Once upon a time I made a tiny aside, like a parenthesis within a sentence within a paragraph within a post, about how I tested a Pin I found that said that Febreze kills ants. Ever since then, almost daily, people do a search for “does febreze kill ants” and they end up on that post. In the post, I said it didn’t work. But, I used the aerosol air freshener Febreze when I tried it and I always thought I should try it again with the original squeeze trigger fabric freshener. And that is just what I did.
This is what I found out. Febreze fabric freshener DOES, in fact, kill ants. However, I had to squeeze 7-9 squirts to kill an ant. Probably not the most cost effective way to kill an ant. Also, the ant did not die an easy death. It got very twitchy and off kilter and I truly felt guilty about causing the thing such a horrible death.
Which leads me to two conclusions. If Febreze can make the death of an ant look like it has been hit with nerve gas, what is it doing to humans? Probably nothing. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe. But, still, it made me think. And second, unless you have a major infestation, isn’t it easier and more humane to use the far more effective method of stomping the poor thing with your foot?
Have I said lately how much I love making stuff? I love taking a random pile of stuff and turning it into something that didn’t exist until I made it. Pretty cool. Today I made wind chimes out of tiny clay pots. And of course, they are my new favorite thing ever.
Cute, right? You can make wind chimes, too!
5 Mini Clay Pots – about .50 a piece at Michaels
Blue (or other saturated color) Acrylic Paint – about $4
White Acrylic Paint – about $4
Small paint brush
Large bead or crystal
Step 1 – Paint your pots. Don’t feel bad if you thought you would have to buy five different blue paints in order to make ombre paints. I totally did too. Then I remembered, kindergarten art! You can mix colors together! And all you need to make a bunch of different blues is one blue and some white. I would recommend creating each shade of blue separately. The first pot in your wind chime will be the fully saturated color you chose, no white added. For the second pot. Squirt out some blue and add a few drops of white and mix together until you have a less saturated blue than the previous. And so on. I chose to start with a fresh spot of blue each time because I wanted to be able to dip back in to the paint if I needed to do touch ups. The other option is to use one large amount of blue paint and just keep adding white to it as you go. If you do that, you can’t really go back from the last and lightest pot and touch up the third pot that is a bit darker. The acrylic paint does give nice coverage in one coat. PS – A pizza box makes a great mixing surface. Just don’t use the greasy side.
2. Once your pots are painted, let them dry OVERNIGHT!
3. When the pots are dry, you are ready to start stringing them up. I used twine to string my pots together. Basically, I stuck the twine into the hole of the darkest pot first and tied a knot at the top that would serve as the hanger. Then, I made a chunky knot that would secure the pot to it’s spot on the twine. The knot needs to be big enough to not fit through the hole in the pot. Or your pot will slip down the twine and you will be sad. Just below the knot, you’re going to tie on a washer. You want to place the washer close enough to the knot so that you can’t see it when it is hanging, but not so close that it doesn’t have room to bang around when the wind blows. This part takes some trial and error, but the twine is pretty forgiving and you can sort of force it up and down a little even after you’ve made the knots. Or you can always untie the knots. I found myself doing both of those things as I made my way down the twine with each pot. It takes a little patience to get things evenly spaced. I made sure to eyeball the placement as I went by holding up the wind chimes by the hanger and seeing if my placement was off. You could probably get all mathy and use some type of ruler or protractor, but you know I’m more of an eyeball-er.
4. Repeat the knotting and attaching the washers for each pot and then tie your large bead or crystal to the end. This last piece, either bead or crystal, should be a little heavy so that the wind will catch it and give the chimes a shake!
And that is it! Four steps, cheap pretty wind chimes!
There are three reasons I am posting for a second time about marbled clay:
1. Mother’s Day
2. Teacher Appreciation Week
3. Sparkly Sculpey Clay
Dear Sculpey Clay makers, thank you for making the sparkly sculpey clay. My life is complete.
There might be some mothers and teachers in my life who will be gifted with sparkly marble clay trinket dishes. Lucky ladies.
If you missed the first post, don’t fret, it’s right HERE with full instructions on how to make marbled clay dishes.
This time, in addition to the dishes, I made some pendants, too.
The pendants came from left over clay from the dishes. I mostly just formed them with my fingers and then poked a hole with a wooden skewer at the top for the necklace. I used embroidery floss because it’s what I had, but you could get fancy with some real jewelry stuff. If you’re into that.
Early spring in New England is not the gorgeous, green, lush, blooming landscape that I imagine other warm climes enjoy. It’s muddy and brown and rainy and there is even dirty snow still left on the ground. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t adorn your table with pretty, delicate blooms.
You literally need three things to make these. Tissue paper, scissors and either a twist tie or a pipe cleaner.
Step 1: Fold your piece of tissue paper in half, horizontally. Cut along the fold.
Step 2: Set one piece of the tissue paper that you just cut in half aside. Fold the remaining piece in half again and cut along the fold.
Step 3: Can you guess step 3? If you said fold the two halves of tissue paper in half and then cut at the folds, give yourself a prize!
Step 4: You know have 4 approximately equal size pieces of tissue paper. Stack those on top of each other.
Step 5: Accordion fold the stack of four pieces of tissue paper.
Step 6: Wrap your twist tie or pipe cleaner around the center of the accordion folded tissue paper.
Step 7: Use your scissors to round the edges of the folder paper.
Step 8: This is the hard part. Well, it’s not really hard, it just takes patience and gentleness, which at times can be hard. Am I right? You are going to gently and slowly pull apart the four pieces of tissue paper. They aren’t going to want to cooperate with you, they like being folded together. So you have to gently coax them apart. DON’T RIP THEM! Just kidding, it’s not that big of a deal if you get a little rip. Real flowers have lots of flaws. This is sort of where art meets craft. You’ve created the flower, now you have to primp it until you’re happy with how it looks. There really aren’t any instructions for this. I sort of smoothed things out and a bit and pushed some petals together and pulled others apart. Just take your time and be gentle.
Felt – a color of your choosing and then something that would work for the inside part of flower, like yellow
The first thing you have to do to make these lovely flowers is to cut up the felt. Yes, you have to use a ruler. No, it’s not my favorite part either. I’ll break it down as best I can. With the felt horizontal, you will cut three strips that are 1.5 inches wide, then two strips that are 1.25 inches wide and one strip that is 1 inch wide. Not so bad, right? Next you’re going to cut each strip into squares. Measure the 1.5 inch strips into 1.5 inch segments, the 1.25 inch strips into 1.25 inch segments and the 1 inch strip into 1 inch segments. Get it? Just sort of? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be exactly right as long as you end up with three different size squares.
2. Now you’re going to cut out a circle. I used a spaghetti sauce bottom to trace out a circle and my circle was about 3 inches in diameter.
3. Up next are the petals. I read tutorials on how to do this and was advised that using a hot glue gun would result in burnt fingertips. And it does. But I did it anyway because I am not patient. So, if you choose to use a glue gun, as I did, be prepared for a few hurt fingertips. My other piece of advice with the glue gun is a little goes a long way. Too much glue will look messy. Trust me on that. To make the petals you are going to take your squares and cut them into little pentagons, or some shape close to that.
Once you’ve cut out the pentagon, place some glue in the bottom middle and then fold the two bottom sides into the glue. It will look petal-like when you are done. Repeat this about 4 million times. Just kidding. But it will feel like that before you are done with all of the petals.
3. Now the fun part! Assemble the flowers! You’re going to attach the largest petals to the outside rim of the circle that you cut out. Place it so that where the petal starts to open is at the edge of the circle.
Attach them all the way around with the glue gun keeping them as close together as possible. Once the outer rim is complete, use the second largest petals for the middle and then the smallest petals for the inner part.
4. The last part is to make the inner yellow part of the flower. I basically just cut a really skinny strip of yellow felt. It was as thin as I could cut, sort of a little thicker than embroidery floss. I took that and rolled into a little ring and glued it in the middle.
And voila! It’s done. I have plans for these pretty little flowers. Stay tuned!
The subtitle to this post is “My Cutest Fail”. I’ve been wanting for a long time to try weaving. I finally bit the bullet and bought a loom.
I found the pattern for this adorable clutch in Joann’s project listing, here, and I thought it would be fun to make.
It was fun, in an extremely frustrating way. I’ve never woven anything before. Okay, maybe a place mat out of construction paper at some point, but nothing since kindergarten. This was probably not the best project to start with. I ripped it out more than once and started over. There are countless strands of thread to fight with. I forgot the basic concept of “over under, then under over on the next row” several times. SEVERAL! I wish I had started with something simpler for practice and then given this a go because in the end, while it’s sort of cute, it’s obviously not as perfect as the finished product from Joann’s website. I used a lot of very pretty thread that got so tangled it is basically destroyed. I plan to give this to my precious daughter who will never know the difference. (Just kidding, she would totally know the difference, plus she reads this, so I’m not fooling anyone).
I do have some tips for you that you might find helpful.
1. Never weave in the dark. You need really good light to manage all of that up and under.
2. Over under for one row, under over for the next! I should have paid someone to taser me every time I messed that up.
3. Don’t ever let the thread fall off the hook!
4. Watch a youtube video on weaving. Seriously. I worked from the instructions from Joann’s and the instructions from my loom kit and they were lacking (full review of the loom kit to come! I need to work with it more).
5. Be prepared that a project like this will take several hours over several days. Or maybe that’s just me. A crafty person could probably whip this out in 45 minutes.
I did enjoy the meditative quality of the repetitive work. At least until I made a mistake and then I wasn’t feeling so zen. And I really do love the overall look of the bag. The colors are great. I like pattern and the texture. I’m not really sure how practical a woven bag is, but I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more weaving projects and I will share them, success or fail.
PS – It just dawned on me, if you are a weaver, please pass on tips or a great tutorial! I’m mostly wondering how on earth you get the ends neat. Mine are a mess, obviously.
You may have heard that we’ve had a touch of weather in Massachusetts. I will say this. My front yard looks like a landscape from another planet. We are surrounded by 6, 8, 12 foot mountains of snow. Everywhere. It’s excellent weather for sitting in the house and doing NOTHING. Until you get so bored of nothing that you have to do something. I decided my something would be experimenting with the watercolor paints I got from Michael’s a while ago.
Let me preface this by saying that I have not had an actual art class since high school and even then I didn’t have any real talent or skill. What I’m trying to tell you is that even if you think you stink at art, you can still have fun messing around with watercolors. And probably other kinds of paints that I haven’t tried yet.
Here’s a sample of what I made. Yes, I left out the giant stack of stuff that came out REALLY bad. They might be a fun blooper post some day, though. There’s are my favorites.
I can’t lie. I love this one. It was super fun and easy to make and it’s colorful and I feel like I could slap it in a black frame with a mat and no one would know a crappy not-artist made it.
You may know by now that I am obsessed with birds in decor. Not birds in real life so much, but on a pillow, a plate or a curtain and I’m totally buying it. This little guys nose appears to be coming directly out of his eye, but he doesn’t seem to be worried about it, so neither am I.
One of my favorite quotes from a book that I read whose name I cannot remember. It’s in this post, though. (Yes, I’m that lazy and it’s also already after midnight). Lettering with watercolors was difficult, but I find lettering with a pen difficult, so, I’m thinking with some more practice this could be better.
I’m obsessed with this one and I know I will find myself making it over and over again until I get it just right. This was so much fun to make.
Four more birdies for you. I made these guys all in one sitting and I think it’s so funny how not one of them looks like the other. Obviously the colors are different, but all four body shapes are fairly different. Especially that little purple dude. Sorry, buddy. One thing they all have in common: bad feet.
This one couldn’t be simpler, but I really, really like it a lot. It might be in a two way tie for first with the 3D stained glass looking boxes.
Pretty little abstract, floraly number. For your viewing pleasure.
I can’t decide if I like this little peacock or not, but I do absolutely adore his comb over. I don’t know how that happened. I just thought he needed a little something on his head and that’s what happened. Maybe it was because I’ve been watching Better Call Saul and he has a comb over that is pretty fantastic. Let’s call this guy Saul the Peacock.
I wasn’t going to post this because it was so crazy easy, but then I took some pictures and I just adore how it came out, so I decided to do a quickie tutorial.
Embroidery Floss – I used three different colors and 1-2 skeins (? is that what that’s called? the little packet thingies the embroidery floss comes in?) And mine was ombre floss, not solid. You can choose whatever suits your fancy.
Skewer – Like you use to make a kabob (or you can look in your yard for a stick. Which I totally would have done if we didn’t have literally four feet of snow outside).
Wood beads – Coordinated to your chosen colors
1. Decide how long you want your embroidery floss to be. Cut a piece that is double that in size and then fold it in half and tie it with a loop knot around the skewer.
2. Repeat step 1 like a million times with each color of embroidery floss. Not really a million, but it will feel like a million.
3. String some beads randomly on your embroidery floss and secure with a knot.
4. Trim the bottom of the floss into a shape you enjoy. I like triangle. You might like straight across. Someone else might go for willy nilly lengths. It’s totally up to you.
4. Use another piece of embroidery floss as a hanger.
Done, son. You can google loop knot, by the way. I don’t have the kind of brain that can explain to you how to do that.