Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vintage 4th of July

I wanted to put a simple display together for the 4th  of July and I thought I still had time to buy some decorations. I didn't want to spend a lot of time looking for something, so I went to a couple of craft stores and Target to look for patriotic decor. Target only had a small  display, which really surprised me,  and they were out of small American flags and the craft stores had very little as well. I didn't have time to go elsewhere so I decided to make most of my decorations with patriotic scrapbook paper that I found at the craft store. I also stopped by Dollar tree and didn't like the selection, but I did manage to find a few patriotic stickers. 

 I do have a tendency to look for things I need at the last minute, but I thought with 8 days till the 4th I should be able to find something. I'm actually kind of glad I didn't find more because it allowed me to be more creative. It also can be quite relaxing making something simple, but of a historical nature. I only have a few places to display vignettes downstairs, so I used my small bookcase to show my patriotic decor.

I found some vintage looking patriotic scrapbook paper and added some blue floral paper as well.  In addition to my banner I wanted to make mini flags in different designs to create a patriotic theme.  

I painted some floral pics different colors to go with my flags. It can be time consuming to cut everything out and paint all the little picks, but a heat wave is upon us in the Pacific NW, so what better way to spend my time than on this simple, quick indoor project. That's what I tell myself anyway! 

I painted a sign red, distressed it and decorated it with some of my stamps. I wanted to create something with a historical reference so I added the stars and the year 1776. I added a fabric texture to age it  and make it look more primitive.

I made the flag by attaching striped scrapbook paper to a small piece of plywood then adding the stars to the corner. A simple little project that gave me the flag I wanted and I love the vintage looking paper. 

Continuing on with my vintage theme, I added patriotic graphics from the Graphics fairy to my jars along with flowers and the flags I made. I wanted to add some graphics of the spirit of 76  drummer and other historical images but decided not to due to copyright restrictions. I really like the Graphics fairy images though, mainly because of the historical symbolism of the women. I added my star banner as well to tie everything together. 

I really like the quotation on this graphic of the little girl that states, "Let Independence be our boast; ever mindful what it cost" I think it sums up perfectly what the 4th of July holiday should really mean. 

I added a Lady Liberty graphic to another jar and some patriotic flags. I added simple ribbon to the rims of the jars. My mason jars were the perfect size for my flowers so I thought why not use them. I like repurposing things as often as possible.  I found this wooden star on clearance at Joann's and thought it made a nice addition. 

A few closeups on my bookcase. The little  white creamer and sugar bowl make a nice display for the red and blue flowers and flags. I love adding a pop of red and blue, it gives such a pretty contrast to the white. 

I added some patriotic stickers to these jars. A few simple touches can add so much.

A bowl of small apples with a white stand make a nice background for the banner. 

These shelves are quite small so I didn't  add a lot of decorative items in order to  prevent it from looking too cluttered. 

I wanted to share  some vignettes on the east side of our dining area. There is so much more natural light on this side of the room. This pic might be a little too bright!

Of course I had to share some vignettes on  my windowsill again. The sun was getting a bit low in the sky at this point. 

We won't be home for the 4th this year, so I wanted to put something together to get us in the spirit of the holiday. My motto has always been to try and use what you have and create something you enjoy and love. 

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Oregon coast & sea lions

Early last fall we we took a road trip to the Oregon coast. We like to visit at least a couple of times a year, during the off season because the highway gets so congested in the summer. It takes a little over two hours to reach Depoe Bay and Newport and lucky for us it was a sunny day, although rather chilly since it was late September. We always seem to be on a budget lately, especially at vacation time so we really enjoy our trips along the coast when we can take them. 

Here are a few pics of the coast on Depoe Bay. It is quite small with a population of around 1400, but it has some beautiful rugged coastline and a vistors center, where if you're  lucky,  you might spot some whales during their annual migration. There are some rustic little shops along the highway as well for tourists.

This is actually a fine mist from the ocean that is spraying up over the sea wall .


Here's a map that shows the coastal region of Oregon.  We live north of Portland, just across the Columbia river in SW Washington.   We live in a great location because of our proximity to the coast in Oregon and we can easily visit the cities that we enjoy in Washington as well. Depoe Bay is about 10 miles north of Newport. The map on the left is linked to a great website called Travel Oregon. I'm not promoting tourism for the state of Oregon I just came across this website recently and wanted to share in case others are interested.  

More pics of Depoe Bay's rugged coastline. 

I love the crashing waves hitting the rocks. I always seemed to miss the bigger waves!

Depoe Bay has one of the smallest navigable harbors in  Oregon. The original bridge was completed in 1927. 

I wanted to share these pics of the power pole lines with the wires on the rugged coastline. I thought it was so interesting how they were embedded in the rocks and it makes a very picturesque looking image!

We moved on to Newport and stopped in Yaquina Bay State Park.  This is the Yaquina Bay lighthouse that was  originally built in 1871 and restored in the 1970's. I believe it was only used a few years until the Yaquina Head lighthouse was built. 

It is a charming building and tours are given during the summer months. 

We never seem to tire of visiting the Yaquina Bay Bridge. It has such charming arches and it was such a beautiful day to take pictures. 

These are the first pics that I have of the bridge with my digital camera, so of course I took several!

It is beautiful at sunset and I wish we had been there later in the day to take some pics!

We also visited the Historic Bayfront District to see the harbor and sea lions. 

I have to admit, to me the sea lions are not the most gorgeous creatures. Especially when they are molting. Their coats look quite bad now.  These are the males and they bellow so loud when they are awake it can be deafening! They look quite sweet when they are resting though, with their noses raised towards the sun. I guess they are trying to capture some warmth from the sun to make them sleepy. They also have an unpleasant smell so we didn't stay too long. It doesn't help that a fish processing plant is nearby and the smell is so bad I had to cross the street. It didn't seem to bother my hubby though I don't know how. Ugh!

I felt bad for them because their old dock is collapsing and needs to be replaced. I read that they are  building a new dock for the sea lions this summer. I really liked the pic of this one resting alone and it's shiny coat.

A visit to one of Newport's beaches. It was practically deserted since the temps were likely in the 50's. Still nice enough for a walk on the beach.

A little peek of the beach between the trees. We were able to visit several places on our vacation last year, so I'll be sharing more in the months ahead. 
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Mossy banner & mantel

One of the things that I love about the Pacific NW is how pretty and green the outdoors stays throughout the year.  It is so  appealing with the forest and overgrown plants and mosses. I wanted to create a little bit of that in  our home and add a mossy banner to our mantel. 

I've been inspired by some of the blogs that feature these banners made of moss and all the mossy letters.  And with  the official start of summer beginning in  a few weeks, I thought I should get my mantel decorated and create my summer banner.  

I started out with a moss mat that you  can buy in any craft store and started cutting out my shapes. It is 100% moss that is attached to a backing that makes it easier to cut. I bought one package and it was more than enough to make my banner with a little bit left over for a smaller one as well. 

Any moss product is extremely messy because so much of the moss comes loose, especially as you are cutting it. I used card stock for the backing and created a template for the moss shapes. Since I wanted them be a little larger than my backing, I mod podged the card stock on after I cut out my template, but I would advise if you use this method you might want to trace the template design onto your craft paper first without cutting it, then mod podge it (or use spray adhesive) to the sheet of moss and cut out your shapes. You might get some glue on your scissors, but  I think it might be less messy and faster this way.  At the time I didn't know how I was going to attach my banner to my cord, so I did it the more time consuming way. 

 It's always nice to have precut shapes and all you have to do is assemble things, but I never do my projects that way  unless I'm really rushed for time. I enjoy being thrifty too much, especially on craft projects.   

 I wanted to continue the green theme on my banner so I came up with a stamp design using my background cube and letter stamps.  I already had the stamps and some mini clothespins to attach the pieces to my banner on a string of jute. I always try to do things the easiest and quickest way possible as long as I can still get the results I want. 

Since I've been a stamper for quite a few years I already had most of my supplies for this, but there are so many creative things that you can do to your banners to personalize them to fit any occasion without buying a banner kit. I like my projects to be simple and since I don't follow trends my creations are always in style, at least to me! 

I wanted to continue the earthy, mossy theme on my mantel so I added some moss, rocks and filler to my tall jars and some artificial succulents to some small containers. I don't have a green thumb, as far as houseplants are concerned so I just used things I had around the house to fill in the mantel. 

I only decorate our mantel a few times each year, since It is a large recessed area and  hard to decorate. You have to fill in the depth of the opening and I didn't have any large plants to fill it in, so I managed with what I had. Since the front of our fireplace is slate I thought it fit in with the woodsy theme I was looking for. 

The frame is a burlap memo board and I added a ginko leaf wreath that I've had for a few years. I painted the clay pots green and added some burlap and tied it with jute. 

I didn't know what to put in the center and I saw my french looking basket in the living room and wanted to try it because of its earthy brownish green color. One of the few things I bought were these faux purple flowers and I placed them in the basket and really liked the look. I love how the purple flowers pick up the purple in the tag on the basket. I'm glad I didn't put a plant in the center because I really like the pop of purple and that frenchy look. The mantel is somewhat of an eclectic look but most of my things seem to go in that direction since I like to mix different styles. 

Just a few simple touches to fill in the space. I love grapevine balls and they fill in a space nicely and I added my little cloche as well.

We have a builder basic fireplace that isn't really finished off with a mantel. It's on our list of future projects and decorating it with a theme helps define the space a bit better. 

After I took most of my pics I made a small change to my banner and moved the letters up so more of the mossy banner would show.  I like the overall look of this better. 

Just a bit of softness can add a misty look to your pictures. 

If you want to see some scenery of the Pacific NW I have added a tab with pictures of a Japanese garden with more pics to come or you can check here.

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