If you are looking for a super easy Halloween cake, this is the one for you. I’ve made this cake twice over the years and one of the first tips I have to offer is: Make sure you make your edible objects a few days before (or purchase them) and give yourself enough time to put it together. I had to rush to make this cake before our Halloween Bash, and I can see ever flaw – but my guests loved it. I had to put this together in about an hour’s time. I seriously would have liked another half hour to perfect the cauldron walls, smoothing them out. But it worked. Continue reading
My previous post gave a tutorial on the duck that appears in the same scene as the baby vampires in The Nightmare Before Christmas (NBC) movie. Although in the movie the vampire didn’t ride inside the duck, I couldn’t help myself by making it so. It seemed like a fun and almost “Burton-ish” thing to do.
At first I looked at what others had done in their tutorials for making the vampire. They were either foam or stuffed and that just wasn’t what I was looking for. Since I was already creating more doll zombies and clowns, I sat there one night and thought, “why not turn a doll into a baby vampire?” So here is the quick tutorial to transform a plastic baby doll into a NBC vampire. Continue reading
If you’ve been checking out this blog, you might have guessed that I love the Nightmare Before Christmas (NBC) characters. I’ve made the Mayor, Jack Skellington (with a few improved remakes or blunders), Sally, Oogie Boogie, and Zero. As you can see from the image, I’ve added a duck and baby vampire to the family. I’ll be breaking these tutorials into two posts for the sake of shorter, more manageable reading.
The Duck Tutorial:
A Plastic Duck Blow Mold
Large High Heat Glue Gun
Piece of Styrofoam or Foam from a Boxed Product
Black, Red, and White Acrylic Outdoor Paint/Brushes
Spackle or other Pre-made Drywall Compound/ Large Brush
A Dremel Saw or something else that cuts plastic easily
Super Glue Industrial Gel ( NOT liquid) for plastic and other materials
A Protractor or any round shaped item you can use for outline
Looking for ways to make a wreath without breaking the bank? Here are ten types of wreaths, made from items almost every household has. The results are impressive.
Shelf Liner Wreaths
The dollar store has a plethora of shelf liner colors for every season. Six rolls are used for 14″ wreaths. Images courtesy of Tracy Tobias. A video on how to use shelf liners in a wreath can be found at Debi’s Wreath and Things on YouTube.
Pool Noodle Wreaths
I don’t know what it is about The Nightmare Before Christmas (NBC) that caught my attention. But since the movie came out, I’ve wanted to make every character for Halloween.
Jack Skellington was one of my first attempts. Now when I say attempts, I can honestly say, I’ve spent more time and effort making, remaking, and eventually, rebuilding him completely. Continue reading
Scouring garage sales and thrift stores is a favorite past time for this frugal gal. Finding this horse made my shopping day. Originally, it was an average white and black patched horse. But what I saw was something entirely different.
A Halloween prop in the making:
- Cover your horse (or other animal) entirely with black acrylic paint ( or black spray paint could work too)
- Google skeleton images of horses (or animal of your choosing)
- Paint out the skeleton with white paint. Don’t worry about mistakes. You can always go back and use black paint again to fix.
Probably the shortest tutorial on my blog, but kinda cool results. Don’t you agree?
Anyone who is familiar with The Nightmare Before Christmas (NBC), knows these trick or treater masks were used by Lock, Shock, and Barrel (DSB). It had been a few years since I added other characters to my NBC clan because of the lack of free time. So the plan is to make the masks this year, their body props next. But many enjoy the masks on a wall, as is. Here’s the tutorial on how to make them: Continue reading
If you are someone who enjoys spending time outdoors, you’ve probably already been accosted by a bug or two already this summer. Now you may want to reach for bug spray, but before you do, why not try some of these less toxic suggestions:
No More Ants
Ants can be bothersome or even harmful with their bites. Here are a few suggestions for keeping them away:
Vinegar and Windex Spray – According to Melromanczak on HomeTalk, this little mixture works instantly. They measured a half a bottle of Windex with a half a cup of vinegar to kill them on contact.
Create a Barrier: Sprinkle one of the following around your patio: Cayenne pepper, Cloves and Cinnamon, Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, Lemon Juice, and more are suggested from Mother Nature Network.
Tell Bees, Wasps, and Flies to Buzz Off
Stinging insects flying around can ruin a day of outdoor enjoyment. These tutorial hacks can trap them, deter them, and even kill them.
Keeping Wasps at Bay: Although Science World is still undecided in this technique, many people believe if you hang a puffed up lunch paper bag nearby, certain types of wasps will be deterred. Bob Villa offers a tutorial on building a trap from a soda bottle and Natural Living Ideas suggests using spearmint or peppermint oil on cotton balls and placing them strategically around your area.
Deter Bees Instead of Killing: Since bees are now on the endangered species list, it’s better to deter them, or even have nearby hives removed for free. Bees and other insects are known to dislike mint scents. Many people have suggested spraying the yard with dollar store mint mouthwash before a gathering. PestKill suggests sprinkling generous amounts of garlic powder.
Block Flies From Ruining Your Picnic: EHome Remedies offers over 15 solutions for your fly problems, including burning camphor candles or making a yard and patio spray of 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper to 1 1/2 cups of water.
An Ounce of Prevention
Taking steps to ensure your yard is not a bug magnet is half the battle. Make sure your area is clear of garbage, empty beverage cans, and standing water. Tightly lid garbage cans and remove them from the area of your social gathering. Strategically plant herbs that deter bugs: Eucalyptus, Lemon Grass, Mint, Citronella, Lavender, Basil, are a few to mention.
With a little prevention and planning, you’ll be able to focus on friends and family, rather than shooing insects.
With campfires and grills in full swing, I’ve watched people struggle to start a fire. Some think it is as easy as pouring lighter fluid on wood or coals. But often that flash fire dies quickly, and more lighter fluid is sprayed on smoldering – or worse, on a small fire. Find out why that method is dangerous.
As an aging Girl Scout and Cadet, I’ve seen many types of homemade firestarter. I can attest that the following recipes and instructions are tried and true. So make them ahead and enjoy the fruits of your efforts. As always, remember to use caution working with melted wax and lighting firestarter.
Wax and Lint Egg Carton Cubes
Push dryer lint (or cotton) inside a empty paper egg carton. Melt wax on low/med in a small pot, pour over carton. Note: wax can come from broken or leftover pieces of candles or Paraffin wax. I have even used broken crayons. When cool and hardened, break into pieces.
- FYI: a double boiler is not necessary, just keep temp. on stove lower for regular pot.
Wax and Mini Newspaper Rolls: Fold a single page of newspaper accordian-style, then roll into a circle akin to a cinnamon bun. Tie a small piece of wire around the roll to secure. Dip each roll into melted wax and let dry.
Pinecones and Wax: Melt wax in a pot over low/med.heat. If wax starts smoking, lower the temp. With tongs, dip each cone long enough to absorb melted wax, then lay them down in muffin tins to dry.
Toilet Paper Tubes and Lint : Fill a toilet paper tube with lint, and either dip in wax or cover in wax paper, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper as shown in Sadie Seasongoods.
Candle Roll-ups: Find leftover candles (birthday, tapered, tea light), cut small pieces of wax paper about 2 inches bigger than candle piece, and wrap each one like a piece of candy, twisting the ends closed (see link above). * If using birthday candles, bundle them in groups of 4 or 5, then wrap in wax paper.
Although I haven’t tried the below ideas, a plethora of people stand by their success:
With Valentine’s Day less than 48 hours away, some of us are still scrambling to get our loved ones a gift. But why do we have to wait for a holiday to show people how much we care? It doesn’t cost a penny to show kindness every day.
Ideas That Change People’s Lives
When we are grateful each day, the people around us thrive. Our smiles can engage strangers to pass on the goodwill and although it may seem like a small gesture, for others it will be huge.
Examples of Showing Love Without Pulling out Your Wallet
- Offer to drive an elderly, disabled, or just any person without a car to the store.
- Invite someone who is single/divorced/widowed to dinner.
- Shovel a neighbor’s driveway or rake their leaves when you do yours.
- Call someone you haven’t spoken to for awhile ~ and really listen.
- Spend time with family members instead of on your devices.
- While cooking for yourself or family, put aside a meal for a friend and delivery it.
- Volunteer at your local charity or child’s function.
- Surprise your loved ones with breakfast in bed ~ even if you can’t cook.
- Use your unique talents – e.g. wipe someone’s computer, fix something, etc.
- Help with chores – parents/spouses will rejoice.
- Use your crafting talents and re-purpose an item for gift giving. Nothing says I love you more than homemade ingenuity.
So without a penny spent, show your family and friends how much they mean to you ~ everyday. Tomorrow is not promised and money cannot buy love.
To help get your creative juices flowing, see the links below:
Happy Valentine’s Day!