What’s Old Is New Again: Decoupage TV Trays Are Back!!!

The wooden TV tray.  A functional piece of furniture.  Although I think we can all agree these tables are useful, but they lack the design qualities seen in other pieces of furniture.

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Way back in 2013, I came up with an idea to turn these boring tables into something fun.  My first tutorial Decoupage Team Sports Trays explored the option of decoupaging these trays with Mod Podge.  It was a huge success and since then, It remains one of my most requested items.

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They also make wonderful gifts for the sports fan in your life! Recently I made two new tables. Both were gifts, one for a friend’s birthday, and the other was presented as a Christmas present.   Nothing new here, but thought I would share the new additions so you know what I have been up too!

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Philadelphia Flyers TV Tray

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New York Giants TV Tray

Want to See more?  Check out these past blog entries on Decoupage TV Trays!

Have a special someone on your gift list that is a sports fan?  Then this is the table for you…

Sports Trays…Revisited!

Yankees Decoupage Sports TV Tray

Washington Redskins Decoupage TV Tray

Want to show off your school pride?  TV trays are great for doing homework too!

Smells Like Team Spirit! 

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Not a sports fan? No school spirit?  No Problem!  There are many other themes you can use to create a personalized tray table.  LP liner notes make great decoupage and are unique!

Rescued Vinyl TV Tray Decoupage

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Take These Broken Wings: Fairy In A Jar Kids Craft

My dutiful husband was mowing our front lawn the other day, and accidentally broke one of our plastic solar lights.  The top of the light still continued to function, and when day turned into night, it glowed as if to say “don’t throw me away, I am not done yet!”

I often struggle to find new ideas for projects, but I have come to realize the best ideas come to me without even trying. I began to think about a way I could re-purpose the light.  Then, my mind wandered off as it often does, and I also pondered a separate incident that occurred during a trip to Joann Fabric earlier in the week.  My daughter picked up a small ceramic yard fairy. She wanted to carry it around the store.  It was small enough, so I allowed it.  She accidentally dropped the fairy and it broke in two. Exercising the “break it and you bought it moral policy”, I paid for the item hoping I could glue it back together when we got home. Then both memories collided and an idea to merge these broken items together was born. I would make a “lighted fairy in a jar” A paradise for a convalescing fairy with a broken wing.  I didn’t have a jar handy, so I used a glass vase I had lying around.  I also had some decorative marbles and sprinkled them on the bottom of the vase.

I then began to create a suitable home for our little fairy.  I used artificial flowers, trimmed and glued them inside the vase to create a suitable habitat for our little broken friend.

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I carefully placed the fairy inside the glass vase.  Before dropping her in, I used hot glue to cover the bottom of the statue to properly set her in place.  I intentionally applied random droplets of glue to give the appearance of condensation thus providing a drink for our little “pet”

Now that the scene was set inside the glass, I  began to come up with a way to use the solar light to illuminate the vase,  I had a plastic lid handy, and decided to use the hot glue gun to adhere the plastic light to it.  I traced the light with a black sharpie onto the lid and cut a hole in the top to expose the solar panel. I glued the modified light and lid to the top of the vase, allowing the solar light to drop in place and illuminate the jar.  I added some additional blue marbles around the top rim of the jar for decoration.

It all came together something like this:

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I would recommend this project is done under strict adult supervision due to the hot glue involved.  I actually dread using the high heat gun, because I always manage to burn myself with it at least once no matter how careful I am!

When I showed my daughter her fairy jar gift she loved it and decided to give it a kiss.  My heart just melted!  What little girl wouldn’t love her own “pet garden fairy”

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As the night turned into day her fascination only grew as the jar began to glow.  Then it occurred to me all the possibilities and jar themes you could come up with.  Let your imagination run wild and create a wonderful garden keepsake.. and remember broken things are beautiful!!!!

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Materials needed:

Jar or Vase

Plastic Lid

Solar Light (top)

High Heat Hot Glue Gun/Glue Sticks

Decorative items for your Jar:

Child’s toys figurines

Rocks, Plants, Marbles:

Create any scene you wish!

On The Upcycle Shop- Now Open On Etsy!

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This Month, “On The Upcycle” has launched a small shop on Etsy!

On The Upcycle Shop will feature small decoupage items with additional items coming soon!  Each item is handmade and priced to sell!  Be sure and check us out and check back often!  Items will be featured as they become available. This month I am featuring various stained and painted wooden trinket boxes.

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These lovely boxes have metal hinges and magnetic enclosures.  Sizes and styles vary.

Stay tuned: On The Upcycle has a few interesting projects on the horizon. I have picked up a couple of really nice chairs,  and a beautiful early century window with multi colored glass I am eager to start. Hope everyone is enjoying there summer so far!

To visit the OntheUpcycleShop on Etsy—-Click Here!

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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Love/Hate Challenge

My friend Mark (Oh what will he write about next?) tagged me in a writing exercise called the Love/Hate challenge.  Be sure and check out Mark’s Love Hate List! I am instantly attracted to the word “challenge” so despite my tardy response, I was determined to defeat my persistent writer’s block and accept. It was also a welcome break. My goal is to open a shop on Etsy selling small decoupage trinket boxes. (More details to come!)  It has been fun, but time-consuming and taking longer than I expected!

I initially struggled with my choices for this list.  Love and Hate are strong words, but instead of over thinking it too much as I tend to do,  I decided to keep it simple and go with what quickly came to my mind.

The Rules:

10 things I love, 10 things I hate, and my 10 nominees for their own Love/Hate list.

Love

My daughter’s smile

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The work day is often long, but when I walk through that door and see my daughter’s smile, it makes all of the hard work worth it!  Having a child is truly a life changing event in many ways….

Nature

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When I think of how amazing the world is, and all the beauty within it, it is hard not to believe in a higher power.  For me closeness to nature keeps all of the little things in perspective.  We are all a part of a much bigger picture..

Eggplant Parmesan

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MMMM… Eggplant Parmesan! The one food that I could eat for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!  Not everyone’s taste, but that is fine. (more for me!)

Family

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For me, family past and present is important.  As someone who loves family history, nostalgia and genealogy, There is no way family could be left off this list.  I am after all the “Official Family Historian” for both sides of my family, and readily put my internet stalking skills to good use.

Game Of Thrones

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It is rare for me to LOVE a TV show, but I have to admit I LOVE Game of Thrones.  A series that could manage to keep my interest after 5 seasons and remain as good as it was the first season is unusual.  It is one of the most beautifully shot shows on television, and the buzz created around this show is GENIUS.  The dialog is also done well and the actors are amazing (What is their not to love about Peter Dinklage?)  A breath of fresh air and superb writing, in a sea of reality shows, and reruns.  I tip my hat, I mean sword at you HBO (and don’t despair, Jon Snow will be back in one form or another, trust me on this one!)

Music

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Music has been an important escape for me through the years.  I still have my collection of mixed tapes, from a time long ago when it was still cool to record music off the radio.  Am I the only one that remembers what High Speed Dubbing is?  Rock N Roll is my favorite, but if you saw my collection you may be surprised.  I have a rather eclectic taste!

This Man

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Of course the husband has to make this list!  He has put up with me for 14 years now and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to go through life with.  He is also an AMAZING Dad, which means the world to me.

Mod Podge

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How could any love list on this blog NOT have MOD PODGE on it!  Without it, this site would be for the most part BLANK.  My hats off to Jan Wetstone who created Mod Podge back in the 1960’s.  It truly is remarkable all the uses for such a simple substance.

Animals

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Animals are always there when you need them.  For years, I worked in the animal healthcare field and loved every minute helping man’s best friend.  I still do all that I can to help abused, unwanted and injured animals whenever I can.

The Word Press Community

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Their is no better community in the world of blogs better than WordPress.  I had to show the love because without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible!

Things I hate:

Intolerance Of Others

Nothing angers me more than others who think they know best at how to run your life. We should all learn to respect one another and instead of focusing on our differences, focus on what makes us the same.  It is all about the person inside this shell and to me the soul has no color.

Cruelty To People and Animals

To take advantage of those who are weaker than you is a reflection of someone’s true character.  I wish people would choose kindness over cruelty.  The world would be such a better place!

Aggressive Driving

An irritated young man driving a vehicle is expressing his road rage.

In the state that I live in, aggressive driving is the norm.  Have you ever had that moment when you thought to yourself “I so wish a cop could have been there to pull that person over?”  In my state, you have this thought at least once a day.

Lazy People

Those who would rather work at doing nothing instead of doing something constructive.

Lima Beans

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Ew.  When I eat Lima beans I feel like a bug flew in my mouth and I am forced to chew it.  I can’t get over this mental block.  Yea…I know they are good for you!

My Morning Commute

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I can’t count how many times I almost had an express ticket to the afterlife.  My drive to work every day is treacherous!

Injustice

The word pretty much speaks for itself.  More of this in the world than we would like to believe.

An Empty Coffee Pot

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If you knew me you would understand.  I am not a morning person.

Mean Girls

Yup, we all know one or two.  I am all about building up the self-esteem of other women. As ladies,  we should empower each other instead of tearing each other down.  The world is a hard enough landscape to navigate.  Don’t you think?

Elitism

I hate others who think that they are better than everyone else.  Money, social status, fame, and career do not make a person better or worse than you. Humans are so much more than meets the eye.  We all have something unique to contribute to the world.

So there it is, a quick exploration of what pops into ones head, and by no means a complete list one way or the other!

Here are some bloggy friends I would love to see take the challenge if they so choose. No pressure here!  I mostly want to share links to unique voices   and blogs that I would love for you to visit!

http://findingcoopersvoice.com/

https://whatimuptotoday.wordpress.com/

http://talesalongtheway.com/

https://jacquelincangro.wordpress.com/

https://youwhoineverknew.wordpress.com/

https://wandermood.wordpress.com/

https://brookebrunson.wordpress.com/

http://susielindau.com/

https://rainbowcakesandrockyroad.wordpress.com/

http://opinionatedmommy.com/

Where is Summer? The Birds Are Angry: Decoupage Kids Craft Bird House

It hasn’t felt much like summer over here.  The pool is up, the flowers are planted and beginning to blossom, but it is 52 degrees and the rain is cold! I am left to ponder the question, where is summer?

The good news: Rainy days are a great time for kids crafts.  All the more reason to plan a project the toddler apprentice and I could accomplish together.  The little one loves to watch The Disney Collector on You Tube. The DC Collector has become a bit of an internet phenomenon among the five and under crowd, and my daughter is no exception.  She enjoys watching those carefully manicured hands opening and revealing various toys and treasures. It was while watching these videos my daughter discovered her love of Angry Birds.  The birds must be angry that the weather has not been cooperating!  They could sure use a house I thought to myself!

I also thought decorating a bird house would be fun project to do together. I purchased an unfinished,  wooden bird house at Joann Fabric.  They were on sale for .99 cents.

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I then went online and downloaded some Angry Bird images.  You can use character stickers if a printer is not available.

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I cut the images out with a pair of scissors and placed them aside.

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We painted the bird house together using red and blue acrylic paint.  It required two coats.  We then placed the painted bird house aside to dry.

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Once it was dry, I used Outdoor Mod Podge to apply the images to the bird house.  I then added a layer of Mod Podge over top of the image. Although Outdoor Mod Podge provides added protection from the elements, if left out it will eventually weather.  I added a coat of polyurethane to provide additional protection and prolong the life of the bird house.

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Once the bird house was dry we used a “C” Shaped hook like this one to hang it.  Lets hope that now that our little backyard friends have a place to call home, they won’t be such “Angry” little birds anymore….

Materials Needed:

Unfinished Wooden Bird House

Angry Birds, images or stickers

Outdoor Mod Podge

Red and Blue Acrylic Paint

Clear Polyurethane (optional)

Paint Brushes/Scissors

C Shaped Hook (For Hanging)

Hot Summer Nights: Paradise By The Back Porch Light

This past memorial day weekend, my husband and I were determined to get the yard ready for summer.  My daughter received an Easy Set Intex Pool from her Uncle and Aunt for Christmas and we could not wait to get the pool setup and operational.  My daughter’s 4th birthday this year will have a pool party theme, and the date for the party is quickly approaching.  My husband and I leveled out the ground in the area the pool would be placed.  We laid down a tarp and spread the pool out.  These inflatable Easy Set’s are great starter pools, and in our case the simpler the better since this is our first attempt at putting up a pool.

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We inflated the ring with a pump, and from the inside smoothed out the lining.  It took all day to fill.  The next day, we hooked up the filter, placed chlorine tabs in the floater, and assembled the ladder.  The water was very cold, so I hopped in to the pool for a test run.  For the most part everything went great and the set up was easy.  I was disappointed to find some parts in the lining that were not as smooth as we had wanted.  I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure the ground is clear of any debris and level.  Even after all our careful work, what seemed smooth at the surface was not always the case.  Once the weight of the water pressed the ground flat, some rocks and roots underground seemed to appear out of nowhere through the lining.  That being said the only way to remedy this would be to drain the pool and remove the debris from the area to smooth it out.  Until it is necessary to do so, we are going to take our chances.  I would feel guilty wasting all that water!  Luckily the pool came with plenty of patches if needed.

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We purchased a few fun summer signs from Dollar Tree and lined the fence with them for added decoration.

I  also accomplished a few smaller projects.  I had a decorative metal star that I picked up at Christmas Tree Shop.  It was on clearance and I was never happy with the tan color.  I surmised that this was most likely the reason why it was on clearance.

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Since it was Memorial day and the house was decorated in Americana….

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I had some extra Rust-Oleum red spray paint, and I sprayed on a quick coat.  I like the star better now that it is red and I purchased it for half the price!

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The other area I wanted to address was the corner of the yard by the pool. There is a rather large tree stump in this area.  Some time ago, I blogged about ideas here.

I struggled with what to do with this stump for some time.  This weekend that changed.  I decided to make it a fun project for my daughter and I to do together.  I had an old broken wooden TV tray.  I removed the table top from the legs and screwed it on to the tree stump surface.  My neighbor had given me some decorative, shells, glass pebbles and decorative rock. I thought it would be fun for us to create a mosaic table top for it.  I used some old tile grout and glue in one and spread it onto the table surface evenly.  The toddler apprentice and I then applied the rocks and glass pebbles.  We wiped off any excess grout and allowed it to dry overnight.  I used the unused legs of the TV tray as a garden trellis, another great re-purpose!  My goal was to use as much of the table as possible. Mission accomplished!

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I placed the shells around for decoration.   Now Mommy has a place to put “her” sippy cup and relax by the pool, while my daughter has fun exploring and playing with the various sea shells.

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Since this spring has been a bit sparse in the rain department, our grass took a hit and much of it died.  Once all the yard work was done, we raked the yard and spread out grass seed in the hopes of bringing our lawn back to life!  Once the grass grows under our feet, our little backyard oasis will be complete!

What do you have planned for your backyard oasis?  Do you have any summer projects you are eager to complete?  How do you like to kick off summer?

Sultans of Swap: Flea Market Fun In The Sun

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in my first ever Flea Market.  The sale of spaces benefited my daughter’s school, so of course I jumped at the chance to get involved.  I was a bit nervous.  It was the first time I have attempted to sell my projects.  I also had some additional spring cleaning items to sell as well and anything I can do to create additional space in my overloaded craft room is a definite plus.

Let me start off by saying, I have been to a lot of swap meets, yard sales and flea markets as a buyer, but never as a seller.  It is hard work preparing, pricing and hauling your goods to the sale location.  I have a new respect for those who can make a living at it and participate in sales on a regular basis.

I am in no way an expert at this, but I thought I would share with you all what I learned from this experience.

So, How did the modern flea market get its name?

The first flea markets were in Paris and they were called marché aux puces which translates to ‘market with fleas’. Flea market first appeared in English in 1922 as a translation of the French market’s name.

When Preparing, Take Care of as much as you can the night before

Since most flea markets start bright and early, and I am a night owl by nature,  I loaded the car and any other items needed for my sale the previous night.  This allowed me to get a good night sleep and wake up and leave the next day without scrambling at the last-minute.

Show up on time or early for set up

This was the fun part.  Setting it all up so it is pleasing to the eye.  Leave yourself enough time so as to not feel rushed.

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Mark all prices clearly and have a backup plan

I devised a color coding system.  Also when marking your prices, keep a mental note of how low you are willing to go with price.  I marked my prices a little higher so that I had some “wiggle” room.

Plan for a long day in the hot sun

If you have a canopy or beach umbrella, it is a good idea to bring it.  Make sure to bring plenty of sun block, dress accordingly (avoid dark colors that attract the sun) Wear a hat and sunglasses and bring plenty of fluids and a snack.

Bring tables or other items to properly display your merchandise

I found that items more visible, and that didn’t require a lot of effort to look through sold better.  A clothes rack, table or even a sheet or mat placed on the ground is essential when displaying your items.  If people have too put a lot of effort in they will move on quickly to a competitor’s table.

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Don’t Just Sit There… Get up and Sell!!

I found I gained more interest in my items when I talked to people and said “Hi”  Sitting their idle watching people come and go doesn’t sell stuff, but being a social butterfly DOES even when the turn out is low.

Talk about what you do and PROMOTE

I created plenty of business cards, and even sign explaining what Upcycling is.  People’s curiosity would get the better of them and they would stop to read the sign.  It was a great conversation starter!

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Bring Singles and 5 dollar bills to make change and wear a fanny pack!

I brought about $40 dollars in cash.  I used 25 singles and four 5 dollar bills and found this to be enough to make change.  It is better to wear a fanny pack or apron to keep change, pens and tape in.  Leaving money unsupervised in a box even for a minute, creates a potential for theft.

Make Friends and Connections!

Even though the turn out was less than spectacular, I still managed to socialize with other vendors and make personal connections.  I met a really nice woman who runs a local consignment shop, and my flea market neighbor and I helped each other when the other had to take a bathroom break.  The nice lady next to me even helped complete a sale while I walked away for a moment!

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Oh and Don’t Forget to take a Flea Market Selfie!

What are you doing to prepare for this Flea Market Season? Do you have any tips for sellers not mentioned here?  Do you have willpower when it comes to buying things at a flea market when you are there to sell?