DIY Holiday Leather Projects

Handmade leather labels and other simple leather projects

Handmade Holiday crafts using scrap leather

What I love most about the Holidays is my renewed sense of craftiness. Every year I try and create unique handmade gifts. This past few years have had me strapped to my computer a little more than I’d like to admit, and I didn’t have a lot of time to make things. Running a photography business during the Holiday season is insane. (The good kind of insane of course!) When racking my brain this year on what I can do that is both simple and unique, my idea basically fell into my lap. While cleaning out my craft room, some scrap leather fell out of a box. My initial thought was “what the heck am I going to do with this leather?”… Read more

DIY Easy Gummy Bears

This DIY easy gummy bears recipe is so easy a kid could do it. (As featured here) I found an awesome YouTube video last week and knew I needed to try this out. Sometimes when I see things and think, hey now… I can do that, I end up being the butt of the joke. What seems like an easy project ends up being like I really needed to possess the skills and steady hands of a heart surgeon. Well, luckily for all us DIY parents, this was not one of those projects. This was so simple, my five year old did most of the work today as we made our second batch.

DIY Easy Gummy Bears

The ingredients are simple.
Some silicone molds
2 Gelatin packets
1 small package of flavored Jello
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1/2 cup COLD water

I had to share the picture of my son’s hand. It was just too cute. Imagine little ole me, standing on a table chair trying to get all my ingredients perfectly in frame for the picture then my photo bombing son with his booger picking finger sliding in at the very last second to shout as loud as possible “mom, what’s this?!?!?” . And no, my son is too much of a germaphobe to actually pick his nose.

Mixing the corn syrup with water

To get started combine your corn syrup with your cold water. Really make sure your water is cold, it makes a difference in your later steps.

Add jello and gelatin

Once all your corn syrup is completely dissolved in your cold water, pour it into a sauce pan. Do not turn the heat on at this point.

completely dissolve before heating

With your burner OFF, add your dry ingredients, your small package of jello and your two packets of gelatin, and mix well. The cold water helps the gelatin dissolve. Once its looking clear, go ahead and turn your burner on medium to medium low. I have a gas stove top so I needed to keep mine on medium low because my burners get really hot.

Poor into seperate container

You will heat your gummy mixture for about 5-10 minutes, I waited until I saw tiny pre-boiling bubbles.

put into squeeze bottle

Once it hit that “pre-boiling” point I transferred my gummy mixture to a separate container. This is what separates the girls from the women. As the gummy solution starts to cool, the bubbles and any foam that came from your mixture rises to the top. After about 15 minute’s you can scrape off the pleasantries for a perfectly clear gummy solution. You could just go straight to the molds but the foam will end up being on the backs of your chewy candies. Thus raising questions like, “mommy, why it there nasty squish on my gummies??” or “mom, I have to eat my gummies rear first so no one see’s this foamy madness…”.

Once you have a semi cooled gummy solution, for best molding results, pour into a condiment bottle. I picked up a few at Walmart for .97 cents each. They make it so much easier to get the solution into your molds without over filling or spilling everywhere.

let molds sit for 5 hours

Once you have them in the molds, let them sit for at least 5 hours. And if you have the patience, just let them sit over night. If you unmold them too soon, they are quite tacky and stick to your hands like crazy. Washing your hands off frequently helps, but its super annoying.

cute diy easy gummy bears

Here are some shots of our awesomely fun easy DIY gummy bears and lego guys.

I bought my molds off amazon. Here are the links.
Gummy bear trays
Lego Guys

I have these molds on the way because I’m just having too much fun making these.
Star Wars Ball
Star Wars Trays
Lego Building Blocks

Here is the youtube video I saw that inspired all of this.

DIY Sun Screen

DIY Sun Screen ingredients

So before we get started here, let me just tell you, sun screen is so expensive these days. And living in Arizona, it has become a daily necessity for my family. I didn’t decide to make my own sun screen out of frugalness alone. I really do enjoy using all natural products, and my kids do to. They love seeing what goes into what and why its better for our bodies, and yada yada yada. When I sought out this new DIY adventure, I did my research. The biggest question was, what is SPF really? All I knew was that the higher the label, the harder that crap is to rub into my kids skin. And most of my kids, a lot like my self, go fifty shades of aborigine in the first weeks of summer. So my right arm gets freakishly stronger in those weeks just trying to keep that sun screen from looking like war paint on their dark chocolaty skin. The struggle is real folks. But to be honest, we don’t use a really high spf. We ride around 30 most of the time, because we like to live life on the edge.

So here is the mystery of SPF unfolded for you. You’re welcome.
Sun Protection Factor
Answer: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers to the theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. For example, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection.

So here are some things I found out while getting to know the ins and outs of homemade sun screen. The higher the SPF, the longer you can feel safe hanging out in the blazing sun. And, many oils have a natural amount of SPF, and zinc oxide is the key ingredient. I would say most of you know that when you use those easy spray bottles, not only should you wear a gas mask, they seem to wash off rather quickly in the pool. And my friends, we do as best as we can to live in the water in the hotter months. It’s the only way to survive. With DIY sunscreen you need something that can make the oils stay on your body, that’s where the bees wax comes in. It acts as a waterproof. The amount of bees wax you use needs to be pretty close to this recipe, too much will make it to hard to rub onto your skin. So if you over do it, you better have the patience of Mother Theresa.

I bought my zinc oxide from Essential Depot. And I’ve taken the liberty of listing the natural SPF for the oils that I used next to the quantity below. There is a site called Living pretty, Naturally, You can see some additional oils that are great for sun screen.

(I used what I already had on hand. I can’t even remember when or why I bought zinc oxide, but I was glad to finally put it to use.)

•1/2 cup coconut oil SPF 2-8
•1/4 cup jojoba oil SPF 4
•2 tbsp-1/4 cup beeswax* (depending on how thick you want it) SPF 15
•1-2 tbsp shea butter* SPF 6
•1 tsp vitamin E oil
•2 tbsp zinc oxide powder SPF 10 per tsp

Shea butter and bees wax

I used a white bees wax and grated it down with a cheese grater. I don’t recommend that method, I would suggest if you are going to attempt this, go buy the bees wax pellets. But like I said earlier, I was working on the fly.

zinc oxide

So lets talk about this zinc oxide funny business. Just so you know, Zinc oxide is a natural mineral which provides the safest and most effective protection against UV rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens, zinc forms a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. Zinc Oxide is the best performing ingredient for blocking both UVA and UVB rays. I stole that from the world wide web.

combine diy sun screen ingredients and melt

To get started, combine all your oils, shea, and bees wax. You are going to melt them down so either use a double boiler or microwave.

double boiler

This is my makeshift double boiler.

fully melted base

Once your oils, shea, and bees wax are fully melted remove from heat and let sit for about five minutes just to cool down.

add zinc oxide

Add in your two teaspoons of zinc oxide.

combine zinc oxide for spf

Since there is roughly 10 SPF per tsp, if you wanted a stronger sun screen, you can add an additional 1/2-1 tsp. But I have found that this recipe does really well for my husband, who’s nickname was “sunburn central” in high school.

make sure zinc oxcide is completely disolved

crush up any last clumps

Make sure you get the little clumps crushed up.

still until the consistency changes to a lotion

From there you just continue to stir until it is the consistency of lotion. It may firm up based on temperature. When you apply your DIY sun screen, put a small amount on the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. The heat from your hands will melt the oils down for the quickest application.

complete diy sunscreen spf 30-40

I am totally in love with this sun screen, and have had great results! Its smells great, feels great, repels that water for hours of fun.

Lavender Love Maternity Session.

As promised, the images from the beautiful maternity session that inspired my DIY Flower Crown. This lavender love maternity session was a vision I had when thinking of my dear friends maternity session. When she found out she was pregnant she began to plan her maternity and newborn session together. And called me to help her share her new adventure with all her loved ones.

We have been friends for a long time. We met long ago when we both became mothers far sooner than planned. Immediately we became friends and we often supported each other in young single motherhood. We actually met volunteering at a youth center for young mothers, giving support and advice to other young mothers. (I’ll save those stories for another day.)

She has recently found Mr. Right, who is not just her Prince Charming, but truly her Mr. Right. She is now newly married and starting motherhood all over again, after all these years. I knew the moment she enlisted me to be the one to document this journey, I needed to make it extra special. I had visions of glamour, rich colors, femininity, and elegance. You can find the tutorial of this beautiful DIY Flower Crown HERE

So please enjoy these images of my dear friend ready to start in New Motherhood… again. She is so lovely that I just. Can’t. Even.

Once her sweet baby girl arrives, I will share the end of my creative inspirations and craftiness.

Flower Crown Maternity Session

Purple Flower Crown and Purple maternity dress

Handmade Maternity dress and Flower Crown

DIY Flower Crown

The first thing you are going to need to do is get yourself some materials. I purchased everything you see here at JoAnn’s fabric store. I have an upcoming maternity session and had a vision for dark rich colors. Deep purples and blues. And a beautiful flower crown. The mommy to be is going to have a girl so I wanted to keep the session feminine and of course glamorous. (I also made a matching dress, but you can see that after the photos are finished.) Mommy to be has me booked for the newborn session and I will be using the same color scheme for that little miss when she arrives.

DIY FLower Crown Materials

What you’ll need for this DIY Flower Crown:
1. Flowers – I used fake flowers because I am making a matching baby mini crown or tie back.
2. Some wire
3. Wire cutters – I used 4.6m wire
4. Scissors
5. Floral tape

I started by cutting the wire about 20″ in length. I came up with that using a very scientific method. I took one end of the wire, and wrapped it around my head in the shape of a crown. Then I clipped it in a very calculating manner.

I shaped the wire into a crown and pressed it against the table to flatten it out. Then I cut my flowers from their stems. For the larger flowers I cut off the entire stem. For the smaller ones I left a little room for taping.

Flower Crown Layout

Then I created a layout for the crown. Once I decided on my flowers placement, I began wiring them starting on one side.

Taping on flower arrangement

Since the little flowers had some slack to work with they were really easy to attach to the wire. And I must say, I’m not a big fan of the floral tape. Does a great job, it’s just my super grip strength that kept snapping it. Grrrr.

The larger flowers posed a different challenge. I wanted them to be somewhat flimsy so they can be moved after being placed on a head. So I decided I was going to string them on. And it worked! I used denim thread because it’s sturdier than all purpose thread. I would recommend that or embroidery thread. Then I tied the larger flowers in place and taped the thread to help stabilize the flower but still have some wiggle room.

Finishing the crowns ends.

Once I got all my flowers placed it I knew I needed to finish the ends. Obviously having that exposed cut wire is a bit of a concern and I knew I needed to keep my client crown-stab-free. After getting this far without any accidents,  I was feeling pretty strong about my crown game. I tied a knot onto the wire and positioned it up a few centimeters. I wrapped the tape around the end of the wire to make it softer. Then wrapped the tape up over the knot and then back down again to be sure the twine didn’t just pop off. And SUCCESS!

Add final touches

Then I admired my craftsmanship. I may have even worn it for awhile in pride.

Complete DIY Flower Crown

Slouchy Beanie Tutorial

Slouchy Beanie

Here is the slouchy beanie tutorial I promised! And it was so easy. You can find the pattern I printed for free HERE, by Heidi and Finn, she also has a tutorial to follow along to.


I love remnant fabrics, I get just enough to make something. And have acquired a pretty extensive collection of fabrics for a fraction of the price. So whenever I feel the need to get crafty I am sure to already have something. On the flip side, trying to find just the color or fabric I desire… ends up looking like Joann’s threw up in my living room. But I found this piece about a year ago. It is a reversible, one side pockadot and the other stripes. Black and white is pretty timeless so I knew this was perfect for this project. Since I didn’t want any seems to show when reversing it I needs to make two layers. SO you could just use two completely different fabrics. Or you could keep it simple and stick with one layer. That would cut the time put into your beanie.

Materials Needed
about 1/2 yard stretchy fabric
sewing machine
chalk to trace
printed pattern

Cut pattern

First you will need to trace your pattern your pattern twice and cut. Oh, I tweaked the original pattern and made it full length since I was making it double sided. I would recommend shortening it by about an inch though.

Sew along the sides only

You want to sew your sides, but only the sides. I added the red lines on the previous picture as an example.

then sew the center lines

Once you have your side edges down, turn it so that the center edge is now rounded.

center line example

It should look like this. Be sure that you do this for both layers. You want to also remember to have them on opposite sides when you are stitching so that your pattern changes when you are reversing it.

put right sides together

Once you have the two layers stitched you will need to put the right sides (the sides without the seem lines) together by stuffing one layer inside the other. The sew along the edge leaving a small opening.


I make sure that I match my long stitched sides together. But that part really doesn’t matter. I just think it looks cleaner in the end. Sew all along the edge, leave a small hole. I suggest back stitching when you start and when you end.

turn inside out

Using the small opening you left, turn it inside out. Now it will look really funny, just tuck one of the sides into the other. How you close that opening is up to you. I added a little patch of fabric and sewed all around it.

stripe side

pockadot side

There you have it, a completely revisable beanie! Jersey knit fabric is best for this project.
My sewing machine settings:
Tension 2
Straight stitch
Width 4

my first attempt

Here is the first attempt using the tutorial from Heidi & Finn. But then when I was almost done I didn’t want to add the headband part. So I skipped that part and then zigzag stitched it closed. The zigzag made the edge a little wonky. It’s still cute. Especially on this guy.

DIY Camera Strap Cover

finished starp cover

I have a lot of upcoming projects in the near future and I am so lucky to have one of my best and longest friends to help me. She is a complete in over your head DIY nut like me. You can see some of her amazing creations HERE. She is co-hosting/styling my very first photography workshop and we got on the topic of camera straps. And looking through them I was inspired to see if I could make one. THUS, the DIY camera strap tutorial is here! Granted, this was my first attempt and I didn’t bother measuring, ironing, properly cutting materials, etc… I just wanted to give it a quick whirl to get an idea of how complicated it could be. And I must say, although I am not in love with this one, it was pretty easy to make. So beginner level sewers out there – give it a try!

DIY camera strap materials

What you’ll need:
Fabric, 1/8 of a yard is plenty
Something cute to add to it, I used sequin ribbon (optional)
Sewing Machine
Original camera strap
Go getter attitude

cut fabric based on strap size

I just laid my camera strap next to the fabric and cut the width. Be sure to give some hem allowance. As you can see I didn’t bother using a cutter but that would certainly make this project look a lot better.

sew on sequins

Taking one side of your strap fabric add your embellishment. It could be anything, or nothing at all. There are endless options when you start to think about it. And I just chose this based on what I had lying around the house. Hashtag – HOARDINGSTATUS.

Sew on second sequin ribbon

My sequin ribbon was pretty thin so I added two rows.

place right sides together

Once you’ve got your embellishment done, place the sides you want to show together.

sew right sides together

Sew the sides closed.

finish ends

I should have thought to finish the ends prior to sewing the sides, so be sure to change up my steps for faster results.

turn inside out

Turn it inside out and slide your existing strap into the cover. Mine was a pretty snug fit but I wanted it that way so that it is less likely to slip out of place. Now I am eager to make some more polished, super cute ones!

The benefit of this cover is that it is removable and can be washed. I know I get a little sweaty when I am taking pictures. TMI

tada, finished strap