Sunday, August 10, 2014

81 Days to Halloween! Halloween Sweets and Treats Vol. 1

Seasonal treats can be so much fun to make and experiment with.  Finding sweats to make with the little ones can be more of a trick than a treat though.  Here are some of my favorite Pinterest finds that should be fairly easy to accomplish:

Candy coated pumpkins.  All you need is a package of Orange Wilton Candy Melts, some green icing and pretzels.  I always melt my candy in a microwave safe bowl on half power (or defrost) in the microwave and stir every 30 seconds to a minute.  Insert a pretzel stick in one end and dunk in the melted candy.  Lay on waxed paper or a cooling rack to harden.  I place mine in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes for faster drying.  Pipe on some little leaves and all set.

Candy center piece.  I have been in love with this since the first time I saw it.  Take a large vase and start layering with your favorite Halloween candy.  This would be great for other holidays as well.

Green ice cream cones decorated with some black icing gel to look like Frankenstein.  Add pretzels in the sides for his bolts, and use a little white icing to glue on candy like M&M's for eyes.  Fill up with tasty snacks and it becomes a great party treat, or classroom treat.

From Taste of Home.  Marshmallow witches.  Use a large marshmallow for the face and pipe on eyes and nose with chocolate icing.  Use chocolate cookies of your choice for the hat brim, and attach to the top of the marshmallow with icing.  A mini Reese cup and Hershey Kiss finish the hat.
What are your favorite Halloween sweets and treats to make?  I will post an additional blog with more in the coming weeks. 
All photos are from items I have pinned to my Pinterest page and are not mine.  If you are the owner of the photos above and wish these be removed, please email me and I will do so right away, or link if you would like.  I'm not claiming rights to these, simply showing some of my favorite ideas!
Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Saturday, July 26, 2014

96 Days Until Halloween! Halloween and Harvest Mantles

Every year I decorate my mantle with a mix of fake and real pumpkins, spider web and other trinkets.  This year, I may have to do something a little different.  With a just crawling infant, I may have my hands full.  Right now, the front of the fireplace is where I keep her box of toys and things.  Not how I want it for the holidays.  So, in searching for new ways to express our Halloween spirit, I'll share with you some really cute and scary finds from Pinterest.

All of these can be found on my Pinterest page here, with links to their original sources.  I apologize if I am posting someone's photo that doesn't approve: please email me and I will remove asap.

Keep counting down to all the holidays with me and let me know what you'd like to see!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

99 Days Until Halloween! Halloween and Harvest Wreaths

I love decorating for Halloween and finding new ideas every year.  This year, I plan to make my own wreath for the front door.  Even if you are not the crafty type, these examples are really easy to make.  Really want one but do not have the desire to make them yourself?  Check out where other crafters make and sell the product at great prices.  Here are some links to my favorite Pins, as well as links to several Etsy sellers.

Tulle Wreath:  Simply cut to desired length and tie on to wreath form.

Burlap Wrap Wreath: Same process as above, using burlap.  Add some card stock letters to give it an extra touch.

Washi Tape Mason Jar Wreath:  Take the open lids from mason jars and decorate with washi tape, or you could paint them.  String them in to a wreath form.

Here are some beautiful Etsy listings:

Burlap Wreath in Purple and Orange

Deco Mesh Wreath

Ribbon Wreath

Since these are not my photos, I do not have rights to post them here on the blog.  But each link will take you to the product.

More Halloween inspiration to come!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

100 Days Until Halloween! Crafts, Activities, Goodies and Scares

Those that love the summer time do not want to know how close we are to Halloween, Thanksgiving (127 days), or Christmas (155 days).  However, there are those of us that just do not care for the heat and humidity.  We live for cool autumn days, football, bonfires, and decorating for the seasons.  Creepy, crawly, scary and fun fall festivals.  Cooking, (or as in my case-eating) a great turkey with all the fixings.  Cursing as we string lights on an artificial tree but staring in awe at the completed project.  If you fall in to these categories, then make sure to follow along!

Here I'll be bringing you fun ideas for all of the holidays to try.  Some will be great Pinterest finds, links to other blogs, or some fun tutorials of my own.  My daughter shares my passion for Halloween, so she is always game to try new projects.  Here are some of my past craft attempts to get things started:

Halloween Countdown.13 Days of Halloween countdown fun for the kids.  Make foldable pumpkins (click on link for tutorial) and write a fun activity on the inside.  Examples would be going to a pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, making a Halloween snack, decorating treat bags for school and so many more ideas.

Make a Mummy Bucket
Take a sand bucket from the summer, wrap in gauze or torn white fabric, add some googly eyes and you have a cute and creative personal candy bucket for the big night.

TP Pumpkins
So easy and inexpensive.  Simply wrap a roll of toilet paper with orange tissue, crunch up a used toilet paper roll for the stem and add some green ribbon for leaves.  The kids can do these too and even add a face to the pumpkin as well.

Just a sneak peak to get the countdown to the season started.  Stay tuned and please feel free to share any ideas or links below for me to check out.

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teacher Gifts-Orange You Glad it's Summer?

I really wanted to make sure we sent end of the year gifts to all the teachers my two kiddos had before school let out, but financially I just couldn't figure out what to do.  I have a great board on Pinterest called Teacher Gifts filled with all kinds of lovely and cute ideas.  However, I just couldn't afford to do most of them.  This being on a lay off from work and now being a mom to three has really put a damper on the budget.  I knew I could make something work though, and I did.

The one idea I kept coming back to was the "Orange You Glad It's Summer?"  I looked and looked for orange bags and could not find anything.  I couldn't even find an orange gift bag!  Finally I found my inspiration: ORANGE FELT.  For only 27 cents a sheet.  Here is what I came up with.

 Felt, ribbon, and sewing machine.

 Simply fold the felt in half and stitch up the sides.

 If you want a more open bottom, form a triangle on each end and stitch across.

 Stitch ribbon in place on each side.

 Time to fill them up!

 We went with everything orange.

Total cost for 4:
Felt 4 @ .27 = 1.08
Orange Crush 12 pack = 3.00
Box of cheese crackers = 2.88
12 pack of Reese Cups = 1.78
Tic Tacs 4 @ 1.00 = 4.00
Nail Polish 4 @ 1.00 = 4.00
Total = 16.74
Comes out to just over $4 for each one!  Completely affordable, totally easy and a cute, unique gift!  These were a hit with their teachers and I am so glad I found a solution without breaking the piggy bank.
Hope you all are having a great summer!  I would love to see your teacher gift ideas.  Please feel free to include a link in the comments.
Until next time,
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Friday, April 4, 2014

Craft Room Makeover with Homework Station CHEAP!

After the birth of our third child, I had complications that required emergency surgery.  I was unable to do a lot of the things I used to do for quite some time.  The recovery has been lengthy but I feel like I am ready to get back in the game, slowly but surely.  I am under a lay off at work, so I have had extra time to bond with my new baby and recover.  I have also had a lot of time to look at this house and nit pick all the things wrong that need to be updated.  I have been on a major updating spree.

First on the list was my craft "room".  Technically it's the dining room my dear husband let me transform to my work area.  I have rearranged, removed, added, you name it, trying to get it just right.  Here are some pictures to show how it started.

This worked great for a while but then the tables became "catch all's" for everything from mail to homework, groceries to laundry.  It was a hot mess.

I started cleaning everything out before taking pictures of it at it's worst, but here are some.

After searching through Pinterest and doing some research, I came up with an affordable solution.  I was able to get it done in one day which was great too.

What I used:

2-Five Shelf Book Shelves from Wal-Mart less than $30 each (total $60)
2-Three Shelf Book Shelves from Wal-Mart less than $20 each (total $40)
1-Flush unfinished door from Lowes about $23
2-Cans of Spray paint around $4 each (total $8)
16-Storage Bins from the Dollar Tree (Total $16)
Baskets I had on hand

Total Project Cost? Approximately $147

I'm so in love with this.  It's not as fancy or expensive as some other systems, but this does exactly what we need.  I had 2 large plastic drawer sets on wheels and 4 small ones (like you see under the table).  I was able to store away everything on to the shelves in the bins or baskets.  What couldn't fit in them, went in the short book shelves where they are harder to see.  My dining room is wide open into my living room.  The way it was before was becoming an eye sore to me.  Anytime someone came over, my craft cluster was the first thing you could notice.  Now, this just feels so much better.

My wall is 12 feet in length.  I put the two 5 shelf cases on each end against the wall.  Next, I turned the three shelf cases facing inward, to create the base for my table top.  We took the flush door purchased at Lowe's and spray painted a rustic black on the top and sides (took about 1 1/2 cans).  The door is 30 inches wide and each shelf was just over 29 inches in width, so it made the perfect fit.  The two plastic rolling bins underneath contain all of my daughter's craft supplies.

I have seen many great ideas to make work benches, craft stations, homework areas, ect.  This was very practical for us and the function is perfect.  The kids come straight in from school and have a snack at the counter, then move to this area to do their homework.  No school work where we eat thank goodness.  Here are some close ups of a few extra things I did to enhance our work station.

 Here is my current stash of all season fabric, ribbons for hair bows and thread.  I keep the seasonal fabric put up and out of sight until I need it.
 This side contains our rainbow looms, crochet/knitting, beads and sizzix tools.
 Our Lazy Susan full of school supplies was less than $1 to make!
I found the Lazy Susan in my Mom's garage sale pile, the cups we part of a 6 cup pack from the Dollar Tree and the crayon holders?  Baby food jars!  Everything is hot glued in place to keep from spilling.  The kids loved this idea.  Functional and used daily.  No more: "where is the homework box?" "why does the glue stick go missing so much?" "I can't find the scissors."  

Simple. Functional. Cheap.

I took a notebook and started writing down different options on how to make this.  I wrote the sizes and costs for closet storage systems, actual craft desks, and cube storage.  I went to Lowe's and took photos of different items and their price tags.  It may seem like a lot of work but it really wasn't.  We are all bad to just jump in to something without fully thinking it through and sometimes spend way too much.  I took about a week researching and planning the right way to set this up.  I knew I was going to need my husband to help get the big items with his truck and what day he was off, so I gave myself time to plan and I am so glad I did.  I really don't think these pictures do it justice.

Recycling items you have on hand for storage can save you a ton of money.  Also check Dollar Trees, Mighty Dollar, and thrift store before paying full price for any storage.  These collapsible bins can cost $6 and up depending on size and color.  I went to the Dollar Tree and bought all they had in two different sizes and made sure they were all in the same color family.  This worked perfect for me.
Another great trick was this one:
Can you guess what the cylinder containers are?  Good Start Formula containers!  I've been cleaning and saving them since she was born.  I wrapped some decorative scrapbook paper around them and sealed with double stick tape.  What you can't see is that I wrote on the top of each one in a sharpie what is stored in them: Buttons, elastic, bias tape, safety pins and so much more.  All those little items now have a safe place!

I really am happy with how it turned out.  Oh and that table and stool sticking out in the right hand corner of the picture?
My sewing machine and serger.  I love having these in front of the window for natural sunlight, it makes sewing so much easier when your eyes get tired.

So that's it, you have my craft and home work space make over directions!  The possiblities are endless so get busy creating one for yourself! 

Things to remember:

Measure, measure, measure.  Your wall space, the width, height and depth of the storage items you are looking at.  Draw it out.  You don't have to be an artist, just a ruler and some squares and rectangles is all you need to do!  Good luck!

Please let me know if you make one of your own, I'd love to see photos!  If you find this information helpful, please be sure to leave a comment and share!!

Until next time...

Amy...The Dixie Diva ;-)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

13 Days of Halloween Countdown Craft

I'm a little late posting this, but wanted to share it anyway.  I decided to do a 13 Days of Halloween Countdown activity with my kids this year.  With the new baby coming very soon, I feel like they are getting left out of a lot of our normal Halloween activities.  Mommy just can't do as much at 8 months pregnant with a chance of going early. :-(

So, after doing some searching I came up with a plan.  13 days started on the 19th.  I wrote down the dates and days, then compared to our schedule.  That allowed for easier planning.  Here's what I came up with:

Sat 10/19-Movie Marathon.  I had DVR'd all the Halloweentown's on Disney during the week so we could watch them all at once.

Sun 10/20-Decorate Sugar Cookies.  We bought a really cute kit at Wal-Mart for $6 that included 12 sugar cookies, icing and sprinkles all ready to go.

Mon 10/21-Library.  We went and picked out some Halloween books to read each night over the next week.

Tues 10/22-Spiderwebs.  I found a cute tutorial here to let them make window cling spider webs.  Super easy and cheap.

Wed 10/23-Coloring Pages.  I'm printing out some coloring pages I've found online for them to color after homework today.

Thurs 10/24-Make a Halloween garland with construction paper.

Fri 10/25-Paint mini pumpkins.

Sat 10/26-Fall Festival.  We have a little mill town close by that hosts a variety of events on the Saturday before Halloween.  The entire town does a trick or treat trail starting at 5pm.  Bonus 1: it's a flat ground and easy for this mommy to be to walk.  Bonus 2: All our trick or treating is done in the daylight.

Sun 10/27-Trunk or Treat.  Our church will be hosting their annual Trunk or Treat on Sunday evening.  Thankful for great friends that will let my 2 tag along so I can rest!

Mon 10/28-Cupcakes.  This day is a teacher workday so I will need to keep them entertained while I try to work from home.  I bought the Pillsbury Orange Icing that came with sprinkles.  I'll bake the cupcakes and just let them have at it. 

Tues 10/29-School Festival.  Our elementary school will be doing a trunk or treat hosted by each of 3 football teams we have.  My daughter is a cheerleader and will get to be one helping hand out candy which she is excited about.

Wed 10/30-Pumpkin Carving.  At school, my son's class is doing a "donuts for dads" day along with pumpkin carving.  After school we will carve one with my daughter as well.

Thurs 10/31-Halloween!  This year we are going to a friend's house that does a drive through trick or treat.  Treats for the kids, tricks for the adults.  My 2 are excited to be participating.  They are going to run the popcorn machine and hand out popcorn and treats to anyone that comes by.

So some days I didn't have to think of an activity or craft.  If there was something we had already planned or talked about, it went in the countdown activity.  Here's how I did our countdown:

I found some Halloween colored scrap book paper, folded in half, and cut out pumpkin shapes.

This allowed me to write on the inside and seal them up.

I cut little stems from the scrap paper and attached with tape.

Write the numbers 1-13 on them.

On the inside write your activity and seal with a piece of tape.

I sealed mine first and shouldn't have but it still worked out.  I put some ribbon through the tops of each one and hung it like garland over our living room window.  Each day after school they take one down, starting at 13, and see what it says.  It's exciting for them, even if they know what to expect on some days.  This is also a great tool in teaching them counting backwards.

So there's our little countdown calendar!  Hopefully this will start a new tradition for our family.  If time permits, we will do the same for Christmas.  Baby C is due the first week of December, if she can hold out that long.  What ever we do, it will be silly simple, but sure to be lots of fun.
Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva