Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cabin Fever

They say people dream of castles in the air, but when icy winter weather arrives, I find my flights of fancy retreat to the romantic coziness of a rustic cabin: a crackling fire, homespun furnishings, a beloved Labrador retriever….
In the interest of full disclosure, I have never actually stayed in a cabin nor even camped out for that matter, (discounting a blanket draped over living room chairs as a makeshift tent when I was six.) So until I can embrace my Currier and Ives moment, I’ll make do with some wintry cabin touches in the suburbs with our cats.

*Indoor S'mores* "Birchbark" Canoe*

Indoor S'mores in a Jar
I know what you’re thinking: “Not another craft in a jar!”, but this is really a fun and easy winter tabletop activity (or gift) which brings this tasty camp-side treat inside. I loaded the jar with the sugary essentials and used cinnamon stick "logs" and a small votive for the the campfire. 
I made a classic “comfort food” version using kid friendly store brand marshmallows and Hershey bars but you could easily make it into a whimsical gourmet gift substituting fine imported chocolates and homemade marshmallows for any gastronomes or foodies on your list.
  You’ll need:
1 quart clean mason jar
I used a simple mason jar, decorative vintage or “fancier” jars available at craft stores would be fun.
warning: I attempted this with snowman Peeps (for the cuteness factor)-but they do not roast well, in fact one seemed to spontaneously combust! (perhaps the food coloring).
graham crackers
small chocolate bars:
cinnamon sticks
forks or skewers
small votive
optional: white glitter for snow
ribbon or twine
gift tag/instructions
non toxic glue

  Glue cinnamon sticks onto lid to resemble logs*
     *Depending on container used, you may need to glue the removable center metal disk of the the lid to the lid rim so “logs” and “campfire” will glue firmly
 Glue votive securely on top of cinnamon sticks
glue on some faux "snow" if you like
Layer ingredients carefully in the jar
Attach a tag and forks or skewers for roasting
(if you like this one check out our"printables" page)
always place "campfire" on heatproof surface
 Please be careful: This is a novelty item and not suitable for kids without supervision!

"Birchbark" Canoe

As a grade school student, I remember learning in amazement how Native Americans were able to painstakingly hand craft sturdy watertight canoes from seemingly delicate and beautiful birch bark.
Although artisans still create exquisite canoes today, having no artisanal watercraft budget, I thought I’d attempt a diminutive model version from repurposed materials.
 As you can see no expense was spared for the supplies; I used paper towel rolls, white glue, acrylics and a sprinkle of glitter for the logs and dollar store or craft store finds for the toppers. As always I made a few extra in case a few don’t want to cooperate or to use as accents.

 I wanted to simulate the texture as well as color of the bark and that's when I stumbled on this fabulous paint technique online, using simple acrylic paints and white glue. It mimics the “crackle” finish medium available at craft stores but I feel works even better. 

1)Simply paint the object a base color and let dry. 
2)Then generously paint on white craft glue- wait approximately a minute*
3) Apply the top coat- use an old brush as painting into wet glue is messy
4) I added some brush strokes of gold and sprinkled with a bit of glitter for extra holiday magic
* This technique is really trial and error. I did a few projects and found the quicker you applied the top coat the more pronounced the crackle effect would be- for a subtler look let the glue dry slightly longer but still have it be tacky to the touch- the effect can vary depending on the surface painted and amount of glue etc.

It's a great process for creating instant antiquity but with a deep brown under white I thought it recreated birchbark nicely too. I also used it to add a rustic look to my Magic Elf doors in my Scandinavian Christmas post:

Once dry, I cut the rolls in half and trimmed into a canoe shape
an almost canoe!

 Then the fun part: Fill your canoe with holiday flair! Gather any odds and ends that are a suitable size. I used craft moss (a regular in my repertoire) small ornaments from the drug store, cinnamon sticks, mini trees, birds etc. I wanted to make each one different

 I glued any larger items in the boat first and then hot glued the ends of the canoe closed, securing with clothes pins. Let the glue cool completely. Then I topped with any finishing touches.

You can include them in tablescape....
or add a name tag or greeting
I hot glued them on a strip of moss so they would stand freely

You can also glue on ribbon or twine for hanging!

Wishing you the happiest of Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Of course Bird Lady loves the birdie one. Them chickadees are one of my favs!


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