Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I still have some Z Gallerie knock-offs to post, but today, I'm hacking off a hacker that I adore.  I made this solar light jar from THIS tutorial I found at Life in Rehab.
I love it because it during the daylight, it looks like there's water in it!  There's not, but the blue paper background I added sure makes it look like it.  It also helps it look brighter at night.  Wanna see???
 Now I could tell you how Life in Rehab is the first blog I ever "followed", except, I didn't know what a blog was back then, I didn't have a blogger account back then and I didn't know what "follow" meant.  I just had her blog on my favorites list on my computer and pulled it up everyday.  I could tell you how much Sunny makes me laugh, how awesome her blog is and how much I admire her.....but I already did all of that HERE.
I could tell you how I made this awesome jar, but I'm just going to tell you to go check it out on Sunny's blog, Life in RehabYou might find something of hers that you want to knock off as well, after all she does some awesome stuff!  So much so, that I'm knocking her off (or hacking her off if you prefer) here today!
Here is a picture of Sunny's jar that inspired me.  If you click on the link, she'll show you a couple of other examples of solar jars.

I will also tell you that the solar stake lights needed for this project will be going on sale everywhere for $1.50 - $2.00 very quickly now that outdoor and garden season is coming to an end.  You might want to snag some.  
Happy Sunday....it's supposed to be 104 degrees here today.  I'm probably going to be cranky.  I wanted to go to the fair, but there is no way I'm doing that in this crazy heat.   No way.
Linking up to any or all of the fine parties:

Friday, July 27, 2012


Can you guys tell I'm having a blast knockin off Z Gallerie?!  This project was one that I knew I would do as soon as I saw it.  I'm such an ambiance kind of girl, that this light is right up my alley!
 I was inspired by this picture from Z Gallerie that Sunny at Life in Rehab took.
This lamp is called "The Naples Floor Lamp" and it will lighten your wallet by $399.00!!! I loved the look of the straight lines and the bands of shells.  I already had an "uplight" as Christopher Lowell used to call them.  (Does anyone remember him from HGTV, like 15 years ago?) I also had shells. What I needed were some tall wispy looking stick-like things and something to extend the light upwards.  Turns out, the tall wispy looking things are pretty expensive and my budget on this project was $10.00. 
I went to Lowes and picked up seven bamboo stakes for not quite $2 ea. and BAM! just like that I was over my budget already.  I picked up a sheet of plastic for making stencils at Hobby Lobby for $3 and I was ready to knock this lamp off.
After a brief consultation with my mother-in-law Virginia, who has a great eye for scale, I headed to the shop with my father-in-law who cut the bamboo stakes in half for me.
  I'm so thankful that both of my in-laws are very supportive of my crafting and blogging.  (Thanks Charles and Virginia!)
The bamboo was too dark, so I put some white craft paint on them with a sponge brush and then wiped it off with a rag.
 They ended up looking like this:
 The base of my uplight was bright white and I wanted to tone it down a little too.  I have some wall paper books that I got several years ago when a local store went out of business.  (I knew all of those big paper samples would come in handy and they have more than once!)
I found a piece I liked out of this book and using some double stick tape, fastened it around my can.  I cut the opaque stencil making plastic to fit on the top ring of the can.  It already had some little clips in it so I just stapled my plastic together and then slipped it into the clips.

Then I was ready to put the bamboo sticks on.  I didn't want to glue them because you know I like to dismantle my projects when I get tired of them so I used a couple of large zip ties from my shed.
Of course, zip ties are not very pretty, so I covered them with jute using my favorite Tacky Glue.
 All I had left to do was glue the little shells that were left over from this project (I found a shell necklace for $1 at a thrift store) onto the jute.
 So this little Z Gallerie knock-off came in at about $16.00, which is a little on the high end for most of the projects I make, but considering the original was $399.00, I'm OK with that!  
 Mine is not as tall and doesn't have as many pieces of bamboo around it, but it looks awesome and glowy in the dark.....
 It doesn't look bad out on my deck either....
I'm not quite done with these Z Gallerie Knock-off's just yet, so stay tuned.  At the end, I plan to hack-off a hacker!  Doesn't that sound like fun?  (Are you good with that Sunny?)

  Linking up to any or all of these fine parties:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beach Tree Glitz

This may be my favorite beachy project of all for the Great Glitzy Craft Off.....
Getting a good picture of something so silvery and shimmery, well that's a little difficult.
Z Galleries tree that inspired me was much, much bigger....
Yeah......I don't have the space for something as spectacular and showy as that, so I made mine in a table-top size.  (Although I have a sneaking suspicion that my friend Sunny at Life in Rehab is going to do a full blown version of this....which would be awesome!)
When I was in Arizona, my friend Judy made me buy not one but two of these silly little Easter Trees from the Dollar Tree. 
They were in ugly green pots.  They had ugly green aquarium gravel glued to the inside of the pot.  They had ugly wire branches wrapped in ugly white paper.  They were just awful. (I let her talk me into some crazy stuff sometimes because she is a visionary, and my best friend.)  But....despite all of their awfulness...it was the Dollar Tree after all, they were only $1 each.   She made something awesome with hers that I will be showing you one of these days,but mine just sat in a cabinet in my craft room looking ugly....right up until last week.
I got out my can of silver spray paint, spread those branches out and sprayed it all silver.
Better all ready don't ya think?  I cut up a shell necklace that I picked up from the thrift store...another dollar well spent....and since it was a necklace, there was a little hole in each shell already, so I just poked them on some of the branches randomly, along with some of those beachy blue beads that I love.  I covered up that ugly aquarium gravel at the base with the rest of the shells from the necklace and this Z Gallerie knock off project was done!
Besides the fact that this little knock-off came in at under $5, pretty much everything on it is removable, so when I'm tired of it, I can dismantle it and put it away. (Since it's silver, you may or may not be seeing this again at Christmas time rockin' some new jewelry!)
Oh...and one more thing....I may have lied.....the project that I'm posting tomorrow may be my favorite Z Gallerie knock-off yet!

Linking Up to any or all of these fine parties:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I always love Wednesdays when I get to share a blogger I admire with you!  If you don't already know Kirby and her blog Kirb Appeal, you are in for some fun surprises!
I choose the people and blogs I showcase here for various reasons and I'll tell you right up front, I love Kirb Appeal for its content!  Whether it's the shock of whatever the latest crazy thing that happened when she bought her house, "Brandywine", or an extremely funny video of her dancing, I'm telling you, I wouldn't miss a post from Kirby if I could help it!  
If you're looking for a blog full of "cuteness overload" this is not the blog for you.  If you're looking for a down-to-earth, tell it like it is, no holds barred blog with "humor overload", Kirby's your girl!
Here are Kirby's favorite 3 posts she'd like you to see and then I'll show you a few of my favorites.

 If you want to know what a teacher really wants for a teacher gift...read this post.  Yep...Kirby's a teacher, or as she says a Middle School Motivator!  Even if you don't want to know what a teacher wants, read it...it's funny!

 Kirby does a fabulous desk makeover here!

This is a recipe you may not want to try, but you may want to read about it anyway!

Now if those links weren't enough to keep you laughing this morning, here are a few of my favorites:

I love reading about Kirby's house.  Just when you think it's as crazy as it can get...you find out the previous owners took the floor with them when they moved out!  Seriously....and that's not the half of it!!

Warning, Will Robinson!
This is an awesome and short video.  It's the first time I ever saw Kirby and yet I followed her anyway!  I didn't post the video, but you can click on the link and see it from Kirby's blog.  I love it because it shows  how funny and crazy Kirby can be! 

How to Act British In Five Easy Steps:
Kirby's going to get you all prepped just in time for the upcoming Olympics!

So I have done all I can to introduce you to Kirby and Kirb Appeal. (I seriously considered keeping her all to myself, but that would be so selfish of me and lucky for you...that is not my mood today!)  If you don't go check her out it is definitely your loss.

Kirby, thank you for letting me feature you here today.  You make me laugh as well as inspire me to put more of me into my blog and for that I thank you, admire you and respect you!
(Please feel free to use your red pen to make any necessary grammar or punctuation corrections....I know there are many!)

Kirb Appeal......go there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


We are still having extreme heat here in Missouri and I'm still dreaming of the beach!  I'm posting my 3rd project for the Great Glitzy Hack-Off/Craft-Off which is a Z Gallerie Knock-Off Showdown hosted by Life in Rehab and three bed semi going on all this week.  Go check it out...better yet...get in on the fun!  I made a little centerpiece for my table:

Here's the Z Gallerie shell that inspired me:
I have to say first, that I was so frustrated that I couldn't find a clam shell.  It was just making me crazy.  I would have settled for a ceramic clam shell dish.  What I wouldn't do was pay $59.95 for the small one or $129.95 for the large one at Z Gallerie.  I searched every thrift store I could find and last Friday must have been my lucky day because I found the clam shell for 87 cents!!!  That's right...87 cents and it was on a table by the front door that I had walked through previously that week 3 times.  The lady said she had just put it out that morning.  Meant to be!  
Now obviously Z Gallerie's Clam Shell was cool enough to catch my eye, but I honestly thought it was a little drab.  I mean this is a "Glitzy" knock off after all.  I added a star fish, a piece of coral that I got when I was in Acapulco, a little sea horse charm, a glass bead that has that beachy blue color I'm loving these days and last, but certainly not least a few little opal-ish beads that look just like bubbles to me and I love them.
So there ya go....stay tuned because I have a few more knock-offs up my sleeve this week.  I'm saving the best for last!

Linking up to any or all of these great parties:
It Pays To Be Cheap

Monday, July 23, 2012

Inspiration Cafe #8 - Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - Alaskan Style!

Greetings from Alaska! 

Welcome to another edition of 
Inspiration Cafe!

It's me again, Mary, from Sweet Little Bluebird...

 I'm in Anchorage visiting my sister's family. 
She is busy wife and mom to five very active, hungry boys!

My sister's favorite place to be is the kitchen.   
She is easily the best baker and cook I know!
Whenever you visit, you NEVER go hungry.
Her home runs like a Bed & Breakfast! 

While I'm here visiting, I thought I'd take advantage and 
share something she whipped up in the kitchen.

Today I'm featuring her famous 
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! 

Before I get to the recipe, 
I wanted to share my sister's kitchen remodel done last year...
(They did not DIY)



This is such a fun kitchen to cook in!

Okay, back to the Pie...

My sister has rhubarb in her garden she picked to make the pie.  
I don't know much about rhubarb, 
but I have never seen rhubarb this HUGE in my life! 

As you can see from the photos above, things grow BIG in Alaska!
There was so much rhubarb, my sister made two pies with tons to spare!

On with the recipe...for ONE pie.

You'll want to start with the crust first.

9 Inch Pie Crust (two crust pie recipe)
Ingredients (Our grandma's recipe, perfect crust every time!)
2 C Flour
1 tsp Salt
2/3 C Shortening
6 tbsp of Ice water (very important)

Mix flour, salt and shortening with two knives, cutting into the dough until it resembles small peas/crumbs.  Add the ice water and mix gently until dough is formed.  Divide into two equal balls.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.  Roll out crusts on floured surface. 

(Once your crust is ready, set aside and start to make your pie filling)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 
(Adapted recipe from Joy of Cooking - 1997 edition)
2 1/2 C Strawberries, sliced
2 1/2 C Rhubarb, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 C Sugar, plus extra tsp. to decorate crust
Zest of one orange
1/4 C Quick-cooking tapioca
Dash of Salt
1 - 2 tbsp Butter (use real butter)

*For Rhubarb Pie, replace the strawberries with 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Mix the first six ingredients in bowl.  Set aside for 15 minutes. Line the pie plate with the bottom crust and fill with the rhubarb mixture.  Slice the butter and dot the pie mixture (see picture below).  Cover with top crust, fold and pinch seams together.  Brush crust lightly with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Cut at least four slits into top of pie to vent while baking.    

Bake at 425F for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F for an additional 30-35 minutes.  Be sure to place a cookie sheet or foil on the rack beneath the pie, the juices will likely bubble over!

Remove and cool. This pie is best served warm with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream!

This was my youngest's first time ever having rhubarb... 
She loved it so much, she had second slice!

Thanks for much for stopping by Inspiration Cafe!

Be sure to stop by next Monday!