Get Cash for Shopping Online

Awhile ago, I had told all of you about how you can get cash in your pocket for just shopping online, and I wanted to remind you again since the “shopping season” will be upon us soon! If you purchase anything online, then this is for you! I am talking about EBATES! When you sign up for Ebates, you earn cash back for just shopping online, and it’s free to do! Once you start using Ebates, you will receive quarterly “Big Fat Checks” right in your mailbox that you can use for anything, or for more shopping!

Since we are already signed up for Ebates, they encourage us to “refer a friend”, so that is what I am doing today. So, if you want to earn cash back for just doing your normal online shopping, then use our link to sign up & start receiving your own Big Fat Checks too!

There are more than 1,700 stores enrolled in Ebates, so finding the stores that you normally shop at is easy! For example, we get cash back from Home Depot, KMart, Staples, etc. just for shopping online!

Here’s how you can earn cash back too:

  • Click our link to sign up for Ebates (this tells Ebates that we referred you to them)
  • Create your own Ebates account (it’s free)
  • The next time you want to shop online, go to Ebates FIRST, find the store you want to shop at, click that stores link, Ebates opens up a ticket on your screen and takes you directly to the store you want to shop at. Make your purchase and you have now successfully earned your Ebates cash back.It’s that easy!
  • Then you can look at your account on Ebates and it will tell you how much money you just earned on your purchase!
  • The neat thing about Ebates is that they change all the time the percentage of cash back that you can earn, so always check back in on your Ebates account to see what percentage you can earn today on your favorite stores!  (for example, one day Home Depot is offering 3% cash back, and a week later it could be 5%)
  • And, when you first sign up you get a $10 cash bonus after you make your own purchase of $25 or more!

Now comes the even better part of Ebates! Once you create your account, it is time that you can earn even MORE money! There is a “Refer a Friend” section on your account and this is where you send your own Ebates account link up to all of your friends, family, and co-workers. Get them to sign up for Ebates through your link, have them create their own Ebates account (did I tell you it’s free), and once they make their first purchase through Ebates, YOU get cash back for referring them! The more friends you refer and get to sign up, the more money you can earn!

So, right now, click on our link and sign up for your own Ebates account today and start earning cash back for all of your holiday purchases! How could you pass up free money, right? And believe me, it does add up! This is even better than finding money you did not know you had in a coat pocket! You’ll thank me later.

How to Make a Quick Halloween Prop

We all know that the countdown to Halloween has begun, and we know that our time is sometimes limited due to our hectic schedules. But there is a quick and easy way to create an almost free Halloween prop in a few minutes. Let me show you how!

HOW TO MAKE A QUICK HALLOWEEN PROP

First, grab your branch cutters or a little hand saw and head out into your woods. To make this easy, look first for little branches that might be lying on the ground. If you can’t find any, which I would find it hard to believe that you couldn’t, you will need to saw or snip off a few small branches.

Carry those branches back home and snip off any little pieces of branches so you are left with just one long branch. Now carefully lean them into each other to kinda make a branch t-pee. Once you get them in a shape you like, take some jute and tie them up where all the branches meet. (I would suggest you do all of this “where” you are planning on putting this prop in your yard so you don’t have to carry it afterwards) Make sure you jam each stick a little bit into the ground for stability.

The next thing that I did was bring up one of our black witches cauldron from storage. At first, I wanted to “hang” the cauldron from the sticks, but the cauldron did not have any hooks, so I had to MacGyver something. I took one of our tomato cages and cut off the bottom section with wire cutters and placed the cauldron on top of it. THIS WORKED OUT PERFECTLY!

The next item I grabbed was some fire wood we have behind the garage and stacked them around the cauldron. This is making the effect that the cauldron is stacked on top of wood. Next, I balled up a set of white Christmas lights under the cauldron (inside the tomato cage frame) and turned them on! WOW! When I took this photograph, it actually looks like a fire underneath the cauldron.

I am going to also add an orange set of lights underneath the cauldron too, to give the “fire” a more realistic look. Now comes the fun part…I am going to grab two of our skellies and have them stand around the cauldron! I will have one posed as if he is “warming up his hands” by the fire, and the other one will be “roasting a marshmallow”!

This Halloween prop was made for free, because I already had the cauldron, lights and tomato cage, and the wood & branches were free! Yeah!

Hee hee, don’t you just love Halloween!

Halloween Decorating Has Begun

I can officially say that I started our Halloween decorating today! I started pulling out all of my paper mache pumpkins, my paper mache mummy, my paper mache witch head that I am still working on, and the paper mache fireplace. I have had a few people ask to see the finished fireplace, so I made sure I got it in the photo!

MY PAPER MACHE PROJECTS

I still have a lot more pumpkins to unpack for our inside Halloween decorations, and I always bring out our lighted Halloween Willow Trees too to give the living room a nice eerie glow. Everything in the photo above, is made in paper mache!

I have also been working on a paper mache torso and I hope to get him finished before Halloween!  In case you are wondering how I created this torso, here’s how I started off:

HOW TO MAKE A PAPER MACHE TORSO

I wrapped my own body with clear packing tape from my waist to my neck. When you do this, the first layer of packing tape must be sticky side out so it does not stick to your clothing. Once you get the first layer of packing tape around your entire torso, you then keep wrapping with the sticky side towards you. What you are doing here, is making a nice form for a torso. Once you get enough packing tape around you, the next step is to get the form off of you. Either have someone cut the form off of you, or you can do it yourself, but be careful not to cut yourself!

Now you have a quick torso made! Just tape up the place where you cut yourself out from the form and you are now ready to paper mache your torso. I am sure that there are tons of other ways out there in the Halloween prop making world to thicken your torso other than paper maching it, but for now I am using the paper mache process. (just a reminder, my paper mache recipe is just water and flour made into a kinda pancake batter consistency)

MAKING HANDS FINGERS AND ARMSThe next step is to make some arms for your new torso. I just opened up the newspaper and took one sheet and rolled up some long strips, then rolled a few more sheets around that first one. Tape up the side so it does not unravel. Make two arms. Now you need to make the hands – just ball up some newspaper for the palm and tape it, then roll up some shorter strips of newspaper for the fingers. Tape the fingers to the palm. Don’t try to be too exact in the length of the fingers, because you are making a scary Halloween prop, ya know! The weirder the better, if you ask me. Now that your fingers are attached to the palm, attach them to the arm, and you are now ready to attach the arms to your torso.

TAPED UP HAND

I know that some of this sounds a bit too much, but it goes really quickly. Nothing has to be perfect at all because you don’t want a perfectly formed Halloween prop. Once the arms are attached to the torso, you can bend or crease the newspaper arms to whatever shape you want. Do you want your prop reaching out for you, or do you want it to be reaching up in the air, the choice is yours so make it any way you wish.

PAPER MACHE TORSO IN THE WORKS

Here is what the torso looks like now, just a few more layers of paper mache to go. HINT: For anyone attempting to make anything in paper mache, make sure you have lots (and I mean lots & lots) of layers of paper mache around your prop, otherwise can cave in. The arms on this torso prop are hard as a rock right now because it has many layers on it.

I will be adding a head to him this weekend so it will make him pretty close to completion. I am still tossing around the idea of putting him out in the yard, but I will need to seal all the paper mache really good so the weather does not ruin him. Flex Seal is what I would use on this guy if he heads outdoors.

It feels pretty good to look around our living room and see all of the paper mache items that I have made over the years. They were all easy to make, but they just take a lot of time to complete. Have you started on any new paper mache Halloween items this year?

 

Halloween Craft Project Link Up Party!

This will be my first, of many, Link Up Party and today I want all of you to share your best Halloween Craft Projects! Just follow the link below to add your Halloween Craft Projects! Today I am featuring Halloween Craft Projects, and since Halloween is quickly approaching, I will be adding other Link Up Parties for Halloween Decorating, Makeup, etc, so stay tuned to join in with the fun!

If I Was A Police Dog

BAD BOYS BAD BOYSWe watch the TV show Cops all the time, and we are becoming well versed in the terminology. We know that when an officer first approaches a car, they ask for your drivers license and insurance card. They usually head back to their police car to run your plate. Upon approaching your car again, if they notice you are fidgety, they tell you to keep your hands on your steering wheel. If you do not comply with them, they ask you to exit your vehicle and place your hands behind your back, then they handcuff you. This is for the police officers security & protection.

Then you get a bunch of people who don’t want to be handcuffed and they try to run. Bad idea, but it happens and the chase is on. A few people can actually run fast enough to hide somewhere, but that is when they call in the K-9 unit to sniff them out. These beautiful & well trained K-9’s always get the criminals in the end.

I know if I was a police dog, I would be pretty good at it, as long as the criminals had a bunch of “treats” in their pocket! LOL  What I do know, is that I watch for all of the police vehicles to drive past our house, and then I bark at them! I can even pick out a police vehicle in the dark by their headlights, and that makes me one smart dog! I must know my headlights!

BELLA WATCHING THE NEIGHBORHOODAnd today, both Bella and I had a front row seat to a traffic stop which happened right in front of our house. I covered the front windows and Bella covered the front door as we both barked hello! We sat there watching as the police officer got out of his cruiser in the pouring rain to take down yet another stop sign crasher in our neighborhood. Way to go Mr. Police Man!

TICKET IN THE RAINAlthough today we only got to witness a normal traffic stop, I was getting ready to be on-call if they needed me to chase a bad boy. I would just hope that they had some treats on them after I caught them!  That would be nice.

Bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do when they come for you!

 

Changing Into Another Season

Summer is gone, but I am not even sure that we even had a Summer over here. This was a strange Summer as we did not have the typical temperatures we normally do. The garden suffered a little with all the rain we got, but it is still alive and producing all the Juliet Tomatoes we could ever wish for. The pepper plants are doing well and we have been enjoying all the home grown peppers in our meals.

JULIETS 8-23-14

GARDEN IN SEPTEMBER

Out of all the pumpkin plants that we had planted, we only got two pumpkins out of that entire batch. We are bummed, but we think that perhaps we planted too many in one area, so next year we will do half the amount. We could have had a few more pumpkins this year, as we had lots of pumpkin vines crawl up the back fence, then fell due to the weight of the growing pumpkins and the vines got cracked, and that did them in. By the way, the adorable “Pumpkin Patch” sign was a gift from our neighbor Steve! (Thank you Steve for such a wonderful gift!)

PUMPKIN PATCH

The Cleveland Browns beat St. Louis on Sunday 26-24 on their first home opener game, and they said that this is the first time in ten years that the Cleveland Browns won on a home opener. Amazing! It was a nail biter game, but a win is a win, and we’ll take it! I took advantage of cheering on the Browns to a win by dressing up our Skellie as he sat in the front yard waving to everyone who passed by the house. The funny thing is, is that when I brought Skellie into the house afterwards, I sat him at the kitchen table and left him there overnight. When I woke up the next morning, he scared the crap out of me because I thought someone was sitting at the table! LOL  (never will do that again)

VAL AND SKELLY LOGO  9-14-14

With the changing of the seasons from Summer to Fall, we need to take advantage of this time of year and start clipping the seeds from all of our flowers and save them for next year. I have a huge supply of Marigold seeds that I have harvested & dried for next year already. Once your flowers die back, make sure you clip off the dried flower and extract the seeds. Let them sit out and dry thoroughly, then label a small baggie and place them in there for next year.

SAVING SEEDS

I hope to get a few more Fall Mums from the garden center because I want to place them in this wood box that I painted & stenciled for the front porch. My little yellow mailbox already adorns a nice purple mum too! One of my nice huge paper mache pumpkins is also on display here!

FALL FRONT PORCH

Nikita and Bella must know that the season has changed too, because all they pull out of their toy box are their Halloween toys! Their favorite one is the huge stuffed pumpkin that they always play tug-of-war with!

BELLA IS READY FOR HALLOWEEN

NIKITA SNATCHED PUMPKIN

What is going on at your end of the world with the season changes? How are you enjoying the Fall season?

Peeking Out The Window

I pulled out one of our many Skellies over the weekend because I am so ready for Halloween! This one I placed in our bedroom looking out the window that overlooks our neighbors back door. Hopefully, I did not scare them too much when they peeked out their window and saw this looking back at them! LOL

SKELETON IN WINDOW

HELLO FALL! How to Make Paper Mache Pumpkins

HOW TO MAKE PAPER MACHE PUMPKINS

Welcoming Fall is always fun, because I can start making more paper mache pumpkins! If you know me, you know that I have made many paper mache pumpkins, a paper mache mummy, and a paper mache fireplace. I had a thought that I wanted to try, and I decided to go “smaller” this time around with some cute paper mache pumpkins.

Here’s how I made them!

I started off with blowing up two balloons nice and small. I did try tying a string around one of the balloons, but it did not make a difference, so I did not use it on the second one.

PUMPKIN SMALL1

Next, I mixed up some flour and water and made a paper mache paste. That is all I use when making my pumpkins, and you want the paste to be like a pancake batter, not too thick, not too runny. (use a wire whisk when mixing up your paste)

Now comes the fun part! Make sure you have lots of little strips of newspaper cut up, dip each piece in the paper mache paste, and run the strip through two fingers to remove the excess. Then place piece by piece on your balloon. Run your fingers over each piece so that they are laying flat on the balloon. Keep going until the entire balloon is covered really well. Let your paste dry. I normally get out my small heater and place it next to my object to get it to dry faster. Once it is good and dry, you need to add another layer of paper mache newspaper strips all around the balloon. Let that layer dry, and keep doing this step over and over until you have a pumpkin that is so hard that you cannot push in any part of it. THIS PART IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

PUMPKIN SMALL2

Once your pumpkin is formed and nice and hard, you are now ready to draw a face on your pumpkin. You can use a pencil to draw your face on, or a Sharpie Marker.

PUMPKIN1

Once you get the face drawn the way you want it, you carefully take your sharp knife out and cut out the face. Go slow in this process so you do not slip and cut yourself!

PUMPKIN2Since I am making really small pumpkins here, the openings on the face are too small for me to insert a battery operated tealight in it, so I cut a round opening in the back of the pumpkin for this purpose.

PUMPKIN5

Wait, I am not yet done yet at this point. Since the face and the hole in the back are now cut out, I want to make nice smooth edges around what I just cut out, so I placed a few more pieces of the newspaper strips dipped in the paper mache mix around the face and the hole in the back. Let it dry.

PUMPKIN4

Now it is time for the paper mache pumpkin to be painted. What I do for all of my paper mache pumpkins, is to lightly and I mean lightly, spray paint the pumpkins with flat black paint. I do not cover the entire pumpkin all in black, but rather get it slightly covered as a base coat.  Once the flat black has dried, I am ready for the orange top coat.

PAINTING BASE COAT

Just like the base black coat, I lightly spray paint my orange top coat over the pumpkin so that some of the black shows through. I think this make the pumpkin look so much better.

I decided that my pumpkins needed something. I felt that they needed to be on display, and what better way to display them than with a cute base! I used a $1 glass candle stick base that I found at the Dollar Store, and spray painted it with a Hammered Black paint. I went over the candle stick two times just to make sure that it was evenly coated. The last thing that I did was to spray paint a clear coat over the pumpkins to keep the paint sealed.

PAINTING THE BASE

BASE

The last thing that I did was to glue the pumpkin onto the candle stick base, and I now have an adorable pumpkin decoration! One thing to note when lighting up any paper mache pumpkins, is to never ever use a real candle in your pumpkins, as they could definitely catch on fire! Always use a battery operated tealight in them for safety!

PAINTING PUMPKINS ORANGE

My finished paper mache pumpkins are approximately 6″ and will definitely add some flare to my Halloween decorations around the house! Now that I see how cute these turned out, I have already started on a few more because I know that they will look great in every room of the house! Now, back to the Dollar Store for more glass candle sticks!