My favorite Halloween ideas

Today I am sharing some of my favorite Halloween ideas.  Some I've done for years, and others I would love to try.  Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine, but after I had kids I tried my best to overcome that and have fun with it.  Just don't scare me.  Boo!  :)

Tissue Paper Pumpkins {Tutorial}:

This is a great activity for kids.  I did this with my daughter's class last year at their party.  I think I offered other colors of tissue paper, so they could make something other than a pumpkin if they wanted.  Find the instructions here.  

{16 Versions} You've Been BOOed! Fun Treats for the Neighborhood!:

I live in a Mayberry-type neighborhoods where people "Boo" each other, do the May Basket thing and so on.  I try to be organized and come up with something cute, but nothing I've done is as cute as the above.  They even offer the Boo sign as a free printable.  Love this idea!  Also love this balloon Boo (source):

Boo to You - Surprise someone by leaving a treat on their doorstep. Includes free printable!:

Sophisticated Swarm Wreath:

I love this wreath.  It's so clever and the bow is perfect.  I actually made a wreath for my front door this year inspired by this mini pumpkin wreath.  As things seem to go for me we are having the outside of our house painted and the process is taking WAY longer than it was supposed to, so the painters took my wreath down and it is sitting in the dining room (in the process of them taking it down the pumpkins fell off).  Oh well.  There's always next year...

Awesome idea to create glowing eyes in the bushes - put glow sticks inside toilet paper rolls with cut out 'eyes':

I've done this for several years.  You take toilet paper rolls, cut eyes in them and then place glow sticks inside.  When it gets dark you stick them in your bushes.  It really works and looks so cool!

Autumnal Equinox:

This is stunning.  And the kind of "halloween" I love.

Spooky Shirley Temples - so easy & fun for the kids or school parties:

This idea is one of my favorites.  My kids always love it.  So cute and easy!

Crescent Mummy Dogs

Last, but not least - Mummy Dogs!  These delicious hot dogs have been our Halloween dinner for over ten years.  They are so easy.  I add bacon and American cheese and serve them with tater tots.  You have to have tater tots.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween planning!  I'm off to get started on my daughter's costume...

Fall/Winter Boots

There is definitely a chill in the air, and for once I am not going to wait until January to start looking for some decent winter boots.  I actually already have a new pair of Uggs that a friend got for me at Last Chance in Phoenix last spring, but I do need a pair of snow boots.  For the past several years I've been so close to buying a pair a Sorels, but just can't quite pull the trigger.  Here are a few that I am considering.

1.  Ok, so these are Uggs, and I don't need them, but I LOVE this new silhouette.  These come in several colors, but I am really loving the blue.

2.  These Helly Hansen boots are really cute and I bet they are super warm.  AND they are not the Sorels that everyone and their dog has.  Plus I can pretend I am really cool ski-bum, when I wear them.  Never mind, it will take a lot more than that for me to be a cool ski-bum and not a dorky looking mom on the slopes!

3.  I really liked these Sperry boots last year.  Nordstrom sells them in eight different color combos, including some really cute plaids.  

4.  Oh Gee, a pair of Sorel boots.  But these are the classic design.  My husband has a pair just like these that my dad gave him because he now lives in a warm climate.  I even occasionally wear them to shovel the driveway.  They are warm, practical, but still cool enough to wear if you aren't playing in the snow.

5.  I already have a pair of tall Hunter boots, and yes they are rain boots and not snow boots, but I love them in winter anyway.  I adore this short version in black.

6.  Another pair of Uggs?  Yes.  I saw a similar pair on a woman at a soccer game last fall, but could not find them online.  A year later and here they are!  There is also a pair in a similar style that are all weather, but I like these better.

Creative Monday - Paper Batik

Last week I shared my faux batik technique, and this week I'm sharing the real paper batik technique!  I rounded up all of the supplies last week and have been playing with them ever since.  You really only need hosho paper, paraffin wax, and watercolor paints.  I also bought this candy melting pot.  I tried using the microwave to melt the wax, but it just doesn't work that well because the wax has to be really hot to soak into the paper properly, and cools quickly.  Make sense?  :)
These are the first two paintings made into cards and available in my etsy shop.

Right now I'm working on these chairs.  I first stamped them in versafine ink, which is a waterproof ink.  The above flowers were drawn with a copic multiliner pen, which is also waterproof.  The chair stamp is my own design.  I'll let you know how these turn out and what I end up doing with them...

I am really enjoying this process.  It is good for me to slow down and work on something that takes time.  I am also enjoying drawing again, it's a nice a nice change from my abstract painting, but I think it makes me a stronger painter in the long run. 

Color Story: Burnt Orange

Creative Monday: Faux Batik technique

I recently took another class from Online Card Classes.  This one was about watercolor mediums.  Even though I've painted with watercolors for years, it was still worthwhile and I would recommend it.  On the last day one of the instructors did a batik technique.  I wish I could share it with you, but since it's a paid class I cannot.  The technique really got my wheels turning, and that is what I love about classes.  They often get me thinking about new ideas and things to try.  I cannot wait to try the batik technique on paper.  It takes several supplies I don't have, but as soon as I do I will share here how it goes.

In the meantime, I thought why can't I do something similar with drawing gum or masking fluid?  And so I did.  The results are not quite the same, but I love the outcome anyway.  Here are the steps I took to make this card.

I first sketched a lily in pencil and then traced in Copic multiline pen, which is waterproof.  After I traced my drawing I erased all of my pencil lines. 

I then decided where I wanted the areas of white and applied drawing gum to those areas.  I used Pebeo drawing gum.  After the drawing gum was dry (it takes a couple minutes) I applied my lightest shade of paint.  I used my new Peerless watercolors.  I then added more drawing gum to areas I wanted to remain that shade, and continued layering paint and drawing gum.  Just make sure each is dry before you continue!

When I was happy with the flower I started on the background, and continued to paint, let the paint dry and then mask certain areas.

After I was happy with the intensity of color and the everything was dry, I rubbed off the drawing gum with my finger.

Finally, I trimmed the painting and mounted it on a A2 sized card.

I really enjoyed this technique.  I know it's nothing earth shattering, watercolor artists use drawing gum all of the time to mask out areas on their paintings.  I just love the layering of color and edges this technique creates.  Remember to let the paint dry before you apply the drawing gum and make sure the drawing gum is dry before you add more paint! 

*Amazon affiliate links used. 

Fall Plants & Pots

I often have a difficult time transitioning from season to season when it comes to my annual plants.  It usually pains me to pull my pansies in the spring when they still look good, even though once the heat kicks in I know they will be stringy and strained.  And I tell myself to get rid of them so my summer annuals have a head start, but I often wait too long.  Once fall plants hit the nursery I go through the same thing with my summer annuals.  This fall my summer plantings still looked good for the most part. I only had a couple plants in each container that needed to go.  So to soften the blow, I decided to just pull the tired plants and replace them with mums and my favorite - pansies!  So far it's working incredibly well and I'm happy with my transition from summer to fall.

I love the yellow mum with the pink vinca and lime green potato vine.  Add a pumpkin or two and you are set!

I swapped out tired geraniums for these pink mums.  I love the asparagus fern (that is still going strong) with the pink mums.

This container is on my back patio.  Again, I just swapped out the tired geranium with this yellow mum.  I love it with the coleus!

I have a large window box that hangs outside the windows of my son's room on the second floor of our house.  Because of it's location I don't like to put anything too heavy in it.  I've wanted to add faux pumpkins to it for years and this year I finally made it happen.  These lovely pumpkins look great so far away!  Up close, I'm not a huge fan...  To anchor them into the window box I used my exacto knife to create slits in the bottom and then a put a large craft stick in the slit.  So far it seems to be working well.

I have to admit I am not completely happy with how the window box looks from the street level, but you can't have everything!

Happy fall planting and have a great weekend!