Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Decorations & Peanuts Costumes: Repurposed & Cheap!

Homemade or DIY is the way to go for unique, charming and affordable this Halloween!  Check out our repurposed Halloween fun this year:

The Decorations

Remember the milk jug skeleton and spider web candy bowl and I made a few years ago for Halloween?  They are both still in great shape and a make up a big part of our Halloween decorations.  But this year we needed more and I knew Lucy would love to help!

Q-Tip Skeleton from October issue of Family Fun

Spooky garland we made a few years ago....the kids still love it!
Egg Carton Bats found on Pinterest.  We skipped the plastic, googly eyes and added fangs!

We used tempera paint and it took FOREVER to dry!

The Costumes

Lucy chose the Peanuts theme for our family costumes this year.  I made all four costumes for under $25 (that includes sewing my first pair of pants!).  I only had to purchase a white hooded sweatshirt for Lucy's Snoopy costume, a yellow polo shirt and black self-stick felt for Ben's Charlie Brown and black spray for my Lucy hair.  The rest of the clothes, fabric and supplies I found in our closets and in my sewing and craft stash.  If we bought the costumes it would have cost well over $100 and we would all freeze to death in the thin, poorly made costumes. (Check out the GIANT pumpkin my mom won at work!!) 

Our version of the Peanuts Gang with our own Great Pumpkin!

The cute little tails on Snoopy & Woodstock

Of course we had to find the most sincere pumpkin patch!

Lucy loves Snoopy and LOVES her costume!

The squiggle on Charlie Brown's forehead is hilarious!
And my crazy Lucy hair! (excuse the was so cold!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

September Milestones

Peanut Butter Yogurt Pie via Pinterest
September was full of milestones:

1. We moved to Missouri
2. My 2 year blogiversary
3. 16,000 views
4. 250 sales in my Etsy shop
5. I'm another year older

How did I celebrate?  I unpacked lots of boxes, organized our new house (a work in progress), played outside in our shady yard, went to the DMV, baked and cooked to fill the chest freezer and completely forgot to write a single post!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Top 5 Countdown: Adios Ohio!

It's that time again.  Time to move!  We are in the process of packing up and moving to Missouri.  While we were never attached to Columbus or Ohio we will definitely miss a few businesses that are unique to this area.

5.  Graeter's and Jeni's 

Graeter's ice cream is amazingly delicious and rich.  It's all about the chocolate chunks.  We have enjoyed it 3 or 4 times since moving to Columbus.....we might have to squeeze it in one more time! 

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams are made from local and sometime organic ingredients with artisan/gourmet flavors like salty caramel and wildberry lavender.  The dark chocolate and buckeye state ice creams and the lemon frozen yogurt are my favorites but I would love to try more!

4.  Skyline Chili

In my experience people either love or hate Skyline's "Greek inspired" chili served on spaghetti and piled high with cheese.  My parents were not fans when they visited but we will definitely be stopping there to eat one more time before we head out of town! 

3.  IKEA 

IKEA isn't exactly unique to Ohio, but it is somewhat unique to the Midwest (take a look at the U.S. locations map - huge hole in the middle of the country).  We have lived in Columbus 18 months and gone to the West Chester location 3 times and purchased many pieces of furniture and toys and I would like to buy more!  Once in Missouri, the closest location will be 7 hours away in Dallas, TX.  IKEA, time to build a store in Kansas City!

2.  Eddie Bauer Warehouse Store

This is a huge store in an industrial area with tons of deals and the farther into the store you explore the better the discounts (a whole wall of $10 women's jeans).  With their free rewards card and the 20% off coupons in the Columbus Entertainment Book I have snagged some great deals!  I will so miss this place!

1.  Meijer 

With double coupons, great deals on local and regional produce and mperks (can stack mperks coupons with manufacturer coupons) I have saved a ton shopping at Meijer.  The girls love the wall of fish tanks in the pet section and Lucy always has to ride Sandy the horse (it's only 1 penny)!

Since we are moving to a smaller city we will also miss stores like Costco, Trader Joe's and World Market but that just gives us another reason to visit my sister in Kansas City!

I will need a few weeks to pack, move, and then unpack everything (exhausting) and then I'll be back with new projects!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pinterest Projects: Wedding Invitation Ornament

We were invited to the wedding of one of my husband's coworkers but it was several hours away and on the same day as Alice's first birthday party so we did not go.  We still wanted to give them a little gift so I showed Ben this ornament on Pinterest (my explanation didn't cut it - men need visuals).  He liked the idea so I grabbed a clear glass ornament and got to work!

Wanna make one?  Just cut the invitation into strips using a paper trimmer or scissors concentrating on key elements like names, date/time, ceremony location (I even used strips from their reception card).  Next, curl the strips around a pencil or pen and place them into a clear glass ornament.  I loved the matching ribbon and a charm in the original pin so I did the same.  I really wanted a wedding cake charm but could not find one in my local craft stores so I settled on the "I do."

Ben reported back that the bride loved the ornament and was impressed that I was able to match the ribbon to the text on the invitation!  Yay for handmade, creative gifts that are sentimental and recycled as well!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pinterest Projects: Orange Peel & Vinegar Cleaner

With the help of Pinterest I have been trying to make our home healthier by making my own cleaning and personal care products.  First up is orange peel and vinegar all purpose cleaner.  There are dozens of blogs with instructions on how to make this and similar cleaners so for more information check here.

This is how I made mine:
  • Put orange peels in a jar, cover with white vinegar, put the lid on and set it aside for at least two weeks.  Mine sat for 4 weeks and smelled amazing when I took the lid off!
  • Strain the vinegar, mix with an equal amount of water and add to a clean spray bottle.
  • Start cleaning! 
So far I have used this to clean my kitchen counters, stove, microwave, dining room table and high chair, to wipe down my washing machine and dryer and my husband used it in the bathroom. Earlier today I sprayed the grill and left it to soak hoping it will be easier to scrub (I will update with the results later).

I love the fact that this cleaner is only vinegar (super cheap) and all the goodness from the orange peels that would normally be thrown away! It smells so much better than store bought chemical cleaners and I think it cleans better too. Try it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Etsy Finds: Recycled Beer & Soda Cans

I reuse beer and soda cans to make ornaments to sell in my Etsy shop.  It's time to start making ornaments, business cards and find packaging supplies to get ready for the Christmas rush.  While checking my empty can inventory this morning I started wondering what other handmade goods crafted from cans were available.

BUCKLE LORE sells a variety of belt buckles made from vintage beer cans.  Carefully cut pieces of vintage beer cans are welded to the belt buckles creating an accessory that will last.  (Random side note:  I've been to the Shiner brewery!)
Belt Buckle - Vintage Shiner Beer Can $24

"Definitely an intriguing product. An original gift. Collectible."  Yes. Yes. Yes!  These recycled beer can cases made by CanAbyss (also love the name) are made almost entirely of materials "rescued from London's street sides litter." 
Recycled Beer Can Case - Red Stripe $112.67

I love the quirky design and name (BrewBird) of the birdhouses made by PickYourSeat.  They are made entirely from recycled materials.  She also sells items made from repurposed wine barrels and scrap from a cabinet shop.
BrewBird $45

For a truly unique outfit perhaps you should consider a skirt or corset (or both) made from recycled beverage cans by Autumn Faye Designs.  I also found a colorful corset dress very similar to the individual garments below that she previously sold and love the look of the two pieces together.

PBR Aluminum Can Petal Skirt $75

Upcycled Corset from Aluminum Cans $125

Don't forget to check out recycled beer and soda can ornaments in my Etsy shop and maybe enjoy a beer while you shop!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recycled Magazine Clock

Back in January I posted Etsy Finds: Repurposed Clocks and mentioned plans to make my own clock from repurposed materials for our living room.  After four months of rolling magazine pages, rethinking the design and working on other projects I finally finished it!

My inspiration came from various rolled magazine vases I have seen on Pinterest as well as this this tutorial for a recycled sunburst clock I saved in my favorites a few years ago.  I wanted to use the magazine coils to make a colorful clock similar to the sunburst clock. 

You need:
  • Magazines from the recycling bin
  • Elmer's Glue-All
  • Pencil
  • Clock kit
  • Hot glue gun + hot glue sticks
  • E-6000 adhesive
  • Clear acrylic spray sealer
  • Time + patience
Start by carefully tearing or cutting out lots of colorful magazine pages (I ended up using the pages from 3 or 4 magazines).  Next, roll the pages into rods, glue and flatten as shown here.  (Instead of cutting the pages into strips I was lazy and just rolled the whole page into 1 rod.  This makes the rods thicker but they still roll up fine).

Tightly roll the rod around the pencil and use the Glue-All to secure as you coil.  You will have to hold the coil for a bit as the glue dries or the entire thing will unroll (I speak from experience!).

Now, make as many coils as you can stand!  I played around a bit and made coils using 1 rod, some using 2 rods coiled one after another and some using 3 rods.  The center or face of the clock is made from around 25 rods.

Start playing with the layout of your clock on a flat surface (I used an old cutting board).  I chose to do 3 rings of 1 page coils around the face, then 1 ring of 2 page coils and 1 ring of 3 page coils.  Once you are happy with the design hot glue each coil in place.

At this point I sprayed my clock with clear acrylic sealer and prepared to add the clock kit.  However, when flipping it upside down to spray some of the hot glue gave way so I decided to add E-6000 to the back to make the clock super sturdy.  I dipped cotton swabs into the E-6000 and dabbed it any spot where coils met.  Let this dry at least 24 hours.

Now it's ready to become a clock!  When buying a clock kit pay attention to the depth on the package.  I already had clock kit for 1/4" thick surfaces so I had to keep that in mind while making the large coil for the face.  Despite my best efforts to keep it 1/4" I had to carve out some of the back to make room for the kit.

Follow the instructions on the clock kit packaging to install the movement and hands.  Stand back and admire your hard work!

The clock looks much smaller on the wall than I thought it would,  but I still love it.  It's a bright punch of color in this drab rental. 

In our next house maybe I will find a place more to scale with the clock....for now it serves its purpose!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time Management

I want to do too many things!  I have two little girls that want to play all day, laundry, a dirty/cluttered house, this blog, my Etsy shop, upcoming birthdays and now the weather is nice and I want to start planting.  I know I cannot do it all.......but I try.  Something is always left on the back burner (the Etsy shop, blog, cleaning or mowing usually) while we play in the tent, dig in the dirt, go to the zoo or have to shop for groceries.  Fun with my family should come first! 

So, if you notice several days, weeks or even months have gone by without a blog update just know that I have not been slacking.  I am probably busy making dinosaur tails and planning Alice's first birthday party even though I need to make/photograph/list new items in my shop and write/post half a dozen tutorials on this blog.....the fun stuff comes first!

Dinosaur Tail Tutorial by Running With Scissors

Owl Applique Pattern by Ruthie Pearl

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Dresses from Repurposed Dress Shirts!

I love this idea although I cannot take credit for it.  Pinterest is buzzing with clothing for babies and toddlers made from repurposed adult clothing.  My inspiration for my girls' Easter dresses came from Made By Lex (blue stripes from my shirt) and MADE (yellow from my husband's shirt) and the flower embellishment instructions came from How Joyful.  I am so proud of how these turned out....I do not consider myself to be a good sewer and my sewing machine drives me crazy....but I did it! 

It was chilly and windy Easter morning but I had to take a few outdoor pictures of the girls in their dresses!  They were good sports.

I now have a stash of unwanted clothing to turn into adorable little outfits for my girls....I'm officially addicted to sewing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weeks 6 & 7 - 40 Bags in 40 Days

Happy Easter!  See these cute little dresses my girls are wearing?  I made them!  I never thought I would be patient, careful or precise enough to successfully sew garments but I did it!  These dresses and two nightgowns I forgot to take pictures of have kept me completely distracted the past two weeks.  That means I have been slacking on 40 Bags in 40 Days and am still trying to catch up. 

Remember in Week 2 when I showed pics of our old desktop computer, cluttered desk and old file cabinet and said that I wanted to get rid of it all?  Well, it's all still here but I got the hubby to go through the file cabinet and agree to donate the computer.  He got rid of tons of old documents!  We still need to clear the desk off and organize the few documents he decided to keep but most of the goal was finally accomplished.

Empty and ready for a new home!  And 2 bags of paper to be recycled!

Of course most of the paper from the cabinet needs to be shredded.  I managed to work through 1 bag but still have another bag to go.

I also got the hubby to go through his clothes!

Not pictured, I also gathered up more dust collectors and random junk and filled a box to donate.  I finally went through my stash of cans, jars and cardboard tubes and got rid of enough to fill a diaper box and recycle (did not get a pick before recycling!).

The grand total for weeks 6 & 7 is:
1 file cabinet
1 desktop computer
2 bags of paper
2 bags of shredded paper
2 bags of clothes
2 boxes (1 donated, 1 recycled)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recycling Bin Raid: Easter Crafts

Pinterest is hopping with Easter crafting ideas.  Many involve plastic eggs, styrofoam eggs and unnatural dyes.  You know how I feel about all the junk people buy each year for holidays, throw away when it's over and then buy again the next year from my Be Green This Easter post last year.  Avoid all of this unnecessary expense and waste, raid your recycling bin and create green gifts, decorations and fun!

I love these Easter egg carton chicks by Jeromina Juan at paper, plate, and plane.  They are so cute and very simple to make.

Another use for egg cartons is this colorful wreath from Homemade Serenity.  This could stay out well past Easter and enjoyed the rest of spring.

Garlands (or bunting) are especially popular these days.  This Upcycled Easter Egg Bunting from Anne Weil at flax & twine is made from recycled cereal boxes, fabric and trim scraps and a sewing machine.  What a lovely alternative to the plastic egg garlands I've seen lately.

Let's not forget my Repurposed Milk Jug Easter Baskets tutorial from last year!

Since I mentioned unnatural dyes in my rant above I thought I should include information about using natural dyes.  Two Men and a Little Farm has a great chart with the ingredients needed to make eleven different natural dyes for eggs.  I cannot wait to try some of these colors!