Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My first ever Halloween "mantel"

We have no fireplace, and therefore no mantel (in my next house, I swear...)   BUT, I do have a super large piano.  It was free and eventually I'd like me and the kids to take lessons (and I swear I'm gonna paint it, someday)... but in the meantime, it just kind of sits here; out of tune and... well, large.  I've never really changed up the decor on top, but now that it's front and center in our living room (we rearranged things a bit) I realized it was the perfect place to decorate for the holidays.

For my first Halloween mantel, I created:

And guess what.  I did it without buying a thing.  These are all common (or very inexpensive) Halloween decorations you may already have coupled with various decor items I've collected from thrift stores. 

Want to create a similar look?  I'll tell you how I did it!

Firstly, the centerpiece here is really the Bone Wreath I made, which is set up on an easel so I didn't have to put any holes in the wall.  
I kept to a black, white, orange and green color scheme, with some natural browns in the old leather and wood elements.

1.  I'll likely use my spray painted chevron vases for most holiday decor - I purposely used white so they'd go with any holiday.  In one I put a bunch of mini "human" skulls.
2. To go along with the quotes I created and printed out, I set out my antique leather bound Complete Works of Shakespeare.  The bottom book is a bible, but I think it looks like an old grammereye.  I bound them with green and white twine.
3.  I wrapped a few of my large books with drawing paper and washi tape in lime, black, white and orange.  I stacked the bone wreath on top of them.
4.  This huge frog was obviously the victim of a curse... likely a rival witch from a different coven.  Plus, it brought in the green color nicely.
5.  Here's another chevron vase.  I wrapped some styrofoam balls in black yarn and put them in.  I had two of the green frames - they are actually black shelves I bought at Hobby Lobby a long time ago, I just sprayed them green and used them for height and interest.  Then, obviously, I had to add another full size human skull and a rat.  Very witchy.
6.  Got this wire basket at a thrift store - I used it for my snack basket at first.  I put in some black wool and lace fabric and added yet another skull and a green apple.
7.  My very favorite witch quote from Macbeth.  I created a printable and framed in with an old frame I spray painted.
8.  I stacked the frame on a mini wood crate which I spray painted orange.  I had three glass votive holders so I placed a spider in each and stacked them up.
9.  Got this tiny wood cage at the thrift store.  I'm not sure what this witch was keeping in there, but she obviously already used it in a spell.
10.  A prized poison apple preserved nicely in a cloche for later use. *insert evil cackle*

I brought in the orange with a few mini pumpkins in the last chevron vase and a small pumpkin down on the lower part of the piano.  There were a few other witch quotes from MacBeth that I really like, so I printed those out too and displayed them down below.

 And there you have it.  All the elements you need for a very witchy mantle.  

Oh, yes.  I almost forgot.  If you're looking for something easy to quickly pop up to round out your Halloween display, I've got you covered.  Here are some Halloweeny printables for you to use in your witch-related decor!  

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stealing Ideas. Again.

Here's the "tutorial" for that sneak peek I gave you last week.  

Wish I could take credit for this easy, cute, Halloweeny idea, but that would be a complete lie.  I actually saw it on Delia Creates a few years ago.  This is yet another project I did last year and am just posting now...

I'm sure you've already figured it out.  You get some spiders...  mine were extra large, large and small (ring sized), which I got at Walmart, Walmart and the dollar store respectively.

And, as I'm sure you've figured out, all you need are spiders, a hot glue gun and some magnets!

I used the bigger round magnets (which were stronger) for the big spiders and the roll of magnet tape that you cut to size for the smaller spiders.

Completely creepy and something the kids can help you with.  Bug thinks these are especially cool and loves putting them in different positions.  I'm not a fan of spiders, but I'll put aside my fears for these fun guys!

(on a totally unrelated note, do you know how hard it is to type when holding a baby??)

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The past 10 days...

Well, that was an unexpected break.  I feel like there're bound to be more of those right now as I try to adjust to three kids instead of two and doing the whole newborn thing again.  (Not that he'll be "newborn" for long... he's already almost 6 weeks!)

In any case, I have been doing stuff.  Stuff I want to show you.  It just might take me a bit to get it on here.

The past 10 days have been somewhat of a blur as I try to shop for Halloween costume pieces, fail miserably, and end up making them.

There's more where that came from.

There has also been a fair amount of this, no lying.

And, unfortunately, this (since of course all three WOULD get sick at the same time...)

A little of this, too.  

(I actually did a Halloween "mantle" this year!)

Oh, and more of this.

Anyway, there are things to come.  Hold on to your seats.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Friday, October 18, 2013

and more washi tape...

Because, quite frankly, I have an illness.  Washiitis.  And I also make a lot of garlands.

This project was also from last year, so please excuse the less than stellar photos.  This is a really straight forward (read: EASY) craft to do.

First, I laid washi tape down on some card stock in candy corn order, overlapping the pieces of tape a bit.  Then I cut out some rounded triangles.  I used my crop-a-dile to punch little holes - two in the orange layer, right across from each other.  I threaded the triangles onto twine, going through the back to the front, and knotted the twine behind each hole so the candy corn wouldn't slide around.  And that was it.  Done!

Perhaps worth mentioning as well - I didn't have yellow striped baker's twine, so I made my own by wrapping plain twine around a cutting board I use for crafts and drawing lines with a yellow sharpie.

Then I had to find all kinds of places to hang it, since I made a ton.

You can find the tutorial for that super easy $5 framed "chalkboard" here.  

And of course, there's another sneak peek...

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I swear, I thought of this last year.

You can tell I'm not lying because my house is different now... there's no white cupboard by the back door anymore and the piano is in the living room now, not the dining room.  See?  See???  I'm not just a copycat!

Ok, now that that's over... you've doubtless seen the washi tape pumpkins around pinterest and the like.  These little mini pumpkins were a quick project I threw together for Halloween last year.  The kids "helped."  Don't you love it when you feel like you have a totally original cute idea, but you don't have time to blog about it, and it's a seasonal thing so you can't just throw it up in the middle of summer because that would be weird and so you decide to save it for the same holiday next year and THEN blog about it but by the time you get to it the next year someone else has already taken the same idea and flown with it and you're left in the shadows looking like someone who just steals ideas?  Yeah, me too!

I used the tiny pumpkins you can get in a bag of like 8 at the grocery store.  The super skinny black tape and the mesh looking tape you see in the picture below aren't actually washi tape, but some kind of marking tape for... artists?  architects?  I don't know.  It's something my artist sister found and gave to me.

So, obviously there's no real tutorial here.  You just put the tape on in different designs.  I made little flags on some of the stems.  Then I set them out in little vignettes.  A few on the cupboard, a few on the piano...

over by the front door...

Here are the kids' creations.  Let me tell you, it was hard to let them have free reign with my precious "fancy tape"...

And this here is my favorite from the batch.

Washi tape is so much more readily available now, you can stock up for fairly inexpensive and find some that's great for Halloween... they even have three different brands at Walmart!  Scotch, 3M, and the Walmart generic variety!  Or you can get a pack of 4 at Target.  So you aren't out of luck if there's no JoAnns or Archivers near you and you don't want to pay for shipping.  

Also, you can see a sneak peek of the next tutorial I'm sharing up in the photos!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Monday, October 14, 2013

When I was your age...

When I signed up to take treats to bug's 4K class Halloween party last year, little did I know the rules and regulations I'd face.  Remember when you brought your favorite homemade cupcakes to share with your class on your birthday?  Remember the little ghost suckers you passed out and the chocolate covered rice krispie treat "birds nests" with jelly bean eggs you brought for the "Spring" party?  Remember helping your mom coat the puppy chow (which you might know as muddy buddies?) with powdered sugar by shaking the chocolate and peanut butter covered cereal in a big paper grocery bag?

Oh, not so any longer, my friends!  Snack now have to be healthy!  I'd heard of this phenomenon before... schools becoming more accountable for the health of students.  I know, I know, there's that whole obesity epidemic.  I'm not saying I'm opposed to healthy snacks.  Totally the opposite.  I'd just like to be able to take those little oreo-eyed owls or oreo and licorice spiders  or cupcakes decorated like cupcakes once in a while... you know?
Then, of course, there was the kicker.  Not only did the treats have to be healthy, they also had to be send to school in the original UNOPENED PACKAGING from the STORE.  Seriously?  Seriously.  What the heck do you do for that?  Bring a bag of pre-sliced apples that cost an arm and a leg?  Lame.

My solution?

Approximately 30 of these guys.

This seemed about as crafty as I could get while not breaking the rules.  I got the Dole diced peaches and mandarin oranges on sale AND used a coupon too, so they were actually pretty affordable.  All I needed then was a black sharpie...

and voila!  jack o lanterns!

I'll probably resurrect this idea in a few weeks for his kindergarten class.  

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why I should never, EVER, be in photos.

AKA, my impromptu maternity shoot.

Seriously, guys.  I should NEVER be in photos.  Especially not on purpose.  But, about a month before I was due, I remembered this post from Delia and became inspired.  I did not take monthly belly shots with this pregnancy.  And I'd never had a "maternity" shoot before.
Add in a little early birthday present for myself (a remote for my DSLR!  When I learned how inexpensive they were I treated myself!) and I figured I needed to document this occasion.  I did mean to blog about it before the baby was actually born, but you know how it goes...

Another good reason to document this: I only gained a total of 11 pounds!  Seriously!  This is a far cry from my first, when I gained 50 pounds, or my second, when I gained 45.  

So, even though I was totally self conscious posing by myself all along in my backyard, I'm glad I've got some photos from this period of my life.

If for no other reason than now when I get that little urge (about a year from now...) for another little bundle, I can look at these and remember how sick I was and how awful I felt.

Just kidding.  I mean, I was.  But you know I know it was worth it.  Right?  

I was asked on multiple occasions if I was sure it wasn't twins.  Which is nothing new.  I got this with the other two kids as well.  I would like to know what possesses people to say things like that... "Hey.  I bet she doesn't realize that she's as big as a whale right now.  What if I ask her how many bodies she's hiding in there - that oughta make her feel better!"

I call this my model face:

And just so you know, these are the best of the best.  I took advice from the experts and took about 600 photos, planning on weeding through and having a bunch to choose from... So very sad that these were literally the only somewhat useable ones I managed.  What a downer.  I should have had my sister do the shoot for me...

Here's the ultrasound picture that had me worried my child would come out looking like a Peanuts character - most likely Linus.

And for your amusement - here are some super awesome outtakes you don't want to miss.

I truly can take a decent photo.  I swear.  Just not of myself.

camera - Nikon d3100 (user-friendly, lots of options, I love it!)
camera remote - Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote (like this one) (easy to set up, easy to use, I'm still getting the hang of using it DISCREETLY)
Editing - all editing done on picmonkey - I have their Premium membership (even though I swore I wouldn't pay for it, I broke down) and I think it's worth it!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!
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