Google+ House Revivals: 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

El Nacimiento {the Creche} at Tucson Museum of Art

Around this time last year, my husband and I were on vacation in Arizona. We both love Arizona -- for it's incredible beauty and history, as well as for the lovely people who live there. We met and fell in love while attending college in Arizona, and it was really special to revisit some of the places that were important to us.

I love handmade, human scaled architecture, so we visited La Casa Cordova, part of the Tucson Museum of Art complex. What a delightful surprise to find El Nacimiento (the creche) on display in La Casa Cordova. La Casa Cordova is a very old adobe house in what had once been the walled presidio area of the city.

The interior of the house was simply and humbly decorated for the holiday with tinsel and understated tissue paper flowers.

Then we stepped into the room that housed El Nacimiento, and wow! This was one of the largest nativity scenes I have ever seen. How I lived all those years in Arizona, and never once visited El Nacimiento is beyond me.

This nativity is the creation of Mexican American folk artist Maria Luisa Tena. Over many years, Maria created the display in memory of her mother, who taught her the Mexican tradition of creating nativity scenes.

The diorama depicts typical Mexican village scenes, Old Testament scenes, and, of course, the Nativity.

The detail of El Nacimiento are simply delightful, ranging from street market scenes to kitchen scenes to swan swimming in a waterfall fed pool.

There are pretty lights, foliage, wise men, and adobe houses.

There are farm animals, children, Bible characters, and villagers.

In the starry night sky, there are herald angels and puffy clouds.

Everywhere, there is whimsy. El Nacimiento tells the story of the hope of the Christ child throughout the ages in a way that delights the eye.

If you travel to Tucson, at any time of year, I recommend the Tucson Art Museum and La Casa Cordova. If you travel to Tucson during the holidays, El Nacimiento is not to be missed.

If you enjoyed learning about this Mexicn folk art custom, you might also enjoy this post about a Swedish woven star folk art tradition.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout the week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to all your favorite social media sites.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Easy Washi Tape Cards or Tags

Here is an easy last minute card or gift tag idea that helps bust your stash of decorative tapes and paper scraps, and diverts old book pages from the landfill.

The use of classic holiday ornament shapes, allows you to successfully use non-holiday papers and tapes to create lovely Christmas cards.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Paper Mache Father Christmas Tutorial

Don't you just love old fashioned Father Christmas decor?  Father Christmas ornaments always seemed a bit intimidating to me, so I never tried making them myself, until I discovered how easy this papier mache method is.

I was watching some of my favorite YouTube bloggers last year, and found that Emi, at Hectanooga1, has several papier mache tutorials.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Make These {Easy} Snowman Hat Ornaments!

These adorable little snowman hat ornaments are easy and fun to make, using recycled cardboard tubes and boxes.

Last year, on a trip to Arizona to visit family, I wanted to bring my sister-in-law a set of handmade ornaments with her kids' names on them. Of course, they weren't finished when it was time to travel, so I brought supplies and finished them when I got there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Upcycled Altoids Tin Travel Spicy Farkel

A good friend was recently visiting from Colorado, and she gifted me with a Spicy Farkel game. This was the same friend who gifted me with a regular Farkel game a few months ago. I loved that game, and decided to alter a little round mint tin to make a travel Farkel game.

When my friend gifted me with the Spicy version of the game, I knew it needed it's own travel tin, as well.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Make This Scrappy Christmas Tree Card!

Do you need to send out some last minute Christmas cards? Did you run out of cards before you made it through your mailing list? Here is a simple card idea that does not require special Christmas papers or dies or stamps. Making these cards couldn't be easier!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gift Card Holder From Paper Towel Tube!

Do you love making cute stuff, and love upcycling, too? If so, you will love learning how to make gift card holders from paper towel tubes.

Start by gathering some decorative paper (I used pages from an old music book), a paper towel tube, adhesive, ribbon or twine, and embellishments.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Make This Easy Pumpkin Card!

I don't seem to own any pumpkin or harvest related dies, but I wanted to make a pumpkin card the other day.  

Turns out, it's not too hard to make a cute pumpkin card for Thanksgiving, using just a few scraps of decorative paper and a card base.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Make These Easy Beautiful Fire Starter Gifts!

A year or two ago, my sister-in-law, Carinae, turned me on to Scentsy products. I was explaining to her that sometimes our beach house gets a slight musty, closed-in smell when we haven't been there in a while. While we do keep it heated and dried out all winter, and keep the air circulating all summer, it's hard to shake that hint of  Pacific Northwest mustiness.

Carinae explained that Scentsy wax pots are heated by those tiny little nightlight bulbs. Well, I leave nightlights on all the time, especially when we have guests, so I ordered several. Carinae recommended some scents that she thought would be a great counter to the musty smell.

The Scentsy does its job well. When we walk into the beach house, we now smell something refreshing and citrusy, or something cozy and piney, or something Christmasy! Now most of you know that House Revivals loves to Recycle and Upcycle, right?  Well, it seemed such a waste to discard all that used up wax, without getting a second use out of it.

Enter: Dryer lint! And paper towel tubing! And rescued and recycled book pages! Turns out, you can make the loveliest firestarters with a few found and rescued items. I began by cutting the cardboard tubes into approximate two-inch lengths. I placed some pieces of rescued book paper into the bottoms of the tubes, to hold everything in. Next, I added a wad of dryer lint, and a few organics, such as a few pine needles, chamomile flowers, etc. Experiment with what you have on hand.

Over everything, pour your melted, used up, Scentsy wax. While the wax is still soft, add small pine cones and a pine sprig or two, using the wax as your 'glue'.

Now, grab a few more of your rescued vintage book pages, and wrap it around the base of your firestarter. It will have the look of a beautiful nursery gift plant -- only better, because it will have handmade charm.

Finish them off by giving them several wraps of natural jute, and tying a simple knot. You may hang a gift tag, or an instruction tag, if desired.

These are so quick and easy to make! You can easily make several dozen on a Sunday afternoon. If you have the type of Scentsy pot that is not removable, you can always use a paper towel to soak it up, and substitute the towel for the lint in your cardboard tube. Experiment with techniques to find the one that works best for you.

To use, simply lay your wood for your fire, and lay the fire starter among your kindling or smaller sticks. Light the paper, and be mesmerized as the pine cone, wax and pine sprigs ignite and burn hot -- catching the surrounding wood on fire.  Fill a basket with these beautiful fire starters, and walk around the neighborhood sharing holiday greetings. Wouldn't you adore getting a lovely, useful, calorie free hostess gift or neighbor gift?  Fill a large crock with these starters at your holiday craft show!

To see some of the amazing Scentsy candle products available these days, check out Carinae's Scentsy website. or her Facebook page.  In the interest of full disclosure, this is not a sponsored post. I just had a fun idea for using old Scentsy wax, and wanted to share with my readers. Now days, we don't have to attend a physical Scentsy party to purchase product -- we can just go on-line and purchase!

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout the week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's project to all your favorite social media sites.

For another project using vintage bookpages, check out these honeycombed, glittery ornaments!
Or try this traditional Swedish Advent Star technique, adapted for use with vintage paper.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Quilting Retreat at a Franciscan Monastery

Around this time last year we were traveling in New England. We were having one of those rare vacations, where two of our children and our granddaughter were able to join us. Now that we're empty nesters, we grab at any opportunity to spend time with the kiddos!

When the kids were growing up, we liked to stay in interesting places when we traveled. We've stayed on boats and barges, camped, rented beds in hostels, etc, but we'd never stayed in a monastery... until this trip!

We were traveling between Boston and Penobscot Bay, and I thought Kennebunkport would be a great stopping off point. When I realized there was a guest house at  a local monastery, there was no question of where we would stay!

Originally built by a wealthy Buffalo family, the monastery estate was built around 1900. In 1947, the property was purchased by a group of Lithuanian friars who had fled Soviet invasion. The friars started a school on the site. Additionally, they turned the stables into temporary housing for immigrants.

photo Franciscan Guest House

These days, there are still monks at the monastery and there is a daily mass, but the property is also a full time not for profit guest house and retreat center. The old dorm rooms and converted stables are now guest house rooms.

photo Franciscan Guest House

The website was clear that the rooms were plain, and they were plain, indeed. They were clean, however; and the staff was friendly, and the Lithuanian style breakfast was amazing. 

On the week that we arrived, we discovered there were two different quilting retreats being hosted in what had been the school gymnasium/ auditorium! 

I met some of the quilters at breakfast -- Jean, Ruth, Terry, and Liz -- and they invited me to check out the retreat and see their projects. This group got together at the monastery every year, for a week of quilt making. By the end of the morning, I was ready to move to Maine, and join their group!

The facility provides quilters with tables, including a large counter height cutting table, lamps, power strips, chairs, and flannel boards. The flannel boards are made from large sheets of insulation, wrapped in batting -- not pretty, but definitely functional. As I walked around the room, it was apparent that the flannel design boards were being put to good use.

(Clearly, this gal, with the floral applique was just showing off -- wowza!)

Everywhere you turned, quilters were busy cutting and piecing bits of fabric to create their art.

Many of the participants brought small tables, including the occasional TV tray, to place next their chairs for cutting and pressing.

Participants brought their own sewing machines, including this old Singer Featherweight.

The group I met at breakfast were set up in a smaller, partitioned off section of the gym.

They were so warm and friendly, and talked about the importance of handcrafts to the Maine tradition.

They shared their lovely quilt projects, including scrap quilts...

... and table runners...

and more scrap quilts (scrap quilts are my favorite)!

I loved this modern take on a traditional pattern.

And here's one more look at that lovely Featherweight! 

A few rebels brought non quilt related projects to work on...

... like this amazing piece of tatted jewelry.

Over all, our autumn stay at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport, Maine was a great experience. If you only want to stay at the Four Seasons when you travel, this is not the place for you. If you love history, learning about other cultures, meeting interesting people, Olmsted designed grounds, great food, the occasional quilter, and possibly an outdoor morning mass, I recommend this guest house highly. 

If you love old quilts, you might love this post about upcycling orphan quilt pieces.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals in the sidebar, so you won't miss the fun projects we have planned. Find us on Facebook, too, so you can catch all the "in between" stuff, and see what I'm working on throughout week on Instagram. Feel free to link today's post to all your favorite social media sites.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Easy Sugar Skull Tutorial

This post was originally published on House Revivals in October of 2015. Here is an easy last minute Halloween Sugar Skull project! This sugar skull project is suitable for bigger kids or adults. Basically, if you can use scissors and fold paper, you can do this craft.

I made my sugar skulls into an All Souls Day bunting, but you can use your sugar skulls singly, as well.