Tag Archives: burlap

Are You Suffering from Pinterest Guilt Syndrome?

 

flashback friday

Women have always gleaned information to improve their lives.  We  seek tastier recipes, cleaner bathrooms, more flattering clothes and better entertaining ideas. We want to arrange our cupboards, lower our food bill, travel abroad on dimes and raise amazing children.

To gather these ideas before the Internet, we might call friends, go to the library or buy a magazine.

If you couldn’t afford magazines, sitting in a waiting room wasn’t such an ordeal.  Many times I scribbled ideas or recipes from those glossy promise-making missives on receipts in my purse.  When I was really on the ball, I remembered paper and pen to capture brilliant, life-changing ideas.

The organized women would arrange their ideas in a clip file to tap into the inspiration when redecorating a room, choosing a menu for holiday dinner, or planning a child’s birthday-on-a-budget.

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For years this re-purposed clip file has held all my promises of birthday success. Of course, we didn’t use the word repurpose back then, because it was a way of life and didn’t need a title.  But, repurpose sounds better than stingy.

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When I had enough change to buy a $1.09 women’s magazine, I’d read, reread, rip out the articles I wanted, and file them.

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My kids enjoyed dreaming through the files. My oldest daughter, Jana, copied this idea and took her younger siblings on special Teddy Bear Picnics.

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After seeing this spread, I found $1 fabric covered with bright clowns.  I made cloth napkins and a table runner to reuse for birthday parties. 

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The kids painted and decorated these clothespin clowns and we’ve played Drop the Clothespins with them over 15 years.

And yes, I know that many of you saw this idea and have at least three ways to improve them.  Smile Go for it!

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What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess?

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I loved the idea of including children’s books in the theme.  A trip to the library can make it a themed birthday week, instead of just one day.

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Need original gift wrapping ideas? Burlap and sea glass have been the craft material of choice by several generations.

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As much as I loved the idea of making a beautiful cake, it rarely happened. Sometimes the clip file produced inspiration, other times guilt.

Sound like Pinterest?

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This would have been more my speed.  Why didn’t I ever make this one? That’s right, we don’t like coconut.

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Kids Magazine, Chickadee, provided a cute decorating idea, a paper chain to cut out and tape together.

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After 30 years, it’s still unused in the file.  I wonder if that’s today’s equivalent of a pin that never gets used or repinned.

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Before treat bags,  little goody cups were set at each place setting.

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Like kids needed an extra cup of candy while gorging on cake, ice-cream and pop.  Maybe  treat bags were invented so the party-giving mom could send the extra sugar home with the kids.

Although we gather our information in different ways, every generation of women has had the same passion for their families, to make things beautiful, homey and organized, while saving money and resources. And each generation has allowed this information to make her feel guilty for all she isn’t doing in her home.

The explosion of social media has created a deeper level of unspoken pressure to be Super Woman. Instead of celebrating personal wins, we can become discouraged because we can’t or don’t do all the things other women are doing.

I call it the Pinterest Guilt Syndrome.

Trust me, the woman who turned her fruit into exotic flower creations for a healthy toddler snack, might have a pile of ironing the size of a a compact car. The woman who crafted an entire dollhouse out of upcycled items, might have two weeks of leftovers molding in her fridge. The woman who can whip up a dress out of a pillowcase, a man’s t-shirt or 42 ties, probably ordered pizza for dinner – again.

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In the real world we each have a few areas that deserve a cape and other areas that need help. Let the explosion of input build you up and not tear you down.

Reuse the inspiration.

Refuse the guilt.

Birthday Party for a Cowgirl Wannabe’

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl.  She dreams of owning a horse  and wearing cowboy boots with manure on them, instead of city-slicking fashion cowgirl boots tucked into skinny jeans. But, we live in town.  A big town.  A big town not zoned for horses.

She dreams about horses so much, one night she sleepwalked into our room looking for the barn to feed the horses.

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Meeting Miss Rodeo Montana last summer only fueled the dream. 

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Visiting my friend high school friend, Janet, and her horses, didn’t help either. 

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Each summer we visited she petted, fed, rode and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love? Chaz with her twins, Whiskey Girl and Wyoming on the North Dakota prairie. Even as a toddler, Beka walked under and around these hand-fed pets.

When my Cowgirl Wannabe’ was planning her birthday party, we discovered early on it would be challenging to combine her loves if buying ready-made items. She wanted pink.  She wanted lace. She wanted vintage.  She wanted horses. Many things I found on the internet or in the stores were red/blue and geared towards cowboys. Since I’ve always been a DIY, homemade kinda’ mom, we were up for the challenge.

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When she found this beautiful calendar at the Dollar Store, I knew we could pull off the horse part easily and inexpensively.  On the back of each calendar was a page with smaller pictures of each month’s pictures.

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These were laminated and turned into magnets for each guests’ goodie bag.

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We hung the pictures from the grapevine garland that’s along the fireplace year around and added twine.

 

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A doll was dressed in denim and cowboy boots and decorated the desert bar on the buffet.

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We already had strips of fabric for a background from another birthday party, so we took out some colors and added strips of tan fabric and lengths of twine. The girls stood on a step stool for their picture.

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A wooden crate was decorated with lace, twine and a flower, then filled with props for the Cowgirl photo shoot. Pictures of each guest were emailed to them after the party. We printed off one picture for each girl and put it in a picture frame card for the thank you.

After being inspired by a summer project of serving from Focus on the Family, Beka decided instead of each girl bringing a gift for her, they would bring a gift or used clothing for the shelter for women and children.  We were thrilled to see the donations brought in.

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Even grandson, Finnean, looked adorable in a mustache.

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Glasses were pint jars and 1/2 pint milk bottles with strips of tan fabric previously used for vases at our writers conference last May.  Beka pulled off tan buttons and added some pink. She made a few out of lace just because.

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A drink station was staged on a child’s cupboard.  The white enamel coffee pot held pink lemonade.

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Pink plastic silverware was wrapped in brown paper and white doilies, which was Beka’s creation. The pink paper plates looked adorable on vintage white paper plate holders.  The small crate was found at the thrift store for $.99 and stained to look aged. The meal was a sandwich bar, fresh fruit and veggies.  Simple. Healthy.  Adaptable to food allergies or strong dislikes.

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A ladder in the dining room held the chips.

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These “feed bags” are actually burlap rice bags. I removed the zippers, turned them inside out, and  hot-glued a doily on.

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Beka didn’t want cake, she wanted cookies and ice cream. To simplify feeding the girls, we purchased the small cups of strawberry swirl ice cream.

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The sugar horse decorations were found at Dawn’s Cake and Candy World. I can’t give you the recipe for the sugar cookies, because the dough came in a tube. Sometimes a momma’s gotta’ do what a momma’s got to do.

 

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Since we had a hard time finding horse party items, we  also bought this horse mold at Dawn’s for melting chocolate.  The gold is a fine edible powder that rubbed on easily.

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After seeing these on a blog, we knew this would be the one thing we HAD to make for the party.  These are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in chocolate, with Wilton candy eyes, almond ears and hard caramel noses.  Instead of cookie sticks, I used skewers because they matched our theme better, were thinner, and cheaper.

Since this was way too much sugar for one day, some horses were on display, the rest were tied up in clear bags and sent home in the girls’ goodie bags.

 

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Granddaughter, Maddelyn, loved her little horsie.  She came with her mommy and siblings to help make them a few days before the party and had a hard time waiting until she could actually eat one.

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Aunt Cindy’s recipe has been a family favorite since Christmas of 1996, and  was the first cookie Beka baked for her party. 

 

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At the end of the day, the City-Slickin’ Cowgirl was very, very, happy, even without a horse in the backyard.

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cream together:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Add:

2 cup flour

Chill dough if too soft.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with a fingerprint hole in the middle. Fill the hole with seedless raspberry jam.  Bake at 350° 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown.  Do not over bake.

Drizzle glaze over baked cookies.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 teaspoons water

Making your home sing Mondays        WHWButton#2

Making Something Outta’ Nothing

Today I am thrilled to have a guest blogger,
who’s not only my my sister-in-law, she’s one of my closest friends.
I’ve  spent hours at her country kitchen dining room table,
drinking in coffee and pouring out my heart.
She knows all my secrets and keeps them. 
There isn’t anything I haven’t told her or can’t tell her. 
She inspires, encourages and loves me.
She has a talent of taking everything in her life,
from her home to her trials,
and making it beautiful.

When we were “junking” this summer,
my mom’s word for going to thrift shops,
we found this weird item.

We laughed and I dared her to buy it,
confidant she would create something amazing.

This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Introducing Susan from McVille, North Dakota

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It all started when my sister-in-law posted a picture of a Christmas tree stuffed into an old step ladder.

No, wait, it all started when my family moved back to the house on the farm I grew up in and my sister-in-law and her family would come to visit.

Oops, I have to go back even further. It all started when we were newly married women starting our families and living on budgets that squeaked so much the mice covered their ears.

Nope, that’s not right either.….I have to go all the way back to the beginning, and that was the day my husband’s brother, Scott, knocked on our door and introduced us to the lovely young woman he was going to marry – the beautiful blonde woman you know as MommaMindy.

I have the pleasure of being related to someone who I would have chosen for a friend a hundred times over. We are similar in ways that those who grew up in the same house can’t even boast. Over the past 26 years, we have laughed, cried, and prayed each other through everything from learning to be good wives to our very good husbands, to having babies (lots of babies!) and trying to raise them to be children of God, to homeschooling, to moving multiple times, to becoming mothers-in-law and grandmothers — it has all been shared during our “prayerallel” lives.

One of the topics we love to discuss while drinking multiple cups of coffee at the kitchen table is decorating. Even back in the days when we lived in apartments with horrible green shag carpeting, we would share ways to make a house into a home. Of course, those squeaky budgets always got in the way, so we had to learn to be frugal while trying to achieve the look and feel that we desired.

Mindy was always better at this than I. No matter where she lived, she would go to rummage sales and thrift stores and find things that she loved. I marveled at how she would collect beloved items and arrange them so cleverly in her home. And I don’t mean the big items; I’m talking about the little accessories – mostly vintage and red – sprinkled around her home that gave a glimpse into her soul immediately upon entry.

I, on the other hand, don’t possess Mindy’s vision. I limped through the years knowing I needed to make my home pretty and inviting, but struggling with my mix-matched, hand-me-down furniture and accessories. Every time Mindy would visit, she would have wonderful ideas that I would implement and subsequently love, but I just couldn’t take the idea and keep running with it.

And then it happened — Mindy posted the photo that changed my life.

 

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I’m sure you know the kind of moment – the one when angels start to sing.
(Cue big organ chord – AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH)

I double-clicked on that glorious photo which took me to a blog by Donna at Funky Junk Interiors and life as I knew it would never be the same.
I was plunged into the world of junky décor. As I clicked on photo after photo,
I was introduced to using repurposed items in new and imaginative ways — items I already possessed, or could make, or could find.

 

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Items that were rusty and previously discarded around our farmstead suddenly had the potential to become works of art.
Items that I saved for years just because I thought they were neat or had belonged to my ancestors. And did I mention the burlap?

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Finally, a look that I could wrap my brain around – a look that made me happy and could just possibly give a glimpse into my soul.

Which bring me to the point of my first attempt at blogging……….

Earlier this summer when Mindy came for a visit, we decided to have a “girlie” afternoon in a neighboring small town.

 

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We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the little coffee/antique store and then made our way down the street to the thrift shop.
It was here that I discovered the secret to Mindy’s treasures – she goes through every little basket in the craft area.
You know – those baskets and boxes that no one else ever takes the time to go through.
As she was looking for buried treasure, my eyes caught sight of a strange looking item waaaaaay on the top shelf.
It was this weird wire contraption.

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(Please ignore the date stamp – I forgot to reset the camera)

Neither of us could figure out what it was, but my junky radar kicked in and we both decided
it just needed to come home with me even though I had no idea what I could use it for.
It was marked at $.50, but when I got to the till to pay for it with the rest of my items,
the cashier took one look at it and threw it in for free!
(When I was discussing it with another friend later,
she confirmed my suspicions that it had been a wire wreath form in a previous life.)

My new junky acquisition sat around for a couple weeks waiting for my brain cells to fire up.
One day, I was in the kitchen looking at the antique light fixture which had become a terrible eyesore.

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You see, we had decided to fill the fixture with fluorescent light bulbs many years ago
because it is the main light in our eat-in kitchen and is turned on for most of the day.
Unfortunately, the old globes don’t fit over the wider bases of the ugly fluorescent bulbs.
I really didn’t want to change out the chandelier because it was original to the house and has a lovely patina on the metal.
I was again thinking of how to solve the problem when it occurred to me ……

The circumference of the wire form might be the same size as the chandelier!

I ran to get the form, held it up over the top of the bulbs, and realized it was perfect!
I measured, cut, and hemmed the burlap (which I had on hand for just such an occasion).
I figured I could hook the
wire half-circles right through the weave of the burlap to attach.

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I sewed covers for the pliable wire that would hook into the already existing chain to suspend the shade over the bulbs.

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And Ta-Da !

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I had created a custom-made junky chandelier shade for about $1.50!

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So, now when anyone admires my new shade, I simply tell them, “It all started with my sister-in-law.”