Build a Fort Kit

Every now and then I get to babysit three pretty cute kids - two boys and a girl. They are so fun and creative, and I wanted to make something for them as a Christmas gift! When I came across this idea online, I immediately knew it was perfect! I was so excited to get started. It ended up being really simple to put together and was also easy on the wallet! 

- 2 twin top-sheets
- Ribbon to sew onto sheets
- Rope
- Clothespins/Clips
- Flashlight
- Glow-sticks
- Bag to put everything in! 

Glowsticks: $0.99  Flashlight: (3 at) $0.99  Rope: $0.99  Clothespins: Free  Twin sheet: (2 at) $3.99

First, I set out to collect what I needed to put inside the bag. I got the glow-sticks, flashlights, and rope at the 99 Cent Store. The clothespins I already had on hand. For the two twin sheets I made a trip to Ikea - it was by far the cheapest place I found to buy a single top-sheet! 

To add extra functionality, I sewed ribbons onto each of the four corners and the middle of the long side of each sheet. I gave the option of a loop - to hook onto things, or the option of tying. 

I wanted to give the clothespins an extra touch of "cuteness", so I simply decorated them with a Sharpie pen!

*I found these adorable tags on another blog - www.ARMOMMY.com - where she has a printable pdf! 

For the bag, I took a white pillow case and shortened it by sewing a new seam along the bottom with my sewing machine. I then used black fabric paint to hand paint the word "Fort" on the front of the bag and sponged some polka-dots across the top. For the drawstring, I took a thick ribbon and slid it through the top section of the pillow case.

I LOVE how it turned out and can't wait to see the many forts they build! 


*ATH* Etsy Shop Open!

Well, after thinking about it for a while I have finally opened shop on Etsy! I am really excited to be selling the things that I make and hope others are excited too! Here are a few of the items that I have listed so far! Keep checking back and please spread the word!

Check out my shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/allthingshomespun! Thanks for the support! 


Wooden Candle Holders

I have always admired the fancy candles out there that look like they are made of wood, but I could never bring myself to spend $15 on a single candle! This is my version of the same look, but for less! Plus, mine will last as long as the candle is replaced!

- Wood
- Table saw
- Drill
- 1 1/2 inch drill bit
- Tea light candles

- After each piece of wood is cut to the desired size, use the 1 1/2 inch bit to drill a hole into the center, about 3/4 inch deep.
- To protect any surface that the candle will be setting on, cut out and glue felt to the bottom of each candle holder. 
- Place a tea light candle in the hole and light! 
- *Optional: I decided to add some lace to the top of mine, just for looks! 



Jewelry Tree

  • Wood base
  • Branch
  • Drill 
  • Wood glue
  • Cut the wood base to size if needed. 
  • Drill a hole, the size of the branch being used, into the base.  
  • Put a few drops of wood or craft glue into the hole before placing the branch inside. 
  • Paint or stain if desired! 

Every Christmas it is a tradition in my family for all of us cousins to make homemade gifts for each other. This began partly because of budget - there are 11 of us total - and partly because homemade gifts are just more special! We all draw names, so each person makes one gift for another. This year I drew my cousin, Ashley's name and decided to make her this jewelry tree! (*She will be away in Germany this Christmas, with her boyfriend, so don't worry, she has already opened my gift!)

I also made her this necklace as part of my gift!

If you would like to add a fun and special tradition to your family, draw names and make some homemade gifts! 



Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Thanksgiving is almost here and it has taken EVERYTHING in me to refrain from putting up Christmas decorations, so, while I am counting down the days until I can (4 to be exact!), I wanted to share some Christmas tree ornaments that I made last year! 
For the pinecone ornaments, I had to venture deep into the wilderness to collect my stash... no... not really. Luckily, my college campus is covered with huge pine trees, so I simply picked them up off the ground as I walked to class! After making sure there were no hiding spiders inside and all of the dirt was cleaned off, I took a paintbrush, with some white paint, and lightly brushed the outside of the pinecone. I decided to paint some and leave some natural. Next, I took some beautiful red velvet ribbon (purchased at Michaels - on sale!) and then hot glued the ribbon to the top! Ta Da! I love them!

Here is how I made these cute paper ornaments!
  1. Use old sheets of music, or find some images online and print them out! I chose to use Christmas Carols to be festive. 
  2. Cut out any shape you’d like. I chose to use star-like shapes. 
  3. (Optional) Next I hand stitched some designs onto the shapes. 
  4. Take two of the same shape and stitch them together. (Printed side out)
  5. When both shapes are almost completely stitched together, shove some crumpled up paper (or a cotton ball) into the center. This gives the ornament some dimension. 
  6. Attach a ribbon or hook to the top and hang!

I hope this holiday season is filled with happiness and love for all! Best of luck with the decorating! =)

DIY Family Photo Shoot

- A Camera
- Your Creativity!

It has been a while since my husband and I have taken some good pictures together - let alone a good picture of us with Olive. I knew that propping up the tripod and setting the timer would not work with a dog... been there, tried that. SO, I asked my sister to come over and take some pictures for us! I didn’t really have much of a plan, so we just wandered around our neighborhood and found some spots that looked interesting. To my surprise, I was pretty pleased with how the pictures turned out! (I did enhance them on my computer a little.) Here are a few of my favorites! 

Don’t be afraid to give a DIY photo shoot a try! Good luck! 


DIY Christmas Collar

As I have mentioned before, I love my Olde English Bulldog, Olive, AND I love to spoil her! Unfortunately, as a married college student, my wallet isn’t exactly busting at the seams with extra spending money. Because of this, I am always having to think of ways to be creative in taking the things that inspire me and recreating them on a budget. Christmas is just around the corner and stores are filled with adorable holiday items - including Petsmart. My husband and I ran in to buy Olive some dog food and I was immediately distracted by the sparkly, velvety, jingley Christmas collars! Although $15.00 isn’t that much money, I still could not justify spending that amount when I knew I could recreate this look for MUCH less! 

  • Dog/Cat collar
  • Felt, or Fleece, or Leather... or much more! 
  • Scissors 
  • Needle & Thread
  • Bead or button for middle of flower

First, I started with a red collar that I already had laying around the house. Next I made the flowers. These flowers are very simple to make, and to learn, I watched this tutorial on YouTube. 

I did make my flowers smaller than the ones in the tutorial and used regular scissors instead of a special cutting tool. Here is what I ended up with!


I loved these flowers so much that I couldn't resist making a more practical "everyday collar" shown below. 

If you have a pet that you also love to spoil, try making these yourself! To be honest, I like mine better than the ones at the store. =)


Cloth Napkins

{ I now make my napkins one inch bigger and like them better this size. To make napkins that are 7 in. x 7 in. simply cut the rectangle 14 in. x 8 in., instead of 13 in. x 7 in.}

For the past year, my husband and I have tried to stop buying both paper towels and napkins. For the most part, this has been easy, but one bump I have run into is what to do when guests are over and cookies have just come out of the oven? I hate to dirty more dishes for just a cookie or two, so I decided to whip up these little cloth napkins. They couldn’t be easier to make and are are so cute I can hardly stand it!
- Fabric
- Thread 
*That’s it!


3. Trim off excess fabric and then turn right side out.
4. Fold in extra fabric on the open side and sew around all four edges. 
5. Add extra stitching if desired. 

I am so excited to use these at our next gathering! I will just have to convince people that it is okay to get them dirty! =) 


Lamp Globes Become Hanging Planters

When I first saw these three lamp globes thrown into a trash pile I, number one, was shocked that they were not broken, and number two, knew that I had to make something with them! I had remembered seeing a picture, a while back, of hanging bird feeders made with globes similar to these. I decided to take a spin off of that idea, but instead of making them into feeders, making them into planters!

  • Globes
  • Soil
  • Hanging Succulent (I used “String of Tears”)
  • Manila Rope
  • Hot glue gun
  • Flameless tealight candles

  1. (Refer to image above) With joined knot at the bottom of the globe, hot glue rope 1 up each side of the globe and robe 2 straight up the back of the globe. 
  2. Bring all strings together at the top and tie them together, securing them in place. 
  3. After all strings are tied together, cut off the excess of string 2. 
  4. With the two remaining strings (rope 1) create a loop at the top to hang from a hook, or simply tie the globe to hang.
  5. Fill the bottom portion of the globe with soil and plant!
  6. (Optional) Place flameless tea light inside and watch them glow!

*For a visual of how to make these globes, check out my youtube video!

It is true that ones man's trash can be another man's treasure!


Copper Coated Pumpkins

Fall has finally arrived and I could not be more excited! I love all things fall - the cool weather, scarves, jackets, falling leaves, and of course, pumpkin pie! This year I wanted to do something different with my pumpkins. I was making my usual rounds at Michaels when I came across Martha Stewart’s paint section. As soon as I found this copper paint I knew what I wanted to do! 

*I applied 3 coats, allowing about 20 minutes for drying between each coat. 

There will be more fall inspired projects to come! 

Felt Laptop Cases

This summer, my sisters and I decided that we wanted to break away from the typical laptop case - we wanted to make our own! First, we had to think of a material that would be durable enough to hold the weight of a computer and also have enough cushion to protect it. Felt immediately came to mind. Without deciding much else, we set out to gather what we needed. This is what we ended up with:
  • Grey felt
  • Plaid fabric to line inside of case
  • Leather (Small rectangles from Michaels)
  • Snaps
  • Grommets (Optional)
  • Shoulder strap (Optional)

I have to admit that we literally made this project up as we went along and I have no detailed instructions for how to make these cases! We did not use any pattern and all of ours are slightly different. To give you some idea of how we constructed each case, refer to the photos above. (Left to right)
Image 1: Felt
Image 2: Plaid fabric
Image 3: Two layers of felt (for strength), and one layer of the plaid liner. 
Image 4: We cut the inside layer felt and plaid liner slightly smaller than the outermost layer of felt. We then folded the outer layer of felt over top of the other layers and sewed  it down, creating a finished looking trim.
Image 5: Next we all sewed on the leather strap and an extra flap of felt to tuck into the top of the case. This provides extra support for the lap top, so that the leather strap isn’t the only thing holding the computer in. 
*(Not pictured above) Before folding the case in half and sewing up the sides, we hand stitched the decorative leather pieces onto the case. 
Image 6: Lastly, we hammered on the snaps!
Case 1: For a 13 in. Macbook / Case 2: For a 15 in. HP / Case 3: For an ipad 2

I know these instructions are pretty vague, but I would encourage you to still give it a try! I have learned almost everything I know about sewing by trial and error. It is fun to let creativity take control and to not always follow a plan. Be brave and experiment!


Old Jacket. New Life.

Thrift store shopping might not be your favorite thing in the world to do, but maybe I can change your mind. Maybe? Fall is on it’s way and I am so excited for the changing leaves and cooler weather, but cooler weather means jackets! I absolutely love jackets, but simply cannot afford to spend $50, $60, $70 + for one. So, my solution is thrift stores! Now, just to warn you, patience is required when it comes to this type of shopping. It can be very hit or miss. Luckily, I have been “hitting” more than “missing” lately! 


This first jacket is one that I found for a whopping $8.00! It is a Banana Republic jacket in perfect condition. Although I loved it the way it was, I decided to give it a little more style by simply switching out the buttons! I replaced the one large button in the middle and then added three smaller buttons to each sleeve. (The sleeve buttons are not functional, they are just there for looks.) Total cost of this jacket $12! Now, that’s a bargain!

This second jacket, I also found at a thrift store. I love the singed in waist and the pleating on the back. I didn’t have to make any changes to this one! Grand total: $7.00!
I hope this was a little bit of an inspiration to get out there and try thrift store shopping! Good luck!


Reusable Produce Bags

Making environmentally friendly and sustainable decisions is very important to me. It has become pretty popular to do our shopping with reusable bags, but most people are probably still putting their fruits and vegetables in plastic bags. I decided that I wanted to have another option, so I whipped up these little cloth bags! I wanted them to have an imperfect, homemade look, so I chose not to use any measurements. They have been perfect for shopping at our local farmer’s market and have definitely prevented us from using plastic! 

Extreme Makeover Doghouse Edition

Meet Olive. She is our 2 year old Olde English Bulldog. 

When it comes to dogs (especially spoiled ones!) things can get expensive, so I am always on the lookout for sales - or better yet - things that are FREE! Some neighbors of ours were moving out, and in the process a “trash” pile began to grow outside of their home. It was my lucky day when I spotted a plastic two-piece dog house. Yes, it was ugly, but it was the right size and in perfect condition! (Minus the cobwebs and dirt.) I immediately had a vision for what it could be, so I went to work! I bought plastic primer spray paint and two colors of regular spray paint. (One for the roof and one for the base.) I absolutely love how it turned out, but most of all, I love the price! The grand total was about $18 worth of spray paint! 

*P.S. I would highly recommend purchasing a spray paint trigger handle! (They range from $3 - $6) I learned my lesson from not using one and experienced a good couple of weeks with numbness in my two fingers! NOT fun!


I hope this gives you some inspiration to see the potential in all things. Almost anything can be made beautiful with some tlc.