Rocky Beach

I got up super early and went to the part of the beach that never fails to provide a variety of plentiful rocks for all my projects. This time was no exception. The irony is that there are no seashells here; only rocks. My local beaches aren’t known for seashell collecting, but rocks are welcome treasures, too.

There was the bluest of sunny skies but it was windy and sand was blowing all over the place from another mild Santa Ana.

I was able to find all the rocks I needed, joined by an audience of seagulls and shorebirds. It was so early there were few humans so we had the beach to ourselves.

Every rock is so beautiful and unique; I have a hard time choosing who comes home with me. Just look at them!

DIY Project: Brick Patio

Do you have any idea how much 72 bricks weigh? Me and my sore back can tell you they weigh in excess of 300 pounds. Ouch. But it was worth it; take a look.

Like I was gifted the beautiful dollhouse, I was also given two outdoor chairs and that created a happy dilemma.

Where should they go? Where is the perfect location for these adorable red chairs?

The backyard gardens had plenty of seating so I took a good look at the front yard and found a perfect spot in the corner where two fences meet and create a sort of alcove.

I thought it would be a cute place for the angels to have a tea party.

After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to make a 4 x 4 brick patio. I thriftily repurposed bricks from another garden project that no longer brought me joy.

Thanks to a brick calculator and not my math-challenged brain, it appeared that I would need 72 bricks. I didn’t have that many, so I purchased 20 bricks and a bag of sand. The cost of this entire project was less than $20.

The bag of sand weighed 50 pounds and that’s my absolute lifting limit. I almost tore my arms out of their sockets carrying it from the car. But I did it.

The real work was preparing the location, which was on a slight slope and didn’t easily cooperate. Yes, I used a level but I’m also challenged in that area too, so it didn’t really make sense to me and I gave up after a few frustrating attempts.

As I said to many neighbors that walked by and watched me, I was doing my normal half-assed job. I know there are proper ways to do it right with the level and string and stakes blah blah blah, but I literally didn’t care. I wanted to get it done so I could start to decorate.

Before:

I needed to leave that horrible old cactus for two reasons: 1. It’s holding up the fence which somehow separated from the wall. 2. It’s security because no one would even think to try and climb over it.

I went to the nursery and bought a raspberry plant which I anticipate will entwine with the cactus and mask it. I also planted more of my snow peas and their lovely green leaves and pods will create a secret garden atmosphere. In the far corner, I transplanted a fast growing Cup of Gold (Solandra maxima) vine with gigantic yellow flowers.

It took three days to finish, but it’s DONE except for the solar fairy lights that will arrive tomorrow.

As soon as the stores start to carry their spring/summer items, I’ll replace that white table with something else, but it’s OK for now. I definitely need more rocks so that means I need to make a trip to the rock beach.

All in all, if you ignore the uneven bricks, it’s perfect, at least for me!

DIY: Embellishing the Ordinary

When I’m sad or melancholy, I shop. When I’m happy, I shop. It’s an all purpose panacea that works for me, no matter what. They don’t call it retail therapy for nothing.

I was out and about browsing in all my usual haunts from Ross to TJ Maxx to the Rack.

I didn’t find much except for a pair of Laura Ashley slippers. I love to wear slippers; I have a closet full of them from animal print to sequin-studded to a couple pairs of Hello Kitty slippers that were gifts. I don’t have any babouches, those flat Moroccan slippers, but I have mostly every other style.

I brought home these pillow-soft, ballet-pink slippers and determined that something was missing. They’re super soft and comfortable but they needed some enchanted style embellishment to become perfect.

The white bow didn’t work for me. It seems to me that Laura Ashley could have really taken it up to another level if they had given it a bit more thought.

I removed the bows and drove to a fabric store.

I was thinking about a pompom to look like a little bunny, but then I spied a fabric flower with a rhinestone center. I had to have it.

Luckily, there were two, so I brought them home. Even more fortuitous for me is that they already had a pin mechanism on the back so I can take them off when I throw the slippers into the washing machine.

HAPPINESS!

After I attached the flowers, I was feeling satisfied with myself and I know I’m a little strange, but I felt like a princess walking (still limping) through the house with my adorable slippers.

In fact, I love them so much, I created a little photo sesh with different backgrounds. Definitely fit for royalty.

On animal print.
On a soft and furry blanket.
Draped in pearls and gems.

Low cost fun for me. Slippers: $7.99
Flowers: $8.00 for the pair as they were on sale.

My joy: priceless, because I’m easy to please.

Embellishing the ordinary is my special talent. There is beauty all around.

LOVE!

Decorating a Sunhat | DIY

I had originally titled this post “Hat Porn” Well not REALLY porn, of course. In my innocence (for which I’m grateful) I had no idea that was a THING, so I’ve retitled it, cos I never meant to be misinterpreted! Ewww.

The issue is that our titian-haired girl refuses to wear a sunhat. With that bright hair and her fair skin, it’s important that she’s protected. She’ll wear a Peppa Pig baseball cap I bought a long time ago, but a sunhat is imperative.

So…I decided to take a sunhat that I already had, dye it pink (her favorite color), and embellish with appliques and flowers.

First I cut out and chainstitched a sparkly adorable cat from a piece of material I found. When I ironed it flat, the iron got too hot and melted a bit of material so I had to add other embellishments to cover up the damage. That’s where the butterfly and flowers are located.

The final part was to sew a row of embroidered flowers across the brim. I guess I could have embroidered the flowers directly onto the hat, but I acquired these from the fabric store.

Here’s my scheme and I hope it works because it worked with her big brother a couple years ago.

When T was about two years old, he wouldn’t wear a hat either. No matter how many times we’d put a hat on his head, he’d rip it off in less than two seconds.

I decided to try a little psychology on him. One day I bought a cute sunhat with little sailboats all over it and wore it on a visit. He took it off my head, promptly put it on his own head, and never again resisted wearing a hat. I knew he would like it! In fact, he still wears it every single time he goes outside. Hee hee. A little psychology worked wonders. One day I’ll tell him what I did.

I figured if it was successful that time, a similar strategy might be just what will encourage Char to wear her hat.

I’ll let you know if my devious plan is successful. You gotta admit, that sunhat is TOO adorable, right?

DIY Garden Paver Project: Stepping Stones

This simple DIY project reallyreally exacerbated my OCD issues. However, I was determined NOT to give up until my inner demons were soothed.

The fifth time was a charm, at least I think so. I’m not good at math but I used sixteen pavers with the exact same distance between each one. The middle of the arch aligned perfectly with the big living room window and that made me SO happy. It’s a nice transition between the pygmy palms and the ponytail palms and my dry river bed. I realize the standard rule is to leave 24 inches between each paver or stone, but I’m short and that’s a big leap for me, ergo the reason why they are so close together.

I have an unending supply of these adorable little mounding succulents that are ideally suited to completely fill the spaces between the pavers. If I remember correctly, it’s a kind of spreading sedum and seems to love it in my backyard garden. It won’t take long for them to grow.

I thought about painting or stenciling the gray concrete but it would have spoiled the theme of the dry river bed. The rest of my front yard is planted with California natives; coyote bush, sages, buckwheat, and this gigantic Rhus integrifolia, also known as lemonade sumac or lemonade berry. It began life as a one gallon plant and must really love it in that spot because it’s as big as the house!

(I probably don’t need to tell you that you wouldn’t want to be here when I hang a picture on the wall.”Move it just a bit to the right, I mean to the left; up a tiny bit. OK. PERFECT.”)

DIY: Sewing a Chelsea Collar

I found these three adorable dresses for Angel Girl at our local resale shop. I brought them home to wash, disinfect, and iron.

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But something was missing. They needed an embellishment to become perfection. The kitty cat dress didn’t seem to need it, but the other two did.

They needed a collar! While Peter Pan collars add a modern yet retro vintage touch, in order to be called a Peter Pan type, it would need rounded edges. What I created is more of a “Chelsea” collar with pointed edges.

This was a fun and easy project. I downloaded a free template and then I had a brilliant thought. To make this project even easier, I could simply cut out and attach different types of lace. This would keep the actual sewing to a minimum; no fabric, no turning of the collar. EASY!

I went to Jo-Anns and found the right material to complement both dresses. Thrifty girl that I am, each piece cost about two dollars.

The next step: Cut out and pin the collars to the dress. Make sure to allow enough room to turn/sew the raw ends under.

Finally, sew the collar to the dress at the neck. It can be done by machine or by hand. This time I used my sewing machine. I have a very old machine and it needs a tune up as it’s acting up a bit, but since it weighs about fifty pounds, I haven’t wanted to fight with it to bring to the repair shop.

This is the finished product. I added the contrast of narrow blue satin ribbon and a bow.

I love this one too. The eyelet lace perfectly enhances this bright and beautiful party dress. With Char’s titian hair, it will look AMAZING.

Now I’m searching in my own closet for a dress that needs an embellishment because I’m obsessed with collars!

Enchanting Seashell Bouquets

For #ThrowbackThursday, I reached into the vault of previously written posts and found this one from 2012.

I reworked it a bit and added a few more photos of the seashell bouquets that I’ve crafted since then.

At the time, I needed a new project and somewhere. probably on Pinterest, I saw a bouquet of seashells and starfish and thought that it looked easy enough to re-create, so I did!

An added benefit to the seashell bouquet is to make as a gift for anyone who’s allergic to flowers. The irony here is that I’m allergic to roses. With a name like Rosebud, that’s pretty funny, not that I’d toss them out if someone wanted to send me a dozen, but we can’t be in the same room at the same time.

How to make the seashell bouquet:
1. Get craft sticks of all sizes; I even used chopsticks.
2. If you don’t have a glue gun, get one! I can’t live without mine, that’s for sure. For this project, you don’t have to be perfect, obvs you need to use more glue for the heavier starfish
3. Florist’s foam, that would be a good idea and it’s easily available at craft stores and the dollar store, which is where I got mine.
4. It’s pretty simple: glue the seashell or starfish or sparkly treasure to the stick.
5. Insert into foam cut to fit snugly inside the vase.
6. Done!

Voila! Here’s the finished product. This vase is at the bottom of our stairs up to the second level and is the first thing you see when you come in the front door. 

I used sticks from the garden because I wanted a natural, organic creation. The vase came from a vintage consignment shop in the village.
The vase came from Anthropologie; I embellished it with the seashell collar. Yay for glue guns!

Are you crafty? Let me know what you’ve been doing all the many months of being isolated during the Covid Pandemic. The next time I get to see Angel Boy 2.0, I think he’s old enough to help me make one, and I think he’d love to create a seashell bouquet. Of course, he’s still too young to use a glue gun, other than that, it’s a great project for children.

Easy DIY Mod Podge Candle Decor

We had our first winter storm today with some hail, so I needed an indoor project.

I love to embellish pretty much everything, usually with seashells, but not always. This time I decided to Mod Podge a silk scarf onto plain glass candles that came from the dollar store.

The scarf was an old Laurel Burch cat scarf that I must have inherited from my mom because I never was really a Burch fan. I’m not sure why I had originally cut it up, but there was enough material left over to beautify three candles.

The art of decoupage is so simple yet so satisfying.

1. Cut the fabric to the size of the glass container.
2. Brush a good amount of Mod Podge on the glass.
3. Carefully place the scarf on the glass and press firmly.
4. Brush on more Mod Podge. The silk adheres really nicely to the sticky glue and there’s enough time to push out all of the air bubbles.
5. Let it dry for about an hour and then paint another layer of Mod Podge onto the surface.
6. Let dry.

That’s it!

I’m beyond pleased with the results!

All lit up and glowing. They look even better than I thought they would. The best thing is that when the original candle burns out, I can replace it with a votive.

obsesh/confesh [DIY Fairy Garden]

My new obsession confession….

Maybe because I loved the fairy garden I sent Angel Boy, or maybe it was the smokey skies that made being outside harmful to my asthma, but I had to find an indoor project or it was going to affect my mental health, too.

I thought to myself, what could I craft without having to buy any new supplies?

Pinterest and the internet offers a plethora of ideas by amazing people.

There are step-by-step videos for nearly EVERYTHING DIY.

My first attempt was a craft stick (popsicle stick) door. I have a package of 200 sticks that I was saving for projects with AB and I always have glue and paint. PERFECT.

The door was so aDORable with addition of the button for a doorknob that I painted gold, so I felt confident building the bench. Also easy and also way cool. I painted it white and added a touch of my own…miniature pillows, each stuffed with 1/2 a cotton ball.

The little tables were made out of pieces of broken costume jewelry glued to a wine cork. (Yes, I do save everything.)

Check out the little broom I made with a toothpick.

I’m also obsessed with windchimes and mobiles (another post) and came up with the brilliant idea of a mini-mobile made out of an old costume jewelry ring. I have no idea where the ring came from, but it was there in the box of broken things.

I attached tiny seashells and gems using silver jewelry wire and fishing line.

Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt, right? Next, I’m going to try to build the picnic table.

I didn’t really want to do a step-by-step DIY tutorial because mine wouldn’t be nearly as detailed and precise as the ones that are already out there, but here’s a few photos of the process:

I think I might attempt to pierce the veil between worlds and open that door. It was especially magical last night when the solar lights came on and sparkled the glass rock pathway.

Celebrate the life and death of a gentle mourning dove

What does it mean to see a dove?

“The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose.” (http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/602-dove-symbolism)

Walking up the steps to the third level in my garden, I came upon this sad sight, a pile of dove feathers. It was obviously the work of one of our resident hawks.

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As I mourned the loss of the mourning dove and pondered on the circle of life, I thought I should gather the feathers and create something to honor this little bird’s life.

It’s been quite a while since I felt crafty, but I found my beads and shells along with a perfectly delicate piece of latticed wood that I had brought back home from my last camping trip. I plugged in my trusty glue gun and got to work.

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Almost finished. Now I need to figure out how to hang it up. Delicate and sweet, just like the sad, plaintive song of the dove.

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The completed project.  I LOVE the way the feathers create their own shadow on the wall.

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Sleep softly in the breeze, little one.

 

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Birds of North America online