Crafts

3 Ways to Keep Your Pet Happy in a Halloween Costume

Dogs in costumes? Cute. Getting your dog into a costume? Ruff. But this advice from Sylvia Reutens, whose 10-year-old corgi has beat out hundreds of other dogs for the Best in Show title at the famed Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York City, will fetch some results.

1. Learn his style. Maybe you break into a sweat whenever you have to wear a turtleneck. Well, your four-legged friend also has likes and dislikes when it comes to clothing. “My dog, Harry, doesn’t like to have things under his body or between his legs,” says Reutens. “Placing a super-light box on top of him—with his head and ears completely free—doesn’t bother him at all.” As much as you want your pet to look adorable, it’s more important that he’s comfortable. Help him try on a few outfits to see what he’s cool with. Read more

DIY Spooky Mood Lighting for your Halloween Party

Kill it at this year’s Halloween bash with kooky, creepy mood lighting you can make yourself!

The eyes have it

Let guests know you’re keeping an eye on them! Use a craft knife to cut a half-inch X into a Ping-Pong ball. Slide the “flame” of a battery-powered tea light into the slit. With fine-point markers, draw an eye (preferably bloodshot!) on the opposite side of the ball. Make several pairs and plant them in dark corners.

 Facing your fears

Let a creepy guy scare guests who pass by. Choose a lightweight mask with relatively flat sides. Then buy a wood plaque slightly larger than the mask from the crafts store and stain or paint it. Working from the inside of the mask, tape sheets of colored tissue paper over the eye and mouth openings, so that light shines through. Attach two battery-powered tea lights to the center of the plaque with glue dots (also from a crafts store). Use more glue dots to mount the mask to the plaque, then hang.

Flying flames

Candles can mysteriously levitate with a little bit of black magic—in the form of thin, clear fishing line. Tie a length of it around the bottom of a battery-operated candle’s “flame” (look for a metal loop or simply tie it around the base of the fake flame) and use clear packing tape or hooks to attach the other end to the ceiling.

Uncharming snakes

Slithering snakes on a candle! Use straight pins to attach rubber snakes to wax pillar candles. You can even make it look like one is about to chomp down on the wick. (If you’re having trouble getting it just right, snip the head off the body and pin it to the back of the candle.) Brush acrylic paint on the snakes and pinheads and let dry.

Jarring science jars

In the right setting, white asparagus pieces look like amputated fingers, knotty ginger doubles as mummified bones, and lychees appear to be eyeballs. Fill jars with your creepy body parts of choice, insert cracked glow sticks, and top off with water dyed with yellow food color for added glow. Also try cauliflower (to resemble tiny brains), gummy worms (ground-up flesh!) and more. You’ll never look at food the same way!

– By Taryn Williford; Photography by Aaron Dyer

Empty Nesters: How to make your own knife block

Home and Market Editor Lisa Freedman and her husband just bought a house two hours outside of New York City. Yay! The only issue? They don’t have anything to put in it. Follow her as she shops, tackles some DIY projects and works her decorating magic.

Ready for the world’s easiest DIY project? Inspired by these knife blocks (I actually have two at my city apartment, but think they’re too modern for the house), I decided to make my own with a tin and some eight-inch bamboo skewers. I washed the tin super well and, when it was dry, I filled it with skewers. See? Easy!

One thing to note: I did use a LOT more skewers than I thought I would (I ended up needing 1,100 of them!), but I found them for a good price at Food Service Warehouse. In total, this project cost me less than $25 and it’s way more personal than a plain lacquer box. My hope is to make another one with a short, narrow tin for my steak knives…whenever we get steak knives, that is.

Check back soon to see what else I’ve been up to.

Want to Win Some Serious Dough?

Want a chance to win $2,000? Whether you’re getting ready to move or just need some extra spending money for the holidays, our friends at Trulia are giving away some serious dough to 12 lucky winners.

 

 

That’s not all–the gingerbread fun continues! Get our best gingerbread recipes, house building tips and more. See what’s in store below!

 

How to Build a Custom Holiday House

Our Best Gingerbread Recipes

Gingerbread House Do’s and Don’ts

How to Throw a Gingerbread House Decorating Party

How to Build a Marshmallow Treat Gingerbread House

Click here to enter to win $2,000 once daily.

Gingerbread House Do’s and Don’ts

Make your gingerbread house look anything but cookie-cutter—even if you’re working from a store-bought kit—with tips from beth “Ginger Betty” Veneto, owner of Ginger Betty’s Bakery in Quincy, MA., and multiyear winner at the Boston Christmas Festival’s famed Gingerbread House Competition. Read on for her delicious do’s and definite don’ts.

 

 

DO

 

Make a mischievous Rudolph by coating a marshmallow in melted chocolate, adding pretzels for antlers, red candy for a nose and paper-doll sunglasses for an—ahem—clever disguise. Place him so he’s peeping out from behind a tree, thanks to a lollipop stick or skewer.

 

Transform ice cream cones into trees (coat with green frosting, then decorate with candy ornaments or sprinkles).

 

 

Build a fence out of pretzels. You can go the straight-up rod route, as we did here, or stand a series of traditional looped pretzels upside down. Use frosting as mortar.

 

Pile and scatter shredded coconut for sweet snowdrifts.

 

Gussy up your gingerbread men (or toy figures) with fun accessories. Licorice or any other candy that comes in strips makes for a cute muffler.

 

Place Peppermint Pattie candies or cookies as “pavers” to form a pathway to your house.

 

DON’T

 

Build on a rainy day or store your house in the fridge. Under these conditions, moisture can seep in a make the walls wilt.

 

Start decorating the house too soon. The frosting that holds the structural elements together should be 100 percent dry first. Every house is different, but give yours at least eight hours to set.

 

Now that you know how to build the gingerbread house of your dreams, find out how you can win $2,000 from Trulia!

DIY March Madness Pillow Cases

If March Madness means your television is turned to college hoops all month long, show your school pride by giving your couch a spirited makeover: Temporarily transform your favorite team tees into game-day decor. Don’t worry– your shirts are still wearable when the season’s over. What a slam-dunk DIY project!
 

 

1. Gather your supplies

Clear off a workspace and have your supplies handy. Slide the pillow form into the T-shirt, making sure the logo is centered. Lay the pillow flat on your work surface with the front of the shirt face down.

 

Supplies:

Square pillow form

Team logo T-shirt

Colorful felt

Peel-and-stick Velcro tape

Safety pins

 

2. Pin it down

Fold the next of the shirt over and down the back of the pillow and secure with safety pins. Fold both sleeves in, making sure the design on the front of the shirt remains centered and smooth. Finally, fold up the bottom of the shirt and secure with more safety pins.

 

 

3. Make your backing

trim the felt so that it is 1 inch smaller than your pillow on all sides. Remove the backing from one side of the Velcro tape and secure it to the felt, placing it 1/4 inch from each edge. Remove the remaining tape backing and turn up the 1/4-inch runover of felt so it wraps around part of the Velcro.

 

4. Put it together

Flip the felt back over and center it on the back of your pillow, making sure to cover up all the safety pins. Press down on the adhesive Velcro to secure the edges.

 

When the season’s over, remove the Velcro and pins and your tee is as good as new!

 

 

3 Last-Minute Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

If decorating a pumpkin has gotten buried in your to-do list between whipping up dinner, baking Halloween treats and–dare we say it–starting to plan for Thanksgiving, have no fear. These three pumpkin ideas are easier than making a ghost costume out of a sheet. All you need are a few inexpensive items you may already have at home. You stoop has never looked more festive… for less!

 

Read more

What is Skyr?

Now that the Greek yogurt bandwagon is overflowing with foodies, fitness junkies and just about everyone else, we’ve decided to try a ride on a new train: the skyr train. Never heard of skyr? Neither had we.

 

Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland, and what differentiates it from traditional yogurt is not only what it’s made of but also how it’s made. To make skyr, skim milk is incubated with live active cultures. Then, the whey, or natural water found in milk, is completely strained out, yielding an incredibly thick yogurt. To make one cup of skyr, you need 3-4 times the amount of milk as you would to make a regular cup of yogurt. If you can believe it, skyr is even thicker than Greek yogurt!

 

Where can you find such a luscious cup of skyr, you ask? At your local grocery store, in the form of siggi’s, a New York-based yogurt company that was launched in 2004 due to one man’s homesickness for a childhood staple snack.

 

Photo courtesy of siggi’s

 
Besides being high in protein, low in sugar and downright delicious, siggi’s is becoming one of our new favorite yogurts because of their unique flavors and dedication to simplicity. At the beginning of May, siggi’s introduced their newest flavor, Strawberry & Basil. Perfect for spring, this flavor represents two things we love about the warm weather: sun-sweet berries and intoxicatingly fresh-smelling herbs. The berries and basil are blended gently with plain skyr, and each flavor is poignant enough without being overpowering. Great on its own, the yogurt also pairs perfectly with almond granola or a sprinkling of flax or chia seeds.

 

Photo courtesy of siggi’s

 
Just like us, siggi’s is dedicated to green living, healthy tips and DIY crafts. They have purposely created a label that is easy to pull off so you can recycle or reuse each yogurt cup once you have devoured its contents. After enjoying our siggi’s breakfast, we thought, what better way to recycle our strawberry & basil yogurt cup than to plant some basil leaves in it? Talk about full circle.

 

 

 

You can find siggi’s in grocery stores across the country, but be sure to grab a strawberry & basil while you can! It will only be available at Whole Foods through August 2014.

 

 

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Fast Idea Friday (Home Edition): Lettuce Eat!

Here’s a fast idea for a hostess gift that’s both beautiful and useful: an edible salad bouquet! Here’s the how-to:

 

 

Buy starter plants– green-leaf (like oak), red-leaf (like ruby) and flavorful mesclun mixes (arugula, kale)– at farmers’ markets or gardening stores and transfer them to a planter or pot. Add a note on a gardening tag, then let your friends dig in. Your hosts can enjoy it all season long!

 

 

More Fast Ideas

smoked trout chips

sweet potato hash

pineapple & pomegranate salad

Our Issue in Action!

Nothing makes us happier than seeing our ideas in YOUR homes! Two very special readers put our November issue to the test this Thanksgiving holiday and we were wowed the by results. Check is out!

 

Jaime Hollander, Every Day with Rachael Ray merchandising director, made all six of our gravy wheel recipes and turned them into a full on gravy bar. She completed the spread with a chalkboard platter that’s both informational and super cute (you know how much we love chalkboards!).

 

The Spivak family from Potomac, MD used two ideas from our “15 Holiday Table Tricks from the Pros” story: David Stark’s apple centerpeiece and Alison Caporimo’s kids’ tablecloth. We think it was a smashing success!

 

Be sure to tag your photos of our recipes and crafts on Twitter and Instagram (@rachaelraymag) for a chance to be featured on our blog!

Related Links

#RRWhatchaCookin Wednesday Photos

15 Holiday Table Tricks from the Pros

Thanksgiving Menus