Halloween Blocks

Whew!  These took a while to get from brain to blog.  I'd like to say my family got in the way of progress on this project, but we all know better, don't we?  It's really the other way around.  I'll take family moments any day over my projects : )

Anyway, this project is not difficult at all, but family aside, it is time consuming.

I started by learning how to use a power saw to cut two-by-fours into blocks!  (Don't ask me what kind of saw it was, I haven't a clue.  The blade was huge and it made a lot of noise, but all I had to do was lower the blade and keep my fingers out of the way).  By the way, did you know two-by-fours aren't really two-by-fours?

They're actually 1 1/2 x 3 1/2's.  Leave it to a man to make lumber so confusing.  Instead of 4" x 5" blocks, which was logical in my mind, they ended up 3 1/2" x 4 1/2".   After I cut them, I sanded all sides with my handy dandy Black & Decker Random Orbital Sander (LOVE that thing!) and stained all sides of the blocks except the side I would use for the pictures.

I made the pictures by "digitally dinking around"  see that post here.  I must admit, it did take a few evenings to come up with nine Halloweenish designs, but I loved doing it!  I printed them out on card stock with my ink jet printer - not a user friendly format for Mod Podge unless you want somewhat of a smeared antique look - but that problem is easily solved with another great Mod Podge product:

I was able to easily and porportionally resize my graphic designs by saving them in PNG format so I could put 4 pictures on one sheet of paper.  Before I cut them out, I sprayed the sheets with Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer.  It water proofs and smudge proofs!  (Using my color laser printer was another option, but I prefer the clarity I get with the ink jet.)

I might add that I let the stain and the sprayed sheets of graphics dry for a couple of days so I wouldn't run into any moisture problems when it came time to Mod Podge the pictures onto the wood.  As soon as they were secure on the wood, I brushed Mod Podge on the front of the them as well.

This is what they looked like after everything was dry:

As you can tell, the pictures are a bit larger than the blocks.  Not to worry.  That was taken care of in the next step...

sanding all the edges to give them a little antiquish character.  I used a very fine grit sponge sanding block.  It wasn't difficult at all.  I did use scissors to trim off the excess to make the sanding easier.  Do make sure the Mod Podge is completely dry before sanding or you will have a mess and be very mad. (Fortunately I remembered that step and didn't have to get all bent out of shape.)  And that is the end of the story.

Unless you can't decide how to stack 'em.

So, you'll have to let me know what you think.  I think they're something to crow about!  I like them and I have two more sets of blocks ready to make some more.  I'm toying with the idea of leaving the letters off and just having individual scenes that could be used in various places for Halloween decorating.  Or, using 1/2" thick blocks and attaching them to a board so it can be hung on the wall.   Hmm.

It's past my bedtime, so I'll be linking these up soon!

Someday Crafts looks like a good place to start linking : )

It's almost Thursday, so I'll link up over at
Somewhat Simple's Strut Your Stuff Thursday too!

For Friday, it's a fun party at
Fingerprints on the Fridge!

looks like "the" place to be too! 


Saturday is the place to share at:
Funky Junk Saturday Night Special 

is a fine way to wrap up a week's worth of parties.

Check out the great Halloween projects at:
While He Was Napping!

Do be sure to visit all these great blogs for inspiration! 


Digitally Dinking Around

Lately I've been attracted to altered art and just had to give it a try.  I have to thank Jane over at Mamie Jane's for getting me all fired about all of this stuff because her creations are cool!  Here's an example:

As a result, I've spent the past two weeks dinking around with a few designs while learning how to alter things digitally with a program you can download for free:  GNU Image Manipulation Program which you can find here:   www.gimp. org 

Boy, have I had fun!

The ones above are just prints - no fancy stuff, but I made a couple others where I actually did some cutting and pasting...

Go ahead, click to enlarge this one... it's a permission slip - lol.

I stained/painted some scrap trim wood from our window replacement project and sandwiched the cut outs between them so they would stand and it works very well.  I think I got that idea from Mamie Jane's too.

I found many awesome images at these great places:  Carol Anne's Boutique and Marie's Freebies   and    Primarily Primitives.  (Many thanks for their generosity!)  I also used graphics from my PrintShop program.

I just couldn't quit making things, so I made a print for my sister who recently bought her very first home:

 Here's a better view of the print

 I also sold 4 copies of this one already
(without even trying)!

So, what do you think of my new obsession??

I've hooked these up over at:
Sunday Showcase at
Under The Table and Dreaming


Funky Junk Interiors
Saturday Night Special


Along Came a Spider

and cross it with something like this...

Well, first I got a headache from trying to think too hard about how to make a spider web.  Then I just decided to wing it with some wire.

Not too bad, even though I didn't pay nearly as much attention to detail as Mr. Garden Spider did with his.  Oh well, it wasn't an official competition.  I conceded to his design, but I let him know mine was going to last a lot longer than his : )

I knew right away what I could make spider legs from, but the body of the spider proved a bit more challenging.  Several trips rummaging through the sheds finally paid off.  I never dreamed I'd be so happy someone actually saved a totally-worthless-for-its-original-purpose metal float.  (I don't think it came from a toilet because it's pretty big)

But before I go any further, I must advise you NOT to use one of these when cutting up an old rake to use for spider legs...

Boy did I get a lecture when I said, "Honey, will you help me cut this rake?  I'm not strong enough to cut it."  The censored version of the response I received went something like this:  "That's not a tin snip, that's MY NEW GARDEN PRUNER!!!!   I sure hope you didn't try to cut metal with it..."


For your information and continued chances of staying married, here is a picture of a tin snip:

and I must add using the proper tools makes life much easier in so many ways : )  After bending the legs and poking slits in the float, it was instant spider.

Ethan was happy with my eternal spider, so I knew all the trouble was worth it!

"Grandma, this spider doesn't scare me!"

He really isn't a very scary spider, but he does wiggle a bit when there's a breeze and the kittens are a bit curious about his presence on "their" farm, it's an interesting piece for sure.

I'm thinkin' this is a nice little Halloweenish decoration for our place and I'm also betting it will make a nice little trellis come next spring, don't you?