Category Archives: Halloween

Pinecones 103 – Decorating Ideas

This week, for our third mini-blog, we create a pinecone ring that can be used as a base for a flower or candle tablescape, and feature some simple ways to use pinecones to decorate for fall. All this and oh my! The bears!!!

PINECONE RING FOR VASES AND CANDLES

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You will need:

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  • 12 pinecones, each approximately 6 inches long (try to get pinecones that are close in length and diameter)
  • 1.5-inch wide floral ribbon of your choice (we chose orange burlap)
  • 22-gauge floral wire (our ring used 3 feet)

To create base:

  • Lay cones, tops up, in a row on your work surface.
  • Wire pinecones together starting 3 inches in from one end of wire and leaving one inch between pine cones and 3 inches of wire at the end.
  • Shape pinecones into a circle and twist free ends of wire together to secure.
  • Weave ribbon through pinecones, tie ends and tuck under base.

We placed lights in a vase with some fall colored faux flowers and surrounded the pinecones with more lights.

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Here it’s shown without the additional lights on the pinecones:

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CANDLES

A flameless candle in the vase also works nicely.

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Without the vase, the flameless candle creates a more natural look.

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MIX AND MATCH

Combine painted and unpainted pinecones with gourds for a colorful display.

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Another angle:

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Brighten a basket of natural pinecones with colorful flowers.

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SCENTS OF THE SEASON(INGS)!

Here is a simple technique for scenting pinecones with your favorite fall spices:

http://www.mccormick.com/recipes/other/scented-pinecones

THE BEARS

The bears are wondering what they should do with all of these extra pinecones. They will have to check future blogs!

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Enjoy!!!

Roy & Kevin

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Pine Cones 102 – Not So Itsy-Bitsy Spider!

No living thing is ugly in this world. Even a tarantula considers itself beautiful.”

– Munia Khan (poet) Source: Goodreads

For our second mini-blog, we created a spider out of pine cones and mini pumpkins. A fun project to do with your kids. Perfect for Halloween!

You will need:

  • Six 5-inch pine cones
  • One 3-inch mini pumpkin
  • One 4-inch mini pumpkin
  • Black spray paint (Satin finish)
  • 1 black chenille stem (we used Jumbo Fuzzy Sticks from Target) cut to 5 inches
  • Craft glue
  • Two 1/2-inch googly eyes
  • One 14-inch platter

How to create your spider:

  • In a ventilated area, spray paint pumpkins and pine cones thoroughly. Use newspapers to protect surfaces.

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  • Allow to dry.
  • Place 3-inch pumpkin upside down below and in front of the 4-inch pumpkin on the platter or whatever you choose as a base.

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  • Add googly eyes with craft glue. (Some come with adhesive backs, use those if you have them.)

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  • Decide which pine cones go where. We used larger pine cones as the back legs.
  • Place 3 legs on each side.
  • Bend chenille stem to create feelers and position under spider head.

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Watch the bugs (and some people) disappear in fear!

Hint 1: This display is temporary because we will be using the parts for future holiday decor. Stay tuned! For more permanence, attach spider parts to platter with double stick tape.

Hint 2: If paint comes off pumpkins during assembly, touch up with quick drying, matching acrylic paint.

Be creative with your spiders! Use colorful googly eyes, make a purple spider or whatever you favorite spider color is, add stickers and designs. We’d love to see pictures of your creations!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

 

Pine Cones 101

” You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou     Source: Goodreads

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For the first in our mini-blog holiday crafting series, we feature one of several pine cone entries, starting with a centerpiece made with painted pine cones. This is an easy, fun, affordable idea whether you use pine cones you find in nature or buy at your local craft store (don’t forget to use coupons!). Here is what we did. (Figured you were “pining” to know all about it!)

PREPPING THE PINE CONES

If you find your pine cones in nature, they will need a little prep to make them usable for crafting and decorating.

There are a couple of ways to prepare your pine cones. The method we used was to bake them in a pre-heated 200 degree oven for 1/2 hour, and allow them to dry for a couple of days.

For more about pine cones preparation, check out this link:

http://tipnut.com/how-to-prepare-preserve-pinecones/

PAINTING THE PINE CONES

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  • We chose orange and black for this fall and Halloween craft.
  • The cones were spray painted in a well ventilated area. (Our patio fit the bill.)
  • A disassembled cardboard box covered with newspaper protected the concrete floor.
  • One side was painted, allowed to dry a half hour, before turning over and painting the other side.

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Stand pine cones up in saved egg cartons to allow for thorough drying.

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Bonus Craft Tip: Save your egg cartons, they work well for paint projects and for storing small items such as beads and pins.

Plan ahead – avoid the fumes!

We prefer to use spray paints outdoors. If you are planning to spray paint pine cones, or anything for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, do so before outdoor temperatures get too cold. For best results, spray paints should be used in 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

EASY AUTUMN CENTERPIECES

Once our black and orange pine cones were ready, we created these centerpieces using a glass trifle bowl and vase. Pump it up with a couple of mini-pumpkins!

Pretty and simple!

Here are a couple of different versions:

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More pine cone and holiday craft mini-blogs coming soon!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

 

September’s Bounty!!!

This week’s blog highlights a new (for us) kitchen gadget, a classic tomato salad, a garden update, and of course, the bears! Plus, we are announcing an exciting venture for the holidays!

SPIRALIZER

We just bought a spiralizer, a cool gadget that makes noodles out of vegetables.

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Our new Oxo spiralizer is easy to operate and clean. If you get one, read the instructions and handle with care because the blades are sharp.

The first time we used it was with a combination of zucchini and yellow squash. We sautéed our “noodles”  with olive oil, salt and pepper. Next, an English cucumber got spiralized. We tossed the cucumber noodles with vinaigrette and served it cold.

Both dishes were delicious! We highly recommend this kitchen tool. It is easy to use and makes healthy eating fun!

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CAPRESE SALAD

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In Rhode Island, it has been a GREAT year for native tomatoes! They are delicious with a sprinkle of sea salt or in salads, but with our basil plant thriving, this year’s tomatoes called for Caprese salad.

Caprese salad is made with tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar (hint: warm vinegar for a few minutes – it will thicken and sweeten), sea salt and ground pepper to taste.

GARDEN UPDATE

“I’ve always felt that having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend.”                                  C.Z. Guest – Actress/designer (Source: Quote Garden)

Sea grass we planted years ago has returned. The bee looks bee-fuddled!

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BONUS PHOTO:

We had a visitor on the top of our patio fence. (This grasshopper is much smaller than it appears here, thank goodness!)

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VEG ART

This year’s edibles – a great crop!

Another version of the picture at the top of the blog with our 2 types of peppers, tomatoes, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, and thyme. (Surprisingly, the parsley didn’t make it!)

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JOKE OF THE WEEK:  “Gardeners know all the dirt.” (Source Bing.com /images)

THE BEARS

The Bears feel like stars, because this week, on September 9th, they celebrate Teddy Bear Day!

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ANNOUNCING: HOLIDAY CRAFTING MINIBLOGS

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It is never too early to begin holiday crafting. This fall and winter, in addition to our regular posts, look for our weekly holiday crafting mini-blogs. These mini-blogs will offer some of our favorite craft and decorating ideas for the upcoming holiday season.

Check out the blogs which feature the decorations shown above:

https://funclesarts.com/2014/10/29/halloween-blog-3-the-final-chapter/

https://funclesarts.com/2014/12/06/the-christmas-season-is-here/

 

Enjoy!

Roy & 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