Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ruffly Patriotic Wreath Tutorial

If you are here from Pinterest, I'm so glad to have you here at Capital B!
 This little blog is what it is, to some degree, thanks to this stunning little wreath...

It's easy to see why, eh? There is something about it that really is just stunning!

When my friend and I made these wreaths originally, we were just wanting to spend the afternoon making something cute.  Never would've guessed then that I'd do a tutorial and get to see lots of these made from it- I love that! Hopefully it will prove helpful for you too :) If you like the wreath and use the tutorial, I'd love for you to follow Capital B on Facebook or Twitter through my social media buttons in the sidebar too- thanks!

If you might be more interested in purchasing one instead, please email me through the button in my sidebar. I may possibly have them listed in my etsy shop also...

Ok, lets make it already! 

That crumpled baggie there is what is left of the exact wreath that I made originally... truth be told, it got split to pieces just a few days after I hung it on the door!

I love taking pictures of stacks of things- just makes me smile for some silly reason. :) Ok, so take your sheets of felt- I got mine and all of the supplies for this project at Michaels- and cut them into squares about 2"x2". I did not spend any time at all making sure they were perfect- I just eyeballed it. It is important to make sure all the squares are roughly the same size, but not exact for sure. Also, these stacks above are roughly half of what you'll actually need!

Regarding "nevermind the skewers"- when my friend and I first made these, we used hard, white styrofoam wreath forms that were flat on the back and skewers to punch each felt square inside it. We really were just wingin' it and it seemed to be working! But, all those big holes we made- like this one above- no doubt contributed to the reason my wreath simply did not hold up to any kind of test! The wreath had been so weakened by those huge holes! So that's why I'd say a rounded, softer wreath is better!

Instead, I got a box of straight pins and wow! Putting it together was easier and faster for sure! And I am not one bit worried about it holding up this time. Also, the pins never came close to poking through the other side. I did want to make sure the look would be the same, so as I was getting started, I made sure to keep looking at the pics of my old wreath... I really felt like the look was identical!

Work with just one square at a time, folding corner to corner in half and then half again. Again, no science here. I noticed that not matching the corners exactly worked fine too- there will be a fair amount of adjusting as you go anyways. Pin the piece (which now looks more like a triangle) straight in at the folded tip.

I started the very first few pins putting the points together and then opening them up to look more like a bloom (above). I didn't pin my pieces all the way around the wreath- the back is still empty. If you wanted, you could cover it all, though you'd need even more felt and whatever it was hung against would squish the look of it anyway. :) Just make sure you go around far enough that you won't see the green from side to side.

As you get more pieces pinned, you're no longer putting them point to point, more like row upon row. Kind of hold the pinned pieces back and tuck new piece in close, like below:

You do want to make sure the pieces are close together, though not too close- the tighter you pin them in, the more "squished" of a look you'll have- a titch of space in between the pieces give you more room to make it look fuller in the end.

And you'll just keep going, folding and pinning, folding and pinning! Think like two movies or maybe three worth of folding and pinning... Needless to say, I did NOT make this thing in one sitting! In fact, I took the makings with me on a trip with my husband and worked on it in our hotel to begin with so I didn't have the distraction of the boys!

As you go, you'll want to watch that the outer part of each section of color is a bit wider than the inner part- like this pic above. Just pin a few more pieces on the outer edge than the middle. Again,  this wasn't measured out, just eyeballed. Also look to try and keep the white sections about the same width as the red- so you don't have thin little pieces of one or the other, but a look more like our actual flag. :)

See what I mean about "just keep going!" As you go, you'll kinda pull and adjust on the corners to get the look you want and make sure your pins and spaces are covered, like below:

Notice above about how much space I left for the blue- could've been less if you prefer as well. I like the look of both the sections bordering the blue being white too. I did work from both sides of my red and white sections as I went along- not in just a big row sort of thing, if that makes sense. I wouldn't say this matters, but it may help you keep things uniform looking too. :) Carry on folding and pinning your blue pieces once you have about the right amount of space left! And when it's all filled- woo hoo! It's pretty, eh? ;) On to the springy stars:

I did cut the stars out with my Cricut, though it's certainly not a necessary tool for this- you could freehand them with pencil and cut, or use a star punch. Mine were 1 1/2" each. I cut 14 stars out of full sheet label paper, though plain cardstock and a glue stick would be just as fine.
With all your stars cut or punched, cut yourself seven pieces of craft wire (or whatever the number of stars you want on the wreath) about 10" long or so. There were only five stars on my original wreath, but I think they're pretty fun, so I wanted a few more on this one!

Curl your wire around the crayon or pencil or whatever you are using- like in the left corner above. I used a bigger crayon, but it's all the same really. Once you pull off the curly wire, straighten it a bit again in the mid section. Then stick or glue your stars back to back on that straight part! See why I used label paper? No need for the glue made it a bit quicker, but again, anything goes. A dab of hot glue would be swell also. :)

Now adjust your curly star so it looks like you want- there really is quite a lot of adjusting and twisting the curly stars as you go, at least there was for me- making sure they bend the direction you want and all. I also liked my curl being a bit smaller at the end- just lightly grab that last bit of curl and twist by hand. :) Then straighten the opposite end a bit again- you'll stick it into the foam just like you have been the pins! It's quite a lot more flimsy, so hold it close to the base, maybe kinda move it a bit as you go. I also had to kinda push back the felt to find a place for each star.

Woo hoo- we're so close! And aren't they so cute?! I used four stars around the outer part of the wreath and then the other three just underneath and in-between those four. Again, adjust and re-curl the wires lightly to make sure they are going the way you want and compliment each other. :)

Last thing, grab whatever ribbon you desire for a hanger- I wanted mine to blend in with the door rather than stand out, so it's small and white- and trim about a 12" piece or so. Put the ends of your ribbon on top of each other to form a loop. I thought I'd be able to just use a couple of pins to hold the ribbon on the back, but they were too small at the head and the ribbon tore through. So, I punched out two straight staples from my stapler and pushed them in crisscross of each other at the ends like above instead- it held just fine for me while I was hanging and adjusting!

And there you have it!
My four year old said it "Looks like the pledge of allegiance!"
which he apparently says in preschool- bless his teacher!

Indeed, I was tempted to leave it on my door and just pretend it was summer... but then I realized I was standing in an inch of snow from the night before and wearing my awesome purple snow boots. :) So it is now listed in my previously empty etsy shop, for better or worse!

I will say, I think this is one of my favorite crafty accomplishments ever- both the original and this one. It just looks pretty and catchy. :) It takes time, but it's simple. It has feeling and movement to it. God Bless America!

I hope anyone wanting a tutorial from Pinterest (or wherever else)
finds this and finds it helpful! 
Thanks for looking!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bittersweet Sagebrush

There is one thing in Idaho that is flat unavoidable.

You can get around the lava flows, the awesome mountains, the winding rivers. But no matter where you go, as far as I know at least, you can't escape the sagebrush. The Big Desert determines what is where and how you're gonna get there. 

It's a curse in some ways. The curse of an hour's drive to get home again, of that and more to get about anywhere. But you could also call it a gift. The blessing of open space and the best. smell. ever.

The boys and I ventured out with Stephen to fly in the middle of all this beautiful sage this last week. I remember back when we were dating, we were driving down the road and as I looked out the window, I said, "Ya know, I actually love sagebrush." I'm pretty sure that comment sealed the deal ;) Big open sagebrush like this is home to my addicted husband.

The boys sat on the hood of the truck and ate Fun Dip while Stephen gathered up the bird... after a pretty amazing flight, I might add. For the first time ever, I saw sage grouse fly up out of the sage right in front of us! It caught my breath for sure!

Indeed, I do love the sagebrush. I love the mountains too, admittedly even more than the broad desert. But when I have the chance to be in huge open, sagebrush filled space like this, I feel blessed and grateful, small and touched. Never will I gain rejuvenation like this inside a shopping mall or as part of an excited crowd- that's just not me. And driving through the endless sagebrush, wishing we could just beam ourselves to where we're going instead, surely isn't either...
but the times when it can actually be enjoyed are at least closer.

And in other, boy/country type news- check out how the puppies are growing and getting loved on:

Coop and Ry get excited over the moon when Dad brings them in a couple of puppies to play with!

Stephen is forever getting compliments about the pair of English Pointers he has now, especially these guys' Dad (I know that's not what they're called in animal terms, but I don't really speak animal lingo, so oh well!). There are seven puppies and only two of them are still up for grabs!

And I just love this sweet pic of my sweet Cooper! He's sporting the little habitat he made for his leopard gecko- he's forever making "homes" for stuff and things!

Love, love, love these little boys- puppy smell, lizards, stained mouths and all!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guest Post Catch Up

Wow, I haven't hardly been on my computer for more than a few minutes these last couple of days!
I didn't even get the chance to share that I was guest posting Friday over at Twin Dragonfly Designs about the rocket science of blanket forts ;)

 Check it out, along with Heather's entire last week of boredom busters for boys!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scrap Fabric Camouflage Games

This is a super simple little idea Cooper actually came up with on his own
awhile back as he was sitting beside me while I was cutting fabric.
He put a small piece on top of a larger one and said,
"Mom, look, it's camouflage!" 

And, yes, yes, I realize "camoflauge" is spelled wrong in this photo...
I seriously thought that this was the right spelling
and Photoshop does a heckuva lot of things, but spell check isn't one of them!).
Not until actually getting here to do the post does it show up wrong!
And I'm just gonna carry on anyway so I don't have to re-edit the photo :P
It looks right, right? :)

Anyhow, if you have fabric that looks a bit like this after it's been cut...

... you can turn the random scraps and edges into a "magic" game for your kiddos!

And again, yes, yes I realize this was the dumbest way ever to have cut this fabric-
obviously it's seen multiple small projects! :P

See the smaller pieces hiding on top?
Some patterns obviously work better, but Cooper really enjoys
trying to blend them together and then get us to find his "magic!"

A super simple way to entertain your little ones!
Dig through that scrap basket or trim off some worthless edges
and they have a magic show ;)

I wanted to whip up a simple little bag for him to keep them all in, and still will,
 but he whisked these cuts off to his "treasure shelf" right away!
Trying to find where they are in all those treasures- there's the real camouflage! 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sun, Snow and Smiles :)

It snowed again!
You'd actually never guess it as of today- there's hardly a single trace left, thanks to the wind and rain. But Sunday afternoon was bright and sunny, the snow from the night before just begging to be tracked through! I LOVE these pics of the boys ready to go out and play!

First things first, you have to make sure that you get your gloves good and wet so your hands will be freezing for the rest of the play time outside. Then, you really must go remind the summer yard toys that you haven't completely forgotten them. :)

Cooper so badly wanted to roll a ball across the yard and have it get big enough for a snowman, like he's seen in several of the library books I've read him. It worked kinda sorta, but packing it firmer with your hands was more effective by far! While he kept trying anyway, Ry actually helped me pile snow...

Ta da! Our third, somewhat miniturized, snowman of the season! Still rockin' the sweet sunglasses :) And another parting shot for the fun of it- a taste of who they really are:

"Pure Sugar" as Stephen's Grandma Sally would surely say :)



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