Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday, Halloween Edition

To me, the scariest thing about Halloween is that the very next day, the frantic Holiday Season begins!  I thought the rule used to be to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I've already seen Christmas decorations, candy, and gifts in all the stores, so now is a good time to slow down and savor our blessings.

Today, I'm feeling especially thankful for heat and electricity, as we spent the last two Halloweens without power, following that freak snowstorm in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy last year.   I'm also grateful that no one I knew personally was injured or suffered substantial losses, as did many people in the tristate area.  We were also fortunate to have good friends, neighbors, and relatives who gave us a warm meal, hot shower, or place to bunk overnight.  It made all the difference!  And despite the fact that I'm currently feeling like our entire home needs a huge cosmetic overhaul, I'm still grateful that we have a warm, comfortable, safe place to live in a beautiful setting.  It's easy to forget that we're more fortunate than most.  On this All Hallow's Eve, I'm also grateful for the close relatives who have passed on before me, most especially, godparents and grandparents.   Finally, I'm thankful for my daughters, who manage somehow to keep me young and give me gray hair at the same time, who make me smile, laugh, and sometimes cry, as we journey together through their adolescence.  It's a bit like a roller coaster these days, but certainly is never dull!

What are you feeling thankful for this Halloween?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Frightfully Fun!

Yesterday we celebrated Halloween in style with a howlingly fun teen bash.  We spent most of the day hanging webs, lights, and assorted spookiness all around the garage and downstairs family room.  When the guests arrived after dark, they were greeted by my oldest daughter dressed as a skeleton, with her face painted as above.  She led them past the webbed railing and a large spider decorating the garage door.

From there, guests walked down this dark hallway we created by moving and covering our storage shelving and lit by black lights, which made the words above glow eerily.

The creepiest thing about it was the dark, as well as the sound effects provided by Martha Stewart's Spooky Sounds for Halloween CD.  There were small flashlights and little battery powered candle flames here and there, just enough to light up ghostly scenes like the one below.

Finally, at they end, they were treated to a small scare by my ever energetic, hardworking, imaginative and cooperative husband Mark as he peered out of a coffin wearing his corpse mask and costume!  I don't think he scared too many of the kids (as some of them ran up to him right after, gave him a hug and shouted "Mr. Green!"(not exactly the effect we were going for!) but it all set the mood for a great time.

From there, the kids went into the hallway, which was decorated with webs and spiders.  We replaced the ceiling light with a blue bulb which made it look really eerie.  From there, they passed through the orange and black curtain into the party room.

We covered the central i-beam with more webs (I bought 10 packages just to be sure we'd have enough!) and purple twinkle lights.

The food table was set as you see below.  I pretty much covered everything in my studio area with large black plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, and then used more webs and cheesecloth to cover them.  I made a spooky tree with some branches, from which I hung little paper bats.  The girls drew scary ghost faces on some white helium balloons, so they were floating around the table.  The recycled plastic gallon milk jugs had battery powered candles in them as well, making for a nice display in the dark.

 Thank goodness we were able to borrow so many of the decorations and supplies from friends, neighbors, and my friendly neighborhood library (where I got the CD and a few scary movies).  Today we're already starting to take everything down... although I think I'll leave some of it up through Halloween on Thursday....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Need a little gratitute adjustment?  I know I do!  Today I'm thankful for:
  1. The change of seasons:  It's revitalizing to see familiar scenery in a new way, almost like taking a vacation.  Around here, it's a beautiful time of year, even if it means winter is coming.
  2. Family time:  The last two weekends we've managed to squeeze in apple picking at a local orchard, a visit to Bear Mountain's Oktoberfest with my brother and his girls, and now we're planning a teen Halloween party.  Fun! 
  3. Modern technology:  Everything from washing machines and dishwashers to laptops and cell phones - they sure make life easier!
  4. Modern health improvements:  Last week I dodged a cold with the help of "cold remedy" tablets from CVS, and my back is feeling almost normal, thanks to modern PT.
  5. Cassie: I think it was Nora Ephron who said "When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you."  Funny but true!
What's on your gratitude list today?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catching Up

I've been away a few weeks, primarily because my laptop needed more memory and an updated operating system, so I was unable to download any new photos.  Now that I've got that all straightened out, I can catch you up on the final four round robin charm bracelets.  These were delayed too, as I was supposed to receive the crystal one, below, in August, but only got it in early October.  At one point, I had all four bracelets to work on at once, so I'm catching up in more ways than one!
On this "crystal bliss" bracelet, I added the little silver snowflake with the crystal dangles in the lower right.

Below is another steampunk themed bracelet.  I added two charms on the bottom, on either side of the gold gears.  One is a wire-wrapped green glass bead in a copper frame with a chain tassle, the other is the gear with the three beaded dangles.  I like the green and copper combo in this bracelet and used that as my inspiration.

The theme for this one was "Grandma's button box."  I added the floral button on the lower left with the lace since I didn't have any truly vintage buttons.

And finally, I added the heart-shaped lavender sachet to this amethyst and silver bracelet (near the clasp in the upper right).  This bracelet will be going to a grandmother who plans to give it to her daughter, who has a little girl who was born last February.  She will eventually inherit this special birthstone bracelet.  Isn't it lovely?

That marks the end of my participation in the round robin bracelet swap!  All year, I really looked forward to seeing a new themed bracelet every month and taking my time coming up with a charm that would compliment the ones already added.  I'm very glad I participated and I know I'll miss the gentle nudge the project gave me to do something creative, albeit small, at least once a month.  And I'm really looking forward to receiving my own bracelet back in early December!