Posted in Baby Life, Crafts, Dollar Tree Finds

A Pirate Birthday Party

My son just turned one and I decided it would be fun to throw him a pirate-themed birthday. I lucked out and found some great things at our Thrift Store, Walmart, and a forever favorite, Dollar Tree.

Here is a picture of my Thrift Store finds. They inspired the madness that became a one-year-old’s pirate birthday party.

Pirate decorations and supplies found at The Thrift StoreKeizer,OR

For the party, we had a treasure hunt and ate cake. My son is only one after all so we kept things short and sweet.

Want a free copy of the pirate treasure hunt I made up for his party? Download it using the files below. It’s easy to change to fit your house/yard and items you have around your house.

Where I got my party supplies and decor and for how much:

  • Children’s black pirate hat- $2.50 Walmart
  • plastic hook- $1.00 Walmart
  • Pirate Eye Patch- I already had one from a past pirate costume
  • Ahoy birthday boy banner- I made it and will share the SVG file soon!
  • Pirate skull lights- $6 The Thrift Store
  • 40 cardboard pirate masks– $2.00 The Thrift Store currently sold on Walmart.com
  • Pirate Ship decoration- $2.50 The Thrift Store
  • Pirate flag– $2.50 Hobby Lobby
  • Pirate Tattoos– $2 Hobby Lobby
  • Pirate cups- 24 cups, $1.50 on clearance at Hobby Lobby
  • Candle, paper bags, and 2 paper polka dot pirate flags- I had the paper bags, paper, candle, and vinegar bottle and made them into the pirate decor.
  • Octopus balloon for ceiling- 2 rolls crate paper and a bag of 15 latex balloons- $2 Dollar Tree
  • 5 black and red plastic table cloths- used as a backdrop and table clothes- $5 Dollar Tree
  • Red and Black Pirate head scarves- $2 Dollar Tree
  • Skull, parrot skeleton, and fishing net, gold charger- $4 Dollar Tree

Check out my Pinterest pirate board to see where I got most of my ideas!

Posted in Apothecary Jars, Crafts, Dollar Tree Finds, Seasonal Decor

Apothecary Jars- 12 Months of Decor: Halloween

Glittery Spiders

I love how easy these Apothecary Jars are to fill for various holidays. But I confess Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for. There are so many fun things available to decorate with and to eat. And most of the fill of these jars can be eaten afterward, so no storage necessary! #apartmentliving

  1. Using the mouth of the jar as a guide and trace a circle onto your piece of foam.
  2. Trim your piece of foam down to the proper size with a serrated knife and stick it in your jar
  3. Cut some of the stick off your witch fingers to fit the size of your jar.
  4. Stick the remaining portion of your stick into the foam and place the next finger right next to the other. Don’t worry you can always move the suckers if you don’t like the placement and your holes won’t be noticeable.
  5. Place the spiders and pumpkins in the next jar and fill the smallest with the Halloween candy of your choice. Winco stores have a wonderful selection of bulk candy you could also use to fill your jar.
  6. Enjoy!

Posted in Apartment Living, Baby Life, Crafts, Seaside Nursury

Ship’s Wheel Clock

Items Needed:

  • 2 Furniture Scratch Markers -Mahagony Colored or whatever finish you prefer- Dollar Tree
  • 8 wood finials, 3/8″ Hole – 15/16″ x 2 7/8″ – Hobby Lobby
  • Tacky glueDollar Tree
  • Polyurethane Varnish: satin/clear Wheeler Dealer or clear Polyurethane Spray Varnish- available at most craft and retail stores
  • Wood clock (9 inches) – Purchase at a yard sale or second-hand store
  • Sponge paintbrush to apply the varnish- craft store
  • Drill
  • 5/8″ brad-point bit (smaller will work if you’re willing to put in extra time and effort)
  • Parchment paper and tape for covering the clock face when painting or spraying

My son’s room is decorated with pirate/ocean decor and I’ve been looking for fun ways to continue to decorate it. But living in an apartment I struggle to have enough room for decorations, so I’ve tried to make decorations which serve more practical purposes. Since I’m not particularly good with dates and times clocks, are especially practical to have nearby. I try to keep one in every room so that I can glance up and know how much time I have before I need to run off to my next adventure.

So when I got the idea to make a clock into a ship’s wheel I matched it to the mahogany-colored furniture in his room. Low on craft money, I used the furniture scratch marker instead of buying stain (although stain would work well too). Then I covered the marker with some varnish I had from another craft project. It turned out even better than I imagined! I colored over a pine finish and it covered really well. The wood finials didn’t match perfectly after being colored with the marker, but after applying the varnish I think they looked great!

Mahagony finish after being colored with the furniture marker
Ship Wheel clock for a seaside nursery

So without further ado here are the steps to making your own ship’s wheel clock with Dollar Tree Furniture Scratch Markers.

Posted in Apothecary Jars, Seasonal Decor

Apothecary Jars 12 Months of Decor: 4th of July

Ahhh summer! Make this simple, inexpensive firework centerpiece using a candle and small piece of 4th of July themed tinsel from Dollar Tree.

Or add some flair to your Apothecary Jars and make an entirely July themed set of jars for your apartment or barbeque.

Want to make the apothecary jars yourself?

Posted in Apartment Living, Crafts, Seasonal Decor

Apothecary Jars: 12 Months of Decor- Summer

I love when the sun comes out in full force and it gets my creative juices flowing again! Apothecary jars are a fun and fast way to get your craft on every month for under $5 a month. I fill my jars with items found at Dollar Tree. Take a look at a few summer options below:

For instructions on how to make the jars themselves, follow this apothecary jar tutorial.

For ideas on how to fill them throughout the year check out my other Apothecary Jar posts.

Posted in Apartment Living, Crafts, Seasonal Decor

Apothecary Jars: 12 Months of Decor-April

Easter is on its way and I thought I’d share what I put in my easy apartment-friendly apothecary jars for April. Check it out!

  • Easter Grass- Green, yellow, pink: Dollar Tree
  • Plastic Carrots with pixie-stick-like candy inside: Dollar Tree
  • Junior Mint Eggs: Dollar Tree
  • Mike and Ikes- Easter Edition: Dollar Tree or Cadbury shiny eggs: Walmart
Easter Apothecary Jars
Easter and Spring Apothecary Jars
Spring Apothecary Jars
Spring Apothecary Jars

Don’t have apothecary jars? Consider filling Mason jars for a similar effect. Want to make apothecary jars similar to mine?

Did you like the look of the Mike and Ikes in the picture above or the shiny Cadbury eggs? Honestly, I was imagining glimmeringly shiny eggs, so the pastel, mildly shiny Cadbury eggs I discovered disappointed me. Ah well! They still tasted as delicious as they always do, so I will enjoy eating them when Easter is over.

Check out what I put in my jars last month for St. Patricks Day.

Posted in Apartment Living, Crafts

12 Months of Holiday Wreaths: St. Patricks Day

I love decorating for seasons and holidays. I also love not having to store a ton of decor since I live in an apartment. Pulling out large bins of decorations can be cumbersome so I’ve been exploring ways to keep decor simple.

So behold! This minimalist wreath is simple, fun, and perfect for St. Patricks Day!

Supplies Needed

  • Wreath- $10 at Hobby Lobby in the floral department
  • Coins- $1 Dollar Tree
  • Leprechaun Hat ripped from the top of a green headband-$1 Dollar Tree.
  • Toothpicks- $1 for two canisters- Dollar Tree
  • Low Temp Glue gun and mini glue sticks
  • Green sharpie

Make the Valentines version of this wreath.

I love St. Patrick’s Day decorations, but it got me thinking . . . I don’t really celebrate this holiday. What do you do for St. Patrick’s Day?

Posted in Apartment Living, Crafts

Apothecary Jars: 12 Months of Decor Using Dollar Tree Items-March

March- St. Patrick’s Day

March is almost here! For $4 you can fill your Apothecary Jars with festive decor.

I used a bag and a half of plastic gold coins, a St. Patrick’s Day scarf, and cut 2 feet of St. Patrick’s Day Garland, all purchased at Dollar Tree.

Then, either keep the stuff for next March, since it doesn’t take up too much space or donate them and skip the storage. This apartment friendly decor allows you to have fun with something festive without having to store boxes of stuff!

lucky Gold Coins- saving space
Lucky Gold Coins- saving space- just use a small container on the inside of your jar.
Gold Coins- Dollar Tree
Gold Coins- Dollar Tree

These coins are so useful for so many craft projects if you end up with extras. Stay tuned for another St. Patrick’s Day craft I used the rest of my coins for . . .

lucky Gold Coins- Dollar Tree
Lucky Gold Coins- Dollar Tree
Lucky garland
Lucky garland- Cut two feet off of the garland to place in your largest jar.
St. Patrick's Day Window
My St. Patrick’s Day window using the remaining garland and window clings I bought at the Dollar Tree last year.

Click here to find instructions on how to make your own Apothecary Jar.

Does anyone know of any green candies I could use in these jars? Please write a few ideas in the comments below.

I couldn’t find green m&ms, but maybe that is for the best because then I would want to eat them all . . .

Posted in Crafts, Harry Potter Stuff

Fawkes the Pheonix Tree Topper and Lamp: Part I

Creating a Fawkes Christmas tree-topper/ lamp seemed like a pipe dream when I discovered Harry Potter themed Christmas trees this summer. Fawkes is by far one of the coolest magical creatures in Harry Potter and the colors scarlet and gold are perfect for Christmas!

Fawkes as seen on Epbot.com

But I’ll get very real with you, I was deterred by the cost to make it almost immediately. I mentally added up the decoy bird, the lights, the paint, the feathers, etc. after reading epbot’s post on her incredible creation and imagined it would one of those pins I admired but never got around to making.

In December, however, I found some amazing things at Dollar Tree that encouraged me to make other Harry Potter decorations and then got another opportunity to make decor for a Harry Potter themed table and just couldn’t help myself. I would make my own lit Phoenix!

I laugh now realizing that I not only underestimated the cost of making this bird but also the time involved to make this tree topper. Was it frustrating at times? Yes! But, do I regret making it? No way! It was so much fun, especially when I finally got to share what I created.

Why did I end up making Fakes then? That is a story for another post which you can read here. It’s time to get going on making your very own light-up Fawkes the Phoenix from Harry Potter! I assure you it is well worth the time and effort required.

Materials Needed:

  • acetone- the smallest amount I found was 32 oz. Lowes
  • plastic decoy hawkAmazon
  • Red feather boa, red and orange feathers, black acrylic paint, Hobby Lobby
  • wine, fire, soft butter, coffee bean acrylic multi-surface paints Michaels (to be honest I’d go with brighter primary colored traditional acrylic paints to match my feathers if I ever made another phoenix) so use your best judgment on your color choices.
  • Glitter Glue- Ice Red Dollar Tree
  • Brilliant Red Simply acrylic paint- Walmart
  • Battery Powered 7.2 ft. fairy lightsAmazon
  • Red and Gold Glitter- Dollar Tree (optional)

Tools Needed:

  • a rag
  • a plastic bin
  • sponge paint brushes
  • a small drill (mine is a small and cost around $20 at Walmart and came with two bits)
  • a drill bit
  • sponges brushes, small/fine detail and large paint brushes
  • old plastic lid or tin for pouring your paints onto
  • hot glue and glue sticks for the feathers
  • pliers for pulling the plastic eyes from the bird
  • a razor blade
  • Time Required: 15 hours approx to complete
  • Cost:$40-$50 approx

Was it frustrating at times? Yes! But, do I regret making it? No way!

Steps to Making Fawkes

Part I- Prep the Bird

  1. Pull out your decoy, acetone, rag, and plastic bin. I would recommend using gloves for this step. Put your plastic bird into the bin. Pour a generous amount of acetone onto your rag and scrub a section of the bird until all of the paint is gone in that area. Pour more onto a new spot on your rag until that section of the rag is dirty. Repeat until all of the paint has been removed from the decoy.
  2. Let the bird dry in a well-ventilated area.
  3. Use your pliers to remove the eyes from the bird. This will require a lot of pulling.
  4. Get out your drill and drill bit. I used the largest drill bit I had knowing that the paint would cover up part of the holes I made. Make holes in the bird everywhere except the head, feet, and the tree stump.
  5. Vary the location of your holes so they don’t line up.
  6. Use your drill bit to remove some of the glue in the eye sockets so that the light will have plenty of room to escape from the Phoenix’s eyes.
  7. Using your razor blade cut a hole big enough to fit the light bulb of your lamp through it. If you choose to use a just a string of LED lights you won’t need to cut the hole at the bottom of the bird any bigger.

For the next steps please see my second post on making Fawkes the Pheonix Tree Topper and Lamp: Part II. Coming soon . . .

All the parts are appropriote considering the way they split the last Harry Potter Movie into two movies right!? JK! This post would just be too massive with this entire tutorial in one place . . . or would it?

Please let me know in the comments below if you’d rather have this tutorial all as one large post . . .

Click here to see more of my Harry Potter creations!

Posted in Crafts

A Harry Potter Christmas: Fawkes the Phoenix A Tree Topper in progress . . .

The Idea to make Fawkes the Pheonix

I found the idea for the tree-topper pictured below on epbot.com. I fell in love with the idea immediately, but with no real hope of undertaking it. So when I did decide to take it on, like many craft projects I undertake, I completely underestimated the time and supplies it would require to make.

Due to my impatience and efforts to be thrifty I bought a different decoy bird than the one the epbot post referenced on Amazon. WELL, it turns out that my bird was not white under all of the paint, but black. My bird also has wings that are completely folded to it’s sides vs. the bird in her posts.

With those setbacks and December getting really busy I lost some steam and put Fawkes away for a few weeks to finish later. Then at church, they decided to throw a Broadway production themed dinner and asked me to host a table. I love musicals, but knowing I had been making all of the Harry Potter decor I had, I asked them if they’d let me theme mine after the Broadway play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. They agreed and I was given the green flag to host a Harry Potter themed table.

So now, Fawkes is back, but a work in progress. I decided against putting Fawkes on a perch for now and just leaving him on the log/stump he came on.

I drilled holes in his body to emit light and am looking to put some kind of lights inside of him.

This is what I have so far:

I’d love some opinions on putting feathers on him or not and if you think the holes look goofy and need to be covered up.

I’m also in charge of a small 2-minute presentation on our theme. I thought we’d do a little song called Harry Potter in 60 seconds, but it would only be my husband and I singing so that idea might be out . . . I was thinking about Harry Potter Mad Libs (like they do on Jimmy Fallon). What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below!

UPDATE: I finished the project! Check out the pictures below to see the finished product. Check out my full tutorial on Fawkes the Pheonix coming soon . . .