It’s officially fall! Although, for me it was a little anti-climatic, since I started decorating for fall the first week of September. But now, we autumn-aficionados can revel in our favorite season and post too many photos of pumpkin spice lattes while wearing cozy sweaters and boots.
I shared in my Friday Finds post these adorable velvet pumpkins from Target (for $1!) but bemoaned that they only had one color left. After I brought them home, I remembered that I have yards of bright blue velvet in my fabric stash, thanks to the Ikea curtains we bought for our master bedroom that needed about a foot cut off of the bottom to fit our windows. I didn’t have any real pumpkin stems, so I DIYed a cute way of getting around that, so don’t despair if you don’t have any pumpkin stems either. I like the contrast of the hemp twine and velvet anyway; it’s very farmhouse chic.
When you work full time and have a one and a half year old, crafting time happens in pockets at night and on weekends. Which means that projects I can start on a Saturday morning and actually complete by evening are super satisfying. Times that by three, and you’ll feel like you rule the craft world!
1. Marble Fridge Magnets
Up-cycle your old fridge magnets! For this super simple project, you’ll need:
A sheet of hexagon marble tiles. After looking at Home Depot, I bought these from Amazon. They were the perfect size, and the price couldn’t be beat!
A hot glue gun.
Magnets. I used my cheap old fridge magnets from Target.
I hot-glued the old magnets to the back of the marble tiles. The one thing you’ll need to test is the strength of the magnets. I’d tried to upcycle some of those old flimsy old fridge magnets that have advertisements for restaurants, etc. on them, but they weren’t strong enough.
Here’s the fridge before/during the magnet testing phase:
I love the little touch of elegance they add!
2. Paper Straw Diamond Mobile
This is one of those crafts I’d pinned ages ago, bought the supplies, made an attempt, and failed. The straws cluttered up my craft supplies drawer for months. Then one day, after watching some DIY videos on YouTube completely unrelated, I had a flash of inspiration and realized I could do this in an easier way – hot glue.
This is what I started with – a tangled mess of straws tied together.
Here’s what you need:
Paper straws. I bought these at Target in the dollar section.
Hot glue gun.
Scissors, and string for hanging.
As described in the original tutorial linked above, for various sizes of diamonds, you’ll need different sized pieces. I ended up adding to the pieces you see here, so there were a total of:
five 6 1/4″ straws
five 5 1/2″ straws
ten 3 1/2″ straws
Here’s the premise: instead of stringing the straws together, we’re going to hot glue them. Hot glue dries so fast, and is malleable for a minute, it seemed plausible that this would work.
Start by gluing together a triangle with two long pieces and one medium piece.
Then we’re going to start to assemble the pentagon shape of medium pieces, with the long pieces forming triangles along the sides and connecting at the top.
Yay! The top section is done!
To add the rest of the diamond shape, it’s easiest to lay it on it’s side, and glue the pieces one by one.
Clean up the glue by just breaking off any excess.
Add some string for hanging, or use it as a decorative item!
3. Upcycled Lamps
Note the tiny lamp on the right in the first photo: it, and the taller version, were a super cheap Walmart buys when Brian and I first got married and moved into our very first apartment. They’re nothing special, so I considered donating them and getting something with a little more flair. And then I had a light-bulb moment, and realized that they were perfect candidates for a spray paint upgrade!
Now, spray painted lamps can go one of two ways – tacky, or awesome. There’s not much in between. So I did my research when it came to gold spray paint, and I decided to try two different types to see what the effects were.
This paint was SO easy to use, I loved it! I had much more control over the paint, and my hand didn’t get tired and cramped. It was easy to get a super even and smooth finish, and I liked the final color of the gold, not too yellow or two orangey.
This paint has your typical spray nozzle, and typical pitfalls – you have to be careful to control the amount of paint, not let it drip, etc. The hammered finish helps disguise any drips, and looks really cool.
As it turned out, I needed some lamps in my office at work, so I didn’t have to rely on horrible florescent lights. Here’s how the Universal Gold turned out:
Here’s the Hammered Gold lamp:
Between the two, I’d probably use the Universal Gold again before I’d use the Hammered Gold again. But for just the right project, the hammered gold could be the perfect effect.
I also tried spray painting the lampshade on the small lamp – but if you’re going to attempt that, be sure to vacuum them off really well first.
As far as actual steps for painting the lamps: tape off the cords, placing them in a plastic bag like I did, and taping off the top where the light bulb will go. Follow the drying instructions on your spray paint, but seriously, without priming, these turned out fantastic and were done in a day.
And that’s it! Three easy DIY projects you can start, and probably complete, in a day. While you’re waiting for your first coat of spray paint to dry, you can be hot-gluing your magnets or straws!
Sometimes, projects end up in a very different place from where you anticipated starting out. This was one such project. I had a specific plan for putting some bouquets of fake flowers to good use, and this project I’d pinned ages ago was too perfect. But in the end, I didn’t end up using any of the flowers, but some other craft supplies I already had, and still loving the finished product. That’s the creative process for you!
So if some of the photos below are a little confusing, it’s because the supplies for this project evolved over the course of completing it. Here’s what you actually need to complete the moss covered letter:
Floral moss. I bought a bag of reindeer moss from Amazon. This is great stuff for terrariums too!
Hot glue gun.
A piece of cardboard. Mine is from the back of a print I purchased and framed, but any piece or thickness of cardboard could work.
Photo frame. I bought this one at Goodwill for a couple dollars, and painted it to give it new life.
Old book pages. I bought some old books at Goodwill also, and I’ve used them for many craft projects over the years.
First, decide on the letter. I chose a “C” for our last name, which seemed fitting for the entry way. I tried drawing a “C” directly onto the cardboard, but I could not for the life of me get it to look good. So, take the time to type the letter into a Word document or Google Doc, and increase the font size to fill a standard 8×10 frame.
Print your letter, and cut it out. Trace it onto your cardboard, and cut it out.
Here’s where I resorted to Plan B. Plan A was to cover the letter with moss, mostly to fill any gaps between the flowers, which would go on top of the moss. But, my flowers were too large, or my letter too thin, for the flowers to fit. So, I kept it simple and just used the moss by itself.
With some little helping hands out of the way, I carefully hot-glued the moss to the frame, using generous amounts of moss to completely cover the cardboard.
Now that your letter is ready, let’s start on the frame. I’d originally painted this frame what I’d thought would turn out a nice coral pink. Instead, I’d describe it as dusty 80’s rose. Not ideal. It was much improved with my favorite metallic finish gold paint.
After I removed the existing artwork, I taped some old book pages to cover the back of the picture frame. You could use scrapbook paper, sheet music, or pieces of cool wallpaper, whatever fits with your entry way vibe.
Once the frame was reassembled, I used hot glue to attache the moss letter to the glass, on the front of the frame. Then it’s ready for hanging!
Of course, after I hung this up, I stopped to read the book page. I’d used some pages from one of the James Herriot books, which if you’re not familiar, are the adventures of Yorkshire country vet. The books are full of heartwarming stories, and they bring back many great memories of watching the TV series with my family on Sunday nights, drinking tea. They also sometimes very bluntly describe medical conditions and procedures, as the pages I just happened to select did.
So yes, the words “ovarian,” “uterine,” and “pus-filled mass” are on display in our entryway.
It finally got too cold for shorts here in Phoenix, so joggers were a natural progression. I love that they’re stretchy and allow for plenty of running, crawling, and climbing.
Edison’s hoodie in the photos above, if you’re curious, is from A Quiver Full. Use the code “JESUS” for 20% off!
This project has been sitting on my Pinterest board for ages, and I finally did it! If my photos and directions below don’t make sense, check out the original tutorial I followed here. These really do take half an hour, or less! I made two pairs during one nap-time.
You will need:
An adult tee shirt. I used an old shirt from Loft.
1/2 wide elastic for the waistband.
Paper for your pattern.
A sewing machine and thread, scissors, etc.
Step 1: Make your pattern. On a large piece of paper, mark the waistband of the pants, and then the crotch, and then the ends of the legs on your paper, and fill in the sides. Add an inch to the top, because this will be folded over to make your waistband. Add a half inch around the edge, for your seam. Your patter should look a little more square than the pair of pants you’re tracing.
Step Two: Cut out your pieces. Place your tee shirt on a flat surface, making sure the hem lines up. Then pin your pattern to the tee, lining up the legs with the bottom of the shirt (I didn’t get the left leg lined up perfectly, but ideally, they should both line up). Then cut through both layers of the tee.
Step Three: Turn the pieces so the right sides are together. Then, sew a quarter inch seam around the pant legs.
Step 4: Fold over your waistband, and sew down the edge, leaving a gap of a couple inches for putting in the elastic.
Step Five: Going off of the existing pair of pants you used for your pattern, measure your elastic and cut it to that size. Push a safety pin through one end, and then feed it through the hole you left in the waistband, and pull all the way through.
Once you have the elastic all the way through, you’ll need to sew the ends of the elastic together. fold them over each other, and sew a few lines up and down to tack them together. Above, I’ve done it on a second pair of pants. Getting the elastic under the sewing machine is probably the most tricky part of this whole thing.
Step Six: Once the elastic is back inside, sew the gap closed, and turn right side out.
Tada! Happy Christmas crafting! And enjoy some more photos of Edison modeling 🙂
In the last post on our office, we were still using a kitchen table and black desk. Someday I’ll have the finishing touches ready and I’ll share the rest, but *spoiler alert* we now have white desks.
I can’t tell you how much I love my desk, but the white surface did create an issue with my computer mouse. For weeks, I couldn’t figure out why my computer would turn on, but the mouse wouldn’t respond. Finally, I mentioned it to Brian, and in five minutes he diagnosed the issue – no mouse pad. He let me use his, which is covered with lovely photos of car parts and Motocraft products. But I wanted something a little more me.
Step 2: Trace your craft foam onto your marble contact paper. We’re going to add a section of copper, so mark how far you want the marble to come. Then cut it out.
Step 3: Slowly, peel and stick the contact paper to your foam, smoothing out any bubbles.
Step 4: Trace and cut out a section of copper contact paper to fit, and repeat – smoothing out any bubbles.
And that’s really all there is too it!
Want other ideas for using your contact paper? You can trace your laptop and apply it to the back of the screen, use it to give an upgrade to a bland desk lamp, wrap your pencil holder, and add some pieces to your desk accessories, like your stapler or table dispenser.
Soon, I’ll post a Christmas decor idea using the marble contact paper. But I’d love to hear from you, have you used contact paper in crafts? What other ideas do you have for cool uses for it? Share them with us in the comments below!
The stakes were high for Edison’s first time trick or treating, because I knew that this could well be the only year Edison has no say in his costume. So naturally, I took the opportunity to dress him up as my favorite literary character – Harry Potter. Although, you could make the case that he looks a bit more like Malfoy, what with the very blond hair… but let’s just settle for “Gryffindor Student.”
One who specializes in “charms.” See what I did there?
Here’s what you’ll need to create this almost free costume:
Black t-shirt. The less text or designs on the shirt, the better, but you can make it work if it’s not a blank tee.
Hogwarts crest. I used Gryffindor, but you can order all or any of them from Amazon!
Glue or adhesive. I used spray on adhesive which washes off, so I can reuse my Gryffindor crest if I want to on another project.
A stick. Just a stick from the backyard.
1. Cut open the front of the tee shirt. I didn’t want to buy a tee shirt just for this, so I used my old high school color guard tee. It was one of my favorites… but it’s for a good cause.
2. Turn the tee inside out if there’s no design on it. If there is, like in my case, we’re actually going to sew on the front, so don’t turn it inside out. Also, pumpkin pop-tarts help this sewing part go better.
3. Mark the sleeve shape, and down the side of the tee, where you’ll be sewing. We need to make the tee smaller, and we also need to create a bell shape. I drew a line from the bottom corner of the tee up to where my pencil is pointing here, and from there, down to the hem of the tee.
Do this on both sides of your tee, and pin it.
4.1 Try to sew along the lines you drew. Sewing machine breaks down.
4.2 Freak out, because trick or treating is TONIGHT.
4.3 Husband tells you it’s just a costume, it’s not a big deal.
4.4 FREAK OUT MORE, because he just doesn’t understand.
4.5 Husband fixes sewing machine. Calm down, and carry on, realizing he was actually right.
5. Trim off the extra fabric behind the new seams you’ve made, and turn inside out. Because my tee has the design on it, the shoulder seams will be on the outside. But isn’t that the perfect robe sleeve?
7. Using a needle and thread, sew on the snap to the collar of the tee.
8. Call yourself Madame Malkin, and take a bow.
I used a stick from the backyard for Edison’s wand. The photos we took are a little blurry since it was getting dark, but they’re still awfully cute.
I’m wearing my Gryffindor tee, but I can’t find this exact one online anywhere. There’s a surprising variety of Harry Potter tees on Amazon, of all places.
Edison was a big hit in his little robe with all the college students handing out candy at the church Trunk or Treat we went to. He caught on pretty quickly to taking candy and dropping in his little bag, and also figured out that the college students were more than happy to let him take as much candy as he wanted.
Even at 15 months, he doesn’t take too kindly to seeing mama and daddy take candy out of his bag! Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t figured out any protective charms to keep us out of it.
Here’s all the steps in one graphic for pinning for next year.
I hope you and your family had a great Halloween or Harvest Festival!
Need to Christmasify your decor before company arrives? Or do you need to occupy your children with a quick craft? With wide velvet ribbon and glitter, you can whip up most of these Christmas crafts in minutes. If you’ve got half an hour or more, try the crafts involving paint or sewing. All of them are fast and easy, but don’t try do make all ten. Pick a few that will give you a quick feeling of accomplishment.
1. Sweater pillow.
A sweater. I bought mine at Savers for less than $5.
A throw pillow.
A sewing machine.
First, chop off the sweater’s arms and collar. Then, turn it wrong side out, and sew it closed. Since my sweater has a zipper, I sewed it shut all the way around, and then unzipped it and turned it right side out. Don’t sew over your zipper; your sewing machine won’t like that! Just hop over it. If your sweater has buttons, this will be even easier! After you turn it right side out, pop your pillow inside. Thirty minutes, including threading a bobbin and setting up a sewing machine. Done!
2. Glitter Letters.
Wood letters. Mine cost 99 cents each at Hobby Lobby.
A paint brush for spreading the glue.
Spread the glue on each letter, sprinkle with glitter, and let dry! This craft takes fifteen minutes tops, so there’s plenty of time to clean up the glitter before your husband gets home (cough cough).
3. Sharpie Mugs. Easy to make, but bear in mind, you do need to let the paint dry for 24 hours before baking. So, make these the day before last minute. Here’s the full tutorial.
4. Paper Trees. Use scrapbook paper, construction paper, newspaper, or gift wrap scraps to whip up a forest of pine trees.
10. Display your Christmas cards using wide ribbon. Don’t have a spare shutter lying around? A friend of mine tied the ribbon around her kitchen cabinets and attached the cards with clothes pins. Super cute!
For lots more craft ideas, here’s another post from A Beautiful Mess you’ll enjoy: 20 Quick DIY ideas.
This year, I’m finally sending Christmas cards! Christmas postcards, to be exact.
Besides being quick, photo postcards also have the advantage of being easier on the Christmas budget. Photos don’t cost much to print, and postcard stamps are cheaper than regular stamps. If you haven’t had time to send Christmas cards yet this year, try this method using regular old photos to send a picture to the grandparents, or send New Years cards!
1. Order Prints. Upload a photo of your Christmas tree, Christmas cookies, or a recent family picture, and order a handful of 4×6 photos from your favorite printer. Mine cost me $7.50 for 50, including shipping to my door.
2. Using the ruler, draw a line down the middle of the back of the photo. Then, draw four lines for the recipient’s address on the right side, like so:
3. Write a message on the left side, and fill in the recipient’s address on the right.
4. Slap on a stamp in the upper right corner, and drop in the mail. You’re done! Christmas cards accomplished!
P.S. I discovered a slightly easier way of doing this. Upload your photo to Amazing Mail, and pick a post card size, enter your message and the address, pay, and they’ll actually print and mail the postcard for you within two days. It’s not as cheap as printing the photos yourself, but it might be worth it for the time saved!