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!

DIY Easter Egg Garlands – Dollar Tree Decorating

Yep, after completely ignoring Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day here on the blog (though I promise I did decorate for both of them in real life!) I am posting copiously about our Easter crafts. If, like me, you are a seriously lacking in the Easter decor department, festooning your house with ropes upon ropes of Easter egg garlands is probably the easiest way to go.

Here are just a couple of shots of the garlands we have up around the house (trust me, we have many more – especially in Little Man’s room, where we used brightly colored eggs). Also, sorry for the bad photo quality. I’m hoping that a poor photo is better than no photo at all.

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The paper mache egg stakes I picked up at 40% off at Hobby Lobby – I think I paid $1.20 for each of them. The wooden bunny cutout is from Dollar Tree, and the green egg “terrarium” is simply filled with leftover Easter eggs (the terrarium is from Dollar Tree too). Hint, hint – stay tuned for another Easter egg terrarium craft later this week.

Making the garlands is unbelievably easy, and each one costs less than $3 to make. You’ll need white fabric ribbon, 2 packages of eggs (I like the medium-sized ones, shown above) and a tapestry or candlewicking needle – one that’s big enough to take the ribbon through the eye, but small enough to fit through the holes in either end of the eggs. Speaking of the eggs – make sure you do pick up the eggs that have small holes in each end. Most of them seem to, especially the ones available at Dollar Tree, but not all of the ones on the market do. I happened to pick some up at Hobby Lobby recently that didn’t, so they got relegated to other purposes.

Assembling the garlands simply requires threading the needle with the ribbon and “sewing” the eggs together. I like to thread them onto the ribbon before I cut it from the spool, to make sure I have enough length to use a full two packages of eggs (which gives the best amount of drape for the space I’m decorating) without having to be fussy and measure the ribbon first.

Once I have all of the eggs on, I tie off the loose end in a loop for hanging. Don’t thread the eggs too tightly; you’ll want a little play in the ribbon so you can drape it and hang it how you like. Once you have the loose end situated, tie a loop in the ribbon still attached to the spool, and then cut it free. And that’s it! This is a great craft to make with kids. Older kids can do it entirely themselves, but even toddlers can help with this one – they can choose the color sequence of the eggs, and it’s a great memory/color recognition game to repeat the color sequence as you go along.

We’ve made at least half a dozen of these so far (and I still have another four packages of eggs left!) and they’ve instantly brightened up the house and made it feel festive and fun.

Pinterest Project: Halloween Haunted Village

Miniature villages are basically the adult equivalent of the dollhouse. They’re “home decorations”, therefore a grown woman can collect them, arrange the houses and people and accessories into cute little streetscapes and call it interior design. Like dollhouses, holiday villages are not cheap. I’d basically come to the conclusion that only rich people could have them. I mean, come on – a single house by Department 56 is about $100.00. For a tiny ceramic house. Yeah, I just do not think so. But I wasn’t going to give up.

I love browsing Pinterest. This time of year draws me to the Halloween and autumn crafts and decorations, and I’ve pinned a bunch of things that I’d love to try. A bunch of things that I look at and never do. But, on a whim I decided it was time to turn the board into reality. And of course the project I’ve picked is making my own Halloween haunted village! So there, rich people!

I was inspired by The 36th Avenue’s Dollar Store Halloween Village. It’s a genius idea, really – take something cheap and ugly, add spray paint and glitter and end up with something awesome. Here’s Desiree’s version –

Dollar Store Spooky Village

How neat is that? And she pulled it off for a serious fraction of the price of a single pre-made house. I basically followed her instructions to the letter, and ended up with awesomeness too.

First of, I gathered my supplies –

– 3 ceramic Christmas houses from Dollar Tree $3.00

– 2 packages of ceramic people figures from Dollar Tree $2.00

– fake spider webbing from Dollar Tree $1.00

– black glitter acrylic paint from Michaels $2.00

– brown picket fence from Michaels $3.00

– ceramic tombstones from Michaels $3.00

– battery operated purple mini light string $5.00

– Valspar black matte spray paint from Lowes $4.00 (I got the good stuff so I could use it on other projects, but I’m sure the $1.00 stuff would work just fine).

Everything I picked up at Michaels was either discounted or I had a coupon for, so that’s the way to go. If I paid full price for that stuff, it probably would’ve added ten dollars to my total. But as it stands, I came in at about $25.00 for everything. That’s a price I can handle without getting sticker shock.

Here’s the before shot of the little houses –

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Are they hideous or what? The colors are awful and the paint job is bad. Fortunately, they only looked like that for a moment. I took them out to the yard and sprayed them black.  Then I did a little highlighting with the black glitter paint. Here’s a close up of how the glitter paint looks –

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And here’s the whole streetscape –

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Their permanent home will be on a black molding shelf in the living room, but I don’t have it hung up yet so I set it up on the coffee table so I could show it off here. Here’s a picture without the flash so you can better see the purple lights –

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The house on the right has lights inside of it too, but the openings in the windows are a little small. I’m going to have husband try to widen them a bit with his Dremel.

One thing I did differently than The 36th Avenue was painting over the people’s faces – I wanted them to appear to be fully in shadow. So, what do you think? I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and it was quick and fun project to do.

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.