October 2016 archive

Elegant Halloween Spiderwebs

| Fall, Halloween, Holidays, Uncategorized

While spiders are pretty creepy and you wouldn’t necessarily ask for them to live in your house, you do have to admit that they are pretty amazing crafters. Those webs are so beautiful and delicate—I’d venture to say that most crocheters would kill to weave a web so lovely!

Here is an easy decoration that I made for Country Living that you can make using a crocheted doily, a piece of open-weave lace, or even white fishnet stockings! Just stretch the fabric in a black-painted embroidery hoop and voila! Elegant spiderwebs. Bet you never thought those two words would go together!

Happy Halloween!


0 comment

New Column: Crafter Crush!

| Decor, Everyday Crafts, Food, Halloween, Holidays, Parties, Toys

Just when I think I know every crafter crafting, I discover a new one on Instagram that takes my breath away.

Do yourself a favor and scroll through the Instagram feed and blog of Wundertütchen (which, according to my fluent German—AKA Google Translate—means The Miracle).

I thought I’d seen everything in the Halloween food category until I came upon these bread aliens. (Above)

cactus party cups


I’m not over the cactus craze, and these cactus cups do not disappoint!

cookie family portraits

These cookie portraits would be cute no matter what, but the name tags and frames? I mean come on! How cute would it be to serve these on a tray at a birthday party? Answer: so cute.

bat shooters halloween craft

And since Halloween is just days away, I couldn’t resist posting about this bat pom-pom shooter! Cut open the bottom and stretch a balloon over it so you can catapult pom-pom pellets!

0 comment

Outdoor Halloween Fest!

| Decor, Fall, Favors, Games & Activities, Halloween, Holidays, Parties

If we got to vote, I’d always raise my hand for Halloween falling on a Monday. I know by October 31st, I will have had my fill of pumpkins, spiderwebs, and bite-size snickers (um, maybe), but right now, we are entering into a week of full-blown Halloween weekend prep, a weekend of parties and costumes, followed by the actual holiday on Monday. I could not be more ready.

If your forecast allows, I say spend either Saturday or Sunday afternoon in a backyard, making as many Halloween decorations and playing as many Halloween themed games as humanly possible (like pumpkin Tic Tac Toe!). Here are some party Ideas from the vault that I shot with photographer Jen Causey and stylist Sarah Conroy, for a since-folded magazine that shall remain nameless. (I love you print magazines!)

1 (Above) Welcome your guests in the proper Halloween fashion…with a spooky message written in eyeballs! Just color black Sharpie circles on solid ping-pong balls and hot-glue them to Styrofoam wreath forms. To make the B, cut out the letter from a 2-inch thick piece of Styrofoam. True story: When I made these letters, I first made two Os to hang on double barn doors. The more I stared at them, to more I saw the word BOO minus the B.

candy pumpkins

2. One for me, one for you. One for me, one for you. I swear that was what these kids were saying as they were gluing candy onto these pumpkins! And I so don’t blame them! Set up a buffet o’ sugar and let the kids go to town. Cute candy cups from my pal Shop Sweet Lulu!

decorate pumpkins with candy

candy buffet halloween


3. What better backyard game is there to play but candy-corn bottle bowling? Create a candy-corn ombre effect on one-liter bottles with white, orange, and yellow spray paint.

Candy corn bowling4. Both Inside and out, these flying bat garlands are pretty awesome. Use an LED light strand to give the bats glowing eyes!

light bat garland

6. Hang plastic laundry baskets laced with rope to create a super fun spider web toss game. Attach thick black pipe cleaners at four places on either side to make it look like a spider dropping down from its tree, spinning a web. Hang a few at different heights and challenge the kids to toss whiffle balls in without them bouncing out. (It’s harder than it looks!)

spider toss halloween backyard game

5. Send your guests on their scary way with a ghost-pinata knock-out. Cover white paper lanterns in strips of white streamers.  Put small paper plate in the bottom of the lantern to prevent the candy from falling out before it’s time!

halloween ghost pinata




0 comment

Pumpkin DIY Candlesticks

| Decor, DIY Home, Halloween, Holidays, Upcycled

My husband has now learned to ask “can I recycle this” when tossing any jars, cans, or bottles that come through our house. He’s not asking “is it recyclable?” but rather “am I allowed to recycle it?” Everything is a craft supply these days, and I’m proud to say that I’ve gotten him well-trained.

I can never recycle a Martinelli Apple Juice bottle without thinking really hard before I do. They are such sweet little round bottles of grand craft potential. And naturally, around Halloween, they are the perfect pumpkin.

I made these Halloween pumpkin candlesticks for Country Living Magazine

What you need:

  • Martinelli apple juice bottles (10 oz and 25.4 oz)
  • Mod Podge, gloss finish
  • Orange food coloring
  • Measuring spoons
  • Bowl for mixing
  • Foil-covered cookie sheet
  • Oven
  • Paper towels
  • Black paint marker
  • Twine
  • Taper candle
  1. Clean juice bottles and remove labels.
  2. For 2 small and 1 large bottles, mix 2 tablespoons of Mod Podge with 3 teaspoons water and 10-15 drops of food coloring. Mix until blended. (Don’t add more water; the liquidity will make the final result streaky.)
  3. Pour orange liquid into a bottle and twirl around until its fully covered. Let excess drip back into your mixing bowl. Stand bottles opening side down onto cookie sheet. Repeat for the other two bottles. Let the bottles drain for an hour.
  4. In the meantime, preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  5. Once the hour has passed, wipe the mouth of the bottles with paper towels. Turn bottles right-side up and place on a clean sheet of foil. Put in the oven for 45 minutes, or until glass bottles are transparent.
  6. Let cool, then use paint marker to draw jack o’lantern face on bottle.
  7. Wrap the mouth/neck of the bottle with twine and knot in the backInsert candle in the mouth of bottle.

0 comment


| Everyday Crafts, STEM, Toys, Upcycled, Vehicles

Here’s a blurb from the intro that I wrote for my newest book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go!

If you know even one kid, you know that at a very early age, children develop interests that can accurately be described as full-on obsessions. Some go for princesses, others dinosaurs, but it’s the beloved transportation category that captures the imagination of every kid, from water babies to outer-space explorers. This book was created for them. For every child who has ever laid his little head on the rug to watch the wheels of his train chug slowly along the tracks. For the kid who flies her plane around the living room, dodging lamps and bookshelves to land it safely on the dining room table. And for the one who can make the perfect vroom and screech sounds for his super-fast race car.

But this book is not just about making toys that go. Tailor-made for the fanatical kid, it’s an all-encompassing, immersive crafting and educational experience for children who just can’t get enough of vehicles and the environments in which they are found. Within these seven chapters, you will find playful decor, costumes, accessories, and tons of pretend-play projects that you can make with and for the children in your life.

You know you have one of those kids in your life. Make his or her day and give the book as his/her next gift!

0 comment

Cardboard Box Costumes

| Halloween, Holidays

Everyone knows that the packaging can be more entertaining than what’s inside of it (at least for babies), but I’d say the same is true when it comes to Halloween costumes. Cardboard boxes are sturdy and ripe for creating amazing creations. Here are some of my favorites, some that I’ve made and others that I’ve admired!

I crafted an eco-costume story for Kiwi magazine a few years ago, and this robot (above) was one of them! What you can’t see in this pic is that there are tiny lights around the face opening on the helmet!

vintage tv cardboard box costumeThis retro TV costumes from Oh Happy Day makes me oh so happy! It’s a total throwback to being a child of the 80s!

cardboard box halloween costume circus train

I love this costume by my friend Jodi Levine for Parents magazine! Big sis can pull around little sis in the wagon of this cute circus train.

cardboard box halloween costume juice boxThe pool noodle straw makes this juice box cardboard box costume by Mer Mag totally perfect!

skyscraper halloween costume cardboard box

Skyscraper Halloween costume? And charming as a storybook to boot! Love this idea from The House that Lars Built.

cardboard box halloween costume airplane

cardboard box costume halloween dragon

Here are two two more of the box costumes I made for Kiwi. How cute is that little Amelia Earhart in her plane and fire breathing dragon?!?

Last year my son insisted on a transforming Optimus Prime. I begged him to let me just make the robot, but nope. Not good enough. So here is a video of the final costume!





0 comment

Crafts for Mini-Engineers

| Back to School, Everyday Crafts, STEM, Upcycled

Last week I visited with Shelley Goldberg at NY1 to talk about fun crafts that also have an educational spin to them. If you asked me, all of my projects have a STEAM element to them…kids are building, making decisions, learning about structure, form, and balance. But here are a few that worked well for this short segment.

Among others, I showed two of the DIY Erector Sets from my newest book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go! They are all made with just two materials…


1. Cardboard and duct tape


2. Straws and pipe cleaners


3. Air-dry clay and toothpicks.

The power of crafting does beyond fun…it’s good for the brain cells!

0 comment

Mini-Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe

| Fall, Halloween, Holidays, Nature

When Halloween rolls around, I feel like a pumpkin hoarder. I gawk at pumpkins from taxi cab windows, I marvel at the ones with no blemishes, and I can’t help talking to the mini ones in a baby voice. Weird, I know, but it stems from my years as a stylist, when the Great Pumpkin Hunt for the most photogenic pumpkin is on!

tictactoe pumpkins project kid

I’m always attracted to these little dudes because, obv, they are so cute, and you can just pop a few in your purse and whip up a craft later.

When my new, awesomely creative assistant Clare (you’ll be hearing from her on the blog soon enough!) came up with Tic-Tac-Toe pumpkin idea, I knew I wanted to make it happen. So I grabbed 9 jack-be-littles, painted X’s and O’s on the top with acrylic paint, and made a board on the floor with painter’s tape! Or you can throw down some sticks in your backyard and play in the grass—a great game for a fall festival party or backyard Halloween fete.

Here’s a snappy little video I made with the help of my son, Oliver. Enjoy!

x and o pumpkins

0 comment

5 Crafty Trick-or-Treat Bags

| Halloween, Holidays

All of the DIY possibilities on Halloween can be a little intimidating, right? If you want to add a homemade touch to your child’s candy collecting experience, but don’t have time to craft the costume from head to toe, consider making one of these super-easy Halloween trick-or-treat bags!

1. (Above) Use tape on a simple canvas tote to create a pumpkin, skeleton, or bat. From Parents.com.

halloween-printable-tote-candy2. I love this easy printable iron-on design from Julep! You can get simple canvas totes and iron-on printable paper from Amazon.


3. How adorable is this furry monster bag from Making the World Cuter? And better yet, it’s no sew.


4. Add a handle to this batty bag and it’s the perfect accent to a witch or vampire costume!


5. I love how simple these cute little googly eye bags from About a Mom are! Hot glue big ones to a canvas tote and voila! Insta-cuteness.


0 comment