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megan

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Megan is the author of the Hungry Little Blackbird, a food blog where she shares her recipes and adventures in life. As a mom of four and a foodie by compulsion, Megan is quite active in the kitchen. But her skills aren’t limited to the culinary arts. Megan is also an avid crafter and a former newspaper columnist.

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I’ve learned a thing or two about crafting both with kids and crafting when the kids in the house are awake. And bored.

1. It’s got to be simple. There’s no room for fancy sewing machines (as I’d originally

intended to use when making a fabric Halloween bunting) or other fancy equipment that require sharp needles around little, inquisitive hands.

2. It’s got to be fast. My kids give me about 10 minutes worth of good, focused attention on any given project. After that, I’ll find a baby with a gallon of glitter dumped on her head and my walls covered with cave drawings (created using my super-expensive scrapbooking markers, obviously).

This project fit the bill. We don’t have much by way of Halloween decor since we moved across the country this past June. Lucky for us, my craft supplies made it.

The inspiration for this project came from a blog I blindly clicked through a few weeks ago. I really liked the book pages used as the individual flags and after a quick trip to the local craft store, I came back with plenty of material that would be useful embellishments for a spooky theme.

Truth be told, I did feel a small pang of anguish as I ripped apart a book to use it’s pages for my Halloween fun…but it soon passed as soon as we got the glue and glitter on it.

They’re just too cute.

This particular project had pretty inexpensive and plentiful materials, so I made a smaller version for my 3-year-old (nicknamed “Boo” since birth, by the way) to work on while I did the larger version. He used stickers I had around the stash box to decorate his flags and it gave me a chance to work on my own project.

Use the supplies you have on hand!

Supplies:

  • Ribbon or raffia cut to desired bunting length
  • Book pages (I used a trade paperback and it was the perfect size)
  • Hot glue (I’m sure normal white glue would work, too…I just don’t have the patience to wait for it to dry!)
  • Acrylic paint and brush
  • Construction paper
  • Various colors of glitter
  • Assorted Halloween stickers or embellishments (I found medium-sized black bat stickers)

Instructions:

Glue ribbon edges down to prevent fraying.

1. I used my hot glue gun to secure the edges of the ribbon down to guard against fraying.  (And yes, I realize it was a gamble to bring this smoking hot accessory out with my 3-year-old around,but it was a risk I was willing to take).

2. Tear enough pages from a book (I used a book I picked up at a garage sale) to populate your banner. I used seven. Two for candy corn decorations, two bats, and three for the letters. Cut the rough edge you got from tearing, and then stack them together to cut some sort of fancy edge along the bottom. I chose to get rid of the page number, too.

Fold pages over the ribbon and secure with glue.

3. Lay the ribbon decorate side down and space out your flags. I placed the pages underneath the ribbon with enough room at the top to put a line of glue. When the glue was down, I folded the top down and secured the flag. I used tape to mark out the spacing between flags.

4. When the glue is no longer a danger to your fingers, children, or counter tops (I learned the hard way, thankee very much), flip it over and decorate. I used construction paper to make candy corn appliques and the bat stickers. The center three flags became B-O-O.

5. My last step was the glitter. What fun is a project without glitter? I dotted white glue randomly around the flags and sprinkled black and orange glitter around. I think my 15-month-old tried to eat some of the orange sparkles at one point, but, you know, no harm no foul. Everything’s better with glitter–even my kids!

Happy Funtober!

Can a house have too much orange and black decor this time of year? I doubt it.
Around these parts, we love candles.

They’re cozy. They’re festive. And when you take a quick trip to the craft store, customizing them for whatever occasion you fancy is pretty easy. I had most of this on hand and had a few extra buttons in the sewing box that fell into the orange and black theme.

The best part of this project? It’s incredibly inexpensive. The total cost didn’t go over $4, and now I have extra glitter for more Funtober goodness!

Supplies:

  • Small glass votive holders
  • Mod Podge
  • Glitter
  • Glue gun/glue sticks
  • Decorative Ribbon
  • Buttons

 Directions:

These are so simple to make I almost feel guilty.

I started by removing those remarkably stubborn and remarkably annoying price stickers from the candle holders. (Did you know that baby wipes are a crafter’s secret when it comes to removing glued on bits of paper from glass? It’s true. And now you’re in on the big secret, too!)

You have a choice here when it comes to your set up. You can put the glitter on the inside or the outside of the glass. I went for the inside because I wasn’t looking forward to vacuuming glitter for the next six weeks. When you choose to put the glitter inside the glass, however, I recommend you use a battery-operated LED votives. Real flame votives might be a fire hazard.

I didn’t have much of a theme in mind for the first glass. I coated the entire inside with the Mod Podge and went crazy with the orange glitter. It was fun. I’d recommend shaking glitter around as a form of stress relief to anybody!

With the first one down, I got creative and painted a stripe in the center of the inside glass. I added black glitter and let it dry. I followed up with Mod Podge on either side of the black stripe and shook in orange glitter. Voila! A masterpiece!

To make it extra fancy, I fired up the glue gun and added a ribbon around the outside and secured it into place. To hide the glued-down ribbon flap (the scientific name for that annoying bump in your decor) I glued on a button or two.

The patterns and ribbon/button combinations are endless and can vary depending on what you have on hand.

Happy Funtober!

Before having kids and getting married, pumpkins served a single purpose for me. They were meant to be gauged and poked and scraped into some semblance of a Jack’0′Lantern (I’m terrible at carving pumpkins, by the way. Something about the “guts” and the icky sticky feeling. Yuck!).

After that, in my wilder years, they were good for tossing at a random mailbox or two. I kid! I kid!

But ever since marrying a Prince Charming with a serious taste for all things pumpkin pie, I’ve been working on developing my pumpkin taste buds. It’s a slow process for someone who group up on the pecan pie side of the great Thanksgiving pie divide, but I’m getting there. And for what it’s worth, I now believe we can all live happily on BOTH sides of the pie line. More pie! Who doesn’t love more pie?

So for what it’s worth, these didn’t last an entire 24 hours in my house. That’s more of a recommendation than any adjective that I can conjure up. My family ate the whole pan. Fast.

I prefer bars over pies when it comes to the kids. Bars are a little easier to package with foil and slip into a lunch box for a sweet cafeteria surprise. Pies are a little trickier and often end in me up late scrubbing bit of crust and filling from all manner of lunch box nook and cranny. True story!

I traded the usual graham crust I use and broke out the gingersnaps. Wow! Talk about a spicy, exciting difference and no more work than a normal cookie/graham crust.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 and 1/4 cup smashed gingersnaps
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pumpkin Pie Bars

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (13 1/2 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Directions:

For crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter with a fork until crumbly. Press into prepared 8X8 baking dish and bake 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

For filling:

Combine filling ingredients in large bowl and mix by hand until smooth, about two minutes. Pour over hot crust and bake approximately 35 minutes, until center sets. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Happy Funtober!