Sugar Skull Lights Tutorial

Every year it seems like the selection at Halloween gets a little more cutesy and cheap looking.  This years motto seems to be cover it with glitter and call it good, well that’s not good enough for me! I should note that sugar skulls are a Day of the Dead decoration, but here at my house the Halloween and Day of the Dead decorations over lap.sugar skull lights 4You will need:
  • Inexpensive skull lights – I found mine in the “Dollar Spot” in Target, although they cost $2.50
  • Puffy paint in a selection of colors, I used regular, pearl, and glitter
  • 1 yd. of fabric, mine is black with multicolored dots
Helpful extras – Q-tips, paper towels, and an empty egg carton.sugar skull lights 1 Start by taking the skull covers off of the lights, the ones I had just pulled off.sugar skull lights 2Using puffy paint, decorate each skull. I kept it pretty simple, outlining the lips, adding eye shadow/eye lashes, rouge, and hair. If you make a mistake use a Q-tip to clean up the line or wipe the paint off with a paper towel and start over. I only decorated the fronts, the back side will be hidden by the fabric fringe. I set them in an egg carton and allowed them to dry a few hours.sugar skull lights 3While the paint was drying I cut my fabric. My fabric was 44” wide, I folded it into quarters and cut one inch wide strips with my ruler and rotary cutter from selvage to selvage. I cut each 1” wide strip into forth's, making each strip about 11” long (so I left the strips folded and cut the folds).
Next I used a larks head knot to attach the strips to the cord of lights. I used 12 strips between each light, for a nice full garland.sugar skull lightsOnce the skulls are dry put them back on the lights and your ready to hang up your new lights! There are a lot of different ways to vary this project, for example:
  • make the fabric strips shorter and tie them on for a fluffier garland
  • make all the skulls the same
  • use food coloring tinted Mod Podge to color the skulls before adding the designs
  • use a variety of scrap fabrics for a shabby chic look
  • use ribbon or yarn to decorate the garland instead of fabric
If you make one of these garlands share a link with us, I’d love to see what you come up with!


More Cleaning, Less Crafting

Now I know how I was able to get so much crafting done with the mess, cleaning takes a looooooooonnnnnnnngggg time.  Keeping everything done eats up a lot of what used to be crafting time.  It is the cleanest it’s been in here…well, ever! It is not spotless, but if you called to say you were coming over in 30 minutes I could have it pretty tidy by the time you got here :)
I finally got all the furniture moved and have hung up some of our art.  Before I hung everything up I gave it all a good cleaning, wow, the frames and glass were filthy!!!  Now everything looks all shiny and new.bird girl and the wingsThis is my favorite corner so far.  On the left is a very large, limited edition print that we call Bird Girl(sorry, I can’t decipher the artists name) that belonged to my husbands mother and on the right are life sized, wearable wings that belonged to my Father in law, he got them when he worked at Macy’s in New York, they were part of a Christmas window display.
Anyway, no crafty time means I don’t have anything super fabulous to share.  All I have had time for was crocheting these little cork knightscork knights I need to add their shields and faces, but I wanting till I’ve finished making an army of them.  I have also made cork ninjas, I don’t think I’m in danger of running out of corks any time soon.
I think I might need to work on my time management skills, maybe it will get easier once I get everything the way I want in and am just maintaining instead of the major overhauls I’ve been doing.  Any advise you may have would be very welcome.


Amigurumi Squirrel

I happened across this amigurumi chipmunk pattern (I think it looks like a squirrel) while browsing around on ravelry.  I loved his tiny little ears and his scrappy tail so much, I just had to make one!amigurumi squirrel The pattern was quick, easy, and well written.  I have more in progress ones waiting to be finished, I’m thinking squirrel minions for the craft room. 
As always, the first one is more of a learning experience that a perfect finished project, but this one looks pretty good already.  My suggestions are: when you get to row 19 stop and get the eyes set and start stuffing, I like a pudgy, firmly stuffed amigurumi! shape while you are stuffing.  You’ll notice my tail seems a bit small, this is because of the super stuffing, I will be making a fatter, fluffier tail and I will be more patient and run it through the wash a few times for extra fraying before sewing it on.  I used embroidery floss for the embroidered nose and I’m thinking that yarn (like the pattern suggested) would look better, but I do like the floss embroidery on the tail and to sew the button on.  I really like the simple shaping of the body and I think it could easily be made into other animals, a cat or rabbit comes to mind first.
Dawn Toussaint has more free patterns available on her website, she also has some beautifully detailed doll patterns that combine crochet, knitting, and fabric.  I want to make a lovebird next.
Have a super crafty weekend!!!


Pinterest Style: Giant Decor

clothes pins dominoes  button 
keys measuring tape mustache
playing card safety pins Scrabble tiles
So everyone loves pinterest, right?  I spend time pinning everyday and I often go back and look through my boards trying to find a certain project or picture and I’ve noticed that several definite styles are showing up.  The most noticeable one it my love of giant decor, especially sewing notions and games.  I guess I shouldn’t be THAT surprised (giant spoon and fork obsession), but I thought it was neat.  What are styles are showing up in your pins?


I Can Solder!!!

Years ago I tried to learn how to solder, I bought all the recommended stuff and did a lot of reading.  I knew exactly what to do, but it just didn’t work.  I couldn’t get the solder to stick to the soldering iron.  You’re supposed to tin the tip…um, yeah, I never found anywhere that really explained that well and I didn’t know if my tip was tinned or not (it was not).  I went over the solder so many times trying to get it smooth that the glass got overheated and cracked.  There was a lot of frustration and cussing involved and at one point I splattered molten hot solder onto my foot (note: it is a bad idea to wear flip flops while soldering) 
Anyway, I got pregnant and the fumes seemed like something I shouldn’t be inhaling, so the stuff got packed up and was never seen again…Until a few weeks ago when I found everything in the basement, still boxed up from two moves ago.  The price stickers were still on everything and, ahem, I had quite a bit invested in this hobby, so I decided I would try it one more time and if it didn’t work I was going to sell my supplies.
I did some more research and I decided that I needed to get some sal ammoniacsoldering supplies1 I know it doesn’t look like much, it’s a hard block that you use to clean the tip of your soldering iron and it helps speed up the tinning process.  I also ordered some paste flux, it’s easier to use than the liquid I had.soldering supplies 2It made all the difference, my tip is perfectly tinned (shiny and covered with solder) and the solder flows from the tip to the copper tape.  It looks easy because it is easy.  I still need some practice to get a more professional look, but it is so much better than it was before.  I can’t believe that one little supply made all the difference.  I’m so glad that I ordered it.
Now I need to make some fabulous designs to solder into ornaments and pendants.  I can’t wait!!!


Blogging Goals

Well, I’ve had a busy couple of weeks (I can’t believe how fast time flew by) and I might almost be caught up.  I have been doing a lot of chores and the big projects that I don’t always have time to get to, having some freedom during school hours and nap time is helping immensely with that. 
I have also have more time to think about blogging and what I really want:
  • I really enjoy blogging, I like sharing what I’m working on and talking to all of my online friends.  I can’t imagine what not blogging would be like, in fact I caught myself several times thinking about how I needed to blog about this or that.  This is a part of my life that isn’t going to change.
  • I have a serious internet addiction and that addiction is taking away from my life.  Spending all day checking and rechecking stats, updates, emails, and basically being an internet busy body is not doing me any good.  I don’t have advertisers (anymore) or sponsors who require me to post. Those numbers aren’t what’s important me.
  • I want to have actual content on my blog, not just endless links.  I like occasionally sharing my etsy favorites or my project wish lists, but it’s not the only thing I want to talk about.  I also don’t want to be spam-y with twitter or facebook, I want to be social.
  • I don’t want to feel obligated to only make things that will make good blog posts (this is a big one that I have been struggling with for a while).  If I need to make some plain curtains, I need to do it and get it done, not because I want to blog about it.  And also I don’t need to share every little thing with you guys, I should just be sharing the good stuff ;)
  • I like having a blog schedule, but 3 times a week, every week was getting to be overwhelming.   Right now I’m thinking a rotation of two posts one week and three posts the next week, so roughly 10 posts a month.  I have some great ideas for ongoing series posts and that would allow me to make more complicated (and better) projects and tutorials.
  • Finally, I want to know what my visitors and subscribers (that’s you guys) want to see here.  Is it projects, tutorials, me in crazy hats, design tips, downloads, what?  Also, my fellow bloggers, how to you keep everything balanced/juggled and what are your rules/goals for blogging?  I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts.  Please comment here or email me (there’s a link on the side bar).
100_6418 And since it isn’t a blog post without a picture, here is my favorite moment from last week.  Our Monarch hatched from his chrysalis (you can kind of see what is left of it there in front of him on the right), this is right before we let him go.  Little Sir named him Nick, isn’t he beautiful?