28 Book Character Pumpkin Ideas

This is a little out of this blog’s realm, but I was looking through old pictures and found a bunch on a time when my child’s class made book character pumpkins! I remember the stress I felt with googling ideas, and I thought I would show some examples that the kids (ahem… parents) made, to hopefully help you if you’re having to make one for your child’s class!

  1. Harry Potter

2. Captain Underpants

3. Trolls

4. Skippyjon Jones

5. Wizard of Oz

6. Oscar

7. Charlie Brown (Great Pumpkin)

8. The Three Little Pigs

9. Lulu and the Mysterious Mission

10. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

11. Bad Kitty

12. Finding Nemo

13. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

14. Raggedy Ann

15. The Kissing Hand

16. A Bad Case of Stripes

17. Rainbow Fish and Friends

18. Where the Wild Things Are

19. Olaf

20. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

21. Charlotte’s Web

22. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

23. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

24. The One and Only Ivan

25. Elmer

26. Alice in Wonderland

27. Lulu and the Brontosaurus

28. Pete the Cat

How to Build a Shed Door

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When Stephen was building the shed, he had originally planned on purchasing doors to go on it. He started looking into how to build doors, and was surprised at how simple it was! A bonus of building your own door is that you can customize them to be whatever size or style that you want.

He measured the size of the area before he built the shed, so he knew the size to frame out for in the framing stages of the shed. He wanted to do double doors, so he built two door frames out of 2x4s.

He used pocket holes on the top and bottom to hold them into the sides. Pocket holes hide the screws from being screwed in on the sides.

He used pocket holes to connect the pieces of wood together. (those oval marks at the bottom) This way, there wouldn’t be screws on the sides of the vertical pieces of wood.

He purchased two 3/4 inch pieces of plywood. Once the frames were done, he cut the plywood to the same size of the frames. He attached them together using screws.

In our case, since these doors were for the shed, Stephen put the shed siding on the outside of the doors. He screwed the siding into the side that had the frame (pictured above). Since they were going to be double doors, he cut the siding short on one door, and extended the siding on the other door, so that they overlapped and sealed each other off. You can see below how the siding was cut shorter on this door. The other door’s siding extended beyond the wood so that it fit perfectly onto this wooden section on its neighbor.

He added in hinges, and eventually the handle and lock.

Stephen then installed the doors. This was a two-person job! I would hold while he would screw in the hinges.

One tip: Stephen used these shims (that were all the same height) to set the door on as we were installing it. What this did was keep a steady gap between the bottom of the door and the flooring so that the door wouldn’t drag on the floor everytime it was opened. These shims were only about 1/4 inch high- it was enough space so that the door wouldn’t drag, but not too much space for unwanted things to get in.

These are the shims he used. He removed them after the doors were in place.

Once the doors were installed, Stephen added trim. This is where you can have your fun! You could do diagonal pieces of wood, you could make the farmhouse “X”… whatever you want! Stephen went with this style, which is simple yet makes a statement.

The inside of the doors remained as the original plywood. This could be painted or had trim added to it.
This is where the siding overlapped on one door…
…and this is where it sat on this door, when closed. Kind of a tongue-and-groove idea.
For extra security, Stephen drilled in a hole into the top and added this lock.

Ta-da! The completed doors. They are functional, very sturdy, and work great! Plus, they were a fraction of the cost of purchasing doors at a retail store would be.

While this method would probably only be recommended for shed doors, the concept of building a door would be a somewhat similar process. Want a barn door for your house? Look it up! You can do it.

If you’re interested in the door handle that we bought, we got it here from Amazon.

Tips for Selling a Rental House (Part 1)

My sister is selling a house that she bought in the mid-90s, which was originally built in the 1960s. She lived in it for about 10 years, and has rented it out for the last ~ 15 years. Between the house being almost 60 years old, and the fact that the house needed some updating after the renters moved out, we had a lot of projects to do!

My sister didn’t want to put a ton of money into the house, so our contractor friend went over to look at the house and go over what it really needed. My sister prioritized the important tasks and then we (our family) tried to lend a hand where needed to help save in the costs.

Overall, things that were done included painting walls, cabinets, new flooring, new gutters, new carpet and much much more. The great news is that, even in this slowing housing market, she had a full-price offer within 3 days of it going on the market! Little updates can go a long way.

Since I love before and afters, I’m going to do a few blog posts on different rooms that we updated! First up… the living room.

Before:

That mustard yellow… 😳

There’s nothing that a little Agreeable Gray (Sherwin Williams) won’t fix!

After:

Next up… the combined dining/TV room:

Before:

Whew- that brown! 😳😳

During: Since the paint was so dark, it took two coats of Kilz before we could paint the walls gray.

After: more gray and new carpet!

It’s amazing how much lighter paint can completely transform a space. If you’re on a budget but want to make a big statement, paint is a great place to start!

DIY Decorative Tray

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I recently made a 14″ x 21″ table tray for a friend. She wanted something to go on her rustic/farmhouse table for decoration, and she liked the tray I had previously made. It was super easy, so I wanted to share how I did it!

Supplies needed:
-one 10-foot piece of 1×4 wood
-two handles (I got a pack of six 5-inch handles for $14 on Amazon)
-wood glue
-8-16 screws, depending on what is needed for the handles
-paint or stain of your choice

Cuts: I cut the 1×4 into four 21 inch pieces, which would be the size of the length of the tray. I then cut the 1×4 into two pieces the size of the width. Since 1x4s are really 3.5 inches wide, the total width of the tray was 14″.

I wood-glued the four 21” wood pieces together, connected on their sides. I smeared wood glue along the sides of the wood and clamped them together for at least 30 minutes.

Once they were dry, I did a coat of paint. My friend wanted it to be white, so I used my go-to white chalk paint. I then wood-glued the pieces that went across the width of the tray in place, and held them down with clamps to let them dry.

To ensure that these ends were on there really well, I screwed them in on the bottom using four 1-1/4″ screws, one per piece of wood. The handles would be on these pieces, so I wanted to make sure they were secure when the tray was picked up. I painted the whole tray a couple of more coats.

I screwed in the handles, making sure they were in the middle and even on both sides. It was that easy! The 1×4 was about $6, and the handles were $2.33 each. Now you have a cute, rustic tray, all for around $10!

Painting a Message on a Spirit Rock

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Does your school or town have one of those big rocks that you can rent and paint a message? Our school got one a couple of years ago, and I was able to rent them for two of my kids’ birthdays this year. I signed up for it and didn’t think much about it… until the panic of “how do I do this??” set in a few days before.

There are companies that do fantastic designs, but they’re not cheap. In my area, I’ve seen anywhere from $100-150 for them to paint the rock for you. I just couldn’t validate spending that much on something my kids will see maybe a couple of times until it’s painted over the next day. So, google it was! I found some good tips, and thought I would share them with you in case you yourself are needing some tips.

First, let me tell you how big the rock we rented was. (The amount of supplies you’ll need will depend on how big your rock is!) Ours was about 4.5 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep.

Second, let me tell you that my design was very simple and personalized. No Pokemon or Super Mario Brothers characters for us! I’m not anywhere near that talented 😉

With that being said, here is what I got:

-2 cans of spray paint for the base coat. I got mine here from Amazon. They are tall 15 oz. cans and two did the trick. The key for this paint was that it was “15 minute fast dry” paint and glossy. You can get other spray paint colors for larger sections of your rock (like, a sky or grass, something that will take up a lot of your rock but isn’t the base color)

-Acrylic paints. This is a great deal here on Amazon. At time of posting, you can get 24 colors for $13.59, and it also includes…

-Brushes. I would recommend a variety of sizes, with 1.5-2 inch being the biggest (unless you have a larger rock).

-Chalk. You can use this to sketch out your words/pictures that you can later paint over.

Optional items:
-stencils
-paper towels
-plate or paint tray to put your paint colors on
-old clothes
-cup of water to dip your paintbrushes in
-rubber gloves to protect your hands
-smaller rocks to use as part of the theme (see below)

This was how the rock looked before I painted it. I felt prettttty terrible painting over this masterpiece. But, here’s an idea for you if you have good artistic abilities!
These were extra rocks left from previous rock messages.

Step 1: Shake your base coat spray paint color until you hear the ball rattling inside. Stand about 1-2 feet away and spray paint the rock, going back and forth until the previous painting is covered. I would recommend trying to cover the whole rock before going back for a second coat, just in case you run out of paint.

Step 2: Once the paint has dried, take your chalk and draw out what you want to put on the rock. Make sure that your writing is large enough to see from the street/parking lot. (for the above rock, it was hard to see the name on it unless you were very close).

Step 3: Take your acrylic paints (or spray paint for larger areas) and get to painting! I found that it took a couple of coats of acrylic paint to cover the black base coat. I brought several paintbrushes to use for each color, so I didn’t bother with a water cup to rinse them and use again. But, that is definitely an option!

front
I tucked any extra rocks people had used in the back. I didn’t use them, but could have made them each a different sport ball if I had known ahead of time that they were there.

Step 4: Bring your child early to see it! I took my kids the night before their birthday (we had the rock from 4 PM one day to 4 PM the next day), so we could take pictures and take our time with seeing it. They were both SO excited!

That’s about it! You can be as creative as you want, but it is possible for you to do this!


How to Cover & Prevent Mildew with Primer

Our mountain house is constantly humid. It’s in the woods, surrounded by trees, so there’s not a lot of sun that hits the actual house. Inside, that translates to an overall damp feeling. One thing we have noticed is that there are small mildew spots along the white trim/doors in the downstairs. When I got the paint to paint the bathroom door, I spoke with an employee at the Ace Hardware who offered me some great advice for what worked at his house, in terms of something to help with mildew.

This is Mold Killing Primer by Zinsser. The man swore by this and said that 2-3 coats of this primer helped to control the mildew in his house. The can says that it “kills existing mold, mildew, and odor causing bacteria”. It includes a Fungicidal protective coating to prevent future growths.

What I did for the door I painted was do 2 coats of the primer first, before painting the door blue. I also painted the trim on the inside of the bathroom, as there were many spots of mildew found there. So far, so good! Hopefully this primer will help do the trick.

DIY L-Shaped Desk

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My hubby is the BEST! He just built me the most sturdy, beautiful desk, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Our old desk was a dark, mahogany-colored desk that we got from Office Depot years ago. It was a typical-sized desk, which was fine… but I am one that likes to have everything out and organized and seen. I was utilizing drawers, shelves, cubbies and more to store my stuff, but I wasn’t using most of it since it was tucked away. I was ready for something bigger!

Organized chaos?

The way our office is laid out is that there are two solid walls that meet. The third wall is a wall with french doors, and the fourth wall has a big window. I envisioned a big desk, and started looking at L-shaped desks online. I felt like an L-shape would work really well sitting in the corner of the two solid walls, and would take up part of each wall.

We found some great L-shape desk plans on Handmade Haven. This desk had the farmhouse “X”s on either end, which I love. The only thing we did differently was make both sides of the desk the same longer length of 75” (from corner to edge).

Stephen started off with making the “X” ends of the desk. This used 2x4s for the frame, and 2x2s for the “X”.

He then worked on the frame of the desk, using the “X” ends as support.

He used a gazillion pocket hole screws and lots of wood glue to keep this desk together! Also, note the single 2×3 that sits in the corner to hold up the desk. I was worried that it wouldn’t be enough support for the desk (especially because we added length to one side), so Stephen added some extra supports underneath the sides using 2x4s.

He added the 2x4s to form the top and used the pocket holes to keep them in place. We moved the desk outside so he could do the five (yes, five!) rounds of sanding. He started with lower-grit sandpaper (for deeper sanding) and moved up each round for less-intense sanding along the way.

Look how nice it looks! Ready to paint…

I painted the bottom part of the desk white, using my go-to Rustoleum Chalk Paint. It took two coats of the white to give it a solid look. I stained it with Minwax Mocha stain (two coats) and I used one coat of Polycrylic water-based semi-gloss polyurethane to protect it.

Once it dried overnight, we moved it in! Luckily, my brother was in town and we could utilize his muscles, because this thing was a beast. It was really solid, but it was also big and had to be turned vertically to fit through the door.

AHHHH! I love it!!!! Check back for more pictures when I get it set up, and also for an office update. (I’m still looking up ideas for what I want to do… decisions, decisions!).

Fun Fall Decorative Deals

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Here are some fall decorative deals for you to check out! (Deals are available at time of being published… they may change)

Four autumn-themed throw pillow covers– $13.59 (normally $17.99)

Cute Scarecrow Door Hanger– only $7.99 shipped (normally $13.99)

Decorative Books + Fall Truck– $8.99 (normally $21.99)

Cute fall burlap banner– $8.09

Adorable yard flag– $5.68 (normally $7.19)

20″ pre-lit fall wreath– only $18.99 (normally $58.99!)

17.5″ metal pumpkin stake– $19.50 (normally $22.99)

Reversible Thanksgiving/Christmas letter blocks– $7.00 (normally $13.99)

DIY Window Mullions

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Guys. I think I have just done my favorite DIY to date.

Do you know what window mullions are? I had no clue that was the “proper” name until I was googling something like “window grid” or “window pane lines” or something like that. I’m telling you, I love google. 😉

Do you remember when I painted the inside trim of our living room windows? I had felt like something was missing with these windows when we had taken off the blinds. I loved the open look, but the windows were just so plain. Painting the trim gray helped a bit, but there was still something missing.

This is after I painted the trim of the windows gray.

The windows on the front of our house are French windows with mullions. All of the windows on the back are just clear glass. I’m sure the builder was trying to cut costs. I started googling if it’s possibly to do your own mullions, and guess what? You can!!

This is what I did:

Material:
-Screen Trim (Pine)- 1/4 inch x 3/4 inch
**This was 49 cents per foot at Home Depot. I got 48 feet of this for my project. It comes in 16 foot pieces, so I trimmed them down to twelve 4 foot pieces before leaving the store.

-Clear, thin double sided tape

-Paint

The hardest part was doing the measurements. What I did was measure the tops and the bottoms of each window going vertically. The top windows’ glass was slightly taller than the bottom windows’ glass, so make sure you measure all of them just to be sure. Then, I measured the tops and bottoms horizontally (again, the bottom windows again had less glass section to cover).

Once I wrote these measurements down, I took the width of the trim (3/4 inches) and subtracted it from the horizontal measurement. Basically, the vertical piece was going to be one complete piece going up and down. The horizontal piece was going to be split into two, with the vertical piece intersecting (meaning that trim width would take up some of the horizontal width). For example: if my horizontal measurement was 28-3/4″, I would subtract the 3/4″ width of the trim and divide that number in half. I would then cut two 14″ pieces to make up the horizontal trim, one piece on either side of the vertical piece.

Whew! Now that the math was out of the way, I got to cutting!

In total, I cut: 4 vertical pieces for the top windows, 4 vertical pieces for the bottom windows, 8 horizontal pieces for the top windows, and 8 horizontal pieces for the bottom windows.

Then I painted

Be sure to paint both sides of the trim.

I started off with the vertical pieces. I put several pieces of double-sided tape on the back and measured where the pieces should go, halfway across on each window.

Once I was confident in my placement, I put pressure on the piece of wood. The good news is you can always remove it if you make a mistake, but this tape sticks pretty well!

Top vertical pieces done! I like it already!

I was doing this in shifts… I’d paint a section of trim, let them dry, hang them while another section of trim was being painted and dried. The painting and drying of the trim was the most time-consuming part.

Once all the vertical pieces were done, I moved onto the shorter horizontal pieces. I did have to trim some of the boards, in the case that the vertical piece wasn’t perfectly centered. I would hold a piece of trim up and mark where it needed to be trimmed and cut it with the chop saw. Making sure these vertical pieces were even with each other across the top and bottom pieces was really important.

I kept working and hanging until… I was done!

And they are still hanging the next morning 🙂

Since I love a little before and after, here you go…

I am in love with it!!!

One tip, if you’re thinking about doing this… double check your windows, if they are ones you like to open and close. Ours can open, but we never open them. I’m not sure how well these mullions would hold up if they were opened and closed much… it might depend on your window. If you have windows that either don’t open or ones that you never open, those would probably be the best ones to do!

This update cost me $24 in wood trim (though I did have some extra) and the double-sided was $6 each (and I got two). So, $36 in total for this update!

Changing Out a Circuit Breaker- DIY

The circuit breaker that controls our upstairs AC unit kept tripping this summer. It’s not a great feeling to come home and your bedroom is 90 degrees! After the 5th time of it tripping over a month’s time period, Stephen decided to get it replaced.

He got a couple of electrician quotes, which were in the range of 2-3 hundred dollars. Stephen decided to “research” (ahem, YouTube) some how-to videos to see how hard it would be to do it himself. And… for a total of $22… he did it!

**I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH! If you decide to do this, please, please do your research! I’m going to share the basics of what we did, but there are more details that you’d need to know for your specific home.

The first, and MOST important step is to turn off the power to your ENTIRE home. Don’t try to just to the part of your home where the electrical panel is. Do it all!

Second: invest in an AC voltage detector! This cost us $10 at Lowes. It’s a pen-shaped device that you can use to touch wires to see if there is any power going through them. If the light turns colors and beeps, the power is on. If it doesn’t, the power is off.

First tip: put some masking tape over the problematic breaker. Once you remove the metal panel, the labels will go away, so this will help you remember the exact breaker.

Unscrew the metal case and remove it. This is heavier than you think it will be, so having a second person is helpful.
We checked all of the wires to make sure all of the power was off. For our pen, a green light means you’re good to go!
The breaker itself clicks in and out. Just a couple of angled tugs will pull the bad breaker out!
Make sure the replacement breaker is the exact breaker as the original. This cost us $12 at Lowes!
I had to hold the wires while Stephen did this next step and couldn’t take a pic, but these screws were where the black and white wires were screwed into the breaker. You unscrew the screws to loosen them and pull the wires out. I held them to make sure they went back in the same place.
You insert the wires and screw them into place.
You pop the breaker into place.
Screw the panel back on.
Once everything is back into place, you can turn the power back on! $22 and about 30 minutes, and we are in good shape!

This worked out great for us, and saved us hundreds of dollars! Just be diligent if you decide to do this on your own and do your research!