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Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

March 13, 2015 Edition A sunny high-rise home with an ocean view and plenty of fresh air ventilation sounds like a perfect place to rest a spell and, perhaps, even raise a family. That’s what this seagull thought as it sat on a comfy nest on top of a roof. Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder once philosophized, “Home is where the heart is.” What is your heart telling you?

#1 – Unusual Homes For Sale
12 Strange and Unusual Homes for Sale For $1.1 million dollars the Mushroom House in New York can be yours. Check out photos of this unique home and eleven other homes in 12 Strange and Unusual Homes for Sale.

#2 – Going the Distance
Top Ten Amazing Migrations Did you know that the Arctic Tern has the longest migration of any animal? Read how far it travels and learn more about other animals who “go the distance” in the Top Ten Most Amazing Migrations.

#3 – Crafty Gift Ideas
35 Easy to Make DIY Gift Ideas Homesthetics presents a nice variety of ideas in its post 35 Easy to Make DIY Gift Ideas That You Would Actually Like to Receive. From bath and body products to photo pendants to stepping stones and more, you’ll feel creatively inspired to try out one of these ideas.

#4 – Helping Homeless Pets
Helping Homeless Pets Meet Duke, a part Corgi, part Dachshund, and part Jack Russell bundle of love. Duke is a rescue dog whose owners recently surrendered him, because they are expecting a baby. That action gives Duke two strikes on his rap sheet, not to mention a few behavioral issues born from insecurity. He is currently being fostered by my oldest son, until someone steps ups to love and adopt him. To learn of ways you can help Duke and other animals in his situation, read 10 Ways to Help Homeless Pets, Even If You Can’t Adopt.

#5 – Home
“It’s not the size of your house that makes a home . . . it’s the size of your heart!”
Jane Lee Logan

Now go and spread joy!

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DIY Wheelchair/Walker Bag Instructions The weather reflects fall and the calendar reads October, but my sewing room screams December. Donning my Santa hat, I’m already knee-deep in holiday projects. In addition to making scarves again from gently used t-shirts to give to the homeless, I’m making wheelchair or walker bags for residents who live in a nearby care center. All are sewn with heart.

I designed these bags and started making them years ago, when I volunteered at a senior care center. I noticed that residents using walkers and wheelchairs could not hold on to their possessions while holding the handles of their walkers or maneuvering the wheels of their wheelchairs. They needed something in which to carry their things when they were out of their rooms. I designed these bags with a divided front pocket, so that objects could be separated and found more readily. Velcro tabs sewn at the end of the straps make for easy installation and removal.

If you would like to make these simple bags for friends or relatives who use wheelchairs or walkers, or if you would like to make the lives of residents living in a care facility easier, click on the link for a PDF containing my step-by-step instructions on how to make a wheelchair or walker bag. Choose heavy weight fabric, such as canvas, for durability. If you are making them for a senior facility, try to select fabric with unisex patterns and colors.

We each hold the power to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small or how large our contribution.

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Homemade Potpourri When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And if life gives you six dozen red roses, make potpourri. When the heads of my birthday roses started drooping, it was time to say goodbye to the lovely bouquet. It seemed a shame to toss them in with the green garbage when only the outer petals were dried up, so I decided to use the rose petals to make potpourri. The Queen of Hearts often said in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “Off with their heads,” and that’s exactly what I did. I cut off the heads of the roses, removed their petals, and dried them in a microwave oven. After mixing in some aromatics, spices, and a fixative, I now have potpourri that preserves my lovely gift of roses and makes my home smell heavenly.

Drying Roses
1. Cut the rosebuds off of their stems, leaving about an inch of stem on each bud. Toss the long stems into the garbage. Gently peel off any unsightly outer petals and discard them. Decide which heads will remain intact for dried rosebuds and set them aside. IMG_4500 Rose Stem Text

2. Hold onto the bud and grasp the short end of the stem, twist it and pull out the center. Discard the center. IMG_4499 Twist Stem Text

3. Gently unfurl the blossom, separating the petals. Place petals in a microwave safe container lined with paper towels. I used a 9-inch by 13-inch glass casserole dish. IMG_4512 Unfold

4. When the dish is sparsely covered with petals, put it in the microwave for about 1 minute. Check the petals and if they still feel moist, put them back in the microwave for 30 seconds more. Continue microwaving them at 30-second intervals until petals feel dry. Transfer to a paper towel-covered wire cooling rack to cool. IMG_4546 Dried Petals Text

5. Set aside the dried petals if making potpourri or store in an airtight container for future use.
Homemade Potpourri

6. The same process is used to dry the rosebuds. Peel off unwanted outer layers of petals. Lean the rosebuds against the sides of a paper towel-lined microwavable dish. Microwave them for one minute. Check for pliability and moistness. Microwave again for one minute. Check them again. Microwave them for 30-second increments until they are sufficiently dried.

Rose and Lavender Potpourri
Recipe from The Book of the Rose by David Squire

INGREDIENTS
4 cups of dried rose petals, preferably red or deep pink as these usually have the strongest scent
1 cup whole pink or red dried rosebuds
1 cup dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup powdered orris root
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
Several drops of essential rose oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, sifting and mixing them well with your fingers.

2. Add drops of essential oils judiciously until the scent is strong enough.

3. Transfer into a paper bag and seal.

4. Leave in a cool dark place for six weeks to cure, shaking it occasionally.

5. Display it in shallow baskets or bowls and decorate the top with large dried rose blooms or little bundles of whole cinnamon sticks.

6. If the fragrance fades after a while, simply refresh it with a few more drops of rose essential oil.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I decided to keep some of the lavender flowers on their stalks for appearance. Otherwise most of the small lavender flowers will sink to the bottom of the potpourri.

2. Orris root is a common fixative in potpourri recipes. According to Save On Crafts, “The fixative absorbs and retains the volatile scented essences. Essential oils or fragrance oils are used to reinforce the natural perfumes and to boost the scent. Without adequate fixative the life goes out of potpourri very quickly.” Powdered orris root can be purchased at health or craft stores.

3. I recommend mixing the powdered components together first and then gently folding in the flowers. The essential oil is added last.

4. I used a few drops of both essential lavender oil and essential rose oil for a refreshing blend of scents.

5. I sealed the paper bag with clothespins, so that it would be easy to check the potpourri’s progress.

Enjoy!

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DIY Fabric Tags Late-night cravings and weight gain are taking their toll on my body. Tell me again, when is the baby due? With months to go, my daughter-in-law’s pregnancy seems to be progressing far too slowly for this excited Chinese grandma or Yin Yin, as I will be called. In an effort to curb my sympathetic pregnancy symptoms (did I already mention late-night cravings and weight gain?) and to use some of my anticipatory energy, I’ve started making things for my upcoming grandbaby. Not wanting to appear self-obsessed, but still wanting to convey the love that went into each handmade piece, I decided to create my own fabric labels. After a little online search, I came across a helpful article on the wonderful site lil blue boo. I don’t know and I don’t care whether the baby is a boy or a girl, but I do know that he or she has already captured my heart!

SUPPLIES
SuperSoft Inkjet Transfer Paper
Ink jet printer
Iron
Ironing board
Pillowcase
Scissors
Assorted ribbon, optional

DIRECTIONS
1. Design your tag, logo, etc. on a computer.

2. Fill a page with different sized fonts of your design to suit your purposes. My font sizes ranged from 16 to 36. DIY Fabric Tags: Positive image

3. Flip your page of designs on the computer, because you will need a reverse image to print on the transfer paper. DIY Fabric Tags: Reverse image

4. Print a test sample using plain paper.

5. Stick a sheet of transfer paper into your printer and print according to the manufacturer’s suggestions. The light blue side is the back side of the paper. Do not print on this side. SuperSoft Inkjet Transfer Paper

6. Using scissors or a paper cutter, cut into tag-sized pieces.
DIY Fabric Tags: Cut into pieces

7. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to transfer image to fabric.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used Pages to reverse the image, because I didn’t know how to do it using Word.

2. I recommend printing a sample of your design page on plain paper first, before printing on the transfer paper. Doing this, you will be able to see any mistakes, any need for color adjustment, spacing issues, etc.

3. Make sure to use an old pillowcase to iron on and to protect your ironing board, because scorching from the iron may occur and excess adhesive may stick to the pillowcase.

4. I purchased the SuperSoft Inkjet Transfer Paper through the Dharma Trading Company.

5. This particular transfer paper is soft enough to be used as a “tagless” tag. Transfer image directly onto fabric, instead of ribbon.

Add a nice finishing touch to your handmade gifts by creating your own fabric tags!

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Abstract Chard Leaves Line, shape, color and light transform chard leaves into abstract art for me. How do you view the world around you? If you were to paint a picture, would you paint the sun yellow, the sky blue and the trees green? If so, you’d better take a closer look, because sometimes the sun burns a fiery orange and the sky mellows to a soft pink and trees in shadow appear blue. Be cognizant of the world around you. Take note of details. Look for beauty. And be grateful for it all.

#1 – Creative Ways with Fruits and Vegetables
Creative Ways With Vegetables Fruit and vegetable platters don’t have to be boring. Try envisioning empty platters as blank canvases waiting to be transformed into appetizing works of art. Click the link to see more ideas.

#2 – Arm Knitting
See knitting in a different light. Here’s a hands-on project (pun intended) in which you literally substitute your hands and arms for knitting needles! The technique is called arm knitting. By casting stitches on one arm and transferring them back and forth to the other arm, you can knit a chunky scarf in under 30 minutes. It’s hands down the easiest way to knit! For instruction watch the Arm Knitting for Beginners video above or go to this site sponsored by Lion Brand yarn.

#3 – Do You See What I See?
Art by Tineke Meirink The next time you go for a walk, take your imagination along. While out and about, look at something and imagine what else it could be. That’s what Dutch illustrator Tineke Meirink does. She photographs a subject and then cleverly shows it as what she sees or imagines it to be. Check out more of her work on Bored Panda.

#4 – Seeing the World Differently
4 Ways to See Yourself and the World Differently In the article Get Some Perspective: 4 Ways to See Yourself and the World Differently, the author Rebecca A. Watson states, Sometimes it takes getting farther away from something to see it for what it really is. It’s that whole forest-for-the-trees thing. The same is true when it comes to how we see ourselves. If we could each step back in times of stress, confusion, angst, uncertainty, anger, etc. and try to see the big picture, our perspective of situations might change. This particular passage resonated with me, My ego is usually the part of me that doesn’t want me to take risks and see myself for the star that I am. It wants to keep me from submitting my writing or taking that rock climbing class because if I fail, how embarrassing and horrible would that be? Not all that terrible, it turns out. How many passages in this article resonate with you?

#5 – Think Differently
“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no-one else has thought.”
— Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

Have a great weekend. Now go and spread joy!

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"Made With Love" Cookies Stamped with words, but made with love. I know this, because I made these cookies. No other day of the year combines words with love as well as Valentine’s Day. It seems tragic to me that some people can profess their love on this day, but not on other days of the year. My philosophy holds that love should be expressed everyday, in as many ways as possible. The challenge for all of us is to discover the hundreds of ways we can show love.

#1 – Show Your Love
Kris Carr On Valentine’s Day in 2003, Kris Carr was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. She then embarked on a passionate journey to enjoy her life more fully. From her blog, comes this post on How to Show Your Love.

#2 – Love Stories images Love has many faces and forms. In 1999, PBS gathered love stories from people across the country and created a series titled American Love Stories. These stories highlight diversity in relationships and tell about love in the face of prejudices involving race, religion, age, gender and more.

#3 – Heart-Shaped Envelopes
Turn a heart-shaped piece of paper into an envelope for your Valentine’s Day card or for any special occasion card, such as an anniversary card or a wedding card. If you don’t want to cut a heart out of paper, use a heart-shaped paper doily! Make an Envelope From a Heart-shaped Piece of Paper

#4 – Another Win-Win Idea
Last September, I repurposed clean and gently-worn t-shirts by making them into scarves and tote bags for the homeless. Now I have another project that again helps planet Earth and the homeless. I recently took a crochet class at my local craft store and will be putting my new skill to a test as I try crocheting plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. These mats provide a moisture barrier from the damp cold ground and they offer more cushion than a piece of cardboard. To learn how to crochet these mats, watch the video below. Don’t know how to crochet? No problem, just click on You Tube video tutorials to learn how.

#5 – Joy is Love
Joy is love – a joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love, for she gives most who gives with joy.
Mother Teresa

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now Go and Spread Joy!

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DIY jar and jute candleholders

Get out those skeins of macrame cord you’ve been saving since the 1970s and pull out those empty glass jars from underneath your kitchen sink. It’s time to upcycle them into retro-chic candle holders! I made these candle holders in just one morning. Their relaxed vibe makes for great centerpieces (outdoor or indoor) or thoughtful gifts. For a morning coffee gathering or a brunch, put a base layer of coffee beans in the jars and let the candles help release the aroma of freshly-roasted coffee!

Materials:
Glass jars (for a more interesting arrangement, choose jars of different heights)
Jute, twine, or macrame cord
Hot glue gun
Assorted lace trim
Bamboo skewers
Tealights
Nonflammable base material such as rice, beans, coffee beans, sand, etc.
Scissors

General Directions:
1. Remove labels from jars. If some adhesive remains, use a solvent such as Goo Gone to remove it.
2. Wash and try jars thoroughly.
3. Heat up your glue gun.
4. Place a little bit of glue on the twine and press it down on the glass jar using a bamboo skewer or your fingers. Using a bamboo skewer prevents burning your fingers on the hot glue. Putting the glue on the twine versus directly on the glass prevents globs of glue from showing up on the glass or getting all over the glass.
5. Because you’re not using a lot of glue, it will set quickly, so work fast. It helps to have a design in mind before you start.
6. Rub off stray glue “threads,” fill jars with base material, and insert tealights.
7. Tie a bow or wrap twine several times around the top of the jar for a more finished look.

Heart Jar:
Laying down a little glue at a time, create a heart-shape perimeter with the twine. Gradually, coil the twine around and around inside the heart-shape, putting down small spots of glue on the back side of the twine as you go. I coiled small circles in between the hearts to balance the design.

Lace Jar:
Starting at the “back” of the jar, I tacked one end of lace to the jar, wrapped it around the jar cutting off the right length, and glued it down on top of where I started. Twine was then centered on the ribbon in between the lace and glued down on the back of the jar. Lace jars in of themselves are pretty, but I felt twine had to be incorporated into the lace design to create a cohesive design grouping.

Loopy Jar:
I started at the bottom of the jar and just looped the jute in a free-form pattern around the jar. When making the loops, it is easier to glue the contact points of a loop before tacking it to the jar.

Love Jar:
This was created in a similar fashion as the loopy jar, except I spelled out the word “love” on the front and back of the jar.

candle holders made from glass jars and jute

Enjoy your candle holders!

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