9.19.2011

Felt Rosette Wreath


Thanks to Pinterest, I've recently been swirling in a vortex of awesome DIY ideas and projects. This isn't a bad thing--I rather enjoy having references to how to do things to beautify my home--but the end result is that I now have a to-do list a mile long and I've started reading some A-MAAAHHHH-ZING new blogs. One of those blogs is Pretty Handy Girl.

Brittany, aka Pretty Handy Girl, writes about all kinds of projects, from remaking clothing to remaking your bathroom. Her tutorials are helpful and clever, not to mention inspiring!

One of the first posts I read was on upcycling an old Goodwill sweater into a stylish cardigan, via Grosgrain Fabulous (another fav of mine!). In that post, she had a tiiiinnnnyyy little link to how to make felted wool roses, which had a picture of a felted wool rose wreath from Decorating Addiction. I thought it was beautiful, so I set out to make my own.

Tools and Supplies
  • At least 30 pieces of felt in varying colors (I used the 60-30-10 rule to pick mine)
  • 10" Styrofoam wreath
  • Needle, thread, and scissors
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun (although I suppose Elmer's glue would work)
  • About 6' of 2"-wide satin ribbon
I didn't have any sweaters that I particularly wanted to shrink and ruin (at least, not since the Great Closet Purge of 2011), so I decided to substitute with a shedload of felt from Joann.

I began by cutting each piece of felt into six squares and then trimming those down to circles. You do not have to be precise.

{Circle of Life Felt}

Then, cut a swirl into the felt.


Starting from the tapered end, roll the felt along the inside curve to create a rosette. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this one (I lost my light), but you can see how it's done at Pretty Handy Girl. While you're there, check out how to sew the roses.

Back? Good. Now repeat this step 179 times.

I know. It took me forever too.

Once you have an arsenal of felt roses, start hot gluing them to your 10" Styrofoam wreath. Alternatively (and DAMN, did I wish that I had thought of/read this BEFORE starting this project), get a length of foam tubing from your local home repair store, cut it to length, and duct tape the ends. Use that instead of the Styrofoam as your base.


At your chosen apex (I picked the seam where the Styrofoam met), tie a length of ribbon and double-knot. Continue gluing rosettes around the wreath until the entire (yes, ENTIRE) thing is covered and no part of the core is visible.

Tie a pretty bow and cut the ends of the ribbons into points. If desired, position the tails of the ribbons into artful drapes and hold in place with a dot of glue.

{See how the tails fold over themselves? Hot glue, baby.}

As a finishing touch, you can also add a ribbon for hanging on the wall. (I did, because I had to). Cut a length of ribbon and fold in half. Place on a table with the tails towards you, then place the wreath on top of the ribbon. Grab the right tail and pull up through the center of the wreath. Snake through the loop of the right glued tail and run alongside the knot of the bow. Repeat on the left side.

Thread the tails of the ribbon through the fold, making sure that this loop is BEHIND your pretty, painstakingly-tied bow. Pull taut and double-knot the ends. VOILA! Your wreath is ready for hanging.


9.16.2011

Signed, Sealed (But Not Quite Delivered)

{Image source: upsidesunny}
Welp, it's official: we're moving.

Not too far, and not out of the state; we're just moving a little further south to be a little more centrally-located to everything that we like about this area. We're moving out of our drafty, temperature-finicky Victorian rental and into a Colonial end-unit townhouse with a fenced-in backyard (with no pool! Thank goodness!) and tons of kids in the neighborhood. Our next-door neighbor appears to be an older woman with a righteous garden, and we're minutes from the country club, walking.

Not that we'll ever belong to the country club, but it's nice to know that it's within walking distance.

We signed our new lease today and gave notice to our current landlord, who took it about like we expected him to. We have plans to rent the Dumpster and have a yard sale. We're trying to nail down the official transition date so that we can start Ana in her new school and, you know, have a place to sleep.

I'm pretty excited. Not only is this house laid out better for our family, but we're allowed to PAINT. And HANG PICTURES. I probably need permission before planting flowers or a garden, but I'm thinking I'll just go the container route this year. Some pretty galvanized pots with basil, oregano, dill, parsley, marjoram ... yum. And maybe tomatoes,despite the failure mine were this past year.

Right.

If we decide that we like the area--which we do so far, but we won't know for sure until we live there--and things are working out employment-wise, we're going to consider buying here. I'm a little sad that the dream of moving back to the South is slipping away, but maybe it's just being postponed until the kids are out of the house and our schedules are a little more flexible. Or maybe I'll end up loving the mid-Atlantic coast and consent to spending summer vacations on the Jersey shore. Who knows? All I know is that I am PUMPED for a change in scenery.

Most likely. We've signed the lease; we need to send it back to the property management company and have the landlord sign it. But after the negotiations we've been under and the agreements that we've come to, I'd be surprised if the homeowner backed out now.

But still. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

9.09.2011

Traveling for N00bs: Tent Camping

{Campsite at DSSP, Labor Day Weekend 2011}
I want to give special thanks to Mindie at The Travel Hag for her excellent post on camping for beginners. Without it, we may have missed out on some very important gear!

If you've never been camping before (like us!), the thought of everything you have to do might be daunting. You have to buy a tent, but what kind of tent? How big? Which brand? Graded for what kind of weather? What kinds of materials? And once you buy your tent, what goes in it? Sleeping bags? Cookware? What about food?

We had all of these questions, and more. We did some research on what kinds of tents are out there, what to look for, etc., and we decided on a five-person, two-room tent from Wenzel. It ran us about $70 on Amazon, and it has a sonic-sealed tub floor. Of course, I didn't know what that meant in the grand scheme of things at first; it basically means that it keeps water out of the tent a little better than if the floor was sewn down and lay flush to the ground.

Once we had the tent, we started making a list of everything that we might need: cooler, lanterns, sleeping bags, sunscreen, bug spray ... and then we got stuck. What else could we possibly need, aside from food to go into the cooler? This is where Mindie's list came in.

From her post on camping for beginners:
  • Tent
  • Plastic tarp to go under tent
  • 2 cots
  • 2 air (twin) air mattresses (This travel hag is okay with a bit of distance between my grizzly man and me)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • flashlights
  • outdoor chairs
  • camp stove (2 burner Coleman)
  • Coffee pot – enamel
  • paper plates, plastic flatware, cups, plastic table cloth
  • paper towels
  • Cooler for food
  • Cooking and prep utensils – knife, cutting board, bowls, cooking spoons, spatulas, pots, pans (this list is made based on the menu you’ve planned).  I like Lodge cast-iron ware.
  • zip lock bags, both large and small
  • aluminum foil
  • bucket (for toting water) or gallon jugs
  • tubs for washing dishes (these can also be used to pack and carry dry food)
  • lantern for outside (gas powered)
  • gas bottles for stove and lantern
  • bio-degradable baby wipes
  • insect repellant
  • sun screen
  • shovel
  • axe
  • binoculars
  • extra batteries
  • broom and dust pan for sweeping out the tent
  • first aid kit
  • rope – twine – string … all three
  • towels, wash cloth
  • shampoo, tooth paste, soap (personal hygiene items)
  • food (based on your menu) and ice
  • clothes (including rain jacket) and back pack
  • books to read
  • fishing rod, tackle, kayak (based on the activities you’ve planned)
  • wine, wine and more wine (preferably with some nice bread and cheese)
The lined-through items are the ones that we didn't bring, and I have to say, I wish that I had brought an air mattress, a plastic table cloth, and a rain jacket. Not that we needed the rain jacket (thank goodness), but if it had started raining, we would have been drenched. And then all that rain would have come into the tent and mixed with the sand that we couldn't quite get out, and then we would have been sleeping on a lovely layer of gross.

In addition to what Mindie suggested, we also brought bungee cords, waterproof matches, a Swiss Army knife, a deck of cards, beer, a grill, quick-light charcoal, biodegradable camping soap, and a few other things that are escaping me at the moment. Of all of the things that I'm really glad that we brought, the bungee cords were the BEST. We hooked them together in different combinations to act as a clothesline, to secure our paper towels, and keep the kids entertained. (You'd be amazed at how happy they are to stretch the cords out!)

We probably could have done without the biodegradable baby wipes, seeing as we had a bunch with us because of Petra and we had a dumpster nearby. I would add clothes pins to the list, because our drying clothes kept flying away in the constant breeze.

Overall, I think we did a pretty good job our first time out. In the future, we're going to make a few adjustments, but the list from Mindie's blog is pretty comprehensive and helpful. The next time we go camping (because apparently, there is a next time), I'm going to try my hand at more adventurous meals, which will probably invite a whole different set of tools and issues ... we'll see.

Hey, you hard-core campers! Any tips you want to send my way? Leave 'em in the comments!

9.07.2011

Dela-WAY We Go!



I survived.

Survived what, you may ask.

I survived a three-day camping trip in a tent with three small children. And don't tell me I don't deserve a medal for THAT accomplishment.

Truthfully, I don't, because I had an amazing time. (As did the rest of my family.) For once, we were able to take a trip that accommodated everyone's wishes: I wanted to go to the beach and cross off a new state, Matt wanted to go camping, and the kids wanted to be able to play on playgrounds and eat hotdogs and s'mores. So we decided to go to the Delaware Seashore State Park to do a little tent camping at the beach.

We decided to leave on Saturday morning so that we wouldn't be rushing to get out the door on Friday night, and let me tell you, that was a GOOD choice. Do you know how much gear you need to take to a campsite?! I didn't, but I quickly found out. Without going into the full list (which is another post for another time, like tomorrow), we needed a tent, a tarp, sleeping bags, food, a hammer, a grill, pillows, blankets, clothes, towels, soaps, swimsuits, flashlights ... the list goes on. And on. And on. We barely had enough room for everything.

Things took a little longer than planned, so we didn't make it to our site until nearly 5pm on Saturday. Everyone was starving, but we couldn't do a thing until we had our tent set up. So while Matt and I tackled that task, we set up the girls in their camp chairs and fed them cheese and crackers.


Soon enough, we were kicking back in our camp chairs, drinking beer, and admiring our handiwork.


We lucked out on our timing, because as soon as we started getting the grill ready for dinner, the sun started to set.


Bedtime was ... hilarious. The older girls had their own sleeping bags, but since Petra's still a baby, we just had her wrapped up in a few blankets. That is, until she wiggled out of them and started flopping on her sisters. Matt and I were too tired to care, so we just let them play in the tent. We thought that they would eventually wear out and go to sleep, but after an hour, we were still treated to shrieks and giggles. The solution, it turned out, was to put Petra in her car seat, let her fall asleep, and transfer her to the tent.

The next morning, the kids got up with the sun. Therefore, we got up with the sun. And since we didn't know what time it was, thanks to a self-imposed cell-phone ban, we just decided to roll with it and go for a PJ Beach Walk.


We had a lovely breakfast of pancakes, made on my six-year-old, never-been-used camping cookware. (I know.) The kids were pretty much ready to drop then and there, but we forced them to go to the beach and play in the sand. FORCED them, I tell you!


By that time, everyone was sandy, hungry, and tired, so we shlepped the kids and all of our stuff back to our campsite for food, naps, and general relaxation.

When everyone was sufficiently relaxed and rested, we took a little side trip over to Cape Henlopen to hunt for pieces of eight. Yes, THOSE pieces of eight. Our neighbor told us that he's found some there before, and we couldn't give up the opportunity to search for old treasure. We didn't find any, but I did get a couple of cool pictures of Malia's footprints in the sand before we had to leave.



After our exhausting day in the sun, we managed to cook up a quick meal of hotdogs and cut veggies, burn a few marshmallows (in a good way), and drop into our sleeping bags.

The rest of the trip was uneventful--waking up, breaking camp, driving home. We were all ready to sleep in our own beds, but I can guarantee that we'll be pitching our tent somewhere else really soon. (No, not like that.)

What did you do over Labor Day weekend? Any fun stories?

All photos in this post are © Lynn Daue 2011.
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