Is It Halloween Already?

Halloween is a big holiday in this house. We decorate everything - every picture with webs, almost every shelf with pumpkins, skulls, snakes, rats, you name it! G keeps asking to make our house look like a Haunted House, but I keep the decorations confined to inside and the porch. Maybe next year I'll venture out and decorate the lawn with skeletons. 

This year, I found two super easy crafts that we can put outside, much to G's excitement! Cue the Spider Wreath and Tombstones. When Pottery Barn came out with their Halloween decor a few months ago, I was inspired to make knock-offs of some of their pieces. PB always has the best Halloween stuff, there's just no end to the possible inspiration from their catalog!

Spider Wreath

This wreath is incredibly easy and cheap! All you need is a grapevine wreath from Michael's, some faux spiders and ribbon from the Dollar Store, a bag of spider web, low gauge wire for hanging, a hot glue gun and about 5 minutes.

  1. Tie the wire around a sturdy piece of the wreath, in a shape that will go over your wreath hanger.
  2.  Place the spiders on the wreath wherever you like. Make sure to leave a space wide enough for the ribbon to wrap around without hiding any of your spiders
  3. Glue your spiders in place.
  4. Drape the ribbon around wreath, then over/under the hanger. Make sure there are a few inches of ribbon on the inside of the door to pin together. This will prevent the top flap of ribbon from falling down when you open the door.
  5. Stretch as much spider web around the wreath as you like.

Viola, your Spider Wreath is complete! We'll see how thrilled my husband is when he gets home today to find tarantulas crawling on the front door - he detests spiders more than anyone I've ever known. 

Tombstones

This one is a bit more time consuming than the wreath, but in the grande scheme of difficulty, they're easy, too. You'll need a few sheets of black poster board (one tombstone per sheet), 2 white paint pens (one thin for writing, one thick for the outline), a ruler/yardstick and scissors.

  1. Measure and cut out the shape you want for your tombstone. I'm OCD when it comes to making things symmetrical, so I had to measure each side very precisely. But if you're comfortable free-handing, go for it!
  2. Write the letters - I penciled two lines for each row of letters, 5 inches apart, and penciled in the letters for spacing before committing to the paint pens
  3. Use the thick paint pen to draw out the thick boarder pattern you prefer
  4. Place the tombstones outside - I used a white thumb tack to make sure they didn't fall over in the wind.

So cute and fun!

If you're looking for easy Halloween crafts, these are definitely winners. Try them out and let me know how you did!

It's Christmas Time

It's officially Christmas time. The decorating of the house and tree are done, the gingerbread houses have been decorated (and eaten, as of a few nights ago), the smells of Christmas are in the air...

I'm one of the bazillion people that adore Christmas. Not only is it the lights, the excitement, the decorating, the yummy smells, how friendly people are (if they're not at the mall), it's also my birthday month. That is by far the most important part (wink, wink).

And it's not every day that I get to see my mom and sisters and their families, despite living within an hour or so drive. But having them at our house, eating Swedish food, drinking glogg, laughing, watching the kids play together...I love it. And I've always been a sucker for presents. I used to tell my husband that he could wrap up a paperclip and I'd be happy. There's something about the surprise of opening gifts that gets me every time.

I wanted to share my holiday cheer with everyone and do a little "Christmas Decor Tour" of my home. Sometimes I worry if I've gone over the top with decorating, but really, who cares? If you love it, you live it, right?! I did a little gold spray painting, ornament-making with the girls, ribbon on the tree (which I've never done before), a wreath (and one still in the works)...I didn't think I was going to be doing so much, but I got sucked into all the Christmas stuff at the Dollar Store and my mind went crazy with ideas. So here are the results:

I was inspired to wrap our Christmas tree in mesh ribbon this year. I started at the bottom of the tree (in the back), wrapping the ribbon with a metal ornament hook around a branch every foot/foot and a half. I ended up using about a reem and a half of ribbon. Thankfully it came in a set of two! The star was picked out by the girls, from Target. The last few years I've kept the ornaments on the bottom half soft and destructible for the kids. It's still hard to keep Baby M from pulling down the tree. Must. Touch. Tree.

I used gold spray paint on this paper mache reindeer head from the craft store. Looks great next to the Christmas scrapbook paper I found there, too. And I've been holding onto 4 pears from the Dollar Store since September and finally got around to spraying them gold. They look pretty nice with the pine cones I found at the park. I love cheap table decor.

I whipped this DIY wreath out in about 2 hours, while Baby M was taking her nap. I bought a few containers of ornaments at the Dollar Store and a grapevine wreath at Trader Joe's, then hot glued the heck out of the tops of each ornament and placed them on. I was going for a deconstructed look, only to have Toddler G ask why I hadn't finished it. Oh well, I still like it.

I love my coffee filter tree. I used a green tree form and almost 2 packs of large coffee filters. It took a bunch of time and a ton of glue, but I think its so pretty, and I can use it again for the girls' birthday party next month. The tutorial is here if you're interested.

The family room water buffalo got a Dollar Store Santa hat, and I made a wooden bead and tassel necklace for the deer - Baby M calls him Sven (from Frozen), I love it.

I've got so many projects going on right now that I hope I didn't forget anything. I've become addicted to something in the past few months that I'll share later this week. It's what I spend almost every night doing, or at least thinking about. Have I peaked your interest?!

Happy decorating of your own homes and enjoying the Christmas season!

Wrapping up Presents

I've started wrapping presents and I always forget how long it takes!

I love a beautifully wrapped gift, lovely wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. The presentation of a gift can be almost as wonderful as the giving. I used to spend more time worrying about the wrapping than what was inside (an exaggeration, but not by much). Now I have two little ones (Baby M is celebrating her first Christmas this year!) and the wrapping isn't taking as much of a priority, sadly. I'll get back there, I promise myself!

My color scheme this year is gold and red. I went to Ikea when their Christmas decor first went on display and was able to pick up some super cheap wrapping paper - gold/white nutcrackers, gold origami-looking boxes (or are they owls? who knows!), flat red and some gold ribbon. I thought this would look great on top of the Ikea sheep skins I'm using as a tree skirt.

Since I've got a ways to go before my own wrapping is complete, I thought I'd share some images of amazing wrapping, do-it-yourself projects, and other things I found that could make the giving of gifts a bit more fun and original. I've got to try some of these next Christmas (or for someone's birthday before then)!

If you're completely lost when it comes to wrapping a gift, here's a fun tutorial that takes the guess work out of making beautiful edges.

Check out more inspiring wrapping images on my Pinterest board Wrapping Presents.

Good luck with all your wrapping, no matter how ornate (or not) it is! Merry holiday season!