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Sweet Sweater Succulent Tutorial


long-sleeved sweaters (adult size) in green tones
[ribbed sweaters work best for the 'cactus' texture effect +
natural fibers with tightly knit textures - no open crochet stitches]

twine or string in brown or green tones
sharp scissors
LOTS of heavy rubber bands (2 per pumpkin)
polyfill stuffing

small faux flower blossoms
regular toothpicks
hot glue gun OR Tacky glue
*Cut the arms of a sweater to create the cylinders - longer sections create more elongated/tall cactus shapes, and shorter sections for smaller, rounder cactus.

*Turn the cut pieces inside out, and set aside.

*Take the twine or yarn, and wrap it eight to ten times around your elbow & thumb to make big loops.

*When done, cut it in half at the top, where you are holding the twine with your thumb, so that you have one big long hank. It should be approximately 15 inches long. Set aside. Make one hank of twine for EACH cactus.

Step by Step

1. Place one hank of twine inside of one cut sweater piece. Let about an inch poke out on the LARGE end of the sweater arm - the rest of the twine will hang out the narrow end.

2. Fold that inch of twine over the edge of the sweater, then gather the end up and fasten it REALLY tightly with a rubber band.

3. Flip the whole thing right-side out, using the hank of twine to help.
4Stuff the open end with polyfill. Remember that lots of stuffing will make your cactus rounder, and less stuffing will result in a flatter, 'squashed' look. Fill it as full as you can.

5. Separate the hank of twine into eight to ten single strands. Spread these out equidistantly around the rounded top. Evenly distribute the strands as you stretch them to the other end of the form, tucking them into the ribbed areas of the sweater weave as you go - this will give you a more realistic texture in the finished cactus.

6Grasp the strands and the bottom edge of the sweater, twist them together, and wrap a rubber band around them several times - tightly.
7. Separate the strings into strands again, and then begin gently pulling each separate strand in a clockwise pattern. You'll have to pull each one twice or more to create enough tension to pouf out the sweater and form the raised ribs of the cactus. (If you find that the strands don't stay when you pull them, then tighten up the rubber band so it has enough tension to hold the strands.)

As you go, pull the sweater fabric out a bit at the top & bottom edges, so that the ribs/ridges are more defined. Once the ridges are even, tie the strands together around the stem in pairs, two at a time, to hold them in place. A simple knot is enough to keep the strands from slipping in the future. 

8Then tie the twine strands together in two knots - one on each side of the extra sweater fabric - right up tight next to the rubber band, covering it. Cut off long ends of twine.

9Cut off the extra sweater fabric at the top, leaving about an inch. [ This is where we vary my original sweater pumpkin tutorial, as these cacti have no stems ]
10Fold that inch over and down onto the top of the cactus, further covering the rubber band and twine knots. Use a hot glue gun OR Tacky glue to glue the edges of the sweater fabric in place. 

11. Pull one small bloom off of a faux flower bunch, or lei, or garland, and insert a toothpick into the base of the bloom (where the stem was). Push the toothpick into the tiny hole that is in the center of the sweater fabric you just folded and glued on the top of the cacti. Glue in place if you wish.
12. Poke toothpicks into the raised 'ribs' of the cacti in a regularly-spaced pattern. On smaller cacti, push them in further for a smaller appearance - keep them longer for larger cacti.

13. For a kid-safe version, forget the toothpicks. 

Use a Sharpie marker to draw sweet or funny little faces and 'x' marks for spines on the sweater surface!
i displayed these by filling containers with a scrap of burlap fabric, then sitting the cacti on top of it. 
(extra toothpicks can be pushed through the base of the cactus and into the burlap to give the cactus stability.)
the 'Sweet Sweater Succulents' product name is protected by creative copyright 2019 in perpetuity 

and may not be used by any other entity.

Easy 5 Step Weathered Paint Finish

wood object to paint . paint color 1 . paint color 2 . sand paper . paint brushes
Step 1.
Paint a clean, dry item with paint color 1. Flat or satin finish is best.
Here, the item is an old wood bench and paint color 1 is aqua.
Step 2.
Use a piece of coarse grade sandpaper to sand the piece,
wearing away paint color 1 at the edges and along joints.
Sand in long strokes, not in circles or swirls, so it looks like authentic wear & tear.
Step 3.
The next coat of paint will be applied with a 'dry brush' technique:

Dip the tips of a paint brush in paint color 2. Here, that color is white.
Then stroke the brush against a dropcloth, rag, or cardboard box to remove most of the paint.
Step 4.
Drag the almost-dry paint brush bristles across the item, depositing a small amount of paint color 2.
Do not press hard, just drag the brush over the item's surface to highlight the texture.
Use long strokes across the length of the item - with the grain.
Step 5.
Use coarse-grade sandpaper again to rough up the edges of the item again,
wearing through the white drybrush coat into the base coat.

The effect will approximate that of being left out to weather naturally over time,
instead of looking like an overworked 'faux' finish.

It will weather more on its own if left outdoors, 
or you can add a sixth step: add a coat of clear matte-finish varnish to protect it.

This technique works very well on benches, chairs, tables, 
crates, wood planters, shutters, doors, bed frames, cabinets,
birdhouses, fences & gates, even decks.
Simple Seashell Candle Tutorial
* Grab yourself a bunch of clamshell halves (butter, littleneck, whatever) and clean them. Let dry.
*Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
*Sit them on a cookie sheet with their 'open' side facing up. 
Nestle them into a damp dishcloth/kitchen towel so that they all sit level.

*Get some plain white tealights (the kind that come from IKEA in silver metal cups are perfect).
*Remove the silver cup from the tealights, and sit one candle inside each shell half. 
Make sure the wicks are standing straight up.

*Slide the cookie sheet into your oven. 
It should take @ five minutes for the candles to melt,  filling the whole inside of the clamshell half with wax.  
Keep a close eye on the process.
DO NOT MICROWAVE! The moisture in the shells makes them EXPLODE!

*Pull the cookie sheet out of the oven very slowly and keeping it level 
so that you don't spill the liquid wax. 

*Sit the sheet on a flat surface to allow the wax to re-harden in the shells. 
If any of the wicks are bent or covered in wax, 
use a wood skewer to lift them out of the wax and stand them straight up.

*When the wax has hardened and the shells have cooled (about an hour), 
remove them from the cookie sheet and store them in a cool, dry place. 
If you'd like, you can place them in the fridge to REALLY harden the wax at this point.

*When burning these candles, place the shell inside a saucer or small bowl, 
to keep the melting wax from pouring out of the shell and making a mess. 
Always be cautious when burning any kind of candle.


Custom Water Bottle Labels

All you need are your water bottles
and latex balloons in a color and theme that matches your party decor.

Cut off the top round part and the lower round part & neck of the balloon
as shown in the image above
then slide the MIDDLE section of the balloon over the water bottle.
[remove the paper label from the bottle if it will show]

... and just like that, you've got customized labels!


Sweet Sweater Bunny Tails!
another original 'sweet sweater' creation by Deb Kennedy for homewardFOUND . 2020

first up: i made a Sweet Sweater Bunny Tail from a pink sweater Santa hat:
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1. cut off the fur trim on the bottom edge of the hat.
2. filled it with polyfill & closed the open end with a rubber band, and 3, cut off the excess.
when it's displayed with the fuzzy 'tail' in the front, 4., you don't see the rubber-banded end...

tuck it into a plant and you have a cute lil' bunny tail peeking out at you:
crafting, crafting with kids, decorating, DIY, diy decorating, spring decorating, Easter, original designs, re-purposing, seasonal, sweaters, Sweet Sweater Bunny Tails, up-cycling, tutorial, trash to treasure, Easter decorating, sweater decor
 ready to make your own?
to start this project from scratch, you'll need:
a white, pink, or ivory sweater sleeve (the larger the sleeve, the bigger your bunny tail!)
some polyfill stuffing . two wide rubber bands . some fuzzy trim (or pompoms)

the process is similar to my original Sweet Sweater Pumpkins:
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1. turn a sleeve section inside out, and close off one end tightly with a rubber band.
2. turn it right-side out, and fill it to overflowing with polyfill stuffing.
3. gather up the open end, pushing the polyfill inside as you go, and close with a rubber band.
4. cut off extra sweater fabric - but leave enough to not let the rubber band slip off!
5. cut a piece of furry fabric (i used the trim from the Santa hat) to cover that end. hot glue on.
6. cut a strip of furry fabric long enough to curl around the edges of the end,
and hot glue into place. then fluff the fur.

crafting, crafting with kids, decorating, DIY, diy decorating, spring decorating, Easter, original designs, re-purposing, seasonal, sweaters, Sweet Sweater Bunny Tails, up-cycling, tutorial, trash to treasure, Easter decorating, sweater decor
make them in several sizes and create a bunny family!

the 'Sweet Sweater Bunny Tails' product name is protected by creative copyright 2020 in perpetuity 
and may not be used by any other entity.
Wire Tomato Cage Mannequin

tomato cages are one of my fave cheap supplies for projects
and it's really easy to fashion one into a mannequin form:
just grab yourself one of those $2.99 (or less) wire tomato support cages at the hardware store,
and follow these steps:

tutorial, garden, outdoors, backyard, upcycled, thrifted, tomato cage, garden art, junking, junk makeover, summer projects, wire mannequin
* sit the cage UPSIDE DOWN on a sturdy surface.
* bend two of the 'legs' (now sticking straight up) into a shape like a hanger, seen in the far left image.
(use a real hanger as a guide if you need to).
NOTE: bend slowly and gently to keep the welds on the support rings from popping.

* bend the third 'leg' forward toward the other two, in a high arc, seen in the center image above.
*bend a 'hook' in the end of that arc (facing up) - again, bend gently
* cross both ends of the 'hanger'-shaped 'legs' over the 'hook', and tie into place with twine.

you now have a 'wire mannequin' form - something i used in displays at vintage shows for years.
they are easy to make and lightweight to transport,
and by stacking one form on top of a few other regular tomato cages, you can make them in varied heights!

to give the 'mannequin' stability, you'll need to 'weight' the bottom ring to keep it in place -
i used a few pieces of a broken concrete statue, but books, bricks or rocks work, too.

tutorial, garden, outdoors, backyard, upcycled, thrifted, tomato cage, garden art, junking, junk makeover, summer projects, wire mannequin
next, just dress your mannequin up and place her in the garden, your store, or show booth!


Ivy Dome from a Wire Tomato Cage

one wire tomato cage . two metal paper clips . ivy branches  . wire cutters . needle-nose pliers
1Using wire cutters, cut the TOP circular ring off of the tomato cage
by clipping the circular wire on each side of the upright wires.
Do NOT cut the upright wires
2. Bend the three upright wires in a 'U' shape across the cage,
causing the wires to meet at the apex.
They should meet where the 'crosses' are left from where you cut off the top ring.

3. Bend one metal paper clip around the point where the three wires cross to secure them together.
4. Bend another metal paper clip into a 'U' shape, and attach it at the apex of the dome.
Twist the two ends of the 'U' around the existing wire supports, to secure it for hanging the dome.
5. Wrap each of the three wires around the circular ring to secure it in place.
Leave @4" of wire hanging below that wrapped loop.

6. Bend the ends of each of the three hanging wires into a small open loop.
Bend the ends of each of the cut wire ring sections (that you removed earlier) into a small open loop.
7. Place one loop of the cut wire ring sections over the hanging wire end, 
and the other around the bottom ring of the cage. Bend them inward to close the loop.
8Repeat until all added uprights are secured to the bottom ring using the loops.
9. Separate your cut ivy pieces into long and short pieces.

10. Begin to add each piece of ivy to the wire form by tucking the thickest end of the piece into 
one of the loops on the form. 
Twist the ivy around the wire as you move across the form, and overlap pieces.
11Lay the wire form down on its side, then add & wrap ivy around the first (bottom) ring.
12. Add & wrap ivy around the second (upper) ring as you did the bottom.

13. Add & wrap ivy around each of the upright wires.
[use the thickest ivy on the uprights with the hooks, to hide them]
14Finished Ivy Dome
 Made from real ivy, this will last a few days. Mist with water to keep fresher.
Made from faux ivy, it will last indefinitely
[and you can always use that as a base, to add real ivy to]
 Display your finished Ivy Dome on a tabletop, on a pedestal, or hanging overhead


Bunny Ears Napkin Fold

*fabric napkins, tea towels, paper napkins, fabric squares... plain or printed, both work.
*ribbon or twine to tie them 
*one fluffy white pom pom for each napkin
Easter egg hunts, candy, family time, Easter dinner, Easter brunch, Easter decorating, hosting family, Easter table decor, Easter decor , Easter bunny
instructions, from left:
lay a square napkin flat on the table - if it's printed, print faces down.
fold two corners in to touch points in the center. then fold each side again, toward the middle.
fold each side one more time, toward the middle. (you've folded each side THREE times now)
fold one side on top of the other, to create a 'tube' shape with angled ends.
one side is 'open' - where you can see both edges that have folded. the other side is 'closed'.
(in my photo above, the closed edge is on the right side...)
Easter egg hunts, candy, family time, Easter dinner, Easter brunch, Easter decorating, hosting family, Easter table decor, Easter decor , Easter bunny
instructions, from left:
bend the 'tube' in half, with the 'closed edge' facing up toward you.
tie a bit of bakers' twine or ribbon around the whole napkin as shown above.
add a fluffy white pom pom to make a bunny tail by sitting it on the bottom 'u' of the napkin.
that's it! you're done!
Easter egg hunts, candy, family time, Easter dinner, Easter brunch, Easter decorating, hosting family, Easter table decor, Easter decor , Easter bunny
napkins can be laid on / beside the plate at each placesetting, 
or popped into clear glasses to hold them upright - as shown below:

Rosette Napkin Fold
spring Easter tablescape inspiration napkin folding DIY home decor tutorial
 for each rosette, you need one square fabric napkin. i didn't even iron mine while doing this,
but i'm sure you're a better hostess / host than i am and will use pristine napkins!!!.

directions  (photos from left to right):
fold napkin in half, then fold in half lengthwise.
start at one end, and begin rolling the napkin tightly until you reach the end.
spring Easter tablescape inspiration napkin folding DIY home decor tutorial
hold the rolled napkin on one hand.
working on the unfolded side of the napkin, fold over each layer of the napkin,
'peeling' them away from the rolled layers to create 'petals' - you should be able to pull four layers.
you can also fold over the bottom edge to hold it more securely in place.

place the napkin rosette into a cup, glass, or even small clay pot
to hold the shape and show off the bloom!
spring Easter tablescape inspiration napkin folding DIY home decor

Moss Terrarium

clear glass container with wide opening
metal kitchen spatula and cookie sheet
wooden kitchen skewer
moss, rocks, small plants
potting soil
first, you're going to need a clear glass container with a wide opening.
i am REUSING this vase that my BFF sent filled with orchids on my birthday. <3
i also grabbed a small brandy snifter on hand, just because i thought the pairing was cute.
cost? ZERO.
you can always find clear glass vases at thrift stores, dollar stores, and garage sales,
or use a large pickle or olive jar - or a GLASS LAMP GLOBE!
[just make sure your hand can fit down inside the opening]
next you will need some moss and tiny plants.
of course you can BUY them at the garden center, but WHY?
head out into the yard, or to an empty field or lot -
unless you live in the southwest, there will be moss somewhere nearby.
i'm in Southern California and there is moss in the shady corner of the front yard!
my tips for harvesting moss:
use a metal kitchen spatula to scoop the moss up off of the ground. keeps it from breaking.
* try to find several different textures of moss for interest. 
[i found fuzzy moss, flat moss, and some miniature clovers (dichondra) to use - 
all within one square foot of my yard]
* when you harvest 'fuzzy' moss, shake it out a bit to remove BUGS.
* also: check for worms!
[a seven-inch earthworm crawled out of the dirt under some moss on my tray, and onto my hand - nearly made me scream. EEW]

i use cookie sheets and metal trays to hold the moss clumps and the small plants as i harvest -
the plants are basically just offshoots and seedlings sprouting up where they shouldn't be in the yard.
[this way, i got some weeding done, too!]

you'll also need a handful of small rocks or gravel for the bottom of the vase - 
just grab those from the yard or driveway, too. i washed mine, but you don't have to.
carefully place those in the bottom of your clean vase.
then add enough potting soil (or really good soil from your garden if you have it) to the vase.
you'll want the soil to fill one third of the container.
after this step, i use a paper towel to brush loose soil off of the inside of the glass.

now it's time to add the plants and moss!
first, select clumps of the moss and use the spatula to place them inside the vase - 
they'll just slide right off and into place that way. no breaking.
if needed, use the spatula to cut the clumps so they will fit together in a circular pattern.
wooden kitchen skewer helps to press the edges of the moss clumps down into the soil,
and also to create a small hole for the plants.
set the plants in place, and then use the skewer to push a little bit of soil in around them.
[it tends to crush the moss less than fingers do]

in the large vase, i added a few white rocks around the base of the largest plant to stabilize it.
in the small vase, there's one little white rock - just to coordinate the look.
you can also add a small statue or figure,
or make it a 'fairy garden' by creating a whole garden scene in miniature
[with details like tiny pebbles as a walkway, itsy bitsy flowering mosses, a dollhouse chair or bench...]
in these overhead shots, you can see the varied types of moss used, 
and how they help to create a miniature 'landscape' look.

in a side-view shot, you can see how the plant matter all remains below the top edge of the container...
not only does it look better, but it helps them retain more moisture. water with a mist or a few drops daily.

btw, i spied a little glass container on a shelf and grabbed the lid...
it fit the tiny brandy snifter PERFECTLY!
 a lidded container is the best way to keep the terrarium environment moist
i spent absolutely NOTHING to make these, and the project took just an hour - including the photos.
that, my friends, is my idea of 'Fast, Cheap, & EASY!'TM

...and if you are in the southwest and can't find moss anywhere near you, 
here's a one-stop solution:
Moss Acres Terrarium Moss

Paper Faux Spring Blossoms

scissors, tacky glue, branches, thin paper or fabric (tissue-paper consistency)
make your own faux spring flowers from paper with this tutorial from homewardFOUNDdecor.com
* cut some tiny flower shapes out of whatever paper you decide to use ,
making them round in shape and about the size of a 50 cent piece.
(wait, does anyone know what that even is anymore??? )
* keep some whole and bunch them up by pinching the center, forming a 'stem' in the back.
* cut some in half and roll them into tinier 'buds' with a 'stem' on one end.
* glue them onto a twig - grab one from a dormant tree in your yard or roadside.
you'll want to place the smaller 'buds' toward the tip of the branch,
with the 'blossoms' gradually getting larger as you move down the branch, for a realistic look.

* when done, stand them up in a jar, vase, crate, or whatever container you have:
make your own faux spring flowers from paper with this tutorial from homewardFOUNDdecor.com

make your own faux spring flowers from paper with this tutorial from homewardFOUNDdecor.com

* for a super-realistic look, 
cut a few teardrop-shaped single petals, squish the ends of them,
and drop them next to your vase:
make your own faux spring flowers from paper with this tutorial from homewardFOUNDdecor.com

Vintage Paper Flowers


Cement Tileboard Chalkboard

a sheet of cement tile backer board
sandpaper & electric sander
chalkboard paint & rollers
drill and screws to hang

1. cut the cement tile backerboard to size

2. sand well until it is smooth to the touch 

3paint the chalkboard paint on with low-nap rollers
(apply paint in horizontal stripes for first coat, vertical stripes for second / third coat)

4. drill holes in the corners and sides, 
then screw into studs in your wall to hang
(the version shown above has wood buttons between the board and the screwhead)

5.  attach a length of wooden rain gutter as a chalk rail if desired
it ends up looking, feeling, and SOUNDING exactly like 
an old slate chalkboard when you write on it!

Easy Button Blossoms

assorted buttons - vintage, thrifted, pulled off of raggy clothes, or new from the craft store.
NOTE: You'll want the buttons to have holes in them - though the smallest buttons can have a shank back and will still work.

paper - scrapbook paper, sheet music, old magazine & catalog pages, anything.
pipe cleaners / chenille stems - white or green (any color, really!)
scissors and a hole punch
 #1. cut circles from the paper - various sizes, all bigger than your biggest button sizes.
#2. punch a hole in the center of each circle.
#3. slide a small button with tiny holes onto a pipe cleaner - it should fit TIGHTLY.
pull it down the stem about and inch and a half.

#4. slide on one of the paper circles, so that it fits right up tight against the button.
 add more buttons, working from largest to smallest sizes. 
vary the colors and shapes so that all the details show up.
 #5. secure the top button by bending the end of the pipe cleaner stem over. 

#6. from the bottom of the flower, GENTLY push all of the buttons and the paper circle upward
toward the top, until the buttons nestle closely together.

#7. cut pipe cleaner stems to the length you'd like.
NOTE: if you want your finished stems to be longer than @5",
they can be wound around a length of wire or a bamboo skewer for strength.
#6. add tiny paper, felt, or fabric leaves to the back of the paper circle
or if you cut them from fabric or ribbon, you can glue them to the stem.
Display in a sweet little bouquet of button-y beauty!

 Divadils chenille daffodils
*** Please note that these do use PINS, so they are NOT a kid craft project
and are definitely not for kids to play with. ***

'wavy' chenille stems or rope in yellow or white 
regular chenille stem in green + length of baling wire for stem
yellow or white paper . scissors . glue stick to make the paper crown
yellow or white pompom . 2 regular pins . 3 floral pins with pearl ends

NOTE: wavy chenille stems are available HERE
1. starting at one end of chenille stem or rope, fold two 'wavy' sections together - 
and pinch the skinny section in the middle to make one petal. 
then wrap the end to the next skinny section to secure the petal in place.
2. move down the chenille stem and repeat -
 then wrap the next skinny section once around the petal base to secure it.
3. repeat petal process until you have 3 petals (using a chenille stem) or 6 petals (if using chenille rope).
if you have 3 petals, repeat and create another set of three.
4. if you have two sets of three petals, wrap the two remaining end sections together to attach.
with either method, leave an end section to attach the green stem to...
 5. take the green straight chenille stem and wrap it around the baling wire piece to cover it.
create a small hook at the top of the wire, and slip the remaining end section of wavy chenille through it
on the back side of the flower.
6. wrap the wavy chenille around the top 1/2 inch of the green stem to secure it.
 7. place the pom pom in the center of the front of the flower.
hold it in place using the three flower pins with pearl heads - 
stick them through the pom pom and into the chenille flower petals.
you can use hot glue if you want.
 8. cut a strip of paper @ 1" wide and 4" long.
on one side, cut out a crown shaped edge - basically really long, pointy triangles!
then use a pen or pencil to curl the edges of the points outward.
roll the paper into a tube with the points curling outward.
use a glue stick to secure it into a tube.
 9. slip the paper crown over the floral pins and pom pom.
 10. push the two regular pins into the crown (one on each side),
running them through the pom pom to secure the crown to the flower.
11. bend the tips of the petals into various curved shapes - some forward, some back. 
or close them in on themselves for a daffodil 'bud', as shown below...

Vintage Coffeepot Birdhouse
Supplies Needed:
aluminum coffee or teapot (vintage or new)
one tea or soup spoon (stainless steel)
one 18" length of baling wire
one small screw & nut
steel wool
drill with small bit and 1 1/4" hole bit
screwdriver . needle nose pliers
1. Drill a hole in the front of the coffee / tea pot body using the 1 1/4" hole bit on the drill.
Use the steel wool to sand / soften the sharp edges of the hole. 
2. Bend the spoon just below the 'bowl' so that the bowl angles down at a 90 degree angle.
From the inside of the coffee pot, put the spoon handle through the 1 1/4" hole,
place the bowl of the spoon up against the pot wall, 
and drill a small hole through both surfaces using the small bit.
Attach using small screw, with nut on the inside to secure, to form the perch.
[OPTIONAL: hot glue the spoon into place!]
You must bend the spoon before attaching to the pot.
3. Drill two small holes @ 1/2 inch apart above the pot handle using the small bit.
These should be on the body of the pot - NOT on the lid.
Feed the bottom 4" of the baling wire through the upper hole, into the pot, then out the other hole.
Use the needle nose pliers to curl the end of the wire around the screwdriver shaft to create a curlicue.
[this prevents the wire from slipping back through the holes]

4Drill one small hole above the pot spout using the small bit.
Feed the bottom of the other end of the baling wire down into the hole, and out the spout -
this causes the middle of the wire to create a U-shaped loop over the top of the pot.
Use the needle nose pliers to curl the end of the wire around the screwdriver shaft to create a curlicue.
Bend it upward to look like steam escaping the spout!

Remove the lid at the end of the season to clean out the birdhouse -
 just rinse and dry.

May Day Tin Can Flower Baskets

* empty tin cans with lids removed
seed packets (full or empty)
string or garden twine & scissors
manual can opener (with pointed end)
glue stick optional
flowers clipped from your yard (or 2" potted plants)

1. wash empty tin cans and remove paper labels [GooGone works well on stubborn glue]
2. use can opener to pierce two holes at top edge of either side of can (point down)
3. use back of can opener to roll and press punctured metal FLAT on inside of can (no sharp point)
4. lay can on side, and lay seed packet over the seam of the can (or over stubborn glue spots!). 
glue in place with the glue stick if you wish.
5. cut @ 24" piece of string/twine and wrap it several times around the can and the seed packet,
 near the bottom of the can. Repeat with another string at top of seed packet/can.
6. tie strings tightly on the back side of the can to hold the seed packet in place.
7. cut @ 24" piece of string/twine, double it, 
and pass the ends through both holes on the sides of the can. tie ends together to form hanging loop.
8. fill can with water (@2 inches) 

 9. add flowers!

 10. hang up on a doorknob or display on a tabletop, counter, or shelf...

You can use empty seed packets, or ones that are still full of seeds - 
and if you can fill the can with the same kinds of flowers that are on/in the seed packet,
it's a doubly sweet gift!
[these pretty seed packets were found at the Dollar Tree store]

... and here's a NEW version of Posie Pails!
use upcycled floral images from magazine pages
to create your own 'seed packet' art for the labels!


May Day Party Hat Flower Baskets

old paper party hats
leftover gift wrapping paper in bright colors and/or prints
some snippets of ribbon (@ 18' long)
scissors and a glue stick
1 plastic sandwich bag and 1 rubber band per basket
* flowers clipped from your yard or a field

1. & 2. use the glue stick to attach a piece of gift wrapping paper to a hat - start by gluing one edge of the paper at the seam of the hat, roll it around the hat, and glue in place at the seam again.
3. use scissors to trim paper to an even depth around the rim of the hat - leave @ 1 inch for folding over.
4. fold paper into the inside of the hat, 'pleating' it neatly as you go.
5. poke a hole through the gift wrap and the hat on each side, right where the elastic chin-band is attached. the hole needs to go all the way through.
6. pull both ends of the ribbon through both holes, so that the ribbon forms a large loop above the cone. tie the ends of the ribbon together so that they sit inside the cone.

If you want to add a special embellished collar to the cone, add it now.
This is a laser-cut paper cupcake wrapper, simply taped into the inside edge of the cone -
It took two wrappers to fit the cone.

7. fill the sandwich bag with @ one ounce of water. roll the edges down and slip the rubber band over the bottom of the bag - cinch it twice to hold the top closed and keep the water inside the baggie.
8. there will be a very small hole at the top of the baggie - tuck your greens and flowers into that hole. it will hold more than you think!
9. then place the baggie inside the paper cone - a great way to stabilize the cone is to sit in inside a glass to hold it upright as you work. this pilsner beer glass is the perfect shape for the cone!

Display them upright in glasses or vases or hang on a door / cabinet knob.


 Recycled Paper Daffodils
scissors. masking tape . glue stick . bamboo skewers . paper
1. fold sheet of paper (music, construction, magazine page) in thirds as shown.
2. fold in half where the two sides meet in the center.
3. draw half a flower shape with four, five, or six pointed leaves at the double -folded edge of the paper.
4. cut the flower shape out - this will create TWO flowers because of the double fold.
 5. cut a strip of another kind / color of paper - @ 1" wide and 4" long.
6. fold 1/3 of the strip toward the center, lengthwise.
7. unfold the folded third of the strip, and cut slits into it (creating a thick 'fringe').
8. roll the strip over on itself @ the size of your finger, and glue the rolled portion to the flat portion.
9. continue rolling and glue the end of the strip to the roll to secure it.
 10. fold the fringed ends together and glue into place.
11. then add glue to the outside of that end, and 
12. place the rolled section in the center of the cut-out flower shape, with the glue down. 
press to secure.
Now you have a daffodil!
You can glue this to a magnet or card, or shadowbox frame. 
To add a stem and leaves, continue....
13. and 14. from the leftover scraps after cutting out the flower shape,
cut a circle about the size of a quarter.
15. secure the back of the daffodil to a bamboo skewer, using a small piece of masking tape.
16. glue the circle you cut out OVER the masking tape, using the glue stick.
 17. cut a leaf-shaped strip from the leftover paper scraps.
18. push the bamboo skewer 'stem' through the paper leaf.
19. put glue on the leaf and wrap it around the bamboo skewer once.
20. wrap the other end of the leaf around a pen or pencil to give it a curling shape, 
like a real daffodil leaf.
 display and enjoy your paper daffodils!
Here's another method for making them that should remind you of elementary school:
 when you get to step 5
use a cupcake or bonbon paper liner instead of rolled paper for the flower's center!
[ I cut and glued a second circle shape INSIDE the paper cup on this one ]
 using colorful cupcake papers & pages cut from magazines 
results in bright, happy flowers!

Gift Bag Wall Art

start with some cute bags (paper, vinyl, maybe with GLITTER!) with a seasonal message - 
such as 'Happy Valentine's Day - printed on them. (since our goal is to create inexpensive 'sign art')
you can find them in many sizes at discount retailers like the Dollar Tree, 99 Cent stores, Walmart, etc.

now you're ready to begin...
first, let's prep the bags
dollar store, dollar store crafts, valentine's day, valentine's day crafts, home decor, seasonal decor, gift wrapping, gift bags, wall art, make art, papercrafts, re-purposing, hearts
top left: GENTLY pull the bottom of the bag open. it's glued shut - go slow so it won't tear.
top right: next, cut the bag exactly in half, down the middle of each side, 
then lay the two pieces out flat.
lower left: remove the handle by GENTLY pulling the glued-on paper that holds it.
lower right: iron both sides of the paper flat.

now, let's use those pieces of paper to create some art...

dollar store, dollar store crafts, valentine's day, valentine's day crafts, home decor, seasonal decor, gift wrapping, gift bags, wall art, make art, papercrafts, re-purposing, hearts 
to create a 'wrapped canvas' look
grab a box from the recycle bin, or maybe an existing canvas you have on hand, 
in a size that the paper you have will cover.

then follow these steps: 
dollar store, dollar store crafts, valentine's day, valentine's day crafts, home decor, seasonal decor, gift wrapping, gift bags, wall art, make art, papercrafts, re-purposing, hearts
lay your box down on the paper, facing right side up, and figure out where the center is.
then flip the paper over so your box is sitting on the 'wrong' side of the paper.

top right: use a pencil to lightly draw lines on the paper around the edge of the box.
remove the box, and fold sharp creases following the lines.
middle: put the box back, and fold the paper up around all of the edges,
as if you were gift-wrapping the box,
then use a few small drops of hot glue or staples to keep them in place.
(so you can remove the paper later if desired)

bottom left: i recommend doing the top & bottom first, then the sides last 
bottom right: fold in the corners when you do the sides for a neat finish.

then trim off any excess paper behind the box so it lays flat against the wall.

dollar store, dollar store crafts, valentine's day, valentine's day crafts, home decor, seasonal decor, gift wrapping, gift bags, wall art, make art, papercrafts, re-purposing, hearts
framed art is even easier to create
just cut the paper to fit inside a photo frame.
(i love this vintage frame, and create new art for it every season).

Scarf Wreath Makeover
1. start with a straw or foam wreath form (new or used)
2. if used, remove greenery, ribbons, etc. until you have
 3. a bare wreath form

 4. get a scarf- used or new
[this one was on sale for $2 at Old Navy!]
  5. begin wrapping the scarf around the wreath form
at the bottom middleand work in both directions toward the top.
 6. at the top, pin the scarf ends to the wreath form
and let the fringed ends hang loose. 
[if your scarf is long enough, you can tie a knot]
 7. take one sleeve of a sweater (or another scarf in a different color)
  8. and cut both sides LENGTHWISE (into two long pieces)  
9. before separating the pieces, cut the sleeve's cuff into fringe.
 10. hot glue or sew the other (un-fringed) short edges,
with right sides  together.
wrap that piece around the top of the wreath, making a 'bow'. 
[again, if it's long, you can tie it in a knot or bow -
or even tie it in a regular 'scarf knot']
 you could also add a pair of $1 mittens in another color for fun!

for winter decor, 
add snowflake ornaments and crystals to a white or cream scarf-wrapped wreath
for an elegant touch

Make New Books Look Old

Glass Lamp Globe Snow Globe

materials needed:
small glass or china figure (s)
hot glue gun & glue sticks
white or clear glass bowl / dish with a stem
paper, wax, plastic, or glitter snowflakes
clear glass lamp globe
First, grab some clear glass lamp globes at the thrift or hardware store.

Then, find some small figurines at thrift shops or the dollar store
[ Spray paint them gloss white for a monochromatic look like mine, if you don't like the colors of them ]

along with some small pedestals or stemmed bowls - these will be bases for the snowglobes.
Any style will work for these... 
I use vintage elements for mine because I love a classic, old-world look.
You could also use very modern, shiny bases and figurines - or happy, colorful kids' toys!

You'll also need hot glue, a hot glue gun, and some faux snow or glitter to complete this project.

Wash the glass globes, figurines, and bases and dry them thoroughly.
[ Any dirt or grease on them will prevent the glue from adhering properly ]
 Next, hot glue the figurine into the center of the shallow stemmed bowl or pedestal
[ I prefer to use hot glue  - because if I want to change it all later, hot glue will peel off! ]

You can add more elements to your globe -
I also glued a clear plastic snowflake from the dollar store behind the little vintage choirboy figure.

Now, the last part is a bit tricky:
Sit the glass lamp globe inside a bowl or box on your work surface,  

so that the rounded top is down and the opening is facing straight up.
 Add some faux snow flakes, epsom salt, or white glitter inside of it.

Quickly put a bead of hot glue all around the edge / lip of the globe,
then turn the base with the figure glued to it upside down -
and lower it onto the lip of the glass globe, so that they adhere together.

After a few moments, flip the whole thing over
and you have a snowglobe on a base with a sweet figure and 'snow' inside!

Tee-Shirt Mannequin

Optional bases include Christmas treeslampshades, and wire tomato cages!
SAFETY TIP: If you place your mannequin form on a Christmas tree,
REMOVE LIGHTS on the branches under the form.

Fabric Hearts

Here's what you NEED:
 NOTE: burlap is the HARDEST fabric to work with... you might want to start with cotton fabrics or sweaters.

Here's what you DO:
1. Cut a piece of fabric that is @ 6 to 8" wide and 12 to 16" long.
2. Fold it over once, then twice, to prepare it for cutting into a heart shape.
3. On a piece of regular paper, draw half a heart shape that will fit the fabric strip size.
You can trace a heart-shaped cookie cutter if you want it perfect!
4. Fold the paper in half at the middle of the heart.
5 Cut the heart shape out.
6. This image is to show you how large the cutout heart is in relation to the fabric.
START with 7. Place the folded heart shape over the previously-folded fabric strip.
8. Cut around the heart shape to cut the fabric.
9. You will have two identical fabric hearts.
10. If you want to write or stencil a word on your heart,
TURN ONE OF THE HEARTS OVER before you add the word!
11. Then flip the heart back over so that the word is between both pieces.
12. Sew the two fabric hearts together, by hand or with a machine.
13. LEAVE A SPACE UN-SEWN along the bottom of one side!
14. Carefully turn the heart inside-out - you can see the un-sewn area here.
15. Stuff the heart with polyfil stuffing, paper shred, a plastic bag, etc.
16.Carefully sew the opening closed, by hand or with a machine.
17. Trim the edge of the sewn seam to neaten it up.
Any fabric works well for this project,
from blankets, quilts and dishtowels to tee shirts, sweaters - even SOCKS!

Vintage Paper Swedish Hearts

decorative paper, a few sheets of printer paper, and scissors 
Vintage sheet music, dictionary pages, and faded old school paper
are perfect for a pale palette. Vintage wrapping paper is beautiful, too,
and kids love using comic book pages! 
You'll need TWO different papers to make the weaving stand out.
1. To ensure that your hearts are all of similar size,
create 'patterns' - those are the darker tan paper shapes shown in photo 1.
Just cut a rectangle out of a folded sheet of regular printer paper.
The fold will be on the bottom straight end, with a cutout curve on the other end.
Make as many sizes as you'd like your hearts to be!
2. Fold your decorative papers in half, and place a pattern at THE FOLDED EDGE.
The square end of the pattern will sit on the fold.
Then cut out your shape
You can fold both papers together and cut them at the same time,
if they are not too thick.
3. Next, remove the pattern and hold the shapes TOGETHER,
and cut into them right down the middle...CAREFULLY!
You want to cut from the FOLDED EDGE up
JUST below where the curve begins
By holding both shapes together when you do this step,
you make sure that the cut is the same width on each piece,
so that they'll fit together easily in the next step...
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with your second paper choice. 
5. Separate the two pieces, and leave them folded in half.
Each 'strip' is a loop, with two sides.
You'll place the strips inside one another in an alternating pattern.
Begin with strip 1 of piece A, and pass it through strip 1 of piece B.
[here, A is the ivory paper and B is the sheet music]
6. Insert strip 2 of piece B [sheet music] into strip 1 of piece A [ivory paper]
When both strips have been woven in this 'in/out' pattern, photo shows what it looks like.
8. Note that the second strip is loose... now take it, and weave the REVERSE pattern.
Since you put [1A] INTO [1B] first on the last strip,
[ivory paper INSIDE sheet music]
you'll put [2B] into [2A] on this one.
[sheet music INSIDE ivory paper]
In photo 8 you can see how you have to flex the strips just a bit
to get them to go INSIDE the other strip...
be gentle, especially if you are using vintage papers. They are fragile.
Finished hearts

if you are feeling 
quite accomplished at this already...

 You can cut MULTIPLE 'strips' into each shape.
[you may want to use larger sized patterns for this step,
so that each strip is still sturdy enough to not tear as you flex it]
11 and 12. The weaving gets incrementally more difficult the more strips you cut,
but they are beautiful when finished!

this tutorial also appears in the Winter 2013 issue of Creating Vintage Charm Magazine

Giant Letter Tiles

a piece of wood (details below)
sandpaper (fine grit)
sanding sealer spray
a black Sharpie fine point marker
clear varnish spray

and then the notes under the photos...
 finish grade vertical grain douglas fir runs about $1.50 per linear foot - 
less than $10 for a 6 foot board, which yields 14 letter tiles.
[if you want to have a LOT of letters, grab two boards or a longer length]

quick note:
yes, you CAN use reclaimed lumber, old flooring, old fencing, 
or whatever you want to use to make your letter tiles.
the douglas fir grain & color gives the best 'just like the game pieces' look, though.

and yes, the guys in the lumber department at Lowes & Home Depot WILL cut it for you!
all you have to do is ask them to, and give them the 5" measurement. 
[you may be charged 50 cents per cut, but it saves you the work!]
 sand the edges FIRST, then the tops - the tops look better that way.
then spray the sealer on the side that you will be lettering, and let dry.
[you can seal the whole thing if you want, but it's only necessary to keep the Sharpie marker ink from bleeding into the woodgrain.]

figure out what you want your letters to spell out, 
and add a letter to each tile using the black Sharpie marker.
 a straight ruler and a smooth curved jar lid will help keep your lettering crisp.

seriously, let the marker dry - if you don't, it will run when you spray the varnish on!
let the varnish dry 30 minutes, then flip & spray the back. spray the edges, too.
let dry at least an hour in a warm place to 'cure' the varnish before you use them.

that's it!
now you have letters to make a sign with, or a trivet, or coasters
you can adhere hooks to the back and hang them up, or....?
and if you head to a salvage yard or the ReStore, you might just find a length of old wooden gutter to display them in!


Vintage Lace Christmas Tree
I used a wire tomato cage, one zip tie, a vintage petticoat, a rectangular vintage lace tablecloth,
a rectangular vintage lace doily turned into an apron, and a small square vintage lace doily.
* get a wire tomato cage, and stand it up on the largest ring - with three 'legs' at the top.
hold the three 'legs' together and zip tie them tightly. cut the excess zip tie off.
put the petticoat onto the frame, pulling it down toward the floor as far as it will go.
(mine stopped at the first ring, but it's long enough to have the ruffles reach the floor)

add a lace tablecloth over the frame, draping it into folds as you place it.
add a large lace doily, scarf, or apron (like mine) over the lace tablecloth
(obviously this layer should be shorter than the last layer)

add a small or medium doily at the top of the frame.
If you wish, hand chandelier crystals or vintage ornaments
from the holes in the lace layers.


Stylish Ornament Hooks
a sure-fire way to save your sanity, your toes, 
and your vacuum cleaner this holiday season!
1. gather materials:
a package of chenille stems from the dollar store
pair of scissors

make them disappear into the tree by using a coordinating color : 
white on a white tree, green on a green tree, silver on an aluminum tree, etc.
make them stand out by using a contrasting color : silver, gold, red, etc. 
2. cut chenille stems in half for regular size hooks, or into thirds or quarters for smaller sizes 
(great on garlands or mini trees)
 3. twist into an 'S' shape, and curl the ends all the way in - like a cursive 'S'.
4hook onto ornaments
5hang ornaments

that's it, you're done!

*these hooks are soft - they won't scratch delicate glass.
*the ornaments won't fall OFF of them because of that swirly curl.
*you can squeeze the top swirly curl closed once it's around a branch on the tree, and it won't BUDGE.
even if the cat gets in there and plays ping pong with it.
*they don't end up in a tangled headache-inducing mass between uses.
*they also SHOW UP on the carpeting, so you won't step on them or vacuum them up by mistake!


Gift Box Tags

.  Sweet Sweater Pumpkin
FREE Tutorial HERE

the 'Sweet Sweater Pumpkins' product name is protected by creative copyright 1997 in perpetuity 
and may not be used by any other entity.

Faux Concrete Pumpkins

Transform some gaudy orange Dollar Tree pumpkins into concrete classics:

styrofoam pumpkins (this canteloupe-sized pumpkin is $1.00 at the Dollar Tree)
acrylic / craft paint in white, black, and dove gray - matte finish
cup of water
palette (I use a paper plate)
paint brushes - large for base coat, smaller for details
and A SECRET INGREDIENT to be divulged later!

Step 1:
First, basecoat the entire pumpkin with white paint. Let dry.
Step 2:
Mix some gray paint into white paint on the palette,
then cover the pumpkins completely with this color.

(I left the stems unpainted until the end so I could use them as 'handles' while painting)

You will now be working in a 'Wet on Wet' paint technique, 
which means you will move on to the next step before the paint dries completely...
Step 3:
 Pour some straight gray paint onto the palette. 
Mix in a bit of water to create a runny consistency, to create a 'wash'.
Using a smaller detail brush, paint the grooves of the pumpkin with the gray wash,
and also the whole bottom (underneath) of the pumpkin.
Before the paint dries,
Step 4:

Add a little bit of water to the pale gray paint left on your palette (from step 2)
and brush it with a 'scrubbing' motion over the edges of the dark gray lines in the grooves.
You want to smooth out the edges, not cover all of the dark gray.
Leave some of the dark gray visible on the bottom of the pumpkin.
At this point, I painted the stems with the dark gray color.

Still working with wet paint over wet paint,
Step 5:
Add a bit more white paint to the lightest gray to make a very light gray wash.
Use the smaller detail brush to 'scrub' the white paint
across the top edges of the ridges on the pumpkin.
Blend this color in well so there are no divisions of color on the pumpkin - just smooth transitions.

While the paint is still wet...

Step 6:
Now is when when we bring in the SECRET INGREDIENT!
It's FLOUR. Bleached flour.
Yes, really....
Wet a small brush with a tiny bit of water, then pick up some flour and put it on the pumpkin, 
in the hollows and grooves of the pumpkin, where the gray wash is wet.
Wet your small brush and pick up more and more flour to get it all over the top and upper side surfaces.
 After the flour is on the pumpkin, use your fingers to press it into the wet paint and smooth it a bit.
Don't forget the bottom!

Let the pumpkin sit to dry for a few minutes.
The flour will absorb some of the paint's moisture, 
causing it to stick to the pumpkin.
After it is dry, brush LIGHTLY with your fingers to remove loose flour.
The flour left on the surface gives the finish the look of dry, flaking concrete.

It's not needed, but if you wish, you can spray the whole pumpkin with matte clear sealer
 ( or with hairspray. Works just as well!)
 Your pumpkins will look like they are made of concrete - but they will weigh almost nothing!

This painting method will also work on plastic pumpkin buckets, 
making them look like hollow concrete planters & vases.
.(spray the inside of the bucket with gray outdoor furniture paint so it's waterproof)

Glass Globe Pumpkins
here's how to make my original pumpkins out of these white glass LIGHT COVER GLOBES
(you know, the old 'porch and hall light' kind?)
find some white glass globes.
try to find different sizes and textures: hobnail, ribbed, smooth, crackled,
or, if you are lucky, a scalloped one like i found 
[they generally cost under $5 each at thrift shops]
but do not steal them from your neighbors' porch lights!!!

wash the globes, let them dry, and then add a 'stem' 
on the end of the globe that has a small hole (or no hole). 
the end of the globe with the large opening will be the base that it sits on.
here's how I created the stems shown in my images here:
 1. twist a bit of aluminum foil into a 'stem' shape - long or short, up to you.
push one end of the foil stem into the small hole at the top of a glass globe.
starting at the base of the stem (nearest the glass globe), 
wrap cotton string, hemp twine, yarn, ribbon, fabric strips, 
or any other material around the foil to hide it. 
use hot glue to adhere the material to the foil stem as you work from base to tip.
then bend the stem into a pleasing curve, and you're done!
2. hot glue a wooden thread spool to the top of a glass globe without a small hole.
wrap some string, twine, burlap, muslin, or ribbon remnant around it and tie a knot.
you can display these pumpkins indoors or out.
by adding a strand of mini-lights, a battery-operated votive candle, 
or even a GLOW STICK inside the large opening, 
they will light up a room or porch with a soft glow.
please do not use anything with a flame to illuminate them.

Ping Pong Paddle Pumpkins
a simple DIY project that even kids will love!

you'll need:
new or used ping pong paddles, cleaned with a clorox wipe
craft paint or house paint (flat paint is best) + paint brushes

matte or satin clear varnish spray

note: ping pong paddles have two sides - one is smooth rubber (red, here)
and one is textured 'nubby' rubber (black, here). the nubby side takes more paint to cover.

 paint the paddle with a background color using a wide flat brush. paint edges neatly.
let dry between coats - it will take two or three coats to cover the rubber.
after the paddle part is dry, paint the handle with a contrasting color. two coats will cover.


using thinner detail paint brushes and additional colors of paint,
add shading details for 'realistic' pumpkins, or fun patterns like dots or argyle just for fun!

if you will be using them in outdoor decor, spray them with matte or satin clear varnish.
course, you can paint a ping pong paddle to be other things... like cacti: 

or maybe a snowman head, or a snowball for winter.
a colorful egg for spring.
a watermelon for summer?

be creative!
$5 Wreath Makeover

an old fall wreath that you already own, or from the thrift store
branches of leaves - faux from the Dollar Store, or real from your yard
wire cutters or garden shears to trim branches

NOTE: these tips work for wreaths ANY season of the year...
simply use greens and flowers, snowy pine branches, or other elements instead of fall leaves.
1. spread the branches of leaves out on the Dollar store bunches, 
and slide the leaves up toward the ends of each branch.

2. cut all of the small branches of leaves off of the larger branches, as shown here.
leave @5 to 6 inch stems on them.

you'll end up with a large supply of short-stemmed leaf bunches.
3. choose one type of leaf to start with - i selected the dull brown leaves to use first, 
because i wanted them to be in the 'background' of the arrangement.
simply begin inserting the stems right into the existing wreath at regular intervals
[think of it like a clock, and insert them at 12,3,6, and 9...etc.]
by pushing the stems into the wreath structure, they should stay in place with no problem.
[you can always add a drop of hot glue if you are worried about windy conditions, etc.]
when you tuck them in, nestle them behind the existing foliage as shown here.
continue around the wreath until you have used all of that type of leaf. 
you'll have a balanced arrangement working with one type at a time.

this has already filled out the wreath, making it more lush and abundant

4. now take the brighter, more vibrantly-colored leaves and insert them into the wreath
place them closer to the front of the arrangement, right next to the existing flowers, etc.

again, place them evenly around the wreath
[at 2,4,6,8,10, and 12 on the clock, for instance]
this helps to keep the wreath's rounded shape intact as you work.
after adding the additional leaves, the wreath looks three times its original size!


Painted Pumpkin Pail
This is an easy craft project that makes use of an everyday item,
is a perfect teacher's gift, and.... it's a timeless idea!

NOTE: This Tutorial can also be used to create Painted Pails for other seasons...
for photo inspiration, see THIS POST
tin cans - any size, clean, dry, and with one end removed.
white spray paint (satin or gloss)
clear spray paint (any finish)
craft paints in orange, yellow, white, and brown
various sized artist's paint brushes
water to clean brushes
an old fashioned bottle opener (has a pointed end)
a screwdriver with a long shank
 thin baling wire

Project Time:
@ 30 minutes
+ can be made in multiples at once
 1. Sit the tin can in a protected area for spray painting with the can bottom facing up.
2. It's easy to place two boxes together as shown to create a draft-free mini spray booth.
3. Spray one side of the can with the white paint. let dry for ten minutes,
turn can around, and spray the other side.

You may, at this point, choose to spray the can with a second coat of paint - in ORANGE.
This will enable you to skip step 5 below.
 4. Take the can, now dry, out of the paint box and move it to a table work area.
 5. Paint the can with the orange craft paint, using a large, flat brush.
art class #101: acrylic paints work best with synthetic brushes ]
6. Use a smaller flat brush and white paint to paint a jack o' lantern face on one side of the can.
Use two thin coats of white paint for best effect.
7. Clean that brush in water, and use it again with the yellow paint to fill in all of the white areas. 
Use two coats for best effect and brightest color.
 8. You can leave the face as-is, or add more detail using a small brush and paint mixed into more colors...
Shown here, there is a peachy-orange color pumpkin 'flesh' detail,
with a dark edge on the 'inside' and a white highlight on the 'outside', 
to make it look more like a carved pumpkin.

9. When the details are dry, put the can back into the spray box,
and spray it with clear sealer on both sides.
10. After the sealer is dry, remove the can from the spray box and go back to the table.
Place the can with the painted face toward you, and lay the 'old fashioned bottle opener' across the can. 
 11. Using the bottle opener's pointed end, poke a hole in the side of the can from the outside.
12. Reposition the bottle opener to the inside of the can,
 and press the triangle of cut tin up and toward the rim of the can.
13. Continue pressing the point of the tin triangle until it curls under into itself,
presses up against the inside edge of the can, and the point is no longer visible.
14. Repeat on other side of can.

You can also use a drill to put two small holes into the sides of the can.
 15. Cut a length of baling wire @ 18" long. BEND (not fold) it into a large loop, 
and thread each end of the wire through the holes on the sides of the can. 
16. Bend the end of the wire up and around the loop on each side, as tightly as you can to secure.

17. Wrap each end wire tightly around the screwdriver shank to create a corkscrew curl.
slide the curl off of the shank, and bend into position. Repeat on other side.

When complete, your Painted Pumpkin Pail will look like the lil' guy on the left above!
Add a ribbon and fill him up with candy, treats, a plant, a candle,
or even a Sweet Sweater Pumpkin!
Frosted Fall Leaves Tutorial

what you need:
white flat paint + a paper towel to 'dab' paint on
very soft paintbrushes - i used makeup brushes!
dried deciduous leaves in several sizes - some flat, some curled for dimension
a branch to attach them to after painting is optional

how to do it:
the paint technique i am using here is called 'dry brushing'... 
using very little paint, the brush will deposit a thin layer of paint on the object.

1. to get this effect, simply dip the very tips of your brush into the paint. lightly!
2. swipe/dab the brush on the paper towel, to remove all but the very last amount of paint.
3. carefully and lightly, drag the brush across the leaf surface to deposit a thin veil of white paint.
on the back side, the paint will pick out all of the veining on the leaf.
on the front side, the paint will cover the surface.
4. run a small brush with paint very lightly along the edges to highlight them.

i chose to use a very very light coat of paint, while the leaves in Ann's image have more coverage.
paint according to your preference -
but for more coverage, do TWO light coats, not one thick one.
the paint is dry almost immediately, so you can quickly hot glue the leaves to branches if you wish.

you can also paint just the edge of the leaf to highlight it,
then use a very thin wash of white paint and a small pointed brush (or a paint pen) to add a name...
and use these leaves as 'placecards' in your tablescape!

Vintage Paper Leaves
vintage paper (sheet music, dictionary pages, book pages, sewing patterns)
sharp scissors
a real or fabric leaf (any size or variety) to trace
pencil or pen
thin ruler - metal is best, if possible
a real branch (any kind, any size) with lots of small branches attached
tacky glue or hot glue
a container to hold the real branch
some kind of filler for the container to stabilize the branch
(popcorn kernels, rocks, sand, candy corn, etc.)
1lay vintage paper flat, and use pen/pencil to trace around the real/fabric leaf.
fit as many on each page as you can, 
and try to place the real leaf in different directions as you go - 
this will keep all of your leaves from having the writing on the paper
going in the same direction.
2. carefully cut out each leaf using scissors.
3. fold each leaf over thin ruler edge, 
creating a sharp crease down the center of every leaf.
4. using the pencil/pen, curl the leaf edges either up or down.
(don't curl them both ways on the same leaf)
this makes the leaves look a little more natural. 
oh, and if a leaf tears while you are doing this?
no worries. real leaves tear and it will just look more realistic ;0)  
5. fill container with filler, then place branch into position.
6. using hot glue or tacky glue, 
place a drop of glue on either side of the center of each leaf - 
but JUST at the BASE of the leaf. 
the glue dots should be the size of the eraser of your pencil.
7. quickly take the leaf and bend it around one of the smaller branches.
hold it there until it sets (just a few seconds)
continue gluing all leaves to the smaller branches.
8after all leaves have been glued to the branch, and the glue has dried,
go back and GENTLY GENTLY
[is it just me, or does anyone else hear Westley the Farm Boy from 'The Princess Bride' saying that?!]
bend the leaves a bit 
just 'nudge' them to make their shapes look more individual.
Leaves can be made from any paper at all:
wrapping paper, comic books, old book illustrations, magazine pages...

Bleached Leaves
*a large rectangular rubbermaid storage bin with lid
(you'll sit the lid on top but will NOT seal it closed)

*a gallon of chlorine bleach [generic brand is ok for this]
*an equal amount of cool clean water
*real leaves 

leaf-gathering  tips:
*waxy leaves don't do well. thicker leaves, like oak and maple, get the best results.
*use leaves that are as dried out as you can find – greener leaves get 'gooey'.

*don't raid from public places or your neighbors' yard without asking!
*check with local landscape service companies to get free branches & leaves from their yard trimmings.

*lay the branches of leaves as flat as possible in a large rubbermaid-type storage container.
*fill container with enough 1/2 and 1/2 mix of COLD water to bleach to cover the leaves. place the container cover on top - but DO NOT SEAL IT.
***Keep Children & Pets AWAY From This Project!***
*check on them every two hours or so. when they have lightened to your liking,  pour a gallon of cool clear water into the container to dilute the bleach solution. 

*carefully dump or dip the bleach solution out of the container into a large bucket. dispose of the solution in your toilet or bathtub drain - NOT into your driveway, gutter, or yard.  
*rinse leaves in clear, cool water to get the bleach residue off.
*lay flat and let them air-dry.
*you may have to use a drop of hot glue to re-attach them onto the stem/branch.
*spray them with clear spray paint to 'seal' them against weather if you want.
this method works on cheap fabric leaves from the dollar store, too!

[disclaimer: the bleached leaves shown in my photos in this and the last post
were purchased at a craft store years ago. i did not bleach those leaves myself.]

Homemade Clay Mini Pumpkins
Whether you use colored clay or paint the finished pumpkins, 
this clay craft is something the whole family can enjoy -
and it's made using ingredients from your pantry!

1 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. baking soda
1 c. cold water
Food coloring if you wish to use colored clay
Cookie Sheet
Combine ingredients in saucepan.
Stir gently while cooking on medium heat stovetop until liquid solidifies and clay forms. 
Remove from heat. Turn off burner.
Remove clay from saucepan and place on cutting board to let cool.

Knead clay for a few minutes to create smooth texture. If the clay cracks as you knead it, add a few drops of water and keep kneading.
Form balls of various sizes. [For best drying results, do not make balls larger than 2" diameter.]
Press down on top of ball lightly to form a more pumpkin-like shape.
Use toothpick to score lines like pumpkin grooves. 
Make indentation on top of pumpkin for stem to sit in.

Form small cylinder,  and squish both ends to look like a stem.
Place stem into indentation on top of pumpkin, and use toothpick to press edges together. 
[you can break a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the stem, then into the pumpkin to help anchor it, if you wish]

**my friend David at BasilicusJones Home used real twigs, broken into small lengths, for his stems. Cute idea!**
Add details into pumpkins to make faces, if you wish, using toothpicks, nut picks, dental tools, etc.

Place on cookie sheet and Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees, or harden at room temperature overnight. 

Paint if you wish, then seal with clear acrylic spray paint.
When not being used, store in a ziploc plastic bag to prevent moisture from  reaching pumpkins.