Friday, September 28, 2012

Spooky halloween decoration on a dime...

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or less! I actually didn't have to buy a thing :)

My theory on seasonal decorating is - If I'm going to take the time to put it up, it's going to be out for at least a month! So I like to get my Halloween decor going the end of September. Most of what I have in storage was bought on the post-Halloween clearance rack years ago. I wanted something fresh to add to my spread but don't want to spend the dough (hey, I'm already looking towards Christmas :) I saw a picture of a similar project and thought I could do it on the cheap... Turned out, I had everything on hand, so it essentially cost me nothing except for my time!
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Pumpkin carving tool
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Tissue paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Hooks
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • String of white lights
To Do
  1. Sketch/trace spooky eye designs onto the sides of the boxes. If your display will be viewed from multiple angles, you might want to carve out more than one side. 
  2. Using a pumpkin carving tool, cut out the traced areas. I was surprised at how well it worked!
  3. Paint the outside of the boxes. I used some blue paint leftover from our family room. 1 coat was enough for the brown boxes but the glossy box needed 2 or 3.
  4. Cut out blocks of tissue paper large enough to cover each set of eyes, then taped them to the inside of the box. Repeat for each set of eyes. My boxes used only a half sheet of tissue paper. Also, I only had white tissue paper, so I colored it with a yellow highlighter - thought it was a bit more eery, wahahahah!
  5. Cut out pupils from black construction paper. I just winged it - no stencil, no drawing, just cut. The pupils were glue directly onto the front side of the tissue paper taped in place.
  6. Tape hooks (I used 3M removables) to the front, inside of the box to hang lights from. I taped (1) hook in the 2 smaller boxes and (2) hooks in the large box. 
  7. Stack the boxes... this was the trickiest part. I wanted all 3 boxes to be one unit, but also needed a way to get the lights into the upper 2 boxes. I cut (2) 2" circles using the pumpkin carver on the top of the large bottom box where each box would sit above.
  8. Feed lights through the bottom box and hang from hooks. Test the string of lights.
  9. Now, feed lights through the bottom box and hang from hooks. Then thread portions of the light string up through the holes and into the top boxes, also hanging lights from hooks. 
  10. Tape/Glue top boxes to bottom box to secure.
  11.  Plug lights in and enjoy your glowing accomplishment :) 
Have a crafty Halloween... This won't be the last post for the season - you can be sure of that

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Angry Birds-day Party!

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Naomi's my name & cake makin' is my game!
Cake. It’s the most important part of the party – at least to my son anyway. He had very high expectations and I think that I delivered! I baked (1) 9 x 13 cake for the base.

First piece of advice - bake your cakes in advance and freeze. Mine were prepared a couple weeks before! The cake frosts best when frozen, less pesky crumbs and something you can cross off your list before party mania hits!
Assembling the cake started 2 days in advance of the party– I knew it might be a doozy! When I had the chocolate buttercream frosting whipped up and the marshmallow fondant prepared, I got the cake out and went to town.

I first applied the layer of chocolate frosting, then top it off with a rollout of the green fondant. This is my favorite fondant recipe – EASY PEAZY LEMON SQEEZY.
Then the real work began. I made a pan of rice krispy bars. I swear those things are the only treat that NEVER turn out – hard as a rock. Thankfully, this worked in my favor, because the form of the 8 characters, pig hill, sticks, and sling shot that I made held well!

A recipe of quick pour chocolate frosting coated the hill, sticks and slingshot.

I colored and applied fondant to each of the characters, carefully molding each feature according to photos I found on the internet. No lie, this took a good 4 hours… doesn’t help I’m a raging perfectionist either. When all the pieces were assembled and dried, everything was placed on top of the cake. And the messy bottom edges were hidden with milk duds.
Cupcakes. Nothing fancy here. Just regular chocolate cupcakes with frosting. What made them special were the Angry Bird toppers. They were pictures that I printed, and ever so carefully and sterily covered with contact paper and cut out.

Prize Punch Box. We played pin-the-beak on the bird and musical chairs to the Angry Bird theme song. The winners (and everyone was a winner :) picked a hole to punch through for a prize on the other side. For starting out as an appliance box and tissue paper, it was a BIG hit. Stop back for a tutorial to construct one yourself!

Pin-the-beak on the Angry bird. For this I simply found a large image of an Angry Bird on the internet, copy/pasted it into an 11x17 document, printed it, and covered it with contact paper. I did basically the same thing with the beak and added names of all the children attending the party. Fun-tac made the beak stick.
Balloons. Purchased white, green, blue, red and yellow helium balloons from the Dollar Store. I printed Angry Bird faces from a website with free templates, then cut out, and taped the pieces to the balloon – kind of like putting together Mr. Potato head.

Balloon Weights
The birthday boy colored white lunch bags green. I cut out some smaller pig faces, and together we glued them to the bag. We added rocks to the inside of the bag, and stapled the balloon ribbon inside. Cheap and fun.

Play masksThese were a custom creation I made the patterns for. Not too difficult since they all used felt (just different colors) and same base shape. It was just the features (beak, eyes, hair, etc.) that had to be customized for each. Sewed in a piece of elastic so it would fit just about anyone’s head. It’s been 4 months since the birthday and my son STILL wears it. Note to self: masks are a hit and have a long play life.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Printable "1" Birthday Cupcake Decal

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I had a request for the "1" Birthday Cupcake decals show in the It's a Pink Party post. I used them to decorate the mason jars people drank lemonade from. On that page I now have a link to a .pdf document you can download and print at home, or you can get it here.

Happy hump day!