DIY: Recycled Rainbow Mobile

summer

This month’s DIY Challenge theme is Rainbows, so send in all your favorite rainbow projects for the round-up at the end of the month. Visit the challenge page for more information, and use the handy-dandy form to upload your project photos. We can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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Rainbows are amazing. They’re awe inspiring in the sky, they are a great way to organize things*, and they are just plain magical.

This little recycled rainbow mobile tries to be a few of those things- and has the added bonus of being a nifty reason to doodle.

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SUPPLIES

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Use the thick material punch to cut circles out of every piece of plastic you can find. Don’t worry, the idea of using recycleables for art will make you look insane. Embrace it. (;

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Use your rainbow of markers to doodle decorations on each circle. It’s okay if you have an uneven amount of some color because you think orange is terrible, just have fun!

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Tie three strings to your top ring, and tie those three together to hang the ring parallel to the ground. Find a place to hang this ring while you work.

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Choose one of your most popular colors (purple for me), and poke a small hole near the top of each piece with a safety pin. Cut a piece of thread approximately 12″ long, and string it through one of the holes. Tie the ends of the thread together, and attach it to the hanging ring using a lark’s head knot. Repeat this for each circle of this color.

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Choose the next color in the rainbow (blue in my case) and poke each piece like you did before. This time add two inches to your thread for a length of 14″. Attach each of these pieces to your ring.

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Continue by adding 2 inches to the length of each new color until you have tied all of your pieces to the ring.

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When you have finished, hang it in a bright window and watch it sway and catch the light.

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See, sometimes trash-art is fun!

 

*I may or may not be one of those people who sorts books by color. My librarian mother may be driven insane by this fact.

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy!)

I have been fascinated by the whimsical mystery of the fairy folk since I was a little girl. I remember looking for them while playing outside and making up tiny little fairy houses using sticks, leaves and flowers I would collect in my own backyard. This project is a fun activity to do with your kids. Download the free printable fairy art and let them color their fairy. Then help them create a little terrarium in a jar for the fairy to be displayed in!

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

Supplies Needed

Free printable fairy
• White card stock
• Coloring supplies (watercolors, markers, colored pencils, etc.)
• Glass jar
• Small wood slice (small enough to fit inside the lid of the jar)
• Faux flowers
• Tiny mushrooms
• Moss

Additional tools:
• Scissors
• Glue stick
• Kraft glue
• Hot glue gun

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

Download the free printable fairy art and print onto white card stock. You’ll notice that there are two different sizes. Choose one to fit your jar (you can also shrink the art down smaller if necessary). Color in the fairy (front and back) with your favorite coloring supplies.

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

Once you’ve finished coloring, carefully cut out both fairies with scissors and use a glue stick to glue them back-to-back. Choose a faux flower and cut off a few petals into the shape of a skirt. Glue a petal skirt onto the fairy using kraft glue (both front and back sides).

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

Next plug in your hot glue gun. Once warm, squeeze some hot glue onto the center of the wood slice and place the fairy’s feet into the hot glue. Hold in place until the glue is dry and she can stand up on her own. Add a few tiny mushrooms around her feet.

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

Place the mounted fairy into the lid of the jar. Add some moss around the edges then place the jar over the fairy and tighten the lid. Optional: hot glue some ribbon around the base of the lid.

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

If you want her to be secure inside the jar you can hot glue the wood slice base to the inside of the lid. I personally liked being able to take her out and let her explore my garden before returning back to jar for display.

DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)
DIY: Fairy In A Jar (with a free printable fairy)

DIY: Patio Friendly Pile-Up Cushions filled with Styrofoam Peanuts

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The weather was nice for a few days in April, uncharacteristically, and began the countdown to the Pacific Northwest Summer. Ahhh; the handful of blissful weeks that makes you fall in love with the trees again, and wipes the memory of the last 8 gray months.

Safety Husband and I have been trying to be more mindful, and that extends to the way we interact with our home. We are who we are [not catalog people] and we want everything at our house to be conducive to the way we live. (Safety Husband is really into Ham Radio, so he would also like to make a great deal of the house conductive*, but that’s a different story.) We have several outdoor areas that would make great external living spaces, but we haven’t done a great job of outfitting them for the task.

All this to explain why I decided I needed to make a giant pile of outdoor cushions that I could lay upon like the Princess and the Pea. I wanted them to be cheap, washable, refurbishable, and also work with our inside decor. Fabric and wood don’t do well outside over the Seattle winter, and I can’t store things in out non-existent storage space. So I put together a handful of pillow forms from scrap material, filled with recycled styrofoam peanuts; then covered them with painted canvas covers. In one afternoon I had 7 assorted cushions, and dreams of the perfect summer.

SUPPLIES

  • Fabric scissors and optional pinking shears
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Pillow Form Fabric: approximately 24″ (2/3 yard) of 45″-wide lightweight scrap fabric per pillow
  • Pillow Cover: approximately 24″ (2/3 yard) of 52″ to 60″-wide canvas-type material per pillow
  • Styrofoam Peanuts: about a grocery sack full per pillow. Make sure that you are using styrofoam peanuts instead of the cornstarch ones that melt under water. Imagine the mess!

DECORATING SUPPLIES

  • Tulip Color Shot Fabric Color:  I used Teal, Blue, and Green.
  • Scissors
  • Tape: masking, packing, cello, washi. Whatever you want!
  • Con-Tact Paper: A great option for cutting out larger masks or covering more material.
  • Decorative punches and scissors
  • Compass, or fun shapes to trace

 

Step 1: Making the Pillow Forms

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Take your scrap pillow-form material and fold it so that the selvedged edges touch. Cut the other two sides with pinking shears so that you have an approximately 23″ square (45″x23″ unfolded.) Sew a 1/2″ seam along the two pinked edges, then do the same for about half of the remaining side.

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Fill the form about halfway full with peanuts, then sew the opening closed to seal your pillow form.

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Hire a professional to test the security of your stitching.

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Repeat until you have run out of material. (I made 7 pillows so that I could make a GIANT PILE.)

Step 2: Making the Pillow Covers

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There is dirt outside, so you want to make sure that your pillow cover can be easily removed and laundered; this also means you want to pre-wash your fabrics so there is no future shrinkage.

Cut your fabric to about 23″ wide. With the back side showing, fold the width of the fabric into a tube about 22″ wide. The overlapped pieces will make the flap for inserting and removing your pillow form.

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Stitch up the two open ends of your tube approximately 1/4″ in.

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Then turn the cover inside out using the open flaps. Make sure to press the corner all the way out with your finger or a pencil.

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Stitch around the outside edges of your pillow cover, about 3/8″ in- then you’re done!

Step 3: Decorating the Cushions to Match your Life.

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Decorating the pillows was definitely the biggest fun in this project (other than sitting in the sun on the cushions later.) If you’re a selfless person, you could share that fun with your family and friends, and let each person design a mask for their own pillow. Masking the pillow is as easy as using tape and scissors. Build shapes out of strips of tape, or cut shapes out of contact paper. (ABOVE: I used a compass to draw circles, then cut and arranged them on the front of my cover.) You could have the initials of everyone in your family, silhouettes of your pets and favorite animals… anything really.

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Once you’ve settled on a masked design, take it outside and spray it down with your fabric spray paint. (I used Tulip Color Shot Fabric Color which is washable and flexible.) Remember that spray paint doesn’t ever go on consistently, so embrace the irregularity and leave some patches lighter than others.

After you’ve got a nice coat of paint on, let your cover dry for an hour or so before pulling off the mask.

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Then let your covers air out for a few more hours.

When everything is dry (not sticky or smelly) you can put your pillow forms into your covers. Slip the form into the open flap, then push it down under the inner over-lapping flap. Press the corners of the form into the corners of the cover and shake and stomp it until everything looks nice.

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Then build the tower of pillow on which you will reign.

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Or, you know. Share with your friends.

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Wheeee! Pillows.

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*I have a feeling that SH will have something to say about this line in the post when and if he reads it, so I’m going to put a disclaimer- like all nerdy types, there is typically a method to his madness, so I am sure the most of the house will remain non-conductive, or resistive, or whatever. Just, you know, antennas. He likes antennas.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)
Stitching up felt veggies has become my newest obsession. They’re easy to make, and so much fun to watch kids play with! Yesterday, I shared PART 1 of this tutorial where we made a garden planter box, tomatoes, strawberries and faux plants for them to ‘grow’ on. Today we’ll be making… you guessed it! More veggies for our play garden!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Materials:

• Felt (pinks, purples, greens, and oranges)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Pipe cleaners
• Velcro
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Helpful Links

PART 1 (Tutorials for the planter box, tomatoes, and strawberries)
Felt Cabbage tutorial by Fairfax
Felt Mushroom tutorial by Fairyfox

A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step One: Beets!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from pink and dark green felt. Thread your needle with pink thread and tie a knot at the end.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Slightly overlap each edge with the one adjacent and whip stitch together (as shown below in photo 1). Repeat on the other three edges until the beet is sewn all the way around (photo 2). Next, use a straight stitch to sew around the outside of the beet (photo 3). Stuff with fiberfill and cinch the opening closed and set aside (we will cinch closed completely, tie a knot and tie off later) (photo 4).

Now to sew the beet’s stalk and leaves! Cut a length of pipe cleaner and thread a needle with green thread (photo 6). Place the pipe cleaner on top of the green stem and then place a pink stalk on top of the pipe cleaner. Holding all three pieces together, whip stitch around the entire pink stock with the pipe cleaner enclosed inside. Trim any excess pipe cleaner from the bottom (photo 7). Repeat this process for the second leaf/stalk.

Now all we have to do is connect the stalk/leaves to the beet. Insert the stalks into the center of the beet and cinch closed (around the stalks). Make a few stitches back and forth and around the stalks to secure the beet and the stalks tightly together (photo 8). Tie off and you’re done!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Step Two: Carrots!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Cut out the pieces using the pattern provided from orange and light green felt. Thread your needle with orange thread and tie a knot at the end (see photo 1 below). Poke your needle into the tip of the orange triangle and pull through (photo 2). Turn the edges together, with them slightly overlapped, whipstitch all the way up to create the shape of a carrot (photo 3). Stuff the carrot with fiberfill (photo 4) and straight stitch around the top. Insert the leaves and cinch the carrot closed. Make a few small stitches around the base of the leaves to secure together and tie off.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

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Step Three: Eggplants!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)
Cut out the pieces using the pattern provided, thread your needle with dark color thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap the edges of two purple felt pieces and whip stitch together up one side. Then add the third piece and whipstitch that on so that all three pieces are now connected (photo 2). Next bring the edges together and sew up the last side to create an eggplant shape (photo 3). Stuff with fiberfill, stitch closed and tie off (photo 4).

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Finally, add the leaf. Thread your needle with green thread and backstitch down the center of each ‘petal’ of the leaf to secure onto the eggplant (photo 5). Cut a small piece of velcro (the soft ‘loop’ side) and stitch it anywhere near the top of the leaf. Repeat to make as many eggplants as you like! (I made three to grow on one plant).

Step Four: Make the Plant!

Just like with the strawberries and tomatoes, I used faux greenery to make a plant for the eggplants to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your eggplants!
DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 1)

Plant the seeds of joyful gardening and teach your child how to tend to their very own felt vegetable garden! This is a great project that can be turned into the ultimate garden playtime complete with a garden planter box, plants, and ‘pickable’ fruits and veggies. Also, don’t forget the play watering can!

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My twin nieces will be two years old this June and I plan on gifting them their own felt garden to play with. I first had the idea last winter and had originally planned to make this as a Christmas gift but with the craziness of the holiday season, I wasn’t able to start working on it until Christmas day! Since then, my mom and I have spent many evenings stitching up these felt veggies. Not only are they simple to make and impossible to ‘mess up’ (since imperfections in homegrown veggies is part of the magic of gardening), these felt veggies are also addicting! Once you stitch up a strawberry, you’ll be hooked by its utter cuteness and want to make more!

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Materials:

• Felt (reds and greens)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Embroidery floss (green and white)
• Velcro (loop and hook)
• Brown felt (for the ‘dirt’)
• Wooden crate
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Step One: Make the planter box

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You’ll need a wooden crate, brown felt (or cotton fabric), and fiberfill. I used a sewing machine to sew the pretend dirt but you could also hand-stitch them together. To create the rows of ‘dirt’, you’ll basically be making four mini bolsters that fit snuggly into the crate.

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Start by cutting two 4 ½” circles (see pattern) and one rectangle 15 1/8” x 11 ¾” in size. Fold the rectangle in half (hamburger style) and sew along the edge leaving approx. 1/2” seem allowance to create a sleeve. Then pin one felt circle to the sleeve with the wrong sides facing out as shown in the photo 2.

Sew all the way around the edge of the circle. Then repeat on the other end, making sure to leave a 2” opening so you can turn the whole thing right side out (see photo 3). Turn right side out and stuff with fiberfill (photo 4). Then hand-stitch the opening closed. Repeat this process to make three more mini bolsters (or however many will fit in your crate).

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A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step Two: Tomatoes!

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Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from red and green felt. Thread your needle with red (or pink) thread, and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap two red pieces and whip stitch them together as shown in photo 2. Then repeat with the other two red pieces. Next, whip stitch the two halves together, leaving a small opening to stuff with fiberfill. Then stitch the opening closed and tie off your thread (photo 3).

tomato-tutorial

Thread a length of green embroidery floss (or green thread works too) and back stitch the leaf to the top of the tomato as shown in photo 4.

Finish up the tomato by adding a stem with a Velcro leaf. Start by threading your needle using green thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 5). Then roll the square end of the stem piece together and stitch closed as shown in photos 6 and 7. Cut a small piece of Velcro (the soft/fuzzy ‘loop’ side) and stitch into the inside of the leaf. You can also trim the length of the stem to your desired length (photo 8).

Lastly, stitch the stem onto the tomato and tie off your thread (photo 9). And that’s it! You’ve made your first tomato! Repeat to make as many as you like (I made three to hang on a single plant).

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Step Three: Strawberries!

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Cut out your pieces using the pattern provided. Then thread your needle with red thread and tie a knot at one end (photo 1). Whip stitch the two red pieces together along the rounded edge only (just like you did with the tomatoes). Then straight stitch around the opening, stuff with fiberfill and pull the threads to cinch the opening closed (photo 2). Tie securely with a knot and tie off.

Next add ‘seeds’ to the strawberry using some white embroidery floss. Start by inserting your threaded needle into the top of the strawberry (the knot will soon be covered up by the top leaf) and make small straight stitches all around the berry (photo 3). When finished, poke the needle back up through the top and tie off. Then, thread your needle with green embroidery floss and sew the leaf onto the top of the berry (making sure to cover the white knots) (photo 4).

strawberry-tutorial

Finally stitch a small piece of Velcro (fuzzy ‘loop’ side) onto the top of the strawberry. And you’re done! Repeat to make as many strawberries as you like! I made 4 berries per plant.

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Step Four: Make the plants!

I used faux greenery to make plants for the tomatoes and strawberries to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your berries and tomatoes!

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Additional Links:

Here are links to two great tutorials by Fairy Fox that I used to make both the felt cabbages and mushrooms.

Cabbage tutorial
Felt Mushroom tutorial

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Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for PART 2 of this tutorial where we’ll be making carrots, beets and even eggplants!

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RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

I’ve recently taken up the study of herbalism and have begun to create my own Materia Medica in the form of an artist’s book. I plan to spend time with each herb, watching it grow in my garden and harvesting, experimenting with different uses, and even learning its history and folk lore. Lately I’ve been learning and loving sweet, gentle chamomile.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

I have to admit, since beginning this project I’ve resisted moving on to a new herb. Chamomile is just so caring and nurturing and I’ve been in need of the comfort that chamomile brings. Enjoying a cup of chamomile tea before bed has become a new part of my nightly routine. The other night I decided to change things up a bit and make a chamomile latte by adding almond milk and chamomile infused honey. The result was sweet, creamy and extremely soothing.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

Chamomile Latte
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons dried chamomile
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Instructions
  1. Combine water, milk and dried chamomile in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes. Strain mixture into a large mug and sweeten with honey.

The cool weather we’ve had this week has reminded me of the Chamomile Cupcakes I baked last summer. Wanting to try something new and use the Infused Sugar I made a while back inspired me to try out this recipe by Bird Is The Word PDX. This was my first time making scones and I think the flavors of both the chamomile and lavender come through quite nicely.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

Chamomile Lavender Scones
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: About 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup chamomile infused sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile (stems removed and flowers crushed with mortar/pestle)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into ½" cubes
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons chamomile tea
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients including the lavender and chamomile. Cut the butter in with your fingers, working the mixture until it resembles a coarse sand.
  2. Add milk and mix with your hands until a dough forms. Roll out onto a floured surface to about 1" think. Use a pint glass to cut the scones out of the dough.
  3. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden.
  4. While the scones cool, brew up a cup of chamomile tea and add it one tablespoon at a time to the powdered sugar until a paste-like frosting forms. Drizzle it over the scones and enjoy!

These scones pair perfectly with a warm Chamomile Latte so whip up a batch and then enjoy the sweet, soothing flavor of chamomile.

RECIPE: Chamomile Lavender Scones + Tea

DIY: Marble Paper with Oil Paints

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Whenever Rachel and I get together there is always a lot of making. We hang out, paint, draw, and then we party (ie: DIY TIMES). In anticipation for this visit, we made lists of possible crafts, and “Paper Marbling” appeared on both lists. Done!

We’d seem several methods, but we had almost all the supplies to marble with oil paints so we decided to try that out first. It was a long, fun day; full of “oooooh” and “aaaaahhh,” sunshine, and turpentine fumes. We wanted to share our method and tips with you, so that you can make your own marble marvel.

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Basic Supplies

  • Oil Paint Colors – cheap oil paints should work just fine, we used the M. Graham paints we had on hand.
  • Turpentine – Easily found at a hardware store.
  • Big plastic bin to float the paint in
  • Small containers to mix paint colors and turpentine
  • Cardstock (We loved the colored card stock best!)
  • Disposable bamboo skewers or spoons for stirring
  • Nitrile Gloves

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Step 1: Prep

Before we got started we made a comb by taping toothpicks into a small strip of card stock. The comb was handy for pulling through the colors, and encouraging more “swirly bits.”

We set up our marbling table outside, which I recommend highly. You want to use a table or cover that it’s okay to get paint on. This is a messy craft, to be sure. We set out a tarp for drying our finished papers, put on our gloves and starting mixing things up.

We filled two plastic bins with about an inch or water and set them aside. Then we put out several colors of oil paints in our mixing containers.

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It was a little trick to get the right mix of turpentine and paint, initially. We discovered that the ideal texture was somewhere around the thickness of whole milk.

marbledpaper_IMG_0740We added turpentine to the paint containers in small pours, and mixed it thoroughly with a bamboo skewer. If we needed to add more turpentine we did it as soon as we had the paint mixed to a consistent texture.

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Step 2: Pouring the Paint

Then we just poured the paints on top of the water! Simple. Sometimes we did little drops, sometimes we just chunked it all in.

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Our first batch of color was always full of the same color family, so that as the colors mixed in the water we didn’t end up with a bunch of brown paper. (Towards the end we got a little more daring, and had great results adding in complementary colors to the batches.)

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We got a lot of mileage out of our toothpick combs, pulling them through the paint to swirl the colors together.

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Step 3: Dipping the Papers

Once we were happy with a design, we laid the card stock quickly on top of the swirled colors, and removed it as delicately as we could. (Rachel had a great dunking method that involved bending the card stock down the middle– hamburger style– then rolling down from the middle to the outside edges before lifting from the water.)

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Tada! It was amazing how unpredictable the results were. What you saw on the water might not be at all what showed up on the paper. We loved the look we got towards the end, when there was less paint and it all seemed to be thinner.

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We did two different color stories, one was reds and golds and one was blues and greens. The reds tended to get a little “gory” at times, but looked beautiful on colored papers.

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Step 4: Drying and Future Projects with Marbly Goodness

We laid the paged out for a few hours, while we cleaned all the paint up. When we were ready to go inside we stacked the sheets and set them aside to dry. It took a good 5 days for the oil to be dry to the touch, but now they are, and I have all kinds of ideas about what to do with my collection.

Maybe I’ll revisit an old DIY, what do you think?

The possibilities are endless. I’m okay with that.

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Things We Learned

  • Working outside is key. The Turpentine is kinda smelly, and even with a light breeze we felt like we were standing in the fumes. Working outside also made cleanup a lot easier, with a big trash can and a hose available. Make sure to dispose of turpentine properly!
  • Initially we tried thinning the oil paint with walnut oil, but it did not allow the paint to spread out across the water. We had to drop everything and head to the store for turpentine to make the project come together. I have seen a couple of recommendations online for turpentine alternatives, but we didn’t try any (after the oil fiasco.)
  • If your paint drops to the bottom instead of floating, add a little more turpentine.
  • Sometimes less paint is better. I loved the last sheets we printed from each batch.
  • Opaque paint on black paper is tres cool.
  • Each sheet is cooler than the last, which means you won’t ever want to stop. Ever.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar
I can’t remember where exactly I first discovered Four Thieves vinegar, but I was intrigued by its use in history and it’s legendary story. Myth has it that a group of thieves during the European outbreak of the black plague set out to rob the dead and the sick in Marseille. When they were caught, they offered to exchange their secret recipe, which had allowed them to commit the robberies without catching the disease, in exchange for leniency. Another version says that the thieves had already been caught before the outbreak and their sentence had been to bury dead plague victims; to survive this punishment, they created the vinegar.

Recipes for this legendary concoction are as numerous as the stories. The following vinegar recipe hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937, and is said to have been an original copy of the recipe posted on the walls of Marseilles during an episode of the plague:

Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of champhor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim. [Source]

Plausible reasons for not contracting the Plague was that the herbal concoction contained natural flea repellents. Since the flea is the carrier for the Plague bacillus, Yersinia pestis. Wormwood has properties similar to cedar as an insect repellent, as all aromatics like sage, cloves, camphor, rosemary, campanula, etc. Meadowsweet, although known to contain salicyclic acid, it is mainly used to mask odors, like decomposing bodies.

Modern day versions of four thieves vinegar include various herbs that typically include sage, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, along with garlic. Additional herbs sometimes include rue, mint, and wormwood. It has become traditional to use four herbs in the recipe—one for each thief, though earlier recipes often have a dozen herbs or more. It is still sold in Provence. In Italy a mixture called “seven thieves vinegar” is sold as a smelling salt, though its ingredients appear to be the same as in four thieves mixtures.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar
 
One of the main reasons I wanted to make this vinegar is because I have all of the following herbs growing fresh in my garden! If you have your own herb garden, this is a great way to use your harvest.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lavender, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh anise hyssop, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 whole cloves, crushed
  • 16 oz raw apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Combine chopped herbs, spices and garlic in a quart size mason jar and cover with the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Allow to infuse for 7-10 days in a sunny location then strain into a clean jar. Store at room temperature.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

Uses

Natural Cleanser – The herbs used in this recipe posess strong antimicrobial effects and vinegar, in any case, makes an excellent natural cleanser. Fill a spray bottle with the vinegar and use it to clean and sterilize kitchen counters and bathrooms.
Astringent – Dilute some vinegar with water and use as a cleansing agent or astringent for the skin.
Insect Repellant – Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 cup of vinegar and top with filtered water. Spray on skin, clothes, etc. to deter pesky bugs.
Seasoning – Use as a seasoning for braised meats and vegetables or make a vinaigrette dressing for salads.
Immune Booster – Use like Fire Cider and take a teaspoonful several times a day to prevent cold/flu.

RECIPE: The Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Herb gardening has become one of my favorite hobbies and this year I’m growing over 25 different types of herbs! There’s nothing better than a backyard garden full of fragrant edible plants. Now that it’s harvest season I’ve been researching ways to use them. I mainly use fresh herbs in cooking. Last year I made up a batch of yummy oregano pesto. I plan to make my own herbal vinegar and infused olive oils this year, but first I wanted to try something completely new- I made a gorgeous culinary herb wreath!

Not only was it fun choosing and harvesting the herbs I chose to use in my wreath, I also love that once the wreath has dried it becomes both decorative and functional. Find a spot in your kitchen (near the stove) to hang an herb wreath and all you have to do is snip off a few sprigs here and there to add to your cooking!

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Read the Tutorial

You can find the full tutorial and make your own herb wreath by visiting my guest post over at Garden Therapy!

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years
This article was originally posted last year over at Punk Projects. But because art journaling is so near to my heart, I thought I’d share it here on Adventures-In-Making too!

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

My high school art journal.

I’ve been art journaling ever since I first discovered this book by Sabrina Ward Harrison in high school. It was the first time I’d ever seen an ‘art journal’ and I was hooked. I cut up my Seventeen magazines, old National Geographics, and used watercolors, chalk, ink, and anything else I could get my hands on to fill my precious art journal with song lyrics (I was obsessed with Jewel and Alanis Morissette), quotes, collages, and all sorts of angsty teenage FEELINGS. At the end of my senior year, I gave my precious art journal to my English teacher to keep as a time capsule to send me 10 years later. Boy, was that a trip to get in the mail at age 28!

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

Crazy collage from my high school art journal.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

Pages from my high school art journal.

I’ve kept many art journals since then and now use it as a safe place to create intuitively. Whenever I’m feeling lost or overwhelmed by life, I get out my art journal and start filling pages. Doing this calms my nerves, and helps me to reconnect with my true self. I use many of the same techniques I loved in high school. I collect vintage National Geographic magazines, old books and postcards. When I’m working in my art journal, I don’t question or judge myself, but just let my mind and body relax and reflect on where I’m at in life.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

Pages from my current art journal.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

I’ve been enjoying using color as a main theme.

Since college, I’ve been using vintage books as my art journal medium. There’s something about drawing inside the pages of a book that feels so satisfying. There are no blank white pages staring at me saying “this better be good” and I love choosing an old book with a title and cover that speaks to me.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

I now use vintage books at my art journal medium.

SHOW+TELL: Art Journaling Through The Years

I still collect magazine clippings and other ephemera to fill my pages.

What are some of your favorite art journaling supplies, techniques and inspirations?