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.  

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 project.diy-bookshelf

Here’s what you’ll need: 

crate-bookshelf

 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! 

Tips for Vintage Shopping

I often hear the questions, “What are your favorite spots for vintage shopping?” or ” Where did you find that…(old thing)?” I’ve never really considered antiquing one of my passions, but a quick look around my home proves otherwise. I’ve got old stuff in every room of my house. I think it keeps a room from feeling to precious; it helps add some history and depth to a space, and I love the character and conversation opportunities an old piece can add to a room. I recently read this Guide to Summer Antiquing over at Invaluable, and now I’m in the mood for a flea market road trip!

vintageBefore I dive into shopping tips and tricks, let’s have a quick vocab lesson.  Today’s words are vintage and antique. “Antique” is usually a term reserved for pieces of great value that are a minimum of 100 years old. According to eBay, “vintage” items should be more than 50 and less than 100 years old. On the other hand, I’ve been to flea markets where the criteria for vintage merchandise is 20 years old…so pretty much all the stuff from my childhood is now deemed vintage. So whichever the accurate definition of vintage is, I’m actually more of a vintage shopper. Antiques kind of scare me–they seem too and valuable to be in my home. Vintage items are less intimidating to me. My advice focuses mainly on vintage shopping, but you can also apply it to antiquing. 

boxesBest places to shop
  • Yard Sale / Garage Sale / Estate Sale: Yard sales are great, local resources for vintage treasures. Pros: Great prices, opportunities for bargaining, and close to home. Cons: hit-and-miss – you never know what you’re going to get; and you have to sort through a bunch of crap to find the good stuff.
  • Flea Market: Flea markets are popping up in most large cities. Flea markets are usually held once a month; and you’ll enjoy a fun festival-like atmosphere as well as a GREAT selection of merchandise. Flea market finds are more curated than yard sales, so everywhere you turn, you’ll see things you can’t live without. Pros: Food trucks, great selection, fun atmosphere. Cons: crowded, sometimes you have to buy a ticket to get in, and the weather can prove tricky at outdoor events.  
  • Vintage Shops + Second-Hand Stores: I love driving around unfamiliar neighborhoods and discovering great vintage shopping gems! Pros: Retail stores offer a curated and styled selection. That means it’s easier to shop, cleaner, and less crowded than trolling the flea market. Cons: The shop owners are very aware of the value of the products, so prices tend to be higher. 
globesTips for successful shopping trips
  • Explore new neighborhoods. You’ll never know what’s out there if you don’t go look! 
  • I’m not into grappling over price. It makes me uncomfortable. But toward the end of flea markets and yard sales, vendors are willing to give you a better price if it means they don’t have to pack it up and put it away again. 
  • Have a shopping list. Don’t become distracted by all the vintage goodies around you! Have a list of what you NEED to find. For example,  I recently went looking for a storage piece for my kids backpacks/shoes/coats). During this trip, I was able to stay on task knowing what I was looking for. I glanced at the license plates and card catalogs, but remained focused on my shopping list. But after my moment of distraction I found exactly what I was looking for! 
  • Keep an open mind! Even though you’re looking for something specific, you might find something that meets another need. On a recent shopping trip, I was looking for some small accessories for a photo shoot, but ran across the perfect display piece for my notepads…so stay on target, but don’t. 😉
  • Makeovers are always a possibility. It’s very rare to find the perfect piece that doesn’t need a little fixing up. A little paint and some new hardware can go a long way. Don’t walk away from the perfect piece because it’s the wrong color! 
  • Buy with POTENTIAL and PURPOSE in mind. Does it have the potential to fit your space/style? Will it serve a purpose? 
  • Start a collection (or two, or three!) When you shop to add to a specific collection, you’re not as easily overwhelmed by vintage shopping. When I don’t need a specific piece (furniture, etc.) it’s still fun to go to the markets looking for milk glass vases, globes or tins to add to my collections. 

milk-glassNow I’m in the mood for a treasure hunt/shopping trip. Who wants to join me?!? 

DIY Painted Thumbtacks

Thumb Tacks2I love incorporating color into ordinary, everyday items. These thumbtacks are no exception. This project is so quick and inexpensive; and it adds a fun pop of color to your memo board. These painted thumbtacks also make great gifts for teachers and coworkers. So grab a couple boxes of thumbtacks and let’s get to work! 

Nail polish
Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Thumbtacks
  • Nail polish
  • Cardboard

PaintedLet’s get started! Stick the thumbtacks into the cardboard. I used an old piece of foam board here. I’ve also used a cereal box before. You just need something that can hold the pins upright while you paint.

Painting ThumbtacksPaint the tops with your nail polish. Depending on the type of polish and the color you use, you may need a few coats. Let ’em dry between coats, obviously. 

Desktop copyWhen they’re dry, remove them from the cardboard and put them to work! 

That’s it!