October 25, 2010

Toy Story Costume

I love making Halloween costumes. My son will be Iron Man this year. I tried to make his costume. I failed. He will be trick-or-treating in an Iron Man costume from WalMart. I still wanted to make him costume, so I convinced him that he should be Woody from Toy Story for the zoo's Halloween Spooktakular. It was pretty easy to put together if you're looking for a last-minute costume.

  1. long-sleeved yellow plaid button-down shirt--This garage sale Gap shirt inspired the costume. It was hanging in my son's closet, and I thought it would make the perfect Woody shirt.

  2. blue jeans

  3. cow-print vest--I made a pattern for this by tracing the basic vest shape around the shirt. I lined it with muslin and trimmed the edge in bias tape, but you could easily use fleece fabric and not have to finish the edges. I was thrilled with how well the vest turned out, and it will be fun for dress up after Halloween. (On a side note, I thought I was buying cow-print fabric until the lady at the counter handed my cut fabric to me and said "Here's your doggie fabric." Apparently I had picked out dalmation-print fabric.)

  4. cowboy hat--I purchased this foam hat at Hobby Lobby for $2.99.

  5. suede lace for the cowboy hat brim--This is optional. I punched holes along the edge of the brim then strung the lace through the holes.

  6. red bandana

  7. sheriff badge and belt buckle--unfinished wood shapes purchased at Michael's, painted with gold spray paint, stamped with alphabet stamps and StazOn ink, attatch a jewelry pin to the back

  8. cowboy "boots"--My son doesn't have cowboy boots. I made these by sewing tubes of felt that would fit over the legs of his jeans. I cut the tops to look like cowboy boots and tacked the fabric to his jeans so they wouldn't slip off. When paired with brown shoes, they really look like cowboy boots!

  9. belt and holster--belt is a strip of brown felt cut long enough to fit around the waist and pinned in the front. I also made the holster out of felt and sewed a loop to the top which the belt goes through.
That's it! Happy Halloween!

October 18, 2010

pumpkin spice bundt cake

It's odd for me to share a photo and recipe of something I made.  My husband is a much better cook than I am and does most of the cooking.  I do like to bake, especially when there are shortcuts involved like using a cake mix.  When fall rolls around, I am totally ready to break out the canned pumpkin and start baking.  My first pumpkin item of the season is a pumpkin spice bundt cake--

The recipe was in our local newspaper and included instructions for frosting it to look like a pumpkin.  I decided simple was better and just made a basic icing.

Pumpkin Spice Cake
(from Omaha World Herald)

1 package Duncan Hines moist deluxe spice cake mix
2 large eggs
1 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped nuts (I omitted these)

Heat over to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.  Combine cake mix, eggs, water and pumpkin in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in the pan for 25 minutes.  Invert onto a serving plate and allow the cake to cool completely. 

After it cooled, I topped it with some icing.

Quick White Icing
(adapted from The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking)

In a medium bowl, beat together on medium speed:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter

Add and beat until smooth:
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

That's it!  A yummy fall-inspired treat that's kind of homemade.

October 12, 2010

painted wood jack-o-lanterns

I don't do much decorating for Halloween. (I don't do much decorating for any holiday, though, since whatever decorations go up always have to come back down.) I do like using stuff that would otherwise be thrown away to make other stuff. Several months ago I dug some wood out of our trash that my husband had thrown away (leftover oak veneer from the basement bar he built). I had him cut it into several smaller pieces so I could paint them with chalkboard paint and make cute little labels. And like most other project ideas, they've been sitting in the garage untouched. After being inspired by these spooky soap dispensers at Crap I've Made I decided to try and make some cute little jack-o-lanterns out of the larger wood scraps. I love it when an idea actually turns out--

Don't the dead plants in the pot make it look extra spooky? I painted it with Ceramcoat Georgia Clay (the best pumpkin color if you don't want obnoxious bright orange) and sanded and inked the edges with Tim Holtz walnut ink. I made the face using a freezer paper stencil. I found several templates online. I was hoping freezer paper stencils would work on wood, and it did. I used black craft paint for the face on this one, but I also used spray paint on some. Don't use too much paint or the freezer paper will start to lift up and paint will leak under the stencil. The freezer paper did leave a little waxy stuff in some spots, but since I inked it you can't even tell. The stem and stake is a shim which my husband trimmed down the top to make it more stem-like. I painted the shim, glued it together, sprayed it with sealer, and my Halloween decorating is complete! I even let Fred (my three-year-old son, not his real name) make one. His is obnoxious orange, and we used a craft stick for the stem and stake. I made the face stencil for him since he's not allowed to use an exacto knife or an iron, but he painted the face himself. His turned out pretty cute, too--

The best part is he had so much fun, he keeps asking me when we can do more craft projects. I love it!

October 5, 2010

hutch makeover

I'm ready to start furnishing my new craft room, but I don't want to spend a lot of money. I love the look of Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs, but I do not love the prices. For example, I love this Ballard bookcase:

The price tag on this? On sale for just $599.99. Marked down from $999.99. I'm sure it's a very nice bookcase, but are they crazy? My grand plan for furnishing my new craft room is to purchase pieces from thrift stores and garage sales and paint everything white to match. My first project was a $60 dresser/hutch from Goodwill. I was looking for something that had a cabinet on the bottom instead of a dresser, but you can't be too picky when you're shopping at a thrift store. I'm really bad at taking before pictures, so here are the pieces already sanded. The hutch:

The dresser (minus the drawers):

I shocked myself by completing this whole project in one week. A big motivator was needing it out of the garage so my husband could park his car in there again. After some sanding, primer, paint and $28 in new hardware (total splurge), my beautiful new hutch:

With some of my craft stuff in its new home:

I am incredibly proud of myself for tackling and completing this project in record time. I constantly tell myself I don't have time for projects like since I work full time and have an almost 4 year old son to contend with when I'm not working. But I did it! My husband was a little skeptical at first, but even he was amazed by the results. Now I just need to find that next piece of furniture to transform!