Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016

This year, my girls just so happened to both want to be birds. My youngest daughter, requested a bluebird costume. My oldest daughter wanted to be a mythical phoenix. I decided to be a woodland fairy queen. Here are our costumes for 2016.




Back of wings


Soft, toasty inside of wings



I looked at many sites for ideas on how to sew wings for kids. I used a few ideas from several sites. Most sites cut out long strips of “feathers”. I decided to use individual feathers so that I could tilt them up the sides of each wing. I sewed them onto blanket fleece so that my daughter could wrap herself up if it was cold on Halloween night, and it was pretty darn cold that night.

Her headpiece was made out of two pieces of card stock, with fabric hot glued to each (soft fleece for the forehead side). I stapled elastic covered with fabric in between and glued them together. I mod podged fabric onto additional sheets of card stock to make stiff feathers, which I then cut out and adhered to the front of the crown.






Back of wings



I created the phoenix wings after I had already done the bluebird wings. I knew by that point that I wanted to make them in a different way. I found these gorgeous wings online.  They looked like a promising point of inspiration so I used wool felt and satin. The felt was very easy to work with.  I appliqued yellow satin flames onto felt pieces and then glued everything down with tacky glue. I was afraid hot glue would be too messy. The tacky glue held up pretty well on the wings. I did hot glue the pieces on her crown. Unfortunately, these wings were not as warm as her sister’s wings. But, they were much easier to make. If I ever make wings again, I will use wool felt.



Inside of wings







Woodland Fairy Queen


Leafy Gown

I used this wonderful costume as inspiration for my own costume. I sewed some of the leaves on first and when that got old (really fast), I hot glued the rest on. I did put an old t-shirt on my dress form to make sure that I didn’t get glue on her. I hand wired and taped (with floral tape) all of the flowers for my halo. The halo ended up taking more time to complete than the dress did.


Wildflower and butterfly halo


Lost & Found

We have moved a lot of times in the past decade. A LOT of times. So many boxes.

All of those moves played tricks on my memory. I could have sworn that I packed one thing in with something that I knew I already unpacked, but then it just wasn’t anywhere to be found. Josh bought me a Wacom tablet for Christmas several years ago. We moved. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally, last year we bought a house and I swore that I would open up every single box that we had been lugging around. A few months ago, I finally located my Wacom tablet. It was in box with some photos. A box that I was SURE I had not packed it in.

I just got a new computer and I am reorganizing my desk, so the Wacom tablet is finally out of hiding. I plugged it in, downloaded drivers, and it works! I am so excited about this! But it looks delicate and naked lying there on my desk. It needs a protective little cover. This was today’s snowy day project.


Using scraps from my fabric chest.

Soft inside for extra protection.

Soft inside for extra protection.










I wanted a little pillow case type cover with a soft layer to lay against the tablet screen. I cut three rectangular pieces of fabric. Two print, and one fleece. I sewed right sides of one print and the fleece together leaving a little opening so that I could turn it right side out.Then I sewed what would be the top edge with a decorative stitch. Then I hemmed the top edge of the other piece of print fabric. I put the right sides of the prints together and sewed up the three sides to make my little cover.

And now I feel better about having the Wacom out in the open.

Naked Wacom and protected Wacom

Naked Wacom and Clothed Wacom





Birdseed Ornaments

birdseed snowflake

Holiday time!
We have several bird feeders in our back yard. We love watching all of the happy little birds come to visit. I saw this project online and knew that it would be a great one for the girls and I to try. We made several birdseed ornaments and shipped some to our family in their holiday packages. We hung the rest on bushes in our yard.

You need to work really fast when you make these! They set up quickly.

1/2 cup water
3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3/4 cup flour
4 cups bird seed (your choice!)

Heat water, gelatin and corn syrup together over a low heat. No need to boil. Mix flour and seed together and then slowly add to gelatin mixture. While cooling, choose your favorite cookie cutters. Spray those cookie cutters with cooking spray. Next, fill the cutters with the gelatin mixture, pressing in the mixture tightly. Before you remove the ornament, use something (like a toothpick) to poke a hole through the ornament for hanging. Then remove from cookie cutters and let dry for several hours on racks or greased paper. Once dry, you can attach ribbon or string and hang for the birds!

IKEA TARVA dresser hack

Our entryway is a continuous work in progress. We do not have a closet for coats near the front door, so everything we need to go out into the world needs to be accessible and still not look like a complete disaster. Once I decided to get rid of our tiny storage bench and replace it with the Bekvam stools, I knew I would need another piece of furniture to store hats,  gloves, and scarves. I did a lot of research on dresser styles trying to decide what would work for us and not be crazy expensive. I wanted to be able to put shoes under the dresser, and have enough drawers to keep mom, dad, and kid stuff separate. I wanted a place to put a vase with flowers, and mail, and keys, and a lamp. It also needed to be smallish, as our entryway is not huge. Not too much to ask, right?

I love to look at furniture online at places like Joss & Main, and Anthropologie. I was originally inspired by the Indian inlay furniture that has become so popular. After I found an IKEA hack that uses stencils to mimic the appearance of bone inlay, I was very excited to try my hand at stencilling. How hard could it be? I watched a lot of stencilling videos. I ordered the stencils and bought the 3 drawer IKEA TARVA dresser and left it to wait patiently in our garage over the summer while I worked on the entryway stools.


Expensive inspiration!

For the dresser, I decided to use Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint. I’ve decided that better paint really does make a difference. The paint definitely goes on smoother and feels more durable. It took me a long time to paint as New Jersey is so humid and I wanted it to dry really well. But when I finally had my blue dresser pieces, I set them out and started to stencil. It looked awful. I wiped it off and tried again. Blurry and nothing like the crisp pattern I had envisioned. Stencilling on paper worked for me, but it did not work on the dresser’s painted surface. As smooth as it was, it just wasn’t smooth enough. I stopped for the day and rethought my plan. While I was looking up ideas for the girls’ stools, I came across a lot of beautifully decoupaged furniture. If the stencil idea wasn’t going to work in the way that I wanted it to, I was more than willing to try a completely different approach.

I adore floral designs. If you type “botanical decoupage dresser” into google images, you come up with some truly lovely pieces. This being the first large piece of furniture I was working on, I felt like I needed to keep it a little simple. I also wanted to finish the dresser before winter. I scoured the internet for botanical prints, and finally found a wonderful source here which mentioned the Missouri Botanical Garden online collection of prints. Jackpot! I found more than enough beautiful prints to decorate my dresser.


I printed many (too many!) botanical prints out on a regular inkjet printer. I covered them with a layer of Golden gel medium to seal in the ink. I was worried that the ink might run but it didn’t smear much at all. Then, I cut and adhered the prints to the drawer fronts with mod podge. I put on a couple coats of polycrylic to seal them a bit more. I assembled my dresser and added pretty knobs I found at Marshall’s.

botanicaldresser2  I’m very pleased with the way the dresser turned out. It’s a cheerful spot to locate all of our junk. I finally have a dedicated place to put pretty plants and bouquets of flowers. We have a small ceramic wax melter that doubles as a night light, and a bowl where I can always find my keys! Now, if only I could make that new rug lay down flat. 

Pumpkin Roll

It’s that time of year again. Your husband brings home a four-pack of canned pumpkin and you must accept the not so subtle hint that someone would like pumpkin treats.

I keep seeing these delicious looking pumpkin rolls online and in stores, so I finally gave in and decided to make a roll. I have never made a roll of anything. No jelly rolls, or swiss cake rolls. It seemed a little intimidating. I wasn’t convinced that it wouldn’t crack and turn into a crumbly mess, but people online said it was easy. Those online people wouldn’t lie, would they?

I used a recipe that came through my facebook feed one day, found here.

Changes that I made to the cake recipe: doubled the cinnamon and added a ¼ t. allspice. Left half of the powdered sugar out of the filling.

2015 pumpkin roll ingredients

Tip #1. I learned that you should grease the pan before putting the wax paper inside. That way it will stick better.  My pan worked okay, but the paper slid around a little while I was greasing it. Next time, I will make sure that paper is stuck!

Tip #2. You will introduce a large cloud of powdered sugar into your kitchen when you dump your cake onto the towel. I don’t know how to avoid this, but be prepared.

2015 pumpkin roll towel 2015 pumpkin roll towel rolled

Tip #3. Other recipes call for crushed walnuts on top of your batter before you bake. I love walnuts. I think I would have loved the roll even more with walnuts.

Yummy, yummy, yummy. Everyone likes it, and you do not need any extra sugar in the cream cheese filling. It was great with less. Also, while the wax paper did stick a little and pulled some cake up, rolling it up in the towel was quite easy. I’m not scared of rolls anymore. I’m already imagining lemon rolls with cream cheese filling.

pumkin roll

It was a rainy day yesterday and I was in a baking mood so I also made a chicken pot pie from scratch for dinner. This is the recipe I used (with homemade crust) and it was very easy and so delicious! I HIGHLY recommend it. I halved the recipe as it is really for two pies. I also used a little less thyme, per other people’s comments. Next time, I will make two and freeze one.

chicken pot pie








We have two little girls that always seem to need to put on their shoes at the same time. We used to have one small bench that they both wanted to sit on to do this. “Hello” elbows in the face.

I wanted a stool for each of them. IKEA to the rescue. Enter the Bekvam step stool. It’s plain wood. You can fit shoes under it. It costs $14.99.

I’ve started to embrace those that have gone before in the home crafting domain. I knew I wanted to make the stools special for each girl. There are a lot of IKEA Bekvam stool hacks online. People painting them, using wall paper, washi tape, etc. I figured at $15 a stool, I could afford to experiment a little. Here are my results.

IKEA Bekvam Stools

Carys’s stool is spray painted with Rust-Oleum paint. I then used Mod Podge and paper napkins to decoupage it. I sealed the top of the steps with leftover hardwood floor polycrylic.

 IKEA Bekvam StoolIKEA Bekvam Stool

Helena’s stool is also spray painted with Rust-Oleum paint. I decided to use scrapbooking paper to decoupage her stool. Scrapbook paper is about 100 times easier to decoupage with than napkins. She wanted kitties. She got kitties.

IKEA Bekvam Stool IKEA Bekvam Stool

My new kitchen stool, because I’m not as tall as I need to be sometimes. I wanted to try fabric decoupage because other people make it look so easy. Ha! Well, it might be if you do it differently than I did. I cut out my stool shaped pieces and slapped them on with Mod Podge, and they stretched, and they moved, and they did not stay exactly the same shape as I cut them out to be. So, I added a border of napkin decoupage just to torture myself a little bit more. I don’t mind how it turned out. Interestingly, the fabric retained a rough texture (even after many coats of the Podge) that makes the stool less slippery. Perfect for clumsy people.

IKEA Bekvam Stool IKEA Bekvam Stool

And now we have dedicated locations for two girls’ shoes. Carys still sits on the floor sometimes to get her shoes on, but I figure that will change as she grows taller. I’m not expecting to grow any taller, so my stool is perfect right now.