Easy Burlap Wreath with Corsage Style Ornaments

Burlap or jute wreaths are so easy to make! You can dress them up, or leave them casual–and decorate them for any season. Here are examples of my two most recent creations, along with the steps so you can hang one on your door today.

 Mother's Day Wreath by rlc

This one was made for Mother’s Day.

 

Autumn Burlap Wreath by RLCThis one was a “No-Sew, No-Glue” burlap wreath makeover. I wanted something more full.

 

Materials:

Wreath Form
Burlap or Jute Garland (or your former No-Sew Wreath)
Ribbon (optional)
Floral Wire
Wire Cutters
Corsage Style Ornaments (instructions posted on October 16, 2014)

Steps:

Prepare your materials:

Garland and Ribbon:

Decide how many strips of material you will want to use; the one pictured has three strips of burlap and one strip of decorative ribbon. To measure the length needed for each strip, hold the material against the outside edge of your wreath form and wrap the material around it at least 1 ½ times. This will give you enough extra fabric to “poof.”

Floral Wire for Securing Garland:

Measure out a few strand of wire to be readily available. Basically, these just need to be long enough to wrap around the thickness of your wreath form. Give yourself enough extra to allow for easy twisting of the ends—you can trim off any excess once the wreath is finished.

Create Your Wreath:

I began by taking apart my original wreath; this was easy as I created it with the idea of changing it with the seasons—it was just a matter of untwisting some wire. I’ll be using the same process to make this new version.

Gather the ends of your fabric strips, hold them against your wreath form, and secure with a wire twisted in the back like a twist tie. Autumn Burlap Wreath Start rlc

Now it is just a matter of playing with the fabric; securing it at the end of each section with a twisted piece of wire.

 

 

Once you’ve finished the body of your wreath, it’s time to add your decorative elements. I’ve used some corsage-style bouquets created by taking apart elements of floral stems and re-securing them with florist tape. These little bouquets are on florist wire. To attach, simply place the bouquet against your wreath, between two of the “poofs,” and wrap the wire stem around the wreath. Finish by bringing the end of the wire back around your bouquet and pinch it closed. Floral Tape Tutorial 006 rlc

 

 

Take a good look at your wreath—play with the fabric, adjusting the “poofs” so they cover the twist ties. Once you are happy with the result, turn the wreath over and trim off any excess wire. Autumn Burlap Wreath Back rlc

DIY Create Unique Florist-Quality Arrangements For Less Than Half The Cost

WhetherDIY mini greenhouse arrangement by rlc in the pages of a glossy magazine or the window of a boutique florist, at some time you’ve spotted a gorgeous flower arrangement you’ve wished was sitting in your house. What stopped you, was it the price? Today I’ll show you how to create a stunning flower arrangement for less than half of what it would cost at your local florist shop!

I’m using a mini-greenhouse terrarium purchased at Jo-Ann’s, but you can easily substitute any container. The tips I’m sharing are from my own experience working at a florist shop where I was responsible for creating all the FTD arrangements. I’ll start us off with a list of supplies in just a moment, but first let’s talk about flowers and greenery.

A florist will often begin her arrangement by placing a fair amount of “filler” such as greenery or baby’s breath. This is done to cover the sight of the floral foam, take up space, and reduce the number of “showy” flowers used in the arrangement. The problem with this is that sometimes the “filler” can impede the desired placement of your main stems. Although you can simply pull out the filler to insert your flower, this can potentially leave holes in your foam, which could expose your flower stems to air. For this reason, I usually begin with my flowers and insert filler at the finish.

When choosing your flowers be sure to include various sizes and textures. You’ll want some single stem flowers (flowers with one long stem such as Carnations), some clusters (several blooms on one stem), some flowers that can “drape” (such as Freesia), and small flowers/greenery to tuck into any gaps. Here’s a tip for you—you might have all the “filler” greenery you need right in your own yard! Don’t be afraid to use trimmings from your own bushes.

The general rule for creating an arrangement in proportion to your container is to have the flowers equal to the height of your container, and 1 1/2 times the width. So, if my container is 6” high x 4” deep x 10” long the flower arrangement should be about 6”-8” at the highest point and drape over the edges 1” front and back and 2” or 3” on each side. Ready to have some fun?

You will need:

Container
Flowers
Wet Floral Foam
Florist’s blade or clippers
Craft blade to trim the foam
A bucket for soaking the floral foam
A bucket or vases to hold the flowers while working.

Optional:
Floral Tape to secure the foam
Plastic Bag to use with any non-watertight container
Decorative Cloth to use with a see-through container
Twine to secure the lid (if using a mini greenhouse)

Steps:

A few hours before working, or even the night before…

Unwrap your flower bouquets, trim a bit off of the stems, and place them in a bucket or vases to allow the flowers to perk up after being compressed. This is a great time to use the little flower-food packets included in the wrapping.

Soak the floral foam in a bucket of either plain water or water with flower food added. You can either measure the foam and trim prior to soaking, or trim it after it is fully wet. Once wet the foam is very easy to cut through.

Prepare the container…

We are ready to create our arrangement. Since my container is glass, I’m going to start by placing some burlap in the greenhouse. Next, since my container isn’t watertight I’m adding a plastic bag. mini greenhouse arrangement by rlc

Now we can insert our floral foam. The floral foam is merely a tool for holding the flowers in place so it doesn’t have to fill the entire container. In fact, you want to leave room for the water. To keep your foam from shifting, you can either place florists tape across the top in a “+” pattern or simply cut a few small squares of foam to wedge in on the sides. Be sure your foam sits a bit higher than the container so you have someplace to insert the flowers around the sides—a couple inches is fine. Add a bit of water to keep your foam wet while you work. At this point I’m trimming away the excess burlap and plastic.

Creating your arrangement…

The general rule for floral design is to keep the eye moving in a triangle. This rule can be bent depending on your container, but the key is to keep the eye moving from bottom to sides to top. This is done by using either the same flowers, flowers of the same color, or the same type of flower in similar colors. We’ll call these your main stems. In addition to your main stems, you might want to choose one or two large blooms as your focal point. Large focal blooms are usually placed low in the arrangement or even resting on the rim of the container. The objective is to make the container part of the artistic expression; you don’t want it to look like your arrangement is floating above the pot. “Draping” flowers, such as Freesia, help to blend the container into the arrangement.

Note: When using foam, flowers are trimmed and arranged just as they would be for use in a vase. You want your stems to reach to the bottom of the foam where the water is. Never enter your stems horizontally. Make your stems as long as possible. mini greenhouse stem position by rlc

Let’s begin by using a few of our cluster stems to map out the proportions. At this time you can decide if there will be a back side to your arrangement. Place one tall cluster stem in the center (or the mid-back if your arrangement will be against the wall). Next, place stems of the same flower so they reach out to the edges of where your arrangement will end on all sides. The objective is to create the “bones” of your triangle.

For those of you using a greenhouse like I am, our focus is mainly on the front of the arrangement. Since we plan on propping the lid up, let’s make sure the flowers in the back are placed far enough towards the center to be out of the way of the lid. mini greenhouse mapping size by rlc

Once you have an idea of the shape and size of your arrangement you can begin placing your main stems. It’s always more pleasing to the eye to have two or more of the same flower placed together. So, if you want the eye to follow purple mums, for instance, place two or three mums at each side and a few at the highest point. You might also place some at the mid points between these.

Next, place your focal flower(s). I’m using a sunflower. A focal flower is usually set off-center. mini greenhouse flower placement by rlc

Now you can fill in with the other stems. Remember to place more than one stem of a kind together. Vary the heights of the flowers to create depth. You’ll want to place the blooms so that they cover the stems of other flowers. This is especially true along the edges where you want the arrangement to blend with the container as a single artistic vision.

Your arrangement is almost finished. At this time, let’s fill in any blanks with our filler and greenery. Basically, you’ll want to cover any place where you can see floral foam or stems.

For those of you using a greenhouse, trim a few short pieces of greenery to cover the foam in the back. They should be short enough for the lid to clear the tops. We want anyone looking through the glass lid on the back of the arrangement to see plant material and not floral foam. mini greenhouse backside by rlc

At this point we can prop up our mini greenhouse lids. Thread one end of your twine through latch on the lower box and tie a knot. Pass the twine up through your flowers and tie it around the hook part of the latch on the lid. Continue to use your “filler” stems to conceal the twine.

Tada—you’ve created a masterpiece! mini greenhouse arrangement finish

It’s so rewarding to make your own floral arrangements. First, it’s fun to watch your own skills increase. Your friends will absolutely love receiving arrangements you made yourself. And, you can finally decorate your home like those pictures in the glossy magazines–for less than half the cost of professional floral design! I worked the figures and determined that this arrangement would have cost $162.50 at the shop where I used to work—the DIY price was a mere $45.00.

mini greenhouse side 1 by rlc  mini greenhouse side 2 by rlc

Sneaky Art Book Review and Double Giveaway!

When we get right down to it, most of us create so we can share…smiles, joy, and beauty. Quick, easy crafts not only feed our desire to create and spread smiles, they also relieve stress by giving our analytical mind a break. Today I’m sharing a little book that makes it oh, so easy to sneak a bit of art time into your day—no matter what your age. The book is Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn. I’ll be passing my copy on to one lucky winner–along with an extra prize—but first, let me tell you about the book.

MarthebookcoverSneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight is intended for ages 8-12 but appeals to sneaky artists of all ages. The projects are inexpensive and easily adaptable for large groups, making it a good resource for teachers, but the true beauty of the book lies in the underlying lessons in conceptualization and material re-purposing. For instance, can you make a boat using only the items in the recycle bin? Jocelyn uses wine corks or milk carton bottoms…what else could you use? What can you do with cupcake papers other than cover cupcakes? How about making them into fortune cookies!

Each of the twenty-four projects in Sneaky Art are presented in a simple format listing materials needed, craft instructions, suggestions on where to “sneak” your art, and pictures of the finished pieces in their “sneaky” locations. The author offers clear instructions that “Sneaky Art is not mean, defacing, ugly, hurtful, messy, or permanent. Sneaky Art is not graffiti or marking up someone’s property. Sneaky art is funny clever, thoughtful, subversive, playful, and surprising.” Jocelyn even suggests going back to the scene of our “sneak” and retrieving our art if it is still there. To this I will add my own suggestion that any art placed outdoors be created with good stewardship in mind. We don’t want to create litter, and we don’t want to endanger any wild life. So, any paints should be non-toxic. Do not use thin threads or fishing line as they can wrap around the feet of birds and small animals causing injury. Do not use colored beads or fake berries as birds may ingest them and get sick (or worse).

Would you like to win a copy of Sneaky Art? Details on how to win today’s special double giveaway are at the end of this post.

About the Book:

Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight By Marthe Jocelyn

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English

Synopsis:

For young artists, tricksters, and crafters, here is a hip, friendly how-to manual for creating removable and shareable art projects from easily found materials. The sneaky part is in the installation! Each work of art is custom-created for display in public places — a tiny cork-bottomed boat in a public fountain, a plate of tiny paper cupcakes on your teacher’s desk, a penny left on the ground for a stranger, a funny message left on your mother’s bathroom mirror, and more. This utterly unique guide — part craft book, part art-philosophy — offers a stylish and sweet “made-you-look-twice” spirit of fun meant to put a smile on the faces of strangers and loved ones alike.

About the Author:

Marthe Jocelyn spent her childhood in Toronto reading books and putting on plays and circuses in her backyard. Marthe has a long string of jobs: theater usher, cookie seller, waitress, photo stylist, even toy designer before she finally settled on writer. She currently lives in Ontario with her daughters Nell and Hannah.

Marthe Jocelyn’s websites:

http://www.marthejocelyn.com/index.htm

http://sneakyart.com

Twitter: @scissorhouse

#SneakyArt

Double Giveaway!

As part of the Sneaky Art virtual book tour through Women OnMarthebookcover Writing, I am offering a double-prize package consisting of my hardcover, review copy of Sneaky Art and a Rainy Day Art Pack by Marthe Jocelyn.

The Rainy Day Art Pack comes with a body template and a selection of scraps for crafting (decorative paper, pompoms, feathers, yarn, buttons, etc…) Just add glue and scissors! More fun than paper dolls (remember them?) Where will this little character end up? He/she might become part of a collage…or even take part in a “sneaky art” caper!  Rainy Day Artpack

To Enter The Giveaway:

Leave a Comment: Tell us about a time you took part in a sneaky art caper OR tell us about something wonderful you or your child created with re-purposed items OR tell us why this book appeals to you. Make sure your email address is either in your profile or included in your comment so I can get in touch with you!

For additional Entries:

Tweet about this giveaway. Come back and leave the url to your tweet. Be sure to use the hashtag #SneakyArt in your tweet! (Each tweet gains an additional entry!)

Follow @scissorhouse on Twitter (and let us know)

Follow @RCchrps (that’s me) on Twitter (and let us know)

Visit A Ponderance of Things on Sunday, December 15th for more chances to win this Double Giveaway!

Contest runs December 13, 2013 through December 21, 2013. One random winner will be chosen from all entries gathered on Museiddity and A Ponderance of Things. One winner will win the prize package consisting of one hardcover copy of the book, Sneaky Art, and one Rainy Day Art Pack. Items to be mailed separately. Winner to be notified by email and posted in a blog update.

Good Luck!

Update: Congratulations to Pillows-a-la-mode for winning our Sneaky Art double prize! She has been contacted via email 🙂

What’s on Your Craft Bench?

On the Workbench by rlcI thought I’d take a moment to share some of the of the things I’ve been working on and invite you to share your own projects.

Lately, I’ve been in jewelry mode. I decided to create some resin pendants using Halloween-themed pictures I drew a few years ago. It’s fun to take the original illustration and use photo editing to apply different techniques–each pendant comes out unique!

Red Flight bracelet by RLCJust to show the difference, here is a picture of bats flying with the moon in the background. But in one version the moon seems to be bleeding (and has an extra bat), the other (in the picture below) is more sepia toned.

 

On the Workbench Items by rlc

I reverse-painted some clear pendants and ended up with some really neat effects! I especially like the blue one (in the picture here), but there was a lovely, shimmering lilac colored pendant that became the focal for this necklace.

Creations by RLC widget pic

I’ll be adding the finished projects to my shop as I go along. I just recently added these two. One is original artwork in resin, the other is a Dia De Los Muertos lariat necklace featuring hand-formed and hand painted clay skulls. Passkey and Los Muertos by RLCby RLC

So, that’s what’s on my bench right now–what’s on your bench? Are you making crafts for Halloween or stitching gifts for Christmas? Are you trying something new? Do you have a craft to share? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

Do You Enjoy Halloween?

I’m so excited I could burst!

I love the fall season…and Halloween/Samhain. For those of you unfamiliar with “Samhain” it is pronounced “sow’ en” and is the Wiccan New Year. I won’t go into a lot of explanation right now but suffice to say that October is one month where just about everyone is into crafting whether it be costumes, home decor or party planning. Which brings me back to my announcement…

Museiddity has been accepted into this year’s Samhain Sirens October Extravaganza! Throughout October the website, Samhain’s Sirens, will feature blog posts and giveaways in celebration of the season. I’ll be posting some craft “how tos” and also offering items for giveaways. We are going to have a lot of fun! It’s a long time ’til October though…

In the meantime… June will be beading month here at Museiddity! We’ll be talking with a jewelry artist, a “sequinista”, and a lamp worker (maker of glass beads)…and I might offer some sneak peaks of my October Extravaganza giveaways. If you love jewelry you’ll want to join us!

Sweet or Salty: Make Your Own Body Scrub

Homemade body ScrubHave you ever indulged in a body scrub? I know of no better way to exfoliate, hydrate, and stimulate the skin—and they smell wonderful! Scrubs can retail for fifteen to twenty dollars, but why spend the money when you can make you own? You probably already have most, if not all, of the ingredients.

You will need:

A jar or other container

 

Ground Sea Salt or Granulated Sugar.

Sea salt contains beneficial minerals but you want to choose a salt already ground, don’t just use your home grinder. When using a home grinder the resulting crystals have sharp edges and are too abrasive.

Carrier Oil.

Choose an oil that will be absorbed into the skin and has a decent shelf-life. Here are some choices:

Grapeseed—grapeseed is often used because it is relatively inexpensive and has a long shelf life.

Jojoba—jojoba penetrates more deeply into the skin

Sweet Almond—sweet almond contains minerals, vitamins, and protein

Essential Oil

Essential oils not only provide fragrance but also offer health benefits. Here are a few of the most common–you can combine two or three:

Relaxing/Comforting/Soothing

Jasmine–comforting
Lavender–relaxing
Neroli (Orange Blossom) —soothing
Rose—soothing

Stimulating/Mental Alertness

Eucalyptus–stimulating
Orange/Lemon—mental alertness
Peppermint—mental alertness
Tea tree—stimulating, anti-bacterial/anti-fungal

Grounding

Cedarwood
Patchouli
Sandalwood

Directions:

  • Fill your container about ½ to ¾ with salt or sugar
  • Top with layer of oil about 1 to 1 ½ inches
  • Add your essential oils—The general rule for essential oils is up to 15 drops (total) per tablespoon of carrier oil but it is best to start with a light hand. I suggest starting with 10 drops total per jar of scrub, you can always add more if you desire a stronger scent.

If using two or three scents you may wish to blend them in a separate bowl before adding to the scrub. When blending, decide first what your base note will be as you will be using more drops of that scent. For instance, if I wanted sandalwood-rose I would begin with 5 drops of sandalwood and add two or three drops of rose.

That’s it! Leave the oil sitting on top and stir just prior to use.

Go ahead and pamper yourself! Scrubs also make perfect gifts for:
Birthdays/Graduations–make two or three different scented scrubs to tuck into a gift basket.
Weddings–gift your bridesmaids with matching scents.