DIY Graveyard Terrariums

I have always loved dioramas and terrariums. Making them in school was one of my favorite projects every year? Do kids still get to do dioramas in class? I really hope so. At any rate, grown ups can make a diorama any time the mood strikes, and the mood struck me for Halloween. What’s neater than a graveyard terrarium, or three?

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Here’s the close up photos (glass is so hard to photograph, especially if you’re lazy like me and using a camera phone) –

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Not only were they incredibly easy to throw together, they were also affordable. The large glass bowl I found at a thrift store for $2. The small glass bowls were at Dollar Tree for $1 each. The Spanish moss, wire tree, gargoyles (comes in a 3-pack) and graveyard fence (in the large bowl) were all picked up at Dollar Tree for $1 each. The Lemax Spooky Town coffins were scored at Michaels with a 40% off coupon for $3 for a 3-pack (and they are currently on sale for an even better price of $2!). The coffins are also Lemax Spooky Town from Michaels, and I picked up a 5-pack for the same price (and they’re on sale for $2 right now too, for an even better score).

All I did was plunk a handful of Spanish moss into each jar and arrange the stuff on top until I thought it looked interesting. So for five minutes and $15 you can have a trio of spooky grave yard terrariums to deck out the house for Halloween.

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Pinterest Project: Halloween Crystal Ball

Every once in a great while, I dig deep and muster up some motivation to actually do a project that I pin on Pinterest. Friends, today is that day. I’ve been talking about making these awesome crystal balls (at Flamingo Toes) for Halloween for at least a few years now –

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I haven’t made a whole ton of them yet, but I did get one done and I’m supremely pleased it with. It cost me less than $5 to make – I picked up the candlestick and the transparency sheets (a huge box) at a thrift store for just $2. And the clear plastic ornament I got at Michaels for just under $2 as well, though they do sell these at Dollar Tree for $1 each now as well. The black spray paint we had on hand already. I just sprayed the candlestick black (it was brown wood before). Then I printed the images on a transparency sheet, cut out the one I wanted, gently folded it to put into the globe, and hot glued the globe to the top of the candlestick. Pretty simple! So, how do you think my version turned out?

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DIY Winter Landscape Jars

I promised you some easy, affordable holiday crafts this season, so here we are. The nice thing about making winter landscape jars is they truly last through the entire winter season since they’re not specific to Christmas. And I love miniatures, so these are right up my alley. This year’s rendition –

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I’ve got them on my counter. Those jars usually hold fruit, or cookies but I found another spot for those things for the season because they’re just too perfect not to craft with. I’ve had them forever; I think I picked them at a yard sale years and years ago. When I was first starting out without much space or money, they held flour and sugar. Now I buy both in bulk and thus use much larger containers!

Recreating the look yourself is incredibly easy. If you don’t already have the jars, making two is going to set you back around $25. Not bad, especially since you can use the jars year-round for other things. If you already have the jars, you’re looking at less than $10, which is an especially good deal. As for me, I had the jars already and found two bags of Department 56 faux snow for $1 each at Goodwill, so I came in at $5.50 for two jars. So it all depends on the discounts and thrifting you can luck out on.

If you need to buy jars for this project, Hobby Lobby carries Anchor Hocking lidded cracker jars for $9 each –

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You can also get creative with the container you use – a large vase, mason jar, apothecary jar, glass bowl – whatever you want. So if you don’t have the cash to drop on a set of new jars, check out your cupboards; you might have something that will work just as well and be completely unique.

This is the Department 56 snow I was able to snag at Goodwill –

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I was seriously so excited to find it – perfect for Christmas decorating. I always keep a sharp eye out in the crafts sections of thrift stores. There are usually goodies to be had. If you can’t make a thrift store score, Hobby Lobby sells similar powder snow for $6 –

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Next up, you need some figurines to put in your jar. I went with bottle brush trees and tiny dollhouse deer. Hobby Lobby does sell bottle brush trees, but this year so does Dollar Tree! A 4 pack of bottle brush trees costs just $1 and they have a few different kinds to choose from –

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The miniature deer were a bit elusive to me at first, but I ended up finding them at Hobby Lobby in the dollhouse miniatures section. A package of six is just $1.50 –

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Assembling the jars is easy – dump in the snow, plunk in the trees and arrange the deer.  In the jar on the right I created a hill by dumping the snow on one side of the jar while holding it tilted back, then carefully righting it so the snow stayed mounded on one side. And that’s it! A five minute craft at a halfway decent price – win!

DIY Halloween Round Up

Since we are knee-deep in repair negotiations to buy the house, packing up all of our worldly possessions (I am going to be highly annoyed if the contract falls through…) and keeping up with daily life here, I haven’t had much time to do anything interesting enough to write about. So I thought I would take a moment to share some of my favorite DIY Halloween crafts from around the web. I’m a big believer that a great looking home, well decked out for a holiday, shouldn’t cost a fortune. With a little creativity and time, great results can be achieved. Some of my favorites for Halloween this year –

Coffin Craft

This coffin diorama from The Glamorous Housewife is great. She uses a wood coffin (you can find it at craft stores or online for about $3 each). Bethany uses a sticker pack for the items inside, but I’ve got my eye on the haunted village accessories at Dollar Tree for this one – a wire tree, and some tombstones would be perfect –

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Dollar Tree also sells Spanish moss in the floral section. If you don’t already have black and orange paint on hand, you can usually pick up small bottles 2 for $1 at places like Michaels when they have their paint sales. So if you go the Dollar Tree route, you can have a pretty neat three dimensional graveyard diorama for just about $7! Not to bad!

Another easy on the budget Halloween craft that caught my eye is embroidery hoop spider webs. This is super easy to do is you happen to have the stuff on hand, but if you don’t, a wooden embroidery hoop will cost about $4, a package of spider web rings will be $1 at Dollar Tree and I could swear I’ve seen crocheted doilies at places like Dollar Tree or Family Dollar, but you can also order a dozen on them online for about $15 – making each one just $1.33 each. Hey, could you put them all over the house or split the order with friend or two. At about $6 a pop, that’s pretty affordable!

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Crystal ball candlesticks by Flamingo Toes is another easy DIY that really pops. This one is just so cool – I’ve already got all of the supplies I need to make mine, now I just need to take the time to do it! Candlesticks are easy – you can buy cheap ones from Dollar Tree, or pick up some truly unique numbers at the thrift shop. I found an awesome wooden one at Goodwill awhile back for just $1. The acrylic ornament globes can be picked up at Michaels for a few bucks a piece, but it looks like Dollar Tree will have some out this year for Christmas crafting! And since we majorly holiday jump in this country and I’ve already seen the Christmas gear popping up at stores, check your local Dollar Tree! You may be able to find some to use in your holiday crafting.

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The most expensive part of the craft are the printable inkjet transparency sheets. They are crazy expensive. Avery seems to have the best price, and they’re a brand I really rely on for printables. They’re selling a box of 20 sheets for about $20. Shopping around on Amazon, I found a shop selling a box of 20 for just $10. And you can always look for coupons or sales, and definitely remember that once you buy a box you have it in your crafting arsenal for future projects, and you can always split it with a friend. Once you break down the per-piece price, it’s only $0.50 – $1 each, which isn’t bad. So if you get lucky on your other materials, you can make a grouping of crystal balls for a pretty good price – if you do 5, if you shop around and get some good deals on your materials, it’ll only cost you $11 ($5 for 5 ornaments at Dollar Tree, $5 for 5 candlesticks second hand and $1 for a transparency sheet, since you can print all 5 images on one piece). I suppose you’ll have to spend another dollar on spray paint if you don’t have some on hand, but $12 for 5 pieces? A place like Anthropologie would charge at least $12 each!

Oh, and one other thing about the transparency film – keep your eyes peeled when you’re out thrifting. I’ve picked up printable magnet sheets, iron-on transfers and specialty card stocks for pennies on the dollar. People buy a big pack and have extras they don’t plan to use, or they get rid of them when they cull through their craft supplies. So you can score that way too! I always grab them when I see them even if I don’t have a specific project in mind, because it’s just such a huge savings.

And last but not least, what about a super easy Halloween costume, especially if you want something understated by still spooky?

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This is one is “good thing” from none other than Martha Stewart. I’m pretty partial to the spiders, and I’m going to do some to punch up my otherwise ordinary witch costume for this year. Printable tattoo paper isn’t cheap either – it’s going to be about $20 for 5 sheets, so about $4 per sheet. But where else can you get a $4 Halloween costume? So in the end, it’s all relative, and remember – you’ve got more sheets for more projects. I just happen to have a few sheets on hand in my crafting stash, so this year it’s “free” for me!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite spooky projects for this year. I’ve pinned a ton more, so please feel free to browse my Halloween Pinterest board if you’d like some more ideas. Happy Haunting!

The Haunted Village – Year Two Upgrades

You may recall that last year I made my own version of haunted village that I first came across on The 36th Avenue. It was great fun and I’m really looking forward to displaying it again this year. But of course I can hardly be convinced to leave well enough alone, and so have been on the quest to accessorize my village on the cheap.

This is what it looked like last year –

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I was really excited to discover that Dollar Tree has added their own haunted village to the lineup this year –

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But since I already have houses that I like from last year, I just picked up a few accessories to round out the scene –

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Just $3.00 total for two trees and a trio of gargoyles! Not too shabby. And since I can’t help myself, I decided to check out what Michaels had on offer, since I had a 40% off coupon to use. So I picked up a set of coffins for just $3.00. Not sure if I’ll put them in the village or not – I may do some creepy faux terrariums with some of the stuff as well –

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I love DIY and Halloween is one of the best times of the year for decorating the house! I’ll be sure to post some updated pictures as soon as I have everything arranged – I think it’ll really turn out great!

Halloween Snapshots

My hands smell like Brussels sprouts. I just finished prepping and blanching a whole quart of them for the freezer. I’ve been busy putting up the last of the produce since we put the garden to bed earlier this week. I still have four heads of red cabbage to deal with – planning on making sauerkraut with that. I also have three butternut squashes, a pint of jalapenos, and a pint of sweet peppers to freeze. And that will conclude the garden preserving for this year. I also have a couple of pecks of apples to turn into pie filling from an orchard visit last weekend.

But that’s not really what this post is about. I was thinking that it’s unfair that I’m talking about all of the Halloween decorating I’m doing in a roundabout way, and not showing off what I’ve done around the apartment first hand. So I got over my case of the lazies and pulled out the camera so you can see a few of my favorite things – as they look in my real life place!

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This is the wall that greets you when you walk in the back door to the kitchen. To the right is the living room (which you can just see a peek of) and to the left is the kitchen. The pantry closet is what’s behind the wall. I love the way this little vignette looks, and the price was right. I got the wooden skeletons at Target for $2.00 a piece, and the bats are the paper cutouts I found in a package of 15 for $1.00 at Dollar Tree. So this whole arrangement came out to about $6.50! I love a good decorating deal.

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Continuing our tour into the kitchen, here are the window stickies I mentioned in the Dollar Store Decorating: Halloween post. And you can kind of see my glittered gourds, which I display in a plastic cauldron. And yes, that’s our old bistro table from the deck at the last place – we need to get a proper dining table for this new place still!

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Here’s another little scene from the kitchen – my milk glass and a collection of gourds. I keep cookies in the cookie jar (of course!), and white sugar, cinnamon sugar and tea in the canisters. And there’s my Little Dipper simmer pot!

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In the living room, I’ve got a few photographs adorned with some more of those paper cutouts from Dollar Tree – a little hint of creepy here and there!

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And this is probably my favorite decorated spot in the house right now. Some more of the Dollar Tree paper bats on the wall, some of my glittered pumpkins, and milk glass tumblers at candle holders. Since I’ve got a toddler about now, I’m using battery-operated tea lights. And the wooden vampire and ghost figures are Dollar Tree finds from a few years ago. I really like wooden decor – it holds up year over year, so when I find something I like, I snap it up and use it again and again.

I’ve got some more candle holders around (some of the pumpkin tea light holders from the Target One Spot) and a ceramic jack-o-lantern that I put out every year, plus some wooden wreaths and signs about too. But the above pics are my favorites from the season thus far. Hope you enjoyed seeing a little taste of our new place all decked out for fall.

Dollar Store Decorating: Halloween

I am a big fan of Dollar Tree – everything in the store is literally a dollar and they’ve got some real treasures if you’ve got a creative eye.

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These Martha Stewart spider silhouettes are great, but at nearly $15 for a package of 10, a bit pricey. Dollar Tree has packages of 15 this year for $1 each, and they have spiders, bats and mice. I bought two of each!

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What’s creepier than bugs crawling up the doors and walls? The above image is from the Delia Creates tutorial on how to make magnetic spiders. It’s a great idea for those with metal doors, or to use on the fridge. Since I don’t have a metal door, I just put mine on the wall using poster putty. And of course, I like to glitter mine. Dollar Tree always has bags of spider rings, and you can usually find other creepy crawlies there as well – I picked up a mixed bag of spiders, cockroaches and centipedes last year.

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The above image is from The Charm of Home’s tutorial on how to decorate a mantel with a decorated window pane. She cleverly uses window clings on a glass window frame backed with scrap book paper, which is great way to class up window clings. I actually bought the exact same ones at Dollar Tree this year, and I lazily just stuck them on the kitchen window. But the point is, while there are a lot of really hokey, awful window clings out there, you can usually find a few sets that you can work with in a fun way.

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The above image is from In These Small Moments, and while she picked up her fake gourds at Michaels, they always sell bags of them at Dollar Tree. They also sell plastic skeletons and skulls that you can glitter as well, as I did a few years ago.

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And from CraftElf  we have a great use for candy corn. I know exactly one person that enjoys eating that stuff. So with two Dollar Tree vases and a bag of candy corn, you can have a cute flower arrangement for fall. Or you can swap out the flowers for a candle and only fill the vase halfway.

So, can you decorate your house for Halloween on a $10 budget without it looking hokey or dumb? You bet. And when in doubt, just glitter it.