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!

Embellished_caps

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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You’ll Never Believe What We’ve Been Up To…Home Projects Marathon

Sometimes you need a deadline to get things done. Since we were hosting our first family gathering in our new home, that gave us incentive to get some serious projects done! Here’s some of the things we did:

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We BUILT a dining table. Yes, we built it from scratch, by hand! We have been eyeballing the farmhouse table from Knock-off Wood for months. Love this site–we actually combined two of her plans to get the exact look we wanted. For around $100 in supplies and 15-20 hours of work this week, we have a table that seats 12. I plan on collecting mismatched old chairs and staining the table a dark shade.

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We hung an antique old window . See it hanging on the wall above my dad? I found it in my grandpa’s old barn. I love it! For now, I just added multi-color scrapbook paper but I have so many more plans for it. I might cut out some letters and spell something, add photos, change the paper with the holidays, hang a wreath on top of it, hang a shelf below it to display decor, or add hooks on the front to display some things. We hung it using a hook and eye system, but we used anchors in studs because it weighs about 30 lbs. So far, so good.

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We displayed an old door. I found this in the barn too (I have about 20 more doors and windows in our shed, just waiting to displayed!!) I just propped this door in the corner–I love how our interior brick compliments it and vice versa! I had a sage wreath that I received live last Christmas and dried. Then I found this antique luggage wrack while antiquing in Nashville for $12! Planned on painting it but like the bright green for now. It holds a basket of our blankets.

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My hubby built a new kitchen island. We installed a dishwasher in the island, requiring a new one. My hubby built-in a bookshelf that you see when you walk in our front door. We added beadboard and painted it black! We’re still arguing on weather to add wood brackets underneath the countertop. I also distressed it then added stain to give it an aged look.

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We created a wall of mirrors.I had a lot of mirrors and no great spot to put them so I painted them all white and put them at our entrance with a few “E”s. We’re building a console table to put here as well in the front hallway, using more plans from Knock-off Wood but using an old barn door as the tabletop.

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I hung photo frames from an old ladder. I found the matching photo frames at a garage sale and I bought the ladder from an antique store. I have to admit that this project did not come out as I planned, but it isn’t bad! I meant to order smaller photos and have a colored scrapbook paper background to give it color. And I meant to center it from each rung. But I was over it–it is what it is! It features photos I’ve taken of my nieces and nephews in black and white prints.

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Cyrus. Look at those crystal eyes.
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Lachlan. Never have to tell her how to pose–she is a natural model!
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Annabelle. This photo series is beautiful!
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Annabelle and Beau. How dreamy…
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Beau. Yes, we really did place live chicks in a basket with a newborn!
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Everyone fit into one room…I love it!

Most importantly, we fit all of our family into one room! Our new home has been a blessing–God gave us every little factor we asked for, like large rooms that fit groups of people.

Did I mentioned that besides cleaning and cooking, that we all finished decorating our whole house, had our carpets cleaned, re-arranged the furniture, and landscaped?!?

Next on our list: stain the dining table, build console tables, make curtains for the living room, make outdoor pillows, and winterize our landscaping. But after a week off!

Poll

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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How to Make Felt Banner Garlands for the Holidays

Felt Circle Garland Banner Tutorial

I spent the afternoon crafting felt banner garlands for our Etsy store. They are so fun! I’d like to make a few for each season. But today’s were for Thanksgiving, as I had a custom order for a gal who wanted to hang hers above the children’s table at her Thanksgiving meal. I’ve also thought of making one to hang above my computer monitor at work or as gifts–the possibilities are endless! Making a felt garland is super easy and is a great way to use up scrap fabrics.

Here’s what you need:

  • Felt: I buy mine by the yard off a bolt. I keep a natural color and heather gray on hand.
  • Fabric: Pick three to five colors that go well together. Or, use up some of your scrap pieces.
  • Double-sided fusible interfacing: I use Pellon. Anything that will let you fuse two pieces of fabric together without sewing works well.
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Font/Typeface: If you aren’t comfortable free-handing your letters, consider pulling up a favorite font and typing your chosen word. I’m able to freehand just fine when staring at a typeface in front of me, but otherwise you can print the letters in reverse, cut them out, and trace them.

Each letter will include three layers of felt/fabric. Start by choosing a word. I recommend keeping it short for the first project! Maybe 3-6 letters long. I gave some tips above for helping you draw the letters, so if you chose one of those methods then be sure to have that part ready to go. Also, consider the final length–do you have a specific spot in your house in mind? If so, keep that measurement in consideration. Next choose your fabrics – this is the fun part! Make sure they serve as a good background to the felt color you chose. Once you have all these decisions made and materials gathered, then heat up your iron because you’re ready to begin!

How to make felt garland fabric banners

Materials for Felt Garland Banners

How to assemble the garland:

Cut out the felt circles. These will be the biggest and will go on the bottom layer. I usually grab something circle in shape around me, trace it, and cut a couple layers of felt out at a time. Mine are normally 3″ to 3.5″, depending on big I’d like the final garland to be. The circles don’t have to be perfect, as oblong shapes can add to the handmade charm. I find it easier to cut out the circles using scissors.

Iron on the fusible interfacing. You will need to fuse interfacing to the patterned fabric and to the letters. But, you’ll want to do this before you cut out any shapes or letters.

For the patterned fabric: Allow enough patterned fabric to cut out circles slightly smaller than your felt circles. I often only cut out one or two circles from each print, so the original pieces I start with are small rectangles, around 4″ x 12″ or so.

For the felt letters: Cut out a large piece of felt, big enough to cut out all of your letters. Make sure you add some extra inches, just in case you need to redo any mistakes when drawing your letters!

Now follow the instructions on the fusible interfacing to apply it on the back of your large pieces of felt and fabric. Be sure to get the exposed adhesive side down on the back of the fabric and leave the paper on to protect your iron!

Cut out circles from your patterned fabric. I make this slightly smaller than the back felt circle, and I normally make these messy. I use the rotary tool to whip these out, making each one a little different. If you want a cleaner look, I’d recommend tracing a circle on to the back papered-adhesive, then cutting them out.

Cut out the letters for your word. This is the most challenging part of the fabric, but mine have gotten so much better with each garland. Read tips in the list of materials. The most important thing to remember is to cut and draw them to read properly from the front of the felt, not on the backside that has the interfacing paper! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drawn beautiful letters on the back on the interfacing paper, cut it out, then realized it read in reverse. Sometimes I make the letters on the taller side so that it hangs off the patterned fabric a bit, but be sure to keep it smaller than the bottom circle of felt.

Fuse the pieces together. Now that everything is cut out, you can assemble the pieces. Peel the protective paper off of the fusible interfacing, then layer the bottom felt circle, the patterned circle, and the letter on top of each other. You can iron all three layers at once. Once they’re cool to touch, I pick at the layers to make sure I didn’t miss a spot with the iron. Thank God for fusible interfacing, because I don’t like sewing!

Make slits on each letter circle. In order to feed the twine/ribbon through each piece, I make tiny slits on each side of the letter circle using the rotary cutter. Don’t make the slits too big or else your knots will pull through. Also, don’t put it so close to the edge that it could easily tear if yanked upon. Be sure to make the slit on the top third of the circle to keep your garland from flip flopping. Sometimes, I line the letter circles up on my cutting mat, lay down a metal ruler, then make all my cuts in order to make sure they’re consistent. But more often than not, I’m comfortable eyeballing it. Whichever works for you! I’m sure there’s a fancier way of making holes for the ribbon/twine, maybe with grommets, but this method looks fine to me.

Cut your twine/ribbon. I fancy twine, but either will work. I assemble my garlands in two different way: by cutting individual short pieces, and knotting them to keep from slipping through the holes or by using one long strand and slipping each letter circle onto one strand. Regardless, I will loop the ends and knot the twine as a way to hang it. When using one long strand, I will wrap masking tape around the end of my twine to make it easier to feed through the tiny slits. I think they look best with little room between the letter circles, but play around first before finishing your garland. Assemble the garland and then you’re finished!

If you want yours to be fancier, you could embellish the pieces between stages with embroidery, sequences, beads, buttons, etc. You could also use an icon on one of the circles. For example, one time I did a tree in replacement of a “Y”. Please be sure to post a photo of your garland in the comments below so that we can see how you approached this versatile project! Happy Crafting!

Jenny