Happy {DIY} Holidays

Decorations for the holidays can be exhausting, daunting, not to mention expensive for just a few weeks of enjoyment. So this year, rather than making separate Halloween and Thanksgiving decor, I made Fall decorations I was able to keep up from late September through Thanksgiving.

{DIY} Potion Bottles & Spell Book Covers

Book covers FREE printable from Little House on the Corner

{DIY} Fall Leaf Garland

  • I used scrapbook papers in various fall colors and a copy of the Declaration of Independence, since I was hanging it in my US History classroom.
  • After cutting out the leaves, I simply hole punched them and then strung them together using yarn.
  • Here is a great Fall Leaf Template, from the website of Lia Griffith

And then came Christmas time! I was a total Scrooge this year and opposed to decorating a tree. So instead, I took advantage of the chalkboard accent wall in my dining room and all the scrapbooking supplies I have, to create a more low-maintenance Christmas tree.

No vacuuming pine needles all month, YAY!

TIP: for pretty lettering, I just do an image search online “chalkboard typography” and whatever more specific thing I am looking for, in this case “Christmas”. This always brings up lots of possibilities and then you can just copy the lettering yourself, rather than having to  create your own design!

Happy Holidays,

~The Girl

Classroom Makeover

I began teaching US History at a wonderful private school last spring that I absolutely love. Before leaving for the summer, our principal told the faculty that he would love to see us be creative when decorating our classrooms and that we should feel free to create our dream teaching environment. Well, I was so excited to have my own classroom this year and be in a school that valued creativity and creating an amazing learning environment for kids that I really took his suggestion to heart.

Plus, never give a DIY-addict free reign if you don’t mean it!

After LOTS of planning, agonizing over paint colors, many trips to antique malls near and far, more agonizing over paint colors, Ikea trip, many many Home Depot trips, and countless afternoons spent painting (thank you to my wonderful husband who helped me paint!), my classroom makeover if finally complete!

classroom makeover 101

Class-14

Very proud of my map wall. The maps were an assortment from Paper Source and vintage and I put them up using flat metal tacks.

Class-17

On the floating shelf from Ikea, I sourced from different antiques malls a vintage letter ‘A’, vintage scale, milk glass vase, vintage globe, and a framed copy of a Revolutionary War enlistment poster.

Class-13

Class-19

Class-22

Class-27

Class-26

This black accent wall is chalkboard paint!

Class-23

Class-18

Class-32

Class-34

I am SO EXCITED about the results and cannot wait for school to start so I can spend time with the kids in this amazing space. I truly think every teacher should have a room they love so much that they look forward to working in it each day.

~The Girl

DIY Friday: Painted Filing Cabinet

At the beginning of summer, I decided to check out some garage sales for items for my new classroom. I picked up a black filing cabinet for just $5. It had a little bit of rust but otherwise was in good shape. I decided to spray paint it a very bright and cheery yellow.

I used the following supplies:

  • Metal spray paint primer
  • 2 cans of spray paint in yellow
  • Plastic roll (Trust me, you need it! Spray paint floats in the air and gets everywhere!)
  • Painters tape
  • Light sand paper

 

First, make sure you find an area with very good ventilation and cover the area thoroughly with the plastic. I used our porch.

Next, use the sand paper on the rusted areas and VERY LIGHTLY sand the rust away as best you can. It’s ok if there is a little left, but you don’t want a lot. If your filing cabinet is in pretty good condition, you can probably skip this step. DO NOT try to sand your entire cabinet. It is unnecessary (because that’s what the metal primer is for) and if too vigorous, could lead to scratches on the surface of your cabinet which will be almost impossible to hide with spray paint.

Make sure to wipe off the cabinet well, especially if you sanded it. Then use the metal primer spray paint to do one or two light coats.

**TIPS:

  • Each coat should be LIGHT and you should allow a good amount of dry time between each coat (I usually give a minimum of 15-20 minutes).
  • To avoid drips, always hold the spray can a minimum of a foot away and use a side to side sweeping motion. If you do get a drip, wait till it dries and then sand it down lightly. NEVER try to touch up wet spray paint, it will only make a sticky mess.
  • Make sure to shake the can OFTEN. This will ensure the paint comes out evenly.

After the metal primer, you can begin coating with your color of choice.

Finally, display proudly and show off those DIY skills!

~ The Girl

The Girl who got Married!

Yep, I’m a married woman now! Whoo-hoo!

So I thought I would get back to blogging by sharing some of the awesome DIY projects I completed for my wedding. In keeping with my Anglophiliac roots, we had a English Tea themed wedding, complete with garden ceremony followed by a high-tea reception and lawn games.

wedding day couple

bride on stairs

DIY: Lawn Games

We bought unfinished wood Cornhole boards and I painted them the wedding colors with the phrase ‘Keep Calm and Say I Do’. Then I created stencils using poster board with graph lines to create the designs. We also had ring toss and giant Jenga.

Step 1: Make Stencil

Step 2: Use painters tape and tape stencil to Cornhole board, paint using a roller (NOT a brush!) to get an even coat. Once the paint is dry, remove the stencil. You WILL have to go back and touch up around your letters with a small brush when you peel up the stencil.

Step 3: Enjoy!

     

DIY: Photobooth Props

And of course, we incorporated a full size TARDIS into our big day! I rented this beautiful specimen of time and space travel from a fellow Whovian and used it as the backdrop for our Photobooth! For the chalkboards, I just bought some pre-cut wood boards in different shapes from Michael’s craft store and used chalkboard paint. For the other props, I used dowel rods and cut out mustaches and lips from bright colored sheets of foam, also from Michael’s. For those of you who may be drawing challenged, you can find lots of templates online. 

    tardis bride

    Tardis Booth 34

DIY: Bunting

I made bunting- a traditional English party decoration- to go around many of the tables, as well as down the staircase in the garden. I sourced the vintage-inspired fabrics from several fabric stores and used this tutorial from Intimate Weddings, which explains how to make the bunting. It was so cute and the use of the bias tape made it quick and easy to assemble and sew.

DIY: Guestbook Table

For a unique guestbook table, I asked all the married couples attending the wedding to send me a copy of their wedding photo. This was not too difficult since I had a very small wedding. I scanned all the photos and printed them out in black and white.  I used a curtain rod and hung ribbons in our wedding colors. Then I attached black and white photos to the ribbon using double sided tape. I was really happy with the end result, it made a great display above the table and our guests really enjoyed looking at everyone’s wedding photo.

So now that I’m done planning a wedding, summer projects are taking over. Plus, DragonCon is fast approaching, which means costumes! More to come soon!

~The Girl

In this Post:

Photography: Morning Light by Michelle Landreau

Dress: Alfred Angelo

Venue: The Whitlock Inn, Marietta, GA

Halloween Approaches

What to wear?!? As October begins the inevitable concern over this seemingly simple question begins to set in. For me, it’s more a case of too many ideas than none.

So after much contemplation, I had pretty much decided to go with either a fem version of Sherlock Holmes or Marie Antoinette.

But then my fiancé decided he felt in the Halloween spirit. So a couples costume was in order! I decided on something I thought would not only be fairly easy, pretty inexpensive, and would also be appropriate for us since we are soon to be married.

The Corpse Bride couple!

So here is a breakdown of what I need.

For Him:

  • Black Jacket
  • Silver Cravat
  • White and black face makeup

I found a black tux jacket at a Goodwill for $6. Score! It fits him pretty well, but needs to be taken in on the sides to give the more skinny effect of the character.

For Me:

  • Wedding Dress
  • Long Blue Wig
  • Blue Liquid Latex body paint
  • Veil with dried flowers

First, I immediately began scouring local thrift stores in the hopes of finding a wedding dress that would work for under $50. After a internet search, I discovered a place called Value Village. Major Score!! I’m not sure if they have these nationwide, but this place turned out to have several vintage wedding dresses, all for less than $50 and in surprisingly excellent condition. If you are ever in the market for a wedding dress to buy on the cheap, or an older dress for a costume, make sure to check this place out.

Anyway, here is the dress I purchased, which came with the original veil with flower crown! How perfect! I’m super excited to start the deconstruction process. Pictures on that to follow soon.

Here is what I hope it will look like when complete.

    

 

I also researched body paints and I decided to use liquid latex to make my skin the blue grey color of the character. Water based paints (like they use at carnivals for face painting) tends to rub off more easily, especially if they get wet from sweat. Oil based paints are available but require more skin prep work before applying, are toxic, and can be more difficult to remove. But liquid latex is non-toxic, doesn’t smudge, and should just peel right off. Before using, make sure you read all the info and make sure you are NOT allergic to latex.

So that’s it for now, very excited about this costume and looking forward to sharing the progress and results!

~The Girl

It’s October!

My favorite month is finally here! Finally some nice chilly Fall weather, plus warm soups, scarves, leather boots, chilli festivals, and my favorite…..No, not the opportunity make my own costume again silly.

Oh no wait, you’re right!

Because it’s almost HALLOWEEN! By far my favorite holiday. So in honor of the approaching All Hallows Eve, I thought I would share with you my costumes from last year.

First, the kid friendly one! Everyone’s favorite teacher…Mrs. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus!

                 

For Mrs Frizzle Costume:

  • Purple Dress (found mine at Ross)
  • White collar shirt
  • Felt fabric sheets in primary colors (use to cut out all kinds planets- these were mainly circles of diff sizes layered on top of each other, stars, and letters)
  • Fabric glue (used to glue felt pieces together and to dress)
  • Lizard beanie baby (found mine at a children’s book store)

Then for Adult Only night, I went as a Dia de los Muertos Girl, the skeleton faced character from the Spanish Halloween celebration.

The make-up seemed intimidating but it actually turned out to be very easy to do!

     

A few you tube videos later, plus one black leotard (American Apparel), a black tulle crinoline (vintage store),and a red flower in my hair, and I was done!

Dia de los Muertos costume!

                     

I used these  Dia de los Muertos make-up how to videos:

How To Hide Eyebrows with Glue Stick

Dia de los Muertos Make-Up Tutorial

Dia de los Muertos Hair & Make-up How To

In a few days I’ll be sharing my costume for this year and my progress on creating it!For more costume idea, take a look at my Geekery/Cosplay board on Pinterest.

So what will you be going as for Halloween??

~The Girl

The Piggy Apron

So I have been taking a bit of a break since DragonCon. All the costumes were great and I got tons of ideas for new projects, but after three straight days of Con my creative brain cells were burnt out and I was seriously overloaded.

I was just starting to feel guilty the other day, and starting to itch for a new project, when a good friend of mine contacted me for a sewing lesson. A few months ago she mentioned to me that she wanted to learn to sew and I volunteered to help her learn. Our previous sewing lesson consisted of me teaching her the basics on the sewing machine and making a basic square pillow.

This time around, she wanted to make an apron- a pig apron. I guess I should mention that she is a huge fan of pigs. In fact, she has her own website, My Pig Me Up, dedicated to all things piggy. So I grabbed my favorite vintage apron to use as inspiration and we headed to the fabric store.

The resulting apron came out super cute and she did a great job. I was super impressed with her ability to pick up the basics of sewing so fast.

The Piggy Apron

We started by cutting out the black band and apron and pinning it with pleats to give it a girly look.

    

After sewing the pleats in and hemming all the way around, we cut the pocket out of a contrasting fabric. She decided to put a pig nose on the pocket, so we used the same light pink as the apron.

  

Finally, we sewed buttons onto the nose to create the snout and two smaller buttons above to create eyes.

So Cute!!

Well, I hope she enjoys wearing it because I think it turned out super cute! Finally feels like Fall out, about you know what that means….did someone say Halloween? :D

~The Girl

Conquering the Hidden Zipper

So, I don’t know about you but I have always been afraid of putting in zippers. They just seem difficult and I have heard horror stories, so I basically avoided them like the plague. However, unless we want all our clothes to have a massive amount of buttons or all be made from some kind of stretch fabric, it seems we need to conquer our fear of the zipper. So, with no little trepidation, I undertook my first hidden zipper.

I am currently making a TARDIS dress, which I talk about in my first post here. This dress finally reached the point where it was time to put in the zipper. Many, many searches on the internet of videos and tutorials proved to be somewhat fruitless, especially since I do not have a zipper foot for my sewing machine. At long last, I called my mother- the woman who taught me to sew and is pretty much my go-to for anything crafty when I get in a pinch or need a little creative boost.

So here it is.

The Easy Hidden Zipper Tutorial (no zipper foot required!)

Step 1:  Make your garment and sew it up completely, leaving at least a half inch fabric on the inside seam where you want to place your zipper. **Use large enough stitches for your seam where the zipper will be so that you can easily cut this seam out later by hand.

Step 2:  Turn you garment inside-out and iron open your seam where you are adding your zipper.

Open back seam of dress

Step 3:  Place the zipper face-down on the seam and pin the zipper in place. This step is very important! You want to make sure your zipper lines up as closely as possible with your seam. Also, use the smallest pins you have and place them horizontal (laying across the zipper)- not vertical! This is because you will NOT be removing the pins when you sew, so you want them horizontal so the machine will jump the pin. Don’t over-do the pins, one every inch and alternating sides should be enough.

Zipper pinned face-down to seam

Step 4: Sewing! Once your pins are in place, put your garment into the machine. Starting at the top of the zipper, sew down one side. When you get to the bottom of the zipper, stop with your needle IN the fabric, lift your foot, rotate the fabric, and then sew the small part at the bottom of the zipper. Then again, stop at the corner with your needle IN your fabric, lift your foot, rotate your garment, and sew back up the other side of your zipper.

**Note: It may be difficult to get the zipper into the machine when sewing the very top of the zipper- that is ok. I had to sew the first little bit with my foot still up. Just make sure to GO SLOW!! If you go slow, it will be easier on your machine to hop the pins and you are less likely to make a mistake or break your needle.

CONGRATS! You finished! Now turn you garment right-side out and check to make sure you didn’t sew any extra fabric into your zipper.

Oops! I accidentally sewed some of my skirt fabric into my zipper the first time, but that’s ok! Just flip it inside out again and snip the stitches loose, then sew again.

If everything looks good, carefully snip the seam open on your garment.

CAREFULLY cut seam open on outside of garment

Viola! You now have a hidden zipper which should look like this.

I am now over my fear of zippers! My zipper still wasn’t perfect, I had a lot of puckering, but I know you can do better! Have fun and if you mess up, just remember practice makes perfect!

~The Girl