Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dried Orange Slices

Here are some things I love. 

Happy colors. Holidays. Easy crafts. 

These dried orange slice garland sure fit the bill. Just slice, bake and string. And you can make a nice long strand of garland for less than $3!
I cut my slices to about a 1/4" thickness, then placed them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 
After baking for about 3 hours at 220 fahrenheit, they were dry and translucent. I recommend checking on them at 2 and a half hours to make sure they don't overcook. 
Aren't they pretty? 
 I decided to get really festive and add some cranberries to the garland. I used a needle and some baker's twine to string the fruit. 
Now that's some merry and bright adornment for my kitchen window!
 It's kind of like jewelry for my kitchen, don't you think? And I love the way the light shines through the oranges. So lovely!
 This was a great way to spend time crafting with the kids while they're home from school. They helped me with the arrangement of oranges and cranberries (my youngest is really into creating patterns right now). 
Now I need to get started on some Thanksgiving food prep so I won't be stuck in the kitchen all day tomorrow. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday Wreath Tutorial

The day after Thanksgiving usually marks the first day of Christmas decorating at my house. But yesterday, we got about 4 inches of snow here in Southeastern Wisconsin, so I say it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And when it looks like Christmas, you gotta put some decorations up, right? 

I knew I wanted to do a wreath in light shades to contrast against the dark grey wall of our living room (This one is going above the fireplace.). As soon as I spotted these beautiful champagne, gold, pearl and blush decorations at the craft store I knew they'd be perfect. In between sips of hot chocolate, I managed to complete the whole thing in about an hour. 

Not all the supplies were used, but it's better to have too many things to choose from than not enough! Since all the colors tie in nicely together, I'll use the leftover items on the tree and for garland. 
 Here is a complete list of supplies for making this very same wreath. I got everything at Michaels and it was all 50% to 60% off yesterday. Excluding the wreath frame, wire, burlap ribbon and tools that I already had, I spent about $32.


16" wire wreath frame
6" wide burlap ribbon
floral wire 
3 stems metallic boxwood
2 stems eucalyptus champagne glitter
2 stems eucalyptus gold glitter
1 poinsettia champagne stem (with 5 flowers)
8 count box matt silk glass ornaments*
8 count box matt champagne glass ornaments*


wire cutter
glue gun

*I highly recommend using plastic ornaments. I used these glass ornaments because the colors were just too pretty! If you do go with glass, be extra careful. You may want to glue the caps to the balls as a first step. My caps slipped off a couple of times while I was attaching them to the wreath. Also don't hot glue on the glass ball when attaching to wreath, only glue the cap (more on that later). 

 Step 1: Attach the end of burlap ribbon to the wreath frame using floral wire. 
 Step 2: Wrap the ribbon around the frame. 
 Step 3: Cut ribbon and attach the end to the frame with floral wire. 
 At this stage, your wreath will look something like this below.
 Step 4: Arrange the eucalyptus and boxwood stems around the frame so that there's a nice balance and most of the burlap is covered. 
 You can cut long stems with a wire cutter (This takes a little muscle.). Or you can bend them and tie down to the frame with wire. Stems will be hidden underneath the leaves. That way, if you ever decide to take apart your wreath, you can use the stems in vase or for some other craft where stems are needed. 
 Step 5: Attach stems to the frame with floral wire. You make a little loop with about 3" of wire, poke the wire ends through the burlap and twist together on the back side of wreath. Make sure you are attaching to a wire in the frame and not just the burlap. 

Bend and shape the branches so that they move in the direction of the round frame. If bending them doesn't hold them in place, just use wire to attach to frame as needed. 
Step 6: Using wire cutters, clip poinsettia stems to about a half inch below the bottom leaves and arrange in a pleasing way on top of the wreath before gluing them in place. 
 Step 7: Hot glue the flowers in place. Put a generous amount of glue at the base of the stem. 

 Make sure you press the stem into the burlap and not one of the branches. This will ensure that the flowers stay in place. Hold down the flower for about 10 seconds while glue dries. 
 Step 8: Now it's time to play around with the placement of the ornaments. 
 When you have them where you want them, cut about 3" of wire and loop through the ornament. Attach to frame as you did the branches. 
 The ornaments are likely to dangle when hung, so use a glue gun to keep them in place. Do not hot glue directly onto the glass ball. They could break. Instead, apply a generous amount of glue to the cap and press in place. 
You can make a hook on the back of the wreath with some floral wire. Make sure to loop the wire through at least one wire on the frame. Now it's time to hang your wreath. 

Happy wreath making!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Rosemary Lime Room Spray

I love the smell of essential oils, so what better way to spread the love than by making a room spray with the stuff? 

This Rosemary Lime Room Spray smells clean and refreshing. And it's super easy to make. You only need 4 ingredients. Once I realized how simple it is to make room sprays, I gave up trying to find the right store-bought scents. There's nothing worse than realizing after it's too late that the spray you thought smelled so good at the store is really nauseating when spritzed all over your home. It seemed to happen to me more often than not. 
Now what's a bottle of vodka doing in this post about room spray, you ask? Keep reading! 
So here's the simple (and affordable) recipe:

2 tablespoons vodka (yes vodka)
2 tablespoons water
12 drops lime essential oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil 

Pour ingredients into a small spray bottle and give it a nice shake. 
 That's it!

And here's a little label you can print out and glue to your bottle to make it look all fancy.

I'm telling you, it's hard to go wrong scenting room spray with essential oils. I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

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