Halloween Crafts

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I had a blast decorating for Halloween this year, and I think the most fun was figuring out how to make use of things we already had around the house. It wasn’t as all-out-crazy as the Jack-o-Lantern Blaze down the road, but festive nonetheless.

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I am pleased with how my Trick or Treat “Wreath” turned out. It took no time at all, really! I was inspired by this one, found via, this blog, although I didn’t find a specific tutorial for one. Adding black feathers gave it texture and depth.

BLACK CIRCLE: I Just accordion-folded some black construction paper then folded them in half to fan out the folds (it took 3 sheets to make the round circle). Then I bunched strips of orange tissue paper and taped each “pleat” to each alternating fold. It was like sewing a ruffle, only with paper and tape instead of fabric and thread.

ORANGE CIRCLE: Then I cut out a round of orange paper, decoupaged it to a piece of cereal box and cut that out. I then added silver glitter to the edges.

TEXT PLATE: The “Trick or Treat” piece was created in Adobe Illustrator, printed, and decoupaged to another piece of cereal box. It helps to cut the cereal box to size once you’ve decoupaged the piece to it, so you are sure it is a perfect fit.

ASSEMBLY: I glued feathers in every 3rd pleat, then glued on the orange circle and text plate. The ribbon should be attached to the center folded paper parts, but I was in a rush and quickly punched a hole in one of the folds instead. I will rehang the ribbon to the center to save it for next year.

PumpkinCandles

These pumpkin candles (larger ones shown above in the entry photo) were surprisingly long to complete. They are really easy, however, and are a great way to use glass jars from your recycling bin. They look almost papier maché when finished. Just cut strips of tissue paper and decoupage them to the jars. Voilà! Check out this blog for the inspiration.

WhiteCandles

These white candle jars were peeking out from the window to the left of the door. They were the most quickly completed project (and a bit of an afterthought), but I still ran out of time to make an appropriate height of paper tube for the one on the right. Oh well. The left two images are downloads from Martha Stewart. The raven is an image I found online and then reworked in Illustrator (just using the live trace option to create clean lines) and printed out. The candle on the right says “NEVERMORE” but again, could use some reworking (and I would use a smaller font size next time). A cool effect, though. I just taped the paper to glass jam jars.

Hope everyone had a wonderfully spooky holiday!

Halloween

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Happy Halloween!

To prepare for today’s festivities, we carved our first jack-o-lantern last night (after playing in the leaves, photo above):

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Then this afternoon we had to get serious about dressing ourselves up.

Costume #1 for Jax was a lion, which Jax wore at preschool. He wasn’t digging the restrictiveness of the hood today, so we moved on to a last-minute costume #2:

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Cowboy!

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But the hat refused to stay on, so we moved on to impromptu costume #3:

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LumberJax!

And that one stuck for a while.

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Jax, Seth, and I had a fun time seeing all the trick-or-treaters come in some pretty cool costumes. He was a wonderful greeter and a big hit with the other kids (maybe that’s because he was giving out playdough in addition to candy bars?)

Even though I don’t think he could make sense of it all, Jax was definitely in a festive mood ?? and stayed up waaaay past his bedtime!

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Welcome Home

We moved over four months ago and are still settling in: there are so many projects we’d like to get to! Updating kitchen, repainting, installing ceiling fans, new windows, adding a deck… but for now we have barely furnished the place and are still staring at a lot of bare walls. The tag sales around here have been great in helping us furnish the empty rooms in what still feels like a mansion. What a difference an extra 1100+ square feet can make.

So keeping in mind that this is a work in progress, I present to you our first official house tour, from front to back:

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The front view in mid-summer, with blooming perennials.

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This side is the only sunny outdoor space we have, so the previous owners put up several window boxes to grow herbs and vegetables.

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First lawn-mowing.

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Check out the tropical flowers to the right! Oh yeah, and to the left is a sweet baby testing out a tricycle.

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Living/Dining Room

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A couch will line that wall on the left. We’re looking for something contemporary to balance out the antique-y feel of the other furniture.

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Living room stained glass window, made my one of the house’s previous owners.

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The fireplace we have yet to try. We now have a screen in front of it now, and plenty of wood in the backyard.
This artwork keeps changing spaces, but once we have some of our paintings out of storage, we’ll have better-decorated walls.

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Dining area: We plan to get a rustic dining room table made of reclaimed barn wood (there are a couple of places in Connecticut and Massachusetts that make them).

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Dining area looking out to the back yard.

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Dining room stained glass

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The kitchen, facing the front door.

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The den, which also serves as my office. My “desk” is a family heirloom: a farm table from Hoosick Falls, NY. The chairs we picked up at an antique store and could use a makeover.

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Heading upstairs…

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Stairway window

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Jax’s room is purple at the moment. I’d like to paint it an aqua color, but we’ll get to that in the spring.

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The crib is also a family heirloom from the Hoosick Falls farmhouse, which was completely redone to meet today’s safety standards.

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The upstairs full bath has the most cheerful Provençal look to it.

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…and more stained glass!

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Our bedroom takes the space of what was originally two bedrooms.

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Plenty of room for the port-a-crib, for a certain 1-year-old who likes to be close.

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I love my dressing nook.

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With my own south-facing window. The stained glass piece also came with the house.

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The backyard in June (it’s covered in leaves at the moment).

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Our gigantic oak tree.

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Set for many dinners al fresco.

Come visit!

What’s going on in my world

We had a fabulous weekend in Milwaukee for a dear friend’s baby shower. What a wonderful occasion to catch up! Jax and I successfully traveled alone, though upgrading to business class definitely made the experience go more smoothly than expected {thank you, Air Tran, for the affordable option!}. Here’s some other stuff going on:

~ Laura and Corey are in Bangkok! Follow their adventures here. We are desperate to figure out how to visit them at some point during their 6-month south-east Asian adventure. Can we swing it with a toddler?  This post about a dad traveling with his little girl in India is somewhat promising.

~ I am going to be an audience member on the Martha Stewart show next Friday and need to make a wild-animal mask of some sort. Shall I delve into papier maché? That is the big craft question of the week. I may just go the easy route and be a pheasant (most feathers you can buy in craft stores are pheasant ones). Monday is my deadline.

~ Yesterday was picture day at preschool and Jax was apparently all smiles. Can’t wait to see his first school pictures!

~ Oh yeah, did I mention I am working on my third dissertation chapter? Woot! When the choice is writing about 19th-century studies of hysteria and blogging, I’ve had to choose the former, but it’s been interesting. I have been slowly collecting house pictures, however, to give you all a virtual tour in my next post.

In the mean time, some snapshots of what we’ve been up to:

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We made pudding together.

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We went to a wedding in Brooklyn via train and subway.

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We tried on a Halloween costume.

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We played in the backyard leaves.

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And yesterday, had quite an artistic experience with paint!

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Sunday Afternoon Apple Picking

Autumn is in full swing here, but some beautiful summer-like weather on Sunday meant we could partake in fall’s activities under a warm sun. We decided it’d be a day to take advantage of one of the benefits of living in Westchester County: its proximity to some family farm fun.  This one-year-old thought it was a fabulous idea!

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We started the day with a pumpkin craft: I cut a piece of finger painting paper into the shape of a pumpkin, taped it to Jax’s highchair, and then put two little blobs of paint onto it. Remembering what my mom learned in a young children’s art workshop, I stuck only to primary colors to have Jax discover the result of mixing all by himself. So with a red blob and a yellow blog and lots of messy play, he made orange! I then used a leaf-shaped paper puncher to punch out colorful paper leaves in yellow, red, and orange, and added those to the mix. The result:

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After some delicious bagels at our neighbors’ (we have the nicest people living all around us!), we headed out to Stuart’s farm to see the real thing and pick our own apples.

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Try as Seth did to show him how to do pick apples, Jax mostly just studied the technique rather than try it himself.

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He knew all about tasting them, though.

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When our bag was full, we headed over to the pumpkin field and let Jax crawl all around.

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Then we finally found the perfect pumpkin to take home:

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So Jax waved good-bye as he crawled away:

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On our way out I took some shots of the random vestiges of farming’s past (Stuart’s Farm has been around since 1828):

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as well as its present day:

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That building to the right is the bakery, where we tasted a freshly-made doughnut. It was a totally new species of pastry to me.

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On our way out I snapped some photos of the autumn colors in their many forms.

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