Monday, October 25, 2010

More Halloween Boo!kmarks and Spooky Banner Winner

I whipped up a few more Halloween bookmarks this evening, because I really wanted some monstery bookmarks. I'm quite fond of monsters. My classroom is decorated with monsters, and my favorite monster of all time is the Cookie Monster.

For obvious reasons, of course.

These are the bookmarks I made last year. If you want to snag them, go here.

The new monster bookmarks are below. Please remember to click on each image before saving them to your desktop. Wait for the enlarged image to open up in your window, then right click and save them to your computer, one at a time. If you don't do that, you won't get the best resolution.

And finally, I know y'all are waiting to hear who won the Spooky banner. I won't torture you any longer. The winner is . . . Ann Hirano. Please e-mail me with your address, Ann, and I'll send the banner to you chop, chop.

Happy Halloween Peeps!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spooky Halloween Banner Tutorial

Kayela e-mailed me recently and asked me how I made my "Welcome to Sixth Grade" banner, and it reminded me that I've been meaning to make a "Spooky" Halloween banner.

Yes, I realize that Halloween is just a week away, but I've always been an eleventh hour person anyway, so here goes.

I've been thinking about this banner for a long time, over a year, and all this time I've known that the letters had to be cut out of black glitter paper. I found this awesome stuff at Target in their scrapbooking isle. You get two pieces in a package for a ridiculously cheap price. 

Fine. I really can't remember exactly what I paid, but I know it was cheap.

I used this Halloween paper pack and I think I got it at Wal Mart. Or Michael's.

Okay, somewhere. It's made by K & Company, does that help?

You should be proud of me because I took notes on everything I did on my Cricut, just so I could report back to you exactly what I did. For starters, I used the Old West Cricut Cartridge for my font. Of course I bought that cartridge because my girls are so horsey. I cut my letters out at 4 inches and my pressure was set to HIGH because the glitter was a little tougher to cut through than regular cardstock.

For my black cardstock background, I used the Creative Memories Reminisce Accents Cricut cartridge. The shape I used is the Doily with the Frame Shadow button activated. Pressed, whatever. I don't speak Cricut. The size I used is 4-3/4 inches.

I used the same shape for my background paper, and all my settings were the same except for the size. My size was set to 4-1/2 inches so that I'd have a very skinny black border of cardstock showing. The cardstock not only accents the banner pieces, but it makes it a little more sturdy.

I used tape runner to adhere my letters and backing paper. I found that I needed a lot more tape runner on the glitter pieces because the glitter shed a bit and made the sticky less sticky.

I think my favorite part of making this banner was picking out and placing all the cute Halloween stickers I bought for it. I found most of my Halloween stickers at Wal Mart for $1.50 per pack. They're super cute too.

In order to hang the banner, I used my Crop-a-Dile to punch two holes in each letter background shape to run my string through. It was kind of hard deciding where to put the holes, but I talked myself through it.

Once I punched my holes, I used my Crop-a-Dile to set eyelets in each of the holes. The eyelets will  help to keep the string that will hang the banner, from ripping through the paper.

I love my Crop-a-Dile.

It does a nice job setting eyelets and I don't have to use a hammer. That was back in the Olden Days that people used hammers to set their eyelets. I remember going to crops and getting a headache from all the pounding.

Don't tell me you're still using a hammer either. If you are, don't admit it, just sneak it into the tool box where it belongs, and go and get yourself a Crop-a-Dile. I'm pretty sure that Wal Mart even sells Crop-a-Diles. You can rationalize the purchase by reminding yourself how much money you're saving not having to buy so much Advil.

Once my eyelets were set, it was time to string my letters together. Since this is a spooky banner, it had to be black, so I went in search of this stuff. It's hemp cord which is used for jewelry making. No jewelry makers need to know that I'm using it for evil. I mean spooky.

I like to start at the end of the word so I don't have to waste time measuring and guessing how long I need my string to be. When I get the whole word on the string and get it all adjusted, then I just cut it and I don't have to waste any of it.

I also feed my string in through the front of the first hole, then back up through the second hole. I just think it looks better that way.

Halfway there, and I'm liking the way it's looking.

Isn't this dude CUH-reepy? He gives me the super creeps.

So many fun stickers, so little time.

Once the letters are strung together, I tied two pieces of ribbon to the string between each letter, and a few pieces at each end. The ribbon serves two purposes. First, and possibly most important, it provides cute. Second, it keeps the letters from sliding into each other, thereby keeping a uniform spacing of the letters.

This is the sort of thing that gives an OCD freak like myself hives.

There. No hives.

I apologize for the pictures. The natural light has left Idaho until May. We've had our fun, now it's time for winter.

I know I'm way late to be doing this, and you probably won't even be able to use it until next year, but who wants one of these creepy little things? I made an extra one for one of my lucky readers. Leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite thing about Halloween is. I'm only leaving this open for 24 hours. At 10:00 Monday night, mountain time, I'm picking a winner. Maybe, just maybe, you might get it in time to hang it up for one day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Paint Can Inserts

I'm super excited about these clear plastic paint cans, because I finally figured out a way to decorate them that is fast and cheap. I'm so giddy that I just need to say that again . . . fast and cheap. It doesn't get any better than that.

I've been attracted to these paint cans (and not in a creepy way) ever since I first laid eyes on them. But when I get them home, I look at them and get Crafter's Block, and I can't decide how to decorate them. The lack of inspiration then makes me choke even more. The pressure is stifling.

Well those days are gone. Finally, I figured out how to decorate them just once using a digital format, and then I copy, copy, copy until I'm sick and tired of making them.

I happened upon the idea by accident while browsing the Sam's Club Online Photo Center and discovering the cheap, cheap price of printing an 11" x 14" print.  Just $2.87 if you can believe it, and that decorates two paint cans, so it's really $1.435 per paint can! Okay, round it to $1.44 if you want to be so picky. It's just that it's really not that much because that extra cent covers two paint cans.

Remember, I'm the freak who will spend hours reconciling my checkbook to make sure I can account for that eleven cents that I'm off. And I will have fun doing it! No lie.

Blogging is my therapy couch.

Anyway, back to the cans. Here are some of the details for tricking out your own paint cans.

First of all, I made templates for two different sizes of paint cans. The first is what I call the Itty Bitty Paint Can, because it measures approximately 3-1/4" tall and 9-1/2" around. They're super cute, but you may have a hard time finding them. I got mine at Porter's months ago, and when I went back a few days ago, they didn't have any left. That's good news for you though, because that made it necessary for me to make a second template for the quart-sized can. Porter's had about a million of that size, and I know Michael's sells them too.

Yay for you!

Anyway, the first step is to save the templates to your computer, then upload them to your favorite photo center that prints 11" x 14" photos at a reasonable price. When you get them back, they'll look something like the picture above. I've tweaked them a tinsy bit because these pictures were of my prototypes. They have some flaws that I've, hopefully, ironed out.

When you get your prints, you'll first want to cut them out along the marked cutting lines.

For the itty bitty cans, I had to punch out holes for the paint can handles. It was a ginormous pain in the rear for the particular cans I bought, because the handles poked right through the plastic and interfered with the inserts when I slipped them in. 

See what I mean?

That meant I had to measure the distance down from the top of the can to the handles, then the distance between the handles, then hope and pray that I did it right while punching the holes in my beautiful $1.435 templates.

And then I still ended up screwing it up in spite of all that. Jeez, what a dork. I ended up cutting some orange scraps and taping them over my boo boo holes. Or should I say BOO! holes?    Ha.     Ha.    Ha.

See, you can't even tell, can you? Actually, don't answer that. I am one with denial.

I don't think it's that bad. I can live with it. Okay, another lie. I'm going to give them away so I don't have to live with them. And relive and regret. And obsess. It's a vicious cycle for us OCDers.

The Quart size paint cans worked out much better because I had a little experience under my belt. About 24 hours worth. There was still a little tweaking to do, but not much.

One of the bummers about the larger template is that I wasn't able to use my paper trimmer to cut the inserts out because they were too long. I had to get all old school and use actual scissors. I felt like a cave man. I mean Cave Martha.

Once I cut out the insert, the rest was easy. I rolled it up slightly, so that it was skinnier than the can, and then I slipped it inside. The hardest part was pressing the insert up under the lip of the top of the can. It was hard to get it started, and it felt creepy having to bend the insert to get it up there, but it laid perfectly flat against the inside of the can and you couldn't even tell that I had to bend it a little along the top edges to get it in there.

For the quart sized can I didn't even cut out holes for the handle rivet thingie-ma-bobbers. The insert just laid up again that part too.

Filling the cans with treats was pretty easy too. I could have made some cookies or something, but I was too tired after having to use those scissors.

For the final touches, I tied some ribbon to the handles and cut out some circles of Halloween paper to cover the paint can lids.

Lastly, I printed out some Boo! poems and saddled a few of my favorite peeps with my prototype buckets. I bet they won't even notice that they're not perfect. And you won't tell, will you?

I know you want to make some cute paint cans too, so here are the insert templates. Have fun!

This is the template for the Quart-sized can. Be sure to click on the image first, then save it to your computer. That will ensure that you get the best resolution possible.

This is the template for the itty bitty can. Be sure to click on the image first, then save it to your computerThat will ensure that you get the best resolution possible.

And finally, the Boo Poem, in case you want to spread the love.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Parent Homework

Zoe Bug is in fourth grade this year, and at the moment they are studying Earth Science and the layers of the Earth. She came home with a piece of paper about a week ago, explaining that the students were to create a 3-D model of the Earth with each of its layers labeled.

I took one look at that little slip of paper and I groaned. "Ugh. Parent Homework. It begins." I'm sure those of you with school age kids know exactly what I'm talking about.

I delegated this particular assignment to Peanut Head on account of he is a Geophysicist Geek, and he knows more about the Earth than most people would ever care to hear about. No offense, Peanut Head, it's just not a riveting topic for the general population. Most people, whatever.

Yeah, he got this assignment because of that and because I had my own Parent Homework for Girl Scouts and Brownies. I'm cursing myself at this moment for even opening that can of worms. Apparently, I needed just one more thing.

Zoe called Peanut Head from school a couple days ago to remind him that her 3-D layers of the Earth model was due the next day and they hadn't even started on it. She was starting to panic. 

Peanut Head instructed Zoe to bring her science textbook home with the exact measurements for the layers of the Earth. If they were going to make a model of the Earth, it was going to be proportionally accurate, dang it.

I think this request worried Zoe, as she didn't know how to slow down the freight train that is Peanut Head on a mission to make a proportionally accurate model.

"Dad, it's just a model. We just have to show the core, the mantle, and the crust. It could be made out of cake. Or Jell-O. Or clay even. Dad?"

Zoe, being the compliant child that she is, did as she was instructed and brought home the textbook. With worry in her heart and trepidation in her soul.

May The Force be with you, Girlfriend. You are about to embark on a science project with Daddy.

I'm just going to step back and record the memories. Pretend you don't see me.

As soon as Peanut Head got home, he proceeded to consult the index of the fourth grade science textbook for the Periodic Table of Elements. Because he likes to complicate things.

I know. She's in fourth grade. That's exactly what I said.

They don't teach the Periodic Table of Elements in fourth grade.

And therefore, it is not in the fourth grade science textbook.

Peanut Head was aghast. "What kind of science book doesn't have the Periodic Table of Elements?" he screeched. 

Um . . . a fourth grade science textbook.

Oh, but the Encyclopedic Dictionary and the Children's Dictionary do have it, and, of course, we do have those. Dang it.

Zoe sighed heavily.

She was quite the trooper though, and sat through the entire lecture. She forced herself to remain conscious and alert, although I did see some mental eye rolling going on.

Oh snore.

At one point Peanut Head asked Zoe, "What's 20% of 4?"

She got a scared look in her eyes as she searched for that bit of knowledge that, yes, you guessed it . . . has not yet been bestowed on fourth graders everywhere.

I whispered to Peanut Head, "She wouldn't know the answer to that." He ignored me and got out some money to teach her what 20% of 4 is. He's very stubborn.

It's a wonder we manage to coexist at all.

Zoe is very patient though, and she is usually happy to indulge Peanut Head in his pedantic rantings.

I've been waiting for years to say that in a sentence about Peanut Head. It's one of his favorite things to say about windbags. Not that he is a wind bag. It's just that I've waited forever to have the opportunity to turn it around and use it on him. And it feels gooooooood. Real good.

I love you, sweetie. Really.

Do you like Peanut Head's new Star Trek t-shirt? I think it's hilarious. He's a walking oxymoron.

Like adult male. Or accurate horoscope . . . arrogant humility . . . advanced BASIC. I love oxymorons. They're so fun. And just in case you're interested, there are oodles of them listed alphabetically here.

Expendable is the last thing Peanut Head is to us. As much as I tease him (and suffer his pedantic rantings, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha), I wouldn't trade him for anything. He is always the first person to help out a friend in need, and he will do anything for the people he loves.

And yes, we love him too.