Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween Mantel

I love Halloween!


I do.

It's like my favorite decorating holiday. For real.

So without further ado, let me present the Halloween mantel!

(cue Monster Mash music)

You know what the best part of all this was? I had everything!
Let's all take a moment to embrace the hoarder inside us.

I left my pallet gate up there (it's very versatile). Hung up on the corner is a witch's hat.
The mantel is draped with a black scarf from an old bridesmaids dress. The black fabric pieces hanging are actually an old slip cut up.

The tombstones (large and small) are styrofoam ones as is the dagger (all from past Halloweens).

Candle holders are from a garage sale, the skulls are plastic and from Dollar Tree (last year) as is the crow and black rose. A sheet of music paper, spanish moss and spider webbing rounds it all off.

I put some battery operated pumpkin lights behind it for an eery glow at night (they have different color settings, I leave them on blue). 

So, there it is, October's Halloween mantel! I really like how it turned out.

Happy Haunting Everyone!

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Mantel

Alas! My high hopes of redoing my mantel each month fell by the wayside this summer. In June I did a patriotic mantel and liked it so much (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) that I kept it up all summer.

When I did this mantel back in June I wanted to make to use things made only in the U.S.A.  So I scrounged around the house and this is what I came up with:

I love lanterns, so knew I had to include one of the many lanterns I have around and I just happen to have a blue one.  The Uncle Sam nutcracker was a gift from my mom. He's sitting on a few very old schoolbooks from way back when.  Then there's one of my most favorite things I own, my 48 star flag. I wish I could say it was passed down from generation to generation in my family, but eh, I bought it on eBay many years ago.

This flying Americana doll is something my dad made me. This was his "prototype" years ago. They've evolved a lot since then, but I love having his 'first' one.

You know you're a true junker when you see something lying on the side of the road and you make your husband (who was driving at the time) pull over and run over and get it. Yes, my dear friends, that's how this "let freedom ring" sign came to be a part of our family. Now why would someone throw away a perfectly good rusty old sign? Sheesh!

So, here is my Patriotic Mantel in its full glory:
I added some U.S.A. wooden blocks, an old red carriage lantern and a metal star as well. The garden gate is the one my husband and I made out of a pallet and the old barbed wire we found on our property when we moved here.

Honestly, I love Americana, I used to have that as my decor many moons ago. I loved this mantel so much I decided to keep it up all summer and through 9/11.

Thanks for looking and I hope everyone had a great summer!

P.S. Obviously Blogger did a few changes while I was away, can anyone tell me why certain words in my post are underlined like a link and how I get rid of that?? Thanks!

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Mantel

Boy these months are sure flying by, especially when you are on a mantel redo deadline.

So, let's just cut to the chase. This mantel actually came together just this past weekend. I had pictured in my head all month to do May's mantel with some sort of picture banner and birdhouses. Well, I never could find anything I wanted to make the birdhouse craft out of. So plan B was burlap. I've been really liking burlap a lot lately and thought I would make a burlap banner with a nest theme (being that it's Mother's Day month and all).

So first, I got 1 yard of brown burlap at our Walmart for just under $3. They had a pretty light green moss burlap too, but I stuck with the brown. Then I got a humongoid size roll of freezer paper for just under $6. I really didn't want to buy that big a role but now if I come into a lot of meat to freeze I'll be ready!

First, I cut 4 even triangles out of the burlap for my word (nest). Then I cut out a stencil using the freezer paper and my cricut (saw that handy dandy little tip online somewhere, sorry, don't remember!).

Cut out your stencil so that the shiny side of the freezer paper is face down. That's the part that will stick to your fabric when you iron your stencil to it. So, then, iron your stencil to your fabric.

Then take acrylic craft paint and dab it over the stencil. I actually didn't have a stencil brush so just used a cheapy foam brush and it worked perfectly.

Let dry (luckily it dries pretty fast because I am Ms. Impatient) and peel off stencil.

And voila! I was giddy excited at how super easy and fun this was. Banners for everyone!

Since I didn't want to sew or glue my banner triangles onto the hemp cord, I just used clothespins. I liked it, but then thought I would like it more if I painted the clothespins Oil Rubbed Bronze. Oh yeah.

What do you think, regular clothespins or oil rubbed bronze clothespins? I went with the ORB.

Then I got kind of cute-sie and decided to put the word "our" on top of the "nest" so back to stenciling on the burlap.

Did I mention how much fun that is to do? And easy? Try it!

Then I put the fabric around Mason jars and added little rocks, water and wild ferns that grow all around here. I will eventually add wildflowers as they start to bloom.

The mantel in its entirety:

There you have it. May's mantel.

Until next time,

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garden Bicycle

I think I may have mentioned before that I have a brown thumb.


But that's okay because brown is my favorite color.

However, I do love spring and flowers and things blooming and watching my husband plant things that actually grow and don't turn my favorite color. I give kudos to all you green thumb gardeners out there.

So I've been seeing cute little garden bicycle planters around the internet. Ones that were made to be planters, not a bicycle that somebody rode for years and years and years and it got all rusty and yucky and your husband finds it in a trash heap and drags it home and you stick it way in the backyard out of sight and out of mind until you start seeing all those bicycle planters on the internet.

Oh yeah.

So lo and behold I walk into our doller store and find exactly what I had been looking for, some wire baskets and that basket filler stuff, which I'm sure you gardeners out there know the scientific name for, but to me it's basket filler stuff. 

Then I pulled out the rusty old bicycle, complete with dry rotted tires, and cleaned it up. Well, hosed it down anyway.

I really wasn't too sure about this, but continued.

I love when my son wants to help, so he hooked up his old tractor (given to us for free, don't worry, there is no cutting deck/blades on it) to our trailer and carted everything to our garden spot.

We then zip tied the baskets to the bicycle (ya gotta love zip ties). Note the concentration, he was really into the zip tieing.

After that, we put potting soil and ivy in the basket filler thingies then put them in the baskets. I decided on ivy as I'm hoping it will grow and trail down and out of the baskets.

Isn't it pretty? Well, not sure pretty, but fun? Unique? Rusty?

Next to my weeping cherry (love) and my old garden seat.

I know, our grass is still in a sorry state, but it should perk up soon. I just wanted to get some pictures while the weeping cherry was still in bloom.

Thanks for looking!

Until next time,

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Friday, April 1, 2011

April Mantel Reveal

Ahhh, April!

 A month filled with possibilities. When I think of April I definitely think of spring and Easter and things blooming and critters hopping around and starting a garden (well, my husband does that, my thumb is decidedly brown). Anyway, this month was filled with so many choices for mantel decorating! I actually decided to go with all of it, spring, Easter, things blooming, starting a garden and critters.

First and foremost I went outside and got my praying garden bunny. He is SO sweet. But he has been sitting outside for many, many years and was covered in green moss. I scrubbed him up the best I could and gave him his own spot inside a twig wreath on the left side of the mantel.

I put a little enamelware pail with a lettuce plant in it next to him, you know, in case he wants a snack. Added a seed packet of lettuce as well.

Then I got one of my old lanterns, a few old books and some more lettuce and set up a little vignette on the right side of the mantel.

I have also been busy making some paper dogwood blossoms. Sweet Something Designs gives an awesome tutorial for them HERE.

More inspiration came from Pottery Barn to make some letter eggs. Made mine by modge podging white copy paper over plastic eggs and adding a cut out letter (and more modge podge for good measure).

Hot glue gunned the dogwood blossoms to some sticks (courtesy of the great outdoors) and added the modge podge eggs and voila!

Hmmm, my "N" is a little low. Might have to fix that.

Close up of the eggs and flowers:

Want to see it all put together?

Okay, here we go!

Kept the garden gate and barbed wire from last month. Sprinkled some more blossoms around the mantel and gave garden bunny the ball of twine so it looks like he's hanging the eggs (I know that's a stretch but humor me). :-)

Plus the only thing I bought for this month's mantel was the lettuce plants and seed packets. So the whole thing was under $5.00. Woo hoo!

Thanks for looking!

Until next time,

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Blog Makeover

So what do you think about my blog makeover? Be gentle with me. Yes, this is the former "Table Scraps Diner." But actually, it was "Us In Otto" to begin with, then I changed it to TSD, but now I'm going back. Because, well, we always want to go back home to warm blankets and comfort food and simple living. That's what I want for "Us In Otto." I did like the Table Scraps moniker for a while, but I've branched beyond just posting my scrapbook layouts here, it is all about family life and loving our home.

So welcome home to  "Us In Otto.' Welcome home.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Music Paper Eggs

Here's a secret.

I don't like plastic eggs.

Whew. Glad that's off my chest.

Last year I tried painting them, like, the day before Easter. It wasn't pretty.

Was. Not. Pretty.

Have I mentioned how I don't like to prime anything first? Anyway, if you want to know what happens to a plastic egg when you paint it with craft paint and don't prime it first, well then, I'm your go to gal.

So this year, giving myself PLENTY of time before the big floppy-earred guy arrives, I pulled out my son's stash of plastic eggs.

Then I pulled out a recent thrift store find of a music hymnal.

Then I got my Modge Podge.

And went to work:

My friends. This is a messy craft. Messy. It also requires patience. I don't like messy and having to be patient. But I persevered. You can cut the paper in strips, squares, circles, whatever you want. I cut my paper in maybe 1 1/2" squares. Some smaller, some larger. You really don't have to be precise. I painted some Modge Podge on a section of the egg, then painted it on the back of the paper strip, then I put the paper on the egg and smoothed it down (with my fingers) and  then Modge Podged over that. The thinner your paper, the easier. Mine was probably copy paper thickness.

Project words of wisdom:
  • Forget about having a smooth egg. Wrinkles are in.
  • You will get Modge Podge all over your hands (and under your nails).
  • Don't answer the phone with Modge Podge on your hands. Just sayin'.
  • Eggs roll.
  • Perhaps use an egg carton to set them on while drying. But don't let any glue touch the egg carton or they'll stick to it.
  • I actually didn't use an egg carton, so they dried (and rolled) all over my table.
  • Don't let anyone fool you. This is not "just a two hour project."
  • Did I mention the patience and mess part? Okay.
  • The finished project is SO worth it!

After they dried, I just tied some jute around them. Aren't they awesome?

Seriously. If I was a hen, I'd sit on these.

I actually want to make more. I think I like plastic eggs now.
(Did I just say that?)

Until next time,

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