Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DECORATIVE ACORN TUTORIAL...


LITTLE BY LITTLE.

"Little by little," the acorn said,
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,
"I am improving every day,
Hidden deep in the earth away."
Little by little each day it grew;
Little by little it sipped the dew;
Downward it sent out a threadlike root;
Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot,
Day after day, and year after year,
Little by little the leaves appear;
And the slender branches spread far and wide,
Till the mighty oak is the forest's pride.
I have been watching the trees beyond my windowed world ready themselves for their long winters sleep.  The process is amazingly beautiful as brilliant greens fade to subtle yellows, soft golds, vibrant oranges, blazing reds, and cozy browns.  Here at the Quill a variety of oak trees stand sentinel offering not just brilliant color but much needed nutrients in the form of acorns for native wildlife.
I am always inspired by elements of nature, the ripening acorns were the subject of my latest experiment in autumnal decor.  While browsing in a high end shop for ideas I saw these amazing over scaled acorns that were covered in natural materials.  I flipped the price tag over and gasp, $22.00 for one acorn!  Yikes!  Time to get crafty!  The result is the following free tutorial, enjoy!
 MATERIALS:

Plastic Eggs (size is personal choice)
Spray Paint (a gold, brown, copper, or tan)

 OR

 Paper Mache Eggs (size is personal choice)

Glues: hot glue, Aleene's Tacky Glue, Golden or Liquitex Heavy Matte Gel Medium

Natural Fibers such as jute, twine, wool yarn, heavy string, etc.
(I used jute rope, natural sisal, bamboo yarn, a nubby natural cotton yarn, and chenille yarn)
Scissor

Nature finds such as twigs, pine cones, acorn caps, tiny pebbles, shells, moss, lichen, etc.

Reindeer Moss (purchased from the craft store)

Optional embellishments such as beads, buttons, pearls, etc.
Glitter in copper, brown, or gold (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

If using plastic eggs:
Open egg halves and spray paint with your choice of base paint, allow to dry thoroughly.  This base coat will keep the neon colors from showing through on your final product.
 If using paper mache eggs base painting is not necessary.

Glue eggs closed by running a bead of Aleene's Tacky Glue around the center and snapping the egg shut, wiping away excess glue, allow to dry.
Apply Aleene's Tacky Glue to pointed cone end of egg and wrap with your choice of fiber.  Apply a dab of hot glue to the end and snip off the excess.  If using a plastic egg cover the other end of egg with fiber as described, this will ensure the moss and embellishments sticking in later steps.  Put eggs aside to dry.  If using paper mache egg there is no need to cover both ends, the hot glue will stick to the paper egg.
 Hot glue Reindeer Moss onto top rounded end of egg to create a "cap".
 Snip off a twig and glue to top center of moss to create a "stem".
Embellish your moss "cap" with nature finds by hot gluing in place.
 I made some twig "coins" to embellish some of my faux acorns by cutting some 1/2 inch diameter sticks.  I then sliced the stick into 1/4 inch slices using a band saw.
 Other embellishment suggestions:
Pull apart a pine cone and hot glue the pine cone tips into the moss creating a random pattern...
Wrap the upper half of the egg in fiber and leave the painted end exposed, glue on moss and twig, then stud with real acorn caps...
Perhaps you would like to leave them plain...
Or stud with small sea shells...
Pretty pearls...
Lichen...
Dried flowers...
Beautiful buttons...
Pebbles...
 Maybe glam and sparkle is more your style, use Heavy Matte Gel Medium on half of egg and glitter, allow to dry, wrap upper end in fiber and hot glue on moss "cap" and twig "stem", then embellish away!
Here are a few finished ideas:
If you would like to add more handmade items to your autumnal decor collection check out previous free photographed step-by-step instructions and patterns for Fabric Pumpkins, Mini Fabric Acorns, and Paper Skeleton Leaves.
Please feel free to save, copy, paste, or print this tutorial for your personal use.
Have a wonderful day!
Blessings,
Sandy 

Monday, October 10, 2011

BREAKING THE SILENCE...

 
I have been thinking for weeks that I needed to break the silence by popping in to catch up on what you have all been up to and fill you in on what has been transpiring here at the Quill.  Days and weeks slipped past so quickly.  Seasons changed and still I kept the silence.  In the tiniest recess of my mind I questioned if I would ever really return or not.  
In the few scant weeks I have been away I have lived triumphant joy, been touched by tragedy, met with an accident that led to an injury, suffered a bout of illness, went on a traveling adventure or two, with generous dollops of happy and contented moments filling in between each.  
I felt no compulsion to snap a photo or blog in my head or scramble for the next idea to post on.  Not only were my blog, camera, and keyboard silent, so was my soul.  I finally feel rested, refreshed, and ready to come back and share.  
In all that silence I have not forgotten you dear blog friends.  In fact I have been working on a free tutorial that I will have up later this week for a little quick fall decoration that I hope you all will enjoy.

I just wanted to pop in and wish you all a Happy Day!
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