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DIY Autumn Acorn Wall Decor

I was at the Dunkin Donuts closest to my work one fine morning last month, and noticed their big acorn wall decor. It looked like it was made of wine colored corkboard. I decided it would be easier to make mine out of inexpensive black poster board and pattern paper, both of which I already have. So I gathered the following materials:

 

Materials

Black poster paper, pattern paper, pen, scissor, Mod Podge, and a sponge brush

Instructions:
Sketch acorn onto black poster

1) Sketch some acorns of different sizes onto the black poster board

 

Trace whole acorn on pattern paper
2) Cut those out and trace them onto the back side of the pattern paper. For the main color of each acorn, trace the entire acorn onto back side of the main color pattern paper. For the top part of the acorn, trace only the top part of the acorn onto the back side of the top color pattern paper.

 

Cut pattern paper acorns
3) Cut out the pattern paper acorns.

 

Brush mod podge on whole acorn
4) For each acorn, brush the mod podge onto the entire acorn and carefully place the main color paper onto the acorn. Make sure the paper is aligned correctly. You only get one or two tries to get it right before the paper becomes to wet with glue and tears if you try to peel it off.

 

 

Rub whole acorn

5) Rub your hands flat all over the acorn to ensure the main color paper adheres to the mod podge.

 

Brush mod podge on top acorn
6) Brush the mod podge again onto the top part of the acorn and carefully place the top color paper onto the acorn.

 

Rub top acorn
7) Rub your hands flat all over the top part of the acorn to ensure the top color paper adheres to the mod podge.

 

Acorn decor
8) Once all your acorns dry, trim the excess black poster board, if needed. Hopefully, if you were careful enough, you won’t need to. I was not.

9) Display your acorns. I taped mine to my front door to replace the Halloween bats.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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DIY Happy Thanksgiving Banner

November is one of my favorite months of the year. Autumn is in full swing, my hubby’s birthday, and I get a four day weekend without using any vacation days. In honor of the last full month of Autumn, I made a banner out of felt fabric cut into leaves, and painted the letters “HAPPY THANKSGIVING” onto them. I used the following supplies to make the leaves and letters:

MaterialsFelt fabric in variety of colors
Acrylic paint in variety of colors
Paint pallet
Sponge brushes, one for each color
Scissors
Letter stencils
Yarn
Large needle
White paper
Pen
Marker
Paper towels

 

Sketch a leaf onto the white paper using the pen. I sketched the Canadian Maple leaf, because it’s one of the easier leaves to draw.

Trace paper leaf

 

Cut out the paper leaf and use it as your template to make the felt leaves. Trace the
paper leaf using a marker onto the felt to make 17 felt leaves, and then cut out each felt leaf.

Trace felt leaf

 

Once all the leaves are cut, use the stencils to sponge paint the letters “HAPPY THANKSGIVING” onto the leaves, alternating the colors of the leaves and paint. Wipe the paint off the stencil using the paper towels between every application to keep each leaf clean of excess paint. Set each leaf aside to dry.

Painted letter on leaf

 

Once all the leaves are dry, stitch the yarn into each leaf using the large needle.

Stitch letter H

 

Make sure the leaves are in the correct order to spell “HAPPY THANKSGIVING”.

Stitch leaves

 

Space the leaves evenly, and tie a large loop at each end. The loops will keep the leaves from falling off the yarn.

Loops at end

 

Hang your beautiful banner and enjoy your Thankgiving!

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DIY Toddler Dragon Costume

I asked my 3 year old what she wanted to be for Halloween.  I suggested the characters from her favorite TV shows, including Blue from Blue’s Clues, Daniel from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Fig the Fox from Tumble Leaf. But no, she picked a dragon. I don’t know why a dragon, but apparently it’s much cooler than a dog, tiger, or fox. So I put on my DIY cap and rummaged through my inventory of crafting supplies. To my delight, I found some old cereal boxes. I figured I would make a bunch of spinal plates out of the cardboard, wrap them in felt, attach them to a long strip of the same felt, and attach the entire strip of spinal plates to a hoodie.

Materials

Along with the cereal boxes, I also grabbed my rulers (triangle and straight), a pencil, a marker, a scissor, and a hot glue gun. I went to AC Moore and purchased several pieces of felt. I picked purple because it is Lilly’s favorite color and it was marked down to a clearance price. I also stopped by Target and got a new hoodie to use for the costume, so it would feel completely brand new. Once I got home, I spread my supplies on the dining room table and got to work.

Making Dragon Spinal Plates

  1. Open up the cardboard boxes. Try to open them at the seams rather than cutting them open.
  2. Using the triangle ruler and a pencil, draw on the cardboard twice as many spinal plates as you’ll need.  Drawcardboardtriangles
  3. Cut out all the cardboard triangles.
  4. Place two triangles together on a sheet of felt along the legs of the triangles, to form a bigger triangle (this is why you made twice as many cardboard triangles than you needed).
  5. Cut out the bigger triangle out of the felt, adding at least a one inch border around the entire felt triangle.Cutfelttriangles
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have made enough felt spinal plates.
  7. Fold each felt spinal plate in half and hot glue along the open pair of legs to seal them.Foldfelttriangle
  8. Cut off about an inch of the cardboard triangle along the hypotenuse and insert the shortened cardboard triangle into each felt triangle. The cardboard will support the felt and keep it from getting crushed.Triangleintriangle
  9. Once all your felt spinal plates are assembled, cut as many strips of felt as you’ll need to make one strip long enough to fit all the spinal plates. The strips should all the same width, at least 2 inches wide.
  10. If needed, glue the strips together to make it long enough for your dragon’s head, body, and tail.
  11. Hot glue each spinal plate to the strip. If needed, cut a little opening along the folded leg to make it easier to glue the spinal plate to the strip.Gluespinalplatetostrip
  12. Once all the spinal plates are glued down, fasten the spinal plate strip to the hoodie. I used safety pins.

 

At this point, I showed Lilly her costume, and she loved it. She wore it for a full one minute yelling “Roar, I’m a dragon!” and then continued playing with her legos. As I took it off her, I realized that the costume would need wings to make her look more like a Lilly dragon and less like a Lilly dinosaur. So I grabbed more cereal boxes and went back to the dining table.

Making Dragon Wings

  1. Open up more cardboard boxes, preferably at the seams.
  2. Sketch a wing onto the cardboard using a pencil.Cardboardwingonfelt
  3. Cut the wing out of the cardboard.
  4. Trace that wing onto another piece of cardboard and cut it out.
  5. Trace each cardboard wing onto a piece of felt, adding a one inch border around the wings.Tracewingonfelt
  6. Cut out the felt wings.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6. You should now have two cardboard wings and four bigger felt wings.
  8. Join two felt wings along the seams with the hot glue gun, overlapping them by an inch.
  9. Center the cardboard wings on top of the joined felt wings.Assemblingwings
  10. Place the other two felt wings on top of the cardboard wings and hot glue the felt seams closed.
  11. Cut off any unevenness.Smoothedgesofwings
  12. Slip the wings between the hoodie and the spinal plates strip.
  13. Fasten everything together.

And you’ve got yourself a cute little dragon. Trick or treat!

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Painting My Dining Room Blue

The third weekend of November was the one I had been preparing for all month long, the project that most DIYers love: painting my dining room. I knew that I wanted a navy blue color, and that I didn’t want a glossy finish (glossy finishes makes flaws more obvious). With the help of the wonderful gentleman behind the paint counter, I purchased 3 gallons of Blueberry Twist Behr Premium Plus paint, buzzed right home, and got rolling (Get it? Paint rolling? Chuckle chuckle).

2 of the 3 gallons of Blueberry Twist Behr Premum Plus Interior paint purchased at Home Depot (the label says paint and primer, but it's just paint)
2 of the 3 gallons of Blueberry Twist Behr Premum Plus Interior paint purchased at Home Depot (the label says paint and primer, but it’s just paint)

The materials I used to paint my dining room include:

3 gallons of Blueberry Twist Behr Premium Plus Interior paint
1 small bucket of warm soapy water
Plastic cups
Rags
Newspapers
Plastic bags
Latex gloves
Paint rollers (large and small)
Paint brush
Rolling pan
Crowbar
Hammer
Ladder
Painting clothes

Basically, most of the same tools and supplies from when I primed the dining room the weekend before. I prepped the room for painting two weekends prior.

Prepare the tools by soaking the rollers and brushes and cleaning the rolling pan.
Prepare the tools by soaking the rollers and brushes and cleaning the rolling pan.

1) Prepare the tools and materials. I wore the same old clothes that I wore to prime the dining room, including plastic bags over my sneakers. Since my laziness in cleaning my angled paint brushed destroyed the brush (the lesson is always clean your paint supplies immediately from start to finish), I used a square brush instead. Let the brush sit in a cup of water for a minute, and shake the excess water out. Rinse and clean the rolling pan as well. You don’t want any dust or small particles in the paint. Make sure that all the painters’ tape and covered areas are still secure. It’s much harder to fix a mistake with paint, especially the dark color I picked out, than it is with primer.

Label of Blueberry Twist Behr paint from Home Depot
Label of Blueberry Twist Behr paint from Home Depot

Since the paint had just been shaken at the store that morning, I carefully shook the paint can for a few more minutes, opened the can with a crowbar, and carefully poured half the can into the rolling pan.

Tip #1: Keep a small bucket of warm soapy water and a rag nearby to clean up the oopsies. 

Tip #2: Place the rolling pan in the center of the room on some old newspapers. Your much less likely to step in a pan of paint if it’s in the center, since you will be going around the room along the walls.

Tip #3: Keep the entire box of latex gloves around. You never know when you’ll need to change to a clean glove.

Having some fun with the paint roller while painting, two days before my hubby's birthday.
Having some fun with the paint roller while painting, two days before my hubby’s birthday.

2) Paint the corners and edges with the brush and pan of paint. Use the pan of paint rather than the original can, so you don’t accidentally contaminate the main paint source with anything. Paint is more expensive to replace than primer. Gently tap the excess paint from the brush. Paint the areas with just enough paint to cover the areas the paint rollers won’t be able to reach.

Tip #1: Regularly check for, and brush away, dripping paint on the walls. Dripping paint that has dried gives the paint a sloppy and unprofessional look.

3) Roll the paint onto the walls using the big roller and rolling pan. Roll the paint onto the wall in a “W” pattern, just as I did to prime, to minimize drips and an uneven application. Don’t roll the paint on too fast, which can lead to drips, splatters, and flying paint. It’s better to paint slow than to waste time fixing and cleaning up mistakes.

Tip #1: Wetting the roller and wringing out the excess water before painting allows the paint to grip the roller better.

Tip #2: Using an extension pole for the paint roller eases the strain on your back and arms.

4) Blend the edging of the rolled on paint and brushed on paint with the small roller. Blending the two strokes of paint with the smaller roller camoflouges the difference in strokes.

Tip #1: Wet the small roller the same way as the big roller.

Painting a second layer makes the color pop more.
Painting a second layer makes the color pop more.

5) Repeat steps 2 through 4, if necessary. To make the sapphire color bolder, I painted on a second layer the next day.

Tip #1: Be patient and wait until the first layer completely dries. Applying a second layer over a wet first layer only wastes paint.

6) Touch up any areas that need it. Before I cleaned my tools, I took one last look around the room, and touched up any areas that needed it, like any areas I missed with paint, or any splatters I needed to clean up.

7) Clean the tools thoroughly. Let the rollers and brush sit in a bucket of warm soapy water outside to dilute the paint before cleaning them in the sink with warm soapy water. The sooner you clean the tools after painting, the easier it is.

Now that the main part of my dining room is done, it’s time to focus on the details of the room, like the moulding and trim. And that means doing my own staining. YEY!

 

 

 

 

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Painting My Dining Room With Primer

The second weekend of November was all about priming my dining room, in preparation for the holidays. I finished prepping my dining room for painting the previous weekend, which included removing the base moulding and door trim, filling in the holes I made around the door when I removed the trim, with sheetrock compound, cleaning the walls, corners, and edges, and covering any areas that I wasn’t going to paint.  (more…)

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