Pixel Art Sprites with M&Ms #fueledbyMM

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client. mario mm sprite #FueledByMM #shop

Last week, I got crafty with the boys and M&M candies making 8-bit sprites. These are super fun and easy to make! First, I headed off to Walmart to buy big 42-oz bags of M&Ms. While there, I bought tubs of frosting, aluminum foil, and foamcore board.

You can, if you like, just use M&Ms on a table… but knowing I was going to be putting these together with two little “helpers”, I knew that bumps, knocks, and other accidental movements. All the other supplies prevent “oops” from turning into “OH NO!!” And when working with kids, that is a must!

I looked online for patterns to use. You can make up your own, but searching for cross-stitch patterns and Perler Bead patterns gets great results. I then printed out my patterns so we would have them handy while creating.

I measured out my M&Ms so I would know how big to cut my foamcore. (19 MMs for every 10 inches is what I came out with)

measure candies

I cut the foamcore a little larger than needed for each pattern, then covered with foil.

foil covered cardboard #FueledByMM #shop

I did a test with my youngest on a scrap of foamcore – we made a “candle” from his favorite game for Xbox – Minecraft. The foamcore was coated with a light layer of frosting before starting. This frosting acts as an edible glue to keep the M&Ms in place. Perfect for my little helpers!

minecraft sprite #shop

Once we got the hang of it, we all worked on our pieces…

baby sprites #FueledByMM #shop

…even my husband got involved, making a racing helmet.

j making his sprite #FueledByMM #shop

 

making as a family #FueledByMM #shop

We made sprites based on our favorite games. Here is the finished Angry Bird:

angry birds sprite #FueledByMM #shop

A racing helmet, perfect for a Forza 5 fan!

helmet sprite #FueledByMM #shop

And also to honor the launch of the new Forza 5 game… a classic racing game… Mario Kart!

Mario 8 bit sprite #FueledByMM #shop

… he looks a little jaundiced.

L also made this creation, which he says is his “house” in Minecraft. We all really got into this project!

placing mms #FueledByMM #shop

We had such a blast doing this as a family… and the best part is that we will be posting our pictures on Instagram and can WIN an Xbox One! Here are all the details:

Get creative with M&M’s® and win an Xbox One gaming with M pack! (and everyone can get $10 back on their M&Ms and Forza 5 purchase with the Buy-Snap-Redeem promo – details below)

Create your own Pixel Art using M&M’s (R) candies and snap an Instagram Photo. Tag your image with #FueledByM AND #Contest and post the image on Instagram and Twitter.

One lucky Pixel Artist will win a new Xbox One and Gaming is better with M pack including the Forza 5 Motorsport game and a 14 oz bag of M&Ms(R).  Contest runs Dec. 4th – Dec. 18th and winner will be chosen at random.

Find full legal rules here.

Buy, Snap, Redeem Details

  • Buy Forza 5 game
  • Buy participating M&M’s products
  • (Participating products include: M&Ms Peanut 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Milk 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Peanut Butter 38oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Pretzel 30oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Peanut 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Milk 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Peanut Butter 18.4oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Pretzel 15.4oz Large Laydown Bag.)
  • Snap a photo of qualifying items on the receipt on your phone and text it to 811811. Include the code M&M with the picture of your receipt. Game and M&M’s must be purchased on the same receipt.
    Redeem:  You will receive a text back with a reward code valid for a $10 eGift card to Walmart.

“Gone to the Beach” Seashell Door Hanger

Gone to the Beach door hanger

As winter settles in, forcing me to trade in my flip-flops for socks and sneakers, I long for the beach. Warm days with toes in the sand, watching the waves chase the kiddos. Although I can’t transport myself beach-side… I can pretend. With the help of my “Gone to the Beach” Seashell Door Hanger.

This door hanger is simple to make, I use a few supplies that make it even easier. Here’s what you need to make your own:
Wooden Door Hanger
White Paint
Paintbrush
Seashells
Shell Glue
Paint Pen
Beach Sand
Mod Podge

Start by painting the wooden door hanger. I added a single coat of white paint to give it a white-washed look.

doorhanger

Once the paint has dried, I wrote my saying on the door hanger. You can write whatever saying you like… I went with the classic “Gone to the Beach”.

write on phrase

Start gluing on your shells. I placed my shells on the door hanger without gluing first to get the placement, then glued them down using shell glue. Just put the glue on the parts of the shell that will be touching something – either the wood or another shell.

use shell glue

You want to keep in mind the balance of the door hanger – if you put too much weight on one side, your door hanger won’t hang straight when it is finished.

 

glue shells in place

I wanted to add some more to my door hanger, so I wrapped one side of the hole with baker’s twine, then tied a shell to each end of the twine. This is optional, but I thought it added some more beachy color.

add baker's twine

I was going to leave it, but it seemed… incomplete. I knew exactly what it needed. I mixed beach sand with Mod Podge to create a thick paste. Do this in a container that you are fine tossing when you’re done – you don’t want to rinse beach sand down the drain of your sink if you can help it.

make sand paste

Apply the paste with a paintbrush around, over, and between the shells. I put thick globs in some areas, and brushed the sand lightly over shells in other areas.

put sand paste in place

Once the Mod Podge dries, your door hanger is complete!

close up of shell doorhanger

 

Holiday Crafty Goodness at Consumer Crafts!

This post is sponsored by the lovely folks at Consumer Crafts, who fuel my crafting addiction on a regular basis. Refer a friend and see what I’m talking about.

So often I get asked WHERE I get all my craft supplies. I live fairly close to a craft store, and so some of it comes from there… but honestly, they’re not open at 2am when my crafty brain is really going. So I hop online to Consumer Crafts, and start clicking away… their site is super easy to use, and I always end up with a basket full of craft supplies that I can’t wait to use! They ship them in a big box right to my door. It is like the pizza delivery of craft supplies! Everything from big machines to basics like glue and markers, they’ve got it all…

And right now they have an awesome Refer a Friend Campaign going!

Consumer Crafts Refer a Friend

Did I mention that their prices are insanely good? Yup. I’m not saying that I’ve stood in my craft store considering the purchase of a big machine… and hopped onto the Consumer Crafts site with my handy smart phone, then seen that the item was cheaper at Consumer Crafts. But I totally could. Because that happened. So, if you’re one of the 6 lucky winners… let me tell you that that $250 will get you quite a bit!

I’ve run to Consumer Crafts for Christmas crafts, birthday party craft supplies, baby shower craft supplies, general crafting supplies… just head on over and check it out… after signing up for the Refer a Friend campaign!

I recently used their supplies to make this wreath (tutorial to come)…

all holly leaves in place

And a bunch of these snow ornaments… and even though I bought two packs of these glass ornaments… not a single one broke in shipping!

Snow Writing Ornament

Enough with my Consumer Crafts Love fest… go Refer a friend and see what I’m talking about.

Oh… and if you need some inspiration, check out all these great places you can connect with Consumer Crafts:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ConsumerCrafts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Consumer_Crafts
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/consumercrafts/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/consumercrafts
Blog: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/

Sunshine Quilt

This post has been about a month in the making… and really the story isn’t finished yet, but I don’t want to wait any longer to share it. I got to check something major off my bucket list in October. Quilters, prepare to be jealous…

I had a quilt hang at market.

Diamonds Quilt at Marketpicture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Yup. No joke. I made that quilt hanging right there.

For anyone who has “get a quilt at Market” on their bucket list, I can tell you that for me the process was a little bit of luck and whole lot of work… with a dash of insanity thrown in.

After making the Roots and Wings Quilt, I had a bit of a “lull” in my schedule. And by “lull” I mean no major trips out of town or massive projects due. Just my steady stream of crafting and watching the kids with Halloween costumes and Christmas projects needing to get done. So I asked the folks at Art Gallery Fabrics if they needed anything done for market. They needed a quilt and a pillow, and we were off and running.

I’m not going to say that there was a major snafu with the postal service that delayed the fabric getting to me for over a week, or that I had to take a trip out of town for about 24 hours right smack dab in the middle of making the quilt. But I will say that getting to work on a project like this is better than getting a full night’s sleep. Well, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t actually gotten a full night’s sleep since 2007, and I really don’t remember it being that special.

Anyway, I got her finished, and I love her. Here is the front.

AGF Quilt Front

I cut, placed, and pieced each diamond. There are all kinds of crazy bias edges in this quilt. I had learned about glue basting the week before starting it, and that is probably what kept me sane… and made my points line up. Oh – and I quilted and hand-bound it as well.

I love adding some personality to my backs, and a variation on a stacked-coin back is my favorite way to go. I mixed it up a little this time by using the selvedges. This took a little planning – I actually cut all the selvedges from the fabric before cutting the diamonds, and set them aside to use in the backing.

AGF Quilt Back

After finishing the quilt, I still had a little steam, and a little time, to make the pouf pillow. Here it is unstuffed.

AGF Pouf

The circles are all done with reverse-applique and I inserted a big zipper around the bottom to make it easy to fill. Zippers and I usually get along, but after gettting that zipper into a curved seam… zippers and I weren’t on speaking terms for a little while.

And although you can’t see my pouf in this post (she is there though, just hiding!), here is a photo of the whole booth…

Art Gallery Fabrics Booth

picture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Why isn’t this story finished? Well… I have the blocks of a second quilt, using the scraps from this quilt, up on my design wall right now. I just need to find some hours to spend sewing, and then maybe I can show you another golden beauty…

 

ps… if you want to see more of the great Art Gallery Fabrics booth, you can read about it in their Market Wrap-Up Post.

Giant Classroom Wall Tree

One of the best things about having a school-aged kid is the fun projects. Yes, I’m going to be coming back to this post in a couple years, after drowning in school projects, and laughing at my former self who got excited when teachers asked for help. But right now, in this moment, it is pretty awesome. I love helping out in my son’s classroom, and this is one of those fun projects.

Little Moore’s teacher is a self-described non-crafty man. I offered to help out with some crafty projects, as needed. He wanted a big tree in the hallway that could be changed out for the seasons. Basically, just the trunk and branches. I told him that not only would I make it, but it would be awesome. Because I’m a lot of things… but humble is not one of them (however, awesome is totally one of them – ha!).

I’m not giving you a step-by-step here because I’m pretty sure that the demand for giant tree tutorials isn’t worth the time it’ll take me to edit the photos… but I’ll give you the highlights.

Classroom Tree with my Kindergartener

I prepped the trunk at home. I used Foamcore cut into the right shape. The “carving” on the tree is a piece of styrofoam. I carved the heart and the word “school” into the heart, then covered it in Smooth Finish. After the Smooth Finish hardened, I painted it brown, with the carving a lighter brown so it would really stand out.

Tree trunk with Styrofoam Smooth Finish Carving

At the top of the trunk, I put a piece of cork. This way the teacher can easily switch out things in the hole in the tree.

Classroom Tree Cork Board

I lined up my foam core, styrofoam, and cork pieces, and Duck Taped them together. I used some extra cardboard on the back to give some extra strength to the seams. Then I added on the bark.

The bark is crumpled up paper from a Fed Ex Box. It was already crumpled up, which was perfect. I just wrinkled it more, and used a TON of Mod Podge to secure it onto the tree trunk. Lots and lots of texture. Once that all dried, I used a sponge and some brown paint, lightly went over the whole trunk with the brown paint in spots (more texture!). Then gave the whole thing a thick coat of Mod Podge. So thick that it isn’t fully dry in these photos, and you can see some of the white!

The branches were fun to do.

Classroom Tree Branches

When I put the rest of the brown paper trunk on, I left 5 long pieces hanging off of the top, then took the trunk to school. I used a staple gun to secure the tree to the wall. Then I twisted the brown paper branches into place, using the staple gun to secure them. I tore off any extra, and added sub-branches off the 5 main branches. Once all the branches were up, they got a quick swipe of brown paint sponged on, and then a coat of Mod Podge.

It took about 5 hours at home, and about another 2-3 at the school… but this tree looks awesome.

Any volunteers to try to take it down at the end of the year?

Whimsical Holiday Entertaining Recipes

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.Holiday Entertaining with Smart & Final #shop

This Holiday season, we’re staying at home. I have let my family and in-laws know that they are all welcome at our house… but we don’t plan to do any holiday traveling. We traveled last December, and we’ve done a lot of traveling this year for family parties and events. Now, we get to enjoy some time at home. Which is perfect for me, because I love Holiday entertaining. I love dressing up our home, and welcoming guests. I love cooking and preparing delicious treats. This holiday, with the help of Smart & Final, I thought I’d come up with a sweet twist on drinks and appetizers.

Instead of traditional drinks and savory appetizers, I came up with some sweet candy sushi and drinks that use Country Time Lemonade and Kool Aid as the base. But don’t let the Kool Aid and Lemonade fool you… these drinks have kick!

I started by making the Candy Bar Rolls and Starburst Nigiri.

candy bar sushi platter #choosesmart #shop

For my “sushi”, instead of rice I used Cheerio treats.

To make your own Candy Bar Sushi Rolls you need:
2 tbsp butter
2 c  mini marshmallows
3 c Cheerios
2 Snickers bars
2 3Musketeers bars

Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan on med heat. Add marshmallows. Stir until melted together. Add Cheerios, and stir until fully combined.

Tip: to keep everything from sticking to your spoon, spray your spoon with non-stick spray.

To turn the Cheerio treats into candy sushi, pour half of the still hot Cheerio treat mixture on a piece of aluminum foil, sprayed with non-stick spray. Use your spoon to spread it out into a large rectangle. Place two candy bars (with wrappers removed, of course) down on the middle of the rectangle of cheerio treats. Fold in the sides of the foil so that the Cheerio treats encircle the candy bars. Roll the treats in the foil to even them out around the candy bars. You’ll feel them melting into the chocolate coating on the candy bars a little. That’s fine.

Remove from the foil and set aside to cool. Repeat with the second half of Cheerio treats and two more candy bars. You can use the same piece of foil, and no need to re-spray with no-stick spray. There will be enough left on the foil.candy sushi roll #choosesmat #shop

Once the Cheerio treats cool, cut into pieces about 1″ wide with a SHARP knife.

Make Candy Bar Sushi #choosesmart #shop

To make the Starburst Nigiri, you need:
2 tbsp butter
2 c mini marshmallows
3 c Cheerios
Starburst Candies (unwrapped)
Sprinkles (optional)

Make a batch of Cheerio treats, just like before. Make tablespoon-sized balls of treats on foil. Make sure to spray both your spoons and foil with non-stick spray.

Put 3 starburst in the microwave. Times will vary based on your microwave, but mine took about 10 seconds. You want them slightly softened, NOT melted.

Pull the warm Starburst into the shape of a slice of raw fish, and set on top of your cereal treat “rice ball”. Dip in sprinkles if you like.

As long as I was giving Cheerios and candy bars a more “mature” look in the form of candy sushi, I thought I’d give CountryTime lemonade and Kool Aid a makeover. Because what is more welcoming after a long drive than a refreshing drink?

Pitcher of Kool Aid #choosesmart #shop

I made a Kool-Aid a-rita. Which is the delicious love-child of a Margarita and Kool-Aid. You can make it on the rocks or blended, the recipe changes a little based on how you want to serve it.

kool aid a-rita #choosesmart #shop

Kool-Aid a-rita on the Rocks:

3 parts Kool-Aid
2 parts Tequila
1 part Grand Marnier
Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Blended Kool-Aid a-rita

3/4 c Kool-Aid
1 c Tequila
1/2 c Grand Marnier
Add a scoop of Kool-Aid powder
Fill blender with ice, blend until smooth. Garnish with a slice of lime.

 

I like giving my guests two different drink options when entertaining. That way, if they’re not a fan of a particular drink (or the booze in that drink), they have options. I made the second drink with Country Time lemonade:

Sweet Suprise CountryTime Lemonade Drink #choosesmart #shop

Sweet Surprise

Sugar rim with 50/50 mix of CountryTime Lemonade and Sugar
3 parts CountryTime Lemonade
1 part Vodka
Pour in glass over ice
Top with a splash of Chambord (about 1 tbsp)
Add a Maraschino Cherry
(the Chambord and Cherry will sink to the bottom)

The surprise is the cherry at the bottom of the drink.

If you’ve never sugared the rim of a glass before, it is easy to do:

How to Sugar the rim #choosesmart #shop

Mix a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of the lemonade mix together on a small plate. On a second plate, pour a little of the prepared lemonade.

Dip the rim of the glass into the lemonade. Let the excess drip off. Then dip into the sugar mixture. It is that easy!

Holiday entertaining has never been as sweet!

Oh – and keep a pitcher of un-spiked Kool-Aid and Lemonade around for your under-21 houseguests!

Smart and Final is a great store for all your entertaining needs – from meat to dairy, produce to paper goods, they’ve got you covered! Check them out on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/SmartFinal and on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/SmartFinal

And right now there is a great promotion going on! Save $5 when you buy 5 select General Mills, Mars, and other products (like the cereal, drink powders, and candy bars used in my recipes), AND get free Adult-Child movie passes!

Save 5 and get a free movie ticket #choosesmart #shop

Too Much Candy? Call the Great Pumpkin!

If you have kids and have never heard of the great pumpkin, then you’re in for a real treat. And not the sugary chocolate-covered kind. The Great Pumpkin is like the Tooth Fairy of Halloween. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a third cousin (twice removed) of the Tooth Fairy. He picks up candy to keep kids from getting a stomach ache, ruining their appetite, and all the other bad things copious amounts of candy are known for.

How the Great Pumpkin saves kids and parents from too much candy

Here is how the Great Pumpkin works at our house:

My kids get to Trick or Treat as usual.

When they get home, they get to pick THREE pieces of candy that they can eat right then. If they’re smart, they’ll pick the full-sized candy bars… but it is up to them.

The rest of their candy goes back into their trick-or-treat bag, which is left by the back door.

While they are sleeping, the great pumpkin will collect their candy, and trade it in for a toy! (I have it on good authority that the great pumpkin will be trading in their candy for Lego this year).

When they wake up, they can come downstairs to see what the Great Pumpkin left for them!

The candy mysteriously makes its way into our pantry… but the kids are still to young to notice this coincidence.

This set-up is actually a fun twist on the way my mom traded us for our Halloween candy when I was a kid. We’d get a toy in exchange for the bulk of our Halloween treats. The benefit of getting the Great Pumpkin involved is that the kids need to go to bed in order for the Great Pumpkin to come! And anything to help over-tired and sugar-infused kids get bathed and in bed is a bonus!

Hope you have a happy (and safe!) Halloween!

Awesome YouTube Channels and a GIVEAWAY!

YouTube Kindle Fire Giveaway
Hi y’all!
Sometimes, I get to put together fun giveaways with bloggy friends of mine. You know I’m working on getting better at video, and creating lots of fun crafty videos, so I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway where I share with you a bunch of awesome YouTube channels. And, for following these channels, you can be entered in a giveaway to win a Kindle Fire! It is like the ultimate win-win, right?
Entering the giveaway is easy. After the Rafflecopter widget loads below, follow the instructions to follow the participating channels. There are about a dozen channels (you might be following some of them already!). The giveaway ends on October 26th at 11:59pm, PST. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Smooth Finish Styrofoam Eye Box

eyeball box

I got to play with Styrofoam’s Smooth Finish, and decided that with Halloween coming, it was the perfect chance to make an eyeball box. It took less than 30 minutes of hands-on time to put it together, and I’m loving the way it turned out! My kiddos think it is pretty awesome, too.

To make your own eyeball box you need:
Small tin (got mine in the discount section at Michael’s)
Styrofoam Ball
Smooth Finish
Sponge or paper towel
Water
Fine grit sandpaper
Paint & Paintbrushes
Glue

Start by cutting your foam ball in half, and putting on the Smooth Finish. Once you have it in all the nooks and crannies, wipe it down with a wet sponge or damp paper towel to smooth it.

wipe down the smooth finish

Let dry fully. Overnight. Or a couple days… whichever. Then use fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots.

sand smooth

Pick your paint colors. I chose 2 tones of green for the eye, in addition to red and black (not shown).

select paints

Start by painting the iris.

paint on iris

Use both colors to get a more realistic look. Then paint on red blood vessels with a fine-tipped paintbrush.

paint on veins

Add the black pupil in the middle.

glue on to tin

Lastly, glue the eyeball to the top of your tin, and you’re all done!

eyball box with smooth finish

Carved Styrofoam Pumpkin

Styrofoam Pumpkin

Between Halloween and Fall Decor, you can’t really have too many pumpkins… I thought I would carve up a styrofoam pumpkin to use as part of my decor. It was fairly simple to do…

To carve your own styrofoam pumpkin, you’ll need:
Styrofoam ball
Styrofoam Cutter
Styrofoam carving tools
Smooth Finish
Sponge & Water
Paint
Leaves from the floral dept.

Start by cutting the top and bottom off of the styrofoam ball. This gives it a steady base.

cut off base

Cut six small wedges out of the curved sides of the styrofoam ball.

cut in wedges

Use the styrofoam carving tools to smooth out the edges.

carve foam pumpkin

Open up your Smooth Finish and spread it into the crannies of the styrofoam. Get it as smooth as you like.

smooth finish spread on foam

You can use a damp sponge to smooth out the Smooth Finish. I smoothed mine out a little bit, but I wanted to keep some texture.

I let the pumpkin dry. Overnight is fine, but I ended up letting it dry for a few days.

smooth finish covered pumpkin

I could sand the pumpkin down a little at this point if I didn’t like the texture, but I really did like the texture.

paint pumpkin

I got out my Multi-surface paint (the color is spiced pumpkin), and painted the whole thing. It only took one coat to paint.

Finished Styrofoam Pumpkin

After the paint dried, I stuck a faux leaf and stem from the floral section into the top of the pumpkin, and it was all done!