Christmas Tree Decorating Idea Ladder Display Shelf

10847826_10203373172190989_4256777734212661934_nThis is a little different but is such a unique idea. For those with limited space you can create a space to display your Christmas village scene, nutcrackers, music boxes, etc. A simple old ladder will do to give a nice rustic look or use a wooden ladder and paint it to sit your design. Wood planks were cut to width to fit between legs of ladder to rest on foot steps of ladder. Here they covered with lights and lined each shelf with white ‘snow’ to create a village scene.

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Kristin and Paul submitted their great design – guys it turned out really nice – so glad you are continuing to display and collect what was passed on to you. It makes it that much more special!

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Sue and Steve McDonald from Maryland sent in their project that is really beautiful. I love the natural light coming from the back which during the day I bet gives the village a daytime appearance that feels and looks natural. Then with the light coming from the village and those coming from the Christmas lights in the front the nighttime appearance is equally impressive.

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Here is another beautiful display by Elena Pita – Love the display and they added decorations around are great also – really makes it feel like you are home for Christmas.

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This is a design by Daniel Geis – He writes: ‘Thanks for the idea. I talked to the guy I bought it from and he said it was 1970’s era ladder. It needed some work and sanding. The wood for the shelves I got for free and all I did was sand, cut, and stain. Here are the pics and hopefully they send in order.”

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 Terrie Coleman  sent in the following photos and text: ‘The pictures of the ladders are wonderful. I have been looking at them since last Christmas and knew I just had to do this! I found my wooden ladder at a thrift store for $12.  Purchased the wood for the shelves at Home Depot and I had someone cut it. I stained the ladder myself. But I didn’t put stain on the shelves since I was going to put snow on them. I already had most of the villages but I did get a few more while thrifting.  I have received so many compliments on my ladder. I plan to continue expanding and perfecting it. I hope you can see the pictures clearly and I do hope you post them.  Thank!’

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Penny Mosaic Kitchen Floor

923132_133715350150574_1162917559_nI think this idea for a floor covering is fantastic. Pennies are placed heads up with a ‘goop’ glue to the floor. When all placed and ‘goop’ is completely dry a varnish was poured onto the pennies in several small layers until the varnish was a layer above the pennies and you can not feel the edges of the pennies. This took a lot of time to do and the installation artists did a great job. I do think it is illegal to destroy or otherwise make currency useless so before using any type of cash in your craft/art project please look into the legality of it. I really like how they used old and new. Don’t think because they used pennies that this was cheap. This floor costs hundreds of dollars by the time they were through. Looks amazing – but I would hate to see anyone in the future want to reno it and do something different. It would be a lot of work.

Shrunken Heads – A Unique Halloween Decoration

Materials Needed:
Apples (see below)
Salt
Lemon Juice
Water
Large Bucket
Carving and Peeling Tools (see below)
Screens
Box Fan
Kitchen Oven
Brown or Black Acrylic Paint
Clear Polyurethane Sealant
Cotton Swabs
Twine or Wire
Material for Eyes
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Lots of Time

Making shrunken apple heads is a lot of fun and a great activity with the kids. The entire process takes about 4 weeks to complete, so if you want some for Halloween you had best start sometime in September.

Let’s get started!

Fill a bucket that is large enough to hold all the apples you plan on making with cold water.
Add approximately ¼ cup lemon juice and ¼ cup salt per gallon of water used.
The salt and lemon juice will prevent the carved apples from oxidizing, or turning brown when exposed to the air.

Peel your apples. Any variety of apple will work, but I have found that Red Delicious or Yellow Delicious apples produce the best results.

When peeling leave a fair amount of skin on the top of the apple around the stem and at the base of the apple.

Place peeled apples in the water/lemon/salt mixture.

Now it’s creative time, time to carve the faces! Don’t fear, this is the fun part, trust me. You will need an assortment of carving tools: different size knives, x-acto knives, toothpicks, peelers, chopsticks, cookie cutters, caps to ink pens and markers and cheap clay carving tools available at a dollar store.

Start with the eyes. Take the cap from a pen or marker and punch it into the apple where you want the eyes. When you remove the pen cap from the apple you will have a perfect circle cut into the apple, simply use a toothpick or small knife to remove the apple from the middle of the cut.

Next use a knife or other tool to create the basic shape of the face. Study the photos below and you can see how I used a simple tools to create the basic face shape. Don’t worry about details or smoothness, remember, the apples are going to shrink and shrivel so all you need to do is to create rough shapes determining the eyes, nose and mouth. The pictures illustrate the technique much better than an explanation.

After the faces have been carved in the apples, let them soak in the water/lemon/salt mixture for several hours.

Once the carved apples have soaked, place on a screen or some other surface that will allow complete air circulation. Use a box fan to continuously circulate the air, this speeds up the drying process considerably.

Check the apples every few days and if necessary you can use your fingers to maintain the shape of the eyes, nose or mouth if it is drying or shriveling in a strange fashion.

After a couple of weeks (or longer depending on humidity) your apples should have shrunk to their final size. To insure that all the moisture is removed, put the apples on a cookie sheet and place in a warm (under 200 degrees F) oven for about four hours.

Our Shrunken Apple Heads are used as ornaments on a Halloween tree, so using an awl, a hole is punched through the core of the apple, then wire or twine is threaded through the hole to create a loop for hanging.

Once the apples have completely dried, either spray or dip them in a polyurethane seal sealant and let dry. The apples should now last for years without any worry about mold or rotting, just make sure they are completely dry before you seal them.

One final thing I like to do with the apple heads is to give them eyes. Eyes tend to give them a lot of personality. Before inserting the eyes, the sockets are painted using a dark brown acrylic paint and cotton swab. Let dry. Wooden beads, black eyed peas, lima beans or wiggly eyes from a craft store can then be glued into the eye socket.

Have fun with your shrunken apple heads.

Experiment! Create! Amaze your friends!