by Sharla

Spooky Halloween Decor

July 24, 2013 in Creating, Halloween Creations by Sharla

Spooky Halloween
Now, I’m not saying that I’m the best there is when it comes to Halloween decor, but I do love to decorate for this holiday.  I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have more decorations for Halloween than for any other holiday (sick, I know).  So, I thought it might be fun to just do a post with pics of my family’s decorations, and if you find inspiration in what I’ve done, then be my guest to recreate it.  I also thought it might be fun if you followers would be interested in adding your own pics in the comment section of this post.  I LOVE new ideas, and would love to see yours.
 Here is my front porch.  Isn’t the enormous weed growing out of the right pot in front of the stairs  amazing?  Yeah, I planned that (no, I didn’t, I just really hate weeding).
 Check out the fireplace.  All Halloween decor you see was $20 or less, collected over years.  The Medusa pic was super cheap at a Halloween shop.  The large spider webs were on sale at K-Mart last season for $2.99 each.  The gargoyle was a Target purchase, as well as the owls and jug of floating eyeballs.  The spiders are my most favorite purchase.  They are big, durable and cling to the stone on the fireplace.  Unfortunately, I bought them several years ago and the store that carried them never got them back.
Smiley plush spider hanging from the light, I like him.
These jars are an easy Pinterest project.  Three candle sticks, three jars, black spray paint, and super heavy duty glue.  The bats are rubber decals I stuck on for the holiday.  Everything came from Hobby Lobby except the decals which I bought from Shop at
Anyone recognize the spell book on the table?  Don’t worry, it’s just the most amazing DIY project you can find on this very blog!  The spiderweb table cloth was from a party magazine, the other nick knacks are from Target.  Notice the creepy spider web on the light?  Everyone is selling what they call “spooky material”.  Just go to Home Depot and buy a packet of cheese cloth for $4 and rough it up a little.  It’s all the “spooky” you’ll need.
 This is a collection of some of my favorite decorations.  The coffin fogger is a Target purchase and that’s my kid’s favorite, but not mine.  The pic on the left of the Storm Trooper holding Yoda and Minnie Mouse hugging his leg is from a Halloween several years ago.  It’s my family decked out for Halloween night.  I just had it made into an 8×10 and put it in a frame.  The original idea was to replace the pic each year, but I never got that far.  But it is one of my favorite things to put out.  I think my next project will be printing and framing smaller pics of different Halloweens.  So fun.  Also, the witch hat on the lamp was a dollar store purchase.  Cheap touch that adds a lot.
Here’s another pic of the same stuff, I just wanted to show off the glittered pumpkins from the $1 bin at target beneath the table.
This is a fun corner.  The skull fogger is from Target, the other skulls are just cheap Styrofoam from various Halloween stores and the snake is a prop from the year my husband was Voldemort.  I am a firm believer in using old costumes to decorate with.


I cannot remember where this chain came from, my best guess is Target, but I have two and I like to hang them above entryways like spooky garland.


 These red lanterns live in my entryway, so I just dress them up with black candles.  The snake is sitting in a plastic cauldron I bought on clearance from Michael’s.
This jail front is one of my favorites.  I didn’t make it for Halloween, I made it as a backdrop for taking fake mug shots in front of.  But when I was done taking the pics I thought, “hey, that’s kinda spooky….” and this is where it ended up.  I have included a tutorial on how to make your own.  Click here to see it.
Now, send me your pics of your decor and I’ll include them on the blog.  Can’t wait to hear from you!
<3, Sharla
by Sharla

Jail Front Tutorial

July 24, 2013 in Creating, Halloween Creations by Sharla

Jail Front Tutorial
So, do you like the jail front in the pic above?  I have included a turorial on how to make it (yay!).  Now, I made this several years ago so I don’t have any pics on the actual assembly, but it’s pretty straight forward.  Put this puppy in just the right place with something creepy being trapped behind makes for a scary night.  It’s also a great background for photo ops.  It’s easy, light weight, and cheap!
-2 Peices of 2×4 boards cut 3 1/2 feel long
-7 Pieces 3/4” PVC pipe cut 7 1/2 feet long
-4 Large black wall brackets
-28 2” long screws
-2 Cans black spray paint
-Drill for attaching screws
-Measuring tape
*These are the measurements for the jail front I created, but you can adjust your measurements to make your jail taller, shorter or longer.  However, if you make it longer, I would add additional wall brackets on the bottom to increase balance.
**When you buy your materials, most home improvement stores will cut your wood and PVC pipe for you at no additional charge.
First, mark your two pieces of 2×4.  One will be at the top and one at the bottom.  Start on one end of the board and mark every 6” on both boards.  You should end up with 7 marks (a mark for each pipe, see what I did there?).
Next lay them out and grab your PVC pipe and drill.  Use one screw  at the top of the board and one at the bottom per pipe.  To allow maximum stability, I lined the PVC up with to top of the board.  After you’ve attached each pipe to the top board finish up by screwing the bottom of the pipes to the bottom board with two screws.
Now you need to make it stand up, right?  Grab your wall brackets and screw two onto the front of the jail on each side of the boards.  Stand it up and screw the other two to the back of the boards.
The last, easiest and funnest part is to spray the whole thing black.
I attached an extra screw at the top so that I could hang my goull from it.  Easy, pleasey, zombies weazey.  :)
Now, go scare up some fun!
<3, Sharla
by Sharla

Harry Potter Spell Book Tutorial

July 24, 2013 in Creating, Halloween Creations by Sharla

Spell Book Tutorial

Home made Harry Potter spell book prop

There is a great spell book prop floating around Pinterest that I fell in love with.  So, during our last girl’s night I thought, “Oh yes, this is happening!”
But when I went to the website that has the book, there were no instruction.  It had a description of the book, a couple of pictures and the websites that the creator found the digital art to create the pages for the book in Photo Shop.  So, I did the best I could, but my creation was a far cry from the beautiful picture that I was trying to copy.
  I was frustrated, I wanted to find a full tutorial along with a print out that I could just click on and print.  I didn’t want to spend the day trying to put together pages in Photo Shop.  Anyway, I’m lucky enough to have an incredibly artistic husband who took pity on me and agreed to help me create my pages, from scratch, hand drawn!  With his help, this is what I ended up with…


So, for those of you that love the way this turned out and that don’t want to spend hours hunting and searching on the computer and putting together something in Photo Shop, you’ve come to the right place!
You will need:
  • A hard cover book you don’t mind ruining.  Mine was about 6 inches wide and 9 inches long and those are the dimensions for the jpeg files you can follow the link to purchase and print from the bottom of this post.
  • Two sheets of scrap book paper.  My hubby chose out the decorative kind with cool scrolls for effect and I loved it.  Be creative, do what you like, but make sure you choose something that has a tan or sepia toned background.
  • Black spray paint
  • Sand paper or scissors.  anything you can use to rough up the edges of your book and give it that “been-around-since-Dumbledore-was-born” look.
  • Acrylic and/or water color paint.  The acrylic colors my man used to paint the edges of the pages was Burnt Sienna.  We also used Russet and Bambi Brown for added effect, including the cup ring at the top right corner of the right page.
  • Spray Adhesive or your choice of adhesive to attach the finished pages to the book.  I had some spray adhesive around which is quick and easy to use, but you could also use scrap book adhesive or tape.  I would avoid any wet glue like rubber cement or Elmer’s, it will wrinkle your pages.
  • 12 inch black ribbon
  • Hot glue and gun
Start by preparing the book.  Remember, this is a prop, it’s not meant to be picked up and handled and flipped threw.  So open the book to the middle and just know, that’s where it’s going to stay for the rest of it’s book life. :)  Spray paint the outside cover and inside cover black (ironically, the book i used was actually titled Paint it Black).
Next distress the edges of the book’s pages using scissors, sandpaper, or what ever you want.  You can use water colors, it gets the book good and wet and makes it easy to distress but then you have to wait for it to dry over night.  After it dried I used a pencil to roll the corners.  Then I ended up using the acrylic paint to finish it off.  I felt like the acrylic gave a fuller color and looked prettier than the water colors.
Admit it, this is way easy and fun so far, right?
Now, let’s get the pages ready.  We saved you the trouble of re-inventing the wheel.  My totally muscly and artistic husband generously allowed me to create a PDF file that you can purchase in our Etsy store for only $5.00!  Click here to purchase the 9″x6″ drawings and here to purchase the 12″x9″ drawings.  They are an instant download that you can then print out on the paper of your choice.  I recommend using paper that has color to help with the aged appearance.  Turbo easy!

Now, grab out your Burnt Sienna paint again and use paint brushes and brush the edges to look distressed.  I don’t recommend actually distressing these pages or painting over them, be gentle.  They are too pretty to hurt!  This is how mine looked when they were done.
You have to admit, that looks way, way better than my first try.  I bet yours looks just as great.
K, the rest is simple.  Spray the back of the pages with the spray adhesive and place them directly onto the pages in the book.  Do a bit more curing of the corners.  Use hot glue to glue the end of the ribbon onto the back spine of the book for the book mark.  Stick it in a cool table easel or lay flat with creepy junk around it and you, my friend, have created an amazing addition to your Halloween decor that is a true original.Don’t have the time to make a book of your own?  Visit my Etsy shop by clicking the button on the side of the page and place your order for your very own pre-made spell book!

Happy Haunting!
<3, Sharla
How cool is this?  I had a follower send me her completed spell book, and it turned out awesome! Love the ribbon, what a good idea.  Send us a pic of yours, we’d love to add it to the collection!  Thanks, Michele!
by Sharla

Super Healthy Cookie Dough Ball Bites

July 24, 2013 in Cooking, Deserts, Healthy by Sharla

Super Healthy Cookie Dough Ball Bites
 So, I have a little guy who is about as picky as they come when it comes to, well, everything, but especially food.  Needless to say I am constantly looking for food that his healthy and delicious that he will go for.  That is where these cookie dough ball bites come in.  Every one of my kids LOVE these, but most importantly, my picky eater.  They are as healthy as a snack can get and I told him that he can eat them any time he wants, breakfast, bedtime snack, whatever…and he does!  So, give it a try, I know you won’t be disappointed.
In a food processor or blender process until fine:
2/3 cup raw almonds
2/3 cup cashews
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon flax seed
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
*if you have a nut allergy substitute all nuts with oats
Add to food processor and pulse 3-5 times:
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
*If you go dark chocolate you get those extra antioxidants
Add to food processor and process until well combined:
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Use 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into balls.
Store in airtight container in the fridge or freezer and enjoy your new midnight snack.
Healthy Cookie Dough Ball Bites
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This Is Do-Able
*This recipe is altered from A Dash of Compassion 
<3, Sharla
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