Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Costume!

My sister-in-law's daughter is being Gabriella from "High School Musical". I think it's the third movie because she's going as Gabriella from the prom. The dress she bought for her was a little flat, she told me. So I was commissioned to figure out a solution (I love a challenge). Easy-made tutu, here I come!

I saw this LINK from Crystal's Craft Spot and couldn't wait to try it. I could not believe how easy it was!

Oh! And the dollar store, I was thrilled to find out, sold 8-yard spools of tulle! I went through about eight of them. With a few stitches from he sewing machine I had my base.

I soon had visitors when making the tutu; the cats would not leave me alone!

Here's the finished product, including those curious little ones.

As the tutorial says, I need to flatten it out. It's in the bathroom right now, awaiting a long shower.

I'll post pictures of my niece after Saturday. I totally want to make one for me, but I don't think it'll go with my current costume idea.

Stone Candlestick Holders

I love the look the stone spray paint offers. LOVE IT! My husband now gets mad when I use it because he enjoys it so much, he thinks it's his to use. But I used it anyway.

On my trip to the dollar store this week, I bought regular glass candlestick holders.

I don't think I would have looked twice at them, but I began scouring the store for stuff to use the spray paint on because I still had a lot of it. When I came across these, I knew they'd be perfect.

And, in my humble opinion, I believe I was right.

The candles are actually red, but spray painted black so when they burn, they'll have a bleeding effect. Oh, I can't wait until Saturday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christmas Decorations for Halloween

Last week when I went to the dollar store, they were still stockpiled with Halloween goodies. When I went this week, however, Christmas had arrived, leaving only a few sad shelves of paper plates with pumpkins and ghosts on them.

Ha! Like that would stop me!

Found some cute birds that would go on a Christmas tree.

Sorry, but birds do not represent Christmas to me. They are dirty creatures. Dirty, I tell you! And, one of them stole my bagel once while I was walking down the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Flew right by my head to do so. OK, maybe not any bird that looks like the ones pictured...but my dislike for any member of the bagel snatcher's species are not nice!

See? Even Beth and Buster know of their evil!

Anyway, I'm on a spray painting kick lately. So, what did I do? I brought the evil out in these birds!

Even the feathered tail looked even more evil with the weird spray paint effect.

I used some magenta nail polish on their eyes to really bring out the evil and my chandelier is now evil-ized!

Oh, my Halloween dining room is really turning out to be great!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh! I Keep Forgetting!

I ran out of spray paint, but I finished one of the end tables I bought a few weeks ago. And I love it. I'll love it even more when its mate is done.

I almost hate to admit it, but at the same time I have a love/hate relationship with her. The paper is from a Martha Stewart collection I found on clearance at Wal-Mart.

You can see a little hint of it in the staging of my photography project.

Oh, and I absolutely love those specialty scissors!

We Interrupt Your Normally Scheduled Blog Post...

So mad about "Project Runway" right now. Nicolas was one of my favorites! He reminded me of one of my friends from college, and I would text him telling him the status of his "gay doppleganger" whenever he did well. Now, I had to text him tonight with the sad news. He, of course, did not care.

OK, not to vent my sadness over PR through this whole post, so I'll talk a little about what I attempted tonight.

I had the ambition tonight to drag one box of winter clothes down and go through them all.

Well, since I rarely throw anything out, I found six things I still want (four of which still fit well, but I always lose weight in the winter, so I'm not concerned). Then, there were two much bigger piles of clothes I didn't like any more and clothes I bought when I was about 50 lbs. lighter.

I don't miss those days: I was the typical broke college student and lived on Diet Coke, Caesar Salads and Ephedra (well, I do miss the Ephedra, I'll admit). But, hey, I graduated college, got a full-time job, started eating full-time again, not to mention I married into an Italian family where the carbs are as plentiful as the love.

(Ooh, look at those hips! Any other woman would probably crop this photo. Me? Nah! I love it! I think those are what some would call "birthin' hips"! Bring it on!)

But, this does leave me with the dilemma of "What the hell can I do with blouses that are too small?" Really, I wanted to figure out a project I could do to repurpose them into clothes I could wear again...that didn't end up looking like a patchwork quilt of random fabrics.

So...after watching a very unfortunate episode of "Project Runway", I still had no ideas. Er, actually, I still have no ideas, I should say. Oh sure, I could make pillows, bags, curtains, table runners, stuff for the house. But these are MY clothes. I want to make something for ME! (Yeah, I'm having an only child moment right now.)

Oh well. If any of my three readers have any ideas, let me know!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Point and Shoot. I Can Do That!

I consider myself a less-than-amateur photographer. At the same time, I consider myself a professional picture taker. I took one photography class in high school and I don't really remember a lot from it, other than the smell of the darkroom chemicals, which I came to appreciate. But when I do take photos, I'll catch them at an awkward angle, or I'll haphazardly find some good uses of light. Most of these accidents occur when I'm trying to balance a drink in one hand, and take the picture with the other.

I decided to stage some fun shots around an old book of poetry, including Poe's "The Raven", I found at the library, and spice them up for Halloween.

The wine with the funky label I happened to find the week before. And I used the leftover fabric from Lenny's cape as a backdrop.

After taking the pictures, I cropped and edited them with the photo software on the Costco Web site, where I then ordered the prints.

Here's what the full staging area looks like. Scotch tape holding the fabric up, and a corner of it tied to a chair. Oh, how classy.

I used scrapbooking scissors to cut the edges of some scrapbooking paper and black mat, then some spray adhesive to get the layered look.

I found some tea light holders at Ocean State Job Lot for $1 each. They used to have stained glass decorations on the back, but most of them had been stolen. It was a perfect holder for the pictures, especially since I knew I would be using battery-operated tea lights, so there would be no fear of fire.

(Ahh, look at that crafting mess all over my dining room. That only means one thing: It was a successful craft weekend.)

At Least I Didn't Put It On a Box of Wine...

I saved this empty jug for a few months, not knowing why I didn't have the heart to throw it away. There's something about empty bottles that makes them difficult to part with.

Finally, I found a way to add it to my Halloween decor.

Found the stickers at the dollar store, which was much better than the $7 A.C. Moore wanted to Martha Stewart wine stickers.

After cleaning the label off (found out eye make-up remover works well for that), I stuck it on and added it to my Sideboard O' Halloween.

Throwing Our Coats on the Furniture is Getting Boring

I received these coat hooks from Lenny's Nana last year and they just sat in my hall closet, feeling sad and lonely. Our coats were usually flung on the chair facing the front door.

After a few coats of spray paint...

And some Mod Podge and Paper...

Can't wait to hang them up!

When the husband saw them last night, he said "Oh! These came out so nice! I love squares!"

Oh dear...

He loves squares, and I love circles. Should I be worried? Are we incompatible?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spooky Sale at Jo-Ann's!

It's been difficult, but I've been curbing my Jo-Ann's cravings because I knew there would be a fantastic sale beginning today. So, just a heads up to some of the offers: $.99 All McCall's Patterns, 60-percent off Blizzard Fleece prints and solids and Snuggle Flannel prints and Cozy Flannel solids, 40-percent off papercrafting supplies (of course, it excludes Cricut and Yudu machines and cartridges), BOGO Thread and that's just a little sample of the sale!

So, what am I doing here? Off to Jo-Ann's!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mod Podged Pumpkin

Absolutely not my idea at all, I will say that. I've seen it on a few blogs this season. But I did want to show the process here because, damn was it simple!

I found the small pumpkin at Joann's for about $3. All of their Halloween stuff is 50-percent off! Woo!

I have a confession: I hate the color orange. I don't know why, but I've never gotten a feel for it. It just always looks tacky. Oh, I don't mind the little bit here and there, but the color itself just turns me off completely. So I was glad to have a way to cover it, but still make it holiday appropriate.

I spray painted the stem with some light blue, but it didn't really want to take, so I gave up.

Using one piece of scrapbook paper cut into strips of varying lengths and widths, the Mod Podging commenced!
Tip: I found it easier to wet the strips with water before Mod Podging the backs. Also, I spread a layer of Mod Podge on the pumpkin for extra hold.

(And, that would be Miss Beth investigating.)

After covering all the (evil) orange with the paper, I added a few more coats of Mod Podge.

The nice thing is, I've used the same paper in my dining room as a mat for pictures, so I was very happy to have some dining room decor.

(See previous post to see the finished product.)

UPDATE: I used some silver ribbon and hot glue to finish off the badly-painted stem.

Pottery Barn, eat my Mod Podge!

I can't rationalize spending the amount of money Pottery Barn would like me to. Maybe it's jealousy. Maybe it's the pretentious reputation the store has. Maybe it's the episode of "Friends" in which Phoebe hates Pottery Barn. But I've never been a fan. Sure, I'll look at the catalog, but in my mind, I'm constantly saying "I could make that!" for some of their items, especially decor.

Last week, Apartment Therapy was looking for freelance writers from my area and its application included a sample column. So, I had the idea to do a weekly column taking accessories from stores I believed were charging too much, and writing tutorials on making similar products yourself. Not that it'll pay enough to quit my day job, but it's a nice project it's a great project.

Anyway, here's the "inspiration" (I use quotes because I still can't help rolling my eyes at Pottery Barn):

Oh, OK, and here's the link, if you really want it.

Originally, when I wrote the sample column, it was listed as $24. I'm a little disheartened to see it's been reduced to $16. But, it's still more than I paid!

Here's the bulk of the column (wow, I feel awkward stealing my own writing, for some reason):

Wooden Tray: $7 ($4.20 with coupon for 40% off at
Skull Cutout: $2.99 ($1.79 with sale on all Halloween supplies at Joann's)
Black Gloss Spray Paint: On hand (typically $3-$5)
Silver Metallic Spray Paint: On hand (typically $3-$5)
Mod Podge—Gloss Finish: On Hand (typically $3-$4)
Foam Brush: On hand ($.50 for two)

First, coat the tray with the black spray paint. I didn't like the idea of the silver on the outside, but with some painters' tape, you could create the look of the PB version.

Next, cut the wire holding the mandible (thank you, high school anatomy!) onto the skull, and paint each piece separately with the silver spray paint.
Tip: Do a few coats of light and quick sprays instead of a few heavy coats. This gives the finished look more of an even tone and the layers dry quickly.

Use Mod Podge to adhere skull to tray. After the glue has set, give the entire tray a few coats of Mod Podge to seal it. If you'd like more of a durable finish, spray the Mod Podged tray with acrylic sealer a couple times.

My cost: $7.99
Cost without coupons, supplies on hand and maximum prices: $24.49. Yes, it would be $.49 more, but you'd have leftover Mod Podge, black spray paint, metallic spray paint and a foam brush, which could all be used for other projects around the house.

Am I A Bad Wife?

My husband is in the National Guard and, once a month, he goes away for drill for the weekend. I used to dread those empty bed, no one to come home to, big home projects I don't feel right doing myself. Somehow that's changed in the past few months. Now, I look forward to them. I can craft all weekend and have the house to myself to completely destroy with craft supplies taking up every room, if I want, without him hemming and hawing about stepping on a stray sewing pin or the smell of Mod Podge (I think I've OD'd on the stuff because I don't smell it anymore).

So, this month, he has to be there for five days! FIVE WHOLE DAYS! Don't get me wrong, I'll still miss him terribly, but at least I can keep myself entertained. He left this morning and I went back to bed, sprawling out in starfish mode just because I could. When I woke up, I grabbed the laptop and actually brought it into the bedroom with me. This is another thing I can't do when he's home because I've been told my typing can be awfully loud and has been compared to machine-gun typing. So now, I'm "shooting" away, with two cats jumping over one another on the empty side of the bed. I'm about to begin a list of crafts to accomplish. If it weren't the weekend between pay-weeks, I would be in heaven!

The list:
Work on the two stools/end tables.
Possibly make a table runner for dining room table.
Start on coat hooks for hallway.
Put up curtain rods in kitchen and move curtains to other windows.
Figure out Halloween costume. (Eek! Two weeks left!)
Visit mom and get Halloween decorations she's throwing away.
Scrape walls in bathroom to get ready for painting.
Vacuum. (I know, it's not very crafty, but I don't remember the last time I vacuumed, so that's not a good thing.)

That looks good for now. I don't want to get too overwhelmed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homemade Halloween Costume

Ever since my mom made my Halloween costumes, I've always wanted to be able to make them. Usually, I don't think of a good costume until a week before Halloween so I don't have time to make one for myself.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when my husband asked me to make him a cape for school. He's a teacher and decided to go as a Math-a-Magician. Get it? Get it? ... It may be only a joke his wife and third graders would appreciate.

So, we went to Joann's. Could you imagine how excited I was that my husband was going to fund my Joann's habit? At least this one time...

Then he picked out stretch velvet for material. I love him, I really do. It's the fabric I ended up hating because I had to line it with fabric without any give.

And, of course, Beth had to investigate.

Really, I just cut a rectangle with a tapered bottom, lined it with cheap prom dress fabric (it was on sale, and, coincidentally, looked like what I wore to my junior prom). Then turned the top over twice and sewed it across to run a ribbon through it to tie around his neck.

Then I used double-sided fusing web to make the numbers by sticking it to remnants of fabric, cutting out the shapes and ironing them on. Oh, another thing I learned about the evil stretch velvet: lowest setting only! Christ, it nearly ruined the bottom of my iron when parts of it first melted.

When the cape was done, I took a few pictures of my husband "flying" around the living room. Unfortunately, he deleted said pictures, so I'll have to get him to pose with the cape tonight...(he's reading over my shoulder as I type, so I'm trying to hint...)

Apparently that didn't work.

But here's the finished product.

And, in my twisted mind, when Buster started playing with it, I imagined his disappointment when he realized he couldn't do math.