Cork snowmen ornaments (or wine charms or cute decor!)

Can you believe that Christmas is this week? I certainly can’t. The past four months — well, year, really — have flown by. We did manage to get Michael’s first Santa photo in, and we’ll hopefully visit two more Santas this week. Of course I’ll share the photos soon.

Last week I shared yarn ball ornaments. I have another super easy ornament to share with you: Snowmen wine cork ornaments!

As you know, I enjoy a good wine. As a result, I often have a cork or two on-hand for crafting purposes. (Sometimes I have hundreds of corks on-hand, when I want to make a cork wreath or something.) These little guys are so cute and so easy.

Wine cork snowmen!

Wine cork snowmen!

Gather your supplies:

  • Cork(s)
  • A block of orange Fimo or Sculpey modeling clay from your local craft store (The only difference that I’m aware of is that Fimo used to be hard before you warmed it up by sculpting with it. Sculpey has always been soft from the get go. Now they’re pretty much the same.)
  • Screw eye (also available at your local crafts store — in the jewelry-making section — or at your local Home Depot of Lowe’s.) These are one per ornament, so buy the appropriate amount.
  • Black Sharpie pen or black paint pen
  • Super glue (possibly already on-hand from your Thanksgiving appetizer platter making!?)
  • Toothpick
  • Ribbon (optional)

Instructions:

1. First, roll out the carrot noses. Mold the clay with your fingers to the appropriate size. Mine are approximately 1/2″ long and 1/8″ thick. I roll mine a little wider on the base, to look more like a carrot. I also use the toothpick or my fingernail to add some lines. I sculpt the base of the carrot against the pad of my finger, so it’s a little rounded, matching the curvature of the cork. (This will help with the gluing in step 3.)

Sculpt the noses

Sculpt the noses

 

"Carrot" lines

“Carrot” lines

2. Bake the noses per the instructions on the clay. I overcooked my first batch, so watch them carefully and err on the side of under cooking them. They will burn, turn color, and stink up your house for days if cooked too long.

3. Once the clay has cooled, add a dab of super glue to the base of the “carrot” and attach to the cork. You’ll need to hold it there for 10 seconds or so, to secure it.

4. Use the Sharpie to draw on the eyes and mouth of your snowman. You don’t need mad drawing skills for this as you’re drawing circles. (Like I said, so easy!)

Snowmen in process

Snowmen in process

5. Screw the screw eye into the top of the cork.

6. Add a decorative ribbon if you’d like. Your new cork snowman can double as an ornament or as an accessory to a bottle of wine you’re gifting friends or family. Or, you can just set them out since they’re so dang cute.

The possibilities are endless with these cuties. You can omit screw eyes and instead slice the top of the cork and turn these into place card holders! (Be sure to slice at an angle, which I didn’t do.)

Ornaments OR place card holders! All ready for Christmas!

Ornaments OR place card holders! All ready for Christmas!

Now, open a bottle of wine so you have a cork for this fun project!

I hope you have a great week! Now I’m off to brainstorm 2016 resolutions. Anyone have any ideas for me? Please share!

 

Michael’s 1st Halloween {2015}

Baby Michael was born just in time to celebrate his first Halloween in style!

I originally wanted him to be a Cookie Monster, but there weren’t costumes in the itty bitty size that I needed. (We did end up receiving a toddler-sized one as a gift, so be on the look out for our Cookie Monster next year!)

Late night breastfeeding is conducive to lots of Pinterest browsing and I found this adorable glow-in-the-dark skeleton outfit on sale. $8 for a costume? Done.

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

I also made this ghost onesie for Michael. (More on that in a future post; hopefully this week)

BOO! It's Michael!

BOO! It’s Michael!

You’ve also already seen Michael’s pumpkin bib. It was a gift and was perfect for Halloween and his six-week Facebook photos.

Michael's 6-week photo shoot

Michael’s six-week photo shoot

Finally, his Waldo outfit came together by happenstance. I was going through Michael’s outfits, saw the red and white striped onesie and his blue pants and voila! I added a red electrical tape stripe to his hat from the hospital, along with a yarn puff. The only item I needed to purchase were pipe cleaners for his glasses. $1 total. Cheapest– and cutest– costume yet!

Where's Waldo... er... Michael!? I found him!

Where’s Waldo… er… Michael!? I found him!

Look at those specs!

Look at those specs!

Which costume is your favorite? I like them all!

We tried putting Michael in an actual pumpkin too, something I’ve always wanted to do with a baby, and it was an extreme failure. We were all laughing as much as my sister was. Everyone except Michael. Maybe next year?

This looks so easy on Pinterest...

This looks so easy on Pinterest…

 

It’s football time!

‘Tis the season to get ready for football season! I’ve been gearing up on Pinterest and have compiled some of my football favorites here for you. We even went to a preseason faceoff between our hometown Seattle Seahawks and Brandon’s beloved Denver Broncos. (The Broncos won~ Go Broncos!) Baby-dependent, Brandon will be heading to the first home Husky game of the season on Saturday. I’ll be at home cooking something delicious. Maybe these ‘chos? {Better yet: pineapple and pork are supposed to induce labor!}

Since the season is long and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to share our tailgate and game day eats, I’m focusing on football crafts today. Specifically, AstroTurf crafts.

I had a lot of fun with AstroTurf last year, with my debut on Q13’s morning show.

Looked good on TV!

Looked good on TV!

I made koozies, coasters, platters, wine tags, “wreaths,” and more. {Full blog post and tutorial here} But those were so 2014.

Beer koozies

Beer koozies

AstroTurf platters: works with any size tile!

AstroTurf platters: works with any size tile!

AstroTurf wine tags

AstroTurf wine tags

One of my most favorite crafts to date: An AstroTurf W!

One of my most favorite crafts to date: An AstroTurf W!

For the 2015-16 season, I’ve purchased a new roll of AstroTurf rug and found some new ideas:

An upgrade on my coaster idea: circles!

An upgrade on my coaster idea: circles!

This AstroTurf table is pretty amazing

This AstroTurf table is pretty amazing

An AstroTurf bulletin board

An AstroTurf bulletin board

I have several ideas swirling in my mind right now, and potentially a couple more weeks of free time to act upon them, so check back for my new 2015 AstroTurf ideas! Happy football season to you! Go Huskies, Broncos and Seahawks!

50 days to go!

About 50 days ago I blogged my master to-do list for the baby’s room.

Well, time has flown by and over the weekend we hit the 50 days until D-day mark. We also spent a lot of time wrapping up some of the nursery projects.

Here’s a update of where we are, and what we still have left to do before the little guy comes in just about seven weeks. (Or sooner?!)

UPDATED master to do list: 

  • Remove the mattress and bed frame. Wrap for transport to the cabin. Transported to the cabin over the Fourth, where I won an award for my quinoa salad!
  • Apologize to Maddie for stealing her favorite napping spot. She still sleeps in there, and has made do with the bassinet. She’s in for a rude awakening when that bassinet is full with an infant!
  • Wash sheets, take comforter to dry cleaners.
  • Remove ball lights.
  • Clean out and remove the bookshelf side table.
  • Vacuum and dust thoroughly!
  • Buy paint and paint the room. We’re debating between Behr’s Sparrow and Anonymous. Which one is your favorite? We went with Sparrow. It’s very pretty and so serene!
  • Secure baseboards. Touch up with paint if necessary.
  • Hang curtain rods and curtains.
  • Place the art on the shelves and think about where wall art will be placed We still have some art to frame, but it’s we’re running out of space!
  • Empty Brandon’s clothes from the dresser. He’s all moved into the master bedroom! It only took 5 years…
  • Replant and move Brandon’s terrarium. It looks so good! I realized that I never posted about it. I’ll add that to the list of blogs to work on!
  • Assemble new rocking chair. Assembled! And we’ve used it several times. We have this pouf on order to complete the look!
  • Grab crib from home-home and set it up. It’s grabbed, but it turns out my sister busted one of the rungs when she was a kid. It’s in Dad’s shop now, getting repaired. We’ve got the mattress and lots of sheets for it!
  • Finish whale mobile. It’s almost ready. I just need to find the embroidery floss in my rather cluttered craft room. Maybe this weekend I’ll finish it!
  • Finish painting ceramic fish and lampshade. Painted. Now I just have to find a spot for the fish and put the lampshade on the lamp.
  • Measure dresser, cut whitewood (or other kind of cheap wood) to create a top. (We’re making something like this, but only the top.) We a went a different direction; one that I’m really pleased with the direction we went! See the photo of Michael’s new ombre dresser below!
  • Sand and paint dresser, replace drawer pulls. Painted. Pulls replaced! See photo and let me know what you think!
  • Sand and stain dresser top, elephant rocker, side table, trophy bases and book boxes. Rocker and side table sanding/staining are still on the to do list, but the trophy bases and book boxes are done and look great.
  • Spray paint the ceramic animal heads, adhere them to the wood trophy bases. They’re painted and now they need to be adhered. I’m debating between using super glue and hot glue. Anyone have any recommendations?
  • Make rope basket “zoo” for stuffed animals. It’s a great idea and project, but I could not find the rope anywhere. Then I went to Homegoods and found an adorable bin for far less than it would’ve been to make the rope basket.

Some new to do’s, in addition to the ones not crossed out above:

  • Get sun from home-home, hang in the corner of the room. Michael and I will grow up with the sun in our rooms, made by my Aunt Peggy!
  • Buy laundry hamper.
  • Clean out ‘candle drawer’ in the kitchen, so we have a place for all of his bottles and supplies. (Yes, we have a candle drawer.)
  • Clean out the bathroom a bit, making room for all of Michael’s new stuff.

And what you really came here for… updated photos!

Here's our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I imagine I'll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here’s our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I’ll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here's the ombre dresser and changing table area.

Here’s the ombre dresser and changing table area.

A close up of the "zoo" bin for Michael's stuffed animals.

A close up of the “zoo” bin for Michael’s stuffed animals.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here's the latest on the whale mobile. It's looking great and will be finished soon!

Here’s the latest on the whale mobile. It’s looking great and will be finished soon!

I hope you enjoyed our nursery update. There will be more photos as we keep finishing projects in the next (less than!!) 50 days!

PAC 12 party pinatas

As you know, I love parties: attending and hosting. When I’m attending, I enjoy every little detail and special touches the host puts on the party to make it their own. When I’m hosting, I really like to do it right and I try to make sure every little detail is perfect. For my birthday last year, we hosted a tailgate for the University of Washington/Oregon football game.

This wasn’t just any tailgate. It was a tailgate with a PINATA! The pinata was definitely the star of the show and although the Huskies didn’t beat the Ducks the way we beat the pinata, I still felt pretty positive. I’m just bummed the videos and photo footage didn’t go viral. Maybe next time…

Oregon Duck Pinata

Back to the duck pinata. I did an exhaustive internet search (both Bing and Google images AND Pinterest) and I only found one (ONE!) Oregon Duck mascot-looking pinata, via Twitter. I reached out to the person who tweeted it and got the phone number of the seller. After my message was un-returned, I decided I could make it myself. (It’s kind of my mantra…)

It’s been about 10 years since I had even thought about paper mache, so I sought out a teacher. Lucky for me, one of my work friends fit the bill. Thank you, Patrick for all of your guidance!

First: Collect your materials. Patrick recommended Sta Flo starch, available at most grocery stores. I bought mine for ~$4 at QFC. I ended up using about a third of the bottle. (Meaning there was more left for that Cougar pinata…) I also used about three free small-sized newspapers. Make sure you find one that isn’t glossy. Look for your run-of-the-mill, classic newsprint paper. You’ll also need two normal-sized balloons (not yet blown up) and some painters tape. I used the 1/2″ thick blue version. I also used a cardboard ring that I found in the cat toy area and another cardboard box. You’ll create quite a mess, so have a large garbage bag and paper towels ready for clean up.

Paper mache supplies

Paper mache supplies

Next: Set up your station. Spread out your garbage bag and cut some of your newspaper into 1-1.5″ strips, about 7″ long. Blow up your balloons to the appropriate size: one is the abdomen (slightly larger, more oblong) and one is the head (smaller and more round).

Now let’s get messy:

1. Dip a handful of paper strips in the starch. Let them soak for 30 seconds to a few minutes.

2. Drape the wet strips over the balloon. This will be one of the messiest, most awkward steps. The balloons will get static-y and will roll around on their own and starch will get everywhere. That’s where your boxes/cardboard rings come into play. Plop those wet, paper covered balloons in the boxes and let them dry. (Likely overnight.)

Doesn't look like much yet... but it will!

Doesn’t look like much yet… but it will!

3. Repeat! You’ll need 3 layers or so, depending on your amount of starch and thickness of paper. Make sure each layer dries fully.

4. Once your last layer is dry and more-or-less hard, pop those balloons! Don’t worry if your  balloons sort of implode. Mine did and I was able to pop them back into the right shape. This is what they could (will most likely) look like:

Don't worry: it's supposed to look like this!

Don’t worry: it’s supposed to look like this!

5. Once the balloon is removed (it might stick a bit) trim up the openings a bit. Connect the two open edges and cut it so the head fits over the abdomen. Make sure there is some overlap, but as little of a gap as possible. Since this gap will be sealed up eventually, you’ll need to cut another opening. I prefer back or top of the head for my openings.

6. Once the base is complete, it’s time to determine your PAC 12 mascot and add the extremities and other features. I was having some issue visualizing the finished product on my first pinata, so I sketched the eyes, which helped me figure out the design for the beak. Use some cardboard (I used something similar to the back of a notepad) and a pen or pencil to curl the edges out a bit. Like this:

It looks a lot like a duck!

It looks a lot like a duck!

For the cougar I waded up more newspaper and created a nose and snout:

Cougar head

Cougar head

Side view of the Cougar snout

Side view of the Cougar snout

7. It’s a similar story for the limbs: design them off of the “body” and then attach them using painter’s tape. Don’t skimp on the tape. The more, the merrier. I crumpled and bent large sections of paper for the legs and then used a spiral tape pattern to make sure they kept their shape. I then taped on the hands and feet or paws, depending on your PAC 12 mascot. Cut holes where the limbs will go in the body and tape them in place. BEFORE YOU CUT: Make sure the hole is a little bit smaller than you think it needs to be. You can always scrunch the crumbled paper.

Leg hole!

Leg hole!

Duck limbs for days

Duck limbs for days

8. Once all of the pieces are ready, tape them together and your pinata will really start looking like an actual mascot.

Duck pinata: about half way done

Duck pinata: about half way done

Cougar pinata: About half way done

Cougar pinata: About half way done

9. Get out the starch and more strips of paper. Time for more layers! Put on another two layers of starched newspaper over everything, especially the seams. It’s boring and you have to be methodical, making sure that the whole area is covered. Just do it.

10. Once those layers are dry (each independently), bust out your solid white drawing paper. (Probably a normal printer paper would work too…) And it’s time to put another few layers on! The total number will depend on how thick paper is as well as how well it covers. I only needed one layer of the drawing paper.

One layer of white paper

One layer of white paper

A couple of layers of white

A couple of layers of white

11. Once all those layers dry, it should be time to fill the thing! For our Duck pinata we used some mini-sized Halloween candy, mini plastic tequila bottles (make sure they’re plastic!) and yellow and green feathers picked up from Michael’s. (The feathers were the best part of the pinata, so make sure you get those! I was thinking about including some cat hair leftovers in the Cougar pinata, but we’ll see. That could be really gross.)

I layered the fillings: feathers, candy, tequila. Repeat. But don’t fill too full. This thing has to be able to hang at its final location.

12. Hang it up! I made a hangman’s noose with yellow nylon rope with these instructions I found on Pinterest. (Yes, it was weird to “pin” noose instructions!)

Oregon Duck on a noose

Oregon Duck on a noose

Finished WSU Cougar pinata

Finished WSU Cougar pinata

Good luck on your pinata endeavor! Please leave any pinata-making feedback in the comments below. And, GO HUSKIES!!

Chose your own craft: Bottle art

It’s Crafty McCrafterson here and I need your help. I cleaned out our liquor cabinet over the weekend and along with bags and bags of wine corks, I found a lot of old wine and bottles of booze.

After pouring out a barely-there bottle of Chambord, I took off the golden plastic rim and discovered there was a beautiful round bottle under all that gaudiness.

What to do with this Chambord bottle?!

What to do with this Chambord bottle?!

Lots to work with here

Lots to work with here

This is where I need your help. Please tell me in the comments what you think I should do with this bottle. Here are the options:

1. Leave as is — it’s beautiful and simple

2. Paint it gold! (I love gold spray paint…)

3. Other — Do you have a better idea? Share your thoughts!

It looks good as is, but would also look great in GOLD!

It looks good as is, but would also look great in GOLD!

 

My new AstroTurf “W” wreath

One of my most favorite crafts to date: An AstroTurf W!

One of my most favorite crafts to date: An AstroTurf W!

My dear old glue gun made it halfway through this very special project. I wanted to finish it so badly that after the literal glue gun explosion, we rushed to Lowe’s to pick up a new one.

I started with this “W” letter from JoAnn’s. It runs $2.99 and stands 9.5″ tall. Perfect. And, you can use this technique for just about any letter or number combination.

You’ll also need that giant roll of AstroTurf that I convinced you to buy a couple of months ago.

I flipped the AstroTurf over and traced my letter, leaving about an inch of overhang. From there, cut it out and get that glue gun ready.

Flip and glue. And glue and glue and glue

Flip and glue. And glue and glue and glue

What I didn’t do on my first go-around and will do in the future– and you SHOULD do your first time, add a wire or a tie of some sort toward the middle of your “wreath” before you glue on the facing layer of AstroTurf.

Start gluing. It’s important to go from one side to the other of the facing of the letter and to go with quick speed, since hot glue dries pretty quickly. Specifically, I glued in three main sections (left, right, middle), one section at a time. First, the fully covered “front” side, then I wrapped the overhang around the back, being very careful not to burn myself. On the backside, I pulled the turf tight and added cuts with the X-acto knife as needed.

Two sides done, just one to go

Two sides done, just one to go

I added some felt flowers to give the wreath that extra Husky feel, using leftover felt from a new coaster project I’ve got up my sleeve. (I tried a variety of designs for the flowers with this technique, for the most part.)

Felt flowers made out of extra AstroTurf coaster fabric

Felt flowers made out of extra AstroTurf coaster fabric

The project didn’t take too long and I think the finished product was well worth the time. I’m going to wager that this wreath and its presence at our game watching parties are the reason the Huskies are winning! (I hope I didn’t just jinx them!)

Anyway, happy Purple Friday and GO HUSKIES!

(YES! There is still time for you to grab the project pieces and make one of these to celebrate UW Homecoming on Oct. 25! You know I’m going to make a couple more!!)