Homemade Fall Wreath

It’s that beautiful time of the year, once again! Mother Nature is changing into her colorful clothes!

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Because autumn always inspires me, I wanted to celebrate it in a special way, and what better way than by decorating the house with a gorgeous wreath made out of leaves. Amazing what a jog through the forest can do to my creativity level 🙂

What you will need:

  • Flexible twigs
  • Short straight sticks
  • Leaves both on twigs and individual
  • Acorns
  • Pine cones
  • Thin string – I used a black string
  • Short fabric strip, for a ribbon; / a ribbon.

Instructions – Step by step:

Fall Wreath step by step

  1. I started by using the two flexible twigs to create a circle, as a base for the wreath.
  2. Next, I started adding the green leaves to the circle, using string where needed, in order to fix them in place.
  3. The red leaves were added next, giving the wreath some color.
  4. I used string to fix the cones and the acorns to the circle. Using acorns which still have a bit of tail left, makes the job go much smoother.
  5. The short straight sticks went all around the circle, framing the leaves.
  6. And last but not least, I used the fabric strip to make a ribbon for the wreath. You can go for whatever color you like, I used what I had around the house.
  7. Last step is to find a door, fix the wreath, step back and admire it 🙂 Job well done!

Autumn Wreath

In case you decide to make your own, please consider using only twigs, leaves, acorns and cones which you already find on the ground. I believe it’s much better to recycle what the trees don’t need anymore, rather than to hurt the plants for our entertainment.

I hope you enjoyed it, and you found the instructions useful. Happy Fall!


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Mărțișor – Spring Traditions in Romania

Yes, the first official day of spring, is finally on its way, and in Romania we celebrate the beginning of the new season, in a special way, so I’ve decided to share a few thoughts on the local customs, as I’m pretty sure not everyone heard of them.

 Mărțișor is what we call the Romanian holiday (taking place on March 1st), symbolizing the first day of Spring; the diminutive of marț (Martie for March in Romanian), which means little March.

The custom is believed to have Daco-Thracian origins, dating back 8,000 years! As during the Roman Empire times New Year’s Eve was celebrated on March 1, this day symbolized a new beginning. March (‘Martius’) was named in honor of the god Mars, the god of war but also agriculture, suggesting the rebirth of nature, huge celebrations taking place to mark the new start of the year.

Mărțișor is also the name of a talisman, tied to a red and white string, offered by men to women, on the 1st day of Spring. The old custom of giving is still alive, and it is believed that the one who wears the string and token will be strong and healthy in the year to come. Women wear it pinned to their clothes, until the last day of March, when they tie the string to the branches of a tree, moment when you have to make a wish, and if the tree blossoms, your wish will come true. Now, you can cheat a little bit by picking a fruit-tree, as they are well known for their beautiful spring blossoms, but ….shhht! 😉

The string used to be originally called the Year’s Rope, as a link between winter and spring. The colors are a reminder of the light and darkness, warmth and coldness, life and death, present during the changing season. The Dacians (Romanians’ ancestors) believed these amulets brought fertility, beauty and even prevented sunburns. According to them, mărțișor’s a symbol of war, blood but and also women’s passion.

In the past, the tokens were homemade and the string was created from black and white wool, which later was changed for the very well known red and white. Nowadays, as every other holiday, mărțișor was also turned in a commercial paradise for shop owners, who sell cheap looking mass-production tokens. However, local workshops try to keep the tradition, by selling handmade painted ones, made out of wood or clay. That’s what I call keeping tradition alive 🙂

artstudiomartisorcrAs far as I’m concerned, no gift is better than one you make with your own hands, and you give from your heart. No one knows better than you do, the recipient of the gift, so who better to design it, if not yourself?

Considering this, can you think of a better way to celebrate 1st of March, other than going to a creative workshop and design your own talismans? This year I’ve decided to do just that, and play with some clay and colors. And I must say, it was such a fun experience, which I’m looking forward to experience again, soon!

I’m sure there are better looking talismans out there, but none are made with so much love like mine are 🙂 Besides, buying locally, helps the artists and workshops make a living, which brings the handmade gifts to the number 1 – to buy gift, in my book.

Spring is probably my favorite season of the year. I love the return to life of nature, the gentle sun rays, the spring flowers, the not too cold – not too warm days, and the entire atmosphere overall.

I hope you enjoyed the virtual trip through 8,000 years of history and the Romanian traditions for 1st of March. I wish you all a lovely spring and best wishes for the new season to come!

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Broccoli Christmas Tree

With the holiday season approaching fast, I’d like to share with you my favorite type of Christmas Tree. Building one myself feel much more rewarding, and besides, it’s edible!

What you need

1 broccoli flower head

1 large carrot

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

toothpicks

knife

Instructions

1. Take the carrot and place it on a plate or cutting board.

2. Starting with the largest broccoli heads, place them on the carrot, starting at the base and work your way up, securing them with toothpicks.

3. Cut the bottom of the yellow bell pepper and using a knife, shape a beautiful star. Using a toothpick, place the star on the top of the carrot.

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4. Cut the red bell pepper in half, and then into thin slices. Use the slices as the Christmas Tree’s tinsel.

5. Using the remainder bell peppers, cut them into small pieces, and decorate the rest of tree.

6. Sit back and enjoy 🙂

DSC_3482 Even if it doesn’t look perfect, I think it’s pretty good for a first try. My guests definitely enjoyed it. What do you guys think?

Autumn Roses

Roses are beautiful, but they are even more beautiful when you make your own ones 🙂

Today I picked some leaves, brought them home, and made the beauties below. Nothing like a homemade buckeye of flowers!

Happy Halloween!

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First of all, both me and Lisa would like to wish you all a very Happy Halloween! 

Furthermore, because we want our pets safe, Lisa would like to ask all furry kid’s parents to read a few Halloween safety tips:

1. Remember, the candies are only for the trick-or-treaters! Dogs have their tricks when it comes to getting what they want, so make sure the bowl with sweets is out of their reach.

2. If you take your pet trick-or-treating check if your dog/cat has proper identification. In case they get lost, it will be easier for you to find them. But we don’t want to get there, so better put a leash on, and keep them close to you, at any given time.

3. If you dress your pet in a Halloween Costume please be 100% sure the costume isn’t unsafe or uncomfortable for your furry buddy, and also agrees to wearing it. We also want them to have fun, right? 🙂

4. Last but not least, the candle of your lantern might cause serious burns, or might upset the stomach of your dog/cat. Place the pumpkin in a place where you know it will be safe from your pet’s reach.

Speaking about pumpkins, we hope you like what our little Jack-O-Lantern can do:

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Thank you for reading and Happy Trick or Treating!

How to make a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern!

I’ve carved my first pumpkin a while back, and since then, I made a Jack-O-Lantern every year. It’s too much fun! Here’s the evolution of my lanterns, during the years:

joined halloween photos

It’s that time of the year, and in case you decide to make your own, I’ll guide you through the carving process, step by step.

What you will need

  • One Pumpkin, of course
  • Caring knife
  • Spoon
  • Chalk or a Pen
  • Candles

How to Carve the Pumpkin – Step by Step

In case your pumpkin is muddy, before getting to the carving, you can give it a bath. He’ll love it! 🙂DSC_13900

1. Moving to more serious things, what I always start with, is a plan. I think about what I would like to carve and draw it on a piece of paper. This way, I can make as many adjustments as I want, before actually drawing on the pumpkin. I like to draw freehand, as the end result will be unique and original, but you can always choose to download a template from the internet and follow a specific pattern.

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2. Draw the selected pattern on the pumpkin. Use the pen or piece of chalk to draw the face of the pumpkin. I recommend drawing on the smoother side, which looks the most as a ‘future-face’.

3. Create a removable cap in the pumpkin. Cut around the stalk carefully, inserting the knife at an oblique angle. This will create the cap. Make sure the hole is big enough to allow your hand to reach inside the pumpkin.DSC_13933

4. Use the spoon and remove the seeds and flesh from the walls of the pumpkin.

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5. Give your pumpkin a face! Start carving, carefully, avoiding severing any floating features, such as teeth or the center of the eyes. Watch your fingers!

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6. Clean the outside of the pumpkin, if needed.

7. Because adding lighting is a very important part of creating the atmosphere, insert a candle in your pretty lantern. Remember to use a short, wide candle, that won’t tip.

DSC_140558. You’re done!  Find a nice spot for it, in your garden, sit back and enjoy your work. Remember that the best time to see the full impact of your carving, is after dusk.

So, what do you think of my Jack-O-Lantern? 🙂

In hope I’ve stimulated your imagination and creativity, and you will find this guide useful for your own little project.

Happy Carving everyone!