Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DIY Family Halloween Costume: 101 Dalmations, Cruella de Vil and Jasper

Happy Halloween!

Hands down, this is my most favorite Halloween costume ever! :)  How fun is that? It was so fun to have a whole family costume, and we all had a lot of fun with it.

My brother and sister-in-law generously shared their Cruella de Vil and baby dalmatian costume with us, so I only needed to make dalmatian costumes for my older girls (and rummaging threw a few friend and family's closets for some Jasper attire for my husband). After debating about a series of ideas for the dalmatians, I finally went with the buy-white-clothes-and-paint-spots idea. 

DIY dalmation costumes
1) Get yourself some white clothes. I headed over to the ole' Walmart and bought two pairs of white jeggings and white hooded jackets. 
2) Purchase some black fabric paint and sponge brushes. 
3) Paint the spots. I used a perfect circle for my spots, but I SOOOOO wish I hadn't. For one, making a perfect circle spot with a sponge (even a circle-shaped one) is not so easy. I spent too much time trying to dab and re-dab the spots to make them uniform. Stupid honestly. In hind sight, I would buy a circle sponge brush then cut a chunk out of it to make it look ameboid. Then you could, super-fast, dab it in the paint and on the clothes, back-and-forth without touching up. It would look more like a dalmation and save you tons of time. 
Tip: Give yourself DAYS to do this process. You have to allow time for each side to dry before flipping it over and doing the other side. 
4) Make the ears and tails. I bought some black furry "fabric" from the craft store. I thought it helped with the overall "dog" effect and my girls loved it. For the tail, I essentially did the same thing as the straps in this bag (only tappering it a bit) and then hand-stitched them onto the seat of the pants. For the ears, I sewed two ear-shaped pieces together (right sides together), flipped them so the furry sides were out and sewed them on the hoods. 
5) Paint little spots on their faces, and you are good to go. :)

I hope you have a fun Halloween.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Outdoor Halloween Decor: ghost leaf bags

These super fun Halloween ghosts are a triple-whammy:

1) I had way too many leaves all over my yard (which, you can see from the pictures that these bags barely dented the leaf-raking project).
2) My headstones weren't staying up properly.
3) I am not one to complain about MORE holiday decorations. :)

 After we dropped my oldest off at school today, I raked leaves with my youngest two. We raked and raked and raked. And built nests, cocoons, beds, witch traps and of course threw lots of leaves all about too. Two steps forward, one step back. :) 

To Make the Ghosts
To make these ghost leaf bags, I simply filled some of our 13-gallon white kitchen garbage bags full of leaves (rather than the large, black outdoor variety). 
Then I tied them shut, plopped them on the ground opening-side down and drew faces on them with a black permanent marker. Easy peasy. 

Now the yard looks even more cute (see the post about the cheesecloth ghost), the ghost leaf bags are propping up the floppy-down headstones, AND some of the leaves have been taken care of in the yard. :)

Maybe this little project is more like a quadruple-whammy though--look how much fun I had with my kids in the process.

This little one was pretty excited about having more ghost and more Halloween decorations outside! Here she is making her "scary face."

And here she is pretending to be "a little chicky" who was caught by a "medium-mean" witch (aka, me). I was instructed to trap her in a pile of leaves and then eventually make her work for me since she was my prisoner. :) Also, in the background is a glimpse of my much-too-rapidly-growing baby practicing her new trick: standing unaided. 

Anyway, fun morning, fun project.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Frankenstein Rice Krispy Treats

My sister Lisa just made these awesome rice crispy treats for a Halloween party. 
Are they not the best!?!
They make me laugh every time I look at them.
Such a fun, easy and yummy idea. My kids would go nuts, I just know it.

Here's how she made them...

1-  Just make your favorite rice krispy treat recipe and dye the melted marshmallow mixture green before adding the cereal. (*A hint, she said the green looked a lot lighter once mixed with the rice krispies, so use lots of food coloring!*) 

2-  Cut the green rice krispies into rectangles and dip one end in melted chocolate.

3-  Use white frosting for the whites of the eyes and add pupils and a mouth with melted chocolate or dark frosting.

4- Use white frosting to add a white chocolate chip to each side for the bolts.

That's it! Easy as can be. 
And I bet kids aren't the only ones that would go for a rice krispy treat dipped in chocolate. YUM!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DIY Cheesecloth Halloween Ghost

I always have fun decorating for Halloween, and this year has been no exception. 
Rather than adding more decor on the inside, my girls and I decided that we needed a "spooky ghost" out in our front yard.

something light and spherical (Styrofoam or foam ball)
black felt
white sheet (opt.) I used it because my ball was purple and I wanted the ghost to look white

This little DIY ghost was a snap to make. I thought about purchasing a Styrofoam ball to use as the form for it, but in the end, "borrowed" one of my kids' balls--just a light foam one. (Hmmm, my kids' balls have come in handy before).

I used some of my twine and tied it around the ball, leaving a long string to use to hang it from the tree. 
Then, I had an old white sheet that I ripped a piece from to cover the ball with, cutting a hole in the top to feed the string through. 

I liked the idea of using cheesecloth to give the ghost a gauzy, more vintage/creepy effect, so I also ripped up some cheesecloth to drape over the ghost (also cutting holes in the top for the sting). Then I drew the girls several ghost faces to choose from (the chose the creepiest), and cut the eyes and mouth from black felt. I used glue to adhere the felt eyes onto the sheet, draped two layers of cheesecloth over the top of the eyes, and voila! we had ourselves a ghost. :)

I super like this idea from Simple Creative Insanity. She used white balloons with green glow sticks in them. So fun! Obviously, the glow sticks would run out, so this would only work for a one-night deal, but still a fun idea. 

Hope you are having fun decorating for Halloween. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Branch Blocks

 Hi Everyone! What a fun treat we have for you today. My good friend Sally is guest posting for us. She is such a great person and full of great ideas. It would be difficult to find anyone who is a more dedicated nurturer to her children. She is also a fantastic photographer, and you can see her photos on her blog, Butterfly. Thanks Sally for sharing your Branch Blocks with us today.

Hi, I am Sally and I love blocks! 

There is something about building a structure with your hands. It helps to develop the imagination. 
At our house, we build towers and tell stories about them. Animals and toy figurines become integral parts of the structures we create. We have made runways for airplanes, a layout of our home, and towers so tall they touch the ceiling. The blocks are used almost every day. 
There are many who love blocks, and there are a lot of different products and fun ideas to do with blocks (for example, Playful Learning and How we Montessori). 
I can't think of a more versatile toy. I am always wanting more blocks. This led me to look for inexpensive ways to get them, as good blocks cost money (but are worth it). 

I found the perfect idea on a blog called Everyday Story.

 I decided I wanted to do this. We started out by going on a walk up the mountain to find the perfect branch. When we trimmed our tree, I saved some of the limbs to use as well. 

Then last week Jaime and I cut them into pieces. I brought some of our unit blocks along to help size them because I was looking to use them interchangeably. 

In less than an hour they were cut, and John and Corinne were out playing with them. 


They made quite a mess in fact with the residual saw dust on Jaime's floor. 

I am amazed at how easy it was to get some fun blocks with just a little effort and the right tools. They were quite a novelty for us and for the children. In fact, when we packed them up Corinne was very sad to see them go. She made the cutest pouty face. 

Thanks Sally. Clearly, we'll be making some of our own for our kids since they were so disappointed they didn't get to keep them. :) 

Head on over and say hi to Sally. 
And here is a link to see the blocks in action at Sally's house. :)