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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Continuing the Tradition: A Christmas Gingerbread House

I think my favorite holiday tradition growing up was making gingerbread houses. When it came to gingerbread houses, my mom went all out – and when I say all out I mean all out. She made them completely from scratch, from the walls to the icing, and most years she not only made one house but a village. The one for our house was always an elaborate mansion, while the houses meant for the neighbors or friends were smaller cabins. And she also always made one specially for my brother, sister, and me to decorate.

The few days a year we spent constructing and decorating gingerbread houses were always the most exciting for me. We got to see the creation of something from start to finish: dough to building pieces to a beautiful, fully decorated house. I cling to those memories, and am determined to make it a lasting tradition in my home as well.

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If you’ve never made a gingerbread house, let me tell you this: it is a lot of work. Going at it alone makes me really appreciate my mom, because not only would she make a bunch at a time, but they always looked perfect. I haven’t yet mastered that quality of perfection in my houses, but perhaps as the years go on I’ll get as good as she is.

This year I decided to make a gingerbread forest cabin, inspired by the quaint dwellings in the woods of the Bighorn Mountains. As you can see, I don’t like to leave a lot undecorated, but believe me, the gingerbread is under there. Doesn’t it just make for the perfect winter centerpiece?! 🙂

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The stone-like siding is made from saltines, the roof from wheat chex, and the snow from pounds of royal icing. I like going overboard on the snow. One year I made a gingerbread beach house and it just wasn’t the same without a snowy roof.

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The windows are made with melted sugar. Simply place about a cup or so of sugar in a pot, and on medium, heat the sugar until it is melted and thin. It is very easy to burn, so be careful. To add some flare to your windows, add a drop or two of food coloring.

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The gingerbread recipe I used is from The Weekend Crafter Cookbook, Making Gingerbread Houses. I like this recipe  because it uses butter instead of shortening and it is delicious enough to snack on while assembling your house (if you have extra, of course!).

My house takes one batch of this dough.

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GINGERBREAD DOUGH

cream until light and fluffy:
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
add and blend on low speed:
3/4 cup molasses
sift, add, and blend until all the flour is absorbed:
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp groung ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
add and blend:
3/4 cup cold water

After dough has been mixed, separate it into two balls and cover completely with saran wrap. Store in fridge for a minimum of three hours and a maximum of three days.

When you are ready to bake your gingerbread house, roll it out onto a floured surface. I always put parchment paper beneath my dough so that it is easy to move to the baking sheet after my shapes have been cut out. Bake the gingerbread in an oven preheated to 350 degrees until the dough is deep brown but not black (about 20 minutes). Place your pattern pieces on top of the baked cookie to make sure they are still the right shape and size as your pattern. If they are not, trim the edges, being careful not to burn yourself. After your pieces have cooled on the baking sheet for a few minutes, carefully transfer them to a cookie drying rack. Let them cool and harden completely, about 25 minutes. If they still seem soft after this, put them back into the oven for a few minutes. You want your pieces to be completely dry and crisp, as they are building materials, not cookies for eating.

ROYAL ICING (from Wilton’s website)

4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp meringue powder
5 tbsp warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Be sure to keep your utensils and bowl clean and grease-free so the icing will reach proper consistency.

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Below is the pattern I made for my gingerbread forest cabin. If you’d like to try it, copy and paste the images into a word document and enlarge them so they each fit an entire sheet of paper. Print. This should be to scale so that your gingerbread house will come out right. When cutting your gingerbread pieces, lay down the cut out pattern piece on top of the rolled gingerbread and cut around the paper with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

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Easy Christmas Decor Idea: Ornament Bunting

Between making custom gifts, sending out orders, and doing transcription work, I’ve been super busy this week and and therefore a little lax on the blog posts the last few days, so I apologize. Also, I still haven’t gotten my camera cord in the mail (sniff, sniff), so I can’t take pictures of any of my new/current projects. Such as the gingerbread house that is half finished on the table right now! 😉

In spite of this all, I do have a fun and easy idea I want to share with you for Christmas decorating – ornament buntings. I did this a couple weeks ago while decorating my house for the season, and It takes just a few minutes to do and really adds a festive air to any room.

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My tree this year is rustic themed, but I wanted to utilize these gorgeous golden mirror ornaments I got a few years ago. Since they did not match my tree, I decided to string them onto some twine and hang them over a couple doorways in my house. This is an easy way to bring Christmas into every room without going overboard.

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All you need is:

  • some ornaments you are not using on your tree
  • twine
  • ribbon, if there isn’t already ribbon on the ornaments

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Now here’s the easiest DIY on the planet – simply tie the ornament onto the twine in a bow, and space them evenly the length of your doorway! To attach to the doorway I used command strip hooks.

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And there you have it. If that’s not the easiest way to decorate for Christmas I don’t know what is. 🙂

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And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

-Luke 2:13-14

DIY Planter (with Recycled Tomato Can)

The lack of greenery outside depresses me during the winter. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see potted window herbs for sale in the produce section of Walmart a couple weeks ago, and I just had to buy my favorite kind, basil. Basil is good in so many dishes, and I love having such easy access to it.

I didn’t have any extra pots to put it in, though, so I decided to make my own. This is a super simple DIY project that only requires a large can, some fabric, and mod podge. It makes for a great little window plant for yourself or even as a gift for the gardener or gourmet chef in your life.

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First step: Hammer some holes into the bottom of your can. This is so the water will drain out of the soil and not drown your plant. It can be done with a hammer and nail.

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Next, cut the fabric you are going to use to size.

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Paint your can with a thick layer of mod podge.

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Carefully smooth your fabric onto your can, making sure the edges of the fabric are even.

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Finally, paint a layer of mod podge over your fabric to seal it and protect it from water.

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Let your can dry completely before planting your herb or flower. This may take up to a day. When your can is dry, layer the bottom with some medium sized rocks. This is to further help the draining process. Finally, fill with soil and plant!

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I set my planter on a cute vintage tea plate to capture any spare water so it won’t ruin my windowsill. If you don’t have a window in your kitchen, be sure to keep it somewhere where there is still plenty of light. This is a great way to brighten up a dismal winter kitchen!

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And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

-Luke 2:8-12

DIY Rustic Cinnamon Stick Ornaments

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Part two of my tree decorating frenzy included making rustic ornaments made from cinnamon sticks. I’ve got two different tutorials here for you today, each super easy and super cute.

DSCN8644For both tutorials, this is what you’ll need:

  • craft cinnamon sticks
  • twine
  • hot glue gun and sticks
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • glitter (whichever color will match your tree)
  • mod podge

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First, for the star ornaments. Really the only thing tricky about this one is figuring out which way to lay out the sticks so they don’t look awkward and misshapen as a star. Take five cinnamon sticks and lay them into a star pattern, putting a dab of hot glue on the tips of the sticks where two will meet.

Hopefully my pictures will help you figure it out.

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Voila! Now tie some string around the top of your star for hanging it on the tree.

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The next step is glitter-ifying it. Cover the entire front surface of your star with a thin layer of mod podge. Then, simply sprinkle with glitter. I chose a light, shimmery glitter for these ones – understated but glorious!

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My second rustic ornament tutorial is this glitter tipped bundle of sticks. You need the same materials.

Choose about five or six cinnamon sticks. Place them on top of a piece of twine approximately four or five inches long. Tie the twine tight and finish it off in a bow.

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Now, place a piece of masking tape around the tip the bundle where you’d like your glitter to be.

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Cover it in mod podge and dip it in the glitter of your choice. I chose gold for this one.  Let dry completely before removing the masking tape.

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These ornaments could also be made with twigs from your backyard if you’re feeling extra rustic. I happened to have two bags of cinnamon sticks lying around, so that’s what I chose for my tree. It also helps that they smell cinnamony and sweet! This simple tutorial would be a great idea for a family activity if you have kids. 🙂

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DIY Everlasting Snowflake Ornaments

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Even after a few years in the north, it still seems awkward to have snow before Christmas. Well honestly, having snow at all is a bit awkward, but growing up in Texas I craved snow on Christmas Eve and Day – I wanted nothing to do with snow before or after, but it was just a very Christmassy thing. I think I’ll always be a Texan at heart. (Though the snow is growing on me a little bit.)

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Wyoming has now had its second snow storm and the past few days have been bitterly cold. After a rather mild fall, I have had to succumb to the realization that winter has truly arrived (negative temperatures outside leave no room for error), but this has merely kicked my Christmas decorating into high gear.

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These are all deer tracks…in my backyard.
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I actually startled these two, who started running as soon as they noticed me stomping through the snow.

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Since we have snow outside, it’s always nice to bring a little inside as well. No, not the wet, melty kind, but the kind that simply hang on your tree or wall and look beautiful. I have always LOVED making paper snowflakes – I think they are one of the most simple and beautiful winter DIYs in existence. A few years ago I learned how to make a six-point snowflake (rather than the four or eight-point snowflakes you learn how to make in elementary school) and I have never gone back.

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Of course, paper is not the best material for long-lasting decor. It shreds, disintegrates with a drop of water, and crumples. To truly immortalize my lovely six-point snowflakes, I came up with a fool-proof plan, and now I can hang them on my tree for a chic, rustic look without worrying about them falling apart before the season is over.

Here is how I did it:

You’ll need

  • plain printer paper, cut into a square
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun and sticks
  • shimmer spray (optional but oh-so-pretty)

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First, fold your square paper in half at the corners.

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Now fold this in half at the bottom corners so that you have a right triangle.

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Next, fold your two outer corners in so that they are equally shaped. It should look like this.

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Cut the top off in a diagonal.

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Now begin cutting out your shapes.

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Open it up and you have a lovely snowflake!

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Now for the fun part. Choose a side to be your front and hot glue every inch of paper. This makes the snowflake durable, bendable, and perfect for sticking on your tree, no string required.

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Lastly, spray your beautiful snowflake with shimmer spray after the glue has completely dried.

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It may take a few snowflakes for you to get the hang of the pattern cutting. My first one of the season always looks a little janky, but the more you cut, the more comfortable your hands get. Each snowflake comes out more beautiful than the one before it, I swear. If you want a variety of sizes, simply start with a full sized sheet of printer paper (cut down to a square) and use the leftover paper to make smaller ones. The small ones are more difficult to cut, but are very cute!

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And that’s all it takes. There are really lots of things you can do with these everlasting snowflakes. Last year I made a “quilt” out of them. You could also make them into a bunting or put them in frames and hang them up for a wintery gallery wall.

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DIY Leaves and Pinecones Fall Wreath

Happy Halloween, everyone! In celebration of the season, I would like to share with you this super fun DIY natural wreath I made last weekend. There is nothing like a fall wreath to welcome you into a home. I really love making wreaths because they take less precision than the other pretties I make. All day I’m using tiny brushes and squinting until my eyes go cross, trying to paint these tiny words and pictures. So taking a step back and  making a project that can afford some mess-ups and stumbles is a welcome break.

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This DIY Leaves and Pinecones Fall Wreath is completely natural – everything you see came from my backyard! (Except the wire base.)

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This ^ is what I call my Autumn Box of Treasures. Every time I go outside to take a walk or pet the horses in my backyard, I find things I just can’t let get away. So I go inside and put these things in my box. It’s handy having a box like this, because everything I used for my wreath came right out of it!

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Such as pinecones.

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And leaves.

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And sticks.

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And more leaves.

Now, I hope you have an Autumn Box of Treasures, but if you don’t you can start one now. Go outside and gather some pretty things for your wreath. You will also need:

  • A thick wire for your base. The type I used is covered in brown twine, and can be found at Hobby Lobby.
  • Floral wire, which can also be found at Hobby Lobby or Walmart.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks.

Now let’s get started.

The first thing you will want to do is form a circle with the wire. This will be the base of your wreath, so make the bottom a few layers thick.

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Next, attach pinecone to the bottom of your wreath by twisting floral wire around them. Make sure they are tight. These pinecones will form a sturdier and thicker base for glueing on your leaves and sticks.

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Now it’s time to start attaching your leaves and sticks. Put them wherever your heart leads you, but try to cover as much of the green floral wire as you can. This step is the really fun part, because you can make your wreath as exuberant and full as you’d like.

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Keep glueing and arranging until you like the way it looks. Lastly, spray some clear gloss varnish over top it to protect it from the elements, and it’s ready for door hanging!

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Here is my wreath in action. What a lovely piece of door decor this wreath makes!

Enjoy!

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DIY Reversible Bunting

You’re going to have to bear with me – this is kind of a technical DIY blog post, with lots of instructions. But the end result is great!

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If you’re like me, you are horrible at making decisions. I stand in front of the jam section at the grocery store for 15 minutes trying to decide between apricot or strawberry. I agonize over which laundry detergent to choose. When I am making a sewing craft, it literally takes me longer to decide which fabric to choose than it takes to make the thing. With this DIY reversible bunting, you can choose your two favorite patterns, and cut your agonizing in half!

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So here’s how I did it:

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1. Cut out a cardboard triangle the size you want for your bunting. Choose your two fabrics, and for a “Give Thanks” bunting, cut out 11 triangles of each fabric.

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2. Iron all of your pieces.

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3. If you choose a white fabric or a really thin fabric, iron on backing so it is less see through and flimsy. You can skip this step if you feel your fabric is thick enough.

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3. Place your pieces out sides together and then sew a seam through the top of the fabric.

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4. Sew another seam where I’ve marked in black below. This way, you have an opening for the string and you will also be able to easily turn it right side out.

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5. Trim your edges and turn your triangle right side out.

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6. Iron and sew a final seam on the top and sides again.

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7. Now that you’ve finished sewing, paint on your letters. I used acrylic paint mixed with textile medium.

8. The final step is stringing some twine through your triangles, and I have a trick to make it easier. Find a skinny paintbrush (a pencil would work too) and duct tape your twine around it. That way, you can string your triangles with ease! Make sure you set them out in the order they are supposed to go before having at it. It is easy to get them confused and end up with gibberish.

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And there you have it!

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Making Candles at Home

I am so obsessed with candles omgeeeee. Especially when it gets to this time of year. Sometimes all I feel like doing is burying my nose into a frosted cupcake candle and literally doing nothing else. My husband gets exasperated every time we walk by the candle section in Wal-Mart because we inevitably linger there for fifteen to twenty minutes so I can smell all the new flavors.

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So last time we were wasting our lives away in the Wal-Mart candle section, I had a lightbulb moment – DIY candles!

It is so easy! And cheap! And you can use the prettiest dish you want! Make your way over to Wal-Mart and get these things:

  • Parrafin wax (find it by the baking section)
  • Twisted cotton twine (hardware section)
  • Essential oils (candle section)
  • A pretty dish if you don’t have one at home.

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One pound of paraffin wax will make two to three candles of the size I made. It cost about $2.50, I believe. The essential oils cost $0.98 a piece, so that’s a steal! Cotton twine is inexpensive as well, so when I say this is a cheap DIY, it’s true.

I decided to choose Warm Sugar Cookie and Cinnamon scent for my essential oil. I mixed them, because I wanted a really sweet, delicious, fall smelling scent. You can choose any number of scents to mix, but make sure your scents are complimentary or your candle will be ruined!

So here’s how to do it.

First, cut a length of twine longer than the height of your container. Tape it to the bottom of your container with duct tape. If you are using a clear jar, use clear tape. Pull the string so it is tight and straight, and place it between two paint brushes or pencils, taping those together tightly. Now your container is ready.

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Next, prepare a double boiler. Find a heat proof bowl (one you don’t mind getting full of wax) and a pot on which the bowl will sit. Fill the pot about half way with water. Put the water on heat and boil. While the water heats up, break your wax into smaller pieces so it melts evenly.

Place your wax in the heatproof bowl and set on top of boiling water. Heat the wax until it reaches 120 degrees or is completely melted.

Take your wax off the heat and add your oils. I used about half a bottle of each of my scents. Mix in gently.

Carefully pour your wax into the container with the wick. Let the wax cool for 24 hours before burning.

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And there you have it! Candle made at home! Mine turned out fantastically and smells absolutely delicious. I also really love the container I used because I feel like it has a distinctive Halloween vibe.

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I hope you enjoy!