Meet Betty Bling

Making a Faux Garden Head isn’t as hard as it looks, keep reading to meet Betty Bling! 

Meet Betty Bling (Faux Garden Head)|Designers Sweet Spot|



Meet Betty Bling (Faux Garden Head)|Designers Sweet Spot|

My Gardening Obsession

 I am obsessed with gardening. It’s one of my compulsive behaviors. Like my obsession with ButterfliesGiving Away Books, and Learning About My Dead Relatives. Did you know that I once painted the 11 rooms in our big, old Victorian house 33 times in a span of 10 years? I really do get obsessed with things. I just can’t help myself.
Meet Betty Bling (Faux Garden Head)|Designers Sweet Spot|
 Right now, my gardening obsession comes from the fact that it’s late spring and it’s still cold outside in Wisconsin. I am desperate for an outlet since I still can’t plant anything in the garden.

 If you follow me on Pintrest, you will know that I have had this garden head photo pinned for a while. You see, I used to work at a greenhouse. Every spring the owner would get a shipment of these heads and they would sell like hotcakes. Every year I would promise myself I would buy one but I never did. Probably because they retail for $75.00 or more and just didn’t fit into my thrifty home school mom budget. But, I still wanted one. Badly. Have you ever put something off that you regretted?
Recently I spied this foam head at the craft store (Hobby Lobby) and I got to thinking…. Hummmm, I wonder if that would work as a garden head? It was only a few dollars so I decided to try it. I also picked up some Magikote Primer and some Krylon Stone Metallic Spray Paint. I decided to name my garden  head Betty Bling.

Supplies Needed:

•Magikote Primer

•Foam Craft Head

•Krylon Stone Metallic Paint

•Sharp knife

•wine bottle


•trailing succulent

•old jewelry and old glasses

Garden Head Directions:

•First of all I painted Betty with 2 coats of the Magikote Primer. It seals the foam and makes it ready for the finish coat of paint.
•I put Betty atop an empty wine bottle to dry. She has a hole in the base of her neck that works great for this purpose. My kids said it looked creepy. Nah. I don’t think so.
•When she was dry, I drew a 6″ circle at the top of her head with a compass. I used it as a guideline for painting, I didn’t want to paint the portion I knew I was going to remove later for planting.
•Then I sprayed Betty with the Stone Metallic paint. I used two coats which would have dried sooner had I brought it into the house. Why do I not think of these things until it’s too late?
 •When she was finally dry, I hollowed out the top of her head with a sharp knife. I probably should have purchased the special knife for cutting foam at the craft store, but instead I used a parring knife which really made a mess of things. Sometimes I am a slow learner.
•Finally, I made a hole for drainage…..
 Seems like this was easy since she already had a hole at the bottom of her neck.
•Then I added some small pebbles to the wine bottle for stability.
•I fell in love with this succulent from Home Depot and decided it would be perfect for Betty’s hair.
• Betty got some Bling with a few pieces of my old jewelry and some extra glasses.
I hadn’t intended to keep the garden head Betty on the wine bottle permanently, but I kind of like her there. She looks more interesting floating in the air.  Maybe I will change my mind about this when it comes time to put her outside, but for now she’s going to stay put.
Someone said she kind of looks like me. Nah, I don’t see it. Do you?
Have a great day!
p.s. I have gotten some of the nicest comments lately, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it!

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Faux Garden Head (Meet Betty Bling)


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Need to Laugh?

I need to laugh.   In the past week,  I have fallen down the icy stairs behind our house, not once but twice. I have bruises on top of bruises. Then yesterday,  I cut off the tip of my thumb by accident. Now, I also have a bandaged hand to go along with the rest of my ailments. I need a few more days to get back on my feet, so I am post-phoning this week’s give away until next week. I am re-posting an article I wrote on hair color, no one really read it back then. If you really need to laugh, here it is!
Clairol Nice 'n Easy Color Blend Foam

There are two schools of thought on hair color: either you dye or you don’t. I personally have chosen the dye route in recent years. When I was younger, I used to wonder why women dyed their hair. Now I know.

As a child I used bottled lemon juice on my hair during the summer. I would pour it on and sit outside in the sun waiting for auburn highlights to magically appear under the crust of dried lemon juice.

As a teen, playing with dye was fun, although back then I don’t really think it was very popular. I had a friend who wanted to be a beautician, and at her slumber parties we would frost each other’s hair by pulling the strands with a crochet hook through what looked like a plastic swimming cap. I went from brunette to blond, presto! Just like Duran Duran. Remember them? The essence of cool.

Then I remember pouring hydrogen peroxide on my hair. The bleached Madonna blond look was all the rage. Or maybe it was Annie Lennox. I can’t remember.

In my 20’s I had burgundy highlights for a while. It made me look like I got mugged by Cindy Lauper. Not a good look at all.

So now that I am “that age” (the age of grey), dying has a new purpose and has become a regular event. Well, okay, it’s probably bordering on an obsession, but only a tiny bit. Everyone does it, right?

Being a super thrifty home school mom means having my hair dyed in a salon is out of the question. Why would I spend $80.00 when I can buy a box of dye for only $8.00? That’s crazy!

The only thing is, I seem to have a little issue with remembering to dye every 6 weeks. I put it off more and more until my greys are frighteningly obvious, and my last color has faded everywhere but the ends of my hair. When I look like a sundae with white ice cream poking out from layers of chocolate sauce, I know it’s time to dye.

I also have a problem remembering which dye I bought the last time. All those little boxes of color look alike on the shelf. Did I get soft black, dark chestnut brown, or light chestnut brown? Was it Clairol or L’Oreal?  At last I think I recognize the girl on the package of darkest chocolate brown, so I purchase that one. Then again, maybe she looked like someone I saw at the mall recently……..

My brainstorm has been to save the empty dye boxes so I can remember which one I bought last. But now, my shelf is full of empty boxes and I can’t remember which ones I liked and didn’t like, and I absolutely never remember to take any of them with me to the store. So much for the brainstorm.

I also tried the natural henna route. No go. I neglected to read the entire package before smearing the greenish, gritty, manure like substance on my hair until it was too late. Apparently you can’t use metal spoons when mixing your henna, who knew? I was only green for a couple of weeks……….

So today, I attempted once again to master the grey streaks. I purchased the chic foam style dye on the recommendation of a co-worker who said it worked great. What can I say, but the wench LIED. This stuff might work for someone with short non-grey hair, but let me tell you it was not pretty for me.

I was under the impression that the “foam” was like the foaming hand soap that you can pump out of a bottle with one hand. Not so, of course they don’t tell you that on the package. After mixing this stuff, the bottle has to be SQUEEZED out of the bottle at a precise angle. Then you are supposed to squirt it into the palms of both your hands and “shampoo” it into your hair. What they don’t tell you is that it takes 3 squeezes of the bottle to get a small handful of the stuff. I have long, shoulder length hair. When applying dye, I have to hold the hair on top of my head or it falls down splattering dye all over me and everything in the vicinity.  How the heck am I supposed to squeeze the bottle, catch the foam, hold up the hair and smear it on the grey all at once? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I decided to pick the bottle up off the counter and deposit it on the top of my head for easier access. However, the bottle has to be squeezed at a PRECISE upright angle or it doesn’t work. I spent such a long time squeezing, foaming, and shampooing, my arms went numb from lack of blood flow. Several times I squeezed and moved by accident shooting dye down my face, back and chest. How am I going to explain these large black age spots to my family? To make matters worse,  I dropped a lock of dyed hair into my eyes which made me look like I have gone completely Goth. When the deed was done, I sighed with relief.

I efficiently covered my hair with a plastic grocery sack and tie the ends together on my forehead to keep the hair from escaping again. Didn’t dye used to come with a little shower cap thingy for this very purpose? How cheap can you get? I put on my robe to wait. Our youngest son James knocked and came into the bedroom sniffing the air, wrinkling up his nose. “Your doing that thing again Mom, aren’t you? It stinks!” He looks at me in disgust and runs from the room. I slammed the door behind him and got back to business.

I realized it took me so long to put the dye on that I forgot to check the clock to see what time I started fermenting. Dang. I wasn’t sure what the directions said because I couldn’t quite read them with out my glasses on, but I think it was 15-20 minutes without grey, 30-35 minutes with. I wondered if I should count what was probably a good 20 minutes of squeezing, foaming and shampooing? Or not? I decided to go middle of the road and opt for 27 minutes.

I worked on today’s blog post for a bit, and then checked the clock. It sits across the room, and I can’t quite see it without my glasses. I got up and to my HORROR it has been a whopping 45 minutes! Way past time to rinse! Double Dang!

I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. I cringed at the blackish muck discoloring the tub and the piles of my fried locks that began to clog the drain. My hands turned brown from touching my hair which suddenly felt rather like straw. I tried to wash away as many of the grungy black stains from my skin as possible, but some still remained. I squeezed the condiment size package of conditioner onto a minuscule amount of hair and silently curse the CEO of Clairol for being so cheap. He must be bald.

After the water FINALLY runs clear, it’s time for the big reveal. The roots, what’s left of them, are somewhat orange, the ends are dark and frizzy, but to my relief the grey is gone. Whew! That was really worth it, wasn’t it?

The dye cost me $7.95, the extra large bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles to clean the muck out of the tub was $5.00, the large bottle of Draino $6.49, the new towels and bathmat I had to buy because I dripped dye on the old ones cost me $10.00. Then, the supplies to sand and refinish the dye stain out of the bathroom cabinets were $20.00. Replacing the tooth brushes wasn’t too bad, they were only $2.00, and the box of Oxy-clean I needed to bleach the brown halo out of my white pillowcases that I slept on after dying was only $10.00. But the good news is that the hat I bought to cover my orange roots was only $5.00 at the thrift store.

The next time I am in the store staring at a bottle of $7.95 dye, with a pretty model on it who has never experienced a grey hair in her entire life, I will remember that it actually cost me nearly $100 to dye my own hair, and I think I will book a salon appointment instead.

Designer Mom

DIY Bunny Topiary

Today, I decided to make this wire form into a bunny topiary.  Topiaries are surprisingly easy to make yourself, you will be amazed at how simple it is.  
DIY Bunny Topiary|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.comI like rabbits. They inspire me in the spring time. I have several different bunny statues, figurines, and wire forms. I don’t know what it is about them that I like, perhaps they remind me of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. How can you not love Peter Rabbit?
One of my favorite pieces is this french wire bunny form. It was originally from Pottery Barn and has a hole in the back to put Easter Eggs in it.  I have used it for a number of years, but now it’s getting old and rusty.DIY Bunny Topiary
Bunny Topiary materials
You will need a bunny topiary form or wire form that you have made, 3-5 small ivy plants of any variety, and several bags of sphagnum moss. I bought my moss at the Dollar Store for a buck a piece. Best deal EVER!
You will also need some topiary pins. I got mine for 50 cents at the greenhouse when I bought the ivy plants. In a pinch, hair pins work just as well.
First soak the dried moss in a bucket of water for about 15 minutes. This will be rather messy, I suggest you do in the sink.
After the moss has soaked, fill the cavity of the form with the wet moss. Be sure and pack it in as tightly as possible.
My form has rather small openings between the wires, a flat edge blade helped to fill those little spaces. Keep in mind that not all small cavities need to be filled. It is just as interesting to leave some of them (the ears for example) without the moss.
After the form is filled it is time to plant. Use a screw driver or awl to poke holes between the wires for the plants.
I purchased 2 1/2″ English ivy plants for this project. After removing them from the pot, I cut them up into small pieces, roots and all, with a sharp knife.
Stick the ivy roots down into each hole using a screw driver or awl. Then pin each plant to the wire form, spreading the ivy shoots around the form and pinning as you go. Plant and pin, plant and pin.
Remember, the moss in the small cavities will dry out the fastest, and your plants will have the least chance for survival if they are growing there. Avoid planting in areas to small for the roots to fully develop.
After a while, the wire form will disappear behind the ivy. I added this little butterfly from the craft store, I couldn’t help myself. I love butterflies!
Bunny Topiary finished
Planted topiary forms need to be kept in a shady area. They will also drip water, so be sure to have a tray of some sort underneath it (mine is hidden under the burlap). When the moss dries out completely, submerge the entire form in the sink or a bucket of water for 10-15 minutes. You can also add liquid fertilizer to the water occasionally. Soak, let drain and enjoy.
This entire project cost me less than $10.00. I can’t wait to use it on my Easter Buffet!
Linking up at Thistlewood Farms and Serendipity and Spice today!

Designer Mom
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DIY Bunny Topiary|Designers Sweet Spot|

How to Hem Dress Pants

 Learning how to hem dress pants is not difficult. All you need is a tape measure, tailors chalk, scissors, thread and a sewing machine.
 How to Hem Dress Pants|Designers Sweet Spot|
Do you ever avoid doing things that you know aren’t that hard, and really aren’t that time consuming, but you avoid them anyway? Why do we do things like this?  I have been avoiding sewing lately. Why, I do not know. I blame it on our cold Wisconsin weather. I am restless. As much as I like living here, spring is a difficult season for me. In Wisconsin, you just never know what you are going to get. Sometimes it’s warm and beautiful by Easter, and sometimes we still have snow. This uncertainty is upsetting to me.

I don’t seem to have much patience right now. It’s the spring fever I’ve got. I can’t wait to get outside and do things in the garden, or see the flowers, or welcome the humming birds back. I am currently overwhelmingly disturbed by the constant snow we are getting. I am DYING for spring. I am housebound with lots of pent up energy. I need something to take my mind off the world, and for today, it is sewing. Sigh.Hemming Dress Pants materials

I recently scored these Lands End dress pants for my husband at a thrift store for only $2.00. Finding his waist size is not difficult, but they always need to be shorted in the length. Remember when I hemmed my sons jeans? It runs in the family.

I am focusing on cotton dress slacks in this post. This information is applicable to both misses and menswear. I have another post coming soon that will deal especially with wool trousers, so be sure to subscribe to my feed so you don’t miss anything!

First step in the process is launder the pants according to manufacturers directions.
Second step, is to try them on and determine how much they need to be hemmed. Misses garments are all different inseams so you really need to try them on with the shoes you will be wearing with them. Pin them in place, then take them off and measure the inseam. Menswear garments should be consistent, if you know you are a 32″ inseam you can just measure along the inside leg seam from the crotch 32″ and mark it with tailors chalk.
Don’t forget to add the hem allowance. Check the width of the hem currently on the pants, most are 1 1/4″, then add another 1/4″ for the seam at the top edge. Then add these amounts together.
inseam of 32″ + 1 1/2″ seam allowance = 33 1/2″ total measurement from the crotch seam
Mark both leg edges, and use a straight edge ruler to make a straight line with the tailors chalk. Cut.
Select a straight stitch on your machine, use a fairly short stitch length for extra durability.  Mine machine is set at 2.5 stitch length.
Hemming Dress Pants
Sew a narrow 1/4″ seam along the raw edge. Use the inside of the presser foot as a guide for an even 1/4″ without needing to use pins or measuring. These things slow you down and damage your machine. Learn to sew without them.
This is what it will look like so far.
Then fold the hem over again to 1 1/4″. You can put one pin in to hold it in place until you get it under your presser foot, no more pins are needed.
Stitch again, this time on top of your original stitching for a perfect hem.
Remove from the machine and spritz with water before pressing for a nice crease.
How to Hem Dress Pants finished
No one will ever know they were hemmed!
To properly hang, drape them over a thick plastic or wooden hanger. Be sure and line up pant seams to keep any wrinkles from developing.
You did it! You are amazing! I knew you could do it!
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How to Hem Dress Pants|Desigers Sweet Spot|

How to Make Play Dough

Who doesn’t love play dough? When your kids are little it’s some of the best entertainment ever. My problem always was that there was just not enough play dough in those little cans to go around. Then the kids would somehow manage to leave it uncovered, and it was hard as a rock the next day. It was literally like throwing money away. That is until I found a DIY play dough recipe where I could make it in bulk. I also found that it keeps far longer than the store bought variety, is fun to make, and the kids love adding their own colors. Eureka!

We now use play dough only occasionally for a school project, but it is still one of my favorite things to do. Our son’s volcano shown above is slowly hardening and will be ready for the addition of the lava for his science experiment very soon. Here’s what you need for the basic play dough:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt (any kind will do, I am using up old salt from my baking cabinet)
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salad oil
A few drops food color of your choice
Combine all ingredients, heat over medium heat stirring constantly until a soft, lumpy ball forms. It happens very quickly! Remove from heat, knead until dough is smooth. Dough can be stored in an air tight container, or frozen, thawed, and refrozen several times. 
Whip up a batch to give away at a birthday party with the recipe, or keep some in the freezer for impromptu play dates, or school projects. Kids are guaranteed to love it!
Linking up today to:
Designer Mom