Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Autumn crafts

Make Your Own Fire Starters
~ Farmer's Almanac ~

Make your own decorative fire starters with these simple instructions. All you need are some dry twigs or pinecones, a little candle wax, and glitter!
* Find about 12 skinny, straight twigs, all about the same thickness and about six inches long.
* Bundle the twigs together by tying them in the middle of the bunch with cotton string.
* Melt some old candle stubs or wax in a wide tin can set in a saucepan of simmering water.
* When the wax has melted, use tongs to dip the bundle of twigs carefully into the wax.
* Lift the twigs out onto newspaper, and sprinkle them with gold, silver, or colored glitter before the wax hardens.
* When the wax is cold, tie the bundle with raffia or colored string.
* Instead of twigs, you can use pinecones (the size of eggs).
* Dip the cones into the hot wax and then sprinkle them with glitter.
* For a nice gift, put 12 glittery cones in an empty paper egg carton or small wicker basket, and decorate with a pretty ribbon.

I sometimes add essential oil like pine or bayberry to the wax to make them scented.

How To Make A Microwave Heating Bag

Instead of using electric heat pads & blankets or hot water bottles for your aches and pains, these microwaveable bags are just the ticket! They’re known by a few different terms such as: bed buddies, stress busters, magic bags, corn cozies, rice bags–but they’re basically all the same thing.
These bags serve a dual purpose as you can also keep them in the freezer to use has a cooling pad or freezer pack when needed.

Microwave Heating Pad Directions
No pattern is necessary, simply cut two pieces of cloth in the size/shape you wish your bag to be. Make sure to leave a seam allowance for yourself (about 1/2″).  Some prefer regular square shape bags, others prefer tubes or more rectangular shapes. Experiment, whip up a few different sizes and shapes to try. These are really easy to make as well as cheap!
Filler Options

Uncooked rice (my favorite)
Feed corn
Buckwheat hulls
Flax seed
Cherry pits
You can also add the following to the above for a soothing fragrant heating pad: Spices, herbs, essential oils.
Ideas: lavender, rose petals, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint oil, crushed mint
If using: Mix herbs, spices and essential oil with choice heating pad filler (such as rice) and let sit in a sealed container for a few days (occasionally stirring). This will help set and distribute the fragrance a

Instructions for Making the Heating Pad
Cut and sew the fabric for the heating pads the size and shape you want (usually a large washcloth size works well).  Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill bag with your choice of filler. Fill the bag about 1/2 to 3/4 full, more or less as you prefer. Don’t fill too full though, you want the bag to mold itself around your body when you apply it.

Once bag is filled, sew opening closed either by hand or machine (making sure filler is contained at the opposite side of bag). If wanting a removable cover, just sew a “pillowcase” idea with your soft,
plushy fabric by making it a little larger than your heating pad and leaving an open end (make sure to finish off ends by sewing a hem). Or you can add a strip of Velcro to close it. Make sure to never microwave this cover unless it’s content is full cotton. Remove cover to wash as needed.

Filler Suggestion For Headache Soothers
Rice (or other grain listed above) and a mix of:
Dried lavender
Rose petals

Directions For Use
Place in microwave and heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size of bag. Do not leave unattended “just in case” the filler smokes or starts on fire. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside the microwave while heating the bag to add moisture or spritzing bag lightly with water before heating.
If you add spices and herbs, this is a good idea to do.  If You’re In a Pinch If you need a heating pad “now” and don’t have time to sew one, try filling a ziploc freezer bag (make sure it’s the microwaveable kind) 3/4 full with uncooked rice, seal shut. Heat for a minute or two then wrap in a hand towel and use as needed.

These microwaveable heating pads are glorious to use for aches and pains, or just to pamper yourself after a long, hard day–but be careful when removing from microwave and applying to body. Shake bag first, feel around and make sure it’s not too hot and won’t burn, especially when using on a child. ypou can also wrap it in a dish towel to deture some of the heat .


Yule Dog Collar
Nylon or fabric collar
Small jingle bells
Sprigs of artifical holly (optional)
Fabric paint
Paint brush
Hot glue

Paint the pets name on the collar, and allow To dry. Glue on the bells and add some artificial
Holly if you like. Echant the gist by saying something like

Diana, Goddess of Canine Friends
Bless this gift and Your ear bend
To listen as these small bells ring
And watch (name of dog) while wondering
And keep himher safe and quite secure
So no hardships this pet endures
Please always bring himher safely home
No matter how far (name of dog) should roam

From Yule. A Celebration Of Light And Warmth
By Dorothy Morrison


Beaded Star Tree Trims

Here's a beaded star tree trim to add to your homemade Christmas ornaments. So quick and easy to do, you'll want to make lots of them in different colors of beads.

Homemade Beaded Star Ornament

Supplies you will need:

a.. craft beads in assorted colors
b.. chenille stems

Beaded Star Tree Trim Instructions

Remarkably easy, but a lot of fun to make!

You can vary the look of these homemade beaded stars by changing the colors of the chenille stems and the beads, both of which are available at most dollar stores for a reasonable price.

You will need five chenille stems for each star and beads that fit snugly on the chenille stem wires.

Simply cut five colored chenille stems into 4-1/2" lengths (gold looks nice and adds glitter). Cut five white chenille stems into 3-1/2" pieces.

Lay three of the colored stems on the table, top with the five white stems and then with the last two gold stems. Wire these together in the center with a small piece of either colored stem, and snip of the excess wire.

Fan out the star "rays" in all directions, alternating colors.

Now slip beads in place, allowing some space between beads, and following an orderly pattern. For instance, in the larger photo above, the star has a red bead placed on each white stem, which is then topped by a transparent bead and a pink bead. The gold stems had transparent, green, gold and pink beads threaded on, in that order.

A huge amount of creativity is possible with this small Christmas craft. You may decide to make an all golden star, with only gold rays and golden beads; or a twinkling star with gold and silver rays and only transparent or silver beads. There's also a wide variety of colors available in Chenille Stems at Joann's.

These beaded starts look nice as accents on a garland, but with the finished size being 4-3/4" in diameter, you should also have plenty of room on your Christmas tree for an assortment of beaded star ornaments!


Pine cone air freshener

Pine cones, in my opinion, are a wonder of nature. They also can make for
some interesting crafts! You can make everything from simple, painted
Christmas tree ornaments to stunning tabletop decorations.
The only trick to using fresh pine cones in crafts, is to remember that pine cones have seeds inside them and some may also contain sap. You can avoid the mess this can cause simply
by setting your pine cones on a cookie sheet and placing them in a 200
degree oven for about an hour.

Pine Cones
Christmas Tree Lights
2 Quart, Large Mouth Jar
Lace Material (or a doily)

Place the pine cones and potpourri in the jar so it is about 3/4 of the way full. Gently tuck a small string of white Christmas tree lights in the jar. Use a ruler or pencil to spread the lights out so they are evenly spaced and can be seen well on all sides. Make sure you have enough of the light string
hanging out so it can easily be plugged in. Once the lights are in place, fill the jar to the top with the potpourri. Do not cover it with the jar lid

Cut a circle out of a piece of lace material about 2 inches larger than the top of the jar. Lay it on the top of the jar, making sure the plug end of the light string is sticking out in the back under the lace.

Secure the lace by tying a ribbon around the top edge of the jar. (Instead of the lace material, you can use a doily and get the same great effect!)

Once plugged in, this is a beautiful decoration and the scent is wonderful!This is a simple craft that makes a wonderful gift!

TIP from Uhlamae: Uhlamae uses only potpourri and she adds scented oil as
she layers in the potpourri.


Fragrant Rocks

1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt.
1/4 teaspoon of essential oil (your favorite scent).
2/3 cup of boiling water

Time: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Suitable For: Most Ages

Place these natural looking fragrance rocks around your house. Place them in ash trays, in the car or use them as a great alternative to potpourri or incense.

Mix 1/2 cup of flour (wholemeal flour gives great texture.
1/2 cup of salt.
1/4 teaspoon of essential oil (your favorite scent).
2/3 cup of boiling water
food coloring if wanted.

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the oil and the hot water. Add the color a drop at a time.
Once it is cool enough to handle roll into small balls around 2-3 inch in size. You can also be creative and make assorted shapes.

This mixture dries hard after several days in a warm but dry area and has large potential to be used for other great craft idea's just use your imagination.

Note. Want real looking rocks use used coffee grounds (dried and crushed) instead of salt.


Give Thanks Blocks
The "Give Thanks" blocks make for a whimsical mantle piece that is simple, yet elegant. Not only is it the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving d├ęcor, kids can have fun playing a game by assembling the blocks to spell out the holiday phrase.
What you'll need:

a.. 10- 1" wood blocks
b.. Acrylic craft paint in fall colors: brown, cream, orange, green, gold, red
c.. Gold paint pen
d.. Acrylic sealer spray
How to make it:
1.. Paint blocks different colors and let dry. Add a second coat and let dry (see image).
2.. Use a gold paint pen and right the letters that spell out "GIVE THANKS" on the blocks.
3.. In a well-ventilated area, spray with sealer and let dry (see image).
4.. Gather the blocks and have kids spell out the phrase.
a.. Instead of a paint pen you can use a marker.
b.. If you like, glue all the blocks together with hot glue after the sealer has dried.
c.. For a more challenging project, have kids sponge paint the blocks and paint on the letters.


Dogs Toss Ball Toy:

Some hounds love chasing after items tossed for them. Here's one that's easy on your throwing arm and a blast for a hound. They take just a few minutes to make and are very inexpensive.

Materials Needed for 3 Toss Ball Toys:

9 feet of rope
Can of 3 tennis balls

-- Place one tennis ball in a clamp or vise.

-- Use a drill with a large drill bit to drill a hole through the tennis ball (one hole on each side).

-- Thread the rope through the holes.

-- Tie a simple knot very near the ball.

-- Knot or burn the ends of the rope to prevent fraying.

-- Tie a second knot near the ends of the rope.


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