Recycling & Re-Purposing In the Garden Part 1: Garden Decor

We love finding new uses for every day items around our house.  Lately, our recycle bin is the only one of our three trash cans that regularly gets filled up.  I have found new uses for everything that I used to throw in the green bin (full post coming soon!), and there is no need to throw away “trash” if you can find a new use for it!

All of the items pictured may have been otherwise seen as trash, but with a little inventiveness, it has all become part of our charming garden decor. 🙂  I hope this inspires you to think of some creative ways to repurpose some “trash”.  Part 2 coming soon!

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Easy DIY Project: Faux Vintage Light Switch Covers

I miss the old-fashioned light switches in our old house (seen in our house tour here).  They were so cute and charming.  Our new house is not “new” but it is not old enough to have details like that house had.  I decided to make my own faux vintage style light switch covers.

I started with the basic white plastic covers, and painted them with some gold paint and a sponge paint brush.  I just used one coat.  After that paint dried, I used a second type of gold rub on paint to add some variation.  Very easy, and I am quite happy with the results!

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Easy DIY Project: Vintage Lace Decorated Flower Pots

I love vintage lace. 🙂  I have a stash of lace trims that I found at an estate sale, and I love using these trims to decorate everything.  My supply is starting to run a little low so I will have to replenish soon though!  I decided to dress up some plain flower pots for our front “porch” (not actually a porch at all).

I just started with a few plain flower pots, some that were thrift store finds, and some larger ones that I actually found at the 99 Cent store!  I measured off enough lace to go around the rim of each, and glued in place with a glue gun.  I used a different type of lace on each size pot.  I filled the smaller pots with various succulents, and the larger ones with geraniums.  I love the finished result, decorating the area around our front door!

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Two Easy DIY Projects With Chalkboard Spray Paint!

Projects with chalkboard paint are everywhere these days, and I had to do a couple of projects.  I have seen many tutorials online for using chalkboard paint, and was very excited to see chalkboard spray paint at our local home improvement store.  Much easier to use!

I found a few silver trays at a thrift store for $1-2 each, and taped off the decorative edges with painter’s tape before painting.  I painted them with two coats of the chalkboard spray paint, then hung them on the wall with plate hangers.  Super easy, and we love the new message center in our entry room!

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I have a problem when canning time comes around with labeling my canning jars.  Last year I used my label maker, but those labels are difficult to remove.  I have so many empty jars that say “marinara sauce”!  I saw some chalkboard labels for sale at a craft store, and decided to try to make some myself. 🙂  I used the chalkboard spray paint to paint a sheet of contact paper.  Then I used an oval template I made to cut out labels.  So far, they are helping us keep organized in the bathroom!  I can’t wait to try them out when I start canning food this year.

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Easy DIY Garden Project: Tea Mini-Vase

Super easy little hostess gift or an addition to any other gift:  a little tea mini-vase.  I selected a few herbs that look pretty and also are great for making tea.  For this vase, I used lemon balm, mint and lavender.  I put them with some water in a tiny little jar.  It is a pretty little gift to give someone, and they can also use the herbs for making some fresh tea!  Would also make a great party favor for a tea party. 🙂

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Entry Room Makeover

There are certain things that drive me nuts…one of the big ones is being disorganized.  We have spent the past couple of months on a constant hunt for keys, hats, flashlights, my purse, important papers, etc.  I decided that I had reached my breaking point with living in chaos, and we needed to start to have a little bit of organization around here.

I was going to wait until my husband finished the kitchen before I tackled the entry room, but that project is taking much longer than we originally expected.  I noticed that he mostly just bangs things into the trim when he is coming in with large tools, sheet rock, etc., so I will just paint the trim at a later date.  I worked on organizing this room a little at a time, in between editing pictures from a wedding we recently shot (sneak preview here).  You can see the before pictures of the entry room here.

Our entry room used to be the original porch on the house, and since the whole house was made handicap accessible, the floor in the entry room is sloped.  The chair is not crooked; it is the floor. 🙂

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I redesigned the little entry table that we made at our old house (seen here).  I had layers of paint on it before, and wanted to get rid of some of the teal and bring out more of the layer of white underneath, so I sanded it again and added a burlap curtain to create some concealed storage.

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I recently made some silver tray chalkboards (tutorial coming soon!) to hang as a message center.  The current message is my little reminder for us to pray and ask God to fill our home with peace, love and joy.  This is important and helpful during stressful times – like when you are in the middle of a major kitchen remodel. 🙂

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Things we use regularly: hiking backpack, my coupon organizer, and a ready picnic basket. 🙂  I also set up our dirty work shoes on a vintage cafeteria tray that I found at a thrift store, with some rocks underneath to catch any dirt.

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We live in a neighborhood full of very large, two story (or more) homes.  More than one person in the neighborhood has pointed out to us that we have one of the smallest homes in the whole neighborhood.  We don’t take that as an insult; we take it as a compliment.  To us, that means our home is more full of love, just like in Little House on the Prairie.

When we were engaged, I went through a list of questions with my husband-to-be to try to make sure that we had the same priorities in terms of finding our dream house.  I asked him if he would rather have:  the littlest house in a good neighborhood or the biggest house in a lesser neighborhood, a big house with tons of space inside but very little yard or a tiny house and a big lot.  Luckily we both agreed on the little house, big lot ideas. 🙂  I made this little embroidery to proudly display our love of our little home.

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When we had our home inspection, the inspector noted that the light fixture in the entry way had problems with flickering, so one of the first things my husband did after we moved in was replace it with this new light fixture.  The new fixture is beautiful, but the flickering still continues.  I have not replaced the cover on the light switches so that he will remember that it still needs some electrical repair. 🙂

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We were starting to have trouble keeping track of our mail.  I came up with a good solution and have it sorted into 5 categories:  bills, Chris, Alicia, repurpose, and recycle.  The pile of repurpose paper will later be turned into newspaper logs for our fire pit movie nights (tutorial here).  The recycle pile is full of paper that cannot be used for the logs:  shiny, coated ads, envelopes with plastic windows, etc.

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The clock on the wall used to be in my bathroom at our old house, and I had previously painted it aqua.  An aqua clock on a different shade of aqua wall looked pretty horrible, so I repainted the record yellow, and then re-glued the lace back onto the record.  At our old house, we had a built-in cabinet in the hallway that was perfect for miscellaneous utility items that we need to keep on hand (previous post here).  Since we don’t have that at our new home, I picked up this little white cabinet to take its place.

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A closer look at my homemade record clock, a vintage working thermometer that I love, and a fun take on an antique electricity sign.

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Vintage mirror I got for free in college, little storage box for extra keys that we don’t use every day, a little “clothesline” for important papers like invitations, and a kite that we made together for a photoshoot prop.

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A place for spare change (formerly an Anthropologie candle), an estate sale tray for my husband’s daily pocket dump, chalk for the message boards, and a basket for sunglasses and other miscellaneous items.

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Keys, notepads, stamps, pens, more chalk, and other useful items all easily accessible.

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This thrift store hat rack is very useful.  Now we don’t waste time looking for hats and my purse when we leave the house. 🙂

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A peek inside my little utility cabinet organization.  Whenever my husband gives me jewelry as a gift, I save the little cardboard boxes to organize small items.  I am very lucky to have such a generous husband. 🙂

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A special vintage basket full of pet supplies:  leashes, brushes, and even doggy hiking boots.

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The cats know that the bottom basket is full of their toys, and they know that they just need to push aside the burlap curtain to access them.  I have even been able to train them to (sometimes) put their toys back in the basket when they are finished playing with them. 🙂

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I made little signs to organize our mail.  Shown here, repurpose & recycle.

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Sewing Curtains from Wedding Leftovers

I had some leftover lace fabric from the lace tablecloth overlays that I sewed for our wedding reception. Luckily, I had just the perfect amount to make sheers for our living room! I also sewed a bunch of the vintage handkerchiefs from our wedding decor together to make curtains for the door in one of the hallways. I love the end result!

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - Curtains Sewn from Wedding Leftovers