J’aime les étoiles…

I love stars!

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I also love the natural and rustic design approach. So when I came upon wooden stars created from twigs and pieces of wood at Vosgesparis.blogspot.com, I knew I had to knock them off!

twig starlights

This greyed wood star (above) originally created on Lekker Fris and featured on Vosgesparis, is a simple project incorporating leftover wood, wire and transparent white lights.

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White clay star pendants with black string at Jotte by Lekker Fris are simple, organic and minimalistic. Hanging them from bare branches adds that natural and rustic touch I love so much.

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As I said, J’aime les etoiles. I could go on and on showing you what wonderful and creative stars are out there, but on to creating my own…

From Comme un air de fete, comes my inspiration:  the simple twig star I love so much.

twig star

My son Constantine and I went out into our rather large yard, which is mostly forest, and picked up several fallen branches. It’s getting cold and windy here in Princeton, New Jersey so we had no trouble finding fallen branches.

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Then, I laid out the stars in a “star” pattern.

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Using a hot glue gun, I glued the points where the twigs met (sorry, my glue gun is a bit dirty).

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I made a second one only a tiny bit smaller.

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Once I was finished, I stood them up against a wall with the smaller one in front of the larger one. I look forward to creating more and lining them with lights. Stay tuned for those!

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I hope you were inspired by my “J’aime les etoiles” diy wooden star project.

My Pine Cone Garland

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I just love my simple pine cone garland that I “knocked off” from vechernie-posidelki.

feltedheartspineconegarland@CommeUnAirDeFeteI love this simple “felt hearts and pine cone” from Vechernie-posidelki.blogspot.com. The combination of natural elements and handmade ones elicits a simple and effortless elegance. So, I wanted to create something similar for my home that would capture this same essence (a natural and effortless elegance). But my garland has a little bit of a different twist.

First, I made my own star ornaments using the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1.5 cups of warm water

Add the water slowly as you mix the ingredients. You should end up with a bread dough-like ball.

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I rolled the dough out flat. Using a cookie cutter star, I then made as many stars as I could.

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Then, using a nail, the end of a pen or a skewer, make holes at the top of each star.

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Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. Then, using a basic acrylic art paint, I painted each star red. Make sure to paint both sides.

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Then, using white acrylic paint, I made a stitch-like border.

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I then sprayed each star (both sides) with a clear gloss acrylic finish. Then I tied a piece of twine to each star.

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My kids and I collected a bunch of pine cones in our neighborhood. We are fortunate enough to have tons of pine trees. I tied twine to each pine cone making a loop at the top of each.

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Then, I laid out all the stars and pine cones and ran one piece of twine through each.

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Using a glue gun, I put a small dab of glue at the point where twine met twin to insure that everything would hang evenly.

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And there you have it. My pine cone garland. I just love it! You can use the dough recipe to create all kinds of unique Christmas tree ornaments as well.

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Decorating With Pine Cones

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J’aime des pommes de pin!  Translation:  “I love pine cones!” They are one of nature’s most exquisite yet simple design elements. In preparation for the holidays, I searched the globe for some of the most beautiful and unique decorating ideas using des pommes de pin.
Create a simple and organic look using a base of twine as featured on Carnets de Daniele. An oversized spool of thread would work just as well for that avid seamstress. I also love the use of twine in the garland with red felt hearts from Vechernie-posidelki. The rope and burlap bow (below), “toute simple, avec de la corde brute et des rubans ou de la dentelle dans des coloris assortis”  and the natural garland of pine cones, small birch branches and bleached wood is also from Comme Un Air de Fete. Very creative and yet a very easy diy project.
Large, oversized pine cones add punch to a centerpiece. Spraying them white and pairing them with white orchids, amaryllis bulbs or Aurelian Lilys Liliums adds elegance to any tablescape (as featured below). From The Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula Holiday House Tour.
Using a burlap runner and natural-colored pine cones keeps it clean, organic and a bit rustic. From The Natural Wedding Company. Je l’adore!
naturaltabledecor
Displaying pine cones in antique silver bowls, trays or mercury glass containers combines the simplisticness of nature with timeless elegance. Spraying them white or metallic adds to the splendor.

Want to keep it simple? By simply placing pine cones in a natural-looking container such as ordinary terra cotta planters, a wire basket, garden pots or wooden bowls (with or without mistletoe and pine needles) their innate beauty is revealed. Ou tout simplement….

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Et a part ca

From etpartca.canalblog

 

The Farmhouse, Princeton NJ

The Farmhouse, Princeton NJ

Using pine cone pieces to create other objects adds a very unique and fun twist to the season. Here are some examples from one of my favorite stops, The Farmhouse Store in Princeton, New Jersey.

Farmhouse pine cone bear

Pine cone bear

Pine cone deer

Pine cone deer

Add a touch of elegance while keeping that rustic undertone with small pine cone snowflakes and ornaments suspended from twine on a Christmas tree. Or, incorporate a string of gems or beads with pine cones from your chandelier. Adding a clean white ribbon to a pine cone wreath definitely adds a feel of sophistication. Lace can add an accent of femininity or a relaxed homey feel.

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From Maisonsdumonde.com

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From La Maison d'Annick

From La Maison d’Annick

 

From Shelterness.com

From Shelterness.com

snowyminipineconewreath@bd

From Billard Designs

Pine cones can also be incorporated into a unique and personal Holiday gift. I love using them along with natural greens as an accent piece to wrapping paper. Mes Petites Mains Magazine features pine cones on winter wedding favors.

Mes Petites Mains Magazine

Mes Petites Mains Magazine

For the friend who loves nature, these pine cone candle holders are a unique and rustic gift. They aren’t too expensive either – only $20 USD for the pair from Ballard Designs.

Ballard Design

Ballard Designs

A unique gift you can make yourself (as featured on C’est bientot noel) are pine cone fire starters. Just add a personal label or place them in a small gift box or basket that can be placed on a fireplace hearth. Tres Cozy!

firestarterfromcestbientotnoel.com

From cestbientotnoel.com

From cestbientotnoel.com

You can also purchase an inexpensive glass hurricane, insert a candle or tea light and accent with twine and pine cones! Very cute. A gift any home décor lover would adore.

From Comme Un Air de Fete

From Comme Un Air de Fete

Another unique gift that my daughter and I want to try and make are pine cone earrings. Our neighborhood is full of tiny pine cones. We may even keep a pair for ourselves!

pineconeearrings A garland of pine cones hanging from a clean white ribbon, twine or  burlap is a beautiful and simple accent. Add a personal touch by painting the pine cones in colors to match your own décor.

From Twig and Thistle

From Twig and Thistle

CommeUnAirDeFete.com

CommeUnAirDeFete.com

Try creating a wreath with pine cones in an unusual shape (heart or star instead of just a circle) and incorporate mistletoe, berries, cinnamon sticks or evergreen branches.

From alittlemarket.com

From alittlemarket.com

I hope you enjoyed my collection of unique des pommes du pin creations. I am now globally inspired to tackle some knockoff pine cone projects for myself. Let me know what you think. I would love your input. J’aime des pommes du pin!

La Bella Autunno… Fall Leaves Garland

Autumn Leaves GarlandAhhh! What a beautiful autumn season we are having here in Princeton, NJ. Just yesterday, on my way back from meeting my kids’ school bus, my kids and I noticed a gorgeous colorful tree. While my youngest was busy kicking and scampering through the leaves, my daughter and I picked up some of the most beautiful fall leaves.

Beautiful Fall leaves

Beautiful Fall leaves

I thought we would just display the leaves around our pumpkin/fall themed centerpiece. But when I went into my office/studio I noticed a can of polycrylic clear protective finish I was using to finish off some bedroom furniture I had recently painted. Hmmmm? Could I use that polycrylic finish to somehow capture la bella autunno we had just witnessed? Here is what I came up with…

First, I laid out all the beautiful leaves we had collected and applied the clear gloss polycrylic finish to each side of the leaves, allowing approximately 3 hours of drying time for each side (with the help of a fan).

Applying a polycrylic finish

Applying a polycrylic finish

Secondly, I cut off the stems, and using a hole punch, punched holes at the base of each leaf.

Cutting the stems off

Cutting the stems off

Punching a hole in each leaf

Punching a hole in each leaf

I then tied twine on each leaf looping it through the punched hole.

Tied a loop of twine on each leaf

Tied a loop of twine on each leaf

After putting a twin loop on each leaf, I laid the leaves out in a row and ran another long piece of twine through each loop.

Running twine through each loop

Running twine through each loop

And there you have it. I’m bringing la bella autunno inside my home with this unique and festive fall leaves garland. If I pack it away carefully in tissue paper, I’m hoping to enjoy for many years to come. But, I’m sure this same technique could be done with artificial leaves as well.windowgarlandwithlogo

From Ordinary Log to Living Room Art

Because of the many storms and infamous hurricanes here on the east coast, our neighborhood has ended up with quite a few downed trees. As a result, various tree companies and ambitious chain-saw toting neighbors deposited an unending supply of firewood on our curbs. You can only chop so much wood and make so many patio end tables! With the assistance of my daughter, I decided to take one ordinary log and transform it into a work of living room art.

We began by stripping the log’s bark and sanding it down.

Log 1

We went through quite a bit of sandpaper. The hand-held electric sanders are wonderful for small jobs as ours.

Then, with acrylic paints in hand, my daughter painted only the top end with a contemporary abstract design dictated by the natural rings and grains. We made sure that the colors used would complement the already existing color scheme of our living room.

log 2

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Once the paint was allowed to dry for 24 hours, we then covered the entire log with a coat of clear high gloss polyurethane protective finish.

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After applying two coats of the finish and waiting approximately two days, we then turned the log over and installed the wheels. We used an electric drill first to drill holes where the screws would go and then switched to the screwdriver mode to finish the job. Having the right tools is a must to making a project easy!

log with wheels attached

I installed wheels that could lock to keep the end table in place if need be.

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Our ordinary log has been transformed into living room art! It is both functional and beautiful and reflects our family’s creative individuality.

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Every time I walk through our living room, I am reminded of the enjoyable quality time I spent with my daughter making this masterpiece. It is a treasured item and work of art that is totally unique to our family. It gives a rustic and artful touch while reflecting our home’s exterior natural landscape.

 

Natural Candelabra Made From Branches!

I was doing a little window shopping this past summer with my sister and noticed a beautiful driftwood candelabra in a store window. I thought, “I can do that!” So, I went home and searched the surrounding forest for some perfect branches. Here’s how I did it!

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First, I found branches that were evenly shaped and similar in color.

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Then, I cut them using a mini miter saw stand and saw (from Ace Hardware – about $8.00 for the stand).

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I cut seven even branches, cutting both ends at a 45 degree angle. Each branch was approx. 14 inches long. I then used a large mat cutter and peeled off the bark. Some of the branches were already a little wet, so the bark came off easily. If it doesn’t, you can soak the branches in warm water and then peel. Let each piece thoroughly dry afterwards. I then slightly sanded each piece.

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Then, I trimmed the ends with an exacto knife to make sure they were smooth and flat.

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Then, using Quik Grips, I positioned the branches together, two at a time, and glued them using Gorilla Glue.

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Each time I glued, I let the branches dry overnight. I then scraped off any excess glue drippings with an exacto knife. Once all of the pieces were glued, I tied twine around the joints to hide any excess glue that was visible between the connected branches.

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Once all of the twine was added, I glued glass candleholders to each branch. They were .79 at AC Moore’s, .99 at Michael’s. Once I again, I used Gorilla Glue.

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I glued the glass candleholders one at a time, not all at once, and counter balanced the weight by placing a Quik Grip on the opposite side.

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Again, I cleaned up any glue drips with an exacto knife. And voila…

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Here is the finished product. My very own, unique branch candleabra! The individual branches are not all perfectly uniform is size or length, thus giving a very natural yet a bit random look. I lit the candles at my latest book club meeting (which was at my house this time) and received rave reviews. It took a bit of time, but well worth it. A very natural but elegant look! Uh oh, just noticed a few more drips of glue… exacto to the rescue!

Branch Art…

I love bringing nature inside. And most of all, I adore saving money. Here is an easy Do It Yourself project that does both!

First, I clipped a few branches from the many trees in my yard (I literally have a forest around me)…

 

 

 Then, I spray painted them white, leaving a little natural brown to show through to give a more natural look.

 And voila! A natural and inexpensive addition to the corner of my living room!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Driftwood DIY to Backyard Tree Bark Star

My Tree Bark Star!

I saw this DIY craft on the blog “thehandmadehome.net.” I believe it was originally featured in at Pottery Barn and PBteen. Because I didn’t find any driftwood on my visits to the Jersey Shore this summer, I decided to take advantage of all the peeling tree bark in my backyard, and create a unique wooden star of my own.

Pottery Barn Driftwood Star

I followed the instructions that were given on the blog site thehandmadehome.net
but I used a cardboard
backing instead of MDF, and
my star is a bit smaller.

 

 

 

 

PBteen sold a similar star for $60.00 or more!

 

Making the driftwood or bark star

 

 

 

 I used the star template featured on thehandmadehome.net and traced it onto my piece of cardboard. I then cut the cardboard with an exacto knife. I laid out a few pieces of the bark first to figure out what positioning would look best. I then glued the bark to the cardboard using a hot glue gun. It got a little messy controlling all the little strings of hot glue.

Driftwood star from thehandmadehome.net

 
 

 

 

 

My very own tree bark star!

 Voila! A great way to add a rustic flavor and bring the element of nature into your home. This star could work with just about anything.. sea glass, shells, wine corks, twigs. The possibilities are endless…