Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Burlap Ribbon Wreath

This project is so simple.
All I did was take a grapevine wreath and loop some wired burlap ribbon all around it.  I did secure it in a few places with some hot glue.  Then I tucked (stuck) some artificial leaves and berries .

I would admit that this is hardly worth blogging about.....unless I had a tip to share!

Do I have a tip for you!
That tip is about where to buy your wired ribbon on the cheap!
Oh, you could order a 10 yard spool from Ballard Designs and pay $20 plus shipping!

But that seems pretty silly when you can buy a 50 Yard spool at COSTCO for $6.99!

The wired ribbon at CostCo is a seasonal thing.
It is something that is worth stocking up on.....

And this year they have burlap....needless to say I bought a couple of spools.

I restrained myself from buying the Christmas styles as I already have quite a stash from years past....

Although...the shiny red satin did call to me!!

 Using all that ribbon to make bows is one of my favorite ways to dress things up.

 This bow is a lovely accent to a fall arrangement made by one of the guests at the latest Sweetwater Floral Consultants Sip and Snip.

If you are interested in learning more about creating beautiful bows...check out this tutorial!

Then head over to CostCo and get your own ribbon stash started!

Have A Wonderful Day!

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Handyman Crafty Woman

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How To Preserve Fall Leaves Repost

The Sweetwater Grandboy has been helping Grandpa S with some raking.
The colors are changing and the leaves are oh so beautiful.
I picked up some really colorful leaves on our walk a few days ago.
I knew I wanted to preserve them. 
AND I got to work doing just that.
How? Well let me tell you by reposting the instructions from last year.
How to Preserve Autumn Leaves! 

A Repost For Your Reading Pleasure!
From Autumn 2015

The weather here this fall has been amazing.  Bright sunny warm days.  For some reason, the leaves on the trees around Sweetwater have not been as colorful as usual.  I suppose there is a scientific reason for that but I don't know what it is.

Fall leaves that are brightly colored just call to be brought in to the house to use for decorations.

I have memories of classroom art projects that involved trying to save fall leaves.
  • We ironed them between wax paper.  
  • We made leaf prints with paint.  
  • We used color crayons to make leaf etchings. 
  • We pressed leaves in heavy books.
What I really wanted was leaves that look like they are still outside on the tree.
This is the technique I tried this year and it comes pretty darn close to actually preserving the leaves.
The leaves in the silver vase have been in water for 2 days.....and you can see how dry and curled they are.
The leaves with the white pumpkins came into the house at the same time.  They got the "magic solution" and you can see they are still nice and soft.

How did this "magic" happen?

The "magic" ingredient is Glycerine.

You can buy glycerine at the drugstore or in craft stores.
I buy mine by the quart from Amazon.

What You Do:
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. ...
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. ...
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for a couple of days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel.
These giant red oak leaves were perfect to show you the process.

  I just put the leaves in the solution and didn't bother to weight them down.  Every so often I would go and push the solution around with my fingers to make sure the leaves all got covered.

Look how lovely and shiny and soft the leaves are after just 2 days.

They really hold the colors too.

I am not sure what I am going to do with these.  But I am sure to think of something.
 Almost as good as the ones in nature!

Are you wondering how long these will stay looking nice?
I don't actually know.....but the ones I did two weeks ago still look great.  I don't know if it matters.....they really only have to last until Fall decor turns to Winter....!

Now.....Are you ready for your chemistry lesson?

Glycerin is a neutral, sweet-tasting, colorless, thick liquid which freezes to a gummy paste and has a high boiling point.
Glycerin can be dissolved into water or alcohol, but not oils.
Many things are able to dissolve into glycerin easier than they do into water or alcohol. This makes it is a good solvent.
Glycerin is a humectant.  That means that it draws moisture from the air.
Glycerin has the ability to make "water wetter" meaning that it breaks the surface tension of water.

Glycerin has lots of uses besides preserving leaves.
If it can make those leaves so nice and soft.....imagine how products containing glycerin will help soften skin and hair.

 This is a nice article with lots of information about glycerine.
Creative Uses For Glycerine 
It is worth checking it fact....I discovered that glycerin mixed with water and heated over a candle flame makes a cool Halloween Fog Machine.  I can't wait for the UPS guy to deliver my new glycerin supply so I can try this!
Glycerin is also a great additive for Home Made Bubble Solution.
Recipe for Magic Bubbles
1 oz. glycerin
2 oz dish soap (I like Dawn)
8 oz water

Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Keep Artificial Pumpkins in Place Outdoors

Isn't this quote from Anne of Green Gables apropos for the second day of October?

Once October arrives, it is definitely pumpkin time.

If you want to have your pumpkins on display for the whole month, you probably need to opt for the fakes! 

Then in a couple of weeks you can buy the real thing for your Jack-O-Lantern.
Artificial pumpkins have come a long way.
There are hundreds of ideas for making those fakes look more real.
Mostly I just do a dry brush of gray or white craft paint to soften the harsh and shiny orange.

It can be a challenge to get a natural looking arrangement when you use artificial pumpkins.
Fake pumpkins are real "light weights"!  
When the wind blows....your arrangement will crumple at best and be all over the neighborhood at worst.

The table on the deck is meant to be a fire pit.  Fire and wooden decks are not compatible.  We use the fire pit part of the table as a planter box.

Let's deconstruct this project.

1 mini straw bale from Home Depot ($6.99)
Artificial pumpkins (from the storage stash)
Artificial leaves (from the storage stash)
Some real leaves
3 wooden dowels (from the storage stash)

Stick the dowel into the straw.

A nice straight stick from the yard could work if you don't have a dowel.

Pumpkins can go directly into the dirt left in your flower pots. If you live in a warmer area...just use this trick to give your planters a fall look.

Use a sharp knife to "carve"  holes in the bottom of the pumpkins.

This should take you a maximum of 2 minutes!

Then put the pumpkin on the stick.
My little helper was working on eye hand coordination when he aimed the pumpkins onto the dowels!

HMMM....if an almost 2 year old can do probably can too!

A few branches of artificial leaves and some real oak leaf branches are tucked along the edge of the straw to hid the edge!

Now....the wind can blow and these babies aren't going anywhere! 

It really couldn't be easier!

Enjoy Your Day!

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Coastal Charm

Monday, September 26, 2016

Use What You Have Fall Arrangement

Oh so many years ago...20 in of my favorite TV shows was The Christopher Lowell Show.
 Do any of the rest of you remember this show?

It had to be one of the first home improvement, DIY, lifestyle shows.

I loved his quirky point of view and sense of style.
HMMM....sound like anyone you know?

I would have to say that many of the things that Christopher featured on his show are things that I still do.

One of those things I remember was the suggestion to copy the look of  hotel lobby floral arrangements.  These displays tend to be done on a grand scale.

This is a photo of the lobby of the hotel we stayed at in Manila...
I couldn't find the photo of the hotel lobby in Bangkok with the boat made entirely out of orchids!
That probably isn't something I could pull off....but it was gorgeous and certainly GRAND!

This week we had our family room, hallway, entryway and kitchen painted.

That meant taking every speck of "decor" down in those areas.

This photo is from the post I did about the RULES for a mantel.
I did this in you know it was time for a change.

Once I took the tall dried materials out of the vases, it was time to  go into a "Use What I Have" mode.
This is the result!

I started with one of my favorite containers.

This is a Good Will find that usually has a green plant in it...

A chunk of chicken wire went into the bottom to support all of the sticks.
I love this technique because it is sturdy, cheap and almost disappears in the finished design.

Then it was just a matter of deconstructing the old mantel arrangement and going on a hunt for other things that would add to the tall dried stalks.

HMMM.....didn't I just write a post about preserving cattails?  (Yes...Mr. S.....the blood was worth it!)
Those cattails are a nice addition.
I also used the seed pods and lichens that have been plant accents for a couple of years.
The final touch is the dried green Hydrangeas tucked in to the base to completely cover the chicken wire.

My arrangement isn't quite as grand as these..... 

But I like it!

Have A Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Preserving Cattails for Indoor Decor!

This post involves blood and gore!

This is supposed to be about preserving cattails. 
How could that involve blood and gore?

It all started when I asked Mr. S to come along to the countryside to collect some cattails.  
We do this every couple of years.  


It is a simple matter of climbing down the embankment and cutting the cattails before they get to "ripe" and start to puff.


it would be simple enough.....

If the rock retaining wall HADN'T crumbled when Mr. S stepped down....
But Mr. S is tough and stoic!!!!
So even though he fell and twisted his thumb....we kept at it!
Then....we got back in the truck and found even more cattails along the road....
Then many cattails in hand...back home we went.

When John got out of the truck...he asked me what I thought we had walked in to make his pants get all red!!!!!
 YIKES!  He was covered in GORE!
Luckily, when we got to the source of the wasn't a big deal!
The bleeding stopped in 5 minutes and the little wound was covered with a regular bandage.
BUT....I his boot was filled with blood...
There was a puddle on the floormat in the truck.

Now on to preserving those cattails.....
I originally posted about this here...PRESERVING CATTAILS TUTORIAL

In order to make the cattails last, you need a very strong "GLUE".
I have tried a couple of methods.
Hairspray: it isn't strong enough...and who has it anyway.
ModgePodge:  Works....but has a funny texture because of the way it sits on the surface.


Polyurethane is my go to solution for strong long lasting cattails.

The poly absorbs into the cattail and keeps in all that fluff that is just waiting to burst out,

I used a disposable brush and put on a very thick coat.

 The can of poly that was on the shelf was pretty I feel like this was a great use of the "dregs" in the can.

I left them out in the yard to dry.
Then....I went back into the house to help clean up all that GORE!

So thank you to Mr. S for "taking one for the crafting team"!
wait till you see what I use these very COSTLY cattails for!
More to come soon....

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Simple Boxed Corner Pillow Instructions

Fabric junkies know what a dangerous place a wholesale fabric store can be.

The Sweetwater Daughter and I took a trip to the fabric store with no real "need" in mind.

Of course....
what should my eye spy....?

This remnant was only $5.00 a yard and has all the right colors for our family room.

I knew it would be the perfect way to make the two Malabar chairs coordinate with the room.

 We moved these two chairs from the living room to the family room this spring.

As you can see....the fabric on the cushion is not the best for a room with rust colored carpet.  But with the addition of beige cushions it was sorta okay.

It was serendipity!

I do a lot of NO SEW projects....alas....this is NOT one of them.
In is kinda picky sewing....not for the faint of heart.
This post is not really about the seat cushion....but you may be interested in that process.

And would you believe....?  I learned how to do this BEFORE there was Google!
The real trick to tackling a sewing project like this is DECONSTRUCTION!
If you take the old cushion cover apart, you have the perfect pattern pieces to create the new one.
It is kind of scary....because once you rip it apart...there is no turning back!

One nifty discovery with the old cover was the way the welting is attached.

Instead of the usual piece of covered welting that is sandwiched between the pieces, this project uses a self welt.

That means that the welt becomes part of the top piece of fabric.

(I ripped out the old cording so that I had the perfect size for the new self welt.

Then comes my least favorite part.....zippers and pinning and stitching...OH MY!

A couple of hints:  
Don't try to give yourself extra room....cushions need to fit super tight.  In will think that it is never going to fit...and then as you close the zipper...a tight fitting cover just snaps into place.
Check out this tutorial for covering a box cushion with a zipper:  Something For the Road Box Cushion Tutorial
Seriously....these directions are some of the best I have seen.
Once the seat cushions were done, it was time for the pillows for the back.
I wanted a little more formal looking cushion.  

Did you know that the corner on the left is called a "Turkish" corner?  I like it....but I simply wasn't in the mood to do more welting!

So....the next best and simple option was a box corner.

Simply put...this is a lot like the way paper grocery bags are designed.  After the knife edges of the pillow are stitched, you pull out a triangle and stitch across at the depth of your side.
Confused yet?

This is a photo from yet another tutorial that is way better than anything I can write.

Check it out....

This is a close up of the boxed corner.

This one is three inches deep.

Making the back cushions was a lot easier than doing the seat cushions.

I even went big time and put zippers in.  WHOOT WHOOT!

The finished project is every bit as nice as the vision that I had standing in the fabric store!
Don't you just love when that happens?
The price was right.....less than $25 for four cushions....not including my labor and time....but that is why they call it DIY!

Have a Great Day!

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