Author Archives: jane

Upcycled Plastic Pots: Beautiful Bark Covered Pots

Something as simple as covering a plastic nursery pot with bark can have wonderful results.

Adding a ribbon around the pot is a nice touch.

Nice for a house-warming gift or teacher gift.

Beautiful for a wedding or dinner party.

Add bark in a horizontal pattern or a vertical pattern.

We have a wood burning stove so I’m able to gather bark from around our log pile. Alternatively, you can harvest some from fallen trees. Using a hot glue gun, attach strips of bark. I used a pair of pliers to break the pieces to the appropriate length. Work your way around the pot: adding strips as you go. Reuse plastic pots you have hanging around your garage or find some secondhand. This blog is about wise use of resources so ask around and reuse items as much as possible.

I used 3 inches tall pots with square tops for a windowsill herb garden and I used a 4.5 inches tall round pot for a centerpiece.

Clock Collection: A New Years Eve Party Display

Happy New Year!

I thought I’d share my small collection of eclectic clocks. I love vintage clocks. I add a few every year. Many don’t work but I don’t need them to. I put them out to signify the passing of time while celebrating the coming New Year. Start your own collection of second hand clocks.

Clock collection

Sometimes people give me their unwanted clocks. I collect clocks that do not have a digital display.

This is the year I decided to start collecting vintage clocks. January of 2008 was also when I started this blog. This was a New Years Eve bar display. On the left is a vintage blender light- perfect for a bar.

Fun In The Making Tea Cup Mouse Workshop

At the end of December, I had a Tea Cup Mouse workshop. My students had varying degrees of sewing experience from first time using a sewing machine to experienced quilt maker. These middle schoolers did a fantastic job. Each mouse turned out unique. Each student added something different. Some of the mice had button eyes and some embroidered. One was made with pretty plaid fabric and one had the cutest whiskers that stuck out.

This mouse, made by a student that day, was very stylish. She has a retro Smiley face mug. I think she is a teenager mouse.

Hello world!

Making friends

Friendly hug

Observing Nature: Black Vultures Haunt Local Library

Black Vultures Coragyps atratus in Maryland December 2010.

If you live in Southern Maryland, you should definitely check out the wake behind the St. Mary’s County Public Library in Lexington Park. A wake is the name of a group of vultures. They are also collectively called a committee. You will find an impressive number of Black Vultures there. Don’t be spooked by their large size, black bodies or their eating habits: they feed mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. They won’t be that interested in you. Therefore, getting relatively close shouldn’t be a problem if you approach slowly. Bring a camera.

I love the way they walk: what funny characters they are. You have to admit that they are interesting at the very least.

More about vultures:

According to Wikipedia: Vulture stomach acid is exceptionally corrosive, allowing them to safely digest putrid carcasses infected with Botulinum toxin, hog cholera, and anthrax bacteria that would be lethal to other scavengers.[5] This also enables them to use their reeking, corrosive vomit as a defensive projectile when threatened. Vultures urinate straight down their legs; the uric acid kills bacteria accumulated from walking through carcasses, and also acts as evaporative cooling.

O.K. that was gross and cool at the same time. Vultures are amazing. They are needed too. Scavengers like vultures along with decomposers keep the earth clean of stinking dead things and break them down into components used to make new living things.

Decorative Trees Made From Scrap Fabric

When I think winter, I think evergreen trees. Here are some easy to make stylized evergreen trees made out of fabric. They can easily be made by children and given as a charming Christmas gift.

Here are some of the trees done by one of my students from my winter sewing/crafting workshop 2010.

Make the tree stump(s)

Find a tree branch of the desired diameter. Cut tree stumps using a miter saw if you have one.

Keep in mind, if the stumps are too small in diameter, the trees will fall over.

Make the tree top

1. Cut Fabric

Use a plate to mark a circle on your fabric and cut out. Next, cut the circle in half. Each half can make a tree.

2. Sew

Fold the semicircle in half with the good side of the fabric facing in. Use a sewing machine or hand -sew a straight line up the side as shown in the photo. Make your cone wider or narrower by adjusting your sewing line.

3. Turn and Stuff

Cut off the extra fabric. Then, turn the cone right side out and add stuffing.

4. Stitch

Using large stitches sew all the way around the bottom of the cone.

5. Gather

Pull the thread from both ends until the fabric is gathered together and the hole is gone.

6. Tie A knot

Knot the thread.

7. Glue

Add glue to the stump and glue in place.

8. Let Dry

Use a glass or another object to weigh down the tree top until the glue is dry.

9. Done

10. Make More

Make a whole forest of trees!