Bittersweet Driftwood

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Reusing or recycling items during our craft afternoons is something this group tries for as often as we can.

Many here share my appreciation for driftwood’s natural beauty and uniqueness. Last winter the crafting group agreed it made perfect sense to use the wood for a project, but we needed to wait with the lake frozen and the shoreline under snow.

Living at a lake resort on a damned mountain fed river means driftwood floating downstream occurs every thaw season.

The resort likes to keep the marina and beach debris free so last summer a few of us would go gather pieces to stock pile so they would dry and be ready to be transformed this winter.

Doing a “driftwood” search on Pinterest brings up tons of ideas of what to make. For many of us that was the hardest part of this craft.

Candle holders, wind chimes, sun catchers, wall art, ornaments and even a serving tray were created this day.

Perhaps, I should have zoomed up on the projects for the picture, but the women’s smiles is more what these afternoons are about.

Emotions snuck up on me as I wrote this post which is why “bittersweet” is in the title.

You see, I have a sister and brother-in-law who for years use to come to their cottage here on weekends and holidays. My sister, who also loved to craft, and I would often get up early to paddle our kayak up and down the shorelines and around the island, searching and gathering driftwood. We would load the kayak with as much as it would carry and sometimes the bigger pieces for our yards we would drag behind with a rope.

These were great times, and she would have been in her glory at this craft afternoon, but they sold their cottage a few years ago.

Now, my sister, only 7 years older than me, lives in a world where we can’t visit. She has advanced Alzheimers, and I miss her dearly.

Sorry for that unexpected turn this post took.

Back to crafting. I’m showing a close-up below of a project I made because the fish are a result from a previous craft session. Each one is 33 layers of construction paper completely glued together, dried for a day, the edges beveled and sanded, then finished with a couple layers of clear nail polish. You can make beautiful pendants, fridge magnets, etc. with this simple process also found on Pinterest.

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I will share some of our other crafts in future posts.

Have you ever crafted using things from nature, or reusing or recycling?

I’m always looking for suggestions for future craft projects.

Chatting And Laughing (Wine Coasters)

These useful, multipurpose discs make excellent little gifts. They are coasters that slip on a glasses stem base. They can be handy glass identifiers at gatherings, or use one to eliminate that unruly charging cord in your bag or pocket by putting the rolled phone cord inside.

Use speciality materials for different seasons or occasions, or just have fun with colour.

They are very inexpensive to make. If you or someone you know is a sewer they are a great way to use up scrape pieces of cotton, flannel, or felt.

Making these was another easy and quick project for our afternoon crafting get togethers.

Not everyone here has a sewing machine, so I suggested we stitch the Wine Coasters by hand. The decorative blanket stitch and all. It had been years since many of us opted to sew a project by hand. There were a few joking comments that I was torturing them, but it really wasn’t that bad. They don’t take long and we had fun.

Pictured is a 3pc. and a 5pc. style, and 2 sizes. The blue one is hand stitched and the smaller size.

Basic Steps

We used a CD as a template to cut the larger sized circles.

Cut 3 or 5 circles depending on the style you are making. (The 3pc. has a bottom and 2 top halves. The 5pc. has a bottom and 4 top pcs. showing quarters.)

With wrong sides together, fold in half and press the (2 or 4) pieces for your top.

Place your full bottom circle with right side of material facing downward.

For the 3pc. style, – place and pin your 2 folded pieces on your bottom circle, butting up the folded edge in the middle. Don’t overlap fold.

For the 5pc. style, – place a folded piece on one half of bottom circle. Then each next folded piece is placed a quarter of the way around the circle, covering half of the previous piece. Once all 4 are in place there should be a roughly pencil lead sized hole in the middle for stem to come through. Pin pieces in place. (This step sounds more difficult than it is.)

Next for either style, sew through all layers (.5cm or 1/4”) around the outside edge of circle

Turn right side out.

Press.

Optional – Top stitch around outer edge, with straight, zigzag, or blanket stitch. 

If you are interested in making these there’s also lots of pictures and detailed instructions on Pinterest. Just search, wine coasters or DIY wine coasters.

Tips

The CD sized 3 pc. style on a smaller based glass is a little loose fitting.

The CD 5 pc. style takes a few extra seconds to put on, but in my opinion fits better even on a smaller base.

I don’t think I would make the 5pc. style any smaller then a CD, it might be too hard to get on.

If possible, measure your bases before deciding which to make. Especially if making 3pc. style. Adjust the size of circles you cut according to your glasses base. (Cut roughly 1.5cm or 3/4” bigger than base to allow for seam and a little play.)

Do you or someone you know love to entertain and could use these?

Do you theme or decorate for your parties or get togethers?

Chatting and Laughing, The Start

What better way to spend a few hours than chatting and laughing. Creating something while doing it is a bonus.

If you enjoy crafting, or want to give some simple things a try, I’ll be covering some interesting projects in my reoccurring “Chatting and Laughing” posts.

With this being the first of a series here’s a little as to what it’s about.

Some “Gleniffer Lake ladies” will again be gathering a couple afternoons a month to craft. We started this last winter, and with its popularity have decided to do it again this year.

There is a large rec. building here which one part is a lakeside restaurant during the summer. It’s where we hold group activities in the off season, including most of the crafting get togethers.

The enthusiastic group is up for trying pretty much any craft so it’s a different one each time. Although, we do prefer when a finished project can go home that same day.

I’m usually the one snooping for ideas, mainly because I’m on “Pinterest” at least once a day anyway.

Some crafts, myself or others have done before, but most of them we just wing it.

If the craft requires supplies some of us have on hand, then we do a crafting potluck. If it needs things better priced in bulk, we chip in to cover the cost. This way, we all can try something new without it being as expensive as if done individually.

Our first project was “Decoupage”.

A craft thats been around so long a person forgets all the neat ways you can decorate items. A “Pinterest” search brings up tons of fun ideas for all ages.

One of the other ladies organized this craft, but I helped out because I’ve done the process before.

In the past, I used “Modge Podge” which is a reliable product that now comes in many finishes. This day though, the organizer mixed up a discovered recipe from “Pinterest” of white glue and water. It was a great option that worked fine, and is an inexpensive alternative.

A popular item choice to decorate was glass vases and recycled bottles, but Decoupage can also be done on, plastic, wood or metal, so pretty much anything.

Decoupage Steps

#1 – Cut out a picture or shapes from a magazine, a print out, wrapping paper, tissue paper, fabric, or even paper napkins.

#2 – You can give the area you’ll be applying your cut out on a quick wipe with rubbing alcohol if it’s dirty or has lots of finger prints. It will dry in seconds.

#3 – Paint a layer of Modge Podge, or the homemade mixture of white glue and water, on your item where you will be placing the cut out.

#4 – Then paint the mixture on the back (wrong) side of cut out.

#5 – Place the cut out on your project piece, and smooth out wrinkles if any, (careful, cut out may slide out of place, and too much pressure may tear paper ones).

#6 – Top the cut out with another coat of mixture and let dry.

Tips we Learned

• Soft bristle or foam brushes work well. None of us tried a roller.

• If cutting finicky pictures or shapes out of napkins or tissue paper the fine edges make working with the paper tricky once it is wet. So a smooth edge, say around a flower or tree can be easier then cutting an intricate design out in fine detail.

• If you want a high gloss or more waterproof finish, Modge Podge is probably a better choice than the glue mixture.

• Be sure to paint mixture right to the edges on your cut out.

• Painting on the mixture needs to be done fairly quick, before it starts to dry, so don’t choose to work with too small of a brush.

• It is also a very forgiving craft because water easily cleans up any excess glue, as long as caught before it dries.

Do you like to craft?

Have you ever tried Decoupage?

Do you have a favourite craft, or a suggestion for this group to try?

 

What I Do With Them

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People always ask what I do with the seashells, driftwood, rocks, and sea-glass I love to collect. My mind is full of things to make, and “Pinterest” keeps that list growing. I’d be lying though, if I said I’ve found uses for all I’ve brought home, but I’ll share a few easy projects and tips.

To start, my collections are kept separated and marked where they’re from, because in reality, it’s not that I craft as much as I make momentums that with a glance we can recall a place and a trip.

The ornament pictured above almost made itself because I found these big shells stuck together. By gluing on a couple other tiny shells, and a candle holder this memory of Parksville, B.C. was completed and ready to sit on our shelf.

On our recent sibling holiday to Vancouver Island, my sister often combed the shores with me. She collected small driftwood for her own craft projects, but I noticed her drawn to pieces of broken blue shells. Sometimes she would admire them then put them down, but sometimes she handed me them suggesting, maybe I could make use of them.

Soon after we were home, I surprised her with the necklace and bracelet set pictured in the collage. It’s hard to believe at my age and with the years of collecting ocean treasures that this is my first attempt at making shell jewelry, but it was.

I researched, “You tube,” for what-to-use and how-to drill holes in delicate shells. A rotary drill, and a diamond tip bit while resting the shell on a cork just submerged in water worked great, none broke.

The coolest thing I learned though, was how-to restore seashells. Dip them for 3 seconds in (1 part Muriatic acid and 3 parts water) then rinse. It removes the white salt residue, revealing and enhancing their color. The difference on some was so amazing, I made Mister come in the bathroom and watch me do a couple.

But please, before trying this, check out a video yourself for the precautions and the process tips.

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While in the jewelry making mood, and again getting hints from online videos, I tried my hand at wire wrapping. Finally, making myself a couple sea-glass bracelets.

The wire choices in craft stores is overwhelming, so I researched then took a guess and bought a 20 gauge, silver-plated German wire for these. It’s pliable and easy to work with, but trial and error taught me, that the proper beading pliers (which I got the next trip back into town) worked so much better than an average pair for making loops.

Things like my small shells, rocks and sea-glass I keep in display jars, but I wanted a few special pieces to be more visible than that. Window hangers were my choice for this.

The two I made are pretty basic, but if you want to get creative search Pinterest for ideas. Both these are done with wrapping (one is wire and the other hemp cord) not drilling. I worried about the shells holding the weight of the rocks between them on the longer one, and I also haven’t tried drilling sea-glass yet. I’m not brave enough to risk splitting them.

Another reason these hangers work great is, I can write on the back of the wood where they’re from and the year.

Bigger driftwood is something I collect while home at the lake. Ask Mister, I’ve got shelves of it drying in the extra shed. There’s a tub of dried pieces under our bed, long spindly or neat gnarly ones decorate here and there, inside the house and outside.

Most of my stock pile is for crib boards, which I make and sell. For them, I like the pieces to dry for at least two years. That way any cracks or rotten spots will show up before I hand paint and drill them.

Lamps, shelves, and picture frames are a few other projects on my, to-do-list, though. I love the beachy vibe of driftwood. It will be my wood of choice, and perfect for decorating the home addition we’re planning this spring.

Large driftwood pieces are scattered throughout our yard as landscape ornaments.

When my sister and her husband had a cottage here, her and I would go out driftwood hunting in our 2 person beach kayak. Too bad there are no pictures documenting how we would load that thing down. Sometimes, we barely stayed above water, and we got quite a workout padding the extra weight back home. If a piece was too large to get in or on it, and they were dry enough, we would drag them floating behind on ropes.

On a couple occasions we got the boys to follow us with the pontoon boat back to pieces we set aside, ones we just couldn’t manage with the kayak. Mister often joked he should have a loading crane on, Bella, (our boat) to get some of our finds up on deck.

So this is what I do with some treasures I gather.

Do you collect things while walking a beach or shore?

Do you craft with them?

Do you like to do any kind of crafting?

DIY Game Board Craft Project

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If you enjoy playing board or card games, you might want to try “Jokers”. It’s similar to the game “Sorry” the main difference is you use cards instead of rolling dice.

It’s an easy DIY project. Cardboard, poster board, cloth, plexiglass or wood, are some options you could use to make a board depending on what medium you like to work with. Paint or mark squares or drill or punch holes for game play.

Objects used for player pegs or pieces should be paintable or come in a variety of colors, you need a different one for each player.

Player pegs can be golf tees, cribbage pegs, thinner wood doweling cut to lengths, skewers cut, toothpicks, colored straws, tree twigs, or be imaginative.

Player pieces can be made by cutting thicker doweling into discs, paint tiny rocks, checker pieces, or pennies, use buttons, marbles if you drill indents, the choices are endless.

I enjoy working with wood and drills so no surprise I used plywood to make our game. A board can be specifically for 4, 6, or 8 players, or put a combination or all three on one playing surface. I put the 4 and 6 player versions on the one pictured in this post.

Material’s I used

-2′ foot square of 1/4″ fir plywood

-30 cribbage pegs, 5 for each player

-6 different colours of paint

-clear coat

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Making a Board

As templates, I cut six strips of cardboard with the number of holes needed for each side, and spaced for my pegs. Then I centered and spaced them how I wanted them on the board and made marks. Mister cut the corners off giving the square its shape afterwards.

Sections on the board don’t have to be coloured as long as players pegs or pieces are. I outlined strips to match peg colours though. If drilling holes lines aren’t even necessary but I like to paint.

With projects like this, I paint lines, and apply clear coat before drilling holes, otherwise clear coat drips into holes and you often have to drill again to clear them.

Playing The Game

Objective is be first to get all your pegs from the start cross into your home line.

Played in teams, whether 4, 6, or 8 people.

Shuffle together 3 card decks, including jokers, and deal five cards to everyone. (If 8 players use 4 decks.)

Card Count

You need a King, Queen, Jack or Ace to come out of start spot and begin play. (Jokers work to do this, but I’ll explain their full move later)

Once pegs are on the game part (and you can have more than one in play), a ten card along with Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth ten.

Ace counts as one.

A Eight card means you always move backwards (which if you are in your start hole moving back means you are close to your home entrance, but you can’t back into home)

Seven card can be split in any forward combination between two of your pegs, (good for moving up in home line)

A Joker can make any one move to take out another players peg, even if your peg is still in the start.

A Players turn

Pick a card from the pile of undealt cards, from your hand lay a card face-up, moving a game piece in accordance to its value. (If you can’t move, maybe you have no pieces out of start yet, a card still must be discarded.)

Basic Rules

You can jump past another players peg but not your own.

Landing on a opposing player’s peg sends them back into their start place.

Landing on your partners peg sends them to the base of their home line.

You need the exact cards to get into and move within home slot and cannot jump a peg.

Once all your pieces are in your home slot, you help your teammates get theirs home.

Rather than making a board there is also a slat style. You can Google or search Pinterest for ideas on that type. Some other names to use when searching this game are, Marbles and Jokers, Jokers and Pegs.

There are lots of internet sites with more detailed game play rules plus strategies.

I hope you enjoy this game as much as we do.

Have you made any of your games?

When It’s More Than A Hat

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For people living with Alopecia (complete hair loss) or the effects of Cancer treatment a hat provides warmth, comfort and can even help with confidence when out in public.

Fit can be complicated. It shouldn’t blow off in the wind but it shouldn’t be uncomfortably tight either, and the wool needs to be soft so it doesn’t itch and irritate bare scalps.

Many women like their earlobes to remain uncovered so they can wear earrings, and the brim can be annoying if it rides low and rubs off penciled on eyebrows.

Proof that persistence pays off.

After my “Proclaiming Defeat” post, the above yarn and pattern sat on the arm of the couch, taunting me.

Days later, I picked it back up and my seventh attempt was the charm. By changing hook size and altering the number of stiches and rows here and there it’s no longer a place mat but a wearable beanie, a style our daughter prefers.

She developed Alopecia a couple years ago. It came on fast and was traumatic to go through, but her courage and how she handles the situation makes us proud. She’s still the same beautiful person without hair as she was with hair.

At first she hid the condition from friends and co-workers by wearing wigs, but after mere months she came to terms with her new look, as much as a young woman can. Since then, she mostly wears caps, beanies or goes with nothing depending on weather.

She enjoys having a variety of colors, weights, and styles of head coverings, and I’ve been having fun making her favorites, wool beanies. This particular pattern was an exception, but now that it’s done I’m pleased with the result.

Have you heard of Alopecia?

If you enjoy crocheting or knitting and don’t know what to make consider a hat to donate. Many medical centres accept and appreciate these as they offer them free to people in need.