Come along as we downsize and decorate our little retirement home in Coastal Maine. Travel back roads with us in our vintage "Casita" and meet amazing people along the way. Join me in the craft room as I learn, create, and repurpose. Follow along with me as I struggle to get fit and lose weight. But, most importantly, laugh with me as I stumble along into "geezerhood". Welcome to Applegate Lane!
What do you do with an underutilized kitchen closet? Well, if you're my very handy friend, Mary Elizabeth, you transform it into a martini bar!
If you've been reading this blog, you know that I've been helping Mary Elizabeth update and repaint her house. We were taking a lunch break in her kitchen one day and the door to the little closet off of the dining area was open. That's all it took to get our creative juices flowing!
Since Mary Elizabeth loves martini's, we got a crazy idea:
Why not transform the little "junk closet" into a functional (and fun!) "Martini Bar"?
And what better martini-inspired color to use than . . . ta da . . . "OLIVE green!
Shelves were removed, cut down, painted and repositioned.
Mary found the mirrored tiles for the back of the bar at Goodwill and installed them herself (she's a whiz with power tools!). She also installed battery operated lights and painted the insides of the door with chalkboard paint. Better to post her "Martini Menu" on!
Mary Elizabeth is still planning to hand-paint olive borders on the trim around the chalkboards but otherwise Applegate's newest Martini Bar is ready to open . . .
I changed them out a bit, using sticks for legs, neck and antlers. These were simple . . . no tutorial needed. The hardest part was making holes in the corks that would allow the sticks to fit snugly. I ended up using my awl and securing them with a dot of hot glue.
I plan to use these little reindeer on the porch of our log cabin dollhouse when I finish decorating it for Christmas.
With my remaining corks, I'm going to try this idea from Chelsea at two twenty-one:
Such a warm accent for the holidays and so simple!
I had so much fun making these little nativity sets that I thought I'd share a tutorial.
They would be fun to make with grandchildren or in a Sunday school class.
I plan to give mine as little gifts. (Full disclosure: they're so cute, I'm keeping one set for my mantle.)
Why a wine cork nativity? When our friends Anita and Fred downsized to an RV (lucky them!), I was the recipient of a huge bag of wine corks they had collected over the years . . . lots of years judging by the size of the bag!
So I headed to Pinterest for some "wine cork crafts" ideas and found this photo on an Italian blog called Creamamma. It was love at first sight! I knew I had to make these. The blog is written in Italian but Google Translate took care of that. There was no tutorial so I just used the photo and figured out my own way of making the figures.
I started by purchasing a couple of inexpensive packages of small wooden doll heads at JoAnn's Crafts These are optional; the blogger in Italy did not use them. She used champagne-type corks with wide tops but I didn't have enough of those.
I made a platform with thumbtacks sticking up between two layers of corrugated cardboard, set my corks out on it, and sprayed them with white primer. You can skip this step for the nativity but I am planning on painting some of my corks for future projects so I just primed them all.
Then I hot-glued the heads on.
(Children could do this with craft glue.)
I played around with a piece of fabric until I came up with a simple pattern for the felt robes. Here is the shape that worked for me. My pattern is approximately 3 inches tall and 4 inches wide.
I hot glued the felt "robe" to the head first, then just folded the two sides over each other in the front and glued the robe shut. (Oh dear, just realized it looks as if Mr. Winecork is flashing us - pretty funny but totally unintended!)
To make the baby, I cut a Q-tip into a piece a little over an inch long and wrapped it in a small square of felt - like you would swaddle a real baby. A little glue holds the "blanket" shut in front.
I glued on a little face out of tiny circle of flesh-colored felt and drew on eyes and mouth with a thin Sharpie. The cradle is another cork cut in half lengthwise; a serrated kitchen knife did the job. Another dab of glue holds the baby in the crèche.
Finally, I tied gold cord around each figure - as a belt on Joseph and around the neck or head for Mary.
These are quick to do.
Once I had the materials together, I was able to make four 3-piece sets in an hour.
The set I decided to keep is already on the mantle on a piece of fleece "snow" next to the little LED tree I found at Goodwill yesterday.
For the past few years, I've been in the habit of stopping at our local Dunkin' Donuts for a few minutes of quiet time with my coffee and Portland Press Herald before the start of another busy day. That's where I met Arthur.
I'd see him again every Tuesday night at Weight Watchers, which is held at out local American Legion Hall. Arthur would always be there helping out before the meeting and teasing the ladies as we headed to and from the scale.
Arthur's dream was to create a lasting monument to the Veteran's of our little town of Falmouth. When he and his buddies graduated from Falmouth High School, classes of 1944 and 1945, there were only about a hundred students; six of the 100 were lost in WWII.
After years of planning and volunteer work years of planning and volunteer work by Arthur and his friends, the monument was dedicated this morning. It was completely paid for by donations from townspeople in honor of our Veterans.
It was difficult to photograph clearly, but the back of the monument, the side facing Art's beloved Legion Hall, says, "All Gave Some. Some Gave All."
Arthur passed away last April, before the monument was finished.
But he was honored today and a letter from him - urging the completion of the project - was read at the dedication.
I know Arthur would have been smiling that beautiful smile of his this morning to see the outpouring of support for our Veterans.
Job well done, Arthur.
You can rest now; we've got this.
Remembering Arthur, my Dad (Army Air Force, WWII) and all Veterans today,
You only need a few supplies to make the ornaments:
A felting pad
A #38 felting needle . . .
Styrofoam craft balls, whatever size you prefer
Scraps of yarn or wool felt
(the felting multi-needle tool pictured is optional . . . it just makes the project go a little faster) . . .
And wool roving in your choice of colors; I used red, green and white.
The directions suggested wearing leather gloves to protect your hands when in a frenzy of needling. I found them hard to work in and took them off. As always, you just have to keep your eyes on the needle!
To make the ornament: Spread a layer of wool over the styrofoam ball and needle it on until it is felted. For embellishment, needle on swirls of yarn or wool felt designs (I did polka dots). Each ornament took about a half-hour to make,
That's it! You can felt yarn hangers onto the ornaments for hanging or leave them off to display the balls in a bowl or basket.
While I was at it, I finally finished felting this little Santa Gnome.
Felting friend extraordinaire, Kathleen Gerdes, taught a class on making these a my home last week.
We had a great time and proved, once again, that crafting goes better with wine!