Bird Bath Rehab

Have you ever heard the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? It should have said “One man’s trash is another WOMAN’S treasure”. This is my latest trash picked rehab project. I am eternally grateful to all those who throw away such awesome trash! Thank you!
This old bird bath looked pretty sad when I pulled it from my neighbor’s trash heap. I don’t blame them for throwing it away. It was ugly. The paint was peeling, it had a crack in the bottom, and it was missing a piece (my guess is it was originally a fountain).  I was undaunted by it’s pathetic condition.

 

The bowl still held water, even though it was cracked. I decided to fill the crack with some waterproof silicone caulk just in case it decided to leak. I found this tube of caulk at Walmart for a couple of dollars.
From the very beginning, I had envisioned this birdbath as a sunflower. I love sunflowers, and plan to have tons of them in my garden this year. They are not up yet, but I will keep you posted on their progress. So, when I found this Sunburst yellow Rustoleum Paint at Home Depot, I knew it was perfect for my garden. I gave the bird bath two coats, I love the glossy finish it has. It’s just the sunflower color I was looking for.
I used black river rocks from Hobby Lobby to give it the look of the sunflower seeds. I should buy a few more of them, but you get the idea.
The glass ball is also from Hobby Lobby, and floats about on the surface of the water. I have heard that birds are attracted to shinny objects. So am I. Who doesn’t love a little bling? We shall see how the birds feel about it.
I was completely seduced by the red Salvia plant when I saw it at the greenhouse. It HAD to come home with me. I and potted it in an old galvanized flower pot that I previously painted black.  I like the variation in color and height that it brings to the bird bath.
I have always wanted a reflecting pool in the garden, this could be it.
Have a great weekend!

Designer Mom

Garden Party Update

It has been cold and dreary here. All the plants seem to like it, I am the only one who wilts in the cool breeze. The chicks don’t like it either, they cower in the corner of their pen and ruffle their feathers.
The lilacs are in bloom and I can’t seem to get enough of them. Their fragrance is addictive. I also love this flower basket I found in the attic of our garden shed, discarded by the previous owners. 
I have been trying to get this little cabinet painted before our holiday party. The rain is slowing me down.  Meanwhile, I don’t seem to mind the ugly finish so much when it has my pink watering can full of flowers on top of it. By the way, I also found the watering can in the trash. Have I mentioned that I am an obsessive trash picker? I need one of those stickers that says “I brake for Junk”.
The hedge bordering our property is beautiful right now.
In between rain showers I have been busy planting. My window boxes are complete, although I may add a few more vines to them. I love the Silver Falls vine, it’s one of my favorites. The humming birds are back and seem to like my pink primroses. I think they will also enjoy the purple Heliotrope, but I can’t be sure of this just yet.
 A couple weeks ago, we began pulling off the black plastic from our sod where we planned on putting the garden. We began building our raised garden beds out of 10 foot 2 x 10’s, and then realized that we would never have enough compost to fill them. So, we ordered 10 yards of compost to be delivered from our local nursery and dumped right from the truck into the beds.
Here’s what they look like today.
We made a trellis out of long sticks and covered it with netting. I can’t wait for the Morning Glories to fill it!
I also took the time to stencil our little tables that we made from things found in the trash. You can read more about it in my post DIY Trash to Treasure Tables.

I don’t think the table jokes will ever end. My children do not understand my need to stencil.
Oh, well.
That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!
Designer Mom

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|www.designerssweetspot.com

 

 

Meet Betty Bling (Faux Garden Head)|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

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|www.designerssweetspot.com
 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

•pebbles

•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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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|www.designerssweetspot.com

Christmas Outdoor Decor

I love driving around the neighborhood and looking at Christmas lights. We make it a family thing to do, usually a day or two before Christmas. Why can’t we have beautiful lights outside all year long? Most people don’t, but I wish they would.
We have a very plain house. It’s a hard house to decorate. It is neither fancy or rustic, very large or very small, neither white or colorful. 

It’s a tan 1970’s raised ranch. Very plain. Not even a pretty porch. Or shutters. Or wide trim around the door. Just plain.  I have been working on jazzing things up around here, here’s what I ended up with:

I started by making these grapevine and burlap wreaths for the exterior windows. For the tutorial on how to make these wreaths click here.
Then I decided to jazz things up some more by making a couple twig stars………

You can see the tutorial for this project here. I couldn’t decide where to hang them, I finally decided to put them in the back of the house instead of the front. 
But it seemed like I still needed something MORE.

I love Mason jars just as much as I love Christmas lights. I have wanted to try a Mason jar chandelier for a long time. So, I decided to put the two things together.

I rounded up 7 Mason jars with bands and lids. I had 3 two quart jars, 1 one quart jar, and 3 pints. This was no easy task as I use them for lots and lots of things around the house. 

Using a tin snips, I cut a slash in the lid of each jar and made an opening to put the lights through in the center. It’s not very scientific. It’s not even very pretty, but I figured no one would really see the top of the jar.

I put the bands on the jars, lined them up on the table and put a few lights in each jar.

When I had a balanced amount of lights in the jars, I carefully unscrewed the bands and slipped the slashed lid around the wires. Then it was easy to screw the band down snugly over the lid.
I used some heavy picture wire to make a hook to hang the jars, and slipped it down inside the hole in the top. I twisted the picture wire around the lights for added strength. My son reminded me that if he happened to throw a Hail Mary and hit the lights, this would not keep them from smashing. I reminded him that if he hits my creation with a football, snowball or other flying missile, there will be a price to pay. He decided to see things my way. Wise, wise child.

These are the Christmas lights I used. I was a bit disappointed because the store did not have the same style lights that I purchased a few weeks ago when I began my decorating, they were sold out. So I ended up with these cool white lights, which aren’t the best with my other lights that are warm white, but that’s how it goes. Next year I will buy enough lights for all my projects up front!

Anyway, buy the time I hung the jars on wires from the top of the gazebo on our deck in the back of the house, I decided it didn’t really matter if they were warm or cool white. 

I just love Christmas lights, no matter what the color. I even decided to restring my stars with some colored lights. I think they are such fun!

Here’s what it looks like all put together. I left the red chairs out in the snow, because I couldn’t face looking out my window all winter and not seeing anything there, all winter long.

 I actually find myself sitting out here in my pj’s, winter coat and boots sipping a mug of hot cocoa and staring at the lights (but I will never admit it in public). It’s kind of like our secret sanctuary behind the house that no one sees from the street. From here I can watch the snow fall and see the deer in the field all winter. Come spring, the humming birds and robins will be back. During the summer we spend so much time out on the deck under the gazebo, it seems like such a waste not to use it during the winter too. Don’t you think?
A blizzard is on the way.
Designer Mom