Thursday, April 28, 2016

Colorful Cape May: Victorian Bird House


Admittedly one usually visits a beach resort for sun and sand more than history and Victorian architecture, but delightful Cape May NJ offers the best of both worlds.
 In fact some of my favorite times to visit are "off season"; and while a dip in the ocean might not be a possibility during these cooler months, the country's first "beach town" still offers plenty to see and do. 
A recent quick girl's Spring getaway found us enjoying a painting workshop at historic Congress hall, sampling fabulous seafood at the many restaurants and browsing for treasures at the countless colorful boutiques and antique shops.
   
photos: CPaul2016 starting top left, sweet treats, Spring at the Virginia hotel, Exit Zero newspaper office, Mad Batter restaurant and Carroll Villa Hotel, historic Congress Hall lobby and entrance, colorful shops, The blue Pig tavern, the famous Pink House, Angel of the sea B&B

The famous Pink house now sells estate jewelry
Naturally we arrived home inspired by Cape May's charm. 
Among the most distinctive features of this delightful town are the
"painted ladies". These whimsically adorned buildings, many historic, boast intricate "gingerbread" woodwork and often brilliant combinations of cheery candy colors, distinctive to the era. So with hints of Spring in the air, I thought I'd fashion my own painted lady in honor of my feathered friends here at home.

Victorian Inspired Birdhouse
 I used
a wooden birdhouse 
Most craft stores carry very inexpensive unfinished versions-
 or maybe redo a thrift find or birdhouse you already have that needs a facelift
colorful acrylic and craft paints
dimensional puffy paints
My birdhouse is for indoor decor so I'm not sure how it would hold up outside, but outdoor friendly paint is best if it will be in the elements
lace or trim
shells and sand 
spray varnish
I mix and matched pastel acrylics and chalky finish colors 
playful - not too perfect patterns add whimsy
Spray painting trim adds a smooth finish and makes it sturdier and easier to be added as "gingerbread woodwork" detail.
 I trimmed it to size and accented with contrasting colors and dimensional dots of paint.
a playful cat and simple bike add character
Shells and sand give a nod to the beach setting

To Happy Summer Days ahead
Thanks for Visiting!

Monday, April 18, 2016

April in Paris: Parisian inspired round-up

While April can call to mind less than pleasant associations (rainy gray days, tax time) on a lighter note, turning the calendar page always brings to mind the classic song, (and later movie) April in Paris; those three words now epitomizing Springtime glamour and romance.
So, as an avid francophile it seemed a fitting time to revisit some of our french themed DIY"s, recipes and travel posts in a quick recap.
 It's easy to bring a little Joie du Vivre to your day with some easy projects. 
We made faux macarons in vive le macaron
a petit Eiffel tower from a garden store trellis in Springtime in Paris

We celebrated l'amour with candy wrappers, pink birds and a sweet dessert in
and

and we shared some of our (budget friendly) travels 
and


A Big 
Merci Beaucoup!
to all our
 lovely readers




Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Good Morning: April Fools breakfast


While most admit it's more fun to play a prank than be the victim of one, the target of this "fooled you" breakfast might not be too annoyed when you substitute conventional morning foods for surprise sweet treats.
There are countless fun and creative faux food ideas out there, 
(a quick online search yields a surprisingly dizzying amount of results) 
but I opted for a few simpler ideas I found to start my loved one's April Fool's Day with a smile.
April Fool's Breakfast
Faux fried egg, toast, hash browns and coffee
is really....
Vanilla Greek yogurt
mango (I used a chunk of frozen mango)
pound cake
chocolate pudding or mousse
chocolate sauce
apple
brown sugar
ground cinnamon
butter
Saute finely diced apple with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until golden brown and resembling hash browns.
 Carefully spread yogurt onto plate to make egg white shape. Roughly cut mango in circular shape and flatten with large spoon- adjust shape by hand and place "yolk" into yogurt
I've seen versions of this popular prank made with a half peach or an apricot might work as well
toast slices of poundcake until lightly browned and butter

I garnished with real fruit and sprig of mint
For "coffee", spoon pudding into cup, smoothing top and wiping off any excess. If desired pour layer of chocolate syrup over surface to create a more liquid-like deeper brown effect.
Yes that's a lot of chocolate!
a coffee press filled with the real thing adds authenticity and is a must lest serious caffeine lovers become disgruntled

April Fool's Fun Facts
   Some trace the roots of this holiday back to 1582 Europe when the Julian calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar. Since news traveled a bit slow back then, many did not know of the change and were referred to as April fools.

In France the holiday is celebrated with similar pranks but targets are referred to as April Fish instead of fools and often images of fish are placed unknowingly on their backs
postcardcollector.org

In 1957 the BBC had many in the UK fooled when they ran a story about a bumper crop of noodles in the annual Swiss Spaghetti harvest. (See the hilarious video: Spaghetti Harvest.)
 Pasta not being a very familiar food in England at the time, some viewers called in to ask about purchasing their own spaghetti trees.
source unavailable
For more fun and foolish facts visit This day in history: April Fools

Thanks for Visiting!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter's on it's way: DIY recap


PennyWise is delighted to be celebrating it's third Easter season and I thought it might be fun to take a quick peek back at some of our very favorite Easter and Spring ideas.

 We created vintage inspired faux "sugar eggs" 
in the post A Good Egg


 We filled real eggs with Easter Surprises


We added a nautical twist to our Easter friends
 with our SS Bunny post


We set sweet wind-up bunnies Hopping Down the Bunny Trail



We crafted a hula hoop Spring wreath 
and relaxed with Teatime on the Bunny Trail


Wishing Everyone A Happy Easter
and
All the Joys of Spring






Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lucky Leprechaun shoe: St Patrick's Day DIY


While leprechauns are known for their mischievous antics and perpetual search for that pot of gold, legend has it they also hold down day jobs as shoemakers. Why these legendary pranksters all happen to be cobblers by trade is unknown but it seemed only fitting to add a little festive footwear to my St. Patrick's decor in their honor.
Leprechaun Shoe Planter
I used
a thrifted or old worn shoe in desired style
multi surface paint
glitter and sparkly accents
small faux flowers or plants
printable for buckle
 Using multi surface craft paint, I painted shades of green and gold
I added some quick clovers and swirls for added  interest and brushed entire shoe with a lightly with glitter paint
dimensional gold puffy paint adds some sparkle
I adapted a fun printable from the The Graphics Fairy as a whimsical buckle
I brushed heel with craft glue and sprinkled with black glitter for a magical sparkle an let shoe dry thoroughly.
 Then I popped in some faux greens or flowers
(small live plants in appropriate containers will work but my clover decided droop so I used some faux roses)
Kilmore Abbey, Photo CPaul

Wishing everyone the Luck of the Irish this
 St. Patrick's Day


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Splendor in the Grass: DIY My Spring Blog Hop Outdoor Ottoman

Though the month of March may come roaring in like a lion, it's arrival is still a welcome promise of the sunny Spring days soon ahead. Many a frosty March morning, I find my mind wandering to sunny green fields and pastoral picnics, or perhaps planning my imaginary topiary garden (yes, I have one) 
So when I learned that Donna of Funky Junk interiors was hosting a Hometalk DIY MY Spring Hop for bloggers to share ideas celebrating all things Spring, I was delighted to take part. 
Nothing speaks to the season like the freshness of new green grass, and recently I noticed a trend incorporating it into whimsical outdoor furniture and decor. It seems all sorts of natural elements, grasses and moss (real and faux) are being reinvented as unique upholsteries and quirky furniture finishes. Think chic chia pet.
Inspiration, clockwise from top left
   Floral and moss chair, Hative.com
Grass Wall, architectural digest
Mossy sofa set, lushhome.com
Grass Chairs, Paris, Decorpad
Grass sofas, (for rent) AFR events

I thought adding one of these fun pieces to our humble outdoor space would be lots of fun and add a little greenery until the real stuff grows in. Sadly without the budget for a custom live creation or a surprisingly pricey faux version, this was going to have to be a DIY. 
Not being blessed with the greenest of thumbs, (for me, growing mint on my windowsill is a major horticultural coup), the idea of taming live grass into perfectly manicured decor didn't seem likely. 
To the rescue, inexpensive artificial grass sold inexpensively by the foot at your home improvement store, craft store plastic grass, an old crate and spray paint.

Faux Foliage Ottoman 
I figured a simple ottoman shape would be simple and small enough to give a more subtle nod to this unique trend.
I used:
A sturdy plastic crate 
faux grass carpet to cover crate
(Lowes or most home improvement stores)
plastic friendly spray paint 
2 plastic grass matts (from Craft store)
These were a bit pricey (even with coupon) so I used these only to accent and add dimension to the top of the ottoman
I roughly traced the height of crate and marked the grass carpet on the reverse, cutting one long piece sufficient to wrap around crate
Note: this is a bit messy to cut so is best done over drop cloth or outside
Since this will be a temporary occasional piece, I simply attached the grass carpet with large wads of rolled of Gorilla tape spaced evenly around crate. This allowed the flexible grass to sit evenly over the ridges and spacers of the crate.
An appropriate strong glue could be used if intended for tougher wear.
I then trimmed the two grass matts to fit the top not attaching until after painted.
I lightly spritzed everything with spray paint to make the green colors of sides and top more cohesive and to camouflage any areas where the crate might peek through. 
I used a few varieties of green for a more realistic finish- luckily having some paint from leftover projects. Layering the different greens while still wet lets them blend more naturally.
Then simply let dry, tape on top matts and accessorize.


Whimsically elegant accessories and "Think Spring" accents make a fun contrast to the down to earth texture.
While longer faux grasses are available, the shorter greens on these matts gives the grassy effect yet is level enough to allow you to perch items more easily.

Many Thanks for Visiting
and please pop over to the other fun blogs for DIY's, house tours, garden tips and more
and look for #DIYMySpring on your favorite social media