Look what I just made!

I was inspired to make this wreath by a do-it-yourself project that I ran across on pinterest (original link here) and pinned it in my “DIY: wannado’s” board a month or so ago.   I immediately knew that I was going to try to make one – not just because I loved the way it looked, but because I have been hoarding corks for 10-15 years (much to monte’s bemusement) just waiting for a project I could use them in.   The hot-pad-trivet-made-out-of-corks projects I usually run across just didn’t do it for me.

I love wreaths, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, I knew I’d better get started if I wanted to finish it before the holidays.  I love how it turned out.   Here’s how I did it.

What you’ll need: straw wreath body, straight pins, glue and lots of corks.

I bought an 18″ diameter straw wreath body (from Michael’s) a box of 1 1/4″ dressmaker pins (longer is better) and some craft glue (from Joanne’s).   Then I dug out and dusted off several bags/boxes labeled “corks” from the garage and started sorting.   I didn’t keep track of exactly how many I used, but I’m pretty sure it’s on the order of about 400-500 corks.  I can’t help but do a little math here…. if i estimate that on average I spent $12 a bottle… that means this wreath cost in the neighborhood of about $5000.   (heheheh… sigh)   Anyway, as I was sorting,  I tossed corks that weren’t 100% solid cork.  Many were made up of lots of little pieces of cork molded in the shape of a cork.   I also wanted to mix up the red wine (stained) & white wine corks and mix in a champagne cork every now and then.   So I picked out bunches of them as I went along.

Sort your corks.

Stick a pin into each cork – get a good bite but leave as much of the pin hanging out as you can.

Stick a pin in the end of each cork.

Then put a line of glue on the pin.

Apply glue to the pin to help it bond with the straw wreath form.

Then stick the cork into position by pushing the head end of the pin into the straw wreath form.  I inserted them all at an angle, where one row laid on top of the last one.  Sometimes the pins went into a gap between the straw and didn’t stick well.   So try to make sure you poke the pin through some of the straw when you push them in.   Between the pins and the glue, the corks were surprisingly stable in the wreath when finished.

Push the head end of the pin into the wreath form at an angle.

I must admit that it was a little daunting getting started, but after the first row or two, it really was easy and went a lot quicker than I expected.  Here is a close up of how the layering turned out.  Some of the corks had years printed on the end or a unique logo, which added a nice touch to the detail.

Mix ’em up.

I hastily added the ribbon as an afterthought, to dress it up for the holidays.   I know the ribbon looks a bit hokey, but I wanted to hang it up on the door to take a picture, so I was in a hurry.   But you get the idea.  After Christmas I’ll remove the ribbon and hang it on a wall in the house dining room or kitchen.

Start saving those corks!

Because they served, we are free.

One who served.

Today the US celebrates Veteran’s Day.  My flag is flying out front.  And my mind is especially on the veterans in my family.  My father, my father-in-law, 2 of my uncles, a brother-in-law, my cousin and his son – who just enlisted in the Air Force.  It’s an amazing thing, to give part, or all, of your life in service of your country.  It wasn’t even yet my dad’s country when he enlisted shortly after immigrating to the States from Ireland.

To all US Veterans and their families:  I thank you.

Made it to the cove by sunset.

Our cove.

We raced the beer can today.  This time Mark joined us on Nirvana.   Wally & Joe sailed on Soul Healer, so we had another 320 to match up against.  Lori & Doray sailed on Camelot, and Kurt & Kevin on Dancer.   The winds were strong out of the south, which made for a fun sail.  We didn’t come in last!  Though, we very well could have if it weren’t for Camelot accidentally dropping the main on the last leg (argh!)

Afterwards, we dropped Mark off on E-dock and headed right back out to anchor up in Arky south for the night.   We made it in time to admire another sunset in our favorite cove.  Lovely.

Wally joined us after dinner on Zen, tying up to us for the night, and we chuckled our way through the evening.

I ♥ this knot.

Celtic heart knotwork.

I ran across a DIY post online showing how to tie a Celtic heart knot.  So, I tried it and made this little chachki.  It needs some work to emphasize the heart shape, but I like it!

If you want to see how to make one, this YouTube video shows you how and is easy to follow.

Pretty dangles.

My first attempt at making earrings.

The other day when my sister and I spent an afternoon running around and playing in downtown Austin, I mentioned that we stopped into a bead shop (Bead It on South Lamar).  Over the years, I have assembled a nice set of jewelry-making tools that I use to repair miscellaneous of my favorite purchased pieces that have broken.  I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc, but have never taken that step.

So, when I came home last week with several baggies of beads and earring posts & hangers, I was excited to make a few pairs.   These are my very first pieces.   Not bad, i think.   Hmmmm, could there be an etsy storefront in my future?    🙂

P.s.  I’m wearing the purple/amethyst ones as I’m posting this…

Taking the day off.

Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail.

My sister leaves tomorrow, so I took the afternoon off to play hooky with her.  We started off buying beads at a bead shop to get supplies for making jewelry thingies.  No pics of that – a project for another day.  Then we headed to Zilker Park for a hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail.  It was really lovely out.   High 70’s and sunny.  Perfect for a hike.  The creek is mostly dry.  We did see lots of flowers, butterflies and dragonflies.

The orange butterfly in the shot below stopped to let me take several shots.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae).

Later on down the trail this swallowtail stopped to let me do the same thing.

Eastern tiger swallowtail (papilio glaucus?).

I found a pretty good butterfly guide website to try to identify them.  You might want to bookmark for future reference.

After the hike we stopped by Barton Springs Pool.  Such a pretty place.  The pool was beautifully clear.

Barton Springs.

Then we ran over to Sno-Beach for a must-have best-snocone-ever experience.  You’d better hurry, they close at the end of October for the winter.  Go out and get one!


Then.  Back to Zilker to rent a kayak and tootle around Town Lake (ok, sorry “Lady Bird Lake.” old habits die hard).  We paddled all the way to the South 1st Street bridge.  On our paddle back we passed 3 UT Women’s Crew boats training.

UT Women’s 8.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place this weekend.  It’s a 3 day music extravaganza hosted in Zilker Park.  Everything is setup and just about ready for the throngs of festival-goers.  I took the opportunity to take a quick shot of the festival entrance, so I wouldn’t have to come down here with 75,000 of my closest friends to get the shot this weekend.


What a great Austin afternoon!

Summer’s gone.

Last moon of Summer 2012.

This is the last day of Summer 2012.  I had a good Summer, I hope you did, too.  My advice to you:

Summer’s Almost Gone
Summer’s almost gone (x 2)
Almost gone
Yeah, it’s almost gone
Where will we be
When the summer’s gone?

Morning found us calmly unaware
Noon burned gold into our hair
At night, we swam the Laughing sea
When summer’s gone
Where will we be (x 3)

Morning found us calmly unaware
Noon burned gold into our hair
At night, we swam the Laughing sea
When summer’s gone
Where will we be

Summer’s almost gone (x 2)
We had some good times
But they’re gone
The winter’s comin’ on
Summer’s almost gone

Our lone rain lily bloomed!

Mother Earth’s “thank-you” for a several days of rain.

Better late than never, i always say.  We only had one rain lily pop up in our yard, and it bloomed a day after all the others in the neighborhood.  Another fringe benefit, though dainty and fleeting, of the recent rains.

I played around a bit with black and white to show off the bloom, but I left a spash of color in the middle.

…AND, Happy Birthday Mom!!!   This pic is for you

An acorn haiku – just because.

The acorns are back.
Weighing down each red oak branch.
The squirrels rejoice.

Acorn in sepia.

Last year was a lean one for the furry critters that live off the acorns in our neighborhood.  The red oak was just too stressed.  This year the tree is absolutely loaded with them.   I just wish the pecan tree out back would cooperate.

Chock full-o-nuts.

Eleven years on.

Never forget.

I’ve had an eerie experience this morning.  Monte went to the marina last night for some repairs to the jib, and spent the night on the boat.  So I’m up drinking coffee and watching the morning news by myself.  The very same kind of morning I was having 11 years ago today — when I watched a plane fly into the World Trade Center.

At about a quarter to 8AM, central time, it all started.   I recall the evolving emotions I felt …disbelief, anger, uncertainty and confusion throughout the rest of the day as events unfolded.  I went to work that day, but everyone was glued to their web browser or TV monitors.  And then came the prolonged feeling of what can only be described as grief, as I watched the aftermath of the attack play out on television over the following days and weeks.  I did not experience personal loss of family or friends in the attack, but I believe all Americans were mourning the loss, together, of an attack directed at all of us.

Since then, life has moved on for me, bringing both joy and loss.  But in reflecting on that day 11 years ago, it’s startling to realize how quickly the time has flown by.   And, it’s embarrassing to note that I let too many of my days be filled with meaningless concerns and busy work.

So, on this day I pause to remember those that lost their lives, those that sacrificed their lives for others, the family and friends that experienced inconsolable loss, the feeling of national unity that today seems unattainable, and the responsibility we all must bear to live each day of our lives to the fullest.

Last beautiful August sunset.

View from the bow.

On this last day of August, the Friday before a long Labor Day weekend, we packed up and headed to the boat after work.  We’re staying the night tonight in the slip, and plan to raft up tomorrow night.

This was the lovely sunset that we were treated to.   The shot above is from the bow of Nirvana, in our slip.  The shot below is of the light from the setting sun lighting up the clouds from the stern.  You know what they say… “Red skies at night, sailors’ delight….”

True that.

View from the stern.

He built that.

The “after” picture.

“Retired” is a state of mind.  Monte has been working every day out in the shop making sawdust and pretty furniture.  This is his latest project, one of a pair of LP cabinets.  Made out of beautiful walnut with a gorgeous custom finish.  He designed and built them.  Quite the craftsman!

The drawers have heavy duty full bottom-mounted slides. And he designed an angled, adjustable back-stop for each drawer.

Fancy dancy drawers.

Below is the “before” picture 🙂

The “before” picture.

I wonder what’s next?!

%d bloggers like this: