2020’s 20 Holiday Crafts: Modern Wintery Alps (1/20)

In an attempt to entertain myself during the much-slower-than-normal 2020 holidays, I decided to clear out my burgeoning Pinterest boards. Many of the craft ideas have been hanging around for a number of years so why not choose 2020 for some anti-COVID creating.

I’m starting with this set of Swiss Alp mountains. They would be cute on a bookshelf or as a table winterscape. I’m not sure where these will land, but I had fun turning one 4 ft piece of 1×10 pine wood into something modern and wintery. It’s nice when ‘Christmas decorations’ can be spread out to include all of winter. And these Swedish babes fit that bill.

Here’s how we did it…

Scott bought one piece of pine wood and cut out the mountains to 4 different heights: 10.5″, 8.5″, 6.5″ and 4.5″ tall. He set his miter saw at 24 degrees and after cutting both sides of the mountain, the peak ends up at a 48 degree angle. Yeah, yeah…that’s a lot of math. The exact angle isn’t as important as the consistency for each mountain so that they each end up with the same angle but with different heights. All those mountains out of one board!

I then used some Provincial wood stain (that we had on hand) to stain a few of the mountains. You could use any stain color you desire. As I was painting the others I was imagining doing another set of mountains that were all stained with just painted tops. That would look great too.

All you need are those cheap little bottles of paint from your craft store. Again…trying to use a lot of what I already had on hand…I used some black and white wall paint. It was definitely overkill to use gallons of paint – but it’s what I had!

When I have a project that requires multiple layers of paint with drying in between, I cut off a bit of Saran Wrap, fold it in half and just tuck my wet brushes inside. It’s a temporary hold so they don’t dry out.

This is an optional step and, honestly, one I skipped after the first mountain. Drawing out the snowcap seemed like a good idea, but you don’t really stick to the lines anyway so I skipped this step for the rest.

For the dotted mountain I used an old pencil I keep around for this reason. It has a few coats of paint on it already so the tip is even rounder.

I took a quick video showing the differently sized dots. The more paint on your pencil, obviously, the bigger the dot. The longer you hold the pencil down, the bigger the dot…

This was a pretty simple project at a low cost. Always a good thing! The colors and size are completely up to you. I realize it might be a little frustrating for some of you reading this if you don’t have access to a miter saw. If you’re really interested in completing this project, let’s talk. We can cut some wood for you and ship it at a fairly low price, I’m sure. Let’s talk.

I added some faux snow (that’s just a really enjoyable phrase to say!). The faux snow will make an appearance in a different project that’s coming up soon.

So what do you think??? Project 1 of 20 complete. Not sure I’ll get through them all between Thanksgiving week and Christmas week but I plan on having fun while trying!

Thanks for reading this far! If you decide to complete this project, please please please tag me on social media or send me a picture. I want to enjoy it with you!

Now… I need a cup of Swiss hot chocolate. How about you?

Welcome!

Our home project this week was to tackle our home’s entryway. I struggled all last year to figure out what would work best in our ‘entry room’.

The front porch is a covered area that has been challenging to decide between plants or furniture. Plus there is a fairly wide ‘wall’ that was screaming for something, but I wasn’t sure what.

And also..the color. This wouldn’t have been my primary choice, but since we rent, painting the outside of the house pushes even me over the limit. I am an avid painter (and re-painter!) inside the house, but I have to draw the line at exterior painting. And that’s okay! The bigger the challenge – the more fun! And I don’t hate this blue-grey color. Not at all. It’s just not a color I’m used to working with.

Let me pull back and give you a wider view…

Here’s our little California 1970’s ranch. We have done VERY little to the front of the house since we do all of our outside living in the backyard. But I wanted to do something with the entry area.

I grabbed a few pots and succulents and went to work.

As an aside: If you are doing a big succulent project, opt for these ‘decorator’ pots filled with succulents that someone else has put together for a grocery store, etc. I bought these at Home Depot or Lowe’s. You don’t have to keep them as is (I didn’t), but buying individual succulents cost about $4-5 each plant. Each of these pots cost $12! Obviously, that’s a MUCH better deal! You can take them apart and arrange them to your taste.

Since these were big pots (a size needed for the entry space) and I was planting succulents with small roots, I threw some nursery pots into the larger pot to take up some space. Why waste the potting soil filling the whole thing?!

Arranging the pots was 99% of the fun. Since these weren’t going to be seen from all sides, I gave them a tall back and worked the succulents from there.

Can you see that gorgeous variegated succulent below?? I put in an agave cactus in the middle and some fun sanseviera cylindrica (variegated ‘snake plants’) in the back…

I moved some of my prayer plant varieties, peperomia and calathea from inside the house to one of the pots. These are somewhat picky plants but like a frustrated mother, I needed them to go play outside for awhile! They’ll like this area because it’s very bright and has a good view of the sky but has no direct sun. Ultimately they will like the humidity this space gets in the summer.

I was going for a big impact with the large double doors, but needed to use plants that didn’t need direct sun, like a tree or ornamental grasses would.

Stage One of this project was going well.

But the open ‘wall’ was still glaring at me.

I found a similar project on a midcentury site online and liked the idea of a) Scott building something to fit the specific dimensions and b) something we could also use for climbing plants.

Stage Two: Scott and I worked over designs and he built this awesome ‘trellis’ / ‘artwork’.

I picked some Sansevieria zeylanica (commonly called Bowstring Hemp) to plant in the white rocks. I love their blue-gray color next to the house. They are a cousin to the Snake Plant (we always called them Mother-in-Law Tongue plants.) And I added a new aloe vera plant.

While it’s definitely shaping up, there are a few other things I want to tick off including (*but not limited to) painting the front doors and frame a magnificent mustard yellow.

The below Kangaroo Paw Fern has been a dreamboat of a plant. I highly recommend them. And ever-so-slowly, the Japanese Aralia – is starting to expand.

I love a fun, unusual, exotic plant. But you really can’t beat a reliable ol’ airplane plant, can you? As soon as it produces a baby, I put them directly back in the pot to fill out the top and keep it full.

Two super awkward situations about this entry way. Imagine, if you will, standing at your kitchen sink, making coffee, staring blankly out the window when suddenly (…I should write that SUDDENLY!…because that’s how quickly it happens…) the postal worker (…ours is a man, so can I say ‘mailman’??…) comes around the corner to drop the mail in the box. An awkward grin is the least of my worries as I pray he didn’t see anything untoward as we stood facing each other through the glass pane. -ha!

Secondly – is that a laundry vent behind your azaleas, Greta?, you ask. Why yes, yes it is. Welcome to our home. We smell like fresh laundry. Meh. There could be worse things, right??

I think my Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera obliqua) will enjoy dancing up this trellis.

Besides the succulents, all of the plants on the porch love humidity. Watering the white rocks adds humidity to the air. The fact that this is a somewhat enclosed area, the humidity in the air and the heat of California hovers in this small place – making these tropical plants extremely happy. And they get to enjoy it all without the harsh sun rays beating down on them all summer long.

I think we might have a winning combination.

Thank you, again, Scott. Although this project looks relatively easy, there was math involved which is where I get off the boat and leave Scott to figure out the angles on his own.

Another week, another fun project checked off our list!