Saturday, May 31, 2014

Resin Wall Plaque Goes Green

I've been slaving away over here giving our sunroom a refresh. I didn't originally set out to try to complete this re-do on a tag sale budget, but once I started getting on a roll I decided to challenge myself. After all, it is the season for finding "treasures" at rock-bottom prices, and I'm a lady who loves to spend my Saturday mornings on the hunt with a Frappuccino in one hand and a couple of dollars in the other! So very soon, I will reveal my sunroom in all of its newfound glory.

But, I did have this resin wall plaque just hanging around (an inexpensive tag sale find from long ago) so I did a little experimenting with it.

I took 3 different acrylic paint colors - 2 shades of green and a brown, and I alternately loaded my paintbrush with two or three colors at a time to get a varied effect. I painted the whole plaque this way and then finished with a walnut gel stain...I brushed that on in sections and immediately removed most of it with a paper towel.

The piece of art hanging below it is something I wish I could take some kind (ANY kind) of credit for. But that is a piece that I bought at a tag sale a couple of years ago for only $15. Yes, I remember how much I paid for it, because I think it may have been the bargain of the decade! And yes, I do spend a LOT of Saturday mornings at these sales :)

I am still finishing up some projects in the room and hope to have it wrapped up in a week or so.

And for those of you who have been following along with our bird soap opera, here is the final installment on that story...
Mrs. Finch kept trying to sit on the nest, even after it was apparent to the robins and the Reinwalds that the four baby robins were the only living inhabitants in there. It was overflowing with birds!

It is still a mystery to me what happened to that finch egg? And sadly, I think Mrs. Finch may have met her fate when the neighborhood cat left a "gift" for us on the porch.

Of the four baby robins, the first one left the nest a little prematurely, and after spending an entire day wandering around our front yard and being worried-over by its parents and us, its very short life ended. The next one left without our knowledge, so I can only hope it made it.

Baby #3 jumped, hopped across our driveway looking pretty strong and ready...and from there I hope it flew away.

And then there was one. Baby #4 seems perfectly content to stay in that roomy nest and let its mom bring all of the worms exclusively to it. It's been there all day today and doesn't seem to be in a rush to hit the road...

The clean-up crew is getting a little anxious, though...

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Survival of the Fittest?

This has turned into a glorious Spring, bursting with gorgeous scents and colors. Here is a glimpse of the unfolding of flowers and bushes around our yard. The lilacs and irises are especially treasured because they are so short-lived.

And to update you on our front-porch bird is Mrs. Robin giving me a warning glare as I water the flowers and try to snap photos of her babies. (See my last post about the cohabiting robin and finch here.)

Day One...not so attractive.

Day Two...HUNGRY kids.

Day Three...look at the little feathers forming, and those huge beaks!

Day Four...getting bigger, but still all beak, haha.

I'm worried, though. As you can see in these photos, there is no sign of any baby finch or egg now. I'm not sure if it got smothered by the robins (survival of the fittest) or if by some stroke of luck it is still in there. Poor Mrs. Finch still sits on that nest as often as Mrs. Robin will allow. I hope she knows something that I don't...I guess time will tell and nature will take its course.

While I can, I'll savor the sights and smells that surround me.

Sharing with Dwellings The Heart of Your Home, Smile for No Reason

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Front Porch Awakening

It's been a long winter for many of us. And just about the time we think we've turned the proverbial corner, we get hit with torrential rain and temps barely hovering above the 40-degree mark (with wind chills of 33, no less!)
Well, guess what, Mother Nature? This lady is gonna fight back! (Read as "stay in denial" haha.)

I had already planted all of my pots with flowers...

I had begun to arouse the sad front porch from its winter sleep...

And I had created a small "masterpiece" for our front door.

Awhile back, I had "beefed up a wreath" (you can read more about that here.) Now that little wreath is suspended playfully on a door basket that I filled with branches, moss and faux flower and butterfly stems.

But Mrs. Robin is not happy with my activity on the porch! She has created her own cozy perch on our light and would very much prefer that we keep clear while she brings her young ones into this world.

Usually the purple finches beat her to the light fixtures each Spring. I noticed that they have been hovering around the porch but, as of yet, had not begun to build their own nest. Then, upon further inspection, I discovered something amazing! There are 4 large dark blue eggs in the nest, and one smaller light blue egg.

It looks like Mrs. Robin decided to rent out space to the finches this year! Have you ever seen anything like this?

I think this is one of those beautiful gifts that so often go unnoticed in our society's hectic modus operandi. I am grateful that today I uncovered something so special.

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." -Aristotle

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Live Artfully

Art can be anything we want it to be, right?
These days, the way we decorate our walls and spaces really has no hard and set rules. Creativity has no limits!

Personally, I have a hard time with photography and paintings, only because I think maybe I tire of them more quickly than other wall art. So I tend to embellish the walls with lots of mirrors and architectural pieces. People probably just think we're really vain and/or WAY into the salvage trend, haha.
Case in point:

My dining room

My living room

My craft room...

If I can't find the right piece for a wall, the wall remains empty...sometimes for long periods of time! And this drives my husband a little bit crazy. But after 30+ years of being married to a former designer, he just keeps it to himself most of the time (smart man.)

In my new craft room, I decided to create a piece of "art" that is also a sort of mantra, meant to inspire the way I live my life. Maybe that's an awfully big job for 2 little words hanging on a wall...we'll see how it works out.

This mirrored "Live" wall plaque was a Hobby Lobby find.

Then I picked up these chip decor letters (also at Hobby Lobby) and set to work. The next step, however, is incomprehensible to my hubby.

You see, after I painted the letters with craft paint, I embellished each letter with little jewels. But my technique was more than a slight bit obsessive (even I know this to be true.) I found spools of jeweled "ribbon" for $1 each, which is a fantastic price! But the way my mind works, if I cut each little jewel off one by one and glued them in place on the letters, that was a whole lot more economical than buying bags of loose jewels. So, that's exactly what I did.

I don't think I'll tell you how long each letter took to complete. Seriously, people, there are easier ways, haha. But, honestly, I did find the process relaxing and therapeutic, so...don't ask ;)

The final result is a little bit mantra, a little bit glamour girl, and a little bit craft room apropos.
I think I'm liking it.

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