Category Archives: Projects
It’s way too early to start in on Christmas decor, but it’s perfect time to get a few holiday projects started. Especially the ones that take time to cure, grow or whatever they have to do.
Today’s project is one of my favorite “early” projects. If you have been a long time reader you may recall that I’ve had an obsession with forced bulbs. I think its in my genes. My grandma Estelle always had an amaryllis every year for Christmas. (As a kid I remember charting the growth by how many string ties my grandmother added to it’s stalk.)
If you have never forced a bulb before — don’t worry. It’s really simple. Go to you local garden store and they should have a ton of spring bulbs in stock. Any bulb can be forced, but traditionally amaryllis and paperwhites are used for the holidays.
I picked up a brand new amaryllis bulb to my collection and two packs of paperwhites. One reason I bought so many is I’m going to stagger mine a little and plant half now, another few next week and the final few the week after.
The bulbs just needs light and water to grow so you can use a variety of planting compounds (gravel, marbles or glass). I like using soil the best because it secures the bulb a little better than the other alternatives.
I decide to use a variety of white and terra-cotta containers this year. Then I layered an inch or two with river rocks at the bottom then added potting soil. I made room for the bulbs and placed them in the soil with the roots facing down. Wet the pots to moisten the soil and put them out in a sunny location.
They take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to bloom so don’t wait. Plant them now!
Happy Halloween! I wanted to show my last-minute addition to my decorations this week. I picked up this balsam, laser-cut sugar skull this summer and have been debating what to do with it ever since. I kept thinking about working it into my Day of the Dead wreath, but that seemed to much. Finally this weekend, it came to me – just do something simple with it.
And speaking of cat costumes, I have to finish making this year’s look when I get home from work tonight. I have high hopes the cats will wear them for more than 5 minutes this year!
I had grand plans for elaborate Halloween decor this year, but in the end I chose one more simple project to tackle – a masked pumpkin. In fact I made a whole crew of them to decorate the whole house with.
They joined my other Halloween craft the Day of the Dead Wreath on my porch.
I also decorated with some of my favorite seasonal pieces including a pirate patch of our ceramic pig and the always popular, can’t-be-Halloween-without-him, Devil Mini Nate.
Masked pumpkins also found a home next the center of our football-obsessed lives, the 52″ television (with Sleepy Hollow appropriately playing). Someone keeps moving them away from the screen, but I prefer them to just sit slightly in front of it.
My masked pumpkins were inspired by these cute felt-lined pumpkins I bought from Target. My favorite is the fat masked pumpkin so I made a similar mask for the Cinderella-shaped red pumpkin. The trio of felt-lined styrofoam pumpkins are now sitting on my office desk and bring me lots of joy every time I am in there.
In order to start the project, I needed a few more pumpkins so I invested in three new “foam” ones from my local fabric store. I really liked how these fake pumpkins are made to look like the heirloom varieties. I like my pumpkins to have some personality and buying these guys saves me from purchasing a couple real Cinderella pumpkins. I should note that these foam pumpkins are labeled “for inside use only” so I took the precaution of coated them with a clear sealer to make them a little more hardy.
Although super simple, this look is also ingenious because the masks are removable. This means November 1st, I can de-mask them and still have harvest/thanksgiving appropriate decorations up. Woo!
Okay back to the project… Masking the pumpkins is a very easy craft. You will need black felt pieces, a piece of white chalk, some sort of stretchy string (I used clear beading string) or elastic, scissors and possibly a sharpie.
First determine a size mask for each pumpkin. Then cut the felt into a rough rectangle. (Mine ranged from a third to a half of a felt piece.) Take the rectangle and fold it into half. Make sure the edges line up and sketch half the mask shape onto the felt. Mark the eye placement as well. I went with different mask shapes for each pumpkin so they all had their own look.
Cut out the mask shape and eye socket. Open the felt up and flip it so the unmarked side shows. Trim anywhere you need to make the mask even.
Then, take the stretchy string and measuring around each pumpkin to get the right length. Cut small holes in each side of the mask and then knot the string through them. Stretch the mask over the pumpkin and take a look to get the placement right. If you go with a light color string like I did, you may need to use a sharpie to black it out.
I am down with the simple black, but it would be fun to add different colors for a superhero look as well. The masks would also be cool molded or embellished.
Oh, and I did get two real pumpkins as well. They will live on the front porch until the 31st. I’ll try to convince Nate to carve one, but there’s a good chance I’ll be doing them both with the cats help, of course.
My favorite change in Autumn is the way the sun makes everything outside golden. It’s the one constant I can trust will happen this time of year. Besides that, October is always a transitional month in Northern California. It could be warm. It could be cold. More often, it’s a frustrating combination of both. Today, it actually started to look and feel like Autumn and that made me start thinking.
I’m on a mission to refresh my Halloween & seasonal decor. I’ve got a few ideas churning in my head I want to work on over the weekend, but one was so good I just had to do it immediately.
So I tackled my first project before work between getting dressed and eating my breakfast. Luckily it took about ten minutes to put together! My idea was inspired by all the wonderful Día de Muertos decorations and artwork. So using my wedding flowers and black satin ribbon, I made a wreath for our front door. I can’t wait to hang it up when I get home!
Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Inspired Wreath
- Straw Wreath
- Black Satin Ribbon
- Straight Pins
- Fabric Flowers
- Secure your ribbon to the wreath with two straight pins.
- Wrap the ribbon tightly around the wreath. I used about 30 feet of 1 1/2″ ribbon on this 14″ wreath.
- Secure the end of the ribbon with two more straight pins.
- Attach flowers to wreath with more straight pins or hair clips (if attached).
Here’s the wreath up on the door. I’ll post a better photo when the rest of the decor is up.