DIY Pumpkin Pet Costume

Bunnies are definitely the cutest animals in existence, but imagine this: a bunny dressed up as a pumpkin. Now that is SUPER CUTE. I decided that this year for Halloween Mose definitely needed her own pumpkin costume, so I took to the sewing machine the other night and whipped one up real quick. This DIY is super easy and fast, and definitely worth it for the cuteness scale.

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While my costume was made specifically for my bunny (I periodically measured it against her to make sure it was going to fit), this same general DIY would work well for any smallish animal. You could even do it for a dog if you have enough fabric. Not that it would be as cute on a dog though.

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Wow, what a super cute pumpkin bunny! Now onto the fun part.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Orange fabric (can be felt; I used this pumpkin patterned calico because it is what I had and it worked great)
  • Fabric for the back layer
  • Green felt
  • Velcro
  • Black Paint

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Step One: Measure your pet and cut out an oval of fabric to the appropriate size.

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Step Two: Cut a hole in the top of your oval for your pet’s neck. Again, I would measure this against your pet. This is essentially like a bib for a pet, so if you know anything about baby bibs keep that in mind.

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Step Three: Using your top piece as a guide, cut out a piece for the back layer of your pet costume. Make sure you place the fabric either wrong side to wrong side or right side to right side as you’re cutting so the edges are perfectly aligned for sewing.

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Step Four: Using your pets girth as a guide, cut out one long strip of felt and one shorter strip of felt. These pieces are for attaching the costume around your pet’s midsection. Mose doesn’t like it when I touch her belly, so it was a bit tricky getting this one done.

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Step Five: Now sew the strips onto your outer piece of fabric, making sure the two strips are evenly placed.

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Step Six: Now it’s time to sew on your back piece. Place your front piece on your work surface pattern side out. Tuck in the felt strips. Place your back piece on top of the front piece pattern side in. Pin if desired.

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Step Seven: Sew along the edges, leaving about an inch-wide opening on the side.

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Step Eight: Trim any excess fabric and then turn costume right side out.

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Step Nine: Iron and then sew a finishing seam along the edges.

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Step Ten: Cut some leaves out of the felt and pin them to the neckline of the costume. Sew.

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Step Eleven: Pin and sew down velcro. Make sure to place them on the correct sides of your strips.

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Step Twelve: Paint a jack-o-lantern onto top.

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Step Thirteen: Put costume on your pet, whether they like it or not! :’D

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If you’re dressing up your pet this halloween, post a pic on instagram and tag @peelsandposies! I’d love to see what you come up with. 🙂

Where I’ve Been Lately, Part 3: A New House (Which Means Renovating)

A couple days after we got home from Texas, Grant and I closed on our house (after months of waiting, it seemed). Yep, that’s right – we’re homeowners! The new place is a little duplex in the town of Ranchester, five miles from where we are currently. The high school where Grant teaches is in Dayton, so he’ll have a bit more of a commute than he did last year (which was like, two minutes across the street), but the middle school where he coaches football is in Ranchester just a block or two away from our new house.

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The house isn’t much and it needs work, but it sure is nice to call something our own. We’ve already put about a million hours into it and have much more to do, but we plan to move in in the next couple of weeks. Luckily for you, I’ll have lots of DIY projects from this venture, and I will be posting lots of pictures!

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For those of you who are curious, here are some of the projects I’ve been busy with (and some of these you may see as tutorials on here eventually):

  • Painting every single surface. What a job.
  • Stenciling, stenciling, and more stenciling. I’m doing a wall in the nursery, some spots in the kitchen, and the basement floors (which are cement that I’ve painted over)
  • Painting the stairs (trying to figure out if I want to do some element of design on the backs)
  • Crafting a frame for a plain bathroom mirror
  • Reinventing some boring white shelves that came with the house

Grant and I have already scraped all the popcorn ceilings, done some drywall work in the basement, torn up the carpet and will be installing wood floors asap. That’s a lot of long days!

Being a homeowner is lots and lots and lots of work, but we just keep telling ourselves that all of the grunting, exhaustion, and filthiness will be worth it in the end!

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Crafting With Nature: DIY Antler Wall Hanging

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So I don’t know about you, but recycling nature is sort of my jam. God made everything perfect, and when things die or are discarded it just seems like such a waste to let them disappear into the ether. That’s why I use twigs from my backyard for hanging wall flags and autumn leaves for gift tags and dried flowers for center pieces (and etc. etc.).

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In Wyoming, the deer are plentiful and I’ve been dying for an antler ever since we moved here. The possibilities for the things are endless. Just for your peace of mind, acquiring antlers does not require the death of the deer. Every season the male deer sheds his antlers and grows new ones (hence the rack size), so finding antler sheds is merely a part of the natural occurrence of things. The other day I was happy to finally find one in a friend’s yard, so I took it home with great dreams of craftiness. We’ll be moving into our new house soon and I can’t wait to hang it on the wall.

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This antler wall hanging is SUPER EASY. The hardest part about it is actually finding the antler, so good luck and I hope it goes well. Other than that, all you will need is acrylic paint, some masking tape, varnish, and string for hanging it.

First step is to put masking tape around where you want your first color block to be. You can also simply freehand it if you’re more comfortable with that.

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If you are using masking tape to paint, let each color block dry before painting the next color block. Don’t worry – acrylic paint doesn’t take too long to dry. If you are doing freehand, you can do them all at the same time. Paint a few different layers for a nice, opaque look. Let it dry completely.

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After the paint has dried, paint it over with varnish. I used glossy varnish because I like the shiny look. You can also use matte varnish. After the varnish has dried (a couple hours), tie some twine around the ends of your antler and VOILA! easy wall hanging that looks super cute on your wall.

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Believe it or not, you can drop up to a hundred bucks on painted antlers on Etsy. So that’s always an option if you love this decor idea, but I would suggest (if you are able) to find your own antler. It’s at essentially no cost to you and makes a really fun and relaxing craft after a busy day at work.

Shed hunting is huge in this part of Wyoming, but there are certain times when it’s best to go. In the early spring right when the wildlife refuges open up again for the season (near us, Amsden and Kerns) people will skip work and school so they can hunt all day for sheds. Most of these people are looking for more valuable sheds like elk and big whitetail antlers (if found in a set, these can be worth hundreds without alteration), but I’m sure the little ones are plentiful as well.

Before Grant and I move away, if we ever do, I want to learn how to be an expert shed hunter. It takes a bit of knowledge about the behavior of the animals – what types of landscape they like to frequent, etc. – and it can takes years to become really profitable at it. But it seems like a fun little hobby, especially if I can paint the end results!

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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you’re lucky I hope you’ll find your own antler to paint someday!

Save the Books: Why We Should Stop Destroying Books for the Sake of Home Decoration

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I am sad to say that books these days are becoming more of a novelty than any thing else. It’s hard to find avid readers out there anymore, and many of those who do read do so on a Kindle or Nook. Rarely do I see a bookshelf full of books when I go over to friends’ houses; instead, shelves are adorned with pictures and trinkets, maybe a photo album. Books are becoming more and more obsolete as every day goes by, and with this an unwelcome trend: that of using books (old and new, unfortunately) for craft and decor projects.

We’ve all seen these projects – book page covered lamp shades, hollowed out books, book page wall papering, book stack lamps, etc, etc. I’ll admit – they look cool. But every time one of these projects pops up on my Facebook news feed I cringe. The reason I have a problem with them is this: books can make a design statement in your home just as books, no alteration necessary. Now, if the book being used is literally falling apart (aka pages falling freely from the binding) go ahead and use it. Recycle it. Make it into something beautiful. But the thing about these home decor crafts is that the books being used tend to be shiny and gorgeous – clearly not at the end of their lifespan.

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I Capture the Castle Tapestry, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $30

Book decor, I suppose, is part of the “nerd chic” aesthetic which has been steadily growing in popularity over the years. On that topic, I will say this: Book pages on your walls do not make you look more intelligent – books on your shelves do.

Here are a couple straightforward reasons we should not be destroying perfectly good books for craft projects:

  1. Books were made for reading. That is their purpose.
  2. There are people out there who want those books you are defacing, I promise. (I happen to be one of those people.)

Now, I am well aware that sometimes libraries throw books out after library sales because there are simply too many. I know that some books are beyond repair and beyond saving. By all means, if you find a Reader’s Digest Condensed book from the sixties, do something cool with it. But if it’s a beautiful old copy of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier or a vintage biology textbook with an amazing cover, DO NOT destroy it.

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Mosses From An Old Manse Tapestry, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $25

If you love the look of book decor and definitely prescribe to the nerd chic aesthetic, there are ways of decorating your home without murdering the souls of book-lovers. For instance, I started selling vintage book-cover tapestries in my shop a couple months ago. They capture the spirit of the old book without harming it. Another fun idea (which I totally want to do once we purchase our own home) is to paint a wall to resemble a page out of one of your favorite books. You can also simply make or buy artwork that features your favorite quotes from literature – this is an awesome way to make your home look sophisticated and smart.

Just please spare the books.

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Silas Marner Tapestry, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $30

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The Benefits of Sewing Your Own Purses

Or maybe this post should just be called “The Benefits of Sewing Your Own Stuff”… Seriously, teaching myself how to sew was probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. Now, I’m no savant (I can’t make high-fashion clothes or anything like that) but the basics have been pretty easy to master and for that I am eternally grateful.

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Custom Bookshelf Purse, $45

Hand-sewn purses are my topic today.

Let me tell you a story. I used to be a purse addict. Back in middle school and high school, I literally could not get enough of purses. Every time I went to Target I came home with a new one, and eventually I realized I had a problem (this epiphany happened in the form of opening my closet to an avalanche of purses no longer in use). Once I went to college and figured I should be spending my money on more important things, my addiction started to wane.

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Peace Love Books Purse, $35

I still love purses, but largely only the ones I make myself. Here’s why: In making my own purses they can be (1). the exact size that I want, (2). the exact look that I want and (3). cheap. It can be hard to find a purse that fits these three key criteria.

My first foray into purse-making was with this cat purse that I still am very fond of, but it eventually outgrew my needs. Currently, I make and sell (on Etsy) my messenger bags, which are perfect for everything I do in life.

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Custom Bookshelf Purse, $45

The reason they’re so handy is that they’re simple, easy to wear, and very spacious. And whenever I get tired of one, I can just whip into my stash and -BAM!- new purse. I love that I have all the creative power.

In my opinion, taking the time to make your own purses (or curtains or tablecloths or whatever else that can be sewn in the home) is much more rewarding than spending money and gas to go to Target. You’ll always better appreciate something you make with your own two hands anyway.

Learning to sew is not difficult. You don’t have to be an artist to do it. All you need is fabric, a sewing machine, and some patience. I never use patterns, but I don’t recommend this if you’ve never sewn before. Go to your fabric store and find a simple pattern of something you’d like to have. Try it out, and eventually you’ll realize how magnificent sewing things for yourself really can be. Don’t say you can’t do it just because you’ve never tried.

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Mountain Purse, $38

Of course, you probably do need to be an artist if you want to paint your purses like I do mine 😉 But I’ll give you a hint: textile medium. Find it at Hobby Lobby.

Have a great Friday and sew something!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Nancy Drew Bookshelf Purse, $38

Easy Mirror Makeover

Like I said in my post the other day, I love shopping at craft fairs. It’s one of the ultimate pleasures of life, I think. Before Behind the Picket Fence (the craft fair I did a couple weeks ago) opened its doors for the day, I did some browsing and found an awesome upcycled mirror that I really wanted to buy. But after looking at it for a few moments and pondering the situation, I realized that I could easily replicate the look myself!

IMG_2973IMG_2955I could tell that the mirror at the craft fair had originally been a simple, white framed vintage mirror, and the shop owner had then decoupaged the frame with a gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. scrapbook paper pattern. I think the paper was what really had me drooling for the mirror. I had an old, plain mirror already at home, and I am always armed with a crap ton of mod podge and scrapbook paper, so I decided to go for it. It was a fun and simple project to do, and now I have this gorgeous, spring-worthy mirror setting centerfold on my table! Perfect.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • mod podge
  • wide bristled paint brush
  • scrapbook paper, pattern of your choice
  • vintage mirror, or mirror with plain white frame
  • Polyurethane stain (optional)

IMG_2957First, clean your mirror really well. Especially if you’re using an old mirror, make sure all of the dust and grime is removed from the frame and glass. It makes cleanup way easier later.IMG_2960Next, rip your paper into little pieces. Most of mine were about an inch, but you can do whatever size you’d like as long as it fits your frame. Place your pieces where you think you want them on the mirror, then set them around the edges so they’re easier to grab later.

IMG_2961Now it’s time to mod podge. Take your brush and swipe a good amount of mod podge on a small portion of the frame. It should look like you’re using way too much (it isn’t, believe me). Place the paper on top of the mod podge and smooth it out, making sure the adhesive covers the bottom of the paper as well as the entire top of the paper. This provides a waterproof surface for your mirror. Smooth out any bubbles.

IMG_2963Continue until the entire frame is covered in paper. Let the mod podge dry for 4 to 5 hours. If you’d like to make your mirror even more waterproof, paint over it with a thin layer of polyurethane stain, either clear or with a slight tint (which would give it a more vintage look in the end). Let this dry for at least a day, or until the stain is no longer tacky.

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And like magic, you have a gorgeous, colorful mirror! Making this mirror for myself was way better than buying the one I saw at the craft fair. 😉 I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! If you try it out for yourself, instagram your finished project and tag @peelsandposies! I’d love to see your final product.

🙂

 

10 Ways to Get Out of a Creative Funk

I think March is probably the worst month of winter for me. Growing up in the south, March generally meant Spring – here, March means the month with more snowfall than any other month. Deep in my bones, I know it is supposed to be warm, and even the birds think so too, because they’ve come back and I hear them singing; but when I look out the window and expect to see blue skies and horizons lined with wildflowers, all I see is an endless expanse of white.

My inspiration is waning.

This winter is bad for my health and my craft, and lately I’ve been experiencing a lack of motivation. However, I have a few methods for getting out of a creative funk when I’m stuck in the house, and I would like to share them with you.

It is my opinion that the most important thing to do if you are in a creative funk is to put down whatever you’re working on. Just walk away, forget about it for a little while. I don’t care about your deadlines or personal goals – in the end, taking a break will be worth it. So with that in mind, here are some techniques I use for getting out of a funk.

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1. Do some spring cleaning. This is my favorite thing to do when I’ve lost my verve; I’ll put on some loud music, grab a sponge, and let my mind wander as I scrub the stains out of our stupid porcelain sink. I went through the whole house earlier this week and cleaned cleaned cleaned. Winter lets the dust settle over a sleeping house, and it seems like cleaning it away banishes the dust of my mind as well.

2. Organize your craft room/work space. If you don’t feel like tackling the whole house, aim for just the area where you spend most of your time. When I reorganize/clean my craft room, I notice the difference immediately. It can be as simple as vacuuming up all the flyaway thread pieces and a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders.

3. Revisit a favorite book. I do this often. If I’m feeling uninspired, it really helps to thumb through some of my most-loved novels, trying to find favorite passages. Sometimes I will stumble across a quote I’d forgotten about that inspires to me make something new.

4. Organize a bookshelf. Sometimes thumbing through my favorite books leads to me taking all of them off their shelves and completely reorganizing them. I LOVE organizing books, and it really knocks stuff loose in my creative attic.

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5. Bake something. Baking is a huge stress reliever for me, and we all know the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting through the house is intoxicating. The smell alone is enough to inspire.

6. Plant something and watch it grow. There’s nothing quite like watching the progression from a seed to a tiny sprout to a full grown plant. Obviously, this takes a little bit longer than baking a loaf of bread or doing a DIY, but it is still a fun activity for when you’re feeling unmotivated. If you don’t want to mess with soil and pots, try sprouting lentils.

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7. Redecorate a wall in your house. Sometimes you just need to change things up a bit. Rearrange your gallery wall or move the wall hangings in the bedroom to the living room. Simple changes like this can help freshen up your house and your attitude.

8. Make something you don’t normally make. Get on Pinterest and find a fun, springish DIY – maybe something to decorate your walls with – and try it out. Even if the funk you are in is a creative one, sometimes doing a project in a different line of creativity will help you get out of it.

9. Go to your local Goodwill or thrift store and find something unique. Old stuff always seems to inspire me, so if I’m deep in the mires of creative paralysis, I love to go thrifting. Last weekend my husband and I went to a huge antique mall where I found some truly beautiful old books and a plethora of other awesome goods.

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10. Exercise. If all else fails, go to the gym. Physical activity is known to promote improved brain function, and for me burning calories and sweating a little bit really helps me get motivated in other areas of my life.

DSCN7678Creative funks are stupid, I know, but don’t let yourself be discouraged! Just keep moving, creating, and seeking inspiration. If you have any methods for shaking a creative funk, share them in the comments!

Simple Spring Wall Hanging Tutorial

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As I predicted, the weather has turned sour once more. It’s certainly not as cold as it could be, but it is cold. *Tears* I just must have a little spring in my house, though, so I decided to make a fresh and flowery wall hanging, consisting of simply a branch, some mountain pinecones, a few fake flowers, and twine. It’s a DIY that takes only a few minutes, and adds a lot of cheer to a winter immeshed home!

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In the summer when the wildflowers are blooming, I want to make a similar wall hanging to this one, but with real flowers instead of the fake ones. For now, however, this one suffices – I love how easy it was to make and that I didn’t have to go to the store to get any materials (the flowers were leftover from a bouquet of fake flowers I used in a different project).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a medium to large sized branch, depending on how big you want your wall hanging to be.
  • cotton twine cut into 5 (or more) 24″ pieces
  • Fake flowers, cut from the bouquet leaving a small length of stem
  • 3 pinecones (or any other end adornment you can think of)

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First, tie your first piece of string to the end of the branch. Double knot it so it doesn’t slip. Next, begin tying your flowers to the string, knotting at the base of the stem.

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Wrap the end of the string around the pinecone so that it will not come loose (about four or five times). Now simply repeat the entire process for the remaining length of the stick, leaving an appropriately sized gap between each garland strand. Trim off any excess string.

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And that’s it!

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I can’t believe how cute this wall hanging turned out. What makes this project fun is that the wall hanging will look completely different depending on what type and color of flower you use. It is so easily customizable that it could fit into any home!

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If you try your hand at this DIY, post a picture of it on instagram and tag @peelsandposies!

 

DIY Felt Ranunculus Wreath

Okay, it’s time for winter to be banished. Last week we happily experienced some delightful, above average temperatures in Dayton (up to nearly 60 one day) and it was soooo good that all I could think about was flowers and farmers’ markets and fresh vegetables. Of course, it snowed again yesterday, so I’m in the slumps once more, but I have a lovely ranunculus flower wreath hanging on my door now to remind me that spring will come eventually.

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Since there are no flowers to be had this time of year, and I didn’t feel like making a run-of-the-mill fake flower wreath, I decided to make some felt flowers. Ranunculus are my favorite type of flower (I had them in my wedding bouquet!) and they are relatively easy to recreate using felt and hot glue. I would have gone for some brighter, more springish colors, but red, cream, and white were all I had in my felt collection and I wanted to use what I had before going out and buying more.

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Even though the colors weren’t exactly what I had in mind, I really like how it turned out. It’s kind of romantic, perfect for the approaching Valentine’s Day. The little note on the side says “love lives here” which is interchangeable, so perhaps after Valentine’s Day I’ll change it out for a different quote or saying.

MATERIALS for flowers:

  • Felt (I used red, white, and cream)
  • Green craft paper
  • Floral wire
  • Hot glue gun and sticks
  • Scissors

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Step one: Cut out one sheet of felt into small circles (about 30).

Step two: Take your first circle cutout and cut a small hole through the center. Cut a short length of floral wire and put it through the hole in your cut out. Press it against the felt. Put a dab of hot glue over the wire and mush your felt into a flower shape.

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Step three: Take your next circle and put a line of hot glue along the bottom. Wrap it around your center flower mush.

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Step four: Continue with the process until your flower is the size you want it. Next, take your paper cutout and cut a hole in the center.

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Step five: Place it on the floral wire, add some hot glue to the base of the flower, and press down on the paper.

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MATERIALS for wreath:

  • About 9 felt ranunculus
  • Paper covered floral wire
  • Extra floral wire (plain)
  • Cutout paper leaves
  • Extra greenery
  • Hot glue gun and sticks

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Step one: Use the paper covered floral wire to create a round wreath form. I used two layers of wire for the top and three-four for the bottom of the wreath for added support for the flowers.

Step two: Start attaching your flowers by wrapping the floral wire stem around the bottom of your wreath form.

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Step three: Continue attaching flowers, adding hot glue where necessary, until the bottom of the wreath form is filled.

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Step four: Finally, add your paper leaves and extra greenery until the wreath is filled to your liking. Attach them with hot glue.

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For the note on the side, I simply used my typewriter to type out “love lives here,” and used rubber cement to glue it on to scrapbook paper. It is attached with a clothespin. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you try it be sure to post it to instagram with a @peelsandposies tag!

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