Winter Wreaths For Your Door and Mantle

Hey Ya’ll,

If you don’t have time to load up your home’s exterior with twinkling lights or can’t be bothered with a shedding tree adorned with beautiful bulbs, there’s one easy way to instantly add holiday cheer to your abode: a winter wreath!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.09.09 PMWhat do you think of these lovely blue themed wreaths? How about these wreaths with beautiful bursts of red?

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.11.22 PMA classic green wreath is always a good choice, too…

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.16.01 PMIf you’re crafty, try stringing leftover bulbs together using some wire or hot-gluing bulbs to a bare wreath (click HERE for a tutorial for the wreath below from http://sharyncarlson.typepad.com):

6a00e553e8d96888330120a64bf1a2970b-450wi

Image and tutorial via http://sharyncarlson.typepad.com

Another fun idea is spray painting some holly to create a metallic, sparkly wreath:

31ab6a3b0eb9ce353230fae0717167d1Wreaths are a great way give a seasonal nod to a holiday and the best part is that they can be hung over a mantle, on a wall or on a door. Do you have a winter wreath you use every year or do you prefer to switch it up? Let me know in the comment section below.
-Brian

4 Creative Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Image via glamor.com

Image via glamor.com

Hey Ya’ll,

Since I am neither a chef, nor a bartender, and I’d like to include ideas for both singles and couples, today I’m offering up four creative ways you can celebrate this Valentine’s Day!

Image via ttp://www.hp.com

Image via ttp://www.hp.com

1) Plan a scavenger hunt that takes you around town to a few of your favorite places. Start at a bar where you may have met or had your first date and have a drink there. Then, give a clue for a restaurant where you love one of their appetizers and go there for apps. Next, hop in the car with a new clue that takes you to another favorite restaurant for dinner. The last clue can lead you back home or even to Yogurtland (which you can get to go). End the night with dessert and having toured a few of your favorites spots around town and fitting them into one fun-filled evening.

Image via whiskergraphics.com

Image via whiskergraphics.com

2) Make a memory bag of goodies! Maybe you met at Barney’s (or any establishment) while shopping, you could take a Barney’s shopping bag, cover it with hearts and fill it with things that remind you of your relationship. Maybe your first date was at a Chinese restaurant, simply get a bag of fortune cookies and put a red bow on each one, then open them together to see what your future holds. You could also purchase the first movie on DVD that you watched together and wrap that up in pink or red paper. If your favorite flavor is vanilla, add a vanilla scented candle. Pull ideas from experiences that you have had together and find creative ways to incorporate them into the gift. At the bottom of the bag or basket, have one final gift that is an envelope for two nights away together or maybe a piece of jewelry. This way, the bag is filled with memories from the past and ends with a gift for a memory for the future.

Image via ktjeandesigns.wordpress.com

Image via ktjeandesigns.wordpress.com

3) Balloon fortune cookies! Plan a night in with a romantic dinner, but rather than filling the house with roses which cost triple the price on Valentine’s Day, fill the house will helium balloons filled with kind words in the form of handwritten love notes. Throughout the night, pop the balloons and create a scrap book with the messages of LOVE!

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 6.00.31 PM4) Recreate your first date! Turn your dining room into the pizza parlor where you had your first date or the Chinese restaurant, etc. Re-create the meal or even order from the first date restaurant and have a romantic dinner at home. If you can, try to make the meal interactive. If you can cook it together or feed each other, you are one step closer to ending the night cuddled up in each others arms.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? Let me know in the comment section below… Only a couple of days left until the big day!
-Brian

Simple DIY Halloween Decor Projects to Make With Your Kids!

Hey ya’ll,

Halloween is almost here! So today, I’m featuring four simple DIY décor projects you can do with your kids that will leave your home or yard super spooky for party guests or trick-or-treaters.

Project #1: Ghostly Walkway

Put that collection of milk jugs in your recycling bin to good use by creating this lovely ghost-lit walkway!

Directions

  1. For this project, you need several milk jugs, some black construction paper or a black Sharpie and enough artificial candles to fill the jugs. (You can also use white twinkle lights!.
  2. Wash and dry each milk jug.
  3. Once dry, use a knife to cut a small hole in the bottom of each jug.
  4. Make ghost faces for each jug by cutting out a pair of eyes, a nose, and a mouth from the black construction paper.
  5. Turn the jug so that the handle faces the back. Glue the faces onto the front of the jug and place an artificial candle inside.
  6. Line the jugs along your walkway and turn the candles on. The jugs light up, illuminating the faces.

Pro Tip: You can also use white Christmas lights to light up the ghosts. Simply line the ghosts along the pathway, and insert a handful of the string lights inside each jug by cutting a hole in the back.

Project #2: Mad-Scientist Jars

Gather up your old canning jars and convert a table into a mad scientist’s lab. As for what to put inside each jar, use your imagination and then top it off with some water and different shades of food coloring. Look online for plastic fingers, eyeballs, and other body parts to fill your specimen jars. Make the jars and the rest of your decor seem even creepier by adding some glow sticks! Turn off overhead lights or switch them out with colored light bulbs, to increase the creepiness factor in your home.

Directions

  1. Collect a few glass jars in different sizes, such as mason jars, spaghetti jars, or old baby food containers.
  2. Find an object to place in each jar. For example, you could pop the head off an old Barbie doll and stick it inside one of the jars. Gummy worms are also a great option!
  3. Last, fill the jar with water and drop in two drops of food coloring.

Pro Tip: Around the Halloween season, craft stores sell small, plastic party favors. These party favors, including miniature skeletons, eyeballs, and severed limbs, all work well in specimen jars.

Project #3: Massive Lawn Spider

Spiders fit right into a spooky Halloween theme. You can transform a few black trash bags into a giant spider that fits on your front porch, or up in a tree. You can also make multiple giant spiders and cluster them across the front and sides of your home.

Directions

  1. You need nine black trash bags and stuffing such as newspaper, left over packing materials, or even leaves.
  2. Fill one trash bag with stuffing and tie it closed to create the spider’s body.
  3. Hold the second trash bag on its side and fill the length with stuffing.
  4. Wrap the empty bag around the stuffing several times, so that it looks like a spider’s arm, and secure it with a tie. Repeat this for the other seven legs.
  5. Use a glue gun to secure the legs to the body.

Pro Tip: You can cut off the bottom of red Solo cups and then glue them onto the body to make eyes. Use as many as you want!

Project #4: Vampire Pumpkins

I first saw this project on MarthaStewart.com, but then I found a fellow WordPress-er who attempted the project, so I decided to feature her tutorial instead. Click HERE to go to her blog, Shelter, where you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to turn cute miniature pumpkins into blood-thirsty vampires with beady red-eyes and a mouth full of fangs!

Here’s how mine came out: This project was fun, cheap and easy! I got my pumpkins for $1 each and purchased a 10-pack of plastic fangs for $2 at Target. When pumpkin shopping, I recommend getting a variety of sizes and colors. For the eyes, I used pearl-top long pins and painted them with a cheap bottle of red nail polish I grabbed at the drugstore. I’m still debating whether or not I should add blood to the vampires mouth and fangs… thoughts?

Let me know if you attempt any of these fun Halloween décor projects. In the meantime, what’s your favorite item to decorate with for Halloween? Candelabras? Cobwebs? Let me know in the comment section below. Happy crafting!
-Brian

“25 Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier” via the Daily Buzz

Via The Daily Buzz: http://www.thedailybuzz.com.au

Hey Ya’ll,
Thanks to a heads-up from my mother, today I’m re-blogging this excellent post entitled ’25 Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier’ from The Daily Buzz blog. These ingenious ideas will have you saying, “Why didn’t I think of that!?!”
Clever ideas: hull strawberries with a straw
Via: amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com

Use a straw to make hulling strawberries a snap!

Clever ideas: use a walnut to heal furniture scratches
Via: apartmenttherapy.com

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.

Clever ideas: WD40 for cleaning crayon off TV screens
Via: unplggd.com

Remove crayon drawings from your TV or computer screen with WD40 (also works on walls).

Clever ideas: keep a cut apple from going brown
Via: athomewithrealfood.blogspot.com

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.

Clever ideas: store bedlinen sets inside their pillowcases
Via: marthastewart.com

Overhaul your linen cupboard – store bedlinen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.

Clever ideas: bowl as iPhone sound amplifier
Via: realsimple.com

Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone / iPod in a bowl – the concave shape amplifies the music.

Cleaver ideas: wet wipe dispenser as plastic bag storage
Via: savvyhousekeeping.com

Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.

Clever ideas: baby powder to remove sand from feet
Via: iheartnaptime.net

Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily – who knew?!

Clever ideas: velcro strip on wall to hold soft toys
Via: realsimple.com

Attach a velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.

Clever ideas: gift wrap storage on cupboard ceiling
Via: flickr.com

Look up! Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.

Clever idea: stocking over vacuum to pick up lost items
Via: instructables.com

Gotcha! Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose.

Clever idea: box lid cupcake holder
Via: realsimple.com

Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.

Clever idea: how to fold a fitted sheet
Via: stephmodo.com

For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.

Clever idea: magnetic bobbypin storage
Via: sprwmn.blogspot.com

Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins (and tweezers and clippers) behind a vanity door

Clever idea: use shower caps to hold shoes when packing
Via: realsimple.com

A tip for holiday packing. Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel!

Clever idea: muffin pan craft storage
Via: familyfun.go.com

A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.

Clever idea: bread tags as cable labels
Via: unplggd.com

Bread tags make the perfect-sized cord labels.

Clever idea: cook cupcakes in ice cream cones
Via: kiboomu.com

Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones – so much more fun and easier for kids to eat. Definitely doing this!

Clever idea: microwave your own popcorn in a plain paper bag
Via: squawkfox.com

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

Clever idea: use a tension rod to hang spray bottles
Via: jengrantmorris.blogspot.com

Brilliant space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles. Genius!

Clever idea: how to make heart-shaped eggs
Via: 9gag.com

Win friends at breakfast with this heart-shaped egg tutorial.

Clever idea: use upside-down muffic pan to make cookie bowls
Via: wilton.com

Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila – you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream. Click here for recipe.

Clever idea: freeze aloe vera lotion for soothing burns
Via: realsimple.com

Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.

Clever idea: gutter veggie garden
Via: lifehacker.com.au

Gutter garden: Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.

Clever idea: egg cartons for Christmas ornament storage
Via: re-nest.com

Idea #25: Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.

BONUS TIP: Egg cartons also make egg-cellent jewelry and hair accessory organizers in bathroom drawers (for both kids and adults!).

For more awesome tips and tricks, head to www.TheDailyBuzz.com.au. Let me know in the comment section below if any of these tricks surprised you!
-Brian

Give a Little Love: Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts!

Hey Ya’ll,

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Are you ready? If not, today I’m sharing a few last minute gift ideas that work for just about any kind of Valentine… as long as they have an appetite!

Personally, whenever I’m struggling in the gift department, I usually go for a bottle of wine or flowers or something edible because let’s face it, almost everyone loves being surprised with a treat! In terms of sweets, cupcakes and cakepops are all the rage right now. Here are a few of my favorite creations:


If mini-cakes aren’t your sweetheart’s thing, whip up a batch of heart-shaped rice crispy treats!

Add red dye to the marshmallow and rice crispy mix or lightly dust the hearts with sprinkles before they cool for an even more festive gift. Wrap each individual heart in cellophane and top them off with pink or red ribbon.

Homemade cookies and suckers are also a fun gift to make for Valentine’s Day. Here are a few cute ideas:
If you really want to be unique, surprise your Valentine with a hearty breakfast…

via petitekitchenesse.com

via poppytalk.blogspot.com

My last edible gift idea is one that caught my eye on Pinterest (Check back Wednesday for more on this awesome website!)…
You’ll need, a days-of-the-week pill divider, seven different types of candy, plus, seven thin strips of paper with sweet nothings printed on them.

Tip: Instead of putting candy in every compartment, insert tiny tokens of your affection like jewelry or trinkets that remind you of them or your favorite dates or places you’ve been together.

That’s it! I hope these last minute gift ideas help you create extraordinary experiences this Valentine’s Day. And remember, the best gift of all is your undivided love and attention, so don’t forget to give that to your Valentine too!
-Brian