Jack-O-Lantern Jars

I finally got all my Halloween decor up including these cute little jack-o-lantern jars my daughter and I made years ago! So I decided to do a post on how to make your own! This would be a fun craft to do with your kids! I mean what kid doesn’t like to tear paper, play with glue and create something that they can bring out year after year!

The supplies you will need:

A glass jar of some sort (I used ball jars)

Orange and black tissue paper

Mod Podge (see below for a homemade ModPodge recipe)

Paint brush

Scissors

Your imagination!

First step is to rip up the orange tissue paper into pieces

Cut out the face shapes from the black tissue paper. (This can be tricky so this may be better suited for older kids. You can always have the younger ones draw the face on another piece of paper for you to use as a pattern so they can be involved in the design! )

I worked in sections painting the jar with the glue mixture and applying the orange paper pieces.

It’s ok to overlap pieces just make sure there is glue under the overlapping section to hold it down. I use my paint brush to apply the glue on the edges of each piece as I apply them.

Once the whole jar is covered with the orange paper and the glue mixture

you can add the face making sure to paint the area with the glue mixture before applying.

After you have the face on you will want to gently paint the whole jar with the glue mixture to seal it, then set it aside to dry.

Once it’s dry you can use it for candles or tea lights to add a little Halloween fun to a shelf or table! 🎃

………………………………………………………

Homemade ModPodge

Ingredients:

White Glue

Water

Recipe:

In a jar mix the white glue and water on a 2 to 1 ratio. So if you use 1/2c of glue you would add 1/4c of water.

Keep in a jar with lid

**Note: I used 2 tablespoons of glue to 1 tablespoon of water and would be enough to do probably 2 quart sized jars!

Turtle cupcakes…easy!

As you know I’m the birthday cupcake maker at work! We had two birthdays in October. I usually let hem pick what flavor they want. They said just surprise us and use what you have on hand. So I went to the pantry and came up with turtle cupcakes! I’m a semi homemade kinda cupcake maker….I mean why do all the measuring when they do it for you right?? 😉

<<<<
rted with a devils food box cake mix and followed the instructions other than I add instant coffee to the water (this gives the chocolate a deeper flavor) and I always sub Greek yogurt for the oil. This makes them healthy right…😂

Another tip is I always use an ice cream scoop to control the size of the cupcakes. It’s a perfect amount for a nice size cupcake and it makes them relatively uniform in size!

Then I bake according to the directions. In my oven they are usually done on the low end of the bake time recommendations.

After they have baked and cooled I cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake. This will give space to fill the cupcakes with carmel (keep the cone to replace after filling) I could make my own carmel but the stuff they pour over ice cream is pretty tasty don’t you think?? (Sorry I didn’t get pics of the last two steps as this post was an afterthought…😏)

After all the the cupcakes are filled replace the cone into the cupcake and then they are ready to frost! I used a dark chocolate buttercream (recipe below) But don’t feel bad if you decide to use ready made frosting it’s pretty tasty too!

After they are frosted I sprinkled chopped pecans and drizzled more carmel sauce over each cupcake! The girls loved these cupcakes and a few of them said they were their favorite that I have made them! Hope you give this recipe a try! If you do let me know how they turned out!!

Dark Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients:

2 sticks salted butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 to 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons milk or cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  • With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low.
  • Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of milk if frosting is too thick.

This makes enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes.

It’s getting spooky in here…

I have been inspired by two of my fellow blogger friends to do a blog post about my Halloween decor this year! They are Amber of https://followtheyellowbrickhome.com/ and Olivia of https://reinventedcollection.com/ I urge you to go check out their blogs! They are beautiful!!

I have done my Halloween decorating this year on the cheap with bats cut from card stock, dollar store items and things snagged on clearance last year after Halloween!

💀🦇 👻🎃

So first I cleared off the mantle to have a blank slate First I added the giant spider to the mirror Then I added the netting and some battery operated twinkle lights (the mercury glass didn’t make the cut 😉)

Then came the creative part! I put some dollar store skulls and tea lights in the lanterns,

Attached some black birds to the lanterns,

Added some black candles in some of my collection of old silver candlesticks

I sprinkled some hairy spiders around!

Of course I had to add a colony of the card stock bats to the wall with sticky tack!

I can’t forget about the rubber rat that has been in the family for I don’t know how long 😂

So here is the finished product in all it’s spooktacular glory!

There are no rules when it comes to how or what you decorate with for Halloween! I suggest you look around at what you have and how you can tweak it to make it fit into your Halloween decor whether it’s fun or spooky! It’s also a great time to get the kids involved have them cut out card stock bats, pumpkins or ghosts to decorate with. 🦇👻🎃

I hope I have given you some ideas on how to do a budget friendly Halloween mantle! Enjoy and Happy Halloween🎃

Also, I’m joining the Hauntingly Beautiful Decor Halloween Link Party and you can too! By visiting my friends:

https://followtheyellowbrickhome.com/

And

https://reinventedcollection.com/

I hope you decide to join in the spooktacular fun!

For the love of ironstone…

Since junking season is in full force I wanted to share a way to clean up ironstone pieces that have those brown stains.  Recently I picked up an ironstone cake stand for $5 it was severely stained on top and had a little on the side. I knew I had cleaned a bowl, years ago so I wanted to try it again! The cake stand was in perfect condition other than the stains.

The secret to getting rid of the stains is hydrogen peroxide! You will need enough to cover your piece in a bucket or pan that your piece fits into. 

There’s nothing special about the peroxide, I got mine at the dollar store! Pour enough to completely submerge the piece then put a cover on the bucket or pan and let it soak for a couple days. After it has soaked set the piece in the sun for a few hours to completely dry out. You will be amazed at how well this works! I will say the stains aren’t completely gone but they are so faint no one would ever notice especially if there’s a cake sitting on it😉  


Can you believe the transformation 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 So, now when your out at a flea market or tag sale and see that ironstone piece with stains snatch it up and give this a try I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! 

DIY Two Tiered Tray…

I have been loving the look of these trays for some time, but to buy one they are rather expensive…I think! A few days ago my new IG friend Jennifer of @downshilohroad posted a tiered tray she had DIY’d. 

She inspired me to make one of my own!….

I bought my wood chargers and finial at Hobby Lobby using my 40% off coupon (I was too impatient to wait on them to go on sale) I bought the spindle and the feet at Menards. The home improvement stores have a few different options for parts, porch spindles, furniture legs, dowel rods, stairway ballisters. So let your imagination run wild and think outside the box!

I chose to screw my pieces together. (Partly because DH always wants things built like a tank…) so I used 1/4″ x 2″ plain dowel screw (that is a screw with threads on both ends) between the finial, top charger and top of the spindle. Then a 1/4″ lag screw between the bottom charger and the bottom end of the spindle … 

I did however use gorilla super glue for the feet and they seem to be attached securely. So if you don’t want to get the drill out and buy the special screws try some super glue! 

We drilled pilot holes in all the pieces before screwing the pieces together for a ‘dry fit’ . 



After I was happy with the configuration I took it apart to make it easier to paint. I just used some old white flat paint we had leftover and did a couple thin coats.


After the paint dried overnight I distressed the edges on all the pieces. 

After they were all distressed I topcoated it with a walnut stain making sure to really rub it in on the distressed areas. 


After the stain dried I put it back together, then had some fun styling it!I really am happy with the way it turned out. I think it has a Restoration Hardware kinda feel to it!  Plus I have less than $20 in mine!!! So don’t be afraid to make yourself a tiered tray and you can paint or stain it any way you want to fit into your home! 



Would love to see your tiered trays if you decide to make one of your own! Post a picture in the comments or you can find me on Instagram @karen.says

It’s a New Year and a New Life for an Old Chair!

Here’s another post I submitted to everythinghomemagazine.com!

I found this old chair on a local FB garage sale site and I knew I could make it look good again!

  
I loved the detail it had, but it was in bad need of a refresh! I decided to re-do it and give it to my daughter for Chistmas. I knew exactly what I was going to recover it with! She had made a comment several times how much she liked this Waverly Ikat fabric.

  
I was lucky enough to find a couple remnants at Hobby Lobby that was more than enough to makeover this chair! I had my husband help me with tightening all the screws and gluing a couple spots to make sure it would be sturdy for her. The next step was to remove the seat and to paint the frame.

  
 I decided I wanted it to be black, I used Rustoluem 2X Satin Canyon Black.

  
After wiping down the whole chair to make sure there was no dust I gave it two coats to make sure I got good coverage.

  
After the paint was dry I decided to distress it in the spots where it would have shown wear if this was the original finish.

   
While the paint was drying I went back inside to re-upholster the seat cushion. Usually I would use the old fabric as a guide for cutting the new cover but the old cover was vinyl and it was pretty brittle. The old cushion had seen its better days too, so it all went right to the trash. I used the wooden seat bottom as a pattern to cut new foam. I used an old mattress pad we had, that we no longer used. (**hint** mattress pads are an inexpensive way to get large pieces of foam and a lot cheaper than foam from the fabric store) I decided to use a double layer of foam to make the seat nice and cushy.

  
Then I measured out batting wide enough to wrap the foam and secure to the seat bottom.

  
Next I began stapling the batting to the under side of the seat working opposite sides back and forth and pulling the batting tight and even, leaving a few inches from each corner free to work the corner.

  
Once all four sides were secured, I started to work the corners. I usually fold mine like wrapping a present. There are many ways to do this but just work it until it looks nice and lays neatly, then staple.

  
After all the corners were finished I trimmed off the excess fabric.

  
After the batting was trimmed I repeated the above steps with the fabric covering. My fabric had a large pattern so I made sure it was centered nicely before I cut out the piece I was using.

  
Here is the under side once the fabric was secure and trimmed.

  

This is the top side before attaching it to the chair.

 
Now all that was left to do was to attach it back to the frame of the chair.
I also had enough fabric to make a little pillow to match.
I think it turned out so cute and she loved it! 😍  

 

I hope this gives you inspiration to upcycle an old ‘ugly’ piece to make it new, fresh and to give it a new life! Make sure to check out my blog at Karensays.net 
                                                      Happy New Year! 🎉

Happy New Year tradition…cabbage rolls!

In keeping with the superstition of eating cabbage on New Years Day we make cabbage rolls. We usually double our recipe so we have extra to put in the freezer for later! Below is the recipe I’ve adapted from one I found on southernfood.about.com

  
Cabbage Rolls

  • 12-15 Cabbage Leaves

Filling:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cooked brown rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Remove cabbage heart and put in microwave dish with a little water and cover. Cook on high for 10-13 minutes until leaves are pliable. 

For filling, combine ground beef, rice, onion, egg, and salt, pepper, and milk. Mix well. Place a portion into the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll leaf around filling, burrito style Place seam side down in a baking dish.

For sauce, combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water; pour over the cabbage rolls.

Cover and bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 1 hour. Remove rolls with slotted spoon. Place pan juices in a saucepan over medium heat; stir cornstarch and water mixture into the sauce; bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Serve the cabbage rolls with the sauce.

***I usually always add garlic powder to the meat mixture and a little hot sauce to the sauce.  

  

 

Holiday Traditions…Christmas

Every year for the last six or seven ( we can’t remember exactly when we started😳) my cousin, sister-in-law and myself have gotten together to make candy for Christmas gifts. The last three years my daughter has joined us also! 

 We have been doing it long enough now that we kind of have it down to a science! Although over the years some of the candy we make has changed out of necessity due to dietary restrictions we still manage to make A LOT! My Sister-in-law is in charge of the candied nuts, she has done it enough that she can tell by the way they look if they are done or not! I make the carmels and help mix up whatever truffle(s) we are making.  My cousin does a lot of the ‘balling’ of the truffle filling. My daughter helps out with whatever is needed. Then once everything has been balled up and chilled we all begin the chocolate dipping. It’s not really that easy to make them pretty but after a few we usually get in a groove and do a pretty good job if I do say so myself! This year we made 200 bourbon balls, 60 peppermint patties, 100 salted caramels, 3 pounds of dark chocolate bark and 10 pounds of candied nuts. It takes all day and we only stop when the balls are chilling to have lunch. Then after its all done we celebrate with a glass of wine before we start counting up everything and dividing them up between us so we can box them up for gifts.

  

 My co- workers love when I have candy day because they always know I will be bringing in all the rejects. Those are the ones that didn’t turn out so pretty but taste just as good😉

It’s hard work but we enjoy the time together. We don’t get together as often as we’d like but are glad we continue to do this each year. It may change over time to something a little healthier but it’s more about the tradition of spending a day together and having fun! 

DIY Christmas gifts…

This is my article that was featured on everythinghomemagazine.com!

I usually try to make a few Christmas gifts for my close female friends and family. This year I decided to try my hand at making tassel necklaces. I’ve been seeing tassels on everything and all over the fashion blogs. I have been making jewelry for several years. I think with some basic beading/jewelry making skills you can make your own! I will walk you through the steps I do to make these necklaces!
 
I used either embroidery floss or leather cord (my pictures show the process with the embroidery floss but the process is essentially the same)

 

Remove label and open the floss but keep it in a big loop. 

 

I wrapped my floss around my hand three times. 

 

Then gather one end and begin wrapping with wire (I used 26 gauge) about ½ to ¾ of an inch from the top. Wrap it neatly around 6-8 times. You can also use metallic thread or twine to wrap your tassel.

 

With wire you’ll want to twist it to keep the wire stable then trim and tuck ends, if using thread or twine you’ll want to tie a knot, trim the ends and secure them with a bit of glue.

 Feed about 12” of wire through the loop at the top of the tassel and fold in half and twist 

   

Once you’ve twisted the base of the wire now you can be creative with your beads!

 

At the end of your beads you will want to use a crimp bead then feed the wire through a ring and back through your crimp bead and crimp it to secure then clip the excess wire.

  

Now cut the bottom end of the floss ‘loop’ 
  
Feed a long chain through your ring and admire your handiwork! I’m sure your friends will love their trendy gift specially since it was designed by you just for them!