Jazzing Up A Wire Basket

I had picked up a wire basket with a burlap lining to give me some extra storage in the dining room. I loved the rustic feel of the wire basket but felt it was a little blah.

Wire Basket - Before

In order to give the basket a little pizazz I decided to stencil a design on it. I used a Martha Stewart stencil and craft paint I already had in my stash of craft supplies. I secured the stencil to the burlap using blue painters tape and put a piece of cardboard behind the burlap lining to prevent the paint from bleeding through the burlap.

Stenciling Burlap

Stenciled Burlap

The stencil was applied to all 4 sides of the burlap lining, but I waited for the paint to dry to the touch before moving on to the next side in order to prevent the paint from smearing. As soon as it dried, it was ready to go back up on top of the dining room hutch to provide some much needed additional storage.

Wire Basket - After


A Day at Natirar

I stopped by Natirar, which is a local estate here in the Somerset Hills of New Jersey. On the day I visited, the grounds were set up to host a wine tasting festival. It is now a county park but was at one time owned by the King of Morocco. Oddly enough I never ran into His Majesty at the local grocery store.

A Bridge over the Raritan River

A Bridge over the Raritan River

The Mansion with Festival Tents in the Foreground

The Mansion with Festival Tents in the Foreground

A Waterfall

Mini Waterfall

A Barn

A Barn



Hay in the Barn

Hay in the Barn

Closeup of Wildflowers

Wildflowers up Close


Vegetable Themed Wreath

Today’s project is from a number of years ago, hence the one not so great quality picture. I guess it could be considered my Throwback Thursday craft project.

I wanted vegetable themed decor in my very first kitchen. I wasn’t a big vegetable eater so I figured it was the only way there would ever be veggies in that kitchen since I wasn’t buying them at the grocery store. I’ve got a thing for wreaths so I decided to make a veggie themed wreath. I started with a straw wreath and hot glued some craft moss to the wreath. Next I hot glued some miniature vegetables I picked up from the craft store onto the moss covered wreath. And there you have it…the only vegetables that were ever in that kitchen!

Veggie Wreath

Veggie Wreath

Picture Frame Makeover Surprise

I recently got certified as a Pilates Mat teacher. After all that hard work I wanted to frame the certificate I received, so it was time for another craft project. All of the unused frames I had on hand were oak or painted white, neither which would work in my office. A quick look through my craft cabinet revealed a sample size of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite and I knew I’d be able to turn the oak frame into something that worked. What I love about the ASCP paint is you don’t have to pre-sand the wood before painting, you just go right over whatever finish is already on the piece. I painted the frame with the ASCP and after it dried used Annie Sloan Clear Wax on top of it.

Painted Frame

Frame painted in ASCP Graphite

I wanted to give the frame a slightly distressed look so I got out some fine grit sandpaper to rough up the edges of the frame. Here is where I got a small surprise. It turns out the oak frames weren’t actually oak but were some sort of composite material that looked like oak. What this meant was when I was sanding the paint almost peeled or chipped off which wasn’t what I was expecting. At first I was annoyed but then realized I actually liked how the distressing was turning out, so I went with it. Yes, sometimes the best things in life are a surprise!

Painted and Distressed Frame

Painted and Distressed Frame

Close Up of the Frame

Close Up of the Frame

I put a little more wax on just to give the piece a final buffing and popped the certificate in the frame and voila…it was done.

Ready to Hang

Ready to Hang

Jar Candle Upcycle

I burn a lot of jar candles and have always just put the empty glass jars out with the rest of my recycling when I had finished with the candles. Lately I’ve been saving the jars thinking I could find a use for them around the house.

A few months ago I switched to using daily contact lenses and needed to find a way to store them in my bathroom in a way that allowed me to get to them easily each morning but also looked nice. The candle jars were a perfect size but I didn’t want to see the contact lens packets through the clear glass jar so I had to get crafty.

Empty Candle  Jar

All that is needed for this project is a roll of twine, a brush, Mod Podge and an empty jar. Starting at the top of the jar, simply brush the Mod Podge onto the jar and start unrolling the twine. I found brushing the glue around the jar in 1 inch increments worked well and allowed me to wrap the twine around a section of the jar before the glue dried up. Then I’d just repeat brushing on the glue and wrapping the jar in twine until I reached the bottom of the jar.

Mod Podge and Twine

I reinforced the two rows of twine at the top and the bottom of the jar by putting some extra Mod Podge on top of the twine. This will ensure the twine doesn’t start to unravel from the jar.

Reinforcing the Twine

Fully wrapped jar

Once it dried, I was pretty pleased with my little project, but felt it needed something extra. Since these particular jar candles had flat wood tops, I went ahead and stenciled the letters ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the top of the tops. One jar would hold the contacts for my left eye and the other would hold the contacts for my right eye. (Yes, I’m anal retentive!) For this part of the project I just used some letter stencils and some black craft paint, both of which I already had at home.

Stenciling items


Here’s the completed project sitting on my bathroom counter, entirely created with items I already had on hand. It cost me nothing except a little time!

Contact Lens Storage

Gettysburg National Cemetery

This is second of my 2 Gettysburg posts, focusing on the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the final resting place of over 3,500 Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. It is also where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the cemetery in November 1863.


Grave markers of unidentified soldiers.

Unknown Grave Markers

Unknown Grave Marker 407

New Jersey Grave Marker

Soldiers' National Monument

Soldiers’ National Monument

Cemetery Monument

New York State Monument

Gettysburg Battlefield 150th Anniversary

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, widely considered the turning point of the Civil War. At this battle Union forces defeated attacks by Confederate forces, ending General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North. Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg for the very first time.

The battlefield is filled with memorials to the various units that participated in this 3 day battle.

Pennsylvania Infantry marker

Pennsylvania Infantry Statue

Battlefield marker

Out of Many...One

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

View of the Battlefield from Seminary Ridge

View of the Battlefield from Seminary Ridge

View of Battlefield with cannon

The Virginia Memorial along Seminary Ridge is the sight of the last Confederate assault on July 3rd, known as “Pickett’s Charge”.  On top of the memorial is a statue of General Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveller.

Virginia Memorial

Statue of General Lee atop the Virginia Memorial

Battlefield from the Virginia Memorial

Site of Pickett's Charge

Civil War enthusiasts re-enacting part of the battle.

Battlefield Re-enactors

The observation tower allows for a birds eye view of the battlefield, specifically The Wheatfield, The Peach Orchard and Plum Run.

Observation Tower

View of Battlefield from the Observation Tower

Dial at top of Observation Tower

Looking Down the Stairs

The view from atop Little Round Top, site of an unsuccessful assault by the Confederate forces against Union forces.

Memorial atop Little Round Top

Battlefield from Little Round Top

Looking out a Memorial on Little Round Top

The 1st New Jersey Brigade Memorial.

First New Jersey Brigade Memorial

New Jersey Brigade

The Pennsylvania Memorial along Cemetery Ridge. It is the battlefield’s largest memorial.

Pennsylvania Memorial

Abraham Lincoln on the Pennsylvania Memorial

The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Memorial at the High Water Mark, the farthest point reached by the Confederacy. It is where Union soldiers repelled “Pickett’s Charge”.

High Water Mark Statue

The View From the High Water Mark

Red Solo Cup Art

This is a craft project from a few years ago when I first moved into my new house. The house has a large wall in the stairwell that needed a large piece of art. The problem with a large piece of art is it’s usually pretty expensive and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, especially when I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted.

Art on the Wall

Art on the Wall

I decided to make use of 4 blank canvases and some old paint I had lying around from prior projects. Two canvases were painted green and 2 were painted brown. After they dried they were placed right next to each other on the table. Now it was time to get creative with 3 additional colors of paint and 3 Red Solo Cups.

Red Solo Cup Art

Painting the Canvases

I painted the rim of each cup with a different shade of green, brown and beige and used each cup to ‘stamp’ circles on the canvas. I kept loading up the paint on the cup with a foam brush and continued with each color paint until I got a pattern I was happy with. I made sure to stamp the circles so they spanned more than one canvas so the design would line up when the canvases hung on the wall.

Red Solo Cup Canvas Close Up

One of the brown canvases

After the paint dried the canvases were hung on the wall in the stairwell with Command Strips. I chose to hang them spaced slightly apart so that the art would appear bigger on the wall. What I like about this project is it cost nothing because it was done with items I already had at home and that it can be done in any combination of colors to match your taste.

Hanging in the Stairwell

Hanging in the Stairwell