Thanksgiving Dollar Tree Craft Challenge

Can anyone believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away? I sure can’t! Maybe it’s the warm weather we’ve been having, which I loved at first, but I’m actually starting to want weather that is more fall like to get me into the holiday spirit.

At any rate, it is truly coming quickly. It’s not too late to create some easy, quick, and cheap décor for your home to help usher in that Thanksgiving feeling faster than a blobby cylinder of purple sour “cranberries” will. It’s another Dollar Tree Craft Challenge!

For this project, you will need:

vase

  • Plain glass vase – or other vessel – from Dollar Tree
  • Tissue paper in fall colors – or colors of your choice – from Dollar Tree
  • Mod Podge – not from Dollar Tree, but a versatile supply that will be an investment in many craft projects. This should really be in every crafter’s tool box!
  • Brush to apply mod podge – this could come from Dollar Tree! I use the spongy brushes for this, but you could use a standard paint brush in any size just as easily.

 

To start, tear or cut your tissue paper into small bits no smaller than the size of a quarter, but no larger than the size of a post-it-note. You could really do them in any shape – if you like a more uniform look, cut them into squares. For a more random or unplanned look, rip the paper into different shapes. There are no rules in craft club. That’s not true. There are rules. But for this step, go wild.

tissue-scraps

To affix these to the outside of the vase, we will start by working in small sections to put a base layer of mod podge onto the vase. Mod podge does tend to dry quickly, so I work one piece at a time by putting down the mod podge in a layer that I think is the size of the piece of tissue paper, then putting the tissue paper down on it. Smooth any wrinkles out as much as you can, but tiny wrinkles here and there won’t impact the overall piece.

basecoat

tissue-apply

For my vase, since I had lost my yellow tissue paper somewhere so only ended up with red and orange. Because it was going to be difficult to really alternate two colors, I didn’t worry about placing a red next to a red or an orange next to an orange. So placement of colors/shapes of paper is entirely up to you as the artist. Depending on if you want a uniform piece, a random piece, or a logically random piece (red, orange, yellow, red, orange, yellow…), you will place your pieces how you like them. Don’t stress it, though. This is a Dollar Tree craft, after all! If you don’t like how it turns out, Goodwill it and head out for another $1 vase.

 

 

Once you have a section with a few pieces of tissue paper glued to the vase, go over these with a top coat of mod podge. This will put a good seal on the pieces, making them stick for a long, long time. Mod podge has different finishes – the product I was using has a matte finish, so I tried to keep my top coat thin to avoid having too much of a cloudy appearance once dry. Mod podge does dry mostly clear, but the thicker you put it on, the cloudier it is. I’ve never used a glossy mod podge, so if you use it, let me know what you think of it!

Repeat this process until your vase is as covered as you want it to be – base layer, tissue paper, mod podge! The tissue paper is great for this project because it’s thinness allows for a really great adhesion using less mod podge, and it also still allows for some light to shine through. Allow this to dry for at least 24 hours before handling or using.

flowersdone

 

I finished my vase with some fake flowers that I also got at Dollar Tree! For a $1, I think this looks pretty good!

Things that are coated with mod podge are not food safe, and not all finishes are water safe, either. I would also not recommend using mod podge for anything that will hold a candle or be near a flame as all glue finishes should be considered to be highly flammable. Here are a few alternatives if you were using this on something you hoped to be able to eat off of, wash, and/or use with a candle:

 

  • Food Safety: Mod Podge is non-toxic, but is not recommended for food touching surfaces as it would have to be tested and approved by the FDA to be considered food-safe. If you are doing a glass plate, mod podge your decorations to the BOTTOM of the plate so that the top can still be used for food. This would make a really cute charger or saucer!
  • Waterproof-ness? (not a word…) Mod Podge is not water proof. That said, you can get items wet by accident and not lose hope. You can even clean items that have been sealed with mod podge with a lightly dampened rag. But I wouldn’t submerge anything that’s been Mod Podged in water. There is an Outdoor Mod Podge and a Dishwasher Safe Mod-Podge, however, even the outdoor mod podge is not water-proof and is water-resistant. Using the outdoor version would be your best defense if what you’re making will be in wet elements, but it’s still not fool-proof. I have not personally used the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge to be able to recommend it or not, so if you have, please share with me your thoughts!
  • Flammability – I always assume anything that has glue or sealant or paint to be highly flammable. Actually, I assume EVERYTHING to be highly flammable. Thankfully modern technology has come up with flameless candles – which are basically tiny flashlights that look like tea lights or other candles. I like using these as much as possible when decorating as I don’t have to worry about the cats starting their tails on fire or my daughter starting herself on fire, or falling asleep without remembering to put them out. This vase would look really pretty with the glow of a flameless candle coming out from it!

 

For more Mod Podge related questions, you can visit their website at https://plaidonline.com/mod-podge/brand/home.htm or their blog at http://modpodgerocksblog.com/ where they have some extensive tutorials and Q&As that will surely inspire you and answer any lingering questions you may have.

As always, I’d love to see your version of this if you attempt it, or anything inspired by this! Please feel free to share in the comments section.

 

 

 

Crib Upcycle, Part 1: Memo Board/Photo Hanger

Anyone else out there a parent? A few of you? I swear, there’s never been a time in my life where I’ve spent more money on things I’ve used so little. The baby swing, the cloth diapers, the adorable clothes, the bottles… I guess I could have had more than one baby to make these items have a little more life, but that seems like a lot of investment just to get more use out of a bottle! 😉 I’m a one and done mom. More power to you if you have a large brood, but my family feels whole as three.

One of the biggest investments my husband and I made was the crib. Paired with the matching dresser/changing table (which is now a “buffet” that is storing towels & washcloths in my hallway), the total came up to right around $300 – and that’s cheap compared to the fancy furniture some parents buy! What can I say? I’m frugal.

Thankfully, most of our baby items found new homes after they grew out of usefulness for our family. We loaned out the crib once my daughter was in a big girl bed to a friend that had need for two cribs at a time, but I’ve found that there is little need out there for used baby cribs. It seems that among families that don’t mind buying new, the crib is something that is rarely bought used. There are those that buy everything used, which is a great way to be – but when it came down to it, I felt a little bit attached to the thing once it found it’s way back to me. Sure, there were other things I kept, too – some baby blankets, some of the cutest little teeny tiny baby outfits, a couple special toys… But those are easily packed away into my special things chest.

The decision was made – keep the crib, but upcycle it into items that are more purposeful. The internet is FULL of furniture upcycle ideas, and cribs are definitely up there in terms of reusability. I’ve divided the parts of my crib into three projects of varying difficulty. I’m using the whole buffalo, as it were. (Is using that phrase cultural appropriation? Or offensive? I hope not. It isn’t meant that way..). No parts left behind (except maybe hardware, and a couple little bits and pieces that I cut off here and there)!

Crib Part 1 CoverThe first project is by far the easiest and takes about 5 minutes and a small investment of hardware. I was actually inspired (who am I kidding, I totally stole the idea) by a friend of mine who did something similar (not even similar – absolutely the same thing) in her living room.

By taking the metal grid that holds the mattress and hanging it on the wall, you now have a lovely, large picture or memo hanging grid.

Grid Close Up

I use clothespins to hold the items on. Clothespins are also great to customize with some acrylic paint, markers, glitter, spray paint, washi tape… Another fun thing about this is that it’s magnetic – so you can use magnets where they will fit.

Hooks

To attach it to the wall, I used my husband some large sized screw in hooks and just hung the grid right from them. That’s it – easy peasy.

Photo Hanging Grid

I did say this was the easiest of the projects. One piece of the crib used, a pile more to go! What do you think? Is this too “out-there” of an idea for you, or are you going to kick your toddler out of their crib early so you can get a head start? Let me know what you think!

DIY Designer-Inspired Pillows

There are many things that excite me about DIY. I like the process of making something. I love the finished product – when it turns out. I like being able to make things that other people might find valuable. And sometimes, it’s just nice to know I can make something myself, even if I don’t need to. For example – marshmallows. Making them myself is hard work, and not really necessary, but have you tried a homemade marshmallow? Totally worth it.

And sometimes, a DIY is just a way of cost savings. I bought these throw pillow covers and pillows from Ikea, and painted them in a fun blue ombre, for really cheap. Pillows like this from a retail store would have cost much, much more, and they would have actually meant less to me.

Finished Pillows

These were so easy, and fun to make. If you can pull a paint brush in a line (straight-ness not required), you can do these, too.  Continue reading

How about a quickie? Here are some life hacks – enjoy!

Life moves at a freaking fast speed. Freaking. That’s how fast. And as many blog posts as I have in the planning stages for you, my double digit subscribers (thank you btw – you make me so happy!), what I have lacked lately is the time to execute.

So I bring to you, without further adieu (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase…), some quickies. Enjoy these life hacks! Continue reading

School Time Wall

Full Wall

As much as I try to get out of the habit of purchasing random items with no purpose, it still happens from time to time. I’ll be at a junk sale and something will speak to me from across the space. I don’t know why, or what it is about it, or what I’m going to do with it, but I know I must have it. Well, it’s finally happened – my pieces have come together!

I have created a school time themed wall in Lucy’s play area. I love it so much! What do you think?

Pinocchio

It all started with this. I don’t know why it spoke to me – I’m not a huge Disney fan, and I’m even less of a Pinocchio fan, but for some reason, I kept being drawn to it. So I bought it.

Flash Cards

Next were these flash cards. At a recent junk show, there were booths and booths and booths of old flash cards. I don’t know what people do with them – maybe scrapbook? But I wanted to get in on the fun. So I bought a soldier because it seems to me a soldier is a universally accepted toy and would go well in a play area, and a kangaroo, because I’ve always had a soft spot for them. When I was a kid, kangaroos were my favorite animal. Do you know how hard it is to find kangaroo things? Hard. So it’s switched many times since then.

I also have to call out that I owe thanks to a good friend Amber for the clamp clothes hanger being used as a picture hanger. I totally stole that idea from her (although I think hers is actually vintage, whereas mine was bought in a 3 pack from At Home). I also owe Amber huge thanks for getting me started on my blog. She took it upon herself to get me educated on the technical, behind the scenes, blog world and has made this so much more enjoyable for me than I could have thought. Thank you so much, Amber!

Family Portrait

This pink frame is one of two wooden frames I picked up at an antique store for $1. It’s actually been on this wall the longest, so everything else was hung around it. I took one of Lucy’s finger paintings and cut it to the size of the frame. I then took a piece of corrugated cardboard cut just slightly (1/8th of an inch slightly) larger than the size of the opening in the frame. Doing so, I was able to smuush (yep – made that word up) the cardboard into the frame with the picture in front of it, making it the easiest ever reusable art frame for Lucy’s art. Now, the picture currently in it is just resting in front. It’s too small for this frame, but still needs a place of honor, as this is the first painting (or picture, or anything, for that matter), that Lucy has made as a representation of anything. Do you see it? It’s our family! I’m the one in blue, which I’m trying desperately not to read into as I’m also quite rotund, and this was painted just moments after we watched Inside Out. Ryan is the figure in brown, and Lucy is in pink. I think she got tired of painting at that point.

Wire Clip Frame

This wire clip frame was the 2nd frame that I had bought along with the pink one. It was just a plain frame, but I added the chicken wire along back, and bought the tiny paper clips to add to it. It’s quite easy to do – here are the materials:

Materials for Clip Frame

Take your chicken wire and carefully cut it to the size you need. I (my husband, since I was still sick) used the tiny gold brads to nail the wire in – once the brad had a hold in the wood, he hammered a bend in it so that the nail head itself was bent over the wire, holding it in place. Does that make sense?

The subtraction flash cards that were on the wire clip frame along with the Dick & Jane cards and definition tags in the upcoming pics were a purchase from Etsy store ThePaperBasket. Once my idea came to me, I wanted a few extra items to really pull it together.

Dick & Jane Canvas

These Dick & Jane clips were a lot of fun to look through! I picked my favorite from the bunch and mod podged them to canvas. Behind that is a cardboard puzzle of the US. What’s really funny about this puzzle is that we found it in a tote of my husband’s old things, so it was definitely his, but I swear I remember having this same thing as a child. Maybe I’m nuts, or maybe it was that ubiquitous. Who knows?

Tag Banner

Finally, I end it all with my little banner of tags with word definitions on it – also purchased from ThePaperBasket. There were a bundle of these, but the words I chose to use for Lucy’s little school area were Kindness, Creative, Inspire, Because, and Delight.

Lucy’s little old school desk sits below it all, filled to the brim with crayons and coloring books she does not like to play with. But someday (sooner than I realize), she will use it to do her little homework on, and when she outgrows that desk, we can put in a bigger girl desk, or a bookshelf.

I mentioned above how a friend helped get me started with this blog, and thinking back to that makes me think now to how happy I am doing this. It was really hard to figure out at first, and there were a few times I was ready to give up (those times could have been hormonally fueled…). But I stuck with it and I look forward to finding new things to blog about and new updates to share with you all. Thank you for reading.

To honor that happiness, I’d like to share with you my first official blog giveaway! See, since I did not use up all of the subtraction flash cards or Dick & Jane clips that I ordered from ThePaperBasket, I will give them to the winner of this little giveaway as my gift to you for reading my blog. I will pick a winner at random on February 1st, so you have until then to get entries. Here is how you can enter to win:

1- Follow my blog via email (if you already do, you still get a point for this)- One entry

2- Share my blog on your facebook page – Another entry

3 – Follow me on Instagram – emmille2 – Yet another entry!

Simply comment on this blog to let me know what you’ve done – 1, 2, 3, or a combination. Once a winner is chosen, I will get you your prize!

Thanks everyone – for making this blog worthwhile for me!