Making Your Own Luck

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Happy Sunday, all!

This coming week includes a very special day of the year for me – St. Patrick’s Day! I have a rather large affinity for my Irish heritage, always having been obsessed with stories and images of the island, it’s music, and the knot work that is often incorporated into Irish art. One of the most prevalent symbols of the particular day, though, has been the shamrock. This humble little plant, found in grassy knolls across the world is a symbol of pride and tradition to those of Irish origin and descent. It’s considered lucky to find a four-leafed clover but the three-leafed shamrock (origin of the word in Irish Gaelic simply means “little clover”) is also a source of luck, inspiration, and spirit, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s usually a bit too cold yet here in the Midwest to find a field of clover so we’ve been forced to make symbols of our own. I’ve found some great ideas all over the web for “greening up” the place!

First up is for those with a rather large stash of washi tape:

If this inspires you to start a washi tape stash, I am so sorry.

Or how about something for that big tin of buttons (or maybe raid grandma’s?):

Everyone still plays the cookies or buttons in the tin game, right?

Do you perhaps have some Scrabble tiles from other projects? Then this may be the project for you:

Or maybe just a game of Scrabble that happens to be missing some pieces?

I’m a rather large fan of this burlap and felt wreath, especially for the little rainbow that’s included:

Those super cute shamrocks could be used for other things as well.

Lastly, to adorn yourself in a bit of greenery, there is always a bit of crochet to be had:

Cute and easy with a little safety pin on the back!

I wish you luck and light this week and all the rest of the year. We’ll see you next week wherein I’ll start digging up some spring inspired projects!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Sweet Messages

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Happy Sunday, all!

Only 2 more days until V-day and perhaps you or the child in your life still hasn’t made up their mind about cards to give their friends. I’ve found some great, quick ideas for DIY Valentine cards that leaves a lot of room for personalizing and creativity. First up is a throwback to one of my other posts dealing with peg dolls:

Make them as nerdy as you want!

I could just imagine making some Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter peg doll Valentines with sayings like “Be my precious” accompanying a Gollum or “I’m mad about you” with a Mad-eye Moody (find the tutorial here). No? Just me? Ok, then. How about something slightly simpler that could help you reduce your fiber stash? The saying could also be adjusted to the situation:

Perhaps you could go with “Why knot be my Valentine?’ or for closer friends “You make me feel knotty.”

These are definitely customizable to favorite colors and appropriate puns, tutorial found here. Or maybe you already had a little bit of a splurge and find yourself with a bunch of chocolates that would be better off going to new homes PLUS it could help reduce a stash of scrapbooking materials:

It’s like a mini piñata!

Small toys or (if you are actually sending an anti-Valentine) glitter would also fit well into it, tutorial found here. Finally, if you find yourself with a lot of time or want to make a really big impression, I highly recommend taking a look at the hexagon explosion box:

Adding quotes, pictures, and rose petals is highly recommended. Glitter is not.

These beautiful three dimensional cards are simply amazing! When you do peruse the tutorial, make sure to scroll down to examples of what others have made because there are some that create a tower when you pull on the center! Again, the geek in me is super excited to turn this into a Tower of Sauron with hearts and pictures of the ring all around it. I know, not for everyone. Well I hope I am leaving you with some great ideas to send to your friends/sweeties/worst enemy (that glitter thing I mentioned, seriously). Have a great week!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Some Heartfelt Decor

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Happy Sunday, all!

There’s less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day and I’ve been feeling quite crafty lately (not that there isn’t truly a time when I don’t feel it) so why not dig up some cute V-day DIY décor ideas? I found a few that seem easy and look great, including, of course, one that helps with a little recycling. On that note, first up is this very tasteful cork heart:

Classy and an excuse to drink a little more wine!

The tutorial (found here) is pretty straight forward – use some corks, hot glue, paint, and cardboard backing to give your place a bit of flair! Next up, I was never really a big fan of those little conversation hearts as they all tasted pretty much the same…like chalk. But they are cute to look at! So why not personalize some super sized ones for your wall:

Even if you don’t want to include names, you could make these naughty hearts as well!

Again, this tutorial (found here) seemed straight forward and simple – find the heart shaped wood (I’ve found them at local craft shops), add some paint and ribbon and voila! A sweet little decoration for the home. What about personalizing things a bit further? Do you have some pictures of family sitting around? This next one I simply love and don’t think it should be relegated to JUST Valentine’s décor:

I simply adore the idea of including pics of grandma and grandpa or mom and dad with the kids.

Truly a beautiful expression of how V-day doesn’t have to be about romantic love but love of family, as well. The tutorial (found here) does recommend using high quality paper and a laser printer simply so the images come out crisp and don’t smear but if you wanted to give them a dated, antique feel, I’m fairly certain regular will do just fine. The last tutorial I discovered actually introduced me to a new paper folding technique that I fully plan to put into use in the future, iris folding:

Just like the iris in a camera, these folds draw your eye to the center!

Named after the iris of a camera, this folding technique purposely pulls the eye towards the center of the piece. The tutorial and many others on the technique can be found here. You could make a whole series of these out of different color schemes, frame them, and then arrange them on the walls! I hope you are all feeling the love right now. Next week I’ll have some follow-up ideas on creating some of your own unique Valentine’s greetings.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Salt Dough Ornaments

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Hey there Thursday readers!

I come to you with a tutorial with an old recipe, one that can be used both for kids an adults and can be a super cheap alternative to dressing a tree with expensive ornaments. That’s right, make your own ornaments. These can be done with kids and they will look rustic and cute, or you can transform them with some glitter or metallic sharpies into some very chic designs. I’ve taken the tutorial from Wholefully (please click to find some more detailed photos), but there are many recipes floating around, and you can ask your mother, she might have one too. You will need some simple tools that you’ll find in the kitchen – like a rolling pin and parchment paper, as well as baking sheets – but you’ll also need some holiday shaped cookie cutters (or if you just want to cut your designs or cut circles using a cup, you can) as well as either painting or drawing materials.

To prepare, you’ll basically be making a rolled cookie dough which is made with 4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water. To make your dough, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl and then slowly pour the warm water into the mix and stir as you go. Keep stirring until all the water is gone, and when that happens you should have a very stiff dough which you will need to knead with your hands for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable, almost like a pizza dough but stiffer. Keep in mind these will make white ornaments. If you would like to have coloured ornaments, you can separate your dough and add food colouring to small portions. It’s up to you.

Next, take a piece of your dough and sandwich it between two pieces of parchment paper. Make sure the paper is large enough and roll your dough until it is 1/8th of an inch thick. You will want to make sure they stay on the thin side as if the ornaments are too thick, they will break more easily due to air pockets in the dough.

Remove the top sheet of parchment and use your cookie cutters to cut shapes into your dough. When you’re finished, keep the pieces on the parchment, and just peel the edges away. You will want to make sure to take a straw to make a hole in your ornaments before you bake them so that you can hang them. If you want to put texture on your ornaments, you can do it here – pierce it with a fork, put fingerprints, use rubber stamps – be creative!

Transfer the whole sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree oven for about an hour. You will know they are done as they will harden. They will be a bit overdone if they turn brown, but you will be decorating them so it’s not something that can’t be hidden.

Once they’re cooled, you’re ready to decorate. You can spray a coat of white paint as a base, or you can start decorating them right on the dough.You can use acrylic, tempra, puffy paint, you can use glitter, glitter glue or metalic sharpie markers. You can really decorate them however you’d like, and after you’re done, you just need a sealant (like mod podge) to make sure that they’ll keep – you can do either matte or glossy finish, whatever you prefer. Slide in a ribbon and hang!

Filigree hand done with sharpies from Our Lake Life

Filigree hand done with sharpies from Our Lake Life

There are so many different options that you can do, and here are a few images to inspire you!

From Shelterness, dough that was decorated with plain old blue pen and acrylic spray paint

From Shelterness, dough that was decorated with plain old blue pen and acrylic spray paint.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


In the face of Darkness, let there be Light

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I’m recently back from Germany, and so the news out of Berlin this week has hit me quite hard. This post was prepared before the tragedy struck, but I just felt I had to say something.

I was not feeling the holidays much this year until this trip and the Christmas markets of Dortmund and Düsseldorf. Christmas markets are one of the most wonderful things you can do during the holidays. Crafts, gluhwein, good friends, and fun in the cold. What is there not to love? It is awful to think that such horrifying attacks could happen at such a place of fun and joy. But rather than be defeated by the terror and anger, we must soldier on.

I love the German Christmas aesthetic. My mother has always loved it, and some of my favorite ornaments in her collections are German. I do love my woodworking, and a lot of the Christmas ornamentation and crafts I found at the Christmas markets were wood-based. But one of the best was Käthe Wohlfahrt.

From the larger pieces like the traditional Schwibbogen…

to the tiny handcrafted ornaments of cuteness. The quality of the craftmanship of Käthe Wohlfahrt is exceptional. In today’s world of mass-production, it is a joy to see unique and interesting options still out there, thriving.

Whatever your holiday aesthetic, let it be of cheer, let it be of joy, and let it be a light in this dark winter to drive away the sorrows and pain to lead you to better days.

~ eliste


Recycled Gifts to Warm the Heart

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Happy Sunday, all!

There is only one week left until the big holidays hit so if you still have some gifts to find, I have a few suggestions that are not only budget and environmentally friendly but also rather thoughtful. First up is a tutorial to help you make a nice new pair of warm mittens out of old sweaters:

Just think about how many mittens could be made out of some thrifted ugly sweaters!

Just think about how many mittens could be made out of some thrifted ugly sweaters!

Even if you don’t have many older sweaters to use, the second hand stores (pun intended) should have plenty in all kinds of awesome patterns. One sweater usually has enough fabric to make a few pairs of mittens OR you could use this tutorial to make a matching hat.

So now that you’ve made some gifts to keep warm outside, I think an inside warmer is in order. Let’s make sure that it’s fun and stylish, too! A tea wreath is a cute present for those tea drinkers in your life:

This may also help to get rid of some of that excess tea in the cabinets. Or is that just me?

This may also help to get rid of some of that excess tea in the cabinets. Or is that just me?

Using recycled cardboard, old clothespins, and bright paper with some colorful teabags would make a wonderful, functional decoration. Maybe tea isn’t their thing? How about music? I don’t know about you but my ear buds always get tangled or lost in my purse. I could really use something to keep them contained and I bet others could, too. This earphone holder made from a recycled mint container is just right:

Super adorable and just the right size. No more tangled cords!

Super adorable and just the right size. No more tangled cords!

I think the only issue would be mixing up mints and earphones when digging around in the carry-all. The last tutorial I have pains me a little because it requires you to cut up a book but I think the prospect of “saving” an old book from the trash is incentive enough to make this neat portable art case:

Never fear, the tutorial also includes links to further crafts you can use the pages for.

Never fear, the tutorial also includes links to further crafts you can use the pages for.

Any artist on-the-go should be well equipped with it in hand. So there we are, folks! I hope one of these at least inspires an idea or two for that hard to buy for relative. I’ve got a lot of crafting to do in the next week so I’d better get to it. See you in a week for the big day!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Stockings to be Stuffed

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Hello Sunday readers!

We now have some ornaments and wreaths that have been made out of recycled materials so to make the place even more festive, let’s make some stockings! I’ve seen a lot of tutorials on upcycling sweaters and this one is pretty straight forward:

Super cozy stockings for lots of swag.

Super cozy stockings for lots of swag.

Or how about that favorite pair of jeans that you just can’t seem to part with but have holes in embarrassing spots? Let’s make them into a festive memorial:

More pockets = more room = more treats!

More pockets = more room = more treats!

Do you still have some ties leftover from last week’s wreath project? Use them to make a matching/accenting stocking:

So colorful!

So colorful!

This last one was actually pretty near and dear to my heart. What if you have a quilt that is just so old and loved that it is literally falling apart? You don’t want to completely trash it and there is really no saving it so make part or parts of it into some beloved stockings:

Just don't pack it too full unless you line it with something heavy duty!

Just don’t pack it too full unless you line it with something heavy duty!

So now that you’ve got all of these lovely stockings to hang by the chimney with care, what if you don’t have a mantle, let alone a chimney? There is a recycled solution out there for you, too. It involves an old headboard, paint, and some pegs:

Just make sure to mount it properly otherwise there will be new holes in the wall from the weight of the loot!

Just make sure to mount it properly otherwise there will be new holes in the wall from the weight of the loot!

The whole place should be looking cheery and festive now! There’s only one more Sunday before the big day so I’ll be back next week with some recycled gift ideas.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


DIY: Seasoned Ornaments

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Good Morning Thursday readers!

I came across something super cool last week when I was looking at what I wanted to write about. It’s simple, and easy, and makes a really nice gift for anyone who loves entertaining or even better, it makes a great host gift alternative to wine. Though… I know many people who love a good bottle of red.

This is probably one of the easiest tutorials I’ve posted, though I was inspired so I wanted to share it. You really only need a few things, and the main one you can find at a craft store. The one important material you will need to search for is food safe ornaments (plastic or glass) that have a removable top. I know that my local craft store sells many ornaments that can be taken apart and filled and are all different sizes. Outside of those, everything else is up to you. I would recommend ribbon to trim, fancy tags to attach to show how to make the dip and what it is, and if you want to be really fancy, run to the dollar store and grab a nice basket/box/tin to package them in.

 

The only other thing you need is a funnel, and the right ingredients for your mixes – if you are planning on doing more than one batch, I would fill some airtight containers with your dip mixes, and that way you can keep them separate and make enough for each gift. You will need about 6 tablespoons of your home made mix.

So take a look at some of the photos above, check out what’s available at your local craft stores and get creating some beautiful gifts! To get you started, here are some links to recipes that you can use to fill your ornaments with. You can do dips, you can do soup mixes, you can do hot chocolates, dried herbs… really any mix that is non perishable!

Here are some fantastic dip recipes from Naturally Loriel (just scroll down a bit to find them)

Here are some from Sprinkle Some Fun

I hope you enjoy making these. I think that they are such nice gifts, especially because they’re consumable but they look so nice and they’re a little out of the ordinary.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


Put a Wreath Around It

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Greetings Sunday readers!

I promised recycled holiday goodness and I aim to please! Last week I offered up some recycled ornaments so the next progressive step to decking out the home for the holidays should be fairly easy – a wreath for the door. I had some fun finding a variety of different materials to use while just staring around the house at possibilities. The first and most obvious for me is magazines. We don’t have as many physical subscriptions as we used to but we still get enough to put some solid weight at the bottom of the recycling bin. This first DIY is one of the more time intensive ones on the list but the results are just lovely:

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Really, you could probably just use any kind of paper you have laying around for this but I think the glossy paper in magazines give it that shiny, leafy realism. Ok so now I’ve used some of the old magazines up, what else? In the kitchen I have…corks! We don’t drink nearly the amount of wine in this house as beer but we still occasionally bring out a bottle with the evening meal. I definitely have enough to do a slightly larger wreath than this:

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

I keep all of the corks and bottle caps I want to save in a clear jar on the counter under the cabinets. What’s in the cabinets? I have some canning jars that were used for projects/preserving last year and they have lids. So what could be better than candy-striped canning jar ring wreaths:

We always re-buy the lids every year so I have a ton!

Remember to use a couple for those shadow box ornaments from last week, too.

I wandered into the closets at this point and thought about all of those old ornaments we had packed away that are getting replaced with handmade ones. What should I do with them? Toss them or donate them? No! Let’s make them into another wreath!

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

While in the closet, I had some of the husbands clothes brushing the top of my head and I wondered if there were some cool recycled clothing wreaths out there (of course there are). He’s not really into wearing ties so we’ve accumulated quite a few that were gifts. I think there are enough colors to do a variation on this:

If you don't have enough/any, I'm pretty sure the local thrift store does.

If you don’t have enough/any, I’m pretty sure the local thrift store does.

Whew, not only did we get some great craft ideas but it allowed me to clean out a bit! Just in time to receive more gifts and start the cycle over. Have a great week, crafters and next time we’ll try our hand at some recycled centerpieces.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


DIY Holiday Essential Oil Blends

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There’s nothing quite like the smell of the holidays. Weather you prefer baked goods, fresh pine, or maybe peppermint, the holidays likely have a special smell in your memory. So today I’ve brought together a list of custom essential oils blends made by Healthy Happy Momma that you can make to help achieve that perfect holiday smell. 🙂 These blends will work in and essential oil diffuser (like this one from doTERRA or  Amazon) but if you don’t have one handy you can also use a pot of hot boiling water on the stove that you add the oil scent to. More water will need to be added as it evaporates, but it’s a cheap and easy solution if you don’t have or care to buy a diffuser.

I recommend looking at what oils are required for a scent style that you like before rushing out to buy one to help save you money, but many of these can be found online, and I tried to pick ones that weren’t special blends so you weren’t limited to a brand line. You could also look at getting an empty glass vial so that you can mix up half an ounce to keep on hand all season long, or maybe give away as a custom gift. 🙂

Cozy by the Fire
2 drops White Fir +  2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 1 drop  Clove + 1 drop Cedarwood

Christmas Energy
4 drops Peppermint + 4 drops Wild Orange

Christmas Cheer
3 drops Lime + 3 drops Wild Orange + 2 drops Cinnamon + 2 drops White Fir + 2 drops Cypress +  2 drops Bergamot + 1 drop Eucalyptus

Winter Wonderland
4 drops Peppermint + 3 drops Bergamot + 2 drops Cypress

Gingerbread
3 drops Ginger + 2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 2 drops Clove + 1 drop Nutmeg

Oh Christmas Tree
3 drops Douglas Fir + 2 drops Cedarwood + 1 drop Juniper Berry