October 5, 2013

Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups

It's almost October, so I wanted to share a fun idea for your next Halloween bash! 

For the past few years we've gone to my best friend Brandi's house to celebrate Halloween and go trick-or-treating. She loves to plan out a Halloween-theme menu. 

Fruit-O-Lanterns I

One year she wanted me to make little orange jack-o-lanterns to fill with fruit salad. She found the cute idea online and sent me a picture. To save time instead of carving out the faces, I used black electrical tape to cut out the faces. I started with the traditional jack-o-lantern face, but then I got creative and made other Halloween characters! My favorites were the black kitty, ghost face, and skeleton face that looked like Tim Burton's character Jack. 

Fruit-O-Lanterns II

Since the fruit-o-lanterns were a huge hit with the kids, the following year I decided to make them again! This time I wanted to actually carve out the faces out of the oranges. First I cut the tops off the oranges. Then my husband, Jimmy helped me scoop out all the orange pulp to hollow them out. Then I drew different faces on the outside of each orange and carved out the faces. I used the tiny saw you get in pumpkin carving kits since the oranges were so small. 

If you want a healthy treat for your next Halloween party, try out these Jack-O-Lantern fruit cups! The kids (and adults too) will love them! 

"Retro Gamer" Boys Bedroom

Are you looking for cool way to decorate your boy's bedroom or a playroom?  "Retro Gamer" is what I'm calling our sons' bedroom style.  We have 2 boys, Brendan is almost 8 years old and Carter was just born earlier this year in January.  

When Brendan started to outgrow his baby room, I wanted to design a room with a style that would be cool all the way through his teens.  I thought of things that boys love, such as sports, cars, and video games!  I decided on a Retro Gamer style which brings back fond childhood memories of growing up in the 80's.  My son loves to play video games and my husband still plays video games too, so I think this style could even carry him through his adulthood!
Back to the design, it all started with an old white lamp that I had from college.  The shade was originally white, but over the years it had started to yellow.  The lamp was still working and I didn't want to throw away the lamp, nor did I want to buy another lamp shade.  Upcycling the lamp was the best solution.  

What Is Upcycling?
Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful.
Upcycle Project: Space Invaders Lamp
I created my own space invaders stencil by finding an image on the Internet that was the right scale for my lamp.  I printed the image and traced it with a fine point sharpie marker onto a stencil sheet.  You can find stencil sheets at your local arts and craft store.  Using an exacto knife and cutting mat, I carefully cut out the images that I just traced.  

Once I had my space invaders stencil made, I played around with where I wanted to trace out the images on the lamp shade before I actually traced them.  I used a ruler as a guide to center my stencil and placement of the images.  Using a pencil, I lightly traced the images onto the lamp shade. 

Next, I painted the space invader images with neon green acrylic paint and and allowed the green paint to dry.  Once dried, I painted the entire shade where there was white showing with black acrylic paint.
(Be very careful painting around the images using a fine paint brush to avoid ugly black smudges) 

Nintendo Controller Custom Painting

Next project was creating a custom painting for my son's bedroom.  I came up with the idea to paint an old school Nintendo controller to tie in with the Retro Gamer theme. My son Brendan was a few years younger when I painted this art piece and he didn't quite understand when I tried to explain the Nintendo controller was before his time! He now loves this custom and original artwork that I made for him and I really love how my painting turned out!

When I posted the picture of my painting on Facebook, so many people wanted a custom painting for themselves too! The best comment was from my husband and his cousin James, "Be sure to tell him [Brendan] all he needs to know is 'up up down down left right left right B A'" We were cracking up over this, but for those who are too young to know what that means...it was an old cheat code for Nintendo games such as Contra.

Here's a picture of his bedroom furniture before we knew we were expecting baby number 3! We sold the full bed so we could fit a crib and bunk beds.

Using vintage finds such as old license plates and street signs, I wanted to make a unique wall collage.

Faux Vintage Letters

Another project I made to personalize the boys' room was creating faux vintage monogram letters for each of their names.  I found these giant paper mache letters at Jo-Ann fabric and craft store and they were originally a brown color.  When I was painting them using acrylic paint, I tried to create the look of a rusty vintage letter.

Now that the boys have to share a room, I found this lime green and gray bedding for the crib to coordinate with room's existing color scheme. 

Kids grow up so fast, so when you start thinking of how to design your kid's bedroom...think outside the box and also think ahead of how they will grow into the bedroom style.  Have fun with whatever style you choose but consider this Retro Gamer theme for your son's bedroom or playroom!

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