Monday, March 31, 2014

Picnic Basket Tutorial

Upcycle those old Easter baskets into fun picnic baskets for summer!
Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

It's almost Easter and you can't walk into a thrift store without tripping over some baskets. My daughter has a little quilt that she insists is for picnics, obviously she needs a picnic basket for a picnic, duh! I got this little basket at the thrift store for $.50...awesome! So I remember my mom doing this once a long time ago, simple project that looks super fancy when you're done. We're just cutting the lid out of cardboard and covering with fabric, easy right?

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

Here's what you need:
    Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree
  • basket
  • fabric
  • batting
  • cardboard
  • ribbon
  • lace
  • glue gun
My basket, like most, is not exactly the same size/shape on one side as the other. You can just flip the basket upside down and trace around the edge to get the lid exactly the size/shape you need. If your sides are different like mine, be sure to keep track of the top and bottom of lids as well as which lid goes to which side. 

You will need two pieces of cardboard for each side, a top and bottom. I used some thick, heavy duty cardboard for the top piece, so for my bottom piece of cardboard, I used a very thin cardboard(cereal box) If your cardboard is thinner than mine you could just use two of the same.

Now just cover the top of the lid with batting and fabric and attach with hot glue. Then cover the underside of the bottom piece with just fabric. For the bottom piece I used spray adhesive to attach but you could just use the hot glue too. 

You are going to use a piece of fabric in the center to connect the two sides together. Measure the center of basket between the two handles to figure out how long to make it, I folded mine over, so there would be no rough edges.

Glue the fabric piece to the bottom pieces of cardboard. You should place the cardboard on the basket before so you can line it up and position correctly. Now attach the lace and the ribbon. To finish, you glue the tops with the batting onto the bottom pieces.

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

Now just position on top of basket and tie ribbons to secure. You might also want to add a fabric lining to the inside of the basket!

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

Picnic Basket Tutorial, Over The Apple Tree

picnic basket tutorial, over the apple tree

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Painted Shoes For Spring

Ever find the perfect shoes but they weren't the perfect color? 
Here's my situation...I found this vintagey style, multi-color dress that I love and needed some shoes to go with it. I had an idea in my head of what I was looking for but, I'm on a tight budget so my options were limited. Well lucky day, I found these beauties on clearance at Walmart for...drum roll...$3! Even though I knew these were not going to be quite the right color, they were exactly the style I wanted and there was no way I could pass them up for that price. I'm so not a pink girl, my wardrobe consists of black white and grey. I cant even believe I'm going to wear pink shoes and a flowery dress! Bonus: The fashion expert on The Today Show this morning says pastels, especially pink, are IT this spring!

Paint Shoes for Spring by Over The Apple Tree

Now, when I was in high school, some of the girls tried spray painting their shoes to match their prom dresses and it didn't work out too well, cracks everywhere! These shoes are covered in fabric, textured to look like...snake skin? I wasn't sure how the shiny parts of the fabric were going to take the acrylic paint I decided on, so I tested a small section. After the paint was dry, it ended up rubbing right off with my finger.
Paint Shoes For Spring by Over The Apple TreeI used some fine grit sandpaper to rub off the shiny stuff. This decision was good and bad. Yes the fabric took the paint just fine after that but the sandpaper pulled up the thread in all the stitching on the top of the shoe, which wasn't really noticeable until I got the paint on it. At this point I started to think spray paint would have been a better idea and would probably have worked out fine if I used primer first...too late now!

How I Did It
First, tape off the bottom with some masking tape. I took acrylic craft paint and mixed it 2:1 with some fabric medium. For the first coat of paint I did a white base layer. After that I followed with two coats of the pink, also mixed with the fabric medium and allowed each coat to dry in between. After that I just went back and touched up areas I missed. I pulled off my tape and cleaned up any paint that got past the tape and lightly sprayed a layer of glossy clear acrylic sealer.

Fabulous or Fail?
Even though I took a lot of time making sure the tape was just right, the edges where the paint met the sole was a little rough when I pulled the tape off. The raised up stitching and the less than perfect edges aren't that attractive up close but its not that bad. Looking at them while worn, almost perfect! Who's really going to notice my feet anyway? My main fear with painting these shoes has been the paint cracking but I've been wearing these around the house and it's all good so far.

People kill me when I they say "Oh I could never do that because I'm not crafty" Yes, I like doing crafty projects and most of the time it works out for me. But here's the thing, at least half the time I don't have a clue what I'm doing! When trying stuff for the first time, you never know what's going to happen. The difference between me and the people who think they aren't "crafty" is that I'm not afraid to try. It's debatable whether these shoes were a success, but it's ok. I'm going to rock 'em anyway and be proud that I gave it my best shot.

**UPDATE!!! You can see how my shoes held up after the wedding, click HERE

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Liebster Awards

Thank you so much to Julie's Lifestyle Blog and Southern Distinctions for nominating me for a Liebster Award! (Insert my unused Oscar speech here) 

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The meaning of Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about new bloggers/blogs.

Here is a list of the rules that I need to follow as well as the 11 bloggers that I choose:

  1. Post 11 random facts about yourself
  2. Answer 11 questions the awarding blogger has posted for you
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers (with less than 200 followers) for the award and link them in your post
  4. Create 11 questions the nominated bloggers have to answer
  5. Let the nominated bloggers know they were nominated

11 Random facts about me:

1. I have lived in five different states for some period of time. For a while there, my husband and I felt like nomads, but we now live in Colorado and have been here for nine years! 

2. I love to read. I read everyday and go to library at least once a week...sometimes more!

3. I always order the same food in restaurants. It's not that I don't want to try new things, it's just that when I do, it seems like I always get burned and I end up wishing I had stuck with what I knew was good.

4. Cleaning of course sucks, but for some reason, I have no problem cleaning other people's houses.

5. I collect Barbies. I've always loved Barbies, always will. At last count I had 35 and they are still in their boxes, stored in huge Rubbermaid bins in my basement. 
I receive Barbie Collectors magazine so my daughter and I can pick out our favorites every season. Right now I really want the Wizard Of Oz Fantasy Glamour Dorthy and The Wicked Witch dolls.

6. I spent two years researching my family history. I am totally fascinated to find out who they were,where they came from and how they had the courage to pack up their life and come to America. Genealogy is a never ending journey which I will pick back up one day when I have more time.
My ancestors! Laura @ Over The Apple Tree

7. I'm a total sci-fi nerd. I grew up with Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. Now as an adult I'm a Harry Potter geek. 

8. If I could go back in time I would either be a doctor or an architect. 

9. I have no desire whatsoever to go on a cruise. I'm terrified. It will never happen.

10. My husband and I watch so many survival reality shows that I'm pretty confident we could survive anywhere at this point.

11. I'm almost positive that I lived in 1800's England in a past life.

11 Questions I have been asked
Why did you start blogging?
I started this blog because I planned to open an Etsy Store and I wanted to create a larger online presence. Turns out blogging all my crafty stuff is actually more fun!

How did you pick your blog name?
Hmmm, not an easy answer...I was throwing around names forever before I came to this one. I guess apple trees make me feel nostalgic because my grandma had one in her yard. You could see it out the dinning room window and when I would spend weekends there, her and my grandpa would point out different kinds of birds that would land on the bird feeders. I also remember when I was little, drawing picture after picture of houses with apple trees next to them.

What is your favorite hobby?
I'm a crafter. I sew, crochet, do projects to fix up my home, scrapbook...pretty much anything that's sold in a craft store, I've had my hands on it. 

What is your favorite travel destination?
I love to go home to see my family in NY. I can't go as often I used to, so it's pretty special to me when I can.

Do you cook?
Everyday. I know so many people who just don't know what to do in a kitchen. I'm baffled, how do they eat?

Makeup or no makeup?
I put on makeup everyday. Even if I don't leave the house I like to feel somewhat put together.

What is your favorite season of the year?
My favorite season is the fall. It's a welcome change after the hot summer. There is a chill in the air and you get to wear cozy sweaters and best of all...I like to buy school supplies!

Who is your favorite celebrity?
I don't know, I really love Mindy Kaling right now. I'm pretty sure if I ever met her we would for sure become best friends.

What is your favorite food?
Spaghetti. I think I could eat it everyday.

What is your favorite movie?
Who has one favorite movie? I love, love, love Pride And Prejudice though.

What is one word your friends would use to describe you?
Most people describe me as quiet until they know me better.

Blogs I have chosen(some of you may have more than 200 followers, just go with it!)
Thrift For Today
Queen St. Artisan
She's Crafty
Three Kids And A Fish
Label Me Organized
At The Corner Of Happy And Harried
Lip Gloss And Lumber
Eat. See. Home.

11 questions for chosen blogs
  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What is your favorite post from your own blog?
  3.  Do you have any goals this year?
  4. If you could stay the same age forever what would it be?
  5. What is your favorite holiday?
  6. Do you have a pet peeve?
  7. If you could live anywhere outside the US, where?
  8. Do you collect anything?
  9. Do you have a favorite author?
  10. What is your favorite thing about spring?
  11. What is the most memorable gift you have ever received?

Check my Gallery for projects I've been working on.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DIY Wedding Favors - Melt and Pour Soap & Crochet River Rocks

It's wedding planning season, and I happen to have a family wedding to attend this spring! After seeing some cute ideas on Etsy and then coming across a blog post about melt and pour soaps...light bulb! My future sister-in-law has been kind enough to put up with me bombarding her with pins and ideas for her upcoming wedding and has agreed to let me make her wedding favors. Since the wedding will have an intimate, vintage garden feel, I decided on soaps and crochet rocks.

DIY Garden Wedding Favors, Melt and Pour Soap & Crochet River Rocks by Over the Apple Tree

Melt and pour soap is crazy easy. The soap base and fragrances are available at any major craft store and you can also use stuff you probably have already in your kitchen to mix in as well. You can make one bar at a time or a large batch like I did. Mixed soaps can be poured into individual molds or in my case, a large rectangle and then cut into bars with a knife. 

Honey Almond Chamomile Goat's Milk Soap
3 lbs goat's milk soap base
2 tbsp ground up oatmeal
2 tbsp honey
3 chamomile tea bags
1 tsp honey almond fragrance

*I also created a Honey Almond Chai Soap by substituting the chamomile tea with chai tea*
For my mold I used a 9 oz cereal box lined with wax paper. I've had some questions about the cereal box. I used a box instead of something like a cake pan because it has 90 degree angles on sides and corners. I tipped it sideways and cut off one big side then taped the end back together. Prepare mold and set aside. I wanted to add a little oatmeal just because it's so good for skin. Grind oatmeal in a food processor, measure amount you need and place in small bowl. Cut open tea bags and pour out tea leaves into the bowl. 

Cut soap base into small pieces and place in a large microwave safe dish. Since this is a large batch, you can microwave for 1 minute, stir and repeat a couple times. When you see that it's getting more melted reduce microwave time to 30 second intervals, stirring in between until soap is completely melted. 

Add oatmeal, tea and honey to melted soap base and gently mix. Add fragrance and mix. Now pour into mold. If you don't want any bubbles on top you can lightly spray alcohol across top. 

Let the soap remain in the mold until it is completely cooled, should take a few hours. I let mine sit overnight.

When soap is cooled, you can cut into bars. With my size mold I got 12 bars for each 3 lb soap batch.

cut soap into barscut soap into bars

honey almond chamomile goat's milk soap, Over The Apple Tree

To fancy these up for wedding favors, I cut scrapbook paper into 2x9 inch strips(a paper trimmer will get this done quickly and accurately!) then trimmed the edges with fancy scissors. I wrapped bars in plastic wrap then secured the paper strips around with tape. To make the personalized labels, I used PicMonkey to create the image I liked and then imported the image into a word document. After you figure out the size you'll need, just copy the image to fill up the page and print on card stock. Now cut out labels and attach with glue stick.

Use scrapbook paper to wrap and personalize DIY soap by Over The Apple Tree

DIY soap wedding favors by Over The Apple Tree

Make your own melt and pour soap for unique wedding favors by Over the Apple Tree

Learn from my mistakes:
I had never done this before and here are some things I messed up so you don't have to.
  • The soap base comes already scored into easy to cut cubes. In the first batch, I left soap in the large cubes and it took a long time to melt and it ended up not heating evenly since I was working with such a large batch. Cutting the soap into smaller slices as shown in the picture above allowed it to melt more evenly and faster. 
  • Fragrance directions said 5 drops per 1 oz soap. I didn't feel like counting out 240 drops so I looked all over the internet for a tsp measurement. The info I got wasn't accurate and I ended up using 2 times the fragrance I needed in my first batch! I had to melt it back down and add more unscented soap to fix it. I did end up counting out the 240 drops and it came out to about 1 tsp. 
  • I read that you should wait till the soap is getting cooled down and thick before adding fragrance so the heat doesn't evaporate it. I waited too long and when I went to pour the melted soap into the mold it actually started to harden mid pour! This resulted in very lumpy soap. I think just adding the fragrance after you add the first ingredients will allow it to cool enough so that there won't be evaporation problems.
  • You shouldn't use bowls, utensils, etc that you intend to use for food again. You can always pick up some supplies from the thrift store for this purpose. After my over fragrance fiasco, I had to use my favorite metal bowl to make a double boiler since I didn't think I should use the microwave to melt the overly perfumed soap. I rinsed and washed out the bowl and later my husband decided to eat salad out of it...not good! This is also why I used a large piece of cardboard to cut on instead of my cutting boards.

 Crochet River Rocks
Yes these are crocheted rocks. Why would anyone waste time crocheting rocks? Ummm, because it looks cool! I saw these on Pinterest and thought they were so pretty and would go great with the theme of the wedding. You can pretty much use any small crochet doily pattern and just work it until it's the size you need for the rock. A few of the sites I found with patterns for rocks are The Purl B and Number One Churchill's Green. Don't forget to check Ravelry for doily patterns as well. After you've done a few you'll be able to make up your own patterns as you go. 

Crochet river rocks make unique wedding favors by Over The Apple Tree

Honey Almond Chamomile Goat's Milk Soap, melt and pour soap recipe by Over the Apple Tree

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