Snowman cheese ball

Headed to a party this evening. And we are taking a snow man cheese ball.  We made one for a holiday party a few years back and of course did not write down the directions. I have a few food allergies so everything we end up making ends up different.  I usually look up several different types of recipes and than mash them together to get something both the husband and I will like.

The husband cooked the bacon yesterday. Today I am warming it up a bit in order to have as much grease drain off as possible. I crumbled about 5 full pieces once warmed up.  It has to be crispy but not burnt.

DB51DAA8-BEDB-4F57-AA13-49228EBE7F36.jpeg

The base of the ingredients is cream cheese, we used 2 8oz. packages. Cream cheese is kinda the glue and what helps give our little snow man his shape.  But you do need to let the cream cheese warm up a bit before building so that it mixes well. He will go back in the refrigerator to get chilly once built.

10F675F1-2505-49EA-A8B3-A16ADFF68B21.jpeg

0B7BC48F-E163-49F1-9755-7EBE0DBC9EB7.jpeg

I put in a bowl 3 cups of Mexican mix shredded cheese and 1 cup of the shredded mild cheddar cheese. Tossed them a bit to get them well mixed and then added my bacon crumbles to the mix and tossed that mix. Then comes the super messy part. I added my softened cream cheese.

3EDCC901-5213-400B-BD31-A4940B151303.jpeg

CF6D9D8B-9E09-4F89-AFB4-BA0035103B2B.jpeg

B1A90C0E-AA2E-46B6-B13F-EA4FD607C55A.jpeg

D4E58FAB-81E5-49DB-A720-2BC0062529AF.jpeg

2C236EFA-2DC1-47F5-8BED-7C5715BABC05.jpeg

Wash your hands good, then wash them again and then get your hands in there.  You have got the blend it really well. Nothing works better than your hands and eyes.  And then you need to split up the mix and remember the head is just a bit smaller than the snowman butt.

B09F1F98-7EDA-4002-93A2-B6770C90D909.jpeg

Yes you will see that my snowman isn’t really white. this is where your grated Parmesan (and Ramano) comes in. You will coat the outside of the head and butt with the grated cheese. this is your fluffy snow look. I used about 1/2 of a cup.  Press in into the cheese balls gently with your hands and this also helps to further shape your head and butt into nice round balls.

B39D4FA1-D26C-4B9C-ACE1-355A176EE11A.jpeg

E4CA82D8-A6CD-4811-A8E5-38B270D9BFA7.jpeg

We used pretzel sticks as our construction beams.  Because they are edible.  You should never put anything into a dish that is not edible such as toothpicks for structure stability, there might be smaller children who are helping themselves. Safety first!

I gently pushed the pretzel sticks into the base, didn’t want them to break, because if they break then you have to dig out pretzel sticks and that is not fun. One pretzel stick easily breaks, and two  does as well, but three you have more support, so if you trip while carrying your little snow man he is less likely to have his little head roll right off and onto the floor. then I gently push his had onto the three pretzel sticks, very careful not to snap the sticks. Then he goes into the refrigerator to chill a bit while I make his little outfit.

2B7F14A3-37E7-48A2-A1F6-D33D9250B9D4.jpeg

Twizzler’s pull and peel! They have a bunch of different flavors and colors so you can go with which ever flavor is your favorite to eat, there will be left over Twizzlers. I used a total of one section. I pulled them a part in three sections, two strips I smashed together to make one long scarf.  The other section I chopped up into pieces to make gloves and a smile.

2F68F6DB-CBC3-48EC-98E8-5D08F61593E6.jpeg

C7AF24F5-9A40-49A1-AF26-B03EE6E605FC.jpeg

16386C6A-416C-4B90-87BB-9C4244A61D0F.jpeg

I needed to get a small kitchen knife to scoop out where the smile was going because it wasn’t staying/ sticking very well because of the Parmesan on the outside. I also used this technique to put in the olive eyes. Pretzel bit for the nose and pretzels for the arms. The gloves were just a bit of a challenge because once you pull apart the Twizzlers they are finicky to get back together.  Just a touch of water and a bit of squishing and they stay in place enough for presentation.

267C6101-0462-474C-BCFA-7C2CE393BB59.jpeg

I do not have any fresh rosemary growing at our new house yet, that will be put in in the spring. But I do have lavender still green out side.  I snipped off two sprigs and washed it very well, and poked a few into the head because I don’t have a top hat for the little guy, so I made him a little girl.  Cute as a button!

F6E5AEFE-991C-4887-B055-D2DC1B5DF456.jpeg

09E1C20B-BCDE-48F5-B09D-3C7462E51167.jpeg

We have our party pack of crackers and a plastic knife for spreading and we are ready to party!

So an hour to thaw the cream cheese and an hour maybe to build. You probably will not be taking photos for each step and typing in between. So I am sure you can put your little snow man together quicker.  You night even want to use a carrot for a nose too.

Snowman/lady cheese ball was a total success! Yours will be too!

RickabaughReviews approves!

 

 

Bookcase Makeover

I have recently been trying all sorts of projects that I find here there and everywhere.  If I see it, I can pick it apart and figure out how to make it, sometimes cheaper and sometimes better.  My friends and family have been loving my projects.  My friend called me up and asked if I could help out with a bookcase she picked up super cheap at a store closing.  And she gave me complete make over design freedom, having faith it would turn out awesome.

Of course I couldn’t say no! So here is the bookcase make over!!!

B9D6B557-95ED-4F01-90B6-9E5BE2576C3D.jpeg

First I sanded off the words and a light sanding all over.  I took off one broken trim piece and we measured and cut a replacement trim piece.  I added a few screws and nails in order to make the whole bookcase more stable, it was a bit wobbly.

EF5BEDD5-371C-4D23-A342-74FEF40C9540.jpeg

Before we applied the spray paint I wiped down the whole bookcase with a damp cloth to make sure all the sanding dust was removed. Remember to always spray paint in a well ventilated area. You get a headache fast if you don’t. One can of blue, one can of pink, one can of purple, and one can of gold glitter spray paint does the trick! Our colored spray paint was left over from previous projects. The gold glitter was new.

26831551-2283-4A07-B4D9-2C585DCE3503.jpeg

5A01F4E2-DFE3-41C0-AB6B-2416FC060CDF.jpeg

The spray painting was done over several days because it is December here in Pennsylvania and it only just stopped raining every day, but it is very cold out and spray paint doesn’t work perfect in very cold temperatures. We ended up doing two coats of each color. We suggest using cardboard to protect your lawn. We didn’t want pink grass for the next 4 months.  Also have a smaller piece of cardboard about 11X17 size so that you can protect the blue section, holding the cardboard with one hand gently in front of the blue but not touching so as not to smudge wet paint, when applying the second coat of pink. We also used the cardboard piece to protect the purple and the pink. We wanted three different sections of color just slightly blended, not an all over Tye-dye look.

Spray paint dries quickly so we were able to let it sit outside for a few hours before bringing it in the garage for the night. Two full coats later, looking bold!

95E78C8F-9501-46E6-86A7-7989C55E0554.jpeg

Then we took it back outside for the finishing gold glitter layer, which also helped to hide any light spots that we missed with the pink, blue and purple.  Be sure when spray painting you are not wearing any clothing you don’t want accidentally ruined.

F4A4E44A-BE80-426E-8E86-08C279880096.jpeg

After the gold glitter was good and dry in the garage for two days she came in the house for the final touches. The girls’ names on either side.  My husband being the artist sketched their names on with pencil very lightly and I got out the gold paint and filled in the names, with a paint brush.  We let it dry inside for two days and now she is ready for Christmas morning!

76532D0F-3810-4A3D-AF2E-990F7A39F698.jpeg

I was very surprised at how well it turned out and I know this project gets more than just a RickabaughReviews Approves- I bet it will get a few little girl approvals as well.

 

SIDE HUSTLE Away My Mortgage!

Learn what I’ve been doing to save and earn money.

So my husband and I recently purchased our forever home and our mortgage payment doubled but our income did not double.  I started to do some research on how to stretch the money we have.  Below are the totally awesome ways we are saving and making extra money with what has recently been called “side hustles”.

I will give you a run down of what and how I use them and my review of them.

First of all-cut coupons! You can sigh all you want but coupons save a bunch!  In October I saved over $300 dollars in coupons. In July our monthly food costs were just over $800.00. I started cutting and using coupons /side hustling in the middle of September. In November I have spent $410.00 on food total for the household and that was including eating out.

Here is the key to using coupons- Don’t use a coupon just because you have it on that item.  Only purchase items you already have in your regular grocery list that you know you like, unless you are will to try a different brand.  We will most of the time purchase the store brand.  It is cheaper and on most occasions tastes just as amazing!  I look for the overall best deal too.  So I only purchase laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and some of my vitamins only at Costco and ONLY when they are on sale.  For example-Laundry detergent- free and clear and I prefer the environmentally safe by Kirkland is around 230 fluid ounces for $14.99 regularly.  I purchase it when it is on sale anywhere from $3.00 off to sometimes $4.00 off. Yes that makes it $10.99 for approximately 140 loads of laundry.  You would need at the grocery store 3 containers of $9.99 detergent to get the same amount of fluid ounces.  It is not always cost effective to use all of the coupons in the paper. I also shop the bonus buys.  If the store has it discounted and I can use a manufacturer coupon on it which some stores will double. Double the savings.

Everyone has a smart phone now a days- make it be smarter.  If you are not sure which store has the best prices, and you can not remember- snap a photo with your phone with the product next to its price tag.  I have a few photos in my phone right now because I want to know if I should be buying my cheese sticks at Target or Giant, I am not a spring chicken anymore I can’t remember everything.  I wrote a note in my coupon book-check prices in phone for cheese sticks and yogurt.

So as a quick recap-cut coupons and shop for the best deals-and make note of where the best deals are so that you create a new and good habit of getting the best deals at the best locations-SAVING YOU MONEY! Also I encourage you to get a coupon buddy, I have two friends who I share my coupons with, one friend also cuts coupons and it really builds each of us up chatting about it, and the other friend does not but is very thankful when I share coupons with her.  Everybody can use an extra buck.

Along the lines of making your smart phone get a job-Here are smart phone apps I use and love or I would not be writing about them and still using them.

Ibotta Sign up on your own, or with friends. Use my referral code:fvclxby to join as a friend.

For this app you do not need a referral code, but there are bonuses involved if you do.  When you are in a group there are group goals that everyone will benefit from if you achieve the goals- which is free money.  In the app you select a store and it will list the available items that have a rebate on them.  You need to activate the coupon first.  Don’t wait to activate your app coupons- sometimes they are such a hot deal the apps run out of the specific coupons. Next grocery shop.  When we get home we do our receipt scanning.

Checkout 51 is another free app that works the same way as Ibotta.  You active the coupons you want, shop then scan your receipt when you get home.  Use my referral code to sign up- https://checkout51.app.link/7zHqWVfQUQ

Savings Star is the third free app that I use that works similarly to Ibotta and Checkout 51.  You can cash out after you have reached $20.00 in you account. We have been able to load our Giant card (local grocery store card) to the app and it is super easy when grocery shopping because I don’t need to scan my Giant grocery receipt when we get home. You are able to select other stores in which they have coupons available but like Checkout 51 and Ibotta you will need to scan your receipt in. You do need to go into the app before you go shopping and select the items you intend on purchasing. Saving Star says that it can take up to 20 days for your rebates to show up in your account but I have usually only had to wait up to 3 days before I see my new account balance.  They also have a section where you can see each date and coupon you used.

The next set of free apps are slightly different-but different is always bad.  Sometimes different is good! Give them a try for sure!

Receipt Hog is an app where all I do is scan in every receipt.  It is a market research group, they are just interested in what you are purchasing so that the companies can better promote their products. Depending on what I am purchasing and how large of a purchase decides if I receive coins, or tickets or spins. Tickets are placed into a monthly drawing, I have never won in drawings and I don’t ever intend to. Spins are a bit different, they are like a slot machine.  They say you win something 50% of the time.  Honestly its about 40% and I have only ever won the most of 10 coins but I like to think positive and I will take it.  It gets me closer to a free gift card.  Coins is where it matters! Hog Coins.  When you reach 1000 hog coins you can choose to cash out which equals $5.00 and they send it to your paypal account.  Paypal then sends it right into your bank account, with my usual spending I am able to receive $5.00 about every three months. I am feeding and caring for only my husband and I.  If you have kids I am very sure it would add up much more quickly.  Now $5.00 may not seem like a lot but I like to look at my results over a year- This is a free $20.00-and this is my second slowest earning app.  If I have 8 apps that earn me $20.00 a year-that comes out to $160.00- That is my electric bill for a month! This next app is in my top 3 money makers!

Fetch Rewards a free app that is similar to Receipt Hog.  Here is my referral code: B1RWH They are looking for specific items that you purchase, so the receipts that you can get credit for scanning are: grocery store, warehouse store (Sams, Costco) and purchases made inside of convenience stores (food and drinks from Sheetz, Turkey Hill-not gasoline).  You are able to cash out after 500 points which equals a $5.00 gift card.  They have a bunch of options of gift cards.  My good friend loves the dunkin donuts gift cards-she treats herself to coffee.  I request Target gift cards, we have the red card where they give you 5% back on all of your purchases, in addition I can use coupons and I can use my gift cards on clearance items.  And Fetch accepts my target receipts even if I am using gift cards as the payment. (This is how I am saving hundreds of dollars a month on food, clothes, shampoo, toilet paper. When I am not spending money on my monthly consumables I am able to apply that extra hundred dollars or more to my mortgage principle in addition to my normal monthly mortgage payment. This will drastically reduce your interest amount every single month. This is how we are paying off our mortgage in 20 years not 30.  When we signed the papers for the mortgage of our forever home it stated very clearly how much we were borrowing and for how long.  Also I read that with the interest and if we paid our exact payment for our 30 years we would be paying an extra $200,000.00. That is a whole second house! And this is why I side hustle, I do not want to give away all that money.

Shop Kick This has become my family’s favorite app! It is our fastest money maker! And the most fun.  Here is my referral code: Best029650   How it works: its like a scavenger hunt in the stores you usually go to while you are shopping. You earn kicks(points, coins, credits, kicks) for finding items in the store and scanning their bar codes. They have tons of different stores.  We shop regularly at target, giant, best buy. Some stores offer walk in kicks.  Some stores offer kicks not only if you scan it but if you purchase an item on the list. This is where you can get tons of kicks but I personally only purchase items that were on my list to begin with. My husband works from home so about 2-3 times a week we like to go out, we go to stores and scan kicks. We both have the app on our phones.  We are both scanning at the same time. This means we are making double the amount, while getting some exercise inside of heated stores in the winter cold without paying a gym membership. You are able to cash out very quickly they have lower amount gift cards of $2. You are able to get the earned money sent right to your paypal account but yes of course you guessed it my husband and I get target gift cards. Last month both my husband and I were able to each earn $20.00 in gift cards-yes for scanning bar codes- not purchasing a thing.  And we did it at our convenience. Yes that is $40.00 of free groceries for November.  Or a free pair of shoes!

Okay all receipts aside here are the apps that you set up and really spend very little time and focus on.

Sweat Coin my free app that tracks my steps outside of my home. Here is my referral code: sweatcoinapp.uk/i/jeanete891767  I am accumulating coins that can be traded in for items.  My husband and I both have this app on our phones. So when we are raking the leaves in the yard, or scanning items for shopkick, we are earning sweat coins which can be traded in for items.  This is a slow earning free app, and the rewards change daily but one thing I have found that I really love is where you can trade in your sweatcoins to a donation that gives meals to hungry families. My husband is saving up for cash to be deposited into his bank account. I am walking/saving up for a new cell phone, if it is still available. My husband and I like to check our steps every night, its a bit of a fun and silly competition.  This app does track your location, and it will not track your steps if you close the app, I let it run in the background.  I have noticed when I took the battery saver mode off that my battery does wear down a bit more quickly (I always travel with my charge cord so I can charge while driving or at work or at home while sleeping.) but I am earning about double the steps with the battery saver off.

Swagbucks this free app both my husband and I have been using for over a year now and its great! Here is my referral code: Swagbucks  How I use this app daily. I do not need it open for a whole lot of time. At 500 swagbucks I am able to redeem them for a gift card. The really nice part about these gift cards is that they send you a bar code not an actual card through the mail.  I personally activate my gift card and then I take a screen shot of the gift card on my phone and that way when checking out I can quickly go through my photos and pull up the bar codes for the cashier to scan, I am able to swipe from one gift card to the next very easily, and this way I am not logging into 5 different apps while holding up the check out line.  When I use the gift card I delete the photo,  It’s also excellent for when I hit the grocery store on my way home from work.  I text the husband and ask him if there is anything else I need on the list and usually he volunteers his earned gift cards by texting me the photos of his gift card bar codes. Getting on the same money saving page with my husband has really helped our communication in our budget and marriage.  Swagbucks offers a multitude of different ways to earn money. I personally do the daily poll (located under the answer tab at the bottom of the screen) which is one question and earns me one swagbuck every day as long as I remember to take the daily poll.  They also offer other survey’s that take longer, but sometimes I will be working on a survey for 10 minutes and then I don’t qualify for the survey pay out and so I tend not to do a whole lot of survey’s. The survey profile questions are easy and quick so I tend to keep up on those, after answering 10 questions you receive 2 swagbucks.  But my favorite part is the video tab at the bottom of the screen.  Make sure you are on wifi, because if not this will eat up your data. I set my phone to watching the videos while charging and on wifi. I can be typing up a storm on my blog while charging my phone and earning swagbucks.  Videos will max out each day at 10 swag bucks. I earn a solid 11 swagbucks every day.  So about every 2 months I earn a $5.00 gift card.  I forget sometimes on the weekends so I round it to about every two months. Between my husband and myself we are earning $5.00 free every month. When I use gift cards to pay for our groceries it also frees up money so that when a friends birthday rolls around I am able to send a card and sometimes a cute gift and it not break our budget.

App Trailers is a free app that you can link with your other perk.com accounts such as viggle and pop quiz. Here is my referral code: 2e9869db.  Viggle you can gain reward points by letting the app watch your favorite tv programs with you. Pop quiz has fun trivia about all sorts of topics.  I use the app trailers while working, making sure I have my phone on wifi just like swagbucks. At 5000 points you can cash in your points for reward gift cards of $5.00.

And last but not least for now:

Checkpoints is a free app that I can watch videos on wifi like my swagbucks and app trailers. Also to increase my rewards quicker I check to see if there are any products to scan when out shopping just like the shop kicks app.

And there you have it! The RickabaughReviews tested and approved free apps that make us money!

Hope you enjoy them too!

 

 

 

Winter wreath

The fall and winter holidays are coming up. Yes it is only November 9th. Christmas is slowly taking over all your favorite stores. The husband and I purchased a new home this year and we are trying very hard to keep costs down for a bit until we have the new house budget under our belts for a year. Our new house is bigger on the first floor and thus more space to decorate. It is very exciting because we love to decorate for the holidays. It can get very pricey. We did okay making a few of our own Halloween crafts ourselves. I did do a bit of spending before our small party.

Christmas will be different, we have 3 times the amount of decor filled tubs in the attic. And what hurts even less is when we purchased our Aunt and Uncles home they ended up giving us a bunch of Christmas decor and a huge box of lights that they didn’t want to take 8 hours south to the beach with them. But I am always looking for a good deal and always wanting to craft up a storm.

My husband and I like to window shop, we are both very craft oriented and get our ideas in stores, also its a great way to get in some steps of exercise. We saw a very beautiful Christmas wreath for over $50. But even with their 50% off sale it was still too much. And so shopping with my friend Donna paid off. We had a wreath form in the attic and I only needed a few things to make it look very similar.

CD062BBB-E85D-4079-AF34-E8EE336AA472.jpeg

Wire Wreath Frame 16-Green

I used a 16 inch wide wreath form like the one above.
Pro crafting tip: when window shopping and you like something you see, take a photo of it with your smart phone. Photo to reference!

I am very allergic to pine trees so all fake all the time. Sad but everything can still look great.

We found the filler fake pine. It comes in a folded up length usually 9 foot. Which I have found to be perfect for wreathes.

2F56272E-BF0B-4BF4-A210-77F0C7403A66.jpeg

Christmas Decor – Christmas House Artificial Pine Garlands, 15 ft. (SET OF 2)

Right now the prices in craft stores are going up because of the holidays and people will pay the higher prices because they need it last minute.  The price on Amazon is super good definitely if you are making an extra large wreath or multiples.

Never Never Never pay full price for decor. Only purchase once shopping around to find the best price and using coupons. I also got a few sprays or picks.

93E47449-3021-4238-9C84-6C732753359A.jpeg

Close up photo for full appreciation of their cool winter feel.

9A32EB83-26D3-4811-9BCB-AE5D9427814F.jpeg

Just a little bit of sparkle, not too much. I also got two large white Poinsettias that have a nice clip on the back. These clips were 50% off but still the most expensive out of everything.

Here is a link to a very pretty red pick/spray that can be pulled apart, which can go great with many different styles of wreaths. Country, classic, or fun filled with kids and toys. Such as the following picks you might not even know exist.  You can put in some personal feeling picks to make it more your style instead of a simple white poinsettia.

Factory Direct Craft Package of 24 Glittery Red Artificial Berry Picks for Holiday Decorations or Floral Arranging

Factory Direct Craft Package of 36 Red and White Sparkling Candy Cane Picks for Holiday and Home Decor

A290B1A6-0B2D-4955-8322-44DF17B24B12.jpeg

Close up of the clip.

2D801E30-4AC8-4B2E-B32C-CB1B851FE6C9.jpeg

I only ended up using one of the Poinsettias in the end product. I also did not use all of the spray/picks once they were pulled apart.

Keep in mind: sometimes less is more.

First the husband and I pulled apart the purchased picks.

9A958053-82BE-480E-A2E3-6D8C6201D533.jpeg

D9472CB7-6340-4B3B-BF61-DEB699C521BA.jpeg

They pull apart very easily, it is just a little bit of flower tape holding them together.  Sometimes they don’t come apart perfectly and I get one or two individual decor on a wire.  If you are doing a very large wreath then you may want to keep the picks as you purchase them, especially if the large wreath will be elevated where it may be difficult to see small fine details.

Next we attached the fake pine to the metal wreath form.  I have some thin craft wire that I got over six years ago and it works perfectly when putting together wreathes together.  If you don’t have craft wire, but everything else twist ties work great! You can leave the paper on them so you have a good hold on the wire, sometimes its slippy without the wire.

69BD5134-11B3-47B2-A5CB-988F118175B7.jpeg

I attach the garland around the outer edge first then the inner most edge next, if there is leftover I continue to attach it in the middle section. This allows me to fill in and fold over little branches to cover up holes as needed. It also allows me to move aside branches to secure my fancy decor so that it doesn’t fall off my wreath.

784AB8D8-ECA1-4EE2-8E4D-8B47D90E5C41.jpeg

As you can see I have twisted the base of the spray to the metal wreath form, then I take a branch or two and wrap it around the base of the spray in order to hold the spray of decor exactly where I want it to stay.

86748C8A-94B4-4BFE-B8BD-AF3DE11D51B5.jpeg

If you want a very balanced look, do your math and place them evenly.  After I had the plain white in I filled in with the multi colored sprays.

Next is the ribbon which sometimes can be tricky.  I highly advise getting wired ribbon.  This means there is a small piece of ribbon on either side of the ribbon and you are able to mold it into a shape and it will keep that shape without too much support.

A1F0B507-E203-439F-BFC1-ECF953FB295E.jpeg

Twist in the beginning and the end of the ribbon, wrap it loose so that you are able to move it around a bit if you have more to finish up your wreath.

I only put on one of my big flowers and it looks great. When placed right in the middle of the bottom or in the middle of the top are for those who need everything just so-so they can feel organized and calm.  The world is crazy out there, if this is you, Do it! It looks amazing!

My husband and I throw a little more caution to the wind and we put it near the bottom.

F48D205C-7FA6-4A5F-A5A4-3CD2216180CA.jpeg

Sweet and Simple!

Both of the Rickabaughs approve!

Scrap Blanket

When you are handed down yarn and have leftovers from projects, you make unique blankets wrapped in charm.

DCFC189F-08FF-482E-8BA5-ACB36E0C0DFF

Complimentary colors to start out.  Then rows of alternating colors until they are completely gone.

90BEEBB0-B4DE-42BA-800B-5251FC3458B0

When the blanket is square a border can but put on. A plain double crochet can finish it off nicely. I have added this as well as a shell border.

D3D97027-66BC-46D9-B10A-1CD44A20A679.jpeg

Complete.

 

 

Halloween Apothecary Decorations

I have been so busy working on my costume and crafts I am just now getting to post my work. Start to finish on the projects instead of a few steps at a time.

I found some super cute D. I. Y. Apothecary bottles on Pinterest, I tried making them myself and I think I did ok. Below are how I made them with photos.

A7A4079B-715A-40F7-84EB-CA8436C3F44C.png

This is the photo that I found and were my inspiration bottles. I knew if they turned out half as good as these they would look great in the kitchen.

First step was collecting bottles, this I did for about 6 months in advance of actually doing the project. Another quick way is to hit up your friends for two to three weeks prior to project day.

E45EC102-0BFC-4D05-9CFB-EFBCF3D50E65.jpeg

Step Two- The removal of labels. This part is the least fun. I tried several different methods filling the sink with hot soapy water and letting the labels get soggy worked well. I then took a fingernail scrub brush I use after I gardening and scrubbed the softened labels.

E5179F38-19EE-473B-91B1-BF7A71BD7FB2.jpeg

F3E8A828-A488-4AAE-9AC6-96FB9606B90F.jpeg

The bottles were still sticky where the labels were, but I was hoping it would help my hot glue words stick and stay in place as I was placing them on the bottles.

I have worked with hot glue before when I made some snow flakes for a costume and I used the same technique with this project. Hot glue is messy and is stringy. So I used wax paper and put my design on the wax paper, let it dry and then cut it out with small sharp scissors.  This way its not stringy and if there is a bit to much in one spot or another I trim it to how I want it.

0DE41C6E-F4F0-4A0C-8C70-AECDBB2CC8E8.jpeg

Next they go on the bottles. I used the hot glue gun to put tiny dabs of glue on the back of the cut out words to permanently adhere them to the bottles.

5A5DE037-B3FA-4760-9FFB-2C59CD666521.jpeg

I also purchased a small bag of 12 plastic eyeballs for a dollar and hot glued them to the top of the lids. I had wanted to find some small plastic animals for on the lids but I did not find any that I liked enough, or for a reasonable price.

You can see they are really starting to come together, the last and I think the most fun is painting. Just a quick tip, you might want to plan a few other tasks for in between drying times. For a well mottled look it takes 3-4 coats of different colored paint. Each layer of paint needs to dry before the next layer is placed on top of the last.

I have found that when layering colors going from darkest to lightest or lightest to darkest works the best. I went from dark to light because I wanted to make sure all of the white parts of the bottles were covered.

Charcoal and green mixed for the base coat, the whole bottle and lid.

6795DF3F-E73B-490F-AC92-58A9D3C9011C.jpeg

When the base coat is complete on all of the bottles ( dark green) you just add paint to your base color. This saves paint and time and you know that the colors will work well together because your next color created is a variation  the current base color (dark green).

I added a small amount of metallic gold to my dark green, to produce a slightly lighter and shimmering green.  This coat was not a complete covering coat like the dark green was. I splotched it on.

The next layer of paint I added even more metallic gold paint.

This makes three layers of color. I then used the gold paint with just a very little bit of my mixed lightest color for a slightly bronze or dirty gold look to paint on just the words to help them stand out.  Also on our blood bottle we used red paint to make it look like blood.

Finished products were not too shabby.

780B14A6-6677-4FA8-A448-8D50520BFD1E.jpeg

We have gotten a great deal of positive feedback from our friends and family. I think this project was fun. I think it would be a great October or late September art project for kids home schooled or not. It teaches color mixing skills as well as patience and dexterity. Cutting out the hot glue words and painting the gold on the words helps with fine motor skills and the development of them and learning how to control the tools used in this project.

RickabaughReviews Approves!

 

 

 

D.I.Y. Halloween Decor

Halloween is a fun and silly time of year.  I especially love decorating.  But Halloween decorating can really add up! Every year I try to add just a few things to my stock pile of decor for each season, and I really try to keep a good tab on how much I am spending.  We moved into a new house this summer and the decorating spaces went from three rooms and a small porch to 6 rooms and a porch and front yard 5 times as large.  Lucky us when we purchased the home from relatives they left some items, Halloween and Christmas because they were downsizing.  I try to only purchase decor for special season’s after the holiday is over, when prices are slashed.  If we do purchase something before the season it either must be super cheep on clearance or there must be a coupon that is 20% or higher off the item.  I know this may sound really silly but I put a Halloween decor list on the fridge this year.  It lists a few items that I would not mind purchasing after the season which I think we could add to our home.  As an example we have more windows as well as more artwork on the walls as this new house so I think we can stand to add a few more sections of creepy cloth.  Also maybe some more spiders.  I would like to add more reusable, craft pumpkins that you can carve like a real pumpkin but they don’t ever rot.

D.I.Y. Decor is probably some of my favorite kind because most times its free, I have the items on hand. The “WOW” factor from friends and family also is really nice.  Are my D.I.Y. projects always perfect. Nope. But sometimes I find some good ones to try out.

I have seen in the store lots of fun ideas-I snap pictures of them and then go home and reproduce them. One such product was small black bats that you can tape to the inside of your lamp shades and they look like little flying bats at night.

Love the concept!

I headed off to work the other morning asking my husband, the artist, if he would draw me a few bats on an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of white paper for when I get home.  When I got home he had 5 of the most adorable bats ever! He was not sure what I was going to use them for so he made different sizes for me.  Best Husband ever!

1301B18C-05AD-494F-A7C4-A0CEA742DA1F.jpeg

I got out two sheets of black card stock paper. This type is my favorite, it is heavy duty and holds up well over the years with all sorts of projects including scrap booking.

I used a light colored pencil in order to trace the bats on.  I placed them all down, rearranging to get the most out of one sheet and have as little waste as possible. Then the tracing began, and what followed was a whole lot of cutting.

B638F330-E1C4-4419-89A0-91E3FF191580.jpeg

B0B95E62-7A36-4D36-806D-DF74DFAD3AB3.jpeg

BB9B7BA3-3DB2-4AC5-8B8F-B46F9D3A6C75.jpeg

Then I used double sided tape and popped the bats here and there on windows and in lamp shades.  I kept my patterns in a small baggy. With the amount of windows we have facing the street in the new house I think that I can make the whole pack of black paper of bats and have just enough.  But instead of focusing on just one craft this year I am doing a few.  So I am saving the patterns and can make one or two sheets of black paper of bats a year.

The end results you can see in the following photos are stellar!!!  I love them and the husband loves them, so that means Rickabaughreviews approves!

Fun easy and cheap!

70E3612F-0CD8-4543-A028-51456F2D14F2.jpeg

175224DE-2C21-4CA6-BFFD-BB5D886D7468.jpeg

CAB0A6B1-83C4-44DB-ABAF-5C7982B2D74E.jpeg