I love it when books live up to their expectations, don't you? As you might guess, today I was "inspired by" the lovely book "Inspired You" by Marian Parsons, better known as Miss Mustard Seed. I've been a long-time reader of her blog, and have been encouraged by her DIY attitude toward home decor (her motto is "Move mountains in your home"). But honestly, all I ever did was just READ her blog... uncertainty, perfectionism and feeling overwhelmed by just "keeping up" have largely kept me from doing the crafty and home decor projects that I enjoyed before I had kids.
I was thrilled to recieve her book as a birthday present last week! I read her book over the past two days. Today I was inspired by her gentle words of encouragement; her honesty that her life is truly not picture-perfect either; and her reminder that we create in our homes for ourselves and that however we are restrained (finances, ability, state of our home, etc) we can use our creative abilities and do something to make our home a more lovely place. And I decided that I wanted to create something!
At first I wanted to make one of the sheet music wreaths that I've admired for so long, but decided that would be best to do after kids were in bed. If there's one thing true for me and crafting and home decor, it is that it either needs to be kid-friendly or kid-involved. Meaning, it's better if I let them help or at least it's not a complex project. Because I always have my two lovely helpers nearby...
Today I decided to use what I have to start the decorating process in our dining nook. I was also semi-inspired by the amazing blogger Jean at The Artful Parent, and I'm looking forward to buying her ebook and trying out some of her ideas! The ideas I came up with are pretty simple, but not something that a child could do alone because of the hot glue gun.
I really just went through my smallish stash of stuff and pulled out things that I thought might go together in a Christmassy way, and started playing. I'm not a huge crafter, really, and I'm very cheap so a lot of what I have is kids craft materials, from the dollar store, or even given to me!
As you can see, I have clothes pin, paint, glue gun and specifically I pulled out my gold biocolar paint which I later thinned with water to make it more like a glaze.
I couldn't get it all in one shot, but I also have (non-smelly, boo) cinammon sticks, some red ribbons and some vintage (1954) Christmas music that my grandmother had saved. This was what I really wanted to use, it just made me smile!
Oh, and just to be "bloggish" and such, I even wrote myself a cute chalkboard sign to prove I was giving myself a real challenge. (I think I need to improve my chalkboard drawing skills!)
I ended up developing two ideas. The first was for the bay window in our kitchen. This window is one I both love and hate. I need the light, but we have ugly blinds and I am not up for investing money into changing them (we currently rent our home from a family member), and I don't love all the wood trim. Maybe some people do, but I would prefer to paint it all, but since that is not going to happen anytime soon, I will just have to live with it!
I wanted to take this lovely sheet music, with the sweet winter scenes, and somehow display it around the window. At first I thought of making "swag" to go along the top...
But I thought that looked too messy. Then I decided that it would look better if I attached the clothes pins (which I ended up painting, just the front, and leaving the reset natural) to ribbon I had, and hanging it vertically against the wooden window frame. It would break up the wood a bit and really allow me to stop and look at the music if I wanted to. And the top of the windows would still be "free" if I wanted to put something swagged up there!
I started by laying them out to get a sense of how far apart I wanted them.
And this is where crafting gets hard for me, personally. Just the sheer logistics. I am definitely more of an "eyeball" it person that "let's measure it" plus I sometimes struggle to figure out work flow. And how not to glue things to the counter. Important stuff like that! But I actually was able to think through a process that ended up working well. I taped two equal lengths of ribbon on the counter (since I wanted to make two of them) and then made them at the same time so that they would be symmetrical. Maybe it's common sense, but this is the kind of stuff that makes crafting stressful for me, I need to figure out a good "work flow"!
I just hot-glued the clothes pin to the ribbon, and let it set on the plate.
Then just scooted the plate down to the next spot and eye-balled it. Very quick and easy!
Not the best picture, but this shows about how big it ended up being. I love the way it looks up close, though. Really so easy. I'm sure someone else has done this before! (I would give credit, but I don't honestly remember being inspired by any one particular person.)
My next craft was for our chandelier. Such as it is, I really need to replace the shades! I like to hang something from it and put a little swag on it. I was inspired by the pack of cinammon sticks I had, and some simple hearts. I wanted to bring in a natural element and create something that was a little rustic and also had meaning. I started by painting the cinammon sticks with some watered-down gold paint, just to give them a bit of sparkle.
Thankfully, I had a little helper.
I wanted to keep it pretty simple, so I decided to just make a simple cross shape (with glue gun) and then wind some red floss around the middle just for a bit of red.
That was just a bit more plain than I wanted, so I decided to cut some hearts out of some of the sheet music that I was considering to use to make the sheet music wreath (I think I need more sheet music to do that, actually!) Then I just put one heart on each side, not to hide the red but that is sort of how it worked out.
Next came the hard part... the part where I burned my fingers... eeek! I had to figure out a way to make loops out of grosgain ribbon and then attach my crosses to it. The problem was I wanted short loops, which wouldn't fit over the chandelier very well with the cross attached. My first idea was to use the glue gun in mid air, to make the loop ON the chandelier, but this was NOT smart. Really burned my fingers! So then I thought hey not aiming for perfection here and got out my stapler.
yes, I stapled my loop. That still left the issue of attaching the cross to the loop, but I finally figured out that gluing the cinammon stick and then quickly moving to the loop (hanging from the chandelier) worked fine. And did not result in burned fingers!
This is really just step one of decorating the chandelier. Right now I have different length loops, but it looks strange, so I will try to adjut that.
And bopping in and out I had my helper... this is what she thought of me at times:
But being the little crafty girl that she is, she also came up with her own craft idea, which she is working on here. Maybe I'll blog about it later, if she finishes it. She is sometimes a bit distracted!