Kimmie's Special Projects Blog

RECYCLED CAN LUMINARIES

Recycled Can Luminaries-Halloween
This craft is a great way to re-use your food cans. You can light up your walkway or countertop and let your guests know you are in the holiday spirit.

Recycled Can Luminaries-frozen
Once your can is clean and label-free, fill with water. Freeze. Make sure to leave about an inch at the top for ice expansion. You don’t want an unexpected mess in your freezer! The reason I recommend this step is to make drilling through the can much easier. The ice will act as a barrier and make the drilling safer.

Recycled Can Luminaries-drilling can
Print or draw out a simple outline of a design. I used a trendy skull, bat and jack-o-lantern. Tape the design onto your now frozen can. Now you know I love power tools, so here’s where a drill comes in handy! However, if you don’t have one, a hammer and nail will work just fine. Start drilling “dots” around your pattern. Whether you’re using a drill or hammer and nail, be careful. Again, this is where the ice will keep the can from collapsing. Pull the paper pattern off and check the design. Recycled and really cool!

Recycled Can Luminaries-glowing
These luminaries add such a festive welcome. You can paint some of them black like I did here. Add a candle or battery light in the bottom. These recycled can luminaries will work for the winter holidays, too!

Kimmie

   

SUMMER 2009 CONCRETE STAIN

Do it yourself concrete staining is both popular and inexpensive.  With the warmer weather, now is the time to revitalize your existing surface. Staining concrete combines the best of both worlds: beauty and functionality.  There are two types of concrete stains to choose from, acid stains and acrylic stains. For this particular example, I will demonstrate how to apply an acrylic stain to an old pool deck.  Before you get started with your particular project, here are the materials you will need:

Broom
Stiff brush
Concrete stain (I used Behr semi-transparent in “Grotto” STC-11)
Muriatic acid
Plastic watering can
Rubber gloves
Boots
Safety goggles
TSP cleaner
Bucket
Paint roller and brush
Pressure washer, if you have one
Acrylic sealer


Can you say “lackluster?”  An acrylic concrete stain will work great on this old concrete pool deck because age increases the porosoity in concrete.  For newer concrete, I’ve found that  acid concrete stain works the best because of the availability of free lime.  Now let me show you how you can do it yourself!
Use muriatic solution to clean and etch your concrete.  Remember to wear protective clothing like rubber boots and gloves.  Pour equal parts of muriatic acid with water into a plastic watering can. 

This picture shows the concrete being sprinkled with the solution.  The purpose of this step is to neutralize the concrete’s alkalinity, so let it etch for about 30 minutes before rinsing with water.  If this solution comes in contact with your skin, immediately rinse it off. 
*By the way, if your concrete has stubborn oil or stains, a pressure washer and a degreaser may also be needed.


Next apply your TSP cleaning solution (mixed according to the directions on the box) to the wet concrete.  This will remove any residue left over from the acid wash.  Use a stiff-bristle brush to scrub out all of the crevices.  This doubles as a good upper-body exercise!   ;-)

Rinse your surface thoroughly with fresh water.  If you have access a pressure washer, even better!  Once the surface is dry, the roughness should resemble that of sandpaper.   Properly cleaning and rinsing your surface will allow you to admire your concrete for years to come.


Let the concrete dry for at least 48 hours and then sweep off any dust or leaves.  Start by applying your concrete stain with a roller or brush in any style or pattern you desire. If a second coat is needed, wait 24 hours between coats.


You have the opportunity here to be really creative by using blending or marbling effects with your color.  You can even use an accent stain for a washed and natural stone look.  In this photo, I am using an old, flexible cutting board to keep the edging neat.  This dull concrete is starting to look much more appealing! 


As you can see, there’s an instant difference in the appeal of this pool decking!  Once you’ve finished applying your acrylic concrete stain (1 or 2 coats, whichever look you like,) paint a coat of clear acrylic sealer to the dry surface.  This will add durability and UV protection while enhancing the overall appearance.  I think you’ll agree:  this do-it-yourself project gives you some great results.  And the best part is YOU can do the job for a bunch less than you’d pay someone else.  Sweet!

concrete

WHAT'S FABULOUS, FRESH, AND FRUGAL? FRUIT!

One of my favorite ways to put winter in the rearview mirror and bring an instant uplift to the home is with fresh fruit. Incorporating fruit into a centerpiece or arrangement is a hot trend now that also soothes our senses. You can create gorgeous, professional-looking decorations in a matter of minutes. Here's the simplest trick:

Dress up a plain dinner table with some bright hues. Using citrus from the tree and lemons from the farmer’s market, this table is cheery and light. Look through your own produce bin in your fridge-you never know what you might find.

Next, select a container or platter for your centerpiece; layering is even better! And remember for deeper bowls, you don’t need to waste fruit at the bottom. Use crumpled paper or foam for bulk and then layer your pretty fruit on top.


TANGY ARRANGEMENT

Creating this tangy citrus arrangement is just as simple. Use a bag of key limes ($1.99 on sale) for color and stability. You can even mix different fruits to pull in additional color.

Fill a clear container with water. Then cut floral stems to about 6” long and insert down between the fruit. For added filler, you can also enhance with clippings from your tree or garden.

Change the water daily to keep your new project fresh. If you prefer to not immerse your fruit in water, use water tubes for each flower stem. You can find these at your local grocery store or florist for just a few cents.


A FRESH AND EDIBLE CENTERPIECE

I always enjoy creating edible centerpieces and now you can, too. This eye-catching flowery fruit bouquet is both beautiful and tasty. It’s also a healthy counterpoint to Easter’s sweet treats. Who knows, maybe you could substitute it for that cupcake tower at your child’s next celebration?!

Using cookie cutters and a paring knife, create cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew into floral shapes. Cut the tops off of strawberries. Now thread skewers into the melon pieces. Add grapes and berries for an additional splash of color. Enjoy being creative with a variety of fruits!

For the base, I used a head of red cabbage that I had in the fridge. You could also use the rind from your halved melon.

Place into a basket or on a plate and get ready to create your new fruit bouquet! Simply imagine the fruit stems just like a floral arrangement then start poking in the skewers. Add height, fullness and dimension.

Finishing touches could also include sliced lemons, rinsed leaves and chocolate dipped strawberries. Serve with little bowls of fruit dip or yogurt. On the flip side, I’ve also demonstrated this with veggies and ranch dip!

Enjoy this simple and sensible new décor along with our springtime weather. Great for some healthy snacking, too!

   
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