Thursday, July 27, 2017

DIY Cleaners Using Dawn Detergent

If you don't have a bottle of this in your house....
You need to put it on your list of must buys!

I know I could use this for it's primary purpose....washing dishes....

BUT...honestly...I use the bulk stuff from Costco on a regular basis....

Using a decorative bottle with a pouring top is something I learned from Martha Stewart's Good Things!

I posted about that 5 or 6 years ago.....

So....what DO I use Dawn Detergent for?

You will not believe how well this works!
Spray it on.....walk away for awhile.....scrub a little.....DONE!

This formula also does a great job on crusty water stained glass and plastic.
These two acrylic beverage tubs are favorites of mine.  They get used for lots of things besides conditioning flowers for events.  I was almost ready to give up on being able to put them out for can see how crusty the build up was.  A little of the "miracle" sauce and they were back to sparkly and shiny.

On to Part TWO

Seriously folks....this truly is almost magic.

I have tried it on a bunch of things with pretty darn good results.

One of Marvin the cat's least favorite "issues" is his BULIMIA!  Yup...he overeats and purges all over the carpet!  Since the cat food has orange dye in it....the stains are GROSS!
Of course, he always chooses to leave his treasures on the beige carpet!

 It takes a little time and some elbow grease with the solution of Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide.

Because it is pretty takes a good bit of rinsing and blotting to get all the soap residue up.

 Can you believe the way this works!?
Now...I just need to troll through the house and find the old stains....and get them erased!

I don't have photos of all the successful stain removal, but here are a couple of examples that have worked:

Wine stain on a shirt that had been washed and dried several times......gone in 10 minutes!
Grease stain on my favorite gray sweatshirt.....gone!
Dirty white tennis shoes....scrubbed....and bright white again!

This concoction will be my go to for pesky stains from now on!

I guess you could say:

Have A Great Day!

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Upholster an Old Office Chair

 Yup.....we all have at least one office chair.
An office or task chair is one of those necessities that you really can't do without.
Even new ones usually lack any kind of decor charm.
The one in my sewing room IS NOT new.....and it certainly has no charm!

I learned to "upscale" an office chair a couple of years ago to make an eyesore part of the decor.

I could not believe how easy it is to do. is easy to do if you have the right KIND of chair.
Notice that the cushions on this chair are inserted in a plastic frame.
All it takes for this project is:

Some really pretty fabric!

AND.....a couple of really basic tools.

It is just a matter of cutting two pieces of fabric the size of the cushion with about 2 inches of overlap.

Most decorator fabric is 54-60 inches wide.
You only need about a yard of fabric to do both the back and seat cushion.
But of course you will need to measure to be sure!

Cut the fabric to size.
Round the corners off to reduce the amount of fabric as you go around the frame.

It is a simple matter to just push the fabric in between the plastic frame and the cushion.

The putty knife usually works well.
Sometimes the screw driver helps to pull the frame out a bit to get the fabric started.

Make sure to pull and stretch the fabric tight.

One suggestion is to do part of the top, then part of the bottom, and part of each side.  This helps you get a tight fit.
Finish by going all the way around.

There is plenty of give in the plastic to get the fabric in there.

For about $10 and an hour of work time...the ugly utilitarian looks like part of the decor!

When I walked by the framed poster that was hanging in a different room....I said "AHA!"
The colors couldn't be a better match.

Here are a couple of posts I did a few years ago that give even more details.

The "manly" desk chair for Mr. S.

The "old version" of my sewing chair.

I hope this inspires you to upscale your own chair.

Have A Great Day!
Link Parties
Coastal Charm
Make It Pretty Monday 
I DIYed That 
Eclectic Red Barn

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Do Ahead Summer Drinks for a Crowd

In the good old Summertime there are two staples that need to be in the Sweetwater refrigerator at all times:

UNsweetened Sun Tea and Lemonade.

 Around is "not okay" to run out of either!
Over the years, I have learned a couple of tricks to make sure that never happens.
These tricks really come in handy when we have informal gatherings.

It is always so hard to plan how much tea and lemonade you will need....
I hate making gigantic containers of beverages that take up space in the refrigerator and might not get used.

So.......I keep some "concentrate" of these drinks ready to mix quickly when the pitcher is empty.
These concentrates are almost "instant" with out the "instant" taste.


16 teabags
1 quart hot water

Let this sit for a couple of hours.
Give the tea bags a stir and squish them against the side of the bowl every once in a while.

(don't you love my technical recipe directions)

Discard the tea bags...again wring out all that strong tea goodness....


 Store the concentrate in the refrigerator.

This container will make at least 2 gallons of tea.

Just fill your pitcher 3/4 full of very cold water and pour in the concentrate to fill it up.

This recipe makes tea that is not cloudy.  It mimics sun tea that way.

When I have tried boiling this on the stove....the result is cloudy tea.

I imagine there is science in there somewhere....hmmmm!

Quick and Easy "Homemade" Lemonade

1 part Simple Syrup
*1 part RealLemon Juice
4 parts Water
Lemon slices for garnish

Mix it up and enjoy!

Simple syrup recipe

1 part sugar
1 part water

Bring to a rolling boil.
Cool and store in refrigerator for several weeks.

 1 quart of this makes a lot of lemonade!  (it is the base for Hummingbird food too!)
*oh.....don't try to be thrifty with your lemon juice!  I bought some at the dollar store and discovered that the taste was totally strange....who knew!  I go with RealLemon....

How to Make An Arnold Palmer

 Legend has it that the late great famous golfer just started making these at home and started taking them on the course when he played.
He would often ask a bartender to mix ice tea and lemonade.....and when someone overheard him...they asked for "that Palmer Drink".  

Arnold was always embarrassed to ask for the drink by name.  He quipped that it sounded stupid to ask for a "ME"!

Anyway......the recipe for an Arnold Palmer is pretty simple....
1 part iced tea
1 part lemonade

 Obviously....these recipes aren't new or earth shattering.
The tip/trick is to make the concentrate ahead of time.
Then you have the fixings for large quantities of great tasting and refreshing beverages without the hassle of big containers.

I would love to hear all about your favorite summer beverages....and your tricks for serving them.

Have a Great Day!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Enchantment July Edition

It's time for this month's edition of the things that I find enchanting.

Remember.....enchantment is my one big word for this year.

The flowers are in full summer bloom in the garden! This lace top Hydrangea is pretty enchanting!

I am always enchanted when I can make something with the stuff in my craft stash!  This wreath is an example of that.  I am loving the polka dot burlap ribbon that I scored from the dollar store.

 Our July 4th was an enchanting gathering at the Lake with family and friends.  It is so nice that the Red Bee Balm, Blue Campanula and White Daisies all in bloom for the season.

 BUT....the most enchanting of all!

There is a new Sweetwater Grandbaby and she is pretty enchanting!

Her cousin thinks so too!
See if you can figure out what her name is!
I will give you a couple of hints!

Have A Wonderful Day!

Friday, June 30, 2017

You Can Upscale Carnations To Look Like Expensive Flowers

Do you hate carnations?
If so, you are not alone.  I used to hate them too! is time to stop your flower snobbery and consider this lowly flower.

As flowers go, you can’t find more affordable and long-lasting bloom...or one that come in such a wide array of fantastic colors.  (NO....not the strange dyed colors....but the real ones)


If you want an upscaled look for have to think beyond sticking one flower in a bud vase....

In fact.....there are ways to make carnations resemble expensive flowers like Hydrangeas and Peonies!

I bet that got your attention!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Get Your Flowers in Condition to Last!

If you don't know the term flower conditioning, then this is the post for you!

 You don't need exercise equipment to condition your flowers.....

Conditioning means preparing cut plants/flowers before arranging them.

The right conditioning for the right flowers makes all the difference.

Taking the extra time to condition your blooms pays off with the extra time you will be able to enjoy your gorgeous flowers.

Here are a couple of examples of how conditioning makes a difference:

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Am SO Manipulating and Proud of It!

I have been playing around with using leaves in interesting ways in floral arrangements.
Who Knew?
That is called leaf manipulation!

Oh sure....manipulation almost always gets a bad rap....and for good reason most of the time.
But if you read definition 1. below, you discover that manipulation is about skill.

noun: manipulation; plural noun: manipulation
  1. the action of manipulating something in a skillful manner.

    "the format allows fast picture manipulation"
  2.       the action of manipulating someone in a clever or unscrupulous way.

    "there was no deliberate manipulation of visitors' emotions"

Here at Sweetwater.....I have been very manipulating Hosta leaves in floral arrangements.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Enchantment in June-Peony Pride!

If you remember, my word for 2017 is enchantment!
June...and the Peony Garden here at Sweetwater is "bustin' out all over"!
Those pretty, perfect, plump, profuse blooms are where I am finding enchantment right now.
This post is about images.....and very few words.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Ground Covers Everyone Needs!

Have you seen the price of plants?
Oh My.....
We went to the garden center yesterday.
We were in awe of the folks with carts loaded to overflowing with annuals and perennials.
Our little cart with just a few plants ended up costing almost $50....for like almost nothing!

The gardens at Sweetwater cover a lot of ground.
One thrifty solution if you have a lot of ground to yourself some ground covers!

ground cov·er
ˈɡround ˈˌkəvər/
noun: ground cover; plural noun: ground covers;
  1. low-growing, spreading plants that help to stop weeds from growing.

Here is a round-up of the GOOD ground covers that work around here.

Pachysandra – Another popular shade ground cover is pachysandra. Pachysandra reaches up to a foot in height and has large dark green leaves. These are great as a filler for foundation gardens that include larger bushes. As ground covers for shade go, pachysandra is perfect for these areas because it can cover the ground under the bushes and prevent weeds and other things from growing, giving your foundation garden a neat look.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Learn More About Ground Covers For Shade

Bugleweed (Ajuga)—The leaves of the Ajuga are such pretty colors. It is a good spreader....sometimes it spreads right into the grass! The purple flowers that appear in late spring to early summer don't last long but they are pretty.  The photo above is the way it looks right now....guess it should be dead headed!


Ginger (Asarum)—I love the mounds of Wild Ginger that have cropped up throughout the shadiest parts of the garden.  This is strictly a foliage has these cool looking "flowers" at the base of the plants....except you can hardly see them.  The leaves of this plant stand up well in cut flower arrangements.


Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla)—This one has such pretty soft-green leaves and forms mounds that spread well. Once established, it is super hardy.  The chartreuse flowers look a little like green Baby's Breath.  They bloom at the same time as my Peonies and are really pretty mixed into those bouquets.  This one does need dead heading and pruning back around the 4th of July around here.  Otherwise the leaves look a little brittle.

  1. Lamium (Lamium maculatum)—I have these pretties sprouting up everywhere in the shady woodsy areas of the garden.  I somehow got 3 or 4 different varieties.  The flowers are early bright spots in the garden.  This is a great plant to pull up and plant in pots for early color before you can plant annuals.  I let it bloom then pull it out like weeds over the summer.  It always makes a reappearance.
  1. Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)—I love this glossy evergreen plant.  It actually stays green all winter....even here in the frozen tundra.  If you can get this to can cover a lot of ground :). I often use the leaves of pachysandra as the base for floral arrangements. 
Stonecrop (sedum)- There are so many of varieties of sedum that make great gound covers.  I am not sure of the name of the variety that grows around in our gardens....but it is certainly a hardy one.  I use this for fill in large planters that will be in full sun.  Love the yellow flowers that will come in a couple of weeks.

Fern-  If you have shade and a lot of space, then ferns are a good ground cover.  Our fern bed started with 3 little ones and now has taken over a pretty big area.  Ferns are a great cover up for things like our compost bin.  I am always careful walking through the ferns this time of year.  Sometimes the mother deer will bed her fawns down under them....a perfect hiding place.  My this photo our ferns look more like a jungle than the woodlands!

Creeping Thyme-  This sun lover is often called a steppable.  It grows in a dense mat on top of the rocks here.  I love the purple flowers that are just starting to bloom.  I try to transplant this to other areas and sometimes I am successful.....but if you can plant it in an area that you step on....the smell is amazing.

These are my favorite ground covers....what are yours?
I would love to try some new ones!

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties
A Morning Cup of Joe
Pachysandra – Another popular shade ground cover is pachysandra. Pachysandra reaches up to a foot in height and has large dark green leaves. These are great as a filler for foundation gardens that include larger bushes. As ground covers for shade go, pachysandra is perfect for these areas because it can cover the ground under the bushes and prevent weeds and other things from growing, giving your foundation garden a neat look.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Learn More About Ground Covers For Shade
Pachysandra – Another popular shade ground cover is pachysandra. Pachysandra reaches up to a foot in height and has large dark green leaves. These are great as a filler for foundation gardens that include larger bushes. As ground covers for shade go, pachysandra is perfect for these areas because it can cover the ground under the bushes and prevent weeds and other things from growing, giving your foundation garden a neat look.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Learn More About Ground Covers For Shade
Pachysandra is a favorite ground cover plant in hard-to-plant areas such as under trees, or in shady areas with poor or acidic soil. Unlike other plants, pachysandra ground cover does not mind competing for its nutrients, and growing pachysandra plants is easy if you have an abundance of shade in your landscape

Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing Pachysandra Plants – How To Plant Pachysandra Ground Cover