Category Archives: crafts

Patriotic Rag Wreath

Happy Independence Day! I hope you are all enjoying the day, celebrating our country and hopefully avoiding Hurricane Arthur!

patriotic rag wreath | the teal magnolia

Do you have your red, white and blue out? My patriotic decor is sadly lacking, so I decided to channel my inner Betsy Ross (sort of) and make a rag wreath to show a bit of patriotism.

Here’s what I used:
a wire wreath form (or you can stretch out a wire hanger, but it won’t be as full)
1/4 yards of 5 different patriotic fabrics plus a few scraps of my stash
old jeans (two pairs of my old jeans and two pairs of my son’s old jeans)

I love this wreath. I wanted to make it very ‘American’ and what’s more American than jeans?

I cut the fabric into 2×6-inch(ish) strips. Some were narrower. Some were longer, some were shorter. It’s a rag wreath. It all works out. I found the denim easier to tie if it was narrower. Also, I tore some of the denim to make it more raggy. Denim with stretch in it doesn’t tear well. I used a rotary cutter for the fabric because it was easier and quicker and I know it will fray on its own.


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Then, I tied the strips to the wreath form. This is great to do while watching TV. The mom in me can’t sit still and has to constantly be doing something. Tie tie tie…then tie some more. I was surprised at how much fabric this took. I had originally gotten just three 1/4 yards, but ended up having to go get more and dip into my stash for a few extra strips (the blue polka dot and the yellow fabrics).

So that’s the rag wreath. I love how fluffy it is. Easy peasy and fun. I might add to the center of it, but for now, I’m enjoying seeing how it’s been unraveling. And now I have something handmade for all my patriotic holidays!

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I’d love to see any patriotic crafts you’ve made! Link them below!

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Hello Spring Pinwheel Wreath

I am so glad that warm days are here again! Being a Florida girl, I tend to get the winter blues pretty badly. Don’t get me wrong – I love the cold weather and snuggling up under a pile of blankets, but the lack of color and vibrancy gets to me. A few weeks ago, I had reached my breaking point with all the gray, dreary days. I had to do something, but couldn’t figure it out.

And then it hit me out of the blue. I needed a pinwheel wreath. Something that would counteract all the icy weather. Something that screamed spring, cool breezes, sunshine and fun. The more I thought of it, I also pictured soft grass and lots of color in the form of a yarn wreath.

Two things stopped me: 1) I am absolutely not a paper crafter, and 2) I vowed I’d never ever make a yarn wreath after getting overly annoyed with the process on my first try after only getting about an eighth of the way around. So a yarn wreath with paper pinwheels seemed like the most intimidating craft project ever.

Still, the idea kept nagging at me, and I knew I had to do it.

I found gorgeous fuzzy yarn in different shades of springy green and white. Wrapping the wreath wasn’t so annoying this time around.  A little time-consuming, but not bad. I guess these days, after spending my daylight hours running after two kids, I welcome anything that is calm and monotonous in my down time.

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I then made pinwheels from double-sided scrapbooking paper in two sizes using 6×6 and 3×3 squares and used my sewing pins for the center.

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I sprayed the pinwheels with super high shine modge podge spray to protect them from the elements a little bit. I did two layers on the back, and then about five on the front. You don’t need to do that many layers on the front, but I loved how shiny it looked and kept doing more. It almost looks like plastic. So cool. Once they were dry, I pinned them into place on the wreath.

It needed something more, so I thought a fun ‘hello!’ would be cute. I used shrink plastic (also known as Shrinky Dinks) and my Slice cutter to cut out four-inch letters, colored them in with a purple marker, baked them and hot glued them onto the wreath.

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Cute, but… I wasn’t loving the purple letters. After a week or so, it really bugged me and I took it down until I could figure out what to do. It looked too plain without the letters, but I hated the purple. I tried painting them yellow, but it didn’t work. Finally, I modge-podged some extra paper from the pinwheels and they became orange with white dots.

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I just love how it turned out. So simple, so fun, and different from what you normally see. Most  of all, I love that it screams “SPRING!!!!”

Show-and-Tell: Hand-Embroidered Pillow

 

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One of the things I love most about having a handmade business is the creativity that comes with it. It’s so great to talk to people and take on a challenge. And I just have to tell you about a project I got to do recently.

A little bit ago, a client wanted something special for her goddaughter’s first birthday. Something that would show the little girl how much her godmother loves her, even though they’re far apart. A shirt? Nah – she’ll grow out of that…A blanket?  I’m sure a baby girl has about a million and three baby blankets. Nothing seemed special enough.

I’ve gotten to know this S (my client) fairly well – she’s not only a client, she’s an awesome neighbor and friend. One thing that is clear the instant you meet her is that she has a huge, loving heart. This gift needed to be personal, and illustrative of how much love she has, especially for someone as dear to her as her goddaughter.

Then it hit me: a pillow! Something that the little girl can cuddle with when S isn’t around to cuddle with her. We settled on a pillow in the shape of the state with two hearts connecting the locations with a saying  on the back.

And to give it an extra personal touch, I had S write the message on the fabric with a water-soluble pen. Thankfully, S was a kindergarten teacher, and has impeccable handwriting. I then hand-embroidered over the letters, hearts and dotted line between hearts.

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I love how this turned out. It was a lot of work. A LOT of work, but I loved it. I loved the entire process of creating the template, figuring out fabric (you can’t go wrong with baby pink chevron for a baby girl, can you?), picking out the right shades of medium charcoal grey and hot rosy pink for the thread (because the standard black lettering with red hearts simply wasn’t going to work), stitching out each letter and making ‘forever in your heart’ stand out, the millions of times I had to go and spray the fabric to get all of the ink out, and finally sewing, stuffing and stitching it closed. It was all so satisfying.

As I worked on it, I kept picturing the little girl and wondering if she’d love the pillow as much as I’ve loved working on it.  Will she cuddle with it when she’s afraid of a storm? When she’s in the midst of her teenage angst, will she hold it and think of her godmother and know/feel that she’ll always have someone on her side? Will it be on her bed in her dorm room someday?

Thanks, S, for letting me be part of this beautiful gift!

Sparkle! Shimmer! Glitter! Glow!

Want to add a little bit of shimmer to your stuff? I have just the thing for you, and it’s so easy.

A couple of months ago around my birthday, I was messing around with different cake decorating ideas, and came across DIY shimmer spray. Most people were real-deal cake decorators and had fancy airbrushes, but I’m not at that level.  But a 97-cent travel spray bottle?  Yup. That’s more my level.

All I did was add a capful or two of cake decorating pearl dust to a travel-size spray pump and filled it with vodka.  Shake, shake, shake and you’re ready to spray.

DSC_0655It’s so pretty to watch!  It will settle as it sits, but you can just shake it up over and over.

It works best when you do light layers from far away. It gave my cake frosting a nice, subtle shimmer that was a great backdrop to the decorations, which were stylized  peacock feathers (kind of) that were dry brushed with pearl and gold shimmer.

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But it’s not just for cakes.  Anything can be shimmered! I got a little shimmer crazy the other day and used it on some flowers that were starting to wilt.  I spritzed them only once and it gave them a really sweet, subtle shimmer.

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I’m thinking this would be really cool as an alternative to traditional glitter, which can be so much sometimes. Sometimes you just want something a little more subdued, you know?  I can see this on some simple snowflake sugar cookies or on some pinecones this Christmas. I might be shimmering the mashed potatoes if someone doesn’t stop me.

And yes, it’s vodka, so use your discretion when using it on edibles.  From what I’ve read, the vodka evaporates.  In fact, a lot of professional cake decorators use vodka for painting and spraying – it’s pretty common, they just say it’s ‘extract’.

Anyway…I got a little shimmer-happy and sprayed my arm, and I think the evaporation thing is true.  It was dry almost as soon as it landed on my arm.

Boo! Halloween Wreath

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I just had to share this wreath.  I usually don’t do much in terms of decorating for Halloween – I’d rather focus my energy on fall décor, because I can use it for months, whereas Halloween is only doable for a couple of weeks.  However, this year is different. I don’t know what came over me, but I decided I absolutely, positively had to have a Halloween wreath hanging on my door, otherwise the world would end.  And of course, I can’t just buy something, I had to make it.

I started out with half a yard of glittery BOO! Halloween fabric that I cut into 3 inch strips across the width of the fabric with my handy dandy rotary cutter.

Then I hot glued one end of a strip to my wreath form (those cheap straw ones that come wrapped in plastic) and wrapped it around until I couldn’t wrap it around anymore trimmed it and glued it so the glue was always on the back of the wreath.  I repeated the process until the wreath was covered.  It took me four strips, and I almost needed a fifth.

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Then I decided I needed a little ghost family.  There are a lot of steps for this, but it was pretty easy.  It took me about 20 minutes.  I’ll list the supplies for this part:

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– 2-inch foam balls
– skewers
– foam block or something to hold skewers up (I tried an empty tissue box, and it wasn’t quite strong enough, but I made it work)
– watered down modge podge (I had 1/4 of a medium sized bottle left, and I filled it with water, shook it, poured it out, and added 1 1/2 more bottles of water to it, although I probably didn’t need the extra 1/2)
– container for the modge podge (I used an old wipes container)
– 8×8-inch (or so) squares of cheesecloth (about 4 or 5 per ghost)
– gloves (nice, but not required)

Here’s how to do it:
1. Put a skewer in each ball so it looks like a lollipop.  Stick it into the foam, with plenty of space for you to work.

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2. Soak a piece of cheesecloth in the modge podge and wring it out.

3. Lay it over the foam ball, but a little off to the side. Repeat with three or four more pieces, laying each one opposite from each other.

4. Do the same thing for all the foam balls.

5. Let them dry. This is what they will look like when they are drying (and when they are dry):

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The modge podge will stiffen the fabric and keep it from fraying, but it will still look flowy.  You’ll be able to work it a little bit, almost like wire mesh. Just an FYI- I don’t think modge podge is supposed to attract killer bugs, but a bee kept dive-bombing me and the ghosts while I was working and then a preying mantis nestled itself between the ghosts while they were drying and jumped at me when I moved them. So just watch out if you work outside. Also, if you’re wondering what I was doing with  the foam brush, I thought that by brushing more modge podge on the top, it would help it stick to the foam, but it didn’t.  I ended up putting a dab of hot glue where you can’t see it.

So the ghosts are done! Yay! Now to mount them onto the wreath you’ll need:
– hot glue
– metal floral hooks (97 cents for 100 of them at Wal-Mart)
– craft knife

Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Glue down the cheesecloth to the foam ball by lifting off the cloth, putting down a blob of glue and quickly putting the cheesecloth back in.  **Make sure you put the glue towards the back of the ghost’s head, but not dead center in the back so that you leave room for the floral hook.  Think of where a ponytail would go, if that makes sense.**

2. With the craft knife, cut a slit as wide as the floral hook in the back of the ghost.  I twisted the knife a little to make it wider. {little side note story: I used a small pink Swiss army knife that my brother gave me for Christmas when I was in middle school.  I still use that thing almost every day, can you believe it?}

3. Shove the hook into the hole so the pointy ends stick out, making sure they’re far enough in so that they won’t go through the wreath.

4. Decide where you want the ghosts on the wreath, and stick them in.  They are pretty solid, but I went back and hot glued them in just to be sure.

5. Trim up any jagged edges on the cheesecloth.

Finishing it up:
Break out your craft stash and go to town! I used googly eyes and puffy paint to add eyes and a smile to each ghost.  Then I used some leather cording, felt and more puffy paint (yay!) to make a little pennant banner that says “BOO!”

I used some of the cording, hot glue and floral pins to hang the wreath. I also used scraps from the fabric to cover up anything on the back that might be unsightly so that it had a nice, finished look all around.

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Do you decorate for Halloween?  I want to see your projects!

Infant Mermaid Costume DIY (Super Easy)

So, remember how I bribed my daughter so she’d be born before I had to get induced?  Well, here are the results of the sparkly Halloween costume I promised her ~ a mermaid!

Now, I realize it’s kind of nuts to DIY a halloween costume the week after giving birth. I fully believe in having time to bond with the baby, get the family settled and give my body time to heal before I jump back into ‘regular’ life (although now that I’m a SAHM, I’m not sure how realistic that is).  I know a lot of people go back to work and start training for marathons the day they leave the hospital, but that’s just not me.  So it felt somehow wrong to make a Halloween costume for a ten-day-old baby. But a deal is a deal, and I couldn’t bail on this one.  I mean, how bad would that be to not go through with the first deal I make with my own daughter?

And it’s not like this was difficult to do.  All it took was a mad dash though Joann’s a few days after she was born for some shimmer tulle (one yard each of three colors) and some elastic sequin trim.  The baby stayed in the car with my hubby while I ran into the store.  And then I foraged through my craft stuff for anything else I needed, which ended up being a square of felt, a rubber band, a needle and thread and a rhinestone button.

I began by making the skirt by following directions for a tutu (like this one except that I cut my own strips of tulle), but I made mine long enough that it would go past her legs and then some.  I tied it a little past her feet with a rubber band, and then I put trim around the waist and around the rubber band, barely stitching it in place by hand.

I then placed my square of felt (the ones that are like 39 cents in the kids craft area at Wal-Mart – nothing fancy here) over a long-sleeved onesie and cut it to fit in a bodice-like shape so that it wrapped around just a bit past the sides. I used some leftover tulle to make the bandeau top, and added a bit of sequin trim.  I glued the tulle to the felt and then hand-stitched the felt to the onesie so that I can use it again.

For the headband, I measured out how much sequin trim I needed and glued the ends together.  Then I made three yoyos with two layers of tulle each so they’d be full.  I sewed them on and sewed a rhinestone button on the center one because every infant mermaid headband needs bling.  I should have done some sort of pearl to go with the mermaid/ocean theme, but I used what I had on hand.

This project is super easy.  I think it probably took about 45 minutes, and that’s because I hand-stitched a lot of it so that I can reuse the materials later. I was able to easily do it between feedings here and there over a couple of days, despite being in that post-partum recovery/newborn adjustment time.

Changing Table Makeover

The baby’s due date is getting closer, and I’ve found myself in a tailspin of DIY projects for her room.  One of the big projects I’ve worked on is an update of our changing table.  It’s pretty basic – just a white changing table with dressers, with one side a little taller to make it easier to store diapers, wipes and all the lotions and potions that come along with diaper changes.  We opted for the hutch that goes over it to give the nursery some stature and extra storage.  It worked great in our son’s nursery, but the back of the hutch got a little beat up.  And it looked a little bland in a little girls’ room.  So an update was in order.

We took off the back, wich was really four pieces that screwed in.  This was awesome because we didn’t have to pry off little nails, which would inevitably have ended up with cracked boards.

Then I painted the boards in Behr’s Poetic Princess.  I got one of those sample-size jars, and it worked really well.  I used a regular roller, and I had just enough to finish two coats, but I think if I had used a foam brush or weenie roller it wouldn’t have soaked up as much paint and I would have had extra.

Next, I used a stencil and regular craft paint to paint a pattern of polka dots.  I lined up all the boards on my garage floor so I’d have one continuous pattern and went to town.  I did two coats of white paint using a tiny craft foam roller (about four inches?), which didn’t completely cover it, but I liked it that way…kind of softer and obvious that it’s DIY, and not printed/factory made.

The last step was to seal it.  I wanted a little protection and sheen (the paints I used were flat and looked boring).  I tried a spray sealer, but it looked horrible and stripey, despite doing light coats.  So I went over it with clear polyurethane and a foam brush and it worked really well.  You can still see my spraying faux pas if you look at it at the right angle and in the right light, but I’m not going to worry too much about it.

Once everything was dry, we screwed back the pieces onto the hutch and changed out the boring white knobs for simple acrylic ones to give the room a little sparkle.

I still need to dress it up, but you can get a look at how it’s all shaping up.