Easy Curtain Tie Backs

Sometimes curtains drive me crazy. Actually what really drives me crazy is the tutorials online for curtain related things. This time it was curtain tie backs. Everything is so complicated. Many involve finding an antique spoon and bending it. I just wanted to sew some fabric together and be done with it. So that’s what I did.

I went through my fabric scraps until I found something that looked good with the bright yellow, light blocking curtains I bought for the guest room. It get’s an insane amount of light, which I love, but sleeping people don’t love as much. I was in luck with the fabric because I had a strip cut off a sheet that I used for a quilt backing. It was the long, skinny part from the top of the sheet that is folded over and sewn. This meant less sewing, which was good because half-way through my sewing machine decided it hated me and was hell-bent to sabotage everything I did (actually I think I may have bent my needle, but at the time I just assumed the machine was evil).

Here’s what I used:

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All I did was sew the two ends of my strip closed with a loop of ribbon in the middle.

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If you don’t have a strip cut from the top of a sheet lying around (which is most likely the case), you will just have to use a strip of fabric and sew the long end together as well.

Each tie should only take about 10 minutes (this is assuming your sewing machine doesn’t hate you).

After the sewing I just wrapped the tie back around the curtain to measure where I wanted it and screwed a hoop into the wall, then looped the ribbon around the hook. For the second one I measured to make sure they were even.

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Obviously I didn’t iron anything. That’s my least favourite part of sewing, so I usually skip it.

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I’m happy with how they turned out, and the fact that they didn’t cost a dime!

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Felted Wool Billy Balls

I mentioned last week that I was hoping to make some of these cute little guys, shown on Dans le Townhouse. I actually was pretty motivated, so I started and finished this weekend.

I found the roving at a local yarn shop. It didn’t actually say roving on it, but the lady told me it would work, plus it was only three dollars!

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I did just what the tutorial told me (make a ball out of some roving, put some dish soap on it, and then dunk in hot and cold water repeatedly, rolling gently in between). I had a lot of trouble preventing large gaps where the wool joined so I added small pieces of wool to fill them. For the small holes I tried to gently rub them to try to knit the fibers together. Obviously, I had a lot of trouble with getting them all the same size.

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I made six, with plans to use five as flower and give one to the cats (which I later reconsidered when I realized this increased the likelihood of them destroying my flowers).

For the stems I knew I didn’t want to use wire because I didn’t want them to be too droopy (I also didn’t want to have to go searching for it). I was initially planning on using some stalks from the tall grasses in the backyard, but they just didn’t look right. I looked at some pictures of the real flower and saw some where the stems looked kind of like sticks. This inspired me to grab some of the fallen branches from the backyard and try those.

They worked, but it was rather tricky. I had issues with breakage and it was a lot harder to wiggle the sticks in that it would have been with wire.

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In the end I could only get three to work. The others just wouldn’t stay on their sticks. I will save them for something else. I think three looks just fine.

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Projects on the Go

I don’t know if it’s the weather or just the time of year, but I’ve been feeling the need to get things done. Last weekend we bought and installed the kitchen faucet we’ve been meaning to change since we moved in. I’m also trying to finish up the little things that I started, but never quite completed.

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This is a throw pillow I started months ago, but kept getting frustrated with and putting off. Somehow the case ended up being way too big for the pillow form I made it for, so I had to make a pillow to stuff in it. I sewed up the last corner, so I can call this one done!

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Here is a craft I’ve been trying to do for a little while. I saw it here. For a long time I couldn’t find the heart shape that I needed, but then I found heart-shaped dream catchers at the dollar store that were perfect. I’ve since started, messed up and had to re-do this a few times. It’s going better this time around, so I’m hopeful I will it finished.

I’m itching to start a new project. If I can find wool roving I’m going to try my hand at this (since I’ve been looking for artificial billy balls everywhere and can’t find them). But then again, something else may catch my eye before that happens. We will just have to wait and see!

Christmas Pinecone Craft

I know it might be a little early still for some of you. Especially you Americans who haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. Well we had Thanksgiving a long, long time ago, so I’m ready again for the festive spirit.

Here is a cute little craft that would be great to do with kids.

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All I did was gather pine cones (which is half the fun). Make sure you find the fat round ones. Take some craft pompoms (from the dollar store) and glue them onto your pine cone to look like little Christmas trees.

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*Note my elf legs above

After they are dry you can either use them as a centerpiece, attach string and make them into a garland, or hang them from you tree.

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Another idea, which I haven’t done because good pine cones are hard to come by in these parts, but that I remember doing in school is to spray paint your pine cones metallic colours than attach a ribbon to hang them from the tree. You can even spray them with adhesive and then pour glitter on them. I’m planning on doing this as soon as I come across more cones (or think of something else to glitter up).

This is a super quick craft for little kids with little patience, but even if you don’t have kids around, it is fun and cute!

Halloween Dinner

I really wanted to make a super cute Halloween treat to show you. It didn’t turn out so great, so we also made a back-up recipe. I will share both.

Here’s the first:

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They are candy corn cookies. I followed this recipe, but I didn’t use food dye (I can never make orange, it always comes out pink, since I refuse to use the 75 drops of food colouring, or whatever it is). I used turmeric for the yellow and Kurt’s cheese colouring for the orange (it comes from some sort of seed), but you can easily use carrot juice.

The loaf pan I used was far too big. I realized this when I cut my cookies and they were only slightly bigger than real life candy corn. Some I baked as they were, others we smooshed down flat to make them a bit bigger, but much wonkier looking.

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They look strange, but they are still cute and they taste good, I promise!

Onto number two. This is for a savory Halloween (or just Fall) dish. Pumpkin gnocchi.

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Gnocchi is easy to make, but does take quite a bit of hands on time. The first step is either to roast a pumpkin, or used canned pumpkin. Once you have your pumpkin puree, you just need to add flour until it gets a dough like consistency. Then you roll out small bits into thin snakes and cut it up into bit size chunks. If you are feeling particularly fancy you can roll a fork over it to make little lines for the sauce to cling to.

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For sauce, we just used a simple creamy sage sauce, but the gnocchi is fairly bland so next time I would use either a tomato sauce, or something else flavourful.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Seasonal/Holiday Decorating

I would love to have a house that changes with the season. The only problem is, the thought of storing all that holiday stuff the rest of the year makes me cringe. I remember every year hauling my Mom’s giant and plentiful Christmas decoration boxes out of the basement only to have to pack it up and haul it all back down a few short weeks later. Ugh. I think there is an alternative.

I prefer decorations that can magically go away at the end of the holiday or season. I’m not talking about throwing them away. I mean using things that can either be eaten, go back to nature, return to the recycling bin or just stay around and serve another purpose.

For a Christmas tree, for example, we use a little potted evergreen tree. At Christmas time we make some simple decorations to adorn it (stringed popcorn, paper stars, etc). In January, the stuff comes off and it’s just a regular, non-Christmas tree. It can be enjoyed all year round.

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For Fall we usually just keep some squashed arranged nicely on the table. We eat them and replace them as the season goes by. This year I upped my game and added some bright leaves and little pine cones to the display. And when the season changes, the squash all get eaten, or moved to cold storage.

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We also carve pumpkins, of course. Those can be composted afterwards.

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The one addition I would like to make is a wreath for the front door. I would like one that I would weave things into (ie. leaves, garland, flowers), and be able to change for each season. I haven’t come across anything cheap yet, but there is already a hook waiting for it on the door (it was here when we moved it), so I’m still keeping my eyes open!

How do you like to decorate for the seasons? Does storing things that only get used briefly bum you out too? Maybe it’s just me!

Packaging Our Soap

Our soap is ready! We tried it and it’s just lovely. It’s super lathery and feels very moisturizing. We have tons of it and since we’d like to make more, we needed to get rid of some so that we don’t need to build a third story to house our soap. We decided to give some away as Christmas gifts, so this meant I needed to package it somehow. We were told at the class that castille soap needs to breath, so it shouldn’t be packaged in a way that it’s all covered. I thought about it for a bit, and this is what I came up with:

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I used brown kraft paper, tape, a sharpie and a stamp we used for our wedding. I think it turned out pretty cute. What do you think?