Posted in grandkids, loreeebee.ca

String Art shows Creativity

Recently my granddaughter decided she wanted to “decorate” the dresser in my bedroom. Tis the season I guess! She discovered my sewing storage unit a while ago; the drawers of buttons have been her favourite for months now. We have literally spent hours playing with those buttons. Throwing them into the air and watching them bounce, then organizing and sorting them before putting them back into their little drawers for next time. It is amazing how far they bounce, hubby and I are always discovering some tucked away all over our bedroom.

Buttons are now passé, (although we are still finding them) she has since graduated to the drawers containing embroidery thread, remnants of DIY projects over the years…

I convinced her not to open the “new” (unopened) skeins, but could not resist indulging her creativity, so let her go wild with the smaller pieces. And wild she went!

Now I am wondering if I should clean it all up (just to be recreated the next time she is here) or move it to an area less frequented so she can continue her masterpiece.

Posted in lorieb.com

Portable bed: easy DIY project

A few months ago I saved an idea I saw on Facebook for future reference.  It was simple DIY sewing instructions for a child’s portable bed; perfect Christmas gifts for my grandchildren.  These will be great for sleepovers or just lounging around watching a movie.  This past week I tackled the project and it (thankfully) was as easy as promised.

The most difficult part was finding cute and colorful pillow cases suitable for a young girl and boy. Although the instructions advised to use pillow cases for the whole portable bed and simply sew the cases together, I decided to improvise a bit and purchased themed twin sized sheet sets.  My granddaughter loves pink, purple and rainbows, while my grandson is fixated on cars…

I used the pillow cases for the heads and the flat sheets for the large portion of the beds.  I saved the fitted sheets to take to the cottage for the (real) kids beds there.  Although the instructions suggested a pillow in each section of the body, I (improvising again) used rectangular pieces of foam.  To hold the foam pieces in place, I folded each flat sheet in half long ways and sewed “pockets” into them.  The pillow case was a guideline to figure out the width of the pockets, with an inch added to each one.

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foam pieces

I figured the flatness of the foam and the added inches between each section would make it easier to fold each portable bed up for storage when not in use…

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I did use (standard sized) pillows for the heads as suggested.  The beauty of this project is that the pillows and foam can easily be removed to wash the casings.

Here are the finished products, ready for use.  Pretty cute if I do say so myself!  I’m sure my grandchildren will gets lots of use out of them, hopefully at my house!

Posted in gardening, lorieb.com

Versatile succulents

Succulents are easy to grow plants, even for the novice gardener.  They can be planted directly into your garden or in containers for indoors and out.  In really cold climates, you may have to bring your container in for the winter.

These versatile gems also make great centerpieces for DIY decorations at weddings or showers.  Recently I selected a variety of tiny ones, painted their pots pale pink, and created a centerpiece for decoration at a baby shower.  As my guests left, I tucked one baby succulent into their loot (party favor) bags…

 

These versatile succulents can be purchased in pots at your local nursery, or as seeds through a seed catalogue or by clicking on the Amazon links below…

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Posted in family, loreeebee.ca

Gray is not my color

Gray is not my color.  My hair started to turn gray when I was just 14 years old, yes 14!  The boys in my classes at school used to fight to sit behind me so they could pull out the strands of gray from my very long hair. Good thing I have always had lots of hair.

By the time I was 30, my hair was very gray. This picture of me and my siblings was taken when I was 34; I’m the sister with the gray hair…

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….even though I am the youngest sister and second youngest sibling.  Very annoying, even though I knew it was hereditary; my father was totally white by 30.

When it was streaky gray (like the picture) people actually asked if I had it colored that way.  It did kind of frame my face I guess.  The straw that broke the camel’s (gray) back came later that year (still 34) when my eldest son started junior kindergarten.  For a Hallowe’en party in his classroom, I dressed up as Snow White.  When I took my wig off at the end of the day, one of the children said “that must be Matthew’s grandmother, she has white hair”   That was when I decided that gray is not my color.

So, for years (twenty some now) I have tried various colors on my hair.   I have always admired red hair on other girls, and because my dark brown hair always had natural reddish highlights in the summer, I have always aimed for reddish brown.  The problem is with so much gray, the reddish brown sometimes comes out orange and I HATE orange.  Even at expensive salons my hair would come out too orangy/coppery for my liking.

The solution?  I finally discovered how to get the color I want by combining two shades.  Yes, DIY haircolor.  I do it myself, saving myself lots of money and the annoyance of paying for the wrong color.  I start with a medium dark brown on the roots, then spread the rest of that color throughout my hair, then add a reddish brown in streaks on top of the medium brown, avoiding the roots.  This phote was taken in the summer when my hair is always lightened by the sun, but you get the picture…

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Over the years I have tried many DIY hair color products too.  My choice these days is Belle Color by Garnier, in shades 50 (medium brown) and 65 (chestnut brown)…

 

It reminds me of a commercial (I cannot remember which one) where Penelope Cruz proclaimed (with her sultry, sexy accent) “the color I want is the color is get”

I love these Garnier products because they make my hair silky smooth (others leave it coarse and tangly) even before I condition it.  Each box of hair color includes a pouch of conditioner that contains argan oil, a well-known miraculous treatment for hair…

 

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The Garnier products are creamy (not drippy) and offer 100% gray coverage.  They also have an almost pleasant smell, unlike others that reek.  My color lasts three to four weeks before those returning gray roots are too obvious to hide.  It is so unfair that dark roots look much better than white ones and are even quite fashionable (apparently)

These Garnier products can be purchased online through Amazon here:

CHESTNUT    or   MEDIUM DARK BROWN

 

So, if gray is not your color either, try your hand at your own conconction of color!

 

 

Posted in lorieb.com

DIY tips for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, and headpiece

Recently I attempted a DIY on 5 bouquets, 5 boutonnieres, three corsages and one crown/headpiece for my son’s wedding.  I have lots of perennial plants in my gardens and lots of clients with even more beautiful flowers, so I thought “piece of cake.”  Not so much; it was a much trickier DIY than I thought but well worth the effort.

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I researched lots of Pinterest pages, and other DIY sites so I had notes to refer to.  The toughest part was that I could not do much (other than research) ahead of time (other than pace my gardens willing the flowers to bloom!)   To keep the flowers as fresh for as long as possible, I could only pick them the day before the wedding.

Mother Nature threw me a CURVE BALL too; I had planted lots of purple flowering perennials last fall that were supposed to bloom the beginning of June.  Due to the cold and wet spring we experienced here in Ottawa, very few of those flowers were in bloom in time.  White peonies with purple roses and clematis were not meant to be for this DIY.

The following are the basic tips to ensuring your DIY bouquets turn out well.  Some are obvious, some not so much, some lessons I learned along the way…

  • don’t pick the flowers earlier than the morning before the wedding
  • have more flowers and foliage than you think you need
  • as soon as you do pick them, cut the stems longer than they need to be and put the cut stems in cold water immediately
  • use a clean bucket and clean cutters (this helps the blooms last longer)
  • recut the stems while they are under running water or in water (this ensures no air bubble get into the stems, preventing premature wilting/rotting
  • let the flowers sit in cold water for a minimum of 3 hours before arranging.
  • to assemble, start with the main/center flowers, then add others to fill out the bouquets. Add foliage last
  •  Stand in front of a mirror as you are arranging them to better see how they look
  • use elastics to hold the flowers together, placing them just below the top of the stem.  If your bouquets are large you can use several elastic to hold flowers together in groups
  • prop up droopy flower heads with wire or tape (I should have done that with the rhododendrons in my bouquets, they were very droopy by the end of the day)
  • use tinier flowers and blooms for boutonnieres and head piece, (see below) cutting stems short.  These short stems do not stay as fresh as long as the longer stems, so plan to make these last
  • I made each bouquet different, creating as I went along.  If you want them all to be identical, you will have to count out your available flowers and have a more detailed plan.  I tend to fly by the seat of my pants!
  • as you finish each bouquet, place it in a separate vase of water so the flowers do not get crushed/crowded
  • leave a few extra inches of stems at the bottom of each bouquet for final trimming
  • buy lots of ribbon; you can always return whatever you do not use
  • wide ribbon wraps faster and easier than thin ribbon, but seems to come off easier.  I used narrow ribbon for a base, then did top layer in wider ribbon
  • make all the bouquets first before starting to wrap with ribbon.  This ensures flowers are not out of water too long.
  • start wrapping ribbon near tops of stems (where elastics are)
  • if you choose to have dangling ribbons, loop them in at the top before wrapping, keeping them out of the way as you work
  • hold ribbon with one hand and bouquet with the other, turning the bouquet as you wrap.  The first (downward) layer of ribbon does not have to be perfect; you can leave some stem showing between, filling in the blanks on the upward layer.  Leave two inches of unwrapped stem at the bottoms so ribbon does not get wet
  • put each bouquet back into its vase with fresh water to just below ribbon
  • at last minute ( I could do this as pictures were taken at my home, so cut excess stems off literally 2 minutes before bouquets were needed) cut off excess stems

 

 

This headpiece was made as follows;

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  • measure head with a piece of string
  • use a few (more than one) strands of floral wire to ensure stability, overlapping it by two inches, wrap with floral tape
  • cut flowers just before you use them (they wilt quickly) making stems 2 inches long
  • lay out flowers in the pattern you want to place them on the headpiece
  • place one bloom on headpiece so that stem is on top of and parallel to the wire circle
  • secure bloom to circle with floral tape, starting just below bloom and wrapping both stem and wire circle until end of stem
  • overlap next bloom so it sits on top of previous bloom’s stem, working your way around the circle of taped wire
  • tie strands of ribbon (if desired) to headpiece at center back
  • when complete, mist the creation with a bit of water and place it in a plastic baggy.  Blow air into the baggie and seal it.  Keep it in the baggy for as long as possible, the tiny blooms wilt quickly!  Store it in a refrigerator or cool room (basement)

 

I tried something a little different for the DIY boutonnieres.  I grew my own calla lillies, starting them in pots in my basement last winter…

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The groom’s had three tiny purple pom pom like flowers, the groomsmen just the calla lily and foliage.  For the foliage, I used tiny calla lily leaves and snippets of English ivy vine…

  • cut stems about 3 inches longer (could be shorter or longer as desired)
  • arrange flowers and foliage in the pattern you choose
  • wrap stems with floral wire
  • add decorative pin for securing to lapels
  • place each boutonniere in its own plastic baggy, mist lightly with water, blow air into baggy and seal.  Store baggys in refrigerator or cool room (I kept them all in my basement)
  • these too will wilt quickly as the stems and blooms are small.  My one son joked he had “salad on his suit” by the end of the night

 

The DIY corsages did not turn out so well.  The short stems would not stay in the pearl wristbands I chose.  I tried securing them with floral wire, but they kept falling apart.  The intense heat of the day did not help as the flowers wilted quickly too.  I would appreciate comments/sugguestions on what I could have done differently, just in case I have another wedding soon…

 

 

 

Posted in lorieb.com

More home renovations

Stage two of our home renovations are now complete!  Stage One involved our front entranceway.  Our main floor powder room has been transformed from drab, boring and outdated into a beautiful, stylish and modern bathroom.  Everything was removed. Out with the old vanity, toilet, medicine cabinet/mirror, light, flooring, and paint.

 

Some DIY repairs and preparation included rerouting the plumbing because it would not fit behind the new vanity. Plum colored walls were painted a neutral taupe shade…

 

Next, came the new flooring, the same taupe and gray pattern we used in the hallway…

 

and finally, in with the new features.  The toilet, vanity, sink, and granite counter top came from GUS’ KITCHEN AND BATH. The light fixture and mirror came from Lowes.  Flooring was custom ordered from Home Depot.

 

The only thing that returned to the room after the renovations is a picture on the wall.  I plan to pick the deep purple color of the trilliums in the picture as my accent color for towels, soap dish and other accessories.

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