Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rockin' the Rainbow

Today was a productive day. I got up and watched Project Runway, made cinnamon rolls, put the kids in the bath tub, washed a load of dishes, threw in a load of laundry, and then it was costume time. Trick-or-Treat isn't until Monday in our neighborhood, but today was my son's Fall Festival at his school, and in addition to games, cotton candy, nachos, and prizes, this party featured a costume contest.

Usually I spend a lot of time working on costumes for the kids, but this year I haven't had the time to spend, so we just threw some costumes together from what we had on hand. (Don't feel sorry for my poor kids who didn't even get to pick out new costumes for Halloween, our costume collection is extensive. I promise you, they are not deprived.)

The girls were "pincesses," and Eli was Captain Jack Sparrow's dead brother, although the teachers at school though he was a dead ringer for Paul Revere with his tricorn hat and colonial jacket. And while the kids were super cute (Eli even won the costume contest), I'm not writing this post to brag on how super awesome my kids are (although I think they're pretty great). And I'm not bragging on my costume-making skills either. No sirree, I really just wanted to share what I consider my biggest accomplishment of the day: putting on my fake eyelashes straight. Don't laugh, this is a big thing for me.

I don't know if you've ever tried to wear fake eyelashes, but I have, many times, only to give up in frustration after I get them on crooked and readjust them so many times they no longer want to stick. And don't even get me started on my inability to put on eyeliner... But I digress. For a costume lover like myself, my eyelash handicap is just tragic. But not today. Today I got to mark "Wear awesome rainbow-colored and gold sparkle fake eyelashes" off my bucket list. (Don't make fun of my bucket list--to each his own, right?)

The girls and I all had brightly painted eye makeup, and Mr. Jack Sparrow's Dead Brother had spooky black and red around his eyes. We were stylin'. In fact, even though I cleaned the grease paint off my kids a couple hours ago, I am STILL rocking my Halloween look. That's right.

What are your Halloween plans? What costume are you most particularly proud of? Share!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

From Kitsch to Kitchen

 Sometimes when I stroll around the store, I find myself meandering over in the direction of the clearance aisle. Most days I sift through the unsold, marked-down items only to find a bunch of junk that no one needs and even fewer want. Occasionally I strike the jackpot. Sometimes it takes a little imagination to see the potential in these things, but hey, that's my specialty.
Summertime luau beach chair inspired candle holder. A little too kitschy for
my taste. This item will never grace the top of my table... but, it's kinda perfect
to go around a table of a different sort.
 I found these candle holders on clearance, marked down to $0.75 each from $2.00. They came in three colors: blue, yellow, and pink. Unfortunately, there weren't four of any given color, so we couldn't buy a matching set. My kid has decided that pink, once his favorite color, is for girls, so we picked up two blue and two yellow. These are the perfect scale for his G.I. Joes. And they just happen to have a table that needs some chairs.
We recently built a chair with a hole in the middle (otherwise known as a toilet)
for the G.I. Joe house, so we didn't need any more holy chairs. No problem--
this is an easy fix. 
 I traced out a pattern for the seat cushion on a piece of paper, cut it out, and then traced four more on cardboard (of course). As you can see, this solves the hole problem. At this point, I asked my son if he wanted to cover these in cloth or paint them. He chose paint, but the fabric would have been pretty simple as well.

Ta-da! Presto chango, from floral toilet to garden party chair.

Eli chose red for the seat cushions. Not the color I would
have chosen, but it's his G.I. Joe house, so whatever color
pleases him is okay with me. I think he was concerned with
choosing a color that would hide blood stains....
 This is the part that I let my son take care of. Although I don't quite trust him with sharp scissors yet, there's not too much he can hurt in my sewing room with the paint brush and red acrylic paint... I mean, what's he going to do, ruin my PINK carpet by painting it a different color? You may as well know, I HATE pink, so a few splashes of red might be an improvement.
Well, whaddaya know... the red seats match the red "mosaic tiles" on the top
of the table perfectly!
Barbie seems pretty comfortable in these flowery chairs. Not sure how "manly" they are, but they are sturdy and a proper fit, and maybe now that the Joes have some dining furniture, Barbie will visit more often. And hopefully if an epic battle breaks out around the dinner table, as these things do, no bloodstains will show up on the seat cushions. After all, this furniture belongs to a bunch of men, what do you want to bet non of them carry around Tide To-Go?


So, in typical Cardboard Crafter fashion, I squirted out WAAAAYYYY too much red acrylic paint into my "palette" (read: egg carton). No problem--no reason to let that paint go to waste. I had a grouping of canvases that I had haphazardly painted a few years ago to add some color to my chalk-white apartment walls. Well, these paintings achieved the minimum desired result: they added some color to the walls. They weren't great paintings. They weren't even that good.

So I set these out on the floor in front of my 5-year old and told him to have at it. Along the way, I added a few more colors to his palette: gold, yellow, green, and more red. I encouraged him to paint the three canvases as if it was just one long picture. I suggested he cover up as much of the original painting as he could. I coached him to mix paints and experiment.

The original painting was a landscape with green water,
a red sky, and glitter gold sun with blue glitter grass. Color,
yes. Good taste? No.
After about 15 or 20 minutes, my kid ran out of paint. He was satisfied with his progress, so we called it done. This is the result:

Afterward I explained the concept of abstract art vs. realism. I'm pretty sure he
tuned me out about halfway through. His main concern was that he had done
a good job and the painting looked better than what Mommy had done. Yes,
kid, ya done good.
My plan is to hang these up in the living room. However, I'm still waiting on the final verdict from my husband on this. (When we moved into the house, we split it up: he got some rooms, I got the rest. We don't work together well, so we just divided it up, and the living room is his.) If it doesn't go in the living room, I might hang it up in the kitchen, which is MY room. We'll see. I'll post pics once they're up. (And if that's the case, then this project ALSO goes from Kitsch to Kitchen :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Better pic of the Witch Hat Cookies

Bride of Frankenstein Bridal Shower

It occurs to me, I got pictures of just about everything except the bride-to-be. Hopefully, she'll forgive me. I can't really take credit for this party, because I'd say at least 75% of it was done by the bride's mother and sister, but as the Shake 'N' Bake girl used to say, "I hay-elped." One of my favorite touches was the witches' hat cookies, a la Rachel. Easy peasy, and high-impact for low cost and time spent. My favorite type of project. Check out the pictures that I did take below:

My witches' hat cookies above.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Emily Henderson's I'm a GIANT Challenge!

If you've followed this blog for very long, you may be aware of my passion for miniatures. I don't know what it is about small things, but the absolutely capture my imagination. I have been planning another dollhouse in my head for a while, one that has a hinge in the middle so that it can close and no longer has an open side. I have cardboard tubes for columns. I have accessories. I have the boxes, because you know I'm going to make this bad boy out of cardboard. I just don't have an official start date... Well, that may be changing soon.

My sister came across this link on stylist Emily Henderson's blog. Apparently, Ms. Henderson shares my passion for the tiny, for she is proposing a dollhouse design challenge, anything goes. She's got a few other bloggers linked up for the challenge, but it is open to everyone. Projects must be completed by December 15. Check it out, it sounds like fun!

So here's my plan: when I get a few other items tied up (I have a couple more things that I need to do for my BFF's wedding and bridal shower), I'm going to go ahead and start on this dollhouse. That should give me about a month before the end of Emily Henderson's challenge to get to work. In the meantime, I will be collecting supplies.

Why don't you join me? I know many of you are crafty, creative people. With Christmas coming up, there will be a lot more items in the stores to use, what with tiny ornaments and little Christmas house accessories lining the shelves. Show me what you've got! You can either do this challenge formally or informally, post pictures on my Facebook page or put a link to your blog post in the comments below. Let's do this together, it will be so much fun :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Table Rounds: Check!!!

A few weeks ago I posted a preview of my crafting plan for the weekend. It was my intention to spend the three day weekend I had ahead of me being very productive, starting with sewing some table rounds for my best friend's upcoming wedding. Fate intervened, however, and I was unable to work on the project when I had intended. Serves me right for making plans, huh?

Anyhow, I finally did it. It took me about a month, but I can finally check this off the To-Do list. And the bride-to-be can check it off her list too. Here's how I did it:

For uniformity, I decided to make a cardboard pattern to trace around. I
used a piece of yarn, a large needle, and a marker to make the circle, measuring
in 10 inches from the side and up 10 inches from the bottom to find the
middle of my 20 inch circle. 

I tied the string around the marker and anchored it in the center with the needle,
making a makeshift compass with which to draw the circle.


I couldn't find my box-cutters, so I used these Fiskars shears to cut the
cardboard pattern out.

Here's the fabric. I believe she ordered it from As I recall, it was
7 yards by 54 inches, or something like that. I did the math months ago when
we first discussed this project.

I traced around the cardboard circle with a non-permanent marker on the
back side of the fabric. I could fit two circles wide on here.

And cut. I cut out 20 of these bad boys. These scissors, which don't have
handles that loop around my fingers, were much more comfortable for cutting
so much fabric. With normal scissors, I would probably have gotten blisters,
but these were no problem to use.

20 fabric circles.

Next step: finishing the edges. I just ran the circles all through the serger.
The table rounds we saw on Etsy had black serged edges, but I used white

This is not the table arrangement my friend will be using, but I thought it was
a nice way to show off my handiwork :) All they need now is a little ironing.
I may have to outsource that job, since I don't currently own an ironing
It feels pretty good to have finally gotten this done. I have had the supplies I needed to complete this project for months, but had been putting it off in favor of other projects. When I finally decided I was going to get this done, I was incapacitated by a terrible headache for what felt like forever. So I consider this a win. What's next on the To-Do list? I'm not telling, I don't want to jinx myself again ;)