Sep
01
2015
The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

We are all about Halloween here at Casa de TDC. But, we have a couple of cutie boys who are still rather young. So while this little mama likes a bit of the macabre when decorating for this festive occasion... these boys of mine still need a more toned down version of spooky decor and so I give you my latest idea and the spooky skeleton pumpkin. Spooky yet not spooky, if you know what I mean.

The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

I know these pumpkins might seem difficult or time consuming, but with one super helpful tool, this project is really easy and goes quickly.

MATERIALS //

Cream Colored Craft Pumpkins

Versa-Tool - You can use any knife or other cutting and carving tool, but the hot knife feature on this tool is amazing for this!

Black Permanent Marker

The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

Using a pencil, I lightly drew my bones on the pumpkin. This is better if it's imperfect and looks more realistic so don't worry about your drawing skills.

I thought this would work best if it looked vaguely like the bones in a hand so I drew out a series of segmented bones, each about 1 1/2 inches in length, end to end, and each looking a bit like a dog bone.

I did this down every other section of the pumpkin stripes (no idea what these are called, but I'm sure you know what I mean, right?!). I started just below the stem and stopped about 2 inches from the center of the very bottom. The larger the base of your pumpkin, the more space you leave empty at the bottom and you will see why in a minute.

The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

You won't outline your bones with your marker yet, like you see above, but this image does a better job of showing you what your bones should look like and where they should be.

The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

While you are sketching your bones onto your pumpkin carcass, you can let your versa-tool heat up because it will take a few minutes to get hot enough. While it isn't a requirement that you use this particular tool, I certainly recommend some sort of hot knife action because it makes this portion much easier and faster.

The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

When you are ready to carve your pumpkin, you will be carving the negative space between your bone stripes (seriously need to find a better description for this, but whatever). You will carve this like you are cutting melon, kind of... Start at the base of your stem alongside one side of one of your bone stripes and carve down along that edge making sure to curve in and out with the edges of your bones. You won't carve in between them and instead you will just indent a little bit at the base of each bone and then curve back out at the top of the next. Continue to carve in and out all the way down to the base of your last bone. You will stop carving after you curve in slightly at the base of the last bone in your stripe and then remove your knife and move back up to the top where you began.

Starting from your starting point you will carve over along the base of your stem till you reach the top of the first bone in the next bone stripe. Continue carving that edge of that bone stripe until you get to the bottom edge of the bottom bone and then remove your knife and bring it up to the opposite side of the top edge of the top bone in your strip. Carve down that edge, stopping at the bottom and then bridge the gap just as you did before by starting at your starting point and carving along the stem until you get to the top edge of the next bone stripe. Do this all the way around.

Once you have finished this, you will flip your pumpkin and work on the bottom. You will finish off your carving by treating the bottom just as you did the top and start at your end point on one edge of your bone stripe. Carve over the gap till you get to the edge of the next bone stripe. Then remove your knife and move to the opposite side of that bone stripe and carve over the gap until you reach the opposite edge of the next bone stripe. Do this all the way around until you have created something of a base between your bone stripes. Re-cut any sections that need a bit more cutting and then carefully pop out your pumpkin slices.

The Design Confidential DIY // Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins

You can clean up the edges anywhere where things look a tad crazy, then using your permanent marker, outline each individual bone in your bone stripes. Add an led candle or some creepy spiders if you like and call this beauty done!

To kick off fall in your own home, visit Michaels.com and check out the variety of craft pumpkins available – there are more colors, shapes and sizes than you can imagine! If you’re looking for something a little bit different, Michaels recently started selling these fun half pumpkins, perfect for a fall décor wall mount version of this project or any other fall project! Love!

Note

This project brought to you in partnership with Michaels and as part of my ongoing partnership with Michaels as a Michaels Maker! Thank you for supporting the fab folks who help bring new a spooky projects like this to The Design Confidential. Heart you guys!!

An InLinkz Link-up

Aug
29
2015
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

I mentioned a while back I would be partnering with Bernzomatic to bring you guys a new project each month and would be working to develop my metal working skill-set... I am pretty excited to share today's project because I really put those skills to the test and learned so very much in the process. The result is a fabulous shiny new solution for the mess that is our entryway... especially during the colder months, which we are about to enter (4 months from now).

Let's get real for a minute - I was terrified about using this torch, and I have actually used a torch many times before. You see, I took a metalsmithing class in college and I loved it so very much, but everything was set up in a space that was used exclusively for working with fire and acid and all of those crazy things that sound terrifying to use in my own home and those torches used a manual striker to light so much harder and a lot more scary. I mean, eek, right? But I set up a work space that felt safe and took a few extra precautions that in hindsight were probably a tad much, but you can never be too safe when you are playing with fire so I am glad I did. Turns out there was nothing to worry about and jumping back on that bike was a cake walk. They say most things come back to you, just like riding a bike, and this was true for soldering... though I am fairly certain I have actually forgotten how to ride a bike, so who knows. Also, the new and improved torches have an easy on / off trigger so you don't have to start the gas and then spark it with a striker, so that alone makes this sooooo much better.

So I will walk you through the steps for this project and a few of my tips for getting started with soldering and torch work because... that is the part you are likely to be nervous about at first. Promise it's so much easier than it seems!

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Here are the supplies you will need for this project. Keep in mind that the techniques here will work for any variation so feel free to make your fabulous creation if you prefer that!

MATERIALS //

Copper Pipe - 1" x 2 feet

Copper Pipe - 1/2" x 5 feet

8 - 1/2" Copper Pipe Caps

Pipe Cutter

Drill Bits with 1/2" Bit

Bernzomatic TS8000 Self Igniting Torch Head

Sanding Cloth

Metal Files

Safety Glasses / Outdoor

Gloves

Ceiling Hook

Nylon String

Soldering Kit //

Bernzomatic Plumbing Kit - I purchased this kit and used it with the torch head listed above, but if you prefer to purchase the pieces individually, they are listed below.

Individual Kit Pieces //

Map-Pro or Propane

Flux

Solder

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Safety is extremely important when you are playing with fire... so be sure to wear gloves, goggles and glasses to shield yourself from debris and burns. You will also need at least 2 drill bits - one small bit like 5/64" and one 1/2" larger bit that are appropriate for metal. A center punch is also extremely helpful when you are drilling metal, so your bit doesn't slip or twirl, but if you don't have one, any screw with a nice tap from a hammer in the center of where you plan to drill your hole will also help.

Let's get to work! Start by laying out where your pegs will go on your 1 inch pipe. I chose to put two holes per side and 4 approximate sides for a total of 8 holes. I varied the locations on each side for an organic look. Use a small piece of your 1/2" pipe to trace a hole in each of these 8 locations on your 1 inch pipe.

You can cut your 1/2 inch pegs to length using your pipe cutter. You will need //

3 - at 7 inches

3 - at 5 inches

2 - at 3 inches

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

I gave each future hole a tap with a screw and then used the smallest bit in my assortment to drill a tiny pilot hole. You probably won't drill all the way through, so watch the pressure you apply as you are drilling or you will go all the way through whether you want to or not.

Once I had my pilot hole drilled, I switched to my large 1/2" bit and opened the hole up quite a bit.

Then use your rounded metal file to give it more room and to smooth it out so your pegs will fit nicely. You can do a dry fit to make sure you are on the right path.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Once you are finished cutting your pegs and drilling / filing your holes, you will want to prep your surfaces for soldering. This means you need to clean the area where the joint will be and you need to clean both your pegs as well as the large 1" pipe, in and around all of your holes.

You will do this using your sanding cloth and you can simply wrap it around the ends of your pipe and sand (clean) until it shines. For your 1 inch pipe, sand inside your holes and the entire area around each hole. Try not to touch or dirty these prior to soldering. If it's helpful to do each peg as you go along then that works as well - I found it easiest to set up for soldering both pegs along one side at the same time. Which reminds me, it might be helpful to decide how you want to arrange your various sizes of pegs around your pipe. I never put two of the same size on the same side and tried to think about what we might be hanging up (hats, scarves, jackets) so that I could figure out my arrangement. Obviously having a sweater hanging above a hat is tricky so put that shorter hat peg on top, or on a different side from your longer pegs.

// You will also need to set up your work space. I found it easiest to work on concrete and set my pipe on two pavers that were standing up on end. You will want to have a bucket of water nearby - just in case - or if you are outside, you can use your hose. If you are working near flammable materials - move them or your work area - and if you have plants, trees, or mulch that might catch fire, you should give your surrounding area a good hosing before you get started.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

After you clean with your sanding cloth, you will apply your paste flux to the end of the peg that will sit down into your hole and the area around the hole as well as the edges of your hole. Use the silver brush that comes with your flux do this and then move your flux and brush away from the area where you plan to work.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Your Torch Head will screw onto your Map-Pro or Propane tank easily and there are directions for setting things up in the torch head package. Follow those directions and you should have no problem! Basically, you will begin with your torch head and tank separated, make sure your trigger on your torch head is set to the off position, then turn your valve clockwise all the way so that it is shut off. Then attach your torch head to your tank and tighten by hand. I will note that I didn't quite understand where the trigger was - not sure why this little fact was over my head - but just in case you are blonde like I am... the trigger is the same button you turn in the on and off position (the only one so you can't miss it). Once your tank is attached, you will simply open your valve all the way, then turn your trigger to the on position and when you are ready, press your trigger to ignite. It all works so smoothly and easily that you will absolutely love it once you realize it really isn't scary at all and the process is a cake walk. No guessing or difficult steps.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

With your flux applied and your flame lit - you will now actually begin to solder. You want to hold your torch in one hand and your solder in the other for the easiest manner of handling things. You should have a decent portion of your solder unrolled and extending away from the remainder so you can easily let it do it's thing without burning your hand.

Start by heating your joint. You will want to heat the area evenly all around your joint rather than heating your solder directly. Since your peg will sit down into your hole, you will heat your peg and the 1 inch pipe in the immediate vicinity. Keep your flame moving and you will start to see the flux begin to bubble a bit, this takes a few seconds or more and you can then see if your solder will run.

To do this, remove your flame from the area and let go of the trigger so it stops. Then touch the end of your solder to the joint and you will know you have heated the area enough if when you touch your solder to the joint, it runs easily into the joint and looks a bit like liquid. If you touch your solder to the area and nothing happens, you will need to heat it a tiny bit more so you will remove your solder, then ignite your flame again by pressing the trigger and heat your joint by keeping that flame moving evenly over the area you are working. When you are ready to try again, let go of your trigger and remove your torch while you touch your solder to the joint with your other hand. It should flow beautifully right down into your hole and will run around the edges. It's so utterly gratifying. Promise!

// It may not make it all the way around so you will likely need to let it cool, and once it does apply another round of flux, then heat the joint and finish it off with your solder. Just try to avoid directly heating the area you have already soldered or it may run or overheat and ball up a bit, leaving you with yet another area that isn't soldered.

It will take a bit of practice with how much heat you need and in controlling your solder, but not to worry because those colorful heated areas and messy solder can all be fixed!

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

If you have an area that has a large clump of solder, you can give it just a little bit of heat and it will run just enough to flatten out a bit. It will likely run down onto your pipe, but that is far easier to deal with than a huge clump that needs to be filed down.

For everything else, use your rounded file to smooth out the solder around your joints. You can see above one that I filed to fix a big run and clump versus one that hasn't been filed yet.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Finish off your piece by sanding the entire thing with your sanding cloth. This will remove the colorful sections and any crazy marks from filing your solder. Try to work it in a uniform way so that it looks more perfect ultimately. I chose to sand in an up and down manner and as you can see above it turned out beautifully!

Clean everything off with soapy water or a water and vinegar mix and then add your caps to the ends of your pegs. Drill your holes at the top for hanging, using a medium sized drill bit (maybe a bit smaller than 1/4") and for this one you can drill all the way through. Now you simply need to string it up and hang from your ceiling hook! Yahoo

Note

This awesome-sauce project was created in partnership with Bernzomatic and is part of an ongoing series between that fabulous company and The Design Confidential! Yahoo. All crazy talk and opinions are 100% my own... you know - as per the usual. 

Aug
21
2015
The Sound of My Mornings // A Few of My Favorite Podcasts

With school back in session, my mornings just got a little more chaotic and a lot more difficult. Why is it so hard to get out the door with young children? Is it just as difficult with girls as it is for boys, and is it difficult with most boys or just my boys? I haven't a clue... but I can tell you that where my little men are concerned, it is next to impossible to make it out of the house without being completely and utterly frustrated with one or both of them at least 1800 times. This is of course a mild exaggeration, but the circumstances are not and it leaves the potential for us to begin our day on something of a bad note, which is not my fave. Those of you who are expert in the mom guilt department like I am, can probably relate.

Blake is an early riser and so am I, which means that we don't have to worry about an alarm to wake us or having to get out of bed when all we really want to do is sleep. I would say these are likely the more common things that most kids and adults have to contend with each day, so realistically we should have that going for us. You would think that having plenty of time to wake up at your leisure and get ready for the day would be a great recipe for success and yet somehow it doesn't seem to be. So I started to think about what happens in the course of our mornings and where things tend to go awry. While I still don't completely understand my gorgeous babe, I did manage to come up with a few things that I know make him happy and energized so I set out to change the sound of our mornings and this gorgeous and smarty arty Aether Cone has been a major help.

The Sound of My Mornings // A Few of My Favorite Podcasts

While music may seem like an obvious choice for changing the mood of our mornings, it is helpful only to set the initial tone of things. After we hear some of the boys faves, which seem to revolve around Minecraft themed remakes at the moment, music seems to become a bit too exciting and keeps us from getting through our morning tasks in any kind of reasonable way... and so it's then that we switch gears and venture into the world of Podcasts. This has become the perfect way to get those wheels turning and keep their attention just enough to keep them from straying into the danger zone of crazy that is always lurking around every turn, but not so much that they aren't able to get fed, dressed, washed and out the door. Those of you with kids know what I mean...

These are some of my current faves to listen to with the boys //

STUFF YOU MISSED IN HISTORY CLASS // I happen to love history, but it wasn't always so.. I think this is true for many kids and this podcast gives interesting tidbits about topics you never learned in school about the people and places you did. A great way to get your kiddos interested in subjects that might otherwise seem blah.

THIS AMERICAN LIFE // A weekly public radio show and a staple on our list of 'must listen' podcasts. From Investigations to Storytelling, this show never disappoints. The House on Loon Lake is wonderful and a great one to start with.

THE NAKED SCIENTISTS // The name alone is an attention grabber for my boys and the subjects are perfect for young kiddos who are serious thinkers. With topics like 'Do Dogs Understand People' and 'Does a Frozen Body Shatter', this is bound to teach you something new about the things you always wonder in your head but don't usually say out loud.

STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW // Exploring everything from Stonehenge to Earwax and what's the deal with crop circles.... Awesome!

RADIO LAB // A wildly diverse series of topics covered in a way that makes snake poop interesting to someone other than an 8 year old boy. Fascinating! My recent fave is Patient Zero

TED RADIO HOUR // I love to watch the TED Talks, and this is equally riveting even without the visual portion.

The Sound of My Mornings // A Few of My Favorite Podcasts

Once my day actually begins, which is usually after Blake is out the door for school, I like to listen to music or podcasts while I work and dabble at playing the role of Mama Bird. Since Penn still has a few more years before he starts to have an opinion on things like this, I can listen to some of the more adult podcasts when he is present - which I love. My days are so varied and might have me in the office, or a particular room that is the focus of one project or another, but the one thing that is constant is that I juggle many things at once - always. I love the fact that I can set a timer on the Aether Cone so that even if I am completely caught up in a project or a story, I won't forget about something I put in the oven and I don't have to stay within earshot of the kitchen to know when that something is finished. I even bring my Aether Cone in while I soak in the bath so I can listen in relative silence to whatever I want!

These are a few of my current faves //

THE MOTH // Wildly entertaining and I can't recommend this enough. With thousands of true stories told live in front of a live audience, ranging from emotional and heartfelt to wondrous and hysterical, all of them are entirely relatable and so completely interesting.

THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR // Brilliant and funny - this is done in the format of an old timey radio show and has different guests that you know and love become part of the show each week. Love.

SERIAL // If you didn't jump on the Serial bandwagon - you missed the boat my friends. Luckily the boat never actually left the dock so you can jump on board anytime you like and trust when I say - you should run not walk to your phone and search for this podcast. Compelling and will keep you hanging every step of the way. You will be sad when you get to the end... not to worry though it will be back with a new season this fall.

UNDISCLOSED // A continuation of the case covered in Serial and one I am just now checking out - this aims to be pretty interesting and for those of you who were left with emptiness after Serial, perhaps a great place to pick up the trail.

I have been dabbling with a few others, but I won't give you a report back on those just yet... What have you been listening too? Anything you love so very much?

Note

I was provided with an Aether Cone as part of my maniacal plan to reign in these crazy children of mine... but all opinions and this new found obsession are entirely my own! Thank you cute people for tuning in and supporting the brands that help bring fresh new content like this to The Design Confidential.

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