I went on a little bit of a decorating frenzy for Halloween, and now I can’t stop!
I couldn’t get the idea of making some feather decorations for Thanksgiving out of my head, and I realized a gaggle of paper feathers would be the perfect #turkeytablescapes project!
These are super easy, and they look so pretty in a group.
I put a cluster in a floral arrangement, but there really are unlimited ways to use your feathers. Use them as gift tags or place holders at the dinner table. Hot glue a bunch around a wreath. Glue them around a mason jar and add a tealight inside. Thread them on some yarn and hang from a chandlier or make a garland!
Step 1 Gather materials! At the very least, you’ll need:
paper- I like to use scrapbook paper because it comes in a lot of pretty colors, prints, and textures. You want something slightly heavier… you don’t want floppy feathers!
craft knife or scissors – I mostly use a craft knife because I think it’s faster, but I always keep a pair of scissors handy as well.
Step 2 Cut a feather shape out of your paper. It can be fat, skinny, short, or tall. I just freehand it. I like to make all different shapes or sizes, but if you want a uniform size, you can make a template and cut them all the same. It all depends on what you want to do!
Step 3 Score along the center of the feather on the back side of the paper- use something pointy but not super sharp. I like to use the tip of a closed pair of scissors or the end of a mechanical pencil with the lead retracted. You could also use a chopstick or a bamboo skewer.
The line doesn’t have to be super straight- sometimes I do curved lines, squiggly lines, or straight lines. Again, I want variety!
Step 4 Gently fold the paper along the fold line. Fold towards the back of the paper.
It gives a little extra dimension to the feather.
Step 5 Make a series of cuts along one side of the feather. I try to cut about half the distance from the center fold. The cuts should be angled towards the tip of the feather.
Step 6 Make the cuts all the way down one side of the feather. They should be as close together as possible, but they don’t need to be super uniform. I just hack away at it with the knife like a psychopath. Be careful, though! Don’t lose any fingers.
Step 7 Repeat for the other side of the feather.
Step 8 I suppose you could stop at this point if you like the way it looks, but I like to go an extra step.
I find this is easier to do with scissors, so here’s where I switch. Cut along the sides of the feathers again, except this time, instead of an angled cut towards the tip, I do more of a 90 degree cut.
Step 9 Repeat this the same way you did with the first round of cuts. Again, I just go at it quick and random. CUTCUTCUTCUTCUT! If there are spots that need a little extra attention when I’m done with the psycho cutting, I go back with a little more attention to detail.
Step 10 Now that’s a pretty snazzy feather, if I do say so myself! Depending on what you want to do with your feathers, you could stop here.
I wanted to use mine in a floral arrangement, so I added stems…
Step 11 Put a few globs of glue on the back of the feather along the fold line.
Step 12 Put the wire stem into place- be careful not to burn yourself!
Step 13 Rinse and repeat!
I combined my feathers with a cool pitcher style vase and some autumn floral pieces from Jo-Ann.
Floral foam (for straight sided vessels) or styrofoam packing peanuts (for a bucket like mine, where the hole on top is smaller than the width of the bucket)
Craft foam sheet (you can skip this if you have a straight sided vessel)
When choosing sticks, think about where you’re going to put your tree and how much room you have. If you have a large area, you could do one big branch. I went with 6 smaller branches. I gauged the right size by putting a few in my bucket. Continue reading…
I have a hard time sitting still, so even during my “relaxation” time in front of the TV in the evenings, I like to have something to do. Sewing is kind of hard to do if your machine isn’t already in front of the TV, so one of my favorite Idiot Box crafts is hand embroidery.
Here are a couple of Halloween themed pieces I’ve been working on::
I think I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been obsessed with vintage Halloween decorations lately, so that’s where the inspiration for these came from. Continue reading…
Duck Tape® is hosting its annual Stick or Treat Contest! All you have to do to enter is submit an image of a Halloween pumpkin (real or fake) decorated with Duck Tape® at the Stick or Treat Contest™ website.
A Halloween contest? Any excuse to make more Halloween decorations, and I’m in!
The contest is already running and wraps up on October 31st. The winners will be announced on November 11th.
Here are the prizes up for grabs: First Place: $1,000 and a Cricut Mini® Personal Electronic Cutter Second Place: $500 Third Place: $300
Here’s my entry:
I’ve been kind of obsessed with vintage Halloween decorations lately, so this is my retro Halloween cat.
This is such an easy way to decorate a pumpkin, it would be great for kids that aren’t old enough to wield a knife on their own. Continue reading…
Behold! The closet door in my studio. Perfectly functional (though knobless), it is boring, boring, boring. Believe it or not, this boring whiteness is an improvement on what it looked like when we moved in, but boring is boring.
My plan all along had been to go a little crazy with the closet door. (Because the lime green on the walls wasn't crazy enough, I guess.) I thought maybe stripes or zebra or chevron.
Finishing the door got put on the back burner, but then something serendipitous happened. I got to try out some samples of the new Shape Tape. And guess what? THEY HAVE CHEVRON.
So now something that would have taken a weekend of prep and measuring and stencilling and painting only took me about an hour and a half!
The taping and prep took the longest (and I've learned that putting in the time for prepping is often the difference between a good paint job and a bad paint job). But the time I spent taping made the painting part a breeze!
Done! The turquoise (or Smurf blue, as Mr. Smarmy calls it) was leftover from a hallway we painted upstairs.
After all the painting we did when we moved into this house, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject, so here are my tips!
No matter how small the job, always always always change into old clothes. I didn't follow this advice and wound up with a glop of paint on my NEW shirt and BEST jeans 30 seconds into this project. Dumb!
Invest in a few quality brushes- they make a huge difference, and if you take care of them (i.e. wash them well when you're done), they will last forever! For water based (latex and acrylic) paints, make sure you buy brushes with synthetic bristles. Natural bristles will absorb the water in water based paints, and you don't want that.
Do your paint research! Buy the right paint for the right application (interior or exterior? flat or eggshell or gloss? water based or oil based?), and find a brand with good reviews before buying! In my first painting projects, I had drips like crazy! I thought I was a bad painter, but it turns out, I was using crappy paint.
As I mentioned briefly above: proper prep can make or break your paint job. Make sure your surface is clean and dust free. Fill and sand any holes and allow the proper drying/curing time for the filler. Apply quality primer if necessary. Put down drop cloths to protect your furniture and the floor (YOU WILL DRIP AND SPLATTER. Trust me.). Apply tape as needed and press all tape edges with a flat edge to make sure you've got maximum adhesion.
This post brought to you by Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.
In addition to being my favorite holiday and time of year, it’s also by far my busiest season. So I often wind up short changing myself on the celebration front.
Not this year! This year I promised myself I would set aside time to decorate and craft. There will be baking! And candy making! And pumpkin carving! And the crafting of spooky things! And most importantly: decorating!
This is a little vignette I set up in my kitchen, featuring some of my All Hallow’s Eve decoration- some new and some old.
(Mr. Smarmy even said he liked the decorations- totally unsolicited. Usually he’s not one to comment much on such superfluous things, but it just goes to show: NO ONE can resist the temptation of HALLOWEEN! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves Halloween.)
The jackolantern filled with xmas lights was the first faux pumpkin I carved a few years ago- I’ve decided to carve a new one each year, so eventually I’ll have a jackolantern army (which will spend most of it’s time guarding my garage, I suppose).
The owl is a vintage thrift find of my brother’s. He was brown up until a few days ago when I gave him a Halloween makeover (quickie tutorial coming soon!).
And I scored the set of metallic jackolanterns on clearance last year after Halloween.
The new additions to my collection are all decorations I snagged from the Halloween supplies at Dollar General: the glittery orange skull, jackolantern tin that I filled with pinecones, mini pumpkins, and rubber bat ($1 a bat… I seriously wanted to buy the store out and string them up in the trees outside).
Check out your local Dollar General and let me know what favorite Halloween goodies you find!
I’ve read your article about pricing, and while I love the theory of pricing based on labor and I agree that my skills should be at least $20 or more, who in the world would pay $60 for a little scarf just because it’s handmade?
Take a look at Etsy and there are plenty of scarves selling (just check the seller’s sold items and number of sales) for $60 and more. Yes, there really are people who will pay the price of handmade simply because they appreciate the time, and they value the quality.
There are even more people who will pay a premium if it’s really something special- perhaps it’s because you use the highest quality fibers, or dye the yarn yourself in patterns and colors no one has seen before, or because the particular crochet pattern is something unique.
Rococo Knit Shawl / Wrap by ElenaRosenberg
This is where the frustration comes from when people say, “I could get that for $5 at Walmart.” Because no- there is not a single item in my shop you could get a Walmart. Yes, you can buy a dress at Walmart or a dress from me, but they are certainly not the same dress. Not even close.
That being said, if you are selling something that really could be had for $5 at Walmart, then that may be a problem. It would be very difficult to compete directly with the largest retailer in the world- even other large retailers have failed at that.
The trick is to find that magic “something” that makes people go, “Oh! I really can’t get that anywhere else!” That takes the competition right out of the game.
My busy season started a little early this year, so I haven’t been posting garden updates like I had intended.
Well, hold on to your butts, because here come some pictures of flowers and things.
The first up are nasturtiums. Usually I get whatever mix they have at the store, but then I saw this photo of the trailing nasturtiums in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum courtyard in Boston. I NEEDED trailing nasturtiums!
These are what I settled on:
They’re called “Moonlight”. A nice creamy yellow. The foliage (which always reminds me of lily pads) is a little darker green than the nasturtiums I’ve grown before. Continue reading…