Persephone Costume DIY

Monday, October 12, 2020

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I made this gorgeous Persephone costume two years ago and didn't get a chance to share it.  But this year I've been into the wonderful comic that is Lore Olympus, and man, if this costume doesn't fit those vibes. In case you aren't into Greek lore (look into it! It's super cool, and I am no expert.), Persephone is the Goddess of Spring Growth... and the Queen of the Underworld. So if you're into those kinda creepy but also historical costumes with a little bit of fashion flair, this might be the costume for you!

I'm going to start out this tutorial (I use that term loosely) with the inspiration for the costume! To come up with this idea I did what I normally do when I'm brainstorming for a character: I researched some shapes, pulled some inspiration images together, and drew out a sketch. The basic idea was a black greek inspired silhouette with flowers that peeked out when you move, almost as if you were planting flowers with your steps. I wanted to keep with a more gothic look, so that's where the crown of flowers came into play. 

The next step was shopping. I was on a time crunch so I was limited to what I could get quickly. I bought a black shirt and two skirts that I layered, giving me the draped shape I wanted. Then I bought this lace skirt for the underskirt and this crown for the base of the crown. I went to my local dollar store and bought a colorful array of fake flowers, trying to get flowers that were burgundies, blues, muted greens, and oranges. For the final decoration, I found the straightest sticks I could in my back yard.


The crown I bought was great for what I was creating because I could move the leaves and mold them into the shapes I needed. I positioned the sticks, and hot glued them on. I kept the skull pictured above on hand to help get the shape correct, also trying it on periodically to make sure it looked okay. When I liked the position of the sticks, I started gluing on flowers, keeping the bulk of the flowers on the bottom and "fading" up to the top.

For the floral underskirt, I used hot glue to attach flowers onto the bottom two feet of the skirt. I tried everything on as I worked to make sure that the flowers would peek out as I walked. If you have more time I would suggest sewing, but I wore it a couple of times and I didn't lose any flowers.

For how beautiful and unique this costume was, it was pretty simple to make. The most difficult part was the crown, but I really loved how it turned out. So much so that I actually just keep it displayed on the skull in my bedroom all year round. Someday, if I get time to create this costume with all of the attention to detail that it deserves,  I would love to have a train with flowers so it looked like I was leaving a trail of spring behind me. Also, embroidered flowers on tulle? I think so. And to really take the costume to the next level I think it would be such a great touch to carry around a goblet full of pomegranate seeds. This could be a really unique couple's costume as well. Hmm... what kind of Hades costume could I create for my husband?
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Spooky Fish Bowl Decoration DIY

Monday, October 5, 2020

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Amazing your friends with this spooooky fish bowl! This is a craft that I had had in mind for a while, but I never got around to making. I had a plan, I had the supplies... and they sat on the shelf. Then when I did create it... well let's just say maybe I gave myself too much time to think. Turns out my plan was over complicated. But I simplified everything and the project is better for it.

Black Fish Rock
Model Magic
Pipe Cleaners
Small Fish Bowl
Clear Tape
Gray Permanent Marker or Paint

1: Make your fish. 
You can follow along with the step-by-step instructions in the photo below. Take your Model Magic out of the bag and work with it until it is easy to squish. Pinch a tiny piece off and roll it out to create the spine. Take the end of the piece and pinch it flat, creating a tail. Next make the head by shaping another piece of clay into a triangle. Attach the head to the spine. Now roll out one thin coil and cut it into three pieces. Lay these pieces across the back to create the rib cage. The Model Magic will let you work with it for a while, so feel free to tweek until your fish looks how you want. I must warn you, though, that once one part sticks to another it is hard to pry apart.

2: Create your gravestone.
This is a little simpler. Roll out a small flat piece of Model Magic, about 1/3 inch thick, and mold it into the shape of a gravestone. Using a pointy object, gently carve your message into your gravestone (RIP is easiest). Roll out another small section of model magic, thinner this time, to create your base. Attach your gravestone to your base and let dry. Once it is completely dry paint or color the stone gray.

3: Make your plants.
Cut your pipe cleaners in half and wrap them around a pencil. Gently pull them off and mold them until they are a spiral shape you like. Bend the pipe cleaner to a 90-degree angle on the end you would like to be the bottom. Tape the plants to the bottom of the fishbowl.


5. Add your gravestone and your gravel.
Place your gravestone where you want it to be, taping it down if you feel it needs to be secured. Gently pour your fish rock into the bottom of your bowl, being sure to cover the base of your gravestone and any tape.


6. Add your fish.
Gently wedge your fish onto the pipe cleaners, using the space between the rib bones.

With that step your new adorable pet is all set up in it's new home! Be sure to feed it plenty of air and spooky vibes. Please do not actually submerge your pet in water. Please do love your pet with all of your Halloween lovin' heart.

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Busy Board Engine DIY

Monday, September 28, 2020

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If you have been around I'm sure you know, but in case you are new here let me tell you a little secret... my kid is into cars. Like REALLY into cars. So when I fell into a hole of awesome car toys and found this amazing toy for $300 I said what every crafter around the world has said at least once in their life... "I can make that." Of course, mine is made of cardboard and recycled things, but it's a great solution for our situation.

I looked into other toys that let children tinker with motors and they all had something in common that kind of bugged me... they were mostly gears and nuts and bolts. And while that is really cool, I had dreamed of a toy that could actually introduce some VERY basic car tasks, like changing a tire or charging a battery. So I ended up researching a bit about car care and basic repair tasks, and came up with a small list of things that I thought I could create with supplies I had at home. Then I modified all of these ideas to be able to keep my kid entertained for more than 5 seconds, drew up a diagram, and started collecting supplies. 

So here's what we've got going on under the hood:

- A car battery that you can clip cables to.
- A belt that you can turn and change out.
- Fuses and a fuse box.
- An oil tank with a dipstick and a place to "drain."
- Spark plugs.
- Fun decorations that could be called pistons?
- Two changeable tires with hubcaps.

I realize that these are ridiculously incorrect when it comes to actual engine repair, but I kept in mind the audience (a three-year-old) and focused on making it fun over factual. I would also like you to know that everything I used to make this I already had in my house. So feel free to modify anything to fit in with what supplies you have on hand.


Car Battery Supplies: box, dowel rods, yarn, clothespins, paint, tape, scissors, and hot glue.

Tape up the sides of the box, cut your dowel rods, and glue them on. Paint your dowel rods and your clothespins to match, attach yarn to box and clothespins with tape.

Now you have a battery! My family asked what the three charges were about. It was really to provide an extra color learning experience, but we decided it was a positive charge, a negative charge, and a magical charge. 

Serpentine Belt supplies: Empty wide ribbon spools, cardboard, scissors, tape, pipe cleaners, wide elastic, needle, and thread.

Cut your cardboard to match the size of the tops of the ribbon holders, then cut two holes in the middle. Thread the pipe cleaner through the holes, then down through the hole in the ribbon spool. Tape it to the cardboard underneath, then cover the top with tape. This should allow the spools to rotate. Tape down all of the spools you have, then wrap your elastic around and trim, leaving excess. Sew your elastic into a loop and wrap it around your spools.


Fuse Box supplies: Corrugated cardboard, floral foam, Exacto knife, wooden appetizer picks, colorful paper, duct tape, hot glue, and a permanent marker.

This was one of the parts of the project that took a few tries to get right. To make the fuse box I cut cardboard to make a box that would fit where I needed it to, trimmed some floral foam to fit inside, and once it was in I covered the whole thing with tape. To make the fuses I found it was best to draw out a guide of where I wanted the prongs to be placed in relation to the paper. I put the paper down, put hot glue on one half, placed the trimmed prongs and folded over the paper. When I had them all made I use an Exacto knife to cut holes into the box and lined them with a permanent marker to show where the holes were. The object of this activity is for the child to match the number of prongs the fuse has (two or three) to the number of holes in the box.

Oil Tank supplies: Milk carton, plastic carton with large screw-on lid, zip tie, scissors, and hot glue.

I didn't get any good pictures of this, but the "oil tank" has two lids. One (the milk carton lid) is on the top, and the other (larger lid) is on the bottom. This way the child can fill the oil tank and unscrew the lid on the bottom to "change" the oil whenever they want to! To do this, I cut off both the lids and the pieces of plastic they screwed onto. I flipped the milk carton over and cut a hole in the bottom for the milk carton lid. I glued this on with hot glue. Then I flipped it back the right way and glued on the larger lid parts to what was now the bottom. I glued a zip tie to the inside of the milk carton lid for a "dipstick."

Spark Plug supplies: Plastic nuts and bolts (like these), water bottle caps, straws, skewers, metallic silver marker, and a hot glue gun.

Cut holes where you want your spark plugs to be and glue on the "nut" part. Test to make sure the bolt will screw into the nut and the cardboard underneath. To make the spark plug I put hot glue into the bottom of the bolt, (the part that actually screws in is hollow) then I stuck in my skewer that was inside my straw. When all of those parts were dried, I cut a hole in the water bottle cap and glued it to the top for stability. Then I colored the exposed part of the skewer with a metallic silver marker. All of this is a visual thing, I just Googled spark plugs and tried to make them look like the pictures I saw.

The "Piston" supplies: T.P. rolls, plastic caps, and hot glue.

This is the part of the build that I think might win the award for most unrealistic. I had a little room so I added in these "pistons" to have some more things to play with. They are just made of a smaller T.P. roll inside of a wider half of a T.P. roll with a cap glued on top. Glue them to the cardboard and you have a movable ring that I'm sure has a very important purpose for this engine. Maybe it has something to do with the magical charge?

Tire and Hubcap supplies: Plastic nuts and bolts, paper plates (2 big, 2 small), black paint, silver paint, and an Exacto knife.

Cut a hole in the centers of the big plates then paint them black on both sides. Cut the edge off the smaller plate, a hole in the center,  and cut out sections to resemble a hubcap. Paint these small plates silver. Position your tires where you want them, mark where the center is, and cut a hole for your bolt. Put the bolt through from the inside of the "car" then add the nut to the other side to secure your tires.

To make the base for the engine I used an extra box hidden in the bottom for support. I also just did a lot of weird duct tape magic to make it all stay up. I have no advice for this, the whole engine is held in place with hope and a whole roll of duct tape. Which is a lot like some of the real cars that I have owned through the years, now that I think about it.

This project was time-consuming but worth it. It is sturdy enough that we have had it for about a month and it still hasn't broken permanently, which is amazing as it has also doubled as a cat bed. Ro has enjoyed playing with the components, but there are still a few improvements I would like to make. I think I want to buy some ribbon or beads that have an "oil slick" look about them so he can put something in the oil tank besides leaves or whatever toys he finds on the floor. All in all, if you have a little one who can't get enough of cars, this is an inexpensive (and eco-friendly) alternative to an expensive toy.

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Expression Face Magnets DIY

Monday, September 21, 2020

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 I've always found it interesting how expressive eyebrows are. Maybe it's because I draw a lot of faces, and a slight tilt of an eyebrow can change a character from normal to "determined and a little angry" in 2.5 seconds. It could also just be the fact that I can't raise just one eyebrow at a time and therefore I often find myself with extreme eyebrow envy. Whatever the reason, through my years I've learned to watch for the tilt of a brow or the quirk of a mouth to read people's emotions. 

Obviously, my almost-three-year-old has only the beginnings of these skills. I know its something he will develop over time, but I thought I could help him along with this fun little toy! With a few basic shapes, you can show a wide range of emotions. Also, you can just make silly faces, which is just as important.

Sticky Back Magnet Sheets
Metal Pan or Magna Doodle



Step one: Cut out your patterns. Feel free to use the image above as a template, or freehand it!

Step two: Trace the pattern onto the back of the magnet sheets. If you plan on using these as magnets you will need two each of the long trapezoid, the small half oval, the eye shape, and the circle.

Step three: Cut out your shapes.

Step four: Peel off the back of the magnet and attach it to paper. Trim it to size.

And that's it! This simple craft took me about 20 minutes to make. I had so much fun challenging myself to create as many expressions as I could!

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Play Road Printable

Monday, September 14, 2020

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Hello! As you've recently learned, we are all about cars in this house. In my constant quest to find the perfect road toy, I came up with the idea of interchangeable square map pieces that could potentially build the most epic road map ever. I used the little bit of free time I have to create a simple rendition of my idea and after we played with them for a day it was deemed good enough to share.

This kit includes 13 different .pdfs. There are 4 variations of straight road, a roundabout, a 4 way stop, a railroad crossing, and many other pieces that will help you make an awesome map. I kept the design for everything simple to encourage kids to decorate them however they wanted!

We ended up making a map that filled our living room, but with this particular type of map the possibilities are literally endless. If you want to download your own map scroll to the bottom of the page!

Download the Road Printable .pdfs here!

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Ten [CAR CAR] Things...

Monday, September 7, 2020

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Monster's first word was "cat." We have two of them, so that wasn't a big surprise. Then we got out our little IKEA blocks that come in a wagon, and bought a book all about wheels. So his second word was "car" and for a long time it seemed he might have decided that he can just stop there.
Unsurprisingly, we are all about cars in this house. Of course this means I spend a fair amount of time looking for cute car toys and car toy accessories. There are some that I buy right away, but many more get put on my "in my dreams" list, so I decided that a ten things was a perfect place to share them with you.

This road toy is so cool! It is durable and can be used almost anywhere. 

This road tape could turn any drab old kitchen into an epic town.

This Etsy shop sells colorful shirts that double as a road map! Let your kid play while you enjoy a (hopefully) soothing back rub!

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Bug Stamps DIY

Monday, August 31, 2020

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These are a DIY version of this adorable Bug Stamp Set you can get from Moon Picnic. Using simple supplies and an afternoon of work I created my own set with all sorts of options for making creative and sweet little bugs!

Sticky Back Foam Sheets
Ink Pad

Step one: Stick your foam together.
You want your stamp to be at least two pieces of foam thick, so you will need to take the back off of one piece, line it up, and carefully press it on top of another piece.

Step two: Draw your bug parts.
On the paper side of your foam pile draw various bug shapes including bodies, heads, wings, legs, and antennae! Print the picture above and cut out the shapes you like if you need a pattern!

Step three: Cut out your stamps and place them on the cardboard.
Make sure you place the pieces far enough apart that you have room to cut them out. When you're putting on the legs or antennae remember to leave enough room for the body and head! If you want on one of the stamps to have texture use a sharp pencil to draw or poke your pattern. For stripes, you want to make sure there is space between every line.

Step four: Cut out your stamps!
I tried to follow the shape of the piece so placement would be easier when you are stamping!

Mixing and matching these little stamps give you endless possibilities for bug creations! For the bugs here we just used a black stamp pad. The layering of ink made some really neat designs! Ro and I both had a lot of fun creating our very own insects. It's easy to store, and a great toy for rainy days.

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Flashlight Book Basket

Monday, August 24, 2020

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This book basket is perfect for a late summer night, with crickets chirping and fireflies shining. We brought our basket outside, laid out a blanket, and had our storytime as late as we could, right before bedtime.

I used the flashlight theme for this basket, and I found some really cute books to include! You can find a complete list at the bottom of the page, but I will tell you right now that my two favorites were Flashlight by Liz Boyd and Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine.

For our activity I grabbed some clear plastic packaging out of our recycling bin attached it to shapes I had cut out of paper. We used the flashlight to make shadows on the side of our garage. Ro loved it!

Here's the list of books I included in this basket. The interactive ones were amazing, and I think Ro would have played with them all night if I had let him!

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