Feb 222018

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When I first heard that Easter was on April 1st, I thought for sure someone was trying to pull an early April Fool’s joke.  Turns out I was wrong and they were right – Easter is on April 1st this year!

As if to continue the odd joke, it is the middle of February and our weather currently feels like spring.  Never before have I felt so far behind so early.  Goodness Golly, it is the middle of February!  While it is a warmer winter/spring than what is normal, and we may still get a freeze, it is a good reminder that Spring is on our doorstep.

I have been doing better at getting ahead of things this year.  While the pre-planning for Valentines Day this year did not happen as I had hoped it would, I did hit the after-holiday sales and am set for next year’s gifts, treat bags, and cards all at 50-75% off!!!

To keep the ball rolling, I decided to tackle a few other ideas and get a step up on Easter decorating.  We are not huge Easter Bunny fans, so no Easter Egg Trees like I had growing up.  Instead our decorations will focus on the Christian aspect of the Easter celebration – Jesus’ crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection  from the tomb (Easter).

The decorations this year will fulfill two roles – a garden craft and an update of a front door wreath that really should have been tackled a few years back. Looking to keep our budget small and incorporate several items we already had, I made my plans then loaded up the kids and headed to the local Dollar Tree.

The Front Door Wreath

When we were moving a year ago, there were items I had to decide whether to take or pass along.  This wreath was one items that I hemmed and hawed about for a few minutes.  It was an item I had picked up second hand years ago. By this point in its life, the accessories has seen better days – they were looking faded, dusty, and fairly droopy.  However, the wreath itself was in good shape, a nice big twig wreath.  So, it made the move with the intent to update it once we were here.

When I decided to add a seasonally themed wreath to the door, this sorely outdated wreath came to mind, “If I take off the current accessories and add new ones, the whole wreath will look brand new.”  That is just what I did.

After a quick stop at the Dollar Tree, I found a sign to use.  It was large enough not to get lost from a distance and simple enough to read as one goes my the house.  I then chose flowers along a complimentary color scheme.  Too many colors would have made it look busy and lacking.

Then the hard messy part began – clearing off all the old accessories (ivy, fake flowers, ribbons, etc.).

The ribbons were fairly easy to remove, as they were stuck in between the sticks of the wreath with short metal spikes.  The greenery, however, was harder.  The flowers were hot glued on and the ivy was tied on with small bits of wire.  A little muscle and an old pair of scissors made short work of getting down to the base.

I could now see what I had to work with, thankful I did not throw this out last year.

To make the most of the two flower bunches I had, I removed each flower stem from the group.  There is wire in the middle of each plastic stem, though not too thick so a pair of scissors and slow firm clips easily separated them.  Now I could mix them up and weave them in place as I wished.

I tried a few ways of arranging the flowers before choosing one method.  A ribbon was even added at one point, so see if something further was needed.  By taking pictures, I was easily able to compare various looks and see the overall effect from further away. (These photos were taken with utility in mind, not aesthetics for posting online.)

After looking, and asking opinions, I decided to nix the ribbon and keep it simple.  If the ribbon had been wire trimmed then perhaps it would have worked.  As it was, this was a bit of very floppy ribbon from my craft supplies and was not laying right.

I think the over all reinvention of this wreath was a success.  I love how it goes with the color of my door and has a fresh clean look to it.  All for only $3! Easter At Dollar Tree – Everything Is Just $1

note: I am aware it is hanging crooked and it is driving me crazy.  I tried to fix it at that time, but had to head inside to make supper.  I did straighten it some this morning, but need to go back out and do a better job of getting it all hanging correctly.  Right now I am happy to have it hanging and not still sitting in the attic and on my to-do list.

Resurrection Garden

While at the Dollar Tree getting supplies for the wreath above, I also picked up a few supplies I needed to finish making a resurrection garden.  This is an idea I saw online and thought would be a great reminder to have at home, to bring our thinking back to what we are celebrating. Contrary to what the kids may think, the main focus of Easter (for us) is not eating chocolate Easter bunnies and finding brightly colored eggs around the yard.  Sorry, kids.

I already had an extra pot, but needed to pick up: soil, a small clay pot, stones, and grass seed.  3 of those 4 things were to be found at the Dollar Tree.  A few dollars more were spent on a small bag of seed from a big box store nearby.


The supplies for this project included:

*I have yet to acquire these items, but am on the look out for them.

The time to put this together was less than 5 minutes, though it will take several days for the grass to sprout and begin growing.

First, due to the depth of my pot, I added soil to the bottom.  Not wanting to have to cut a pot in half, as I had seen other tutorials do, I turned the pot on its side and partially buried it in the soil.

I then covered the back of the clay pot and the back half of the larger pot with extra soil, making a mound.

The smaller clay pot is set off-center, allowing me to make a trail out of the pebbles leading up the mound. Once I find some small sticks I will add 3 crosses to the top of the ‘hill’.

Lastly, I sprinkled grass seed on the soil and moistened it with a spray bottle.  Each day I will moisten it again and should see grass appearing in about a week’s time.

This will make a great visual aid in telling the Easter story, as well as a reminder of why we are celebrating the season.

There you have it, two fairly quick, budget-friendly Easter decorations for your garden.  This last one would be especially great to bring some green to your home if you are in the midst of a dreary winter and are antsy for something to grow.

What are some of the ways you are decorating this year?  Share in the comments below, I would love to hear about or see what you have been working on.


Jun 152016

cutting closet woodInspiration can be like a wave, far away then suddenly crashing into you with such force you get knocked over. It seems to come while your attention to focused on something else in the opposite direction.

I have spent countless hours, usually while painting, trying to figure out what to do with our new, very large closet.  I looked at pictures online, looked for ideas with apps such as Houzz, and checked out This Old House for ideas and suggestions.  In the end I had a lot more idea than when I had began, but nothing seemed to fit my need.

I have turned it over and over in my mind to no avail. The back wall/ceiling angles toward the front of the closet, starting at about 4 feet up from the floor. I searched and searched the internet for ideas, but found nothing to fit our needs. Last night I changed my search terms and found the beginning of my wave.

The first trickle almost knocked my socks off with the cost; it was a $120 find. That was only for the supports for the rod. Hmm. Not quit what I wanted as my goal is to spend under $100 for the whole closet. BUT it meant there were options out there and I was on the right track.

I kept going.

Then I came across the Closet of Greatness.  I felt their pain on the closet issue. Then I saw their solution. Not only did it solve my dilemma, but it also fit my budget.

That is when the wave made my knees start to buckle.

This afternoon I was standing in front of the closet when the rest of the wave knocked me right over. See, I was working on the garage his morning , not even thinking about the closet. Well, except maybe to grumble about it to myself.

I was returning tools to the closet, not intending to think about the layout at all, when it hit me. I had been going about it all wrong.

Now that I no longer needed a floor-to-ceiling support half way through, I did not have to have a shelving unit between the doors going from the front to the back of the closet. “But what about shelving?” So I measured.

I should have enough room to make a two-tiered closet, a rod up high and one lower. The lower one will be set back some, supported by brackets along the flat wall.

“Brackets like I have in our current closet. …. Brackets that can have a shelf attached to them!”

The wave hit me full force.

All at once I found ourselves 13 feet of shelving space and 26 feet of hanging space. Given I barely use the 3 feet I currently have, I think we will be good on room to hang our clothes.

The shelf will serve as space for linens, shoes, etc. This will eliminate the need for a shoe rack and for storing our sheets in Jack’s closet.

I need to run the idea past my husband and get his input, of course, before moving forward. It is his closet, too, after all.

There are some details I have to iron out, like whether to add the lower rod right now or wait or whether to put our dressers in there and add rods and shelves on the extra space around them.



I have ordered the Angled Ceiling Supports from Groover and installed the closet.  I wanted to wait to post this till it was all in and I decided whether I was happy with the solution I had found.  Though there were several patience trying moments, most of them were of my own making or due to a previous contractor’s measuring issue. (more on that below.)

I have now had the closet in for a few weeks and am really happy with the supports for our closet.  Once I had the right tools, and no whining kids who did not understand why they could not just drill holes at will, things went well.

Before beginning I had called Groover Enterprises to ask a few questions.  David took the time to answer my questions, even though he was working on something else at that time.  I appreciated his attention and assurances on measurements.

Here is what the final result looks like:

diy closet system

A trip to the local hardware store resulted in a 16 foot rod to use for hanging clothes.  Thankfully it was the local store, as my car does not have the space to put a 16 foot pool inside. We took the side streets back to the house.

I also opted to go for a pine board for the shelf rather than a laminated board.  Not only did it cost less, but I could stain it to match the closet rods and the future, hopefully soon, doors and trim for the room.

staining closet wood

Another change I made was to place both of our dressers inside the closet.  My husband was not so sure of the idea, but I like that they will be behind closed doors.  They also add a horizontal surface at no additional cost.  If we do not like it, I can always go back and change it.

Having made that change, I was able to use a left over rod from our basement.  I am not sure why the previous owners had this, apparently there were plans for it that never transpired.  It has come in handy though and several projects have cut it down from 16+ feet long to now about 2 feet.

Using stain and polyurethane I already owned, I began the process of turning the unfinished wood into something that looked classier.  Setting up saw-horses in the garage over top a plastic sheeting gave me room to work.  The staining took the longest drying but not in application.  Adding the polyurethane meant the wood and stain would be protected and have a semi-gloss finish.  This is a step that you do not have to do, but which pays off over time and is a nice final touch.

Another time consuming step that I had not planned on, was finding the studs behind the drywall.  I measured and marked, having a good idea of where they should be.  As it turns out, they were off several times.  I played “find the stud” with the drill rather than use the stud finder.  Why? I find that the stud finder does not always find the stud and takes longer in the end.

Below: I had found one stud on the third try (on the right, marked with the check mark), measured the 12 inches to where I thought the other one was, then got really frustrated when I didn’t find it and decided to just drill in a line both directions till I did find it.  Turns out it was at 15 1/2 inches.  What you do not see is that the one after this was at 16 1/2 inches.  And the one after that?  Well, it was finally at the 16 inches it was supposed to be … if they were not at the 12 inches like I thought they were placed.  Honestly, this was the worst seek-and-find of all the places.  Thankfully it is hidden by the shelf.

finding closet studs

Below: This was more typical of me trying to find the studs.  In this case my first two holes ended up just on either side of the stud.  It took the rest of the holes for me to figure that out and make my last hole in the middle of the first two I had drilled.  Thankfully not all were like this, though there were enough to make me extremely frustrated by the process.  Out of the 6 upper supports, I had trouble finding 3.  Considering two were next to the wall, that is not a good average.closet remodel finding studs

I am glad I did not jump in with a more complicated arrangement.  Instead I have a nice base for adding to or changing in the future as we use the closet and see what our needs warrant.

So, did all this work really save money?


  • In all my costs were very near $100, about half of that being the supports for the clothes rods.  I may have gone over by a few dollars due to buying a new can of polyurethane.  I opted for the larger can, knowing I would be needing it in the near future and any unused product would keep for future, unknown projects.
  • We now have stained wood for our closet system rather than the coated wire option.  Even if we had wanted to go with the wire option, available at most stores, it would not have worked for our closet dimensions.  It also would have cost around $400 to find something for half of the closet.
  • While it took a bit longer for me to buy, cut, stain, and varnish the wood, I enjoyed the process and did not need to pay someone to do it.

child helping with closet

This project was also easy enough that I will do something similar with our now ‘old’ closet.  This closet has rods to hang clothes on, also double-tiered, but ones which were not stained nor attached to the brackets.  That particular project was a first for me, and more involved in a shorter amount of time than the closet above.

I am going to stain and add polyurethane to the rods with the kids’ help.  Being able to use rags instead of brushes as applicators makes it much more kid friendly.

While the kids may not appreciate the skill at this time, my hope is it will at least give them the confidence as they are older to tackle things on their own.  This is the same reason I let them help patch (small areas) of dry wall, use the drill to make holes and put in screws, paint, pull carpet, cut boards, etc.

Mar 252016

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through a link and purchase a product this blog will receive a small portion at no added cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Don’t forget, Craftsy is having a sale for their Online DIY Classes, 3/25-3/28.  This is a great time to take a step in learning something new or improving in an area you are already learning.  With 1,000+ classes there is a wide selection available.

With the Craftsy guarantee you know you will be able to watch the lessons any time and from anywhere, and your access never expires.  There is also a 100% money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the product.

Whether you are looking for classes, tutorials, fabric, yarn, paint, art, drawing, painting, baking, cooking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, stamping, sewing, photography, knitting, quilting, woodworking, gardening, or home decor, Craftsy.com is the one stop place for all your DIY classes.

Mar 202016

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through a link and purchase a product this blog will receive a small portion at no added cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

If you missed the DIY Class Bundle Sale two weeks ago, you are in luck.  Craftsy is having a sale for their Online DIY Classes, 3/25-3/28

Learn from instructors in 1,000+ classes.  With the Craftsy guarantee you know you will be able to watch the lessons any time and from anywhere, and your access never expires.  There is also a 100% money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the product.

Whether you are looking for classes, tutorials, fabric, yarn, paint, art, drawing, painting, baking, cooking, cake decorating, scrapbooking, stamping, sewing, photography, knitting, quilting, woodworking, gardening, or home decor, Craftsy.com is the one stop place for all your DIY classes.

Mar 172016

3/17-3/20 craft supplies will be on sale at Craftsy.  No getting dressed or wasting time driving in the car.  Go online and do all your craft shopping while you are thinking about it.

Craftsy carries a wide variety of craft supplies for almost every sort of craft you may be looking to accomplish:

  • fabric
  • yarn
  • art
  • drawing
  • painting
  • baking
  • cooking
  • cake decorating
  • scrapbooking
  • stamping
  • sewing
  • photography
  • knitting
  • quilting
  • woodworking
  • gardening
  • home decor
  • gifts
  • and more.



Mar 122016

Did you register for one of Craftsy’s class bundles currently on sale and now need supplies?  Or perhaps you are planning something to celebrate the start of spring but find you are needing some more items.  3/17-3/20 craft supplies will be on sale at Craftsy.

Craftsy carries a wide variety of craft supplies for almost every sort of craft you may be looking to accomplish:

  • fabric
  • yarn
  • art
  • drawing
  • painting
  • baking
  • cooking
  • cake decorating
  • scrapbooking
  • stamping
  • sewing
  • photography
  • knitting
  • quilting
  • woodworking
  • gardening
  • home decor
  • gifts
  • and more.



Mar 242015

We had stayed after church on Sunday for a potluck/pitch-in that I had not known was planned.  That was fine as we had to stay in Big Town anyway till that evening for another event at church.  As my husband was out of town, and the wind had turned cool, I decided to take George and Jack to the library for a few hours afterwards.

We were almost at the library when I saw some bookcases sitting along the curb.  Where we live that means they are free.  I like free, it is my favorite price. 🙂

With the remodel going on at our house, I am not exactly in the market for more bookcases.  The one exception is for a tall narrow one to use in our closet to hold shoes.  I had done some shopping online and found a few, but none that really fit what I was looking for and at a reasonable price.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I may have to spend $30 or more on wire shelves in order to find something that could be narrow enough.  I only had just under 12″ free in which to work.

As we got closer to the shelves I did not really slow down, after all, I’m not in the market for more shelves.  More importantly, we were in Big Town and I was in my car with two kids.  There was no way a shelving unit was going to fit into my car.

We were right in front of the shelves when… you know where this is going, don’t you?  We were right in front of them when I realized exactly how narrow these things were.  50 feet later I turned onto a side street and made a U-turn.  I had to move quickly, as the road we went back to had no parking on either side, but did have a bike lane on the side I needed to be on.  There was also a fair amount of traffic.  Stressing to the boys how very important it was to stay seated, I popped our trunk and got out.

curbside rescue bookcase collage

By this point, George and Jack were just excited to actually be stopping to pick up something for free that we could take home.  You could feel the air vibrate with excitement when I made the U-turn.  Yup, I’m training them right, though they still have a way to go.  I try to stress that we only take things we actually have a use for, not just because it is free and you want “some thing” more.  If we do not need it, we leave it for someone else who might.

As I got out I was pretty sure the unit would not fit into my trunk.  All I had to do was get it so it would stay, then fix it once I got to the library parking lot.  Now, let me say that if my husband was with me, he would have been driving and would never have turned around.  Maybe it was a good thing he was not there.  He will enjoy the end result  much more not knowing what it looked like to begin with or exactly how I obtained it.  🙂  In these cases he tells me that ignorance is bliss.

We made it to the parking lot only to find that it would not fit through the opening from the trunk into the main part of the car when my back seats were laid down.  It did not matter how I changed around booster seats, it just was not going to go all the way into the car.  The boys were a bit sad, thinking we would have to leave it behind.  Jack was coming up with all sorts of elaborate plans.  One may have even invovled a helicopter.  So proud of my kid who only a few years ago had NO imagination.  I told them the solution was much simpler – we would take it back to church, leave it there till we went back this evening (we do not want to be sitting around Big Town with our trunk open for a few hours), then drive home with it hanging partially out of the trunk.  The boys agreed, at which time Jack switched and began to come up with elaborately written notes to put on the unit so no one would take it and they would know it was ours.  All 10 other people who were going to be at church.  🙂

The plan worked and we made it home, everything in one  piece.  The unit fits within a few 8th’s of an inch.  I was able to get a better look at it while wiping it down.  A coat of Kilz and paint and it will look better than new.  There is some water damage to the bottom, but it is on a side facing a wall so not a bit issue.

I do not have before and after pictures right now, as we picked it up just yesterday and I have been working on the closet, it is going to be put into soon. (That post to follow very soon, once it gets finished.) For now, try to imagine …

… new white-ish coat of paint on the inside and maybe the outside. I have some leftover paint in the basement from a few years ago.  It is going to be mixed together to paint this bookcase turned shoe rack, as well as the trim in the closet.

… a light blue background to match the wall behind it.  The wall in the closet is going to be a light blue thanks to some “Oops” paint I got at a large home improvement store.

I was thinking of looking for pieces of trim in my stash in the basement, then realized I was getting sidetracked on a detail I can add later.  My hope is to have this unit and the closet finished by Friday.  By Sunday, when my husband returns, I hope to have everything put back into place and a new, more spacious and orderly closet waiting for him.

bookcase location in closet remodel

Apr 262013

After finding several garden related giveaways last week I became curious as to others that may be out there.  Here are several I found and wanted to share with you.

 PartyLite Candles

Party Lite’s 40 Years, 40 Days of Winning – you can enter daily for a home fragrance and home decor prize.  There will be one winner from the US and one from Canada each day.  At the end of the 40 days two winners will be drawn for the Grand Prize – home décor and fragrance package from PartyLite® each month for a year and $5,000 cash.  Ends May 10, 2013.  Among the daily prizes are wind chimes, led lights you can sit outside and other decor items you can use in your garden, as well as items for your house.

mother's day fireplace candelabra giveaway

The Blog at FireplaceMall is hosting a Mother’s Day Giveaway of a  Expandable Fireplace Candelabra.  Ends May 2.  Ambiance for a garden party anyone?

 Nourish Your Body Sweepstakes

Driscoll’s is giving away a Vitamix Blender as a Grand Prize, with 3 First Place winners getting free berries for a year. Ends May 31. I think that would be a tough choice – a great mixer or a year of berries.  Either way I think I would be happy.  Just imagine all the yummy recipes you could make with the berries or the jams.  However, with the mixer you could use items from your garden to make shakes and many other things.


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