aquatic habitat for marimo balls

written by tammy

how to create an aquatic habitat for a marimo moss ball

We had a great time this weekend digging through the memory boxes for stones, shells and sea-things collected from our travels to make aquatic habitats for our new Marimo.

All you need is a glass container, filtered water, Marimo and decor. We chose to use pieces that we picked up at beaches, lakes and bays while traveling. Be sure to wash or boil your treasures before adding them to the habitat to make sure they are free of salt water and bacteria.  It’s a good habit to do this with your shells and collectable items when you return home from a trip nonetheless- so they don’t smell or bring uninvited pests into your home.  Rinse your Marimo balls, give them a good squeeze, roll them around in your hand a bit and them drop them in their new home.

Keep in mind that Marimo are alive. They need partial but not bright sunlight and every now and then it’s a good idea to freshen the water. You will notice that the Marimo rise to the surface and sink back down again, this is normal and a part of the fascination with having a living plant-ball in your habitat. If your Marimo never moves, then you may want to use a chopstick and roll it over every now and then to maintain its shape.

how to create an aquatic habitat for a marimo moss ball

So what’s a Marimo? It looks like a tiny ball of moss, but in actuality it’s filamentous green lake algae that, at times, grows into  fuzzy velvety looking balls. Read more about them here and watch this video to learn how to care for (and replicate) them.

And when making your own, keep in mind that a Marimo habitat would also make a great gift :)

marimo moss ball

Here’s the other one we made:

aquatic habitat for Marimo ball

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golden animal ornaments

written by tammy

diy golden animal ornaments

These golden animal ornaments are so beautiful, it’s crazy how easy they are to make. This project is also a great way to preserve old memories by turning your kids toys into family ornaments that will last a lifetime. And while spray painting is not the best project to elicit help from the little ones, giving the toys a nice sudsy bubble bath before you begin, is.

You will need clean plastic toy animals, small eyelets, primer, gold spray paint, a small hammer. Once you have collected all the essentials, it is time to set up your work area.  Find a large, open, well-ventilated space and spread out some cardboard.

diy golden animal ornaments

Start by choosing an animal and finding a nice balance spot for inserting the eyelet. Hold the eyelet against the spot and tap a few times with the hammer to make a prick in the plastic. This will make it easier to twist in the screw.  Repeat with your animals until the entire pack is ready to go.

Spread the animals out across the cardboard and apply the first coat of primer. I always start with my animals lying down on their side so I can get the undercarriage. Once that coat dries completely I stand them up and apply a layer covering the rest of the piece. The same principle applies when doing the topcoat. Start with the bottom, spray and dry and then do the top. The most important part of spraying paint, aside from good ventilation, is to keep a few feet away so the paint goes on evenly and to allow each layer to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

diy golden animal ornaments

Once the ornaments are dry, thread a piece of twine or gold string through the eyelet and your new handmade dazzling gold trophy pieces are ready to go. I am wrapping mine up as gifts, individually on a bed of shredded paper in little white bags tied with ribbon and tiny gold painted pinecones.

diy golden animal ornaments

diy golden animal ornaments

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vine and pine, a simple fall wreath

written by tammy

how to make a simple fall wreath out of twigs, vines and pine cones

Creating a simple, natural looking fall wreath is as easy as cleaning up the yard. Lucky for us, the talented artist and designer Matt Lanci came by the other day to show us how it’s done.

A quick survey of the brush and tangle growing at the edge of the yard revealed a key ingredient for a festive fall wreath: grapevine. That, coupled with the bag of pine cones that Matt rescued from the forest floor and we had the makings for a beautiful wreath.

gathering materials to make a simple wreath out of twigs, vines and pine cones

After pulling a pile of dying vine down off the back trees, Matt set to work.

Simply pick a vine, find an end and form it in to a ring about the size of the wreath you wish to create. Sometimes you will be wrapping one piece, other times several branches at a time will be wrapped around, it just depends on the way the vine grows. Fold the vine in and out as you go, creating a tight twist. When you come to the end of a piece just tuck it inside of the tangle to secure (see images below).

If pieces are jutting out or making points instead of rounded edges you want to shape them back into place. You don’t have to be gentle. Every few wraps around  grab the edges and make sure they are continuing to form a circular shape.

how to make a simple fall wreath out of twigs, vines and pine cones

how to make a simple fall wreath out of twigs, vines and pine conesTo accent the completed wreath, we affixed a few pinecones with twine and weaved some bushy pieces of field grass from the wetlands near the yard. String to hang with a piece of ribbon or twine and you have the perfect handmade holiday display.

how to make a simple fall wreath out of twigs, vines and pine cones

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neon-pop pinecone ornaments

written by tammy

Here on the east coast the days seem shorter and the air is brisk, leaves have been falling and the trees are almost bare. The time has come for enjoying cool weather hikes and cleaning up our yards in preparation for winter chill. And as we do, we come across a bountiful and natural selection of potential holiday decorations.

pink neon pine cone ornament craft project

Last weekend a friend came bearing bags of pinecones from small to large.  He taught me how to make wreaths and centerpieces out of dying vines and tall grass. We added pinecones as accents and decorated the house for fall.  After we were done,  I found myself with over half a bag to pinecones to spare. So this weekend, I bought a can of neon paint and brightened them up a bit. Here are the results.

pink neon pine cone ornament craft project

These neon pinecone ornaments are so easy and yield such popping results that you’ll want to make them for everyone you know. The two most important things you need are primer, so you really get those neon brights, and an open space in which to work.

pink neon pine cone ornament craft project

pink neon pine cone ornament craft project

For a little extra pizazz, I added a layer of silver glitter spray paint to the cones once the neon color was dry. It’s so easy to get carried away!

pink neon pinecone ornament craft project

pink neon pine cone ornament craft project

Wrap fishing wire around the end of each pinecone, double knot and hang.

pink neon pine cone ornament craft project

I can’t wait to hang some on a real tree, and give the other half away as gifts!

pink neon pine cone ornaments

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the easiest terrarium ever

written by tammy

impress your friends and transform your home image with the easiest terrarium project ever

After a nice long summer of travel and beaches, there’s nothing like settling back into the snuggly fall weather with a little home updating.  After hanging the awesome Chris Marley owl butterfly we bought over the summer, we moved on to the air plants we brought back from Cape Cod and the beautiful hexagonal terrarium. I have to say, there is nothing easier to make and maintain than an air plant terrarium. They are simple to assemble and the plants only need an occasional spritzing or a weekly dunk in water to thrive.  I love our new terrarium and our warm and natural corner redo.

All you need for this is a container, gardening moss and a few air plants. Simple is better, but you can also add a favorite rock or mineral,  shells collected on a favorite vacation, driftwood twigs, etc.

update your home and impress your friends with this step by step photo process for making the easiest terrarium ever

easy air plant terrarium via craftawl.com

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necklace organization

written by tammy

printing block as a necklace holder

Cleaning up the bedroom recently and decided to use this old wood block for textile printing to hang and organize necklaces. It works great and I love having my necklaces on display (and untangled)!

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new plants – temporary recycled planter

written by tammy

I purchased a couple of  new plants for spring. I figured that they could live in their plastic planters for another month or so before I transfer them to new pots… but those ugly green plastic things didn’t sit so pretty on my windowsill. So, for the next few weeks the plastic planters will sit nestled inside of  empty tomato cans. Wallah, beautiful!!

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the accidental doggie bed

written by tammy

So…. accidents happen!!  For example, when your dog throws up on your comforter and it says “Dry Clean Only” but there’s vomit on it, and it’s gross, and you put it in the wash anyway, only to realize later why you should have followed the instructions.

See the picture above, well that is what my comforter now looks like. A bag of stuffing and some fabric. After a nice wash and dry in the machine, all the batting clumped to one end and the fancy patchwork comforter was no more.  I cut open the fabric, put the batting in a bag and shoved it to the back of my closet.

Meanwhile, my dog had taken to lying in the pile of fabric as sort of a makeshift bed. After doing a little spring cleaning (and washing his dog-pile bed) I decided to whip out the sewing machine, put the batting to good use, and make my little guy a real bed.

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dry goods jars

written by tammy

Around my home there’s always a use for an empty jar!

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a house fit for a (tooth) fairy

written by tammy

A wonderfully warm weekend inspired a little backyard clean-up/mini-dance party.

One of my friends recently lost her tooth, and while washing away the winter debris we talking about the tooth fairy and how she would have really liked the awesome recycled fairy houses we made a couple years ago. So, instead of pining over past projects we got busy on a new one…

To begin, we spent some time scavenging the yard for sturdy sticks, dried leaves and debris we thought might make a nice home for our magical friends.

The structure of the house is a simple tee pee design. We collected sticks of almost-equal length and started tying them together with a piece of twine. Add a few more branches and continue to wrap until you form a nice framework.

Use dried leaves to create walls around the tee pee frame (areal view of the tee pee below).

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