I’ve been having the best time writing Minerva’s Garden, and in the process I have been visiting several blogs. I get so inspired by what I see others creating, and now I want to join in.
I am going to start adding some home decorating projects and recipes to the usual gardening fare that you typically see at Minerva’s Garden. My interests have always been with all three of those topics, so now I’ll start writing about them all here!
I love cooking, and it’s a big reason why I grow some of the vegetables that we eat. There is just nothing like walking out to the garden, picking some fresh ingredients, and then using them to create your dinner that night.
When I was in college, I worked as a garni and kitchen helper in a small Tex-Mex restaurant for a summer. Part of my job was food prep–have you ever made guacamole using an entire case–70– of avocados? I have. Have you ever made a five-gallon container of salsa from scratch? I have. Have you ever made refried beans and mixed them using a Hobart industrial mixer? I have. I also got to make the salads, decorate the desserts, and garnish all the dishes before they went out to the customers. It was hard work, on your feet for hours at a stretch, and you had to work fast, but there was something satisfying about working together as a team in the kitchen. I would guess that those who play team sports might get a similar feeling, or who, like me, act in plays.
These days, I don’t do cooking as a team sport, but more of a solo performance or sometimes a duet with my husband. I do follow recipes, but I also very often start with a recipe and then make changes to it in order to make it, in my opinion, better, or so that I can use ingredients that are fresh, in season and what I have on hand.
I basically love being creative, and when it comes to our home, I love trying to make things myself or with my husband, with recycled, low-cost or best of all free items when we find them. When I come up with something neat, I will be happy to share it with you right here!.
Today I have a quick and inexpensive project for you–less than five minutes each to make, and I had everything on hand so it didn’t cost anything.
Beaded Napkin Rings
Here are the supplies I used–
- Glass beads–I got these from Dollar Tree. They had lots of different colors.
- Flexible wire–this is 28 gauge. There is actually a built-in wire cutter on this package–handy!
- an empty toilet tissue tube
- a smooth round-barrel pen
- a glue gun and glue sticks–not pictured
This is so easy it hardly needs directions, but here are a few helpful tips I learned along the way:
- First, heat up your glue gun.
- Next, take your wire, leave a couple of extra inches on either end, and just wrap it around the toilet tissue tube to create the round napkin ring shape.
- On one end, twist the wire around the pen to create a tighter spiral. This helps to keep the beads on until they are secured.
- String on your favorite three beads, and position them so they are facing on top of your wire holder. I found that the larger beads, 1/3 to 1/2-inch long, worked better than really small seed beads.
- Once you have three beads strung on, use a tiny bit of hot glue and put it on the wire, then push the beads into the glue. I put the glue on either end of the center bead, because then the end beads, when pushed toward the middle bead, helped to hide the glue. Just pull off any excess strings or bits of glue with your fingers. Have some paper towel handy to wipe the end of the glue gun and your fingers as you work.
- Continue to string on three beads and glue for each loop in your napkin holder
- When you get to the end, make a spiral with the wire on a pen to finish it off, and style the spirals to suit with your fingers.
- Finally, roll up your napkin, and insert it–done!
If I had it to do over again, I would use a heavier gauge wire–28 gauge is a little flimsy, but 26 or 24 would hold its shape better, especially if you want to reuse the napkin rings, yet it would still be thin enough for the beads to fit. But 28 gauge is what I had on hand, so I went with it!
I’ve been loving my blues in the house this summer, and so I decided to continue on with a blue tablescape. I started with a simple yellow tablecloth, and then stacked some favorite plates. The bottom plate and center white plates I found for $1-2 dollars apiece at Goodwill, and the top saucer is a Johnson Brothers one–I adore their blue and white pattern. It has a little bird worked throughout the design, so that inspired me to add some bird items to the scene. The French box with the little bird came from Dollar Tree, and the turquoise bird pair is heavy, made from cement, and I got it at a plant sale earlier this year for $10. It can be used indoors or out, and these birdies are spending the summer with me on my dining table.
The silver I’ve had for quite a while. My mom started me out when I was a baby with a silver service–we didn’t make it all the way through to a complete service for many, but we truly adore the pieces that we do have, and use them all the time. (That is such a Southern thing, picking out silver patterns–Mom’s originally from Mobile. She told me she selected this pattern when she was 16 years old, and she’s 83 now and still loves it–me too!) The fork and knife are from Reed and Barton, and the pattern is called French Renaissance. The spoon I picked up at an antique store for $1, and I don’t have the slightest idea what pattern it is, but I like it a lot.
Coming up tomorrow–some garden pictures!
What do you do to make yourself feel creative? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments, so stop by for a visit!
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Till next time,
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