I’m Feeling Inspired – Independence Day!

For any of you lovely readers in the USA, Happy 4th of July! I hope you have some fun/relaxing plans with friends and/or family. My pup is not a big fan of fireworks so we’ll likely bypass the festivities tonight, but I still love all the USA love that happens during this time. If only we could band together like this more often in celebration of this incredible country.

 

I attempted a red, white, and blue cake last year. It was surprisingly quick & easy (well…it should be quicker for you. Just make sure you have more than 1 cake pan, I only have one so it took a long time to cook each layer individually). I love cutting into ombré cakes at parties, always fun! You can check out that post here if you want to see the step by step process.

Red White and Blue Cake_3

 

Here are a few other pictures I’ve come across recently.  

 

Independence day

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USA

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USA

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USA

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Patriotic fun and games to celebrate Independence Day! | Working Mother

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Indepence Day - Thanks to those who serve military usa america red white blue independence 4 of july served

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✯ Symbols Of Freedom

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DIY – Paint Dipped Holiday Pinecones

No grocery post this week. Partially because I’ll be at my parents house for the holiday, and partially because I’ve been fighting off a terrible cold. Just when I think I’m getting better, it takes a turn for the worse. I ended up taking Friday off of work, and I slept away most of the weekend. Ugh…I just want to feel better already. So instead of my grocery challenge update this week, I have an easy little DIY that I did a few weeks ago.

These would be great on a holiday table, mantle, or use them for place cards by tucking a little piece of paper with your guest’s name into the top.

Paint Dipped Pinecone_1

Last year I purchased a bag of Cinnamon Pinecones during the holidays. I love the scent so much that I left them out all year. I’ve used them in a variety of crafts and they work with a rustic decor year round. You can just spritz them with a little cinnamon oil when they need to be refreshed.

Paint Dipped Pinecone_2

You don’t need the cinnamon scented ones for this project. Use whatever pinecones you can find outside. If necessary, let them dry out for a few days. If you think there are any little bugs in there, toss them in a plastic bag, and store them in the freezer overnight.

 Paint Dipped Pinecone_3

Next, grab some paint. I used some bronze, gold, and silver paint that I already had, so the project ended up being free. Golden is my favorite brand of paint for shimmery metallic finishes. They are an ‘art’ paint, not craft paint, so they are more expensive.

 Paint Dipped Pinecone_4

Paint the outer third of each scale. I also painted the outer ‘pointy’ edge so that the scales appeared ‘dipped’ in paint. I found it easiest to work from the bottom up.

 Paint Dipped Pinecone_5

 Paint Dipped Pinecone_6

I finished all three pinecones in about 20 minutes. It was easy and so versatile. How fun would these be painted with fluorescent paint and used for a spring mantle! You could also attach a string or ornament hanger and use them to decorate your tree.

 Paint Dipped Pinecone_7

 Paint Dipped Pinecone_8

If you want a little sheen, you could spray the finished pinecone with an acrylic sealer.

DIY: Heart Art

Technically I did this project for Valentines Day, but it really doesn’t have to be only for February. I think it would look adorable in a little kids room year around, in fact, it’s an easy project that kids can do with you.

Heart Art

I started out with a piece of framed art from Christmas. I had hung this over the mantle for the holidays, but wanted to use the frame for something else throughout the year and this project seemed perfect.

Step 1:

Find an empty frame. A floating frame would look really beautiful with this type of art too, the hearts would appear to be floating on your wall.

Heart Art

Step 2:

I took the Christmas Art out and replaced it with a blank sheet of white computer paper. Nothing fancy here.

Heart Art

Step 3:

Collect the rest of your supplies.

  • Heart shaped scrapbook punches (I used two different sizes)
  • Rubber Cement
  • Scrapbooking or other colored paper

Heart Art

Step 4:

Cut out a bunch of hearts from the scrapbook paper. Begin laying them out to get an idea of the design before you start gluing them down.

Heart Art

Step 5:

Start Gluing to the frame and glass using rubber cement.

This project was all about texture. I folded some hearts in half to give them a 3D look, others I left flat. Most were glued directly to the glass, while some were glued to the frame for additional dimension. The reason I glued on top of the glass, instead of laying them under, was so that I could fold them. This was my alternative to using a more expensive shadowbox.

I used the rubber cement because after February I expect to remove the hearts and use the frame for something else. This is purely temporary for this month.

Heart Art

I wanted it to look like the hearts were sweeping across the frame. There was no magic in how I laid them out, it was all by eye and how the pieces was flowing.

Heart Art

Heart Art

Step 6:

The finished piece. Add some hangers, if necessary, and hang on the wall.

Heart Art

I really love how it turned out and there is a part of me that is considering leaving it up longer than February. It also sparked my art bug again and I can’t wait to dig into my paints soon. I’m thinking the paintings in the spare bedroom may have some mixed media incorporated, perhaps some hearts…

Heart Art

Heart Art

Heart Art

Total Project Cost Breakdown:

Frame/Mat/Paper/Glass (Already Owned) = $0

Scrapbook paper (Michael’s, clearance colors) = $.19 each (I used 4 colors so it cost $.76 and I have plenty left over)

Large Heart Punch (Michael’s) = $12 (on 40% off)

Small Heart Punch (Michael’s) = $2.50 (also 40% off)

Rubber Cement (Staples) = $2.50

Total Cost: $17.76

If you are a crafter then you likely have heart shaped punches already and the project would cost only a few dollars. For anyone that likes this idea, be sure to check out your local craft store right after Valentine’s day, they will likely put heart craft items on clearance and you could purchase some for next year.

I hope everyone is having an excellent Valentine’s Day…I’ll be back later today to show you a special Valentine gift I’ve been planning.

Heart Art

DIY: Adding Texture To Garden Pots & My Valentine Front Door

Yes, I disappeared for a few days. I blame it on the Sinus headache and Taxes. I’m finally able to breathe again (thank you DayQuil/NyQuil Sinux) and my taxes are DONE!! Oh yeah, it’s been a real party over here for the past few days. I promise better posting in the coming days, but in the meantime I need to follow up on a project I told you about the other day.

A few days ago I shared with you about the cork heart that I made for my front door post.

Cork Heart Sign

In addition to the heart, I also decorated some cheap garden pots to follow the same purple/pink color theme.

Valentine Door

Valentine Door

Valentine Door

My poor front door post needs a new coat of paint. Apparently my neighbors celebrated New Years with silly string. I noticed it a few days later, all over my porch. It would have been nice if they tried to clean it up or just let me know, that stuff is like glue. I was able to get a lot of it off, but there is some permanently adhered to the post.

Valentine Door

Transforming the pot was easy.

Step 1:

Collect your supplies.

  • Cheap plastic garden pot and saucers
  • Puffy Paint
  • Spray Paint
  • Pencil

Puffy Paint Garden Pots

I purchased these plastic garden pots/saucers at Home depot for about $2 each.

Step 2:

Using the Puffy Paint, I added rows of dots on each pot. I used a pencil line as a guide which made it easier to keep the lines straight.

Puffy Paint Garden Pots

Puffy Paint Garden Pots

Step 3:

One the puffy paint had fully dried, I spray painted the smaller pot a Satin White using some leftover spray paint I had on hand. I used a glossy purple for the larger pot.

To keep the pot from sticking to the saucer I let them dry for 24 hours, then I dropped in a potted plant. Yes, I admit I’m somewhat lazy, I didn’t actually pot the plant. I put the pot in a pot. (I need to stop giving away my secrets…)

Valentine Door

I think they turned out quite well and I can see using these throughout the year.

Project Cost Breakdown (Finished Front Door Design):

Plastic Pots/Saucers (Home Depot) = $6

Cork Heart (Tutorial Here) = $0

Pink & White Plants (Already Owned) = $0

Bell Wreath (Already Owned) = $0

White Spray Paint (Already Owned) = $0

Purple Gloss Spray Paint (Home Depot) = $4

Total Project Cost: $10

DIY: Cork Heart Holiday Sign

I already confessed that I don’t like Halloween…well…I don’t really like Valentines Day either. I know, I’m a total scrooge. I suppose I don’t have a problem at all with the actual Valentines Day, as a hopeless romantic, I do like days all about LOVE. My problem is that I don’t think you should need a holiday to buy your loved one some flowers. I would appreciate a bouquet so much more on a random Thursday than what you get on Valentines Day. But that’s just me…

With that said, I do like the romanticism of February so I do have a few Valentine themed craft/design plans up my sleeve for the next few weeks. First up was to swap out the winter theme door sign. Since it had a bit of a ‘Winter’ vibe, I’ve kept it up until now. 

JOY Yarn Holiday Sign

So I took down the trees and the ‘JOY’ sign, but left up the purple/green bell wreath. Instead of wrapping more letters in yarn, I used up the last of the corks to make a heart shaped sign.

Cork Heart Sign

Step 1:

Collect your supplies.

  • Corks (I used about 35 corks), cut each cork in half
  • Straight Edge Blade
  • Piece of paper/Pen
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue/Gun
  • Screw Eye
  • Ribbon
  • Paint/Markers (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

Cork Heart Sign

Step 2:

Using the paper, fold it in half. Draw half a heart and cut it out using the scissors. This will be your guide for arranging the corks. Draw the heart as big as you want the finished sign to be.

Cork Heart Sign

Cork Heart Sign

Step 3:

Arrange the corks to get an idea of how many you will need. I cut mine in half because I didn’t have enough to complete the heart with the corks at full size. However, if you have enough, then you don’t need to cut them down.

Cork Heart Sign

Cork Heart Sign

Cork Heart Sign

Step 4: (Optional)

I wanted a heart that had a lot more purple so I decided to color the natural corks. I used a PrismaColor Violet Marker on a few at first. Pink and Red also worked really well in case you don’t like purple.

Cork Heart Sign

Cork Heart Sign

Step 5:

Using the hot glue, start gluing all your corks together.

Cork Heart Sign

Cork Heart Sign

Once the heart shape is glued together, you can start filling the heart. You may need to cut some of the corks down in order to make them fit.

Cork Heart Sign

The finished heart! I seriously considered leaving it as is, it was quite beautiful with just the natural and wine colored corks.

Cork Heart Sign

But I really had my heart set on a dark purple heart. So I broke out my paint, mixed up a very deep purple and started painting the corks. I did leave a few of the wine colored visible because I loved them too much to cover them up.

Cork Heart Sign

Step 6:

I added a screw eye at the top of the heart and threaded some light green ribbon so it would hang nicely on the front door post.

Cork Heart Sign

Cork Heart Sign

Since I ran out of sunlight, I’ll have to share the finished front door post on another day. I’ll also share what replaced the Christmas trees at the base of the post.

I already owned everything to make this sign, so the final cost was $0. FREE!

Holiday Food Wrap-Up

Yesterday was a lot of fun and there was plenty of great food. However, I only took pictures of the appetizers because they were by far my favorite. I also made some dark chocolate pistachio toffee for dessert. It’s addictive and I’ll be sharing that recipe in a separate post sometime in the next week.

S’mores Marshmallow Pops

Holiday Foodie 2011

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Sugared Cranberries & Dark Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti in the background (I’ll share this recipe later as well)

Holiday Foodie 2011

Toffee fixin’s

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Chocolate Fruit Skewers

Holiday Foodie 2011

Holiday Foodie 2011

Blueberry Gingerbread

Blueberry Gingerbread

Balsamic Almonds

Balsamic Almonds

Holy Goodness!

Holiday Foodie 2011

Holiday Foodie 2011

For the decor I used my vintage blue ball jars, pinecones and Christmas lights. I absolutely loved them and am trying to figure out how to leave them all year long.

Holiday Appetizer Decor 2011

 

I don’t have any pictures right now, but as a DIY junkie I got the best gifts ever this year, a workbench for my garage and some tools. I can’t wait to set them up and starting sawing things in half, oh yeah!

Aside from the frustrating back injury, it was a great day and we all had a wonderful time.

What was the best part of your celebration this year?

Happy Holidays!

I’m currently hobbling around the house with a ridiculously painful back injury from yesterday morning. Christmas baking, it’s dangerous I tell you! However, I’m determined to make this Christmas dinner amazing. Luckily my parents will be over in a bit to help with all the heaving lifting so things are bound to get better.

In the meantime, I wanted to stop by and wish everyone an amazing holiday. Whatever you are celebrating, I hope it is special and full of magic.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Christmas Dinner Menu

This year I am hosting Christmas Dinner at my house and I’ve decided to try something new. I have planned for several new recipes and it will be more of a small plates meal. Lots of items cooked in small quantities so we can try everything without being too stuffed. Oh, let’s face it…we’ll never want to eat again..but it will be worth it!

image

 

Small Bites

Sweet & Spicy Hot Links

Artichoke Dip

Balsamic Almonds

S’more Pops

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

 

Entree

Roasted Turkey Breast

Mom’s Cranberries

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Gratin

Mashed Potatoes w/ Shallots & Thyme

Honey Mustard Braised Brussels Sprouts

Sourdough Sausage Stuffing

Homemade Biscuits

Gravy

 

Dessert

Dark Chocolate Toffee

Apple Tart & Vanilla Bean Gelato

 

Photo Source

DIY Christmas Ornament 18: Paint Dipped Pinecones

I’m not sure why I leaved my favorite ornaments for last, but this is by far one of my favorites. The greatest thing about dipping pinecones in paint is that they aren’t limited to being Christmas ornaments. I can actually keep these out year round since I’ve used soft natural colors. I expect these will end up in vases and bowls throughout the house for the next 12 months.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Step 1:

Collect your supplies.

  • Pinecones
  • Push Pin
  • Basic Wire Ornament Hanger
  • Various Cans of House Paint
  • Paint Stir Sticks
  • Nail/Hammer
  • Paint Tray
  • Ribbon

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Step 2:

Using a push pin, make a hole in the pinecone.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Thread a wire ornament hanger through the hole you just made.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Step 3:

Set up a paint station.

Using a nail and hammer, put several holes near the sides of the paint sticks. Balance them across the paint cans. Set a paint tray underneath the paint stick to catch any paint that drips from the pinecones.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Step 4:

Hold onto the wire hanger and dip the pinecone into the can of paint.

Tip: Use a soft brush or towel to brush any dirt off the pinecone before dipping it. This will minimize any stray dirt that gets into the can of paint.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Be sure to dip the pinecone slowly, holding it over the paint can for a few moments to let it drain a bit.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Step 5:

Hang the pinecone from the holes you put in the stir stick.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Step 6:

Continue dipping all the pinecones in the paint and hang to dry.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Paint Dipped Pinecones

Step 7:

Allow the pinecones to drain/dry for at least 24 hours.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Paint Dipped Pinecones

Paint Dipped Pinecones

Step 8:

For those that you want to hang from the tree, use the hanger that is already hooked into the pinecone. For decoration, add a bow or ribbon around the hanger.

For all the rest, remove the hanger and decorate anywhere you like. The possibilities are endless.

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Paint Dipped Pinecone

Paint Dipped Pinecones

Project Cost Breakdown (per Ornament):

Pinecones (Found – Already Owned) = $0

Push Pin (Already Owned) = $0

Basic Wire Ornament Hanger (Already Owned) = $0

Various Cans of House Paint (Already Owned) = $0

Paint Stir Sticks (Already Owned/Free from Lowes) = $0

Nail/Hammer (Already Owned) = $0

Paint Tray (Already Owned) = $0

Ribbon (Already Owned) = $0

Total Project Cost: $0

 

I know that I originally said I would complete 20 ornaments; however this will be the last one of the series for this year. I have more ornaments than my little 3 foot tree will hold; and that least two will not be dry enough to share over the next few days. I hope you enjoyed the series, it’s been a blast to share it with you. If you missed any of the DIY Ornaments this year, you can see a full collection recap here.