Dollar Store Illuminated Twine Pumpkin


Fall is my favorite season and I am always looking for cute (and easy) crafts to make to decorate with! There is nothing quite like having the windows open, the soft glow of lit candles, and the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin in the air. I saw this cute tutorial for Twine Pumpkins on Pinterest and decided to give it a try! I got almost all of the supplies at Dollar Tree.


Pick up a box of twine, big bottle of glue, foam brushes, balloons, and gloves from Dollar Tree, or you may already have them at home! DT also had Mod Podge, but it was a tiny bottle and glue works just as well! I taped my balloon to an old jar, but you can use a bowl also. Pour glue in a bowl.


Blow up a balloon and cover it in glue.

20151005_184756_resizedCut off sections of twine, around two or three feet long and dip them in glue. Wrap it around the balloon in different directions. Make sure you tuck the ends under the other twine as you wrap it.

20151005_184810_resizedMake sure you have a good sized opening in the bottom to insert a candle or string lights. Allow it to dry overnight, but make sure you turn it over so the bottom will dry also.


Instead of just popping the balloon, make a small slit near the tie so it will slowly deflate.


I picked up Metallic Spray Paint from Michaels. They are regularly $6.99, but there is a 50% coupon online, so I grabbed it for $3.50.

11222366_10201055516987896_2486833675592493536_nAll in all, I decorated my dining room table for under $10!

I made two different pumpkins: one with the Dollar Tree twine (which is thinner) and one with twine that I already had on hand. I actually preferred the smaller twine. It was easier to work with and I like the way it turned out! You be the judge. After it dried, I made a stem out of ribbon and popsicle sticks and a bow out of burlap, but you could also use a real twig like Lisa from Recaptured Charm. Hers turned out so cute! She also used string lights and I just used a candle.

20151008_094437_resized 20151008_095900_resized

Thank you Lisa for this awesome craft idea!

How to make a Harry Potter Wand

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My kids were on a BIG Harry Potter kick, a couple years ago, about 5 years behind the times, but loving it none the less. We watched most of the movies in the car on the way to and from California and all over Arizona and Texas this year. They turn everything from straws. to sticks to  granola bars into magic wands.

I love listening to them and watching the big kids get completely involved and play along. In fact, we have made up a list of our own “Ivanovsky Spells.”

My Favorite? In place of one of the more popular Harry Potter spells “expelliarmus” the Ivanovsky version is “smelly lamas.” I am sure you can see how the rest of them go!

My oldest has a “real” Harry Potter wand he got one year from Santa, it was the pricy kind at $40 that is motion activated. The little kids drug it out and have been fighting I mean sharing it nicely all week. They had a lemonade stand earning $42 and decided to pool the money to buy another wand. Like that is  going to go well…

My crafty then 8 year old got online and found many different sets of instructions on how to make a wand. The other kids shook their heads and said “no!” She begged me to help her make one. Since I had just about everything I said sure, and we got started.

You will need: 

  • Glue Gun / Glue Sticks (about 3 large ones for each wand)
  • Craft Paint (we liked metallic and glitter)
  • Construction paper
  • Chop Sticks or wooden dowels
  • Elmers Glue
  • Marble or something to put at the handle end. We found a bag of wedding gems at Walmart for $3.50 that worked perfectly.

Place glue on one side of any color of construction paper.

Take your chop stick and roll from the corner tightly.

When I got to the end, I taped the corner down and we left them to dry.

Now, when they are all dry, you will need to cut off the ends so they are flat.

Working with one end, I filled the end with hot glue and stuck the end of the gem in. I turned it upside down and held it until the glue had set.

The bigger kids started to take notice and thought we might be onto something cool, so they started making their own construction paper tubes!

Once the top was set, I took more hot glue and make rings around the gem and tube reinforcing it even more. I needed them to be sturdy!

This is where your glue gun skills come in handy! If you lived though the craft phase of the 90’s you know what I mean! :)

Start from the below your gem/marble and start building up a few layers of glue. I tried to spread it down, and as it would drip I would roll it around, making some kinda funky patterns.

The thickest layers need to be at the top and get thinner as you go towards the bottom. Just keep in mind what a wand might look like with a handle.

Once you have the first 1/2 of the wand done and before the glue cools, use the tip and make designs in the glue. This will give your wand cool dimensions and areas to paint when you are finishing it.

Once the glue has cooled, you will paint a coat of solid black over the wand as a primer.

The black really pulls out all the 3D of the glue. They start looking really cool at this point.

By then, I had all 7 kids making a wand :)

Once the black has dried, you can start painting your wand. My kids liked the glitter and metallic paint for theirs. We used gold a lot for the accents.

They took a few coats because of a few mind changes. Plus a few hours of drying time. But once they were done I thought they looked REALLY cool!

The kids were really proud of themselves as well. The big kids were so impressed they wanted to have friends over to make some with them!

These are our finished Harry Potter wands. They are very sturdy and really neat looking! When you feel them it is hard to imagine that they are made of chop sticks, construction paper and hot glue!

I added a few more lines of hot glue at the end on the wands where I painted the gold you can see to give them more of a 3D look then they already had.

For the other end, the kids went out and grabbed a few little rocks and we glued them in. One of the kids use a small gem for theirs, and one of the kids didn’t want anything and I filled the end with hot glue. These really feel like they were made out of wood.

They spent all day playing with them.

One final step that I have not done yet but will when I can get them back is to take a few small drops of black paint and mix it in a lot of water to create a wash. I want to “antique” them some and so I will brush the paint water on and then wipe it off so it creates an antiquing effect.

Cost of a fancy Harry Potter wand: $40  x 7 kids = $280!

Total cost of our Harry Potter wands: $21 for 7!

I am assuming you have a glue gun in those calculations! I had to buy some paint, the gems, and more glue sticks. Total saved = $259. Now if I can just figure out how to make them light up!
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How To Decorate A School Locker For Less

Decorating a school locker

Do you have a tween or teen in school with a locker? Have you wanted to know how to decorate a school locker for less seeing all the crazy ways kids are decorating lockers now days?!

My older girls have decorated lockers for a few years. The first year I about had a heart attack and said, “no way!” and had them figure out how to do it for less!

You can see a news segment my daughter and I did for ABC 13 in Houston last year on saving money on lockers HERE.

Price comparison lockers

For the expensive lockers: 

  • Wallpaper Sheets – Target for $15 for 3 sheets ( it will take 6 sheets to 1/2 way do a locker)
  • Black Zebra Locker White Board – PBTeen $19.50
  • Mini Photo Frames – PBTeen $29
  • Locker Carpet – Walmart $9
  • Locker Shelf – Walmart $5
  • Locker Lamp – PBTeen – $24.50

For the budget locker: 

  • Roll of Wrapping paper – Dollar Tree $1
  • Basket – Dollar Tree $1
  • Locker magnetic baskets – Dollar Tree $1
  • Magnets for the wallpaper – Dollar Tree $1
  • Locker Shelf – Walmart (not shown in picture) $5
  • Locker Mirror – Dollar Tree $1
  • Locker Black Board – Dollar Tree $1
  • Microfiber cloth used as locker carpet – Dollar Tree $1

Paige honestly could not tell the difference between the high end locker and the budget locker. According to Paige, either would have been just as cool at school!

One thing that we did not have time for in the video segment was to laminate the wrapping paper. In the past for the girls I have taken the wrapping to a school supply store and paid a few dollars to laminate it so that it held up better through the school year.

Budget Locker Teen decorating

:: Locker on a budget $17::

We use magnets to attach the wrapping paper to the locker walls. You can use tape but Paige has told me horror stories of trying to get it off at the end of school. Magnets worked well for us last year.

This locker also had a locker shelf in it that you can find at Walmart for $5.

For Paige the most important thing to have in her locker was a mirror, shelf, and the magnetic containers on the wall to hold pens and pencils.

Pottery Barn Teen high end locker

:: High End Locker $107::

The wallpaper sheets in the high end locker came from Target. They are really nice and easy to work with, but we used 2 packages ($15 each) on this locker and you can see we needed even more.

The thing that FREAKED me out the most was $29 for the magnetic frames. ARE YOU CRAZY!?

The other tip from Paige is that she thinks the locker lights and locker chandeliers are cute and had one last year. But it only lasted a few days. See they block the hook at the top of the locker where the kids hang their backpacks and it was a hassle to try and maneuver around the lamp and she took it down (along with all her friends) after a few days.

In conclusion, you are more then welcome to spend $100 on your kids locker for school. But acording to the kids we interviewed, they couldn’t tell a difference between items from Pottery Barn and ones from Dollar Tree!

Plus, as we were doing the segment a teacher walked by and asked about the shoot. I explained to her what we were doing and she told us that at the end of the year they line up trash cans all along the hall for kids to clean out their lockers and place trash in. After school was done and the kids were gone, the teachers would pull out all the HIGH END nice locker decorations that all the kids just THREW AWAY!

They use them in their classrooms and save them for kids next year who can’t afford to decorate at all. I almost cried. But the teacher said NO WAY would she spend more then $20 on a locker as she watches the kids just toss it all when school is out!

Do your kids decorate lockers? What so they ask for? What do you spend?? 

4th of July Candy Craft Snack – Candy Kabobs

If you want to keep your kids (and husband) busy for a while, you can try this cute candy snack that we make for the 4th of July each year to take with us as we watch the fireworks!

All you need are some lollipop sticks or skewers and soft candy. I used mostly gummy candies. I also tried to just use red, white and blue for the 4th of July to make it festive. It would also be cute to do them to match birthday parties with different colors.

I was able to buy ALL the candy at our local convenience store this year. They carry all kinds of bagged prepackaged gummy candy, salt water taffy, and gummy lifesavers. I placed them all in bowls on the table, gave each child/Dad a lollipop stick and let them at it!

This is the one Paul made, actually one of the 10, he really got into it with the girls! We packaged ours in little gift bags with ribbon tied around the top. The sticks and bags we put them in cost $1.75 each at Walmart. You can find these in the craft section at your local store.

On the ones for the girls we have little necklaces for the 4th to go with them, turned out really cute!

Do you have any cute crafts for the 4th?

Handprint Art for Teacher Appreciation or Mother’s Day Gifts

A few years ago at Preschool the teachers made the cutest flower pots for the Moms. They used the kids handprints and decorated the pots, then with paint pen we wrote around the rim.

The green pots were for the monkey class, they made their little hands into monkeys hanging from a vine. The thumb was the neck and body and the fingers were the legs and arms. For the handprints we used regular tole painting paint. Tempra won’t dry on the pot surface.

The red and teal pots were the butterfly classroom, so we made the kids hands into butterflies! I love how they turned out so abstract!

In the pots we planted lilies. Another idea is to plant an herb garden, with a few different kinds of herbs.

This would make a cute craft for your kids to do for Grandma on Mother’s day!

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Make Your Own Scented Wax Cubes {DIY Tutorial}

make your own scented wax cubes, free scentsy

 – Pin {DIY Scented Wax Tutorial}

:: My episode aired! I missed it though :( You can see my segment HERE ::

About a year and a half ago I had the chance to do a DIY tutorial for Disney’s LiveWell station, with host Kat Cosley on how to make your own scented wax cubes. We filmed at my house for a few hours and I taught them how I reuse and make my own scented wax for my Scentsy wax warmers.

They were awesome and Kat is SUPER cool and really nice.

I have a TON and really I have a TON of Scentsy warmers, I am not telling you how many because my husband would flip! :) A Scentsy warmer is a name brand wax warmer that basically melts a piece of scented wax using a light bulb, that makes your whole house smell awesome. You can buy cheaper versions of these from Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart from $5 – $15. They are really cute, and make nice gifts. I like them because I don’t like having an open flame with a lot of kids running around, and I like the way candles make my house smell good.

After the scented wax has melted and the smell is gone after about 12 hours, you are left with disks of hard wax. You can toss them or you can remelt them and add some more fragrance. This is one way to reuse the wax, I have 2 different methods I taught them.

Scentsy sells the scented wax of course, and you can buy off brands at Walmart, Target and even the Dollar Stores. Personally, I think Scentsy smells the best, but it is pretty expensive.

Scentsy also says that by using any other wax in their warmers you void your warranty on your warmer somewhere in the fine print. Just FYI.

When new, the scented wax comes in little plastic trays and you break them apart and pop them out like you would a ice cube tray. When my trays are done I save them to use as mold to pour more melted wax into.

The first tip is to save your wax when it has lost it’s smell and add more scent to it. I melt the wax either in the microwave or on a warming tray (below) in a bowl and pour it into the saved wax trays. You can get a warming tray by the candles at Walmart for $5. Many places sell scented oil and you only need a few drops. After adding the melted wax to the trays place it in the freezer for a while to harden, then use like you would new wax!

  • Melt the wax
  • Add scent
  • Pour in trays
  • Harden in freezer
  • Use again

reuse scentsy wax for tart burners

The second way I make these is with leftover candles I have OR with new candles I am given that I don’t want to have burning in my house. I get a lot of the Yankee candles and don’t want to light them so I make them into scented wax so I can safely use them.

Again I melt down the wax, either in the microwave (be careful of the metal tab on the bottom of the wick) or on a warming tray until the wax is completely melted. Then I pour them into the trays or into ice cube trays.

Put the trays into the freezer and when they are solid you can pull them out and you have scented wax from your candles that you can use in your warmers! This is the method that I use the most. I have found the Yankee candles when melted down and made into scented wax cubes smell better and the smell lasts longer then the Scentsy scents. But overall it is just safer in my home to not have an open flame.

As much as I love the Scentsy scents and buy them often, I love other candle brands as well that don’t make the scented wax. This is a great way to stretch your budget on the extra things in life by making your own. I would rather spend my money on the darling designs of name brand warmers, then on the scented wax.

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Easy Easter Bunny Hand Towel Craft – Under $1

EAster Bunny Hand Towel Craft

I can’t remember where I first saw these but it was years ago. At least 20 because I have been making them that long. I love them because they are cheap and the kids can make them. Non-crafty types, (me included) YOU can make these in under 23 seconds, thats the record!

Easter Bunny Craft

If I had all the supplies I usually give him some googly eyes, a little pompom nose and a little pompom tail. But I didn’t want to pull out the glue gun. I think he is cute as it!

Easter Bunny Craft 2

I stick a plastic egg in the little hole behind his ears, it is a perfect spot to hold something. I am using these as name sign for Easter dinner. I am putting everyones names on the eggs and putting a bunny by every plate.

They are cute and less than $1 each to make. Can you beat the 23 second record??

What traditions do you have for Easter?



Valentines Gift Idea – Soapin’ You’d be my Valentine!

If you are looking for a last minute REALLY cute gift idea, my friend Kris F. made these for her daughter to give out!

Just take a soap container and I know you guys all have some cheap, print off this FREE printable HERE, on some card stock, and viola, you have a darling gift!!

Pom Pom Flowers

Earlier in the week I showed you how to make an XOXO Valentine’s Day Bottle Vase and I displayed some fun Pom Pom Flowers in the photos.  I decided that it would be great to show you how to make these simple Pom Pom Flowers.  They are great for different seasons, easy to make and add a pop of color to any room.

Pom Pom Flowers

Pom Pom Flowers


  • yarn
  • scissors
  • hot glue and glue gun
  • fork (optional)
  • twigs of various sizes

How to Make Pom Pom Flowers


There are a few different ways you can make pom poms.  If you’re using a thin yarn and making smaller poms, a fork works great.  For bigger poms and thicker yarn, I prefer to use my fingers.

Begin by cutting a length of yarn about 6″ long.  Slip this through the tines of the fork or between your fingers, letting it fall along the back of your hand and your palm.  This is what will tie around the yarn to hold the pom together.

Next, wrap the yarn around the fork or your fingers.  The bigger finished pom pom you want, the more fingers you’ll want to use.  For the large red pom pom flowers I wrapped the thick yarn around 3 fingers approximately 40 times.

Carefully slip the yarn off your fingers and tie around the yarn with the cut piece from the first step.  You’ll want to make sure to tie this VERY tight.

Pom Pom Flower Tutorial

When the yarn is tightly tied, carefully slip the scissors through each loop and snip.

Fluff the yarn and trim the ends of the yarn to make a more uniform ball.

Add a small amount of hot glue to the end of your twig and press the yarn pom pom onto the twig.

pom pom flowers tutorial

Make several colors of Pom Pom Flowers to display in a fun vase or mix with other dried or artificial flowers.   There are so many great crafts to make with homemade pom poms!

XOXO Valentine’s Day Bottle Vase

Valentine’s Day is not far off.  Last week I shared a craft for making your own Valentine’s Day Dishtowel.  Today I have a tutorial for this fun XOXO Valentine’s Day Bottle Vase!

XOXO Valentine's Day Bottle Vase

XOXO Valentine’s Day Bottle Vase


  • empty bottle
  • white or ivory yarn
  • red yarn
  • twine
  • twigs
  • hot glue and glue gun

If you have any empty sparkling juice bottles left from New Year’s Eve, this is a perfect craft for one!

XOXO Valentine's Day Bottle Vase


Use a small amount of hot glue to secure the end of the ivory yarn at the top of the bottle.  Carefully wrap the yarn around the bottle, keeping the rows tight together.

You may need to use a little bit of hot glue as you go to keep the yarn from slipping.  As the bottle tapers, the yarn is more likely to slip.

Continue wrapping and gluing the yarn until you’ve covered about 1/3 of the bottle.  Cut the ivory yarn and secure it with glue on what will be the back side of the vase.

Use the hot glue to secure the end of the red yarn and repeat the same process as above to cover the next 1/3 of the bottle with the red yarn.  Cut the yarn and secure on the back side of the vase.

Repeat the above steps to cover the rest of the bottle with ivory yarn.  This time, do not cut and glue the yarn at the bottom of the vase.  Instead, wrap the ivory yarn back up the bottle, adding more thickness to the ivory and a crisscross pattern over the red yarn.  Continue wrapping over the top 1/3 of the bottle.  Cut the yarn and secure it on the back, top of the bottle.

xoxo Valentine's Day Bottle Vase how to

Next cut 6 strands of twine.  Divide into 3 sets of 2 and braid together.  Cut into two lengths.  Use hot glue to shape and secure them into an “O”.

Cut twigs into small pieces.  Bundle the twigs in sets of three and glue them together to form an “X”.  You’ll need to make two of them.  Wrap a short piece of twine around the cross point of the twigs.

To finish your vase, glue the “X’s” and “O’s” to the yarn as shown.

xoxo Valentine's Day Bottle Vase how to

Fill your vase with real flowers, artificial flowers, or like I did with yarn pom pom flowers which are easy to make!

xoxo Valentine's Day Bottle Vase