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! 

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

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! 

Make Mornings Manageable

AugustBanner copy

Can you believe it’s August?!? The smell of new notebooks and pencil shavings is in the air! My friends at Wayfair wanted to know how we make mornings manageable around here. To be honest, most mornings are chaotic at best. It’s a scramble to find matching shoes, backpacks and last night’s homework assignment. It’s not for the lack of trying. I really, really try to be organized. But it’s not my special talent. I do have a few key tricks that make our mornings a little less crazy. 

Wall HooksHooks:  My home is made up of an intricate system of hooks; that at least make me feel more organized. Each kid has a couple hooks in their closets so they can hang up coats and jackets without needing help to reach the closet rod. Plus, if it needs a hanger, you bet your buttons it’s gonna land on the floor. The hooks work like magic. And we can usually find our coats/jackets in the early morning scramble. (photo from Wayfair. Trust me, you do NOT want to see the inside of my kids’ closets.)

We also use hooks for backpacks. Each kid has one in the coat closet. Then they’re not running around looking under beds, or in the office for their casually-discarded backpack in the morning. Look on the hook. Works every time. Almost.

Snack Basket

The Snack Basket: We have a special thing in our pantry called “the snack basket.” I keep all the pre-packaged snacks in the basket. It keeps them from being scattered all over the floor or the pantry. And I can easily keep track of our snack inventory by looking in the basket. I’ve been fooled too many times by an empty box sitting on the shelf. My kids’ school requires that the kids bring a healthy snack for recess, since sometimes it can be a long time until lunch. So as we’re loading backpacks in the morning, the snack basket plays an important role. It’s also great for after school snacks. The kids know which snacks are allowed after school, so they’re not tearing into a bag of oreos. 

File Folders

The Important Paper Folder:  I keep a simple file folder in the kitchen with each kid’s name on it. When they bring home important papers from school (like special project instructions, flash cards, permission slips, etc.) they go directly into the folder. Then when it’s time to work on the science fair project, or pass off our sight words we know exactly where to find the corresponding paper. It’s a really simple, not-so-glamorous system, but it’s saved me hours of sifting through the piles of paper that come home every day. 

Late Notes

A Sense of Humor:  When all else fails, at least make the attendance clerk laugh. There are
going to be bad mornings. There are going to be days when your kindergartener cannot find ANYTHING to wear; or days when your carpool driver hit the snooze button a few too many times. It’s really hard to keep your cool when things don’t go as planned; but I’ve learned that if I freak out before school, my kids are more likely to have a rough day. So even on those rough days, if you can send them out the door with a smile, I’d call it a win! 

Here are a few more of my favorite Wayfair items that can help make mornings less crazy: Mornings-01

Desk | Alarm Clock | Wall Hooks | Wall File | Shoe Storage | Calendar | Bench | Bakset