Creative scarecrows can spice up fall decorations. Many neighborhoods hold scarecrow decorating contests. My sister and I have worked together to enter a few of these and have been lucky enough to win grand prize a couple of times. Our best tip? Use old clothes to come up with a scarecrow theme, then pay attention to detail to make a whole scene.
I used my daughter’s old flower girl dress, for example, to come up with a scene depicting “The Ring Bearer and Flower Girl at Frankenstein’s Wedding. I used her old figure skates to come up with “Skate Crow.” I used my son’s old Kobe Bryant jersey and old basketball shoes to come up with a scarecrow shooting hoops . . . (Kobe Die-ant of the LA UnderTakers.) An old saddle gave me the inspiration to come up with “Ghost Rustler,” a cowboy lassoing a ghost.
Next up: I want to do a hula girl in a bikini to make a beach scene. Got you thinking? What clothes do you have that be used for a creative scarecrow scene this Halloween?
Make your scarecrows pop at night with a blacklight.
I hope my pics inspire you. Let me know if you have other creative scarecrow decoration ideas for Halloween.
My son got a kick out of having Darth Maul pick his nose during the Halloween parade at school.
He has been Darth Vader, a Clone Trooper, and Bobba Fett. The Super Deluxe Darth Maul costume we got online this year was by far the best. Next year, the mask comes off, we strap on some swords and . . . voila! ninja!
We highly recommend this costume. Well-made, easy-to-wear. You actually see out of little holes in the eyebrows, so the eyes look really creepy. Little kids got scared.
Of course, ya gotta buy the gloves extra as well as the double-sided lightsaber. Darth Maul’s double-sided lightsaber makes the costume complete.
Start with a theme: In looking at old dress-up clothes my kids had, I saw I had a beautiful flower girl dress my daughter had worn when she was 3 and a little tux my son had worn when he was 1.
It is easiest to start with one or two great fashion items you already have. If you do not have any old clothes you like, then search through a couple thrift stores: you will see lots of ideas: old bikinis; prom dresses, suits, nightgowns, soccer uniforms, scout uniforms. You should look for items you can build a whole scene around.
Make your scarecrows: Take an old pillow and tape it to a hanger with duct tape. Then add a sturdy stick or pole. You can stick the pole in an old umbrella stand, a big pot filled with sand or attach to a saw horse. Hang the outfit over the hanger and then add straw, corn stalk or raffia to make the legs and arms. Heads can be scary Halloween masks or skulls you attach to the top of the hanger.
Add detail: Look for hats, gloves, scarves, purses, suspenders, jewelery and other accessories that complete the outfit. The details are what gives the scarecrow the WOW factor. Our flower girl has real leather gloves, a hat trimmed in black lace, and a flower basket adorned with a bat. Our ring bearer has suspenders, a cummerbund and a custom-made pillow.
Add Scary: Pick up some creepy bugs and spiders at the dollar store. Use a glue gun or a needle and thread to attach them to the clothes and accessories. My flower girl, for example, has bugs spiders and little rats crawling all over her dress and hat. The boy has lots of spiders.
Build the Scene: These scarecrows are cool, but they might not win a prize on their own. You need few props to set the scene. I used a garden trellis decorated with black and purple netting, purple spider webs, and black flowers to give the feel of a wedding alter.
I threw some black material over a small table so we could add a cake and champagne glasses. The cake is a hat box beautifully painted by my sister. I got a cheap cake topper and added the heart of Frankenstein and his bride. I used a glue gun to add bats to some plastic wine glasses.
The back of the scarecrow scene.
Let me know if you like my scarecrows. We won a couple other years as well with other designs. I’ll try to post those soon. Happy Halloween!
US Youth Volleyball League (USYVL) is now accepting registration for spring season. Claremont plays Tues 6-7 pm and Sat 9-10 am starting April 13. Blaisdell Park. Registration is now until March 15. Register at USYVL.org.
Girls & Boys 8-week Volleyball League
When: Tues 6-7, Sat 9-10
Where: Claremont at Blaisdell Park
Starting: April 13, 2010
Ages: 7-15 with three age divisions (7-9, 10-12, 12-15)
Learning How to Surf at a Surf School Near San Diego
I always hated the sand dripping from my brother’s wet suit in the shower growing up in Huntington Beach. He never cleaned out the tub. I adored the smell of the surf wax on his board though. I spent about a decade living at the beach, but I never tried surfing. I regret it now, not only because I missed out on the thrill of catching a wave, but because now I cannot teach my kids how to surf.
When my daughter wanted to try surfing during a camping trip to San Elijo a few years back, a friend took her out on his 10-foot surfboard, and she loved it. The next year we gave her a certificate for a surf lesson for a Christmas gift. When summer came we went back to San Elijo, which is in northern San Diego County, and she got her lesson at the Billabong Eli Howard Surf School located right in the campground. This summer she went back to the same surf school and her younger brother took a lesson there, too. See my review of this surf school below.
If you’ve never surfed, but you want to help your kids want to try it, here’s some tips.
Follow basic safety precautions:
Make sure they are strong swimmers.
Make sure they have experience swimming in an ocean, not just a pool.
Make sure they know what a rip tide is, and how to swim perpendicular to the shore to get out of one.
The next step is to pick your beach and your instructor:
Pick a beach with one- two-foot waves that come in slow sets and a beach that does not have dangerous rocks. The season and time of day make a difference.
Pick an instructor who is patient and enjoys kids. A friend who surfs may work fine (and do it for free). But you might want to try a surf school for the very first time. These instructors have been trained in water safety. They also have experience in explaining a sport that is a bit hard to explain. Most important, they know how to help “launch” a beginning surfer. You will not have to buy or borrow a surfboard if you use a school as they usually have long foam boards. These board are easy to learn on and softer if they hit you in the water. Surf schools usually offer wetsuits during the lesson as well.
To find a surfing school, just Google the words “surf school” or “surf camp.”
The school at San Elijo was professional. It offers private lessons, semi-private, or group. They also have surf camps for summer.
A great feature of this surf school is location. You can take camping gear and make a trip out of it. Surfing lessons are not inexpensive, but if you camp instead of staying at a fancy hotel, you can save in lodging.
The waves at his beach are perfect for beginners. The water is pretty warm . . . in late summer you do not even need a wetsuit. The vibe is good for families. And there are great restaurants nearby if you want to camp and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean, but do not want to do your own cooking.
If you are looking for a great gift idea for Christmas, a birthday, a graduation or another special occasion, a surf lesson may be a great idea.
We just got back from a great trip to the San Diego Zoo. We went with my brother who lives in San Diego.
Discount Tickets and Deals
Never pay full price. Be sure to do an search for online discounts and deals at San Diego Zoo. AAA has a coupon out now that gives you $9 off. You have to print out the coupon plus show your membership card. Usually the membership card gives you 10 percent off, but this is even better. You can also check discounts at Costco.
Also, Mimi’s Cafe has some voucher you can get if you stop by. It allows you to buy an adult deluxe admission at the San Diego Zoo and get a free child admission.
You can also try eBay for discount tickets if you plan ahead.
If you plan to ride the little bus at the zoo (and you will if you want to see it all) then get the deluxe admission. In fact, it is kinda hard not to get the deluxe admission cause I don’t think they even list the regular admission at the gate. You have to ask for it. So if you are sure you do not want the bus then ask.
If you ride the bus, get in line early. My brother gave us a tip to sit on the right hand side of the bus. Both sides are Ok, but the right is the best. Also, sit on the top deck of the bus. You see more. Unless it is super hot.
Bring a camera with a zoom lens if you have one.
There is sometimes a line at the panda exhbit so try to do that early. A panda cub was recently born so the mom and cub are off display. But there is another panda (pictured) you can still see live. you can see mom and cub online via a live panda web cam.
Do not miss the gorillas or the koalas.
The newest exhibit is Elephant Odyssey, which showcases the link between fossils and ancient species and the current animals, especially those of the California. While the exhibit is very well done, I still find it hard to watch elephants at the zoo. Even if the enclosre is large and well furnished, it’s hard to think these guys are happy. The exhibit is educational, however, and would be great for kids learning about evolution or fossils.
I sorta hate to see the cats (jaguar and tiger etc) pacing at the zoo as well. San Diego has nice enclosures, but any zoo still seems a jail in a way for some of the animals.
Overall, San Diego is one of the better zoos. We like the LA zoo as well, but this was great for a change.
The zoo has a great gift shop for souvenirs . . . but it is a little pricey. Visit it at the end of your trip so you do not have to carry purchases around. Or better yet, shop after you are home from Amazon (see links above for some great ideas).
Creativezazz’s exclusive “Net Threat” design can now be ordered with team numbers on the back. The back design features the same stylized volleyball swooshing down from a spike and fun lettering as the front.
You can order Net Threat shirts and other creativezazz design through printfection.com, a company known for quality print work and customer satisfaction. And printfection often has coupon codes, so be sure to check printfection or creativezazz on Twitter to see if there is a recent coupon code.
The volleyball team coach can show some style as well with a version of the t-shirt that says “coach” on the back. A great gift for a volleyball coach.
If you want numbers on the back of any of my other designs, or want me to create a unique design for you, please let me know. Contact me at: emailcreativezazz.com. Thanks.
Here’s how to make deluxe bookmarks that look like they came from a upscale bookstore. Personalized bookmarks make a small extravagance perfect for a gift or party favor.
I made these baseball bookmarks to give out to the members of my son’s Little League Team at the end-of-season party. If you bought these at a bookstore or gift shop they would run $3 to $4 a piece. They take a little time to make, but the cost breaks down to less than 50 cents each in supplies.
Step One: Make the Art
Using photo imaging software (I use Photoshop) create your artwork to fit a 2″ x 6″ area.
These are printable bookmarks. You can print them yourself if you have a good printer. Or you can have them printed at a photo place. Remember that when you get photos printed, the edges often get trimmed a bit. So do not include any vital art in the edge border.
Open a new file that is 4 x 6. Duplicate your artwork and position 2 copies inside the new file so that you print two bookmarks on one 4 x 6 photo.
Have your photo printed on lustre finish (not glossy). Lustre is more durable and does not show fingerprints.
Step Two: Back and Trim the Bookmark
Once your photo is printed, you will want to back it with acid-free cardstock. You can buy cardstock in 8.5″ x 11″or scrapbook paper works as well. Plain or a pattern will work. You can get paper at craft stores or online.
Carefully glue down the photos. If you do happen to get glue on the front of the photo, use rubbing alcohol to wipe it off. Next use an Exacto knife and straight edge to trim.
Separate the two bookmarks
Bookmarks with rounded corners look more professional. Luckily it is easy to make them with a handy corner punch you can pick up for a few dollars at a craft store or online.
Step Three: Attach a Tassel
Use a hole punch to make a hole in the top. You can use a standard hole punch, or use a simple shape. I used a star punch for this bookmark.
To attach a tassel, loop it through the hole as shown in the following photos. You can use store-bought tassels or make your own.
Et voila! You now know how to make a bookmark that looks like you got it in a bookstore. My daughter and I make these and sell them at craft fairs. We also give them as gifts. I like to add them to a present in place of a gift card.
Now that you know an easy way to make bookmarks, get inspired by checking out some of my other bookmark designs. If you are a scrapbooker, you can probably find lots of paper, stamps, and punches to come up with interesting bookmark designs.
I’d love to hear your ideas about custom bookmark designs. I think they would make a creative party favor for a wedding, Bar Mitzvah or birthday party.
Photoshop Magic Adds Missing Player Into Her Team Photo
One of our players left before the award ceremony and was not in the group photo of her team. Her coach called her and she came back to pick up her medal. I took an individual photo of her and told her I would Photoshop her into the group photo.
Here is the result.
If I had not told you I added her, you would have thought she was there. If you look closely you will see that she does not have the same shadows from the tree leaves as the other girls. Her individual shot was not in the exact right place to get the correct lighting and shadows to match. But I think it works pretty well.
Here are the two photos I combined.
How did I do it? To make it look real, the trick is to make a accurate selection around the person you want moved. It helps to feather the selection by one or two pixels. Another tip is to try to adjust both photos so the lighting looks similar. I adjusted the group photo lighting a bit to make it appear less shadowed.