Oct 31, 2011

DIY Giant Spider

Happy Halloween!

Anybody else having a hard time believing that it's the last day of October already?!  Man, this month went fast.  Super fast! 

As mentioned in my previous post, last weekend I was doing some decorating for a church Halloween party.  It all went great.  The hanging spiders looked cool and the bats added a nice touch to what would have been empty walls.  The Giant haunted house silhouette wasn't so giant but that's ok, it was still big and looked good on the stage.  Did I take any pictures of these things?  NO!  I can't believe I didn't take my camera along - ugh!

The good news though, I do have photos of the giant spider I made and I even have a little DIY tutorial too. I realize it's a little late for you to make your own for this year but you can always tuck this idea away or better yet, Pin it on Pinterest and then you'll have it for next year. And, when I say giant Spider, I really do mean GIANT.  Just for comparison sake, my daughter is 5.5.  Ya, it's kind of big.  My younger daughters named it "Winter" after the dolphin in Dolphin Tale. I kinda thought Charlotte might be more appropriate but, you know, whatever... so here's how I made "Winter."

GIANT Spider Tutorial:  

Supplies Needed:
- Two balls, I used a leftover big bouncy ball from our summer and then a paper mached balloon. If I had a smaller ball I would have just used that.
- Black Fabric
- Glue Gun
- String or Ribbon
- 4 black foam long pipe covers (found at Lowe's for $0.87 cents each)
- 8 elbow pipe connectors (found at Lowe's for, shoot! I can't remember. I think they were only like $0.35 cents each - they were cheap)
- Googlie eyes

Step 1: Glue your two balls together. I just used hot glue but you could probably tape them together instead.

Step 2: Wrap your fabric around the two balls and start securing it in place. You will need to "pull, fold, & secure, then repeat",  the fabric as you go. You want it to keep the round shape as much as possible.  Also, it will look better if you keep all the seams and folds on the underneath side as much as possible.

Step 3: After you get all the fabric wrapped around the form, tie the string or ribbon around the neck.  This will help separate, visually, the head and the body.  Plus, it looks kind of cute with a little bow (see photos of finished spider).

Step 4: I wasn't so great about taking pictures on this part but I think you can kind of figure it out by looking at the completed spider.  Plus, I will try and explain it here.  For the legs, take one foam pipe cover and cut it in half.  Each pipe cover with make two legs, so one half is one leg.  Next take one of the halves and cut it again. This time just cut it about 1/3 the way down.  You want each leg to have a short piece that comes off the body and then a long piece that continues after the "bend".  Does that make sense?

After you have your leg pieces cut, take one pipe elbow piece (the little gray things) and attach the short piece of foam to one side and the long piece of foam to the other.  Then, glue each leg to your spider body.  TIP: When you are attaching the legs the body, it does help if you cut the foam at a slight angle first. This way the legs kind of curve with the body instead of being glued on at a 90% angle.

Step 5: After all the legs are in place, just add eyes and your done.  Pretty easy right?!  This spider may just be the only kind of spider that we love. It's even kissable.

The only thing left to do is put it on display. Currently, "Winter" is hanging out on our porch! I think she is planning on scaring trick-or-treaters. Hehehe!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Oct 26, 2011

Halloween in full swing!

So, a week ago my husband and I got asked to be on the committee to help with what we call the "trunk-or-treat" party at our church.  It was short notice, another couple dropped out and they asked us to step in.  I was cool with it, I like that kind of stuff.  However, I didn't realize that I'd be coming up with the decorations for the whole gym in under a week - eeek!  Now that is scary.

Luckily the tables will mostly be taken care of.  I only have to do 4 tables then I will be doing the rest of the gym, walls, stage, etc...

For the tables I'm doing my Skeleton Trifle bowl, Skeleton jars, my Mummies, and then these:

They are super easy.... here's how I did them.

1- Draw a ghost on white cardstock and then cut it out.  Once it is cut out trace the design onto another piece of cardstock and then cut it out as well.

2-You should have two identical shapes when you are done.

3- Ink the edges.  I used an orange first and then a little bit of black.

4- Next draw on your face and poke holes all the way around your pattern.  (See below)

5- After all the holes have been poked, you are ready to start sewing them together.  This step is a good one for your kiddos to do.  My 10 year old loved being able to sew and it was good practice for her.

6- (not shown)  After you get most of it sewn together, stuff it loosely with some batting and then finish sewing it up.  When you are done, just put it on a stick and attach the stick to a pumpkin.  That's it.  Oh, and you can add a bow too.  I like the bow!

One year, when we lived in Maine, I made a ton of these and we used them on all the tables.  It was for a much small congregation though, we put out like 8 to 10 tables.  Here in Colorado it will be 35 tables - so, so, glad I'm not making 70+ of these.  They are cute but not that cute.

For the rest of the gym, I'll be making over a 100 - yup 100+ - of these in various sizes.  Some really small and some really, super, giant big.  Even making some out of paper mache and plumbing supplies (I'll show you those when I get them done)

Plus, I'm making about 200 - yup 200 - of these cute bats.  The bat idea came from Made
I saw them last year and loved them but forgot about how awesome they were.  They are exactly what I was looking for.  If you want to see how to make them, head on over to Made and tell her I sent ya.

I'm also going to be crafting some sort of GIANT Haunted House silhouette.  I mean like 7 feet tall giant.  Oh, and did I mention I now only have two days to do it.  Eeek!  So, I'm off to finish my decorations.

Oct 22, 2011

Then she made ... A friend!

I'm still trying to process exactly how important the title of this post really is to me.  And, I'm trying to figure out how exactly to share it with you so you know how significant it is too.  Because after all, it's about you, my dear readers, my new friends.

I opened my inbox the other day and found a message titled just that, "Then She Made ... A Friend".  My husband heard me kind of gasp and then turned around to see why.  He looked at me a little funny and asked why I had tears in my eyes.  (I get teary at a lot of things so he really shouldn't be surprised.)  I read him my message title and a few lines from the message.  "Wow" he said.  He really doesn't understand the whole blogging thing or why it's important to me but I think he gets it a little better now.

You know what? You guys are AWESOME!  I know several of you found me through links on other blogs, some of you found me through Pinterest and some of you have been with me since the beginning. But you stayed.  You comment.  You reach out.  You are my friends.   To you all, I say a big, giant....


Your comments and private emails to me have really meant a great deal.  We are all in this together right?  One crafty person to another.  The most recent responses came from my post titled "A Challenge to Become."  So many of you could relate and I appreciate so much you taking the time to tell me.  I really do have amazing blog readers.

So, to Clara, Barbara, and the many others, some even remained anonymous - THANK YOU!  THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  You lifted my spirits, helped my day and touched my heart.  May God bless you all.

Now, with that said,  can you all help me out one more time?  I'd love your feed back.

- What would you like see on this here little blog? 
- How do you feel about blog sponsors?
- Do like give-a-ways?

I don't want to be too commercial but I've had several businesses reach out to me and I'm trying to figure out which direction to go.  This blog is growing far beyond where I thought it would and I'd like to know what you think.


Oct 20, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - updated

This one is for my friends Judy and Chini.  Here's why.  I had mentioned on Facebook earlier in the week at how happiness was spelled out in 4 happy words.  Those four words?  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!  And, I'm not lying, they really are happy little bursts of flavor in your mouth.  I've made them twice already this week. Both Judy and Chini saw my post and requested the recipe... so, for you guys, here it is.  I hope you like them.

Want to make some too?  Of course you do and here is the recipe!

1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
3 Cups Flour
Chocolate chips

The order:
Cream your sugars and shortening together.  Add in your pumpkin, eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Then, add in your cinnamon, soda, and salt and then mix again.  I know usually you add those ingredients in with your flour but I think mixing them in first really helps the cinnamon get mixed in and spread throughout batter better.  Then, mix in your flour.  Once the batter is mixed together add in your chocolate chips.  Notice I didn't put a measurement on the chocolate chips, I just use the TLAR system.  You know, "that looks about right".   I never go crazy with them though because if you get too many, they can over power the pumpkin flavor and well, that would be a crime.

Then, drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 - 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Yum!

In other news, today I'm crafting up some ghosts and jewelry.  Not ghost jewelry or jewelry for ghost but two separate projects.  Can't wait to show you!!!

P.S. My sister, who lives in Utah, mentioned that she talked with a few women at Walmart last night who follow my blog.  I just want to send out a BIG ol' shout out to you all!  Thanks so much for following this little here blog.  I hope your projects turned out just like you hoped they would.  Smiles!!! 

Oct 12, 2011

Spider Q&A & Skeletons - ewww!

Remember these Spee-iiiiders?  I had a few people email me asking how I hung the spiders up.  I'm sorry I forgot to mention that before but here is how I did it ....

I just used a small "cup" hook. You can buy these pretty much anywhere, I found mine at Walmart.  The best way to make these work is to take the rounded part and dig it into the styrofoam like shown.

Then, once the hook is in place, just tie a piece of string, or floss, to the stem of the hook underneath the flat little part that is before the threaded part - did that make any sense at all?  Let's try again, tie your string where the arrow is pointing above, there that's better.  So, that's all I did.  It was simple and has worked really well. We've even had some high winds and my spiders have stayed in place.

Now, on to Skeletons.

My kiddos really wanted to do something with creepy things this Halloween.  I'm not a creepy person. (at least I hope I'm not creepy)  I like my Halloween decorations to have bows and be cute but I was out voted.  So, I let them take the lead and we made these fun things...

This is so easy to do and even though I don't like creepy things, I do love how it turned out.

So, grab a Skeleton from the $1 store and break him up into pieces. Then take moss and place it in a trifle bowl. Add your skeleton pieces and then place the bowl on top of some fun gauzey fabric. Simple right. We get more compliments on this silly little than any other decorations and it took only minutes to throw together.

Ok, and here's one more quick one my kiddos made ... these kind of things are all over the internet but it was fun to create some of our own..

They bought a skeleton garland at the $1 store and took it apart. Then placed the skeletons in jars filled with water and added food coloring. I added some black fabric and string to the tops and that was it.  Super fun and well, kinda disgusting too.


Oct 11, 2011

A Challenge To Become!

Become? Become what?

I very rarely dive into the deep pool of my personal thoughts on this blog.  I know my readers come here for light hearted, quick crafts and honestly, that's where I'm most comfortable too.  I hope, though, that you will bare with me, there's been so much on mind.  Things that, after bouncing thoughts around in my head and then chatting with a few really great women, I've realized that I may not be alone in my thinking or in my struggles.  Perhaps some of you can relate. 

I recently tried to express my thoughts in another public venue but I fumbled it.  I actually ended up offending or confusing a few people. I came across as either confessing my own sins or being self righteous and condemning of others.  Neither was my intent.  I guess I should know better than to stand in front of a microphone and a crowd when I'm highly emotional and try to explain my soul.  Duh!  right?!  So, instead I'll write my thoughts and send them into blogland for the masses to read - is something wrong with this picture?  Hmmm?!  At least I can take my time in writing and edit as needed.  A journal entry of sorts instead of diarrhea of the mouth, yup, that sounds much better to me.

I've been really struggling lately.  Things for me are changing.  My identity seems to have disappeared.  Where did I go?  In so many ways I feel lost.  My environment is the same, I do the same routine.  I go the same places. The territory is familiar but I feel confused and lost.  Have you ever felt that way?  You look in the mirror and you just don't see yourself anymore?  You feel out of place and like you just don't fit?

The odd thing is, I'm not sure why I feel this way.  Is it because my kids are getting older and my role in their life is changing? Is it's because I've let myself get into a rut and I don't feel like I'm progressing?  Is it because, while people are friendly here, I don't feel I have friends?  Is it because my day is usually spent focused on my family and their needs and I'm not nurturing myself?  Or, is it something that I just haven't figured out yet?  I simply do not know.

For the past several weeks I've been trying to figure it all out.  Do you know how hard that is?  How emotionally draining it is? My mind is constantly thinking about the things that are wrong with me. How did I get to this point?  What can I do to change it?  How can I find "me" again?  It's like trying to put together a puzzle only to find out that you have extra pieces and no picture to look at for a reference. Which pieces need to stay, which pieces go?  It's very confusing.

I still haven't figured it all out.  However, after much prayer, soul searching, and listening to several conference talks from leaders of the church I belong to, I felt like I was getting closer to having some answers.  Then, this past weekend I attended a Time Out For Women.  The theme of the conference?  "Choose to Become".  Seriously, it could not have come at a better time.  Things are much clearer now.  Here are a few things that have helped me put my thoughts into perspective and have given me some peace in this personal quest. I share them because I think there are others feeling the same way as me, perhaps it will help.

I know that God's love is pure and simple.  I was reminded of a quote I read from author Regina Brett, "God loves me because of who God is, not because of anything I did or didn't do."  So often I feel like I'm not doing enough and then I beat myself up. I tend to compare myself - yes, it's a personal weakness that I'm very aware of - to others who appear to do things better or who have stronger testimonies or perfect families or more talent and then I get sad and negative about my own self and abilities.  Truth be told though, God's love is pure and perfect.  He doesn't compare, I shouldn't either.

He knows who I am.  I may not fully understand my potential but my Heavenly Father does.  Because of this, because his love is pure and good, I want to do better.  I want to serve, uplift, and participate in things that help and bless others.  His love is a motivating source that I feel helps me work towards living up to my divine potential.  It really is all about progressing and about becoming.

His love is a challenge to become.

A challenge to become something more.

A challenge to help me find myself again.

In a presentation at the Time Out For Women conference, one of the speakers, Merrilee Boyack,  spelled out the word Become in this way... these are things that, when applied to our life, will help us find our selves and become all that we can be.

B = Bold, be a leader.  Be willing to stand and work for that which is good.
E = Eternally Minded, don't dwell too much on the temporary things of today
C = Be creative.  There is something in each of us that needs to create (Amen to that!)
O = Be Outward focused.  Don't dwell too much on yourself instead serve others
M = Be Meek. Be humble.
E = Be Enlightened. Seek after spiritual knowledge.

Then she added one more letter...

U = Be Unique. Be you and embrace the fact that you are not like anyone else.

I so fully related to her words.  I swear, even though there were 1500+ women in attendance, I think she was speaking solely to me.  At the end of her talk she posed the question, "How do you know what to become?"  Something I'd been asking myself for a long time.  Her answer?  "You ask and move forward, then ask and move forward again."

In her response, I understood more completely why I was struggling, I've been standing still. I was looking behind me to find the answers instead of realizing that defining who I am will be an ever changing process.  I won't be the same today as I was yesterday and that is ok.  I've asked my Heavenly Father what He wants me to become and now I am moving forward.

I will continue to ask him and I will continue to move forward.
I'm sure I will still struggle from time to time but I know that God loves me for who He is and not for anything I have or haven't done. Because of this I will be a little kinder with myself along the way.  And, the desire to reciprocate His love is strong and one of the ways I can do that is to become something more than I am. 

For the first time in weeks, the internal struggling and questioning has waned and I feel God's love and great sense of peace and that is a very GOOD thing!  I named my blog "Then She Made..."  how interesting that the most important thing I will ever make is myself.

Then she made... herself!

If you can relate this to, and are still struggling, this talk might help.  It gave me great insight and peace:  Forget Me Not by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Also, if you have the opportunity to attend a Time Out For Women, I highly recommend it.  You can see tour dates here, 2011 Tour 

Oct 7, 2011

Spee-iiiiders! (That's Spider just in case you don't speak Megamind)

I love Megamind!  And, every time I think of spiders I think of that quote, "Ah! Yes! The Speeiiiider!  Even the smallest...."  Anyway, I love how he says spider.  Speeiiiider.  But this post isn't about Megamind, it is about spiders though.   I have a wooden sign that I bought a few years ago that set the theme for our porch decor this year, here's the sign...

The sign looks cute on it's own, however, we wanted to make it true so we've been crafting up some creepy-crawlys around here.  Nothing ground breaking, nothing really new.  However, they are pretty cute so it's worth sharing.  Plus, maybe you didn't know they were so easy to make and well, now you do! And, as a bonus, this is a great craft for the kiddos to help with or even do on their own.

So, here's what you need....

- Styrofoam ball
- Black Paint
- Paint Brush
- Googlie Eyes
- Pipe Cleaners for legs
- Hot Glue
- Tooth picks (optional)

1- Put something down to protect your work surface, I used wax paper because it was handy.  Then paint your styrofoam ball. Tip: When painting styrofoam with acrylic paints, it's best to "dab" instead of "brush" the paint on. Dabbing gets the paint down into the holes.

Also, it's easier to paint a styrofoam ball if you aren't holding the ball itself. Try sticking it on a toothpick. This way, you hold onto the toothpick and rotate the ball as needed while painting. Simple? Yes! But, and I almost hate to admit this, it took me a few times before I realized this - note the painted fingers in the pictures.

2- Once the paint is dry, simply add your legs, eyes, and any other items you want. I added a bow because I think girl speeiiiiiders are cuter than boy speeiiiiders.

3- Now you are ready to hang them up. The fun thing about this craft is that they are quick and easy to make so you can make a ton of them in practically no time at all.  The hardest part is just waiting for the paint to dry.  Also, since styrofoam balls come in so many different sizes, your spiders can be different sizes too - awesome!

Oh, and once we got the spiders hung up, we decided the railing looked a little bland so we also made a bunch of these....

I got the idea from Eighteen25 when  Rebecca Cooper was doing a guest post a few weeks ago.  The only thing is I used pipe cleaners for the legs instead of wire and I think they turned out pretty cute. I actually like the fury legs better than the wire legs she used just because I think the pipe cleaners make the legs look hairy and creepier. 

So that's that.  Enjoy!  Oh, and Beware of Spiders!