Wednesday, October 30, 2013

So What Wednesdays

Today I'm linking up with So What Wednesday over at Life After I "Dew." This is a fun linky party where you list all the things you're saying "So what?!" about this week. So here goes nothing! This week, I'm saying SO WHAT if...
  • It's the day before Halloween and we still haven't carved our pumpkins.
  • I gave up on potty training after a month (A MONTH) because my daughter has a bladder of steel.
  • I have so much fabric that I could be considered a hoarder.
  • We're having family photos taken on Saturday and I still have no idea what I'll be wearing.
  • I lied to my kids when I said I was throwing away the toys they didn't pick up.
  • I'm in the middle of 3 separate sewing projects and 4 different books and instead of working on either, I play Angry Birds.
What are you saying "so what?!" about today?

Monday, October 28, 2013

"We Can't Play" Door Hanger (with free printable)

My son is five and until this year, we haven't had much of an issue with neighbor kids knocking on our door. But this year, the knocking has become incessant. In an effort to lessen the dinner-time and homework-time interruptions, I decided to make a sign for the front door. Here is how it turned out:

I still plan to laminate it so that it can survive some harsher weather, but I'm quite pleased at how it turned out. The true test will be the first time I hang it on the front door.

If you like it, download and print your own! Click the image below to go to the free download. The print is 8x10 and you can customize by printing on any color of card stock you like (but please note that subtle patterns work better than multicolored patterns).

Click the image for the free printable!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Easy Pincushion Project

Next week, I am going to start teaching some of the neighborhood kids how to sew. In preparation for our first project, I whipped this pincushion up today in about 20 minutes. I thought I'd share a quick tutorial here:


  • Pincushion base of some kind -- I used a small plastic container that used to hold buttons. You could also use a simple cardboard circle. Anything will work as long as it helps the cushion retain its shape!
  • Fabric scrap, approximately 6 inches square (will vary depending on the size of your chosen base).
  • Ribbon
  • Poly-fill batting
  • Pins!


Step 1: Cut your fabric into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, but getting rid of the corners will help reduce bunching later on.

Step 2: Cut 1 small triangles at the edge of each quarter of your fabric, coming in about an inch from the edge. So you'll cut one at the top, one at the bottom, and one at each side making them fairly evenly spaced on the circle.

Step 3: Fold your fabric right sides together and sew each triangle closed.

Step 4: Sew a loose basting stitch around the edge of your circle, then pull the thread and gather your circle into a pouch.

Step 5: Fill with batting. This will take a lot more batting than you think. Mine took 3 handfuls. Just fill it until you can't stuff any more in and the cushion is firm.

Step 6: Pull the thread and cinch your cushion closed. Tie off your thread.

Step 7: Attach your cushion to the base. Since my base was a circular container with sides, I simply hot glued my cushion to the bottom and sides of the container. Make sure it is secure all around.

Step 8: Embellish with ribbon or whatever you like!

{Linked on The Stitchin' Mommy, Happy and Blessed Home, Finding Fabulous, Truly Lovely, Sincerely Paula, Craftionary, The Jenny Evolution}

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Decoupage Pumpkin

There are so many great pumpkin decorating ideas out there these days, but I could not resist an opportunity to decoupage book pages onto mine. Here's a quick step-by-step on how I created this beauty

Step 1: Clean your pumpkin thoroughly.

Step 2: Rip up your book or magazine pages so they are in strips and small pieces.

Step 3: Using Mod Podge, coat one section of the pumpkin at a time and apply the pages, smoothing them down and making sure the edges adhere to the pumpkin. Layer the pages until the entire pumpkin is covered.

Step 4: Find some cute embellishments! My polka dots came from some Stampin' Up cardstock that had velvety black dots. I cut them out and then used Mod Podge to adhere them to the book pages. Since cardstock is stiff, I applied the Mod Podge, stuck the dot on, then pressed it down for a minute so that it would shape itself to the surface.

Step 5: Decorate that stem. Using a simple bow tutorial found online here, I tied a double ribbon bow and added some orange and green curls. I hot glued all the ribbons in place.

And there you have it! Since I used Harry Potter pages to cover my pumpkin, I thought the best place to display it would be among my Harry Potter books.

{Linked on Coastal Charm, The DIY Dreamer, Ladybug Blessings, VMG206, Our Delightful Home, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, New Nostalgia, And Sew We Craft}

Saturday, October 19, 2013

DIY Halloween Costumes - Glowing Skeleton and Disney's Backson

This originally posted last week on Blissful and Domestic. Thanks again to Danielle for having me!

DIY Glowing Skeleton Costume Tutorial

Step 1: Gather your materials.

For this skeleton costume, I found a long-sleeve black shirt and black sweat pants from Wal-Mart. I also found some skeleton gloves and glow-in-the-dark skeleton knee socks in the dollar bin at Target. I also used white chalk and glow-in-the-dark fabric paint (3 bottles) found in the craft section of Wal-Mart or at Hobby Lobby.

Step 2: Draw your bones with chalk first!

I found a diagram of a human skeleton and used white chalk to recreate the bones on the black shirt and pants. Chalk was great for this task because I could easily rub it off and re-draw a portion if needed.  Doing it this way first, I was able to get the scale of the bones right and make sure I didn't run out of space on the clothes. This can also be a good place to have your child try the costume on to make sure the bones are in the right places.

Step 3: Paint!

I don't have a lot of experience with fabric paint, so I was surprised at how much paint I actually used. I ended up buying three bottles of glowing fabric paint. Paint one bone at a time, outlining, then filling in. I did my best to get the paint an even thickness, but you can see on the pants that one side is thinner than the other. It still glows like I want, so I decided not to worry too much about that. The bottle says that the paint will take 4 hours to dry, but obviously, this depends on the thickness. Mine took 5 or 6 hours to dry since I was going for complete coverage. Keep in mind that with this much paint, it will be somewhat stiff when dry.

And you're done! See, I told you it was quick. Of course, if you're unable to find the socks and gloves at Target, you might feel the need to paint those, too. For trick-or-treating, we plan to paint Eddie's face using glow-in-the-dark face paint.

DIY Backson Costume

Step 1: Gather your materials.

For the Backson, I found a pair of purple velour pants at Wal-Mart that were perfect. I also purchased an inexpensive turquoise t-shirt to use as the base for the top. The top consists of the t-shirt, blue yarn, red felt, and purple fabric scraps. The tail consists of purple fleece and poly-fil batting. The horns consist of non-roll elastic, red minky fabric scraps, white felt, and poly-fil batting.

Step 2: Construct the top.

For the top, I used chunky blue yarn to create a "furry" effect. I looped the yarn in small loops across the shirt in rows and pinned it in place. Then I sewed each row down with my machine using a looping stitch. You could probably do a straight or zig zag stitch that would work just as well. I trimmed off the excess yarn at the ends. I tried to space the looped rows evenly.

When I finished, I thought it looked too sparse, so I added more loopy rows between the original rows to bulk it up. The end result is a loopy, chaotic, fuzzy blue "fur."

For the sleeves, I cut triangles of red felt and used some purple scraps I had on hand. I hand stitched the red triangles on first, spacing them out so there would be four stripes per sleeve. Then I did the same with the purple scraps so they alternate.

Step 3: Construct the tail.

For the tail, I used a tutorial by Jessica from Running with Scissors found on Tatertots and Jello. Her tutorial is to make a dragon tail, so I made a few simple modifications to turn mine into a Backson tail.

To make the tail, follow Jessica's tutorial for the cutting, but leave off the spikes. Then, when pinning the body of the tail together, add a couple of turns, like this:

Now, when you sew down the top and bottom of the tail, make sure you include those gathered areas in your sewing. You don't want to end up with holes instead of turns.  It looks messy, but this part will be on the inside of the tail.

Then, complete the tail as Jessica says. Once you stuff your tail with batting, it will stick out (the more batting, the stiffer it will be) and you'll be able to see the shape better.

Step 4: Construct the horns.

Since Violet is a toddler/preschooler, I knew I needed something simple and comfortable so that she would leave the horns on her head. So I opted to make them a headband. I used some 1-inch non-roll elastic that I had on hand (originally purchased at Joann). I cut my horn shapes out of white felt, then sewed around the edges on my machine with contrasting thread (but leave the base of each horn open). I stuffed each horn full of batting, being careful to cram it down into the very tip. Then I hand stitched each horn onto the elastic.

Before sewing the second horn on, make sure you see how it looks on your kid's head. I originally put my horns too far apart and had to remove one and move them closer together. If they're far apart, they will stick out to the sides more.

Once the horns were attached to the elastic, sew the ends of the elastic together to form a headband. Then, to add the "mop of red" hair on top, I hand stitched a rectangle of red minky onto the headband, gathering it up as I went. The gathers helped add a little bit of shape to the "hair" so that it doesn't just lay flat.

Step 5: Accessorize.

I forgot to get photos of this part, but the last thing a Backson needs is some purple gloves with black fingernails painted on. For older kids, you also might be able to add a nose ring, but I'm sure Violet would not agree to wear one.

And you're done!

{Linked on Sewlicious Home Decor, Be Different...Act Normal, With A Blast, Get Your Crap Together, A Night Owl Blog, C.R.A.F.T., Sew Can Do, Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom, Three Mango Seeds, Carrie This Home, Huckleberry Love, Sumo's Sweet Stuff}

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Washi Tape Small Storage

Back when I was setting up my craft space under the stairs, I picked up some small plastic storage bins from the $1 bins at Target. These are perfect for storing my pre-made twist roses, ruffled ribbon flowers, and other small embellishments that I use on my wreaths. But they're boring. Today I decided to jazz them up with some washi tape. It was quick and easy and now they're super cute! Check it out:

Before -- boring old black
After #1
After #2

Christmas at Hot Commodity Home

I used to be the person who was disgusted to see Christmas stuff out before Thanksgiving. Now that I have kids, I understand a bit better. And now that I have an Etsy shop, I understand even more. Some things take time so it helps to start early.

I am attempting to get a jump on the holiday shopping scene by listing Christmas items now, so I thought I'd post some of the items I'm working on. Click on any image to be taken to the listing. Please click through to my shop, browse my listings, and "favorite" the items you like to help spread the word!

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Reading List

Since I've been sick for almost a month now, I've started in on another reading binge. I thought I'd share my reading list here... in no particular order. If you've read any of them, I'd love to hear what you thought! Leave a comment and let me know.

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
The Immorality Engine by George Mann
The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine
Nothing by Janne Teller
River Secrets by Shannon Hale
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide - Skeletal Edition

We have a self-proclaimed "skeleton expert" at our house. Of course, he's only 5 years old, but he is unusually interested in skeletons. He doesn't only like skeletons around Halloween. He likes them all the time. He wears skeleton shirts. He owns skeleton toys. He reads skeleton books. He draws skeleton pictures.

So, in honor of my skeleton expert son, I put together this Skeletal Edition of the Holiday Gift Guide. Great Etsy finds for the skeleton expert in your life. Enjoy!

For The Homemaker

While this ornament is a little creepy, it's also really awesome. Now I want one for my Christmas tree. 

While these filigree skulls will cost you a fair number of bones (pun intended), they are awesome! I would love to be able to add one to my living room decor. It could make a great conversation piece.

 For The Ladies

Yes, I would wear this... and I don't wear necklaces as a general rule. It's simple and elegant, but upon closer inspection, a little bit creepy. And it is inspired by Patti Smith if you're into that sort of thing.

For The Fellas

I guess not every guy carries a pocket watch, but in a perfect world, they would... tucked into their vest pocket of their 3-piece suit. And let's face it, if you're going to carry a pocket watch, why not a steampunk pocket watch with a poison skull? 

 For The Kids

These are eco-friendly, customizable, and extremely cute. What's not to love?

Sock monkeys are cute. But skeleton sock monkeys are awesome! This one gets a little pricey since he has to ship from Australia, but it's totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Refinish a Metal Sign - A Tutorial

My hubby is an amateur photographer and likes taking photos of movie theaters. He has spent the last several years honing his skills and has taken some really awesome pictures. So, we decided to display some of them in our dining area. We found a metal "Cinema" sign at Hobby Lobby to accompany them, but it wasn't exactly what we wanted. So I decided to refinish it and put together a tutorial on how I did it.

Step One: Find your item to refinish. This is what our sign looked like before I modified it. It's pretty cool, but we didn't really like the red and black in our mostly green kitchen because it stood out too much.

 Step Two: Prime your sign. I didn't actually buy primer. I had previously purchased a small sample container of white paint from Lowe's and had only used a tiny bit. So I used that. I painted the entire sign with the white and let it dry overnight.

Step Three: Paint your sign. I ended up painting mine twice. First, I used Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint in Rubbed Bronze. It ended up being too black. I tried sanding it down a bit and distressing it, making some of the white undercoat show through, but it was still too dark, as seen here. 

So I covered that with a coat of Valspar Metallic Spray Paint in Silver. This lightened it up considerably. Then I sanded with fine grit sandpaper, which scuffed up the surface and brought some of the rubbed bronze through. This did put some heavier scratches in the finish as well, so I buffed the entire thing with steel wool. The steel wool was awesome! It evened out the sanding so that the distressing looked more natural.

Here is the finished product as it is displayed on our wall: