Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Switch Craft": Re-Purposing Sticks and Scraps

I have come full-circle. It took me two decades to discipline myself to toss old magazines into the recycling bin. Now I have a special basket dedicated to collecting them for craft projects. My daughters and I can fashion a collage whenever the mood strikes, or even decoupage. It's re-purposing and it's free! Here's a birthday card I made for my mom:

and my 10-year-old's latest masterpiece:

Easy as 1-2-3 Fall Craft

The idea for this fall craft began when my husband led me out into the forest to climb Eagle Rock for a 360 degree view of the Three Sisters Wilderness. I forgot to change shoes but managed to safely scramble to the top in my faithful Teva flip-flops. Now is that short window of time when the Cascades look strangely unfamiliar, rocky and barren of snow.

On the way back, this scrappy manzanita bush insisted on riding home in the trunk. I imagined it might become the inspiration for a decorative fall arrangement on our front porch.

Instead it seemed more at home on the mantle, and brought back memories of my mom's ever-changing holiday "tree". In Spring it was adorned with colorful wooden eggs; some winters, with embroidered snowflakes.
 But first it needed a "haircut" despite my daughter's protests (I trimmed it while she was in school).

1)  I cut a leaf shape out of heavy paper to use as a pattern,

 then paged through magazines on a mad quest for playful autumn-toned scraps. This is the part of crafting which, for me, sends my serotonin levels surging. It's also why I don't believe glossy publications will ever be completely replaced by internet resources.
Here is the aftermath:

2) Next I glued two leaf cut-outs together so that each side of the leaf would have a contrasting design. (I used Mod Podge but you could also use a glue stick). Optional: Unsatisfied with the varying sheens of the papers, I also brushed the finished leaves with an exterior coat of Mod Podge.

3)  With its graphic leaves tied on with bold orange thread, the once-forlorn branch now adornes our fireplace area, paying tribute to the changing season.

These Northwest nights are definitely getting colder and it won't be long before the family gathers together here to count our blessings. Bring on the pumpkins!


  1. This is such a cute idea!! I pulled some branches out of the burn pile- might have to try this

  2. I hope you do! My tenderhearted daughter will be so happy that you "rescued" some branches!


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