The “Rock” Bird Retreat

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So I saw these darling little rustic birdhouses on Pinterest, and thought to myself: Self, you can do that. So I did, several of them, and more to come. I do have a handy hubby, and he could totally “rock out” some custom birdhouses for me to jazz up, but I opted for getting them done this year.

IMG_0723So I went to my “not so local” craft store and loaded up a cart of inspiration, and here they are.

Supplies needed for the “Rockhouse”

Unfinished birdhouses (I opted for the plain ones, more space to apply decorative items)

Small polished river stones (you can purchase a mesh bag, or collect your own)

Mastic (pre-made tile glue from the home improvement store)

Copper paint

small paintbrush

plastic knife and fork (for applying the mastic)

Clear Gloss Sealer

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That’s all for this basic one, but the possibilities are unlimited. I also purchased tiny seashells, seashell chips, sand and granite landscape rocks. You can also use “found” items like pennies, wine corks, pinecone pieces, moss, twigs, bottle caps, (I was even thinking of coffee beans for my favorite Barista). but for now lets keep it simple.

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These little pre made houses are so cute, you could just paint and be done but where’s the fun in that? I started by painting the roof metallic copper. I just used my craft paint stash. These are purely decorate at this point so you might want to keep them out of the weather if possible. On this one, I opted to paint the perch too. *tip: I should have painted the bottom ledge before I applied the rocks.  Now on to the fun part.

The mastic is pre-made and super easy to work with. I used a plastic knife to spread out 1/2″ layer to the side of the house. I took the fork and made “trowel” lines through the mastic. I figured since this stuff is water-resistant, its made for floor tile, it should hold these tiny rocks and hold up to some garden water. Working around each side, I applied the tiny stones in a random pattern until all of the surface was covered. I did pick out some longish ones to place around the birdie hole, in a starburst shape, and tried to keep too many matching ones touching (Yes, OCD again) but you gotta go with the flow! I’m a sucker for a gloss finish, so I decided to spray the entire thing with clear gloss sealer, plus I intend to put these in the  flower planter hubby hasn’t built yet.

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Just like potato chips, you can’t have just one….

left to right: the Rock, Beach Bungalow, Mossy Oak, the Mint, Chateau Chablis, the White House and City Lights.

Now accepting applications for new tenants they’re ready to go!

 

Enjoy!

Debbie

Amish Inspired Kitchen Angel

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I have a confession, I totally stole this little Angel from a lovely Amish crafter in Pennsylvania. Not so literally, I paid for one and brought it home. But, I dismantled her to figure out how to make them for my friends and family. Hope the Good Lord forgives me, but she was too cute not to duplicate and give away.  I made this one from Christmas towels and pot holders I found in the clearance section after the holidays.  Overall prints, solids, and border prints work best. For once, buying the cheaper towels and wash cloths works for the better. I tried the fluffier ones, but found them difficult to work with. My original still hangs in my kitchen, however she has allowed a couple of items to burn, I guess she’s reminding me to stay on the good side.

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Items you will need:

Kitchen towel (color or print to suit your taste or kitchen)

Pot holder (solid or matching print)

Dishcloth or washcloth in a color to compliment

1/4″ – 1/2″ ribbon

20 gauge wire

business cards (I laminated mine)

scissors

hole punch

wire cutters

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Start by fan folding your towel along the long side. I make each tuck about an inch across. This one was easy since it had a checkerboard print. Fold the towel in half pinching the pleats together.  *tip: I removed all the tags from the towel, potholder and washcloth because they just get in the way and seem to stick out in the worst places.

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Take a piece of wire, 6″ long and twist it around the towel approximately 3″ down from the top fold. (this becomes her head).  Leave the ends of the wire long so you can attach the arms and wings.

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Roll the washcloth tightly into a tube,  and wrap it around the towel, with the ends inside. Using the ends of the wire you just placed, secure the “arms” to the back of towel. Bring them around to the front, and take a separate piece of 4″ wire and secure her “wrists” together near the ends.

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Next take the pot holder and “scrunch” it to form the wings. This takes a little muscle in your fingers to hold it while placing 4″ piece of wire to hold it’s shape.  *tip: place your thumb in the hanging loop of the pot holder and pinch the middle of the bottom upwards until you have several small folds. Place the wire through the hanging loop, and tie on the front of the wings. You can adjust the folds after tightening the wire, so they’re evenly spaced. Attach the wings, using the wire holding the arms and body, and the piece you just tied. Make sure you put the hanging loop of the pot holder at the top so you can hang her up! Be sure to put the “pretty” side facing forward, since the back is not seen. All the wires should be inside the back between the wings and body. Tighten and clip off any excess ends.

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I printed the verse on business cards, laminated them with self sealing pouches since they were going to be in the kitchen, and I was concerned the paper would get wet or dirty. I kept the verse the same as the original, but you are certainly at liberty to edit to your style. I used the hole punch to get a nice clean hanging hole, and threaded a 1/4′ ribbon through.

An Angel in the Kitchen

Watching the Stew

Blesses your Cooking

And All That You Do

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Finishing touches, I tied ribbons around her neck to hide the wire. I used two ribbons 1/4″ and 1/2″, two different colors, tied into a bow. Attached the card with a single 1/4″ ribbon around her wrist.

I hope you enjoy making and sharing these little angels. The original travelled across the country to find a California home, and inspired many copies.

Enjoy,

Debbie

Angel for your Office

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I know we’ve all had a bad day at work, so here’s a little quickie to ward off those bad days. I made these a few years ago, for my co-workers and to sell at a local craft fair. Next thing you know, I started getting bulk orders for custom colors and quantities.  Once you get the hang of it, they go together quickly.

I found the ideal clamps in two sizes, large and regular as well as two finishes, silver and gold, at the Office Supply store.  Then took one of each size to the craft store to figure out what size head bead would look proportionate. Measurement for the large size is listed first, the smaller size ones (in parenthesis)

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For each Angel you will need:

Ideal Clamps Large (regular) body of Angel

12mm Pearl bead (8mm) head of Angel

10mm Jump ring (6mm) for the halo

1/4″ ribbon, various colors

Small silk flowers

hot glue gun or quick dry glue

scissors

Charms, miniature tokens, embellishments

I purchased both pearl beads and wooden beads for the heads. It seemed to me that the pearl and silver ones looked “city”,  and the wooden heads more “country”.  Make sure the jump rings are a size smaller than the head bead, you wouldn’t want her halo falling off, or slipping down.

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I started by cutting several lengths of ribbon into 12″ pieces.  Next, separating the flowers and leafs from the stems. I set up bowls of each item and worked on these assembly line style. Start by threading a head bead onto the ribbon.  Leave a hanging loop 1-1/2″ long, and go back through the bead again. Tie the ribbon around the middle of the clamp and cut ends on a diagonal. Slip the jump ring for the halo, over the hanging loop.  A little dab of glue will hold it, but I kinda like it to move around a little bit.

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Now all that’s left is to embellish her “dress”. I put a leaf as a base, then add some tiny flowers. You can add them with the hot glue gun, or quick drying glue. If I’m feeling extra fancy, I add a charm. You can do them in pinks and blues, they were quite popular for baby’s first Christmas Ornaments. Sports team colors, School colors, holiday flowers and my favorite purple and white!! Be sure to embellish both sides of the dress, she’ll spin when hanging.

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I hope these bring you joy, and end all those pesky bad days at work. A quick and easy craft, that is pretty and thoughtful.

Enjoy,

Debbie

Christmas Spiders!

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I found this idea on the net last year. I thought it was such a cute story, and I had dozens of ideas for sparkly spiders. I decided to make it this years Christmas craft.  (I do something every year for co-workers and friends).

There are two basic parts to this project. The spiders, and the presentation cards.

First, let’s make some sparkly, pretty spiders. Size is your choice, I wanted them to fit my cards, but you can do bigger or smaller to suit your taste. The sizes listed are what worked best to fit on the standard card stock I printed the story on. I found some beautiful beads at the craft store, but you can find amazing ones online or in your unused jewelry box.

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You will need for each spider:
Large bead for bottom (22-24mm)
Flattened bead for middle (20mm)
Smaller bead for head (16mm)
Tube beads, seed beads, mixed beads for the legs (I used mixed glass beads)
Eye pin
Beading wire (20 gage gold) color to complement beads
Round tip pliers
Wire cutters

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I like the mixed bead boxes for this project. The assortment of beads and colors can do hundreds of combinations for the legs. It is also a good way to use up leftover beads.  *tip: I work with a  wash cloth nder my beads, it keeps them from rolling around, and fingertip moistener makes them easier to grab.

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Start with 4 pieces of beading wire 6 inches long. These will be the legs. Bend a small circle at the end, put beads on until you have 2 1/2″ filled, bend a loop in wire, this will be the center loop. Bead the reverse of what you did, to do the other leg and end with another circle.

Do four of these, repeating the same pattern for each leg.

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Take the headpin (with the eye on the end) and put on the largest bead, (mine kept sliding off the eye, so I added a smaller glass bead to make it stay).  Next, thread on two of the  leg wires, the middle flattened bead, the two remaining legs, then the  head bead. ( I also put a small glass bead here too).  Using the pliers, bend the remaining wire into another loop and wind around to snug up all the beads and legs. You want to stiffen up the body, so the legs don’t flop around too much. Clip off any remaining wire. I couldn’t decide if they should hang from the head (climbing up) or the bottom (climbing down) so I put eyes on both ends. You decide! (Mine just sat on branches and sparkled!)

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Bend the legs into a pleasing shape. I pulled the front legs above the head, next set facing forward. The back legs supporting the bottom, and slightly pulled back.

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To make the cards, you’ll need card stock, a computer and printer. I think the story is important for explaining why you need a spider in your Christmas tree. By printing the story inside, and attaching the spider outside, it made a nice presentation.

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Here’s my version of the Legend of the Christmas Spider:  (I edited the version on my cards to fit the font and card size)

The Legend of the Christmas Spider

Long, long ago in Germany. a mother was busily cleaning for Christmas,

so the spiders fled to the attic to escape the broom.

After the house became quiet, once the tree was decorated,

the spiders slowly crept downstairs for a peek.

Oh, what a beautiful Christmas Tree!

In their excitement, the spiders scurried up the trunk and out along

each branch. They were filled with happiness as they climbed all

over the glittering tree. As they climbed, the tree became

completely covered in their dusty gray webs.

When St. Nicolas arrived with gifts for the children,

he saw that the tree was covered with spider webs.

He smiled because he saw how happy the spiders were,

but he knew how heartbroken they would be to see the tree covered in webs.

So he turned the spiders and their webs into silver and gold.

The tree sparkled and shimmered and was even more

beautiful than before.

That’s where the tradition of tinsel first came from

and why every tree should have a

Christmas spider tucked among its branches.

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I printed this on the inside of plain white card stock. I left a space in the upper part of the story to punch a couple of holes, that I threaded 1/8″ ribbon through and tied a bow around the spider to attach to the card. You can modify the story, font and spacing to fit your particular project idea. You could also print it on plain paper. Everyone loved the story, and even my Bestie, who is terrified of spiders, loved hers too. A couple of friends told me they hung them from their rear view mirrors, because they were so pretty!

Enjoy!

Debbie