Friday, October 5, 2012

Halloween Vintage-Looking Feather Wreath

I went to Hobby Lobby today and I spent WAY too much. But I sure had fun!

I decided to make a large feather wreath for my large front door. The door is 42 inches wide, so it takes a large wreath to not be dwarfed by the expanse of wood. This weath frame is 24" across.

I started with a wire frame and 3 black feather boas. I used a hair clip to attach the boa to the frame. Nothing is permanent on the wreath, so next year I can totally rework it.I went to Hobby Lobby today and I spent WAY too much.  But I sure had fun! 

I decided to make a large feather wreath for my large front door. The door is 42 inches wide, so it takes a large wreath to not be dwarfed by the expanse of wood. This weath frame is 24" across.

I started with a wire frame and 3 black feather boas.  I used a hair clip to attach the boa to the frame.  Nothing is permanent on the wreath, so next year I can totally rework it.
 This next photo shows that I made it about 1/3 of the way around with a boa.  Don't wrap too tightly.  The feathers fluff out and look great.
 Here's the fully wrapped wreath.
 I used a pre-designed bouquet of flowers to add some color.  I wove the handle down into the frame and then secured it with some green floral wire.
 I laid out the rest of the elements that I wanted to add to the wreath.
 I used the floral wire to attach all the elements.  I had to wrap around the cat's ears which I wasn't very happy about, but it doesn't really show.  The funny thing is that the cat is so heavy that I had to hang the wreath off-center to make it hang correctly.
 Kinda cute, huh?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

 I have been reading about homemade laundry soap all over the place.  So. . . I just had to make some.  Here's my recipe which is based on Jillee's from OneGoodThingByJillee. She has lots of amazing recipes, so check it out!

 I used:
  •  one box of Super Washing Soda                $2.99
  •  one box of Borax                                        $3.99
  • 2 bars of Fels Naptha soap                          $  .99 each
  • 2 jars of faux oxi clean                                $1.00 each
  • 1 bottle of Unstoppables Scent Crystals     $6.99
So, basically $18 for the works.  It made a LOT of soap.

I used the grinder attachment of my food processor to shred the Fels Naptha soap.  It looked like shredded cheese!  There are a few pieces on the counter next to the bowl.  Then I used the chopper attachment to cut it into smaller pieces.

NOTE- I tried to pulverize the scent crystals into smaller pieces with my food processor, but it didn't work.  I wonder if my Magic Bullet would have done better?

I mixed ALL the ingredients into a garbage bag and swooshed it around until it was well-mixed.  Then I cut off one corner so that I could control the flow as I angled it into my containers.  There were little scoops with the oxygen cleaner, so I just use it to add one scoop into my washing machine's powder dispenser. 

I do a LOT of laundry and so far (one week) I have been pleased with this recipe.  Even the nasty, stinky wrestling clothes seem to be clean.  I would like a more highly scented recipe, but those crystals are expensive and I don't love the scent.  I wonder if I could used some essential oil or something.  Hmmm. . .

Anyway, give it a try.  If nothing else, you will feel like a homemaker extraordinaire!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cute Chicken Coop

The new coop. . . complete with fake plants.  The chickens ate the real flowers!
I have chickens.  I actually should say that Little Papi has chickens.  We got them in March when they were tiny and fuzzy.  Now they are huge and beautiful.  Right now they are laying 4-6 eggs a day, but the best part is just having them around.  It makes me feel more grounded and self-reliant.  In a true emergency, we'd still have eggs.  And a stew if we got truly desperate.

Chickens are pretty hardy characters and are pretty easy to care for.  They need a coop or some shelter with roosts to keep them safe from predators at night.  They need laying boxes or they will lay eggs wherever THEY choose.  They need food, water, and room to scratch. 

This is the coop and the run. We keep food in one can and treats/supplies in the other.
There was no way that I was going to have some ugly ramshackle coop in my backyard.  I buit a smallish coop out of a large cabinet and the girls have lived in that for four months, but they needed something larger for winter.  I've looked at plans and made decisions about what I wanted, but I just never got around to building the coop. Last week I bought one!  PDog and his buddy, the WingMan brought it home for me  and the BandMan helped me paint and shingle it.  If you undertake a project like this, I strongly recommend that you own a pneumatic nailer/stapler.  It is a life saver!

A little ornamentation makes all the difference.  The wrought iron rooster on the coop was purchased at Hobby Lobby and then I used satin white Valspar paint to give it a happier look.  I love how it spruces up the coop and everyone exclaims about how cute it is.  The chicken sign on the run started with a piece of sheet metal that had holes in all four corners and the sides rolled over.  I bought it at Wooden Connections in American Fork.  I used paper to make the circle stencil and used Glossy Red Valspar spray paint to make the circle.  I used a chicken image that I found online, enlarged it, printed it in sections, taped it together, and cut it out to make the chicken stencil.  That was painted with Glossy Black spray paint by Valspar.  I used stainless steel zip ties that I found at WalMart to attach it to the fence becaust the sharp edges of the holes would have cut right through the plastic zip ties. 

All in al I highly recommend keeping chickens.  They are hilarious and worthwhile.  And my 14 Y.O. has a great sense of accomplishment from taking care of HIS chickens and selling the extra eggs to neighbors.

  The eggs.  Rinsed and labeled with the day they were laid.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Easily Separate Eggs

Believe it or not, this helpful hint is from Papa C. He saw it on TV, but I had never heard of this trick, so I thought I would share.  All you need to separate eggs is a water or 20 oz soda bottle. 

1. Crack the egg into a bowl.

2. Hold the bottle upside down and squeeze the air out of it.


3.  Place the bottle opening over the yolk and release the pressure on the bottle.  The egg yolk will be sucked up into the bottle.

 4.  Taa daa!  Let the extra whites run back into the bowl.
Check out our beautiful eggs!  We have some backyard chickens and 14 YO Little Papi takes care of them and gathers the eggs.  They are organic and partially free range.  He rinses and dates them to ensure freshness.  Yum!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Late Summer Printable

I am ready to re-decorate, but since there's no holiday looming (I mean. . . how would one decorate for Labor Day?) I wasn't sure how to decorate.  I decided to go with a sunflowers look and I needed some subway art that reflected out lives right now.  If you enjoy the same aspects of late summer, please feel free to print and frame this subway art.  In a few days I will post a photo of my mantle.

Late Summer Printable

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Console Table Makeover

I love KSL Classifieds. Before there was Pinterest, I spent a lot of time pouring through pages and pages of chairs, tables, and sundry other items. In the fall I spotted this table for $10 and I sent my DS1 to pick it up after his college classes.  

It is a pretty small table but it is perfect for my iHome and a few little decorations.  You can never have enough drawers, so even though this one is small, it is handy.

Last June my kids all changed rooms and we ended up having my youngest son's room left empty.  The hubby wanted to bash through the wass and turn it into a closet extension, but I claimed it for an office/studio.  I teach music lessons at home, so it is really nice to have a dedicated space.  More on the makeover of the room later. . . today, just the table.

I wanted the table to have a little pop, so I chose orange.  I have a great store nearby called The Painted Daisy Floral Shop and they carry Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  This is a video of the owner.  She is a doll!  She was actually painting a table when I arrived at the store and she gave me a lesson right then and there.  I was sold and had a little splurge. . .

Just so you know, this table went from drab to fab in about 2 hours.  Here's what I did:

  1. I washed the table with a lightly soapy solution to be sure that there was no Pledge or other product clinging to the table and allowed it to dry.  This is Utah, so the drying time was minimal!
  2. I used a nice paint brush to apply a thin layer of the orange chalk paint over the entire table.  You do not have to sand or prime the table. 
  3. After about 30 minutes the table was dry, so I gave the table a second coat of paint.
  4. When the table was dry, I used a piece of a t-shirt to apply the Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax to the entire table.
  5. The I used a sanding block to distress a few edges.  I did not want a seriously shabby look- just a happily worn look.
  6. I then used a tiny piece of a T-shirt to apply a bit of the Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax to add some aging on the edges and aroud the knob hole.  If the dark is too dark, you can use some more clear wax as an eraser.  But. . . you do need to work fairly quickly.
  7. Let the table sit for 15-20 minutes.  Then buff with a clean piece of t-shirt.
  8. Add a cute new knob (I love Hobby Lobby for knobs, and voila!  A whole new look! 

Sorry.  I didn't take process photos.  It had been a VERY bad day and this project was very cathartic.  Taking photos would have ruined the flow of the experience.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spiffy Irish Dog Collars

I am the proud owner of two Irish Water Spaniels.  They are medium-sized dogs who resemble a Standard Poodle but they have long whip tails and webbed feet for swimming.  My boys are 4 1/2 years old and they are somewhat ill-behaved in public, but angels at home with us.  Since this is "their" week, I thought they needed new collars for St. Patrick's Day.
Lewis and Clark sporting their new collars.  Lewis is on the left in the lime collar and Clark has the kelly green collar.  Lewie had to have his ears trimmed after a bad run in with burdocks, but I think he's cute anyway!  The intense looks are the result of me holding a few treats!

I used:
  • 3/4" nylon webbing- about 24 inches (some loss and some doubling) for a 16" collar
  • 3/4" ribbon- about 24"
  • 3/4" clicking buckle
  • 1 3/4" D ring

Make sure that when you cut the nylon webbing you fise the ends by swiping it through a flame.  I just turn on my gas burner and pass it through the flame for a couple of seconds.  Fold the end of the ribbon over and prepare to sew.

Sew along the edge of the ribbon to connect the ribbon to the webbing.  When you get to the end, turn it around and sew back down the other side.

This is how it will look.  I used black thread so that it would show up.  Plus. . . that's what was in my machine and I was feeling lazy.

Thread the ribbon up through one opening. . .

And down through the other opening.

You will want to have an overlap of 3-4 inches.

Sew a straight line across the collar.  You may need to hold the buckle down.  Use the reverse button and go over the seam 4-5 times.

Slide the D ring in between the main collar and the little tab and then sew another straight seam.  I like to put an X at the end of the tab to make sure that the D ring will be secure.  Lewis and Clark can pull pretty hard.

This shows the X.  I apologize for the crappy sewing.  No excuses, just going too fast!

On the other end of the collar, slip on the otherpart of the buckle.  Make sure that you measure the collar on your pup's neck before you start sewing.  It should be loose enough to slip your fingers under it, but not so loose that it could slide off the head.  A panic-stricken dog can easily get out of a collar.

Here's the fruits of 20 minute of work!  Big Lew's collar is a little longer than Clark's.  Aren't they festive?  My teenage boys thought they were a little "gay."  I threatened rainbow collars for April and then they thought these were lovely!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Easy Paper Flowers

I was shopping the other day at Michael's and I saw these new scissors from Martha Stewart.  How does she come up with this stuff?  Anyway, I had to have them even though I had no idea what to do with them.
Martha's new Fringe Scissors.  I feel like Edward Scissorhands using them!

I used a hot glue gun, a straw, the fringe scissors, and regular old tissue paper.

I folded the tissue paper in half about three times until I got a long skinny piece.

I glued all the loose ends together with a thin line of the hot glue.

Then I fringed the non-glued side on the whole strip.
I used a bead of glue to attach the straw to the end of the tissue paper like shown.

I put down a line of hot glue and then rolled the straw so that the tissue started
wrapping around the straw.

As I got to the end of the strip, I wrapped the piece slightly lower on the straw
to give the flower some fullness.

Trim the straw and fluff the ends a little and *poof!* you have a flower.

Ta Da!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Printable

Sorry about the crappy photo, but I wanted to get the post up!

Here's a simple printable for your St. Patrick's Day decor.  It's a takeoff on the LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana.  It prints out 8.5" x 11", but is formatted to fit in an 8"x10" frame, so just trim it!

Get the Printable!  This will take you to where you can get a free membership for safe downloads.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Door Makeover

With a last name like "Collins" and two Irish Water Spaniels running around, we enjoy St. Patrick's Day!  February and March are not my favorite months of the year because everything outside is so drab here in Utah, so I like to brighten up my front door and my home with lots of decorations.  A few easy projects can really brighten things up!


This is a simple project whether you can sew or not.  If you can, you can stitch the flags into a piece of bias tape.  If you can't, glue can be your best friend!

To make a pattern, I folded a piece of paper in half the long way and cut a straight line to make a triangle.  It ended up being almost the full 8.5" wide at the top and 11"long.

I traced this little foam shamrock with a pencil.

Then I filled in the traced area with a decent coat of white acrylic paint.  Maybe I should have used a darker green.  I already had the fabric (which is a cotton canvas) so I was making do.

Stitch the flags into the bias tape.  I started at the middle and went one way and then started in the middle again and went the other way.  That way my flags are evenly spaced and my glitchy sewing machine is showing the top stitches- not the garbled bottom!


The directions on how to make a pillow envelope are HERE.  For this I used burlap as a nod to a potato sack and then a piece of the same canvas that I used for the banner.  I traced another shamrock that I had to cut the shamrock.

Door Shamrock-

This is one of those projects that became a disaster.  I am not happy with my results, but it will have to do until I buy more glitter!  I made a freehand pattern for the shamrock and used a jig saw to cut it out of some scrap wood that I still had in the garage.  (Read- "That Parker hadn't gotten to yet. . ." 
I based painted it and then I was all set to use "Glitter Blast" paint on the front.  It did not work at all.  And I even followed the directions.  I am a very unhappy customer right now.  :(  So, then I sprayed the whole thing with clear polyurethane (I was outside, by the way.  Do NOT do this in your house!  Or by your car. . .) and sprinkled three different colors of glitter on it.  I ran out of glitter, so it is a little anemic, but I an always add more.  And who doesn't want more glitter?