Sunday, September 1, 2013

BHS Alumni Logo

As a Graphic Designer, I am sometimes asked to work on a project for the community. I am a graduate of Bentonville High School. The Alumni Association has become less active over the years. A wonderful group of energetic people have began working together to rebuild. I was asked (among other things) to create a new logo for the association. The logo pictured above has been adopted. The new look includes elements of symbolism and and tradition with an updated look. It includes a new tag line that describes the mission of the association.

PS: I am so happy I only need to draw that tiger once!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweet Potato Vine

This pot is home to my early spring salad garden. It also has become a late summer/fall container for more ornamental plants.

While cleaning the pantry the other day, I discovered a sweet potato that had begun to sprout. It had little bitty vines already forming. I hauled it out to the deck with a little shovel and planted it in the salad garden container. I also stuck the remainder or the onion bulbs in there. Maybe I'll have a late crop of green onions? Within days, the sweet potato started growing. In this picture it had been growing about 10 days. Who knew it would sprout out so quickly? I think I will enjoy its beauty until frost hits. Wonder if I'll harvest sweet potatoes?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Steamed Eggs

Steaming has become one of my favorite was to cook eggs. It quick, its easy and tasty!

I developed this way to cook eggs quite by accident. I was making sunny side eggs one day and let the pan get too hot. I immediately poured a bit of water in the pan to cool it. I saw the steam rise and wondered what would happen if I placed a lid on the pan so I gave it a try. The result was a nicely cooked egg that reminded me of a poached egg.

The method I have developed starts with spraying the pan with cooking spray. I break eggs into the pan - its really easy to cook multiple eggs at one time utilizing this method. I season the eggs with salt and pepper. When the pan heats, I pour water in the pan until the bottom is covered by about a quarter inch of water. I place a lid on the pan - I prefer a clear lid so I can watch the cooking progress. When the eggs are done, they easily lift out of the pan and onto the plate.

Add a sliced tomato and piece of perfect toast and you have a delicious meal. Of course, serving with bacon or sausage will be a heartier breakfast. I also use a spicier seasoning when I'm in the mood for some kick. Cook these to a "hard" level and they would easily dice to top a salad. The variations are endless!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pillows from Reclaimed Materials

Need new throw pillows? Look no further than your closet! After I purged clothing that I no longer wear from the closet, I started thinking of ways to recycle them rather than toss them out.

First, I cut them into pieces for a quilt. I'll let you know how this works out!

I had a few sweaters which would not be good in a quilt. I started looking around. I had a old red pillow in the couch that doesn't work in my current color scheme. So I covered it - its the green one in the picture. I simply cut the sweater to fit the pillow. I sewed around three sides of the pillow cover making sure to back stitch at each end. I cut diagonally across the corners to ensure a smoother corner when the cover was turned to the right side. I put the pillow inside. If the cover is too large, this is a good time to make it smaller. I closed the fourth side by hand using a blind stitch. I used a double thread so it would be stronger.

I prepared the cover for the brown pillow as I did for the green one. Since I didn't have another pillow, I stuffed it with all the scraps from the clothes I used for the quilt. I stuffed it fairly solidly so it wouldn't be so lumpy. Again, I closed the fourth side by blind stitching.

I spent absolutely no money and have two new throw pillows to add to the coziness of my eclectic home!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Creative Storage that Hides Messy Shelves

My guest room doubles as my sewing/art/craft area. I have shelves against the far wall that hold supplies for future projects as well  as tools. And they look MESSY!

Santa brought by grandson a new bed a couple of years ago that doesn't require the use of his full size box spring. I had been storing it for her on the bed in that room. When I bought a vintage sofa bed to use in there instead, I still had his box spring. I leaned it against the wall until I could decide what to do with it. My creative eye saw a wall!

I had some large pieces of drapery fabric so I covered the box spring with it and now I have a temporary wall that can be moved and it hides my stuff! I weighted it down with some heavy objects but it is still rickety. I have no small children in the house so I'm not too concerned. I would recommend that it be anchored to the wall and or floor for more stability. Now I just need one for the other side of the room!

PS: The painting in the picture is an original. The artist is the mom who adopted me, Pansy Pearl Gastineau. Read her daughter's blog at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Winslow, Arkansas Train Tunnel

My mom's family is from Winslow, Arkansas. It is a very small town in the very southern part of Washington County. I like to go exploring around town a couple of times a year. Yesterday, family and friends did just that! We explored the train tunnel.

We are nearing the entrance to the tunnel. And can see the light at the other end! The 1726 foot tunnel was completed in 1882 and enlarged to accommodate larger diesel engines in 1969.

This information was obtained from the following site: .

A pavilion has been built in downtown Winslow. The original date stone is displayed there with a placard telling about it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mushroom and Rice Soup

When it was time for lunch today, I decided to look into the fridge to find ingredients to make something. I immediately saw the box with about four mushrooms and the container of leftover rice. Then I started thinking.  How about a mushroom and rice soup with an Asian flair.

I put a can of beef broth in a pan and brought it to a boil. I sliced the mushrooms and added them to the broth along with a bit of soy sauce. I let this combination simmer a few minutes until the mushroom was cooked.  I added the leftover rice and brought it back to a fast simmer to heat it through. I poured the soup into a deep bowl and added a bit of hoison sauce and garlic chile sauce. It was a quick, easy and low calorie, low fat lunch. And oh, so yummy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

There's a Boy ...

My daughter recently redecorated her living and wanted to do a collection of pictures of her son. She loves the slogan that's been floating around that says, "There's a boy who stolen my heart: he calls me Mom." I made her one that fits in an 8"x10" frame.

 I cut a piece of watercolor paper to size. I painted the background yellow with a blue border allowing the paint to mix making green. I then splattered white guache over the entire picture while it was damp allowing it to spread and fade a bit. After it was entirely dry, I printed the words using the inkjet printer. I spatter more guache over the entire piece. She framed the art and it adds a whole new dimension to her arrangement!

Brenda ( loves pictures of her family and has a whole gallery at home and at her office. I love to surprise her with a little something in the mail occasionally. I painted her a background that's incorporates pink and blue with the yellow. Because she has granddaughters and grandsons who call her Granny, I changed the wording to fit. She should get it on Monday so I'm scheduling this post for Wednesday. Can't wait to hear her squeal!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chevron Design Side Table

I wanted a nice square table for the corner made by the placement of the sofa and love seat. This 30-inch square kitchen table that I've used for an art table in past just looked ready for a new purpose!

I began by taking the legs off. I wanted to use the vintage tapered legs to match the style of the decor in the room. I saved them just in case I ever want the table to be tall again!  The next step was to attach the brackets and legs to the bottom of the table. They came from another table that was no longer usable. I just love it when I can reuse rather than buy new.

I flipped it over and painted two coats of very light tan latex paint on the table top. I let it dry completely before moving on the the next step. I found a tutorial on the internet - there are several out there so find one that seems to suit you best. I marked, taped and paint the chevron stripe with a darker tan paint. This paint was leftover wall paint. I let everything dry for a couple of days and finished it off with two coats of clear polyurethane.

I am so proud of the result!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Love You More!

My best friend, Brenda ( and I have always said "I love you" with the response of "I love you more!" My grandson, Logan and I use this phrasing also.  Logan just turned eight years old and I got a little creative with his presents. I wanted a special gift tag just for him so I got to thinking.

Using a scrap of watercolor paper, I drew a heart with a black Sharpie and wrote the words "Love You More" inside the heart. I brushed a nice transparent blue water color over the heart and and bright yellow on the outside of the heart and let the paint bleed together. Once it was dry, I spattered some white guache over the entire piece. I punched a hole in the corner and attached it to the wrapped package with some green rug yarn. The package is wrapped in simple bright green tissue paper.

Logan loved it! And I noticed his momma was saving it with a few other momentos she will save in his "Memory Box." A tiny scrap of paper and a bit of watercolor along with a few minutes of time has become a memory for life!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Table from BBQ Grill and Speaker Stand

I have two really cute vintage swiveling bar stools and decide they would look lovely in an empty corner in the living room. And they did. But something seemed to be missing and I thought a tall table would be the finishing touch. I started looking around for items I had around the house that could be used.

I found an old speaker stand and round grate from a BBQ Grill.  Perfect! I covered a small wood block with a scrap of fabric using a staple gun. I centered the grate over the side of the block with the staples. The speaker stand had a hole in each corner. I turned it upside down on top of the grate and attached it to the wood block with screws. To keep the grate more stable, I used clips used to attach speaker wire to the baseboard. I positioned them so that the clip fit over the wire grate and nailed them to the wooden block.

When it was flipped over, I had a small height-adjustable table! It completed the corner perfectly.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pictures Within a Frame

Yesterday, I wrote about the coffee table I made from the room dividing screen. I just couldn't let the third panel go to waste. Creativity hit again! The wall above the love seat was blank. Not anymore!

This panel had the matchstick material coming out so I just removed it all. I painted the framework with the nice rich brown paint. Originally, I hung the panel on the wall empty. It looked like something was missing.  I had these pictures hanging in the kitchen. They are original photographs I took during a picnic with my mom, daughter and grandson. Every time I look at them, I remember the special day we had as a four generation family. Now they are hanging inside the framework and are a focal point in the living room. The pictures are all matted and framed identically which keeps the look clean and cohesive.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Re-purposed Items Make a Coffee Table

When I got my new (used) couch and love seat, my coffee table looked puny! I was thinking a large square table would be perfect and scoured high and low through used furniture stores, flea markets and Craigslist looking for the perfect one. I never found it! One day I was sitting on the couch and my eye traveled to the unused three panel room divider screen. The wheels of creativity starting turning. I laid the screen down in front of the furniture and realized two panels made a table that was the perfect size.

I took the panels apart and sawed off the legs so the table would be rectangular. I measured the panels and the overall size the table would be once assembled. I had vintage tapered legs salvaged from an old table. I took a trip to the home improvement store. I bought the brackets to fasten the legs to the table. The guy at the store helped me select the chip board I needed to turn my panels into a table. He advised me that the chip board was stronger and cheaper than plywood. I gave him the measurements and he cut the chipboard for me. Assembly was so much quicker when the cuts are already made!

On the bottom side of each panel, I placed one of the smaller rectangles into the the recessed area of the panel under the matchstick material to keep them from dipping down. Then I placed the large rectangle that was cut to the length and width of the finished piece over the panels. I screwed it all together with wood screws.  I attached the brackets and legs. Then I painted the bottom and sides of the chipboard a nice rich brown so it would look more finished.

Once the paint was dry, I flipped it over. I had a perfectly sized table for my space! I put two coats of polyurethane over the top of the matchstick material to make it shed water. I'm so proud of the finished product!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vintage Light Fixture Repurposed

I found this vintage bathroom light fixture at a yard sale for $1. Most would think it fairly ugly but I found that it would fit into my new quirky design style using repurposed items. I thought it would look great in the living room hanging above a framed magazine ad that I really like. I took the bracket off that connects the fixture to the electric box when the fixture is used traditionally. I disconnected and taped off the electrical outlet built into the fixture.

Using the remains of the kit is used to hang the vintage light over the dining table, I rewired the fixture so I could plug it into an outlet. (See previous blog entry.) I had plenty of lamp wire with a plug and the on/off switch left from the kit so it was perfect! By notching the lightweight metal base of the fixture, I was able to run the cord through so it would mount flush with the wall. I put two low wattage bulbs in. I love to turn it on when I'm watching a movie - it gives me must enough light to see my way around without creating glare on the tv screen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vintage Dining Light Fixture

I am turning my house into a home that reflects my quirky side. I found this vintage light fixture at a garage sale for $2 - yes, I know I got a steal!  For some reason, the builders placed the box for the light in a really odd spot. The wire and chain were not nearly long enough to center the fixture over the  table. I went down to the local home improvement store where they helped me select a kit to rewire the fixture. I think I spent about $10 for the kit. In about an hour or so, the light was rewired and hanging in my dining area. I so love it!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bike Parking

I have two vintage Schwinn bicycles - one from 1969 and the other from 1976. Currently, I have no garage or shed for storage for them so they have been incorporated into my home decor. Yep, two bikes park in my living room! The other day, I was looking at them and thought I need a way to really make them more like I intend for them to be decorative pieces. The perfect solution - art!

I realized I had a long, narrow picture frame that I'd picked up for less than a dollar at a yard sale. It had a  cardboard backing so I took it out and started working. If it had not had this backing, I would have cut one to fit from a box. I have alphabet cookie cutters that were the perfect size to use as a pattern for the sign. I spaced them out on the cardboard and traced around them. I intentionally varied the spacing and didn't try to  keep them on a straight line. I wanted the appearance that the sign was hand painted.

I painted the letters with white acrylic paint. Again, I did not strive for perfection. So much less stressful this way! After the acrylic paint had dried, I watered down some brown latex paint I had on hand. Using a paper towel, I daubed the watery paint over the entire piece. I used a clean towel to take off some of the paint to ensure a variation of color. After it dried, I decided another coat would be good, so I repeated the process. Once it was completely dry, I slipped it back in the frame and hung it behind the bikes. It's perfect!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mom's Telephone Chair

I've had my mom's telephone stand for some time. When I lived in the antique house it was perfect. We also had corded phones back then! When I moved to a more modern house, the chair when to the attic. Then it was stored in a shed and an unfinished basement. In other words, it didn't look very pretty anymore! I was way too ashamed to take a before picture.

I've been decorating my current house in an eclectic style. And wow, my creativity in working in overdrive! I brought the telephone chair down from the attic and cleaned it up. I gave it a coat of nice, dark brown paint. The table part has separated where two boards had been joined. Although the gap didn't bother me entirely, I knew it could look better.

As my daughter was growing up, we enjoyed jigsaw puzzles. We worked on them together but I must admit, she did the most! I had a small puzzle of a collection of postage stamps that I had picked up at a garage sale for a quarter. I invited my daughter and grandson over and we had a delightful afternoon together assembling the puzzle. Once it was together, we glued it to a piece of poster board. After allowing it to dry thoroughly, I cut it to the size of the table top. It wasn't wide enough to cover the entire top so I centered it and glued it in place. A couple of coats of clear polyurethane will protect it from spills.

I covered the seat area with a nice soft butter yellow fabric and the transformation is complete. I can't wait for Mom to visit and see her once again beautiful telephone chair!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vintage/Retro Unite

What's the difference between vintage and retro? I'm not really sure how the experts define the words but this is my personal interpretation. I consider vintage to be older but not antique. It would come from the 1950 - 70 time period. On the other hand, retro is something that has been made recently in the vintage style. These are the definitions I will use while writing this entry.

I have a very small dining space in my home. I was lucky enough to acquire a vintage table that is the perfect size for the space. It has a pale pink top with random think black lines running through it. The walls throughout the house are a nice happy green color. This table really fits not at all! But I love it and its time to make it work. I already owned some retro chairs that work well with the table. As you can see in the before and after picture below, the seats are a stark white.

I selected a fabric to recover the chairs that had a vintage feel as well as the colors in the room. I left the original black back piece. I found the fabric on clearance at our local Hobby Lobby store and purchased one yard. I highly recommend measuring the seat bottoms before heading out to the store to make sure enough fabric is purchased. For five dollars, a bunch of staples and about an hour of time my chairs have a whole new look! And the dining area looks pulled together.

I am so pleased with the end result! My small house is becoming a home. My eclectic decorating style allows me to explore my creative, artsy style. My projects certainly are great conversation starters for my guests.