Pumpkin Carving

Posted on

I love carving pumpkins!  This year I picked up 3 pumpkins at Safeway for only $3.99 each and got busy working on them.  It was a nice fall day so I had to grab a quick picture of the pre-carved pumpkins in our yard with some nice fall leaves around them.

fall pumpkins

I grabbed a cheap carving kit at the store to have a good scooping spoon and detail knives, along with two bowls from the kitchen; one bowl for pumpkin goop and the for pumpkin seeds.  I LOVE pumpkin seeds and will be sharing a couple recipes later this week.

Carving Pumpkins for Halloween

I opted to open each of my three pumpkins differently to have unique styles on each.  For the first one I opened up, I did a hole through the back of the pumpkin.  This is a great way to maximize carving space on the front.

Cut the back out of the pumpkin instead of the top

For my second pumpkin I opted for the traditional round cut top.

Carving Pumpkins

And for the last one I did a top cut as well, but more decorative and fun with a jagged pattern.

Zig-zag pumpkin top

I was able to get about 3.5-4 cups of pumpkin seeds from the three pumpkins and look forward to baking them up to eat!

pumpkin seeds

Ready for the end results?  Pumpkin number 1, glowing bright at night!  I used a stencil for all three this year to keep it simple.  This one was Alex’s favorite stencil from the batch…the skeleton face pumpkin:

Skull pumpkin

For the number 2 pumpkin I went with a fun twist on the traditional pumpkin face.  I really liked the eyes and little piggy nose.

Spooky face halloween pumpkin

And even cooler glowing at night with the candle shiny through the open mouth.

Spooky face pumpkin

And lastly, for pumpkin number 3 I went with the ghost and boo stencil. This one had a bit more detail and time into it, but it was my favorite of the batch.

Boo Ghost Pumpkin for Halloween

Especially when glowing at night.  I just loved how the candle light shines through and gives depth.

Boo Ghost Pumpkin

The one thing that I hate about carving pumpkins is how quickly they start to deteriorate.  Especially with the weather being pretty warm this year, I knew that there was little to no chance that these bad boys would last until Halloween.

Having fun carving pumpkins

So I decided to try a technique I saw on pinterest to make them last longer.  You can read more about it here, but basically it was dipping the pumpkin in a bath of water and bleach to kill the bacteria.

Preserving cut pumpkins

The remove it from the bath and set upside down to drain out and dry.  Next brush on a coating of vinegar, lemon juice and water to keep it fresh.  Unfortunately I did not find this to work all that great.  Within 2 days they were growing a ton of mold and attracting gnats like crazy, so I had to toss them out.

Saving carved pumpkin

But at least I was able to get a few good pictures before they fell apart. Maybe next year I will opt to carve up a foam pumpkin or two instead and just open up the fresh pumpkins after the holiday for their yummy seeds.

Halloween carved pumpkin

One last shot, and my favorite since you can see the bats on the window behind the pumpkins too.  Now, hopefully tonight I can finish the rest of our porch decorating and share it later this week!

Halloween carved pumpkins


Halloween Decorations: Trick or Treat Yard Sign

Posted on

Halloween keeps getting closer and I am not yet done with our Halloween decorations for our house.  Being our first Halloween in the new house I have grand ideas for how amazing the decorating would be…until I spent an hour walking around a party store and realized the price tag to my vision.  Since I don’t want to break the bank (and I figure I can wait and grab Halloween decor half off after the holiday to use for next year), I decided to scale back and try to DIY a few items this time around, starting with a Trick or Treat yard sign.  Besides, homemade almost always comes our cuter and more unique anyways right?

Halloween Decorations: DIY Trick or Treat Yard Sign

So, to get started I took a quick trip over to my homeland, I mean Joann’s, and grabbed a few supplies.  I was being lazy and have not fully unpacked all my crafting supplies so I just grabbed it all including brushes.  What I needed was a few fun paints, 2 longer wood signs, one small wood sign, and wood pole, a wood stick, wood glue and  paint brushes.  I grabbed some googly eyes too, but ended up not using them.

Supplies to make a halloween sign

I did not take any progress pictures as I painted, but basically I painted the front of each sign (multiple coats needed on the glitter paints to get full coverage).  Once dried I painted the black edges to get more consistency among the three pieces.  Next I free-hand painted the letters onto the signs.  I was going for a cute bone look, like one I saw on a sign from Pottery Barn.

Trick or treat sign

One last touch was to outline each letter with glow in the dark paint so that it will pop at night in our yard.  The glow in the dark paint goes on a greenish-white, but dries clear so it did not effect the overall look.

Outlining trick or treat sign with glow in the dark paint

Did anyone else notice the creepy dude photo bombing my last picture?  He was in an ad on the magazine page I was using to keep paint off our table, and I did not even see him until editing the pictures..too funny! Once the sign was done and dry, the final step was to paint the stick black to match and use the wood glue to affix the signs to the stick.

Working on my trick or treat halloween sign

The stick ended up being too flimsy on it’s own to keep the sign up in the yard.  After a few minutes it started to bend and eventually fell over.  We plan to reinforce it with the large wooden dowel tonight and hopefully that helps to hold up the weight of the sign.  I will let you know how it goes when I share the rest of our Halloween decorations next week :)

Sharing is at: Design, Dining & Diapers, Craftberry Bush


Fall Leaves are Upon Us!

Posted on

Ahhh fall.  I love it!  While I still think Summer is my favorite season, Fall is a very close second.  The other night when I got home from work, I could not help but stop and enjoy the beautiful color in our front yard.  With this being our first year in our first home, it is exciting and new and delightful to see that seasons change and learn what that brings.  This big tree near our front door has been full of green leaves since we moved in, and it seems like over night they all turned this brilliant yellow and started to fall.  The light was just right as the sun was starting to lower in the sky, and I was able to capture this great picture that I shared on instagram.

Beautiful fall colors

While I love the beauty of this tree, it sure does drop a lot of leaves!  I can see that this is going to be an ongoing battle for the next few weeks.  Endlessly sweeping and raking leaves, cleaning out the gutters and trying to brush them off the roof.  After just a few days, you can barely see the path to the house!

Beautiful fall colors, lots of fall leaves

But, an hour or so later with our handy vacuum mulch-er thing that Alex bought at Home Depot, a rake and a broom and we are good as new…until a nice breeze comes along at least!

Keeping fall leaves cleaned up

Curious by what I meant when I said vacuum mulch-er thing?  We bought the Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller.  It is great because it has an attachment that vacuums up the leaves, then grinds them up into the attached bag.  Once the bag gets full you just go over to a green waste can, open the zipper side and empty it out.  Pretty convenient versus bending over again and  again to scoop up the leave by hand.  Now that the yard it all cleaned up again it is time to start putting up the Halloween decor.  I am getting pretty excited to share more…so here is one quick teaser…

Sneak peek halloween sign


Zombie Makeup Tutorial

Posted on

Last year for Halloween my husband and I dressed up as a zombie and zombie hunter.  It was so fun working on our costumes and coming up with the overall look and zombie makeup.  My zombie costume was themed as a sorority girl zombie.  All great zombie costumes must have a back story, right?

Zombie  Make-Up Tutorial

I meant to post this afterwards, but almost a year later I am finally getting around to writing it.  So, without further ado, here is a quick tutorial how-to make yourself look like a zombie:

Zombie Make-up Tutorial

Step 1: Gather all your supplies needed to achieve your desired zombified look. I used the following:

Step 2: Start with creating a pale white base layer all over your face.  I first used my white cream make-up on a triangle sponge to get a nice coating of white color.  I then used my Bare Minerals Mineral Veil over the top of help seal it in.  This made it a bit splotchy, so be careful when adding a powder over the greasy Halloween makeup.

Step 3: Now on to the eyes. Using a black eyeliner pencil, I did a nice thick line along my top and bottom lids. Next I took my plum color eye shadow (MAC Trax) and using my finger as the applicator I made large purple circles over my eyelids and under my eyes, making both of my eyes look blackened and sunk in.  I then used my darker MAC color (Beauty Marked) over the same area to darken it even more.

Step 4: To give my face a bit more detail, I used the same eye shadows under my cheek bones.  Not sure if they just looked like bruises, but either way I liked the way it brought more appeal and detail to my overly white face.

Step 5: And finally on to the lips.  Being that I did not want to spend money on a dark lip stick, I went with what I already had on hand.  I used the dark MAC Beauty Marked eye shadow on my lips along with some lip gloss and I think it worked great.

Step 6: Now on to the final touches.  I added a little mascara and worked on my hair.  Being that I was a zombie sorority girl, I opted for messy pig tails.  And last but definitely not least, I popped in my amazing white contacts to complete the look.  Pretty creepy and oh so fun!


HalloweenExpress.com


Thankful for Fall Crafts

Posted on

It’s fall craft time!  I have been so busy with work and our house hunt, that I skipped right over fall and went straight to working on my winter projects.  Luckily Melissa has been busy working on banners, fun decor and crafts with the girls for fall. Starting off she made this great Thankful banner.

DIY thankful banner

Look at how cute it is with fun scrapbook paper and bright colored yarns!  According to Mel, the trick to making all the letters come out the same size is to cut out equal size rectangles for all the letters you need.  Then you can cut out your letters on these rectangles and know they will all come out in correct ratio to one another.

Making a paper thankful banner

One of my favorite crafts that Mel did with the kids was make these amazing melted crayon fall leaves.  I just love the bright colors especially with the sunlight coming through them even on a rainy day.

Crayon shaving leaves for thanksgiving

To make these leaves you just need crayons, Continue reading »


Fall Pinterest Challenge

Posted on

Can I just say how excited I was last week when I saw the Fall Pinterest Challenge announced over on Young House Love?!? The Pinterest Challenge was the brain child of Sherry from Young House Love and Katie from Bower Power.  This time around they have teamed up with Our Fifth House and Ugly Duckling House to bring us the Fall Pinterest Challenge.

Pinterest Challenge

For their last challenge, the summer edition, I made this great map canvas art for our living room.  My inspiration this time around came in the form of this neon bib necklace from P.S.- I Made This.  I have been eyeballing it for months after pinning it to my DIY pin-board.

Elle bib necklace inspiration

I wanted to give a nice warm fall twist to this piece and have been meaning to get around to working on it ever since I bought the perfect shell beads about a month ago at Joanns.  Those beads have been sitting on my desk, just waiting for the day that I would get motivated enough to make it happen.  No better excuse than a pinterest challenge right?  Without further ado, here is my fall bib necklace:

DIY Bib Necklace Tutorial

To start out I gathered all the supplies I would need to make this necklace. As I mentioned before, the shell “O” beads were from Joanns.  The copper wire, chain and clasp were all purchased over the last few years from various Etsy vendors.  I am a huge fan and supporter of Etsy and buy most of my beads and findings from vendors there. You will also need your round-nose pliers, flat-nose pliers and cutters for this project. Continue reading »


Easy Caramel Apples

Posted on

With the apples trees in full production mode and fall finally starting to show us signs of being here, it was time to have a fall family fest; meaning bratwursts and sauerkraut for dinner, a fresh apple crisp made by Mom, beer brewing for the boys, picking out our pumpkins and making caramel apples. Last year we went a little crazy and tried homemade caramel and candied apples. The caramel ones turned out great, but the kids lost patience when it took hours of slow simmering to get the caramel just right. As for the candied apples, let’s just say that they were not very appetizing with a distinct burnt flavor and brown color. Maybe someday I will try my hand at candied apples again, but this year we decided to keep it easy and fun for the kids by doing simple caramel apples with store bought caramel.

Caramel Apples for Halloween

Instead of making full sized caramel apples, we opted for the easier to eat slices on a stick.  We started out by picking a few apples and cutting them up into slices.  Next we grabbed some lollipop sticks I had on hand from making cake pops and stuck one into each slice. Make sure to get them in fairly deep to ensure that the apple will stay on the stick when being dipped.

Caramel Apples for Halloween

Continue reading »


Burlap Fall Wreath

Posted on

This post will be a tutorial for how I made my first fall wreath, but I wanted to start out by thanking our readers and apologizing for the lack of posts lately. We ran into a huge problem where our site was hacked and we needed to make sure everything was cleaned up and working properly before working on new posts. I want to say a big thanks to my dear friend and web guru Stefan for taking time to help me work this all out and now we are back on track and more secure than ever. In addition to fixing the site; Alex and I have decided to start the process of looking for our first home, so free time is spent researching neighborhoods, meeting with our Realtor and browsing listings. Lots going on to keep life interesting! Now, on to today’s craft, a festive fall wreath!

Burlap Fall Monogram Wreath

Starting off I grabbed some pipe insulating foam that I have purchased a while ago from Lowe’s and decided on the size of my wreath.  I tapes the two ends of the foam together to create my foam structure.  This is a much more cost effective what to create a wreath form than buying one at a craft store.  The foam can be a bit more flimsy than a Styrofoam form, so just make sure to use light materials on your wreath. Continue reading »


Easy Fall Table Decor

Posted on

With the weather still over 90 degrees, it is not feeling like fall yet.  I am ready for the chilly night air, crisp mornings and changing leaves of autumn to come!  In the meantime, I dressed up our table for fall so that I can pretend it is here.

Fall Decor

The first thing I did was run over the Joann’s for some burlap fabric to create a table runner.  In order to eliminate waste, I simply folded the fabric in half and tied a cute ribbon bow in each end.  By not cutting the burlap I can now use it for a future projects too!  I bought 3 yards to cover the table and leave plenty hanging over each end. Burlap table runners are really popular for rustic weddings right now, but i really think they have a great fall appeal too and add texture to decorating!

Chalkboard placemats

Once the runner was down, I quickly worked on creating four chalkboard placemats.   Continue reading »