Showing posts with label Crafts & DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts & DIY. Show all posts

Friday, July 3, 2020

Just CrossStitch Magazine in Print, on Kindle, & DVD Reviewed

Just CrossStitch Reviewed
Very few magazines are interesting enough for me to pay for a subscription, especially since just about everything can found on the internet.  However, I do subscribe to Just CrossStitch.  Every time a new issue arrives, I drop whatever I am doing and browse the pages.  Then I set it aside for later, when I have time to really examine the patterns and mark what I might want to stitch.

Just CrossStitch includes beautiful pictures of each finished project, plus easy to read full patterns.

I have saved years of back subscriptions of Just CrossStitch!  I never know when I will feel the itch to stitch and I do love having a variety of patterns available.  

Long before I started my subscription, I would buy the issues every time I visited Barnes & Noble, which used to be quite often before I was gifted with a Kindle.  It was our favorite date night to dine out and then head over to B&N.   
 


Just CrossStitch Magazines


 Just CrossStitch Magazine -Single Issue
December 2017
Check Price
Unlike books, a magazine is very lightweight, which makes it easy to carry when we travel. I always carry either a cross stitch project or a crochet project with me in the car or on a plane.

I well remember cross stitching a bookmark from a Just CrossStitch magazine pattern for my son in the airport on a layover with a flight delay.  It was such a restful way for me to wait.  I didn't stress at all over the delay.  As a matter of fact, I remember thinking how I wished I had time to make a bookmark for our daughter too.

Every time I see my son using that bookmark, I think how glad I am that I used that layover time to make something special for him.  I am also glad the magazine had just the right pattern within its pages.  Of course, that was probably why I selected that particular issue to carry with me.  

Tip:  Patterns for bookmarks only require being small single images pulled from any cross stitch design.  They don't have to be titled "bookmark" for the pattern to work well on a bookmark.

You can purchase the individual issue that you want like I did in years past, or you can subscribe to receive your issue in the mail.  An annual subscription includes 6 issues, plus the Christmas Ornament special edition.

Surprisingly, the Just CrossStitch magazine is now available on Kindle!  I haven't personally tried viewing the magazine on my Kindle since I have the print issue subscription, but I can see how it would be awesome to get them on my Kindle Fire.  (The Kindle Fire will provide color pictures.)



Just CrossStitch DVD's

Just CrossStitch Collection 1983-–1990Just CrossStitch Collection 1983-–1990Check Price
Don't stress if you wish you had discovered this wonderful magazine years ago!  You can purchase DVD's that have the back issue patterns for multiple past years. 

The DVD's contain every issue of the years noted of the Just CrossStitch magazine.  They consist of PDFs that are searchable, plus provide printer-friendly charts. Therefore, you can print out a pattern and carry it with you wherever you go.  Even though I have the magazines, I like having the convenience of the DVD for searching out a pattern of choice.  

When you insert the DVD into your computer's DVD-ROM drive, it will open a list of file names. Simply select the year, then the month you wish to view and open using the free version of Adobe Reader. You can print the patterns by clicking on the print icon of the Adobe Reader.




I Prefer to View On Full Screen and click my mouse to click through the pages. 
 (use the ESC key on your keyboard to close the full screen viewing) 


There are also Halloween or Christmas patterns from the Just CrossStitch magazine available on DVD.








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House of Sylvestermouse




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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Easy Bathroom Makeover

Easy Bathroom Makeover Reviewed

Do you have a small bathroom in need of a quick, easy, and inexpensive makeover?

I use the word easy, I don't want to make you think that you just wave a magic wand and puff it's all done.

There is certainly some work involved but, it is really not that difficult.

We have a half bath in our house that really needed a new floor. Since we were going to replace the floor we thought it was a good idea to paint the walls and trim work. 




The first task for our new project was to remove the toilet and get it out of the way. If you're removing a toilet you'll need to clean up the wax seal and then stuff a rag in the hole to prevent the smell of sewer gas. 

The next step was to remove the old floor, I think this was the hardest part. Next, I removed all of the baseboards.  Do this carefully so you break of damage it.

We choose a light mint green paint for the walls although when we started to paint it was a little darker than we expected. So, I used the white paint that I had for the trim work and added a teaspoon at a time to lighten up the green.

Easy Bathroom Makeover: Install the new floor

Now it was time to install the new floor. We used peel and stick flooring. You can find some very durable and inexpensive peel and stick flooring. In total, we bought 45 sqft. of tile and paid only $25.00 for the floor. Prices will vary depending on what you buy.


Before you install a new floor you have to make sure that the subfloor is clean and flat. It's a good idea to use a Shop-Vac to get all of the dust off the floor.

Tools you will need:
Measure and divide the room in half by both length and width. Intersect the lines in the center of the room using a straight edge or chalk line.

Once the center is marked, start to lay the tiles from the center of the room out to the edges. You will have an even space on length as well as the width of the room from your last tile to the wall.

At this point, you will need to measure and cut the remaining tiles around the room. They are very easily cut with a sharp razor knife.

The following short video will show just how easy it is to measure and install a new floor.



Now that the floor was in I painted and re-installed the baseboard and re-installed the toilet. Overall it was a pretty easy project. That means if I can do this anybody can.

You might also want to know How to Re-Caulk your bathtub




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Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Make a Very Easy Afghan with Loop Yarn

Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan! No needles or hooks are required. All you need are your fingers and small scissors.
Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan!   

Even someone with arthritis who can no longer grip a crochet hook or knitting needles can make a loop yarn afghan that is beautiful.  This would also be the perfect afghan project for those who don't know how to knit or crochet.

Loop yarn is not a normal string of yarn, it is made with loops.  Most of the patterns either say knit or crochet, but you really are not doing either.  No needles or hooks are required.  You only use your fingers to weave the yarn.

When I first spotted Yarnspirations loop yarn, I knew I wanted to make something with it.  Normally, I would find a pattern and want to make a specific item.  However, in this case, it was the yarn that called to me.  I bought the yarn, then went on a search for a pattern.  I knew exactly what I would make when I discovered this afghan pattern that resembles a cable stitch. 

The Bernat Alize loop yarn is the softest yarn I have ever touched.  When my son first touched my afghan while I was making it, he said if felt like a chinchilla.  He is absolutely right!  I had been saying it felt like petting a baby rabbit, but it really is softer than a bunny.  This yarn truly is a joy to work with and to touch.


Loop Yarn Easy Afghan Pattern


I discovered this fabulous video that taught me how to make the pattern I love.  Instead of trying to write out instructions, I'll share the video.  It is very easy to follow and makes a lovely design.  

I do have a few tips to share before you begin.  

  1. Have a pair of small scissors available.  You start the project by cutting a few of the loops open.  You will also need them each time you start a new skein of yarn.
  2.  Decide how wide you want your afghan before you start.  I opted for a throw size afghan (100 loops - 60" wide), which is approximately half the size of a standard throw. 
  3. I originally purchased 10 skeins of yarn, but that was not quite enough for my desired length.  I actually needed 12 skeins.
  4. After you have completed the first few rows, the pattern design is easy to see, which makes continuing each row very easy.
  5. Instead of sitting at a table, I use a lap desk that sits on the arms of my recliner.  That allows me to watch a movie while making my afghan.

As you can see in my photos, I used a variegated denim blue & white colored yarn.  This yarn is available in 10 - 12 different colors (see below).  I highly recommend using the Yarnspirations Bernat Alize Loop Yarn.

 



My Lap Desk


In case you are interested, you can purchase a lap desk just like mine on Etsy.  Clearly, you can use the lap desk for a lot of other things as well as crafts.  It even has a groove on each side for pens, pencils, markers, craft tools, etc.   

Click my image below to see the actual Etsy listing and shop where I purchased mine. 

 Lap Desk Available on Etsy

To See Several Colors Available, Click Here!





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House of Sylvestermouse




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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Make Your Own Face Mask Review

Protect Yourself With A No-sew Mask

Let's review how to make your own face mask for those times that you have to leave home on an essential trip. Most of us are trying our best to stay safe and stay in place but there are times we need to leave for a few reasons. We don't want to use the types of protective masks that our first responders and health professionals need (no need to diminish their supplies!). We can make our own without needing a sewing machine to do it.

bandana face mask
Make a face mask with a bandana or other fabric.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
I made my own using a bandana that I had in the house. You can use any fabric that is cut into the proper size for your mask but if you have a bandana  it is even easier. Mine was left over from the days when it was cool to wear one in your hair. We wore them to cover our hair or folded up more like a headband but I digress. If you have one that you wear or perhaps you have used as a cute kerchief for your dog...it will do.

The thing I liked about making my own mask was that I could easily wash it after using it and have it ready for the next time I needed to go out. In my case I had what I needed in the house. A bandana and two rubber bands. That is it, that is all you need to make one for yourself.

Watch this video to see how to make three different types of face masks:


As you can see from the video it isn't difficult to make any of the versions that he shows. I chose the one using the bandana because I knew I had one and from what I had read the cotton fabric seemed to offer the most protection because it is woven tighter. 

So, be creative, choose something that fits your personality. The main thing is to keep your nose and mouth covered if you have to be out in public for any length of time at all. I use mine when I know I will be in a situation where social distancing is difficult like the grocery store. 

When I return from any trip where I have worn my mask, I take it off when I get home toss it in the washing machine and then wash my hands for twenty seconds just in case there was anything on the outside of the mask. Once it has been laundered, I make it again and put it in a plastic bag to wait for the next time I venture out.

How about you? Have you made your own protective mask?





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Monday, April 6, 2020

Crochet: Using Those Leftover Yarn Balls

As soon as I crocheted the first afghan for my grandbaby I had thoughts of using that leftover scrap yarn to make a throw. A sentimental way to keep pieces of their blankets for myself. Now is the perfect time to do it and I've made huge progress on my own afghan. I want to share the super-easy idea with you.

using my scrap yarn to make something special for myself

I crocheted afghans with VERY different colors for my three grandbabies. As a result, I kept my idea of using all of the scrap yarn (orange, purple, white, pink, and a variety of "under the sea" colors of tans, blues, and greens) in one project to myself. I adore rag rugs. So I suppose it wasn't a far jump to crocheting a blanket with this odd color combination. It was just a matter of finding the crochet pattern I'd want to use. But this kind of wild color combination...who does that?

Apparently, a lot of people do! 

There is even a name for this particular blanket - Scrapghan.

In searching for patterns, I find that making scrapghans is a fairly popular thing to do. And using a wide variety of colors that may not typically go together can lead to some beautiful projects. In addition, these projects save odd bits of yarn from being wasted and ending up in the local dump.

Personally, I have the best luck with learning new projects via video crochet tutorials. Sometimes it is a bit frustrating finding a video with someone whose teaching style matches my learning style but I've always managed to find someone eventually. If you have thought about using your scrap yarn to make a blanket, Ophelia tells us about her scrap blanket (and uses the Granny Stripe).

Ophelia Talks About Making a Scrap Blanket (Ophelia Talks):


If you are interested in learning the Granny Stripe stitch, I recommended viewing  How To Crochet Granny Stripes, episode 246 (Fiber Flux):




I prefer the look of the "granny stripe" patterns with the different colors of scrap yarns. In addition to creating a wide stripe of each color, the pattern works up very quickly. I also personally think that a granny stitch creates a "softer" blanket than a straight single stitch. I already know that this is a project that will create a functional and meaningful blanket I will treasure.

Related Links:

Colors from Ardin, Harper, and Bentley's blankets
For my grand-daughter's baby blanket, I used the Bernat Pipsqueak yarn. The yarn is unbelievably soft!  And when used with worsted weight yarn, in a lined pattern, the Pipsqueak creates a soothing sensory texture.  To see my Pipsqueak review click here. Notice that in 2017 I was already planning on using that yarn in a project for myself!

In two of the grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Done in a Day pattern by Dabbles & Babbles. I LOVE that pattern. It is easily adjusted for any size afghan and any size yarn. You can see my review of that pattern here

Of the three grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Under The Sea pattern for my grandson who is already on his way to being a marine wildlife expert! You can find my review for that fun crochet project here.


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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival Kit Reviewed

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival KitProtect Yourself in Public Restrooms! 


My husband and I enjoy making day trips as well as traveling. What I hate most about traveling whether for a day, or even a week, is the necessity to use public restrooms.  

By now, we have all heard that you should use a paper towel to open the bathroom doors since so many people do not wash their hands before touching the door knobs.  As if that is not enough to make you cringe, I was recently told that drug addicts will clean their needles by poking them in the toilet paper in the restroom stall.  This takes things to a whole new level of contamination concern.  

To be fair, I did check Snopes to determine if needle cleaning in public restrooms is a valid concern and found that none of the health services questioned had ever heard of that happening.  Still, it made me hesitate to trust the provided toilet paper in public restrooms.

For me and my family, I have decided better safe than sorry.  After all, we know there are germs in any restroom.  With the flu, a multitude of viruses, and the concern for cleanliness, why take the risk if not absolutely necessary? 

Some might consider this an extreme and unnecessary precaution.  Perhaps it is.  But, like any other precautionary measure, if it gives you peace of mind, why not.  You are certainly not hurting anyone else by carrying your own public restroom survival kit.


Items Needed for Your Public Restroom Survival Kit

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival Kit
I assemble my own public restroom survival kit.  I include individually wrapped toilet seat covers, my own toilet paper in a sandwich bag, flushable single pack wet wipes, camp soap sheets, and a few of my own paper towels. 

I carry two different types of toilet seat covers.  One is the typical paper cover that you see in many public restrooms.  The other is a plastic toilet seat cover.  The plastic seat cover is not flushable, but I find it required in some public rest stops.  Even though it is made to encase the seat cover, I simply lay it on the seat.  If I won't sit on it, I certainly will not lift that seat to "gift wrap" it.

You all can stop laughing now!  No, I am not a germaphobe, but over the years I have truly seen some pretty nasty things in public restrooms.  I won't go into the graphic details and descriptions.  Suffice it to say, I've seen enough to know I believe in the proverbial "ounce of prevention".  In this case, I would alter that saying slightly to state an ounce of protection.

If you think I am alone in this concern, allow me to point out that Amazon.com even offers a pre-assembled public toilet kit.


In a pinch, I would totally invest in that "go bag"!  Because I have time to prepare my own survival kits packed with my preferred supplies, I don't mind putting them together myself.  

If you plan on traveling by plane, you may prefer a clear bag for supplies in your carry-on.  There are no liquids in my public restroom survival kit, but a clear bag might keep baggage inspectors from opening it and touching everything.  Hand sanitizer would need to go in your clear liquid carry-on bag.  If you are traveling by car, you can choose any tote bag.

I prefer a tote bag that will clip to my jeans belt loops or my camera backpack loops.   This is a nice inexpensive trio that I found.  I only need the medium sized bag in this set for my restroom survival kit, but I can always find different uses for the other two.
 

 

How Do I Know I Am Not a Complete Germaphobe?


A real germaphobe would recommend two more items!  After all, the dirtiest places in a public restroom are the floors, the toilet handle, and the faucet.

Eek!  Perhaps I should rethink this!   After all, I do wear my shoes in the car and in my home!  And, those gloves and shoe covers are disposable.



And if you really want to do things right, be sure to include your Poo-Pourri! It was previously reviewed by Dawn Rae and would make a fabulous addition to your public restroom survival kit. 
 

When you are out and about, be sure to be prepared, stay safe, and "rest" protected in those public restrooms!

 




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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

DIY Hand Sanitizer Reviewed

Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Chances are you can't find hand sanitizer on your local shelves. Let me review how to make your own to use when soap and water aren't available to you. It is much easier than you might think!

hand sanitizer
DIY Hand Sanitizer
image courtesy of pixabay.com

We are all in the same boat with the flu & various viruses that terrorize the world. The importance of keeping our hands clean and the surfaces around us goes without saying. When it comes to being able to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with us on those occasions that we have to go out for supplies is pretty much impossible. The hoarders and the opportunists have cleared the shelves across the nation. Not to worry, you can actually make your own.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 empty hand soap or sanitizer dispenser
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) 99% alcohol volume
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Essential Oil or lemon juice to make it smell nice (optional)
  • Large measuring cup with spout to mix and pour from

Hand Sanitizer Recipe:

3/4 cup isopropyl (rubbing alcohol)
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
10 drops of essential oil or lemon juice

Pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl or a measuring cup with a spout. Mix together with a spoon first and then whisk the solution to form a gel. Pour the mixture into an empty bottle for easy use and transport and then label it with the words "Hand Sanitizer".

That's it, it is that easy. Just a reminder that it is still better to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use the sanitizer when you are out and can't wash your hands. I like to place a dab on a tissue to wipe off the handle of the grocery cart before I place my own hands on it. 

Not sure how long the 20 seconds is? Sing the Birthday song through two times while washing your hands. Remember to pay attention to the tips of your fingers and between your fingers. 

Stay safe, follow the guidelines and we will all get through this together as a nation. 






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Friday, March 6, 2020

March is National Craft Month

Reviewing the Wonderful World of Crafting!

March is National Craft Month
As an avid crafter, I am thrilled to have a month for celebrating crafts.  Since March is filled with cold days kissed by spring, it seems like the perfect month for crafting.  

It is exhilarating to look out the windows at the beautiful days.  It fills us all with the desire and energy to do something.  However, March weather is not often cooperative, or conducive to outdoor activity. 

In my region, you never know what weather you will wake up to on any given day.  Some days we have beautiful spring weather bursting with new life in our flower beds.  Then the following day we can find ourselves thrown back into winter with ice and snow.

The spring days make you want to go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and have fun "running with the wind".  Unfortunately, when those days are followed by freezing weather, you find yourself stuck in the house still feeling that desire to do something.  I turn to my crafts and harness that energy while I wait for the warm weather to return. 


Fun Crafts - There's Something for Everyone


The wonderful thing about crafts is that there is a craft project for everyone.  For those of us who love needlework, there are a variety of options.  Sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, or embroidery fall under the category of needlework.  The beauty of many needlework kits is that they are often small and portable.  

Several of my fellow contributors enjoy crochet and working with yarn instead of thread.  That is also a craft that is portable.  Both Wednesday Elf and Dawn Rae have Etsy stores where they sell their beautiful creations.  

Avid crafters, like myself, tend to skip from one craft project to another.  Not only do we enjoy needlework, crochet or knitting, but we also explore the world of stenciling, painting, decoupage, flower arranging, latch hook, mosaics, beaded crafts, and many more.  

Regardless of the craft, it is always a creation made by our own hands.  Hours of love are often poured into whichever craft we choose and many finished projects turn into treasures for a lifetime and passed down for generations. For such a worthy endeavor, a month is not really enough time to celebrate, but it is a great beginning.

Here are a few websites you might enjoy visiting when you are ready to select a craft, kit, or pattern.  The tutorials on Crafter's Kingdom will make it easier to learn a new craft too.



The Business of Crafts


Because of my own love for a variety of crafts, like Wednesday Elf and Dawn Rae, I also opened an online store 19 years ago.  My craft supplies store is on eBay, which predated Etsy.  I love both sites and highly recommend either for selling or buying.



All of the craft kits, patterns, or books featured in the introduction photo, are available in The House of Sylvestermouse eBay store






House of Sylvestermouse





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Friday, January 3, 2020

How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Reviewed

Last year I made a Quilt Magic wall hanging for each of my children for Christmas.  They turned out to be really beautiful gifts and a surprise that I hope my children will treasure.  

How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Reviewed
Quilt Magic Kits are awesome! They make a great beginner craft, as well as a unique project for more experienced crafters.  The kits take more time than you might expect, but that is part of the value of a finished project. 

I am well accustomed to working with fabric.  After all, I have been sewing since my early teens.  As an experienced crafter, I enjoy taking on new crafting challenges.  I tend to consider any new craft technique a call to action.  The Quilt Magic kits caught my attention immediately and seemed to beckon me.  Needless to say, I answered the call.

I immediately purchased a fabulous Quilt Magic wall hanging to make for our son.  However, I needed one for our daughter.  It took me two years to find the right kit for her, but as soon as I laid eyes on the elephant Quilt Magic Kit, I knew I had finally found the right one.  Then the fun began!


Quilt Magic Kits


The kits include almost everything you need.  You will also need scissors, an iron, and a punch tool for pushing the fabric into the form.  You can use a dull kitchen knife, but I highly recommend purchasing the Quilt Magic punch tool separately.  A standard kitchen knife doesn't have a pointed end, which you need for some corners.


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Reviewed
Kits Include:  Pre-cut Form, Easy to Follow Pattern, & Fabric Pieces (to cut)


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Picture


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging
I know you will be excited to get started on the project, but you need to iron the fabric first.  This is extremely important!  You will not want the fabric to be creased.  You need it to lay flat when "punching" it into the form. 

I cut out the pieces from each fabric, pinned their numbered pattern piece to the cut fabric, and placed them in a baggy until I was ready to add the piece.  I had a separate baggy for each fabric.

Start with the border & back.  The back piece is one large piece that you attach to the form by folding the ends over the front side and pressing the edges in the border grooves.  You will need to trim the fabric at the corners twice to make the fabric slip into the cut corner grooves.  Be careful not to cut too much off.  There is no extra fabric included for mistakes.

Note:  The corners of the form are not pre-cut deep enough to hold the fabric.  You will need to cut the corner form groove with a sharp knife per the enclosed instructions.  Otherwise, all of the grooves are pre-cut for you.

   

From here on, it is pretty smooth sailing.  You simply match the number on the piece to the number on the pattern and push the fabric into the pre-cut grooves for each section.


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging


I opted to add the the pieces cut from each fabric all at one time.  However, you may prefer to add the pieces section by section, left to right, or whatever type of layout organization works best for you.  I have friends who would rather see the project come to life one area at a time.





 
The Quilt Magic no-sew kits are easy, but they do take longer than advertised to make.  Each picture kit took several days to cut and assemble, but the end results were definitely worth the time.

How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Tutorial
Quilt Magic Wall Hanging Gift for My Son
 
How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Tutorial
Quilt Magic Wall Hanging Gift for My Daughter

You may or may not wish to frame your finished Quilt Magic wall hanging.  Both of my children opted for a Quilt Magic Frame for easy hanging.  But, they are not necessary.




A Variety of Quilt Magic Kits Are Available


Quilt Magic Kits are available in many different styles, colors and themes. There are even holiday Quilt Magic Kits for those who enjoy holiday wall decor.

See More Quilt Magic Kits by Clicking Here!

 

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

DIY Pumpkin Succulent Centerpiece



It's pumpkin season!  Now is the perfect time to round up some pumpkins and create unique centerpieces as a festive touch for your holiday celebrations.  A DIY pumpkin succulent mini garden will be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving decor.  Not only will it be a real attention-getter when you host guests for the holidays, but you will have the benefit of enjoying your new container garden long after you finish all those turkey left-overs.

Here's What You Need:
  1. One large flat pumpkin 
  2. A variety of succulents
  3. Clear gel glue
  4. Spray adhesive
  5. Moss
It's best to use a flat pumpkin with a slightly indented center .
While I prefer to use a pumpkin in its natural state, I chose to paint mine for this demo project.  I used a lovely Solstice Blue paint color (a subtle blue-gray) that will blend in with the woodland theme I am using for my holiday decorations.  It reminds me of the beautiful shadows you see on fresh snow.  A neutral colored pumpkin better accents the succulents.

Removing the Stem

Once the paint was dry, I used my Dremel with a cut-off wheel to remove the pumpkin stem. 

Spraying on Elmer's Craft Bond 
I then sprayed adhesive on the center top of the pumpkin where the moss will be placed. 

Press Moss Into the Adhesive
While the adhesive was still fairly wet and tacky, I pressed a nest of moss onto the sticky surface.  It seems I got a little moss happy.  Could have used a bit less moss, but it would have made a big mess to attempt to remove it.  I let the adhesive set for several minutes before moving to the next step.

Preparing the Roots for Planting

While the adhesive was setting up, I gently removed the soil from the cacti roots in preparation for planting them on the surface of the moss.  I also separated the succulent clusters so I would have more options for spreading out individual plants.

Vary Succulent Colors, Textures, and Heights
Start your succulent placement with your largest plant.  Visually, it is most pleasing to the eye to position the first cactus off-center and toward the edge of the pumpkin.  It is also a good idea to group your taller cacti near that first featured plant.  You will use clear gel glue to fasten your succulents to the moss.  Don't worry!  The glue won't hurt your succulents.

Time to Lightly Mist the Moss
Once your pumpkin succulent centerpiece is complete, carefully give the moss a light misting of water.  You will provide moisture to the moss about once a week.  It's important not to let water pool under your plantings.  It will lead to premature rot.  Simply tip your pumpkin slightly to the side to drain any excess water after each misting.  

To extend the life of your pumpkin, and to give your succulents what they need, carefully choose a location away from heaters.  Try to situate your succulent container garden such that your cacti get the sunlight they need without getting too much heat on the pumpkin.  Likewise, take care to protect your succulents from freezing if you will be displaying your centerpiece on a porch or outdoors.

One last tip:  Place your pumpkin on a piece of cork or thick cardboard to keep the bottom from early decay (especially if placed in a location where surface dampness occurs).  Take care to protect your indoor furniture with the use of a waterproof planter mat.

With proper care, your pumpkin succulent centerpiece should last several weeks.  Once the pumpkin has reached the end of its season of life, you can either cut off the top of the pumpkin and plant it on top of appropriate cacti soil, or transplant the newly rooted succulent cuttings to another container.  Of course, you may also choose to use a faux pumpkin to eliminate this step.

It's easy to see why these pumpkin centerpieces are so popular.  Besides being unusual and visually stunning, they let you take your creativity to a whole new place.  This DIY centerpiece is sure to be a fun conversation-starter at your next gathering.  Why not make one to share for a hostess gift?  Who wouldn't love such a thoughtful gesture? 

Enjoy this project and my best wishes to you for a blessed holiday season.





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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Flower Art For Kids Reviewed

Kids Making Flower Art

I found some flower art for kids to give to my youngest granddaughter for her birthday this year. She enjoys doing all sorts of crafty things so after reviewing some options, the kit that I purchased just seemed like a perfect match for her age and her personality.

flower-art
Flower art by mother nature
image courtesy of pixabay.com

The kit is called Random Acts of Flowers and fits my little sweet pea (pun intended) to a "t". I can see her making a small bunch of flowers to give to someone in a random act of kindness. She is so in tune with the emotions people are experiencing around her and would delight in making someone smile with a little gift.


Teaching Kindness With Crafts


The kit includes 75 sheets of tissue paper, 12 floral stems, 12 gift tags, a hanging vase and a bandit mask. Why the mask? This is supposed to be random and anonymous...besides kids love it. What is not included is a pair of scissors and you will also have to supply the kind soul of a child or adult. It is the most important ingredient in the mix!

So, making these flowers and then finding a place to hang them so that people can smile as they take one from the hanging bouquet is only part of the fun. Those gift tags that can be attached to a flower are supposed to have a message on them. The encouraged message is that whoever takes the flower is supposed to go do something nice for someone else. Don't you just love that?

Added to the benefit of spreading kindness one little action at a time is the fact that every purchase of one of these kits pays it forward a little more. A donation is made to a charity that takes re-cycled flowers along with words of encouragement to health care facilities to promote the emotional well-being to residents. I love that!


A Gift that Keeps Giving


Another thing I loved about this flower art for kids kit is that it plants that seed of kindness but it doesn't have to stop once the original supplies are used up. It is so very easy to buy more tissue paper. The children can make their own little gift tags and flower stems can be replenished. The hanging vase might be taken away but they can use their imagination to make another one. 

What do you think? Would you give a child a gift like this?





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Five Fabulous Fairy Coloring Book Reviews

Five Fabulous Fairy Coloring Book Reviews
Fairies are so enchanting and the coloring books gathered here on this page are lovely. They will please both the children and adults in your life who love to color. They will not just please your child but will also let her develop her imagination while she has fun coloring the drawings. Some of these books will keep the user occupied for hours; others for a lesser time frame.

Any one of the coloring books on this page would be a great idea for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers or even for birthday party favors at a fairy themed birthday party. There is bound to be a faerie coloring book here that your child will love and there are even some here that you will love. If you're giving one as a gift, be sure to include a box of crayons.

Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring Book


The first book shown here, Fairy World: Stained Glass Coloring Book, is a Dover Little Activity Book. It's a cute little book with thin pages that is recommended for individuals who are between the ages of Kindergarten and Grade 5. The pages are thin so that when you hold them before a light source, the light shines through, giving a stained glass effect.

As a Dover Little Activity Book, it is indeed a small book and not a full-size coloring book and it only has a few images. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you are aware of the fact and don't expect a full-size book.  It's also very affordable at just under $2, making it perfect for those stocking stuffers and party grab bags. Click here to find this Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring Book from Amazon.

Fairy World Stained Glass Coloring BookGarden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book

Garden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book


Darcie May has created this second beautiful Dover coloring book with fairies nestled among the garden. Once again once they are colored in you can take them to a light source and the stained glass will come to life. Beautiful and bound to be a huge success.

The Garden Fairies Stained Glass Coloring Book is suitable for children over 6 years of age. It has 16 pages done in black and white on parchment paper. Click here to find the Garden Fairies coloring book online.

Amy Brown Fairies Coloring BookFlower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book

The Amy Brown Fairies Coloring Book


Amy Brown has been painting fairies for more than 20 years. Her artwork features detailed illustrations of fairies. Whether you are a little girl or a grown-up girl who is interested in fairies, you will enjoy this fairy coloring book, which is suitable for children of all ages. It has twenty one-sided pages that measure 8.5 by 11 inches. Click here to find Amy Brown's coloring book on Amazon.

Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book


Your youngster will learn her alphabet and the names of 24 of the most popular flower fairies as she colors in the beautiful pictures presented in the Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book, which features the artwork of Cicely Mary Barker. This book has 24 pages and is recommended for children from Kindergarten age to Grade 2.  Click here to find the Flower Fairies Alphabet coloring book on Amazon.

Fairy Fashion Coloring Book

Fairy Fashion Coloring Book

The Fairy Fashion colouring book presents pretty fairies dressed in the height of fairy fashion. Your fan will love spending time bringing these images to life with color. There are also plenty of cats, squirrels, birds and their friends keeping them company.

The artwork in this book is by Scott Altmann. The Amazon customer reviews bounce around a bit so make sure to check them out before you buy. Many of the issues are with varying tastes for the style of the illustrations.

The Fairy Fashion Coloring Book is recommended for individuals 5 years of age and up. It is a Dover Coloring Book and has 32 pages. Click here to find the Fairy Fashion coloring book on Amazon.

Do you believe in fairies? Do you like fairies? What about coloring books?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Fairy Reading:


Fairy Tale: A True Story Movie Review
A lovely family-friendly movie about fairies.

Were The Cottingley Fairies Real or Fake?
In 1917 in Cottingley, Yorkshire, England, a pair of young ladies named Elsie Wright (16) and Frances Griffiths (10) believed that there were fairies in their garden...

Abby Cadabby: Create A Sesame Street Fairy Gift Set

A Few Fairies on eBay
Discover a few select fairy-themed items in my eBay store, Treasures By Brenda.

Fairy Coloring Book








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