DIY Gum Ball Machine Costume

I’ve seen different variations on this gum ball machine costume around the web lately and I’ve been dying to give it a whirl. This costume is so much cuter than what you find at the Halloween stores. Plus, it’s less expensive and higher quality, too! DIY Gum Ball Machine Costume

Gum Ball Machine Costume Supplies: 

Gum Ball Machine Costume TutorialPlug in your hot glue gun. While you’re waiting for it to heat up, separate your pom poms. I bought two different color combinations: classics and brights so I could have a good variety of colors. I picked out the colors I wanted and put the rest aside for another project. 

Make a Gum Ball Machine CostumeLayer a piece of cardboard or a few sheets of scrap paper inside the shirt. The cardboard will ensure the hot glue doesn’t seep through the layers of fabric, glueing the shirt together. Start by gluing pom poms around the collar of the shirt/tank top. 

DIY Gum Ball Machine CostumeContinue adding pom poms until the front of the shirt is covered. Make sure to leave room at the bottom of the shirt so it can be tucked into the skirt/pants. I grabbed this cute red skirt at for about $5 the other day when it was on sale; and I think it’s the perfect silhouette for a gum ball machine costume. But any red bottoms you have handy will work! 

Easy Gum Ball Machine CostumeWait for the hot glue to cool, and then try on your new gum ball machine costume! Print out the quarters only sign and attach it to the costume–glue dots, safety pins or velcro work great!

Gum Ball Machine Headband Grab a simple headband and add some of the extra gum balls to it. As a variation, you could get some jumbo-sized puffballs to make it more of a statement piece. 

Gum Ball Machine Costume

This costume takes about 15 minutes to make after you’ve rounded up all the supplies. So you’ll have plenty of time to think of witty one-liners to use when people compliment you on your adorable costume. “Let’s STICK together.” or “I’m having a BALL at this party!” would be appropriate. I especially love that this gum ball machine costume works great for any age. My first grader loves it; and I kind of want to make one in my size, too! 

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Easy Cactus Costume

I’m so excited to share my favorite easy DIY costumes with you this week. First up is this easy cactus costume. This is not a new idea. I’ve seen a number of cactus costume tutorials out there, and I wanted this one to be a little different. I wanted to be able to re-use the shirt after Halloween; and I wanted the cactus spikes to stand up. Most of the cactus costume tutorials I’ve seen use yarn as the cactus spines. Yarn is adorable, yet floppy. I’m no cactus expert, but I’m pretty sure cactus spikes are not floppy. But more on that later. Easy Cactus Costume I live in the last minute. In fact, the last minute is my comfort zone! All the costumes I’m sharing this week are quick, easy and less expensive than buying a pre-packaged costume. Perfect for procrastinators. 

Easy Cactus Costume

Cactus Costume Supplies:
  • Green clothing – shirt, sweatshirt, dress. You get the drift.
  • Tan pipe cleaners
  • Needle + thread
  • Scissors

Easy Cactus Costume

First, cut the pipe cleaners. I got four spikes out of each pipe cleaner. Second, fold the cut pipe cleaner in half. Finally, sew it onto the shirt. 

Easy Cactus Shirt

I believe in official sewing terms, what we’re doing here is “basting” the pipe cleaners onto the shirt. You don’t need to be perfect here. Just a couple stitches around the fold of the pipe cleaner will do. 

Easy DIY Cactus ShirtBecause we want to re-use the shirt, we’ll tie the stitches on the inside of the shirt. After Halloween, you can easily remove the pipe cleaners by cutting the threads, and the shirt will be good as new. I did not add spikes to the back of the shirt, for comfort’s sake. Sewing this many cactus prickles onto the shirt took me 15-20 minutes. Of course I realize there are quicker ways to do this; but the whole point is to be able to re-use the shirt again. If you don’t care about keeping the shirt, you could use hot glue and be done faster. 

Simple Cactus Costume

Ta-Da! A Quick, Easy Cactus Costume

My preschooler loves his new cactus shirt so much that he wants to wear it to school today. Also noteworthy is that this kid fell into the SAME cactus on TWO separate occasions this summer. Both times, he ran home covered in fine, clear cactus prickles. There were so many cactus spines sticking out of his skin that removing them with tweezers was quite impossible. Plus, he freaked out whenever we got hear him with tweezers. We quickly learned an alternative method for removing cactus spines (thanks, Google!). It involves a thick coat of Elmer’s glue coupled with lots of patience. So now you’ve got a DIY cactus costume tutorial and cactus-spine removal tips all in one place.  

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Halloween Wreath DIY Tutorial

I created this creepy, but classy Halloween wreath for my latest segment on Fox 13’s The Place. It’s a nod to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. You can see the segment here if you promise not to laugh at my awkwardness. Or go ahead and laugh. I’m pretty sure that’s why they invite me back every month. Creepy Halloween Wreath

When I decided to make a Halloween wreath, I wanted to take a more mature approach to the holiday. I love Edgar Allen Poe, and when I ran across this fake bird at the craft store, the whole idea came together. First I found the bird, then I went in search of “creepy” flowers. While you’re floral shopping, keep your eyes open for anything sharp, spiny or dark and brooding. I wanted to use a muted palette of black and gray, but threw in some purple and red for a little depth.

Halloween Wreath Supplies

Basic Wreath Making Supplies:

Most of the wreaths I make start with just a few basic supplies.

  • A wreath form (this one is a 24″ grapevine wreath form)
  • wire cutters
  • hot glue gun + extra glue sticks
  • floral wire

Halloween Wreath Flowers

Now add the fancy Halloween wreath stuff:
  • Assorted silk and/or plastic flowers. Black roses that aren’t hideous are hard to find. I scored these at Michaels in the normal floral section (not the Halloween florals…those were a little tacky for this project). 😉
  • Twigs, berries, moss (go crazy!)
  • Fake Bird

Halloween Wreath Tutorial

Let’s get started!

First, start by trimming the stems off of a bunch of your flowers. As you do this, remember to leave about 2 – 6 inches of stem until you decide on the final arrangement. After you’ve trimmed down a bunch of the flowers, start laying them out – either on top of or around the wreath form. I usually tuck the stems into the grapevine wreath as I go to give myself a good visual. Play around with the arrangement until you’re happy with it.

Halloween Wreath DIY

Quick Tip:

After you’re happy with the layout and arrangement of the flowers, snap a quick photo with your phone so you can replicate the design as you glue it all together.
DIY Halloween Wreath

The Big Finish: 

Warm up your hot glue gun as you remove all the flowers from your test-run. Then trim down the stems on your flowers (if necessary) I usually prefer 1.5″ – 2″ of stem. It’s perfect for glueing. Now hot glue the stems one at a time, and layer your wreath back together. You can also use floral wire for this, but I prefer the stability of hot glue. I usually begin with the biggest blooms first and then layer in the smaller bits (berries, sticks, etc.) toward the end to fill in any blank space. 

After you’ve attached all the flowers, add some Spanish moss and put your creepy bird in his new nest. Finally, all you need to do is display your fabulous new wreath for the whole neighborhood to see! 
Beautiful Halloween Wreath

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DIY Crate Bookcase

diy-crate-bookshelfHi Friends! I’m finally bringing back this DIY crate bookshelf as one of my Friday Favorites. I made this for my kids when we moved to Wyoming; and it was such a quick, easy project! The kids enjoyed helping with this project, and we have used this bookcase in many different places since I originally made it. Here’s the tutorial if you’re in the mood for a quick weekend

Here’s what you’ll need: 


 Let’s get to work! 
  1. Sand them down. Ugh. Sanding’s the worst part, right? My crates were pretty rough when I got them, so started with 80 grit, then 100, then 150. They’re not exactly silky smooth; my main goal was to smooth them up enough so the kids wouldn’t get splinters when reaching for their favorite book.
  2. Beat ’em up. My kids LOVED this part (maybe a little too much). Get creative here…use nails, hammers, chisel, chains, anything to make scratches and dents. If your scrapes leave any rough edges, you may want to sand them down a bit.
  3. Stain. Make sure your crate is clean and free of dust, then stain it your desired color. I used my favorite stain (Rust-oleum Dark Walnut). They’ve got these great 8 oz. cans that are perfect for a small project like this.
  4. Seal. Finish with a coat of polyurethane. I used Satin finish, because I didn’t want too much shine.
  5. Finishing touch. Screw on some corner brackets. (optional) They’re technically called “angles” and you can find them in the roofing section of the hardware store. 
  6. Configure & attach. I attached the two horizontal crates to one another with wood glue and some screws underneath. The vertical crate I left unattached so it can also double as a handy carrying crate/nightstand if needs be.

reading-cornerI designed this bookshelf so it is modular. Since it’s in multiple pieces, we can reconfigure the whole thing or add to it as our book collection expands. Now that you’re done, all you need to do is grab a comfy beanbag chair and a cozy blanket and you’re all set for those chilly fall and winter evenings ahead! 

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