Tutorial…. sorta… Thanksgiving banner

So remember how I was going to post every day with something I was thankful about? Yeah that failed miserably,  but I will have some thankfuls on another post soon, so don’t think I’ve completely forgotten.

Today I have a tutorial of sorts for you. Its silly simple so I don’t know how much it should count. I even have a free printable for you to go with it- simple decorated letters that took me way too long to make due to computer crashes.


  • Book paper (I used an old dictionary)
  • printed letters from this post
  • scissors
  • glue (I used the hot glue gun on this one)
  • ribbon
  • extra paper for backing
  • ink pads if desired

I started out by printing and cutting out the letters. As a side note to anyone  familiar with Illustrator, they retain their edit-ability (is that even a word? well it is now so pbbbthththt) if you’d like to change up the colors. Anywho, the next step is to cut your pages from your book in half.

Then glue the ends of the halves together to make a longer strip. This is going to vary a bit from book to book, but I needed 3 half sheets to get the right length for the rosettes. Start folding accordion style.

You can line up the definitions to look really cool if you use a dictionary. Just remember about the road to hell and good intentions and such because sometimes you end up with this instead.

Yeah that was a bit unplanned… oh well.

Once you’ve got your sheets of paper accordion folded, overlap the two free ends and glue them together.

This makes a nice tube which you’ll be folding down flat to make the rosettes by bringing the edges of one side together.

please ignore the chipping nail polish

camera happy? who me?? couldn’t be!

Glue a piece of random paper or cardboard in the middle to hold the edges of the page together.

Flip it over, ink the edges of the paper and attach your letter of choice.

Repeat with the rest of the letters.

To attach them to the ribbon, line them up carefully with the letters straight up and down or else you’ll end up with a bit of frustration when you have to repeatedly reposition them after gluing them down only to find out they were crooked. Of course I would never make that mistake, but some people might……

Glue a nice piece of paper over the ribbon (I actually covered these with neat circles after the pic) that overlaps onto the pleats to hold the ribbon in place.

How you attach the letters is up to you. This was a spur of the moment project for me so I used two pieces of ribbon and made a tiered banner, but you could attach them all to a single length to make a longer piece, that part is entirely up to you. Now all you have to do is hang it and I’m sure you can do that on your own so no pictures for that step.

Have fun with this and if you make one, I’d love to see it!





Halloween is a’comin

And I’m working on getting ready. I love this time of year and if you’ve been reading my blog for long, you’ve probably noticed that I have a tendency to lean toward things that are slightly dark, macabre, and in general spooky and I don’t just do it for Halloween, I do it year round. Last year we spent a lot of time getting ready for the big Halloween party, but with my husband out of state (as he usually is this time of year) I had too much time on my hands and not enough to keep me busy. This year is slightly different. My sweetie is working out of town, but only over in Saint Louis, so he’s home every weekend which means I’m not as lonely. Add to that the fact that I’m busy with my college classes and you end up with a girl who although stoked about the holiday season ahead, is not as desperate for random stuff to occupy her time.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been busy in my own little way however. This year’s costume is going to be based on the costumes of the show Spartacus that I’ve been watching a little at a time on Netflix. I love Lucy Lawless’ costuming and since the J’s are a little older (and being exposed to the Ren Fest which means they’re not as sheltered) I’m not as concerned about keeping my costumes as G-rated which for me is nice.

Today I’m going to share a project I’m working on that’s not quite finished. This isn’t a tutorial because I don’t have step by step pictures, but its pretty straight forward so I think if you’re crafty, you shouldn’t have much trouble recreating this.

The project for today is haunted banners and pennants.

The end result will look something like this

The materials are simple.

I used a canvas tarp from a hardware store (Harbor Freight if you’re interested), and acrylic paints. I also used a candle to burn the edges for that aged tattered look, but that’s up to you and your inner pyro.

  1. Cut your tarp section to the size you want it. I made a large banner that is still in the works and but for this pennant, I cut off a section about 10 inches wide by 20 inches long give or take a bit. Don’t worry about how straight and pretty your edges are because you want it to look old and beat up. You could even pull out threads to fray the edges if you don’t plan on burning it.
  2. Cut the bottom edge of your pennant into a jagged line to give it that ‘I’ve been hanging in a rotten and moldering old castle for the last 100 years’ look.
  3. This is where the burning comes in. If you’re not comfortable with this step, skip it and leave your edges alone for now. If you are burning the edges, I find that carefully running the edge back and forth through a flame til it catches on fire and then immediately using the fabric to smother the flames works well for me. This is dangerous (you’re playing with fire after all) so I also keep a large bowl of water right at next to me in case things get too out of hand. Once you’ve got three sides burned (left, right, and bottom) you’re ready for paint.
  4. I was having a very hard time deciding what to do for this pennant. I thought about having it say ‘Spooky’ and there’s nothing wrong with words like ‘Boo’ or ‘Stay out’ but I also thought about the fact that if this really WERE a pennant from an old castle, it wouldn’t say ‘Spooky’ on it and I’m a stickler about that kind of stuff. So instead I scoured through my collection of Halloween magazines and found my inspiration in last year’s Martha Stewart Halloween magazine. It was a title for an article about 13 Ghastly something or others and the typeface was perfect. You don’t have to go that route. You can look for free fonts (I like dafont.com) and find awesome creepy fonts or freehand it. I looked at the picture and drew it out as best I could. Its up to you how you do this step.
  5. Paint. Fill in the outline of your numbers, letters, or creepy skull. I used just basic black for this step.At this point it should look something like this.
  6. Now add your details. I painted my hand with a mixture of red and brown paint and then smeared it down one side of the pennant to look like a bloody hand print. I brushed the same red brown along the right edges of the numbers to give them a shadowed look and added green and white to the left edges to add more depth. Paint on some blood splatters and you’re set with the painting unless you didn’t burn the edges. If you still want the blackened charred look without the danger of fire, use a mix of black and brown paint to darken the edges of your pennant. This will have the added bonus of sealing the edges a bit which is nice.
  7. Finally you’ll want to make a pocket at the top of the pennant for hanging or you can fold the top edge over and tack it to the walls if you want to go the no sew route.

Like I said- not the best visual tutorial, but its pretty simple and the end result is pretty cool.

If you want to see more awesome Halloween ideas, check out Sawdust and Paper Scraps for her Halloween link party!

Feather Tutorial

So as I mentioned the other day I’m decorating our basement for a Masquerade themed birthday party and I needed some ideas. I had written Heather over at Dollar Store Crafts begging for help and she came up with a brilliant post rounding up projects to make a candy themed party that I think we will go with. Bright colored candy plus masks equals good sugared up fun for all.

As a part of our decorations I wanted lots of feathers, but I don’t want to spend a ton of money on them and the pretty feathers I’m wanting aren’t cheap. So I decided to find a tutorial for making them out of paper. Sadly? I wasn’t too impressed with what I found. Fortunately I’m resourceful so I pulled out my stack of card stock and went to work. I free handed a design and away I went.

I figured since I wanted a pattern and tutorial, maybe someone else would too so I’m here to share my technique with you.

Supplies: Card stock, glue, florists wire, pens, pencils, markers, and the template The template is optional, but I’m sharing it in case you want it.

These feathers were the final result of my work.

First take a piece of card stock and fold it over to a width of about 2 inches. This width will vary depending on the size you want your feather to be.

Cut it off and cover one side with glue. Cut a section of florists wire to just an inch or so longer than your piece of paper. and lay it on the glue. I curved mine around a bit in order to get the curved center quill like a feather would have. You can kind of see that in the pictures.

Fold over the unglued side of the paper and press down well.

I used a marker lid to press along the wire so it was raised up higher than the paper. This makes for a very nice seal and gives a more 3-dimensional effect.

Which you can kind of see here in this picture.

I then traced over the wire with a colored pencil. This makes the center of the feather much more visible.

Here you see the outline of the feather drawn on the paper. Cut it out. No don’t stop what you’re doing silly, cut the feather out of the paper.

Draw your little spines (I have no idea what they’re called but the fluffy things) on the paper and now you have a nice representation of a feather right?

You can of course stop there and call it good, but I’m a perfectionist so here’s where I took it one step further. I very carefully cut dozens of thin slivers along the edge of the feather so it looks…. well feathered.

You can see here how the edges are sort of rough and it really gives a nice effect that pictures don’t do justice to.

The sky’s the limit to what kind of feathers you can make. I’ve included templates for the red and blue feathers, but if you get creative you can make one like the black one my sister in law made as well. I made a couple of these without the wire, but I like how bendable and 3D the wire ones are.

Cheap simple pretty decorations for anything you want to use feathers on.

Pipe Cleaner Poinsettia Tutorial

So as I promised yesterday I came back to share these poinsettias with you. Amazing right?

The idea for these little guys first hit me when I was getting ready to go Christmas shopping a couple weeks ago. I had my warm long sleeve red shirt on under my black More Cowbell t-shirt and was all set to wrap up in my new coat that Jarell got me but I was feeling less than festive. Things as I’ve mentioned have not been great the last couple of months and I really wanted something that would help me feel more like Christmas shopping. In about 5 minutes the idea exploded into my brain. My first thought was pipe cleaner snowflake. But then I saw my red chenille pipe cleaners and a whole nother plan formed in an instant. I wanted a poinsettia for my ponytail. Here’s how I whipped it up.

Step One:

Gather Materials. I used red green and white chenille pipe cleaners from Hobby Lobby. They cost me 77 cents per package making this a very budget friendly craft. The buttons came from my Gramma’s button tin making this a keepsake craft as well- I don’t want to use Gramma’s buttons for just anything but their use in this project guarantee’s it will be extra special. The ribbon came from my stash and also cost me probably less than 2 dollars per roll. All in all if you buy the supplies this project can cost 1 dollar and up. Awesome yes?

Step Two: Grab three like colored pipe cleaners and line up the ends. Figure out where the middle is and twist them together a few times like this. (except less blurry…)

Step Three: Spread out your pipe cleaners like spokes on a wheel

Step Four: Fold in your flower petals. Please forgive the blurry shots- my hands were kinda shaky today and the more I tried to hold still the worse it got so everything has a bit of blur to it.

Wrap the end around behind the other pipe cleaners and secure it around front with a twist. Harder to show and explain than it is to do I promise.

Continue on around the flower until all your petals are made.

Step Five: Shape the petals to look like… you guessed it… poinsettia petals. I use one finger in the middle of the loop as shown to make the end of the petal and pinch it shut with the other two fingers

Repeat around all the petals.

Step Six: Now its time to shape the petals. Again with blurriness but I tried like 10 times and got no better than this.

I curled them around my fingers as shown to give them some dimension beyond that of flat pipe cleaners.

Step Seven: This step is somewhat optional. I have not used it for every poinsettia but I’m adding it in anyway as it looks nice. This is the leaf. Make a figure 8 with a green pipe cleaner if desired and follow the instructions for shaping the petals.


Step Eight: String the button on your ribbon or pipe cleaner.

Then wrap your ribbon (or pipe cleaner) around the center of your flower and tie (or twist) to secure. Make sure to include your leaves if you’re making them.

At this point I feel I should mention that you can make your ribbon as long or as short as you want. I made mine long enough to be worn as a headband as well as a ribbon on my ponytail.

So now you have yourself a poinsettia. Woo hoo, right?

RIP pillow tutorial

I made a tombstone pillow some time back and at the time I think I made some mention of someday getting a tutorial on here on how to make them. Well with Halloween right around the corner I figured I better get it on here. This is a quick and easy project that packs quite a punch for visual interest I think. Not to mention the cute pun with a pillow having Rest in Peace on it even if only in abreviation.
So here goes.
Step 1: Get yourself some fabric any color is fine. I used grey because, well, they are tombstones after all. A yard will be plenty for 2 pillows- you might even get three or four out of a yard. You will also need some contrasting fabric, the urge to embroider huge letters, or a machine (or someone else) to do it for you. I chose the contrasting fabric in black for my lettering.
Step 2: Take your main fabric and cut 2 rectangles roughly the size that you want your finished pillow to be. Do this for each pillow you want to make but make sure to leave a long strip of fabric about 3-5 inches wide for the edge of each pillow you do. Keep in mind that this fabric has to be long enough or you need enough to make it long enough to go all the way around the edge of your pillow. Thats what will make it boxy and 3 dimensional like a tombstone.
Curved tombstone shape
Step 3: Cut that strip of fabric I was just talking about. You’ll want it to be at least 4 inches longer than you think you’ll need but I’ll explain why later. You can measure the outside edge of the rectangle with fabric, a tape measure, or you eye. Its up to you but if you do it before you cut your tombstone shape it will ensure that you have plenty of fabric to go all the way around.
Step 4: Place your two rectangles (per pillow) right sides together and fold them in half lengthwise. Starting on the open edge cut a half circle up to the top so that when you open the fabric up it looks like the picture above. You could do other shapes for this as well- crosses, plain rectangles, and go wild, but I’m lazy and wanted this to be a quick project.
Tombstone and edge of pillow
Step 5: Now its time to get that contrasting fabric and a marking device if you’re picky like me, or just some scissors if you’re good at eyeballing these things. I used a white marking pencil but I’ve found that a gel pen works rather well and then you can just rinse it off if by some odd chance its still visible by the time you’re done cutting the letters out. Draw on letters (I did RIP) or a skull which I did for another pillow or whatever you want on your tombstone. (I’ll take pepperoni and cheese)
 Step 6: Cut out these letters or whatever you’ve decided as your toppings.


Now for the really fun part!

Step 7: You can do this several ways but I’m only going to describe 2 because those are the methods I’ve used. If you are comfortable enough with your sewing machine (and if you even have one) then you can do what I did in the above picture. I used a zig zag stitch and painstakingly sewed down the letters with it instead of doing it by hand. It took a bit of cursing and a lot of patience but it was comparatively quick and the seams look so preeeettty when you’re done. The other method I used was hand appliqueing the letters on with some black thread, a blanket stitch, and several good movies to keep my active mind from going crazy sitting there sewing on letters. Either way do this before you begin constructing the pillow unless you’re like me and enjoy sewing stuff on things that are already stuffed. I did that with the first pillow and I like being able to have a firmer foundation, but that may just be me. As an altertive to these to methods, you could use some iron on stuff or glue or whatever but never having used those things I can’t vouch for them but with this the letters will stay put.

I wish I had pictures of this last step but my junk camera crapped out at the end and so of course it was at the hardest to explain part of the project. Bear with please.

Step 8: Did I call the last step the fun part? Cuz compared to this one it was. Take your edging strip, line one end of it up with the center of the bottom of your tombstone shape. This will keep the seam on the bottom of the pillow. Make sure you have the right sides together because otherwise you’ll be like me tearing out the seams when you realize that you’re edges are on the outside. Start sewing the edge to the tombstone following the curves and backtacking the corners if you want. When you get back to the bottom you may have a lot of overlap but leave that for now. Pin the other half of the tombstone to the other side of the edging again pinning it at the center of the bottom and making sure again that the rightsides are together because you’ll feel really stupid if you have to rip out the seams twice. I sure did….. *grins* Now I know its hard to make the seams exactly the same and here’s where the overlap comes in. Sometimes the bottoms don’t line up and the extra fabric covers your ass so to speak when this happens.

Step 9: Stuff the pillow and then sew the bottom shut et Voila! You have a creepy tombstone pillow.