Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A History of Handmade Couples' Costumes

Halloween is absolutely my FAVORITE holiday! Candy, pumpkins AND the opportunity to get creative with costume ideas...are you kidding me??? Awesome sauce! I was going through past pictures of costumes my husband and I have worn over the years, and wanted to share them with you! Some of the pics are not super quality (and, in some cases, pictures of pictures), but you will get the idea and hilarity of it all. Hope you enjoy!!!

Here are some pics of my hubby Jason and I as Papa Smurf and Smurfette almost nine years ago when the Halloween party theme was "Cartoons." We purchased winter hats in red and white, red pajama pants, a white dress, two, white turtlenecks and 1 pair of tights dyed (terribly) blue and LOTS of blue face paint (my poor sister-in-law's sink was dyed blue for years after this particular party). I used white felt and Poly-fil I had lying around for Papa Smurf's beard and Voila!

Here's a shot of us with Jason's sister, Jen and her husband, Max (aka-Mario and Princess Peach) and his sister, Julie and her husband Bill (aka-Peter Pan and a 7-month pregnant Tinkerbell).

The next few pictures are of terrible quality but too awesome not to share. I hacked up two children's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes and sewed/glued them to green sweatshirts and sweatpants for the "Superheroes"-themed party. We added green face paint, balloons for muscles, plastic weapons, and orange and red pieces of fabric tied around our heads. If I remember correctly, my husband and I fought over who got to be Michaelangelo and had to settle the fight with a coin toss (which he obviously won)!

As for the "Fairy Tales" theme, we dressed up as Goldilocks and the Three Bears (myself being Goldilocks and Jas repping the three bears). To create the bear costume, I used brown sweatpants and a hoodie, along with two, brown bathmats. We tied a teddy bear to each of his arms to create 3 bears. My costume was made from an old dress of my mother's, tights, and Mary Janes. I am sooo sad I don't have a better pic of Jason's costume, as it is still my favorite to this day! If I do find more, I promise I will add them to this post!


Hubby and I went back and forth for weeks deciding what costumes we would wear for the "80's"-themed party until finally agreeing that we would veer off into the world of "80's toys" and go as My Buddy and Kid Sister. Using denim overalls we had on hand and white, painter's overalls I purchased, along with a white hat I painted red, a white, foam visor, and shirts purchased at my local thrift store, I got right to work! I added pinstripes to the white overalls and visor using a ruler and a pink, paint pen and multi-colored stripes to my husband's yellow shirt using paint and ribbon. We added some eyeliner freckles to our cheeks, and I pigtailed my hair into braids with pink ribbons to complete the look!

Our most recent (not to mention most embarassing) costumes were for the "Celebrities" themed party. At the time, Jessica Simpson was fresh out of the theatres as Daisy in The Dukes of Hazzard movie and dating Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo. My husband and I weren't satisfied with modeling these two celebs...until we decided it would be hilarious for me to dress like Tony and Jas like Jessica! Yikes! The Tony Romo costume was made using a jersey and blue hat purchased at Wal-Mart and detailed using iron-on decals, windpants and sweatshirts worn as shoulder pads. Jessica's costume involved a blonde wig, plaid shirt purchased at a thrift store, tanktop, cutoff shorts, false eyelashes, lipstick, nylons, and cowboy boots. Needless to say, my husband was a very good sport...but a very ugly woman!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jack 'o Lantern Treat Cups

My classroom staff members are rock stars! Period! We work in a stressful environment on a regular basis, where flexibility, patience, and strong communication skills are an absolute must at all times. Not only do these guys exemplify all of these qualities, but they do so with a positive attitude and a great sense of humor! The absolute least I can do for them is treat them to some holiday-inspired, crafty treats! I purchased clear, plastic tumblers and transformed them into jack o' lanterns to help bring out their inner children! I mean, who doesn't still love a treat bag (or, in this case, treat cup) filled with chocolate at any age? Here's how you can make them yourselves:


-clear, plastic tumbler
-candy in orange wrappers (I chose Reese's cups and Kit Kats)
-black cardstock
-green cardstock
-green, curling ribbon
-double-sided tape


1. Fill tumblers with candy, leaving room in the middle for the straw to fit when closed.
2. Place lid and straw onto the cup
3. Cut a circle out of the green cardstock and cut two slits (making a plus sign) into the center of
    the circle to slide over the straw. You can add a message onto the cardstock, if you wish, or leave
    it blank.
4. Cut 4, 24" pieces of curling ribbon and tie around the base of the straw.
5. Use scissors to curl each tail of ribbon
6. Cut out various jack o' lantern face shapes out of black cardstock and adhere to cup using double-
    sided tape

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Jewelry

October is filled with so many exciting things...leaves changing colors, Halloween, candy, parties, pumpkin-flavored everything, the list goes on and on. In fact, October becomes so chaotic at times that we have to remind ourselves that it is also breast cancer awareness month. Unfortunately, my aunt Debbie needed no reminders that October brings added awareness to the evil that is breast cancer, as she received her diagnosis of an agressive form of Stage 1 breast cancer early on in the month. If I know my sweet aunt, I have no doubt she will fight this battle with determination, class, and quiet strength, just like she handles every obstacle that has ever come her way.

My school recently held a Spaghetti dinner, in which each classroom was asked to donate a raffle basket. For my classroom, our basket theme was a no-brainer. In our "Be Aware" basket, we included a pink journal, shoelaces, scarf, t-shirts, cup, keychain, and tote bag, along with the bracelet and earrings set and necklace shown in the pictures. This one's for you, Deb! We love you and have absolute faith that you will fight and win this battle.

For more information on breast cancer, please visit THIS SITE!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Infant Owl Costume

As cute as Halloween costumes for babies are, I have a hard time being willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money on them, when they only fit for 1-2 wears and runs the risk of being spit, peed, and pooped upon at any given time. I love owls (much like everyone else) and wanted to turn my little munchkin into one for Halloween last year, but wanted to keep my budget to a minimum. Using a white hat, onesie, tights, felt, my handy dandy glue gun, and a small, fleece blanket purchased at my local dollar store, I was able to do exactly that (in fact, since I had the tights, hat, shoes and some of the felt on hand, the whole sha-bang cost me about $5!)
Here's how...

-white, long-sleeved onesie
-white baby tights
-white baby hat
-RIT dye in brown
-felt sheets (2 of each of the following colors-orange, bright blue, bright green, bright pink, orange, brown)
-small, fleece blanket
-glue gun and glue sticks
1. Dye hat, onesie and tights according to RIT package directions (be SURE to follow the directions to a tee, or I assure you it will not dye evenly!). Wash and dry according to package directions.
2. Cut out leaf shapes in all colors of felt (enough to cover the front of the onesie)
3. Beginning with the bottom of the onesie (near the fasteners), alternate leaf shapes (aka-"feathers," according to color, creating three across (refer to picture above as a reference).
4. Hot glue the tops of the feathers to the bottom of the onesie
5. Glue a row of four feathers above the original row, overlapping them slightly. Continue to glue rows of feathers on top of each other, adding feathers across as needed, until reaching the neckline of the onesie.
6. Cut the fleece blanket in half diagonally (making 2 triangles) and glue the long side of the triangle across the arms of the onesie
7. Cut out six circles-2 pink (large), 2 green (medium) and 2 brown (small with triangle cut out for the pupil) for the eyes and glue to the hat
8. Using leftover pieces of the blanket, make two bows and adhere to the hat.
9. Cut a triangular piece of orange felt and glue to the hat for the owl's beak

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Inexpensive Party Props-Cutouts of favorite characters for a photobooth!

How many of you have gone to huge events and posed for pictures in cheesy, cutout characters with holes in the head for your face? What is it about those ridiculous things that make them utterly irresistible to dweebs like me? When my daughter turned one and we hosted a panda-themed party for a gajillion of our closest family and friends, I was determined to have panda cutouts for people to pose with, but pickins were slim and those that I could find online were more than I was willing to pay. What's a craft nerd to do??? Make my own, of course! Using white, foam core board I purchased for $1 per piece and acrylic paint, I used a pencil to outline my panda shapes, painted them and used an Exacto knife to cut out a circle for a head to fit into. I also added a few embellishments to distinguish boy and girl pandas and Voila!!!

After attending the birthday party, my friend, Melissa (modeling the girl panda cutout in the above pic), asked me if I would make cutouts for her children's book-themed baby shower (pics to come soon, as it was absolutely amazeballs!). Yikes! Its one thing to make something for your own party, but the pressure of doing it for someone else??? Oy! Nonetheless, I agreed and chose four children's book characters I knew Melissa liked and that I knew I could potentially draw...Curious George, Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Corduroy. I think they turned out really well. Whattaya think???

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gourd Monsters

Fall is by far my favorite season, so (as you may have noticed) I go a little nutty with my classroom crafts at that time! One of my classroom aides brought in a bunch of gourds she had picked from her garden, in the hopes that the students could do something with them. Enter GOURD MONSTERS! Using a variety of art materials, we let the students take the lead in designing their monsters. They started by painting them using whatever colors their little hearts desired and, before the paint dried, added googly eyes and pompoms. After the paint had dried and all other items had adhered, we allowed some of the students to stick pipe cleaners into the gourds and bend and curl them for added pizazz!!! Tah-Dah...a quick and easy fall craft that the kiddos will LOVE!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Crafty, Yet Corny!

In my humble opinion, Indian corn is the most under-represented decoration for Fall. Its natural beatuy and color combinations are a reminder that Mother nature is one smart cookie! To celebrate the a-maize-ingness (har har!) of this natural wonder, here is a simple, Indian corn craft for kiddos...


-yellow, construction paper
-tissue paper squares in fall colors
-green tissue paper squares


1. Using the yellow construction paper, cut out one large petal shape and two petals slightly smaller

2. Glue smaller petals to the sides of the large petal for the open husks of the corn.

3. Crumple fall-colored tissue papers and glue onto the large petal (aka-the corn cob) to form the "kernels."

4. Glue the green tissue paper squares onto the husks, covering them completely.

5. Cut the yellow construction paper into narrow strips and curl them by rolling them around pencil.

6. Glue 2-3 curls onto the corn cob.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cupcake Liner Owl

Whooooo loves a cute, kid's craft??? If you're as obsessed with owls as much as I (and the rest of America) am, this is the perfect craft to help feed the addiction! These owls are made using a toilet paper roll, cupcake liners, and construction paper and take very little time to complete.

Here are the best instructions I've found to explain how to make these adorable, little creatures:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Yellow School Bus book and Traffic Light Craft

This week's book and craft was based on the book The Yellow School Bus. While it is primarily meant for young students, I liked the counting concepts and the hands-on experience the book provided for my students. Because my class is so focused this school year on functional words and safety signs in the community, I thought I would support this book and what we are learning with a traffic light craft. I found a super cute idea for a traffic light color match activity and craft at No Time for Flashcards Blog and adapted it slightly to make it POP on our classroom walls.

Here's how:


-large, white construction paper

-circular lid (to trace circles)

-black marker

-red, yellow, and green construction paper (ripping the paper is an excellent fine motor skill for students, not to mention stress-relieving!)

-black, construction paper

-glue stick


1. Trace one, large rectangle on a piece of large, white construction paper
2. Use the circular lid to trace three circles, one on top of the other. If your students or kiddos are good tracers, have them do it or help them in doing so.
3. Tear red, green, and yellow construction paper into small pieces and glue them to the corresponding circles. We put all of the ripped pieces together and had the students sort them by color before gluing, for extra learning funsies!
4. Cut black, construction paper into a rectangle the same size as the rectangle drawn on the white paper
6. Using the same, circular lids, trace three, vertical circles onto the black paper
7. Cut out the circles drawn, beginning in the middle of the paper and remaining inside of the drawn lines slightly
8. Glue the black construction paper onto the white paper, matching up circles.
9. Trim excess white paper

That's it!!! As always, please send me pics when you complete this project with your own children or students. Have fun!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Growing Apples and Pumpkins Book and Apple Timeline Craft

In my classroom this year, I have decided to plan my weekly craft project (and trust me, if I could do it more than once per week, I would) around the book we have read. Each week, my plan is to post our book and project weekly for you to try at home or in your classrooms! Please keep in mind that the focus of our crafting is to work on fine motor skills and following directions, not on submitting them to museums based on quality of work, haha! I will also be posting the Pinterest project that inspired our craft each week, to give you an idea of modifications that can be made. This week, we read the book Growing Apples and Pumpkins, to celebrate the awesomeness that is Fall, and created Apple Timelines to demonstrate out understanding of how apples are grown.

If you haven't read this book, its great for fall and shows children the process of growing apples and pumpkins using photos.

How cute are these apple timelines, originally posted by A Mommy's Adeventure blog. They are made of construction paper and marker. I love the poem written across the timeline, "Eat an apple. Save the core. Plant the seeds. And grow some more."

While our classroom versions are not nearly as spectacular as the original version, students benefitted from learning fine motor skills by cutting and pasting and following directions, in order to complete the project. 

Learning + Crafting = 1 Very Happy Teacher!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Not-So-Lame Vocabulary Review-Definition Necklace

Remember Fridays in high school, where all you wanted to do was get through the school day so that you could hang out with friends at the football game later that evening or go see the newest movie at the local theatre, and the only thing standing in your way was the dreaded, weekly vocab test? Gah, I hated those things! Who can say they have ever used the words "nonchalant" or "rebuke" in a conversation?

As a matter of fact, I also can't recall the last time I used a dictionary (sorry, Mr. Webster!)...until now! Using some simple and inexpensive materials, and vintage dictionaries, I have been able to make these awesome, definition necklaces and give them out as gifts!

Here are some of the materials used to create this awesome jewelry!

Definition of "hope" necklace for a very special friend

I did a variation on this necklace for this gift to my sweet mama!

The possibilities are endless with these necklaces! Using vintage, sheet music, I made this music note necklace for Claire's Kindermusik teacher.

Multiple definitions can be incorporated, as well! This necklace was made as a giveaway item for my sister's blog.

Please contact me at hoybycrafts@gmail.com if you are interested in a custom, definition necklace.