Rustic Woodland Centerpiece

This is the centerpiece that is going in the middle of my table for Thanksgiving.  It is really quite easy to make, doesn’t take a lot of time and other than the glue sticks, is practically free with upcycled materials and help from mother nature!

Rustic Woodland Candle Centerpiece

Gather pine cones, acorns, seeds, nuts, anything organic.  Have the kids help.  If you are lucky, like I was, you will find a stump where Mr. Squirrel dispatched a couple of pine cones looking for the nuts!  It’s so much easier that way. Otherwise, find a few large pine cones and snip off the scales with heavy duty scissors, or rip them off with pliers.

Rustic Woodland CenterpieceThe other parts to this project are a base and a candle holder.  For the base, I used the round cardboard that comes under one of those we-make-it-you-bake-it kind of pizzas.  You can make the base any shape you want, but circles, ovals and rectangles are easiest. You can also use wood or even posterboard, though the posterboard might be a bit floppy.  The bigger candle holder is simply a washed tin can that used to hold chicken breast meat. This size holds those jars with candles in them.  You can see in the picture that you can also use a tuna can, which holds a pillar candle. Caution:  never leave a burning candle unattended – especially around these flammable items!

The first thing to do is glue a rim of the pinecone scales around the top of the can.  You can glue them next to each other or overlapping, which ever you choose.  The scales I am using came from a Ponderosa Pine.  Some call it Yellow Pine. I have also used Sugar Pine before.  Make sure you glue the scales at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the top of the can. Then, after finding center of your base, glue the can down.

Note:  You can use white glue on this project – especially if kids are helping – it just takes a bit longer to dry.  If using white glue, put a rubber band around the can, then slip each scale under the rubber band with a dollop of glue.  The rubber band helps keep the scale on the can until the glue has dried.

Now you will want to place the pinecone scales all around the edge of the base.  I let mine hang over about 1/2 inch so the cardboard won’t show.  This is where a lazy susan would come in handy.  Wish I had one!  😀Rustic Woodland Centerpiece

Now you glue the actual pinecones around the rim of the can.  You can make them all stand up like tin soldiers, or let them tilt a bit this way and that. Sometimes they have a mind of their own, but it doesn’t matter because imperfection is beautiful…  right? 😉

Then glue pinecones around the edge, covering the ugly side of the scale.  Don’t worry about some gaps showing here and there.  Those will be covered later. Rustic Woodland Centerpiece

Finally, fill in the middle with the rest of your pinecones.  Most of the pinecones I used are from a Douglas Fir tree, which I find to be the easiest to work with.  No sharp spiny points to prick my fingers, but you can see a few little prickly devils in the mix.  I like the variety!

Rustic Woodland Centerpiece

Now, gather all the rest of your woodland finds.  These are what you use to fill in the gaps. This is where the magic happens…  when it starts to look really lovely!  I wish I had some eucalyptus buttons – those are beautiful on this centerpiece project, but I just couldn’t find any this time.  Incense Cedars make beautiful fleur-de-lis like things, junipers make the beautiful silvery-gray balls.  Of course, there are several colors, shapes and sizes of acorns you can use – with and without caps.  I have even used liquid amber balls, seed pods, walnuts, hazelnuts, clove pods and star anise before (I have made several of these). Just make sure it is “natural”.  Have fun with it and keep filling in until you are satisfied with the results.

Rustic Woodland Candle Centerpiece

You may want to glue a piece of felt or thin cork underneath, which protects any finish below the centerpiece.

These can be saved year after year, but don’t be surprised if you find little pieces of stuff that looks like sawdust about and around the centerpiece when you get it out of the box next year.  It won’t hurt anything – it’s just the remains of the sawdust from the worms in the acorns (that have long since died)!  Turn the whole thing upside down and give it a few pats, or use your blowdryer to blow it off, replace any pieces that fell off, and enjoy!

Too late to make this for your Thanksgiving table?  That’s okay.  Just spray paint it silver or gold, or add sparkly ornaments, or glitter, or sprinkle on some fake snow.  Or all of the above! Then, you will have a beautiful Christmas centerpiece!

Rustic Woodland Centerpiece

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Pretty Storage Box

My husband and I recently updated our bathroom because we will be putting our house on the market soon.  I find it ironic that we have painted, replaced and spruced up almost everything in our house so that someone else can reap the benefits! 😉   But our home is almost 24 years old and we are the original owners, so a lot of things needed sprucing up!

Fabric over cardboard box

Our newly refurbished bathroom. It  feels naked and needs some bling!

In our bathroom we installed a new vanity, floor tile, lights, shower doors and all new shower and vanity tile!  Now it’s time to stage the bathroom.  Following the advice of numerous real estate agents (and a few staging blogs), we used neutral colors (white) for everything that is permanent and are using color only in the paint, towels and accent pieces.

Cardboard Storage Box

This box fit into the space pretty well – tall enough to hide the contents and not too wide. Perfect!

The middle of the new vanity has two shelves.  I plan to put some towels on the top shelf, to bring in color.  The towels I am planning to buy are just a shade darker than the wall color.  On the bottom shelf I needed something that also brought out the main accent color, but I wanted it to be useful and not just a pretty dust catcher.  At first I thought I would put a basket in there, but couldn’t find the right size or color. Nope – not even IKEA had the right size or color!  Nothing seemed right.  Then I realized I had a cardboard box lying around that fit in the opening pretty well. So, I decided to cover the box with fabric that would coordinate with the towels and paint color.

Fabric covered box

The bottom color – Celtic Grey – is what we painted on the walls.

At my local fabric store I found some fabric in the discount bin (50% off – wahoo) that would be enough to cover the box (just about 2 inches less than a full yard) – and it was the perfect color!  I don’t like everything all matchy-matchy, so when I saw this fabric which is about two shades darker than the paint color – SOLD!

After pressing the fabric to get all the wrinkles out, I measured the length needed to cover the sides and cut the fabric to that length, adding one inch for the seam.  I also cut the fabric tall enough so that it would fold over the top of the box to the inside. Then the box was placed on top of the remaining fabric and a line drawn around the bottom, plus a 1/2 inch seam all around.  This piece will cover the bottom of the box.

Covering a cardboard box with fabric

I pinned the fabric pretty snug, then sewed the seam.

First, the seam for the fabric covering the sides of the box was sewn.  I made sure this was the right size by fitting the fabric over the box.  Nice and Snug. Perfect!

Now I pinned the side fabric to the bottom fabric and sewed that into place.  The corners can be tricky so take your time.  I found it easiest to cut a slash in each corner as I was pinning the pieces together.  Then, when I was sewing the seam, the fabric stretched a bit so I could get sharp corners.  Before putting the fabric on the box, I sprayed the box with a bit of tacky glue and let that dry for a few minutes.  This helped the fabric adhere to the box, especially on the inside, but it sure made it harder to get the fabric on!  I think next time I will only spray the inside of the box. This project went really fast and only took about 1/2 hour to cut out the two pieces and then sew them together!

How to cover a cardboard box with fabric

I had this drawer handle that I didn’t use from a previous project, and it was the perfect finishing touch to the box!

Once the box was done, I felt it needed something else.  A handle!  I had an extra drawer handle that would work great on this box and seemed to be the perfect finishing piece!  It had the same rubbed bronze finish as the handles and pulls on the vanity, although it was a slightly different style and size, which seemed to make it all that much more special!   At first I was just going to punch a hole with an awl through the fabric and cardboard,so I could screw the handle on, but the fabric started to pull!  So instead I had to actually cut tiny holes in the fabric (easier said than done when it is stuck with glue to the cardboard – I ended up using a razor blade), threaded the screws in from the inside of the box and screwed them into the handle.  What is great is that the screws also help to hold the fabric down on the inside of the box!

I can store a lot of things in the box that I wouldn’t want out in the open, keeping a “spa-like” atmosphere in the bathroom.  Aaahhhhh….

How to use fabric to cover a cardboard box

Here is the fabric covered box in place with some matching towels.

I found some nice fluffy towels at our local BB&B store that were almost an exact match to the fabric!

Pretty Storage Box 8

So…  whaddya think?

 

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Scrubbies!

My daughter-in-law’s mother, Donna, is the sweetest, kindest person you would ever want to meet. She has been a blessing in my life for my son, my grandchildren and a wonderful friend for me!  One thing Donna has shared with me is her scrubbies!

Make your own nylon scrubbies

Our Christmas Gift from Donna – a package of scrubbies!

These scrubbies are so useful.  They are made of nylon netting and crocheted into a size that is perfect for the hand.  You can scrub anything with these – from toilets to teflon, and beets to feets!  Of course, you will want to keep your cleaning scrubbies separate from your food scrubbies! 🙂

She even gave us a dozen for Christmas! Here are a few 

The only problem is – anyone who sees them in my house wants one!  Since I decided I would love to do as Donna has, and grace my family and friends with scrubbies, I needed to learn how to make them!

I only know the basics of crochet, but that’s okay, because that’s all you have to know to make one!  To make one scrubbie, all you need is about 4 yards of nylon netting that you have cut into 2 to 3 inch strips, and a size “J” or 6 mm crochet hook.  And some patience!

DIY crochet nylon scrubbers

Keep a couple of these and a crochet hook in your purse. When you have idle time, make a scrubbie!

Donna taught me how to cut all my strips at once, then roll them into packages with a rubber band, each package enough to make one scrubbie.  This way, whenever you are in the car on a long trip, waiting (and waiting) at a doctor’s office, or sitting on your back porch listening to the birds sing, you can bring out your little packets and crochet hook and make a scrubbie or two!

My first attempt wasn’t really a total flop.  I got the basic shape down, but I was obviously twisting the netting too tightly and making my crochet stitches too tight.

DIY Nylon Scrubbies

Donna’s is on the left. Mine is on the right! 😉

By the time I got the fourth row done, my scrubbie was less than half the size it should have been!  And it took me the better part of an hour to do it!  Hahaha – Donna can make one in 5 minutes – no kidding!

So, I tried again.  This time I didn’t twist as tightly and I pulled the netting through with the crochet hook through much further with each stitch.  I think I am getting the hang of it.  My second scrubbie looks almost decent.  It will certainly work as intended, though it isn’t as neatly crocheted as the ones Donna makes.  No worries, though, as I know that I will get better and better as I make more and more!

DIY scrubbies

My second attempt. A little better.

Donna makes hundreds and hundreds of the scrubbies and gives them away to her family and friends.  She has also sold them at fund raising bazaars.  Imagine putting together a gift basket with some of these scrubbies and a few bottles of homemade natural cleaners, soaps and candles for a bride to be or as a housewarming gift!

Donna packages her scrubbies with a cute little saying on one side and instructions on how to make scrubbies on the back.  Then she binds them together in packages of 1, 2 or even 5 scrubbies.  I modified her poem a little and made my own package with directions on the back also!

DIY crochet scrubbies

For a gift or to sell at a fund raiser, package them with a cute little poem and directions to make more on the back!

Here are the directions of how to make a scrubbie:

How to make nylon scrubbies

 

I hope you make some scrubbies!  Oh – and take care of where your scrubbies are – the disposal likes to eat them!

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Snowman Kit

Snowman Kits

Making a snowman kit is easy and fun!  They make great gifts for kids and even the adults love them!  If you have snow on your front doorstep more often than not in the winter – why not make one (or two) for the household.  Give him or her a name and he can come out to play every winter!   The first picture is one of Caden with his snoman, and here is a picture of a kit I made for my other grandson, Silas, last year: Snowman Kit

You will need:

1/4 yard of fleece for the scarf

2 glass “gems” for the eyes

3 or 4 buttons

1  two ounce pkg of Sculpey III

1 package of golf tees

two sticks for arms, about 1 foot long

one for nose about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 4-5 inches long

one pair of mittens, either store bought or hand made with felt or knitted!

velcro or snaps or buttons or ribbons!

vinyl for carrier – about 9″ wide and 40″ long

drawstring – 2 feet Snowman Kit

Please read through these entire instructions first – that way you will have a general idea of what you are doing!

So, here we go…….  🙂      The first thing I did was make the “coal” pieces for the mouth.  I used Sculpey III, but you can use whichever make it and bake it clay you choose.  It’s best to work the clay first by kneading it a bit.  Be careful – the black and dark gray colors can stain your clothing!  I made 4 pieces in random shapes, baked it at 275 degrees for about 30 minutes.  After the “coal” was cooled, a golf tee is glued to the center back of each piece.  The golf tee is what holds each piece into the snowman.  Now you need to glue a golf tee onto the back of each glass “eye”.  But first use a permanent marker to blacken the end of the tee.

Snowman Kit

You can check out what the face will look like on snow using a paper plate!

This makes it look like a pupil.  If you don’t blacken the end of the tee, that’s okay, but I think the eyes look kinda creepy if you don’t!  Once you have your eyes glued to the tee, move on to the buttons and glue a golf tee onto the center back of each of them.  For glue I used the E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive.  This stuff is wonderful and will glue almost anything together!  Just make sure you have adequate ventilation while you are gluing because the fumes are noxious!  🙁  You may prefer to use a glue gun.  Whatever floats your boat!

Snowman KitNow, take the short, fat piece of stick and whittle one end down so that it is in a cone shape.  You don’t have to be too accurate or perfect – imperfection, in my opinion, is better!  At this point you can paint or stain the nose orange, to represent a carrot, but I like my noses left natural.  The sticks for the arms are great if you can find some with a fork on the end, as the fork holds on the mittens a bit better, especially if there is a breeze.

Your pieces and parts are now done!  On to making the scarf, which doubles as the pieces and parts holder!

Snowman KitFirst, turn the edges down on both long sides and sew a seam.  If you are working with fleece, you don’t have to worry about raw edges!  If you are working with fabric that will ravel, either zigzag the edges, use nonfray glue, or turn the edges twice and sew the seam.  Once the seam is sewn, fold the scarf in half lengthwise, right side out, and place all of your pieces and parts along the scarf so you can figure out where to Make A Snowman Kitput them.  I prefer to put the nose in the middle, but you can put each piece wherever you choose.  Make sure there will be enough room in each pocket for each kind of part you have made, leaving an empty pocket in between.  In other words, you will need a pocket for the nose, one for the eyes, one for the buttons, one for the coal and one for the mittens.  Once you have determined where the pockets will be, sew a seam Make A Snowman Kitcrosswise (making the pocket).  Now sew a crosswise seam 3 inches from each end of the scarf.  You can cut the material (easiest to do if you are using fleece) to make fringe at both  ends of the scarf. If you prefer, you could always add yarn fringe.  Finally, sew the length of the scarf, skipping each pocket, and back-tacking for each start and stop.  You should now have a scarf that has five open pockets.  Now is the time to attach your preferred method to close four of those pockets – the ones for the mittens, eyes, buttons and coal.  The pocket for the mittens really doesn’t need a closure, but since I was using ribbon (which will dangle when the scarf is on the snowman) I wanted it to look more even so I put a ribbon closure there also.  The pocket for the nose doesn’t need a closure!  You can sew in velcro tabs, buttons, snaps or ribbons.

Make a Snowman KitThe final step is to make a carrier for the entire snowman kit!  I found this really cute vinyl tablecloth at WalMart and thought it would make an adorable carrier! It’s fairly waterproof so it can be left on the snow and the contents shouldn’t get wet!  I simply cut it into one long piece four inches wider than the nose for the width, and for the length I measured the arms and added five inches – twice.  So, for the snowman kit pictured, the width    Make A Snowman Kitwas 9″ and the length was about 38 inches (each arm is about 14 inches long, so 14 x 2 = 28, plus 5 x 2 = 10, for a total of 38)  I folded the vinyl in half, inside out, and sewed up each long seam.  On one side of the long seam, however, at about 1-1/4 inch from the top, stop – back-tack, leave about a 1/4 inch gap, then back tack again and finish the seam.  This is for the opening in the pocket that will carry the drawstring.  Now turn down the top  Make A Snowman Kitdown about 3/4 inch and sew a seam all the way around.  You might want to do this twice – just to make sure it won’t stretch or tear. Once all of the sewing is done – throw the whole vinyl carrier in the dryer for just a few minutes.  The hot dryer will take the wrinkles out of the vinyl. Insert the cording and you are done!  I also put jingle bells on the end of the cording – just for kicks and giggles!

Make A Snowman Kit

Fold up the scarf with the pieces and parts inside their pockets and slide down into the carrier, slip the arms in and cinch up the drawstring!

I hope you make one!  They are so much fun and can easily be made while the kids are in school or snuggled in bed at night!  And don’t forget to give them a great name!  Crystal or Snowball or Frosty or Twinkle……………..

Snowman Kit for Etsy

 

 

Here is a picture of some of the future (soon to be made) snowman kits I will be putting in my Etsy store this next week!

 

Here are a couple more pictures of my grandkids with their snowman kits.  Have  you noticed that the actual snowman hasn’t changed in any of the pictures with my grandkids – just his/her accessories!  Now that’s what I call Lazy!    😉   

Make A Snowman Kit!

 

 

Mia

 

 

Snowman Kit

 

 

Emery

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive 365
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