Friday, April 25, 2014

Creating Rustic Garden Seed Packets

I recently brought home a full box of orange kraft coin envelopes from the thrift store. While I didn’t have any immediate need for these, since I don’t sell jewelry supplies or tiny parts in my Etsy shop, I have a tendency to buy large lots of small items that I can use as crafting supplies.

I really like the size of these size 3’s, measuring 2-1/2” x 4-1/4”, but wasn’t keen on their plain and new condition.

Not too long after bringing them home, I completed painting my mercantile seed tray. As I stared at the tray, I felt it would look more authentic if it had a row of seed packets inside it. So I got to work.

Plain Jane new coin envelopes are now...

Rustic distressed seed packet envelopes!

Perfect for display in a rustic kitchen, craft room, or garden shed. 

I stamped the backs with “Quality Seeds” and the company date of “1862”, as though they were manufactured with the tray.

Since I can’t seem to stop experimenting with my homemade wood ebonizing mixture of rusty vinegar, I used it on the envelopes too! Paper comes from wood, after all. I hand-dipped each envelope in the mixture, then slipped them over bamboo skewers, propped in a glass, to drip-dry. ( I even dipped the sisal twine in the mixture too, so it would look aged with the envelopes.) Once dry, I spattered the envelopes on both sides, using a toothbrush dipped in the rusty vinegar, then slipped them back on the skewers to dry again. (The aging technique removed most of the gummed adhesive on the flap, but that seemed more authentic for an old envelope anyway. Any need to seal them closed could be easily remedied with a glue stick or cute old-fashioned Washi tape.) 

I left the envelope fronts blank for writing seed identification info, or to stamp an image. I think these would make charming packages for sharing garden seeds with friends, or as gift tag envelope for a garden-themed gift basket. I’d use the Washi if I was putting seeds in it. For an enclosure card, I’d just use a hole punch, tie the hole with twine, and secure it to a basket or package.

I listed a few small bundles in my Etsy shop, and if I sell them, I may just feel compelled to make more……

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Wire, Moss, & Glass Globe Vases

Okay, so you’ve seen my one-track mind lately, creating one project after another using chicken wire.

While I do have other ideas yet to take form, this is probably the last chicken wire treasure I’ll post for now, so I can get caught up on some chalk paint projects waiting in the wings.

So without further ado……

Globe-shaped chicken wire and moss vase!

And a little bling added to each.

Along with the great textures and colors, the added bonus is the moss can be used for something else, because it’s not glued to the vase, only held in place by the chicken wire.

I started with small round glass vases, easily attainable from Goodwill or the craft store.

Cut and then hot-glue a circle of cork to fit the bottom surface of vase. You’ll find out why later.

Cut a strip of chicken wire long enough to go completely around the vase, and wide enough to extend about a ½” above and below the vase.

Fold over or curl all the cut ends of top and bottom as I did with the nests and candelabra cups.

Lay the piece flat, then press down a layer of moss over the whole thing.

This next step is a personal preference. I joined the 2 short ends with wire into a tube, then I slid the glass vase into the tube. You can also wrap the chicken wire with the moss around the vase, then join and wire the 2 ends while holding it all together.

Once you've positioned the vase inside the moss & wire, start squeezing together the hexes closest to the top and bottom openings, which will mold the open ends close to the vase.

Now the reason for the cork circle. When I originally made this without the cork, the chicken wire and moss slipped around a bit, and when they were the only thing under the bottom of the glass vase, it wasn’t as stable as I wanted. Molding the wire tightly up against the cork will keep it from slipping all the way under the glass, and the cork offers stability for the vase.*

Once you have the chicken wire molded tightly in place, you can tuck in pieces of moss where any glass is showing.

And you know me. I always have to add something unexpected to my creations, and what better than some vintage bling! The wire and moss are perfectly accommodating for securing a brooch or buttons. I just pinned the brooch right to the chicken wire on the chartreuse moss. On the Spanish moss, I created a brooch using a rhinestone button. I cut a star shape out of cardstock, poked a hole in the middle for the button shank to go through, then covered it with German glass glitter. I slid a bobby pin through the button shank, then tucked the bobby pin into the moss and wire. Voila. Vase jewelry! But bling or no bling, these are lovely either way.

Now add some water to your vase, and fill it with flowers! And because you're using preserved moss that won't dry up or shrivel, you can use these vases over and over, and for every season! This project is just another reason why I pledge my undying love for the versatility of chicken wire and moss…..:)

*The reason I ultimately chose a globe-shaped vase is because it holds enough water to keep the flowers happy. (I even experimented with glass votive cups for smaller moss vases, but after stuffing them with flower stems, the amount of water in them was enough to keep the flowers happy for about 5 seconds.) The shape doesn’t have to be globular though, because ultimately you are still molding the chicken wire into a globe shape. You would just need to tuck in more moss to fill in the space between the vessel and the chicken wire. If the vessel has a wide mouth like a jar, you might wish to extend the chicken wire all the way over the mouth to continue the globe shape, which would also create an instant flower “frog” to hold the stems up. 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Candelabras, Chicken Wire, & Easter Eggs

In the last post, I showed you how I created moss nests while playing with chicken wire. Since Spring and Summer inspire all things garden with me, I thought I’d show you what those nests inspired me to do next!

I scored these great candelabras after Christmas and wanted to do something unique with them. I came up with a fun, yet elegant twist to the chicken wire nest with smaller versions that would fit like a candle would.

Ta Da! Cool, no?

Pretty easy too! Using the same concept as the nests, only this time I didn’t wire together the bottom of each wire “nest”. Instead, I cut a piece of wine cork, bent all the wire ends to lay flat around the cork, then wrapped them tightly to the cork using a little floral tape. That’s it! The tape is sticky enough to hold the wire nest cups snugly in the candle holders.

I added the same eggs I made for the reindeer moss nest, but this time I wanted to try a more monochromatic look. I tried using Spanish moss, and although it would look fine, I was shooting for something more delicate and elegant. So I used some sisal grass I found at the dollar store, ebonized it to look more silvery, and Voila, it was exactly what I wanted.

Once the filler and eggs were situated, I molded the tops of the wire nests to look more round and bulbous, but the shape is totally up to you.

After achieving that look, I still couldn’t resist my beloved chartreuse reindeer moss, so I also tried it that way too to offer a more naturally elegant look. It’s striking too!

Not terribly shocking, my next post will involve chicken wire again, but with flowers and vases………

TTFN, Maria

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