I don't do much seasonal decorating around the house, but when Halloween and Christmas roll around, I am willing to pull out my bucket of decorations. The kids have a blast seeing all the little goodies that have been boxed away for a year, and it's a nice transition into the holiday season. So, even though our little plastic pumpkins and homemade decor are pretty basic...we do make an effort. :) And I say "we" because Ayla and Paxton were VERY involved in the process...they even helped me clean the house so that we could bring in the decorations.
Here's what we ended up with for our fireplace mantle in the playroom this year for Halloween:
My altered halloween house is my favorite decoration for this season, and the glittery pumpkin and "boo" garland is definitely a kid-favorite - especially since Paxon's favorite color is orange right now (he points it out everywhere).
I framed my "Being a Family" poster and included it on the mantel too (it & the other photos sit there all year).
In the kitchen, we went for a more subtle decorating technique -- but I LOVE the element of surprise. Check out our gallery wall and all the little masked friends! I saved the black cardstock masks I used from last year so that all I had to do was find a photo that fit and stick 'em to the glass.
Plus, I made this trick or treat sign and have a special place in mind for it on our front porch (pictures coming soon!):
Since the weather finally cooling off this week, it's definitely starting to feel a little more like fall around here! Might as well look like it too. :)
Except now Ayla and Paxton think Halloween is MUCH closer than it is. They don't really understand that it's still a whole month away...They've been walking around the house carrying little pumpkin bags, knocking on each door and saying "trick or treat" and handing each other toy cars and pretend candy. Silly kids.
A while back, I made myself a jewelry organizer for my closet from a picture frame, wire and fabric. But, after dropping earrings on the floor over and over and over again (because of the fabric backing & wire not having enough space between them) I decided to give it another shot with a new design.
I went digging in my garage and came back with two metal cube panels, several nails and some ribbon.
I liked the idea of the metal cube pieces, because if you face them the right way, the cross-bars leave a natural space between them and the wall that allows the earrings to hang freely. Plus, using the grid means I can easily stagger the earrings so I can see them all well and they won't get tangled up together.
I used ribbon to tie two panels together and secured the top two corners with screws. The bottom is secured with one screw to hold it still.
Since this grid solution didn't work for my necklaces, I simply added some staggered nails directly to the wall.
Let's hope this solution is a little more user-friendly! I'm not the only one looking for a great jewelry organizing solution. Check out these great ideas that I found on pinterest:
While I was out of town for the month of July, traveling with the kids, Ben enjoyed 3 1/2 weeks of solitude at home. That's a lot of time for itty bitty handyman projects!
Among many nice little surprises, I came home to shiny new doorknobs on all our outside doors (yes, he changed the locks while I was gone!), new shelves in the pantry, and a brand new mailbox. And, if you have seen our old mailbox, you know that this was a WAY overdue project - as in we probably should have done it the day we moved in 4 years ago.
So, since he very nicely waited for me to get home to add numbers (because he knew I'd want to paint my own street number sign like the one by our front door), I figured it was time I got on that project before another 4 years passed. We were looking for a make-it-better, but it-doesn't-need-to-be-perfect look, so within a 5-minute conversation we made a quick design decision and I got to work.
Here's a look at our old mailbox, the new mailbox I came home to, and then new mailbox w/a snazzy new paint job on the post & a brand new street number sign.
Though I certainly wouldn't be opposed to some color at the street (I do love these colorful mailboxes), Ben is a little more conservative in his outdoor decor choices, so we opted for a make-it-blend, not too fancy monochromatic look. So all I did was make two beveled 1ft street number signs, give the post a new coat of paint, and slapped that baby back together. I started at noon, and was done with the whole shebang by dinner (didn't want to miss any mail!)
Yes, some flowers would look nice at the bottom of the post. Maybe someday! One project at a time...
Here's some more mailbox curb appeal for your day!
- turquoise & red mailbox
- unusual mailboxes (some silly stuff here!)
- mailbox makeover (I won't lie...she did it better than me!)
Except now I really want one of these:
How's your mailbox looking these days?
A few weeks ago I learned how to make a large t-shirt into a fitted tee shirt. Very cool, right? But...I still had some trouble figuring out how to make the sleeves look right since the REALLY big t-shirts had such low shoulder seams. Plus, the necks seemed awfully high and confining on some of the shirts I tried it on.
Since I'm NOT a seamstress of ANY kind, I went looking for some solutions and landed on this scoop-neck version that I think might be just what I needed.
Here's what I started with and the link to the tutorial for how to get from a large t-shirt to a fitted t-shirt:
It worked great with my navy fire department shirt, but with this shirt, I wasn't happy with the neckline or the sleeves, which meant I hadn't worn it yet and wasn't sure whether I liked it. So, I figured it couldn't hurt to get a little scissor happy on it again in an effort to "save" it once more.
Here's how it's done:
Lay your shirt on a flat surface.
Make a small snip on each shoulder about an inch from the collar. You can also put the shirt on and mark where you want to cut, but I've found that about an inch works perfectly for me, while keeping the shirt on my shoulders (instead of becoming an off-the-shoulder shirt).
I also make a cut down the center of the front collar, so that I have a mid-point to cut towards to make an even scoop across the front.
When you've finished cutting the front scoop, it looks a little like this:
Cut the back of the shirt straight across directly underneath the collar band.
Next, try on your shirt and mark where you want the length to be cut. I just used my scissors to cut a little hole on one side. (PS...I don't recommend holding a camera in the other hand while snipping! That's just for this tutorial pic!)
Lay the shirt back out on a flat surface and begin cutting across the bottom of the shirt where you marked.
I like to cut a small curve in the front, and then fold it over to match the other side.
For this shirt, I decided not re-cut the sleeves (yet), but you could cut them just after the shoulder seam to give the shirt an even more cropped-sleeve look. I'm going to try this short little sleeve out first and see what I think.
But that's it! It's significantly more comfortable with this neckline, and (I think) a little more fashionable. My husband still rolls his eyes and just sees me in a cut-up tee shirt. But that's a guy for you. :)
I have these two t-shirts that I love. They're soft, comfortable, and have good worn (and sentimental) designs on them. But, I never wear them for anything other than around the house because they are large men's t-shirts and look completely shapeless on me. Then I found this great tutorial on YouTube for how to make a big t-shirt a fitted shirt! - T-Shirt Surgery: How to Make a Shirt Fit
So, while I was staying with my mom at her camper this summer (she lives & travels in an RV), I asked her to help me try it out. So yes...we broke out the sewing machine next to the campfire. Strange, I know, but it gave us a project to work on!
First, a before & after look at the t-shirt we did. Oh yeah, I know you love those electric blue fingernails. :)
So, here's how it's done.
Start with a t-shirt you love that's just too big
Turn the shirt inside out and lay a shirt that DOES fit you on top of it, lining up the collars so that you can be sure it is centered over your large t-shirt.
Trace the shirt that DOES fit you onto the large t-shirt. Turn both shirts inside out so that you don't mark on the front of the shirts. I used a sharpie, but you'd be better off to use a washable marker, chalk or a fabric pen. When you do the sleeves, try to make your line parallel to the top shoulder.
Next, fold the large t-shirt in half to make sure that the armpit marks line up. Mine did match up, but if yours don't, you can just re-mark them to match.
I went ahead and pinned the front and back of the shirt together, so that it didn't slip while we were sewing.
Sew along your traced lines. Or, in my case, have your MOM sew along the traced lines. :)
Try on your shirt (inside out) to see how it fits. Mine was still a little big, so we sewed it up again about a 1/4" more on each side. Then it looked like this:
If you like the fit, then you can trim off the excess fabric.
Turn the shirt right-side out and try it on. You can leave it as is, with longer sleeves, or you can cut & hem them - which is what I decided to do.
While I was wearing the shirt, I marked with a pin the length I wanted the sleeves to be. Then I took it off, turned it inside out again and drew a line. Okay, two lines, because I remembered that I wanted to angle the sleeve a little bit. Then I cut about 5/8" past the line (to allow for a hem).
Try it on and make sure it looks the way you want it to look.
Fold the shirt in half and cut the other sleeve to match.
Hem both sleeves.
You're done! Try it on & love the new look - preferably with cute jeans...not gym shorts and bright blue fingernails. :) But hey...we don't all do our crafting while looking our best, right?
Thanks to brianagayle for the video tutorial & tips! I'll be using this technique often I think. :)
No time to make your own? I love these tees (and no sewing machine required):
I love how Heather used the format of my Dated Wall Art poster, but then added her own twist, featuring her & her fiance's birthdays, their wedding date, first date, and engagement anniversary. What a great idea! And let's not forget that fabulous white painted frame around her gallery wall...it grounds it perfectly! Well done. Thanks for sharing how you used your (de)Signs by Andrea poster in-action.
She's not the only one either! Check out these great ways others have used this design & idea:
ixoye307 on flickr
For Ayla's 5th birthday she requested (okay I might have suggested - instead of a princess or Dora theme) a Hello Kitty themed birthday party. Though she might have been slightly guided in her choice, she jumped on board and was very excited about it! She helped me with all the planning, looking for ideas, shopping for and making decorations. We started by making an idea board in Pinterest:
And though we didn't use all those ideas, they got the creative juices flowing. So here's what we DID end up with - a simple, low-key playdate birthday party for six little girls.
I fell in love with the design of these Hello Kitty Simple Sign invitations from Tiny Prints. I ended up making my own instead of buying them, primarily because I had all the materials at my desk the day I wanted to make them, but buying them wouldn't have cost much for the 6 I needed. If I had been making more than that I would have bought them. I also personalized each invitation for the girl we were sending it to. :)
We kept the decorations fairly simple and only decorated in the dining room -- streamers, balloons, a handmade banner and a blue plastic tablecloth. I did buy some Hello Kitty themed plates, but stuck with light pink colored dessert plates, hot pink napkins and hot pink cups.
I made the "Happy Birthday" banner using the same technique as I showed in this handmade birthday banner tutorial using patterned paper and cardstock. Then I added some handmade Hello Kitty paper dolls to the ends of each banner, which I cut using this Hello Kitty font and my Silhouette.
Our party was from 10am to 1pm, so we served lunch. Ayla's menu request - pizza & pears. I added in pineapple and popcorn for a very simple lunch (all starting with P's). I had planned to do a semi-homemade cake by buying a round white cake from the store and drawing a Hello Kitty on top of it, but my VERY talented friend offered to make me the dream cake I'd been eyeing (see it up there in my Pinterest board?). She did an AMAZING job:
This is where I'm weak in the party-planning department. It's just like when I was little and my siblings wanted me to play Barbie with them. I liked to set up the house, get all the dolls dressed up, and then just look at it. I forget that everyone else wants to PLAY. But I did diligently look for activities (with Ayla) that we could do with 6 little girls at her party. We considered making necklaces, or paper dolls, or doing a bingo game, but keeping time, resources & money in mind, here's what we settled on:
Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty - I drew a Hello Kitty head on Ayla's easel and cut paper bows out of patterned paper. Then we used a scarf as a blindfold and ended up with a pretty silly looking kitty.
Draw Hello Kitty - I gave each girl a 6" x 6" piece of white cardstock and asked them to draw their own version of Hello Kitty and decorate it with stickers. We put each girl's page into a small scrapbook that we'll add photos to for Ayla to remember her birthday party.
Hello Kitty Tattoos - I bought a 24-pack of Hello Kitty Tattoos at the party store, so each girl got 2 tattoos. They all enjoyed that and they got to practice counting to 30 each time we applied a tattoo. Look at all those tan little feet. These girls have been swimming this summer!
Play - These girls are 4 & 5. They played together most of the time in Ayla's room. :)
Movie - After lunch and presents, while we waited for their parents to arrive, the girls sat on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and watched a 30 minute Hello Kitty episode on Netflix.
No party is complete without favors. We raided the Target $1 bins and came up with pencils & erasers and notebooks for each girl. Plus of course, the felt Hello Kitty hairbows that I made and which were a big hit.
And...finally, I couldn't resist buying Ayla this SUPER adorable Hello Kitty t-shirt from Target to wear to her party:
There you have it. A super-pink, super-easy, super-cute Hello Kitty birthday party.
For Ayla's 5th birthday party next week, we decided to invite a small group of girls and have a Hello Kitty theme. Since we invited only 5 girls, I thought it would be fun to give each girl their very own "Hello Kitty bow" as one of the party favors. So I made them...of course.
I looked around for some bow-tie style tutorials, and found a great one, but it required some machine sewing and precision - which I *can* do, but it's not always very pretty (or precise). So, when I realized I had plenty of red felt and hair clips on-hand already, I altered the tutorial to make it a little easier, a little cheaper, and without quite as much sewing.
Cut felt strips, about 2" x 9". I made 8 bows, but you only need one of these strips per bow. Plus, then I also cut a strip of felt about 3/4" wide and a couple feet long to use as the wrap around the center of each bow.
Next I hand-stitched the 2" x 9" strips to make a loop.
Before cutting the string, I did a loose stitch up the center of the bow (through both sides of the loop) and pulled it taught to create a gather in the center. Then I wrapped the string around it a few times and secured it with a few stitches.
Next, I wrapped the narrow strip around the bow to make the center have a clean look, and stitched it together on the back side (securing it to the bow as well) and then trimming off the excess felt.
Finally, I secured the bow to a hair clip with hot glue and called it done!
Remember that Week in the Life project I did a few months ago? Well...it took me about a month to get the pictures printed & put into an album and then another month to finally "embellish" it, but I finally got it all finished up. I took the ULTRA simple route this time...nothing fancy, nothing complicated (and admittedly not as cute as the last time I did a Week in the Life project) - just pictures, handwriting, and my handy-dandy Silhouette did most of the work.
First...the pictures & the project in-progress (in case you have no clue what I'm referring to!):
Then, after all that photo-taking of the mundane intricacies of our days...it was time to put it all together.
This time, instead of creating daily collage prints, I decided to print 4 x 6 photos for each day so you could see more of the details....which after 7 days of photo-taking left me with a VERY large stack of prints that I managed to whittle down to about 180.
I used a standard 2-up photo album (like I did for our Disney Vacation Album) with tabs for each day of the week and a window in the front cover for a title. On the inside front page, I left two spots open to make a title page - which I cut completely from black cardstock on my Silhouette. Man I love that thing! Totally worthwhile purchase.
At the beginning of each day, I cut the day of the week from white cardstock and mounted it on corresponding colored patterned paper (to match the tabs for that day):
And, as you can see -- I kept the journaling VERY simple and basic and just hand-wrote captions telling what was going on in the pictures, what time it was, where we were, and who was pictured. Stuff I *think* I'd remember...but then again I forgot my grocery list at home today as I stepped into the store...so I tend to forget stuff. That's why I write it all down.
And there you have it. A finished album, showing off a regular-old week in our life in the Spring of 2011. If you're interested in doing a project like this, Ali Edwards is where I got my inspiration, and she's at it again, doing another round July 25th through July 31st, 2011.
You can read more about her approach and suggestions here. It's hard work, but I highly recommend it. The kids love looking at these albums. :)
The crafting world is full of projects that have been remixed, remade and inspired by all kinds of people. So when I see something that I made pop somewhere else, I get excited that a project I came up with inspired another crafter. I mean, why else would I post tutorials and info about how to make the things I make?
Anyhoo...here are a few places I've seen my work inspire others lately:
Thanks to these ladies for showing off their inspired pieces! Have YOU made anything inspired by my posts? I'd love to see it!