Trash to Treasure Halloween Project

Halloween is my very favorite holiday. I love doing projects this time of year and I had an idea the other day for a new one.

It involves using one of my favorite things: old photographs

Whenever I see old photos at estate sales I buy them if they are reasonably priced or free. I feel this strange need to rescue them.

A few years ago I picked up this 11×14 family photograph in a nice frame for $1.50 (yes, one dollar and 50 cents). Isn’t it sad that someone’s hard work of getting three young children dressed properly and looking nice is being sold for $1.50?

old photograph from an estate sale

old photograph from an estate sale

Anyway, it’s been sitting in my basement waiting for me to come up with an idea to use it. During one of my weekly brainstorming sessions while ironing, the perfect solution popped into my head: I needed to use it for a Halloween decoration.

Yesterday, I sat down and set to work painting it for a new Halloween decoration for my living room.

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

This was a really fun and easy project. I feel a teensy bit bad for painting over it but not bad enough that I wouldn’t think about doing it again if I should find another big portrait at an estate sale for $1.50!

For more related Halloween projects and costume ideas I have done in the past you can find them all under the Halloween link under Categories on the right hand side of my blog page!

Have a wonderful Halloween everyone!

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Swallowed Up by a Sea of Childhood Treasures

I remember being about 10 years old at my grandma’s house. There was an older lady who lived up the hill from my grandma whom my cousin and I would go visit from time to time. She lived in an old farmhouse all by herself and she was a hoarder. I had only stepped into her house once and at that time you could really only walk a few inches before being roadblocked by a huge stack of newspapers and a tower of milk jugs. Like I said, I was only 10 years old but even I knew this was beyond any mess I had ever seen.

Even though she wasn’t a housekeeper she was a very nice lady and strangely enough on one particular day I was visiting she took me with her to shop for a trailer to put on her land because she could no longer get into her house. Afterwards she took me to the local A&W stand for a hotdog and root beer and it was quite a lovely afternoon.

I often think of that dear old lady as I watch my own house filling up. I don’t save newspapers or milk jugs and you can usually find a path through our house, but the amount of stuff I save for my children is slowly engulfing our house. Someday I fully expect to be swallowed up by a sea of artwork, favorite toys and beloved baby clothes. If we had a big enough property I might actually consider buying a trailer to put in our yard to store it all and really that is just insane.

Instead of parting with all of this childhood nostalgia I just continue to add to it and with that comes more storage containers for it all. Our house is filled with tons of antique trunks and boxes holding all of these treasures and this past weekend I had to make one more:

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter's treasures

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter’s treasures

I also made a box for one of my daughter’s friends who is having a birthday this week. I figure we can’t be the only ones who need storage containers:

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A box I made for my daughter’s friend

And as I sat working on that trunk to hold more of my daughter’s treasures I pondered our whole storage problem and how we could have accumulated so much stuff and how many more years I have left in their childhoods to grow their collections. It’s really quite mind-boggling.

Even though I realize this problem; it apparently never truly sinks in because the very next day this is what I had my children do:

My kids painting huge canvases outside

My kids painting huge canvases outside

Someday, I will be that lady taking a visiting child to shop for a trailer with me because I can no longer walk through my own home. Afterwards I will take them for a hot dog and root beer and it will be quite a lovely afternoon.

I Heart Shrinky Dinks

I have been racking my brain trying to decide what my children should give their teachers on the last day of school. Luckily, I saw this post about homemade Shrinky Dinks from a fellow blogger over at mummyshymz! She is a homeschooling mom in Singapore and always has great ideas!

What I loved about the concept of this is that it allows you the freedom to create whatever you want!

As soon as I saw her post I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased this:

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

I then told the kids they could create key chains for their teachers!

I drew the shape they wanted and they colored whatever they wanted on it! After they were done I cut it out and punched a hole in it and put it in the oven. We put them in the oven at 325 degrees for 3 minutes and they were done!

It was an easy project and one that we all really enjoyed.

As you can see we have already made quite a few in the past few days!

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

One of Iris's key chains

One of my daughter’s key chains

Another one of my daughter's key chains

Another one of my daughter’s key chains

One of the key chains my son made

One of the key chains my son made

 

 

 

 

I Wonder if My Great Grandma Knew What She Was Making

I come from a long line of amazingly creative women. From Great-Grandmas down to my Mom.

My Great-Grandma Palma, on my father’s side was only in my life for a short time. I believe she passed away when I was 7 and I only got to meet her a few times. Those few visits though inspired me greatly and were wonderful memories. She had a huge collection of salt and pepper shakers and other beautiful things that I loved to look at and made me want to start collecting antiques. She gave me quite a few of her salt and pepper sets that I still display in my home. She also gave me a very old miniature cast iron stove to use with my Barbies that my daughter now uses with her dolls. She crocheted doll dresses for me that my daughter also still uses.

My most loved gift from her though was my crocheted collars. She made me about 10 in all different colors. I wore them all of the time in elementary school. I thought they were the most extraordinary things! I began putting them on my own daughter when she was in Kindergarten and she thinks they are equally as cool as I do!

I wonder if my Great Grandma knew as she crocheted those little collars for me and gave me those little gifts that they would be with me forever and that I would pass them down to my own daughter. I wonder if she knew that she was making me more than a crocheted collar….she was making a piece of herself, a gift of love, that I can hold on to forever and spread her love to many more.

Iris wearing one of the crocheted collars to school today.

Iris wearing one of the crocheted collars to school today.

A close up of the collar

A close up of the collar

 

 

Melted Crayon Artwork

I came up with another project for the kids and I to do utilizing our over abundance of crayons.

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For this project I used a cookie sheet from the Dollar Store. We then put broken up crayons (wrappers removed) on the cookie sheet and put it in a preheated oven at 225 degrees. They were melted after about 10 minutes.

Next we removed the pan from the oven and started putting different objects into the melted crayon mixture that we had laying around the house (wooden hearts, stars and sequins) and then we sprinkled glitter over the entire project.

You need to act pretty quick when placing your objects because the crayon mixture cools and hardens fairly quick.

This was a very easy project and I think this is a cool piece of artwork!

For another idea to use old crayons read about another project we did here!

The Most Shocking Easter Decoration Of All

The past few weeks my kids and I have been busy making Easter decorations and decorating the house in an attempt to make it feel “Springy” inside despite the amount of snow still outside.

I instructed my kids to make me lots of Easter pictures to decorate the walls:

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We also made an Easter Egg by gluing string to a balloon and after it dried we popped the balloon (My Mom painted the Easter Bunny next to it several years ago for me!) :

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I gave the kids some felt and told them to make me Easter Eggs. In case you can’t tell, my daughter’s is the sweet one with the flower and my son made a “weird guy” Easter Egg.

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We also made paper chains of bunnies and Easter Eggs. I had just purchased some really pretty “Springy” paper but my son still opted to use our 4th of July themed paper!?

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I really thought we had covered all of our bases with our Easter decorating, especially with our Easter Egg decorating we did here! However, my daughter thought we clearly missed one more important decoration. She really thought we should have some….SNOWFLAKES! I gave her a puzzled looks and said, “Really? Do you really think we need snowflakes?” She was absolutely sure about this. So yesterday, we added the final detail to our Easter decorating decor! It truly is complete now!

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The Year the Easter Eggs Came Alive

The kids had a blast coloring Easter eggs today!

All of the kids coloring eggs

All of the kids coloring eggs

After we were done with the dyeing process I had the kids make “clothes” for their eggs using construction paper. After we had them dressed we set up them up for photo shoots in my daughter’s doll house! Enjoy our Egg Photo Shoots:

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Matchbox Car Art

I have wanted to do a project utilizing me and my brother’s old Matchbox cars from the 1960’s and 70’s for a few years now. As a kid, I spent hours playing with these. I kept trying to think of a way to display them properly. I always have a few hundred projects going through my head at all times. Time and how I will go about executing things is always a major factor in how soon I get them done though. I thought I might have a few extra minutes today and I finally figured out how I was going to do this so I set to work.

First I started with a plain wooden board that I got at the ReStore shop. It’s a place that sells used building materials so you can pick up stuff here for pretty cheap.

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Next, I painted the board black and created a square template using masking tape. As you can see, painting is a family affair around here!

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I painted around the edges of the masking tape so the board would have a simple design on it.

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After letting the paint dry, I glued my Matchbox cars on. I applied Gorilla glue on the wheels and placed the cars where I wanted them on the board. The cars are firmly attached and I can now hang this on the wall! Of course the kids think I am completely nuts for gluing cars to a board. They really think I should have just gave the cars to them to play with. I know better though, these would have ended up with the 48 other Matchbox cars under the stove right now!

Matchbox Car Art

Matchbox Car Art

Hundreds of Tiny Squares

It seems every winter I find myself doing some sort of mind numbing project to take my mind off of being cooped up in the house.

Even when I was a teenager I made my own Monopoly board. My original board broke and instead of buying a new one I just decided to recreate one:

My homemade Monopoly board

My homemade Monopoly board

When my first daughter was little I decided to turn a crawl space in our house into a “Super Secret Hideout.” I brightened up the walls by applying magazine pictures:

Iris & Bency playing in the hideout in 2009

Iris & Bency playing in the hideout in 2009

A close up of the Super Secret Hideout walls

A close up of the Super Secret Hideout walls

Now Cesar plays in the Hideout

Now Cesar plays in the Hideout

Then a few years ago I took puzzle pieces and painted and glued them to an old drawer:

The puzzle box

The puzzle box

There was also the year that I bought a used coffee table at a rummage sale for $1.50 and decided to paint it:

The painted coffee table

The painted coffee table

This coffee table sits in our living room and also serves as a stage for our kids. They stand on here and do their dancing. I’m pretty sure it’s on itsĀ  last leg. I’m not going to replace it until they are a bit older and have grown out of dancing on tables (that happens right?) So instead I decided to sit down this past week and do this:

The coffee table redone

The coffee table redone

I glued 1 inch squares cut out of magazines all over the table and then put varnish on top. I did this while watching television and usually surrounded by the kids or being jumped on. My 5 year old Bency kept tearing out pages from magazines that he wanted me to add to the table. One was an advertisement for Breathe Right strips and another one was for kitty litter. I unfortunately had to over rule him on those selections.

Like I said, the table is not going to last much longer but at least it kept me busy this past week while we were all confined inside!

 

Hundreds of tiny squares

Hundreds of tiny squares

 

 

 

Are You in the Mood For Love?

Are you thinking about Valentine’s Day? I sure wasn’t until I came across this little ditty in my daughter, Iris’s room that she wrote:

Valentine’s Day Song

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Watch out for Cupid. Cupid could get you.

You would think he is sweet but he shoots arrows at you.

Stay clear from Cupid. But watch out for his arrows.

You do not want to get shot because you will fall in love.

Iris's Song

And then my son Bency drew this picture the other day:

I love people in my class

I love people in my class

These sure got me thinking that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with that comes the Valentine exchange at school!

So this year I thought I would make their Valentines on the computer and send in the files to be printed as 4×6 pictures. They can write their messages on the back and have their own unique Valentine’s to hand out!

This project took me a 1/2 hour and I ordered 50 prints total which cost $7.00 with shipping.

And here are the finished results:

Iris's Valentine for school

Iris’s Valentine for school

Bency's Valentine for school

Bency’s Valentine for school

I just noticed now that I forgot the apostrophe in Valentine’s on Bency’s card and I already have them sent in! Wow, that’s so typical of me!! Good thing I’m not a perfectionist!

Have a great day and don’t get shot by an arrow!!

Melissa