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easy plastic bottle vase

August 12, 2014

diy plastic flower vase pleasure in simple things

Did you ever need a large quantity of centerpieces for your outdoor party tables? An easy DIY is to create vases from plastic bottles and add a few garden or meadow flowers!

The only materials you need are some bottles from your recycling bin…they don’t even need to match…some flowers or greens, and some leftover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and wax.

diy plastic flower vase pleasure in simple things

Flowers are great to add to any occasion…or, even to no occasion at all!  My choice for vases gets a little more casual when I entertain outdoors, because I don’t like the thought of breaking any of my favorites at an outdoor party. So, when the entertaining gets more relaxed, so do the vases.

I like using old tea tins or oatmeal tins for flowers when entertaining outdoors, but sometimes rummaging through the recycling bin can be inspiration for a DIY vase!

diy upcycled flower vase pleasure in simple things

A plastic bottle can easily be upgraded to a fun flower vase to use for flower centerpieces at an outdoor party…no worries about breakage and so easy to make up large quantities!

upscale plastic bottle vase pleasure in simple things

I like the leaf detail imprinted in the plastic on this plastic tea bottle and I happened to have a case of empty ones in my recycling bin…perfect for my project!

Queen Anne's Lace in a diy vase pleasure in simple things

I simply painted the bottles with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint! One of the great things about this paint is that you can virtually cover any surface! I added a coat of clear wax to protect it and it is good to go! Because I wanted my pattern to stand out, I did add a little dark wax in the patterned areas of the plastic. The amount of materials for one vase is very minimal. If you don’t have leftover paint, you can purchase a small sample size and have plenty to create some vases!

easy diy flower vase from a plastic bottle pleasure in simple things

Not bad for a plastic throwaway, right?! And, no worries about it breaking. I just added some wildflowers that were growing as ‘weeds’ and tied a piece of twine on the neck of the bottle and my centerpieces are complete! Fresh herbs are also a great option in place of flowers…there is so much mint, basil, and parsley in the garden at this time of year and they all make a great (and fragrant) addition to a vase.

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal, Coastal Charm, and Crafts a la Mode.

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mystic chair (before & after)

July 26, 2014

ASCP Mystic Chair pleasure in simple things

I love summer nights. The long hours of sunlight make for perfect project weather! The best is furniture painting…enjoying the beautiful outdoors while revamping a piece of furniture is just so satisfying!

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing one of my recent projects.

This piece took a lot of TLC, but the result was definitely worth all the efforts…don’t you agree?

Mystic Chair pleasure in simple things ASCP

Continuing my practice of naming furniture pieces after New England coastal towns, I am calling this chair Mystic. Isn’t she beautiful?

Mystic Chair pleasure  in simple things

I did more distressing on this piece than I normally would, but I had a vision…I really wanted alot of gray to peek through the top layer of white. I think it worked out beautifully.

After photo Mystic chair redo pleasure in simple things
Mystic chair ASCP redo after photo pleasure in simple things

This chair had been in a garage for a long time and was covered with dust and cobwebs. The cutout detail on the chair back really intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get going on a transformation! I started by giving her a good cleaning, removing all the seating, and replacing some wood plugs. I purchased all new seat materials, including a great fabric, and created a pretty new and comfy seat.

After photo ASCP Mystic chair pleasure in simple things

I first painted the chair frame (in very random brush strokes) using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey, and then with a thin coat of Old White. I used a clear coat of wax before distressing and finished with a coat of clear wax and a 50/50 mix of clear and dark wax.

Pleasure in simple things Mystic chair redo fabric

Mystic is complete!

Mystic chair redo after photo ASCP

I hope, you too, are enjoying the beautiful summer nights. Have a wonderful weekend.

Pleasure in simple things Mystic chair redo
And, remember to take pleasure in simple things…like watching fireflies on a warm summer night!

Thanks for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies.


diy bird nest garden stakes

June 24, 2014

diy bird nest stakes pleasure in simple things

Sometimes the easiest project can bring the most pleasure!  I adore these bird nest garden stakes and they are so easy to make!

Garden stakes can definitely be an art form and I love collecting beautiful or unique designs to add some personality to my garden.  Today, I am sharing a super easy one you can make yourself and it is sure to cheer up any garden or potted plant!

diy garden stakes pleasure in simple things

Inspired by one I saw at the Brimfield Fair this year, this DIY garden stake just requires a cast-off  branch from your yard and a couple of mini bird nests attached to it with twine.  You may decide to use more or less bird nests depending on the size/shape of the branch you choose.  The tiny birds’ nests are easy to find in a dollar store or craft store – usually sold in multiples in a plastic bag.

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things


diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

After making some for your own garden, make up a bunch and use them in pots when you give plants for gifts.  These cute bird nest stakes would also be wonderful in centerpieces for a garden party or outdoor bridal luncheon (a little slip of paper – like a fortune in a fortune cookie – in a single nest can be a table number…or, if the branch has two nests; one nest can hold the future bride’s name and the other nest can hold the future groom’s name)

diy bird nest garden stakes pleasure in simple things

I know, I know…they are missing some little eggs!  They really need some!  None of the real little eggs I have were small enough…I may need to make some!

easy bird nest garden stakes

Happy gardening!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies and Crafts a la Mode.

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country living magazine fair 2014

June 13, 2014

country living fair 2014 pleasure in simple things

With picture perfect weather and inspiration around every corner, The 2014 Country Living Magazine Fair in Rhinebeck, NY was awesome!

Birdhouse pleasure in simple things

Visiting Rhinebeck, NY is always great…getting together with good friends is the best, but in the beautiful surroundings of Rhinebeck, this feeling is intensified.  My last trip to Rhinebeck (to my friend’s awesome woodland retreat) also included a special treat – The Country Living Magazine Fair!

country living house of the year 2014

Visiting the 2014 Country Living Magazine House of the Year was awesome! Here are some photos of the outside…check out the September 2014 issue for more photos of all the decor!

The beauty of this three day event is that each visitor has a unique experience.  No two people are inspired in the same way or by the same things.  What can visitors experience at this fair on the lovely Dutchess County Fairgrounds?  Tons of vendors, craft and decorating demonstrations, lectures, celebrity meetings, samplings, book signings, and a visit to the 2014 Country Living House of the Year!  (Not to mention, plenty of clean bathrooms, a great food court with lots of seating and free parking!)

country living magazine fair 2014

It is a busy few weeks for me with very few free moments, but I had to share some photos from the fair on Friday field trip this week – a small sampling of my personal experience…enjoy a glimpse of The Country Living Fair 2014 through my eyes!  If you went to the fair, I would love to hear about your favorites!

Country Living Fair 2014

The beach themed fairy garden really caught my eye…and, aren’t the toolboxes adorable for Father’s Day?!

Jan Blough pleasure in simple things

The silhouettes by Jan Blough were one of my favorites…especially the garden themed designs!

whale painted rock pleasure in simple things

The Beekman Boys (I am a huge fan!) were my favorite of the many fun people to meet at the Country Living Magazine Fair 2014.

pleasure in simple things Beekman Boys

The photo below shows a few of the many demonstrations offered during the three days at The Country Living Magazine Fair 2014. Michael Devine, author of Flowers by Design creates a vegetable topiary, Libbie Summers offers 15 Fun & Festive cake decorating ideas (like this PEZ covered cake), and Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s Cash & Cari offers painting and repurposing tips.

demonstrations at the Country Living Magazine Fair2014

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend…I have an exciting one planned!!

Rachel Hardage Barrett

Country Living Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Rachel Hardage Barrett.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Little Red House and Coastal Charm.


7 ways to use spring blooms

June 3, 2014

flower petals as garnish pleasure in simple things

Here in Connecticut, we had a loooooong winter and spring was very hesitant in getting started.  As a result, gardens were a little behind in blooming this year…the usual ‘planting on Mother’s Day’ was stalled big time!  So, when the spring blooms finally started to emerge, it created a sense of celebration like no other year I can remember!

Today, I am sharing my appreciation for the first blooms of the season.  Because, after all, the best part of gardening is appreciating the results!

Here are seven ways I used the first of my garden flowers.

As a garnish.

Pansies are a pretty garnish for a dessert.  I press petals from organic pansies overnight in a book and then wet them with water and add sugar.  (I  know egg whites are usually used for this, but they scare me a little, and I can usually get the sugar to adhere with just water.)

 To make a pretty ice cube.

flower petals in ice cubes pleasure in simple things

flower petals in ice cubes pleasure in simple things

I have always loved adding unexpected items to ice cubes…here, I added flower petals.  They look so pretty at a garden party, bridal shower, or brunch.  I am careful to use flowers that are safe and edible.

 Add to a placesetting.

flowers in a place setting pleasure in simple things

flowers in a place setting pleasure in simple things

What better way to add some springtime to a place setting than to adorn napkins with a bloom from the garden?  Even a tiny garden can spare a few stems for a spring table.

Give to a friend.

flowers to give away

Sharing flowers from the garden is always fun.  I had a neighbor that recently moved into a retirement facility.  I decided to grab some of the lilacs off the bush that bordered her yard when I last went to visit, intending to put them in one of her vases when I got there.  I casually wrapped them in some old sheet music to transport them, knowing the nostalgia would make her smile when she received them.  .

 Bring the garden indoors.

flowers around the house pleasure in simple things

flowers in the house pleasure in simple things

Arguably, the best way to use flowers from the garden is to put small vases everywhere in the house.  A taste of the garden in every room is a great way to experience the season.  Just a sprig or two of a bloom can add beauty and a scent to any corner!

Create an arrangement.

spring flowers in an arrangement pleasure in simple things

Creating an arrangement is a big statement in using garden flowers.  This was a quick and casual arrangement I put together with garden flowers and a clearance vase from Anthropologie for the refreshment table at a monthly garden club meeting…a great way to share my spring garden with friends who love flowers!

As an ingredient.

using spring herbs in the kitchen pleasure in simple things

Not exactly a flower, but the herbs from the garden have already been in use.  I have already made one dessert from some of the mint and, the basil has been utilized for appetizers as well as used as a garnish many times.

What are some ways you used your first flowers of the season?

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal.

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interest to plantings with diy teepees

May 16, 2014

pleasure in simple things diy garden teepees

Garden ‘teepees’ are a quick and easy way to add some great visual interested to your plantings.

pleasure in simple things garden teepee

For Friday field trip today, I am visiting with my friend Phyllis (thanks Phyllis!) to demonstrate this easy tutorial.

You may remember Phyllis from when I hijacked her magnificent yard for a charity garden tour or, from when I shared a terrarium making session at her home.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

Today, we are creating garden teepees to add to outdoor pots.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

To create the teepees, simply arrange branches in a teepee shape, holding them in place, while pushing into the soil.  Attach the top of the branches together using a small piece of green floral wire.  Place a piece of moss over the green wire and attach it using another small length of the wire.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

*Moss can be purchased at a garden store and is preferred over the moss found in the yard or the forest to avoid undiscovered insect eggs, etc.

pleasure in simple things pussy willow garden teepees

pleasure in simple things making garden teepees

Looks like we have some ‘students’ interested in our tutorial from the other side of the screen door!


A garden teepee is such a great way to add some visual interest to plantings with very little effort and minimal supplies!

Have fun with it!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Crafts a la Mode, and Mona’s Picturesque.


april showers bring may flowers

May 2, 2014

White's Flower Farm

Who visits a flower nursery on a cold and rainy day?  Apparently, I do!

pansies in the rain

Although I usually plan my visits for the summertime, I recently decided to make a trip to White Flower Farm on an April day.

garden wagons

I expected a different seasonal view, but certainly did not expect a day that turned out so cold that I dreamed of wearing mittens!

White's Flower Farm

You, my friends, are a wee bit luckier than I; since you can visit White Flower Farm from the comfort of your own home on today’s Friday field trip…no mittens required!

flower collage

White Flower Farm, both a working nursery and a private residence, is located in Litchfield, Connecticut and is an awesome place!  If you are an avid gardener, you may be familiar with the nursery, even if you live outside the area, since they do a huge mail order business.  I ordered from them long before I decided to make my first location trip.

White's Flower Farm

The visit turned out to be an inspiring one as I discovered the beauty in the preseason garden.  My typical visit is in July when the trees are filled with leaves and all the perennials are in bloom.  This quiet, somber day gave a special quietness and sense of promise to the gardens.  And, the trees looked so majestic in their bare state!

White's Flower Farm

Unfortunately, I was forced to take ‘rest stops’ in the heated gift shop to thaw out my frigid fingers!  Of course I would not have dropped in; if not for the cold hands! ;)

gift shop at White's Flower Farm

gift shop at White's Flower Farm

Landscape at White's Flower Farm

Garden Bench

Collage of photos from WHite's Flower Farm

White's Flower Farm

I hope you enjoyed sharing some of White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut for today’s Friday field trip…definitely worth a trip if you are in the area!  By the way, White Flower Farm takes its name from their first perennial border, the all-white garden (and my favorite) called the Moon Garden because the white flowers gleam even by moonlight!  Have a fantastic weekend!

And, thank you so very much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Mona’s Picturesque, Fridays Unfolded, and Crafts a la Mode.


may day flowers

April 25, 2014

may day flowers

For Friday field trip this week, we are stepping back in time to honor an old tradition that celebrates the start of spring.   Up until the end of the 20th century, part of the May Day tradition included leaving flowers anonymously on neighbor’s doorsteps on May 1st as a signal to the start of spring.

may day tradition

Last year I had some fun making hanging flower containers with driftwood, shells, and repurposed glass tubes.  This year, I am creating some gifts of floral spheres that are easy to create using flower oasis and grocery store flowers.

oasis ballI am starting by cutting a block of oasis material into a four inch square.  (Oasis is available at any dollar store, craft store, or flower shop.)

The material is very easy to cut with a serrated knife, but can be messy – be sure to cover your work surface with newspaper before starting this process.

After cutting a square cube, sculpt the material into a sphere shape using your knife.

Once the shape is created, let the material soak up water by submerging it in a container of room temperature tap water.

Next, add flowers.  Pins or fasteners will not be required to attach the flowers if flowers with stiff stems are chosen – like the ones I have used here.  Just leave some length on the stems so they can be poked into the material.

Place the flower heads in close enough to each other to prevent seeing glimpses of the surface (to avoid needing any additional filler flowers).

A 4″ cube can easily be filled with a small bouquet from the grocery store florist…or flowers from your garden – if you are lucky enough to be in a part of the country that makes this possible!

may day purple flower

Now you have created a beautiful sphere shaped flower arrangement that can be displayed in any small container that accommodates the size of the sphere.  I have used a sugar bowl and a small flower pot.

No fear, if you want to continue the May Day tradition of hanging your arrangement, this is easy to accomplish.  Before adding the flowers, attach some twine around the sphere and you can easily hang your May Day arrangement.

may day flowers in a sugar bowl

Take note that hanging is possible because of the small size of the sphere.  Because the added water adds weight to the sphere, this would not work with a larger size sphere – the twine would cut through the material.  And be sure to use twine – moisture from the water would stain a ribbon.

preparing circular oasis

I much prefer the sphere displayed in a container, but if you need to follow the tradition to the letter, your arrangement can be hung on a nearby doorknob. ;)

circle of hanging flowers

Happy May Day!

may day yellow flowers

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry Bush, The Shabby Nest, and Common Ground.

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outside the color palette?

April 4, 2014


For Friday field trip today, I am adding the first accessory to my newly decorated painted guest room.

pansy planting supplies

I hadn’t really planned to redo any rooms upstairs.  Honest.  But, one of the bedrooms desperately needed painting and that (of course) started the whole ball rolling!  That, my friends, is not the surprising part since it doesn’t usually take much to get me going in the redecorating direction!  The surprising part?  My new room color isn’t part of my usual color palette!

The color palette I created for my downstairs rooms from a photo I took of an oyster shell.  I color matched my paint colors to the colors I took from the photo.

The color palette I created for my downstairs rooms from a photo I took of an oyster shell. I color matched my paint colors to the colors I took from the photo.

I agonized over paint swatches for a good month – finally deciding on a color called ‘shortbread’ from the Martha Stewart Living paint line at Home Depot.

As a yellow/gold tone – it was a departure from my usual coastal colors. Once the room was cleaned and painted (even though my free time should really have been devoted to tax preparation!) I decided to use my limited funds on a bed frame and bedding so the room could be utilized as a guest room right away.  The rest I can complete a little at a time when the mood (or funds) are right.

guest room collage
I chose a bed frame in a gray/brown (driftwood looking) color from Ikea and proceeded to stalk all the home stores for bedding.  I decided on a gray textured spread at Home Goods and picked out some contrasting pillows – limiting myself to just two.  I also picked up a sheet set in a color that looked surprisingly similar to the color of the shortbread paint.  Basics completed!  Ready for guests!

pansy spoon

Now, for my first official accessory for the new room, I am planting some pansies in a beautiful gold tone chippy planter that I found at Anthropologie.  The pot cost me $8 and I picked up some pansies at Home Depot – my first accessory cost under $15 and I love it!

pansies in anthro pot

spring time pansies

You know – now that I really look at that room – the shortbread paint could easily be called marsh grass or coastal twilight…don’t you think?  ;)

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Little Red House, Craftberry Bush, Coastal Charm, and Mona’s Picturesque.

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growing grass in an eggshell

March 18, 2014

growing grass in eggshells

The best place to plant Easter grass?  In an eggshell of course!

Planting grass in preparation of Easter has become a tradition in my house.  Containers of many types and varieties have been hijacked over the years for the annual planting, but eggshells remain the favorite vessel of choice!

It is easy to get beautiful results with just a little preparation.   First, decide how many eggs you want to use as planters.  Buy the number of extra-large white eggs you wish to plant.  Obviously, extra-large eggs give you the most room to plant, but you can use any size.  I prefer to use white eggs since I dye them in various colors before I plant in them.

To prepare the egg, use a sharp pointed knife to pierce the pointy end of the egg – this works best with a quick, sharp jab to make a hole.  Once the shell is broken, use your fingers to carefully remove some of the shell to make room for the planting.   (If you prefer, you can turn the egg horizontally, making a hole in the side and planting the grass the long way in the egg.)

growing grass in eggshells for Easter

Empty the contents of the egg.  You can also carefully remove the thin white membrane inside the shell (optional).  Treat the shell gently.  Next, dye the egg as you would any Easter egg.  It is easy to match any décor based on the way the egg is dyed/decorated.  Put the egg in the dye very gently – filling the inside of the egg with the dye so it will sink down and completely submerge into the dye.  (You can dye the eggs before you empty them if you find it easier…I don’t – in case I should ruin one in the emptying process, I haven’t wasted the time dyeing it!)

There is no need to go out and purchase a dye kit…dye is easily created at home with food color.  I like to use paste food color, because it comes in a wide variety of colors and is very vibrant, but liquid food coloring works just as well.  This is the dye I used:

Recipe for Easter egg dye

Once the eggs are dyed and dry, you can start the planting process.  You will need potting soil, grass seed, and a spoon.  If you need to purchase grass seed, go to Home Depot and purchase the smallest bag you can find.  Pick the fast growing seed that is sold for repairing existing lawns – it really does grow fast!

Spoon potting soil carefully into each prepared egg.  I put the eggs in the original carton for the growing process…it is an easy way to keep them in position and it makes for an easy clean up.  Next, spoon grass seed to cover the dirt surface in each egg.  Then, spoon a little more potting soil on top.

grass seed and potting soil

For your first watering, use about 4 teaspoons of water in each egg.  This will give your soil the initial moistness it requires.  For every day forward, add one teaspoon of water each day and keep the carton(s) in the sunniest spot in the house you can find.

grass in eggshells day 1

It is amazing how fast the grass will grow once it is sprouted.  The day grass begins to show, it will gain quite a bit of length.  The photos I am showing here were taken the first and second day the grass started to show.  The grass will be visible in less than a week, so plan accordingly.

day 6 grass in eggshells

Like any grass outside, this grass can be trimmed – just use scissors.

The same planting process can be used for any container…just be sure to protect any surfaces that are not waterproof…I line containers with a plastic sandwich bag if needed.

And that is it!  Very satisfying results in under a week!  What am I planning for these cuties?  I will share that with you in an upcoming post.  Meanwhile…give it a try!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry BushCrafts a la ModeCoastal Charm and  We Call it Junkin.


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