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3 Favorite Upcycle/Recycle Projects

In honor of Earth Day this weekend, I thought we'd take a trip down memory lane to look at a few favorite upcycle/recycle projects from the Cottage.  Let's get started...
First up is the key rack turned into a jewelry organizer.  
I'd been looking for something for quite a while when I came across this key rack at a flea market: Big difference, huh?  To read all about the transformation, click HERE.
My second project is this sweet, little planter: This was also found at a flea market with a very 1970's look: This planter lived on my front porch all Spring, Summer, and Fall.  For the Winter, it came inside.  I'm hoping it will have a new porch very soon.  To read how it was transformed, click HERE.
Last, but not least is the card catalog: I've always wanted one, so when an old friend told me he had one in his garage and I could have it...I nearly fell over!  Here's the before: It didn't need much work, just some cleaning and polishing.  For the full story, click
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Make Your Own Placemats

I've been wanting to make some placemats for the kitchen table for two reasons: 1. They look pretty and 2. They protect the table finish.  So, I chose some pretty fabric and got started.  
After washing & drying the fabric, the first step is to decide the size of your placemats.  I like plenty of room after the plate is put on it so the finished size was 12" x 20".  That means the fabric was cut to 13" x 21" to allow a half-inch seam allowance.  
After the fabric was cut, fusible interfacing was ironed-on to give the placemats a little body.   With the right sides of the fabric together, the pieces were pinned.  I allowed a 7" opening along one of the long sides for turning.
You can see the marks for the opening. Using a half-inch seam allowance, the placemats were stitched. 
The corners were clipped and the seam allowance trimmed.
I left a little 'extra' for the opening.  It made it much easier to fold under and top-stitch closed. The placemats were t…

5-Minute Spring Nest

Spring is really having a hard time this year.  How do I know?  It's April and I'm still wearing my winter coat!  I decided another Spring project was in order, one with a minimum of muss & fuss.
You may remember the Pairpoint silver bowl I found last Summer: I decided to turn it into some quick Spring decor.   The first thing I did was take apart the Grapevine Heart and soak the vines to make them a little more pliable. I wound them tight enough to fit in the bowl.  

Some Spanish Moss was placed in the bottom of the bowl and I found these sweet little eggs at the dollar store:
Spring Decor Project done!

Has Spring arrived at your house?  If it has, Lucky You!  In the meantime, I'll hope for next week.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Reuse Those Jars

I've been looking at my empty mayo jars for awhile now and finally, it occurred to me - perfect for storing rice!  
If you buy your rice in a bag, you know pouring it out can be tricky - yes, I've dumped it on the counter a few times and then there's the issue of the bag sitting on the shelf.  A 30 oz. mayo jar is the perfect solution.  It holds a lot of rice, is a great fit for your hand, and the lid makes a great seal. The only drawback?  It's not very pretty. The easy solution is scrapbook paper.  A 12" x 3" strip fits perfectly around the jar.  I even used the adhesive that was leftover from removing the original label.  It doesn't get any easier than that! To 'pretty-it-up' a little more, I wrapped some Baker's Twine around the jar and added a button.  I punched a 2&1/2" circle for the lid and glued it on.  The jar was done!  Prettied-up enough, but not too much that it makes it difficult to handle.
The jars could be used for lots of …

Spring Grapevine Wreath

You may have heard about all the snow in the northeast.  Fortunately, we didn't get as much as some areas, but the white stuff is still EVERYWHERE!  Since Mother Nature seems to be off her meds again, I created a wreath to encourage her to deliver some Springtime weather.
Last month I bundled up and trudged through the snow to grab some of the vines that were growing wild.  If you missed it, you can read about it HERE.  In addition to the grapevine heart, I made this wreath.   It was an easy process that involved about 9 lengths of vine that were about 6' each.  I started by making a circle with one and winding the vine around it.  I kept adding, winding, and wrapping vines...  ...until I got to a size I liked. The finished wreath is 18 inches in diameter.
I bought 4 bunches of tulips for $2 each and some burlap ribbon for $1.  That's right, the total cost was $9! Since I want to use this wreath for several seasons, the tulips and the bow were attached with wire.  In a few months…

Why You Should Shred Your Own Cheese

We've been doing some 'experimenting' at the Cottage after my husband seemed to develop a sensitivity to cheese.  He noticed it a few months ago after eating certain dinners that contained cheese.  About a half hour after eating, his skin became itchy and he had hives.  At first, we thought he was developing an allergy to dairy, but as we started tracking what he ate we noticed that he didn't react to cheese slices or cheese cut from a block.  
At this point, I started reading labels and discovered some interesting ingredients like powdered cellulose and natamycin. 

Powdered cellulose:  minuscule pieces of wood pulp that coat the cheese to keep it from clumping by blocking out moisture.
My husband found this additional information about cellulose:
Cellulose comes in various forms, each with a specific use. Beyond powdered cellulose, two other modified forms are common in food. Microcrystalline cellulose is either listed as such on labels, as MCC, or in some cases as cellul…

Pig Gets a Facelift

This may qualify as a "DIY Fail" and I've been laughing since I (almost) finished the project.  This napkin holder has been in our home for almost 30 years and was definitely in need of a remake.  
So, it got a good cleaning, two coats of pink chalk paint, and a little distressing on the edges.  It was at this point that I discovered painting facial features in NOT my forte! Things went fine with the nostrils, the highlights on the ears, and, OK with the mouth.  Then came the eyes...I immediately started laughing when I added the big round white eyes and added pupils.  He looked shocked.  Then I added the eyebrows.... and he immediately looked angry.   The laughter continued as I showed my husband, who immediately said, "He needs a moustache".  Seriously?  Where the h*ll am I going to paint that????  He decided, right under the snout and since I didn't want to add it with paint, I cut one with my Cricut for 'trysies'.   My husband says his name is now …