Go Paint Rocks

How to paint rocks from Farmhouse38.com

In yesterday’s Cupid’s Arrow Doormat post, some of you may have spied these two little glittered heart painted rocks tucked amongst the front porch decor….DIY painted rocks and easy image transfer from Farmhouse38.com

I love me some painted rocks, and I must say that I am obsessing over the glittered ones even more!  Painting rocks (and using them mainly as door-stops) was something I started doing in college, when I was broke but living by the ocean where there was an unending supply of nice, smooth, wave-worn rocks to collect and use for whatever I could possibly turn them into.  This was like 15 years ago, people–where the heck has the time gone!?  In more recent manifestations, these painted rocks have been moonlighting at the Farmhouse as bookends, mantel decor, garden markers, and hostess gifts.  They are so easy and inexpensive to make that I thought I’d better share the tutorial.

DIY image transfer and painted rocks from Farmhouse38.com. Makes a great bookend!

I have a thing for monogrammed rocks. This is a completely normal thing to have a thing for.

A family of monogrammed front porch rocks. DIY  easy image transfer and painted rock tutorial from Farmhouse38.com

A family of monogrammed rocks for my favorite neighbors’ front stoop. Shout out to H, N, R & Q!!!

During the holidays, I made a set for my front porch decor that never actually made it into a post:

Christmastime front porch rocks. Easy DIY image transfer and painted rocks from Farmhouse38.com

My text-transferring method for the rocks is one and the same as for my Hand-Painted Signs.  You start, of course, by finding yourself a decent rock.  The smoother the surface, the easier it will be. Design up your words, letters, or shapes on the computer, and print.

Easy DIY letter transfer method from Farmhouse38.com

Cut each word (or design) out, and then heavily color the backside of it with a grease pencil.

 

Easy DIY image transfer method from Farmhouse38.comScotch-tape it where you want it on your rock of choice, and then trace the design, pressing firmly.

Easy DIY image transfer method from Farmhouse38.com

You should get a pretty well-transferred image if you slathered the grease pencil on there thick enough.

 

Easy DIY image transfer method from Farmhouse38.comNow, paint!

Easy DIY image transfer method and painted rocks from Farmhouse38.com

If these are going to sit outside, it’s best to use some sort of oil-based exterior-grade paint. Finishing with a clear, protective sealer always helps, too.

If you’re adding glitter, sprinkle it on before the paint has much time to dry.

I must confess that I simply free-handed these hearts….nothing wrong with winging it now and again!

Easy DIY image transfer method and painted rocks from Farmhouse38.com

Cupid’s Arrow Doormat

DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.comMore Valentine’s crafty decor!

I’m a big fan of making my own doormats.  Plain coir mats like the one above are sold for around $10.00 at Home Depot, and with some transparent contact paper (also from the Depot) to make a sticky-stencil and a bit of left-over spray paint, this is a relatively easy, inexpensive, and versatile DIY project.

For this design, I decided about how big I wanted my arrow, and then created it in a design program and printed it off the computer.  It took two standard-sized pieces of paper, which I then taped together into one design.DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

 

 

DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.comNow cut a piece of contact paper big enough to fit over the top of this, then tape it to the print-out, as well as your work surface so nothing slides around.  Use a sharpie to trace your arrow image onto the contact paper.

DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

BTW….this is a great method to create a stencil for other craft projects.

Now comes the first tricky part: using a small pair of scissors, cut the arrow cleanly out of the middle of the contact paper. The contact paper is gonna wanna roll up on you, but keep calm!  It feeds off of your frustration.DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

Now, for the second tricky part: CAREFULLY remove the backing to the contact paper and stick your image where you want it on the doormat.  Nothing wants to stick to that coir very much, so you’ll be able to shimmy it around to get it lined up just right.  Tape it into place with painter’s tape and then use contact paper and/or painters tape to cover the rest of the mat to protect it from over-spray.DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

Now, you’re ready to paint!  Hit the image with spray paint in short bursts from directly above, as again, the contact paper just barely adheres to the coir and if you blast it from an angle, it will lift right on off of there and ruin the whole thing.  Hit it with one, good coat of paint.DIY cupid's arrow door mat from Farmhouse38.com

Let it dry for a few minutes, remove the template, and then let the rug sit and dry for about an hour or so before you put it out for use.DIY cupid's arrow door mat from Farmhouse38.com

Another simple version of this went to our side door:

DIY doormat from Farmhouse38.com

The chickens are just fascinated by this little red heart on their napping-mat.

Valentine’s Candy Box Roses

 

DIY heart-shaped candy box Valentine's roses from Farmhouse38.comI have a confession….I heart Valentine’s Day in all of its ridiculous glory.  I love the blatant pinks and reds and hearts and sparkles and chocolates and redundant red roses.  It’s all just so darn cute and girly, and I embrace it and accept it despite its pathological commercialism.  I’m really an enormous sucker for some adorable packaging no matter what.

Another thing I secretly love?  Those super-cheesy heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.  You know the ones in the drug store, just to the left of the shampoo aisle?  Yes, those!  It isn’t so much about the chocolate (I swear), as it is about that nostalgic heart-shaped box:

DIY heart-shaped candy box Valentine's roses from Farmhouse38.com

Come on, you know you love this!

After the chocolates have evaporated, what does one do with such an adorable box?  At my house, you fill it with flowers, of course!

Here’s how:

First of all, you can do this arrangement in either the lid or the bottom (or both!).  I chose the bottom, which had built-in candy compartments that had to be gently ripped out, first.

DIY Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

This doesn’t look so cute.

Now, because this is a cardboard box, we gotta waterproof it.  You need to line it with some sort of thick-gauged plastic lining, whether it be a bit of garbage bag, ziplock, etc.  I happened to use a piece of some left-over painter’s tarp.  Cut it roughly to size with a little bit of overlap.

DIY Valentine's Day heart-shaped candy box red rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.comPush the plastic lining into the box, and then, using your trusty glue-gun, run a bead of glue, bit by bit, along the top edge of the box, adhering the plastic just well enough so that it sticks, not so well that it melts through the plastic (which if you are using sturdy enough plastic and a low-heat gun, shouldn’t be a problem).  This doesn’t have to be a perfect, solid bead of glue–just enough to hold the plastic in place.DIY upcycled heart-shaped candy box Valentine's rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Once you are done, it should look a little something like this:Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Now, run scissors along the top edge of the box and remove the excess plastic.DIY Valentine's candy box upcycled into rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

As long as you didn’t accidentally pierce or burn through the plastic, you should now have a cardboard box capable of holding some liquid.Upcycled candy box rose arrangement for Valentine's Day. Farmhouse38.com

Under normal circumstances, this is where I would cut and fit wet florist’s foam into the container.  Lately, I have been trying to steer away from using the stuff unless I just have no choice–it’s really rather environmentally unfriendly.  But this is a personal choice and I chose to go without.  Instead, I cut and fit a double-layer of paper towels into the bottom of the heart, then filled it about half-way with water.  The paper towels serve as a grip for the roses, and also to keep things damp with minimal water (as this is a shallow container and you don’t want a ton in there sloshing around).

Cut your roses real short–right at the base of the bloom:Upcycled candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Go ahead and start lining them up in the container, making sure the cut stem makes contact with the paper towel.Upcycled candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

The flowers might tip over a bit as you work–don’t worry, the more you get in there, the more they hold each other upright.

Two dozen roses should about fill this size container (approx. 12″ wide at its widest point), but I went and tucked in a few coral-colored roses just for effect, so my total came out to 30 roses.Upcycled candy box Valentine's Day floral arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Now, you’ll probably be able to still see a bit of plastic liner around the edges.  We’ve got to do something about that!  I chose this adorable lacey, felt ribbon to edge the box in, but any ribbon or trim will work.Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Run a bead of hot glue around the outside top edge of the box, and apply your decorative trim so that it overlaps the flowers just a bit and hides that unsightly edge.Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Pretty!  But why stop here?  In the spirit of Valentine’s bling, let’s add some sparkle, shall we?  Give your roses a fine mist of water across the top:Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Pick your poison:

Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

I give you….Martha Stewart “Candy Apple”!

And then literally blow it like fairy dust across your flowers.  If you don’t like glitter everywhere in your house (then you have no soul!  Just kidding….kind of), please do this step outside!

Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

How I love me some sparkly roses!

Now, you just want to top the whole thing off with a nice, diagonal bit of ribbon and a tailored bow to mimic the way these candy boxes are usually trimmed out.  Cut a piece of your trim ribbon to fit across one lobe of the heart, anchoring each end of the ribbon to the inside upper edges of the box with hot glue (so that the glue and ribbon ends don’t show above the trim).Upcycled candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Now, glue together a little bow:Upcycled candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Then adhere this to the middle of your diagonal ribbon, adding bow tails if you wish.Upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Add a cute tag to complete the package!Upcycled candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

To maintain the freshness, drizzle a little new water into the center of the arrangement every couple of days.DIY upcycled Valentine's Day candy box rose arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

I adore the red-on-red-on-red monochrome of this presentation, but it would be so cute done up with some different colors thrown in there, as well.  I may have to do up a pink version using the left-over lid!

Enjoy! :-)

Yes. I Bathed a Chicken.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

So, it has come to this.

Yep.  I’m really committing this to the internet; flying my crazy flag high.  When I called the Texan at work to tell him that I had given one of our chickens a bath, he said, and I quote, “There are really just some things I wish you wouldn’t share with me.”

I didn’t want to do it.

But Gertie forced my hand.  Every once in awhile, chickens get a little bit mucky in their nether-regions.  Sometimes this is because they are sick, sometimes they are just having an extended ‘not-so-fresh moment’.  Hey, if you had all those fluffy petticoats to keep track of, you’d probably have a mess every once in awhile, too.  Well, Gertie got dirty.  I’ve been keeping an eye on it the past few days, making sure she seemed healthy otherwise, keeping tabs as to whether the situation was worsening or improving.  It seemed to be getting gunkier (though she seemed in perfect health).  This can be a bad thing (beyond just being disgusting), because the caked-on poop can actually create a roadblock, if you know what I mean.  Today, I decided, it was time for drastic measures.

I have chosen to spare you a ‘before’ photo.

After reading up on it, and assuring myself that I wasn’t the first person to try this, I sought advice from Lisa, over at Fresh Eggs Daily.  While she’d never actually had a chicken get dirty enough to bathe, she’d had to bathe egg-bound hens in the past (this helps to facilitate the laying, apparently).  She assured me that chickens were surprisingly agreeable to the process.  The basic method seemed pretty universal: small tub filled with warm bubble bath, set your bird in it, gently scrub gunk off, rinse.  COME ON.  There was just no way it was that simple.  I pictured a squawking, flapping, emotionally-damaged Gertie, and a squawking, flapping, emotionally-damaged me.  This just couldn’t end well.

Fortunately, my mom was visiting, and volunteered to both take photos and laugh at me.

I found a water-tight container that would fit inside our guest bath tub and filled it about 3/4 of the way full of warm water mixed with a bit of liquid dish soap–just enough to make it good and bubbly.  I wanted it deep enough that her bum would be underwater for a good soaking.  If I got that far.  I’ll admit it, I was S.T.R.E.S.S.E.D as I went out and picked up the bird–the last thing I wanted to do was get her partially wet and not be able to finish the job.  But I tried to remain calm, so that she would remain calm.  After a little bit of cuddling and a few words of encouragement, I steeled myself and gently set her in the bubble bath.Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

Expecting a whirling banshee, I was dumbfounded that she remained quiet.  I loosened my grip, and she hopped calmly up onto the edge of the little tub.  I picked her back up and set her once more into the water, and this time, I kid you not, she just stayed where I put her.  For a bit, we had to just sit like this, conversing softly with each other, while the water and suds loosened the spackling.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

I may be enjoying this.

Finally, it was time to start kind of gently working the gunk out of her feathers.  I’m not going to lie, this was seriously gross.  But you gotta do what you gotta do.  Slowly, but surely, it all came off like a charm.  At this point, I pulled the bird from the bath, wrapped her tight in a dry towel, and then I dumped and cleaned the basin, filling it again with warm, clear water.  Then I set Gertie back in, and again, she just let me do my thing–totally relaxed.  I proceeded to rinse her all off.Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

At this point, with all those wet feathers, there was a lot of bare skin showing.  This was a great moment to kind of inspect her rear-end and make sure there was nothing that looked amiss.  Everything looked good and clean and healthy to me, so back out of the water and into a new dry towel she went.  She seemed all too happy to have some cuddles while she was wrapped up in that towel.Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

It is extremely important not to let chickens get chilled, which is why I chose to do this indoors in a heated, small bathroom.  But, I was not about to let her wander around wet (even though it was pretty warm today, it is definitely winter!).  So, at Lisa’s suggestion, I pulled out the blow-dryer.  Once again, I thought, “NO.  WAY.”  No bird is going to let me blast them with this loud machine.  I turned it on low, and pointed it away from her.  After she didn’t spook, I turned the very gentle airstream onto her, and again, she didn’t freak–she wasn’t sure about it, but she didn’t freak.Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

After a bit, I could tell she was really loving it, and so I let go of her.  Eventually, I was able to switch it to high.  I always kept my hand on her (except when I was snapping a photo), helping her to fluff her feathers so that I made sure she wasn’t getting too hot.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

What sort of sorcery is this?!

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

Headless chicken preens her feathers as I direct the heat on her.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

Oh, yeah, leaning into the current!

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

Gotta fluff that butt back up!

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

Oh, the stink-eye I got when I turned the blow-dryer off!

All dry and shiny and gunk-free, she actually scolded me when I turned the blow-dryer off.  When I set it on the ground, she went and inspected it, as if trying to figure out how to turn the thing back on.  Though she felt completely dry to me, and because I had already broke the ‘No House Chickens’ rule, I allowed her to lounge with me at my computer desk for a bit just to make sure she was good and dry before returning her to her natural habitat.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

My gorgeous Gert all clean and shiny, back in the dirt immediately.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

Glad to have that view back in order.

It is safe to say that as I was endeavoring to take on backyard chickening, I never expected or intended to give a bird a bubble bath.  Where was that chapter in the instruction manual?!  I am not going to sit here and recommend that anyone do this with their birds, or claim that it would even go this smoothly–I just wanted to share this crazy experience.  Against all logic, it went well for us.  We bonded.  I feel so much closer to her now.

Yes. I bathed a chicken. By Farmhouse38.com

The end.