Monday, August 31, 2009

Trick or Treat Bags

I had lots of fun making trick or treat bags this weekend, can you tell? I dug through my craft closet and found some stuff I'd forgotten about (since it was way in the back under a pile of stuff it's easy to understand why) I started out making the witch feet for the girls and it spiraled from there! Knowing myself, if I didn't get these now, they'd get lost in the black hole that is my "to do" pile and the girls would be collecting candy with nekkid bags. I love the satisfaction with adding a big fat check next to a line on the to do list!

Megan is in love with her bag and wants it now. Actually, now that I think about it, she might be wanting the candy now, not necessarily the bag. Can't say I blame her there. Since I've only got two kids and have way more treat bags than that, go check out my Etsy shop. I'll be adding these there in the coming days.

One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater (yes, that song goes through my head every time I look at this guy)

Taylor's purple witch feet. Her request was for purple stockings and flowers.

Jack 'O Lantern


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tip Junkie Trade Secrets

I love getting packages in the mail, so when I got an email from Tip Junkie about this swap that they are hosting, I was hooked! Fun, fun!

What it is is this: You make or purchase 3 things that you love and then mail it to your person by November 1st. The dollar limit is $25. The deadline to sign up is October 1st.

Easy, right?! I'm so looking forward to seeing what neat things come my way!

Come play along! (click on the button for the details on the Tip Junkie site)

Camera Strap!

I adore my camera! I have a Canon Digital Rebel XTi and it's fantastic (I have a 35mm Rebel that I love, too). I don't love the camera strap that came with it, though. I've seen those super cute camera straps on Etsy, but that darn cheap bone keeps me from buying them. I made one, but wasn't happy with the webbing on it (the part that attaches to the camera). I've searched and searched online and could only find tutorials for the sleeves that go over your existing camera strap. That's not what I want. Plus, I wanted minky on the inside (because it's oh, so soft!)

I got a tip from TankTop @2peas about what to use as the webbing, and it's perfect! So, I made two camera straps - one for me, and one as a gift. Now that I've got the how-to's figured out, I'm going to make some more (because a girl can never have too many!) and do a tutorial.

Watch for it (and the Mommy Necklace) coming soon!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Make Your Own Sewing Labels!

I bought my first batch of labels for the stuff I sew off of Etsy. Why? I'm too cheap (at this point) to pay to have woven labels made for Turtle Taylor, and I had no idea how to do it myself. So when it came time to re-order, my cheap bone kicked in and I did some research on the internet. I came across the most fabulous idea for making your own labels - Iron-on transfer paper! Seriously, it's a brilliant idea, but I don't remember where it came from (I need to start writing this down). Anywhoo, I learned a couple of very important things while I was making my own that I'm going to share. Ready?

Here's what you need:
  • twill tape (I wanted 100% cotton by the yard, but couldn't find any, so I had to get 100% polyester in a package)
  • Iron-On transfer paper made for computer printers (mine is by Tulip and came from the t-shirt decorating part of the craft store)
  • A computer and printer

Here's what you do:

  • Find the width of your twill tape, and figure out what length you'd like your labels to be.
  • In whatever program you like to use best, you'll need to arrange how you want your label to look. I used my Print Shop program, but Word would work, too. Make a table using the length and width dimensions for your labels. Once you've got the table set up, fill it in with your label text/logo.
  • Once you are happy with it (and checked for typos) print it out, following the directions on the package of your iron-on transfer paper. *IMPORTANT* If you want the label to look exactly like it does on your computer screen, you need to go to your printer settings and set it to print as a "mirror image" before you print. If you don't do this, everything will be backwards once you iron on the label.
  • Once it's printed out - be careful! The ink never fully dried on my transfer paper and smeared when I touched it (and I didn't realize that until I'd smeared several!)
  • Now, you need to cut apart each label image (be careful not to smudge)
  • Once you've got your images cut out, you'll need to cut your twill tape to the correct length. Don't forget to leave enough to fold under on each end so you'll have a nice, finished look when your label is sewn on.

  • Once you've got the individual labels cut from your twill tape, center your iron-on image on the tape and iron it on (follow package directions for this one)
  • Voila! Cheap, custom sewing labels.

OK, here are a couple of helpful hints:

  • I took the time to fold over each edge of my twill tape and iron it down, so I'd have labels that were totally ready to sew on. It was a complete waste of time because those little flaps were undone when I ironed-on my image. Don't waste your time, or do it after the image is ironed on!
  • Remember to set your printer settings to "mirror image" before you print, or your text will read backwards on your finished label.
  • If you are going to iron over the label when it's sewn on to something (or to iron the ends under), save the backer paper that you peeled off once the image was ironed on. Put that over the top of your label when you iron over it again and you'll prevent the iron from sticking to the image or mussing it up.
  • If you don't want sew on labels, just iron those puppies right on to your finished product!
  • The most time consuming part of this whole project was setting up the table so I could fill it in with my label info (and therefore print a sheet of labels in one shot). So, save often. It would stink to have that hard work go down in a blaze of glory!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mommy Necklace

I'm going to be the craft person for my MOPS group this year, so I've been hunting down ideas for crafts that are cheap, easy and fantastic! This is one of them. I've been wanting a Mommy necklace for awhile now, but have been way too cheap to buy one. So, I made it myself!

It's made out of washers from the Home Depot (cool and cheap all wrapped into one) that I stamped with my girls names. I put them together with wire from my scrapbooking stash because I found the cute angel charm that I wanted to put with them. If I didn't want to use the charm, I probably would have just run the ball chain through the holes of the washers.

Guess what the grandmas are going to get for Christmas?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Redesign - Hall Table

Another post with yucky photos. Yippee! I tried to get better photos, really I did. Three times I took photos and edited, and they were all about the same. This table is located in my hallway and there aren't any windows that are super close. Add that to the fact that we've got the typical, small hall light and sunscreens on our windows (which is an absolute necessity here) and you've got a recipe for poor photos (even with my big flash). Alas, I tried. You'll still get the idea, though!

So, I've been wanting to do small updates around here (though hubby and I differ on what would constitute "small"), so this is one of the simple updates I started with. This table gets largely ignored - because it's in the hall. What was on the table worked, but not well.

The before:

The after:

The after is just some small, simple changes. We've got tall ceilings here and there is a large barn star hanging above this table. So, the items that were on it before were a little small in scale for that large star (you can see part of the star in the last photo). This new grouping is much better in scale.

The only thing I didn't have in my house prior to this weekend was the lamp. Everything else came from somewhere within my house. That came from a model home sale I went to this weekend. I'd seen signs for them before, but had never stopped. I didn't know what I was missing! Anyway, the lamp I bought for the living room but didn't like it once I got it in there. It works great in the hallway, however! Since the lamp is so tall, I needed something tall to balance it out. So, down came the chicken from atop my laundry room cabinets. A small, gold photo frame from my bedroom and two hardcover books to elevate the other frame and I was done!

The end result is much better and doesn't make the table look as if it were an afterthought. I've wanted to put a different piece of furniture in this niche for awhile (like maybe a small armoire), but I've not been able to find the right piece. I had it in my mind that this would make a cute potting bench for my garden. Now that I've updated the accessories on the table, I'm liking it so much more. If the table ends up sticking around, I think I might finally give it a new coat of paint.

(Want to know a little secret? There is no electrical outlet anywhere near this table, so the lamp is purely decorative. One day I'll get an electrician out here to fix that! In the meantime, the lamp will just have to look fabulous off) :)

Friday, August 14, 2009


A while back I told you that I'd partnered with a couple of fantastic sites for giveaways, and the first one is here!

When Susana at Our Homeschool Fun contacted me and asked me if I'd sponsor a giveaway on her site, I was intrigued. I've been toying with the idea of homeschooling our girls for a couple of months now, so it was another push from the cosmos in that direction, it seemed. When I visited her site, I fell in love. First, she's got super adorable kiddos! Seriously, wait until you see the pictures of them. Cuteness overload. Second, the stuff she does with her kids looks like so much fun!

So, go pay her a visit and enter to win a chance to win an Owl print crayon wallet handmade by Moi! You can see all the contest details here. I just checked out the comments and got warm fuzzies. *Smooch* to all of you for the love!

I'm still weighing my options regarding schooling, but I'm now following her site because of all the super cute ideas she's got. I can't wait to try some of the crafts she's got. Her recipe for banana bars is something the girls and I are going to make this week. Yummy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Rock Star Cake!

I'm big on tiered cakes. First, I like the way they look. Second, we always have a ton of people at birthday parties around here, so we need the cake! I just think that tiered cakes are more fun than a regular sheet cake.
I'd never worked with fondant before and was a little nervous about it. See, I had this vision of Taylor's cake in my head and if the fondant part didn't turn out, I'd have to go to Plan B. I didn't have a Plan B! Luckily, it was incredibly easy to work with.

I like the way fondant looks, but I'm no fan of the taste. I know there are versions out there that supposedly taste better (Satin Ice I've heard is good), but I love me some buttercream. Seriously, that's the best part of the cake! So, I frosted it with buttercream and then used the fondant for the decorations.

It was a pretty simple cake to construct - fondant balls, fondant stars on wire and fondant ribbons. The top layer was a vanilla cake with cheesecake filling; the bottom was chocolate with a chocolate mousse filling. Yummy! I've got to work on my stacking skills - you can see a that it's a tad bit lopsided. Something to work on next time. It was still a cute cake!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to Make Tissue Paper Pom Poms

I'm always looking for inspiration for easy, cheap ways to decorate for parties (or for holidays). When I was on one of my many browsing trips at Michael's I saw this Martha Stewart Kit to make tissue paper pom poms. Cute idea, but the kit was $19.99! Say wha?! I love me some Martha, but she had to have been smoking some funny stuff when she came up with the price of that kit! So, if you love these and want to make some, save yourself the $20 smackers and read on!

What you'll need:

  • a package of tissue paper
  • tulle strips (pipe cleaners would work, too)
  • something to hang the finished pom poms with (I used tulle, but curling ribbon or regular ribbon would work, too)
  • a pair of scissors

I wanted to hang my pom poms from the chandelier above my dining room table, so I made mine half sized (I cut the sheets of tissue paper in half). If you want big, full pom poms, use the full sheet of tissue paper.

Here's what you do:

  • Separate a handful of tissue paper sheets from the bunch (I used as many as 8 and as few as 5 in one pom pom. Use more if you want a dense, full pom pom, but don't go too crazy and use the full package for one!)

  • Fold the tissue paper like an accordion. My folds were about 2 1/2 " wide.

  • Keep folding in the same manner until you've folded all of the tissue paper. You should have something that looks like this:

  • Now, you're going to take scissors and cut each edge. You can round the ends, or make it a point, whichever you prefer.

  • Now, tie the folded tissue paper in the middle. You want it to be snug, but not too tight. It's harder to puff it out if it's tied really tight.

  • Once it's tied, you're ready to poof! One piece at a time, separate the tissue paper from the bunch. You have go be gentle so it doesn't tear. Once you've got all the layers separated you'll have something that looks like this:

Tie a piece of ribbon or a tulle strip around the center tie and you're ready to hang them. The look so cute hanging from my chandelier that they are still there (and the party was over a week ago!). Take that, Martha! :)

Hannah Montana Rock Star Party Decorations

We've got a fairly large dining room table, which I love. But, because of it's size, the plastic tablecloths you can buy are too small for it. One isn't long enough and it isn't wide enough to hang over the sides. So, this time around I got smart and bought 3 tablecloths for the table! I folded about 1/3 of the purple tablecloths underneath (it was too long if I didn't do that) and then put one on each half of the table, with them meeting together in the middle. Since I now had an ugly seam, I placed a pink tablecloth over the seam as a table runner. Problem solved!

I love the Dollar Spot at Target! They usually have some kind of metal pails in that section in various colors and those are one of my favorite things to buy there. I've got a bunch of these pails in several different colors and they make an appearance in my holiday decor fairly often.
This time around they were for the (last minute) centerpieces. I got so tied up in the cake and favors that I forgot I needed something for the table! I pulled out my pails and covered the Styrofoam inside with crumpled up tissue paper. Then it was my trusty Cricut machine to the rescue! Using my scrapbook paper stash I cut out stars in various sizes, a couple of the number "6" and the phrase "You rock". I hot glued them onto bamboo skewers and stuck them in the pail. Next year I'm going to make myself a checklist. Nevertheless, they turned out cute for about a 20 minute project!

Hannah Montana Rock Star Party Favors

The favors for Taylor's party consisted of the body glitter and the microphones, but we needed something cute to put them in. I'd been having a hard time finding something that was cute, would go with the theme of the party and were inexpensive. When I saw these little totes, I knew they fit the bill! I got them at Michael's and they came in a bunch of different colors. The best part? They were only a dollar!
When I set up the favor table I debated on putting the other goodies in the totes, but I decided against it because I thought the kiddos would have fun picking out what color tote and body glitter they wanted. If I stuffed the totes, it would have been luck of the draw. Plus, by leaving the totes empty, they could use them to hold their pinata candy and then grab the glitter, microphones and plastic heart bracelets on the way out the door.
I LOVE creating the favors for birthday parties, can you tell? Seriously, it's my favorite part!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rock Star Microphones!

What rock star doesn't have a microphone? Our Hannah Montana Rock Star birthday party wouldn't have been complete without sparkly microphones, so I made some for the party favors. I had backup favors for the boys because I wasn't sure 6 year old boys would like a glittery microphone, but how wrong I was! All the kiddos at the party loved them! (I've got a feeling a couple of the adults secretly wished for one, too!) They were relatively simple to make, and incredibly inexpensive. Make a bunch or a couple. Here's how you can make your own!

You'll need:
  • Styrofoam eggs
  • PVC pipe
  • Silver paint
  • Black spray paint for plastic
  • White glue
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Steak Knife
  • Disposable foam brush
  • Silver glitter
  • Hot Glue Gun
First, you want to take your steak knife and cut off the very tip of the Styrofoam eggs. Just saw through it like you would a steak until you've got one flat end. Discard the part you cut off.

Next, you'll want to cut your PVC pipe into shorter pieces. I enlisted Hubby for this task, but it's not hard. He measured and marked the PVC pipe and then cut using a small hand saw. At first we cut 12" pieces, but they seemed too long to me. 8" lengths of the PVC pipe seemed to be perfect.

Now you're ready to paint! These are the paints I used:

They came from Lowe's and were about $4 a can. I made 14 microphones and still have about half of each can left.
You'll want to spray the PVC pipes so that they are black and you can't see the black print that's on them. I did 3 coats, but I'm typically an overachiever. Two coats would have probably been plenty! Make sure you get at least one of the ends painted (the other doesn't matter since it will be inside the egg when all is said and done).

To paint the eggs, I stuck a bamboo skewer in each one and then twirled it between my fingers as I sprayed so that I could get coverage on the whole thing. Don't forget to get the bottom! I did two coats on the eggs.

Once the eggs were dry, I took them inside and used a disposable foam brush and covered them with white glue (I was pretty liberal with it). While the glue was still wet I covered it with silver glitter. Let them dry overnight. Tip: If you fill a sand pail with sand (or rice or beans) you can stick the skewers in it to hold the eggs upright while the glue dries.
When the eggs were dry and the PVC pipe was dry, I was ready to put the microphone together. In one hand hold the egg. Hold the PVC pipe in the other. Gently push and twist the PVC pipe into the flat part of the egg to make a hole the size of the PVC pipe. It isn't hard, but go slowly so that you don't damage the egg. Once you've got an indentation that is about 1 1/2-2" deep, put hot glue inside and then insert the PVC pipe.
I left mine plain, but if you wanted to you could put a Hannah Montana sticker on the handle or tie a ribbon to it.

I put all my finished microphones in a bucket on the party favor table. Cute!

There you have it - one fabulous rock star microphone . We (yes, we) have had a lot of fun with them in our house. Thank goodness there's no video evidence (yet!). Make some and you'll be a craft Rock Star!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rock Star Body Glitter

It's no secret that girls love things that sparkle. My two girls would roll around nekkid in a pool filled with glitter if it meant that they would be sparkly! So, one of the the things that I included in the goodie bags at the Hannah Montana birthday party was body glitter.

Being the crafty soul that I am, I couldn't go out and purchase it for a party favor, I had to make it. It's surprisingly easy, so if you want to make your own, read on!

You'll need:
  • very fine glitter (I purchased a multi pack for $3.99 at Michael's that had lots of colors for you indecisive types like me)
  • empty bottles (I got mine at Joann's in a pack of 6 for $2.99)
  • Aloe Vera Gel (mine came from Wal-Mart and was about $4)

I made about 14 or so bottles of glitter from one big bottle of aloe vera gel. That will vary depending on the size bottle you use. Each of the little packets of glitter that came in my multi pack made two bottles (I went heavy on the glitter; see above re: my girls and their love affair with glitter)

Here's what you do:

  • Pour a little bit of glitter into the bottom of the empty jar.
  • Put a couple of squirts of aloe vera gel into the bottle
  • Repeat with glitter and aloe vera gel until you are close to the top, but the bottle isn't all the way full
  • Put the cap on
  • Shake well to mix (You can also use something long and skinny to stir if you'd want, but shaking mixed it really well for me)

I added labels to my bottles (I used Avery address labels for ink jet printers for my labels), but you could use stickers or rub on's, too.

Easy, isn't it? It lasts a long time when you've got it on, too. How do I know this, you ask? Yup, I slathered myself with the stuff. Somebody had to test it, right? Go forth and shimmer!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hannah Montana Birthday Party Invitations

Taylor had two choices for her birthday party invitation this year: a concert ticket or a guitar. The concert ticket would have been easier for me to mass produce, so I wasn't surprised at all when she picked the guitar! So, I got out my craft stuff and got to work.

To make this invitation, I found a picture of a guitar I liked on the internet. I used that as a guide to free hand draw my shapes, but if that's out of your realm, print out several copies that are the right size (mine fit in a regular, legal envelope). Then, cut out one piece from each printout (like the body, the white accent piece, the neck, etc). You can then use those for your templates. I used 5 different pieces of paper for this guitar (one plain purple for the printed part, polka dot purple for the body and the top, white for the accent, tan for the neck and silver for the little squares). I cut out one piece for each guitar I needed and then used scrapbook adhesive to put everything together. The guitar strings I drew on with a felt tipped pen and a t-square.

To print on the invitations, I used the same technique I always do. I arrange the text so that I think it will fit in Word and print it out. I then hold the print out up to the light with the cut piece of invitation that I want to print on and see if it'll work. If it doesn't, I'll make adjustments and then re-print. If it works, I'll put a piece of removable adhesive on the printer paper on top of the text. Then, I put the invitation piece on the adhesive and run it through the printer as usual. There might be other ways to do this that I haven't thought of, but this way works well for me! I attached the printed part of the invitation to the embellished front of the invitation with a brad.

To glam it up a bit, I added some self-adhesive metal hearts and some rhinestones at the bottom and some purple rhinestones on the top part (where the strings would attach on a real guitar. I have no idea what that part is called!). I think they turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself, and the birthday girl LOVED them!