Trash to Treasure Halloween Project

Halloween is my very favorite holiday. I love doing projects this time of year and I had an idea the other day for a new one.

It involves using one of my favorite things: old photographs

Whenever I see old photos at estate sales I buy them if they are reasonably priced or free. I feel this strange need to rescue them.

A few years ago I picked up this 11×14 family photograph in a nice frame for $1.50 (yes, one dollar and 50 cents). Isn’t it sad that someone’s hard work of getting three young children dressed properly and looking nice is being sold for $1.50?

old photograph from an estate sale

old photograph from an estate sale

Anyway, it’s been sitting in my basement waiting for me to come up with an idea to use it. During one of my weekly brainstorming sessions while ironing, the perfect solution popped into my head: I needed to use it for a Halloween decoration.

Yesterday, I sat down and set to work painting it for a new Halloween decoration for my living room.

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

This was a really fun and easy project. I feel a teensy bit bad for painting over it but not bad enough that I wouldn’t think about doing it again if I should find another big portrait at an estate sale for $1.50!

For more related Halloween projects and costume ideas I have done in the past you can find them all under the Halloween link under Categories on the right hand side of my blog page!

Have a wonderful Halloween everyone!

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Swallowed Up by a Sea of Childhood Treasures

I remember being about 10 years old at my grandma’s house. There was an older lady who lived up the hill from my grandma whom my cousin and I would go visit from time to time. She lived in an old farmhouse all by herself and she was a hoarder. I had only stepped into her house once and at that time you could really only walk a few inches before being roadblocked by a huge stack of newspapers and a tower of milk jugs. Like I said, I was only 10 years old but even I knew this was beyond any mess I had ever seen.

Even though she wasn’t a housekeeper she was a very nice lady and strangely enough on one particular day I was visiting she took me with her to shop for a trailer to put on her land because she could no longer get into her house. Afterwards she took me to the local A&W stand for a hotdog and root beer and it was quite a lovely afternoon.

I often think of that dear old lady as I watch my own house filling up. I don’t save newspapers or milk jugs and you can usually find a path through our house, but the amount of stuff I save for my children is slowly engulfing our house. Someday I fully expect to be swallowed up by a sea of artwork, favorite toys and beloved baby clothes. If we had a big enough property I might actually consider buying a trailer to put in our yard to store it all and really that is just insane.

Instead of parting with all of this childhood nostalgia I just continue to add to it and with that comes more storage containers for it all. Our house is filled with tons of antique trunks and boxes holding all of these treasures and this past weekend I had to make one more:

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter's treasures

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter’s treasures

I also made a box for one of my daughter’s friends who is having a birthday this week. I figure we can’t be the only ones who need storage containers:

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A box I made for my daughter’s friend

And as I sat working on that trunk to hold more of my daughter’s treasures I pondered our whole storage problem and how we could have accumulated so much stuff and how many more years I have left in their childhoods to grow their collections. It’s really quite mind-boggling.

Even though I realize this problem; it apparently never truly sinks in because the very next day this is what I had my children do:

My kids painting huge canvases outside

My kids painting huge canvases outside

Someday, I will be that lady taking a visiting child to shop for a trailer with me because I can no longer walk through my own home. Afterwards I will take them for a hot dog and root beer and it will be quite a lovely afternoon.

I Heart Shrinky Dinks

I have been racking my brain trying to decide what my children should give their teachers on the last day of school. Luckily, I saw this post about homemade Shrinky Dinks from a fellow blogger over at mummyshymz! She is a homeschooling mom in Singapore and always has great ideas!

What I loved about the concept of this is that it allows you the freedom to create whatever you want!

As soon as I saw her post I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased this:

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

I then told the kids they could create key chains for their teachers!

I drew the shape they wanted and they colored whatever they wanted on it! After they were done I cut it out and punched a hole in it and put it in the oven. We put them in the oven at 325 degrees for 3 minutes and they were done!

It was an easy project and one that we all really enjoyed.

As you can see we have already made quite a few in the past few days!

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

One of Iris's key chains

One of my daughter’s key chains

Another one of my daughter's key chains

Another one of my daughter’s key chains

One of the key chains my son made

One of the key chains my son made

 

 

 

 

The Year the Easter Eggs Came Alive

The kids had a blast coloring Easter eggs today!

All of the kids coloring eggs

All of the kids coloring eggs

After we were done with the dyeing process I had the kids make “clothes” for their eggs using construction paper. After we had them dressed we set up them up for photo shoots in my daughter’s doll house! Enjoy our Egg Photo Shoots:

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Matchbox Car Art

I have wanted to do a project utilizing me and my brother’s old Matchbox cars from the 1960’s and 70’s for a few years now. As a kid, I spent hours playing with these. I kept trying to think of a way to display them properly. I always have a few hundred projects going through my head at all times. Time and how I will go about executing things is always a major factor in how soon I get them done though. I thought I might have a few extra minutes today and I finally figured out how I was going to do this so I set to work.

First I started with a plain wooden board that I got at the ReStore shop. It’s a place that sells used building materials so you can pick up stuff here for pretty cheap.

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Next, I painted the board black and created a square template using masking tape. As you can see, painting is a family affair around here!

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I painted around the edges of the masking tape so the board would have a simple design on it.

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After letting the paint dry, I glued my Matchbox cars on. I applied Gorilla glue on the wheels and placed the cars where I wanted them on the board. The cars are firmly attached and I can now hang this on the wall! Of course the kids think I am completely nuts for gluing cars to a board. They really think I should have just gave the cars to them to play with. I know better though, these would have ended up with the 48 other Matchbox cars under the stove right now!

Matchbox Car Art

Matchbox Car Art

Hundreds of Tiny Squares

It seems every winter I find myself doing some sort of mind numbing project to take my mind off of being cooped up in the house.

Even when I was a teenager I made my own Monopoly board. My original board broke and instead of buying a new one I just decided to recreate one:

My homemade Monopoly board

My homemade Monopoly board

When my first daughter was little I decided to turn a crawl space in our house into a “Super Secret Hideout.” I brightened up the walls by applying magazine pictures:

Iris & Bency playing in the hideout in 2009

Iris & Bency playing in the hideout in 2009

A close up of the Super Secret Hideout walls

A close up of the Super Secret Hideout walls

Now Cesar plays in the Hideout

Now Cesar plays in the Hideout

Then a few years ago I took puzzle pieces and painted and glued them to an old drawer:

The puzzle box

The puzzle box

There was also the year that I bought a used coffee table at a rummage sale for $1.50 and decided to paint it:

The painted coffee table

The painted coffee table

This coffee table sits in our living room and also serves as a stage for our kids. They stand on here and do their dancing. I’m pretty sure it’s on its  last leg. I’m not going to replace it until they are a bit older and have grown out of dancing on tables (that happens right?) So instead I decided to sit down this past week and do this:

The coffee table redone

The coffee table redone

I glued 1 inch squares cut out of magazines all over the table and then put varnish on top. I did this while watching television and usually surrounded by the kids or being jumped on. My 5 year old Bency kept tearing out pages from magazines that he wanted me to add to the table. One was an advertisement for Breathe Right strips and another one was for kitty litter. I unfortunately had to over rule him on those selections.

Like I said, the table is not going to last much longer but at least it kept me busy this past week while we were all confined inside!

 

Hundreds of tiny squares

Hundreds of tiny squares

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Makes Us Happy, Mad and Sad

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we are having our family and friends join us at our house for a feast.

Since I was busy this morning getting everything ready for tomorrow and the kids are off of school; I put them to work making things to decorate the house.

I decided upon a series of people cut out of paper bags for them to color and we could create a chain of them. I told the kids this symbolized the coming together as family and friends at Thanksgiving time.

Our Thanksgiving Family and Friends chain

I went in to check on them in between washing dishes and getting some cooking done.

My 5 year old, Bency was on his third person and said, “This person’s getting the mad face.”

I shrieked, “What??? No! You can’t have a mad person in the Thanksgiving chain! They must all be happy!”

Bency shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, I’ve already made one happy and one sad. I need a mad one now.”

I paused for a moment and thought.

Bency really has Thanksgiving figured out. Thanksgiving brings out a whole range of emotions.

First, you’re happy when you see all of the food. Secondly, you’re sad when you realize how much you’ve just eaten and lastly you just get down right mad at yourself when you keep going back for more.

Bency said he needs me to make a few more people for him to color. He forgot to make a “surprised person.”

Yes, Thanksgiving brings out the surprise in all of us when we just can’t seem to button those pants the next day!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Melissa

The mad, the sad and the happy of Thanksgiving!

My Hearts On Fire For Elvira

This afternoon I did an art project combining two of my childhood loves. Paper dolls and the song Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys. This song came out when I was six and I can distinctly remember my Dad singing along with gusto to this song using his bass voice. I have since taught my own children this song!

collage piece I did today using an old book as the background, paper doll dresses from 1969 and my own drawings for the heads

Trick or Treat…Smell Our Ghost Feet

Today I thought I would share another Halloween project the kids and I did this past weekend. Since the majority of people thought my last project Spooky Barbie was too creepy, I thought I would share something a little sweeter.

I know this project has to be less creepy because I got the idea from Barney (yes, the big, purple dinosaur). I had no idea Barney was a crafty guy. My kids told me about this and made me watch the show Barney’s Halloween Bash (or something like that) on Netflix so we could recreate it.

I don’t think Barney had a name for this project so I’ll call it…Ghost Feet!

Supplies you’ll need:

Brown Paper Bag cut into large rectangle (or any large paper…not white)
White paint
Black paint
Paintbrush
Wet rag

First, you lay the bag on the floor.
Next, you paint your child’s foot with the white paint and have them step on the paper.
Finally, you paint eyes and mouth on the foot which is now a ghost.

Okay, this SHOULD be a really simple, quick project.

I however, was not thinking ahead! Surprise! After I painted my first child’s foot, she hopped off the brown paper bag like I instructed her to do and got white foot prints all over the wood floor! Doh!!! Hence the wet rag on the supply list!

Make sure you wipe off your child’s foot immediately after you have them stamp their foot on the paper!!!

Also, painting a child’s foot who is very ticklish tends to get lots of paint everywhere too!

I think Barney just had a plate with paint on it for the kids to dip their foot in. Maybe Barney is wiser than me or perhaps I really love doing 5 minute projects and then spending a hour cleaning it all up!

Our project this past weekend!

P.S. Barney didn’t write “Trick or Treat, Smell Our Feet” on his. I’m still not as sweet as Barney!

Spooky Barbie…A Halloween Project

Hands down, Halloween is my favorite holiday. My love for Halloween can be contributed to the fact that it lands in my favorite season, Fall and that my strongest characteristic of being and doing things imperfect fits well with this holiday!

This past weekend my family jump started this festive season with a trip to get pumpkins and with a project I whirled up in my head.

I have dubbed this project: Spooky Barbie

My spooky Barbie

This project wasn’t really a stretch for me because as a child I LOVED giving my dolls haircuts and dyeing their hair with Kool-Aid.

This weekend I took it up one more notch though!

I knew full well that my daughter was not going to lend me any of her Barbies for this project so I stopped at a rummage sale and picked up two Barbies along with a bigger doll for my son.

The dolls from the rummage sale

  • At home I gave the kids acrylic paint and told them to paint the dolls to look…..SPOOKY!!!
  • After the paint dried, we dyed the blond dolls’ hair in purple food coloring.
  • After their hair was dry, I applied hair spray and we teased their hair to make it look…CRAZY!!!
  • Next I fashioned dresses for them using old white burp cloths that I cut into a square, cut a hole in the middle and then I tied this makeshift dress around the middle with a ribbon.
  • The final step was using watercolor paint to paint their dresses.

This was a cheap, simple project and truth be told….I would love this project even if I didn’t have kids!!!

Our spooky dolls!