Make an Adorable Mummy Doll

mummy-dollThe mummy is my favorite of your classic movie monsters, because it isn’t plastered all over the place like you Frank’s and Drac’s. I love the underdog. But he’s also the one most frequently rendered in a way that grosses me out. My Halloween taste has a real sweet spot between too cute to live and too gross to die. So I had to make my own version of a mummy, who was exactly cute enough, and wouldn’t gross anyone anywhere.


step-1For the shape of the body, you just need two pieces of a gingerbread man. You can draw him or use an image from the internet, but I got my shape by folding the fabric in half and then just drawing one side of him, to make a perfectly symmetrical little man. Whatever method you choose, just cut two pieces. The fabric you use can be just about any kind at all, just in a color that will work for a mummy. I had this fabric leftover from my bedroom makeover, and I thought it looked sufficiently corpse-like.


step-2Sew the two pieces together leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave a portion of the outline open so you can turn it inside out and stuff it.


step-3To make sure the opening is strong enough to stand up to turning inside out and stuffing, it helps to reinforce each side with a few back and forth stitches.


step-4Turn your little man right side out and stuff him. I like to stuff on the full side, but I made sure to keep the part where his legs turn into hips a little on the soft side. That way I can sit him easily in my Halloween displays.


step-5You’ll need a whole lot of bandages to properly dress this dude. Tear strips out of a gauzy material by ripping it with the grain of the fabric.


step-6Sew one end of your strip onto the doll with a little running stitch and then keep wrapping, covering up as much of the doll as you want to. I ended up covering more than I would have liked, but I got very picky about getting the head covered. Same with the crotch and butt. I couldn’t stand to let those hang out. Which means my mummy ended up fully dressed. I probably didn’t need to overthink it so much.


step-7As you go around the head it can be tricky to get things to lay right. Just stitch down any edges that try and pop up, and stitch the ends of you wraps in place too.


step-8A mummy needs a face, and you can do that in any number of ways. I stitched a couple of french knots and a little mouth, but you could use markers to draw one on or even just glue googly eyes in place.


mummy-doll-in-actionI always love a little handsewing project and this is a great one. Especially for kids or anyone just learning how to sew. Any mistakes you make just become part of the look, since mummies are supposed to look decrepit and threadworn. They’re not mistakes, they are style choices!



Make a Funny Halloween Sign

tombstone-plaqueEvery time I look at this sign I giggle. I am a hard core lover of puns and wordplay and this sign delights me to no end. But I have to admit, I got the initial idea from another sign I saw in a home decor store. It was one of those stores where everything is made to look a little distressed, edges are sanded, brown paint sponged on the outside of things to make them look older, birdcages everywhere, and lots of those little balls covered in moss or beans. I’m not knocking it, I was shopping there after all, I’m painting a picture. There are a lot of stores like that out there. And if you’ve ever been in a store like that you might have had the same experience I did. I saw a wood block. Just a block of wood. Painted black with the edges sanded, and a version of this phrase that wasn’t as funny painted on it. I didn’t know what I was more disappointed by, that the decoration was so uninspired, or that they hadn’t workshopped the saying so that they didn’t step on their joke. I had to solve both of those problems and make myself something adorable in the process.


step-1I found this tombstone shaped sign at my craft store in the seasonal section with all the raw wood shapes. If your’s doesn’t carry this exact item, it’s a simple shape to cut out of wood and the border is totally unnecessary. You could make this with any plaque you like, but I love how the tombstone shape adds to the humor. I used black spray paint as a first coat but acrylic paint will work just the same. The center will stay black but the back and edges I wanted to look more like stone.


step-2To make that happen, sponge some gray acrylic paint on top of the black. I like to use a few different colors of gray to give it some depth and really good mottling.


step-3To get a really good stone look, finish by flecking some white paint on top by running your thumb over paint covered toothbrush bristles, or using a paintbrush and flicking your wrist quickly to make the droplets fly. I wouldn’t recommend doing this next to anything that can’t afford to get painted, though.


step-4With your paint job done it’s time to add the letters. This can be as simple as using some vinyl letters, or stickers, or handpainting it. There are a million ways these days to get some letters on your plaque. I used my computer to find the fonts that I liked together and to get the sizing right, and then cut them out of vinyl.


step-5Arrange your words however you decide to do it, and stick them in place. I found that the vinyl lettering was having a hard time sticking to the glossy finish of the spray paint I used, so I used glue to get them stuck instead of just the vinyl itself.


step-6You know me, I can’t ever miss a chance for glitter. I brushed some glue on the front of the vinyl letters while I had it out, and sprinkled glitter over the top. Shake off the excess and then repeat until you get all your words covered. I even added an orange border by running a line of glue where the border meets the center of the sign and then sprinkling orange glitter on top.


halloween-plaqueEven when it’s not Halloween I call my guys my handsome devils, and I take great pride in following in the witchy footsteps of so many women who wouldn’t be controlled, so this sign just could not be more appropriate for us. Maybe instead of putting it away at the end of the season I’ll hang it in my bedroom.



Halloween Countdown Calendar – in FELT!

felt-countdown-calendarI’m beginning to realize that looking forward to great things is a big part of my coping strategy. I am obsessed with advent calendars, countdown calendars, paper chains, and all manner of beautiful craft projects that help me mark time until something fun happens. I’ve done it since I was a kid and I’m only picking up steam. But my very favorite countdowns are hard to find. I love the ones that aren’t just a door to open with candy inside, or just a number to display, I love the ones that create a decoration. The ones with little ornaments behind the doors, or in the pockets, something that gets fuller and fancier the closer you get to the fun. And since they’re so hard to find, I had to make one myself. I love those felt boards you use as a kid, and felt is so much fun to hand stitch, I knew there was only one way for me to go.


step-1For the backing and the bottom I used a piece of orange flannel that measured 22″ wide by 37″ long. I wanted my backing to match my front piece, so I just had it wrap around to the front. But you could use any fabric you want for the backing piece, and it doesn’t have to be flannel or felt. You could even make your bottom front piece different than your backing piece. I just did it this way because I loved this fabric and got a great deal on it. The blue top part does need to be felt because that’s where everything will be sticking. That’s the “felt board” part of this calendar. Mine measures 22″ wide and 13″ tall. Sew the top piece to the front bottom piece, right sides together, and give it a gentle press, then lay it out lining up with the back piece.


step-2You’ll need a whole bunch of numbers and the squares that will become pockets. I used an orange felt so that I could hand stitch the felt numbers on top and those beautiful fibers would just nestle up together and look gorgeous. You need 30 pockets cut to 2 1/2″ x 1 3/4″. To cut the numbers I used a font I liked as a template and cut out carefully. Stitch all those numbers on to the pockets until you have them all numbered.


step-3In this picture I still had a lot of hand stitching to do, but I wanted to show you how they would fit on the bottom piece once they were all laid out. Six across and five down.


step-4Once all my pockets were numbered I was ready to sew them in place. I really wanted to make my pockets neat and straight, so I used a ruler and a chalk wheel to draw a grid. I laid out my pockets so that they were 5/8″ apart in the vertical columns, and 3/4″ apart in the horizontal rows, and drew those chalk grid lines to those measurements. That way I could pin the pockets in place without fear of them shifting around on me. I just kept them lined up to the chalk line as I sewed. This method also let me sew the pockets on all at once. I could chain stitch down each row, pausing my stitching in the gaps between, but then continuing down to the next pocket until I had one side of the whole row sewn. It was so much easier to work a whole column, then a whole row, then a whole column, etc, at a time then trying to sew each precious pocket down all at once.  Remember to reinforce your pockets at the opening by doing a couple stitches, then a couple in reverse, and then finishing that side. These will be tugged on lots by little hands, so they need some help to not pop off.


step-5Now we need to decorate our felt board. As always I turned to a google image search and found myself a witches cauldron, but I thought it looked too much like a pot of gold. So I freehanded some bubbling potion and some pumpkins to fit the theme. The faces are just drawn on with sharpie. I cut out some more letters too and hand stitched all of this in place to take full advantage of how great felt is.


step-6I added a layer of batting – actually an extra piece of extra thick felt in this case – between the layers and added a binding to finish all those edges. If you need a little binding instruction, you can find that here.


step-7To hang it, just sew on a couple of rings. I had these in my beading pile, but you can find some in the notions aisle of your fabric store too.


step-8We’re not finished until we have all those little goodies to fill the pockets, and eventually our witches cauldron as the month wears on. I cut a bunch of candy shapes out of different colors of felt, jellybeans and gumdrops, squares with pinked edges for candy bars, round pieces with triangles on the side for wrapped candies, and cut two pieces for each candy. On one of the pieces I sewed on a teeny tiny piece of velcro – the hook side only – sewed three edges together, stuffed with a teeny tiny bit of stuffing, and sewed the last side closed.


step-930 pieces of candy takes a while to sew, but I think it’s worth it. I love how it looks with all those candies peeking out of the pockets…


step-10And I’ll love it even more as all those candies fill up the cauldron and show how close we are to the big day. Atti is so excited for Halloween this year, and this countdown calendar is a great way for him to celebrate that excitement every day. Even if he has a mom too strict to ever let him eat 30 pieces of candy.



Bedroom Makeover Reveal!

dsc_0001Here it is in all it’s glory. My long discussed, long awaited, final bedroom makeover reveal. I finished many of these projects a while ago, so sharp eyed instagram followers might even recognize some of these changes, but it took me a very long time to get all the tutorials and videos done and ready to share. 2016 has been a YEAR. But honestly, so were 2015 and 2014. I’m on quite a roll. But now I get this lovely oasis to spend my time in, and since I’ve been spending a lot of time convalescing lately, it couldn’t get better.


dsc_0005Bear got a new dresser to replace the one that was a casualty of too many moves, I got a reading nook with my cozy no binding blanket, and on the wall is a grouping of some art collages I made. I made those without intending to share as a tutorial, so I’ll give a close up of those on another day.


dsc_0009My midcentury Craigslist dresser got a desperately needed facelift. The drawers needed new supports to keep from sagging in to each other, the body got a couple coats of bright white, and the arc detail was brought out with a little gold. That arc pattern became an accidental motif through the room and I love it. And of course new laundry hampers that are now kitty scratch proof. On the wall are a collection of photos and art prints, and in the corner is my Quilled Heart artwork.


dsc_0028This is my side of the bed, complete with some of my sick person supplies. Even in my glamour shots I can’t help but keep it real. Here the Hanging Lamp shines down on my Bookshelf Bedside Table and Tulle Lampshade.

dsc_0033When I was a little girl I thought having a vanity table was the most glamorous thing in the whole wide world. I keep my makeup in the bathroom so I use this table for frequently worn jewelry and lotions. I keep coconut oil in the candy dish and in the soap dispenser I keep some fragrant lotions. I never remember to put lotion on until I’m in bed, so keeping it here means I actually use it.


dsc_0035Under my bedside table I keep a basket full of Atti books. I love that he loves books so much, I just don’t want him to mess up mine. This keeps him busy when he wants to be near me and I am needing to rest or get myself dressed. She-Ra likes to use it as a perch. You can also see my lovely Mosaic Medicine Box instead of a pile of pill bottles.






dsc_0066Bear’s bedside, as clean as it will ever be. But at least with his Manly Trinket Box it has a chance.




dsc_0064And of course the big centerpiece of the room, my bed. Upholstered Bed Frame and Wingback Headboard, Custom bedskirt, Suit Sham Pillows, Cable Knit Pillows, Blinged Out Rhinestone Pillows, and a couple of cats. With some Spirograph inspired String Art Medallions up above.

The quilt is a to scale replica I designed of Piet Mondrian’s Composition: Light Color Planes with Grey Contours, but I can’t share that in a tutorial, I’d have to draft a pattern for sale. Maybe I’ll get to that if 2017 will leave me alone! In the meantime, I’ll be hiding under my covers and enjoying the view of my beautiful bedroom.


Decorate your walls with Quilled Art


One of the most popular projects I’ve ever done is my quilled snowflake Christmas Ornament. It’s been in magazines, it’s been stolen and put in magazine’s under someone else’s name, I’ve taught classes on it a million times, it is the little project that could. And one of the reasons it’s so enduring is because […]

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Decorate your walls with modern string art


String Art is a trend that has been around for a minute now, and while I normally avoid trends with every part of me, I’m still totally loving these string art medallions. I get so snobby about paper straws and mason jars, but it’s a hazard of the crafty job. I’m looking at this stuff […]

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Make a Manly Trinket Box


Bear and I have been married for 17 years. And over that time the only thing we fight about is how messy the house gets. With my OCD I’d be happiest with everything always put away in its designated place and if nobody ever moved anything. Bear would be happy if he left things wherever […]

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Decorate a Vintage Inspired Lampshade


Every room in my house is chock full of midcentury antiques or midcentury replications. I’m obsessed. From the vintage Fire King Peach Luster plates on my wall to the acid green couches I bought directly from their original owner, I am so deeply in love with this period of design that I couldn’t leave it […]

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Build a Bedside Bookshelf Table


All my life I’ve had trouble keeping my books corralled. When I was a kid I used to spend the whole summer moving from one spot in the house to another carrying a large cardboard box full of my library books. These days the books are in piles next to every one of my chairs. […]

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Make a No Binding Blanket


I am obsessed with snuggly blankets. They are piled on every surface in my home, spread across my lap during every binge watch of the Golden Girls, and fought over with Atti as he tries to claim them for his own. A fuzzy blanket is a prized commodity in my house, which is why I […]

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