Friday Favorites–Decorating for Halloween

We have two October birthdays in our house, so if I’m going to decorate for Halloween I try to hold off until those have passed.  My husband’s was yesterday (Happy birthday honey!), so I think it’s time.  Since my kids are grown and we don’t get trick-or-treaters I don’t often do much, but I’m feeling it this year.  I think it might be nostalgia, since my oldest is completely out of the nest.  That’s okay, because there is no shortage of good ideas out there – I had a hard time narrowing it to ten this week!

Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites - Decorating for Halloween

I noticed after I was done collecting this week’s favorites that almost all of them involve repurposing.  One of the most impressive transformations is this pink and purple Little Tikes playhouse that became a spooky haunted mansion, thanks to the talents of Saki.Girl on Halloween Forums.

Little Tikes Playhouse Makeover by Saki.Girl on Halloween Forum

Thanks to so many charities using “flocking” as a fundraiser, you can buy pink flamingos lots of places year round.  Pick up a few and make these Painted Skeleton Flamingos with Craftbits.

Painted Skeleton Flamingo by Craftbits

I think these Rock Jack-O-Lanterns from No Time for Flashcards might be my kind of pumpkin carving.

I think these Halloween Spiders from Crafts ‘N Coffee are adorable, and not even a little scary.

Halloween Spiders by Crafts 'N Coffee

These DIY Halloween Lanterns from The Australian Baby Blog would be a fun craft to make with the kids.  All the glow, without all the fire hazard.

DIY Halloween Lanterns by The Australian Baby Blog

These Coffee Filter Spiderwebs from The Artful Parent remind me a little of snowflakes – until you add the spiders.

Spider Webs from Coffee Filters by The Artful Parent

I might need to start saving up shopping bags to make this skeleton from Curious Tangles on Instructables.

Halloween Skeleton Made of Plastic Shopping Bags by Curious Tangles on Instructables

I love a craft that can transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving, like these Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins from The Summery Umbrella.

Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins by The Summery Umbrella

These Toilet Paper Roll Bats from Practically Functional are easy, just the right amount of spooky, and use something everyone has around.

Toilet Paper Roll Bats by Practically Functional

These Barbie Zombies from Crafts by Amanda are at the top of my want-to-make list.  It probably helps that we’re big Walking Dead fans.

Barbie Zombies by Crafts by Amanda

Yogurt Tub and Denim Drawstring Bag

When I was asked by Earth 911 if I had any good recycled crafts they could share for Earth Day, I didn’t think I’d have any problem digging one up.  I was surprised to find most of my projects that fit the bill were seasonal, and not appropriate for spring.  I really wanted something that was mostly repurposed, didn’t take a lot of materials and was a little unusual.    I think this bag fits.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 0

To make this, you’ll need a clean yogurt tub (about 24 oz size), a piece of denim (a leg cut off to make shorts will work) and two shoe laces.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 1

Ok, so I know that’s technically not just yogurt, but have you tried this stuff?  Yum.

Measure around the top edge of your tub.  Add 1/2” to determine the width to cut your denim.  Measure the height of the tub, multiply by 1 1/2 and add 3” to determine the height.  Mine came out to 14 1/8 by 9”.

You can leave a decorative seam if your sewing machine can handle sewing over it doubled.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 2

Fold the denim with the short sides together.  Subtracting the 1/4” seam you’ll sew in the next step, find and mark the center on both sides.  Unfold.  Measure 2 1/4” down from the top edge at the mark.  Draw a 1/4” line from 2 1/4 to 2 1/2”.  Stitch a 1/4” buttonhole at the line and carefully cut it open.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 3

Fold the denim right sides touching and short ends together.  Stitch a 1/4” seam down the side.  Press the seam open.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 4

Stitch over the edge at the top and bottom with a zigzag stitch or serger to reduce fraying.  Fold the upper edge toward the wrong side 1 1/2” and press.  Stitch 1/2” from the edge and 1/2” from the fold.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 5

Using scissors or a razor knife, cut the lip off the tub.  Slip the fabric tube over the tub, wrong side of the fabric toward the tub and the top edge of the fabric and tub even with each other.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 6

Using a long stitch and a large needle, stitch 1/4” from the edge through the plastic and denim.  Add a pleat to the denim if you need to make it fit.  If you have any doubt at all about whether your sewing machine can survive this, punch holes in the plastic with an awl and sew by hand.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 7

Pull the denim up over the tub, turning right side out.  Feed a shoelace into one of the buttonholes, all the way around through the casing, and back out through the same hole.  Repeat on the opposite side with the other shoelace.  Tie the laces together near the buttonhole and again at the ends.  Pull both sides to draw closed.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 8

I thought I was done at this point, but when I turned around the lid was laying there.  I cut a small flower from it, which I stitched on with a button on top.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 9

I keep imagining taking this to the beach with my sunglasses, bottle of water and sunscreen in it.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 10

If this wasn’t Oregon.  In April.  Maybe a snack instead?

Friday Favorites–Reusing K-Cups

I’m just going to say it.  I have a Keurig coffee maker, and it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  My husband has an erratic schedule, and I was always drinking reheated, burnt coffee.  He also doesn’t like coconut, so one of my favorite coffee flavors was out.  But with my new single-serve buddy, I can have a fresh cup of whatever flavor of coffee I want, whenever I want it.  Given my addiction to my morning cup of joe, that’s a big deal.

The only issue I have with it is the waste.  Each of those single serve coffees leaves us with a little empty cup to throw away.  I knew there had to be something that could be done with them, and thanks to some creative crafters, I have some new ideas to try out.

Make It Easy Crafts made a K-Cup Toothpick Holder with a creative popsicle stick support system around the outside.


Crafting a Green World made a variety of creatures using yogurt cups, but the shapes would suit K-cups as well.


Here’s one to hang onto for a few months:  a Recycled K-Cup Snowman Ornament, also from Make It Easy Crafts.


Earth911 made several K-cups into tiny hanging planters.


Entirely Smitten came up with several ways to reuse K-cups, including a cute pincushion.


This K-cup Sound Memory Game is also from Entirely Smitten.


PopSugar shares several practical ideas for reusing empty K-cups.


Make It Easy Crafts is back one more time with a Patriotic K-cup Flower Wreath.


ExperimentMom has a great idea for K-cupsicles.  I’m saving this one for the hot weather.


Have you come across any good K-cup crafts?

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center

I mentioned the kitchenware Reuse Design Challenge at Earth911 a a while back.  Well, I won!  My thanks to everyone who voted.  This was the challenge:

Upcycle used/old/worn out cookware (pots, pans, utensils…etc) into something completely different, but useful. We are looking for creative AND practical reuse designs, not simply decorative.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Except all I could think of were projects that were decorative. My sketch sheet is almost hilarious. Draw something, realize it’s only purpose is to look pretty, cross it out.

Luckily, my need for a good project and an actual need collided. My husband and I have started exercising regularly and trying to eat healthier. I find we eat better food if I plan it out in advance, so I wanted a menu board for my kitchen. I saw lots of kitchen command centers out there, but I have lots of windows and very little wall and they were all too big.  This little cookie sheet fits the spot perfectly.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

To make one of these handy boards, you’ll need a cookie sheet, an empty mint container, a flat-sided pen cup (or a small box), clothespins, a shopping list pad, chalkboard paint, acrylic paint, a silver Sharpie, flat magnets or a magnetic sheet, ribbon or cord to hang it, and, of course, chalk to write on it with. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

This is probably the cheapest cookie sheet known to man, but in this case that’s an advantage.  I felt like I could safely hang it on the wall without having to worry about it.  Rough your pan up with some sandpaper to help the paint stick.  I did this on the back, because that’s the side I chose to use.  Do the same with your mint tin and pencil cup, if it’s metal.  Clean everything well.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

My cookie sheet didn’t have any holes in the ends, so I used a screwdriver, a hammer and a piece of wood to add a couple.  It wasn’t difficult on this thin metal.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Spray all three pieces with two or three coats of chalkboard paint.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

After the paint has dried completely, use a pencil to draw a menu block.  Trace the pencil lines with a silver Sharpie.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Add the days of the week, if you’d like them to be permanent. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

I printed my own shopping list (which you can download here) and secured them together with a piece of cardboard on the back using padding compound.  I cut a magnetic calendar down to fit the back (don’t tell my insurance agent!) but any flat, sheet-style magnetic will work.  Glue that to the cardboard.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Paint the clothespins with the acrylic paint and glue magnets to the back.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

I also added a few details to the mint tin and pencil cup using the Sharpie and paint.  Glue magnets to the side of the pencil cup and the bottom of the mint tin.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

String the ribbon through the holes in the cookie sheet and tie for hanging.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

The day I finished this, I just made up a menu for the photos.  My son walked in while it was hanging and excitedly asked “Are we having Pad Thai for dinner?" which is his favorite.  Since I didn’t even have the ingredients into the house, that wasn’t happening, and he sadly left the kitchen.  I probably owe someone some Pad Thai.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 12

Now that I have this little thing, I don’t know what I did without it.  I always know where my shopping list and pens are, and my son could stop coming home and asking me what’s for dinner every night.  That’s if I can ever get him to trust it again.

Friday Favorites–Creative Planters

I love the way the outdoors looks this time of year.  Flowers are starting to bloom, the leaves on the trees are unfurling and it’s still raining so it all stays green and healthy.  It’s always right about now when I get an urge to plant something in a container, but that little voice in my head says “Really?  You want to add to the plant body count around here?  You know as soon as it stops raining, that thing is a goner.”  When they make a plant that will water itself and not rely on me, it might stand a chance.

Around here, we’re wearing rain boots about now, but if you have some that have been outgrown or are no longer a pair, try these cute planters from Rosy~Posy.


I love the mini tiered garden effect created by this Tackle Box Garden from More Design Please.


We’re planning to replace the gutters on our house in the next year or so.  I might have my husband save the old ones so I can make this DIY Vertical Garden with Reclaimed Gutters from Green Upgrader.


All that clear, beveled glass makes these old ceiling fixtures perfect for planters.  Design Sponge shows you how.


We’ve all seen old tires used as planters, but there’s something special about the way they’re used in this park in Peru.  They almost look like you could sit on them.  Shared by Wallace Gardens.


Just…wow.  Click through to see this Mobile Garden Dress from Foodtree on an actual human model.


We’ve pulled a few sinks out of our house, and although ours were lovely 70’s shades of avocado and light blue, they might still make great planters.  Cherry Hill Cottage set hers on top of a sewing machine stand.


These Baby’s Tears in Muffin Tins from Country Living would make great centerpieces for an outdoor event.


If it’s still a little too cold to think about planting outside where you are, try this Indoor Terrarium, made using a fishbowl, from SheKnows.


Using tea cups as planters is an idea that’s been around for a long time, but the addition of the Tea Bag Plant Markers from At Home on the Bay is genius.


Just so you know, I think my lack of gardening skills has skipped a generation.  My daughter was given a bamboo plant for her birthday over a year and a half ago and it’s still alive.  She forgot to take it back to school with her when she left after spring break, and is worried I’ll kill it in the 5 days until she’s here again.  Nothing green is safe with me.

Friday Favorites–Refashioned Clothing

On the heels of my long-sleeved shirt save this week, I thought I’d introduce you to a few other refashioned clothing projects this week.  I’m not sure where the word “refashioned” came from, or how it worked its way into our vocabulary, but I have a feeling someone just thought it sounded better than recycled.  Whatever you want to call it, turning something unwearable into a new favorite is a pretty satisfying experience.

When it comes to refashioning, you have two options:  make the item into a better version of what it is, or turn it into something entirely different.  Pillows-A-La-Mode took it up an extra notch and made a whole bunch of items from a cute sundress.



pillowsalamode after

The Renegade Seamstress must have a very full closet with her refashioning skills.  One of my favorites is this skirt made from a Hawaiian shirt.


chicevvelopements before


chicevvelopements after

I have this problem all the time.  Drama Queen Seams found that her favorite white T had tiny holes near the bottom edge.  Rather than toss it, she covered the holes with flowers.

No before, but you can probably picture a plain, white T-shirt.  After:

dramaqueenseams after 

Tara from All Glorious turned a pair of pajama pants into a skirt and infinity scarf with a nautical feel.


tarapcunningham before


tarapcunningham after

Sometimes a refashion doesn’t need to be dramatic or complicated to make a difference.  A waistband was all this shirt from Crab and Bee needed.


crabandbee before


crabandbee after

It’s hard to believe this knit, peplum, off-the-shoulder top from Private Runway started out as a skirt.


privaterunway before


privaterunway after

The Five F’s was able to keep the art from her original sweatshirt while turning it into a sassy little strapless top.



thefiveeffs after

I love the fact that Diary of a MadMama kept the original collar on her coat refashion.


diaryofamadmama before


diaryofamadmama after

Wedding Dress Blue transformed an ordinary skirt into something cute and fashionable.





Refashionista is a refashioning guru, with a ton of transformations under her stylish belt, but I especially like this little black dress.


refashionista before


refashionista after

Have you transformed any clothing from drab to fab?

Too-Short Shirt Refashion

I had two long-sleeved t-shirts in my closet that I hated because they were both too short.  I have a long torso, and like my shirts long besides, so it’s a constant problem for me.  The thing is, I kept forgetting that I hated these shirts so I’d pull one of them out, put it on, remember the problem, and decide to just wear it anyway.  I thought I’d grab them from the clean laundry and not stick them back in the closet.  As you can imagine, I’d forget (again!) and hang them right back up. 

I broke the cycle!  I have hooks on the back of my sewing room door where the future project clothes hang, and I finally managed to move them there.  Sometimes things live there for a long time, but I just kept looking at those two shirts thinking they might work if they were combined into one.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

The first decision I had to make was which shirt to keep as the main color.  I went with the green because it was in a little better condition than the blue. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

I very lazily held the shirt up to myself and estimated how much longer I’d like it to be.  I highly recommend actually trying it on for this step.  Fortunately, I guessed too long which is much easier to fix than too short. 

I cut off the amount of length I wanted to add to the green shirt from the blue shirt, plus one inch, which was 6 1/2” total.  Since the sleeves weren’t too short, I just wanted to add a little of the blue, so I cut 2” from the bottom of each sleeve.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Since the fabric didn’t unravel when I cut it, I didn’t finish any of the edges.  I marked 1” from the edge on the blue so I would know where to overlap the green to.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

I overlapped and generously pinned all the way around the bottom and both sleeves.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew them together so it would still stretch.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

You might be thinking this looks a little weird.  Well, it did.  I tried it on and it was twice as long as it should be, so I folded the blue in half and stitched again. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

I could have stopped there, but that blue t-shirt carcass was laying on my table just begging to not get thrown in the trash.  Starting from the bottom of the shirt, I cut off four 1” strips.  I then cut off the side seams, so I was left with eight strips.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

I lined up a strip about 1/8” away from the top edge of the neckline and sewed a zigzag stitch down the middle, overlapping the strip back on top of itself about 1/2” as I went.  When each strip ran out, I just started the next one where it left off.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

I was a little concerned this was going to make the neck too heavy and it would hang too low, but I tried it on and it fit just like before.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

You know I still have blue shirt pieces left, right?  At this point, I cut everything up that I had left into equal width pieces…

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

…and sewed them together by overlapping them slightly and zigzagging.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

I wrapped the remaining strip I had around one section, tied it and tucked the tail under the knot.  Infinity scarf!

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about mixing these two colors, but I’m happy with the result.  Two shirts I couldn’t stand wearing turned into one I love with a bonus infinity scarf?  Today was a win.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

Leather Cell Phone Wristlet

The Protect Your Tech Challenge is over, so now I can share my project with you.  Every time I think I’m done using the leather I cut off to refashion this coat, I find something new to do with it.  Believe it or not, I still have a little bit left, so I can’t guarantee you’ve seen the last of it.

Red Leather Jacket Projects - Crafty Staci

When I was asked to create a holder for a cell phone or tablet using recycled materials, it was important to me that as many of the materials were reused from something else as possible.  The only thing I ended up using that was brand new was the thread.  Seriously, I draw the line at trying to reuse thread…just, no.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 1 - Crafty Staci

This is what I used:

  • leather – from refashioned coat
  • hook and loop – from a duffle bag
  • D ring – from a bag
  • clip-on wrist strap – from an old point and shoot camera bag
  • lining fabric – scraps left from my Pan Protector and Hot Pad project
  • webbing – from a belt

Recycled Leather Phone Case 2

To create my pattern, I drew a rectangle that measured 3/4” larger than my phone on all sides.  My phone is pretty thin (Samsung Galaxy SIII) so be sure to take the thickness of your phone into account when drawing your pattern.  I used something with a rounded edge to round the two bottom corners.  If I could remember what that was, I’d tell you, but it was probably a jar or something similar.

After you’ve drawn your pattern, cut two pieces from the leather (or whatever fabric you’re using) for the outside and two from the lining fabric.  You’ll also need a 1 1/4 by 2” piece of leather for the side loop.  Cut the 5/8 to 3/4” wide hook and loop 1 1/2” long.  The webbing I used was 1 3/4” wide and had a finished end, so I cut it 3 3/4” long.  If you’ll have to finish the end, cut it 1/2” longer, fold it under 1/4” twice and stitch.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 3

Sew the loop piece of the hook and loop to the front leather piece, centered side to side and 2 1/4” from the top edge.  Sew the hook piece to the webbing, 1/4” from the finished end.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 4

Fold the 2” sides of the small piece of leather under 1/4” and stitch.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 5

Slip into the D-ring and fold, wrong sides together.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 6

Use binder clips to clip the two remaining pieces of leather right sides together.  Slip the D-ring loop into one side with the ring inside, 1” from the top.  Stitch 1/4” from the edge, leaving top open.  Do the same with the lining, without the D-ring loop, and leave a 4” opening at the bottom.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 7

Turn the lining right side out.  Stuff it into the leather piece.  Clip the top edges of both together.  Slip the webbing between the layers , opposite the front hook and loop (the loop part) with the hook and loop on the webbing facing the lining.  In the photo you’ll see my webbing sticking up above the edge, which is only because I started out with it too long.  Yours should be even with the edge.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 8

Stitch around, 1/4” from the edge.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 9

Turn right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.  Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 10

Push the lining to the inside.  Roll the seam with your fingers until it is completely turned.  Stitch around close to the upper edge.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 11

For the flower embellishment, cut your favorite shape from the leather.  I also cut a smaller starburst shape for the center to add a little more texture.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 12

Stitch onto the webbing through the button.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 13

Clip the wrist strap onto the D-ring and it’s finished.  If you don’t have a wrist strap, some narrow webbing stitched together and a carabiner of some kind will do the trick.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 15

My phone fits in the case perfectly without my phone cover, however I’d make it larger if you want your cover to stay on.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 14

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for my project in the challenge.  I appreciate the support!



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Protect Your Tech Design Challenge

I was asked by Earth911, a great website focused on creating less waste and finding ways to use things in new ways, to participate in their Protect Your Tech Design Challenge this month.  The goal was to make a carrier or case for an electronic device using recycled or repurposed materials.  You know how you’re full of great ideas until you’re asked to think about something specific, then totally draw a blank?  That was me for a while.

Eventually it came to me.  My red coat!  I still had some leather and a couple of small buttons left and I’d been wanting to make something to hold my smart phone anyway.  I managed to scavenge all of the other pieces from my “I’m saving this because I might use it later” box, so the only part of it that’s new is the thread.

Reuse Design Challenge 1

It turned out exactly the way I pictured, and holds my phone perfectly.

Reuse Design Challenge 3

I think my favorite part of it is the flower I cut out from the leather.

Reuse Design Challenge 2

In case you didn’t catch the “Challenge” part of this, it’s a competition between me and 8 amazing craft bloggers, determined by your vote.  If you’d like to participate, visit the Earth911 website here and click the circle next to your favorite project on the 11th page of the slide show.  Voting closes on January 30th.

Of course, I’ll be sharing the tutorial for this little bag with you, but I have to wait until the challenge is over.  Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift

I’m starting to feel that anxiety of a busy week coming up.  I don’t mind the chaos.  In fact, I sometimes like a little crazy.  The part that makes me tense is the thought that I’ll forget something important.  When there’s so much to do, something is bound to slip through the cracks (FYI – as I was typing this I wrote “crafts” instead of “cracks” – psychoanalyze that!).

One of the things I want to make sure to remember is a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  My husband is still away and my sister invited me and my kids to spend the holiday with her family.  Hosting Thanksgiving is no small task, so I want to thank her properly.  Before you think I’m giving away the surprise here, this isn’t the gift I decided on, but I love it and wanted to share it with you anyway.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1

Everywhere we have lived has had either a fireplace or a woodstove.  I love being able to have a fire in the winter.  What I do not enjoy is wading up balls of newspaper to start it.  I decided instead to make something I could just grab out of a basket and throw in under some kindling.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2

To make the fire starters, I used cardboard rolls.  Mine are toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut down a paper towel roll or the center from the wrapping paper.  Speaking of gift wrap, you’ll need some of that too.   You’ll also need some cotton string and something flammable to stuff inside, like shredded paper.  I’ve even seen these made with dryer lint.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3

I used shredded paper for mine.  I also wadded up pieces of the instructions that come wrapped around interfacing and stuffed that in the ends of the tube so the shred wouldn’t fall out while I was working with it.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4

Cut the gift wrap into pieces about 6” by 10”.  Starting from the larger side, roll it around the stuffed tube.  Secure with a small piece of tape.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5

Squish the ends just above the tube and tie with a 6” piece of string at each end.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6

To use, simply stick a couple under some small pieces of dry wood…

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7

…and light the ends.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8

I normally use a butane lighter to start a fire, but I thought something prettier would make this a better gift.  The Burlap Bag had shared a match jar project that was exactly what I was looking for.  The only changes I made were to not cut a hole in the top and use the lid insert under the sandpaper.  I actually had a partial box of strike anywhere matches that I’m pretty sure has been around our house through most of our marriage.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9

After I made the first batch of these using Christmas wrap, I happened to find some wood grain print paper at Target.  Now they’re perfect!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10

Throw in a few dried pinecones and you have a gift that’s both functional and pretty – if your hostess can bring herself to actually burn it.  The wood grain starters will probably still be sitting on my hearth in April.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11