A few weeks ago, I posted about my most popular original ideas on Pinterest. Now it’s time for a look back at some wickedly fun original Halloween projects and recipes that have been most popular on Pinterest. And can I say that the competition for Halloween re-pins is tough! Some cute ideas, but nowhere near the interest of, say, the college dorm checklist.
#1 Monster Mix Snack Mix
With four simple ingredients (mummy scabs, ghost poop, witch warts and goblin teeth don’t cha know?) and printable tags, this easy and yummy project has been re-pinned 166 times and liked 8 times since its posting two years ago. The crazy thing is, I adapted and improved on an idea that I got off Pinterest! Get the article and the downloads here.
# 2 Eyeball Confections
Ahhh this is still one of my favorite Halloween creations. Several years ago I repurposed a Christmas recipe that was given to me in high school into a Halloween incarnation. The results were just as delicious and really fun to decorate. It’s a no-bake winner with 22 re-pins and 1 like.
#3 Raven Candles
Some great ideas come from seeing something at Pottery Barn and thinking, “That’s nice, but not at that price” and then coming with a similar look for a lot less. That was the case with these Edgar Allen Poe-inspired candle wraps. Easy and inexpensive, this Raven look has been re-pinned 20 times and liked once.
#4 Vampire Martini Glasses
Time was, I’d spend hours concocting and sampling a seasonal cocktail. It was tough research, but someone had to do it. (Not so much any longer. Just a lifestyle change.) And then it became about the glassware, too, and these vampire martini glasses do not disappoint! They serve up non-alcoholic beverages well, too, with 18 re-pins and 1 like.
#5 Witch’s Kitchen
I admit, I start thinking about Halloween sometime in late July and wait impatiently for my favorite online and local craft stores to bring in fresh, new things for me to play with. Last year, though, my best ideas came to life with just a few things I had about the house. Some jars. A bit of bark. And the thought of Macbeth. A theme was born, along with my most elaborate Halloween collection to date. This fun project has been re-pinned 17 times with 1 like.
Click through the gallery below for a few more blasts from Halloweens past. Hope something inspires you to add some Halloween to your haunt this year.
A favorite 7-layer dip recipe from my mom circa 1978 inspired this healthier version. It’s a perfect side dish for a backyard barbecue or beach party.
My friend Jennifer and I like to use each other as test subjects for new recipes. It’s a wonderful excuse to get together and catch up. I recently had her over for an afternoon by the pool, and came up with this twist on a 7-layer dip. In my childhood, it was a frequent guest at a “bring a dish” party because it’s easy to assemble and nearly universally liked. This version, however, substitutes protein-packed quinoa for mushy refried beans, and there are no tortilla chips needed.
I served this with simply marinated grilled chicken breast and it was a hit! My attempt to reproduce Starbucks’ lime refresher was not as effective, however. Always tactful, Jennifer politely declined a second helping of the beverage, but went home with a container of this flavorful salad.
What You Need:
1 c. uncooked quinoa
2 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 t. each dried cilantro, oregano and parsley
Salt and pepper
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 7 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 c. prepared tomato salsa
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
What You Do:
1. Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions, substituting the stock for water. Place the quinoa into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons. (Stir in the oil and if it seems a bit dry or sticky, add a bit more oil.) Add the juice and zest of 1 lime and the herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let the mixture cool.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the corn, cherry tomatoes, shallot, jalapeno and the juice of 1/2 a lime. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream with the juice of 1/2 a lime and set aside.
3. To layer the salad, add the ingredients in this order, but do not stir them into the quinoa:
Layer 1: Black beans
Layer 2: Corn salsa
Layer 3: Diced avocado
Layer 4: Tomato salsa
Layer 5: Cheddar cheese
Layer 6: Limed sour cream
Layer 7: Sliced black olives
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Once the dish is presented, gently mix all the ingredients in with the quinoa so every spoonful has a little bit of everything.
Serves 6 to 8
This “pizza” is a quick and festive option for a 4th of July dessert. I make it in a glass baking dish and serve it right out of the dish. It really doesn’t get a lot easier than this.
Flag Inspired Fruit Pizza
1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese (regular or light), softened
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 dry quart strawberries
1 dry pint blackberries
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Break apart the cookie dough in the dish; press dough evenly in bottom of the dish to form a crust. (It’s okay if the dough comes up the side of the dish a bit.) Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.
Wash and dry the fruit; slice the strawberries and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, marshmallow creme, lemon juice and zest with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled crust. Arrange fruit in rows over cream cheese. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Serves 16 to 20.Read More
When I was growing up, every year–come rain or come shine–we’d have a cookout on the 4th of July with paper plates held in wicker cozies and plastic utensils. Then we’d pile into dad’s car and head over to a fireworks show where I’d “oooh” and “aaaah” like I’d never seen anything like it.
Well I still like to cook on the grill on the 4th and fireworks still amaze me, but my table has grown up a bit. Here I’ve set the table with everyday place settings with just a few additions from the party store and the dollar store. It’s an easy, fun patriotic look.
Rethink table linens.
My red table cloth looked really Christmasy, so instead of a table cloth or a runner I used red and blue napkins. Three blue napkins form a “runner” while four red napkins serve as “placemats.”
Combine old and new.
I love using seasonal luncheon plates with my everyday white china. Here I’ve combined blue plates from the local dollar store for a punch of color. They’re small enough to pack away without a lot of fuss and come out just when I need them.
Make napkins nifty.
Blue and white striped cotton napkins from a discount store are tied with red twill tape. For a little fun, I stuck a red foil pinwheel pick into the folds.
Red, white and bloom.
A bouquet from the grocery store can be made into a patriotic centerpiece. Combine red roses (clean off all the greenery) with white carnations in a low, clear vase. Add a pop of blue with a sparkly party pick from a party supply or craft store. Tuck a few additional picks under the vase to bring more festivity to the table.
Stars and stripes aglow.
Make easy patriotic votive candle holders from ribbon, paper and punches.
Choosing even just one of these ideas will certainly make your table more festive this year. Wishing you a safe and happy 4th of July!!
The other day I met a business associate for coffee, and on my way back to my car I popped into Charming Charlie just to see what’s new. They were having a “2 for $20″ deal on most scarves. That got my creative juices flowing! I love to decorate with scarves.
I found one that is gray, black and raspberry in a trendy suzani print–perfect for the living room.
I also turned the fun Stockholm bowl ($20 from Ikea) into a candle sconce by placing it on a plate holder and just setting a pillar in front. (It looks awesome at night!)
I still needed a second scarf for my “deal” at Charming Charlie. I looked around and almost gave up, but then I found a botanical print in hues of lime and aqua and I thought it would be great to wear.
But when I got home, I happened to set it down on the table in the foyer (when I was putting the other scarf on the console!) and thought – wait a minute! This looks great right here.
It looks great with the Bosphorus bowl from Pottery Barn, layered with river rock and moss, plus some spring branches and a rabbit ready for Easter.
So maybe I’ll wear the scarf someday. But for now it’s a great spring look.
Scarves make a great table runner or a topper for a decorator round table. More ways to use them in your decor:
- Tie two square scarves together and use as a decorative pillow cover.
- Use the scarf as a wall hanging, attaching it with 3M strips or, if it has fringe, tie the fringe to a few nails or hooks in the wall.
- Cotton bandanas can be used as napkins for a casual meal.
- Drape scarves over chairs, benches, or sofas — anywhere you need softness, pattern and color.
- Tuck a couple of scarves into your suitcase to liven up your hotel room.
Why not raid your scarf collection with a new perspective and see what might look fabulous in your home? Have fun with it.
That’s a wrap!Read More
Just in time for holiday parties, a reader sent in a frequently asked, and sometimes tricky, question about entertaining. AM in Michigan writes:
I’m tentatively planning appetizers for an “around the world party” – how many different apps. should I have for 4 adults (and 1 child)? One adult has a severe food allergy (no dairy, and no most kinds of meat), so I want a least a couple options for him, but I do like cheese so I want other things as well.
What a great theme!!
A great rule of thumb for a cocktail party is, “make 3, buy 3.” So 6 different apps gives a good variety while not being overwhelming for either the hostess or the guests. Plan at least 4 pieces of each app per guest – more for the options that your allergy guest can consume, since he will have fewer options.
Hope this helps!! Enjoy the party!
If you ever have a question about party planning, home decorating, gift giving or smart living, please post your questions on the Facebook page.Read More