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Category: DIY and Tutorials

5 Minute Floral Arrangements

DIY 5 Minute Floral Arrangement

5 Minute Floral Arrangements

Add a little life to your home decor quickly, easily, and inexpensively by making your own 5 minute floral arrangements.

Quick and Easy Floral Arrangements

When we can’t find any signs of spring outside yet, it’s ok to fake it right?

Besides, I’m not the best at keeping house plants alive. (Tell me I’m not the only one!) I can force a bulb or two (check out my current amaryllis “race” on Instagram) but if someone gives me a ficus, that poor thing is bound to die of neglect a few months down the road.  In fact, I’ve been known to purposely kill a plant or two when I got sick of watering them.  Give me automatic sprinklers any day.

When I want to add a little color or greenery to my home decor, I almost always go for the stuff I can buy at the craft store.

Containers for 5 Minute Floral Arrangements

Aren’t those containers cute?

It’s my turn to host to host Bunco in March and my mom has been itching to have some girl time out shopping together so last weekend we headed out to find some Bunco prizes at a couple of my favorite places for home decor inspiration.  Not only did we come home with a few things for the Bunco ladies, I couldn’t help but get inspired to make some quick floral arrangements for myself.

Tiny Teacup

I particularly fell in love with this tiny teacup with the ruffled saucer.

Add succulents to your home

And these succulents.  Super realistic looking right?

Succulents in home decor are everywhere the last couple of years and I have yet to hop on the band wagon.  Figured this was as good a chance as any.

5 Minute DIY Tiny Teacup Succulent Planter

Tiny teacup + succulent = perfection.

And so simple too!

Just 4 steps to Make Your Own 5 Minute Floral Arrangements

Need a tutorial?  Naw, probably not, but I was in the mood to put together a quick infographic for you anyway.  😉

Make your own 5 Minute Floral Arrangement in Just 4 Steps

  1.  find a container
  2. add floral foam (I like to use the kind you can add water to, not the styrofoam blocks).  If you cut it to fit snugly in the container there is no need to glue it in.  I love that.  In case I’m ever in the mood to change out the arrangement or use the container without the arrangement, I can just slide the foam out again.Make Your Own Tiny Teacup Planter
  3. cover foam with moss.  I do use the hot glue gun on this step to attach the moss to the foam.  Cuts down on mess later and keeps it in place so you never see the foam.DIY Tiny Teacup Planter
  4. add your floral stems

Succulent in a Tiny Teacup

See?  Cute and easy (my Big Two when it comes to crafting!)  In less than 5 mintues I had this adorable floral arrangement.

 

Teacup Succulent

I had plenty of the succulent left to work with, so I used it again in a second container.  Same process as the teacup.

5 Minute Floral Arrangement Container

Container.

Moss is a great way to hide the mechanics of a floral arrangement

Foam and moss.

5 Minute Floral Arrangement with Succulents

Succulent floral stem.

Make Your Own Succulent Planter

Less than 5 minutes people – have I mentioned that?!?

And to change it up.  I added flowers to the little blue flower pot.

Easy and Inexpensive Floral Home Decor

In under half an hour I had almost half a dozen floral arrangements (that’s right – I haven’t shown a couple of them to you yet.  Stay tuned!).  It seriously took me longer to photograph everything than to put together the 5 minute floral arrangements.  Probably spent less than $20 on all of them too.

White Spring Flowers in Small Turquoise Pot

Do I have you convinced?  You totally need to make one too, right?!

Well, go do that and report back.  I’d love to see your takes on this simple and inexpensive project.

 

Let’s go create something great.

 

Looking for more DIY inspiration for you Home Decor?  Why not try your hand at this Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for the kitchen, update your Master Bedroom or Laundry Room, or get really ambitious and Reupholster a Chair.

 

 

Linking to:  Pretty Pintastic Party, Creativity Unleashed, Home Matters Linky Party, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,

 

My Top Tips to Reupholster a Chair

 Top Tips to Reupholster a Chair

My Top Tips to Reupholster a Chair

As promised (on my Master Bedroom Redo) here’s a look at my first ever attempt to reupholster a chair.  It was a lot of work, but I think in the end it was worth it.  And much less expensive than buying something brand new.  That’s what DIY is all about, right?
Thrifted Chair for Reuphostery Project

I picked up this lovely chair on a shopping trip with a friend at a Habitat for Humanity Resale Store.  We completely filled the back of the SUV on that trip – hehe!
This chair in particular cost a whopping $5.  Yup.  FIVE DOLLARS!  I figured at that price even if I messed it up I wouldn’t feel too bad.  And it obviously needed a little TLC.

Thrifted Chair to Reupholster

Then I started pricing upholstery fabric – yikes!  I mean, the cost wasn’t exactly a surprise because back when I was doing  interior design it wasn’t unusual to order $125/yard fabrics for custom chairs.  But that doesn’t work for my budget.  I eventually found a small discount fabric place not far from my home, but after a couple trips I still hadn’t found anything I loved and most were still upwards of $12/yd.  Luckily I stumbled onto a link to fabrics.com and found some great deals.

Eventually the fabric arrived and it was finally time to tackle the chair.  I did a quick review of a blog tutorial for reupholstering a chair, then grabbed the pliers and dove in.

Step one:  Remove the fabric and trim

Reupholstering a chair step one

My trusty sidekick helpfully had her nose in on the fun most of the time.

Do you know how many thousands of staples they put in one chair?  Me either but it’s a LOT.  I gave my hand a break every hour or so of work in the hope that I wouldn’t get blisters (I didn’t!).  And eventually I had it all torn apart.
Chair Reupholster one the fabric is removed
At that point I happily took a trip to the craft store to get more batting, upholstery tacks, and cording to sew the piping.
It wasn’t that long (parts of two days’ work) before I had it all finished!  The husband was actually pretty impressed.  He didn’t think I would finish the project, let alone end up with a decent-looking chair.  After all these years the husband should know better than to doubt me, right? 😉
(He didn’t admit any of this until after the chair was all put together and he had sufficiently praised my efforts  – so I forgave him.)
DIY Reupholster a Wing Back Chair

Look!  It even looks good close up! And yes, I painted the base black before attaching the fabric.  I almost forgot to do that part LOL.

Black and White Wing Chair Detail

Some of my other tips?

-Take lots and lots of photos as you pull the old fabric off.  It really helps to be able to go back and see the process in reverse, or look at a few details on how to attach the tricky pieces.

-Carefully label (number it when removed, where it went, and which side is the top!) and set aside each piece of old fabric as you remove it.  Not only will you be able to use them as patterns to cut out the new fabric, but you can also refer back to them when you are assembling the chair.

CIY Chair Reupholster
-Take your time!   This is a labor-intensive process and it takes its toll on your hands and your patience.  When my hands were cramping up or I found myself annoyed or ready to rush through a step I would stop for a few hours or the rest of the day.  The last thing I wanted was to “mess it up” and then have to see my blunder every time I looked at the chair.  So take your time and do it right (or fix it right then) as you go.

-Best paint for quick and easy refinishing?  Buy something with primer in the paint and a semi-gloss or gloss finish.

Black and White Chair Redo

The chair happily took up residence in our master bedroom.  Looks pretty good there doesn’t it?

 

If bigger DIY projects aren’t quite your style check out some of my other tutorials for Home Decor like the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign, Quote Display Board, or Swimming Subway Art.

 

Linking to:  Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, Pretty Pintastic Party, Pin Me Party, What to Do Weekends, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Saturday Sharefest, Creativity Unleashed,

Master Bedroom Update on a Budget

 

Update the Master Bedroom on a Budget

Master Bedroom Update On a Budget

Raise of hands – how many of us have been putting off that master bedroom update?

Maybe it’s because we don’t have the time.  Or the money.  Or the motivation.  (Valentine’s Day is coming up – that might be motivation enough, eh?)

I too am needing a little reminder that projects don’t need to feel intimidating or expensive so I thought I would revisit update on my master bedroom in our NC house.  (Won’t stop missing that house until I get a new on built. *sigh*)

Master Bedroom Update in Blue, White, and Black

Paint is the most effective and budget-friendly way to perk up a room.

The experts say so, the novices say so, and I say so.  A gallon of paint and a roller go a long way.

This blue took us a couple of tries to hit on a shade that was relaxing and not too bright.  That’s what paint testers are for, right?

Master Bedroom Farmhouse Decor

Wall Decor

Even before we all fell in love with Fixer Upper I was a fan of personalizing spaces with lettering.  So when I ran across these giant wooden letters at a craft store for 50% off I grabbed them.

I love that they are already embellished and the colors went great with the room.

Wooden Scrool Frame Wall Decor

Those unfinished (and super cheap!) scrolled wooden frames always catch my eye at the craft store and I finally figured out what to do with one of them!  The wooden “&” came unfinished from the craft store as well.

It felt like the perfect way to tie the monogram letters together.

Master Bedroom Decorating with monograms

The bedding – all made by yours truly.  I rarely sew but sometimes I get a vision stuck in my head.  When that happens I know it’s useless to try to find a match in stores (hours and hours of searching, people.  Exhausting.) and out comes the sewing machine.

I knew I wanted a mostly white bed with accents of black and a tiny bit of blue to pull in the blue from the walls so I just grabbed a few fabrics that worked with that idea and ran with it.  The duvet cover is actually made from flat sheets that I cut into strips, gathered half of them, then sewed them back together.

Master Bedroom Redo

And finishing it off

On the other side of the room is a console table the husband built and a chair I reupholstered.  A $4 chair from Goodwill, 7 yards of fabric, a little paint and a million staples – that one is worth its own blog post.  I’ll try to write about that soon.

Now, I know not everyone is a fan of having a TV in the bedroom.  I, however, am a horrible sleeper and have found it’s better to just let the TV get my brain to turn off instead of spending hours laying there with thoughts swirling in my head.  So the TV stays.

I don’t like a lot of “visual clutter” so I keep the accessories down to just a few photos, lamps, and that silver vase (that I’m pretty sure we bought with a gift card from our wedding).  Simple.  Zen?

The shelves on the console need a couple more knick knacks but I still haven’t run across any that feel right.

Updating the Master Bedroom

That’s pretty much it.  Simple, inexpensive, but effective – don’t you think?

Master Bedroom Before and After

Can’t leave you without a Before and After.

Feel free to laugh at the Before.  That photo was taken the weekend we moved into the house.  Our closing was delayed a day, which meant the furniture delivery was delayed about a week so we were basically camping out in the house.  Air mattress for the husband and I, blankets on the floor for the kids.  They elected to sleep in the big storage closet in the playroom, so I’m sure it felt like an adventure to them.  As for the grown ups – we were very happy when the furniture arrived.

 

As always, feel free to share your thoughts or your own projects that may have been inspired by this (or any other) post.  Or check out my Laundry Room/Mud Room, or Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for more design ideas.

 

 

Linking to:  Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, Creativity Unleashed, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,

DIY Farmhouse Barnwood Sign

DIY Farmhouse Barnwood Sign TutorialDIY Farmhouse Barnwood Sign Tutorial

A farmhouse style sign is easy and inexpensive to DIY with this quick tutorial.

Welcome to 2017!  Feels like I’m a bit late in saying that but better late than never, right?

Staying true to the spirit of the new year, I took a look at the things I wanted to accomplish this year.  Near the top of the list was the goal to polish up the blog a bit.  (What? You thought I was going to say “get in shape?”  Yep that’s on the list too!) I spent the last couple of weeks switching website hosts, reading up on SEO and optimizing images, redesigning the look of the blog, etc., etc.  It’s still a work in progress, but not a bad start, right?  I’m sure you will notice changes here and there for the next few weeks.  (Comments or suggestions, please share!)

Now that everything is up and running (and only a few of my Pinterest links to older posts are showing errors!  I think that was the hardest part – but we can’t have Pins not leading to the right places now can we?!) I can get back to posting on a regular basis.  Three cheers for that!

Now on to the show and tell!

One of my biggest projects last year was a complete remodel of my parent’s kitchen.  Huge project, lots of work, and fodder for many blog posts.  Today I’m excited to show off one of the final touches on the kitchen – the  farmhouse style barnwood sign I made for the wall above the sink.

Reclaimed Wood Sign DIY Wall Decor

The inspiration for this sign struck when my mom and I were shopping for countertops.  We had a few minutes before our next appointment with a granite showroom so we popped into a restaurant supply store where a reclaimed wood sign caught our eye.  We fell in love with the unique shape and currugated metal letters and knew right then we wanted to incorporate that idea into the kitchen somehow.

As the remodel continued, we found a quote that my mom really liked for the room.  I purchased some currugated metal letters from Hobby Lobby (love that place!).  However, it wasn’t until the big projects were complete that I was able to take the time to create the barnwood sign.

How to create your own Farmhouse Barnwood Sign – Step by Step

DIY Farmhouse Sign Tutorial Template

1 – Make a Template

The first thing I did was make a template out of newspaper.  This was my first attempt with this unique shape so I took a little extra time to get it right.  I even taped the newspaper template to the wall above the sink and left it there for a day to make sure I was happy with the size and the shape.

2 – Cut barnwood and assemble

Living on a farm, we have old wood laying around so it was an easy matter to just grab a few pieces.  You could also use pallet wood or any other type of reclaimed wood for this project.  Or buy new wood and distress it.

Lay the pieces side by side and place the template over them.  Trace template onto wood and cut.

Lay wood pieces upside down in desired shape and attach to each other using a couple of smaller pieces of wood.

How to make your own barnwood sign

3 – Stain wood (if desired)

I love the richer look adding stain gives to the old wood.  If you want to leave it unstained and go with the grey and weathered look, that’s great too.

DIY Farmhouse Barnood Sign DIY Tutorial

4 – Create stencil for lettering and paint quote.

 

I used my Silhouette machine to create a stencil out of vinyl.  You could also use letter stencils from the craft store or simply free-hand your painted design.

Because I was using the “white space” of the vinyl as the stencil I was able to use the vinyl letters themselves on the template to get a better idea of how I wanted to lay out the quote.   I’m kind of an “eye it and run with it” person when it comes to this kind of thing but since the template was there I did that extra step.  The most important thing is to make sure that your lettering is centered and straight.

DIY painted Barnwood Sign How To

Paint inside stencil, remembering to dab or “stipple” with your brush.  A foam brush and acrylic craft paint work great.

Currugated Metal letters on Farmhouse Sign

5 – Attach currogated metal letters.

 

The currugated letters already had hooks on the back.  I just added screws directly into the wood and hung the letters from the screws.

Reclaimed Wood Sign

6 – Ta da!  All you need to do now is to attach some hooks to back and hang ‘er up!

Reclaimed Wood Sign Tutorial

 

As always, I would love to know if you make your own sign.  Now go.  Create something.

 

 

Linking to:  Pretty Pintastic Party, Home Matters Party, Snickerdoodle Sunday,

Last Minute Halloween Prep

fall-sunrise-alaynascreationsLife can get crazy-busy very quickly and it is so very easy to let it take us for a ride – which is exactly what has happened to me in the two months or so since my husband got home from deployment.  First, we spent a few weeks all wrapped up in enjoying having him home and doing all of the family stuff still on our bucket list.  Then we jumped into a massive remodel of my parents’ kitchen (so many blog posts to write!) before the husband had to return to his civilian job.  Plus, school started before that project was completed and we have all been doing our best to get back into the normal routine of work/school/extra-curricular activities.

And now?  Now we are knee-deep in October which is Birthday Month around here (7+ birthdays to celebrate – more on that soon!) and I suspect things are going to keep moving just as quickly.

Which brings me to today’s project, or rather yesterday’s project – my son’s class party for Halloween.  His teacher has developed her own traditions and one of them is performing a Mad Scientist show for other classes in the school.  I’ve known about this for weeks – after all, I’m the Room Mom this year and my job was to organize the parent helpers and donations to provide lunch for the class in the middle of their busy day of Mad Scientist shows.  So it really shouldn’t have been a surprise when my 9-year-old came home the night before the party talking about turning a shirt into a lab coat.

I guess I had just figured that a pair of safety goggles and some crazy hair would be a “good enough” costume (and really that would have been fine) but my little guy wanted something a bit more.

last-minute-costume-mad-scientist-costume-halloween-alaynascreations

(ah boys – he was dead convinced that Mad Scientists don’t smile and I couldn’t manage to get him to pose any other way)

An old shirt and a Sharpie saved the day.  In less than 5 minutes (and $0!) we were able to transform a shirt he no longer wanted to wear into a lab coat by simply drawing a few lines on it with a marker.

no-cost-mad-scientist-costume-for-halloween-no-time-to-go-to-the-store-just-use-an-old-shirt-and-a-sharpie

It turned out cute, he was pretty excited about it  – and after seeing all the other kids, some with full wigs and everything, I was glad we put in the little bit of extra effort.

Tyler received plenty of compliments on his costume and it had me wondering…I bet that’s not the only costume that could be pulled together in a pinch with just a shirt and a Sharpie.  Any ideas for other options?!

 

Easy Christmas Gifts for Teachers and Classmates – AND a Giveaway!

Easy Christmas Gifts for Teachers and Classmates with a little help from my Silhouette

15 days ’til Christmas! And yes the title DID say GIVEAWAY! Keep reading ’til the end to not only see what my Silhouette Challenge buddies and I have been up to, but to get a chance to win some Silhouette goodies of your own! (Giveaway is now closed)

I have spent a lot of my free time the last week or so writing lists, double checking lists, running errands and shopping, and rewriting lists…that’s how the holiday season goes, right?  When December hit I was feeling pretty behind on things but the more I cross off the list the better I feel and the more excited I get for Christmas.
This year my son’s classroom is doing the 12 Days of Christmas, so each of the children are assigned a specific day to bring in their classroom gifts and my son was assigned one of the first of the twelve days.  It just happened to be the day before his birthday and I was neck deep in party prep, so I knew that I needed something that didn’t require a lot of time or effort to put together.  But fankly, it’s me and we all know that even when I want things simple and inexpensive I also strive for a bit of creativity and cuteness.

Easy Classmate Gift idea that even the kids can do themselves
It took a bit of thought, but I finally settled on snack-size bags of microwave popcorn.  My kids are HUGE popcorn fans (and kept trying to steal the bags while we were assembling the gifts!) and I figure the popcorn is a nice change from the typical candy canes and Christmas pencils my kids usually bring home.  And dressing them up was a snap – with a little help from my Silhouette (die cutting) machine and my kiddos.
Quick and Easy Christmas Gift for Classmates using microwave popcorn and construction paper
So there is a look at the supplies I used for decorating the popcorn bags.  We dressed half the bags up as reindeer and half as Santa.  This is the point to which I prepped the supplies before enlisting the help of the munchkins.
snack-size microwave popcorn
preprinted adhesive labels:  Mine say “Here’s to a Merry Christmas and a Poppin’ New Year, Love, Tyler” and are printed onto a sheet of Avery address labels.  You could substitute any kind of tag you want to use.
googly eyes
construction paper:
-brown for the reindeer and red for Santa, cut into strips (construction paper is 9″ x 12″ and I found that cutting it into three 4″ wide strips was a perfect fit)
-also a piece of black paper cut into 1/2″ wide strips (by 9″ long)
Santa belts made out of construction paper using the silhouette machine
-white paper cut into squares (1″ x 1″) with two cut lines in the center for Santa’s belt.  I used the Silhouette to do this and it saved a lot of quality time spent with an Xacto knife, but that’s certainly an option.  I was planning to have the kids thread them onto the black “belts” but quickly found that I had cut them to fit pretty tightly and my 8 year old was likely to tear half of them trying to put them on so I did it myself.  So when cutting yours out you may want the cuts to be a full 5/8″ to allow the 1/2″ black pieces to slide through more easily.
Reindeer Antlers for Christmas projects cut with the Silhouette Machine
-dark brown paper (I used cardstock as I’ve found the thicker texture cuts better for projects like this) cut into cute little reindeer antlers.  These are approx 2 1/2″ high.  I’m sure you can find a cut file somewhere but I decided to create my own using some antler clip art (just google it) and the trace feature in the Silhouette studio.  You could also just hand-cut them, though I was happy to not have to do that particular step.
-oh!  And don’t forget some red circles for the reindeer noses!
Cute and Easy Classmate Christmas Gifts the kids can assemble themselves
Assembly went pretty quickly and the kids were easily able to do it all themselves.  They just wrapped the larger strips of paper around the popcorn bags and secured it on the back with tape (I had them tape one side directly to the bags so they wouldn’t slide out of the wrappers), then added the embellishments and stuck the address label “tags” on the back.
Assembling these cute classmate Christmas gifts is so easy even the kids can do it
We made sure to attach the antlers to the back of the brown strips before wrapping them around the popcorn bags for the reindeer, but other than that the assembly is much the same.  Add the google eyes (we used glue dots for that), the noses, and the sticky “tag” on back and you’re done!
Santa and Reindeer Decorated Popcorn Bags make a great Christmas gift for classmates or neighbors
Mini bags of microwave popcorn dressed up like Sant and Reindeer make great Christmas gifts

While I was at it, I put together the gifts for the kids’ teachers as well.  I found these adorable mason jar shaped drinking cups on clearance at the craft store after Thanksgiving and knew I just had to do something with them for Christmas.
Mason Jar cups filled with school supplies and hot chocolate mix make a great Christmas gift for teachers

I rounded up some red and green colored Sharpies, green post-its and some great hot chocolate mix (looking at the photo I’m wondering why oh why I didn’t get a few extra so I could try out the toasted marshmallow flavor?!) to put inside the cup.   And I wanted a bit of customization (when in doubt – customize, right?!) so I fired up the Silhouette machine again and did some cute labels using the teacher’s names.
Decorative Teacher Name Labels cut with my Silhouette machine to dress up Christmas Gift

Embellished mason jar mug for teacher Christmas gift using vinyol and Silhouette machine

Mason Jar Gift for Teachers Christmas or Teacher Appreciation Gift in a Cup

Done deal!  The kids are now all set for Christmas festivities at school, which is great since we are down to only ONE more week before Christmas vacation!  (oh boy!)

Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

Easy Glitter Snowflake Ornament Ornament Surprise Box Merry & Bright Christmas Stocking Gift Card Holder Holiday Projects with Heat Transfer Vinyl Christmas Tree Card Display Easy DIY Hello Kitty Ornaments Fa la la Christmas Shirt Make Printed Holiday Tea Towels Christmas Tree Countdown: December Silhouette Challenge Modern Advent Calendar 'All is Calm, All is Bright' Canvas Sign Tutorial DIY Faux Aged Copper Snowflake Ornaments from a Cereal Box! Sew Easy Pillow Covers Easy Gold Striped Monogram Ornament Monthly Dry Erase Planner Handmade Christmas Tags Cactus Gift + Printable Buffalo Plaid Gift Tags Coffee Mug Gift for the Star Wars Geek Hot Chocolate Stirring Spoons & Gift Tags Cut File Merry and Bright Christmas Pillow Damask Reindeer Print Ikea Star Ornament DIY Etched Nativity Ornament Fa La La La Pillow {Tutorial} DIY Split Monogram Pillow Fun Holiday Gift Tags - Free Print and Cut Etched in Glass DIY Easy Red and White Christmas Pillows 3 Easy Ways to Create Christmas Baby Onesies with HTV Easy Christmas Gifts for Teachers and Classmates

1. Beauty in the Mess // 2. JustTyra // 3. Dream a Little Bigger // 4. Simply Kelly Designs // 5. The Stamp Doc // 6. From Wine to Whine // 7. TheKimSixFix // 8. unOriginal Mom // 9. HaberdasheryFun // 10. Tastefully Frugal // 11. Sisters, What! // 12. Small Stuff Counts // 13. Where The Smiles Have Been // 14. Whatcha Workin’ On? // 15. Designed Decor // 16. Architecture of a Mom // 17. Decor Adventures // 18. Create & Babble // 19. Tori Grant Designs // 20. Tried & True // 21. The Thinking Closet // 22. Creative Ramblings // 23. Get Silvered // 24. McCall Manor // 25. Cutesy Crafts // 26. Ginger Snap Crafts // 27. My Favorite Finds // 28. Cupcakes&Crowbars // 29. Pineapples & Pinecones // 30. The Crafting Nook // 31. It Happens in a Blink // 32. Alayna’s Creations

Silhouette Giveaway

December2015GiveawayGraphic-1114pixels

And I’ve saved the best for last.  My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I in partnership with Silhouette America are hosting a mega-huge giveaway …. Giveaway is now CLOSED.

Avengers Birthday Party Invitation – with Tutorial for Miniature File Folders

Avengers Birthday Party Invitation Tutorial

We now interrupt our scheduled holiday programming…
That’s kind of how it feels to have a son with a birthday in December.  My brain is set to be all gung-ho with Christmas but I have to back off and plan a party instead.  Not that I want my little guy to feel like his birthday gets rushed or glossed over in any way – I try hard for that not to happen.  So of course he got exactly what he wanted for his birthday – an Avengers Superhero Training party.  It was actually a lot of fun to plan and fairly easy to execute.  I will share all the details soon, but thought I’d start out with the invitation.

As with all parties lately, I started with a Pinterest Board for inspiration and went from there.  Tyler really liked the one with the Top Secret file folder and though I tried to convince him a manila envelope would work just as well, I ended up figuring out how to make mini-sized file folders for his invites.
How to Make your Own Mini  Top Secret File Folder for Avengers Birthday Party Invitation
Easy enough – I simply cut down some file folders I already had on hand, making sure to leave a tab on one side then completing the look by rounding off the corners.  The overall size is 9″ high by 6 1/2″ wide (cut down to 6″ except for where I wanted the tab) because I wanted them to fit a half-sheet of paper but these would look absolutely adorable in a smaller size as well.

Iron Man Dress Up Photo for Avengers Birthday Party Invitation
I knew I wanted to use a photo of Tyler in his Iron Man costume from Halloween for the inserts.  Cute right?  He’s quite a ham when he wants to be.
The rest of the inserts came together pretty easily with all the party details and a bit of clever wording.  I wanted it to look like a “report” you might find inside a Top Secret folder, right?  Then I simply printed them off two to a page.

Super Hero Training Birthday Party Invitation Iron Man

The fonts used are Bernard MT Condensed and Baskerville Old Face.  The Avenger logo is simply clip art I found online.  And the fun Avengers clip art along the bottom was part of a printable pack I found HERE and turned to black and white in Photoshop.  The printables are great – I used them again for a lot of the party supplies as well.

My 12 year old helped me assemble the invitations by stamping Top Secret on top of the folders and attaching the inserts inside the folders with paper clips (I didn’t want them to fall out!)
Avengers Birthday Party Invitation with Top Secret Mini File Folder TutorialMini File Folders for Avengers Birthday Party Top Secret Invitation
Tyler was happy and the whole thing probably took me an hour, tops, to pull together.  Total win!
Now you’re excited to see the rest of the party details, right?!  I’ll share them soon – promise!  The kids had a blast and, like most of my parties, it was simple and inexpensive to put together. Stay tuned…

Linking to:  Tip Me Tuesday, Made By You Monday, Learning from Each Other, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House,

Elf Antics – 7 Top Tips for Hosting Your Elf on the Shelf

7 Top Tips for Hosting Your Elf on the Shelf

Have we hit the week of Thanksgiving already?!  Yikes.  It’s really time to start getting serious about prepping for Christmas isn’t it?  Since I’ve been jotting down gift ideas as I go the last few weeks, what is actually topping my list of Things To Do for Christmas is make up my Elf List for the year.
Are you in on the Elf on the Shelf trend?  I actually ran across the idea a year or two before they made the official kits and everything (awesome right?  I’m a trend-setter! ha!) and we have had elves visit our house every December since then.  I’ve found it to be a fun tradition and one the kids really look forward to but I also know that it’s a lot of work and I have found myself popping awake at 5AM thinking “oh no!  I didn’t move the elves!”  Thus the Elf List.  I collect elf ideas whenever I run across them (yes even in July!) so I have quite a few on my Elf Pinterest Board – feel free to check them out if you need inspiration.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas Our elves decided to help feed the dog using the toy backhoe

December is a chaotic time of the year with a lot of time spent trying to simplify without missing out on the magic of the season.  Over the years I have developed a few tricks to make this Elf thing as easy as possible and thought I would share them with you.
1.  Plan ahead.  Collect ideas then make a list.  I usually sit down a couple weeks before December starts with a paper numbered 1 through 24 and a calendar.  Then I pencil in things I KNOW I want the elves to do on specific days.  Our elves arrive on the first of December, always with a Hello letter and a few new stamps on their passports.  The 24th is also a given as they need to bid the kiddos good-bye for the year.  My son’s birthday is on the 5th so I always plan something related to that on that day.
Life is changeable so while I do schedule certain days, I don’t schedule something on all of them.  I make a secondary list at the bottom of my paper with quick and easy ideas if I need to change something at the last minute.
2.  Set a reminder on your phone.  You DO NOT want to be scrambling to move the elves at 3AM when you wake up and remember you didn’t do it before you went to bed, or to have to try to come up with a reason they didn’t move when the kids discover it in the morning.  So set that alarm on your phone and never forget the elves again.  I usually set mine for about half an hour after we put the kids to bed so they have enough time to fall asleep but it’s still early enough that I am not too tired to make the effort.
3.  Enlist help.  Sometimes it’s as simple as telling the husband it’s his turn to move the elves.  Or it could be that you have a friend that also has elves at their house and you coordinate a night or two with them.  A couple years ago our elves had a Skype session with their friends at a neighbor’s house – we simply did a screen shot of them on Skype and emailed it to each other then it was a simple matter to put the photo on the screen and set the elves up in front of it.
And never underestimate the power of a brainstorming session with someone.  If you don’t have a buddy doing Elf on the Shelf I do have a Facebook group set up for exchanging ideas.
4.  Free printables.  Love them!  Elf on the Shelf is very popular and there are so many great blogs out there with ideas and even some with printables.  I used THIS one and THIS one last year and am figuring out how to incorporate THESE this year.
5.  Buy things when you see them.  I always try to have a couple of things on hand that the elves can “give” the kids – a mini Christmas tree, a tiny craft kit, a puzzle, a new game.  This is one of those cases where the fact that the stores start setting out Christmas stuff before Halloween works in our favor.  I have found it’s easier to run across something cool and fun than to get an idea and then try to head out searching for it.  So hit that dollar section in Target or the craft store or the dollar store itself and grab a couple of items.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas the elves took selfies on the kids tablet and used them as the new background on the desktop
6.  Work with what you have.  Our houses are stuffed with inspiration, we just have to be open to it.  And the kids get a bigger kick out of personal things.  So grab your daughter’s favorite doll and let the elf have a tea party.  Pull out the Lego sets and have the elf build a Lego christmas tree.  Have a pair of hand weights gathering dust in the closet?  Maybe the elves need a workout.
7.  HAVE FUN!  This is supposed to be an enjoyable thing for you and your family so allow yourself to get carried away with it.

All right, everyone even more enthused for their elf visits this year?  I know I am!  I will be using the rest of this week to post some of my Elf Antics from Christmases past and will like those posts here soon!  In the meantime, do you have some favorite Elf ideas you would like to share?!

Linking to:  Tip Me Tuesday, Lou Lou Girls,

Cupcake Ruffled Apron – Easy Sewing Tutorial

Ruffled Cupcake Apron for Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Easy sewing tutorial

Phew!  Birthday month is over and what a busy, fun October is was!  But before I put it completely behind me and dive headfirst into all things Christmas I wanted to share a little bit more about how we made these adorable Cupcake Ruffled Aprons for Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars Birthday Party (which was a total blast!  You can check out the rest of the party details HERE).

Easy sewing tutorial for ruffled cupcake aprons All you need is an inexpensive apron from the craft store and some fabric for embellishment

We started off with an inexpensive white apron from the craft store.  This not only made the whole sewing process easier and faster, but with a 40% off coupon on a pack of three it was probably less expensive than buying the fabric and sewing it ourselves.  Then I took my time wandering around the fabric section and selected some fabric that went with our party theme and colors.  I ended up with a yard of the striped fabric and 1/2 yard of the other four fabrics.  This was more than enough fabric for all four aprons.  If you are only sewing one apron you would need 1/4 to 1/3 yard in each of three different fabrics.

Sewing Tutorial for semi homemade ruffled apron for Cupcake Wars Birthday Party ruffle detail

Isn’t the glitter in the fabric pretty?  I thought it was perfect for preteen girly girls.

On to the sewing process!  We decided that 4″ was a good length for the ruffles so I cut the fabric into strips 4 1/2″ wide, three strips per apron (one of each color).  One strip turned out to be the perfect length to go across the apron when ruffled so no piecing was needed for that.  I simply ironed the bottom of each strip 1/4″ for the hem, turned it another 1/4″ and ironed it again, then gave it to Kaitlyn who sewed the hems herself.  (Did I mention she is 12?  She loves this crafting stuff)  We did the same method for hemming the edges of each strip and since the top of each ruffle wasn’t going to be seen we simply zig zagged along the top edge of each fabric strip.  Once all the edges were taking care of, we sewed on a couple of gathering threads along the top of each strip (about 1/2″ down from the top) and gathered the fabric.
In order to sew the ruffles on straight, I drew a line with a pencil 3 1/2″ from the bottom of the apron, a second line 3 1/2″ above the first, and the third line 3 1/2″ above the second line.  This allows the ruffles to overlap each other.  Experiment a little bit with yours to make sure that the spacing allows enough overlap so that your upper edge with the gathering threads is fully covered.
The guide lines need to be drawn on both the front and the back of the apron.  You use the lines on the front of the apron when you are pinning the ruffles on to keep it straight.  We found that it was easier to sew the ruffles on with the BACK of the apron on top as it goes through the machine, which is why you need to draw a second set of lines on the back of the apron.
Start with the bottom ruffle and pin it on the apron (keeping the pins pretty close together so the ruffles won’t move) then sew it on.  Repeat with the second and third ruffles.

Embellished apron for Cupcake Wars Birthday Party sewing tutorial waistband detail

In order to cover up the top of the final ruffle, we decided to add another strip of fabric as a sort of belt or waistline.  So, cut a strip out of one of your fabrics – 2″ high, by the width of your apron (plus 1/2″ for hem allowances).  I folded over the sides 1/4″ (this gives you a nice clean edge on both sides without hemming) and ironed it down.  I also ironed a 1/4″ hem along one side of the fabric strip (let’s call it the top).  Using the second (unironed) side of the fabric strip, we sewed it up-side down on top of the top ruffle.  This allowed us to then fold it over, right-side-up, along the seam and iron it flat.  It is then a simple matter to top-stich along all four sides of the fabric strip to form your belt.

Ruffled Cupcake Apron detail photo of ruffles added to inexpensive craft store apron easy DIY sewing tutorial

The final touch was the cupcake applique.  Kaitlyn did the entire applique herself, so trust me it’s easy (as long as you get the fusing on the correct BACK side of the fabric).  We just printed off some cupcake clip art to use as a pattern and traced the outline of it onto the backing of the Iron-On Adhesive (we used an adhesive product similar to THIS).  If you are unfamiliar with the use of iron-on adhesives, they are pretty easy to use.  You just iron the adhesive onto the back of your fabric (holding the iron on for the number of seconds specified in the directions), peel off the backing paper, then iron your applique directly onto your project.  The key to this process is that after you trace your stencil onto the backing paper, roughly cut around it leaving just a little space outside the lines of your stencil.  Once you iron the adhesive to your applique fabric, cut along the lines of the stencil before removing the backing paper.  This gives you a cleaner line along the edges of the stencil than trying to cut the fabric to match the shape of your adhesive.  As you can see, we cut two different pieces for the applique using one fabric for the top of the cupcake and another fabric for the bottom.  Then just placed them on the apron and ironed both pieces on at once.
Finish it all off by top-stitching around the edges of the applique.

Cupcake Applique for ruffled apron Party favor for Cupcake Wars Birthday Party

Then have your adorable, newly-minted 12 year old proudly model her creation! 😉

Cupcake Ruffled Apron party favor for Cupcake Wars Birthday Party easy sewing tutorial

Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Aprons were made specially for the party with ruffles in colors and patterns that coordinated with the party theme The birthday girl helped do a lot of the sewing herself

And there are the happy bakers at Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars Birthday Party.

Ruffled Cupcake Apron for Cupcake Wars Birthday Party Easy sewing tutorial DIY

As always, if you are inspired by this project and use it to create something of your own I would LOVE to hear about it!  (and see photos!)

Linking to:  Tip Me Tuesday, Learning From Each Other, Made By You Monday, Merry MondaySnickerdoodle Sunday,

Halloween Monsters – A Quick and Easy DIY Project

Easy 2x4 Halloween Monsters Tutorial for DIY Wooden Halloween Craft featureing Frankenstein Witch Pumpkin and Mummy

Hello Monday!  Is everyone having a good day?  Usually Monday is a pretty good day for me, at least where motivation and productivity are concerned.  I think I get more done on Mondays than I do any other day of the week – and twice as much as I accomplish on Fridays 😉  But.  Today wasn’t one of those days.  In fact, I felt like I spent the entire day dealing with not-so-pleasant things and not much time at all on the glorius Monday To-Do List.  My little guy developed a fever yesterday and and I kept him home from school where he has been fighting the fever and watching Justice League cartoons.  The big truck that was scheduled to pick up the calves that my dad is selling this year moved up the timetable three hours and I was the only one home that could go out and help him round them up, and trust me – he wasn’t exactly in a good mood about it.  Plus other problems I really just don’t even want to think about right now.  So in an effort to raise my spirits a little before I meet a friend at the gym and work off some of my frustrations I decided to blog.  Aren’t you lucky? 😉

That leaves the question – what to blog about?  I’m in full-on birthday party prep mode over here, with my daughter’s fun Cupcake Wars party starting in T-minus two days and while I will have plenty to blog about the party on Thursday, none are ready to blog right now.  Pinterest and the blogosphere are still flooded with Halloween ideas and the post getting the most hits on my old blog this week, last week, and probably the week before is another of my Fall craft days…so I’d better share it here, right?!

Here we go – a simple tutorial for quick and easy Halloween Monsters.

Fall Craft Supplies for 2x4 Wooden Monsters DIY

I believe I’ve mentioned that I love to turn crafting into a social event.  In fact, it’s been a great excuse to get to know people better and I met some of my closest friends because one of them wanted to learn how to make a wreath.  However, wreaths can quickly become more expensive projects and the supplies add up pretty fast, so wooden crafts are usually my go-to when I want to pull something together inexpensively.  For this project all you need is a 2×4 and some craft paint and a couple of random things from around the house.

Supplies for Craft Day Halloween Decorations DIY Wooden Monsters and Witch

Like googly eyes and nuts and bolts

Vinyl Shapes for 2x4 Halloween Wood Craft

and a sheet of vinyl cut into to some geometric shapes.  I used my Silhouette machine but you could just as easily cut shapes with scissors or paint them on.

2x4 Wooden Crafts For Halloween Frankenstein and Mummy Easy DIY

For ‘ole Frank up there I painted the block green then added the hair and face with black paint.  Add on some googly eyes and a couple of bolts and he’s all set.
The mummy block was painted a coat of white first then I wrapped it with strips of scrap white fabric, glueing it down as I went.  If you tear the fabric strips instead of cutting them, it gives them a nice “aged” texture along the edge.

2x4 Wooden Crafts For Halloween Witch and Pumpkin Easy DIY

The witch hat is simply a piece of the 2×4 turned sideways, topped with another block of wood cut into a triangle.  I used raffia for the hair but you could easily use straw or yarn.  And Mr. Pumpkin over there is the easiest with a coat of orange paint, the vinyl shapes for the face, and a piece of green ribbon tied in a knot and glued on top for the stem/leaves.

*Quick tip:  you can use a number of adhesives like hot glue and craft glue but one of the best adhesives to use when trying to adhere anything to wood is wood glue.  It takes longer to dry, but holds really well.

DIY Wooden Halloween Decor Monsters using 2x4s includes tutorial

These guys liked to sit on my mantle or on the decorative ledge by my stairs and every time I passed them by I was reminded of the fun we all had the afternoon my friends and I got together to craft.  That’s the bonus with DIY projects – they all have a story, don’t they?

In the mood for a little more Fall/Halloween crafting?  Check out some of my other creations.

Halloween Front Porch Decor includes pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreaths and swags and wicked witch wooden sign with broomstick Make the switch to Thanksgiving easy with double sided sign

Front porch decor, including a witch wreath and Boo swags, wooden pallet pumpkins, and the double-sided Halloween/Thanksgiving sign.

Double Sided Wood 2x4 Craft for Halloween and Thanksgiving Beware of LIttle Monsters Thanks for little blessings

Double-sided Halloween/Thanksgiving blocks.  This one was another fun Craft Day project.

DIY 2x4 Pumpkins Make your own wooden pumkins with this easy tutorial

2×4 Pumpkins (see?  2x4s are one of my favorite craft supplies!)

Linking to:  R&R Wednesdays, Inspire Me Monday, Merry Monday Halloween Features, Made By You Monday,