Simple single ingredient dog treats – Happy Cow Heart Chews

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Happy Cow? Yes, I asked the rancher. Also grass fed and local.  A friend and I purchased a quarter cow from a local farm near Seattle (Hallet Family) this summer. When picking up at the butcher they asked if I wanted an offal. Yes! Liver (made pate), kidney, tongue (can you say TACOS!) and heart. The intestines weren’t suitable this time, no loss – not a tripe fan.  The kidney and heart are saved for Mr. Mason, the family fur baby.

Making a wholesome, natural dog treat and not wasting part of the animal makes this tutorial a win-win. I am sure you could also add spices, flavoring, much like a jerky and the dogs would love but this is allergen free and no extra sodium etc. A cow’s heat weights about 3-5 pounds depending on age, so expect at least half that in treat weight.

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Supplies

  • Animal parts – can do this with really any piece of meat or animal part. I have seen esophagus et al turned into dog treats out on the inter webs.
  • Dehydrator
  • Zip locking bags
  • Sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • large rimmed baking sheet (options)
  • Disposable gloves, if you prefer
  • Biology book if you want to geek out and look for things like aorta, mitral valve etc.
  • Paper towel, lots.

Place your cutting board in a rimmed baking sheet covered with paper towels. if no baking sheet, put paper towels under your cutting board to help catch blood.
Slice the cow heart into thin uniform slices, less than a 1/4 inch if you can. The meat should be mostly defrosted if frozen – does make a little easier to cut. I did need to drain the blood from mine and give a quick rinse in the sink. From bigger pieces maybe cut into strips or make bite size nuggets for training treats if you like. Remove as much fat as possible. I didn’t do as good of a job with this and my treats have more fat than they should, so I am storing them int he freezer so they do not become rancid. But you can certainly store these at room temperature – plenty of beef jerky recipes out there; I recommend however fridge or freezer. Remember – the nose knows…. Note – I did not preheat the cook/heat the meat.

Lay on dehydrator trays and turn on and let it work its magic. I used the higher heat setting on mine – but you should follow your specific dehydrator’s recommendations. You could also dehydrate in the oven or other methods, especially if you have experience dehydrating meat/making jerky.

Expert Tip – move the dehydrator to the garage as the meat smell is not appetizing after a while and it will take at least four to five hours to dry out.  When done I placed dried bits of love on a paper towel to dab off any extra grease I could. Store in fridge or freezer.

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Finished product

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Treat Anticipation…… Check dramatic slow-mo of Mr. Mason trying out his treat for the first time.

Baby Prints : Crafts to do to your baby!

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For our first arts and crafts time together, Bee and I made Valentine’s day cards and some fun baby prints. IMHO nothing is reeeeaaaalllly off limits (ok a few things) – hands, feet, fingers, buns, ears, bellybutton, nose – pretty sure at some point these will all be memorialized at our house. Whatever you choose – you can easily create thank you notes, framed art for nursery or art wall, keepsake ornaments and really above all, is just a fun sensory activity to do with your baby.

There is a family story of my little brother making “butt pwints” with a friend all over the sidewalk in their wet swimsuits –  inspired by family lore, an adorable baby tush and a mother’s need to traumatize her child, Bee and I created some art.

Supplies

  • Washable non-toxic paint (if applying to glass or ceramic will need to use a different kind of paint)
  • Foam brushes
  • Plate for paint
  • Lots and lots of baby wipes or rags to clean up the craftermath
  • Adorably baby
  • Paper, stretched canvas, blank cards, tracing paper, yardstick or whatever
  • Sheet or we just used a pee pad that we line the changing area with.
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Snapshot of supplies. We used our adoption profile book to tape the paper down too….

Tips

  • Rather than dip the foot into a plate of paint, I found sponging it on with a brush applied just enough to make a good mark. Reapply after each print for a similar color intensity.
  • Practice before making the real deal
  • Make more than one of the end product if you can (i.e. I made more than one of each card in case i messed up at a later point)
  • Talk with your baby about the colors, sensations etc
  • Tummy time! Laying baby down on tummy, painting the bottom and then pressing the paper (taped to a firm surface, like book) to their bottom is easier then pressing the baby down onto something. HOWEVER, this may change depending on the wiggle factor. In that case, this becomes a two person craft most likely
  • For the feet hearts, rather than rotate your baby or twist their foot to make the heart/v-shape, adjust the paper to the angle
  • For bum prints, clean off any diaper cream/ointment first
  • Plan a bath afterwards to get the paint out of all the toe crevices
  • Include yourself!
  • Take pictures of the final product. We have already started an digital album of art at eight tender weeks of age

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Mom joining in the fun!

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Sweet feet…..

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Easy gift idea to use large scrap book paper; light trace with pencil the border of the frame, make foot prints inside the board (so that they don’t get cut off; trim to size and place in a frame…. can also use Modpodge to fix to a stretched canvas

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Angle the card not the foot… Making Seahawks inspired hearts

 

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We made Valentines and Thank you cards…

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The card in the back is for a 49ers fan…. meh. :)

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Cleaning up the crafter math…

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Butt-erflies….. could also add dots to make ladybugs, use yellow paint and black for bees, on and on…..

A quick Pinterest search will reveal a plethora of hand and foot print ideas – sky is really the limit and no holiday can go uncelebrated with out and baby print. You know we will be making many more where this came from. Just a few for you…..

Happy Valentine’s Day! Bee’s first art exhibit ….. All About the Base (inspired by our trip to the SAM to see Andy Warhol); Bubbles, Tiny Bubbles and Butterfly I love you (a Marley shout out)

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Share your favorite baby print ideas or photos!

Recipe Trial: Potsticker Miso Soup

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This week I gave the February 2015 Real Simple Miso Potsticker and Snap Pea Soup recipe a whirl. I do not have much experience with miso cooking and the recipe seemed ‘simple’ enough (and it was).  I did find that it needed more salt, more ginger, less water (this time was I used about 1/2 cup less next time around even less) and I cooked the potstickers on both sides adding adding broth right before serving. I also used more sliced radish and snap pea for each serving, putting all ingredients in a bowl, then ladeling soup on top.  This did come together quickly, made for a satisfying supper (and left over lunch) and used up a random assortment of frozen potstickers from our freezer.

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Next time….

Ingredients for approx. 3 servings

2  tablespoons olive oil
2  green onions, sliced into thin disks, keep the whites and dark green parts separated
3  teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger or tminced ginger from the jar
Kosher salt and black pepper (add this in as you go, as miso saltiness may vary)
1/4 heaping cup white miso paste (thank you Amazon Fresh!)
4 cups water
Frozen potstickers (any flavor, maybe about 4-5 per person)
6  ounces sugar snap peas, thinly sliced into matchsticks if you are patient; you can remove the ends and stringy part
4-6 radishes, thinly sliced
Chili oil, for serving (add as much or little or none)

  1. In a glass measuring cup add 1/4 cup water then add in 1/4 miso paste. Mix with a fork or whisk until the miso is dissolved.
  2. Slice the radishes into thin disks and if you have time and patience make match sticks out of the snap peas.
  3. In a large soup pot over medium, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the white part of the green onions, ginger, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Cook until tender and fragrant. This will be pretty quick, maybe 3 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining 3 ½ cups water and bring to a rapid boil.Keep it going, it will help reduce it a bit (concentrate flavor) and then in a later step when added to the vegetables, quick cook them. Taste it and adjust salt, without burning yourself.
  6. Cook the potstickers. There are lots of ways but for this recipe, keep it easy and just heat a tablespoon or more of oil in a fry pan and add the frozen potstickers. You could of course do this yourfavorite was as well. They will brown in about 4 minutes, then turn them over and brown the other side.
  7. Prepare bowls for soup by placing an healthy pile of snap peas and sliced radishes in the bottom. You can add the potstickers now too.IMG_4075
  8. Ladle in the miso broth into each person’s large soup bowl and drizzle with chili oil if you want a little heat. Add a few twists of fresh ground pepper and some of the green parts of the green onions.
  9. Serve with chopsticks and spoon. Enjoy!

Do you have a miso recipe to share?

 

Simple DIY Glider Slipcover Tutorial – Refashion Your Rocker

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I was gifted this wonderful wooden glider from my Buy Nothing Project group. (check them out). As we move around the baby swag to the most convenient location for the ‘phase,’ the glider ended up down in our family room. With a few stains (yes a quilt could cover and did), I decided to have it add something to the room decor.

Recovering this glider was pretty straightforward, did not requiring advanced sewing skills, just about two hours time. All told it essentially cost me $0 – the fabric was a gift for our second wedding anniversary some years ago and the ribbon ties were scraps. I kept my approach simple by not adding a zipper, button, snaps or velcro, but you certainly could. I provided some links at the end from other tutorials as cushion size, style or vision may require a little different approach.

quick way to reupholster or recover a glider

quick way to reupholster or recover a glider

Supplies -

  • Glider, rocker or chair in need of a facelift
  • Fabric – enough to generously cover the front and back of both pieces, i would guesstimate at least 1 yard per fusion, so that you have extra for whoopsies!
  • About 2 plus feet ribbon scraps for ties (or sew your own)
  • Needle, pins, ruler and coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker or penicle

Steps -

  • Step 1: Trace the cushion pad onto the backside of the fabric. Also examine where the manufacturer put gathers or tucks to ease around corners (see bottom cushion)
  • Step 2: Measure the thickness of the cushion. For this chair it was three inches.
  • Step 3: Trace another line 2 inches (or about half the thickness of the cushion + 1/2 inch seam allowance) around the outline of the cushion, this allows for enough fabric to cover the sides.
  • Step 4: Cut out fabric. You will need to matching pieces (top and bottom). I used the selvedge to my advantage by lining it up at the bottom/back so that when I sew the cushion shut the fabric would not unravel.

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  • Step 5: For top cushion – Use a basting stitch, sew the fabrics, right sides together leaving the back open. For the top cushion with ties, pin them to the right sides (aka on the inside for sewing) so that they are caught in the stitching. I lined them up with the velcro loops on the original.

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  • Step 6: For top cushion – Turn cover right sides out and slip over the cushion. Exam your results. If there are baggy or misshapen areas, mark with a pin. Then remove the cover, turn inside out and redraw/mark the new sewing line to fix the misshapen areas. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until it fits tightly and to your satisfaction.

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  • Step 7: For bottom cushion – the steps are almost the same except that you need to match the tucks or gathers to make the rounded corners. Lay fabric over cushion right side up and pin small tucks or gathers. Sew these down with a basting stitch, remove the pins.

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  • Step 8: Repeat steps as in top cushion. For the bottom seat cushion, I used the existing laces to tie, so no ribbon.
  • Step 9: To finish the bottom, open end of each cushion, I folded the fabric similar to a present and sewed shut with a whipstitch. See nothing fancy. In some areas I folded over the edge before sewing shut to take in some of the extra. You could also just safety pin this closed. While not ideal to remove stitching I can still toss in the wash at a future time.

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  • Step 10: Finish the ends of the grosgrain ribbon by melting ever so slightly and quickly using a lighter.

All told, this took me two hours, start to finish. You could add in top stitching or buttons to the cushions but the original fabric was really tough to get a needle all the way through, so I did not add the topstitching.

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Bee McQT approved!DSC_8879

Other great examples and approaches tore-upholstering or covering gliders or rocking chairs:

Have a related blog tutorial you want me to add to the list? Leave a comment!

twelve things learned: the first 30 days

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I have been mulling over all that I have learned from my son in the quick time frame from match to 30 days old… and I cameup with twelve practical things because, hey, it’s a steep learning curve. I also realize that they will likely change. Perhaps if we want a baker’s dozen: be flexible and never say never.

IMG_3995_oh Top things I have learned so far as a new [adoptive mom] – aka Baby Bee’s real mom.

  • Stirred not shaken – shaking up a bottle of formula works but generates foam. Stirring or swirling gets the job done sans bubbles. We started mixing formula in a liquid measuring cup and now swirl in a liter Nalgene. Both make drawing a bottle easy. Do I shake sometimes? yes, like a salt shaker [cue baby crying].

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  • Cold and neat - I know some babies love warm milk but we opted to start out room temp or refrigerated. Should the wee dire morning come when only a warm bottle will suffice, we can play that card. Be sure to get your MIL on board.
  • BUD - Beyond Use Dating. The pharmacist in me must reinforce that proper dating is the date and time it expires, not when you made it – per Joint Commission. We use a dry erase marker and piece of duct tape on a tray that sits in the fridge.

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  • Kirkland formula is made in the same factory as Similac. We can always try the others, if baby doesn’t tolerate. I did my research on this, also organic formula and you should too. Also, use common sense when presented with fancy variations.
  • IMG_3985Snaps beat zippers – it just is so much easier to sneak in and change a diaper with snaps.
  • My favorite baby app so far – Sleep Pillow Sounds. Great variety of white noise, which I am now more convinced is for parents not the baby. Favorite – windshield wipers (so Seattle). Who knew sleeping babies were so noisy – like little truffle pigs! also, that phrase “sleep like a baby” will forever infuriate you. You will never utter it again, unless in sarcasm or in factually describing your baby’s sleep habits.
  • Peepee Teepee - these are real, you can buy them on Amazon, or sew them. Like party hats… but a washcloth works just fine and when the pee is spouting in your face, baby’s face – you need a quick response and more surface area. Having them at your changing station is handy for other uses too… like wiping off excess diaper cream, although I just do that inside the clean diaper now.

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  • Ruffles out - I don’t know if this is a real thing beyond our house, but with newborn diapers, we kept having leaks until my brother asked if we had ‘the ruffles out’. We didn’t. Life changing.
  • Cloth diapers make great mess cleaner uppers – nobody lies about that. However, you have to WASH them to get them to look like the amazing burp rags. I returned at least a package or two because they were so flat and couldn’t possibly be the right ones. Ha! (add lesson 14 – laugh at yourself)IMG_4004
  • If you nap when they nap you will be napping all the time, and sometimes that is amazing and other times, ain’t nobody got time for that. Just be sure to snuggle plenty. And get a nice eye cream.
  • Do not be offended by people who ask about your child’s “real mom” or why “she gave him up”. This might include your family, close friends or acquaintances. Most  are not informed about the importances of the words we choose surrounding adoption  – I know I wasn’t. Let it go, but answer the questions and reframe with your preferred phrase. If strangers comment on how fabulous you look for having a brand new baby, just say thank you (and you do look abfab, you know that right).
  • Babies have a non-nutritive need to suckle. So use a pacifier when they want it, if that is your thing, thumbs work too, but reliably locating them is an advance infant maneuver apparently. Meet Giraffey aka G-Unit : always there in a pinch. We have a secret back up. Also, if in UK forums (see above), they call pacifiers dummies.

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There are so many more, but I will spare you unless you ask. I certainly have learned more about myself, my marriage, the heart’s capacity, people, adoption in general through the whole process, but those thoughts are still incubating. Stay tuned but ask if curious.

Disclaimer – no one paid me to include the brands, they are just our experience. The flashcards in a few photos were a stocking stuffer that I found/find humorous, both in what we have encountered (witching hour) and what is to come (poo finger)

DIY Dapper Onsies : dress up a baby wardrobe staple

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First – let me say, Odds & Hens has not gone nor forgotten its readers. Thank you for the continued traffic to the site during a brief hiatus. Never fear – this post is ushering in a a whole new set of blog inspiration. The hubs and I are new parents! Our dear Baby BeeMcT joined our family in late December, weighing in at almost 10 pounds! When we are more ready will we share our adoption journey, but for now bask in his totes-adorbness….

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Why do I have to wear a tie!

DIY Dapper Onsies – dress up a baby wardrobe basic

These snappy onesies were simple to make, require little sewing skill and are a great way to use up scrap fabric and ribbon. I even covered up a few stains as we were gifted some clothing before BeeMcT’s arrival.

Supplies

  • scraps of fabric, approx 3 1/2 square piece of fabric for bowtie and 6 inch x 3 inch for neck, not exact but the bigger the onsie the bigger the tie, or to your liking
  • ribbon enough length to make suspenders on each side about 24 inches and an inch or two for center of bowtie
  • onsies or t-shirts
  • thread, needle, scissors, Fray Check (optional)
  • sewing machine helps
  • For neck tie – some iron on interfacing and paper to draw out necktie shape
Three dressed up variations

Three dressed up variations

1. Make the bowtie. cut the fabric to make an approximate square, fold in half and sew along the raw edges, leaving a small opening in the middle of the edge to turn it right side out.

2. Press the square, sew across the opening and then take your needle and thread, sewing a basting stitch and gather the center, making the ‘bow.

3. Wrap the gathered center of the tie with ribbon scrap and hand sew at the back.

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4. Place the bowtie where you would like on once. I positioned just below the ribbed edge. Hand sew it on, tacking down each corner and the center.collage bowtie suspenders

5. Make the suspenders. Measure and cut your ribbon to be long enough to go from the shoulder seam on the onsie to down to the bottom near the snaps, with a little extra to fold under, if you have it, (see white once) otherwise, tuck the raw edge under and sew it down (see brown onsie).

6. I used my machine to attach the ribbon with zig zag, but you could hand sew. I tucked the top edge up under the overlapping part to hide raw edge. Tack the ribbon suspender in the middle with a a row of stitches and then sew it at the bottom. I wrapped it around and did a zig zag from the bottom, catching the raw end on the inside.

7. Warning – I wouldn’t leave your kiddo ‘unattended’ as the ribbon suspenders as still a little lose and they might catch their hand it in. But you won’t, because you will be busy staring at them. You could also sew them completely on.

8. For the neck tie, I freehanded a basic necktie, went with wide vs. skinny for more ‘retro’ flare. It measures about six inches long and 2 inches wide. The key is at the top of the tie to add a ‘tab’ that will fold over the neckline to the inside. This is about 3/8 to 1/2 inch tall. you can see it in my quick pattern photo.

9. Trace the pattern onto the iron-on interfacing, cut it out and iron to desired fabric. Cut out tie shape. I finished around the edges with a zig zag stitch, then sewed the tie on the inside/wrong side using the tab, folded it over to the front and then sewed a few stitches were the ‘knot’ (at the white dot) would be to attach the tie to front of onsie… apologies for a tad grainy – wanted to zoom in.

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10. Now, take those photos!

That’s It! Lotion Bars: Shea Butter Beeswax & Coconut Oil

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Looking for a simple but luxurious handmade gift idea? This tutorial for three ingredient lotion bars is simple to make, useful, a splurge to buy and great gift for everyone. This craft also marks my first beeswax product, from my backyard hives – another precious gift from my favorite pollinators.

Three Ingredient (That’s it!) Lotion Bars

Ingredients & Equipment

  • Equal parts by weight Shea Butter, Beeswax and Coconut oil
  • Slow cooker and liner
  • Muffin papers and pan
  • Ladle, paper towel/newspaper

Optional

  • Space in fridge for muffin pan to cool
  • Wooden takeout chopsticks to stir
  • Ice cube trays, soap or candy molds, milk cartons, PVC pipe mold etc
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Essential oils, lavender buds or oatmeal

Melt all three of the main ingredients (shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil) in a slow cooker on high. Be sure to use a liner for easy clean up. The Coconut Oil and Shea Butter will melt first and the Beeswax will follow soon after. Stir if you are so inclined.

You could also do this in a double boiler but not directly on a burner as beeswax may catch fire (confession – one time I knowingly rendered my beeswax on an open flame, no fire still not smart).

For this batch, I used ¾ pound of each. Why 0.75? Because that is how much coconut oil I had on hand. This made about 20 round bars and 20 small bees. Some of bees were a tad fragile but the little broken bits work just fine for me.

Place one or two muffin papers in each muffin space (what do you call them?) in the pan. Imagine the mini-muffins too!

Once the ingredients are melted, you are ready to fill the molds. Layer paper towel under the slow cooker and muffin tin to catch dribbles. Then using a ladle fill the muffin mold about 2/3 to 3/4 full. You can then let it cool at room temp or in the fridge (faster, ~ 10-20 minutes) or outside if it is winter.

Once cool and solid remove from the pan, line with new papers and ladle the next batch. I left them in the finished bars in the papers until I was ready to package them up, placed on plates lined with paper towel.

I also had a small bee candy mold that I used to make adorable lotion bees. I tried spraying the mold with non-stick cooking spray and also without – didn’t seem to make a difference. For any lotion bars that are funny shaped or broken or many just bits on the rim of the muffin pan, put it back into the slower cooker and re-melt.

Wrap them up in a small box, lined paper, dish, glass jar etc. I packaged mine up in pairs using vellum envelops, labels, bakers twine, glue stick and some finishing flare. Two important things to note 1) these begin to melt quickly in your hands (that is what makes them lotion bars) so don’t handle them too much 2) whatever you wrap them in should resist oil (e.g. parchment paper, wax paper, plastic wrap) or it will just soak through. Now give the gift of soothed skin.

Don’t believe me? Other great sites to reinforce –

PS  If you want to use essential oils, let the filled muffin pan sit for a few minutes at room temp to start to cool but not solidify. Then mix in a tiny drop of oil, stir with a tooth pick and then put in fridge. I found that the smell dissipated with the higher heat, but play around to see what works. If adding texture such as lavender buds or oatmeal, do so very sparingly.

Citrus Wreath – Homemade Holiday DIY

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These wreaths would be great in any season but there something about citrus and the Holiday season – remember oranges for Christmas gifts in Little House? Or is it hope for sunny days? Regardless, they are easy to create, beautiful in their simplicity, yet present opportunities for making it your own. Mix and match citrus, use other fruits, add ribbon, burlap, twin or other organic add-ons like star anise, dried eucalyptus, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks. No special crafty skills required, just some citrus, patience, pins and hot glue! Play around with the dried fruit and make other decorations too. See a few other ways I used them below. These wreaths are perfect for my Christmas theme this year – gold, white and orange.

Supplies

  • Foam wreath (I used rounded and the flat versions, rounded was easier but both worked fine) 12 – 16 inches
  • Citrus: oranges, lemons, could also use limes and grapefruit; about 12 – 14 oranges and 6-8 lemons (this varies with size, cutting etc – buy more than you think and just eat the extra)
  • Metal straight pins
  • Hot glue gun and sticks
  • Fabric for wrapping wreath, such a linen or a pretty holiday print or burlap
  • Ribbon, for decorating if you want and for making the hanger
  • Other bits and bobbles
  • Options: glitter spray, orange essential oils

Instructions

  1. Slice the fruit about 3/8 inch. I have a mandolin which made this infinitely easier, especially when making multiples but not required. Just try to get them uniform'”ish”. I did use my zester and grated the top and bottom before slicing as I didn’t want to use the ends in the wreaths but having all this citrus zest on hand (fridge, freezer or dried) is handy.
  2. Dry, either in the oven or dehydrator. I tried the oven but found it took a while a few burnt a tad (still used, added some deeper color) and I could do more slices in the dehydrator, in the same amount of time. For the oven, use the drying function on it if you have it or as low heat as possible (150 F) for ~ 3 hours, flip them part way through.
  3. Let the slices cool off so that they dry all the way and do not mold. You do not want crispy critters though.
  4. Prepare the wreath by wrapping in fabric strips. I torn mine into about 2 inch wide strips. Pin the tails down and wrap tightly.
  5. Add the ribbon loop for hanging. Use about 6 inches, wrap around the frame or glue onto the back, turn under any raw cut edges. Nothing fancy hear. I also use twine for one and wire would work too.
  6. Begin to pin down the first layer of orange slices. I made the first layer flat, no overlapping and then layered on more as I went, this time overlapping to hide pins. I also used the hot glue gun to tack things down. You can use the slices that might have not been as perfect on the bottom or tucked under. I loosely sorted my slices by sizes so I could find the ‘perfect’ slice quicker. Not sure it made a difference but satisfied my tendencies.
  7. Just keep applying slices until you are happy with results. Now you can add the extras if you want. I kept it simple and just glued down a few star anise for shape and smell. They also are hiding a few exposed pin heads.
  8. I freshened up the fragrance with some sweet orange essential oil. To mail, pack lying flat, wrap with tissue.

DIY Dried Citrus Tree

Use a foam cone, wrap the first 3 inches or so of the base with fabric (a la trunk) and then apply the orange slices with pins and hot glue starting at the bottom and working up. I sprayed some gold glitter on for fanciness sake.

Simple wreath : String dried slices on a piece of twin, pull tight forming a circle. You could also make a garland, or mix in other items like pinecones, dried apples, leaves, cinnamon etc.

Inspired by a recent Better Homes and Garden idea.

Glittering Golden Birthday Party Ideas

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We hosted a 40th 29th birthday for a dear friend, D, who is all things glittering and gold. With a fall party, creating the golden decorations started the house off nicely for holiday decorating, building up from Thanksgiving through the New Year. In a few weeks, the Christmas tree will be up and all in gold, with perhaps some orange accents, but there is still time to finalize [last year’s theme =red and gray].  All of these ideas are simple, great for beginners and would work well for weddings, anniversaries, holidays  and just because. Try out other metallic colors, such as copper, themes such as Pretty in Pink or all shades of blue or yellow for a baby shower.

Supplies

  • Craft paint and brushes
  • Spray paint and spray glitter
  • Mod Podge or glue
  • Pinecones
  • Feathers
  • Twigs
  • Random things that are crying out for a gold paint job
  • Mini pumpkins or decorative gourds, real or real fake
  • Vacuum, because you are going to have glitter all up in your house.

Decoration Ideas

  • Great glittering gold gourd name cards!!! AKA gold and glitter painted mini pumpkins in orange and white. Paint the top, bottom or whole thing. Dress up with ribbon and simple stamped name tags.

  • Simple sparkly table runner DIY
  • Pinecones spray painted with two different metallic golds and also spray glitter over some white ones from last year ( I <3 pinecones). You can also just put glitter on the tips of a natural brown pinecone, using glue and a paint brush. Put them in baskets, purposefully arranged, in apothecary jars, bowls or glue on some wire and hang.

  • Golden birds – in expensive or thrift shop ceramic birds ( or unicorns or whatever) spray painted and/or coated in ModPodge and glitter.

  • Golden bird cage and candle stick holders – again, just spray painted objects on hand or from a thrift shop. I put a tea cup and air plant inside the bird cage. It was a little large for the table but is now featured in side, versus buried in garage.

  • Gold dipped feathers – each hand painted, one of kind, tucked in with the gold branches. You could also work this into folded napkins. Black feathers with gold paint turned out great as well. And I am sure any paint color would work. For these I used acrylic craft paint, brushes and for glitter ModPodge. Get sturdy feathers, not fluffy downy ones. For a few I dipped into paint but thenhad to brush off the excess. For most painted using various brushes and two tones of gold.

  • Gold initial – I scored an already gold painted D, but it would be easy to paint a letter from a craft store.

  • Glittering votive made from jars, tea lights and boring glass votives. Apply ModPodge where you want glitter and go for it. I applied glitter to the outside of the cheap tea lights and then put them in the votives, easy way to dress up and not permanent.

  • Gold Christmas ornaments, such as stars, balls etc
  • Gold and/or glittery twigs – watch at the holidays for premade versions on great sales, or make your own a la nature.

Aerial Shot

Action shot with plenty of things are that supposed to be in a perfectly positioned blog photo J, like me, a random coffee mug, misplaced paper napkins and messy counters. You can see just a bit of the Middle Eastern food we had catered by Project Feast though.

Beaded Statement Necklace – H&M Makeover

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I always keep my eyes peeled for statement necklaces, I suppose you could say they are my ‘thing’. Jazzing up basic objects does not have to be complicated or require much beyond glue, courage and some bits and baubles. This beaded necklace took me all of about an hour to make, longer for glue to try and cost probably less than $10. I picked up the silver necklace at H&M about 2 years ago and the seed beads I have had for years, a yard sale treasure scored by my mother.

Instructions

  • Choose you jewelry item to shazzam up. Make sure it is clean and make any needed repairs to the chains, clasps etc. This necklace has a smooth front but the back side has a slight indent/recess making it perfect to fill; hence, I actually wear this necklace backwards. Oh well! I am the only one that knows the clasp is on the other side.
  • Initially my plan was to place cut-to-fit fabric scraps and epoxy in each of the shapes but decided to go with supplies on hand. Enter my big bag o’beads. Such vibrant colors! With a black summer patio party dress in mind, I narrowed down my colors and decided to go for regal red and purple theme, with tan, dark brown and maroon accents.

  • I filled the shape with clear craft glue, but epoxy, clear nail polish and other clear drying substances would work as well. You just need something to fix the beads to the jewelry shape.
  • Using tweezers, toothpicks, pins, patience and a steady hand, I began to randomly place the beads into the shape. I kept some on the string while placing for ease and also turned some on their side or stacked a few on top for interest and dimension. No rules about color placement but I tried to make each shape feature a different color but all have some of each present. Complete one shape at a time.
  • I put a thin layer of clear glue over the top to ensure that all the beads were secure. Let it dry!

  • Wear, enjoy and bask in the pride (and likely a few compliments) that you will experience.

 

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