’t do “cutesy.” I gave away most of my cutesy stuff long ago. (except at Christmas. Christmas cuteness abounds in my home.) The geese and swans, tiny mice, stuffed rag dolls for every season, hearts, you know, the wonderful classic country decor from the 80’s and early 90’s. There is nothing wrong with cute. I’m at a stage in my life where I crave simpler displays of meaningful, more authentic things. I’ve purged. Yes! I have! Don’t roll your eyes when you come into my home and find it loaded with all manner of collections. I know what you’re thinking! “THIS is her home PURGED??” “YIKES.” Yes, I still have stuff and I love my stuff. There’s truly not as much of it, I say. Mr B says it’s just different stuff. But let me have my little self denial thing, OK?
It was the sheep that started this. I was looking at them and I swear I bought them with the idea of sending one each to my Granddaughters for Easter. Promise. But……(as usual, with me, there is a but). BUT they are sooo cute. I’m smitten. Oh boy, any hope of a simple tablescape……escaped. Gone. POOF. First I grabbed my piece of salvaged wood. Then out came some milk glass, then some pressed glass, then some faux fern, and some faux succulents. Then the sheep. Oh my. They trailed down the table in a little mutton parade.
Then I thought……Hmmm….. what if I used my vintage bottles instead?? So away went the milk glass and out came the vintage bottles. I love those bottles. They are marked with places I’ve lived, or have some family connection. Fort Wayne, Indiana, Terre Haute, Indiana, Tampa, Florida, Bear Springs, Colorado. (I know no one in Bear Springs, Colorado. I just liked that bottle.) Important bottles. But I’m not showing those in this post. I’ll show those tomorrow, or maybe in a couple of days. For now let’s just gaze upon the milk glass and those adorable sheep. I can’t even……….. Wait. I hear Mr B calling friends to come over for an intervention. Is he talking about ME???? I don’t really have a problem with stuff……. do I??? I must grab my collections and run. Leaving no evidence.
Create the home you see in your heart. You deserve a sanctuary. Create one, no matter where you live.
March 21, 2017
Hey everybody! Happy spring!! I was able to do a bit of thrifting a few days ago and came home with $5.00 worth of tarnished silverplate. Yay me! It’s one of my favorite things to use for succulents. They’re so easy to care for. The basics for growing healthy succulents are SUN, SOIL and MOISTURE. Bright, indirect light. Well draining light soil, and careful watering. Water when the soil is dry, don’t let them sit in water, water the soil, not the plant leaves.
Succulents can be tucked into almost any container and last for months with a little care. They’ll last for years if you use faux. I use both real and faux plants. I try to buy faux plants that are so natural looking they fool the eyes of my friends. I like fooling my friends. It’s fun. They think I’m smarter about plants than I really am. I do grow real plants but I’ve learned over the years which ones will tolerate me and actually grow, and which ones hate the sight of me. Mixing faux plants in with real ones makes me look like a genius. I’ll take that.
Back to the results of my thrifting. I love tarnished silver. It has that all important character factor. I look for it whenever I’m out and about. I’ve found pieces at antique shops and flea markets, although the prices are generally a bit higher, I’ll sometimes pay more for an interesting piece. My favorite places to find old silver are Goodwill, Salvation Army and local thrift stores. Silver is still popular and it’s harder to find now, but the hunt is part of the fun for me. Brass is making a comeback and I look for that, as well as copper or pewter. I keep my brass and copper outside until it’s aged before bringing it inside to use. It’s all about the character for me!
When I find 3 pieces of old metal for less than $5.00 I do a little happy dance and consider that a good day. And who doesn’t love a good day?? (Or the opportunity to do a little happy dance!) As far as maintenance goes, I clean my silver every few months, when it’s totally black….by clean I mean I wipe it with a tarnish reducing cloth until it’s not solid black. That’s about it. I never clean my brass, I love it best when it develops that green patina.
Use cactus or succulent soil for live plants. Choose containers that are a couple inches deeper than the depth of your root ball so that you have some room to top dress the container, and more importantly so that when you do water, the soil won’t splash out. If you are planting in a container without drainage holes, use a watering can that has a tiny tip and just moisten the soil when it becomes dry. You can add gravel or moss to top dress the soil, but it isn’t necessary. If you top dress with moss just understand that you’ll have to lift it up to water.
If I’m using mine in a darker part of my home, I move them out to my covered porch or the lanai during the day a few times a week. I bring them back in after they’ve sunbathed. This method worked well for me…for awhile. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I’m lazy. So taking those nifty containers of succulents back and forth outside got old….. quickly. I threw in the towel…..if I need a plant in a dark area I’m going faux. I’m all about truth here at My Suburban Sanctuary. And the truth is…..I’m no purist. If faux plants look good and are easier to use, well, I’m gonna use them.
I used both faux and real for these new containers, can you spot the difference??
I also use Tillandsia, also known as air plant. I plop those in glass jars…. or any old container I happen to love at the moment…. and add some lichen or bits of bark. Once a month or so I take them outside and mist them with water. Then pop them back in the container. If I want one to “stand above” the container I’ll glue it (use low temp hot glue) to a bit of bark or a thin branch. They’ll live happily for a long time. Air plants are everywhere in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, so when I’m out for a walk I scope out the trees for good specimens. Check to see what grows in your yard, you may be surprised.
Succulents are still riding a wave of popularity. They’re easy to care for, work well with any design style, add subtle color and life to a stack of books, can be tucked into an otherwise boring area and come in a myriad of sizes, colors and shapes. Whew! That’s a lot of good stuff for a humble plant. Look around your home and gather some interesting containers, besides glass jars, colanders and old graters work well for air plants or faux succulents. For live succulents that require actual care, use almost anything that can hold soil and water. Old silver, brass and copper mugs and bowls are great, but consider using wood cheese boxes, or old sewing machine drawers. Line them with plastic first to prevent rot. Use chicken feeders, old cooking pots, soup cans, muffin tins, loaf pans, vintage bowls, the list is as long as your imagination.
Consider adding succulents to your home. They add interest and life and splashes of color. They may be humble but are beautiful in their own right.
Create the home you see in your heart. You deserve a sanctuary, no matter where you live. Start creating yours today.
March 16, 2017
Calling this idea a craft is a stretch. But it is fun and the idea itself could lead to other creations. I love bird nests. I love what they represent, I love the structure of nests and the engineering capabilities of birds. Some are truly masters of building. And they’re made from whatever the birds can find. The ultimate in upcycling. After I made my wooden bead “wreath,” I had a few extra beads, no plans for them, no ideas, so they went to live in a baggie in my
junk craft supply closet…..otherwise known as the place where odd crap goes to die.
I posted a photo of my wreath creation in one of my Facebook groups. You know the kind, where we all share photos of inspiration and our latest design ideas and/or problems and spend way too much time. One of the members (Thank you, Linda Ryan!) said my wood beads reminded her of tiny quail eggs. And so a seed of an idea was planted. It rattled around in the back of my mind for a couple of days and then inspiration struck, as it usually does…..late at night while trying to locate Mr Sandman. He hates me and doesn’t visit very often. On the plus side, not having regular visits from Mr Sandman allows my mind to wander down interesting paths, or as Mr B puts it….the pathway to his personal hell. He fails to enjoy my late night inspirations. Come to think of it, he doesn’t particularly enjoy my daytime mental meanderings either. Sigh. This idea though…..oh man, this one is good!
Bird’s nest. I could make one. Out of twine. And decorate it with bits from the yard. And then the rare, wooden bead bird could lay a couple of wood bead eggs in it. WOWZER! And thus I have a new spring decoration. A twine and bead nest. How did I accomplish this, you ask? Another 5 minute craft. OK, that’s not exactly true…. once you get your supplies it’s a 5 minute project, but gathering your supplies does entail a walk outside, (unless you are like me and have moss and bark in baggies in your closet of death) and collecting a couple of stray feathers from a pillow. And actually forming the nest out of twine. But the rest of it is 5 minutes or less.
Here’s how I did it... I found a length of twine balled up on my workbench in the garage. (The same place I
hoard save wire and other bits and bobs. I wrapped the twine loosely around the bottom of a mason jar and then slipped it off. I had a loose coil of twine. Which I then “fluffed” and pulled into a nest shape, plopped it in a shallow silverplate saucer thingy, and went out into the yard to look for nesting material. Spanish moss is perfect for this. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t have spanish moss hanging from trees, it’s readily available in bags in any craft store.
I grabbed a strand of spanish moss and picked up a twig with lichen and a bit of bark. (I was out of bark in my moss baggie, so had to search a bit for just the right piece.) Those all went into the nest to give it a more natural appearance. Then I robbed one of my feather pillows of a couple of those pesky feathers that always escape and poke me. For once I was glad my pillows shed them. Next I went to the dead end closet, I mean, my craft closet and took down that bag of left over wooden beads. Grabbed a couple and put those in the nest. VOILA! I like it. Those beads do look like little eggs. Maybe. If you squint and the light is just right.
You can create your own version of a nest with twine, thick string, ribbon, or fabric strips. And eggs of….well, whatever roundish thing you can find. Marbles. Small round rocks. Old beads from necklaces long forgotten. Or “real” faux eggs from the craft store. Add moss or lichen from your yard. Pine needles. Bits of straw or hay. Fallen leaves. Pieces of cotton. Anything that would add softness and texture to your little faux nest. Place it in a little saucer, shallow bowl or a tray to help it maintain its shape. Think of the seasonal possibilities. Acorns instead of beads for fall, Barbie doll heads for Halloween….um….maybe not. Tiny mercury glass ornies for Christmas. Have fun with it. Get your kids involved. Or throw a party for your girlfriends and have them bring their own ribbon and supplies. Or you supply the twine…. and they bring the wine. You get the idea. Make a bunch of little fabric scrap nests for a spring luncheon. Or for your spring table.
Moral of this story? Use what you have, let your mind wander, you never know what path it will take and you might end up with something fun. This was fun for me. I laughed at myself more than once. But now I have a twine and bead nest. So there. Happy almost Spring everyone. Thanks for stopping by My Suburban Sanctuary. And remember: You don’t have to live in a large, fancy house to create a home. You deserve a sanctuary. Create the home you see in your heart, no matter where you live.
March 13, 2017
Looking around my stash of junk for inspiration the other day, I was thinking of ways to decorate an early spring wreath. I wanted something “farmhouse” looking, which to me, means something neutral and simple. I wasn’t “feeling” the usual… I’m completely over grapevine, tired of boxwood, don’t have enough patience to form a book page or music sheet wreath, and don’t really like the traditional spring flower wreaths. Those require storage when the season ends and I have No.Storage. None. I’m not into removing and adding season appropriate embellishments either, which also need to be stored….or worse, thrown out so that I can buy new next season. ugh. Any storage space I had (had being the operative word here) is long gone. My attic is stuffed, my workbench is overflowing, I’m getting close to being invited to star in the next episode of “Hoarder.” And I don’t like the idea of spending money to buy new faux flowers every time I need to update a wreath. I’m
I don’t know what led me to think of beads. I’m having a temporary lust for all things wood beads. I say temporary because I’m fickle and have the attention span of a gnat. So there’s that. Plus I’ve discovered that in the world of blogging, it’s all about the next post. I barely have time to enjoy hitting the publish button on a post before my brain goes into, “next post frenzy.” So I was also trying to come up with some creative wreath ideas. To feed the blogging machine. I’m trying to slow down and take my own advice, after all, this blog is for YOU, I want it to come naturally, even if it’s not published routinely, and filled with good, easy to make projects. I want to inspire creativity and love of the home you are in. Without spending ginormous amounts of money. As I was saying… I don’t know what led me to think about beads and wreaths.
It was late at night, during one of my insomnia periods. I got up, restless, and wandered through the house. I noticed the golden light from the streetlamp in front of the house bathing my dining room centerpiece in a soft glow. OK, it wasn’t quite that poetic. It was dark, the light came in through the top of the window. I noticed my bead centerpiece. BUT a light went on in my brain. EEGADS! I CAN MAKE A BEAD WREATH! YESSSS!!! Or some variation of those words tumbling around in my sleep deprived mind. I eventually went back to bed… after catching up on episodes of “This is Us” and drinking a glass of water…. and letting the dogs out. If you suffer from insomnia I know you’re with me.
The bead wreath idea stuck with me however, so of course the next morning I googled “bead wreath.” Nothing. I browsed a few sites, Amazon, Joannes, Hobby Lobby. Nada. The idea was burning my brain……who needs Hobby Lobby when you are a
hoarder saver of neat stuff?? I went to the garage in search of wire to make my own. Don’t ask me why I save wire, I can’t tell you. But I do. I had a length of wire already coiled hanging above the bench. I grabbed my wire cutters, a pair of needle nosed pliers and began to create my “wreath.”
You will need:
Wire, thick and sturdy enough to form a circle, and hold the shape, but thin enough to be strung through the holes of your wood beads. If you aren’t a wire hoarder (bet you become one after reading this), Home Depot, Lowes, any hardware store will have a variety.
Wood beads of your choice, I used ½ inch. I just removed some from the garland I recently made.
The a fore mentioned needle nose pliers and wire cutters
There isn’t really much to this. Using your wire cutters, cut a length of wire approximately 2 inches longer than the diameter of your wreath. I eyeballed mine. If you’ve followed me for awhile you already know how I feel about measuring. So eyeball it and cut. Use your needle nosed pliers to form a little loop at one end. This will keep your beads from falling off and provide an anchor for the finished loop. String your beads. This literally took less than 5 minutes. I’m serious. I finished it during one commercial break of Fixer Upper. I ended up with a wreath about 13 inches in diameter. But you can make yours larger or smaller. I would imagine that you would need stiff wire for a larger one though….so that it maintains its shape. Mine does droop a bit, and isn’t perfectly round, but the wire is soft enough that it takes to shaping easily. I also noticed as I was stringing the beads that my wire had a plastic coating on it. It was easy to pull and cut off but I wish I had noticed it before I started. Oh well.
Your finished wreath should look something like this
When you get to within about an inch of the end of the wire, run it through the loop you previously made on the other end, take your pliers and make a second loop closing the wreath. Shape it if necessary. Now you can add a bow. Use whatever you have. I had some decorative jute so I used that. I didn’t do anything fancy. Just tied two short lengths to the loops which also hid those quite nicely. (Bonus! when you can hide the ugly parts.) I’m thinking ribbon would be a nice touch, or cloth torn into strips. Add whatever embellishments you want. I wanted mine to have a sort of farmhouse feel so I went with the jute. You could achieve the same look with plain jute twine as well. I do realize that calling this a wreath is a bit of a stretch. But it’s round. It has beads! I’m calling it a wreath. Whatever.
Your bead wreath could also be embellished with ivy or similar faux garland, or even a flower or two, but keep it simple, the focus is the beads. I hope you give this a try. It’s different. It adds texture and interest. Happy early spring people!! And as I always say, Create the home you see in your heart.
Create your sanctuary, no matter where you live.