September 25, 2013

DIY: Staining Pine




I love refinishing furniture, and have been doing so since I was a little girl.  I use to help my father in the many projects he had on the go when I was growing up, staining furniture was one of my favourites.


A friend of the family handmade us a bench for our front entrance way out of naked pine.  My dad picked out the wood for me and choose the boards that had the most knots, he knows how much I love the natural character of wood.  I had great intentions of completing this project in the Summer but then decided that the cooler days of fall would be much more enjoyable to work in.  I was lucky enough to have my father fill all the nail holes with a putty before he gave me the bench.  The next steps to crate a beautiful rich looking finished product are very easy and fun!

Items you will need:

pine
wood fill
sand paper
drop cloth
rags
wood stain
varathane
brush
a well ventilated area
face mask
goggles
gloves



First I took the bench outside where I sanded all the fill in the nail holes and lightly sanded the top surface of all the wood.  I then took my leaf blower and blew all the debris away, fast and easy!

 After I took an old rag and applied my first coat of stain, remember to not let the stain sit for too long before taking another rag and wiping it clean, approx. 30 seconds is good.  Work in small areas at a time, this makes the whole piece look more uniform in colour.  I then waited for the stain to dry, I waited an hour but follow the directions on your stain label for exact time frames.  Then apply a second coat and then a third if desired.  For my bench I applied three coats of stain.

After letting the stain dry completely (follow your labels!) you are ready to apply a top coat of varathane.  I decided to go with a high gloss finish but the gloss is up to your own personal preference.  I recommended applying at least two top coats, even three which is what I chose.  I just find that the first coat doesn't seem to reach all the areas uniformly and a second and third coat just gives the pine a really rich hard finish.


Once your varathane is good and dry (approx. 24hrs or according to the label) you are ready to bring your item back inside and put it to use.  My fiance was pleasantly surprised when he saw the finished protect and so was I!  Have fun!







July 12, 2013

How To: Hand Print and Foot Print Molds




 For Father's day this year I wanted to do our children's hand print and foot print molds for a unique hand made gift.  These molds are great to give for any occasion and are really easy and fun to make especially with little ones.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to making these molds, you can add a variety of colours to the dough before you bake the molds with natural or synthetic dyes or just simply paint the molds after you bake them.  For an added touch you can clear coat the molds once you finish them to give them a more complete look.

When making our molds we decided to keep it simple and went with a basic single colour of paint.  I added two coats once the molds had completely dried.  The paint I used was already glossy so I didn't feel as though I needed to add a clear coat to finish it off.  On the back we wrote "Happy Father's Day" our children's names, the date and how old our children were when they made the molds.  You could add your text to either the front or back, I just thought it was a cleaner look to keep the front of the molds text free.  You can also paint little flowers, bugs etc...to the front for a little added fun! 

The ingredients are really simple and you probably already have them in your home!

Ingredients:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Luke Warm Water



 Directions:

 In a large bowl mix together salt and flour.  Slowly add the luke warm water and keep stirring until your dough forms a uniform consistency.  (you can add your dyes at this point if desired)



Don't forget to get the kids involved!  Take the dough out and kneed it for about 5-7 minutes or until you see that it has formed a nice doughy mound.



Then separate it into balls depending on how big you want your molds to be.  Make them into any shape you desire, circles, squares etc...




Once you have your desired shape press your children's hands and or feet into the molds.  You may have to try this once or twice before you  achieve the "perfect" mold.




Once you have your molds place them on a cookie sheet and bake at about 200 F for several hours.  But remember to always watch the oven!!!  Depending on how thick your molds are depends on your baking time.  My molds were quite thick so took about three hours to bake.  Be aware that if you try to turn the temperature up to speed your baking time you could burn your molds!  So be careful!!! 




You can also poke a hole at the top of your creation before you bake it so you can add a string and make your molds into hanging ornaments, they make a great Christmas gift for loved ones.

                                                         Have fun and enjoy!!!


June 5, 2013

Summer Festivals!

There is something about Summer...the warm breeze that blows through the laundry on the line, the way the sun dances on my kitchen counters in midday, the way that raspberries taste like childhood memories at my grandmothers house...had a glimpse of one of those memories yesterday when I tasted raspberries for the first time this year, staring at my ninety two year old grandmother sitting across from me bound to her wheelchair...in that moment I wanted nothing more than to be eight years old again spending a weekend at my grandmother's house where time stood still, cookies were baked fresh daily and bedtime stories flowed endlessly...it's those moments you think this will last forever but somehow in an instant twenty plus years have passed...how??? Seriously how???

After becoming a parent for the first and now the second time I have made a promise to myself to make the most of everyday, no matter what type of day it is (we all have "those" days...) to live in the present, not to rush moments past cause as we all learn as we get older that we may not have much "time" left.  So that is why this Summer with new life in my arms and older life in my heart I really want to make a point of "living" each day, not that I didn't "live" each day before but with the dull days of Winter it does limit a person especially with little ones to get out of the house and make the most of the outdoors and the community that surrounds us.

We will be hitting our first festival the first week of July, full of music and art...oh how both of these glorious interests fill my soul!  That will be the first of a handful of festivals this Summer, along with trips to the beach, walks to the park, digging in our garden, making memories with loved ones old and new, sipping that first morning coffee as birds chirp from the treetops and children wipe their sleepy eyes ...so many joys of the season to come.  With the sun shinning on my face and music, art and nature filling my soul I'm hoping to be filling this space a little more often with some words from within. Life happens, live it, love it and enjoy it!

Until next time. 


May 13, 2013

How To: Ribbon Blankies






This weekend I decided to try a new project, I have always wanted to try and make a blanket with silk ribbons attached in the past but have never taken the time to sit down and try and figure out how to make them. So finally I did and this is what I came up with! This is fast and easy. The materials you will need are:

Cotton Fabric
Variety of Ribbon
Scissors
Ruler
Fade out marker
Iron
and of course a sewing machine

Now fold your fabric inside out and mark out two pieces the same size with your fade out marker, depending on how big you want the blankie, the smallest I would go is 13"x13" you can do 16"x16" or 20"x20" if you would like larger.

Now take your ribbon and cut about 20 strips in a variety of lengths ranging from 4" to 7" long. I did five ribbons on each side.

Fold the ribbons to make a loop and pin them inside the two squares (right sides together) of fabric so the raw edges are aligned. (Loops are now inside the 2 squares)

Sew around the square to secure the ribbons in place remembering to leave a 3" opening to turn your project the right side out. Don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Turn your project so the right side are facing out and iron the square. Clip your corners to a 45 degree angle. I do not clip the seam allowance because I want to make sure I am re-securing the ribbons when I do the top stitch.

Now for the top stitch sew around the entire project 1/4". Back stitch at the start and finish. Iron flat one more time if needed and slip stitch the opening closed. Voila! You did it, now you have a quick and affordable toy that will provide hours of fun to a precious little one.

February 22, 2013

Mmm...Soap!













Above are some samples of the bars of soap I made a few days ago.

 I have always wanted to try my hand at making home made bars of natural soap and am glad I did.  The clear bars are made from Olive Oil and the creamy bars are made from Goats Milk.

 I decided to not add any dyes or additives like oatmeal and such for my first time just to be safe.  On my next try I think I will play with natural dyes like beet juice and curry to see what they turn out like.  I would also like to add some fun things like coffee grounds and oatmeal.

For the scents I stuck with pretty common mixtures, they turned out really well and smell delicious.  I may try to play around with some different varieties of scents as I get more comfortable with making soap and become more daring!

What are some of your favourite scents?  Any tips or tricks that you would like to share?  Please leave a comment below or link to you blog or website.  Happy Crafting!!!


February 11, 2013

Homemade Natural Deodorant Recipe


 As you already know I love making things!  In the next couple of days I am going to try my hand at making some homemade bars of soap...I am very excited about this as it is something that I have always wanted to do.  I placed an order for some molds and essential oils so am just waiting for them to arrive to get started, I can't wait!

In the meantime I have decided to try my hand at making a cream deodorant.  I had purchased a tub of Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil that is all the rave right now.  I know for the most part it is meant for cooking and baking but it is also known to be used and beneficial in natural beauty products.

So here is what I have come up with, you can blend a variety of different essential oils to get the desired scent you are after.  I am limited with my oils right now so decided to go with Frankincense.  Frankincense is anti septic, disinfectant, astringent so why not use it as a deodorizer!

Your main ingredients that make up the cream are very simple and affordable.  I try and purchase as much as I can from Costco, there you can get size and quality and for a fantastic price.  I purchased all three of the main ingredients there.



Coconut Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Vitamin E Oil, that's pretty much all you need!  From there you can play with your scents.  Just be careful with some essential oils as they can irritant your skin, so please so use with precautions including this recipe.


 Homemade Natural Deodorant Recipe:



Take approximately one quarter cup of your coconut oil and place in a container.  From there you can add about two dollops of Vitamin E oil, this is great for your skin and makes it feel buttery soft.  Now to add the Tea Tree oil, I added about 8 drops.  Tea Tree oil can have a strong scent depending on your nose so use with your own discretion, it has many benefits (too many to list) one of them including being an anti-fungal. Then I added the Frankincense to my desired liking, about 8-10 drops. After you have made your cream place it in a little container and apply in small amounts to your under arms. Below are some other oils you may like to try!



 Patchouli – Sweet and musky, another favourite of mine.
Lavender – Soothing and gentle, one of my favourite scents.
Peppermint and Spearmint – Very fresh and clean smelling.
Eucalyptus – Very refreshing and uplifting.

 Have fun playing around with your scents and enjoy!  

*Please remember that this is something that works on MY skin, always remember to try a dab of the cream on your inner arm to see if you react and go from there.  Some people should not use essential oils so please consult a physician if you are unsure. Meant for adult use only and keep out of reach of children.

January 28, 2013

Free Pattern: How to Make Re-Usable Baby Wipes



 When I had my baby shower a few months ago a girlfriend of mine made me a basket full of lovely homemade baby items for our new son.  Inside the basket was a batch of handmade re-usable baby wipes simply made out of baby wash cloths.  I thought it would be a great and simple free pattern to share with all you momma's out there!

Reusable baby wipes are great because they can help you save money that you spend on buying expensive disposable wipes. Cloth wipes are way better on the environment and cut down on the many items we already send to the landfills.  They are also much easier if you are cloth diapering to begin with as you can just toss the wipes in with your cloth diapers, there is no need to separate!

Here is my really easy re-usable cloth wipe pattern:





Step 1:
 First you take two baby wash cloths and place them wrong sides together, RIGHT sides facing OUT.







Step 2:
You can use your sewing machine to make a zig zag stitch all around the edges to secure the two wash cloths together or you can surge the edges.





Step 3:
Simply just trim the threads and your finished!  How easy was that!!! 






You can also make your own wipes using all different sorts of different materials, fleece and flannel work great.  Using lots of fun bold prints is fun as well.  If you are wanting to cut your own material use approx. 6x6, 8x8 or 4x8 inch squares and follow the same pattern above or just use pinking shears along the edges so they don't fray.  You can recycle a lot of old used material into cloth baby wipes, just use your imagination!

  
 Wipe Solution:
 Along with using cloth wipes some people wish to use wipe solution.  I found a great link that has all sorts of recipes where you can make up your own homemade solution, follow the link below:

 http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipe-solution.shtml



           Thanks Courtney for the wonderful baby gift and great handmade idea!!!