DIY Recycled Halloween Wreath

Halloween Wreath

It’s the spookiest time of year, and to help my house get in the spirit, I made a wreath using materials I already had. The only part that had to be purchased was the wreath form. Below are instructions for how you can make one, too.

Materials:

  • 1 Styrofoam wreath form
  • Jersey cotton fabric. I used an old t-shirt (orange) and an old pair of exercise pants (black) from a stash of even-Goodwill-wouldn’t-want-this stuff. It really didn’t take a lot of fabric either, maybe ¼ of a yard.
  • Buttons, beads or sequins (or a combo)
  • Ribbon
  • Yarn
  • Hot glue
  • Needle and thread (could be optional)
  • A small(ish) nail

Directions:

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Covering the wreath form

  • Cut the fabric into roughly 1-inch strips. If you use old fabric, the lengths might vary, and that’s ok.
  • Measure the fabric on the wreath. Starting on the back, wrap the strips of fabric around the wreath, overlapping on each go-around to cover the form. Play with where you want the different colors.
  • Once you know you have enough fabric to cover the wreath form, unwrap everything and plug in your hot glue gun.
  • Repeat step 2, but this time, adhere the fabric to the wreath with a line of hot glue along the back and at every start/end to a strip of fabric.

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The flowers – This type of flower is fairly simply once you get the hang of it. The directions look involved, but it’s all layering.

  • For each flower you’d like to make, cut 4-5 circles of varying diameters out of one of your fabrics. The biggest circle will be the bottom of your flower. Stack the circles, using the smallest for the top. If you’d like bigger flowers or more textured flowers, add to the number of layers in your stack or play with the sizes and placement of the circles. Note: My circles are never really true circles because I’m lazy like that. I eyeball it. Flowers are all a little different and imperfect in nature, so it’s ok if mine are too.
  • Choose a center decoration for your bloom. This is where the buttons, beads, sequins, etc. come in. I used a button on 2 of mine and a mix of beads and sequins on the other.
  • Hold the end of a spool of ribbon in your hand and make loops that are larger than your biggest fabric circle. Once you have like 5-6 loops and/or you think it will create a nice backdrop for your flowers, cut the ribbon off the spool. The ribbon was the most annoying part of the entire wreath making process for me. It kept slipping out of my hand. I only did ribbon on the back of 2 of my 3 flowers, partially because I liked the look of the 3 grouped that way and partially because the ribbon was aggravating. Once you have the ribbon cut, you might need to re-loop it to adhere it to your flower.
  • Stack all but the smallest of the circles on top of the ribbon and sew the layers and the ribbon together, keeping your stitches in the center. Try to keep the top stitches tight, so the smallest layer will cover the stitches. Once you think everything’s secure, attached the smallest circle and any decorations. I did the flower in two steps so I could be slightly messy with the first stitches and then not worry about it all falling apart while I did the pretty decoration part. Note: If you use hot glue to secure the layers instead of thread, work one layer at a time to ensure everything stays together.

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Decorating the wreath

  • After your wreath is wrapped and the flowers are made, it’s simple assembly. Figure out where/how you want the flowers placed on the wreath and hot glue them on.
  • I added some yarn detail here as well using the same technique that I did with the original fabric layer. I glued the beginning of the yarn to the back and wrapped. Then I glued the end down. The beginning and end of the yarn began to fray a bit, so I cut small squares of fabric and glued that over the yarn ends on the back of the wreath to help keep everything together. No one sees the back, so it can be kind of messy.

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Hanging the wreath

  • To make it possible to hang the wreath, I made a loop with ribbon and knotted the ends together. I hot glued the knot onto the back of the wreath and then, while the glue was still gooey, shoved a nail through the knot and into the form, adding an extra layer of hold in the hopes that it won’t fall off my door. I also added some extra hot glue here because I was worried.

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Hang it on the door and smile! You made a wreath. Hope that helps if you decide you want to make one. Enjoy!

-L

The Quarterly Report

I set 4 easy resolutions for 2014. How am I doing? So kind of you to ask.

Starbucks InspirationThis was scrawled on a wall near the bathroom at Starbucks in Savannah. You never know where you’ll be inspired!

  • Create 50 blog posts: Since January, I have published 43 posts. Seven to go!
  • Read 10 books: Whoa for slacking. Since my last update in June, I have finished only one book, #7, “One Last Thing Before I Go” by Jonathan Tropper.
  • 1 new place: I don’t think I’ve gone anywhere new, but I saw some new things in old places. For instance, I saw a Mattress Dash in Savannah. If you’ve never seen one, I highly recommend it. Cheeky fun. Check out this video for an idea of what to expect.
  • 1 new thing: While driving, I was in a car wreck. I have never been the driver in an accident. It wasn’t my fault, and amazingly, no one was hurt. It totaled the car though and shook me up. Note to delivery drivers out there: Slow down. Put away your phone. Pay attention.

So that’s my update. How are you progressing with your resolutions?

-L

I’m back!

Lola Bark

(Lola telling me to get back to cooking.)

After a late summer blog break, I’m back! During my absence, the ideas were flowing, but the writing was lacking. My loyal readers (a.k.a. my mom and brother – hi, guys!) were asking for new content. My brother even gave me an entire list of post ideas built around a theme – talk about encouragement and support! What did I do with it? Stared at it. A lot. I’m staring at it now. It’s good. I should use it, do something with those ideas of his.

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The doing though has been the hold up for me lately. I got lazy, and I got tired, and I got busy, and I got scared of taking a risk and putting my thoughts, ideas and words out into the ether.

Truthfully, I read WAY too many blogs, and there are people doing thought-provoking, beautiful, creative things across a variety of platforms and fields out there. In my mind, I am comparing myself to these well-established sites, instead of just being me. Where they are though is not where I’m at. This is definitely not my job; I have two of those already. This, for me, is supposed to be fun, an outlet, a place to share.

Flowers 1

When I review my favorite blogs, they’re not all big names. Yes, some of them are, but not all of them. My favorite reads online are the ones who are themselves, the ones who speak their mind (and no, I don’t always agree with their points of view, but I’m happy they have one), the ones who open up and are venerable and interesting and creative and fun. And that’s what I am going to strive for – individuality. I hope to bring you that and more very soon.

Lola Pizza mmm

Thanks for still reading, and check back soon as I get back to more regular posting. Some things in the hopper include a recipe review, some fun products I’ve been enjoying lately, a resolution update and some get to know me stuff. I hope you enjoy!

-L

Recipe Review: Cauliflower Breadsticks

Coming up with original recipes isn’t my forte. Using what I have and riffing on / tweaking other people’s recipes is. Enter Recipe Reviews – where I tackle recipes from blogs I follow, pins I like, magazines that are piling up and cookbooks I most likely borrowed from the library.

If you’re a sailor, you’d feel right at home in my kitchen while I try new recipes. Maybe one day I’ll film it for a laugh. TV cooking shows make it look so easy, but my reality is a little messier. Hence why I forgot to take any photos of this effort. #blogfail

This past Sunday, I made cauliflower breadsticks from Oleana found on ifoodreal.com. In the end, they were delicious, but during the process, it was very WTF. In hindsight, it wasn’t as hard as I was making it. Here’s how it went down:

Note: See the original recipe for solid steps, tips, amounts, etc. This is a broad overview of my process the first time I attempted this recipe. She made it multiple times before posting and provides very good tips.

Step 1: Turn a head of cauliflower into a rice-like texture in a food processor.

  • Easy enough…if you chop that head into small, small, smaller pieces to begin with. I did my head in two batches. The first batch was large florets and stalks. WRONG! It took much longer. I would have mush parts and whole florets still. There was a lot of opening and scrapping. Chop those suckers up! I did this for the second batch, and it took half the time or less and required much less start & stop. As for the rice texture, it’s a fine line between rice-like and mush. My definitely ended up on the side of mush, which in the end worked out ok for me.

Step 2: Cook rice-like cauliflower in the oven for 20 min.

  • Success! I can place a pan in a hot oven.

Step 3: Remove cauliflower from the oven and let cool before wringing all the water out of it with a linen dishcloth.

  • This step was entertaining (see paragraph 2 and use your imagination) because I misread it and didn’t let the cauliflower cool first. Hot, steamy, feet-smelling water all over my hands. It took some effort to wring it out, but with some assistance from the wall of my sink, I think I did an ok job. Her recommendation for a linen dish cloth over cheesecloth is a good one BTW. You really twist the material a lot.

Step 4: Add seasonings, cheese and egg whites. Mix.

  • I just used two whole eggs because I had nothing to do with two yolks and didn’t want to waste them. Also, you should probably check that you have seasoning before you begin this recipe. Turns out, I’m down to Indian spices, wasabi, garlic powder & dill (in addition to S&P, which doesn’t count). In went a heavy dose of garlic powder and hope.

Step 5: On a parchment lined baking sheet, flatten mixture to roughly some thin size.

  • Done! And I trimmed the edges of the parchment because I had visions of my gas oven going up in flames from draping parchment paper. I don’t know that that could happen, but I did not want to find out.

Step 6: Bake for 20 minute.

  • Done!

Step 7: Pull out, top with cheese and bake 5 more minutes.

  • Done!

Step 8: Let cool a bit. Slice and enjoy with marinara!

  • Super done!

Overall assessment: The burning sensation on my hands nearly lasted longer than the food did. It was filling & yummy. It also made a good lunch the next day, although it did make my office smell a bit weird. Also, rinsing the towel you use to wring the water out of the cauliflower is not enough; throw it in the wash fairly quickly. It will smell and will make your sink smell and will make you think the trash or the dog smells until you realize it’s the rinsed, though still gross, dish cloth in your sink. The lesson of all this is that you should probably read a recipe – really read, not scan – before starting it. Lesson learned? Probably not.

Until next time, enjoy your kitchen adventures!

-L