A few weeks ago, I was hiking and came across some awesome Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis) branches. The branches were just waiting to be cut into manageable pieces and given the opportunity to truly shine. In total, I brought home 5 pieces of beautiful wood. This evening, I finally had an opportunity to see how it looked after some time with the chop saw. I was able to cut quite a few wood cookies from those 5 segments. And, I’m not sure if it is actually possible for it to look even more incredible now that it has been cut into wood cookies…but it does. In addition to each piece looking so unique, this wood also smells great. Unfortunately, I can’t quite share that scent through the internet at this time…but, trust me, it is quite delightful.
Now, I’m only hoping they’ll all dry with non of the wood checking (ie. cracking, splitting, etc.). Ahhh…just think of the possibilities! I’m thinking I see some of these as coaster, some as name tags, and some as pocket tokens.
A couple weeks ago, I noticed some neighbors had put some tree limbs out by the street to be hauled away by the city. I got thinking that some of them might make some neat wood cookies. Plus, the branches were from a type of tree (Bradford Pear) that I haven’t seen on the west coast. So, with assistance, we were able to drag a couple of them home. And there they sat.
Fast forward to last night. We pulled out the chop saw and got to work cutting cookies (and creating tons of sawdust). Yes, I know the wood was still green…but, it’ll be a whole lot easier packing cookies, as compared with packing branches. So, with plenty of help, we cut a bunch of wood cookies (of all sizes). I’ve grouped them into small, medium, and large. Now, I’ve just got to find space to pack ’em all in my luggage.
Just think…of all of the name tags, ornaments, and wreaths these wood cookies can be used to make. The possibilities are nearly endless.
With the holidays just around the corner, a great deal of my time has been spent getting various projects ready to sell at a holiday craft bazaar. If you’ll recall from (about this time) last year, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon with my version of a rustic wood round/cookie wreath. Unfortunately, that particular version didn’t sell last year. So, the two lonely wreaths sat…just waiting for this year to roll around. After some moderate brainstorming, I was inspired to add a little greenery (we’re talking real greenery here, folks). With fresh greenery, that meant a green bow just wouldn’t do, so I decided to change the color of the bow as well. In reading various posts and trying to figured out how they actually attach the greenery, I noticed that some of the other wood cookie wreaths had used something called a craft ring as their base. After thinking about it a bit more, I figured a wider base would provide increased surface area upon which I could glue the rounds. I was able to find the craft rings I needed at Michaels and set to work dismantling all of the previous year’s hard work. I scraped and sanded off the old glue on the wood cookies and set to work re-gluing them on the wider base. For this step, I used my trusty wood glue once again. I then spent the next couple of weeks thinking about what type of greenery I would like to use AND (perhaps most importantly) where I could acquire said greenery. Conveniently, I was able to find many of the things I wanted to incorporate located all around me. I found the cedar at the base of some large trees on the edge of a McDonald’s parking lot. The holly came from trees which line the road on my way to the local Taco Bell (FYI: I asked the owner before I snipped off some twigs). The pine cones (which I didn’t use this time around) came from my very own backyard. Now, I’m not sure why I didn’t even think to add greenery last year to the wreaths last year…especially considering that I made 3 swags at nearly the exact same time. Perhaps I was just trying to keep the wreaths simple. Alas, I digress. With the wood cookies attached to the new base, I simply started laying the greenery on ’em. Add a little green floral wire to mix and you’ve got a very simple way to add so much flair to what started out as a basic wreath. As I mentioned earlier, a green bow just wouldn’t cut the mustard, so I did my best to recreate the bows from last year…this time, with the red burlap ribbon. I’m pretty certain the making of the bow was the hardest part of this whole project. For me, I found it pretty tough to get the bow to look perfect. With that being said, I was very pleased with the end result. In fact, the two wreaths I took to the bazaar were the very first items to sell. I suppose I better get started on making more for next year.
With the holidays soon approaching, I figured I’d post a piece with a crafty holiday flair. Earlier this fall, I came across quite a few pieces of Big Leaf Maple wood…mainly nice-sized branches. Not knowing what I would do with them, I held onto them and let them dry for a bit. And then I came across this fabulous wreath on Pinterest. I figured I, too, could come up with some way to make something like that…with the supplies (and budget) that I have. Here is the point at which I got out the chop saw and set to work. Since I had the saw out, I cut way more wood rounds that I could possibly need. I am still blown away by how much sawdust was created during this process. Sorry, I didn’t think to take any pictures of that step. For the base of my wreath, I found two 12″ embroidery hoops at the local GoodWill Outlet (bins) and figured they’d work perfectly. I tied a little twine up at the top to create a loop from which the wreath could hang. Originally, I was going to leave the wood rounds rough…think, straight off the chop saw. But, I figured they’d probably glue better if they had a smoother surface, so I sanded all of the wood rounds I would need. This part was the definitely the most time consuming part, as the wood was still pretty ‘green’. With the sanding finally complete, I broke out my trusty wood glue and set to work gluing the first layer of rounds into place directly on the embroidery hoop. With that layer dry, I meticulously glued another layer of wood rounds onto the first layer…taking care to cover the places where the first rounds had intersected. I just loved the way that the wreath looked at this point, but figured no wreath would be complete without a bow. The wreath I was using as a model had a burlap bow, so I was off to the store to find something of the burlap variety that would work with my particular wreath. Using a 60% off coupon at JoAnn’s, I was able to purchase a great dark, olive green roll of burlap ribbon. The ribbon was too wide for my 12″ wreath, so I used pieces that had been cut in half length-wise…saving yet more resources, money, etc. With the help of this simple tutorial on YouTube, I was able to make my very own burlap bow. Using green floral wire, I attached the bow to the top of the wreath. I like the rustic simplicity of the wreath, so have yet to add cones or greenery. We’ll see how it grows on me. Now, it’s all ready for hanging and spreading some holiday cheer.