Monday, June 24, 2013

June In the Garden - What's Blooming

The Mountain Laurels are In Bloom

This post is for my friend, who I'll call Rev, a Georgia girl living in Paris, France.  I know she gets homesick and who can blame her when the Mountain Laurels are in bloom here in the Blue Ridge mountains it's a beautiful sight!  The pollen has been so bad this year you can see the build up on the leaves.

The buds are as interesting as the flowers are beautiful.

In white.

Beginning to open.  In pink.

In full bloom!

Bumble bee feeding.

I think this is a yellow jacket perched on the leaf  to the right.
He waited in "line" until the bee was finished with the blossom.

It's interesting to see so many different species of nature's pollinators at work.

Elsewhere around the property the day lilies are beginning to open (the ones which haven't been eaten by the deer). The fern beds are full and the snails are everywhere.

In this garden post I stayed small with close ups.  The next garden post will be the bigger picture.  Rev, a little bit of Georgia for you!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Keep Summer Cool - Crafts - 60 Minute DIY Craft Project

Super Easy 60 Minute Summer Table Decoration Craft Project

I'm saying a BIG HELLO to summer with this super easy and fun craft project decorating pillar candles with starfish.  Looking for a poolside, crab boil picnic or beach wedding table decoration ideas?  This adult craft idea makes an upscale table decoration for evening poolside dinning or as a beach wedding table decor.  I confess when I found these dead stock starfish my mind couldn't help but think of all the cool craft projects for them.  This is a simple and softly sophisticated use of dried natural starfish which are available in my shop.

Let's get started!

What You'll Need:

  1. Candle or candles.
  2. Starfish.  I used my smallest starfish which measure 1" to 1 1/2".
  3. Glue Gun
  4. Multi Temp Glue Sticks
  5. Loctite Fun-Tak
  6. Pencil with eraser end. (not pictured)

Step One:  Creating a Design

Take a two to three inch strip of the Loctite mounting putty and roll it into a thin round rope form.  Remove bits and roll into tiny balls.

Apply the tiny balls to the center of the starfish and create a pattern on your candle.  The advantage of the Loctite is if you don't like your design you can move the starfish around until it's just the way you want it.

Plug in your glue gun and insert a glue stick a couple minutes before you are ready to glue so it has a chance to preheat.

Step Two:  Attaching the Starfish

One by one, remove a starfish from the candle so you can easily glue it back in place and keep your lovely design.

Remove the Loctite Fun-Tak from the starfish and place a tiny amount of hot glue to the center of the starfish.  Allow it to cool just for a moment and carefully pick up the starfish by the legs and place it on the candle pressing the center with the eraser end of a pencil to avoid burning your fingers.

Repeat until all your starfish are attached to the candle.  Note:  This is an adult craft project because it requires the use of a glue gun.  Take extreme care when applying the molten glue to the starfish and applying it to the candle.

That's it!

Table Decoration Ideas:

Whether you are creating one candle for the perfect poolside romantic dinner, several for a casual outdoor seafood feast or a beach themed casual outdoor wedding reception these fun table decoration ideas will make entertaining fun and a snap.

  • Use rolls of brown craft or shipping paper to line your picnic table instead of using linens.
  • Use the Loctite Fun-Tak to secure the paper to your table on the corners so the wind doesn't blow your table covering away!
  • Create a base for your candles with sand which you can nestle your candles into.  This also is a safety precaution if a candle tips the sand will keep the hot wax of your table.
  • Use candles of different sizes to add dimension and interest.
  • If you have them use glass hurricane covers for your candles.
  • Use a galvanized bucket(s) spray painted white or light blue as wine or champagne coolers.
  • Keep it simple by using raffia to tie paper napkins rolled up with plastic utensils presented in a natural basket for large groups.  Especially good because they can be prepared way ahead of the party.
  • Use economical paper plates with natural wicker paper plate holders.
  • Use plastic champagne glasses to serve individual shrimp cocktails with the sauce in the bowl of the glass, a wedge of lemon and beautiful pink shrimp hanging on the rims.  These are not only fun, but give a nice  pop of color!
  • For a more intimate dinner, us vintage melamine plastic ware in place of paper plates.  Think soft colors; white, robin's egg blue, jade or sea-foam green will carry the beach theme.
  • For the Fourth of July - use a mix of vintage red white and blue melamine serveware.  Such as was manufactured by Dansk Designs.
Dress your table with this fun and easy project.

When your special event is done - these candles won't go to waste!  Use them around the house, on your porch or in the bath to bring a little summer nature into your home decor!

If you want more information to purchase starfish please use these links.  I have starfish available in two sizes tiny and small:

Starfish - Natural Bay - Tiny - 24 Count
Tiny 1" to 1 1/2" Starfish

Starfish - Dried Natural Bay Starfish - 24 Count
Small 1 1/2" to 2" Starfish

I hope this project has inspired you to get creative and have fun entertaining and being crafty this summer!

Cheers!  Deb @ TheInspiredTrader

You can find me on Google+ here!
Facebook: TheInspiredTrader on Facebook

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Finds and Features

Ecologically Friendly  Sea Shell, Starfish and Ocean Specimen Collecting for your Home Decor
Starfish - Dried Natural Bay Starfish - 24 Count

Walking the beach and shell collecting is a fun and family friendly way to while a morning away when on an ocean side vacation or if you are lucky enough to live close to the beach.  But you have to get up early to beat the die hard beach combers for the best shell specimens.  Don't forget to take a little beach bag to carry along for your treasures.  

Worn and sea tossed shells are beautiful in a little bowl or small basket and will make you smile each time you lay eyes on them and remember shell hunting.  Collections of shells displayed in watery blue Mason Jars along with larger specimen make a visually interesting display.  We have such a connection to the ocean seashell and ocean specimen displays almost immediately put you into relax mode when you want to decompress from a long day.  What to do if you don't live close to the beach and want to include seashells and beach decor in your home?  Shop online!

Seashell Decor - Summer Finds:

TheInspiredTrader was featured on the Steal the Look:  A Watery Blue Bath with Shells, Starfish and Sand Dollars a Beach and Nautical Decor post on the REMODELISTA web site which included a link to our vintage Starfish for sale on Etsy!  This beach bathroom is superlative!
Steal This Look: A Watery Blue Bath, Seashells Included by Alexa Hotz

Summer is almost here and we know beach cottage and nautical home decor is a nice way to bring nature into your home.  So seeing our listing for vintage natural dried starfish featured on the home decor and interior design web site REMODELISTA ; not only excited about us about the feature but also that it highlighted the important consideration that vintage and estate sea shells and specimens are recognized as a eco-friendly way to collect.  By shopping and purchasing vintage dead stock and estate specimens for your collection and beach cottage home decor you help ensure the environment isn't further harmed.

Featured - Natural Dried Starfish, Coral and Sea Shells

24 Natural Dried Starfish by TheInspiredTrader on Etsy
24 Natural Dried Starfish by TheInspiredTrader on Etsy

Decorating with seashells?  Wondering where to buy seashells?  Shop these seashells on Etsy!
Large 10 Inch Natural Spiny Conch Shell No. 3
Large 10 Inch Natural Spiny Conch Shell No. 3 by LakesideCottage on Etsy

Vintage Natural Nautilus Sea Shell
Vintage Natural Nautilus Sea Shell by SouthernBellaVintage on Etsy

It's feels good to know you can collect quality specimens and stay green!  Look for more summer inspired beach decor and DIY's to come!