Writing my advent wreath posts is the sole reason this blog exists. Yes, pretty sure it is true. This year I want to share a Pine Needle Wreath with you. Not a regular pine wreath but one made of needles.
You may wonder what the difference is? Oh there is one! Mainly time. But lets start from the beginning!
Remember my post about the Pine Needle Star? Ever since than I had the idea in my mind that those needles are meant for more. I knew I wanted to do something with them when they were still green and fresh and looked vibrant. Then I came across this idea on Pinterest. I was thinking about doing that but of course I didn’t get around.
Some things need time. So I thought about it a bit more. And then it hit me – somewhere, sometime. Use the single needles and glue them to a wreath form.
OK, so tutorial this year is pretty simple and all you need is:
♥ wreath form, preferably wrapped green
♥ glue gun
♥ pine needles, I used black pine needles but you could use other that are bit longer
♥ time, lots of time and a bit more time oh and don’t forget patience
1. I started out wrapping my wreath form with a white paper because I lacked fabric.
If I could redo it I would use a dark green fabric. As the wreath will be see through at certain places depending on your viewing angle it really doesn’t look too great. I had to glue in more decorations than I originally intended to due to that.
2. Start glueing pine needles in little batches to the form. Layering them so that you cover the entire wreath form.
The smaller your wreath form the shorter your needles should be. Otherwise the wreath looks rather messy.
3. Once you are done you can seal the needles from loosing color with simple hairspray.
And that is about all you need to do. Unfortunately it does take forever. This advent wreath is by far the most work intense one I have done in the last 15 years. I think I worked a solid 8 hours on it. However I love the look of it and think it was worth all the time. This idea was in my head for so long it just need to be executed.
Now let me know, would you attempt it or is it just too much effort?
I mentioned that I attended the blogst conference last weekend. One fun thing about this conference is that during coffee breaks you not only drink coffee but can craft. Because those sponsors are cool. They don’t just set up a booth no they set up crafting tables for the attendees to get creative. One of the sponsors was PonyHütchen a natural cosmetics shop from Berlin. And we were able to make our own vegan bath bombs.
It was so very simple and most all ingredients are either already in your house or are available in any grocery or drugstore. Now that does sound good right. Not only because the product really is natural if you can actually (almost) eat it. So I asked Lucie (head of marketing & Berlin store fairy) if I can share this simple DIY with you here. She said yes!
So lets get started (recipe makes two vegan bath bombs):
♥ 100 g baking soda (Natron)
♥ 50 g citric acid (Zitronensäure)
♥ 35 g corn starch (Maisstärke)
♥ 15 ml almond oil (Mandelöl)
♥ essential oils, food colors, nonpareils – optional
Now it is really simple. You have to mix well. And by well I mean well. If it is not really mixed the bomb might break when drying up. So take you sweet time, let your mind wonder and start relaxing.
Then press the mixture into a form. We had some half balls but I guess you could easily use silicone mutton of praline forms. However it needs to be packed really good. Otherwise it will all crumble.
Now it needs to dry over night. And ready to go. Wrap them up, gift or just enjoy a bath yourself.
This is a wonderful gift idea. It could also be a cool idea for a girlfriends night. Oh the possibilities.
I’ve heard from PonyHütchen before the event but I was happy to have gotten a better idea what they are doing. I have to admit I am usually not the biggest fan of natural cosmetics. Not because I think it is not good valid cosmetics more so because of the fanatics behind it. Fortunately this was not the case it was just lots of love, enthusiasm and joy. I loved the displays they put up in the bathrooms and the packaging is so cute too. It is nice to see such a young fun brand.
After I tried their hand cream at the event – it smells amazing and makes the smoothes hands, really no joking here – I was really happy to find a sample of the deodorant cream in the goodie bag. I will give this a good try during my business trips as I like to travel with the smallest amount of weight and it comes in a tiny cute tin. I am excited how it works.
Anyhow, I just wanted to share this discovery from my weekend with you. If you are into vegan handmade cosmetics this could definitely be something for you as they do have some decorative things too. And they own an online shop for everyone not in Berlin. I am not sure about worldwide shipping though.
Now I am wondering, have you ever tried making cosmetics yourself? If I got you hooked my other homemade cosmetic recipes might interest you too.
In this post I mentioned my inability of a perfectly wrapped present. That doesn’t mean I do not have the necessary equipment to do so. Who else is collecting wrapping paper like there is no tomorrow? But more often than not wrapping paper supplies are just ugly and sturdy to store. This bothered me for years until I came up with this “blend in wrapping paper storage” idea.
Maybe you have the same problem and maybe you have some unused space behind a door that was just waiting to get some purpose. Well here might be your solution.
I try to explain it to my best ability. In the end though it depends on your available space and the things you want to store. So see it as a guideline rather then a real tutorial. But for better understanding I made this measurement chart and if you want you can download it here.
What you need:
❤︎ sturdy fabric in your wall color depending on your measurements
❤︎ 2 eyelets
This project contains of three fabric pieces: part I = basic piece, part II = paper roll bags, part III = ribbon bags
Measure your space.
I went with a width of 70cm and a hight of 110cm holding 10+ paper rolls and lots of ribbons.
The cover up is basically just a flap of fabric 5 cm bit longer so it covers the bulk. Which I added to my actually size.
So my basic piece is 70 x 225 cm.
I added about 2,5cm seam allowance to all my edges. Depending on your fabric you could double your seams on the edge where the eyelets will go so they won’t rib once weight is added.
For piece II: I went with a total of 150cm. This adds up as I had 10 smaller bags (each 10 cm) and two bigger ones in the middle (each 25cm)
For piece III: I went with 100 cm and a height of 18 cm but you can be flexible here depending on what you will want to store. Just make sure the pockets down’t spill over.
Sewing together is actually pretty easy. it only gets a bit tricky when you have to adjust part II to part I. I went with adding the outer edges first. Then I played out the bottom one and pinned it the creases in place. I put the facing each other so they sing open when the role ist stuck inside.
10. In the end you just hammer in the eyelet. This could be a tough job depending on your fabric and you definitely should have a sturdy underground. I might or might not have damaged the hard wood floors in the process.
Then you are good to hang it and fill it with all your goodies and it will blend right in with your wall when not being needed.
What do you think? Would you like it? How do you store your gift wrapping papers?
The crazy wreath making time of the year. I was going to show you a different one from what you see right now. The one I planned (for two years), made and then I realized I can’t show you because my mom reads along… So I had to come up with another idea.
Looking around in my chaos that is my craft lab the idea of a cozy advent wreath hit me. Well maybe it was because I am all crazy about my french knitting lately. So why not combine the two and make a nice simple french knitted advent wreath, right?
Let’s make this french knitted advent wreath:
1. You need: a wreath form, glue (gun), wool and a french knitting tool.
2. First you have to make your yearn thread (or as I call them sausage). I used a ball of 50 meter yarn for a xx cm wreath form.
3. Decide your layout. You could wrap it around the form or you could layer it starting in the middle. I decided on the latter.
4. Next one is simple. Glue to the form. You can pull the thread a bit if you need. I did that towards the end because I thought it might not be enough. In the end I was left with a bit extra to make the little bow.
5. Time for decoration and candle attaching. You need four nails, candles and deco material to your liking.
6. I clipped of the nail heads with pliers. Then I heated the nail over a candle flame and drove them into the candle. I learned that the candle will not break as easily if you heat the nail. Due to the wick it is often tough to place it directly in the center. If you manage that would be preferable so that the candle will be straight on your wreath. Otherwise it could be a bit tilted.
Now comes the fun part of decorating your wreath. I already liked the clean look of the braided style of the thread so I just added a few sparkles by glueing little bells onto the wreath. (As you can see I didn’t use the lavender ribbon I originally intended.)
As this wreath is made of wool and tall candles it’s really nothing I want to leave unattended in a room. So maybe I would add some metal candle holder in a future project.
Now I am curious. Have you made your advent wreath already? What does it look like? Please leave a link if it is on your blog/Instagram. I always love looking at other creations.
I have a confession to make: I am not big into Easter decorations at all. Heck I don’t even own Easter decorations. Usually it’s just a pot of flowers and that’s about it.
I grew up with a one simple decoration. Every year we would cut some birch twigs and put them in a huge vase. On Saturday before Easter we would then hang easter eggs to decorate. And as I grew up in a area in Germany where there is a minority called Sorbs living, most of our eggs where made in their traditional way – at least that’s how I remember.
Since last year I was having the urge to give this craft another try. I remember we did it as kids but the eggs probably looked horrible. Maybe I can find some on this year’s Easter bouquet.
The sorbs have four different techniques for decorating their easter eggs but I only know how to do the wax batik technique. Wax is applied with special quills to the eggs shell and in various usually very detailed and complicated patterns. Then it is dyed. Different colors can be achieved by dying in many different steps and in-between applying more wax.
To make Sorbian Easter Eggs with the wax batik technique a bit of preparation required though.
I recommend doing this technique on blown out eggs. It is time consuming and it would be sad to have them broken on Easter morning. However it’s up to you but make sure to boil them before starting to craft. Usually the eggs have stamps on them that need to go. With a bit of soap and a brush or sponge you usually get it off. You could also use nail polish remover but you really need to wash the eggs carefully afterwards otherwise the dye will not stick.
Feathers are your drawing or better stamping tool for this craft. It’s important to get feather from the wings and goose feathers* are recommended. Then you cut of most of the thin hairlike thingies left and right of the bone of the feather until you have only the tip left. (Sorry not sure how that is called in English but you hopefully know what I mean.) Now you cut your shape. (I just read that a cutter is better suited than scissors… Well next time…) For basic patterns you would need a triangle, a drop, diamond and a arrow shape. The dots are made with the heads of a pin.
In the picture below you can see what kind of (traditional) shapes can be made with those basic tools:
Once you have the quills you need the wax. It is important to use a mixture of regular candle wax and bees wax. The bees wax makes it more flexible to apply and also easier to get off as it melts faster. You also need a tinplate spoon. I used mine out of New Years Eve lead-pouring kit. Then set up you station by curving the spoon in a 90° angle and pushing it into a flower pot. Place a tea light underneath and add a bit of wax to the spoon. Now you are ready to go.
How to do Sorbian Easter Eggs.
Your first egg will probably look horrible. Its ok because it’s to learn how the quill works. It is important to work fast and with a steady hand. Not always easy.
Put your quill to the wax and make sure its fully soaked (first time) or fully melted (after already using it). You can see tiny little bubbles.
Now press the quill to the shell and remove immediately. I found it to be practical to remove the tip by slightly moving it towards your body (always making sure you don’t mess up the pattern). If you let the quill rest too long the wax will melt and then you have to jerk the quill away and usually this results in tiny wax drops all over the egg shell.
When you are done with your pattern you can dye your egg. Use only cold dye otherwise the wax will melt. If you are planning to do a two colored egg you only need to have it in the dye a very short time. Otherwise the difference is hard to see.
The following picture shows the steps for a simple wax batik egg with only one dyeing:
1. your cleaned egg // 2. wax is applied // 3. after dyeing // 4. after wax is removed
And here you can see the steps for a two colored egg.
1. your cleaned egg // 2. first coat of wax applied // 3. after first dyeing // 4. second coat of wax applied on dyed surface // 5. after second dyeing // 6. after wax is removed
You get the idea. You can go with multiple dyeing rounds when your pattern requires it. My brain however can only think ahead two rounds.
4. Once you are done with your egg you can start to remove the wax. We used to do it over an gas flame but this time we put the eggs in the oven. Preheat oven to 50°C/120°F, put paper towels on your grate or baking pan and add eggs for about 3 minutes. Wipe of melted wax with an old rag. Tada and you just made your first Sorbian Easter Egg.
How to do patterns.
This is the hard part, something coming with practice I guess. However I found it useful to divide up your egg by either going in a circle from top to bottom or by making a line at the thickest part of the egg. This gives some direction to help with the symmetry. And symmetry is key when it comes to Sorbian eggs. For more complicated patterns I thought it was easier starting from the middle and working your way out of the pattern. I saw online that some people predraw the patterns with a pencil. I don’t understand how this works as you can’t get it of once the wax is covering it. Maybe after dying but that requires the dye covers the rest of the predrawing. Well you figure it out and let me know.