Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!

Happy Halloween to your home from ours! We had so much fun over the weekend at our annual Halloween party!  Here are some photos from the party.  

Joe and I went as Officer Mendez (AKA Pornstache!) and I went as Alex Vause from the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.  We had to much fun piecing together our costumes.  Joe's was pretty easy. I found his shirt and pants at Target, the mustache, badge and handcuffs at the local Halloween store, and his walkie talkie was one of kid's toys.  A few nights before the party I gave him a nice clean flat top and dyed his hair brown. He added some additional black spray.  For my costume I found the tan scrubs on Amazon and I already owned a pair of black doc martens.  I made a name tag using Word and clipped it on using a plastic badge that belonged to my son.  I lucked out and found a cute pair of black glasses at Target in the optical department.  Tomorrow I go in to have my eyes checked and will probably get them filled with a real prescription!  

The kids were adorable dressed up as Darth Vader, an ice cream cone, and Harry Potter!  

A few days before the party the kid's helped decorate a Halloween haunted house.  I found it at Target on sale for $4.99 and it was totally worth it to see them cooperating. 

For the party I made three desserts. The first was old fashioned popcorn balls placed in cupcake wrappers. You can find the recipe here.

I thought Rice Crispy treats would be another kid favorite so I whipped up a basic batch following the recipe on the cereal box and adding Halloween sprinkles

And these sugar cookies were my favorite to make, but I learned my lesson the hard way that I should cover them with Seran wrap after frosting them. The faces got a little smudgy.  Next time, I'll make the faces right before serving!  

For drinks I made Martha Stewart's Sangria in a glass pitcher I found at Target. It had a cute chalkboard square already on the front to add "Vampire's Blood" in chalk.  It was complete with dry ice.

The kids are here waiting for guests to arrive, enjoying Chex mix and drinks.

I didn't want to post pics of our guests for privacy reasons so I left those out, but we had a big pot luck complete with eye ball pizza, vegetarian chili, lasagna, and salad.  The kids enjoyed Halloween juice and the adults indulged in wine and sangria.  Afterwards, the kids played outside and danced inside to the fog machine.  Then they all got swings of the ghost pinata.

During our fun pinata game the fire department showed up because the kids were having too much fun with the fog machine and our smoke alarm went off.  I should have known to answer the phone afterwards or wait for the call, but instead I was snapping the photos outside of the cute kids. It all worked out for the best since the kids got to tour the fire truck and the firemen happily accepted popcorn balls from us.  Overall it was a great party.
Happy Halloween kids! Stay safe tonight!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dead and Breakfast

For the annual DIY addition to our Hallowe'en collection, we were inspired by a post on BHG for a "Dead and Breakfast" sign. However, we were fresh out of "vintage freestanding signposts", so we had to improvise. Fortunately, we happened upon a newel post at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, which would do quite nicely. (A newel post? Yes, a newel post for $5 bones.)

For the lateral beam from which our spooooooky sign would hang, I used a spare stud. I was initially going to just screw the stud into the back of the newel post, but then what's the point of owning power tools and ten spare fingers? I used my circular saw to make parallel cuts the same width of the stud, then knocked out the thin remaining slats, creating a notch that perfectly fit the stud.

See how nicely this fits? I then used a couple of 3" deck screws (it's what I had) to hold the stud in-place.

For the base, I just grabbed another spare piece of wood, a 2"x12" floor joist. I used L-brackets to connect the newel post to the joist, and my recreation "vintage freestanding signpost" was done.

I used yet another piece of scrap wood for my sign, which I cut to approximate size with my circular saw.

I then created bezier curves in Inkscape, printed them out, and traced pairs of the curves onto the sign.
I used a sharpie, just tracing and re-tracing the lines on the paper, which soaked through the paper and onto the wood enough that I could fill in the missing parts of the line onto the wood free-hand.

A couple of quick cuts with my jigsaw, and a quick sanding of the edges, and my sign was ready.

For the dangling part of the sign, I used yet ANOTHER piece of scrap, which was in the "free" pile at the Re-Store.

I followed the BHG instructions for making the paint washes. I got nervous when the 1:1 mixture of paint and water looked too thick, so watered it down further, but the wood ended up soaking up a lot of the paint, so 1:1 would have been fine.

We didn't have any transfer paper to do the letters, and I'm no artist, so the wife took over lettering duty, and applied several layers of matte finish to protect it. A couple of lengths of chain and eight eye-hooks later, the sign was assembled and ready to display!

Anyone want to stay for a visit? We have lots of room, if you dare!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween decorating

We've started the Halloween decorating, but we're only just beginning!  It's a scary site so come on inside for some Halloween fright! 

The Halloween garland I purchased from Home Goods last year adorns our kid's art hanging area. They don't mind seeing these cute pumpkins, haunted houses, ghosts and goblins hanging there.

In our kitchen we have on display our many figures from Tim Burton's "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other stories." Above the sink hangs the vintage Halloween banner from Home Goods.

Every year we hang our Trick or Treat advent calendar. Can you call it an Advent Calendar? I guess we can just call it our "Count down to Halloween Calendar" for all intents and purposes. The kids love finding three little candy corns in each pocket every day.

When I receive a Halloween card I save it and it goes on this wall in our craft room. There are some childhood Halloween photos thrown in there too.

The bookshelf in our living room has our "BOO" candle holder. He's looking more cute than frightful.

This ghost candle holder is looking rather cute as well. Perhaps we need a more frightening Halloween theme around here.

I love this big sparkly cob web. I can't remember where I found it but it goes great over this vintage gold and black frame with modern art behind it. The colors are haunting.

My china cabinet is slowly but surely being filled with Halloween china and other goodies.  Right before I took this pic my Mom and Dad sent four skeleton wine glasses. Maybe next year they will be in the photo. I also discovered a Bride of Frankenstein nut cracker up in the attic along with a whole bin of stuff I bought last year that I forgot about! Someone stop me.

I love my little black and green owl mug and my Halloween bowl from years ago that my Mom got me.

It's wouldn't be right if I didn't have a little ode to Tim Burton somewhere in the house (besides my doll's in the kitchen.) Last year it was in the bathroom, this year it's the china cabinet.

It's this monster cupcake so cute? Again, perhaps I need to be a bit more scary for Halloween?

And of course our Fireplace Mantel gets tricked out.  Most of these things I've collected over the years, but  I try to coordinate just a little. My daughter is holding her black cat she's been dragging around for days. She even put a leash on it!

I can't wait to show you the project we worked on over the weekend!  Hopefully tomorrow I can get that blog post up.

How is your Halloween house shaping up?


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Red Candy Apples

What do I do when it's Halloween time and I have too many apples in my fridge? I make scary red candy apples of course.  While my son found some good hardy sticks in our yard I whipped up the candy mixture. The recipe is below and the original idea is found here.


6 (or up to 8) Red Delicious Apples
3 cup(s) Sugar
1 cup(s) Water
1/2 cup(s) Light Corn Syrup
1/2 teaspoon(s) Cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon(s) Red Food Coloring

Remove stems and use a chop stick to make a hole for your stick. Be sure to wash your sticks before hand and air dry.
In a saucepan over high heat, with a candy thermometer attached, heat sugar, water, and light corn syrup, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Bring to a boil until mixture reaches 300 degrees F. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 tablespoon red food coloring.
To make red apples: Dip apples, one at a time, then transfer to a greased baking sheet. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
To make black apples: Add 1/4 tablespoon black food coloring to your red syrup. (If the syrup has thickened, reheat briefly.) Dip apples, one at a time, then transfer to a greased baking sheet. Let cool, about 10 minutes.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Halloween is going to soar in on bat's wings this year thanks to my new cut out bats.  I had the same thing last year, but this year my bats are even better.  Last year the bats were cut from black construction paper. This year, I got smart and made them with thick scrap book paper. Luckily I had black scrap book paper with glittered spider webs and some that were gray and black striped.  Perfect for my bat template.

I was able to get 22 bats from four pieces of scrap book paper!  I simply cut out my bat template and traced them onto the back sides of the scrap book paper and cut them out.  I used double sided scotch tape to the back to adhere them to the glass. I always like to add one piece of tape to the back underneath another piece so I can easily remove my tape and not rip the paper at the end of the month. I can reuse them that way. 

I was able to get two different size bats which make them look a bit more interesting.  And one tid bit of information, the back sides of the bats were white, but I didn't want white bats in the window, so I used some left over oil rubbed bronze spray paint and laid them on a big piece of wood in the backyard and coated them with several coats of paint.  Now the pattern is on the inside of the house and the dark side is facing out.  I wasn't sure how this would work, but on the can it says the paint can be used for crafts. I'm glad I tried it because it also gave my bats more sturdiness.

We got a big rain storm yesterday, so I'm happy these guys are taped to the inside of the windows.  And now we have lots of clean up. I really want to show you guys our new front door which is now finished, except for our wreath hook. Hopefully tonight Joe can put it on for me so I can take pics for you.  The fall weather has arrived in NC, perfect for wearing sweaters and boots.  And I made my first batch of lentil and barley soup yesterday and some home made cookies. With the pumpkin candle lit too it really feels great around here.   How do you celebrate the changing seasons?

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