Saturday, July 25, 2015

Updating Front Entrance With Flagstone

I've mentioned before that I live in a +55 community.  While the houses next to each other are suppose to look a bit different to get away from the usual cookie cutter appearance, there's still a lot of the same builder's grade amenities like the front concrete walkways and entrances.  Most of our homes have a brick or stone façade and I noticed a few of the home owners started having their concrete entrances and steps covered in the same material as the façade. This is being done by the guy who initially did the facades for the builder but now is making income on the side doing this.  It has become somewhat of a conversation piece as to who would be next to jump on the bandwagon.

My next door neighbor is from Portugal and came to the states when he was in his early twenties as a stonemason.  After a few years, he opened his own custom pool and landscape business, from which he "retired." Shortly after he and his wife moved next door, he created a beautiful stone walkway, patio and waterfall, and stacked stone wall at his home.  It was all handcrafted and really showed off his skills and craftsmanship.  One day, my hubby and I were talking with this neighbor about how some of the other neighbors were having their front concrete entrances covered and he started talking about and showing us some of the flaws in the workmanship -  like not using the same color grout in the mortar joints, uneven bricks and leveling, etc.  He then compared the flaws to his work.  In other words, he is very proud of his creations and a perfectionist in what he does.  And the best part, he offered to cover our front walkway and entrance in whatever stone we wanted!  Yay!

I jumped at the offer since I had been concerned about a crack around the step getting bigger (the builder said they wouldn't fix small cracks such as this) as the house continued to settle.  The crack was the first thing I look at when walking to the front door and considered it an eyesore.

     Since our siding was gray and the stone front had lots of gray in it, I decided to go with gray flagstone.

The workmen took precautions and covered the driveway in plastic.

They started covering the sides with flagstone, first.

Next, the top pattern was laid out:

Making sure every flagstone is level, well-fitted and the joints are even and consisted. 

The area was cleaned and the flagstones washed allowing for set-up time before grouting. 

I really like the bullnose edging!

Grouting the flagstones:

Washing - making sure the flagstone is clean and free of excess mortar.

 The finished look creates a warm welcoming feeling.  I am so thankful and grateful to my neighbor!  It's great to have wonderful neighbors, don't you think!

Now to add more flowers and mulch!


The flagstone sure does add a visual interest to the front and serves as an welcoming entrance to our home!

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Crafting Updating!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wonky Foam Cup Vases - How To

Want to know how to transform those Styrofoam coffee cups you have and use into uniquely shaped vases?  I saw a tutorial on Instructables from a few years ago and was curious to see if it really worked

Materials Used:
Styrofoam cups
Crock Pot or Large Pot w/Lid
Rubber bands

Here's what I did: 
 1.  Add water 3/4 full to crock pot set on high or to stove pot w/lid and let water heat up hot or boiling, first.

2. Put a rubber band around a Styrofoam cup.  It's easier to start at the bottom of the cup where it's smaller and move the band up.  I distorted the first cup trying to put the rubber band on from the top. Also, the tighter you make the rubber bands the greater a unique design develops.  

3.  Add a small weight (I used a small glass votive) to keep the cup partially down and put in hot water. *Over at Instructables, the directions said to put cup in a small bowl first, but I found this unnecessary in using both the crockpot and large pot with lid.  *Tip: I used pot holder gloves and tongs to remove the cups - be careful, the water is extremely HOT!

4. Depending on the type of crockpot you're using (I tried two different ones), with both heating quite differently.  One, I left the cup in for over an hour with the following pictured results:  

It took a long time for the cup to transform and then it was bending slightly.  Don't know if this was from the pressure of the rubber bands.
Next, I cut off the top border and tighten two rubber bands by doubling them twice and put in another crockpot.

With the second crockpot, it only took a few minutes to achieve the results as seen in the picture below.  Still, bending slightly, and I didn't do a good job in cutting the foam.

I tighten the bands again and use just one near the top.  I put this cup in a large pot, added a weight and put a lid on the pot.  The cup took just a few minutes to change.  I like this shape much better.

I tighten the bands again, weighted the cup and put this one in the second crockpot that heated hotter on HI than the first. I like this shape the best!

Here's the group of banded cups I submersed.

The experiment of transforming foam cups into vases really does work.  Although a bit wonky, and unique. Isn't that what some of us look for in décor?  The possibilities are open for adding embellishments like covering the vases with a foam coating to change the texture appearance and adding other mixed media are unlimited. Perhaps I'll try something like that next.

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Crafting!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dollar Tree Gladiolus and Vinca Self-Sowers

I just have to share my photos of the DT gladiolus and vinca self- sowers growing in my garden.

I got two packs of 6 purple gladiolus bulbs from DollarTree back in the spring and planted them.  The vinca plants reseeded themselves from last year. They're growing almost where I planted them before and they also found new spots all over the garden. 

The gladiolus stalks, just before blooming.

See the little vinca plants growing everywhere.

I'm going to put some in hanging pots to see how they do.

Oops!  All of the gladiolus were suppose to be purple - but this glorious color popped up!
She's a queen among the royal purple!

Gorgeous colors and shading!

Some folks say not to waste your time with buying flower bulbs from the dollar store.  But I'm here to tell you to take a chance on spending that dollar.
I'm having an amazing time watching these flowers grow. 
And isn't that what gardening is all about? 

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Crafting


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fabric Covered Chenille Stem Summer Necklace

Summer dresses are breaking out all over.  You know the type - spaghetti straps, halter straps, no straps .  .  . dresses with a whole lot of shoulders and skin showing.  I couldn't resist buying a spaghetti strap maxi dress recently.  It was such a good price, great for hot weather and a plus for my upcoming trip to Aruba. But it was too long so I had to cut off the excess and hem the dress. 

This time instead of tossing the scraps into a bin I decided to make a funky, whimsical statement necklace out of a crazy mix of patterns and colors that complimented the dress pattern.

 My Inspiration:
I found a cute site that introduced me to Ficklesticks.  They are really cute items that are made of fabric wrapped floral wire.  Granted, my necklace is not as colorful and whimsical as this and I also used chenille stems instead of floral wire but the message still comes out loud and clear of a necklace that's made with a crazy mix of colors, patterns and shapes which makes it so much fun and unique!

Besides the dress scraps, I found some fat quarters in complimentary colors on sale at Hancock Fabrics for $1.25 each plus a 15% off total coupon - more than enough to get me started.  And I already had chenille stems in my stash, a ruler, scissors, safety pin, needle-nose pliers and a sewing machine - so I was all set. Now you might be wondering how I'm putting this all together to make a necklace. 

Here's how I did it:

Gather supplies .  .  .  and
Cut 1" wide strips of fabric . . .

With right sides together sew a 1/4" seam.

Turn inside out using a safety pin pulled through the tube.

Then wrap about an inch of two chenille stems together to lengthen for necklace.
Bend ends of chenille stems over so they don't poke the fabric and insert into the fabric tube.

Push the fabric together making sure the ends of the chenille stems are at the ends of the fabric tube. 

Using needle-nose pliers, turn a small section of end over twice and press together.

For the decorative hanging necklace pieces, that I call squiggle stems, insert a single chenille into sewn fabric tube, pushing fabric together and finishing ends as before.

Make a loop with the squiggle stem and drape over the center necklace portion.

Push both ends through the loop, and tighten.

After trying out several different squiggle stems, I opted to use just five pieces .  .  . curling the ends around in a circle.  But that's the cuteness of making this whimsical necklace.  You can make so many different variations with the bendable fabric covered chenille stems. 

And finally, I made a bracelet with the left over squiggle stems .  .  .

And here it is with the dress . . .

Oh my!
What a fun summer project!  And it's a perfect go to necklace to wear with those cute summer dresses, tops or outfits!

Take a little time to enjoy

Happy Crafting!