Miscellaneous: Elf on the Shelf Day 1

ElfontheShelf-1It’s that time of year again! All our friends elves seem to be making appearances, and it was about time that ours appeared too. We had a talk last night with little Bug about the elf, and we discovered that we never named him last year. So she named him, and I went online and registered our elf at www.elfontheshelf.com We figured that would bring him home to us. 🙂

Sure enough, this morning we awoke to Clyde sitting on our Merry Mailbox, who brought us a couple letters with him. Clyde needed to remind the kids of the rules, and he also appeared with his Certificate of Adoption and a letter from the big red guy himself. Both the certificate and the Santa letter can be found at the Elf on the Shelf website. The letter from Clyde was modified from one I found at Lil’ Luna.

I should note that Bug found Clyde on the floor this morning–apparently he fell from his perch during the night. Unfortunately, that means he needed to be touched to be picked up–a big no-no in the Elf world. So tonight he needs some recovery (stay tuned for how I dealt with it!)

Want to see the letters Clyde brought? Click the links below!

Letter from Clyde
Letter from Santa
Clyde’s Certificate of Adoption

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Khepri Designs: Christmas Card Holder

20121216-183221.jpgIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house! I’m finally feeling like Christmas is coming, now that we have our trees up and decorated. It smells an awful lot like Christmas around here too! And while we have been decorating and cleaning up, I thought I should make up the card holder to put up our pile of cards we have already received! I headed to Ikea yesterday to get doors for the cabinets we ordered (I ordered the wrong size, and had to exchange them), and they had red picture frames that I thought would work perfectly for this project. So here it is!

20121216-183534.jpgI hot glued a strip of ribbon down each of the base ribbons I used–the two outer ribbons are green satin (though they look black in the picture) with red and white swirls, and the middle ribbon is silver and red with a strip of silver ribbon down the middle. I then glued the ribbons to the picture frame. I used my trusty Cricut to make the words “Merry Mail” with the ‘Feeling Groovy’ cartridge–white with a shadow of green–and added those to the front of the frame. A piece of ribbon glued to the top to hang it, and it was ready to go! I put in the family Christmas card that we are sending out, and I attached our received cards to the hanging ribbons with mini clothes pins (they are tiny, and sooooo cute!). I think it turned out great!

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Khepri Designs: Thanksgiving Mantel Runner

20121110-145449.jpgHalloween is gone, and it’s time for Thanksgiving! Unless, of course, you are a store. In which case, it is now Christmastime, and Thanksgiving is ignored. I had a difficult time finding Thanksgiving items for some of my projects for the weekend, since everyone has already switched to Christmas. (The positive is that Thanksgiving is now on the clearance rack, so everything was on sale!). What happened to bringing Christmas out on Black Friday? But I digress.
Now that it is the weekend, I am finding some time to get some new projects finished. So the first one for the day was to create this burlap mantel runner (I haven’t finished the rest of the items for the mantel–I know it looks very bare right now!). My goal for the mantel is for it to be rustic, featuring scarecrows and harvest items. What better material for this than burlap?!?

20121110-150639.jpgI first washed and dried my burlap (burlap is stinky when you buy it!), then ironed it flat. I added a strip of ribbon on each end, using a decorative stitch on my machine (I wanted to use a wider stitch to ensure the runner doesn’t fray past the ribbon). I trimmed the ends, then pulled the long threads to fray up to the ribbon. (The bottom edge is the edge of the fabric, which already has a stitch line to prevent further fraying.)

20121110-151039.jpgMy next step was to stamp a pattern onto the burlap. I created a checkerboard pattern using Inkadinkado’s script background stamp alternating with leaves from the Cloud9 Design collection. I used the Tim Holtz Distress ink pad in black soot (the red in the above picture is our craft tablecloth to protect the table from bleeding ink). I then folded up a couple pleats on either end, securing with a small hand stitch, to give a draped effect along the bottom. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, and now I am excited to make the rest of the mantel decorations!

Khepri Designs: Halloween Part 2 (pumpkins, monsters, and more!)

20121030-183520.jpgI have been busy carving pumpkins and making pumpkin seeds and doing science experiments today! Okay, I actually carved my pumpkins yesterday, but I took the seeds out of the kids pumpkins today so they can carve them tonight. So I figure that counts.
I carved 2 pumpkins yesterday–a little spider web with Spidey eyes and a larger Frankenstein. I love them! It turns out my pumpkin creativity comes back when I carve them myself (shhhh, don’t tell the kids!). I also managed to roast the pumpkin seeds today too, and we’re enjoying them as I write this! (If you don’t know, just clean the seeds, add some salt and throw them in the oven at 350 degrees or so until they are brown…tasty goodness!)

20121030-184005.jpgI also started a couple science experiments with K-Dogg today. I pulled a couple seeds that were sprouting out of the pumpkin, so I thought we should plant them. Just for learning’s sake, we also planted plain seeds and a couple seeds that were ‘flat’ (just shells, not fully developed seeds). I made K-Dogg look at the differences, then we planted them in three cups and put them in the window. I hope they grow more!

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We also made the ghost goo for the apothecary–glow in the dark slime. K-Dogg couldn’t decide whether this was an art project or a science one, but I managed to get a science lesson on atoms and elements and chemistry in there.

20121030-184509.jpgThe goo is great, and the kids are having fun with it (and it is a good addition to my apothecary!). The recipe I used is as follows:
2 tsp borax dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water
1-4oz bottle Elmer’s clear glue (I used blue gel; it worked great)
1 cup water
2-3 Tbsp glow in the dark paint
Neon green food dye
Whisk the glue and water together, and add GITD paint and food dye to desired color. Slowly add the borax mix; the more you add, the stiffer the goo. Start with about 2 Tbsp; mix and it will stiffen up. I actually pull the goo mix out and mix it with my hands, then add more borax mix to the liquid left in the cup to make more. This one is really a trial and error thing for me!

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20121030-185859.jpgI thought I should also post my other halloween decorations –this is the wreath I made a couple weeks ago, which I just added a few glitter skulls and hands to a feather wreath I picked up from Michaels on sale.

20121030-190116.jpgWe made these spider egg nests last year, filling white stockings with poly fill, adding plastic spiders (the kids wanted the colored ones), and another white stocking around it all with a few random spiders. We added some fake spider webs to the outside to make it a little more spider-y.

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20121030-190445.jpgLast year, the kids and I also made these mason jar monsters– we painted the mason jars with acrylic paints, added eyes and mouths, and put little tea lights in them to light them up at night.

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Have I mentioned how much I love Halloween?!?

Khepri Designs: Halloween Part 1 (Apothecary)

20121028-091430.jpgHalloween is in full swing around our house! I finally got around to making my apothecary, which I have wanted to do for several years now. I thought I would share, since I am so excited about it! (Can you tell Halloween is my favorite holiday?)

20121028-091754.jpgI started a week-or-so ago, making apothecary jars from dollar store items. I found glass jars with lids and glass candlesticks, and spray painted the lids of the jars and the candlesticks black. I then hot glued the jars to the candlesticks. Easy peasy!

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I also started making my gnome heads last week–carved apple heads! I love how they turned out. I just carved faces into peeled and cored apples, then let them sit on the window sill for a week to dry out. Squishy gnome heads done!

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We then hit up our local antique stores to find more jars and a stand, and found a great one that is old and wooden. I printed out a bunch of labels, some which I found online (Johnny Love of lovemanor.com has some fantastic ones that can be downloaded for personal use from his Flickr feed) and some of which I created myself. Then it was just about trying to fill the bottles!

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We have swamp fog (cotton balls with blue-dyed water), zombie virus (bright green food dye and water), live cockroaches being eaten by a crow (plastic cockroaches), demon horns (I made these from Crayola Model Magic), eyeballs (not yet filled), life renewal potion (sea salt and glitter), snake oil (vegetable oil with a tail from a sticky hand floating in it), graveyard dust (flour), moon dust (sugar and glitter), vampire blood (fake blood left over from a photo shoot), Phoenix feathers (red, orange and yellow feathers), human flesh (beef jerky), the gnome heads, influenza virus (water dyed with a little green, blue, and black dye), pickled mice (plastic mice floating in water), toasted bat wings (cut up plastic bats), dead mans toes (dried black eyed peas), fur of werewolf (fuzzy yarn cut up), ghost goo (not yet filled, but I plan on making glow in the dark slime with the kids and use that), toadstool clippings (out of stock), and poison (the bottle is sealed shut). So much fun to make and so much fun for halloween!