Just a Minute Centerpiece

I have an easy Valentine’s Day centerpiece to share.  You could do this for any occasion by changing up the colors of the flowers.

What you’ll need:

Carnations — I love Carnations and I think they get a bad rap.  They are fragrant, inexpensive and can go a long time without water which is perfect for this centerpiece project.  I bought three bunches at $3.99 each from Central Market.

Red Hots — I bought several scoops from the bulk bin at Central Market, or you could buy a large bag in the candy aisle.

Ice Cream Sugar Cones — I used nine cones which was one box.

Glass Cylinders or Vases – You can find these anywhere.  I just used ones I had in my vase stash.

I cut the carnation stems short enough to fit in the ice cream cone so the bottom petals of the carnation set just around the rim of the cone.  I put all one color in each cone.  As it worked out, I had enough to make three cones for each of the colors.  A rule of thumb, tablescapes always looks better in odd numbers — in this case three vases, three cones per vase.

I filled the bottom of each cylinder with red hots.  You don’t need to measure, just pour enough in each vase so it looks even.  Then, nestle the cones down into the vase.  That’s it!

The carnations went without water for 24 hours, and I put them into water the next day.  They are still fresh a week a later.

I styled the vases on top of cake pedestals I found last year in the dollar section of Target along with sweets we had.  My milk glass collection is always a perfect backdrop for the yummy treats from McKinley’s Bakery. The cute little chalkboard menus are from the Container Store.

These centerpieces would be so cute lined up on an ice cream sundae bar for July 4th, a baby “gender” reveal party or birthday!  If you put love into it, everything turns out amazing!

Try it Tuesday: The Accidental Centerpiece

I usually purchase my flowers at Albertson’s, my local grocery store.  They are inexpensive, have a great selection and last a long time.  I especially enjoy their Debi Lilly line of containers, florals and candles.

The florists were cleaning out their bins to refresh the inventory with new arriving florals and this bunch of hydrangeas were headed for the trash.  I took them home and placed them in a vase I already had on hand.  I harvested some small branches of yaupon holly berries from my garden for a pop of color and set the vase on top of a tree slab base my nephew made for me.

As I was moving things around one day, I needed a place to stash my extra large glass dome — also known as a cloche — and wondered what it would look like on top of the centerpiece.  It took it to a whole new level adding texture, height and interest.  Its almost like a terrarium-like atmosphere for the flowers.  Two weeks later they are still as fresh as the day I rescued them!

I’d call this a happy accident.

DIY Vintage Wood Wall Treatment with Amy Howard at Home

Before: Blank, painted wall

As a blog affiliate for Amy Howard at Home, I had the chance to try a new product  — Vintage Wood Pallet Wall in a Box.  I knew right away when I learned about this kit at The Haven conference this past summer that I wanted to create a shiplap feature wall right outside the entry to my powder room.   Here’s the space before. Just a blank wall painted Sea Salt from Sherwin-Williams.  I had a full length leaning mirror here.  It’s about an 8′ x 4′ space with no cuts for outlets, so for a beginner like me, it seemed like it would be a doable project.

Before I got started, I set up eight foot tables covered with old sheets and towels in my garage.  And, I watched this how-to video .

The Pallet Wall in a Box comes with unfinished solid red oak planks enough to cover about 20 feet.  Here was my first glitch…I didn’t order enough wood. Thankfully, I have a super sweet relationship with Jabo’s Ace Hardware and they were able to help a girl out by expediting another box to me within a few days.

unfinished red oak planks

I laid all the wood out on the tables and set up my supplies.

First, you start with the Vintage Wood Better with Age stain. Open the can and stir with a stir stick.

 

Better with Age stain

Dipping the 1.5 inch flat paint brush into the stain, with long strokes, I painted each plank of wood.

brushing on the stain
stained planks

After I was finished, I let the planks completely dry for a few hours while I worked on laundry.  The planks will darken as they dry.  You could stop here if you wanted to, but I wanted a white wash look to the planks, so I moved to the next step the Venetian Plaster application. It’s a plaster made of lime and powdered marble and gives a beautiful textural aesthetic to the wood.

mixing venetian plaster with water

I poured the powder into a plastic bowl and added water until I got the consistency of a milk shake, stirring until smooth.  Using my paint brush I painted the stained wood with a generous coating of the plaster. Note:  I worked with one plank at a time, first applying plaster, then troweling it off.

applying the venetian plaster

Then with a plastering trowel, I skimmed off the coating of the plaster leaving a deposit of the plaster in the wood grain.

troweling off the plaster

It’s amazing how the plaster seemed to know exactly where to stay to show the beautiful detail of the wood.  I let the plaster sit overnight.  Tip: I watched the weather to make sure there were no freezing temperatures to affect the wood while it cured in the garage.  Be sure to plan accordingly if you attempt this project during cold weather by moving your wood inside.

applying cerusing wax

The next step was to apply the Cerusing Wax which is a soft wax that gives a satin patina of protection on the wood.  I first applied it with a lint free cloth, but I switched to a brush because it seemed to go on easier with a brush.  After I applied the wax, I let the wood dry for about an hour, then I went back and buffed it with a soft cloth.  You could feel the softness of the surface and it did give the wood a very light satin finish.

Then came woodworking school.  Because I have zero experience using power tools, I asked my two guy friends from church, who are skilled at a chop saw and nail gun, to help me.  They got the project started for me and once they were half way finished, they walked me through how to install the wood planks myself.  You can see in the photo below how they marked the studs in the wall with a pencil.  Those marks showed me where to nail the boards up first.  They showed me how the wood is installed with no specific pattern.  Look at this photo how each plank is different, some whiter than others, some more distressed.  The ends don’t match either.  Some rows have two planks, some have three planks.  They were great teachers to show me how to determine what plank we should pick for the next row.

initial installation and marked space showing stud location
Yes, I am amazing with my saw skills

Then, came learning how to use a chop saw.  It’s amazing how empowering you can feel the first time you use a power tool…as demonstrated on my face here!

We went back and forth with cutting, nailing, cutting and nailing.  The install took about three hours.

The last bit that needed to be done to finish was the strip right above the baseboard.  It wasn’t quite wide enough for the plank to fit, so the church guys took it back to their shop to use the table saw. Once that cut was made and installed, it was finished. I couldn’t believe how it transformed this small space and made it so fresh and clean looking.

finished wall
view from the powder room
I added the mirror for now
view from the family room

The total for the wood and supplies was about $272.  That was because I needed two boxes of wood.  If you are just needing one box you’d spend around $171.  In terms of time, I broke down the project over several weekends because that was what worked for my schedule.  I think you could easily stain and plaster the wood one day, wax and install day two.

I am considering doing this again for the small area under my kitchen counter so that when you are sitting in the family room the two areas will tie together.

I would totally encourage you to try this project on your own.  It is really fun when you can look at something and know you made it.  As Amy says, “Enjoy the bragging rights!”

To purchase the products listed in this post click here.  Amy Howard products are also available through Amy Howard at Home and through Jabo’s Ace Hardware.

Gingerbread Project 2016: A Sweet Way to Celebrate the Season

20161127_120106My friend Jessica invite me to be a “celebrity” participant in her sorority’s 16th annual Cookies and Castles charity event benefiting Cook Children’s Medical Center. Since 2001, the Gingerbread Extravaganza, has become a holiday tradition cherished by many in Fort Worth.  Be sure to visit their website for more information or to purchase tickets to the event which kicks off this Thursday, December 1 with events for all ages — children, tweens and a ladies luncheon.

I love a challenge, and of course the first place I went for inspiration was Pinterest.  Representing Home with a Twist, I wanted something special that told a story and represented me.  As soon as I saw this idea I went to work on my plan!

Sugar and Clothsugar-and-cloth-retro-camper posted this retro gingerbread camper on Pinterest last Christmas.  I grew up going camping in my parent’s motor home and I thought this would be the perfect way to pay tribute to my childhood, but with a modern twist.

I took my calling card shopping with me to find just the right fondant colors to complement my blog’s color scheme.  I settled on red, teal and white for the camper and pulled in the Kelly Green for the trees.

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This post is less about how to construct it because Sugar and Cloth gives you a template including the recipe for making the gingerbread.  But, I will hit the highlights in case you think you want to make this project.

  1.  This took 45 hours to construct.
  2.  I could not have done this without help.  While it was fun, it was intense.  Mainly because we didn’t know what we were doing and had to wing it.
  3.  Help was Mr. Bee, Miss Bee, my bestie, her husband and teenage son (who is like a son to me; I can boss him and he either tunes me out or doesn’t mind).  He was our engineer on the project and helped to reinforce the structure inside the camper so it didn’t collapse.  Bestie was the maker and baker of the gingerbread.  The husbands chimed in every once in while with tips or suggestions.
  4. There was a lot of strategy that went into this.  We had to think through each step, the “what ifs” and develop a timeline of what needed to bake when, what was next and we had to allow time for the royal icing “glue” to set up.  It was like mission control at NASA.
  5. We started on Friday afternoon and finished about 9 p.m. Saturday night.
  6. I took about 3 days to shop for candy and think of what I needed to make each of the parts.
  7. I kept having to say a famous phrase coined by my friend Terry…”we aren’t saving lives here people, we are just crafting.”
  8. No glue was used.  Everything was assembled using royal icing (which is made of powdered sugar, meringue powder and water).

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I used belt candy to resemble a Saltillo tile front porch — cutting out each section, arranging a patter, and adhering it to a piece of cardboard with royal icing.  I bordered the sides with red and green dot candy.

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I put Garrett in charge of creating the campfire.  He used scraps from the gingerbread, crushed ribbon candy and red belt candy.

I made the lounge chairs from scraps of gingerbread, belt candy and bestie cut pieces of candy canes for the base and lumbar pillows.  I also put bestie in charge of (yes, I did do things, but mostly I was the project manager and bossed people around) making the little packages around trees and by the campfire.

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We took pieces of ribbon candy and German candy called “hamburger” I found at World Market and bestie tied red and green twine around them to create the look of wrapped presents.  She then glued sugar cookie decoration on top like a gift tag.

Miss Bee made the Rice Krispie treats and shaped them into trees, a wreath and the shrubbery.  She also designed the Christmas trees which are sugar cones with tinted royal icing.

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I thought she did an amazing job adding the sprinkle accents of white and red to all the trees.  She free handed the wreath by the front door and adding sweet little white pearls.

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The wheels are discs of gingerbread with a Necco wafer and sugar cookie sprinkle.

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The best part is that the windows of the camper are melted butterscotch candies for a stained glass effect. Garrett placed battery operated lights inside so when the windows glow as if someone is inside the camper!  It was bestie’s idea to use a battery operated ornament necklace for the lights hanging around the camper.   Shredded coconut surrounds the scene.  It’s all just so sweet (literally) and life-like.

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We all agreed our favorite part of the scene is the snowman that Miss Bee created.  She used white chocolate malt balls and stacked them using royal icing.  Red gum drops cut in half were fashioned as the ear muffs, and an orange sliver of a gum drop his nose. A black edible pen finished off his buttons, eyes and smile.  We wrapped red twine around his neck for the scarf.  Raspberry candies circle him as the base for stability with his tiny gingerbread sidekick.   Isn’t he adorable?

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I’ve already started thinking about next year’s creation — I  just hope bestie let’s me come back next Thanksgiving!

Easy DIY Succulent Pumpkin

20161030_182727If you look on Pinterest or Facebook, you might have seen that using succulents to decorate your pumpkins is really trendy right now.  Now that Halloween is over, don’t throw away those un-carved pumpkins. Use them for your Thanksgiving table setting.  This easy DIY took me about 30 minutes.

The succulents are easy to find. If you don’t think you will try to re-pot them once Thanksgiving has been celebrated, Walmart is an affordable place to purchase the types of succulents you need. I had two succulent topiaries left over from Mr. Bee’s birthday party in June.  My florist, Bryan, constructed them by putting sticks through the center of each succulent and then inserted them into a floral oasis ball.   Most were still alive so I just moved them from the foam ball and placed them into the grey pumpkins I had purchased at Sprouts.

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Two gray pumpkins meet a succulent topiary ball…

20161030_173851I got out my cordless drill and used a 9/64th size drill bit to make each hole.  Since my succulents were on sticks, that’s why I needed a drill.  You could make this totally easy and just hot glue your succulents to the pumpkin. But, if you do that, the likelihood of being able to transplant them into soil afterward is pretty slim.

I then inserted the succulent stick into each hole.  I repeated this process until I had the number of succulents and look I was going for.

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I finished by stuffing the empty spaces with moss (easily found in craft stores).  I used floral pins to secure the moss in places, or you could use hot glue.

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I designed one pumpkin to have a “cascade” of succulents coming down one side.  The other pumpkin I just placed them on the top.  I used a marble cake pedestal to elevate one, and grouped them together with candles and a lantern.

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It was fun afternoon project and something unexpected for the table.  I’m really excited to incorporate this into my Thanksgiving centerpiece.  I’ll be sharing ideas with you, too, for setting the table.  Stay tuned.

The Art of Modern Calligraphy

2016-10-18Calligraphy is defined as “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner.”  This penmanship style has been around for hundreds of years, but has seen a resurgence in popularity recently with a modern twist.

20161008_095545I had the chance to take a modern calligraphy class recently with Molly from Poppy Cox, Inc.  This was the real, honest to goodness calligraphy using a nib — a sharpened point dipped into a pot of ink!  Molly had each person’s place set with their own personalized pumpkin and hot pink clipboards with all our practice pages.

She reviewed the basics and started us with the pen.  Here we are practicing holding the nib in our hand. Can you see the tiny metal tip – that is supposed to spread out as you apply the ink to the paper.

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Molly sent us home with a supply kit filled with the basic tools and a few of her favorite supplies.   It was really fun to trace the letters and watch the ink flow out the pen. The above photo shows how the ink was still wet. I felt like Martha Washington penning a letter to George.

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We all agreed we have a much better appreciation for the time it takes for someone to hand-letter envelopes or pen invitations –something I would love to be able to practice to do for Christmas cards and invitations.

poppy-cox-incI had so much fun I decided to partner up with Molly to offer a private class in my home on Saturday, October 29 at 10 a.m. The class fee of $75 (a $25 discount for my readers) includes tools, tips, supplies and practice time, plus a yummy breakfast casserole featuring Salty Pig sausage, my famous cinnamon rolls, mimosas and coffee. If you are local to Fort Worth and would like to join us, comment with your email address and we will send you an invoice to register your seat.  This is a perfect way to learn the basics for the holidays — think gift tags, menu cards and chalkboard lettering!

Molly and I hope to see you there!

Two Ideas for Fall Themed Wreaths

cotton-wreath-on-doorAlmost two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Chip and Joanna Gaines when they hosted a fall workshop in Waco.  This was pre-Silos days.  They were just on the cusp of how popular they are now.  I purchased a pair of tickets and asked one of my besties, Mary, to meet me in Waco for her birthday.  She told her co-worker “I’m going to some fall thing with some people named Chip and Jo.”  Now, Chip and Jo are household names.  If you want to read about the lovely time we had read it here (p.s. Chip and Joanna are just like they are on TV.  Lovely, genuine, and real).

I purchased this cotton wreath in their “little” pop up market and it sat unadorned until this past weekend.

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I was cleaning out my ribbon stash and found a roll of “chalkboard” ribbon from The Container Store I purchased last Christmas.  I thought it would be perfect with the wreath so I enlisted the help of my crafty friend Cindy to make me a bow, because she’s the bow queen.

cotton-wreath-without-lanternI also had some brown burlap ribbon from Hobby Lobby and Cindy used it all to make a spectacular bow.  I took a CraftSmart brand white paint pen and lettered “Welcome Home” on the ribbon.

I am going for a more muted tone of pumpkins on my porch this year like grays and white so this cotton wreath will be perfect.

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Another wreath I wanted to use for the fall is my faux magnolia wreath.  I also purchased mine from Magnolia Market when they offered them as a deal of the week.  It’s beautiful on it’s own without embellishment, but I was inspired by a post on Decorsteals to add a fall banner to mine (they also offer a magnolia wreath).

Remember my story on “Six Tips for Antiquing” shopping trip (read about it here)?  Well, this is the twist on a chalkboard — an old cabinet door.  I hung it out on the back patio on the cedar shiplap wall.  I thought it would be the perfect spot for the magnolia wreath.

fall-magnolia-wreathThe burlap banner and the black and gold polka dot letter stickers are from Michael’s and I created my own “fall” banner by just sticking the letters to the burlap.  It worked out perfectly to hang it from the door hardware on one side and the cabinet knob on the other.  While I intended to use the cabinet door as a chalkboard surface, I have been challenged to find a marker that adheres to the glass without skipping.  I may just have to use this as a prop for different wreaths and banners through the seasons.  But, I still love it because it looks “found.”

So, this is your challenge.  Take what you already have and find new ways to re-purpose them into something new to you!

Save the Date! Amy Howard at Home Hand’s On Workshop

jabos-headerI am so excited to announce that Home with a Twist is partnering with Jabo’s Ace Hardware for a special hands-on Amy Howard at Home workshop on Saturday, October 1 from 10 a.m. – noon at the Fort Worth Jabo’s Ace Hardware.

bird-seed-pail-3Amy Howard is an exclusive line of eco-friendly paint products that help you to rescue, restore and redecorate most anything in your home.

This fun “make and take” class will teach us how to transform a simple galvanized pail into a one-of-a-kind container for pet food or bird seed.

Galvanized metal is so popular right now in home decor, this on-trend workshop will feature chicken-feed-pail-2Amy Howard at Home Parisian Zinc Solution to give the pails a weathered, antiqued look. But, we will add a modern twist by adding additional products like Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint, High Performance Lacquer and Clear Wax.  Your friends (even the furry ones) will be envious of your creation when you bring it home!

The class is only $35 and includes all the supplies needed during class, your own customized project to take home and yummy snacks.  Space is limited so be sure to register quickly to reserve your spot in class. If you want to know more what to expect, click here to watch a video on how the magic happens using the Parisian Zinc Solution.  I hope to apply the technique we learn in class to create a galvanized top to a piece of furniture!

dog-foodStay tuned.  There is a container for cat food…but the cats were busy and not interested in being in the photos.

I am so excited to be working with Jabo’s Ace and I hope you and your friends will join me for a morning full of fun, inspiration and learning something new!

Calendar Girl — Making Art from Old Calendars

rifle paper frames in gameroomHere’s an easy project I did a few years ago to re-purpose a wall calendar from Rifle Paper Company, one of my favorite paper sources.  I didn’t want to stop enjoying the lovely, floral botanical images so I made them into artwork.

Calendar art how toI already had frames of a similar type with large mats, a style I prefer, and for the frames that didn’t have a mat I took them to Michael’s and they cut the mats for me to my specifications.  I went through the calendar and decided to use pages that meant the most to me — months representing the birthdays of my parents and siblings and our wedding anniversary — February, April, May, June and August.

I am really not a DIY gal so I tend to do things in a less scientific way. When it came time to figure out the correct size for each frame, I just laid the glass or mat from the frame on the image I wanted to highlight, traced around the edge of the glass/mat with a pencil, then cut the image with scissors and put the page into each of the frames.

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Some frames weren’t big enough for the calendar portion of the page, so I just focused on the month or the flowers.  Something I didn’t do, but would be fun, is to circle the important dates on the calendar.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  The gallery of art is soothing, beautiful and meaningful to me.  Plus this DIY project cost less than $30 for a few pieces of mat board and I recycled a perfectly good calendar. As we near the end of 2016, now would be good time to find clearance calendars to do this project for yourself or as a wedding, baby or housewarming gift.

Wednesday’s Weave: Pet Stain Removal — Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

IMG_1238At my blogging conference, they encouraged when you write to be real.  So, this is me being real. This is not a pretty post. This is a gross post.  But the reality is if you have pets, especially dogs, you are going to have pet stains. It’s my least favorite thing about having dogs.  Cats tend to “revisit” their food, so there’s that.  BTW…why am I the only one in the house that sees that stains?  My co-hosts walk right by them, “oh, I didn’t see that.”

Here’s my step-by-step trick for removing pet stains.  It all starts with plain, white vinegar and good old baking soda.  I buy both in bulk at Costco.  I fill a spray bottle with vinegar and keep a smaller container of baking soda (the bulk bag is like a big flour-sized bag, I fill up my container and keep the rest in the garage) on the shelf in the laundry room with a roll of paper towels.  If I find an accident, I can quickly get my supplies.

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Yes, here it is.  In all it’s glory. Urine.  We all have it, but some of us use the toilet or go in the grass.  Once you find the unsightly scene, spray the affected areas with a good dose of vinegar until it’s pretty damp.

Sometimes, you can just let it sit for a few minutes then blot it up with paper towels (be sure to have a plastic grocery bag or trash bag on hand for the used paper towels).  But, if you want to make certain to get the stain all the way out and deodorize the mishap, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the stain.

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As soon as the baking soda hits the vinegar it will have a chemical reaction and start to bubble and fizz.  This is the mighty baking soda kicking into action.  If you can, it’s best to let the baking soda do its work overnight until dry.

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The next day it will be a dry powder.  I sweep it up with a brush and dust pan.  It’s best to do this first to get the excess up before you vacuum so you aren’t filling the vacuum canister with excess baking soda.  It will be more solid since it’s soaked up the vinegar and stain.

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This is what’s left…

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Now you can vacuum over the area.

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There you go.  Clean and smells fresh.  I’ve had success doing this with “revisited” food and spills.  I also use baking soda in my washer.  I put about 1/4 cup full in the detergent dispenser, a few drops of essential oil, then throw a laundry detergent pod into the washer.  It’s great for whites and towels and clothing that needs a boost of fresh.  The bonus is it also keeps your washer from smelling.

So, there’s your Wednesday Weave.  Let me know if you try this trick!