Category Archives: Holidays

Happy and Fun Thanksgiving to All!!!

“Gratitude is the best attitude.” – Unknown                                                                                    Source: Quotegarden.com

Happy Thanksgiving! As Turkey Day approaches, we revisit updated versions of a couple of our favorite side dishes, a hostess gift idea, some of our favorite Thanksgiving things, what we are thankful for, the garden (now patio) update and, of course, the bears!

FAVORITE HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES

Sweet potatoes with bananas

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Check out the recipe here!

https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/22/thanksgiving-the-third-blog-post/

Cranberry sauce with jalapeno peppers

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This zingy favorite is sure to surprise!                     Heat one 14 oz. can of whole berry cranberry sauce over medium heat until it liquefies. Finely chop one jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and ribs to make less spicy if desired) and add to cranberries. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool at least one hour until mixture solidifies.

Check out last year’s post, where this recipe first appeared, to find a crunchy cranberry sauce variation with a touch of citrus!

Click here for the post and recipe:

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

HOSTESS GIFT IDEA

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Baked goods are great hostess gifts, but time constraints around the holidays can make baking from scratch difficult. We suggest using quality mixes. This pumpkin bread was made from a boxed mix. Add dried cranberries, raisins, nuts or whatever you think will work to personalize your goodies. Make it your own! It’s a great gift when wrapped and paired with specialty tea. You can find delicious mixes and ready to bake treats at any supermarket. Easy and appreciated!

“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants!” – Kevin James (comedian)

THANKSGIVING TREASURES

Cornucopia

This cornucopia has been in Roy’s family for as long as he can remember. It was the subject of a recent “veg art” photo!

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Pilgrim candle

Kevin’s family has had this pilgrim candle a long time, too. His mom gave it to us for Thanksgiving just a few years ago. A treasure for sure.

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“Family gathers to share good noise and good food, gratitude abounds!”

poet Alexandra Elle (source goodreads.com)

PATIO UPDATE (FORMERLY GARDEN UPDATE)

The bee is bee-fuddled by the change in the impatiens.

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The tomato cages are waiting to be transformed into Christmas trees or some other holiday creation!

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Bonus picture: We love bittersweet, a fall vine with berries which grows abundantly on our property. Bittersweet make a great fall decoration, but be warned, if you use it indoors, the berries can stain!

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FOOD ART (FORMERLY VEG ART

Fruits and vegetables ready for Thanksgiving!

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What sound does a space turkey make?  Hubble . . . Hubble . . .Hubble!!!                                       source:101thanksgiving.com

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA

Here is some interesting trivia about Thanksgiving!

http://www.examiner.com/article/50-family-friendly-thanksgiving-trivia-questions-and-answers

Thankful

We are thankful to have wonderful, supportive families, great friends and fun and creative lives. Plus, the 10-0 Pats!!!

THE BEARS

The bears get in the act with their own turkey hats.

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Last but DEFINITELY not least, we are thankful for your support and kindness!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

Pre-Thanksgiving Fun!

This week, try our turkey chili, and check out our decorations, gift ideas, garden update, and, of course, the bears!

TURKEY CHILI

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This easy, money-saving chili recipe makes a big batch and stretches a pound of ground turkey or beef. It’s a warming, make-ahead meal and leftovers freeze great, too! You’ll gobble it up!

Ingredients:

  • one lb. lean ground turkey
  • one large onion, chopped
  • one tablespoon minced garlic
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • three 15.5 oz. cans each of black beans and red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • one 16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
  • one 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • one 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilis
  • two cups water
  • one quart box (32 oz.) of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • one lb. bag frozen pepper strips
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • one tablespoon cumin
  • one teaspoon oregano
  • one tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • one tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons masa flour (in a pinch, finely ground tortilla chips work great, too!)
  • salt to taste

How to prepare:

  • Brown ground turkey in olive oil with chopped onion and grated garlic.
  • In a large saucepan, add the beans, tomatoes, pepper strips, chicken broth and water.
  • Bring to a simmer and add browned meat and onion combo. Add spices and masa flour; simmer for 20 minutes. That’s it!

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, olives and your favorite toppings!

THANKSGIVING DECORATIONS

Thanksgiving banner

This festive banner is fun to make!

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Check out the directions here:

https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/07/thanksgiving-post-number-one-the-holiday-blogfest-continues/

Playing dress up

Roy’s hand-made scarecrows like to dress up as pilgrims for Thanksgiving!

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Cards as decorations

We save our holiday greeting cards to use as decorations. This week, they are combined with the leaf print cards we made a couple of weeks ago to decorate a door in our apartment.

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Check out the blog, “Autumn Leaves”, to learn how to make these leaf prints.

https://funclesarts.com/2015/11/07/autumn-leaves/

GIFTS FOR KIDS

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Keeping kids engaged and entertained during holiday celebrations can be a challenge.  For Thanksgiving, we bought the holiday clings on the left so the children can adorn the windows (check with your hostess to make sure it is okay.) Also, nothing beats coloring and sticker books for creative fun. Give Christmas-themed books to the kids at Thanksgiving so they can enjoy them the whole holiday season. Washable markers are the way to go. Kids love to color!

Speaking of color, we are pleased to see our Christmas cacti, a gift from Kevin’s mother several years ago, in full bloom!

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Hostess Gift Idea: Christmas cacti survive with very little attention and provide the gift of beautiful blossoms at least twice a year.

GARDEN UPDATE

When we started cleaning the patio, it looked like this:

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After close inspection, we realized that the pepper and 2 tomato plants were ready to go. So thankful for the hundreds of peppers and tomatoes we harvested this growing season!

We kept some of the blossoming plants, which still provide color. The patio is now ready for our winter decor. More to come in future blogs.

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VEG ART – TWO FOR ONE!

In anticipation of this week’s predicted frost, we picked all of our tomatoes and peppers. They are ripening in a paper bag (great way to hasten the ripening process).

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

Why did the scarecrow win the Nobel Prize? Because he was out standing in the field!             Source:EnchantedLearning.com

THE BEARS

The bears are looking dapper in their mini pilgrim hats!

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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

 

 

Thanksgiving -The Third Blog Post

Wow – this is our 6th blog entry already and next week is Thanksgiving. We are focusing on the meal and table today. Every celebration needs a nice centerpiece, and we saw one which showed a flower arrangement in a pumpkin. We did our own take on that. Also, we have a recipe we got from Rachael Ray a few years ago. We’ve changed it up a bit to make it healthier, yet still delicious! Enjoy!

PUMPKIN & FLOWER CENTERPIECE

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Looking for pumpkins the week before Thanksgiving can be tricky. In our area, they are not easy to find (or else we are looking in the wrong places – hmm, could be). Anyway, we adapted and created the pumpkin vase (pictured above) using the plastic pumpkin in the photo to the left.

For an 8-inch plastic pumpkin, you will need: 80 inches of orange (or the color of your choice) twisted paper cord (one brand available in most craft stores is called creative twist), hot glue gun and glue, small pot of mums or your favorite fall flower that will fit into your pumpkin. Our plant is 4 inches in diameter and 12 inches high.

  • Untwist paper cord and cut into eight 10-inch strips. When untwisted, the paper cord is about 4 inches wide.
  • Cover the Jack-O-Latern’s face with one of the crepe paper strips. You may have to cut the strip in 2 and piece them together, depending on the Jack-O-Lantern design. Secure with hot glue. (The face needs to be covered twice for this project so it will not show.)
  • After the face has been covered once, and starting next to a handle, cover the pumpkin by applying the strips vertically. Glue top of strip 1/2″ into inside of pumpkin. Add glue to middle of crepe paper strip and then glue to the bottom. Overlap strips by about a 1/16th of an inch as you go around.
  • Insert plant.

 SWEET POTATOES WITH BANANAS

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We tweaked a great recipe we saw Rachael Ray make so it would be healthier. Go to foodnetwork.com for the original recipe for Rachael Ray’s wonderful Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Here is our version with less fat and sugar:

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
  • 2 tablespoons light margerine (with no hydrogenated oils)
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:

Boil potatoes about 20 minutes until tender, drain and put potatoes aside. In the original pot, add margerine and banana slices.  Cook the banana 5 minutes on medium heat and add the juice of the orange. Allow the orange juice to cook out for about 1 minute. Add the potatoes back to the pot with the stock and brown sugar. Mash together until its well mixed. Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest to taste. Mash to combine, top with 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.  WE LOVE THESE SWEET POTATOES!!

JOKE OF THE WEEK:                                                                                                                                       Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?                                                             Yes! A building can’t jump at all!

Joke source:  Kidsactivities.net

FUN FACTS: According to the website Life123 the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924. It was known then as the Macy’s Christmas Parade. Today, the parade is attended by an estimated 3 million people and is viewed by approximately 44 million people all over the country.

Thanks so much for reading, following and sharing these blogs. We have been having fun creating and writing.

1 more blog post before Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Roy & Kevin

Thanksgiving post number one! The holiday blogfest continues!

Thanks for looking at this blog and at the previous Halloween blog entries. If you haven’t seen the others, please check them out. The fun part for us is creating new things and coming up with fresh ideas every week. This week we show how you can switch things up and make the transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving decorating simple. The Pumpkin About-face Switcharoo takes seconds, and is great for a quick start of your holiday redecorating, and the Happy Thanksgiving banner uses elements of the Halloween banner, for an easy transition.  And it looks great!

PUMPKIN ABOUT-FACE SWITCHEROO! This is a simple trick to switch over from Halloween decorations to Thanksgiving. Simply turn the Jack-O-Lanterns around so the face is toward the wall and the plain pumpkin side faces front. Some of the pumpkins shown above were featured in the 2nd Halloween blog with their smiling Jack-O-Lantern faces. The plain pumpkins are more suitable for Thanksgiving.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING BANNER

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  • Last week, we showed a Halloween banner made with burlap painted with black paint and hung clothesline style and secured with painted clothespins.
  • This week we used the same lines , hung 11″ apart, one over the other, and added 3 more clothespins (18 total for this).
  • For the letters, we cut card stock into 18 rectangles 4.5″ X 3.5″ and cut capital letters out of contrasting paper. (Shortcut: Using 3 X 5 plain index cards would save cutting time and that size works well too.) We used yellow for the base and purple, red and orange for the letters. We had those on hand. Use your favorite colors.
  • Secure letters with glue stick.
  • For the word HAPPY, we hot-glued plastic leaves to the clothespins.
  • For THANKSGIVING, we used scotch tape to secure leaves to the back and bottom of the card stock/index cards. We did the same on the side of the first and last letter .
  • Adjust and center letters for your desired look.
  • Embellish with turkey, pilgrim, cornucopia, or Thanksgiving stickers if desired.
  • Keep it neat, but don’t worry about perfection, the casual look is part of it’s charm.                   (Hmm.. you may be noticing a pattern here!)

A FEW MORE THINGS:                                               

STOCK UP ON STUFFING! According to livescience.com :                                                   “American’s gobble up 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving” Wow!

THANKSGIVING JOKE OF THE DAY:                                                                                                          If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be famous for? Their age!                Source: enchantedlearning.com

Thank you all for following and sharing these blogs! We appreciate your interest!

More next week, including a great craft project and a simple but surprising twist on a classic Thanksgiving recipe! Check it out!

Thanks again,

Roy and Kevin!

Halloween Blog 3 (the final chapter)

 

This is our 3rd Halloween post for the year. We are still learning and having fun, creating new things and sharing a few ideas. This week we are focusing on the Happy Halloween Banner and some other random yet (hopefully) interesting Halloween and fall related things.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN BANNER: We saw a banner in a store not too long ago, and we decided to design our own and put our own twist on it. The banner we came up with is simple to make. We made ours out of things we had around the house, but if you were to buy the items, you could probably do it for under $10.00  Let’s make this a banner year!

You will need: 15 5X7 inch rectangles of burlap, 5-6 feet of Jute or ribbon, acrylic paint; black and orange, 15 wooden clothespins. tacks to attach banner to wall.

To make the banner: 

  • Cut fifteen 5 X 7 inch rectangles out of burlap. Iron them with a t-shirt or towel over them.
  • Using black acrylic paint, paint one letter vertically on each rectangle spelling out                   H A P P Y  H A L L O W E E N ! in approximately 4 inch capital letters.
  • Paint 15 wooden clothespins orange. Allow rectangles and clothespins to dry.                          ( about one hour)
  • Cut 5-6 feet of Jute or ribbon, hang 2 ribbons 11 inches apart one above the other.
  •  Attach to the wall by tying the ribbon to tacks with the ends 5-6 ft apart  (or what works for you).
  • Using the orange clothespins, attach (letter-by-letter) HAPPY to the top ribbon, HALLOWEEN to the bottom.
  • Center and adjust for your desired look.

NOTE: Perfection is not the goal for this project: burlap frays, clothespins can be tricky to paint, and hand-lettering is a challenge for some people, but that is part of the charm of this banner.          (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

RANDOM STUFF:

Here’s another picture of our Halloween decor.

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TREAT TRICK: An easy way to make popcorn balls is to use the Rice Krispies treat recipe (on the box or online), use  the same amount of popcorn instead of Rice Krispies!

PETS WARNING: Remember chocolate is toxic for pets, keep the kids trick-or-treat candy out of their reach! (The pets reach that is, well maybe the kids too!)

GO FLAMELESS: Flameless candles make for a safer Halloween. Use them in Jack-O-Lanterns and all over the house!

JOKE OF THE WEEK:  What’s the problem with twin witches?                                                                                                You never know which witch is which!                                                                                                                                        (Source: jokerz.com)

Up next week: Thanksgiving!

Thanks everyone for reading this and the other entries. Please share, like and follow!

We wish you and yours a Happy, safe and creative Halloween!

Roy and Kevin

Halloween Blog 2 (the sequel)!

PUMPKINS AND SCARECROWS AND GHOSTS -OH MY!!

 Post number 2!  We had fun putting up the last post and are still learning about this blogging stuff.  Anything worth learning is going to take some time. We are just starting the process of creating a routine for getting more of these posts out with better and better content.

Last Sunday we decorated our place a little bit with the contents of the buckets of Halloween items we have collected over the years  We used that as inspiration for the few tips we are sharing this week. The Lighted Stacked Jack-O-Lanterns are so simple and affordable. The scarecrow ideas we share make use of household items and thrift store finds. We hope you like these ideas and are enjoying this magical holiday season!

ADD A LITTLE PUMPKIN SPICE TO YOUR DECOR!

IMG_2653 (2)Decorating tip: The Lighted Stacked Jack-O-Lanterns shown here is a cute display that is easy to create.  You can make this for under $10.00.  We had 3 pumpkins but needed a forth. We also needed a set of lights. We went to Target and bought the pumpkin for $1.00 and a set of lights for about $5.00.  Start with four plastic pumpkins that are the same size. The ones here are 8 inches. Using a utility knife, cut the bottoms out of the 3 top pumpkins. The very bottom of these pumpkins are usually thicker plastic, so cut along the edge where it is thinner and easier to cut. Stack them together with the uncut one on the bottom and string lights through them from the top. Our’s shown are just stacked, but you may want to attach them together with duct tape in the back. The light shines through the plastic and gives the room a great glow!

SCARECROWS!

I made the scarecrows shown at the top of this page. I made mine like dolls, and used thriftstore clothes. There are other ways too. Included here are a few tips for making scarecrows :

  • Children’s feet pajamas make great scarecrow bodies. Just stuff them and dress them. Dress them in used clothes , either your own or some bought from a thrift store.
  • Heads can be made from paper bags, burlap sacks, wig heads, and as one tip from Martha Stewart suggests, use (clean and empty) laundry detergent bottles, upside down using the handle as a nose.
  • Stuff with fiberfill for a more permanent indoor scarecrow.
  • Give your scarecrow personality. Maybe glasses and a book for a studious scarecrow, tie-dyed shirt for a 1960’s inspired scarecrow, etc.
  • Gloves for hands, shoes for feet, buttons for eyes.
  • Finish with straw and  plastic leaves for a realistic look.

Vignettes! We like to group like items with like items. This decorating idea works in all sorts of decorating situations, holiday or not. Here (below) is a ghost vignette with some of our favorite ghost decorations we have collected and created though the years.

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SPOOKTACULAR!

Joke of the week: What do ghosts eat for breakfast? Boo-berry pancakes!

MORE NEXT WEEK!

THANKS TO ALL WHO READ THIS AND LAST WEEKS POSTS! PLEASE SHARE FOLLOW AND LIKE.

ROY AND KEVIN

New Holiday Blog Project!

IMG_2640 (2)What’s it all about

We have been thinking about blogging for years. I figured that the holidays would be a good time to start, as we always have lots of creative holiday ideas and there is a lot to write about. With that said, we are launching our HOLIDAY BLOGFEST!! Every week between now and January 1st we will post a blog about the holidays with ideas and other (hopefully) interesting content. Our focus is that   creativity can be simple and affordable and it can make life more fun!

Today we’ll start simply with just a few items:

FIRST HOLIDAY: HALLOWEEN!

Craft tip: The little ghosts shown in the photo above are an easy party favor you can make. Wrap a lollipop with a white napkin. Tie with a ribbon or rubber band, use a marker for eyes, and you have cute ghosts. BOO!

Decorating tip: Tie string to witches hats and hang them from the ceiling!

Hats

 

FUN FACT: The first Jack-O-Lantern was actually made from a turnip. Source: Randomhistory.com

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What was / is your favorite Halloween candy??

At Halloween, don’t worry about dusting, think of the dust and cobwebs as free decor!

KUDOS TO: Kevin for taking the great photo of the pumpkin on the stairs in Provincetown fall of 2012. ( shown above)

A BIG THANK YOU to the Warwick RI Public Library and wonderful  instructor Reza Clifton for the great blogging  and social media class they presented.