25 Halloween Ideas

25 Halloween Ideas

Here is a list for all of you out there who, like me, doesn’t get very excited about decorating for Halloween. My kids are always begging me to ramp it up. And we get over 600 little trick-or-treaters coming to our house every year (that’s a fact), so the pressure is always on! Over the years I have become less of a grinch and really tried to embrace the season. I have collected lots of vintage goodies, and we are always making our garlands and decorating pumpkins. But still…I have to really try hard when I bring up that box from the basement.

In this list I tried to stick to things that I could see myself doing or making. There are decorating ideas, kid crafts, DIYs, food creations, printables, and lots of links. Here we go…

1st row: DIY easy paper garland by The House that Lars Built // stuff candy into a plastic glove for goody bags // homemade paper pumpkins by Mer Mag // DIY felt ghost garland by Live Laugh Rowe

2nd row: vintage cat garland (and lots of other goodies to purchase) found at Vintage Halloween // DIY paper ghost garland by Skip to my Lou // paint stripes on your pumpkins (plus tons of other great pumpkin ideas) from A Subtle Revelry

3rd row: washi tape your pumpkins! (find wash tape on Etsy) by The Grant Life // candy wrapper garland (save wrappers from this year for next year) by Art Bar // DIY “boo” wrapped pipe cleaners by Cakies // zombie pumpkins by Valley Girl (get giant eyes here)

4th row: vampire teeth make a gruesome but healthy-ish snack by Learn Create Love // orange paper garland found on Etsy but that you could make yourself with this stamp // cutest pumpkins with carrot noses by The House the Lars Built // hang witch hats for easy decorating (see image for more details)

5th row: cutest clementine jack-o-lanterns by Buzz Mills // pretty yet still creepy front entry decoration by Martha Stewart (includes templates) // black cat and other free clip art by Matthew Mead

6th row: DIY paper spider webs cut like snowflakes by The Heart of Mine // scatter fake bones and dirt in a wheelbarrow (this is my fave…so easy) // simple white pumpkins on the mantle from my own house // mummy dogs by Our Ordinary Life

7th row: DIY ghost garland with tissues and cotton balls by Peppermint Plum // mummy making craft with masking tape by No Time for Flashcards // DIY goblin garland is a great collage craft for a group of kids by Art Bar

Last year I posted about 31 homemade costume ideas, so check that out if you need inspiration! Also, here is a little article on decorating for Halloween with things you have around the house. And lastly, these blogs all have great Halloween ideas: Babble, Apartment Therapy, Good Housekeeping, Design Mom, Creature Comforts, and Handmade Charlotte.

This weekend we will be getting our act together and putting out all of the decorations, carving the pumpkins and finalizing costumes. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see what my kids will be wearing (at this point it is still a mystery)!

xo Bar


Best Blankets {favorite 20}

Best Blankets {favorite 20}

The leaves are starting to change here in Connecticut, and the mornings are crisp enough that we are creeping into the winter storage every morning to find sweaters, vests and cozy socks. Every year at about this time I wish I had one of those houses where you change the slipcovers, drapes, pillows and linens from summer to winter. (Does anyone even do that anymore? Maybe I’m thinking of a different era…like Gone With the Wind.) I get tired of looking at the same worn out stuff, and I would love a fresh look. That’s why I am drooling over these blankets!! It wouldn’t take much to change out blankets from summer to winter, right? Here is a list of 20 blankets I would happily own:

1. Red gingham wool blanket by Margaret Howell // 2. Alpaca blankets in lots of different patterns from Asher Market // 3. Lambs wool green striped blanket by Forestry Home // 4. Blue wool camp blanket at Schoolhouse Electric // 5. Swedish red cross cotton blanket by Pia Wallen

6. Buffalo plaid wool blanket by Schoolhouse Electric // 7. Organic cotton blankets made in Germany by Coyuchi // 8. Gray + pink handmade granny square blanket from Etsy // 9. Chunky baby alpaca knit throw at Garnet Hill // 10. Natural wool basket weave blanket from Toast // 11. Striped wool throw by Coyuchi of Canada // 12. Graphic black + white mohair blanket by The Fest Collection by Mae Engelgeer

13. Red striped wool blanket made in Canada at Toast // 14. Green Kantha quilt at Sundance // 15. Blue ticking quilt by Sally Campbell // 16. Wool navy plaid Soho throw at Alder & Co. // 17. Red flowered Kamala quilt from Sundance // 18. Woollen plaid blanket at Toast // 19. Merino wool green striped blanket from Fine Little Day

And finally, number 20. I couldn’t write a list of favorite blankets without including a DIY. These knit blanket tutorials are from my favorite store/website/blog ever… The Purl Bee from Purl Soho. Check it out (and prepare to fall in the rabbit hole).

Happy Wednesday!

xo Bar



Kid Postcards {from their art}

Kid Postcards {from their art}

My son loves to draw. He has sketchbooks by his bed and draws at night. Whatever pops into his head, he puts it down on paper: a clock, the sun, a pencil, a hockey puck, sports logos, lots of penguins. I love this about him. But the sad part is, he thinks he’s bad at drawing. He often will rip out pages (garbage full of crumpled paper in the morning), and he is super sensitive about comments. Please don’t ever say anything constructive (his art teachers have learned this over the years). He will cry. It breaks my heart!

So I had this revelation last month. He was about to embark on some heavy thank-you note writing after his birthday bash so he needed some notes. I have a postcard business so all three kids have tons of thank-you notes. But this time, I surprised him by taking his little drawings and creating a postcard with them. I was worried to show him, but guess what…he smiled very big!

We even framed one of his drawings. He felt proud and was happy with his work. Yippee!!

If you want to make some for your own kids, you can go to Late Night Cake and get started. If you don’t have a scanner, you can photograph your child’s art (which is what I did) and email them to me.

My son has been so excited to share his postcards that he is writing to everyone he knows…. how great is that?

xo Bar


Art Class Poster for Sale!

Art Class Poster for Sale!

My post on the importance of art programs in school struck a chord with many of you, especially my readers who teach art. Today I am announcing that my poster is finally for sale! This version is new (and improved) with just a few small changes.

Click below to buy the poster in three different sizes. {This link will bring you to Zazzle}.

Art ClassPoster

You can also download the free PDF of this poster to print on your home computer.

Art Class Printable

AND, as if this weren’t enough good news …today I am also announcing my first ever giveaway!! I am so excited!! One lucky reader will receive a free poster (size of their choice, unframed). All you have to do is leave a comment here or on my Facebook or Twitter. You can also follow me on Instagram and comment on my poster image. Enter to win up to four times if you leave a comment at each place! Please include a way to get in touch with you. Contest ends June 27th, 2013 at midnight. The winner will be chosen at random and I will contact the winner directly.

Thank you, as always, for your support and enthusiasm!! And remember to always thank your child’s art teacher whenever you get the chance…it will mean the world to them.

xo Bar

{this giveaway now closed}


Dip-Dyed Furniture

Dip-Dyed Furniture

Lately, I’m really into this trend of “dip-dyeing” furniture. That is, painting part of it (usually the bottom) a bright color. Today I am sharing my collection of cool photos I have found. Some of these pieces are for sale, and some are just inspiration to create your own!

green chairs / painted stool / pallet chair / pastel chairs

table + bench / neon yellow table / blue side table / red table

pink chairs / yellow chair / aqua + red chair / yellow stool

You will definitely be seeing something like this in my home soon. Have you been inspired, too?

xo Bar

PS: Follow me on Pinterest to see other cool stuff that I love.


Poppytalk Handmade

Poppytalk Handmade

Poppytalk is a Canadian (Vancouver-based) design blog that I just love. Founders Jan and Earl (husband and wife) are dedicated to promoting emerging design talent. So much so that they opened up an online market place called Poppytalk Handmade in 2007. They have monthly themes which provide an opportunity for artists, designers + cottage industries to be seen amongst the “sea of independent shops” out there. They pick the cream of the crop to showcase on their site.  Everything is just lovely.

This month’s theme is Mother’s Day + Eco. These are just a few of my favorites:

1. reversible buckets by Cozy Memories / 2. folding stool by Gallant + Jones / 3. drawing food journal by Claudia Pearson / 4. grain sack pillows by Jill Bent / 5. photography by Janis Nicolay / 6. paintings by Lisa Golightly

Happy shopping!


Silk Dyed Eggs

Silk Dyed Eggs

I saw these on someone’s blog recently, or maybe it was Pinterest? The internet is a fascinating place but it sometimes turns my mind into a warped speed slide show. (Hence my one word resolution which is staring me in the face right now.) Ok, so this idea has been around for a while but is a new discovery for me. I bought a kit on Etsy which arrived just in time for the weekend. I made these with my daughter and it was equal parts frustrating and amazing! Here are some tips if you want to make these yourself.

Silk Tie Eggs // Art Bar

First of all, I forgot to read the directions and I hard boiled all my eggs. With this method, you actually have to use raw eggs because you hard boil after they are wrapped. Duh! (for me, not you – because you’re smarter). Secondly, the scraps from Etsy were just a teensy bit too small. We had trouble wrapping them around the eggs. We ended up doing each egg as a team. One person would hold the scraps in place while the other wrapped with the white scrap. It then took two people to twist tie. In the future, I think I will just go to the thrift shop and get some old ties to cut up myself so that I can use bigger scraps. Oh, and one more thing…the tie scraps looked sort of dark and dull to me. But afterwards, they transfer onto the egg much lighter and they really do look so beautiful! We used both white and brown eggs.

Silk Tie Eggs // Art Bar

Silk Tie Eggs // Art Bar

I really love these eggs. The best part was that I didn’t have to take out any dyes! No dyed hands, no mess to clean up for a change. Give it a try!

{Ages 8 and up with a parent just because of frustration factor.}


Family Reunion Tees

Family Reunion Tees

“Finally, the concept of a cool family reunion t-shirt is no longer an oxymoron!” says the infinitely talented Angela Hardison. I came across Angela’s shop recently and I have to say that she is a woman after my own heart. She started designing these t-shirts for her own family reunions. After many years and many requests for her to make them for others, she opened up her online shop Kin. I love her simple, graphic style, her groovy color choices, and the name she chose for her company. Creative and smart…a lucky combination!

Visit Angela’s shop and blog.


A New Postcard Movie

As you may know, I have a postcard business called Late Night Cake. I just finished my second season of holiday postcards and it was crazy good. I love making cards for people. I also love making movies, but rarely have the time anymore. This movie is the second in a three part series on the art of writing notes. I started it almost one year ago. I probably would never have finished it if it wasn’t for last Friday when my 6-yr old was home sick and sat on my lap the entire day. I couldn’t get any actual design work done, but he could help with a little editing (which can be done with one arm…sort of). Anyway, you get the gist…things happen for a reason.

It’s thank-you note writing season, so what better way to get inspired than watching a little movie!

xo Bar


Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012

As you all may know by now, I’m not as much into “stuff” as I am into “make”. But I thought I would share my own holiday wish list for my kids. Santa always brings books, that is a given. Clothes are necessary for growing kids – why not make them cute? Art supplies are a must (after food, shelter, clothing & books). And games are a healthy addition to the playroom and good for the brain.

So here we go. Let’s start with books! (To read a short review on each book, visit my Pinterest board.)


Stuck – Oliver Jeffers / The Frank Show – David Mackintosh / My Travelin’ Eye – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw / I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus – Jack Prelutsky / Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School – David Mackintosh / Same, Same but Different – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw / The Night I Followed the Dog – Nina Laden / For Just One Day – Marc Boutavant / I Know Here – Laurel Croza / The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School – Laurie Halse Anderson

{A little side note on picture books: My kids are 6, 10 and 12 (soon to be a teen!)…but I still read picture books aloud to them all. It makes them better writers!}

Some of these toys & games may be on the expensive side. I believe in buying one good toy that will last through all of the childhood years, rather than 5 or 6 toys that will break or lose their interest.

Play + Wear:

1. Colorful Magnet Game  $32 good for the brain  2. Wooden Doll Pram $110 made in Denmark  3. Cursive Magna Tab $19 sensory reinforced practice  4. Oeuf NYC Polka Dot Hat $48 for kid or teen  5. Organic Anorak Hoodie $62 for boy or girl  6. Little French Suitcase $38 pretty storage  7. Cotton/Lambswool Turtle $84 stripes for boy or girl  8. Artists Blocks $25 create 6 different paintings  9. Boiled Wool Slippers $44 warm + cute and last forever  10. Polka Dot PJ’s $52 little or big girl  11. Boy’s Red T $39 will be his fave  12. Tegu Magnetic Blocks $70 innovative  13. Faces Memory Game $14 everyone is different  14. Sled & Helmut $39 outdoor winter fun  15. Orange Jump Rope $32 from nautical rope  16. Alphabet Blocks $20 beautiful

My favorite way to inspire creativity is to simply put out a medium (paint, pencils, collage…) and some plain paper and let the kids explore. But sometimes it’s nice to have a pre-packaged craft, especially during the holidays.


1. Learn to Knit Kit $62 merino wool + patterns  2. Japanese Washi Tape $18 so many possibilities  3. Neon Twine $12 bracelets galore  4. Sketchbook $12 everyone needs one  5. Marled Yarn $8 pom-poms are calling  6. Le Pen $2 each doodling + writing thank you notes  7. Liquid Water Colors $30 vibrant + gorgeous  8. Chalkboard Laptop $52 iLove this  9. Table Top Paper Holder $34 for big drawing  10. Multi Ink Pad $17 stamp the day away  11. Alphabet Stamp Kit $35 words as art  12. Button Factory $19 rainy day activity  13. Watercolor Pencils $37 make cards  14. Kraft Paper Roll $26 d.i.y. wrap

Phew! That was fun.

Happy Shopping ♡