It’s not even October yet, but we’re in full-on Halloween mode at our house. This weekend we set up a small cemetery in our front yard … more on that soon. In the meantime, here are some lanterns that Jenna and I made recently using a simple melted crayon technique. You can read the full tutorial on Modern Parents, Messy Kids today.
Jenna has asked to be a skeleton princess for Halloween. While past years have been filled with ladybug, kitten and other sweet costume themes, this year is the first time that something on the spookier side has been requested. Kind of a turning point, I think.
In addition to her dress (which we purchased here), she’s also asked for matching jewelry. We decided to make the jewelry ourselves, and last weekend we got started on a few rings and necklaces. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and even if I don’t dress up this year, I’ll definitely be sporting some matching skeleton princess rings.
Over Christmas, I fell in love with a set of white feather wreaths from West Elm, and after purchasing them, I realized that they would have been really easy to make using feather boas. With Halloween coming up next month, I decided to try out my idea by using black feather boas to create a raven-themed wreath. (more…)
Last night we held our very first nighttime Easter egg hunt using glow-in-the-dark eggs, an idea shared by my aunt in her comments to something I posted last week. Genius! I knew we definitely had to try it out.
The concept is extremely simple – glow sticks inside of eggs – so I think I underestimated the amount of prep work involved. If you’re considering a night-time Easter egg hunt, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Proportion: Consider the size of your glow sticks in relation to the size of your plastic eggs. I purchased bracelet-sized glow sticks and tried to use the mix of small and large plastic eggs I had on hand. The sticks were nearly impossible to cram into the 2-inch eggs, but fit easily into the larger 3-in eggs. I recommend using all large eggs or purchasing these mini glow sticks (wish I had seen these at the craft store yesterday). As a last resort, tape is your friend.
Material: Similar to the size issue, I had a mix of transparent/textured eggs and the more traditional solid color eggs. Not surprisingly, the solid color eggs were better at giving off a “glow” in the landscape than the transparent eggs.
Timing: Since you have to “turn on” the glow sticks, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to prep this activity in advance. It took my husband and me almost an hour to place glow sticks into approximately 36 eggs and hide them in the backyard. I had planned on having our hunt just after dusk so that there would still be a bit of natural light for photos. But the prep took longer than expected and we ended up taking the kids out just past their usual bedtime, in full-on darkness. If you’re going for optimum glow effect, however, this is the perfect time for your egg hunt. Seeing the eggs glowing around the yard was definitely a very cool sight!
I’ve made decoupage bowls before and I’ve always found it a pretty messy craft. I came across this technique recently for creating little paper birds nests without ending up with glue covered hands and decided to try it out with Jenna. We made a bird nest (using long strips of paper) first, and then I tried making a couple with paper punch circles. Both were very easy and turned out super cute.
Here’s how to make them:
- Cut decorative paper into narrow strips or use a paper punch to create small circles.
- Mix glue and water (2/3 glue to 1/3 water) and paint the inside of a small bowl.
- Cover the inside of the bowl with plastic wrap and paint another layer of glue over the plastic wrap.
- Add a layer of paper, starting at the bottom and working your way up the side of the bowl. Use a paint brush to gently coat the paper with glue as you go. You can add a second layer and additional coats of glue for a sturdier bowl.
- Let the paper dry in the bowl for several hours. Once the inside is dry, lift it out of the bowl and remove the plastic wrap. Turn the bowl upside down and let dry completely.
Just a few more boxes to go and then I can finally call this year’s Valentines complete. Jason is obsessed with Minecraft, so he’s pretty excited about handing out these little treasure boxes to his classmates. I used this template from PiX FiZ and filled the boxes with red tissue paper and gold half-dollar coins.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Yesterday, I finished making Jenna’s Valentine’s for her classroom party. I love the idea of giving flower seed packets instead of candy, so I was pretty excited about these. Jenna also seemed pretty happy with these little boxes, until she saw the Valentine’s I’m making for her brother. More on that later this week when I get done cutting, folding, gluing and filling 21 paper Minecraft treasure boxes.
For our recent home tour, I set up a Christmas-themed s’mores and hot chocolate bar in our backyard. The set-up was just for display – we didn’t make any s’mores as part of the tour. The idea of candy cane s’mores, however, stayed with me well after the weekend was over. Yesterday, I decided to test out my theory that s’mores, combined with a bit of peppermint, would yield a pretty awesome treat. My recipe included graham crackers and marshmallows (broiled in the oven for a couple of minutes) topped with a small piece of peppermint bark. It was pretty amazing.
We used Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark, but you could also use crushed candy canes and chocolate or pieces of a Hershey’s candy cane bar.
Here are a few photos of the s’mores and hot chocolate station in our backyard:
I signed up to bring gifts for the goody bags for my son’s Christmas party this year. I’m not a big fan of bags full of plastic toys, and I think most readers of this site know my policy on candy containing artificial dyes, so I mostly signed up for this task to provide an alternative to the usual goody bag fare.
As I walked the aisles of Target, I realized that non-plastic, non-candy goodies weren’t so easy to come by. But eventually the idea of creating a “Santa Disguise Kit” popped into my mind, and I set out to find materials for creating a santa beard.
These were super easy and inexpensive to make. Here are the materials I used:
The stretchy string was purchased at Michaels but everything else can be found at the grocery store. If you don’t have a hole punch, you can make a small incision with scissors to thread the string through.
Here are the steps to create the beards:
I cut out the top section of the plate and then folded it in half to cut out the mouth shape. Next, I used the paper punch to cut small circles into each side of the beard and threaded the string though the holes, tying each end in a knot. I applied glue to the paper plate in sections and stretched each cotton ball a bit before gluing it to the plate.
Once the beards were complete, I packaged them up in lunch-sized bags and attached some instructions for playing “secret santa” at home.
Oh, and I also asked Jenna to model my design. She is one serious secret Santa:
This weekend we participated in the annual Christmas Tour of Homes in our neighborhood. While we did quite a bit of decorating on our own, we were also very excited to work with Williams-Sonoma on our family and dining room. They came in and decked out our dining room table, console table and sofa in gorgeous products from both Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn.
My own style is very minimal, and our house tends to be a bit under-decorated as a result. It was fun to see the talented folks at Williams-Sonoma completely go to town in this space and work with our existing furniture and decor to create a styled and festive environment that also felt very warm and inviting.
Here are a few of the details:
Christmas at our house wouldn’t be complete without hot chocolate, so we also created a hot chocolate station in the kitchen:
Thank you so much, Williams-Sonoma, for helping make our home tour a success.