Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Collecting | Saving the snowpeople

Despite my best efforts, my little collection of snowpeople keeps growing. 
snowman collectibles
 I never go out looking for them, but (like a lot of other things) they just keep finding me. 
snowman collection
This is the guy who started it all. He was a Christmas gift when I was kid. (You might recognize him as an Avon decanter; he's still half full of Sweet Honesty, my signature scent in the eighth grade. )
snowmen and Gurley candle Christmas tree
Most of the rest of my little snow family have been picked up for a song at garage sales and thrift stores over the years.
vintage snowman collection
I really like the vintage ones, like this couple of cuties, who are actually salt and pepper shakers.
snowman collection
But I have a soft spot for simple wooden snowmen, too.
snowman collection
This guy even came with a name tag. (Poor Bob. What kind of a heartless monster would dump him at a thrift store???)
The big guy in the center of this video clip is solar-powered. When I first saw him at the St. Vincent de Paul, I thought he was a broken clock or kitchen timer. I bought him anyway. After I got him home and held him up to the light to inspect him, he started to shimmy, and it dawned on me that the panel on his base was actually a solar cell, not a broken LCD screen.
snowmen on a shelf
Most years, I set my snowpeople out on this three-tiered shelf before Christmas. This year -- as part of my ongoing quest to put off studying for finals and writing the three papers that I have due next week -- I decided to document the process.
red metal plate
On the bottom shelf, I started with this chippy red metal plate.
making a Christmas display
I propped an evergreen branch (trimmed off the bottom of our Christmas tree) up against the plate.
ceramic tree
Then I put a ceramic tree in the center of the shelf ...
vintage snowmen and tree
... and added a couple of larger snowpeople to the right. (I used a few checkers and poker chips as risers in order to vary the height a bit.)
snowmen on a shelf
I filled in around the big pieces with smaller snowmen and added a few more random pieces of greenery to hide the risers and fill in the gaps.
creating a Christmas vignette
For the middle shelf, I started with this green metal plate. 
green tray and evergreen branch
An evergreen branch went in front of the plate again.
Creating a Christmas vignette
Then I added a couple of cocoa tins and a vintage battery-powered light-up Christmas tree in the center of the shelf.
snowmen and tree
I added Bob and another wooden snowman on the edges ...
snowman collectibles
... and then I finished up with some other random smalls.
evergreen branch on shelf
The process was pretty much the same for the top shelf, except I skipped the plate in the back and just started with some Christmas tree trimmings.
Gurley Christmas tree candles
A couple of vintage Gurley candles went next, with one of them on a riser.
snowmen and candle Christmas trees
Then I placed a couple of bigger guys ...
snowman collection
... and filled in with some smaller pieces.
vintage snowmen on a shelf

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Crafting | Making a woven wreath

sisal rope wrapped around metal wreath frame
This week's project -- a DIY woven wreath -- has been on my to-do list for about a year and a half. 
wreath base
That's when I dragged this wire frame home from a garage sale. Actually when I dragged it home, it was green, but I forgot to take a "before" picture until after I had spray painted it tan. The reason I painted it? Because I was going to weave some rope around it, and I knew parts of the frame would end up exposed. 
woven wreath
The weaving process was pretty straightforward: I went over one wire and under the next, then wrapped around the inside (and outside) wire to start over again.
woven wreath
When I reached the end of the rope, I tucked it into the back of the wreath and glued it down to keep it in place. Then I started with a new piece, keeping the same over-under pattern going.
woven wreath
 Here's what it looked like when I had the entire wreath wrapped.
sisal rope wreath
 If you look closely, you can see the wire peeking out in some spots, but since it's the same color as the sisal rope, it's hardly noticeable.
Christmas bell ornaments
  Next, I hung a few metal bells from twisted pieces of twine. (I applied a little Mod Podge along the length of the twine to set the twists in place and keep them from unwinding.)   
rope wreath
 Then I attached the bells and a few trimmings from the bottom of our Christmas tree to the back of the wreath.
sisal wrapped wreath
 I also wired a couple of rusty jingle bells to the top of the evergreen branches ...
sisal wreath
 ... and wrapped an old leather strap around the top of the wreath as a hanger.
sisal rope wreath
After Christmas, I figure I will throw out the branches and pack the bells away, but the wreath itself can stay hanging up year round.
sisal Christmas wreath
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Salvaged wood | Lath log cabin quilt square

Here's what I made this week:
wooden log cabin quilt square
And here's what I made it out of:
salvaging lath
That would be the lath in the shower of our downstairs bathroom, which the husband had to tear out in order to attach cement backerboard to the studs, so we could tile the walls. 
salvaging lath for art piece
Sadly, this is what the lath looked like after the husband took his Sawzall and his pry bar to it. (Sigh.)
lath art
 After digging through the pile of rubble, I found nine longish pieces that weren't cracked that I figured I could still salvage. Butting the pieces up next to each other, side by side, they measured 13 inches across ...
framing a lath art piece
... which coincidentally was the same size as an old wooden wine box I had in my basement.
wine box cover
So instead of having to build a frame, all I had to do was pry the cover off the box. (Sometimes my hoarding tendencies pay off.)
lath art
I played around with a few different patterns. Ultimately I decided to go with a log cabin-style quilt square design -- mostly because it would be really easy to put together.
log cabin quilt square
 I just had to measure out the pieces ...
lath art
 ... and cut them with my jigsaw.
lath art
 I worked from the outside in ...
lath art
 ... and alternated the rows, using the front (natural wood) for one row and the back (white with plaster dust) for the next.
lath art
I tried to work as many of the nail holes and knots into the design as I could because I thought they added character. 
lath art
The square came together really quickly. . 
wooden log cabin quilt square
It took about 20 minutes to cut all the pieces and get them where I wanted them.
lath art
 Once all the pieces were trimmed, I decided I wanted the frame to be darker, so I stained the wine box cover with some Varathane American Walnut that I found in my basement.
lath art
After the stain dried, I glued the pieces into place and filled in the gaps with wood putty.
salvaged lath art piece
Ta-da.
wooden log cab quilt square
Not bad for a piece made for free in one afternoon.
wooden log cabin quilt square