Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Autumn Antler Tablescape

While turkeys understandably take center stage at Thanksgiving, it can be fun to include nods to other wildlife in your seasonal Autumn displays as well.
 With my Halloween props and pumpkins still on display, I thought I'd use what was on hand to create a quick and easy Fall centerpiece.
Pumpkins and Fall foliage are natural holdovers from the previous holiday and since this year my "costume" consisted of plastic antlers from Walmart (and some stick on deer face stickers from the drugstore) I thought I would play to the still popular antler trend this Thanksgiving.
Birds, a fox mask and deer made for a woodland twist on Halloween
deer friendly plastic antlers
I simply arranged the costume antlers with mini pumpkins, dried corn, faux leaves and Fall foliage in an old soup tureen base.
Nature inspired tableware, touches of gold and flameless candles complete the warm Fall palette 

Admittedly smitten with these forest friends, last year I opted for Thanksgiving deer decor as well with a vintage stag image and easy pumpkin redo.
simply click link for details

Give Thanks for Unknown Blessings already on their way
                                             Native American Saying

Wishing our U.S. followers 
our friends worldwide a 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thrift Benefit for Animals, Last Chance Ranch and a Halloween Black Cat Shoe

If, like me, you love a good browse through a thrift shop, you know your purchases are all the more special when the proceeds go to a charitable cause close to your heart. A few years back, the talented blogger and animal lover Jeannette Cheney, from Country Design Style.com created an event to highlight those resale shops who specifically benefit our beloved furry, four footed, or feathered friends. 
The mission:
 Make a purchase from a thrift store that benefits animals or animal charities.
 Makeover the item (large or small) in a fun new way.
Then join up with other bloggers in sharing it all in a post on October 26th. 
This way bloggers from across the country can help promote these worthy causes and their big hearted shops. 
Lucky for me there is a delightful thrift shop in my area run by Last Chance Ranch, a wonderful organization that helps foster, care for and lovingly re-home countless abandoned or abused animals from horses to dogs to parrots and even lizards! 

 click link above to learn about this organization's history, mission and amazing work on behalf of animals
Their Shop
 The ranch's bright and cheerful shop features a wide variety of well displayed and fabulously priced items. 
It boasts an extensive array of pet supplies for dogs, cats, horses, fish and birds as well as gently used clothing, accessories and jewelry for their human friends. Also not to miss, are books, furnishings and home decor items. 
Since this thrifty blog challenge coincided with Halloween time, I thought it would be frightfully fun to do an easy project in the spirit of the season and happily wandered the charity's shop until inspiration hit, in of all places, the shoe section.
Charlotte Olympia Cat Shoes $495.00
I remembered a while ago these "cat" shoes had taken the internet by storm, appearing on celebs and "cat walks" and while undeniably charming, the $495.00 price tag was not. Of course crafty cat fancier fashionistas everywhere immediately took to making their own less pricey versions and I thought Halloween would be the perfect time to follow their lead and recreate this whimsical feline footwear. After all, what could be better for the well dressed witch this October season?
I found these black pumps with "kitten" heels on a display for $2.99 and was delighted to find they had been marked down to a mere $1.00
My other fab finds (I had to share) also included an almost new good sized pet carrier, pet dish, picnic basket, lace up riding boots (for my occasional lessons), classical CD, and a beautiful coffee table book on dogs - all for $17.00! 
   DIY Kitten Heels
With some basic crafting supplies, this was a fast and easy redo. Since I would only be wearing them for the "witching hour" as costume wear, I opted to quickly hot glue and paint on accents instead of more complicated sewing. Being fairly dainty, of course, these would not be good shoes for long walks, for children or for dancing the night away, but for a few hours handing out candy, I figured they would serve me in seasonally spooky style. 
I began by removing the decorative pearl accents and saving them for some future project down the line (one adorns the hat on my bewitching faux feline friend above). For the eyes, I used beads from a strand found at Joann's Fabrics in a sale bin, but you could opt to use buttons, paint, or for those talented in needlework, embroider eyes on as well.
Scraps or a sewing patch kit in a coordinating color is perfect for the small amount of fabric needed for the ears and squeezable fabric paint makes quick work of the simple ear accents, pink nose and silver whiskers. Simply glue and paint accents as desired to create your own fabulous feline, no great artistic skills needed.

Quick tips: a paper template keeps ears uniform in size. Depending on the brand, squeezable fabric paint can sometimes take hours to dry so be careful to avoid smudges while waiting for paint to set

I then popped in a pair of inexpensive leopard insoles for comfort and a chic touch.
 I chose black low heels for my project but any style shoe and combination of colors from tabby to tortoiseshell would be fun!
Wishing all of our friends, on two feet or four,
 a bewitching Fall Season!
Last Chance Ranch resident and four footed 
volunteer Mugsy and friends bring 
smiles to seniors in assisted care

For more on thrifty DIY's and Animal Charities, please pop over and visit these other creative bloggers participating in this fun benefit!
For Pennywise's previous benefit posts on the Ranch, Animal Lifeline and Animals in Distress, click HERE

Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer memories: forever sand castle clay recipe

Although summer doesn't officially end until September 22nd, it seems the season is already winding to a close. Store shelves are  brimming with backpacks, pens and pencils and even festive pumpkins are making an appearance, all marking the inevitable approach of fall and end to those carefree Summer days.
So in a last ditch nod to beach season, I thought I'd craft a fun and easy sand castle that won't be washed away by the rising tide. 
With some easy homemade clay, shells and ocean inspired accents you can channel childhood memories and build your own mini tabletop grown-up castle for a fun centerpiece or summery decorative accent.
A variety of recipes for "sand clay" can be found everywhere online and ready to use versions of it are available for sale at many craft and art supply stores.
 I opted to make my own, and after some rather messy trial and error, found this DIY clay recipe used for delightful sand ornaments from Local Fun for Kids. It was quick and simple using staples you most likely already have on hand in your kitchen and craft supplies.

You'll Need
2 parts whole wheat flour
 1 part salt
1 part water
dash of glitter and craft sand (optional)
paper towel rolls
plate or saucer as base
moss or small faux plants (optional)
patience (these can take several days to dry)

This is sort of a "non recipe" recipe. Simply mix flour, water and salt to a clay like consistency, adjusting ingredients until the mixture is neither not too sticky or too dry. I added a handful of sand leftover from another project and generous sprinkling of gold and clear glitter, but these are optional. 
Then get creative and design your castle. I made a clay base and then created towers by covering a cardboard rolls with the sand mixture. 
I made a quick cardboard cone base for one for a pointed roof
Adorn with your choice of shells, faux pearls, sea glass or dried moss or faux greens. 

photo CPaul
The clay may droop slightly when drying but that just gives it that authentic beachy look. My husband joked that it reminded him of Gaudi's  famous cathedral in Barcelona
I built mine on a terra cotta saucer and perched it atop a smaller saucer to add a little height. Glass disks from a dollar store simulate water 
I then decided to give the saucer a quick light wash of pearly craft paint to work better with the sandy palette, an afterthought but an easy fix.

Simply display with shells a picnic basket or any beachy accents

vintage image from the Graphics Fairy

Thanks for Visiting!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Afternoon Tea at Tilly Mints

In an age, when drive-thru dining and mocha lattes in paper cups are sadly the norm, sitting down to a leisurely afternoon tea is truly an all too rare luxury. A cherished tradition in merry old England, finding a good cup of tea on this side of the pond can be a challenge. Imagine my delight to discover that a mere few minutes drive from my home was the most charming of Tea Rooms.
Nestled on a quiet side street in Souderton, Pa, Tilly Mints, embraces all the charm of an English Tea room (complete with red phone booth) offering wonderful menu options, friendly attentive service and even an on site gift shop for all of your tea needs.
Pop over to their website tillymints.com for their menu, hours, and the delightful story of how Tilly's got it's name.
We opted for the full tea, and it did not disappoint. Our tea included a soup or quiche and salad to start, followed by three classic tiers of elegantly prepared treats (Yes those are tiny ladybug tea sandwiches!) and they gladly provided delicious vegetarian options for our table as well. 
Tea aficionados will revel in the extensive Tea menu with whimsical names for their blends like "across a crowded room" or "last mango in Paris".
Love that the shop is named for the owner's "saint-like" patient husband
The gift shop brimming with delights for tea lovers
Trish offers genuine warm hospitality and an enthusiasm that only comes from doing something you truly love
Of course, there was a delightful collection of teapots
Hope to get back again soon


Monday, May 29, 2017

Easy Summer Dessert in Red, White and Blue

Savoring the fresh picked fruits and berries of summer is one of the season's most delightful and simple pleasures. 
So what better way to kick off the unofficial start of the summertime than with a quick and easy dessert highlighting their ripe juicy flavor and naturally patriotic colors, perfect for a variety of summer holidays and entertaining.
For this sweet treat, I used my version of a Charlotte Russe dessert recipe from a previous post on Downton Abbey, substituting a vanilla yogurt in keeping with the red, white and blue theme. You can add your favorite flavor of clear extract - vanilla, lemon or orange to enhance the flavor. For a topping, I used blueberries and strawberries but raspberries or pitted cherries would work wonderfully as well.
simply line a bowl with clear plastic wrap, arrange lady fingers, fill with yogurt mixture and chill

for full instructions and more photos click the link below
Ring Carson for tea
 (just scroll down the Downton post for the recipe): 

Once chilled invert onto plate and garnish with berries and mint

serve with icy lemonade

For more Fruit Inspired Summertime Sweets visit our previous posts

starting top left: watermelon cake, summer berry basket, watermelon meringues, berry easy meringues, cherry ice cream floats