Thursday, September 24, 2015

Colors Of Fall Craft

Happy Fall! Yesterday was the first official day of autumn which makes this the first full day of the 2015 fall season. The air is crisp and clear and puts me in the mood for adding cozy touches to our home in anticipation of cooler weather and nights spent in front of a crackling fire. I am sprinkling some nature inspired items around the house and wanted to share another fall craft with you today. The trees in our area have not really begun to change color just yet, so for this project I pulled out some artificial fall leaves from my stash of craft supplies. They may not be the real thing, but they worked beautifully and incorporated the seasonal colors I was looking for. For this project you will need the following supplies:

          ~artificial fall leaves
                                                        ~Mod Podge                                                       
      ~sponge brush   
~glass bowl
 ~plastic wrap

Wrap the plastic wrap around the glass bowl to completely cover it. To keep the area clean, I chose to work over a piece of parchment paper. Invert the bowl onto your work surface, and begin brushing a generous amount of Mod Podge onto the artificial leaves. Place the leaves onto the plastic covered bowl one at a time, overlapping the edges. As you work, apply another coat of Mod Podge on top of the layer of leaves,

Once the Mod Podge dries clear, apply another coat of the craft medium and then allow your bowl to dry completely. Once dry, remove your leaf bowl from the glass base, and then carefully pull the plastic wrap away from the inner surface of your leaves. What you are left with is a colorful decorative dish that can be used in your seasonal decor.

I chose to fill the bowl with some of the acorns that I had dried and preserved  the other day.

I had just the place that I wanted to display my new project. I recently used an idea that I found on the fantastic blog On Sutton Place. Ann is a very creative blogger and I used her idea for making a rustic frame that incorporated natural elements like acorns, twigs and pine cones. I also used one of the free fall printables that she offered on her site. If you haven't seen Ann's blog, you should really take a moment to check it out. She has some great ideas and there are several printables that you can download to use in your own crafts. I used an inexpensive wood frame that I found at Wal-Mart and I found the peel and stick sheet moss at Michaels. I had never heard of the peel and stick sheet moss before reading about it on Ann's blog, and I have to say it will definitely be something I use with some future craft projects. To complete the frame I used hot glue to apply sticks, acorns and a pine cone that I gathered from my yard.  I plan on keeping the September quote in the frame until the end of the month and then will change it for another fall printable. I will keep this frame on display until I bring out our Christmas decorations.
I just love how these two easy projects incorporate natural elements and autumnal colors  into our home. I've been busy with some other projects and will be sharing more fall crafts with you soon. How are you bringing the colors of the season into your home?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nature Inspired Fall Crafts

According to the calendar it is still technically summer...until Wednesday that is, but the weather around here has started to change ever so slightly to offer the hint of fall in the air. With less weeding and garden chores that need to be done, I've had more time to work on some craft and DIY projects. Although the leaves have not really begun to change color yet, the trees are sporting some fall gems, and the approach of autumn has prompted me to incorporate natural elements into the things I have been working on.
The oak trees in our yard are dropping acorns, and since I was lucky enough to be able to gather some before the squirrels and chipmunks grabbed them all, I wanted to utilize them in some of my projects and in some seasonal decorating around the house as well. In previous years I learned the hard way, that you can't just sprinkle acorns around your home or crafts without running the risk of having some little "critters" emerge from the nuts, or even having the acorns grow some mold on the shells. I did a little research this year and learned that you can safely preserve acorns by drying them in the oven. Some sites also mentioned that freezing them would kill any worms or bugs inside the shells too, but since there were mixed reviews on the effectiveness of that method, I decided to opt for the drying technique.
Today I will share the way I preserved the acorns I am gathering daily and then one of the crafts I used them in. In some upcoming posts, I'll share some additional ways I've added them to projects and decorating.
If you are lucky enough to have some oak trees near where you live, gather your acorns and inspiration for some seasonal crafting. It is best to choose acorns that don't have any cracks or holes in them as this helps to assure that there are no insects inside. Wash the nuts with tap water to remove any dirt or debris and dry them with paper towels. Set your oven to 225 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread your gathered nuts on the tray and place them in the oven for at least 2 hours. Several of the methods I researched also suggested leaving the oven door open to allow moisture to escape, so I did this as well. Some of the sites I read indicated that there would be a somewhat foul smell as your acorns dried, but I have done several batches so far, and haven't noticed any odor coming from the oven.
The drying process can cause some of the acorn tops to separate from the base, but they can easily be reattached with a drop of hot glue. The acorns will change color slightly from the heat, and most of the green shells that I found turned brown during the process.
Now onto one of the crafts that I utilized my newly preserved natural elements in. I love candles, and the cooler fall weather makes me want to burn them even more to add an ambiance of warmth and coziness to our home. I enjoy many of the seasonal scents that Yankee Candle offers, but I must admit, I have never been a fan of the labels that are on their jar candles. I always felt they detracted somewhat from the decorative accent. In the past, I have tried removing the labels, but found it difficult, if not impossible to get them completely off, and there always seemed to be a residue that remained.
 Therefore, this year I decided to try covering them. Burlap has become a favorite medium of mine to use for sewing and crafting. It has a natural and rustic element that just seems to be perfect for this time of year, so I decided to incorporate it into this simple craft project. I took some burlap ribbon that I had purchased and wrapped it around the candle jar, securing it with some dabs of hot glue. I then took some rope that I had in my stash of craft supplies and wrapped it around the top and bottom of the jar, again securing with a dab of hot glue.
I liked the look, but my steadily growing stash of dried acorns was calling out to me, so I decided to make another candle where I incorporated the acorns as well as some fake fall leaves that were in my craft supplies as well.
Both candles have a more rustic look than the commercialized label don't you think? The burlap ribbon has a loose weave, so the glow from the burning candle is still able to add a warm ambiance to the room as well. To be extra cautious and safe, it is best to add these decorations to candles that have been burned down a little already, so that the flame remains safely inside the glass jar and away from the burlap and rope.
I also have several battery operated candles throughout our home, and decided that these could use a little seasonal decor as well. On these, I just folded the burlap ribbon in half and wrapped it around the body of the candle, securing the two ends to each other with hot glue. I did not glue the burlap to the candle itself, so it is not permanently attached and the ribbon can be easily slipped off so that the decorations can be changed for each season. I then tied some jute string around the burlap and glued on a few acorns.
My husband grew the little orange gourds from seed in our garden, and they now add a bright little bit of fall color to our seasonal decorating.
What are your favorite natural elements to incorporate into your fall decor? 
I'll be back later this week with some other craft projects I have been working on. I hope you are enjoying the change of seasons and all the natural elements that are unique to this time of year.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Chicken

Although the calendar may read September, many of the herbs in our garden are still flourishing, even better than they did at the height of the summer growing season. I am always searching for ways to use my fragrant gatherings, and when I was given this recipe that was created by Rachael Ray, I knew I had to give it a try. The beauty of this recipe is that it is fairly quick and easy to prepare, which is necessary for many families now that the school year and activities are getting back into full swing. An added bonus is that it will make your kitchen smell divine as it cooks. One of the beauties of fall is having your home feel warm, cozy and inviting as everyone returns from a long day at work or school. This dinner does just that, as it delights the senses and graces your table with a delicious meal for the family to share as they chat about the day's events.  My family gave it rave reviews when I served it last evening, but when I woke up this morning and the kitchen still smelled amazing, I knew I wanted to share it. The original recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of chicken, but I was preparing more than that. To be honest, I didn't do exact calculated increases in the seasonings and other ingredients to account for the extra meat. I just added a little extra of everything, didn't do any precise measuring and it turned out just fine and tasted delicious.


-2 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
-6 cloves of garlic, crushed with the back of a spoon
-3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves stripped from the stems
-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon of Montreal Chicken Grill Mates Seasoning (I was lucky enough to have this in my spice cabinet but you can substitute coarse salt, black pepper, and some onion powder)
-1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Place the chicken in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Add the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest and seasoning. Toss to coat the chicken pieces with all of the ingredients.

Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.

Add the white wine or chicken broth and the lemon juice to the pan, combining with the pan juices, and return the baking dish to the hot oven. Turn the oven off at this point, but leave the pan in to roast for another 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

Spoon the juices over the chicken pieces when serving.

Having a loaf of  warm crisp bread to serve with this meal is a nice addition, as the remaining juices are wonderful to dip the bread in.


Wishing you and your family a cozy start to the new fall season!

Linking with:
A Delightsome Life
Lehman Lane