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Valentine’s Mantle

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I will bet that a few of you are thinking that you are tired of seeing my mantle. Well, here is the finished Valentine mantle.

Old windows from the garage, chalkboard from the upcoming wedding, silver candlesticks and pedestal from thrifting, string art,toilet paper roll art,ribbon wreath,topiary
I love it! It makes me smile.

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I also brought home my chalkboard suitcase to welcome Cupid!
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String Art Hearts

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After attending the craft night I came home and looked at my empty mantle with shame. After I took down Christmas, I just never got around to decorating the mantle in our city house. I decided then and there that my weekend trip to the country would involve making stuff for the mantle. I knew I needed something tall. For a few weeks I had been thinking about a string art project and I decided that this would be the project to do the string art. Did you do this back in the 70’s like I did? Am I telling my age? I digress.
Anyway, on the way home from work Friday, I ran by a local hardware store and Hancock Fabrics. I picked up red string and white paneling nails and ocean blue paint. Total cost: @ $ 8.50. I knew I had plenty of wood at Star Hill for the project.
There were enough nails and string left to make at least three more. I may get busy,
Hubby cut the wood for me to length, then I got busy painting. As soon as it dried, I got out the sanding block and roughed it up.
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There are three boards here, but you will see two of them in this project. Sorry this shot is blurry.
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The Painted Boards Roughed Up
Nails, hammer, pliers in case of mistake…good to go.
I took chalk and quickly drew a heart on two pieces of wood then got busy nailing the nails into the board. It really went fast. I used some of the reclaimed cedar which is very soft. The nails went in quickly.
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I tied off the string then just went crazy wrapping it around nails randomly. I love the way that these turned out. I gave one to my neighbor and the other is on my mantle.

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Spring is Just Around the Corner

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I took some pictures this weekend at Star Hill. It was almost eightry degrees. In January! Everything was showing signs of spring coming on. I am proud of a few of my pictures. I think they are improving.

Whimsical Topiaries

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My mantle is really wide. Six feet wide, in fact. In addition to the string art, the ribbon wreath and the various things collected around the house, I knew I would need something else. I convinced Hubby to stop in Cleveland on our way to the lake house for more supplies. I grabbed two foam spheres, a dowel rod, and two clay pots. The specifics weren’t nailed down but this would be a start.

I painted the pots bright red, the dowel white and glued it all together. I tried to glue tissue paper in with no luck. I ended up going with silk flowers from the dollar store. I love how they add a little Dr, Seuss type whimsy to the mantle.

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Toilet Paper Roll Art

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I am on a mission to decorate my mantle for Valentine’s Day. While up at Star Hill working on the string art I noticed some small wood scraps that hubby had left from a project he is working on. I was board, literally waiting for paint to dry so I decided to try out a project I saw on Pinterest recently, using a paper towel roll to stamp hearts.
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I painted the boards pink, then squished an empty paper towel roll into a heart shape. I know, it is a terrible photo. Sorry.
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I used some really thick white paint that dipped the roll in.

The hearts were easy to stamp. I went up the left side of one board and the right side of the other.

Easy, fast, free, and cute. What more can I ask?

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Here one of them are with the string art.

Valentine Craft Party

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This past week I did something that I do not do often enough, I spent an evening with a fun group of ladies. They were all young enough to be my child, but they didn’t seem to mind me joining in. We had a craft night.

My neighbor, Shahana, who invited me over, happens to be a talented young lady I have known since she was a child. She is creative, artistic, and a good cook. I am more than a little jealous of her. Here is a picture of her in front of her mantle.

Shahana Valentine Mantle

Heart looped ribbon wreath

She had everything ready for craft night. We were making looped ribbon wreaths. Shahana even had our loops of ribbon cut and stitched down onto tissue paper. I really am not sure she sleeps.

The group started arriving and each of us asked Shahana the same thing… “Will this wreath work?” There were foam wreaths, heart shaped wreaths, wire wreaths, small wreaths, large wreaths and one grapevine wreath. Shahana told us all the same thing: ” Sure, it will work fine.”

She was right. They all worked. The trick is wrapping each wreath with left over red velvet ribbon she got 80% off after Christmas.

I loved the colors of ribbon Shahana picked for the wreaths, red, pink, turquoise, and gray. They were wide, narrow, striped, patterned, and textured. The varitey worked! Here is my set:

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We plugged in glue guns and got busy. Tear the loops off the tissue then glue it to the wreath. The trick was to try to glue them upright. It took me a few tries but I got the hang of it.

This is a fun project to do with a group. There is not much thinking involved when gluing so there is plenty of time to talk and laugh.

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We all had to promise to post our wreath hung in our house. Here is mine, but you don’t get to see where it is hung. I have several projects to show you before I show the finished Valentine mantle.

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All the wreaths turned out great.

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I hope you have a wonderful week.

Turning Trash Into a Kitchen Menu Board

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Recently my social planner, Tanis, picked up two old windows that were in a trash pile where a home was being renovated. They were already the perfect shade of red on one side and had just the right amount of peeling paint. I loved them and I know that they are going to look great at her new home, The Rockin F Ranchito, in Coldspring.
One of the frames wil be a hat rack with an adhesive Rocking F Logo on the glass and the other will be a menu board for the kitchen. The glass is removed from this one.

Tanis painted both sides of the frame with polyacrylic to seal in the paint should it have lead. Here is the finished product after Hubby put in hard board and we painted several coats of chalkboard paint.
Chalkboard From Old Window Casing

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Getting Schooled by a 21 Year Old on Photography

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Monday afternoon I got “schooled” by a 21 year old on photography. Chance stopped by the office to visit. Chance was a student I knew in high school. He saw that I had one of my photos framed and on the shelf. It was a picture I am proud of, taken at the boat launch near our lake house. It was a foggy morning and someone had chained their boat to our auxiliary boat launch. I loved the tranquil scene.

Chance took one look at my picture, told me I did a good job, then proceeded to tell me what he would have done differently. He suggested I get a little lower when I photograph the shot. Now I wouldn’t take that from most people, i mean I liked it enough to frame it, but this kid knows his stuff. I am buying two of his photographs for my office. You know what a tightwad I am, so that should tell you how good they are.

I did not post my photo after his comments, but I will be taking some more soon.

We live in the same area, see the same things and yet he makes the ordinary into art.

It is not that he has the best camera. He took this shot with his phone.
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The other pictures are from locations near where I live.

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He can give me photography suggestions any time he wants to. Check out his work at Photos by Chance

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Goldfinches at Star Hill

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My daughter thinks I am a scary bird lady. She even tagged a nice lady’s picture from a bird sanctuary holding a falcon as me on Facebook. I do love watching the birds at our lake house, we call Star Hill. I keep Birds of Texas books on my end table and binoculars at the ready. My kids think that is funny, and probably a little creepy. Every year Lesser Goldfinches come through Star Hill during the winter. I love seeing them. They come in in droves, feed on sunflower seeds and thistle, and give me joy. I love these little yellow birdies. They fight with each other on the feeders and line up on the fence for their turn when the feeder is too full for them to fit any more. The whole yard is covered with the little birds when they fly in. The feeder is a sock like device that is filled with thistle seed. It was hard to get pictures of it full because every time I got the camera out and stood by the door our goofy dog started barking. The birds I got to photograph were just happy that they got a turn after everyone else flew off.
I am enjoying my new camera.

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Taking Family Photos to Send Out

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I am the absolute worst in the world at sending out Christmas cards. My daughter, The Southern Belle, and my mom make me ashamed every year that they can get this done and I cannot. I made the decision that this year I am sending out family cards in January. They go out this week. I need to let those that I love know that I am thinking of them, even if December is too nutty for me to even think of sitting down to write out cards. I have written a letter to send and while we were at the beach I forced convinced my family to go out on the jetty so that we could take pictures that I made a collage out of. I got the idea from this blog. I took one of my chalkboards and had each group write one word on the chalkboard to represent them. I love the results. My photography skills are improving a little.
Here is the one going out:
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This was created using Pic Stitch
I hope you enjoy the out takes too. It really took about ten shots per group to get the shot I wanted. Full disclosure: The Southern Belle deleted most of her out takes.


I used a variety of photography apps to create the collage I plan to send out. Here are some of the attempts along with the iPad app I used.
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this is a program called Collage
I loved this one, but could not get Miss Maeby in the shot.
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This one was from Frame Artist.
Remember that I am cheap so the apps are all the free or 99 cent variety. There were things I liked and did not like about each of them, but my guess is that most of my problems was due to operator error.
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Happy 2013 from my family. More

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