All posts filed under: CRAFTS

The Magical Power of Bringing Gingerbread Men to Life

By LaReeca Rucker It probably seems like I am quite the cook based on some of the social media posts I have made lately. Truth is, I’m not. But at one time, I aspired to be. As a person who has a lot of hobbies that I drop and pick up again from time to time, I have done everything from stamp collecting to salsa dancing. At one time, I convinced myself that I was going to be the next top chef. (Well, not really, but I was determined to master cooking.) For a while, I was obsessed with watching the Food Network. I purchased many cookbooks, and I was given many cookbooks as gifts. But truth be told, cooking – I learned – is much more than a skill. It’s a talent. It’s an art. And while I can generally read directions and sometimes create a dish that is a hit, I also sometimes miss. I’m an unreliable cook. However, this Christmas I was determined to make a few dishes for a family Christmas …

My Christmas Tree is Filled With Aliens, Robots and Monsters

By LaReeca Rucker The way you decorate your Christmas tree says a lot about your personality, as do the ornaments that we choose to adorn it. More than 20 years ago, I began collecting and making my own ornaments at Christmastime. I try to make and buy a few new ornaments every year to add to my collection. I started with porcelain cherubs, leaving some white and decorating others. Then I bought traditional Christmas balls and covered them in glitter, back when you couldn’t find glittery decorations like them. I have also made ornaments for my tree that feature pictures of my late pets. In the last few years, I have taken an annual trip to Hobby Lobby to select ornaments that I like. I also look in Walmart, Fred’s and other local dollar stores. Tomorrow, I plan to attend two Christmas craft events and search for more interesting ornaments to add to my collection. There are a few things that I am fond of and always on the look out for – aliens, robots …

Create a Little Magic in Your Life This Christmas With Simple, Elegant and Inexpensive Decor

It’s that time of year when we’re all supposed to believe in and create a little magic in our lives and the lives of others. One way we can do that is by decorating. I’m so grateful to have my own house this year. I’m also grateful to have all of my holiday decorations nicely organized, so it only took one day to put up my tree and put most of it in place.

Fall into fun every year with festive decor

I tend to go a little overboard with my holiday lawn decorations. I’m no Chevy Chase, but I do like to have fun with decor. Here are pictures of my fall lawn decor at my old house. This year, I’m in a new house, and I brought the scarecrows out in September and kept them in my yard throughout Halloween and Thanksgiving. You can generally find these for sale for less than $10 each at Walmart, Fred’s or similar dollar stores. I added a new scarecrow to my collection this year. He is  currently guarding my front porch. In the next few days, I’ll try to make a new post about my current fall decor and include photos of my new scarecrow since I recently created a centerpiece and decorated for fall after putting all of my Halloween monsters back in the storage shed to live until next October. Have you done any creative fall decorating? If so, I’d love to see it and even feature it on my blog. Feel free to post a …

Mr. McCarty’s gift

It’s been a while since I wrote anything on my blog, but I thought the death of Mississippi icon Lee McCarty warranted commentary since I had the pleasure of spending time with him five years ago when I visited Merigold, Mississippi, to tour and write about McCartys Pottery. If you’ve never been, I would encourage you to put this road trip on your bucket list. I toured the pottery shop, watched pottery being made, ate at The Gallery restaurant and Crawdad’s. And some of the locals took me to the nearby Po’ Monkey Lounge, known by many as the last authentic juke joint in America. In meeting Mr. McCarty, I met an innovative and original artist who created a special place in the Mississippi Delta with his wife, Pup McCarty. As I listened to the story of how McCartys Pottery came to be, it was evident what great admiration Mr. Lee and his late wife had for each other and how their teamwork and partnership helped create a unique brand. Mr. Lee gave me a …

Spring wreath

I like to make crafts because I feel more peaceful when I’m creating something. This is a spring wreath I made a while back for my front door. I created it by using an old wreath that I bought at a thrift store for $1 as a base. I hot-glued moss to the wreath to give it a more lively, earthy feel and color. Then I added a few craft store finds, like flowers and birds nest. I try to have a wreath for every holiday, and I usually put this one up during springtime. Save Save

Antique typewriter curtains

Name any hobby, and chances are I’ve probably devoted a little time to it at some point in my life – whether it’s drawing, painting, playing tennis or racquetball, gymnastics, collecting stamps, running, taking hip-hop and salsa dancing classes or sewing. I recently decided to cover the seat of an antique chair that I purchased with some burlap fabric that I picked up at a craft store, and when I had some left over, I used it to make short curtains for the room. Because I’ve been a journalist for the past 20 years, I picked fabric with an antique typewriter print. This was the result. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Another repainting project

This is another decor element that I found in a thrift store and thought that it might look better if the colors were tweaked. I painted over the outdated floral background and erased the picture of a window and flowers. I also bought wooden letters at a craft store, painted them black and glued them to the plaque to create a more simple, clean look. This was the end result. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

A bird brain idea

On a recent antique shopping excursion, I spotted this unique ceramic bird, that must have flown into the store straight from the 1960s or ’70s. I didn’t really like the orange color, but knew that I would be able to transform it into something that looked a little more modern. This was the finished result. It reminded me a lot of the owls below that I spotted at Anthropologie, except my bird only cost a few dollars. I’m sure the store’s were $50 plus. You can modernize any ceramic that you find in a thrift store. Some people find birds or owls and paint them all white or a solid color. Keep your eyes open, and you may spot something that you can give new life with a color change. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Chairing up a door

OK. I have to admit it. Some people take the repurposing trend a little too far. To them, I sometimes want to say the following: Everything shouldn’t be a Pinterest project. Some things are just trash. But it’s also kind of fun to see what people creatively come up with when they recycle something kicked to the curb. Here’s my attempt at repurposing the back of an old chair that I found. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I liked the center design, so I decided to turn it into a decorative door sign with my house number. Love it or hate it? I, myself, am a little undecided. 🙂 Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Board with decorating?

If you want to liven up your walls, but don’t want to bother with hanging wallpaper or spending a lot on pictures or art, here’s an idea: Purchase pieces of foam board at a craft store or Lowe’s. (I think it cost about $10 for a paneling-size piece.) Then cut it in half or thirds. Cover it with fabric, decorate it and hang it in your wall. I covered the foam board I bought in burlap and used wallpaper sample guides that had been sent to me by a company. The result was a colorful, modern art display. You can also cover the foam boards in fabric, wallpaper or anything you think would look like a nice art piece. Depending on what fabric you use, you can draw, paint on the canvas or add photographs. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Birds in a tree

For about 20 years, I’ve had a tree bed. You can’t see the entire bed in this photo, but it’s a headboard and footboard made of tree branches that I bought over 20 years ago in Ripley, Miss. So if you use your imagination, it’s kind of like sleeping in a tree house. Growing up, my mother had a pair of metal peacocks on our wall, so I decided peacocks would be the vintage theme of my room. I bought a pair from eBay for around $20, then I found another pair at a thrift store even cheaper. Continuing the peacock theme, I had purchased a velvet jeweled peacock picture from a thrift store. I decided to place it on top of a canvas so it would be a larger art piece in the room. I bought a piece of foam board from a craft store and covered it in burlap. Then, I attached it to the wall with a nail and hung it over the foam board. I also added a string of white …

Old picture, new color

I enjoy finding things in thrift shops or at yard sales that can be repurposed or given new life, so I was excited to find these framed flower pictures. I wasn’t really feeling the purple, so I decided to paint them turquoise to match my bedroom. Just buy a .99 cent bottle of paint the color of your choice and carefully paint the areas you want to change. Here are the before, middle and after photos. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

How to party like ‘The Great Jay Gatsby’ without Jay-Z’s ‘$100 Bills’

I recently held a small party at my home for one of my dear friends who accepted a new journalism job and began packing her bags to move to North Carolina. I tried to plan ahead as much as possible to make sure I had enough food and activities to keep things moving from the afternoon to the evening. However, aside from the honoree’s closest friends from work, I wasn’t exactly sure who would show up, who would not, and how many would ultimately find their way to my house. Thinking it best to be over-prepared than under-prepared, I decided to put together a basic table of party food with chips, cupcakes, dip, fruit and the celebratory cake. I then asked those who came to bring an item to ensure we had enough. Everything seemed to be going smoothly in preparation, but around midnight before the party, I still felt like something was missing – an element that would tie everything together and make the small event more fun and interesting. That’s when it struck …

Mississippians can’t cut those apron ties: New video and more of the story

As one of only two women employed full-time for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Brookhaven deputy Krysten Butler carries a gun and badge, and with versatility, works an array of cases, from narcotics investigations to child abuse and sexual assault crimes. It’s a job that only someone tough could do – someone who must stay in control in any situation. “I can hold my own,” Butler said. “I’m not a girly-girl. I never have been.” But when this hardcore mother of five – who can also stand her ground with three teenagers, a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old – gets home from work, she’s still fierce, (in both the fashion and bravery sense of the word), when standing in the kitchen wearing a vintage-style, multi-colored, ruffled apron. “My mom brought me the apron because she said that I made a horrible mess of my clothes when I cooked,” Butler said. “After I put it on, I fell in love with it – not with the actual apron itself, even though it’s pretty cute, but the way …

How I saved Mississippi

So, I was in a thrift store recently, and I found this cross-stitched Mississippi picture. Because I collect Mississippi-shaped things, I was really excited to save it from thrift store purgatory, and even more excited when I learned it only cost a buck. I took the picture home, bought a new frame for it, and pulled out my acrylic paints, so I could update the hidden border I discovered beneath another border with sad little cut-out hearts in the corners. It only took a few minutes to paint. Then, I put it in the new frame and set it on top of my bookcase with my other Mississippi things. The person who created it stitched the year it was made near the bottom of the state (1993), so it’s now 20 years old. Here’s the finished product. I think it was worth a $1. What do you think? “Like” our Mississippians page by clicking here. Follow me on Twitter here. See what I Pin here. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me …

Would you let your baby rock a mustache?

Log on to Pinterest, and you’ll find picture after picture of adorable babies with their noggins covered in some of the cutest crocheted hats you’ve ever laid eyes on. I spotted lions, skunks, mermaids, snowmen, puppy dogs, baby fishermen and even Rapunzel wigs while researching one of our latest Style stories. Photographers love the hats for props, and parents love them because it turns their itty bitty precious baby into something even more adorable – an itty bitty precious bunny rabbit or kitty cat. It reminds me of something I blogged about in 2006. A company called Baby Toupee was making hats with hair in them for babies to comically wear. You could get them fashioned after celebrities like like Bob Marley, Donald Trump and Lil’ Kim. I’ve also recently noticed that some company is making mustache pacifiers, so you’re baby can rock a stashe while he’s soothing his gums. Here’s our latest Style story about baby trends. Check out the gallery of photos. Hope you enjoy: Photographer Jennifer Sparrow doesn’t have to leave the …

Pinterest Project # 4: Painting is For the Birds

I’ve been a big fan of the late Texas designer, Enid Collins’, quirky 1960s box purses for many years. I own a few of them, and I’ve even made a few of my own inspired by some of her designs. As I hobby, I like to search for antique furniture pieces and revive them. I recently found a boring wooden cabinet, and it reminded me, in some way, of this Enid Collins purse called “For the Birds.” So I decided to create the same design on my cabinet. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Pinteresting Projects – 1, 2, 3 and 4

I have a variety of furniture and decorating projects that I started at home and have not found time to finish them. So I decided this weekend I would devote some time to completing a few. Here they are: Table – One afternoon, I spotted this table in the back of The Salvation Army for $5 and knew it would be pretty painted. Here’s the finished result. It actually only took about 10 minutes to do using white paint.  I filled in the middle with a touch of turquoise craft paint, and now it sits in front of my bed. Not sure what I’ll put in it yet. Monogram – This was originally an antique mirror, but I broke it during my recent move. I had seen similar things done on Pinterest using letters, so I decided to create one of my own using my initials. At first, I wasn’t happy with the gold color of the letters, so I repainted them light brown. It still didn’t look right, so I changed them back to …

Have yourself a ‘Sippi little Christmas

When Madison resident Cathy Halford’s youngest daughter Ashley moved to Birmingham, she took her love for Mississippi with her. “I decided to make an ornament for her in the shape of Mississippi,” said Halford, a lifelong crafter and billing coordinator for a Jackson law firm. “I put a red heart in it to indicate Madison, her hometown. She loved it.” Then Halford had a Mississippi epiphany. “I thought maybe other people would like to show off their hometown and state,” she said. “I was right.” Today, she operates an Etsy business making handcrafted, state-shaped ornaments. Her husband cuts them out of wood, and Halford creates a 6-inch piece, decorating it with beads to create a mosaic. “A red, heart-shaped, acrylic gem is placed on the hometown,” she said. “I found out that people love their state and are proud of their hometown. Some are buying them for friends and family as a reminder of their home. I also think they make a great welcoming gift for someone moving into a new area.” You can find …

‘Hey y’all,’ take a look at these Mississippi arts and crafts

I recently attended the Handworks Holiday Market at the Mississippi Trade Mart and saw a lot of interesting handmade creations that inspired me to begin decorating for the holidays and thinking of special Christmas presents that I could make for friends and family. Here are a few things that stood out to me. At the end, you can see what I picked up at the event. I didn’t catch the name of the artist who creates these unique jewelry pieces by combining elements of vintage jewelry, but I think they are spectacular. And I love how she attaches them to old photographs to emphasize their vintage appeal. I was hoping Santa would bring me the interesting necklace or pair of leaf earrings above. Check out these wooden angels made by Mississippi craftsman Billy Lay. I love the colors he uses and his vision of using simple pieces of wood and cut tin to form the body of an angel. Perhaps that’s a door knob used for the head? Here’s a set of Mississippi-shaped pottery dishes by …

My wreath-making adventure and other hall-decking ideas

I just got finished decorating for fall, and now it’s time to decorate for Christmas, so I decided I needed a wreath for my front door. I searched Pinterest for wreath-making ideas and and found many creations made from a variety of materials. Here are some that gave me inspiration, and at the end, you can see what I created. A Bright Idea – This colorful bulb wreath was first spotted on a blog called Layers of Meaning that also offers other holiday decorating ideas. Pine Comb Wreath – This is simple, but with all the right touches. It is featured in an Internet article on the Better Homes & Gardens website called Creative Christmas Wreaths that offers a few other unique ideas. Burlap Wreath – There’s a step-by-step guide with instructions for this one on the Craftaholics Anonymous blog. Green Trio – I really like the way that these simple wreaths in descending size are displayed with ribbon on this door. The idea was pinned from a blog called Stina Ballerina. A la Natural …