Steak Hooks

How to make steak flippers (or hooks, but I think “flippers” is more fun to say). If you don’t know what those are, keep reading!

 

This is one of my favorite things that we sell. I had nothing to do with it, either; it was all my dad! Steak flippers or turners are a tool used for flipping steak, as the name suggests. It’s just a long stick with a hook at the end- perfect for Labor Day down the road!

Steak Hooks

This is how my dad made it.

To make the flipper, he used a deer shed and- get this- an old hay rake. I think that’s awesome!

First thing he did was cleaned the rust off the rake. He did this by soaking it in vinegar and buffing off the excess, shining it up. Then he took it to his forge (he makes knives) to heat it up and bent it so that the hook would more sideways. While that cooled, he moved on to drill a hole in the base of the small deer shed to fit the rake into. He also drilled a hole in the pointy end of the shed to tie leather through, so that it could be hung when stored. Once that was done, he put the two together, twisting and whatnot so that they securely fit together.

 

And that’s it! Easy peasy, but not too speedy to put together (that attempt at rhyming is just disgusting).

 

Happy grilling, y’all!

 

~Hannah ❤

A Little Note on the Deer Sheds

This post is going further in-depth about deer antler sheds: what they are and how to find them.

 

Last week, I wrote a piece on how I make jewelry holders made with deer antlers. I said to not freak out because no deer were harmed while getting the sheds, but many of you probably know that since they are sheds, meaning the deer naturally shed these antlers off. Still, I felt like it was necessary to post a short informative piece on what they are, why the exist, and how I get them.

 

Deer sheds are the antlers that a buck naturally shed during the early part of the year. It’s like losing your baby teeth; they fall out in one piece and a new set grows in. With antlers though, it happens every year. They lose last year’s antlers and grow in a new set.

 

These sheds, obviously, are just left out there. I mean it’s not like deer have an antler fairy that leaves them money under some bushes. They are just out and about and left for us to find. They come in all sizes and shapes, which opens so many creative doors.

 

To find them, you just have to look. We have found that buying them from someone who has done the treasure hunting to be much easier than walking around and looking ourselves. That isn’t to say we won’t or don’t, but for all intents and purposes, it’s better.

 

Hopefully this article was useful. I’m not an expert on this kind of thing, but I know that what we use in our jewelry holders, wreaths, and other pieces was not sawed off a deer or something. We just pick up after the deer. We are the antler fairies, but we don’t leave them anything.

 

If this article was a waste on you, I apologize! Next week’s content will definitely be a lot less concentrated. Thank you for reading anyway!

 

Until next time…

 

~Hannah ❤

Deer Antler Jewelry Holders

How we make jewelry holders.

CANVA Deer Antler Jewelry Holders

One of our best-selling pieces is this jewelry holder made with white tail deer sheds and forty year-old mesquite. The deer sheds come from all over, but that will be its own post, exclusively for y’all animal lovers. The mesquite, as I said, is about forty years-old. My dad had cut the wood when he was a teenager, and it survived the years. He found it recently, brought it back to their house, and cut it up into long, flat pieces. He makes knives and uses it in hilts and such.

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Making the holders started out as something for myself. I just wanted one. I don’t have a huge attachment to deer hunting, but I have gone before. Those are some of my fondest memories, and frankly, I think antlers are just great for decoration!

I’m thrilled that they are so popular, because they are nothing to make! Quick and easy. Let’s get started.

First, pick out your shed and your wood:

deer antlers

Next, prep your picks (that’s fun to say). This takes a couple steps:

Take your shed, and sand the base down to where it stands up flat. Done.

Take your wood, and make it the length that you want. Make sure its dimensions are such that they’ll support the antler and whatever jewelry you put on it. In other words, make it a solid length and width.

Once it’s the size you want it to be, sand it on both sides as needed to make sure it rests flat and doesn’t wobble. No one likes wobbly things.

Now that your pieces have been cut and shaped, you need to treat and stylize your wood, and maybe even your antler, if you’d like. The wood, though, is a must. I use tung oil to brush on both sides of the wood. This is an important step. It protects the wood, and by doing it on both sides and the edges, you prevent cracking. Plus, it makes the wood pretty. You could make the antler shiny, but I don’t I like the more rugged, raw look to it. It maintains the integrity of the deer.

 

It is now time to assemble. Find where you’d like to mount to the antler. Be sure it’s in a place that the weight is well-distributed. Otherwise, your holder will fall over. Don’t want that.

Using a power drill, drill into the bottom of the wood part of the way. Place the base of the shed over that, and hold tight. Drill through the wood into the shed. Once it’s in, twist the shed with your hand till it’s on tight.

deer antler drilling antler

Boom. You’ve got yourself a jewelry holder. Go dress it up now.

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May you stay inspired and crafty always, and God bless!

 

~Hannah ❤

Porch Signs

How I make outdoor porch signs.

CANVA Porch Signs

I wish so badly that I had a porch. Like a wooden porch with steps, a swing, pretty railings and columns, a fancy front door, tables and chairs, all that stuff.

Why do I wish I had a porch? Aside from the fact that I’d love to spend my mornings on that swing?

Because I could do so. Much. Serious. Decorating.  Front porch displays are what I spend hours thinking about. I wish that was a joke.

So many of my front porch fantasies involve rustic elements, like tin and wood, so to bring that to life, I made (well, make) these signs:

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All of these signs are made with barn wood and/or ridge row that my dad and I go out and get from my grandpa’s or uncle’s land. My uncle and his friend own a bunch of land in the town over from my hometown, and he let us have at it. There’s on pasture in particular that had some knocked down structures that were perfect. When I saw the torn down house, with that minty-colored paint, I heard angels sing.

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To be clear, we don’t go tearing people’s barns and houses down. These are structures that are vacant, aren’t used, or have already been or are about to be torn down. Knocking down those empty, decades-old barns is probably the only good thing Hurricane Harvey did for us. Another great example is the wood I got from my fifth-grade teacher. Harvey knocked her fence down, so she offered me the wood. 

harvey fence

 

So anyway, I have seen similar signs on Pinterest, and I thought they were either crazy expensive (which they can be) or really difficult to make (which they are not).

I will say, these require some bigger equipment, but aside from that, they are a piece of cake. Let’s do this.

Let’s start with the wood, because it is literally the backbone of your project.

If you are using untreated wood, you have to treat it. That’s where your oil, like teak oil, comes in. Make sure you brush both sides and the edges. If you don’t, the wood will crack. If you’re using something like old barn wood, you don’t have to treat it because it should already be treated. I do recommend spraying it down with that clear spray paint or decoupage to help set any paint that’s on it. It’ll help (a little) to keep it from chipping more.

Next, cut it to the length that you need for it to fit your word. If it’s wide enough, you are set; however, if you are having to put two or three boards together to make it wide enough to fit your letters and/or tin, just remember to put a board behind those cross-ways that’s the width of your boards when they’re together. That’s common sense, but I feel like I have to say it anyway as a reminder.

Screw all these pieces together or use the nail gun.

welcome sign how to removing nailswelcome sign wood backedwelcome sign backing the woodwelcome sign wood backed back view

 

Now that your backboard is made, put your tin over it, if you’re using it. Cut it to size and then screw/nail it on.

 

Lastly, add the letters! By now, you should have painted the letters whatever color you wanted and spray it with that spray paint or decoupage to protect the paint. I sometimes like to distress the letters by sanding them down in places to make them look old and worn.

Using your measuring tape, center the letters and space them out evenly. When you have them where you want them, screw/nail them down. You must secure them in all the .major places of the letter to keep the wood from curling up.

 

All that’s left to do is put it on your porch!

welcome sign complete

final fence sign harvey

 

Happy arts and crafts-ing!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

*When you put something like a nail or screw through that wood, it is going to stick out the other side. That’s not okay. You will have to cut it off. There are a variety of ways that could get that job done. I’m assuming that if you have the means to build this sign, you have the means to cut off those pointy screws. If not, a quick internet search will give you the help you need!

 

Coat Racks

How we (okay, Dad) make coat racks with railroad nails.

CANVA Coat Rack with Railroad Spikes

This ain’t no rinky-dink Etsy craft. 

This is a coat rack made with old wood and railroad nails, and one of my favorite things that we sell. It’s so unique, and so much work goes into it, particularly regarding the nails. First of all, we have to get the nails. Dad is an ace at picking them up. He goes to the railroad tracks (usually in La Ward), and just picks the loose nails up off the tracks. That right there is what makes these racks so darn special.

Trains will always be a part of m, as annoying as they are. Several times a day for years, I’d hear that whistle blow. I never thought anything of it until I moved away. Now, whenever and wherever I hear a train whistle, I feel a little pang of homesickness. I’m sure the same could be said of many other people.

 

First, we have to get the nails ready. They’re almost always rusty, and for once, the rust won’t fly. There are a couple of ways to get rid of rust. The easiest way is by soaking them in vinegar. The harder way is by grinding it off, which is what I did when my dad and I made these. I picked up the nail with some pliers and held it against the grinder till the most of the rust was off.

coat rack how to- the grinder

This is where things get hard. I don’t do this part!

We have to bend the nails. The only way to do this, obviously, is by heating them up. Lucky for us, my dad has a forge (he makes badass knives) and so many other toys that he has no problem heating up the nail and bending it. Then he plunges it in water to hasten the cooling process.

Once the nails are shaped to our liking and cool enough to work with, we paint them. The first time we made these, we used black and red spray paint.

While the paint dries, we make the boards.

We cut the boards to be 28 inches long. It sounds specific, but there’s a reason. In pretty much any house, the boards in the walls (the frame of the house) are 16 inches apart. That’s where you have to put on the back teeth or hooks that hang the rack on the wall, since you can’t just put it in the sheetrock, especially something this heavy. That said, you want to center the front of the rack relative to those measurements, so you figure one nail in the center, then on either side of that one, you place a nail about 8 inches from that center one.  That leaves 6 inches on either side of those two nails to the edges.

It’s important to keep this in mind when making anything heavy like this. Like I said, if you want to hang it on the wall, make sure you put the hangers on the back of it 16 inches apart, like this:

Also, if the wood is untreated, make sure you treat it by brushing it with oil on all sides, including edges. It protects the wood and covering it on all sides prevents cracking. If it’s treated wood, like this barn wood we went and got from a torn down barn out at my uncle’s, you don’t need to treat it, but spraying it down with clear spray paint or decoupage will help set any chipping paint.

 

Moving on from our carpentry lesson.

 

The boards are prepared, and the paint is dry. Now it’s time to assemble. Once again, I don’t really do this part!

If you know how to drill, you’ll know what to do, but I’ll go over it anyway. First, drill a hole into the nail first with the power drill. Then, once everything is measured out, screw it in.

Teachable moment: when nailing or screwing anything in, be sure to cut the ends off in the back. It’s dangerous to leave them poking out.

 

That’s it! From big ass rusty nails to a beautiful rustic coat racks with materials you can’t find anywhere else.

 

As always, thank y’all for reading and learning, and may God bless y’all!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

Basic Knit (Garter) Stitch

How to knit- it’s how I make mug cozies!

CANVA How to Knit

I love mug cozies. I love mugs, I love the beverages that go in mugs, and I love being cozy.

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For those of you that don’t know, a mug cozy is kind of like a coozie for your beer, but for your mug.

add to cozies

There’s so much to love about a cozy. First of all, they are, in fact, cozy. I use them more during the fall and winter. It’s like your coffee gets a sweater, too. Secondly, they are so expressive. I think they are great for holidays. I’ve had a Thanksgiving one for years, and it always gets me in the spirit of the season. Third, it’s cheaper than buying a new mug for every holiday! I sell mine for $5 a piece.

To come up with my designs, I just kind of broke down, well, Texas. Its colors, its personality, its culture and compared that to my supplies, and before I knew it, I was busting out cozies left and right. I have a Christmas one, of course. It has a snowflake on it, which isn’t very Texan, but hey, it’s Christmas. In my defense, too, it did snow in southeast Texas back in 2004 on Christmas Eve. It was a miracle. Pure magic. I was really young, but I still remember how mucky the snow was, yet how beautiful and white. I remember our puppy having to jump because she was too short to see over the snow on the ground. I remember my little sister had to wear oven mitts for gloves because she didn’t have nay; it never really got cold enough. The color of the Christmas cozy might not make sense at first, but I think it’s perfect- sugar cookie dough.

I have one that is purple with vintage buttons. The buttons came from a jar that my parents just found in the house they bought when around when they had me. The purple reminded me of late fall, when the first real cold fronts come in. I mean cold. Those are the times you start a fire and hang out with loved ones, telling stories, hence the old buttons from the past.

Sticking with the seasons, I have one that remind me more of spring that I named “on the porch.” It’s white with colorful buttons. To me, it reminds me of spring, when it’s just the right temperature outside that you can comfortably sit on your porch and drink your coffee in the morning. The grass is wet from the due, the sun’s bright rays are just peaking from beyond the horizon, and the wildflowers, like the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, decorate the ground.

The fifth one is called “southern charm.” I made it on a whim, to be honest. It all worked out though in the end! That peach-y-ish color reminded me of peaches (duh), and peaches remind me of the Hill Country. If you’ve never had a Fredericksburg peach, you’re not living right. The sparkles on there gave it that little bit of sass, much like a Southern woman.

 

I’m not going to give away my pattern (though any knitter could figure it out). Instead, let’s learn to knit shall we? Soon, the possibilities of things you can make will be endless.

add to cozies as well

 

HOW TO KNIT:

While I’m going to proceed teach you how to knit, I recommend using YouTube or Linda.com to learn as well. I always do better when I can see what I’m learning. Still, I’m going to give you a quick little step-by-step knitting tutorial.

 

First thing’s first…it is tricky when you’re first starting, but don’t get discouraged, please! By all means, pitch a hissy fit, scream, break your needles, throw them, whatever. Lord knows I do. If you do get frustrated, please come back, if it’s something you really want to learn!

 

Here we go.

 

First, this is knitting, so we use needle, not hooks. We aren’t hookers, damn it.

 

Get your yarn, and find the end.

Tie a knot like this:

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Now get your needles, one in each hand. Put that knot on the left needle.

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Okay, now we are going to cast on.

 

  1. Take the right needle. Poke it through the bottom of and behind that knot you put on the left needle. Your needles should look like an “X” with a knot holding them together.

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  1. Holding that with your left hand, take hold of the yarn that’s attached to the skein with your right hand.
  2. Wrap it counter clockwise around the back (right) needle only.

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  1. Now, move the right needle towards you (towards that yarn you just wrapped around it) and catch it with that needle.

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  1. Pull it through the knot on the left needle. You should now have a loop of yarn on each needle with some twisty action going on in the middle.

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  1. Now, take the left needle, and poke it under the loop on the right needle. Make sure you catch it!

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  1. Lastly, slip it over the end of that right needle. You should now have two loops, or stitches, on the left needle.

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Repeat stitches 1-7 to cast on as many stitches as you need for your project.

 

Now, let’s learn a basic knit (also known as garter) stitch. This is a lot more painless than casting on!

Basically, all you do is steps 1-5 of the above casting-on tutorial:

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Lastly, let’s cast-off. It’s very simple.

First, knit two (only two) stitches.

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Now you poke the left needle down through the bottom of the two stitches.

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Slip that stitch up and over that second stitch above it. Make sure it stays on the needle.

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That stitch you just pulled over? Let it go. Just drop it, tighten up, and knit another stitch so that you are back to having two stitches on the needle. Keep repeating this process till you have one stitch left on the single right needle.

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Snip the yarn, detaching your work from the skein.

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Slip that last stitch off the needle, without losing the loop, and pull the tail you just cut off through that loop. Pull it tight.

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All that’s left is weaving in ends, which I’m not good at, so look for another tutorial. 🙂

 

Congrats! You are now a knitter. Welcome.

Now that we all know what we’re doing, let’s get cozy! Make your own cozy, socks, scarves, whatever!

Stay crafty, my friends! Blessings!

 

~Hannah ❤

Printing on Fabric

How I print on fabric to make tea towels.

CANVA How to

One of the things I sell are decorative tea towels. They are just a muslin or duck fabric that I cut up, sew up, and decorate with my own designs. Tea towels are kind of a big deal, especially, I’ve found, in small-town gift shops. They all have cute, funny, or profound sayings on them in gorgeous fonts, and I have even been tempted to buy some myself, honestly. I love little things like that, but I found that there wasn’t enough variety or specialty among them. For instance, the quotes on them are just basic Pinterest quotes that you find written anywhere or the designs were pretty plain. I’m not knocking them at all (like I said, I still might buy some one day). I am saying that I knew I could bring a little something different to the table. Here are some of my designs:

 

Christmas

This Christmas-themed one comes with a couple of variations, but two things that stays the same on all of them are their patchwork-like design and the recipe. The patchwork-like designs are on all of my towels. They almost look like a scrapbook page. I like playing with colors, designs, and layers. The recipe on this towel is for “Rum Balls.” When it comes to Christmas, we go hard. Like I should have been born at the North Pole. Anyway, this is one of my favorite recipes. Sure, we make sugar cookies and gingerbread men, but we also have our own family recipes: peppermint bark (I guess that’s pretty common), cinnamon glass candy, Christmas candy, cranberry bars, trash, and rum balls.

When I see this towel, I think of baking with Mom, my sister, and Mimi in the kitchen, Michael Buble CD on, in our shorts of course, because what is winter? I feel all warm inside thinking about those memories, and I hope that others think of their own Christmas memories, much like I do. If you have anything special about your Christmases, please comment!

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Camper

As you can tell, this one is rather on the simple side. The quote is nothing special (confession- it’s from Pinterest). It wasn’t going to be a Pinterest quote. In fact, I wanted to use song lyrics from Airstream Song by Miranda Lambert, but the copyright print license was $300. No thanks. The backstory on this one is also quite personal. See, I temporarily am living in a camper, and it has been a huge part of my life! It has taught me to live simply and to be less materialistic. This towel also reflects how much I love to… just go. I love to adventure and travel. I love trying new things and beginning new projects. I love to take the next step. I hope when others see this towel, they feel that sense of freedom and simplicity. I also hope they buy it.

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Some other designs not shown (because I can’t give it all away):

Texas

This design is definitely unique, starting with the quote from Lonesome Dove. I made these without thinking of any copyright matters (oops), but I tried so many times to reach out to De Passe Productions, and… nothing. Despite my uh-oh and wasted effort, I still wanted to share this design anyway because it’s one of my best designs and is close to my heart. The nature of the design itself is just so homey. I grew up around this kind of stuff. My grandpa is a rancher, so of course, I grew up around cows and horses. I raised turkeys all throughout my ten-year 4-H career. My parents have goats. I used to want to be a bull rider. I would spend hours at night as a kiddo roping a dummy by the fire. The denim (which came from my boyfriend’s jeans that he tore while stacking hay) and bullet (also the bf’s), all represent my upbringing and the great state of Texas.

 

Spring

This towel is for my spring-lovers out there. It comes in a variety of colors as well, but the one thing that stays the same is the recipe used on the front. It’s my Great-Great-(Great?)-Aunt Albina’s pickle recipe in her handwriting. As any gardener knows, when you plant something (and it’s successful), you won’t be able to eat all the produce yourself. So what do you do with the surplus? You preserve it. That could be canning whole, putting up sauces or jellies, baking (i.e. zucchini bread) and freezing it, freezing things whole, or pickling. I remember this one day my mom, Mimi, and I were pickling a ton of cucumbers one day, and I swear I smelled like vinegar for a week. I want people to see this and flashback to the days of vinegar, tons of dishes, and popping jar lids.

 

Summer

This was the most difficult one to do, for some reason. The fabric was wonky. Anyway, it is very Texas-y, literally. The seashells that I used on the towels (also in an array of layouts) came from Port Aransas. That’s my favorite beach, and it was only an hour and a half to two hours away. I’m pretty sure they’re from Port A. The only other beaches I go to are Matagorda, Magnolia, and Rockport, and they certainly aren’t from Matagorda or Magnolia (both of which I do love!). So these towels, like the Texas towels, also have a part of Texas on them, making them even more special. I bet Bed, Bath, and Beyond can’t say that.

 

How I Make Them

 

This is one of the most magical things I have learned how to do. The possibilities are seriously endless. I present, printing on fabric at home, a skill I’m perfectly happy to share!

 

You’ll need…

-freezer paper

-iron

-fabric (something like muslin)

-printer (check your ink!)

 

I use this technique to make decorative tea towels for my business. I use recipes, quotes, phrases, etc. to add a personal, unique touch to something so basic, like this:

 

You aren’t here to shop, you’re here to learn, so let’s get to it.

First, cut your fabric to the size of a piece of paper, which is 8.5”x11”.

 

Next, take a piece of freezer paper the same size as or slightly bigger than your fabric. Iron the wax paper, waxy side down onto the fabric. The freezer paper just makes the fabric sturdy, so it doesn’t get all jumbled up in your printer.

 

Trim it up and boom. You’ve got a piece of fabric-paper.

 

Put your fabric in your printer so that when it prints, the ink comes out on the fabric, obviously.

 

Now all you have to do it print whatever it is you want onto your fabric, and you’re set!

 

I recommend taking another piece of freezer paper and ironing the waxy side down onto the ink, so that the waxy stuff will transfer onto the ink and set it. Also, it probably goes without saying, peel the paper off the fabric!

 

I will say, though… wash at your own risk. The things I make with this couldn’t be thrown in the washer, regardless of the inked fabric, just because they have other embellishments on them that prevent that trip to the washer, so I am not too sure about what would happen if you did. You probably could wash it on cold, “hand wash”/ “delicates,” but please be careful! Whatever happens, this is not my fault because I warned you!

 

Best of luck to y’all! May you always be inspired and craft. God bless!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

P.S. If you are seriously super serious about getting something serious printed on fabric, but don’t trust yourself doing this, don’t trust your printer, or know for a fact it needs to be thrown in the washer, there is an answer!

Spoonflower is an online custom fabric design shop for buyers and sellers alike. You can go online to their website (https://www.spoonflower.com/) and get your creation printed on a variety of fabrics!