Easy Country Decor Ideas: Filling Old Jars with “Stuff”

First off, Happy Independence Day to all my crafty friends out there! Hope you are all have a fun day filled with family, friends, BBQ’s and sunshine!

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A day off work meant a little time to do some thrifting this morning, and boy did I score some great stuff! It also got the crafty juices flowing and I decided to do a little bit of tinkering with some left over mason jars and jar-filler ideas. I always seem to have an abundance of mason jars from other projects, garage sales, etc. I can never resist buying them if the price is right, because I always seem to find a use for them! :)

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Forgive me if you’ve seen similar pictures and content from previous posts – this is just a recap of all the jar filler ideas I’ve done in the past few years! :D

The first set of jars I filled with glass marbles. They look great as is, but would also look nice with a twine bow or homespun ribbon tie. I like them just plain!

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Where did I get the marbles you ask? You’ll never believe it…

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The dollar store!!! Not the Dollar Tree, but a random dollar store called “Real Deals.” That’s why I say you have to stop at all different kinds of dollar stores whenever you see them, because you just never know what kind of great crafting supplies you’ll find! I love these because they look genuinely vintage, but were a fraction of the price!

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Vintage buttons make for another great jar filler. These two particular jars are for sale in my Etsy shop. Old buttons are so beautiful and interesting to look at, so why not display them as art? :) I also like to use other types of glass jars like this one on the left, which I think is a vintage jam jar. Not sure though, but I love its textured look and weathered tin lid.

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I filled the next set of jars with some “fixins” which I had lying around, waiting to be scented. I decided to put them in the jars unscented and will tie on a small vial of scenting oil to go with them, so people can refresh the scent now and again. I took out the flat metal lid that goes under the screw cap and replaced it with a square of homespun fabric. I think I will do a big batch of these for Fall and tie on a little tag with a crow or pumpkin on it. I buy these rosehips/putka pods in bulk from various suppliers online.

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Here are a few jars I have filled that are already decorating my house. More vintage buttons and clay marbles from a flea market.

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Dang I love those old clay marbles! I think it’s the palette of earth tone colors that gets me. :)

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Here’s how I have some jars displayed, just to give you some ideas.

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Another easy and cheap bowl filler idea are old Christmas tree bulbs! I find them at every freakin garage sale and estate sale I go to, always buried on the big table of Christmas crap that no one wants. Therefore, they are often very cheap! Obviously these would be great sellers at Christmas craft shows. Accents with a little jingle bell or Christmas themed fabric ties would look great too!

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My last idea for today’s post are old keys. I buy lots of skeleton keys where ever I can, and they often include random other types of keys (more like “modern” key shapes and generally more boring/run of the mill keys) which I usually toss to the side. This is the jar I found at the thrift store today and I thought they’d go perfect together. I really like how it looks and think I’ll keep this one. :P

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Well here they are all together! I am obsessed! I love them all!!!

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Some other ideas that come to mind are:

  • Acorns
  • Cool lookin’ seed pods
  • Potpourri
  • Sea Shells
  • Sea Glass
  • Wax tarts
  • Jacks (the old children’s game)
  • Old pins, brooches, or vintage clip on earrings

What other jar filler ideas can you guys think of? Send me pics of your jar decorations and I’ll post ‘em here! Have a great 4th!

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Here is a picture of some mason jar center pieces filled with lovely black & white family photos, created by reader Susie! Here is the link to her full post: http://www.susiewittwer.com/2013/01/mason-jars-family-photos.html. I just love the idea of using vintage papers/photos inside the jars!  :P

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Primitive Country Themed Bottles or “Single Stem” Vases

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Irishmen & women! :) Before I get to today’s craft project, I thought I’d share an update on the primitive crate shutter I made. I finally found a little pip berry wreath at my friend June’s antique store, and it was the perfect size to place right in the center of the shutter! Woohoo!

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I used some thin green floral wire to tie it on the shutter, sliding it between the slats of the crate boards, and securing on the back.

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I then used some jute twine, knotted through the pre-existing holes (from where nails held the crate pieces together) to make a hanger.

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It’s heading over to my co-op this week. I am putting $22 on it. It only cost a few bucks to make – the pip berry wreath being the only expense. The rest of the supplies were on hand, and I was able to re-use an old dilapidated crate that may have otherwise gone in the burn pile! :)

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Ok, and not for the single stem bottles project. It’s a “dollar craft” because these awesome little bottles are only $1 at Michael’s craft store! The rest of the supplies I had on hand.

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You can accent the bottles with whatever you’d like! I decided to use rusty tin stars, little enamel number plates, and some skeleton keys. You could also use buttons, twine bows, little pip berry sprigs, faux berries or flowers, sea shells, antique broaches…be creative!

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Took a strip of torn homespun fabric and used a hot glue gun to secure it in place.

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Here are the finished bottles! They could be used for general decor or as single stem flower vases! :)

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I am going to price them at $4 each and see how it goes!

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And last but not least, some great thrift store finds! It’s quite a random collection of items, but cool nonetheless! I found a mint condition 1957 Chevy model car, a chunky primitive candle, a beautiful vintage brass and enamel bowl, and an old brass Eiffel Tower bottle opener!

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I also found a colorful enamel pot, a wooden wall decor/candle holder, and another little brass elf dude that I could not resist. Vintage brass seems to sell really well on Etsy and in te co-op.

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The major score of the trip was a bag of vintage brass horse buckles / tack medallions, in a variety of designs and shapes. I thought they were trivets at first, but upon further research I found that they are used to decorate horse tacks and bridles. They are collectible and are oh so cool!!! Some will go to the co-op and some on Etsy!

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Hope everyone has a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers! :)

Marble Magnet Wedding Favors

I know I have done marble magnet posts before but I really haven’t had much else going on in the crafting department, so I thought I’d do a step-by-step post again as a “refresher course” if you will. I also came up with a new and different way of packaging them, which I thought may be an option for those wanting to make these for craft shows! :)

First you have to decide what your content will be. I created 1″ customized images for a friend’s wedding, using Photoshop. You can really use anything to create your magnets – magazines, scrapbook paper, or create your own themed images.

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Here are the main supplies I used. Magnets (Walmart), clear silicone (Lowe’s), clear plastic cabachons (allstarco.com) and a plastic tool thingy that I found in my utensil drawer. You can use anything to apply the silicone – a toothpick works just as well.

You can use different supplies, like clear glass marbles (from the Dollar Tree) instead of the plastic cabs, but I highly recommend that you use the silicone shown here. Others use Mod Podge, craft glue, etc., but I have had absolutely awesome results using this clear silicone. It is also very strong and will make your magnets last for years.

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I also used a 1″ hole punch to make my images the exact correct size. You can cut them out if you’d like, but this is definitely a great tool if you’re planning on mass producing these things.

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Put a pea-sized dab of silicone on your image…

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And smush down the cab or marble, applying even pressure. Any excess silicone that spills out the sides can easily be wiped off with your finger or a paper towel. The image is instantly magnified.

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I use the same silicone to apply the magnet. A little less than a pea-sized dab will do. It is very strong!

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Next, for the packaging, I used a large tag-shaped punch and some heavy stock craft paper (both from A.C.Moore). The tag punches are very expensive, so I will always wait for a 50% off coupon before purchasing something like that. It is well worth the money though, because it’s a great tool.

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Again, you could use a heavy scrapbook paper or whatever material you’d like. I printed out a poem on mine, which will be the back of the tag. Use the open side of the punch to line up your text/image before punching.

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In the mean time, let your marble magnets dry thoroughly before packaging. I let mine sit overnight.

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To get the magnets to lay flat on the tag, and not cling together, I used removable Glue Dots. Simply stick them to the backs of the magnets and stick them to the tag. This way you won’t have a nice package with a little ball of magnets that are all stuck together.

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You could leave them as is, or bag them up. I used candy-making treat bags because they come in a variety of sizes and are very inexpensive.

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Unfortunately I could not find the exact size I needed, so I had to improvise. I folded the excess bag over to the back and applied a small piece of clear scotch tape.

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Then finish off with ribbon, jute, homespun fabric, or whatever you’d like. For these I did purple ribbon and a jute twine bow.

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I got a chance to swing by the thrift store yesterday and boy am I glad I did! The key is to go often, because merchandise changes a lot in those places! I got some goodies that are already priced and ready to go in my booth. Cast iron candle holders, a counter top glass container, and some cute little country decorations. I also got some great brand-new rubber stamps, which will go in my Etsy store.

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We all know how expensive stamps are, so this was a major score!

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I also picked up some apple pie casserole dishes. They are not exactly my cup of tea, but these types of things sell very well around Fall time. People are thinking about Thanksgiving, comfort foods, etc., and always seem to be looking for casserole dishes.

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Have a great day and hope to be back soon! Happy crafting! :)

Making a Custom Sign: Trial and Error

Hello my crafty friends! Summer has kept me quite busy, but I have been able to squeeze in some junkin’ and a few little projects. My latest project is a custom sign I made for a co-worker, with the phrase “Endeavor to Persevere”; a quote from an old Clint Eastwood movie. I haven’t made a sign in a long time, so I had a little bit of a rough go. I thought I’d share my trial and error, and a few tips for sign making.

To start out, spray paint your board with your color of choice. I got this pre-cut board at Lowe’s for $3.

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Sand it to your liking. Go heavy on sanding for a more distressed, country look. There’s no way to mess this up, so just sand away.

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For custom signs, I always use foam stamps. I have had a lot of people ask where I get the large foam alphabet stamps from. They are hard to find, and to be honest, I get them where ever I can find them! All of the stamps I have were ordered online after Googling “large alphabet stamps”. I got them from various sources, such as random online craft stores and people selling gently used stamps on Etsy. Craft stores generally do not sell large stamps like these, so your best option is going to be online.

I use artist grade (thicker, more pigmented) acrylic paint, and I’ll tell ya why in a minute.

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Do not dip the stamp into a big glob of paint. It will be WAY too much and will splurge out the sides when you press down on the stamp. To apply paint to the stamp, use a small piece of slight moist sponge to gently dab on the paint. It seems like a pain, but I promise it’s the best way!

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This was my first attempt. I did not like the way it looked. It looked uneven and my spacing was horrible. I do try to space it out ahead of time by marking the board with little pencil dots, but spacing can be hard to perfect.

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Here’s why I like to use spray paint for the board and heavy grade acrylic paint for the letters. Before the acrylic dries, you can actually wipe off the stamped letters completely.  After stamping many crooked letters, I simply wiped them away with a moist paper towel. Then, when I was done, I still did not like the way it looked. I used a wet sponge to wipe off the entire phrase. It came off quickly and easily. I immediately dried the board with a kitchen towel to avoid saturating the wood. It’s definitely nice to know you have this option should you mess up!

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I decided to use a different set of stamps with a clear back. I highly recommend stamps with the clear backing, as it makes it significantly easier to line up your words! You can SEE the spacing and exactly where the letter will land. Again, these are hard to find…I got lucky and found these online at some random craft store.

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I like this wording much better and the spacing is more even after using the clear backed stamps! No need to worry about the excess board on the right. I will saw it off and even it out.

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To clean the foam stamps, run under water and use a sponge (or your fingers) to rub the paint off the surface of the foam letters. Place on a paper towel to dry. This is important, or else the acrylic paint with harden on the stamps and make them difficult to use.

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I cut down the board using a small electric hand saw that I got at Lowe’s ages ago, for small projects just like this. They are inexpensive and great tools to have on hand. I then re-sanded the edge to keep the distressed look even on both sides.

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To finish off the sign, I used a dark brown gel stain to give it a bit of an aged look. I liberally squirt it right on the sign, and then rub it around with a paper towel. Then wipe off the excess. It’s a subtle effect, but it softens the bright white of the lettering. I find gel stains and antiquing mediums in any craft store, next to the craft acrylics in small bottles.

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For the hanger, I always use these easy-to-install metal hangers. They are found in any home improvement store. The little prongs press right into the wood and make for a strong hold.

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Finally, I sprayed it with a clear poly to seal it. Here is the final result. Hope she likes it!

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In junkin’ news, I hit up a barn sale recently and got this incredible stack of old historical photographs. I listed them in my Etsy store and they have already sold!

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I also picked up a small enamel bed pan, a fun brightly colored vintage tin, and a glass flower frog.

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I got this awesome old bowling pin set, complete with a bunch of brightly colored wooden pins and a yellow ball. I LOVE these for country decor. I now have them listed in my Etsy store. :)

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Lastly, I got these gems at the Goodwill thrift store recently. The Peter Rabbit coin bank is silver-plated and very heavy. I polished him up and he is now for sale in my Etsy store! I also got a bunch of tin molds that always seem to sell well.

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Can’t wait to give my friend her sign. She plans on hanging it in their cottage up on the lake. Hope everyone has a great week and Happy Crafting!

Vintage Spoon Bookmarks

My latest project involves upcycling some old flatware into fun and unique bookmarks! I bought a handmade spoon bookmark at a craft show a few years back with the intent to copy the idea. I recently got a bunch of great vintage spoons at a flea market, so I decided to try it out. They came out pretty awesome! :)

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To do this project you need some spoons, a hammer, an old towel, and something flat to hammer on. I used a big piece of flat plywood. I think the older spoons work better because they are thinner and more flexible than newer spoons. I don’t think dollar store spoons would work well for these, but I could be wrong! I also prefer the vintage spoons because they are unique and come in lots of interesting designs.

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Before hammering, I put the towel over the spoon, to minimize scratching and denting. It worked well, except the towel is pretty much destroyed but the time you’re done.

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Start hammering away! I turned the spoon over a few times while hammering, to ensure it was flat on both sides. It will never be completely flat; there will always be slight bumps and grooves. It just adds to the vintage charm if you ask me!

I used my original spoon bookmark as a guide of where to bend the handle.

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Some spoons bent easily, and some did not. Some of them required a little tap of the hammer, near the bend of the spoon, to fully bend it over (using the towel again, so as not to dent or scratch). It takes some experimenting, so don’t spend a fortune on your spoons. I got mine for super cheap at a flea market, so breaking a few here and there was not a big deal.

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I had some casualties. A few of the spoons snapped as soon as I started to bend them.

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The broken spoon parts worked great as metal retrieving pieces for Greg to use in his K-9 searching/training. He chucked this spoon piece out into the yard, and Djaiko (pronounced “Jake-o”) was able to find it in less than a minute! See it there in his mouth? :)

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After flattening and bending all the spoons, I cleaned them up using some silver polish. I LOVE these Howard products that a fellow vendor sells at my co-op. They work awesome and are very reasonably priced.

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And here are some pictures I took for the ones I am now selling in my Etsy store. This is one of the “miniature” spoons…

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And some other cool ones with fun handle designs.

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I think these would be great craft show sellers, or great gifts for pretty much anyone. I just got a bunch more spoons and plan to make more in the near future. Hope you’re able to give it a try! Thanks for stopping in and Happy Crafting! :)

Super Easy Primitive Key Hanger

I still haven’t unpacked my craft stuff yet, so I had to improvise for this Pinterest-inspired key hanger I wanted to make. I started out with this shallow crate / shelf thingy that I already had. Any shallow wood crate or tray would work!

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I bought these little screw in hooks at Wally world…4 for $.97!

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Making sure they won’t be too long…these are perfect! If they are too long, you could file down the excess, or put some felt dots / tape over the little protruding screws. These are a great small size and will probably work fine  for most crates / trays out there.

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Just screw them in by hand. No tools necessary.

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There she is, one hook short (oops). I figure I can get more hooks the next time I go, or just set a small figurine or decoration in that space.

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This is where the improvising came in. Since all my hardware is packed, including all my hangers and wall hooks, I used two pop tabs nailed on either end. They are surprisingly strong. I simply nailed them down, nailing right through the small, flat metal part of the tab. Another Pinterest idea to the test, and it works great!

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I love it!!!

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Not only did I work on my first craft project in a while, but I also hit up my first great barn sale of the season. I got a super deal on some primitives that have already made their way to my booth at The Carriage Place. I got these two 10 foot antique shutters for….wait for it….$3!!! That means $1.50 each. Probably the best deal EVER, in the history of the world!

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I also got this old ladder back chair and big blue swirly enamel tub. I thought they’d both make great garden pieces.

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Two small unfinished shutters and an old tool carrier, both which I plan to eventually paint & distress.

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And lastly, I got this old wooden army trunk from the 40’s. Great army green color and original hardware. Trunks always seem to sell well in my co-op.

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Along with all my thrift store / garage sale “smalls”, I like to sprinkle in some really nice antiques and quality pieces here and there. This improves the overall quality of my my booth and shows dealers that come through, as well as customers, that I am “legit”. LOL. I got this beautiful antique cabinet on Craigslist. My personal rule is: only buy a piece if I know I can double my money. I know I’ll have no problem selling this beautiful cabinet for more than twice what I paid.

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The same goes for this other Craigslist find; an antique oak ice box. These go for BIG money around here, so when you see one at a decent price, you gotta get it! It’s in excellent condition and was a real steal!

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I am headed to the co-op for a massive over-haul on Wednesday night, so I will get some updated pics and share them with you soon. If you try out the key hanger, or any variation of it, I’d love to see a pic! Hope everyone has a super-duper week, and Happy Crafting! :)

Dollar Store Salt Shakers + Vintage Buttons = Button Flower Bouquets

It’s me again! I am on a crafting BINGE! I don’t know what’s gotten into me! Maybe because it’s been sunny and “Spring” feeling these last few days? I don’t know, but I’m going with it! :)

I have a fun “dollar store craft” for you! I made these cute little vintage button bouquets using Dollar Tree salt shakers (you can also find some at the thrift store for super cheap, like the ones here on the left) and some buttons and wire that I had on hand. So easy and a perfect Spring craft!

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I also used twine for a bow accent, and shredded paper (also found at Dollar Tree) to stuff inside the shakers and help hold wire stems in place. I suggest using a pair of pliers that have a cutting edge on them, so you don’t jack up your scissors while cutting the wire.

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To make the stems, you are going to twist the two sides of the wire together. Fold the wire piece over and cut it roughly the length you want the stem to be – keeping in mind it will be a tad shorter after twisting it together.

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Layer your buttons to make fun, colorful little “flowers.” Slide the ends of the wire through your button flower and start twisting them together tightly, to create a sturdy stem. Cut off the excess wire.

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Stuff a small amount of shredded paper down in the salt shaker to help hold the stems in place. You could use more buttons, beads, floral foam, or nothing at all…whatever you want!

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Make as many flowers as you’d like! They are fun to make!

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My first bouquet is a red and brown theme

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And my second bouquet was a blue and black theme

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I photographed them for Etsy but decided at the last-minute to bring them to the co-op. They are currently in my booth at The Carriage Place. I can’t wait to make more!

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Last night I photographed a ton of new stuff I am putting in my Etsy store, and I wanted to let all my fellow crafters, that have booths or small shops, know that I am going to be selling these word blocks in groups of 6 at a wholesale price. I ordered way too many of them, so they’ll be in my shop this week at some point. They would be a great little item to resell, if you’re into country/prim decor like me!

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I also wanted to share a few great thrift store finds from today! A great enamelware tin pan, an apothecary style jar (these sell like hot cakes in my booth!) some wooden plaques for future craft projects, vintage tin molds, and a small wooden platter with a glass cloche. I am going to paint the wooden base – probably black with a yellow prim star in the middle.

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I was also sooooooooo excited to find some unique Scrabble tiles from a “Deluxe” edition of the game; 100 tiles for only $4! Best of all, they are maroon colored! I love that they are different from the regular Scrabble tiles, yet are a great color for country crafting!

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And lastly, I had to share this find…..these brown kraft boxes were only $1 for a bag of 6!!! If you have an A.C. Moore’s, go grab some before they are discontinued!!! I was “that person” who depleted their inventory. Hehe. I am going to stamp them eventually. Love the variety of shapes!

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That’s all for today! Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting!!!

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