Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Lambing Has Begun

Romney/Border Leicester Ram Lamb/twin



First lambs, just before midnight, Saturday night.
Two Romney/Border Leicester Ram Lambs weighing in at 11 pounds.

So it begins.

20 ewes to go....
We haven't had this many ewes lambing. in quite a few years. We will have more than enough lamb cuteness to keep us busy.

I am very happy to say, that it looks like the weather will be cooperating, at least for this week.
It actually feels like Spring out there.

We will keep you updated. You know how Delaney loves to take lamb pictures.

Any farm babies keeping you busy?
 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: The Right Way




After reading several sheep forums, I have come to realize that there are about 101 ways to raise sheep. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little...but there are many different management styles when it comes to raising sheep. There are definitely 101 opinions on how to raise sheep!

There have been many debates on some of these forums on several different topics. One being
Hair versus Wool Sheep.
My opinion on it-who cares?  Raise what type of sheep you want!
Me personally, I love wool sheep. Wool is one of the reasons I started raising sheep.
For some, shearing is a costly, dreaded event so hair sheep may be a perfect fit for them.

What Breed is Best?
Ask a sheep person that question and you will get 101 answers!

According to Sheep 101, there are over 1000 breeds of sheep worldwide and over 40 breeds in the United States.
Pick one, or two, or three....
I think all breeds of sheep have their positive/negative. Choose the one that fits your farm. We have raised quite a few breeds here, none of them were terrible, but some didn't fit in well here with our management style. We raise Border Leicester because they FIT our farm!
Some people don't deal well with the Border Leicesters lively personalities, I love it! (most of the time)
We all have our favorites, that doesn't make them the best sheep for everyone.
Personally, you couldn't give me a Suffolk Sheep-they would probably die here, BUT Joe, the Sheep Farmer down the road may love 'em. That is okay! They have their place too.

There are many management styles, you have to find which one works for you.
What works here is grass not grain, pasture not barn, spring lambing not winter, etc..
You could visit the farm down the road and there methods could be the exact opposite.
Who is right?
We both are! We found what works for us!

I enjoy visiting sheep forums, sheep farms, and sheep symposiums.  Great places to share ideas, experiences, successes and failures. We don't all agree, what fun would there be in that?
One size doesn't fit all!

I have learned there is not ONE right way to raise sheep. There is OUR way to raise sheep, and that changes all the time.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The HomeAcre Hop #63



We are getting ready for our lambing season, it will start any day now.
We also have a few goats that will be kidding soon. The weather hasn't been very Spring like, but we have learned the babies will not wait for warmer weather. So we are hoping for some warmer days ahead.

What have you been keeping yourself busy with this Spring season?
Share your Homesteading, Homeschooling, Homemaking Post with us this week!


HomeAcre  Host

Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)


Featured Post:

Ways to use Whey from Seven Spring Homestead

Ways to Use Whey at Seven Springs Homestead
Featured Post



Congratulations!
 We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

Clearwater Farm Journal
Button



You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button, text link, on the post, your side bar,or blog hop  page and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.
Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!

 Clearwater Farm Journal


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sheep Farm Visit

We are waiting for lambing season to begin. Any day now...

We have friends who have been lambing  for a couple of months. We stopped by their farm over the weekend and got a dose of lamb cuteness!



 You have to love those ears! (Blue Faced Leicester)


 This adorable baby has black lining on his eyes along with black lashes.





I wish I had gotten a better picture of this lamb. He is part Herdwick. Beautiful Lamb.


As you can see no two look alike. The Depew Farm raises several breeds of sheep. They have quite an interesting collection of lambs. One thing they do have in common is their cuteness factor.

I always enjoy Sheep Farm visits.  Sharing ideas, successes, failures-we all learn!



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Monday, March 24, 2014

Melt and Pour Goats Milk Soap




I went to a soap making class a while back and the different soaps they demonstrated were glycerin based, pour and melt soaps.
There are some really creative soap ideas out there!

For my birthday- Soap Making Supplies!

Supplies


A Goat Milk's Soap base, a 4 bar  plastic mold, some essential oils,  colorant, and some soap additives(dried lavender and dried grated orange peel).  Everything I needed to make some soap.

The directions are simple and easy. The soap base came in squares, each square being enough for one ounce. I used 12  squares/ounces for the first batch, which in the end did three bars. The next batch, I used 16 squares/ounces for 4 bars.

Place the cubes of soap in a microwave safe dish. I used a glass measuring cup.

Soap Base

Directions:
Microwave the soap for 30 seconds, stir and then microwave in intervals of  5-10 seconds. Checking and stirring the soap in between. My microwave is old and that 10 seconds wasn't cutting it. So, I worked in 30 second intervals and when the soap was getting close to being melted I knocked it down to 15 seconds.

When the soap is completely melted you add the essential oils, colorants, and other additives.

Soap Base

For the oils, the recommendation was 1 drop per ounce of soap. For the colorant, the directions didn't give an amount to add-so I just added enough to get the results I wanted. The first batch I did was orange. I added the Orange Essential oil, some orange colorant, and some grated, dried orange peel. Stirred Well. Poured into the individual molds. 

Lavender


Orange

For the second batch I did Lavender. I added Lavender essential oil, some purple colorant and some dried Lavender. Stirred Well. Poured into individual molds. The dried Lavender didn't mix in very well, it all floated to the top of the bar.  I read later that if you let it cool a bit before you put in your additives (dried herbs, etc)  you have better luck with it staying mixed in throughout the bar.

I think it will take some practice to get the right amount of oils. The lavender was strong, but the orange was not strong enough.

I like making the CP (cold processed) soap and plan on making more of that when I am milking goats.
But the melt and pour soaps were a fun, quick project. They have quite a variety of bases you can use.  I found some really cute sheep molds I am going to buy.  I am not sure if I can use them with the CP soaps (will have to check the temperatures) but I can use them with the melt and pour based soaps.
What could be cuter than little lamb soaps?


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: Sheep Shearing 2014, Brrr...



Sheep Shearing 2014 -

I had talked to the shearer the day before our scheduled shearing day,  to make sure we were still on.  I knew the weather wasn't going to cooperate and the forecast: COLD. I was a little worried, we have never sheared when it was this cold. I thought about putting it off, but knew that we needed to get it done before lambing time. After assurances from the shearer that the sheep would be fine, we decided to move forward as planned.

I woke up to 10 degrees and a feel like of -2.
Put on extra wool sweater and headed outside.
We had done most of the set up the days before, (barn space emptied out, extra lighting set up, tarps laid out for fleeces, pen-gates-chutes set up).  All we had left to do was move the sheep to the holding pen. That was easy, they were hungry and we had some hay.



Sheep Shearer arrived right on time 8:30 a.m.
"It's cold"! 
Set up his equipment in the barn.
Put on his fancy shearing shoes. (yes, I think they are cool)




Mike decided to fire up a heater, in hopes it would take the chill out.

First ewe bought in- Let's Begin!



We had a field trip set up for the home school group. Shearing and a tour of the mill. With the cold weather, we cancelled the Mill tour and will schedule it for another day. Sheep Shearing still on.
Out of the 30 plus people we were expecting we had about 10. I was surprised to have that many.

Always lots of questions.

How often do you shear? 

We shear once a year. The longer wool breeds could be shorn twice a year.

Do Sheep bite?
My answer, no!
Sheep shearers answer, Yes! 

Why do you shear them when they are pregnant?
We shear before lambing for a couple of reasons:
With the long wool breeds, lambs can have a hard time finding the teats in all of that wool.
Without her wooly fleece, the ewe is more likely to take shelter in inclement weather, which means her lamb/lambs are out of that weather as well.
It is cleaner when they lamb which means less problems later with flies, etc.
and we can keep a better eye on the ewe's condition after she has been shorn.

Why are you giving them shots?
Normally, I do not give our ewes vaccinations. We did this year due to the fact we have bought so many new sheep on the farm. An ounce of prevention...
We do give the lambs shots when we dock their tails. (Tetanus).

What are you putting in their mouth?
When we shear we deworm the sheep. It is to control parasites that sheep can get.
The parasites can remain dormant all winter, but when the ewe's  lamb they  become active. We give them a dose now and another when they lamb.

What do you do with the wool?
We have done different things with the wool over the years, with most  of it being sold as raw fleeces.
This year we are going to process it and sell rovings, along with some wool batts for comforters.


Overall, sheep shearing went will this year.  We only had one mishap- We had a Tunis ewe that we were taking over to the other barn (one with lambs) instead of putting her back outside. She wouldn't cooperate. She stepped in front of the Kerosene Heater and singed her leg wool. I knew it wasn't good when I smelled something burning. THANKFULLY, it was just her wool  and she didn't burn her skin.
Other than that, pretty uneventful!

Now, to set up a skirting table and get busy with all of those fleeces!

*We had technical difficulties this year and did not get a video made but you can check out last years if you would like.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrcsFUu3iY





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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The HomeAcre Hop #62 and Book Giveaway


 
Muddy Season



Spring is here!   Lambing season is almost upon us. The goats are getting close to kidding. We can actually see the raised garden beds now.  New fences, for additional paddocks, need put up in the pasture.  Dog practices are starting for 4-H, and on and on it goes. 

I know we are not the only ones who are busy in the Spring- Can't wait to hear what you are all up to!

While you are here don't forget to sign up for our  E-Book Giveaway-
 

Homestead Cooking With Carol: Bountiful Make Ahead Meals by Carol J. Alexander. 



We have four e-books to giveaway. 4 Winners will be chosen March 27th at 5:00 a.m.






HomeAcre  Host

Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

 

Featured Post: 

10 Commandments of Good Animal Husbandry from Loving Life From Scratch


10 Commandments of Good Animal Husbandry




Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.



Clearwater Farm Journal






You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.

Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!




Clearwater Farm Journal 





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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Homestead Cooking with Carol




I recently received a copy of Homestead Cooking with Carol:Bountiful Make ahead Meals by Carol J. Alexander.
I was asked if I would share a review of the book, and after reading it through I decided I would love to do that.

The book is full of great ideas on how to store, prepare, and plan make-ahead meals in the kitchen.
There are sections on Canning and Freezing Foods, Processing Meats, Meals in a Jar, Make Ahead Desserts and more.

This book would be a great resource for the newbie, or the more seasoned homemaker like me. There is more than enough information to get you started on making delicious meals at home, on a budget.
It is much more than a recipe book.

I enjoyed Carol's tips, ideas, and experience!

I found a few recipes I would love to try like, making granola in the crock pot, and Carol's favorite Hummus recipe.

If you are interested in reading more about Carol's book or purchasing your own copy visit Amazon.com.  http://www.amazon.com/Carol-J.-Alexander/e/B00ISGTRVQ

We are also having a giveaway for Carol's e-book this Thursday on the HomeAcre Hop!
So stop by for a chance to win this wonderful resource!




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Friday, March 14, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: A Lamb for your Birthday?



Today is my birthday.  I won't bore you with my age, but I will say that I have celebrated 16 birthdays on the farm and 15 of those raising sheep.

Time flies, when you are having fun!

Looking down memory lane, I recall spending one birthday, at a sheep farm.  The day ending with me in a truck, with a lamb on my lap (in a box) and a big grin on my face!

I also recall my mother, puzzled that my  husband would take me to a sheep farm on my birthday to buy sheep. She was more than puzzled, she actually thought an injustice had been done! What kind of man  treats her daughter this way? It  took quite a bit of explaining to convince her that the whole thing was my idea and that  I really did have a good time. Besides, we did go out to dinner before the farm visit. :)
I don't think she ever understood that one.  I was not raised on a farm and my family all thought I was a little nuts when I moved out here and started buying farm animals. (I think they still do)

I have raised many different farm animals, over the years-chickens, ducks, goats, geese, rabbits, cows and sheep. Hands down sheep have been my favorite! Goats are a close second (it may have been closer, if they didn't get into so much trouble)

I enjoy spending time at Sheep farms, Sheep Symposiums, and Fiber Events, even on my birthday!

I like to look back and think that this endeavor has been time well spent. I have learned a lot, living out here. I have had many successes and many failures. I have had joy and heartache. There have been times I have thought I could never live anywhere else, and times I was ready to call a moving van, and NO, the animals were not coming with me.

Overall, it has been a good life, and I hope to spend many more birthdays here..

Enjoy your weekend!



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Thursday, March 13, 2014

HomeAcre Hop #61




One of our smiley ewe lambs.  She has a twin and they are both adorable.
If I want to smile, all I need to do is go out to the barn and visit the lambs.
With the week I have had, I have been visiting them a lot!

I look forward to the Hop each week and all of your inspiring post!
I would just like to give a quick reminder that this is a Blog Hop for Homesteading, Homeschooling, and Homemaking type post. We try to keep things simple with just a few rules. If you need to review, they are posted below. 

Now, on to the Hop...

HomeAcre  Host
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

 

Featured Post: 

Really Cheap Soap from Nature, Nurture, Grow






Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

Clearwater Farm Journal





You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.
Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!




Clearwater Farm Journal 




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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Electric Pressure Cooker Recipe: Porcupine Meatballs




One of the first things I made in my Electric Pressure Cooker were Porcupine Meatballs.
I have tried quite a few recipes since, but this is still the girls favorite.

I like it because it is simple.

I found out this is an old favorite of many. I had never even of heard of porcupine meatballs.

The girls enjoy helping in the kitchen when these are one the menu. This recipe has made its way into our Recipe Box.






Porcupine Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cups uncooked rice
1 pint stewed tomatoes
onion
seasoning (salt, pepper, Italian seasoning)

Mix the ground beef and rice together.

Add Onion:I use 2 Tablespoons  dried Minced Onion OR 1/2 cup diced onion.
I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and  1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning. (season to taste)
Mix Well. 


Form into Meatballs (the girls like doing this part)

Turn on Pressure Cooker.
Heat up the stewed tomatoes. (I use home canned tomatoes that have a lot of juice, you need to have about a cup of liquid in the cooker-you can add water if needed)
Drop in Meatballs.
Cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes (follow your pressure cooker's instructions)
When timer goes off let Pressure drop in cooker before opening.

Can be served with Rice or noodles.
I add Spaghetti Sauce to the meatballs and heat thoroughly. I serve over Spaghetti Noodles.


I love simple, easy recipes!



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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The HomeAcre Hop #60



These two have earned the names of Lucy and Ethel. They have been nothing but trouble with the fence on the fritz. Going wherever they please! They have made a mess of their fleeces helping themselves to the hay in the barn. I finally have just given up on trying to keep them contained. (until Spring)
I think everyone, including the sheep are just tired of winter! 

I have tried keeping myself busy with a project a day! You can only watch so many episodes of Law and Order on Netflix!  I look forward to your post this week. The Blog Hop can be a great inspiration!

HomeAcre  Host
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Featured Post: 
Lambing Helps from Walking in High Cotton

lambing help part 1 normal

Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

 Clearwater Farm Journal
 

You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.
Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!

Clearwater Farm Journal 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Project a Day-Photo on Wood

We spent the morning loading sheep and going to the livestock auction. A trip to the auction, also means a trip to the Bulk Food stores in Shipshewana. It was a busy day. But I had what I needed for a photo project,  so I was able to fit it in.

As I mentioned in my soap post, that I had went to a workshop where they offered several classes. Homemade Cleaning Supplies, Soap Making, Floral Arrangements and Pictures on Tile or Wood.

I liked the decoupaging project, so bought the supplies I needed to do some wood block projects at home. Mike was nice enough to cut up some wood planks, that came from some salvaged wood he had.

I took some pics with my phone, not the greatest,but hopefully they will help explain the different steps to this project.

First gather up supplies:

Wood Blocks/Planks (wide enough to stand on their own, you can use varied dimensions)
Paint (craft)
Sponge Brushes
Modge Podge
Scrapbook Paper
Picture (prints OR photo copies)
Drop cloth to protect work surface.


Step One: Paint Block- Let dry. (You don't have to paint the front of the block if you are going to completely cover it with paper. Since I was working with "old" wood, I painted all sides.)


Step Two: Cut Scrapbook Paper to fit. You can have it completely cover block OR just a portion of the block, if you want some of the wood to show. I did one of each.
You can be creative here, you can use one sheet, or you can double mat, add words, etc.

Use the Modge Podge to apply the paper to the wood.

Step Three: Apply  Picture using the Modge Podge.

Step Four: Put a coat of Modge Podge over the paper and picture after they have been applied to the  wood.




Step Five: Let Dry.

I  sand the edges of the block to give it a more rustic look. It also smooths the edges of the paper. The sandpaper I had on hand was not course enough, so I wasn't able to finish the edges, the way I like.

I like rustic, the wood I used was aged, and a little rough, the paper looks a little tattered with the sandpaper. If you do not like rustic, you can get a more conventional look using new wood that is smooth, cutting sharp corners on your paper and not sanding.

Here are my two, almost finished projects. They just need a good sanding on the sides to smooth out paper edges.




 One day closer to Spring!



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