Thursday, May 17, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party

Happy Friday Eve all! Hope you've had a good week and all who celebrated had a wonderful Mother's Day! 

Here are a few features from last week's party and as usual can't wait to see what everyone's been up to this week !

Sometimes I buy a new creative tool and use it right away. Other times it sits in the package but I know I have it when I am inspired to use it. Such is the case with a woodburning tool I have and this gorgeous DIY Wood Art from Hazel and Gold Designs may just have given me the inspiration to break that bad boy out! Hers was one item in a challenge, all of which you can see at the link. Some VERY cool ideas!! 

Wouldn't that DIY Wood Burned Art look great in this Boho Themed Guest Room? See Little Brags for the before and after and I adore the after!!

Or maybe you're making over an office ( or putting a desk in your made over guest room). This Chalk Painted Desk & Chair makeover from Repurpose and Upcycle is another must see before and after! 

Finally, I love cinnamon rolls. Muffins? OK. Donuts, take them or leave them. But cinnamon rolls? Oh yes. Check out these from Lamberts Lately made in an InstaPot!!! I have not tried baking or making desserts in mine yet so these may be the first I try! 

OK! Time to party :) 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Easy Nature Wreath

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day doing whatever made you happiest. I was excited to spend it with my Mom for the first time in a long time including getting to do what I love which is making things. 

Coming from the PNW I have a natural affinity for pine cones. I think it's a rule or something!  I confess my ignorance, but didn't expect to find so many so easily in the desert.  Sure, I knew there would be a lot of pine trees in Northern Arizona,  but even with all my trips to the Phoenix area prior to moving here, I guess I never noticed how many there are here in the Valley. 

The Mumster had an old wreath on her back door that had seen better days so I decided to make her a new one. I got the idea for this one  while out on a walk one day and started picking up  a couple of "matching" pine cones each day. 

I didn't take pictures as I made it since I just kind of winged it. I picked up an oval grapevine wreath on sale at JoAnn's, along with some brown burlap ribbon. The eucalyptus came from my Mom's backyard, and I picked up some pine needles along with the pine cones and bound them together in clumps.  These are very different from the short needles I'm used to and now want to see what other things I can use them for. 

The needles will continue to dry and change color but remain natural looking. I just kind of let the materials go where they seemed to fit, wanting to keep it simple. 

Happy to say that The Mumster loves it as much as I loved making it for her. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party

Happy Friday Eve and the start of what I hope is a lovely Mother's Day weekend. I won't be with my "baby" but I'm so excited that for the first year in many I get to celebrate with The Mumster. 

Let's take a look at some fun ideas from last week's party. 

I feel like you can never have too many memo boards. Whether for reminders or pictures, there's always something you want to display. Hazel and Gold Designs has this fun idea (and a video tutorial) for one using bent wire formed into a word. Think of all the possibilities! Names, favorite places etc. 

I tend toward matte finishes so I love the look of chalk paints. From Play Dates to Parties  has 4 great project ideas using chalk paint. 

I love that Lisa from Fresh Vintage by Lisa S figured out what to do with Vintage Glass Insulators that I've picked up and put down at flea markets a million times. Check out her adorable bottle and light garden!  

Finally, YUM check out this did I say YUM Oreo Parfait from A Sprinkle of Joy! Yes please. 

Now let's see what everyone's been up to this week! 


Thursday, May 3, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party

Happy Friday Eve all ! Welcome to another party here at The Answer Is Chocolate. Glad to see Spring is finally starting to arrive in parts of the country it seemed like it was skipping this year. 

Here are some fine ideas shared at last week's party. 

Let's start with this simple but gorgeous wreath from Suzer Space made from found twigs in the yard coupled with paper flowers and a butterfly! Almost makes doing yard work fun right? 

Bring the outdoors inside (real or faux) with ideas from Penny's Treasures. I love how she combined succulents with roses for this centerpiece and she has a beautiful array of other ideas. 

Also loving these French Lavender Pots from Follow The Yellow Brick Home. They're beautiful and fit my favorite crafting criteria : fast and inexpensive! 

Finally, Faeries and Fauna shared 10 Terra Cotta Pot Painting tutorials. I love terra cotta pots because they are so versatile and inexpensive.  

Now, let's see what everyone's been up to this week! 


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Art In The Desert

Being a creative, I've always loved Art. Fine Art, Casual Art, Indigenous Art, Nature get the picture. 

Needless to say, finding "new" Art in our new home has been fun. Sharing some pics from some must see places in the greater Phoenix area we've visited since we've gotten here. 

If you come in the Winter, Spring or Fall, a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden is worth the time. You can of course go in the Summer but you need to be appropriately prepared for the heat!! Hat, water, etc.  It's filled with native desert plants, more of which bloom than people think, and has all the varieties of cacti and succulents from the Sonoran desert. 

But this is about Art, and it was wonderful to see a bit of the Northwest in the Southwest with this Dale Chihuly installation at the entrance. Consistent with what Chihuly does in using natural elements as inspiration, glass was blown into these giant cacti that blend right in to the garden. 

Selfie time!

Right now the Garden also has an exhibit by artist Jun Kaneko. We went just in time since the exhibit ran from October through April.

“Kaneko’s sculptures challenge the physical limitations of the ceramic firing process and are meant to spark interaction with the natural environments,” says Director of Planning and Exhibits Elaine McGinn. “His bold forms and dynamic colors will be stunning juxtaposed among our desert landscape.” 
The attraction of Kaneko’s ceramic art is that it can be viewed without much contemplation. The gently shaped forms are glazed with colorful stripes, dots, spirals and squares. Kaneko uses the surface of the large shapes as a canvas for painting. Included in the exhibition will be artwork of his most recognizable Dango, (Japanese for “rounded form”) and Head sculptures, which range as high as 11 feet tall. 
Naturally, I loved this black and white sculpture. My signature colors! 

Paolo Soleri's Cosanti Wind Bells

In the heart of a lovely residential neighborhood in Paradise Valley, you'll find the studio of Paolo Soleri, an Italian Architect who moved to the area in the 1950s and began Cosanti which is parts working studio, art  exhibit, experiment, kind of hard to describe. What they make there are ceramic and bronze bells that are beautiful in their organic nature and are both perfect and imperfect at the same time. They also have olive trees throughout the property and the olives are pressed into oil by another local place we're going to visit soon. The bells range from small to huge ; inexpensive to "art collector prices". 

 You can see in the background how art is incorporated into the structures that house the studio. No surface is left untouched.

The day we visited , there were no artists in residence but you can often see them actually making the bells.

I love how nature is incorporated.

Selfie time again! 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party

Wow! It's the end of April already and hard to believe that a month ago we left Seattle on our journey to the desert. Hope everyone's had a good week and Spring is starting its thaw in parts of the country. Let's see some ideas from last week's party. 

With Mother's Day rapidly approaching, one of these gorgeous Jewelry Box makeovers from Fresh Vintage by LisaS would make a lovely upcycled gift for Mom. 

I've always had a thing for these directional signposts. There are so many milestones and life events you can commemorate from birthplaces, to places you've lived or traveled to , or maybe where loved ones may be scattered. This DIY idea from Homeward Found is gorgeous in its simplicity. 

This Chalkboard Sign would be a great addition to a cooking Mama's kitchen. From Vintage Paint and More

Or, if you know a Mama who doesn't cook but likes to eat, how about these Chocolate Filled Soft Pretzel Bites? I would not turn down a plate of these! See Raes Books and Recipes for the details. 

Now, let's see what everyone's been up to this week!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Repurposed Wagon Cactus Garden

My first project in the desert! Fitting that it would be a cactus garden don't you think? 

Mr. Chocolate was cleaning up some stuff around The Mumster's house and there was a little red wagon destined for the junk pile. I snatched it up and immediately had an idea for a little cactus and succulent garden. I picked up a can of Rustoleum hammered bronze paint and went to town. 

This was the sad little wagon. All oxydized and rusty. And it could have worked as is but I wanted it to be a more desert color. 

I wanted to preserve the wheels so I cut a plastic bag in half and wrapped around the wheels to prevent them from getting painted. 

One good coat of paint made all the difference! The paint had primer and color all in one and is designed to prevent future rust. 

I was so happy with the outcome that I almost just left the painted wagon alone and unfilled. But no!

I picked out small cacti and succulents that I liked, and found some cool green stones on sale at JoAnn's. 

I spread a layer of the stones on the bottom to help with drainage, and then planted my cacti and succulents randomly. I finished with a layer of the rocks and voila. 

I don't exactly have a green thumb so desert plants may be just the things for me . They are pretty hearty, self sufficient, and little fuss!