Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Empty Candle Jars For Frugal Fall Decor

 Empty glass candle jars are great items to reuse and repurpose for home decor.  I have mentioned many ways I've reused them before throughout the frugal website.  I recently stopped at Dollar Tree to pick up a few frugal decor accessories and was amazed at some of the things I found.

Some neat finds for a dollar.  I was especially impressed
with the moss roll which I have not used yet.  

I immediately knew the perfect container for many of these items would be some glass jars.  I had two old candle jars that I have been saving.  They however were not yet cleaned.  Do the following to help with your candle jar clean-out process.  Place your jars in the freezer.  I actually left mine in for about 5 days as this project kept getting pushed back further and further.  The wax will become brittle in most cases as any moisture within it freezes.  Once removed, cautiously break up the wax with a sturdy butter knife.  It's best to press down into the wax while the candle jar is on a secure and sturdy surface, such as wooden butcher block for instance.  It should pop out fairly easy in smaller pieces.  Tip:  You can save your old candle wax and melt it down and use old cookie presses to make wax molds for decorative purposes.  The wax can also just be simmered on a stovetop for a lovely light fragrance on a cold day - "Thanks for the "REUSE" ideas Mom." 

Jars Removed From Freezer

Cutting Out The Wax

Saving The Wax For Another Use (in an empty, clean, tuna can)

The Clean Jars, Ready To Go

You may also want to pop off the plastic lid retainer if you elect to use the lids.  It provides a cleaner, less "ex-candle jar" look.  Use EXTREME caution when removing them.  Slide a butter knife or wide-end, flat screw driver between the plastic ring and the glass and slowly pry it upward.  You can also slightly turn your tool in a circular fashion to start slowly lifting the plastic from the base.  This is a safer method and one I would recommend.  They sometimes come off very easy and other times may be problematic.  Please take your time.

Now clean your jar.  I first use a dry papertowel to remove any black creosote-type residue from around the inside of the jar.  Then use an old scubbie sponge with some dish detergent and warm-to-hot water to clean out the inside of the jar. ( I have a few old sponges dedicated for craft project clean-ups such as this.)

Allow the jar to dry and I suggest wiping the inside with a dry papertowel again.  The rough surface will help remove any waxy streaks you may have missed with the sponge.

Next, fill the jar with your chosen materials.  I used my Dollar Tree finds.  You could also fill them with birdseed, sunflower seeds with the shell, lentils, acorns, mixed nuts, various outdoor seed pods, various found tree nuts, found Pine, colorful tree leaves, long Fir Pine needles (I'm doing this as some of mine Firs have recently shed a  nice amount of needles in a burnt yellow-orange "Fall" color.)

Dollar Tree gourds, moss and Pine cones fill the large jars.
Small, fallen, colorful leaves fill the small jar.

Placed Upon The Coffee-table

Flat-bottom Pine cones placed on top of the lids as
Decorative Fall Finials

So, what do you think?  A pretty good "variation of theme" table display for a mere $4.00.  The jars could be considered free since they were repurposed from their initial use.  Do you have other ways to fill your candle jars?  Tell me about it!  It could be for other seasons or other home uses too! Visit my page on fall crafts for more, easy and frugal ideas.

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Tip Junkie handmade projectsFeatured On The Crafty Nest

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simple Autumn-Inspired Pillows

While outside sweeping up leaves, I happened upon a nice, large oak leaf.  Often if I find a nice leaf I will bring it indoors to use in an arrangement for the holidays.  Perhaps frame it, place a few together on top of a book on the coffeetable, etc.  The uses are limitless.

For whatever reason, I immediately thought it would be a quick, festive addition to a few of my throw pillows.  I at first had simply tied the leaf on with a piece of jute twine.  I liked that minimalist look quite a bit.  I ended up experimenting with the ends of the jute twine to give them a bit more interest.  In keeping with the organic appeal and season, I chose to hot-glue some small pine cones and a few other dried berry elements found in some old potpourri.  I also went outside and found a small oak branch bundle and broke off a few of the tips where the acorns normally would grow.  They look like small twigs with a bud at the end.  All of the elements combined created a nice decorative touch.  If you decide to do something similar, look around at all the neat seasonal items you can apply to the ends of your jute twine.  Keep some of the pillows with plain jute twine (no embellishments) so as to achieve a more casual, less complicated look.  You could also experiment with hot-gluing leaves of different size or style on top of each other.  Just place a small dab or two on the back and  stick them together.  I may elect to do this and then tie it up with the plain jute.  A nice variation of theme.

Most of all, have fun!

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In My Own Style

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns - Ideas For Your Holiday Decorating

Whether you love a scary jack-o-lantern face or prefer a pumpkin in its unaltered state, visit the new Pumpkin Decorating Ideas page at the Frugal Interior Design website.  I have compiled a few simple ideas to get you thinking more about how you display your pumpkins, as well as some tips to help along the way.

I also mention a few child-friendly pumpkin decorating ideas so the little ones can safely help prepare for the holiday.  Of course a really fun adventure could simply be allowing them to pick their own pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch as my nephew is seen doing below.

"Wait daddy, this pumpkin is weighing down my wagon already!"

"Here's a good one!"

As always, have fun, be safe and Happy Decorating!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Inverted Tree Trunk Roots Display Pumpkins

I was trying to come up with a different way to display some pumpkins at my front entry.  I had done pumpkins on straw bales a few times before and toyed with placing a bunch of them inside large tin buckets (with some drilled drain holes of course).  I also inverted the buckets to place some on top and some around the base.  The look of the silver metal with the pumpkin colors was fine but I sort of wanted a more organic look.

While glancing around my property, I noticed one of the dead tree trunks I had previously dug out of the ground in the Spring and had placed strategically in a landscape bed as a decorative element.  I immediately got the idea to use the crooks of the roots to cradle the pumpkins.  Luckily for me I have two of these trunks/roots which I dug up.  Who knew they would become multipurpose?  I snatched that one from another landscaped area and messed around with their orientation until I had them setting just right to display the pumpkins.  I was quite pleased with the result.  I however wish they had more vertical height to get more pumpkins setting higher.  Regardless, the look is what I was after and has garnered positive comments by visitors.  Do you have any unique ideas for displaying pumpkins at your entries?    

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My $2.50 Yard Sale Find!

Yesterday I stopped by a community "yard" sale being held inside an old abandoned building.  I saw a few items of interest but not as much as I was hoping.  Probably all for the best.  I really don't need anything else but I can never resist an old, vintage implement of some sort.  I happened upon this one.  Any idea what it is?  Perhaps something for a horse drawn wagon?  Whatever the case, it is a REPURPOSE item for home decor now.

I love the weathered wood and rusty chain.

Its current, new home - a top a vintage, wooden chest.

A view showing some of the other vintage pieces I have compiled in this room.
As you can see, other rusty and weathered-wooden pieces dot the space.

Do you like to repurpose found items or bring new life to old discards?  Visit my page on green decorating to see some of the other unique looks I've established for little cost!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Autumn In The Air!

Well, I woke up to a glorious day of sunlight dancing across the tree tops. A light breeze has random leaves falling and a cool, brisk morning of fresh air upon the face says Fall Is Here!

I decided to take a few, outdoor pictures to commemorate my favorite season of the year. I'm sure these will be the first of many to come. I love seeing the drastic changes from day to day and week to week during this time of year.

Upon walking outdoors, the fresh, welcomed, pungent smell of Witch Hazel blooms caught my nose. I'm lucky enough to have one growing near my entryway and always anticipate its odd aroma during the cooler months of the year. Its unique pom-pom blooms in yellow-green jump out as sharply as its fragrance. It is perhaps one of my favorite shrubs (more like a tree for me as it towers about 14-16 feet high).  I can look forward to its odd blooms again in late Winter as well; bright yellow against the white snow, except at that time, there will be bare, brown branches making the blooms more pronounced..

The intense, welcoming fragrance of Witch Hazel as Autumn sets in.

Leaves, leaves, leaves.  Yes, there will be a plethora of them in no time.  For now, they sure look pretty gathering along the edges of the walkways bordering the property.

Simple Beauty In Nature.

Late season Impatiens provide bright color as fallen leaves become the "new neighbors".

I hope you too have some welcomed signs of the season that you enjoy.  Tell us what you enjoy most during this time of year.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Classy Pumpkin Ideas

Perhaps Jack-O-Lanterns are your style or perhaps simple, unaltered, festive pumpkins sitting down your front porch steps strikes your fancy.  Regardless of whether you go fun, fancy or somewhere in between, it's always interesting to see design ideas developed by others.  In this instance, engraving pumpkins.  Look at this incredible, yet simplistic design.  I love how the inner orange color contrasts so sharply against this pumpkin's unique, green skin!

Photo courtesy Jill Kirchner Simpson, CountryLiving.com

The idea is to match your pumpkin to your patterns and other design motifs found in your home;  in this case, the plate upon which the pumpkin sits.  I was impressed with many of the engraved/embossed pumpkins shown.  

A linoleum-cutting tool set, quoted at less than $10.00 at many art stores created this look.  Hmmmm, I'm suddenly feeling the urge to purchase a set to give my hand a try at this.  As always, use extreme caution when working with knives or any other sharp object as you design your pumpkins or carve those jack-o-lanterns!  I found this Linoleum Cutter Tool Set at Amazon for under $15.00.

Don't forget the "cutting the pumpkin open at the bottom" trick instead of creating a lid if you decide to fully clean and illuminate one of your designs.  I have never gone this route but see it as a smart option to eliminate the shrinking, "caving-in" lid that often develops.

Do you have some clever pumpkin decorating ideas of your own?  Share them!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bottles, Bottles, Bottles

I have a thing for old bottles;  all types, shapes, sizes, colors.  Clear glass ones with the "haze of age" are very cool.  Deep amber-colored ones are a favorite as well.  Mixing them with old, rusty implements and weathered-wood items really produces a cohesive, yet casually-comfortable look.  One that you can not replicate with newly manufactured items.

While walking through a small pine forest, gathering pine cones for autumn decorating, I stepped on a small bottle half buried in the soft, loamy soil.  I pulled it out and was impressed by its rich, earthy color; highly appropriate for Autumn and especially my bathroom.  Upon further investigation I saw it was a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer bottle.  Now I don't know if Pabst still produces beer in these bottles (I'm hoping not as that makes it all the more special) but I figured despite the bottle's original purpose, the shape and color were worthy of becoming new decor.

So, what do you think?  This bathroom has lots of rust colors with terracotta-colored accented tiles.  I love the size and shape, especially paired with the once lone, vintage medicinal bottle of the same color.  Carefully fashion custom corks to fit from wine bottle corks for a more authentic, rustic look.  I think the "beer reference" would be lost to anyone viewing this bottle now.  Nothing like free finds that incorporate so well with your personal design aesthetic.  Here's hoping you stubble upon some neat bottles while you too are digging around for pine cones!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Simple Fall Crafts For The Home

Are you in a creative mood today?  Do you have items like empty soup cans, jute twine, pine cones and a glue gun around your home?  If so, you are in luck.  Many of the craft projects I've assembled cost little to nothing to make.  I'm sure you could develop your own "takes" on these Fall Craft Ideas to make them fit your personal aesthetic or decorating needs.  If you like what you see, join the blog to stay up to date with future ideas that I will be sharing!  Thanks for visiting!

Cans Become Can-dle Holders and Jars Become Decorative Lanterns

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Simple Ambiance For Your Festive Fall Table

For those who visit the Frugal Design website, you know I'm a fan of natural, organic decor. Grapevine is something I have always enjoyed using and finding new ways to creatively incorporate it around the home are always welcome.

My new love of flame-less candles and the ability to illuminate items that before could not be illuminated (safely) also has my creative mind working. There are so many neat things you can do with these things when it comes to holiday decorating.

With Autumn in mind, I decided to combine some flame-less votives with a few of my many grapevine spheres. The result, albeit simple, was a perfect union. Doing this has only had me thinking of even more ways to incorporate my lit grapevine. Visit my page on Fall Crafts to learn more about this project and to get some other Fall decorating ideas.

Do you have any ideas on how you would use these lit spheres?

Steam Punk Style

I was at an antique tractor show this weekend and was checking out some of the vendor areas.  I'm always drawn to old implements and vintage tools.  Weathered, worn and rusty patina items always grab my attention.  After reading an article about Steam-punk design, I have been on a mission to employ some of its character into my home.  In many ways I already do this but I especially wanted some type of cog or sprocket element, typical of the style.  An old fly-wheel for $10.00 was my purchase.  It is my pseudo-Restoration Hardware decor item.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Pre-Purple Leaves

My Zebrina Spiderwort (Tradescantia), more commonly known as "Wandering Jew" is thriving outdoors.  This was the first year I put some in an outside planter and am pleased with the results.  I realized today how much this plant and its leaf colors remind me of Fall.  The dark purple/burgundy of its year-round leaves look like the turning leaf colors of some of the trees.  I will be bringing this new, flourishing plant indoors soon and will bring it outside again next year since it did so well.  This plant is the result of one small shoot that broke free from my indoor specimen.  Amazing how easily they get established and how well they adapt.  A perfect house-plant for the beginner; and now a perfect outdoor plant for shady areas!
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