Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Sew Halloween Costume in Under an Hour

Easy no sew costume
Last weekend I spent several hours rushing around, trying to finish my kids' costumes for a Halloween party. How many of you were in the same boat? I'm sure I wasn't alone.

The thing is, my children's costumes weren't complex. They certainly weren't made from scratch.  What took me so much time? After the fact, I realized I was doing a lot of hand stitching and I was fussing with all the little details way too much. So I decided to give myself a challenge. Could I make a sweet DIY costume in 30 minutes? Well, if you have read the title of this post you already know that I didn't quite make the 30 minute mark. (I even timed myself to be sure.) However, I wasn't that far off either!

DIY owl costume
Inspiration Costume from Fiskars
I came across this adorable DIY owl costume and I was enchanted. It instantly became the inspiration for my challenge. The original costume involves a bit of sewing, but even just a bit wouldn't be fast enough for me. I set to work, creating my own version, the quick and dirty way: with hot glue and safety pins.

First, I assembled my supplies...

no sew costume supplies

You can see above that I used felt, but any no fray fabric will do. Old t-shirts would work great. I also used a set of thermals for my t-shirt and pants, but you should use whatever you have handy. All of this stuff was already laying around my house. No midnight run for craft supplies required.

Next, start cutting the pieces for your bird's face and feathers. To save time, fold your fabric in half, and cut two pieces at a time. This is especially easy with felt. Knit fabrics, like old t-shirts, can take longer to cut because they move around more.

I used a square for the beak, folded along the diagonal, and then glued in place. I left my beak partially open, but you can glue it completely or just use a triangular piece to begin with. 

felt bird costume
Bird Eyes, Beak, Chest Feathers, and Ribbon Piece for Chest 
Glue the eye pieces together as pictured above. Then safety pin each eye and the beak in proper position on your knit hat. Alternatively, you could hot glue the eyes and beak to the hat, but I wanted mine to be fully removable.

Next, cut a length of ribbon that will go across the wingspan of your long sleeve t-shirt. This piece should be long enough to go from sleeve cuff to sleeve cuff when the sleeves are spread out in a "T" shape. Cut another piece of ribbon that will span just the chest of the shirt, from armpit to armpit.

 Now get your feathers, and start hot gluing them to your ribbon any way you like. I made the feathers for the wings bigger in the middle and get smaller towards the cuffs of the sleeves. For the chest feathers, I glued the first row to the ribbon and then each layer after that was glued to the layer before it.

no sew bird costume

Lastly, safety pin your ribbon in place. You can do this by flipping the feathers up and safety pinning the ribbon from the outside of the shirt. This way there won't be any pesky safety pins rubbing against someone's skin and the pins will still be hidden from view.

There you have it. A spanking costume in under an hour and no sewing! This method doesn't just work for birds either. Bats, butterflies, pterodactyls…you name it. Happy no sew Halloween to you. You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Organizing a Wasted Corner into a Reading Nook

I like to be organized. Contrary to popular belief in my family, I am NOT always organized. Is anybody? If there is someone out there who always has it together, who never accumulates messy piles of paper and doesn't know what a junk drawer looks like, I apologize now. We have nothing in common and we can't be friends.

It's true. I am a bit of a neat freak, but my children are doing an admirable job helping me kick the habit. While they have managed to chip away at my desire to constantly straighten things and purge everything not in immediate use, they have not removed my desire for general order. To the contrary, they have reinforced it! With chaotic little tornadoes about, it has become even more important to have an appropriate place for things. Otherwise we tend to lose it, break it, trip on it, or forget about it. None of which are good options.

So behold the latest area in our home that has sunk into the black hole I call clutter and disfunctionality:

The corner of my bedroom. Isn't it lovely? Not really. For the last two years, it  has been the catchall for a revolving pile of junk. As soon as I get stuff cleared out of it, it becomes the most convenient spot for the latest thing I don't know what to do with. Here it is again in an improved state.

One kitchen chair, a fan, a bag destined for donation drop-off, and an unused curtain rod. Not bad, but I knew that if I didn't give this corner a purpose it would just end up as my junk corner again.  So, since I am a big fan of cozy chairs and books, I decided that this corner would be better served as a reading nook. What do you think?

Isn't it lovely? Does it make you ridiculously happy just looking at it? Am I the only one who gets a thrill out of turning a wasted corner into a useful space? Possibly, but I think not. You know what makes me even more giddy? That this reading corner is set up to accommodate both actual books and magazines as well as the electronic sort. *Sigh* But more on that another time. Right now, let us bask in the glow of what was a mess and now is a sanctuary.  Organization is glorious. Maybe I can be friends with perfectly neat and organized people…

Monday, September 15, 2014

Paper Plate Masks and Using What You Got

paper plate mask
Today we are kicking it old school. Let me take you back, way, way back to your elementary days, the days when ordinary items were the craft supply of choice. Things like card board tubes, paper lunch sacks, and the humble paper plate, could hold hours of fun and creativity.  Those days can still be yours my friend.

Behold a chic version of a kid classic, made with only colored paper, Elmer's school glue, string, and a paper plate. Scissors are the only tool you really need, although I used some circle punches I had lying around. Please don't go buy a circle punch. They are handy, but the point of this craft is to USE WHAT YOU HAVE.

It is so easy to run to the store and buy more stuff, especially hobby/craft stuff. Trust me. I know. But unless you will use up what you are buying quickly or will use it repeatedly in the next year, forget about it. Resist. See if your kids don't have more fun making do with what's at home.

My kids had a blast helping fashion and fringe the paper feathers on the perimeter of this mask. They also helped me place and glue down pieces. Now they are feeling inspired by my "mom" mask and can't wait to make their own. The best part is that my kids are young enough, that they will probably spend hours pretending with their finished masks. Older kids might have fun using their masks for a party or halloween costume. Or maybe they could be part of the costuming for a kid directed play? The sky is really the limit.

If you want more awesome mask inspiration, check out My mask was inspired this mask I saw in the October 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. (I periodically check old magazines out at the library, especially as holidays approach. They offer tons of great ideas and inspire even more.)
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