Friday, December 9, 2011

Homemade Christmas Tree Flocking

This year after buying our Christmas tree and starting to decorate it, I just felt it needed something.   I wanted something a little different than the last few years without a big expense.  I instantly thought about flocking my little tree and knew there had to be a cheap, less toxic way to do it at home.  

Guess what? There is!
And it cost less than 5 dollars and takes less than 5 minutes to make! :)
I perused through a many websites and combined info and tips to discover this fantastic idea.  I found a few recipes for homemade snow, though not many real good instructions. I am excited to do this tutorial to show what I have learned about this easy, fun idea!  I also want to set the record straight about some of the tips I read online, which I found unnecessary as well.   This is what worked for me, at least.  And I have a few pictures to show you as well, (which is what was lacking on most other websites I went to.)

The recipe I went off of used:
1 bar of Ivory soap (grated)
3/4 cup laundry starch
4 Tblsp warm water
blue food coloring ( a few drops to give it shine)
glitter (as desired)
(makes about 3 cups of snow)

I love how inexpensive this recipe is, when a can of flocking spray can cost a lot and has bad fumes.  
And even though a bottle of laundry starch only cost about $2.38 at Walmart, I discovered you can make your own with one heaping tablespoon of regular cornstarch to 2 cups of cold water. 
(Cornstarch clumps in warm and hot water. You probably know this from making gravy! )  
The corn starch mixture probably will cost you a nickel. :)
This project is less than $5!

Even though I didn't flock all of my tree, I still wanted lots of green, I found it helpful to double this recipe (twice) to have enough for my whole tree.  The above recipe would make a good amount for a wreath or craft project but not very much for a full Christmas tree.  

My revised recipe:
4 bars of ivory soap grated
3 cups of cold water with added 1 1/5 Tablespoons of cornstarch
1 cup hot water
5 minute Step by step process:
1) Grate your bar (s) of Ivory soap  (easier than cheese)

2) In a mixing bowl, pour in your cornstarch/ or laundry starch liquid along with the grated soap.  

3) Add  hot water as you begin mixing.  I mixed it with the whisk beater for about 2 minutes, until you get the texture of lumpy shaving cream foam. 
It is then suggested to add the food coloring and glitter, but these are optional. I didn't find the food coloring to change anything much and I didn't want to add too much and have it look "blue".  Also, I think it is better to add glitter later; not in the mix --or it gets a little drowned out.  (unless you have lots of glitter to spare!)  

4)  Immediately begin by rubbing it along your branches.  I wanted a natural winter look, and wanted it thicker and thinner on different branches.  Starting inward toward the trunk, take a handful of "snow" and apply it all the way to the tip of the branch. If you want it thick, just dab it on as thick as you like. It only shrinks a litte when dry. 

This is a funny picture of me, but its the one my kids took of me. :)

Apply like this or play with it to your liking.  Then if you want to sprinkle with glitter, I would do it once it is on the tree so it shines on top.  I wished I had some of the white shimmer glitter, but my girls used some silver glitter that we did have.  It is pretty too. :)

Then let it dry overnight, although the thin parts will be dry in an hour! 
Then I decorated my tree. But I am going to defy all other directions out there by saying you can even do this AFTER you decorate!  
Of course, that depends on the amount of flocking you want, but if you like it in the amount I put on mine, then you can work it around your Christmas decorations.  That way it doesn't flake off as you light and decorate your tree.  Next year, if I do this, that's what I'll do, since I had to do a little touch up after I decorated.  And no, with this technique, you do NOT have to wear a mask or take your tree outside.  It's like playing with shaving cream!  I just laid a sheet down on the floor to catch any drops, but it really was not that messy and very easy. My kids helped too and it still stayed pretty contained. 
I was so pleased at how quickly I could pull this off!  15 minutes from start to finish, and even less my second round! 
Here are some after photos to give you an idea of how it looks.  I personally love it!
photo overload:

Ta-Da! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Ideas

I am alive. :)
I have several posts to get up, but life has been so busy the last few weeks!  I've hardly had a moment to sit, let alone blog.  :(
 Here are a few things I love for Halloween right now:
Scrappy Daisy's Halloween Card. So cute, right?
I want a whole layout with this design!

And there are also these darling crepe paper mason jars by ScrappyDaisy! Easy, fast, and perfect candles for Halloween!
Her kids did them by themselves.

I pinned these on pinterest.  Love these chicken wire ghost dresses. So cute!
                                                Balloon and tulle ghosts.  
                            Guess I am into ghosts this year!

Darling pumpkin carriage! I love that the orange inside is lit up and stands out from the grey paint!

And finally, these cookies are giving me so many ideas!  Stamped with rubber stamps.  I've got a great glaze for sugar cookies that gently hardens and would be perfect for this idea. I will have to get that up soon!  But I think these cookies would be great any season- and a great use for seasonal stamps!
Love it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Refinished Kitchen Table and Chairs

Finally, my blog has a completed home project! 
(and lots to come)
I wasn't planning to refinish my table, because I was convinced I wanted a new one.  The chairs (see top pic) were so old, broken, and so very 70's.  Yes. And UGLY! 
But then I found a whole set of darling chairs, and I got so excited to refinish my table.  :)  They all just needed some paint and new upholstery.  But way cheaper than a new table.

Yes, this was the awful before photo.  How do you like the orange and gold tacked upholstery.
First, I gave it all two coats of white primer.

Then I gave it a coat of off-white satin paint.  Then I antiqued and sanded it around all the edges.

I recovered the chairs with some new fabric (which I love!).

When I got these chairs, they definitely had some dirty cushions, but that just made the make-over even more rewarding! ;)

 I love being able to choose a fabric that will accent the new colors in my dining room.  These cushions got a couple of coats of scotch guard.  I sprayed them outside, because it is not good to breathe it while being sprayed. Especially for my little ones!
I put a layer of glaze mixed with walnut stain all over the table and chairs, and wiped it down with cloths.  I liked it somewhat light but that it made the distressing and cracks stand out. 

 I think I never really appreciated the pedestal on my table, but with it painted and antiqued, I love its design.  This may be my favorite feature. :)

I'm still working on decor for the whole room since it used to be painted red, and now its tan and goldish-yellow.  I'm thinking of a pretty fall table-runner next, but I'm still so happy with the results so far. 

The entire project took less than $50.  Not bad, eh?
Next I'm making some shutters and new curtains. 
One project down...only about a nine hundred to go!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Made Over Denim Skirt

I've been wanting to do something with this skirt for a while.  It was so long and I haven't worn it for a while. I thought it might  be cuter if it were short and had some embellishments- something really feminine. I am not a seamstress at all and I used to think I would never sew!  I only sew a few things, but I can at least sew straight lines, so this skirt was do-able for me. :)

All the materials it took were some lace, fabric  (1/4 yard or less!), and thread.
I cut a 4 inch strip and gathered it a little.  Next time I think I'd go 5 inch.  Then I turned the skirt under to make a new hem and sewed the the ruffle on underneath like this:
Then I turned the skirt right side out and sewed on this cute lace.  I sewed two seams to keep it from rolling- on the top and bottom of the lace.
I sewed one long piece of lace from the back slit, around the skirt, and ended again at the back. I folded the lace under and reinforced the ends a bit with some back-stitching. 
I added some scroll lace just above the bottom edge.
I used a left over piece of fabric to make a rosette.

I folded under the raw edges and sewed them on my machine.

I measured and liked the rosette to sit about 4 1/2 to 5 inches from the side seam of the skirt.  I rolled some lace to layer inside the rosette as well.
Then I tacked them on with my machine.  No hand sewing required! :)

Made a little knot as well.  A button would be cute too. And I sewed on one more small strip of scroll lace to the side of the rosette. 

I wore it to church on Sunday, where we had a special occasion for my oldest son, who just turned 12.  It was nice to have a new skirt to wear for under a few dollars! ;)  And I had several people ask me where I bought it.  So, even with my limited sewing skills, I think it turned out okay!

Happy Day!