Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Day To Enter The Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway.  Do not miss out on the chance to win this super cute door hanger from Dondee Hicks of Artist Tree!  Click HERE to find out how to enter.  The winner will be announced Friday, October 1st, 2010.

My pumpkin topiary tutorial is being featured on U Create today.  Please click HERE to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by!
Our Southern Nest

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Topiary Turtorial

Five or six years ago, I was inspired by an article I read in Southern Living.  The article was about making a topiary using copper tubing and pumpkins.  I just loved it and couldn't get it out of my head.  I just knew I had to try it but I did not want to use real pumpkins because of the mess and they would not last very long. 

Then one day I stumbled upon some fake pumpkins at Michael's and decided to use them instead.  I bought three pumpkins in different sizes and the plastic carving tools that were being sold beside the pumpkins.  I drew out the designs on the pumpkins and started carving away.  Within five minutes the plastic carving tools broke and I did not know what to do.  I decide to try our serrated kitchen knife, but I had to use a lot of muscle power and the knife was too big to carve the tiny details.  My last option was a wood burning tool I had used in another project, and luckily it did the job. 

It took me two days to complete two topiaries.  I tried to hot glue the pumpkins together but it did not hold them .  I punched holes where the pumpkins met (one on each side) and wired them together.  They have lasted me for 5 years and survived moves to three different states.  Sadly, last year my little rooster knocked it over and I lost a pumpkin.

But my loss is your gain!  I have made new topiaries for my porch, and I have documented my project.  For this projects you will need three pumpkins and the heated knife shown in the picture.  I bought the pumpkins from Michael's because they were cheaper than Hobby Lobby.  They only had two sizes to choose from so I decided to use two large pumpkins and one small pumpkin at the top. 

Next, I drew my patterns on my pumpkins.  Here is were you can get creative.  I free handed the stars and curly Q's but used a template for the circles so they would be the same size.  The possibilities are endless for what you could create with these pumpkins.  However, simpler designs are easier to cut out.

The next step is to cut out your design.  Just follow the directions given for the heated knife, and please be careful.  It is HOT and SHARP!  I waited until my little one was asleep before I started cutting out the designs.  My youngest is two and I think you understand why I waited until he was asleep.

My advice in cutting out the shapes is to take your time.  It is not hard to do but I wanted nice clean cuts so I took my time.

After all my shapes were out it was time to stack the pumpkins.  I first decided which sides I wanted to face the front and which pumpkin would be on the bottom.  After all of that is decided, I cut out the stem of the bottom pumpkin. (I did not cut a hole in the bottom because I inserted the lights though one of the polka dots.  You may cut a hole in the bottom pumpkin to insert the lights, but be aware that the cord may make the topiary wobbly.)  Do not make the hole too big!  I made the hole about 3-4 inches in diameter.  I then cut the same size hole in the bottom and top of the middle pumpkin.  Finally, I cut a hole in the bottom of the top pumpkin, but left the stem. 

You now have to build you topiary.  Early in the post I said I attached my topiaries with wire.  This time I tried this glue pictured below.  I had it from another project and it said it was for Styrofoam.  It goes on white, but it dries clear.  The bottle says it needs 8 hours to cure.  I will have to say that so far so good.  If it does not hold I will go back to using wire.

Once the topiaries were dry, I set them in this plant stand I bought from Walmart, I think.  It was white but I spray painted it black and wrapped it with grapevine garland.  In the past, I have used two large iron urns for the topiaries.  However, I now use the urns for something else and I needed to add height to the topiaries.  I already had these in the garage so I improvised.

The final step is to add lights.  I used old Christmas light, but you can use battery operated candles.  You could also use the orange lights that you find at Michael's.  The lights I have now are on a green cord, but I will change them to white lights on a white cord as soon as I find them!

And that is it!  The big spiders I added serve two purposes.  First, I thought they were cute and added a little something special to the pumpkins.  Second, they hide little gaps that you can see because the pumpkins will not be totally flush.  You could use leaves, boas, or other garlands for the same effect.

Sorry for the long post!  It is a fun project and you can use it again year after year.  I would LOVE to use the white pumpkins to make a pumpkin "snowman" and top it off with a witch's hat!  If you have made a pumpkin topiary, I would love to see it!  Email a picture and I will post it on my blog.

Also, I am having a giveaway this week and the winner will be announced Friday, October 1st, 2010. I will be giving away this door hanger from Dondee Hicks of Artist Tree.

If you would like a chance to win this Candy Filled Jack-O-Lantern, please click HERE and follow the instructions on how to enter.

Thanks for dropping by!
Our Southern Nest

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Artist Tree Giveaway!

Here we go again!  I have another door hanger to give away this week from Dondee Hicks of Artist Tree.  Sorry I am late getting this posted.  We had a very busy weekend filled with football games and birthday parties!
This week I am giving away the CANDY FILLED JACK-O-LANTERN.  You can click HERE to see it on Dondee Hicks' website.  While you are there look around and you will see all of her wonderful creations.  If you don't win this week's giveaway, you can always order one from Dondee.  I try again to post the pictures for this week.

To enter you will need to do the following:
1.  Leave a comment at the end of the post.
2.  Become a follower or let me know you already follow OSN in another comment.
3.  Share this post on Facebook.  Be sure to let me know when you do.
4.  Blog about the giveaway and you can earn 5 extra entries.

You will receive one entry for each item that you do above.  Complete two items and receive two entries, etc.

If you would like to see who won the CANDY CORN giveaway last week click HERE!

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!  The winner will be announced on October 1st, 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Halloween Inspiration

Our town has a Market Day the first Saturday during the months of April through December.  Last year my friends, Kari and Jamie, and I made a few items to sell.  I was looking for some Halloween inspiration for this year and decided to look through my photos on Facebook.  I came across these photos and decided to share them with you.  We had a great response to our items and enjoyed chatting with our friends and meeting new ones too.

This pirate pumpkins was one of my favorites.  You can't see it, but he had a wire handle with colored beads.  You could hang him on your door or somewhere inside.

Small ornaments for spooky branches

The door buckets were a hit and could be personalized.  I had one on my door filled with branches that I spray painted black.

The trick-or-treat pails could be personalized with your little goblin's name.  I first starting painting these for my children years ago and they have reused them every year.  I have also used them to hold mums and to hold my candy for trick-or-treaters.

We offered pails in two different sizes.  The larger ones were great to use as a planter for mums.

This is what the door bucket looked liked before I put some one's initials on it.

The pails were also personalized.

Well, there you have it!  I hope this gets you in the Halloween mood and maybe even inspire you to make something spooky...or not so spooky.

Thanks for stopping by!
Our Southern Nest

And the winner is...

The winner of this week's giveaway is Dena Willis!  Please email me at to claim your prize!  Congratulations and thanks for entering the giveaway.

For those of you who did not win, don't despair!  I have another BEEAUTIFUL door hanger by
Artist Tree to giveaway next Friday.  I will start the giveaway Saturday so check with me then to enter!

Thanks again to Dondee Hicks at Artist Tree and congratulations to Dena! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Artist Tree Giveaway Is Here!!!

As promised, the giveaway for September will be a beautiful door hanger from Artist Tree.  I did a post about Dondee Hicks, the woman behind Artist Tree, a few weeks ago.  You can read the interview by clicking here.  Dondee was gracious enough to provide not one, but THREE door hangers to be given away by Our Southern Nest.  That means that I will give away ONE door hanger a week for the next 3 weeks!  I fell in love with her designs online, but when I opened the box I was so excited!  I thought they looked even better in person!

The first door hanger to be given away this week is this adorable CANDY CORN full of glitter and polka dots.  It makes you happy just looking at it! 

Here's how to enter! 

1.  Leave a comment below the post telling me what you think about the giveaway.

2.  Become a follower of Our Southern Nest and leave a comment to let me know you are my newest follower.  (If you are already a follower just let me know in your comment.)

3.  Share this post with your friends on Facebook.  Please let me know in your comment that you have shared this post with your friends.

4.  Blog about this post and receive 5 extra entries.

You will get 1 entry for each item you complete above.  Therefore, if you are a new follower and leave a comment about the giveaway, you will have 2 entries for the contest.  If you leave a comment about the giveaway and share this post on your Facebook page, you will receive 2 entries.  Do numbers 1-3 and receive 3 entries.  Get the idea!

The winner will be announced this Friday, September 24, 2010.  Thanks to Dondee at Artist Tree for making the giveaway possible.  You can see more of Dondee's work at or on her Facebook page Artist Tree

Remember, I will have another wonderful door hanger to give away next week!  I will give you a trick-or-treater would leave home without it!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Custom Canvas For A New Arrival And A Finished Painting

Where did August go?  I have been busy with school and the boys' sport schedules that I realized that we are almost half way through September.  Today, I will share two projects I worked on this lovely Saturday.  The first is a custom canvas for a baby shower gift.  I thought it turned our really cute and will match their bedding.  I you know I am partial to blue!

I also finished a painting I started two months ago.  I finally got the inspiration I need to finish it.  Whatcha think?

I started with an old canvas that I had painted a pineapple on last year.  I used joint compound to cover the canvas to give it texture.  I usually use heavy molding paste that you can buy at your local arts and craft store, but I didn't have any in the supply closet.  Therefore, I used what I had available.  If you do use joint compound, I would recommend sealing it before you start painting or your paint will get muddy.  I just use clear poly spray.

You will notice a line going across the canvas.  I used a paintbrush to paint on the joint compound.

This is what it looked like after the first few coats of paint.

I was not happy with it so I decided to add a brown glaze to make the texture stand out even more.  After it dried, I then sprayed a gloss poly again to seal it.  This is what it looks like now.

So there you have it!  I am off to eat my red beans and rice and watch some college football!  Have a great weekend!!!

Our Southern Nest

Saturday, September 4, 2010

An Interview with Artist Tree

Facebook is a wonderful thing!  A friend of mine suggested I become a "fan" of Artist Tree so I clicked on the page to see what is was all about.  When the page opened, I immediately fell in love.  Dondee Hicks is the woman behind Artist Tree, and she is an extremely talented artist.  She creates whimsical door hangers, and I want to buy one of each!

I have suggested her Facebook page to my friends, but I wanted to also share her creative genius with you as well.  Dondee graciously agreed to an interview to give us some insight to her business.  She has also agreed to donate a few doorhangers to Our Southern Nest to use in a giveaway coming up soon, but more on that later.  Here are just a few examples of Dondee's work. 

OSN:  I just love everything you do. How long have you been painting?
ARTIST TREE:  Thank you! Strangely, I’ve only been painting about 11 years. I’ve always been artistic, but it wasn’t until I tackled my daughter’s nursery mural that I realized I could REALLY paint! It was an AMAZING experience.

OSN:  Did you major in art?
ARTIST TREE:  I majored in art for about 2 weeks, became very intimidated due to my lack experience, and changed to Family and Consumer Science Education. Home Ec:)! I LOVE teaching Home Ec.

OSN:  Do you only paint door decorations or do you paint other things?
ARTIST TREE:  I’ll actually paint anything that won’t run away from me...canvases, furniture, ceramics, walls. Murals are my specialty and I’m a beginning (very beginning) portrait artist.

OSN:  The door decorations you create are spectacular. What materials do you use to create such unique items?
ARTIST TREE:  THANK you again! I’m amazed at their popularity and feel really blessed to have such a booming business. I’ve actually been painting door hangers for over 10 years, but couldn’t even “give them away” until the last 2 years! Crazy!  I use lots of different materials...mainly wood, paint, metal and LOTS of glitter.

OSN:  Where does your inspiration come from?
ARTIST TREE:  EVERYWHERE! I’m really into fun and whimsical things that make you feel “all Happy”!

OSN:  How did you get your start?
ARTIST TREE:  I’ve always been crafty and artistic and would refuse to buy ANYTHING that I could figure out how to make. When I painted my first real mural (my oldest daughter’s), I had such a huge response that I realized my painting could be a great way to add to my teacher’s salary! So I would definitely say that mural was my “official” start!

OSN:  I assume that you draw the templates, but do you cut them out yourself? Are you a one-woman show or do you have help?
ARTIST TREE:  I was a “one-woman” show in the beginning...I do love machinery! It has grown to the point of needing help now. I use almost all my time with the artistic part and have help from family, neighbors and friends for the other parts!

OSN:  What are your future plans for you business?
ARTIST TREE:  I’m thrilled with the growth explosion in the last 2 years and plan to eventually offer wholesale. I’ve always been interested in developing a line of decorative art/ the sky is the limit.

OSN:  Do you take custom orders?
ARTIST TREE:  ABSOLUTELY! I love everything I do, but the creative process when you are able to work on unique pieces is sooooo fulfilling! That’s where I really shine:)

OSN:  How long does each decoration take from start to finish?
ARTIST TREE:  Hmmmm...each piece is created in a large group now. I have pumpkin day, party hat day, cupcake day, etc. When I’m creating a new design, though, it takes about 2-3 hours per piece, depending on the extras like metal, wire, glitter, ribbon.

OSN:  I know at times my house seems like a paint factory with all the projects I have going on. Do you have a studio or do you work out of your home?
ARTIST TREE:  I do have a studio...a.k.a my garage! It has been converted to accommodate my home studio! We BOTH probably have several “irons in the fire” at ALL times! Wouldn’t have it any other way!

OSN:  Where can people go to view more samples of your work? How can they place an order?
ARTIST TREE:  You can check out lots of my work on Facebook under Artist my friend!
And you can place any order on MY FABULOUS new web

So there you have it!  You can become a friend of Artist Tree on Facebook and see all the amazing things Dondee has created.  So drop on by and be sure to mention that you found her through Our Southern Nest.

You can also visit her website,, to purchase your very own door hanger.  She is so talented and I know great things are coming her way.  

Don't forget to check back here at OSN because we will be giving away TWO of Artist Tree's Halloween door hangers later this month.  I will let you know which ones will be given away in the post.

I want to say a big Thank You to Dondee for sharing with us today!!

Our Southern Nest