Category Archives: craft

Camping and Crafts and Fall

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I put Fall in the title but truth is that “Fall” hasn’t actually started yet.  I know it’s coming though, so I’ll be patient.  I was watching the weather the other day (I can be a complete weather nerd sometimes – I have a weather app FOLDER on my phone that I keep all my weather apps in..cause you can’t have too many, right?) and turns out we are actually predicted to have a WARMER than average winter… boo.  We were originally thinking colder than average with maybe lots of snow.  The top third of the nation is supposed to have a colder than average winter, the middle third a “wetter” than average winter, and the lower third a warmer one.  Oh well.  We still might get snow, it will probably just be in March.

A couple of weeks ago we went camping.  We had a great time.  Gage and LaLa drove up and Cady invited her boyfriend “Little Matt” to go as well.  We rented a cabin and also brought a big tent.  Milo has been wanting to camp in a tent and even though this girl DOES NOT tent camp, I did it for one night.

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It was actually kinda fun…temporarily.  The next night I was in the cabin on my queen sized blow-up mattress with my fluffy pillow and soft blankets.  That’s how I camp…

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The weather was perfect.  Warm afternoons and cold nights that were good for burrowing into sleeping bags and sitting around the fire.

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Milo in our tent with his toy camping equipment – pretend fire, lantern and smores.  

The next day we drove into the small town located about 20 minutes away to visit Efurd Orchard.  They have all sorts of homemade ice cream (made from their produce).  I think we had sweet potato ice cream, apple ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, blackberry ice cream  – we tried a ton of flavors.  We also found some fun gourds and jelly.

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biggest pickle ever? ha!

They make all of their own jams and jellies and dips and condiments.  We bought one called “Traffic Jam” and it is divine.  Just had some last night.

Gage and Alyssa had to leave a day early to get back for work and school but the rest of us stayed and hiked and fished and roasted marshmallows.  Fun fact – Cady is actually the ONLY person in our family that eats smores.  I will eat all the components separately, but I don’t like burnt marshmallows.  Anyway, she ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner.

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After coming home from a long weekend camping I was happy to have the day off.  Milo and I took advantage of it by spending the day together and painting and decorating our pumpkins.

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I entered them in my office pumpkin decorating contest and won second place.  So double WIN – hello amazon gift card.  I’m telling you, my company is the best.

We are coming up on Halloween quick and I *think* we are ready.  Milo has decided on his costume and we’ve got a few festivals/events lined up to attend.  That’s about it though.  I’m mostly looking forward to getting the presidential election over so I can REALLY look forward to the holidays and everything on social media will stop being so hateful!  Know what I mean?  Gage and Alyssa won’t be here for Thanksgiving this year so I made the executive decision to make reservations at a nice restaurant nearby.  I’m so thrilled about it!  I always spend way too much time and money on a meal that sometimes turns out to not be that great.  lol  We’ll still bake some fun desserts for snacking but I’m glad to have a plan in place for a RELAXING nice meal cooked and cleaned up by someone else!  That evening we’ll watch movies and then that weekend we have our first Christmas Play downtown.  Also… the Netflix Gilmore Girls premiers Thanksgiving weekend so I’m WAY looking forward to it!

Until next time, thanks for keeping up with us crazies!

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2 SUPER easy DIYs (Aromatherapy Garland & 60s Child’s Chair Makeover)

I can’t believe I am going to sit down and blog something beyond a family journal entry with recent pics taken from my phone!  I thought I’d take a few minutes to blog a couple of really simple projects I’ve done over the last couple of weeks.  EASY QUICK projects because lawd knows evening and weekend time is precious lately.  Things are about to really pick up at work with new projects and travel, and school is starting in a few weeks so goodbye summer free time!

Essential Oil Felt Ball Garland

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The first one is this cute little felt ball garland.  You can actually make your own felt balls from unspun wool.  I’ve done it, Martha Stewart has a few tutorials and it really is easy – Milo can do it.  But this time I found a multi-colored variety pack on Amazon for super cheap so I went with that.  So for this project, this is pretty much all you need…

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Yep, your felt balls and a needle and some embroidery thread.  You can use whatever color of any of those you’d like – a cute fall colored one would be fun for the autumn.  And obviously if you want to use essential oil, you’ll need your choice of that.

Milo put them in appropriate order (ROY G. BIV of course…) he is such a cute assistant, right?

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And then he handed them to me one by one and I strung them on the embroidery thread.  You don’t even have to knot them, the felt and thread are thick enough that they stay put.  You can rearrange them and space them correctly once you get them all on your string.

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It literally took us about 10 minutes.  And most of that was Milo deciding what order to put them in and then knocking them all off the table and insisting on starting again…with no help.  Last step is to add a few drops (I just chose random balls) of essential oil to a “few” of the balls – adding oil to all balls would be WAY too much.  I think I added one drop to maybe 5 balls.  Then I replenish as the scent fades.  Adding the oil is totally up to you but I knew mine was going to hang in my cubicle at work and I wanted a way to have some yummy scents that also served a purpose.  I think it would be great for a nursery or other types of rooms where you don’t want to use candles or strong scents.

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The blend I chose is called “uplift”.  Something I need each afternoon!  It’s a “synergistic blend of Grapefruit, Orange, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, and Lavender“.  I’m thinking of making another one of these for Milo to hang near his desk with the “focus” blend.  And no, I’m not one of those essential oil salespeople.  You can get them anywhere (Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, Trader Joe’s – way cheaper than independent sales and they work just as well IMO – especially for something like this)…  If you want to skip the oil on your garland, feel free.

Here’s mine hanging on the wall of my cute little cube at work.

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And yes, I’m still getting used to working in a cube.  I’ve worked in an office/classroom for the last… I don’t know… 10 years? So having a cube again is different.  But, I hafta admit… I kind of dig it!  It’s so nice to be around people again! ha!  And I sit next to the Benefits Dept. so I get to hear all sorts of interesting phone calls from people.  LOLOL, just kidding – not really.

I’ve had to make my little space homey if I’m going to be spending a lot of time there, so a nice smelling fuzzy garland helps.

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The next super quick DIY I worked on was this little mid century child’s chair I picked up at a thrift store.

60s MOD Child’s Chair Makeover

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When I first picked it up (for 5 bucks) I wanted to keep it as is.  I actually love the vintage vinyl and colors.

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But after we got it home and I knew it was going to “live” in our downstairs family room, I decided it needed a bit of love.  I tried my darndest to get that rust off but there was some corrosion and pitting… Which meant it wasn’t going to get better.  And I also thought I could get the marker off the vinyl seat but that didn’t happen either.

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No worries though.  I consulted the internet and the nice guy at home depot and discovered I could use a rustoleum spray paint and it would stop the rust damage and prevent it in the future.  Since the chair was going to stay in our living room I went with an oil rubbed bronze – still metallic but updated and would blend well with our style.  I also went to hobby lobby and picked up that red and white material and then found CLEAR vinyl to put on top and it makes it look like the vinyl material that was used in the 60s! I love it!  The original orange and brown vinyl is still under the new material.  I wanted to save it for prosperity sake.  Now our little chair can last another 50 years!

It mostly hangs out in the corner of our family room…

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But it’s small enough and easy enough for Milo to pull it over to the coffee table for snacks and coloring while he watches TV.

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So those are the two quick (really inexpensive) DIYs I’ve done lately.  I need to post about our backyard makeover.  That was not a DIY and cost us over 20K and we are now dealing with contractor issues… ugh – like to the point where we might have to get an attorney involved.  Pray for me because I’ve nearly lost it a few times over the last week.  I’ll leave that story for another day though.  I know in the end it will all work out.

Thanks for reading!  P.S.  Can you believe it’s August?  Yikes!  Slow down 2016!

Kimberly

Cotton Ball Sheep…Kid Stuff (Me and Martha Series)

To read all of my Me and Martha posts, click here.

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Each Wednesday during this series, I’m dedicating a post to Kid Stuff… as in crafts, learning, costumes, etc.

This week I’m featuring another craft from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for KidsThe cotton ball sheep craft can be found on pg. 25 and it is ADORABLE!  It reminds me a little of the cotton ball ghost craft Milo and I did last year.  Milo loves gluing stuff so I knew he’d love this one!  This is how Milo’s face looks when I’m like, “Let’s sit at the dining room table and do a craft!”

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • black card stock
  • cotton balls
  • glue
  • string (I used my favorite twine that I use for wrapping Christmas presents.)
  • We also used some wooden craft sticks.  I tied the sheep to them and made sort of a mobile.  You could easily just hang them however you like.  I think they’d even make adorable ornaments as well.
  • You’ll also need scissors and a hole punch… or just scissors if you don’t have a hole punch.  lol

First step is to draw a sheep onto the card stock.

I just free-handed this. I wanted our sheep to be real fat like the ones in the picture in the book.

I just free-handed this. I wanted our sheep to be real fat like the ones in the picture in the book.

Cut your sheep out and then trace him a few more times – depending on how many sheep you want.  We made 4.

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Punch a hole in the top and thread your sting thru. Don’t forget this step. I actually forgot it on our first sheep and had to redo it.

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Then start gluing.  Milo follows directions well but I think this craft is great for 2 & up.  For the first layer I let him dip the cotton ball and choose where to put it.

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After the “round” part of the sheep was mostly filled in, I would put a small squirt of glue on the bare spots and Milo would squeeze a cotton ball in those places.  Then as a last layer (there are a few cotton balls on top of the other cotton balls) I would squirt glue directly on the cotton ball and tell him where to put it.  You could use a combination of all those depending on how well your kiddo glues, follows directions, etc.  An older kid could probably do all of it on their own.

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Once one side dries…turn the sheep over and do the other side.  Don’t press too hard when gluing because you don’t want to flatten the cotton on the other side.  That’s it!  We tied ours to the wooden craft stick.  Martha says “hang your flock in a doorway or window to display”.  LOL! I cracked up at the word flock.  I keep calling ours a flock now.

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I’m dying at the adorableness!

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Here’s a pic after we hung it in Milo’s window.  When the air from the vent comes on and it wiggles around a little it reminds me of sheep jumping, you know, like counting sheep?

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This was a super SIMPLE craft, but it turned out so well and everyone that sees it thinks its so cute.  So get to it, go make you a flock of sheep!

Popsicle Stick Barn…Kid Stuff (Me and Martha Series)

To read all of my Me and Martha posts, click here.

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Each Wednesday during this series, I’m dedicating a post to Kid Stuff… as in crafts, learning, costumes, etc.

This week I’m featuring a craft from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for KidsThe popsicle stick crafts can be found on page 72.

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The book features a popsicle stand and a cute cabin.  Milo has really been into farming lately so we decided to modify the cabin and make a barn.

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FYI there is also a diorama horse stable on page 78 that I considered.

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This is a little advanced for Milo but we are thinking of modifying this craft next month and doing a crèche (nativity).

For the barn though… honestly, we had all the supplies.  It required popsicle sticks and glue.  We also painted ours and made the windows & window boxes (which is toothpicks and beads).  I let Milo do the painting of the red sticks and I did the black ones (dry brushed with silver for a weathered look) that made up the roof.  We got our craft sticks at a craft store a long time ago but I also found these sticks online and they are already colored!  They would be perfect for a ton of projects!

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He loved painting the sticks red.  I put down craft paper and he got MESSY but that’s ok.  Be prepared when you are doing pre-school crafts that messes are going to happen.  The only thing I did pick up was this “Down on the Farm” tube of animals.  You can find a ton of different “tube” themes at Hobby Lobby.  Always use the online coupon if they aren’t marked down.  We paid $5.

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Once the sticks dried, I handed the craft over to Matt.  I thought it would be a fun Daddy/Son project.  Matt really enjoys building complicated models so I thought this would kinda be like that.

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They counted out sticks (many times…) and Milo got to glue them together (with help).  Then Matt pretty much had to do the structural/architecture part of getting it all to stay upright.  Fortunately we had finished the animal pen so Milo had fun playing with that and he still got to spend time with Matt.

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Cady actually made the window boxes and created a little weather vane out of toothpicks and a couple beads.  We left one side pretty much open so that Milo could put animals inside (and tiny matchbox cars because who doesn’t store their classic sports cars in their barn…).  It was a fun family craft to work on together.

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Cute, huh?  You could make whatever type of building you want.  That’s the cool things about this type of craft.  Make a skyrise or cottage or whatever your heart desires.  For now, we are enjoying our little red barn… complete with gigantic chickens and tiny farmers.

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Felt Mice…Kid Stuff (Me and Martha Series)

To read all of my Me and Martha posts, click here.

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Each Wednesday during this series, I’m dedicating a post to Kid Stuff… as in crafts, learning, costumes, etc.

This week I’m featuring a craft from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for KidsThis is a newer book, it’s only a couple of years old and is SO good.  It has tons of learning/science crafts, young kid crafts, older kid crafts, GOBs of great stuff.  The felt mice craft can be found on page 61.  It’s actually a Christmas craft (you use candy canes) but we used pipe cleaners and made them sort of like Halloween décor.  Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • various colors of felt squares (they run about .25 at your craft store).  Get the colors you want your mice to be.  We used black and gray because like I said, ours is more of a Halloween thing.
  • glue
  • scissors
  • pipe cleaner for tail or candy cane during Christmas!

The book actually gives you a pattern but you are supposed to copy it and enlarge by 150% or something…ain’t nobody got time for that so I just free handed the shapes (ear piece and body) and allowed Milo to do all the gluing.

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Progress shot:

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I realize my shapes are not perfect.  And Milo didn’t glue all the eyes and noses on exactly in place but that’s is absolutely fine.  These crafts that I do with Milo are more for fun and great practice for him learning new skills and following directions.  He LOVES doing crafts.  We took an extra piece of black felt and made a mouse hole because I knew we were going to stick them on our stairs.

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Because we were sticking them to our stairs, I hot glued a piece of left over cardboard the backs and then used that non-damaging gum stuff to adhere them to the risers.

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Milo has a little play room under the stairs so I thought it would be cute to decorate that area with them.

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He gets the biggest kick out of these little mice.

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That’s it!  Fun and easy non-scary Halloween decoration.

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If you are looking for something similar that would require less cutting/gluing and still won’t damage your wall, here are a couple Halloween crafts from Martha Stewart’s craft line. I found these at Michael’s.  I didn’t buy them but they would be cute to do with your kids if you don’t want to be all super crafty.  lol!  I think they were around $5…

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Easy DIY Chalkboard Labels for your Baskets (or whatever)

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When we started giving our closet a makeover, I knew we were going to remove some of the rods and add shelves that would house baskets.  After we put the shelves in and I purchased the baskets from Ikea, I knew they needed some type of label so I wasn’t pulling each of them out when I was searching for something specific.  I wanted chalkboard labels, but I also wanted something that was pretty sturdy (so the sticker ones were out – I considered them but they wouldn’t work long term for a basket).  I thought about using the little wooden ones you can buy at the craft store but I wasn’t sure how I would attach them.  I didn’t want to use glue because I wanted them to be removable.  So that’s when I came up with using blank outlet covers.  You can stick them through the weave of your basket with the already pre-drilled screw holes.  No damage and you can remove them later if you want!  I picked up 10 from Home Depot for .59 each.  So cheap.  I already had chalkboard paint, no so cost there.  Here’s what I did:

1. Buy blank outlet covers in the electrical section of your home improvement store.

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2. Set them out on your workspace.  Make sure you protect your table if that’s what your using!  Also, I used a piece of cardboard to stick the screws into so I could paint those as well.  Don’t skip painting the screws!

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3. Paint them with your chalkboard paint.  I’m sure you could use the chalkboard spray paint too.  I don’t have that.  I think it’s a little more pricey and I use this stuff all the time so I purchased the quart a long time ago.

You'll need to do 3 coats.  This pic shows bottom piece with one coat, top piece on second coat.

You’ll need to do 3 coats. This pic shows bottom piece with one coat, top piece on second coat.

Make sure to paint the screws.  Get in the little groove too.

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This is after 3 coats, allow time to dry between each coat.

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4. After allowing a couple hours of dry time, season your chalkboard plates by rubbing a piece of chalk over them and then lightly rubbing off with your hand.  Don’t skip this part!

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That’s it!  Label anyway you see fit.  Simple and cheap!

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We are almost finished with our closet makeover!  Yay!

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Faux Animal Head

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Remember the “Woodlands Deer” pumpkin I did for Halloween this year?  Well, once it was time to chunk the pumpkins I didn’t want to get rid of my fake antlers.  We had found them on a walk one day and I had a good 30 minutes of painting time invested in them (okay, so that includes dry time and snack breaks, but STILL…)  That’s when I got the idea to make a stick antler faux animal head.  Obviously animal heads are all the rage in decorating.  We don’t have any because, well, Matt does NOT like them and honestly I grew up with REAL ones hanging in our house.  My dad was a hunter so the antlers on the wall thing was happening at our house way before it was trendy.   Here’s how I made my Stick Antlers Animal Head.

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought this foam cube and a wooden plaque.  The cube was around $3 (I used my 40% off coupon tho) and the plaque was $2.50 but on sale for 50% off.  I already had all the other supplies I needed on hand.

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I retracted my antlers from my pumpkin and had to snip the very ends off that had been in the pumpkin.  nasty.  I then let them dry for a day or so.  Once they were nice and dry and got my craft paint out and added a few extra colors.  The original paint scheme was supposed to be sort of fallish/halloweeny so I added a few extra stripes that were a little more random.  I also got out our bread knife and a sand paper block to try and shape the foam into a shape that was reminiscent of an animal.  I did not want it to look like an animal face, I was really going for something quirky.

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By the way, normally the projects I do have been done before and there is some sort of example out there… not this one.  I just had to wing it and try different things until I got it the way I wanted it.  Once I liked the shape, I went into the front yard and grabbed our newspaper that had been sitting there for a few days (we like to store our weekly paper in our front yard).  I cut around 20 strips about an inch wide and then started modpodging it onto the foam block.  You could totally make your own paper mache mix but I had modpodge so I used it.

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Then I walked away for the day and let it dry.  A few days later I got my white craft paint out and painted the plaque and the head.  (I forgot to take pics…)  At this point you also need to add something to the back of the plaque so you can hang it.  I just used a picture hanger that I hammered into the back.  You could also just drill a shallow hole in the back so a nail head could fit in.  That was going to be my plan but I found a picture hanger in our supplies so I went for it.  Don’t forget this step – I almost did!

Then I used heavy duty adhesive to glue the head to the plaque.  I let that cure for another day or so.  I poked holes in the top of the head where I wanted the antlers to go with the end of a pair of scissors (making sure the hole wasn’t bigger than the antler’s diameter).  I filled the holes with more heavy duty adhesive and then wedged the antlers in.  I propped the whole thing up so it could dry (at least a day).  Once that was done I touched the whole thing up with my white paint and then wrapped a piece of ribbon around the head where it touches the plaque.  This was just something extra – you could skip it.  I used gold thumb tacks to secure it because I thought it sort of looked like an old school set of mounted antlers.   Here’s a shot from the top.

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I grabbed an old frame we had in storage (we have a ton of old wall art saved because I am constantly re-purposing the frames!).  I wish I had one that was more rectangle – I’m going to keep my eye out when we hit some thrift stores this weekend.  For now the square one works and plays well with the shape of the “head”.  If you remember, this was originally a project that I was going to hang in my craft corner.  Well, I was so slow about getting it done (I only worked on it a few minutes here and there over the last week) that in the meantime we have started to transition Milo’s room into a big boy room.  I thought it would look cute on his gallery wall – the colors that I randomly chose for the antlers match perfectly to the color scheme in his room!  So that’s where it has found it’s home.

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I love how it turned out!  I can’t really tell you how much time it would take because I worked on mine when I had a few minutes here and there over a week.  This worked out well because it gave the glue time to cure and the paint time to dry.  It cost me less than $5 but I already had things like craft paint, glue, etc on hand.  It would be an inexpensive project even if you had to purchase more supplies tho.

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Let me know if you decide to make one.  Maybe we can start a stick animal head trend?