Category Archives: Craft-tastic

Halloween Bag-Stravaganza

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After my kids got me into the Halloween spirit, I decided to score some free fabric (a fellow homeschool mom was giving a bunch away), and make them each Halloween bags.  This project turned out to be easy, because not only are there very few cuts to make (my least favorite part of sewing is cutting the fabric), but the seams are all straight, and bags are easily modifiable to the size and level of complexity that you are trying to achieve.  The most difficult part of making these bags was choosing which tutorial to use.

I ultimately found my inspiration for His Majesty’s bag through this amazing tutorial at Just Another Hang Up.  If you email the woman behind the blog, Suzanne, she’ll even send you the pattern, which is as good as it gets.  I wanted a bag with a wide opening, appropriately sized for His Majesty to carry without trouble, but also large enough that he didn’t have trouble putting his goodies into the opening, and I wanted it to be simple.  I’m not talented enough to do justice to Suzanne’s bag just yet, but with enough practice, maybe I’ll get there.   However, while I didn’t use her exact specs (I used scrap fabric, and I didn’t want to take the time to line it), I definitely  used her tutorial, which was extremely helpful because it has wonderful pictures to help guide you step by step.  It was a big help as I wrapped my brain around what I was doing, pinned everything together, and then actually learned to do box corners (way easier than I thought it would be).   Here’s what I ended up with:

He’s already had a chance to use it this year!

The total cost for this bag was free, since I mentioned I’d scored the fabric from a woman who was giving it away, but if you buy some, you’ll need less than 3/4 yard of fabric, which will still be pretty inexpensive.  One big thing that I wanted to point out was that some bag tutorials that you may come across will have you use one big rectangle of fabric folded up to form the body of the bag.  This would not work with the fabric I had, because one side of the finished bag would have had the images upright, and one would have had them upside down.  Luckily, I realized this before I had even pinned. Check your fabric before you start sewing to be sure that this isn’t a problem, if you use a pattern that calls for a method like that.

Christopher wanted his bag to have a drawstring opening.  He also wanted it to coordinate with his costume.  This year, he is going as Peeta from the Hunger Games.  What is more appropriate for a Hunger Games costume than a Mocking Jay themed Halloweeen Bag?

The motivation for this bag came from the perfect drawstring bag tutorial at The Mother Huddle.  It says “easy 15 minute” bag, and indeed, it was easy, and honestly took me about 15 minutes.  My husband had his doubts, but I proved him wrong this time!  The longest part of making this bag was cutting out the freezer paper stencil (using this pumpkin carving template), and then waiting for the paint to dry so that I could get the full effects of the project.  Total cost for this bag:  under $5 (3/4 yard remnant fabric for $3 and gold fabric paint on sale for $1).

Both boys are pleased, and I’m pretty proud of myself.  His Majesty will have several more opportunities to use his bag over the next week, and Christopher has declared that he plans to use his bag “all the time, not just on Halloween”.

As for me, I’m pleased to say that perhaps you can teach an “old” dog new tricks.

Halloween Wreath

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I haven’t done much Halloween decorating this year, and it’s not for lack of pinspiration.  I have a whole Halloween Board.  There is no shortage of ideas to make your yard spooky, scary, or just plain fun.

Yet, I’ve done nothing.  Am I lazy?  Am I busy?  Yes, to both, but that’s not the real reason why I haven’t been busy decorating.

The answer is that I’m hostile.  And I’m hostile, quite honestly, because it’s an election year, and I feel like the core principals of our nation are under attack.  Because of that, I’m very fearful of the future, and as a result, I have felt a serious lack of festivity when it comes to things like decorating for Halloween

But my kids’ haven’t lost their enthusiasm.  So, I stopped reading political articles, got out the Halloween bins and got busy.

Their excitement was contagious.  Before I knew it, I was digging out stuff to make a wreath.  You know how much I love wreaths. Especially when I can make them myself.

Here’s some ideas for getting your front door in the Halloween spirit.

Image of Halloween Boo Wreath from Lil Maddy Designs on Etsy.

Lil Maddy Designs on Etsy has amazing wreaths.  Isn’t this one fun? But alas, this wreath is seriously professional grade, I am no where near talented enough to pull this beauty off, especially at the last minute.  Plus, I didn’t have tons of tulle.

Then there is this one from Craftaholics Anonymous.

I love this one, but I didn’t have burlap, letters, or scrapbook paper to decorate the letters.

Which lead to option 3, this wreath from Lion Brand.

Image of spider wreath from Lion Brand.

I could potentially pull this off, but I didn’t have grey yarn, although I did have black… and I had plastic spiders.

So, that’s where I started off.  Wrapping a 16″ wreath form in black yarn– while I watched this weeks Presidential Debate.

Then I got out my fake spiders.

And my spooky sheet, which I figured could work in lieu of a spider web (which the kids had already spread all over the front bushes, plus I thought maybe it would hold up better than the cheaper stretchy spider web material).

I wrapped the “spooky sheet” over the wreath, and tucked the ends in at the back.

Then I hot glued the spiders on the “web”, and added a few plastic spider rings for good measure.

At this point, it met approval from both Christopher and His Majesty, so I hung it on the front door.

Well, it’s not my favorite wreath, but I am horrified of spiders, so I think the fact that they now greet me when I come in the front door is part my reservation about this entry way decor.  But my kids–especially His Majesty–love it.  His Majesty is all about spiders and bugs these days.  And, I definitely think it’s pretty creepy, so it fits the Halloween bill.

Do you or your family really get into Halloween decorating?  Do you prefer fun decorations, spooky decorations, or a combination of the two?  Any decorating ideas you want to pass along?

Mickey Mania

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We did it.

Again.

We took the kids to Disney World.

The last time we made the journey to the “Happiest Place on Earth”, Christopher was 6.  He loved it, aside from the usual meltdowns associated with not being tall enough to ride various rides, and ignoring the middle of the day meltdowns from being tired, hot and sweaty. I enjoyed it because he enjoyed it, but I didn’t feel the need to go ever again.  I figured a kid should go once, and that was enough.

But then His Majesty was born, and with a 10 year gap between him and Christopher, there was a shrinking window of when we could go and have both kids enjoy themselves without making it too miserable on my husband and myself. Don’t get me wrong, Disney World is great, but we’re not exactly “Disney people”, and running through theme parks with a toddler in a stroller isn’t exactly our idea of relaxing, but as with most things, we’re willing to do it for our kids to enjoy it.  Plus, my Grandma had never been, so that added some extra incentive on my end.  Next to watching my kids experience something new, I absolutely love taking her on new adventures.

In preparation for our trip, I took the opportunity to make His Majesty a few Mouse themed t-shirts using a freezer paper stencil method I’d pinned from Urban Pioneer Story.  You won’t believe how easy this it was.

I started with two plain cotton t-shirts that I bought at Hobby Lobby for $6.  His Majesty chose the colors– he wanted a pink and a blue.  I printed the mouse ear profile on regular paper, and cut it out with scissors, and then traced it onto the dull side of a sheet of freezer paper (which I purchased at the grocery store in a huge roll for under $5), and cut it out with a razor knife, giving me an intact stencil. Then, I ironed it, shiny side DOWN, onto the shirt, resulting in this:

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You want to leave a little extra freezer paper around your stenciled shape, to allow you to easily paint while protecting the clean part of the shirt. Next, I put a sheet of cardboard inside the shirt (I used an empty cereal box folded down to be flat), and used a round sponge paint brush to apply black fabric paint to the inside of the stencil.  At the edges I pressed down with the brush, and brushed towards the inside of the shape, to keep from moving the edges of the stencil.  I painted two coats, letting it dry for about an hour in between coats. Image

The next day, I peeled the freezer paper off, leaving me with this.

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Oh boy.  I was excited.  And so was His Majesty.

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But for the pink shirt, I decided that I wanted to try something a little different, using spray paint, gaining inspiration from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.  So this time, I used the shape of the ears as my stencil, and painted around them with spray paint (again, be sure you put a piece of cardboard inside of the shirt, as the paint will soak through). I held my hand about 10 inches away, and sprayed a light coat of paint, keeping my arm moving the whole time to avoid blotches and drips. Image

ImageWhen I pulled the stencil off, I basically did a happy dance. Image

His Majesty was pleased as well.

ImageI liked the results of the spray paint method so much that I decided to do it on the back of his blue shirt as well. You can only use each stencil once, so I cut another one out.  It’s so easy, though, that it’s hardly a big deal.

ImageAnd that’s how I made two shirts for Disney World in a breathable fabric (helpful, given that it was 90 degrees and all kinds of humid during our trip… I was melting, MELTING!!) for a fraction of the cost we’d pay at the park. And, these are one of a kind.  I’m proud of them, and His Majesty loves them.  For the record, I offered to make some for Christopher, but he deemed himself too cool for them.  He did, however, request that I make him a shirt with The Hunger Games symbol to go with his Halloween costume– He’s going as Peeta.

This method is amenable to any shape that you want to create.  You can do words, names, whatever your heart desires.  Once you have your paint and your freezer paper, you can probably even make a shirt for everyone in your family with supplies left to spare.  Birthday shirts for your little one?  Done.  Shirts to show support for your kid’s Little League team?  Done.  Bring it on, baby.  The sky is the limit with the freezer paper stencil shirts!

I made one other cool thing for our Disney trip, and also did some preplanning for our trip that saved me a little money and gave my kids some extra fun along the way.  Stay tuned for more on that this week 🙂

The First Boo-Tiful Halloween Craft of 2012

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Oh my gosh, I am so excited to show off my friend Melissa’s handiwork today!  She’s been bitten by the Pinterest bug, and my Facebook newsfeed has been full of all sorts of treats and crafts that she’s created for herself and her sweetie up north in PA.  As soon as I saw her awesome Halloween Topiary, I begged her to let me feature it here, and she was kind enough to let me.  Thanks, Melissa!

She drew her (p)inspiration  from Courtney at A Diamond in the Stuff, which is a fantastic blog that is loaded with amazing DIY-able home decor creations.  Seriously, what this woman can do with Mod Podge and some thrifted furniture is unreal, you’ve got to check it out.

Pumpkin Topiary; Source: A Diamond in the Stuff

(Courtney also has an Etsy Store, just in case you’re running out of time to create your own awesomeness from time to time.)

Using faux pumpkins, Krylon Glitter Blast spray paint, a hot glue, a basket, wooden skewers, and craft letters, Melissa made her own version in under 3 hours (including time spent waiting on the paint to dry between coats:

To this:

Don’t you just love it?  What a great way to jazz up an entryway, or a porch, especially if you don’t want to decorate with anything that might be too scary for your little Trick or Treaters.  Melissa says: “From start to finish this was an easy craft and I recommend it for beginners! I used simple pumpkins from Walmart, glitter blast spray paint, and all of the accessories were from Michael’s! Simple, easy, fun & makes a great decoration!!”  The cost for her materials rang in at about $45, the bulk of which was in the cost of the Krylon Glitter Blast spray paint (which has an awesome color selection and just flat out rocks, but is a bit steeply priced if you are going to use more than one color for a project.  I wonder if there is a cheaper alternative out there that could still achieve the glittery finish?).

Great job, Melissa, and thanks for sharing your work!

You can see more of Melissa’s favorite (p)inspirations and follow her in all of her greatness to see what else she finds and creates here.

I can’t believe it’s time to actually start making some of the fantastic Halloween creations that I’ve been pinning all year! I’d better get it in gear!! Thanks for the push, Melissa!

I’d love to feature your creations, too, so if you make something you saw on Pinterest, take pictures, and let me know that you’d like some of the spotlight!  Email me at verypinteresting(AT)GMAIL(DOT)com, I’d love to see your masterpieces.

Adorable Toddler Backpack

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I got to break out my sewing machine again this month.  And I’m pleased to say that my meager skill set is improving.

I made a backpack for His Majesty last fall (which is when the first two photos below were taken, and as I look at these, I can not believe how fast he is growing up.  It is unreal), using this amazing tutorial from Indietutes.  When I say amazing, I mean it, y’all.  I have such a pathetic resume of sewing skills right now, but last fall, I was completely clueless (My husband had to thread my machine for me… true story), and yet, I was able to not only figure this out, but do a pretty decent job.  Not perfect, but certainly passable.  My son loves it.

As soon as I presented it to him, I immediately knew I wanted to make one for His Majesty’s “Beft Fwend”  (for those of you who don’t speak toddler, that would translate to “Best Friend”), and I’ve been planning this project ever since.  As much as he adores her, I do, too.  She was the first little girl born to any of my close friends after a slew of boys, so she has always been somewhat of a novelty,  and seeing her grow and watching her adorable flirty antics just makes my day every time I see her.  She’s a one of a kind kid, so it’s only right that she receive a one of a kind backpack.

 Well, Best Friend turned two this month, which gave me the opportunity to move on my plan.  I headed to Hobby Lobby with my good old 40% off coupon and picked up some fabric, fusible interfacing (that’s a stiffer lining that you can iron on to your fabric to give it more form.  I had no idea what it was when I first sewed the backpack for His Majesty.), coordinating thread, and a sequined iron on flower patch to make it more fun for my little friend.   I chose a bright, colorful pattern for her that I felt wasn’t too girly, because bows and tutu’s aside, she is one rough and tumble princess.  Then I printed out the free pattern from Indietutes, and by simply following her tutorial, I was able to go from this:

To this.

I ironed on the flower patch after I’d cut out the pattern and ironed on the fusible interfacing, as I felt it would be easier to do that than to do it after completing the entire project.

I am so pleased with how this came out.  My skills have definitely improved since I made His Majesty’s dinosaur backpack.  Best Friend really seemed to like it, too.  She put it on as soon as she opened it, and, as expected, it looked absolutely adorable on her.  It’s the perfect size for a toddler, and, while it won’t hold a whole bunch of stuff, it will hold a snack, or a stuffed bunny, or a pink puppy.

Happy Birthday to His Majesty’s Beft Fwend.  We love you!!

Thanking our TEA-chers

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Thanking our TEA-chers

This month marks the end of His Majesty’s first year of play school.  He goes one morning a week at a church located about a 25 minute round trip from our home; A duration of time just long enough for me to accomplish nothing of real value.  I call it “doing the preschool shuffle”, because the amount of time is just long enough to start something, but not long enough to finish anything.  I can grocery shop, but I can’t make it all the way home, unload the car, and get everything put away.  I can clean a few rooms, but then I find one more thing to clean, and I don’t leave myself time to put everything away that has managed to navigate into the wrong place, resulting in yet another pile of stuff that then needs to be tended to “later”, as I dash out the door to pick His Majesty up at the appointed time.  Every time I tried returning home to clean something, I was late picking him up.  Every time.  I tried taking Christopher out for breakfast, but he doesn’t like getting dressed before 9, and he says that he gets more work done without His Majesty squawking in the background.  Even shopping for myself– in all of the unaccompanied bliss that the preschool morning would afford me– proves challenging, because most of the department stores that I favor don’t open until 10, and/or are a 30 minute drive from the school, which wastes far too much time.  So, I’ve all but given up on finding practical uses for that 2.8 hours a week (it actually works out to be a little less than 2.8 hours, since His Majesty is not a morning person, and the more I try to get him ready on time in the morning, the more he digs in his heels and intentionally moves slower, resulting in us chronically arriving about 15 minutes late), and I have taken to doing more self oriented (note that I did not say “selfish) activities like reading, making uninterrupted social phone calls, eyebrow and hair maintenance, and the occasional deep tissue massages.  I’m all about time management, folks.

So, as much as I now enjoy those few hours, what’s more important is that His Majesty LOVES it.  He runs down the hallway towards his classroom, bursts through the door, practically rips his backpack and jacket off and rushes to embarks on what is certainly an exhausting few hours of hard core play.  He makes art work.  He goes on the playground.  He listens to finger plays and songs and stories. He thoroughly wears himself out, and takes a monster nap when we get home.  He is all about going to play school.

Plus, he loves his teachers, Miss Beth and Miss Sarah.  Aside from noticing that they are always hugging him and telling him how fantastic he is, I also noticed that they always show up with coffee or hot tea in the mornings.  So, when I originally pinned this tea wreath, from Kojo Designs, it was with them in mind.  Last week, as I was getting a thoroughly awesome massage from Tabitha at Balance Day Spa, it dawned on me that due to an upcoming family trip, His Majesty’s last morning of play school was coming up this week, and I had better get moving on the project.  The things that occur to you while you’re getting a massage.

Luckily, it didn’t take long, and the supplies are easy to find and inexpensive.  You probably have some of them lying around your house already.

Here’s what I used for each wreath:

A large cardboard box to cut the circles that would serve as the wreath

10 inch Dinner plates to serve as the stencil for how large to make the wreath

A compass (remember those from when you were in school?) to make the inner circles

2 large pieces of scrapbook paper (I used 14 inch squares)

ribbon, coordinating with your scrapbook paper (to hang the wreath)

wooden clothespins (I used 24 on one wreath and 21 on the other, it just depends on how you space everything out)

mod podge

foam brushes to apply mod podge

hot glue and hot glue gun

tea bags in individual packets (equal to the number of clothes pins you’ll adhere to your wreath)

scissors

a pencil or pen for tracing

I started by cutting out my wreath forms from the cardboard boxes.  I traced around the plate and then had my husband cut them out.  I am not handy with a pair of scissors.

I used thick corrugated boxes for my cardboard, so I didn’t bother gluing two circles together like the tutorial at Kojo Designs, but that’s your call, depending on how firm the cardboard you use is.  Remember that it is going to support the weight of the clothes pins and the tea, so you don’t want it to be too flimsy.

I traced the cut out circles onto scrapbook paper, sticking close to the edge.  Don’t trace your circles in the middle of the page.  Tracing close to the edges allowed me to use the leftover paper to trace out the pieces that would eventually be used to cover the clothes pins.

Trace on the “bad” side of the paper, so that you don’t leave marks on it after you’ve cut the strips out.

Then I had my husband use the compass to trace out the center circles, and cut them out.

Finding the center of the circle.

You want the thickness of the cardboard to be about as wide as the clothes pins.

I covered both sides of the cardboard with scrapbook paper, using mod podge applied with a foam brush.

Then I covered the clothes pins with the paper strips, again using mod podge and a foam brush.  I let them dry for a few minutes, and then applied another thin layer of mod podge to the top of the scrapbook paper.  You only need to cover one side of the clothes pins, because the other side is going to be glued to the wreath.

I let everything dry overnight, and then I glued the ribbon that will allow the wreath to be hung on a pantry door or hook.  I knotted the ribbon together, tied a bow at the top, and hot glued it for stability.

The next step was to use hot glue to adhere the covered clothes pins (applying glue to the plain, uncovered side) onto the wreath.

As the glue was drying, I opened up my tea packets.  Learn from my mistake, please. I bought three yummy sounding teas made by the same manufacturer.  But then, I opened the first box, Lemon Zinger, and sighed.

They were not individually wrapped tea packs.

Boo.  When I bought them, I had a 50/50 chance of getting what I needed.  A smarter woman would not have gambled the entire purchase on one brand, and would have gotten multiple brands, just in case she was wrong.  I was mesmerized by the delicious sounding names, and made a bad call. Raspberry Zinger, Lemon Zinger, Honey and Vanilla… Mmmmmm….. Learn from my mistake.

But, as it turned out, I had many varieties of tea in individually wrapped packets in my kitchen, and more than enough to complete this project.  Plus now I’ve added these three boxes to my collection.  Quite a selection, indeed.  Friends who are reading this, accept my offer for tea when you come over next.  Please. I have so many options for you to choose from.  Just. Drink. Some. Tea.

In any regard, you want your tea to come individually wrapped, like this.

I applied them to the wreath using the clothes pins, alternating the colors to make them extra pretty. (After I took this picture, I found another variety, so I swapped some things around and added an additional choice, which you may notice in later photos)

I finished both wreaths in under about 2 hours total (divided up into smaller blocks of time) and spent less than $10 per wreath.

I’m going to combine these with gift cards, and I hope that the combination will be a nice treat for His Majesty’s teachers.

But what do you think?  Did I do the tutorial justice?  Do you think the gift will be well received?