Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Of course I procrastinated making the Cake a Month until the last day...and boy was it a doozey!  While I was making my 30th crepe, I definitely thought to myself - "self, what the heck are you doing?"  But thankfully the results of this crazy tower of power were worth it!  You can get the recipe here.

The best part was making the candied hazelnuts for the topping.  They turned out so well and were so easy that I'm sure I'll use this technique again for another cake topping!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Countdown to Halloween...1

I saw this in the background of a magazine and thought it was a great idea - making bat specimens out of craft paper and framing it as Halloween art for your wall!

I found an old frame and quickly painted it black, letting some of the old white paint show through.
Then my hubby dC made a bat stencil for me to trace.  I traced it onto Halloween colored paper scraps.
For the printed paper, I typed Halloween words over and over and printed it on plain white paper.
Once the paper bats were cut out, I glued flat tacks on their backs.
Then I covered a piece of cardboard almost the same size as the frame with burlap.
 I then tacked the bats in place and slightly bent their wings forward.
To let the bats have room for their wings, I glued the cardboard to the outside of the frame's back.
Lastly I glued a satin black ribbon in place to hang it from!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Countdown to Halloween...2

The number one easiest craft that I discovered this year is the cheesecloth spiderweb.  It couldn't get any easier and I'm sure most of you have one laying around somewhere!  You can use it for a table covering, cover it with spiders and use it as a shawl...then wash it and use it as a cheesecloth come Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Countdown to Halloween...3

If you know me at all, you know that I like to decorate with white in my kitchen.  So when white pumpkins come out for the year, I get very excited!  I see glittered pumpkins everywhere and couldn't help but want to make one myself!  Though a little time consuming, the actual act of making a glittered pumpkin is very easy!

Grab your glitter, paint brush, glue, your favorite pumpkin and get to town!

1.  Dilute your glue (I used Elmer's) with a little water so that it glides on the surface of your pumpkin easily.

2.  Doing 1/3 of the pumpkin at a time, coat the pumpkin with glue (on a protected surface, because this gets messy!) and cover the pumpkin generously with glitter.  I used a very fine white glitter and then topped the pumpkin off with an iridescent glitter as well.

3.  Knock off the excess and let that section dry before going on to the next!  Do not hold your pumpkin by it's stem - you could easily break it off and be left with a stem-less pumpkin!

If you have the gumption to do several - knock yourself out!  One was plenty for me and my decorating this year!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Countdown to Halloween...4

The blogger world is covered with homemade cake stands these days...since going out and buying them anymore will cost you an arm and a leg, people are trying to find ways to create the same look for cheap!  So for about $3 I made a black cake stand that has become a staple in my Halloween decor.

All I did was take a wooden candle stick and a round wooden plaque, glue them together using wood glue and then spray painted them back!  Super easy!  Though it's a cake stand it's not food safe, due to the paint, but a piece of parchment will do the trick.

Thanks to my hubby for the Photoshop work on my pics!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Countdown to Halloween...5

Today's project is one that I've wanted to do for many years.  I saw it in a Martha Stewart magazine back in October of 2004, but wasn't much of a thrift store sifter, until more recently when my husband dC turned me on to finding all kinds of cool stuff for cheap!  Thus began my hunt for box cheese graters to make what I call Kitchen Nightmare!

You can use tea lights, or as I did here a small string of Christmas lights to illuminate all of the fun shapes that the graters can cast on your walls!  Some of the box graters I found were pretty new looking, so I painted them black with chalkboard paint to keep them in silhouette.  I even found a black collinder that looked great with my collection!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Countdown to Halloween...6

There is less than a week left until Halloween so I will be counting down each day by sharing one of my favorite Halloween projects from this year!

Today's craft is the Electrical Tape spider web!  I saw this over at The Party Dress and just knew I had to try it our on one of the many white pitchers I had been collecting for my kitchen.

It's very simple, costs nothing, and will transform any plain white (or clear) object you have into a fun Halloween decoration!

Take black electrical tape and cut it into thin long and short strips - sticking the long for the vertical stripes and the short for the horizontal ones, following the basic shape of a spider web.  That's it!!!  I've used this as a punch pitcher at parties as well as a flower pot this year and can't wait to cover more objects to make a set!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DIY Halloween Placecards

After Christmas, Halloween is my next favorite holiday.  I've been coveting the vintage Halloween look for years and decided this time to create some of my own.  I got the inspiration for the pumpkin in the 2011 Holiday Crafts magazine from Better Homes and Gardens, but used my imagination to create the others!  I'm by no means a sculptor, but it gives me an adult version of Play-Do when Fender and I play!

Here's what you'll need:
aluminum foil
air dry clay (I like Papercraft)
24 gauge wire in black
18 gauge wire in silver
acrylic paints in orange, brown, black and white

Roll the foil into a ball - you can do any size you want, but I did about a golf-ball size since it needs to be small enough for table decor.

Then cover the foil in a thin layer of clay.  You need to roll it around in your hands a lot to make it smooth.  If any foil starts showing, you can just cover it up with a bit more clay.
For the pumpkin add a stem at the top
Using the cap of a sharpie make two eyes
Then with a toothpick carve out a nose.  After you've carved it, you can use your toothpick to smooth it down by pressing the side of the toothpick into the lines you've dug out.
Carve out the mouth, making large teeth.  Press down the lines with the side of your tooth pick to smooth them out.  But the more rustic looking now the more vintage looking it will be in the end.
Add details to the eyes and stem.  I used a Bic pen end to make the smaller circle inside the larger one.
Add a curl of black 24 gauge wire to the stem and make a hole in the top for your 24 gauge place-card wire  Now let it dry for a few days depending on your weather!

Once dry you can paint the pumpkin orange, his eyes and teeth white, stem brown and nose black.

At this point the pumpkin looks brand new and needs to be aged a bit!  Mix 1 part brown paint with 1 part water to make a really loose solution to paint the entire pumpkin with.  Before it completely dries, wipe it mostly off, making sure that the brown color stays in the grooves, giving it a weathered, vintage look! 

My favorite is this witch with a spider hanging from her hat!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

We had a really fun day at the pumpkin patch!  Our local pumpkin patch that we'd been going to for years was flooded and didn't have a crop this round, so we switched it up and went to Bob's corn and Pumpkin Farm.  There were corn mazes, a tire swing, corn shooting guns, hay rides, John Deer trikes, canned goods of every kind and the infamous cow train.  This place was packed, but definitely worth it. 

     Then we stopped to have corn smothered in melted garlic
       butter.  By FAR the best corn any of us had ever had!

    First place we hit was the trike track.

Then we took a bumpy hayride over to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins.

Fender found a pumpkin just his size.  He's showing me his muscles.

And if you are dying to know what a "cow train" is, it's basically a bunch of buckets painted to look like cows that the farmer tows the kids around in behind his tractor.  PS our kids are the two waving...we've trained them well!

Such a beautiful farm...

All and all it was a really fun family trip!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Prep

Fender and I went with his preschool to a very cute pumpkin patch in Snohomish Washington.  We loved it so much that we decided to make it our family patch and take everyone back there with us this weekend!  But in order to prep for time at the farm, Fender and I made some delicious treats together to take along with us!

What goes better with cold Fall mornings more than apple cider?  Not much in my opinion.  So a couple of days ago, I began the long process of making cider.  Here's how I did it:

Cut up 8-12 apples in quarters and dump them into a large stock pot.

Cover with water and begin bringing the water up to a boil.

Drop in a Cider Beetle (or your favorite Fall spices)  If not using a Cider Beetle make sure to add brown sugar to taste (1/4 c. to 1/2 c is plenty if your apples are sweet!)

Boil the apples covered for an hour and then simmer uncovered for even more.  I simmered my cider over the course of two days, mashing and reducing the liquid until it tasted the way I wanted it to.

Strain the goo and liquid through a small sieve into another large pot or bowl, pressing the "sauce" through until there is no liquid left.  Then re-strain the liquid into a jug or container you will keep in the refrigerator.  This second straining takes out the remaining apple sauce and gives you a delicious clear apple cider to take to the pumpkin patch!

Fender loves making the snacks in his Hi Lights magazine and this round it was a good one!  Homemade granola.  We combined chopped hazelnuts, golden raisins, regular raisins, dried cranberries, oatmeal, maple syrup, and a little vegetable oil.  Baked it at 300 degrees for 40 minutes and now we have a super simple, high-energy treat to keep us going while we hunt for the perfect pumpkins.

And if these aren't sweet enough for us, I made some caramels for our desert!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Decor

Now that it is raining and getting chillier every day I didn't feel so bad getting outside and putting up my Fall decorations that I recently made.  I usually just hang a wreath from my door but I saw these two crafts in a magazine and couldn't resist making them!

The first is a set of twine balls that I made by wrapping twine around balloons and coating them in polyurethane until they hardened.  I would really love to cut back even more of the climbing tree in front of our house, but a cute little family of birds has a nest up there that they come back to every year in the I worked around it!

The second craft from the magazine is a dowel wreath.  It's not that interesting, but I love wreaths and I really wanted a new one for this fall.  2" dowels are really hard to come by, so I ordered it online and was surprised that this entire project only cost $8!  Yay frugal me!  The hardest part was cutting the dowel into 36 pieces ranging from 1/2" to 1 1/2"...thankfully dC cut all the pieces, the kids sanded (most of) the pieces and all I had to do was glue and stain it!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cider Beetles

I found these cider beetles as I was looking for more creative ways to use apples.  At this point, I might have OD'd on apples, but I'm not ready to admit it!  These cider beetles were a way to change up the way I do apple cider, and honestly I just thought they were super cute!  After you make them (drying out orange halves, adding the brown sugar and spices) you just drop them into 1 1/2 quarts apple juice and simmer for 30 minutes, letting all of the flavors of the spices and orange peel infuse to make tasty cider...and it makes the whole house smell amazing!

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