Scarf Into Poncho

Living in Turkey, the land of gorgeous shawls and scarves, I've found myself with way too many of these beautiful scarves.  I usually send them out to friends and family as gifts, but I imagine they are slowly tiring of them.

This past April, I came up with an idea to turn them into ponchos. Their light weight fabric and beautiful designs made them ideal for summer.

They work best with large, square shaped scarves.  To make them, lay them flat and cut a circle or V in the center of the poncho (this is your head hole).  Then, sew a hem along the edges so they don't unravel.  You can hand sew it if your patient or machine sew it.  Alternately, if you're good with crochet, you can add an SC border instead.

Have fun!

DIY Angry Birds Figures

I first made these guys back in 2011 when Angry Birds was still a new and cool thing.  They didn't have the toys out then like they do now, but my son was really into it and would make his own little towers, pretending to knock them down like Angry Birds.  My solution: make them, of course.


These guys are made out of nothing but flour, salt, water, and paint.  And here's how to make them, step-by-step:

  1. Make a basic salt dough recipe:
    1 part salt
    1 part water
    2 parts flour
    TIP: adjust as water/flower ration until dough is firm enough to mold

  2. Shape the body of your bird or pig
    TIP: most are just balls, white birds are ovals, yellow birds are like little pyramids

  3. Add accents:
    Eyes: roll small balls and squish them onto the face.
    Pig Snouts: same as eyes, only bigger.
    Eyebrows: remember rolling out "snakes" using play dough when you were a kid?  Do that only teeny-tiny and press them above the eyes.
    Hair/Tails: Same as eyebrows only attach so they are standing up.
    Beaks: roll a small ball and squish it a little on the sides so that it makes a point.  Attach below the eyes.
    TIP: when attaching parts, rub just a little bit of water on the body in the area where you are going to attach the piece.  This acts kind of like glue, it holds the piece together better.

  4. Bake
    Suggested time is something like 2 hours in the oven at 200 degrees.  This does get the best results, but it is possible to bake them at higher temps for less time, and yes, you can even bake them in the microwave.  I've done all three, and the pieces hold together just fine.

  5. Paint
    Of course you want to let them thoroughly cool first.  I used basic acrylic paint from Walmart for this part.  You could probably coat them once you are done to protect them, but I didn't.

  6. Play!  :-)  Or get creative.  Or decorate your office.  Below are pictures that my friends posted after I gave them each a set.

DIY Dollar Store Cragger Hat

This project requires a little bit of creativity but is fun and easy to make.

STEP 1: Cheat.  Start with a foam dinosaur hat from the dollar store ($1).

STEP 2: Draw an outline for the "crown" (the gold part) using a marker.

STEP 3: Use acrylic paints (they run $0.50-$1 at Walmart) to paint the snout, crown, teeth, and eyes.  For best results, let each dry thoroughly (it doesn't take long for acrylics).

STEP 4: Outline with permanent marker.
 

And ta da!  You have your mask/hat made for under $3.

DIY Minecraft Figures with Papercraft

My oldest son has been obsessed with Minecraft.  We turned that obsession into something creative and let him make his own Minecraft papercraft figures.  He now has over 50 of these guys floating around his room.

So here are the instructions you need to get started:

1. Find and print a template (I've included a link to a free template site belwo)

2. If you are not printing onto posterboard, I recommend gluing the pieces onto that now - before cutting.

3. Cut out the pices and score the folds

4. Glue and fold the tabs per the tempalte instructions

Let dry and have fun playing!

Cleaning (REALLY) Dirty Shells

While walking along the seaside, I often happen upon large, potentially beautiful shells that are unfortunately covered with some seriously disgusting junk.  I figure other people might benefit from knowing how I clean them, so I thought I would list my process.

 

Here's what you'll need:

- vinegar (lots of vinegar)

- a steel/wire brush with firm bristles

- a nail file, screw driver, ice pick, or similar item to pick off excess barnacles

- bleach

 

So here are the steps I took to clean this guy:

1. Submerge the shell in vinegar and let it soak for at least an hour.

2. Remove the shell and scrub it (hard) with the wire brush.  Rinse with water, use the file to pick off some of the excess barnacles, submerge in vinegar again for another 30-60 minutes

3. Repeat step 2 again as many times as needed.  You're going to be putting a lot of scrubbing effort in if your shell is anywhere near as dirty as mine was.

4. Once you have your shell more or less clean and free of debris, you might find it still has a bit of a green color to it (that's the algae).  A soak in about 10 parts water 1 part bleach (for about 20 minutes) should take care of it.  Brush it one more time afterwards

5. Let dry thoroughly and gloss (if desired) to help keep the color richness

DIY No Sew Mario Hat

Need an easy Halloween costume idea?  This Mario hat was made from felt and hot glue - that's right, NO SEWING required!  :-)

I've included the link to the pattern I based this off of.  Replace all of the "sewing" section with gluing the pieces of felt together, and you are set!

Salt Dough Ornaments & Recipe

One of our Christmas traditions is making our own ornaments every year.  We do it with a very simple salt dough recipe that just uses salt, flour and water.  You can even use cookie cutters you already have, so there is really minimal craftiness required for this project.  It doesn't get much easier than that.

The recipe we use for our dough is:
1 part salt
1 part water
2 parts flour
TIP: adjust as water/flower ration until dough is firm enough to mold

Make your shapes, and bake in the oven at a low temperature (about 250F).  You can cook at a warmer temperature (or even in the microwave) but you'll get the best, most even results if you cook at a low temp.  You want the finished pieces to be hard on all surfaces.

Allow to cool then use markers, glitter, or acrylic paint to decorate them.  Have fun!

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