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A Cactus for Christmas

The Christmas season always inspires me to dip into my craftiness arsenal in order to make gifts for family and friends.  Pinterest is where I go first to look through my endless list of DIY ideas.  I was particularly drawn to a link for mason jar terrariums.  I decided to do my own take on the project and now have three nice gifts I can share with some friends.

original pin

List of items needed:

  1.  Clear glass jars (size according to the plant you are putting inside)
  2. plants
  3. Decorative rocks or sand
  4. Long handled tongs
  5. Piece of paper or magazine page

Prep work

I put some base rocks into the bottom of the jar.  I kept the cactus in the plastic pot it came in to contain the dirt and help retain water.  Using the long handled tongs, I positioned the plant in the center of the jar.  Then I used the magazine page to create a tube around the plant.  This prevents the rocks from piling onto the plant.

rolled magazine

Then simply add the different rocks or sand as you desire to get a layered effect.  When using smaller rocks or sand, you may get some pieces falling into the other layers, but overall I like the finished products.  Happy crafting friends!

2nd completed

1st completed

3rd completed

finished trio

 

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Paper Flowers

Posted on

I finally got a chance to get back to some Pinterest-inspired projects.  Today I decided to tackle making decorative paper flowers.  The link on Pinterest made it look very simple.  Items needed – magazine pages in various colors, shredding scissors, bamboo skewers, tape, floral tape.  First challenge – no shredding scissors and couldn’t find them anywhere in Nuremberg (not exactly a crafty place I’ve learned).  So I improvised and used a short pair of scissors and made the many cuts by hand.  I also did not have bamboo skewers and could not find them in the market, so I used paper straws instead.  The process of rolling the cut paper around the straws proved to be challenging.  I had many failures and I’ve posted a few below.  Once I finally got the hang of it, I think they turned out pretty nice.  Now I have a decorative piece for the bedroom and one for the living area.  These would make a lovely centerpiece for a bridal or baby shower – or simply a nice way to add a little color in your life!

original pin

Original Pin

and it begins

Gathering the magazine pages

cut strip

Folding and cutting the paper

Fail1 Fail2

Failed attempts

success

Success

bedroom flowers1

Flowers for the bedroom

living room flowers2

Flowers for the living area

A New Twist on Christmas Trees

I discovered several interesting Christmas Tree craft ideas on Pinterest.  Two of my favorite ideas used yarn to decorate foam bases.  Living in Germany, I have discovered a great lack of craft and hobby stores – most people order supplies online.  So I had to be inventive since I had no foam core, plastic, or cardboard shaped trees to start with.  I used cardstock to form the base for the trees.  I imagine this project would have been a touch easier using something more solid as the base.  Nevertheless, I powered through and ended up with 3 festive trees to add a touch of Christmas to my apartment.

wrapped treesspiral yarn trees

Original Inspiration

Drawing tree shape Photo Nov 23, 12 04 35 PM bases complete

Drawing, cutting, and making the cardstock bases

 wrapping flecked thread wrapping gradient yarn wrapping spiral yarn

I added glue in small sections as I wrapped the yarn around the base

adding pearls

The spiral design left me with blank spaces, so I filled them in with pearls

completed flecked completed gradient completed spiral

I added a sparkly snowflake to the top of each as the final touch

Completed trees

The finished trio of trees

Coaster Reuse Take 2 – Christmas Ornaments

As the holiday season begins, the onslaught of catalogs also begins.  I was thumbing through a “Land of Nod” catalog and came across these cute ornaments.

inspiration

The inspiration

It made me think about those cardboard coasters that I have lying around.  So I set to work assembling Christmas-looking papers and accents.  I dug into my button supply (I have thousands of buttons that I have inherited through the years from grandmothers and great aunts).  Then I started assembling the ornaments.  I used glue to set the papers to each side – one side at a time in order to trim the edges neatly around the coaster.  And the embellishments followed.  Here are the results:

supplies ready to go

Assembling the supplies

painted wooden pieces

Painted wooden pieces

buttons

One of my 10 button drawers (the metallics)

setting one side

Setting paper to the first side

side one cut

First side cut out

setting side two

Setting the second side

both sides ready

Both sides finished- ready for embellishments

20 19 18 17 16 15 14frt 14bk 13 11frt 11bk 10 9frt 9bk 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The finished ornaments

First Holiday Bazaar

For those in the Portland area, I will be participating in my first Holiday Bazaar on December 14th & 15th at Earth & Sky Farm.  You can come and cut your own Christmas tree, sample some food and drink, and peruse the offerings from different artisans.  I will be selling most of the items that I’ve made and shown on this very blog.  Stop by and say hello!

 ESF2013HolidayPostcard-frnt-page-001

The Holiday Bazaar flyer

And as a continuation of yesterday’s post – the latest felt animal is…….a giraffe!     (He may be my favorite so far!)

finished giraffe

Completed giraffe

Felt art animals

After making the animal frames a few posts ago, I looked at these small wood pieces that I have and wondered if I could do something similar following the animal theme.  I decided to investigate making felt animals.  By using the scrap wood as the backdrop and frame combined, I thought it could be interesting to play around with different whimsical animals for the centerpiece.  It was fun designing the different animal looks and playing with felt and embroidery floss colors.  They can be displayed individually or used in a cluster for a cute art piece in a children’s room.  I have completed 3 so far and have a few more up my sleeve-  maybe a giraffe, or an owl, or a whale……

sketch ideas wood backers

sketching out ideas and the wood backer blocks

turquiose octopus

selecting the color palette for the octopus

sewing and stuffing pencil stuff

sewing and stuffing the octopus

octopus ready to mount

octopus with details added and ready to mount onto the wood

finished octopus

Completed octopus

finished hippo

Completed hippo

finished monkey

Completed monkey

And the lesson is….drink more wine!

While wine tasting in the Dundee area, my friend Dana and I noticed these candles made from cut wine bottles.  I figured there must be an easy DIY approach to the project, so I set out to peruse Pinterest.  I pinned a link for DIY bottle cutting that used simple things from home – yarn, nail polish remover, and a candle.  After many, many, many unsuccessful tries using this method, we gave up and took to the internet to find a solution.  That solution was the Generation Green Bottle cutter.  With a few clicks on Amazon, we ordered the bottle cutter and set out on a different path.  After reading the reviews, we knew that there would be some failures and it would take some practice, but we moved forward optimistically.  The process starts with scoring the bottle and then alternately dunking it into boiling water and ice water until the bottle breaks along the score.  We triumphantly cut the first test bottle and set forth with the actual wine bottles.  We had success with 3 wine bottles and then it was downhill from there.  We suspect that the thickness of the bottles may have had an effect on the success rate.  After 9 subsequent failures, we decided to move on to candle making.  We bought a block of wax because it was a good value.  However this created a lot of work for us because we had to break it up into smaller pieces.  Using a hammer, we took turns smacking the block of wax until we had small enough pieces to melt.  Once the hard work was complete, the act of melting wax, adding scent, and pouring was a snap.  Lessons learned – 1.  use jars that are already the size you want (you can always decorate them)   2.  Purchase wax that is already chipped into smaller pieces   3.  And finally, DRINK MORE WINE!  If you are going to cut your own bottles, you will need a lot of them with a failure rate of 75%!

bottles ready to go

Bottles ready to go

soaking yarn in remover string and candle

Yarn soaking in nail polish remover and string/candle ready to go

generation green bottle cutter

The Generation Green Bottle Cutter

scored bottle

First bottle scored

hot and cold dunk

The boiling water/ ice water dunking set-up

success

Successful break along the score

the thicker the glass

Unsuccessful break of one of the thicker bottles

getting wicks in place wicks ready

Setting and prepping the wicks

melting the wax

Melting the wax to the exact temperature

first pour

First pour of the hot wax

let the set begin

Wax setting

finished finished 2

The finished candles

drink up

So drink more wine!  Cheers!