Christmas Crafting Has Begun! More Homespun Candy Canes

Well, I don’t have a new project to share…this is one you’ve seen before. My latest crafting venture was a new batch of “homespun candy canes,” in preparation for this years Christmas season at the co-op. I first posted about these years ago, and here is the “how-to” in case you’re interested: Homespun Candy Canes How-To.

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I made a whole bunch of the standard-sized candy canes, but also made a batch of the miniature candy canes. The mini candy canes are a bit more tedious, but seem to be everyone’s fave!

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These are the mini candy canes I used. I got them at The Dollar Tree. They come as garland, so you get 10 of them for a dollar…score!

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Bunched them up into groups of 5, tied together with twine. I plan on pricing them at $4 for a bunch of large ones, and $3 for a bunch of small ones.

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I also worked on a few of these large bells that I had laying around from years ago. They were $1 each at Michael’s.

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I spray painted them with this metallic brown:

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And made them into hanging ornaments with twine hangers and little fabric accents. They also make nice bowl fillers!

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For displaying the candy canes and other Christmas crafts, I like to put them in old wooden boxes or bowls…

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Or vintage displays like this old red sleigh (both thrift store finds).

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In other news, I am thinking of starting up my Etsy store again. I have all kinds of awesome little antique tins that are beauty/hygiene/medicine themed, with great old graphics on them. I also have tons of skeleton keys and other little items that I would like to sell. It’s a quite a project…photographing a listing everything. Maybe a good winter project for me, we’ll see!

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Aren’t they cool? I just love old tins. The colors and graphics are so fun.

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Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting! 😀

A New Batch of Silicone Dipped Bulbs & Country Night Lights

It’s been a few years since I’ve made these country night lights with silicone dipped bulbs. In case you haven’t seen my old post on how to make them, here is a refresher! They are cheap to make and great items to sell at craft shows, or for your booth at a craft shop or co-op. For some reason they make me think of Fall, and I love to make them this time of year!

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First, get your night lights at the dollar store. I got these at The Dollar Tree. The bases come in all different colors. I tend to do mostly black and white, but this time I threw in a few blue and aqua ones.

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Don’t mind my ugly carpet background…was crafting in the basement last night. Along with the night lights, I picked up these packages of extra bulbs. I like to make extra bulbs and sell them as replacements.

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For the bulbs to cure, you need to hang them immediately after dipping. I ran a piece of twine between two shelves and used clothespins to hold them in place.

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Your supplies for the bulbs consist of silicone, a little cup for dipping, cinnamon (optional) and a disposable stick to mix with. I add the cinnamon for a warm, primitive look. You can leave the silicone plain too. I use the basic Walmart brand of silicone. Some brands will work better than others – it’s all trial and error. I’ve had the best luck with this stuff. It seems to be just the right consistency.

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You also need one of these gun thingys, to squirt out the silicone. We happened to have one but they are available next to the silicone in Walmart.

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I ended up tossing my flimsy plastic cup and used a glass cup. It was easier to hold on to while dipping. I find that it works best to fill the cup up completely with the silicone mixture. Take the bulbs and dip them down in and turn them slightly to get the silicone to cover the base of the bulb. Then pull out quickly to create the long “tip”. This can be really challenging and takes some practice.

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You must work quickly because the silicone starts to cure and becomes more difficult to work with. Within 15-20 minutes, the silicone in your cup will probably be stiffer and less pliable. Hang them upside down with your clothespins and let them cure for at least 24 hours.

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When I was done with the bulbs, I worked on the bases. I tied on little strips of homespun fabric, finished with little rusty stars and hearts. For the hearts and stars, I just hot-glued them on. Don’t worry; the night lights to not get warm enough to melt the hot glue.

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Here they are all assembled!

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I love the warm look you get from the cinnamon. Unfortunately they do not smell like cinnamon though.

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For a display, I used an old cardboard box and covered the inside with scrapbooking paper. Punch holes through the cardboard with scissors for the little metal part to stick through.

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Don’t get discouraged if you try it and can’t get the bulbs to look right. The brand of the silicone makes a huge difference, and also practice makes perfect. I’ll sell these for probably $4.50 each at the co-op. Hope you have a great Labor Day! 🙂

“Penny Rug” Magnets

After a great day perusing my favorite antique/country shop, I was inspired to do a little crafting. I picked up a new penny rug table runner, and it got me thinking about how much I love the colors and patterns of penny rugs. I have never been able to sew, so I thought I’d try my hand at painting them!

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Here is my new runner that was the inspiration. I love this color combo!

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These are the wooden discs I used. They are the same ones I use for my snowman and pumpkin face pins & magnets. You can get them at any craft store.

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Paint them your base color. I used acrylics.

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Then paint in your rings of color! I winged it and painted the circles by hand, but a stencil would have been handy. I’m even thinking of trying it again using foam stamps.

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The next step seems easy in theory, but was actually quite challenging. I’m talking about the little “stitches.” Here’s my trial and error photo. First I tried drawing them on with a paint pen (not pictured), but I can never get those stupid pens to work right. Then I tried painting them on with a fine tipped paint brush (left). Next, I tried drawing them on with a fine tipped Sharpie marker (middle). Lastly, I used a regular sized Sharpie marker (right). I decided to go with the latter. I like the thicker look of the stitches.

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The Sharpie works great at first, but as you continue to draw, the marker almost seems to run out. I think it’s because it doesn’t work well on the painted surface. You might need a couple Sharpies to make it through.

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After they dried, I glued small magnets on the back. Here they are all finished. I had a few casualties…some came out too messy and/or uneven. It’s going to take some practice I think. Overall I think they’re kinda cool.

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I am definitely going to make more of these after I perfect my technique. I have tons of enamel ware pots and pans hanging on the walls at my co-op, which work great as magnet displays. Go Google Penny Rugs right now and see all the beautiful color combinations out there! It’s so inspiring! 🙂

Adding a Primitive Fall Look to Boring Ol’ Candles

Sometimes things that I think are really cute, will sit in my booth for years, and won’t sell. For example, I bought some small candles years ago, that came in awesome faux white enamel tubs and had a real farmhouse look to them. Though they’re old, they still smell awesome and I am not giving up on them! I have since made them over a few times, and I am hoping my new Fall spin on them will help them move off the shelves. Here’s the new country look and the how-to!

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Originally I tried to sell them as is, for like $3 a piece. Good deal, so I thought, but no one wanted them! 😦 Then as Christmas time came around, I packed them up in plastic bags, tied them with homespun, and added a cute rustic tag, for gift giving. I sold a few, but still have about 6 left. Here’s the “before.”

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My first step in making them over was to “primify” them. I put the broiler on and CAREFULLY watched them for about 1 minute while the tops softened up and smoothed out. After years of sitting around, the wax gets little scratches and nicks, so this process makes them look brand new again. I then shook on some ground cinnamon and let them cool. It gives them a rustic, dusty look, and of course smells great too! Please don’t burn your house down doing this. Don’t leave them unattended and please, be careful people!!!

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My first thought was to tie the burlap over the top and tie off with some twine. I guess I was envisioning more of a cheesecloth look, where you could see and smell the candle better. This just looked dumb. LOL. It also covered my cute, newly dusted candle tops that look so perfectly primitive!

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Take two. I used a plate as a guide to trace out circles of burlap that would fold up around the tubs, from the bottom.  This idea would look great on small jar candles (such as those in short, fat mason jars), so don’t worry if you love the look but can’t find these exact candles! Any jar candle would work!

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Put a ring of hot glue on the bottom of the jar candle and place on burlap. Then, using tiny dabs of hot glue, fold up the edges and create a taco-shell look. This will make it easier to tie on the twine.

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Tie it around once or twice and add more dabs of hot glue to hold up your burlap. I also trimmed and frayed the edges of my burlap during this part.

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For a little accent, I took a sprig of pip berries I had lying around and pulled off two sprigs for each candle.

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I curled up the ends of the sprigs by wrapping them around a little paint brush handle. Then I tied them on using the excess twine and finished it off with a little bow.

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I think I will throw in a free mason jar tag with each candle since they’d made nice Fall gifts. I got these mason jar tags at Target…8 for $1! I love them!

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They have a cool “scarecrow” feel with the frayed burlap. They’d be nice for any primitive home decor but will be especially nice for Fall time I think.

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My helper Fred takes a little snooze while I clean up. What a bum!

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Like I said, this look would be easy to create on regular jar candles as well. The cinnamon dusting is a super easy way to make something look “prim” too! What are your thoughts on the finished project? Anything you’d do differently? 🙂

Primitive Grubby Jar Candles

After seeing these types of “grubby” jar candles on Pinterest for many years, I finally got around to trying them myself. Though it was a very long process, they came out so cute and perfectly primitive! There are many tutorials out there on grubby jars, but they are all pretty much the same: coffee grounds and white glue. You can do mason jars or any type of jar candle…it’s the perfect accent for any country or rustic home.

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I started with this set of 12 small jar candles from Walmart. They cost around $6, so profitability on these should be pretty good.

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I made up a mixture of about 2/3 coffee grounds to 1/3 cinnamon. Both can be bought at the dollar store for this project. I used matte Mod Podge, but now that it’s all said and done, I would probably use regular white glue because it’s a lot cheaper. I ended up using almost this whole jar on 12 little candles.

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Paint on the glass jars with glue and roll in your coffee/cinnamon mixture.

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Set them aside to dry. It takes a good 24 hours for them to dry thoroughly.

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Once dry, gently tap them on the counter to get off any loose coffee/cinnamon grounds. Then apply another coat of glue to seal it. Be prepared…this part is messy! Don’t worry if more grounds come off because you can always do a second coat.

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Set aside to dry again. Another 24 hours. Ugh…I hate waiting!

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Here they are after they are dried. With just one coat, most of the surface was covered, but there were still a few spots where the glass showed through. I decided to do a second coating of the coffee/cinnamon. Looking back, I think I would just stick with one coat. They’re eventually going to be embellished with homespun fabric or burlap, which will cover up any thin areas. It’s up to you how many coats you do, based on the look you’re going for.

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Another little tip: before you start, put a small piece of paper towel over the wax of your candle. Through the process, the cinnamon and coffee grounds fell onto the wax, and it doesn’t come off easy. The paper towel will keep the wax clean. I am going to have to wipe them off which is going to be a pain in the butt…lesson learned.

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If you do decide to do a second coat, be prepared for even more of a mess. Repeat the process of painting them with glue, rolling in cinnamon, and finishing off with a finally coat of glue/Mod Podge to seal. Again, you have to wait 24 hours between each step. Don’t forget to touch up the top little rim of the jars.

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Here they are after two coats and some embellishing. I think they came out so cute. I am planning on pricing them at about $3.00 per candle at my co-op.

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Here are the some of the ways I decided to decorate them. A thin burlap strip topped with a vintage button:

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Thin pieces of twine with rusty stars and hearts:

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Plain ol’ twine and homespun fabric, wrapped around and knotted:

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And a thin twine bow:

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Have fun if you decide to give them a whirl. They are super easy, but be prepared for a long, messy process! I’d love to try this again with mason jars and maybe some larger jar candles. Have a great week and I hope be back soon! 😀

Stamped Wood Magnets

My latest project turned out to be really easy and fun, and I can’t wait to make more! These stamped wood magnets were made entirely out of items I had on hand, but all of the supplies necessary can be picked up at any craft store.

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First I picked out a bunch of stamps, including my dollar store letter stamps (in container) that I planned on stamping out words such as “live, laugh, love” or “simplify.” Spoiler alert – the “word” magnets didn’t come out good. I couldn’t get the spacing right, so I gave up.

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You’ll need basic black ink pads, or whatever color you choose!

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You’ll also need magnets (Walmart), craft glue or E6000, and wooden discs (Michael’s). These are the same discs I like to use for snowman face magnets at Christmas time. These are also the perfect size to make pins, using metal pin backs that are usually found in the jewelry section of the craft store.

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I wanted to make the wood a little more old and worn, so I used a simple paint wash to darken them down a bit. I mixed a little bit of brown acrylic paint with water, so it was really thin.

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Paint the discs and blot off the excess with a paper towel. They only took about a half hour to dry. You can repeat this step a few times to get your desired result.

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The picture does not do them justice…they look darker in person! They could have gone even darker, but I was impatient and wanted to get stampin! hehe 🙂

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Some stamped designs look better than others. These are some of my favorites!

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Using your craft glue, apply the magnets. I find hot glue doesn’t work as good on these discs. I don’t want them falling apart, so that’s why I went with the regular craft glue. It takes a lot longer to dry, but it’s way stronger.

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And here they are. You could take this project in so many directions!

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I will be back soon; I have some “grubby” candles in the works. They are in the drying phase and I hope to do the next coat and finishing touches early this week! Woohoo! 😀

Reclaimed Wood Signs

So after many months of cold miserable winter weather and NO motivation whatsoever, I finally got around to doing a little crafty project this weekend. When inspiration strikes, you gotta run with it! The inspiration came from this old, weathered piece of wood that I found in the woods while walking the dogs. It’s chippy blue paint screamed country/primitive signage, so I broke out the foam stamps and went at it!

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First I had Greg cut them into strips. We have a big saw in the basement, but you can easily pick up a little electric hand saw from Lowes or Home Depot for $30 or so, and have it on hand for projects like this.

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I did a couple posts on foam stamps many moons ago, so here’s a little refresher. First, I laid out the letters of the word I wanted to stamp (the word is actually faced down; these stamps have letters on both sides) to get an idea of the spacing. I wanted to make sure the word would fit before I started.

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The most important thing I have learned when using foam stamps is do not ever dip the stamps directly into the paint. If you do, you’ll have way too much paint on the surface of the stamp. The minute you press down, it will overflow out the sides of the stamp and make uneven, messy letters. The best method I have found is to use a small piece of sponge and just dab on the paint onto the surface of the letter. Give it a couple of practice runs if need be. For this project, I used white acrylic paint.

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Go ahead and stamp out your word. Then, once dry, I applied some saw-tooth hangers on the back of each sign. These types of hangers are easy to use because you simply press them into the wood, but I hammered them down in for good measure.

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My last step was to spray them with a clear acrylic coat so the paint would not continue to chip off. The wood was really old and brittle and the paint was a bit loose, so I wanted to seal it in place.

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Here are the finished products, but I need your opinion. Should I add a coat of antiquing gel to tone down those bright white letters down a bit? I wasn’t sure if I should or not. They have kind of a “beachy” feel.

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I added a little star fish because I felt like it went with the cottage theme and filled up the space on the right that was a bit uneven from the space on the left. FYI those star fish are only $1 at AC Moore’s.

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So here they are. They are going over to my booth at the Carriage Place this week. I’ll probably price them around $7-$8 each. With “found” wood, it’s 99% profit, so no need to mark them up with a high price and let them sit in my booth for months!

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Part of my motivation also stemmed from an awesome estate sale that I went to on Saturday. I got tons and tons of great country/primitive themed items, including some nice antiques. This picture only shows a fraction of what I picked up there. It was half off everything so I literally loaded my car! It’s the first really great sale I’ve been to in a while, so this really got me excited! I love “pickin” season!!!

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Earlier in the week, I also got really lucky and picked up this old wooden butter churn……wait for it……off the side of the road!!! It’s amazing what some people throw away. I cleaned it up and now this cool piece will go to the co-op this week with the rest of the stuff from the sale.

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Well, let me know your thoughts on the signs. They are already really “distressed” looking, which is why I’m not sure on adding the antiquing gel. Have a great week and happy crafting!

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