DIY Glittered Found Feather Art

DIY glittered found feather art from Farmhouse38.comSooooooo, I’m a feather hoarder. I suppose this may be a side effect of chicken keeping. Every morning when I go to let the girls out, I collect whatever good-looking feathers I find sitting on the ground. When it’s molt season, good lawd, I come out of the chicken garden with a ton of feathers. And if you’re wondering where those smart little red feathers came from? I also collect the feathers that my African Grey, Nixie, drops from her saucy red tail. Yes, it has come to this.

The fluffy butts of Farmhouse38.com

Oh, the feathers that come off those fluffy little butts!

Farmhouse38.com 's resident African Grey smart-ass.

Nix says: Whaddup. No seriously. She says that. She won’t shut up.

Framing feathers is nothing new, let’s be honest. But the chickens are forcing my hand. Look at all these suckers!

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

So many feathers, so little time.

So, unholster your glitter and let the crafting commence!

I found this great ‘Norrlida‘ frame at Ikea and knew immediately when I saw it that it was the one. It’s an interesting size and shape (approx. 12″ x 28.5″), and comes with a beautiful matte insert that is white on one side, black on the other. Outstanding for framing up a collection.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

 

I then assembled my troops across a sheet of wax paper.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Four of each color feather, and a fine assortment of color-coordinating glitters.

To adhere the glitter, I decided to use metal leaf adhesive (the kind you use for adhering gold leaf, like this), because it is a very watery glue that you apply with a brush and then let dry completely before applying your glitter (or metal leaf, if that’s your bag, baby). It becomes tacky when it’s dry. I like tacky. Using a heavier wet-applied glue, such as Modge-Podge would probably also work, but the thicker the adhesive, the more likely it’s gonna manipulate the feather out of it’s natural feather shape as you apply it. No bueno. If using Modge-Podge or Elmer’s Glue or something like that, I’d water it down a bit so it flows a little easier.

Carefully paint the top quarter to third of your feather with the adhesive:

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just some version of a straight line. The glitter will blur the line a bit anyway.

If you’ve applied your adhesive and the feather went a little wonky, I’ve got a trick to fix it. Take a piece of clear Scotch tape and apply it to the back of the feather, then trim around the shape of the feather as you’d like it to be.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

There is nothing more frustrating than a wonky feather.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Once you’ve applied your glitter, there is not a single trace of wonkiness. Magic.

Once you’ve applied your glitter, make sure to give those feathers the good ol’ tap and shake and get off all the excess glitter. Use a small, clean, dry paintbrush to dust away any errant glitter along the ‘glitter line’ to make the line as tidy as possible.

At this point, I prefer to give my glittered feathers a light spray of clear coat to keep the glitter in place. You don’t have to do this. The clear coat keeps the glitter in place, but it also slightly dumbs down the sparkle. But if you don’t clear coat, you may find that the glitter will shed a bit inside your frame. You kind of have to pick your poison.

Once everything is glittered, and coated, and dry, arrange your feathers as you want them on the matte and warm up your glue gun. Attach each with a small dot of glue applied to the backside of the feather shaft and then push the feather flat against the board as it dries to flatten it out.

Reassemble your frame and find yourself somewhere pretty to hang it.

DIY Glittered Found Feather Art from Farmhouse38.com

Glittery, feathery goodness.

 

 

Grilled Honey Peaches with Mascarpone and Pecans

Grilled Honey Peaches with Mascarpone and Pecans by Farmhouse38.com.Oh, this is just so damned yummy. I really wasn’t expecting it to be, to be totally honest. I look at this and it almost seems too…I don’t know…healthy? For a dessert? Maybe it’s just me. Probably just me. LOL.

So yeah, these really blew me away.

For two servings:

–2 ripe, but firm peaches, halved, pits removed

–4 oz mascarpone cheese

–1/4 cup candied pecans, processed into fine bits

–2 tablespoons warmed coconut oil

–Approx. 2 tablespoons or so of local, organic honey to drizzle

–1/4 cup candied pecans, slightly crumbled

Start by pulverizing your first quarter cup of candied pecans in the food processor, then mix them thoroughly with your mascarpone.

Next, heat your grill (or in my case, your grill skillet) to medium high. Brush or dip the flat side of your peach halves in warmed coconut oil, and drop them, face down, on the skillet or grill when it is heated up. Leave them to cook for about 4 minutes each. They’ll become really fragrant and soft when they are ready (and there will be some lovely grill marks).

Scoop your peach halves off the grill and place them face up on a plate (I recommend two halves as a serving, despite what my photos show). Scoop a generous tablespoon full of mascarpone/pecan mix onto the center of each peach, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with crushed candied pecans and serve immediately.

Grilled Honey Peaches with Mascarpone and Pecans by Farmhouse38.com

Joy.

Grilled Honey Peaches with Mascarpone and Pecans by Farmhouse38.com

Joy.

Grilled Honey Peaches with Mascarpone and Pecans by Farmhouse38.com

Joy.

By the way…this was the first time I’ve ever made a dessert for this blog and actually eaten the whole darned thing. I made four servings (in order to have enough in case I plated them wrong or some such blog nonsense) AND I ATE THEM ALL. Usually I will make something like this during the day and then save it for the Texan. But this one…you kind of have to eat it right away. I didn’t want it to go to waste. He was not impressed with this when I told him over the phone.

 

 

A Colorful New Book for Your Garden Library

Review of A Garden To Dye For by Farmhouse38.com

Gardens are just divine, aren’t they? They provide us with impossibly much: food, medicine, an eye-ball-ful of gorgeous, and a basic, peaceful connection to the Earth that is hard to put into words. Leave it to the fabulously funny Chris McLaughlin to give us just one more bit of lovely we can reap from our gardens: natural dyes.

This book is an absolute technicolor dream for the home fiber artist; all you crafty spinners with your adorable goats and sheep and bunnies and alpacas and all their glorious fluff–here is your guide for what to grow in your garden (besides fluffy animals) and how to process it into yummy, yummy homemade colors. I can only imagine the possibilities. But for those of you who aren’t quite to the point of harvesting your own fiber (uhh, that would be me), Chris shows us how and with what to dye yarns, threads, silks, cottons, linens, and other ready-to-go fabrics. But it all goes far beyond fabric; natural dyes can be used on wood, basket-making reeds, paper products, play dough, and since we’ve just come off of Easter–eggs…of course, you can dye eggs with them! Huzzah!

There are so many wonderful recipes and tricks of the trade in this book, but, as a painter, one in particular jumped out at me…making your own watercolor dye paints. I knew I had to try this. I also knew I wanted to use materials that I either had on hand, or had in the garden. Red cabbage, beets, turmeric, and black tea were all already in my kitchen and would give me blue, red/pink, yellow, and brown dyes, so I got to work. In retrospect, I also realized that I have swamp mallow, marigolds, hollyhock, rose, and coreopsis growing in the garden–all dye materials listed by Chris–but I had ants in my pants and overlooked these at the time. Dang it. DANG IT.

As with all natural dyes, a little experimentation was in order. Ultimately, I landed on a pretty decent recipe that was just a miniature version of what Chris outlines for dyeing a big batch of fabric.

To get blue dye paint, you’ll need:

-4 tablespoons of finely chopped red cabbage

-1 cup of boiling water

(I actually started out by putting the cabbage bits in a mason jar, boiling water in a tea kettle, and then pouring the boiling water over the bits and letting them sit for awhile). This color was pretty, but ultimately, I didn’t think it was strong enough, so I then transferred the contents of the jar to a small saucepan, and boiled the liquid down by half. This gave me a great blue color.

To get red/magenta/pink:

-4 tablespoons of finely chopped red beets

-1 cup of boiling water

The tea kettle method worked great for this and I did not need to boil the liquid down further. This yields a very saturated dark pink. Obviously, if you want it lighter, pull a small amount and mix with water to water it down to your desired color.

To get yellow:

–4 teaspoons of powdered turmeric

–2 cups boiling water

The tea kettle method actually yielded a nice, light yellow color, but ultimately, I wanted it more saturated so, again, I boiled the liquid down by half after the fact.

To get brown:

-6 standard black tea bags

-2 cups boiling water

The tea kettle method yielded a very light brown, which was great, but I wound up boiling this liquid down by half, as well, which gave me better saturation.

To get green:

Mix equal parts turmeric and cabbage dyes.

To get reddish-orange:

Mix equal parts turmeric and beet dyes.

To get reddish-brown:

I kind of mixed equal parts of all four base colors.

Obviously, one can mix any variation of these colors and get all different shades and colors. Experimentation is key! Chris also suggests using binders to help the color stick: these include whole milk, egg yolks, or egg whites (but each of these will change the colors slightly, so test first). I opted to not go with any binders, and so theoretically, my colors will fade slowly over time.

 

DIY All-natural Watercolor Dye Paints from A Garden to Dye For via Farmhouse38.com

My resulting colors.

And my subsequent watercolor painting:

DIY Natural Watercolor Dye Paints from A Garden to Dye For via Farmhouse38.com

Eloise and Gertie in all their all-natural colorful glory. All natural except for the Sharpie outline. I’m a cheater. I do what I want!!!

This book was just a pleasure to read–Chris’ trademark humor and gift for ‘telling it like it is’ get me every time. Be sure to visit A Garden to Dye For’s Facebook page and Chris’ blog Home Ag with a Suburban Farmer because to celebrate the launch Chris is giving away a Natural Dye Starter Kit with all sorts of goodies (including a copy of the book) to get you started on your home-dyeing and gardening adventures. To enter, you just need to follow her on Pinterest and leave a comment on the A Garden to Dye For Facebook page telling her what your favorite kind of garden is. On May 20, 2014, her Chiweenie helper will select a winner at random. You gotta love that. And if you don’t win the prize package, never fear, A Garden to Dye For is available at all major booksellers including Amazon.

Cheers to pretty colors!

Review of A Garden to Dye For via Farmhouse38.com

 

 

DIY Tillandsia Wreath

DIY Tillandsia Wreath by Farmhouse38

Oh, how I love tillandsias! After making off with a boatload of them from my recent trip to Reno (thanks again, Sierra Water Gardens!), I knew immediately that I wanted to make a wreath with some of them.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

You will need: raffia-covered craft wire, a length of craft store grapevine, thin craft wire, and a selection of your finest mosses and air plants. Oh, and scissors and a hot glue gun. And hot glue. And a little bit of patience.

It would be very easy to start with a craft store grapevine wreath. Very easy, indeed. But I feel like I have used too many of those lately–and I was thinking I wanted something a little less chunky. So I decided to build a more slender wreath form, using raffia-covered craft wire and a length of store-bought grapevine.

I began by measuring out three lengths of raffia wire (I measured approximately 54″ lengths, which by the time you twist and bend and shape, etc., gives you approximately a 17-18″ wreath form). Twist these together into a single piece, twist the ends together, and bend and shape the wire to create a circle. (The more lengths of wire you twist together, the sturdier the form will be–go ahead, do four, five–get crazy).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. Let’s be honest here; it probably won’t be.

Next, cut a length of grapevine to fit exactly on the form of the wreath.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Lay the grapevine cord along the wire form and cut it so that it fits perfectly on the form.

Every so often along the length of the grapevine, you will find little bits of wire lashing it together. One by one, undo these, and lash them back around the grapevine and the raffia wire to secure the whole thing.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Now we are ready to start attaching some air plants! There are a couple of ways of doing this: fishing line, thin wire, or non-toxic glue. I prefer (and happened to have on hand) wire. You want to carefully thread the wire (or fishing line works, too) through some of the base leaves the plant and then twist (not too tight, just enough to be secure).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

For the larger plants, you may need to slip a wire around the base, as well as another towards the top of the plant. They can be heavy.

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

The smaller plants are fine just having one wire threaded through the base.

Now place the plant where you’d like it, wrapping the wire around the backside of the wreath form and twisting to secure. I also like to put a dab of hot glue on this back twist (being VERY careful not to get any on the plant itself), just to give it a little extra hold. Try to attach your plants so that they hang horizontally, as this is how they would attach themselves in nature, and this will help prevent water from collecting in their armpits (where the leaves join the plant–I’m so scientific), which is not good for them. If you must attach them so they sit upright (which a few of mine are), you may need to lay the wreath flat when you mist  or rinse the plants (this is how you should water them).

Add plants to your heart’s content! When you are happy with the arrangement, tuck some bits of moss in and around, securing with a bit of hot glue when necessary (again, being SO careful not to get it on the tillandsias).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Honestly? This looks pretty dang good. I almost stopped here. Almost.

For some reason, I had it in my head that I wanted a couple of tiny floating air plants in this thing. So I selected some small specimens, threaded them with wire, and then attached them to the top of the wreath (twisting and securing with hot glue there). I then applied bits of sheet moss at random to the rest of the naked wreath using plenty of hot glue (also covering the spot where the hanging plants’ wires attached to the top of the wreath).

DIY Tillandsia Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

Ta-dah!!!

Hang your wreath in a protected area with bright, indirect sunlight, and be sure to water regularly by misting or running under water, depending on climate and plant type. For a great article on how to care for your tillandsias, check out this post on FloraGrubb.com.