September 28, 2013

Halloween Bat Wreath {Easy & Inexpensive}

Are you as into wreaths as we are?  
My girls like to have a wreath hanging from their bedroom door - and because they are SO easy and inexpensive to make, we often change up the wreath for the season or holiday.  

What makes them so inexpensive and easy you ask??
For every wreath I make I use a $1 foam tube from the plumbing section of the hardware store as a wreath form.  They are awesome!  If you get the kind made for 1/2" tubing, they curve very nicely - and you can make the circle any size you want (I usually get 2 wreaths out of 1 length of tubing) - just cut it where you want it, and tape the ends together with packing tape.  Easy!

For this bat wreath, we wrapped the whole thing in yarn.  This is where my daughter is an invaluable helper!!  She helps me wind it around, I hot glue every few twists, and we get it done fast!

We made the moon and the bats out of construction paper, and I used a few pieces of wire to make some of the bats stand up.  The wire pokes into the foam easily and a dab of hot glue helps everything stay put.  Hang it with a loop of ribbon and you're done!

Wasn't that easy?  
Now you can go to town and have fun!

Check out some of the other wreaths I've made using foam tubing:

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September 26, 2013

Halloween Welcome Sign

As a birthday present to myself this year, I started putting up Halloween decorations in September ;)  As I've been getting things set up, I've also done a few quick projects that I want to share.

I saw this Halloween Canvas over at Eighteen25 blog, and thought the saying was darling.

So, I made my own Welcome to our Haunted Home sign - but instead of canvas, I used an old reclaimed piece of wood, and paint.

I used vinyl as a stencil, but if you want to paint this by hand - check out the tutorial for this Broom Parking Halloween sign I made without a vinyl stencil.

I started with an inverted type of image (below) - but wasn't sure I liked it, so I flipped the board over and painted it again with the opposite color (above).  In other words, in both cases I painted the black paint over vinyl - I just switched whether the house and words were covered in vinyl, or not.
So now I can choose which side to display! A quick rub with some sandpaper makes them look even more rough and Halloweeny ;)

What do you think?  Are you getting Halloween decorations out yet?  
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September 25, 2013

Building a Deck {A Power Tool Project}

I recently posted about visiting my parents, and all the great and crafty things they have around their house.  Well, while I was visiting, I also helped my dad build a deck (or, he helped me build it ;) right dad?)
I thought I'd post a few pictures of the process, mostly because I am so proud of it.  It was fun to work on: both because I like using power tools, and because I cherish the time with my dad.  It's also great to go back and visit, and see it in good use!

My parents have just finished an addition on their house, and these new back doors conveniently lead to nowhere ;)  After they put grass in, and started on a stone path, they wanted to build a small(ish) deck with a few steps leading down onto the path.  So here is a pic of the floating doors...

We started by building a box out of 2"x 6" pressure treated boards.  The board against the house had 8 or so lag screws to anchor it into the wall.  The box was about 6' x 5', so about every 14" we had a cross beam.  These cross beams would support the top of the deck.

September 14, 2013

Magnet Fanatic

A while back we had a craft night with a bunch of friends, and one of the things we did was make magnets.  It is no secret that I love making magnets (and giving them as gifts).

Case in point - I've made and blogged about:
Mini Polaroid Magnets
Yardstick Magnets
Faux Rock Magnets made from Clay
Bottle Cap Magnets and Here
A Dishwasher Magnet
Mustard Container Pen Holder Magnet

Well, here are a bunch more cute magnets that I have made and wanted to share.  And honestly, magnets for your fridge can be as simple as e6000 gluing a super strong magnet on the back of a happy meal toy.  It is fun when you get creative :)

First of all: Puzzles.  My favorite magnets are probably these ones that I made out of puzzles.  Above is a great USA puzzle.  States are grouped onto puzzle pieces, which makes the magnets a perfect size.  I simply glued a rare earth magnet to the back of each piece.  Now my kids have fun taking it apart and putting it back together -- and it's educational ;)

You've all seen (or have) these puzzles made for kids, where each puzzle piece fits into a hole of the same shape, and has a little peg on it.  These make AWESOME magnets.  I was inspired by this pin on pinterest, and made some magnets out of a vintage fruit puzzle.  I love them in the kitchen.  BTW, thrift stores are a GREAT place to find these puzzles!

Have a puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces?  Repurpose those leftovers into magnets!  Inspiring Creations has a great tutorial.  I used book page paper, scrapbook paper, distress ink, stickers, was fun!

Aren't clothespins an awesome invention?  They have so many uses - not to mention the fact that they are inherently darling.  I took a few, painted them different colors with acrylic paint, and started gluing stuff on.  I glued paper, fabric, buttons, ribbon... I stuck stickers, wrapped string.  I love these, because you can clip pictures and notes IN the clothespin, or use them as a traditional magnet.  As with all of these, simply use super glue (like amazing goop) to glue a magnet onto the back.

Couldn't be any more simple than this.  Glue a magnet to the back of buttons.  Since I have a few 1" buttons that I don't know what to pin on, why not use them on the fridge instead?

Game pieces make really cool magnets.  Here are my scrabble ones (fun for writing messages too) - and a LEGO magnet I made on a whim.  

A while back, I had some little mosaic tiles laying around - and painted letters on them to spell my daughter's name.  With a little clear protective spray on the top, they have lasted a long time!

And last but not least - washi tape magnets.  Jumped on the craze (if you count my 4 rolls of washi tape as jumping on...).  It is really cute stuff - I'll give them that.  Check out my inspiration here at Twirling Betty.

By the way - ebay is a great place to buy rare earth magnets in bulk - because let's face it, you can never have too many magnets.  Right?

And guess what?  I have even more magnet inspiration on my Magnet Pinterest Board!  Go check that out too - and then make yourself some magnets!!
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September 8, 2013

Bibs in Bags and Making Mom's life Easier!

A while back, I made a bunch of these Towel Bibs for my babe - and they are fantastic!  But, being the busy mom that I am, I have found that lately I am negligent in actually putting them ON the baby at meal time ;)

I usually just plop her in the high chair, give her some finger food (which she loves!) and go about making dinner for the rest of us, or doing the dishes, or something else in the kitchen.  I don't take the time to go into her room to get a bib.

This inevitably backfires on me - because of course her clothes get so messy that I have to go into her room anyway, to put her in a new outfit!

Then, I got a brilliant idea...

A long while back, I made these cool Quilted Grocery Bag Holders - which I use constantly.  When I made them, I had so many bags that I needed two.  Now that I'm more diligent about using reusable bags, I get fewer plastic bags, and only need one.  So what do you think I decided to do with the other bag holder?!

You got it!  I stuck all my bibs into the other bag holder!!  I have ZERO drawer space in my kitchen for bibs, so this plan seemed like a genius way to get the bibs out of the drawer in the bedroom, and into the kitchen!  I hang them in the nook where I hang my aprons... awesome.  

And just for a little added insurance...I stuck myself a note under the clear plastic high chair tray cover.   Along with some other pictures for baby to look at (which hello, why didn't I think of this before?!) I'm totally stoked. 

Here's to being creative, and getting more use out of those bibs!

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September 2, 2013

Jam Start of Year Teacher Gift with FREE Printable!

My daughter starts school tomorrow, and we wanted to give her teacher and assistant teacher a little gift to start off the school year!  

Over the summer we have picked lots of fruit and made lots of freezer jam, and it is so delicious and colorful - it makes a wonderful gift!  I put peach and strawberry jam into cute little ball jars that I had, and made some fun tags to go along with.  

Here's a quick how-to:

Cut a piece of brown paper bag the same size as a sheet of paper, so that you can run it through your printer.  

Click on the image below to open up a word document with these different tags, all available to print.  You can delete the ones you don't want to print, but there are pictures of peaches, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries....

Print the images onto the brown paper bag....

Cut the tags out, and hole punch them in the corner.

Use baker's twine, string, ribbon, raffia -- or whatever cute thing you've got -- to tie the tag to the ring of the jar.  I also had my daughter write a little message on the back of the tag, with her name.

My daughter is so excited for 1st grade to start, and to give her teachers a little present to let them know how much she has looked forward to being in their class.  Hope you have a chance to give a little jam appreciation gift to a teacher you know ;)  
And Happy School Year!

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