Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall Leaf Garland

I love the changing seasons....especially summer to fall!  The air is crisp but not frigid, the colors are brilliant and energizing,  and of course there are all the wonderful tastes and smells involved with the harvest season! 

Montana has such a short fall, I relish every minute of it! The kids and I got an early start on autumn this year by making this easy, pretty garland, and bringing some of the fall color inside.

1) Walking in the woods and bringing home colorful treasures is one of the funnest parts about this project! We started to look for leaves as soon as they started to change color, because we wanted to be certain that we would have enough leaves in good shape.  Try to find leaves that are mostly whole and clean.

 2) Gather paper...White copy paper works fine, but if you can find some light-weight brown paper it adds a rustic touch to the project. Paper bags from the grocery store are a little too heavy. But lunch bags work fine.  This paper was used as packing material in a box I received in the mail.

3) Oh! And you'll also need crayons in fall colors, a hole punch and some twine.  Crayola crayons work best. We tried some brand X and were not very happy with the results. Place a leaf under your paper, and rub away! Try not to let the leaves move under the paper

4)  After covering your paper with colorful leaf rubbings, cut them out as neatly as you can.

4) Next, punch two holes at the top of each leaf. The holes should be about 1/4" apart. Lay your leaves down in the order you want them to be in. 

 5) Tie a little loop at one end of your twine. Also, tie an over hand knot about 3 or 4 inches past the loop. Laying the leaf face up, thread the twine up through the first hole, then down the second hole.

6) Slide the leaf along the twine to the first knot you tied.  Turn the leaf over and tie another overhand knot. These knots will keep your leaves from sliding together when they're hung up.


7) Next, tie another knot 3-4 inches down the twine, near the spot you want the next leaf to hang. Thread on another leaf and continue until you're done.

8) Tie another loop at the end of your garland and you're ready to hang it up wherever you please!


All-in-all this was a fun fall project...easy enough for the kids to help and it had a really pretty result. What a nice little break from canning and baking :) 

                                                                                                               Chelsey Rose

Friday, March 13, 2015

Scrap Fabric Bunting

These pretty pennant banners are popping up everywhere. I've seen them over fireplace mantles and doorways, around classrooms, and even along a wedding aisle.  To me, buntings bring a cheerful, lighthearted feel to a space, and they remind me of a country carnival, Ferris wheels and crisp candied apples! They are popular enough my 8 year old requested one to decorate her birthday party, so, of course, I couldn't resist making it!  It seemed a simple, quick sewing project and also a fantastic way to show off some salvaged scrap fabric....  

As I searched the internet for a tutorial to guide my project, I was surprised to find the traditional way of sewing a bunting isn't as simple as I had thought. It's quite involved, really, if you want your bunting to look very prim and perfect.  Rather than abandoning the project (and my little girl's vision) I tried an easier method, that, to me, turned out just as cheerful and cute.   Here are my pattern, pinning, turning, or piping involved!

You will need:
  • scrap fabric in coordinating colors (about 1 yard total)
  • scissors and pinking shears
  • sewing machine and thread
  • 1 spool of 1/2" ribbon approx. 18 feet 

Step 1) Choose your fabric.  Light to medium weight cotton seems to be the best.  Anything stretchy or too flimsy won't hang right.  You can use scraps from a previous sewing project or up-cycle some used materials.  

Tips for salvaging:  I keep stained or worn out shirts, hunt for old sheets at garage sales and search the 50 cent rack at the local thrift shop. I like to look for material that has a simple, classic pattern like stripes or polka dots, and a monochromatic color scheme.  This makes it easy to mix and match the scraps later on. 

For this project I chose to use all red and white scraps.

Step 2) Decide the size and dimensions of your triangles.  Some people prefer short and wide, others long and skinny. My triangles are about 4.5" x 4.75".  Symmetrical triangles are best. I achieve this by folding a piece of fabric in half and cutting a 2.25" x 4.75" triangle out of the fold. We will be trimming them slightly in a future step, so you may want to cut your initial triangles about 1/4" bigger than you want your finished triangles to be.

Step 3) Start cutting! You will need two cut triangles for each hanging section.  Use the first triangle you cut as a pattern for all the rest.  I use straight scissors at this stage, and as you see from the picture, I don't worry about cutting very precisely. If you know you are a precise cutter and sewer, you could use your pinking sheers at this stage, and save a step later on.

Step 4) Pair the triangles right-side-out. We will start sewing with a 3/8" seam allowance along the right side of the triangle.  My stitch length was between 2 and 3.

Here's a quick sewing method:  After you've sewn one side together, turn your sewing machine knob to release the bobbin thread,  pull the fabric away from your machine a little bit, and without cutting the thread move right on to the next pair of triangles.   You will end up with a chain of sewn pieces that can be quickly snipped apart.

Use the same method to sew the other side of the triangles.  You will not need to sew the top. Leave it open. 

 Step 5) I suppose you could turn your triangles inside out at this stage if you really wanted a cleaner look. Just snip the tip and turn away! Instead, I used pinking sheers to trim the edges of my triangles. This keeps the edges from fraying and it looks cute too!  I trim a little less than 1/4" away from my stitch line. You can press your triangles after this step, if you like.

Step 6) Arrange your triangles in the color pattern that looks best to you, then over lap the tips of the triangles by about 1/4" and sew along the tops. this will loosely connect your triangles.  

 Step 7) To finish it off, sew a 1/2" wide ribbon along the top of your banner. I stitched once along the bottom of the ribbon and again along the top.  Be sure to leave a length of ribbon on either end of your triangles so you can use it to hang your banner. If you want your banner to be double sided, sew another ribbon along the top of the other side, or you could use a 1" ribbon and fold it over the top before you sew.


All-in-all I was very happy with the results, and my daughter was too.  After the birthday party, we hung the bunting up with my vintage Coke sign...I think it looks just right!


                                                                 Chelsey Rose

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Remove Crayon, Marker and Sticky Residue with this Non-Toxic, Odor-Free Ingredient!

Here's a quick tip to get things rolling....

I apologize, the title sounds like those pop up adds you see everywhere "Cure wrinkles with this one weird old trick!"  But it's true...just one simple ingredient, found in every household....can dissolve sticky gunk from the top of your ventilating hood, and wipe away little Lucy's artwork on the dining room window...what is it?? Don't be disappointed,'s oil.......I'm not even going to say "Expeller Pressed Extra Extra Virgin Olive Oil" or anything like that....almost ANY old cooking oil will do!

Just follow these simple steps:
 1) Add the oil directly to the surface, or pour a little on a rag or paper towel
 2) let it sit for a while if you like, or start rubbing away, and
 3) go over the whole thing with a clean paper towel to soak up any left over oil

This is an old white board I restored:

Now be aware, the surface you are cleaning needs to be relatively smooth and NON POROUS, or this will either not work, or you will be leaving behind an oil stain where you previously had ink.  Fabric, or wood (unless it is well varnished) is not a prime candidate for this cleaning process!

The negatives...Oil can be a little more expensive than...let's say....baking soda. It probably requires a little more elbow grease than the chemical alternatives too.  And, like I mentioned above, you can't use it to de-gunk everything.

The positives....Oil is all natural, non-toxic, non abrasive or corrosive, odorless, fairly cheap and always handy.  Here are some other things I have cleaned this way:

The top of my kitchen hood (I took a picture, then decided you really didn't want to see that...) 
Ink off the front of my fridge, and my toddler's plastic bed 
Ink and band-aid residue from my little girl's arm, foot, leg fingers, etc.
Sticky gunk around the edge of my bathtub and sink
I've removed labels from glass jars
Removed 50 year-old sticky residue from an antique sign  
Cleaned up bees wax stuck to my stove top (a little baking soda added to the oil really helped with this one!)
Removed tape residue from my windows and a fish tank

I'm sure there are many other applications.  So, next time you run across something sticky or marked-up, choose a natural alternative to "goo-gone"--reach for your oil bottle! (then tell me all about it in the comments below)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Christmas 1988

Though we were about the same size in school, you never saw us wearing each others clothes...mine were too bright, hers were too tight (wranglers)...we just didn't share the same taste! She played in band, I sang in choir.  I was on the dance team, she ran cross country.  
I went to art school, she became a CNA. My house is pretty messy, hers is tidy and sanitized. I live in the woods, she lives on the range.   I love contemporary folk music, she likes Country Western.

Halloween 2002

However, the more we live apart, the more we find we have in common....we’re really two sides to the same coin. We both love living in the country (especially in Montana). We're both busy moms of four as well as entrepreneurs.  We love to craft and decorate with antiques and cast-off materials.   We share the same pioneer ancestry, and like our ancestors we both rely on faith in God.  

We both garden, make homemade bread, use a dehydrator, and can. We love to experiment with new recipes and we choose natural alternatives for food, health, cleaning and beauty.  We are fiercely independent, get to work kind of gals and we want to make the most of the little time we have.  


So, as we post our recipes, crafting project and home-making ideas you’ll often see two ways to do the same thing.  Why did I choose dairy goats, when she'd rather have a milk cow?  What's the best home-made moisturizer for oily skin, how about dry?  You’ll probably also recognize our different styles...hers is Western Chic, mine is playful and vintage.   Both reflect the country, both are good--just different! So, pick and choose which way suits your lifestyle best, or take our knowledge and apply your own style!  I can't wait to see what we all create together!
                                                                                Chelsey Rose