Halloween Decorations on a Budget

Halloween, like other main holidays, is all
about the big decor, big scare, big fun and all of that can easily
lead to a big hole in your pocket. There are, however, some steps you
can take to make that hole significantly smaller. And don't worry the
fun and all the bang will still be big! The good thing about
Halloween is that its the same theme every year. Scary, it never goes
out of style, so you don't need to worry about whats new each year.
The first thing you need to do is go to the attic, garage, or your
closet see what left over decorations you can salvage. You might be
lucky and have plenty if you are the type that saves, but if not
don't you can still work things out. 

Another great way to decorate for Halloween, or any occasion for that matter, is to do
things like this yourself. Make your own decorations, and why not
after all? That way you can kill two birds with one stone. Get your
decorations taken care of and spend quality time with your kids while
doing some fun crafts, for an example. If you get some Red Rosin
paper, some paints and brushes, glue and scissors you would be
surprised of what you will be able to create. You can paint pumpkins,
evil cats or make lanterns, and trust me it doesn't end there, sky is
the limit.

However, if you get stuck during your arts and
crafts sessions, and there is no help in the last years boxes full of
stuff you can do some spending. Dollar stores and Party stores are
always cheap and have a bunch of nonsense in them. You are bound to
find plenty of stuff without spending a lot of money. Be careful not
to get carried away though, just because everything is a dollar we
get the sense that everything is cheap, which it is but then we
forget about the quantities and get a huge total at the checkout. Pay
attention to how much you buy and what you buy to make sure there are
no embarrassing "oops" at the checkout.
Internet is very wonderful, it is a vast space full of so many things
that you could use. If you do some research, you can find anything
for your holiday needs, from recipes to templates for gift boxes, to
instructions on how to carve pumpkins, instructions on how to make
decorations. There are plenty of pictures and templates and arts and
crafts projects that you can use. There is not as much need anymore
to buy the pricey magazines with the seasonal ideas in them, you can
find all that and more online for free.


Make your own Halloween invitations

Halloween is all about scary, fun and most importantly unique, and seeing as how the invitation is like a first impression of the party you need to come up with something pretty darn cool! Not to worry, here is a relatively easy and headache free way to recreate this fun take on invites. You can make these adult friendly with a bunch of gory details, or more funky and PG rated for children. You can even tweak this for a non scary holiday or a party. What we are doing here is making gravestone party invites, with a dead guy inside keeping a scroll with the invite on it.
What you will need to make your own Halloween party invitations:
This will make only one invite, just multiply the ingredients/supplies with the number of invites you need.
- Rectangular flat candy box, this is easily found at any arts and crafts shop (Joann's or Michael's are a couple of well known ones).
- Tissue paper, pick a color that will fit with your color scheme.
- A sheet of printer paper.
- Cookie dough, for this part you can pick any kind that you like however gingerbread or sugar cookies seem to be the best.
- Gingerbread man cookie cutter.
- White icing, if making a light colored cookie (sugar cookie for instance) get black food coloring on top of the white icing.
- Oil Paints or tempera and whatever goes in hand with paints, brush, water cup, some scrap paper for practice and tissue paper.
How to make your own Halloween party invitations:
- First thing to do is decorate the so called "gravestone", so take the crafts box you bought and paint it to resemble a gravestone. On the front "engrave" the name of the person which you are inviting to your party. Make sure the box is completely painted on all sides. Painting the inside is up to you. If you have time go for it, it will make your invite look more put together.
- For this part you might want to make extras, as it's very hard to resist munching on the cookies! You make your regular gingerbread man cookies, however when you go to decorate them with icing draw skeletons. Creepy or cute, it's up to you.
- The third part of this invitation is, of course a message letting the invitees know that they've been invited. Find a photo of some aged paper online and print it out then rip out small square of it and write an invite with all the info in a black gel pen. Ripping will make it look more in character and older than cutting, the gel pen looks better as well and smudges here and there are OK. You can leave it unfolded or fold it, or even roll it up like a little scroll.
- Once your gravestone is dry line the bottom of the box with crinkled tissue paper, there's no need to over do it, one or two sheets is just fine. Place your cookie skeleton onto it and place the scroll next to it or on top of it. Put the lid on and your invitation is all done! Mail or hand deliver to the recipient.


Gluten Free Indian Chickpea Flatbread Adaptation

So since doing the Four Hour Body Diet I have had to be sneaky and find different recipes and different ways to tweak my kitchen staples and foods. One thing that gets thrown out on this diet is breads. WAH NO MORE SAMMICHES?! Nope. No more.
Last night I found a recipe for Indian Chickpea Flat bread, I didn't like certain seasonings in it and I didn't have others so I decided to improvise and make savory pancakes for use in dipping.

What you will need to make the Gluten Free Indian Chickpea Flat bread:
- Cup chickpea flour
- Cup water
- Half of an onion finely chopped
- Two green onions (scallions) finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt (i'd put in a whole tsp as mine came out bland)
- Some hot pepper powder (or any other seasoning you might like,such as garlic powder, I put that in too)

How to make Gluten Free Indian Chickpea Flat bread:

- Mix the whole thing in a bowl, do it with a spoon no need for the mixer.
It will look like throw up.
- The recipe says let it sit for about 15 minutes so the water gets absorbed and what not. I did it but saw no difference in mixture from the start to 15 minutes.
- Heat up a frying pan with a little bit of oil in it (just enough not to stick, you might need to add more as you go)

- Pour a pancake size glob onto the frying pan, spread around with a spoon its easy.. depends how thick/thin you want it.
- Cook a few mins on each side like a pancake.

All done!

Tips: I would definitely play around with the seasonings to find a good mixture.
The flour you need goes by following names: 
Chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour, besan, gram flour.

Don't be discouraged by mines looking ugly and uneven, I am a lazy person who doesn't care for the presentation unless I have to entertain. I didn't this time, I was hungry as a wolf.


DIY Faux Stained Glass Window

I don't know about you but whenever I think of stained glass windows the first (and pretty much the only) thing that comes to mind is a church. There is a 
possibility, however, to turn this traditional look into something modern. 
With vector designs. If you are not sure what this is just Google
vector art or vector design under images, cool huh? You can also use as a resource to find a design you like, make sure
though that the person is OK with their art being used and reused,
most users on deviant art will have "rules" about using
their work. Most times you can use it but not for commercial purposes
such as reselling it.


Clear contact paper you can buy it at the local hardware store or online cheap
- Print out of the design you want to use for the project
- Scissors and/or Stanley knife, it costs a couple bucks at most stores
- Glass Paints
(these come in both opaque and transparent colors, you should choose
according to the design you are working with)
- Paint brushes
- Black permanent marker (thickness
according to need)
- Clear gloss spray paint (runs a few of bucks at the hardware store)

How to:
- Print out the design that you want to use for the project.
- Cut out the clear contact paper ( make
sure it has a clear backing too so you can place it over the design
and see through it).
- Place it on top of the design print out (adhesive side down but do not remove the backing!)
making sure you align it properly.
- Now, remember when you were a kid and you traced pictures onto the paper? This is exactly what you will do. One way is to trace the outlines with the
black permanent marker and then paint the insides, or you can do the
outlining with opaque paints and the rest with the translucent ones.
Either way first do the outlines of the design and let it dry off
completely, this takes about 4 hours more or less, you are welcome to
blow dry it to speed up the process.
- Filling in the design will take some precision and patience. You will not need a lot of paint as the contact paper wont absorb it, so take care not to
put on too much onto the brush and to have only one layer of paint
everywhere. You want to make one way even strokes otherwise it will
look messy, streaky and blotchy.
- Let this dry, do not lift up vertically until it is completely dried otherwise some runnage might happen, after spray on a coat of clear gloss spray
- Once the spray paint is dry you are ready
to carefully put it up onto the window glass.

There you go now you have a unique and beautiful (but faux..shh!) stained
glass window, for just a fraction of the price

- Another option for a
textured look of the outline is instead of using regular paint or
markers is to use heavy dimensional fabric paint.
- Have someone help you when applying the film onto the window, don't
take all of the backing off at once start with a corner, align it and
stick it on then slowly pull the backing while adhering the rest of
the film to the window, this minimizes chances of any air bubbles or


How to Create the Broken Crackly Finish with Paint

crackle paint
Crackle Paint

Achieving the old broken paint, crackly finish
is surprisingly a lot lot lot easier than one would think. It doesn't
take a lot of skill, experience or time, and it can be applied to
almost any thing from the wall to the plate, flower pot, picture,
canvas, bowl....whatever you can think of.
- Surface you wish to apply this faux finish to 
-Base paint color
- Top paint color
- Clear crackle-finish medium
You can find this in your local craft store such as Michaels, Joanns, Hobby
Lobby, or even stores such as Meijers (look in the crafts section).
If you are painting large surfaces such as your wall go to either the
paint section in your local department store or go straight to a shop
that specializes in paint only, such as Sherwin Williams, they will
be able to answer any other application questions you might
- Paint brush

How to: 
- Take the surface you wish to work on and paint it with the base
- Let it dry completely
You can buy three different brushes or use the same brush for all the
applications but make sure you clean it properly. Unless you leave it
to sit with paint on and get hardened all you need is warm water and
soap/dish detergent to clean and a paper towel to dry your
- Once the base coat is fully dry go ahead
and cover it with the crackle medium. Make sure you
read the directions on the medium you buy as different manufacturers
might have slight differences in application process.
- When the crackle medium is done (usually takes around 30 min, but once
again read the instructions on the packaging) cover it with the top
coat paint. Make sure you don't over do it as this can make the
crackle lines get filled up and disappears.
- Let dry and voila!
- Depending on your project you
might also opt for covering the whole thing in clear
There are a lot of different mediums and
options out there, before you start your project make sure you know
what you want, small cracks like a broken windshield, big ones
looking more like rips, spider web ones. Will your surface be bigger
(maybe you're applying it to a wall) or something small (like a
jewelry box or a plate)? Once you figure it out, or at least some of
it get your shopping shoes on and find the crackle medium that best
fits you.
Here are some examples of how a crackle
might look once completed: 
Crackle Finish
Crackle finish dresser

Hope I was of help!


August Crafts: Picture frame

As the end of summer nears it is a
great time for tons of beach oriented crafts for you to make with
your kids. If you count on making some arts and crafts ahead of time
collecting shells and interesting tidbits during the summer can
become a fun project for them.  What better way to display
their findings and preserve their summer memories than with beach
photo frames? These are great as gifts or to be used for your own
decor, and not only that they are so fun to make. If you are a family
person you can grab your family members and have some together time
making a few of these and putting each persons favorite photo in.
This project can be done by anyone, from a toddler to a professional
craftsman, so grab your kids and get ready for an afternoon of fun!
Another thing to mention, as its so important to everyone in today's
economy, it wont cost you an arm and a leg and it makes a perfect
gift so....hint hint.
What you will need to make a beach themed photo frame:
- A photo frame,
preferably one of the cheap blank wooden ones from the arts and
crafts stores. If not ANY frame will do you will just have to adjust
your painting mediums to it.
- A painting medium.
This can be anything you want from Sharpie markers, tempera, water
colors to even spray paint or glitter pens.
- Clear liquid crafts glue.
- A packet of sea shells and/or small sea stars, etc. 
Pretty much any shells and trinkets that remind you of the beach are welcome.
- Scrap paper to protect the work surface and surrounding areas.

How to make a beach themed photo frame:
- Ahh fun time now! 
First take your frame and decide what the base color of it
should be... Maybe blue? Its up to you. Paint the frame and let it
dry a few minutes.
- Once this first step is completed you can pretty much go crazy designing the 
look of the frame.
- Glue the sea shells and other trinkets
you found around the frame. If you want you can color all the sea
shells before gluing them down or glitter them up.
- The frame can be one color or multi color, can have two shells or be
completely covered. Just let your imagination run and see what you
will come up with, either way it will be amazing.
- When you are done with the frame let it dry and pop your favorite
photo in!


Fathers Day Crafts

Many fathers have small children who, naturally, cannot afford to give them elaborate gifts so why not kill two birds with one stone? Grabbing some quality time with your child and helping it create a cherished gift for its daddy. One easy gift, and sort of a must have of all holidays, is a greeting card. With your help it is simple enough of a process to create for a child of nearly any age, and more importantly it will have them express their creative side and let them share what they might not have known how otherwise.

What you will need to create the fathers day greeting card:
- Couple of pieces of hard card stock printer paper.
- Markers, jumbo markers, coloured pencils, pens, crayons, water colours, oil paints, chalk, or any other medium your child wishes to use. Don't be afraid to let them mix and match!
- Scissors.
- An envelope.

How to create the card:
- First of all make sure the child has adequate space. A nice, flat surface, such as a table, that is big enough to contain all the crafts supplies.
- Explain to the child what you will be doing, maybe make a quick presentation for them if they are younger.
- Decide with your child what size the card should be, you can simply just fold the piece of paper in half and have that be it, or you could cut out a different size. Please make sure you supervise your child if you will be letting them use the scissors and do the cutting.
- Have them (or you can do it for them) fold the hard printer sheet in half to create the card.
- On the inside of the card, on the right side have them write a message. Since these are only small children have a standard "Happy Fathers Day" already written somewhere on the to be card, or on a piece paper for them to copy. Ask each child if there is anything else they want to write in there and then help them out with it.
- On the back of the card where a price would be and a logo, have them write "Made by: Child's Name"- As far as the front of the card goes, explain to the child what fathers day is and let them draw or paint something that they relate to daddy or what they think of him, or want to say to him.
-Now put the finished card into the envelope you have bought (unless you know how to hand make them! ) and have the child address it to daddy. Most likely you wont need to tell them anything as far as the presentation goes, they will be out there running to give the card to dad before you can blink !