A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: September 2015

All content on this site is my sole creative property and may not be reproduced. If you would like to feature, pin or otherwise refer to content of mine, thank you! Please clearly link back to 'A Nest for All Seasons' and only use up to two photographs. To purchase content, please e-mail me for rates and restrictions. Posts may contain affiliate links for trusted products. I receive a small percentage of sales when you purchase from these sites. Buttons courtesy of SOURCE

30 September 2015

ROAM ::: Every Day, No Matter What.

Pin It

ROAM -- That is what I have been working for lately.  Every. Day. ROAM.

Read
Outdoors
Art
Music

The Roam Method Read Outdoors Art Music by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons author of Crafting With Nature

For myself and for the kids, I want to make sure we get our daily "nutrients of those 4 things.  It doesn't have to be deep and meaningful.  It can just be fun Broadway music to dance to while we cook dinner.  It can just be walking to the neighborhood park.  It can be reading a newspaper, a book, an article, or the cereal box. Art can be painting or drawing or coloring or #CraftingWithNature!  There are no real rules, but I have found that that stupid little acronym helps me focus on making sure we don't forget those four important things that make life life and not just survival.

READ

The Roam Method Read Outdoors Art Music by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons author of Crafting With Nature

OUTDOORS

The Roam Method Read Outdoors Art Music by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons author of Crafting With Nature

ART

The Roam Method Read Outdoors Art Music by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons author of Crafting With Nature

MUSIC

The Roam Method Read Outdoors Art Music by Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons author of Crafting With Nature

 ROAM


Pin It

25 September 2015

Crafting with Nature ::: Leather

Pin It

While writing my book, Crafting With Nature, I started looking at my crafting supplies with different eyes.  I have always loved natural materials, but spending months and months working with natural ingredients and supplies made me realize that half the joy of crafting is the feel of the tools and materials in hand. Sure, the finished product is a boon, but the slip and tug of natural fibers while crafting, the silky smooth crush of petals or even just the nubby warmth of cotton string in hand is the real joy of crafting with nature.


One of my favorite natural materials is leather or suede. The feel of soft hide is a soothing material to craft with and as I craft, I am grateful for the animal that provided it. The leather I am using is courtesy of the Leather Hide Store, where remnants from upholstery (couches, chairs, pillows, etc.) are sold to crafters like me.  Instead of wasting the cutting room floor pieces, Leather Hide Store is embracing the use of remnants for beautiful, luxurious little crafts. Join me today as I show you a little slouch bag inspired by an old tutorial Onel wrote here at A Nest for All Seasons and I will have another little leather project coming up for you soon! Let's start with this cute little bag though, shall we?



Supplies:

Leather Remnant, small to medium size (Leather Hide Store)
Leather Shears - essential for clean cuts, these 5" shears are pictured below)
Awl (consider this inexpensive kit with 5 awls and overstitch wheel or $5)
Leather Glue optional
Cardboard or Thick Cardstock


Look at that BEAUTIFUL leather!  
You might shy away from crafting with leather because of the tools.  It is true, you need to purchase a few basic tools to get started.  The awl and craft/leather shears are essential, but will run you about $15-20 for both and will last for many, many years if not a lifetime. The waxed thread is optional, but gives a nice strong stitch and rustic look to projects.

Instructions:

before we get started.  The basic outline will be similar, minus the drawstring.

2. Cut out your pieces with sharp leather shears, tracing a circular lid to make life easier on yourself.  You need one long piece, around 8x18 inches (20x45 cm), two leather circles and one leather circle cut from cardboard or several pieces of cardstock glued together. Use regular scissors to cut the cardboard, NOT your new leather shears!!


3. Sandwich the cardboard inside the two leather circles with the outer, smooth leather side showing on both sides.  Glue together with plain old craft glue or Elmer's.

4. Fold over the top edge of the long piece of leather and place a string inside the crease is you want a drawstring. (I omitted this, but see the photo where the string should go below.) Use the awl to pierce the leather and then thread waxed string through the holes. You can use any stitch you want, but I liked this overcast stitch.  A blanket stitch would work nicely too.


5. Trim any leather below your straight sewn line and roll leather into a cylinder. Sew down the seam from top to bottom to secure.

6. Place the round bottom on the cylinder and attach with leather glue or stitching.  I used glue (see Onel's bottom stitching HERE) and it has held up nicely. The top o the slouch bag will of course slouch, while the bottom will keep its circular form thanks to the cardboard.


 Standing up, the leather holds shape quite well, with a cute little slouch to its posture.


I've shown the little bag with pencils and craft supplies, but think how perfect they would be for little gift bags this Christmas that your friends and family can use "after the gift"! Consider enlarging this little bag for a large planter or add in that drawstring for a beautiful backpack!  Leather is so versatile and fits with so many different tastes and design styles. Pick out your favorite remnant HERE at Leather Hide Store and get crafting with nature!

Pin It

 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

21 September 2015

The Art Room ::: Behind the Book

Pin It

This is how THE BOOK began.


...and when I turned in my first draft, it looked more like this:
...and this is just one wall -- imagine nature crafts ALLLLLLL around the entire house :)
Now it looks like this:

Let's start back at the beginning...

When I first knew that the book was going to be a real THING, I sat down with two big posterboards and wrote out the table of contents.  Then I scratched a bunch of stuff out and rearranged things and had a giant rough draft that was life-sized and tangible.  Once I submitted my table of contents to the publisher, it was fairly set in stone.  We made a few adjustments, but the basic outline is still very much the same. The chapters went from that big posterboard onto:

In case you were wondering, I was able to make those perfectly straight lines because I used the handy dandy 
vertical lined wallpaper to measure before issuing it a death sentence.  See?  Even ugly things can be helpful! 

The 14 clipboards to the left are for the kids -- star charts, hanging artwork, working math problems, etc.  The two in the middle held a running schedule of current projects for the book (bottom) and blog (top) and the 14 clipboards on the right were separated by chapter for the book.  (Some chapters were paired up at various times -- there are 19 total chapters).  In the corner of each clipboard is the chapter number and the month that I planned to work on it.  The light green post-it notes had projects that needed to completed for that chapter, the yellow post it was an alert that text was not complete and the dark green post-it was for submitted chapters.  Once the wall started winding down to less and less yellow and more and more dark green, my stress level started easing right along with it.

The Workspace:

To recap, the "front" of the room is devoted to the kid's art and all the cubbies that organize our life.  The left of the room is almost all clipboards.  Straight in front of you when you walk in is this:


Note the "JOY" in the form of pom poms :) (Tutorial HERE)

1. The old crib mattress springs held my table of contents until it was set in stone and up onto the clipboards.  Now it has started to hold finished products along with the other IKEA grids (to the right of frame).

2. There are three dressers and a rolling paper cart from IKEA that fit snuggly along the back wall.  They are divided by color and/or season and filled with decor/props. (Remember my color-coded prop drawers in the old house?  Same idea...new dressers)

3. The big wooden drop leaf table is also IKEA, but we grabbed it off Craiglist for a song.  The burlap runner is a $4.97 Consumer Crafts "fabric" and is far cheaper than the same $20+ burlap table runners you can find elsewhere. Bleach the burlap yourself for the even more pricey bleached burlap runners!

What is looks like under actual work conditions...
4.  The window to the right is one of two that I use as lightboxes.  I use a square white tabletop from IKEA ($1 in the as-is section) to reflect light or serve as a backdrop in these windows.  In spring, I was able to get outside for different setups, but most of the winter shooting happened in this little window.

You can see how I used the tabletop while shooting in a different area of the house:

The pictures in this shoot are from THIS POST if you are curious :)

Future Plans for the Art Room

While we are finishing out our time in Puerto Rico, I must say that the room that I miss the most is this art room.  It is such a privilege to have a space where the kids can get messy, I can spread out my work (and leave it out) and we can do it AT THE SAME TIME.  I think a room like this is more valuable to us than a formal dining room, a family room/den or even a playroom.  As far as updates to this space, there are a few more things I would like to get to before officially calling it "done".

1. I want to "rope" those planked wood floors (an interesting and old technique that I am excited to try here and in the living room as well!) and finish removing the staples behind furniture that I never got to. 

2. Add french doors!!   To the left of the row of dressers (see above) is an eyesore that I have been making sure to crop out of pictures.  There were two doors there and one was busted out when the house was under foreclosure.  It currently has painted plywood over it and a bookcase disguising it.  The remaining door has slightly damaged glass still in it and lets in a bit of light. It is OK for the time being, but the situation is not exactly weather-tight, so we want to fix it before the worst of winter sets in this year.  Also, our favorite picnic-ing tree is right outside that door and I would love to be able to access it from the art room and perhaps set up indoor-outdoor crafting times??

3. I hated the red carpet that was previously in this room (see below) and it was one of the first things we removed.  However, the room needs some softness underfoot with all that hardwood.  For now, I am using IKEA rugs that I had from our previous house, but they aren't really worked visually for me.  I am planning to scour Etsy, local auctions and various rug sellers for vintage, antique or simply old-looking Turkish-type rugs.  The walls are white, the floors are brown, the wainscoting is brown, furniture is whites and browns...so literally ANY fun colors of rug will work!  I am thinking reds or yellows or purples or blues??  Whatever amazing rug (or two) comes across my path will be the next big addition to this space.
The BEFORE shot of the Art Room -- note the red/purple carpet and striped wallpaper!
More to come behind the scenes on the cover shoot, editing process and book publication!
For now, if you are interested in pre-ordering 'Crafting With Nature', you can definitely do that!!  (PLEASE do!)
Pre-orders help boost the book's ranking on Amazon and makes certain that Amazon keeps it stocked.
If you aren't ready to pre-order, remember that ADDING THE BOOK TO YOUR WISHLIST is very helpful as well and FREE!

Pin It

 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

16 September 2015

Craft a Pretty Lavender Rectangle Wreath

Pin It

Is your lavender looking a little spent? You can give it new life by turning the dry stalks into a pretty rectangular leaf base that can be updated season by season. Wreaths are quite a seasonal thing, but holiday-specific wreaths can only get a little bit of use before the next holiday is upon us.  I prefer to have wreaths, particularly in the fall and winter, that can change WITH the seasons and holidays.  Enter the rectangular twig wreath! This is a sweet and simple base wreath that can be easily updated with more holiday-specific accents.  The star above works well for fall and into Christmas, but hanging a cluster of red berries or jingle bells for Christmas, wrapping orange and yellow bittersweet around the edges for fall or even pretty baby's breath for spring would be pretty!

Supplies:


Instructions:

The first task is to heads outdoors to collect some dry branches, twigs or stems from the garland.  For this rectangular wreath, your priority is a STRAIGHT growth habit.  If you are making a round wreath, you can use more "twisty" branches.  I choose lavender because the stems are very consistent in length and straightness.  I also chose lavender because working among that smell is DIVINE.  Also, honey + butter + lavender + homemade scones.  Yes.

Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_4

Start by removing the dry lavender flowers from each stem by pinching them
 and dragging them off the end of the stem.  Save the flowers for another use!!

Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_6
I like to strip them off directly into a plastic bag.  Less mess!

Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_5
As you strip the flowers, line up the branches in a square or rectangle, overlapping the corners.
Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_3
This is like a game of pick-up sticks almost.  You WANT the sticks to cross
 several times for greater strength instead of laying one whole side clump on top of another.

Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_2 
Once you have all the sides with a similar amount of twigs,
start wrapping your string or jute around the corners and knot.
 
Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_1Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea 
Loop the jute around the clusters of sticks to secure them and offer textural interest.

Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea_7
Add a loop of jute for your "add-ons" that hang from the top length of twigs.
Change up the look depending on the holiday -- I love this angel for Christmas!

Lavender Rectangle Wreath for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Angel

Happy Crafting!
Pin It


 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

09 September 2015

Succulents: REAL or FAKE, Can you tell???

Pin It

Succulent Fake and Real Combinations by Amy Renea for Crafts Unleashed

Succulents are still having a "moment" and it is no wonder that they are holding onto their trendiness.  They are quite honestly the easiest plants to grow and they have all the benefits of growing a cactus without all the prickliness.  One of my favorite aspects of succulents?  They are often so *perfect* in design that you can never tell if they are real or fake.  The end result is that you can combine fake AND real succulents with ease, using fakes to fill holes until the real ones fill in or adding little bits of color to see if you want to drop a few more pennies on the real thing.  Think of fake succulents as paint chips testing out combinations.  Today, I am going to show you a few helpful hints for combining real and fake succulents and we are going to start with the combo below:


How to Decorate with Faux Fake Succulents and Real Succulents


HINT #1 -- Do not combine similar succulents.  The one time you can REALLY tell a succulent is fake is when you place it directly next to the same or similar variety.  The two red-tipped succulents above are too similar.  You can tell the succulent on the left has a bit more "light" and transluscense in the leaves.  The red-tipping is also a bit more random and spread down the leaves.  The succulent on the right is clearly fake for two reasons -- the translucency AND that fake stem sticking out the bottom...which leads us to HINT #2: MAKE CONTACT WITH THE SOIL.

Fake Succulents Mixed with Real

HINT #3: Make sure the succulent FITS the planting.  In this case, that fake Aoenium is TOO BIG for this collection of plants.  The real succulents planted next to it are squished and the overhang off the edge doesn't look natural at all.  THAT SAID, this fake Aoenium is BEAUTIFUL and my favorite of the entire Consumer Crafts succulent collection.

How to Decorate with Faux Fake Succulents and Real Succulents

HINT #4 Split REAL and FAKE with another real.  Can you tell which succulents are real vs. fake in the arrangement below?  The red-tipped succulent on the left is THIS ONE from Consumer Crafts, while the two succulents to the right are both real.  Notice there are two red-tipped plants, one fake and one real, and they are split up by a real.  It keeps peeps guessing this way!

Succulent Fake and Real Combinations by Amy Renea for Crafts Unleashed 3 


THE TEST

Remember that hole I tried to fill with the Aoenium?
Well, it is filled now, but with THIS faux agave.  See it?

Succulent Fake and Real Combinations by Amy Renea for Crafts Unleashed No Labels

Before you look at the next picture, take a deeper look and see if you can tell in the photo above which succulent is REAL and which is FAKE. 

 Scroll down and check your answers in the photo below:





















Succulent Fake and Real Combinations by Amy Renea for Crafts Unleashed 2

Ready to get started with succulents?  

Check out the FULL COLLECTION at Consumer Crafts and get excited about this easy-to-grow plant group!

Pin It

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------