Halloween Crafts: ‘Pumpkin’ Carving

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Sometimes, I actually have to remind myself that I’m not 10 anymore, but I can’t help it, I still get ridiculously excited about the holidays.  With Halloween fast approaching, I’m trying to find the time to put together a costume (so much more important than uni work and making money), which I will be sharing once finished.  In the meantime, I figured I’d share a cute little Halloween project I made a couple of years ago.

It’s a cheap alternative to a pumpkin and also makes the room smell really nice!

What you need:

  • An orange
  • A small, sharp knife
  • A tooth pick and green sharpie
  • A small tea light

How to: 

1.  Cut the top off and hollow out the bottom part of the orange, keeping the top for the lid.

2.  Carve your design into the orange.

3.  Colour the toothpick with the green pen and stick into the lid to create a ‘stalk’.

4.  Light the tea light and ta-da, a super quick and easy ‘pumpkin’.

(Just as a safety precaution, it’s probably best not to leave the lid on while the candle is lit in case it sets your house on fire – mine seemed fine while I took the pictures, but I wouldn’t risk a whole night)

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DIY ‘bat country’ Mouse Mat

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I did say that I would share what I did with the other cork pot stand – so here we go, a more manly mouse mat made as a birthday present (see my original one here)!  I’d like to mention that I have never read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, so I’m hoping that this is an alright representation.  This time I experimented by drawing on the cork with Sharpie instead of the acrylic paint I used on my own mat and I actually think it turned out better.  The mouse glides much more easily over it.

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DIY Dip Dye Shoes

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It’s getting colder in Scotland, and the change in the weather is getting me down.  Not that I don’t love Autumn, but I’ve been stuck inside working all summer and would have appreciated enjoying some of the lovely sunshine.  To cheer myself up, I decided to spend a morning dip-dying a pair of shoes, so even if it’s dull outside my feet can look bright and happy.

There are a few great tutorials for this already on the internet.  My method was a combination of these tutorials: Frankie exclusive diy: dip-dyed shoes and iLovetoCreate’s Ombre Tie Dye Sneakers

What you need:

ombreshoessupplies

  • A pair of plain canvas shoes (Primark sells them for only £3!)
  • A packet of dye
  • Salt and warm water to make the dye mix
  • A cloth
  • A paintbrush
  • Vaseline

How-to:

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1.  Prep the shoes:  Remove the laces and set aside (if you have removable inserts take them out as well, my cheapo pair didn’t, so I’ll just have to live with the insides being pink as well).  Cover the soles and rubber bits with a tin layer of Vaseline to protect them from the dye.  Then throughly wet the shoes to help the dye spread.

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2.  Mix the dye:  Mix the dye according to the instructions on the packet (dissolve in warm water and add salt), be sure to do this in as deep of a container as possible for dunking the shoes.

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3.  Dip the shoes:  Dip the tips of the shoes into the dye and hold them in for a while depending on how dark you want the colour to be.  Take out of the dye and dip again, this time letting to dye spread further up the shoes.  Repeat as many times as you like until you’ve got as much colour as you want on the shoes.  I also dipped the heel into the dye to make it darker as well, leaving the shoes lighter in the middle.

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4.  Add more colour:  To get a really bright colour on the darker areas, use a paint brush to add some more dye to the shoes.

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5.  Blend the colour:  Using a damp cloth, gently pat the dye to blend the colour more evenly.  You can even dip the cloth into the dye to add more colour or spread the dye to areas the dipping missed.

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6.  Allow to dry:  Once you’ve achieve the colour you want, leave the shoes to dry for 5-10 minutes.

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7.  Rinse:  Rinse the shoes under running water until the water coming off the shoes is clear (hopefully this means that they won’t turn my feet pink).

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8.  Leave to dry:  Remove the shoes from the water and leave to dry overnight and rub off the Vaseline.

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These are bright and cheery, just what I need to lift my mood when the weather gets cold.  I forgot how fun using dye is.  Keep a look out for some more tie-dye projects as I can’t get enough of it!

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Bedroom Makeover 1: DIY Cork Mousemat

DIY cork mousemat

Lately I’ve been trying to turn my bedroom into a place that I look forward to coming home to, rather than a place that I dump my stuff in while I’m not at work or uni.  I’ve recently received a new desktop (first blog post on this baby!), but the mouse is useless on my desk.  I thought making  a cute mousemat would be a good place to start with my bedroom makeover and luckily found a couple of cork pot stands on sale that were the perfect size (in case you haven’t noticed, I really like the look of cork – see my cork noticeboard and cork coasters)

What you need:

mousemat supplies

  • Cork base
  • A design (my mum kindly created a stencil for me using her fancy-smancy printer)
  • Acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • A piece of felt
  • Glue

Here’s how: 

1.  Paint the design onto the cork (I stuck the stencil on, used a brush to stipple on the paint and peeled the stencil off once the paint was almost dry).

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2.  Paint around the edges (use tape if you want a straight(ish) line – mine still isn’t perfect, but I tried).

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3.  Cut the felt slightly smaller than the cork and glue onto the back.

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4.  Leave to dry properly before using.

Ta-da!  This seems to be working well so far.  I was a bit worried the paint would need fixing with something, but I’ve been using it for a bit and nothing has come off on my mouse.  I’m turning the other cork mat into a present for a special someone, so I’ll probably be posting about that later.

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DIY: The ‘Taylor’ Blazer

taylor blazer DIY amesstobemadex

There is a story behind this latest project, but it is a tad embarrassing, so bear with me.  Exam stress and the need to procrastinate led me to start watching The Rachel Zoe Project, which I quickly became obsessed with.  I also fell in love… with most of Taylor’s wardrobe, especially a black embellished blazer she wore in an episode from Season 2.  After some googling I found out that it was from Victor and Rolf, and as a poor student I could never afford it.  In most of the pictures it is impossible to tell what is used to decorate the lapels, but I figured something similar might be achieved using buttons or gems.  My mum then informed me that she had a large collection of vintage buttons lying around that seemed perfect for the job.  I snapped up a plain black blazer from the Topshop sale and some strong gem glue and got to work.  So, here is my new ‘Taylor’ blazer.  Hope you like!

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blazer - what you need

What you need:

  • Strong embellishing glue
  • Big buttons or gems
  • Some small seed beads (not pictured)
  • A plain blazer

How to: 

step 1 blazer

1.  Lay the buttons out so you have a rough idea of where you want them to be and how many you will need.

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2.  Apply a generous amount of glue to the back of each button with a tooth pick and press them down onto the blazer.

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3.  Once the entire blazer is covered fill the gaps with glue and sprinkle over the seed beads to give extra sparkle and secure the larger buttons properly.

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4.  Wait at least 24 hours for the glue to dry.  Some seed beads will fall off when you pick it up for the first time, but the rest should be secure.

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PS. Lets all just ignore the fact that my t-shirt is really unflattering and that I look tired.  Thanks.

DIY Wrap Bracelets

DIY wrap bracelets - amesstobemadex

I made a ton of these bracelets using Honestly WTF’s tutorial during the summer and wore them so much that the coloured linen faded.  As my training day was cancelled today because of the snow, I figured it was a good time to make some more.  I wish I had more silver chain as I would happily wear these in every colour possible.  Erica has written a great tutorial with clear instructions and pictures.  As I ran out of chain I used some bead trim instead, not sure I like it as much, but it worked.  I also used hemp cord instead of waxed linen as it’s all I could find, but it seems to work just the same.

bracelet supplies -amesstobemadex

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Here’s the finished result:

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Winter Craft Challenge: Glitter Candle Holder

winter craft challenge

So Karel and I decided that our Fall Craft Challenge was so much fun that we would make the challenges a seasonal thing.  I’ve already done a load of crafty things for Christmas, so decided to go for something a little simpler that could be used throughout the winter and not just for the one holiday.  I loved the look of these DIY Glitter Votives and decided to give it a go.  I don’t think my turned out as nicely as the original post, but it is sparkly and smells great nonetheless.

DIY candle holder

What you need:

supplies for votive

  • A plain candle
  • Mod Podge
  • Glitter
  • A pain brush to brush away the extra glitter

How to:

step 1

1.  Using a brush spread the Mod Podge over the area of the candle you want to glitter.

step 2

2.  Shake the glitter over the glue (it helps to put a sheet of paper underneath).  To cover the rim of the holder, dip it in the extra glitter on the sheet of paper.

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3.  Leave to dry for a little while.  Then using a clean brush, brush off the excess glitter.

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Happy Holidays everyone and don’t forget out to check out Karel’s post when she has the time to post it!