Saturday, November 30, 2013


Wreaths, wreaths, and more wreaths.  I don't have a lot to show you right now but here are a few I have collected or made over the years.

This first one is a country-style wreath made out of wire that I received in a swap in the late 90's.  It has long resided in my flower shop, The Ashley.

The Halloween wreath I made from wire and is also in the Ashley.

This one is from artificial garland twig, trimmed and decorated

        Twine- Two cardboard discs glued together and wrapped in twine

    Here's how I made the round wire wreaths

For the round wreaths,  you need:

 wire cutters
 wire-  I used 26 gauge green wire that comes on a paddle.  Thinner wire is better but this is all that I had on hand. Use the longest length you are comfortable with. I used  4-5 length of 18" each.  It will all depend on how thick and big you want your wreath.
Round shape or form- a dowel will work but anything  round is ok.  I used a cosmetic container
( lg with a 1" diameter), a small fingernail polish container (med- 3/4" diameter ) and a dowel ( small, 1/2" diameter)

Wrap the wire around the form 5-6 times but leave a tail at each end.  Slide wire off the form . Hold the wreath gently and let it expand so you have an irregular round shape.  Now start wrapping each tail around the diameter of the wreath.  Do not pull the wire too tightly because you will loose the irregular shape.  Tuck in or cut off the ends so you don't get poked.
It should look something like this

Take another piece of wire and just start wrapping.  Make a kink, leave a gap, twist the wire back on itself, etc. To make the wreath heavier or thicker, use more wire until you're happy with the size.

 Once done, trim off the ends and start decorating!

The  heart wreaths are done a little differently.
You will need all of the above supplies plus a very small crochet hook. (sorry, but I don't recall the sizing).  We will be using the "barrel"  and not the hook itself.   
Wrap the wire around the form only twice.  Let the wire expand.  You will have 2 very long ends so wrap them around each side of  the circle only  twice.  It is a lot easier to shape when you're working with only 2 wires rather than 4-5.
Put your forefinger and middle finger (not your thumb) inside the wreath. Visually find the midpoint and place the barrel of the crochet hook on top of the wire and pull down.  It should look something like this.


 Next, take the wreath and place it between your thumb and forefinger. Using the barrel of the crochet hook, press down to form a point while at the same time squeezing the the sides together.

Like the round wreath, start wrapping again til you get the size you want and decorate.

This one is for my real tree ( small "table top" tree )

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have fun making lot of wreaths.  After Christmas, I'll show you the ones I made for Valentine's, St Pat's and Easter

Well, I off now.  Today I plan to set up my tree and to some decorating so no minis today.

Till next time

Friday, November 8, 2013

The "Naturals"- Part 3

Hello!  I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather. And a sincere welcome to my new followers!  I have been very neglectful in saying "Hi" but your friendship means a lot to me.  Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions.

This will be the last post ( for the time being) about using natural material, courtesy of Mother Nature.  I still have a few more ideas but need to go on to other things.

This is what I have been working on for the past week. A floor lamp, table lamp, and two different bird houses.  Also, shells filled with salsa and guacamole, an acorn caps with chips, and finally a coconut made from an acorn shell.

These were fast and simple minis to make ...except for the rectangular birdhouse.  That was kind of interesting.

I made it out of pine bark from the mulch we have around our house
Since it has so many layers, I used a small crochet hook to separate them into the thickness I wanted.  The really cool thing about this was the different colors, shading and textures of the wood.

But before you begin, be aware that sometimes a layer or two of the bark may separate all by itself, no matter how gently you handle it.  It's only a matter of gluing it back on and only takes a few minutes.

So, here's how I did it.
First step, swish a piece of bark around in warm, soapy water.  Immediately rinse in cool clear water and blot with paper towel.  Let dry at least overnight.  Then separate the layers into the thickness you want using a crochet hook or something similar.
While it's drying, make a birdhouse pattern out of very thin cardboard. Now, pick out 7 pieces of bark, larger than your pattern, varying the color and texture ( it will make it very unique!)  Glue your pattern onto the bark pieces, weight them down and let dry, probably an hour or so. Next, cut out your pattern.  Be sure to leave a very small margin around each piece so it glues together properly. You don't want the cardboard in the way.  Take the front part of the birdhouse and drill a hole  for the opening.  If you don't have a drill, maybe a black marker or paint will do. So now you can start assembling the birdhouse.

You might want to note that finding a base piece that is flat so your house won't tip over, may be kind of hard. You can either use a small painted piece of cardboard as the base or you can make it a hanging birdhouse (which is what I did)  I took a 6" piece of raffia, inserted about 1/2" inside the birdhouse and then glued on the roof pieces,  effectively trapping the end inside.

 I used a fairly thin-bodied glue because I hoped it would sink in between the layers and make them stronger. Be generous with the glue. Add a little perch and as the final step, spray with a sealer.

Now, an update on my leaves on fairy chair (see the Naturals-Part 1 from Oct 14). I was to say the least, disappointed.  I felt sure the leaf that I preserved in wax paper would last a  lot longer but it changed color and withered up within a few days.  I guess you can't stop Mother Nature.

Well I'm off.  Time  to finish up some swaps and get serious about Christmas
Til next time