Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Campfire How-To

When making the camping room for my son, I new I had to have a campfire. I found a couple on Etsy that were cute, but all in felt. I looked at doing a felt version, but didn't really like the completed look of it. I wanted something more realistic. I finally got around to making this right before his 3rd birthday. I wanted to make a whole gift around it. 
I made the campfire set, and added a picnic basket full of camping necessities. 
I found a felt sandwich set, by Melissa & Doug. 

We also purchased some plastic camping toys, a canteen, a lantern that makes nature sounds, roasting sticks with marshmallows and hot dogs. All by Insect Lore, found on Amazon.

The campfire was very easy to make, and inexpensive. 
Here's How-To make it...

 I started by looking for fabrics that looked like the pieces I was making. A bark fabric for the logs, a orangey-yellow fabric for the flames, a tan or grey for the rocks, and a brown for the dirt at the base of the fire. 

For the base of the fire, I used a thick piece of plastic board, but cardboard could work as well. Cut it in an oval shape, wrapped the fabric over it, and hot glued it in the back. 

The rocks were next. I started with a randomly cut shape. You don't want them round, like balls, and each one should  be different. Use cotton stuffing for the insides. I just cinched the fabric around it, and stitched it closed, or you could hot glue it closed. Then I hot glued them to the base, sort-of overlapping some and making them look irregular, more like real rocks.

For the logs, I cut out rectangles in the length, that I wanted the logs. Again they all shouldn't be the same size, random is better. I made 4 of them. I used a muslin fabric for the ends, just cutting a circle shape. Before sewing anything together, I made the rings on the end pieces. I used the sewing machine, and brown thread. Staying away from the edges, I just rotated the pieces, and made two different circles. I folded the bark pieces right sides together, and sewed down the long side. Turn the bark piece right side out.  Place one of the circles along the seam of the log an sew them together. I left about 1/4" gap, and frayed the edged's. Stuff it with the cotton stuffing, doesn't need be super tight. I did the same for the other side. You can hand stitch it if its to tight on the machine.

The fire is a similar technique. Cut a shape out of the orangey fabric, you will need a front and a back. I made three sets of these. Keep the pieces backs to backs, and stitch around the edges (the dotted line), about 1/4" away. Leave part of the bottom open, and stuff the cotton batting into the flames. I used a pencil end, to get it in the tops. Then hand sewed the bottom to close it. You can fray the edges, gives it a firey look. 
I stitched the sides of two of these together, on each side, where it says "here". There will be an opening between the two. Fold the last piece of flames, and stuff it in the hole between the other two. You can add a dab of hot glue to keep it from moving. 

For the log seats. I used the same technique as the logs. I started with a thick piece of foam, from Hobby Lobby. I used a 2"x15"x17" piece for each seat. Cut it into sort of a circle shape. I used a serrated knife for this.

I set it on the bark fabric and marked how thick, and long, the sides needed to be. The top and bottom were done the same way as the end of the logs. I made rings using the sewing machine, and brown thread. Again, fraying the edges.

This has become a family spot for us. Every night we sit around the campfire to read a bedtime story. My son picks out food for us all, everything gets cooked over the fire, even the sandwiches :) 
See the whole room here, and check out how-to make the camping tent.

Hope this "sparks" an idea, for a place, for you and your family to spend time together. 

Check us out over at Uncommon Designs, Monday Funday Link Party too.

Monday Funday at Uncommon Designs

Monday, October 28, 2013

Master Bedroom Makeover

In a home remodel, or just decorating in general, it seems the master bedroom is the most neglected area.  Most people focus their money and energy on areas that get the most return, and that most people see. Since the master is tucked away, it tends to be the last on the list.  
I don't think you need to dump alot of money in a bedroom, to give it a change. Just a little pick me up does the trick. A fresh coat of paint, new bedspread, some updated curtains, or artwork, can change the feel of the whole room. 

Our master bedroom was beyond builder basic. The walls and ceilings were a boring tan, as well as the carpets. 

 We aren't ready to go as far as changing the flooring just yet, we would have to do the whole upstairs.
So for now, we painted walls, and ceilings. On the walls I used the color from the rest of the house, Natural Choice by Sherwin Williams, I love how light and fresh it is without being to white. For the ceiling we went with ceiling white, I like a stark white on the ceiling, always! It lifts a ceiling up, and always make it look bigger. 
Years ago, we purchased a bedroom set, from a furniture store. Sets were still in, and my husband loved it. It was more my rustic style than his, with the sanded black finish, so I kept my mouth shut and went with it. Since then, I've grown to dislike that it all matches. I'm not really a matchy-matchy kind of gal. There is a bed, dresser, tall dresser, and two nightstands all in the same finish. So I had to break it up. 
I painted the night stands in a distressed finish, lots of layers, and striping, and sanding. 

The lamps got an update, with a fresh coat of gold spray paint. My husband thought I was going a bit 70's with these, but once it was all put together, he got it. 

For the bedding, I stuck with my old time fav's, reds, and blues. I pieced together several bedding components. The euro shams, and duvet are a blue and cream ticking from Pottery Barn. The navy quilt is by Ralph Lauren, Villa Martine, the reverse has a simple floral design. I used some cream quilted pillow cases from West Elm. The denim sheets, from Target, are part of the original Nate Berkus stuff. I used a old bolster pillow I had, and added a floral fabric form Calico Corners,Omar Azure, with a burlap trim. 

Above the bed I wanted to use an architectural piece, not art work. The headboard is so tall, it wouldn't look quite right. I found this great old piece of wood at a local salvage shop. I'm not sure what it was used for, but it has tons of potential. It's so chipped and aged, I love it.  

For window treatments, I used some simple cotton curtains I already had, from Ikea, "Lenda", at $19 a pair. I cut each panel in half, stitched the edges, and used it for one window.
 I knew I didn't want a traditional curtain rod, so it took me awhile to hang these. 
On a shopping trip to an antique store outside of town, I found some metal chicken feeder cages. I bought 3 for like $10. I had no idea what I was going to use them for. They even sat in my daughters room for months, since I had planned on using them as a book shelf in there some how. I finally decided to split them up, and used them to hang the tab top curtains on. For the end caps, I used some salvaged corner blocks that I picked up at Round Top this past spring. They finish it off nicely. 

We added a little sitting area off to one side, to fill up the space of the room. I am still in search for the perfect side table, which I may have recently found at Target, but I'm still deciding.

The chairs were my grandmothers, and with a fresh coat of paint, they have a new life. I recovered the cushions, with some french linen, also purchased in Round Top. Along with some red striped linen pillows. 

The art work, was something I threw together with a left over canvas I had. It's a 4'x5', and it was taking up to much space in the garage. I gave it an aged  plaster finish, and added some stenciled designs, in a navy blue. 

 The room feels soft, and lived in. 
The new and old, have a good balance, and its finally a happy place to wake up to. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013


So i finally did it... I decided on costumes. I will tell you,  that it wasn't until this last Sunday. A friend called, to reminded me that her daughters birthday party was a costume party. AHHH...are you kidding, that's six days from now. With work, and events almost every night,  it was a struggle. I even had to start Braeden's costume all over. I started with fur, which was a huge mess!! Mostly he hated it, it kept getting it in his mouth, and I think it was freaking him out a little. 
So I grabbed some grey fabrics and stated a new one...on Thursday. 
I finished most of it that day. Only a few adjustments for each costume on Friday, not bad for down to wire. I work better under pressure!
The party was last night, and the kids had such a good time. They all love getting dressed up. 

Ashlyn was the Queen Of Hearts. 
I couldn't find a pattern I liked in her size... so I winged it. I made her a dress a couple years ago with a pattern, and It was sooo time consuming. Since it is only for 2 nights, I just pieced this one together myself. 
She loved to feel like royalty, go figure. 

 She has such a great "off with their heads" roar. 

For Kiera, and Braeden, I thought they were still young enough to wear coordinating outfits. My friend mentioned the idea of Little Red Riding Hood, and the Big Bad Wolf. I knew it would be perfect. Kiera could look sweet and innocent (which she's not) and Braeden could chase around after her, growling (which he already does).

I pieced Kiera's dress together as well, just couldn't find quite the right pattern. I loved the wide lace, I used it around the bottom of the skirt, and for cuff sleeves. I made a simple black vest and just sewed it directly on the top so it would stay in place, I just stitched on the black grosgrain ribbon. The little gingham apron front, is lined with lace trim, as well as the neck of the dress. I found a little basket at Hobby Lobby and lined it with the same gingham fabric.

I made her a hood, and lined the inside with the same fabric.  She wasn't a huge fan of wearing the hood, but would at least keep it tied on, hanging in the back. 

Breaden obviously isn't your, super scary big bad wolf, but I didn't want him to look to baby-ish either. Not an easy task making him look like a wolf, without fur, I think its close though.

I started with a long sleeve shirt, and girls leggings (don't tell my husband). I used black, but had I had more time, would have tried to find grey. I used 4 different colors of grey cotton fabric. I cut them with pinking shears in 3" wide strips. Then cut into each strip every inch or so, and clipped corners on each piece. I started to fray the edges with my thumb nail, just breaking up the edges. That lasted until halfway though when I got lazy and tired, and just grabbed it in one hand and pulled it though several times back and forth. Wasn't very frayed but whose gonna notice. I hot glued them all on, while slightly stretching the fabric, so he could move in it.  I think I went through probably 100 sticks of glue, it is one of my favorite tools! For the head, I used a winter hat for the shape, and just glued the pieces to it, and gave him ears. 

 I was pretty sure he wouldn't let me put any face paint on him, but I did get a little bit on, before it became an issue. By the time we made it into the car, most of it had been wiped off. 

A couple stuffed socks, gave the shape for the tail. 

Next to impossible to get a photo of all three looking at me!

Since we were going to a costume party, I was going to dress up too. But after the long week, this is about all I could muster up. Sort-of a woods-woman.

I caught the big bad wolf....everyone is safe now. 

At the party....
The birthday girl, dressed as Audrey Hepburn. How cute is she!

 They had a version of bobbing for apples, with donuts hanging from the tree. You had to eat it without using your hands. It was pretty funny.

 He loved his fangs, a bit of a problem chewing though.

There was even a hay ride, through a spooky forest. It was a tractor with a cart pulled behind. There was scary music, glowing eyes, spooky things hanging, and people standing in the forest to scare the kids. They had so much fun.

It was a great party, and he costumes were a huge hit. 
Now, just waiting for Halloween.