Awesome Japanese Masking Tape

I was sitting in the car for hour upon hour this weekend as my hubby and I made the six-hour plus drive each way from Phoenix to L.A. and back, so I did some catching up on my magazines.  As you may remember, I LOVE magazines, but they tend to pile up around the house while I’m busy with other things.  So I REALLY look forward to our road trips so I can have a few hours to flip through a stack of my favorites.

This time I thoroughly enjoyed my latest Fresh Home Ideas magazine.  I can always tell when I got my money’s worth because I tear out at least a dozen pages for future reference and this one was no exception.

Here are some of the treasures I found on the pages:

  1. We bought some fresh green and wax beans at La Jolla’s Open Aire Market on Sunday morning (more on that later) and I found the perfect Roasted Beet Garden Salad with Goat Cheese recipe on the drive home.  Unfortunately, I don’t see it on their web site so you would need to buy the magazine for it.  If the beans make it long enough for me to try it, I’ll post it with pictures.
  2. I saw this great idea (above) with instructions on how to make an oil lantern from a Patron Tequila bottle.  We don’t buy tequila, but I wouldn’t be afraid of going to a local bar and asking for their throw away bottles.  Of course you can do the same thing with any unusual or eye catching bottle.  I can just see the collection of different colors, heights, and shapes sitting out in the moonlight now!
  3. Then they shared several wonderful ideas on creative containers for fresh flowers.  I have some hanging containers (also from Ikea) that are very similar to these below and I love the possibilities here.
  4. But the product that I can’t wait to get my hands on is this Japanese Masking Tape!  As soon as we got home I had to look up the website where they sell it and I’ll be ordering a few rolls very soon just to try it out.  They suggest decorating glasses for a one-time, easy to remove pick-me-up, but I can think of endless possibilities for these beauties.  Think of mirrors, vases, trays, jars, even painted furniture and on and on…I SIMPLY LOVE IT!  Or how about adding it to that trio of hanging rose vases above?  How would you use it?

So many sweet ideas and so little time…well, at least I have the pages to put in my “craft ideas” binder if I can’t get to them right away.  I’d love to hear your ideas on these things and let me know what your favorite magazine is for new ideas.

4th of July Ideas – Part 3 – Decorating

As Americans, we celebrate our independence on the 4th of July every year with parades, picnics, cook-outs, and other fun gatherings.  Nothing screams summer like an Independence Day celebration.

So, in honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I’d share a few ideas for patriotic decorating.

I found this fun, inexpensive and easy idea on the Better Homes & Gardens website.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up with Better Homes and Gardens magazines, and I’m still amazed at all the great ideas that they can stuff into each issue as well as everything you can find on their website.  If you’re on a limited budget, you can sign up for their email and get lots of great ideas from that as well.

Decorate Candleholders with Colored Rubberbands: Take a stroll down the office supply aisle for red, white, and blue rubber bands to decorate candles in a snap. Working from bottom to top, wrap rubber bands in alternating colors around straight-side glass candle holders. Vary widths and colors for interest.  Of course, this can be applied to any holiday or decor and what an easy way to change color schemes in a flash!

Editor’s Tip: If you’re in mosquito country, place citronella candles in the cups and use outdoors to keep the bugs away.

And don’t kids just love pinwheels?  They’re just mesmerizing to watch when the breezes blow and the kids love to run around in the yard adding their own breeze.  The Skip to my Lou blog has some creative ideas for pinwheels as well as links to other free downloads.

Disney’s Family Fun gives us directions for a colorful Patriotic Pinwheel that you can make at home too.

And here are a few more links with some fun and simple ideas:

Better Homes and Gardens: Easy DIY Decorations

Country Living shares Crafts for the Fourth – country style

Martha Stewart shares some great Fourth of July Traditions that you can begin today.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for the coming weekend.  Feel free to mention and link in the comments to any Fourth of July ideas that you’ve posted on your own blog.  I’d love to see them!

30 Creative Uses for a Coffee Filter

I just received an email with 25 practical ideas for a coffee filter, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Then when I was looking for a photo of a basic coffee filter, I came across some awesome coffee filter craft ideas.  I’ll share 5 of the best of them as well.

Coffee  filters …. Who knew!   And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing even the large ones.
1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the  microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome…  Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows sparkling.
3.  Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.
4.  Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine  bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
5.  Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the  skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
6.  Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7.  Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve  lined with a coffee filter.
8.  Weigh chopped foods.  Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a  kitchen scale.
9.  Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
10.  Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.  Line a plant  pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through  the drainage holes.
11..  Prevent a Popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as  needed in a coffee filter.
12.  Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows?  Use  strips of coffee filters..
13.  Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken  fingers, etc on them.  It soaks out all the grease.
14.  Keep in the bathroom.  They make great “razor nick  fixers.”
15.   As a sewing backing.  Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliquéing soft fabrics.
16.  Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.
17.  Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.
18.  Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.
19.  Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills. 20.  Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies..  Saves on having extra bowls to wash.
21.  Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.
22.  Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls. 23.  Use them to sprout seeds..  Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.
24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.  Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in  phone book..
25.  Use as a disposable “snack bowl” for popcorn, chips, etc.


26. Gorgeous Roses (see photo above) from Mommy Makes Roses

27. Colorful Pompoms (photo right) from The Thrifty Crafter

28.  Coffee Filter Wreath from Martha Stewart

29. Natural Coffee Filter Garland (photo below) from Pam Garrison

30. Coffee Filter Snowflakes from The Artful Parent

List #13 DIY’s I Want to Try

I’m sure there are dozens of DIY’s in my crafts binder, but right now my mind is nearly blank.  Let’s see if I can get it warmed up…

1. Tile mosaics – I have 2 perfect metal tables from Ikea that would look so lovely with mosaic tops.

2. Jewelry making – looks so sparkly…

3. Outdoor garden architectural art  – for when I have a garden.

4. Pebble patio, paths or flooring – love them!

5. Landscape design – want to re-design the whole back yard, but who knows when we can get it done.

6. Sewing tote bags out of Starbucks Coffee packets – I’ve been collecting them for a couple of years.  Hopefully this will be the year that I do it with my new sewing machine.

7. Sewing birds for my branch  (aren’t these wonderful?)

8. Mini-tin Advent Calendar – so many designs to choose from

9. Sewing lots of pillows in lots of colors so I can change things up around the house.

10. Creating wall art out of my photographs

I just visited a one of the gals from 30 Days of Lists and love what she’s listed!

Thanks for the inspiration, Chris!

So many projects…so little time…

List #3 – Things I’m Looking Forward To…

Yeah, I continue to be behind on 30 Days of Lists, but life sometimes gets in the way of writing and I’ll choose real life and real people every time.

So…these are a few of the things that I’m looking forward to:

  1. Spending time with our kids (who I miss because they live out of state and out of the country)
  2. Going to Ireland with my family (hopefully this summer)
  3. Traveling pretty much anywhere
  4. Spending real time with real people
  5. Big hugs from friends
  6. Having grandkids someday
  7. Getting my craft room organized
  8. Learning how to use my new sewing machine
  9. Listening to my favorite musicians (one happens to be my husband)
  10. Going to the Hand in Hand Reunion
  11. Having more time for blogging and taking pictures someday
  12. Retirement or Heaven (whichever comes first)

What are you looking forward to?

“The Queen Bee” in Prescott Valley is Worth Visiting

Recently a few friends and I had the chance to check out a cute and creative new shop in Prescott Valley, Arizona.  It’s called “The Queen Bee” and we were there on their opening weekend!  They didn’t even have a chance to get their sign up yet, so it will probably look a bit different when you go by.

Prescott Valley - The Queen Bee

You’ll find it right on the main highway at 7273 E 1st St, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.

The owner, Kristina Lies happens to be my good friend Debbie’s daughter.  Otherwise we wouldn’t even know about this sweet little gem in PV.

When we were there we discovered just how creative Kristina really is.   Many of the items in the shop are her creations or items that she has beautifully repurposed. We found out that she recently flagged down a truck full of old windows from a local high school renovation on their way to the dump.  She has big plans to make some gorgeous architectural decorative pieces from those windows.  Can’t wait to see what she does with them.

As you can see from the photos, even though the shop is on the smallish side she has a nice variety of items.  Home decor, vintage postcards, clothes, even some wood furniture, and so much more.  Be sure to click on the pics to see the detail. Since we were there before Halloween Kristina had a wonderful selection of pieces for the holiday as well.

Don’t you just love this Thanksgiving pumpkin?  Yeah, me too, so now it’s sitting on the window sill in MY kitchen.

And here’s the kicker.  Her prices are ALL very reasonable!  Her philosophy is that she wants to have a constant turnover of fresh merchandise so she plans to have items priced to sell.  That way she’ll have room to infuse her creations into the shop in addition to other treasures that she’ll discover and offer for sale.

Prescott Valley - The Queen Bee StoreMy only disappointment was the size of the shop.  I’m afraid she’ll run out of room for all the great items she has.  Good news is that they have more space in the back or they could convert the current office for more display space, so hopefully if the shop does well they can expand without having to move.

Can you tell from Kristina’s face below how excited she is about her new endeavor as she stands under the crown on the doorway?    She’ll be just as excited when you walk through the door for a visit.  The store is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for now.  Call for hours.

Tell her that Nancy sent you!

If you have questions feel free to contact Kristina at:

7273 E 1st St, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.


Email: theQueenBeeAz[at]hotmail[dot]com

Prescott Valley The owner of The Queen Bee

Love these sweater covered vases & candles!

In my blog travels tonight I came upon these gorgeous recycled sweater vases at “Under the Table and Dreaming“.  Aren’t they amazing?  I don’t feel like it’s quite cool enough to have these out here in Phoenix since it’s still regularly over 100 degrees, but maybe by Christmas I can get some made for the holidays.  I’m thinking shades of white would be lovely.

What colors do you think would look best?