Wreaths

A bit behind the wreaths, with decorating ideas.

You could even consider this to be a…

CANVA Wreath-Making Guide

Wreaths. I adore them. They are perfect for literally any occasion, any time of the year, and can be any color or design. I mean, they are basically the ultimate blank canvas of home decor, besides maybe your walls.

 

We sell wreaths made of rusty, oxidized barbed wire. It’s old, reddish-brown, and green in places. To some, it’s trash, but to me, it’s gold. We got it from my grandpa’s ranch. It was a part of a fence that was falling apart and no longer served its purpose, at least up until my dad and I went to go cut the wire. I had no idea this fence was there, and I had been down there so many times. This one time, my dad, neighbor (who is my age), and I went pig hunting down there. I was still in elementary probably, maybe early junior high. Because I was young, awkward, and clumsy, I tripped over a root and fell flat on my face. I said, “save yourselves!” all goofy-like. My dad was looking at me laughing while my neighbor friend just stood there and counted about a dozen hogs as they ran across the opening.

Didn’t say a damn thing.

 

Anyway, back to the barbed wire. Did I mention it’s at least fifty years-old, too? You just can’t get this kind of stuff at Hobby Lobby, you know? (to be clear, I so very much love Hobby Lobby!)

When it comes to wreaths, it’s really hard to write a how-to because there really is no “right” way to do it. It’s pretty much just putting whatever the hell you want onto a circle.

So that’s what we are going to talk about here today, y’all. Putting stuff on a circle.

We’ll cover circle options, decoration selection and application, must-haves of a good wreath, and where you can hang them besides doors.

I love structure.

 

First, let’s just establish what your circle can be because I guarantee there are some things you wouldn’t think of. I use barbed wire because that fits my style. I love my wreaths.

 

Similarly, twine or sticks, or even rosehedge-type twigs look really great for natural, outdoorsy, rustic wreaths. Then, there are wreath “templates” you can buy at the craft store, which are perfect for wreaths that aren’t rustic or outdoorsy, which, when you think about it, is a lot of wreaths. They come in Styrofoam mostly. You could also use pipe.

 

Decorations. What to put on them? I am all about being resourceful and using what you have. For example, dig through your holiday decorations and see if there’s something you won’t use. In my case, I had a garland that everyone hated, so I cut it up and put it on a wreath. I have used cotton that I picked from someone’s cotton field. I’ve used deer sheds. As far as other more easily-acceptable things go, you can use:

  • denim from jeans that don’t fit
  • other ribbons or scraps of clothes
  • Tulle
  • buttons to adorn those fabrics
  • cheap ornaments
  • leaves (fake or dried)
  • sticks and twigs
  • Silverware
  • easter eggs
  • Wooden letters
  • paint the wreath
  • hats (like make the wreath a scarecrow’s face)

 

The possibilities are endless! These are just a few ideas I could come up with as I wrote this.

The point is, don’t think you have to buy a bunch of crap. Try to use whatever you have.  

 

As for how to decorate it, I have learned a couple things.

  1. Symmetry is not always your friend, despite the science that says humans like symmetry. It isn’t your enemy, but I think you’re better off going with a balanced, but still off-centered look. I think it makes things more interesting, and you don’t have to worry as much about being perfect. If this wreath is just for you or you just don’t give a damn, then do whatever you want! It’s your house.
  2. The best way I have found to secure stuff is a combination of hot glue and wire/string. The hot glue is really secure and doesn’t show, but you risk it coming off eventually, which is where tying it on comes in. Really, though, it all comes down to which security is less visible.

One thing that you must remember to put on your wreath is a way to hang it up, like a loop or hook at the top of the wreath. It seems so stupidly obvious, but I always forget.

Lastly, wreaths are not just for doors. I have a wreath that I hang above my door. They look good just on the wall, surrounded by other decorations like smaller wreaths, pictures, crosses, or whatever else. Call me crazy, but I think they look good as center pieces. Put a candle in the middle with some other little fillers on a nice table runner with a contrasting table cloth, and voila!

 

Of course, if your craftspiration is non-existent, hit up Pinterest!

 

Blessings and craftiness unto you all!

 

~Hannah ❤

Ganado Market 9/22

I must say, it was much better than expected!!

So from the get-go, we battled some serious rain. It was so heavy. Everything pretty much got wet, including a couple things that now have to be re-done, but fortunately, it was short lived and didn’t keep the people away.

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Everyone came out full-force, which was really surprising, given the weather. Last time we had weather, things didn’t go so well. Not this time!

Our best sellers were deer antlers and the deer skulls.

The throw pillows also got TONS of love!

Also, we debuted our door-tables: tables made out of old, chipped doors laying on top of saw horses. They looked amazing! Best idea EVER!!!

 

So the next market is in Goliad on October 13. Hope to see everyone there, and thanks to those who came out yesterday!

Huntsville & East Texas

Since we’re rooted in Texas, I like to talk about Texas. 

Things to Do in (2)

Full disclosure, I’ve only been to East Texas once, but it was enough to know what it’s all about. I stayed in Huntsville for a weekend, and I did so much in the area.

 

Forest

My favorite part was the Sam Houston National Forest. It’s over 160,000 acres of tall, green, dense pines. For someone who’s only lived in the Hill Country or along the coast, this was such a shock. It’s kind of humbling, actually, seeing these things that are so much bigger and more majestic than you.

I went in through Huntsville State Park, which has miles and miles of hiking trails.

For more nature, you can hit up nearby Lake Conroe or any of the other lakes and creeks in East Texas.

 

History

Texas is chalk full of history. We’ve been under six flags, including our own, and won a lopsided revolution.

Our first president was Mr. Sam Houston, and the town of Huntsville doesn’t let you forget it. Huntsville loves Sam Houston. It’s home, of course, to Sam Houston State University, and every year around his birthday in March, there’s a festival where the town basically shuts down and gathers for history, food, music, and more.

If you’re not there for the festival, you can still become an expert on the president. His bagillion foot-tall statue towers over I-45 coming into Huntsville from Houston. In town you can visit the Homestead, which has the “Steamboat House” where he died, his law office, and more. You can also visit his grave at Oakwood Cemetery.

 

More in Huntsville

One of the most fascinating parts of Huntsville is its prison system. It is home to the big daddy- Texas State Penitentiary Huntsville Unit, as well as six other units. It’s here in Huntsville that convicts in Texas are executed. You can’t really tour the prison, obviously, but there are ways to learn about it and its past. There’s the Prison Museum in town, and the cemetery. I must warn you, the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery is moving and haunting. Not haunted (I mean I guess it could be) but haunting because the experience just sticks with you. It’s where death row inmates and unclaimed deceased inmates are buried, dating back to the 1800s. Some have unmarked crossed. Some have marked crosses. Some are marked, but only with prison number, not name.

While you’re there, keep an ear out for the prison sirens. Every hour, they do a prison check, and they use a city-wide siren system to help keep everyone on the same page. One siren announces the head count is beginning, and a second announcing that it’s over, but if you hear a third siren, that means someone hasn’t been accounted for or something went wrong.

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Also, Huntsville is home to a guy that lives in a boot.

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More in East Texas

As I’m not super well-traveled in this part of the state, I know it has a lot to offer! There’s of course the forest and plenty for outdoorsmen to do. If that’s not your thing, head south to Houston where there are endless goings-on.

If Houston isn’t your thing, hit up towns like Nacogdoches, Palestine, or Tyler.

I guess if Texas in general just isn’t your thing, Louisiana is just a hop, skip, and a jump across the Sabine!

 

Sources:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/texas/about-forest/districts/?cid=fswdev3_008443

https://events.shsu.edu/event/general_sam_houston_folk_festival_8269#.WtDbdi7wbIU

A Note on Failure

Failure: what it is or isn’t, a couple of my experiences, and takeaways.

 

I will admit, a small part of creating this blog was a way for me to grow our business and add a new dimension to what we were creating. It was a way for me to celebrate successes (and a little bit of a marketing strategy).

But, that’s only a small part of it. The biggest reason why I started this was just because I missed blogging and writing. For years, I was all about writing and journalism. In high school and college, I wrote for the newspaper, covering my high school football team, and I loved it. Then I went to college with journalism as my major, determined to be a globe-trotting writer, drinking coffee in Prague, taking pictures in New York, and interviewing chefs in Rome. All kinds of fabulous stuff. I even had a blog before this (itwasbooks.blogspot.com) where I reviewed books. It wasn’t bad, honestly. I was quoted on author Philippa Gregory’s website once, just below and beside “USA Today” and “New York Daily News.”

Then, after actually studying it in college, I grew to hate it. Journalism, that is, not writing. I’ll always be a writer. Just not a journalist. No. Thank. You.

So now, I am in advertising and business!

Why is knowing that bit about me important?

It’s an example of something that didn’t work out (it took $10,000 and year to figure it out). I am not at all whatsoever in any way, shape, or form a life coach or wise-all woman. No. I am a “small business owner”-ish type person, however, so I know what it feels like when things don’t work out. As a business owner and blogger, I feel like I have an obligation to talk about business, entrepreneurship, creativity, and risks, at least a little bit.

Keep it honest.

 

So. Failure.

Or as a like to say, a lesson.

That’s so important to know. No matter what happens, you are always learning.

This can best be felt for me through my first real failure with this thing- pot holders.

This was the first time I tried to make them. I had fabric, and I bought the special insulated batting. I cut my fabric and batting, and finally, when I got behind my machine… I screwed it all up. I tried eight to ten times probably, and they were ugly as hell. I was so devastated. I paid all this money, spent all this time, wasted all these materials, and for what? A shitty pot holder that no one is going to buy? How will I make this money back?  What the hell am I going to do with this stupid batting? Or these ugly-ass pot holders? What could I have successfully made with this fabric that has now been wasted?

I know. They’re just some stupid pot holders, but the feelings I felt, the questions I asked myself, I think can happen anytime. If you’re a business owner, and you’re reading this, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s no worse feeling than that feeling of loss.  If not, you still probably know what I mean!

Despite how ugly they were, I put them up for sale anyway.

 

And they sold out in one day.

 

I was stunned. The craftsmanship was poor, and the designs weren’t anything special, so what the hell? What happened with these?

Well, I thought about it, and I came to this conclusion: in my case, it was my honesty. It was my customer service. It was my kindness, my openness with people, and even my laughter about the whole thing. The environment I created around it in my panic is what sold them.

So what’s the lesson here?

I learned a couple things through my failure. One, I need to practice more, and two, how to market something not-so-good (through just being a decent human).

So yeah, failure is inevitable and guaranteed to happen. For example, I still put grainy, pixel-y pictures on here. I could be breaking copyright laws by using pictures that aren’t my own (most are, and if they aren’t, I cite the source). I don’t mean to be, but honestly I could be because I don’t know how it works. Some of the things we make turn out ugly. I get my math wrong sometimes in my bookkeeping, and might be paying taxes wrong. I read over these posts, but I could still have typos and grammatical errors. But whatever, you know? If something happens, you learn from it and move on.

I hope you learned something through my zig-zag story. If you have a failure story and what you learned from that, please share!

 

~Hannah ❤

Skulls: The Best Blank Canvas

Skulls, like cattle skulls, can make for a kick-ass design element. 

~*Featuring my own impressive sketches 😉 *~

Cow Skull_.png

This sounds a little morbid.

“That skull on your mantle looks great!”

But honestly, I think that skulls (cattle skulls or deer skulls) can look great. They’re the ultimate blank canvas.

Think about it: it’s something white and of decent size that you’re going to put in or around your house. You can do anything to it, or not, if their natural simplicity is more your thing.

Simple or designed, they’re all displayed the same. Here are some of my ideas:

Outside in your garden.

This is where I have mine. Stick it in the flower bed, entrance to a pathway, or where ever you might place another outdoor decoration.

Mantle

This is for those who want it out in the open. Maybe you’re a cattle family. You breed them, raise them, sell them… It’s who you are, and this would be a great way to reflect that. Skull in the center, maybe a burlap or leather runner, clear vases or mason jars with neutral green foliage or succulents, other “cowboyish” antiques, and family photos in bold picture frames would accent and balance the skull, I think.

Mantle Sketch

Hung on the wall

Much like how we hang deer on the wall, a skull would look great too. I picture it on a darker colored wall, perhaps a navy, charcoal gray, or darker brown. Hang it relatively low above the center of furniture so that it’s roughly eye-level and flows into the rest of the space (but don’t put to wear someone leans back on the couch and gets eaten). Accent it with a rustic wooden sign above or hang photos or other antique wall hangings on either side.

Another wall option is one of my favorite arrangements for anything being hung on the wall. In a smaller space, perhaps a foyer, have a small table against the wall. On one side have a decorative lamp that’s about a foot tall, maybe a foot and a half. On the other side, hang the skull (or whatever) so that the bottom of it is even, or even a touch below, the highest point of that lamp. On top of the table, opposite the lamp and below your hanging, go with a short filler: a neutral plant or succulent, stack of books, short antique, or a bold picture frame with a family picture. Lastly, if it suits your taste, you could throw in a short runner, table cloth, or doily, preferably something contrasting to the rest of the set-up.

Table Set-Up Sketch

For example: navy blue walls, dark wooden trim, old-fashioned earth-toned lamp, the white skull, stack of antique books, and a bold golden-yellow runner.

 

As for decorating your skull, it’s all up to you. Here are some ideas:

Paint

Paint it all one color, dip paint, or paint on a design, just like you would on a canvas or piece of paper.

Flowers

This is my favorite thing in the world right now. I made one for myself first, but then went a little crazy and made something like this:

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Sequins

If sequins or shiny things are more your speed, heat up that hot glue gun. Put them all over, do a color scheme, or make a shape or design.

Seashells

This is for my Gulf Coast ranchers. I came up with this (I’m sure I’m not the first one, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else, personally) idea when I was trying to figure out a unique way to dress up a skull, after a dip painting failure (note: don’t use old spray paint!).  After a trip to Magnolia Beach, where I found this super iridescent shell, I realized that seashells, with all their colors, shines, and shapes, would make a gorgeous design, and would also bring together two totally opposite worlds: land and sea. To me, it’s an ode to where I grew up. ❤

 

I hope this post inspires you to open your minds to new ideas and get creative with your decor at home.

And always remember that it’s your home. No matter what anyone, including me, says is a “great way” to dress up your home, the best way is always your way.

 

~Hannah