DIY Vertical Layer Cake

Vertical-cake

Inspired by I Am Baker, I decided to try her tutorial for a vertically layered cake. Her site is full of great ideas and the tutorials are super easy to follow. I’m not much of a baker but found her tips super helpful. She recommends freezing your cakes before working with them. I made my cakes from a gluten-free cake mix, and there’s no way I could have man-handled them if I hadn’t frozen them. Another tip she gave was to use a simply syrup to hold layers together in order to avoid icing seems between layers. I made my simple syrup with honey and water, my preferred sweetener of choice.

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I ended up with a checkered cake because you either end up with two separate cakes or you can just add the two layers. Although there’s kits to make such cakes, I loved that I could just grab some round bowls and plates, set them on my cake layers, and take a sharp carving knife around the bowl to cut my vertical rings.

Be sure to check out her blog for other creative ideas!

Jenny

Handmade Halloween Treats

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I decided at the last second that I didn’t want to give out just candy to my loved little ones for Halloween, and took on the challenge of crafting some handmade gifts over night. I decided I couldn’t mess up too much on plush monsters so I headed to Joann’s for some fuzzy fabric.

I drew a monster shape on piece of paper as a pattern. I cut two pieces of plush fabric and found some felt for the eyes. Two oblong circles in each black and white did the trick. The best part is that the messier, the better with these monsters. Before sewing the two main pieces of fabric together, I ironed my felt shapes to the monster using fusing web. Next, I recalled some embroidering stiches from my grandmother’s lessons and used them to add some quick details. I think these monsters look better with fewer embroidered details, but do think the tiny knot that adds a gleam to the eyeballs adds a lot.

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Once finishing the embroidery details, I sewed my monster, right sides facing together, leaving a 3-inch opening on one side. I stuffed with polyfill and a few tablespoons of lavendar I had leftover from my flax seed pillows. I handstiched the side closed and wallah, Halloween monsters for the little ones!

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We wanted to get something special for the boys across the street. So besides their favorite candy and pop, I also bought dollar stocking caps from Walmart and embellished them by hand. I created a design on my computer, then transfered the pattern to a plastic sheet. I cut out the shapes from the plastic sheet, leaving me with a stencil. Next, I watered down some white acrylic paint and used a foam brush to roughly paint directly on the cap (don’t forget a piece of cardboard to keep the paint from soaking through!). It took about 30 minutes to dry (faster with the help of my hair dryer, as recommended on the bottle to set the paint). I cut shapes out of white felt that already had fusing on the back, peeled off the paper backing, and hand-stiched some details. Then I ironed the patch to the hat on top of the painted graphic, giving it a screen-printed feel straight from the ads.

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My nephew Beau went as a pea pod.

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He lit up when he saw his monster, then spent the next five minutes trying to eat it.

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My niece Annabelle looked very sweet this year in a butterfly/fairy costume.

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Jenny

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Tutorial: How to Recover Kid’s Table and Chair Set

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Make some of the tackiest kids items match your home.

Someone gave me a kid’s table and chair set for free. I knew my nieces and nephews would enjoy it, but the gaudy bright colors make me want to gag. So I decided to give the set a makeover. Here’s the before…

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Kids table and chair set before it’s makeover.
 

How to recover a child’s table and chair set Supplies:

• Kids table and chair set
• Damp cloth
• Screwdriver; cups
• 2-4 cans of spray paint
• 1 yard of vinyl table cloth
• Staple gun with 1/4″ staples or shorter

Instructions:

1. Remove all stickers and band-aids the kids might have placed on the table. Use a razor and goo-be-gone.

2. Wipe down cushions and metal parts with damp cloth.

3. Using a screwdriver, remove all screws in chairs. Keep your screws organized using little marked cups. This set had three different styles of screws.

4. Once you get all the chair back and seats removed, remove the screws holding down the table top. If any screws are too tight, try applying a little WD-40.

5. Now that all the upholstered parts are removed from the set, give it another wipe down if needed.

6. Next, it’s time to spray paint! I always lay down a cardboard box in the backyard far from the house. I set up the chairs in a row and balanced the table legs and top against them, moving them between coats to get all the surfaces covered.

7. Choose a spray paint that’s made for metal and that coordinates with the new vinyl you choose. I chose copper, and it took a little more than three cans! Darker colors, like black, would probably take less. I also bought the little plastic handle that saves your hand from cramps! Totally worth the $3.

8. Begin you first coat by keeping it light around 12 inches away. Light, multiple coats keeps the paint from dripping. It took me about four coats to get every crevice. Wait 15-30 minutes in between coats, or follow the directions on the can. When turning the chairs over to spray the undersides, wait a full hour in between to avoid smudging the paint.

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Spray paint the metal table and chairs.

9. In between coats, begin working on reupholstering the cushions. You can buy vinyl tablecloth at most fabric stores. I finished my set using only a yard! I used this khaki vinyl from my fabric stash that I’ve had for several years, but it would be fun to pick a print that matches your home. You can find pretty oilcloth online or recycle a vinyl tablecloth from your existing collection. Also, Kmart has a Country Living line right now that includes vinyl table clothes with vintage, floral patterns.

10. Start by laying out the cushions on top of your fabric. Cut out each piece,  leaving at least 3″ of fabric on each side of each cushion.

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Layout the cushions before cutting your cloth.

11. Load your staple gun with 1/4″ staples or shorter. I shopped around but couldn’t find anything shorter in my small town.

12. Work on a seat cushion first – the small rectangular size makes it the easiest piece. Start by stapling all four sides down to the bottom of the cushion, pulling tight each side before stapling while keeping the cushion centered in your cut fabric. Placing one staple in each side helps keep your fabric in place while finishing the cushion. Be sure to staple 1″ away from edge. Otherwise, your staples will show. Before working further, check to see if you can feel any staples showing through by applying pressure from the top of the cushion. If so, you will need to purchase shorter staples.

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Staple the vinyl tablecloth to the bottom of the cushion.

13. Now, work your way towards the corners, pulling the fabric tight every time before stapling. I spaced my staples about 1/4″ apart on the straight edges, and end-to-end on curves. Once you get to the corners, make tiny pleats before each staple to evenly distribute the folds. Once a cushion is finished, trim any access fabric and cut around any hardware. Finish all four seat cushions.

14. Next, cover the seat backs. Mine had a funny shape. A few tips would be to cut a little more extra fabric just in case you get going crooked, and to always pull the fabric super tight before stapling. Start with placing a staple along each side of your straight edges, saving the harder curves for last. Finish the same way as the seat cushions.

15. Lastly, cover the table top. Although it should be easy to manage a large square, I found it the hardest to get the fabric tight. Pull the fabric tight before each staple and approach the same way as above, cutting around hardware afterward. All your cushions are complete!

16. Wait at least 24 hours after your last coat of spray paint before reassembling your set. Screw each piece back together. My tips would be to slightly tighten every screw on the seat cushions before tightening all the way. The table top may require bending as needed using a pair of needle-noise pliers. Try not to scratch your new paint!

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The finished set looks much nicer around the home!

If you use this tutorial, share your renewed table here in the comments once you finish!

Jenny

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