Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cropping Pictures for Ornaments or Jewelry - PicMonkey

Christmas is just around the corner, and I'm already in the mood to put up a tree!!!

Darn that Hobby Lobby!
They put Christmas stuff out so early - 
who can help themselves?

Truthfully, I think one of the reasons I'm so excited is I get to add a 2nd sweet grand baby's face to my tree.  I didn't used to decorate much with those kinds of ornaments, but when you have grand babies as cute as mine - it's a must!

See what I mean?
This handsome man joined our
family in July of this year.

Here is a quick, little tutorial to help you get a nicely cropped, quality picture that will look great in your ornament, piece of jewelry, or tiny frame:

Go to and click the Edit button.  (PicMonkey is a photo editing site that has tons of cool edits for FREE!)  When you click Edit, places you store pictures on your computer will pop up, and you just need to select the picture you wish to edit.

Once you have your picture pulled up in PicMonkey, click the Crop button on the left.

Within the Crop function, you will click on the little drop-down menu and select "how" you wish to crop your picture.  For my application I'm choosing a Square.  As soon as you click Square - a square highlight will pop up on your picture.  You can now drag this anywhere on your picture to frame what you want included in the crop.  You can also adjust the size by grabbing one of the corners and sliding it.  When you are happy with the size and position, Click Apply.

This will leave you with a wonderfully squared picture.  All you need to do now is Save it back to your computer with a new name.

To print the picture, open Word (or some other word processing software), and create a New Document.  Click on Insert, then select Picture - and choose your newly created picture from where you stored it on your computer.  When you hit Enter, your picture will appear in the document.  The last step is to go over to the right of your screen and enter the dimensions you need your picture to be.  If it is an inch - use 1.0   If a half inch - then .5   All that is left is to print your picture and cut it out!

Wasn't that easy?

If you need a circle for your ornament or jewelry - I made a tutorial for that here.

This little lion is my beautiful grand daughter about 2 years ago.  Don't you agree that my tree will look much sweeter with these two precious babies lighting up its branches?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spooky Welcome Sign - Printable

One day this past spring I heard quite a commotion in my yard.  When I went to investigate, I found dozens and dozens of birds squawking and carrying on.  It really was kind of like a scene from The Birds, and kind of gave me the eebie jeebies.


I'm much more about pretty fall decorations this time of year than all the gory stuff, but there is something kind of enticing about old, creepy houses.  When I saw this image on The Graphics Fairy's site - I thought it would be fun to marry it with my bird picture to make a spooky Welcome sign.  To see this image on her site, go here.
I took the color out of my bird picture and heightened the contrast quite a bit.  Then I overlapped it onto the Graphics Fairy image, and finally added some texture.

You're welcome to print one for yourself, if you like.  And please stop by anytime - pay no attention to my little welcoming party at the front gate.  I think they'll let you enter......

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Furniture Feet Pumpkins.....?

Yesterday I shared my fall mantel here on the blog with a little teaser that I had a confession to make.

I've said in the past that nothing in my house is that valuable; therefore nothing is really sacred.  So, when I noticed that the feet of the ottoman I am currently reupholstering would make great pumpkins - well, off they came.

They are just perfect with these candlesticks.  I get bored decorating with candles, so these feet made me happy - and they gave Edward a good laugh when he realized what they were.

Luckily, I had a spare set of feet in the garage, so the poor ottoman can still stand tall.  Don't you just love them as pumpkins, though?  They're such a great color.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Mantel

Yesterday, I shared how I'm trying to simplify my decorating as the seasons change.  I don't want to spend days decorating for a particular season, because there are so many other things I want to do instead.

Except for the mantel! 
This is my fun space.  
My let's-get-creative-and-do-something-totally-new space.

My favorite thing in the world with decorating is to take something that is totally junk, and make it at home with lovely, pleasant little things.  

(I have some rusty furniture springs I really, really wanted to incorporate - but they just weren't least not yet.)

Our home is pretty formal by nature, but we are not.  I guess adding a little junk is my way of not taking this house, or decorating, or myself too seriously.

I can't say my dear husband is as enthusiastic about the cast-offs as I am, but it has become a source of intrigue and humor for him.

I bought this picture for the frame, but the painting is so perfect  for this time of year.  Isn't it pretty?

In the 2nd picture above if you look at the bottom of the large frame, it is damaged and most of the ornamentation is missing.  However, it is quite old - and I love its character!

I have a crazy little confession about this vignette.  If you come back tomorrow, I'll tell you what it is!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Simplified Decorating With Glass Displays

I Looooove to decorate.  I do!  
Especially for all the different seasons.  

However, I'm learning that my decorating style is simplifying and changing.  I find that I'm not as interested in spending an entire week getting out the new season's decor and packing up the previous season to stack in the garage.  I seem to be migrating towards things I can change up in short time that still look fantastic for the season.  

One reason I've been posting about apothecary jars/cloches of late, see here, here, and here, is because it's a great way to pull off this simplified approach.

By gathering and making a very eclectic collection of glass displays, I can update my decor for the season just by changing what's inside.

It's fun, too, because if I don't have enough variety for all the different displays, I can just walk around my yard and pull a bit of what's happening outside - inside.

I think it keeps the decorating a little fresher as I'm not just getting out all the same stuff I've used year after year.

Of course I have favorite pieces I want to hang on to and continue to use, but it does force some new and interesting combinations.

And should I decide to have some friends over for a little tea, I can replace a few decor items with some cookies or cupcakes, keep some of the decor in place - and have a special little dessert buffet.

If you decorate for the different holidays, do you like a simplified approach, or is part of the enjoyment spending several days getting your house all pretty?


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Display Pedestal Made From Old Lamp Base

One of my favorite places to get beautiful decorative elements for new projects - is from old lamps.  They are so available and overlooked, especially if they are broken in any way.

This lamp is not the newest fashion, but look at its pretty base and other individual components.  Are they not gorgeous?  I can't wait to use them.

This glass sphere in my garden was once a hanging lamp.  I found it at a yard sale for $1.

Lamps like this mantel lamp are not necessarily out of style, but they are inexpensive to start with.  I think when people can afford to upgrade to something nicer - they do - and so many end up in the thrift pile.  Yay for me, for if you take them apart and get rid of the metal tubing, you're left with a lovely little base.  Glue a glass plate to that -

- and get a darling little pedestal like this!

And if you need a cloche to go with it, 
click here for a few ideas on how to make one.

Not bad for something you can often pick up 
for a dollar or two.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paula Deen's - Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

Not sure what to make for dinner? 

Let me help - and you can thank me (and Paula) later, 
for you will want to.

This is Paula Deen's Tastes Like Lasagna Soup
and it is deeeelish!!!

It is so simple, you could actually run to the store, get anything you need, and still have dinner on the table in an hour-ish.

Here are her instructions, or you can go to her link here:


  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 (32 oz) box chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups broken lasagna noodles
  • 1 (5 oz) package grated parmesan cheese and more for serving
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 thin French baguette
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic


In a large Dutch oven, combine ground chuck, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and crumbles. Drain well.

Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 to 10 ovenproof bowls. Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil soups, 6-inches from heat, 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add a garlic crostini slice on top. Serve immediately.

For the garlic crostini:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut bread into 1/4-inch round slices. Place on baking sheet and brush each slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; place in oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Rub each side with smashed garlic cloves.

The only things I do different from the recipe are:
          1.  I replace half of the ground beef with Italian 
          2.  I skip the bread/cheese melting bit.  
               I like it better without that. 
         3.  I omit the green pepper

There!  Now you don't have to eat out tonight.
You're Welcome!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Plate Rack Upcycle To Burlap Cork Board

Something I see often when I'm thrifting are plate racks designed to hold 3 or 4 plates.  I don't know if people don't want to hang plates anymore, or if they have too many racks already, or if they don't like that particular style now.  It just seems you can pick up some very pretty ones fairly inexpensively.

If plates aren't your thing, you could use them to display picture frames with pictures, or even make a jewelry hanger/memo board.  Here is one idea:

I took 3 oval frames and painted them to match.  
Then I covered cork with burlap, and put that inside the frames.

To cut the cork the correct size, I placed a sheet of paper over the back opening of the frame, and did a pencil rubbing to create a pattern.  I cut out the oval that appeared on my paper, and then placed that oval on my cork.  By doing a second rubbing over the edges of the paper onto the cork, I could see exactly where I needed to cut the cork.  It works best to cut slightly smaller than the line, and my kitchen shears worked great for the cutting.

Elmer's Glue-All was perfect for gluing the burlap onto the cork.  Just spread a nice even layer.  You want enough to soak into the burlap and hold it, but not so much it oozes out the front of the burlap.

That's it!  I know this is kind of a no-brainer craft, but thought someone might have a plate rack in their garage sale pile who would decide to hang onto it instead.  I actually find lots of uses for these racks.  Here is how I used this one before I changed it up:

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Ever Changing Picture, Picture

I bought an ugly picture, and I'm not even sure why.

You see, I went to a junk sale at a super fun place called 
The Chicken Farm in Jones, OK.  To learn more about it and the dates of their sales - check them out here.  They are so cool!

Anyway..... was the end of the day and these two ladies were selling this picture.  For some reason - they seemed to really want me to have it.  (Do I look like a jungle cat woman - or do they just know I'm a sucker for a good deal?)  They started reverse wheeling-n-dealing with me until the price was so low - who could pass it up?  What the heck - I could paint the frame or something.

I stuck it on my Dining Room wall just to fill the space for a bit, and you know - it actually kind of grew on me.  It started to look rather nice - imagining it without the brown mat and the cats.

I thought it would be fun to paint a mat with chalk board paint and write something like Eat, Pray, Love on it.  However, the mat ended up such a gorgeous black - I chose not to mess it up with chalk.

I also chose not to tear apart the mat and mess up the little gold frame embedded in it.  Instead, I poked holes in each of the corners and glued a small power magnet in the hole.  This allowed me to add a picture and hold in it place with metal of some sort.

Isn't it pretty?

The best part - it is like Picture, Picture from Mr. Rogers.  I can change the picture whenever I like.

Here is one I made for Fall.  It is so elegant in my Dining Room - so much nicer than the jungle cats.

Thanks for talking me into it ladies - it really is my style.  Hope to see you at the Chicken Farm again soon!