Reversible Fall to Thanksgiving Home Decor Blocks Craft Tutorial

 I’ve got one last Fall-themed project to share with you this season, before I move on.
You may remember I shared these happy Fall blocks in this post, in which I was giving you a little close-up tour of my Fall mantels. I mentioned that I had made these blocks, that they were more versatile than they appeared, and that I would share why when I got to that project post.

Well this is that post!

01_Fall-Reversible-Decor-Blocks-Tutorial Here are the blocks already shown to you.   They were created to look well worn, long loved, and a bit old.
Just how I like everything.  🙂

And shown here, are the blocks backsides . . . .
13_Give-Thanks-Reversible-Decor-Blocks-Tutorial I made the block to transition from every day Fall, to a Thanksgiving-themed message for those weeks in November.
What do you think?  Nice surprise? Good idea?  I was thinking so!

They are really simple to make.  I just found making these blocks fun and relaxing.
I tend to get a little Zen, working in my studio anyway.
So if you think you’d like to make some, sometime, I’m going to show you just how I did it, right now.

02_bare-wooden-block I started out with 10 blocks, just like these.
Well, actually, I started out with 8 blocks just like these. Then 9. And finally 10. But that is a frustrating story I’ll tell you about later on.   But the project took 10 blocks, anyway.
These simple wooden blocks come in various sizes; these are the 2″ blocks.   I got them at A.C. Moore’s. They are not available at my local Michael’s, anyway.
They are smooth and finished-feeling on 4 sides, except for what I considered the tops and bottoms.

03_brightly-colored-painted-blocks I chose my favorite Fall hues of acrylic paint, and painted them all. They did take two coats.

04 Next I had Michael cut two inch letters out of vinyl, and weeded out the letters.

05 After covering that sheet with transfer tape, I cut each letter block to size.

06 Peeling off the back, I then applied them well to a face of each block, one at a time with a squeegee, and pulled off the transfer .
It was important to make sure the rough surfaces were not used. The vinyl would work as a mask.

07 I had a pile of scraps that looked like I had been working really hard, so I photographed it, and left it for awhile. 🙂

08_white-paint-on-paintbrush White acrylic paint and flat brush, ready to go.

09 All painted in.  I think it required two coats.

10 Before the second coat dried all of the way, I carefully peeled off the mask.
Now while painting them was rather enjoyable for me, these next steps are the part I really love to do….
11 But I didn’t really photograph those steps. :/  Sorry!   It’s easy enough to tell you about though.
I’m talking about sanding and aging the blocks.
To sand, I used 100 grit sand paper on a sanding block. I use the sanding block because it keeps my sanding surface flat and hard, for my uniform sanding.  Also, it’s a lot easier on my fingers, which get torn up very easily.  Where do I sand?  I like to hit the surface, to wear that a little. But I really go at the edges and corners, where they would normally wear the most.
But after sanding, we are left with clean, bare new wood. Not good, for antique blocks. Right?
So next I rub around some dark wax, with an old t-shirt rag.  I-love-this-stuff! It really does age the look of the paint, and just dirty things up just right.
You rub it on and essentially, rub it back off to. While working not as hard to get it off, where you want to leave more.
Make sense?  The stuff is messy, as you might guess from that rag up there. And it stinks to high Heaven. But, somehow I don’t mind it much, working with it. It’s like the smell of creativity, at work!

Here’s a closer look at the effects of my sanding and waxing . . . .
And now, my blocks all on display . . . .
13_Give-Thanks-Reversible-Decor-Blocks-Tutorial Ta-DAAA!!!  I was so happy not to have to put my blocks away, to make room for some Thanksgiving decor.
I’m already pondering making more block sets for other holidays and seasons. In fact, actually, I already have a set for spring (in a very different finishing style and size) I made last year and never shared. I plan to come spring though.
But, back to the here and now.

14_Reversible-Decor-Blocks-Tutorial Of course, you can set up your blocks, and utilize them in any way you’d like.  Here is another arrangement I played with.

Because it’s the details I worked so hard for (in a fun/playing sort of way), that make these blocks look like maybe one of our grandmothers passed them down to us, I couldn’t stop photographing them . . . .
16 Ok enough of that. Now, you can skip this little story-paragraph if you want, right down to after the next photo.
But I’d like to explain the story of the 10th block:  For weeks, I only had 8, and then 9, blocks. Because that’s all there was at the store!  In fact the first trip, I bought none, because there wasn’t enough to spell what I wanted!  I needed 10 to do this project. I inquired though, and the lady assured me that if they were low, more was coming in the next day. So I returned the next day, and there were still only 8!!  So I figured…I need to buy those, so they be sure to get more! (Because supposedly, it’s all electronic.)
Next trip, the bin there was still empty. I was desperate!! So I plopped down on the floor and pulled out all of the other sized blocks onto the floor, hoping to find some 2″ers  in the wrong bin.
And I found ONE!!  ARRGGG!!  So I worked with the 9 I had. I got those all done, and had enough to make my HAPPY FALL.  But I’d need that last one to complete GIVE THANKS.
Finally, a new shipment of them came in, and I got my last block, which I did start to finish, all by itself, just in time. It was the “A” in THANKS.

What to do with the other side? . . . .

17 I made an exclamation point!  To use from then on, with my HAPPY FALL(!).  Because if you all know me, you know it’s worthy of an exclamation point.  I do love Fall, that much!

If you love what I’ve done here, believe me when I say, (if you have a vinyl cutter of any kind), you can do this!  And if not, other crafters will love you for sharing the idea!

So go ahead and PIN the image below on Pinterest!

That’s a wrap for projects for this season this year. ( I think. 😉  )   Time to start thinking about Christmas!
Thanks for making my day, and coming by!  Hope you take a moment to share your thoughts, and say hello!


Our Fall Mantels 2013 – Home Decor Ideas

00 Today, I wanted to share with you our mantels, decorated for Fall!  Alright, so I realize Fall is a month in here, and many are maybe so over it. But you know….there is two months more of the Fall season to go, you know! (Can you even believe it is the Fall season until December 20th?)   Yes, in the bloggers’/crafters’ world, I could be a little late with this. But that’s OK! I figure, you can pin it for some ideas on Pinterest for next year!  Or find a little inspiration in it for your Thanksgiving mantels.  Regardless, I am really enjoying the mantels I put together for our home decor and for my family, and I hope you enjoy seeing them as well.

By the way, I actually did ‘Back-to-School’ mantels, you never got to see. YET.  That’s a season shorter lived than Fall!  BUT….take heart, I did take photos to share with you next year, in a timely manner, that would allow time to be inspired.  But let’s get back to our mantels decorate for Fall here, shall well?

Here’s an overview of the whole thing.

01_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas Can’t tell you how much I love having double-mantels.

02_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas A closer look at the first mantel.

Now for some details . . . . . . (I so love details . . . .) . . . .
By the way, I made four of the objects on this mantel. I’ll discuss a little about them along the way here. Pay attention if you care to. 😉
03_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas-basket-of-apples A simple basket of apples.  Which wasn’t quite as simple as you think.  You see, my Fall mantels have been done for some time, except for one project I was working on. So while I wanted this basket of apples to be part of my decor, I also wasn’t going to make it off limits for my kids to eat. Because….they just seem to always be hungry, always looking for food, and always eating. So I told them, “Hey, go ahead and grab an apple off the mantel whenever you want. I don’t want them on the mantel going bad.”  Well, I think I had to buy more apples and resupply this basket four times already. And the cycle will continue until, well, I guess December!

04_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas This sign; I did make it.  I’ll do a separate short and simple post about it, such as what inspired it and how I made it, at some point soon. 
I can tell you now, that I love it.  It’s not quite as elaborately simple as I had intended….more simply simple in the end….but I love it nonetheless.
  06_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas I also made this set of greeting blocks, which were so fun to make!  And…..there is much more than meets the eyes with these!  I can’t wait to show you how versatile they are!  I’ve  took photos along the way, and have a will have a whole tutorial for you on this project as well.

08_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas I did not grow the pumpkin, because, well, if you follow me on our Facebook Page (please come ‘LIKE’ us if you’re on Facebook!) you may know that our pumpkin patch bit the dust hard and early this year!
(Vine borers…..I despise them oh so much!)
BUT, I did indeed make the candle a bit behind the pumpkin, with real leaves embedded. I made two, and gave one to my sister.
You can find the post with directions about how I made them HERE.
09_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas-fall-wreath This rustic Autumn wreath is the fourth homemade item I made last year, as of the date of this post  Simple, simple, simple. It’s more….assembled, than homemade.
You can see just how I did that, what I used, and from where, in this post on this wreath HERE.

And that concludes the details of the first mantel.
Onto the second mantel, for which I made nothing for, with my own hands. But I can share some ‘where to get’ info, for this year anyway.

09_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas The overview, of mantel #2.

10_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas I spotted this pumpkin, adored it, and purchased it at the Home Goods dept of TJ Maxx.
I think it has a really high cute-factor, and I love the rustic qualities of it.

11_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas Now, you all may know custom lettering is at the sap of my finger!  As my husband, Michael is a professional truck letterer / sign maker. But, I saw this wall adhesive at Michael’s Arts and Crafts, and fell right for it!  It not only expresses one of the many things I love about Fall, but I really loved the leaves accents.  So while I could have asked Michael to whip this up for me, why, when this was $1.99! Ans ready to go! Here’s what’s even greater about it:  I had imagineded I would stick it on one of our painted walls.  But when I got it home, I just though the best placement for it, was within the theme of our mantels. I wasn’t sure how well it would work on the bead board though, with all of the grooves.  So I was very pleased to discover it worked beautifully! And I was really impressed with how discreet the fact that it’s a one-piece adhesive, is. People come into our home and when they see it, they get right up close to try and figure out…how did we do that? LOL. It’s a cool thing, and a very nice accent for the walls behind mantels!  I always try to have some accents on the walls, behind the mantels, somewhere. Such as the wreath as well. It really just extend all of the beauty, and adds dimension with the various levels. It’s more pleasing to the eye.

12_Fall-mantels-inspiration-ideas Lastly, I simply placed a pot of warm orange colored mums in an old cranberry crate Michael brought me home one day. (Actually, he brought me home two.)  I love these crates, and I love that he found them in shed he was hired to clean out at the parish he was working for, and thought of me.

And that’s the end of my Fall mantels. I may mix things up just a little for Thanksgiving, but I haven’t decided yet. I do know that I am enjoying my mantels as much as I dreamed, from putting them together through these various seasons, to the holidays we celebrate. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them as well, and have found any bits of inspiration in them, for any areas or even shelves in your own home. PIN away!

I plan to share the tutorials or details of some of the projects on mantel one, soon. So please share your thoughts, hopes, or questions of what you would like to know in those posts coming up, in our comments below!  You are automatically notified by email if I reply to you, or if more fitting, I will address those questions in the posts coming up.

 Hope you are relishing in all of the gifts of Fall, as much as we are!

Decorating with Autumn Leaves; Door Garland and Candle Jars

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on God’s green earth, who appreciates the foliage that Autumn brings, more than I do.  I am mesmerized by it, from beginning to end.  Ask my kids.  They are often amused at how taken I am, with the beauty of this season.  And they’ve certainly come to understand that I don’t want them to miss one bit of it, any more than I do. I get especially excited when we are driving here and there, which with 4 kids I can tell you, we do a whole lot of.  “Oh!! There’s a tree starting to change right there! Do you see it guys?” And as fall progresses., each week is more full of awe than the last. As we go along, I’ll burst out “LOOK!….at that GORGEOUS tree guys!! LOOK AT THE COLORS ON THAT THING!!”  I’ve startled them. And they’ll be like, “We know Mama! Watch where you’re going!”  It’s true. I probably shouldn’t be driving at all in the Fall. Certainly not during peak foliage week.  There is just a span of weeks in this season, where the trees are all I can talk about, everywhere we go. Sometimes, I feel God made Autumn, just for me. Perhaps not. But gosh, it sure feels like such a gift of love.

The peak beauty of the season, is really all too fleeting for me.  I want it to stay just as it is in those weeks, forever.  At least, I want to save as many beautiful leaves as I can.  But I’ve never found a great way to preserve them for a while, until this year. Oh yes, there was the waxed paper trick but, I heard that never worked all that well.  And besides…..Confession of Domestic Shame:  I really hate ironing.  So when I learned that using Glossy Modge Podge really worked well, I was so excited to try it.  And I immediately started dreaming up a very simple, very rustic leaf garland for my home.

The kids helped me Modge Podge countless leaves they had collected for me, over the weeks.  We had them drying and being pressed between the pages of newspapers and magazines all over the house. I’m willing to bet we’ll be finding several we missed finding again, well into spring.  But I found you can actually Modge Podge a fresh leaf right away, anyway.  I do recommend the Glossy medium. I tried the Matte finish just as a test, and it seemed to strip the color, and not look very impressive once it was dry either. Something about the Glossy really does enhance the color of the leaf, and add lustre.  To Modge Podge (MP) the leaves, we just poured some MP in a non-pourous bowl, and used foam brushes to apply it to our leaves, doing the back of the leaves first.  Then you can lay them on newspaper or whatever, until they dry. They don’t really stick anywhere as drying, because they are not flat or heavy.  MP is so easy to clean up anyway.

I wanted my garland extremely simple and rustic.  Jute was just the kind of string for the job. I love this stuff.

I took 4 pieces of equal lengths of the jute, knotted the ends, and twisted the quadruple strand quite a bit before push-pinning it over the frame of our sun room french doors.

Then, I just stuck my leaves in between the twisted jute string, arranging as I wanted to, all the way across.

There it is. Done in like, . . .a couple of minutes.
And I didn’t fall off while standing on the chair I had to keep moving, even once.
(Although I think I had my husband and kids nervous, because they kept reminding me to be careful. That might have to do with the many happenstances I have had. But not this time!)

Look how pretty!  Honesty….my heart is racing a little bit right now, just looking at them. 
No two alike….such beautiful shapes and colors.

Do you see that long pointy leaf? After being out and about collecting leaves, the kids came running in, so excited to give me that one. They call it my giraffe leaf.  I love giraffes, and they saw a giraffe skin pattern in it. I do too now.  I felt the love, and that leaf makes me smile even more than all the rest now.

I also used the glossy Modge Podge to apply more leaves to jars.  I love that you can just slap that MP all over the jar with a foam (or flat bristle) brush, and everywhere it dries where there is not a leaf, it looks like frosted glass.

Isn’t it beautful?
I’ll warn you that this project took a little more patience than I had anticipated. Certainly not as easy as my garland! It’s worth the little bit of trouble I think though! It’s just that the leaves, which I had MP’d the back of, as well as the jar, don’t want to lay down flat right away. It’s all kind of slippery. It’s only once the MP glue starts setting a little, that is starts sticking as you need it to.  You need to MP over the leaves too anyway, so I kept kind of poking the leaves down where they were sticking up. Once the whole jar was dry, I did one more final coat.  Oh and I just let stems hang free off the glued down leaf. I liked them that way anyway, if they didn’t want to stick.

They give such a warm glow of radiance.

I can see myself doing these same projects with leaves every year, from now on. And other preserved leaf projects I’ll think of I’m sure now too. 
I so enjoyed every minute of working with the leaves, and I am so very happy I found a way to preserve them, and let the beauty live on in my home, as the world around us outdoors drains colorless.

Thanks for coming by, and listening to me go on and on about my love for the colors of Autumn.
It sure was an amazing Fall season this year, and I thanked God for it every day.
Do you get a colorful foliage season where you live, in the Fall? And if so, have you done anything with the leaves?

Come follow me here and there:

Rustic Autumn Wreath / A Simple Craft

 If you’d like to add a touch of crafted Autumn decor to your home, but don’t have a lot of time or energy right now, this wreath is for you! It is so very simple and quick to make.  I think it’s beautiful, and has a real rustic flair that fits right in here at our homestead. 

  I hung our wreath in the sun room, on the wall directly in front of anyone coming in through our front door.

It’s so very simple to make, you really don’t even need to be shown how. 
But I will tell to you how, and give you a couple of tips as well.

Start with a stick/branch wreath, which can be found ready-made at your local craft store.

The pumpkins I also found at the craft store. They are very light in weight, made of a paper medium, and some kind of painted wire.  They are finished with a shellack, and they came as a bunch in a net bag, much like potpourri comes. So you may want to look in that area. 

To attach them to the wreath, I used a small piece of raffia! I simply slipped it under the wire on the bottom/underside of the pumpkin, and tied it onto a branch where I wanted the pumpkin placed. How easy is that? I cut any excess tails of raffia I didn’t need, but I don’t even care if it is seen, because it just adds to the simple rustic charm of  the wreath, in my opinion.

Then I added some nice looking faux fall leaves.  You can simply just tuck them under the intertwining sticks of the wreath. But if you want to be sure they stay, and/or plan to save the wreath to use year after year, I recommend using a dab of glue from a glue gun at the base of the leaf or stem area, and stick in between branches in an inconspicuous place.  The leaves don’t need to be any more attached than that, and keeping the leaves loose gives it a more natural look.

Just follow that technique with leaves and pumpkins, all the way around.

The little birdie is just a clip on, and was also picked up at the craft store at some point. It was one we had, and it not only went perfectly with this wreath, with it’s warm tones, but added new interest.

The wide ribbon is wired, which can be a little difficult to work with, when tying bows or making nice curls. But I found a trick I’ll share with you. 
TIP:   When working with wired ribbon, use an aluminum can, cup, or any cylinder object to make nice curls for the tail of your ribbon, or uniform loops in your bows.  Simply choose an appropriately sized cylinder object, relevant to the size you’d like your curls or loops, and use it to shape your ribbon.  You can place the cylinder into the loops to make them nice and round where they curve around, and/or wrap the ribbon around the tails to make nice curls.

It’s really as easy as that! It can literally be done in 10 minutes.

A very simple craft on how to make a rustic Autumn wreath for your home decor. #autumn decor #autumn home decor #autumn-crafts #autumn-wreath-tutorial #autumn-wreaths #fall-crafts #fall-decor #fall-home-decor #fall-wreath-tutorial #fall-wreaths #seasonal-crafts #seasonal-decor #seasonal-wreaths It’s not only a simple and beautiful wreath for this awesome season, but you can say you made it yourself.