Tag Archives: Halloween

Happy Halloween from Madeline

5 Nov

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I felt a little silly as we approached our neighbor’s house so Emilia could have her first trick-or-treating experience this year. For weeks, Brian and I worked on trying to get her to say just “treat” but the whole concept seemed a little over her head. There was also the Halloween candy she enjoyed for w-e-e-k-s ahead of time. I shudder to think of what her dentist will say. I figure, they’re just the baby teeth, right? But I think introducing the candy early was probably what saved the night.

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There was also the fact that she’d just been sewn into her Madeline costume which I slaved over for about a week and half prior to Halloween but finished as night fell, day-of. I winged the design, but based it on a similar style dress of Emilia’s that fit a little big so you can imagine the amount of cursing when the little shift dress I’d sewn barely fit over her head. The back had to be cut open a bit which I was able to conceal by cutting the cape a bit longer but the whole “homemade costume” fantasy I’d had was pretty much dust from the moment I used press-n-seal bonding glue as a shortcut to finish the red cape tie on Day 1 of Project-Homemade-Costume. Here’s hoping next year’s costume is easier to DIY than this one. I didn’t even attempt to track down a Madeline hat because I knew she probably wouldn’t want to wear it, which was smart in hindsight, though it would have been so cute for photos.

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Cut to the moment she saw the candy. Her eyes went wide as saucers and she basically dove into the candy bowl. We practically ran between houses with her after that. And if there was a family pet in the house, Emilia welcomed herself in for a meet and greet.

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We only toured our immediate neighborhood and met a few of the neighbors we’d not yet had a chance to connect with since we moved in, but it was such a fun time. Especially since Emilia’s Nana and her Aunt and godmother, Skylar, accompanied us.

5She was an absolute pro at knocking on doors and absolutely charming with everyone she met, smiling and waving and politely only taking ONE piece of candy despite absolutely barreling towards the candy like a maniac, and immediately depositing it into her little candy corn trick or treat bag from my mom. (She’s been obsessed with this bad since it first came into her hands — it’s been her near-constant accessory for the last month).
10So all in all, a really great night! The little munchkin enjoyed a few M&Ms but was in bed shortly after returning home for the night, a little after 7 PM. Then Brian and I watched the new Ghostbusters which was absolutely hilarious, before passing out in a sugar coma. I’m so excited for future years of trick-or-treating as she gets a little older and starts to have some sense of what it’s all about and what she wants to dress as.

I don’t imagine we’ll ever be totally into Halloween the way we are about Christmas and I can’t see us dressing up for a family costume, but I did toss around a Game of Thrones costume idea to Brian the other day with Emilia as the Khaleesi and some stuffed dragons, just for fun.

DIY Halloween Banner

30 Oct

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Since my wedding I’ve been kind of obsessed with fabric banners. But my sewing machine is on the fritz so I turned to my first love—paper. I wanted something that said “Happy Halloween” but wasn’t tied to a design beyond that. A few Google Image searches later, I found the above design and fell in love.*

Downloading and printing to some cardstock was easy but stringing it up was trickier so I wanted to share some tools and tips:

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To string the banner I needed to create holes for the ribbon to pass through. There is actually a ribbon craft punch for this but I don’t have it so I grabbed my exacto knife and some quilting supplies: a Fiskars self-healing cutting mat (LOVE this thing!) and clear acrylic ruler. As long as you’re very careful about blade pressure, you should be OK cutting on the self-healing mat but I should warn that it’s not meant for this and you could damage yours if you’re not careful. So proceed gently.
IMG_9043I measured over roughly .24″ and cut a series of straight lines to form an elongated rectangle. I didn’t obsess over getting it perfectly measured, but I did use a ruler to guide me for the free-hand cutting. Test your ribbon width and length on the first few to make sure you’re allowing enough room for it to easily pass through.

IMG_9080Once the ribbon was strung, I laid out the entire banner on the floor to fix spacing. I decided not to glue the individual pennant pieces to the ribbon so I can change for spacing in the future if hanging on a mantel, larger doorway, or wall. But I wanted to make sure the same amount of ribbon was on each side of the end pieces, so I measured out about 12″ extra on each side for some wiggle room.

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Since I’d measured the “extra” ribbon end pieces so carefully once I’d spaced out from the middle, I decided to subtly mark the spot where both the end pieces were aligned (as well as the centered, middle pennant piece) for future reference. I just used a Sharpie to blacken out some of the ribbon’s detailing—easy.

The final product:

Printable Happy Halloween banner

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It would have been so much easier to just glue it to some ribbon but I wanted to make it so it lasts for at least a few Halloweens. So I splurged on the cardstock printing and took the time to string the ribbon and I’m so glad I did! It hangs so nicely and has received tons of compliments.

* Cannot for the life of me track down the file now! So sorry for those who have asked for it. The search continues. In the meantime, here is a link to another Halloween banner we printed this year too, (below). It didn’t get the same treatment as the other banner, but it’s still cute I think. Happy-almost-Halloween!

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How To: Preserve a Carved Pumpkin

27 Oct

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I did it. For the first time ever I carved a pumpkin I’m not embarrassed to show anyone. Huzzah! I still kind of think that using a stencil is cheating, but after years of duds I was willing to try anything. Once I successfully got the thing taped to the pumpkin, it was a breeze. It’s sad to think it won’t last forever so I did a little research on how to keep it looking fresh for as long as possible. Here are some of the tips that have helped so far:

Before carving

– Wash your pumpkin with warm soapy water to clean it and reduce the spread of mold. *FYI: Pumpkins are often fertilized with manure so you don’t want to skip this step. Just learned that this year. Fun!

IMG_9556After carving

– Immediately soak your pumpkin (yes, the entire thing) in a sink, bucket, or tub filled with a simple DIY Pumpkin Preservative mixture of 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of cold water. I also added two trays of ice cubes to mine and forced them into the interior cavity of my carved pumpkin to help keep it chilled while it re-hydrated. Soak for 8 hour or overnight. (I promise it will not turn your pumpkin to mush.) This re-hydrates and discourages mold.

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– Let air dry, then spray the inside and outside with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of bleach in cold water before smearing petroleum jelly on all the cut surfaces. Re-apply as necessary to protect cut surfaces from air and spray your pumpkin with preservative spray daily to discourage the growth of mold. I just mixed mine in a travel spray bottle labeled with a cut Post-it covered with clear tape. Quick + easy. Make sure you remember not to re-use the spray bottle for anything else though since bleach is a chemical. Once we pack up our Halloween decorations, I’ll probably just store it (rinsed and dried) so I can re-use next year.

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– If you can, store your pumpkin in the fridge when not in use. Protect from heat, direct sunlight and rain.

General Tips

– Don’t carve the top. Leaving the stem intact helps the pumpkin retain moisture. I also found that I gained more surface carving space at the top and had an easier time accessing the flameless candle by carving the hole in the bottom.

– Use a flameless candle.  I love the look of a flickering candle too, but it dries the pumpkin out so we switched to some flameless ones I found on Amazon. Inglow is my favorite brand because the candles have a wax exterior so they feel like real candles. I also found that their glow and flicker is a bit more realistic than other brands.

Hope some of these tips help! Don’t take my word for it, try them out; I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. So far, my pumpkin is mold free. And if you have any tips that you have found particularly effective, I’m love to hear them.