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31  Wreath/garland refurb -- old greenery, old poinsettias, old ribbon = new look in Winter Holidays by phreed83 on: December 01, 2008 04:29:50 PM


For the last 5 years this plain jane fake pine wreath just had a few snowman ornaments and a red bow.  This year I went for a more lush look without buying anything new (my theme for this year's decor).  I took apart 2 of those bushes or sprays of poinsettias - slightly different shades and textures and covered the wreath with the leaves and flowers (secured by twisting around the wire stems of the wreath) - then tucked in some picks of fake mistletoe I had picked up at an estate sale last year and reused a ribbon from another garland for the bow .  I cut the rest of the ribbon in half width-wise and cut it into length to make little double loops (secured at the bottom with twist ties and inserted into the wreath where a little more color was needed.



This is the first wreath I've decorated that has come out even close to looking like the ones I've seen in stores, etc - not my usual totally amateurish attempt.   It does my line-up of thrift-store nutcrackers proud - IMHO.

I found more flowers and ribbon in another box and did the same thing for the front room -- a garland that used to go on a staircase in our old house was repurposed this time.  I must confess I did buy new candles -- the only  tall ones I had blended into the wall -- but I only paid $2 each at the dollar store (hey, I think I got ripped off:))


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32  My first beanie -- accessorized with sullen teenager in Crochet: Completed Projects by phreed83 on: November 30, 2008 10:54:37 AM


Here is my first successful beanie/skullcap.  The first one was too small even though I thought I followed the pattern and used the right size hook -- on my do-over I used a larger hook and added a round at the crown -- I was using a pattern from Mr. Funky Super Crochet Wonderful.

On the upside -- even though it was meant for her cousin, my daughter took it and has not had it off her sulky little skull since.  So I have to get moving on attempt number 3.

I used heather gray Eco yarn by Caron -- made from recycled plastic bottles.  It is very soft and has a nicer look than straight acrylic -- and only costs 2.29 a skein at Walmart.
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33  Sebastien le Hamster -- just finished in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by phreed83 on: November 23, 2008 09:54:52 PM
I finished this little guy (actually not so little - 5 in tall) mere moments ago. I am so happy with how he came out that I couldn't wait til morning to post his pic.

It's Sebastien le Hamster with Beret & Man-Purse -- from the Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful book.  I added the pipe cleaner candy canes for a removable holiday touch. He's a present for my 10-yr-old niece.  Tomorrow I start a boy beanie with skull applique for her older brother.

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34  Re: I need new ideas!--please post your homemade ornaments in Winter Holidays by phreed83 on: November 23, 2008 04:27:15 PM
Those paper orns are so great -- I'm totally stealing that idea for my Girl Scout troop. We've volunteered to make decorations for a nursing home and they want things that hang from the ceiling.

Another link for cool and easy paper ornaments is from the Origami Resource Center http://www.origami-resource-center.com/christmas-ornaments.html

Last year I made these melted candy-stained glass ornaments both with my family and my scouts and they were a big hit.  Tutorial is here http://www.ehow.com/how_4600880_beautiful-stainedglass-candy-christmas-ornaments.html



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35  Recycled water bottle candy container ornament in Winter Holidays by phreed83 on: November 23, 2008 04:10:50 PM
I've been trying to come up with ideas for ornaments using recycled materials to do with my Girl Scout troop and had a brain wave this afternoon while I was putting some stuff in the recycling bin.   My first idea was to make some kind of Christmas tree, but then I thought -- "candy!"



In an ideal world I would have used thin satin ribbon and filled the ornament to the brim with foil-wrapped kisses or peppermints -- but of course all I had on hand was an old ball of yarn and some neglected Halloween fun-packs of Skittles -- so this is truly recycled.

A tutorial is available here http://www.ehow.com/how_4614549_candy-container-ornament-party-favor.html but basically cut the top off a water bottle, cut it into petals, punch a hole in each end of the petal, string, fill and tie.
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36  Flower skinny scarf or lariat necklace in Crochet: Completed Projects by phreed83 on: November 20, 2008 06:26:50 AM
I stumbled upon a free pattern by CreativeYarn for this pretty crocheted necklace and knew I had to make it. It was so quick and looks so Anthropologie- esque that I knew I found my Christmas project for my sister, daughter and nieces.  The designer did hers in lighter weight cotton, but I wanted to use this chunky hand-spun wool I got at an estate sale a few weeks ago.  I'm not really sure about the blue, but it was the only other yarn I had of a comparable weight.  It used so little of the green that I still have enough for 4-5 more. I may also make a wristband or headband.

Check out her amazing patterns -- not updated in a while but there are about 14 crochet patterns for headbands, necklaces, wristlets/fingerless gloves and hats and they all use so little yarn and time they could really save your butt when you need a gift in an hour or so. http://creativeyarn.blogspot.com/search/label/my%20free%20patterns




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37  My Faux kitchen - 4 pictures in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by phreed83 on: November 19, 2008 07:35:13 AM
    I recently redecorated -- well more accurately resurfaced -- my kitchen for a more modern look.  It's not terribly crafty but I did every single thing myself.

  • I resurfaced the ugly almond laminate counters and part of the backsplash with faux granite laminate -- labrador granite from Armstrong - I used 2 $40 sheets, but got them for $20 each because they had a couple of small chips out of them
  • Behind the sink and stove I used these peel and stick brushed aluminum tiles - very cheap - check my tutorial here http://www.ehow.com/how_4498609_install-faux-stainless-steel-backsplash.html
  • Painted my perfectly good range hood with stainless steel-look paint - Rustoleum American Accents Silver - use a wide foam brush with smooth vertical strokes for a brushed metal look. Check my tutorial here http://www.ehow.com/how_4498611_hood-match-stainless-steel-appliances.html
  • Painted out one door to match the wall so it didn't look so busy
  • Put down Armstrong Terazza beveled-edge peel & stick faux stone tiles - only .88 per sq foot and they look great.
  • Lucked into a Moen brushed stainless faucet with pull-out spray at the thrift shop for $9 -- was still selling for $250 at Home Depot.

The hardest part was putting the faucet back in -- so hard to work in the tiny space under the sink -- I don't know how those big guys do it -- and cutting and trimming the laminate -- the tools cost more than the materials - I bought these special snips and a router thingy for the edges -- but so worth it.



The last pick is a sort-of before photo -- when we first moved in I switched out the white ceramic knobs on the cabinets for nickel, removed the colonial flower-print wall paper and painted it light green and a little while later put up the aluminum tiles.


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38  Easy revamp for ugly light fixture - don't even need to turn off the electricity in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by phreed83 on: November 18, 2008 10:19:55 AM
Unfortunately I didn't take "before" pics, but this light fixture in the upstairs hall was a rectangular (but coming to a soft point at the bottom)  frosted globe with flowers on it and couldn't stay.  Here's the cheap, easy fix I came up with (it's been in place for about 3 yrs with no worries).



I applied double-sided adhesive (I found it in a sheet at Michael's) - cut to size - around the globe. Then I put on some decorative rice paper, cut a little bigger than the globe over the adhesive. I had to put some more adhesive on the seams, which I left sticking out a bit -- especially on the bottom.  To further dress it up, I poked through some glass beads wrapped in copper wire.

It has a energy-saver compact bulb with a low wattage and just gives off a soft blue glow -- mainly used as a night light for the kids, so no problem.  Lighter color rice paper would probably do the trick if you needed more light.
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39  Super easy magnetic art display piece in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by phreed83 on: November 18, 2008 05:20:28 AM
When I was doing my 15-year-old daughter's room last summer I came up with a cheap, easy and high-tech looking way for her to display stuff -- she's an aspiring illustrator and has chalkboard panels on her walls, but needed a place to pin up her "reference and inspiration pieces" while she works.  Here's what I came up with -



It is so simple and cost about $5. It is 2 22-inch galvanized straps from Home Depot (over with all the roofing and construction stuff in the back), screwed into the wall - using large washers to cover the larger pre-made holes.  The straps come in sizes from 6 inches to 36 inches so it will really fit in anywhere.  Just go to the Home Depot web site and search "strap" under building materials to get a better idea. This pic shows a close-up of the straphttp://www.craftster.org/pictures/data/500/magnet22.jpg.
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40  Double-sided melted CD tealite votives link/tutorial in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by phreed83 on: November 15, 2008 03:29:46 PM
I'd been looking around for a while for instruction on making melted CD candle holders - but couldn't find one that had the silver on both sides.  I experimented one day and the results were pretty good -- I ended up making a set of 3 as a gift for a friend.

Basically you just put 2 CDs together - shiny sides out and set on an upside-down oven-proof cup -- oven at 375 degrees for about 10 mins or until it droops down over the cup.  Mine turned out silver on the inside, with the side exposed to heat a glittery white.

Full instructions are here - http://www.ehow.com/how_4582412_holder-old-cd-dvd-cdrom.html

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