Interchangeable Countdown Calendar

 I was so motivated after Tuesdays Halloween Countdown Calendars post, that yesterday I dug through my thrifting treasures and found all of the things I needed to make one of my own!  I guess I won't be using a printed one this year after all. :) 

Here's what I made:

The best part about this countdown calendar is that it's interchangeable.  That means we can use it for every holiday/birthday countdown by simply changing the pictures. 
Do you want to see what it looked like before?  Of course you do!  Who doesn't like to see a before and after?

Here's what it looked like before I got my hands on it.  I bought it at a thrift store for $1.50.

The corkboard cost .50.   I cut it to the shape of the calendar slot, sprayed on some adhesive spray, and then wrapped the fabric over it.

The paint color is Bahama Sea.  After spray painting it I distressed it a bit to let some of the red through.  I covered the calendar slot, when I was painting, to keep it clean in case I want to put a picture in it sometime instead of the cork board (which is snug enough it didn't need to be glued in). 

The chalkboard paint only cost a few dollars at Wal-mart.  This is the first time I've painted with chalkboard paint.  I was a bit surprised by how globby it is.  I used a foam brush to apply two coats.  

The chalkboard paint directions say to let it cure for 24 hours.  I patiently waited for the correct amount of time before I wrote on it took out my hair dryer after 4 hours and tried to speed things along, then I went ahead and wrote the numbers on it!  It seems fine, so hopefully it will stand the test of time. :)   I know my kids are going to have fun writing  the new number on every day.

I already had the paint, ribbon, rick-rack, and the flower from other projects, so I consider them free!

 The fabric was from a fat quarter from JoAnn Fabrics.  It cost under $2.

  You can find this vintage Halloween picture here, as well as a few others.  I added the black border and text and then printed it on photo paper.  The font is called Bosshole.

 I think my favorite part of crafting is when the ideas just seem to fall into place and I'm able to use items that I already have, to make something fun and new.  If I only add up the cost of the materials that I used, then it ended up costing me around $5 to make! 

By the way, the red splotches on the frame weren't intentional.  The paint peeled off before it was dry.  Ugh!  I was a bit frustrated by it until my 6 year old daughter said, "That's okay Mom, it just makes it look old." 

Funny, that's how it looked when I started! : )

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The Girl CreativeCreations by KaraChic on a Shoestring Decoratinggiveaways

Be sure to check these parties out.  They ALL have SO MANY great ideas!
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Halloween Countdown Calendars

With October only a few days away, I thought it would be fun to highlight some Halloween Countdown Calendars.  Click on the link to take you directly to the post.

Pottery Barn Knock-off Calendar @ The Frugal Law Student
Halloween Perpetual Calendar @ Nap Time Crafts
Halloween Countdown Calendar @ Pottery Barn Kids
Halloween Countdown Calendar
Halloween Countdown Blocks @ Crazi Beautiful
Posted here on Flickr
Happy Halloween Countdown Calendar @ Everyday Celebrations
Halloween Countdown @ The Craft Patch

...and for any of you who just don't have the time, energy or money to whip one up in the next few days,  here's one you can just print!  Yep, that's what I'll be doing this year! :)


Do you have a countdown calendar that you use?  I'd love to hear what you do!   Which of these would you like to make?

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Clothespin Frame from Lemon Tree Creations

I absolutely LOVE this idea, how fun is this?  And easy too!  I first saw this idea for a Clothespin Frame at The Creative Crate, who actually found it at Lemon Tree Creations.  You can link directly to the post here.

(Picture is from Lemon Tree Creations)
The background is fabric, wrapped over batting and glued to the frame.  There isn't any glass in the frame so it would cost very little to buy a great frame at your local thrift store and spray paint it the color you want.  Wouldn't they make cute small Christmas gifts?  (Yes, I'm already thinking about Christmas!)  You could add some personal pictures to it, then give it to a family member or friend.  I know I'll be making at least one of these.  You know that I'll show you how it turned out when I do! :) 
Thanks for the great idea Lemon Tree Creations!

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Big List Of Silhouette Giveaways! (EXPIRED)

Have you noticed lately all of the Silhouette Giveaways out there?  Have you been entering them?  If not, you really should!  I know because I won one this summer at Mom Advice.com!  Talk about total shock!  I was really hoping and my wish came true.  You can win too, it is possible.  I've put together a list of the sites I've found that are currently giving away Silhouette Craft Cutters.  I want you to be as excited as I was. :)  If you know of any others, leave a comment and I'll add them to the list.

Good Luck! 

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2x4 Pumpkins

Here's a fun little craft that costs very little to make.

Last fall when I was searching around for some cute fall craft ideas, I saw this post here at It's a Daisy Day!  She used scrap 2x4's to make the cutest pumpkins.  I quickly realized that I had everything I needed to make them myself.  I even had 2x4 pieces that were already the right sizes!   The 2x4's are 3 1/2", 6", and 8 1/2" tall. 

1. Paint the blocks.  (I used Pumpkin Orange.)
2. Sand all edges.
3. Apply a brown wash with a rag or sponge brush by brushing it on and then wiping the excess off with a dry rag or paper towel. 
 (To make a brown wash add a squirt of dark brown paint to about 1/2 cup of water.)
4.  Cut off 3 pieces of a dry branch for the stems.  (Large pruners work great for this.)
5.  Drill a hole into the top of each pumpkin large enough for the branch to fit in and then glue it in place with wood or hot glue.
6.  Cut a piece of wire then curl the ends by wrapping the wire around a screwdriver or pencil.  Wrap it around the stem to hold it in place.
7.  Glue spanish moss around the base of the stem.  This hides the hole.  Tie a raffia and a ribbon bow then glue them on.

Edited to Add:  I've found it's not necessary to drill the hole to add the stem, just glue it on with plenty of hot glue.  Click here for directions on how to make 2x4 Pumpkin Kits for a Ladies Craft Night.

That's it, you're done! 

This post is linked to:
Tator Tots and Jello
The DIY Showoff

Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest

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Lemon Crumb Squares

 BY FAR my very favorite lemon bars. 

I first ate one of these scrumptious bars at a church sponsored recipe exchange and tasters table (hands down the best way to find new recipes) and boy am I glad to have it!  If you like crumb topping and you like lemon,  then this recipe is for you.

Be sure to read my tips after the recipe.  You may as well learn from my mistakes!
Lemon Crumb Squares

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp lemon zest (chopped or finely grated)
1 cup lemon juice

Mix ingredients and set aside.

1 1/3 cups softened butter
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups sifted unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups oats

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Combine dry ingredients and mix until crumbly.  Spread 1/2 of crumb mixture in greased 9 x 13 pan.  Pat gently.  Spread with milk mixture then cover with the rest of crumb mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes.

Okay, so here's what I did wrong.  The first time I made them I made the mistake of mixing the crumb mixture with an electric mixer.  I know now it's not a great idea because it makes the topping very dry.  The second time I made them I stirred the dry ingredients in with a wooden spoon and then used my hand to squeeze the crumb mixture making sure that all of the dry mixture was moist and crumbly.  

This recipe makes a large amount of crumb topping.  I found that putting 2/3 of it on the bottom for the crust and the other 1/3 for the topping worked well too.  You might even want to 2/3 the recipe and put 1/2 of it on the bottom and the other half on the top.  

Be careful not to overbake them.  If you cook them too long the crust will get hard.

There you go, all the info. you need (and then some). 


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brown paper packages
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