Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Before and After Plus an Easy Halloween Craft

and after...
This is the area between the living room/front entry and the dining room/kitchen. We got this red side table at a SLC thrift/antique store a long time ago. I have always loved decorating around it. I thought my Halloween tree was a bit bare so this year I shopped around for a new addition, though they were either way over priced or too cheaply made, so I made my own.
I've had this idea in my mind for awhile and I even saw someone selling garlands like this on Etsy for some crazy price like $15.00 for six feet. Boo. All you will need is cardstock, a circle punch, and a sewing machine. If you don't have a circle punch, borrow one from your friend, or use one for free from your local scrapbook shop. Warning - do not attempt this without using a punch.

I choose 6 coordinating colors and punched away. I used the smallest punch I own - a 3/4" circle since this was going on a small tree. If you are going to hang your garland from a mantle or hang a bunch of strands from your ceiling I'd suggest a bigger sized circle punch, it will be quicker. For me, the 3/4" worked best and it took just 10 minutes to sew about six feet.
It is actually really easy to sew paper. It needs very little guidance - once the foot grabs it, you're good to go to feed another circle in. You can choose to space your circles farther apart, or keep them fairly close like I did.
All that was left was for me to string them up on my tree.
Though no sooner had I done so, two crows flew in and took up residence.
I think my Halloween tree is complete. It would be fun to try other color combinations like black, green, purple, and white (witch colors) or go for orange, red, yellow, and brown for fall.
Crows are from Micheal's, on sale now for $2.50 a piece.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Make Your Own Paper Patterns

Just a quick how-to for the apples in my previous post. It is quick and easy, and makes a nice, even, almost diecut-machine quality pattern.
You probably used this method as a child to make hearts for Valentine's Day. Just fold your paper in half, draw half of a heart, or half of whatever shape you are making, then cut out. You control the size and shape.
I make all of my own patterns for my shop, and I use this method for a lot of them. Most of my patterns look like this:
Which I use to turn into this:
Or this:
If it is a pattern that you are going to be using over and over again, or one that you are going to let your children use, copy your pattern onto heavy cardstock or posterboard for durability. Sneak peek for next week - I'll be posting some before and after shots of my house decorated for Halloween. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Happy Fall' Wreath

This was a simple wreath I did with my kids in school to help celebrate the coming season. Apples are ready to harvest in the fall so I thought this would be a fun alternative to leaves or pumpkins for a wreath.

You can also take this opportunity to teach your kids about Jonny Appleseed, an American Legend. Chances are, your kiddos might not know what a 'legend' is, and in this case, Mr. Appleseed is based on a actual person that played an important role in our country's early years.

Another thing this craft teaches, is patterns. So far in my homeschooling, patterns have popped up in Kindergarten - 2nd grade levels. We've been playing with them in our lessons, so it was fun to incorporate this skill into a craft.

You can control your kids involvement depending on their age, either cutting all the apples beforehand, or let your kids do it themselves. We didn't have a lot of time for this craft so I had everything ready for us to put it together, and it only took about 10-15 minutes to complete.

I had everything on hand, and you most likely do as well. You will need construction paper or cardstock, hot glue gun or Elmers, ribbon or string, and cardboard.
Use a plate to draw a circle onto your cardboard to your desired size. I choose to cover mine in strips of felt since I thought it would look better in the end, but it turns out the apples will cover the entire thing. So you can skip this step if you'd like.

If you just have cardboard to attach apples to, Elmers glue will work just fine, but if you're gluing to felt, use a glue gun. I put a dab of hot glue on the wreath, then my boys stuck the apples on in a pattern.
Use ribbon or string to attach a dangling apple for the 'Happy Fall' sign, as well as a ribbon loop for hanging. I just used a sewing pin to attach the ribbon. That's it! I have found that keeping things simple when it comes to kids and crafts is key to both you and your kids having an enjoyable time. Happy Fall!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

in the works

The reason I haven't posted in forever is because I have been saving all my projects until I have a massive collection of them, so many in fact, that when I look at them I get stressed out and back away slowly. Smart, right? I spent the summer making stuff for my shop while my boys played wii, or laying out in the sun while my boys threw water balloons, ran in the sprinklers, and made mud patties. Perfect summer, but now it is back to business. School started for us this week - Kindergarten and 2nd grade. Something about 'back to school' is making me feel like I need to tackle my list of projects. In order to feel productive I took pictures of projects that I want to tackle first. We'll see if I can finish them and post finished project pictures.
This is a vintage puzzle, made in the 1960s or early 70s in Denmark. It was my oldest brother's puzzle and it has definitely seen better days. I saved it from my moms house a few years ago and I haven't had the heart to let my boys play with it for fear that they would lose more of the pieces. I finally came up with a use for it. Magnets. The remaining vehicles will have a magnet glued to the back to become some cool, retro magnets for the fridge - I have always loved that blue bus and red flatbed truck. I figure it's a great way to salvage any puzzle that you or your child loves that has lost a few pieces.

I thought it would also be a good idea to buy a wooden alphabet puzzle and turn them into fridge magnets. I think I have been through 2 sets of plastic ABC magnets. They are always so cheap, either they have very weak magnets and can barely even hold themselves onto the fridge, or they break. Wooden ones would be a much sturdier option. You can buy magnets at most stores.
I found these ceramic cups at Michaels for $1.00 each. They are waiting for candy and a spooky note for some of my neighborhood friends.
I knew I had to have these when I saw them at Joann. Who doesn't need a set of 3 nesting cardboard coffins? They are waiting for a coat of paint.
Not sure what I had in mind with these. I think I had some idea to paint the yard stick and clothes pins, then glue the pins to the stick, then somehow attach the whole thing to the wall to display works of art. Or something like that. It's been sitting around for awhile now.
These stacks of paper are waiting for me to cut circles out for Halloween garland. I'll probably sew the circles together like I did with paper hearts for Valentine's day. I've seen people selling these on Etsy, though if you're any type of scrapbooker, you most likely have all you need for this project on hand and can do if for free.
I found these Martha Stewart favor boxes at Joann. I belong to a book group and I'll be filling these with treats to take to our get together in October. Easy and fun idea for gift giving.
Styrofoam egg shapes. Watch out, these are going to become spider egg sacks.
Finally, the most recent addition to my list of projects, a penny rug pattern I just bought from Etsy a few days ago. What was I doing starting another project? Who knows, I am a glutton for unfinished projects. Hopefully I will get on the ball and be able to feature a few of these finished. Wish me luck!