I like to use what I have to decorate my home, repurpose and upcycle, do diy projects and recipes. I also like to use items I have found at yard sales, garage sales, and thrift stores. Quick and easy projects are my favorite kind.
I have some very easy decorating ideas using natural items you have or may have in your yard or find on a nature walk...
Apples in a pretty bowl or platter with magnolia leaves arranged around them. This would be great for a fall or Christmas centerpiece.
A wicker tray with a candle and apples arranged around the candle.. This would look better with more apples and also with gourds and small pumpkins for fall or even pinecones. I think it would also work with an arrangement of Christmas ornaments.
I really love this... a cute vintage kitty cat planter with small flags inside and a vintage stars and
This is just 4 small glass vases with 1-3 rose buds and black-eyed susan for contrast. I then snipped some leaves from my Japanese maple and tucked them in. I arranged them on little mirror and added a few battery operated votive candles.
I love hydrangeas and my bush is just now producing blooms...in mid-October. I hope they develop before it frosts so that I can pick some to decorate with.
I made a little pizza tonight using a whole wheat flour tortilla as the base and was thinking about all the things you can make with them.
1. Mini pizzas - use tomato sauce, toppings like onion, thinly sliced zucchini, diced tomatoes and peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, mozarella cheese, parmesan cheese, fresh basil, ricotta cheese. You can use any combination of these and others you may have. Bake at 400 degrees until brown and cheese is melted about 10 minutes. I made one with sauce, onion, yellow zucchini, shaved parmesan and fresh basil. These make great appetizers, snacks, light lunch or dinner and could be paired with soup or salad for a heartier meal.
2. Quesadillas - Use leftover chicken, cheese, onion, peppers, salsa, spinach. I really like chicken with spinach and cheese served with salsa on the side. Put tortilla in non stick pan, fill half with fillings of choice, fold, cook on side, flip and cook on other side. Again, these would make great appetizers when cut into bite sized wedges, snacks and dinners paired with soup or salad.
3. Cut into wedges and bake on slightly oiled cookie sheet until brown. Serve with salsa, guacamole or humus.
4. For a dessert - rub lightly with oil or butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, bake until golden and cut into wedges.
5. Another sweet idea - spread lightly with nutella, fold and cook in pan, cut into wedges. You could also add sliced bananas or strawberries before folding.
6. Make wraps - you can spread lightly with cream cheese to make everything hold together better and then add sliced turkey, cheese, lettuce or used packaged slaw mix for great filler. Also great filled with chicken or tuna salad.
7. Sweet snack - Top a baked tortilla with canned apple filling or your own apple filling. Top with some shredded cheddar cheese and bake until filling is warm and cheese is melted. Would also be delicious topped with caramel sauce instead of cheddar cheese.
8. Pinwheels - spread with cream cheese, and then add chopped peppers and onions, roll up and then slice to make pinwheels. You can also add deli meats before rolling up.
9. Breakfast burrito - fill with scrambled egg, bacon or sausage and cheese.
10. Dumplings - I have not tried this but read about it on the Taste of Home blog. Cut in strips and add to dumpling broth. They say the plump up like regular dumplings.
I made this soup tonight with some ingredients I had in my pantry.
Here are the ingredients, more or less:
1/2 large onion, chopped and sauteed in a little oil
Then add the following to the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes:
1 can of chicken
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 can white beans
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
dash of hot pepper flakes
generous squirt of sriracha sauce
Here is a picture of a table that I just painted white. It was a really ugly wood that had water mark stains. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of it before. I really think it turned out well.
I went to the hardware store and found some primer that was not mixed as the customer wanted so it was on sale for about $2. They did not have any paint that I liked the color that was on sale. So, I went to Menard's and found a gallon of antique white in semi-gloss on clearance for only $5. I did some light sanding between coats. I like to use those cheap sponge paint brushes because I think I get smoother coats. I also clean the sponge brushes and reuse them several times.
I just visited a community park and garden in Bloomington, IN called Will Detmer park. I just discovered this wonderful place. It gave me lots of inspiration for gardening...for next year since it is already August.
I would like to grow some beautiful tall sunflowers that just kind of look down on you...
and some sweeping rows of black-eyed susan and coneflowers...
You know these containers and have probably thrown many away. Wait, read what you can do with them.
1. They make great seed starters because they are like mini greenhouses. Punch a few holes in the bottom, add soil and seeds in the container and place in a sunny window and mist with water every day or so. Transplant to a larger pot when they are about an inch or two high.
2. Send home leftovers with guests or adult children. This way you don't mind that you don't get the containers back.
3. Reuse for the obvious - salads or other cold lunches for work. Remember, you cannot microwave these.
4. Keep things organized - crayons, buttons, all those small condiment packages of ketchup, soy sauce, etc., craft supplies. I am sure you can think of a million other things to store in them.
5. Use to mix paint for art and craft projects.
6. Cut them up and use as labels for plants. Write the name of the plant with a permanent marker.
7. Fill with cookies or candy and put a bow on top to give as gifts.
8. Store bulk food items like dried beans and rice that come in bags.
9. Create your own spice rubs and store in the containers.
10. Use in the garage for storing nails, screws, etc.
I made this sort of deconstructed pizza tonight using some left over crusty bread and some cherry tomatoes and zucchini veggies I bought at a farmer's stand Sunday.
There is this place I like to buy homemade chewy bread, and I slice it myself. I usually have the end pieces of the bread left. I used these end pieces to make this recipe also using:
cherry tomatoes, cut in half
I sauteed the veggies just until slightly soft and added salt, pepper and some dried oregano. I topped the bread with a little pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked until cheese was a golden brown.
Then I just laid the vegies on top of the bread. I picked some fresh basil I had growing and added to the dish. It was really good.
I really like cooking with all of the fresh produce this time of year!
I made this Rice with Beans and Chicken recipe tonight with just ingredients I had on hand. I like to cook like this and use up items, clean out the pantry and refrigerator. It was pretty good.
1 cup uncooked brown rice, cooked with about 3 cups of water until tender.
1/2 red onion
1 can of chicken
1 can northern beans
1 cup chopped, frozen spinach
I also used garlic powder, dried oregano, chili powder, some chopped fresh parsley that I grew,
some sarachi sauce and topped with some cheddar cheese.
This recipe could be made with just about anything you have on hand and would be really good with cilantro. Since I did not have any, I used the parsley I had growing instead.
The garage sale season is in high gear. I love to shop these sales because you never know what treasure you might find. Here are some tips on how to look for items at garage, yard, estate sales:
1. Lamps can usually be found pretty cheap. You can paint almost any base. I am currently painting a brass lamp base black. If the shades are not to your liking, you can always add a different shade or even paint the one that comes with the lamp.
2. Don't be afraid to ask. I recently went to a sale and there was a lamp where I did not want the base but really liked the shade. I asked if the owner was willing to sell the shade and not the lamp. She said yes and that she also had a another one she just didn't set out. I got both shades for only $5.00.
3. Don't be afraid to ask if the owners will take a lesser price for an item. Many times they will say yes.
4. If you like the painted furniture look, almost any sturdy wood piece can be painted. If it is stained, you can use a deglosser before painting and it may not require sanding. To save on paint costs, check with your local hardware store to see if they sell "oops" cans of paint that you can get for a discounted price.
5. Think outside the box. Just last weekend, I went to a sale and saw two heavy glass half globes. I was told they were old light covers used at a school gym to protect the light bulbs. I am repurposing them as cloches (bell-shaped glass covers used to protect plants).
6. Think ahead to Christmas. I know this may be really hard to do in the heat of the summer, but Christmas decorations are usually really cheap at garage sales. I recently bought a bag of nice globe ornaments, some with price tags still on them, for only $1.00.
7. Bring measurements for things you are looking for and a measuring tape to measure items with.
8. If you find a picture you like but not the frame or vice versa, keep in mind that frames can be painted or replaced. Likewise, pictures can be removed from the frames and the frames reused with other pictures or mirrors.
9. If you find a wooden chair with a fabric cushion seat where you do not like the fabric, it is usually easy to recover. Check that the cushion can be unscrewed from the bottom. If so, it is simply a matter of wrapping new fabric around the cushion and screwing back on.
10. You can usually get kitchen basics very reasonable at garage sales. Pyrex casserole dishes, glass measuring cups, colanders, pots and pans, mixing bowls, etc. can be found at most sales. Just check that they are in good condition and wash thoroughly when you get them home. You can save a lot of money buying these items at garage sales.