Fall “Mantel-less” Mantel!

Fall is officially here!  Despite our 85 degrees and high humidity today, cold temps are coming, the leaves are showing just a glimmer of changing colors, and sweater weather is on its way!  I have gotten a jump on our fall decor earlier this year than any other year.

Our townhouse has no fireplace, thus no mantels, HOWEVER, I have decorated two spots in our house as though they were fabulous mantels over lovely wood-burning fireplaces!

Our dining room buffet……

….and the stand below our wall-mounted TV in our living room………….

I have never been one for garlands of any sort, usually just scoffing at them! HOWEVER, this year is the year of glitter and metallics in the Bentz house!  I saw these two glittered garlands at Michael’s and HAD to have them. At $6 for the red and $10 for the beefier, orange leaf/twig/berry garland, it was love at first sight!

Typically, our decor leans toward lighter, airier colors, almost beach like, including silvers at Christmas. However, I uncharacteristically was feeling the warm tones of Fall this year!

I dressed up my white serving tray with a $1.97 wooden bowl from GoodWill (disclaimer: EVERYTHING I buy at the GoodWill is cleaned RIDICULOUSLY well with Clorox wipes!!! Ya never know where they have been!)

The metallic pumpkins were on sale at Michaels, along with the orange charger plate (all 50% off – with an extra 20% off rewards points – OH YEAH!!!)  The metallic leaves were a pre-season Hobby Lobby find – love them! You could say they inspired my glitter fest!  The little orange pumpkins were $1 at WalMart.  That little brown pumpkin was one of those $1 WalMart finds, but I sprayed him with Krylon Glitter Blast, Bronze Blaze spray paint! He was just asking to be fancy!

The other side of the buffet holds my PB knock-off mercury glass pumpkin along with a glittered Kale plant I got at the grocery store!! I love the metallics and glitter of this space!

In the living room, I love having this sight below our TV while relaxing at night with my boy!

The main attraction here…….the jewel toned hurricane vase……was a “gift” from my Nanny.  She had this for years and I always told her I was going to put my name on the bottom so some day it would be mine! She wanted me to have it now rather than later, so it’s new home is here at casa Bentz!  I think it works perfectly with my jeweled/glitter/metallic Fall decor!  It is sitting on top of a burlap covered box to give it some height!

The “trough”holding my mini-pumpkin gourds was a $1.97 GoodWill find.  I was sneaky and put some orange burlap in the bottom to save some $$ and not have to buy a ton of gourds! (You know my secret – consider yourself a confidant now!!)  The plant is a glittered cabbage from the grocery store. I squealed in happiness when I saw these and they HAD to come home with us!!!

My candle collection on the other side is held by a large candle holder on clearance from Hobby Lobby (love that place!) and two more $1.97 Goodwill finds!  I love how the green adds some additional Fall dimension to the group!

The metallic pumpkin was a cheap plastic “funkin” that was actually another “gift” from my Nan!  She had two extra orange pumpkins that she was going to get rid of so I took ’em, figuring I could use them somehow.  This metallic pumpkin’s transformation went a little somethin’ like this…….

WOWZA Orange…..then covered in white……then covered with a mixture of orange and copper metallic paint to give it some pumpkin-y dimension, without having the bright orange-y glow it started with!!!

Much better! Don’t ya think???  Thanks to my Nan for being a main contributor to our Fall decor!!!!

Well, that rounds out my Fall “mantel-less” mantels.  For both, I spent UNDER $40 total. Not bad considering how much Fall goodness is in both spaces!!

I am linking up as part of the “It’s Fall Y’All” Mantel party over at The Lettered Cottage

As of now, there are almost 400 mantels full of Fall inspiration over there! Be sure to check some of them out……or all of them!!!!!

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Mercury Glass? Faux Sho! (tutorial)

Hello Hello!!! Thanks so much for stopping by!  If you are coming from Pinterest, I hope you find this tutorial helpful and are able to make some amazing Mercury glass of your own!  As of June 2013, this blog will no longer have new posts.  I have stopped blogging here at White Picket Bentz and am now at The Landing Pad.  This blog will remain up and active for the old posts, but I have also put this same tutorial over there as well, so feel free to hop on over to the new blog and take a look around!!!

I LOVE me some mercury glass! There are so many awesome options out there……

 Pendant Lamps (Pottery Barn)

Candle holders (Pottery Barn)

….and you may remember my mercury glass pumpkins that were tragically sold out just a short time ago……..(side note – the small and large are back, but if you keep reading….I don’t need them!)

While lamenting that I wouldn’t have the chance to purchase one of those big beauties (for $39 at PB) I remembered that I had saved a mercury glass tutorial on Pinterest……I had seen DIY’d pendant lamps (like the one above) and tons of hurricane vases.  I had these saved for a “some day” project when I needed something new, but then I remembered this guy……

A clear pumpkin candy dish I was given as a hand-me-down from my mom when I had zero fall decor! I had used it for Halloween candy in the past, but this girl’s hips (and the hubs) sure don’t need to have that tempting goodness junk around the house!   I was PUMPED to get started (insert 1st giddy, dance-around-the-house of this post here….let’s keep count!)

As I learned in my faux-mercury glass research, the key “ingredient” to knocking-off these fabulous decor pieces was the Krylon Looking Glass spray paint…

After driving all over creation, we learned that this is not sold at Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sherwin Williams or ACE Hardware.  According to my research it is sold at Hobby Lobby (closed on Sunday – not going to help my Sunday afternoon search), Michaels, and JoAnn Fabric.  Shaun and I ventured to Michaels and searched the spray paint section…..no luck.  We headed to JoAnn’s…….again, nothing.  I did some quick research on my phone and saw that Michaels has it, but you have to look in the glass paint aisle.

Back to Michaels we went. You can imagine the ecstatic-ness when we found it in the glass paint aisle.  There was even a mini-happy dance in the aisles at Michael’s.  I had to keep it under wraps though, we were out in public and Shaun gets embarrassed by me!  The paint was $12.99 (sort of pricey) but with a 40% off coupon, $8 mercury glass was within my reach!!!!

(Now, on to the action part of this segment!) If you are going to make your own, I HIGHLY suggest practicing on some junk glass that you are okay to mess up. GoodWill is a good spot to hit up for some cheap vases/candle holders/cups, etc.  We had a bunch of leftover vases from our wedding so I got to work…..my first two attempts were nothing to be proud of……read – total failure.

I had to get my technique right before I moved on to try #3….and thankfully that was a success.

For those of you who want to make your own mercury glass…..this tutorial will help you make awesome mercury glass on your own…and for cheap!

Supplies

  • Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint
  • Glass vase, candle cup, etc.
  • Spray bottle with 1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar
  • Paper towels
How to

1.  It’s best to lay your piece on its side, if possible.  You will be spraying the INSIDE of the glass.  The paint is sprayed on the side opposite of the mirror finish.

2.  Spray the Looking Glass paint in short, light bursts, holding the can approximately 6-8 inches away from the opening of the glass.  After each spray, turn the glass a quarter turn.  The Looking Glass paint can be runny, so the key to successful coverage is the light, short bursts.  If your paint “puddles” on the glass, you can try to wipe it up a bit but it won’t cover evenly.

3.  The paint will appear a dull gray at first, but in just a few short seconds, the wonderful mirror-magic will appear right before your eyes! (insert happy dance-around-the-garage #2 here)

4.  Allow your paint to dry for only about 60 seconds.

5.  Lightly spray the inside of the glass with the vinegar/water mixture so it beads lightly on the paint.  The vinegar is acidic enough to begin to eat away at the paint on the glass.

6.  Let the beads “set” for a minute and tightly wrap your pointer finger with a sheet of paper towel.  Soak the paper towel with the vinegar/water mixture.

7.  Begin to “push” on the beads of water with the paper towel to “break” the paint…..

Its easier to watch your work through the outside as you go, so you can see the “pattern” you are making in the paint.  Be careful to keep the paper towel tight around your finger, or else you will wipe away the paint on the side opposite of where you are working.

When “pushing” the paint, push firm enough to move the paint, but do not wipe the paint away. The key is to just move the paint around – creating a crackle effect, rather than wiping it off.

Once they were dry, I sprayed the inside of mine with a clear sealer from Krylon to protect the paint in the future.  You could also use a brown glaze on the inside to give your glass a nice warm tone. I preferred the “original” look.

Obviously, due to the serious flammable, toxic nature of the paint/sealer, no food items can go in these glasses!

Once I got a few successful pieces done……LOVE THEM!!! Happy dance #3!!!!!

….I moved on to my little pumpkin……

Insert HUGE happy dance here!!! I love it!!! So much better than paying $39+tax+shipping from good ole PB for one pumpkin!

If you don’t have one of these pumpkin candy dishes already, you can find them just about anywhere this time of year from grocery store seasonal aisles, to Target, WalMart, craft stores, etc.  I think you can get them for under $5!

Total cost for mercury glass pumpkin, hurricane, and 2 tea-light holders:

Roughly $8! That is some definite bang for your buck!

Here she is, all staged and ready to go for Fall along with some other metallic pumpkins and leaves!!

Fall has officially arrived here at the Bentz house! What do you think??

Hope you can use this tutorial and make some awesome mercury glass for yourself!


Sunshine on a cloudy day…..

First off, it’s been a bit since I’ve posted a recent project.  There are a few underway here at casa Bentz, including one that I am SUPER excited to finish and show you guys!!! It’s intermediate success led to me doing a happy dance around the garage!

Here’s a little hint………it has SOMETHING to do with my previous post where I tragically found out that my beloved PB mercury glass pumpkins were sold out!

You will just have to wait and see until I get her all wrapped up!

Anyway, as you know, I have been coming to terms with summer ending, cooler days (meaning the impending doom of winter) and cloudy skies.  It was a super rainy/cloudy/gloomy day today.  As I got home from work, there was a little “summer” surprise peeking out at me as I pulled in the driveway…………

This big guy in the front and his friend in the back……..

……have grown at the bottom outside of our garden retaining wall!  I had a hanging plant like this last year in our garden, but not this year! These little seeds must have survived all last winter (with its 24+ inches of snow), through the construction of our little retaining wall this spring, and are now blooming at the end of summer/early Fall as a little happy treat!

(PS, I’m not a gardener…..I kill more plants than actually survive…..if you were a plant, your odds of survival in my care are very limited……let’s hope I don’t have this same bad luck with our future children!!!!)

What can I do with these?  They aren’t weeds (like the rest of their friends that have popped up all over the garden with all of our recent rain).  NOTE: Weeding the garden is at the bottom of my fun list, along with cooking potatoes (these have been my nemesis since we got married almost 4 years ago – those buggers are NOT easy to cook !)

FLOWERS:  Do I replant them in the actual garden? What about the impending doom of winter? Will they come back next year or should I just leave them to live their Fall life at the base of the wall?  Unless I get some help with this, these pretty little beauties full of bloom and promise are goners!  Thoughts? Suggestions??

These little flowers were a good reminder that even in the clouds and gloom of a rainy “cough” Fall day, there is always something to be thankful and happy for! Happiness can sprout up where and when you least expect it!!!


Pottery Barn Who?

First, some housekeeping items! Sorry for the hiatus! A two week bout of the flu/bronchitis/severe asthma has kept this girl down and out on the couch!

Anyway!  I consider myself a bit of a fan of Pottery Barn.  Some of their stuff is nice, some of it just isn’t my taste (a bit too old school for me) and some of it, well its just plain not worth the moolah they are expecting! Who can afford this stuff?!?! Honestly!

(Side note: right now I am really digging their mercury glass pumpkins – not too outrageously priced either –  however, now that I go back to look, they are all sold out!!! Sad, I will just have to sit here and look longingly!)

I digress…….

The dining room decor was a bit disastrous from the time I moved in. I bought some “art” which I apparently loved at the time, although I think deep down I knew it was never right….(the lame college lamp was only temporary lighting for painting that was being done….don’t judge!)

Once the room was painted (Olympic Dusty Trail – Kitchen/Bath Paint), I never hung these plates back up. They had lived their 1 1/2 year life on my wall and they were exiled to the decor graveyard in the basement. Not sure if they will ever get re-purposed or just move off onto another life! (Notice how easily I get sidetracked?!?!?!)

This freshly painted wall was naked and it desperately needed something fabulous to cover with!  I had long admired the Pottery Barn Hudson shelves…

…however, in order to meat-ily enough fill the 9 ft spanse of main wall in the dining room, I wanted the 4 foot shelves.  Now, Pottery Barn does not carry these shelves anymore, but mark my words, I think they were $80 a shelf for 4 ft. (I’m not good at math people, but even for me this easy) times 2 would put us at $160 for two shelves.  Too spendy!

So, why not just DIY?? Here is a little sketch of the soon to be shelves….

So while at Lowes, I picked up the following:

1 – 8ft Pine – 1×3 (cut in half to make the back of the two shelves)

2 – 4ft Poplar – 1/2 x 2 (front pieces of the shelf – these were the only Poplar pieces bought.  The poplar was available in the exact size needed and a little better quality than the pine. Since this was the front piece, seen most, I had no problem with this minuscule splurge!)

1 – 8ft Pine – 1×6 (cut in half to make the two flat bottom pieces)

It was slightly cheaper to buy 8ft pieces of wood and cut them in half rather than buying 2 – 4 ft pieces. I just hoped they were exact to have two shelves of the exact same length! LUCKILY, I was golden.

So I came home and tacked together the basic design of the shelves. Super EASY! Honestly, it was amazing how quick this was!  They were nothing fancy, with each of the pieces just sitting flush against each other (no joints or anything).

The back piece was screwed directly into the bottom flat piece. But, because the front pieces were going to be the main focal point, I didn’t want screw holes acting as high-beams highlighting these as “I MADE THEM MYSELF!!!!”  I used some trusty wood glue and a nail gun (affectionately called Brad b/c that’s all it is for, nothing bigger than brad nails!) to tack the front onto the bottom piece. I knew there wouldn’t be weight pushing against this piece on the shelf so this was secure enough!

(Sorry, I realized I didn’t take very many pictures of this process)

Once general construction was done, I got these two 4 ft beauties (not to be confused with the 4 ft Toddlers and Tiara’s beauties – these are much more wholesome and less flashy!) ready to stain.  I used wood filler in all of the nail/tack holes and sanded them smooth.

To get the right yummy darkness I wanted, they got about 3 coats of Cabot Water-Borne polystain in Dark Oak Gloss finish. If I haven’t mentioned before, I absolutely love this stuff! It it awesome and you don’t have to wipe in between coats!

When putting on multiple coats, there is a bit of a trick to having a final shiny coat.  For the first and 2nd coats, it is important to keep your brush strokes to a minimum, but these coats are a little dull from the stain soaking into the wood (precisely what I want right?!?!)  For the final coat, it is important to put the stain on sort of heavy like (perfect for my non-delicate bull-in-a-china-shop self) to keep the sheen, but not too heavy that there are drip marks. It is important to fight the urge to go back over this layer with your brush or else your shine is gone.

Once the shelves were perfectly stained, it was time to hang them proudly. The original Hudson shelves from PB came with hanging brackets on the back.  I wanted this to be a cheap-o project and hardware can be a definite budget killer. I investigated my options at Lowes and came across these, exactly like what comes with the PB shelves…

…however, I would need 2 of the 18″ for a total of over $20 or 4 of the 6″ hangers, for a total of over $24.  Not only was that way more than I had wanted to spend, the sheer weight that these could hold was excessive.  200 pounds for the 18″ hanger? I, nor anyone else was planning to sit on these shelves….just some simple plates and decor items! No thanks.

I looked at other hanger options and realized that nothing would work to hang the shelves flush against the wall.  I was adamantly against just screwing the shelves into the studs, but after this bracket dilemma I realized it might be a feasible option.  After pulling out a million and 7 hardware drawers at Lowes, I came across these:

They were a perfect match to the stain and only a dollar and some change for a pack! PERFECTION!

Given that only one shelf is at eye level (well, my 5 ft 4.5 inch eye level) most people are none-the-wiser (until now….as my secret is exposed!) And the bottom screws are hidden behind the plates. Awesome!

Quickly “staged” here is how they look now. Dressed in simple white IKEA dishes. I’m sure I will be changing these at some point!

PB is nice, but honestly, it’s so much nicer to save some cash and know you made them yourself! What do you think?!?!


Perfect picnic taco dip

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!  I had wanted to get this post up sooner, but the flu has hit me hard this past week. Even derailed my trip to the beach this weekend. NO FUN!!

It may be a little late, as most Labor Day picnics are going on today or tomorrow, but this dip is one of our favorites for picnics and is super easy to make! Actually, it has become Shaun’s thing to make for events.  I actually stole this recipe from my sister. She won’t mind me sharing!!!

Necessities:

2 – 8oz packages of cream cheese (you can use the reduced fat version, but it makes the dip runnier – your choice! It’s a picnic! It’s the time to eat bad food!)

1 cup of mild salsa

1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (variation: you can also use the taco flavored cheese for an extra kick – I like it simple!)

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

3-4 grape tomatoes – sliced

How to:

Combine softened cream cheese with salsa (the mixture should take on a pink color – really no white should be left for a nice strong flavor. I usually eye-ball the amount of salsa to use – with taste tests along the way – typically 1 cup of salsa)

Spread into shallow serving dish (something festive is always nice!)

Layer lettuce on top of mixture, followed by cheese and sliced tomatoes

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips for scooping!!

 

THAT’S IT!!! Easy cheesy right?!?! Honestly, super simple and takes a total of 10 minutes to make, depending on how weak your arms are to mix the cream cheese and salsa. These girly arms need to heat the cream cheese in the microwave to make it nice and easy to mix!

Hope you enjoy and have lots of fun, holiday-weekend activities planned!!!!