Making It vs. Buying It… What Gives?

The “why buy it for $7 when you can make it for $92 worth of craft supplies?” meme runs my life. I have a very hard time just buying something when I KNOW I can totally make it myself and it will turn out almost identical to the original. The satisfaction of seeing something made by me next to something that is produced elsewhere is so tempting, that I find myself having a dilemma on a weekly (if not daily) basis. “But isn’t it more expensive when you have to buy all the supplies and you probably won’t use all of it?” you say?? Nonsense.

My most recent and blatant example of the ridiculous journey I was about to embark on to make something instead of buying it was for my best friend’s bachelorette that I’m planning. The destination for the bach is New Orleans. Woot! What’s synonymous with Nola? Masks. Should I buy them? Honestly, even if I found really cheap masks, like at Walmart, they’re still not cheap enough to include in the bundle of items I’m making for the girls, and it’s a hard expense to justify. While browsing Pinterest for inspiration, I came across a pin that listed very easy instructions on how to make a mask with just puffy paint and tulle! Ooooooooo! Jackpot! What could be easier than making a mask out of puffy paint? In this particular instance, the paint and tulle I’d need would actually probably come out cheaper than buying the masks anywhere, so that part of the plan was solid. What wasn’t so solid was the amount of time it would take me to make the masks, which I was ultimately ok with, but after making one and trying it on, I knew there was a fundamental problem with them: puffy paint stretches, but only so much… I knew the masks would last 2.5 seconds before one of the ends snapped, and I didn’t want to be all proud and mighty giving the girls things I’d made myself, only to have them fall apart on Bourbon five minutes into the night. This is what the project was looking like:

After 3 puffy paint masks, I decided to take a look at Ali Express, and hoped to find something extremely cheap that would surpass the flimsiness of the puffy paint mask structure. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to find really cute lace masks for really, really cheap. Like under $0.60 each cheap. I thought about it for all of 6 seconds when I immediately decided that in this case, buying was a no-brainer. My saving grace through this process was also that I began planning this practically before my friend even got engaged, so I’ve been doing things with plenty of time, and I didn’t have a problem placing an order for items that would take about a month to come in from abroad. With shipping, 13 masks came out to $11.04 dollars! Yes, all of them! TOTAL! I know.

Absolute steal, absolutely worth it, and unquestionably cheaper than buying all the materials you’d need to make the mask, which if you didn’t own, you’d need:

  • Big tube of Puffy Paint
  • Tulle
  • Parchment paper
  • Printout model of mask
  • Clips
  • Ribbon

As a crafter, I did of course have all those things in hand, so my expense to make the masks would’ve technically been zero, but realistically, that money had already been spent, and in this case, the outcome wouldn’t have been equal to or superior to the purchased product.

Today, buying wins!

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Halloween 2017 DIY – Two On The Run Costumes & Winter Is Here!

You know I’m ALL about the DIY life for Halloween costumes. Do you remember this one? I’m still super proud of those two costumes, but this year was a whole new ball game, on a much tighter deadline.

My bff wanted to keep it simple but cute, so she decided she wanted to be a unicorn, but like the chillest unicorn ever. Horn from amazon, and a shirt by yours truly that said “I’m a unicorn, DUH” for anyone who dared ask. Done.

Her sister went shopping for one idea, and changed her mind during the shopping trip. She came to me with a yellow shirt and some felt and wanted me to turn her into a pineapple. Done.

Cut up the shirt. Drew the peaks. Made a crown out of felt, a headband and some poster board scraps.

I had been thinking about my costume for a while, but decided to pull the trigger the week of Halloween. My red hair was finally in its full glory, and my Game of Thrones fever was (is!) as strong as ever. I also just happened to have a burgundy statement necklace and a newfound love for makeup. Melisandre, you’re up. DONE!

Red hair? Owned. Necklace? Owned. Makeup? Owned. Robe? $12 on Amazon.

And that’s all folks! Another DIY Halloween in the books. Start preparing early for 2018, for the night is dark and full of terrors and you don’t want to show up in the same costume as everyone else…

Winter Is Here – A Proper Game Of Thrones Watch Party (**Minor Spoilers!**)

Up until last year, I wasn’t interested in Game of Thrones or any of the events that came to be on the show (#RedWedding), but with all the social media ruckus about Mr. Jon Snow, it peaked my curiosity just enough to watch the first episode of season 6 to find out whether or not he’d make it through… Except that, as avid watchers know, we don’t get an answer until the last moments of episode 2. By this point, a few other interesting things had happened, and let’s just say I’d found a new favorite thing to do with my Sundays at 9pm. I watched the rest of season 6 without any prior knowledge, something that came in handy with the episode “The Door,” because while everyone was distraught mourning the death of one of their favorite characters, I wasn’t anywhere near the level of attachment everyone had built over the prior 56 episodes. #HoldTheDoor crisis averted.

Needless to say, I was hooked but also a little lost – as much as I picked up on things, there’s way too much ground covered in 5 seasons that cannot be deduced during 10 episodes, especially not on this show. But I also didn’t want to get hooked… So, I let months go by until I couldn’t wait any longer and I finally binged seasons one through five in a week, then re-watched season 6, feeling the proper things we’re all meant to feel (#RedWeddingVictim)… and this brings us to yesterday.

7.16. The date that has been tattooed on our brains for months as we anxiously awaited season 7 (not to mention it started at a later date and coming with less episodes than any prior season… see, it’s like I’ve been here from day 1!), and this time I was on time and part of the gang! I had been victimized by George R. R. Martin, David Benioff and Dan Weiss along with millions of others, and I was ready to continue being a masochist, but I wanted to do it in style. Thanking the old gods and the new for Pinterest, see below my Night’s Watch approved watch-party, which I must start by saying I was not willing to spend any money on. Everything you’re about to see was whipped up from items I already owned. I know, I’m a crafter and not everyone has these things handy, but I’m proud to say the only money I spent specifically on this party was a grand total of $6.40.

It all started with an Iron Throne

But then when I placed the throne against my TV station, it looked weird. It needed a better backdrop. So…

I wanted to make a banner with all the house banners, but once I was done with it, it was longer than just half of the TV station… more red fabric, to the rescue! (FYI this is where I spent my $6.40, printing the banners!)

And the whole shebang –

Some other details –

I had all of this planned out and then one of my friends who was coming to the party suggested we make shirts for ourselves. You know I don’t need to be asked twice…

And what I think was THE BEST decor item EVER, and will forever be grateful to Pinterest for providing this amazing idea –

That’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed seeing this watch party come to life 🙂 I’ll leave the decor up for the remainder of season 7. Have you done something like this for your own watch parties? Any ideas for upcoming episodes? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Big Props Need Love Too – 80s Gala Rockout \m/

Every year, I feel like there is a theme around a certain new craft/element that keeps reappearing throughout different orders. 2015 was the character letters, 2016 was vinyl, and one of this year’s big contenders were big props. I’d never really made big props before, but it has become a staple of many orders this spring, starting with the big engagement ring, the truck car prop, and now this – totally 80s standing props!

I got a request to create some big 3-4 feet standing props for a school gala that was 80s themed, which one thing is if the people are holding the props, and another if they’re going to have to stand on their own. That’s a much scarier prospect. And so, it begins.

Since the theme was 80s, I got asked to do a Rubik’s Cube, a boombox, and the old MTV logo from back in the day. I figured the Rubik’s cube would probably be the most time consuming since I’d have to measure out and cut a lot of parts, so I started with that one. Oh and one more thing – I decided that a totally 80s thing to do would be to add glitter to the mix to make them pop!

 

The MTV logo and the boombox were pretty standard, I just drew on a poster board inspired by images I found online (logo and boombox for reference) and I used neon and pastels to go with the decade theme.

 

Once they were all done, it was time to make them stand and take some nice photos! They’re placed by my door, that’s how big they were!

 

 

 

Big props and 2017, together like PB & J!

Riding Sturdy: Grand Finale!

Aw man! Such a thrilling ride it’s been with this order – from the moment I got the call, to tackling the making of the ramp, the little truck boxes and finally the big truck prop… So you know, the end will be no different!

Before I show you the final pictures of everything, let’s talk about the pickup. When I was asked to make the ramp, I told birthday boy Mateo’s mom that I didn’t want to go too big because 1. Transportation and 2. Fitting it through doors/doorways. She said that wouldn’t be a problem. So when I was looking for the materials, I ran the size by her (4 x 8 ft.), and she said yes, so I proceeded. She mentioned she had a big car, so I didn’t give it much thought. After the initial building of the structure, I felt I had to confirm with her that this wouldn’t fit in a standard SUV, and she should borrow a van or pick-up truck because otherwise, this monster ramp wouldn’t make it out of my house.  She was thankfully able to find a friend with a truck, and we were good to go… on to a few more hiccups.

On the morning of the order pickup (just a few hours before the party started), Mateo’s dad showed up with a friend and a pick-up truck, and as soon as they both saw the ramp they said “WOW” and their eyes bulged out a bit as they turned to see how they’d make this work. As soon as I saw the truck, I could see the bed wasn’t long enough for the ramp to fit with the latch closed… So I started panicking internally a bit. The one good thing about the ramp, is that it was surprisingly lightweight. When they carried it and placed it on the truck, it looked like this –

It. Reached. All. The. Way. Down. To. The. Latch. AHH. Thankfully, I had the rope I bought to bring the wood home with me from the store, and also some bungee cords. They tied it down and promised to drive slowly. I later found out it took them an hour and thirty minutes to get home. That’s a promise well-kept! The big truck prop didn’t fit (anywhere really) but we managed to squeeze it in the sedan they brought along by folding the top lights a bit. Remember how I didn’t glue the flag out of fear it would make the fit even worse? Best idea I’ve ever had.

But don’t relax for one second because now the best part starts – as they’re making knots securing the ramp, I hear something about an elevator ride… and I ask “wait, the party isn’t on a ground floor?!” And to my shock, no, it wasn’t. The party was on a sixth floor. Guys. When I tell you I nearly fainted upon hearing this, I’m not kidding. You mean, a structure I’ve never built before has to not only survive 3-5 year old children, but it also has to fit into an elevator? Had I known this from the beginning, I would’ve gone for something much, much smaller. To make the rest of the long story short – the ramp made it! After unsuccessfully trying to bring it up the stairs (due to length clashing with angles/turns), they figured out that even though the elevator threshold was low, the inside was more giving and they could slide it in. But – one more hiccup, for the ride – the elevator door-frame at the 6th floor was slightly thinner than where they packed it in, so they had one last struggle getting it out.

Thankfully, I saw pictures and videos of the birthday boy, Mateo, and all his friends having a great time sliding down the monster trucks, and we all lived happily ever after. And finally for the long-awaited pictures –

The Monster Ramp

The Monster Truck Boxes

The Monster Truck Prop 

Hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me! Stay tuned for more crazy craftventures ❤

Riding Sturdy, Chapter 3: The Big Truck Prop

For the third and final installment of this order (click here for the intro, part 1, and part 2)- the big truck prop/photo booth station for Mateo’s fourth birthday. The inspiration for this craft were this picture and this one too.

If I’m honest, when I initially got this order, I ranked the items in my head in the following categories and order:

Category A: How hard it will be to make – 1. Ramp, 2. Truck Prop, 3. Box Trucks

Category B: Which will be the biggest hit – 1. Ramp, 2. Box Trucks, 3. Truck Prop

But I really didn’t think the truck prop would stump me so hard when it came to making it happen. When I tell people that the problem with creative work is that you need to be in the mood, this is one of the examples of how that can be such a big hurdle to overcome. I can stare at something for three weeks and not know what to do with it, and then an idea strikes and I get it done in no time. That was exactly the case with this truck prop. I thought I’d make this one in a much shorter time-frame and didn’t see the challenge until it was staring me dead in the face. I began by selecting my canvas, when… I LOVE when this happens: I was staring at some big boxes in my garage that I’d purchased forever ago and have used to deliver big local orders, and I said to myself – that’s the truck. I grabbed two of the boxes, stacked them together, cut out the blank space for pictures, spray painted them and BAM! Ready! Looking like a car already (at least in my head)…

But the problem was, after getting to this point, I stared at it for two weeks without knowing where to go next. I originally wanted to make the lower small flaps the wheels, and the center flap would be sort of a (I don’t know the right terminology here so I’ll quit while I’m ahead and just show a picture of what I imagined), but the design didn’t add up in my head. So I walked away and worked on the items I had for other orders, waiting for the idea to hit me. Finally, I decided to do away with my idea of the thing I can’t explain or name, and grabbed my scissors and made a cut.

AHHHH! This was a big deal, but after I did that, I felt like I was going somewhere. Also, notice I rounded off the top part of what would be the hood of the car. Everything was making more sense now, but I was still unhappy with the vision, and I realized what the problem was all along – what’s the one thing that makes the monster truck, a monster truck? Besides the truck itself – the wheels. The way I’d originally envisioned this, I’d end up with some really small wheels and that’s why I kept resisting the process. It wouldn’t have come out right. Once I’d cut the middle flap of the bottom out though, the next move came – use the flaps to build the wheels outwardly. And so, the monster truck prop was officially born.

By this point as you can see, I’d also added my headlights and the top lights to help me envision the rest of the road. I got my black paint and brushes out, and voila! Also, I’d forgotten every car needs a steering wheel so, magic wand wave and –

Now we’re talking! How do you differentiate regular tires from big monster-truck type of wheels? The ridges! One moment please… POOF!

Ok now THAT is looking like a monster truck. I intended to add a grill of some sort (for which I’d bought the most perfect card stock and couldn’t wait to use it), but then came the last big hurdle: this needed to stand on its own. As you may have noticed in the inspiration pieces, those car props used stakes to stand in the grass, something that wouldn’t work in this scenario because the party would take place indoors. I needed something to make it stand. I had a few ideas from the beginning (sticks, wood springs, random things in my brain…) and then I realized the best thing to do would be to use a side panel from a tri-fold board, cut it diagonally, and build it into the back of the car. Basically, this –

OMG. It worked, and it worked SO WELL! The best part was that since it was all cardboard, it was completely lightweight and portable. I’m in love.

So now, all I needed was: final coat of paint, grill, and glue everything (all the lights were taped until I decided I liked the placement). Oh and wait… It’s too blue. It needs a pop of color… wait, I know!

The level of satisfaction I felt when I saw this finished? Can’t explain. After three weeks of no action, I did the bulk of this in 12 hours during the weekend. Also – side note – I decided not to glue the flag because I wasn’t sure it would fit in the car when pick-up time came, and good thing I didn’t! The prop barely fit and the top lights had to be folded a little bit, but no biggie. As long as it fits, it’s all cardboard and card stock and can be folded back into place.

Thank you for checking out the third and final chapter of this Riding Sturdy order! I’ll do one more post with all of the final item pictures, a quick story of the pick-up and – if possible – snapshots of the items in use!

PS – my original ranking was so dead wrong. This was the hardest to bring from brain to life, and also made the biggest impression on almost everyone, both in social media and in person. You think you know, but you really never do…

Riding Sturdy, Chapter 2: WCB Car Dealer, Inc.

After last week’s still unbelievably successful ramp construction, it was time to move on to the next item on the monster truck party order: the box trucks. Mateo’s mom saw a couple of images online of kids wearing boxes that were decorated like cars (like this one and this one on Pinterest), and wanted something similar for the party. This was probably one of the things I knew would be easiest to make out of the whole order, but still time consuming. The hardest parts were 1. Figuring out what size to buy the boxes. The party guest list included kids 3-5 years old, so the boxes had to be small enough to not drown them, but big enough to let them in with room. 2. Finding solid colored wrapping paper is so hard! Everything has patterns or lines or flowers, but I needed something completely solid. After hitting up a few stores, I managed to find the six colors I was looking for.

The list of materials for this project include: small box (got those at Walmart), wrapping paper, scissors (to cut the flaps off the boxes), tape (lots of it), a paper or plastic plate, contact paper, duct tape, ribbon, and whatever details you’d like to add to the car.

Now here’s an important step – since boxes come folded flat, it’s hard for them to stay squared/open once you wrap them. I used the flaps I cut off the boxes to create some sort of a “spring” that would keep the box squared with resistance (and more tape).

 

 

For the full craftutorial, watch this #CraftingWithKathy episode that *almost* didn’t happen but I decided to snap at the last possible moment, and even ended up bringing the “Pimp My Ride” franchise back to life…

Once I was done with them all, I thought my house looked like a car dealership. 😛 Stay tuned as I’m planning on bringing the big car prop to life next weekend!