10 Pumpkin Carving Tips

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10 Pumpkin Carving Tips

This time of year always puts me in a good mood.  There’s something uplifting about candy, costumes, candy, jack-o-lanterns and candy.  When the kids were younger, we used to spread out plastic table clothes and make a whole evening out of carving pumpkins.  I’d roast the pumpkin seeds, and we’d snack on them as we carved.  Good times, people, good times.

If you plan on carving pumpkins with the kiddos this year, here’s a few tips:

  1. Use ice cream scoops to scoop out your pumpkins.  Your arms will stay cleaner and they do a great job a scraping the sides of the pumpkin.
  2. Use dry erase markers to draw the face out first.  You can easily erase if you have mistakes and the kids will still get to design, even if they aren’t old enough to do the actual carving.
  3. Spray the inside of the pumpkin with a water/bleach mixture and then coat it with petroleum jelly.  It will last longer.
  4. Use battery operated tea lights instead of candles.  You will still get the full it effect of a jack-o-lantern, without the potential fire hazard.
  5. If you do use candles, sprinkle the inside of your pumpkin with cinnamon, nutmeg and/or cloves for a DIY air freshener.
  6. If you don’t have a dry erase marker, let the kids draw their design on with a large nail.  The nail will leave an imprint deep enough for you to see where to carve.
  7. Instead of cutting off the top of the pumpkin, try something different, cut off the bottom or back.
  8. A dry wall saw makes an awesome carving tool and handles way better than a sharp knife.
  9. Use props.  This is a perfect place for the kids to showcase all of those “treasures” they’ve collected through the summer {and the perfect opportunity for you to help the de-clutter their collection}.  Let them glue on the leaves, rocks, etc. that they’ve collected as hair, eyeballs, etc.
  10. Want to get fancy?  Try printing out FREE pumpkin patterns.  {This will probably win your best pumpkin on the block, because IS a competition, don’t you know.  Ha!

How about YOU, what tricks have you learned over the years?

~Mavis

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How to Make Scented Pine Cones

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How to Make Scented Pine Cones

I can always tell winter is coming when I start to see the scented pine cones popping up the the stores.

They look so festive, and smell amazing, that it’s hard to resist not purchasing them.  Here in my neck of the woods though, paying for pine cones is like paying for air–they are everywhere and it just doesn’t make sense to pay for them. Making them scented is also pretty simple, so I thought I would make some to satisfy my winter nostalgia.

pine cones

You’ll Need:

Pine Cones
Essential Oil {I used Edens Garden Essential Oils}
Gallon Ziploc Bags

How to Make Scented Pine Cones

Directions:

Wash the pine cones in warm water to get ride of any debris, dirt, insects, etc.  Then, on a foil lined baking sheet, heat them at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.  Allow them to cool completely before moving on to the next step.

Put pine cones into the zip baggie and put several drops of essential oil {I’m using cinnamon} into the bag.  Zip the bag and then gently toss around the pine cones and oil to mix thoroughly.  Leave the bag closed for 1 week to allow the scent to infuse the pine cones.

After a week, pop them open and place them in a bowl.  I think they make a really cool winter decoration and they smell amazing every time you walk passed them.  When they run out of scent, just repeat the process.

How to Make Scented Pine Cones

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Top Ten Must Have Sewing Tools

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Ten Must Have Sewing Tools

Now that fall is here, I feel like I finally have some time to get to some of my sewing projects.  With all of the cool stuff on Pinterest, I don’t know how people can resist taking up sewing.  And, I don’t know about you, but all things are soooo much easier if you have the right tools to do the job.

If you plan to take up sewing this year, or get back to it after a long season of digging in the dirt, here’s 10 must-haves for your sewing basket:

  1. Good shears.  Seriously, this will save you a lot of heartache, misery, and fabric.
  2. Pins.  Lots of them.  And a pin cushion to hold them.
  3. Measuring tape.
  4. Seam ripper.  Just in case–I’m sure I never make any mistakes, but I like to have it just in case. {Okay, I use it pretty much EVERY project!}
  5. Needles.  Get a package with a couple of different sizes.  For small projects or finishing a seam–unless you’re taking it old school and sewing everything by hand, in which case, I wish  you the best.
  6. Pattern cutting board.  At the very least, it gives you a huge flat surface to work on, and at the most, it really helps take the guess work out.
  7. Fabric marker.  That way you can mark your fabric to your hearts content and it washes right out with cold water.
  8. Rotary cutter.  This thing is a bit of a luxury, but it makes cutting so much faster and cleaner.
  9. Cutting mat and ruler.  If you are only doing small projects, you can get away with omitting #6 and just getting these.  They make cutting accurately a breeze.
  10. Fray check.  Oh, Grandma would be jealous of this stuff.  It is basically a clear glue that keeps frays at bay.  {It works awesome on ribbon.}

What sewing projects are you working on right now?  Did I miss anything?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Easy Crafts for Kids – Wooden Gnomes

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Easy Crafts for Kids wooden gnomes

These are the gnomes that we made with the kids at St. Jude on our trip.  Minus the sewing, the kids were able to do these all by themselves.  We had so much fun making them with the kiddos, I thought I would share how to make them with you.  They would make a perfect rainy day activity, don’t you think?

Crafts for Kids - Wooden Gnomes

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Water colors
  • Wood dolls
  • Paint brushes
  • Felt
  • Needle and thread
  • Sharpie marker {fine or medium tip}
  • Cup of water {for the water paints}
  • Q-tip

Directions:

Crafts for Kids - Wooden Gnomes

Start by painting the base of the wood dolls different colors.

Crafts for Kids - Wooden Gnomes

Then, using your sharpie, add dots for eyes and buttons on the dolls.  Dab a little red water color with a q-tip to make rosy cheeks on the gnome.

how to make a toy doll hat

Cut out 3″ x 5″ triangles out of the felt.  {I made a pattern, just to simplify things.}

how to make a toy doll gnome hat

Fold the felt triangle in half and sew along the long side of the triangle.  Place the hat on the gnome and you’re finished.

Easy Crafts for Kids wooden gnomes

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How to Make Ruby Red Slippers

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How to Make Ruby Red Slippers

Since we were headed through Kansas on our way to St. Jude, I thought I’d better whip up some Ruby Red Slippers.  I know, I know, cliche, but who doesn’t love the chance to glitter anything?  Plus, when I am done, I’m pretty sure I know some neighbor kids that would welcome the addition to their dress-up clothes.

ugly brown shoes

I found these high heels on clearance at Target.   So, I grabbed enough for The Girl,  Amberlina, Lola and myself.  Lucky for me, they had all of our sizes.  I laid a board covered in tissue paper out in the lawn to work on–because I really don’t want to  explain to guests why there is glitter all over my house.

How to Make Ruby Red Slippers at the Last Minute

I grabbed a can of high strength adhesive glue.

How to Make Ruby Red Slippers at the Last Minute

And a container of glitter.  Now brace yourself, because here’s where things get really technical:  I sprayed the shoes and then dumped sprinkled the glitter onto the shoes.

How to Make Ruby Red Slippers at the Last Minute

And while it’s true, there’s no place like home–now we can at least make the most of Kansas.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Easy Crafts for Kids – How to Make a Pinwheel

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How to Make a Pinwheel Easy Kids Crafts

When I was a little girl, I used to watch a show called Pinwheel.  The theme song went something like this:  ”Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around. Look at my Pinwheel and see what I’ve found.  Pinwheel, pinwheel, where have you been? Hello, how are you, and may I come in?”  Do you remember this song?  Did you watch the show?  To this day, whenever I see a child blowing on a pinwheel or pass one in a store, I sing that little song.  Ah, good times.  In honor of my reminiscing, here’s a cheap, simple pinwheel you can make on your own, and feel free to sing along as you do. ;)

How to Make a Pinwheel

You will need:

how to make a pinwheel directions

Directions

First, fold a piece of paper diagonally.  Keep your paper folded in a triangle.   Fold it again, into a smaller triangle.

Now unfold the paper, so it looks like a square.  Your paper will have crease lines in an “X” shape.

Cut about 3/4 the way up towards the center of the paper on each fold line and hole punch a hole in each corner of your paper.

Now, bring each corner with a hole in it towards the center of the paper.  You will start to see the pinwheel shape taking form.

Once you’ve gathered all of the hole punched corners to the center, put the brad through the center to hold them down.

Finally, open the brad and wrap it around the tip of the bamboo skewer to attach your pinwheel to its handle.

The last step is to pray for wind so that you don’t spend the rest of the day blowing the pinwheel straight into light-headed bliss just for the delighted giggles of your kiddos.

Happy Crafting,

Mavis

how to make a pinwheel

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DIY – 4th of July Paper Sparklers

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DIY  4th of July  Paper Sparklers

I love the fourth of July.  It means BBQ’s, friends, and sparklers.  Paper sparklers are a totally safe way to help the little ones feel involved in the festivities, or if you live or are traveling to one of those no-burn areas for the 4th, to still add a little spark to the holiday.  Plus, they are super inexpensive and easy to make.

4th of July  Paper Sparklers

You’ll need:

  • Festive straws 
  • Red, white, and blue card stock {silver might be fun too}
  • Scissors

cutting paper

Directions:

  1. Cut the card stock paper into 4″x3″ rectangles.  Make several thin fringe cuts all the way up the paper, leaving 1/2″ uncut at the top.  
  2. Holding the uncut 1/2′ portion at the top of the paper, roll the paper up tight.  It is going to need to fit inside the straw, so super tight is key.
  3. Stick the end of the rolled paper into the straw, leaving the fringed side out.  If you want it to be extra sturdy, you can add a little tape to ensure it stays in the straw.
  4. Bend the paper a bit to make the fringes look more sparkler like.

Easy Kids Crafts 4th of July  Paper Sparklers

How easy is that?  I think these would look cute in a vase as a cute centerpiece too.

Have a Happy Fourth!

~Mavis

DIY  4th of July  Paper Sparklers

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make Kool Aid Tie Dyed T-Shirts

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How to Make Kool Aid  Tie Dyed T-Shirts

I have a ton of Kool Aid packets left over from my extreme couponing days, and while I don’t plan on drinking them, I can’t stand to see them go to waste.  The Girl decided she was going to have some friends over to do some Kool Aid Tie Dyed T-Shirts—I am so glad someone is willing to put my waste-not-want-not  mentality at ease.

Kool Aid Tie Dyed T-Shirts

These are seriously so cool, I am going to have to resist the urge not to go out and buy MORE Kool Aid.  Ha.  Even if you don’t have a stockpile of Kool Aid lying around, these would still make a great, inexpensive summer activity for the kids.

How to Make a Kool Aid Tie Dyed T-Shirts

You will need:

Small Plastic or Glass Bowls
Kool Aid Packets {assortment of flavors for different colors on the shirts}
White Vinegar
Plastic Gloves {unless you want to look like an Oompa-Loompa for the next several days}
Rubber bands
T-Shirts
Iron

How to Make Kool Aid Tie Dyed T-Shirts

  1. In the plastic or glass  bowls, mix two packets of Kool Aid with 1 cup of vinegar.  Stir until Kool Aid is dissolved completely.  {You will need a separate bowl for each flavor/color}
  2. Twist the t-shirt and secure with the rubber bands.  Do it several times, all over the t-shirt.
  3. With gloves on, dip twisted ends of the t-shirt into the bowls of the Kool Aid mixture.
  4. Let shirts air dry a little {we let ours air dry for 2 hours for two hours}
  5. Set the color by ironing the shirt on medium high.  Make sure to use an old towel or ironing cloth between your iron and t-shirt to make sure you don’t stain your iron. 
  6. Let the shirts sit a full 24 hours before washing.

How to Make a Kool Aid  Tie Dyed T-Shirt

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Concrete Planter

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how to make a star shaped concrete planter

The HH and I were cleaning the garage out the other day and came across 2 bags of concrete {left over from when we built the chicken run last summer}. I thought it would be fun to use the extra concrete to make a couple of unique concrete planters for the backyard.

If you’ve never made your on concrete containers before, it’s SUPER easy to do.

First, choose two containers to use as a mold.  You’ll need a smaller and a larger one, so that one can nest inside the other. I found these flexible plastic containers at my local garden center.

Make Your Own Concrete Planter

Now, use a paintbrush to  coat the inside of your larger container with cooking oil.

DIY Make Your Own Concrete Planter

Next, oil the outside of your smaller container, using the same method as above.

Make Your Own Concrete Planter Tutorial

Now, grab some garden gloves and mix your concrete. Fill the larger mold up to about 1 inch from the top.  Shake the container to allow the concrete to settle and get rid of air bubbles.

DIY Make Concrete Planters

Press the small mold into the large mold.  Don’t press it too deep, remember, you need enough concrete to have bottom to your planter.

Make Your Own Concrete Planters

Next put a rock or some other weight inside the smaller mold and let the concrete set for 24-48 hours.

how to make concrete planters

Finally, gently remove the molds.  You may want to smooth the rough edges with a stone or a file.

how to make a star shaped concrete planter

That’s it, easy peasy!

DIY How to Make a Concrete Planter

Want more ideas on concrete projects?   Amazon has Concrete Garden Projects and it is getting great reviews.

 concrete garden projects

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Seed Bomb

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How to make a seed bomb

Have you ever heard of seed bombs?  Basically, they are balls made out of clay, compost, and seeds.  They can be tossed anywhere you have a large area you’d like to cover with flowers, etc.  Apparently, seed bombs were first used in the 70′s to “bomb” large vacant lots in New York City with flowers–they called it guerrilla gardening– awesome!

If you have a large area you would like to cover in flowers, but don’t want to take the time to scatter seeds, seed bombs might be the perfect solution.  Plus, they are super duper easy and cheap to make.

flower seeds

You’ll need:

  • Clay {Crayola Air Dry Clay is a pretty cheap option}
  • Water
  • Seeds {flowers native to  your area are the best choice so that they will require very little maintenance}
  • Compost
  • Large Flat Surface

seed bombs

Mix 5 parts clay with 1 part compost and 1 part seeds.  Add a couple of drops of water {be careful not to add too much or it will be a gooey mess}.  Roll and knead the mixture into a ball.  After you have thoroughly mixed the dough, flatten it out and cut into pieces.  Roll the smaller pieces into little balls.  Now you have seed bombs.  Toss them into your open area and do nothing but wait for them to grow.  Easy Peasy.

How to make a seed bomb

 

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