Eight DIY snowflake tutorials

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In the last two years at my desk job, someone has organized a day at the beginning of December when we get to make some kind of decoration for our cube land. When you are in a tiny box for so many hours a day, you're kind of limited when it comes to decoration. And this year, we are moving to a new building at the very end of December, so no one is really feeling the holiday magic this time around. So I decided I would look for something small, easy and pretty that I could make for each desk that no one would feel bad about tossing when we move.

Enter, paper snowflakes! I have collected a mix of the some of the best paper snowflake tutorials out there, ranging from easy enough to do with your kids to true works of art.

This is what I did last year, in a previous department. I think this year I may do it in a fun paper. So easy!

A twist on the previous snowflake, but still in the realm of possibility for kids, maybe just a little older.

A little fancier, but still do-able for kids.

I like that this one is not the typical 8-point star.

Out of toilet paper!

Using pipe cleaners. So fun, and double sided wrapping paper would be gorgeous.

For the inner nerd - Star Wars snowflakes! I'm thinking you need an Exacto blade for these. But I won't lie - I plan on trying them!

And for the truly talented - a quilled snowflake! I can't imagine how long this took.

Are you making any snowflakes this year?

Easy DIY boy gifts

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Every year for Christmas and his birthday, I try to come up with some fun ideas for Micah that I can make myself. Last year I made him a play mat with roads he could drive his little cars around on. I expected it to be a big hit and it sort of wasn't. Thankfully it was a cheap dud, but still, kind of disappointing.

So this year, I have been showing Micah the things I come across that I thought he would like, to get kid approval. I know how hard it is to make things for boys, when it is so easy for girls (or maybe it's just that there are more DIY options out there for girls), so I thought I would pick out the things Micah showed the most interest and excitement for and share a list!

This is something I was looking at for ages. The pediatrician I take Micah to has a HUGE white board that is magnetic, covered with fun letter and shape magnets, at a lower height from the floor so the kids can play with it. He absolutely adores that wall. I think for this project, the most expensive part would be the magnets you add to the board. Maybe thrift shops or Craigslist could help there!

This one is best if you know you will reliably get snow at some point this winter. Since we live in the desert, I don't think this will be a gift, but just something I make one day if it snows.

This is a big favorite, and I am definitely making Micah some of these. Little stuffed fish with a magnet in the "nose" area (do fish have a nose?), and a corresponding magnet on a string attached to a stick. Tons of fun, plus a bonus way to get rid of scraps!

What kid doesn't like play dough? And this is an easy way to color them exactly how you want, without the mess of food coloring dying things you didn't intend on dying. Plus, it smells pretty good.

This would be fantastic for cold days when you make living room forts! Added bonus - if your kid goes to daycare, perfect for naptime. Micah hasn't napped in almost two years, but I know other lucky moms get the occasional nap!

For the truly adventurous - a marshmallow shooter! Maybe just add the caveat that it has to be used outdoors.

Micah really liked this idea. I was thinking I could start working on money with him. He gets a quarter every time someone says a bad word, and loses a quarter if he says a bad word. Thankfully there isn't much money passing back and forth, but it was a good way for him to see money. Maybe we can start talking about how four quarters equals a dollar this way.

What do you plan to make for gifts for Christmas this year?

November 30th - Small Business Saturday

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I have made a huge leap of faith today. I am offering up a few select items for sale on my Facebook (my personal one) to celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 30th.

If you haven't heard of it, Small Business Saturday is a day devoted to buying from your small local businesses. It's a great way to help support the local economy, and make a lot of extra smiles. As you probably know, Sunshine Stars has had a very hard time getting off the ground because I have a day job and not enough spare cash to start building a stock or even supplies. I could probably start a piggy bank, but I admit to being a bit discouraged, so I haven't made much effort yet. I'm hoping in March when I get my bonus from work I can use it to get started. But I digress.

In an effort to give it a shot again, I am offering fleece ear hats and scarves, plus scoodies (hooded scarves). These are all things I am familiar with making and comfortable to do quickly and without much expense. It's also a good way to cut my teeth on the business side of owning a handmade business. I admit that numbers and such are not my forte, but it's something I need to learn if I ever want to do this for real. And I really, really do.

Fleece Fun's version and pattern.

My version I made for Micah. He wears it all the time to play pretend that he's a cat.

I won't lie. I am scared half to death that I am going to fall flat on my face. But the only way to learn is by doing! I have one sale already in progress, and the best part is that it is out of state. So I can learn the best way to ship, too!

A Simplicity pattern I picked up in both adult and kid sizes just before Halloween when they had patterns 5 for $5.

I think I'm going to pass out now. Please excuse me.


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Halloween this year was both awesome and messy...mostly because I am incapable of starting a project far enough in advance that I have proper time to finish it sooner than the day of the event. Arg.

So originally, I wanted all three of us to dress as characters from Assassin's Creed - Micah and Antonio could be different versions of the main character, and I could be the female "love interest" from one of the more recent games. I have never played any version of these, I just knew of the characters and how awesome their get-ups were. I had a pattern already that would work well for mine and I could wing it for the boys. I got Micah's finished and was really proud of it. He wore it to visit my coworkers and the high school my mom works at, and everyone thought he was a pirate instead. Since he has no idea what Assassin's Creed is, that's ok. I was still pleased with the outcome.

I think it really came together!

My husband and I were invited to a Halloween party of epic proportions. He has a friend from high school that is known for his parties because he spares no expense and goes all out. He works in the film industry and so he hadn't had a Halloween gathering since I met my husband eight years ago, so I was really looking forward to my first one. It was worth the time and effort we put into our costumes, too.

And then my husband saw an episode of Mythbusters where they talk zombies and Jamie dresses in this rather impressive zombie-hunter outfit. And so our costumes changed, even though I had spent something like 24 hours on my dress. A little hacking to my hem and forgoing the pretty finished edges and mine worked out.

Then we added details. I found a tutorial to make a duct tape top hat that looked like leather, and using a cheap $1 base hat, I cranked one out for both of us. I spray painted a pair of hiking boots I scored at Savers for $5 to look metallic, then we both took a pair of welding goggles and added a few details and painted them to look brown and black. My husband tore up an old leather jacket that no longer fit him and he hadn't been able to pawn off on anybody via Craigslist. And instant steampunk? Maybe. I have no idea what we are, but we got tons of compliments, so I guess we look put-together!

What did you do for Halloween? Did you dress up?