Tuesday, September 29, 2015

White-Chocolate Targets - Robin Hood Birthday!

For Mr. A's Birthday he wanted Robin Hood cupcakes, which translated as green cupcakes with targets on top... ?  As I looked around I saw lots of ideas, but I didn't fancy the amount of food coloring it would take to color frosting, nor the steady hand necessary to make a good-looking frosting-target.  Then I cam up with a great idea!  White Chocolate targets!  They still were semi-pastel in color, but they turned out fantastic!  

First I printed off a page of arrows and a page of targets the size I wanted.  I taped them to the counter and put parchment paper over the top (and taped that down too)

Then I set to melting my white chocolate.  I got them from Winco in the bulk section. So melting chocolate.... Not my strong point... so for good instructions on that, sorry, you'll have to look somewhere else...  First I did the white outer ring.  I put my melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle and squirted it onto the parchment paper.  So here is where I struggle.  The trick is to get the chocolate good and runny, but not too hot or it will just seize....  But it it isn't hot enough it won't come out... like I said, good luck!  Next I did the red rings, then the blue and yellow.  

I used plain semi-sweet chocolate chips for the arrows!

Add some greed frosting and stick 'em on top and there you have it!  Robin Hood cupcakes!  I used a paring knife to smooth the white edges, but obviously they're not perfect, but I'm sure with some practice I can get some awesome ones in the future!  

Post pictures of your creations!  I want to see what you can do!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Target Pull-Pinata - Robin Hood Birthday!

Mr. A is way into Robin Hood, so we planned him a Robin Hood Birthday party!  I thought a piñata would be fun, and he thought a target piñata would be a must!  So here goes!

First cut two circles from cardboard (a front and a back)

Then I cut strips two inches wide from an old cereal box and started to tape them around one circle.  You only see a little tape compared to how much I used in the long run!  eventually I broke out the masking tape, and then the duct tape!  When I added the decorations, it became totally secure! 

I sketched where I wanted each color to be then cut tissue paper into long strips, fringed it, and started glueing!  I used hot glue and started on the out side (cereal box part) then moved in.  Basically 6 inches of hot glue, lay down tissue, again and again.  I put each round 1/4 - 1/2 inch apart.

Finally I cut free a flap on the bottom and cut some slits through which I threaded some green ribbon.  I threaded about 12 pieces through, but only ONE was attached.  The one that was attached I cut shorter than the others.  The idea is that each child got 1-2 turns to pull out a ribbon, the last one was the attached one and pulled open the piñata letting loose the goodies inside!  For more details, and another rendition of a pull-Pinta, visit Fancy Frugally, for a more detailed tutorial.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Toddler T-Shirt DIY

 Mr. A has recently outgrown most of his clothes... which I guess makes sense since he is three now!  So while I was at my local Walmart I found these awesome t-shirts, totally plain, solid shirts in red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, only 2 dollars!  Now I'm sure Mr. A would have no problem with plain shirts, but I thought they were boring, so I decided to give them a lift!

After doing some research I decided on stenciling these shirts.  I started with this awesome dinosaur shirt!

First I found a simple image of a dinosaur and printed it off twice. Believe me!  Simple is best!  (you'll see what I mean at the end)  I used a combination of scissors and an exacto knife to cut the dino-body from one print-out, and the plates from another.

Then I put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt so the paint wouldn't bleed through and painted the body of the dino.

I used the cheapest acrylic paint out there, 50cents at walmart, and a wide, stiff brush.  Brush from the outside in to help keep your lines crisp.

Carefully peel off the paper and let the paint dry.

Then lay the second page down, lining up the painted body as carefully as you can.

 Then I painted the plates yellow the same way I did the red body.

Once the paint was all dry I free-hand added the eyes and mouth based on the picture.

I also did a spaceship blasting off from earth to the stars.  I found a very, very basic clip-art picture of each element and added them together, layering the same as with the dinosaur.

I started with a white spaceship, and switched to red.

This was a favorite!  I used an exacto-knife to cut out the words.  I used a basic glue stick to put the letters D-I-R-T on to keep the lines crisp.  Then I used a wide-stiff brush again to do the stenciled letters and then a swipe over 'Dirt'. (ok, so several swipes to make it look like that...)  Before the glue or paint had a chance to dry completely I picked the letters off with a toothpick and then flicked paint all over the shirt to look like splatters of dirt.

And the hardest one!  Mr. A is in to Robin Hood right now and this was his request...  I found the wanted poster from the Disney movie and printed it three times.  I then took a highlighter and chose which section to cut from each page, making sure that all parts were cut, and that two parts were never cut next to each other (for example, his shoes and legs were cut from different pages).  Then I followed the same pattern as before, layering one after another.

I did end up fixing the red numbers under 'Reward' and making them more black then red.

Not pictured is the yellow shirt I did.  I found an image of a fun font of the alphabet which I cut out with the exacto-knife, then pained each letter in one of four colors, totally randomly, no particular pattern.  I used the glue-stick again to get better edges. 

So two things I learned.

Probably most importantly, Let the paint dry! this sounds like and obvious one, but I mean like, overnight, or 24 hours, let it dry before you wash!  These shirts have washed several times since and they have had no problems, they still look awesome!  BUT.  I had to repaint some of the rocket shirt because I washed it too soon and the paint ended up coming off a bit and sticking in other places.  So, give the plenty of time to dry!

Two, this is the second time recently I've stenciled and I have read that you can use freezer paper and iron it on to achieve sharp edges.  However, every time I have gone to get some it hasn't been available or is so expensive I just can't bring myself to get it.  So, if that's something you have, give it a try and let me know how it goes!

UPDATE: Keep the paint thin, like, not too many stacked layers.  The dinosaur shirt I painted the plates too thick, and even after SEVERAL washes, they still stick to each other sometimes.  They aren't coming off or anything, they just stick.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Part 3: Grandma's Washstand

 Today is the day!  I started stripping the layers and layers of paint off the doors of my Grandma's washstand.  I bought a can of stripper, a super cheap brush, a 98 cent package of plastic drop cloth, a 'scraper' (like one of those putty knives, I got a 57cent-plastic one first, then switched to a 1dollar metal one, as I don't expect it to last the project, however the metal one was better than the plastic!) and a package of disposable-latex gloves.  I laid out some of the drop cloth and put the doors on top

Getting started!

Then pour on the stripper.  It's kind of a school-glue constancy, so I spread it around with my brush (the brush is not worth keeping once you're done with the project, though I plan to keep it until I finish all the stripping).

This is what it looks like after only a minute or less!  But trust me, just let it sit!

I took to scraping a little less than 10 minutes in.  Learn from my mistake and let it sit!  I had to do a couple takes with the stripper to get it all off.  Just scrape across the surface (carefully, you don't know what is under all the paint!) and scoop the gunk into a trash bag (I used a double-layer plastic, grocery sack)  I also used a rag on the last layer to get as much paint and stripper off as possible.

There were THREE kinds of paint.  White, creamy-tan, and a rose color, well and the original stain.

After one run of stripper.

Second run of stripper.

After a final wipe down with stripper

Lesson learned:  Let it sit!  Patience is worth it!

Grandma's Washstand Part 1
Grandma's Washstand Part 2

Monday, September 14, 2015

Part 2: Grandma's Washstand!

Last time I took off all of the hardware off the washstand and gave it a good wipe-down.  Today, we are cleaning the hardware! 

Now my pictures only encompass the door knobs, but I did the same thing for all the pieces.

The started looking like this....
Yuck.  YEARS of grime, tarnish, oils from hands, etc. had made their mark on the hardware.

First I soaked them in a vinegar water.  There's probably a 'safe' proportion, but I just guessed.... warm water and vinegar.  Then I started scrubbing a bit with a toothbrush.  


 I realized I needed something a little bit abrasive to really do the trick, so I took everything out of the vinegar, and while still wet I sprinkled them with table salt.  Then I scrubbed some more, periodically wetting my brush in the water or adding more salt.

 Much better!
(you can see one of the drawer handles in the background, covered in salt)

Now some of them still look, meh, because the finish was just plain worn off... still not sure what I'm going to do there.  I'm torn between restoring and a complete makeover.  Lucky for me, I don't have to decide yet! 

I have two color schemes that I like right now.  One is to paint the whole thing a bright white, and replace the hardware as is.  I don't know what the wood looks like yet, or how it was originally, but that is how I always knew it to be at Grandma's house.

The second is to paint it all a bright white but to paint the recessed areas a bright white-mixed with a titch of yellow.  Hardware either original, painted to look new, or painted a whatever color matches best.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  Opinions?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Furniture Makeover! Grandma's Washstand

My sweet Great-Grandma passed away this spring, and when we went out to visit family this summer my Grandma mentioned that this washstand needed so TLC and it could be beautiful again.  I took one look at it and fell in love!  I casually mentioned that it would be something I was interested in and hoped she had noticed!  Later that same day she said that I could have it!  So we shoved all our luggage and this washstand into the back of our car for the 10hr trek home!

The left door is broken, as you can see.  It actually looks like it has been fixed before, but the side panel of wood has separated from the rest of the door.  My plan is to strip everything first and then see what I'm really up against later before I figure out how to fix it.

Now all I need to do is strip the LAYERS of paint!  You really can't tell from most of these pictures, but the paint is really.... gunky?  You know that look when someone has painted a piece of furniture... and painted it.... and painted it!  I am interested to see what I come up with once the paint is removed!

First things first!  Take it apart and remove all the hardware!  The drawer pulls and door knobs came off no problem!  The hinges.... well... first, who puts hinges on with nails??? Who?? (screws people, screws.)

Second, who's idea was the two and half inch nail?????  Seriously?  I tell ya, I've pulled a few nails out of wood in my day, but this was almost more than I could manage.  The nature of the project and the size/surface area I had to work with mad pulling these buggers out nearly impossible!

Got 'em!

More to come!  Any ideas on how to paint it/finish it when I'm done?  Comment below!

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Despite my best efforts, summer got to me!  I tried to keep posting, but man, it was just more than I could muster this last month!

Early in July my brother-in-law came home from his church mission!  Wahoo!  He spent the last two years in South Africa preaching the Gospel to the people there.  I'm having troubles linking up to his blog, but I'll work on it :)

Then Later in July we went to Disney Land for part of a week!  Lots of fun there with cousins for our little guys to play with :)

Then two days after returning from Disney we headed to Southern Colorado to visit my family for a week!  Loved that!  We have some land there that we like to escape to.  No cell service, no internet, and a lot of family fun!

Then, a week or so after that my husband took his qualifying exams!  yikes!  Of course he passed with flying colors!  (ok, so really we just know that he passed, they don't actually give you a 'score' just pass or fail, but I know he passed with flying colors!)

Then a week after that, school started for my husband!  So far, not too bad, cross your fingers!

And two weeks ago we took away the binkey and started potty training in the same week... just shy of two weeks before Mr. A turned three... maybe not the best timing ever, but things are going shockingly well!  I may just post about both those things eventually :)

So I apologize for the break, and I won't pretend that I will be able to post completely regularly, but I sure will try!  My boys keep me busy!  Ciao!