Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Decor

Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, so I love decorating for it.  I don't go all out, but love to do my own crafts and have things in the house to remind me that fall is here!  Here is some of the decor I had around the house this year...
I got the cat & spider lanterns at a local pumpkin patch about 2 years ago.  The orange pumpkin in the middle is from the Dollar Tree that I got about a week ago (I went and got another one today). 
And it lights up!  How awesome is that!  Can't beat that for $1.
I got the lantern from Marshall's over the summer.  I was actually looking for something just like this one specifically to put pumpkins in it.  (Next to it is an Alice In Wonderland White Rabbit garden statue that I got at Home Goods this summer.  He's not very Halloween-ish, but I love it, so inside it stays).
And this is the inspiration photo for my lantern with the pumpkins.  This is from the Pottery Barn catalog.  I saw this and immediately knew I had to replicate it somehow.
You may remember this wreath from this post.

I found these great candlestick holders at Pottery Barn on clearance over the summer.  They reminded me of Tim Burton.  I thought they would be a great place to display these mini pumpkins (the orange one is a real pumpkin and the white one is a ceramic one I got at the Dollar Tree).
I got the Jack Skellington tea light holder at Disneyland 2 years ago.  The Oogie Boogie I made last year out of green & black felt using a pattern I found on the Disney Family website here.
These great Halloween jars I made this year that I did a post on this year here.  I found the tutorial on this site here.  I used flameless tealights instead of string lights, but they would look best with the string lights.
And here is the Jack Skellington one I made.  Love him.  I may make more next year using some of his different expressions.
I actually have some other decor up, but didn't get pictures.   I found a great "Happy Halloween" banner at the Target Dollar spot (it was actually $2.50).  It's made out of thick felt shaped like candy corns - it's hanging in the front window.  I also have a couple of pumpkins that I crocheted last year.   I can't believe that tomorrow is already going to be November.  The rest of the year is going to go by quick!

Jack Skellington Halloween Jar

After I made these cute Halloween jars a few weeks ago (using this tutorial on this Not So Idle Hands post), I finished up a jar of pickles leaving me with another empty jar that I could make another one with.  But, I had to figure out what I wanted for it to be.  Then, I had the great idea to make a Jack Skellington one!  I am using flameless tealights that I got at the Dollar Tree (3 for $1), but that's just because I didn't have any string lights handy that I could use in them (they look much better with the string lights).  These really don't take too long to make.  I actually made this Jack Skellington while I was waiting for the Mod Podge to dry on my dishwasher sign project. ***Update:  I also made a template for his face, which I have included below***

I think his eyes need better placement, but it was too late since the glue was drying and I would have ripped the paper.  I think he still looks good, though!  With all of the different facial expressions that Jack makes, I may have to make more of these for next Halloween.  Guess I'll have to start eating more pickles!

**Update:  Here is a template (it's a .JPEG file) I made for his face in case you'd like to make your own**

Dishwasher Sign

Many, many, many years ago, I made some of these dishwasher clean/dirty signs as Christmas stocking stuffers for family.  Since it was so long ago, I can't remember if this was my own creation or if I saw it somewhere in a magazine.  Either way, now that I have a working dishwasher, I decided I needed to make one for myself so I could remember if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean or dirty (you would think that since I'm the only one that lives in this house, that I would be able to remember.  But, actually, since I am the only one here, I don't need to run it that often, so sometimes I forget).   (Also, please  excuse the bad night time pictures).

Here is a list of supplies you will need:
*An old CD that you don't use anymore
*Decorative paper (I used scrapbooking paper) and other embellishments
*Scissors or a circle cutter
*Crop-a-dile or something to punch a hole through the CD
*Mod Podge or some sort of adhesive (I ended up not using that scrapbooking glue in the picture), but I strongly recommend the Mod Podge.
*Magnet or suction hook or other type of adhesive (I like the 3M Command brand - it's easily removable) to attach the CD/sign to your dishwasher

1)  I don't have a circle cutter anymore, so I traced the outline of the CD onto my scrapbooking paper (on the backside) and just trimmed it up to fit the CD.

2)  I decided I was going to use ribbon in the middle to separate the "Clean" and "Dirty" sides of the sign.  I attached the ribbon to the scrapbooking paper first.
3)  Then, using a sponge brush, I put Mod Podge all over the CD and put the paper onto it.

4)  I then added letter stickers to it and made sure that they were facing the right direction.

5)  Once the letters were on, I put more Mod Podge on top of it.  When I made these several years ago, I didn't know the wonder of Mod Podge and didn't seal the paper with anything.  Well, because of this, the sign wasn't very durable - as water accidentally got on it, the paper was starting to tatter or tear.

6)  Once it was fully dry (which didn't take too long), I used my handy dandy Crop-a-dile to punch the holes.  It punches through the CD like buttah!  (you can see a sneak peek of one of my other project I did tonight that I'll be posting tomorrow).

And here it is in action.  Ta da! 

Now, I just have to figure out how to get the suction hook to stay without falling down every 20 seconds (magnets don't work on my dishwasher).  Sigh...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gallery Wall

I have seen lots of different gallery walls all over the internet and really like the way they look.  And I had a perfect spot to put one - my front hallway was a big blank slate to work with.  It took me awhile to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, but I decided on this and up it went a few months ago.

What I liked about this is that it's a streamlined look, but I could add to it on both sides if I wanted to.  But, then I found this blog post by Bon Temps Beignet.  She posted pictures of her new gallery wall and also included an inspiration photo from the Martha Stewart website.  I just love how it is streamlined (the separation of the top and bottom), but you can still randomly put frames above or below that middle "line" and it still looks organized.  I decided that this is the type of gallery wall I wanted to do and I also wanted to add other items, not just frames, to the wall.  So, I went to Ikea and bought more frames and they sat there on the table.  And sat.  And sat.  But, about a week ago, I found something at Joann that I thought be a perfect addition to my gallery wall and that was all the motivation I needed to get it done and get those frames off the table!

My dad bought me a laser level awhile ago (thanks, dad!), which I knew would come in handy for this project and it sure did.  So, before I took the pictures down, I set up the level, so I would have an idea of where I wanted the line to be.

(The reason the laser line doesn't go all the way across the wall is because I set up the level in the closet that is opposite the wall, so the laser line could only show so far out of the closet).  I measured the wall and found the center so I would have an idea of where to start, but it didn't have to be perfect - I didn't want for it to be.

Before I actually hung everything up on the wall, I decided to lay them out on the floor to get an idea of hot they looked.  This was essential so I could re-arrange them until I found a way that I liked without putting lots of holes in the wall.

When I previously hung those other pictures on the wall, nails and regular screws would just slide right in and didn't have a firm grip on the wall.  I remembered that I had some leftover drywall screws, so I decided to try those and they worked like a charm.  I also tried out this helpful little tip with the clothespin, which I found in the October 2011 issue of the magazine "Cottages & Bungalows".  How clever!

Here is how it turned out...this is the view from the front door/kitchen.

And this is the view from the living room.  On the left side above that frame on the bottom, I have one of the smaller frames that will go above it, but I didn't want to put it up yet.  I am planning on putting a monogram letter there also, but don't have it yet, so I once I get it and diy the letter, then I will get both of them up.  (See the bench below?  That will be getting a bit of a makeover - hopefully soon). 

I like that I can add to it later - on the top, bottom, or the sides.  Now I just have to find and order more pictures to go in the frames, but the hard part is now done.  I just love how it turned out!

DIY Miss Potato Head Costume

This could technically be my nickname.  I love potatoes.  Especially mashed potatoes - yum.  But, this is not what this post is about.  I found this great tutorial on how to make a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head costume (in my case, it's "Miss" Potato Head thank you very much).  I was invited to a Halloween party and this seemed so easy (and cute!) that I decided to try it.  And it only took me a few hours to do!  (please excuse the bad pictures - I did this at night).

I did some quick measurements and figured that I would need about 2 yards of felt.  I also bought some of the square pieces in white, pink, red, and black to make the face.   ***Update:  I bought 2 yards of felt, but didn't use that amount.  I probably used about 1.25 yards & still have quite a bit leftover - probably enough to make a kids' version of this.***

I just free-hand cut all the pieces for the face, but drew/cut patterns for the eyelashes and lips. I laid out all the pieces and pinned them so I could sew them on.

After I sewed on the face, I tried it on to make sure it was ok before finishing it up (please excuse my pj's underneath - oops).  Then, I just followed the rest of the tutorial and it was so easy to do.   I don't have any great pictures from the party that shows my costume very well,  so I will take some when I go trick-or-treating with my nephew & niece and will post it then.

***Update***  Here is a picture from tonight's trick-or-treating.  Can you tell that my sister has kids with all those toys in the background? lol  After the party and trick-or-treating, I decided that I may need to amend my costume by adding pockets inside if I end up wearing this again in the future.

This is a great project if you need a last-minute costume.  It's so easy and I got lots of compliments.
Have a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Adventures in Gardening: the Black Thumb Turned Green-ish?

Remember my post about my horrible gardening skills and how I make easy plants die?   Well, I might not be such a bad gardener after all.  We are having some spring-like weather here in Southern California and I think my plants are confused.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I pruned some of my flowers, plants, and bushes,  just to get the dead flowers and leaves off so they didn't look so bad.   And to my surprise, some of them are making a nice comeback!  How 'bout that?!

My calla lillies are looking so healthy right now!  There's no new flowers, but those leaves grew like crazy in the last couple of weeks.

And my poor hydrangeas that I planted in the spring, which promptly died after about a week and a half?  They sprouted new leaves!  See those dead leaves on the taller branch?  That's what all three hydrangea heads looked like.  Pretty bad - I know, I know.
I was so excited to see I didn't kill it after all.  Yay!

And my purple Salvia came back looking amazing!  It's one of my favorites in my backyard.
Maybe next spring I'll try a bit more to see how I do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wreathapalooza Part II

I finished 2 cork wreaths a couple of weeks ago, so I have a little tutorial for you.
Supplies needed:
* Wreath form
* Lots of wine corks
* Hot glue sticks
* Glue gun

I found this 13 inch wreath form at the Dollar Tree - they had about 3 different sizes of these and I got the medium size one.  My brother-in-law is a winemaker and years ago, he gave me 2 huge bags of unused corks.  I think I gave one of the bags to a friend and have only gotten through about 1/3 of the other bag (even after making this wreath, it made only a small dent in the bag).

1)   See how the twigs (vines? what is that called?) on here are twisted around?  I just followed the twisty pattern and started gluing away.  The twigs were thin & round and since the corks are round also, it was hard to get them to stick really good.  You can start by gluing one of the corks to the twig, and then gluing the next cork to the previous cork AND the twig.

2)  I made sure to start each row at the same spot, because at the end of each row, there wasn't enough room for one last full size cork, so I left the space empty - I wanted the empty spaces to be all in the same part of the wreath.   I figure that I can either leave the space and cover it with the ribbon that will be used to hang it, or try to cut some of the corks to fit in the space (I have tried cutting corks before and it's a PITA).

Here's what it looks like after I finished gluing.  You can see at the top, the bit of space and it's more obvious on the back.

3)  Since, in the past,  it was such a pain to cut the corks with a knife, I decided to try using my handsaw and miter box and it worked like a charm, so I was able to get those spaces filled in.

4)  Next, I made these felt flowers.  I used the video tutorial on this Home Stories A to Z post.  It was super easy.  I even made a jute flower just by wrapping it the jute in a circular motion (that went on the other cork wreath I made and unfortunately I didn't get a picture before I gifted it).

And here is the final product:
I was very happy with how they came out and was thinking to make one for myself, but they didn't have any more of these larger wreath forms at the Dollar Tree when I checked today.  Either way, I still have tons of corks for another project!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pottery Barn Place Mat Pillows

About 1 1/2 months ago while I was in San Diego visiting the 'rents, we made a special trip to the Pottery Barn since I don't have one close to where I live.   I found some very cute napkins that I thought I could turn into pillows, but ended up finding some place mats that were made with 2 pieces of fabric which would make the process way easier. 
The red place mat was $8.50 and the one with the bird was on sale for $5.89! (that was a nice surprise when I was checking out at the cash register).  Here's how you can turn a place mat into a pillow.  Supplies needed:
* Seam ripper
* Thread that matches the place mat
* Polyfiber fill

1)  I got my handy seam ripper and ripped out the middle part of the seam on the side.  I only took the seam out of the middle part of the side (instead of ripping out the entire seam) so that it would be less for me to stitch back up.

2)  I then took some polyfiber fill that I already had and just stuffed away until I got the firmness I wanted.  (If you have to buy polyfiber fill, it's fairly cheap.  I bought a big bag for about $6 and I've already made 4 pillows with it and still have some leftover).
3)  After I filled it, I just sewed up the opening using a needle and thread.  
These will go on the bench in my hallway once I make the cushion for it (yeah, we'll see how long it takes me to do that).
Pottery Barn pillows can cost up to $59 and their pillow covers up to $29 (each!), so I think this was a great savings.  $9 for one and $6 for the other!

Linked up to:
It All Started With Paint's Pillowpalooza link party

Halloween Jars

Last year, I found this cute Halloween project on the Not So Idle Hands blog.  I gathered up all the supplies and collected empty jars so I could do the project.  And then they sat there.  For a whole year.  I had run out of time to make them last year, so I vowed to do them in time for Halloween this year.  And lo and behold, I did them!  Woo hoo!

They were actually very easy to make - I just wish I would have saved more jars to make more.  I had most of the supplies already, so the only things that I had to buy for this project was a bottle of Mod Podge and battery operated tea lights at the Dollar Tree ($1 for a pack of 3!).  I decided not to use the string lights in them since I only had 3 jars, but as I make more later on down the road, I can always switch to the string lights - it will give much more lighting that the tea lights.

And by the way, this was my first time using Mod Podge.  I thought it was going to be super messy to use, but it was really easy and now I'm wanting to use it for more projects!