29 December 2011

Christmas On The Front Porch


We have a large screened-in front porch that is only used in the summer. We always come in through the back door. Even the UPS guy and the repairmen know to go around back.

But the space is too lovely not to decorate for Christmas. The green and red of the branches from the backyard and the berries from across the road frame the gray and white of my vintage finds nicely.








Isn't it lovely? If the weather were a little nicer, I would sit out there all day.

27 December 2011

Stick Horse

My grandfather was a craftsman who liked working with wood. He made my grandmother a hutch once but mostly he made small things like coffee filter holders, jewelry organizers, and toys. The only memory I have of celebrating St. Nicholas as a believer was the year I received a handmade doll bed. It was made by my grandfather.

Lena, the horse
I am my opa's granddaughter. This year for Christmas I made Lola a stick horse from scratch. I am very proud of myself and I know opa would have been proud of me, too.

I found a template at Bluebonnet Village Craft Network. I free handed it onto paper, and traced the drawing with a sharp knife onto wood, leaving a faint imprint of the horse's head which I traced with a marker.

After cutting out the head with a jigsaw, I sanded it until it was nice and smooth. I drilled holes for the eyes, the handlebar and the stick (both made of a 5/8" dowel), stained it a warm chestnut brown and applied a protective coat of polyurethane.


The eyes are bear eyes, found at the goodwill but available at any craft store, stuck into place with a little glue. The hair is made of three Dollar Tree chenille dusters. I took the fabric off the plastic handle, cut off the elastic, and with help from my husband hammered them lengthwise onto the head.

The ears were cut out of soft suede which I had on hand. They are about four inches long. They were a little too floppy for my taste once they were hammered into place so I stitched them together to keep them upright.

Lola found the ribbon I had intended for the reins. I tried a thin leather strap from an old purse as an alternative but it didn't really work out. My solution in the end was to let Lena, as Lola named her horse, run free. Should Lola want reins, I can always suggest using this beautiful ribbon I happen to have lying around...

Lola is very happy with her horse. It is a little bit too tall but that is an easy fix. Giddy Up!

Pin It



I am linking Lena up with:
A Little Birdie Told Me at Rook No. 17
THE BEST OF 2011-Its Party Time at Its So Very Cheri
A Pinteresting Link Party at Here's to Handy Andy
Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Design
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Strut Your Stuff Link Party at Somewhat Simple

21 December 2011

Birdseed Ornaments

In my pantry sits a tub of lard I bought years ago. It was intended to make birdseed balls with. I am not really sure if lard is suitable for birds, though. Our local Piggly Wiggly sells beef suet by the log. They are ideal for making birdseed ornaments, although I guess you can just hang them outside as is. But where's the fun in that?

We melted the 22 oz. suet log over medium heat and stirred in three cups of birdseed. I set out three extra large cookie cutters partially wrapped in aluminum foil on a baking pan, as well as an assortment of little molds lined with plastic wrap. We poured in the melted suet/seed mixture and set the baking pan in the freezer.

After about two hours I took them out and let them thaw out just enough to make it easier to release the ornaments from the mold. I removed the little pieces of a drinking straw to make a hole and strung the ornaments on some butcher's twine. Aren't they lovely? I have already spotted a little chickadee munching on one.


The Scent Of The Season


Lola and I were making birdseed ornaments earlier, with suet. I don't like the smell of melting suet, so I whipped a fresh batch of stove top potpourri:

One orange, quartered
A good teaspoon of cloves
Some whole allspice
Three cinnamon sticks
About half a cup of cranberries
A dash of vanilla

Add water and simmer softly all day. The original recipe says this batch will last you all season as long as you add fresh water every morning.

20 December 2011

DIY Snowglobes

No snow? No problem. We will make our own snowy winter scenes. All you need is Epsom salts, bottle brush trees, little figurines, and clear mason jars. And presto! Instant winter wonderland.


13 December 2011

Jingle Bells

Silver jingle bells on stakes adorn the path from the garage to the house. Just like me, they are waiting for snow. There is some in the forecast for the next two days.

When I first saw this idea on Pinterest, I immediately took off for the Dollar Tree to stock up on their extra large jingle bells. I knew I still some shorter shepherd's hooks in the shed. Or so I thought.

I had forgotten that a lot of the gardening stuff did not make it back to Wisconsin when we moved. Including the shepherd's hooks. And they are a little hard to come by this time of year.

Looking for an alternative, I found plant props, still available at home improvement stores. They are easy to bend to hang the jingle bell. Quick and easy, my kind of project.

I still feel something is missing though. Oh, that's right. Snow. And possibly a little winter greenery.

07 December 2011

Doily Snowflake Ornaments



We are still waiting for snow up here in the Northwoods. But since the temperature has dropped to freezing, both day and night, I made my own snowflakes by freezing doilies in baking pans and hanging them in the trees in our backyard. It couldn't be more simple.

I used boiled water, cooled, because it results in clearer ice. The only tricky part is making a hole in the ice once the doilies have frozen. I used a hand drill but any sharp object will do. Just don't go too fast or push too hard. Thread the ornament with string and hang from a branch. Watch them sparkle in the sunlight. Beautiful.


I am linking up to A Little Birdie Told Me at Rook No. 17.

03 December 2011

Felt Heart Garland


I didn't really know what I was going to make for my gift exchange partner in my second Handmade Gift Exchange hosted by Linda of Craftaholics Anonymous, I waited for inspiration. I found it, where else, on Pinterest. I saw a picture of a bowl with red and gray ornaments, including a little gray felt heart with a red blanket stitch. A short trip to the local craft store later I had everything I needed: felt, polyfil stuffing, thread, and a needle.

I cut out a paper heart template by eyeballing it. My heart is about two and a half inches high and two and a half inches wide. I cut out my felt hearts by folding a strip of felt over, laying the folded template on the fabric and then cutting around it. Pinning the felt to keep it in place makes it a little easier to cut out the hearts but they are small enough to just hold in place with your free hand.

An 8 by 11 sheet of felt yields twelve felt hearts for six finished hearts. Once the cutting is done, it is simply a matter of stitching around with a blanket stitch. If your blanket stitch skills are rusty like mine were, here is a clear refresher course. Leave about an inch to stuff the heart with polyfil, then close it up.

My garland turned out to be about six feet long, using thirteen gray hearts and one red one. In between I strung felted wool balls, alternating wool white with red. To keep everything from moving, I tied knots on either side of the the hearts and balls. I don't really think it's a necessary step, though. And since it was an annoying one, I recommend you not do it.

And voilĂ , there you have it. A felt heart garland. I am very happy with how it turned out. And I am proud to report I am not alone in this. I have been commissioned for the first time ever to make one for a friend. And Craftaholics Anonymous featured my garland this week.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails