Let there be light….DIY Lampshade…

Unique DIY grapevine lamp shade instructions

This spring when we were cleaning out some wild grapevines from out landscape I made a wreath. While I was making that wreath, I had a brainstorm, to make a grapevine lampshade. So I went to Goodwill to get a cheap lampshade. I found just what I was looking for! Only $2.99😬

You need to make sure it has vertical supports.

Cut off all old covering and remove the covering off the top and bottom rings. The one I bought was a plastic material.

Once the old covering is gone now it’s time to weave the grapevine around the shade frame. Make sure you alternate front and behind the vertical supports as you go around. When you come to the end of a vine just tuck the end of the new one and continue weaving.

Keep weaving in and out until you fill the frame.

Once your satisfied with the look tuck in the last end and make sure any loose ends on the inside are tucked in tight so they won’t get too close to your light bulb. Now just let it dry out and fade to brown! (It only takes a couple days to turn brownπŸ˜‰)

Now I know not everyone lives in a woods like I do with wild grapevine all over. But you could use the same process with rope, twine, ribbon or fabric strips to customize your lampshade to your decor!  I’m thrilled with the way it turned out!!😊

The envelope sham please…

I have been on the hunt for new euro shams since I redid my bedroom this spring. First of all they aren’t the easiest thing to find for a reasonable price. I have a really hard time paying $30-40 for something I know I can make. So I decided to make my own. I bought a 54″x84″ curtain panel at Target for the material (it only cost $16).

That is one of my biggest helpful hints when looking for fabric for your home dec projects. Curtain panels and tablecloths come in a wide variety of patterns and sizes. They are very affordable when you think about how much fabric you get for your money! 

One curtain panel has enough fabric to make three envelope style shams. This is just what I needed! I have a queen size bed and two euros looked too skimpy to me…

I think Krimley agrees we need 3 euro shams.

Here’s how I made the shams: 

1. cut off the rod pocket and the hem.

(You can throw the pieces you cut off away or keep for another project??)

2. measure out and mark the fabric in 26″ increments from the top to bottom of the panel. (Raw edge to raw edge)

3. cut the 26″ panels. Each panel will have two raw edges and the two finished edges that were the side seams of the panel.  

4. Now fold right sides together with an overlap in the middle (the overlap will be the finished edges) Each sham should measure 25″ wide so adjust accordingly. 

5. Secure edges with pins and sew each raw edge with a 1/2″ seam allowance. 

6. I normally backstich over the overlapped edges to keeps the stiches from breaking when stuffing the sham. 

Now all there is to do is turn the sham  right side out, press and stuff it with the form  (if these were going to be on a sofa or used for more than decoration I would recommend adding Velcro to the overlap to keep it closed) 

So for $16 and about an hour of my time I got three custom euro shams!

For the love of ironstone…

Since junking season is in full force I wanted to share a way to clean up ironstone pieces that have those brown stains.  Recently I picked up an ironstone cake stand for $5 it was severely stained on top and had a little on the side. I knew I had cleaned a bowl, years ago so I wanted to try it again! The cake stand was in perfect condition other than the stains.

The secret to getting rid of the stains is hydrogen peroxide! You will need enough to cover your piece in a bucket or pan that your piece fits into. 

There’s nothing special about the peroxide, I got mine at the dollar store! Pour enough to completely submerge the piece then put a cover on the bucket or pan and let it soak for a couple days. After it has soaked set the piece in the sun for a few hours to completely dry out. You will be amazed at how well this works! I will say the stains aren’t completely gone but they are so faint no one would ever notice especially if there’s a cake sitting on itπŸ˜‰  

Can you believe the transformation πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ So, now when your out at a flea market or tag sale and see that ironstone piece with stains snatch it up and give this a try I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! 

Shrimp boil packets….

Wanted to do a quick post on a really easy quick recipe that has tons of flavor! I saw this recipe on Facebook so we tried it out tonight…it was so yummy!

You will need some heavy duty foil to make the packets. I used the Reynolds Grill Non-stick foil but you could use any wide heavy duty foil and just oil, or spray with Pam. 


  • Uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Spicy link sausage (I used Oscar Meyer Selects roasted pepper& onion)
  • Potatoes
  • Corn on the cob
  • Onions
  • Chopped garlic
  • Parsley (optional)
  • Old bay spice
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

Slice the sausage in bite size pieces, cube the potatoes, cut the corn into 1-2″ pieces 

Divide all ingredients into 3-4 packets, season, drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and put a pat of butter in each package

Fold over and crimp the edges of the packets tight

Cook on the grill for 10 minutes or until all the ingredients are done

Serve! Can’t beat a quick, easy and tasty supper that doesn’t disappoint! Enjoy! 

DIY Two Tiered Tray…

I have been loving the look of these trays for some time, but to buy one they are rather expensive…I think! A few days ago my new IG friend Jennifer of @downshilohroad posted a tiered tray she had DIY’d. 

She inspired me to make one of my own!….

I bought my wood chargers and finial at Hobby Lobby using my 40% off coupon (I was too impatient to wait on them to go on sale) I bought the spindle and the feet at Menards. The home improvement stores have a few different options for parts, porch spindles, furniture legs, dowel rods, stairway ballisters. So let your imagination run wild and think outside the box!

I chose to screw my pieces together. (Partly because DH always wants things built like a tank…) so I used 1/4″ x 2″ plain dowel screw (that is a screw with threads on both ends) between the finial, top charger and top of the spindle. Then a 1/4″ lag screw between the bottom charger and the bottom end of the spindle … 

I did however use gorilla super glue for the feet and they seem to be attached securely. So if you don’t want to get the drill out and buy the special screws try some super glue! 

We drilled pilot holes in all the pieces before screwing the pieces together for a ‘dry fit’ . 

After I was happy with the configuration I took it apart to make it easier to paint. I just used some old white flat paint we had leftover and did a couple thin coats.

After the paint dried overnight I distressed the edges on all the pieces. 

After they were all distressed I topcoated it with a walnut stain making sure to really rub it in on the distressed areas. 

After the stain dried I put it back together, then had some fun styling it!I really am happy with the way it turned out. I think it has a Restoration Hardware kinda feel to it!  Plus I have less than $20 in mine!!! So don’t be afraid to make yourself a tiered tray and you can paint or stain it any way you want to fit into your home! 

Would love to see your tiered trays if you decide to make one of your own! Post a picture in the comments or you can find me on Instagram @karen.says

Urban Barn Pop Up Sale…

This past weekend I finally got to go to a pop up sale at place called Urban Barn. She has a sale two or three times a year and until this past Saturday I’ve not been able to get there. I went with a couple girlfriends from work and we started our day with Bloody Mary’s!

The sale wasn’t very big but there were several booths set up outside the barn offering all sorts of rusty, chippy, shabulous goodies! 

I couldn’t even get passed the first gentleman’s booth without grabbing up several pieces including feed sacks, metal gears and a cool blue pulley! The next booth had a lot of shabby chic pieces but had the perfect piece for a spot on my gallery wall. An old rusty scale! I’d been looking for something just like this!!

Doesn’t it look great on my wall?? πŸ˜€

We finally made it into the barn and it was filled with vignettes and tons of great pieces!

I could have spent a fortune in there but I kept my senses, despite they were offering sangria…

I only bought this sign in the barn. It hasn’t found a home yet, but I’m sure it will very soon! 

Like I said it wasn’t a huge sale but it was a nice morning to have a little girls outing close to home! Plus we got to bring home a few treasures to work into our homes! 

Don’t squeeze please!!!

The other day I was grocery shopping and was looking at the avocados. There was another shopper looking at them also. They were on sale, so the selection wasn’t great. The other shopper proceeded to squeeze each avocado she picked up, to test if they were ripe…ugh!

I believe an avocado is like a banana or a peach, if you squeeze it you are bruising the flesh and it will lead to dark mushy areas. I personally don’t enjoy dark mushy areas on my fruit that I pay good money for! So, I took the opportunity to tell her the way I select avocados (which has rarely failed me). I learned this trick from the cooking channel years ago. 

If you are buying avocados that have already turned the usual brownish green color, the only way I know to insure they aren’t too over ripe is to flick off the remainder of the stem. 

This is the stem end that needs to be removed

If the exposed flesh is green you have an avocado that is ripe, slightly soft and creamy. Perfect! If the exposed flesh is brown, leave it! It’s over ripe and wil have dark areas inside. 

Left-green flesh under the stem, just right! Right-brown under the stem, leave it!

Unfortunately the other shopper didn’t heed my advice, and proceeded to squeeze every avocado she picked up, leaving bruised fruit in her wake….

A couple more tidbits I’ve learned about avocados:

  • Don’t buy all of them the same color if you aren’t planning on eating all them right away. I usually buy a couple that are suitable for eating right way and a couple that are more green to have later in the week. 
  • Green avocados will ripen on the counter nicely
  • To stop or slow the ripening put them in the refrigerator 
  • Store an unused half with the seed still in it, in the refrigerator 
  • Wrap the unused half in plastic wrap with the wrap touching as much of the exposed flesh as possible. This will cut down the amount of browning. If it’s too brown when you are ready to eat it, scrape off the brown layer and it will be nice and green underneath!

I love avocados (if you couldn’t tell πŸ˜‰ I hope I have been able to make choosing the perfect avocado easier for you! Enjoy!

Mirror mirror…

I have been admiring in stores, on Pinterest and Instagram driftwood mirrors for some time. But to buy one of these mirrors it would have been well over $100 and I knew I could put one together myself for much less! Not to mention it would be more meaningful to use driftwood I collected myself while on vacation.  So a couple years ago I started collecting driftwood during our summer beach vacations on Lake Michigan. Every time I would bring a piece back from a walk my husband would say we don’t need another piece of driftwood. Part of the reason he grumbled so much was the fact that our beach is 222 steps down the bluff, which means it’s 222 steps to carry the driftwood back up to the house on the bluff…:O

Beach stairs

So I finally decided to put together my driftwood mirror a few days ago and I love the way it turned out! Here are the steps of how I put my mirror together:

 Here’s all the driftwood…looks like a lot but I used most of it.. 

I bought a 12″ mirror at the craft store


 I laid it out first to see if I had enough driftwood and to decide how I wanted it to look.


I had my husband cut a board just slightly bigger than the mirror. We left it square since the driftwood would cover it up anyway. I painted it to mimick the color of the wood. I used a light and dark gray along with tan and applied with a dry brush technique


I attached the mirror in the center of the board with liquid nails. This takes  a few minutes to set up so you can re-position it if needed.


After the mirror is attached I began to layout the driftwood with the longest pieces first. I also used a paper plate to help me keep my placement even around the outside of the mirror.  I used my hot glue gun to attach the driftwood to the wood backer board.


I kept gluing pieces until I had the whole board covered then began layering smaller pieces in between to hide any open spots. 



 After I finished I attached a saw tooth hanger to the back and hung it up in my family room where I get to look at it every day and remember our family trips to the beach! 



Hidden Gem…

Last weekend we finally got to go to a new local winery. We had planned on going on Valenitnes Day but Mother Nature changed our plans with a winter storm that evening…ugh! Anyway we finally made a visit with our friends Clare and Earl, our daughter Molly and her boyfriend Chris last Saurday. It was fun to be able to take Clare and Earl to a winery because they are from northern Indiana and have quick access to a lot of the Michigan wineries.  

The winery is called The Belgian Horse Winery and is located outside Middletown, Indiana on a farm that has been in the same family for six generations.  

The building that the tasting room is in, is a nicely refinished barn with several tables to sit and enjoy a glass or bottle of wine and visit with friends. (We were there during the NCAA men’s basketball games and they are equipped with big screen TVs, Mike was happy about that!) 

They have a gift shop with a variety of offerings from hats and jewelry to wine related items and pottery.


The building also has an upstairs where they have entertainment on Wednesday evenings and on Sunday’s they have ‘wine and yoga’ classes! (What’s not to love about a yoga class that ends with a calming glass of wine!)

They have a nice selection of wines from sweet fruit wines to more dry Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc. The fruit wines are named after family members and each one’s label has a picture of its namesake. 

We all decided to do a tasting since it was our first time experiencing their wines. 

We did our tasting and then had a glass of our favorites. Chris, Mike and I chose the Cabernet Franc for our glass, Molly had the Concord, Clare chose the Pino Gris and Earl was the DD! 

As usual at any winery if you buy a case of wine you get a discount, so we decided to split a case! 

The atmosphere at Belgian Horse Winery is very laid back and friendly, just what you would expect in the country. The building is beautifully done with a rustic wine country feel. We will definitely be going back! It’s nice that it’s only about 5 miles from our house so we can run over whenever the mood strikes us. I look forward to going this summer and enjoying a glass of wine and some music outside under the stars!  

Make sure to check them out on Facebook or online at belgianhorsewinery.com and if your in the neighborhood stop by and enjoy!

Bucket list trip….

A couple weeks ago we got to take a quick trip to Key West! It’s something we have always wanted to do but never took the plunge until this year. We went with our BFFs Clare and Earl and it was a blast from the start! We flew into Ft. Meyers and was able to stay with Clare’s parents on Friday night. It was great to see Dan and Therese, they are like family to us and made us feel right at home. On Saturday morning we went to Ft Meyers beach to catch the Key West Express boat to cruise over to Key West. 


It took about three hours to get there. The boat can hold about 500 people, has three levels, a bar, a snack bar, on board tv and seating inside and out. 


The ride was really smooth (no Dramamine needed!) but unfortunately the weather was too cool to spend much time up on the top deck outside. 


We did stay up top when we were pulling into Key West. The water was a beautiful Caribbean Blue.


Once we left the boat we elected to walk to our hotel in the south side of the island, the Blue Marlin. 

It was a cute little boutique hotel that has been totally refinished. It was clean, comfortable, the staff was friendly and very helpful.

After checking in we started our journey to see the sights. The first stop was the southern most point.  The line was way too long to get a front view of the marker so we opted for a quick selfie with the side of the marker..;)

Next on the agenda was to find lunch. On the way we found a gentleman selling cold fresh coconut water.  He took the coconuts out of a cooler drilled a hole in them and inserted straws. It was so good! Lots better that what comes in the bottle from the store..ha!


Along the way we encountered some of the locals.

We had lunch at a cute little cafe with an outdoor balcony called the Banana Cafe.


After lunch we stopped by the Rum Bar and tried a flight of rum. 


The bartender seemed very knowledgeable on the subject, he asked us what kind of spirits we like, if we like dry or sweet, then selected 5 different rums for us to sample. They were all good but the hands down favorite was the Plantation Barbados Rum.

For the rest of the afternoon we leisurely walked down Duval Street, stopping here and there whenever something looked interesting, like the Rum Runner. We almost missed it but we’re pleasantly surprised once we made our way down the walkway off the street. 




Along the way there are some beautiful old buildings that have stood the test of time, they may have been repurposed but are still standing!

Here are a couple more interesting places along the way…

The plan was to make it to Mallory Square for sunset. People congregate there every evening to toast the sunset. The square is filled with street entertainers, vendors and sunset toasters!  

After sunset we headed back down Duval and stopped by a couple Key West institutions, Sloppy Joes and Hogs Breath Saloon.

On our walk back to the hotel we encountered another local, a six toed cat. I understand Hemingway had six toed cats so this must be a descendent of one of his cats!

We had most of the day Sunday to continue to explore before we had to be back on the boat to Ft. Meyers. So after we ate breakfast by the pool we went to the beach. Beaches at Key West aren’t like the typical Florida beach, they are smaller and not as plentiful. But we couldn’t go to Florida and not eek out at least a little beach time!

Next was to find a place for lunch and we were on the hunt for hogfish! We ended up at a little place called Off the Hook, we had key west pink shrimp cocktails, hogfish sandwiches and a toast to a great time with great friends and many great memories. The shrimp was awesome, some of the best I have ever had and the hogfish was delicious!

We found a place that sold only macarons, we had never had one so we had them for dessert!

The rest of the afternoon we just shopped a little and made our way back to the dock to wait for time to board the boat and enjoy the scenery and weather

On our cruise back to Ft Meyers we got to see another sunset

Although our time in Key West was short we really did fall in love with it. We love the island feel that everyone talks about, but it also has a small town feel to it. There aren’t giant condos on every corner and the streets are lined with quaint cottages and beautiful beach houses.


We elected to explore on foot, but there are many places to rent golf carts and bicycles. We definitely got our steps in each day! Our fitness trackers showed we walked about 8 miles each day! 

Hopefully if we ever get back it will be for a longer visit and we will be able to get off the main drag and explore more of the island! I’m so glad we took the plunge and made this trip!!