Swedish Tomte

I am in the process of moving some things over to this blog from a very old blog of mine. These are photos of some of my past work. Their hair and beards are all made of Llama fleece. 

 Fishing Tomte, approx. 5" tall. (SOLD) 

Fishing Tomte, approx. 5" tall. (SOLD) 

 Tomte with bundle of wood (SOLD)

Tomte with bundle of wood (SOLD)

 Swedish girl cooking on fire (SOLD)

Swedish girl cooking on fire (SOLD)

 Swedish tomte girl with basket of traditional Swedish breads (Cardamon braid and Limpa)  (SOLD)

Swedish tomte girl with basket of traditional Swedish breads (Cardamon braid and Limpa)  (SOLD)

 Swedish girl with mixing bowl (SOLD)

Swedish girl with mixing bowl (SOLD)

 Candle Dipping Swedish Girl (SOLD

Candle Dipping Swedish Girl (SOLD

 Tomte with ax (SOLD)

Tomte with ax (SOLD)

 Here is a photo of two I recently did for a special order. They were ordered by a male nurse to add to his collection.  (SOLD)

Here is a photo of two I recently did for a special order. They were ordered by a male nurse to add to his collection.  (SOLD)

 Swedish Girl with Broom, approx. 5" tall (SOLD)

Swedish Girl with Broom, approx. 5" tall (SOLD)

Make Your Own Carpet Stair Treads

DIY carpet stair treads 2

A few years ago we purchased a fixer upper (and that's putting it nicely). It actually was completely not habitable. Although most of it is finished, there are still a couple projects I've been wanting to get around to. One of them was to put a runner carpet down the front stairs. I priced the runner carpets and at minimum it was going to run us a few hundred dollars. If we wanted anything other than the basic run of the mill variety it was going to cost even more money. 

Not being willing to spend that much, I put my thinking cap on. My daughter and I took a trip to our local salvage store, Mardens. They have upholstery fabric for unbelievable prices. I figured there has got to be a way to use that to make my own DIY stair carpet treads. So in taking a walk around the store, I found these:

DIY Carpet Stair Treads

These little rugs were selling for $1.00 each. I measured them and they were the perfect length, but they were too wide. Each little rug cut in half the long way however would give me two perfect sized pieces to make my own Carpet Tread Rugs.  I then headed to the fabric department to see if they had a fabric I would like. I found this lovely fabric for $4.99 per yard. I needed three yards. I think I actually could have done with two and a half but felt safer going with three.

We then had to figure out a way to adhere the upholstery fabric to the rubber backed carpet pieces. In looking around the store my daughter and I found two things, glue and tape...crazy strong tape. I don't know what the tape is used for but the stickiness of it makes duct tape seem like a wimp. Sorry duct tape, I still love you and was going to use you if I had not come across your bigger, stronger, super hero cousin. I know someone will ask but I have no idea what this tape is.  Mardens is a salvage store, this role had no packaging and looked just like this when we bought it. But it was huge and the price was right at $3.49. 

Make Your Own Carpet Stair Treads

We purchased two bottles of this glue which said it worked on fabric at $5.99 per bottle, it was not enough glue. We ended up running to the hardware store which of course did not carry it, so we purchased a bottle of Weldbond which also said it worked on fabric. It also was $5.99 per bottle. 

DIY Stair Carpet Tread Pads

First we cut all the carpet pieces we had in half. We then cut fabric pieces for each piece of rubber backed carpet. You'll need to cut your fabric just a bit larger than your carpet piece on each side. I didn't measure but I'd say it was about an inch or so on each side. If you decide to use this technique to make your own, you may need to center the fabric, it will depend on the overall print you choose. If possible, I would suggest choosing a fabric where centering the design will not matter. It will just be easier all around and will probably save you money as you won't have to figure on getting the repeat in the pattern right when you measure for fabric. I chose to center my fabric left to right but not front to back.

We spread glue all over the top (the carpeted side) of the carpet pieces

We spread out the glue.

We then flipped the carpet over so the glue side was down on the backside of the fabric. Then we cut a piece of tape the length of the long side of the carpet square. Unrolling the tape proved to be the most challenging aspect of this entire project. The tape was so sticky it took tons of strength just to unroll it. 

We then gently lifted up the fabric and placed it down on the tape so the tape was just about but not quite up to the edge of the carpet piece. After we pressed on the fabric a bit to make sure it was sticking to the tape (like there was any doubt of that!), we folded it over the back side of the carpet square and pressed down to stick it. (I hope that makes sense...see the picture)

We did the same on each side. Oh, I almost forgot, we did run a bead of glue down the edge of each side right before folding the fabric and tape over the back. 

Stairway Makeover

That's basically it. For each step repeat the same process. To attach these to the stair treads we used Scotch indoor carpet tape. We ran it down each short end, in the center and along the front edge. 

This is what the set looks like on the stairs.

Stairway Makeover 2
Make Your own Carpet Stair Treads 3

There are still a few details to take care of in the front hall but it's come a long way from what it looked like the day we bought it which was this

  1. So here are my suggestions if you should decide to make your own carpet stair treads. 
  2. Make sure the fabric you choose to use is a sturdy, heavy duty fabric such as an upholstery fabric. It also should be think enough that the glue won't ooze through because that would make a hard stiff top on your DIY carpet stair treads, and that would feel awful if you were barefoot. 
  3. Use a sticky tape like duct tape
  4. Use plenty of glue. 

Over all this project took my daughter and I two and a half hours. Here is a break down of what we spent. 

  • Fabric $14.97
  • Glue $17.97
  • Carpet pieces $7.00
  • Tape $3.49
  • Carpet Tape $3.50
  • Total:  $46.93    I think we may have been able to do this for a bit less if we had shopped around for a larger bottle or different glue. But overall I'm happy to not have spent a few hundred. Another thing which I considered using and you may want to try is, to use burlap to cover the carpet pieces and then use some geometric shape and acrylic paints to put maybe stars or stripes or some other design on the pieces.

Let me know if you try this project. I'd love to see pictures.

Blessings,

Shelley

UPDATE:  

I have had soooo many questions asked about these carpeted stairtreads so I thought I would add an update. Just over a year after I made these, we sold the house. So, unfortunately I can't tell you much beyond 1 years wear. However, I can tell you how they held up through that year with a family of 6 and 3 large dogs. They held up AMAZINGLY well! I did not think to take a photograph of them before we moved. However, I do have the realtor photo. Unfortunately it isn't the clearest photo for zooming in. But I can tell you they looked good enough that I didn't feel a need to do anything with them except vacuum in order to show and sell the house, I think they made the front hall look very pretty. The realtor photo is below. To answer some of the specific questions I have been asked:

  1. No I did not use scotchguard. I used an upholstery grade fabric to make them and it may or may not have had it already...I don't know. 
  2. No, the fabric did not pull up when I vacuumed, they just stayed put. Others who make these may have a different experience than I did however as I can think of a couple things which may or may not change the outcome (type of fabric used, how well it is glued down, type of glue used, type of rug being covered).
  3. No my vacuum did not pull up the threads. Again, I can imagine some people having a different experience based on the chosen fabric. If you decide to make these, make sure your fabric is not made up of many "threads" being sewn down onto another piece of fabric. Many chenile type fabrics are made this way, they appear durable but they are not. 
  4. They stayed in place perfectly!  That carpet tape stuff is pretty great stuff. In the year we used them, I didn't have to redo the tape on any of them. 
  5. Yes, I would make them again and may possibly do so in my new home. 
Make your own carpeted stair treads

DIY Valentine Cards

diy valentine cards

Valentine's Day will be here before you know it. I'm sure you've seen the aisles at the stores filling up with all the pretty red and pink Valentine's Day decor and goodies for the kiddos to give to their friends. Let me start by saying, I know those little valentines which are sold in all the stores are very inexpensive. Some of you may be thinking you can't be bothered making something when you can get those for about a buck. However, if you are looking for something a bit more creative this year, and with a touch of recycling thrown in, this may be just what you are looking for.

diy valentines

I use old greeting cards regularly for various creative purposes and always end up with a stack leftover, you know the ones with the big cute critter or creature on the front. They are adorable but limited as far as creative purposes go. 

If you do not have little children at home, you may not have many of these cards coming into your house. But if word gets out that you are seeking old greeting cards for creating, you will get plenty passed on to you. You'll want to make sure no one wrote inside the front of the card because that's where your kiddos are going to sign their names. 

In addition to cards like these you will also need,

  • this printed PDF of hearts (also available on our freebies page)
  • colored paper if you want to make your own hearts
  • glue
  • lollipops
  • scissor (including a pair with a fine tip if you want to cut little areas out) 
  • a hand held hole punch if you have one. 

The first step is to cut out the part of the image which you want to use. Like this:

 

Then using an exacto knife or very sharp scissors like fingernail scissors, cut out the part of the image you want to put the heart under. Like this:

Then glue in place any hearts or other pieces you want to add. You could include little bows, glitter, gems, etc. 

diy valentines day

Carefully cut little slits in the image with your sharp scissors, then slide the lollipop in. If your hand held hole punch will reach to the location where you want the lollipop holes then you can use it for making them. You may have to put a piece of tape over the lollipop stick on the back to keep it from sliding out.

That's it, sign the back and have the kids hand them out. Easy, repurposed, DIY valentine cards for the kiddos. 

 

 

 

homemade valentine cards

I didn't like how this guys foot was cut off at the edge of the card so I just put the heart over it. 

Birthday Party Fun

Today we celebrated my daughters birthday. She wanted to have some friends over for tea and to have fun and play some games.

We made a tea cup shaped cake for her. I started by baking a chocolate cake (it was actually a recipe and a half) in a pie plate and in a stainless steel bowl which were well greased and floured. This is what it looked like just as I was beginning to frost the two pieces.

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If you've never done a shaped cake before, it's very simple, it's more about the illusion than for the cake to look exactly like the item.  I know my cake has a hollow in the center in the top where the cake settled a bit, but we have a plan for that.

You'll need to put on at least two coats of frosting. The first coat is a crumb coat and seals in any crumbs so don't worry if it doesn't look great after the first coat. After you put on the second coat, you need to let the cake sit awhile so the frosting firms up so you can smooth it out. Here's the cake after the first coat of frosting. (If you usually use canned frosting, I do not know if that will firm up like it should to smooth it out. I use homemade frosting for this.)

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After you get the second coat on, take a piece of wax paper gently rub the frosting with your finger through the wax paper to smooth the frosting. If the frosting sticks to the wax paper, you have not let the cake sit long enough. Smooth the frosting out to as smooth a texture as you desire. 

For my frosting, I use paste food colorings, they give great color and last forever. It is very convenient to store them in an egg carton. 

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Here's the finished cake.  My daughter had asked me if we could make it look like it had hot chocolate in it so I figured the marshmallows was a perfect solution to the hollow in the center. I made the handle out of card stock. It actually could have used another coat of frosting to cover some areas a bit more but I figured the flowers would hide or at least distract from that.

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Then it was time for some dress up fun.  My girls had hauled down a mountain of their dress up stuff. The girls had a blast, they were all so cute. 

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dress up 3.jpg

Then it was time for some games.   Now what you are about to see is quite possibly the most ridiculous game known to man and there is not anyone who plays it who can escape looking stupid...so just get over it and have fun.

This is a game my mother use to have us play at my birthday parties when I was a child, and we loved it. I have used this game with both children and adults and I have used at a townwide harvest event and it was well received. So if you are looking for something new and silly, give this a try. First, you tie some curling ribbon or twine around the victims, I mean the participants, waist. Then you tie a piece hanging down in the back kind of like a tail. At the end of the piece of twine, tie on a carrot. Have each player squat over a jar, I used wide mouth canning jars but smaller mouth jars are more challenging. Each player must squat down and try to be the first to get their carrot in the jar....pure silliness, guaranteed laughs. If you want to add more challenge to this: give the carrot a good swing just as you say "go". The higher up you tie the carrot, the more challenging, but don't tie it up so high that they can't see it if they look through their legs or twist to the side. Like I said, you can't escape looking silly playing this game. 

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Then a game outside...the kids played an apple relay race where they had to carry an apple under their chins and when they passed the apple, they could not use their hands.   

relay.jpg
passing the apple.jpg

My daughter and her friends had a wonderful time on this perfect fall day. Thank you Lord for good friends and good times.   

Free: 31 Days of Journaling Through Scripture

Are you looking for faith based journaling prompts? .

We have a new downloadable PDF available for free called: "31 Days of Journaling Through Scripture".  This download is perfect if you need something to help keep your journaling focused on the Word of God. Each day you will be given one key word and an accompanying scripture. In addition you will be given instructions on what to write about. Each day you will be guided in your journaling with prompts which will

  • build your faith
  • fill you with praise for the Lord
  • challenge you to confess things to the Lord
  • and more.

As an example this is day #7 journal prompt from the download:

 "Caring: Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Today make a list and write about all the people who come to mind for whom you could do a caring act. But remember, a list is no good without action following the creation of the list."

If you want to spend 1 month journaling through scripture,  "31 Days of Journaling Through Scripture" is just the thing, download and enjoy.

Also: As this is our original content, please feel free to post information regarding this on your own blog or website, however, please link back here for the download. Thanks so much.

Plum Bars...oh my deliciousness!

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My kids made these today and oh my are they good. We took a recipe and tweaked it to use ingredients we had on hand, they came out awesome. We used plum jelly because it's what we had but they would be equally as delicious with raspberry jam or whatever jam you have on hand. 1 1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups ground almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup of your favorite preserves

Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Beat in egg. In separate bowl mix flour, ground almonds and cinnamon. Gradually beat dry into creamed mixture.

Press approx 2/3 of mixture into bottom of greased 13 x 9" pan. Spread preserves over dough. Crumble remaining dough over preserves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes or till browned slightly on top.

Cool completely and cut into bars.