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Wreath Making Mechanics Video Tutorial

Interested in making wreaths? Do you want to make them for yourself or to sell but not quite sure how to go about putting them together? Well look no further! I’m sharing a series of design school videos starting with wreath mechanics. The first videos in the instructional library are based on the tools and basic mechanics of styling a wreath. I’ll talk to you about using proper tools, getting started with wreath prep, and how to get line and symmetry with your flower placement.

In part one of the video, I show the tools I use that can be found on the Tools and Resources page here.

The second part of the video I talk about line and symmetry and placement of focal flowers. I will be adding another video of how to finish off the wreath soon!

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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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Spooktacular Mantle!

Halloween is almost here so I put together a little treat for you…muahaha!! This fun mantle display was not tricky to put together so here is the breakdown in black and white.

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Don’t worry, I won’t be throwing in Halloween puns from here on out…

I basically used things I already had in my home to create this look, but I will hyperlink you to the exact same items or ones that are similar. I know most folks aren’t decor pack rats like me, so just look for the underlined text to take you where you need to go.

First element I used was a cool distressed black and white mirror that I picked up at Big Lots for $15. That’s right $15 smackaroos! I don’t have a link to the exact one since I think it was a local thing, but check your store out, they may have something similar. Next I used some gauze cloth I picked up at Target. I layered, draped, and mixed in some glitter netting from a prior project. I also used a white pumpkin I found at Wal-Mart, no link but here is one similar from Amazon and this one is pretty cool too and less expensive. If you are a fan of buying in bulk and want an assortment go here to pick up a heck of a deal on white pumpkins.img_3022

The crows are a different story, I got these wooden masterpieces at different antique stores made by local artisans. The guy with spread wings I found only yesterday at one such place – a delightful add to my growing collection. In case you haven’t figured it out by now I have a thing for birds…

The far left side of the mantle features some glittering beauties that you can grab at Michael’s – they are having a killer (sorry) sale on Halloween decor right now so better hurry if you want them. I also added in a wreath that I spray painted black and dried wheat grass that I found in some random shop. I feel strongly that if you went to your local craft store you can find both pretty easy.

Now for my favorite part – the crystal ball! It is in fact real crystal, go figure. img_3048-2

I turned a crystal bowl upside down and placed on top of a black salsa bowl. I actually had one that was the perfect size and shape to hold an old crystal bowl and the preceding link shows an identical one.

P.S…..they also make a great looking mini cauldron!

I placed a battery-powered glitter LED light inside and strung spiderweb cotton all around. I used two skeleton hands on either side to finish off. You may be curious as to how I got that smoky look on the bowl so I will be honest – its dust. Probably three years worth. You just can’t buy that look from a store! Maybe I’m not the most OCD of house cleaners but you have to admit, it paid off in the end.

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Here is the finished look –

Happy Haunting! So I lied, I had one last pun in me.
Hope Fashion

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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.

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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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Bow Making Tutorial

I put together a little video on how to tie a bow. If you always wanted to learn but thought it would be too hard…well, you might be right. Just kidding! It can be frustrating, but not the hardest thing in the world to learn. A few simple steps and you are off and running. Check out the video and let me know if this helped you learn!

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We Tried It Wednesday. HomeTalk Birch Tree Thrift Store Hack

*This post is courtesy of our sister blog The Not So Crafty Blog. If your interested in craft struggles & reality checks, head on over and take a peek!

This craft caught my eye from HomeTalk – link to the original post can be found here. The live demo flashed across my Facebook news feed and instantly mesmerized me, as the gold leaf glimmered in the camera lights I was a goner. Yep, I have to do this. This gal made it look so easy and her voice assured me that the finished product would be a classy, modern, chic piece of art that I could hang with pride in my home. I dunno, maybe it was her accent that gave me confidence. Maybe it the way she moved through the demo making the occasional endearing fumble that convinced me we were cut from the same cloth. Either way, I was checking Amazon about 10 minutes into the live demo to see if I could order all the stuff I needed to make the next Warhol and the biggest mess my kitchen had seen since my husband last brewed his own beer.

Here is a look at the live demo –

Looks cool right? I think so. Now for the full disclosure on items purchased and used for my attempt. I actually had a blank canvas from a previous delusion of creating my own artwork for the house so that was hiding in my closet. Original price was about $12, but for this craft project I am saying $0 since I had the supply already. Next, up brushes. I didn’t invest any money into buying high-end looking makeup brushes like she had since I recently painted our house and a variety of brushes were amassed – just the regular wall kind. Zero dollars again for cost. I’m doing so well with money so far! Yay!

Now for the paint. I have a zillion samples lying around the house from said painting spree so I spent no money there either, regular latex paint, not acrylic like she suggested – I may regret that decision later. I also had some metallic gold stuff I bought for this crazy idea I had for stencils, (more on that later), so again no money out-of-pocket. She used napkins with a birch print – now my napkins are basically paper towels and the Wal-Mart flower print design was less than desirable for this experiment so I splurged and bought some from Amazon, link to exact ones used here. I also had to purchase the metallic gold leaf and the adhesive since I had yet to add it to my supply collection – those can be found here and here.

She also used cling film, (Saran Wrap for USA folks), and decoupage gel. I don’t have decoupage gel. I don’t plan to order any either. As for the mineral texturizing powder, (gosh that sounds so deliciously professional and crafty!), I wasn’t sold. It was a really awesome name for something that resembles chalk dust but the instant she said she once used sawdust to get the same effect…forget it.

So far I am up to $38 out-of-pocket, but if you bought all the materials she had including brushes, I imagine you could be plunking down well over $75. For timeline, average about 2 days. This is not a fast project. You literally have to watch paint dry. If you think this will be done in an afternoon, you’re dreaming. I guess you could use a hair dryer to speed up the process if you’re really impatient.

First step was to paint the canvas – 

Notice I poured it on, not because I am experienced or brave, but because my brush was too wide for the jar. I vote skip this step unless you want your background to be a deeper color than cream. I couldn’t tell a difference in the before and after.

Next step – adding globs of paint to get that raised look. The demonstrator used acrylic paint, but I got creative and used some silicone caulking. It’s weather proof so that’s a bonus.img_2808

So far I feel good about this. It is not exact, but it is darn close. I went back over the clear silicone with my original cream paint just for kicks & found out silicone does not paint that well but it did deepen the coloring of the gel. You can see the difference in the first pic. For the texturizing step, I will show you some alternatives I had on hand –


I actually tried the spackle, putty and wood filler on a paper plate that I set in the sun to dry along with the canvas. Plumber’s putty was a no, spackle and wood filler did great! I used both. They dried perfectly and had the same look as the stuff she used. Well, almost. I did paint over them with some leftover paint. If you’re really interested it was Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore. 

Next I added the gold leaf, this was not as hard as I imagined it to be. It was actually pretty straightforward and the only aggravating thing was forgetting where I put the adhesive once it was ready since it goes clear. The final step was adding the napkins. I just kept using the gold leaf adhesive and it worked fine. img_2837

It was actually pretty neat when I laid the napkin over the hardened wood filler, it made the pattern look like actual tree trunks. I did make one mistake, I forgot that she cut the individual tree prints in the napkins and separated them. I laid the whole napkin out and realized it after a few minutes. Not to worry though, easy save was to grab an exacto knife and lift the paper off. img_2838

Here is the finished product. Not quite as impressive as hers, but I think it had to do with the size of the canvas I used or maybe that was wishful thinking…img_2841

Final take on this project – it was cool to do. Most of the steps were easy enough to follow and can be done with alternative products to achieve a similar look. The finished product looked like something I would hang in my house and I did actually. So if this appeals to you, I give it a thumbs up to go ahead and try!