Posts Tagged ‘diy’
It’s getting to be that magical time of the year where the warmth of the sun is enjoyed long after the sun sets, and the cool Delta breeze makes its way into the valleys. I might complain about the 100+ degree heat waves, but when you’re enjoying 80 degree nights at 9pm, it’s just awesome.
I’ve been wanting to add some color to the backyard landscape, and looked into the idea of some solar lanterns to hang on the fence and in a couple of trees. But when I saw the prices at upwards of $15 each, I quickly stopped looking. It only took a random glance at these cheap $1 solar lights from Dollar Tree (when I was buying bubbles) for my brain to think of a way to hack my own solar lanterns. An online order to the bay-area based Paper Lantern Store later… we were in business! And my hacked version = $3.50/lantern!
Here are the easy steps to making your own solar lanterns:
nylon hanging lanterns (source: http://www.paperlanternstore.com/)
solar lights (source: Dollar Tree)
Disconnect the light from the base.
Wrap your wire around the light, just below the battery casing.
Tuck the wire in and pinch it. Then wrap the wire over the TOP of the battery casing and to the opposite side of the light. Cut and attach it to the wire circle.
You’ll end up with this little hanging basket for your solar lamp casing.
Slip the light into your hanger.
Begin to assemble your nylon lantern. Stand up the metal frame in the middle of the lantern, and hang your light up. Pop up the lantern around your frame and secure it.
Your light will be hanging below. For extra security, use the needlenose pliers to bend the metal hanging into a hook.
Hang your lantern outside… you can use the hook at the top directly, or tie another wire to make an eye loop for hanging.
Then… wait for the dark…
… and enjoy the glow!
The standard for Halloween décor in our house has usually just been pumpkins. And orange. Which makes things really easy for us since our entry to our house is orange… heck, our door is themed for fall all year long! Anyhow, I thought I’d spice things up a little and add some festively spooky décor somewhere else in the house… so I picked the fireplace mantle in our blue living room. And when thinking about what would look good there, I thought about black feathers (no!) or scary birds (no!) or Edgar Allen Poe framed poems (no!) or kitschy creepy bottles… YES! Why not make my own cute little apothecary for the mantle!
First step in the process… finding some awesome premade labels! Well, that was surprisingly easy thanks to these lovely labels ending up in an email newsletter in my inbox!
I downloaded the Vintage Findings Halloween Apothecary Labels by Jen Allyson ($3.99) and then went ahead and printed out the ones that I wanted to use.
Then it was time to find some bottles to use! I didn’t want to spend much on the project, so I stopped by IKEA and Dollar Tree on the way home one afternoon. I searched through the kitchen (BURKEN & DROPPAR) and bathroom (LIMMAREN) and vase (BLOMMIG) sections to find my bottles, then stopped in the “as-is” section before checkout to find a couple of those items as display features for $1. All told, I spent $10.97 on my bottles (and for the crazy glass finial I used as a bottle stopper) at both stores in total.
At home, I resized the artwork in Illustrator so that I could print it at the appropriate size for each bottle. Then I printed them on normal paper on my inkjet printer and cut them to size.
I decided to use MOD PODGE Gloss-Lustre for the application, because it really dries with a nice sheen on top of the paper and is sort of perfect for that “imperfect” look.
p.s. it’s always great to have crafty helpers ready and willing to assist you! It makes the whole activity much more fun!
Just a light coat of the MOD PODGE on the back of the paper and then a coat on the top after that dries. I covered a couple of the bottles in MOD PODGE just to give it a sort of stained-glass look and to make it look like I hadn’t just purchased the bottles from IKEA yesterday.
Once the bottles were dry, I had to figure out what to fill them with. Yeah… I wasn’t thinking too far ahead on this project, so I went to the craft room and thought about what I could do.
For the “eye of newt” – I used floral glass marbles and searched for “lizard eye” clipart (since I couldn’t find any newt eyes to use… I’ll just hope the biologists stay away from looking too closely?).
Then I used MOD PODGE to secure the cut out eyes to the bottom of the glass marbles and cut them down to size (check out the quintessential marble magnet DIY for more help).
Bat toes were pretty easy to source in the house as well! Mr. M suggested using rosemary leaves from the spice cabinet, but I wasn’t ok with it looking so green and natural.
So I pulled out the decorator colors and mixed in some super black gel color with the rosemary leaves and let it sit out to dry. I think they came out pretty darn creepy if I do say so myself!
The “tincture of hemlock” and “truth telling serum” were easy to create as well. Just a drop of black dye for the hemlock (it has to be black right? because that makes it super evil!) and some yellow dye for the serum and filled up with plain water.
Now the last two bottles needed some creative thinking on a pit stop for apple juice at Target. Luckily the candy aisle was nicely filled with sources for creative ideas, so this is where I sourced the final materials.
The “lizard legs” were made from green apple flavored Target Fruity Twists. I had originally just cut them in half, but was really not happy that it looked like licorice in a jar. Even though I tried to heed the “No one is going to notice” warning from Mr. M, I decided to experiment and see if I could do better.
And guess what? 30 seconds in the microwave does wonders for bubbling up the gummy candy and make it look nice and reptilian!
I used punch flavored NERDS for the “pixie droppings” … only problem being that they came in a mixed box with orange nerds too. Good thing I’ve got a really smart little helper to help me separate the colors! And while I bought two boxes of candy, I most definitely stopped sorting them after one and decided that a half-full jar was all I needed!
So there you have it… my DIY Halloween apothecary all ready for my mantle! And all made for about $15!
I’m happy to have a little bit of sophisticated haunting inside our house this year! I mean, we’ve got to keep up appearances with the gravestone in the front!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE EXCHANGE (via Elfster.com)
Yup!!! I’m doing it!!! GIFT EXCHANGE HERE WE COME!!! When I asked a couple weeks ago, I got a few definite “YES!” votes and a whole lot of “MAYBE” votes and only one “NO” – so I figured I’d put myself out there and create this gift exchange and see what happens!!!
It’s so simple… and I think it’ll be lots of fun! Just create a GIFT that you’d love to give or receive, send it along to your matched pal via mail, and wait to receive your gift!
Here are the rules of the 2011 “made by you” gift exchange:
You must live in the USA or Canada to participate (sorry… just easier this way due to overseas shipping costs and time)
$10 spending limit on materials (does not include postage)
Gift must be “made by you” – this means it could be baked, assembled, crafted, drawn, painted, customized, decorated, sewn, or however else you can create a gift! Don’t think that this is purely a crafty endeavor… it’s just a home-made one!
You must sign up for the exchange by November 9th, 2011
You must send your gift between November 10th and December 16th, 2011
If you choose to blog about what you “made” … simply link your blog entry here and I’ll link back to your blog and share out what you sent in special blog entries from December 20th-23rd.
Any other questions?
Ask them in the comments and I’ll answer them here in the post!!
HOORAY!!! Let the gift exchange begin!
p.s. Elfster is a third-party “gift exchange” site that arranges “Secret Santa” giveaways. Once you’ve joined elfster, you’ll also need to ENROLL in this exchange as well. Make sure you do both! Elfster is very secure, and ONLY the person whom you getting your gift from will see your mailing address.
Now that I’ve shown you the awesome photos from the party, let me show you just how you can build your own party photobooth at home! Trust me, it’s really quite simple, and if you’re a super geek you might just have all of the parts lying around your house ready to go!
Here’s what our set-up consists of:
- Canon A400 powershot (bought this one on eBay for $10) with all cords (you just need any compatible Canon Powershot camera)
- Gorrilapod tripod
- Old LCD monitor (from college computer)
- mouse & keyboard (hidden from view)
- Canon PIXMA mini260 photo printer (got this for $25 at Fry’s a couple years ago)
- Old CPU – previous computer that’s been wiped clean
- powerstrip (for all the fun plugs in the back)
- Breeze Systems PSRemote software ($95)
- Old sidetable (to house everything)
So here’s the magic behind this lovely system. The software, PSRemote, made by Breeze Systems allows your computer to control your Canon Powershot camera (check here for the list of compatible cameras and Windows OS) remotely and you can easily set-up a photobooth in minutes! Just gather all of the ingredients, click what settings you want on the software, and you’re ready to go! Don’t have a Powershot camera? Don’t fret! They also make software for Canon dSLRs (see the compatible list here)!
STEPS to create your photobooth:
1) Find a monitor, CPU, keyboard and mouse to use for your photobooth. Connect everything and install PSRemote.
2) Design your custom photobooth screens! Take note of the dimensions of your screen, and create a series of JPGs in your graphics editing program for the following screens:
ready.jpg – this is your “waiting for the next person” screen, so customize it with a friendly greeting and the instructions on what to do next!
1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg, 4.jpg – These are your countdown images that go along with the “active countdown timer.” 1.jpg is displayed during the countdown before taking the first picture, 2.jpg is displayed before taking the second picture etc.
taking.jpg – this is displayed a couple of seconds before taking each picture
release.jpg – optional image displayed when the instruction to take the picture is sent to the camera approximately 1 second before the picture is actually taken. The live view on most cameras will freeze just before the camera takes the picture and this can confuse some users. To avoid this, the software will automatically hide the live view display if a release.jpg image is defined.
processing.jpg – this is displayed after the last picture has been taken while the images are being prepared for printing. This screen could display a message like “All finished! Please collect your prints outside”.
When the prints have been formatted and sent to the printer the ready.jpg image is displayed again.
Upload these images to your photobooth computer.
3) Find a place to position your camera. Connect the camera to the USB port on the computer and make sure it is in playback mode. Turn the camera on!
4) Open up PSRemote and click on “File –> Photobooth Settings.” Go ahead and select all of the options that you’d like for your photobooth.
I definitely suggest changing the Output to “print and save JPG” so that you keep a copy of all the individual images and prints on your computer. For help with additional layout suggestions, click here.
5) TAKE YOUR FIRST PHOTOS! Check and adjust all the settings until you like the flow of everything!
6) If you want a custom logo to be printed on your photos… here’s what you need to do! Select “save as JPG” from the Output options. Then, use that print example file as your template for designing your logo. Design it in your editing program, then erase everything but the logo! Save it as “background.jpg” and make sure PSRemote knows where to find it in the settings box. Now, when your photos print, they’ll have this wonderful logo on them as well!
Now for our party set-up, I went ahead and customized all of the screens with special messages and also designed a logo for the printouts. All of this was done in about 30 minutes using Photoshop and made the experience that much better!
Here’s a small video showing you the photobooth in action:
And the end result?
For any and all help in making PSRemote work to its best capacity, check out the full online manual.
As you know, I’ve been hands-off in the nursery as far as decor goes. But when it came to the necessity of buying changing cover pads, I begged Mr. M for the chance to quell my sewing bug and make my own. He agreed to let me get a little crafy, and I was quickly off to the fabric store to get stocked up on the goods I needed!
I already had a pattern in mind, thanks to the wonderful PrudentBaby blog, and just needed to find some fabrics that fit the colors of the room and the bedding set. Luckily our local Beverly Fabrics had more than enough designs in mind, and I picked out some Michael Miller fabrics, a batik and some solid colors to make my own little room accents for Baby M.
After some very easy cutting & measuring and basic sewing, I had created all of my changing cover pads with barely any hassle at all. And with 4 of them to rotate through with accidents, I think we’ll be set for awhile! Much much better than paying $23 for just one of the “matching” changing pad covers… and a bit more fun than just an ordinary plain cover.
And just think — they make wonderful baby shower gifts as well!
p.s. yes this is a “sneak peek” at the finished room… but no more photos until everything is totally done in there!