Friday, December 6, 2013

DIY Pine Cone Door Decor

This is a little overdue, but I blame JoAnns for running out of ribbon. I had to wait until they got more of this wired dusty teal burlap/linen ribbon back in stock to finish the project. It was mostly done before Thanksgiving anyway....

This is a simple Thanksgiving or Christmas DIY door decoration. It cost me about $5. The ribbon I got at JoAnns with coupons, and I bought some circle screw-in hooks, that's it. The fabulous giant pine cones came from Ryan's grandparent's yard. They have a sugar pine tree (or two) that drop these giant pine cones and they are kind enough to share.

I considered dipping the pine cones in white paint for a more modern look, but they are pretty sappy and earthy, and for this I think I prefer them au natural.

If you want to try this yourself, its super easy.
1. Just use a small drill bit to drill a hole in the top of your pine cones.
2. Screw in your little circle hooks.
3. Tie on the ribbon.
4. Make some bows and glue them on with a hot glue gun, and away you go.

Pin It

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween Costumes 2013 (part 2)

Now for Ezra's costume. I love me a good paper maché costume. It's cheap, it's easy, but it certainly does not store well. This, in fact, did not really survive the night. A 2-yr old and paper maché aren't exactly a great match. But I do have suggestions for making it work, below. Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc.

I did add the little horns after this photo shoot, because I realized I forgot them, but the new photos didn't turn out great. Ez liked to hold onto them as handles. The arms and legs are just footless tights from, my go-to source for tights in any color. And I paper-machéd a 36" balloon ( or local party supply stores), doing 3 or 4 or 5 layers, so it would be strong enough. Plus some green spray paint. What I should have done though is layered the inside with duct tape to toddler-proof it. I did that around the neck as we were heading out the door to trick-or-treat, but it could have used a little more, especially since he fell once. I also had bought a blue baseball cap and had good intentions of putting an MU logo on it, but got busy and lazy and wasn't sure he'd wear it anyway, so I skipped that. The eye and mouth I painted on with acrylic paint, and that's what really saved it.

My kids both loved the costume, and Ezra loved wearing it, despite his lack of maneuverability. And that' all that really matters, isn't it? Pin It

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Costumes 2013

For some reason I always come up with these costumes that are difficult to live in. Like barely fitting though door-ways and no room to store them kind of costumes. I'm going to try to do better in that aspect in the future!
Back in July, when I started brainstorming for Halloween, I asked Ava for suggestions, and she said she wanted to be a cake. I was totally on board. So a little cardboard, poster board, duct tape, and felt, and voilá! Here's the finished product!

I wanted it to be kind of girly, not like a wedding cake. But fun, not like a 9x13 pan cake or something, and recognizable. I almost put candles on every layer, but decided that would be too much. What do you think? Should I have? The candles are just paper straws with some felt flames glued in.

The nice thing is that I only had to buy the pink felt and white fleece. The sprinkle colors of felt I already had in my stash (it's just the 45 cent sheets of felt).

And this is the support structure. Real fancy, eh? cardboard boxes, posterboard, and duct tape. With a slit in the back to help get it on her. Really though, the back could have been all closed up except for the top circle which needed to bend open to allow her head through. I did put buttons on the back of the fabric so it wasn't gaping open or anything.

That cardboard part will be tossed now so I can easily store the fabric part. When I want to use it again, it will only cost me about $2 to remake the cardboard support structure.
The best part though, is how happy she was when she put it on. She absolutely love it! That is the best reward of all!
I'll post Ezra's costume next.
Pin It

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making Costumes!

I have 4 days until our first Halloween party, and the last 2 of those days are scheduled for other things, meaning I have 2 days to turn this into something Trick-or-Treat worthy! Let the race begin!

Anyone want to guess what these 2 costumes will be in 2 days? (Anyone who doesn't know already, that is). Pin It

Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Reclaimed Wood Headboard

It only took me about a year to get this project done. I acquired some reclaimed wood from my kind brother when he tore down the 30-something year old shed in his backyard. It sat in my backyard for a while, then my husband moved it into the garage and gave me a time limit to finish it. I guess that's what I needed, and I was glad for it.

But I finally tackled it. I loved reclaimed wood for it's color and texture variations, and this wood is good and worn, let me tell you. Some of it was a little warped too. I read up on doing this and brushed it to death, sanded lightly, started to spray it with a clear coat (but didn't like the result so I quit), and so on. I finally decided, this wood is so old and worn, I can't imagine there are any chemicals left in it at all. And the spraying didn't seem to reduce the likelihood of splinters at all, but it's not too bad that way. It's full of old nail holes and cracks and character and I just love it.

I couldn't find quite the right screws I wanted, so I bought black ones and lightly coated them with some bronze/gold spray paint and they turned out the perfect color. On the lighter wood they show a little more, on the darker wood they almost disappear. It's nice. And look at those old rusty nail holes.

Below you can see some of the weathered variations. As for the ends, I haven't treated them yet, but let me tell you what worked fabulously on my mirror frame. I read all about soaking steel wool in vinegar, etc. but that didn't give me as much as I wanted. So I grabbed a gold Sharpie marker that was on my desk and threw that into the mix. It was perfect! a little of the vinegar solution, a little marker, a little more vinegar, and the result matched perfectly the ends that were naturally weathered. So that's what I will do here as well.

Now to get some nightstands...

Pin It

Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY Reclaimed Wood Framed Mirror

Years and years ago, probably when I was in college, I bought a $10 standing mirror at Target. Tacky cheap frame and all. A few years ago, that tacky cheap frame broke off and got tossed. And the mirror never got replaced! It just sat there, naked and bare, against my bedroom wall. Talk about tacky.
But it is tacky no more!

Thanks to my brother and his torn down shed, I obtained a good pile of old, weathered, reclaimed wood. I brought it home for another project (sneak peak at the end of this post), and used some of the extra scraps to make a frame for this sad and lonely mirror.

The pieces weren't quite long enough for me to do angled corner cuts, but I think the straight cuts work due to the rustic-ness of the wood.

I did have to deal with a little bit of warping, but it wasn't too bad. I love the cracks and knots and holes and coloring in the wood.

Now I have no training in this type of construction, but I did a little research, a little brainstorming, and just kind of figured it out. It's not rocket science. So if you're interested, here's how I did it.

1. I first glued all the pieces together with liquid nails (carefully measuring the inside space to make sure it was all squared, given the warping). No wait. I first measured and cut, and scrubbed with a brush to remove loose particles. A very light sanding too, but you can't do much or it takes that weathered finish right off.

2. I then screwed in the corner braces you see below. Most of them are crooked because of trying to avoid cracks, or reinforce cracks in the wood. It doesn't need to be pretty on the back (though I would prefer it).

3. In the above picture you can see I filled in a crack or two with liquid nails. Unnecessary, but I figured why not. A little reinforcement can't hurt. And see that duct-taped corner below? I know, I know, why am I still holding on to this old mirror? Because I can't stand to just toss it when it will work fine. I chipped that mirror corner in the process, but just a little, so I taped it for safety and it's hidden anyway.

4. After the frame was secured together, I used a little liquid nails (ignorance on my part--shoulda' used Mirror Mastic--if I had known what it was) to glue the mirror to the frame.

5. Then I added mirror clips (more visible in the above photo) to really hold the mirror on there. And that's it! I started to spray it with a sealant but had a hard time getting an even coat, plus I figured it's been so weathered that any old chemicals that were on there are pretty much washed and worn away by the years of weather.

And here's a little peak at a few other things. Me at 16 weeks (I'm pregnant!) And also these are some old work pants I cut off and turned into Bermuda shorts. They were a bit flared at the bottom so I hadn't worn them in years, but they fit nicely in the waist and behind so I hated to toss them. Perfect solution and super easy to do, a great way to upcycle your clothes. Of course with my growing belly, this will probably be the last time I wear them for a while.

And one last thing. The purpose of my collecting the reclaimed wood in the first place was to make a headboard for my bed. I'll show you the whole thing once I get a duvet cover and some night stands (can you tell my bedroom is in sorry shape?). But this will have to do for now:

Pin It

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ava's Pirate Princess Party

My daughter, Ava, has been lately loving the Disney show, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. And she loves princesses (much to my surprise... I grew up in a family of 5 girls and one boy, and none of us were princess girls). There is an episode of Jake that is about a Pirate Princess, so I thought that would be the perfect theme for her birthday party.
I started with the idea of some mini treasure chest cakes (I thought this was going to be so brilliant). I used mini bread loaf pans to make the basic shape. Only I over-filled the first batch so they looked like they had tumors. That was the beginning of a downhill slide. For possibly the first time ever, I bought a tub of frosting instead of making my own (figuring 4 yr olds wouldn't care). That was mistake #2. I bought chunky gold sugar and rainbow confetti sprinkles to fill the "treasure chest" cakes, which was one thing done right. I liked that part. I had planned to also put a ring pop inside each one but I neglected to buy enough, so I opted for plastic rings of which I had plenty.
Mistake #3 was trusting in my cake making skills. Apparently frosting (at least with store-bought stuff) is not my forté! I'd call these a big CRAFT FAIL. But the 4yr olds didn't seem to notice. They're nice like that.

Almost everyone dressed up (mostly as princesses). Including me. (I didn't include pics of the other kids because I don't have their permission.) Ezra is giving his best Aaaarrr. This was a last minute throw-together costume. Can you tell?

Ava is showing off her tattoo. Sorry for the overexposure.

I traced a picture of the pirate princess for the kids to color. And they each got a little necklace pouch with pixie sticks (their pixie dust, like the girl in the show has).

Then they decorated home made felt pirate hats with sticky-backed gems (I bought a big pack on Amazon for cheap). They had a lot of fun with that.

To take home they got a pink treasure chest with a ring pop (every kid's favorite, I swear). A plastic necklace and another ring, a pirate tattoo, some chocolate gold coins, and Rolos. If I was a bigger fan of sugar I would have given them candy necklaces instead of plastic dress up ones.

 Not the most put-together party I've ever done, but it was fun for the kids and that's what really matters.

Pin It

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sleepy Eye Mask

It's been a while since I've made one of these, and it was time for a new one.

This time instead of batting I just used some leftover thick gray fleece on the inside, so it provides more light blockage and is just as soft and cushy. The back side is a dark gray silky satin. Now I can sleep in until 7:00 if my kids don't wake me up first.
Oh, and Ava just went to a pajama party birthday and they decorated their own little eye masks with glitter and pom poms, and now she loves to put hers on at night, even if it's already dark. Cute.

Pin It

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Little Birthday

My son just turned 2, and although he isn't of age yet to have any birthday expectations, I wanted to at least have a little family party for him. I went with a summer theme but I hardly have any photos, like hardly any at all. And my daughter deleted the photos of my handmade piñata, so I don't even have that to share! But all of these ideas were taken from other people, none of them are mine, so I'm okay with that. I just didn't feel like I had enough time to be uniquely creative.

What I do have is watermelon on a stick, which I must say I loved. Made it easier for the kids to eat it too. (These are easy, just make a little slit with a knife in the rind and shove a stick up in it).

 And caterpillar grapes, which I snapped a quick photo of before they disappeared (they are already half gone).

And to go along with the popsicle piñata we had popsicle cupcakes with orange dreamsicle frosting, yum!

We also had kebabs for dinner, and of course corn on the cob. The weather was lovely in our shady back yard. It was a fun little family party and now I think he knows what "birthday" means in the celebratory sense of the word, anyway.

Pin It

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Decor

You would think that being a designer and creative Do-It-Yourselfer, I would have a nicely decorated house. You would think. But you see, I'm an overly practical person. I can't bring myself to buy or make any decor that doesn't also serve a useful purpose. Lame, I know. I'm working on it. Doesn't help that I'm "frugal" either, and have commitment issues with furnishings.

Enter the kitchen framed chalkboard. Attractive but useful. I can use it to write notes, messages, recipes, grocery lists, reminders, or just leave it as decoration. I had this frame from a previous project and was needing to do an experiment with making your own chalkboard paint anyway, so it was a perfect opportunity.
Here's how to do your own.
1. Spray paint a frame.
2. Take a piece of foam core or other stiff smooth surface and cut it to size.
3. Roll it with either chalkboard paint or a homemade version (mix 1/2 c latex paint and 1 Tablespoon non-sanded grout).*

*My experience with the homemade stuff: Its pretty good actually. You should probably sift your grout with a flour sifter or something, because the only issue I had was a few small clumps that had to be smoothed out and covered again.

I got the paint for free and the grout for free and the frame was like $3, so not a bad deal overall! (see, I told you I'm frugal) Pin It

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father's Day Free Printable

Here's a little banner I thought I'd share, to add a little pizazz to your Father's Day treats.  You can download it and print it onto colored cardstock, or have your kids color it with pencils or markers or whatever. Glue some toothpicks on the back and then add it to his pancakes, french toast, ice cream cake, brownies, pizza, or whatever to make it extra special!
Like so.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there who probably do more for their kids than they realize.

Oh yeah, and here's how I made this ice cream cake, in case you are interested:

5 ice cream sandwiches
1/4 gallon oreo ice cream, softened
1/2 recipe of chocolate mousse from here
1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
5 crushed oreos
caramel sauce

Line a bread pan with wax paper. Line bottom of pan with ice cream sandwiches (trim if necessary). Spread ice cream over sandwiches. Freeze while you prepare the mousse, as directed in the link post. Spread mousse over ice cream. Spread whipped cream over mousse and top with crushed oreos. Freeze. Before serving, thaw for a few minutes and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Pin It

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Giveaway Closed

Since the first winner was unreachable and never contacted me.
using the new winner that was selected is

who said: There are so many dresses and skirts I have my eye on, but I think I'd have to go with the Conductor Dress - I just got a new job and it would be such a great office staple piece!

Congratulations Linnea! I will contact you to get the appropriate information.
And thanks to everyone who entered, I hope you win next time!


I'm excited to share with you another fabulous giveaway! This one is for a $50 gift certificate to Shabby Apple! They have a great selection of vintage clothing, dresses, skirts, tops, swimwear and more. I've had my eye on the Gondola dress for a while now. I love simple graphic looks.

I'm also loving their selection of tulle skirts. They look so fun to wear!

This top would be so great for summer (and I love her hair!)

So go check out Shabby Apple and leave a comment telling me what you'd love to buy with your $50 gift certificate, and you'll be entered in the drawing! The giveaway ends Friday June 14th, so hurry!
Pin It

Thursday, May 30, 2013

DIY Anthropologie Cardigan (& Tutorial!)

A month or two ago I saw this darling Clipped Etymology Cardigan at Anthropologie. I wanted it. And I happen to be in need of a new black cardigan. So I had to make it happen.
See the lovely rose buttons? And the meticulously yet imperfectly hand-tied french knots?

I wanted the blouse they paired it with in the store too. But I don't have a bottomless budget, so it was time to get crafty. I found a simple (and surprisingly good quality) black cardigan at Old Navy for $20. And I already had some embroidery floss at home, and some buttons I could cover, and some fabric with small vintage-style roses! I was set! Or so I thought.
I watched a few tutorials on how to tie french knots, to refresh my memory. My first 5 attempts failed for some reason, but then I got it and never had trouble again.
Half way through my french knot scallops I ran out of floss. I thought I had gotten it a year ago at Jo-Anns so it should be no problem to get more. Wrong. I eventually remembered I had bought it 5 years ago for a project and they no longer carry that color. So with much disappointment, and drooping shoulders, I carefully snipped out 150 french knots and started over. I must be crazy.

But here is my (finally) finished sweater:

I tested my fabric covered buttons before they were covered, and they fit through the button holes. Once covered, however, they no longer fit! So that is the one flaw. I can't button it. I think if I greased them up a bit they might squeeze through, but obviously that is out of the question.
Does anyone know if you can expand button holes somehow? I'd love to know some trick.

And the final comparison:
Cost: $20 Cardigan, $3 ivory floss/string, $4 for a second packet of buttons
I must say, I am extremely pleased with this project. I'll probably wear it this week even though it's 80 degrees out.

If you want to try it, here's what you'll need:

1 cardigan (you could do any color)
fabric covered button kit (make sure they fit the button holes!) -how many you need will depend on your cardigan
fabric with small floral/rose print (1/4 yd should be plenty, or a fat quarter)
embroidery floss or something similar
a milliner needle (I used a regular needle and it was a real pain)
a piece of cardboard or cardstock
a white pencil
a good long movie or audiobook

1. Measure the length of your cardigan from top to bottom where you want the scallops to go. Divide by 5.5 (or however many scallops you want). Use that number to determine how wide your scallops should be, and create a template as follows.
2. Find a bowl, roll of masking tape, large cup, whatever and trace around it on the cardstock/cardboard to create your scallop template. You want it to be a little less than a half circle, and make the widest points the size of measurement from step 1.
3. Using your white pencil, trace over your template onto the cardigan repeatedly until you have evenly spaced scallops. (The sleeves will require a smaller template, but same idea).

4. Turn on your movie and begin the french knotting! (Watch a tutorial on YouTube if you need to.) I spaced mine about a millimeter or two apart. As your floss runs short you will need to tie on a new piece (on the inside of the cardigan) to continue.
5. Follow the instructions on the package to cover your buttons. I recommend using the template they give you rather than free-handing it, because they turn out nicer if you do.
6. Carefully remove the buttons that cam with the cardigan and sew your new ones on in the same place. And you are done!

Pin It

Sunday, May 19, 2013

5K Foam Fest

This post is a departure from my normal craftiness, but it's too good not to share (plus I'm giving you a discount code). First, check out this video:

The 5K Foam Fest is a 5K fun run with obstacles and bubbles and mud and the world's largest inflatable slide. This slide is called the Death Drop, 40 ft high, and I'm dying to do it! (Do you see the ant-sized people around it?)

The great thing about this kind of a run is that it is for everyone! Even if you aren't a runner, you can do this because you can take it at your own pace. Doesn't it look like a blast?! These events are held all over the country (USA).

And for my Utah readers I have a special discount for you! So get all your friends together and sign up at Use the discount code


and combined with early bird pricing that will only cost you $40 instead of $75 (day of the race registration). Children must be at least 10 yrs old to participate, but they do have bouncy houses and some fun stuff for younger kids to be entertained as well. I can hardly wait!
Pin It

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Truth About DIY Gold Sharpie Mugs

You may have seen the gold Sharpie mug tutorials floating around the webosphere. Seems like such a fun idea, right? Easy way to cuten up some plain mugs. Since I have some plain white mugs I thought I'd give it a try. Let me just state that I get discouraged by DIY tutorials that don't yield professional looking results. Sure, anyone can fake a photo or make something look good on screen, but I want things that are actually going to look good and be worth my time and money.

So I followed the instructions carefully. I colored my mugs (round one showed streaky marker lines so I had to bake and then do a second layer). And baking them took away the shiny gold sheen and left them a dull brassy gold. But I could live with that.

As the mugs sat on my counter top for a while awaiting their photography session, one got a smudge of butter on it. And whadya know! The gold wiped clean off! (So why did I bother baking it? I assumed that would create some sort of permanence). But on the up side, you could do these for a party and then just wipe them clean when you are done, using a little grease or butter! But I'm not sure it's worth baking them. And it's definitely not permanent.

Pin It