Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rustic and Natural Christmas

The last couple of years I decorated our Christmas tree in shades of coffee and cream with beautiful glass balls, golden bead garlands and some handmade paper birds complete with real feathers and a garland of ivory and chocolate tulle for a soft play on the lights.  Pretty fancy for me!  But I had always incorporated some natural decor with dried plant pods and plumes,  spray-painted in metallic gold, ivory, or espresso.

2012 is the year of the fully rustic tree at our house.  This is more "me" for sure! I think my favorite ornies so far are my twig snowflakes. Some have pine cones and greens hot-glued on, but my favorite version sports tiny cedar and oak "holeless buttons" I had cut 
back in the summer for use at our daughter's wedding in September.  Love those!
The glow of the mini-lights looks so inviting in these first pics, I just couldn't resist turning off the flash for these.

This snowflake has been dressed with bits cut from a candle wreath rescued from a local thrift store.  Why spend $ on brand new items from the craft supply stores when I can pick up thrift shops that can be repurposed like this.
OK - so here are pics with flash - shows detail much better.

 I also crafted a star to set atop the tree....
 and a mini-tree complete with real tiny pinecones gathered from beneath a huge, old evergreen tree located on the grounds of the university where I work.  I spritzed those babies with a light coat of red 
spray-paint to add a punch of color.  The finishing touches area couple of rusty jingle bells and epsom salt mod-podgedat the end of each "branch" to add just a bit of sparkle.
Other bits and pieces I used on our tree: raffia for garland, ruby red glass pine cones,  real pine cones in various sizes, oversized rusty skeleton keys.  I'm still looking for ways to utilize more of the cedar buttons - maybe a garland?

Can't wait for tomorrow - my daughters and a couple of grandaughters will be joining me for some serious cookie-baking-decorating and crafting!  We do this every year and always have a grand time!
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Monday, September 24, 2012


Saturday afternoon, driving back home from a family reunion, 
I decided to take the backroads.  I had planned to stop at a little 
flea market I hadn't been to in a couple of years.  Sadly the sign 
had disappeared from the yard of the little farmhouse, replaced by 
signs of a family-in-residence.  If I couldn't get my fleamarket fix, 
I decided next best would be to visit the little variety shop run 
by the mennonites.  On the way, I was struck by how 
lush and green the fields had become...

Only a few short weeks back these pastures were brown, dry 
and lifeless, and the cattle would have been in search of hay 
rather than contentedly chewing their cud as they 
enjoyed both the sunshine and shade.
 Nearing the crossroads where the shop is located....
And here we are - at the front entrance of this sweet little 
shop where the sign beckons all to come in for books, 
shoes, gifts, cheese and oak furniture!
I made a beeline for the spice room with all it's heavenly 
scents and stocked up on dried chopped onion, and 
sour cream/garlic powder, cinnamon and sliced 
almonds. I had to drag myself away from the candies
 - chocolate covered peanuts, raisins and almonds and 
more.  No time to look through the hundreds of 
old-fashioned children's books and games, or browse 
through the gorgeous glassware or handmade oak 
chairs and chests.  I'll save that for a day when I 
can bring a friend or two who have never had 
the pleasure of visiting here before.

 Then on my way down another backroad, I see what looks 
like a fawn - sure enough, a spotted baby deer....

then more, now in varying light shades of near-white
and then darker shades...
 and then sheep in multi-hues too.
I had hoped to see the fields of sunflowers I
recalled from other sunny September days spent driving these 
backroads, but therewere none to be found.  Maybe the 
drought is responsible, or maybe the farmers simply 
chose to grow a different crop this year.  In spite of 
missing things I thought I would see, there were 
some unexpected little surprises that made it a 
beautiful drive anyway.

Do you ever take backroads?
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Friday, September 14, 2012

How I Spent My Summer - DIY Wedding!

 Don't they look happy?

My daughter and her fiance tied the knot in a simple 
but beautiful rustic wedding on September 1st.
Simple doesn't mean we didn't spend countless hours 
planning, sifting through Pinterest, and searching for those 
special pieces that would set the tone just the 
way she wanted it though!

Centerpieces for the reception tables were a mix and 
match of both new and vintage jars, bottles and cans, 
dressed up with bits of burlap, lace and dried flowers.  
Flameless votives and cedar buttons added 
touches of light and woodsy scent.

Guest tables were dressed in burlap table covers 
topped with vintage tablecloths. Serving 
tables were covered in old quilts.

No ushers - so a sweet way to invite everyone
to seat themselves.

No gift table - just an antique gift-barrow!

A pretty way to remind guests to save the front rows for family.

All the gals in the family helped out - my multi-talented daughter-in-law arranged all the flowers - love this one in its vintage aluminum pitcher!

The beautiful barn venue had this big blank wall 
(right where the minister, bride and groom would stand).
The perfect canvas for a large cross 
made of old barn wood to hang! 

Aisle seats dressed up with burlap pew cones filled 
with mums and wildflowers.

Darling toasting flutes!  Wooden hearts have Mr. & Mrs. 
woodburned on them, and then were attached to a band 
of burlap and then the stems wrapped in jute.

 And what a wonderful dessert table!  Cake made by the 
groom's aunt, decorated with sunflowers from my 
garden.  And pies galore!  Cherry, apple, peach and 
cheesecake - all homemade by the bride herself.  
Her brother and Dad cut those maple 
slices to showcase it all on.

It was a wonderful day - 
and afterward I wanted to sleep for a week!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Life for an Old Cellar

This is our above-ground cellar.  It's been here a long, long time.  Slowly but surely it is 
losing the battle with rain, wind and time.  And I love it.  And I intend to enjoy it
til either it or I no longer exist! This first picture was taken 3 1/2 years ago in
the heat of summer, with Sunflowers standing tall alongside the little structure
and Morning Glories wrapping themselves shamelessly around
it and everything else within reach.
 Here the cellar is last Friday, March 23rd.  
No flowers to cover her nakedness this time.
The broken and missing pieces are clearly visible. Not as fun as the 
summer shot, but she still has a lot of character, don't you think?  
Now prepare for utter awfulness....let's peek inside....
Obviously there is something terribly wrong here.  
Turns out this sweet little building is a "hoarder"!  
Over the years she has collected old doors, windows, tools, dirt, straw, and an 
unbelievable amount of miscellaneous junk.  Time for an intervention...that's where 
a dear friend comes in.  I shared my dream of transforming this mess into a 
wonderful potting shed filled with my gardening tools, pots, bags of soil and mulch, 
and space to putter to my heart's content.  Where anyone else would have thought 
I was losing it, she got excited and pushed me to go for it.  In fact, she wanted to help.  
She saw the very thought of it overwhelmed me, but she would not be deterred. 
If not for her, I would still be dreaming of this transformation rather than sharing it.
Credit also goes to my daughter and sweet husband who shoveled and 
sweated right alongside me and my friend.

Isn't she beautiful?  Inside as well as out!  I have so much more I want to do - definitely needs a bit of color here and there. A screen for the window in summer and plexiglass for winter - that view is just too pretty to ever cover up completely.  A couple of pots of shade-loving plants will bring some life to her, and as she comes along, I'll share more pics.
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