Halloween Illuminaries

If you haven't noticed, I am in to decorating for Halloween: cheap!  And upcycyling.  We recycle alot in this household and I am proud of that. 
I was very close to my grandparents when I was growing up.  They grew up during the Great Depression.  The idea of saving everything because everything could be useful was how they lived until the day they died.  (This probably is much of the reasoning behind my slight hoarding tendencies, although I am afraid to admit this.  The honey will hold this over my head forever.)  Still, I would like to start finding more ways to reuse the things that we are already bringing into this household anyway.  Glass jars are my latest project. 

Glass jars, tissue paper, black construction paper or scrapbook paper, modge podge and a Cricut are all I used for the fun project that even my 2 year-old helped to "paint".  (The Cricut is not necessary, but a convenient option.)

I used plain old tissue paper, torn in strips to cover the glass jars I had from my recycling bin.  Salsa jars, pasta sauce jars, pickle jars... you name it. 

Use Modge Podge liberally to attach the tissue paper onto the jars.  You could be as creative as you want with this.  You could use stripes or create a stain glass kind of look.  I wanted to stay with solid colors this year, but who knows next year?

Next, I used black construction paper to cut out my designs.  I used a Halloween Cricut cartridge, but you could easily cut out Jack o' Lantern faces by hand.  Or print an outline of clip art and then trace around it and then cut the image out of the black paper. 

Really, the possibilities are endless. 

So many options, so little time. 


Finally, use the Modge Podge again to attach your design to the jar and it is complete.  Simply add a tealight in and the mood is set. 

 I think I will add some ribbon at the top for a more finished look.  My sister-in-law suggested hanging those black spider rings on some of them with the web.  I think that could be fun.  See...the possibilities really are endless!

I tried to get some pictures of them staged on my front porch:

However, my little "helper" wouldn't leave them alone and kept rearranging them. 

"Mama, want to put this one here? Oh, ok."

"Oh, this one goes here, ok?"

"Over here, Mommy?  Want this one over here?"

"No, put this one here, right here. There."

(Please understand these are not really questions to me in a way to imply I have any input in this decision, what this really translates into is: I will put this here.)

What can you do? 
The little designer is already coming out. 


Simple Spider

I love the web, but it does look a little lonely. 

I need a spider. 

A very large spider. 

A very inexpensive, large spider. 

Isn't that why they made black trash bags?  I stuffed the trash bag half full with newpapers from the recycle bin and tied with a zip tie. 
I have a new found love and respect for zip ties!

Add a little more newspaper to make a head, and you guessed it: another zip tie!

Then I used black electrical tape to round the corners of the body a little so it didn't look so boxy.  I also used the electrical tape to hold back the excess trash bag behind the head. 

Now the body is complete, just need to add the legs.  Hmmm.
I need another inexpensive solution. 

At the hardware store there are foam tubes that are used to insulate pipes.  Conveniently, they are a black/dark gray color. 
 (Conveniently, my brother had some extras in his basement we borrowed.)

Enter the infamous zip ties again.  Four pieces of pipe insulation gathered and zip tied together.  (Ooops, this picture only shows three.  That's what I started with.  Then the honey came by and said, we need to be anatomically correct, so four it is. You will notice four in the final picture.)  These are flexible, so just manipulate them and zip tie the ends to the webbing to hold them in place. 

Yay!! I love it!

I had a few rubber spiders in my stash I got from Oriental Traders a few years back.  I added them to areas of the web for extra effect. 

Finally, I added the "mother" spider, by using a zip tie to attach the spider at the neck to the center of the web and the look is complete!

I am so happy with this, especially that it only cost  a couple of dollars at most to make.  I had almost everything on hand.  Web and spider cost me less than $3. 

Big impact, low cost. 

Sign me up. 

 I am beaming with pride!!!


The Tangled Web We Weave

I was pretty proud of myself and my door decoration plan that I was inspired to try one more low-cost, high-impact idea this year. 

My honey built two beautiful trellises for our front flower bed. 

They seemed the perfect place for an extra-large size spider web(A few years ago, my friend hosted a Halloween party at her house and she had created this huge spider web on her front porch and I have always wanted to try it myself, so this seemed as good a time as any.)

To begin with, I used a wire wreath frame I had from making Christmas wreaths.  I used this for the center of my web.  This, zip ties and rope are the only supplies you need. 

Notice the use of zip ties to attach the nylon rope to the wreath frame wire.


I tied the ends to various parts of the trellis.  Then I began to weave the concentric circles around to complete the web.  I never had to cut the rope, I just hid the rope behind another piece, always using zip ties. 

I have decided that really all you need in life is zip ties and duct tape and you can do anything!

Use the zip ties to keep the circles in place. 

And voila!!
An extra-large spooky spider web. 

I had both of the kids with me while doing this project, which slowed me down a bit. (You know, cleaning dirt off of a 10-month-old who insists on taste-testing potting soil.  Chasing said 10-month old off the front porch steps because he has decided his newest skill is to climb them. The usual.) Plus, this was my first time constructing it, so it was a little slower going at times, but I would say I finished this in less than 90 minutes total, even with with kids. 

This truly is a low-cost, high-impact project and will become a staple in our Halloween decorations from now on!


For Whom the Bell Tolls

As a hearing person, I often take for granted information that I gather about my surroundings and what is happening through sounds.  Some obvious things that come to mind include fire alarms, emergency vehicle sirens, oven timers, horns honking, etc.  However, recently, our household has had a couple of situations that have left an impression on me and what I take for granted in my environment. 

One afternoon, both kids were down for a nap.  I was busy in the kitchen and the honey was outside loading recyclables in the truck to take the recycling center. All of a sudden a blaring, honking noise filled the air.  The first thing I thought was "please don't wake the kids!"  I scurried outside to see what the commotion was about.  The headlights on the truck were flashing on and off and the horn was honking continuously.  My honey dear's bottom half was sticking out the side of the truck as he calmly organized the bins in the truck, unaware of the cacophony surrounding him.  He had the keys in his pocket and had accidentally hit the "panic" button. 

His face changed as he saw me frantically running towards him.  I tried to explain what was happening, but it was faster just to grab the keys and push the panic button again. 

 Ahhh... happy silence. 

The honey stood there, confused.  He knew something had happened, just didn't fully know what all it entailed.  Luckily, the munchkins slept through it. 

Later that same night, I put our 2-year-old to bed.  Recently, she has been more reticent about going to bed.  

Me: "Mommy and Daddy and baby brother are all going to bed now, too.  Good night, love you!" 
And then an electronic sound "doodle-ooo" (I have no idea how to represent this sound, just play along please).

2 year old: "Daddy TV!"

Yep, that electronic sound was from our man-sized LED TV.  Busted! We have had the thing for 3 years now and I have become quite familiar with the sound of the TV going on and obviously my 2-year-old is on top of that as well, but my honey had no idea

When he first got it, I might have told him it made the sound, but that would probably have been the only time he would have ever known and 3 years later...
no way to remember that

He had no idea that he had just helped to provide evidence to build a case that mommy was a big, fat, liar!

Sometimes it is the little things that I take for granted.  Tidbits of information that most of the time are inconsequential, but at the right time, they are invaluable!


Halloween Door Decorations

This year, holiday decorations are on a budget. A shoestring budget.  I have collected several little decorations over the years; things to hang on the wall, place on the mantel or other flat surfaces to collect dust and look cute.  With a toddler and 10-month-old, these are NOT practical or safe
Plus, I realize I need to focus more on big-impact design ideas.  But big-impact and shoestring budget seem mutually exclusive.  Enter my new love affair with Pinterest! (Follow me here) Where I found this:

My door is not painted that cool green, but with a little help from some big rolls of paper like you find at a school, I was able to create something similar.

It's not quite as sophisticated as the painted inspiration version, but I think it makes a similar big impact.  You can see this in the porch shot:

I do have a semi-protected porch and a glass door to help proctect the paper from the elements.  I am rather pleased with the big-impact, almost no-cost combination.  Now I am on the hunt for other similar decorating ideas.