Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handcrafted Christmas: Seashell Ornament

This ornament was a snap to make. I made it for my step-sister who grew up on an island in Florida. I think it looks pretty and is a nice reminder of a special place. This would also be a nice ornament to commemorate a beach vacation.

-glass ornament ($3.99/4, not on sale at JoAnns)
-two strands of souvenir seashell necklaces

Take the lid off the ornament, insert the seashell strands. Replace lid, hang a ribbon on top.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fall Leaves Kirigami

When I saw the beautiful fall leaves kirigami at Zakka Life I had to give it a try. There are four templates available for download and easy instructions to follow. Although I had never heard of kirigami before, it was very similar to making paper snowflake decorations.

For the project I used 12x12 scrapbooking paper that I cut down to the suggested size. I enjoyed the project, and had I found it earlier in the fall, I would have enjoyed making enough of them to decorate our windows or string a garland. Its a project I might return to next year. It definitely helps to have a sharp but small pair of paper scissors on hand for cutting the angles of the leaves.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Send Plant Cuttings by Mail

My mother has a very green thumb. Each year she takes cuttings from one of her wandering jew plants and plants them in the front garden. By the end of the summer, they have gone gangbusters.

Since my mom lives near Chicago, any plants left out after the first frost die off. My mom is always able to grow enough plants indoors to start over outside in the spring, but when possible we like to make cuttings to share with others.

My mother-in-law in New York had been on the hunt for this variety of plant for several months without success. So I decided to send her some cuttings in the mail to transplant.

First, I took the garden clippers and cut some clippings. I wanted to make them reasonably long (sometimes below the first set of leaves) but not too long to fit into a small USPS Priority Mail box.

Then I soaked some paper towels in water and wrapped a soaking wet paper towel around each stem. I then put each stem + paper towel combo in a small plastic baggie (not a ziplock, because I figured they'd need some oxygen).

I then packed them up and shipped them off to upstate New York! I made sure to give each of the ladies at the post office a clipping as well.

They arrived a few days later generally no worse for wear. My mother-in-law repotted and watered them and they have held up nicely.

A few caveats: some states, like California, may have rules against importing cuttings. Also, I sent this during fall when the weather wasn't too hot in any of the states it traveled through, and luckily none of the states had freezing temperatures, but take the weather into consideration before you put plants in the mail.

Photo credit: Final photo courtesy of Margo Downes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Patch Display Idea--Hat Decoration

I love collecting decorative patches. They're one of my favorite items to buy as a souvenir when traveling because they are colorful, inexpensive, and don't take up much room in a suitcase. The hardest part for me is deciding how to display my patches.

One of the most common ways to display patches is by affixing them to items such as hats or backpacks. My stepfather had a very old patch with the name of his favorite hangout on it. It originally was on a black hat but the hat wore out a long time ago. When he visited me in the spring, he got a new black hat, and we transferred the patch using fabric glue.

Unfortunately, after about 6 months, the patch started falling off of the hat.

This time I took black embroidery thread and an embroidery needle and sewed the patch to the hat. While you can still see some of the embroidery thread, I think it blends pretty well, and it will be much more secure than it was before.

What is your favorite way to display patches?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Update and Introducing Allergic Gourmet

Its been very quiet here at the Devil's Workshop over the last year. I've had a number of life changes--including getting married, relocating across country, searching for work in a new location, and others. One of the major changes was being diagnosed with a number of food allergies. This information has been fantastic because I am no longer sick on a daily basis. It has been difficult, however, to transition from a vegetarian diet to one that is free of all dairy, gluten/wheat, soy, legumes, and most nuts. I've started recording my allergy-safe recipes in a new blog, The Allergic Gourmet, hopeful that they will be helpful to others in similar situations.

Meanwhile, I hope to get back to updating Devil's Workshop soon with a refocused emphasis on non-food related topics including crafting and gardening. I've got some fantastic posts in the works. I hope to see you at The Allergic Gourmet and look forward to our continued conversations here!