The Purple Dahlia September 30 2016 143 Comments
I love the dreamy, hazy period between summer and fall. I think even more than the new year, it feels like a poignant letting go of something that's hard to put into words. I also love colored glass, and this year just felt like shades of purple. These gorgeous dahlias are from the farmer's market. The flower lady claimed to be all out of them, then out of nowhere pulled a whole bucketful out from her secret hiding place and let us purchase them. And speaking of letting go - the little fairy in these photos started her very first year of school - so we are out of the purple haze, at least for now. Happy fall everyone!
Green Glass for Spring March 25 2016 136 Comments
Happy Spring! It has finally sprung, and I am loving green glass this season! It is super easy to find and generally really inexpensive. It is almost always in flea malls and thrift stores for a couple dollars, and I have even found vases at Goodwill for $.25! I think green glass looks really fresh and pretty grouped together with spring flowers such as tulips or daffodils, or with branches from flowering trees. I also think of green as a neutral that can pretty much work in any season, so just switch out your flowers as new ones begin blooming!
Make These Spooky Halloween Frames! October 19 2015 136 Comments
If you are like me, you just might enjoy the unexpected combination of scary and pretty in Halloween decor, like these cool framed prints that you can easily make at home! This is a really fun, inexpensive project.
First, you will need to gather your materials. You can use old frames that you have around the house or pick up some vintage ones from Goodwill, a thrift shop, or a flea mall. I like gold ones (surprise, surprise), but you can spray paint them any color that you like! You will also need paper (heavier stock is best) and a printer.
Now you need to find some creepy images. There are lots of websites online that have free, non-copyrighted images that you can print out. One that we like is www.thegraphicsfairy.com. For a more personal touch, you could scan old family Halloween photos and print them out in black and white.
After you print out the image that you want to use, you simply remove the glass from the frame, trace it around the image, cut it out, and insert. Voila!
Additionally, black ribbon is a nice, spooky touch for hanging. You can either tie it to the frame or glue it to the back. Hang pictures individually or grouped together for extra eerie effect.
Another cool option is to make this framed spider decoration. For this you need a frame, thread or string, and a plastic spider (obviously).
Drape the thread or string across the cardboard backing to create a nice web pattern, then pull it tight. Secure the thread to the back of the cardboard with glue or tape. Then use a glue gun to attach the plastic spider.
Enjoy your creepy creations and have a very scary Halloween!
The population of the beautiful monarch butterfly has been decimated in the last twenty years, declining by ninety percent. It is primarily due to the loss of the one and only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and the subsequent caterpillars feed: milkweed. This is due to the development of the wild land and fields that once grew milkweed, as well as the increased use of herbicides. It is up to us to make sure the monarch does not become extinct! Read the full Newsweek article here.
The ray of light in this tragedy is that we can easily help save the monarchs, and it's not about donating money (though you can do that too!). The Save our Monarchs Foundation will send you free milkweed seeds to plant in your yard. (You do need to pay a small amount for shipping or send a self-addressed stamped envelope.) Check out this awesome opportunity here:
Once you have planted your milkweed, why stop there? Adult monarchs enjoy other flowers beside milkweed blossoms, as do other butterflies, so why not create a butterfly garden?
Choose a nice, sunny spot and a variety of plants and flowers. Adult butterflies are attracted to bright colors like red, purple, pink, yellow, and orange. It is also important to have plants on which butterfly larvae like to feed, such as dill. For a complete list and some great info, check out the National Wildlife Foundation's website:
A few options that we like -
chamomile and cone flowers
orange butterfly plant and daisies
zinnias and dill (in addition to cone flower and chamomile)
And don't forget to leave room for the milkweed! Please help spread the word to everyone you know who might be able to plant some milkweed seeds. Note that there are multiple species of milkweed, and the one that Save our Monarchs provides for free will not grow in extremely dry, sandy climates.
They also have a Facebook page to help get the word out.
Good luck in creating a beautiful, peaceful, butterfly-filled garden!
Make a Beautiful Spring Celebration Tree! March 12 2015 135 Comments
Trees and ornaments are great for every season, and Spring is no exception! It is easy to make a pretty tree to celebrate Easter or simply the arrival of Spring.
You will need the following materials:
1. Plaster of Paris - You can find this in any hardware or craft store.
2. A container for your tree - You can use pretty much anything for this! Vintage vases, containers, and flower pots work well, as do little Easter tins and buckets that you can find at craft or dollar stores. I recently saw some really cute little buckets in the Target dollar section.
3. A branch - The best ones have lots of smaller branches for hanging ornaments and affixing flowers. Just make sure that the branch you choose is proportionate to your container. You don't want a huge branch that could tip over a small container.
4. Faux flowers and leaves - Small ones work best. I really like the kind that you can pluck off the plastic stems and pop right onto the smaller branches of your branch. If you don't have this kind of flower, you can use a glue gun to attach them.
5. Spray paint - This is optional. You can leave your branch bare or paint it any color that you choose.
6. Moss or Easter grass - You can get moss from your yard and dry it or buy it at the craft store to put at the base of your tree to cover up the dried plaster of Paris. You can also use Easter grass or whatever strikes your imagination.
7. Ornaments and decorations - Butterflies, Easter eggs, ribbon - whatever you like!
What to do -
Once you have all your materials and your branch painted, you can mix the plaster of Paris per the instructions. Make sure you mix the water in slowly so it doesn't get too lumpy. Also, it is a good idea to have something handy to prop up your branch (like bricks or boxes or whatever you have around the house) before you start mixing. Pour the plaster of Paris mixture into your container, then stick your branch in the center. Then prop up the branch so that it dries straight as the plaster mixture hardens. I usually leave it overnight just to be safe. Once the mixture hardens, you can start decorating your tree. Attach your flowers, add ornaments if desired, and place your moss or covering around the base of your tree. Voila!
Another option that makes this whole process even easier is to find faux flowers on a plastic branch that can already work as a tree. Then you can skip finding a branch and put your faux branch and flowers directly into the container. It is up to you and what look you want for your tree. I made this tree with a plastic branch and pre-attached flowers for my daughter's room.
And that's it! Have fun bringing a little bit of the festivity of Spring into your home!
Discovering Mid-Century Florentine Decor January 27 2015 140 Comments
One of my favorite things to find at yard sales and flea markets is mid-century Florentine decor. These items are instantly recognizable by their gilded appearance and ornate, romantic detailing. One of the most recognizable brands is "Florentia," which features wall plaques, bookends, jewelry boxes, tissue boxes, tables - you name it! They are usually hand-crafted in Italy and made of lightweight wood.
I also love the Florentine/Italian trays, which can be made of wood or resin and come in a variety of styles, all very glamorous!
I especially like when the plaques or trays are grouped together and hung on a wall - they definitely make a statement!
I have been waiting for Florentia to start making appearances in home magazines, especially since I have been seeing gold everywhere in stores. It was only a matter of time - there are several lovely Florentine items featured in the January/February issue of Victoria Magazine.
Victoria features a table, letter holder, and I believe a trinket box in these photos:
I will be keeping an eye out for Florentia on my hunts, so look for more items to be added to Golden Fancies soon!