Friday, October 29, 2010

Repurposed Milk Jug Skeleton

A few weeks ago I posted about repurposed Halloween decorations including how to make a skeleton out of recycled milk jugs.  I finally created my own milk jug skeleton following the steps and diagrams from the tutorial I featured.

This skeleton is not anatomically correct, symmetrical, realistic or as good as my inspiration.  I'll admit I had problems cutting all the pieces out and was too lazy to find a better craft knife. 

The problems did not end there.  The glow-in-the-dark paint leftover from a project in my daughter's room decided not to glow anymore and the beading string I used to put the skeleton together kept breaking.  So, I gave up on the paint (we will have the porch light on for trick-or-treaters anyway) and bought clear cable or zip ties to put it together.  I highly recommend using cable ties!  It was so much easier to put together and will be sturdy for several years. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spooky Food for Halloween

Great Halloween recipes from other blogs:

Vampire Cupcakes are sure to be a big hit at any gathering!  Baking Bites has put together a step-by-step video tutorial on how to make her fabulous recipe from a few years ago.

not martha has great Halloween recipes (savory, sweet, and cocktails!) going back several years.  Just do a search for Halloween on her blog.  Check out the Meat Hand she made from meatloaf and mashed potatoes!

Last year Bakerella made lots of spooky spider treats.  Check out the recipes for cupcakes, cake balls, cookies and brownie bites...all decorated like spiders.

I really like how versatile this Icky Intestines recipe is from canarygirl.  The basic ingredients are puff pasty and red food coloring and you choose the filling of your choice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

DIY Halloween Candy Bowl

I am preparing for Halloween this year by creating several decorations out of repurposed materials found around the house.  This is the first year we will have trick-or-treaters and I do not want to be the boring house on the block! 

First of all we needed a candy bowl.  The largest bowl I have is a stainless steel mixing bowl and it just does not seem right to stand at the door handing candy out of it.  Since I like the size of it I decided to use it as a mold to make a papier mache bowl from recycled paper.  Here is how I did it:

First, cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that it is easy to remove the finished bowl and prepare paper strips to papier mache with.  I used the strips from the Birthday Week Giveaway drawing (repurposed twice!) and a few ads that came in the newspaper.  Cut the paper into strips about 1" wide and 3-8" long and set aside.

Next, mix the papier mache paste.  There are many different kinds of pastes as well as recipes to make them.  I have used wallpaper paste in the past but the cheapest, easiest paste is made from all purpose flour and water.  I heated a few cups of water in the microwave and then slowly added flour to create the consistency of thin pancake batter.  Using heated water and constantly stirring while adding the flour will help prevent lumps in the paste.  Warm paste feels much better on your hands than cold!

Now start dipping strips of paper into the paste and applying them to the plastic covered bowl being used as a mold.  I covered the bowl twice with overlapping strips in several directions then set it aside to dry completely.  The paste can be covered and stored in the fridge until it is time for another layer of paper.  Just remove the cover, stir (it will separate slightly as it sits) and microwave a little so it is not cold when working with it.

After 2 or 3 more layers of paper and allowing it to dry between each layer I added a tissue paper lip around the top of the bowl.  I rolled a used sheet of tissue paper, dipped it into the paste and applied it to the rim.

Once the tissue paper lip was dry I very carefully removed the stainless steel bowl from the papier mache bowl.  To create a smooth and sturdy rim I then covered the tissue paper with strips of paper and let it dry.
Once dried, it's time to paint!  I used black acrylic craft paint cover the entire bowl and 3 dimensional scribbles paint to draw the spider webs.  I still need to seal the entire bowl so that I can use it for years to come! 

Spooky & free!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Repurposed Halloween on Etsy

This mask by dreamsbymachine is made from "sofa cushion and jacket leather plus suede pant, leftover ice skate cover zipper remnants and natural elastic scavenged from television wardrobe."

Titania Blue Zippered Leather Mask $42

This shirt for the little ones by TNTees was inspired by the Day of the Dead and made from reclaimed tees.

Day of the Dead Skully Striped Shirt 6-9m $15.50

Lawn decorations that aren't plastic, don't require electricity and can be reused indefinitely!  These cute ghosts by Black Crow Forge are made from repurposed roofing tin.  They also have a pumpkin version available here.

Roofing Tin Ghosts Set of 3 $9.99

How about some repurposed undies for Halloween?  These unmentionables by solojones are made from reclaimed t-shirts.

salvagedjones - i want you (medium) $20

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Be Green This Halloween

Halloween is full of mass produced, plastic and cheap costumes and decorations.  While some of them are very cool and can be reused year after year I fear most people toss them out and buy new each Halloween. 

This will be the first year I decorate our place for Halloween and will be making all of the decorations from repurposed materials and random craft supplies already hiding in my studio.  I searched online for inspiration and found a few great ideas:

Recycled Milk Jug Skeleton
I wanted a skeleton to display by our front door and this Recycled Milk Jug Skeleton will be perfect!  As soon as we have enough milk jugs saved up (shouldn't take long with a toddler in the house) I am going to make one.  I love the glow in the dark paint designs all over this one too.  I found several tutorials for this project but liked this one best due to the step-by-step instructions and diagrams.

Recycled Halloween Wreath
This project on Dabbled is another great use for plastic grocery bags or newspaper bags and is made entirely of recycled or repurposed materials.  Author and folk artist Jeanne Gripp suggests using different colors for other holidays.  Check out the full instructions here.

Lights from Recycled Milk Jugs
These Halloween lights are so cute and easy to make.  This is another project that could be easily adapted for other holidays (stacked for a snowman) and reused every single year.  I might have to try this one too....if I have any milk jugs left after making the skeleton!

Recycled Bicycle Helmet Turtle Costume
This was Lucy's Halloween costume last year.  I found the idea here.  I bought the helmet at a garage sale for $1 and the green sweatsuit at a consignment sale.

Tons of ideas for costume made of recycled materials can be found online....just google it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And the Winner is...

Over 100 entries!

Only 1 winner randomly chosen by Lucy...

and the winner is Jessica!
Jessica chose the Classic Black & White Charm Bracelet
and the Recycled Birthday Card Dog Gift Tags from my Etsy shop.

Congratulations Jessica and thanks to everyone who participated!  Look for more giveaways in the future!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Repurposing in the Garden

Something has been attacking my fall garden.  Most of the time the stem of the plant (broccoli, carrot or pumpkin) is chewed completely off at soil level.  I'm used to bugs eating holes in the leaves or finding bare stems, but this baffled me. 

I turned to google of course.  The best resource I found was Gardener's Supply Company's fantastic Pest & Disease Detective.  You select what type of vegetable and the location of the damage on the plant and it generates a list of possible pests and diseases affecting your plants.  When you click on one of the possible pests it gives prevention and control options and recommended products that can be purchased in their online store.

According to the detective my pest is the cutworm.  It suggests young plants be encircled with a cutworm collar that extends 2 inches below and 2 inches above soil surface.  I have never seen or heard of a cutworm collar and do not plan to buy any.  Why would I when I have a garage full of plastic yogurt containers waiting to be taken to the recycling center?  The large 32 ounce containers are perfect repurposed cutworm collars.  Just cut out the bottom, slip over the plant and push into the soil 2 inches.

Plastic juice jugs and butter or margarine containers also work well. 

I intentionally left a few plants collarless to see if these really worked and a few of them have fallen victim to the cutworm.  All the plants fitted with a collar are healthy and thriving...and I did not have to resort to chemical pesticides!  The broccoli and carrot plants are still small enough to attract cutworms, but I have removed the repurposed yogurt container collars from the pumpkin plants.  They are much bigger now and need room to stretch out their tendrils. 

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Repurposing with the Crafting in Color Street Team

The Crafting in Color Etsy Street Team is a group dedicated to keeping Etsy bright and colorful.  To find items made by team members simply use the search term "cic team" on the Etsy page.  You may even find some fantastic repurposed items (aside from those in my shop...I'm a member!).

Here are a few of my favorite repurposed finds by members of the Crafting in Color Team:

Rainbow Wool Felted Acorn Ornaments by Green Baboon Design $15

Sweetlife Recycled Paper Fiber Earrings by Paper Demon Jewelry $30

Four Flowers on Yellow Pillow by 4 Hands $80

Slumped Glass Wine Bottle Cheese Plate by BPR Designs $16
Happy shopping!  Don't forget to enter my Birthday Week Giveaway for a chance to win a $20 credit to spend in my Etsy Shop!  Giveaway ends 10/06/2010.