DIY Ghostly Garland

Halloween is almost upon us and I am slow on creating the blog posts of all my projects. I am also 1 month away from baby 2, so taking things a bit slower lately.

BUT, even I was able to whip this cute garland up in no time and minimal supplies were needed! Also, this would be a fun and easy project to do with your kids.

Materials:

  • White Yarn – for ghosts (also you could make orange and purple ghosts too, which would be really cute)
  • Black Yarn – for hanging ghosts on
  • Wooden Beads – to add a Boho look
  • Black felt – for eyes on the ghosts
  • Glue – for attaching eyes
  • Cardboard – to wrap yarn around

How to Make:

Step 1 : Making the Ghosts

  • Cut cardboard into a piece that is about 4.5″ tall on one side.
  • Wrap the yarn you are using for your ghosts around the cardboard 25 times.
  • Take a little piece of yarn and tie the yarn together on one side while it is still wrapped around the cardboard.
  • Slide your yarn off and cut on the opposite end of where the yarn is tied together.
  • Use another piece of small yarn to tie about an inch or so below the top of your yarn bunch and this will create the ghost head.

Watch this quick video below to see a visual of making the ghosts.

STEP 2: Add eyes to your ghosts.

  • Using Black felt I cut out tiny circles for my ghosts eyes.
  • After cutting them all out I glued them all on at once to make the process more streamlined.

STEP 3: Create Garland

  • There are two ways you could put your ghosts onto the yarn. I tied my ghosts onto the black yarn, that way I knew they wouldn’t slide around but you can also use a needle to thread the yarn through each ghosts head so they stay on the yarn as well.
  • I added a wooden bead between each ghost on my garland to give it a different look. Feel free to leave off or add more than one in between to give your garland some spunk of your own!

VIOLA! your garland is done. A super easy and fun way to make a cute decoration in your home. I strung mine from my lights in my kitchen but this would look cute anywhere you have space for it.

Show me your cute creations below or tag me on instagram @the.expert.amateur

Yarn and Fabric Pumpkins

Fall is upon us and this year I’m actually ready for it. I usually don’t look forward to this time of year because of the impending cold weather and I’m usually going back to work as a teacher after having a summer off.

This year I am just getting excited for the arrival of our 2nd baby in November! I also have the opportunity to be at home until then, so more time to do some baking, cooking and crafting. I feel like Fall is putting me into nesting mode earlier this time around.

One of the crafts I’ve been working on for the past couple weeks is making different versions of DIY pumpkins and trying to find the easiest and most beautiful to share with you.

The first I created was these sweet crochet pumpkins. I followed this free pattern by Handy Little Me. I love the size of these pumpkins and the ease of following the pattern. It took me around 1-2 hours to create one. This is because I am just a beginner crocheter and I had to look up what certain stitches were a couple times.

If you are curious on how to put together a cute Fall centerpiece, check out my blog all about it!

I then tried by hand at spicing up some cheap Dollarama pumpkins. This was very fun and so simple!!

This first large pumpkin cost $3 and the yarn was $3. This was the most expensive one to make, but definitely one of my favourites. The pumpkins I purchased at Dollarama are made out of Styrofoam but if you purchase hollow ones you will still be able to create a really cute elevated pumpkin.

Check out my IGTV on Instagram at @the_expert_amateur on the video step by step to make the large yarn pumpkin or follow the directions below.

Materials:

  • Yarn and/or Fabric – Dollarama had the thick yarn I used to make my large pumpkin.
  • Cheap pumpkin – go to Dollarama or Dollar Tree!
  • Branch for stem
  • X-acto knife (or some form of knife to cut hole)
  • Scissors

Written steps:

STEP 1: Cut out stem and a hole the same size on the bottom of the pumpkin. Then use some sort of tool to push a hole through the pumpkin. I used a large crochet hook, but if you have an apple core tool that would also work great! Even a pen would work to punch a hole through the Stryofoam.

STEP 2: Take your chosen yarn and push it through the center hole that you created. Pull the yarn so that you have half of it on one side of the pumpkin and half on the other side.

STEP 3: Start with one side of the yarn and start folding it over the pumpkin and secure it by pushing it into the holes you created on each side. Push the fabric in about an inch and then fold back over the pumpkin and push into the hole on the other side. You do not need to pull the fabric all the way through the pumpkin, as the foam will hold it in place if you push it in far enough. (If you have a hollow pumpkin then I recommend pulling the yarn all the way through and wrapping it around.)

STEP 4 : Go back and forth with your yarn until your pumpkin is covered to your liking. Then cut off remaining yarn and push the tail into the hole to hide and secure. Take a piece of branch for your stem and push into the top of the pumpkin. This will secure the yarn and also create a cute stem!

Enjoy you cute, and very simple pumpkin!! You can also use fabric and cut it into strips to cover the pumpkin in the same way. My green pumpkin is created with fabric.

If you use skinny yarn, like my white pumpkin, then I pulled the yarn through and wrapped it around the pumpkin to secure it.

Time to Create:

  • Fabric or thick yarn Pumpkin – 10-15 mins! So fast to make!
  • Yarn Pumpkin – took me closer to an hour because my yarn was so thin and wrapping takes awhile. I recommend using a crochet hook to pull the yarn through the center of your pumpkin.

I hope you enjoy making some pumpkins of your own! Feel free to share your pumpkin designs below! I would love to see.

DIY Fall Decor

September hit and my Fall decor is coming out. I created 2 different Fall decorations using several of the same fake florals from Michaels.

The first item I made was this super simple wreath. This is a very customizable wreath that you need very little supplies to create. Just pick out your favourite florals and greenery and start placing them into a wooden branch wreath.

The key to a simple, easy wreath is to make sure you get the branched wreath so that you can easily pop in your florals and leaves.

Materials for Wreath

I used zero glue to create this wreath because I tucked in the ends of all my florals into the branches of the wreath. It has been holding up very well!

The Florals I used
Fall Centerpiece

I then took my leftover florals from the wreath and used them in my table centerpiece. I got the basket from Michaels and the crochet pumpkins are a free pattern from Handy Little Me. They turned out so cute and it was very easy to follow her pattern! I consider myself a beginner in crochet so I think anyone would be able to create these cute little guys. Check out my DIY pumpkin blog for some more pumpkin inspiration and see how you can turn some cheap Dollarama pumpkins into something classy!

Materials for Table Centerpiece

  • Basket from Michaels
  • Florals – Mine were the leftovers from my wreath from Dollarama and Michaels.
  • Pinecones found in my local park
  • Yarn
  • Candle – mine is from Costco

Again, this is super simple to create once you have the supplies. Just start placing your florals, pinecones and pumpkins in the basket until you have the look you like!

What else would you put in your centerpiece?? Let me see your creations!

Macramé and Yarn Rainbow

What did I do on my 30th Birthday?? I made a macramé rainbow for my daughter of course! This is such an easy project that does not require much skill or supplies.

This is a great craft to do while watching TV, or parts can be done while riding as a passenger on a roadtrip.

Firstly, gather all your materials:

  • 1 roll of macrame cord
  • 4 balls of coloured yarn
  • thin crafting wire
  • masking tape – I used Frog Tape
  • Hot glue gun

Step 1 – Measuring out and Making your Rainbow Rows

Depending on how thick your macrame cord is, you may need to measure out several layers of cord for each row. Here is how long I made each row:

  • Row 1 – 18″
  • Row 2 – 16″
  • Row 3 – 13.5″
  • Row 4 – 12″

I purposefully made my rows slightly longer so that I could trim the macramé to make the tassels the exact length I wanted them. I also doubled up my macramé to have 8 strands in each row to give it the thickness I wanted. Next time, I would start with thicker macramé to make it go faster, however having several strands also helped to hide my wire.

Step 2 – Wrap the cord layers and wire up

First, I taped the cord layers and wire together about 1 and a half inches from the end to hold them together. I then wrapped them all up with a final wrapping of macramé cord. This produced a solid strand of macramé that was now also easy to form into any shape with the wire inside.

Step 3 – Shape your macramé cords into a rainbow.

Shape your macramé rows into the rainbow and adjust the ends of each rows if necessary so that the tassels will all line up.

Step 4 – Wrap rows with yarn.

Wrap each row with your choice of yarn for each row. I hot glue gunned the end of my yarn in the inside of each rainbow row so that it would be hidden when the rows are glued together. After all the yarn is wrapped I wrapped another piece of green yarn into a loop around the center of the green row. This is then used to hang the rainbow when it is all done.

Step 5 – Put it all together!

Remove tape and glue rows together. I used a hot glue gun. I then took off my tape and separated the macramé cord with my fingers to make it look frayed and tassely (if that’s a word haha). I trim any tassels that are too long and then voila! You have yourself a rainbow.

Here is some quick directions with no pictures for easy view of the steps!

Our Homemade Baby Room

Well I’ve been wanting to do this blog post for awhile, but life got in the way! Specifically, we got pregnant again!! The day I launched my blog, I found out we were pregnant with our 2nd baby and this little one put mama through the ringer in the first trimester. I had it super easy with my first pregnancy, so I had it coming haha.

I originally had many plans for Laurel’s baby room, but I did not get them finished by the time we found out we were expecting again, and after that I had no motivation to finish since I knew the new baby would be taking over the room in less than a year!

Laurel’s baby room is a compilation of homemade decor, and I love it! Some of it was made by family and some of it I made for her. Let me show you.

Baby Blanket – This puff quilt was one of my favourite projects I have made to date. So much fun and so fluffy! Check out my blog all about it to see how to make your own. Please note, you do NOT have to have a lot of experience as a sewer to make this.

Cross Stitch – One of the first crafts I have ever made, was this cross stitch Precious Moments picture. My mom bought me this kit when I was in Grade 6 and taught me the craft of cross stitch. It took me awhile to complete it, but I eventually did and my mom got it specially framed for me! I had it hanging in my room as a teen and then my mom sent it up for Laurel’s room when I had her. It fits in perfectly. Cross stitch is such a fun past time to do and easy to learn at a young age. There are so many awesome patterns and kits out there!

Baby Mobile – This was a recent craft I completed for Laurel over the winter. I love floral mobiles, but they are expensive to buy. Turns out they are also expensive to make, haha! Check out my blog post on all the details of how I made this floral mobile.

Removable Vinyl on the Walls – This is where the magic of a Silhouette or Cricut comes in handy to make a SUPER simple yet beautiful addition to the walls of a room. I put Laurel’s name up with the intention of adding light pastel colored flowers around her name, but then baby 2 showed up on the radar so I decided not to finish. We will transition Laurel over to our 3rd upstairs bedroom shortly after baby arrives and so I am thinking I will move her name over to the new bedroom and add some vinyl floral patterns around it. The length of her name is around 2 feet long to give you an idea of size. Read my Silhouette Blog to see why I love this machine so much.

I also printed out a daily prayer to put on the wall. This is a sweet, short prayer that gives us a reminder to start the day out positive. I will leave the daily prayer on the wall for the next baby as well.

Homemade gifts – Laurel got gifted so many sweet homemade gifts, which means so much to us! Here are a few other crafty items that adorn her room.

A relative lovingly created a cross stitch of her Birthday and weight.

My best friend Erin, created the gorgeous L out of paper! She has her own art website called www.erinsidloski.com. She is known for her amazing paintings and is open to commissions. I also put a gorgeous picture depicting the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus and a lamb up on her wall. This was made by one of my relatives by using Modge Podge to transfer a picture onto wood.

I love that my baby room is full of such meaningful, homemade items. I look forward to adding more to it and changing it a bit for our new arrival in November!

Pantry Organization and Labels

Who else watched The Home Edit on Netflix and immediately went and reorganized some section of your house?! This was 100% me. We had recently just moved into our house and the pantry was already a disaster, so I decided to tackle that room first. It also felt like a small manageable space to start with.

There were a few things I already had that I knew needed to be organized better. As a Christmas present a couple years ago, I was given a set of Tupperware containers that I had kept in storage until we bought our new house, so I figured out what baking supplies I used the most often to store in these containers. I also went out to Dollarama with my sister and we both stocked up on some cheap, clear containers to hold other food items on our shelves.

Containers from Dollarama

You can find storage containers at most home stores now, because of the popularity of The Home Edit. They have some nice containers created by iDesign, however, they are pricey, especially when you need a lot of them! I am so glad we checked Dollarama, because they had 3 different sizes of clear containers, maybe not as stylish, but very practical all the same and for WAY less money. Dollarama doesn’t always have stock, so if you can’t find any there, they also sell some in bulk for a bit more money on Wayfair.

CONTAINERS

  • Wayfair container link -These are the exact containers I bought at Dollarama. They never have the 2 biggest sizes in stock anymore so this pack is a great way to get all the sizes.
  • Ikea Wire Basket – I want to get these to store my potatoes in! So cute! Also would be cute to use for towel storage in the bathroom.
  • Amazon iDesign Turnstyle Container – This is the one container I could see myself spending more on, because a turnstyle is a great way to see all your items without moving everything around.

The last thing I needed to do was label everything, so that it is more aesthetically pleasing and convenient! This is where my Silhouette machine came in handy again. It is so simple and quick to cut out designs with this machine, and they look nice!

I used permanent black vinyl for this and choose the font called Beautiful People. I downloaded a free version because I am using it for personal use only. The best way to transfer permanent vinyl is to use transfer tape. I made the rookie mistake of not using this the first time and it was a nightmare! It keeps the vinyl spaced perfectly and also prevents bubbles from appearing under the vinyl.

I am so happy with how this organization turned out. You don’t need to spend a lot to feel like you have a refreshed, organized space!

Easter Decor

I realized this year that I am very lacking in Easter decor, which is very strange since Spring is my favourite season. Regardless, I was very excited to create some new Easter decorations to create the feeling of a light and springy household!

Bunny and Cross Garland

Jesus is the reason for the season, so I wanted to create some religious decor along with some bunny decorations. The first thing I made was a cute bunny garland and a cross garland. This is such a simple and cheap craft but turns out so sweet and springy!

It would look very sweet hung up on a mantle, if you have one, or use it on a table to give it the Easter feel. I do not have a mantle so I decorated our little cabinet top with the cross garland and took the bunny garland to my sisters and decorated her cabinet top with it.

I bought my ribbon at Dollarama, but you can easily get it shipped to your house from Amazon. The felt I was holding onto for years. It is a stiffer felt and it makes it easier to cut. Michaels has lots of felt options as well as Amazon.

Have a Blessed Easter – Wooden Sign

This was a part of my batch of experimenting with wooden signs. You can hang this up or lean it up against the wall on a shelf or cabinet to add a light and bright ‘Eastery’ feel to your place. For more information on how to make this sign, check out my wooden signs blog.

Hoppy Easter – Wooden Blocks

This is trending decor item I have seen at many stores and on influencer accounts and I just can’t imagine paying for something like this. It was so easy to make one for myself with my own customization.

I designed this pattern on my Silhouette and cut it out on Heat Transfer Vinyl. I searched online for free bunny images and came across these cute hopping bunnies. I added the dotted line in Silhouette and boom, done!

I have seen some really cute ideas of making these with the name of each family member on them, or using books instead of wooden blocks. If you don’t have a Silhouette or Cricut to use vinyl, you could buy vinyl stickers and spell out whatever words you want on some blocks and then just cover it in Modge Podge to seal it!

Here is a cute one I found for sale on Etsy that you can purchase if you don’t have the ability to make your own, or the desire haha.

Easter Tea Towel

Tea Towels are one of my favourite things to make someone for a gift because you can personalize them very easily, they are a useful gift, AND they are so easy to make if you have a Silhouette or Cricut.

I purchased this pattern from Design Bundles and then cut it out on heat transfer vinyl with my Silhouette. It was quick and gives my kitchen a little pop of Easter. The tea towel was purchased on Amazon in a pack of 12 and I use them for gifts all the time.

Let me know below what Easter crafts you have been working on and if you try any of the above! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Spring and Easter Season!

** Amazon links are affiliate links. I will get compensated for purchases made through them. This helps so that I can continue to grow my blog and create high quality content for all of you!

Easter Contractions Worksheet

I went on mat leave in 2020 early due to the pandemic. I originally was going to teach until Easter but that changed quickly. I was teaching Grade 2 at the time and was preparing activities for Easter that I never ended up getting to use. One of these activities was an activity that had my students practicing their contractions.

I never got to use it, so I figured that I would share it one here for other teachers or parents who would like to use it with their child instead.

You can use the activity for the child to match the contraction to the 2 words that create it. You can play a memory game using the pieces or if you have a laminator (one of my favourite tools), you can print the pages on cardstock and laminate the pieces so that they last longer and can be used again and again. I recommend if you do this, that you first have your child color the bunnies so that they feel like they are part of the creation!

If you are a teacher, I would definitely laminate the pieces and then use them in a center for the weeks approaching Easter so that students can practice their contractions. You will also have them for years to come once you laminate them.

Please download and enjoy. Subscribe so that you get notified when I list more free worksheets!

** Amazon links are affiliate links. I will get compensated for purchases made through them. This helps so that I can continue to grow my blog and create high quality content for all of you!

Heat Transfer Vinyl VS. Permanent Vinyl on Wood

I love making designs and art on wood. Wood is rustic, durable, classic, and so versatile. If you are making a wooden sign and trying to decide what type of vinyl to use on it, please read ahead to learn about some of the pros and cons I have come across.

I made some wooden round signs to test out the 2 different types of vinyl on wood, as well as a larger Home Sign. First off I would like to say it is possible to make nice signs with BOTH types of vinyl but there are definitely some pros and cons to each. Different types of vinyls might also make a difference in the look.

Permanent Vinyl Projects

I use Oracle 651 permanent vinyl on the projects I have done. It is very good quality and can be found at Michaels, or on Amazon. If you are from the US then I have heard Hobby Lobby is the place to go. (I WISH we had a Hobby Lobby in Canada!) I purchase mine through Amazon, as I find it to be similar price to stores and I can find more variety. Because I use black the most, I usually purchase 25 foot long value roll.

PROS

  • Takes less time to apply. (Just make sure you have Transfer Paper, otherwise this would be a nightmare.)
  • Easier to apply than HTV.
  • Holds it’s shape and does not bubble up.

CONS

  • You won’t always get as sleek a look. You will be able to see that it is a sticker when looking up close.
  • If your wood is rough, the vinyl will not stick as well. Make sure you have nice sanded wood when you start your project.
  • Certain clear coat finishes can cause your vinyl to peel up on the edges.

Heat Transfer Vinyl

I purchase my heat transfer vinyl off of Amazon but there are several places you can purchase it as well. Michaels has a large section of vinyls to purchase. If you want neutral colors I recommend purchasing off of Amazon because you can get a better deal but if you would like one time smaller pieces of Vinyl I would check Michael’s (or Hobby Lobby if you have one) first. You can get glow in the dark, sparkly, tye dye and many more types there.

PROS

  • A sleeker look if done correctly.
  • Looks more like it is painted on rather than a sticker.
  • Faster than painting.

CONS

  • Takes a lot longer to apply
  • Vinyl can get distorted if you are not careful.
  • Tricky to do if you just have a regular iron. With a heat press, you can get the more exact temperature you need.

My advice for using an iron:

  • DO NOT move the iron around. Press down on one part of your design at a time and then lift and press down again. I usually press down for 30 second increments and continue to check the design to see how it is sticking.
  • Set your iron to 300 degrees F. If you aren’t sure what that is, keep your iron on a lower temp to start and increase heat if it doesn’t seem to be sticking. If the iron is too hot when pressing, you can get brownish marks on your project OR you can also melt and distort your heat transfer. If you are transferring onto painted wood, you may also have paint smudges if the iron is too hot. 

Whichever type of vinyl you choose, take your time and you will be able to make a wonderful sign!

** Amazon links are affiliate links. I will get compensated for purchases made through them. This helps so that I can continue to grow my blog and create high quality content for all of you!

Fabric Memory Game

This was one of my nesting phase projects. Due to the start of the pandemic and the unknowns, I went on my mat leave early and had about 2 months at home before baby arrived. I am not one for sitting around, so I quickly busied myself with some projects!

This memory game was so fun and simple to make. The most time consuming part was the cutting and sewing but was definitely not hard, considering I just made squares. You could easily make these cloth cards in to any shape you wanted though!

Time to complete: Plan a half day to work on this at least. I did it in chunks over the course of 2 days.

Materials:

  • Fabric for the front and back. I used a canvas material for the back so that it was more durable and I used white flannel for the front.
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) for the matching shape pictures. (or you could buy fabric spray to iron on your own shapes made from fabric.)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron

I used my Silhouette to create and cut out the shapes onto Heat Transfer Vinyl. I had a starter package of 12×12 sheets of vinyl that came with my Silhouette, so I was able to use those to make my shapes all different colors. If you do not have Silhouette or Cricut device, I am sure that you could also use spray on adhesive to attach fabric shapes that you cut out yourself.

Happy crafting and please share your creations below!

** Amazon links are affiliate links. I will get compensated for purchases made through them. This helps so that I can continue to grow my blog and create high quality content for all of you!