Monday, July 30, 2012

Denim Blue Jeans • Iconic

I am a child of the sixties. I graduated from high school in 1970. Interesting times. It wasn't until the very end of my high school years that we were allowed to wear pants to school on the very coldest days and we absolutely were never ever allowed to wear blue jeans to school. I, along with my contemporaries graduated, went off to college, changed into jeans and rarely took them off. Denim blue jeans are comfort clothes, and denim in décor and design is comfort décor.

For months I have been collecting denim resources. Last week on the trip to the local transfer station I stopped in the swap shack. This is a shed where people put items too good to toss but they no longer need. Free exchange and recycling at its best. There I discovered 12 pairs of blue jeans in sizes ranging from 4 through 14. I have been waiting for just this type of find - resources for a project. In Pinterest I've been collecting denim ideas. The interweb is filled with creative blue jean ideas. I'll share some ideas over the next few days. Today I'll focus on denim pockets. Here are some great ideas for recycling jeans pockets.

Check out these round beauties from Finland.

source: Aarnilintu

Use pockets in multiple sizes to create this craft center organizing wall hanging...

Or this wall hanging from the Netherlands...
source: Woonideen

I simply love this bag that uses a little more than the pockets...

This notebook cover combining ribbon and a denim pocket is stunning, although in this digital age my notebook use is nearly nil.

This placement makes great use of the pocket for the napkin and silverware.

But there is so much more to jeans than just the pockets. More to follow in the next post.......

Previous Posts of Interest:

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mid-Summer Queen Anne's Lace

It is the hazy, humid hot mid point of sumer in New England and time to change the pails in my branch ladder on my front stoop.  Let's see....So far I have used begonias, daisies, and Gerber daisies. The mid summer choice for me is the delicate Queen Anne's Lace growing freely along the roadsides.

I combined it with the woodland ferns that are so successful in our garden. The bright green and white truly brighten the dark corner.

I love the delicacy of the blossoms on Queen Anne's Lace.

Previous Posts of Interest:
This project has inspired me to continue exploring ladders in décor. I collected them ll into a theme page with links to many, many different ways to use ladders in decor
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sharing at
Tatertots & Jello

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tole Painting • An Old New England Craft

My Nana (grandmother on m mother's side) was an independent, feisty, New England Yankee. She too was always creating. I remember her knitting, and completing various fabric work with needlepoint or crewel work. But the items created by her that I have on display in my home were created earlier in her life. She did a lot of tole painting which is a decorative style of painting added to everyday household utensils.

I have two metal trays embellished with flowers defined by brush stroke combinations. They are covered with a vanish yellowed by age, but none the less remind me of a remarkable woman.

Previous Posts of Interest
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Candelabra with a History

I focus back a generation as I continue on with my series about using family heirlooms in décor. Having already shared crafts from my Mom and Dad, today I introduce you to the skill of my Grandfather, known to us as Pop. Pop was blessed with incredible gardening skills (which I did not inherit!) and exceptional woodworking ability.

Hanging over our dining table is a turned wooden candlebra gifted to me from my aunt and uncle. My grandfather made this out of the wood from the apple tree I used to climb as a little girl. Special? Absolutely.

It is a combination of turned apple wood and copper tubing.

 We light the candles every evening with dinner during the darker seasons. Yes, it is homey and romantic.

I see on the blogs all the solutions for the dining room lighting and know I have the best solution of all - a beautiful candelabra made by my grampa with a story. Things like this help make a house a home!

Previous Posts of Interest
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Calendar Quilt • A Special One

I come from a creative gene pool and our home reflects that. To me, it just reflects who we are and where we came from. There have been a series of posts in the décor blog world recently about a styled home verses a decorated home and when does a home begin to look too much like a magazine. (Apartment Therapy: Propping How Much is Too Much). Using items from your past and your family is one way to avoid the "over propped" trap.

Today I want to share with you the quilt that hangs on one wall in our office space. It is one of things in our home that makes it a home. It has a story and connection to the past. It was made by my Mom. She was no ordinary crafter mind you. She did it all! She was a quilter, a knitter, a seamstress, and a weaver. She did button crafts, flower crafts, tin crafts and stained glass. She had the most amazing craft room and supply collection one could imagine. And I grew up in that environment.

This quilt is a Calendar Quilt. It is only one of the many, many quilts my Mom made but I think it is the only calendar quilt she crafted.

A calendar quilt has 12 squares, each representing a different month of the year and each completed in a different quilting technique. Fabric pattern and color are the common themes throughout. Here are a few of my favorite squares.

April is a tulip using Stained Glass Quilting

August in a Sunburst patchwork design

January is a snowflake in French knots.

February is a heart pattern.
March is shamrock in Crazy Quilt Technique

A patchwork May basket

Although I did teach her to use a computer, and she worked hard at that as well, she never got to experience blogging, or Pinterest, or Etsy. But she certainly didn't miss any of the craft experience without them! Wish she could read my blog.

Thanks, Mom!

Previous Posts of Interest
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wow! Featured!

My "hide that grill screen" is being noted all over the Internet by fellow bloggers.

Tomorrow- July 24th, I am being featured on the RoadKill Rescue blog (great name!!!) which is one of the several blogs run by the the very well known and talented Beckie of Infarrantly Creative. I'll be heading over to check it out.

On Saturday the same project was featured by Jen in Tatertots & Jello in her weekly wrap up centered around 22 painted projects. Skip over and check out the other 21. Tatertots and Jello is a place you should visit regularly because many bloggers show their stuff their. Great place to find ideas and new blogs.

And even earlier in the week my branch screen was featured at Organize and Decorate Everything! Other weekly stop for me. How about you?

Organize and Decorate Everything

Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to notice this project and my blog. Send pictures if you make any of these yourself!

And here is the featured project - combined with two enhancements...

Photograph 1 is the grill screen before enhancements.... Tutorial Here

Photo 2 is with the wood slice flowers......... Tutorial here.

And photo 3 is with the mini tea light lanterns at night... Tutorial Here

That is the beauty of this design. It is flexible!

Important Links for you:
Infarrantly Creative
Roadkill Rescue
Knock Off Decor
Tatertots & Jello
Organize and Decorate Everything

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creating that Home Feeling

There is no doubt about it - the most important things in creating a home have absolutely nothing to do with décor. That said, there are definite things one can do to give a house that homey feeling, a place with roots, warm and comfortable using décor. One of the methods I use is through using and displaying handcrafted heirlooms. I don't mean anyone's heirlooms but the treasures crafted by members of my family. These items are unique, sometimes beautiful, sometimes funky, but all have memories attached.

I was exploring in Etsy the other day and I came upon a site selling handcrafted witch hazel brooms. That is what got this series rolling. I too have a witch hazel broom. It was one of many made by my Dad years ago and it graced the hearth in my childhood home for many years. It now has a home on the hearth in our family room.

Witch Hazel brooms are hand carved from a single piece of wood. Each wood fiber is peeled back and then reversed down to create the broom. The broom end in place, curled down with a leather strap.

My Dad used witch hazel but others have used yellow birch or even white oak. Follow this link for some very basic directions and information about the process of creating this type of broom.

This particular broom also has a hand whittled ball trapped inside a cage at the handle end. That type of whittling is always fascinating especially to children, takes time and patience.

JasperJane out of Maine has the Etsy shop Out of the Woods with Witch Hazel brooms. They started my thinking about the many wonderful little things I own that are from the folks that helped inspire creativity in me.  Thanks, Dad!

Previous Posts of Interest
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wood Slice Flowers • DIY

I love when a surprise on one project inspires the next! Here is how it went this time round. While cutting the branches for the Grill Screen (posted here), I cut off the end of the branch to square it up, creating a thin branch slice. It was an inspiring slice and I saved it, but also made some others. Once the grill screen was assembled and I knew I wanted to fill in the spaces I thought back to the collection of wood slices. What if........

What if I took five, glued them together in a radial arrangement with two center disks and made a woodland flower? Oh yes. These are quite nice. I proceeded to make a collection.

And hang them in the spaces of my branch screen.

These are easy (if you have access to a band saw) and inexpensive! And I will be making more for other locations as well (like the branch ladder at the other door!)

Update: I did make them for my branch ladder - in fact I explored the concept further and made more intricate designs. Click through to the post for more info and additional tutorials.

Here is a quick run down of the process I used. I am looking forward to doing more with this technique. I can see a plethora of possibilities here!



  • Branches 3/4"- 1 1/4" in diameter (approximately)
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun
  • Power hand drill and 3/16" bit
  • Jute
  • Scissors


  • Sliced the branches into 1/8" slices. They don't need to be perfect but not too wavy either. Make a variety of slice angles but for each angle, cut similar ones in groups of five. By cutting the branch at a diagonal you create elongated ellipse forms which work well as a petal shape.
  • Also cut some round disks to serve as flower centers. You will need two for each flower.

  • Allow these to dry. It depends on how green or wet the original wood is. Hot glue doesn't work well on wet surfaces and you will minimize the cracking of the disks if you let the dry over time. I had some that had been drying for a week and some that I'd cut in the morning. The glue didn't hold well on the morning samples.
  • Arrange the disks in groups of five or six. 
  • Heat up the glue gun.

  • Put a line of glue on the flat side, around the entire edge, of the center round wood slice and press it down onto the center of the five petals. Work quickly so that the glue doesn't harden before you get it into place and apply pressure for a few seconds.
  • When the glue has hardened, flip the flower over and add a second disk to the back again using hot glue. Press it in place and hold for few seconds.

  • Using a power hand drill and a 3/16" bit, drill a hole into one of the petals in about 1/4" from the edge.

  •  Cut a length of jute and thread it through the hole knotting the two ends together about 6" out to create a hanging loop.

  • Make them in various sizes, some with five petals and some with six.

  • And find a place to hang them.

Wondering if I should finish them with polyurethane or just let them weather. Time will tell!

Previous Posts of Interest:

Sharing this post at the following Link Parties:

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy