Jack-o-Lantern Puppets

On one hand I can't believe it's almost Halloween because it feels like Christmas just passed. 

On the other hand, I can't get Tracy Jordan's Werewolf Bar Mitzvah out of my thoughtsicles, so I know it's definitely time for the spooky, scary holiday.  (Does anyone love 30 Rock like I do?  I secretly hope that Tina Fey, while on maternity leave, is sitting at home checking out crafting blogs when she stumbles upon mine and we become lifelong friends.)

Pumpkin Puppets

Moving forward...  My mom is a veteran preschool teacher who now provides ideas and cirriculum to a few local preschools.  She recently stumbled upon these car mitts at our local Dollar Tree and instantly knew they'd be a great prop for her October planning. 

Car Wash Mitts

Somehow my big mouth got me the task of turning these mitts into jack-o-lanterns, so I took them home and got right to work.  Well, I took them home and left them on my dresser for a few days, and then I got to work.  My first thought was to applique felt pieces on to the faces but reason got the better of me when I thought about the fact that the mitt is already sewn together and the hand space is narrow.  What a pain that would have been. 

Then I thought I'd do some freezer paper stenciling to get the jack-o-lantern faces just right, but as I was reaching for my exacto knife, I stumbled upon an acrylic paint pen.  Aha!  Perfect.  An acrylic paint pen!

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All I did was free hand the faces directly onto the mitts.  Not only was this a cheap craft ($1 each), it's also SO quick.  I made four in under 10 minutes.  Boo yah!  I think this particular mitt would also make great lion and scarecrow puppets. 

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To make this puppet a fun prop for your little one, you can sing a fun jack-o-lantern song with it.  I found the following song on

Did you ever see a pumpkin?
(Sung to: Did You Ever See A Lassie)

Did you ever see a pumpkin, a pumpkin, a pumpkin?
Did you ever see pumpkin, with no face at all?
With no eyes, no nose, no mouth, and no teeth?
Did you ever see a pumpkin, with no face at all?

So I made a Jack O-Lantern, Jack O-Lantern, Jack O-Lantern.
So I made a Jack-O-Lantern with a big funny face!
With big eyes, a big nose, a big mouth, and big teeth.
So I made a Jack-O-Lantern with a big funny face.

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The longest part of this craft was editing my sub par photos.  Does anyone else love Picnik like I love Picnik?  I need to take some photography classes so I don't rely on photo editing so heavily, but Picnik is an awesome free tool in the meantime.

Pumpkin Puppets Before and After

Happy Werewolf Bar Mitzvah!

Tristin Signature

Time Out Cowl (and Giveaway Winners)

I meant to share this a while ago, but one of my favorite bloggers, Rachel from Maybe Matilda is hosting a crochet along.  For all of you who have yet to know the joys of crochet, please, wait no longer!  The tutorials and advice she has offered along the way would be invaluable to a newbie--she's a great instructor. 

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For this particular Crochet Along, readers voted to make the Time Out Cowl which is a free (and simple!) pattern offered by Lion Brand Yarn.

Time Out Cowl completed

I am in love with my cowl. I wore it to bed last night (no joke). Too bad I live in Florida where most days are in the mid nineties. Ughh. Can we please have a crisp Fall day soon??

Time Out Cowl

The pattern took no time to whip up, and while the original pattern says to make the cowl 54" long, I opted for 32" because it suits my small upper frame better. My "lower frame" is FAR from small. You may laugh, but it's true.  Very true.

You may be interested to know that I was able to use only one skein of Lion Brand Jiffy yarn (with a size K hook) to achieve my cowl.  Yay for a one skein project--only $2.79!  Be still my thrifty heart!

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Do you like the length?  Here is the picture they share with the pattern.  Do you prefer the long length or the short?  In the end, it's a matter of personal preference.  (P.S. How does one photo shop bags out from under one's eyes?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Eh, worse things have happened.)

If you want to check out all the posts created by Rachel, click on the icon below.  You'll really enjoy it!

Also for those who are wondering, the Heidi and Finn pattern giveaway winners (selected by are comments number 24 and 28.

Heidi and Finn collage

# 24 Anonymous said...
I love that shop! I also need a coat for my daughter! Hope I win!
ashleigh(dot) kinsey(at) 
# 28 Rachel said...
Oh, this shop is too cute! Your jacket came out beautifully! I love the Urban Hoodie pattern--I'd love to make it for my little boy!

Ok, and in the interest of full disclosure, the Rachel who won is Rachel from Maybe Matilda.  I already had this post drafted and then went to to choose the numbers of the winners--I totally should have taken a screen shot to prove that this was purely coincidental!  Yeah, you may be thinking it sounds pretty sketchy, but scout's honor, it was random (and possibly just good karma).  Anyhow, congrats Ashleigh and Rachel!

Tristin Signature

Simple Skirt

Is it terribly obvious that I'm having a great time sewing with my new machine?  It sews like a dream and I love that during one naptime I can whip out a project like this little skirt.
simple skirt

It was made using the Simple Skirt tutorial offered by Dana of made.  On her blog, Dana offers lots of free tutorials showing how to make simple and precious clothing for little ones.  If you're new to sewing (or even if you're experienced, for that matter) you should check it out for lots of inspiration.  Plus, her photography is striking and clean and gorgeous.  It's one of my favorite blogs.

With quite a bit of typical resistance, I was able to get a few good shots of Junebug modeling her new skirt outside of our local farmer's market.  Well, she calls it a "skirk".  She also calls shirts "shirks", which we encourage because it's pretty much the cutest thing ever.  I'm not overly critical of her emerging language--I realize that pretty soon she'll be speaking fluently and I'll miss the days of cute toddler words like "shirk" and listening to her sing "a spoon full of sugar helps the lettuce-in go down".

simple skirt 1

simple skirt 2

simple skirt 4

simple skirt 3

My sweet little gal.  Sheesh, she's grown up so fast.

An on a completely unrelated note--what are your kiddos going to be for Halloween?  Junebug and I have differing opinions (go figure) on what she'll be for Halloween.  Of course she'll win, but more on that later.

Tristin Signature

Junebug's Jacket and a Heidi & Finn Pattern Giveaway!

Heidi and Finn has graciously offered to share a FREE pattern with two lucky readers--more info below!

Junebug's Jacket

First of all, thanks to all of you who weighed in on the choosing of fabric for Junebug's jacket.  The general consensus was to use the mustard fabric as the lining fabric--which I was totally on board with!  (Have no fear, the other fabric will be used for an upcoming skirt.)  Once the jacket was constructed, I decided to use a hook and eye closure instead of the orange buttons.  I still love the orange buttons for this jacket, but the closure just needed to be slightly more dramatic than plain ol' buttons.  I am SO happy with the end result!

Swing JacketI shared before that the pattern was from the Etsy shop Heidi and Finn and boy, was it a good pattern.  The instructions were clear and concise and there were fabulous pictures that really made everything "click" for a new seamstress like me.  Heidi and Finn has graciously offered to share a FREE pattern with two lucky readers--read on for more info.

First, let me share Junebug's Jacket.  Oh, I am SOO excited!

Junebug's Jacket

Junebug Jacket 2

The closure is supposed to be a big fabric bow, but Junebug is not the biggest fan of big bulky pieces on her clothing so I adapted to suit her pickiness.  (I personally loved the bow featured on the pattern.)

Jacket fabric


Love it, right?

You probably want to make one too, huh?  Well, folks, today's your lucky day!  Two lucky readers will win a pattern--all you have to do is:

2. Leave a comment on this post!

The giveaway will be open from now until Saturday, September 24th at midnight E.S.T.  One entry per reader, please!

And I wouldn't hate feedback on Junebug's jacket.  In fact, I'd love it.

Take a peek at a few of the other patterns you'll see in Heidi & Finn's Etsy shop:
Heidi and Finn collage

Yay for giveaways!  So, what are you going to make?!

Tristin Signature

P.S. Please be sure that you leave an email address if your email address is not associated with your Blogger profile.   Also, this giveaway is open internationally because it's a PDF that will be sent to your email address.

The Long-Awaited Dining Room Revamp

It was nearly a year ago that my husband and I bought an unfinished dining room table and bench that we vowed to make our own.  My husband, like always, held up his end of the bargain and had the table and bench stained and finished within a few days.  My job was to repaint chairs that we already had--and while I had good intentions (like I always do) it took me 10 months to complete my portion of the project.

Dining Room 009

Thank goodness I have a good friend like Sharon--I asked her to help me get this project officially OFF of my list and she made it happen.  And it was fun, to boot!  We spray painted the chairs and I officially marked this project off my looong to-do list.  (Thanks, Sharon!)  Spray painting the chairs took about two hours (a.k.a. one toddler nap time) with Sharon's help.  Well, two hours and 10 months altogether, but who's counting?

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll shut up in a sec and just share the pictures of my dining room as it is today.  There are several angles so you can see it in terms of how it fits with the attached sitting room (that includes my cozy nook).  You'll also notice the DIY Art for Non-Artists is currently residing in the dining room.  Things move around a LOT in our home.  Except for the furniture... 'cause it's heavy.  The fork and spoon were a thrift shop purchase, as were the plates that adorn the wall.  The EAT letters were courtesy of a Pottery Barn clearance a few years ago.

Anyhow, without further adieu, here's my funky little dining room.

Dining Room 009

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This dining room is totally not what I had in mind when I was thinking of my "dream home" years ago, but it totally suits our family right now.  I really love how it looks and it feels so COZY.  Isn't it funny how our perspective on beauty and style changes when we have kids? 

 Tristin Signature

What would you do?

So, I may be slightly obsessed with sewing at the moment.  I've been working on some things and today I'm seeking your advice with a fabric choice.

Swing Jacket

I found this precious coat pattern on Etsy and I'm making it for Junebug.  I've chosen the main fabric--a gorgeous green corduroy.  Green is Junebug's color.  It has always looked good on her so that was a simple choice.  But the lining fabric is another story.

Which do you prefer?

Choice 1 - Mustard yellow with cotton blooms

Jacket fabric 003

 Choice 2 - Multi-colored fabric in a fun pattern:

If it helps at all in making a decision, Junebug picked out some buttons for the jacket.  They're orange and I thought they'd look great with the green.  (She already has great taste!)  The jacket is supposed to have a big bow on the front for closing, but if I know Junebug, she'll fight that tooth and nail (possibly literally) so we're opting for a button front (more like a pea coat).

Dining Room 023 

Here's another view of the coat:

So, which lining fabric would you choose? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Tristin Signature

Simple Sewing

As promised, I'm sharing what I've made with my new sewing machine thus far.  I look forward to many years of fun projects, and if you want to see some of my future projects, check out my DIY Stuff to Wear board on Pinterest along with my Sew What category.  Who knows when I'll get to all those fab projects, but inspiration is the first step, right?

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Sew far (please forgive the sewing pun, I couldn't resist!) I've made some long overdue pillows and a cafe curtain.

When we bought our couch a few years ago, I had the idea to recover the existing pillows that came with the couch.  The pillows were very bland; in fact, they were the same exact fabric as the couch.  I say when life hands you plain pillows, make awesome pillows--or lemonade or something like that.

Here's the couch, being graced by the presence of awesome new pillows:

Now, let's talk fabric.
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The pillow in the background is made with Waverly's Groovy Grille in Harvest.  It's available at JoAnn fabric and lemme tell ya, no less than 4 perfect strangers complimented this fabric before I even left the store.  I was feeling pretty confident in my choice after that.

The pillow in the foreground is made with Arcadia by Sanae for Moda.  While one of the local shops here in Melbourne is still carrying this line, I have had trouble finding it online.  Isn't it awesome fabric???  Sharon and I both bought some of this fabric because we love it so.  Because it's quilting cotton, I added piping around the pillow to give better structure and a more polished appearance.  I'm glad I did--it was worth the little bit of extra effort.  Fo' sho.

So, I know you're tired of seeing this flower embellished pillow and my crocheted rose pillow, but you'll notice a new guy in the back.  The fabric is from the Outside Oslo line from Jessica Jones.  Specifically it's the Tulip print in Dawn.  LOVE!  You can purchase this fabric and all of Jessica's amazing fabrics through the Needle Shop on Etsy.  (They're a great seller--quick service and good prices!)  I love how well the fabric complements my curtains.  Ahh, bliss.

Last but not least, I made a cafe curtain for my kitchen.  A few years ago, James made me a shelf on which I store my Kitchen Aid mixer, food processor, blender, etc. because I'm morally opposed to keeping them on my counter.   (Clutter attracts clutter, folks, especially in my case.)  I made a cute little curtain to hide away all of those appliances.  The fabric is Richloom Cornwall Garden.  I found it as a remnant at Old Time Pottery for $5/yard, which is a steal! sells it for just under $20/yard, which is still reasonable when you consider the quality.  Pier 1 has a lot of outdoor furniture featuring this fabric right now.

After nearly 5 years of living in our home, I'm just now getting to where I really know my style.  It took years to develop it--and I have to get over my fear of color.  Once I got brave and secure in my love of funky stuff and bright colors, my house started to take shape.  It's a work in progress for sure, but I'm sure my new machine will be very helpful along the way.  It already has been.
Tristin Signature

Welcoming a new member of the family...

Here she is:

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Betcha didn't know I was expecting, huh?  Hehe.  I definitely wasn't expecting this lovely piece of machinery--but the very same day that I was out buying furniture without my husband's consent, he was doing the same for me. 

Sharon and I both celebrated our birthdays a few weeks ago (our birthdays are one day and a few years apart) and this was my gift from James.  And I am in LOVE.

James researched sewing machines to death (he researches everything for days/weeks/months and sometimes years before purchasing, I kid you not) and after being disappointed in the selection of "new" machines in his price range, he started to dig a little deeper.  Then he learned about the Singer 401A.  If you are looking for a great machine, consider the research DONE and start perusing Craigslist for a Singer 401A.

I could go on and on about the machine, but I'll just show her to you instead.  Oh, and we had one of our best ever Craigslist experiences with this purchase.  It was memorable and it makes the machine even more special to both of us.

My husband thinks of everything.  He found a machine with a cabinet so it would be convenient to use in my mini-office space in my bedroom.  (We have an office but I make it too messy, so I've been banished to a small corner of my bedroom.  I kid, I kid... Sort of.) The sewing machine cabinet fits perfectly into my little office corner where James mounted a monitor to the wall so I don't have to continually lift it on and off everytime I want to sew.

Sewing Machine 027

The table that folds out hovers right above our nightstand so we don't have to move any furniture.  It's practically perfect in every way!  I just fold out the table and pop the machine out, and Voila!  There's my crafting space!

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See how easy the transition is?

Picnik collage

I may not be one of those lucky ladies with a room devoted to crafting, but I am pretty excited about my new crafty space!

Check back tomorrow to see what I've been making!
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