Hi All!

Congratulations to the  Graduates - Class of 2012!!!
Here it is June already, May certainly flew by - like a blink of the eye.  Today I have some birdhouses to share.  We wanted some table decorations for Jess and J's (aka "the twins") Graduation Party.  Um wait - - -ummmmm... did I just say Jess and J's graduation party???  OMG!!!  Where did those 18 years go!!!  Time, just slow down some would you - here I am thinking a month flew by when in reality - I am not sure where the last 18 years went...that's scary!!! 

Reality is - I could spend the rest of this post gushing over how great these two graduates are  - - but if I do - I may not be very popular with them for a while so - - suffice it to say we are soooooooooooo proud of both of them!!!  Congratulations!!!

Since we are honoring two graduates, I decided on two birds on each  birdhouse.  Each bird is perched - ready for a little test flight (just to the beach for Senior Week though - - as long as it is okay with Mom).    
I picked up the birds, unfinished birdhouses and twig branches at Michael's. 

I thought the birdhouses looked pretty good - so I dug right in and started to spray on a coat of primer.  OOooops!  Reality is - once I had a coat of primer on the first one - - I realized they were going to need additional prep work to cover  the nail holes and some other rough spots that had magically appeared.  So I spread a little Bondo on, let it dry and sanded.  Sure it required more effort but it greatly improved the finished look (and let me tell you - these two are worth it). 

After sanding - make sure you remove all of the dust prior to applying the primer and then painting.  I keep an old hairdryer with my other tools, it works great for getting into some of the nooks and crannies that you otherwise just can't reach.  Once the paint dried, the birds were hot glued to the house and small river rocks were scattered in the bottom. 

If you decide to add a tea light (or candle) - do not  burn candles unattended and I also recommend you glue the bottom of the tealight  or votive to the bottom of the bird cage to ensure it does not become a fire hazard.  Sound like the voice of experience???  Yep...you bet - apparently one of the tea lights shifted during transportation and was toooooooo close to the side of the cage.  Fortunately our lovely daughter-in-law was standing nearby and quickly extinguished the growing flame. 

We had eight  tables so we made two birdhouses in each of the four colors.  Two green... 
I wasn't pleased with the way the twigs were fastened in that picture above - so I made a slight modification to hot glue the branches to the roof and then added a bow to look like this. 
(That's better).  Then I proceeded to make two in blue...
Two in red...
And...two in brown...
To break up the white birdhouses on the white tablecloth - we used a varigated green placemat under each of the birdhouses. 
The variations in green in the placemat tied in with the varigated greens in the candles used in the hurricanes.  I picked up the candles on clearance at Michael's for less than $2 a piece.  I already had the hurricanes and the twigs were left over from the birdhouses. 

The bottom of the hurricanes were filled with river rocks to match the flooring in the birdhouse and twisted twigs were added to further tie them into the birdhouses.   On the tables, we alternated the birdhouses and hurricanes.
We liked the way that all the materials used for the hurricanes and birdhouses tied in with the outdoor setting for the graduation party. 
While I was making these, I got to thinking you could use these little birdhouses for various events such as baby and bridal showers, weddings, birthdays, Easter or Spring... 

A word to the Graduates:  Your dedication, energy, time and other sacrifices have certainly paid off.   As you reach this milestone - you  can be very proud of your accomplishments.  As you celebrate, pause to recognize the strength within you to be everything you dream to be through self-determination.   We wish you continued success and fulfillment in all of your future endeavors.  We love you!!!Congratulations!!!

So I am curious, anybody else decorating for a graduation party?  If so, I'd love to hear your ideas. 

(aka Nan)  XOXOX  Hugs, kisses and Best Wishes!
Candace Creations

Don't you just love all the candleholders and lanterns on the market today?  There are porcelain ones, metal ones, metal and glass and everything in between.  Well I love them too in fact they are the inspiration for today's post - showing you how you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. 

Recently, I was shopping at Ace hardware and spotted these sheets (36 "x 24") of aluminum mesh.  Here they are in their original color.
Aren't they great?   I'll bet you are already thinking of a project for these.   When I saw them - I just knew I had to have some!  I picked some  up and couldn't wait to get home to experiment.  Side note - I recently saw Lowe's also carries the aluminum sheets in this size and a smaller size - I don't recall the measurements of the smaller one (I am guessing it's half the size).   So here we go.  
Gather your supplies:

Glass Cylinder(s)
Aluminum Mesh
Paint in the color of your choice
Aluminum Snips

Candles or Tealights
Rubber bands

I had some glass cylinders from Michael's.  I started out by cleaning the glass but you can wait to do that when you are done.  You are  going to be handling them throughout this process so I'd just  wait until you are done to make them sparkle.  Unless you want to clean them twice, like me!

Measure  the height and the distance around each container.  To ensure that I would have  enough mesh to secure the ends after wrapping the mesh around the cylinder I  added one inch to that measurement.  I didn't get a picture of cutting the pieces but it is relatively simple - just be careful - - the edges are a little sharp.  So you may want to sand off any sharp edges before you paint. 

While the pieces are still flat, paint both sides of the mesh.  If you want to do both sides at the same time just hang each piece up with a piece of wire.  Be sure to paint the edges for a finished look.  Let your paint dry at least 24 hours - just to be sure you don't mess it up while handling it in the next steps.
After the pieces are dry - take a piece of sheeting, with the right side out and shape it  snugly around your container.  You don't want to make it too tight though - a  snug fit will still allow you to remove the sheeting (by sliding it off the bottom of the glass) when you need to clean the glass.  By the way, no - my glass isn't cracked in the picture above - that is just where I started to unroll the wire and remembered to take a picture.

Next, wrap a piece of sheeting around your glass container - you can secure the lighter weight one with a couple of rubber bands or you can wire the middle and ends temporarily while you lace your wire in and out of the holes.  Cut a piece of wire approximately 2 arms length long.  Fold the wire in half.  Start at the bottom of the sheeting, and very similar to lacing a pair of sneakers - pull half of the wire through the bottom hole on the left and the other half through the bottom hole on the right.  Continue  lacing the wire up through the holes - cross the wires on the inside and outside.  If your wire is too short to make it to the top - don't worry, just twist the two ends together on the inside of the sleeve cut another wire and continue on. 

Gently slide the glass out of the sleeve as you are lacing.  Keeping the glass in place helps to keep the desired shape. 
After you have laced the sheeting together - you can lightly spray paint over the wire.  This step helps make your piece look more professional.  Even in a close up photo the wires fade away. 
Now you can wash your cylinders - because as soon as the lightly painted wires are dry - you are ready to slip the aluminum sleeve over the cylinder.  My cylinders have a tiny lip around the top so I just slide the new sleeve on from the bottom.  You are now ready to add candles or tea lights - the tea lights create nice shadows through the pattern of the sleeve. 
I liked these so much I made a few more in the Oil Rubbed Bronze as well as a set in almond.  They look awesome lit up at night.  I love candles!

Have you made anything out of aluminum sheeting or made anything similar?  If so, I'd love to hear from you. 
Here is a simple DIY project that can serve as a tabletop accent or centerpiece.  It's inexpensive, it's easy and you can easily change the look basically for the cost  of a bag of candy. 
Start with a picture frame; mine came from the Dollar Store.  You may already have a frame on hand.  Don't worry about what the picture looks like because you are going to cover it up. 

Using a screwdriver, remove any picture hanging hardware from the back of the frame.  This would also be a good time to add some small felt protectors to the back of the frame so that it doesn't scratch your table surface. 
If you can remove the back - take the picture out, cover the picture in a craft  or wrapping paper of your choice and return the freshly covered picture back   into the frame.  If for some reason you can't remove the picture - you could  spray paint the frame and glass or you could cover the top of the glass.  You  really aren't going to see the paper anyway.  I used some left over wrapping paper right over the glass (secured with double faced tape) - because as I said you won't see it, the filler will cover it up. 

Add candles and a filler of your choice and woah-lah a customizable accent for your home.  Here it is with yummy jelly beans.
And at night...
I am sure you can come up with dozens of ideas for different fillers for different holidays and seasons.  The possibilities are endless so don't limit yourself to edibles. 

Oh, and if you do go with candy or other edibles - - you might want to have some extra on hand - it seems to gradually disappear.  Hmmmm...

For another dollar at the Dollar Store, I picked up a bag of river rocks they come in handy when the edible fillers disappear!!!
Decor Niche
This is one of my favorite times of year. The trees are in  blossom, the grass is green, tulips and daffodils are displaying their spring colors - it is nature's renewal.  Early Spring inspires me for that extra deep cleaning inside because as soon as weather breaks I want to be outside as much as possible. Along with the cleaning it signals me to change the wreath on the front door to welcome our guests and complement the other sights and sounds of Spring.

This year the front door and shutters are getting a fresh coat of paint, we are going from green to black.  The black opens up more possiblilites so I decided to use green as my accent color for my Spring Wreath. 

So I gathered together a twig wreath, the glue gun, wire, wire cutters, silk flowers and sheer green ribbon.
If you are new to flower arranging - one of the simplest rules for beginners is what you do on what side do on the other side.  Following this rule will give symmetry to your project until you get more comfortable with some other designs. 

So, work your way around the wreath, using the wire cutters to separate your flowers.  Apply some glue to the stem and gently secure the stem by pushing it into the branches of the wreath. 

In the picture below, I have secured 3 stems.  Using the symmetry rule, you can see that the next stem will be placed on the left side. 
Continue filling in the wreath to achieve your desired fullness. 

Then secure a ribbon, I left the tails on my ribbon longer than I normally do - thinking I might like them to sway in the breezes (you can always trim them later). 
With Easter right around the corner, I decided to add a basket of eggs (that can later be removed) and then personalized it with a monogram.  Below is the finished wreath. 

Unfortunately, the wreath is shown on a white interior door.  It is a dreary day - so it will have to wait for a nicer day when it can be hung on the freshly painted door!

Decor Niche
Linked up at...
Spring Wreath
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors