After 2 months of inactivity…

…I am working on becoming more active!

The last 3 months of the year is always a whirlwind of activity around here. Most of our family (extended family included) has birthdays at the end of the year, plus holidays and gift making/shopping/wrapping, visiting family… I get tired just thinking back on it. This year, I’m going to start making gifts now so I’ll have plenty of time and (hopefully) not have to rush like I did this year! Anyway, I’m going to have to work on figuring something out for posts during my “busy season.”

I finally got my husband to finish what I needed him to do on that last project, so soon I’ll have that posted. From all the gifts I made, I have lots of posts to come. However, there won’t be step-by-step pictures–and some might not have pics at all–simply because I just did not have the time to take pictures in my mad dash to get everything done.

Husbands…

I have had a project completed as far as I can, and now I need my husband to finish it so I can take the final picture and post it! >:(  It’s been a week!!! Granted, one of those days he was sick, and then I was sick the next day, but he has no valid excuse for the rest of the days he “promised” to do it. So…as soon as he does it, it’ll be posted.

Hmm…my parents are coming over tonight…maybe I’ll just ask my dad to do it! :P

Hello Kitty & Black Cat Pumpkins

This year we don’t have a traditional jack-o-lantern. We have Hello Kitty and a black cat with glowing eyes! I didn’t take step-by-step pictures with these, but they’re very simple and self-explanatory. You can see in the pictures how to do any of the steps listed.

Hello Kitty

What you will need:

  • Oval, squatty pumpkin
  • Small witch’s hat (usually has headband attached ~ if it does, just remove the headband)
  • Foam sheets in white, black, and yellow
  • White spray paint
  • Craft glue or hot glue
  • Toothpicks
  • Clothespins or paper clips
  • Small tack nails and hammer (optional)
  • Thick black wire (optional ~ not pictured)

What to do:

  1. Spray paint the entire pumpkin and let dry completely.
  2. Cut one triangular ear shape from the white foam, two oval eyes with lashes from the black foam, and one oval for the nose from the yellow.
  3. Before gluing, hold the face pieces up to the pumpkin to determine the best locations for each. Remember that the bottom of Hello Kitty’s eyes are about even with the top of her nose, and her eyes are widely spaced. Glue in appropriate locations.
  4. For the ear, you’ll need to bend it in the bottom center. Arrange the ear on the pumpkin so the bottom is flush against the gourd. Press one toothpick in on each side to support the ear but so that they are not visible from the front. (As pictured, you cannot see the toothpicks behind the ear giving it its shape.) Glue the ear to the toothpicks. You may need to use clothespins or paper clips to hold it in place until the glue dries. Once it dries, remove whatever you used to hold the ear to the toothpicks.
  5. For the hat, put a line of glue around the seam between the cone and brim and place it on the pumpkin. If it does not sit well, or if you want to be sure the hat does not fly away in the wind, you may want to use small tack nails to secure it in place. These also work well if the brim will not sit just how you want it. Just tap the nail gently through the brim and into the pumpkin.
  6. If you want to add her whiskers (not shown), cut six short pieces of heavy black wire (pieces of clothes hanger painted black will work, too). Insert three on each side near the outer edges of the face as Hello Kitty’s whiskers are drawn almost on the sides of her face rather than by her nose. The top whisker is about even with the top of her eye, the bottom whisker is about even with the bottom of her nose.

Tips & Variations:

  • Spray glitter would look cute over the white on the pumpkin.
  • You can paint her eyes, nose, and whiskers instead of cutting them from foam.
  • A small mask would look cute in place of the hat. You may need to place the second ear if you use a mask instead of the hat.
  • You can go with any costume theme for Hello Kitty!

Black Cat

What you will need:

  • Tall oval pumpkin
  • Short oval pumpkin small enough to proportionally stack on top of the tall pumpkin
  • Black spray paint
  • Paring knife
  • Metal spoon
  • Black foam sheet
  • Toothpicks or thin dowel rod cut into short pieces
  • Craft glue or hot glue
  • Clothespins or paper clips (optional)
  • Votive candle (traditional or battery-powered)

What to do:

  1. Spray paint both pumpkins black and let dry completely.
  2. Cut out the stem side of the smaller pumpkin just as if you were carving a jack-o-lantern. Discard the stem section. Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin and turn upside down (the hole needs to be on the bottom). Cut out two cat eyes.
  3. Set the smaller pumpkin on the top of the taller pumpkin. Make note of where the gourds meet. Insert toothpicks or dowels in the tall pumpkin where the smaller pumpkin touches. These will help the smaller pumpkin stay on the taller pumpkin. Set the votive candle on the top of the taller pumpkin, and press the smaller pumpkin down on top of the toothpicks/dowels.
  4. Cut two triangular ears and one curved tail from the foam sheet.
  5. Attach the ears as described above for the Hello Kitty pumpkin. Attach the tail on one side in a similar fashion.
  6. When it’s dark outside, light the candle and the eyes will glow.

Tips & Variations:

  • Spray paint plastic ear pieces from pumpkin decorating kits instead of making foam ears.
  • Add wire for whiskers.
  • Use your favorite method for preserving a carved pumpkin.
  • Add very small pumpkins (painted black) for feet.
  • Make one laying down. Instead of a tall oval pumpkin, choose a large short pumpkin and offset the “head” so that it looks like a cat laying down.

DIY Picture Stand

This is an original by me. (I’m sure other people have done something similar, but what I mean by “original by me” is that I came up with this on my own and made it without getting ideas elsewhere.) It’s so simple! It all started when my kids’ pictures came in and we needed 2 small easels for the storyboard collages we ordered. Could I find any little tiny artist-looking easels? Nope. Seen them all the time before, but, as always, they were not to be found when I actually needed to buy them. So after being disappointed in Hobby Lobby, I went over to the wood stuff and bought what I needed to make my own creation to hold the storyboards. I spent a grand total of $7, and that let me make 2 picture stands with tons of materials left over for other projects. To buy 2 of the cheapest plate stands as an alternative to the easels would have been $8, and I wouldn’t have anything left over for other stuff.

What you will need:

  • Toy wooden wheel
  • Finial cap
  • Dowel that fits snug into both the wheel and cap
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Tiny clothespin
  • Hot glue gun or wood glue
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil
  • Saw (I used a hacksaw)

What to do:

  1. Place your wheel in front of you and hold the dowel and ruler together so that you can read the numbers on the ruler. Hold your picture up and figure out about where you want to picture to be when you finish. Measure enough room on the dowel above the picture for the finial cap and clothespin.
  2. Mark for your cut. Remember, “Measure twice, cut once!” Cut the dowel to your desired length.
  3. Assemble the stand. Squeeze a dab of glue into the hole in the center of the wheel. Push the dowel in so that it is snug and secure. Squeeze another drop of glue into the whole in the finial cap and press the cap on the top of the dowel.
  4. Spray paint the stand if you wish to do so.
  5. Attach the clothespin with hot glue or wood glue.
  6. Clip on your picture and admire your handiwork!

Tips & Variations:

  • Tie ribbon, raffia, or yarn around the top. The colors should complement either your decor or the picture.
  • Beads, sequins, glitter, or metal lief add extra appeal.
  • Make a small tag with a title, caption, or the names of people in the picture and clip it along with the picture to the stand.

Fabric Flowers: Tutorial #1 – “Fold and Layer”

It is not enough to say that I love fabric flowers; I am bordering on obsession with them! I pin every new tutorial for them that I find on Pinterest and am impatient to try any I haven’t tried yet. Unfortunately, since the last three months of the year are insanely busy for us (more so than most people’s as many people on both sides of our family have birthdays at the end of the year, plus holidays), I haven’t gotten around to trying out several of them. I tried a new-to-me one last night and took step-by-step pictures along the way. I will have to go back and do the same for others that I’ve already tried, so stay tuned for those!

What you will need:

  • Old t-shirt, cut into
    ~  8 flowers
    ~  1 circle, slightly smaller in diameter than the flowers
  • Flower template (for cutting flowers out of t-shirt)
  • Pen/pencil (for cutting flowers out of t-shirt)
  • Fabric scissors (for cutting flowers out of t-shirt)
  • Fabric or craft glue
  • Button or bead
  • Needle and thread

(ignore the second shirt and extra buttons ~ I was going to make 2 but afterward decided to stick with 1)

What to do:

  1. Fold 4 flower shapes in half then in half again. Glue them to the fabric circle, corners in the middle.
  2. Fold 3 more flower shapes in the same way. Layer these over the four and glue.
  3. Fold the last flower shape in half and pinch and bend it so that it forms a sort of ring on the top, as pictured. Glue only in the center so as not to stick any of the edges of the “petals” down.
  4. Sew a bead or button into the center, as shown in the finished product at the top of this post.

Tips & Variations:

  • When sewing the bead/button in the center, sew all the way through the fabric circle at the bottom. This will leave a short section of exposed thread with which you can attach a bobby pin or safety pin to the flower, making it usable for your hair or clothing.
  • You can glue or sew a strip of fabric to the bottom of the flower and tie it to clothing, scarves, purses, etc.
  • These can be attached to headbands and hair ties to create easy hair accessories.
  • Layering two pieces of different fabric together adds visual impact. The fabrics can be different colors, types, textures, whatever sparks your fancy. To do this, simply cut out 8 flower shapes of the same size from each of two types of fabrics. Layer one of each flower shape, fold, and assemble as directed. The second layer will peek through in the edges of the petals.

Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches

This is something you can easily do in about 30 minutes and it’ll set you up for a week’s worth of breakfast for two people.

What you will need:

  • Muffin tin
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • Butter or cooking spray
  • 1 dozen sliced English muffins
  • Canadian bacon, bacon, or breakfast sausage
  • Sliced cheese

What to do:

  1. Grease each spot in the muffin tin with butter or cooking spray. Crack an egg into each spot; scramble slightly if desired. Bake at 350 degrees until fully cooked (15-20 minutes).
  2. Cook your breakfast meat of choice while the eggs bake and gather the rest of the ingredients. Arrange as desired for assembly.
  3. When eggs are done, remove one from the tin and place on bottom slice of English muffin. Top with meat and cheese; replace top slice of muffin. Press down to smash the egg a bit so that it will spread to cover the muffin.
  4. Place in freezer bags and freeze.
  5. When ready to eat, wrap sandwich in paper towel and microwave until hot. (Microwaves vary, so it may take more or less than 1 minute.)

Tips & Variations:

  • Work quickly when assembling the sandwiches. The more the eggs cool, the more they want to bunch back up after you smash them.
  • If your eggs don’t want to smash, try to put something weighted on top of them in the freezer (just use something that’s already in the freezer). You shouldn’t have problems after that.
  • You can toast the English muffins prior to assembly if desired.

Be Back Soon!

I know I haven’t posted anything new in several days. We’ve been very busy with my son’s birthday and numerous other things. October is the busiest month for us! I am making two different twists on jack-o-lanterns next week that I will take step-by-step pics of and will post them when they’re finished. Check back soon!