A Very Crafty Christmas

Pinterest makes you feel like you can craft anything, doesn’t it?  Its “DIY” category was the basis for most of my Christmas presents and decorations this year.

My first project was a yarn ball wreath.  My husband fashioned a ring for me from coaxial cable, which I wrapped with yarn.  I used foam balls from JoAnn’s as the center for each “yarn” ball and Red Heart Super Saver yarn, which is pretty inexpensive. It took me a while to determine the best way to secure the balls to the ring.  After experimenting, I used floral U shaped pins, and then my handy glue gun.  I added some inexpensive silver gaudy balls (as my husband calls them).

The final result:

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Next year I may add more of the smaller balls to the outside ring.

For my front door, I made a quick, inexpensive wreath with gaudy balls, a wire hanger and ribbon.  The picture is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

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Of course I knitted a few things to gift, including ear warmers, boot cuffs and a beer cozy (didn’t want my brother-in-law to feel left out).  I also made some fingerless gloves, but I didn’t get a picture of them.

bootcuffs:

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I made body spray from distilled water, witch hazel, vegetable glycerin and essential oils:

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I crafted ornaments:

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But what I was most excited about making was the lip balm.  For the majority of my life, if I discovered I didn’t have a ChapStik in my pocket, I swear I could feel my lips immediately drying and cracking.  Now I can’t imagine ever purchasing it again.  I bought the tubes through Amazon, but the first batch I received was awful–not a single cap stayed on.  So as not to waste them, I put a small dot of hot glue on the tube to make them fit.  Subsequent orders from different vendors produced appropriately sized lids.

There are many recipes for lip balm on the Internet, and I settled on one that combined beeswax, shea butter, sunflower oil and essential oils.  I made peppermint, citrus (orange and grapfruit) and lemon batches.

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In addition to these items, my husband made strawberry bread, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread.  It was a very crafty Christmas indeed, and even though my family in Florida pokes fun at me, wondering if my children are being used as sweat shop labor, I had fun and I’m even a little bit proud of myself.  🙂

Currently on the agenda:  I am knitting a wall hanging thingy–the idea came from Pinterest, of course.  I am also making t-shirt yarn out of tank tops that I dont wear anymore–I eventually want to crochet it into a rug or a basket.

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Are you making anything right now?

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A Few Pinterest Projects

I have been pretty busy this summer.  I’ve accomplished a lot, but I have certainly been neglecting my blog.  Sorry!

Those of us who are Pinterest users know that the site is a mixed blessing.  On one hand, it provided thousands of amazing projects and recipes and excellent tips.  On the other, browsing Pinterest can also make a person feel insecure and totally unaccomplished.  Who really has time to do all of that exercise, cook all of those amazing meals, entertain your kids every moment with clever and funtastic projects, and decorate your entire house in perfect nature hues and with pallets?

I certainly don’t.   I often turn to those “Pinterest fails” websites–they make me feel so much better.  But I have come to terms with Pinterest, to some degree.  I pin projects and recipes that are achievable in my world–and have attempted a few of them with differing levels of success.  For instance, I love the zucchini enchiladas.  They are amazing every time I make them.    The white chicken enchilada is also wonderful.  I have made the Panera knock-off broccoli cheddar soup.  I have been regularly making the Skinnytaste pesto and freezing it into cubes.  Other things I’ve tried, such as the breaded string cheese  didn’t turn out quite as well.

The kool-aid dyed Easter eggs were awesome, if a bit messy.  The knitting patterns were great (though they usually led me back to Ravelry…where I had already been).  For Christmas, I transferred pictures to wood blocks for my sister.  Recently, I tried my hand at a few more:  the penny covered bowling ball yard art, the pallet garden bed, and a reconfiguring of a t-shirt.

The bowling ball project was fun, and allegedly, and especially if you use enough pre-1982 pennies, it will help deter slugs and snails from your garden.  Good enough reason to try it for me!

Here is the “pin” I was working from:

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I went to the thrift shop (with $20 in my pocket…no…just kidding) and purchased a $2 pink bowling ball.  I collected all the pennies in the house, and gave them a bath in vinegar.  I wouldn’t recommend this course of action for cleaning the pennies.  It took a really long time, and didn’t seem terribly effective.  I used a DAP silicone rubber sealant and attached the pennies face-up to the bowling ball.  In order to prove to myself that I have some control over my OCPD, I glued just one face down.   Ha!  In your face, perfectionism!  The original pinner said to fill the finger holes with caulk, but I didn’t.  After the adhesive dried, and the pennies were securely fastened, I took a few erasers and systematically cleaned up the pennies.  That worked better for me than the vinegar–although it took me the length of a movie to do it.

Voila!  Yard art and hopeful slug deterrent:

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I’m happy with that!

I used another pin in my garden–pallets for easy, nearly ready-made raised beds.  I write “nearly” because my husband had to nail boards to the sides to keep the soil in.

Here is the original pin:

Here is my attempt:

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I’m pleased with the results, but I think next year I will limit what I grow in the pallet, and I will only use one (I had two this year).  The kale, romaine, spinach and radishes did really well.  You just have to be careful when planting because the seeds wash under the boards.  Also–I will loop my drip line over the pallets instead of hand-watering.

And finally, I attempted to redesign a t-shirt that I’ve had forever by never wear because I don’t like its fit.

Here is the original pin:

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I didn’t take a picture of my original shirt, but, it was just a basic t-shirt.  I fought with my sewing machine for a while, and had to redo the straps to make them a little longer, but this is what I came up with:

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Again…not too shabby.  It is not meant to be a “finished” shirt, although it certainly could be with some hemming of edges.  I just cut the pieces and left it at that.  If they fray, they fray.  But I will actually wear this now…even if it is just for working in the garden.

Thank you for coming along on my Pinterest adventures tonight!

Have I Mentioned that I Can’t Wait to Start My Garden?

It is still cold here.  The ground is still frozen.  The sunshine is beautiful–it tricks you into thinking that it must warm and spring-like outside, but alas, you step outside and a cold gust of wind blows snowflakes from a passing cloud into your face.  Sigh.

So, instead of actual gardening, I have been in planning mode.

I just finished reworking the Columbia Falls Community Garden season agreement.  I am assigning gardeners to plots on my plot map.  I am making plans to do some prep work in the Garden with kids from the Center for Restorative Youth Justice.  I started some seeds (the onions have sprouted!).

I also spend a lot of time on Pinterest, looking for gardening ideas.  Of course I would love to try everything, but instead I picked out a few of the “most-likely-to-actually-get-done” projects.  Take a look!

egg shellsThis one should be easy enough.  There are apparently all sorts of things you can use egg shells for in the garden.  I will definitely use them when I plant tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot.   I told my husband that we should start rinsing and keeping our egg shells in April.peppergreen

I always have trouble growing peppers, so I will take advantage of any tip I run across! This pin suggested we use “1tsp epsom salts in 4 c warm water….spray on plant and then 10 days later it produces more fruit due to boost of magnesium… especially for tomatoes, peppers and roses”.  Worth a try!IMG_6233_sm2

I have little patience for making seed holes…I’m not entirely sure I will make one of these, but the idea is cool.  Maybe if I made this square foot seed hole maker doo-hickey, I would feel so guilty thinning out my carrots and radishes–I could just stick a seed in each hole.  

Spraying weeds with diluted vinegar to kill themIn the Community Garden, we struggle with weeds and grasses.  Following our organic principles, we need to find creative and safe ways to combat weeds.  This could be it!pallet pathLike just about everyone else, I like the idea of upcycling pallets.  I have heard that it is difficult to take them apart, though.  On site suggested using a car jack to do it.  We will find out, I guess!  I like this foot path.  It is important to make sure that you aren’t using chemically treated pallets in your garden, though–and to seal them thoroughly.

Here is another pallet idea:4fc8ba9a81d6683d33638c11ca88ff1eThis:

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A Toad Abode!

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Raised beds with cinderblocks

What do you think?  Are you dreaming of neatly planted rows of vegetables? Do you love Pinterest as much as I do?  Do you have any sure-fire ways of breaking down pallets?