Christmas in July ~ How to Make Your Own Rudy Reindeer Sign

Rudy and one other of Santa’s Reindeer out in my best friends’ garden.

Hello and welcome to this month’s $10 on the 10th challenge, friends! Thank you to our host Tammy of Patina and Paint for coming up with this fun idea for this month’s theme ~ Christmas in July!

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Today I am sharing my Reindeer designs that I used to make and sell to around our neighborhood in California, in front of grocery stores on weekends, and to many friends back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s for a little extra holiday money…

The top photograph was sent to me this winter by my best friend Janet. She still has these two reindeer some 20 years later… A little faded but still cute!!!

Supplies you will need

  • plywood
  • sandpaper
  • latex craft paints – brown for body, red for collar, white, black and tan (in ears, or use brown with white mixed to lighten).
  • paint brushes (large for the body, smaller for face and legs and tail detail)
  • wood glue
  • silver and/or colored glitter (for jingle bells – glue on over silver paint)
  • old fence board
  • surveyor’s stake
  • wood screws
  • marine varnish – to protect your Reindeer from the weather
  • Drill and drill bits – for pilot holes for screws

When I was making these Reindeer and other holiday signs, I began with a Grade 1 sheet of thick plywood.

Back then those sheets cost about $32 and I could make quite a few decorator signs out of each sheet. I used every piece of wood I had to decorate these Reindeer; Santa and Mrs. Claus, little ghosts and the pumpkins I made.

I made a lot of tea signs back then. They were all a lot of fun to make!

With the wood supply shortage this year, that same sheet of plywood could cost about $82 each… So, use old scraps you have lying around in the garage… πŸ˜‰ Or buy the smaller plywood sheets sold in stand-up bins at the big box stores.

You can also use an old fence board and a surveyor’s stake to make a fun Christmas-y sign under your Reindeer and the surveyor’s stake will hold up both. These Reindeer are fun to stand out in the yard (or in a flower pot with a Christmas tree behind). The old fence boards were what I used with my tea signs, as you can see.

How to make a Rudy Reindeer

  • Begin with drawing out a Reindeer shape on paper and transfer to plywood. Draw out the Reindeer’s harness, jingle bells and nose on scrap plywood.
  • Cut out plywood pieces with a scroll saw, jig saw or hand saw.
  • Sand each piece smooth along all edges. Wipe down with a damp towel, let dry.
  • Using latex craft paint, paint each piece letting dry between layers of paint. Add eyes, a smile, hooves and a painted tail and fetlocks, if you like!
  • Paint the harness, jingle bells and nose and let dry ~ drill pilot holes and screw onto the body with 3/4″ – 1″ screws.
  • Sprinkle on glitter over glue on jingle bells, let dry. Use glitter wherever you’d like! Rudy noses look especially cute with red glitter!!!
  • Drill holes in body and screw onto the surveyor’s stake.
  • Paint a separate fence board (if you desire) with whatever fun saying you’d like to say for Christmas (or holiday). Example: “North Pole this way!” (with arrow pointing)
  • Varnish your signs on all edges, front and back with non-yellowing marine varnish (used to be about $45/gallon; it goes a long way!)

Our first home ~ Me in 1997, aged 35.

Enjoy your Rudy Reindeer! And now let’s check out the other fun ideas my friends have for you for this Christmas in July…

Ann – The Apple Street Cottage

Barb – French Ethereal

Cindy – Cloches & Lavender

Patti – Pandora’s Box

Tammy – Patina & Paint

Terrie – Decorating & More With Tip

Happy Saturday, friends!

Barb πŸ™‚


A Star-Spangled Blue Jean Recycle Placemat Project

Welcome to this month’s $10 on the 10th, dear friends! Our theme this time is Patriotic and because it is summertime, in the USofA our summers are flanked on both ends by Memorial Day at the end of May, and Labor Day in September, with the Fourth of July tucked in the middle. So, I thought I’d make a fun blue jean recycle project for us to celebrate…

Thank you to Tammy from Patina and Paint for hosting this month and we have a treat as everyone is here for this fun patriotic event, too! Woo Hoo!!

Let’s get this party started, shall we?

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How to make these Star-Spangled Placemats

My project begins with two pairs of old jeans, including a pair of my absolute faves!


(shot with my iPhone 4… Wow, phones have come a long way! Soooo blurry!)

But ever since I made this Welcome Banner out of old blue jean pockets, I knew I would be using these pockets again… (They were too cute and sparkly NOT to reuse them!)

Begin by cutting off the lower legs of the larger pants and slice them down the side. Cut off the front tops to use the rivet and front pocket detail as part of your design.

Lay out your pieces (four or more; I used just two to make two placemats today), and mark out two 12″ x 16″ pieces for the back of your Patriotic Placemats:

Since I was making these at night, you get a nice view of my dining room chandelier overhead!

Use quilters rulers, if you have them, to mark out your 12″ x 16″. I looked up the standard measurements for placemats and they can be anywhere from 12″- 16″ x 16″ – 22″. I picked 12″ x 16″ but wish I had made them 18″ wide, so really think about how you want your placemats to look before cutting them out.

I was also limited by the size of the blue jeans (especially using the front top sections) but could have cut the pieces longer. πŸ˜‰

Using the American Flag

Okay, as a former Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader, I am always a bit hesitant to reuse the American flag because I was taught that you donate your old flags to the local Boy Scout troops to burn at a future ceremony.

It’s always a big deal for the kids to go through preparing the flag for burning and afterwards, the grommets are saved along with the cold ashes. Small bottles are given to each participant of the reminder of how sacred our freedom and country are.

HOWEVER, I do love the look of this flag. It never faded in the least and was still fairly new. It caught during a couple of storms on the bush outfront and began ripping upwards, so it was an easy fix to zigzag the rent…

Sew any tears in your flag. I actually want the frayed look as it kind of goes with the worn and tattered blue jean look! <3

For this flag, I could get two stars and stripes sections if I reorganized the stripes and cut out 6″ x 16″ sections.

Then it was simple to sew the 6″ x 16″ stripes to the bottom of each upper star/stripes section! Iron the seams flat and lay out this placemat “top” to the backside of the blue jean placemat “bottom,” wrong sides facing each other.

Sew about 1/4″ seam around the four edges… I found it best to sew down the two sides first, then sew across the top and bottom (the bottom fabric WILL pull towards the end of your sewing, so either pull taught…


Sew OUTWARDS from the middles, flip for the other half of the top and bottom, towards each edge (this is the actual way you are supposed to sew, which prevents this pulling; this is how I learned to sew from my instructor when sewing collars and necklines/hemlines). πŸ˜€

Lastly, sew on the blue jean sparkle pocket around the edges, leaving the top open to add silverware OR sew closed and use the actual pocket flaps opened!

Aren’t these Star-Spangled Recycled Jeans and Flag Placemats cute??

I knew this is what I wanted to create with these pockets for the past couple of years as this old favorite pair of capris were beginning to really fade and tear, so I am glad I get to share them here on $10 on the 10th with you today!

Oh! Total cost?

$0, less the cost of original materials.


Now let’s go check out what patriotic ideas our friends have come up with…

Ann ~ “Wine Gift Bag” ~ Apple Street Cottage

Allyson ~ “Free Printable 4th of July Fans” ~ Southern Sunflowers

Barb ~ “A Star-Spangled Blue Jean Recycle Placemat Project” ~ French Ethereal (here!)

Cindy ~ “How to Make a Grapevine Wreath” ~ Cloches and Lavender

Corine ~ “Garden Wreath” ~ Junks to Jems

Patti ~ “10 on the 10th Patriotic Ideas” ~ Pandora’s Box

Tammy ~ “Ribbon Wreath” ~ Patina and Paint

Terrie ~ “DIY Summer Wreath Inspiration” ~ Decorate and More with Tip

Enjoy the tour!

Barb πŸ™‚


Late Spring in the Garden + Quick Garden Craft Idea

Well friends, the weather is starting to heat up and that must mean it’s time to bring out the cushions, move outdoor furniture around and clean off the patio. Today is $10 on the 10th and this month our theme is Outdoors/Gardens ~ a perfect time to take you on a tour and to make a fun garden craft idea…

Grab a cup of tea or coffee, friends!

Before I begin, I’d like to give a shout-out thank you to Tammy of Patina and Paint for getting this party together for us, thanks Tammy! Now springtime in our North Texas gardens means windy days and rain, lots of it! Under our two backyard oak trees, grass doesn’t grow and we are looking into putting in artificial turf. That’ll hopefully happen next fall. So for now, I deal with wiping off dirt splashed onto every pot whenever it rains.

Hubby needs to toss this rug (far left) that was left by the previous owners upstairs in the attic because I can’t lift it. It does drive me a bit crazy to look at it, and I try to cut it out of photographs, but it snuck into this one. πŸ˜‰

Actually until just recently we have had our garden furniture stacked quietly on the patio and a couple of outdoor wicker chairs stacked along our garage wall… The above photograph shares our south facing garage wall with all its “finery.” Winter was really cold this year plus Yoda can’t see as well (he is 16 years old +/-), so we need to keep the patio clear for him nowadays.

This post has been a good excuse for me to get outside and move things around, do a little cleaning. The price for all this? Absolutely free!

I was trying to think if I have bought anything new for outdoors recently, and I haven’t. I have bought a lot of garden soil for potting up plants and for in-ground planting this year, though! Each of those bags cost between $2.95 – $10/ bag, depending upon size. Gardening is not an inexpensive hobby, friends!!

We had wanted to move it out 5 feet; however, the City goes by the closest stake, so we can only move it out 3 feet. Mr. Ethereal is wondering if it is worth it, but I still think it is.

The transformation of the backyard will be sooo worth it! We just received approval to move our fence out, so we will beginning that project soon. The cost of lumber has skyrocketed because of the housing boom and people remodeling this year (and not enough supplies), so we may have to reuse most of the fencing that is already here. It’s in okay shape and we could replace it next year as prices come back down (fingers crossed!).

Just beyond Yoda along the back fence there, that’s where we would like to put the new shed. It’s really a “cabin shell,” 10′ x 16′, and is big inside. Still waiting on the City for approval for location.

But let’s get back into the backyard garden, shall we? Here’s how it looked when I wrote a post last month called Finding Ladybugs While at an English Spring Tea in the Garden. I finished the last few bricks which needed to be laid and added the mortar sand just afterwards. This side of the garden is now done and I have been planting since late fall (December).

Nepeta or catmint is one of the plants I put in for its full-grown height of 24″. It is busy filling in and enjoying the late spring sunshine!

In the back flowerbed, David Austin rose Sceptre d’Isle is beginning to put out its spring blooms! It has a nice light scent and is so pretty when in full flower.

The petals start out darker pink, like the first photograph, then fade to a pale blush with almost white petals in the outermost layers… Rains at the wrong time as it was in bud caused the discolorations, but it is still beautiful…

Up near the patio, the new orange tree is doing well! Consistent rains and watering (but not too much) is making this a happy tree!

These were the original pots I thought about using; however, they were too small to hold the flowers. I found really pretty turquoise blue pots at Lowe’s which were bright and cheerful!

A garden gift-giving craft idea

Recently I got together with three friends (and more of their friends!) whom I knew from when we all lived at Wagon Master RV Park and Alpaca Farm. As a gift, I put together three pots and gave them each a pretty flowering plant so they could each have fun making a mini garden! I thought you might like to do something similar for when you get together with friends whom you may not have seen over this past year due to self-quarantining. This also would be fun to do as a planting party!

This is how I had each of the flowers and their dirt/fertilizer put together before purchasing the decorative plastic pots at the store. The ladies loved their gifts!!!

Supplies you will need:

  • small plastic pots (1 for each person on your list)
  • plastic zipper baggies (2 for each pot)
  • potting soil
  • fertilizer (I gave each of my friends a little Bio-Tone Starter Fertilizer for planting up their plants)
  • pretty flowering plant for the current season

Super easy gifting ~ Just fill up two zipper baggies: (#1) with enough potting soil to fill plastic pot, (#2) with a small amount of granular fertilizer, to help the plant establish good roots. Next, just stack your baggies into a pretty plastic pot, then top with your small potted flower. Wrap the pot with cellophane and a pretty ribbon, or set everything into a gift bag!

Basically, I went to Lowe’s and picked up three pretty plastic pots and they cost less than $10 for all three. The potted flowers I already had as well as the other items, so the cost for each potting gift was about $5.00. Such an easy gift to give and fun for the recipient to enjoy!

And that’s my idea for a garden project for this time, everyone! I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my garden and seeing what’s in bloom. I know you will enjoy visiting everyone’s posts and seeing what they have put together for you!!

Patti ~ Pandora’s Box

Cindy ~ Cloches and Lavender

Tammy ~ Patina and Paint

Terrie ~ Decorate and More with Tip

Allyson ~ Southern Sunflowers

Ann ~ Apple Street Cottage

Barbara ~ French Ethereal (you are here!)

Happy springtime,

Barb πŸ™‚


Finding Ladybugs while at an English Spring Tea in the Garden

Welcome friends to a little Spring Tea in the new garden area! Part of this month’s $10 on the 10th…I can’t quite say that this new area cost $10 (every 16 bricks costs about $10, bought over time), but many of the plants were under $10 each! πŸ˜‰ Mr. Ladybug was free!

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A big thank you to Tammy from Patina and Paint as well as Terrie of Decorate and More with Tip for organizing our monthly hop! Everyone on today’s tour are bringing you their Spring best this month with Ladybugs galore.

I had totally forgotten that I had this little ladybug! I can’t quite remember if a friend gave it to me or if I found it up in Sanger, Texas, when we were still living in our big RV fifth wheel. I really think a friend gave it to me as a gift.

I just know it has a sweet sound when the wind blows and is perfect for gracing the garden at our afternoon tea…

Here is another ladybug ~ from a post when my husband and I were installing this French fence here during the winter ~ Adding French Fencing to the Sideyard Garden. I love ladybugs and have been seeing several outside on Mr. Yoda’s and my daily walks. Aphids are out and ladybugs are busily taking them out. πŸ™‚

The French lavender has been blooming continuously since January. The two potted lavenders were wheeled into the garage when the Arctic storms came to keep them alive.

Welcome to our side garden! It is still a work in progress with more weeding to be done, paver set to finish (had to put this off for a bit), and a lot of the middle of the yard to level out, but it is coming along. Plants are still recovering, too. The boxwood were hit really hard with 7 deg. temps (-12 wind chill).

The large leaf pile has been turned once in mid-January and is breaking down. The main compost pile has sweet pumpkin vines growing in it already (way too early, really!) and as I’d find earthworms, I bury them into the composting leaves, straw and kitchen scraps, to help everything break down.

I am sharing our new garden beds along the southern side of our North Texas home. Throughout the winter and after the Arctic storms, I was able to finish laying all 87 bricks. As time and money allows, more plants will be added and others will be shifted around to fill in the right-hand part of the bed (the newer section).

My favorite photograph from this tea!

So let’s have some tea!

Years ago now, for Mother’s Day, my husband bought me this Wedgwood tea set. It consists of two teacups and saucers, teapot, creamer and sugar. Part of the Duchess of York collection (the 1st Duchess), each piece features pretty blue butterflies and green limes on a smooth-as-silk bone china blank. I shared meeting Sarah, Duchess of York, at Macy’s in Costa Mesa, California in this post.

She was lovely and very gracious, giving a talk about Wedgwood’s china and how she travels with a tea set (she doesn’t like the feel of styrofoam cups to drink out of!). She shook hands with every attendee and chatted with each of us briefly. I think my friend Cheryl and I were there for four hours in all.

So today’s tea invites all of you to stop by for a little tΓͺte Γ  tΓͺte… We will enjoy the shade provided by the red oak tree and our old green umbrella. Gentle breezes blow by also keeping us cool on this 85+ degree day…

Yoda came out to wander and enjoy the yard, too!

Mr. Squirrel was racing around up in the other oak tree.

And mama and papa dove take turns sitting on their impromptu nest…

Come sit a spell and tell me how you are? Friendship and a good chinwag = $0. Totally free! Sweet pink bacopa just plopped into this ceramic pot found at Hobby Lobby add spring style to our tea table.

This Duncan Phyfe table is one I hand-carried back on the plane from England in 2005. It comes totally apart and was a thrift shop find. The table top fit nicely into a large Land’s End bag my sister-in-law loaned me for the trip home. Usually it is acts as a side table in our Office/Spare Bedroom.

Tea for two ~ always a delight!

Thank you so much for visiting today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Spring Tea in the Garden and our little Ladybug friend… I hear his little bell’s sweet tinkle!

Pour yourself another cup of tea and stop by for a visit with the other ladies on today’s tour:

Allyson ~ Southern Sunflowers

Patti ~ Pandora’s Box

Terrie ~ Decorate and More with Tip

Tammy ~ Patina and Paint

Barbara ~ French Ethereal

Spring hugs to you all,

Barb πŸ™‚