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.

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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.
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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...

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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:

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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.

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