How a writer feathers her nest
With... what else? Book page crafts
I subscribe to a wonderful blog about home decorating called The Pond’s Farmhouse. It’s not the only one of its kind I read, but this one truly strikes a chord in me. Rachel writes about making a house a home—cozy, welcoming, the kind of place you yearn for at the end of a long day. She’s a crafter, a hostess, and a terminal thrift store addict, with one eye open on all her journeys for the next project to enhance her new/old cottage farmhouse.
There are many blogs that make their way into my inbox each week, but I must say, Rachel’s is the one I always read, and first. I love her style, and her knack of taking something vintage or worn-out, and finding it a place in her most recent seasonal décor.
She’s also big on doing all these wonderful things on a budget, a big plus. Every week or so she posts a tutorial about her latest craft project. I will admit, my home is filled with examples of these crafts.
Last fall Rachel posted a blog showing how she took Styrofoam pumpkins she bought at the Dollar Tree (one of my fav stops) and used old book pages to transform them into amazing fall/Thanksgiving decorations. Wow, I thought, I have got to try this. What better “signature” decoration for a writer than one made with old book pages? Off to Dollar Tree I went, headed next to the local thrift store to search for an old book.
Here's where I ran into problems. There are shelves and shelves of old, homeless books in the thrift stores I visit. I seldom, if ever, peruse them. Why? Not really sure. I guess because seeing stacks of old, discarded books makes me sad inside. It’s the same reason why I never visit local animal shelters. I know, I know, books are just things and animals are living, feeling creatures. Shame on me.
But to me, books are so precious, they simply should not be discarded. Even worse than discarding a book, to my mind, is destroying it. So how in the world was I going to bring myself to cut up the pages out of any of these old, homeless books?
Yikes. I spent the good part of an afternoon trying to pick out a book for this project. Every book I picked up, though, seemed to scream out to me—No! Don’t destroy me! Even, I thought, if I have absolutely no interest in reading this book myself, there must be somebody out there who does.
Believe me, I know how silly this sounds. But it’s true. No matter what book I flipped through, I couldn’t bring myself to carry it to the register and pay 50 cents for it, knowing I was taking the innocent tome to the slaughterhouse.
Until I found one on politics. Now this one, I thought, I won’t feel too bad about cutting into pieces.
So yes, my lovely book page pumpkins are covered with petals out of an old book on politics. What a fun craft! I quickly learned the value of finger protectors when working with the hot glue gun. But the results were well worth the few fingertip burns I sustained. The pumpkins came out so incredible, I went on to make three of them, gifting one to my future daughter-in-law.
Once Thanksgiving was over, it was time to put the pumpkins away. In a very timely fashion, Rachel posted another blog about making a garland, using some book pages along with sprigs of rosemary, pine, dried oranges, and wooden beads. This time, she used sheet music.
How lucky was I to find an old magazine in another thrift store with not only sheet music, but notes from obscure Christmas carols? It was easier to massacre a magazine than a book, especially one holding notes I couldn’t read to carols I’d never heard of. This project came out so pretty I left it hanging over my hallway entrance well into the New Year.
I loved this idea so much I used Rachel’s inspiration to go off on my own. A cardboard tree form at Hobby Lobby was half price. How could I resist? I used the sheet music pages to create a one-of-a-kind holiday decoration for my wide kitchen counter.
The Pond’s Farmhouse blog appeared in my inbox just last week with an idea for Valentine’s wreaths using (you guessed it) roses made from book pages. This project is next on my to-do list. After all, the book I bought on politics was over 300 pages long—lots left to craft with.
I highly recommend checking out Rachel’s website and blog, not only for inspiration but for just a feel-good read any day of the week. She is so innovative, with a vision for recycling things that I admire. Last fall she posted about her and her husband creating a faux fireplace mantle using repurposed materials. Talk about the ultimate green home decorating scheme! I’m not sure if I have that much energy and initiative, but it sure was fun watching Rachel do it.
The style reflected by The Ponds Farmhouse really appeals to me, and I don’t think I am alone. I have used many of Rachel’s ideas, not only for crafts, but for vignettes on the mantel and coffee table. On the dining table, using a dough bowl filled with natural items scavenged out of our yard. On a side table, filling a wooden tray with a mishmash of discarded Christmas ornaments.
Nothing too extraordinary. Nothing too expensive. But the results? Very effective, and ones that bring me joy every time I lay my eyes on them.
Recently, my son brought some friends to our home when he was caring for our cat while we were away. (We still tease him now about giving house tours—of our house while we aren’t there!) I met this lovely couple later, at a gathering at his house. Both of them complimented us on our home, which is an older ranch in west central Florida. Nothing special.
“Oh, it’s your home. We were with your son that day. Your home is so gorgeous!” the woman exclaimed. “I love the way you’ve decorated it. It’s so homey, so welcoming.”
Her husband said, “Yes, your home just opens its arms and makes you feel like you want to stay. Cozy.”
These were perfect strangers, gushing about how our home made them feel—on a random visit when we weren’t even there. Hadn’t even properly met them. I would say, Rachel, your decorating style has definitely influenced me.
In a very good way.