Cheap Halloween Decorations

I forgot to take pictures of the decorations we had for our Halloween party yesterday, so they get their own post. I didn't plan for hardly any decorations for the party because we were on a budget, and as much as I like decorating, I knew decorations aren't as necessary as food and such. Food is definitely a priority.

Enter Jessica at How About Orange. She always has fantastic ideas that make me wish I'd thought of them myself (but at least I can steal her ideas). Like her trashbag spiderwebs. So simple and incredibly cheap. Cute, too.

Here's my version:

One trashbag makes two spiderwebs. We made eight webs and put them up around the youth room. They were perfect decorations because they were big enough to make a statement without needing to make millions of webs.

I'd hang them up on our front porch for trick-or-treaters, but unfortunately I'm pretty sure we won't be getting any trick-or-treaters tonight. A long driveway + a street with no sidewalks= no cute kids in costumes.

Happy Halloween! Hope ya'll are visited by cute trick-or-treaters!


Halloween Party

Tonight was our Halloween party for our middle schoolers and high schoolers. Neither Deric nor I have ever planned a party like this so we were both a bit nervous about how it'd go, but the party went really well and we had a lot of fun!

(I'm kinda limited on pictures I can show you because I don't post pictures that show the kids' faces. But if you know me in real life, check my Facebook for all the pictures.)

First off, can you guess who we are?

If you guessed Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus (and yes, we've been informed they're not dating..), you know too much about teen pop stars.

We kicked off the night with Minute to Win It's 'Dizzy Mummy'. (Candy corns are for the kids' protection.) Apparently it takes much longer than one minute to wrap someone like a mummy, but one minute is plenty of time to trash a room. :)

 Bobbing for apples was a much bigger hit than we anticipated. These kids were serious about those apples.

Look at her diving in! They were totally soaked.

I got the idea for a caramel apple bar off none other than Pinterest. It was fun and definitely tasty. We used a mixed bag of Halloween candy to get a variety of toppings, plus candy corn.

We also carved pumpkins, but I don't have pictures I can share of the carving. Between the church's Fall Festival yesterday and the Halloween party tonight I'm all sugared out...and its not even Halloween yet!


Framing a Mirror

When we visited Deric's brother and sister-in-law for Labor Day, they asked if we could use an old builder-grade mirror they had sitting in their garage. I said yes, although at the time I wasn't quite sure what we could do with it. But I'd seen plenty of blogs where people used crown molding to frame mirrors (like here and here) so I figured we could give it a try. The mirror sat in our garage until I got Deric on board with the idea, and then until we had a free evening to work on it.

We bought 2" crown molding at Lowe's, mirror adhesive, and wood filler. To cut the molding at an angle, we went to a friend's house and asked him to cut it with his saw. (I don't know what type of saw, but it was fancy.)

At home, Chad and Deric decided to put the frame together before they attached it to the mirror. I left them to their measurements and plans ('cause I'm no good at math) and cooked dinner so they'd have the energy to keep working on my project. 

They glued the frame together at each corner and used wood filler to fill in the cracks. We let the mirror sit for a day or two to let the glue adhere completely, then Deric and I attached it to the frame with the mirror adhesive, which bonded in just a few minutes. But we left it for another day before we set it on the mantle, and that's when we realized we hadn't thought this through entirely.

Problem #1: The fan is reflected in the mirror. And at night, the light is pretty blinding. Mirrors are usually used to bounce (natural) light around the room and make it appear bigger, but I'm not sure this mirror does that. 

Problem #2: I think the mirror may be too big for above the mantle. Maybe not-- it could be that the small objects on either side make it look even bigger. I'd rather the mirror be too big than too small, however, so I'll make it work.

Those two problems aside, I'm glad we framed the mirror. It turned out really well and the knowledge of how to do it will probably come in handy in the future. I should probably learn the name of the saw we used, though. That'll probably come in handy, too.


Pumpkins & Apples

One of my October goals was to carve pumpkins with Deric. We've never carved pumpkins together, and we barely had time to squeeze carving in before Halloween. So last night Chad came over and we had a pumpkin carving party.

Deric and Chad took over cleaning out the pumpkins while I made caramel apples. I've never made them before, but they're incredibly simple to do. Buy a bag of the Kraft caramels and there's a recipe on the back. Easy enough!

While the apples cooled in the refrigerator, we started the carvings. You'll notice a theme among our pumpkins...Chad calls it our Pop Culture Pumpkins.

I carved an Angry Bird.

Deric carved Dwight Shrute (from The Office).

Chad carved an Autobot (from Transformers).

As soon as I finished carving, my Bird's face fell in. :( Look closely and you'll see nails holding the face to the rest of the pumpkin. There's a nail on the right bottom corner of his beak...which I just realized looks like a nose ring! That's how I planned it-- my punk rock Angry Bird. ;)

Drumroll please... the finished product, proudly displayed on our front porch steps (for about five minutes 'cause it was 11:30 by the time we were done).

The pumpkins are back out on our front porch tonight and I'm hoping they'll last throughout Halloween weekend. I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about pumpkin smashers, but I'll be keeping an eye out just in case. But really, who would dare smash an Autobot?? ;)


The Mantle Makeover

About a month ago, I posted the before and after pictures of our living room. I figured the before and afters of the mantle deserved their own post because the difference is pretty drastic. The mantle is gorgeous, but I've never liked the color of oak wood. The orangey color just doesn't work for me; that, and the oak wood stuck out like a sore thumb against the light blue walls.

So, literally nine or ten coats of primer (and one coat of semi-gloss) later, the mantle fit in much better with the rest of the room. I'd like to take it even farther and paint the brick and the inside of the fireplace, since it doesn't work anyways. If I cleaned out the fireplace (and possibly painted it a dark gray or black), I could get rid of the cracked fireplace screen. Don't think I'm crazy-- Young House Love did it and made their fireplace look ten times better. 

More about the mirror you see later this week. Deric and I just finished making it, but we didn't consider a few things before starting our project. And as for the fall decor, they're my on-a-budget mostly-from-Dollar-Store leaves and pumpkins. While it bugs me to death that the mirror absolutely dwarfs everything else on the mantle, I'm pretty surprised at what I could find for $1. Each vase on the right was $1; the fake leaves were $1 for about 50 leaves; candle was $1; and the felt leaf garland was found on Pinterest. The pumpkins were from TJ Maxx and while they weren't a dollar, they were close.

So what do you think? I'm so glad I decided to paint that mantle, although that orangey-oak probably would've matched all those fall colors pretty well. ;)


Deric's Birthday

Deric turned 28 on Friday. We've spent all weekend with his family, who came down from Kentucky and Indiana to celebrate with us. I've been trying for a while to think of what I'd write about him on his birthday, but I'm not a good enough writer to express how I feel about him, nor to express how highly I think of him. 

Michael Buble concert, October '08

But I can tell you this. The reason I became interested in Deric when I met him in college (besides his good looks) is that everyone who knew him had great things to say about him. Seriously, everyone. (And at such a small college, that's rare. Usually the rumor mill was pretty vicious.) But Deric was well-known and very much loved. He was friends with everyone (including professors), always ready to have a good time, and he was so full of integrity that he easily earned respect from others. And today, its still the same way. 

Easter '09

Living with Deric is so much fun. Every day, he makes me laugh too many times to count. Most of the time I can predict his jokes before he starts to say them, yet they still make me laugh. His witty comments, his facial expressions, the way he takes everything I say literally...all funny (to me, at least). My days wouldn't be nearly as entertaining without him. He's always ready to play, but he also knows when to get serious. Its a good balance.

Thailand, Christmas 09

Deric's one of the hardest workers I know. When we lived in Indiana and he had to lay cable all day in freezing temperatures, he wouldn't complain. He hated his job, but he viewed it as a mission field and he worked with a purpose. And if Deric says he'll do something, he does it. He told me once that if he's afraid he'll flake out on some commitment, he'll tell someone that he'll do it to keep himself accountable. And it works. He always keeps his promises.

Jamaica for our honeymoon

Deric takes his role as the spiritual leader of our family very seriously, which I'm thankful for. He's very disciplined about spending time in prayer and reading his Bible so that he continues to learn more about God. He shares what he's learning with me and with the kids in the youth group. His passion for God keeps me passionate about God.

Washington, DC, fall '10

Gosh, there's so many more good qualities in Deric that I could share, but I think you get the gist. :) To summarize: I love him, and life is definitely better with him around! 


Jumpin' on the Bandwagon

I've seen upholstered nailhead headboards all over the Internet for a while now. They sell for an average of $500 at places like West Elm, so naturally there are hundreds (literally) of DIYed versions for under $100. I'd never upholstered a headboard but I'd seen so many tutorials that I knew it wouldn't be hard to do. Plus, doing it ourselves was the only option because Lord knows we'd never spend $500 on, well, anything.

This is West Elm's version...

which is really just this:
Seriously, $500?!

The headboard made by Centsational Girl is probably the most popular DIY version. Its gorgeous, but no way would I ever attempt that curvy shape she did. She must have a lot of patience.

Despite the simplicity of upholstering a rectangular headboard, Deric and I decided to wait to build it until my family came to town on Labor Day. Dad's a handy man and we knew he could help in case we ran into problems. Our only concern with the headboard was how we'd support it. We couldn't hang it on the wall like most of the tutorials did because there's a window directly behind our bed. We didn't want to support it on two legs, like the West Elm version, because we were afraid it wouldn't be enough support. Also, our bed frame has wheels and moves pretty easily so we didn't know if that would be a problem. 

We bought particle board and had it cut down to the width of our bed. To add some height (so that we could sit up against it), we added a 1x6 to the top to make it about four feet tall. Per Dad's advice, we didn't alter the particle board at all--its one big square with the bottom corners bolted to the bed frame. We laid quilting batting over the top half and stapled it on the backside. Then we covered it with linen, which I first had to iron. 


After it was as smooth as linen gets, Deric and I stapled it inch by inch to the back of the board.

Deric, Chad and Dad bolted it to the bed frame while I took pictures (without white-balancing--sorry about the fake tans, boys). And aside from the nailhead trim which hadn't come in the mail yet, we were done! And in one afternoon...although we did have a lot of help.

The nailhead trim came in a few days later, but it took us about a month to get around to finally adding it. And no, we definitely did not nail in each nailhead individually. They sell kits online where you only nail in every five nails and it goes so much faster. Deric and I got it all done within an hour.

I made myself get over the fact that even with the trim kit, the nailheads would never be ramrod straight. But I got over that only to get fixated on the barely-an-inch overlap of the frames and the headboard. That's an easy fix; I just have to get around to actually doing it...so probably in about a month or so.

And last but not least, check out Deric's creative (and very classy) support system. To provide more support for the top of the headboard but allow room for the curtains to move, he nailed the remnants of the 1x6 perpendicular to the headboard. He then covered the boards with his socks so they wouldn't scratch the walls. Creative, huh? And classy too. It really is smart...I couldn't come up with a way to support it without smashing the curtains, so I'm glad he could.

There you have it! Total cost was right under $100 for the board, batting, fabric, nailhead trim and the hardware. Big thanks to the fam for helping us build it. I'll be brainstorming our next project for Thanksgiving! 

Just kidding.


Notes in the Margin 10.16.11

If you got rid of all your preconceived ideas about church, all the traditions you grew up doing, and all the trends that are common in churches, what would you be left with? If your only basis for church was the descriptions of the early church primarily in the book of Acts, what would church be like?

Based on those descriptions in Acts, when would your church meet together? How would your church honor Jesus' sacrifice on the cross? How would you accept members' financial donations? Who would teach? Would everyone meet together, or would you separate each age group and/or gender? What would you do for the majority of that time spent together? Would you pray, worship, teach, eat, play, work? Would you set a schedule for each meeting, or would you do something different each time?

Something to think about, huh?

Inspired by Francis Chan and his book, Crazy Love.


Ancient Artifacts

I can clearly remember trudging through antique stores, "historical" buildings and museums as a kid, following my parents and wondering why in the world anyone would want to look at a bunch of old, rusty junk. 

And now, it seems like that's all I want to do. Funny how that happens, huh? Deric and I went to an Antiques Festival last weekend in a nearby small town. We were browsing for fun but also keeping our eyes peeled for a mirror to hang above our mantle and side tables for our living room. We didn't have high hopes for either though since we figured the prices would be out of our budget.

Sadly, we didn't come home with anything. Not because we didn't see anything we wanted, but because we weren't completely sold on anything. Now, I'm not sure of the picture-taking etiquette in vendors' booths so I didn't take many, but here are a few things I'd take home if I had no budget....

Old crates were everywhere, especially the Atlas brand. Thought these would be good storage for blankets in our living room or to hold boxes/cans in the pantry.

This was the only side table I considered buying. It wasn't too expensive, but it didn't really fit my criteria so it was a no go. Pretty, though.

There were two old Glidden advertisements that I thought were interesting. It'd be fun to hang these in a workroom or craftroom, etc.

A menu written in French. I assume its from a restaurant in France, but you never know. Grandma, if you're out there, can you translate for me?

There were so many vintage toys that would be great for decorating kids' room. Firetrucks and Matchbox cars, childrens' books and board games. The board games would be cute hung on the wall or propped up on a shelf.

And lastly, a very old painting entitled "Teaching Time". I can't tell if the teacher is supposed to be smiling or sneering, but it looks kinda creepy to me. Look closely at the boy nearest the teacher and check out the size of his ears. ;)

Its unfortunate that we couldn't find anything to bring home if for no other reason than as a memento of a great day together. But there are plenty more antique stores to visit. I'm sure Deric will be excited. :)