Red Transferware Valentine’s Decor

Valentine’s Day is one month from today, and I’m decorating in some really sweet ways. Today I want to show you how I made some changes to our dining room.

I temporarily relocated my vintage jadeite collection so that I could display my collection of red transferware. These were picked up at a variety of places. My favorites are the antique Old Britain Castles (Johnson Brothers) pieces and the Horse/Full Cry bowls (Homer Laughlin).

I also added a plate wall display over the china cabinet. These are from an incomplete set of old Gernman china that a family member gave me years ago. I decided to go with white dishes for the plate wall, because they will be a clean, neutral backdrop for anything else I decided to use throughout the year.

A friend asked me for tips on hanging a plate wall. Basically I hang the center plate where I want it. Then I hang the pieces above and below, followed by the 2 on either side. Finally, I hang the littlest ones.

As always, my trusty sidekicks are curious and a little bit in the way. LOL. These are fresh, red carnations that I am using in this Old Britain Castles pitcher. They only cost $4 at the grocery store. Carnations don’t get nearly enough credit – they last an incredibly long time, and their ruffles are so pretty.

Have a great day, everyone!

DIY Christmas Garland

Hello! Christmas will be here before we know it, and I wanted to share my garland in case any of you wanted to make one for yourself. What I love most about my garland is that aside for a couple of oranges that I bought from the grocery store, it was completely free. Yes, free!

You may have seen my Costco Wreath Hack post previously, but in case you haven’t, I have been up close and personal with the construction of Costco wreaths and garlands for several years know. I felt that I knew how they were put together, and I had everything that I needed to do so.

I gathered clippings of Magnolia branches, Holly leaves and berries, and Cypress branches from our yard. I already had floral wire and ribbon left over from previously “hacking” Costco Christmas wreaths. To make the garland you will need to lay overlapping branches, making sure to cover the stems. Wherever you want them joined, wrap floral wire tightly around them.

I have a bag full of these tiny beeswax taper candles left over from Christmas Eve love feast services. And we already own several antique sleds. (Another one is outside our front door. Hopefully I can take pictures of that soon.)

I know how to make bows, so I made my own. I joke around with Ken that I am putting my college degree (Interior Design) to good use whenever I make a bow. It was taught in one of my college elective classes – floral design.

To help my Magnolia and Holly last longer, after I cut them I stuck the stems in a mixture of water and glycerin. To do this, you’ll need to mix a 1:1 ratio of boiling hot water and glycerin. Don’t cool the water before putting your stems in. The stems need to have been freshly cut, too. Don’t cut them and let them sit a few hours or days. Plan on cutting them right before you put them in the mixture. I let mine sit in the mixture for about 3 days. Afterwards, I sprayed the fronts and backs of leaves, as well as the berries, with Mod Podge Matte Clear Acrylic Sealer. You don’t have to soak them or spray them with anything, but it will help them to last longer.

You may have already seen these giant pinecones on my Thanksgiving tablescape post. I’ve had them for several years, but I think they came from Hobby Lobby. I’m linking these red stockings on my LIKEtoKNOW.it in case you want to recreate this look.

I attached the dried oranges and grapefruit with ornament hooks. I tried using ribbon on a couple of them, and it got to be a little “busy.” Drying fruit is not expensive or hard, but it does take quite a bit of time. To dry my citrus I cut it evenly into thin pieces using a very sharp knife. I patted both sides dry with paper towels. I set them onto cooling racks which I had put into a sheet pan. I put them into the oven on 200*, and I flipped them over every hour or so. It took about 5 hours for my oranges to dry. Afterwards I let them finish air drying on the counter for a day or so. (Be sure to check on them often. I have heard of them drying much faster in the oven than mine did. We’re in a humid climate, so it took longer here.)

Believe it or not, I found a website selling the dried oranges very inexpensively. For about the cost of a fresh orange, you can buy a box of 15 orange slices already dried. This really is a time consuming process, so next year I may even just buy them already dried.

I am linking everything you would need to recreate this look from the stocking to the Magnolia and Cypress branches if you don’t have access to those. It’s all in my LIKEtoKNOW.it account for you to easily get everything you need. You can either click HERE, click on the picture below, or screenshot the picture below to use it in your LIKEtoKNOW.it app. These are affiliate links, and if you buy something from my LIKEtoKNOW.it, I could possibly make a very small commission (usually pennies).

Feel free to ask me any questions about making the garland in the comments below.

Merry Christmas!

Abby

Costco Wreath Hack

Last year I posted a picture of how I took my Costco wreath and fancied it up a bit. I did the same thing this year, and a friend suggested that I share my idea with you.

The wreath I made last year!

First of all, let me preface this by saying that Costco wreaths are ahhh.maayy.zing! The greenery is fresh and beautiful. They’ve gone up a few dollars since I started buying them years ago, but I think this year it was still only around $17/wreath. Y’all. There is NO WAY you could make this beautiful wreath yourself for only $17. Let Costco do it for you! There are other companies out there making wreaths that charge triple that amount.

“Before” Here is the Costco wreath before I added anything to it.

One day recently I went to Costco to buy a wreath, and they hadn’t started selling them yet. The next day I saw someone post on Instagram that they were in, so I zoomed on up there. (They sell out fairly quickly at my Costco.) Funny enough, I ran into a group of ladies I know also buying their Costco wreaths, which leads me to my whole point of this post…

Be original and make it your own!

You can find all of the Pumpkin Spice Latte girls with the same. exact. wreath on their door! I want to show you how I make my Costco wreath “my own”, but this is just what I do with mine. Find a way to make yours YOUR own.

I am decorating my wreath the same way I did last year. First of all, I LOVED it, so why change it? Second of all, it was free. I snipped several small branches of magnolia leaves from a nearby tree. And last year I went online and purchased a bag of pheasant feathers. The feathers were not free last year, but before I threw my wreath away I took all of the feathers back off and saved them.

So for this project I used: one Costco wreath, 4-5 snippings of small clusters of magnolia leaves, pheasant feathers, floral wire, and some hot glue. Total cost this year is $17, the cost of the Costco wreath. But last year I bought the feathers, so it was more.

Add the branches and feathers using the floral wire. I used hot glue to make clusters of feathers before adding them to the wreath. Make sure you glue them near the ends/tips and NOT on the feather portion. The hot glue goes right through and will burn. This year I didn’t need to glue them since they were already glued. When you are adding your items, make sure everything keeps going in the same direction. For example, the feathers need to keep pointing in the same direction around the circle. Otherwise it won’t look right.

So now it’s YOUR turn!! Think of what you can add to your Costco wreath to make it even better than it already is! You can use floral wire to add ornaments, bows, faux berries or woodland creatures. You could spray some pinecones with glitter and add more pinecones. You could even add some essential oil drops so that there’s a wonderful scent on the way inside.

Like I mentioned, since my wreath is covered and doesn’t get wet outdoors I am able to easily snip the floral wire with scissors and save the feathers for another use.

I would love for you to leave me a comment to let me know if this helped you or how you decorated your own Costco wreath!

And “after”! with magnolia leaves and pheasant feathers added.

Advent Wreath and Devotional

I am excited to share a few of our family Christmas traditions with you over the next few weeks. Growing up I had never heard of an Advent wreath. However, when my children were very small I took them to a free workshop our church was having where we could make an advent wreath for our family and learn more about it. Fast forward, and the wreath we made long ago with faux greenery, Styrofoam, and wired ribbon is gone. But we still use the worksheet we were given with the suggested prayers and Bible readings. I’d like to share with you the Advent wreath we now use. And I’d like to give you a printable version of something you can use as a family each week as you light each Advent candle. Just a note that the type on the Advent devotional is small because I felt it was important to fit it on one page. It makes it easier for you to copy and share with friends and to keep track of over the years.

Right after Christmas of 2017 our old Advent wreath fell apart. It was about 10 years old and the Styrofoam couldn’t hold up any more. I made up my mind that by the time Advent came around in 2018 I wanted to find something affordable but of heirloom quality. I searched Etsy and Amazon and many other stores for months but couldn’t find anything I liked. Two days before Advent began in 2018 I stumbled across a candle holder at Target that was perfect. It wasn’t labeled “Advent Wreath”, but that’s what it is. It’s heavy and solid, and it’s something that I hope to use with my grandchildren one day. This (2019) is our second year using it, and I thought I would share it with you.

Advent wreaths are made of a wreath of evergreen branches. In this case I am using Magnolia clippings. If you aren’t familiar with Magnolia trees, they are evergreen trees abundant in the South. Whether growing or cut, the topsides of the leaves are green, and the undersides are a velvety brown.

Also in an Advent wreath you will need 3 purple (sometimes blue is used), 1 pink, and 1 white candle. Each week of Advent, which begins 4 Sundays before Christmas, an additional candle is lit. Finally, on Christmas, the white Christ candle is lit. I go into detail which candle to light and the meanings on the weekly devotional that I will provide below.

I want to pause and say something loudly and with love: The wreath? Just a symbol. The candles? Symbols, too. In the end, when you are worshiping with your family, the quality doesn’t matter. Goodness, you could be using paper candles that a child colors a flame on each week. What matters is the worship, the gratitude, the acknowledgement of the Son, the acceptance of love and peace.

Here’s another thing: sometimes we Mamas forget things. If Sunday goes by and it’s Monday, and you suddenly realize you forgot to light the candle the day before…show yourself some Grace, and just do it Monday. Your kids aren’t going to remember if you did it on a Monday or Tuesday. They’ll remember the words spoken and the candle’s glow.

Here is a printable version of the devotional we use each week during Advent. I have added some additional details such as candle color and an introduction at the top. But for the most part this writing originally came from “An Advent Service for the Home” by Pat Floyd.

I hope you have been inspired to celebrate the Advent season with your family and friends. Let me know how you find ways to celebrate our Savior throughout Christmastime.

Fall Mums Centerpiece

Not long after Pumpkin Spice Lattes arrive in your local coffee shop, everyone seems to get some mums and pumpkins for their front porches. Most people leave them on their porches for the season and then toss them. However, mums are great perennials, so if you plant them directly into the ground in late summer or early fall, they’ll most likely come back in the spring.

Interestingly enough, mums (full name chrysanthemum) can be grown indoors in a bright, sunny spot. Did you know that mums were tested in the NASA Clean Air Study, which is a test to see which plants can clean indoor air quality? Mums were found to improve the air quality against all 5 of the major toxins that were tested. How cool is that?!

Mums are inexpensive, and you can find them anywhere from grocery stores to home improvement stores. I picked mine up from Walmart for $4.88. I wanted to use mine for a fall centerpiece before I planted them outside. Since I was going to be planting them outside, and I only needed them on my table for a couple of days, I didn’t want to plant them into a pot.

I decided to find a way to dress them up a little and hide their ugly, plastic pots. I dug through my donate pile and found a sweater and a shirt that went well with my table cloth.

I cut the shirts for a square piece of material that I could wrap around the pots. The piece of twine that I used with the striped material was a scrap we had in the garage. The striped piece of fabric around the sweater material was actually part of the packaging for the tablecloth that I was using.

This would be a really cute and easy way to dress up a mum to give as a gift. The mums cost $4.88 and the other materials were free because I already had them! Do you use mums in your fall decor?

These are going to be planted in my big whiskey barrel planters in the backyard once I am done with them on the table. Happy fall, y’all!

Crafts to Make with Hymnal Pages

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Yesterday I listed several vintage and antique hymnals in my Etsy shop, and I had a friend ask, “but what would someone do with an old hymnal…?”

Besides simply enjoying looking through it and being reminded of many of the traditional hymns that are no longer sung at church services, there are many wonderful ways you can repurpose them. In a way, repurposing will actually extend their “life.” Something like an old hymnal that may be worn thin and have no value to most people can be turned into things that will be used and treasured for years to come. Below are just a few of the neat crafts I found on Pinterest that use hymnal pages.

One of my favorites, Miss Mustard Seed used old hymnal pages on a lovely dresser:

Music Sheet Dresser....I would like to do this with some of the old hymnals I have
On AJ’s Trash to Treasure Blog, you can see that just about anything can get covered in hymnal pages, including lamp shades: 
10,7,10 CA projects110  SPECIAL HINT FOR LAMP SHADES:  Paper the INSIDE as well as the outside.  When the light shines through, all you seams and overlaps are OVERLY obvious.  By double layering your paper (one layer outside and one layer inside) it will minimize this.
The Picadilly Post turns hymnal pages in works of art:
I love this -- I think I would use the hymn 'The Old Rugged Cross' or 'In The Garden' or 'It Is Well With My Soul'...
Christmas ornaments seem like something doable even for the beginning crafter. These were found on Houzz
IDEA:  Hang on dining room window latches    in love with these diy cloth ornaments and color scheme for sun-room - all year
Use them to make a wreath. Here’s a How-To from HomeTalk:
A Hymnal Page Wreath :: Hometalk
Here’s an old blog post of mine where I used hymnal pages in a painting:
In my opinion the easiest and cheapest way to use hymnal pages is to simply frame them! In my home I have this framed song in our guest bedroom: 
Now let your imagination flow! 
Tips: You can link back to all sources. Hover in each introductory sentence to find the link.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the hymnals in my shop to use for a project or just to keep, go HERE. (Listed under “Books” on the left.) Depending on the day there’s usually 2 to 20 available. I’m happy to check a hymnal if you’re looking for a particular song, year, or church affiliation. 

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Furniture Disaster. Personal Disaster?

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We recently found some furniture that we decided to refinish (stain) and keep, rather than sell. I prefer to paint furniture. I have done my share of sanding, but to me painting is second nature. I know exactly how the paint will behave and turn out. The paint and I have an agreement that way. We understand each other. 😉 Okay, the paint doesn’t understand me at all, but I understand the paint.

Anyway, there’s a dresser and a desk. They are made of solid, heavy wood. Quality furniture made by Stanley. I.e. Boy proof. Perfect for our boy, soon to be a teenager. Only they weren’t in perfect condition.

Here’s a piece of knowledge that I want to share with you. Because when I was a green antiquarian and finder of vintage things, I wish someone had shared it with me. Look at the knobs. Count the knobs. Are they all there? Why…do you ask? Because hardware.is.expensive. Let’s just say that we spent more on the hardware than on the furniture.

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This picture does not express how frigid it was this day.

So Ken spent hours. HOURS. sanding the furniture. And then he spent hours. HOURS. asking me if I ordered the knobs. And the furniture sat for hours. WEEKS. in the garage because I didn’t want to stain it in the cold, and why bother to order knobs if I’m not ready to stain it? That’s how we operate. If you look closely you will see the logic.

So halfway through Jackson’s (our son) room remodel, I decide that it is time (finally) to restain the dresser and desk. And I stain it. And it’s horrible. And I’m sad about that. Because I’ll have to resand it and start again.

I’m kind of like that furniture. God has worked on me and worked on me. HOURS. WEEKS. My LIFETIME. And I’m so far from perfect. I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve been horrible. I’ve made serious mistakes. But God will keep working on me and start again. No matter how many times my mistakes and imperfections stain me, He will forgive me and let me start again.

Why would I bother to blog about a project that isn’t done, and so far isn’t going well? Because I want you to know that I am not perfect, and I have been forgiven. You do not have to be perfect to receive God’s forgiveness and grace. If you are a Christ follower and you are working earnestly at an image of perfection, either on social media or in real life, ask yourself this, “Can I serve God better by sharing what He has saved me from or giving a false sense of perfection to the world?”

“Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1,2

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsXOXO,

Abby

Before & After: Painted Wood Hutch

I’m so thankful for Spring. It really makes a big difference in my motivation. When it starts to really get cold again this fall, I’m going to give myself permission to forget about painting furniture until spring comes again. No expectations for myself to work in the cold, blah weather means no guilt for not accomplishing anything.

I’ve had this hutch in my garage. (We keep our cars in the driveway and our furniture in the garage. Don’t y’all?) I hadn’t planned on what I was going to do with it, but I got a burst of energy and motivation this week to just get it done.

Seriously. Ugly, right?

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsI think what I disliked about this the most is that there was no visual interest in the wood. I’m not against wood furniture, but this one was just like a big blog of orange-y stained wood. And the doors. Tragic. This isn’t a giant piece. I’ve been lifting and lugging it around all by my petite flower of a self. (I really hope you read that with sarcasm.) But it is a piece of furniture that will be extremely useful to someone. Not me, though. No room in the inn.

Much better. Much, much better.

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsNow there is some visual interest. I left the surfaces unpainted that would get the most use. You can see a similarly dramatic difference in a before and after picture of me in makeup. #redhead

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsI’ve put some of my jadeite and jars on it so you can visualize what it would look like in use.

Hope you love it!
XOXO,
Abby

How to Plan for a Home DIY Project


Spring Break for our kids is in just a few weeks. Because of Ken’s job, this means that he will have some more free time on his hands than he usually does. So what are we doing for Spring Break? The beach? Lake? Stay-cation? Not quite.

We are diving head first into some home renovation projects. Some indoors and some outdoors. These are not projects that we have any kind of experience with. None. Zilch. This could be disastrous amazing! So if we have no experience with these types of projects, how do we expect to have a good outcome? Here are a few tips for you:

  • Research. ReSEARCH. REsearch. Easy to say, but how? We are researching in these ways: YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs, Books, and Friends. Search for the type of project you are doing, and endless results should come up. This is not a “one and done” type of research. We’re piecing together tips and instructions from different sources that will work best for our house and our taste.
  • Measuring. Know exactly how much of each material you will need. Guessing is going to add to your frustration when you either have to go back for more or you buy too much. Frustrations = Stress = Bad Experience.
  • Pricing. This could go along with research, but it’s important enough to stand on it’s own. Know ahead of time how much you’re going to spend on materials. Simply deciding to walk into a store and buy what you find isn’t the best way to do things. You should shop around, price materials, and discover all of the options that are available to you.
  • Gather and prep your materials. I like to think of this as making a recipe for dinner. You’re going to make sure you have all of the ingredients before you start cooking it. Make sure you have all of your “ingredients” before you start your project. If some items can be prepped ahead of time, like priming something, go ahead and do it before the day you plan to do the project.
  • Make sure you have the tools you need. If you need a tool such as a saw or nail gun that you don’t have, make arrangements to buy it, borrow it, or rent it before the day of the project. You don’t want to spend time on the day you start your project to track one down. Tool rental places may have rented all of them out, friends may not be reachable, and impulsively buying a tool that you need will likely lead to overspending.

When you take the time to plan ahead and prepare yourself with knowledge and materials, your project is going to go a lot smoother than if you don’t.

Maybe next year on Spring Break we’ll actually take a break. 😉

XOXO,
Abby

    Use a Screen Door for an Organizer, Room Divider, or Craft Show Display

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    I wanted to share this screen door that we use a lot. Over time this has evolved into something that I’ve changed to be functional and beautiful.

    I currently use something similar in my antiques booth to display items on, but here you can see that you can create a home organizational piece with a screen door.

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    Start by finding a screen door. You can either repurpose an old one or buy a new one from a home improvement store. I bought this one from Home Depot for around $20. Either paint or stain the door the color that you want. Staple chicken wire to the back of it. Make sure that you purchase a roll of chicken wire that is at least as wide as the door. At this point you can decide if you only want chicken wire on it, or if you want to back the chicken wire with something. For the one in my antiques booth I put some burlap fabric behind the chicken wire. On this one I used an old lace curtain that I purchased at a thrift store.

    The final steps in this project are to make the door stand up. Screw some decorative wood corner pieces (Home Depot, trim department) onto the front and some metal L-brackets on to the back.

    Diesel, our maltese, really thinks that you should give it a go and let us know if you like it!

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    XOXO,
    Abby

    UPDATE: Thank you for all of the interest in the desk and screen door, both have sold. 
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