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Pine Needle Tassels

No, I’m not kidding, I’m actually going to talk to you about pine needle tassels. You may ask, why? With all the cool craft projects in all the world, what’s up with the pine needle thing? Well, two reasons actually –

  1. I have a ton of pine needles and acorns in my yard so the endless raking/leaf blowing tasks have been at the forefront of my mind as of late. I thought that there had to be something you can do with these things besides bag them up and throw them on the curb for trash pickup. Oh, did I mention you can use acorns? Ok, I just did.
    acorn tassel
  2. It’s easy. Super easy! It doesn’t require a degree or a lengthy set of instructions to do it.

*Correction, there’s three reasons….

3. It’s free. Costs nothing but time and it’s fun so time not wasted.

Tassel 2

Alright, what can you do with pine needle tassels? A few things actually, the most popular use for these guys according to Pinterest is a package embellishment. I now direct your attention to exhibit A – Pine needle Tassle.jpg

Pretty slick huh? If you want to channel your inner Martha Stewart or if you’re giving someone a crappy gift but want to make it look special – dress up your package with these babies! Your friends will really think they have their hands on something awesome and their expectations will rise significantly just by looking at the wrappings. Then you can delight in watching their expressions go from pure happiness straight to disappointment as they pull the contents from the box. Winning!!!!

Just kidding, we all know you don’t give crappy gifts *ahem* handmade love…

The other thing you can use them for and I’m just guessing here, is draping them from candle sticks, chandeliers (if you are lucky enough to have a chandelier), ornaments for a tree, adding to wreaths, decorating mantles, stockings….and the list goes on and on….basically wherever you feel like hanging a pine needle tassel!

Try one today, I guarantee you will feel like an accomplished crafter once complete. And by the by, there are literally tons of crafts on Pinterest using pine needles! I had no idea it was such a big thing until I started a search. Follow me on Pinterest where I have created a board dedicated to those pesky litter-bug pine trees and their discarded outer wear for more neat crafts!

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Rustic Fall Mantle Design Breakdown

I love the ideas I find on Pinterest! I could spend hours scrolling and saving any and everything that strikes my fancy. I came across this gorgeous fall farmhouse mantle decor and wanted to try it!

Here is the original pic from Liz Marie Blog. Actual link to her project is in the preceding hyperlink. Her blog is filled with lots of good stuff so check her out!

Liz Marie Mantle Fall

Pretty awesome right? So let’s break down what she has in her photo. First she has an old mantle which you can find at any antique store and will probably cost you around $150 and up depending on where you live. Next thing I see is a window frame, probably cost around $50 – $75. Perhaps the neatest thing is an old piece of sheet metal with a pumpkin painted on it. The sheet metal could be roofing tin and that too can be found at a salvage yard or antique store. Probably looking at $25 for one of those. The pumpkin art looks fairly easy to copy, just get some white paint and go nuts.

New & Only at Target! Project 62 – Modern pieces made for everyday living

Now for the pumpkins, I know exactly where she got them – Wal-Mart. I know because I bought one for myself. It was $8.99 at the time. So six of those….you do the math. She has some aged pots mixed in but you can do this fairly easily with terra-cotta pots and spray paint. To age the pots, get moss-green, white, and gold spray paint. Spray gold first, then spray green around bottom and lastly spritz with the white. Use a paper towel to twist and rough up the paint or even a sponge would work. Instant age. Another technique would be to use faux stone spray and dab some moss green paint on. Terra cotta pots usually run around $2-3 bucks for small and $6-7 for the medium size. So 7 small and 4 large (if you have an average size mantle).

liz marie fall mantle 2.jpg

The moss is really a crowning touch and they sell the real deal or fake stuff at any craft store. She also used a lovely trunk topped with a couple of pillows and books. Looks inviting and cozy! I want this in my house like today, so what’s stopping me?

Here’s the skinny, I love farmhouse style but I don’t own a farmhouse or even a type of house that could bluff as one. Not even with a little paint and decor. I have a 1970’s traditional house that is sometimes called a colonial because of four columns out front, (totally NOT a colonial). So the question is how do I get this look without buying shiplap, an old mantle, old window frame and a million pumpkins? Short answer…I don’t. But what I do get is something that is unique to me and uses things I already have. Here is my mantle –

fall mantle 2

I know what you’re thinking….NOTHING like hers! But really, inspiration doesn’t mean copy. I liked the elements, the pumpkin, the white wash colors, fluffy pillows, and greens. I looked around my home and found items similar while mixing in some of my own favorites like the new to me old red chair, stone bird and my non-blooming orchids. No, the orchids aren’t dead they just refuse to bloom any time of year. I’ve tried coaxing them with baby talk, but they have none of it. Now I tell them it’s okay to just be happy being green…so that’s what we get. fall mantle

So here you go, a realistic view into what it takes to achieve a certain look. If you had none of the things in the list, it would set you back about $350 – $450 depending on how much you pay for your rustic antique finds. If you are lucky enough to have a farmhouse and you have lots of similar things around, just know that I am jealous. If you are like me, you can use this design to inspire you to create something unique for your home!

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We Tried It Wednesday! DIY Chevron Pumpkin

As I was prowling the interwebs for fun easy fall projects I decided to start a series called ‘We Tried It Wednesdays’. Now today is Thursday so I’m either a day late or a week early – however you want to look at it, but at any rate that’s when the thought came to me so there you go.

For this week, I ran across a pin & thought, hey! I can do that! I had a pumpkin on hand (really? who has a pumpkin on hand? I do, so shut it!), I also had white spray paint & duct tape. The necessary ingredients for the perfect storm. Also the necessary ingredients for home ownership – not the pumpkin, but the other two.

Here is said pin from who in turn scraped it from Family Circle who in turn probably made some designer’s life hell with the process of taping, painting, edging, taping and repainting. chev

Completely draws you in with simplistic elegance – the moment your eyes focus on the picture, a hormone is triggered that makes your mind think it’s possible. You could totally be Martha Stewart on a budget with a little bit of black & white paint & change the way your house looks.

What you really want to know and what I will tell you – was it worth trying? Well…I’ll let you be the judge. Here is my first attempt at semi-elegant hipster chevron pumpkins. Let’s go through the steps shall we? First, get yourself a pumpkin & a little black sleepy kitty –img_2734

Tape that sucker up Charlie Brown style. Pro tip – I used duct tape. Mostly because that was all I had in the junk closet but also because painter’s tape will NOT stick to a pumpkin…nope, not even frog tape. Your project will now look something like this…img_2741

Looks like a kidnapping gone bad! I will admit this, I was lazy. I only taped the front & some of the sides. I left the back untouched. I sort of lost interest in this after about 15 minutes which was around the same time that my scissors began to stick together from the duct tape. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Anyways, I grabbed my spray paint & went to town on the pumpkin. First coat kinda looked like it wanted to slide off in some places so I just sprayed the crap out of it again & dared it to drip. I did not wait between coats because I am a woman of limited patience. The spray painting took like 2 minutes if you’re keeping score with the timeline for this project. Here she is – img_2742

Next I went inside, played with my puppy, got attacked by the now wide awake kitty & opened a Dr. Pepper. I did a few other household things, wondered how much longer it would be for my hubby to get home with dinner & checked Facebook, email, Facebook, Pinterest, Facebook again & debated whether a Reese’s peanut butter pumpkin would spoil my dinner. I also wondered if Reese’s would do a chevron pumpkin with white & dark chocolate if I sent in a suggestion. All of that took me like an hour, again for those keeping up with the timeline.

I finally pulled the duct tape off expecting instant awesomeness. I was only slightly disappointed. img_2744

My eyes rolled. My husband laughed. Being the positive & sweet person he his or from fear of a slap, he quickly followed with “well, from far away it will probably look good!” Perfect sentiment, I concur. So dear friends, my take on this project is do it if you have about 17 minutes, (or an hour & 17 minutes if you have attention issues). Do this if you have a pumpkin on hand, some duct tape, & white spray paint. Do this if your house is far away from the road. Do this if only to remind yourself that you are in fact not Martha Stewart & that anyone who does this same project perfectly must also be able to fold fitted sheets.

I did put this sucker on my porch though. Yep, that baby is proudly displayed with every plant I could find that would hide my sloppy handiwork. img_2749

Martha Stewart ain’t got nothing on me!

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Wreath 3 Ways

If you are like me, you’re always looking for shortcuts, time savers and deals! That is exactly what I will be showing you with this next creation, wait…creations! I call this big little guy ‘Wreath 3 Ways’ –  because that is exactly what you will get, a wreath that you can add to over the holiday season. It will get you through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Also, this wreath has no glue as well, just simple mechanics for easy dismantling.

So before we get into the play by-play, just a little background on this process. The changing wreath is an old tradition with designers, it was not born of desire for change rather, necessity. Often times fall wreaths wouldn’t sell or designers were stuck with fall supplies such as berries and foliage. Same thing with Christmas silks and ornaments. Rather than store them to sell the next year, we try to use them up in other ways. You see, we love shopping for new things also and not being able to buy the latest and greatest from suppliers would crush our spirits.

Another old trick designers use is smart shopping – I’ll show you what I mean in the pic below. Basically designers buy simple pre-made wreaths. Most are just foliage, berries or a vine of one type of flower. Pre-mades are pretty cheap, skimpy and could never probably make it as a standalone wreath. You can find them at every craft and big box store the world over. Here are two that I will be working with today, plain berry and wheat grass –  wreath 3 ways 1

First order of business is to fluff the wreaths. Fluffing is not difficult, lay the wreath on a flat surface and pull the individual stems toward you. It should look odd and like your wreath just exploded. If you have achieved that look, you did it right. Next, I take the berry wreath and lay it over the wheat wreath. Once I have it centered, I pull the wheat stems between the berry stems, twisting them around as I go to secure the wreaths together. Not all stems have to be twisted together, but at least in four key places to hold them together. Once finished, it will still look as if the wreath exploded…perfect! wreath 3 ways 1-2

I added a gourd to the center for an autumn look wreath 3 ways 1-5

Next up, Christmas! I removed the gourd and added pinecones and that’s it. Pretty simple I know, but you can add an ornament or two if you like or even a bird’s nest with a cardinal – the possibilities are endless. No need to glue, just wire them in.wreath 3 ways 1-3

And finally, a little extra for after Christmas. I left the pinecones in and added iced hanging berries for a winter look. Only 2 stems needed and they were of course wired in.wreath 3 ways 1-4

And that’s it! One wreath, 3 ways and I am set from September to February!

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Easy Fall Centerpiece

Before the first leaf drops, I get the ‘twitch’. This uncontrollable urge to buy mums and pumpkins and every single item with pumpkin spice in the description. Every year I make a fall wreath, arrangement or put out some sort of display. Every year I spend way too much money on fall decor and honestly it is such a short season I am not sure it is worth the trouble. Before halloween arrives, I am already buying up Christmas ornaments and garlands for my next project.

This year I decided to challenge myself with spending under $30 for my fall decor but I still wanted something beautiful. I set off to Walmart with nothing in particular in mind except for my budget, (which my husband was very happy about), and I started adding things to my cart. As a former florist I will say that usually I would not work with Walmart brand silks. Nothing against them, but they are lower quality than the high end stuff hence the better price. That said, when it comes to silks that will be used outdoors it doesn’t matter if they are high end or not – mother nature destroys them with equal prejudice. Also, fruits and veggie silks are basically all made the same way so the cheap stuff looks about the same as the ones that are twice the price.

I picked up a medium size pumpkin for $5, a few pumpkin picks that were $1.29, and a bag of mixed gourds & pinecones for $3. I also swiped a few small/medium glitter pumpkins for under a buck each. Below is a peek at what I brought home.DSC_0201

I also picked up a small fern plant for $6. I already had spanish moss, (the grey squiggley stuff in the upper right of the photo), regular sheet moss, & green glo plant polish on hand. Those three items are part of my crafting staples. I had a total of $17 invested so far. I did cheat a little on the cost since I already had a few containers sitting around the house that were keeping the dust off the shelves in the closet. I picked a large metal one that I bought eons ago because it was on sale and beautiful but never found the right place in my home. DSC_0203

First, I sized the plant and leftover space for my styrofoam. Then I wired the styrofoam in. I chose this method for a couple of reasons, first – it was easiest! In all seriousness, hot glue does not adhere well to metal and the other alternative is to use this green stuff called stickum which is nearly impossible to scrape off. Oh and did I mention this centerpiece project is no glue? That’s right, no hot glue is used here, just some wire and God’s good grace holding it all together. DSC_0205

Once I had the foam wired in, I slipped the fern into place and covered my work with spanish moss. Moss is fairly cheap and a little goes a long way, don’t waste moss or money by grabbing a handful and stuffing! Stretch it as if you had slime in your hands and you’ll see what I mean. DSC_0208

Notice I left the top of the foam uncovered – more on that later. Next, I add the floral picks. I had 3 so I placed them first around the bottom of the foam. DSC_0209DSC_0221

I placed one on the bottom left corner and another on the top right corner diagonally. The final pick went in the bottom right corner making a triangle shape. Next, I created some picks of my own using the loose pumpkins, leaves and berries. I inserted wire, (folded in half to make more durable), into one of the pumpkins and then grabbed a leaf and a sprig of berries and wrapped them all together with brown floral tape. I did not glue the wire into the pumpkin since my plan is to take this all apart when the season is over. Glue ruins the styrofoam and can damage the pumpkin when trying to remove. If you want it more secure by all means, glue to your hearts content. DSC_0215

Finished pick –


I made a couple of these picks and filled in the empty space in the front of the arrangement.DSC_0217

Then I added some individual leaves and pinecones to fill in gapsDSC_0226DSC_0231DSC_0230

Now that the front is filled in, I added sheet moss to the remaining visible styrofoam and around the flower pot. Notice there is is still empty space in the back corner of the arrangement and only a lone flower pick I placed there in the beginning is looking kinda pitiful.DSC_0223This area is designated for the larger pumpkin. The finishing touch!DSC_0242The larger pumpkin is just resting between the picks which support the weight easily and is not glued or wired in. Again, this is for easy breakdown without damaging the foam made pumpkin. If you desire to make it more permanent, use wire stemming instructions from the self made picks with hot glue. Here is the final result – DSC_0244Looks gorgeous! This beauty can be used on a table indoors or out. When fall is over, just pull the pick out for easy storage and the plant, which is already in a container, can provide some lasting natural beauty in any room that needs a little pick me up. I did use a terra cotta pot with a small saucer so it can be easily watered and removed without having to re-pot. A $17 investment with a huge wow effect! This fell below my budget of $30, but if you do not have wire, florist tape, moss or a container on hand, you could easily purchase the extra items for under $20. This can also be made on a smaller scale, 4 inch pots instead of the 6 inch I used and a couple less of the picks. It really depends on your preference and the size container you want to use.

Happy Fall Y’all!