Homemade Craft Connection :: Glow in the dark trick-or-treat pillow bag

With Halloween quickly approaching Ava Blu made it very clear that she was “way too old” to be going trick-or-treating with the plastic pumpkin that she’s been using for the last 6 years. It was time for an upgrade.

So, it got me thinking, when I was a kid we would just use pillow cases as our trick-or-treat bags. Every kid in my neighborhood had one swung over their shoulder.  So I wanted to do an updated version of the trick-or-treat pillow case bag, but this time with a strap for your shoulder. Here’s what we came up with :)

You’ll Need:
A pillow case (we used a plain white pillowcase)
2 buttons
Needle and thread
Fabric paint (or Acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium)
Glow in the dark paint
Painter’s tape
A sponge

1. Fold your pillow case.

  • Placing the side seam in the center and form 2 triangles. One on the front and one on the back.
  • Fold each triangles up, wtih the triangel point on the center seam of your pillowcase.

2. Place a button at the point of each triangle and sew them in place.
 * If you’d like you can also turn your triangles into pockets. Just stitch half way up the seams on each side (like we did).

3. Fold your pillow case in half vertically.
4. With a pencil lightly draw the shape of your strap.
5. Cut out your straps. Unfold and lay flat.

6. Apply your painters tape to your pillow bag in your desired design (we did a plaid design). Make sure the tape it is pressed down securely without any air pockets.

7.  With a sponge apply your paint and let dry

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 on the other side.

9.  Remove the painter’s tape on both sides.
10. Apply your glow in the dark accent paint (we put ours on the “white” stripe areas).
11. Sew the top of your straps together.
 *  As a no sew alternative you can just tie the straps in a knot.

And you are ready to go trick-or- treating in style!!

Homemade Craft Connection :: Day of the Dead Calaveras Mask

My daughter is studying the Day of the Dead in school, so I thought it was quite fitting for us to make our own Calaveras Masks. The Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertor is a celebrations that takes places annually on the 1st and 2nd of November.

It’s a festivity that honors the lives of family and friends that have passed. The belief is that the souls of dead family member’s come back and visit for the first two days of November. And traditionally they are welcomed with alter’s full of their favorite foods, marigolds flowers and candles.

Dia di Muertor is laden with rituals and symbolism from skulls and butterflies right down to the chosen colors of the decorations.

The skull is an iconic symbol of the Day of the Dead, and while this may initially seem morbid it is actually done quite beautifully with a playfulness that signals an uplifting sense of positivity.

Today it is common to find public procession or parades hosted in cities with large Latin communities. Folks often wear skull masks and dance to honor their deceased relatives.

Wearing a mask on this day is a powerful symbol of overcoming your fear of death. It give people a change to become a different version of themselves, a braver more fearless self. A self that is in touch with their darker side if only for a day.

Butterflies are also a very important symbol of the day. They are often thought to represent transition and resurrection. And in a small Michoacan town in Mexico where the Monarch butterflies migrate every fall they are believed to be the returning souls of the deceased.

(Click here to download the PDF printable template)

To Make your Calaveras Mask You’ll Need:

Calaveras Mask Template (download here)
Acrylic Paint
Scissors or Craft Knife
Glue Stick

3D Paint
Black Glitter
White Glue & Paint Brush (to adhere glitter)
Fake Eyelashes

Tissue Paper
Crepe Paper
Chenille Stems
Floral Wire
Floral Tape

Glue Gun

1.  Print your mask pattern.
2. Cut out your pattern and back it with chipboard.
3. Paint in your mask. Use the color guide as a reference.

4. Add details

  • Use 3D paint to outline the boarders and add dot accents.
  • Apply white glue to the “eye circles” and then sprinkle with black glitter.
  • Glue on the Fake Eyelashes to the edges of the eye holes and let dry.

5. Make Your Flowers:

Flowers are also an important part of the Dia di Muertor celebration and more specifically the marigolds which are known to be the flower of the dead.  They are a symbol of life and love and it is believed that the strong sent of the  flowers helps guide the souls back to earth. Petals are often sprinkled on the ground leading up to the altar.

Paper Marigold Flower

  • Cut 8 sheets of tissue paper into squares.
  • Accordion fold the group of tissue paper.
  • Twist the chenille stem around the middle of the tissue paper.
  • Trim the ends to points.
  • Make 2 slits on each side.
  • Fan out and spread out the layers.

Paper Rose Flower

  • Cut your flower petals.
  • Roll each petal around a pencil and form the petal.
  • Make the stigma with the floral wire.
  • Secure the petals to the wire by wrapping it around with thread.
  • Continue adding petals and wrapping them with the thread.
  • Finish off your rose by wrapping the stem with Floral Tape.

6. Arrange your flowers and hot-glue them to the back side of your mask.

7. Finish your mask with the Inner Lining & Ties. Sandwich the ribbon between the inner liner and the outside of the mask gluing it into place with the glue gun .


A Moment in Good Karma :: the number 3

This number has been showing up everywhere lately!

 A reminder that good karma is always around the bend.
Even on the rainiest of days

Keep the good vibes coming, share your good karma moment in the comments for all of us to see. :)

Homemade Craft Connection :: Halloween Garland

This is a quick and easy way to add some Halloween spirit to your home. I had originally intended to do this craft in neon pink but orange and black felt more fitting for October.

This bow-tie garland is so unexpected sophisticated when normally pasta art and preschool tend to go hand in hand. I actually saw a version of this garland when I was visiting ABC Carpet in NYC last May and just knew I had to try to make it myself. So here you go:

You’ll Need:

  • Bow-Tie Pasta
  • Orange & Black Spray Paint (you can also use acrylic paint. The painting/drying process just take a bit longer)
  • Orange & Black Glitter
  • Spray Mount (or as an alternative white glue)
  • Black Thread

    1.     Spray-paint your bow-tie pasta the desired colors and let dry.
    2.     Divide your pasta in half. Spray half the painted bow-ties with spray mount and sprinkle with glitter.
    3.    Measure the thread to the desired length.
    4.    Tie the pasta to the thread in the center.
    5.    Hang up your garland.



Swapping Postcards

Take a look at what I quickly pulled together with some leftover scrap-fabric and paper I had lying around. I think it came out pretty cute for the short time I had to make it. I needed to get it posted in the mail today for The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap. You can see what everyone created here!

5 ways to stay positive

What a great way to start a Monday then to share with you 5 ways to stay positive. Instead of writing a lengthy post I thought I’d try a videolog :)

5 ways to stay positive + ONE more!

I hope this will help you get your week off on the right foot!

Homemade Craft Connection :: Hang-up Halloween Cat

The Black Cat is one of the most commonly recognizable icons of Halloween. Legends of black cats have been shrouded in mystery and superstition since the Dark Ages.

Cats have been both loved and feared though out history and the connect between black cats and Halloween is so complex and confusing that it’s hard to know the true historical source.

Since the days of early witchcraft cats were believed to be the familiars that were know to assistants witches. And some even believed that witches, themselves could transform into a cat as a way to covertly spy as well as to make a quick getaway in the face of danger.

To this day a large population of people are still very superstitious about black cats and go to great lengths to avoid crossing paths with one.

You’ll Need:

  • Crepe Paper (black & orange)
  • Tissue Paper (black)
  • Cat Print Outs
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors & Craft Knife
  • Ruler

Gather your supplies and cut out your pieces. You will need a front and back for each piece.

Fold The Arms and Legs

  1. Measure and cut approximately  25” of each color streamer. (2 pieces for each arm or leg).
  2. Fold the streamers in half.
  3. Using two streamers glue the ends together (laying in opposite directions).
  4. Fold over and over again alternating streamers to make a square.
  5. Keep folding until you reach the desired arm length.
  6. Glue the ends together and add the paws.

Fold The Torso

  1. Fold 2 to 4 sheets of black tissue paper together to the width of the cat torso’s body.
  2. Lightly glue the final folded seam together.
  3. Accordion fold the body folding the paper back and forth.

Assemble Your Cat

  1. Glue the arms and torso to the cat’s shoulders.
  2. Attach the legs to the bottom of the torso.

If you would like to add a little extra sparkle to your cat like I did you will need:

  • White Glue
  • Paint Brush to apply white glue
  • Glitter ( black, orange & white)
  • Embroidery Floss and Needle for hanging your cat
  • Floral Wire

  1. Apply white glue with a paint brush to the areas that you would like to glitter. I did the hat, eyes, cheeks and teeth.
  2. Use the Floral Wire to create some whiskers and glue them into place.

To hang your Cat use the embroidery floss and needle to puncture a hole thought the cat and create a hanging loop.

(Click here to download the PDF printable)

Homemade Craft Connection :: Personal Coat-of-Arms (part 2)

How incredibly serendipitous that last week after posting my coat-of-arms I found out that the Prince William and the Dutchess Kate had just announced their conjugal coat of arms!! What timing :)

So this week I wanted to share with you some of the personal meaning behind the three coat of arms that I showed you last week.

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Usually a traditionally a code of arms consists of a shield, helmet and mantle, charges, a crest and a motto, but I think you should include what feels right to you.

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What story do you want to tell? What symbols best represent you? Think about your color choices and what power animal embody your spirit? Every element in a coat of arms should have deep personal meaning to you.

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Here are a few questions and prompts to help you think about what elements you want to include on your Coat of Arms.

  • What are your favorite color? Do they hold any meaning to you?
  • Do you have any totem or power animals that you feel a strong affinity to?
  • What are your favorite flowers? Your birth flowers? Do some research and find out the meaning behind your favorite bloom.
  • What are your favorite hobbies?  Your favorite foods?  Why are they your favorites?
  • Do you have any hidden talents? What are the things you do well?  The things you love?
  • What are your strengths, skill and interests?
  • What are your Hopes and dreams? The key values in your life?

(download printable shield shapes)

Now that you have a list chock-full of ideas it’s time to start drawing. Don’t feel obligated to include everything on your list. Only those items that carry the most importance and meaning to you so you don’t dilute your story.

Below is a free printable for you to start designing your own personal coat-of-arms.

I will also be offering commissions to create a person coat-of-arms for you or someone you love. They make wonderful wedding and baby shower gifts. So if you’d like for me to design a personal crest for you just send me an email at cindyann@blupenny.com or visit my etsy shop. I will be having them up there shortly.

(download printable shield)

you can see part 1 here!