Halloween: Naughty or Nice?

Naughty or Nice Costumes

There are all sorts of Halloween themes and characters to help us celebrate this imaginative holiday.  Every year you decide what costume to wear, so why not choose a style for your decorations?  Each of the photos below shows Naughty on the left and Nice on the right.  At the end are exemplary displays to inspire your Halloween décor. 

Spiders

Spiders

Jack-O-Lanterns

Jack-O-Lanterns

Pumpkin Pals

Pumpkin Pals

Spooky Pets

Spooky Pets

Pumpkinhead Monsters

Pumpkinhead Monsters

Pumpkin Trios

Pumpkin Trios

Ghostly Trios

Ghostly Trios

Flying Witches

Flying Witches

Pumpkins in the Fog

Pumpkins in the Fog

Skeletons

Skeletons

Scarecrows

Scarecrows

Pathway Lights

Pathway Lights

Pumpkin Personalities

Pumpkin Personalities

Halloween Beverages

Halloween Beverages

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Cats & Full Moons

Cats & Full Moon

Pumpkins & Vines

Pumpkins & Vines

Halloween Displays:

Nice – Pumpkin Patch Family

Pumpkin Patch Nice

Naughty – Graveyard

Halloween Graveyard Naughty

Naughty & Nice – Interior & Exterior Display

Halloween Window Decor Naughty & Nice

Naughty & Nice – Ghostly Pumpkin Family

Halloween Display Naughty & Nice

Naughty & Nice – Gated Entry

Halloween Gated Entrance Naughty & Nice

Naughty & Nice – Pumpkin Creatures

Halloween Display Naughty & Nice

Naughty & Nice – Sunbathing Skeleton

Halloween Skeleton Coffin Naughty & Nice

Naughty – Watchful Tree

Halloween Owls & Bats in Tree Naughty

I hope you have found some ideas to awaken your Halloween spirit. (Pun intended.)  Now, you have a decision to make … What will it be – Naughty or Nice?  I look forward to reading your answers in the comments section.  Thanks for reading! 

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Inspirational Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree is unlike most.  It consists of individual flat pieces of wood, much like a signpost, ready for your painted decorations and inspiring words.

Words/Poetry

Most of my craft projects do not call for poetic or inspirational words.  Grab a piece of paper and a pen and scribble down some possibilities.  Take as much time as you need.  Listen to song lyrics, read poems, or notice seasonal phrases from movies, books, or advertising. 

Christmas Magic Sign

Magic Christmas Sign

You will need to consider how many words/lines will fit. 

Santa Christmas Sign

Santa Christmas Sign

Use any fonts you like.  You could use stencils for the lettering or freehand. 

Merry Christmas Sign

Merry Christmas Sign

Add decorative painted accents such as holly leaves and berries, or enhance your project with accessories like garland, and lights. 

Decorated Christmas Tree

Decorated Tree

Even though this Christmas tree is made with flat pieces of wood, you still need to consider how to decorate it, starting with a color scheme. 

Warm Colors

Warm Colors Ornaments

The warm color palette consists of reds, oranges, and yellows. 

Cool Colors

Cool Colors Ornaments

The cool color palette includes greens, blues, and purples. 

Monochromatic

Monochromatic Ornaments

With a monochromatic scheme, all decorations are the same color, and the variety comes from unique designs. 

Multicolor

Multicolor Ornaments

Create a festive atmosphere with all the colors of the rainbow. 

Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas Tree Lights

Instead of painting Christmas ornaments, you may want to paint lights with metallic acrylics.  Another option is wrapping the tree with mini, battery-operated string lights. 

How to Paint a Wooden Christmas Tree:

Raw Wood Tree

Raw Wood Christmas Tree

This freestanding, raw wood tree may need light sanding, especially the edges. 

Supplies

Paint Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Signpost Tree (28-1/2” high x 10-1/4” wide x 1/4” thick) (base 8”x4”x1/2” thick)
Acrylic Paints – green, yellow, brown
6) Bottles fabric paint: black, purple, blue, orange, pink, glow in the dark white
Paintbrushes

Paint the Tree & Star – Front

Painted Tree & Star Front

Using acrylics, paint the star, the “branches” and the trunk.  You will need a thin brush to paint the trunk between the slats of green.  Paint both sides of the tree, the base and all the edges. 

Paint the Tree & Star – Back

Painted Tree & Star Back

Because this tree is meant to be seen from both sides, I came up with a finished design for the back.  Paint the trunk brown from the base to the bottom “branch,” and green for the remainder. 

Paint Details – Back

Painted Details Back

Apply fabric paints in thick dots to resemble ornaments upon the tree. 

Repaint Star – Back

Revised Star Design Back

I didn’t like the look of the squared off piece of wood on the back of the star and thought it would better to see the full star on both sides.  To accomplish this, I extended the star shape and filled it in with yellow as shown.  A smiling face was added to the star, using black fabric paint, to give it personality. 

Finished Tree – Back

Finished Tree Back

The back of the tree is now complete.  Only two more steps to complete this project. 

Finishing the Tree – Front

Finishing Tree Front Step 1

Using black fabric paint, write the words you have chosen upon each board.  Finish by giving the star a cute face.  Allow it to dry overnight. 

Finishing the Tree – Front

Finishing Tree Front Step 2

Using glow in the dark white fabric paint, trace the black letters to make them stand out better against the green tree.  Every night, when you turn out the lights, the glowing words will make you smile.  And what a nice way to fall asleep with inspirational thoughts floating in your dreams. 

I hope you enjoy this project and are inspired to explore your creativity.  Good luck in all your artistic endeavors and have fun decorating for the coming holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Kermit the Frog
In search of the perfect Christmas ornament? Found it!

DIY Ornaments
If you haven’t found what you were hoping for, create it yourself! These clear Christmas balls don’t look like much in the box, but let your imagination soar and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Assorted Christmas Balls
Metallic trim, fabric paint, glitter, and self-stick rhinestones are just a few of the possibilities to transform those plain plastic or glass balls into treasured ornaments for the tree.

Solid Color Glass Ornaments
At its most basic, color is usually the first decision. Plastic balls usually only come in clear but glass ones come in clear as well as assorted solid colors. To add color to a clear ball you have two options: 1) Apply paint to the exterior using a roller; 2) Pour paint inside the ball, drain the excess and allow it to dry upside down overnight. Applying paint on the inside preserves the reflective sheen on the exterior.

Striped & Plaid Ornaments
Ribbon and glitter provide sparkle and attractive patterns on these red ornaments.

Gold Spirals Ornament
Create a geometric pattern of your choice using glue and then roll the ball in glitter. After it dries, lightly brush off the excess and it’s ready to hang upon the tree.

Gold Star Ornament
This star got its sparkle by applying a layer of glue over the entire surface of the ornament and then rolling it in gold glitter.

Clear Christmas Ball
You can fill clear ornaments with anything small enough to fit through the top, including beads, leaves. confetti, ribbon, seashells, sand, and flower buds.

White Textured Ornament
Create texture using fabric paint. After the paint dries, spray the entire ball white and follow it with a spray of textured spray paint for a snow-covered effect.

Snowman Ornament
This snowman was hand painted onto a red ball. If painting is not your strong suit, purchase self-adhesive decals from the paper crafting section to achieve the same look.

Sequined Ornament
Maybe you prefer a little glitz and glam. If so, sequins are your best bet.

Rhinestone & Glitter Ornaments
Silver & gold are a very popular color combination. Paint a metallic silver base layer. For the stars, apply glitter while the paint is still wet. Self-stick gold rhinestones were applied to the ball after the paint dried. As an alternative, you could use rhinestone studded trim to wrap the Christmas ball.

Bows & Flowers Ornaments
Ribbons and flowers make beautiful tree ornaments. If you like the look of snow, you can add crystals to the edges of flower petals as shown above. The Christmas ball is adorned with tiny bows.

Tim Burton Ornaments
If you love Tim Burton’s movie, Nightmare before Christmas, these two familiar characters will bring a sense of mischievous humor to your tree. Use metallic paint for the base coat applied with a roller to avoid brush marks. Use a black Sharpie pen for the details.

Red & Gold Ornament
Glitter, patience, craft glue and a very steady hand are all required for this challenging delicate pattern. To simplify the process, use fabric glitter paint, which provides color, glitter and three-dimensional patterns in one easy step.

Icy Ornament
A few quick sprays of snow in a can will create this icy looking Christmas ball.

Sequined Flower Ornament
Overlap large no hole sequins, also known as paillettes, to create this flower-shaped ornament.

Silver & Gold Ornament
Spice up a plain gold ornament with silver glitter vertical stripes.

Midnight Forest Ornament
Use gold glitter fabric paint to create this forest of evergreen trees and stars in the sky. For extra texture, apply additional glitter to the trees while the paint is still wet.

Red & Gold Ornament
This ornate pattern could be created a couple different ways. The simplified version could be achieved using a metallic gold sharpie pen. Another option is using gold ribbon for the thick horizontal lines, followed by thin glue and glitter. Green rhinestones are glued at the intersections as shown.

Rainbow Sequin Ornament
This rainbow ornament was made using a styrofoam ball, sequins and lots of pins.

Beaded Ornaments
Red beads in several sizes provide rich juicy looking color. The white ball has a combination of fabric paint, powdered “snow” and some scattered tiny silver sequins.

Ombre Ornament
An ombré paint technique followed by the application of clear snow crystals gives this ornament the look of a frosted peach.

Blooming Rose Ornament
Silk flowers inserted inside the clear glass ball appear to bloom. To keep the flower in place, you may need to apply a small drop of clear glue using an extra long cotton swab or skinny craft stick.

Mirror Mosaic Ornament
Mosaic ornaments are quite beautiful. You could also use seashells or pompoms to create a similar look without the need for cutting any pieces to fit.

Trim & Glitter Ornament
Rows of tiny sequins and braided white trim form the pattern on this striped ball.

Holly Ornaments
These three-dimensional holly designs were created using fabric glitter paint, followed by loose glitter while the paint is still wet. It may require two coats to build up the thickness on the outer edges of the leaves. The inner sections of the leaves have green glitter. Glue red or green rhinestones on as berries.

The holidays are an excellent opportunity to exercise your creative muscles. By designing your own ornaments, you’re guaranteed to have a uniquely stylish Christmas tree featuring some of your best work. As your collection grows, they’ll become heirlooms with a lifetime of memories. Enjoy the creative process. You’ve got this!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Thankgiving
Everyone across the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, however this holiday experience varies depending upon geographic location, climate, local customs, and food specialties.

Hawaii & New England
Sometimes it’s nice to see how other people celebrate. It gives you a chance to see the holiday from a fresh perspective. Below is a side-by-side comparison of two Thanksgiving celebrations: Hawaii is on the left and New England is on the right.

Sandy Shores Rocky Coast
Landscapes: Sandy Beaches versus Rugged Rocky Coastline

Rain on Petals Frosty Leaf
Weather: Warm Tropical Showers versus Cool Crisp Air & Snow

Pineapples Gourds
Decorations: Pineapples versus Pumpkins & Gourds

Plumeria & Chrysanthemums
Flowers: Wild Plumeria versus Potted Chrysanthemums

Torchlight & Candle Light
Lighting: Outdoor Torchlight versus Indoor Candlelight

Bird of Paradise & Cornucopia
Centerpieces: Exotic Flowers versus Harvest Cornucopia

Tropical Cocktail & Hot Beverage
Drinks: Cool Tropical Cocktails versus Hot Beverages

Fresh Fruit & Hot Soup
Appetizers: Tropical Fruit versus Hot Hearty Soups

Roast Pork & Roast Turkey
Entrées: Roast Pork versus Roast Turkey

Vegetables
Vegetables: Pacific Rim Blend versus Roast Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie
Desserts: Chocolate Kona Coffee Cheesecake versus Pumpkin Pie

Fire Dance & Fireplace
After Dinner: Fire Dancing versus Relaxing by the Fire

I hope these celebrations will inspire and enrich your next family gathering. You might want to consider a change of venue or a change of décor to shake things up a bit. Whatever you decide, there are two constants you can always count on: Love and Gratitude shared with Family and Friends

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Crafting!

Dashing through the Snow

Santa's Sleigh

“Dashing through the Snow” calls to mind sleigh rides and Santa Claus on his gift giving journey.  With a wooden sleigh and a few accessories, you can create a wonderful holiday centerpiece.  Before we begin, let’s look at color schemes and designs of several sleighs to get your creative ideas flowing: 

Antique Sleigh

Antique Sleigh

Although this sleigh needs some love, wood in its natural state is attractive.  With a little polish, the brass runners will shine again.  The lights and evergreen garland are great seasonal details. 

Stained Wood Sleigh

Brown Wood Sleigh

The beauty of natural wood grain may not require color.  A clear sealant coat helps preserve wood for years to come.  Wood stain is optional. 

Green, Gold & White Sleigh

Green & Gold Sleigh

Green and gold are nice alternatives to the standard red and green Christmas colors. 

One Horse Open Sleigh

Natural Wood & Red Sleigh

A clear finish protects the natural wood color, while the open sides provide decorative opportunities for colorful pillows and blankets to keep riders warm on a cold winter day. 

Formula 1 Sleigh?

Red & White Sleigh

If Ferrari built sleighs, this would be the one.  This sleek aerodynamic design would allow Santa Claus to complete his rounds in half the time. 

Red & Gold Sleigh

Red & Gold Sleigh

The brilliant red and shiny gold trim are popular choices for Santa’s sleigh.

Red & Gold Sleigh with Lights

Red & Gold Sleigh with Lights

Dazzling string lights create a magical ambiance, day or night. 

How to Paint a Wooden Sleigh:

Unpainted Sleigh

Raw Wood Sleigh

There are many wooden sleighs available through craft stores or online. 

Supplies

Paints

Supplies:
Wooden Sleigh (10-1/2” high x 14” long x 6” wide)
Acrylic Paints – red, black, metallic gold, & white
1) Bottle fabric paint: white
Paintbrushes

Sleigh Painted Red

Sleigh Painted Red

Paint the sleigh with red acrylic paint.  It may take a couple coats to ensure smooth, even color. 

Black Painted Rails

Sleigh with Painted Rails

Paint the rails black on both sides and all edges. 

Painted Snow & Gold Trim

Sleigh with White Details

Draw snowflakes on all four sides and paint each with white acrylic paint.  To enhance the designs, go over each snowflake with white dimensional fabric paint.  Paint the edges of the sleigh with metallic gold paint.  This will most likely require two coats. 

This completes the sleigh.  Now it is time to think about making it the focal point of a new centerpiece.  Your next decision is: Who will pull the sleigh? 

Dog Sledding

Dog Sled

Dog sledding teams compete every year in an Alaskan race called the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. 

Horse Drawn Sleigh

Horse Drawn Sleigh

Riding in a horse drawn sleigh has been a tradition for centuries.  In warmer seasons the sleighs are swapped out with carriages for year-round enjoyment. 

Reindeer Drawn Sleigh

Reindeer Drawn Sleigh

Santa isn’t the only one using reindeer to guide his sleigh. 

A perfect 10 on the Cuteness Scale

Yorkie Sled

Holding the reins securely in his paws, this adorable yorkie steers a course straight into the hearts of viewers in this moose drawn sleigh. 

With your selections in mind, it is time to complete this project.  There are no wrong answers.  You may already have everything you need.

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

Finished Centerpiece

I chose a pig to pull the sleigh.  His hat is a floral pick, without the stick.  Fabric ribbon serves as reins, and I made a collar with a few jingle bells.  Tuck one end of the reins into the collar, and the other is held by a squirrel, wearing a red crocheted hat. 

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

Finished Centerpiece

A floral garland fills the sleigh with a harvest of red berries and green leaves.  It looks like this cute little squirrel is stocking up for the winter.  A male cardinal hitches a ride on the sleigh.  All the red accents unify this design, while the pig provides a bit of whimsy. 

Who will pull your sleigh and who will ride?  Please let me know in the comments. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

The Art of Pumpkin Carving

Jack O Lanterns

Illuminated by candles, jack-o-lantern carving is believed to date back to 19th century Ireland.  Much like gargoyles, the frightening carved faces were meant to keep evil spirits away, while also celebrating Halloween and the end of the harvest, also known as Samhain.

Mr. & Mrs. Squash

Mr & Mrs Pumpkin

If carving is not in your skill set, painted or hand drawn designs can be applied to real or artificial pumpkins with very little effort.  Because they are not carved, they will last throughout the fall, including Halloween and Thanksgiving. 

Basic Carving

Grinning Pumpkin & Fog

Most carved pumpkins have eyes, a nose, and a mouth.  The shapes and angles determine the expression.  The nubby teeth, in the left photo, create a friendly face for young children.  On the right, glowing light and mysterious fog take a simple carving to the next level. 

Accessorizing

Accessorized Pumpkin

This fashionable character is camera-ready for the next Tim Burton film.  The black-outlined carvings are an unusual touch, and the hat gives this pumpkin lots of personality. 

Devilishly Handsome

Pumpkin Monster

This carved pumpkin owes its devilish good looks to the absence of a nose.  That one little detail, plus the intensity of the light within, gives him a more ghoulish appeal.  The orange skin has been removed from the teeth to create a fiery translucency. 

Fierce and Fabulous

Pumpkin Monster

Jagged teeth, angled eyes and an eerie glow make this pumpkin a formidable character. 

Glowing Eyes in the Darkness

Scary Glowing Pumpkins

Visitors won’t stay long in the presence of these disembodied faces.  LEDs produce high intensity light, which flicker like candles and may also change color. 

Sinister Intentions

Sinister Pumpkins

Choosing a short squat pumpkin sets the stage for these menacing characters.  The one on the left appears to be glaring and possibly snickering at viewers.  The other has fleshy, bloodshot eyeballs highlighted in a creepy orange light.  Glow sticks produce softer, otherworldly light in a variety of colors. 

Anger Management

Angry Pumpkin

Maybe the tooth fairy forgot to leave him money, or perhaps his dentist is on vacation.  We may never know why he is so angry, but the message is loud and clear! 

Good Mother or Cannibal?

Good Mother

Wild animals often carry their young by the scruff of the neck.  Since the teeth are rounded, and the little one does not look frightened, I think she is a mother protecting her baby.  What do you think? 

Sweet Kitten

Kitten Pumpkin

The soft rounded features on this gentle kitten create an adorable expression.

Feral Cat

Feral Cat

This adult feral cat hisses in warning, driving everyone away. 

Monsters Under the Bed

Monster Hand

Most children believe there is a monster under the bed or hiding in the closet.  This monster reaches out to grab passersby if they get too close. 

Playful Bat

Bat Pumpkin

This cute bat reminds me of the movie, “The Little Vampire.”  The orange skin had been peeled off the bat to create bold contrast and to achieve a translucent effect when lit. 

Things that Go Bump in the Night

Pumpkin Trio

Vampire bats, black cats and scary faces are all traditional Halloween decorations. 

Nightmare before Christmas

Jack Skellington

Tim Burton fans will recognize Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King.  The stitched mouth and curved brow lend an ominous quality to his expression. 

Tinkerbell & Frankenweenie

Tinkerbell & Frankenweenie

Disney’s Tinkerbell and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie are sure to charm your guests. 

Ghostface

Scream Ghostface

From the Scream movie franchise, this disturbing face may haunt your dreams. 

Mixed Message

Welcome Pumpkin

It says welcome, but the jagged cuts look more threatening to me, as if to say, “Get out!” 

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Pumpkin

The intricate details of this skull are remarkable.  The orange is the perfect background to contrast with this floral skull, a perfect specter for the Day of the Dead. 

Monsters Inc.

Grinning Monster

I am not sure what kind of monster this is, but my what big teeth he has! 

Gourd Creatures

Pumpkin Creatures

These creepy critters have human faces, with thick vines for arms and legs.  The wide-eyed stare and twisted fingers look menacing, as if they might spring forward upon unsuspecting viewers. 

Fire Breathing Dragon

Carved Dragon

This dragon was carved from pumpkin, and the artfully arranged flowers and leaves resemble flames.  This multi-layer composition offers textures and fine details, harmonized by the many shades of orange. 

Let’s Go Wildcats

Wild Cat Pumpkin

To create the delicacy of this fierce wildcat, a piece of pumpkin was carved lying flat.  The finished cat was reattached to the round opening, and any cut lines were carefully concealed. 

Halloween Wishes

Ghost Happy Halloween

I hope you have found a few inspirational ideas for your Halloween pumpkins.  Which design is your favorite?  Do you like to carve or paint your pumpkins?  Please let me know in the comments.  Thanks for reading!

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Designing Outdoor Halloween Displays

For many, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year.  People go all out decorating their homes, and there is always something new to thrill and delight.  Let’s look at some decorating ideas for designing the Halloween display of your dreams…or should I say nightmares? 

Creatures of the Night:

Bats

Vampire Bat

Bats certainly have a way of making humans squirm.  Keep your visitors on their toes by hanging bats upside down from tree branches, lightly swaying in the breeze on invisible fishing tackle. 

Crows

Crows

A crow’s habit of feeding upon dead animals and loud calls are bound to cause a shiver or two.  Mount a couple crows on tombstones or in a prominent spot, such as atop a wall or the edge of your roof. 

Owls

Owls

This predator silently soars across the night sky, seeing all with his glowing eyes.  There are some motion-activated owls that turn their heads and hoot. 

Spiders

Spiders

Most people instinctively shy away from spiders.  The tarantula-sized spiders shown above are painted with glow-in-the-dark paints.  Place them along porch railings or on the outer edge of steps.  You also might want to have several crawling up a wall near the front door. 

Dragons & Black Cats

Dragons & Black Cats

Many people are superstitious about black cats.  When lit from behind, cat silhouette yard stakes have an eerily realistic appearance.  Inflatable dragons glisten and change colors, while animated dragons have glowing eyes, frightening sound effects and “breath fire” courtesy of a fog machine. 

Rats

Rats

Sewer rats are bound to cause a few goosebumps.  Just like the photo above, place a few rats on or around pumpkins to create a creepy atmosphere. 

Witches

Witch

If you want to charm your guests, witches are sure to please.  Life-size, motion-activated witches greet visitors with glowing eyes, casting spells, and stirring cauldrons.  For a more humorous effect, a wall or tree-mounted crashing witch on a broom is sure to make everyone smile. 

Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic.  Although you probably won’t have a horse on the lawn, you could create a dummy with a glowing pumpkin head.  New this year is an animated life-size headless horseman holding an axe in one hand and a talking pumpkin in the other. 

Legendary Movie Monsters

Werewolf

Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Count Dracula – so many possibilities.  You could make a dummy by stuffing an old shirt and pair of slacks and buy a rubber mask to create your monster.  If you or a family member are budding actors, dress up in costumes to unnerve visitors on Halloween night. 

Zombies

Zombies

“The Walking Dead” has been a popular television series for years, spawning a zombie craze in movies, merchandise, and Halloween décor.  If horror is your goal, zombies are the go-to characters. 

Ghosts

Ghost with Lantern

Ghosts can serve as props or as live action creatures.  Halloween night, if you really want to keep trick or treaters on edge, place a life-size ghost among your yard decorations.  Go outside several times wearing an identical costume to stir up chills and thrills as you move across the lawn.  Kids love theatrics like this and will return every year to find out what you will do next.

Scary Props:

Carved Pumpkins

Carved Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a Halloween staple.  Depending upon your preferences and skills, you can carve or paint designs to frighten or amuse your guests.  If you have had trouble in the past with squirrels eating fresh pumpkins, buy craft pumpkins, which can be carved and displayed for years to come. 

Tombstones

Tombstones

With tombstones, draped in spider webs, and scattered bones, this haunted cemetery is ready for visits from the living. 

Coffin & Skeletons

Coffin & Skulls

If you like working with wood, you could build a coffin and reuse it with different monsters each year.  If the weather cooperates, or if you have a covered porch, a cardboard coffin can be easily made.  Skeletons and skulls can be frightening or funny.  It’s all up to you. 

Kid Friendly Scarecrow

Scarecrow Kid Friendly

Scarecrows are easy to make and inexpensive to buy.  Secure them to tree trunks, or place a few on a bale of hay with pumpkins and a few crows for a bit of humor. 

Frightening Scarecrow

Scarecrow Scary

This horrifying scarecrow will keep crows, as well as people, at a distance.  The vicious teeth are an unexpected and unsettling detail. 

Spider Webs

Spider Webs

Our brains tell us that where there are webs, there are spiders.  Drape webs over bushes and railings.  A bag of plastic spiders has great impact or buy one large spider to instill fear. 

Lighting:

Halloween String Lights

Pumpkin String Lights

Pumpkins, Bats, Skulls, Witch Hats, and Ghosts are just a few of your string light options.  Some are the plug-in variety, but for more flexibility there are also battery-operated versions. 

Pumpkin Lamppost Cover

Lamppost Pumpkin

This lamppost cover is an easy way to show your Halloween spirit, and it acts like a beacon attracting Trick or Treaters like moths to a flame. 

Luminaries

Luminaries

Luminaries are easy to make by simply drawing Halloween designs, such as cats and bats, with Sharpie markers on glass jars.  For lighting, burn tealights or use battery-operated candles. 

Special Effects:

Spooky Sounds & Fog

Sound Effects & Fog

Sound is an often-overlooked element in Halloween displays.  Howling wolves, dragging chains, maniacal laughter, growling monsters, and high-pitched shrieks are among the many scary soundtracks.  Fog provides additional layers of Halloween ambiance. 

Lightning & Thunder

Lightning

Conjure up the perfect storm by using theatrical spotlights, which project lightning bolts upon your house, accompanied by claps of thunder. 

Setting the Scene: Finished Halloween Displays

Witch’s Brew

Witch's Brew

Wondering what it would be like to have a close encounter with a witch?  A cauldron, bubbling over with glowing fog, rests upon a flickering faux fire.  With an ancient broom, a book of magic spells and a bottle of her latest potion in hand, this witch chills and thrills guests of all ages.  Live action will astound visitors.  All you need is a costume and have a few clever “incantations.” 

Haunted Graveyard

Haunted Graveyard

How do you create a haunted graveyard?  Start with tombstones, and then add a red-eyed skeleton climbing out of an open grave, bathed from below by an eerie yellow light, as ghostly apparitions take shape in wisps of fog.  An orange moon in the nearby tree completes this otherworldly scene.  Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” would be the perfect theme song for this frightening display. 

Comical Family Fun

Kid Friendly Pumpkin Patch

Is it possible to celebrate Halloween in a kid-friendly way?  A pumpkin family reunion is a good place to start.  Trick or Treaters can pose for selfies with this cheerful, welcoming display.  At night, the bright orange glow will intrigue everyone, drawing them nearer for a closer look. 

If You Build It, They Will Come

Group Photo

Want to attract attention?  Consider your desired theme and select a fascinating focal point, such as the gigantic cat in the above photo.  With colors, shapes, textures, and proportions in mind, continue adding props and characters, creating a multi-layered composition to delight viewers.  Viewers will discover something new each time they see it.  Having a few characters spring to life would be the cherry on top of this theatrical masterpiece. 

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat Decor

Are you participating in a community trunk or treat event?  Don’t forget to decorate your car.  There are Halloween decorations made specifically for trunk or treating.  If your furry best friend rides along, a pet costume would be adorable, and the kids will love it! 

Halloween brings out the kid in all of us.  Do you have a favorite decoration?  Have any suggestions to share with readers?  Please note your thoughts in the comments section.  Thanks for reading and sharing. 

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Celtic Crafts

Rainbow & Pot of Gold
Did you ever follow a rainbow in search of a pot of gold?  Those sneaky Leprechauns do an incredibly good job hiding it, but I will keep searching, nonetheless.  St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, beer, and all things green.

Celtic Knot Mosaics
Intricate Celtic knot work designs can be found on everything from jewelry to T-shirts and even mosaic tiles like the one shown above.

Clover Flowers
Shamrocks, a.k.a. clover, are probably the most recognizable symbols of St. Patrick’s Day.  Typically, you will see nothing but green leaves, however these plants have some very vibrant flowers such as the purple blooms shown above.  (Nice color combo!)

Festive Attire & Chocolate Coins
Wearing green is a great way to show your Irish spirit, and you don’t have to be Irish to take part in the fun!  To satisfy your sweet tooth, homemade chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil will certainly do the trick.

Irish Coffee
This may look like an ordinary cup of coffee but hidden in every cup of Irish Coffee is a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread is made with baking soda instead of yeast and often contains raisins.

Knitting Wool
Ireland is famous for its warm cable knit sweaters made from their finest wool.

Paper Shamrocks
For those who love paper crafts, decorations can include leprechauns, shamrocks, pots of gold, mugs of beer, and rainbows.

Shamrock Cookies
Homemade cookies are a delicious way to celebrate any holiday.

Celtic Cross
If you love painting, consider incorporating Celtic designs into your next project.  Creating these woven patterns is challenging and fun. For instructions to make this cross, please read: “At the Crossroads.”

Pint of Guiness
Making Guinness beer at home might not be in your skill set, but you can turn plain pilsners into beautiful Celtic glasses, for serving the perfect pint, by using glass paints and your creative Celtic flair.

Irish Embroidery
Embroidery offers many opportunities to showcase your needlework skills in both design and color palette.  There are also computerized embroidery machines with plenty of festive templates for every occasion.

Ceramic Irish Cottage
Ceramics studios often have ready to paint statues and decorative items.  After the painting is complete, it is fired in a kiln and is ready to display or to give as a gift.

St. Patrick’s Day invites everyone to be Irish for the day and to have a grand time doing it.  Don’t forget to wear something green.  May the luck of the Irish with you!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Crafting!

Forever Green

Snow Covered Pines
What I miss the most during the colder months are the beautiful colors in nature. The winter sky is so gray, the trees are dormant, and the flowers temporarily disappear for a long winter’s nap. Evergreens defiantly retain their glorious shades of green regardless of the weather. To brighten your home decor, you can add a little evergreen and it will never need to be watered.

How to Paint Wooden Pine Trees
Lighted Tree Close Up
This painted craft is very easy to complete in a short amount of time and it’s great for beginners too!

Raw Wood Trees
Raw Wood Trees
As with all raw wood, a little sanding may be required, especially along the edges. The pre-drilled holes are for lights in a later step.

Supplies
Painted Tree Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Pine Tree (17” high x 9” wide x 1/2” thick) (Base is 9” wide x 2” deep)
Acrylic Paints – green, white
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper
String of 20 lights

Apply Green Paint
Painted Green Trees
Paint each tree green, ensuring both sides, all the edges and the base are painted.

Define the Branches with Snow
Painted Snow Trees
In nature, snow gathers on the branches. To give these trees a more three-dimensional appearance, add patches of white paint to imitate Mother Nature.

Tree Lighting
Trees with Inserted Lights
Those pre-drilled holes were made to hold a strand of twenty white lights. The lights can only be pushed through from one side of the wood frame. You may need to secure the last light at the bottom with a piece of tape to keep it from pulling out from the weight of the electrical cord.

Finished Trees (with and without camera flash)
Lit Trees
All you need to do now is choose a spot to display your handiwork and plug in those lights. I place my trees in the living room windows to enhance the rest of the outdoor decorations. When the holidays are over, they can remain on display throughout the winter.

Pom Pom Alternative
Pom Pom Tree
As an alternative to lights, you can turn a simple pine tree into a Christmas tree by gluing on multi-color pom poms as ornaments.

I hope you enjoy this project and have fun decorating your home for the holidays.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Gingerbread Dreams

Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are a favorite treat any time of year. Decorating gingerbread is a great activity for the whole family. For a real challenge, why not try designing, building and decorating a gingerbread house? Before we look at some finished houses, let’s take a closer look at a few of the important details.

Decorating Gingerbread
Piping Icing
Whether decorating cookies or building a gingerbread house, the first skill you will need is piping icing.

Piping is the Key
Candy CloseUp
From the smallest detail to the walls and roof, royal icing is the edible glue that holds everything together.

Candy Decor
Gingerbread Roof Close Up
Any type of candy will do. If you tend to nibble while you work, you might want to have extra candy on hand so that you don’t run out before the project is finished. (lol)

Architectural Details
Architecture Details
This budding architect has carefully defined the details: candy cane columns; stamped brick wall pattern; piped & candied landscaping, door and window trim; M &M roofing; and candy accents.

Festive Elf
Festive Elf
Don’t forget to have fun with your creation.

Be Adventurous
Adorable Snowman
Let your imagination run wild. Come up with interesting details. This artist darkened the windows to add depth and carved wood grain into the door. Make your project as unique as you are.

Humorous Little Details
Rooftop Cat
Be sure to include the unexpected, such as this fondant cat on a snow-covered roof.

Miniature Gingerbread Houses
Cookie House
There’s nothing wrong with starting small. This house was made entirely from gingerbread cookies. It’s quick and easy to put together and can be used as ornaments, or as gifts for visitors. You could even pipe names on each one as edible “place cards” at the table.

Chalet
Gingerbread Chalet
Instead of candy, decorated gingerbread cookies adorn this simple A-frame house.

In the Doghouse
Gingerbread Doghouse
Icing is the main decoration on this adorable doghouse, with only a few candy accents.

A Bright Idea
Lighted Cottage
This cottage may be small, but it has two interesting qualities that make it really stand out: 1) LEDs provide a soft glowing interior. 2) The reflective high gloss tray resembles ice or water. As an alternative to lights, you could place sheets of fruit roll ups over the inside of the windows and doors to create a cozy glow.

Accessible Design
Decorating for Everyone
Holding a piping bag and defining tiny details can be difficult, if not impossible, for those with limited mobility. Decorating can be made easy by simply spread icing with a spatula over all the walls and roof. Place decorations wherever desired, and the icing will hold them in place.

Log Cabin Village
Log Cabins
These gingerbread houses remind me of the colonial log cabins in Valley Forge National Park. Instead of candy, piped icing was used throughout the design, with a sprinkling of sugar snow.

The North Pole
North Pole Village
Leave it to Santa to create a quaint village, where even the North Pole is edible!

Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods
Like something from a fairy tale, this cute little snow-scene has a soft pink and blue color scheme complemented by a welcoming fire glow from inside.

Cozy Chalet
Cozy Chalet
Almond cookies adorning the roof and chocolate door & chimney set this chalet apart.

Midnight Cabin
Midnight Cabin
The contrasts between light and dark give this gingerbread house a spooky feel like something you might see in a dark lonely forest. The gumdrop posts appear to be glowing, while the almost obscured windows make you wonder what might lurk inside.

Gingerbread House Kits
Gingerbread House Kits
You could make gingerbread houses from scratch, but kits, which include all the candy, walls, roof, and icing, are a great place to start for beginners.

A Grinchy Christmas
Grinchy Home
The Grinch gets an upgrade from his old cave home to this perfect gingerbread tribute to Dr. Seuss. From the whimsical tree to the asymmetrical door, the spirit of the story comes to life before our eyes.

Angelic Lace
Angelic Lace Cottage
Delicate lace-like patterns harmonize with tiny gold dragées, while mini string lights illuminate the tree as well as the interior. A very steady hand is required to keep the lines soft and fluid.

Guiding Light
Lighted Church
Gingerbread can be made into any type of building including castles, churches, and lighthouses. If you can imagine it, anything is possible.

Chocolate & Gingerbread Cottage
Chocolate Fairy Tale Cottage
You seldom see chocolate decorations on gingerbread, but this artist has done a wonderful job combining the two into an exquisitely detailed showstopper.

Feast for the Eyes
Wintry Dream
There’s a lot going on here, but it’s beautifully balanced. The snow drips from the roof and the evergreen tree is decorated with colorful balls and a star on top. The upright pinwheel candies make a lovely border, while the cheerful gingerbread man and his snowy friend are sure to please. Every detail in this sentimental gingerbread home was made with love to warm the heart.

Your Reward
Eating Gingerbread
What is the best part about decorating gingerbread? Eating it! After all that hard work, you deserve a tasty treat. If you don’t have the heart to munch on your creation, have a few decorated cookies on the side as a reward for a job well done. I hope you are inspired to give gingerbread building a try. Good luck and remember you can always eat your mistakes. (lol)

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!