Friday Finds : Color Me Copper

I am absolutely loving the color copper right now!  It feels so warm and fancy and looks so good when paired with a light pink or soft teal.  You can even get an industrial feel with a touch of class by mixing copper with concrete. Christmas is coming up sooner than you know and I have been combing the internet for cool and unique ideas for gifts.  Below are a few of my favorite copper accented items with something for everyone.  Did I mention that all of them are under $50?

 

  1. Copper Decanter Set : $37
  2. Copper Plated Storage bowl Set : $30
  3. Concrete Mini Jewelry Box : $18
  4. Wall and Desk Planters : $20
  5. Hexagon Wall Print : $14
  6. Stacked Resin Rings : $25
  7. Checkmate Bookends : $64
  8. Layered Vintage Necklace : $17
  9. Concrete and Copper Clock : $50
  10. Geometric Pillow : $34

Melted Crayon Halloween Art

My kid is only a mere 2 year old but already has a fondness for all things Halloween.  The kid currently sleeps with a small skeleton and one of those candy bowls with a hand in it next to his bed.  I don’t know where he gets it, neither of us parents particularly like scary things.  The scariest movie we own is Pirates of the Caribbean.  Oddly enough our little guy would rather watch the skeleton pirate parts of the movie on repeat than Finding Dory because Dory is “too scary”.  Nothing in the world of a toddler makes sense.

One thing I can get behind is Halloween crafts.  Halloween kicks off a great season of what I like to call crafting holidays.  I guess being stuck inside for three months makes people creative? Either way, I have no problem making all of the ghosts, spiders and pumpkins little man requests if it involves me being able to break out the glue gun.

This project is one of my go to projects when I can’t think of anything else to make or we are low on crafting supplies.  It involves very little and can be adapted for just about any holiday or event.  I will warn you ahead of time that if you are working with littler children, you will want to prepare some things ahead of time because everyone knows that a toddler and patience do no go hand in hand.  If you have some older kiddos that can work a pencil sharpener, let them help in the prep!

What you will need:

  • crayons
  • wax paper
  • iron
  • crayon sharpener (you can also use a knife if you don’t have one)
  • 2 dish towel
  • packing tape (optional)
  • construction paper (optional)
  • googly eyes (optional)
  • glue

 

First things first.  Get your iron ready.  I usually keep mine on the setting for cotton since the actual ironing part is done on dishtowels. Next you are going to need to peel all of the paper off of your crayons.  This is a good project for all of those used and broken crayons that tend to accumulate over the years.  Once the paper is off you are going to want to sharpen the crayons to get your wax shavings.  If you don’t have a crayon sharpener you can make shavings with a knife.  Just make sure you are careful and don’t let the kiddos do it.

Usually when doing wax melted project, we just mix the colors all together, but for this project I kept them separate.  I did mix several different shades of the same color together, just to give it a little more pop.  You can always mix more colors together later.

Lay out a dishtowel on a flat and hard surface. Get out two sheets of wax paper and place them on top of each other, keeping in mind how large you want your project to be and taking in to account that the wax will melt and spread a little.  Once you have two sheets on top of each other place them on top of the towel.  You are going to want something under the wax paper so it doesn’t melt to whatever surface you are working on.

Once the sheets are on top of the towel, sprinkle the colors your want on to the paper.  A little wax will go a long way, you don’t have to have the entire area completely covered with shavings.

Once you have your desired and approximate color layout, take two more sheets of wax paper and place them on top of the pile of savings.  The two sheets on both sides help keep the wax from seeping through the paper.

Cover the stack of wax paper with another dish towel and place your iron on top.  Moved the iron around slowly but in small circular motion. In some cases you might need to press down a little when you move the iron to make sure that the color spreads to all of the less covered places.

  Check under the towel every once in a while to see how the melting is going and to see where you still need to move the iron.  Once your crayon shavings are melted remove the iron and set aside the wax to cool off.

Cooling off should only take a few minutes.  At this point you may want to remove the extra layer of wax paper on either side keeping one layer on each side of the melted wax.  It isn’t necessary but sometimes the colors seem more vibrant through one layer of wax paper instead of two.

Next you want to cut out the shapes for your Halloween characters from the melted wax.  I didn’t use any templates,  I kind of free handed and used the shape that it melted into to decide what it would look like.  For the moon I found a bowl that I traced around.  For the monster I decided to leave him as a blob and just cut off the excess paper around the shape that it naturally made.

Next you will want to get out your paper and cut some legs for your spider, a bat for your moon, and a stem for the pumpkin.  Throw on some googly eyes for your ghost, spider, pumpkin, monster and maybe even the moon or the bat if you want.

I wasn’t sure how laminated these would go because of the wax involved.  Some laminating machines use heat, and the wax could also break up if it is bent even slightly.  I chose to do the cheap version of laminating where I cover the whole thing in a layer of packing tape and then cut around it.  It seemed to work out just fine, although it did take a significant amount of time.  I would suggest taping off at least the edges of these since you will be cutting shapes into the wax and the edges will no longer be sealed by the excess wax paper.

In the end, we had several monsters to decorate our little guy’s door for Halloween and he was super excited that he got to help!  The best part is that this project can be adapted into almost anything, I almost turned the green into a witch, but I thought Frankenstein’s monster usually get left out.

Cute and Creepy Halloween Bracelets

Halloween is just around the corner and while most people have been planning their costume for weeks, I have put very little thought into it.  I get way more excited planning what my toddler is going to be.  I’m usually stuck somewhere between wanting to show my Halloween spirit but wanting to wear clothes that won’t leave me freezing, itchy or with some form of face paint on.  I’m also one of those people that once I get dressed in the morning, I’m dressed for the day.  That’s where these cute Halloween bracelets come in.

I wanted something that would be easy, cheap, and good looking.  In my opinion that is basically the holy trinity of any craft project.  These bangles can be made to fit any holiday really and with just a few supplies you could make quite a few of these. I made a few plain ones and then added some embellishments to show that I’m representing the holidays even if it is just the bare minimum.  I would say that this is definitely easier for adults and older children.  It can get repetitive and tedious but it is in no way hard.  And the best part of all is that it is super cheap to make these and they can be any size so feel free to not only deck yourself out but throw some of these bangles on your baby, cat and neighbors (with their permission of course!).

What You Will Need:

  • plastic canvas
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • plastic spider rings
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue

First you will need to cut a strip of plastic canvas in the width that you want for  your bracelet. I cut the strip along the shorter side of the plastic canvas sheet so that I could make more.  It doesn’t matter at this point if it is too long because you will want to overlap it anyway.

Next make sure you cut off any of the little “nubbins” from the plastic canvas.  You want it to be smooth on both sides of the strip.  This is an easy step, but a surprisingly messy one.  Those things will go everywhere and if they get in your carpet the only chance of getting them out is vacuuming.

Now you need to determine the size of your bracelet.  It needs to easily go on to your wrist but also not be so big that it falls right off.  This is where the overlapping happens.  Once you get the size you want, you will need to tie the overlapping parts together.  You will only need to do this in one little spot, just to make sure the size stays like you want it.

The next step is going to require you to make a small ball of yarn that can easily go through the ring you have made for your bracelet.  I originally tried to just wrap the yarn around the strip before I folded it into a bracelet but that did not go so well in the end.

Once you have your mini yarn ball, pick a spot and start wrapping it around the strip. This part is the most annoying and time consuming part.  Weaving through the bracelet hole while trying to keep the yarn close together on the strip takes a little bit of effort.  Once you make it all the way around the bracelet you can either stop or go around again just to give it a little something extra.  I went around three times, but on the third time I wrapped it not as tight and spread it out to give it a little different texture.

Once you have your bracelet wrapped you will need to cut the yarn and glue the end down, preferably on the inside of the bracelet.  I glued it down and then tucked it a little so that it would be more hidden.

Finally add all of the finishing touches!  I just simply took the spider rings and cut the ring part to there was an opening and wrapped it around the bracelet.  If you bracelet is smaller in width, you can cut the spiders from the ring and glue them to it.  For eyes I just glued them on.  I think in hindsight I would have used a different color of yarn so that the spiders would stick out more.  I didn’t want to do the traditional orange and black because I’m honestly not a big a fan of the color.  But a green or even a lighter purple would have looked pretty good too. You could easily add some small plastic snakes or skeleton bones if you could find them.  I even tried wrapping one in “spider webs” but it looked a mess so I didn’t post any pictures.  When you are done, slip your creation on and wear it proudly!

Colorful Toddler Treasure Hunt

Our little guy has always had a flair for letters.  I blame (maybe thank?) PBS and that pesky little show called Word World.  He has even dabbled in writing a few of those letters, although he is only two so its mostly O’s and I’s.  But for some reason his stubborn little personality has zero interest in numbers.  Specifically the number 3.  I don’t know what it is but no matter how hard we try, he refuses to count in order.

Lately I feel like the days have started to be pretty routine and uneventful in our house.  We play the same games over and over.  We color, we play hide and seek, we play sandbox.  I’m ashamed to admit it but I don’t really have my day planned out even a little.  I have decided to come up with a theme for each week, and this week we have been circling around the theme of pirates.  I know it sounds kind of like a silly and limited theme, but just hear me out for a second.  You can learn about boats, counting dubloons, parrots, the ocean, and the classic pirate treasure.  I decided to take that treasure and turn it in to a little game for the little man.

Obviously a treasure hunt is the first thing that comes to mind, but toddlers can’t typically read a treasure map.  I figured that I would have him find this by following clues, except toddlers can’t really read clues either.  But one thing they do understand is pictures!  I decided that we would have a him follow picture clues that were inside number envelopes.  It was super easy to do and could be modified if you don’t have everything to make them exactly like I did.  So lets get started!

What you need:

  • Plain envelopes
  • Felt stick on numbers
  • pictures or clip art of items around your house
  • notecards or cardstock

First thing I did was think of things around that house that were easily recognizable for little FEZ.  I tried find clip art for each item and I wanted them to be as simple as the Googling powers of the internet would allow me to find.

Some examples:

  • refridgerator
  • trash can
  • lamp
  • bed
  • bookshelf
  • oven
  • washer
  • dryer
  • couch

I made sure that I had more than 10 items just in case we wanted to play the game again and wanted something new.  I sized them up and printed them off on just regular paper.  Next, I cut out the “clues and just for extra durability I glued them on to thick cardstock.  This isn’t really a necessary step, but I figured if we wanted to reuse them it couldn’t hurt.

Next up, I simply peeled the backing off of the felt numbers and stuck them to the outside of the envelopes.  I only numbered them 1-10 but you could easily do more.  Obviously felt numbers aren’t a requirement for this project, you could easily write the numbers on the envelopes.  I just happened to have some stick on numbers gathering dust in the craft room and was thrilled that I finally found a use for them!

To play the game you just need to leave the clues in the envelopes.  In the first envelope you will put the picture card with the location of the second envelope. For example, envelope 1 had the picture of the fridge in it.  Envelope number 2 was taped to the side of the fridge.  Inside envelope 2 was a picture of an easel.  Taped to the easel was envelope number 3.  You get the idea.  To start the game you simply give your little one the first envelope.  I helped FEZ out the first few envelopes but once he got the hang of it he was all over the house hunting clues.  The last clue led the little guy to a little “treasure chest” that had a pack of fruit snacks and a cookie.

He immediately wanted to play again, probably because he wanted more cookies, but I would like to think it was because he loved following the numbers.  We did eventually play a few more rounds and he seemed to be content with just finding a cool book to read or a game to play at the end.  Overall I would say that it was success!

 

Busy Book Counting Page

When I was pregnant with my little guy I happened upon one of those mommy sites with a discussion board.  I randomly peeped in on a conversation about must have items for your new addition to the family.  Most items seemed pretty basic and nothing was really different from what I had already been told or search for myself online.  In the middle of all the suggestions for swings that mimic car rides and all terrain strollers for the fitness junkie moms, I came across the idea of a busy book.  She spoke of soft pages of activities like buckles and zippers and velcro shapes all packed into one travel sized book.  It sounded perfect, and especially appealing to our family since we traveled around a lot during our kiddo’s first year to show him off to family. Underneath her comment were an endless amount of other moms chiming in about how this was their favorite purchase and was totally worth it. Excited for the prospect of something new to look at I decided to look into it.  This helpful mom provided a link to her favorite company that makes busy books and much to my surprise these suckers come out to around $300.00!!!!   Ummm…no.  I thought it had to be a mistake and that there was no way a book full of zippers and buttons was that much.

A quick trip over to Etsy and I learned that just one page in a busy book can cost anywhere from 10-36 dollars.  While I agreed that most of these were adorable, they were also mostly felt.  Being the stubborn cheapskate that I am, I decided that I could do it myself.  I looked over the web for some cute ideas and loaded my kid up and set out for the craft store.  I think I ended up spending around 38 dollars on supplies, and I made around 12 pages and even had some leftover stuff.  I actually really enjoyed making them, and I even made two books for babies showers recently.  I even made up my own cover to hold all of the pages in, which I will post later when I get a good pattern up.  For now I will start with the basics.

These are the instructions for the numbers and counting page.  I used sew on buttons, which could be pulled off if you have a rough kiddo so use discretion with what you think your kid can handle, you know them best.  As always, stay close to your child when playing with these pages as they are handmade and might have small parts.

 

What You Need:

I use the same basic starting point for all of my busy book pages.  Most sheets of felt that you will get at the craft store will come in a size that is roughly 9 x 12 in size.  I like to cut my pages to be a 9 x 9 square.  Stiffened felt may come in a much larger sheet, and a lot of times you can get two squares out of one sheet.  The stiff  felt is what you will be sewing on to and the regular felt will just be the backing, regular felt can also be used for both the front and back but I found that it is a lot easier to handle the pages when sewing on to the stiff felt.

First you will need to cut the flaps that will be used for the numbers.  I kind of estimated on the size needed so I don’t have an exact estimate to use, but you will need to cut two rectangles for each flap.  In total you should have 18 rectangles so we can go up to 9.

It helps to take time to arrange the colors and the numbers so that they are set up the way you want.  I had several options of colors for each number and I didn’t want the same color to be right next to each other.

When you have the layout the way you want it sew the numbers to the middle of one rectangle from each of the pairs.  When the number is secure, you can set the number rectangle on top of the matching rectangle and sew them together.

When the number rectangles are all made, line them up on the page how you want them and sew straight across the top of the rectangles to connect them to the page. Under each flap you will want to hand sew the corresponding number of buttons or characters. This part takes forever!  Patience though my friends.

The back of this page will look all a mess because it is where you will tie off everything.  That is where the next step comes in.

            Once the page is complete you can lay the whole thing on top of a regular felt page and sew the two together so that your tied off ends and the stitches from the back of the page are hidden and the page is more sturdy. Then cut off the excess felt.  I usually add three eyelets to one side of the page when I am finished and I keep them all held together in a “book” with binder rings.

That’s it!  Make sure you always watch your little one when they play with this page, it is cute but the little buttons are small.  You could also try to glue on patch numbers or sew on felt numbers.  Iron-ons will not really work with felt, the felt tends to melt and even on a low setting doesn’t get hot enough to set the glue on the patch.

Notecard Notebooks

The other day my little guy was watching an episode of Blues Clues and they were talking about story time and books.  By the end of the episode they had made up a story about the things they did that day while playing the game of Blues Clues.  For the rest of the day my little man was making up his own stories (although in all honestly I had no idea what he was saying).  I wanted to make a little book for him that he could put his own “stories” down so he could “read” them.  Now, I know he is only two so reading and writing aren’t really his thing yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t let his little imagination run wild!

Now, making a simple paper book isn’t exactly rocket science.  And it would be just as easy to fold over some plain paper and staple it down the middle.  But I wanted something that looked a little more like a book and was a little more sturdy on the outside.  And it didn’t hurt that I got to use up some of the massive quantities of blank stationary that I had.

I have to say that I loved the way these little books turned out.  They were just the right size for my toddler and they only took me about 5 minutes to make!  The best part is they can be used for so many things!  I have already stashed one in my purse for grocery lists and to-do notes.  I also used to work in a preschool, and if these would be an easy and affordable way to make little books for an entire classroom full of kids.  They can be decorated and personalized and plain paper could easily be swapped out for lined notebook paper.  So many possibilities!

What you need:

  • -blank stationary cards
  • -plain white paper
  • stapler
  • washi tape or any non-clear tape
  • paper cutter or scissor

First you need to decide what size you want to inside paper to be.  You could make it the same size as the outside of the notebook, but I prefer to make the inside paper a little bit smaller than the outside cover since my toddler likes to draw a little passed the edges of the paper sometimes.  It should be noted that I am not one for measuring, so I kind of just estimated the size I needed to cut the paper.  I used a paper cutter so that I could cut multiple papers at the same time and it worked out much better than using scissors.  I used about 5 pieces of paper so that when folded it would make 10.

Next you will need to fold your stack of paper in half.  Make sure tho go over crease several times.  Place the folded stack inside the stationary card with the fold of the stack lined up with the fold of the card.  Close the card and hold on to it tightly to keep the papers inside in place.

Staple down the fold about a quarter of an inch away from the edge.  Try to keep the staples lined up as evenly as possible so that when opening the book the pages will have an even fold (you can see I failed miserably at this)!

It helps to go through the open book and flatten all of the pages down to make sure that they are even.  This will make it easier to use in the future.  If you went a little crazy with the stapler, this is when you would be able to notice that you didn’t make a straight line with the staples.  Please ignore my less than impressive and in no way manicured hands…

This last step isn’t really necessary but I wanted to cover up the staples.  Not only is it a little bit of a safety measure but it helps class them up just a little bit.  Now this is the part where most experienced crafters would break out their stash of colorful, bright, and patterned washi tapes.  But it may surprise you to know that I own exactly zero rolls of washi tape.  You heard me…zero.  So I improvised a little and used painter’s tape.  For this step you simply line the tape up over the staples and fold it over the edge and then cut off any excess from the ends to create a nice little “binding”.  I made the mistake of letting toddler “help” with this part….he looked pretty cute trying though!

I also had a smaller notecard so I tried a different approach with that one.  Since I could reach the middle of the card with the stapler, I decided to just staple from the middle with the card open.  This way when the book opens it lies down flat.  This style doesn’t require any of the stylish tape down the side to cover the staples, although you could add some for looks if you wanted.

I think they turned out quite nice!  And yes that black tape is electrical tape, I like to keep things classy.  Pretty resourceful if I do say so myself.  Flynn is already pretty fond of the whale book, and he decorated the covers with some nice monster stickers.

Handmade Twine From Scrap Fabric

I have a bit of a problem when it comes to hoarding craft supplies, especially fabric.  I can justify keeping even the tiniest shred left from a project.  Unfortunately its hard to organize scraps of fabric neatly, trust me I have tried.  I started searching the internet for ways to put scrap fabric to good use and found that making twine out of these discarded scraps is not only easy, it’s for sale everywhere!  Etsy is full of shops selling this stuff, and I can see why.  It’s so pretty! And since you are recycling fabric that would otherwise go in the trash that makes this a green project.  Everybody wins!  So I set out to try it myself and I have to admit it was way easier than I thought.

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Our cat lady got in on the action

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Admittedly this project is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of anything other than time.  And trust me it takes a lot of time.  I made a lot of mine while I was parked in front of the t.v. binge watching Netflix stuff.  The other great thing about this project is that it can go anywhere and it doesn’t really require any tools.  A lot of the time I was just sitting on the floor playing with my son while making it, he loved playing in the pile of scrap strips that I had made.

What You Need:

  • Strips of fabric (about 1 inch wide)
  • pin (optional)

scrapfabric

How to Make It:

1. The first thing you want to do is grab two strips of fabric and tie them together.  Any old regular knot will work just fine.  You want to make sure that the strips are different lengths so that they don’t run out at the same time.

2. Once you have tied together two strips of fabric, take one and start twisting it towards you. You only need to twist a small amount, but the tighter the twist the better.  Sometimes it helps to twist more than needed just so it stays tight next to the part where both strands will twist together.

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3. Once you have twisted the strand, bring the second strand over the original strand so that it is in front of it. Twist the new strand towards you just like you did with the first one.

4. Once you have twisted the new strand, push it behind the first strand and bring the first strand back in front and start twisting it towards you again.

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5. Repeat this process over and over until your hands fall off! Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good picture of how to join strands but its super easy.  Once you get down to about 2 inches left on a strand, simply get a new strip of fabric and overlap the ends and twist both of them together towards you.

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A Few Tips:

I put a pin through the knot when I first started and pinned it to an old chair while I while I was twisting the strands, hence the scraggly looking background in the photos. This helped ease up on the cramps that you will probably get while doing this project and it was actually a lot faster than just holding it in my hands.

I noticed that it was easier to twist and work with jersey type fabric or t-shirt fabric.  I liked to mix two types of fabric that way the twine was consistent with its stretch. So I would do a more stretchy fabric with the standard cotton fabric.

Aside from regular crafting fabric, I also made use of old shirts that couldn’t be donated because of rips or holes and they worked out way better than I thought.

When it came to storage, I considered making a cardboard spool and I have seen this twine wrapped around old vintage spools.  I decided that after hand cramps were achieved I just wanted to go the standard ball of yarn style with this pretty twine.  Also I have no spools and I was already spending zero dollars on this project so I decided to keep it that way.

There are no real rules to follow with combining fabric patterns.  It looks cooler if you have two contrasting colored fabrics going together, but I also I also tried mixing patterns and colors that I thought would look awful together and honestly it still looked awesome.

I cut the ends of the strands at a slant so that when joining two strips it would be less bulky in that spot.

 

Hopefully you will enjoy making this colorful twine as much as I did!  I can’t wait to see what kind of projects will come from it!

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