Category: Crafts

Budget-Friendly DIY Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter

My oldest daughter and I were super excited to do a Harry Potter themed birthday party for her 11th birthday. As I started on the plans, I knew I wanted a Monster Book of Monsters to be apart of it. From there, it was only a matter of finding the supplies and finding time.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Albus

Materials:

  • Wooden Box
  • Fur
  • Eye Balls
  • Clay
  • Paint and Brushes
  • Craft Glue
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Paper and Printer
  • Mod Podge

Ready, Set, Go

I found a perfect wooden flip lid box at Michaels. I’m not sure if they still have this one, so here’s a different wooden book box that is currently available there.

monster book

I used light brown, red, and white clay for the fangs, teeth, tongue, and gums. First, the teeth were constructed into points. After flattening the red into a strip, I positioned the teeth to lie on the red strip. I layered the back with another red strip before pushing the red down around the teeth to show the ‘root’. The only thing you need to be careful of is not touching the white after touching the red. The picture shows that I did a bit of that. The fangs were super easy. Roll them to be smaller on one end and then curve them and presto!

Monster Book teeth

After baking the clay parts, it’s time to kick them up a notch with some paint to add dimension. I painted a bit of dark red and black onto the gums and tongue. Yellowish-brown served to give the teeth a gnarled look. Next, I painted the box with tan and dark brown to give it the look of pages as well as I could. Given that much of it is covered, I didn’t feel like I needed to give it much attention.

monster book pages

Monster Book Fur Cover

For the cover, I used two fur pieces I happened to find on clearance at Michaels. Crafting doesn’t get much easier than this step. Here it comes; glue the fur to the wood. Then….wait for it to dry. After that, I trimmed the length of the fur, because it was definitely too much. I also cut the perimeter into points and extra shagginess. 

 Those Eyes are Looking at You

Now onto the eyes. I also got the eyeballs at Michaels, but you’re not likely to find them in a store if it’s not around Halloween. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with creating the eye mount. I thought about using oven-bake clay but was afraid it would melt the eyes. I went with a mountain of hot glue instead. After I piled it up, I painted it brown. I didn’t have enough red eyes, so I also painted the irises red. 

Monster book eyes

The book label was created in Microsoft Word and printed on computer paper. I trimmed the fur shorter in the spots where I was going to put the label before gluing the labels down. I put Mod Podge on the label to stiffen the paper. 

From there, it was just a matter of gluing on the fangs, teeth and tongue. I used hot glue initially, which worked just fine. Over time, the fangs have gotten knocked off a few times, so I’ve recently used super glue to get them to hold. As my girls would say, this DIY Monster Book of Monsters is easy peezy lemon squeezy. 

Spot light monster book of Monsters
Monster Book and wands
Finished Monster Book

If you’re looking for other Harry Potter crafts, try some apothecary bottles for Potions class.

Spooky Tree Test Tube Holder for a Unique Apothecary

Troll boogers! Snail Slime! Dragon’s Blood! These are three of the Halloween test tubes I’ve for years as part of my Halloween Apothecary. They have been without a stand for years. This month I decided I was going to finally make a science-esk one out of wood. I was still hesitant because it felt too mundane. In the age of Pinterest, it feels pretty darn difficult to come up with something different. Sometimes, I feel stunted by thinking I can’t come up with anything unique. After some contemplation during a drive, I decided to make a spooky tree with curved limbs. Here’s the quick and easy rundown on this spooky tree test tube holder for any are looking to stray from the normal.

Materials: 

  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Airbrush (if you’ve got it)

For a reason I can’t remember, I’ve had two spools of this wire for years. I’ve used it for several random occasions on other craft ideas. It’s really what inspired me to craft this tree and provide stability. 

All my three daughters all being in fall sports. Sometimes, crafting boils down to finding a way to build in time around events on our schedule. My eldest had a fastpitch doubleheader an hour away from home. I took along my materials to get started on this quick Halloween decor. While the team warmed up for an hour, I worked on my tree in the parking lot.


Building the Base

 

First, I cut 6 wires of similar lengths. Then, I twisted two wires together to start forming the trunk. I added one each additional wire by twisting it around the base and leaving the ‘root’ for the stand and free limbs at the top. I finished it off by twisting two additional wires around the trunk to form curved limbs the would serve to hold the test tubes. Literally, a 10-minute step.

 

Clay for the Tree Test Tube Holder

I had already been making air-dry clay for another project, so I could easily use it for this project. I found this easy DIY air dry recipe from Kitchen Table Classroom to make porcelain clay. It was simple to make from ingredients in the kitchen but admittedly was not as good for what I needed the clay to do. I only used it for the base. I tried another porcelain clay recipe from Natural Earth Paint using only three cheap ingredients; cornstarch, baking soda, and water. This clay was a bit better but still quite loose/limp. 

 

I pressed the clay around all the metal limbs as best I could, adding free-standing clay limbs as I went. Molding the clay for this was unfortunately an example of one of those times when crafting can cause me more stress than alleviating it. I’ll just leave it at being highly perturbed by the difficulties of trying to get the limp clay to stay put. If I were to do it again, I would buy polymer clay from Michaels.  After letting it dry for a day, I started airbrushing.

Airbrushing Zen

 

 

While I completed the many layers of airbrushing in shades of brown, I was mentally focused on the stress I had been feeling around politics and the impending elections. I felt consumed by the emotions generated by the garbage being shared by people I was connected with on Facebook, some of them being relatives. As I slowly watched the paint spray out of the airbrush, I was contemplating how I could make positive steps to shifting others’ views in a positive way. We’ve been doing a fair bit of personal bias assessment as work, so it’s been fully present in my mind to assess if I’m being objective in my views. In fully trying to understand my own thoughts and feelings and contemplate the perspective of others, I couldn’t come to grips with the lies and delusions others allow themselves to believe.

 

Public service announcement on Political Stress

 

To sum it all up, I was feeling oppressive levels of stress around these unending thoughts. After doing a quick Google, I found quite a lot of references to political/election stress syndrome. Even thinking about it now makes my chest tighten. I quite liked this description I found.

Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest…

Part of my election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I’m vastly overworked. … Political campaigns set the web of emotion ablaze with negativity.

Psychology Today

If this resonates with you, there are a variety of things to try to combat the feelings. I’ve chosen to focus on the things I can control, to find my Zen in crafting, and to stay away from the offending sources. Although, over the last week I’ve also been immersed in a sea of stressful work deadlines, the political stress remains at bay. 

Back to this Test Tube Holder

I finished it off with a dark brown touch up around bends in the limbs and the roots. I put it with the rest of my Halloween apothecary set up and called it a day. If you are looking for another easy craft to take your mind to another level, try out these apothecary bottles! Happy haunting to you and yours!

How to Make the Best Halloween Apothecary Jars

A few years ago, I couldn’t wait to start a collection of Halloween apothecary jars to add to my holiday decor. I started off with collecting regular food jars and random Goodwill finds to change into new and creepy decor. It doesn’t take much more than some simple materials to really get started.

Halloween Apothecary Jar Ideas

Materials:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Printer and Printer Paper
  • Clay
  • String
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue gun and Glue sticks
  • Food items: egg shells, Cantaloupe rind
  • Store bought creepy crawlers
  • Corks
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw

For this Ear of Troll I used the rind of some eaten cantaloupe. I gave it a week to dry out in the garage before closing it into the jar. I used a blank label in Word to type in the name. Mod podge was my go-to glue for all of these labels to get them to stick and to give it a coating for longevity. For this jar, in particular, used coffee filters served as the lid covering with string and craft glue decorating the jar curve.

Free label sites I used:

Spooky Apothecary Labels from Brooklyn Limestone

Free Halloween Bottle Labels from Holidappy 

Apothecary jar Labels from Halloween Forum

Rattle Snake Eggs

Similar techniques were used for these Rattle Snake Eggs Halloween Apothecary jar. The eggs were from a friend with chickens laying eggs in a variety of shades. Using a needle, I poked holes in both ends with one end being slightly larger to allow for the egg innards to be expelled. It’s also a lot easier to break up the yolk using the needle poked repeatedly through the holes. Once all that was done successfully without breaking the egg, I blew into the smaller hole to force the contents out the larger hole. Then I was ready to eat some scrambled eggs! I also gave the eggs a day to dry out a little more before coating them in Mod Podge.

 

Jellyfish Stingers

The same techniques are applied here for the outside. For the jellyfish stingers, I used hot glue on a baking pan. When it was cool, I was able to peel it off and stick it in the jar. 

Store bought creepy crawlers are center stage in this jars: Worms, mice and cockroaches anyone?

 

Clay Creations

 

Next up, for these three Halloween Apothecary jars, I used baking clay for the unicorn horn and bat wins and model magic for the fingers. I quite enjoy crafting clay creations. For the horn, I first rolled two equal ropes of clay. Then I twisted them together and rolled them on the counter to get a narrower pointed end. Presto! A lovely unicorn horn. I didn’t finish it off with glitter but it could definitely be a nice add.

 

 

Model magic is really easy to shape but doesn’t hold fine details like a real clay does. I used press on nails to give the real nail effect here. These lady fingers were complete with some painted on blood. You could really go grotesque with this if you want!

Pill Bottle Makeovers

 

These 5 bottles were all crafted from empty pill bottles. I used a saw to cut the tops off before sanding the smooth surface. The next step was to draw the label and image with hot glue. I used matte/satin paint in grays, browns, and black to paint all the bottles. Then, I glued on labels and string. 

 

Two Minute Snake Skin

For this lovely Halloween Apothecary jar of Snake Skin, I painted the jar with a few different colors of cheap acrylic paint that matched with the coloring of the label. (The color of the label being the result of a malfunctioning printer. The Lord knows the amount of angst that printer caused me at the end of its life.)   Generally for painting all the lids, I sanded them first to ensure the paint would adhere.

The actual innards of the jar were a combination of plastic wrap and hot glue. I cut a rectangle of the plastic wrap and laid it over the foil to protect the counters. From there, I glued a snake skin-esk pattern onto the plastic wrap. I noticed that as the glue got hotter, the plastic wrap shrunk more, which I was not so much a fan of seeing happen. If I were to do this again, I would do a portion, then unplug the glue gun for a 15 second cooling. Then repeat until finished. 

I got the free label for this jar from: 

Halloween Apothecary with 9 FREE potion bottle labels

 

 

I hope you gathered some of your favorite ideas for crafting some of your very own Halloween Apothecary Jars. If you’re looking more spooky Halloween decor, check out my Spooky Halloween Book Covers.

Haunted Cardboard House for your Kids who Love a Little Scare

Those who know me, know my love of cardboard. It’s such a versatile and cheap product to craft with, which leads me to have stockpiles of it at times. My youngest daughter’s birthday is October 29th, so while brainstorming ideas for her birthday party, we thought about how we could make it a true Halloween birthday party. I’d previously done an indoor cardboard gingerbread house that my girls loved. It seemed perfectly logical to do a Haunted cardboard house for her spooky birthday party. She had grand ideas for how she would make it haunted and couldn’t wait to have her friends over.

Starting a Haunted Cardboard House

The request from my daughter for this haunted cardboard house was that it be bigger than the gingerbread house. We have quite a bit of free space in our basement, so I was okay with accomodating that request. 

For these larger-scale houses, larger boxes make things a lot easier than piecing together smaller ones. The size and shape of the house can really depend on what you have to work. I didn’t have a plan going into making this and allowed the box shape and size dictate how it would work best.

My neighbor had large furniture boxes out for recycling, which I happily took off their hands to get moving on the wall frames. I typically use hot glue to glue the pieces together because it dries quickly and works well with the paper surface. Sometimes, it doesn’t hold together well enough if I’m not quick to get it together. For those times when it wasn’t holding together, I used some wood glue and weights while it dried.

 

In order to set the frame, I decided to utilize some small clamps to hold it while I moved things around to find the right shape and size. I was able to do a fair bit of gluing in the garage to remove the fear of getting hot glue on our basement carpet. Folks, hot glue can only really be cut out of carpet (from previous experience). While in this planning phase, I was also able to cut the door out with a razor and a square on the cement floor.

Time to Move to the Final Destination

With the plan in place, it was time to move all those cardboard pieces to the basement to get this Haunted Cardboard House structure together. With the pieces standing, it was a bit like a maze down there. The girls loved it.

 

I had to put a call out for more cardboard to the neighborhood and thankfully the call was answered. I was then able to construct the roof. That was the hardest part of the whole thing. The cardboard was heavy and shifted while I tried to glue it together by myself. I had to get my helpers on board to hold it while I glued it. For this part, the glue didn’t work as well. I ended up using a drill to make holes and piecing the heavy pieces together with screws, bolts, and washers. They made for a very sturdy structure. 

 

Safety Warning!!

Hot glue is, shall we say, Freakin’ HOT! It was about during this part of the build that I got myself with the glue while trying to get the heavy roof together. As I quickly tried to “stop the burn” (as we say in American Red Cross) by rubbing the glue off, it took a layer of skin with it. I’ve burned myself quite a number of times while working with hot glue, but this was by far the worst. We go through quite a lot of types of bandaids in this house. I’ve got to hand it to these NexCare waterproof bandaids. They maintained through a lot of movement. Investing in heat protection gloves is probably a good prevention idea though. 

  

The structure was thankfully set. My daughter said she had envisioned it being bigger than this, but I was unfortunately out of any larger pieces of cardboard. It would have to do.

Faux Scalloped Siding, Ghostly Windows and Shingles

Now was the fun part of adding the details for a haunted house. Using printer paper, a razor, and my circle cutter, I went about cutting a ton of circles to create a scalloped look on the front panel. I wanted to hide the seam that was there from joining separate pieces of cardboard. I used Loctite Spray Adhesive to make this quick work. That spray didn’t work so well with the cardboard to cardboard gluing but worked here. I spray painted them gray after that. 

 

For the windows and shingles, I cut cardboard to size and drew details or spray painted. If you haven’t tried spray painting cardboard, be warned. It takes a lot of spray paint to cover it. It felt like it would have been a better plan to paint the whole cardboard piece before cutting shingles. For the windows, I painted the cardboard with cheap acrylic paint before gluing on the frames and shutters.

After a quick google search, I found the images I wanted for the ghosts in the windows. I enlarged them and altered their colors in Microsoft Word. If you don’t have a picture editing program, Microsoft Word can be surprisingly handy for this kind of need.

With the addition of some Halloween decorations, spooky lights and sound, the outside of this Haunted Cardboard House was ready!

Stepping Inside

I put the big bubble wrap (the kind that comes in packaging) under the Frozen rug, so it would pop when the kids walked on it. I think this would have worked better if it had been a hardwood floor as opposed to carpet. It took a fair bit of jumping to get them to pop. I had a dollar store spider that drops every so often hanging from the ceiling to give a good scare. 

 

There were some body parts and skulls along with an electrolyzed skull and Frankenstein’s head. My main attraction was the spooky touch and feel center. I had a pumpkin bucket full of eyeballs (peeled grapes), a pumpkin bucket full of brains (cooked spaghetti), a box of witches fingers (carrot sticks), a witch’s tongue (sliced banana), and a box of teeth (popcorn kernels). 

When I brought the group of kindergartners down into the dark basement, they were already on edge. I took one little one into the house to have her do the feeling activity. As soon as the spider dropped, she ran out of the house scared to death. I ended up having to turn on the lights on and encourage my daughter to lead them through the houses. After that, they had a ton of fun! 

Party Fare

Of all the things I do, I think I find using candy melts and molds, one of the most difficult to get right. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing wrong or if it’s just tough in general. I made these little oozy cake pop brains as a party treat to be placed along side the Cauldron Cake. The design of the cake was all the birthday girl’s ideas. She was quite happy with the end result and the taste of the Oreo cookie cakey insides.

Frightfully Spooky Halloween Book Cover for your Next Craft Project

This project was inspired by a family visit to the Renaissance Festival, a wonderful place of creativity and imagination. My oldest was enthralled with so many of the crafts there and wanted them all. This was much the same feeling I had as a child going to the Renaissance. As a mother, I would have loved to buy her all the things, but my pocketbook definitely didn’t allow for that desire. For many of the crafted items, I put a pin in the idea in my mental board to create later. One of those wares was the leather-bound books with the intricate faces deftly shaped into them. They seemed like the perfect at-home project. And thus, this spooky Halloween Book Cover craft was born into being!


Spooky Halloween Book Cover Materials & Tools

  • Book
  • Leather-like Material
  • Hot Glue
  • Paint
  • Eyeballs
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Tissue Paper (Optional)
  • Mod Podge (Optional)

For my first two books, I went ahead with using some old books I had but didn’t care much about. For the next two, I took a trip to Goodwill and happened to come across two books with topics that were a perfecting pairing with Halloween; bugs, and strange stories. I was pretty tickled by the finds!

 

Easy Crafting Steps for the Eyeball Look

1. Cut the material to size. With the book open, you want it to be about an inch and a half bigger on all sides. You can definitely make it a little bigger if you’re worried about it being too small.

2. Use the razor to cut small slits for the eyeballs. For my first attempt, I went with one eye on the binding of the book.

3. Being careful not to burn yourself, hot glue the outside of the material to the surface of the eyeball to give it eyelids. I ended up using a large tongue depressor to keep from burning myself. 

I stuck it through the hole and pushed it down while the glue cooled. 

 

 


4. Hot glue the bottom side of the material and pinch it from the outside to create folds. Feel free to do however many you see fit. With the binding being the focus, I opted for quite a few folds.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Options with this step:

Create a scar and sew some stitches in with thick thread. 

 

Puddle the glue or glue some items underneath to add dimension. I did both here: Pipe cleaners and glue dots.


5. Glue the rest of the cover to the outside of the book. As it cools, squish the material together to create ripples.

 

 

 

 

 


 

6. Trim the outside edges and notch the corners so when they are folded in, you get a clean diagonal seam.

 

 

7. Leave as is or add whatever shading or darkening you prefer to age the material. 

8. Set it up to show off.

Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Shading

HOT GLUE!

Much of this cover consisted of piling on the hot glue. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my hot glue guns and stock of sticks. Hot glue is truly versatile when it comes to crafting. My first attempt was to create the centipede on the underside of the leather. It didn’t work so well, so I ended up adding it to the top of the leather. And then I added more…. and then a little more to each bug. Let’s just say I went through a lot of sticks.

Cheap acrylic paint served me well to paint the bugs and do the shading. It stuck to the hot glue pretty well with several coats.

A sharpie was an easy and permanent way to add a few details.

Complete Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Tissue Paper Flare

To create a wrinkled appearance, follow the easy steps:

  1. Apply Mod Podge to the surface.
  2. Then press small squares of tissue paper into the glue.
  3. Get a little extra Mod Podge onto a paintbrush before pushing into the tissue paper. 
  4. Add additional layers of Mod Podge based on your desired look. 

Happy Halloween Crafting!!

11 Sensational Repurposed Old Windows

Ladies craft night anyone?! Awhile back, I was really into hosting crafting nights. I’d already done some painting parties, so I decided to shift gears into a window upcycling party. I found a stock of old windows for a $20 steal and sent out the invite. The windows were very dirty and very chippy, requiring a good bit of elbow grease. I did all the cleanup before to make it easy. For the event, the guests were informed that I would be providing the paint and paintbrushes but if they wanted anything special, they would have to bring it for themselves. With that, we were ready to relieve our stress by letting our creativity shine through some repurposed old windows.

That party was one of the motivations for putting this list together for you all. Since that party, I’ve had the leftover windows sitting in wait in my garage. I’ve included those generally quick and easy projects below.

11 ideas to give a whirl for repurposed old windows:

1. Bakery Stand Window:

This bakery stand was one of my more recent projects. Click on the pic to see the whole project. My girls were in love with the end results.

 

2. Shabby Chic Display (from my Paint party)

“Every Dream begins with a Wish”

 

3. Shelf and Picture Holder 

My 6-year-old was very excited about getting a desk in her room for Christmas. When I asked if she wanted a window shelf above it, she was all about it. She picked the color and I added shelf brackets. The little ballerinas were a cheap find from Michaels to fit with her ballerina themed room. It was such an easy project.

4. Mantle Decor from Walnut and Vine

5. Mirrored Window by Finding Home Farms

Bathroom Decorating Ideas, Towel Rack and Shelf

This is a tutorial on a footboard towel rack. I love every bit of the total look from antique clocks to pink bottles. Super Cute.

6.  Altered Window Frame by Little Birdie Secrets 

7. Command Center by Dwelling in Happiness

SONY DSC

8. Window Box Cabinet by My Repurposed Life

how to make a repurposed window cabinet MyRepurposedLife

9. Window Planter by Prodigal Pieces

Upcycled Window Planter for Backyard Fence Decor by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #garden

10. DIY Mini Greenhouse by HgTV

I’m completely smitten with this adorable upcycle. 

Upcycled Window Greenhouse

The Finale

11. Bathroom Storage Window and Shutters

Last but not least. This was my latest project to spruce up my girls’ sad-looking bathroom. The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars with a router and making pull out metal mesh earring holders. I include a tutorial on constructing those on one of my picture frame posts.  It was definitely a win-win situation; I got a larger window and a set of shutters out of my garage stockpile and created a quick organizer for all the bows, headbands,  earrings, and misc items. My girls thought it was a hit!

  

Pop-out Earring Holders: 

Shutter Headband Holder:

To say it simply, my 6-year-old has A LOT of headbands. The shutter pull bar was a perfect way to hold them in place.

Towel Hooks:

The builders of our new home put one long bar towel holder up in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately, so I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks provide.

The very sad looking before photo: a ribbon frame bow holder and an owl earring holder.

End of the countdown on 11 sensational ways to repurpose your old windows

I hope you enjoyed the ideas and that’s it inspired you to create some of your own!

Stunning Picture Frame Upgrade Ideas for Your Home

As I was rooting through some of the remaining boxes of stuff from our old house, I came across a few items that inspired me to do a little crafting. I found childhood picture frames in need of a facelift to get with the times and with my current decor. It was a very simple project aside from deciding what I was going to do and it’s definitely a project anyone could handle. I hope my picture frame makeovers inspire you to have a little fun with some of your own frames and you can decide on a direction to take! From drab to fab frames in no time flat.

My supplies included:

  • Craft Paint and/or Spray paint
  • Paintbrushes (a wider one for the frame and a thin one for details)
  • Sandpaper (depending on the look you are going for)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Razor or scissors or paper cutter
  • That’s it!
picture frame before
The Before: classic 80’s/90’s gold opening border mat and a stained oak frame.

To keep the glass clean of paint, you should definitely start off by taking the glass out and painting everything separately. I painted the frame with inexpensive craft paint from Michaels. There’s a Michaels 1.3 miles away from me, so I tend to get everything I need there.

picture frame paint

I painted a full coat, so I couldn’t see any of the wood underneath. Then since I was going for a shabby chic look, I took a piece of sandpaper and lightly rubbed randomly around some edges.

I took the mat out to paint it with cheap chalkboard paint from Michaels. It didn’t seem necessary to better paint since it wasn’t going to be used for writing. I used wax paper to paint on to save my kitchen counters.

Accents make the mat

After the paint dried, I used a thin brush to paint some white accents around the photo openings. Feel free to let your creativity come out here! When everything was dry, I put it all back together so it was ready for some pictures of loved ones. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

A close up of some of the sanded parts.

picture frame complete
A refinished frame in half an hour (or so)

Frame 2

Before

For my second frame, I took the same concept with the frame. I painted it with a coat of paint and sanded it in a few areas. Instead of painting the mat, I tore vintage 12 x 12 scrapbook paper into pieces and glued the pieces onto the mat. I didn’t worry about cutting the paper around the ovals while gluing. After the glue was dry, I flipped it over so the back was faceup. I used a razor to cut the paper overhang around the oval and voila, another finished frame refresh.

After (aka Drab to Fab Frame )

The last frame I redid was a metal gold frame. I took the glass out of each frame and sprayed a few layers of rose spray paint. For those who haven’t had much experience with a spray can, it’s best to do multiple thin layers rather than soaking it with a thick layer that is likely to drip.

Picture Frame 3

I had printed 4×6 photos which ended up being too small for the openings. Probably a good idea to measure before you print, but as it turns out, I liked the end look better than if the picture filled the frame. I decided to make due by taping the photos to a white cardstock paper and adding a border from scrapbook paper.

I used my paper cutter to ensure I cut straight lines. There’s a range of paper cutters you can get. Mine, in particular, was pretty inexpensive and is two-sided for different types of blades. If you should not happen to have a paper cutter, a ruler to draw a straight line and scissors will do just fine.

I used the sliding blade to cut the scrapbook paper for the border.

I used double-sided tape to adhere the photo and paper to the white back paper.

The double-sided tape dispenser is shown here. I, unfortunately, found it difficult to use.

I happened upon some paper flowers at, you guessed it, Michaels, that felt like the perfect touch to add to this frameset.

Drab to fab picture frame

Final Product with my three girls to showcase it! I did a quick photoshoot in my bedroom with the girls to get this together.

Frame 4

These two oval frames came from my grandmother’s basement unused for years. It took me a bit to decide what to do with them. I ended up being inspired by some shabby chic hooks from Michaels. White spray paint, some 1/4″ board wood cut to size and scrapbooked paper gave the finished look.

That’s a wrap on these quick and easy revamps to take them from drab to fab frames. If you are anything like me, you likely already have all the materials. While you’re watching your favorite show tonight, go ahead and let your creativity out.

And if you’re looking for more ideas on how to use those frames, check out Framed Earring Holder

DIY Bakery and Lemonade Stand Charm for Entrepreneurial Kids

 

While under stay at home orders in Maryland, my two younger daughters took hold of a bakery and lemonade stand idea. They knew they wouldn’t be able to sell the goods at that time but were completely smitten with the idea of it. It just happened that while redoing my oldest’s daughter’s room, she had decided she no longer wanted this large composite bookcase. Inspiration hit after the initial request for the stand, so away we went with the creation of it. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Materials & Tools

Quite thankfully for our budget, I didn’t have to buy any materials for this project. I used items already sitting in wait for re-purposing. 

Materials

  • Composite Bookcase
  • Old Window
  • Scrapwood
  • Spraypaint
  • Screws
  • Cotton Material
  • Drawer liner

Tools

  • Square
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Kreg Jig
  • Clamp

Getting to Work


I wanted this project to be as easy as possible. The easiest way I figured we could accomplish it was to cut the bookcase just above the secured shelf. This would allow for a small lip of the soon to be counter space. Rather than just drawing a cutting line, I used a square as my guide by clamping it on.


Safety Announcement!

Protect your hearing!! My girls have come to use their earmuffs to help quiet the noise of my saws. They also lovingly remind me to wear my safety ear muffs when they see I’m not wearing mine. I know from family experience that protecting your hearing now is important for the years to come. Be sure to wear those ear muffs when using any loud tools.


The girls in their PJ’s inspecting my work.

Here comes the Color!!!

This project was a great opportunity for the girls to join in the refinishing fun. Obviously, the blond wood color wouldn’t do for their personal bakery and lemonade stand.  They picked from my assortment of spray paint cans and got to work. I let them do what they could and filled in the light spots later.

Old Window Repurposing

Awhile back, I bought a stock of old windows for $20 and hosted a Window repurposing party. I had a few who weren’t able to make it so have been storing the windows every since and using them for as ideas spark. The girls set to work cleaning one of the windows. They cleaned the glass and scraped off some of the old paint before painting it white.

The width was just about perfect while the height was off by 3 or 4 inches. I found a spare board that worked to fill some of the difference. Using my handy kreg jig, I attached the board to the window and made pocket holes around the window to attach it to the bookcase. 

With the window on, it was just about complete. Drawer liner from my Antique Hutch Project served to spruce up the shelves. As you can see from the above, the girls were pleased with the results. All that remained for the bakery side of things was to hide that gap. 

Time to Bring Out the Sewing Machine

The girls picked out material from my stash to make a ruffle. I can still remember my mom teaching me how to make a ruffle as a kid. You need to cut a piece of material that is almost twice as long as what is needed and start by finishing off your edges. I’m not an expert sewer, so I’d recommend checking out some other great sites, like Treasurie, for how to best do that.

To make the bunching, you sew a loose straight stitch along the whole length without backstitching. 

Then pull one of the threads while pulling the material in the opposite direction. It may be necessary to start pulling on the opposite side when it starts to get hard to bunch. 

When it’s at the right length, backstitching and a shorter stitch along the length secure the ruffles. With the ruffle complete, I hot glued ruffles to both the bakery and lemonade stands.

Bakery and Lemonade Stand Wares

A lemonade stand is dependent on some beautiful lemons!

We were making the bakery and lemonade stand just after Easter, so we went ahead with baking some Easter Sugar Cookies with icing.

Store bought pizzelles dipped in chocolate with a smattering of sprinkles were next up on the menu list. The girls also chose to use the mini Easter desserts given to them by their grandmother.

A Quick Menu Sign

Every bakery needs a menu, so I selected this wood cut out from my stack. I used Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint in purple and gray. 

Personalized Money

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love of personalized items when creating for the kids. I thought it’d be fun to give them play money to use during quarantine in liue of doing a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway. www.PrintablePlayMoney.net had free templates which were exactly what I was looking for. The girls were crazy about the idea, so away we went. A quick photo and duplication in Word gave them a stack of bills ready to hand out for us to pay for the goods.

Bakery and Lemonade Stand Open for Business

To finish this project, the girls made their own cardboard sign and offered story books they wrote for the waiting customers. I used cardboard and acrylic paint to create lemons, cherries, and a cupcake for extra flare. 

The girls are ready and itching to get out to the end of driveway to put their stand to use with real customers. My ten year old wants to use the profits to donate to a charity cause she’s just that kind of girl. I hope you find some inspiration in our found objects project making lemons into lemonade. 

Fantastically Colorful DIY Rainbow Shelves

Rainbow Shelves

Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.
― Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow

In 2015, we moved our family of five from a three-bedroom house to a five-bedroom house with loads of extra space. It was glorious for all of us, especially for the 7 and 4-year-old sisters who were previously sharing a room. The oldest liked sleeping with the door open, with music and lights on while the younger one preferred sleeping with the door closed in the quiet and with the lights off. Besides being able to control their own space, they also got to choose their room themes. The then 4-year-old unwaveringly went for

R A I N B O W

as her theme of choice. Curtains and sheets were easy to find. Shelves, on the other hand, weren’t something I could find in any nearby stores. The obvious choice was a mommy/daughter project to craft our own.

Supplies: 

  • Wood Cubes
  • Small Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush

I came across a nine square set of nesting cubes and decided to make them into a fun shelving unit for my rainbow lover’s room.

Each cube had a bracket to hang each individually. I thought it’d be easier to have them connected to each other. This would mean I’d have fewer nail holes in the wall. I used tiny wood screws to secure the cubes to each other in the fashioning of our design. Something to keep in mind when screwing into any wood is the likelihood of splintering or cracking when drilling the screw without predrilled holes. If there’s a chance it’ll crack or you’re unsure, it’s best to drill a hole prior to screwing in the screw. Be sure to use a drill bit no bigger than the width of the screw core to prevent the hole from being bigger than the screw.

After the cubes were secured to each other, my middle child and I started with the painting. Her motto is ‘you can never have too much rainbow in your life’. I love when I can infuse mommy-daughter time with crafting (so long as it’s more fun than frustrating). Generally, it’s a double bonus for me to have girls who enjoy doing some of the same things as me. As an adult, I have come to realize as a child I learned so much by simply watching and helping. I hope my girls learn as much from me on how to be handy and self-sufficient as I learned from my parents.

A fun Rainbow Pop with Patterns

We could have kept it simple by painting all the surfaces, but I thought it’d be fun to give it a pop of pattern to the cubes, in addition to the pops of color. It was more likely to see the ceiling of each cube when hung on the wall. This pushed my decision to use scrapbook paper to spruce up the ceiling of each cube. (Scrapbook paper really has so many uses.)

I cut colored and patterned paper to the size of the corresponding cube. Using my favorite Mod Podge, I glued them to the wood surface. I’m sure you can read the Mod podge instructions for yourself, but I’ll explain it here for you as well. Use a paintbrush to paint it onto the surface first. Then paint the back of the paper and smooth the paper onto the surface to remove any bubbles. This isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. Those pesky bubbles and wrinkles can be a pain to get smoothed out. Finish it up by painting the final top coating to protect the surface.

I have had the same bottle of mod podge for years. It’s lasted me through many projects. Check out some other projects you can use with mod podge.

Once the paint and glue were dry, hanging and filling the shelves were the only tasks left. My little Lily was excited to get her things in there.

Rainbow Shelf #2

We already had a shelf on hand for the next rainbow incorporation. I decided to do a fun bottom since that would be the only part to really show. I used scrapbook paper and Mod Podge again to adhere the paper to the surface. While cutting the paper to size to fill the length, the chevron pattern matched perfectly. In looking at the photo below, I obviously failed to put the two pieces in the right spots. It’s very likely I was slightly distracted by my chattering girls. It doesn’t take long for Mod Podge to work, so I was stuck (literally) with my mess up. My OCD self still gets annoyed with this mistake, but luckily my middle child was okay with it.

Rainbow scrapbook paper
Rainbow scrapbook paper shelf

Simple and easy is the best way to be when the task list is long. One project down in a night’s time and a daughter over the moon with her finished rainbow project.

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
― Maya Angelou

A Full Day of Valentine’s Love

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to only be about a special dinner and cards for classmates. Carry the heart shaped fun throughout the day with simple activities your kids will enjoy. 

I love you coffee

valentine's coffee

Nails!

My 9-year old’s goal this year is to have fresh nail designs each week. We went with a simple achievable design this week.

Valentine's nails

Hair!

I’ve had a life-long love of braiding hair, so I feel blessed to have girls with gloriously long thick hair. Below are three ways to incorporate Valentine’s hearts into their daily do’s.

Breakfast!

Heart-shaped Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Valentine's chocolate chip pancakes
Chocolate chip pancakes using a heart-shaped pancake mold

Lunch

Valentine’s Heart Pepperoni Pizza

Heart-Shaped Sandwich

Valentine's Heart Sandwich

It doesn’t get much easier than cutting a sandwich with a big heart cookie cutter.

Valentine's fruit kabob

Fruit Kabobs with Heart sticks from the Dollar Tree

Dinner

Valentine's pasta
Valentine’s pasta Aldi find that seems to come back each year. Paired with shrimp, asparagus and parmesan cheese.

Dessert

Sugar cookies

Sugar cookies are a go to recipe for our family to use the holiday specific cookie cutters we have stored away with the holiday decorations. A few years ago, I was excited to find a heart cookie cutter kit with 5 different sizes of hearts. I keep them available in the kitchen all year long for whenever I want to see some extra food love.

Valentine's Sugar Cookies

Strawberry Truffle Kiss Cookies

Valentine's Strawberry Truffle Kiss Cookies

Check out this delicious cookies recipe from Inside Bru Crew Life. It was a hit for my family

Crafts

Valentine’s Cardboard Candy Box

To say it simply, I’m a huge lover of cardboard. I try to find any way to use it. Way back when I used to work direct care with teenage boys, I showed them how to make a candy heart box with cardboard, hot glue, and scrapbook paper. We additionally made homemade candies to put into wrappers, just like you’d get in the store. Some of them gave their homemade creations to girlfriends. It was a great bonding experience to craft together and expand their thoughts on how they can be creative.

To make your own, cut two hearts in the same size small enough that one 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper can be used to cover the cardboard. Then cut two 1.5 inch wide strips of the same length for the top that will go along flush with the outside edge. Hot glue them on. Finally, cut two more 1.5 inch wide strips of the same length and glue them just inside of the bottom heart to allow for the top to fit on the outside. Finish it off by gluing the scrapbook paper to the outside.

Valentine’s Love Fortunes

If you’re looking for a super simple yet super sweet way to communicate your love, give these felt fortune cookies a try. Anyone could put them together for their loved ones. Materials:

  • Chinese food container
  • Felt in your desired colors
  • Foliage wire
  • Paper
Valentine's Love Fortunes

Cut as many circles as you see fit in the same size and then cut the thin foliage wire to the width of the circles. Glue the wire onto the middle of the felt circle and you’re just about finished.

Write your message on a thin strip of paper. Then hold the paper in the middle of the circle while you fold the felt in half and pull the ends downward. This year I also tossed them into the girls’ lunches for surprise messages. Other years, I have had the girls write messages to their dad or wrote them myself. Spending 30 minutes this year, can have a lasting effect for years.

Here’s to love being in the air for you this Valentine’s Day! If you’re looking for more crafting ideas checking out my other Craft posts.

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