Monday, March 26, 2018

Pretty, Easy Floral Craft

Note the hairstyle in this 1800's painting.  It is so much like some of the long hair styles being revived today.

For a quick bright spot in the home, nothing could be easier than picking a flower and putting it in a little jar for a table or mantel. This hand made moss wreath takes a little more effort, but is still quite simple.

These moss wreaths are so pretty and I have seen them in florist shop windows, the grocery store floral departments, and hobby stores like Michaels, but the price for the big ones are $40.00.

Today I experimented to see if one could be made at the cost of "free" or using supplies from the Dollar Tree.  

This was made for a little less than $4.00., which is a lot more beneficial to your family budget than $40.00!  I am not sure who would be buying a $40 wreath, because most people I know are very conservative with their family income, amd they are trying to teach their children how to make-do.

 These four items are from Dollar Tree, with a total price of $4.00. Naturally, you would not use up all that glue or all the ribbon or moss, so I would approximate the cost of materials would be $2 per wreath.
I used florist foam, (but styrofoam could be used) because that was what was available,  and I first glued a piece of sheer florist ribbon around it for hanging.

Then I painted glue all around the foam wreath and pressed the the dried moss on it. I used a wet brush and a little water to spread the tacky glue around. White school glue or flour and water paste would also work. 

The old old floral garland was saved from something or other,  but you could get a couple of things from the dollar store to stick straight into the foam after covering it with moss.  Here are some white berry stems, below, from Dollar Tree. You would need craft wire cutters, also from the Dollar store. "Picks" are floral stems and embellishments designed to stick into bouquets, and are found in floral departments of craft stores.

The back will be bare. I chose the floral foam partly because it had a flat back, making it hang better against the wall.

If you have adhesive spray, that would help keep all the tiny bits of moss from coming loose. Maybe you could dilute some white craft glue with water and put in a spray bottle. I haven't tried that. 

It is not necessary to have a wreath shape, since a square of foam, a styrofoam ball, or any other shape would make a nice centerpiece. 

If you see one of these wreaths and you are trying to prevent money going out as soon as it comes in, you might get a lot of satisfaction from making an item. 

As thrifty as this project is, you might be able to make it at almost no cost, from things you find outside, or in your kitchen or craft paper supplies.

Below: The back of the wreath will remain bare, and having the flat part of the florist foam wreath makes it lay nicely against the wall.

Another style, below, with dollar store ribbon, of which there is an ample amount left:

Check the comments for a good hint by a florist, Christine!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Road Trip Visiting Small-Towns

(I did not find the name or artist of this painting, but it was done in the 19th century, showing the type of architecture and sidewalks so similar to the old towns We have been visiting. The painting looks like something by Edmund Blair Leighton.)

Most of the small towns we visited when we travelled the old highways last weekend, were established in the 1800's. With the construction of freeways and malls,  these towns were not frequented as much but recently have come alive again as people are recognizing the value in many ways.  We are enjoying the historic towns again and it was nice to see shops and cafes bustling with business, and families casually strolling the brick sidewalks without tension or hurry.

Our travel over the weekend involved a few stops in contemporary places like Walmart, as nearly every small town had one.

I wanted to say how clean the restrooms were and show a few things inside them, including bouquets of flowers on the sinks. It reminded me of some of the original luxury bathrooms in department stores. I bring this up because, in contrast, some of the places car travelers had to stop way-back-when, were not so nice!

Another thing that has been going on in shopping areas for the past few years is the disposable cloth to wipe your hands before and after you touch the handles of shopping carts. Some of my overseas visitors have been so keen on it they send home pictures of the little towel dispenser at the door of the stores.

Here a sign which urges customers to keep the standards high by reporting to the company if it is the restroom is not clean enough:
Some of the decor inside:

Some of the Old Towne shopping:

The facade of the buildings on this street have been modernized.

The building, above, appears to be a western style replica.

Mr. S. Stopped and copied this into his DayTimer. I offered to send him the picture but he likes to do it the old way, for various reasons.
As pretty as a painting, this floral display in an old town shop caught my fancy:

                                        Road map showing round trip in Washington State.

From another town nearby:

(I am very sorry about these stat counter ads. I'm going to get some help removing them, as I have already removed them several times since posting today.)
The poem says:

Just a little old frame cottage
With a little piece of ground,
Just a dear old fashioned garden 
With sweet flowers all around;
Just a dear voiced woman singing
As she does her daily chore,
Just a curly-headed baby
Playing on the floor.
There are many stately mansions,
There are residences fine,
But in all this land from east to west,
No other home like mine.

I hope you all will be able to do the things that enable you to feel that way about your home, and I hope you all will have the kind of home and home life you really desire.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will give you the desires of your heart."

 Mr. S. prefers a paper printed "real" map, where he can highlight the roads he travelled. We need to remember to write the dates on the maps, too.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Beauty on a Cold, Cloudy Day

Pictures sometimes look pretty good when taken during overcast skies!  

Mr. S. Asked me today to make a dress to go with the pretty pink blossoms on this tree, and I do have one. Hopefully I won't miss the photo-op as I did the Violet's a few months ago. That dress is still laying unfinished on my sewing table, the effort being interrupted by other types of living!

There is nothing like a photo to remind me how much needs to be done to improve the look of the house.

It is going to be tea time soon and the ladies will be coming to the Ladies Bible Class, discussion and tea time in a few hours.

This is a candle lamp someone gave me. I was in Hobby Lobby with a friend, and since I provided transportation and also provided her with a cup of tea and scone at my place, she wanted me to pick out something that was half price! I later painted it, as it was a trendy rust item, and in my house, the shabby chic look does not look well.  I find in these old worn houses that fancy things look a lot better. What is your opinion?  In a brand new house, you can get away with some of the burlap and rust, but in older places like this, the primitives make the lace look more sad and run down.  I love the contrast of a sparkly chandelier or shiny new dishes!  It just gives me such a lift, and especially when I am having someone over for lunch or tea.

Later on I hope to continue my posts about travel in historic towns, and include pictures from a Walmart restroom. It reminded me of the high-end department stores in the 60's  where the decor was a priority and when they provided a little couch and left a little hand lotion for the ladies.  I will show you some pictures soon.  It's nice the average car travelled can have some dignity when stopping for amenities, and if any of you remember how BAD the restrooms used to be on the road sides, you know what I mean!

Thank you to the reader who donated $15 recently! I appreciate it and also appreciate your visit to my blog.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Golden Oldies Playing in the Golden Arches of Small Town America

 We have arrived home again after a long weekend touring small towns in Washington State. I hope to take a day-trip soon and do the same in Oregon.
 I will try to post a road map here, showing all the historic districts we visited, including the old railroad stations, or "ray-road" as Mr. S. always says. He was supposedly an English Major, graduating from a well-known state university, and then a school teacher before  I ever knew him, before he went into preaching, and it always amuses me that he can make up his own words. Is that allowed if you were supposed to be some sort of expert in grammar, spelling, and all that? I guess if you are an English Major you have poetic license or something. "I will drive by slowly so you can get a picture of the ray-road." he says.
 We were in the area to conduct a Marriage Enrichment fellowship at a lake retreat that a small church of  Christ invited us to. They paid our gas to get there and back, and our overnight stay. It was a bring-your-own-bedding-and-towels situation, and this year we were much better prepared and did not have to use our coats as blankets.
 These are some early 20th century photographs in the windows of some of the shops in one old town, but it was hard to get the pictures without the reflections in the glass. You can see how the people were on the same street I was on, and how they were dressed.
 One thing that always made an impression on me from looking at the early 20th century photos of the towns, was the way people milled around on the sidewalks, which were covered by canopies, and window-shopped. The windows of shops in those days had very nice displays. I'd be hard pressed to find a decent window display these days, and a lot of shops do not even have windows. A window dresser was a very skillful person and there were sometimes contests. There were window-dressing schools as late as the 1960's in some countries.  I was always curious as to what one would learn in a window-dressing class.
 It is a delight to see these old towns coming alive again, full of lovely shops, with people of all ages happily walking the sidewalks again.  We were amused in one town when some of the proprietors came out of the shops and waved to us to come in and browse!  One man opened the door and said he had seen us pass by and wondered if we had not seen the door.
 No one minded if we didn't buy anything; they just wanted us to come in and browse.
 Down by the train station the streets were paved with old bricks.

 Okay, now I will tell you all about that crazy title about the golden arches!  In some of these small historic towns, we stopped in at MacDonalds to get hot water for my thermos so I could have tea in the car or wherever we could stop.  While I do not recall what town this one was in, I just HAD to get pictures of the interior decor!
 How about this fireplace for chilly days? It was quite cold during this trip, and the little corner where this real fire was burning, was flanked by cute bistro tables and chairs.

The art prints, woodwork , hanging lamps, wrought iron gate and tapestry:

But, what was even more astonishing (I don't get out much, so if you already knew this, it might not be a surprise) was what we HEARD inside two of the Golden Arches where we stopped: The music of the Glenn Miller band, and later on down the road, Mozart, was playing inside these fast-food places. Maybe someone was reading what so many of us have been complaining about on our blogs regarding the awful jarring music shoved down our throats in restaurants and shopping areas. You may recall me relating how my father called it "noise-ick" back in the 198o's.

 I posted reviews to every place we visited that had gentle music and pretty interiors.

Some of the female employees at MacDonalds were wearing knee length blue skirts that looked kind of like the airline stewardess uniforms of the 1950's, and I complimented them.  They smiled.  I have no idea what is going on with MacDonalds, but it was such a nice experience even though I was just filling my thermos.

I even took a picture of a polished floor at a Walmart, and gave it a good review. It all makes travelling so MUCH BETTER. Maybe if you are younger and are reading this, you do not quite see why, but if you are over 40, you may remember there was a time when the only stops were filthy gas stations with dirty sinks and trash cans so full you would not touch them.  Its nice to be alive these days with so much improvement.  I remember also when trash lined the side of the roads.  Now, each small town we toured had clean streets and sidewalks.  There were city supplied trash cans available everywhere.

So here are a few more pictures from yesterday that I took when we stopped. Mr. S. was ultra-patient-to-the-max to stop at all these old towns for me. Sometimes he sat in the car and read his maps while I walked around town, but I could still see the car and felt quite comfortable. There were no street lights but cars politely stopped when any one stood at the crossing areas.
 It was hard to get a picture without people in it covering the areas I wanted to show, because these towns were teaming with life in the shops and the cafes along the old streets.  It was nice to see. I think the malls have "had their day" and people don't mind getting out in the weather in an old town.
Inside the antique and gift shops we could hear more golden oldie music and easy listening from the past decades, and some were being played on old record players and stereos. This was such a different sound from vinyl records on stereos with good speakers. I understand the younger people are quite interested in going back to this kind of thing because the sound is so much better. I guess I will have to dig out my old records, now that the record players and stereos are coming back. I saw some brand new ones in a local store recently.

 This shop was almost a block long and very high-end, elegant. I think I've seen this on the web.

I have a map (somewhere) that I folded up and put in my purse,  but I'm still in a bit of mess (yes, after just a few days away), and have not located it. I'll post it here when I do.
 One more picture of the lake view where we stayed a day and a night.  For the evening meal before everyone departed, they had put long tables together and tablecloths, candles and real dinnerware, and made it feel like fine dining. It was ever so nice but I got so caught up in it all I totally forgot to take any pictures except for this one, as the daylight faded:

I will try to post again soon and share some human interest stories. You know the saying: "I write stories, so anything you say could end up in my book!" 

While it seems I have been quite chatty the last few posts, the best is yet to come, which I will post soon,  the Lord willing (and the creek don't rise!)