Christmas Decor Repairs

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Christmas Decor Repairs

My kitchen counter looks like a mini yard sale for Christmas decorative items, only none of them are for sale. These Christmas favorites are getting repairs before I put them away for next year.

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As part of my after Christmas shopping, I pick up some basics to have on hand for the repairs:

Paintable wood filler

Clear glue

Permanent black marker with two different size tips

Paint set

Small paint brushes

Gold and silver spray paint

Clean small lids for mixing paint

Howard Feed 'n Wax

A variety of felt pieces, usually Christmas colors get used the most.

Paintable Wood Filler

One of my favorite items, paintable wood filler, is very versatile. I can actually replace missing tiny wooden pieces by making new ones with the wood filler, then painting the new piece to match or blend in with the rest.

Also on the list, clear glue or white glue that dries clear. Super Glue is too messy, I end up with more of the glue on my fingers than on the item I am repairing.

Christmas colors felt is also handy to have in white, Christmas red and green, and black. Little ornaments with broken heads get glued back on and wrapped in a tiny scarf to cover their broken parts.

For the wooden items, Howard Feed 'n Wax gives them a nice hydrating treatment. Actually, I keep Howard Feed 'n Wax handy whenever I move things around, the beeswax and carnauba oil helps to keep my wood beautiful with very little special care.

This wooden angel lost one wing and part of her wooden halo when she was knocked to ground.

This wooden angel lost one wing and part of her wooden halo when she was knocked to ground.

Halo and wing made from wood filler has been painted with gold paint, ready to get back to angel choir.

Halo and wing made from wood filler has been painted with gold paint, ready to get back to angel choir.

I also keep a little container of paints I can turn to for minor repairs. If I need to mix them, I use a little bottle cap to mix the amounts, rarely do I need to mix a lot. If I need more paint, then it's time to splurge on paint sample bottles!

This little wooden horse now has a new right ear and paint job. 

This little wooden horse now has a new right ear and paint job. 

Some years I have waited to make the repairs at the beginning of the holiday season but now I like doing it right after. This way I remember what repairs need to be made and they are ready to be placed into service next year as soon as the season starts.

So which one are you, do you make Christmas decor repairs before Christmas or after Christmas?

Charlotte

Tiny Santa Hats

I put my tiny Santa hat on again tonight so you can see the hat being worn. 

I put my tiny Santa hat on again tonight so you can see the hat being worn. 

Tiny Santa Hats

The forecast was for a winter storm and snow tonight, a couple of days before Christmas, so I decided to make my rounds today with honey gift jars. To get into the holiday mood, I wore a red scarf and my Santa hat, my teeny tiny Santa hat. Among the benefits of this tiny hat, no bad hair from wearing the hat and it's hard to not get a smile, or two.

Actually I tend to forget I have it on and today was no exception. Almost at every stop, someone asked where I got the tiny Santa hat so here is how to make your very own.

How to Make Tiny Santa Hats

You can make your own out of red and white felt and add a little white ball at the hat tip, or you can buy the hats ready made. This little supply was originally sold at Hobby Lobby and I found it at our local Salvation Army store for $1.

The hair clips came out of my hair accessory box but I think they originally were purchased at a local beauty salon store. The hair clips are pretty common so you should be able to find them at most big box store hair care sections.

Tiny Santa hats, hair clips and a hot glue gun or needle and thread is all you need.

Tiny Santa hats, hair clips and a hot glue gun or needle and thread is all you need.

To attach the hair clips to the hats, you can use a glue gun or sew the clips to the Santa hats.

To position the hair clip, place it inside the Santa hat so only the teeth of the clip is visible. Then either glue or sew the clip into the Santa hat.

Place the hair clip inside the hat and either hot glue sides to the clip or sew the clip to the hat.

Place the hair clip inside the hat and either hot glue sides to the clip or sew the clip to the hat.

Last year, my friend Margaret, who introduced me to the tiny Santa hats, and I made a few extras and enjoyed passing them out around St. Louis. The young ladies at store check outs were the most thrilled to be presented with one so make extras to share.

I had a few extras last year so I shared with local friends, including my friend Ina. Next thing I knew, she was loaning her Santa hat to one of her friends.

My friend Ina let her cat Oscar try on her tiny Santa hat, he's handling it well, don't you think?

My friend Ina let her cat Oscar try on her tiny Santa hat, he's handling it well, don't you think?

I don't recommend putting these on pets but love this picture of Oscar wearing his Santa hat.

So make a few more than you need and pass them out when someone asks where you got it. Half the fun is watching their faces light up when you hand them their very own.

Have a very Merry!

Charlotte

How to Give Gift of Quilting

This is the winning beginners quilt at Piece and Plenty's 2017 Quilt Show in Rolla, Mo.

This is the winning beginners quilt at Piece and Plenty's 2017 Quilt Show in Rolla, Mo.

How to Give the Gift of Quilting

It's easy to think that giving the gift of quilting could be difficult. A friend of mine who wants to learn to quilt said she assumed the first thing she should do is take a quilting class, which is not a bad idea. Giving a coupon for a quilting class is also not a bad idea but it needs to have something more useful attached to it.

One option is our quilter's honey sampler gift set, a unique custom gift set that includes not only honey samples but quilting-related gifts that can easily be added to a gift certificate for a quilting class.

Another option is to pick a collection of fabrics, like this patchwork quilt started as a gift of a fat quarter bundle featured at the 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild in Rolla, Missouri.

And this quilt from a gift of fabrics just keeps on giving, now as a finished quilt gift!

And this quilt from a gift of fabrics just keeps on giving, now as a finished quilt gift!

Exciting to see a beginning quilter category getting first place ribbons!

Exciting to see a beginning quilter category getting first place ribbons!

Regardless of the category, I like to see the quilting details that add so much dimension to each handmade quilt. In this case, the machine quilting involves lovely floral patterns. Flowers on top of floral cotton patterns make for very nice floral themes!

Close up of the machine floral quilting in this winning beginning patchwork quilt.

Close up of the machine floral quilting in this winning beginning patchwork quilt.

I would be happy to get this first quilt even if it didn't get a first place ribbon, wouldn't you?

Charlotte

Handmade Cards Art

This bluebird was painted by the signer of the card and was turned into a lovely thank you card I was lucky enough to get.

This bluebird was painted by the signer of the card and was turned into a lovely thank you card I was lucky enough to get.

Handmade Cards Art

Although it is becoming a - well, dying art - handmade thank you cards are still a favorite in my house. They are art, unique and stories in and of themselves. 

As we enter the extended holiday season, when some people still teach their children to write thank you cards, here is some inspiration to save your favorites.  To continue to appreciate these lovely pieces, there are several things you can do with these works of original art to repurpose them and keep them in your life:

1. Use as book marks. Instead of turning down the pages to mark where you last left off in a hardcover book, use a card to mark the spot. That way you can still enjoy the card and keep the book pages from getting creased.

2. Mark recipes you want to try. I love reading recipe books but don't always remember a recipe I want to locate again later. When I find one I want to find again, I pop in one of these cards so I can easily find it later.

3. Frame the cards for wall art. This is one of my favorite uses of handmade cards art, especially if you have several in the same theme, such as I did.

It doesn't have to be only a theme, find something that unifies them - maybe they are all the same color, or by the same author.

If all else fails, add a unifying element by placing them all in the same frames.

Love the elegance of this thank you card, a handpainted bird on an old book page in french.

Love the elegance of this thank you card, a handpainted bird on an old book page in french.

The thank you card that inspired me to shop for frames at our local thrift stores was this small bird card by a teenage boy.

I kept all of the cards intact so I can still read the inside messages.

This was a thank you from a young man who drew this bird free hand.

This was a thank you from a young man who drew this bird free hand.

Here they are, all three framed bird thank you notes hanging together off my kitchen:

The picture frames are also each different but are all in silver tones and compliment the cards.

The picture frames are also each different but are all in silver tones and compliment the cards.

Who said you had to pay a lot for original art? You probably have some right in your own mail box!

Charlotte

Basket Flowers

This tiny silver toned floral basket makes a great way to collect small flowers for a table.

This tiny silver toned floral basket makes a great way to collect small flowers for a table.

Basket Flowers

A friend recently told me she admires the fresh flowers I have around my house, especially the small bouquets tucked on tables. Come to think about it, I rarely seem to see small flowers in home improvement shows so this is going to be about how to easily incorporate those tiny gems into your home.

Right Size Container

The first step is to find the right size container that fits the space where you want to place flowers. I like having flowers on my den coffee table where I do some of my work. I also like fresh flowers on my kitchen island but I have to mitigate that location with cats that like to stop by and munch on anything that is long, skinny and green so long, skinny and you know what is out for the kitchen.

Actually I don't add long and skinny greens to my den coffee table, either, it just makes things simpler and - well, quieter. I don't have to police the flowers as much, although any greens do seem to invite trouble.

One of my favorite thrift store finds for the den is this little silvertone floral basket that is 6x4x4 inches, not counting the long handle. It has a clear plastic liner inside that holds water, or I could have popped a glass jar the size of the inside of the basket to keep the flowers hydrated if the liner had been missing. The flowers sit nicely low to the ground in this flower arrangement. I could also have cut the flowers with longer stems so they filled the space between the basket and basket handle so this gives me some versatility.

Now that the growing season is starting to slow down, I cut some geraniums from my deck plants as anchors and then started to add whatever else I could find in my garden that was small.

Geraniums from my deck add color to other tiny flowers cut from my garden.

Geraniums from my deck add color to other tiny flowers cut from my garden.

Miniature roses take center stage when they are added to these little bouquets, especially red ones. I have only one in this combination but it sits nicely in the center of the flowers, anchored on either side by the peach geraniums and purple verbena.

This was my first flower bouquet with salmon lobelia and one Black Eyed Susan flower.

This was my first flower bouquet with salmon lobelia and one Black Eyed Susan flower.

This is my second bouquet with the miniature red rose, the first one was leftovers from pruning: salmon Lobelia, pink phlox, self heal and a couple of butterfly bush flowers initially filled the silver flower basket.

Other fresh flowers I added included liriope, forget me nots and the sweet little white flowers that are just opening. Don't get too close to those, though, garlic chives are pretty but they are definitely not sweet-smelling!

Charlotte

Red Roses Gift Flowers

A little bouquet of red roses on its way to a friend's business.

A little bouquet of red roses on its way to a friend's business.

Red Roses Gift Flowers

We often think of gift flower bouquets as elaborate collections of flowers, of big globs of one flower, but they don't have to be. A gift bouquet can be as simple as one flower, or in this case, three little flowers in a simple vase.

But this isn't just any red rose.

I picked the hybrid tea rose with a wonderful scent early morning, when the rose was still in bud form so that it would open through the rest of the day and last longer. I added two miniature roses in the same color for a touch of whimsy. The Mr. Lincoln hybrid tea rose would have been lovely all by itself but I liked adding the little miniature roses for fun.

Pairing miniature roses with a hybrid tea rose is a simple way to make a pretty bouquet.

Pairing miniature roses with a hybrid tea rose is a simple way to make a pretty bouquet.

Miniature roses are shrub roses that often bloom more frequently than hybrid tea roses, at least in my garden, so I like having a variety of miniature rose colors growing throughout the season. I give them compost, banana peels and coffee grounds to keep them well fed, and regularly mulch them, so they get similar care to my regular roses.

Although miniature roses are easier to grow, I also grow hybrid tea roses, especially Mr. Lincoln roses. Besides their lovely red color, I love their scent, which can envelop a room with just one flower.

Mr. Lincoln hybrid tea rose has a wonderful scent and invites a sniff just because.

Mr. Lincoln hybrid tea rose has a wonderful scent and invites a sniff just because.

I also keep little glass flower vases around in a garage cabinet just for these occasions, picking them up as I see them at garage sales.

The red roses gift flowers bouquet was appreciated, even more when my friend got a whiff of the rose. She said she only plants the repeat-blooming KnockOut roses, but she may be giving the old time hybrid tea roses a second look now. My friend said she thought I had sprayed the red rose with a perfume. I assured her this was the natural scent.

When I left, she was still smelling that red rose!

Charlotte

 

How to Add Daffodils

Found this bunny basket at a local Salvation Army and removed all of the plastic decorations.

Found this bunny basket at a local Salvation Army and removed all of the plastic decorations.

How to Add Daffodils to Baskets

Over the years, friends have asked me how I make these flower arrangements in baskets and vases and they are quite simple.

This rabbit was not planned. I was looking for flower vases at our local Salvation Army store when I ran across this little rabbit basket. Originally it had a plastic burgundy hat, old ribbon around it's neck and some grey plastic bib, all quickly removed to reveal the charming black-eyed bunny.

Whether it's this rabbit basket or just a plain one, it's easy to add spring daffodils or any flowers of your choice. Find a glass container that will fit inside the basket to hold water. I picked one up at the Salvation Army store since I wasn't sure what I had at home.

Wash it out with hot water and let it dry. If you use soap, make sure it is washed out well or the soap can make the flowers droop faster.

Don't worry what kind of container you use, although clear or light colored is better than something dark.  Once the flowers are added, it won't matter what you have them in because the flowers will cover the bowl.

I enjoy a mixture of daffodils from my garden, or you can make a bouquet of the same flowers.

I enjoy a mixture of daffodils from my garden, or you can make a bouquet of the same flowers.

The trick is to cut the flowers so that they have room to bloom but won't fall over. I will test cut one to make sure I have the right stem length, and then cut the rest.

I also use clear florist marbles placed around the flowers to keep them standing upright in the glass vase in the basket.

No problem if you don't have the florist marbles, rocks or even washed driveway gravel will work.

Once you add the marbles or rock gently around the daffodil stems, don't forget to slowly add room temperature water until the container is full.

Place the flowers in marbles, or rocks to keep them stable, then add water in a container.

Place the flowers in marbles, or rocks to keep them stable, then add water in a container.

For 20 years or more, I used to take these cut flowers into my office's coffee room. I'm still getting adjusted to being retired from that job so I placed the bunny where I could enjoy it, on my den coffee table.

Bunny basket holding fresh-cut daffodils on my den coffee table.

Bunny basket holding fresh-cut daffodils on my den coffee table.

The forecast is for cold temperatures and possibly snow over the next few days. I will enjoy these signs of spring with my tea as winter makes it's last stand outside, or so I hope!

Charlotte

Pantone 2017 Color

Some "greenery" items already around my house, so odd to be on the cutting edge!

Some "greenery" items already around my house, so odd to be on the cutting edge!

Pantone 2017 Color "Greenery"

For those of you who like to be on the cutting edge of cool, the provider of professional color standards for the design industries has declared the 2017 "it" color as "greenery." My newspaper editor background tends to fume just a tad with the proliferation of non-words in our current vocabulary but I like this new word. I would have been fine with just "green" but "greenery" has extra panache.

Pantone defines "greenery" as "fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature's greens revive, restore and renew." If you know me, you are undoubtedly not surprised that this is a favorite color of mine. A visiting friend recently noted how nice my furniture looks in my sea of wintering over inside plants. I do, and will continue to contend, that adding something living and green will spice up any room and home decor, any time of any year.

Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute executive director, put their color choice in context. While the colors last year - baby blue and baby pink - "expressed the need for harmony in a chaotic world, Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively year for amid a complex social and political landscape.

"Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose. The tangy yellow-green speaks to our desire to express, explore, experiment and reinvent, importing a sense of buoyancy. Through its reassuring yet assertive vibrancy, Greenery offers us self-assurance and boldness to live life on our own terms, during a time when we are redefining what makes us successful and happy."

Pantone calls this color "nature's neutral," noting it compliments a wide range of color palettes. Adding Greenery to interior furnishings can "created the illusion of bringing the outdoors inside and provide a sense of respite."

I love green, from the living kind to greens in quilts, this green sleeping cats throw is a personal favorite.

The last time a shade of green was designated as an official Pantone color was 2013, when the darker emerald green was featured.

For those of you wanting the exact color match, Greenery is Pantone 15-0343. 

"Greenery" has always been "in" at my house, whether inside or outside.

"Greenery" has always been "in" at my house, whether inside or outside.

Live plants that can easily add that color to your home decor include geraniums, herbs, philodendrons...oh, anything live and growing looks wonderful.

How about that, I am finally in style!

Charlotte

Closet Sewing Room

Bluebird Gardens sewing room is in a closet where I can close the doors and leave projects out.

Bluebird Gardens sewing room is in a closet where I can close the doors and leave projects out.

Closet Sewing Room

As we brainstorm gift ideas, this is one that my mother used to talk about all of the time. She wanted a room - not even a room, just a place - where she could set up her sewing machine and leave it up without having to take it down every time we needed to set the table for dinner.

So when I set up my Bluebird Gardens office, I remembered those conversations and chose to make a closet into my sewing area.

It's about twice the size of a regular closet. I added shelves so I could keep my smaller fabric stashes organized by color. I also added a little light under the lowest shelf to give me more sewing light.

The sewing table is a butcher block top with ceramic legs from my mother's old sewing room. I have plastic bins on the right holding the things I use the most when sewing: different-sized elastics, fabric glue, filled bobbins.

My sewing machine stays out all of the time now with the sewing spool holder my brother made when he was 9 years old hanging on the wall behind it. A small bench that tucks under the sewing table when not in use gives me seating room in front of the machine. When I am finished with using the area, I close the folding doors without having to put the sewing machine away.

I forgot how much of a luxury this is until a friend was renovating an old bedroom and wanted some suggestions on how to make it into her craft room. Wish you could have seen her eyes when she saw my closet!

To turn a closet into a sewing room, you need a sewing table and chair that will fit into the space when not in use; lighting over the sewing machine and doors that can be closed. Shelving is additional and can be added over time.

Charlotte

 

How to Gift Wrap Daffodils

Darker vases in blue and black nicely contrast against traditional yellow and white daffodils.

Darker vases in blue and black nicely contrast against traditional yellow and white daffodils.

Daffodils are March's gift flowers, captured sunshine to chase away winter gloom and bring on spring garden dreams

How to Gift Wrap Daffodils for Gift Giving

To easily gift wrap your gift of flowers, have fun shopping for an interesting vase. Most home decor stores have a selection, as do antique and thrift shops. When in a rush, don't overlook your local grocery store floral department. If you don't see any vases, ask; they will usually share what they have in stock.

When looking for a gift vase, look for something on the small size from 4-6 inches tall and 2 inches wide.

Also think about the person who is going to get the flowers. Select a vase that represents their spirit and joy. Anything in a blue range works well with yellow, as does white and black.

Flower Vases Should Be Repeatedly Used

In my world, flower vases are repeatedly used. A friend of mine who regularly gets flowers from my garden periodically cleans out her flower vase collection and gives them back to me for re-use.

I also collect vases later in the year at yard sales and keep a stash for easy use when I have flowers to share.

Don't Wait For A Flower Vase

If you don't have a fancy vase, don't hesitate to wrap them in paper towels or a clean, recycled glass jar. Most people have a vase they can use once they get the flowers so make someone's day with a nice bouquet.

A bouquet of daffodils from my garden on its way to a friend's house with other goodies.

A bouquet of daffodils from my garden on its way to a friend's house with other goodies.

Wouldn't you enjoy getting a bouquet of fresh flowers just because?

Charlotte

 

 

Fabric Holiday Wreath

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One of the holiday traditions is adding wreaths to our home decor. You can get the family involved, too. You could make this fabric holiday wreath for almost any occasion, or no occasion at all if you just want to use up fabric scraps or break into your secret, holiday-themed fabric stash. No worries, we all have them!

Start with one of those craft store wreaths that look like a bunch of straw bundled together. You want something you can easily poke holes in. Don't remove the clear wrap unless you don't mind those little pieces falling all over your floors.

These wreaths are available at most craft stores and big box stores with craft sections.

These wreaths are available at most craft stores and big box stores with craft sections.

Cut fabric pieces into 2-inch squares with pinking shears. You could use all red fabrics or all holly green fabrics. I couldn't decide which one to use so I used both.

Pinking shear fabric edges give fabric squares an easy finish and add texture to the wreath.

Pinking shear fabric edges give fabric squares an easy finish and add texture to the wreath.

Once you have pieces cut, have little hands punch holes literally into the wreath with a safe bamboo chopstick. If adults are helping, use closed scissors to poke a hole, then center a fabric square on the scissor point and insert into the hole.

Bamboo sticks make a safe tool for little hands to help making the wreath.

Bamboo sticks make a safe tool for little hands to help making the wreath.

Once the wreath is full, add a wire and twist at the back so that you can easily hang it. You can add a wire before you start poking fabric in but it may be hard to find later.

Adding a loop of wire makes hanging the wreath easier.

Adding a loop of wire makes hanging the wreath easier.

I have my fabric holiday wreath hanging inside my front door so I can enjoy it. I'm also thinking it would make a nice addition to a fireplace mantel.

Almost forgot. Don't forget to add a bow!

Wired ribbons hold their shape better than plain ribbons but either one will work.

Wired ribbons hold their shape better than plain ribbons but either one will work.

This fabric wreath is easy to make and will be a nice addition to your holiday decor for many years to come!

Charlotte

Making Mug Rugs

I saw several versions of "mug rugs" at Christmas parties this year and can't wait to come up with my own version. I'm thinking I could make a little pouch on the right where a favorite spoon could fit in!

One of the ladies who made this one said they were very popular this year at quilt guilds. She also said they are "very easy" to make so you still have time if you want to make some for Christmas gifts.

Mug rugs are quilted 8x10 inch miniature quilts so that a mug can be placed on one side and a muffin, or cookie, on the other.

This one was made out a printed Christmas fabric and finished with binding, just as you would a quilt.

 Machine quilting to make a little design can be seen on the back. This picture is a little out of focus but it still gives you the idea:

I also saw another version where a little 3x3 inch flat cotton envelope with cinammon was stitched inside on the mug side. Once heat hits the spice, the aroma is released.

If you make some, remember to add a little card to explain just what this is:

 Sweet little gift idea any day of the year!

Charlotte

Personalized Christmas cards

Last year, one of our artists tossed out a card with a gift check inside so I decided I needed to make my cards stand out this year.

I thought about making my own cards but time escaped me. I was going to make something inspired by our ribbon garden quilt, reminiscent of cards I remember making when I was a kid.

Seeing a ribbon on a handmade card a friend sent me, ribbons were still on my mind. I took some of our organza blue ribbon and added it to ready made Christmas cards.

Inside, I tucked the check into the ribbon so that it wouldn't be lost once the card was opened.

This card will be a little harder to loose, don't you think?

Charlotte

Paint Stick Snowmen Ornaments and Gift Tags

 

I saw this charming handmade snowman ornament at a local crafts fair. Who doesn’t love snowmen in their holiday home décor and have a pile of paint sticks gathering dust somewhere!

One of my friend’s husbands bought a Let It Snow Throw for her for Christmas so one of these little guys will be on her package as a gift tag. She can then add it to her Christmas tree later as an ornament and memento of this year's Christmas.

These snowmen were made out of the shaped tip of a paint stick with the hat brim cut out of the rest.

Painting is simple. The charm comes in the details including placement of the dots for the mouth and the little white highlights on the hat.

 These examples have a fancy metal wire hangar but something simple would work just as well.

Fun easy project to do with kids of all ages!

How to Dry Rose Buds

While you are shopping for your white ceramic pieces, pick up a basket with perforations around the sides and a solid bottom. It will come in handy when it's time to dry the gift rose buds.

I start by saving all those decadent bags in shoes in a jar so I can add those when I need to dry something. Once I have the basket, I add a paper towel, then the items I want to dry: rose buds, either from a florist or from my garden. I place the basket on top of my refrigerator, where the hot air from the back of the motor helps dry out the buds faster. It also keeps the flowers safe from admiring cat paws. I check once a week, until the buds are dried and ready to arrange in the white ceramic bowl.

If you just want to have the flowers still around, you can also dry them on stems with leaves. Just shape them the way you want them in the end so you don't break the brittle stems once they are dry.

Have you dried rose buds before?

Charlotte

Saving Rose Buds


We've all had them, lovely gift flowers that sooner, or later, start to loose their beauty. Instead of adding to the compost pile, cut off the buds, dry them, then display them where you can see them every day and relive the good memories they generate.

You don't need a fancy bowl, I made this one from two thrift store finds. And don't leave these in a living room corner where you see them as you go by, I have mine on my kitchen island where I can see them, and enjoy them, every day.

In the next few posts, I will show you how to dry the rose buds and make the container.

What have you used to dry your flowers?

Charlotte

How to Make Magnetic Book Marks

Handmade magnetic bookmarks are a nice way to combine a gift card with something practical such as a recipe book.

Magnetic bookmarks slip easily over a book page and help mark where a reader left off reading.

You will need: Cardboard, either new stock or re-use holiday and birthday cards. Magnet strips, available at most craft stores. You can also re-use magnet strips from other projects. Different-colored marking pens. Magazine cut-outs, copies of favorite photos, stickers. Paper glue. Paper scissors.

To make: Cut cardboard into 4x1.5 inch cardboard strips. You can make them bigger or smaller as long as it is a rectangle. Fold so one side is slightly smaller than the other. Decide whether to attach at the top of the page or to the right side. Decorate the smaller size with a photo or design. Decorate the larger side with a dedication and signature. Cut magnet strip into two pieces. Remove backing. Glue magnet inside the shorter size; glue the other magnet to the first piece, then fold cardboard to the second magnet so both magnet pieces match. Allow to dry for 15 minutes.

Apply to a book, or a gift book, as page markers or give all by themselves as handmade gifts.

Charlotte

How to Make Magnetic Book Marks

How to Make Magnetic Book Marks

Handmade magnetic bookmarks are a nice way to combine a gift card with something practical. Magnetic bookmarks slip easily over a book page and help mark where a reader left off reading without damaging the page corners. Nice addition to a gift book, such a set of Sesame Street books.

You will need

Cardboard, either new stock or re-use holiday and birthday cards. Magnet strips, available at most craft stores. You can also re-use magnet strips from other projects. Different-colored marking pens. Magazine cut-outs, copies of favorite photos, stickers. Paper glue. Paper scissors.

To make

Cut cardboard into 4x1.5 inch cardboard strips. You can make them bigger or smaller as long as it is a rectangle.

Fold so one side is slightly smaller than the other. Decide whether to attach at the top of the page or to the right side.

Decorate the smaller size with a photo or design.

Decorate the larger side with a dedication and signature.

Cut magnet strip into two pieces. Remove backing.

Glue magnet inside the shorter size; glue the other magnet to the first piece, then fold cardboard to the second magnet so both magnet pieces match.

Allow to dry for 15 minutes.

Apply to a book, or a gift book, as page markers or give all by themselves as handmade gifts.

Charlotte

Dry Hydrangeas for Custom Decor

If you like to make dried wildflower wreaths and dried flower gift tags, hydrangeas are easy to dry.

Cut off flower heads past their prime and hang from string tied to a rod in a cool dark place. We have them hanging from a rod hanging over the sink in the garage.

You can use hydrangeas as they are, which is what I do. They make a great filler in wreaths. If you need a little more color, use a spray. The dried flowers will hold the color nicely!

Charlotte

How to Mend Favorite Birdhouses

Friends have given me wonderful birdhouses over the years. As they wear down, I've found plant markers are handy to make repairs. 

I slip plant markers into broken bottoms, in open sides and to shore up roofs. The markers can withstand weather conditions and still keep birds dry, giving the birdhouses a few more years of use!

Charlotte