Friday Favorites–Decorating for Halloween

We have two October birthdays in our house, so if I’m going to decorate for Halloween I try to hold off until those have passed.  My husband’s was yesterday (Happy birthday honey!), so I think it’s time.  Since my kids are grown and we don’t get trick-or-treaters I don’t often do much, but I’m feeling it this year.  I think it might be nostalgia, since my oldest is completely out of the nest.  That’s okay, because there is no shortage of good ideas out there – I had a hard time narrowing it to ten this week!

Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites - Decorating for Halloween

I noticed after I was done collecting this week’s favorites that almost all of them involve repurposing.  One of the most impressive transformations is this pink and purple Little Tikes playhouse that became a spooky haunted mansion, thanks to the talents of Saki.Girl on Halloween Forums.

Little Tikes Playhouse Makeover by Saki.Girl on Halloween Forum

Thanks to so many charities using “flocking” as a fundraiser, you can buy pink flamingos lots of places year round.  Pick up a few and make these Painted Skeleton Flamingos with Craftbits.

Painted Skeleton Flamingo by Craftbits

I think these Rock Jack-O-Lanterns from No Time for Flashcards might be my kind of pumpkin carving.

I think these Halloween Spiders from Crafts ‘N Coffee are adorable, and not even a little scary.

Halloween Spiders by Crafts 'N Coffee

These DIY Halloween Lanterns from The Australian Baby Blog would be a fun craft to make with the kids.  All the glow, without all the fire hazard.

DIY Halloween Lanterns by The Australian Baby Blog

These Coffee Filter Spiderwebs from The Artful Parent remind me a little of snowflakes – until you add the spiders.

Spider Webs from Coffee Filters by The Artful Parent

I might need to start saving up shopping bags to make this skeleton from Curious Tangles on Instructables.

Halloween Skeleton Made of Plastic Shopping Bags by Curious Tangles on Instructables

I love a craft that can transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving, like these Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins from The Summery Umbrella.

Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins by The Summery Umbrella

These Toilet Paper Roll Bats from Practically Functional are easy, just the right amount of spooky, and use something everyone has around.

Toilet Paper Roll Bats by Practically Functional

These Barbie Zombies from Crafts by Amanda are at the top of my want-to-make list.  It probably helps that we’re big Walking Dead fans.

Barbie Zombies by Crafts by Amanda

Yogurt Tub and Denim Drawstring Bag

When I was asked by Earth 911 if I had any good recycled crafts they could share for Earth Day, I didn’t think I’d have any problem digging one up.  I was surprised to find most of my projects that fit the bill were seasonal, and not appropriate for spring.  I really wanted something that was mostly repurposed, didn’t take a lot of materials and was a little unusual.    I think this bag fits. Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 0

To make this, you’ll need a clean yogurt tub (about 24 oz size), a piece of denim (a leg cut off to make shorts will work) and two shoe laces.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 1

Ok, so I know that’s technically not just yogurt, but have you tried this stuff?  Yum.

Measure around the top edge of your tub.  Add 1/2” to determine the width to cut your denim.  Measure the height of the tub, multiply by 1 1/2 and add 3” to determine the height.  Mine came out to 14 1/8 by 9”.

You can leave a decorative seam if your sewing machine can handle sewing over it doubled.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 2

Fold the denim with the short sides together.  Subtracting the 1/4” seam you’ll sew in the next step, find and mark the center on both sides.  Unfold.  Measure 2 1/4” down from the top edge at the mark.  Draw a 1/4” line from 2 1/4 to 2 1/2”.  Stitch a 1/4” buttonhole at the line and carefully cut it open.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 3

Fold the denim right sides touching and short ends together.  Stitch a 1/4” seam down the side.  Press the seam open.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 4

Stitch over the edge at the top and bottom with a zigzag stitch or serger to reduce fraying.  Fold the upper edge toward the wrong side 1 1/2” and press.  Stitch 1/2” from the edge and 1/2” from the fold.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 5

Using scissors or a razor knife, cut the lip off the tub.  Slip the fabric tube over the tub, wrong side of the fabric toward the tub and the top edge of the fabric and tub even with each other.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 6

Using a long stitch and a large needle, stitch 1/4” from the edge through the plastic and denim.  Add a pleat to the denim if you need to make it fit.  If you have any doubt at all about whether your sewing machine can survive this, punch holes in the plastic with an awl and sew by hand.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 7

Pull the denim up over the tub, turning right side out.  Feed a shoelace into one of the buttonholes, all the way around through the casing, and back out through the same hole.  Repeat on the opposite side with the other shoelace.  Tie the laces together near the buttonhole and again at the ends.  Pull both sides to draw closed.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 8

I thought I was done at this point, but when I turned around the lid was laying there.  I cut a small flower from it, which I stitched on with a button on top.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 9

I keep imagining taking this to the beach with my sunglasses, bottle of water and sunscreen in it.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 10

If this wasn’t Oregon.  In April.  Maybe a snack instead?

Too-Short Shirt Refashion

I had two long-sleeved t-shirts in my closet that I hated because they were both too short.  I have a long torso, and like my shirts long besides, so it’s a constant problem for me.  The thing is, I kept forgetting that I hated these shirts so I’d pull one of them out, put it on, remember the problem, and decide to just wear it anyway.  I thought I’d grab them from the clean laundry and not stick them back in the closet.  As you can imagine, I’d forget (again!) and hang them right back up. 

I broke the cycle!  I have hooks on the back of my sewing room door where the future project clothes hang, and I finally managed to move them there.  Sometimes things live there for a long time, but I just kept looking at those two shirts thinking they might work if they were combined into one.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

The first decision I had to make was which shirt to keep as the main color.  I went with the green because it was in a little better condition than the blue. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

I very lazily held the shirt up to myself and estimated how much longer I’d like it to be.  I highly recommend actually trying it on for this step.  Fortunately, I guessed too long which is much easier to fix than too short. 

I cut off the amount of length I wanted to add to the green shirt from the blue shirt, plus one inch, which was 6 1/2” total.  Since the sleeves weren’t too short, I just wanted to add a little of the blue, so I cut 2” from the bottom of each sleeve.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Since the fabric didn’t unravel when I cut it, I didn’t finish any of the edges.  I marked 1” from the edge on the blue so I would know where to overlap the green to.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

I overlapped and generously pinned all the way around the bottom and both sleeves.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew them together so it would still stretch.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

You might be thinking this looks a little weird.  Well, it did.  I tried it on and it was twice as long as it should be, so I folded the blue in half and stitched again. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

I could have stopped there, but that blue t-shirt carcass was laying on my table just begging to not get thrown in the trash.  Starting from the bottom of the shirt, I cut off four 1” strips.  I then cut off the side seams, so I was left with eight strips.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

I lined up a strip about 1/8” away from the top edge of the neckline and sewed a zigzag stitch down the middle, overlapping the strip back on top of itself about 1/2” as I went.  When each strip ran out, I just started the next one where it left off.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

I was a little concerned this was going to make the neck too heavy and it would hang too low, but I tried it on and it fit just like before.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

You know I still have blue shirt pieces left, right?  At this point, I cut everything up that I had left into equal width pieces…

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

…and sewed them together by overlapping them slightly and zigzagging.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

I wrapped the remaining strip I had around one section, tied it and tucked the tail under the knot.  Infinity scarf!

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about mixing these two colors, but I’m happy with the result.  Two shirts I couldn’t stand wearing turned into one I love with a bonus infinity scarf?  Today was a win.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

Fire Starter Hostess Gift

I’m starting to feel that anxiety of a busy week coming up.  I don’t mind the chaos.  In fact, I sometimes like a little crazy.  The part that makes me tense is the thought that I’ll forget something important.  When there’s so much to do, something is bound to slip through the cracks (FYI – as I was typing this I wrote “crafts” instead of “cracks” – psychoanalyze that!). One of the things I want to make sure to remember is a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  My husband is still away and my sister invited me and my kids to spend the holiday with her family.  Hosting Thanksgiving is no small task, so I want to thank her properly.  Before you think I’m giving away the surprise here, this isn’t the gift I decided on, but I love it and wanted to share it with you anyway.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1

Everywhere we have lived has had either a fireplace or a woodstove.  I love being able to have a fire in the winter.  What I do not enjoy is wading up balls of newspaper to start it.  I decided instead to make something I could just grab out of a basket and throw in under some kindling.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2

To make the fire starters, I used cardboard rolls.  Mine are toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut down a paper towel roll or the center from the wrapping paper.  Speaking of gift wrap, you’ll need some of that too.   You’ll also need some cotton string and something flammable to stuff inside, like shredded paper.  I’ve even seen these made with dryer lint.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3

I used shredded paper for mine.  I also wadded up pieces of the instructions that come wrapped around interfacing and stuffed that in the ends of the tube so the shred wouldn’t fall out while I was working with it.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4

Cut the gift wrap into pieces about 6” by 10”.  Starting from the larger side, roll it around the stuffed tube.  Secure with a small piece of tape.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5

Squish the ends just above the tube and tie with a 6” piece of string at each end.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6

To use, simply stick a couple under some small pieces of dry wood…

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7

…and light the ends.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8

I normally use a butane lighter to start a fire, but I thought something prettier would make this a better gift.  The Burlap Bag had shared a match jar project that was exactly what I was looking for.  The only changes I made were to not cut a hole in the top and use the lid insert under the sandpaper.  I actually had a partial box of strike anywhere matches that I’m pretty sure has been around our house through most of our marriage.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9

After I made the first batch of these using Christmas wrap, I happened to find some wood grain print paper at Target.  Now they’re perfect!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10

Throw in a few dried pinecones and you have a gift that’s both functional and pretty – if your hostess can bring herself to actually burn it.  The wood grain starters will probably still be sitting on my hearth in April.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11

Friday Favorites–Recycling and Repurposing

I’m never quite sure what to say about Earth Day.  It feels similar to what we all tell our children when they ask why there’s no Kids’ Day.  Say it with me – every day is Kids’ Day.  Isn’t every day Earth Day?  Do you only recycle on April 22nd?  Probably not, and I found a bunch of creative people who do it year-round too.

I just bought some shrinkable plastic sheets to play with.  I wish I would have found these DIY Shrinky Dinks from Curbly first.


If someone comes up with some creative way this thing will water itself (I’m sure it’s out there) I’ll be all over this Vertical Vegetable Garden from Instructables user pippa5, because I’m pretty sure I have this shoe organizer somewhere.


I’m sure if you’ve even dipped your foot into Pinterest, you’ve experienced the frustration of trying to track down the original source of a pin.  I saw this photo and loved it, but finding where it came from took a LONG time.  Turns out, it’s an entry in a photo contest on Dave’s Garden.  The photo, taken by Elfishone, is lovely and the idea is a brilliant way to reuse an old purse.


Who hasn’t found themselves with old, empty DVD cases and wondered how they could be repurposed?  This DVD Coloring Case from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn is the perfect answer.


I’m not sure how difficult it would be to find the hardware for this Book Page Bracelet from Happy Hour Projects, but I think it’s definitely worth looking.

Mod Podge book page bracelet

Start collecting those pop tops, because you’ll need a lot of them to make this Pop Top Lamp Shade from Make.


This Buckle Up Key Holder from Uncommon Goods is a ready-made item, but with a little ingenuity and access to an old seatbelt, I’m sure you crafters out there could make one. 


Something about this Corner Door Shelf from Craftaholics Anonymous feels like Alice in Wonderland.


This braided belt from Instructables user hammer9876 uses ties from yoga pants, but the possibilities for reusing other string-shaped items are endless.


I’m going to start stashing away colorful magazine pages so I can make these gift bows from How About Orange.  As if I need another excuse.


Friday Favorites–Flowers

The winter after my daughter turned one, I bought an amaryllis bulb.  Surprisingly, I remembered to water it a few times, and it bloomed into a beautiful red flower.  It just so happened that Codi had a favorite book, which we had to read every day, that included a flower that looked just like it.  Every single time we reached that page, she’d point to the flower.  The weird thing is, she continued to point at the spot where the flower used to be every time we read the book, long after it was dead and gone.


In the wake of this same girl turning 18 and every day bringing up a new aspect of what college life will be like, I nostalgically bought another amaryllis last month.  It finally bloomed a couple of days ago, leading me to a realization.  I need one of these every year.  Having that bright flower in the window is the perfect antidote for the dreary, post holiday month of January.  Even without a little blonde girl pointing it out.

For all the beauty of an amaryllis, with none of the watering, check out this lovely pop-up card from CardNotions on Etsy.


The flower on this Back to School Headband from Brassy Apple is simple enough to make with some motivated little girls.


I like the way this Fabric Flower from I’m Feelin’ Crafty is cut in a spiral, making it curve perfectly.


I love a tutorial that has no words, like these Paper Dogwood Flowers from La Manufacture, and what a fabulous re-use of a shopping bag and tissue.


Do you have an old necktie lying around?  Make it into a cute flower with this tutorial from My Heart is Yours.


These Felt Camelias from How Joyful would be perfect on top of a gift or attached to a headband.


I just love the ruffley-ness of these Ruffled Fabric Flowers from Quiltish.

ruffle fabric flower

I’ve seen these rick-rack flowers around, but didn’t understand how they were made until right this very minute.  Thanks to The Crafting Chicks for excellent directions on their Rick Rack Rosettes.

Buttons always make cute flowers, and here’s a slightly different take from Artsy Crafty Babe.


As if I needed a reason to want a rainbow of duct tape, I’ve added these Duct Tape Flower Pens from Seven Sisters to my want list.


Here’s hoping you find something to brighten up your day today!

Friday Favorites–Gifts for Guys

Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas season has officially begun.  If you’re not out shopping the Black Friday sales, you might be considering handmade gifts.  Actually, if you are out shopping, you might be standing in a LONG line contemplating the same thing, along with “What was I thinking?!?”

For the next few weeks, my Friday Favorites will be full of gift ideas and we’re going to start with the most difficult of all – guys.

I have a couple of bicyclists in my house who might appreciate this Cycling Cap from Dude Craft.


With all the holiday events coming up, maybe your guy could use this Bow Tie and Pocket Square from Craft.


My son has been working on this Paracord Belt from Instructables user Jake22 for months.  I should say he started it, made a mistake, then couldn’t decide whether to continue or fix it.  Still waiting on a decision.


I’m sure this Rubberband Gun from Sugar Bee Crafts was intended for a little boy, but I can totally picture my husband keeping one of these on his desk at work.

rubberband gun tutorial copy

This Pocket Knife Key Wallet from OnlyKnives just says “guy” all over it.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, these Salted Chocolate “Twix” Bars from Crepes of Wrath are the expressway.


He might not know it yet, but your guy definitely needs a holiday tie, whipped up using this Father’s Day Tie tutorial from The Purl Bee.


If he’s less tie and more hoodie, try this Men’s Fleece Hoodie from Craftstylish instead.

I don’t know which would be more fun – to make this Bike Tube Wallet by Instructables user Captain Molo and give it to your guy, or give him a bike tube and the instructions to do it himself.


If you don’t want to make him something yourself, but still like the idea of handmade, check out this Shaving Kit from Etsy seller orangefuzz.  It includes beer shaving soap and comes in a cigar box.  It doesn’t get much more manly than that.


Friday Favorites–T-Shirt Refashion and Recycling

T-shirts are like the flour of fashion.  They aren’t good for much all by themselves but they’re the foundation of a lot of things that couldn’t exist without them.  Once in a while, I look into my closet, wonder how I ended up with so many t-shirts and go shopping for something new.  But I always come back to them, and occasionally try to figure out how I can make them better with crayons, paint, bleach or scissors.  And I’m not the only one out there.

These T-Shirt Pom Poms from Craftaholics Anonymous are not only cute, but they look like they would be really fun to make.


I’m so glad I found this this tutorial for Dear Lizzy’s Pretty Petals Tee before I bought another one of these flowery tops.  I actually wish I had found it before I bought the first one.


I like crafts I can do while I watch television or movies with my family. These T-Shirt Yarn Braided Coasters from Homework would be perfect, and when I’m done, I can set whatever tasty beverage I’m drinking on them.


I love all of the texture and detail on this Anthropologie Pratia Tank Top from Made by Lex.


I’ve wanted to try these Bleach Pen T-Shirts, like these from Show Tell Share, for months now.  I’m just waiting for the weather to be nice enough I can do it outside so I don’t knock myself out.


This Empire Cut Blouse from Guaya is cute, but the bit of ribbon and lace she added makes it adorable.


I. Love. This. Rug.  Thanks to Xoelle for sharing how she made it.


This Long Sleeved Shirt to Short Sleeves from Make It and Love It didn’t just get its sleeves cut off, but added details as well.


All I can say about this reverse applique t-shirt from Sew Simple is wow.


And finally, a pretty Lace Applique Tank Top refashion from Ali Foster Patterns that would be perfect for the lovely summer weather I’m sure is coming our way soon. 


Friday Favorites–Earth Day

I had grand intentions this week.  I have a pair of jeans with a broken zipper that I was going to use to create some sort of Easter basket/container, covering my Easter and Earth Day projects in one fell swoop.  Didn’t happen.  Honestly, there was just too much going on this week.  But it’s Friday, so instead I’m going to let you in on some great recycling projects other people have done.  Don’t worry – that denim thing will turn up here at some point.

I’ve been seeing these homemade play kitchens for a while and every one of them is more clever than the last.  They are usually made from a piece of old furniture, like a night stand.  The details on this version from My Little Gems really put it over the top.


I don’t think it would be especially difficult to get a kid to empty a candy bag for me so I could make this Sweet Tooth Pouch from Punkin Patterns.


And I think there’s someone else in the house willing to empty the dog food bag for the Upcycled Garden Tote from Garden of Eden Goods.


I really like this Braided T-Shirt Yarn Headwrap from Sew Homegrown, but I also think it would make a great belt.


I’ve worried that bags made from old t-shirts might stretch and sag, but I think She Wears Flowers has solved the problem by lining hers.


We have loads of Pez dispensers floating around this house.  I seriously love this Toy Story Wall Art by Under the Table and Dreaming and might have to make one for myself.


This Ribbon Sling Bag by My Recycled Bags is an ingenious use of old store shopping bags.


Primitive Living Skills shows you how to make your own Tire Sandals.


This Treasure Chest Gift Box, made from recycled plastic containers, by Creative Jewish Mom is a present all by itself.


This is one of the most unique recycling projects I’ve seen.  UrbanWoodsWalker on Our Everyday Earth made this plastic coat by fusing plastic shopping bags together with an iron and using it as fabric.  Pretty amazing!


Happy Earth Day…now go recycle something!

Friday Favorites–Christmas Ornaments

We’re getting our tree this weekend, so I have ornaments on the brain.  I try to add a new one or two each year, but I can never bring myself to get rid of any.  I’m either going to need a bigger tree or a taller ceiling.

When my kids were small, AOL was at it’s peak.  They were sending us a CD once a week, trying to get us to sign up for their service.  I could never bring myself to throw them away, thinking they would be perfect for a future craft project.  We used a few of them over the years, but I really wish I would have seen Helenismos’ Quilted CD Ornaments before I tossed the rest.


I already made one of these Yarn Stocking Hat ornaments by Craft Elf.  They’re really cute and would be a great kid project.  Just make sure you read all of the directions, instead of trying to finish it without completing all the steps.  I don’t know who would do something like that.


I. Have. To. Make. This.  We have ornaments representing the interests of everyone in my family, but I don’t think I have any sewing-related ornaments.  I love this Cute as a Button Ornament from Zakka Life.  I need a whole tree of them, in every color of felt I can find.


This Royal Icing ornament from Food Mayhem looks so delicate, which is kinda what I like about it.  This is a top-of-the-tree ornament, so the kids won’t break it and the dog won’t eat it.


This is actually a pattern that’s available for purchase from Rosie Little Things.  I can’t even tell you how much I love the red coat.  In fact, I wish it came in my size, complete with the mittens.


I just like how these Paper Mache ornaments from Blue Cricket Design look.  That simple.  This would be a great way to repurpose old, scratched up ornaments.


I try not to include something from Martha Stewart in every one of these things, but there’s a reason she became a bajillionaire by making stuff.  This Button Wreath ornament would be another good one to make with the kids and the color options are just about endless.


I had to include these Mason Jar Lid Ornaments from Fun on a Dime because I remember having something like this on our tree growing up.  I think ours had photos of us in the middle, but I like the idea of using old Christmas cards.


Anyone who sews has fabric scraps.  Unless you’re making big rectangles.  A few of those scraps and a foam ball and you have this cute fabric ornament from Jody on WhipUp.


Argyle was popular for a while in the 80’s.  I don’t think I ever let it, or plaid, go.  No, I’m not sitting here in my neon tank, off-one-shoulder Flashdance shirt, zipper-ankle jeans and legwarmers.  You can’t see me, right?  Like everything I just listed, I think argyle is back and I couldn’t be happier.  This Argyle Applique ornament from So September is both current and nostalgic, making it a perfect fit on my tree.