Tag Archives: holidays

St. Patrick’s Day!

So much for the Valentine’s post I had planned. The pictures are somewhere and hopefully I will get around posting it this week. Though I may wait until April 14th, then I will be an even two months late.

This St. Patrick’s day was ridiculous. I don’t know what came over me! I might as well have thrown all of my standards off the side of a cliff.

First off, I finally made another tutorial I found on pinterest! The instructions for the adorable little shirt we made came from The Life of a Cheap Chickadee.

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We obviously went for the greens and golds, being St. Patrick’s day and I only stayed up until 12:30am the night before finishing it. (This was mainly due to the fact that I refused to get up to start the project until after 10:30pm.) With that said, it is a great little project and perfect if you need a green shirt at the last-minute, since you daughter’s closet is stocked with every hue of pink, but not a speck of green.

This is also a wonderful up-cycling project, if you have a shirt that is too short in the tummy or has spots on the lower parts. You can use old t-shirts to make the ruffles.

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Some tips I found out while sewing; cut the strips whatever width, but make them at least three times longer than the width of your shirt (I did this by just measuring across the front of the shirt three times with one of the strips, then cutting off the excess). Make a plan of where you want your tie band to be and then work up from the bottom to that point. Last, the shirt we used was very light and thin, it might have been better to use a slightly heavier jersey, that will better hold the weight of the ruffles.

IMG_7749This year has been busy and the house looked nice, so I did not want a “visit” from any sort of “leprechaun” messing everything up. However, silly me, has done this in the past. Made a pile of books in the middles of the floor, spread shamrocks, dressed up stuffed animals, something to that effect. (Maybe it is something about St. Patrick’s day that causes my morals to slip). I had remembered doing it and the snug had too. While she wasn’t really wondering why the leprechaun hadn’t come, she definitely had a lot of questions and hypothesizes about it.

Therefore, I felt a range of conflict (starting at my mom claiming that every child needs to have some sort of magic in their life – to – my dislike of creating implicit lies to my child [we don’t ‘do’ santa or the tooth fairy or the easter bunny, why would we do leprechauns]), so of course, my mom won out. I lied. I said that I had caught the leprechaun the night before, since I had been up late sewing. I had shooed him away since the house had looked nice and I was too tired to clean after him. (upon recollection, this wasn’t necessarily a lie).

Later that day, I picked up a puzzle, put it together, and then took it apart in 10 piece chunks. I wrapped the chunks in tissue paper and hid them around the house.

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At least the cat enjoyed it. The snug did too, though she had voiced speculations.

I am losing all of my moral standards. I lied to my child about a mischievous fantastical creature. I bought a gift for St. Patrick’s day, not a well known gift giving holiday. Then I wrapped it, in tissue paper, 2 for each package, that is 20 quarter sheets of tissue paper! What got into me??

P.S. While I talk about the shirt being a great candidate for up-cycling, ours was not. Not even close! The shirt we had bought long ago, but hadn’t worn. The jersey and lace we bought that weekend, since I didn’t have any green jersey. Or at least I didn’t have any that was readily accessible.

Happy Week After St. Patrick’s Day!

P.P.S. I don’t even have a category to put this wasteful account of a holiday in. Tsk, tsk. Oh well. Better luck next year.

Upcycled Christmas Tree and DIY Ribbon Garland

I really don’t like Christmas. I like the idea of it, or the “ideal” of it. Giving someone a thoughtful gift, something you put your heart into, something you worked for that was completely for someone else. Spending time together, actually having time to sit and relax, talk and play.

Unfortunately, that ideal has been slipping from my family for a little while. Since we already greened up and minimized Easter, we figured we could do the same to Christmas.

Starting with the tree. I had many ideas…

At first I wanted to build a wood tree, but our lack of resources, experience, and power tools, made me decide against it.

Next I thought a cardboard tree would work nicely. Though it would mean cutting over 260 strips of cardboard. The husband nixed this one.

Then there was lost of brainstorming as a family, we needed something large and possibly triangular, that we could rig up to be a Christmas tree for the month of December.

We came up with this…

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Our play tepee from the warmer seasons! This thing is awesome! My mom and I had made it for the snug a couple of years ago, we went to thrift shops for queen size sheets and used the Butterick pattern B4251. Be warned, it is huge, it has a diameter of 72 inches and has a center height of around 55 inches! The structure is super unfriendly PVC pipes, but they were lighter than wood. The pipes/frame is what we used for our tree.

IMG_6964TA-DA!!! IT’S A CHRISTMAS TREE-PEE!! (mind the blur). Without the fabric siding we had to drill extra holes in the middle and near the bottom of the pipes, to string ribbon and braided yarn through for support. We made it a little wider than it usually is due to the light fixture. Then we decorated.

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Tinsel, a ribbon garland, strings of ornaments and, later, a feather boa.

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What else do you need?

The best part. The few gifts we do give can go inside of the tree-pee and we can have tea parties in there until Christmas.

Also, it cost nothing. And we already had everything for it.

The ribbon garland we made, it took about 20 minutes max.

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Take a hot glue gun and a variety of ribbon cut into 7 inch strips. Any width and type will do for the ribbon, though you might want to avoid anything smaller than 1/4 inch, as it is hard to glue.

IMG_6954Then make a ribbon chain. Same way you make a paper chain, only with hot glue and ribbon, instead of a glue stick and paper.

The snug was thrilled with this project. I let her pick out the ribbon order, which adds to the fun and time.

I really have never, ever been this excited about a Christmas tree.

Happy Christmas!

Natural Easter Egg Dye 2012

Last year, 2011, we dyed our eggs from scratch. Vinegar, water and either veges or herbs were used (see end of post for pictures)! I loved it! While I took a few pictures I kept records of the dyeing process. Then last May we moved. Everything got packed up, including my records. Jump to this April, 2012. It is almost Easter and we are moving again and I am not very willing to go on a hunt for my records or spend a ton or any time dyeing eggs, especially when my daughter no longer likes to eat eggs in any form. Enter my mom who loves holidays.

By the way, I forgot to mention, my mom crocheted Snug the cutest Easter basket. The pattern is from Country Woman and is pretty easily done with scrap fabric.

Anyway, on with the story…..

She definitely wants to dye eggs with Snug because this is basically their first Easter together. Enter me, again, who is against all artificial Easter Egg dyes. Enter Build-A-Bear who was handing out Easter egg dye kits, for free, the day we went to get our bear replaced. What a mess.

So while at whole foods one day with my mom, looking for things for Easter dinner, she brings up getting a dye set from there. Genius. I go and ask, after some hunting all around the store, the super helpful workers find one, ONE, last dye kit. Thank goodness!!! Whole Foods saves the day!!!!

Here is the dye kit we used this year.

Any idea what it might be called?? I believe it is nawara. Though I am not entirely sure. However it had directions in at least eight languages. Which is awesome.

There are five different colors. Red, orange, yellow, green and purple. Each color pack dyes 5-7 eggs. That is a lot of eggs, so we just decided to use two packets.

Snug decided on green and purple. So 10 eggs in total.

Take three cups of water. There is water in the measuring cup.

Pour the color granules in and stir.

By the way, here is what the color granules look like. Those small dots on the counter.

Once you are done stirring the granules in, drop in the eggs (uncooked), or place them. Placing is preferable. Snug did a big drop for a couple of them and broke one. No worries though.

Put the pot on the stove and let the water mixture boil and reduce.The directions say the exact time.

Do the same with the green.

This is how the purple looks after it is all done on the stove.

The green.

Here they are all done. One of our purple eggs broke and one of the meant to be purple eggs didn’t take the dye.

Green inside.

Green outside.

Purple inside.

Purple outside.

Here is the purple egg that didn’t take the dye. It did end up a little speckled though and the eggland’s best symbol boiled off. I never knew that happened.

This egg dye kit was okay. The colors aren’t too bad. Pretty dark in fact. It is a very easy kit and definitely a good option. Though, I do prefer the way we did it last year.

You boiled the eggs separately and the dye separately and then left them to soak together for a while. Here are some pictures from last year.

We used, vinegar, beets, Welch’s grape juice, cabbage and turmeric.

The cabbage, beets and grape juice all looked the same. (Did you notice the glasses in the background, Crystal week was taking place!!)

However, once they were all done they looked completely different. From left to right we have red cabbage (the eggs turned blue!), grape juice, turmeric and beets at the end on the right. Snug enjoyed the 2011 version of egg dying better than this year.

I think next year we will just do it our old way, it gives you more control over how much dye you want and how many eggs you want to dye and it is easier to do a nice variety and without having to use tons of eggs.

More experimenting is necessary though. I don’ think I will ever be able to find a natural dye that is as potent and quick as the artificial ones, but we will keep playing around and our eggs will get prettier every year!

Happy dyeing!

Greening up Easter / Minimizing Easter.

Easter was a couple of weeks ago but I wanted to get this post up before the subject of Easter grew icy cold.

When I was a kid, my Easter basket was filled to the brim, usually overflowing with presents, toys, but mainly candy, candy, candy. It has to be one of the bigger candy holidays, next to Halloween. My mom loves holidays and going all out on them, so it never surprised me that my basket was filled and I was always thrilled that it was, until I was about 13.

Around 13, all the stuff started to lose its flare. While it was still fun to get new clothes for Easter, and while the candy was still delicious, it was a little bit much. After high school and into college Easter wasn’t given much thought. We didn’t think much of it for the snug’s first couple of years.

Then there was the year Snug was three, last year,  we gave in to all the bunnies and baskets at Meijer. There was the giant purple rabbit, the hello kitty basket, already full of tons of surprises and candy. All the different fun egg-shaped candy! While it may not have seemed completely overboard to the general public, we went overboard to ourselves and promised that after the over stimulation of over processed candy and plastic wrap around cheap baskets that was that Easter, we would do it differently from now on.

This year was our first year to keep that promise. It worked out nicely. For the most part.

While we didn’t get to dye our eggs from natural scratch ingredients, such as, turmeric, beets, cabbage, etc, we did find an easy mix at whole foods.

However for the Easter basket and the gifts we dumbed things down, greatly.

Here it is! That is it. We borrowed one of Snug’s baskets that she already had (this particular basket is a fair trade one that I picked up at a fall craft sale), a giant pencil from Target’s dollar section (eco-friendly – no, really fun – definitely!), some plastic eggs we had from previous Easters filled with chewy bunny candy from whole foods (2-3 bunnies to each egg and only 4-5ish eggs) and a homemade knitted stuffed bunny.

Why buy a new basket every year, when there are usually so many lying around the house. Or if you don’t have any baskets handy, why not make one with the kiddo bear or use a makeshift basket. Or for a joke you could always decorate the laundry basket. Tiskit-taskit.

If being earth friendly isn’t your top priority, this Easter basket only cost us $5.23. All but $1 of that was for the chewy bunnies. Which were delicious and free of artificial colorings.

So what was Snug’s reaction to this somewhat “measly” looking Easter lot?

She was thrilled. She loved the bunny and the pencil and thought the chewy bunnies were delicious. She ate a couple bunnies and choose to save the rest, played with the pencil, was fascinated by the sharpener, and slept with the bunny for nights on end.

No over-stimulation, no over processed candy, no over-whelming abundance of candy options or toys. Simple, easy, done.

Not that the bunny was easy and fast. Well, it was easy and a simple pattern, published by Lion Brand. Bunny Pattern Link. The bunny is called the “Knit Little Bunny.”  Fair warning when you click the link, you will have to register with them to access the free patterns. All the registering does is sign you up for the weekly emails, that usually come very late on a Friday night.

Free and Easy and only slightly time-consuming. If you have a free afternoon you could whip one up.

Adorable and measures up around 8 inches from head to bottom, with a 3 1/2 inch ear length and a 7 inch arm span.

The little bunny tail is my favorite!!

The face you do in embroidery floss. My nose is a little silly and the whiskers took forever to match up, but otherwise I am very happy with the way it turned out.

As am I happy with how our plans for Easter turned out.

As for that “for the most part” part of the story. My mom did a great job not getting too exciting or getting too much for Easter. She crocheted an Easter Basket for Snug and bought a cloth doll from the Pottery Barns and threw in a lot of extra things. Also instead of candy hidden in her Easter eggs, she hid change. She did get pretty excited about this and put in a lot of change. So it goes though. She still loves holidays and isn’t thrilled that I am ‘taking the fun out of them.’ I like to think of it as bringing more meaning back into them. We will see in about 5 years when Snug has closer peers to compare holiday stories/gift brags with.

Valentine’s Day Glasses!

I wrote two paragraphs to introduce this craft. That is too many. Here is a quick summary and we will get on to the directions. It is already 9pm and I have yet to finish a pair of mittens before bed. That and sweet, sweet Harry Potter is calling my name, along with Hermione, we are practically the same person.

Summary as follows; fellow genius bloggers + pinterest = incredible amount of inspiration, cute valentine ideas floating around, two grandparents, crate & barrel, husband with iPhone, and the modern marvel of craft store paint. All these contributing factors led to this craft.

Okay here we go!

First off, for this craft you are going to need some glasses. Any undecorated glasses will do, I suggest ones from the goodwill or ones you don’t need anymore, I would have done goodwill had I not already fallen for the ones I found at Crate & Barrel.

These glasses are called ‘Miguel Double’ and are 12 oz juice glasses. The best part about them, they are made from 100% recycled glass. The even better best part about them is, as they are from Mexico, all the glass used to make them is from Mexico. That is great, if you are going to make something out of recycled things, the best way to do is to use local recycled things.

The rest of the things you will need are; scissors, a sponge, a marker, rubbing alcohol, paint that will work on glass, newspaper to cover the area, something to hold your paint for dipping purposes, soap, water and a paper towel piece or cotton ball, depending.

First wash and dry your glasses and get any stickers off.

Then depending on directions (found on the paint you use), put rubbing alcohol on your glass.

Now grab your paint.

We used Martha Stewart, Multi-surface acrylic craft paint. Or so says the bottle. There are multiple options and brands to use. I choose this one, because I liked the color best. However, the one downfall of this paint, is the curing time is 21 days. A lot of other paints had a cooking option. Make sure to read the back of the paint and know if it can be used on glass and how long it will need to set.

Take your sponge and draw some adorable hearts! (I would do more than three in varying sizes).

Snug wanted to cut, but her scissors weren’t quite up to the task of a sponge, we had to get out some bigger scissors.

TA-DA!! My mistake!!! After you cut your hearts out, you should get them wet and then let them dry. Or squeeze out as much water as possible. This will obviously expand the sponge and make it so much easier to handle them.

Squeeze a bunch of paint onto a something or other, we had a reusable Tupperware lid lying around from the holidays.

Dip the sponge into the paint.

And press it onto the glass. Watch as to not get too close to the top of the glass, this paint is not safe for consumption. While it is fine on the outside of the glass, you shouldn’t paint the inside, unless you will be going over it and glazing it with a food safe glaze. We made sure to keep our hearts away from the top drinking part…well I made sure. Snug has a new theory that, “oh it’s not a bummer, I can just do whatever I want.” She tells me this on a daily basis.

Repeat until your glasses are beautiful and just the way you like them.

P.S. This is a fun craft for kids, as long as their parents aren’t perfectionists. Or as long as you can control your urge not to clean the whole glass off and do it by yourself, make patterns, leave out smudges, etc. I had to sit on my hands at some points, but the important thing is that Snug helped and had fun and did do a great job. They look wonderful. In a four-year old sort of way.

Happy Crafting!!

Lightbulb Ornaments; Decoupage!

Recently, as in the past couple of months, I have been saving burnt out light bulbs, not the fancy LED swirl ones, but the older bulb ones. I had no idea what I was saving them for, but I knew I would figure it out.

Eventually, a couple of weeks ago, I did. I was stumbling around on the internet and came across decoupaging, again. I have wanted to decoupage about ten times, but never got the chance or the right surface. After going to a couple of craft fairs, buying a decoupaged tray and seeing lots of lightbulb ornaments, I figured I would try to mesh the idea for myself.

It worked great!!! I hope you can try it, they turn out really very neat.

Though they are only for decoration, given they are burnt out, I wouldn’t try doing this with ones that you would still light up.

Here are the things you will need… Lightbulbs that are burnt out and cleaned, water and a little soap on a dishcloth will do great, do not immerse them in water, just wipe clean. Scissors, some string, any kind will do…

You will need a decoupage medium and brushes, we used foam ones. We did Mod Podge for our medium and it worked great! On the left is the gloss kind, leaves a nice glossy look and on the right is the glitter infused sparkle.

Now you will need images to decoupage. This gets a little tricky, there are rules. The image of your choosing needs to be something printed. So Magazines, music, books, scrapbook paper, etc. It cannot be anything from a newspaper or inkjet printer, the ink will smear all over your surface.

Take some string and tie it around the top of the bulb. Just one little knot will hold it fine, leave lots of excess string so you can hang the bulbs up to dry.

Cut out your image with the scissors or an exacto knife to the shape and size you want them. My Mistake! The more images the better, so cut out a lot of them! I kept having to go back and cut some more out, which makes for a very long process.

Now start putting the images onto your surface, we used the regular gloss Mod Podge for this. You have two options for adhering your images onto the lightbulb or onto your surface. You can paint the medium on the back of the image OR

You can put the medium on the surface and then stick the pictures. For the Mickey Mouse we put the medium on the back, but for the music, we put it on the lightbulb. It just depends on the thickness of the paper and how well it will stay itself. If your image paper is thin, then put the medium on the surface of what you are decoupaging. If it is thicker paper, put it on the back of the image.

Now press the images on however you like. Overlapping is key.

If you can’t get the images to flatten on their own, you can use a popsicle stick or the blunt side of a butter knife.

Like so! Smooth them down. Also if the image is big, start from the center and press out.

Keep covering until the entire surface is covered, or about as much as you want is covered. We left lots of open spaces on the mickey mouse bulb, Snug didn’t want the pictures to overlap, she wanted to be able to see everyone.

Once you are all done covering the bulbs with images, let them hang to dry. I tied ours onto a hanger. You want the medium to dry completely before you put on anymore. This doesn’t take long, 15 minutes or less.

Now you have to seal and protect your images, so take the decoupaged bulb and the medium and cover the whole thing.

It should look like this, when wet, it will dry clear and hard. For the Mickey bulb we used the sparkle Mod Podge.

For the music we used the gloss.

Back on the hanger they go to dry! It will take a little longer for these to dry, probably around an hour or so. You will be able to tell when they are dry, by looking at them.

After they are dry, put another layer of the medium on them. You can put another layer after the second layer, if necessary, you want all your images covered and sealed. If you have corners or edges that are still sticking up, you will want to put more medium on them, press them down and seal them again.

Here is Mickey all nice and sealed.

And the music!

To make them into ornaments, we added some ribbon around the top. For this part, you will need ribbon and hot glue or strong glue.

We took a good length of ribbon and wrapped it around the ‘screw in part’ a couple of times. We tied a couple of knots in the back and hot glued the knots. With the strings from the knots we tied them up at the top to make the string for the ornament to hang. Then we got a separate piece of ribbon and tied a bow, which we hot glued onto the front of the ornament.

There is a picture of how we tied them off in the back.

We are giving the music ones away as gifts and the mickey one is for Snug.

This was a very fun project, Snug and I had a great time! I have gone on to decoupage other glass ornaments for a fundraiser. In fact I have two more to do today, though I am really anxious to try decoupaging on a flat surface. Last tip for decoupaging on something round, the smaller the picture the flatter it will be.

Happy Decoupaging!

Homemade Decorations: Painted Lanterns

For Halloween the snug and I made some fun lantern decorations. Now even though we did ours for Halloween, this craft can transfer over to any other holiday. You can do snowflakes or hearts, Menorahs or trees, anything really. They would be great for picnics in the summer, or in our case, great to light the porch step on Halloween.

We found the craft, from those clever people at family fun.

They call them, ‘Jar-o-Lanterns’. They are super simple and here is our step by step process.

Needed supplies are; as many glass jars as you want to make, you can use mason jars, ball jars, pickle jars, spaghetti jars, anything really as long it is glass and clean. Masking tape, acrylic paint in your desired colors, paint brushes, paper plates or paint trays and newspaper. Puff paint is optional. And tea lights or the small LED battery lights, eventually.

Get your area set up with the newspaper and put some paint on the plates. Then take your jars and with the masking tape, cut or create shapes that you want your jar to have. For Halloween we did jack-o-lantern faces, but here is where the other holidays come into play. You could do hearts with pink paint for valentine’s day or snowflakes with blue or white paint for winter. Possibilities are endless.

Here are our jars. We wrote out ‘spooky’ on the biggest jar we had. We used wide-mouthed mason jars, that were extra we had from canning season.

Start painting, cover the whole jar, even the tape.

Once they are all done, just wait, wait, wait for them to dry. Wait a little longer then you want to. Acrylic paint will peel if it is not all the way dry. After the jars are completely dry, pull the tape off.

My mistake! I got a little impatient and pulled off the tape while the paint was dry, but not dry enough. A couple of times a huge strip of paint came off with the tape I pulled off. Thankfully it was a very easy touch up.


Now just for fun and affect, also because we had some lying around, we outlined our jars facial features with yellow puff paint.

It really helped them pop!

The picture isn’t fantastic but the effect in person is wonderful! They all turned out very cute though and we will be able to use them over and over again. They are also great for holding candy or you could give some gifts in them. For example, if you do not paint around the rim where the lid screws on you could fill it with a cookie mix or hot cocoa mix and give it as a decorative gift.

Overall though, these are just plain fun.