Thanksgiving Crafting

This post was written for a few Thanksgivings ago, but these crafts are so much fun, I am sharing them again with you for this year!

I have a few crafts to keep the kids busy at your next Thanksgiving gathering. I wanted to keep it contained and interesting, with things they could do on their own without any messy components like glue or scissors.

I prepared all of the pieces for each craft ahead of time, so on the day of, I could just place them out on a paper-covered table, and let the kids go at them!

There were three different projects they could choose from.


Materials to create with: poster board bands, feathers, markers.

To prepare this craft, I cut strips of poster board that were 23 inches long. On one end, I notched it to look like a dull arrow. On the other end, I used an exacto blade to cut 5 vertical slits about an inch apart. In the middle, I used the blade again to cut sets of 2 horizontal lines (one on top of the other- about 3 inches apart). This way, it eliminates the need to be taped closed, or even the use of glue for feathers. Everything inserts! Easy peasy.

Beaded necklaces.

Materials to create: pre-cut string, beads, gluten-free macaroni

We have serious gluten allergies here, so we used a GF noodle, but this also works well with wheat pasta. I pre-cut lengths of stretchy string, and knotted a bead on one end to get them started.

Cuffed bracelets.

Materials to create: halved toilet paper tubes, double sided tape, felt pieces, feathers, markers.

All I had to do for this one, was cut the toilet paper tubes in half, then slit them open vertically. They amazingly stay on all sized wrists and are pretty stylish looking.

I chose to honor Native Americans and the gracious sharing of that very first Thanksgiving meal with strangers to the land.

Even though we used non-traditional materials, I think it is important to show our children how many cultures make up this wonderful country of ours, and how we all meld together as Humans, even symbolically. There is a common good that I want my girls to know. Truly to be thankful for all that they have, and more importantly, have to give.

“I’m thankful for my home my friends my food and all the guests at this table”.

These crafts not only opened up conversations, they kept the kids busy while the grown-ups chatted and had a grand ol’ time as well.

What eventually happened was the grown-ups migrated to the kids’ table and started to craft too.

I call that a successful activity…for all ages.

What do you do to keep the kids busy before the food comes out?


Thanksgiving Toilet Paper Tube crafts

Looking back through my Thanksgiving posts, I found two gems, using toilet paper tubes for decor.

The first is a tutorial for recycled toilet paper tube flower napkin rings (wow that is a mouthful).

It’s all about simplicity.

To make your own, you’ll need:

Toilet paper tubes and an egg carton. I also used watercolor paints and hot glue along with yarn, popcorn kernels, and acorns. But feel free to use what you have!

I started by cutting the toilet paper tubes in half and tearing up the cups (roughly in half) of the egg carton.

Then I painted them. If you have children, this is where they can help out!

Allow them to dry completely.

Next, take two halves and hot glue them together. Then keep adding a piece at a time until you have a flower.

Hot glue popcorn kernels and acorns inside the flower.

Set aside.

I wrapped and hot glued orange yarn (that I got for free) around the toilet paper tubes. You can use any string you have, or none at all. They do look pretty great on their own, too.

Glue flower to the tube.

Insert a cloth napkin and you’re done!

I also left some without flowers. I can’t decide which I like better.

For the rest of the table, I gathered rose-hips and leaves, acorns, and even a dried wooden round that was in the firewood pile.

Cranberries in bowls add a sweet touch. I also whipped up a very simple tie garland using scraps of fabric that I had tied to a long piece of twine.

I had a few squash that I thought were really beautiful, so I added them to the mix!


I chose to just have a lovely crocheted runner instead of a tablecloth. And leaves instead of place mats. I really wanted to show off the table I made (see? if you don’t have a large wooden table, you could always make one!) and showcase the food that will be there on Thanksgiving day. Two of my favorite parts!

Come back tomorrow for another clever couple of crafts!

Birthday Strongman photos and his Pumpkin

As you know, we my husband’s Birthday was Sunday. On that same day was his work Halloween event, where he carves a giant pumpkin (every year).

We have traditions for both of those events. For his Birthday every year, I take a photo of him holding our girls. Both of them at the same time (2014, 2013, 2012. 2011). Well, this year he is 46, and our girls are a month away from being 16 and 10, so while he gave it his all, we have to admit this tradition must change.





That is much better.


As for the pumpkin, this year he chose a 312 pound monster to carve this Cthulhu.



I think he did a great job!

What a busy October. How are YOU winding up this month?

Black Widow Costume

Both my girls want to be very strong woman characters for Halloween. I LOVE that so much, that when my almost 16 year old came to me with her request, I could not refuse, even though this particular costume is a tad mature.

Here is the original:


And here is the one I made:


This costume is no joke. From far away, it may just look like a simple form fitting one-piece jumpsuit. But in actuality, there are so many details! So let me break down what I did for you.


I originally wanted to use scuba knit or something thicker, but then I saw this Matte Black Lycra Lame with 4 way stretch fabric from Cali Fabrics (who awesomely donated 2 out of the three yards). This stuff is amazing. I have never worked with it’s equal. The stretch is incredible, but it almost looks like leather. Great recovery, although slippery as all get-out. I used the Skinsuit pattern by Jalie patterns (which she generously supplied for this project). Holy crud balls people. I had never used any of Jalie’s patterns before this, and I really loved it. Easy to follow instructions. They are in French first, but the English is next to it. I like the use of space for the instructions and diagrams. Less to print but all the info is there. My girl’s measurements are all over the map, so I took a chance of going by her bust measurement and sewing up a woman’s 6. It fits her like a glove. Or like a superhero outfit.


Speaking of gloves….I used Melissa’s (from Rebel and Malice and a fellow Upcraft *affliliate link*teammate) free pattern for fingerless gloves found here. I printed her pattern, made it a little larger, omitted the lining, and took in the thumb hole just a bit.


The “ammunition” bracelet is actually a toilet paper roll cut in half, then slit vertically (to make a cuff), then I painted it black, and sewed on a tiny strip of elastic so it wouldn’t pop off of her arm.

I then hot glued q-tips on, painted them black, and added tiny sliver dots.


I just free-handed the eagle patch on her shoulders with some silver paint. It was the last thing I did to it. Honestly I didn’t even notice she had patches on her shoulders until I double checked the images I was searching. If I sewed a patch, it would have been too bulky, so painting was the perfect choice.


BTW I tried straightening her hair for the photos, but my girl has red hair with a mind of it’s own. It held for approx. 5 seconds before curling again.

The belt is just a simple tube of fabric that I top stitched and added velcro to. I painted the black widow belt buckle on in red and silver paint.


The leg harness contraption was funny to come up with. I emptied my stash of straps, that I hoard keep, into a pile and searched for ones that fit. They are from discarded bags and random things I cut off of objects. You never know when you may need a strap or two. Clearly.

I had my daughter try it on, while I measured each strap where it would go. I made her stand there while I sewed each one, so she could try it on as I went.


We skipped the weapons. I still think she looks badass without them.

I tried to get as much detailed (movie) geekery into this one. She loves it.

What costumes have YOU made?

Birthday Husband

On-Our-Shelves Sunday is interrupted today due to a very special person being born 46 years ago.


Happy Birthday to my fantastic husband.



*last year’s birthday photos*


We will celebrate you with a new Birthday Crown, handmade underwear, English Toffee, and a new photo session where you pick up both of our girls together in your big strong arms.

I hope you enjoy every minute of it.

We love you.

Simple good


My birthday was a good one. Thank you all for the lovely wishes (here and on FB).


We had a lovely dinner, and then went to the track meet (like here and here) where my girls both ran. I love cheering them on, rather loudly, and watching them try their hardest.




Running in her Brazi dress, because running should also be stylish.


I love this last photo. I instantly hear the theme song from “Rocky”.

Anyhow, it was a good way to end a good day.

A Rainbow for Katy

Today is a fellow blogger’s birthday, and Audrey from Skirt Fixation has gotten a bunch of us together to give her a virtual rainbow to celebrate her day:


If you aren’t familiar with Katy Dill, check out her blog No Big Dill. She is a fabulous seamstress and Mother of 6 (5 girls and 1 boy). Her photos are always beautiful and her posts filled with color. She inspires me to be a better sewist, and the little slices of her life she shares make my heart smile.

I have participated in Katy’s series Once upon a Thread several times (here, here, here, here, here, AND here), so far. Whew! It is, by far, one of my favorite series.

I also tested my sewing skills and joined her in her other series: Sewing all 26, and actually sewed something for every letter of the alphabet! How cool is that?


Sew… I sewed up another tankini for my girl, but this time, I rainbow-tized it in honor of the Fantastic Katy’s birthday!


I used the camisole pattern and the boy shorts pattern from the Coco Cay Tankini (both affiliate links).


I sewed on some ruffled elastic to create rainbows.


Sew happy.


I hope you have a fantastic day, sister Leo (yup, my birthday is coming up too). I knew I liked you!

Mad as a Hatter Pants


When The Bee heard that I was sewing something up for this series, she jumped to her sewing machine and whipped up these crazy Mad Hatter style pants!


My stash was full of small pieces that were perfect for this project. She sewed them all together into one large patchwork piece, and then traced a pair of pants that fit her.


She has worn them out several times, and has gotten such a wonderful response! People are asking her to make them some.




She also made this white rabbit necklace out of an old pocket watch. She gutted it, and inserted this picture that she drew.


She definitely had some fun with this!


I hope you enjoyed our contribution to the celebration! Be sure to check out the others in the series over at Made by Sara.