A Decorated Tree for the Fourth of July

June 28, 2013

Sometimes I think the easiest way to decorate for a holiday is to use things you have around the house in the colors of the season. What is more Fourth of July than some red, white and blue?

Since I didn't want the tree to sit right on the floor, I used this lidded basket.  When a tree is short (this one is 4 feet)  the top of the tree is what you notice the most because it is at eye level.  If you can lift the tree slightly, or even put it on a low table, the entire tree becomes more of a statement.

 I placed a cardboard box in the basket and then set the tree on top of it.

 To cover the box and the base of the tree, I wrapped an old red, white, and blue quilt around the base and let it hang out over the sides.

The tree has vintage inspired Christmas lights on it.   I wrapped ribbon with red, white and blue stripes and stars on it around the tree, followed by beaded garland (there are still a couple of these left in my online store if you'd like to purchase them). Sometimes I think I over-think this process....it looks better when the beads and ribbon are not perfectly placed around the tree. As hard as it is for me, random is better in this case.

 Then I covered the tree with red, white, and blue Christmas ornaments. I like to tuck some ornaments close to the trunk of the tree and some on the outer branches for a more layered look.

 Also, make sure that you keep the larger ornaments like these fancy red ones, closer to the bottom of the tree or else it will have a weird shape to it when it is decorated.

 Finally, I topped the tree off with a couple of mini flags.

 What do you think?

 I've got some more Fourth of July recipes and decorating ideas planned before the holiday next week. I hope you check back!!!

Decorating with Toolboxes

June 26, 2013

I've received so many nice compliments on the toolbox I posted last week that I was inspired to search the internet for some more great toolbox decorating ideas.

There are so many different toolboxes out there at flea markets, garages sales, or in your own garage or basement.  If they are no longer useful  to hold tools, there are so many other things that you can do with them.  I've seen them used to display flowers, pinecones, or books.  They can be turned into a useful storage box.  I like seeing toolboxes mixed in a display to add some height.

Here are some of my favorites that I found on my search....

Just in time for the Fourth of July is this great entertaining caddy.  What an organized way to set up your silverware, straws, and napkins for your family picnic.  Decorative and Functional!

via One Krieger Chick

I've seen flowers planted in toolboxes before, but I've never seen one mounted on brackets and put on a fence.  I love how the homeowner maintained the rusty look of the box.

via Confessions of a Curb Shopaholic

This toolbox is being used to store silverware and cloth napkins.  What a creative storage idea!

via Pinterest

I'm loving the pop of color that this toolbox brings to the display.  There is such an assortment of interesting things being displayed inside the long wooden box.  So many individual pieces would look cluttered on top of the dresser, but look great when displayed together in the toolbox.

via Chipping with Charm

And here is another toolbox showing a  pop of blue.  Miss Mustard Seed is using it as a wonderful way to display a few small treasures from the kitchen.

via Miss Mustard Seed

Donna from Funky Junk Interiors created this toolbox and then planted it with flowers.  The curvy handle is so interesting.
via Funky Junk Interiors

Donna also created this toolbox with another interesting handle....Such creativity!!!

via Funky Junk Interiors

And finally, while searching for interesting toolbox, I found this brightly colored striped one.  Since all of our tools are laying around now because we've repurposed our toolboxes for decorative purposes, I thought we might need somewhere to store them again!
via Apartment Therapy
What interesting things have you done with vintage toolboxes?

Baked Mixed Berry Pancake

June 25, 2013

This recipe is a great twist on a pancake and being topped with berries makes it a perfect taste for summer.  The recipe could even be adapted to use fresh berries.  What better way to start off your morning that will this delicious pancake and a cup of coffee?

Baked Mixed Berry Pancake
Printable Recipe

2 cups of frozen mixed berries, unthawed
4 teaspoons sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter

Combine your berries with the sugar and set aside.  They will get nice and juicy.

In a mixing bowl, beat the three eggs until they are fluffy.

Then add in the flour, milk, and salt and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.

Place the 2 Tablespoons of butter into a 10 inch cast-iron skillet.  Put the pan into an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees so that the butter melts.  This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

When the butter is melted, immediately pour the batter into the hot skillet and place it back into the oven.

The batter will form a pool surrounded by the melted butter.

Bake the pancake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pancake has risen and is puffed all over.  It will deflate a little after removing it from the oven.

Fill the center of the pancake with your berries and sprinkle on a little cinnamon if you'd like.  This pancake can serve one hungry person or it can be cut into slices for two.  I like to serve it with a side of bacon or sausage.

Printable Recipe

Paint it White

June 24, 2013

On Friday, I showed you how I turned an old beat up toolbox into a great decorative piece (which has since been sold on Etsy, yea!!!!)  Today I'm going to show you a quick refinishing job that I did on the teapot I had purchased at the same estate sale.

When I purchased it, the teapot was missing a lid and the factory printed picture was chipped in a few places.  I thought it had such a cute shape, though, and white pitchers are very popular in decorating right now.

I sanded the places where the picture was printed so that the outline wouldn't show through the paint.  Then I sponged on two coats of white chalk paint using Martha Stewart's Foam Pouncers (this gave the paint a textured finish) and a couple brushed coats of satin varnish to make it slightly shiny.  I brushed antiquing medium over it and wiped almost all of it off with a damp rag, leaving a little more around the edges of the opening and raised edges on the sides. (Sorry, I was a bad blogger and didn't take any pictures!)

This process can be done to just about anything that you like the shape of but not the paint finish.....knicknacks, lighting fixtures, furniture. You can make the process even easier by using white spray paint.  The chalk paint does seem to adhere nicely to a smooth surface, however.

I found a few other ideas on the internet:

via Scissors and Spatulas

via An Oregon Cottage

via 4 Men 1 Lady

via Tremendously Thrifty

A Repurposed Toolbox

June 20, 2013

A few weeks ago, I showed you a metal toolbox that I had purchased at an estate sale....In case you don't remember, here it is again.

And here it is now:

I thought that it would be different to make it a real decorative statement, rather than just a plain, ordinary toolbox.

Since the metal was chipped and potentially rusty, I coated the entire piece inside and out with a satin varnish.

I wanted to leave the metal hardware as it was and also wanted to maintain some of the places where the paint had chipped away exposing the metal.  To do this, I coated anywhere that I wanted unpainted with a coating of Vaseline.  When you paint over the Vaseline, it doesn't stick and when you are finished with the project, the paint will sand or wipe right off.  And believe it or not, it does not get brushed onto areas that you didn't want it to while you are painting!  You should know, though, that it can be a little messy and the paint will come off onto your hands while you're trying to paint, but it is a whole lot easier than trying to NOT get paint on an area or sanding it off afterwards.

After coating the toolbox in places with the Vaseline, I followed up the coat of varnish with a coat of KILZ paint to protect it from staining.

Over the KILZ, I painted two coats of yellow chalk paint.  After the first, I realized that the yellow I showed you the other day (in my post about making chalk paint) was way too light.  I don't know whether it was because I was painting over the white coat of paint or if it is just a light yellow color, but it was no where near the color I wanted.  So, I played around with adding three extra colors (Burnt Umber, Golden Brown, and Empire Gold - All from Ceramcoat) that I had in acrylic to it.  Instead of adding the acrylics to the bottle of paint  and risk messing up the entire jar, I squeezed some of each color onto a paper plate and brushed it directly onto the toolbox after coating a section with the chalk paint.  It took a little work to get a matching color on the entire piece, but in the end I love how it turned out.

After the toolbox was finally the golden yellow I was looking for, I added a decorative painted detail around the box with white paint and a liner brush.  Then I wiped away the paint on the metal hardware and made the edges look chipped.  

The entire piece was sealed with another coat of satin varnish.  Then I brushed burnt umber paint on it and wiped it off with a damp rag to give the toolbox an antiqued look.

The job was not done, though, because I decided I wanted to decoupage the inside with pages from an old Reader's Digest book using Mod Podge.  

I painted the tray that was inside the toolbox with an antique white chalk paint following all the same steps as above.

Now I think the toolbox can serve as a great storage piece or to display treasures.

I'm selling both items separately in my Etsy shop.   (Sorry, both pieces are sold.)

 I think the tray has so many uses on it's own.  
Two ideas I had were that it can simply be a display piece....

Or it could be used on a desk to hold office supplies.

You could also use it in the kitchen to hold spices or utensils.

I hope this project inspires you to repurpose an item that you have lying around!  Monday I will have another item to show you from that Estate Sale Trip.

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