Please Be Seated

I’m dreaming of a beautiful tablescape for Christmas brunch. I lust spend hours looking at and pinning gorgeous settings on my Pinterest boards. When I try to create them, I fall short. When I try to capture even that shortness on camera, I completely fail. That never stops me from trying.

Remember those wooden discs I left from last post? No? Well, let me refresh your memory.

DSC00040I couldn’t let them go to waste after Saint so carefully cut them, and I sanded and clear-coated them. But when I went back to look at my inspiration picture at this blog:http://redheadcandecorate.com/4/post/2014/11/mini-tree-stump-christmas-place-card-holders.html

I realized my wooden circles were much larger than the ones I wanted to recreate. I also knew I wanted to use what I had on hand rather than adding to my chaos stash of Christmas decor. I loved the small jewel toned ornaments that The Red Head used, but I had only clear, burgundy, and gold. And, what I did have was crinoline. I love that stuff! There’s just something so romantic and feminine about it, agree?

DSC00062I also had a whole woods full of nature. So, I went gathering the naturals: boxwood, cedar, bark, twigs and sticks. Then I got my supplies and trusty hot glue gun. Just when I thought I had all that iridescent snow cleaned up, I grabbed it and started sticking it onto those wooden discs.

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I started with the clear ornaments which I wrapped in crinoline and tied with shiny pink or white ribbon. I used a bit of the naturals plus odds and ends I had in my craft bag. When I had hot glued the ornament to the disc and added greenery, etc, I cut some black tag board rectangles for the names. My intent was to use a chalk pen so it would be erasable. Silly me. The chalk pen didn’t show up well enough, besides, who wants to store and reuse black paper rectangles? A metallic pen worked much better.

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I had six clear ornaments, which I wrapped in crinoline. One table will only seat six people. The other six mixed ornaments needed to be cohesive in some way. I’m not into the matchy-matchy, but I did want them to look like they belonged together…like family, you know. The naturals I had gathered worked in doing just that. Here are a few of them.

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And here’s what they look like all set up and ready for breakfast.

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I know what you’re thinking…this girl really needs a new camera, and it’s probably true. But then I would need a tutor. You know, If You Give a Girl a Camera, she’s gonna want to take some pictures. And when she turns on the camera, she’s gonna need someone to show her how to use it. I’m thinking a photography class might be a good first step.

So what I lack in photography skills, I make up for in cre I still lack in photography skills. Never let it be said that I am not persistent, though. Or conservative. Just look at the Christmas tags I made from the leftover sticks and twigs.

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I’m not giving up on making the cute ones I linked you to…just not this year.

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DIY Summer into Fall Wreath Update

I picked up this grapevine wreath for a couple of bucks at a garage sale this weekend. I thought it would be perfect for a summer to fall makeover that would add some curb appeal to our son’s house. He and his new bride have three houses right now…his, hers, and theirs. So, we have been busily getting two of them ready for market by Labor Day weekend.

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I planned to remove the greenery, but since I wanted a summer into fall wreath, I decided to leave the summer element and just add some autumn touches.

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the junk collection of materials I already had…burlap, of course, leaves, sunflowers, fabric strips, twine, and wired basket weave ribbon.

I made three twine flowers (the tutorial for that is in an earlier post from Christmas) and started tucking leaves here and there. I didn’t glue anything until I played with the placement of the leaves and sunflowers on one side of the wreath.

Next, I made a bow with the wired ribbon and a touch of burlap. I like the bow at the bottom. But that leaves one side practically naked bare. I love the look of the wreaths that have knotted fabric strips all around, so I decided to try adding a few strips of neutral fabrics to the blank spaces.

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Nice…but I wanted it to be a bit more welcoming.

How about a WELCOME bunting? Out of burlap?

Of course!

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I took it right over and hung it on the door. I think it will work with the other things I have in mind for the porch. For now.

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It’s a Wrap!

I wish! Oh, how I’d like to say that I have everything done and am anxiously awaiting our Christmas celebration. Not so, this year. But, I’m getting there, and, due to this lingering cold, I have had to be somewhat resourceful.
Since much of our time is spent shopping for that perfect gift, wrapping, and cooking, I thought I’d share a few helpful tips. Now, I can’t help with that perfect gift. If any of you have tips for that, please share come do my shopping!

But, for wrapping, I am using whatever I can find. I admit to going to the Dollar Tree for some wrapping paper, though. Now, I love the Dollar Tree, but there are some things that are better not purchased there. Wrapping paper is one of them! Talk about cheap paper. It ripped when I plopped placed the gift on it. I had some better quality paper left over from last year, so I am making do. So, at the end of the cheap paper, you get a tube, but at the end of the more expensive paper, you get this.

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It’s a really nice, heavy piece of paper. I decided it would make a cute “wrapper” of some sort. I folded the ends down like a little pocket and tied it with some leftover ribbon. I added a Dollar Tree embellishment, also left over from last year, and it turned out surprisingly cute.

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And I’ll bet you would never guess what is wrapped up in there. I would tell you, but it’s a secret.

Another thing I have had left over for six years are the wine glass tags I made for our daughter’s wedding. (In an earlier post I mentioned that I was so busy I forgot to have the tags handed out.) Welllll, perfect for a Christmas tag. I made them by printing out a photo in sepia tones and using Golden Gel Medium to transfer the image onto a manilla tag.

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So, here it is attached to the package.

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And I always have jute twine. I saw some really cute twine flowers on Pinterest. You can find the tutorial here.http://www.thebugbytes.com/2012/02/twine-flowers.html. I didn’t have the right kind of needles, and anyway, I don’t sew much, you know. So I just looped, gathered, and tied.

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I could embellish with an antique brooch. But, I just pinned this one to a Kraft paper bag with jute handles.

Who says Christmas paper must be red, green, or gold? Look in your leftovers for birthday paper. Here, and excuse the lighting, I used a Tiffany blue patterned paper. Don’t have a bow? Roll your own using a strip of leftover paper. If the paper is not double sided, just fold the strip over and secure it together before you make the roll. Look through fabric scraps and vintage lace. I found this crocheted doily, gathered into a snowflake like form and taped it to the wrapping paper. The monogrammed tag was a freebie from http://www.weddingchicks.com/freebies/custom-monograms/mini-antique-monogram/
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And now, for the cooking time-saver. My “go to” appetizer has gone from cheese ball to roll-ups. You can make them as simple or festive as you wish. Our favorite is the dried beef roll up, but we also love the chili-olive ones. The staple is cream cheese and the wraps are tortillas. I’m making both of them this year, along with this variation that is a bit more festive.

Dried Beef Roll-ups
2 8oz cream cheese (softened)
1 small container French Onion Dip (I like Hiland brand)
1 jar dried beef-cut into small shreds
Garlic salt to taste (I like lots-1/2 tsp, but taste as you go)
Mix all together and spread on tortillas. Roll up and refrigerate at least an hour before slicing.

Chili-olive Roll-ups
1 8oz cream cheese
1 small can green chilis (I use the already chopped ones)
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
Follow same directions as dried beef ones.

Cranberry Feta pinwheels.
1 small package dried sweetened cranberries
1 8 oz container cream cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
4 large flour tortillas or 4 large wheat flour tortillas

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-feta-pinwheels-16213?oc=linkback
I toasted half a cup of pecans and chopped them into the mixture. That makes it a bit harder to spread, but oh, so worth it.
Since we are celebrating Christmas this weekend, I made these spreads today and stored them in zip lock bags. I’ll take them out in a couple of days, spread them, roll them up, and slice them. Easy peasy! Enjoy!

For the Birds

While this post has little nothing to do with birds, it does connect indirectly in that chickens are birds, and I had my first real experience with chicken wire, today. I have seen it used in tons of projects and just thought I needed to have some around. Every time Saint  goes out for something, he always asks, “Is there anything you need?” Of course, he expects me to say no, but for the last few weeks I have been saying, “Chicken wire.”

Lo and behold, one day he came home with chicken wire. I thought it might come in sheets or panels, but no. It came in this giant roll.

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It’s a little bit flat out intimidating. So, I did not use it for quite some time, but the hot, hot weather here has driven me right past fall and into dreaming of a white Christmas. My searches at garage sales and thrift stores have yielded an entire closet full of Christmas junk treasures. I faced a dilemma; make something or throw some of it away.

For two dollars, I had purchased a square thingy with gold leaves all around it. At another yard sale, I bought a little ring of glass beads. I’m working on some much larger pieces that require paint and stain, and I thought I might use these as accents, but the tones didn’t match. I decided to put the two together to make a wreath or door hanging, and it would require putting the chicken wire on back. (You thought I had forgotten about that, didn’t you?) That’s how I came to the title of this post. That chicken wire is for the birds! First, you can’t cut it with scissors. Well, you can, but then you have to buy new scissors. This required a trip to Saint’s old Craftsman tool box for the wire cutters.

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Several band aids later, I have this little piece of wire and no fingernails. The good thing is, those spiky things make it really easy to attach to other things.

Now I had a square of gold leaves with a circle of gold beads, and nothing in the middle. Until…I remembered a project from last Christmas. Paper flowers are all over Pinterest, now, but these made out of brown bags are my favorites, and it was perfect for the center of my wreath.

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Looks pretty nifty for a thrifty three bucks, wouldn’t you say? Here it is hanging on my door.

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Maybe with a little greenery? Or maybe it’s the 102 degree temperature. Actually, I think it is just not right with my door color, but I’ll bet it will look absolutely amazing with the other Christmas things I’m working on for the flea market booth. I’m planning an awesome Christmas display, and I can’t wait to show it to you in November.