Pumpkin Candle Holder

1-100_1705Pumpkin Candle Holder

Since my kids are older, I find that my holiday decorating has evolved from the plastic manufactured holiday decorations, to decorations that are mainly handmade and carry a theme with their color and presentation. There are no more plastic clings in the windows that have been stuck on with spit. I still like whimsical decorations, but they are sprinkled among more sophisticated items that say “adults live here and they still like to have fun.”

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the crispness to the air, the leaves crunching under my feet and the warm glow of a fireplace or candles. The house I live in does not have a fireplace, so candles it is. I made a fall candle holder using a pumpkin as the base. It looks great as a table centerpiece, but would also be pretty on a fireplace mantle or side table.

The instructions for this candle holder can be altered to fit any size pumpkin by adjusting the size of the candle used.

Materials Needed:

Pumpkin-mine was about the size of a basketball
Serrated knife or pumpkin carving tools
Pillar candle-Mine was 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall
Marking pen
Spoon or scoop of some sort
Object to use as a pedestal
Fall floral decorations
Hot glue gun-optional

Carefully cut around the stem of your pumpkin and remove it. This cut does not need to be a perfect circle, but it does need to be smaller than the diameter of your candle.

Stand the pillar candle over the hole and trace around it with a marking pen. If the top of the pumpkin is not level, tip the candle to a level position before tracing around it. Cut around the traced line, keeping the cuts straight up and down. You do want to be fairly precise with this cut. The candle will fit inside this hole snuggly to prevent a lot of air flow. The less air in the pumpkin, the longer it will last.

Dilemma: To clean out the guts or not to clean out the guts. I decided to clean and cut away the guts directly below the hole I had carved, but I left the rest inside. The guts inside are not going to show anyway. The spot below the hole needed the space for a pedestal to place the candle on. I figured the candle would begin to sink after a few days if it didn’t have a stable surface to rest on.

Scavenge for a plastic or glass object that will fit inside the hole of the pumpkin to create a pedestal for your candle. It needs to sit flat on the bottom of the pumpkin and the top of it needs to sit below the cutout opening. I used a glass bud vase. Place your pillar candle inside the hole and resting securely on the pedestal.

2-100_1705-001Decorate around the base of the candle. Place a fall floral candle ring around the candle, wind a short section of a fall garland around the candle, or hot glue a variety of silk fall leaves, flowers and berries around the candle. The first two ideas are much more frugal. The pumpkin will eventually decay and you can recycle decorations for a new candle holder.

There are a couple of safety tips I feel I should mention. One, do not leave your candle burning in an unoccupied room and two, place your pumpkin on a plate or flower pot saucer to prevent any seepage from destroying your table’s surface.

1-100_1705Enjoy!

Foam Cone Candy Corn-Tutorial

7-DSCN2206-001Foam Cone Candy Corn

When the kids go back to school, I start getting serious about crafting for fall and winter holidays. More specifically, I begin stocking up on quick projects to sell at local craft sales. This whimsical candy corn couldn’t be more simple. Made with a foam cone as the base, it is quickly wrapped with ripped strips of fabric. Make several candy corns in a variety of sizes and display them in a basket, or as a centerpiece on a dining table.

Things You Will Need:

White cotton fabric
Ruler
Scissors
Foam cone
Craft glue
Yellow cotton fabric
Marking pen
Orange cotton fabric

1-DSCN2196-001Rip 1-inch-wide strips of white cotton fabric. The strips can be any length, making this a great project for using up scraps. The amount of strips needed will depend on the size of the cone you are using. If you are being frugal, start with a few and rip more as needed.

2-DSCN2197-001Apply craft glue to the top point of your cone and around the first inch below the top. Fold one end of a strip over the top, completely covering the tip. Turn the strip and wrap around the cone just below the top. This start will hide the tip and secure the end of the strip.

3-DSCN2198-001Add more glue to the sides of the cone. Continue to wrap strips, overlapping the side edges of the strips after each wrap around the cone. You can completely cover the sides of the cone with glue at this time, but to avoid a mess, I apply glue to the next couple of inches below the top, continue to wrap the strips and add more glue as needed. As you finish off one strip, continue to add more until the whole cone has been wrapped with white fabric. Do not cover the bottom of the cone.

Lay yellow cotton fabric with the wrong side facing up on your work surface. Stand the cone on the fabric. Using a marking pen, trace around the bottom of the cone, 1 inch from the cone’s edge. Cut out the circle of yellow fabric.

4-DSCN2200-001Apply craft glue to the flat bottom of the cone. Place the fabric circle on the bottom with the right side of the fabric facing out. Center the circle with an even amount extending past the edges of the cone’s bottom. Cut the extended fabric in slits spaced 1/4 inch apart. Apply glue to the back of each slit and fold them over the edge of the cone.

5-DSCN2203-001Rip 1-inch-wide strips of the yellow cotton fabric. Starting on the sides of the bottom edge, apply glue and wrap the strip around the cone. Continue wrapping up the cone in the same way as the white strips were attached. Stop when the bottom third of the cone has been wrapped in yellow.

6-DSCN2205-001Rip 1-inch-wide strips of orange fabric. Wrap and glue them over the middle third of the cone. Note: The top white third does not need to be wrapped again.

7-DSCN2206-001To embellish, wrap raffia, jute or a fabric strip around the center of the candy corn and tie into a bow. Glue two or three buttons to the cone as desired.

Enjoy!

Spider Web Mug Rug Tutorial

5-DSCN2239Spider Web Mug Rug Tutorial

As the weather gets chillier, the cocoa starts coming out of the cupboard. In keeping with the season, make a spider web mug rug to add to the seasonal atmosphere. Make a set for your home, or give them as gifts to family and friends. From beginning to end, this mug rug took approximately 20 minutes to complete. If you are making several, cut out the pieces and construct in an assembly line fashion for faster completion. I used a solid black fabric for this project so that the lines of the spider web would pop. You could also use other fabric and thread colors for added whimsy.

Things You Will Need:

Card stock
Compass
Scissors
Black fabric
Ruler
Quilt batting
Straight pins
Tailor’s chalk
Sewing machine
Black thread
Iron
White thread

Step 1
Trace a 5-inch circle on card stock using a compass. Cut out the circle.

Step 2
Measure and cut two 6-inch squares from black fabric and one 6-inch square from quilt batting. Lay the quilt batting square on your work surface. Place the black fabric squares together with the right sides facing. Stack the fabric squares on the batting square. Pin through all layers to secure.

1-DSCN2227Step 3
Center the card stock circle on the top black square. Trace around the circle using tailor’s chalk.

2-DSCN2229Step 4
Sew the circle, stitching on the chalk line. Leave a 2 inch opening for turning. Cut out the circle approximately 1/8 inch outside the stitch line. At the opening of the circle cut at least a 1/2 inch from the chalk line. Turn the circle right side out and press. Hand sew the opening closed.

3-DSCN2232Step 5
Mark a dot in the center of the coaster using tailor’s chalk.

4-DSCN2233Starting on one edge of the coaster, top stitch across the center to the opposite edge using the white thread. This is across the diameter of the circle. Continue to top stitch across the coaster until you have a total of eight equal pie sections.

5-DSCN2239Step 6
The lines from the center of the circle to the outer edge are the radius lines. Connect the radius lines across the pie sections. Start at the center of one radius line on a pie section. You do not need to measure this, eyeballing is sufficient. Stitch straight across the pie section to the next radius line. Continue stitching across the center of each pie section until you reach the beginning line once again. For the sake of clarity, I’ll call the lines just made “horizontal” lines.

Step 7
Repeat step 6 half way between the horizontal lines and the center of the circle. Repeat one last time between the first horizontal lines and the outer edge of the circle.

If you don’t have a compass, there are other options for making a circle pattern. I used my Cricut Expression to cut out my circle. Measuring objects around the house may also yield a circle shape of the right diameter.

Enjoy!

Fall Leaf Bowl Fillers

Fall Leaf Bowl FillersAre you looking for natural fall decorations, but you’re not too excited about bringing bugs and dirt into your house? These fall leaf bowl fillers may be just the craft project for you. Yes, it does involve bringing in a couple of leaves to use as a pattern, but once your pattern is made, they can go back outside where they belong.

1-y212First off, head outside and find a leaf that has a good size and shape. Trace the leaf on the paper side of freezer paper.

2-y214Lay the traced freezer paper on the right side of your chosen fabric. Iron the fabric. This will temporarily adhere the freezer paper to the fabric.

I used upholstery samples that had been discontinued at a home improvement store, and some scrap pieces I had leftover from previous upholstery jobs. This project can really be made with any fabric, so there is no need to limit yourself to the fabric I used.

3-y213Sketch the veins of the leaf onto the traced paper leaf. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew over the sketched lines. Cut the fabric around the traced leaf shape. Peel the paper off the fabric.

Tip: Smaller (tighter) zig-zag stitches will make the needle-perforated paper easier to remove.

Lay a matching fabric scrap on your work surface with the wrong side facing up. Place the cut fabric leaf on the fabric with the right side facing up. Pin the pieces together. Sew the top leaf to the fabric 1/4 inch from the edge using a straight stitch. Leave a 2-inch opening on one edge.

4-y215Cut the excess fabric from the back using the front leaf as a guide. Stuff the leaf and continue to sew closed.

Fall Leaf Bowl FillersEnjoy!

Fall Burlap Bag-Tutorial

Fall Burlap Bag-TutorialFall Burlap Bag

Sew a fall burlap bag to hang on your wall filled with a display of fall foliage. With appliqued fall leaves and a bit of trim, this bag can be displayed throughout the cool autumn months. Make them for yourself, to sell, or give as gifts to neighbors and friends.

Things You Will Need:

Silk fall leaves
Lightweight fusible web
Parchment paper
Iron
Scissors
Burlap
Measuring tape
Sewing machine
Straight pins
Scrap of lace trim
Twine

Peel the plastic stems and veins from two silk fall leaves. You do not want anything on the leaves.

1-y419Lay a piece of lightweight fusible web with the glue side up on your ironing surface. Place the leaves with their front sides facing up on the web. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over the leaves and the web. Iron over the parchment paper to fuse the leaves to the fusible web. The parchment paper will protect your iron from the glue on the web, and it will not stick to the glue.

Remove the parchment paper. Cut the fusible web around the leaves.

2-y420Cut two 8-inch-wide by 10-inch-long rectangles from burlap. Lay one rectangle on your work surface. Turn so the rectangle is running lengthwise. This will be the front of your bag. Peel the paper from the back of the leaves. Center and arrange the leaves on the rectangle. Iron the leaves to fuse them to the burlap. Sew a zigzag or decorative stitch around the edges of the leaves to secure.

3-y421Lay the remaining rectangle on your work surface. Place the bag front on the rectangle with the leaf side facing down. Pin the long edges and the short bottom edge of the bag together. Sew the pinned edges using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

4-y422Turn the open edge of the bag 1/2 inch to the wrong side, press and pin. Sew the pinned edge to hem the top opening of the bag. Turn the bag right side out and press.

Cut a 7 1/2-inch length of scrap trim or lace. For a more primitive touch, I used recycled trim from an old pillowcase. I liked the aged color and imperfections.

Lay the bag with the front side facing up. Place the trim along the bottom edge, overlapping 1/4 inch on the bottom of the bag. Pin the the trim to the bag. Top stitch along the pinned edge to attach the trim.

Fall Burlap Bag-TutorialCut a 18-inch length of twine. Tie a knot on each end. Place one end inside the bag at one seam. Pin the knot 1 inch below the top edge of the bag. Sew across the twine, just above the knot. Pin and sew the other end of the twine to the remaining seam on the bag.

Insert silk leaves, dried flowers or other fall floral decorations in the bag. Hand the bag on your wall, a door knob or peg hook.