DIY Flower Pens

I have had this little pot of flowers on my desk for a long time. It’s one of my favorite things. My youngest son made it for me some years ago. You see I was having a problem with my pens walking away all the time, later to be found in massive heaps under my children’s beds or beneath the cushions on the couch. But, since I received my pot of pens, I have never lost a pen.

You or your children can easily make these, and you too will never again loose your pens. All you need is a few plastic flowers with stems removed, floral tape, your favorite pens, a small clay pot, and some dried beans.

Line up the base of the plastic flower with the end of the pen, tape with the floral tape. Be sure to cover the entire pen so it looks like a stem to the flower.

Add the beans to the clay pot, and stick the open end of the ball point pen into the beans, they will hold the pen in place so nicely! We used dried pinto beans because that was what we had on hand, but you could also use dried black beans which really look like soil.

We made some of these for my Grandmother at age 101. She loved them, she couldn’t get used to the fact that they were pens. Who knows, after a while everyone may just for get that they are pens and you can just enjoy the flowers.

Designer Mom

DIY Vintage Postcard Table

I recently decided to repurpose an old bedside table into a piece of art.  It was a fun way to use two things that were nothing extraordinary by themselves, and create a fun piece of furniture. Here’s my DIY Vintage Postcard Table!  
DIY Vintage Postcard Table|Designers Sweet Spot|
I did some spring cleaning yesterday. I hate spring cleaning. It’s just not my thing. I have a tendency to get distracted. For example, I found this box of old postcards.DIY Vintage Postcard Table
This box was owned by my Grandfather and consists of our entire family fortune. It contains dozens of vintage postcards dating all the way back to 1951. Grandpa loved collecting postcards. He would buy them everywhere he went. He went a lot of interesting places. Especially during the time that he served the US Navy during WWII and the Korean War. They are fascinating to look at.
Here are some of my favorites:
I love this Hawaiian lady with her giant pineapples. So 1950’s.
I also love this one. She’s holding a fishing reel. The caption on the back reads ” A REEL Beauty”. Hilarious.
These from Tokyo have never even been out of their original package. Aren’t they sweet?
The only problem is that they have all been in a box for the last 50 years and have never seen the light of day. What good is that?
I am not a saver. My motto is “Use it or Loose it”. So, in a moment of inspiration, I whipped up this little project.
Vintage Postcard Table before
I have had this funny little table beside my bed for a long time. It is rather blah. I decided to decorate it with Grandpa’s postcards. Here’s what I did.
I started by choosing cards with a common color and them. I liked the dashes of pink and red in these. Some of them are beach scenes which appealed to me. I decided to use both sides of the cards, so I choose some with hand written notes and interesting postal stamps as well.
To add interest, I varied the position and angle of the cards. I also cut out some of the words on some rather boring cards. My favorite phrase was “Bonjour de Montreal”.
I spread them on the table to get a design I liked. Then I carefully removed them to add the adhesive to the table top.
The product I used is called Mod Podge. It is available at any craft store. It runs about $5.99 a bottle. Don’t forget to get a little foam brush for the best application.
The first step is to brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on the table top to use like a glue. It will hold the cards in place.
Wipe up any excess spills with a damp cloth. Try to spread an even coat over the entire surface. Then wait a few minutes to dry. When it starts to turn clear, you can begin laying the cards into the glue.
Press the cards into the glue being careful to push down all the edges. When finished allow to dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Then add the sealer coat.
Vintage Postcard Table in process
Paint over the entire surface with a light coat of the Mod Podge. Try to keep your brush strokes straight and even for the best finish. Let dry. The manufacturer recommends up to five coats of Mod Podge to completely seal it. I used only 3 for this project. In between coats, I added some heavy books to be certain the cards were really flat and completely adhering to the surface of the table.
Let dry completely before using.
When I go to bed at night, I see Grandpa’s cards on my table and it makes me smile.
Have a peaceful evening!
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DIY Vintage Postcard Table|Designers Sweet Spot|

Pockets Full of Posies

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there. What better way to celebrate than with flowers?
We came up with these little planted purses to give to the Grandmothers. Aren’t they sweet?
I found the vintage handbags at my favorite thrift store for a song. We added a few rocks in the bottom of each bag for stability, Miracle Grow Potting Soil, and some annuals from the local greenhouse.
Then we added a brown paper tag tied with yarn. I must say they were quite a hit.
I love vintage purses. And I love flowers.
But most of all we love giving gifts to the great Mom’s in our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Designer Mom

The Planted Suitcase

I brought home this cool aluminum suitcase from work a while ago. It was originally used as a prop in the windows, but was being discarded, so I knew it had to come home with me.

I debated for a while as to what to keep in this totally awesome suitcase. I thought maybe it would be a good place to keep James’ rock collection. But then decided he would probably have way too much fun rattling it full of rocks and that would drive me crazy. Then I thought Ted might like it for his postcard collection, but it’s rather messy inside as you can see below. So, that probably wasn’t a good idea either.

The interior plastic lining had been melted by being in the window. Then it hit me, this was a perfect candidate for planting.
So here’s what I did.
I purchased various annuals, Miracle Grow Potting Mix, and gathered a hammer and a nail set.
First step is to pound holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. I put in about 8 holes, the amount is not really important, just so you have enough holes for the plants to drain. This is critical to plant survival.
Then I added some crushed soda bottles and plastic containers to the bottom of the suitcase. You can also use the pesky little plastic 4 packs you buy your annuals in. This creates drainage for the plants and doesn’t add a lot of weight to the container like stones or broken tiles would.
I filled the suitcase 1/2 way with soil. Then I set the plants inside still in their containers to see how it would look. I made a few adjustments, adding, subtracting, and moving plants before I decided on an arrangement I liked. When doing this, don’t forget your root balls should be touching each other, if they aren’t you may need more plants. Don’t fall into the mindset that your plants will grow in to the container, you won’t be happy with the results if you skimp on plants.
I even had to add a couple more plants after I put the others in, it just didn’t seem full enough. Add plenty of soil, pack it down lightly and water liberally. My plant list included:
Coleus Glennis
Dracaena Spike
Americana Red Geranuim
Nagano Heliotrope
Dusty Miller
Varigated Swiss Chard
Diamond Frost Euphorbia graminea
Golden Money Wort or Creeping Jenny
Pink Supertunia
Save your plant tags in an envelope with a picture of the planted container for next year so you will remember what you did and how beautiful it turned out.
Then grab an ice tea, sit and admire your creation!
Who knows, you may even want to plant one to give to your Mother for Mother’s Day.
Designer Mom

The Perfect Master Bedroom

Since we moved two weeks ago, I have been on the hunt for ideas for the Master Bedroom. I would like a comfortable retreat that is not too formal, a little bit sophisticated and chic, a definite No Kid Zone, with just simple luxuries. You would be amazed how difficult this look is to find.

I am not much for the “bed in a bag” decorating, since I prefer a more unique look. I enjoy the eclectic style but not too eclectic. Nor am I the super frilly, lacy type. I did that as a teenager. So what’s left?

One of my favorite places for ideas is Pottery Barn. I like their mix of antique and modern looks, although I don’t have a Pottery Barn sized budget to work with. I love their ideas, but then I scope out antique stores, thrift and junk stores to find the look that I want. I did discover something new though, on the Pottery Barn website. They now have decorating videos. I didn’t think I they would be much different than the Pottery Barn Decorating books (which were terrible by the way), but they videos are great. My favorite one is on making a perfect bed:

The spray bottle idea is great! Wrinkle free bed linens, wow, what a concept!
Some of the other important things they do but don’t mention in the video include the use of a foam pad on top of the mattress, and covering the box spring with a matching sheet for a clean look. One hundred percent cotton sheets or even bamboo sheets are a must. If you have never slept on them you will never go back to the blends. Trust me on this. Multiple bed pillows with varied pillow cases create interest, and a big, fluffy comforter is essential no matter what the season.
I also notice they always have an accent throw to add texture or color to the whole ensemble. They even use a round bolster pillow behind the regular ones to bring them forward, giving them a fuller look. Very clever.
I was in their store recently and loved their bedding display:
I really liked the ladder suspended on ropes behind the bed. Yards of fabrics are draped from it. I think it would be beautiful with sheer fabrics. Extra pillows and blankets could be displayed above the ladder. Now all I need is a ladder……..
Designer Mom