golden animal ornaments

written by tammy

diy golden animal ornaments

These golden animal ornaments are so beautiful, it’s crazy how easy they are to make. This project is also a great way to preserve old memories by turning your kids toys into family ornaments that will last a lifetime. And while spray painting is not the best project to elicit help from the little ones, giving the toys a nice sudsy bubble bath before you begin, is.

You will need clean plastic toy animals, small eyelets, primer, gold spray paint, a small hammer. Once you have collected all the essentials, it is time to set up your work area.  Find a large, open, well-ventilated space and spread out some cardboard.

diy golden animal ornaments

Start by choosing an animal and finding a nice balance spot for inserting the eyelet. Hold the eyelet against the spot and tap a few times with the hammer to make a prick in the plastic. This will make it easier to twist in the screw.  Repeat with your animals until the entire pack is ready to go.

Spread the animals out across the cardboard and apply the first coat of primer. I always start with my animals lying down on their side so I can get the undercarriage. Once that coat dries completely I stand them up and apply a layer covering the rest of the piece. The same principle applies when doing the topcoat. Start with the bottom, spray and dry and then do the top. The most important part of spraying paint, aside from good ventilation, is to keep a few feet away so the paint goes on evenly and to allow each layer to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

diy golden animal ornaments

Once the ornaments are dry, thread a piece of twine or gold string through the eyelet and your new handmade dazzling gold trophy pieces are ready to go. I am wrapping mine up as gifts, individually on a bed of shredded paper in little white bags tied with ribbon and tiny gold painted pinecones.

diy golden animal ornaments

diy golden animal ornaments


copper ‘heads and tails’ animal magnets

written by tammy

Don’t worry, no real animals were harmed in the making of this craft… only some plastic kids toys.  Instead of wondering what to do with your old grimy kids toys, give them a good dish soap bath and then hack them in half for ‘Heads and Tails’ Animal Magnets. Plastic animal lovers (and personal friends) should close your eyes now, because the pictures in this post may very well disturb you (or reveal your holiday gifts).

Here are the steps, mostly in pictures.

diy copper 'heads and tails' animal magnets on

You will need:

  • Plastic animal or dinosaur toys if you have old kids toys, this is a great way to hold on to the childhood memories, otherwise take a trip to a yard sale or toy store
  • Primer, spray paint (primer is important in order to get really bright metallic colors)
  • Copper (or gold) spray paint
  • Hack saw with a fine blade (you should have seen the guy at Home Depot look at me when I whipped out a moose and said I wanted to saw it in half, that was FUN)
  • 1/2 inch, strong hold, small ceramic magnets
  • Hot glue gun, or another strong adhesive glue

diy copper 'heads and tails' animal magnets on

NOTE: If I were to do it again, I would have bought a vice grip for holding the toys while sawing. It would have been much easier and safer if I had.

diy copper 'heads and tails' animal magnets on

Make sure to do all of your spray painting outdoors or in a well ventilated area. And wait for the paint to dry COMPLETELY before applying another layer.

diy copper 'heads and tails' animal magnets on

I Love Them Sooooo Much!

diy copper 'heads and tails' animal magnets on

diy copper 'heads and tails' animal magnets on


recycled paper sunburst wheel

written by tammy

This project was inspired by a recent trip to the American Folk Art Museum (gift shop) in New York City. This simple-looking project is not as easy as it appears. Sure, it’s just folded paper with a little glue, but there are actually more steps and time involved than you might assume.

1. Begin by pulling a magazine out of the recycle bin. I wanted a very large paper wheel so I used a W magazine. Rip off the front cover of the magazine and then carefully peel out a few pages. Trim the rippled gluey edge so the pages are straight.

2. Fold the page lengthwise in a back and forth pattern, like an accordion. My folds were about 1/2 inch thick, and, to make the creases crisp, I ran a credit card over the seam of each fold.

3. Fold each accordion folded magazine sheet in half as seen in the picture above. For my circle I used 18 pages.

4. Apply a sparse dab of glue along the seam of the fold, and nest another piece inside of it. Repeat with one more piece (so that three pieces are nested together) and then clip with a paper clip while the glue dries.

Tip: Do the gluing work on top of a sheet of wax or parchment paper to avoid the glue sticking to surfaces while it dries.

5. When glue is fully dry, remove paper clips and assemble into a large circle with all tips coming together in the center. Squeeze some glue into the center of the circle, allow to dry and then flip it over and do the same on the other side.

6. After the center glue has dried join the separate side pieces together with glue. If you would like to hang your circle you can glue a piece of string into one of the side seams, or use a hole puncher to pop a hole for hanging when the project has dried completely.


t-shirt cutting series: a little racier

written by tammy

Now that you’ve learned the simple-cut you’re ready to get a little more daring with the shears (and your shirts).

Click on the picture to see full-size details!


1. Make sure you use super sharp scissors. Sharp scissors make smooth effortless cuts.

2. Once you try on the shirt, you can make adjustments to the style and fit. For instance, if one section droops more than others, you can cut the knot and then retie it into a better shape.

3. The first few ties closest to the neck of the shirt usually need to be tighter, or closer together, than the middle and bottom sections of the t-shirt.

4. Cutting and retying your t-shirt with this style is a great way of making a huge shirt more slim fitting. To do this, just make wider lines across the back and tie the strands closer together.

5. To make a tight shirt looser, tie the strands together near the tips of the fabric, leaving less excess to cut off.

Have fun and play around with different different sized shirts and vary the width and length of the strips to create an effect all your own.


t-shirt chop shop

written by tammy

Last summer, when I was putting together a box of clothes to donate to the homeless shelter, I picked up a few ill-fitting T-shirts and got happy with the scissors. This summer, I’m bringing it to the blog.

Redesigning an old shirt with a few snips and knots is a great no-sew way to make the old new again. This project works best with over sized, frumpy, tight-necked, concert and even giveaway shirts (you know the ones you get for free from events that come in the one-size-fits-all poorly variety). It’s also a great way to jazz up your kids summer camp T’s.

I am going to start the post-series with a simple cut and work my way up to more intricate designs in the following lessons. This simple cut is also the starting point for other designs. So pay attention!!

Check out the images below for instructions, and please…

** click on the image to see full-size!! the thumbnails crop out details **

Once you’re done, try on your new creation to see how it looks!! You may decide to make a larger scoop of the neck for a little off-the-shoulder action, or you might grab another T and get snippin’… just remember to save some shirts for the next tutorial.


rooting and revisting

written by tammy

floating garden gift idea

New home. New needs. New uses for old projects.

Since I’ve moved, the floating herb garden has been dangling succulents and rooting cuttings.

the floating herb garden

Add water, herbs or even flowers. Have fun!!


spend share save

written by tammy

spand share save bank

Here’s a project I can’t wait to replicate. Eliza and her mom crafted this project after being inspired by a Spend Share Save box at a friends house.

The idea is simple, start by digging an empty box out of the recycle bin:

start with an empty box

Divide the inside into sections (scotch tape and cardboard):

divide the box into sections

Using a sharp knife, and adult supervision, cut the lid into three pieces to match the sections created on the inside:

spend share save sections

When all the chopping and taping is done, decorate your bank and start dividing up your funds. My favorite part is the ‘share’ section.

Thanks for the great idea Eliza!!


baby glove bunny

written by tammy

baby glove bunny

With winter in full swing, there’s sure to be a glove or two that goes astray. What to do with its lonely only other half… Glove Bunny!!

This Baby Glove Bunny only takes one glove to make. A chop-chop here and a stitch stitch there, here a stuff, there a stuff and there you have it.

glove bunny back

I have included a visual layout of how to transform your stray glove into a precious little softie, below. The dashed lines need to be cut with sharp scissors and then sewed together

baby glove bunny pattern

The two middle fingers are turned into the bunny arms, the legs are cut up from the wrist and sewed apart. The face details can either be stitched on, or adorned with buttons and trim. Be creative… this is only a jumping point!!

For recycled stuffing ideas see my post on Stray Sock Stuffing.

And for the mama of all glove bunnies… see my newest post, Coco: the glove bunny!!


recycled snowflake mobile

written by tammy

holiday catalogues

Holiday catalogues…

scrap wood

wooden scraps

cut snowflakes from recycled paper

chop chop and a little thread

string recycled snowflakes together


recycled magazine snowflake mobile

..dangle & dazzle!


add-on houses

written by tammy

With the holidays approaching you’ll soon find yourself knee deep in packaging waste. This is the perfect time to add another type of recycle bin to the home. A projects bin, like this one, can be used to collect empty packaging and other discarded items that have art-project potential. Everything, from the plastic and twist ties holding dolly in place to empty candy containers and wrapping paper, can be re-imagined into something useful.

add-on houses

This project takes a simple idea, and multiplies the fun!

You start with a shoe box, or a box of similar size, and create a room for your toys to dwell. The best thing about this project is not only do you get to do it over and over, at different times, with different friends, etc., but you get to take them all home, and assemble each piece into a grand mansion.

The bedroom, for instance, could have been made at a cousin’s house over Thanksgiving, the kitchen, at a sleepover and the playroom on a rainy afternoon. Creating add-on houses is great for holidays, sick days, vacation days and sleepovers.

The examples below are from one of ingenious kids I spend time with. She used wallpaper and wrapping paper scraps to adorn the walls. Altoids tins became closets and beds. Popsicle sticks are now hardwood floors and stamps transformed into artwork.

Click on the pictures below to get a closer look at the creative uses for everyday trash.

(You MUST click on the pictures to see the incredible detail!)

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