A New Artist in the Family

The last time you’ve heard from me, I gave an update on the new job situation with my husband. If your recall, he began work at a fancy wood place. They import specialty hardwood lumber from literally all over the world, then sell it to artists and craftsmen who seek out such material for furniture and many other projects.

I have to kind of laugh sometimes when people assume that I’m the “artsy” one in the family. Sure, that’s my gig and I love it. I sometimes say that I can’t NOT make stuff, it’s just how I weirdly operate.

Well, though I kind of knew it before, there’s another artist in the family, and it’s definitely not me….

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You see, my guy has been making these beauties.

Lots of fabulous vases, all made of highly figured woods.

The neat thing is these were all either dug out of the rubbish bin, or purchased from the bin of stuff that is all basically “off-cuts,” end pieces of wood that are a size/shape that is not optimal for selling.

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So he takes these cast-offs, uses their natural shape, and turns them into something gorgeous (and useful). Some are fairly rare woods, like the one pictured above. Koa grows only on one island in Hawaii. (This was a spalted piece of Koa with other figure in it too.)

Pretty much ALL of them are super figured, even to the level of what he would call “instrument grade.” Check out this one…

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My pictures truly don’t do them much justice. They are amazing in person.

We just figured out a neat way to mark the bottom with what species of wood they are made from:

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This particular piece is Tasmanian Rose Myrtle, a neat variety from…you guessed it, Tasmania.

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Pictured above is a beautiful piece of Tiger Maple. Check out that striping!!

He left the bark on the back side to add even more interest.

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All have a glass test tube insert for holding water and the stems. Jeff is also experimenting with using interesting bottles as well.

He has enlisted me to be his saleslady, so if you have any interest in purchasing one, we would love to hook you up. You can contact me directly, or I do have some listed on an Etsy site. (I’ll be adding more to Etsy soon.) Each makes a timeless gift, and they are all so unique.

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Place a showy bloom in them and you add instant class to wherever it sits!

 

 

Handmade Christmas 2016: Fingerless Gloves

Howdy, and welcome back. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this gorgeous fall weather!

Fall is definitely here, so I thought it would be a perfect time to share this wonderful crochet pattern. I have been cranking out different pairs of these cute fingerless gloves as of late.

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The pattern is not difficult, and I think that if you have a just a little bit of crochet experience, you could easily make these. It appealed to me because I am not an expert crocheter and am intimidated by making ones with fingers!

I found this pattern on Red Heart Yarn’s website, and it is free to access and print out.

They would make a super cute, stylish Christmas gift for a child, teen, or adult.

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This particular pair is modeled by my 11 year old daughter, who has been wearing a purply pair of these that I made almost every morning to school!

These beauties don’t use up a ton of yarn, and take maybe 1 1/2-2 hours to make (depending on how many interruptions you have!). Once you make one pair, it’s easy to crochet up some more.

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Great for chilly fall days and the approaching winter cold. The Red Heart website has tons of other cute glove patterns too!

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Handmade Christmas 2016: Simple Sugar Hand Scrub

Welcome Back.

Today I am sharing another item that can easily be made for Christmas gifts to give to friends, teachers, neighbors, bus drivers, etc. Or you can make some for yourself!

The idea I have to share is for a simple Sugar Hand Scrub.

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I can attest to the fact that this is an easy, inexpensive thing to make. It also works really, really well and makes your hands oh-so-soft. I gave these out as teacher gifts 2 years ago and they got rave reviews.

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These only take two ingredients to make: white sugar and Dawn with Olay Hand Renewal (this now comes in a variety of scents).

Here’s the basic directions if you’d like to make some this holiday season:

Pick out a cute container to put your scrub in. I would recommend glass or plastic.

Fill container at least 1/2-3/4 full of the white sugar. Fill the rest of the way up with the Dawn Hand Renewal. Leave a little space at the top as you now need to mix these together without getting them all over the place! Stir up really, really well until sugar is thoroughly incorporated. Put your lid on and make a cute tag to attach to it. (I recommend just a short note saying that it does need to be stirred right before using. That sugar will tend to settle.) Then, voila! Done!

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That was easy. Even if you are not crafty you can totally do this. I promise.

Handmade Christmas 2016: Button Bookmarks

Christmas gift ideas have started to pop into my mind already. If you know me well at all, you’ve likely heard me state that I can’t stand the over-commercialization of Christmas. I love the simplicity of a thoughtful handmade gift.

This fall I plan to share some of my old & new ideas for sweet little handmade gifts, beginning with these cute bookmarks. I originally shared these waaaay back in 2011 and it’s one of the most popular posts I’ve had since I’ve been blogging! They are perfect for avid readers, obviously, and especially ones who still appreciate a great paper copy.

Thinking of trying to make some  yourself? All the materials you’ll need are: fabric scraps, paperclip, button-cover kit, and hot glue/gun.

All it takes are a few simple steps:

1. Cut out a fabric circle approximately twice the diameter of the button cover.

2. Place the fabric printed side facing down in the button-cover mold.

3. Push the front half of the button rounded side down on top of the fabric.

4. Tuck the edges of the fabric into the center, and then press the button back into it until it is firmly encased.

5. Thread the paperclip through the shank of the button until the button rests at the top rounded edge.

6. Hot glue in place. I dabbed hot glue around the shank area and also where the edges of the button back rest on the paperclip.

 

Creation Jar Terrarium

Today I am sharing an idea that I just pulled off this past weekend for our church VBS.

The theme was “Walk Thru the Old Testament,” which begins with Creation!

As usual, I was the craft lady, so I wanted everyone to take home something neat that would last. As my second-oldest has been enthralled with making terrariums, I had a light bulb moment one day that a “Creation Terrarium” would be cool.

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It turned out to be a huge hit! As we had a different format this year and families did VBS together, both adults and kids had the opportunity to make one.

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I incorporated different elements of Creation–animals, rocks, plants, soil…

Some kids placed little frogs in theirs and others put in small animals that I had available.

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To pull this off for a group, I set it up like an assembly line. Here is the order in which I placed things:

  • plastic quart jar
  • gravel
  • potting soil
  • small fern (we used leather wood ferns)
  • moss (some foraged from our area and reindeer moss)
  • small animal
  • small rock
  • lid
  • twine or yarn, already cut
  • tag with markers to write their name on

I also put down brown roll paper on the tables to make for easy clean-up, which worked quite nicely!

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Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. Unfortunately I didn’t get good pics with my camera while this was going down:( The kids made some really neat ones, and they were all just a little different!

If you’re looking for a cool, non-junky VBS craft, this is a great option. A little more involved than what I usually have, but well worth it!!

Denim Pocket Rug

I have sorely neglected my blog lately. Too much end-of-the school-year craziness, followed by the annual adjustment to summer and kids being home 24/7. I apologize and will totally admit that I miss writing!

Also, I have not shown a single decent crafty project in a long , long while. Believe me, it’s not for lack of making things:)

One thing that I’ve totally been into is repurposing denim to make cool stuff. I will perhaps share one or more denim projects in the near future. Here’s one that I found to make with all the pockets of jeans I’ve cut up and basically deconstructed.

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A sturdy little accent rug. I saw an example or two on Pinterest and decided to try a small one to see if I liked it or not.

I did not do any step-by-step pictures, but I can give a brief rundown of how it was made. Basically I took a rectangle of denim, then took a variety of pockets that had already been cut out and arranged them randomly all over the rectangle. I pinned each one down to hold them in place.

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Then I took my handy dandy heavy duty Singer and began carefully sewing around the edge of each pocket. I tried to do all of the “top” pieces first, then went around what is visible of the ones that are more underneath. (Hopefully that makes sense?) Once they were all secure, I took a slightly larger rectangle of denim and sewed it so it is underneath and peeking out behind the original rectangle, just stitching around the perimeter.

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All in all, this didn’t really take that long to make. The prep of cutting all the denim is what actually takes more time. I would recommend definitely using a heavy duty needle, plus a heavier model sewing machine for this kind of project.

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Before use, I would also pop some Rug Gripper on the back so it doesn’t slide.

Overall, a unique little rug that is casual, country, and cool.

40 Bags in 40 Days: Wrapping Up

Well, this is it. My 40 days are over and I’m DONE!

If you have missed my earlier posts, last month I had challenged myself to get rid of at least 1 bag of trash or donated items a day for 40 days.

The final tally? 15 bags and a whopping 32 boxes of stuff.

Some of these were just plain trash and others were donated to a local thrift store.

Would I do this again in the future? Absolutely.

Honestly, I think it would be beneficial to do it at least once a year. Sure, I’ve done purges before, but not quite as intentionally as this one. There were several areas I hadn’t even fully touched in a few years (hello, Christmas decoration area). Others I’ve gone over here and there, but stuff just accumulates, you know? Especially when you have seven bodies in one house. I can candidly say that I didn’t have to invest a huge amount of time to this project, just a bit every day.

Now, some of you may be wondering if I had heard of or read the Marie Kondo book (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I did pick up a copy over this time and read it. Obviously I did not follow her method, as she recommends tackling categories like all the clothing all at once and doing one giant purge within a very short time frame. Some of her recommendations were good, like only keep what you love and discard everything that does not bring you joy in some way. A few other things in the book were a little too new-agey to me and I found myself kind of rolling my eyes a bit.

So, all in all, I am sort of proud and glad that I followed this thing through. I would recommend it to anyone feeling the creep of “too much stuff.”

 

What I’m Into: March 2016

In like a lion and out like a lamb. That’s the popular saying for March, right?

Well, this year has been quite the weather roller coaster where we live. One day it’s feeling like early June and the next it’s calling for snow. Crazy.

Whether it’s a lion day or a lamb day, this is what we’ve been into this past month:

*Trailblazer Books. This is a book series that my kids discovered in our church library and have been reading on and off. They are all adventure stories that teach Christian values and each one highlights the story of a Christian hero from history.

*Street Food Around the World. We discovered this series on Netflix one night and tried watching it on a whim. Very educational, interesting and my whole crew was entertained. The host travels to different cities around the world and tries out a variety of street foods from that region.

*Stamps. A few years ago a nice older lady from our church very generously gave my oldest son a box of random US and international stamps. We hadn’t had them out in a looong time, and then one day my twins rediscovered it in their closet. We spent a whole evening looking up different ones and enjoyed finding out where each was from.

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*Purging my house. I’m almost completely done!! I will have another post soon about the 40 bags challenge and what I’ve learned.

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*Line drying laundry. I thank the Lord that I don’t mind doing laundry, because you know I have lots of it! One of my favorite tasks is to hang laundry out on our line, and now that we’ve had good weather for it, I’m able to do so again.

*Making wreaths. As Spring is approaching, I’ve had the urge to make some bright new wreaths. You have to know that making anything with my hands is like my love language, so I am one happy camper when I can create something new & pretty! I love creating all styles–grapevine, yarn-wrapped, burlap, fabric…..

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading and have a blessed weekend!

Rachel

Vintage Sewing Wreath

Y’all should know that I love making wreaths.

Plus I also enjoy sewing AND yard sale shopping for cool vintage finds.

This wreath is a happy marriage of all those things put together!

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I took a wide burlap ribbon and threaded it onto a wire wreath frame.

(Please don’t ask me to do a tutorial on it, for me it’s just trial and error. Can’t say I make the greatest ones anyway…)

Then I added a touch of red burlap ribbon for a little color.

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Next came the fun part for me. I added things like old button cards, thimbles, and sewing charms from a clearance item at Michael’s.

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Also, some wooden spools of thread, both empty and full.

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Most of these things came from yard sale box lots, even the cool stand that I have this displayed on.

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I have no idea what this is officially called, but it is a ruler on a tripod stand with an arm that tilts forward with hem lengths displayed on it. It is perfect for setting my wreath on.

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This was a creative way to use up and display some of those vintage sewing notions I’d accumulated.

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All in all, this is different than any other wreath I’ve ever made, but I personally love it!