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Tag Archives: home decor

  • Wood Decor: Plates, Birds & Paint

    Aren't we ready for spring? Let's make a new wood decor project for our homes using paint and birds as we clean out our nests from the winter blues!  Since March is National Craft Month, I am also trying something new with my wood piece: decoupage with a crackling effect!

    When I think of spring, I think of birds building their nests as one reminder that longer days and warmer sunshine are closer than we think. I put my hands on the book I was ready to use, Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection (Leisure Arts #7066).

    Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection). Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection).

    In addition to using spring as my theme for my new project, I also wanted to incorporate the use of wood. Haven't you noticed how popular the use of wood has become again? Just search for ideas or walk through craft stores to find wood pallet projects, wood signs, wood initials, and wood tree crafts.

    I already had a 14" unfinished wooden plate that I could use, but I also wanted something a bit more non-traditional. I found the slight difference I was looking for with this natural-looking piece of wood from Amazon; it was advertised as a tree bark footed server. It was an authentic slice of tree repurposed as a kitchen item. Well, it seemed to be the perfect solution for me; I purchased it for this project!

    This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server. This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server.

    With my Birds and Butterflies leaflet in hand, I made a list of effect(s) I wanted my projects to have along with the required supplies. There's a great chart within the book that outlines what you'll need for each of the photographed projects shown in the leaflet.

    For both my wood plate and bark server, the first step was to sand each using both medium-grit and fine-grit sandpaper.

    A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth. A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth.

    For wooden surfaces, a primer was needed to be applied before anything else, followed by another round of sanding. After wiping away the dust once again, I applied a base coat.

    I masked the outer edge with plastic so that the tree bark would not get Primer on it when applied. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied. I masked the outer edge with plastic so when Primer was applied, it would not get on the tree bark. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied.

    After the turquoise paint was applied near the center of the bark server, I painted the surface with a spring green color. I didn't know if the darker turquoise area would be noticeable underneath the green, or, through how many layers the crackling effect would appear. Here's a close-up of the crackling effect.

    Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks. Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks.
    To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium. To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium.

    The wooden plate had its rim painted yellow with its center an antique white. Then a darker green was used in preparation for the future inset bird nest image to be decoupaged in the plate's center.

    The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the server. Except, to add an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, I used a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint. The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the bark server with one exception.. I added an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, by using a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint.

    Okay, so far so good but how to make this plate's crackling effect and use of the print images different from the bark server project? Below you'll see the completed steps that I had so far; I needed to pause with this project to consider my next step.

    One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension that just the crackling effect? One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension than just the crackling effect?

    Moving right along with the bark server, I needed to decide on the print images to use and their placement. I cut out many images from the book and started positioning them on the bark server without gluing until I decided on a final composition. I think the below placement looked like a winner!

    Deciding what print images to use on which wood pieces. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content! Deciding what print images to use and their placement on the bark server. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content!

    As I reread the crackling steps in the Birds and Butterflies leaflet, I noticed a sentence outlining how to create a "stained" topcoat effect. Maybe I would try that along with gluing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery around the plate's rim; that would create the effect of peering in on the nest and its inhabitants while in its natural environment!

    Maybe I'll try the "stained"topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and springs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect. Maybe I'll try the "stained" topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect.

    Here are my final two wood projects... I am pleased with the results. There are multiple steps to be coordinated with the effects and/or paint techniques you plan on trying. So be careful that you've outlined the steps you need to take and supplies you need to have on hand!

    Here's the finished wooden server that won't be used for food any longer. It is now a display piece, and I will happily display it in honor of spring! Here's the finished wooden bark server. It won't be used for food in my household; it is now a display piece! I will happily display the bark server in honor of spring!
    The final plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover! The final wooden plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover!

    There are multiple steps with each of these projects, but they are not difficult. You must make sure you follow the manufacturers' directions on each of the supplies that you purchase for the effect you desire to create on your project(s).

    Enjoy your new discoveries both in nature and in art; happy National Craft Month!

    Martha

     

  • DIY Holiday Lights: Easy Gifting and Decorating Creatively

    Expand the use of tea lights and LED candles to craft easy holiday ornaments and table decor. This can be a most enjoyable time of year with all of the holiday crafting and baking, along with its celebrations, gatherings, and functions. But it can be a stressful time, too; especially when it comes to gifting and decorating creativity. Relax and review some of these craft ideas I've gathered for you!

    I saw the first project below last Christmas season but never got around to making any. So this year it was the first craft project on my list to do and share. A benefit to having been delayed a year, there are multiple variations now! This project's main component are a set of tea lights like the ones Leisure Arts sells (#47150). 

    Use tea lights to make ornaments and luminaries for holiday decor! Use tea lights to make ornaments and luminaries for holiday decor!

    The goal is to make Christmas tree ornaments that look like snowmen using the tea lights. Last year when I started gathering supplies I never could find a stove pipe hat so I moved on and chose a felt stocking cap. Luckily I found one misplaced pack of six and bought them. Fast-forward to this year, I followed a Pinterest pin to this post on Tea Light Snowman Ornaments and followed its directions very closely.

    I tried to purchase another set of the felt stocking caps [in the same size] as I found last year, but they couldn't be found in a local brick-and-mortar store. After not feeling positive about my manipulating ribbon and glue to replicate a scarf, I just experimented with pipe cleaners and really liked the result. Here is a picture of most of my supplies; some supplies were added as modifications to the original tea light snowman were made.

    Most supplies needed for Snowman Santa and Snow Lady tea light ornaments. Most supplies needed for Snowman Santa and Snow Lady tea light ornaments.

    Oh, I'm beginning to have a holiday smile on my face!

    Positioning the felt hat on tea light with eyes and mouth already marked! Positioning the felt hat on tea light with eyes and mouth already marked!

    I added a little more personality to each of the light's characters. The Snow Lady has long eyelashes with a warm chenille pipe cleaner scarf. She's wearing ear muffs crafted out of a smaller piece of pipe cleaner and mini poms-poms. Snowman Santa has a gift with him!

    Snow Lady tea light wears ear muffs with her chenille scarf. The battery compartment is still accessible from the back. Snow Lady tea light wears ear muffs with her chenille scarf. The battery compartment is still accessible from the back.

    My next project was also inspired by a Pin I saw last year using toilet paper cardboard tubes to fashion owl ornaments.

    Molding the cardboard tubes to have owl ears. Molding the cardboard tubes to have owl ears.

    I painted my owl a fairly true-to-life color and added details using my black Sharpie marker. As I was looking at the owl's detailed face and feathers, and thinking about its placement on a tree or wreath, it dawned on me to make it a luminary IF a tea light would fit inside the cardboard tube. I had not planned on the owl decoration to be a luminary, so I had to carefully cut slits through the layers of painted cardboard. Next, I used Loctite® Fun-Tak® to hold the tea light in place.

    Angled feather-slits made with a craft knife through painted cardboard tube. Angled feather-slits made with a craft knife through painted cardboard tube.

    Guess what; a tea light from Leisure Arts was the PERFECT FIT!

    A tea light fits perfectly inside the cardboard tube; it is held in place with some Loctite® Fun-Tak®. A tea light fits perfectly inside the cardboard tube; it is held in place with some Loctite® Fun-Tak®.

    I hot glued a wooden clothespin (Leisure Arts #48158) to the back of the owl so I could perch it anywhere on a tree or wreath. I think the angle of my feather slits need to changed, and the feathers need to be opened more to enhance more illumination.

    A little illumination is visible. Perhaps a different angle or wider slits are needed for more light to be seen. A little illumination is visible. Perhaps a different angle or wider slits are needed for more light to be seen.

    I think I'll experiment with another owl and circular holes.

    A two-tone red owl with pin-pricked holes for better tea light visibility. A two-tone red owl with pin-pricked holes for better tea light visibility.
    The owl's features are done and the tea light is in place! The owl's features are done and the tea light is in place!

    I checked the "better" illumination by sitting my owl in the office's semi-darkened mail room. I think the red owl will look great on a tree with the tea light snow people!

    Sitting in the office mailroom. Sitting in the office mail room.

    Now to show you all three tea light ornaments clustered together: Snowman Santa, Snow Lady and Owl. I like the brighter color used to paint the owl red. I think I'll lean towards making more owls in a variety of folk art colors and add whimsical details around the eyes, feathers and wings.

    On the office tree! Snowman Santa and the Snow Lady both have their lights on. The owl's light is on, too, but the angle doesn't show it very well. On the office tree! Snowman Santa and the Snow Lady both have their lights on. The owl's light is on, too, but the angle doesn't show it very well.
    See the difference in the tea light noses with the light turned on or off. Remember: color the flame orange with a permanent marker. See the difference in the tea light noses with the light turned on or off. Remember: color the flame orange with a permanent marker.

    Next up, more holiday lights on my dining room table at home. I have my LED 3-Pack Candle Set  in a row  atop a table runner.

    The very popular LED 3-pack candle set can be part of a holiday tablescape, too! The very popular LED 3-pack candle set can be part of a holiday tablescape, too!

    I wanted to add to my tabletop candles and decided on making a paper village using my coloring book paper from Art of Coloring  Festive (Leisure Arts #6945) and Art of Coloring Holiday (Leisure Arts #7094). I've just gotten started but am very pleased with the simple, clean paper house design found here.

    The tea lights make paper house luminaries as part of the table decor. The tea lights make paper house luminaries as part of the table decor.

    I looked at many paper house, paper box and paper folded ornament designs but this design by Hello Bee was the best for this project: a house structure to be a luminary and to show off a coloring book design. The paper house on the right has red and green tissue paper taped to the inside of the structure as a line. With the tea light turned on, the tissue paper-lined house was supposed  to give a warm holiday glow. However, it was the heaviest tissue paper I've ever felt and was displeased with the effect; that house will get a renovation! I like the intent of the added tissue paper, but I will need to buy some new (traditionally lighter-weight) yellow tissue paper. When the tea light is turned off, the tissue paper liner masks the appearance of the tea light if you don't like it being seen inside the house.

    In the early Fall, I showed different ways to use and decorate the LED 3-Pack Candle Set for National LED Day. Along with button garlands wrapped around the pillar candles, other embellishments were incorporated to the tablescape that included leaves, more buttons, baskets, etc. Not shown in my earlier post, was the below image of a wintry decorated candle; it is perfect for Christmas and beyond. I made snowball pom-poms (watch how here) and used them along with another button garland to decorate around the largest LED candle in the set.

    These snowball pom-poms look great in holiday colors complementing the ribbon and button garland. These snowball pom-poms look great in holiday colors complementing the ribbon and button garland.

    Candy canes are quite popular to use as part of your holiday decorations this time of year. This home decor candy cane candle project is so festive you could use it in any room for some extra holiday glitz. I wanted to try making a ring of candy canes surrounding a large candle, that I first saw here. It was a great decorative tip or trick, but I wanted to use the largest pillar candle from my LED 3-Pack Candle Set so I would not have to worry about the candle burning down.

    Simple idea - festive look! I'll use my LED pillar candles and won't worry about any flame! Simple idea - festive look! I'll use my LED pillar candles and won't worry about any flame!

    Since I was going to use a hot glue gun to secure the candy canes to each other and I didn't want any hot glue seepage onto my LED candle, I first made a poster board sleeve, or ring, to fit around my candle. Then I glued each candy cane to the poster board and made the candy cane ring. By using the largest pillar candle from my LED 3-Pack Candle Set I don't have to worry about wax getting a bit too warm for plastic wrapped peppermint candy!

    Peppermint candy canes are hot glued to a poster board sleeve [a 3"-4" ring] wrapped around the tallest LED pillar candle. Peppermint candy canes are hot glued to a poster board sleeve [a 3"-4" ring] wrapped around the tallest LED pillar candle.

    I bought inexpensive candy canes, white poster board and wide ribbon. Since I wanted a long section of each candy cane to be glued down, I cut a 3"-4" wide strip of poster board to act as a protective sleeve around the LED candle. I tied on a ribbon for extra security to assist holding the candy canes in place. Now I have an extra pop of color that can be added to any room -- and this is before the LED candle is lit!

    Fluff out that ribbon -- when you're using an LED pillar candle as part of your table decor! Fluff out that ribbon -- when you're using an LED pillar candle as part of your table decor!

    What a fun and busy couple of weeks I've had preparing and gathering these project ideas for you. I hope they will come in handy and lead you in using your tea lights and LED candles as home decor in different ways than you might have expected - craft on!

    Martha

     

     

  • Light Up Your Fall - National LED Light Day!

    October 7th is National LED Light Day -- so light up your surroundings! Fabulous fall decor from colorful leaves and pumpkins, to flying bats and ghosts, who couldn't use an extra candle or two, or three, to add a little glow to their seasonal surroundings? Leisure Arts has an LED 3-Pack Candle Set just for you - and it's being offered at a reduced price! These candles are fake, or faux, and are a great solution for ease of use and enhanced safety; fake means no candle flames ignited or melted wax! Look at what's included in the LED 3-Pack Candle Set along with some of our decorating ideas for you to incorporate into your seasonal decor!

    LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode. LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode.

    This is the first "fake" set of  LED Light candles that has gotten me excited to use. Not only do the faux candles feel like wax, each can be illuminated in a different color using the included remote. The remote control offers so many options, including two timer settings.

    LED Light - Unboxed 3 Set The candle heights are 3.9" (10 cm), 4.9" (12.5 cm) and 5.9" (15 cm); the diameter for each is 3" (7.6 cm). Each candle requires three AAA batteries.

    I like the fact that I can decorate each LED Light candle individually and use them as a coordinated theme, or display them separately around the house, or on the covered porch, or other area to be determined by my seasonal decor.

    Decorated LED Light for Fall Decorating each candle with a button garland. No need to worry about this decoration melting!

    As your decorating theme or mood changes, so can the color of the LED Light candles so that you can project your feelings or home's ambience as is suited from moment-to-moment!

    A beautiful amber glow setting LED Light for an evening setting. A beautiful amber glow for an evening setting.

    I have started with a simple tabletop decoration. It projects the change of the fall season into early winter by using leaves and ribbons in different colored patterns, along with the additional  button garlands I used as additional candle embellishments.

    A beautiful LED Light trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations! A beautiful trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations!

    Have fun exploring what type of seasonal decorations you can enhance by incorporating this LED Light candle trio into your lifestyle!

    Martha

  • Pumpkin Craft Dioramas for Gnomes & Fairies

    Can you tell it's coming? Or, have you already felt it, smelled it, seen it?  The changes are happening. Whatever you call it, autumn or fall, for the Northern Hemisphere September brings the autumnal equinox. For many, it is a much-awaited time of year bringing in crisp weather, football, school activities and....pumpkins! If you love pumpkins, you will want to incorporate them in your seasonal decorations with gnomes and fairies by updating your fall home decor with a pumpkin craft diorama!

    In recent years, I have admired the creative displays showing different methods to decorate pumpkins. I have wanted to make a pumpkin craft diorama but was always tentative with the planning, carving and decorating. This year, I have my gnomes, fairies and accessories, so it was time to take the plunge and make a pumpkin craft diorama!

    First, I needed to purchase a pumpkin; a fake pumpkin. I opted to get a pre-carved artificial pumpkin ready for diorama creativity. One is good, two is better. I bought two pumpkins; a 13 inch tall orange pumpkin, and a round 9 inch white pumpkin. I also purchased mosses as my artificial terrain for inside the pumpkins.

    Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin. Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin.

    The next decision I made was not to permanently adhere anything to the pumpkins. I did not use glue or pins or tacks. I also did not carve any other architectural designs in the frame of the pumpkins; I did not add any windows or other doorways. I used mounting putty to help place the mosses and accent pieces from my kits.

    Sheet moss to fill fake pumpkin while creating your pumpkin craft. Diorama terrain will be created using preserved Spanish Moss, preserved Sheet Moss, mounting putty, battery operated tea lights, and polyester fill.

    Hmmm--what else might I try to include in my pumpkin craft dioramas? I used a brand new book as my guide; I relied on Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! as my go-to resource for both the dioramas and other decorative ideas. In addition to my new Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! book, I chose various accent pieces from my kits by Leisure Arts that include  #47858 - Woodland Garden Kit, #47870 - Fairy Garden Kit, #47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes, #47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies:

    Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkin craft by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface! Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkins by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface!
    47858 Pieces included in item 47858 - Woodland Garden Kit.
    47870 Pieces included in item 47870 - Fairy Garden Kit.
    47961 Gnome figurines included in item 47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes.
    47962 Fairy figurines included in item 47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies.

    Now to begin! Review the size of your pumpkins, including their height, the height and width of your carved opening, the diorama pieces and then start arranging. TIP: Make a few sketches of your design arrangements. Just in case one idea doesn't work, a back-up plan has already been formulated! Start by placing some polyester fill into the bottom of your pumpkins, add your artificial turf of choice and move on to your decorative pieces.

    Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss. Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss.

    To incorporate the look of outside terrain being part of my pumpkins, I used two different kinds of mosses to give different textures to the terrain. I tacked up some artificial leaves on the inside back wall of each pumpkin, and some on the outside, too. Thinking of a tabletop display, I also placed a fairy and a gnome outside of the pumpkin craft diorama standing among the fallen leaves as if they were visitors.

    Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities. Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities.

    Remember, I am not permanently gluing anything to the pumpkins. This can be tricky when it comes to placing the figurines, especially since I am also trying to create the effect of a hilly meadow! I didn't want the gnomes and fairies to fall face down into the moss. I purposely placed a mushroom in front of this fairy to help steady her stance on the hillside. The mushrooms are on long wire stems. (They easily pierced through the sheet moss into the polyester fill underneath.)

    The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches. The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches.

    I incorporated artificial lighting in my diorama by hanging some tea lights using mounting putty for a very low-light effect; these images do not reflect a low-light setting.

    More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air. More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air.

    The pattern templates for the bats and black leaves are included in Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! It's a great additional effect to remind us of the changing seasons - or even to precede the Halloween festivities coming in October!

    I am pleased with my first attempt at pumpkin craft dioramas. Since none of my decorations are permanently adhered to the pumpkins, I can change everything from the backdrops and terrain, to the accent pieces and surrounding thematic settings. Another wonderful positive about the dioramas having changeable pieces is the invitation for interactive play. How awesome it would be for youngsters to play with these figurines in a setting like this!

    A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkins used to house all mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes! A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkin craft dioramas housing mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes!

    Now I have plenty of time to plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. I wonder what the gnomes and fairies will be up to during November and December? I bet they'll have something fun in store for us!

    Until next time, have some creative fun!

    Martha

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!

    Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Crafters - Make a Yarn Basket from Your Stash!

    I have always used yarn in some sort of craft even before I "learned" the basics of knitting and crocheting as an adult. Two memories encouraged me to crash-the-stash of yarn and get weaving! When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop learned how to craft a God's Eye or Ojo de Dios; a cultural symbol showing a woven motif created by using several colors of yarn wrapped around twigs. That is the first time I recall being amazed how several objects by themselves look and function one way, but used together in a different manner created an entirely new object! It was a magical transformation of sticks and yarn into a beautifully patterned piece of art. When I was an older Girl Scout, I made a woven basket. It took two weeks of soaking and weaving, soaking and weaving, until the basket was completed. It's funny how images from a current book can take you back in time, inviting you to revisit a past passion. Whether you discover the uses of yarn for the first time, or rediscover the transformation of your supplies into new objects, it's time to create a yarn basket project!

    The small project that caught my eye was the woven basket on the outside front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. Not only was it cute (small, compact, and uncomplicated), I could fit this project in to my schedule of other items on my to-do list. Plus, I had [minimal] weaving experience -- come on, decades' old hands-on knowledge still counts, right? Right - I immediately jumped on to making this project!

    This cute woven basket on the front cover (Leisure Arts' sku 6758 - Yarn Crafts), looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from our yarn stash! This cute woven basket on the front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from my yarn stash!

    Reviewing the directions in the leaflet, I decided to add some coloring to the cardboard base of my basket. After reviewing my various coloring book choices, I chose a page from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    This added step of coloring a page to add to the basket's cardboard base was not the hardest step, but it did take the most time!

    After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page. After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page.

    Of course I wanted both the inside and the outside of the basket's base to have a colorful design, so I colored the whole page. I used markers for this part of project, then sprayed acrylic sealer on the page after it was colored.

    Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket). Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket).

    Once my colored pages were cut into circles the same size as my cardboard base, I glued them to each side of the cardboard using a spray adhesive. Next, I used a sharp needle to puncture holes through the paper (that would be the inside of the basket) into the cardboard. Remember my earlier picture showed the cardboard already had the punctured holes; this was done before I made a final decision to add some coloring to my project. After the colored circle was glued to the cardboard, it was easy to puncture a new "layer" of holes going through just the coloring book page into the prepunched cardboard.

    Following the directions outlined in the Yarn Basket project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I inserted toothpicks into each hole and used hot glue to hold them in place. Some toothpicks would not stand straight up so I amended the directions by placing a pony bead around each toothpick. Then I added a different glue that would remain flexible after drying; I used E6000.

    Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page). Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page).
    Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place. Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place.

    I gathered three different bulky or super bulky weight yarn skeins. All three colors used were from partial skeins of discontinued colors. I began weaving - it was so easy and the pattern developed so quickly I wished I had more 'reeds' as my toothpick frame was quickly becoming a recognizable basket. I decided to quit for the night and had no worries regarding "where to start" in the morning.

    The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame. The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame.

    I changed colors as often as I liked; I didn't have a master plan. TIP: It was very easy to unweave rows when I decided to change colors at a different location. That's a great bonus - especially if you run short on a yarn color since you might be using up your stash of partial skeins! HINT: As you are weaving, gently push the yarn down each toothpick sliding it as close as possible to the woven row below it. This was a technique taught during my Girl Scout basket weaving experience and I started doing this automatically when weaving my current project! Following this technique gives the yarn basket a compact and tightly woven look.

    After the weaving is completed, a finger crocheted chain was added to the top of the basket. I placed the back ridge of each chain around the tip of each toothpick. Use some glue to hold in place as necessary. Here's a close-up showing both the top and base of the basket. The top shows the crocheted chain in place and the cardboard base with some toothpicks and pony beads still visible.

    A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible. A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible.

    I made another finger crocheted chain and glued it to the base's ridge. I wanted to conceal the pony beads as much as possible; these were used as structural support rather than as embellishments. A piece of single strand yarn was used to wrap around the basket near its top. As shown in 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I filled my basket with a variety of whole nuts.

    Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop! Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop!

    What a perfect container for a small space -  but this one little extra container will add definition to any side table, countertop or shelf. I hope to have this basket for years to come. Oh, by the way; I still have that Girl Scout basket I made all those years (decades) ago in summer camp! Fiber art lives on to tell us stories and create memories. Make some art today - enjoy!

    Martha

  • Coloring Books Make Easter Egg Artwork

    During early spring, the elliptical egg shape represents Easter better than none other. I have baskets, decorative eggs and ceramic bunnies, but a simple egg shape in springtime colors was lacking in my home decor. This void gave me further inspiration to find new ways in which to showcase my love for coloring!

    I knew I wanted to use an egg shape and pages from my coloring books. Now the decision was to find the right project. I was inspired by this Pinterest project Paper Strip Easter Egg Art  but wanted to use my own interpretation of the project to make it in my own style. I loved how this project kept evolving during my preparatory steps; here's what I did.

    I gathered my supplies. I used lightly painted coloring book pages instead of scrapbook paper for the paper strips. To assist in applying a thinner coat of acrylic paint to the pages, I first dipped my sponge brush into water, then blotted the excess water from the sponge. Blotting prevented the paper from getting too wet. To prevent the pages' corners from curling while drying, I held them in place with wooden clothespins. I repeated the painting procedure for the back side of each page, too.

    Preparing and gathering supplies. Coloring book pages painted using various acrylic colors. Cellophane tape and spray adhesive (not pictured) were both used later in the project. Preparing and gathering supplies. Coloring book pages painted using various acrylic colors. Cellophane tape and spray adhesive (not pictured) were both used later in the project.

    Here is how the coloring book pages looked once the paint dried.

    Pages from 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Pages from 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    There is some variation in depth of color due to the application of the acrylic paint. You will cut varying widths for your strips from each page so a little striation of color will not take away from your final project.

    Close-up of painted pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Close-up of painted pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    I prepared my paper strips by cutting them between 0.75"w - 1.5"w. Next, I arranged them in a color pattern that I liked on top of a piece of 12"w x 9"h construction paper.

    Various paper strip widths cut from painted coloring book pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Various paper strip widths cut from painted coloring book pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    Next, you will have to decide on the size and shape of your ellipse or egg-shape. During my painting, I decided to cut my sample egg-shape from a piece of paper in landscape mode, instead of portrait mode. I used my precision single-edged blade to cut my final egg-shape from my practice piece of paper when it was turned to measure 11"w x 8.5"h.

    Egg shape cut from blank paper; choose a size for your project. Egg shape cut from blank paper; choose a size for your project.

    After viewing my strip pattern through the egg-shaped cut-out, I firmly decided to use another coloring book page as the top 'layer' or mat over the cut strips. Just to make sure, I made a sample of the coloring book page.

    Testing a coloring book page as the top mat from which to cut my egg shape; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Testing a coloring book page as the top mat from which to cut my egg shape; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    I definitely liked the potential of this design! Once I made the final arrangement of the cut strips, I taped the ends of each strip to the construction paper. I started coloring a few of the flowers on the coloring book page that would become the top mat. The flowers were colored using colored pencils and markers; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    Thinking about the life and use of my future-finished project, I considered laminating the completed art pages together. Lamination would allow me to use my project page as a placemat or other table decor that would not get harmed by the elements or by frequent handling. But just in case I wanted to hang my project, I looked for a smaller egg-shape allowing extra space around the edges of the coloring book page as margins for a mat and/or frame.

    After the final egg-shape was cut from the finished coloring book page, I applied spray adhesive to the back of the coloring book page and mounted it over the painted paper strips onto the construction paper base. I trimmed the excess construction paper away from my coloring book page. Now I'm nervous -- it's time to laminate! There's no going back after this step. I have to understand that if I make a mistake, to accept the project as is; I can't undo lamination.

    Yes; I decided to use a coloring book page as my top mat over my painted strips of paper. I held the painted paper strips in place with tape on a piece of construction paper as my bottom layer. Yes; I decided to use a coloring book page as my top mat over my painted strips of paper. I held the painted paper strips in place with tape on a piece of construction paper as my bottom layer.

    YEAH; the lamination worked well; the page looks great! Notice below how I placed my laminated project page on top of a blue linen so that viewing the margins between the coloring book page and the edge of the laminated cover would be visible.

    Use an adhesive spray to mount the coloring book page on top of the paper strips/construction paper bottom layer; then laminate. Use an adhesive spray to mount the coloring book page on top of the paper strips/construction paper bottom layer; then laminate.

    I placed my finished, laminated page in a frame with a mat. See the close-up of the finished product.

    Close-up of laminated Easter Egg Paper Strip Project. Close-up of laminated Easter Egg Paper Strip Project.

    Save your leftover painted pages for another project.

    Leftover painted pages will be upcycled for another use. Leftover painted pages will be upcycled for another use.

    Shred the excess pages. Now use the paper shred around a potted plant as filler, or...

    Here are the leftover painted pages - their new use is as shredded paper as filler for baskets or potted plants. Here are the leftover painted pages - their new use can be as shredded paper filler for potted plants.

    ...as Easter basket grass!

    Finale - Easter egg coloring book paper strip project. In the foreground: unused painted pages shredded for use as Easter basket grass! Finale - Easter egg coloring book paper strip project. In the foreground: unused painted pages shredded for use as Easter basket grass!

    Enjoy making something new this season; wishing you hoppy days!

    Martha

  • Button Bowl

    Okay! Yes, another button project. I am buttoned out after this one. I was flipping through Decorate with Ribbon by Leisure Arts looking for a quick project. I also wanted to do something that I haven’t done before and use materials that I have never used before. Well, other than buttons. I picked Ribbon Bowl.

    IMG_7628 IMG_7629

    I do not keep any ribbon in my craft supplies or with my wrapping supplies so I used buttons, a balloon, and glossy Mod Podge. I know that the book also says to use craft glue but I ran out and forgot to get some more. I do want to try this again with some craft glue. I used Mod Podge for the first time and I have to say it sort of stinks and is very messy. Don’t forget to put some newspapers down cause this project drips. I had Mod Podge all down my arms when buttons weren’t sliding down the balloon and/or falling off. I started with a design of button flowers but quickly gave up just keeping them on the bottom rounded part of the balloon.

    FullSizeRender (19) Cute as a Button Bowl

    I ended up turning my box fan on high and set it in front of it to speed up the drying process. Once the Mod Podge dried, I did another coat in the holes. When this coat dried, I snipped the end with a pair of scissors by the tie. As the balloon deflated, it pulled free from the bowl. I then let it sit a little longer so the inside could dry. Forgot!! Once it started setting, and my buttons stopped sliding all over the place, I used a cup and sat my balloon down in it. I do not recommend putting anything wet in the bowl or set it where it could get wet. Good luck if you try to make this.

  • Sewing??

    I haven’t wanted to sew on a sewing machine since I graduated from my year of home economics in high school. I have probably had nightmares over the years over my experience in home economics. The first semester was cooking and the second semester was sewing. Cooking wasn't a problem. I had been cooking with my mother and both of my grandmothers since I was probably four or five. My mother picked my first sewing project and bought all the material for it. This could be part of my problem because it wasn't something that I would ever have chosen for myself. She chose a jumper like the ones that you see kids wear to private school for me to sew and the material was tan khaki cotton. I should know - I wore one myself when I started to school. I was in a private Christian School; my jumper was red, white, and blue plaid. In fourth grade I switched to public school. Cutting the pattern wasn't the problem, it was sewing all the pieces together. I had so many holes from ripping out stitches. I dreaded the day that we had to wear our finished projects to school. I packed an extra set of clothes to change into right after class. I never wore that jumper again. I now have a fear of sewing machines.

    I am more comfortable making and sewing things by hand. The last couple of years I have contemplated overcoming my fear of the dreaded sewing machine. Both of my grandmothers sewed quite beautifully; even my mother can sew. I was going through the Leisure Arts' website looking at books on everything but sewing when I stumbled across Pat Sloan’s book I Can’t Believe I’m Sewing. I thought to myself that it was time to overcome my fear of the sewing machine. It was easy not fretting over sewing on a sewing machine if you do not own one. I asked my friends on Facebook if they sewed and if they did, what is the best machine to learn on. One of my friends said that they had a new sewing machine still in the box and asked if I would like to use it. Yes!! Please!! So I have her new machine - don’t laugh, it’s a Hello Kitty sewing machine. But hey it works.

    With the book and my friend who lives next door neighbor came over and gave me a quick review. I was surprised about what all I remembered from my home economics class. The only problem that I had with the machine is my bobbin kept shooting out at me. Seriously!! It was shooting out at me like it was possessed or something. I finally tilted it back a little so I could try inserting the bobbin one last time and the problem was I wasn't getting it into a little notch. But once in I had no more shooting bobbins. My first project on the sewing machine was small. I chose A Coaster Set from Pat Sloan’s book. I used tracing paper to trace the pattern and cut it out so I would cut all my material the same size. They aren't the most perfectly sewn coasters. My lines maybe a little wonky but hey I did it. I am ready for my next sewing project. I have some extra material; I will practice on some more coasters. I might even make some for gifts.

    FullSizeRender (15) Coasters

     

  • Granny Square Pillow

    I have wanted some pillows for my sofa with bright fun colors. The pillows were either too cheap-looking or too pricey, so I decided to make my own. Granny Squares are fun, easy and quick; it only took a couple of days to do the front and put them together. The hardest part was choosing which color goes next. I used Encore yarn made by Plymouth Yarns. It is an acrylic wool blend yarn from my yarn stash; it's perfect for pillows. I didn't use a book to do my granny squares. If you don’t know how to do granny squares, here are two books to get you started Beginner’s Guide to Crochet Motifs and Granny Square Pillows Crochet E-Pattern.

    Granny Square Granny Square

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