Saturday, July 29, 2017

Christmas in July...with Baseball Bats??

Nothing like waiting till the last minute. right?  With 2 more days left, it's time for the 'Christmas in July' post.

We were at a friend's for a BBQ, when he came to find me saying, "Your husband says I need to show you what's in my garage."  I couldn't imagine what it could possibly be until he showed me these:

He had garbage bags full of them!  Do you know what they are? Well, wait no longer...they are cast-offs from a baseball bat factory. They were being thrown away and he gets them to burn in his fire pit.  Since he knew I was crafty, he offered me as many as I wanted. He also had some bigger pieces, but those I'll save for another post!  
I took them home and thought about what I could do with them. After giving them a good sanding (believe me, they needed it) I decided to turn them into Christmas ornaments.
After painting and sealing them, I wrapped the edges in burlap ribbon and added a cord for hanging.
Here are a couple of individual pics:

These are available for purchase through Apple Street Crafts.  Find me on facebook!

So, tell me, have you started your Christmas projects yet?  Let me know in the comments.  I'd love to visit and see what you're up to!

  • Remember my $5 find?  Stop by later this week to see what I finally did with that find!
  • We are still looking for a few more people to join us in the Five Dollar Challenge. All you need to do is find something for $5 or less and repurpose it.  A date will be set for sharing the 'finished posts' and 'hopping' from blog to blog.Interested?  E-mail me at with "$5 Challenge" in the subject line.
Have a great weekend, Everyone!

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Really? Five Dollars?

Let me just say I had an entirely different post planned for today, but after last night, I had to change my plan.  

I was at a Summer Festival/Craft Fair at a local church when I noticed this box:
It was a little worse for 'wear & tear', but look at that beautiful wood:
But, the real treasure was inside:
Yes, it was an almost complete set of silver for 8.  With a little quick research this morning, I've discovered it is silver-plate from the Holmes & Edwards Company.  The pattern is "Youth" and was made in the 1940s.
The most amazing part of this find was the price.  Take a look:
I had to ask, "Really, $5 for the box and everything in it?"  The lady said "Yes" and I said, "Sold"!

Here are a few close-ups of the contents:  Apologies for the coral in my shirt reflecting on the silver!
Dinner Forks:
Salad Forks:
Serving Pieces:
Iced Tea Spoons: a different pattern, but that's OK, they're going to get used!
I was just saying to my husband that I wished we had iced tea spoons!

The bottom of the box was covered with paper towels, so after everything was out of the box, I removed them.  The  felt is in really good condition:

Who remembers this paper towel pattern from the 70s?  I'm pretty sure my mother used them back then!

The big question is what do I do with it?  
  1. Polish it and use it.  But, let's face it, my china is packed away and our lifestyle does not lend itself to formal dinner parties.
  2. Get Crafty!  There are TONS of ideas out there for repurposing silverware.  I know nothing about cutting, filing, bending silver, but, I guess I could learn...
  3. Take it to a dealer and sell it.  I'm pretty sure it's worth more than $5.  
  4. Repurpose the box.  Don't you think it would make a beautiful jewelry box?
So, my friends, help me out.  What would you do with this find? I'm open to any and all suggestions and I promise to let you know the final outcome.

Thanks for stopping by - I look forward to hearing all of your suggestions.
Have a great weekend!

One more thought...Is anyone interested in doing a Five Dollar Challenge and turning it into a Blog Hop?  All you'd need to do is find something for $5 (or less) and repurpose it.  A date would be set for sharing the 'finished posts' and 'hopping' from blog to blog. It might be a fun Fall activity!  
If you're interested, e-mail me at with "$5 Challenge" in the subject line.  Let's have some fun!
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jammin' in the Summertime!

We've had some perfect days with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s, along with a few hot, humid days with a few scattered showers.  Yes, it's summer and that means it's time to make jam! 

Every summer, when my children were small, we'd head to the strawberry fields near our house to pick sweetest, most beautiful strawberries.  You were allowed to eat as you picked, and I'm sure my kiddos ate more than they actually picked - you could tell by the red stains around their mouths!  That was OK because we headed home with several pounds of berries and I got right to work making jam - you can't get fresher than that!

These days, my children are grown and still want jam, so I buy my berries and get to work.  Let me show you how I do it.  

Gather what you need:  a few pounds of strawberries, jars & lids, fruit pectin, and sugar - LOTS of sugar!  

First you have to sterilize your jars and lids.  If you have a dishwasher, send the jars through a wash and dry cycle.  If you don't, boil them in a pot for at least 10 minutes.  Put the lids and bands in another pot to boil, as well.  

In one bowl, measure 7 cups of sugar - I told you it was a lot!  Set that aside.

I like chunky jam, so I cut my berries up and mash them with a potato masher in a bowl.  If you don't like chunks of berries you can put them in the blender or food processor.  You'll need 5 cups.

Put the crushed berries in a pot with one package of fruit pectin. (You can add a tsp of butter to help with foaming.)  Bring that mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  
Now, add the sugar and bring to a boil again.
Once you get there, boil again for 1 minute and remove from the heat and start filling your jars - like this:
I leave a little room at the top (1/4") wipe the top edge and thread, and put the lid and band on right away.  I tighten the band as tight as I can get it and immediately turn the jar upside-down on a towel.

When all the jars are filled, I wait about 20 minutes and turn the jars right-side-up.  That when I hear the 'ping' of the jars sealing.  You will know they're sealed when you press on the lid and it doesn't move up and down. 

Now, here are a couple of tips:

Tip #1:
Wear your kitchen rubber gloves because those jars are HOT!  Save your hands!

Tip #2:
Use tongs to remove your jars and lids from boiling water - refer to Tip #1! 

I'm sure many of you are saying, "Ann, you're supposed to put those jars in the canner and boil them again."  I've heard that too, but, honestly, I've been making my jam like this for over 20 years and have never had a problem.  

Now I'm not saying you have to use my method, and if you have any doubt, get yourself a canner and boil those jars. 

What I will tell you is there is nothing like homemade jam on your toast or english muffin in January! 😉

So, do you make jam?  Do you have a specialty?  I'd love to hear about it!

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by - I hope you'll follow me and keep up with 'all the latest' at the Cottage!

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Recycling To The Rescue!

Last weekend we were invited to a July 4th BBQ.  In addition to bringing my favorite pasta salad, I wanted to bring our hostess a baby jade plant.  My jade plant is absolutely huge and is producing baby plants at a rapid rate!  Since I didn't have a small pot for it, I headed to the recycle bin.  
That's right, an aluminum can, wrapped in scrapbook paper, makes a great little planter!  I 'dressed-it-up' with a piece of jute tied into a bow, and this little plant was ready to go.

It doesn't get any easier than that!
If you'd like one, send me your address.  I have a few more!

Now, before you ask about that pasta salad.  No worries, I'll share that recipe soon.  There's still plenty of summer -  and summer parties left!  

Have a great week everyone.  Don't forget to follow, pin, share!  

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Pink Flamingo Planter

This planter has been 'in the works' for a few months. I've been on a 'flamingo kick' for a while and wanted to make a planter.
So, before we moved, I made patterns and then cut, sanded, and primed all the pieces.  Here are a couple of pics from the 'cutting stage'.
The pieces were leaning together to check for fit.

Recently, I took out all of the primed pieces and gave them two coats of paint.  After the paint was dry, they were distressed with 220 grit sandpaper.  

Everything was sealed and it was assembly time.  I used E6000 to attach the wings to the sides and then added screws from the inside.
Next came the beginning of the box.  This is where my dear hubby helped.  Since I'm not known for drilling exactly straight, he volunteered to help - love that man!
The sides (with wings) were attached next.
The last part to attach was the neck & head.
The screws were sunk a bit so they could be filled with wood dough and painted.  The dimensions are approximately  20"L x 10"W x 15"H.
All in all, this was a pretty easy project and I'm thinking of modifying my patterns and making a swan next.  What do you think?

If you happen to be one of those people 'crushing' on flamingos, check out my Flamingo Pinterest boards HERE.

Thank you for stopping by - hope you have a happy & safe July 4th!

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