Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Topiary Tree- Easy Decorating

Fast and easy decorations!

48" obelisk
4- .25 inch dowels
craft wire, ornament hangers, zip ties or string to tie garland to obelisk
4- 6 ft boxwood garlands
2- 15 ft evergreen
green or brown paint for dowels to match obelisk
lights and ornaments, optional

This obelisk was on Amazon for $26.  I've wanted one for the garden for a long time and now I can use it as a dual purpose!

evergreen garlands from the dollar store

black Friday sale for boxwood garland

Begin by cutting dowels to height of obelisk and and paint to match metal. Secure 1 in each large space with wire, zip ties, etc.

Next, bend one end of evergreen garland around post of obelisk.  Wrap garland around obelisk leaving large spaces in between each row.  When you get to the end, bend around another post of obelisk, repeat with second garland.

Now start attaching the boxwood garland by wiring/ tying one end of garland to obelisk and wrap tightly between evergreen or every 2 rows of evergreen.  I only secured the ends so that if I needed to adjust the density, I could do it quickly and not have to undo a bunch of ties.  By wrapping it tightly, it seemed that securing only the ends worked ok.

add lights

add ornaments

and that's it. It's ready for the porch!

lanterns and silk poinsettias make decorating easy

slip covers for couch throw pillows are a quick way to add color.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Make an Easy Fill Soap Pumper

Make an easy fill soap pumper from a candle jar.

Drill motor
safety goggles
plastic gloves
heavy scissors
needle nose pliers
spray bottle for water
diamond drill bit- either .5 inch or .75 inch
(depending on how you want to anchor the pump)
dremil tool with cut down tool

I got this .5 inch at Lowe's for $19.00
the .75inch is $32.00

candle jar with glass gasket lid
depending on which method you use, you will need:
4 - 1/4 in wide zip ties and a recycled pump- using .5 inch diamond drill bit
or a sanitizer bottle and pump- using .75 inch diamond drill bit

If you use the top of a sanitizer bottle as the anchor, cut off the top.  This will be pushed up through the .75 inch+ hole and then screw on the pump.  The collar of the pump will need to be cut down because the threads of the collar don't run the whole length of the collar.  I found that only sanitizer bottles have long enough necks to go through thicker glass lids.

You may want to mark the center with a permanent marker before drilling.
Put on your safety goggles and gloves.

spray some water on the lid before drilling.

The bit jumps around quite a bit before it takes hold and can scratch the top. The best position for me to stabilize the drill is sitting on the floor, cross legged with the jar between my legs and the bottom of the drill against my right knee (since I'm right handed). Using very light pressure at first so the bit isn't dancing all over the top and scratching it, gradually add a bit more pressure.

Stop drilling often and spray more water. To keep drill bit from becoming hot, use enough water and not too much pressure.  Bit should never be more than warm.

Use a few tissues to clean out the pieces of glass and water.  Rinse of jar and lid.

Once your hole is cut, you will need to ream out a little more to fit the pump or the base of the sanitizer bottle.

Keep checking the fit, you want the pump to fit snug.

If you are using the sanitizer bottle base, cut down the collar of the pump so the threads will match up with the base when you put it together. Use the glass plug you cut out as a guide for how much to take off.  Not all glass lids are the same thickness.

If you are using just the pump and zip ties to anchor, thread the zip ties together and trim ends, leaving one end longer to go around stem of pump.

Once it's around the pump use needle nose pliers to twist the end to pull it tighter.  Not much room to work, you can't pull it.

Once ties are tightened as much as possible, use heavy scissors to trim closer.

I love these Wiss brand shears!

If you are using the bottle base, push it up through the .75+ inch hole and screw pump down snug. I actually tried using a 1" bit so I didn't have to ream out extra and it ended up too big, the collar on the pump would sit crooked in the hole because the hole was too big.

Done!  And easy to refill- enjoy!
Or you can order one from!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Red Beaded Wreath

Beautiful Christmas wreath made from thrift store garlands.  This will take some time to put together, but it will last and not break apart like the foam berries on store bought cranberry wreaths.  This project took me about 3 yrs to finish because I just couldn't figure out the best way to get the beads on the wreath.  So the supply list is approximate because I can't remember that long ago.  Once I figured it out, and had all the beads strung on wire (with the help of my daughters and grand children) it went together fairly quickly.

3/8" bead garland about 5-6 lengths
1/2" bead garland about 4 lengths
5/8" bead garland about 3 lengths
large package of clear red pony beads
14 inch Styrofoam wreath
.5 yard red cotton fabric
6 packages of red craft wire, 26 gauge?
14" piece of red felt
glue gun

Tear cotton fabric in 2" strips and wrap around Styrofoam wreath. Secure end of wrap with hot glue or a few stitches of thread.

Start wrapping the 3/8" garland around the wreath.  Secure ends to wreath with wire.  Connect another garland to the end of the last one with a piece of wire. You may also want to make a loop for hanging the wreath at this point or at the end.

Once wreath is completely wrapped in 3/8" garland, cut a package of red wire in 24" lengths and start stringing beads on in random sizes.  Make sure to use pony beads in the middle 1/3 part of the strand since that will be where it wraps on the inside of the wreath (smallest circumfrence). Leave 1.5-2 in wire on each end.  Stringing the beads on wire is what takes the most time.  If you have some friends or family members to help you, it goes much quicker.

Once you have all the strands of beads loaded, take 3 strands and twist the ends together.  We are going to braid them together.

Loosely braid the 3 strands together, twist ends together when done. 

Repeat with remaining bead strands.

Use one braided strand at a time to wrap around wreath by threading about a 12" piece of wire thru 2 of the beads on one end.

Wrap braided strand around wreath so it is snug and twist the opposite ends of wire together.

It hard to see red on red. This is showing 3 braided strands attached to wreath.

This is the completed wreath from the backside.

close up of back side.

Lay wreath on felt and trace around.

Cut out felt by trimming 1" or more from each side of traced line. (You don't want to see any felt from the sides of your wreath.)

Fold felt circle in half and lay on the back of the wreath.  Apply hot glue to both edges of this half of the felt circle (working quickly before glue cools.) then fold over and press on wreath.  Repeat with other side of felt circle. Now you're done and have a beautiful lasting decoration! Enjoy :)