The Dollar Diva

Little glass lanterns and candle pedestals from Dollar Tree

Found these cast plaster candle pedestals at Dollar Tree a couple of weeks ago.  I only bought 2 black ones, but they had white also; BUT the white ones had very noticeable ‘seams’ so I decided to skip them.  (you could easily sand down the protruding part of the seams with sand paper though)  As you can see, these chip super easily.  I was planning to repaint mine, so I didn’t really care.  The new paint will cover the chips, and a coat of varnish will help prevent future chips.

I bought a few of these little turquoise glass candle lanterns the same day.  They fit perfectly atop the pedestals, but I probably won’t use them for such a predictable purpose.

I’ve used some similar frosted white glass lanterns (also from DT) for these upcycled fencing candle chandeliers that I made recently.  I did not permanently attach the lanterns to the fencing, so they are easily removable for transport.  You can use regular or battery operated tea lights in the.

Here’s what I did with my two black pedestals.  Added another coat of black paint, tied on an old key with a piece of sheer black ribbon; glued a folded sheet music ‘rosette’ to the top of the pedestal; then glued on the plastic skulls.  (from DT)

I’m really TRYING to not stockpile so many craft supplies, and use up what I have on hand.  But if you shop DT as often as I do, you KNOW that if you don’t buy ‘as many as you think you will ever need’ of an item that catches your eye; you will never find them there again.  MOST of the time.  Every so often the desirable item will be something that they will be regularly stocking . . .  but NEVER ‘expect; to find it again and you will never be disappointed.

Forgot to take pictures of these ’rounded bottom’ DT glass lanterns before I embellished them.  They had several colors, I bought one clear and one turquoise.  Had some very OLD DT mini jar candles is little ‘shot glasses’ that fit perfectly inside these; then I added a few inches of colored gravel (also from DT!) and tied on a few shells with baker’s twine of jute.  For the shells, I glue a small piece of the string to each shell, the bundle them and tie them on with the longer strip.  And yes, DT does sell jute and baker’s twine; but I think I got the aqua baker’s twine elsewhere.

Did you notice these little jars of shells in the display photo?  YEP!  Got them at DT too.  I added the limpet shell to the cork lid.

I filled some vintage glass spice jars with ‘beach glass’ and tied sheer ribbon around the necks.  (no lids for the spice jars).  The beach glass is the last little bit that I had left over from YEARS ago when DT carried it.  I probably bought FIFTY bags of assorted colors of the beach glass from DT, and used it to make beach glass wreaths.

The beach glass (or Sea glass, if you prefer) wreaths are TRULY a ‘Labor of Love’.  Each one took at least 20 hours to construct, and contains nearly a dozen layers of carefully positioned and fitted together glass.  I’d guess there are at least a thousand pieces of glass per wreath.  I used tacky glue to adhere mine.  Hot glue would never hold up under the weight of the glass.

Uh-oh!! The sun is coming out!  I might have to put on my rain boots and get outside and rake up all the pine needles in my yard!


Dollar Tree gumball machines


Fairly small, and not many choices of colors; this blue and bright red and yellow.  I was hoping to find white, but this blue color will do.

I just filled them with seashells that I’ve gathered over the years.  (and YES, some of those shells were gathered from Dollar Tree stores!)

  I had some MINI red ones that I found a few years ago that I turned into ‘snow globes’!

I had forgotten about the red ones that I filled with little conversation hearts for Valentine’s Day?!?!  Cute, no?


These would be super cute as party favors or table centerpieces.  I just checked the DT website and the gumball machines come in 4 colors, as shown in the above picture from their site.  IF you order from the website, be aware that if you order a ‘case’, you will get a case of MIXED COLORS.  Most DT inventory comes with assorted colors per case.

For baby shower decor, Dollar Tree has lots of the little mini favors and decorations, that would be adorable in the gumball machines!

What else could you fill these cute little gumball machines with?  Buttons?  Little wood spools?  Marbles?  Old photographs???   I’d love to hear your ideas!

Dollar Tree sand castles

Remember these from last year?

That’s as far as I got at the time.  Have been hunting for some ‘smallish’ fish bowls to put them in.

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See the one on the left above?  That is what I wanted to do with a sand castle in it.  Alas, my search for such small fish bowls ahs been to no avail!  So, I decided to look around at what I have and see if I had anything that the sand castle would fit into.

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Ah-HA!!!!   This thrifted apothecary jar has a wide enough mouth for the castle to fit through!

2.5.12 signs finds etsy 006First I applied a layer of glue on the inside bottom of the jar; put the castle in place then poured in some extra sand.  I let that dry overnight before adding the rest.

2.5.12 signs finds etsy 007Some glittery aqua peel and stick letters.

2.5.12 signs finds etsy 005Some jute twine around the neck and a little starfish gift tag that I just happened to have on hand.

2.5.12 signs finds etsy 006Took a lot of trial and error to find ‘just the right size’ starfish to fit in the jar!  Wanted to use the biggest one possible, so that it would show above the castle when viewed from the front; but was limited as to what would fit in the jar!

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A few assorted small shells tossed on top of the sand and my little beach memory jar is done!

Sign of the times, I guess!

It’s getting harder and harder to find good stuff to re-invent at the dollar store.  I used to NEVER leave Dollar Tree empty handed, but it’s happening more and more lately.  I’m going to have to expand my repertoire in order to add regular content to this blog!

These FAUX white fingerling starfish came from Michael’s, in a 3 pack for $2.00.  I actually thought they WERE real when I bought them (without putting on my reading glasses!)

It wasn’t until I opened the package and looked at the backs that I realized they were faux.  Pretty darn GOOD faux!  And probably STURDIER than the real thing for crafting purposes.

I recently saw a tutorial on a blog for making your own out of Fimo, (or any kind of hardening clay)  Pretty simple to figure out without a step-by-step guide.  They had used a PIN to prick all the little holes on the front though.  I think I’d use an old BRUSH of some kind instead of making them one by one by one by . . . . oh my!

I used these to make some simple peg racks.  FIRST (and it’s important to do this first!) I hammered in my sawtooth hangers on the BACK.  You’ll break the starfish if you try to do it later!)  Glued the starfish in place with e6000.  Once that glue set, I pre-drilled pilot holes and hammered in a couple of rusty nails to use as pegs.

If you want to prevent your rusty nails (or anything rusty) from further shedding ( which it WILL do on it’s own!) just apply a clear coat of any kind; varnish, mod podge, even plain ole white glue will do.  Just anything that will SEAL the rusty surface.

Five cent bottles

Actually for MUCH of the rest of the country, these bottles would be FREE.  With Oregon’s strict recycling laws though, even beverage bottles like this have a 5 cent deposit/refund.

So, of course I had the empties set aside to haul back to the grocery store.  Then I was bored one day and decided to ‘play; with a couple of them.

First I had to soak them to remove the labels.  Sometimes THAT is the end of a project when the label or adhesive simply will NOT come off.  Thankfully, on these the labels slipped right off as soon as they were fully soaked.

Then I wrapped the necks with jute twine.  Apply a good layer of tacky glue to the entire area you plan to cover with the jute; pick an end to start on (either top or bottom works just as well) and wrap away!  The top where the lid screwed on required a couple of extra layers of the jute.

Don’t worry about the spots of glue that will inevitably end up ALL OVER the uncovered part of your bottle.  After your glue has completely dried, it’s easy to go back and wash off that dried glue from the glass.

I embellished my bottles with shells and starfish; on the top and neck; and a hand stamped tag.  But you COULD leave the tops open to use them as vases.  OR add a shell ‘necklace’ like I did here.

SO, if you’ve got ANY empty glass bottles or jars, jute twine and some tacky glue; you’ve got your next craft project!

Re-painted sea horses

Remember this little guy from a few  posts ago, that I got at Dollar Tree?

First I spray painted with flat black.

Then I did a quick sponge painting job, with either tan or turquoise.

Couldn’t decide which color I liked better, so I asked Michael for his opinion.  He voted blue.  Which, actually I DO like better, but not everyone likes that color nor wants to decorate with it.  SO, since I had six of them, I did 3 of each color.

Figure I will take one of each color to my booth at Stars and see which sells first.  Then I can always (and VERY easily) repaint the remaining ones if needed.  Going from tan to blue is easiest, as I can just paint right over it.  Blue to tan would require a new coat of black first.

And now that is has been determined that the blue color POPS more, I’m debating repainting this sea-horse table I recently posted over on my  ‘trash 2 treasure’ blog. 

My thinking was that the TAN would ‘go with’ a greater number of color schemes.  Whaddya think?  Should I for the aqua/blue on this one too?

Beach decor

Most of this is Dollar Tree supplies I’ve had on hand for a while, and just recently used for projects.Pretty aqua votive holders with slanted rims.

I just glued a couple of scallop shells on the front.  

Little satin trinket box from Michael’s craft store.

A glittered sand dollar added to the top.

Little sisal frame with sand paper backing and shells glued on top.  Candle also cane from DT.  I just dressed it up by gluing on a starfish.  Aqua bottle is thrifted; shell glued in the top and a piece of sheer ribbon around the neck.

All the shells (except fingerling starfish) came from DT; as did the sheer ribbon and sand paper.

I haven’t found and beach glass (sea glass or decorative glass) at DT this year, but I had a lot in my ‘stash’ and made these sea-sea-glass wreaths.  This and several others are for sale in my etsy shop.  Be sure to check out the sea glass ‘treasure’ collections in my etsy shop too!

Shell ‘necklace’ for a vase

Couldn’t think of what ELSE to call it, so it’s a necklace for now!

Dollar Tree vase I’ve had sitting around for SOME time, awaiting a project. ANY kind of vase or even just a JAR would work for this application.  Just need an indented area for the necklace to be attached.   Shells came from DT also.

For hanging the shells you’ll need some JUTE twine.

And good ole Aleen’s tacky glue for gluing the shells to the jute.

Cut one LONG piece of jute.  You’ll want it long enough to go around the neck of your vase with room to tie a double knot.

Next cut LOTS of shorter strips of the jute.  You’ll be gluing a shell to EACH end of this and it will fold in half at the neck of your vessel.  How long or short you want to make these pieces is up to you; as well as how varying you want the lengths to be.   Put a good blob of glue into each shell, then insert your jute.  Lay flat and let dry overnight.

Take your jute pieces with the shells glued on and LAY them over your longer piece of jute.

I couldn’t get a pic of the next step because it requires both hands.  Pick up the ends of your long piece of jute from the position shown above.  This will DOUBLE your shelled jute pieces over.  Tie the longer jute piece around the neck of your vase; double knot and cut off the excess.

At this point you will still be able to maneuver the shell strips if you want.  Even them out or pull one end longer/shorter.

I opted to keep all my lengths fairly close to the same.


Since the vase itself is ‘so dressed up’ it really doesn’t NEED to be filled with anything.  but if you MUST fill it with something, go for something very SIMPLE, like a bunch of twigs,