Tag: crafts

Ultimate Carnival Theme Party Ideas for Fun Lovers

With the anticipation of spring weather, it’s thankfully time to think about all the outdoor possibilities. For me, what comes to mind are ways to reconnect with people. Essentially, I’m kind of pandemic’ed’ out at this point after the last two years and all the winter spikes in cases. With outdoor being a ‘safer’ place, my mind is teeming with ways to utilize my larger outdoor space. This anticipation also reminds me of one of favorite birthday parties for my oldest daughter. So if you’re looking for an all-out fun party theme, follow along for some carnival theme party ideas.

Carnival Theme Food Ideas

You can’t think of a carnival and not think about all the delicious food options. An at-home carnival wouldn’t be the same without it, so it’s definitely an important checklist item.

My parents helped supply this party with pretty much all the fanfare from popcorn and sno kones makers to my mom’s carefully crafted carnival games. Let’s just say they are still kids at heart and have collected all the things to share fun with others. My mom in particular was a huge help with these carnival theme party ideas.

Our snacks included:

  • Popcorn with authentic popcorn bags
  • Cotton candy in clown bags
  • Funnel cake
  • Soft pretzels
  • Carousel Cake
  • Candy!!

Carnival Theme Party Game Ideas

The games are a combination of purchases and crafts, which can go in either direction depending on the amount of effort desired.

Fish Bowl Toss & Lucky Duck

Baby pools are a super easy and cheap way to accomplish this game. You can find clearance pools at the end of the summer season. The prize for the fish bowl toss was a sandwich bag filled with water and a fake fish.

Spill the Milk and Down a Clown

Spill the milk has a wooden stand built from a 3/4″ thick board, a round wooden disk and a 4×4. The metal bottles are going to a bit hard to find. Any bottles with flat bottoms and tops will work. The Down a Clown frame is built from wood, hinges and purchased from a toy show. If you really want to be authentic, the best place to look would be antique fairs or toy shows. My mom touched these up with paint.

Ring the Bell

Now this next one isn’t going to be an easy to find item. It reiterates that my parents have it all. They also have a larger version in their backyard that doesn’t travel as well as this smaller version. It was certainly a hit with our little carnival goers!

Ring a Bottle & Bucket Toss

The Ring a Bottle game is constructed with antique bottle crates, so you may have to do a bit of searching to find that exact thing. Otherwise, some crates, and glass bottles should work okay. The bucket toss is another easy find incorporating like size buckets and ping pong balls.

Bullseye Toss, Pin the Tail on the Donkey & Raise the bottle

These targets were purchased but could also be made from poster board for those who enjoy the opportunity to make their own. The bottle stand is also an easy project using a 2×4 and square wood panels. One of the long sides should be shorter in height from the other side. This can be accomplished easily with a table saw or saw with a guide. Nail or screw it all together and you have the stand! The fishing rods are long dowels with a small hole drilled into the end. Then string can be tied to it without slipping off and connected to the ring.

Face Painting

I personally love face painting so my carnival party wouldn’t have been complete without it. I was pretty tickled that my husband did several of the paintings. The easiest way to go about it is to have a selection of face paintings you can feasibly do for the kids to pick from.

Prize Table

With each game, the carnival goers won tickets. At the end, everyone was able to cash in their tickets for prizes from the prize buckets. We had pencils, clackers, yo-yo’s, candy, etc. Party City is an excellent place to check for inexpensive prizes. All they need is a paper bag to put their prize selections into for safe keeping. Our party rounded out with lollipops from the lollipop peg box. This can be constructed with a box, peg board or wood/cardboard with holes drilled into it.

Pandemic effects on mental health

As I said at the beginning, I’m mentally exhausted from the length of the pandemic and itching to engage more with friends near and far. We were able to get together with friends last summer, but it still wasn’t the same as before. In the article Seven Ways the Pandemic is Affecting Our Mental Health, it notes,

“And, indeed, nearly 1 in 7 U.S. adults said they were often or always lonely in April 2020, up over 25 percent from 2018. But another study in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. found that people’s feelings of connection to others didn’t change much from before to during the pandemic. When one group of researchers surveyed over 1,500 people in the U.S. from January to April, they were surprised to find “remarkable resilience.” ……”one study in the U.S. in April and May (before any restrictions were lifted) found that almost two thirds of people under 30 had high levels of loneliness, and 37 percent felt they had low support from their family.”

Seven Ways the Pandemic Is Affecting Our Mental Health

So now’s the time to find safe ways to engage with others, to take care of yourselves, and to find a way back to some normalcy. As with anything, the affects of the pandemic really depend on your outlook and resilience.

This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

20 Lovely and Crafty Valentines Decor Ideas to Make Today

In general, any holiday can evoke feelings of stress and anxiety, from the anticipation of interactions, the glaring absence of relationships, and/or the added list of tasks the holiday brings with it. I’d venture to say Valentine’s Day is the least favorite holiday for some. Way back before my husband and I got together (in high school), I saw it as a holiday pointing out the absence of love as it’s traditionally celebrated in a relationship. I was definitely young and tunnel visioned in that way, but as a teenager it’s what glared out at me. Currently, as a married adult, my husband and I still don’t celebrate it to any large degree, mostly because he hates the ‘hallmark’ holiday idea. To brighten the day up, I think the best way to celebrate the idea of love, is to craft your way into a Valentines decor infused space.

If you’re with me, follow along for a collection of lovely and crafty ideas you could do with or without your loved ones. If may just provide you with some meditative moments and a boost of confidence at seeing what you are able to create!  

Valentines Decor Collection

  1. Cupid’s Arrow Valentine’s Day Wall Hanging by Charleston Crafted 

I’ll happily admit I’m partial to arrow decor, so this Cupid’s arrow wall hanging hits me in just the right spot. One of the best parts is the simplicity and ease to create it. I also just saw Joann Fabrics has felt on sale right now, so it’s a match made in heaven. 


2. DIY Dollar Store Heart Wreath by South Lumina Style

This homemade wreath definitely comes off as having store bought quality and would look great with lots of different decor.  

Valentines decor heart wreath

And then there’s this other version of a heart wreath using the same wire frame but with material scraps. Totally farmhouse chic and a great way to use up any scraps you might have. 

3. Rag Heart Wreath by Simple Simon and Co.

Valentines decor rag heart wreath

4. Thumbprint Heart Glass Gem Magnets by Rhythms of Play

I’m smitten with this idea as a way to capture the kids’ fingerprint sizes for years to come, because the kids are only small for so long. A reality I’ve been living as my oldest is now taller than I. I could also use some more magnets to hold up pictures on the fridge, so that’s a win in my book. 

valentines decor thumbprints

5. Heart Garland by My Sanity Project 

After having posted about my Christmas mitten garland, I couldn’t pass up on this heart garland. It’s equally as cute as the mittens. 

valentines decor heart garland

6. Valentine’s Day Trail Sign by Stow and Tell U

Which path would you choose on this Valentine’s day hike? I’m partial to Cupid’s Arrow Peak myself.


7. Valentine’s Table Runner by H20 Bungalow

While perusing ideas, I liked how unique this concept was among the bunch of wreaths and wall decor. There weren’t any other table runner ideas I saw and burlap gives it the added farmhouse look. I ‘love’ it!

Valentines decor table runner

8. DIY Farmhouse Garland by Refresh Living

Sometimes, you just can’t beat a little simplicity. The toned down color and ease of this garland is oh so lovely. Stringing beads definitely provides an opportunity to meditate as well!


9. Canvas Heart Art by Design Improvised

I couldn’t go without including some canvas wall decor. My girls love painting on canvas, so the image really sparked a fire in my to break out the paint and glitter. The variety in texture definitely adds a nice dimension to the collection. 


10. Lavender Sachets by Beauty for Ashes 

Given that smells can be a great way to ease stress and recall memories, I thought this heart sachet idea was superb. If you’re planning a lovely night or holiday season, give your olfactory sense something to spark memories in the years to come. 


11. Yarn Wrapped Hearts by Fynes Designs

Simple yarn can come pretty cheap, so this idea also stood out to me as affordable and a nice kid friendly idea. It’s also a nice pairing to idea 8 in this list. 


12. Valentine’s Gnomes by Follow the Yellow Brick Home

Gnomes seem to be all the rage these days. These Valentine gnomes look easy enough for anyone to accomplish and add a cute gnome splash to a Valentine decor vignette. 


13. No Sew Valentine Pillows by Moms and Crafters

I could spend forever rooting through fabrics to find just the right pattern and feel for these cute pillows. Personally, I would go bigger than these appear to be and save money by stuffing them with the cruddy looking cotton snow left over from Christmas. Who doesn’t love a good repurpose?


14. Kissing Booth 

The dollar tree can supply all the materials to create this absolutely adorable kissing booth. Big tongue depressors could also be an alternate option for material. It definitely provides a way to add your own creative flare. 


15. Heart Envelopes by I Heart Crafty Things

I’m pretty sure most folks have extra paper lying around whether decorative or not. Here’s an easy peazy way to make a folded heart into the actual envelope! Write your message and fold away!


16. Heart Frame by Fluster Buster

In my previous house, I had wanted to make a similar year round wall hanging with braches in a large frame. I never did end up doing it but still love this Valentines decor version. There are plenty of frames ready for repurposing at Goodwill for just such a purpose. 


17. Tissue Paper Rosette Ball by the Idea Room

I tend to have left over streamers from my girls’ birthday morning ‘surprise’ decorations. When I saw this idea, I couldn’t get over how simple of an idea it was using something I already had. I can’t wait to make my own!


18. Valentines Day Table Decorations by Cathartic Crafting 

Create some Valentine’s Day table decorations with materials you can likely find around your house, like acorns and wine bottles. I know I enjoyed it!


19. Bead Board Heart Vase by Simply Country Life

Here’s another idea I’ve done something similar with to hold my paint brushes, mason jar wall hangings. Most of the work lies in going to the store for supplies. 


20. DIY Dollar Tree Sign Makeover Using Craft Sticks by Lizzy and Erin

This Valentines decor is true farmhouse magic in a wooden frame. The combination of all the different ribbon material is the star here.

So that’s it, that’s all I wrote. I truly hope you found a few must do ideas here from all these creative bloggers. Hopefully, it helps you to slow down and focus your mind, or maybe lets it wonder aimlessly, if that’s what you are needing. Holidays certainly seem to put the pressure on, but if we take a step back to allow for some ‘me’ time, all things can be manageable. Here’s to current and future love!

Valentine’s Day Table Decorations using Found Materials

At our new house this fall, we experienced an onslaught of acorns on our back porch from the nearby tree. Given that there were thousands of them, and more than the squirrels could handle, I felt like I needed to figure out some way to repurpose them. With all the baby and Christmas prep and festivities complete, it was time to refocus on the next holiday, Valentine’s Day. These thoughts boiled down to creating Valentine’s Day table decorations with the acorns and a collection of other materials I had on hand. It feels great to be able to repurpose items, especially to spruce up the living environment. 

Supplies

  • Acorns
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Craft Glue
  • Wine bottle (click the link for a wine company I love, Traveling Vineyard)
  • Contact Paper
  • Wood
  • Sand Paper
  • Spray Paint

Valentine’s Day Table Decorations Run Down

I don’t think many instructions need to be included here, except to say, go forth with creativity! One note on acrylic paint. I, generally, buy cheap acrylics, because my kids go crazy with it and waste it. This means the paint doesn’t always have great surface coverage and needed multiple layers of paint to cover the brown. If waste isn’t a concern, I suggest you choose your paints wisely. 

Using leftover 5/8″ x 2″ strips, I cut some rectangles to make into tiny envelopes. 

Wine Bottle Valentine’s Day Table Decoration

Whether you are drinking away your sorrows or celebrating with loved ones, save the empty wine bottle for an easy repurpose. A little trick I learned recently is to use WD-40 to get the sticky remnants off the surface. What I also learned in trying this method is the WD40 doesn’t get the heavier sticker off, so soak the label first to get off as much as you can. 

From there, I cut hearts from contact paper to use as a stencil on the wine bottle. I used the folding method to ensure it was equal on both sides. If I were to do it again, I would make the hearts a little smaller. This would allow for the viewer to see the whole heart when looking at the bottle from one spot rather than having to rotate it. 

Finished Valentine’s Day Table Decorations

Thankfully, I took these pictures prior to our Siberian Husky poaching them off of our entry table to chew on. She’s now chewed on my live edge coffee table, my resin coffee table, multiple shoes, and our new porch couch. I’m about ready to boot her out of the house! Anyway…….

Now it’s your turn to go ‘nuts’ crafting your own Valentine’s Day table decorations with whatever you have available. Have fun!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Crafting Felt Mitten Garland Christmas Decor in a Snap

If you’re looking to spruce up your Christmas decor without breaking the bank on store-bought decor, look no further! This felt mitten garland is easy enough for novice crafters, kids, and is also fun for the experienced crafter. The best part is the materials are minimal and inexpensive. You can really let your creativity flourish with how involved or simple you decide to go with them.

Materials

Felt Mitten Garland in a Snap

The choice is yours as to how big or small you’d like to make your mittens. My mittens are fairly small for the simple fact that I think it’s cuter and I can fit more on one piece of felt. To cut down on time and to ensure you have matching fronts and backs, fold over the felt, before cutting out the mitten shape.

I chose to put a different color on the back of the green glove. (Mostly because I didn’t have enough of any one color for 4 sides.)

Sewing and Extra Decor

You don’t have to be an expert sewer for this task. All it takes is a needle and thread to sew around the edge of the mitten. I chose to go up through the bottom and wrap it around the outside. The alternative could be to go up through the bottom and back down through the top like a common sewing machine stitch. I also like the contrast of the white thread against the dark material.

Then, it’s time to spruce up the sewed mitten with whatever you choose. I had pompoms on hand so that was the obvious choice for me for this particular glove. Other mittens include cut out pieces of other felt colors.  Glue and glitter are another option as many other possibilities.

Initially, I used a brown twine but really liked this the red and white twist string I found on clearance. I don’t know about you but surfing the clearance aisle is a common occurrence for me. I tend to buy things I think I might be able to find use for in the future. The mini clothespins can then be attached to the string and mittens for hanging.

Finished Felt Mitten Garland

And with that, this felt mitten garland is complete. It’s an easy and quick craft for Christmas decor that you can complete by yourself or with friends or kids. Go for coordinating colors or all one color. Add holly or stockings to the string for a fun add on. The options are endless.

For more simple Christmas decor, check out these Popcorn Garland and Candyland Christmas Decor.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Outstanding Popcorn Garland and Gobstoppers for Candyland Christmas

After creating my giant lollipops and tootsie roll string lights in the first Candyland Christmas rendition, I knew I wanted to get moving on some Candyland Christmas additions. My priorities continued to be keeping supply costs low (most items were on hand), fun in creating, and trying to be set apart from the rest of the neighborhood.

Candyland Christmas Popcorn Garland

Supplies: 

While going through bins of old toys to sell, I was inspired by the ball pit balls we hadn’t used in forever. Those balls gave me the rather brilliant idea to make little wrapped “candies”. I’m thinking of the ones you get from some Asian restaurants in the metallic wrapping. It was a great pairing to the “popcorn” I was already planning to do. For some reason, I didn’t take pictures, but the task is super easy. Cut the tissue paper to a good size to fit around your ball, leaving a good 3 inches on each end. I taped the seam over the ball to keep the paper sealed. Then, it’s just a matter of pinching the tissue paper on either side of the ball and twisting the tie around it. It’s perfect for kids of all ages!

Honestly, this craft couldn’t be any simpler, so here we go with the popcorn instructions. Spray the Great Foam onto something you don’t care about having some stuck on foam remnants. Spray the foam into a lopsided shape, you know, like popcorn. I wouldn’t say mine are a great popcorn shape, so if you can do better, then I applaud you. This stuff grows quite a bit so definitely make it undersized to what you think you want it to be after it expands. It’s always a good idea to try one first to see how big it gets.

And here they are after hardening. A scraper will help you get them off cleanly from the surface. I didn’t think about it until after I’d already strung my popcorn up, but it’d be a great idea to turn the popcorn over and spray a bit more Great Foam on the flat rough side for a better shape. I’m pretty tempted to spray mine even while they are currently hung up because I dislike that flat side so much.

DIY Giant Needle

Time to sew! I had to run through ideas in my head on how I could get a string through the popcorn. With our pending move, I had already packed up some of the things I would have considered. After taking a look in my knife and skewer drawer, I was elated to find a lone wooden skewer. I drilled a tiny hole at the end, making it a perfect giant needle. It felt like a huge win! I used some heavy sewing thread to feel confident the string wouldn’t break. 

From there, it was just a matter of man powering the skewer through the foam. Just kidding, it’s really quite easy! My pattern was two popcorns, then one candy. I tied the string around one side of the candy. After the assortment was all threaded onto the string, I basically wrapped it around the string of lights. And with that, this craft for Candyland Christmas is finished. 

Gobstoppers

I was beyond tickled when the Gobstopper idea hit me. It was such a SIMPLE idea. I already had clear cellophane on hand. I cut a strip of it to fit the circumference of the balls. Then with the balls in the middle of the cellophane strip, I taped the seam together. I held one end together to use the clear packing tape to ‘seal’ it similarly to what an actual gobstopper strip looks like. Then I did the same to the other side before cutting it off. Now, if you want to go the extra mile, you could use a Cricut to create the label to stick on. I, unfortunately, don’t currently have the means, otherwise, I probably would. 

Mints

Here’s another “what do I have sitting around” idea. Foil pie pans had been sitting in wait in my cabinet for quite some time. I decided to use those to make a mint. I cut the perimeter about 6 times to the crease. This was to allow the border to fold into more of a 90-degree angle. Surprise surprise, craft glue doesn’t work so well on foil, so I taped the overlapping seam together.

Then, it was just a matter of folding the selected tissue paper into the empty center. Cutting the clear cellophane to the right size and tying off the ends with the twist ties. Literally, a two minute effort you can hand off to your kiddos to get them involved. Cheap and easy is the continued name of the game with this Candyland Christmas theme.

Presenting: Candyland Christmas!!!

Here is it all together!

If I weren’t in the process of selling a house, I would definitely continue to up the ante. It looks much to bear for my tastes. I unfortunately just don’t have the time to be able to continue on my Candyland Christmas journey, but there’s always next year…

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Spooky Tree Test Tube Holder for a Unique Apothecary

Troll boogers! Snail Slime! Dragon’s Blood! These are three of the Halloween test tubes I’ve for years as part of my Halloween Apothecary. They have been without a stand for years. This month I decided I was going to finally make a science-esk one out of wood. I was still hesitant because it felt too mundane. In the age of Pinterest, it feels pretty darn difficult to come up with something different. Sometimes, I feel stunted by thinking I can’t come up with anything unique. After some contemplation during a drive, I decided to make a spooky tree with curved limbs. Here’s the quick and easy rundown on this spooky tree test tube holder for any are looking to stray from the normal.

Materials:

  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Airbrush (if you’ve got it)

For a reason I can’t remember, I’ve had two spools of this wire for years. I’ve used it for several random occasions on other craft ideas. It’s really what inspired me to craft this tree and provide stability. 

All my three daughters all being in fall sports. Sometimes, crafting boils down to finding a way to build in time around events on our schedule. My eldest had a fastpitch doubleheader an hour away from home. I took along my materials to get started on this quick Halloween decor. While the team warmed up for an hour, I worked on my tree in the parking lot.


Building the Base

First, I cut 6 wires of similar lengths. Then, I twisted two wires together to start forming the trunk. I added one each additional wire by twisting it around the base and leaving the ‘root’ for the stand and free limbs at the top. I finished it off by twisting two additional wires around the trunk to form curved limbs the would serve to hold the test tubes. Literally, a 10-minute step.

Clay for the Tree Test Tube Holder

I had already been making air-dry clay for another project, so I could easily use it for this project. I found this easy DIY air dry recipe from Kitchen Table Classroom to make porcelain clay. It was simple to make from ingredients in the kitchen but admittedly was not as good for what I needed the clay to do. I only used it for the base. I tried another porcelain clay recipe from Natural Earth Paint using only three cheap ingredients; cornstarch, baking soda, and water. This clay was a bit better but still quite loose/limp. 

I pressed the clay around all the metal limbs as best I could, adding free-standing clay limbs as I went. Molding the clay for this was unfortunately an example of one of those times when crafting can cause me more stress than alleviating it. I’ll just leave it at being highly perturbed by the difficulties of trying to get the limp clay to stay put. If I were to do it again, I would buy polymer clay from Michaels.  After letting it dry for a day, I started airbrushing.

Airbrushing Zen

While I completed the many layers of airbrushing in shades of brown, I was mentally focused on the stress I had been feeling around politics and the impending elections. I felt consumed by the emotions generated by the garbage being shared by people I was connected with on Facebook, some of them being relatives. As I slowly watched the paint spray out of the airbrush, I was contemplating how I could make positive steps to shifting others’ views in a positive way. We’ve been doing a fair bit of personal bias assessment as work, so it’s been fully present in my mind to assess if I’m being objective in my views. In fully trying to understand my own thoughts and feelings and contemplate the perspective of others, I couldn’t come to grips with the lies and delusions others allow themselves to believe.

Public service announcement on Political Stress

To sum it all up, I was feeling oppressive levels of stress around these unending thoughts. After doing a quick Google, I found quite a lot of references to political/election stress syndrome. Even thinking about it now makes my chest tighten. I quite liked this description I found.

Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest…

Part of my election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I’m vastly overworked. … Political campaigns set the web of emotion ablaze with negativity.

Psychology Today

If this resonates with you, there are a variety of things to try to combat the feelings. I’ve chosen to focus on the things I can control, to find my Zen in crafting, and to stay away from the offending sources. Although, over the last week I’ve also been immersed in a sea of stressful work deadlines, the political stress remains at bay. 

Back to this Test Tube Holder

I finished it off with a dark brown touch up around bends in the limbs and the roots. I put it with the rest of my Halloween apothecary set up and called it a day. If you are looking for another easy craft to take your mind to another level, try out these apothecary bottles! Happy haunting to you and yours!

How to Make the Best Halloween Apothecary Jars

A few years ago, I couldn’t wait to start a collection of Halloween apothecary jars to add to my holiday decor. I started off with collecting regular food jars and random Goodwill finds to change into new and creepy decor. It doesn’t take much more than some simple materials to really get started.

Halloween Apothecary Jar Ideas

Materials:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Printer and Printer Paper
  • Clay
  • String
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue gun and Glue sticks
  • Food items: egg shells, Cantaloupe rind
  • Store bought creepy crawlers
  • Corks
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw

For this Ear of Troll I used the rind of some eaten cantaloupe. I gave it a week to dry out in the garage before closing it into the jar. I used a blank label in Word to type in the name. Mod podge was my go-to glue for all of these labels to get them to stick and to give it a coating for longevity. For this jar, in particular, used coffee filters served as the lid covering with string and craft glue decorating the jar curve.

Free label sites I used:

Spooky Apothecary Labels from Brooklyn Limestone

Free Halloween Bottle Labels from Holidappy 

Apothecary jar Labels from Halloween Forum

Rattle Snake Eggs

Similar techniques were used for these Rattle Snake Eggs Halloween Apothecary jar. The eggs were from a friend with chickens laying eggs in a variety of shades. Using a needle, I poked holes in both ends with one end being slightly larger to allow for the egg innards to be expelled. It’s also a lot easier to break up the yolk using the needle poked repeatedly through the holes. Once all that was done successfully without breaking the egg, I blew into the smaller hole to force the contents out the larger hole. Then I was ready to eat some scrambled eggs! I also gave the eggs a day to dry out a little more before coating them in Mod Podge.

Jellyfish Stingers

The same techniques are applied here for the outside. For the jellyfish stingers, I used hot glue on a baking pan. When it was cool, I was able to peel it off and stick it in the jar. 

Store bought creepy crawlers are center stage in this jars: Worms, mice and cockroaches anyone?

Clay Creations

Next up, for these three Halloween Apothecary jars, I used baking clay for the unicorn horn and bat wins and model magic for the fingers. I quite enjoy crafting clay creations. For the horn, I first rolled two equal ropes of clay. Then I twisted them together and rolled them on the counter to get a narrower pointed end. Presto! A lovely unicorn horn. I didn’t finish it off with glitter but it could definitely be a nice add.

Model magic is really easy to shape but doesn’t hold fine details like a real clay does. I used press on nails to give the real nail effect here. These lady fingers were complete with some painted on blood. You could really go grotesque with this if you want!

Pill Bottle Makeovers

These 5 bottles were all crafted from empty pill bottles. I used a saw to cut the tops off before sanding the smooth surface. The next step was to draw the label and image with hot glue. I used matte/satin paint in grays, browns, and black to paint all the bottles. Then, I glued on labels and string. 

Two Minute Snake Skin

For this lovely Halloween Apothecary jar of Snake Skin, I painted the jar with a few different colors of cheap acrylic paint that matched with the coloring of the label. (The color of the label being the result of a malfunctioning printer. The Lord knows the amount of angst that printer caused me at the end of its life.)   Generally for painting all the lids, I sanded them first to ensure the paint would adhere.

The actual innards of the jar were a combination of plastic wrap and hot glue. I cut a rectangle of the plastic wrap and laid it over the foil to protect the counters. From there, I glued a snake skin-esk pattern onto the plastic wrap. I noticed that as the glue got hotter, the plastic wrap shrunk more, which I was not so much a fan of seeing happen. If I were to do this again, I would do a portion, then unplug the glue gun for a 15 second cooling. Then repeat until finished. 

I got the free label for this jar from: 

Halloween Apothecary with 9 FREE potion bottle labels

I hope you gathered some of your favorite ideas for crafting some of your very own Halloween Apothecary Jars. If you’re looking more spooky Halloween decor, check out my Spooky Halloween Book Covers.

Frightfully Spooky Halloween Book Cover for your Next Craft Project

This project was inspired by a family visit to the Renaissance Festival, a wonderful place of creativity and imagination. My oldest was enthralled with so many of the crafts there and wanted them all. This was much the same feeling I had as a child going to the Renaissance. As a mother, I would have loved to buy her all the things, but my pocketbook definitely didn’t allow for that desire. For many of the crafted items, I put a pin in the idea in my mental board to create later. One of those wares was the leather-bound books with the intricate faces deftly shaped into them. They seemed like the perfect at-home project. And thus, this spooky Halloween Book Cover craft was born into being!


Spooky Halloween Book Cover Materials & Tools

  • Book
  • Leather-like Material
  • Hot Glue
  • Paint
  • Eyeballs
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Tissue Paper (Optional)
  • Mod Podge (Optional)

For my first two books, I went ahead with using some old books I had but didn’t care much about. For the next two, I took a trip to Goodwill and happened to come across two books with topics that were a perfecting pairing with Halloween; bugs, and strange stories. I was pretty tickled by the finds!

Easy Crafting Steps for the Eyeball Look

Cut the material to size. With the book open, you want it to be about an inch and a half bigger on all sides. You can definitely make it a little bigger if you’re worried about it being too small.

2. Use the razor to cut small slits for the eyeballs. For my first attempt, I went with one eye on the binding of the book.

Being careful not to burn yourself, hot glue the outside of the material to the surface of the eyeball to give it eyelids. I ended up using a large tongue depressor to keep from burning myself. 

5. Glue the rest of the cover to the outside of the book. As it cools, squish the material together to create ripples.

6. Trim the outside edges and notch the corners so when they are folded in, you get a clean diagonal seam.

7. Leave as is or add whatever shading or darkening you prefer to age the material. 

8. Set it up to show off.

Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Shading

HOT GLUE!

Much of this cover consisted of piling on the hot glue. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my hot glue guns and stock of sticks. Hot glue is truly versatile when it comes to crafting. My first attempt was to create the centipede on the underside of the leather. It didn’t work so well, so I ended up adding it to the top of the leather. And then I added more…. and then a little more to each bug. Let’s just say I went through a lot of sticks.

Cheap acrylic paint served me well to paint the bugs and do the shading. It stuck to the hot glue pretty well with several coats.

A sharpie was an easy and permanent way to add a few details.

Complete Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Tissue Paper Flare

To create a wrinkled appearance, follow the easy steps:

  1. Apply Mod Podge to the surface.
  2. Then press small squares of tissue paper into the glue.
  3. Get a little extra Mod Podge onto a paintbrush before pushing into the tissue paper. 
  4. Add additional layers of Mod Podge based on your desired look. 

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Happy Halloween Crafting!!

11 Sensational Repurposed Old Windows

Ladies craft night anyone?! A while back, I was really into hosting crafting nights. I’d already done some painting parties, so I decided to shift gears into a window upcycling party. I found a stock of old windows for a $20 steal and sent out the invite. The windows were very dirty and very chippy, requiring a good bit of elbow grease. I did all the cleanup before to make it easy. For the event, the guests were informed that I would be providing the paint and paintbrushes. If they wanted anything special, they would have to bring it for themselves. With that, we were ready to relieve our stress by letting our creativity shine through some repurposed old windows.

That party was one of the motivations for putting this list together for you all. Since that party, I’ve had the leftover windows sitting in wait in my garage. I’ve included those generally quick and easy projects below.

11 ideas to give a whirl for repurposed old windows:

1. Bakery Stand Window

This bakery stand was one of my more recent projects. My girls were in love with the end results and have used it many times to raise money for charity, Determined to Donate.

2. Shabby Chic Display (from my Paint party)

“Every Dream begins with a Wish”

3. Shelf and Picture Holder 

My 6-year-old was very excited about getting a desk in her room for Christmas. When I asked if she wanted a window shelf above it, she was all about it. She picked the color and I added shelf brackets. The little ballerinas were a cheap find from Michaels to fit with her ballerina-themed room. It was such an easy project.

4. Mantle Decor from Walnut and Vine

5. Mirrored Window by Finding Home Farms

This is a tutorial on a footboard towel rack. I love every bit of the total look from antique clocks to pink bottles. Super cute!

6.  Altered Window Frame by Little Birdie Secrets 

7. Command Center by Dwelling in Happiness

8. Window Box Cabinet by My Repurposed Life

9. Window Planter by Prodigal Pieces

10. DIY Mini Greenhouse by HgTV

I’m completely smitten with this adorable upcycle. 

The Finale

11. Bathroom Storage Window and Shutters

Last but not least. This was my latest project to spruce up my girls’ sad-looking bathroom. The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars with a router and making pull out metal mesh earring holders. I include a tutorial on constructing those on one of my picture frame posts.  It was definitely a win-win situation; I got a larger window and a set of shutters out of my garage stockpile and created a quick organizer for all the bows, headbands,  earrings, and misc items. My girls thought it was a hit!

Pop-Out Earring Holders:

Shutter Headband Holder:

To say it simply, my 6-year-old has A LOT of headbands. The shutter pull bar was a perfect way to hold them in place.

Towel (or Jewelry) Hooks

The builders of our new home put one long bar towel holder up in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately, so I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks provide.

The very sad looking before photo: a ribbon frame bow holder and an owl earring holder.

End of the countdown on 11 sensational ways to repurpose your old windows

I hope you enjoyed the ideas and that’s it inspired you to create some of your own!

A Full Day of Valentine’s Love

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to only be about a special dinner and cards for classmates. Carry the heart shaped fun throughout the day with simple activities your kids will enjoy. 

I love you coffee

valentine's coffee

Nails!

My 9-year old’s goal this year is to have fresh nail designs each week. We went with a simple achievable design this week.

Valentine's nails

Hair!

I’ve had a life-long love of braiding hair, so I feel blessed to have girls with gloriously long thick hair. Below are three ways to incorporate Valentine’s hearts into their daily do’s.

Breakfast!

Heart-shaped Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Valentine's chocolate chip pancakes
Chocolate chip pancakes using a heart-shaped pancake mold

Lunch

Valentine’s Heart Pepperoni Pizza

Heart-Shaped Sandwich

Valentine's Heart Sandwich

It doesn’t get much easier than cutting a sandwich with a big heart cookie cutter.

Valentine's fruit kabob

Fruit Kabobs with Heart sticks from the Dollar Tree

Dinner

Valentine's pasta
Valentine’s pasta Aldi find that seems to come back each year. Paired with shrimp, asparagus and parmesan cheese.

Dessert

Sugar cookies

Sugar cookies are a go to recipe for our family to use the holiday specific cookie cutters we have stored away with the holiday decorations. A few years ago, I was excited to find a heart cookie cutter kit with 5 different sizes of hearts. I keep them available in the kitchen all year long for whenever I want to see some extra food love.

Valentine's Sugar Cookies

Strawberry Truffle Kiss Cookies

Valentine's Strawberry Truffle Kiss Cookies

Check out this delicious cookies recipe from Inside Bru Crew Life. It was a hit for my family

Crafts

Valentine’s Cardboard Candy Box

To say it simply, I’m a huge lover of cardboard. I try to find any way to use it. Way back when I used to work direct care with teenage boys, I showed them how to make a candy heart box with cardboard, hot glue, and scrapbook paper. We additionally made homemade candies to put into wrappers, just like you’d get in the store. Some of them gave their homemade creations to girlfriends. It was a great bonding experience to craft together and expand their thoughts on how they can be creative.

To make your own, cut two hearts in the same size small enough that one 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper can be used to cover the cardboard. Then cut two 1.5 inch wide strips of the same length for the top that will go along flush with the outside edge. Hot glue them on. Finally, cut two more 1.5 inch wide strips of the same length and glue them just inside of the bottom heart to allow for the top to fit on the outside. Finish it off by gluing the scrapbook paper to the outside.

Valentine’s Love Fortunes

If you’re looking for a super simple yet super sweet way to communicate your love, give these felt fortune cookies a try. Anyone could put them together for their loved ones. Materials:

  • Chinese food container
  • Felt in your desired colors
  • Foliage wire
  • Paper
Valentine's Love Fortunes

Cut as many circles as you see fit in the same size and then cut the thin foliage wire to the width of the circles. Glue the wire onto the middle of the felt circle and you’re just about finished.

Write your message on a thin strip of paper. Then hold the paper in the middle of the circle while you fold the felt in half and pull the ends downward. This year I also tossed them into the girls’ lunches for surprise messages. Other years, I have had the girls write messages to their dad or wrote them myself. Spending 30 minutes this year, can have a lasting effect for years.

Here’s to love being in the air for you this Valentine’s Day! If you’re looking for more crafting ideas checking out my other Craft posts.

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