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CRAFTS

Eco-Art Crafts Made by You

Some place crafts in the category of leisurely pursuits. That may be true in some cases, but surely not during November and December as we cram holiday preparations into our already busy schedules. But it's nice to take time out from a conveyer belt schedule to explore a new project and make a gift for yourself or someone else. With this in mind, I recently browsed a local bookstore and discovered several attractive design "quickfixes" in Natural Crafts from America's Backyards, This book contains 80 projects composed of natural materials that grow in backyards throughout the country. I'll probably have to make two of everything--it will be hard to give them away.

Natural Crafts Both of our projects are reprinted from Natural Crafts from America's Backyards by Ellen Spector Platt, © 1997 by Ellen Spector Platt. Photographs © Rodale Inc., Permission granted by Rodale, Emmaus,PA 18098. However, copies are difficult to find because this wonderful book is no longer in print. We are providing a link to Barnes and Noble which has a small supply of used books.



Pinnacles

HAT PINS AND STICKPINS are enjoying a resurgence of favor. Young women wear hat pins to decorate a turned up brim, never guessing that they once were functional, securing hats to long tresses. Other women adorn lapels of suits with stickpins to lighten the look. Here are some custom-made pins, each featuring a different natural material from around the country.

hat pins

From left to right: large poppy pod with tassel, small chestnut with beads, Job's-tears pod with silver tassel, oriental nigella pod wit gold button, live oak acorn with gold ribbon, eucalyptus pod with gold cord, strawflower with beads, and small poppy pod with antique bead. Photograph © Rodale, Inc.

GATHER YOUR MATERIALS

For each pin:
  • Pod, nut, or flower (Here I used large and small poppy pods, an oriental nigella pod, and a strawflower from my garden in Pennsylvania; a live oak acorn from Texas; a Job's-tears pod from Hawaii; a chestnut from Delaware; and a eucalyptus pod from California.)

  • 5-inch stickpin jewelry finding in silver or gold or 6-inch hat pin finding in silver or gold (This is available from a jewelry or craft supply store.)

  • Assortment of new and old beads, buttons, tassels, narrow ribbon, and cording

  • Crimp (the tiny last bead on the pin to help hold the others in place)

  • Clutch (the stopper at the bottom of the pin that keeps you from poking yourself)

  • Tube of glue for metal, like Bond 527

  • Toothpick

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Small scissors

PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER

  1. Take a stickpin finding and slide the beads on in the order you prefer. I often start with a small round or tear-shaped bead for the top. When wearing a pin, people usually push it through their clothing by applying pressure on the top bead. Protect your flower or pod by having a hard bead at the top.

  2. All the beads must be glued in place one by one. With a toothpick, put glue on the pin at the top. Slide on the top bead and twirl it around so the inside of the bead gets coated with glue. Continue to put glue on the pin and twirl on a bead until the design is complete. Remove any excess glue wit another toothpick as you add the beads.

  3. The last bead is a tiny crimp. Put a bit of glue on the pin, slide on the crimp and squeeze it tightly with the pliers. The crimp will help hold the beads in place, but the glue is the main fixative.



Southern Live Oak Frame

For people who live throughout much of the South and Southeast, live oaks provide graceful shade. These long-lived trees often grow as wide as they do high, reaching from 30 to 50 feet.

Use the branches in arrangements and wreaths and the tough, leathery leaves for air drying and craft work. Use the elongated acorns to add color and shape to your project.

Photograph © Rodale, Inc.


GATHER YOUR MATERIALS

  • Dried live oak leaves

  • Bits of twig (optional)

  • Live oak acorns

  • Old or cheap purchased frame (Here I used a 9- by 12-inch frame.)

  • Clippers

  • Cool-mesh glue gun and glue sticks (Hot glue may discolor the leaves.)

PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER

  1. Glue the dried leaves onto the frame using the cool-melt glue and glue gun, overlapping the leaves as you go. When the frame is covered, glue a leaf on diagonally at each corner and add a bit of twig, if desired.

  2. Glue acorns to the leaves at the top, bottom and sides, as shown at left, or in the four corners or any way you prefer. Add a few extra leaves to the acorn clusters.

NOTE: Bake acorns and other wild nuts at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three hours to avoid emerging pests. Glue the caps back onto the nuts if they loosen while drying.


See what you've missed

If you've enjoyed this project, don't miss our crafts archive with projects including:



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