Haunted Halloween House

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!  Last year I bought this cute little wooden haunted house right after Halloween.  It was 50% off plus I had a coupon so I was able to get it for a steal.  I loved the cute little metal bats and cobwebs and whimsical slanted roof lines.  I knew I could paint it up easily and add it to my very limited indoor Halloween decor items.

DIY Halloween house for halloween decor

After rummaging through my paint drawer I knew exactly what I was going to do.  I have these fun green and purple glitter paints and I also grabbed black for the roof and yellow for the windows.

Painting supplies

As you can see, it took a few coats to get the color intensity I was aiming for.

Painted halloween house for halloween decor

But the finished product is awesome!  I cute little Halloween house we can use on our entry table for years to come.

Halloween decor. Spooky House.


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

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Ever wonder how to best cook a spaghetti squash?  There are a lot of methods out there, and while some are easier than others, I prefer one of the more difficult methods of cutting it in half (the hard part) and then roasting face down.  This method makes it more flavorful with a light coating of oil in the oven.

How to make spaghetti squash in the oven

Start of by washing your spaghetti squash to make sure there is not garden dirt still clingy to it.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Summer spaghetti squash recipes

Next, grab a cutting board and an large, sharp knife.  Get ready to use all the strength you have.  Start by hacking off the top stem area.

How to cook spaghetti squash in the oven

You can cut off the bottom too so that you have a nice flat base.  Using your knife and muscle power, cut this big gourd down the middle.  This took a lot of power, cursing and a few breaks before it finally gave way.

Making spaghetti squash in the oven

Next, scoop out the seeds and innards.

Spaghetti squash recipes

Brush the inside of each half with a coating of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

How to roast spaghetti squash in the oven

Place face down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Roast for about 45 minutes, or until soft and steamy.

Cooking spaghetti squash in the oven

You will know it is done when you can easily puncture with a fork.

Roasting spaghetti squash in the oven

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes so you do not burn yourself.

How to cook spaghetti squash in the oven easily

Delicious summer spaghetti squash recipes

Using a fork, scrape the inside of the spaghetti squash.  The flesh naturally create long strands like spaghetti.

How to make spaghetti squash in the oven

I love the flavor so much I can eat is straight out of the squash, but there are a lot of great ideas on ways to flavor it, like spaghetti sauce, making a feta and basil dish, or even Alfredo.  Enjoy!


Warning Zombie Sign

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My favorite part of my Zombie Attack Halloween decor this year is this DIY warning zombies sign. I decided to make instead of buying because I wanted it to be personalized and I can never pass on a chance for a fun craft day. After searching around on Pinterest and thinking about what I wanted to do, I came up the this look for my sign.

How to make a spooky zombie sign

To make this sign you will need a square wooden board, a wooden stake, paint, red gel food coloring and spray acrylic sealant.  To start out I painted the entire board cream.  I then used my yard stick to separate the top section and painted it black.  I then played around with red and black for the outside border of the sign.  Once dried I freehand painted “Warning” and “Zombies”.

Making a zombie sign diy

Next I racked my brain on how to do the blood on the sign.  I ended up grabbing a tube of red gel food coloring from my baking cupboard and smeared it all over my hand.  I then grabbed the sign in a few places and used one finger to write out “Save Your Self”.  The texture of the gel food coloring gave some great depth and detail and really looks like blood.

DIY zombie halloween sign

After letting it dry for over 24 hours, I took the sign outside and added multiple coats of clear acrylic spray paint.  The red food coloring has already faded a bit and is really not water resistant.  I am not sure if it will hold up all that great over time, but I can always re-do that portion for the future if it fades away.

zombie attack halloween decor

The final touch to make this sign pop was adding fake barb wire and Zombie Arm Lawn Stakes.

zombie attack halloween decor. Zombie eat brains!

Don’t have time to make a zombie sign?  Good news is that there are a ton of them out there to buy and they run about $10-$15 a piece.  Here are a few examples I saw at the Spirit store that would have worked great too.

Zombie Hunter SignZombie Research Metal SignQuarantine Sign


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Zombie Attack Halloween Decor

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I LOVE Halloween!  This year for our outside decor I decided to go with a zombie attack theme.  I had big plans of going all out, but kept it pretty simple in the end to save money and time while still having fun. So, let’s go for a tour around our front yard…

DIY zombie halloween decor

Let’s start out in the little cubby area next to our front door.  Same as last year, I began by adding some webs and spiders.  I decided to use regular webs this year, since the black light ones did not light up as well as I hoped.

Zombie attack decor for Halloween

Next up we ran by the Spirit Halloween store and bought some Bloody Hand Drips Decoration and Blood Splat Window Clings.  These clings are awesome and help to add some gore to the zombie attack theme.

zombie attack decor

Also at SpiritHalloween.com or the Spirit Halloween stores that pop up during this season, we were able to find some foam distressed boards to use on our windows.  I tried using double sided tape, but after a couple hours they started to fall.  So I pull out my staple gun and secured each plank to the wall around the window.  For the bigger windows I was able to tape two planks together and span the gap that way.

DIY zombie attack decor

I also found some fun fake barb wire and wrapped the front post with it.  It looks to be just twine rope painted in silver, so I might make my own in the future if I need more.  I bought two stands this year and saved the second strand to use on my zombie sign.

Spooky spider infested halloween tree decor

Panning over to the trees along the path, I added more spiderwebs and glittery spiders.  I bought 3 bags of web this year and was able to cover a lot more area than last year.  I did the same look on the main tree in front of our house by wrapping it in purple lights and then web and spiders.  I bought new lights because the cheap ones from Party City last year kept failing.  These are much more vibrant LED lights we picked up on sale at Target right after Halloween last year.

Spooky spider infested halloween tree

To add some creepiness we have our native giant spider making an appearance too again this year.  He is much too heavy for the web, so I use thread to tie him the the branch for added support.

Spooky Halloween Spider

Now on the the main new additions this year. Since I had so much fun last year making the wooden trick or treat sign, I decided to do it again this year by making a warning zombie sign.  You can learn more about how I did it here.

zombie attack halloween decor-diy

I am really happy with how the sign turned out and it really adds to the overall look and theme.  I had some left over black cloth from last year so I simply covered the bush and threw some more up in the tree.

zombie attack halloween decor

This big bush came in handy for the sign too.  Instead of having to hammer it into the ground, I stuck it into the bush and done.

Halloween zombie sign.  Warning Zombies!

One finishing touch…adding some zombie hands to the lawn, also found at the Spirit store.  So there you have it, cheap and fairly easy Zombie Attack Halloween decor.

Halloween outdoor decor. Zombie attack

Still need some last minute Halloween items or want to buy now of next year?  Enjoy 20% off and shop lots of sale items.

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Hi There Stranger

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I have been getting that itch lately.  The itch of wanting to write and share projects.  Having been absent from the blog for over 5 months, since the end of April, it is about time.  Where have I been you ask?

Work, primarily. Living life. Enjoying the summer. Going on a few trips.

I did not expect to be gone for so long, but after getting a promotion and spending even more hours than ever at work, I decided that something had to give.  And writing for this blog was that thing.  I am not promising to come back and post weekly, but I am trying to find a balance in life and want to come and share more again.  We will see how long it lasts, especially since we are getting closer to the holidays, but I have a lot of things to share. From learning to can, to working on the house, to traveling to New York and Kauai, it has been a busy 5 months!  In the meantime, here are a few Kauai watercolor to enjoy…

Hawaii in Watercolor

Hawaii in Watercolor

Hawaii in Watercolor


Painting the Guest Bathroom Green

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I’m back with another edition of the slowest blog post series ever seen.  Once the wall paper was removed and the holes patched, it was time to start painting.  For this room I decided on Glidden Hazy Sage color matched in Behr interior Semi-gloss paint with primer.

Choosing paint colors- try lots of samples

I wanted the guest bath to have a calming, spa feel to it.  My inspiration came from this room from Better Homes & Garden.  I love the calm green walls, dark cabinets and open shelving.  Peaceful and clean.

Guest Bath Inspiration 2

So I grabbed a sample can of Hazy Sage and put a spot on the wall to see how it looked .  This is one of the few rooms in our house where a second sample was not necessary.  I immediately knew this was the color I was looking for.

Guest bath medicine cabinet before

On with the painting…I love this color!

Painting our guest bath sage green

Once all the edges were cut in, it was time to tackle the cabinets next. I’ll back back soon with an update on how they turned out!  Anyone else tackling a bathroom facelift recently?

Painting bathroom cabinets for an upgraded look


Wine Tasting in Murphys

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A few weeks ago we took a great weekend trip with a fabulous couple to the small town of Murphys.  For those of you who have never heard of Murphys, it is a small town in Calaveras County in Northern California.  From central California you wind up into the old gold mining towns of the foothills and eventually get to this quaint downtown with lots of cute shops and wine tasting rooms.  The great thing about a weekend in Murphys is that everything is affordable, quaint and within walking distance.

Little Yellow Cottage in Murphys

We rented the cutest little 2 bed, 2 bath house called the Little Yellow Cottage.  It was just down the street from the main strip and next to a park.  Plus it was within really close walking distance to all the great shops and tasting rooms, so once we arrived we never had to drive anywhere until it was time to head home.  They did have a 2 night minimum though, so we headed up after work on Friday to make use of both nights.

Clawfoot bathtub in Murphys

I just had to snag a picture of the clawfoot bathtub in the guest bathroom.  How sweet is that!  Someone even took the time to paint the side of the tub to match the wall paper.  While not my style for our house, it was so cute and perfect for the feel of the cottage.

Backyard at the little yellow cottage in Murphys

Another huge plus to the Little Yellow Cottage was this fabulous back yard! We lucked out in having fantastic weather for March and we were able to sit out in the 70+ degree sun soaking it all in.

Backyard at the little yellow cottage in Murphys, California

In the yard were a few cute touches like this little bird house on the fence and a gazebo.

Backyard at the little yellow cottage in Murphys, CA

It turns out that Murphys is also super dog friendly.  Out in the yard we saw this cute little sign, and if you follow the direction of the arrow there is a nice little dog run along the side of the house.  Perfect for a weekend getaway with the boys in tow next time.  We were not sure of the situation so all the dogs stayed with puppy sitters this time around.

Wine tasting in Murphys, California

Such a beautiful day!  Now, time to head out to the winery tasting rooms :)

Zucca Winery tasting room on Murphys

The first stop on our tour was Zucca Mountain.  This was one of the closest tasting rooms to our cottage so a natural first stop.  You can click here for a map of tasting rooms and wineries in Murphys for reference.  I was a bit afraid to go underground into this tasting room, but once inside it was not nearly as claustrophobic as I feared.  The wines were fairly good and they gave us $5 tokens per tasting each that we could combine towards a bottle of wine at the end.  What a great deal to get $20 off one bottle right?

Bloody mary

After the first tasting room it was time to stop for some food.  We decided to get lunch at this cute little restaurant called Alchemy.  The food was great!  I had the asparagus and chicken quesadilla and must try to make one at home!  Plus a nice bloody mary to round out the meal.

Black Sheep Winery in Murphys

After lunch we stopped by the Black Sheep Winery.  They have a sparkling raspberry champagne that is amazing!  It tastes like a summer’s day and they were having a deal if we bought 2 bottles, so I couldn’t resist.  Now I am just waiting for a nice hot day to have a few friends over and enjoy it in our backyard.  We stopped by a few more wineries along the way, but I neglected to take pictures at each unfortunately. Some of the ones we really liked were the Sangiovese at La Folia and both the late harvest Zin called Robert’s Cuvee and the Port at Milliaire.

Wine tasting in Murphys

Next up was Twisted Oak winery.  My favorite here was the Syrah.  Did I mention before how dog friendly Murphys is?

Cute dog in Murphys, dog-friendly wine tasting rooms

This little cutie named Tessa came in to Twisted Vine and was such a sweet dog.  One of the other customers bought her a toy chicken and she was running around having a great time.  I love dog friendly areas like this!

Wine tasting in Murphys CA

As the evening approached we made our way back to Zucca to combine our tokens for a nice bottle of wine by the outdoor fireplaces while listening to live music before grabbing dinner at Firewood.  Firewood is a great simple place to grab a meal in Murphys too.  It is an order at the window, casual feel with hamburgers, wood fire pizzas and some mexican items.

Zucca Winery Murphys

Murphys is a great little town for a nice weekend trip andy I hope to make it back out there again soon!


Mealtime Monday: Fried Chicken Tenders

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One of my favorite meals to eat growing up was fried chicken tenders.  They are SO GOOD!!  I love fried chicken, but can get weirded out by tendons or bones or strange texture pieces, so this is the perfect way to enjoy fried chicken for me.  These little guys can be served as an appetizer or as a meal with a side.  While they are great paired with mashed potatoes or mac ‘n cheese, you can lighten them up by serving with a salad or some fruit.

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe - Best ever!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen chicken tenders (completely thawed)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Season All
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable Oil

Fried Chicken Tenders-Recipe

In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, garlic salt, garlic powder, season all and pepper.  I like my chicken salty and flavorful, but you can adjust the amount of seasoning to taste.

Making fried Chicken Tenders

Taking one tender at a time, rinse in water and dip into the flour mixture.

Making Fried Chicken Tenders at home

Flip it around and pat down to make sure you get a nice coating on all sides.

Easy Fried Chicken Tenders

Set aside onto a plate and continue until all chicken tenders are coated.  Reserve the flour mixture for now as you may want to re-dip the chicken before frying if you see missing or wet spots in the coating.

Homestyle Fried Chicken Tenders

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add about a 1/2 inch of oil.  Test oil with a pinch of flour to make sure it is hot enough before adding chicken. Cook on the first side for 3-5 minutes, or until it starts to set and become golden.

Homestyle Fried Chicken Tenders recipe

Flip and cook the opposite side.

Easy Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe

You may want to flip one more time if the first side does not get crispy enough.  You do not need to worry about cooking it through, but you want to make sure you have a nice crispy coating on all sides.

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe-Yum!

Remove chicken from skillet and set on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Repeat with all remaining pieces of chicken.

Fried Chicken Tenders

Place chicken in oven safe glass baking dishes in a single layer.  Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.  Try to flip part way through, but make sure to be careful to not rip the coating off.  If they are stuck to the pan too much and soggy, then they are not quite ready to flip yet.

Baking fried Chicken Tenders

Remove from oven and back onto a paper towel to absorb any more oil.

Baked fried Chicken Tenders

Serve and enjoy!  A great game day appetizer or dinner plan.  Happy Mealtime Monday!

Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe


March Instagram

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AHHHH!  How is it already April 8th! I can’t believe how fast time is moving and that in a short amount of time we will be in New York.  It seemed like that trip was so far away and now it is getting close enough to start packing.  All I know is this poor little blog is going to suffer with all our plans and the long work days in April.  So, the little I can do is share my Instagram from March round-up .

March Instagram

Errands done right!  Enjoying a Bloody Mary at Paesano’s before finishing our weekly chore list.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Rainy day project of learning to watercolor.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Finished project for my new office at work, my watercolor world map!

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Beautiful March day for a stroll in the park.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Amazing bowl that a high school student made for the Empty Bowls Fundraiser to Support the River City Food Bank.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

My beautiful sister and I enjoying a cocktail at Amanda’s birthday.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Enjoying some sun while supporting the new soccer team in Sacramento.  Go Sac Republic FC!

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Our vacation bungalow in Murphys, the Little Yellow Cottage.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Scenes from our Murphys back yard.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Enjoying some delicious wines.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Wine tasting a bit more in downtown Murphys.

March Instagram - Just Two Crafty Sisters

Testing out the waterlogue app to get ready for Pretty Waterlogue April photo a day challenge on Instagram.

Cheers to another great month and fun times ahead.  Check out my instagram account to see my daily watercolors and my travels in New York before they hit the blog!


DIY Watercolor World Map Artwork

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On a rainy weekend a few weeks ago I got the wild idea stuck in my head that I wanted to watercolor a piece of art, namely a watercolor world map, for my new office at work.

How to watercolor a world map

We just upgraded to a much larger building and the bare walls in my office were screaming for attention.  Keep in mind, I have never really done any watercolor art, unless you count playing around with those little sets as a kid.  So, this was going to either be a triumph over a new craft, or I would end up angrily breaking things while I throw a temper tantrum over it not working like I think it should. But only time would tell so after a quick trip to Joann’s I was ready to give it a go and try to watercolor a world map.

learning how to watercolor

Being new to the art, I have to get the proper supplies.

  • Large watercolor paper, approximately 30×22 = $3.50 (50% off regular $6.99 with coupon)
  • Watercolor brushes, 10 set = $5.99
  • Watercolor paint set = $5.99

Grand total cost for this project= $15.48

I also grabbed a pad of water color paper to play around on first, but not as part of the project so I am not including it in the cost.  Add in 2 mugs of warm water, and it is time to get started.

learning how to watercolor paint

Before getting started with the painting, I needed to draw the world map outline.  I hopped on Google and found an image of the world that was nice and clean and perfect for this job.  Taking that image I scaled it up to be the right size for my paper (20×30) and printed it out over multiple pieces of paper.  I then taped them together to create one large template and laid that over my water color paper.  Using a pen and a heavy hand, I traced the entire world…yes the entire world, leaving a nice indent on the watercolor paper to follow.

watercolor world map art piece

After removing the template, I got a pencil and drew lines along the indentations.  Now I  had the basis of the world map to color in with water colors.

creating a watercolor world map

Step one for in me watercolor was to learn the process.  I did this on a small piece of paper until I thought I had the idea down and then moved on the the traced map.  The process I found to work best to achieve my desired look was to take my brush and apply a thin coating of water to one section of the map at a time.  Once the water was on I could choose my first color to paint.  I liked to start on the edge of one of the land masses and move across, blending the colors as I switched from one to another.  By painting each area with water first it helped the color to spread nicely but stay contained within the water lines.

watercolor painting a world map

I went wild with all colors, but you could keep it simple and just do a couple tones of blues and greens for a more subdued look. For some of the smaller areas, like the islands, I went ahead and just dabbed the color on without adding water first.  Don’t be afraid of using the water either though.  If it starts to get too wet, you can grab a paper towel to absorb excess and then start over.  Do be careful to not over blend though, the changes between the colors need to look natural but not muddied.

watercolor world map art

The project took about 4 hours from start to finish, so not too bad for an afternoon craft.  The longest part was tracing the map onto the paper to have lines to follow.  I might be artistic, but I am definitely not good enough to think I can free hand the world.

watercolor world map

As the map dried, the color calmed a little bit and got a chalky finish.  This might just be the type of watercolors I was using, but either way I really liked the final outcome.

How to watercolor a world map painting

I can’t take all the credit for this beautiful idea though.  It came to me one day while browsing Pinterest and I pinned a few variations on my DIY board.  There are even a few artists on Etsy who sell hand-painted and/or images of watercolor world maps.  But, as usual I wanted to test myself and see if I could do it first before settling on buying one.  I love supporting other artisans, but there is also a great deal of satisfaction in doing it with your own two hands.  Now the shame part….the map then sat in my craft room next to the frame for two weeks before I finally got around to framing it and I still need to bring it to my office and hang it. Maybe next week?

framed watercolor world map art

Speaking of watercolor, today marks the start of the Pretty Waterlogue April Challenge.  Follow me on Instagram @justtwocraftysisters and join in on the fun!