Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - The Big Show

I survived.  I am covered in glitter and spray paint, but I survived.  My children and husband are buried in macabre debris, but I survived.

Mommy's gonna need a vacation from this.

My sister came over this morning to help put the tombstones up, even though it was a billion below zero.  I'm exaggerating of course... it was only 40 below.

The rest of the graveyard went up as planned...

We here in Illinois get a kick out of making light of our incarcerated elected officials.  We're a hoot in this state.

The witches are ready for their hot coals.  They also requested Long John Silver's for dinner, but I have my limits.

Ramses (that's what we named the mummy) is ready to greet the trick-or-treaters...

I have enough candy to put someone in a coma.

I have just enough Halloween spirit to last the night.

I have hot cocoa and marshmallows ready for my little goblins after they're done going door to door.

And then, I have a fuzzy robe to retreat in when it's all done.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Cheesecloth Ghost

We are so close to Halloween, I can taste it.  It tastes like candy corn and victory.

I made a cheesecloth ghost! There are about a billion tutorials out there, and they're all super-easy.  You need cheesecloth (which is pretty inexpensive), some starch, and some rubbish to make a ghost form out of.  Grab your hair dryer too 'cause it's about to get real up in here.

I made a ghost form from a foam ball and soda bottle.  The coat hanger is to give him arms...

I could take that to the big city and sell it as abstract art... don't think I won't do it.

I draped the cheesecloth over the form and cut it to size...

And then I sprayed the whole thing with starch.  I put some towels down on my work surface first since the starch will wash out of them.

I used the ol' hair dryer...

And wouldn't you know it, the cheesecloth stood in place.  It's a miracle of modern science.

I added some eyes and a mouth.

And now it just sits on my bookshelf, haunting my home.  Love it.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Deranged Centerpiece

If I had a nickel for every time I was hosting some ghoul of fright in my home, I'd have a pocket full of change.  And it's not terribly easy to set a proper table when you're afraid you're going to be eaten for dinner.

Behold, the deranged centerpiece:  Dollar Store flowers and bugs and a $2 plastic pitcher.

I painted the pitcher and added sculpey lines to the side.  For texture... or something like that.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - One Dollar Window Decor

That's right, you can decorate your windows for Halloween for $1.  And it's cute, too.

Step one: Go to the dollar store and buy a roll of craft paper for $1.

Step two: Draw out a window scene onto the paper that will fit your window.

Step three: Cut out the scene and tape it up on the window.  With the blinds down and the lights on, the window looks awesome from outside.

I put up my Halloween lights just 'cause I'm crazy like that.

One dollar.  A buck.  And my windows look so spooky I'm scared to come home.  Of course, that fear is probably the piles of laundry I know are waiting for me. *shudder*
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Home Depot's Eco Options

On Monday, you saw the bookcase that I rescued from a life of landfill and turned into my favorite bookcase in the world.  This project was so great for a few reasons, not the least of which was becoming acquainted with The Home Depot's updated Eco Options website.

renovated bookshelf

That website is an amazing resource for sustainability.  There are so many different features available for you to evaluate your energy usage that it can help anyone go green.  There is even a rebate finder for appliances that are energy efficient ... so if you're looking to upgrade to a more efficient washer or dryer, you can find out if a rebate is available to sweeten the deal.

To begin with, the Home Depot is a great place to head to when you've got an idea in your head.  If I'm being honest, sometimes only half the idea is in my head when I get there, but by the time I've talked with a few of their employees, I have a battle plan and the supplies I need to get it done.  Home Depot has everything, sure ... but their employees are so knowledgeable, and I can truly say that I've learned more from them than from any other resource.
Let's get back to the Eco Options website.  If you have designs on going green, this website is the one for you.  There are features on the site that can tell you the financial and environmental benefits of your green project.  I found that feature immensely fascinating, and I even did the Home Efficiency Audit just for fun.  I couldn't believe how much money we are wasting in our home and with a few green projects, we would be saving money and the environment.  It has made me look at our home in a whole different light.  There is also a LEED Initiative button, if you're dreaming of building a new house but want to go green ... yes, this website has everything.
I was talking with my husband about some green projects we could do based on some ideas from the Eco Options website.  My husband, ever the penny-pincher, asked how much we would be spending on these projects: would it really pay off?
I gave him one of those looks.  I'm sure you know the look to which I'm referring.
So we did the math ... how much would we be spending, and how much would we be saving? The Eco Options site showed us that our investment in several different projects would pay for themselves in a matter of months.  MONTHS.  And we'd be helping the environment ... I believe hip people call that "Win-Win."  I can't verify that for sure since I'm not hip.
Pay a visit to your local Home Depot or the Eco Options website.  The folks at Home Depot know so much about home renovation and general household projects.  I even had a lengthy conversation about the effects of homemade laundry detergent on washing machines and septic systems.  They know everything, believe me, and you'll be amazed at what you'll learn.  And check out the Eco Options website:  You won't believe the changes you can make to your home that would save hundreds of dollars for you and your family!
Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - The Duct Tape Mummy

Let's start by saying that I'm not sure it's called 'duct' tape.  So many people call it 'duck' tape.  I figured that since it's used on heating 'ducts', it should be called 'duct' tape.  I'm sticking with that because I'm stubborn and set in my ways.

You'll need duct tape, saran wrap, and a patient husband for this.  That last part is pretty vital to this whole project.

See how it says 'duck'? DON'T CARE, NOT CHANGING.

I wrapped my husband in saran wrap from the thighs down.  Yes, that really happened.  After he was wrapped in saran wrap, I wrapped him in duct tape.  Yep, still for real.

Once I had that done, I cut the tape up the back to remove my husband.  I did contemplate leaving him there, helpless and whining, but I'm a softy.

 I stapled the cut to keep the shape...

And then I stuffed it with newspaper to stand it up.  I repeated the whole process with the rest of his body, including the head.

He's got an air hole at the mouth, don't worry.  And do you see the patience on his face?  He has a love for Halloween and is willing to put up with all sorts of stupid stunts for the holiday.  All the duct tape body pieces were cut out and stapled back together.  I stuffed newspaper in them and I added a long, thin piece of wood in the back to give him a spine.

Once that was done, I had my mummy form.  And it took just over one roll of duct tape so it was really cheap to make.  I started dying more guaze like I did for the head waiter project and wrapped him up.  And then, I had a mummy.

Love this guy.  We named him Ramses.  He's in the garage right now and if you aren't expecting to see him, he scares the bejeezus out of you.

**No husbands were harmed during the making of this project.  There was a fair amount of whining but he does that anyway so there's no evidence that it had anything to do with being wrapped in duct tape.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Bloody Candles

This project is simple and inexpensive but is so adorable for Halloween!  And if you're a pyro fan, you'll love making it.

You'll need some candles, white or another light color, and a red taper candle.  Now, be careful when choosing your red candle.  Some red candles are only red on the outside and when burned their wax is white on the inside... you need a candle that's red all the way through. If you scratch the bottom of the candle with your finger you should be able to tell if it's red all the way through.  You can find these at Goodwill for pennies.

Burn the white candles just a bit to burn the wick.

Light your red candle and sneak up on the white ones... they'll never see you coming.

Drip the red wax over the candles.  Boom.  You've got yourself another Halloween decoration.

Yes, I did forget to put down paper on my kitchen table before doing this project.  Yes, it did take me a long time to scrape off the wax.  Yes, I am a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

I love how this turned out!

Thrifty Crafty Girl
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Papier Mache Jars

Today's post is a bit later than usual because I was distracted.  But let's pretend it was for some salacious reason, like I'm hungover or just got released from jail or was cleaning up a crime scene.

They'll never take me alive.

Anyhoo, this Halloween project is so simple.  If you have a couple of leftover jars around the house and some orange tissue paper, you're in business.

I used some liquid starch and flour to make papier mache but I've heard a few other ways to do it if you don't have the starch.  I cut the tissue paper into strips and mache'd (totally just made that a word) it to the jar.  I added a face and had myself a craft.

These are too cute.  And cheap.  And easy.  And aerodynamic.  OK, they probably aren't aerodynamic but I've always wanted to use that word in a post.  It's important to set goals and achieve them.
Thrifty Crafty Girl
I link up at these great parties!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Roadside Rescue

I have a confession for all of you:

I am a curbside looky-loo.  'What's that?' you ask? It's a breed of person that slows down their vehicle, possibly holding up traffic, just to see if there's something good on that curb full of unwanted items.  I do this to find a great project for the most part, but often it's because I know that sometimes trash is just treasure waiting for a coat of paint.  I consider it my duty to the Earth to roadside rescue and save those items from the landfill.  I found a great curbside rescue and wanted to polish it up and take it a step further.

We live near a college town which means that every August, people move out of the apartments nearby to head back to college life.  And that means they throw stuff away... I mean, a lot of stuff.  I found this bookcase on the curb around the corner and knew that this piece had potential.  I HAD TO SAVE IT FROM THE LANDFILL.

It was dusty and in need of some love.  I said supportive, nurturing things to it and then I gave it a wash-down to clean it up a bit.  Once that was done, I scoured Pinterest for inspiration and got to work.  I had grand plans for this project, so I had the husband drill two holes in the top.

After that came the priming and painting.  A quick trip to the hardware store for some paint and supplies and I started the sanding and priming.  With laminate furniture like this, priming is essential.

That's my best side, right there.  I painted the outside white and the inside blue.  Well, not just blue... the prettiest blue in the whole world. 

Once the paint dried (I'm so patient in every area of life except when I'm waiting on paint to dry and then I'm like a kid at 3am on Christmas morning) I installed the lights where the hubs drilled those holes up top.

These lights are so simple... they have a four-foot cord that we plugged into a timer.  We just popped them into the drilled holes and secured them.  No wiring or anything tricky! 

I put the freshly painted shelves back in my beautiful bookcase and I stood back.  And I panicked.

I have nothing beautiful to put in this wonderfully re-done piece.  And I don't want to spend a lot of money to decorate it.  What's a resourceful gal, who wants to rescue more castaways, to do?

She hits the thrift stores.  I found these pieces that I just knew I could turn into something great.

I filled in the bookcase with my Goodwill rescues and some thrift store items that just needed some cleaning, like this little lovely jar, the marbles inside, and the glass bowl behind it:

Here's a shelf-by-shelf replay for you:

In the end, I had a roadside rescue that my husband thinks is my best project yet.  And you know something? I do too. :)

Thrifty Crafty Girl
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