Thursday, October 29, 2009

Decorate Your Pumpkins with Stencils!

Husband wanted to carve pumpkins this year for Halloween. Intricate carving with stencils kind of pumpkins like the Bruce Campbell/Evil Dead pumpkin our friend carved last Halloween. I wasn’t surprised. He's been talking about  it off and on ever since he snatched up a pumpkin carving kit on super duper mega sale last year after Halloween.

Looks like we’re decorating pumpkins this year.

We gathered our supplies. Pumpkins – check. Carving Kit – check. Stencils – check. Paints – check.


Can you believe we got these little beauties for $1.99 each?! First we went to the North Market for pumpkins. They only had one and it was a little bigger than a softball so we passed. Then we trucked over to Aldi to grab milk and saw what was left of the Halloween pumpkins for sale. They were the right size and on sale for $1.99. Yes please.

Chances ae the pumpkins were so cheap because they were a little dirty and the backsides are a little mottled but some water, dish soap, and a few squirts of vinegar from a spary bottle took care of the dirt. Using the front side of the pumpkin dealt with the mottling.

Big Game Bargain Huntress score!

*bows deeply*


Husband plunged a knife into his pumpkin and scooped out its brains!

We saved the seeds for roasting and the stringy pumpkin goo. Husband says the goo is what you’re supposed to use for cooking. I think it’s the rind. Does anyone know for certain?


I got my spider stencil off the internet and printed it out on the backside of some junk mail.


I used the stencil to paint my pumpkin because Husband said he can’t trust me with knives (he’s right.) Well that and I wanted to keep at least one pumpkin intact to use for food after the holiday.

Also I can’t draw worth squat without a computer. Hence, the stencil.


As you can see, I choose to paint my pumpkin in the style of a 5 year old child with no arms and no legs. When I told Husband my plans he shouted, “Like Matisse!” Goofball.

If you’re thinking “Hey that looks a little like the bug that’s on the Method bottle!” you wouldn’t be wrong. I had to use their stencil so I could enter my pumpkin in Method's pumpkin carving contest. The winner gets cleaning supplies. I figure after this little adventure I'll need a slew of cleaning supplies to clean up the leftover pumpkin chunks and goo.Wish me luck!

Husband carved his pumpkin following the lines of a stencil that came in the kit. I think his came out much better than mine.


You can bet these little beauties will grace our porch on Beggar’s Night.

Updated 11/4/2009: Hey guess what? Method did a random drawing on their pumpkin carving contest entries and I won! My prize is a bunch of Method cleaning supplies. Yay me!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blitzkrieg’s Balloon Boy Costume!

Blitzkrieg needed a costume for the Capital Area Human Society’s Halloween Pet Parade but what do you do if you dog hates costumes?

Hmmmm…Think. Think. Think.

After watching way too much of the evening news. I got it!

It’s timely.

It’s twisted.

It’s recycled!

I gathered my materials…


…and used them to create this. A dog Balloon Boy costume!

I played with Photobucket to make Blitzkrieg's costume stand out in the foreground of these photos since there's so much going on visually in the background.

Husband held the balloon in the parade and I pulled Blitzkrieg in the box I attached to his wheeled carrier.

"It’s for the show”
Blitzkrieg's Balloon Boy costume was a hit. We helped raise money for one of our favorite charities and Blitzkrieg earned some noms doing it. High fives and tail wags all the way around.

This post is part of  Reinvented's Trash to Treasure Tuesday and A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Much Attic Insulation is Enough?

I wondered exactly how much insulation I had in the attic. It’s a good thing to know because the proper amount of insulation improves your home's energy efficiency, it’s environmentally friendly because good insulation allows you to use less energy from the power plant to heat and cool your home, and it also saves you money.

And I’m all about saving energy and saving money even after I completed the 20% Energy Reduction Challenge Project.

I grabbed a flashlight and a yardstick and climbed into the attic. My plan was to stick the yardstick next to the insulation and find out how many inches deep it is. Then I can determine the insulation’s R-value. R-value is a rating that indicates how effective the insulation is. The larger the number the more effective the insulation.

Turns out I didn’t have to go to all that trouble. My builder had a yardstick of sorts stapled to a rafter. It was easy to see that I have 13 inches of loose fill insulation in my attic.


But what is the R-value of the insulation in my attic?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Porch Chair Revamp Take 2

I cheaped out on paint and fabric when I revamped the freebie chairs on my front porch. Well, even after living under a covered porch, the weather did a number on them and they looked like this a short time later.


 This revamp to the second power has been on my Do It Yourself Honey List for awhile. I better do it now before the weather turns too cold to paint outside.


 I scored a remnant of outdoor fabric at Old Time Pottery for the chair redo. I learned my lesson about using apparel weight fabric for outdoor projects.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Are Your Favorite Homemade Gifts for Men and Boys?

OK gang. I need your help. Even though I try to Christmas shop for ideas and gifts all year round, I’m a little behind this year. Yes, I realize that it’s barely October and I should be writing about Halloween and Fall wonderfulness and not Christmas. I will write about that later, I promise.

PhotobucketIt’s just that Crunchy Chicken with her Homemade Christmas Gift Challenge and Renovation Therapy’s making cloth gift bags early, both got me in the mood for making Christmas gifts now. Which is a good idea all the way around. I’m in desperate need for a project. Preferably one that doesn’t involve ripping the kitchen apart like the one I just finished. Projects keep me off the streets at night. You really don’t want a (sort of) suburban girl like me gone wilding now do you? Of course you don’t.

I’m sewing things for some of the ladies on my list. I’ll write about that later after I deliver a birthday gift. I don’t want to ruin the surprise on the off chance she reads my blog (Hi Mom!)

Blitzkrieg and his dog cousin Chopper are set.

My problem this holiday season is I don’t have any ideas on what to make for the guys on my gift list. For the side of the family that does Christmas stockings, last year I helped Santa fill them by making peppermint chocolate bark for the guys and peppermint sugar scrubs for the girls. That might happen again because it went over big last year.

Other than that I’m stumped.

Women and girls are easy, most crafty things are women-centric (soaps, jewelry, scarves, etc.) and being a girl I have some insight on what the women on my list might like. Men are a little more problematic because I have no experience being a dude.

What are you favorite gift ideas for boys and men?

And a couple of the guys are my list are tween boys. They are way past the age of most handmade little boy toys (*snif*.) They’d rather play video/computer games so I usually go with that. They eschew handmade toiletry items because they are, well, boys. And as of this writing girls are still kinda icky so smelling like a manly man for the ladeez isn’t on their radar – yet. Thank goodness! I’m not ready for that.

Are you making anything for the men on your gift list? What is it?

Guys, what was a favorite homemade gift that you received? I’m really looking at you to help me out on this one. Especially if you got a homemade gift that didn’t quite hit the mark. I really like to know about those too. Help a gal out, I’d really like to know. Thanks!

PS: Just so I’m not jumping the seasonal gun too much, here’s a picture of a scarecrow I made last Fall.



Friday, October 2, 2009

Corn and Molasses Bread Recipe

I had to make bread for a family reunion. I'm usually asked to bring bread to family gatherings because I make frou-frou type bakery breads. Of course since I make it, I don't have to pay the frou-frou bakery prices AND I get to control the type and quality of ingredients I use - bonus.

I couldn’t decide what to make. Chive Potato Bread or Corn and Molasses Bread? I turned to a higher authority to help me decide – Twitter.

I ended up making both.

Green Bean Dreams from The Green Phone Booth asked me for my corn and molasses bread maker recipe – here it is.

You will need: