Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer dreams and faery wings - make magic from your own backyard

A couple weeks ago I was house-sitting and since I was only there for four days I didn't pack too much to take with me and that included craft supplies. Wandering around the mossy trees and dense forest paths I started scooping up bits and goodies that I could use to create. A whole tin bucket full of lush moss, flower petals and maple tree samaras (helicopters is what I usually call them) were my finds of the week.

I've had Halloween on the brain ever since Vanessa mentioned her blog party date at A Fanciful Twist and I got to thinking about bottles filled with potion ingredients. Rat tails, bat wings and eye of newt...that sort of thing...except I don't like that gross aspect and my helicopters looked more like faery wings to me.

I pulled them apart initially, but cleaned up the edge with scissors. Then I mixed some metallic green craft paint with a wee bit of water (for a little transparency).

Placing them over some wax paper (to protect the table) I brushed the paint on and let dry, then did the other side.

It's that simple! Kids can totally handle this so if you want to spend a magical afternoon making faery wings, by all means go for it!
Once dry and bottled in a an empty spice jar my faery wings look like something you might find in a much less gross and creepy version of the apothecary serving up ingredients for a witch's brew.

Don't they look just like a wing?

And if my printer wasn't still out of ink, I would label them with this

You are welcome to use it for your own bottles - just right click and save. Some resizing may be in order.

To go along with the faery wings try out my last posted project and you've got yourself some faery eggs!

Faery eggs? You read correct! Last Monday was my birthday and I was given a copy of :
(click the photo to learn more about R.J. Anderson and her writing)

It doesn't matter that I am ever aging, I love children's and young adult books! Plus I've always had a soft spot for faeries. :)

It's a delightful story about an old oak tree that houses a diminishing society of faeries and about the one who dared to break through the fear and superstition to learn the truth. And yes there are faery eggs.

Mystery, adventure, totally adorable terminology and even a little romance, this book was my favorite "tea and reading on the deck" choice. Of course I couldn't put it down and so that only lasted two days, but still. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Glitter your galls

Say whaaaaaat?

First let me say that I love making something from things I can find in nature because...well it's nature and I like nature, but also because it's free!

Wandering under my oak tree I found enough acorns to fill a Smucker's jelly jar as well as an overflowing handfull of these galls. (What the heck is a gall? Wikipedia knows all! Click here.)

I'm having a slight obsession with sparkly orbs lately (and that has nothing to do with UFO's, try this instead) so when I collected all these from the yard I figured I'd sparkle them up and like them too!

Tools: white school glue, crappy paint brush, glitter.

Brushed on the glue (I actually think tacky glue would work better)

Doused in glitter.
Wow. That was easy.
Ummm now what?

I'm storing most of them in a jar for now, but they look cute in a small bowl with a little moss - like a disco bird nest. :)

I also made some black ones for Halloween...

And I love the way they look in this jar - like licorice gummies that never go bad.

Hmmm does this count for trash to treasure?

We'll sneak it in there and Kimm will never notice! ;)
Check out all the trash to treasure projects over at Reinvented!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Make someone's day

Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles is hosting a series called Living Lovely. Her weekly challenges encourage you to do just that - live lovely.
This week's challenge was to make someone's day. My mom was recently diagnosed diabetic and really watches what she eats. As a result she doesn't get to get in on the fun with family dinners or desserts. Learning a whole new way to cook and eat has been a challenge and I know sometimes she gets discouraged. Thankfully there are plenty of resources out there and I found Kraft's Good Eating Good Living website. Loads of recipes involving low sugar, healthier options for every course of the meal. With mom's favorite pie being peach I tailored this recipe for an icebox style pie to give her just that - a dessert she can enjoy a slice of without worry. I hope it made her day. :)

Click here to visit all the other ways people were "making someone's day."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


New items have been added to my etsy shop like this steampunk butterfly necklace...

Or the frosted pumpkins dangles!

And speaking of etsy... I opened another shop. Insanity? Mmm probably. But it seemed like a good place for all my "extras" that I love to make. Many of which you've already seen here at A Bit O' Shine. Click here to visit my new shop.

And last but not least, A Fanciful Twist wants everyone to have plenty of time to prepare for the next grand adventure! Click on the banner to visit Vanessa's blog and get the details.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bargains of the week with two questions

Despite the strange, cloudy August weather the garage sales have prevailed! I immediately spotted the sign which said, "Garage Sale - books and crafts" A garage sale made just for me! :)

The woman had owned a scrapbook supplies store and was left with loads (and stacks) of inventory. I don't scrapbook, but I do papercrafts so I was just as excited. I picked out twenty-five sheets of 12x12 paper at .25 each. I got all of these (and some of them are multiples).

As well as these which I thought had the most gorgeous designs! But ummm does anyone know how I'm supposed to use them? *blush* That's question number one.

Also at the garage sale I picked up this candle accessory (missing the glass) for fifty cents. I did have an idea for it though...

I've been wanting something to cover the bare lightbulb in my closet so I covered this thing in sequin trim (it goes with the fabric on my ceiling) I got for fifty cents in a clearanc bin at Joann's.

Problem: It was just too close to the bulb and would have melted my sparklies. Luckily I only hot-glued it on so I can remove the trim and I already have another plan for the stand as well as another plan for the bulb. You'll have to stick around to see what I do.

At Goodwill this week I found myself four pair of brand new dress socks for 99 cents each.

As well as these two tops for 1.99 each (with the store tags still on them)

They are just knit, comfy things - one sleeveless (on the right), the other three-quarter sleeve.

The store tags had most of them cut off and I can't tell where these came from. Anyone recognize the inside tags?

And that was question number two!

Be sure to check out all the other fabulous finds over at Southern Hospitality.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The botanical apothecary

I'm starting to feel like one! The botanical apothecary, that is. I gathered all my jars and bottles of blossoms and petals and pods that I've saved and I realized I have quite the collection. Some of them are meant for projects and others are just to look pretty. Let me take you on a tour of my mad botanical laboratory.

The good news is most of my jars are "recycled" with spray painted lids for a more unified look. The copper and glass jar came from Goodwill and cost me around four dollars.

The majority of my specimens are dried blossoms and petals
(with one of dried orange peel for good measure).

Rose petals, poppy and perennial flax petals and calendula petals.
Everyone needs a pickle jar filled with moss, don't they?

Take a peek at my yucca blossoms.

You wouldn't believe the wonderful, sweet smell when you stick your nose inside.

More blossoms and sweet smelling goodness in a Goodwill candy jar, my recycled Starbucks bottles and vintage glass. Here we have orchid blossoms, paperwhite blossoms, daffodil blossoms, wisteria blossoms, white clover blossoms and lavender.

These wisteria blossoms smell like sugar so it's fitting they are in a candy jar. :)
These are all the blossoms from my windowsill flowers grown during winter.

A dried rose keeps these lavender buds from getting dusty
in this vintage capless/corkless bottle.

Not only do I have the petals and blossoms but I also have plenty of seeds!
Sunflowers, sweet williams, columbine, poppies, chives and a mysetery bottle
(forgot to label it and now I can't remember!)

Tiny snifters hold poppy pods...

...and acorns.

This mod podge of vintage glass, canning jar and tiny sealed jar contains:

acorn caps (in the smallest)

rose hips, star anise, and orange peel in the vintage glass and...

Scented cedar "berries" I made months ago. I gathered the "berries" (they are actually just tiny cones) and placed them in a sealable jar with a few drops of essential oil. Leave sealed for a few weeks, shaking once in a while to make sure the oil gets distributed throughout.
This particular jar is orange clove scented - smells wonderful!

Thus ends the tour!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A treasure box both kids and adults will love

I'm a nature girl probably because I'm a country girl. Playing under the trees, in the field with the cows and chickens and dogs and horse I was always finding something interesting outside. I never got over that. I collect rocks and dried flowers and bits of nature and bring it indoors to make displays in my home (remember this vignette?). But not everything is made for year-round display which is why I think a treasure box is so fun.

I started with a box my grandmother gave me - a carved wooden piece probably not worth much but it looks cool and has a cool latch. Inside I keep things I found outside that are interesting:
Feathers, eggshells, dried blossoms, sweet smelling bark curlicues, seeds and grains and pods...

It's nice to have a "reserve" in case you need something natural to add to your decor. :)
I just added a new piece to my collection last week. Hopefully this doesn't scare you but I thought it was totally fascinating. My cat caught a mole (yayyyyyy!!!) and left in the yard (not so much yayyyy) the bugs did their circle of life thing and pretty soon all that was left was bones and hair - are you freaked out yet? - anyway, I loved biology in school so I noticed that all the gory bits were gone and decided to investigate. This is what I thought was so fascinating. I always knew that moles don't have eyes since they are underground and that would just be problematic for them, but neither do their skulls have eye sockets. Isn't that neat? That clinched it, I'm a nerd.

In any case a treasure box is a nice, tactile way for kids to learn and adults to enjoy the simple, natural treasures that surround us everyday. Happy treasure hunting!