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Natural Thanksgiving Decor

Posted on October 3, 2017 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)



Thanksgiving is just a few days away and if you haven't succumbed to buying faux decorations at the dollar store, fear not. I have a few ideas that make use of nature's freebies. For example, the basket above makes for a great centrepiece or hall table decoration. It's easily made by simply winding together vines. I have a neighbour who cuts down his vines at this time of year and I always get some for decorating purposes. This year a friend of mine put the basket together. He used a wire coat hanger to create frame for the bottom 'wreath' and then built up the handles freestyle. Cost? Just a couple of hours creating.



Something to dress up the back yard. I don't recall the name of this plant - they look a little like tiny pumpkins. I simply plunked a bunch of these twigs into one ofmy vintage sap buckets et voila. 



Light up your hallway table, dinner table or mantel with this garland. String Chinese Lanterns seed pods (Physalis) into garlands instead of traditional autumn leaves. Simple insert a light bulb of string lighting into each lantern and you're done.


They last a long time and work both for Halloween and Thanksgiving.


Your welcome. 

Treasures from Nature

Posted on September 20, 2017 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)



If you think that you need buckets of money to decorate your home, think again. Just head out to your back yard, local park or woods and you will find more than you can imagine to create natural and charming decorations for no money and very little time. Why not create a wonderful centrepiece using Chinese Lanterns? Use a string of fairy lights and you're all set.



Gather up colourful leaves and make a bright and cheery maple leaf wreath. All it takes is a wire coat hanger stretched into a circle form and glue. Before making the wreath use a warm iron to flatten the leaves between sheets of wax paper.



Have a little fun and create a few large 'butterflies' to decorate your seasonal pumpkins or your walls. Fold leaves to form wings and glue to a gnarly twig. Again, press the leaves flat before making these 'insects'.


None of these ideas take a lot of time and certainly no money. What would you do?


Kitchen Table Business - Nature

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)


In my last two posts I blathered on about how you can perhaps make some money, even start a home-based business based on paper (and whatever paper you've got in your recycling bin or stashed away in cupboards, etc.). This morning, on my daily walk, I found another resource.


On the grounds of our City Hall that I pass by every morning, I noticed and picked up pinecones and acorns. Then the lightbulb moment came when I realized that resources for starting a crafty kitchen table business are available wherever you look, not just in your recycling bin.


At a local park, I also came across apple trees and rose bushes. The apples were still too small to pick right now, but would make a great harvest soon (apple pie, anyone??). The rose bushes were covered by hundreds of rose hips which can be turned into amazing jelly (rose hips are bursting with Vitamin C!!) and even a healthy tea. I asked the groundskeepers about pesticides and was reassured that none were ever used and that all the produce was free for the picking as long as care was taken not to break or disturb the plants. So there you are - free stuff. If you cook, bake and can preserve, you've got a gold mine here.


Look, the Internet is full of projects and ideas that you can duplicate in your own way if you are truly into starting your own business. Having said that, remember not to just copy someone else's work. Take what you see and like, and find a way to reinterpret it. Something that will make your work stand out. For me, it's taking a process and simplying it. Find your own style and go from there.


With your own kitchen table business, you can work while the kids are in school, for as many or as few hours as you wish and make stuff that someone, somewhere will buy. If you think you don't have the talent to create something, why not sell materials you find. Sell those pinecones and acorns, your old maps and bits of paper, textiles, etc.


Take the time to do some research and to see what is being sold on Etsy and eBay. I was amazed to find that you can sell anything - toilet paper rolls, kitchen towel paper rolls, wine corks, bits of fabric, empty bottles - you name it. Not necessarily creative crafting but if it brings in a few dollars for, say, to pay for supplies you may need for your real craft, go for it.


My point is that materials and resources for starting a craft business are available all over the place, not just in your recycling bin. You can start your own little enterprise at anytime. It just depends on whether you want to put in the work and the time. Stickability is the key. It may not be the way to instant riches, but discovering that it's in your control may bring rewards unimagined.


So as that Nike ad said, Just do it. 

DIY Halloween Leaf Bunting

Posted on October 3, 2016 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I had been out of town for a few days this past week and arrived back on Sunday - the day I take on the little ones in our apartment building. No time to prepare anything (you'd think I'd be more organized by now), so I took the kids out to collect what we could find along the Rideau Canal and Confederation Park. There were, fortunately, loads of pretty fall leaves that hadn't been cleaned up the parks maintenance guys, so, we took a pile home. Now what to do with these? Putting my thinking cap on, I remembered that my friend Colette, who visited me from Germany this summer, mentioning that she likes to paint leaves into miniature 'ghosts' and string them up as Halloween bunting (that's garland to you and me).


So, here's what we did:



First we painted a bunch of maple and oak leaves (back and front) using white poster paint (all I had on hand - and it's easy to clean). As each leaf dried, we added on the eyes and noses with some black paint. When all the leaves were done, we tied the leaves with twine into bunting.


By the way, I covered my table surfaces with brown paper grocery bags and they did not look as pristine as the photo above shows when we were finished.




And here's what we ended up with. Nice.