Please note: All images on this blog (except where noted) are original works of Miki Baxter and cannot be duplicated without permission. Also, if you're inspired by a project featured on here, then please link back to me and give proper credit. Thank you!!!


Reflections and a Sunset, Adieu 2009

[6726.jpg]I came across these images that I took this summer while visiting my parents.  In the middle of dinner, the sky suddenly turned dark and stormy.  After a brief deluge of summer rain, the skies cleared and made way for a gorgeous sunset.  I’ve spent many moments throughout the years looking out onto the water scene pictured above, pondering life and what the future would hold.  My beloved proposed a decade ago, as a matter of fact, while we were seated on a swing looking at this view.[6711.jpg]

As we bid adieu to 2009, I hope and pray that 2010 is a year of triumph and hope, dreams coming true, wisdom, prosperity, health and wholeness.  A year filled with peace.  Above everything, God is gracious.  He knows our hearts, and He responds to prayers.  He is the only constant in this world, ever faithful and kindAnd He loves us.  From a favorite song by Crystal Lewis… "Know Him well!  Know Him well!”

* All images are a copyright of Miki Baxter Photography and may not be duplicated without permission.


Merry Christmas Bird

A hearty greeting from this cheery fellow that you have a Merry Christmas and a most blessed New Year!!!


Tea Cup Stands

My final project for the Victorian Christmas Tea (see my previous post for the other projects) were Tea Cup Stands - each lady attending the Christmas Tea brought a tea cup as part of an exchange. We needed a way to display the multitude of tea cups that also fit with our theme and decor. Having seen the very popular cupcake stands all over the internet, I decided to make my version which needed to be sturdy, fairly inexpensive and easy.
I did not want to mess with power tools, cutting large pieces of wood or long steel poles. No drilling holes or installing brackets. I got very tired of the glazed eyes, the confusing and contradictory pieces of information I received from the "helpful" guys at Lowes. I simply asked for advice regarding securing PVC pipes to wood. Once I mentioned they were for making tea cup stands, the guys got nervous or confused. The man in the lumber department was the most helpful, eventually pointing me to the precut wood circles after discussing various wood grades and showing me large pieces of lumber. He sent me to the hardware guy who was less helpful with a strange bracket solution that even I knew could not work on a circular object. The least helpful was the plumbing guy who led me to 6 foot long steel pipes which I would have to cut myself and had no answers to how I would keep the wood in place after drilling holes in all of them (his suggestion in the first place!) He quickly stated that he didn't have anything that could possibly help me and disappeared. I left the store thinking they needed more women working in their store!
So I took these wood circles, four of the 15" and four of the 18", picked out eight wide PVC pipes and headed to the paint department. I picked up a can of satin white paint, not wanting to deal with the fumes of spray paint though it was the same brand. A tube of gorilla glue, and I had everything to start the project.
I painted the circles with two coats of the white paint, then hot glued ribbon around each PVC pipe, which sufficiently covered the stamped markings on each.
Once the paint was dry, I brought the circles to a craft day at the church and showed the ladies how to decoupage decorative scrapbook papers in various patterns on the top of each circle.

Once the wood circles were dry from several coats of the decoupage paste, I hot glued trim around each one. I purchased the trim from the fabric department at Walmart and chose two of the most reasonably priced, considering I needed around six yards each for a total of twelve to cover all of the circles.

The final step was gluing the PVC pipes to the center of the wood circles, one to the bottom of the large circle to raise it up and one in between the large and smaller circle to create the two tier stand. For me, finding the center of each circle and gluing the PVC pipes was the most challenging step. The perfectionist in me was determined to find the EXACT center and fretted about the possibility of the stands being off-balance. A man from the church gifted with construction and who had the right tools for measurement preserved my sanity by taking over this task. And now for the unveiling of the stands, being used on the day of the Christmas Tea:

The cost breakdown for this project:
The 15" circle - $6.68 each
The 18" circle - $9.76 each
The PVC pipes - $2.00 each
The trim - approx. $5.00 for each stand
These supplies total $23.44 per stand.
The additional supplies (which you may or may not have on hand) include paint, scrapbook papers, decoupage paste, gorilla glue, hot glue and ribbon. For our project, I purchased white paint and gorilla glue. The other supplies came from either my craft supply stash or from one of the ladies on craft day. I was extremely pleased at how these stands turned out, and they are an inexpensive option compared to other stands being sold. For a cupcake stand, you wouldn't need as thick a piece of wood and could add more tiers of varying degrees of width. If you borrow this idea, please link back to this post and give me credit!!! I would also love to see your project outcome!


Victorian Christmas Tea Projects

I'd like to share some of the things I created for our church's Christmas Tea. This year's theme was "Victorian," and we came up with a modern interpretation inspired by Victorian fashion and elements. Rich jewel tones and lots of sparklies helped create the right ambiance; the plain banquet room was transformed into a princess, like Cinderella. Guess that makes me a mouse or perhaps the fairy godmother... I like that better!

One of my big projects was creating Victorian art for the bare walls. I enhanced and colored clipart and other images in Photoshop, giving several either a watercolor or oil painting effect, then matted and framed all of the pictures. Though the gold frames came from the thrift store, most of the frames including all of the tabletop ones came from my house, which was stripped bare of all artwork and photographs. The advantages of being a photographer - I have many frames!
I absolutely adore costumes and clothing from different eras. A nude mannequin and prohibitive costume rental fees forced me to channel my inner "Project Runway designer" and come up with a properly dressed Victorian lady. I found a purple satin dress at the thrift store for $10.00 that had a slight gathered train in the back. I put a cream lace top I had over the dress along with a black lace vest, gathering them in the back with a brooch.

She had to have an overskirt and bustle. I used two almost sheer curtain panels, also found at the thrift store for $2.00 each, that had a subtle stripe in them. I draped the panels, first in the back then the front, pinning gathers to create the bustle in the back and the overskirt in front. Borrowed jewels from my daughter completed the look - Victoria was ready for her debut!

Along with the pictures of Victorian ladies, I found some silhouettes that we decoupaged onto trays found at the Dollar Store. The black silhouettes against the silver didn't show up well, so I amped them up with glitter. Ah, much better!

The final project I'll showcase today are these wreaths that hung on the outside doors where all of the guests came in. Though our budget was almost maxed out, I definitely wanted a rectangle wreath and found inexpensive 11x14 frames at A.C. Moore. I wrapped Dollar Store garlands around each, poked in a few berry picks I found on sale at Michaels, added Dollar Store tassels, enhanced them with thrift store pearl garlands, and then hung them up with ribbon taped to the top of the door. I really love how they turned out and will be making bunches of rectangular wreaths next Christmas!
Though these projects weren't done for me or to be displayed in my home, I thoroughly enjoyed the creative process and have been inspired with numerous ideas. I can't wait to bring the artwork home and plan on using them for holiday displays, including Valentine's Day. Though my home decor style is not Victorian, I love the feminine elements and will look for ways to incorporate more feminine style for spaces my daughter and I use. Working on the mannequin stirred up my passion for vintage clothing and my love of fashion. I used to collect vintage clothing, especially gowns, and still have pieces packed away. I think it's time they came out to play!
There is one more major project, making tea cup stands, that I will showcase in my next post. I based my idea on the gorgeous cupcake stands I've seen around the web.
It's DIY Day over at A Soft Place To Land and Show & Tell at Blue Cricket Designs - go over there to check out the many fantastic projects!!!

BCD Show and tell


A Glimpse of Our Christmas Tree

Though I've been quiet on the blog front, this season's flurry of activities has kept me busy in a pleasant and enjoyable way. With two boys sharing a birthday right after Christmas, I put up our tree the week before Thanksgiving to extend our enjoyment of it.
WARNING: We have stepped even further away this year from traditional decor. Our tree is white (gasp!), and we have a lot of purples, pinks, and teal colors. Without further ado, here are some elements of our tree and Christmas decor:
This angel is a tree topper from my childhood. I like to feature her in her own display, not hidden on the top of our tree where she's not as easily seen.
A thoughtful friend gave us this ornament and several Christmas items as a wedding present.
The ballet slippers were my daughter's ornament from several years ago, and the sparkly boots are for this year, to highlight her interest in fashion design. Every year we give the children a meaningful ornament, with the date written somewhere on it. It is so precious to go back over the memories as the ornaments are unwrapped or to hear the kids squeal when they see them hanging on the tree., "Remember when...!"
This year a sparkly dragonfly and several butterflies made their debut on our tree. As a matter of fact, our tree topper is a big red butterfly!
And to celebrate our win at the Inner Harbor Scavenger Hunt as the Baxter Buccaneers, I put a pirate eye patch on our tree. It goes rather nicely with the glittery pink snowflake, don't you think?
I'm linking up to Friend Making Mondays at Amber's blog - go take a tour of the various Christmas decorations featured there and make some new friends in the process!!!