Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pumpkin Tutorials from Very Crafty Bloggers, Part Two

Autumn is my favorite season, and pumpkins are one of my favorite items to decorate with. Whether using real pumpkins or fake craft ones, my fellow craft bloggers have come up with truly creative ideas to decorate for Halloween and for the Fall season. In fact, there's so many unique pumpkin tutorials out there, that it's taken two separate blog posts just to share my favorites with you!

Click here in case you missed Part One, from yesterday.

And now? Part Two!

Please click on the links beneath each picture to be taken to the tutorial.

Dryer Duct Pumpkin with cinnamon sticks from House of Hepworths

Glitter Pumpkins from A Glimpse Inside

Linen Driftwood Pumpkins from City Farmhouse

Toilet Paper Pumpkins from Pretty Handy Girl

Canning Jar Lid Pumpkin from Simply Klassic Home

Instagram Photo Pumpkin from The Swell Life

Easy Blue "Faux Crackle" Pumpkins from Saved by Love Creations

Pumpkin Topiary from Sand and Sisal

Scented Jack-o-Lantern Tealights from Suzys Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom

Houndstooth Pumpkin with Duck Tape from The V Spot

Silver Bling Pumpkin from The Scrap Shoppe

Pretty Painted Pumpkins from Alisa Burke

Honestly, don't these gorgeous pumpkins make you rethink just displaying a plain unadorned, undecorated, unembellished pumpkin as a decoration?

For even more decorating ideas and tutorials, please click here to visit my Pinterest board devoted entirely to Pumpkin Tutorials.

Do you love decorating pumpkins as much as I do? Will you try any or these ideas to spruce up your own pumpkins?

Let me know in the comments!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkin Tutorials from Very Crafty Bloggers, Part One

Autumn is my favorite season, and pumpkins are one of my favorite items to decorate with. Whether using real pumpkins or fake craft ones, my fellow craft bloggers have come up with truly creative ideas to decorate for Halloween and for the Fall season. In fact, there's so many unique pumpkin tutorials out there, that it will take me two separate blog posts to share my favorites with you! Consider today: Part One!

Please click on the links beneath each picture to be taken to the tutorial.

Twine Striped Pumpkins from The Silly Pearl

Mod Podge Tissue Paper Pumpkin from The Answer is Chocolate

String Pumpkin from Clumsy Crafter

Palm Frond Leaves Pumpkin from The Space Between

Halloween Folk Art from Dollar Store Pumpkins from Rook No. 17

Nightmare Before Christmas Sally Craft Pumpkin from Plucking Daisies

Sweater Pumpkins no sewing from The Country Chic Cottage

Glittered Pumpkins from The Scrap Shoppe

Decorating Pumpkins 13 tutorials from The V Spot

Chalkboard Pumpkin Patch Sign from It's So Very Cheri

Black Velvet Pumpkins from Homework

Pumpkin Baby Shower Centerpiece from Uncommon

Dryer Duct Pumpking from Keeping it Simple

Inspired yet? Which pumpkins do you want to make first? (Saying "All of them" is an obvious answer!)

Want to see more? Click here to see Part Two for even more crafty pumpkin goodness!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Our cat was a pansy. Here's why.

Matisse the Puppy Cat, The Shed blog
Matisse, May 2002

Yesterday would have been Matisse's 13th birthday. Matisse, or Mr. Boober as we affectionately called him, is our beloved Ragdoll cat who passed away almost 3 years ago. I miss that sweet boy so much. 

I wrote the following post in memory of Matisse on April 22, 2010 on the Pet Scribbles Facebook page. In honor of his memory, I'm sharing it here with you. I've added several pictures which, although all are not the best quality, will help to convey what a special cat Boober was.

~ ~ ~ ~

Our 10-year-old cat Matisse, as most of you know, passed away in November from cancer. Although we knew the day would come when we would have to say goodbye to him, it was still a very emotionally difficult experience. And 5 months later, I am still caught off guard by moments where I just miss him so much that I ache and I cry. But I have something to remember him by, that I could never have predicted.

(As an aside, we privately called him Mr. Boober. Not sounding like the o's in the word "boo" but rather like the sound in the word "wood." I'll be referring to him as Boober as we go along...)

Matisse and Lulu, The Shed blog
Matisse attempting to sleep, while Lulu walks all over him!  2001

Boober was a gentle cat, a big giant mush of fluff, a true Ragdoll cat. He was gentle, he was loving, he was clown-ish, he was a Mama's Boy. My husband and I often joked that if we could get Boober a tiny baseball hat to wear, it would have a pansy flower on it, because he seemed too timid at times. 

And then a few years ago Boober seemed to have a hairball issue - the darn thing just didn't want to come out, or so it seemed. A trip to our vet changed our world, for Boober had a large tumor in his lungs. That's why he had been coughing. It had to be removed, in order to not keep growing and suffocating him. The thought was that the removal would hopefully cure him. However, the tumor biopsy results showed that this tumor was instead a type of feline sarcoma that usually starts elsewhere in the body and shows up in the lungs as the final place. Boober was in a small minority of cats that have this sarcoma "start" in the lungs. No doubt there was cancer looming elsewhere in his body too.

Three cats on a cold day, The Shed blog
Snuggling in for the day...  January 2004

We were glad to remove the tumor, and so was Boober. After having to be quarantined away from the other cats while he recovered for 2 months, he was back to his old self in no time. (We gave him our guest room during the quarantine, and we took turns sleeping with him every night. We kept a pet gate in the open doorway, and the girls (Lulu, his little sis; and Aliza, his devoted companion) would stop by and chat with him thru the gate all the time. Aliza would actually sit at that gate almost 24/7 while Boober was quarantined. She loved him so much.

But I digress...

We were told by all of the experts that he probably had about 3 to 6 months at the most. We opted not to do chemo on him. It wouldn't have impacted the cancer, but it would have impacted his quality of life left to live, and we wanted him to live life to the fullest. 

Boober showed us that he was no pansy at all. He was with us for almost one-and-a-half years after the tumor was removed. He was seemingly healthy for most of that time. He wrestled with Lulu, and he groomed Aliza. He flopped belly-up to get tummy rubs from Dad, and he snuggled with me and also played our little game of hide and seek. 

In the final months, he went blind, first in one eye, then in both. The girls took turns helping him navigate around, and he never cried or complained. He leg muscles on one side atrophied, and he limped around, but never cried. He was no pansy at all. He was the bravest boy I've ever known.

Matisse and Aliza, The Shed blog
When Matisse went blind near the end, Aliza stuck to him like glue.  2009

It was mid-November last fall when we made the decision (with Boober, he told us when it was time) to say goodbye. I'd rather not write about that, it is still too raw. But something happened right after that time: a pansy sprouted up among the leaves of our Yucca plant. The most beautiful pansy I had ever seen. Nothing was blooming by that time, and yet here was this pansy standing tall and proud, and blooming so beautifully:

Pansy, The Shed blog

We had a few major snowstorms here over the winter, but each time, that pansy poked through the snow and survived. And kept blooming. And then in the springtime, just about a month ago, all sorts of pansies sprouted up - different from the ones we had just planted in another part of the garden. These pansies all sprouted up on their own (most likely from seeds from a previous year's plantings). I call these pansies "The Boober Pansies" and every day I spend time looking at them, amazed at their strength.

Pansies, The Shed blog

It is very hard to put this into words without crying all over again. I know this is part of the grieving process and part of the healing process too. My sweet Boober, that adorable Mama's Boy, was no pansy at all. Or maybe he was. A strong one. 

I hope you enjoy these pictures of my "Boober pansies." 

Pansies, The Shed blog

Pansies, The Shed blog

Pansies, The Shed blog

Pansies, The Shed blog

It's been over two years since I originally posted this on Facebook, and we still have "Boober pansies" popping up year-round. 


June 5, 2013 update - If you enjoyed this post, then click here to read a new post I wrote about Aliza, our formerly feral senior cat!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Halloween Magnets in my Etsy shop

Halloween Black Bat Magnets Etsy Pet Scribbles
Halloween Black Bat Magnets, Set of 7 | © Pet Scribbles LLC

I've added some fun Halloween-themed magnet sets that I made to my Etsy shop! In addition to the bats above - check out their fangs, by the way - there are also two different sets of "Spells and Potions" as shown below:

Halloween Spells and Potions Magnets Etsy Pet Scribbles
Halloween Spells and Potions Magnets, Set of 5 | © Pet Scribbles LLC

Halloween Magnets Witch Spells Etsy Pet Scribbles
Halloween Magnets, Spells and Potions, Set of 5 | © Pet Scribbles LLC

I used some fun Halloween-themed scrapbook papers which were already distressed as part of the design. Gotta love that! (I sure did!)

The acrylic bubble cabochons are made in America. I don't "do" China, which means these cabochons have no scratches or cracks, their quality is top-notch. This means that each magnified image is crystal clear.

Attached to the domed cabochons are super-strong rare earth magnets, each capable of holding several sheets of paper at a time. No worries of "magnet slippage" issues here!

Each magnet is 1 inch in diameter, and about 3/8" at the highest point of the dome.

A fun and inexpensive way to decorate your fridge, your inspiration board, your office cubicle!

Do you have a favorite?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Make Handmade Bracelets

The title of this post is "How to Make Handmade Bracelets" and if you keep reading, you will discover four helpful and easy-to-follow tutorials that will have you creating bracelets for yourself or as gifts for others in no time at all. And with the holidays coming up, the timing couldn't be better!

Remember my mini (faux) pallet art tutorial? Well, one of the comments at the bottom of that post was from my friend Johnnie, who simply said,
This is so cute Laura! I want it. Do you need my address ;)
I took it as a sweet compliment, but then Johnnie posted this on Twitter:
@petscribbles I am starting a "Laura should send this pallet art to Johnnie" initiative. Just giving you a heads up!
Well now, I began to consider that Johnnie just might be serious about this. Hmmm... I had been coveting drooling over admiring her many handmade bracelets shared on her own blog Saved by Love Creations, which is a blog about upcycled crafts, jewelry and DIY decor. So I proposed a swap and Johnnie was all for it!

I feel like Christmas came early to me this year, as she sent me not just one or two of her bracelets -- she sent me four of them! You can click here to read about our swap from Johnnie's perspective, and to see where she chose to hang my mini pallet art piece.

Macrame Bracelets

Macrame Bracelets

I love macrame bracelets, and the "washer" trend that I see on Etsy and elsewhere. Here are two bracelets that Johnnie made, one with a washer, and the other with a metal "gratitude" charm. Both bracelets are fully adjustable, and both are super-easy to make. You can find the details on Johnnie's blog by clicking here.

Braided Bead Bracelet

Braided Bead Bracelet

Isn't this one gorgeous? I love how simple it is, yet how striking at the same time. Johnnie says she has made dozens of these using different colors and different sizes and shapes of beads. Want to make some of your own? You can in no time at all by watching her how-to video here:  Braided Bead Bracelet DIY

Upcycled Belt Bracelet

Upcycled Belt Bracelet

This bracelet is my favorite! Johnnie calls it the Upcycled Belt Bracelet, because her husband challenged her to come up with something out of an old belt he didn't want anymore. It didn't take Johnnie long to figure out yet another amazing bracelet design! 

Clasp of the Upcycled Belt Bracelet

I wore this bracelet to a neighborhood pig roast over the weekend and received so many compliments on it. You can learn how to make one here:  Upcycled Belt Bracelet DIY (easy to follow video!)

~ ~ ~

Johnnie is much more than bracelets, however I do encourage you to visit Saved by Love Creations as she has many more bracelet tutorials for you to try! You can also find her at Printable Decor (an awesome site for free printables!), and at Totally Green Crafts (a place to find craft ideas and DIY inspiration using recycled materials).

Now go and make some pretty bracelets!

And thank you so much Johnnie! I treasure each one you made!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Dryer Sheet Flowers Tutorial

I'm going to show you how to make flowers from used dryer sheets. These flowers, once transformed, look like they are made out of tulle or a very sheer fabric. I'm going to tea-stain the dryer sheets first, and then after making them into the flower shapes, I will dye them with spray ink dyes and top them off with some glimmery goodness. After I dry the flowers with a heat tool, I'll have lovely shabby-styled flowers.

I first showed you this style of flower when I added it to my mini faux pallet art piece that I shared here last month. I made a small flower for that project, after reading several tutorials and seeing this helpful video. Since that project, I've made a few more flowers and definitely am drawn to making them in a larger size. Using full-sized dryer sheets means I can make big, bold flowers perfect to stick here and there as decorations in our home.

We've had a grapevine wreath on the inside of our front door for quite some time now. I loved the simplicity of it, but wanted to give it a touch of Autumn. These dryer sheet flowers ended up being the perfect addition!

Here's the supplies I used to make the flowers:

Dryer Sheets (used)
Wire twisty-ties (like what keeps your bread bags closed)
Rubber Gloves
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in pumpkin spice (orange) and dragonfly (aqua/teal)
Perfect Pearls Mists in heirloom gold and perfect pearl

Let's get started!

1. Do some laundry. Yes, now laundry becomes fun, doesn't it? You have a purpose beyond simply insuring there are clean clothes. Now you are beginning to hoard to start your collection of used dryer sheets.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

2. Make two cups of tea. The first cup is for tea-staining (I think I just made that a verb?) the dryer sheets. The second cup of tea is for you to enjoy. (After all that laundry, you deserve it, right?)

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

3. Once the tea has steeped for 5 minutes (to get the color nice and rich), remove the tea bag. Place all of the used dryer sheets into the tea bath and use a spoon to make sure they are immersed into the tea. (I'm using a giant mug that doubles as a soup bowl, but you can't really tell from these pictures. And yes, I drink my tea out of a giant mug because I need all the help caffeine I can get!)

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

4. Let the dryer sheets sit in the tea bath for about 10 minutes. Keep in mind that these sheets are delicate, so use a spoon to gently lift them out of the tea bath one at a time. Place each one on a paper towel to dry. You'll notice how textured the dryer sheets now look, with the tea staining some parts more than others. For a truly shabby look, you could use this (the tea stain) as your finished color of the flowers. So many decorating possibilities!

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

5. Once completely dry, this is what your pile of dryer sheets should look like:

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

6. Take three dryer sheets, place them on top of each other as lined up as you can make them, and begin folding them back-and-forth in an accordion type of fold.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

7. Once folded, pinch the center. Wrap a wire twisty-tie (what are these things officially called?!) around the center and twist the ends of the wire together. This is what your flowers should look like at this stage:

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

8. Gently pull the layers apart, shaping the cinched-together dryer sheets into more of a flower shape.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

You should have three layers on each side of the flower, a top layer, a middle layer, and a bottom layer. This is what the flowers should look like after you pull the layers apart:

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

9. Read this entire step first before proceeding so nothing gets messed up.

Next, you need to cut some slits into each layer of the flower using scissors. Each slit needs to only extend approximately half-way down toward the center of the flower. I alternate between making 2 slits and making 3 slits per layer, as it makes the flower fuller. Start with the bottom layer, and cut your slits "sort of" evenly spaced apart. You don't need to be exact with your spacing, just eyeball (did I just make another verb?) it.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

10. Take another wire twisty-tie and attach it to the flower's twisty-tie. This makes a longer stem for you to hold while you are dying the flowers.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

Note: I use rubber gloves when I do this step, as the dye stains pretty effectively. (And that's what you want in a dye, so I view it as a good thing!) But no worries, if you get dye on your hands, use a baby wipe to get most of it off. The rest will come off in the shower easily. You can also wash your hands repeatedly like a woman possessed.

11. Holding the flower by its twisty-tie stem, spray the dye ink all over the flower. I did this outside, but you can also use a box to spray "into" to avoid getting any overspray on your surroundings indoors. I sprayed several light coats onto each flower. There's no right or wrong way to do this, just spray until you're happy with the colors. Here's an action shot (hah!) of me spraying the orange dye:

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

And here's an action shot of me spraying the teal dye:

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

12. Dry each flower with a heat tool, which also sets the dye in each flower. What is fun about the heat tool, is that it will curl the flower "petals" a bit so that right before your eyes your flower starts looking like a real flower blossom. Keep your heat tool constantly moving so that you don't singe or burn the dryer sheets. This step is trial-and-error, and after you do just one flower you will have the hang of it. If you accidentally singe or burn part of the flower, you can simply cut that off. But I like that look, I think it adds to the shabby-style, so I always keep my singed edges. In fact, I singe parts of my flowers on purpose.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

13. Repeat the heat tool step for each flower. I actually spend quite some time on this step, repeatedly picking up each flower and "heating" several times. Again, you will know when you're finished with this step: it is as simple as stopping when you like how it looks.

Here's the flowers dried and curled, along with what looks like my very hairy arm (egads!) with dye on it:

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

14. You could stop there and have beautifully dyed flowers. Just use your hands to continue crinkling, teasing, fluffing and arranging the petals until you love how they look. Several of these in a vase are a stunning focal point in a room.

I embellished my flowers a bit more by spraying Perfect Pearls Mists in both "heirloom gold" and "perfect pearl" onto various sections of each flower. These mists are fantastic for giving either a soft and pretty sheen (using a few light sprays) or adding lots of shiny shimmer (using several coats close up). I just gave a few light spritzes onto each flower. And I played with the heat tool a bit more, just to make the flowers even shabbier in style. 

Here's our grapevine wreath on the inside of our front door, now with the flowers attached. (I simply used the twisty-tie stems to attach each flower to the wreath.) 

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

The aqua/teal flower is the accent color we have in our great room, and the orange flowers are a tribute to Autumn.

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

Dryer Sheet Flower Tutorial - The Shed blog

I'm looking forward to doing more laundry collecting more dryer sheets to make more flowers in this color combination. I like that I can display these from now all the way through Thanksgiving.

When my husband saw me tea-staining all of the dryer sheets, I jokingly mentioned how it makes me love doing laundry knowing I can use the dryer sheets to make flowers. 

His response? "Is there any type of craft that would make you want to use the vacuum more often?" 



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