Saturday, October 24, 2009

Simple Halloween treats you Can Make in Minutes

Halloween is all about the treats. So, how can you make some fun treats at home that your little ones will love? It’s easier than you might think.

Do you have some Halloween Cookie Cutters? That’s all you’ll need to make these first three fun and memorable Halloween treats.

Terrifying Tortilla Chips: Start with some flour tortillas and spray a bit of canola oil on them. Sprinkle parmesan cheese or cinnamon and sugar on them. Then cut fun shapes out of the tortillas with a bat, ghost or pumpkin cookie cutter. Put the shapes into the oven for a crispy treat.

Spooky sandwiches: Make your favorite sandwich. Peanut butter and jelly works just fine. Then, using a cookie cutter, press hard into the sandwich and you’ll get a spooky treat. If you use a pumpkin shape cookie cutter, add licorice or candy corn to make eyes and nose on a jack-o-lantern face.

Creepy Cheese and Cold Cuts: Buy packaged cheese (the kind that you peel the plastic off). Also, buy some cold-cuts. Using a cookie cutter, make spooky shapes. Present the cheese and cold cuts on a platter as an appetizer – or have a sandwich smorgasbord and allow your guests to use the creepy cheese to make their own sandwiches.

Here are a few more last-minute ideas for Halloween fun.

Wicked Witch Fingers: Do you have some dough and almonds? Believe it or not, you can make witch fingers. Just stretch out the dough into a “finger-shape” including a knuckle. Then, take the almond and press it into the end to make the fingernail. You can experiment with different colors to make witch fingers creepier. “Paint” the fingernail with food coloring (grey or black is perfect), or make the dough a creepy green color. Oooh… spooky!

Green Anything: Take your favorite foods and add a drop of green food coloring to them. Are you in the mood for French toast? Make it green. How about pudding? Make it green. You can even serve green milk with your cookies. You’ll be the coolest mom on the block.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How to Select Paint Brushes for Silk Painting

When painting, having the right kinds of brushes makes a world of difference. This is especially true for silk painting. Silk is a delicate fabric, and using the wrong brushes could have devastating effects. Besides that, the paints and dyes used on silk are very different from the paints used on canvas and other materials.

Experienced and frequent silk painters often have a veritable arsenal of brushes. They have rounded brushes, flat brushes, thin brushes and flat brushes. Many are dedicated to a specific brand, and they often prefer those with animal hair as opposed to synthetic bristles. The brushes they use tend to be quite expensive.

It's true that animal hair brushes offer certain advantages over synthetic ones. They have a softness that simply can't be reproduced with man-made materials. This allows them to soak up much more dye, making it easier to fill in areas large and small. It also makes them safer to use on fragile silk and silk blends.

Many professional silk painters use sumi brushes with bamboo handles and goat hair bristles, which become stiffer in the center and soak up more liquid than regular brushes. Sumi brushes have been used by Chinese silk painters for centuries.

But for beginners, it may not make sense to spend a lot of money on high-end silk painting brushes. Until you decide whether or not you want to do silk painting on a regular basis, it's probably best to use less expensive brushes. Synthetic watercolor brushes work reasonably well for silk painting. They may not hold as much paint or dye as natural ones, but they will not harm the silk. They should do fine for your first few projects.

Foam Brushes

No silk painting brush collection is complete without some foam brushes. The larger ones work very nicely for coloring in large areas, and they're especially useful when applying fixatives and primers. You can also purchase smaller ones (which look similar to eye shadow applicators or cotton swabs) that are great for applying resist and creating details with silk paint.

Foam brushes are usually very inexpensive. However, most of them must be replaced frequently. If you find them useful, it might be best to buy them in bulk.

The sizes and types of brushes used by one silk painter might be completely different from those used by another. The brushes you'll need depend largely on your preferences and the techniques you use. Just remember that there is no one brush that will do everything you need to do. In order to be successful at silk painting, you'll need at least a few different sizes of brushes, and probably a couple of different types.

Fun Halloween Party Ideas

There are limitless ideas to the fun you can have at a Halloween party. Over the years, Halloween has grown into a sophisticated, adult celebration. Return to the fun kids had years ago with these basic but fun Halloween party ideas for kids.

Apple bob – Fill a large tub with water and apples. Let kids take turns bobbing for apples.

Costume contest – Once all your guests arrive at the party, take a vote on the best and scariest costumes. Add as many categories to your list as you want and hand out a grand prize to the best costume.

Pin the nose on Jack ‘o Lantern – This is a spin-off version of the all-time favorite game among children. Make a huge Jack ‘o Lantern, leaving off his nose. Let kids take turns being blindfolded and pin (or tape) the nose on Jack.

Pumpkin carving contest – Hold a pumpkin carving contest. See who can carve the funniest or silliest face into a pumpkin.

Make a mask – Give younger kids at your Halloween party construction paper, round-ended scissors, markers and glue. Let them make their own face masks for the party. Punch a hole in both sides of the mask and tie string or tiny elastic on the mask.

Guess how many seeds – Place counted pumpkin seeds in a large bowl or jar. Each party guest takes turns guessing how many pumpkin seeds there are. Whoever guesses closest to the correct numbers wins a prize.


Pumpkin seed spitting contest – Cut the top off a large pumpkin and remove the inside meat and seeds. Give each kid five seeds and see how many seeds they can spit into the pumpkin from a distance.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beginners' Silk Painting Projects for Children and Adults

Silk painting is a unique and beautiful technique. Silk was once frequently used in paintings in the same manner in which canvas is used today. Using silk as the basis for a masterpiece is less common now, but silk may be used to create a wide variety of projects. Here are a few that are appropriate for beginner silk painters of all ages.

Silk Scarves

The silk scarf is a luxurious accessory, and it makes a wonderful gift for almost any woman. And when it's painted by hand, it takes on an even more special meaning. A silk scarf is a great first project for those who would like to try their hand at silk painting.

One of the great things about silk scarves is that they do not necessarily have to have an elaborate pattern. Dyes can be used to give them a tie dyed look. This is great news for newbies, because working with silk dyes and paints can be rather tricky at first. Simple abstract designs allow you to get a feel for how these mediums interact with silk without having to worry about precise detail.

Shirts

Silk shirts may be larger than scarves, but they too look nice with less defined patterns. As long as you choose colors that complement each other, there's little chance of ruining the shirt. This is a good project to move on to once you've gained confidence with scarves.

Suncatchers and Ornaments

Stained glass suncatchers add a touch of color to any home. But did you know that you can make suncatchers out of silk, too? You'll have to learn to use resist to keep colors in confined areas and apply dyes so that they are of the correct intensity, but with the small size of most suncatchers, you won't lose a lot of silk if you make a mistake.

You can also make ornaments for Christmas and other occasions in much the same way you make suncatchers. You'll need little more than a small frame, some silk, dye or paint, and brushes. You can find kits to make these items at some craft stores, as well as online.

Greeting Cards

Making silk-painted greeting cards requires some assembly, but otherwise it's as easy as painting a scarf. You can use resist to create some definition, or go abstract with dye only. Cards designed to hold painted silk usually feature a cutout of some sort of shape, so it's hard to go wrong.

These projects are great for learning the basics of silk painting. And when they're complete, they make lovely gifts. If you love the look of painted silk, why not give one of them a try?

Fun Halloween Party Food Ideas

Getting ready for a howling Halloween party this year? Spruce up your party this year with some icky, but yummy party food. Here are some fun food ideas for your ghostly Halloween party:

Snot cubes

Refrigerate yellow and green Jello (any flavors) in ice cube trays. Serve chilled.

Worms in snot
Make snot cubes, as directed above, out of Jello. Insert gummy worms in each cube of Jello then refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Bad apples
Using a small, sharp knife cut a small, round hole in one side of the top of an apple. Insert a gummy worm inside the hole. Create display of “bad apples” in a wooden bucket.

Monster Mash
In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:

* 10 cups popcorn
* 1 pound plain M&M’s
* 1-14 oz. jar dry roasted peanuts
* 1 cup raisins (optional)
* 1 cup Reece’s pieces (found in baking isle by chocolate chips)

Bowl of Brains
Scramble several eggs. To get the gray brain color, mix in green, red, and blue food coloring as you beat the eggs before cooking them.

Buggy Ice Cubes
Insert gummy worms or raisins (for bugs) in ice trays with water and freeze. Insert frozen buggy ice cubes in your bowl of party punch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hallowe'en Costume Ideas for Mom & Dad

Grownups enjoy Halloween just as much as the kids, sometimes more. It can be fun to dress up as a family, either for trick or treating or to go to a party. There are many possibilities for coordinating costumes for mom and dad. Some ideas can easily coordinate to the kids’ costumes, but they don’t have to. It can be a family affair or mom and dad can go to their own grown up party while the kids are with a sitter.

King and Queen – Make cardboard crowns and cover with foil. The dad can wear simple black pants, a white shirt and a plain colored cape. A simple long dress works for the queen. Decorate them with some fancy ribbons and trim and you have a regal outfit. Metallic belts will also help set off the outfits. The kids can be dressed as young royals to fit the theme.

Tarzan and Jane – If you are brave enough (and if it’s warm enough), some animal print fabric/clothing can make a quick costume. You can dress the kids up as jungle animals and have a wild time trick or treating. If it’s cold out, you could wear flesh toned clothing underneath the animal prints.

Adam and Eve – Wear all white or tan clothing and attach paper of fabric leaves in the appropriate locations and you have a simple costume that’s sure to be a conversation starter.

Frankenstein’s Monster and His Bride – A favorite Halloween pair is Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. Some make up, the right clothes and a wig and you have a classic costume set for both of you.

Wizard and Witch – Some black clothes, hats, wigs, the appropriate jewelry and other accessories, will result in a simple, yet fun costume for a wizard and witch duo. They can be as cartoony or as serious as you decide to make them.

Angel and Devil – Opposites can also be fun. Dressing in all white and all red, with the halo, wings, horns and pitchfork can be an amusing costume choice as well. It’s up to you to decide which costume fits whom better.

Prince Charming and Cinderella – Fairly tales and happily ever after also make great costume ideas. A fancy suit and dress and you’re both ready to go to the ball. The kids could be dressed as the mice.

Batman and Catwoman – Another good couple costume idea would be Batman and Catwoman. They are popular and easy to find costumes. Robin and Batgirl would popular for the kids as well.

Superman and Wonder Woman – Superheroes are always a popular costume idea and Superman and Wonder Woman make a good pairing.

Beauty and the Beast – Beauty and the Beast has long been a popular story and can be brought to life pretty simply. Beast needs a nice suit and an animal mask of some sort and Beauty can dress in her finest gown and jewelry.

Wizard of Oz – Pick any of your two favorite characters from the Wizard of Oz and you have great costumea. The kids can either be the other main characters or munchkins, leaving lots of room for colorful costumes.

Halloween: Little Old Lady/Man

You know what’s so great about dressing up for Halloween? You can be just about anyone you want to be. Dressing up as a little old lady or little old man are no exceptions. These costumes are so easy to make. You just need the help of your parents to accessorize the look.

To dress up as a little old lady, one can utilize an old house dress, a pair of heavy knee-hi stockings, a white wig, glasses, sneakers, a really old-fashioned pocket book, and bobby pins.

Shorten the house dress to fit just below the knee. Then put on the knee-hi stockings and roll them down a bit. Sneakers or old shoes would be fine. If you can find a white wig, it would be perfect. If not, you can make the child’s hair gray using flour. The pocket book is perfect for show. The bobby pins are wonderful as you can make pin curls on your child’s head. If you have an old hat, add that to the mix as well. Finally, the eye glasses and voila, a little old lady has been made.

To dress up as a little old man, use dark pants, a dress shirt, vest, and a jacket. You’ll need a hat as well as a cane. Use flour on the hair for the graying effect. Brown shoes would be appropriate, as well as brown or black socks, depending upon the color of the suit. If you happen to have a pocket watch, you can add that accessory as well.

If you wish to add some additional accessories, you can always have the little old lady push a wagon – the kind used for grocery shopping. You may also want to have the little old man carry a newspaper under his arm as well.

Have fun creating these costumes. You certainly have enough to work with. Look at pictures of your parents or their parents. Perhaps you may want to dress up your kids in a different period such as the 30s or 40s. Either way, your entire family will have a great time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Costume: Mummy

Making a mummy costume for Halloween can be hilarious. However, if you want it to truly be a unique and authentic mummy costume, here are some ideas you can try.

There are several ways you can make the costume. Using strips from a white sheet and wrapping the mummy with them is one idea. You can adhere them using white medical tape. Leave the eyes, nose, and mouth uncovered, but use a light brown powder to cover the areas of skin exposed. You can use eyeliner to add under the eyes, like the Egyptians.

Another method you can use is to have your child wear a white body suit and leotards. Then add the strips of a white sheet and hold them in place with the medical tape. But if you want to add authenticity, you can cut the strips from the sheet the night before and soak them in brewed tea. This will give the entire mummy look an aged appearance. In addition, you may want to fray some of the strips so that the mummy will look quite old as well.

In addition, if you have ever seen any of the Discovery Channel programs on recent mummy finds in Egypt, you will notice that while most of the mummies are covered, there are portions of their bodies which are exposed. Well, you can take some brown magic marker and outline a few ribs, or the upper and bottom row of teeth. In addition, you can use black magic marker to give the appearance that certain body parts are missing, giving the illusion there are holes in the body.

Mummies have been around for thousands of years, and making a homemade mummy costume can be as unique and authentic to the real mummies found today. The main thing is to have a great time creating it.

Halloween Costume: Ghost

Nothing exemplifies Halloween more than a ghost costume. It is probably the easiest to make and can be as simple or complex as you wish. Let’s take a look at two ideas for a ghost costume for Halloween.

Traditionally, one would cut out two holes in a white sheet, for the eyes, color the outer circle of the eyes black, and just wear it as is. However, this Casper the Friendly Ghost type costume would be a bit of a problem if the sheet fell off and the child couldn’t see where he or she was going. So, here is a suggestion.

Take a white sheet and cut a large enough hole so it can fit over the child’s head. Ensure that the bottom of the sheet is short enough so the child doesn’t trip over it. Since October is a cool month, wearing white pants and a white turtleneck top would be recommended. Oh, don’t forget white shoes or sneakers. Now that the costume itself is ready to go, here comes the fun part.

Use a non-chemical white powder makeup to paint the face. Use black make up and make a complete circle carefully around the eyes. The hair is next. There are two ways you can go with this. You can either purchase a white wig, or you can spray the hair with white spray. Voila! This ghost is a winner!

The second ghost costume can be made directly from the movie “A Christmas Carol.”
How about dressing up as Marley? Using the same items as the first costume, the only difference is you will need a ball and chain to wrap around the costume.

You make a chain one using different colored pieces of construction paper. Cut the paper into strips, then take each strip and staple the ends together. Take another strip and put one end through the first and staple. If you decided to make the ball to go with the chain, you can take lots of newspaper and scrunch it up into a ball and spray paint it black. You can attach it to the chain with a piece of wire.

One more thing, instead of making the child’s hair completely white, you can use a shower cap with holes it in, and spray it white. This way, it will look a bit more authentic. Remember, Marley’s hair wasn’t all white. Also, Marley wasn’t too well kept, so you can make some holes in the white sheet and add a little black spray on the bottom as well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Costume: Pirate

One of the hottest recent movies is “Pirates of the Caribbean.” With pirates growing in popularity, well, it makes sense that your son or daughter may wish to be a pirate for Halloween. These are not only fun costumes to make, but quite easy as well. So let’s make a homemade pirate’s costume!

Here’s is what is needed: A red bandana and thick red ribbon or large red scarf; old pair of black pants and a white shirt or blouse; an eye patch; hoop earrings – preferable clip-on; black and red eyeliner; cardboard and tin foil; fake bird and wire; and black and brown masking tape.

Fray the edges of the pants and shirt. Place the red bandana on the child’s head and then tie the red ribbon or scarf around the waist. Use some black eye liner to paint the face with a mustache. Use some red eyeliner to paint a scar on the face. Put on the earrings and the eye patch.

To make a sword (every pirate needs a sword), use cardboard and cut out the shape of a sword. Cover it with tin foil. Use black masking tape for the handle.

To make the pirate’s costume authentic to the movie, you can purchase a fake bird and use wire to attach it to the pirates shoulder or sleeve. The funkier the bird, the better.

Here’s another tip: If you wish to have the pirate wear a peg leg, you can simply tape one pant leg with brown masking tape all the way down to the tip of the shoe. Keep the toe part uncovered. Or if this is not suitable for your child, you can always spray paint the leg with brown spray, simulating a wooden peg leg.

Making a pirates costume allows you to be as creative as you wish. Add sparkles to the eye patch, find an old black hat in a thrift store, or instead of a sash, have the pirate wear a belt with a large buckle. There are so many ideas one can use to make a pirate costume for Halloween extra special. Have a happy Halloween…….. Argh!

Halloween Costume: Clown

“Be a clown, be a clown, all the world loves a clown.” Just singing that song puts you in a happy mood, right? One of the most fun costumes to make at home for Halloween is the clown costume. It can be as wild and as imaginative as ever. Here are some suggestions.

Let your imagination run wild. Start with a white, red, or black sweat suit. Then go to town painting all different colors and shapes on it, from polka dots to triangles. With some make-up you can paint your child’s face in any way you wish. Draw triangles around the eyes, paint the nose red or find a red nose in a craft store, and use red lipstick to make a happy smile on the face of your child. If you can find an inexpensive clown wig, that would be great as well.

Another idea is to wear a menagerie of different clothing. Find an oversized shirt with loud stripes, plaid pants, and red suspenders. Add a funky oversized jacket, and you‘re good to go. For the shoes, you can find large-sized shoes that your child can fit into with his or her own shoes on.

If your child wishes to wear a hat, you can use a plain party hat and spray paint it with different colors and add polka dots to it or glimmer as well.

Here’s a tip: Add one or two balloons inside the jacket, and when your child goes trick or treating and someone asks for a trick, you child can open up the jacket and the balloons will pop out!

Oh, don’t forget the big bowtie! You can make it out of different color satin fabrics. Add a ruffled fabric to wear around the neck and you have the makings of the best clown in your neighborhood.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Costume: Princess

If you have a young daughter, odds are she will want to dress up as a princess for Halloween. While it may be easy to just go out and purchase a costume, it can be quite expensive in the long run. Making a homemade princess costume for Halloween can be not only affordable, but fun as well.

If you have a pretty pink or white dress, this can be the basis for the outfit. White leotards and a white body suit to wear under the dress are suggested. Adding glitter to the sleeves of the body suit would also be a great idea, not to mention the body suit and leotards would keep your child warm on Halloween. Once you have these basic items, the next thing which has to be addressed is whether your daughter will wear slippers or shoes. White shoes would be appropriate, or if you can find a pair of white slippers and garnish them with glitter; this would be awesome.

Depending on which princess your daughter has chosen, that is, one of the Disney characters such as Cinderella or Snow White, or perhaps a princess she read about in a book, the right accessories will accent the entire wardrobe to create the most enchanting princess of all.

While some princesses wear capes, others wear fur wraps. Whatever is chosen, it can easily be made with fabric. For example, a white cape can be adorned with gold lace around the edges, and a gold jeweled clasp can be utilized to close the front at the neck. A wrap made of fur can be purchased at a fabric store and cut to fit your daughter’s shoulders. You can attach both ends together with either a beautiful piece of jewelry, preferably one with a clasp.

What’s a princess without a tiara? This can easily be made with wire and ribbons. There are star wires available in different colors. Simply measure the child’s head and cut a piece of star wire and form it into a circle. Use the ribbon to wrap around the base of the wire utilizing one or several color ribbons. You can add additional wire to form a three-dimensional tiara as well.

Halloween Costume: Butterfly

Butterflies are lovely to look at, but it is even more beautiful when your child decides to become one for Halloween. Here are some tips on how to make a homemade butterfly costume.

Before you begin this project, you may wish to take a trip to the library and check out the books on butterflies. Let your child choose one she particularly likes and follow the color scheme when making the costume.

Purchase sheer fabric in the color your child has chosen. Find fabric that has spots or designs which closely resemble a butterfly. Then cut the fabric in half. Since the body of the butterfly tends to be black, your child can wear a black turtleneck or body suit and leotards. Sew each piece of fabric down the back of the leotard and take the other ends and sew each piece to the sleeve of the turtleneck or body suit. When your child lifts her arms, the wings will show their brilliant color.

Use black eye-liner to place dots on the child’s face. Use pipe cleaners to make the antennae by taking long strips of construction paper and wrapping it around your child’s head to ensure a good fit. Attach the pipe cleaners to the construction paper with staples, then place cotton balls at the tip of each of the pipe cleaners. You can color the cotton balls with whatever color is dominant in the butterfly.

Another creative idea is to dress your child up in a warm solid color outfit, especially if it’s a cold Halloween day. Perhaps one that is similar to a jogging suit and has a stripe down the side of the pant legs. Make the wings by using cardboard to trace the design. Cut it out and then paint the wings a color that closely matches the outfit. Add glimmer or stickers to the wings as well. You can attach the wings by taking ribbon of the same color and wrapping it around the center part of the wings (where it curves inward), and then around the child. In this way, it won’t fall off the back.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Costume: 80’s Punk Rocker

Ah, the 80’s. What a time that was. If you have a son or daughter or who wishes to recreate that time in the form of a Halloween costume, here are some suggestions.

The items needed are make-up, make-up, and more make-up. In addition, jeans with holes in the knees, a funky shirt, some stick-on tattoos, boots, hair gel, and thick black watches or bands for the wrists.

Obviously, it’s all about the make-up and hair. The clothes are the accessories in this case. However, the shirt worn should reflect the 80’s. A punk rock band shirt or perhaps you can make really fantastic punk shirt using your creative talents, a white shirt and drawing logos from that time, or quotes and terms used during that period.

Let’s begin with the make-up. Heavy eye-liner, worn on the eye-lids and under the eyes, red lipstick, eye shadow; the more colorful the better, mascara, and thick eyebrows just about cover the facial part of this costume.

For the hair, there are two ways to set about making a punk hairstyle. Either purchase a pink or blue punk wig or use hair gel to spike the hair. The hair can also be styled into the Mohawk or the Tina Turner look. You can even spray on some color to the tips of the spiked hair as well.

A chain belt would be cool as well. A black leather jacket, if you have one, would definitely be appropriate to wear. There are some pictures of 80's punk rockers who wore spiked chokers and wristbands. Thick bangle bracelets were in as well as large psychedelic earrings.

Gloves can also be made to reflect the era by adding studs to them. Also, if you can find a pair of wild sunglasses, they would complete the entire outfit. One more item you may wish to add. No punk rocker is complete without a guitar. If you can find a cheap guitar with a shoulder strap, this would certainly enhance the look.

Create a Haunted House in Your Own Backyard

Haunted houses can be a fun part of Halloween, but many times they are too expensive or too scary for younger children. A simple haunted house in the backyard can provide all the thrills while still having that comfort zone of home. A few simple decorations and a bit of imagination can provide an evening of fun. By making it large enough that kids and grownups can go through it together you’ll also help the younger ones feel a bit braver.

Some cardboard boxes, sheets and clothesline can become a maze for the kids to go through. Bales of hay can also make a nice touch as tunnels to crawl through. If you live near a farm, you may be able to borrow a few bales and return them after the party. The maze doesn’t have to be intricate. Even a few twists and turns will allow for surprises around each corner.

Enlist the kids help to decorate the cardboard and sheets with glow-in-the-dark paint to help create the walls. Position a few black lights to make them visible to your guests. The kids will love painting designs and pictures with the bright colors. Have them come up with scary phrases, like “Beware All Who Enter Here” or “Ghosts and Goblins Only” to decorate the walls of the backyard haunted house.

Lighting is an important part of a haunted house. You want enough light that people can see where to walk safely, but not so much that they see what’s awaiting them ahead. There are many theme lights such as ghosts and pumpkins available, but Christmas tree lights work just as well. Strobe lights can also add to the spooky atmosphere as can a fog machine. Jack-o-lanterns are also a nice touch, but use battery-operated lights in them for safety.

Hanging rubber bats, ghosts and other creepy crawlers around on different length strings, long enough that people will bump into, may make a few people jump. Have a few volunteers dress up in spooky costumes and hide behind trees and around corners of the maze to add to the scare factor. If you think a younger child might be too scared by them, let them see the people getting in their costumes before hiding. This way, they’ll know it’s really people they know in costumes and not real monsters.

Invite the neighborhood trick-or-treaters to venture through your haunted house, having the treats passed out by the various monsters hiding through the maze. It makes it a little more exciting for the kids. It’s sure to make your home a favorite stop of all the little ghosts and goblins.

As you plan your haunted house layout, keep safety in mind. Remove any sticks that may cause someone to trip. Avoid tree roots that may be sticking up out of the ground. Look for rocks, too. As long as you are creative, have fun, and keep safety in mind, it’s sure to be the hit of the neighborhood.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Halloween Craft Ideas

Kids always have fun making crafts, especially holiday-themed crafts. Here are some fun Halloween craft ideas for your kids to make this year.

1. Trick-or-Treat bucket

Supplies: ice cream bucket, construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, glitter (any craft supplies)

Directions: Use construction paper to draw ghosts, pumpkins, scarecrows, etc. Cut out your decorations and glue them to the outside of an ice cream bucket.

2. Trick-or-Treat goody bags

Supplies: small brown paper bags, Halloween stickers, markers, treats (candy, pencils, erasers, bubblegum, etc.)

Directions: Decorate paper bags in Halloween themes using your art supplies. Put treats inside bags. Fold the top of the bag down and tape shut with a Halloween sticker.

3. Tiny pumpkins

Supplies: acorns, orange paint, and green paint

Directions: Lay acorns on a sheet of newspaper. Paint the bottom of the acorns with orange paint. After the orange paint dries, paint the top of the acorns green (for the stem of the pumpkin). Allow to dry thoroughly.

4. Spooky Spiders

Supplies: black construction paper, cotton balls or cotton stuffing, black pipe cleaners, small bowl or saucer, and a stapler

Directions: Using black construction paper, trace around a small bowl or saucer. (Cut out two circles per spider.) Place stuffing or cotton balls on first circle. Lay second circle on top of cotton stuffing and staple half-way around. Insert 3-4” pipe cleaners on each side, then staple the second half of the circles together. Bend pipe cleaners to make the “legs” of the spider.

Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 12

This is the last recipe in the series. Hope you enjoy

Skeleton Bones

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites
2 cups icing sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

Keep beating and adding sugar until you have a meringue. Line baking trays with paper. Using a piping bag with a plain nozzle pipe a straight meringue bone line (approximately 4 inches long). Pipe a meringue ball at the end of each bone. If necessary shape bones further using a small knife. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until bones have dried out.
Remove from oven and let cool on paper.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reminder About PATTERN SALE

REMINDER: This is your Last Chance, Last Day to get any of our Louet Patterns at the sale price! At Midnight they go back to full price! Hurry!

Like this Cute Doggy Sweater!

Halloween Costume: Witch

I’ll get you, my pretty! These infamous words were spoken by the wicked witch in the beloved movie “The Wizard of Oz.” If your daughter wants to be the good witch, Glenda, on Halloween, or would like to portray the wicked witch, here are some ideas on how to make either homemade costume.

Let’s begin with the good witch. Basically all you need is a white dress, white leotards, white shoes, a tiara, and a wand. Add some make-up and glitter and you have all you need to re-create Glenda.

To make the wand, you can use two straws and put one inside the other. Wrap it in gold paper and purchase star wire at your craft store, and push it through the straw. Add glitter to the star as well. To make the tiara, you can also use star wire. Take the measurement of your child’s head and then make a circle out of the star wire to fit. Add gold ribbon to cover the base of the wire.

In addition, you may wish to add a flowing gold wrap around your daughter’s shoulders. Choose sheer fabric that has gold design.

If your child chooses to be the bad witch, well there is no end to the creativity you can utilize to make this costume. Depending upon whether your child wants to portray a scary witch, in which case you will have to paint some warts on her face. You can even paint your child’s face green, just like the witch in the “Wizard of Oz.” Or if she wants to be the wicked witch with a broom, a black cape and pointy black hat will be needed. An entirely black outfit would be recommended for any bad witch to wear.

Here’s another tip: If your child wants to be a witch from the Snow White movie, she can carry a basket of apples, with one a chunk of one apple cut out.

No matter which witch your child chooses to be on Halloween, making the costume will be as much fun as going out trick or treating.

Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 11

Graveyard Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Prepared Cupcakes
Frosting of choice
1 package gummy worms
1 package chocolate cookies or graham crackers

Directions:

Place a few cookies in a plastic bag and using the back of your hand or a rolling pin press down until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Using a teaspoon make a small well in the center of each cupcake. Frost cupcakes around well and sprinkle with cookie crumb mixture. Stick a gummy worm into the center of each cupcake.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giveaway

I haven't done much by way of giveaways on this blog but I wanted to let you know about this giveaway happening over on Rose's blog, Live, Love Yarn.

Please follow this link http://roses7184.squarespace.com/blog/2009/10/14/etsy-shop-feature-the-magical-ewe.html and good luck to all who enter.

Halloween Costume: Scarecrow

Making a scarecrow costume for Halloween is not only fun, but you can allow the creative juices to flow endlessly. This is one easy homemade costume to make.

You’ll need blue jeans, preferably faded; a flannel shirt - size large; a straw hat; some fabric to make patches; rope; straw and make-up.

Now that you have the necessary items, you can begin.

Match some patches using fabric, and sew them onto the jeans in no particular pattern. Dress the intended scarecrow with the flannel shirt and jeans. Use the rope as a belt. Ensure the jeans are long enough so you can cuff them.

Now comes the fun part. Take the straw and place it in the sleeves of the shirt so they stick out; stuff them into the shirt as well ensuring the straw sticks out as well. You may want your child to wear a body suit so the straw won’t become too itchy. You can stuff the jeans with straw too.

Using eyeliner, you can draw stitches around the mouth, and use some red paint to make a triangular shaped nose.

The straw hat should look worn. So scrunch it up a bit before you place it on the scarecrow’s head. Put some straw in your child’s hair, and have some sticking out of the hat as well. You may even wish to make a pointed hat using cardboard and black felt. Then you can decorate the hat however you wish.

Another idea would be to purchase a fake black bird, which resembles a crow, and attach it to your child’s shoulder using wire. Poke the wire through the flannel shirt and twist it so it remains secure.

Scarecrow costumes are so much fun to make and utilizing all of the accessories mentioned herein, your child is sure to be a hit on Halloween.

Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 10

10. Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and spices. In a separate bowl combine beaten eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin puree.
Mix well and add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Fold in chopped walnuts (if using). Place in a lightly greased pumpkin shaped baking tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for approximately 25 minutes or until golden and baked through. Decorate with orange frosting, candy corn and liquorice to form a pumpkin face.

Tip: If you don’t have a pumpkin shaped baking tin, you can use a regular tin and decorate as a pumpkin for a similar effect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make Your Own Halloween Greeting Cards

Making your own Halloween greeting cards can be a fun exercise for the entire family, but especially for the kids.

There are several ways you can make these cards. One way is by downloading Halloween designs from the Internet and pasting them onto blank greeting cards. In addition, there are also templates online which you can print out and have your kids color for their cards.

Another way, and more fun for the kids, is to simply use construction paper and crayons and let them be as creative as they wish. They can draw pumpkins and spiders; bats and witches; ghosts and goblins, whatever their hearts desire. Then cut them out and paste them onto black construction paper. They can write their own greeting inside and send the cards to friends and relatives.

The kids can also use pictures taken in their Halloween costumes and paste them on the front of a blank greeting card and write their own message inside. Think how proud their grandparents will be once they receive these cards in the mail.

Halloween stickers can also be purchased at your local card store and used to decorate the envelopes.

If you or your kids are familiar with Print Shop, you can make any type of Halloween card you choose. Print shop allows you to place images and text on the front, inside and back of the card. Your kids can make wonderful and colorful cards using this software.

Considering the cost of postage these days, perhaps you may wish to have the kids draw their greeting cards and you can then scan and email them to relatives or friends as well.

Whatever method is chosen, kids will have a great time creating greeting cards for friends, relatives, and mom and dad too. Save the cards for your scrapbook, so that you can recall the wonderful memories of Halloweens past, present, and future.

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Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 9

9. Ghostly Eyeballs

Ingredients:

2 packages red gelatine
Vanilla ice cream
Raisins
Red decorating jell

Directions:

Prepare jello according to package instructions. Fill individual glass serving bowls with jello and place in refrigerator to set.

Once jello has set, using a spoon scoop out a circle of jello in center of bowl. Fill circle with one scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Place one raisin in center of ice cream and using red decorating jell paint lines going down the side. This will create a "bloodshot eye" swimming in "blood".

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Make a Pumpkin Seed Autumn Mosaic

Mosaic is an ancient art form that involves creating images by arranging small pieces of various materials into a pattern. Examples have been found that date back as far as the 4th century BCE. Today, mosaics new and old grace art museums, and they have also been incorporated into the d├ęcor of homes, businesses and places of worship.

Traditionally, mosaics have been made out of colored glass or stone. But you can make a mosaic out of almost any small, flat object. For fall, pumpkin seeds are a fine choice. They are small enough to make patterns with, yet large enough that you don't have to labor over every detail. And if you carved a pumpkin for Halloween, you should have plenty of them to work with! Here's how to create your own pumpkin seed mosaic.

What You Need

* Pencil
* Poster board
* Clean, dried pumpkin seeds
* Several small disposable containers (margarine bowls work well)
* Plastic fork or spoon
* Tempera or poster paints (dark colors work best)
* Waxed paper
* White craft glue

Instructions

1. Using the pencil and a light touch, draw a picture on the poster board of anything you like. For autumn, colorful trees, turkeys or cornucopias would be good choices. Make the drawing large, and keep it fairly simple.

2. Place a handful of pumpkin seeds into one of the containers. Drizzle one color of poster paint onto the seeds, and stir with the plastic fork or spoon to coat. Spread the seeds out onto a piece of waxed paper.

3. Repeat step 2 for each color you wish to use, making sure to use a different container for each color. Allow all of the pumpkin seeds to dry.

4. Glue the colored pumpkin seeds onto the poster board with craft glue to complete your picture. Let dry.

Tips

* Most mosaics are made using plaster. You can use plaster to create your pumpkin seed mosaic if you like. Just remember that plaster sets very quickly, so you will have to work fast.

* If you don't have enough pumpkin seeds to complete your picture, you could use dried beans. Lima beans can be colored with the same technique you used to color the seeds. Or you could use beans that occur naturally in different colors, such as pintos, kidney beans and black eyed peas.

* It's okay if there are some bare spots in your mosaic. It may be difficult to completely cover your design. It's easiest to cover it well if you do the outline of the design first, then fill it in, and do the background last. It may also be helpful to arrange the seeds before gluing them down.


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Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 4

Number 4 in Yum!



Hot Witch's Cider

Ingredients:

1 gallon apple cider
1 (16 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer over low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Transfer to punch bowl and serve.


SOAK is appearing on Dragon's Den Thanksgiving Week (Canada) We have SOAK. Get it here:
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For recipes 5 to 8 please go to http://southamptoncreations.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Make a Pine Cone Turkey

Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings families together around the dinner table. Since turkey is the traditional main course, it's no wonder that so many Thanksgiving decorations are designed around a turkey theme. This pine cone turkey makes a lovely centerpiece. And if you're so inclined, you could even make one for each guest and use them as place card holders!

What You Need

* Large, plump, dry pine cone
* Acorn
* Craft feathers in various colors
* Red and yellow craft foam
* Pencil
* Scissors
* Glue
* Hot glue
* Googly eyes
* Clay

Instructions

1. Place a small amount of clay on the side of the pine cone that will sit on the table. This will prevent the turkey from rolling around.

2. Remove feathers from bag. You will probably have to fluff them before using. To do this, gently run your fingers down the length from end to tip.

3. Dip ends of feathers in glue. Arrange them in a fan pattern on the top of the wide side of the pine cone to form the turkey's tail.

4. Use hot glue to attach the acorn to the top of the narrow side of the pine cone. This will be the turkey's head. Let glue set.

5. Glue googly eyes onto the acorn.

6. Draw a triangle on the yellow craft foam, and a teardrop shape on the red craft foam. Cut both out. Glue the yellow piece onto the acorn for the beak, and the red piece for the wattle.

7. Draw feet on the yellow craft foam. Glue them onto the turkey in front of the clay. Let glue and clay dry.

Tips

* To use as a place card holder, glue the end of a craft stick into the center of the back. Write the guest's name on a blank address label, and stick it to the front of the stick. Stick another address label to the back of the first one to keep it from sticking to anything else.

* If you don't have any craft feathers handy, there are a few things you could substitute. You could cut feather shapes out of different colors of construction paper or craft foam. Or you could bend colorful chenille stems into feather shapes.

* If you want to make a miniature version of this craft, just use a smaller pine cone, cut small feathers out of construction paper, and substitute a brown circle of construction paper for the acorn.

* You may need to place a piece of card stock on the bottom of the clay to keep it from staining your tablecloth. Or better yet, glue it on when the clay dries so that guests can take their turkey home and display it with no worries.



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Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 3

No. 3 in the Hallowe'en recipe series

3. Easy Halloween Party Mix  

Ingredients: 

10 cups prepared popcorn
1 package peanut butter chips
1 cup candy corn
1 cup chocolate chips 

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.




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Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to Make Festive Indian Corn Napkin Rings

AHow to Make Festive Indian Corn Napkin Rings


Autumn is a beautiful and colorful time of year. Fall flowers, the changing leaves, and seasonal crops all contribute to the vibrant colors of nature. These items provide the inspiration for a variety of crafts.

One of the most interesting of fall crops is Indian corn. Unlike most corn, its kernels come in lots of different colors. This makes it a welcome addition to cornucopias and other fall centerpieces. But you don't have to have the real thing to incorporate its unique look into your Thanksgiving table decorations. These napkin rings bear a striking resemblance to Indian corn, and they are easy and inexpensive to make.

What You Need

* Construction paper (ideally orange, brown or another fall color, but any color will work)
* Pencil with an eraser
* Scissors
* Tissue paper in yellow, orange and burgundy
* White craft glue

Instructions

1. Place a piece of construction paper lengthwise. Draw a line about 1 ½ inches from the top to make a strip. Cut out.

2. Cut the strip in half.

3. Cut a piece of each color of tissue paper into 1-inch squares.

4. Spread a thin layer of the white craft glue over a 1-inch section of the construction paper strip.

5. Twist a square of the yellow tissue paper around the eraser end of the pencil. Push the twisted paper down onto the top corner of the glued section, and carefully remove the pencil.

6. Repeat step 5 with another piece of yellow construction paper placed next to the first one, and then with a piece of orange or burgundy tissue paper. Continue using two or three yellow pieces followed by an orange or burgundy piece until the glued area is completely covered.

7. Cover another 1-inch section of the construction paper strip with a thin layer of craft glue, and continue adding pieces of twisted tissue paper. Repeat until all but ½ inch of the strip is covered.

8. Bend the strip into a circular shape, with the tissue paper on the outside. Glue the ends together. Let dry completely before using.

Tips

* Each strip of construction paper makes two napkin rings. You should be able to make enough for all of your guests with a piece or two of construction paper.

* For best results, store the napkin rings empty and lying on their side until ready to use. This will keep the tissue paper from getting flattened.

* Be sure to roll napkins tightly so that they will fit easily into the napkin rings. If the glue does not hold, and you don't have time to glue them and let them dry again, try stapling the ends together.

Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games no 2

Halloween Recipes

What kid doesn't love Halloween? Some of us grownups seem to get a kick out of it as well... Here are some really easy, kid-friendly recipes you can use for Halloween parties or special Halloween treats!


2. Monster Party Mix

Ingredients: 

* Be warned this mixture is very rich and contains quite a bit of sugar… serve in small amounts!
 
1(11 ounce) package of small pretzels
1 (10 ounce) package miniature peanut butter filled crackers 
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (10 ounce) package M&M's
1 (18 ounce) package candy corn 

Directions: 

In a large bowl combiner pretzels and peanut butter crackers and set aside.  In a large saucepan combine sugar, butter and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.  Pour over pretzel mixture and stir until coated.  Transfer mixture to a greased baking pan. 

Bake at 250F for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and break apart while warm then allow to cool completely.  Transfer to large bowl and toss with candy corn and M&M's.  Store in an airtight container.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Make a Thankful Tree with Handprint Leaves

On Thanksgiving, we get the family together for a big, delicious dinner. We remember old times, and catch up on what's currently going on in everyone's lives. And, if we stick with tradition, we take time to reflect on the things we're thankful for.

Unfortunately, the idea of giving thanks is often forgotten during the holiday festivities. But there are ways we can encourage our children (and other children in the family) to think about the good things in their lives. This “thankful tree” craft works nicely, and it's also fun to make. Here's how to do it.

What You Need

* Brown kraft paper
* Construction paper in orange, red, yellow and brown
* Pencil
* Crayons, markers or pen
* Scissors
* Cork bulletin board
* Thumbtacks or stapler with staples

Instructions

1. Using the pencil, draw a tree trunk with branches on the brown kraft paper. Make it large enough to fill up most of the bulletin board. Cut out and tack or staple to the bulletin board.

2. Have a child trace his or her hand onto a piece of the construction paper and cut it out.

3. Have the child use a marker, crayon or pen to write his or her name on the handprint, as well as something he or she is thankful for. When finished, tack or staple the “leaf” onto the tree trunk.

4. Ask each child to make a leaf, or more than one if so desired. Arrange the leaves on the tree so that it is evenly covered.

Tips

* If you don't have a bulletin board, you could attach your thankful tree to a door or wall. If doing so, use thumbtacks for best results.

* Adults can participate as well, but their handprints may be too large if you're using a small bulletin board. To remedy this, you could simply cut smaller leaf shapes and have them ready for your guests to write on when they arrive.

* If you don't have enough handprints to cover your tree, have children make leaf rubbings by placing a leaf under a plain white piece of paper and rubbing the side of the crayon over it. Cut them out and add them to the tree to fill in the empty spaces.

* Want a more authentic-looking tree? Place a small tree branch into a flowerpot and fill with sand, marbles or rocks so that it stands up straight. Use a hole punch to make holes in the handprint leaves and tie them to the branch with string or twine, letting them hang down a bit. You could even add a string of white miniature holiday lights if you like. This makes a lovely centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table!

Halloween Scavenger Hunt for Younger Kids

A scavenger hunt is a fun activity that not only provides a chance for kids to get outside before the weather gets colder, but it can help them think creatively too. There are a few different ways to do a scavenger hunt. Depending on where you live, you can have different kinds of scavenger hunts. If the children are too young to go on their own, you can team them up with older children or adults or even have small teams.

Nature Scavenger Hunt – If you live in a rural area or have a park near by, you could have a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of things readily available that are safe for the children to collect, such as a maple leaf (maybe of specific color), pine cones, different color rocks, acorns, etc. Give each child or team a list and a paper bag to collect their treasures. You could even hide some things in the area they will be searching such as mini pumpkins or pre-wrapped treats.

Decorations Scavenger Hunt – This will take a bit more planning; yet can be a lot of fun. Go around your neighborhood looking for interesting and unique decorations. Make note of the address, name of the family or possibly stores. Then give a list describing the decorations and the children have to find the location where the decorations reside and write it down. If they aren’t old enough to write, be sure your teams are split with older children or adults.

Costume Scavenger Hunt – Sometimes businesses, malls or plazas have a Trick or Treat time earlier in the day and have their employees dress in costumes. List several different costumes they might find and see who can find the most costumes on the list. They could have the person sign their paper when they find the different costumes.

Photo Scavenger Hunt – If you have enough adults with either Polaroid or digital cameras, you can have a photo scavenger hunt. This is a good alternative to having the children gather things, especially if you live in an urban area where there may not be many things the kids can collect legally. Once all the teams are back to the starting point, they can compare pictures to determine the winner. This also allows for people to find the same thing and have a more specific list of items. This can be done for more than one age group, by having more obvious clues for the younger children and more difficult ones for the older kids.

If the weather isn’t nice, you can have an indoor scavenger hunt and hide things around the house. Some rules will need to be given such as if a door is closed, that room doesn’t have any of the items in it. Give clues for the items they are looking for and a bag for collecting. Candy, apples, mini pumpkins, small toys and Halloween themed items are great for indoor scavenger hunts and lots of fun for the kids.




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Kid Halloween Fun Recipe & Party Games 1

Halloween Recipes

What kid doesn't love Halloween? Some of us grownups seem to get a kick out of it as well... Here are some really easy, kid-friendly recipes you can use for Halloween parties or special Halloween treats!


1. Caramel Apples

Ingredients:

6 apples
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels
2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Lightly butter a baking sheet and set aside. Remove the stem from each apple and stick a craft (popsicle) stick into the top of each apple. Unwrap caramels and place caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave approximately 2 minutes, stirring half way through. Carefully remove caramel from microwave and let cool for about 1 minute. Quickly roll each apple in caramel until well coated. Place on prepared baking tray and allow to set.


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