Halloween Gravestone Craft

diy gravestone halloween craft idea

Truth: I’ve had these stryrofoam gravestones sitting in my Halloween stash for a few years. Okay, maybe ten years. Each year, I plan on making them suitable for the outdoors. Then October 31st rolls around, and they return to their respective Halloween containers.

Finally, I took the whole 5 minutes this craft took me, and now I have a kid-friendly graveyard on my frontlawn. If some neighborhood kids decide to trash it, then I’m out a few bucks.  These are the garden-variety gravestones you’ve probably seen at your dollar store.


diy gravestone halloween craft idea



materials circle button-002

-spray paint in silver

-E6000 craft glue

-paint sticks or shims

-cheap stryrofoam gravestones from The Dollar Tree


I won’t insult your intelligence here, but the secret is that E6000 glue.  It’s waterproof, which is key for most rainy Octobers.

Simply spray paint the gravestone to get rid of that cheap dollar store look, glue a paint stick or shim on the back about mid-way down, and drive that stake into the ground once your craft is good and dry.


diy gravestones craft for halloween

As a part of The Nester’s 31 days project, in which bloggers from all genres write about a topic for 31 days…I chose to be more general this year.  Project Graveyard is a month where I tie up loose ends in my home and creative life.  Finally, I have some outdoor Halloween decorations.


Stay tuned for more!



If you want to see last year’s 31 days (it’s all about Halloween…stop here!)

31 days of Halloween crafts, recipes, activities, ideas, stories, and projects at momnivore's dilemma.com

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Chicago Summer Bucket List 2013

Chicago summer bucket list 2013

With school supplies already showing up in stores, this summer seems like it’s eternal, but before you know it, we will be cursing the back to school grind. In the spirit of my list obsession,  I want to make sure we are doing a lot here in Chicago this summer, because it’s been NEVER since we’ve had a family vacation.  Therapy and food costs trump vacation savings, so many a mini-staycations are in order.

Our near and dear Chicago Public Library has free passes to most of the major attractions here in the city, if you are a resident.  Which, thankfully, we are.

Soon, I’ll share how I made this “chalkboard” without chalkboard paint…and it’s been holding up swimmingly.  If you want to see how I made a real outdoor chalkboard, stop by here.  It’s held up for over 3 summers.

I made a quick bunting from the freebie summer  art that Eat Drink Chic posted a few weeks back.  Covering them in my faux lamination ensures that my sons can “eat” these treats.


Chicago summer bucket list 2013



If any of the recipes are successes, I promise to share them…


Off to unplug with the boys,



p.s. Our 2011 version is here with retro pics of the boys… in 2012, I was an autopilot.  No list.

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How to Freezer Paper Stencil

freezer paper stencil cape

I remember being incredibly intimidated by freezer paper stenciling, fearing that I would start the fabric on fire. Here’s a simple tutorial on freezer paper stenciling.

Never fear.

It’s so easy.

You can use this method to pseudo-screen print tees, pillows, onesies, or dishtowels. Imagine the possibilities for holiday presents!

*freezer paper

*X-acto knife/tracing paper/copy paper OR a digital cutter

*fabric of your choice

*junk cardboard to layer behind surface being painted

*acrylic paint + fabric paint medium {I use Golden brand} OR

a paint brand like Martha Stewart’s that is an “all-in-one” paint {glass, fabric, etc}

*foam brush


1.) If you have a digital cutter, CUT your design directly on the freezer paper, shiny side down.


2.) If you don’t have a cutter, PRINT out a design on computer paper.

CUT the design out of the computer paper, and TRACE on the freezer paper, shiny side down.

CUT the traced design out of the freezer paper.

3.) Using the negative space, IRON the freezer paper stencil, shiny side down, on your fabric.

4.) INSERT cardboard behind your painted surface

{in between layers of a tees, for example}, so your fabric paint doesn’t bleed.

5.) MIX your paint with your fabric medium in a 1:1 ratio.

6.) Using a foam brush, PAINT from the center of the stencil outward toward the edges.

7.) Impatiently WAIT for it to dry.  Allow to dry for about 12+ hours.  Trust me on this.

8.}  Behold!

Thanks for reading,


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How to Make Cabochons

magneta rose cabochon on black filagree ring


One thing I’ve learned from blogging in the past three years, is that you can DIY almost anything. I’m sure you’ve seen darling cabochons jewelry like this:

magneta rose cabochon on black filagree ring

Yes, I made her. And many of her sisters. These lil’ rings can take an ordinary weekday outfit up a notch.

materials circle button-002


The materials to make cabochons


*your hands

*an oven preheated to 275F

*a cheap cookie sheet that you don’t mind dedicating to this craft

{you can’t use food on it after the clay}

*polymer clay in the colors of your choice

*clay rolling pin

*items to mold

*polymer clay glaze {if you want them glossy}



1.) First, take equal parts of your molding compound {shown in pictures}

and mix until the yellow and white is totally combined.

2.) Flatten create a circle for the mold.

3.) Press your object in the mold.  Wait 25 minutes.

4.) Then, your mold is ready!

5.) Work the clay with your fingers until your body heat makes it pliable.

6.) Press into mold.

how to make cabochons


7.) Use a small clay rolling pin to flatten the back.

8.) Slowly, pop it out.

DIY cabochon mold

9.) Voila! Just bake  at 275 for 15 minutes and use!

{This time works for 1/4 inch thickness]

WARNING:  This craft is addicting.  You will find yourself collecting polymer clay and scouring vintage shops for cool old jewels to mold.

Yes, I have a whole suitcase full of clay now. Now, you can add another talent to your craft arsenal.

chalkboard with inlay-002

Oh, just think what you can make:






even little chocolates…


Thanks for reading,



sharing @ Craftberry Bush and Shaken Together

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DIY Weather Chart for Kids

weather chart for kids

Back when I was teaching, I ran a morning routine with my students.  Now, I do the same with my kids.  It’s great way to anchor our morning, and this way, I know I start the day with some solid learning.

Initially, I purchased materials from a teacher’s store, but over the past few years, said materials for my charts with the boys have been either chewed or ripped.  Plus, I think my illustrations for teaching weather are way cuter than many of the teacher-y materials for weather on the mass market.

My boys’ room functions as a place for sleep, time-outs, morning routine, and ABA.  It’s too small to house toys. For that sake, it’s been pretty barren.  This month, I plan to finally finish the room that I started redecorating a year ago! 

weather chart for kids



Our weather here in Chicago is volatile at best.  It can drop 30-40 degrees over the course of a few hours.  Snow, then rain…you get the idea.  So, I wanted to keep the pieces handy ON the actual chart, in case my younger son wants to change them out.  Which he often does.



weather chart ideas, weather clip art for kids

materials circle button-002* thin white foam core sheet {from Dollar Tree}

*X-acto knife



*stickers, letters, or a digital cutter with cardstock

*Weather Clip Art

*Faux lamination technique


*Hot glue and glue sticks

*regular glue


1.) Freehand a cloud.

2.) Cut with X-acto knife on a solid surface.  {Not your tablecloth…I ripped mine-not thinking of course}

3.) Outline the cloud with a Sharpie.

4.) Cut your letters, stickers, etc. for the wording.  I used Silhouette Cameo in size 100/72 pt Copperplate Font.

5.) Print the clip art and use faux lamination! I plan to invest in a real laminator soon.

I used the weather clip art set from our shoppe at etsy:


Why clip art vs stuff from a teacher store?

If it rips, you lose a piece, or your kids chew it {true story}, simply reprint.  For the price you pay for a poster, you can have a perpetual weather chart! Plus, you are supporting WAHMs, and not big corporations.

6.) Adhere velcro to the back of each piece. I use dot velcro.  As an autism mom, I seriously should buy stock in velcro.  We use it so much for his charts and PECS books.

7.) Hot glue a length of ribbon.

weather chart for kids

Now turn your children into little meteorologists…


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.

I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.


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Vintage Jeweled Clipboard Tutorial

final jeweled clipboard with to do list

Hello, everyone!  Winter is the time to declutter and tackle those to-do lists for me, not spring.  At the start of spring, the last thing I want to do is be indoors organizing. So, blogging about these projects will be coming to you all more in the next few weeks, as I’ve been doing more than writing.

I’ve learned if my systems aren’t pretty than they don’t work.  It’s the Libra in me I guess.

I’m in the midst of redoing my kitchen gallery wall, and I needed a list that I could take off and work with.  Despite my love of the iPhone, I’m old-school when it comes to needing paper and pencil to make lists.  Same goes for the planner.  Need pencil and paper.

I added sparkle to my to-do list, using broken jewels and cabochons that didn’t make the cut for my upcoming etsy shoppe.  This makes the calls to the insurance companies and doctors all the more bearable.

final jeweled clipboard with to do list

If you love this printable…you are in luck.

Printable is available for FREE from the graphic design blog Pair of Pears.

That blog has a great eye and excellent taste…


 materials circle button-002

*old clipboard

*glue gun & glue sticks

*random jewels leftovers from {bridesmaids jewerly, out of style tops, broken sandals, old buttons etc.}

Tip: Have a box labeled to save all those broken gems!

materials for jeweled clipboard

I love that Marilyn Monroe button.

I bought it from an art fair here in Chicago ten years ago, and the backing broke off.

Guess all my jewelry hoarding pays off, right?



1.) Pretty straight forward, simply hot glue all your jewels onto the silver clip of the clipboard.  E600 glue may be better depending on your gems…

2.) Try to use flat-backed gems if possible.

Other tips: most antique stores also have broken jewel boxes…which would be perfect for this craft!  Should you not have three lunchboxes full of broken necklaces from my boys’ doing when they were babies.

Hope this idea keeps you on top of your to-do lists!

jeweled clipboard with to do list

Off to tackle said to-do list,


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No-Sew Fabric Marigold Flower Tutorial

no sew fabric flower tutorial

As a mother of sons, I find myself pining for things unrelated to trains, dinosaurs, and boogers.  Namely, the fantasy of a perfectly behaved daughter who would twirl about in frilly dresses and wear flowers in her hair. Who would help me with all the housework, and craft with me all day long.

So, much in fact, that I have a pinterest board named, for my imaginary daughter.

Because, if I had a daughter, she’d be a rough tomboy who would refuse to wear dresses and eat bugs.  She’d have Moose and Monkey, at their respective large sizes, beating her up…

I digress.  I do have nieces…many of them! So, I took to the scissors and felt, and made some incredible no-sew flowers.  Sure, I could bust out the ol’ sewing machine, but hot glue was far more efficient.

Feast your eyes on this fun fabric flower.



materials circle button-002


  • good quality marigold colored wool felt in an 18″ by 2.5″ strip-it’s pricey. beware.
  • hot glue gun & hot glue sticks
  • fabric scissors

felt flower tutorial


  1. Cut your desired length of felt, but don’t make the fabric too wide or the flower will be bulky.
  2. Next, working in sections, hot glue the ends of the fabric together.  Allow it to dry for a minute.
  3. Every 1/3 of an inch or so, create a slit on the rounded side of the felt strip.
        4.) On the opposite hot glued side, about every inch or so, create a teeny slit so the flower rolls together easier.
        5.) Then, the magic begins.  Begin to roll and hot glue slowly, beading the glue on the edge of the hot glued side.

Voila! You have a fabric flower in a small span of time.  You could make a a half dozen of these in an hour.




I’m on a crafting roll here.

Stay tuned for more,


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.



Sharing at  I Heart NaptimeThe Inspiration Gallery


{a variation of this post originally appeared at Ivy Cottage Blog as a part of my craft contributor position}

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Pearl Wreath Tutorial

winter wreath ideas, wedding wreath ideas, pearl wreath

In the early days of this blog, a little table top tree I made back in the winter of 2010 went “viral” on some new fangled site called Pinterest. That made this newbie blogger happy back then.  Since that time, my lovely 3 year old child mistook said tree for a “birthday hat”, and the tree is no longer with us.

That was a long time-out for the Monkey.

I still wanted those pretty pearls I spent a small fortune on as a part of my winter decorations, so the deceased table top tree reincarnated into another project.  Far above the reach of  Monkey’s curious hands.

winter wreath ideas, wedding wreath ideas, pearl wreath

Say hello, to my DSLR.  I’m in love.

*wreath form


*massive amounts of hot glue


& the secret weapon: Christmas pearl picks {buy in bulk at Michael’s…I use them a lot}

{I used roughly 20 picks to cover this wreath}



{I used the silver, white, and beaded  pearls, not pictured as these were the recycled pearls from my dead tree}

1.) Wrap and hot glue ribbon around wreath form.

2.) Cut pearls off the wire branches of the pick.  A tedious process, yes. Be careful with the wires.

3.) Flood ribbon with hot glue in small sections, and place pearls in circles, alternating the textures.

4.) Remove hot glue hairs.  Which are annoying.

5.) Behold!  Be the envy of your block.


Happy Holidays,


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.




Sharing @ Liz Marie Blog

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Book Page Chrysanthemum Wreath

book page wreath tutorial DIY


Two books were harmed in the making of this project. Books destroyed either by time or children.  Note to self: replace Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. I have thousands of books, and love the romance of the written word.  On paper.

I still mourn the loss of our only neighborhood bookstore.  Now, I have to drive to hipster neighborhoods in my great city or the burbs’ if I want to smell new books.

This project is simple enough, and yes, it has been done before. My version of the book page wreath comes with a twist: mirrors.  I searched the interwebs, and didn’t see a single book page wreath like this.

Could this be an original idea? Perhaps…

I wanted this wreath to honor marigolds, my favorite mum: the warrior in the garden.

Mums are the last flowers standing in garden beds this time of year, holding on until the first real frost.  So, she’s symbolic to me as well, a reminder of a great man who my family lost this month five years ago.  As all great crafts or works of art  should be, a bit symbolic.

She’s a bit vain, don’t you think?


Perfect for my downsized holiday decor. This year I’m shooting for more natural materials mixed with some glitter.

What’s Christmas without glam and glitter?


Book Page Wreath Tutorial



  • book pages* {I used roughly 500 pages}
  • tape
  • ribbon to line wreath form
  • wreath form
  • random cardboard circle {I used an Amazon shipping box}
  • mirrors in assorted sizes
  • hot glue.  lots of hot glue.
* Choose pages that have an aged sepia tone to them to get the vintage effect.


  1.  Spend an epic amount of time ripping pages from your books.
  2. Then, start the tedious process of rolling said pages into cones.
  3. Tape cones together.
  4. Place all cones in some sort of basket to contain the madness.  Trust me on this one.
  5. Wrap wreath form in ribbon of your choice.
  6. Measure the center of your wreath form.
  7. Cut cardboard support that slightly overlaps the wreath form’s center.
  8. Hot glue it to the outside of the wreath form
  9. Begin the process of hot gluing the 100s of cones.  Now, I see why people typically buy these.  This isn’t for the crafting meek.
  10. Layer each level with tons of hot glue on the backs and side.  {I glued them each together for support}.
  11. Add mirrors.

*Tip: Draw circles on the cardboard to keep your cones level with each other.   Also, match the point of the cones with its neighbor.

*Tip #2:  I found that all my cones didn’t perfectly match.  So I often cut the lengths as needed to reduce the bulk


Stay tuned for more epic holiday crafting,


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.


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