Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Valentine Morning in Maine

After yesterday's snowfall, it was a beautiful winter Valentine's Day morning here in Maine. 
 I love coming up with little unexpected holiday surprises for people I love;
today was delivery day!

 So I left 22 Applegate Lane early with my little red mini-Cooper full of  Valentine treats.
My first stop was Dunkin' Donuts to wish "the regulars" a Happy Valentine's Day and bring a jar of candy to my  coffee-friend, Sue.

Then I headed to my daughter's group home. She and her housemates celebrate every holiday with gusto and were excited with their Valentine goodies. (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are the annual favorite!)

Next, I stopped at Plummer School to bring a rusty Valentine lock to my friend, Mary Elizabeth (she loves rust!) and then two more bags of candy to "the sisters", Margaret and Jo.

My route took me from my house (the red dot below), past our local landmark, The Town Landing Market (on the corner where the red line turns right), down to the ocean.

I decided to stop in to the Town Landing Market to warm up.

No "Native Ice Cubes" needed today!

But fresh Hazelnut coffee hit the spot!

It was a little early for a  lobster roll, as tempting as that was!

Since it was a little too cold to enjoy my coffee outside . . .

I headed down the hill   . . .

to the Town Landing, our municipal marina and beach area.

What a beautiful morning at the beach!

The little "hump" you can see in the distance is a small island (one of 360  "Calendar Islands" in Casco Bay) called Fort Gorges.  

It seems that Portland's famous "Valentine Bandit" made it out to the island before dawn to decorate the old fort for Valentine's Day.

Image result for Valentine Bandit 2019 Fort Gorges

Back at the Landing, things were quiet, waiting for Spring.

It was low tide

and the snow was taking turns  on the beach with the ocean water.

I feel so lucky to live within walking distance of Casco Bay and the Landing. 
I'm not sure I could survive without being able to smell the sea.

But, after a very cold morning, it was good to get home. 
My plan for the afternoon was to make some tea, read in "my chair" and work on my blog - 
with the fireplace going, of course!

Happy Valentine's Day from Maine!

Monday, February 11, 2019

10 Dollar Tree Bargains for Spring

Garden Supplies
Spring 2019 Fairy House items from Dollar Tree. I love these!
Now that my Valentines are in the mail, I took a trip to Dollar Tree to see what's new for Spring.
Not only did I spot some great finds, I learned that Dollar Tree has a BLOG! Who knew?  The blog is full of ideas for "hacks", crafts, decor, and party ideas using only inexpensive items from Dollar Tree.

The Dollar Tree "Tips & Ideas" Blog includes headings for "Tips & Hacks", "DIY & Crafts", "Celebrations", "For Teachers", and "Weddings". There are hundreds of great ideas on this site.

Here are 10  Bargains that I loved, some from the blog and some from the store.

1. Holiday Decor.  I love to decorate for holidays.  I confess: most of my holiday supplies come from either the Target "Dollar Spot" (see my previous post, Valentine Tablescape On a Budget) or Dollar Tree. I love the challenge of making something unique with inexpensive materials.  Here's one idea for an Easter themed wreath using only Dollar Tree items.  I'm calling it my "Dollar Tree Spring Bargain #1!"

Click here for the materials and directions:  DIY Peeps Wreath

Spring Bargain #2.  Polka-Dot Chickens

These are new in our local Dollar Tree Store. I just love them! Wouldn't they be cute in an Easter Basket or as part of an Easter tablescape?

They remind me of the red chickens on the top shelf at Brenda's Cozy Little House

kitchen wall shelf

Spring Bargain #3. Stylish Storage Baskets

These are simple, classic, well-designed, useful, and a perfect color . . . 'nuff' said!

#4.  Galvanizd Plant Pots

These are classics!  Use as Easter baskets, gift pails, to carry garden gloves and supplies while you're working in the yard, for BBQ items, or . . . for flowers and plants!

#5. And this time in French . . .

#6.  Cake Carriers

These are amazing. At Christmas, my DH makes rum cakes for hundreds of lots of our friends. These were perfect for "wrapping" and storing them. And, the click-clack fastener on the bottom means that the bottom and top actually stay together when carried by the handle on top. A major bargain for $1.00 each!

I remember the old Tupperware Cake carriers; I think I even had one once. But they were too expensive to give away. This does the same thing and costs less than a gift bag!

#7.  Jars.

I use jars to organize almost everything. From kitchen to craft room, they're the best!

And Dollar Tree has jars in both glass and plastic . . . 

     in about every shape and size!

Bargain #7.  Frames        

There is a huge selection of frames for $1.00 and, if you want more of a farmhouse look, click here:     How To Distress Picture Frames from Dollar Tree . The Dollar Tree blog has simple directions for distressing dollar frames.

#8. Party Supplies.

I get most of my party supplies at the dollar store. They have every item, in every color, and all for a dollar. They even have "silver" flatware and serving pieces that by candlelight could pass for the real thing . And on their blog, they have directions for lots of clever party decor I would never have though of  - like these Pinatas made from party hats! Cute and much less expensive that buying a pinata, even at WalMart prices.

Here's the link: DIY Party Hat Pinatas

Bargain #9.  Basket Bags.

These are the best! Our local library uses them for its annual "A Tisket, A Tasket" fundraiser. They're also big enough to hold a real kids (aka huge) Easter Basket. And there are two in each dollar package.
Here's how we used them at the library:

And finally, #10. Hallmark Cards

In a previous life, I owned a Hallmark Shop in Kennebunk, Maine, and I still love to send Hallmark Cards. But . . . my young grands don't appreciate them enough to spend $3.99, $4.99 and 5.99 apiece on them. At the holidays, that really adds up. Enter Dollar Tree. They now sell Hallmark Cards for $2/$1.00, Fellow grandparents: we can't go wrong at that price! Check them out.

I don't own stock in Dollar Tree and I don't even know anyone who does, but - I do know a bargain when I see one. If you're good at sniffing out a good buy (and passing over the less appealing stuff) and have some creativity, you can do pretty well at Dollar Tree.

I'd love to hear what you've found there!

This post is linked to:
Inspire Me Tuesday #488 at A Stroll Through Life
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Homestyle Gathering #5 at My Wee Abode
To Grandma's House We Go Linkk Party #126 at Chas" Crazy Creations
Thursday's Favorite Things Party at Crafts a la Mode
Flaunt It Friday #435 at Chic On a Shoestring

Friday, February 8, 2019

Valentine Tablescape on a Budget

I love coming up with whimsical table settings for dinner parties. Tomorrow evening we'll be having our "Gourmet Group" for dinner to celebrate two birthdays and Valentine's Day. Today I'm having fun putting the table together. I always start with neutral basics: simple white dinnerware and sterling flatware.

I'm lucky in that my DH is cooking this dinner. He's Italian and will be making his "famous" veal parmesean. That leaves me time to work on the appetizers, the bar, and the table setting. Here's the mess on my craft table this morning as I began the process. (This is my fifth week back on Weight Watchers and I'm proud to say, I didn't touch even one piece of the candy!)

For every dinner party, I make something that will serve the purpose of a "placecard" and I always come up with little "party favors" for guests to take home with them. Even adults love that! This time I combined the two: the "placecard" is the favor.

The cute rickrack felt heart pouches were only $1.00 each at Target's "Dollar Spot" (I love that little corner!). I used fabric paint to add names to the hearts (the "placecard" part) and then filled each heart with Valentine candy to take home (the "party favor" part).

Oops! Forgot the napkins!

I found this perfect red tablecloth at Goodwill for $4.00. It's so long that, even with both leaves in my table, it had to be tucked under. And it washed with absolutely no need for ironing. I think this one is a keeper! The Valentine table runner was another Target bargain for $3.00, also at the "Dollar Spot".

I had candy left over so decided to use it in Valentine mason jars for friends who will not be at tomorrow evenings dinner party.

These were simple to make and just used up things I already had: jars, doilies, and ribbon.

I felt pretty good about coming up with a tablecloth, runner, "placecards" and favors for all of  $14.00. All I needed to add was the candy!

This post is linked to:
Flaunt It Friday #434 at Chic On a Shoestring
Best of the Weekend Link Part at Calypso In the Country
Farmhouse Friday Link Party #92 at The Painted Hinge
Sundays at Home at Little Farmstead
                                              Homestyle Gathering #5 at My Wee Abode

Monday, February 4, 2019

12 Uses for a Vintage Washboard

When my friend, Mary Elizabeth, decided she was Moving To a Schoolhouse last month, she had to downsize in earnest. One of the (very few, honest!) things I rescued from her trash pile was a rusty old washboard.  And it didn't always look like this:

Here's how this little project started out. It was dirty and had so much rust on it that the interesting old lettering at the top was impossible to read.

I Googled " natural rust removers" and chose to try white vinegar and lemon juice. With the help of steel wool, a wet sanding block, and lots of elbow grease, they worked. I left on some rust just because I liked it! It was a messy job and it's freezing here in Maine right now so I did it at the kitchen sink after lining the counters on both sides with thick newspaper.

After most of the rust was removed. I rinsed the area well and set the washboard to dry overnight in front of our fireplace. The next day, I "prettied it up". The first step was oiling, and adding a little color to, the dry wood. I used Old English (Dark) for that. You apply it with a damp cloth and rub your brains out until you get the finish you like!

I let the Old English soak in and dry for an hour or two before completing the piece. I found this little wire basket at TJ Maxx for only $3.99 and purchased it to attach to the washboard (somehow!) to make it more functional. These baskets are pretty easy to find; I've also seen them at Home Goods and online.

I attached the basket with two small brown nails which I hoped would show - they didn't.

Then I just played around adding things that I thought would give this little project more uses: two antique coat hooks,

a wire across the front (you could use twine instead) to clip things to with mini-clothespins, and  two small screw eyes and wire across the back for hanging the piece from the wall.

And Voila! Done!
Now for the fun part: Staging it. I had so many ideas for how to use this little washboard turned wall art that my head was spinning! 

So here you go: My "Top Twelve" Ideas for Using a Repurposed Old Washboard (I bet you'll think of lots more!):

#1.  Storage for Hats, Mittens, Scarves in the Mud Room

(I'm writing this the day after the Super Bowl and we live in New England, so "Go Pats!")
#2.  Dog Accessory Organizer in the Mud Room
No staging on this idea because we no longer have a dog. But since we did have a Beagle, here's a cute one! My idea was to hang leashes from the coat hooks and use the wire basket for dog treats, a roll of doggie "poop bags" etc.  You'll have to use your imagination!
Image result for cute dog

#3. In the Laundry Room
A great place for lost socks and odds and ends of laundry supplies. Plus - how cute would this be on the laundry room wall?

#4. In the Guest Bathroom
(Heck - why not spoil yourself and hang it in your own bathroom!)

#5.  To Organize Your Greeting Cards  & Mailing Supplies

#6. To Display Plants, Inside or Out
I love this idea!

#7.  As a Reading Corner Next to Your Favorite Chair

#8.  To Display A Hobby or Collection

#9. In the Sewing Room

#10.  In a Farmhouse Kitchen

                            #11. To Display Favorite Dishes in the Dining Room

#12. And, of course, As a Message Board

I like all of these ideas so much that I think I'll have to hit the dump and flea markets and find myself eleven  ten (no dog!) more old washboards!
I can't wait to hear your washboard ideas. 
Leave me a comment?

p.s. My friend and felter-extraordinaire, Kathleen, just sent an e-mail comment on this post which included a photo of what she does with old washboards: felt on them, of course! Here is her latest creation, "Chloe". A work of art. Wow!

This post is linked to:
Inspire Me Tuesday #487 at A Stroll Through Life
Amaze Me Monday #300 at Dwellings
J & J Link Up Party #178 at Plucky's Second Thought
Homestyle Gathering 4 at My Wee Abode
To Grandma's House We Go Link Party #125 at Chas' Crazy Creations
Thursday Favorite Things at Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Best of the Weekend link party at Calypso In the Country
Flaunt It Friday #434 at Chic On A Shoestring
Farmhouse Friday Link Party #92 at The Painted Hinge
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects #464 at Funky Junk Interiors
Vintage Charm Party 169 at My Thrift Store Addiction
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