Saturday, November 29, 2014

Crafty Wrapping

Inspired by the latest edition of Real Simple magazine, I decided to do some of my holiday wrapping a bit differently this year.  

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I hit Home Depot, Walmart, Michaels and Hobby Lobby for some supplies.  Initially I thought I'd try to find some white and gold baker's twine, but that just wasn't in the cards.  So, I settled for second best!  Here's what I found:

From Home Depot, I purchased jute, household twine and twisted mason line (I remember using that mason line when we poured the foundation for our addition to our old house).  It comes in fluorescent colors too!  I also purchased brass washers, nuts and "compression sleeves".  I thought they'd look nice attached to the twine.

From Walmart, I purchased a huge roll of brown Kraft paper and some raffia ribbon.  The combination of string and ribbon might look nice!

From Michael's I purchased crochet cotton!  Red and green!  Cheaper than baker's twine too!!  Using a coupon made it an even better deal!

From Hobby Lobby I purchased gold bells (they had lots of colors but I went for the least expensive) and manilla tags.

For this gift, I wrapped it in Kraft paper.  I used the green crochet cotton and wrapped it horizontally and vertically about 5 - 6 times, tied a small knot and cut off the ends.  I then did the same with the  raffia, but only went around once.  I then took the red crochet cotton and tied on several do-dads and wrapped it around once both directions.  I tied the tag on with a bow using the ends of the red strand.

Voila!  Fun and festive!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Moscow Mule Succulents

Wow, it's that time of year again!  No wreath-making for me this year - I kind of burned out on the whole frantic ornament searching, so it'll be a bit more low-key for 2014!

I made a trip to Bev-Mo this morning and found these beautiful copper mugs.  I know that Moscow Mules are all the rage now and I needed a gift for a friend who loves that beverage, so the mug would be the perfect gift.  I wanted something more than just a mug with a ribbon on it, so I thought that it would look great with succulents in it.  Problem was, I didn't want the succulents (and the accompanying dirt) to ruin the mug.  So, SOLO cup to the rescue!

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I went to Home Depot and bought a couple of tiny succulents.  (They can be split, so whatever you don't use, put in a pot and they will propagate nicely.  I still have some left over from the Succulent Pumpkin project that are doing great!)  

Cut slits in the SOLO cup so that it fits into the mug snugly.  This was a small cup, so it worked perfectly!

I didn't cut all the way to the bottom - I left 1/4 inch uncut so that if there's any water drainage, it won't go into the mug.

Add pebbles and potting soil or dirt.

Now, pull apart your succulents and plant them in the soil.  I used a spoon to push the soil around and make holes for the plants.  A few drops of water when done, and what a cute gift!!  (The ceramic planter behind the mug is filled with bits and pieces of succulents from other plantings or projects.  Don't throw any of those little buggers away!  Stick 'em in dirt and watch what happens!)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmasy Crafting

Wow!  It's been awhile!  Work has been so busy and sort of stressful, that I feel like I haven't had time to breathe.  It's sort of telling when the holidays looming ahead of me look like a cakewalk compared to daily life.  I can't complain - I love my job.  This time of year though has its challenges.  I'm thrilled to work with new folks and thrilled that our football team is going to playoffs and that there are daily challenges with students and lots of opportunities for professional growth but.... whew.  Time for a breather.

The other night I sat down and to de-stress I just started to design a chalkboard based on one I saw on the internet.  I loved the idea, but it was very winter/snow/cold inspired.  That doesn't always translate perfectly to So Cal.  I changed it up to match our holiday here - not so much snowmen and mittens, but family and traditions.

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I had an old framed picture that has hung in our bedroom for a VERY long time - mostly because we didn't really have anything to hang there and this print matched the paint.  I didn't like it anymore but was ambivalent about replacing it.  When this crafty moment took hold, that picture was perfect!  It's 36 x36 and had very heavy glass.

That gold frame had to go.  It didn't match anything.  So I pulled it all apart and started by chalkboard painting the glass and matte white painting the frame.

After that, it was just taking the original design and re-doing it on a 36x36 piece of paper using lots of lettering and pictures.  To me, that was relaxing - just turning on my favorite Pandora station and drawing and erasing (lots of erasing!!) until I got something I liked.  Using Google images gave me ideas too.  When the paper/pencil drawing is ready, use this technique to transfer it to the chalkboard: link here to the craft instructions page.

I painted the chalkboard using colored paint this time.  That was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the variety.

I would encourage you to try this technique and make some holiday decorations.  Big or small, it's a lot of fun and, if you find frames in a discount store, on sale, or on clearance, it's very inexpensive!