Category Archives: The Craftiness

A Valentine for Succulent Lovers

A Valentine for Succulent Lovers from Farmhouse38.com.I love cheesy Valentine’s Day heart-shaped candy boxes. I really, really do. It’s not even about the candy (I swear. No, that is not chocolate on my face. It’s probably chicken poop, can we continue?). I just love the, shall we call it: Hallmark-Chic, of it all. Haters gonna hate.

So clearly, I adore upcycling these things (see Valentine’s Candy Box Roses). And, since I have a whole slew of propagated succulent babies waiting to be transplanted, here goes nothing!

Using an upcycled heart-shaped candy box for a Valentine's Day craft, from farmhouse38.com

I especially love this box from Whitman’s–it’s tin, with a plastic candy tray, which makes it perfect for using as a decorative succulent planter!

Once you are done demolishing the candy, remove the plastic candy tray from the box. Poke a couple of small holes in the bottom of each little candy well (do this if you plan to leave the succulents planted in there for awhile–if you are just doing this for presentation and a quick replant, then don’t bother), place a real thin layer of aquarium gravel or some other fine gravel in the bottom of each candy well, and then fill each well with cactus/succulent potting mix.

Turning a Valentine's heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter, from Farmhouse38.com

Meanwhile, take your tin box and paint it however you like. I started with a good coat of white spray primer, let it dry, and then painted the top mint green. I wanted the bottom to be sparkly gold, so I then did a coat of gold spray paint. After this dried, I sprayed a thick layer of gold-sparkle spray paint and then immediately coated in gold glitter. When that had dried, I knocked off the loose glitter and coated the whole thing in another coat of glitter spray paint to ‘seal’ it. If you don’t have glitter spray paint, you can use ModgePodge or Elmer’s to adhere the gold glitter, and once it has dried, seal it with a spray paint clear coat.

Upcycling a Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter from Farmhouse38.com

To finish the lid of the box, I wanted to do a tailored, traditional bow and ribbon, kind of like what you might find on just this sort of box of candy (this is important because you gotta put something fancy on there to cover the “Whitman’s” embossed label. Sorry Whitman’s, it’s been real). I started by cutting a length of coral grosgrain ribbon to fit diagonally across the lid, and then hot-glued it into place. I did the same with an overlay of sparkly gold ribbon.

Upcycling a Valentine's heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter by farmhouse38.com

 

Now, make your bow and adhere it. (Since I forgot to photograph this, please refer to this sloppily drawn instructional cartoon).

How to make a tuxedo bow from Farmhouse38.com

Upcycling a Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter from Farmhouse38.comSucculent planting time!

If you don’t have itty bitty propagated succulent bits laying around like I do, hopefully you can find some tiny potted succulents to buy somewhere. Or maybe you have mature succulents that you can take cuttings from (here is a great how-to on propagating succulents).

Propagating succulents and upcycling a Valentine's heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter from Farmhouse38.comNow carefully plant your little baby plants in the individual candy wells. If you want to be able to place the lid on the box, you must be mindful of the finished height of the planted succulents. Succulents don’t like being squashed.

Upcycled Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box turned succulent planter from Farmhouse38.com

Upcycling a Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter by Farmhouse38.com

I heart succulents. Upcycling a Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box into a succulent planter by Farmhouse38.com

 

I heart succulents. Can you tell?

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Craftiness Round-Up

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, guys! So it just feels right to do a little rodeo round-up of my previous Valentine’s Day projects–put them all in one easy spot for your viewing pleasure:

Cupid's Arrow Heart Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

I have a thing for heart-tipped arrows. You’ll see. Learn how to make this wreath here.

DIY painted rocks from Farmhouse38.com

A couple of rocks, a little paint, a little glitter…adorable porch decor (or bookends, or door stops). See how to make these and more painted rocks here.

Valentine's Candy Box Roses from Farmhouse38.com

I’m all about the flowers. Here’s a fun spin on the traditional red rose bouquet, using an up-cycled heart-shaped candy box. For the full tutorial, click here.

Cupid's Arrow Garland from Farmhouse38.com

To go along with the Cupid’s Arrow Wreath, how about a pretty little garland? Here‘s the tutorial.

Primitive Egg Wreath DIY from Farmhouse38.com

This was an Easter project, but because it’s got a little red heart on it, it makes the Valentine’s Day cut. I do what I want. See the tutorial here.

DIY Coffee Filter Peonies from Farmhouse38.com

Everlasting peonies! Oh, these are so fun to make! And if you really super-saturate those colors, they look darned near real. Learn how here.

DIY Primitive Heart Wreath by farmhouse38.com

I adore the simplicity of primitive wreaths. How’s about one for V-day? Here you go.

DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

I love, love, love making my own doormats. They could not be easier. Well, they could be easier, but for the sake of this post, let’s just not split hairs. See the full tutorial here.

Sour Cherry Margaritas from Farmhouse38.com

And just in case craft hour happens to coincide with cocktail hour…a Valentinesy margarita recipe to get your creative process going. I’m just looking out for you guys.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.comSooooooo, I’m a feather hoarder. I suppose this may be a side effect of chicken keeping. Every morning when I go to let the girls out, I collect whatever good-looking feathers I find sitting on the ground. When it’s molt season, good lawd, I come out of the chicken garden with a ton of feathers. And if you’re wondering where those smart little red feathers came from? I also collect the feathers that my African Grey, Nixie, drops from her saucy red tail. Yes, it has come to this.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Oh, the feathers that come off those fluffy butts.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Nix says: Whaddup. No seriously. She says that. She won’t shut up.

Framing feathers is nothing new, let’s be honest. But the chickens are forcing my hand. Look at all these suckers!

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

So many feathers, so little time.

So, unholster your glitter and let the crafting commence!

I found this great ‘Norrlida‘ frame at Ikea and knew immediately when I saw it that it was the one. It’s an interesting size and shape (approx. 12″ x 28.5″), and comes with a beautiful matte insert that is white on one side, black on the other. Outstanding for framing up a collection.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

 

I then assembled my troops across a sheet of wax paper.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Four of each color feather, and a fine assortment of color-coordinating glitters.

To adhere the glitter, I decided to use metal leaf adhesive (the kind you use for adhering gold leaf, like this), because it is a very watery glue that you apply with a brush and then let dry completely before applying your glitter (or metal leaf, if that’s your bag, baby). It becomes tacky when it’s dry. I like tacky. Using a heavier wet-applied glue, such as Modge-Podge would probably also work, but the thicker the adhesive, the more likely it’s gonna manipulate the feather out of it’s natural feather shape as you apply it. No bueno. If using Modge-Podge or Elmer’s Glue or something like that, I’d water it down a bit so it flows a little easier.

Carefully paint the top quarter to third of your feather with the adhesive:

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just some version of a straight line. The glitter will blur the line a bit anyway.

If you’ve applied your adhesive and the feather went a little wonky, I’ve got a trick to fix it. Take a piece of clear Scotch tape and apply it to the back of the feather, then trim around the shape of the feather as you’d like it to be.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

There is nothing more frustrating than a wonky feather.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Once you’ve applied your glitter, there is not a single trace of wonkiness. Magic.

Once you’ve applied your glitter, make sure to give those feathers the good ol’ tap and shake and get off all the excess glitter. Use a small, clean, dry paintbrush to dust away any errant glitter along the ‘glitter line’ to make the line as tidy as possible.

At this point, I prefer to give my glittered feathers a light spray of clear coat to keep the glitter in place. You don’t have to do this. The clear coat keeps the glitter in place, but it also slightly dumbs down the sparkle. But if you don’t clear coat, you may find that the glitter will shed a bit inside your frame. You kind of have to pick your poison.

Once everything is glittered, and coated, and dry, arrange your feathers as you want them on the matte and warm up your glue gun. Attach each with a small dot of glue applied to the backside of the feather shaft and then push the feather flat against the board as it dries to flatten it out.

Reassemble your frame and find yourself somewhere pretty to hang it.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Glittery, feathery goodness.

 

 

A Colorful New Book for Your Garden Library

Review of A Garden To Dye For by Farmhouse38.com

Gardens are just divine, aren’t they? They provide us with impossibly much: food, medicine, an eye-ball-ful of gorgeous, and a basic, peaceful connection to the Earth that is hard to put into words. Leave it to the fabulously funny Chris McLaughlin to give us just one more bit of lovely we can reap from our gardens: natural dyes.

This book is an absolute technicolor dream for the home fiber artist; all you crafty spinners with your adorable goats and sheep and bunnies and alpacas and all their glorious fluff–here is your guide for what to grow in your garden (besides fluffy animals) and how to process it into yummy, yummy homemade colors. I can only imagine the possibilities. But for those of you who aren’t quite to the point of harvesting your own fiber (uhh, that would be me), Chris shows us how and with what to dye yarns, threads, silks, cottons, linens, and other ready-to-go fabrics. But it all goes far beyond fabric; natural dyes can be used on wood, basket-making reeds, paper products, play dough, and since we’ve just come off of Easter–eggs…of course, you can dye eggs with them! Huzzah!

There are so many wonderful recipes and tricks of the trade in this book, but, as a painter, one in particular jumped out at me…making your own watercolor dye paints. I knew I had to try this. I also knew I wanted to use materials that I either had on hand, or had in the garden. Red cabbage, beets, turmeric, and black tea were all already in my kitchen and would give me blue, red/pink, yellow, and brown dyes, so I got to work. In retrospect, I also realized that I have swamp mallow, marigolds, hollyhock, rose, and coreopsis growing in the garden–all dye materials listed by Chris–but I had ants in my pants and overlooked these at the time. Dang it. DANG IT.

As with all natural dyes, a little experimentation was in order. Ultimately, I landed on a pretty decent recipe that was just a miniature version of what Chris outlines for dyeing a big batch of fabric.

To get blue dye paint, you’ll need:

-4 tablespoons of finely chopped red cabbage

-1 cup of boiling water

(I actually started out by putting the cabbage bits in a mason jar, boiling water in a tea kettle, and then pouring the boiling water over the bits and letting them sit for awhile). This color was pretty, but ultimately, I didn’t think it was strong enough, so I then transferred the contents of the jar to a small saucepan, and boiled the liquid down by half. This gave me a great blue color.

To get red/magenta/pink:

-4 tablespoons of finely chopped red beets

-1 cup of boiling water

The tea kettle method worked great for this and I did not need to boil the liquid down further. This yields a very saturated dark pink. Obviously, if you want it lighter, pull a small amount and mix with water to water it down to your desired color.

To get yellow:

–4 teaspoons of powdered turmeric

–2 cups boiling water

The tea kettle method actually yielded a nice, light yellow color, but ultimately, I wanted it more saturated so, again, I boiled the liquid down by half after the fact.

To get brown:

-6 standard black tea bags

-2 cups boiling water

The tea kettle method yielded a very light brown, which was great, but I wound up boiling this liquid down by half, as well, which gave me better saturation.

To get green:

Mix equal parts turmeric and cabbage dyes.

To get reddish-orange:

Mix equal parts turmeric and beet dyes.

To get reddish-brown:

I kind of mixed equal parts of all four base colors.

Obviously, one can mix any variation of these colors and get all different shades and colors. Experimentation is key! Chris also suggests using binders to help the color stick: these include whole milk, egg yolks, or egg whites (but each of these will change the colors slightly, so test first). I opted to not go with any binders, and so theoretically, my colors will fade slowly over time.

 

DIY All-natural Watercolor Dye Paints from A Garden to Dye For via Farmhouse38.com

My resulting colors.

And my subsequent watercolor painting:

DIY Natural Watercolor Dye Paints from A Garden to Dye For via Farmhouse38.com

Eloise and Gertie in all their all-natural colorful glory. All natural except for the Sharpie outline. I’m a cheater. I do what I want!!!

This book was just a pleasure to read–Chris’ trademark humor and gift for ‘telling it like it is’ get me every time. Be sure to visit A Garden to Dye For’s Facebook page and Chris’ blog Home Ag with a Suburban Farmer because to celebrate the launch Chris is giving away a Natural Dye Starter Kit with all sorts of goodies (including a copy of the book) to get you started on your home-dyeing and gardening adventures. To enter, you just need to follow her on Pinterest and leave a comment on the A Garden to Dye For Facebook page telling her what your favorite kind of garden is. On May 20, 2014, her Chiweenie helper will select a winner at random. You gotta love that. And if you don’t win the prize package, never fear, A Garden to Dye For is available at all major booksellers including Amazon.

Cheers to pretty colors!

Review of A Garden to Dye For via Farmhouse38.com

 

 

Primitive Egg Wreath

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

 

I always have to have an ‘Easter’ wreath. But this year, since I completely lagged on getting one made, I decided I wanted to make one that I could leave up long after the holiday had come and gone. Additionally, I wanted to make one using the neutral color scheme that I went with for this Easter’s celebration (I just really love the colors of naked eggs!). And of course, I wanted to make it using the plethora of eggs that I have just sitting around, courtesy of the Farmhouse poultry.

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

That’s a bowl full of 50 blown eggs. Yup. That was a very light-headed day.

I started with a wire hanger. Leaving the top of the hanger twisted like it comes, shape the thing into a nice circle. Once it is shaped, then use pliers to ‘untwist’ the top, shape it a bit, and make a small loop at the top.

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

 

You’ll need about 15 or so blown, dry eggs. The blow-out process is pretty easy (unless you are doing 50 at a time, which I do not recommend! Lol). I used a Dremel tool with a tiny drill attachment to poke a hole in each end of the egg shell, then I inserted a toothpick and sort of scrambled it around to break up the interior membranes. I used a small cocktail straw to actually blow the guts out, and once it was empty, I filled the egg with water, shook it around, and blew it out again. I then set the egg on end on a paper towel to drain. You can cook the eggshells in an oven to make sure they are good and dry (in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, or the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F), but I just left mine to air dry for a few days before using them (ie, I lagged on getting this project done).

Select your specimens, and, one by one, string them over the loose end of the wire form until you have about one egg’s length left of the wire. Now for the tricky part. Place the egg wreath on a padded surface (to cushion the eggs), and, using pliers, carefully bend the loose end into a small hook that can be hooked around the opposite end of the wreath form. It’s not easy. That wire is not super pliable. Don’t jostle the eggs while you do this–it’s a huge bummer to break even one egg because you’ll have to slide them all off and start all over. Fortunately, it was easy enough that I didn’t break any in my attempt.

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Oh, so careful!

Now that your wreath is all formed, decide which side you want to be the front, and which the back. Flip it so that the back side is up, and then go along and anchor the eggs to each other with a drop of hot glue.

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

This will keep the eggs from moving around, and the less they move, the less likely they are to break.

Next: place a blob of hot glue on the highest area of the back of each egg.

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

This serves as a bit of a ‘bumper’ for the egg to help protect it when you hang it.

Once that is all dry, flip it back over. Here, I decided I wanted to draw a cute little heart on the random white egg with a paint pen. I also tied a bow out of raffia, and then hot glued that to the top of the wreath.

Easy Primitive Egg Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

And there you have it! I was a little worried about the eggs banging against the door when it opened and closed, but the hot glue bumpers seem to keep that from happening brilliantly! Huzzah! (But…ya know…don’t go slamming the door if you can help it).

And, of course, one could absolutely make this wreath with brightly dyed Easter eggs–how cute would that be?!

Easy No-Sew Rice Heating Pad

No Sew Rice Heating Pad from Farmhouse38.com

I found myself in a situation the other day where I needed to make a rice heating pad, and I needed it quick. And I needed to not have to sew it together because…well…I don’t sew. SO, I did a quick search of the interwebs and came across several accounts of people using tube socks for just this purpose; ya take a sock, fill it with rice, and tie up the loose end. Awesome. Great idea…only…I needed it to be bigger than a skinny little tube sock.

So. I scrounged around a bit and came up with an old, long-sleeved t-shirt of the Texan’s.

DIY No-Sew Rice Heating Pad from Farmhouse38.com

I hadn’t seen him wear this for a looooong time, and it’s got some stains and holes in it, so I decided to sacrifice it for the greater good. But apparently, it was his most cherished long-sleeve t-shirt. Oops. My bad.

Then I just cut off a sleeve (actually, I cut off both sleeves to make two of these).

Easy DIY No-Sew Rice Heating Pad from Farmhouse38.com

You can see I also cut the finished edge of the sleeve off so that both ends of the heating pad match (ie; rough and unfinished).

Then, using a bit of baker’s twine, I tied off one end. Tightly.

Easy DIY No-Sew Rice Heating Pad from Farmhouse38.com

Double-knotted for good measure.

I then filled the sleeve with about 2 lbs of white rice (not the instant variety, apparently that’s not good for this. Just good ol’white rice). Fill it with as much or as little as you want–I wanted this to be nice and malleable, not stuffed to the seams. Once the rice was in, I tied off the other end with baker’s twine.

Easy DIY No-Sew Rice Heating Pad from Farmhouse38.com

Et voilà!

To heat this, place the heating pad next to a single cup of water (water in microwave-safe cup or bowl) in the microwave for about 1.5-2 minutes (the water helps keep the rice from burning). Depending on how much rice you put in, you may need to heat for a little longer, but be careful not to let the water in the cup boil or the rice burn–so heat in small increments to be safe. This heating pad was perfect at about 1:45 minutes.

It worked wonderfully, and was a nice, safe, gentle heat for a tender little tummy:

Easy DIY No-Sew Rice Heating Pad from Farmhouse38.com

Getting spayed is no fun. It is no fun at all.

Pot O’Gold Terrarium

Pot O' Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

Ever since attending the Terrarium Class at The Nest Reno a few weeks back, I’ve had terrariums on the brain. I figured that St. Patrick’s Day was a good excuse to get it out of my system.

I started with a nice big glass jar (the kind that comes with a lid, but we’re leaving that out this time around), and filled it about two inches or so with some green recycled glass fragments (obtained at a gardening store).

St. Patty's Day Pot O' Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.comNext, I dropped in two generous handfuls of activated carbon (you can find this, most likely, at your local nursery, but also in the aquarium section of the pet store).

St Patty's Day Pot O' Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

The third layer is a bit of sheet moss (from the nursery or craft store):

St. Patty's Day Pot O' Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

Now, it’s time for potting soil. Put enough in to accommodate the size of the plants you want to use.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

Time for the fun part: planting. I chose several tiny plants from the nursery, including a couple of shamrocks (oxalis) and a couple of seloginella ferns.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

My local nursery has an entire ‘fairy garden’ section with itty bitty plants perfect for terrariums.

But I also just happen to have some wild oxalis growing in my yard, whose leaves are much tinier and more ‘fairy garden-ish’–so I wanted to transplant a few of them, also.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

I wasn’t sure if these would survive transplanting–but they totally did! Shamrock on.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

I planted all my tiny plants and then tucked sheet and reindeer moss all around them, then gave everything a really good misting of water.

Now it was time to make my tiny pot of gold. I started with some broken mirror glass gravel (found at the craft store). It was kind of a cool yellow glass, but I spread it thin and sprayed it with gold spray paint, let it dry, shook it up a bit, sprayed it, let it dry, etc., until it was well-coated with gold. Any type of small gravel would work for this, I just really liked the size, shape, and reflective quality of this stuff.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

On the left is the original look of the gravel. On the right is how it looked lightly sprayed gold.

Now to create the pot: I went with the most wee terracotta pot (also from the craft store) I could find:

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

We have three sizes: wee, not so wee, and FRIGGIN’ HUGE!!! (Who’s good at their obscure SNL skit lines?)

I then sprayed it black with chalkboard paint. When it had thoroughly dried, I ‘seasoned’ it a bit with chalk to make it look a little aged (giving the whole thing a coat of hairspray to help make the chalk stick). I then hot glued a craft stick into the bottom of the pot (sticking out the drain hole). Next I layered hot glue, then gold gravel, then hot glue, then gold gravel, etc, building the gravel up until it looked like a nice, full pot of Leprechaun gold.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

Unhand me gold.

Now…for the rainbow. I began with an empty plastic bottle:

St. Patty's Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

I drew a rough guidline, spiraling down the bottle, and then cut along this line.

This left me with a curlycue strip, like so:

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

Next, I took some fine gauge sand paper and sanded both sides of the plastic (this removes any printing or label remnants, and gives the surface some ‘tooth’ for the paint to hold on to).

St. Patty's Day Pot O' Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

Tape or weigh down both ends of the plastic so that it is laying flat. Choose your rainbow colors (I used basic craft acrylic paint), and thinly paint your stripes of colors (thin the paint with clear gloss if you have to so that the final result is a bit transparent). Once that has dried, hot glue one end of the rainbow to the back edge of the pot of gold, and place your pot in the terrarium.

St. Patty's Day Pot O' Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

For some reason I really wanted a little paver path leading to the pot. So I placed some tiny stones. I think I am still fixated on Olive and Love‘s adorable pathway in her Terrarium Class terrarium.

St. Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

This little path makes no sense. What leprechaun in his right mind would build a path leading to his pot of gold. I mean, really.

The final step is to apply your cloud to the top edge of the jar. I swiped a handful of fiber-fill stuffing from a pillow, ran a bead of hot glue along the back edge of the jar, and stuck the fluff on. I then ran a bead of hot glue along the loose end of the rainbow and lodged that in the cloud.

And there you have it! A pot o’gold at the end of the rainbow, cloud and all:

St Patty's Day Pot O'Gold Terrarium from Farmhouse38.com

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