DIY: Sewing a Chelsea Collar

I found these three adorable dresses for Angel Girl at our local resale shop. I brought them home to wash, disinfect, and iron.

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But something was missing. They needed an embellishment to become perfection. The kitty cat dress didn’t seem to need it, but the other two did.

They needed a collar! While Peter Pan collars add a modern yet retro vintage touch, in order to be called a Peter Pan type, it would need rounded edges. What I created is more of a “Chelsea” collar with pointed edges.

This was a fun and easy project. I downloaded a free template and then I had a brilliant thought. To make this project even easier, I could simply cut out and attach different types of lace. This would keep the actual sewing to a minimum; no fabric, no turning of the collar. EASY!

I went to Jo-Anns and found the right material to complement both dresses. Thrifty girl that I am, each piece cost about two dollars.

The next step: Cut out and pin the collars to the dress. Make sure to allow enough room to turn/sew the raw ends under.

Finally, sew the collar to the dress at the neck. It can be done by machine or by hand. This time I used my sewing machine. I have a very old machine and it needs a tune up as it’s acting up a bit, but since it weighs about fifty pounds, I haven’t wanted to fight with it to bring to the repair shop.

This is the finished product. I added the contrast of narrow blue satin ribbon and a bow.

I love this one too. The eyelet lace perfectly enhances this bright and beautiful party dress. With Char’s titian hair, it will look AMAZING.

Now I’m searching in my own closet for a dress that needs an embellishment because I’m obsessed with collars!

Enchanting Seashell Bouquets

For #ThrowbackThursday, I reached into the vault of previously written posts and found this one from 2012.

I reworked it a bit and added a few more photos of the seashell bouquets that I’ve crafted since then.

At the time, I needed a new project and somewhere. probably on Pinterest, I saw a bouquet of seashells and starfish and thought that it looked easy enough to re-create, so I did!

An added benefit to the seashell bouquet is to make as a gift for anyone who’s allergic to flowers. The irony here is that I’m allergic to roses. With a name like Rosebud, that’s pretty funny, not that I’d toss them out if someone wanted to send me a dozen, but we can’t be in the same room at the same time.

How to make the seashell bouquet:
1. Get craft sticks of all sizes; I even used chopsticks.
2. If you don’t have a glue gun, get one! I can’t live without mine, that’s for sure. For this project, you don’t have to be perfect, obvs you need to use more glue for the heavier starfish
3. Florist’s foam, that would be a good idea and it’s easily available at craft stores and the dollar store, which is where I got mine.
4. It’s pretty simple: glue the seashell or starfish or sparkly treasure to the stick.
5. Insert into foam cut to fit snugly inside the vase.
6. Done!

Voila! Here’s the finished product. This vase is at the bottom of our stairs up to the second level and is the first thing you see when you come in the front door. 

I used sticks from the garden because I wanted a natural, organic creation. The vase came from a vintage consignment shop in the village.
The vase came from Anthropologie; I embellished it with the seashell collar. Yay for glue guns!

Are you crafty? Let me know what you’ve been doing all the many months of being isolated during the Covid Pandemic. The next time I get to see Angel Boy 2.0, I think he’s old enough to help me make one, and I think he’d love to create a seashell bouquet. Of course, he’s still too young to use a glue gun, other than that, it’s a great project for children.

Easy DIY Mod Podge Candle Decor

We had our first winter storm today with some hail, so I needed an indoor project.

I love to embellish pretty much everything, usually with seashells, but not always. This time I decided to Mod Podge a silk scarf onto plain glass candles that came from the dollar store.

The scarf was an old Laurel Burch cat scarf that I must have inherited from my mom because I never was really a Burch fan. I’m not sure why I had originally cut it up, but there was enough material left over to beautify three candles.

The art of decoupage is so simple yet so satisfying.

1. Cut the fabric to the size of the glass container.
2. Brush a good amount of Mod Podge on the glass.
3. Carefully place the scarf on the glass and press firmly.
4. Brush on more Mod Podge. The silk adheres really nicely to the sticky glue and there’s enough time to push out all of the air bubbles.
5. Let it dry for about an hour and then paint another layer of Mod Podge onto the surface.
6. Let dry.

That’s it!

I’m beyond pleased with the results!

All lit up and glowing. They look even better than I thought they would. The best thing is that when the original candle burns out, I can replace it with a votive.

DIY Yule Wreath

As promised, I’m posting my homegrown Yule wreath. I used a ten-inch wire circle and all the rest of the ingredients were foraged from my garden.

Toyon berries:

Rosemary, lavender, pine boughs…

Manzanita, the star of the show with her lovely pink/red flowers:

Getting started, with a ten-inch wire circle and the bendy manzanita…

…to the finished product, ready to manifest all kinds of positive energy and magic for the solstice and 2021…

If I feel like wearing it on my head like a flower crown and dancing in the moonlight, I might just do that.

I feel very witchy today.

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Happy Winter Solstice!

Since we’re still in the midst of a surging pandemic and travel of any sort isn’t a great idea, I’m going to honor they day by making a Yule wreath with some pine boughs and rosemary branches from yesterday’s garden project and a few bright red toyon berries. If it comes out OK, I’ll post a photo.

Along with the shortest day of the year, if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to see the Christmas Star, the Great Conjunction with Saturn and Jupiter that hasn’t been seen since 1623. Best times for viewing in the San Diego area is 4:47 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Taken with Canon Rebel T3I

Did anyone see the sunrise at Stonehenge?

Easy Halloween Decorations

I sent all of my Halloween decor to my Angel Boys and Angel Girls so I was left with nothing.

I went to the nursery, made a beeline for their discounted plants, and saw this festive orange ornamental pepper for one dollar. ONE DOLLAR!!! (I love to rescue these tossed out plants. With a little TLC, I bring them back to life.)

After that, I went to my other favorite store, DollarTree, and got a Halloween themed bucket and a sparkly door hanger. Much better! That bucket is the perfect size to display a medium-sized plant.

I don’t know if anyone will be trick or treating this year, but it feels a little more seasonal around here now.

obsesh/confesh [DIY Fairy Garden]

My new obsession confession….

Maybe because I loved the fairy garden I sent Angel Boy, or maybe it was the smokey skies that made being outside harmful to my asthma, but I had to find an indoor project or it was going to affect my mental health, too.

I thought to myself, what could I craft without having to buy any new supplies?

Pinterest and the internet offers a plethora of ideas by amazing people.

There are step-by-step videos for nearly EVERYTHING DIY.

My first attempt was a craft stick (popsicle stick) door. I have a package of 200 sticks that I was saving for projects with AB and I always have glue and paint. PERFECT.

The door was so aDORable with addition of the button for a doorknob that I painted gold, so I felt confident building the bench. Also easy and also way cool. I painted it white and added a touch of my own…miniature pillows, each stuffed with 1/2 a cotton ball.

The little tables were made out of pieces of broken costume jewelry glued to a wine cork. (Yes, I do save everything.)

Check out the little broom I made with a toothpick.

I’m also obsessed with windchimes and mobiles (another post) and came up with the brilliant idea of a mini-mobile made out of an old costume jewelry ring. I have no idea where the ring came from, but it was there in the box of broken things.

I attached tiny seashells and gems using silver jewelry wire and fishing line.

Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt, right? Next, I’m going to try to build the picnic table.

I didn’t really want to do a step-by-step DIY tutorial because mine wouldn’t be nearly as detailed and precise as the ones that are already out there, but here’s a few photos of the process:

I think I might attempt to pierce the veil between worlds and open that door. It was especially magical last night when the solar lights came on and sparkled the glass rock pathway.

Celebrate the life and death of a gentle mourning dove

What does it mean to see a dove?

“The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose.” (http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/602-dove-symbolism)

Walking up the steps to the third level in my garden, I came upon this sad sight, a pile of dove feathers. It was obviously the work of one of our resident hawks.

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As I mourned the loss of the mourning dove and pondered on the circle of life, I thought I should gather the feathers and create something to honor this little bird’s life.

It’s been quite a while since I felt crafty, but I found my beads and shells along with a perfectly delicate piece of latticed wood that I had brought back home from my last camping trip. I plugged in my trusty glue gun and got to work.

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Almost finished. Now I need to figure out how to hang it up. Delicate and sweet, just like the sad, plaintive song of the dove.

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The completed project.  I LOVE the way the feathers create their own shadow on the wall.

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Sleep softly in the breeze, little one.

 

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Birds of North America online

Burning down the house

(To fellow WP bloggers, this is the weirdest thing. Apparently this post did not publish, or it published in a draft format that was not at all what my final result looked like to me, and that’s why I’ve reposted it. Strange limbo zone!!)
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Do you smell the smoke?

It’s a rainy SoCal day and I was in a state of cleaning bliss, dusting and polishing and organizing.

I lit dried sage from the garden to smudge in a metal bowl on top of a mirror on my bedside table to bring a little pungent sagey/outdoorsy fragrance.

It seemed safe, right? Metal bowl placed not directly on wood, but on a mirror to protect it.

Apparently NOT safe.

I continued cleaning the other rooms, enjoying the sagey perfume. After a while, I thought that it seemed to be smoking for much much longer than the amount of leaves in the bowl and as I walked toward my bedroom, I was engulfed in smoke!

A MAJOR smudge haha.

I ran over to the window which was closed ‘cos of the rain, and slid it completely open, then to my beside table where I could see the mirror had cracked and the metal bowl had fused to the wood and was too hot to touch.

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The table was literally seconds away from going up in flames!

The smoke was no longer from the sage; the antique and very dry wood was burning.

Oh, and somehow the carpet had a few burn holes too.

Now there’s a nasty burn mark on my mom’s antique bedside table,img_6903

It took about an hour for the smoke to dissipate. There’s not a smoke alarm in my bedroom and it hadn’t yet reached the dining room area where there are TWO smoke alarms, so that’s why I was oblivious.

Well, one reason why I was oblivious.

The other reason is that cleaning puts me into a Zen-like trance and I was lost in my own little world.

Moral of the story? DO NOT put sage in a metal bowl on top of a mirror on top of a wooden surface. EVER.

I repainted this room recently, and noticed that it no longer reeks of fresh paint, so there’s a sort of silver lining???

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7 Ways to Use Lovely Lemony Lemon Balm

The epic rains that soaked SoCal this year gave birth to a springtime of lush floral beauty and emerald lawns, something I don’t think I’ve experienced in the thirty-two years I’ve lived at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Before that, I lived in the area and there were definitely some heavy rains, but I didn’t notice nor did I appreciate the luxuriant plant life like I do now.

Flowers that previously lay dormant for seasons now burst forth in riotous color and perfume, like the lovely freesias, stock, Jupiter’s Beard, and borage.

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Most exciting for me is the herb garden.

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Just look at the abundance of this patch of lemon balm. Planted directly under a bedroom window, the lemony fragrance wafts up and in with even the slightest breeze.

Ahhhh.

Heavenly!

Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits and to enhance memory. Some of its healing properties were spiritual in nature. This herb was used in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. It was believed that a lemon balm bag put under the pillow could help promote sleep and put in the bath would promote relaxation. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Easy to grow Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).  help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

Lemon Balm is useful for nursing mothers that want to reduce overproduction of breast milk or when in the process of weaning and drying up milk supply. DIL added it to her sage tea when she weaned Angel Boy 2.0 and it worked!

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Add it to any dish that might benefit from a little lemony flavor, including cookies. I’m going to experiment on a vegan Lemon Balm & Lavender cookie, and will let you know how it turns out.

Seven Ways to Use Lemon Balm

1. Chop a couple tablespoons of lemon balm and add to your favorite salsa.
2. Chop together with cilantro in guacamole.
3. Lemon balm salad dressing is yummy and so easy! Combine your favorite oil with white balsamic or champagne vinegar, 2 TBS chopped lemon balm, pepper, Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk!
4. Pour hot water over lemon balm leaves. Let steep and enjoy!
5. I add a few sprigs to a pitcher of water with ice cubes and sliced lemon.
6. Lemon Balm Pesto:
2  cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts (or both)
2  cups fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon balm
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t add if vegan)
2  TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In food processor, add all ingredients except oil and pulse. Pour oil in steady but thin stream while pulsing until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with dried red peppers if you like it spicy.

If you Google it, there are loads of DIY recipes on the internet and Pinterest using lemon balm, but I chose this one to share with you ‘cos it’s cool and seems fairly easy:

7. Lemon Balm Extract
Combine your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond oil or sunflower or grapeseed with chopped lemon balm leaves in a small jar. Make sure the leaves are submerged in the oil.Cover and place in a sunny spot for two weeks, turning/shaking every so often while still making sure the leaves are submerged. Strain out the leaves and the oil is now ready to use.

**While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm might inhibit thyroid function. If you’re on thyroid medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using internally. As always, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions, talk with your doctor.“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14759065