Brown paper bags turned into holiday decorations

My sister-in-law is an amazing artist, one of those people who can do everything. She paints. She draws. She throws clay. She crafts. She crochets. She takes inspiring photographs. Even her name screams creative genius – Piper LaRue. Nice, right? So today I’m sharing a few of Piper’s masterpieces with you, specifically her hand-drawn gift bags. Yep, these all started as plain brown paper bags. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away after last Christmas so I trimmed, laminated, and framed them. Voila – handmade holiday decorations.

Santa Elvis

Santa fish

flying Santa

Santa puppet

If you don’t have access to an amazing young artist, you can find fabric and scrapbooking paper these days that’s frame-worthy. I’ve even seen some wrapping papers here that I would gladly hang on my wall. Do you have any “repurposed” holiday decorations? Send me a link, I’d love to see it.


Roadside redo: outdoor flower table

outdoor flower table

I found this filthy little plastic table on the side of the road one morning and decided it needed a makeover. I took it home, cleaned it up, and spray painted it brown spray. Then, since I was going to be using it on my patio, I decided to add a flower to the top. I used a pencil to lightly sketch the shape and filled it in with several coats of acrylic paint. Lastly, I finished it off with a protective clear coat so it would hold up under a summer’s worth of vodka tonics. Ta-da!

Do you have any roadside finds that you’ve transformed into masterpieces?

outdoor table redo

Creative blog discoveries!

I woke up at 5:00 this morning. FOR. NO. REASON. So I decided to enjoy a cup of coffee and some uninterrupted online time where a random Twitter click sent me into a DIY/craft/decorating frenzy. It started here with Kim at Today’s Creative Blog. She highlights a different creative blog every day. I can’t think of a more perfect idea. SUBSCRIBE!

Today's Creative Blog

A few caffeinated clicks around Kim’s site led me to Diane at In My Own Style. She writes about making things beautiful – everything from elegant DIY glass paperweights to outdoor tuna can lanterns.

In My Own Style

Then I took it too far. I clicked into the creative abyss. I visited Kim and Diane’s Pinterest pages. Now my kids are late for camp, my coffee cup is empty (gasp), and I am drooling on my keyboard. Sound like a perfect morning to you, too? Check out the links and get inspired!

Painted rocks

I was clicking through Pinterest the other day and found this.

Inspired Bohemia

Click on the link and you’ll find some incredible art work, all of it on rocks. Personally, my first thought was, “what a cheap way to get the kids out of my house for a whole afternoon.” So I found a couple rocks, dug out a box of acrylic paints, sent the kids outside, and locked the doors. I wasn’t expecting much other than a little peace and quiet. Super-proud-mama-moment when my eight-year-old pounded on the window to show me this.

painted owl rock

How freakin’ cute is he? Seriously, I underestimated the little booger-head. Tomorrow I’m putting her out with a hammer, nails, and some scrap wood. Maybe she’ll build an addition on the house.

DIY Masterpiece Monday: Inexpensive Halloween Decorations Made From Tree Branches

DIY Halloween decorations

Last Halloween I spotted some cute lighted “branch” decorations at Target. They were small and peuny, designed to stake in the ground along the path to your door. They weren’t anything I needed but made me think of an old, spooky forest on Halloween night. That’s all it took to start up my DIY engine.

DIY Halloween decorations DIY Halloween decorations

I went home and cut down some tree branches that needed to be pruned anyway then hit them with a few shots of black spray paint. I had to tie a few together with twist ties to get exactly the shape and size I wanted. Next I wrapped them with a set of orange Halloween lights I had picked up at a garage sale. My light strands weren’t enough to cover every branch so I just made sure to light the shape I wanted to show up in the dark. Then I stuck them in the big flower pots on each side of my garage door (along with the ornamental grass leftover from summer) and plugged them in. Voila.

DIY Halloween decorations

daytime view

DIY Halloween decorations

night view

DIY Masterpiece Monday: Painted Pumpkins

painted pumpkin copy painted pumpkin at door copy

I painted this artificial pumpkin a few years ago and it still makes me smile every October. I’m pretty sure I got the idea from a Better Homes & Gardens Magazine but I can’t remember for sure. The shape (a modified bowling pin) was easy to sketch in pencil then fill in with black acrylic paint from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I used a pencil eraser dipped in white paint for the necklace/collar and a couple coats of yellow for the eyes. Add a few shots of clear acrylic spray to preserve your work and it’s all done. I’ve used it various places over the years but I think my favorite is at the front door under the pot of glowing eyeballs. What creative things have you made using pumpkins?


DIY Masterpiece Monday: Money Bows

I love creative gift wrapping ideas and this is one of my favorites. My daughter received it on a birthday package years ago and I managed to snap a photo before she started spending.

creative gift wrapping

This is the perfect solution for that cousin or nephew that you don’t know very well but still need to buy for. Maybe wrap a box of homemade cookies in plain white paper and top it with one of these “green” bows. It’s more thoughtful than a gift card or check but won’t be re-gifted next season.

Check out for more creative gift wrapping ideas.

DIY Masterpiece Monday: Phone Bench Before & After

This is one of my favorite projects. I bought the piece at a garage sale for $7 even though I had no idea what it was. I just liked it. Later, my aunt told me it was a telephone bench from the days when telephones didn’t fit in our pockets. Continue reading