DIY FANCY MIRROR TRAYS

Mirrored trays add such an elegant touch to any coffee table or vanity. I think just about anything looks better if it’s placed on a tray.  They seem to be back in style nowadays and I’ve noticed them popping up in magazines and decorating blogs quite a bit lately.  I’ve seen so many beautiful trays in stores and on Ebay but unfortunately they tend to be really pricey.  I knew there had to be a way to make my own tray for alot less so I began to search online to see if anyone had ever tried making trays at home. I was surprised to find all sorts of  creative ideas and instructions for DIY trays, especially on Youtube.  But the one I liked best was the one that used inexpensive metal ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  (You can also find metal ribbon on Amazon but it costs more there) It’s a flexible tin strip that comes in 3 yard lengths.  That’s enough for a very large tray plus a smaller one. Or two medium and a small. 

Metal ribbon comes in different widths and designs so it’s just a matter of choosing the one you like best. I purchased three different kinds because I couldn’t make up my mind.

For the base of the trays I used different sized pieces of plywood. I found them easy to work with and there’s a plywood store right next door to me where they sell scrap sized pieces for just pennies.  Some people prefer to use inexpensive wood frame mirrors that you can get at any dollar store, that way the mirror is already cut to size and the ribbon can be attached to the wooden frame.  First the the bottom and sides of the base gets a coat of spray. I sprayed some of the pieces silver and others gold because those were the colors that I wanted the trays to be.I wanted to put little feet on the bottom of the tray so that it wouldn’t sit flat on the table. Feet also make it easier to lift up the tray when it needs to be moved. I happened to have a couple of packages of left over plastic mirror holders, the kind that are used to hold unframed mirrors against the wall. These turned out to be perfect to use as feet. They can be attached to the plywood with one small screw and spray painted the same color as the bottom of the tray. I also added tiny cork circles to avoid scratching surfaces. 

A box of thumbtacks was basically the only thing I needed to attach the ribbon to the plywood.  I pulled it taut as I tacked it in place so that it would go on completely straight and wouldn’t have a wavy look to it.  It’s important to tack it on in a perfectly straight even line, otherwise it will start to get wavy.  Some metal ribbon designs have little holes spaced evenly apart so that it’s easy to just insert the thumbtack straight into the wood through the little holes. 

When the two edges meet, they can be slightly overlapped and held together with a little stip of aluminum tape. 

After the metal ribbon is secured in place, the trays can be spray painted in any color. 

I used Krylon Silver Foil Spray paint because it gives the dull tinny metal a shinier look.

After the paint is dry, the next step is to attach the mirror. I had mirrors cut to size and then I just glued them onto the plywood with hot glue. 

This was the first one I made

And it was such fun that I couldn’t stop. So I made another. This one in gold.  

And another

I ended up with about 8 mirrored trays of varying sizes.    

This is a round one

An oval gold tray holds the perfumes on my dresser

I have the feeling that I’ll be giving people trays this year for Christmas.

Colorful Catrinas

My youngest daughter just returned from Mexico where she has been doing her culinary practice at a wonderful colonial restaurant for the past four months.  Among the things she brought me upon her return were these cute little skeleton dolls fashionably dressed in fancy attire and plumed hats. They are known as Catrinas and are an important part of Mexican culture.

I had seen these dolls before at souvenir shops and in magazines and had always thought that Catrinas (or Kalakas as they are sometimes called) were associated with ancient Mexican Day of the Dead traditions but I was wrong.    

I was surprised to learn that they have a very interesting and more modern history which is linked surprisingly to Frida Khalo and her husband, artist Diego Rivera.   

Catrina started out as a political cartoon created by Mexican cartoonist Jose Guadalupe Posada during the early 1900’s for one of his political pamphlets.  Originally dubbed Calavera Garbancera (roughly translated: the chick-pea selling skeleton or the chick-pea vendor) Posada’s cartoon was meant to satirize the poor peasant class of Mexicans who put on airs of rich European dandies and adopted the dress and mannerisms of the European upper class, thus rejecting their own native origins and heritage.

Posada died quietly without the fame or recognition that he deserved and it wasn’t until many years later that his fancy skeleton lady became a beloved symbol of Mexican culture when famed artist Diego Rivera painted his iconic mural entitled Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.   Catrina is the central character in his mural and she is surrounded by influential figures of Mexican history. She is shown wearing a quetzal feather boa around her neck and a fancy plumed hat on her head. Rivera painted himself as a small child standing next to her and holding her hand. Behind him is his wife Frida Khalo who has one hand resting on his shoulder and in the other she is holding a ying/yang symbol. It was Diego Rivera himself who coined the term Calavera Catrina which means the the dapper skeleton or the dandy skeleton. In Mexico and in some Central American countries the word catrin means a dandy or someone who is dressed to the teeth in the height of fashion. Catrina is the feminine form of the word.  

I must add that Catrina is meant to be a colorful, happy and fun folkloric figure and is not in any way related to the darker and more sinister cult figure of Santa Muerte.  In Mexico they make Catrinas out of many different materials, the favorite being paper mache which is then painted brightly. Here’s a paper mache Catrina riding a bike.  

This one seems to be yelling, or perhaps singing   

Sometimes their clothes are made out of fabric and lace and bits of feathers.

Other Catrinas are made of clay. There are even some Talavera ones like this catrin and catrina sitting on a park bench, but Talavera catrinas are very expensive.  Maybe on her next trip to Mexico she can get me this adorable couple that was displayed in a store window.  

There was a huge array of them at the store where my daughter purchased a few and it was difficult to choose. 

This one looks like a turn of the century school teacher to me These are my two favorite of all the ones she bought me. They’re very elegant ladies made of clay.  The black birds are just decorative but I thought they were cool because they look kind of gothic. They had other catrinas where the birds were brightly painted like Amazon parrots.

I sense the start of a new collection.

 

Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

 

 

White Crackly Candle Holders

A couple of years ago I went to a garage sale and ended up buying several things. These two formerly black and blue candle holders were not among them because I didn’t actually buy them. They were pretty much shoved at me by the seller who insisted that I just take them. She seemed anxious to be rid of them…not that I blamed her.  I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by refusing so I put them in the car and brought them home. I’ve never really been fond of them.  In fact, I didn’t know whether they were actually candle holders or pedestals or plant stands or something else entirely. I would have used them out in the garden as plant stands but they’re made of a weird material that I suspected wouldn’t hold up to water.  I was just about to throw them in the garbage recently when I thought, well…perhaps I can paint them a lighter shade and put them somewhere in the house.

They were hideous black, blue and green things with what seemed to be an attempt at a fleur de lis design on the front. They also had cracks in several places so I filled those in with wall putty.

There were big visible cracks near the top and at the base.

Then I dug into my bag of resin appliques which is full of odds and ends and left over broken pieces. I managed to find a couple of cherubs and some roses.

And lucky me, I also found a nearly full tube of Instant Nails to adhere the appliques with.

So, on they went. After they dried overnight, the candle holders got a coat of Americana Chalk Paint in white. It didn’t cover very well unfortunately and I needed four coats in all to get full coverage.

But the white looked so boring to me. I’m not really fond of white. So I painted over the middle portion in aqua. That didn’t work as well as I’d hoped because now the contrast was too distinct.  I was about to paint it white again when I spied an almost empty bottle of Jo-Sonja Decor Crackle among the paint jars. There was just enough for the middle section and a narrow strip at the bottom of both candle holders.  It had a nice effect because it toned down the color contrast quite a bit.

This type of crackle is sandwiched in between two colors. It goes on top of the base color and then you have to apply a contrasting color on top of that.

The top color (in this case I applied another coat of white) cracks and subtly reveals the darker color beneath it.

I set the candle holders on top of the piano temporarily, but then I decided that they filled in that empty spot nicely, so there they will stay. 


 

 

Dinette Makover

Does anyone even use the word dinette anymore? I haven’t heard it used in ages. Heck, I can’t even find it on google. But back in the day, dinette sets were really popular for small apartments as well as for eat-in kitchens. That’s what I had in mind when I put together a little table and four non matching chairs for my oldest daughter’s tiny dining room this past December. She rents a small house a few blocks away from us which is just the perfect size for her and a roommate.  However, her roommate of many years moved out at the end of last year and because the dining set was hers, she took it with her.  At around the same time, my daughter in law was getting rid of a little rustic sewing table that her mother no longer needed and I figured it would make a perfect temporary dining table for my daughter. At least until she got around to buying something nicer.

Even though it was a small table, it was unusually tall so I had to cut three inches off the legs to make it the right height.
Next I had to find some inexpensive chairs that were not too large or too beat up. That was going to be challenging here in Costa Rica where used items in good condition are often just as expensive as new ones and old beat up items are just a tad less costly. The stars and planets must have been aligned in my favor because after just a quick check online I found someone (down the street from me!) who had about 200 school chairs for sale in nearly new condition at $10 dollars each.  I purchased four of them and was delighted to see that they were strong and sturdy with metal frames and nice wooden seats and back rests.


Now that I had the chairs, I turned my attention back to the table. Some of the dark brown paint had started to chip and peel off in certain areas so I took it out to the backyard and sanded it to smooth down and even out the nicks.
I was feeling quite pleased with myself and everything was going according to plan, until it rained. Athough I had carefully covered the table with plastic after I was done sanding, it rained so hard that afternoon that the wind lifted up the plastic and pushed rainwater beneath it, soaking the entire table. The next day I woke up to a seriously warped and blistered tabletop that I knew I wouldn’t be able to fix. Thankfully my next door neighbor Elmer is a carpenter so I asked him for help. He was kind enough to nail/glue on a thin sheet of new plywood over the old tabletop and round off the edges for me.
As I debated what color to paint it, my daughter in law again came to the rescue and offered me several unopened jars of Americana Chalk Paint that she no longer needed as she and my son were getting ready to move back to Colorado and were getting rid of all their stuff. I was doubtful about the color at first. It looked sort of grayish in the jar. But hey, never look a gift horse in the mouth, right? I ended up loving the color once it was on the table. It’s actually a soft bluish green.
The table had an apron on all four sides that I decided to paint white, for contrast. I also had a bag full of left over resin appliques that I had made last year which I thought might look nice on the apron. They were mostly odds and ends and I was unable to find four matching pieces so I used two smaller pieces for the two ends of the table and two larger pieces for the sides.

I was tempted to leave the chairs as they were because they really were in nice shape and didn’t need anything done to them, but unfortunately they clashed with the color of the table so I ended up just painting the backrest in the same bluegreen chalk paint and leaving the seat unpainted.  As a final touch I decoupaged a floral motif on the backrests and on opposite corners of the table with a bit of modpodge. Everything then got a protective topcoat of matte varnish. I also bought a piece of thick glass for the tabletop to protect it in case of spills.

I loaded it up in the car and took it over to her house a couple of days before Christmas while she was at work to surprise her.  I was so excited about setting it up at her place that I completely forgot to take pictures of it in situ. So the only photos I have were snapped at my house.  Thankfully she liked it…you never know with kids. Yay.

 

Black Rose

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I know, I know. There is no such thing as a black rose. I know I’ve talked about my black roses before and have even showed you pictures, but I thought I’d post about them again because a few days ago as I was removing some bouquets of faded roses from their vases, I discovered that some of those “black” roses had turned an amazing and velvety pitch black as they dried.

For quite some time I didn’t know what the name of this rose was, but I suspected that it was Black Baccara. The nursery where I purchased it confirmed my suspicion recently  and they told me that it was indeed Black Baccara. This rose is actually considered to be a very deep dark red but the color on the petals is uneven throughout, thus much of it does look black. On the same plant some of the blooms are darker and others are redder. Here it is as a bud.

As you can see, the base of the petals is reddish, but above the base and to the tips, it is indeed black.

As you can see, the base of the petals is reddish, but above the base and to the tips, it is indeed black.

I’ve read that Black Baccara is a very unpredictable rose which sometimes blooms red and rarely blooms black. Apparently it depends on the soil and the climate. I guess I must have favorable conditions here because it does get quite black and you actually have to look very closely to see the tinges of red. Here it is in a vase. This photo is completely unretouched and it is the true color. Even up close this particular bloom was for the most part, quite black. Others from the same bush are sometimes less black and more maroon.

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Last week I was about to throw out some faded roses that I had placed in a couple of vases, but I loved the way the colors had intensified as they dried, particularly the black ones so I decided to save them. I really like the look of dried roses.

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I tied them in a bunch and hung them with a ribbon from a ceiling lamp to finish drying. The sweet fragrance still lingers and wafts of delicately scented perfume reach my nose every time I walk past the hanging bouquets. I am reminded of an old Egyptian proverb that says, “Even if the flower has faded, it still retains it’s beautiful fragrance.” The proverb of course is a poetic reference to women who have matured.

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I am always fascinated by the deep russet, gold and burgundy tones that aging roses aquire. I think I like dried bouquets almost as much as fresh ones and I am thinking that perhaps I can collect enough black roses for a gothic flower arrangement.

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Pink and Pearls Christmas Tree

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This year  I bought a flocked Christmas tree. I hadn’t planned on a flocked tree and I always assumed that I didn’t like them because I had seen some pretty fake looking ones over the years. I mean, artificial Christmas trees are artificial enough without the fake snow, right? But back in October I happened to stop at the local Walmart in search of some Halloween items and surprisingly they were already setting up their Christmas displays.

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Among the several trees that they had unboxed and set up, there was a lovely 7 ft, perfectly cone shaped flocked Blue Spruce at a perfect price. To my surprise it didn’t look as fake as most. If I didn’t live in a tropical country where pine trees are non-existent and it has never snowed in recorded history, this little tree could very well have fooled folks.  Well, maybe not. But I was smitten nonetheless.

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After about a week or so of thinking about it, I went back to Walmart only to discover that they had sold out of flocked trees almost immediately. Not that there were too many to begin with, I had only seen about 10 or 12 boxes of them on the shelf. It turns out that that was their entire inventory.  I should have known. The problem with Walmart in Costa Rica (and other stores here as well) is that they only import a limited amount of any particular item so when it’s gone, it’s gone and there are no rainchecks.  After calling their central offices, they were kind enough to locate a tree for me (the last one in the entire  country!) at a Walmart in a different province and they were kind enough to have it shipped to the store nearest to me at no extra cost. Hurray for their customer service!

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I wanted to give pastel tones a try this year. I rather like the soft toned down look of the tree. I used pearl garland rather than the ubiquitous tinsel one because I didn’t want the garland to overshadow the ornaments. Pale pink sparkly poinsettias filled up large spaces so that the branches wouldn’t look sparse.

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One definite advantage of a pastel Christmas tree is that the kitties seem to leave it pretty much alone. They aren’t attracted to soft toned ornaments as much as they are to the shiny glittery mirror type ones. Other years I would wake up to find at least half a dozen balls strewn all across the floor and the kitties playing soccer with them. Not this time.tree-9-765x1024

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Who knows, maybe next Christmas I’ll long for green, red and gold and I’ll return to more traditional holiday colors but for now this will do.
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This week I will be joining:

Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy

Inspire Me Mondays @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Make it Pretty Monday @ The Dedicated House

Busy Monday @ A Pinch of Joy

Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch

Tuesdays at our Home  @  Our Home Away From Home

LouLou Girls Linky Party  @ Lou Lou Girls

Creative Muster Party  @ Fluster Buster

Wow Us Wednesdays  @ Savvy Southern Style

Tuesdays With A Twist  @ God’s Growing Garden

Party in Your PJ’s @ The Cookie Puzzle

The Homemaking Party @ Classical Homemaking

Share Your Style Thursday Link-Up Party 

Home and Garden Thursday  @ A Delightsome Life

Sweet and Simple Fridays @ Rooted in Thyme

Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage

Friday Feature’s Link Party @ Oh My Heartsie Girl

Anything Goes Pink Saturday @ How Sweet The Sound

Best Of The Weekend Party 

Saturday Sparks Link Party @ Pieced Passtimes

Baubles á la Découpage

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A few months ago I was watching some Youtube video tutorials that explained how to decoupage your own Christmas ornaments. I came across several that were actually quite stunning and very unusual because you don’t ordinarily see baubles like that in stores. Naturally I had to try my hand at making my own. It turned out to be so easy and fun that I made close to 70 or 75 of them.  I started early in about September or so and it’s a good thing I did because that allowed me to convert all of last year’s red and gold balls into soft pastel toned ornaments topped by pink satin ribbons for hanging.

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Last year’s shiny red and striped balls

My first idea was to go out and buy new boxes of pink and white balls. So I hit the stores (which fortunately in my area begin to display and sell their Christmas stuff at the end of September) but I was dissapointed to discover that nobody even had any white or pink Christmas ball ornaments for sale. Those don’t seem to be popular Christmas colors at all. Even on Ebay the selection is limited. While trying to figure out what to do it ocurred to me that I could probably spray paint the balls with pink and white spray paint. And then I thought, well heck, why even buy new ones when I have boxes full of last year’s ornaments that I can recycle? So that’s exactly what I did. Here’s what I started out with.

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I  had a few cans of half empty spray paint in the tool locker so each red and gold ball got a base coat of random shades of white, cream, ivory or pink.  After temporarily removing the gold or silver hanging part off each ball, I put them on a wooden skewer and sprayed them. Some of them required a couple of coats to completely cover up the original color. Then I put them out in the sun to dry.

This particular ball has a glitter design on it which you can see a bit of in this photo. It doesn't matter because after all the coats of mod podge and varnish it will be completely hidden.

This particular ball has a glitter design on it which you can see a bit of in this photo. It doesn’t matter because after all the coats of mod podge and varnish it will be completely hidden.

The next step after the spray paint has dried is to give them a coat of regular acrylic craft paint in whatever color you want the bauble to be. I used mostly white, pink and aqua. The craft paint gives the balls a smooth matte finish to work on and it is especially necessary if you plan on using a crackle medium to give them an antique crackle finish. I used three different types of crackle finish with different results. By far, my favorite was Jo Sonja’s Decor Crackle because it provided the most dramatic crackle. I also used Jo Sonja’s Crackle Medium which is a bit different than their Decor Crackle but I didn’t like that one at all because it made them look leathery. Mod Podge’s Crackle Finish was pretty good too, it results in a very fine eggshell type crackle. All of these are all applied in different manners, some go on before the basecoat and some go on top of the basecoat, so if you’re going to use crackle, you have to read the instructions carefully before applying it. Next you have to choose what kind of appliqué you want. I used napkins.

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I found that Mod Podge was the easiest way of sticking the napkins on to the spheres, but you could probably just use Elmer’s glue or any white glue with pretty much the same result. After the applique dried completely I went over it with another coat of Mod Podge just to smooth everything down and make sure that nothing was unglued.  At this point you can sprinkle on a little bit of ultra-fine glitter while they are still tacky, to give them a bit of shimmer. Or you can let them dry and then apply a coat of a product called Sparkle (also from Mod Podge) which gives a really beautiful subtle shimmer once it’s dry which is spread evenly over the entire surface.

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After that is dry, you can add accents with glitter glue or fabric paint. I added white pearly dots here and there and also thin streaks of gold and silver glitter randomly.

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The final step is to apply two coats of regular transparent varnish. This gives them alot of shine and also protects the appliqué. I tried using water based varnish on the first couple of them but I didn’t like how that turned out because it gave them a sort of dull finish and I wanted them to be really shiny. So in the end I just used regular oil based varnish.

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When they are completely dry you just re-attach the little metal or plastic hanging part and they are set to go. I  wanted mine to look a bit more romantic so I removed the little gold hanger thread that they come with and replaced it with a thin pink ribbon. On the front of the baubles I hot glued on a pink satin bow.

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I also bought a package of 3 inch styrofoam hearts to decoupage in the same way.

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Here they are drying on sticks during various stages of the process.

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This is the crackle finish from Mod Podge’s Crackle product. It’s a very fine eggshell look.

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This week I will be Joining.

Tuesdays at our Home  @  Our Home Away From Home

LouLou Girls Linky Party  @ Lou Lou Girls

Creative Muster Party  @ Fluster Buster

Wow Us Wednesdays  @ Savvy Southern Style

Tuesdays With A Twist  @ God’s Growing Garden

Party in Your PJ’s @ The Cookie Puzzle

The Homemaking Party @ Classical Homemaking

Share Your Style Thursday Link-Up Party 

Home and Garden Thursday  @ A Delightsome Life

Sweet and Simple Fridays @ Rooted in Thyme

Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage

Friday Feature’s Link Party @ Oh My Heartsie Girl

Anything Goes Pink Saturday @ How Sweet The Sound

Best Of The Weekend Party 

Saturday Sparks Link Party @ Pieced Pastimes

Lace Hearts

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I’ve been working on Christmas ornaments for the past couple of months. This year I decided I’d make my own ornaments and decorations because the colors and styles that are available in my area aren’t too varied or interesting. I think that one of the main drawbacks here is that everything has to be shatterproof due to the tile or terrazo floors that most folks have in their homes (including me).  That really limits the selection because plastic just isn’t as pretty. Everyone knows that the most beautiful ornaments are made of glass.  Also, all the stores here seem to import the same items and carry the exact same stuff in the same colors: gold, red, green, silver. I have plenty of those colors from years past but this year I’ve been on the lookout for pastel colored ornaments. I searched high and low for anything in soft pink, aqua or white but I was unable to find much in those shades. So I had no choice but to make them myself. In addition to recycling last year’s ornaments and painting over them (that’ll be the subject of a future post) I also dug deep into my bag of fabric remnants and came up with these puffy little lace hearts to hang on the tree. I used plain fabric in white and pink as the base and then sewed lace scraps over that. The hearts are lightly stuffed with quilt batting and then embellished a bit with pearls and rhinestones or whatever else I could find in my sewing box. A thin satin ribbon on top makes them “hangable” so they can be used on the tree.

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I don’t know how many I made, I sort of lost track because I would sit and sew in the evenings while I relaxed and watched tv or Netflix. I ended up with so many that I gave a few of them away to friends.

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I made two different sized heart templates out of newspaper. One was wide and short and the other was narrow and longer. All the hearts were made with those two templates.lace-hearts

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This ivory mesh fabric that I used for these hearts is woven with real silver wire thread. It’s hand made by artisans in Egypt.

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img_1874I already have more than enough to hang on the Christmas tree but I think I might just keep on making them because they’re so easy and fun to make. I can fill little baskets with them or just give them away as gifts.

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Joining: Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Egg Sighting

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I think I may have gone a little overboard with the Easter Eggs this year. I’ve had far too much time on my hands since my laptop charger decided to suddenly stop working a few weeks ago. That meant that I had very little computer access and lots more free time to work on other things. Long story short, I made easter eggs (alot of them!) so I would’t die of boredom in the meantime. I’m glad I did because it brought back warm memories of making Easter crafts with my mom when I was in elementary school. I still haven’t been able to find a new charger. I went to Radio Shack as well as to several computer places and nobody seems to have that model in stock. Drat. I guess I’ll just have to order it on Ebay or Amazon but that can take a couple of weeks or more to get here from the U.S. so I decided it was time to dig out the old MacMini desktop and set it up temporarily. I was tired of using the ipad and having to type entire paragraphs with my index finger.

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These lace eggs were actually inspired by Hakan over at The Rose Garden in Malevik who had some lovely ones on his blog several weeks ago. I used foam egg shapes in different sizes for these and I added bits of rhinestone chain and beads over the lace.

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I also made sugar eggs, sometimes called Panoramic eggs. I hadn’t made those in years. When I was in about 5th grade or so, my mom took cake decorating classes with Wilton. Among all the wonderful things she learned to make in that class were sugar Easter eggs. It wasn’t long before I knew how to make them as well, my mom loved to teach me what she had learned and she was very patient. We would always make a few extra ones to sell. I remember carefully packing them in a cardboard box and taking them to school much to the delight of my classmates. When I recall the ridiculous prices we charged back in the day, I have to laugh. We sold the small ones for 50 cents, the medium sized ones for 75 cents and the very large ones cost $1.25 because they were a bit trickier to make and they used up alot of sugar.  I couldn’t believe my eyes the other day when I saw a small sized one for sale on Etsy for 35 dollars. How times change!

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These are just made out of damp sugar which is packed into a plastic egg shaped mold, turned out onto a countertop and then left to dry overnight.

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My rose making technique was a bit rusty, it took me a while to get the hang of it again.

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They have a little opening or peek hole on one end and an Easter scene inside. This one has rabbits playing in the grass.

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And lastly, I made blue and white decoupaged eggs just because it’s one of my favorite color combos. These are made with real eggs which I blew out and emptied. I used small blue and white floral decals on these eggs and then gave the eggs a few coats of spray varnish. So, it’s not a true decoupage in the strictest sense, but close enough. Once they are varnished, they’re so shiny that they almost look like porcelain even up close.

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Wishing everyone a blessed Easter!

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The Rose Garden in Malevik-Saturday Show Off

Mirror makeover

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When I stopped teaching dance a couple of years ago, I converted the little dance studio behind our house into a guest bedroom. It came in pretty handy because we often have visitors who stay with us when they come down to Costa Rica on vacation. However, I didn’t really know what to do with all the mirrors that still hung on the studio walls. Although they had been a necessity in the dance studio, they now looked odd and out of place in a bedroom. They weren’t even pretty. They were just plain ordinary aluminum framed mirrors quite large in size, the kind you might find in a gym. Last year, after we renovated our kitchen and dining room I ended up with a large empty wall that I couldn’t think of anything to put on. Then I remembered the aluminum mirrors that were still hanging in the guest bedroom and decided to bring one of them into the house and hang it on that bare wall. It was a good fit and it filled most of the space, but it looked just as unattractive there as it had looked in the guest room.

Close up of the frame

Close up of the frame

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The frame was very narrow so there weren’t alot of options as far as updating it. I wondered if perhaps it would be possible to glue some appliques on it and then paint the whole thing a different color to hide the aluminum. I had a few left over appliques from a previous furniture project as well as an assortment of silicone molds and a huge bottle of resin in the tool shed. So after a couple of months of thinking about it I figured it was worth a try and surely it wouldn’t look any worse.

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These scroll like curliecues were just the right width

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It took me several days to make enough appliques to cover the entire mirror. I made roses and curlicues and cherubs until I was bleary-eyed. Then I began to glue them on with No more Nails, crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t fall off the slippery narrow frame. I think I used about four tubes of No more nails and thankfully they held fast. That stuff is good! I had given the frame a couple of coats of white paint before putting on the appliques because I knew that it would be very difficult, if not impossible to get into all the nooks and crannies with the paintbrush after the appliques were glued on.

I gave the mirror a couple of coats of white paint first because I knew it would be nearly impossible to get into all the nooks and crannies with a paintbrush after the appliques were glued on.

 

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I added a small rose to the center of this curlicue applique

I added a small rose to the center of these scroll appliques

Two sweet little cherubs quietly watch over the dining room from the top of the mirror.

Two sweet little cherubs quietly watch over the dining room from the top of the mirror. I placed one on either end.

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After the appliques were set in place I allowed them to dry completely for a couple of days before applying a final coat of white paint.  In the empty space between the top of the mirror and the molding  I hung a few blue and white plates that I had stored away which matched the blue and white plate collection on the other wall.

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It’s a very tiny dining room, it actually used to be my daughter’s bedroom right off the kitchen. That was a sort of weird Costa Rican floorplan. Or lack of floorplan, I should say. The previous owners of the house had added on rooms wherever they had fancied a new room without giving any thought to the logic of the layout. So there was this fourth bedroom that could only be accessed through the kitchen. How weird is that. When my oldest daughter moved out last year, my youngest daughter moved into her bedroom and I turned her “kitchen bedroom” into a little secondary dining room, which made so much more sense.

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I think the mirror helps make the dining room look a little larger than it really is.

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