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Christmas Craft: Christmas Wreaths

I just love a beautiful wreath- I make one every year! There’s something about a lovely wreath hanging on the front door- heralding to all visitors ‘Merry Christmas!’ (or in our case- in an apartment- bringing joy to everyone who wanders by :)

The last time we had Christmas at my mum and dad’s house I made this Australian-themed succulent Christmas wreath and when my husband and I were in New York for Christmas I made this New York winter Christmas wreath.

This year I decided to make a geometric wreath with washed colour I’ve been seeing lots of geometric wood designs (like the beautiful geometric candle votives from The Design Farm) and I’ve been trying to think of a project combining light wood, washes of bright colour and geometric designs- a Christmas wreath was perfect!

I used a recycled bed panel with a divet line- lightly painted them all with a white base and then painted the rest in hand-mixed acrylic paint applied with a wet paintbrush for a washed-out look.

I allowed to dry between coats and used a fine brush to apply gold lines over the divets at the end for a bit of gilding. I marked and drilled holes halfway through both sides of the wood matching the wood dowel pieces I selected and used a mallet to gently drive them in to join together to form a square.

To finish I coated the whole thing in a gloss sealing spray, let it all dry, and then weaved eucalyptus branches through the gaps. Wreath done!

I had so much eucalyptus left that I figured I might as well make an outdoor wreath to adorn our balcony! To make a branch wreath like this- start with a thick, strong end bending in one direction and match with a softer, more pliable branch bending in the other direction. Bind at the top and in bunches at the softer, leaf end.

Find smaller branches bending in opposite directions so that the leaves are always moving in the same directions down towards the base. Secure as you go with twisting wire attempting to overlap so that only the very top bind is visible.

It can be nice to gather the leaves to flow down slightly off-centre mimicking a more natural shape- rather than a precise wreath. But either can be lovely- just don’t take it too seriously :) At the end- go back around and trim off any leaves that are sticking out or sickly looking. You can spray paint the whole thing at this stage- either with a subtle metallic glisten or a fantastic neon bright.

Bind the top, and cover the wire ties at the same time, with twine. Attach to the door or hang up and secure with a neat bow. You can move around the wreath and decorate afterwards if you wish. Either with decorations as I did (white porcelain stars) or with brightly coloured flora such as berries, succulents or flowers.

Have a very Merry Christmas! Try a wreath. Its a lovely welcome home in this hectic season.

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Christmas Craft: Christmas Tree Branch

Merry Christmas! I don’t know about you- but everything seems to get just that little bit manic in the lead up to Christmas.

I don’t know if it is just because of the shut-downs that happen over Christmas- but you go to the shops at this time of year and people behave like they are preparing for the apocalypse!

At this mad time of year- I must admit- I do delight in a little bit of Christmas Craft! This year I decided to make a Christmas tree that would suit our little apartment. I also had this concept of it falling from the roof.

I found a lovely big branch, lightly sanded it back, spray painted it white and gilded the ends by brushing on gold metallic paint. I finished it off by winding battery-powered Christmas lights around the top and tying on hole-punched, cardboard Christmas bauble coasters (both from Ikea).

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Looking for more Christmas ideas? You should try out these super-cute Christmas cupcakes! I’ve also got cute Christmas gift-wrapping ideas, Christmas decorating ideas (including and Australian-themed succulent wreath and Christmas star cookies!

I also made a few cute Christmas wreaths that I will be posting about very soon. Happy Christmas crafting!

Tool Rack

So we have a million and one tools, nails, screws, drills, bits and bobs, all crammed into this one, very unattractive tool box- which, coincidentally, also was squashed by my husband motorbike in it’s first week in our home :/

I was constantly rummaging through dangerous spikes to try to find the most-used tools- so I decided to make a tool rack! It was super easy and I must say- now that it;s up we’ve already used it many times and it is so bright, colourful and neat that it makes me smile every time I see it!

Take a look through the steps below to make your own.

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A quick video of my completed tool rack sitting pretty in the laundry:

First of ally evaluate your tools one by one and put aside anything you would like to have on hand. For me this was mainly different sorts of screws and hammers, but for others this might be an assortment of nails and screws, different paint brushes or pens and textas.

Next think about how you would like to arrange AND affix these different items to your board. For me this meant measuring out the space above the washing machine in the laundry where I was going to hang the board and laying down my tools in the order I thought I’d organise them in. Take a photo at this stage so that when you go ahead with drilling holes everything fits as it should.

At this stage I started thinking about how I was going to affix the tools. All of my tools would stay up from dowel pegs (either under the handle, or looped through the middle) but you might consider hooks to hold rubber bands, cups to hold smaller paint brushes or even mini drawers to hold screws etc.

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I then took myself off the Bunnings to get a piece of MDMF cut to size, pick up a pot of salmon sample paint plus waterproofing vinyl spray, a packet of wooden dowel pegs, a bracket to affix to the wall and two door hinges to affix my board to the bracket (as well as screws and nuts).

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I painted the whole thing in two thin coats of salmon paint with a sample pot rolling brush. I think a fun colour really pops in a boring space like a laundry and makes gritty tools look much more appealing. I then sprayed the whole front and back of the board in waterproofing vinyl as it is going to be in the laundry.

Once dry, I placed all of my tools out on the board, referencing my earlier photo, and marked the centre of the spots for the dowel pegs with pencil- use a ruler over the top of the tools where possible to make the corresponding spot level. I then drilled a shallow mark in each spot while the tools where still on the rack- just to make sure the dowel would sit snug enough to hold the tools, but not too snug so the tools couldn’t actually fit!

Then I removed all the tools, lifted the board up and drilled all the way through- I used a drill bit that was just a bit smaller than the dowel pegs. I then hammered each through with a rubber mallet, drilled the hinges on and popped it up on the wall! Couldn’t be happier with my new easy to access tools :)

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook!

Dia de Los Muertos Headpiece

So I started a new job last working with Yahoo!7 It’s all very exciting- I’m working on their TV properties and the location and people are very stylish!

As a welcome to the team for me, a farewell for one team member and another going on holiday- we all went off for a Mexican lunch. Just for a bit of fun there was a bit of a Mexican dress theme as well.

Two of us decided to wear Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead- Saturday November 2) floral headpieces! I bought a bunch of fake flowers from Lincraft and with just wire cutters, pliers and a headband crafted a very fun and pretty stylish floral headpiece!

You should give it a go for your next theme party. This could also suit a flower-child, 60′s theme- and you could really amp it up with freaky scull-inspired makeup in true Dia de Los Muertos style.

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Cut individual stems off bunch with wire cutters- leave about 5-10cms of wire to wrap around the headband. If you have a hot glue gun you could also pull the individual flowers off their stems and just glue them on- but I actually found the wire made the flowers easy to manipulate and layer.

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Pull all of the extra elements off the stems and put to the side- these might be good for a future project or do as I did and use a couple, layered, at either end for a touch of green.

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Start by wrapping the wire from one flower tightly around the headband, leaving a tiny bit of space so that you can slot another wire through the gap and start to plait them across each other. Finish off by cutting the wire at an angle so that it sits at the top of the headband and is not sharp. Hide ends inside loops were possible to stop from catching in hair. If you wanted to finished properly (I didn’t have time!) you could wrap in florist’s tape to seal.

Hold your ‘posie’ the right way around every now and then as you go to make sure that you are layering florals of different sizes and colours as you go- making sure not to ‘clump’ in a particular area, but also not being too symmetrical.

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I also wrapped with silk ribbon sealing at the end with a hot glue gun- just to make it a bit nicer :)

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Viola!

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook!

Tray Drinks Stand

Recently my husband I took a weekend trip up to sunny Newcastle. It was so magical! Beautiful old buildings, industrial port structures, soft, sandy beaches with rough surf and restaurants, shops and cafes with creative shop fit-outs, live music and delicious food. I can really see myself living there one day!

I looked up a few things that I wanted to check out while we were up there- including The Centenary Antiques Centre at 29 Centenary Road Newcastle (conveniently just back from a bevvy of waterfront cafes and restaurants- perfect for brunch!)

The inside of  The Centenary Antiques Centre was not only really well laid out, it was actually very impressive- boasting a museum with a vintage general store and elaborate horse carriage inside! There was also no lack of inspiration to be found. I found a gorgeous mirrored tray holding drinks (pictured below) and an idea sparked off in my head- what about a delicate table with a gorgeous antique serving tray as the top?

I set out to find a lovely tray top- finding this art deco version from the 1920′s- then I was on my way! See below for the steps I followed.

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The husband was very excited about visiting  The Centenary Antiques Centre (do I detect a bit of sarcasm?!)

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The tray and drinks set up that inspired my idea.

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I also thought this could work with a more industrial feel by using a metal plate with this lovely rusted patina- decided against that for our home though.

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The fabulous general store within The Centenary Antiques Centre- a step in to the past.

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Once I had picked the tray I like I ordered a piece of MDF cut to size from Bunnings- tracing the corners of the tray and hand-sawing them at home.

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I had this simple tray table base already. I hammered the metal bracket in to the right shape using a rubber mallet and an anvil to wrap around the braces for the legs- then screwed holes through the MDF and secured with a screw and nut. I then screwed down through the MDF in to the tops of the legs with short screws just to keep it secure.

You could make these legs quite simply with basic wood cut to size from Bunnings and some dowel glued in to rivets in the tops of the legs- just ask the friendly guys at Bunning for some help getting the right fixtures for the joinery (you don’t want to just screw them together as it might not be a neat finish and might wear too easily over time).

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I then unscrewed the handles, drilled corresponding holes in the MDF (measure twice, cut once) and used longer screws of the same diameter to go through the MDF and secure the tray to the unit. I did this so that in time, if I get tired of the table, I can just unscrew the tray and keep use it as it was originally intended without damaging it. I kept the original screws safe for this reason.

If maintaining the integrity of the piece isn’t an issue, or you can’t screw the piece to the unit, you could always you liquid nails to secure to the base- chances are you can probably chip the tray off with a chisel in time in need be anyway.

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My finished drinks stand! I could not be happier. The way that the light plays off the crystal and the tray top creates beautiful patterns around the room. My drinking corner (aaahhh… I mean reading nook!) is now even better!

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook!