Hidden in Plain Site

Yesterday there was a lovely comment made by Tara at Fiddle Mama. (Thank you, Tara :) She also mentioned that she just made the Quick Craft Basket. She was delighted that now she has all their crafting supplies in one spot, and when the creative juices start flowing in her wee ones, she isn't riping the house apart looking for supplies, they're all in a basket, ready to go.

It made me think of a couple of PERSONAL truisms:

First, if something is left out, I am more apt to use it. If I have to dig through cluttered cupboards or stand on step stools to get supplies and toys, chances are they won't be used as frequently as items laying about.

And, if I deem something ugly, I tend to hide it. 

So, over the years I've learned to hide crafting supplies and toys in plain site. For me, the secret is to have lovely containers to hold my supplies and to own beautiful toys, made with natural materials, that become part of my decor.

Like my Gnome Home...

And my knitting baskets...

And the play silks with changing colors for the seasons...

And a table that holds wooden toys which I rotate frequently to renew interest...
A quick look at the cupboard at the top of the post, and you see an Autumn display. Look closer and you'll find knitting supplies, toys, and yes, the Quick Craft Basket. (Notice in the corner of the room you can see a three tiered basket holding other crafting supplies for children along with their books and magazines.)  

Throughout the house I have bowls, baskets, boxes and shelves that are both functional and appealing to me. Storage does not need to be unsightly, but it can become a beautiful addition to your room. Instead of trying to hide everything or resigning myself to look at unattractive containers, I am always looking for ways to display art supplies, yarn, and toys in a manner that I find pleasing. If you are tired of looking at the clutter that children inevitably create, try hitting garage sales and resale shops and see just how creatively you can hide supplies in plain site!  

Eucalyptus Wreath

Have you ever had a summer that you felt like you lost? Here we are, with Fall around the corner, and I realized that I did precious few of my summer activities. It was an extraordinary summer. Memorial Day weekend my mother decided it was time to move into a condo... something I've been suggesting for 5 years. Before she had a change of heart, I jumped right in. The summer was grueling with buying, selling and moving BUT last weekend we were all done. The last of the boxes unpacked and on Friday we closed on their old home. They are now just 4 miles from me... 2 from Michelle... so spending time with them will be so much easier... definitely making up for the lost summer.

You may be wondering where I'm going with this since this is a tutorial. Well... one of the last things we put on my parent's wall was a eucalyptus wreath I made for them over 20 years ago. It was the year I made everyone I knew a eucalyptus wreath for Christmas. I'm sure most people have gotten rid of theirs many years ago, but Mom still has hers. And I was shocked that it still smelled like eucalyptus. Sure, the smell wasn't as strong as it use to be, but if I gave it a very hot shower, I'm sure it would stimulate the oils and much of it's old smell would return. You gotta love eucalyptus!

Anyway... I realized that I missed my old wreath. Somewhere over the years, in one of our many moves, I probably decided it was time to get rid of it. But looking at my mom's the other day, I realized that I needed to find time in my "catch up" existence, to make a new one. And I'm so glad I did! The house smells wonderful, and it takes me back years and years ago, when I made them as gifts. They are very easy to make, although I remember now that it was hard on my hands. If you have very good, thin leather gardening gloves, you could probably use them. It is a little pricey, too. It took 3 bunches of eucalyptus that I bought from Joann's, each costing $9.00 a piece. But I suppose when you consider my mom has had hers for 20 years, it's a pretty good investment!

3 bunches eucalyptus (I bought one red, one brown and one green)
3 packages (300) 3" floral picks
14" straw wreath
optional: I like to add bows and dried flowers seasonally
Pruning shears or kitchen shears

1] Begin by cutting the eucalyptus into 5" - 6" pieces.

2] When cutting the pieces, cut one piece off just above a set of leaves. This will make the next piece look more like the tip of a eucalyptus stem.

3] If necessary, pull off a couple of leaves at the bottom of a piece so approximately 1" of the stem is leafless.

4] Place a floral pick against a piece so they overlap about an inch and attach the stem and floral pick together.

5] Beginning on the front of the wreath, add pieces of the stem to the wreath on an angle, pushing the floral pick into the wreath about every 1 1/2". Make a complete circle.

6] Stagger your next row so the stems are between the stems in the previous row. Continue adding pieces until the front and sides of the wreath are covered. Do not cover the back.

7] When you are done, check for "bald spots" and fill in with additional pieces. Also, look for wild and crazy pieces and give them a little snip. If you would like, you can tuck dried flowers directly between the eucalyptus stems without using florist picks. You can also add a bow or tuck ribbon in the wreath.

8] To hang it on the wall, use a wire from one of the floral picks and make a loop around one of the strings, on the back, holding the straw wreath together. Hang the wreath on a nail.

9] Now sit back and enjoy the beauty and aroma of your new wreath. Over time you can give your wreath a very hot shower to remove dust and to rejuvenate the scent. 

10] BTW... don't throw away the eucalyptus scraps. Break them up and use them as potpourri.
Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2010. All rights reserved.
All photos, text and patterns are copyright protected. You may not copy, reproduce or redistribute any material found on without written permission. Wee Folk Art retains all rights.

A Year of Rip and Tear Napkins!

I bought this cabinet over ten years ago to hold my ever expanding collection of music cds. Designed for that purpose, it served me well. Then, in the past few years, I started buying my music online and was going to the cabinet less and less. Finally, I moved the collection downstairs and began using the cabinet for napkins. It was in my dining room and the shelves were the perfect size for napkins. I had a few stacks of homespun napkins and stored votive candles in there as well.

Then, last summer, I decided I wanted napkins for each month of the year. I made my own using the easy Rip and Tear Napkins that I wrote about last August. So here I am, 1 year later, and I did it! I now have 24 napkins for each month of the year. (Actually, I have 48 for December since we have a large Christmas dinner.) Before you start taxing your brain, that is 312 napkins. Crazy, right? Given the fact that you can get 4 napkins from a yard of material (let's see... 312 divided by 4)  that's, gulp, 78 yards of fabric!

Me: Ah, Tim... we have 312 napkins.

Tim: I love you.

Me: You must.

But, in my defense, the children LOVE them! They are excited each month to get out the new napkins. Some months, like March and August, all the napkins are the same. Some months have 2 prints, some 3 and April and December have 4. Each day the wee ones try to be the first to get out napkins so they are sure to get their favorite pattern. (BTW... Gammy is very tolerant of napkin exchanges so everyone gets a favorite!) I have to admit, even though I bought all of the fabrics on sale or with coupons, it was an expense, BUT, they will last for years and years. 

I'm not suggesting any one else should get so carried away... BUT if you do... it's tons of fun, and I love leaving the cabinet door open and just staring at them! 














New Play Silks

Recently I started replacing my old, dearly loved, but showing their age play silks with new ones. (I'm mulling some ideas around on how to repurpose them!) I wanted a way of storing the silks that was accessible to the wee ones but added to my home's decor. (I am working on a blog "Hidden in Plain Site" for lots of suggestions on how to aesthetically incorporate your children's toys into your home.) 

Then, the perfect solution came to me... the banister on our staircase. After play they can be hung up and stay wrinkle free. When the children want to play with them (which is as soon as they walk in the house) they simply have to pull on an end, and down comes the silk. Easy Peasy!

Right now I have bright, rainbow colored silks displayed. Come fall, I'll switch them out for the deeper tones. The only problem is, when I hung them up, I didn't like the contrast with my Falling Leaves Wall Hanging, which definitely has a fall feel to it. So, down comes the Fall Leaves Wall Hanging, which I'll put away for a few months, and up goes... well, I don't have anything in particular that I want to switch it out with.

I was thinking about doing a wool roving picture, then, I was at iHanna's Blog this morning, and saw her tutorial on How To Make Paper Cloth. I feel in love!

What a perfect way to add color to that little space on my wall, and I'll learn a new technique. If you have never been to iHanna's Blog, you are in for a treat. Make sure you grab a cup of your favorite brew, and give yourself plenty of time to nose around... she's very inspiring! I hope to get some time to work on this this week. I'll keep you posted! 

Tissue Paper Easter Eggs

Want to go a little crazy with your Easter eggs this year? Instead of the standard dyed eggs, try this easy technique. With a little tissue paper and Mod Podge, you can turn out these colorful and fanciful eggs in no time. This is definitely a craft you can do with children, and you really can't mess up since the whole thing is random. So, fore-go the Paaz tablets this year, and try something new.

eggs - can be blown or boiled
tissue paper cut into small, random pieces
Mod Podge
small bowl of water
soda bottle caps
paint brush 

1] Using your paint brush or finger, wet the egg. (It should be damp... not dripping.)

2] Place a piece of cut tissue paper on the egg. Use your paint brush or finger to moisten enough so the tissue lays against the egg. Use the smallest amount of water necessary to accomplish this. If you use too much water the tissue will bleed.

3] Continue adding tissue paper, overlapping edges, until the whole egg is covered. 

4] Place egg on a soda bottle cap and allow the egg to dry until it is merely "damp". If it dries out completely, the tissue paper will fall off. If it is too wet, the Mod Podge will drip. (Note: At this point you CAN allow the tissue paper to dry completely. Then remove the paper, and the dye will have stained the egg leaving behind patchwork color. You can either leave the eggs as is or add a coat of Mod Podge.)

5] Apply Mod Podge to the top 2/3s of the egg. Set on the soda bottle cap. Allow to dry (about 15 - 30 minutes) then turn the egg over and Mod Podge the bottom 1/3 of the egg. Return to the cap and allow to dry completely.

If you covered eggs that have been blown and want to pack them away for future years, you may wish to add 3 - 4 more coats of Mod Podge, allowing them to dry completely between each coat. The extra coats of Mod Podge will make them sturdier and make a lovely surface.
Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2013. All rights reserved.

All photos, text and patterns are copyright protected. You may not copy, reproduce or redistribute any material found on without written permission. Wee Folk Art retains all rights.

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