DIY Rustic Twine Balls

I really didn't think these were going to work! On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the girls and I had a "craft day" on their day off of school. We occasionally have themed days like this with special projects. (They have requested a baking day next time!) We had a craft day over Christmas break and made mason jar snow scenes, baked pine cones, and painted ornaments. This time, we worked on winter decor for our home.

I had seen twine balls on Pinterest, looked at several different tutorials, and then did my own thing anyway. I am kind of stubborn like that. I wasn't sure that it would work and after I shared it on facebook, several friends told me that theirs failed, so I was not very optimistic.

However, they turned out great!

DIY twine balls made with jute, balloons, and glue!
Easy to make twine ornament balls
how to make twine ornament balls- so simple and perfect rustic Christmas decor!

I just blew up some balloons to a small size and wrapped twine around them. We painted watered down glue all over the twine and let them dry for a day. So that they would get air flow all the way around, I covered a box with wax paper and pushed pins partway into the cardboard to set them on.  The next day, we used the pins to pop the balloons (holding onto the balloon end) and just pulled the deflated balloon out. Some tutorials called for cooking spray on the balloons, but I didn't like the thought of greasy twine decorations.

DIY Twine Balls
how to make twine balls

These were really simple and inexpensive to make. They definitely fit with the rustic, natural winter look I was going for. I can't wait to show you the rest of the decorations!

rustic twine balls for winter decor

You can see more of our winter decorations here…

Rustic Winter Pine Cone Centerpiece

After all of the Christmas decorations are put away the house can seem a little cold and empty. I wanted to create some neutral, rustic, winter decor to fill the gap a bit. I have a few Valentine's Day decorations, but if I put pink all over the place I would start a pretty big fight in this house since we have strong opinions on both sides about that color. Instead, I went with more natural elements (free stuff I gathered outside) for sort of a rustic, winter look.

pine cone box centerpiece

The first thing I made was this pine cone centerpiece. My husband had built me a box that will hold mason jars for a centerpiece. I had yet to fill it with anything and I was inspired by a centerpiece on Pinterest that has a bad link. I stained my box with a weathered gray stain and topped it with dark walnut antiquing wax.

winter pine cone centerpiece

I found two pillar candles in a cupboard. They aren't even the same color, but I don't care.

natural winter centerpiece

Next, my daughter and I went for a walk and collected pine cones. They were wet from being outside, so we baked them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or two on a foil lined cookie sheet. This makes them open up and draws out the sap and bugs. I spray painted them with a little ivory just to dust them and give them a frosty coating.

how to bake pine cones
How to open pine cones

Finally, we arranged everything in the box with some white berry picks. Those were on clearance after Christmas and the only thing I had to actually buy for this project.  I really think arranging everything in the box was the hardest part. I also dabbed a bit more white paint on the edges of the pine cones for more contrast.  Some of the pine cones went missing before I took these pictures, too. ;)

DIY frosted pine cones
rustic winter centerpiece box

I like my little box and it will be fun to change it out with the seasons. It isn't perfect, but the girls got to help and we made do with what we could find.

I have a few more rustic, winter decorating projects that I will blog about later this week!

Easy Mason Jar Snow Scenes

The girls and I had a "craft day" over winter break. Christmas flew by in a blur and we still had a lot of craft projects that were still just big ideas and a pile of supplies. Honestly, some of the supplies were several years old because this seems to happen every year. One of the things that I wanted to make was a "waterless" snow globe decoration. The little plastic deer and bottle brush trees kept disappearing on me over the past year or so. Some of the deer didn't make it because their legs were chewed on. :( I picked up a few more things when Christmas shopping in early November, so before we had any more casualties, I wanted to make this one a priority.

Mason Jar Snow Globes

We used some "mason-type" jars. The "real" mason jars I use for canning, but there were some smooth sided jars mixed in my supply I didn't mind forfeiting.

Mason Jar Snow Scenes

The first one was the easiest. It is a little ceramic fox family and bottle brush tree from the Christmas village section at Walmart. I just stuck them in the jar and my 5yo added epsom salts. I did use a vintage lid and tie some baker's twine around the neck of the jar just to add a little more detail.

Easy winter scene in a mason jar.

The deer scene was probably the hardest. The supplies came from Michaels last year, so they were not in good shape. I made a snow mound out of clay and stabbed the trunkless trees and plastic deer into it. Getting those deer to stay in place was a pain and I needed pliers to push them down in firmly. Then, we also poured in some epsom salts, but I should have let the clay dry first.

Simple DIY waterless snow globe.

The snowman was made out of clay with wire arms, a play-doh orange nose that fell off, a jute scarf, sharpie dotted buttons, and a hat borrowed from our Monopoly game. There is a lollipop stick (unused) to hold all of the layers together, including a rounded base underneath the snowman. Unfortunately, I did not let the clay dry first and the moisture as it dried caused the epsom salts to crystallize up the sides of the jar. I had to take the whole thing apart and redo it. So, if you are making these, have a little patience and wait a few days for the clay to dry.

CLay Snowman Mason Jar Snow Globe

These were really simple to make and the kids like them! It is a nice decoration that I can leave out all winter long.

Easy Mason Jar Snow Scenes

Valentine's Day Home Decor

Please don't think I am actually early for something.

These are actually pics of my Valentine's Day decor from last year. We did some renovating last year shortly after I took these pictures and I haven't found a new spot to decorate yet.

I love my old barn window frame and I always have it decorated with some of my favorite black and white photographs of each of the kids. They have been hanging around for a few years now and are starting to curl up.  I just used red baker's twine and mini clothespins to hang them.

I made these LOVE blocks with some scrapbook paper and trims mod podged onto 2 x 4 scraps.

I made the tray, too. It is a metal serving tray from Dollar Tree with aqua paint on the edges and chalkboard paint in the center. The paint chips easily, so if you try this, be careful!

Last, the girls and I made this cute wreath for the front door. Red glitter paint was used to freezer paper stencil hearts onto burlap. I cut them into triangles and used jute to hang them across a grapevine wreath I already had. 

I love the pops of color these decorations add to the cold, winter months. The $1 tray was my only expense, too. I need to figure out where I am decorating this year because it has been so dreary and I could definitely use something cheerful around the house! 

Do you decorate for Valentine's Day?

Winter Quiet Book

I made a quiet book for my youngest daughter sometime late last winter.

Just because.

I originally planned to make one for each season, but that hasn't happened. :)

It is much smaller than the other quiet books I have made because I wasn't going into as much detail. You can see my other quiet books HERE. It is totally doable to whip up a quiet book before Christmas if you are still looking for gift ideas- just do one page at a time! 

For this winter themed book, I really wanted a scrappy look and I decided to use a color scheme inspired by the movie Frozen. (You may have seen it or heard that "Let It Go" song before. I know I have- a few million times!) I dug through my scrap basket and pulled out anything in the colors I was after so I didn't buy anything to make this book.

The cover has the adorable little penguin appliqued on it- the white is actually made of satin. I did french knots for the eyes and sewed on a tiny bow. The snowflake buttons were left over from a costume I made (will blog about that eventually). 

I even did a fancy stitch to applique the white strip on the side. Oh, and I finally remembered to add a little strap to velcro it closed- another reason for the white (the velcro blends in).

Next up is the hot cocoa page. The cup makes a little pocket and I stuffed in some white pom poms to make pretend marshmallows. The inside of the cup has a brown fabric for the hot chocolate, too (it is the same stuff as the heel of the skate on the next page). I hand embroidered the snowflakes and steam likes to embellish it a little more. Oh, and the crochet lace was a fun touch, too!

I used more white satin on the ice skate page.  The satin ribbon was hard to sew through those layers for the laces, but I got it eventually- I just used an upholstery needle. Again, I embroidered a bunch of snowflakes on there to dress up the solid background. I also added white eyelet to the edge of the page to make it a little fancier and keep up the scrappy look.

These winter woodland pages are the most played with, but I both love and hate them. I love the birch trees and the little felt animals. But, the little birds snap on and off and my little girl needs help to do that, so I am CONSTANTLY and LOUDLY being bothered to help her with that. It kinda' defeats the purpose of a "quiet" book. I should have used velcro. 

Also, the pages are on backwards. I messed up when I sewed everything together and the fleece snowbanks didn't line up. I tried to fill it in a little, but it isn't as cute as it would have been.

I also did a snow globe page! It is adorable, but the little star sequins and mini pom pom snowballs don't have enough air in there to really move around easily. I wonder if there is a way to puff it out a little more. The clear plastic is cut from a bag that curtains came in. 

The fleece mitten page has a scrappy background, too. The mitten is a little small, so I had to make the wrist portion under the ribbon loose at the sides so that she can fit her hand in there. She really doesn't play with this page too much.

On the back cover I embroidered a really intricate snowflake and my initials and the year, but it doesn't stand out so well. But, I know it is there and it is pretty.

I really like the durability of fabric quiet books and they are great to take along to church, sporting events, doctor appointments, etc. Next time I will try to save my patterns and scan them to share. I hope this at least gives some inspiration to others!