Category Archives: Crafts

Cool Christmas!

Christmas is fast approaching and we are just about finished decorating.

This week, we feature pretty decorations using Christmas ornaments, an easy wreath project, a recycling craft, recipe ideas, a festive patio update, and of course, the bears!

SPARKLING DECORATIONS

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Fill clear glass vases and pitchers with Christmas balls. Keep it simple, one color per vessel. Add a string of holiday lights behind or around the vases. This technique makes a beautiful display! Really catches the light!

EASY AND SPECIAL WREATH

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Recycling was the inspiration for this wreath. We removed the original decorations and saved the metal form from an old wreath. Then, we wrapped it with the pretty piece of garland pictured below, which Kevin’s mom used to decorate her dining room chandelier during the holidays. The garland is not permanently attached and in future years, we can use it in other ways. Hmmm – maybe we’ll get a chandelier!

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GIFT TAGS FROM CHRISTMAS CARDS

Recycle your old Christmas cards into gift tags! Simply cut out your favorite images, hole punch the top, add a ribbon and you have these cute gift tags. Write the recipient’s name on the back. These also could be used as ornaments and even necklaces. This is a fun craft for kids!

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PATIO UPDATE

Evergreen cuttings trimmed from the large pine trees on our property add lush greenery to the patio. For additional color, we dotted them with faux poinsettia, unbreakable Christmas ornaments and pinecones.

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The tool box planter looks great filled with fresh pine cuttings. The bee and flamingo both seem to like it!

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We fashioned this swag by attaching a simple waterproof ribbon to an evergreen cutting and hanging it on the patio door. Cost: $1.25!

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Of course, we have our tomato cage trees again this year!

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Here is our post from last year with instructions on how to make these tomato cage trees.

https://funclesarts.com/2014/12/13/christmas-blog-2-the-celebration-continues/

SWEET HOLIDAY TREATS

All this decorating is making us hungry! Here are a few recipes for some easy holiday desserts.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/desserts/easy-holiday-desserts

FOOD ART 

Our final harvest of garden tomatoes, which we picked green and ripened indoors in a paper bag for almost a month, are finally ready for their closeup!

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The tomatoes were roasted and served with baked fish – delicious!

JOKE OF THE WEEK

What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney? Claus-trophobia! Source:Theholidayspot.com

THE BEARS

The bears are hanging with some cool company this week!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

 

 

The holidays are in the bag!

Holiday prep is in full swing! This week, we share a recipe for an easy, tasty low carb side dish, a quick Christmas craft, a gift wrapping idea, some of our holiday decorations, a patio update and, of course, the bears.

SIMPLE BAKED CAULIFLOWER 

This side dish is delicious and filling. If you think you don’t like cauliflower, give this one a try!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bag frozen cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup mayo (we use Hellmann’s Light)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard (plain yellow works great, too)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (grate your own if possible – much better than the canned)

How to make:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Defrost cauliflower
  • Mix mayonnaise with mustard
  • Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray
  • Place cauliflower in baking dish, toss with lemon juice
  • Spread mayo/mustard mixture evenly on top of cauliflower
  • Top with parmesan cheese
  • Bake 1 hour or until golden brown

Using cauliflower is a good way to reduce carbs and add fiber to potato recipes. Check out these links from previous blogs. These recipes are great for cauliflower fans and non-fans!

For mashed potatoes:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/10/11/monsters-mash-and-more/

For potato salad:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/07/02/lets-be-independent-together/

EASY HOLIDAY PINS 

Our dancing Santa loves his snowman pin!

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Here’s how to make these cute pins:

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Buy a selection of holiday-themed foam stickers and a package of self adhesive bar-style pin backs. The light weight foam stickers work great with these pin backs, which are available at most major craft stores. Remember to look for online coupons.

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Leave the peel off backing on the foam stickers so they won’t stick to clothes. Some stickers come on a clear backing sheet. Trim around the sticker leaving it on the plastic.

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Attach the adhesive pin back to the back of the unpeeled sticker.

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We created this dimensional snowflake pin by combining three stickers and one pin. Peel paper backing off the green snowflake and adhere to the white snowflakes. Attach pin to back of white snowflakes.

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These multi-functional pins make great holiday additions to clothing, gifts and decorations, as shown on the Christmas stockings above.

LUNCH BAGS AS GIFT BAGS

We bought the lunch bags pictured in our featured image at the top of this blog at Target for $2.07 for a package of 50. They make great small gift or treat bags. Add a ribbon and/or stickers for extra pizzazz.

TIP: Place a piece of card stock or cardboard in the bottom of the bag for added stability. In these bags, a 3×5 inch index card fits perfectly!

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OUR DECORATIONS

The candy-cane clothespins from last week’s blog work great attaching our stockings in this holiday vignette.

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ADVENT WREATH

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Kevin’s mom, Irene, gave us this Advent Wreath a few years ago. We make a point to light the candles every night during the advent season. It helps us connect to the true meaning of Christmas and take a break from all the activities of the day.

Click on this link to learn more about the Advent Wreath:

http://christianity.about.com/od/christmas/qt/adventwreath.htm

PATIO UPDATE

We’ve added lights, Christmas balls, faux poinsettia flowers and holly to our outdoor planters to brighten up our post-summer patio. Use inexpensive plastic ornaments and flowers outdoors.

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This festively adorned hanging basket was home to our pansies this summer.

FOOD ART

“Oh Christmas beans . . . Oh Christmas beans . . . “

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What kind of motorcycle does Santa drive? A Holly Davidson! (source: funology.com)

THE BEARS

The bears think it’s cool adding some UCONN Husky touches to the holiday decor!

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Enjoy!

Roy& Kevin

Here They Come – The Holidays!!!

A FEW IDEAS TO PREP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Yes, the time has come! It’s time to start thinking about and planning for the holidays.

Here are a few things we like to do to get ready for the holidays. These tips help minimize the amount of pre-holiday angst which is often present this time of year. Take a look at our thoughts about food preparation, a decorating idea, some hostess gift suggestions, a garden update, and, of course, the bears!

MAKE IT AHEAD

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This time of year (or anytime) when cooking dinner, double the recipe. The oven is on anyway! Double up on soups, pasta sauces, chili, meatloaf, roast chicken, casseroles and side dishes that freeze well. During the busy holiday season, its great to have a meal ready to go – just re-heat and eat! Our chicken rice soup pictured above is a perfect example of this idea. (Hint – brown rice holds its shape when frozen and re-heats beautifully.)

THANKFUL DECORATIONS

Last year, we presented this Thanksgiving Tree (see the link below for instructions).

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https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/14/thanksgiving-continued/

This year, rather than put up a tree, we hung the leaves – clothesline style. We first featured this clothesline banner idea in September’s blog titled, “Nice to Get Away”. Check it out here:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/09/16/nice-to-get-away/

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HOSTESS GIFT IDEAS

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‘Tis the season for parties and get togethers. It’s great to bring the host or hostess a little something to show your appreciation.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Seasonal live plant (last longer than fresh flowers and busy host or hostess doesn’t have to hunt for a vase)
  • Candy
  • Bottle of wine
  • Baked items
  • Jarred goods
  • Ornaments

A couple of presentation ideas:

  • Bottle of wine: We re-purposed the paper bag the bottle came in as the gift bag (above). A silk leaf photocopied onto card stock makes a great seasonal gift tag.
  • Tins of cookies and tea make a good combo gift. We topped the cookie tin with a faux, fall-colored flower.
  • Jar of pepper spread. Trim the lid of the jar with a fall-colored fabric. Hold the fabric in place with a rubber band and then tie a piece of jute over the band for a rustic look. Make a more complete gift by adding a box of special crackers.

Combine multiple items like these into a wonderful gift basket!

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WRITE IT DOWN!

A great way to stay organized for the holidays is to use lists. Make lists of what you need to do and what to buy. We keep our lists, coupons and holiday ideas on handheld clipboards for quick reference. When a creative idea strikes, we grab the clipboard and jot it down. For the more technologically savvy, there are clipboard apps.

GARDEN UPDATE

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This has been a crazy year for our garden. It has brought us great joy. These pretty flowers are hanging in even though it’s mid-November.

Still harvesting tomatoes and peppers and enjoyed some in pasta sauce and salads just this week.

We are very grateful for our abundant 2015 patio garden! (Made this year’s thankful leaf clothesline!)

Photo bonus: Love the fall colors of this vine on our fence along Route 95!

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VEG ART

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock!                                                   source: Jokes4us.com      

THE BEARS

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The chilled bears enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea as they contemplated the upcoming holiday season. Looks like they borrowed our scarves!

And last but definitely not least. Veteran’s Day this week was the perfect way to begin the Thanksgiving season. We thank all those who serve and have served, keeping our country safe.

Roy & Kevin

Autumn Leaves

This week, we share ideas for re-purposing our Halloween decorations, a seasonal art project,   a quick and delicious recipe for tuna pizza, our garden update and, of course, the bears!

PUMPKINS AND SCARECROWS

Our Halloween decorations included many items that can be used throughout the fall season. The ghosts and skeletons have been exorcised until next Halloween, but the pumpkins and scarecrows now form the basis of our fall decor. With Roy’s handmade pumpkin pillows on the couch, we simply turned the faces to the wall for a quick and easy change-up.

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LEAF ART

This craft is a flashback from grammar school – still fun to do!!!

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You will need:

Leaves, crayons, paper (see tips below), paper towels

To do:

  • Place leaf vein side up on paper towel.
  • Position paper over leaf where you would like the image to appear.
  • With side of peeled crayon, gently rub paper over leaf.

This requires some trial and error. Make sure you have extra paper so you can experiment.

Tips:

  • Pick out different shapes, sizes and varieties of leaves.
  • Use paper that is not too thick. Printer and construction papers work well, but thicker paper, like cardstock, will be less effective. Test out your paper before starting your project.
  • Leaves with prominent stems and veins are great for doing these rubbings.
  • Experiment with different color crayon combinations.
  • Good use for broken crayons.

Scan your completed designs for multiple uses. Print the images onto cardstock for personalized greeting cards. Frame your creation for seasonal decor. Think outside the box, pick up some t-shirt transfer paper, and your creation becomes a fun t-shirt!

Check out this link for info on designing t-shirts with your artwork:

http://www.ehow.com/how_10039627_transfer-pictures-tshirt.htmlZZAS

TUNA PIZZA

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These tuna pizzas are quick, easy and delicious. Simply put your favorite tuna salad on an English muffin, add 1/2 slice of low-fat Swiss (or your favorite) cheese and veggies (if desired). We used chopped green peppers. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. These come out of the oven very hot – let cool slightly before eating.

We used 4 cans of tuna for 6 English muffins.

GARDEN UPDATE

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The unseasonably warm weather continues and has made the garden last longer than we had anticipated. We are still harvesting peppers and tomatoes in November!

VEG ART

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HOLIDAYS COLLIDE!!!

Our Christmas cactus, which we received as a gift from Kevin’s mom, Irene, more than five years ago, is blooming in one of our Jack-O-Lantern pots.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

If money really did grow on trees, fall would be everyone’s favorite season!

THE BEARS

The bears wanted to help rake the leaves under this beautiful tree, but their (matching) rakes were too big, so they decided to play! (Who can blame them!?)

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ENJOY!

Roy and Kevin

 

Last Minute Halloween Mayhem!

It’s Halloween week and we’re adding last-minute decorations to our house – a little late, but festive, nonetheless. As Halloween approaches, we share easy ideas for our lollipop ghosts, creepy pins, and tasty treats. Also, check out photos of our decorations, a garden update and of course, the bears!

LOLLIPOP GHOSTS

Ghosts made from lollipops covered with white napkins, fastened with a rubber band.

These lollipop ghosts are fun and fast. Simply wrap a napkin around a lollipop, tie with a ribbon and add a face with a marker. Fun favors that kids love!

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EASY PINS

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From the craft store, we bought 1.5-inch bar pins which have adhesive strips built-in. The pins were secured to the back of these small, plastic decorations for instant, creepy fun! Use flat-backed items for best adhesion. Note: The spider was a little heavy for the pin to support. A little hot glue solved this problem!

The pins pictured above were attached to a piece of cloth for display purposes, but they look great on a jacket or sweater. Crank up the creepy factor – add a little glitter or glow-in-the dark paint to your pin.

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PORTABLE COSTUMES

We often take a cab to Halloween celebrations. One concern is – do we really want to ride in a cab wearing full costumes? When the answer is “no”, we opt for “portable costumes”.

Portable costumes are festive, wearable items that can be tucked into a pocket, purse or backpack, then easily put on before you make your grand entrance!

Some examples are:

  • Silly hats (note our turkey hat – upper left)
  • Campy glasses
  • Halloween ties
  • Boas
  • Clown nose and makeup kit. (Apply makeup when you get there!)
  • Foldable character masks
  • Plain masks with embellishments. (We glued bats and spiders to inexpensive masks.)
  • Lights: Battery operated lights can add a lot of pizzazz to any outfit!

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HALLOWEEN CARD DECOR

Holiday cards received over the years make great decorations, and hanging cards each holiday is one of our favorite traditions. We enjoy reading them and thinking of the family and friends, both here and gone, who sent them. Some of our favorite saved cards surround a Halloween wreath (see last week’s blog for wreath instructions).

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Here’s a small sample of our Halloween decorations.

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Earlier this year, we bought inexpensive projection lights from QVC. These lights create great effects, including the witches’ shadow on the ceiling, and the creepy glow to our hand-made ghost.

We made the ghost (shown above, left) more than 10 years ago. Here is a version you can make. Our ghost has easy-to-attach felt instead of the googly eyes mentioned in the link. Boo!

http://weefolkart.com/white-stiff-fabric-ghosts/

BE SAFE!!!

This link has some good ideas about Halloween safety. Have fun! Be careful!

http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/

TREATS TO MAKE

Here are some easy, last-minute Halloween treats you can make:

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/ros-tasty-treats-specials/specials/ros-tasty-treats-halloween.html

GARDEN

The garden is hanging in there despite some colder weather. The cold has hurt some of our marigolds and the tomato plants are droopy. But we picked 10 peppers this week!

For the first time, this week’s veg art is our featured image, as shown at the top of the blog.

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OUR NEW ADDITION

We picked up these fall-colored marigolds today. Inexpensive fresh flowers are a great way to decorate for the holidays. This plant should last through Thanksgiving.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat their fingers separately!

Source: Psychology Today.

THE BEARS

The bears are ready for trick or treat after adding diddly-bopper headbands to their own portable costumes.

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Fall back

Dont forget to set your clocks back an hour this weekend. Looking forward to an extra hour of sleep this Sunday!

Oh and…

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

We Fall for Halloween!!!

 

Halloween approaches! This week, we share two ideas for easy-to-make decorations, a recipe for sweet potato salad and, of course, our garden update and the bears!

HALLOWEEN TREE

We created the Halloween tree pictured above using easy-to-find items, most of which were purchased at our local dollar store.

You will need:

  • 1 tree branch with some off shoots – our’s is 22″ tall
  • Two 8-eight foot strands of black garland
  • Decorative plastic Halloween figures
  • Plastic Halloween rings (ours are bats, skulls and spiders)
  • One 18-inch square of fabric. We used fleece, but burlap would be great, too!
  • Gravel to act as stabilizer in the pot
  • Newspaper and/or plastic bags for filler
  • Curling ribbon
  • Basket, flower pot or the vessel of your choice

 

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We foraged our yard for a spooky-looking tree limb with offshoots on which to hang our decorations. The branch was wrapped in the black garland. The garland had pumpkin and skull images on it, which we removed and saved for another project (see below).

How to create your tree:

  • Line flower pot/basket with cloth.
  • Put gravel in cloth-lined pot.
  • Nestle tree in gravel.
  • Fill pot around tree base with newspapers and/or plastic bags.
  • Gather cloth up around base of tree and secure with ribbon.
  • Arrange the Halloween rings and decorations on your tree.

This tree can be made any height, depending on the size of the tree branch and container used. It would make a great addition to a children’s Halloween party. At the end of the party, kids can take tree decorations home as favors. Do your own variation with light-weight candy, toys or whatever says “Happy Halloween!” to you!

GARLAND WREATH

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The first step in this easy-to-make decoration is to line a 12-inch wire wreath form with black garland (shown). Next, cover the wreath with an orange and black pumpkin-themed garland (thanks, dollar store!). To finish it off, a larger pumpkin (leftover from the tree project above) represents the moon, lighting the sky for one of our cute clip-on witches from last week’s blog.

SWEET POTATO SALAD

This sweet potato salad is a delicious side dish for your Halloween and fall celebrations!

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Tricia Yearwood (yes, that Trisha Yearwood!) had this recipe on one of her recent Food Network television programs. We tweaked the recipe by using non-fat sour cream, doubling the hot sauce and topping with toasted chopped walnuts. Very tasty. Like all potato salads, it’s even better the next day!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/sweet-potato-salad-recipe.html

GARDEN UPDATE

With frost warnings predicted for our area last Sunday night, we brought our flowers, basil, chocolate mint, and pepper plants indoors. We also picked most of the tomatoes, even though they were still green (see veg art below). Temperatures have risen, the plants are now back outside, and they are having another resurgence. One more unexpected comeback!

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VEG ART

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What is one room a ghosts’ house doesn’t need? A living room!                                                      source: Halloweenjokes.com

THE BEARS

Hmm . . .  we didn’t know the bears were expecting company! Not sure they did either!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

We’ve Only Just Begun!!!

A year ago today, we decided to start a holiday blog and do one post a week from mid-October through New Year’s Day. Once the ball got rolling, we didn’t want to stop. The blog has been a lot of fun to do and it has inspired us to be more creative. Thank you to everyone who has followed and contributed to our the blog. We’re looking forward to another crafty and tasty holiday season and a fun 2016!

PAPER

For wedding anniversaries, the traditional gift for the first year is paper. With that tradition in mind (sorta), we share two crafts made from paper. The first paper project is a clip-on Halloween witch made from construction paper and a clothespin. The second project is a banner we made for Kevin’s brother’s family, wishing them luck on their upcoming move to Florida. Additionally, we offer a recipe for broccoli rabe, a garden update and, of course, the bears!

WITCH CRAFT

Halloween is coming and we are creating a few fun and easy crafts. This week, it’s the cute clip-on witches shown above.

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You will need:

  • clothespins
  • black, orange, green and white construction paper
  • glue stick
  • double-stick tape
  • scissors
  • a fine marker (black ink)
  • ruler

To make:

Cut the following equIMG_5648 (2)ilateral triangles:

  • three 1-1/4 inch triangles – 1 green (head), 1 orange (hair), 1 black (hat)
  • two 1-1/2 inch triangles – 1 black (dress), 1 yellow (broom head)
  • two 1/2 inch black triangles (shoes)

 

You also will need:

  • one 3/4-inch x 1-1/2 inch white rectangle
  • one 1-inch x 1/8 inch strip of green construction paper

Draw (as shown in picture below):

  • lines on the white rectangle – every quarter-inch
  • a face on the green triangle
  • a black verticle line on the yellow broom head

A little more cutting (see picture below):

  • cut the white rectangle in half lengthwise to form the legs
  • cut broom bristles 1/16-inch wide ending at the verticle line
  • cut 1/16-inch wide strips in bottom of orange triangle to create hair
  • cut 1/4-inch off the tops of the yellow and black 1-1/2 inch triangles
  • cut the tops off of the 1/2-inch triangles (1/8 inch off the tops)

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  • attach orange hair to the back of the head with glue stick as shown below.
  • attach shoes to legs and legs to body
  • attach arm to body

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  • attach head to body and hat to head
  • using double stick tape, attach broom bristle to end of clothespin

Before attaching, the back of the witch should look something like this:

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Attach witch to clothes pin as shown using double stick tape.

The completed witch will look something like this.

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These witches love to help decorate! Use them to clip Halloween cards to curtains or on our clothesline banner (search previous blogs for info). Looking forward to seeing photos of your witch creations!

This is a simple, kid-friendly craft which is more difficult to describe than to create. Use these basic guidelines and have fun!!!

BANNER  

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 We designed this special banner by thinking of what symbolizes Florida and came up with the  two obvious answers: oranges and sunshine. We cut out orange and yellow circles to represent  those iconic images. Some quick cuts turned the yellow circles into suns and green leaves attached with small black paper fasteners transformed the orange circles into fruits. Stickers express the sentiment, “Enjoy FLORIDA!”. The banner was strung together using curling ribbon and embellished with sandal and beach themed stickers. (The top of the exclamation point at the end of the banner is a surf board sticker; the paws represent their dog, “Sadie”.)

This was a fun project to create, making use of quality stickers, craft paper, and a new circle cutter. We’ve said it before, but it bares repeating. Always look online for coupons from craft stores (and any stores for that matter). We saved money on all the items use in this banner with just a few minutes effort to print the coupons.

BROCCOLI RABE

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In our effort to explore new foods, this week we tried broccoli rabe. The first recipe found on- line did not boil the rabe first. It was awful – very bitter! Our second attempt is this recipe from one of our go-to favorites – Rachael Ray. It’s a delicious, healthy way to cook this green.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/broccoli-rabe-with-lemon-and-garlic-recipe.html

GARDEN UPDATE 

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The recent, unseasonably good weather has kept our garden thriving! We have at least 70 green tomatoes on our two cherry tomato plants and 25 peppers in various stages of growth on our Shishito pepper plant. They better hurry up and ripen before this weekend’s predicted frost or we may be growing them in the house. Wonder how much indoor grow lamps cost!

Kevin spotted this lone flower today on the vine that grows on the fence that surrounds our property! This vine has never flowered in our eight years here!

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VEG ART

The apples have taken over. (No, we didn’t grow them!)

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THE BEARS

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The bears are starting to figure out their Halloween costumes!

Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

 

 

MONSTERS, MASH AND MORE!!!

 

In this blog, we share a monster craft and our tasty reduced calorie mashed potatoes with cauliflower and parsnips and, of course, our garden update.

PAGING DR. FRANKENSTEIN!

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Halloween is a time when monsters run amuck, but these easy-to-create monsters are fun and functional.

We made these funny monsters with coffee cans, fabric fur scraps and googly eyes. Fun and easy!

You will need: furry fabric; googly eyes; cans, jars, or other containers; craft glue (we use Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue); rubber bands; felt, pompoms; cloth scraps; construction paper; chenille rope; and anything else that will create the perfect monster!

To Make:

  • Wrap fabric around can and secure at the top and bottom with rubber bands;
  • Glue eyes onto fabric to create face;
  • Add a nose and mouth if desired;
  • For feet, we cut out 2 egg shapes, which were approximately 2 inches by 1.5 iches and glued them to the bottom of the container.

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  • For the arms on some of the monsters, we used chenille rope found at fabric stores.
  • For the hands, we cut heart sharps from felt or construction paper.
  • Use your imagination and decorate with fabric scraps and whatever you like!

These cute monsters make great vases or containers for candy and silverware for your Halloween parties. Fill one with flowers or candy for a great hostess gift!

MASH

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We love mashed potatoes, but they have too many carbs and calories. We change them up by  adding cauliflower and parsnips.

You will need:

  • 2 and 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
  • One lb. bag of frozen cauliflower
  • One large parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • Butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup milk

To Prepare:

  • Place potatoes and cauliflower in Dutch oven on medium high heat and bring to a boil;
  • Saute chopped parsnip in butter or margarine over medium heat until tender – 5-7 minutes;
  • When potatoes and cauliflower mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add cooked parsnips to potato and cauliflower;
  • Cook an additional 10 minutes until tender;
  • Heat 3/4 cup milk until it is warm; milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste;
  • These potatoes are great at this point. But reheated at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and they tasted even better!

AND MORE!

GARDEN UPDATE

Summer-like October weather this week. Garden is looking good and still producing!

Here’s a night shot of our patio. Some of this summer’s favorites – shisito peppers, cherry tomatos and impatients continue to thrive.

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VEG ART – Welcome Apple (not the computer)

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JOKE OF THE WEEK                                                                                                                               What do monsters turn on in the summer? The scare conditioner!                                                source: Halloweenjokes.com

WATCH OUT BEARS – THE MONSTERS ARE COMING! (DONT’T WORRY -THEY HAVE CANDY!!!)

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Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

 

Fall into a cool season!

It’s officially fall and the temps have dipped. This week, we share delicious recipes for delicata squash and our apple spice upside down cake. Also featured this week, the first of many quick and easy Halloween decorating ideas, a garden update and, of course, the bears.

DELICATA SQUASH

Kevin’s sister, Christine, introduced us to this user-friendly squash. It’s makes a tasty side dish, after being part of your fall home decor. You can eat the skin, which is different from some other squash varieties. The original recipe can be found in the link below.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

You will need: two large delicata squash, about one lb. each; two tablespoons olive oil; one teaspoon dried rosemary; salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare:

  • Wash squash, split in half. Remove seeds.
  • Cut into moon shapes, about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  • Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Roast 15 minutes, turn squash over and roast another 15 minutes.

Here is the original recipe from eatingwell.com

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/roast_delicata_squash_onions.html

APPLE SPICE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

This idea came from a recipe Roy found in Readers Digest many years ago. It makes good use of a cake mix, and adds fruit, so it’s really a health food!

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You will need: One spice cake mix and the ingredients listed for preparation: two tablespoons butter; six medium apples, peeled and sliced; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; two tablespoons brown sugar; pinch of salt.

To prepare:

  • Melt butter or margarine in pan over medium heat.
  • Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Mix well, saute for 5-7 minutes until apples are tender.
  • Prepare cake mix according to directions.
  • Place cooked apple slices evenly in the bottom of a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
  • Pour cake batter over cooked apples. Bake according to package directions.
  • Cool for 15 minutes. Turn cooled cake onto platter.
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

Great warm or cold!

Not a spice cake fan? Works with carrot, yellow or white cake mixes as well. Experiment with different cake and fruit mixes. Chocolate cake and cherries? Share your ideas with us!

PUT ON A HAPPY (OR SCARY) FACE!

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DSCF0399 (2)We added Jack-O-Lantern faces to these planters by cutting faces out of construction paper and attaching them with double-sided tape for a quick and simple decoration. Funny sidenote: Christmas Poinsettia and 2 Christmas Cacti are shown! Use what you have!

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Using the same technique, we decorated this 4-sided lamp and table combo (left) with a variety of faces. Happy accident – when photo was taken of the decorated lamp shade, another panel showed in the mirror.

We cut our Jack-O-Lantern faces out freehand, but you can find templates for them at:

http://www.myhomeideas.com/holidays/9-jack-o-lantern-templates/jack-o-lantern-pumpkin-carving-template

What can you decorate in your home? Use you imagination and share your ideas!

 

GARDEN UPDATE

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This week, the Impatiens (don’t they look great!) and marigolds have had a surprising resurgence, and the shishito peppers just went crazy! Plus, we were pleased to discover our first purple pansy bloom. We grew pansies from seed this year, and blooms have been few and far between. It’s late in the season, but our patio garden continues to bring us food and joyl!

VEGETABLE ART:

Home-grown basil adds dimension to this week’s pepper harvest!

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What did one leaf say to the other? I’m falling for you! 

Source: Mytutors.com

THE BEARS

The bears couldn’t wait to play in the falling leaves, so they got into our leaf garland decor (above). Now they are enjoying rummaging through our fall and Halloween clothes!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

Reentry and Splashdown!

We just thoroughly enjoyed a mini-vacation. It started off with 2 nights at the beach. Then we went to visit family and enjoy Kevin’s brother’s retirement gala. Our third state in four days ended with a delicious dinner at another hotel. Finally, we made it home in time to see the New England Patriots win on Sunday. (Phew!) Here are some tips for reentry from vacation, an easy way to display vacation photos, a quick and tasty dessert, and this week’s garden update. Also, a look at what the bears did while they were home alone.

TIP (IN HINDSIGHT)

We had a great time on our vacation, but forgot to bring several items, including cell phone chargers, a corkscrew, extra batteries and our beach chairs. The real issue was not having a good vacation to-do-list. It seems so simple, but have a master list of what to do, what to pack and what to buy to prepare for your vacation. Check it twice! Santa is onto something!

HOW TO MAKE REENTRY EASIER

FOOD

Last week, we offered a great recipe for baked ziti, which we prepared and had waiting for us in the freezer for our return. We realized it would have been nice to have dessert, too!

These ice cream sandwiches would have fit the bill.

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Using store-bought cookies and ice cream, these fun treats are quick and easy to make.

You will need:

Ice cream, cookies, sprinkles, nuts, chocolate chips, and other toppings of your choice. Lots of cookie and ice cream combos are possible – let your imagination and taste buds decide! Today, we used chocolate cookies with fudge swirl ice cream and chocolate sprinkles. Our second sandwich features iced oatmeal cookies with vanilla ice cream, raisins and walnuts.

To make:

  • Cover a sheet tray with parchment or waxed paper and place it in the freezer.
  • Spread each topping on individual plates.
  • Put 1 scoop of ice cream onto a cookie. Cover with another cookie. Roll cookie sandwich like a wheel in the topping of your choice, coating the ice cream. Pop this onto sheet tray in freezer.
  • Allow to set in freezer for 1 hr. If not eating immediately, wrap sandwiches tightly in wax paper.

How about you?

What would make your reentry from vacation or a long weekend better? Perhaps your favorite coffee, a nice bottle of wine, or a couple of lottery tickets to scratch? Have something fun for your vacation reentry – not just doing the laundry!

PUT UP THOSE PHOTOS! (no pressure)

Don’t leave your vacation photos in your camera or cell phone. We take lots of photos during vacation, and print out and display some of them clothesline-style on a 6-foot piece of jute, strung between two tacks. The photos are attached with painted clothespins. They are a great way to keep that vacation spirit alive. These are pictures from the beach and the retirement party.

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Bonus picture: Here’s a pretty sunset we saw in Westerly, RI!

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GARDEN UPDATE

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The warm weather so far this September has been a boon for our garden. We were pleased to pick a bunch of tomatoes and a few peppers when we came home from vacation. The herbs actually looked better, which leads us to think we may have been over watering them. The miniature marigolds grown from seed are still hanging in there!

VEGETABLE ART

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THE BEARS

The bears did their best to stow away, as you can see,

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but they stayed home and managed to keep themselves entertained.

They were supposed to tackle their summer reading list, but instead they ate popcorn and watched endless loops of Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear, and The Jungle Book!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin