Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thrifty DIY: Painted Straw Tote Bag


On my last trip to the Goodwill, I was on the hunt for something summery for my next Thrifty DIY project, and I came acoss a plain straw tote bag for $2.99. It was calling out to me for a colorful, pom-pom infused Design Improvised makeover!


Inexpensive straw bags are easy to find at this time of year, whether you snag a thrift store steal or find one at a big box store. As long as they have a flat woven pattern like this one, they are prime candidates for painting. I used my favorite Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Paints for this project:

Supplies for Painted Straw Tote Bag


  • Inexpensive straw tote bag
  • Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Paints
  • Small brushes (I ended up using even smaller brushes than shown here - from my daughter's watercolor paint set!)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Duct Tape Decorated Garden Hose


I hope you all are enjoying the outdoor themed posts this month! I've got something fun for you today. Miracle-Gro® asked me to come up with a unique watering device to pair with their new LiquaFeed® Universal Feeder. I happily accepted the crafting challenge and created a fresh take on the traditional green garden hose!


A garden hose isn't the prettiest thing to look at in your yard. In fact, it can be an eyesore don't you think? I decided it was prime for a Design Improvised makeover!



I used colorful Scotch duct tape to decorate the hose….and sprayer as well!



Then I hooked it up to the LiquaFeed® Universal Feeder, which screws right into the spigot and turns any hose connection into a plant feeder. I've used Miracle-Gro® on my flowers for years. It was my secret for my amazingly lush planters on our Chicago roof deck!


I was excited to try out this new device because I've always used the granular Miracle-Gro® that you mix into a watering can. However this LiquaFeed® Universal Feeder cuts out that step by instantly feeding as you water with the flip of a switch. Pretty cool, right?


It allows me to feed the flowers in our landscaping as well as the potted flowers I have on our patio.


The duct tape just adds a big element of fun, and I can never have too much color in my life! Time will tell how it holds up to the Texas elements (I'll keep you posted), but it is definitely making me smile in the meantime! If you want to make your own garden hose a little brighter here's what you'll need:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How to Decorate Balloons with Vinyl!

How to decorate balloons with vinyl

You know I'm always on the lookout for a new way to decorate balloons, and I just discovered a whole new set of possibilities... with vinyl! It is lightweight, sticks to balloons perfectly, and can even be repositioned if needed without popping the balloon. I'm in heaven!

vinyl decorated balloons

For my first foray into vinyl balloons, I kept to simple black and gold triangles for a modern look. These were just hand-cut from sheets of Expressions Vinyl - it doesn't get much easier! 

However, those of you Silhouette and Cricut owners out there know that the magic happens when you pair vinyl with a cutting machine. Talk about amazing balloon decorating possibilities! I think I've found the inspiration I've needed to *finally* take my Silhouette out of its box. I've had it for nearly a year but have been too intimidated to use it - ha!

modern balloon decorations

So you can expect many more vinyl-covered balloon DIYs to come, but in the meantime here's the simple tutorial for these modern triangle balloons!

balloon decorating ideas

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Outdoor Entertaining: 6 Simple Steps to Dining Al Fresco


I am a huge fan of al fresco dining. As I tell my girls, "food just tastes better outside." It's so true! While my husband loves to grill, my favorite meal to eat outside is actually a leisurely weekend breakfast. Especially here in Texas, the temps can heat up fast and the morning is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air before the heat (and mosquitos!) take over.

While this breakfast set-up in our backyard picnic table may look fancy, it's just me playing with some of my thrift store "treasures" and some flowers from our backyard (one of my favorite things to do while my girls are watching their morning TV shows and my husband is sleeping in)!



Here are my 6 key components for a special al fresco meal (no expensive restaurant needed):

1. Pretty vintage tablecloth - I have a collection of floral-patterned tablecloths that I've picked up at flea markets for $10-$15 a piece over the years. They are perfect for using outdoors - not only do they create a clean surface on the picnic table, they wash up great (the quality of cotton was just so much better back then).

My only issue with my tablecloths is that are wrinkly after being folded up and I refuse to iron them! However I found that this Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus works wonders. I just spread the tablecloth out on the picnic table, give it a spray all over and pull on the edges and the wrinkles completely smoothed out. Pure magic!



2. Cloth napkins paired with simple dishes - I also love using cloth napkins outdoors. The main reason - they don't blow away in the wind! I found these pretty eyelet ones for 50 cents a piece at a garage sale. Melamine dishes are a perfect option for outdoors - they won't break if you drop them but are heavier (and prettier) than paper plates.



3. Backyard blooms - this arrangement looks like a million bucks (if I say so myself!) and it is literally just a few cuttings from our jasmine vines and lantana bush in a glass vase from the Goodwill. I think any backyard arrangement can look gorgeous - just find something blooming and pair it with some pretty greenery from a bush, vine, or leafy plant. You can't go wrong!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5 Modern Rock Painting Ideas to Try this Summer


It appears that you all enjoy a good rock painting project based on the love you gave my stenciled garden rocks yesterday, so I thought I would round up a few more favorite ideas for your summer inspiration. These are all modern and grown-up friendly. Unlike some of the crazy intricate painted rock designs I came across, these are all quite easy too!

1. Color-blocked rocks - so cool, so colorful, so simple! These would make fun gifts.

2. Cactus rocks - oh my gosh, I love this idea! Cactuses are so chic right now - I am seeing them pop up everywhere in the blog world. I would love to make a pot of these for my mother-in-law in Tucson!

3. Gold rocks - the simplest of them all and you just can't go wrong with gold. Scatter a couple of these next to a potted plant or in a coffee table vignette for modern decor that cost nothing.

4. Stenciled rocks - in case you missed these, I painted rocks with a coat of chalk paint and a leafy stencil for a botanical look that would look pretty indoors or out!

5. Geo painted rocks - these are the most involved of all the rock ideas, but if you are feeling like pulling out some paint and getting creative one afternoon, then this is the project for you. These were turned into magnets - so cool!