Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bronze-aged sea stars

I found these pretty white china bisque votive holders shaped like starfish, or sea stars, as we're supposed to call them, at Christmas Tree Shops. With typical Christmas Tree value, they were just $1.69 each. All together, now: "Don't you just l-o-v-e a bargain?"

By the way, did you know the Christmas Tree Shops started in the 1970s, right here on Cape Cod? It was a small grouping of a house, a barn and outbuildings (hence shops) on meandering little Route 6A in Yarmouthport. The owners used to come down to the Cape with their small children to run the store, which was open on weekends only. In time, they opened stores all over the Cape, then in a few other Massachusetts locations before selling the business to Bed & Bath about five years ago. The distribution warehouse has moved, and the little complex on Route 6A closed down recently, and it's a sad end to an era. The family is lovely, and Mrs. Christmas Tree and her husband are still very active in giving to the Cape Cod community.

Anyway, back to the stars. I thought they were lovely, just as is, and they had a rough, unglazed texture that would add nicely to a tone on tone white and light beige look. The thing is, I'd watched an episode of Martha Stewart in which her guest showed her how to Antique an old Norwegian clock, and I was itching to, err,  blacken an object. I got home from work, and saw the stars, and though, "Maybe I'll add a little something." As it turned out, I added a little something, then, a little something more, and, well, here's the result.

What do you think?

Here's my tutorial for starfish that look like they were just raised from the deep, deep sea:

Sea Stars
from Jude at

Supplies you need:
2-3 shades of
brown and black craft paint

Wood stain
(I used Homer Formby's wiping stain in walnut)

Rub 'n Buff wax metallic finish in
Autumn gold

Equipment you need:
Rubber gloves (you'll see why)

Paint brush (sponge is fine)


Paper towels

Here are the products I used in the  "studio" aka the side of the old gas grill.
Yup, I'm a real neat worker, as you can see...

Step One:
Paint star roughly with a light coat of brown (I started with sienna).Do not cover completely, or worry about getting into every crack. While still wet, dip wet rag in a different shade of paint. This time, aim to cover the crevices and indentations.



Step Two:
Let paint dry a bit, and, using dry rag and Rub 'n Buff, 
dab and highlight the parts that stick up and along the edges,
then wipe off or add on to your taste. 
Are you thinking it would be a good idea to wear rubber gloves for this part of the process?
You are so right.
No, really, I mean that, from the very bottom of my copper-stained fingertips.

The Autumn gold surprised me by how coppery it was, but I liked it. I seem to have the same problem with Rub 'n Buff that I have with nail polish, in that I always buy the same color. I had THREE tubes of Antique gold (and I have three dozen bottles of pale pink nail polish, but that's another post.).

Step Three:
Let dry again, thoroughly this time. Dip new rag in wood stain, and scour piece again, covering much of metallic, again to your liking. For a nice effect, make sure you wipe the bottom edges of the star arms, and the upper edge of the votive indentation. I ran a cotton swab along the edges.

I'm really happy with them!

Here they are on a chest in my living room.

The original white starfish were charming, but this process gave them an ancient look, like something that's glowing at the bottom of the sea. When it's dark, the metallic highlights reflect the candlelight with a gorgeous glow. The new stars also pick up the copper of my lamp, so I'm delighted with how they look on the chest next to the big Florida shell my Nonna always kept on her coffee table -- which also has a nice alabaster shine.

You know what?  I think I like blackening!
Are you visiting me from one of these fabulous places? Well, gee, thanks -- and how sweet of you to come!

 All Thingz Related
Whatever goes Wednesday #16


Funky Junk Interiors

Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mirrored garden streamers tutorial

Garden Streamers 
by Jude at 
Dolce Cape Cod

Years ago, I received a present of small mirrored streamers to hang in my garden. They were simple sets of mirrors on either end of a string a few yards long.

They were made to be draped over branches to catch the sun, with the mirrors working as counterweights to hold the streamer in place, The streamers are quite magical when the light  reflects off the mirrors, and they're especially enchanting when a gentle breeze catches them; sparkling fairy circles of light dance across the ground.

It's like jewelry for your garden!
 I thought these would be easy to make -- and they are, now that I've worked out the kinks. Most of my effort came from finding the one and one-half inch mirrors and figuring out which kind of line to use. I found many suppliers of one-inch mirrors, but the smaller size just didn't produce the proper effect.  Fortunately, I finally found an inexpensive supplier of the correct size mirrors here. The mirrors come packaged as a cute little rolled paper cylinder.Each one-and-one-half inch mirror is 14 cents, or $10.08 plus shipping for 72 mirrors. Pretty darn inexpensive, don't you think? You'll need four mirrors for each streamer.

I also went through several prototypes using various materials to use as the streamer string that connects the sets of mirrors. Fishing line was a nightmare -- can you say "big, fat, tangled, snarly mess?" 

After that,  I decided to go the natural route, and used hemp twine. I hung the dangles outside one afternoon, and spent the next morning picking up sliced twine  from the ground where the pieces of streamers had fallen after the rough edges of the branches halved them. Next, ribbons. Very pretty, but also not  transparent, so the streamers lost the magical hey-where-did-that-light-come-from effect.


Finally, in Home Depot, I found just what I needed: twisted mason line. The price for the mason line was just a couple of dollars, and it was made of nylon, polyester and polypylene. There are times when a good, strong, man-made fiber is just what you need to survive outdoor conditions. This is one of them.

Okay, are you ready to make these for your own garden or porch? Here's my tutorial. It's only the second one I've created, so I'm very eager to hear your comments, and I'm really, really hoping everyone likes it; please come visit me here on Cape Cod at www.dolcecapecod.blogspot, and tell me what you think, okay?

Mirrored Garden Streamers

Supplies you'll need:

One and one-half inch mirrors 
(Each streamer uses 4 mirrors)

Waterproof glue (I used E-6000 and Gorilla Glue, and both worked very well)

Mason line

Equipment you'll need:


Plastic clips or clamps

Here's everything I used, lined up on my 
"work" table on the patio:

Step One:
Get your supplies ready.
For each streamer, lay out four mirrors, reflective side down.
Measure out and cut a piece of mason line several  yards long. I  used the fabric tip rough measure way: Just hold the line from your  nose to your outstretched arm. Twice.

Step Two:
Form the end of one line into a small coil, looping the end of the line through the coil several times to fasten loosely. Repeat at other end. (If you don't coil the line into loops, the weight of the mirrors will pull the string out from between the mirror sandwich, and you'll be left with string hanging down with mirrors on the lawn. There's a reason I know this.)

Step Three:
Place looped ends on mirrors and cover liberally with glue to secure.
Sandwich with other disk, and clamp securely with the plastic clips.

Step Four:
Let dry thoroughly, according to glue instructions.
I left mine to dry for 24 hours. Longer is even better. In the meantime, start making more for your friends and family; they make great gifts!

Step Five:
Drape your streamers from branches. Watch mirrors waft, spin, dangle and catch the light.

Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Words of wisdom from Ouiser Boudreax

I hate confrontations, and suffer from the "nice girl" disease. I guess that why I'm tickled by the character of Ouiser Boudreau in "Steel Magnolias," played brilliantly by Shirley MacLaine in the 1989 movie. Aren't there just times when we all want to shed our good girl role, and just say what we're secretly thinking? I have to be pushed very, very hard to get to that point, and when I am, I certainly don't have the ability to let 'er rip in any sort of comprehensible way. So, until that day comes, I'll turn to the grouchy curmudgeon, Ouiser. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the movie. What's your favorite Ouisier moment?

Clairee Belcher:. Ousier's never done a religious thing in her life.
Ouiser Boudreaux: Now that is not true. When I was in school, a bunch of my friends and I would dress up as nuns and go bar-hoppin'

He's a real gentleman! I bet he takes the dishes out of the sink before he PEES in it!

The only reason people are nice to me is because I have more money than God.

Don't try to get on my good side, Truvy. I no longer have one!

He is a boil on the butt of humanity.

The only reason people are nice to me is because I have more money than God.

I'm not as sweet as I used to be.

I'm not crazy, I've just been a very bad mood for the last 40 years.

I'm pleasant. Damn it! I saw Drum Eatenton at the Piggly Wiggly this morning, and I smiled at the son of a bitch 'fore I could help myself.

Clairee: Ouiser, you sound almost chipper. What happened today - you run over a small child or something?

I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

I learned this recipe in seventh grade Home Ec, and think I made these a hundred times when I was a teenager. Of course, I was the oldest of six children, and Dad had a sweet tooth, too, so they went quickly. I don't make these as often anymore, but they sooo fast and sooo delicious!

Judith's Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Cream together:
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt

Mix in:
2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Spoon mixture onto a large ungreased sheet pan, and with your hands, press and pat dough down evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Cool in pan, then slam pan down on hard surface to break into brittle-like pieces.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rules from God

My friend Annie sent this to me.

1. Wake Up !!... Decide to have a good day.
"Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" Psalms 118:24

2. Dress Up !! ...The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7

3. Shut Up!!...Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. "He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand Up!!... For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.. "Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..." Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look Up !!... To the Lord.
"I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." �
Philippians 4:13

6. Reach Up !!... For something higher. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5-6

7. Lift Up !!... Your Prayers..."Do not worry about anything;
Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are you well grounded? Check out the true meaning of plant catalogs

 The real meaning of plant catalog terminology:

"A favorite of birds" means to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, or clotheslines.

"Grows more beautiful each year" means "Looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future."

"Zone 5 with protection" is a variation on the phrase "Russian roulette."

"May require support" means your daughter's engineering degree will finally pay off.

"Moisture-loving" plants are ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps.

"Carefree" refers more to the plant's attitude than to your workload.

"Vigorous" is code for "has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world."

"Grandma's Favorite" -- until she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.

* My friend Annie sent this to me, and I'm assuming it's one of those circulating-the-web items, but please let me know if you know the proper attribution, or if I'm violating copywrite. Thank you!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chickery chick cha-la cha-la!

Here's a song my Mom used to sing to us, usually in the car. A short time ago, I was singing it to my niece Bella while was rocking her to sleep, and wanted to find the words. It was the top hit in 1945!

Chickery Chick
#1 hit for Sammy Kaye in 1945
- words by Sylvia Dee, music by Sidney Lippman

Once there lived a chicken who would say "chick-chick"
"Chick-chick" all day
Soon that chick got sick and tired of just "chick-chick"
So one morning he started to say:

"Chickery chick, cha-la, cha-la
Check-a-la romey in a bananika
Bollika, wollika, can't you see
Chickery chick is me?"

Every time you're sick an tired of just the same old thing
Sayin' just the same old words all day
Be just like the chicken who found something new to sing
Open up your mouth and start to say

"Chickery chick, cha-la, cha-la
Check-a-la romey in a bananika
Bollika, wollika, can't you see
Chickery chick is me?"

After I posted this on my Facebook page, my brother Paul commented that if I "really wanted to torture myself, I should listen to this link. Try it; your children will love it!