Thursday, December 18, 2014

Easy Minifigure Ornaments -- that won't damage the figures!


Hello again! Lorene here with one final (for now) addition to the Doctor Who tree -- minifigure ornaments! Debra has quite the collection of Lego-style Doctor Who minifigures, so I wanted to find a way to hang them on her tree -- without damaging them, so when Christmas is over, they can go right back to the regular collection.

And, thanks to my overachiever gene ;), I came up with not just one but THREE different ways to hang minifigures on your Christmas tree (or elsewhere), and no minifigs were harmed in the making of these ornaments. (And PS: Debra's gonna need a bigger tree to fit her whole collection!)

How to Make Lego Minifigure Ornaments (without damaging the figures!)

Option 1: Leather Cording


This was my first idea, sprung from the knowledge that Lego minifigure hands are just the perfect size to hold electronics cords. I doubt that was a coincidence ;)


But instead of holding a charger cord, these little guys hold their own ornament hangers! Just cut a 6-inch (or longer) length of 3mm round leather cording (I found mine, called leather lace, at Hobby Lobby) and stick one end in each hand with the arch over the figure's head.

Option 2: Ribbon and Metal Tubing Lanyard

For your average minifig, option 1 works just fine. But what about those suave minifigs who need their accessories? Christmastime is a perilous season for Whovians, so you certainly don't want your Doctor hanging around without his sonic screwdriver. Enter option 2: a simple ribbon lanyard with a section of metal tubing for your figure to grasp firmly.

The basic concept is the same as a shoelace aglet (the thingy on the tip of the lace), only instead of just threading a single lace into the aglet, you thread the two ends of a loop through the tip. A million thanks to this tutorial here for the information that I needed about how to do this!

So, you'll need

  • hollow metal tubing, 1/8 inch (I bought this multi-size pack at Hobby Lobby and used the middle size - you only need 1/2-5/8 inch for each ornament lanyard)
  • thin ribbon (mine is 1/8 inch satin ribbon)
  • a hammer and sharp nail
  • a small fine-tooth saw
  • sandpaper
  • tape

(Step 1)With the saw, cut 1/2 to 5/8 inch sections of the tubing -- you want 1/2 inch minimum, because you have to have enough length for your figure to have an un-flattened section of the tubing to hang on to. If you have a vice grip, that would probably be better, but I just used two scraps of wood with the tubing taped to them. The tubing is pretty easily bent and smashed, so use care that you don't damage it beyond use. 

(Step 2) Sand the ends of the cut tubing sections. I just used our little household hacksaw, so mine were really rough. A finer saw would definitely give better results, but this worked. :)

(Step 3) Cut a 6-8 inch section of ribbon, and, while holding both ends together to form a loop, wrap the tape tightly around the ribbon ends. Leave some tape over the edge of the ribbon to form a sort of tape needle to help you thread the ribbon through the piece of tubing. 

(Step 4) Slide the ribbon into the tubing until the tape is completely covered by the tubing at the top (you'll trim the bottom later). 

(Step 5) Tape the tubing to something sturdy, like a scrap of wood, and lightly hammer the very tip of the tubing (to give the nail a little bit more surface to grab).

(Step 6) Hammer the nail into one end of the tubing to pierce the metal tube and pinch the ribbons inside. (I found that it was easier if I .) 

(Step 7) Repeat for the other end, being sure to leave the center section round and lovely for your minifigure's hand to grip well. Trim the bottom end of the tape or any ribbon. 

Hand it to your favorite Doctor or mini-figure, and away you go!



Option 3: Display Blox and LEGO Lifting Rings


Many of the character building collector sets come in display blox that are Lego-compatible, so why not put that to use? (You can also purchase Lego style single minifigure display boxes various places online, such as eBay.)

All you need is a lifting ring or two and some ribbon or string. I purchased my Lego lifting rings on eBay very inexpensively, which I was glad for when I received them and realized I would need TWO for each ornament since the Doctor Who display boxes do not allow for the lifting ring to be centered on the top of the box! But one on each side works well, or if you have a figure that faces the other way (like this Dalek), you can get by with just one. 

I used about 8 inches of ribbon to string through the two rings and tie a knot at the top -- use more if you want a bow or anything fancy. 

And just because it cracks me up... one more photo: the mime in the box! :)
(PS: I'm not sure he's actually a mime but it tickles my funny bone so we're going with it...)

So, what do you think? Are you going to have a Lego-filled tree now?

Check out the rest of the Doctor Who Christmas tree here

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of 3 kids and wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She happily shows up here at Housewife Eclectic a few times a month, when the creative bug strikes in between projects at her awesome job as a virtual assistant. You can check out her other projects here on Housewife Eclectic, or her former blogger life and projects over at just Lu.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quick and Easy Reindeer Cookies with Nestle Tollhouse


Thanks to Nestle Toll House for sponsoring today's discussion. 
My 6-year-old and I have loved baking together this holiday season. She helped me decorate her own birthday cake last week and had an absolute blast. She wanted to make reindeer cookies but everything I found was too complicated for her attention span, so we decided to make these darling cookies using Nestle Tollhouse Rolled and Ready Cookie Sheets. They let you cut and shape the cookie anyway you want, bake and decorate all within a relatively small period of time. They are perfect for baking with kids. 

You will need:


Use your circle cookie cutter or a cup to create circles out of the cookie dough. To help it go through the dough easier, dip your cookie cutter in flour before you use it. Line up the cookies on a baking sheet and bake according to the package directions. Make sure to add some extra time if you live in a higher altitude.

Right after the cookies come out of the oven, add the reindeer elements to the still warm cookies while they are sill on the cookie sheet. This will help the antlers and such stand up instead of needing to lay flat. After you having added two antlers, two eyes and a nose to each cookie allow them to cool completely.
We loved using the Rolled and Ready dough for these cookies because it made the activity decorating the cookies instead of just making them, which is what my daughter loves to much. These darling cookies make the perfect neighbor gifts or to leave under the tree for Santa. They kids will love making little reindeer to leave for Santa. Visit Nestle Tollhouse for more ideas of what you can do with the new Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough Sheets. Share your ideas on social media using #TollhouseTime and #NestleTollhouse.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Party

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OwnTheGalaxy #CollectiveBias
We get really into super hero movies in our house. We love to dress up and hold fun DVD release parties, Guardians of the Galaxy was no exception. With the movie coming to DVD and Blu-ray, we wanted to throw a party to watch the movie and enjoy some great food. 
The day the movie came out, we headed to Walmart to pick up the Blu-ray combo pack and to find Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise to be the centerpiece for the snack table at the party. I was really set on doing a blue and orange theme for the snacks, so I was thrilled to find a model of Star Lord's ship, The Milano. My daughter was thrilled that it fires little missiles. We also picked up Guardians of the Galaxy Nerf blasters and Star Lord Masks that doubled as decor and fun. At Walmart the DVD features exclusive Character O-sleeve and exclusive music zinepack and a 64 page magazine with cast and crew interviews, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and trivia PLUS a custom “cassette" laptop decal, so make sure to grab it there. Plus, right now when you buy a Rocket Raccoon, Drax or Groot Disney Infinity figure you will get a $5 Walmart giftcard. 
A crepe paper backdrop is one of my go to party decorations because it  is easy to pull together and really vibrant for photos. I love it because you can use it for the background of your food table and then after everyone has eaten, you can slide the table away and use it for a photo booth if you want. I used mostly blue rolls of crepe paper with a little bit of orange tied in. 

For the snack table, I used a orange table cloth with a blue one over top. I went with the blue on top so that I could have mainly orange snacks and everything would tie together really well. The orange snacks included clementines, chips, a cheddar cheese ball and sherbet punch (lemon lime soda with scoops of orange sherbet in it.) 
My absolute favorite part of the snack table had to be the Baby Groot pudding cups. Made with chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate cookies and paper lunch sacks cut in half, they were the absolute hit of the party. 
 For the centerpiece of the table, I simply balanced The Milano on top of a wide candlestick. It gave it the height it needed to be a fantastic centerpiece without taking away anything from it. I also added star confetti to the table below the centerpiece to give it a little something extra.

 Since we have two little kids, almost every time we throw a party there are kids involved. I like to come with some activities that the kids can do to keep busy and have fun while the grown ups are talking or watching a movie together.
 For this party we had three different activities for the kids, popsicle stick stars, galaxy themed play-dough and constellation flashlights.
 The Popsicle sticks stars are fun and perfect for any age, for the younger kids they can decorate the sticks and a grown up can glue them together correctly or for the older kids they can put them together themselves. I prefer using hot glue to put them together because then there is no drying time, but it also needs closer supervision.
The Constellation Flashlights are super easy to make and a big hit. Who doesn't love being able to shine stars on their wall? Made with flashlights and black construction paper, they are fabulous for a astronomy lesson or just for having fun. 
 Galaxy dough is simply play dough made with black food coloring sprinkled liberally with purple and silver glitter. The kids absolutely love playing with the "Sky Dough" and they can help make it themselves. I pulled out a bunch of cookie cutters and they played with the play dough for a long time after it was made.

 Whose to say that the kids have to have all of the fun? The adults had a blast putting on Star Lord masks and having a Nerf war in the front room. You would have thought they were the little kids. 
With every party, I love dressing my girls up to match the theme. It adds a little something extra and so far they have loved doing it. This time we went with Rocket Raccoon for my older daughter and I made a simple shirt using heat transfer for the baby that says I Am Groot, because we all know that dancing Baby Groot stole the whole movie. My older daughter loved being Rocket Raccoon, she couldn't get enough of her tail!
The whole part came together really well and was completed by watching the movie, what party would be complete without the heroes themselves? 

 Have you see Guardians of the Galaxy? What was your favorite part (besides dancing Baby Groot of course!)? 
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Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY TARDIS Key and Door Sign Charms


Hi there! I'm Lorene, here again to share some more Doctor Who charms (or ornaments) with you. I promise that I do make more stuff than just Whovian fan crafts... but really, the Whovian stuff is my favorite. Maybe someday I will share something else ;) 

(If you want to see some examples of other creations, head over to my blog, just Lu. My days are busy with 3 kids and a job I love as a virtual assistant, so I don't post there much lately, but there are still lots of fun projects!)



And now, to the matter at hand: TARDIS stuffs. Last Christmas, I made my favorite Whovian (that's Debra) a whole Doctor Who tree, complete with a Weeping Angel tree topper, character tree skirt, police box lighted sign, Doctors and companions garland, and oodles of Doctor-inspired ornaments. I've shared the floating phrase and image ornaments and the felt ornaments, and today I have another set of ornaments to share with you: a TARDIS key and door sign. 

How to Make a TARDIS Key and Door Sign


TARDIS Key

Pick up a key blank or a cut key from your local hardware store. If you tell them that you just need a key, any old key, they might just have a bin of miscut keys that they’ll let you look through and take whatever you want for free. They might also look at you like you’re a little bit crazy, so be sure that you’re wearing your very best Whovian attire when you go the the store, so they at least know the crazy is for a cause. Yes, this is from personal experience!

Paint the top of the key with a couple coats of glittery blue nail polish. Add a chain or ribbon hanger, and you’re done!


TARDIS Door Sign Charm

This TARDIS door sign ornament is made the same as the floating phrase or image ornaments I shared recently. Just print out a TARDIS door sign from this door sign reference page (shrink it down to your desired size first). Cut it out, and use double-stick tape to affix it to a cut piece of acrylic plastic. Add a ribbon hanger, and you're set!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of 3 kids and wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She happily shows up here at Housewife Eclectic whenever Debra allows, and occasionally blogs on whatever topic comes up over at her blog, just Lu, when she has time in between projects and her awesome job as a virtual assistant. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

10 Creative Ornament Displays



Hello, it's Lorene again! I wanted to share with you a recent project of mine, plus some more creative ways to display ornaments. I work as a virtual assistant with Cassity over at Remodelaholic and for the 12 Days of Christmas series going on now, Amy from Hertoolbelt and I teamed up for the plans and tutorial for this awesome ornament display tree, a knockoff of a Crate and Barrel item that's no longer available:

It is seriously my new favorite thing about Christmas! The ornaments are vintage glass ornaments from my husband's grandmother, so they weren't safe on our tree with my 3 littles around, but I didn't have enough of them to make a really awesome grouping like a garland or wreath. But this easy tree is perfect!

You can get the building plans and all the details over at Remodelaholic -- and here are a few more easy and creative ornament displays, great for both pretty eye-candy ornaments and for those heirloom, vintage, special, or sentimental (but not pretty for the tree) type of ornaments :)

Easy and Creative Ornament Display Ideas

For simple but chic -- put your round ornaments in a cupcake stand (from Solomon Spot). 

You can also use a mug stand (which is also great for storing jewelry!) or build a mug-tree-style ornament display with the tutorial from Shanty2Chic


If you have a single favorite ornament or two, you can put it on display in an empty frame with some ribbon (from Little Birdie Secrets)

or this easy DIY ornament hanger from Mamie Jane's is perfect!

And she also has another option for multiple ornaments:

Branches are a stylish and cheap option for holiday decorating -- so use them to display your ornaments, too! You can use a single branch and ribbon (from Huseby Living)

or create a centerpiece branch tree like this one from Choose to Thrive

And we know that old windows are great for making a photo display, but their glassless counterparts are gorgeous for ornaments, too! I love the rows of ornaments in this display from A Diamond in the Stuff:

And this large window with ornaments is so simple and so stunning! (from The Feminist Housewife)

And a framed wire Christmas tree display? Too cute for words. Get the tutorial from The Sweet Survival.


What sentimental Christmas decor do you have in your home? I love holiday traditions and memories!

Happy Holidays,
Lorene

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of 3 kids and wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She happily shows up here at Housewife Eclectic a few times a month, when the creative bug strikes in between projects at her awesome job as a virtual assistant. You can check out her other projects here on Housewife Eclectic, or her former blogger life and projects over at just Lu.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Easy "Floating" Phrase or Photo Charm Ornaments



Hi again, Lorene here from just Lu with some more fun Doctor Who (or whatever you're into) easy crafts.

Last Christmas, I made my favorite Whovian (that's Debra) a whole Doctor Who tree, complete with a Weeping Angel tree topper, character tree skirt, police box lighted sign, Doctors and companions garland, and oodles of Doctor-inspired ornaments. 

The ornaments I'm showing you today are so easy and use acrylic plastic sheets to create a "floating" feel, similar to floating frames. They look great on a Christmas tree, but you could also hang them from a rear-view mirror in your car, a door knob, a shelf peg -- just about anywhere you want to add a little Doctor Who! And, they are super easy to customize to whatever floats your boat, whether or not that is British sci-fi :) You can use vinyl or even rub-on stickers, or just print out your favorite photos or designs to use. 

DIY “Floating” Acrylic Plastic Ornaments or Charms

Supplies
  • clear acrylic plastic sheet (like plexiglass) -- I found mine at Hobby Lobby for about $3
  • x-acto knife, craft knife, box cutter, or you could buy a specific acrylic plastic cutter
  • straight-edge yard stick or quilting ruler
  • vinyl decals or printouts of the artwork or photos that you want on your ornaments
  • double stick tape
  • ⅛ inch ribbon





1 - Cut the acrylic sheet into squares/rectangles to fit the vinyl designs or printed paper that you want on your ornaments. I cut my acrylic pieces about ½ inch larger than the designs to leave ¼ inch margin around all the edges.
Worried about cutting acrylic sheet plastic? It’s really easy -- it just takes a bit of courage the first time! Just line your straight edge up with where you want to make the cut and use the craft knife to score the plastic deeply -- I used a lot of pressure to cut the groove about 5 times for each cut. Then, place the cut line along the edge of a firm surface, like the square edge of a countertop, and slowly bend the overhanging piece until -POP- it breaks cleanly along the scored line.

A note: I left the thin protective plastic on both sides of the sheet during cutting, so that I cut through one of the plastic protectors with the knife and then trimmed the other one once the sheet had broken. I felt like it helped keep the cuts cleaner and prevented the acrylic sheet from splintering along edges. Once you’ve got the pieces cut down, peel off the protective plastic.

2 - Then, use double-stick tape on the corners of the *front* of your printed designs, and carefully center and stick them to the acrylic sheet pieces you’ve cut. If you’re using vinyl decals, stick them on the front of the acrylic pieces.


3 - Cut lengths of ribbon between 1.5-2 times the width of each ornament for hangers. Seal the ends of the ribbon with a lighter or FrayCheck, and then attach the ribbon hangers to the top corners of the ornaments with a very small dab of hot glue.

So easy, so fun, and so personalized! The hardest part for me was selecting the very best sayings because I wanted to do every one-liner from the whole Doctor Who series....

Cheers,
Lorene

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of 3 kids and wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She happily shows up here at Housewife Eclectic whenever Debra allows, and occasionally blogs on whatever topic comes up over at her blog, just Lu, when she has time in between projects and her awesome job as a virtual assistant. 
 
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