We’re in the mood for … gardening!

The temperature has been so amazing lately, and spring arrived way before it was supposed to. In Northern New Jersey, it is unheard of to have the leaves budding and bursting open in March! Of course, we are taking advantage of the weather, and have pulled out the cushions for the outdoor furniture—and even though we know it is too early to plant anything, a gal can dream, can’t she?

Like you, at Create & Decorate magazine, we love all things repurposed, and are always trying to come up with ways to reuse architectural finds—especially in our gardens. This weekend while out browsing, I spotted a small greenhouse constructed of 6 used windows: 4 window panels were used for the walls, and 2 were used for the roof pitch. Perfect for a patio! (Just try and eat my potted flowers through THAT, you pesky deer!) So, of course, I turned to trusty Google for more inspiration.

CalFinder Nationwide Remodelers has a post from 2009 that is well worth clicking over to read “7 outrageous ways to reuse broken windows”. The photography shared below is borrowed from their site so that we may share our excitement over their ideas:

Ooh, yes, please!

Perfect porch greenhouse, and equally cute as a side table!

Be inspired, be sure to read the blog post we mentioned, and seize the spring inspiration!

“what is it?” 54 – the answer

Another week is winding down… (pun intended!) :)

Yes, many of you were correct—this week’s item is a vintage alarm clock. A bit of overuse and a drop (or three) have given this Baby Ben a lot of character!

To read this week’s guesses, click here, and scroll down.

Have a fantastic weekend, friends!

better late than never!

OK, we admit it, we are guilty of some silly posts on our blog. However, if you look past the original thought that we are already well into the third month of the year, we believe that ANY one of our crafty friends might get a kick out of using one of these calendars.

That said:

We have three very useful, and awesome calendars for a ‘better-late-than-never giveaway’!

Accord Publishing, a division of Andrews McMeel, sent us these wonderful pattern-a-day calendars for review last year. We loved them then, and thought we would give away online, but, as most things in our office, they became hidden under paperwork. While spring cleaning, we found them again and decided to share them.

As Accord Publishing states on the Quilting packaging, “Don’t throw yesterday away, just thread a needle, and start piecing!” Each of these calendars has 100+ projects within the pages, plus some bonus patterns. Whether you start on them next week, or next year, they are STILL terrific patterns!

Interested in our giveaway? Simply leave us a comment as to which one you have your eye on. We will randomly select 3 lucky creative souls on March 22 to receive one calendar by mail at the end of the month. (We don’t dare let this go until April!)

Accord Publishing is famous for childrens books and terrific calendars. Check their titles out here.

“What is it Wednesday?” #54

Happy halfway through the work week, friends. We are serving up another piece of puzzling fun, that needs no introduction or hints.

Please leave us a comment with your guess as to what this item is, and check back in with us on Friday to see the answer of this mind teaser.

Charles Craft Plush Pet Winners!

We are announcing winners today. What  a wonderful way to start the week!

Congratulations to the following friends who were lucky enough to be randomly drawn to win one of the Charles Craft Plush Pet Kits, from the giveaway we posted on February 28.

Enjoy personalizing the bib of your pet—the stitching area is 2″ x 2″ and each animal comes with a design chart of cute images, alphabets, and more!

Congratulations Deborah Adam, you are the lucky winner of the Duck Plush Pet!

Congratulations Valerie Richardson, you have won the Pig Plush Pet!

Congratulations Channon Bell, you have won the Monkey Plush Pet!

If you didn’t win this time around, you may purchase these cute little critters online, too. Click here to see the pets, and other terrific products from Charles Crafts. While you are there, be sure to look over their free patterns. You might just find a new project for the week!

How to have a “free” a weekend

Always pondering on how to have an inexpensive, relaxing, yet fulfilling weekend, we stumbled upon this list at thesimpledollar.com, and thought it would be fun to share with our blog friends. A spin-off of the original article, The Joys of a Money-Free Weekend, the following list is from Fifteen More Free Things to do During a Money-Free Weekend. Both of these articles are written by Trent Hamm. 

My Lola and Finn's "free" weekend of bird watching.

Be inspired, and enjoy a “free” weekend, friends!

Go on a wandering walkGo out the front door and a child pick the directions. Almost always, you’ll eventually wind up in someplace new and interesting – if that doesn’t happen, at the very least you got a healthy walk out of the deal.

Play a card game—I spent a weekend learning how to play contract bridge once – it was one of the most fun times of my life and it merely took a deck of cards to learn it.

Clean out a closet—I actually enjoy doing this – I always find an interesting thing or two that I’ve forgotten about, plus I wind up clearing out a lot of clutter and have a big pile of stuff to take to Goodwill.

Attend a dress rehearsal—This sounds completely crazy, but try asking around at local events to see whether or not you can bring your children to see a dress rehearsal of their show – quite often, they’re happy to do this for families with children who want to see the show. Why? Children can often interrupt performances out of boredom or bathroom necessity, which isn’t nearly as big a deal during a dress rehearsal, plus the troupe is often very happy to expose children to the arts. Call up a local theatre and ask whether this is possible.

Dig an old video game console out of the closet and play some of your old favorites—I did this in about 1998 with my roommate at the time – we dug out an old Nintendo and played several of the games all weekend long when it was raining. Spectacular fun and it only cost a bit of electricity.

Get involved in local community sports—Join a softball league, or look to volunteer to coach or umpire for youth leagues. Even tasks like being an equipment herder for a pee wee league team can be a lot of fun.

Attend a church service—In college, I used to attend the service of a different religion every week (at least the ones where I was welcome as an outsider). I didn’t really understand most religions, and I definitely didn’t understand the differences between Protestant sects. It became an interesting routine for me, I learned a lot, and I wound up finding a church that really fit me well.

Learn how to juggle—Seriously, spend an hour or two trying to learn how to do it. Find three juggle-able objects and give it a whirl (I first learned with golf balls in a garage). Quite fun, and no one can do it well at first, so it’s good for a laugh, too. It took me quite a while to master it, but now I can even do five balls for a short time.

Make a 101 Goals In 1001 Days list – then start on some of them—Looking back at my list, I’ve made advances on a few of them and have accomplished about six of them – not bad for the first 60 days or so, I think.

Take some photographs—Go on a walk (by yourself or with family) and look for interesting things to take pictures of. Even better, share them on Flickr (or another image-sharing site) when you’re done!

Learn something new—Go to MIT’s OpenCourseWare, find a topic you’re interested in, download some mp3s of lectures, and listen to them while you’re doing household chores. I’ve learned about many things while doing this – and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Make something homemade—This isn’t entirely free, but it’s almost always a savings over buying the “real thing.” I make my own wine and my own laundry detergent, and my wife makes her own soap. In each case, it’s cheaper than buying it from the store and it’s always an interesting experience.

Practice origami—For a while, my wife folded paper cranes by the thousands while doing other things (watching our child, etc.). I like folding paper frogs that jump when you tap them on the back. Both are basically free – just fold them out of newspaper, old magazine pages, junk mail, and so forth.

Have a film festival—Invite some friends over for several hours of movie-watching. Have each person bring one of their favorite “obscure” movies, and then watch them all together. This can be an absolute blast, and the only expense is the popcorn and beverages.

Do a neighborhood cleanup—Invite some people to go out and clean up your neighborhood for a few hours, picking up rubbish along the road and in any public places in the area (like parks or walking paths). This is a great way to interact with neighbors, make your community look better, get some fresh air and exercise, and not waste money, either.

Please feel “free” to leave us a comment as to how you are spending YOUR weekend!

“What is it?” #53 – the answer

We know that you struggled with the puzzle this week, but congratulations to Tammy for serving up the correct answer of “part of eyeglasses”! We are certainly impressed.

These vintage gems stay packed in one of my photo shoot suitcases, and every now and then they sneak into a shot, but more often than not, Noelle and I try them on with a silly face to try to catch the other off-guard. I pulled 2 such photos off of my phone today to share. We thought it would be fun to tack on a secondary puzzle (cropped tightly because one never knows what will end up on Pinterest!) to our “What is it?” Friday answer:


SO, which image is Beverly, and which is Noelle, wearing those fine spectacles? Yup, leave us a comment with your guess, and we will let the cat out of the bag on Monday. Happy Friday, friends!

P.S. - If you show this to my mother I will vehemently deny that one of these is actually me. :-)

To read the guesses from Wednesday’s puzzle, click here and scroll down.

Life is a yoyo

Today we are offering up a floral burst of fabric yoyos and buttons.  Be creative, and change up the size and shape of the Foam wreath you use to suit your door space, and… welcome spring!

layered yoyo heart

designed by Kathleen George


For product information, see sources on page 50.

STYROFOAM Brand Foam heart wreath, 1” x 9-1/2” x 10”

Pastel yoyos*, 2” (14) and 1” (28)

Fat quarter of small print fabric in coordinating color

1/4” pastel buttons (14-20), 1” putty knife, craft pins, measuring tape, olive green felt, pencil, scissors, Yes! Paste**

*Designer used purchased yoyos; to make your own, see instructions below.

**Available through Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics, or Dick Blick.


1. Cut two 1” strips of fabric from edge of coordinating fabric.

2. Trace STYROFOAM heart onto back of remaining fabric and cut out.

3. Attach the 1” strips of fabric to sides of STYROFOAM using Yes! Paste; spread a thin, even layer of Paste onto sides of heart using putty knife. Smooth fabric on using fingertips. Cut away excess fabric.

4. Attach fabric heart to top of STYROFOAM heart in same manner as side fabric.

5. Cut out a 4” x 1” strip of fabric, fold lengthwise twice, and adhere shut. Form strip into a loop, adhering and pining it to back center top of heart to make hanger.

6. Adhere or pin the 2” yoyos evenly around front of heart.

7. Cut out twenty leaf shapes (see pattern below) from olive felt and adhere onto wreath, underneath either side of each large yoyo.

8. Fill in empty spaces with 1” yoyos and adhere a yoyo to center of each large yoyo as well.

9. Adhere buttons onto centers of small yoyos.

how to make your own yoyos

1. Using cardboard or a thin plastic sheet, make a 4”circle template for the 2” yoyos and a 2” circle template for the 1” yo-yos. Or, if you own die-cutting equipment, check to see if your machine will cut fabric.

2. Cut out (14) 4” circles and (28) 2” circles.

3. Fold under 1/4” along edge and stitch in place around perimeter with a running stitch (longer stitches will make a tighter yoyo, and shorter stitches will make a more open center).

4. Gently pull thread, pulling fabric to the middle and forming a yoyo. Tie off thread.

This project submitted courtesy of The Dow Chemical Company.


Dick Blick

(800) 828-4548



The Dow Chemical Company

(888) GO-CRAFT


Jo-Ann Fabrics

(888) 739-4120



(800) 642-4235


Drag this pattern onto your desktop to print. Pattern is approximately 1"W x 1 1/2"L.

A-Tisket, A-Tasket

While at the Craft and Hobby Association trade show back in January, we had the opportunity to check out Clover’s clever new Basket Frames. They gave us a quick tutorial, and we new that this was yet another product that we needed to share with you.

The same principles of weaving are applied to this instruction, yet the skeleton of the basket is supplied, so all you to need to is supply your favorite fabric strips, ribbons, or other fiber to personalize your basket.


We have also created the tag below for you (drag to your computer desktop) to print in color on cardstock. The tag will print to be approximately 2 3/4″ x 4 1/2″. Cut tag out, trim with buttons, or rick rack (if you’d like), punch a hole, and tie onto your basket. Super easy, and fun!

You may also order Clover’s Basket Frames online, here, if you aren’t able to find them in your local craft store. They come with two frames per package, and are available in oval, round, and square shapes. The small size for the round basket is 4 3/8″ x 2″, and the large basket size is 7″ x 2 3/4″. (These are approximate sizes, but if you ask Noelle or me for an opinion, we think the large is more doable for the spring bunny to leave us sweet confections in! :-))

Speaking of hopping… hop on over to You Tube to watch Clover’s instructional video, and see for yourself how easy it is to create your own basket.

Click here, to visit the Clover USA website, and/or to order the Basket Frames.

And without further ado, here is the basket tag for you to print from your desktop: