Why I feel a little bit selfish...

See this book? It's rockin' awesome. I found Closet Monsters by John Murphy by chance when looking through the craft books at the library. I borrowed it and just loved looking through it. I made plans to make something from it, so I renewed it the allowed 3 times before taking it back without making anything.

And then I did that 2 more times. This is my fourth time checking out this book and I finally made something! This book is great, because besides showing you how to make the creations specific to the ones he made, he shows you how to make each element individually so you can mix and match to make your own monsters! I really just need to buy this book for myself.

For my nephew's 2nd birthday, I decided to make this one:

I had the perfect old pair of PJ pants to do it with. I've owned these for 6 years, and I got them free at a swap meet. They are the most comfortable pants I ever owned. I wore them all through both pregnancies and they were a staple for me after I brought each baby home. They have stains from where I got paint on them, they were loved. They finally wore holes between the legs that could not be fixed. That was a sad day.

So I cut them apart and started making the "closet monster." Since the instructions where for cutting up a sweatshirt, I just estimated and dove in.

And here is the monster I gave my nephew.

I'm sure there are some questions going on in your head, so let me explain. I got about halfway through making the closet monster from my old pants and realized I couldn't give them up! I'm so selfish! But I just couldn't! Those pants were special... So I stole an old sweatshirt from my MIL and whipped this guy up in about 2 1/2 hours. I finished him by hand stitching the hole closed on the drive to the party.

And that's why these pictures are taken in the car.

He turned out super cute, and fit with his new owner perfectly.

My little brother said he looks creepy, like he's going to come to life and night and get you. My little brother is 21 years old... and dead wrong. That face is cute!

So what happened to the pants? Meet Chills. I finished him up the next day and I love him.

I lined up the stripes off center.

And he is huge! He makes me so happy, it's a bit pathetic!

His face is bigger than Hero's.

Hero agreed to take pictures with him, but neither of my kids really care about him. But I have plans for his role in our family.

When I was growing up, my family had a large teddy bear that was kept up in Mom's closet. If you had a nightmare, you could ask to sleep with Big Bear. Big Bear scared away the bad dreams. I think Chills will be perfect in this job. He can scare away the nightmares and the other monsters. He is a Closet Monster, after all.

The selfish feeling is passing... I'm in love with Chills, don't tell my husband!


Book Wreath (or hat...)

It's been a long time coming, since the shower was about a month ago, but here's the final decoration. Sorry it took so long to upload! I followed this tutorial to make it, with a few of my own twists.

I'll be honest, when I first saw these wreaths popping up about a year ago, I didn't like them. The only reason I decided to make one is because of the library theme... but I love it!!

The tutorial only calls for one book, but I picked three. Why three?

Because I found three different colored edges and thought it would be super cute to have all of them mixed in one wreath. I had considered painting my edges yellow, but then found the pre-painted books and scooped them up for $0.25 a piece at the thrift store. Much easier than painting my own!

I didn't take any pictures in process, but I found myself squishing them together from the back to front as I glued them on, so there wasn't any need to go back through later to fill in the spaces. There were no spaces to fill! I preferred the basic twist because I liked the points it creates sticking out. The "wave" types I used to keep it full.

I also always used two pages together as I rolled, twisted, and glued. I hoped this would make the colored edges stand out a bit more.

The other little change I made was to finish the inside with an open page. I didn't like the look of all the pages vertical, randomly overlapped edges.  This is a much cleaner look.

I'm so glad I made this wreath and think it is beautiful. I still have enough of the 3 books to make another one, and my SIL hinted that she would like one... maybe for her birthday coming up?

Here is another use suggestion, just in case you still weren't sold on making your own. It doubles as a hat. That just pushed you over into the "definitely-doing-it" category, right?

Have an awesome weekend!!


The Traumatic Fix

My sweet little Pretty has two sleep items, the bunny and the blanket.

But as much as she loves that bunny, it's really the blanket that is important. Whenever I check on her in the middle of the night, the blanket is being snuggled, while the bunny is tossed to the side.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that the blanket had a hole. I put it on the mental list to fix, but didn't worry too much about it until I saw Pretty playing with the hole. So I decided to fix it right then. Pretty wasn't too happy with me taking her blanket.

Here she is throwing a fit on the floor.

And here she is pulling on the end to get it back.

I decided to do a cute circle patch using Heat 'N' Bond. I traced two circles onto the paper side of the Heat 'N' Bond.

Then I cut loosely around them and ironed them onto the back of the fabric. I picked a scrap piece that had similar colors and tones as the blanket.

Then I ironed one circle on each side, centered over the hole, matching them up as close as possible.

I should have sewed the hole together first, but a bit of a distraction that kept me from thinking clearly. Here's Pretty, tugging on the blanket and crying.

The last step I took was to sew around the circles by hand to add a bit of security. I decided on sewing by hand, rather than machine, to purposefully give it that home-fixed look. And, of course, I had to do it quickly and deal with Pretty tugging and crying the whole time.

So it turned out a bit more home-fixed looking than I wanted, but I still think it is cute.

She was so happy to get her blanket back, she went right into playing with it.

I have mixed feelings about needed to repair it again. I kind of hope I need to so there's more than one lone spot, but I don't want to go through that again. This is much better:

And that's just awesome.


A Good Book Quote Art Tutorial

Part two of the Mod Podge book pages fun was the "A Good Book" quote art. 

A few years ago, when I made some nursery art for my SIL, the canvases were on sale at 2 for 1! So I bought a few extras, of course! And when I had a lot of ripped book pages left, I decided to make the art piece for the shower. This tutorial is a little light on specific pictures, so if there is any confusion, email me!

What you need is an 8 x 8 canvas, an old book, Mod Podge, a foam brush, black craft paint, small paint brush, a small amount of black lace, a button and hot glue.

I started with covering the canvas in book pages the same way I did the serving tray. It's pretty simple; rip pages, then use Mod Podge to stick them on. I searched online and found this quote, "A good book has no ending." by R.D. Cumming. I like the suggestion that a book you love with live on by becoming a part of you.

Now, some day, I might actually own some sort of cutting machine (my dream is a Silhouette!). But for this, I just used black craft paint and a little brush. 

 I like how bold the letters are, and also how there is a little drag from the brush around the edges.

Once the paint is dry, brush on a layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the canvas.

To create the flower in the center, I cut out 4 circles from the same book I was using. They can be any size you want, and they don't need to be perfectly round. I free handed mine and they were roughly 3 1/4 in in diameter.

Crumple them up to add some texture.

Smooth them out enough to fold them in half.

Then weave the four folded circles in to one circle.

Use hot glue to secure them together where one folded circle overlaps another.

To help set off the book pages flower from the book pages background, cut two circles from some black lace. The larger circle should be about 5 1/2 inches in diameter, and the smaller circle about 3 1/4 inches in diameter. I know that makes the smaller circle of lace the same size as the paper flower, but we are going to melt it, and that makes it shrink up a bit.

I didn't take any pictures of this next part because I was using both hands to burn stuff, so fire safety took priority over pictures! It's pretty simple, though. Use a lighter or a candle to melt the edges of both lace circles. I also burned the edges of my paper flower. Be VERY CAREFUL during this part. The pages DO CATCH ON FIRE and you need to blow it out so the whole thing doesn't burn away. Again. please be careful!

Now we are to the final assembly! Use hot glue to secure the flower to the center of the canvas. Remember that lace has holes, so put down the glue, then place both the larger lace and the paper flower down over that glob of glue. (Don't try to push down the lace on it's own, like I did... oops.)

Then lay the smaller lace down, add the glue and push the button in the center. And you are done!

I love how this piece turned out! A constant reminder that reading is important,

and the things we read stay with us.

And that's just awesome.