Christmas Decorations 2015: Merry & Bright With Battery Operated Lights

The one thing good about getting the Christmas decorations in place a little early is that between now and Christmas I can continue to add to, mess with, and tweak things…<rolling eyes>. 😉  Just kidding, once things are in place, I normally don’t mess with the creation too, too much.  But, I have to say that I’ve discovered these wonderful little battery operated mini light strands at Walmart this year, so some tweaking I did yesterday.  I’ve used battery operated strands in the past and they lasted for all of a day before they burned out and I got frustrated with them. Like everything else in the world, *they* <~~~those people who tweak these sorts of things~~~ must have improved the workability of these spiffy lights as they perform a ton better now-a-days and I’ve found that they add just a touch of ‘somethin’ somethin’ to a few of my wreaths and centerpieces. They add a subtle glow in the evening hours that just calms my very being. 🙂  I’m always all about accent lighting and how it warms a room right up. So here we go…

Here are the two types of lights that I found, they come in “Warm White”, “Multi-Colored”, and a array of solid colors, i.e. red, green, and blue. Also, there are different bulb counts, I used 18, 36, and on the larger bulbs, 20 count.  They range in price from $4 to $6 (for the larger bulb variety)…

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They come with a battery pack which is easily hidden in wreaths and centerpieces. They also have built in timers and once they are turned on they automatically turn off after 6 hours. (So I put them in place and waited for it to get dark outside before turning them on)

Also,  the timer has 3 different options…”Timer Fading”, Timer Flashing”, or “Timer Steady On”–I set mine to “Timer Steady On” just because ‘fading’ or ‘flashing’ would drive me bonkers:

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Here are some examples of how I’ve utilized these little lights…

This wreath hangs up on the mirror above the fireplace, I have a set of the “Ultra Slim” lights (36 count) on that wreath.

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I used a set of 18 multi-colored lights for this little arrangement…

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I used a set of 18 warm white lights for this arrangement…

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I used two sets of 18 warm white for this arrangement…

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One set of 18 warm white lights brightened up this little centerpiece nicely…

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I used 2 sets of 18 multi-colored lights for this centerpiece that sits on the kitchen island…

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I added one strand of 18 warm white lights to this little arrangement that sits in the powder room.  It sure brightens up a room that has no natural light…love it!

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I wanted to brighten up a couple of my wreaths as well, again, I just snugged the battery pack down into the wreaths and actually caught the wire into one of the twist ties on the work wreath.  It worked like a charm.

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And I used two sets of 20 warm white bulbs on this next wreath.  This wreath is huge, over 30+ inches around…

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So, there we go, I only tweaked a few things, but the warmth that a silly little battery operated light strand brings to a room is just amazing. 🙂

Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

**In crafting there are no mistakes just unique creations**

A Dressier Lantern Centerpiece

Hi Everyone!

It is a rainy, rather dreary Monday afternoon here in Virginia so I thought I’d sit down and put together this little post about my dining room lantern centerpiece and also show you how I transform it to match the season or Holiday. I found the large lantern featured in this post in a local country store and for its measurements, please refer to my “A Lantern Centerpiece For All Seasons” blog post; where along with the lantern’s measurements, I also give a bit of a tutorial showing you how to put one of these centerpieces together.

I’ve been using a very pretty country sea foam green as my accent color in the dining and living rooms; I love the light and airy touch that it adds to a room.  I have been pairing it with grays and taupes and have been very happy with how it has all come together.  It has been a bit of a challenge for me to stay in my country comfort zone while using that accent color, but I do believe I’ve successfully kept my decor warm and have created some cozy groupings, arrangements, wreaths, and centerpieces to keep within the country theme.

Here is the first lantern centerpiece I created for the dining room table:

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I purchased the same mirrored tray that I used for the kitchen lantern centerpiece to go under this lantern and it is used to build all of the arrangements featured in this post

Easter was the next Holiday, in years past, I haven’t typically decorated for Easter, but this lantern inspired me to create a new centerpiece.

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I also made that wreath that is hanging on the wall…it didn’t stay there for long though as I moved it out onto the porch and added it into a grouping that I put together out there.  There it is added to the front porch grouping…

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Next, I needed something to go with our family reunion decor, so I switched out the tablecloth and a few other decor items that helped me incorporate my red and white gingham, gerber daisies, and mason jars reunion theme.

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This centerpiece and the red and white accents only stayed in there for the day of the reunion.

After the reunion, I went ahead and changed the dining room decor back to its softer color tone, here is the centerpiece that I chose to make to complete the room’s transformation back to ‘normal’:

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This arrangement stayed in place until it was time to decorate for Fall. I was very happy with how this one turned out, I just love to add that bow/pip berries topper. 🙂

Fall has arrived and here is the dining room with the Fall decor including the lantern centerpiece in place:

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And here is the bow, pip berries, fall pick topper:IMG_1867

The Fall decor in this room is quite subtle, but I’m happy with how it looks. I feel that it still looks warm, inviting, and cozy despite not using all of the typical Fall colors.

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I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying working with these lanterns and creating all of these different centerpieces.  I do use lanterns in other capacities as well–a subject for another blog post. 😉  I do feel as if the softer green color lends itself to a ‘fancier’ centerpiece; I don’t want it to be too formal in the dining room, but I do want it to be a bit lighter and airier in design.

Well, it’s time for me to get myself in gear and to make my hubby and I some dinner, so, until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

**In crafting there are no mistakes just unique creations**

A Lantern Centerpiece For All Seasons

I cannot express to y’all just how much I love lanterns; they provide a wonderful basic piece with which to create so many pretty groupings.  I use them to accent my decor inside and outside as well.  I felt so fortunate when I stumbled upon the lantern that I will be highlighting in this post; actually I own two of the exact same lanterns and I purchased them in two different local craft stores, unfortunately, I cannot find these lanterns anywhere online or I’d leave y’all a link…my sincere apologies… <sigh>.  I buy my share of lanterns in places like Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, and Michaels, all three stores usually have a wonderful selection and I can almost always find one on sale. I use them in several different ways; some for centerpieces, some for accents in groupings, and some for side or accent tabletop decor.  For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on this one type of lantern and show you how I use it to create my kitchen table centerpieces.

I will start with the very first lantern centerpiece that I created; last January. In addition to the lantern, I’ve used a metal mirrored tray, and a black candle holder as the anchors of every one of the centerpieces.  Here is the lantern, (it is metal btw), I’ve measured it for you so that you can see that it is quite large, I love to have a big centerpiece on my kitchen table, I’ve also measured the tray for you:

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The first thing that I did was to place the candle holder and a battery operated candle inside of the lantern, then I started to build the surrounding decor.  I realize that gerber daisies are more of a Spring flower, but I love them so much and I found some made out of burlap, so I went ahead and used them along with a few burgundy and gold ones, and I added a resin cream colored daisy at each corner as well.  I nestled all of the accent pieces in a bed of pip berries–I used a pip berries garland that matches my stair decor highlighted in my Staircase Railing Ideas blog post. OH, btw, I did cut a section of pip berries off of the garland and I wrapped it around the candle holder inside of the lantern before I started to create the surrounding decor. (I plan to give you a basic step by step “how-to” below):

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That centerpiece stayed up through the winter months until it was time to switch out the centerpiece accents to match my Easter decorations.  Here is what I came up with:

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As you can see, I used the very same lantern, tray, and candle holder…and I actually did use the same pip berries garland as well. I changed out the battery operated candle and the flowers. I purchased the tablecloth, the plates, and napkins at our local Home Goods store. I made the little napkin rings as well, I chose a pretty ribbon and tied a bow around the napkin and then hot glued little flowers to the tips of the bow…easy peezy. 🙂

A close up of the Easter lantern:

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After Easter, I simply removed the “Happy Easter” words, but I did leave the rest of it alone until it was time to switch things out for the family reunion/summer centerpiece:

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I changed out all of the decor accent pieces for this centerpiece and I created and added a top bow/pip berries piece which I’ve found that I love now. I feel as if it pulls it all together. I used a red and white pip berries garland (trimming a section off to go inside the lantern and another small piece that I added to the bow topper), gerber daisies,  a “Family” wooden word sign, and I threw in a couple of burlap birds for something a little different.

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That centerpiece stayed in place until it was time to decorate for Fall. Now, I will walk you through how I created that Fall centerpiece…Here goes:

Here is the lantern, tray, and candle holder. I used a new pip berries garland for this arrangement and again, I trimmed off a section so that I could wrap it around the candle ring inside of the lantern and another small section to be used on the bow topper:

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Next, I wrapped the rest of the pip berries garland around the lantern:

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Then I created the bow topper and pip berries design:

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I made the bow and simply attached the small section of pip berries into the pipe cleaner that I used to hold the bow together (behind the bow). Then I took a piece of the same ribbon and attached it to the back of the bow with the pip berries.  I kind of held it up to the lantern and figured out how big of a “loop” I wanted and then hot glued it shut to that size. I then slid the entire bow topper onto the top piece of the lantern.  You can see what I’m talking about here:

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Then I arranged some glass pumpkins at each corner and filled in the spaces in front, back, and on either side with Fall floral picks and a few Fall colored sunflowers:

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And here is the finished centerpiece:

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I have really enjoyed creating a new centerpiece as each Season has passed while utilizing the same basic designs and design pieces. I will admit that I spent a good chunk of change on this particular lantern (and I use one just like it on my dining room table, but, it was so worth the cost. I’ll write another post showing you all of the different Seasonal centerpieces I’ve created for the dining room table).   I was able to get the tray for 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby, and I’ve been able to get each Season’s accent pieces for a discounted price. It hardly costs me anything to change out the decor and of course from now on, it won’t cost me a penny because I will reuse the same accent pieces in the coming years.  That said, I know myself and I’m sure I will be adding or changing some things out for new things, but, I’ll already have all of the basics that I need. 🙂

Fast forward 3 months and I have now completed a lantern centerpiece for Christmas utilizing the basic pieces that I’ve used for all of the other centerpieces.  Here is a link to my new Blog post describing how I created the Christmas Lantern Centerpiece.  Here is a picture of the finished product:

I hope upon hope that one of these ideas inspires y’all to try something like this for your home. They are not hard to create and all you need to do is to trust yourself to choose accents pieces that look pretty to you and hence would look amazing in your home.  I’m always here if anyone has any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section. 🙂

Let me take a moment to thank every one of you who has stopped by to take a peek at this blog, feel free to look around at my other posts; I have found that I am really enjoying sharing my creations with you and if one person is inspired to try their hand at creating something similar to what they’ve seen here…well, that would just touch my heart of hearts!!

Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

**In crafting there are no mistakes just unique creations**

How To Create “Cozy Corners” and More

My dear friend Liz asked me to write a little post explaining how to create a “Cozy Corner”.  Before I begin to show you how I make my cozy corners, I want to explain that I use the same concept when creating the corners that I do when I create flower arrangements, hearth decor, as well as pretty much everything that I design.  I start out with the basic items that I want to use to make the cozy corner design, flower arrangement, grouping, etc…  I find that arranging things in different heights and using different textures within the design is important.  Therefore, I always try to have several items of varying heights that are always sitting there and are “staples” (for description purposes) in all of my arrangements whether they are sitting in a corner or on the hearth or scattered on a shelf and sometimes used as a receptacle to hold flower arrangements.  These items consist of an array of items such as wooden ladders, large crocks, baskets, trays, candle holders, etc…  Also, when choosing the Seasonal items that I add to the staples, I try to pick taller, shorter, fatter, and thinner items to give the eye a variety of fun things to gaze upon. Also, I use a lot of mini light strings in my decor , I love to sit and look at subtle, twinkling lights that meander through the groupings.

Okay, so here we go. As you can see, these arrangements are both being displayed in the same corner:

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You will notice that there are a couple of things in both photos that I used as my staples; the Longaberger basket under the throws and my grandmother’s sewing basket; you will notice that the Longaberger basket is taller than the sewing basket which is important to add height, depth and interest to the finished creation.  Regarding the placement of the rest of the decor, I usually work from left to right, backward to forward, building on top of, beside, and in front of the baskets as I go. I use a varying array of items from wooden words, stuffed scarecrows/snowmen/etc…, themed pillows, and so on…

The next two pictures are groupings that are displayed in the same corner as the two pictures above.  Again, I started out with the same staple items, the Longaberger basket and the sewing basket; I added the ladder to the decor this past summer and it will remain as one of my staples moving forward as we traverse through the Seasons:

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To bring those staple items into the specific Season for which I am decorating, I add Seasonal items such as throws, pillows, signs, wooden words, pip berries garland, cloth napkins (tied around the ladder in the case of the picture on the left) and burlap bows.  When creating these arrangements, I worked with the ladder first and when I was happy with that design, I moved all the way to the left and started placing items on the Longaberger basket beginning with folding and draping the throw over the basket, then I placed pillows and started moving to the right and placing items onto the sewing basket, then I moved forward and down to the floor placing the finishing touches.

This is another cozy corner where I create different looks for different Seasons; this is located beside my kitchen hutch.  My “staples’ for this corner are two red wooden crates.

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The crates are the same exact size but I have them turned different ways.  I build the Seasonal decor starting on the top and working my way down and inside the crates. I use decorative items with varying heights and build from back to front on and in each crate treating each as its own section but keeping in mind that I want it to look like one cohesive unit when I’m finished.

Let’s move to the fireplace hearth, these pictures highlight the left side of the hearth. The staple pieces that are always in place here are the wooden ladder wrapped with the lit pip berries garland, the tall candle holder to the left, and the Longaberger basket (on the floor).

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I built these arrangements similarly by starting with the ladder, then moving forward and to either side using decorative items of varying heights and textures.

Here is a collage picture of what I do with the right side of the hearth.  The staple items for that side are the large crock , the Longaberger baskets to the right, and the tall lantern candle holder. Those items stay in place throughout the year.

**Regarding the crock, I made it into a centerpiece by placing a ladder wrapped with a lit pip berries garland down into it and adding metal stars that lay on a bed of pip berries**

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Here are pictures of two centerpieces made for different Seasons in much the same manner as the cozy corners described above.  The staple items for this centerpiece are a burgundy wooden tray, 2 rod iron candle holders, a plaid cloth placemat and a rectangular lace doily.

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You’ll notice that I used the same pip berries garland in the tray and wove it around the candle stick holders in both centerpieces, but I changed out the other items to switch the centerpiece from one Season to another (in this case, I went from a more generic design to a one with a Christmassy feel).

Now, I’m going to try to do a little tutorial describing in words and pictures how I put an arrangement together utilizing the same staples–the tray, rod iron candle stick holders, plaid placemat, and rectangular lace doily.

The first thing to do is to gather together all of the decorative items that one *might* use to create the arrangement. Then, place the placemat, doily, and candle stick holders where one wants them on the tray. (I did make the pip berries garland that surround the candles in these pictures).

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After the staples are in place, start to build the arrangement by wrapping a leaf garland around and between the candle stick holders. After that place the “Harvest” sign and the Scarecrow.  Then fill in some of the empty or baron looking spaces with sunflowers and a pumpkin. This literally took me 5 minutes to make, and honestly, it wouldn’t take you any longer. 🙂

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Here is the finished centerpiece:

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And this is where I chose to place it:

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I will add one more example of an arrangement that I had out of my front porch last Fall.  This grouping was created on a small wooden deacon’s bench, I followed same basic steps as I described for all of the arrangements/groupings above.

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I started with a Fall themed throw blanket, and I built the rest of the grouping beginning with the Scarecrow on the left moving to the right and ending down on the porch.  I placed the pip berries garland last weaving it in and around the other decorative pieces.

I hope upon hope that this helps to explain how I bring my cozy corners, groupings, and centerpieces to life for each passing Season.  I know that y’all can do it and if you have any questions at all, I’m always available and will do my very best to give you complete answers that will hopefully help you make your own unique and special designs. 🙂

One more picture of the pups, they are so good and pose so nicely for their pictures. ❤

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Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

**In crafting there are no mistakes just unique creations**

The Lantern Centerpiece Gift

Hi Everyone!

I always enjoy giving homemade gifts to people that I know will appreciate the planning, preparation, and plethora of work it takes to create an entirely new concept just for them. My dear friend Karen is one such person. Karen and I have been friends for over a decade now, our daughters were in the high school marching band together and Karen and I were very involved in the Band Parents Association.  She and I had much more in common than just our girls though, she is also a crafter and she can create beautiful things that I admire greatly. So, when she and her hubby built a beautiful new home my wheels started turning and I tried to come up with a new and different Housewarming gift.  What does a crafter give another crafter?  It can be tricky…luckily, our ‘talents’ lie in different realms of the crafting world.  Karen herself actually gave me the idea of what I ended up making for her.  She texted me one day to ask me if she could borrow my red gingham tablecloth to use for an upcoming get-together.  Well, when she asked me that the light went on in my head and the bells started ding, ding, dinging, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for her; a lantern centerpiece 🙂  First, I purchased her a red gingham tablecloth of her own. Then I made a lantern centerpiece with a red gingham bow, pip berries garland, red and white gerber daisies, black metal stars, a red battery operated candle, and a “Family” wooden sign, all arranged in and around a cream colored wooden tray and cream colored wooden lantern.  I also put a red gingham placemat in the tray to serve as a nice decorative base for the design.

**Side note–I love arranging my lantern centerpieces in trays, the tray provides an anchor for the entire design and *bonus* it is easily picked up and moved from place to place**

Here is that finished centerpiece:

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I then thought, well, I don’t want to pigeonhole her into having to use the red gingham accents all of the time, so I took it a step further and supplied her with the necessary materials with which to change out the red gingham accents and insert a more neutral design; utilizing the same metal stars, lantern and tray.  I made a new bow out of chevron and burlap ribbon and supplied a different colored pip berries garland, a cream colored battery operated candle, different colored gerber daisies, a different “Home” sign, and a neutral placemat. Also, I made it so that she could easily change out the bows by hot gluing velcro on the ends of a piece of the same ribbon and attaching it to the bows;  they were then secure when in place, pretty, and functional. 🙂

Here is that version of the centerpiece:

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I packed up all of the neutral design materials along with a picture of how she might want to switch out the red and white gingham elements and replace them with the more neutral elements.

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I delivered the red gingham version of the centerpiece to her with the neutral version packed in a gift bag.  I immediately knew that I had chosen right in giving her a homemade gift because when I handed it to her, her sweet eyes welled up with tears and I got the very best hug ever! My day was made, completely made!

In my opinion, it is *always* better to give than to receive, and when it comes from your heart and is made with love and with the receiver in mind,  it makes for a good day all around.

**LOVE you Karen** ❤

Hi Everyone!

My name is Arlynn and I’m a housewife and crafter from Virginia.  I moved here when I married my soulmate 33 years ago; for the 20 years prior to that I lived with my parents in Maryland.  My hubby and I have two beautiful daughters who are now out on their own and thriving in this big world of ours. I’ve done many things in my life, but, most of them revolved around raising our girls and involving myself as a volunteer in their schools.  Also, we have 2 Newfoundland dogs named Sophie and Samson and a Golden Retriever named Gracie all three of which I absolutely adore.

A bit about my background, I come from a very loving, God fearing family whose traditions run deep and love runs strong; they are all (aunts, uncles, cousins–I’m an only child) very special to me!  Unfortunately, we are all scattered and live in different States, but when we are together we make the most of every moment (we just had a family reunion here at our home last May–a blog for later).  Both of my parents were educators, and they raised me up to be a loving and honest woman. My family shaped and molded me into the woman I am today. Sadly, we lost my precious Mom a couple of years ago. My Dad is still going strong, he plays golf daily, travels extensively, and is as healthy as can be.

All of that said, I’ve been crafting for decades…literally…haha. I decided to start this blog because when I would post my newest crafting or diy project on my Facebook page, it seemed like folks were interested in what I was doing. A few friends and one of my daughters have encouraged me to try and start a blog because they feel that I have a lot to offer; I hope that they are right and that there is someone who might take one of my ideas and utilize it in their home.  I have no formal education in interior design, but I love to create warm cozy spaces and I love to decorate my home in a welcoming manner. I make wreaths and centerpieces among other things and I utilize my very symmetrical nature to create spaces within my home that are pleasing to the eye. I love to craft and create! All of that said, I am completely new to blogging, so please be patient with me as I am learning as I go.

My hubby and I moved into our retirement home a couple of years ago and I’ve been diligently working on decorating our space. I change the decor as the Seasons change. I’ve included some pictures of just some of the things that I’ve created since we moved in.

**In crafting there are no mistakes just unique creations**

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