Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

October 14, 2023

Make a Personalized Trick or Treat Bucket

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Halloween.  I love to cover my house in pumpkins, skulls and all other things spooky.  The fall tends to reignite my desire to craft, so naturally I make a few new things for Halloween each year.

This weekend I decorated buckets for my sons for Halloween.  Over the years, we've most used bags, but I love the look and durability of a bucket.
When Jam Paper contacted me recently about partnering with them on a fall-themed craft, I knew just what I wanted to make.  Fortunately, they sell reasonably priced and beautiful colored buckets (along with a huge variety of paper supplies, of course) which are perfect not just for trick or treating, but for so many other things.
I started with two of their large colored buckets, one green, one black, as well as a few packages of colored gift label stickers.  I also chose a sheet of letter stickers to personalize the buckets with my sons' names.
I needed a pair of scissors and some yellow grosgrain ribbon for extra decoration too.

This was an easy craft to make, especially that you're essentially just creating a collage with the colored stickers.  I started on the Frankenstein bucket and made some jagged purple hair for my monster using the purple Jam Gift Label Stickers.
I determined that I'd need 4 to go across the front of the bucket horizontally, and then I make a jagged "hair line" along the bottom edge of the stickers.
It was as simple as peeling off the back of the sticker and lining the stickers up along the bucket rim to create Frank's hair.
You actually don't notice the seam in person; it's just noticeable here due to where the light was hitting it.

Continue making Frankenstein's face in the same manner, cutting some zigzag black pieces for the eyebrows and mouth, maybe orange and black for the eyes.
Then I stuck on the face.  In the case of this monster, I think the simpler the better when it comes to designing the face.
I did put a few spooky words like "boo!" and "eek!" along the sides of the head, and some letter "t's" made nice Frankenstein bolts.
I added my son's name on the back too, by cutting out a tombstone shaped sticker and adding RIP plus his name under it.
For the black bucket, I wanted to make it resemble one of those vintage black cat designs.  I used the same technique of cutting out pieces to create a cat face.
Green eyes,
an orange nose and a jagged orange mouth (made from two long strips of sticker pieced together)
and some purple ears and whiskers.  I added some white accents around the eyes, ears, and between the nose and mouth with white label stickers.
To add a bit more flair, I tied some strands of grosgrain ribbon on the bucket handles at each side.
I think they look adorable!  They'll be a great way to hold treats on Halloween night.
I happened to have some extra large glow-in-the-dark stickers lying around, so I used them to add my younger son's name on the back of his bucket.
The possibilities are endless for decorating these buckets, and because you can peel/wash off the stickers (they're sturdy, but still are removable) you could use this bucket throughout the year or change out the design each Halloween.

You can find more craft ideas on Jam Paper's blog, as well as on their Facebook and Pinterest pages.
Disclosure: I received sample products from Jam Paper and Envelope to facilitate the making of this project.  All opinions and ideas here are my own.

April 29, 2023

Springtime Randomness

Though it's been quiet here on the blog, it certainly hasn't been so in my daily life.  It's springtime, and therefore lots of projects to tackle now that the weather has become more bearable.  Mulching, painting, cleaning, it fills my days now (well, besides the usual child-rearing and cooking and all that other good stuff).
We've decided that this is the summer to have the house painted.  The window trim is peeling like crazy and in need of attention, and we've been wanting to match the house to our garage siding.

My kombucha has been improving batch by batch.  So far I've flavored it with strawberries, blueberries and raisins and ginger.
The raisin/ginger so far has been my favorite (above on the left, the other is blueberry).  It's been nice having in the morning, before I drug myself with coffee.

And oh yeah, I suppose Easter was thrown in there someplace.  The boys loved the knitted rabbits and giant fabric eggs I made for them.
Someone got a little sunburned the day before--oops.  But chocolate made up for that.
The bunnies turned out SO cute!  And the eggs were simple to sew.  I used a pattern from Martha Stewart and made 10 of them in an hour (minus the stuffing part).  Also from Martha, a recipe for a Polish Easter Babka, which turned out pretty good.  It's like an eggy sweet bread, like challah.

The Easter baskets had some other goodies, like stickers, giant chalk, a butterfly net, wind-up animals and of course chocolate and gum.
It was a great weekend, with an egg hut,
gorgeous weather, capped off by dinner with friends.  What a great way to kick of spring!

March 12, 2024


Things are looking up around here.  There's something to be said about a tropical 60 degree day after weeks and weeks of arctic air to lift one's spirits.
It's nice to break out the chalk, even if we are still in coats and the snow still decorates our yard.  It's only going to get warmer from this point on, right?

It's starting, this dance of ours going from outside to inside and back again.  I'm ready for it!

Speaking of inside, I've still been knitting, and finally finished the Color Affection shawl, which is so hard to photograph.
I've been puttering around the house, changing things around for spring.  It's what I do when I get antsy and bored.
I bought an unfinished pine wood shelf from Ikea and stained it with black/brown paint, then waxed it with finishing paste wax.  The brackets are from Ikea too (total cost was under $10).  I like displaying my baskets and thrift shop plates, as well as my embroidery.
There's something about circles that always appeals to my aesthetic.
So far the boys haven't pulled it down, or even messed with it.  It's bolted to the wall pretty securely though, a process which generated plenty of curse words from me (I was racing against the finish-this-by-the-end-of-naptime clock.

The boys were happy that I had pulled out the plastic Easter eggs.  Man, do I hate those things.
I'm continually stepping on them, but they both love them so much.  S even set up an egg hunt just for me, with smaller eggs stuffed inside the larger ones.
Even my winter wreath has become bunny-fied.
On the kitchen front, I'm finally trying my hand at sauerkraut, thanks to Erin's inspiration.
It's a bit too carrot-y (hence the orange color) I think I got the brine too salty, but so far it hasn't gotten moldy.  We'll see how it is in a few more days.  I'm hoping that this project gives me the confidence to try making kombucha.  That's next on my list of kitchen science experiments.

That's that for life around these parts.  I'm looking forward to warm, sunny days spent outdoors.  I hope you are too.

November 29, 2023

Welcoming Winter at Your Front Door

When it comes to decorating at Christmas, I have a fondness for all things natural or handmade.  Since the door is the star of our front porch, I like to dress it up a bit for the winter.

If you choose to go with a natural wreath, it will often take you from November through February, especially if you change it up a bit with a different bow or swag.
This fresh wreath, the 18" Magnolia Pomegranate Wreath from Creekside Farms will be gracing our door all season long.
The rust/salmon colored bow (it changes depending on the light) and the tan undersides of the magnolia leaves looked beautiful throughout November. The best thing about this wreath is how great it smells whenever I open the door; that evergreen scent permeates the space between the storm door and front door.
The cedar, pinecones, juniper, echinops and pomegranates really add to the texture and interest of the wreath.  It's been a few weeks now and the wreath is still in good shape and ready for a more festive Christmas bow. 
I'll probably change at the bow at the end of the holiday season, to something white and wintery. 

Creekside Farms sells so many more beautiful wreaths, like this Apple Berry Wreath
Creekside Farms also carries wreaths and garlands beyond Christmas, like for Fall and for weddings and even herbal ones for the kitchen.  The herbs and flowers in the wreaths are pesticide-free and harvested by hand in California.

Their wreaths have been seen in top home décor retailers and catalogues, including Williams-Sonoma for over 18 years, Pottery Barn, Sur LaTable, Restoration Hardware, Front Gate, Pro Flowers, Orvis and Harry and David. 
Creekside Farms' artisan-made wreaths would make a great gift for anyone.  I would be thrilled to have one of these gorgeous wreaths show up at my door (and I was when mine did).  I like that the purchase of a Creekside Farms' wreath supports a family business and contributes to the continuation of a family-run farm.  It's a beautiful way to greet the holiday season at your doorstep.
Disclosure: I received a sample wreath from Creekside Farms for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

November 27, 2023

Brown Paper Packages Pinned on a Wall

Before I settle in to this long, languid Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to post something I worked on today while Chris was home--a Christmas countdown or (more Christian-like,) an Advent Calendar.
We have a chalkboard wall at the top of our stairs, right outside Soren's room.  We enjoy scribbling on this wall, whether just doodling or turning it into an interactive, communal display of wishes, sentiments and meaningful words.
Even the littlest hands among us like making their mark on our wall.
But I digress.  This isn't really about the wall, as difficult as it is to photograph (hello dark, windowless space with a black wall and a glare-inducing overhead light).  It's about something on the wall, something that you could create anywhere in your home.  And it requires the simplest of ingredients to make it happen.

Paper lunch sacks.  Markers.  Clothespins.  Ribbon.  Stuff to put inside.  That's it, assuming you have a wall to display it on.

Sketch your numbers on the bags.  No need to be fancy, though I drew mine in block letters, added white and gold decoration, and made the numbers 3-dimensional with the black marker.  Forgive me for flaunting my art background.
You can make these as simple as you'd like, or even better, let the kids do it.

Tack up your ribbon onto the wall.  I used nails, but you could probably use those hooks that stick to the wall and easily come off when you want them to.  Then arrange your bags, pinning them with clothespins.
Once I had the bags arranged, I filled them with treats.
Rather than just put junky stuff in them, I made each day meaningful by putting something for the kids to do (like take a walk around the neighborhood to view Christmas lights), wear, or make in it, along with some kind of suggestion for kindness or giving to others.
Some examples: decorate an ornament for an aunt or uncle, make a card for a friend, thank your bus driver for getting you to school safely, shop for canned goods for a local food bank, etc.  I know I'll be working with my eldest to accomplish these things, but it's good for me to do express these sentiments as well.

Once each bag has been opened (I plan to reuse them again next year; plus they're easy to store flat), we'll put the holiday cards we receive on that wall in place of the bags.
I think this wall will be a festive reminder of what I hope that this season is about--generosity toward others and enjoying our time together as a family.
Have a wonderful holiday season! 
(p.s. if you're wondering about those lights, they came from Target a few years ago, from their patio section)
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