Upcycled

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I know. You are wondering what this bright yellow-green tennis ball is doing in the middle of all these pumpkins, right? Well, at an antique shop the other day, I saw some pumpkins made from an old chenille bedspread. I thought an old sweater would work just as well, and I was pondering what to use as a form. I walked to the garage, and lo and behold, there was a tennis ball hanging down on a piece of fishing line. Saint put it there so I’d Know when to stop my car…to keep from running into the house, I suppose. No, it lets me know when my car has cleared the electric eye on the garage door, actually. Anyway, I asked if he had any more old tennis balls. I knew they’d be old since we haven’t played in months years a while. He found ONE! I also spotted some quilt batting, or pillow stuffing, depending upon the project. I cut out a circle that would completely encompass the tennis ball. I used both Tacky Glue and hot glue for this project, starting with Tacky, which I squeezed onto the tennis ball, pulling up the batting around it and patting it all down smoothly.

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Next, I cut a slightly larger circle from the sweater and followed the same procedure.

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This time, I pressed all the fabric in at the top, pushing down really hard, and hot glued the top shut. Next, I used jute twine to wrap around the form in places to create the pumpkin “creases” and tied a bow at the top. I added some bittersweet, and, voila! A pumpkin from an old tennis ball.

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On the hardness scale from 1-10, this was definitely an easy 1. This is a fun thing to do with your kids. If it is too late for the Thanksgiving table, you could play around with making them into Christmas ornaments. They would add warmth and texture to your tree decor.

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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!