Monday, September 29, 2014
Halloween is near, and that means candy...I mean costumes! I've always loved trick-or-treating. My brother and I would dress up each year and set out as early as we could to maximize our loot. We knew which houses were the ones giving out the best candy...and which ones were the ones giving out toothbrushes. When we got a little older, my dad would drive us to the "rich neighborhoods" where they would hand out the really good stuff. The long walk up those winding driveways were rewarded with full-size candy bars :)
Here in Pittsburgh, it's very much a family-centered community, and that includes trick-or-treating. Our neighborhood is full of many young families, and all of them are out on Halloween having a good time. I always ask my kids what they want to be for Halloween, and for the past several years, my daughter has always gone as one of the Disney princesses. Last year, Connor chose to be a dragon (you can find the DIY here.) This year, I thought for sure he'd choose the same thing since his interests are few, so when he asked to be a Minion from the movie Despicable Me, I got really excited.
We love Despicable Me at our house. We own both movies, and they're on repeat frequently. The little Minions are just so cute and lovable! And boy do they love bananas.
The wheels in my head started turning on how to make my boy into a cute little Minion. My main goal for this costume was that I wanted it to be warm and wearable for more than just Halloween - who wants to put all that work into something that's going to be worn for one night, amiright?
Luckily, it turns out Minion costumes are really simple! All you need is some overalls, felt and a hoodie (or hoodie pattern in my case) to alter.
For Connor's Minion costume, I used the Henday Zip Up Hoodie by Gracious Threads as my base pattern, but you could easily use a hoodie you have on hand. I made my hoodie from yellow fleece I got at Jo-Ann Fabric which is super soft and warm; perfect for what are usually chilly Halloween evenings here in PA. The overalls were a clearance purchase from Target, but you could DIY them as well using Peek-a-boo Patterns' Okey Dokey Overalls or another similar pattern.
I didn't make an official step-by-step tutorial because this is such a simple project, but I'll give you a rundown of what I did: I followed the Henday Hoodie pattern as usual, but when it came to making the hood, I folded a square of felt in half and cut strips almost to the center to make hair. Then, I sandwiched the hair in between the hood pieces, and sewed the hood as usual. After the hood was attached, I layered some felt circles in gray, white and black for the eye and goggle and sewed them on. Then I sewed on two strips of black for the goggle band. I then chose to line the hood to hide all the stitching of the applique and hair, but that step is totally optional. Everything else was sewn per the pattern instructions.
And there you have it, instant Minion. Sounds a little complicated but seriously, it was so easy. I think I made the whole hoodie in under an hour and a half, if that. If you're using a RTW (ready to wear) hoodie, it's just as simple as sewing on some felt pieces as explained above.
And now I have a happy little Minion ready for trick-or-treating! Connor has already worn his new Minion jacket outside with several compliments. Wouldn't it be fun to make an evil purple Minion using the same method?? Maybe next year!
What are you sewing up for Halloween?
Monday, September 15, 2014
This month we were challenged to create something inspired by fall for the Michaels Makers project... specifically some home decor or something for hosting little soirees. I've been wanting to DIY one of these banners for so long and thought this would be the perfect opportunity!
Rope - Ashland brand bought in store (not available online)
Fake Succulents - Ashland Fall Bouquet available in store (not available online)
Dial rod or square basswood pole
First, cut a rectangle roughly the size you want your banner to be. To get the ribbon cut on the bottom, follow the diagram below. After that, paint your words! I used a square tip paint brush to get the clean edges. Make sure to put something beneath the burlap before painting! It WILL get everywhere! I chose the Bible scripture 1 Thessalonians 5:18. For each line, I'd measure out and mark with a pencil how where the letters were to begin to make sure everything was spaced properly.
Next, fold the top edge down, making sure that your rod fits inside. Then glue with your glue gun. Slide your rod in after the glue has set. I chose a square rod because it prevented it from spinning once I attached the succulents. Tie your rope to the ends, you can place a dot of glue within the not to reinforce it if you'd like. Next, take your succulents and simply wrap the wire stem around the rod where you'd like them to be, placing a dot of glue to hold them in place if you feel it necessary.
Now you're set to hang! I put me in a place that can't be ignored, because I think the words are ones to be reminded of constantly.
Looking for autumn inspiration? Check out Michaels' Fall Market Lookbook. I spent a good hour in the store pouring over all the awesome selections in their fall market place!
Friday, August 15, 2014
My daughter has been really into reading lately, which is really exciting for me because I was quite the bookworm when I was little (I used my allowance to buy every Garfield book I could get my hands on.) Every night, my daughter and I read a book or two before bed to help her wind down and because reading "makes the bad dreams go away" according to her. I think it's just another way to delay bedtime, but who am I to argue with the powers of a good book :)
This month's theme as part of Michael's Makers is back-to-school. With kindergarten just over a week away I wanted to make something for Haley that would encourage her love of reading as she goes into the new school year. What better way than to make her a library tote to carry her library books?
Friday, August 1, 2014
Is it just me, or is summer just flying by for anyone else? I was the first to sprint outside in shorts and a tank top on the first day the temperature crept over 55, but now school is looming right around the corner and it seems like summer is quickly slipping away. I will definitely miss all of the fun trips to the zoo, park and pool that we've done this summer, but with my daughter's very first day of kindergarten coming up soon, I know it's about time I get off the couch/computer and help Haley prepare, not that she needs much help really. She was ready to kick me out the door the day we visited the school!
When I took Haley into school to take her kindergarten assessment test, they had her do several different activities to determine her readiness (and she passed with flying colors I'm proud to say!) Two of the things they said she needed a little more work on was writing her name, and recognizing/writing her letters. Today, Michael's kicked off a campaign, #Create2Educate, encouraging parents and teachers to incorporate more DIY projects into their plans for the new school year, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to make something to encourage my daughter to practice her reading and writing skills in a fun way!
With just a handful of supplies, I came up with a fun and useful chalkboard breakfast tray that can be used to practice writing and word recognition during breakfast time - and it's ridiculously easy to make, which happens to be my favorite kind of crafting :)
Friday, July 18, 2014
I'm so excited to tell you about one of my new favorite summer/fall wardrobe staples - the Hummingbird Pantsuit by Rabbit Rabbit Creations. I'm sure many of you are already familiar with the Hummingbird Dress. I'd seen so many cute versions floating around the internet that I HAD to buy it myself. That bodice? Adorable. After making a few dresses, I saw there was a call on the Rabbit Rabbit Facebook page for testers for it's big sister, the pantsuit, and couldn't apply quick enough! I'm so honored to have been picked to test such an adorable pattern, and it doesn't disappoint. I wasn't required to blog about it, I just love this pattern and wanted to share.
Be prepared for an overload of cuteness.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
I've been sewing up a storm for my kids' wardrobe next summer. I know it's a full year away, but I like to be prepared! OK, I guess in this case I like to be very prepared. I was that girl in college who immediately started working on a term paper the day it was assigned, just so that I could take my time and be done with time to spare. I've always envied those people who could work the night before a deadline. That's just not me. Apparently I need an entire year lol.
My goal (for the first time ever!) was to make as much of my kids' summer wardrobe as possible. I always make pieces here and there to fill out their current wardrobe, but this time, I wanted to tackle making an. Entire. Wardrobe. Times two. A lofty goal, but one I was pretty excited about.
With two wardrobes looming, I needed some good patterns, and the Soleil Dress by Selvage Designs came to mind immediately.
Friday, December 20, 2013
So excited to share this inexpensive and easy project with you! All you need is a sheet of basswood, a craft knife, a rule, pencil and some paint!
First - Decide how big you want your tree to be. My first one I made 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide. Mark the wood and draw your triangle
Second - Use your ruler and craft knife to cut along the lines you drew. It may take several scores with the knife to get through the wood. Don't press too hard or you may crack the wood.
Third - Draw a line half way up from the middle of the base on one triangle. Then draw a line half way down from the tip of the triangle on the other. Use your craft knife to cut a slice about 1/16 to 1/8 inch where the line was.
Fourth - Slide your pieces together to make sure they fit.
Fifth - Paint a fancy little design on it!
These take little time to make, but turn out so adorable! It would even be fun to cut them out and let the kids paint/color/glitterfy them.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I think the photos for this are pretty self-explanatory.. you need pine cones. Lots. And jute twine. Lots. Then you tie a knot around the pine cone with the jute. Repeat. Lots. The end! We're going for woodland-ish theme for Christmas this year so I figured my metallic pink bead garland was quite cohesive with the whole woodsy theme. I wanted something unique, fast and inexpensive... Problem solved! I covered the tree with this garland and also adorned each window in the living room. I so love it!
Now onto something completely NOT craft/blog related, but too cute not to share... This is what I have to battle with every single Christmas...
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I'm sharing a fun little project I did to give homes to some lonely little succulents. And when I say little... I mean itty bitty.
All you need is:
Dirt and a plant!
First, cut 1/5 of your block of polymer off and roll it out to be about 1/8" thick. Cut 2 squares that are 2"x2". Cut 2 squares that are 2"x1 3/4". Next, Cut the front of the house with a peak on the front. That should be 5 total pieces.
Now, bake them according to the instructions on your clay. Make sure they are laying completely flat on your baking sheet!
After they are baked and cooled, paint the windows, doors and any other accents you'd like to add.
Piece your house together and use a hot glue gun to seal the edges and make it water tight.
Use the 2 pieces that are 2" x 1 3/4" as the sides so they will fit snuggly between the front and back pieces.
Next, plant your succulent and water!
I made a tiny village of these for my windowsill in the kitchen. I absolutely love them!
Monday, November 18, 2013
I am STRAIGHT UP obsessed with plaid this year. It's everywhere. And I love it. I was lusting over a tartan plaid infinity scarf on Etsy that was going for $35 and of course, like any good crafter/blogger, I reacted by saying, "I can SO make that." So I hit up the fabric store, found some amazing feeling flannel and raced home. Within 10 minutes of sitting down I had myself an identical scarf to the one on Etsy for a mere $4 (got the fabric on a wicked awesome sale!)
All you need is a sewing machine and 2 yards of flannel. I cut mine to be 22" thick and the full 72" long.
Next, sew a single stitch along the long sides to prevent fraying. (Although, I like the little bit of fray that resulted up to the stitch line.) Next, sew your two short ends together.
THAT'S IT. The best part? This is even great for a guy. My husband immediately requested one for himself. He loves scarves, but never seems to know how to wrap/tie his properly. Problem solved.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person that is suffering from being overrun by generic glass vases that you've never used again since their first appearance housing a gifted bouquet of flowers. I have a ridiculous amount. I've been trying to figure out something "sustainable" to do with them. You could always spray paint them... or... spray paint them.. That was all I could come up with, but then what do I do with a plethora of spray painted, oddly shaped vases? I get exhausted just thinking about it all. You could also donate them... some florists take in orphaned vases to reuse, which I think is brilliant. Unfortunately, the only one around here I could find was a significant drive away.
So, the round up I put together last of DIY Harvest Centerpieces inspired me. Specifically, the repurposed sweaters as vase covers. However, not wanting to cut up any of my sweaters, I decided to create my own. I always have plenty of yarn stashed away... finally, the solution to my hoards of vases (and hoards of yarn) seemed easy, attainable... and attractive!
If you don't know how to crochet, I'll refer you towards some amazing tutorials to help you. I don't think I'm anywhere near proficient enough to teach someone the basics, (although, I did try to teach 2 of my good friends this past weekend with some success!) But, if you already know how to chain your first row and the basic crochet stitches, you'll be good to go!
I chained just enough to slightly stretch around the circumference of the base of the vase. You want your vase sweater to squeeze slightly so it will stay in place. Once you get your chain long enough, connect the end to your loop. You will have a circle.
Next, chain 3 up and do a triple crochet stitch. I find this gives such a great chunky feel to it, leaving the yarn with space between stitches without getting too tight. Once you come full circle, do a single crochet stitch to connect the ends of that row. You should have a seemless connection. Just repeat that until your sweater is as tall as you need it to be to cover your vase.
Sources for Learning to Crochet:
Learn How to Crochet Part 1 - This video is very well done and I think pretty easy to follow. Give it a shot if you want to learn the basics of crocheting.
Futuregirl Craft Blog - I've been following Alice for over 6 years now. She's the one that inspired me to learn to crochet to begin with. Her blog offers some amazing tutorials and ideas!
The Happy Hooker - This book will teach you SO easily how to read crochet patterns. Honestly, I never thought I'd understand all the weirdness that is a crochet pattern, but with this book, I was making flowers in no time.
**Disclaimer: The above mentioned sources are not promoting this post. I am simply mentioning them because they work. I've tried them myself and I think they can help you all become awesome Hookers, too!