Painted Halloween Pumpkins DIY

Here is a little walk-through for the painted pumpkin ornaments I made. They are very easy, so I feel a little silly calling it a DIY, but maybe reading through the whole process will be helpful to some.
The main supply for this project is foam pumpkins and gourds. I found mine in the Fall section of Walmart. The small sizes were 97¢ each and the large one which I used as a tree topper was $5. I love all the various shapes and sizes they come in. I have seen foam pumpkins elsewhere, lots of craft supply shops carry them, and they are sometimes sold grouped in a bag. The noses came from Michael’s craft store. I found them in the aisle with some of their floral Christmas picks. I picked up two sizes but perfered the larger size. The small ones would be great if you have smaller foam pumpkins.
You’ll also need craft paint, paint brushes, and if you’d like them to be ornaments you’ll need string and a big needle. I used some black elastic I got on clearance at Joann Fabrics, but string will go through the rubbery stems a lot easier.
I think the key with painting these fellas is to just go for it. Free hand some various eye shapes and let them dry. Even though I used a high quality craft paint I still found I had to go over my eyes a second time. Once my eyes were dry I liked to go ahead and snip off a berry leaving a stem of wire that was about 1/2 inch long. Since the pumpkins are foam you can just push the nose in place with the wire, no need to even glue it there. The mouths only took one coat of paint, and then I added the blacks to the eyes.
Once all that paint has dried you can just dab on little teeth and highlights in the eyes. I didn’t worry so much about making any of the faces perfect, and even ones I didn’t like so much while painting look really great when they are all grouped together on the tree. So try not to stress about painting them. Most of all just enjoy yourself, and have fun! I especially liked painting the grumpy ones.
You can even add leaves and tendrils to the top of your pumpkins and gourds just by pushing the wired areas in the foam like the nose. My berries came with a few leaves so I used those. If you’d like to make a tree topper like I did, just paint the large pumpkin the same way and then use a knife to carve a small deep hole into the bottom. Since they are foam it cuts really easily. I then just pushed the pumpkin down onto the top of my tree and it stays put perfectly.

Dyeing Yarn With Kool-Aid

B and I decided to do some yarn dyeing with kool-aid for fun the other day. He isn’t very interested in the idea of making anything out of the yarn himself. I even tried to entice him with weaving or friendship bracelets, but he thought the dyeing would be fun and I will take my crafty-time with him wherever I can get it.
Here is how we dyed our wool yarns…
You need 100% wool yarn, I got my wool skeins from YarnUndyedUSA but you can use the cheapest yarn you can find from major craft stores (with those 40% off coupons) it just has to be 100% wool. Next it needs to be in a skein (also called a hank), not ball. If you buy from a place like YarnUndyed it will come in skein, but if you have a ball from the craft shop you can follow instructions here to turn it into a skein. You’ll want to tie a few pieces of scrap yarn around the skein spaced out (3-4) to keep each area secure so it doesn’t become tangled.
You’ll also need packs of unsweetened kool-aid (the store brand works fine too, it just cannot contain sugar or sugar alternatives, they would leave your wool a sticky mess)
1. First I laid out some brown paper to protect the table, kool-aid is non toxic and you can wipe it up, but it can stain. Newspaper works great too. Then I laid down some wax paper because that is what I had on hand, you can use plastic wrap too.
2. Next I soaked each yarn gently in warm water, till the water seemed to really soak in. Then a couple of gentle squeezes so the water wasn’t dripping everywhere.
3. Then have fun with the kool-aid. You can sprinkle it, turn your yarn over, add more, add less etc. The more colors you add and the more you handle your yarn, the more the colors will mix and muddy.
4. We carefully rolled up the wax paper and placed it down inside a microwave safe bowl. I added water to cover the yarn and microwaved for about 2-3 minutes until the water is a murky grey free of all color. The citric acid in the kool-aid when heated adheres the food dye to the wool, so once the water is clear you know its set. The yarn will be very hot. Let sit in water cooling until you can handle it safely. If you want to ensure that none of your colors blend and bleed together you can use a microwave steamer basket set over a bowl of water in the microwave instead, but you may have to cook it a bit longer. I try not to move the yarn around too much and we didn’t have too much muddying.
5. Rinse your yarn gently, do not ring, or agitate the wool too much or some of your yarn could felt. Then just hang to dry.
There are tons of great recourses and info on dyeing yarn with kool-aid, food coloring, and Easter egg dye here. It really is so much fun and inexpensive to experiment with!

Fauxdori (using iron on transfers on leather)

My friend Olivia had been texting me photos of her planners, and it’s made me really want one of my own. She introduced me to the midori traveler notebook, which is basically a leather folder with elastic inside so you can add in and remove notebooks, planners etc. I loved that idea and once you start looking into the world that is midori, you’ll discover all these fauxdoris (or handmade midori style planners) Since there are loads of DIYs showing you how simple it is I decided to try and make my own.
I had recently learned that you could use InkJet Iron-On Dark T-Shirt Transfers to iron images onto leather. So I decided to try and customize mine with images from my recent fabric designs. I am happy to report that I have been using my fauxdori for a few weeks now and the iron on transfer still looks like new. No edge peeling, no flaking, or cracking. I can’t wait to try this method for projects now.
For the inside of my fauxdori I cut some small blank notebooks I already owned down a bit so they would fit inside. I have been using one to plan out things I need to get done each day, another for sketching, and the third for list making. I’d love to sit down and create some printable custom inserts for my fauxdori soon.
Please note that the Amazon link above is an Amazon affiliate link and if you purchase something using the link I will receive a small Amazon credit.

Accessories Bag

I recently took the plunge and invested in a Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine Even though I sew for a big majority of my work, and I’ve been doing this as a career for the past twelve years, I could never bring myself to invest in a proper machine. Instead I’ve burnt out motors on cheaper machines, and just made do over the years. I am so in love with my new machine! The first thing I decided I needed to sew for it was a bag to hold all the accessories and feet that came with it. The Juki doesn’t have an area to store them on the machine, so I knew I needed to take care of that first. Plus I was eager to dive in and sew something up as soon as I figured out threading & oiling.
I used this free pattern by The Sewing Chick for the body of the bag, but then altered it by adding a drawstring bag top because I didn’t want to knock the bag over, or lose anything if I moved it around the studio. This was my first time sewing with Cotton & Steel’s gorgeous fabrics too, such a treat! As you can probably tell I still need to work on getting my tension down for the top stitching, but I was very impatient so I didn’t spend enough time testing it out.
I added one of the little fabric tags I made a few weeks back. You can see a bunch of the ones I made here all together. I used a technique I found here for creating the tags. They were so easy to make and really add something extra to a project!