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Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Day 8 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Stamped Gift Wrap

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It’s already Day 8 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re getting crafty today. We’re making Stamped Gift Wrap with rubber stamps. Of course, I’m using a few Scandinavian stamps today, but you really could use stamps of any design. In my case, it’s a very economical thing to do, and as I’m writing this, I’m wondering why I haven’t done more of this in the past. There are piles of paper in the office downstairs that my husband brought home from work over the years for the kids to use for art projects. Wrapping paper is expensive and if you have access to free paper – do it! You can get rubber stamps fairly inexpensively at most craft stores, and ink pads can be used hundreds of times. Come to think of it, you can stamp with objects you have around the house – you wouldn’t even have to buy a rubber stamp. You could make a stamp of a star from a potato, or use household objects like the end of a spool of thread or the bottom of a glass, or even use a cookie cutter as a stamp! Whatever gives you a nice, graphic look on the paper. I don’t think you’d want to make gigantic pieces of wrapping paper with a stamp, but for smaller gifts, this can really be cute. There isn’t any recipe or real instructions for this – you just go for it, start stamping, and have fun!

Here is the gift wrap as I made it:

Stamped Gift Wrap

Find some paper – my husband has gotten paper from the company he works for over the years. Sometimes they would be upgrading equipment and they couldn’t use the paper they had anymore. Instead of just throwing it away, he’d take it home and our kids would have tons of paper to use for the millions (and I’m not exaggerating here) and millions of pieces of artwork they would constantly work on. Finding a piece of paper that fits the gift you want to wrap would be perfect.

Get out all of your rubber stamps – they can be Christmas stamps or just stamps that look cool together and make a nice design.

Find the color of ink you want to use on your stamps – of course, I love red, green, silver, or gold for this time of year.

Lay out your paper, ink up your stamps, and go to town!!

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Collect all the things you’ll need before you start – I hate having to stop and run to get things once I’m rolling on a craft project. I have, in addition to my paper, a stamper that lets you write a phrase, my Scandinavian stamps, and red and green ink pads.

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I started with a dala horse stamp and made a pattern. Here’s his close-up – isn’t he cute?!!

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Next I added some snowflakes in a different color – so cute!

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On my second piece of paper, I used a pretty star stamp for an over-all pattern and then used the stamp that lets you write a phrase to add the God Jul.

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10 minutes later – yes, it’s that quick – I have 2 pieces of wrapping paper all ready to go!

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One of my favorite things in the whole word – wrapping gifts!!

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I think they turned out very pretty! Coordinating ribbon to “tie” it all together, and  you have a very nice package. Try this for a fun and inexpensive Christmas craft project. Do it with your kids or grandkids – they’ll love being able to add their creativity to the gift giving process. It will also keep them busy for a few minutes while you get a couple of things done. Get them set up and let them go nuts! Giving the hand-stamped wrapping paper as a gift is also a very nice thing, maybe even as a hostess gift. Lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 6 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Cinnamon Ornaments

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It’s Day 6 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re getting crafty. Today we’re going to make Cinnamon Ornaments. They’re supposed to mimic pepparkaker, or gingerbread cookies, only they smell better and continue to smell good all through the holiday season. Because we’re now halfway through the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, I wanted to share this photo of one of Grandma’s aunts. She was on a trip with her mother back to Sweden when this was taken, and I think it was on the farm where my great-great-grandmother lived before she immigrated to the United States in the mid 1800’s.

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I just love this photo! Maybe she’s spinning some wool into yarn to make mittens?!!!

Now on to the Cinnamon Ornaments. There are recipes and instructions for this all over the internet, but I’m sharing a recipe I made with my kids when they were little. I did add a little bit of a secret ingredient – shhhh, don’t tell anyone, just put it in. It makes all the difference!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cinnamon Ornaments

6 Tablespoons applesauce

1/2 cup cinnamon

Add the secret ingredient:

1 Tablespoon ground cloves – it adds an amazing fragrance!

Mix into dough.

Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.

Bake 5 minutes in microwave (this was years ago – now I have a bigger and better microwave – I only put them in for 2 minutes and went from there) or until dry.

Don’t forget to make a hole for a hanger.

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This is a simple craft that uses simple ingredients.

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I put a piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet so that you just roll it out (right on the baking sheet – I used my childhood rolling-pin – it was the perfect size!), cut out the shape, peel away the outer extra dough and leave the shapes on the sheet. This was something I learned after rolling out the dough on my kitchen counter and being unable to lift the shape because it stuck. Not fun. My daughter was helping me and thank goodness she was there with the brilliant parchment idea!

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I think I made these stars a bit thin. Try to keep the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t forget to make a hole for the ribbon to go through! I used a plastic drinking straw for making the holes.

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After they’re baked, they look just like gingerbread cookies! An added benefit – your house will smell amazing while these bake! The shapes may have some ragged edges, but they rub off easily if you’re careful.

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Add a bit of ribbon for hanging. I tried to find one that was as Scandinavian as possible!

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These Cinnamon Ornaments look just like pepparkakar and are so pretty on the tree. They add that warm and homey fragrance of cinnamon (and cloves – shhh!) that smells so Scandinavian and so much like Christmas.

 

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Day 3 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Norwegian Mittens and Mitten Ornaments

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It’s Day 3 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas! Today we’re looking back at my post about the Norwegian Mittens that I make. The mittens aren’t really too Christmas-y, unless you make them in red or green, but I also make Mitten Ornaments.

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They’re so cute! Almost the same mitten, only smaller!

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They’re knit on 4 needles, just like the big mittens you wear.

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This is a great addition to your Scandinavian Christmas tree, but they’re also a great package topper, or pretty pinned onto your coat.

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Below I have included a PDF of the pattern for the ornaments, which is from an old magazine – Better Homes and Gardens Creative Ideas, Country Crafts, Christmas Edition 1989!! I’ve been making these a long time, too! Click on the link below if you’d like to give it a try!

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I have found, since I posted about the Norwegian Mittens, that there is the actual pattern out there on the internet. You can find it here if you feel like a challenge and learning to knit these very warm and very durable mittens. Click on the link below to visit my post about these beautiful mittens.

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Norwegian Mittens

 

 

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Hydrangea Wreath

Earlier this summer I posted about my hydrangea bushes and how the weather this summer had made them grow huge blossoms. You can read about them in my post called Hydrangea. I decided that after years of having these beautiful bushes with their beautiful blossoms, now is the time to make a Hydrangea Wreath from said blossoms. There were so many blooms on the bushes this year. I picked two big bunches of the flowers and hung them upside down in our garage for a week to dry.

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After gathering my supplies and giving it a try, I realized that I might have done something wrong. I couldn’t get the blossoms to stay wired onto the wire wreath frame, plus they were really brittle. So . . . onto the internet! When I started looking, the first option that popped up was a video from Martha Stewart. I did do something wrong. I wasn’t supposed to dry them. Of course, the flowers they were working with in the video have stems about 4 times the size of mine. The stems on mine are very skinny.

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Oh well, back out to the bushes I go to cut more blossoms. I actually totally depleted the bushes and picked almost ALL of the flowers.

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I did what the video said to do, attached the wire onto the frame with a paddle of wire and started wrapping it around the blossoms. The video said to wrap small bunches of blossoms together, but these are so big, I just used the single huge flowers (I really didn’t know if I’d have enough to wire bunches together). The fresh-cut blossoms held much better. This was also the only kind of wire wreath frame I could find – on the video they used one that was a bit narrower.

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I just continued wrapping the wire around the blossoms until I had gone all the way around the wreath frame. At the end, I made a wire loop to hang the wreath with.

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Here’s the finished product!! After I held it up, I had to add some small blossoms in a few places to even it out a bit. Once it was on the wall, I also had to put some small blossoms around the visible edges because I could see the wire frame from the steps. I really love how it looks. So what if it has a couple of wonky places? You can tell that it wasn’t made by a florist – it was made by the person who actually grew the flowers – me!

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The wreath went up in our entry, over the steps to go downstairs. The video said that the color fades if put in a place with a lot of direct sun, so I didn’t want to put it in our living room which gets a lot of sun in the morning.

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Here’s what I did with the dried flowers. They totally filled the basket. Another option (according to the video) is to hot glue the dried blossoms to a straw wreath. I may try that another year, or even later this year. I’m just glad there are options.

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They look great in my old wicker picnic basket. This will go up on top of the bookshelf in the living room.

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There were just enough flowers left to make a very small wreath.

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It can go on the wall, or it can function as a candle wreath. This one’s heading out to Virginia to my sister!

I love how the wreath looks, and this may be a project I do every year with these beautiful and abundant blossoms.

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This wreath will decorate my entry until it’s time to decorate for the holidays! I love it!

 

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Chair Cushion Re-do #2

I have to share my latest cushion recovering project with you. One of my first posts for this blog was a Chair Cushion Re-do where I recovered my two deck chair cushions with new fabric. Here is a photo of the finished project.

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I was lucky enough to find more outdoor fabric for a Chair Cushion Re-do #2 on a clearance sale last December. This fabric isn’t exactly like the kind I used on the first chair cushion re-do, but it’s close enough. I bought 10 yards of fabric and the total was under $20!!!!! This fabric is normally $19.00/yard and I think we can officially say that this was the bargain of the year!! I really don’t care that the fabric isn’t exactly the same, because the lounge chair that these cushions go on is on our patio under our deck, while the two cushions I recovered two years ago are on chairs on top of the deck. They’re not right next to each other, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not an exact match.

Here is what the cushions looked like before I started.

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Yuk. They were horribly faded and in dire need of recovering. You really should measure the cushion before buying fabric, but of course when I found this fabric, I didn’t have measurements with me. I wasn’t expecting to find the bargain I did, and I just had to guess at the length. You’re not going to believe this, but I guessed pretty right on. All I had to do was cut the length of fabric in half and it was just enough. If I had gotten 2 inches less fabric, it wouldn’t have been. I basically made a tube of fabric to put the cushion in. I sewed up the selvage edge (where the white strip is), keeping as close to the printed pattern as I possibly could (it was also just exactly the right width). Then I just sewed across the end to seal it up. It’s hard to see the basic stitching here, but that’s all I did.

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Next was to make a boxed end for the top.

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I opened up the corner and sewed across the corner about 1-1 1/4 inch or so. I’m really not picky about this – I just needed to add some shape to the upper end.

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You can see how it gives the top a squared-off end.

At this point, I had to engage the help of my son (he’s is a lot taller than me) who was able to help me get the cushion into the tube of fabric, straighten it out, and shake it into place. The last step was to turn the bottom edge under, secure it with pins, and sew the bottom opening shut.

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This is not an easy task. The cushion is so long that I had to roll it up a couple of times and sew it that way or it would have taken a very long table to hold the whole cushion out flat.

There. Done.

Here’s the final product for these two lounge cushions.

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They don’t look too bad, if I do say so myself! I saw something on Pinterest that showed how you can also use regular fabric, wrap your cushion like a package, and secure it with hot glue. You could switch to new pretty fabric every summer that way, and because you don’t have to use outdoor fabric, it would be cheaper. I may look into that idea next time I recover all of these cushions. I can’t count on getting this kind of bargain every time I need to recover these outdoor cushions!!!

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It took me way too long to get this done – I should have done it in the BEGINNING of the summer since it only took me about an hour to finish. What took the longest was getting the cushions into the fabric tube! I should get another couple of seasons out of these now. They look so fresh and clean and pretty. When cleaning out our garage the next day, I found the two pillow cushions that fit on these two cushions!! Now I need to find matching fabric to cover those!! I feel another project coming on – but that’s for another time!!! I think it’s time to kick back with a nice glass of lemonade and a good book!

 

 

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4th of July Take Home Favors

I saw so many cute crafts online for the 4th of July, that I just had to get crafty and try one of my own. I love making crafts and I love making little treats for guests to take home from a party, so I’m sharing how I made these 4th of July Take Home Favors. This one is a combination take home favor, table decoration, and place card. It’s a great last-minute and fun craft to make – get your kids involved! I got everything I needed for these at the grocery store (some things I had at home) when picking up groceries for the weekend.

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I found some free antique post card images on the internet to print, cut them out, and glued them onto red plastic cups. After I had them glued, I would have made them a bit smaller, but that’s just me! I took a small hole punch and made holes on either side of the cup, opposite each other, pulled a silver sparkly pipe cleaner (chenille stem, if you will) through each hole and twisted the ends around to make a handle. Then I used a sheet of red, white, and blue tissue paper, folded it a couple of times, and ran it through my shredder to make the filler for the bottom of the cups.

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Depending on your guests, you can alter the treats and goodies you put in these. For our celebration, I used mints, gum, chocolates, a couple of sparklers, and a flag. You could use more kid friendly things if you’re making these for a kids table: stickers, water shooters, fun sunglasses.

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I have the table set for a casual holiday lunch, but you can get as creative as you want with your table settings.

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Gather up your kids or your weekend company and do a holiday craft to make your holiday celebration even more festive and memorable! Have fun!!!

 

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Norwegian Mittens

I’m kind of a big deal . . . when it comes to these Norwegian Mittens, anyway. Ha! I’ve been making these since I was in college and a girl I knew showed me how to make them. I still have some of the originals I made back then. They end up being double thick, so they’re VERY warm and if made with acrylic yarn, they’re VERY durable. Grandma had a couple of pair of these mittens that she liked to show off to anyone who would listen! 🙂 I’ve made hundreds of these over the years. Everyone in our family and extended family has a pair – some have more than one pair. I’ve made them for sports teams, for coaches, for teachers, for my kids’ college roommates, for friends, for fundraisers, for charity, and for gifts.

Both of my grandmas helped me in my quest to learn how to knit. My sister and I would go to the other Grandma and Gramp’s house on Monday nights when the stores in our hometown were open late and both parents had to work. She helped me learn how to knit when I was at her house and it gave me something to do. My first full project was an aqua and black striped scarf that I knit for my Gramp for Christmas. After he passed away, Grandma gave it back to me and I still have it!

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Both grandmas helped teach me to knit, but didn’t do a lot of knitting themselves. They were both more in the crochet camp.

This picture is of Grandma answering a knitting question for me.

What was I wearing ? Oh yeah, it was the 70’s.

What was SHE wearing? Oh yeah, it was the 70’s.

My sister was interested at the moment – and that was about the extent of her interest in knitting.

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Here are the mittens as I made them:

Norwegian Mittens

I’m not going to put the whole pattern on here. I just wanted to share the mittens with you. Maybe I’ll try to give a YouTube lesson about making these someday. Go ahead and try knitting. It’s a very relaxing hobby. Sometimes I think it almost feels like meditating. You can find free patterns online and you can get tutoring on any stitch or technique on YouTube. These mittens are knit on 4 needles and it’s a bit complicated until you get the hang of it. It’s really not that hard to do. I don’t do acrylic yarn much anymore because wool and wool blends are much softer and easier to work with, so I use those almost exclusively now. It used to take me a week or so to do a pair, but after so many years of doing this same pattern, I can now do a pair in two days (that’s if I do nothing but knit).

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These are some of the 9 pair that I’ve already done this fall (still all available). You can see that there’s an endless variety of color combinations to choose from, and believe me, I’ve done some doozies. I once made some for a Phoenix Suns fan and the colors were bright orange and bright purple. I almost went blind using those colors!

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You can see the front and back of the mittens here.

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This is a detail of the thumb and palm.

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This is a detail of the snowflake or rose on the back of the hand.

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They’re even kind of pretty inside out. You can see how the yarn is doubled on the inside. That’s why they’re so warm!

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This pair is made from a washable wool blend. I like that you can just throw them into the washer and dryer. When made from wool, you have to be a bit more careful of shrinkage.

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I have done some other knitting projects over the years – I’m definitely no expert – but these mittens have kind of become my specialty. They’re fun to do and they really do keep your fingers nice and toasty! We need that here in Minnesota!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Knit Pumpkins

We’re exploring a craft project today! I saw this pattern on Pinterest, and I just had to try it. It comes from the blog, The Sitting Tree, and you can find the original pattern here. These are knit on 4 needles, somewhat like the Norwegian snowflake mittens I’m famous for (more on that at a later date). I’m not going to post the pattern here, so if you want to make these adorable Jack Be Little Pumpkins, you’ll have to go to www.thesittingtree.net and check out the pattern yourself. Crafts have always been a big part of my life. Both of my grandmas helped me in my crafting. The grandma who babysat me when I was little always had me doing coloring, drawing, cutting, and pasting. Even though they lived in town, they were subscribers to The Farm Journal Magazine, and every month there was a craft project in there that we would do. The other grandma who lived on the farm had me do crafts when I would go out there to visit. I’m sure it was something to keep me busy while they were working on their chores. They both helped teach me how to knit, and my very first project was a scarf that I knit for my grandpa for Christmas. I still have it! Holidays are such a great excuse to craft, and these pumpkins are the perfect decoration for October thru Thanksgiving. They’re simple and fast to make, too!

Here are the pumpkins as I made them:

Knit Pumpkins

http://www.thesittingtree.net/2011/10/free-knitting-pattern-jack-be-little.html

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On The Sitting Tree blog, she also knit the stem, but I used a piece of a real branch for the stem (just snipped with my clippers), some green wire wrapped around a pen for the vines, and I cut the leaf (patterns for pumpkin leaves can be found online) out of felt. They were all glued on with my favorite glue, E6000.

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I found that using different size needles and different kinds of yarn can change the size and texture of the pumpkin.

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After stitching around the top of the stuffed pumpkin and pulling it tight, you can also change the shape of the pumpkin by how tight you pull it. Pulling it tighter makes a flatter pumpkin and leaving it more loose makes the pumpkin more round.

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These little pumpkins are just so cute! They are a natural and non-commercial decoration that will last more than just one year. This is a fast and easy craft so perfect for the fall and I’ve already made so many of these to give away to family and friends. A set of two or three of these of different shapes and sizes would also make a great hostess gift for this time of year!

 

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Hollyhock Dolls

I just had to do something a little bit different for the post today. Because of all the rain we’ve had this summer, my hollyhocks are dazzling. They don’t always do so great, but this year they’re just wonderful. When I was looking at them the other day, I remembered that both of my grandmas had them growing in their gardens, too. Hollyhocks are an old-time flower that used to grow along the sides of houses, around the edges of gardens, and even around the outside of barns or other buildings and for some reason, you don’t see them so much anymore. They grow to about six feet tall with beautiful papery blooms that work their way up the stalk. Both of my grandmas taught me how to make these Hollyhock Dolls when I was a very little girl and I’m sure that they made them when they were little, too!

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My hollyhocks are growing on the south wall of our house, just outside our front door.

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They are so beautiful right now!

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I just love their papery blooms.

Here are the dolls as I made them:

Hollyhock Dolls

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Pick one full bloom and one spent bloom from your hollyhock stalk. The spent bloom will be the head but you can also use a bud for a smaller head with less hair. Leave a bit of a stem on the full bloom for a neck.

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Pull off all of the green leaves from the end of the spent bloom or bud.

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Slip the stem of the full bloom into one of the holes near the end of the spent bloom,depending on what you want the eyes to look like.

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There she is!!! Just like that – a doll with a beautiful flowing skirt and that face that seems to be looking right at you!

This was always so amazing to me as a child!

Apparently it still is!!! 🙂

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They really do look like fairies in their full skirt and pulled back hair. This is another great memory of my grandmas for me. I taught it to my kids and I hope that they’ll teach their kids. Either that or their kids will just have to come to me and I will teach them! You need to find a kid or grandkid and rediscover one of these simple joys that doesn’t involve technology. They’ll love it and so will you!

Did you learn how to make these dolls when you were little?

I’d love to hear your memories of making these little fairies!

 

 

 

 

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Stamped Plant Markers

Today’s post is something a little bit different. I showed you last week how to plant Herb Pots here. You might have seen the cute little plant markers sticking out of the planters. Well, today I’m going to show you how to make those Stamped Plant Markers with antique silver plate spoons or silverware.

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This is a really easy craft and the possibilities are endless.

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I just had to mark my rosemary and basil plants so I’d know which is which! Haha!

I used spoons here, but you can use any silverware.

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You just need a hammer and some metal stamps. I ordered my stamps from Amazon here.

Silver plate silverware works best – stainless doesn’t work so great.

I found this antique silver plate spoon at a local antique store for $.50. I just removed the price tag, used a little silver polish, and cleaned it up first.

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Next I put a rag over the top of the spoon, and used a hammer to flatten it out. I always do this on a firm, flat surface.

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I used a pencil to try to center the letters.

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I use the metal stamps, hit the correct letter with a hammer (making sure it’s the right side up and centered), and try to get the letters as straight as possible. Sometimes I get it straight and sometimes I don’t. I just look at it as the beauty of something hand-made.

You have to hit the stamp firmly and you only get one shot.

Then I used a thin Sharpie marker to darken the letters. You’ll get some marker outside the lines. I just used a paper towel and wiped the excess off right away.

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There you have it – a cute marker for your herbs!

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You can also stamp on silverware (obviously not flattened) to make cute, inexpensive gifts like this ice cream spoon I made for my nephew!

This is an easy craft that anyone can do!

Give it a try!

Have fun!

 

 

 

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