Simplified Halloween Decor

homemade halloween decoration

My daughter loves all those sparkly- glittery Styrofoam pumpkins in the stores.

But my inner environmentalist only sees a heap of plastic that has to be packed up and stored somewhere for the other 11 months of the year.

Store- bought- sparkly- pumpkin- request: denied.

She didn’t throw a fit.

she didn’t beg.

she didn’t cry.

She got creative.

She made a beeline for her art supplies and made one herself out of a real pumpkin that will eventually decompose back into the earth.  (Whew)

Along with a hearty dose of glitter.

My 5 year old can’t type yet, but if she could this would be her Sparkly Pumpkin Making Tutorial:

You just paint the pumpkin your favorite color, then you hold it by the stem and sprinkle the glitter all over everywhere.

But make sure you sprinkle glitter on a piece of big paper so it doesn’t get on the floor.

Easy Halloween Decoration

I am shedding tears of pride.

When life hands you DIY scraps, make a lemonade stand

A lemonade stand is like a rite of passage for a kid. I always thought lemonade stands were kind of symbolic of the great American Dream; an opportunity to pursue happiness and prosperity…the ability we all possess to turn lemons into lemonade.

My kids found a photo of a $200.00 prebuilt lemonade stand in a magazine. Grandiose toys like these have a way of taking on a new life as a really expensive clothes rack. And I don’t need a really expensive clothes rack, so I put this one together using some old wooden crates, a piece of scrap wood and some craft papers.

Supplies for the stand:

4 wooden crates (AC Moore has them, and they go on sale every few weeks)

Wood glue

Staple gun

Clamps (if you have them)

Piece of scrap wood, cut to size

2 screws and bolts

I made this basic “stand”, which can be easily adapted to suit an assortment of different pretend activities such as lemonade stands, ice cream shops, tool benches and farmers markets. I made the stand very simple, so that it can be re-used as a storage center when not in use.

 

1. Glue the crates together with a heavy-duty wood glue. Clamp or weigh them down to let dry.

glue happy!

2.  staple them together. (Make sure the staples are long enough to go through both crates.

3. Place the top piece of scrap wood on top. ( I had a piece of white particle board that I used).

4. Pre-drill holes and secure to the top of the crates. You could use glue here, too.

I made a few different signs out of a cereal box, some scrapbook paper and a pipe cleaner.

 

Convert it to an Ice Cream Shop!

I got the idea to use pom-poms for ice cream from www.smallpotatoes.com

 

When they are done playing with it, it can be used as a storage shelf. I keep mine on the deck for outside toys.

 

A Laid-back Approach to Printing Linens

There are some activities that are perfectly suited for keeping the hands busy and the mind quiet. Like knitting; the meditative, therapeutic effect of repetitively wrapping and twisting yarn around two little sticks. Unfortunately, after many attempts and a failed stint at a knitting group, I am just not a knitter. I did, however,  find my true peace with my exacto knife. I could sit for hours, carving out the most intricate and microscopic lines without even glancing at a clock.

Are you a knitter or a carver?

You know those kitchen linens that are always featured in home design magazines that are so gorgeous and elegant, yet so impractical because you probably wouldn’t want to wipe spaghetti sauce on such a beautifully designed $32 dollar tea towel?  Well, I love those towels! So I make them myself, and you can, too!

There are many different methods for printing fabric, all of which I will write about in time. This one, using freezer paper is one of my favorites because 1. I get to use my exacto knife and 2. It’s pretty darn easy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Fabric Paint (Martha Stewart has a nice new line of fabric paint available at Michaels)

Exacto knife with very sharp blade

Freezer paper

Light colored cotton fabric, tea towel or dinner napkin, washed and ironed

Iron

Step one. Using a pencil, trace your design onto a sheet of freezer paper (shiny side down). Don’t have a design? Here’s a PDF of mine, feel free to print it out and copy.

Step two. Using your exacto knife, carve out the areas that will be painted.

Step 3. Place your freezer paper stencil on top of the fabric, shiny side down.  Using a medium hot iron, iron over the paper. It will adhere to the fabric pretty fast. Once the whole paper is adhered on, you are ready to paint.

Step 4.  Painting time! Add a few drops of water to the paint to thin it out a bit. Since we are painting a piece of fabric that will be used in the kitchen, we want it to have a softer feel. If the paint is too thick, it will get hard and crunchy. I used a sponge to paint, but you could use a paintbrush or even your fingers.

Step 5. After the paint is completely dry, peel the freezer paper away from the fabric. Now we want to “set” the paint using a hot iron. If you skip this step, the paint will fade after it is washed a few times. So get your hot iron and a piece of scrap fabric. Lay the scrap of fabric over the painted design and press with a hot iron for about 3 minutes, circle it around a bit over the design, so it doesn’t scorch the fabric. Or set it on fire. We don’t want any fires.

Now you have a designer towel!

Up-cycled Picture Frames- A New Way to Display Kids Artwork

My husband and I made a pact when we bought our first house that we would never clutter up our refrigerator with piles of kids artwork.  We lived happily with our shiny polished fridge up until my daughter turned 3. Then it happened. The first day of Preschool. She leaves the house in the morning with a (hopefully) clean shirt and a grin and returns home with a stained shirt and a bag of art projects that she wants to display on the fridge.

I simply cannot deny my 3-year-old the proud honor of having her artwork displayed on the fridge. So now every time I open the fridge, which totals about 187 times a day, paintings of rainbows and butterflies fly across the kitchen. Not one square inch of refrigerator remains visible. Only by sheer memory am I able to locate the door handle to open it.

A few weeks ago, my mom passed down a pile of old wooden picture frames that were stacked in the attic. Now, they are a functional alternative to display the kids artwork. And now I can open and close the fridge 187 times a day without rainbow paintings fluttering across the room.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Large wooden picture frame (Base of frame must be made out of wood)

Eye hook screws (at least 4)

Paint & paintbrush

Clothespins or paper clips

Kitchen twine or mason string

Pliers

Step 1. Prep frame. Remove glass and picture. If there are staples along the inside of the frame, remove them with pliers.

Step 2. Paint frame. Be sure to turn the frame over and paint the inside edge, where the staples were removed. This piece will be visible when completed.

Step 3. Screw eye-hooks on both sides of the frame. Depending on the size of your frame, you can make several rows.

Step 4. String your twine through the eye hook and tie at the opposite end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once completed, hang artwork, birthday cards, holiday cards or invitations up with clothespins or paperclips.

 Now open your fridge. Isn’t that better?