Category: Holidays

Jan 19

How To Make A Silver Retro Christmas Tree

How To Make A Silver Retro Christmas Tree (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and welcome to Décor it Yourself! Every year, Will and I bring home a cut tree, but, this year we wanted to be a little greener and save some green, by bringing home a live one and showing you how to make your own retro tinsel tree!

First, gather a bunch of wire hangers and straighten them all out.

Fold 4 of them in half, then fold in half again, and reinforce the joint with galvanized wire.

Now, take out 4 pieces of thick wire, measuring 64 inches. Wrap the entire length of the 4 metal pieces in galvanized wire to create a strong structure.

Take your “L” shaped feet and attach to one end of your thick wire, to create the stand. Wrap until all 4 feet are secure.

Wrap the entire pole in tinsel, starting at the bottom. Once covered, wrap with galvanized wire.

Now, you’re gonna make your branches. You’re gonna cut different lengths of wire from your hangers, for the tiers of your tree.

Once you have your wire cut to the length it needs to be, wrap the entire piece with tinsel. Bend some tinsel over the end so it covers the sharp end of the hanger. Then, wrap that end with galvanized wire a couple of times, to secure the tinsel.

Now, wrap the entire branch with the wire until you reach the end. Then, secure that end the same way you did the first.

Bend one end 3 inches up at a 90° angle. You will need:

10 – 21” branches

8 – 16” branches

6 – 12” branches

5 – 10” branches

5 – 9” branches

4 – 8” branches

3 – 6” branches.

You’re going to attach your branches by placing them on the trunk, like so. It helps to mark where you’re going to attach them by marking them with a piece of wire.

Use a friend’s help to hold all of the branches of that tier in place. Wrap around all of them at one time with wire. Be sure to wrap all the way to the end of where the small parf of the L reaches the trunk.

We started with the bottom tier of the branches. Next, do the top tier, then measure the space in between to evenly distribute the rest of the tiers.

Once all tiers are securely attached, you’re going to finish your base. Take a square piece of wood, big enough for all 4 legs to fit on. Screw mending plates to each leg, about 2 inches from the trunk.

Paint your feet white to complete your stand.

Fold the branches in different directions to make it lush. Decorate, and voila! You have a retro tinsel tree for under $30 that you can use year after year!

A whole bunch of you asked for Christmas tree alternatives, so when we come back, I’ll show you plenty!

Welcome back! Another great tree alternative is a rosemary bush in the shape of a Christmas tree, that you can also use when cooking your holiday meals.

For small spaces, use a wall decal for your tree, as featured in Apartment Therapy.

Ingrid from Wood and Wool Stools has a cool tree alternative, as seen here. Read last year’s Threadbanger blog for these DIY trees by Venest. Our own viewer, Isabel, made this tree alternative out of a vintage body form. Awesome work, Isabel!

What are you doing for your tree this year? Going eco and green with a live one, or making your own? Send in photos so we can see them. Thanks so much for watching! I’ll see you next wek, and remember, Your Nest Needs You!

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Jan 19

How To Make Christmas Photo Ornaments

How To Make Christmas Photo Ornaments (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Decorate your Christmas tree with this keepsake ornament featuring a photo of a loved one. You will need:

Photo
Scissors
Transparent ornament with a removable top
Pencil
Cotton swab
Glue
Decorations
Acrylic paint
Paintbrush
Ribbon

Step 1: Cut out the photo you want to use into a circle that measures about 3 inches across.

Step 2: Remove the hanger and cap from the bulb. Then wrap the photo around a pencil, making sure the photo is facing outward.

Step 3: Holding the photo around the pencil, slip it inside the bulb. Release the photo from the pencil.

Step 4: Position and straighten the photo with a cotton swab.

Step 5: Get creative and glue small shells, colored tinsel, colored sand, and even popcorn to the inside and outside of the ornament. Gluing decorations inside will also help keep the photo in place.

Step 6: Write the date on the back of the ornament with acrylic paint, and a message if you like. Finish by tying a bow around the top of the ornament and give it as a gift to the person in the picture or hang it on your own tree.

Did you know? Ornaments on the 2008 National Christmas tree were made with holographic film to make the tree look lit all day!

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Jan 19

How To Prevent Common Christmas Disasters

How To Prevent Common Christmas Disasters (courtesy of Howcast.com)

With a little forethought, you can avoid many embarrassing, annoying, and downright dangerous holiday mishaps! You will need:

Emergency gifts
A drink limit
Kiss-avoidance strategies
Graciousness
Fishing wire
A computer with internet access
Orange and lemon rinds (optional)

Step 1: Have wrapped, unisex gifts on hand in case you forget someone. This is also useful if someone gives you something that cost twice as much as what you gave them: Just say, “And here’s your other gift!” Pick things you can use if you don’t give them as gifts, or stuff that can hold until next year.

Step 2: Figure out how much alcohol you can drink at the office Christmas party before you’re at risk of doing something you’ll regret. Then stick to your limit.

Step 3: Avoid an unwelcome mistletoe kiss by saying you have a cold – or feigning a cough or sneeze as the person closes in on you.

Step 4: If someone gives you a lousy gift, simply say, “Thank you.” If you pretend to like it, you may get more of the same next year.

Step 5: Prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian by keeping sweet treats away from dogs and cats. Chocolate toxicity is the most common holiday-related illness for pets. Poinsettias are also poisonous to your four-legged friends.

Step 6: Keep kids and pets from knocking over the Christmas tree by securing it with clear fishing line attached to the treetop and a ceiling hook. If you have a cat, scatter orange and lemon rinds on the tree skirt; most cats hate citrus scents.

Step 7: Don’t panic if you still need gifts and even the drugstores are closed: Just go online, order a gift, and print out a photo of it. On your way out when you realize you’ve forgotten someone? Pick up some movie passes or a gas gift card.

Did you know? The average person gives up on trying to make their new electronic gift work at 11:48 a.m. on Christmas morning, according to a survey!

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Jan 19

Learn How To Celebrate Christmas On A Budget

How To Celebrate Christmas On A Budget (courtesy of Howcast.com)

It’s not just about buying less during the holiday season; it’s about buying smarter. You will need:

A budget
A gift list
Shopping web sites
Haggling skills
Secondhand purchases
Supermarket flyers

Step 1: Set an overall gift budget and use it to determine how much you can spend on each person on your list. Make sure you stick to it! Consider a family agreement to buy gifts for the children only.

Step 2: Search for gifts on eBay, Craigslist, and sites that offer discontinued or overstock items. Use price comparison web sites to ensure you’re getting the best deal, and look for rebates.

Step 3: Check out thrift shops, secondhand stores, and pawn shops – the latter in particular offer great savings on jewelry, watches, and electronics.

Step 4: Learn how to haggle. You can often get a discount just by asking for it, especially if it’s a small store, you’re a good customer, and you offer to pay in cash. Just remember to be polite and ask discreetly. Always ask salespeople if there are any coupons, promotions, or discounts available.

Step 5: Bake holiday treats from scratch to reduce costs, and consider giving some of them as gifts. Start scanning supermarket flyers a few weeks in advance for sales on baking supplies so you can stock up when prices are low. Butter stays good in the freezer for several months.

Step 6: Find ways to save on decorations. If you buy a real Christmas tree, make a wreath out of trimmings. Fill colorful bowls and vases with edibles, like fruit and nuts. Turn stemware upside down and put votive candles on the base for an unusual candleholder, or float votives in the glasses right side up.

Step 7: Trim your holiday card list by only sending greetings to people you rarely see. Then shop the post-Christmas sales to stock up for next year!

Did you know? The average American family spends over $1,000 on Christmas!

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Jan 19

How To Get In The Christmas Spirit

How To Get In The Christmas Spirit (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Dreading dragging out the decorations and pretending to love gifts you don’t really want? This year, find every way to make this a memorable, meaningful season for you and your loved ones. You will need:

Kindness
Holiday music
Decorations
Christmas tree
Volunteer work
Christmas movies
Personalized letters

Step 1: Greet people with a holiday wish and smile wherever you are.

Step 2: Clean the house while blasting cheerful holiday music and belt out a tune to get your spirits up.

Step 3: Decorate the house in festive colors. Hang mistletoe and set out red and green candles, tape up friends’ greeting cards, hang stockings on the mantle, and put the tree up early. Include the kids by letting them make their own decorations and crafts for the tree.

Step 4: Hang outdoor lights along the eaves, over the trees, and on the bushes. Paint a special Christmas letter box for the porch. Buy animated and lit reindeer, and other decorations for the lawn.

Step 5: Volunteer to bring toys, clothing, or a little cheer to those not as well off. Give to others around you, shoveling the walk for an elderly neighbor, making cookies, or helping out at church. Take some time to reflect on your blessings. Make this a family ritual.

Step 6: Watch Christmas movies with the family to get everyone in the spirit. Before bed, tell the kids Christmas stories to make it a season they will never forget.

Step 7: Send out personalized, old-fashioned, well-wishing notes and letters to friends, family, and associates. Everyone likes to get a nice letter this time of year.

Did you know? A box office flop when it was released in 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life became the film classic it is today around 1974 when it became public domain and could be run on television for free!

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Jan 05

How To Make Lavender and Chamomile Sugar Scrub

How To Make Lavendar and Chamomile Sugar Scrub (courtesy of NoreensKitchen.com)

Hi everyone! It’s Noreen, and welcome to my kitchen! And welcome to another episode of The holidays are coming! Now, last week, we did bath salts, and I did want to make a statement about that. In some states, what they call “bath salts” have been made “illegal” because it’s a certain type of drug, that, I think you smoke – I don’t even know. But, they’re not the bath salts that I make. So, when you talk about bath salts and you hear that in the news, that’s not what we’re talking about. That’s something totally different – it’s just called the same thing.

But anyway, we’re gonna kinda go a step further today, and we’re gonna make a sugar scrub. This is really nice – you take it in the shower and then you scrub it all over your skin, and you rinse it off when you wash off, and it exfoliates all of those dead skin cells and it makes your skin glow, and it helps your body absorb moisturizer a lot more quickly, and it helps you to – the things that are in it are gonna help the toxins escape from your body, and it’s gonna be wonderful!

So, let’s see what goes in this! This is another thing that you could make assembly line style. You can make a whole bunch of it and just jar it up. You could even sell this at bazaars – it would be fantastic. So, what we’re gonna start with is a cup of Demerara sugar, and I’ll show you what that looks like. I should have left it out – you know what? I have a full one over here, let me grab it. I buy this in my grocery store – this is also what I use in my favorite bread recipe! This is pure cane sugar – sugar before it’s refined – so it still has a lot of molasses in it. Still has a lot of nutrients and minerals in it that refined sugar does not have. In the bowl it goes – a cup.

And, this is a ¼ cup of epsom salt. Not sea salt – a ¼ cup of epsom salt, because epsom salt is gonna help extract toxins from your body.

The next thing we’re gonna do…this is Vitamin E oil. You can get this at the health food store, you can get it online, I bought it in the vitamin section at Walmart, and it was about $3.00. And this will go a very long way – except you have to get it open! I’m gonna use a tablespoon of Vitamin E oil.

We’re gonna use a ¼ cup of some sort of oil, but, this is organic olive oil – cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, ok? I will warn you – you cannot use vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, with this. You can use these 3 types of oil. You can use olive oil, you can use liquid coconut oil or you can use almond oil for this scrub. The olive oil contains lots of antioxidants that are fabulous for your skin, so you’re nourishing your body as well as having healthier skin.

Now, I’m also going to add a tablespoon each of lavender flowers and dried camomile flowers. Put those both in. You can do anything with this. If you want to make a lemon scrub, you can zest a lemon and you can put the lemon zest in here and it will smell fabulous. You can throw some black tea in here – just pop open a couple of black tea bags – or you can use green tea, or you can open up your favorite herbal tea and just toss a couple of those loose tea bags in here. Not the bag part, just the herb part.

Now, let me show you these herbs here before we move forward. This bag of lavender flowers was less than $5.00, and I get this from San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company, and their website is HerbSpiceTea.com, and I love them! They have fantastic prices and an amazing, amazing selection to choose from, and they have medicinal herbs, they have culinary herbs and spices. And then, this is whole chamomile flowers, and both of these bags are a pound. You know, that’s a lot. When you think, I’m gonna buy a pound, that’s a huge bag. A huge bag! But, the chamomile flowers are fabulous. Chamomile helps you to relax. It takes the edge off, it has a natural calming quality about it, so this is perfect for taking a shower in the evening. It’s gonna help you exfoliate your skin as well, along with everything else that we’ve put in this scrub. This one I got from MountainRoseHerbs, which is another one of my favorite purveyors, or vendors, for herbal supplies. And, I will put their web addresses in the underbar, and their website is MountainRoseHerbs.com. And again, they have fabulous prices, and they also have – they have some things that San Francisco Herb and Tea doesn’t have, and vice versa. They also have a fantastic website where they actually have videos – they have a YouTube channel, and they have recipes and demonstrations, and you can learn a lot on their website about the origins and the uses for all of the herbs and everything that you’re looking at on there.

So, back to this! The only thing left to do know is to jar this up. I just put my trusty canning funnel up here, and I may have to tap this down. You’re gonna get more than a jar’s worth. This is just for demonstration purposes. You can pretty up that jar, put it in a cellophane bag, tie it with a bow, and you’re ready for gift giving! You can put a tag on it, and leave instructions below on how to use it. In fact, I’ll show you right here. I’ll just take some warm water – I’ll just do it on my arm, here. Just take a handful of it and rub it on your skin, and you’ll be able to feel – it’s gonna exfoliate all of the dry skin of of your body wherever you use it. It smells wonderful, and the, you know, the oil is not gonna be greasy on your skin, and you’re gonna wash it off with soap after you’re done. And I’ll just reach over here and get some of my hand soap. And it’s just like, if you’ve ever gone to Bath and Body Works or Crabtree and Evelyn or some really – like The Body shop, they’re really expensive places where you can go and get body care items. And you just dry off. But, this makes your skin really soft – feel it. Really soft!

So, give this a try. It’s a great gift! We’ve added the extra vitamin e in there. You don’t have to use a tablespoon if you choose not to. You can use a teaspoon. If you’re looking out for your budge, you don’t have to use it at all. So, there you have it – Sugar and Olive Oil Body Scrub that you make from home to give to your friends and family for Christmas. It’s not expensive, and you can make – if you buy a container of the Demarar sugar, a bottle of olive oil, a bag of epsom salts and a little bit of chamomile or lavender or spearmint or whatever herb you choose to put in there, or you don’t have to put herbs in it at all. You can make a whole bunch really cheap, and you can give it to everybody that you know and care about for Christmas. So, there’s another idea for holiday gift giving…I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it! Until next time – I’ll see ya!

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Dec 09

Learn How To Make Christmas Cookie Bouquets

Learn How To make Christmas Cookie Bouquets (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Follow this recipe to make a festive, edible decoration that everyone will enjoy! You will need:

Roll of cookie dough
1/3 c. pasteurized egg whites
4 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Cookie and cake decorations
Peppermint candies
Equipment:
Christmas cookie cutters
Wooden skewers
Electric mixer with paddle attachment
Colorful ribbon
Holiday-themed bowl
Florist foam
Red and green food coloring (optional)

Step 1: Roll out the cookie dough to double the thickness of your skewers. Then use your cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Poke the skewers into the sides of the cookies to make cookie lollipops.

Step 2: Bake the cookie lollipops according to package directions, adding one to two minutes to account for the added thickness. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

Step 3: Make the icing by beating the egg whites in the mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Step 4: Change the mixer speed to medium-low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Use more sugar for stiff icing to decorate designs and less sugar for loose icing to fill in the designs.

Step 5: Add the lemon juice, increasing the speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form and the icing is no longer shiny — six to eight minutes. Then ice the cookies. Divide the icing and add red and green food coloring.
Step 6: Use festive cookie and cake decorations to embellish the cookie lollipops. Tie a piece of colorful ribbon around each stick.

Step 7: Stick the lollipops into the florists’ foam in the bowl and hide the foam with peppermint candies. Use your bouquet as a festive centerpiece — if you can stand not eating it first!

Did you know? In 1979, in honor of the American hostages in Iran, only the top ornament of the National Christmas Tree was lit.

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Dec 05

Learn How To Keep Hanukkah Candles From Tipping Over

How To Keep Hanukkah Candles From Tipping Over (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Enjoy the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah with peace of mind, knowing that the flickering candles in your menorah will stay put! You will need:

Foil
Menorah
Lighter or match
Candles

Even when they are secured, candles can be a fire hazard. Never leave lit candles unattended.

Step 1: Place the sheet of foil under your menorah to catch any wax that may drip. You can reuse the foil for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.

Step 2: Use a match or lighter to light a spare candle that you won’t need to use in the Hanukkah ceremony. This is a good way to make use of any candles in the box that are cracked or malformed.

Step 3: Hold the lit end of the candle over the first branch of the menorah, tilt it, and allow a few drops of wax to drip into it.

Step 4: Place the first candle into the holder, twisting it slightly while applying gentle pressure to secure it in the melted wax.

Step 5: Repeat the procedure with the other candles — one for each night of Hanukkah that has passed as well as the current night. Don’t secure the Shamus, or helper candle, until you are finished using it to light the other candles during the ceremony.

Step 6: Light the menorah after saying the traditional Hanukkah prayers to celebrate the Festival of Light. The wax will harden around the candles to keep them in place.

Did you know? For the entire 8 days of Hanukkah it is forbidden to fast or to eulogize!

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Nov 29

Learn How To Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors

How To Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Get in the Christmas spirit and illuminate your house with a dazzling display of lights! You will need:

Power source
Extension cord
Tape measure
Ladder
Christmas light hooks
Vertical Christmas light clips
Pole with a hook
Switch or timer (optional)
Coat hanger (optional)
Broomstick (optional)
Duct tape (optional)

Step 1: Find an outdoor electrical outlet that you will be able to plug a heavy duty extension cord into. Use an outlet that is controlled by a switch or run your lights through a timer.

Step 2: Use the tape measure to determine the length of the area where you want to hang the lights as well as the height of any walls, bushes, or trim where you will be hanging lights. Then figure the number of 50-foot light strings you will need.

Step 3: Look for broken or missing bulbs, and worn or bare wires before you plug in the lights. Then plug in the lights to make sure they work before you hang them.

Step 4: Use a stepladder if your house’s eaves are low. If not, use an extension ladder. Plant the ladder on level ground and extend it well above the eaves at a safe angle.

Step 5: Hang lights along the gutters first, using plastic clips made for light strings. Then attach lights to vertical trim using the vertical clips.

Step 6: Hang lights in small trees using the pole with the hook on it. Drape the string over the hook, extend it to the tree, and then twist the pole, allowing the string to fall from the hook to the branches. You can make a device by bending a coat hanger into a hook and attaching it to a broomstick with duct tape.

Did you know? Thomas Edison created the first strand of electric lights and decorated the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory with them around Christmas, 1880!

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Nov 23

Learn How To Have A Skinnier Thanksgiving

How To Have A Skinnier Thanksgiving (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You can save calories without sacrificing flavor, just by tweaking your Thanksgiving dishes! You will need:

Low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
Fresh cranberries
Sugar or sugar substitute
A little restraint
A fat separator
Flour

Step 1: Favor the white meat over dark to cut four calories and one fat gram per ounce. Don’t ban dark meat altogether – it’s actually more nutritious, containing more iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12
.
Step 2: Cook your stuffing outside the bird; it’s lower in fat that way.

Step 3: Remove the fat from the pan drippings before you make the gravy, either by using a fat separator or chilling them in the fridge and then skimming off the fat. You’ll save a whopping 56 grams of fat per cup of gravy! For a really low-cal gravy, skip the drippings and make it out of low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth mixed with a little flour dissolved in water.

Step 4: Use chicken broth instead of cream and butter to make mashed potatoes. Consider making smashed potatoes by leaving on the nutrient-rich skin.

Step 5: Make the traditional green bean casserole with 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup and cut the calories by more than half, plus eliminate 14 grams of fat. Shave off another 250 calories by using only half the can of French-fried onions.

Step 6: Make your own cranberry sauce. Wash a bag of fresh cranberries, put them in a pot with a cup of water, let them cook until the desired texture, and then stir in sugar or sugar substitute sparingly, to taste.

Step 7: Slim down the candied yams by cutting back on the added sugar or maple syrup — you probably won’t even miss it — and nixing the mini marshmallows.

Step 8: Stick to pumpkin pie. At around 240 calories a slice, it beats apple, mince, and pecan. Don’t eat the crust and you’ll save another 100 calories.

Did you know? On average, Americans take in 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day!

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Nov 22

Learn How To Host Your First Thanksgiving

How To Host Your First Thanksgiving (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Stop stressing! These tips and tricks will help you pull together a fabulous celebration with minimal angst. You will need:

Adequate seating and tableware
Traditional favorite foods
Mini-pumpkins and gourds
Votive candles
A cleaning service (optional)
Two small turkeys (optional)

Step 1: Figure out if you have enough chairs, seating space, and tableware. Borrow from friends and neighbors to fill any holes. Or check out a thrift store; if you don’t need or want it afterward, donate it back. Throw some cushions on the floor around your coffee table and let little guests eat there.

Step 2: Call your guests so you’ll have a handle on how many people are coming – and an excuse to fish for contributions. People often want to contribute, especially if it ensures that their holiday favorite will be on the table.

Step 3: Don’t be shy about asking for assistance before, during, and after. You’ll need all the help you can preparing the food, getting your home ready, serving, and cleaning up afterward. If your budget allows, hire a cleaning service a day or two before.

Step 4: Honor traditions; even if you personally think that green bean casserole is disgusting and cranberry jelly out of a can a disgrace. If it’s important to someone, serve it – and let them take the leftovers home.

Step 5: Consider cooking two small turkeys instead of one big one. They’re easier to handle, cook faster and more uniformly, and are more tender and juicy than a large, older bird. Plus, they provide twice as many drumsticks!

Step 6: Finalize your menu and go shopping. Figure out what you can make a day or two ahead so that the big day is not such a rush. And remember: Now is not the time to attempt a dish you’ve never tried. Plan on these per-person servings: 1¼ lbs. turkey, 1/3 c. gravy, ½ c. mashed potatoes, ½ c. of each vegetable side dish, ¼ c. cranberry dressing, ½ c. stuffing; two dinner rolls; and 1/8 pie.

Step 7: Make a simple table centerpiece out of a bowl of small gourds and mini-pumpkins and line the table with votive candles. You’re all set!

Did you know? The pilgrims carried a supply of beer on the Mayflower, in part because it was safer to drink than water!

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Nov 21

Learn How To Take Great Pictures With Your Cell Phone

How To Take Great Pictures With Your Cell Phone (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You might not be composing award-winning photos, but if you cross paths with the right celebrity at the right moment, you’ll want to know how to make your shot a tabloid-worthy one. You will need:

A cell phone

Step 1: Set your camera phone to take the highest quality (and largest file size) photo possible.

Step 2: Make sure your camera lens is clean—and that you know exactly where it is!

Step 3: Arrange your subjects or scene as you see fit.

Step 4: Make sure there’s plenty of light. If you have a flash, turn it on, and stand with whatever other light source is around behind you, so it shines on your subject. Don’t block the light with your own body, casting shadows on your subject.

Step 5: Get in close so that the subject is in full-frame.

Step 6: Use the rule of thirds, framing your subject in either the left or right third of the frame, not dead center—creating a more interesting picture. If you’re shooting a celebrity at a club, use the rule of fourths—if the bodyguard is four times your size, don’t take the picture.

Step 7: Keep the camera as steady as possible—the less movement the better, so stabilize yourself as best you can.

Step 8: Snap your shot and hope for the best—or the worst, as the case may be!
Did you know? Both Sharp and Kyocera introduced the first camera phones in 1997.

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Nov 18

Learn How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family

How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Forced feeding, intrusive questions, tipsy relatives, stuffing – it’s all part of Thanksgiving’s charm – if you know how to finesse it! You will need:

A relaxation strategy

A party rental company

Some little white lies

A hearty appetite

and Gratitude!

Optional: Miniature bottles of liquor and extra therapy sessions!

Step 1: Prepare yourself for the stress ahead by practicing deep breathing, meditating, or stocking up on mini bottles of booze that can be hidden in your clothes. If you’re seeing a therapist, now would be a good time to book an extra appointment or 2.

Step 2 – Before your mom can ask, are you seeing anyone? or your dad can demand, when are you gonna get a real job?, slyly hint at a potential romance/career advancement/Nobel Peace Prize nomination – then refuse to say another word lest you jinx it.

Step 3 – Give your hostess, especially if that hostess is you, the perfect gift. Rent dishes from a caterer! No more spending hours up to your elbows in turkey grease, while the men in the family act like dishwashing is tantamantic castration.

Step 4 – When it’s time to go around the table and state what you’re grateful for, have a sentimental spiel ready about the person at the table whom you like least. It will completely throw them off their game!

Step 5 – Go ahead and gorge yourself! Thought it is widely believed that people pack on 5 to 10 pounds during the holiday season, the truth is that the average person gains less than a pound!

Step 6 – When all is said and done, be grateful that you are healthy enough to be celebrating Thanksgiving, prosperous enough to have to worry about overeating, and lucky enough to have loved ones to share the day with! Did you know? Chardonnay is the perfect wine to pair with turkey; if you prefer red, make it a pinot noir and serve it slightly chilled.

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Nov 16

Learn How To Get Really Creative For The Holidays

How To Get Really Creative For The Holidays (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

It’s that time of year again, when Jack Frost nips at your nose, and the Grinch’s heart grows 3 times its size. It’s winter in the city, and holiday season everywhere!

Well, hello there, my Threadbanger friends, and welcome to the Décor It Yourself holiday special! If thinking about the upcoming holiday season stresses you out, relax! The holidays aren’t about spending money that none of us have. They’re about spending time with those that we love. So today, we’re gonna create the invitations, décor and gifts to give our loved ones a warm, wintry evening.

Gifts can be one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season – especially during these hard times. I’m gonna give you 3 easy gift ideas, that cost no more than $10!

For our first gift, we’ll take inspiration from our Earth Day episode, and create a gift by putting a cut plant in a vintage vessel. Who doesn’t need a little extra green, especially during these hard times.

These lovely coasters were made from remnants of fabric from leftover DIY projects. I still get in trouble when I go home to my folk’s house and don’t use a coaster. Sorry, mom!

For our last gift, you’ll need cinnamon sticks, cloves and clementine peels. Place your ingredients into an old mason jar and take a cool dishtowel and wrap it around it. Tie it with a bow, and you have a nice, warm gift of aromatic mulling spices. For more on mulling spices, check out the first episode of Décor It Yourself.

And now, on to my favorite element of any time of year – the décor!

For a quick and classy element of décor, spray a candle with adhesive, roll it in some glitter and place into an old shot glass or decorated vessel.

For our next décor piece, we’ll use our old wire hangars to create cool, seasonal sayings.

And, for the easiest of our décor ideas, take an old mirror and place on it your favorite woodland friends. Add a touch of glitter for a little snow flurry.

For our final low-budget décor piece, we’re gonna put our own spin on an old, kitschy idea. You’ll need some airtight glass containers, a glue gun, some figurines, glycerin, glitter and distilled water.

First, sand the inside of the container’s lid. Glue the feet of your figurine to the inside of the container’s lid and allow to dry.

Add 2 tablespoons of glitter to the vessel and fill with distilled water. To distill water, just boil and allow to cool.

Now, just add one drop of glycerin to the container, close the lid, and use your snowglobe as winter décor, or add a bow, and you have another gift to give!

Now that we have our seasonal décor and our gifts to give, we’re ready to invite our guests. After all, opening your home is a gift in itself! For unique invite ideas, check the DIY weddings episode of Décor It Yourself. But, for the holiday invite, we’re using a polaroid from last years’ Christmas. Look at us – living together in sin!

Well, we’re almost ready for our guests! But, to keep your party stress-free and low budget, choose one signature cocktail and one tasty treat. We’re doing sparkling peach and pomegranate schnapps, along with cookies, cupcakes and pumpkin bread.

I guess it’s time to celebrate!

Well, that was a hit! I’m off to clean up, but be sure to check back the first Wednesday of every month for more nesting. And remember, Your Nest Needs You!

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Nov 15

How To Make A Wreath Out Of Old CDs

How To Make A Wreath From Old CDs (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Short on holiday decorations, but long on old CDs? Tis the season to be crafty! You will need:

A plastic, wooden or foam craft ring
30 old CDs
A hot-glue gun
A picture hanger
A strand of battery-powered holiday lights
Batteries
A holiday bow or ribbon
A hammer
A nail
A plastic scraper (optional)

Optional: An over-the-door wreath hanger

Step 1: Arrange the CDs in evenly spaced intervals completely around the craft ring, shiny side facing out, and glue them into place.

Step 2: Glue a second layer of CDs so that they’re evenly spaced between the CDs on the first layer.

Step 3: Glue the picture hanger to the back of the ring so the wreath will hang properly.

Step 4: Glue the battery pack for the Christmas lights to the back of the wreath, opposite the hanger. When the glue dries, wrap the strand of lights around the outer edge of the wreath, with the lights hanging over onto the CDs. After positioning the lights, glue the strand to the backs of the CDs to hold it in place.

Step 5: Glue the bow or tie the ribbon to the bottom of the wreath to give your creation some holiday flair. Before displaying your wreath, remove any stray bits of glue with your hands or a plastic scraper.

Step 6: Tap a nail into your door and hang your wreath. If you can’t use nails, use an over-the-door hanger. Turn the lights on and bask in the colorful glow!
Did you know? In 2000, global sales of CDs peaked at 2.5 billion. In 2006, that figure was down to 1.8 billion.

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Nov 08

Learn How To Make A Mojito

How To Make A Mojito (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Yes, it’s a trendy drink. But on a hot summer evening while drinking with good friends, this cross between the Mint Julep and the Daquiri doesn’t feel like a trend. It feels like destiny. You will need:

2 oz. light or gold rum
Some fresh mint
2 tsp. sugar
A lime cut into 4 wedges
Some soda water
Some ice
A collins glass
A measuring jigger
A muddler
And a spoon

Step 1: Pull off mint leaves. Set 1 mint sprig aside, and pull the leaves off the remaining sprigs. Some mojito recipes call for as many as 2 dozen mint leaves—how many you use depends on how “minty” you want your drink to taste.

Step 2: Add mint, lime & sugar. Line the glass with the leaves and add the 4 lime wedges and the sugar. Gently muddle everything against the sides and bottom with the muddler or back of a spoon. In Cuba, where the mojito originated, just 1 tsp. of powdered sugar is used.

Step 3: Fill the glass with ice.

Step 4: Pour in the rum & mix again.

Step 5: Add soda & garnish. Top off the cocktail with soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint. Mojito!

Did you know? While the Mojito was a favorite of “Carrie” and the gals on Sex & the City in the 1990s, it was also a favorite of Hemingway and the guys in the 1930s.

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Nov 07

How To Use Sustainable Holiday Decorations

Sustainable Holiday Tips (courtesy of TheSalvageStudio.com)

Welcome to the Salvage Studio. I’m Beth Evans Romos, this is Amy Duncan and Lisa Hildebrand. We began our creative endeavor 3 years ago with our mutual lust for rust! We rescue good junk and re-purpose it into fun and functional home and garden décor!

Today, we’re gonna talk about how to set an entertaining table, Salvage Studio style. This works great for entertaining during the holidays. This same idea would also work if you were doing a sit down dinner. We’re gonna start from the bottom up, and we’ll talk about all the different ideas you can use to give you that lust for rust look.

First of all, starting with the tablecloths. I like to use white linen. White linen tablecloths are abundant at the thrift stores, they don’t need to be ironed because we like that sort of shabby chic ruffled, crumpled look. I like to layer several over one another. This works out great, because if the ones underneath have a hole and stains in them, the one on top will cover it over.

Once you have that down, then I like to put mirrors on top. Flat mirrors are easy to find, often times without the frame, and it just really helps to add an element to the tabletop and give it some sparkle. It works really great if you have some candlelight – it helps to bring that to focus.

Then, the next thing are trivets. You’re probably serving a combination of hot and cold food, and so we like to put down some interesting trivets. This one is an old spinning wheel, this one is a grapevine wreath, and this one is an old industrial gear.

Here’s some items that you can put your dishes in to. We love silver plate at the studio. And it doesn’t need to be shiny and bright. We love it to be tarnished, because it really shows the patina and adds one more layer of texture to your table. This is a beautiful dish, and if you collect a lot of different ones, you never know when they’re gonna come in useful.

We found this piece, which is an old farm pulley, at a friend’s house where she was throwing some things away. I thought, my God, what could we ever do with that? And we turned it upside down and thought wow – that makes a beautiful stand. And then the silver dish sits on top, and there you have the perfect display piece for your buffet table.

Another use of silver plate is taking the old silver plated trays. This has been attached to a lazy susan that has been painted black. The 2 are married together with adhesive, and again, makes a sunny presentation on your table.

Continuing on with silver plates, we also have these pedestals that can be made. These glasses are from wedding receptions that I don’t think were ever used after that fact, and then, just have the trays glued on top. If you stack them together, one on top of another, then you maximize the space on your buffet table, and you also have a wonderful looking display for crackers, cheese, fruit or desert items.

Another great buffet piece is made from putting together the glass ceiling fixtures with an old candlestick. This is an old wooden candlestick that has been painted a white color, and this piece has been attached to it with a rubber gasket and a screw. This is great, then, in not only holding things such as bread, but it could also hold a salad or possibly some mixed vegetables.

Continuing on with other pieces that have been repurposed. These candlesticks have been made from an old wooden lamp that has a great texture and patina to it. And, glued on the top has been a silver plate coaster. Always nice to add candlelight to your buffet table. It just really makes everything look that much more festive.

Another great piece that has been put together from repurpose items is this fireplace tool caddy. It has been reborn as the perfect buffet piece. These are, again, the glass globes from a smaller fixture that has been wired on and crystals added. You could put in silverware, you could put in napkins, you could put in bread sticks.

Then, finishing up with the final touches. I have napkins here, in an old soup tureen that has lost its top. And again, we like to use the real napkins along with the real silverware and real plates on the buffet table, instead of plastic and styrofoam. It just really gives that extra touch that means so much that you care.

And finally, for a little personal touch, I have these glass jars with photographs. They could very easily be place holders, if you were doing a sit down dinner, or they could just have a little fun momento for people if you’re having a family reunion. What this is is an old photograph that has been inserted into a glass jar. This one has some buttons in the back to help hold the photo in place, and then, the cover has been spray painted black and put on to hold it all together.

So, as you can see, lots of lovely ideas that makes use of what you have at hand to give our buffet table that special look!

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Oct 19

Learn How To Decorate For Halloween For Under $20

Halloween Decorating Tips for under $20 (courtesy of Mommaair)

Hi! I’m so glad you made it! I just got back from the dollar store and decided to show you some really cute things to make under $20 for your house for Halloween. Come on in!

OK, I’m ready to show you the supplies that I bought, and remember, this is all from the dollar store, or it’s things that I just had laying around my house that I know you have laying around your house as well! So, what you’re gonna need:

Some Black Crepe Paper

Skeleton Garland

Some Foil Skeletons and Pumpkins

Burlap Fabric

Foam Wreath

Yes, a video tape – I’m gonna show you what we’re gonna do with this –

Empty Root Beer Bottles

Creepy Cloth – like a mesh, black

Spiderweb Cloth

Some Little Spiders With Skeletons

Corrugated Cardboard

I also went out to my own yard and just clipped some dried flowers that obviously, have kind of withered, but I’m gonna use these

And then, I got some pots at the dollar store, and I have already gone ahead and painted those with black craft paint – I just did a really, quick wash of craft paint. So, I’m excited to get started! Let me show you the areas we’re gonna work on.

Here’s a quick glance of our 2 areas before we do the decorating – the table and the chest. What you’re gonna do first is you’re gonna take this tape and you’re gonna wrap it around the wreath. I’ve wrapped it around all the way. And then, you’re gonna take your crepe paper and you’re gonna make a flower. And, it’s really, really easy. All you’re gonna do is gather – bunch it around, making it as big or small as you like, and then you’re just gonna straight pin it on. There’s the finished product!

Next, the burlap. I’m gonna use this for several things. I’m gonna use this to cover the pictures in my family room. Artwork that you don’t like. I’m also using it to cover my candles. So, I’ve cut some strips and it’s very easy to fray. Once you cut it, just go ahead and pull out strings. Save these strings, ’cause we’re gonna use these later to tie on things. So, all you do is wrap it around, and then I used one of the burlap strings, and then I took one of my little creatures and hot glued it on. I also used the burlap as a runner, and then I made almost ribbon out of the burlap, and I’m gonna use this to tie on the pots.

So, for your pots, I took the corrugated cardboard. You’re just gonna wrap the burlap ribbon around, tie a messy knot. Then, I disassembled the garlands, and you’re just gonna tie that on – use another piece of the burlap string.

The last thing you’re gonna do is you’re gonna make your ribbons for the root beer bottles. It’s really easy – takes – you’re just gonna loop it around, like this. Take a piece of craft wire, and I’ve combined…I’ve done it 3 different times and overlapped them. Then, I’ve gone ahead and put them on the beer bottle. There’s the skeleton garland, and I’m gonna use these all around. I cut these. Instead of keeping it as a garland, I cut these individual, put them on the root beer bottles, and then, if you saw a crazy lady at the side of the road picking sunflowers, that was me! Fill these with sunflowers. And the thing that makes all this work, even though it’s little and it’s all from the dollar store, you’re using a lot of it. And so, when you have a lot of little things, it makes a big impact.

Last thing is this creepy cloth. I’m gonna use this as part of the table runner and also on my light fixtures. We’ll show you how to do that.

OK, we’re out of time, but I am so excited to show you the final product. So, if you take these ideas and then add them to your existing Halloween décor, I think you are gonna have a really cute décor, but really affordable.

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Apr 18

Learn How To Decorate Easter Eggs Using Onion Skins

How To Decorate Easter Eggs Using Onion Skins (courtesy of FoodChannel.com)

Impress your guests this Easter with an arrangement of these beautiful, naturally dyed eggs. You will need:

Yellow Onions

Raw Eggs

Small Rubber Bands

and a Large Pot, filled with water.

To start, bring the water to a gentle simmer. Briefly immerse the onion skins in simmering water for about 10 seconds, to soften.

Wrap the onion skins around the raw eggs and secure carefully with rubber bands.

Gently lower the wrapped eggs into the simmering water. Heat for 20 minutes, to set the dye and cook the eggs.

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, drain and cool.

Carefully unwrap the eggs and pat dry.

Dip the eggs into the prepared dye to add color.

Place your finished eggs in a basket for an impressive handmade gift or unique table decoration!

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Mar 16

Learn How To Make Corned Beef And Cabbage

How To Make Corned Beef and Cabbage (courtesy of FoodWishes.com)

Hello! This is Chef John from FoodWishes.com with Corned Beef and Cabbage, the Official Meal of St Patrick’s Day! And, why is that? It was chosen because it’s a recipe you can cook drunk! So easy! So, here we go…

I’ve got a 4 ½ – that’s a big one – 4 ½ pound corned beef, right from the supermarket. Take it out of the package, rinse it. I’m gonna add some onions, some celery, some carrots – pretty big chunks – and, you get the spices free. Alright, I like that little packet. It’s pretty much what I was gonna put in, anyway, and it makes it, you know, magically delicious.

So, I’m gonna add 3 quarts of cold water. I’m using a nice, big dutch oven, so you might have to adjust the water a little for your own size pot. You want to cover, for sure.

I’m gonna put in about a teaspoon of salt. I’m gonna bring that up to a simmer. And, before I cover it, I’m gonna skim the top for that foam. We call that corned beef scum, alright? What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna cover this. We’re gonna turn the heat to very low…very low…and, we’re gonna simmer this for about 3 hours.

It’s not gonna be totally done, but it’s going to be almost done! You can see here, it’s almost fork tender. The fork will go in, but it’s still kinda tough. And, at this point, I’m gonna add my potatoes. So, I’m gonna add, large, red potatoes that I just cut in half, and I’m gonna cook that for another half hour.

Now, while that’s simmering uncovered, I’m gonna cut up my cabbage. I have one small, green cabbage. I’m gonna cut it in eighths, which, if you’re drunk, that’s quarters cut in half. Alright, I’m gonna put that on top. And I know they’re not submerged, but that’s OK, because I’m gonna cover this and cook it for another 20 minutes or so, to a half hour, until everything is tender. Potatoes are tender, cabbage is tender, meat also tender.

Alright, we’re gonna pull out the meat. It doesn’t matter – St Patrick’s Day or not, drunk or not, meat has to rest before you slice it! Alright, after the meat rests at about 15 minutes, I’m gonna cut out any large, large chunks of fat. Leave a little bit. I’m gonna cut against the grain. I know you hear that all the time – against the grain, against the grain. See, if you cut it with the grain, this is what happens. It just shreds, it looks ugly, don’t do that. Cut across those fibers…they just have a better texture.

Serve it very simply. Fish out some potatoes, some cabbage, some carrots and some celery. A little bit of that braisy liquid on top. I serve it with a little hot mustard and rye bread…man, what a great, great American tradition! For your information, corned beef and cabbage not an authentic, Irish dish. Invented in America! Alright, and this is so easy to make. You can totally drink an entire 6-pack of Guiness or Harp, in my case, and make that very successfully. So, give it a try, go to the site, get the ingredients. And, as always, Enjoy!

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Dec 23

Learn How To Avoid Gaining Weight Over The Holidays

Learn How To Avoid Gaining Weight Over The Holidays (courtesy of RawRadiantHealth.com)

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Nov 24

Learn How To Roast A Turkey

Learn How To Roast A Turkey (courtesy of Howdini.com)

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Dec 15

How to Save on Holiday Shopping

How To Save On Holiday Shopping (courtesy of MoneyTalksNews.com)

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Dec 04

How to Choose a Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Christmas Tree (courtesy of BetterTV.com)

A lot of us enjoy having a real tree versus an artificial one for the holidays, but we also like the least amount of work, too! Better Homes And Garden’s Madison tells us what we should be looking for when we’re picking out that Christmas tree.

A live Christmas tree is a classic holiday tradition. Who doesn’t love that fresh pine scent? We’re here at a Christmas tree farm to pick the perfect tree – come on!

Going to a tree farm to choose your live tree is a great tradition – for you and your family. Whether at a tree farm or a tree lot, you’ll find several types of live trees. So how do you know what’s right for you?

There are 2 main types of Christmas trees – firs and pines. Let’s take a closer look at the varieties.

The branches of firs are airier and stronger, which is ideal if you have a lot of large ornaments to display.

Firs have short, flat needles with blunt ends. They retain as well, but they’re usually more expensive.

You’ll find several varieties of firs, depending on your area, including Frasier, Balsam and Douglas.

Pine trees, such as white pine and scotch pine, have branches that grow closer together, for a denser look. They’re ideal for layering on the lights.

Pine branches are more flexible and have long, soft needles.

Depending on where you live, other species of Christmas trees may be available. Look for spruce and cedar.

Contact the National Christmas Tree Association for information on trees in your area.

When selecting a tree, make sure that the trunk is straight. Straight trunks fit better in the stand, and also have better balance. It’s also important that if you’re selecting a tree from a tree lot, make sure that they tree is not too dry.

This one is perfect! Many tree farms will put your tree on a shaker, to remove dry needles and prevent them from falling out in your car or home.

After you select your tree, have it wrapped in net or twine for easier transporting.

You’ll also need to cut about an inch from the trunk base with a pruning saw. This way, the trunk will be able to enjoy more water, and it will last longer! Once it’s cut, put it in water right away.

At this point, you may also want to thin out some branches so you have more space to show off ornaments and place gifts below the tree. Save any branches you remove for decorating later.

Let’s go inside and get this tree set up – I can’t wait to see how it looks! Getting a tree in the stand can be a challenge. But thanks to some newer designs, the job is easier than ever before.

Live trees require a little maintenance with watering. Be sure to always keep the base of your tree submerged. If the water level gets too low, a resin will form over the cut, and your tree will stop absorbing water. Just be sure to check the water level in the stand every other day.

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Nov 23

How to Brine a Turkey

How To Brine A Turkey (courtesy of Chow.com)

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Nov 20

How to Carve a Turkey

How To Carve A Turkey (courtesy of WholeFoodsMarket.com)

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Nov 19

How to Entertain During The Holidays

How To Entertain During The Holidays (courtesy of MyHomeIdeas.com)

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Nov 09

How to Make Christmas Pudding

Part 1

Part 2

How To Make Christmas Pudding (courtesy of GoodToKnow.co.uk)

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Oct 29

How to Halloween Costumes – Edward Scissorhands Costume Makeup

How To Do Edward Scissorhands Makeup (courtesy of kandeethemakeupartist.blogspot.com)

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Oct 13

Halloween How-to – Queen of Hearts Look

How To Do Queen Of Hearts Makeup (courtesy of KandeeTheMakeupArtist.blogspot.com)

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Feb 06

Valentines Day How-to – Eco-Friendly DIY Card

Learn how to make an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day card for that special someone in this video tutorial from ShihoMasuda.com

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Dec 24

How to Make Eggnogg

How To Make Egg Nog (courtesy of ArtOfTheDrink.com)

Welcome to Art Of The Drink! My name’s Anthony Caparelli. And, we’re working today with a new drink art girl, Katelyn. So, Katelyn and I are getting ready to go to the daily motion Christmas party, and the folks at Daily Motion gave me a call the other day and ask me to whip up a batch of egg nog, take it to the party and serve it with a whole bunch of drink art girls, so we’re gonna do that. And, of course, I’ve decided on my favorite egg nog recipe, which is Makers Mark. Alright, so let’s give it a try!

Alright, first thing, big bowl and, of course, eggs. There’s a lot of eggs in this egg nog. We’re gonna make about 2 ½ gallons, and I’m gonna actually do a small batch here in front of the camera, and then I’m gonna go in the back and do a huge batch for the party. The small batch has a dozen eggs in it. So, we’re gonna go ahead and start by separating these eggs.

And, if you haven’t separated eggs before, I’ll show you how to do that. It’s really pretty simple. You crack the egg on the bowl, and the key to doing this is not to shatter the egg. You just want to see a nice crack in the egg, and then take one finger – I use my thumb – and you push it down into the egg and then you just pull the egg apart. Now, here’s the tricky part. You need to capture the yolk in half of the egg, so you’re gonna actually use the egg as 2 little cups, and then you’re gonna pass the yolk back and forth a couple times. And, each time you pass the yolk, a little bit more of the white is gonna run out into the bowl. And then eventually, you’re gonna end up with a yolk by itself that is fairly dry and clean of the whites. Now, the key here – what I’m gonna eventually do is, I’m gonna whip the yolks and the whites separately. You need to make sure that in the whites, you get absolutely no yolk. Because if you get yolk in the whites, they won’t foam the way that they’re supposed to – they’ll never form peaks, it’s gonna take forever. So, be sure you do this properly. So, I’m gonna save the yolks, and I’m gonna put the yolks in another bowl. So, I’m gonna go ahead and do this, and, for right now, I’m gonna do 12 eggs – just 12!

OK, so we have a dozen eggs separated. We have whites with no yolk in them, and we have yolk. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna whip these separately. I’m gonna whip the whites first, so that way I don’t have to worry about cleaning this. You don’t want yolk in the white. The other way around is fine. So, I’m gonna go ahead and start with my handy dandy little blender here, and keep this to what is called soft peaks.

Alright, so this is now at what’s called the soft peak stage. It will actually hold its shape if you pick it up you’ll see that it actually holds its shape. So that’s called soft peaks and that’s exactly what you wanna take that to. And this is actually making meringue – if you throw some sugar in there, that’s meringue.

Now, the next thing I want to do is beat the yolks, and I’m gonna do that separately. I’m just gonna beat the yolks real slowly at first so they don’t spatter too badly. And I just wanna get the yolks kind of creamy, and then, I’m gonna add a bunch of sugar.

OK this is getting creamy, and I want to start adding some sugar. If I was doing a full batch, it would be a cup and a half of sugar. I’m just gonna do about ¾ of a cup, ’cause this is a half batch. And, it’s very important when you’re adding sugar to beaten egg yolks that you add the sugar slowly. You don’t want to add the sugar all at once. Get a little sugar in, make sure it’s all incorporated, and then add a little bit more. So, why don’t you add the sugar? That’s half a cup, and then, we’re gonna do a little bit more after that. So now, you want to beat this until it turns very pale yellow.

Ok that looks good – it’s nice and pale yellow, all the sugar has been incorporated. So now what I want to do is go ahead and add the Makers Mark. Why don’t you go ahead and give me that. In a full recipe we put a full bottle. You know what? I’ll let you add the Makers Mark – half a bottle. Perfect! Alright, so I’m just gonna beat this a little bit more.

So now, what we’re gonna do is fold the whites into the yolks. You don’t really have to worry too much about folding this in without collapsing the whites, because you do want to drink this. This isn’t gonna end up being meringue, so if the whites collapse a little bit, that’s not a bad thing. So that’s incorporated very nicely.

Now, we’re gonna make some whipped cream. Heavy cream – again, full recipe, we would use a quart. I’m gonna use a pint ’cause we’re doing a half recipe. And, the whole key to whipped cream is you want it to be really cold. And the colder it is, the faster it is going to turn into whipped cream. Alright, so I’ve got my whipped cream in the soft peak stage, and I am gonna just incorporate the mixture of the whites, the yolks, the Makers Mark with the sugar, into the whipped cream. It’s all gonna be together. Beautiful! And this all gets combined.

And, the final ingredient, because this is a little too low-cal the way it is, we’re gonna put in some whole milk. The colder the better. Full recipe would be a quart, and this recipe, and half recipe, is gonna be a pint, so go ahead and put half of that in here. Beautiful! What do you think? Alright – that’s perfect.

Then one more just good blend around to make sure that everything is nice and mixed – blended, and that is our Makers Mark egg nog, all ready to go! So, all we need to do now, is get this to the city, get it in a punch bowl and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top. That’s important – and we’re all set!

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Dec 23

Holiday How-to – Gingerbread House

Watch this yummy demonstration from CIAChef.edu on how to make a gingerbread house.

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Dec 12

How to Wrap a Gift

Follow these simple steps from MyHomeIdeas.com to wrap your Christmas gifts perfectly.

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Dec 01

How to Make a Wreath

Learn how to add your own personal touch to a festive holiday wreath in this video from MyHomeIdeas.com.

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Nov 24

How to Make a Vegetarian Gravy

How To Make A Vegetarian Gravy (courtesy of HolidayKitchen.tv)

How To Make A Vegetarian Gravy

Vegetarians, take notice! Here’s a recipe for gravy perfect to dress up everyone’s holiday plate.

In a saucepan over medium/low heat, add:

Two tablespoons of Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 – 3 cloves of minced garlic, and

a third of a cup of chopped onion.

Cook until the onions are translucent – about five minutes.

Next, add two tablespoons of flour.

Gradually add 1 ½ cups of broth into the paste, stirring constantly.

And add two teaspoons of soy sauce.

Now, over medium heat, bring the gravy to a boil.

Add one teaspoon of sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This vegetarian gravy will satisfy all of your guests!

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Nov 21

What is Tofurky?

Tofurky? Excuse me? Learn more about this festive vegetarian holiday roast in this video from ExpertVillage.com

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Nov 17

How to Carve a Turkey

Watch is CIANetwork.com video demonstration on how to carve a turkey for Thanksgiving.

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Nov 12

How-to Pumpkin Centerpiece

How To Make A Fall Centerpiece (courtesy of Better.tv)

Well, if you’ve been searching for a fall centerpiece, but you haven’t found just the right one, don’t worry about it. Better’s lifestyle expert, Mar Jennings is here, and he has a great that will not only work, but make for a great host or hostess gift this holiday season! You’re always bringing us a 2 for 1 – I like that!

It’s a pumpkin bouquet, and we have them all available right now because we just finished with Halloween, and of course, now we’re in November, and this is a perfect way to put this as a beautiful centerpiece. And, it’s easy to do, inexpensive, and most of the stuff is right in your own garden! So, that’s the best part! And, you can give it as a gift – perfect gift, they will remember this. And, it’s the gift that keeps giving, because it’s just so beautiful and it’s easy to care for.

So, we’re gonna start with a pumpkin. You’re gonna carve it out as you normally would – pretty simple. Because what we’re doing is we’re creating a vessel for the flower arrangement. And then, we’re gonna take some oasis – and this is available at any garden center. It’s pretty popular. And we’re going to cut it so it fits snug in the pumpkin. That will help the flowers to stand up straight.

And then, we’re just going to push it right in, and you can put all of the excess right in there. That will not hurt anything. And the idea is, so really all the flowers are secure and they don’t move around. And then, what you’re going to do is add some water. And you will notice that it will absorb all the water. So just take a minute to do that, and then, you’re going to start building from there.

The nice thing about this is you’re gonna start with your evergreen and then you’re going to build from there. So, go ahead and start pulling some.

What size do you put in first?

You know, it’s a real personal choice. I think the more you do this, the better you get, and you want to make sure that they’re secure, so go ahead and push them so they don’t move. Just go ahead and have fun with it. And, you want to have some variety all over the place, so if you’re putting a bit of a hemlock over here, put one on the other side as well, just to balance it out.

We have some flowers as well. Now, you could buy some flowers, I also have some sedum. So, what you do is you want to cut these a little bit, so let’s go ahead and chop these down. You want to fill this up as much as you possibly can, and walk away from it, look at it and go back to it. Asses it, and just continue to look at your color choices, and I use Mother Nature as my real inspiration. That’s why I brought these leaves, so you can see all the different colors that are right now in the garden, and that’s what I’m mimicking in this bouquet.

And, you’ve done this pretty quickly, right? Just keep filling it, and, if you notice, there’s some sedum in here as well in the garden. And again, go ahead and just start popping that in. And you will find that it will become very tight, very dense. Here’s some grasses, some cattails, zebra grasses, so it makes it very whimsical.

The very last part here is just taking the top of the pumpkin, and we’re going to secure that on the side. And you’re going to do that with some toothpicks, so I’m going to break some in half, and what you’re doing is creating some fangs, and this will stay on the side, and it just kind of makes it a real, finished product. And you’re securing it right on the side, like that. And it stays – it’s not going anywhere! And, that’s when you know you’re completely done.

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Oct 20

How to Decorate – Elegant Halloween Party

How To Decorate for an Elegant Halloween Party (courtesy of UrbanRoute)

If you want a spooktacular Halloween, you have to have the right ambiance. Dah dah dah dah! It’s like magic! I love this time of year! You never know what’s gonna happen. Check out these great hats and this fabulous room! Jill, what have you done in here?

Well, you know we went to town. We made it really elegant, instead of being tacky. Because, Halloween can be that way. So, we went out into nature, went for a nice walk and gathered wonderful twigs and branches and leaves, and we’ve added all kinds of lovely, elegant throws and pumpkins. Even if you don’t carve them, the pumpkins look really fabulous, just around the room.

OK, I love the spiders!

It’s fun, because you can just add a little whimsy with things like that. And, they’re just little magnets. And with the pumpkins, put them around, put them in groups of 3…we even put one inside the blackbird house.

Let’s go check out how you can have the perfect Halloween dinner setting.

We have had SO much fun putting this table together, because it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be creative with some color from nature. So, the leaves on the table, and, the centerpiece…honestly, it is so simple! There’s sugar, candy corn, black beans and red lentils, and they become the anchor for twigs, and, just get dramatic. Go for some extreme height, add a crow, look at what you get!

Except, I think my son would try to dig down and get the candy out, I’m telling you right now!

Just put some more in another bowl somewhere else – maybe he won’t be so tempted.

But, if you do want a little candy, check out the napkin rings!

Isn’t that fun? Black licorice – you gotta have it! And, just knot it around the napkin that’s just rolled up. And, then, when you’re done, you can eat it! Such a great trick! I also love that this isn’t your classic Halloween orange.

Yes, we’ve gone with a more subdued, cinnamon color, and,it then means you can use it again afterward. I think the final thing is to be organized for your guests. Set up a little bar cart and have all of the things you need handy, so it makes your life easier. Then in the kitchen area, don’t forget to add a bit of drama. You can get wonderful, white mini-pumpkins and mass them in quantity. Use a couple of glass cloches and put some goodies inside of there….branches and pumpkins…and, voila! It’s elegant, yet it’s festive at the same time!

Thank you, Julie. I can’t wait to get home and decorate my house for Halloween! Have a Spooktacular Halloween!

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Oct 16

Halloween Makeup Tutorial – Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride

For all the Tim Burton fans, here’s a fun Corpse Bride inspired Halloween make up tutorial from MissChievous.

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Oct 10

Halloween How-to – Make a Hot Glue Web Gun

How To Make A Spiderman Web Gun from A Hot Glue Gun (courtesy of MakeMagazine)

Hi! It’s KipKay from Make Magazine with a special Halloween edition of the weekend projects! You know, when you think of Halloween, a lot of things come to mind – like spider webs! I think it’s amazing that a spider, using only his body, can continually create geometrically complex, advanced shapes, that few, if any of us could perfectly duplicate, and even with a pencil and ruler, it’s very complicated for most people to exactly duplicate. Yet, the spider does it with ease! So, the leftover, sticky debris of spiders long gone are so often used for Halloween, that you can buy all sorts of pre-made cobwebs for your haunted house. Well, today, we’re gonna make our very own spider web shooter that spreads the creeps!

You can find the hot glue web gun by Edmond Wise in the special Make Halloween edition, available in the maker shed. Our hot glue web gun starts with a hot glue gun. And, you need one that’s at least 80 watts. The one that I used was 100 watts. Since our web gun is powered by an air compressor, you’re gonna need an air compressor hose, ¼ inch copper tubing and a number of pipe fittings that you can find in your local home improvement store.

Using your spring tube bending tool, you’re gonna bend your ¼ inch copper tubing in a shape so that it’s right next to and about 1/8th of an inch behind the nozzle of the hot glue gun. When you’re all done, it should look similar to this.

Using the tube cutting tool, you’re going to cut off one end and attach your valve, using the compression fittings. Now, this is going to control the airflow going out of our web glue gun. Then, one more piece of copper tubing needs to be cut and attached to our elbow, using the compression fitting, and then that’s all joined together to build this assembly.

Then, using some teflon tape, we’re going to attach our adapter, which will go to a hose bar, and then that hose bar connects to our piece of air compressor tubing, using a hose clamp. Then, one more hose bar by the other end of our tubing, which will go to our quick release pneumatic fitting.

Now, the whole assembly can be attached to the hot glue gun using zip ties, so it can be removed and you can use the hot glue gun as you normally would later.

And, our hot glue web gun is finished and ready to test out! So, it’s time to fire up our air compressor, and we’re gonna get somewhere between 30 and 50 PSI. And then, we’ll attach our air compressor to our new hot glue web gun connection.

The last step is to test your valve, and make sure you’re getting good airflow through your tubing. And, make some spider webs! By adjusting the airflow and the amount of hot glue that
drips out of the nozzle, you can make some pretty impressive webs!

That’s how to make a hot glue web gun for your haunted house! We’ll see you next week with another weekend project!

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Mar 17

How to Decorate Easter Eggs Naturally

Learn how-to decorate Easter eggs with onion skins in this video from monkeysee.com

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Jan 10

Zombie How-To

Detailed step by step instructional video from MakeupByLeah on how to create an undead, living-dead, theatrical zombie look.

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Dec 21

How to Make Stuffing – Cornbread Stuffing

Learn how to make stuffing! Follow the easy to follow instructions in this video from eHow.com to create a delicious cornbread stuffing.

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Dec 17

How to Play Piano – Carol of the Bells

Learn how to play Carol of the Bells on the piano with this video from WebPianoTeacher.com

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Dec 06

How to Make Potato Latkes

Learn how to make potato latkes, a Hanukkah tradition with this video from HolidayKitchen.tv

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Dec 03

How to Wrap a Gift

Give your friends and family perfectly wrapped gifts this Christmas. Learn how to neatly wrap a gift with this video from VideoJug.com


VideoJug: How To Wrap A Box With A Rectangular End

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Nov 23

How to Make a Turkey Quesadilla

Learn how to make a yummy quesadilla with your Thanksgiving leftovers with this video from DaniSpies.com

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Nov 22

How to Carve a Turkey

Learn how to carve a turkey, just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner with this video from Cooking.com

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Nov 08

How to Make Hot Buttered Cider

How To Make Hot Buttered Cider (courtesy of ArtOfTheDrink.com)

Welcome to the Art Of The Drink video podcast! My name is Anthony Caparelli, and this week, as part of our AOTD on the road November series, I am working with my wonderful sister-in-law Nola, and we have Thanksgiving this week! So, we’re gonna make my famous Thanksgiving Hot Buttered Cider, which is a cranapple cider-based drink, that has a little bit of bourbon in it. You know, when we talk bourbon in a drink, we’re talking Maker’s Mark – my favorite bourbon! This is a perfect drink to make after Thanksgiving meal, before Thanksgiving meal, it’s terrific for the fall. The bourbon in it is gonna help you feel a little bit less full after pigging out on turkey – it’s just a great drink.

So, what I want to do first, we’re gonna actually finish the drink with a dollop of fresh whip cream. I want to go ahead and get that made. I talked about making this before on the podcasts, but I haven’t actually shown people how to make it, so I want to do that. Real easy to make, and I make this instead of Ready Whip every time. Start with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. And the secret to making this so easy on yourself is use cold cream – put it in the fridge at least overnight. OK so 1 cup of heavy cream into a mixing bowl. And then, you want confectioner’s sugar – not granulated – you want powdered or confectioner’s sugar. How much you put in is up to you, obviously. I like about 2 tablespoons per cup of cream, so I’m just gonna go ahead and put that in there. And, hand mix, that’s all you’re gonna do.

Now, the key here is to start it slow, or you’re gonna end up covered in cream! So, I’m gonna start it real slow. I’m gonna put it in there and work it around, very gently. And, what’s gonna happen is, the cream is gonna thicken up. As it thickens up, I will increase the speed of the blender very, very slowly. It doesn’t take long – this whole thing takes maybe 4 minutes.

For this drink, what I want to do is take it to just softer than whipped cream. I want to basically just thicken this. You can see, the cream right now is starting to hold the shape of the mixer blades. So, right about there, is where I want to stop. You can see the cream is just barely holding form as the mixer passes through. I’m gonna slow it down, and then lift it gently out. That is a little soft for whipped cream, but that is exactly the consistency that I want.

This is gonna serve 4. So, let’s start with 4 cups of apple cider. Beautiful! Let’s do one cup of cranberry, because this is a cranapple cider, alright? Now, it’s important to use apple cider and not apple juice if you want this to work. Terrific! Now, let’s turn the stove on high. Now we want to sweeten this a little, and maple syrup is the key. Use real maple syrup, not the artificial stuff! 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Awesome!

Alright, now, here we have a stick of fresh cinnamon, 6 cloves and fresh nutmeg, so go ahead and put in the cinnamon and the cloves, and we’re gonna grate the nutmeg. This is just a standard cheese grater – we’re gonna use the fine holes – and I want you to do about 5 grates of the nutmeg. Right in it. Perfect! And, I said it was hot buttered cider, so let’s go and put in 2 pats of butter.

OK, so what you wanna do is just stir this gently. You want to bring it to a simmer, and simmer it for 3 to 4 minutes. Alright, you can see that it’s just starting to simmer – the bubbles are just starting to break the surface. We don’t actually want to bring it to a boil, like I said, bring this to a simmer for a couple of minutes. We want the cloves and cinnamon and the nutmeg to kind of get all nice a cooked in there, get all those essential oils released in there and flavor that cider.

Terrific! So, we have 2 coffee mugs, just go ahead and ladle it in! I’ll take that off your hands. Now, because this is Art Of The Drink, right, I said we had bourbon and I said we had whipped cream. Let’s go ahead and turn this down so we don’t scorch that cider, and get the bourbon. You can put a shot, which is an ounce and a quarter. I actually like a little bit less – I like just an ounce – but it’s completely to taste.

I did not put the bourbon in before I took it off the heat, because if I would have, all the alcohol would have evaporated. So I take it off the heat first, put it in the cup, and then I add the bourbon. And if you will hit me with just a spoonful of fresh whipped cream – nice! That looks good!

And that is our Thanksgiving Hot Buttered Cider! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Salude!

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Oct 19

How to Halloween Crafts – Floating Head Illusion

Learn how to create the illusion of a ghostly floating head for Halloween with this video from BigScreamTV.info

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Oct 18

How to Halloween Crafts – Making Tombstone Decorations

How To Make Tombstone Decorations (courtesy of BigScreamTV.info)

Exactly What You’ll Need:

3/4” and 3” to 6” Styrofoam Insulation

Flat Black Spray Paint

Wire Coat Hanger

Spray Adhesive or Glue Gun

Pliers

String

Marker

Utility Knife

No haunted house would be complete without a cemetery full of headstones! And, you can get these headstones at just about every party store or Halloween department, as my trusty assistant, Teresa, will tell you. But, they’re really expensive! For a piece of Styrofoam, it’s like maybe $7.00, probably $15 or $20 for a tombstone, and, they’re kind of not-so-great looking. I mean, they’re flat and they’re not personalized, that’s for sure. So, you can make your own tombstones, and I can pretty much guarantee that they’re gonna look better than the ones that you can buy.

Now, earlier today, we went to our local home center…go to your lumber yard, home center, anything like that. And, you wanna ask before you go – make sure they have Styrofoam insulation. The great thing about this is it’s extremely inexpensive. For a 4′ x 8′ piece of Styrofoam, you could pay maybe as much as $15, $16 at the most. So, you can make a lot of headstones from a 4′ x 8′ sheet of Styrofoam. You can also get it in smaller pieces. This is about 2′ x 4′, so this is like $3.60, and you can fit this into the car quite easily. However, don’t be afraid if you’re gonna get a really huge sheet, because this stuff breaks apart and cuts apart really easily. Just bring a little cutting appliance with you to the home center.

Probably, one of the more important things to think about before you get started, is where to get started! You probably want to do this on the driveway, on the patio, in the basement…somewhere where you can clean up pretty easily, because as soon as you start cutting this stuff, it starts fragmenting and you get little Styrofoam balls everywhere. If you want to do it in the yard, you might want to put down a drop cloth, some plastic sheeting.

OK, great! You don’t need all that much to work with this stuff. The very most important thing you need is some utility knives. Especially, the retractable utility knives are the best thing to use, because it cuts really well when they’re really sharp, and as soon as they get dull, you can either break them off or just chuck them and put a new blade in there. And these knives are really, really inexpensive and easy to find just about anywhere. And then what you’re gonna need is a marker so that you can draw out your shapes. And if you want to do any kind of circular, like a rounded top, you can use string and your marker, and we’ll show you how to mark out a really nice circular shape on the top, just using those 2 items. And then, of course, my favorite – the wire hanger. And, of course, a pair of pliers and/or some wire cutters. And, like I’ve said before, you don’t need to have wire cutters because most pliers will actually cut your wires. And, I also have my trusty hot glue gun and the bowl of ice water, in case you get a little hot glue on you! You dip your hand in there and you don’t get burn marks!

Before we get started, you’ll note that all of the Styrofoam actually has plastic coating on either side. Usually the manufacturer is printed on one side and there’s a solid color of plastic on the other. Leave this on while you do all of your drawing and cutting, because it will help the Styrofoam stay together and it will be a lot easier to mark on. And then, when you’re all finished, you can peel it right off.

OK, I’m gonna show you real quickly how to do a nice, rounded top for your tombstone. We’re gonna make a decent sized tombstone; in fact, we’re gonna use pretty much the size of this. We’re gonna take off the top and make it nice and round. And, the easiest way to do that is to tie a knot in a piece of string. You’re gonna tie that and loop it right around your marker, and you can do about half the width – easy to find. Go right in about the middle, and you’re just gonna simply…

OK, I’ve got my retractable knife here, and I’m gonna pull it out so it’s a little bit thicker, a little bit wider than the foam is thick. Be sure you’re cutting on something that you don’t care whether you get marks on it. A piece of cardboard underneath works really well. Cement will do just fine, but it will dull your blade a little bit. Especially for a curve like this, you want to try and use the smaller blades, because they go around a curve easier. You just carefully…it cuts really good when the blade’s sharp! So, there you go – your basic, basic tombstone shape!

When you’re done cutting your tombstone, you can go ahead and feel free to peel off that plastic coating. Now, you notice there’s plastic coating on both sides; whereas, the tombstone is really only gonna be seen from one side, so you only have to peel off one side.

Now, we could just stop right here and paint this one, but, I guess we’re gonna go ahead and show you how to maybe make it a little bit extra fancy! OK, one of the things that you can do real simply, is to put some lettering on it, like Rest In Peace is sort of the typical thing to do. And, if you give yourself a general idea of where you want the letters to be, with your semi-retractable knife, it’s really simple to go in there and like – don’t do it so it’s the thickness of the foam itself. You go in there with it slightly shorter and you go in at an angle, you cut down this way and you cut down the other angle this way. Just about no matter what you do to it, it kind of looks like stone. And whenever you make little jagged lines and edges in it, it looks like weathered stone! You’re scooping out a little triangle of the foam. And this stuff can also be sanded and everything if you want to sort of smooth out the edges – but, we like it rough! See where it’s dragging a lot? Now, my blade’s getting a little duller, which I don’t mind because I like it nice and rough. But, you can always snap that part of your blade off. You want to be careful and do it with the pliers, and snap the blade right off. Put it somewhere safe, and then you keep going!

Alright, so you want to dress this one up a little bit with a couple of extra bricks? Yea! So, you take some of this stuff – it’s about a ½ inch, but you can find some different dimensions – you can use a yardstick, you can use just about anything. So, I’m just gonna make these bricks all about this size. The great thing about this is it’s all really forgiving – you don’t really have to do any extensive planning ahead of time. It’s just pretty much play as you go – really easy to do! This cuts real easy. So go ahead and peel off one side of the plastic, and leave the other side on there because that way it will keep everything all nice and glued together.

Right now, what I’m gonna do is, just for fun, is I’m gonna put sort of a skull right in the middle of there. I’m just gonna free-hand it. And, it can be sort of fun and lumpy and lopsided – anything will work! Get some big eyes, and I’ll do like a separate jaw piece. You can always cut some of the teeth into it, but I’m not gonna do too many, ’cause that’s an awful lot to cut out. OK, cut out your shape. And there we have a bunch of cool details! We can make him laugh, put his face in any position.

Now, actually, how we’re gonna attach these pieces onto this one piece of Styrofoam is we’re gonna use some spray adhesive. Now, you can use hot glue, but you HAVE to use a really low temperature hot glue gun and you gotta hold it up away from the foam. Otherwise it will melt it, and sort of dig in to it and it won’t adhere. So it’s a lot easier, I think to use – it’s either called spray mount or spray glue – and you don’t want to use really heavy duty stuff, ’cause that will eat into your Styrofoam as well. So, what you’re gonna want to do is probably put down a piece of plastic; otherwise, you’re gonna get sticky stuff everywhere. Let’s just use this other piece of – we’re gonna sacrifice this and do it over the top of that. Let’s get the big piece. OK! You don’t want to get spray glue everywhere else. And then, what you wanna do is spray it lightly on both sides of where you’re gonna be putting down. You don’t have to get the whole surface. Try not to get this on your fingers, because it really doesn’t like to come off very easily!

OK, give him a nice, jaunty angle, there, like he’s laughing. OK, now, we’ve got a little empty spot up there. I’m thinking a crack! Nice, big crack. Let the crack go all the way down there. And then, all we have to do is paint it, and it’s done! Stick our hanger in and put it in the ground!

Before we go ahead and paint this, ’cause otherwise we’d have to wait til it dries, we’ll go ahead and put some wire into the bottom of this. Now, wire will work if you don’t have any wind or anything. But, if you’ve got a really heavy tombstone, or you’ve got some wind and stuff, you can always do what we did last year, and screw on a piece of wood or something like that that you can poke into the ground, ’cause that will hold the Styrofoam up a little more. But, for this, this will be great with a couple of pieces of wire. We take our hanger and cut of the top part, and I’m just gonna go ahead and cut it in half. Get it straightened out as much as possible, and you want to go ahead and stick it into the bottom, there. And you can play around for whatever works for you. If you need a long piece of wire, if you want to use 3 or 4 of them, and then you can always angle them a little bit so your tombstone is like leaning back or leaning forward. And now, we’re ready to paint it!

We’re gonna put the finishing touches on our headstone, and that means we’re gonna paint this baby! But first, or course, you’re gonna make sure that you’re outside, in a well ventilated area, and we’ve laid down some plastic. And, what’s great about this drop cloth, which you can get at most any home center or paint store, is that it’s multi-purpose! We are gonna use it in all of our dummies to stuff our dummies with, and we’re gonna use it for some other effects later on, so it has a lot of purposes. All you need is a can of flat, black spray paint. Remember to get flat black – it’s gonna look the best. You don’t want any shiny tombstones out in your cemetery – you want some really dingy, old, weathered tombstones! Remember to shake the can, hold it about a foot above the Styrofoam and start spraying in sweeping motions. Now, the thing about spray paint, as you’ll notice, is it actually eats into the Styrofoam a little bit, Which is fine, because it’s gonna make it look a little bit more like weathered stone. You can see how it’s eating away and making it look even more rotten. You don’t want to make it solid black. You want to move the spray can over in sweeping motions and just kind of dirty it up. Make it look gray and weathered in certain areas. If you hold the spray can from a certain direction, you will actually get some shadowing and highlighting. Notice how I’m holding the spray can at an angle, off to the side. Not straight overhead. You don’t want to make splotchy black marks. You just want to cast some really nice, weathered patterns.

You may want to go a little bit heavier around the edges, because, of course, that’s where the wind and rain would be hitting the tombstone if it had been out here for hundreds of years. Remember only to spray paint it lightly. You don’t want to cover it in flat black – you just want it to look like it’s been weathered. And look how nicely the paint is actually eating into the Styrofoam! It’s actually a chemical reaction between the contents of the paint and the Styrofoam. So, that’s another reason why you definitely want to do this outside. The results are awesome – it actually makes it look like it’s stone!

Alright! There we have it – there is our tombstone! Our masterpiece, where it took the sculptors years to create these, it took us probably less than 20 minutes. And what’s really awesome is it cost maybe around $7.00. That’s an awesome addition to anybody’s haunted cemetery!

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Oct 11

How – To Halloween: Making a Mummy Costume

How To Make A Mummy Costume (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

You voted for it! This week on Halloween Wednesdays, we’re making a mummy costume. Alright, so here’s the supplies you’re gonna need to make your kick ass mummy costume!

First, grab some white sheets. I got this twin set at Goodwill for only 4 bucks!

You’re also gonna need a pair of white pants or jeans.

And, a white, long-sleeved t-shirt, preferably a turtleneck. I got both of these at Goodwill for only 6 bucks.

So, the first step is getting that dirty white, century-old kinda look that mummies use. So, we’re gonna do this by dying all of the material in black tea. I got this box of 100 teabags for only a buck.

Now, grab some 3 to 5 gallon buckets, add some tea, hot water, throw your material in, and let it steep for about 2 to 6 hours.

Now, take them out, dry them, and you got yourself some mummy material!

Now, lay out your sheet, grab your scissors, and start cutting some 2 to 3 inch slits down the side of your sheet.

Now, this is the easiest part. You’re gonna tear the strips the length of the sheet. They all rip pretty evenly, and all have a really cool, straight edge.

You now have your mummy bandages. Start wrapping them around your turtleneck, and to sewing the strips around your shirt. This is the most time consuming part. However, the sloppier and less conformed you sew these, on – overlap your strips, leave some pieces longer than others – it’s a mummy costume. You seriously can’t mess it up!

Now, once you get up to the chest area, I grab a pair of scissors and cut up the inseam of each of the sleeves. Lay them down flat. Cut some pieces of material out for the appropriate length of the sleeves, and get to sewing them on. Layer by layer by layer.

Once you’re done adding your material, sew on the rest of your strips to finish your shirt. Turn it inside out and sew your sleeves back up.

Now, grab your seam remover and do the pants. Rip up the inseam, all the way to the crotch. Lay flat, and now, cut out your strips to cover your pants. Start from the bottom, and begin sewing your strips onto both legs.

You can stop when you get to the crotch, because your shirt’s gonna cover the rest.

Now, turn your pants inside out, and sew back up your legs.

With your mummy outfit almost complete, you just need to cover your face with your excess material, add some baby powder for that ancient mummy affect, and you’re ready to get your grunt on!

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Oct 07

How to Make Papier Mache – Halloween Skull Part 2

How To Make A Papier Mache Skull Part II (courtesy of HayCrossHollow)

Hello, this is Jeremy Edsall, and this is the 2nd part of my making a papier mache skull. In this segment, we’ll be working on building the skull. We’ve already worked on the jawbone, as you see here. And, what we’re doing is working on the top of the jaw – the top of the teeth and the top portion of the skull. We do that by taking a piece of cardboard, wrapping it up in aluminum foil and folding it over several times, and you’ll see how that gets folded and molded, and then that becomes part of the face of the skull.

And you test-fit it into the jawbone. And then, what you want to do is depress this center to make a little bit of a cavity for where the nose is, and that will become apparent here in a minute. You will see that there is a little bit of a sculpture there. And with that indentation, you can start filling in with the papier mache, and start building that nose portion of the skull. There it is, covered with mache. It takes on a rounded appearance. And then, you can add some teeth as well, by doing the tips of the popsicle sticks. And, again, you want to test fit it to make sure it fits that jawbone.

Then, you want to get a couple of tops from plastic soda bottles. And, what you do with these, is you cover them with aluminum foil as well, as you see here. And then, press these into the sides of that front of the skull, and fill these in with papier mache. Start building around them, as you see here. Continue to build and cover. There will be a hole there in the middle, and we’ll deal with that here in a minute. What you want to do is make a ball of newspaper – kind of like a brain size – and, that kind of looks like a brain stem, cause we’re gonna leave a little piece coming down.

Insert that in that hole, put that down, turn it over, and attach it to the back of that top tooth portion and cover it up with papier mache. And start filling around that whole part of that, what I call the brain portion.

Then continue to cover, and then what you want to do is take another piece of aluminum foil. Take a long piece and wrap that around and kind of contour that in around those eye sockets, and then you can start covering that with papier mache as well. Then you just want to work around the entire skull portion, covering all those places and covering up all that aluminum foil. And just build in the top of that skull.

Most of these in these first 2 videos are all done in one time period, so you should be almost able to complete the whole project within one time period. Then, our next segment will be after I take a break and come back and finish with some details.

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Oct 07

How to Make Papier Mache – Halloween Skull Part I

How To Make A Papier Mache Skull (courtesy of HayCrossHollow)

Hello, and welcome to my video, How To Make A Papier Mache Skull. My name is Jeremy Edsall, and I am a papier mache artist. What you’re gonna need for this project is to get your hands on some Celluclay or Celluclay 2. It’s made by Activa products and you can find it at most hobby stores. It comes in various shapes and sizes, but it looks something like this in the package. What it is, is a block of ground up newspaper and some sizing, which you’ll be adding water to.

So, get the package, unwrap it, ad start to break down some of the papier mache in the bag, there. Open it up slowly, and then pour it into 2 double plastic bags. And, newspaper bags, the ones they use when it’s raining, work great. So, get a couple of those, double bag it, and then add to that 2 cups of warm water. Warm water seems to work best, and it is suggested for mixing. So, pour your warm water directly into the papier mache, until it looks like this. Then, close up one end and start the kneading process.

Now, if you did this in a bowl, it would get all between your fingers and under your rings and it would really be a mess, because, once it sticks to your skin it starts to dry, get crusty and is very hard to get off. So, you want to do this in a bag and minimize some of the mess and dust, because it can kick up a lot of dust. So, this is really the best way to do it! Works for me. Mix it thoroughly – knead it until all the dry is gone and you just have a mass of gray! Put this in the refrigerator, because it is perishable, and try to use it as soon as possible.

Now, for the skull, get some cardboard, cut it out in this shape, some wire, some masking tape and a hole punch. Take your hole punch and punch a hole in each side of the jawbone. Then, take your wire, bend it like so, place it on the cardboard, and securely fasten it in with masking tape so it looks like this. Then, take the whole thing, put it on some aluminum foil, and start to fold, from bottom to top, like so. Fold it over, fold the top over, til it looks like this from the back, and it looks like this from the front.

Now, you’re gonna have to cut a few, little slits in there with your scissors so you can continue folding the rest over, and then you can fold it over real neat until it looks like this. And then, go ahead and re-punch the holes in there. You should be able to see them through the aluminum foil. And bend the whole thing so it looks like a jawbone. And that’s what it looks like from the top and from the bottom. Now, the aluminum fol will help your papier mache stick.

Then you can start coating it. Coat the inside, all the surfaces. Make sure you don’t plug up those holes. Then, get yourself some popsicle sticks. Cut the ends off with some snips. You can saw them, but this is the fastest way to do it. And you can take those, once you’ve gotten most of it covered, especially in that front area,and place them in there for the teeth. And then, continue to cover that jawbone. All the different sides. Remember again, don’t plug up those holes! Cover all the sides, and what you’ll have is your skull jawbone! And then you can start working on the top of the skull. (Go to Part II Video)

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Oct 05

How to Carve a Pumpkin – Creating a Layered Effect

Learn how to carve a pumpkin to create a sculpted layered effect with this video from Fireburg.

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Oct 05

How to Carve a Pumpkin – Cutting Out Holes

Learn how to carve a pumpkin using a pumpkin cutter with this video from Fireburg.

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Oct 03

How to Carve a Pumpkin – Using a Stencil

Learn how to use a stencil when carving a pumpkin with this video from Fireburg.

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Oct 03

How to Make A Lady Gaga VMA Costume for Halloween

How To Make A Lady Gaga VMA Costume for Halloween (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Level of Difficulty – Intermediate

Time of Project – 3.5 hours

We’re gonna start by making the crown. First, spray paint 2 sides of a poster board red. Let it dry, and spray one side with quick spray adhesive. Then, place a square of red lace fabric on top of it, pressing down to secure it.

Let it dry, then mark out the spiky points of the crown. Cut out the spikes, and use a hot glue gun to reinforce each one.

Glue the 2 ends of the crown together to form a cylinder that’s big enough to fit your head, while wearing a wig. Spray some more red paint to the tips of the spikes and let it dry.

Now, you need to make something to wear under the lace for warmth and modesty! Use a piece of stretch-knit, flesh colored fabric and stretch it around the intended costume wearer. Pinch and pin it down the back, and mark down both sides of the pin line with tailor’s chalk.

Unpin it from the wearer, and pin it back together again on your table. Sew down the pin line, using a zigzag stitch. Fold in hem along the top, also using a zigzag stitch.

Let the wearer try it on again, and mark chalk lines on the back and front to make mock undies.

Transfer the lines to the lace, and pin the pieces of fabric together. Sew along the chalk lines with a zigzag and cut off the excess fabric. Repeat for the back, and you have the illusion of wearing sexy lace undies!

Next, we have a long piece of lace, lay it over your model, and cut a hole big enough for their head to fit through. Pinch and pin, starting under the armpit, going down both sides of the wearer.

Use tailor’s chalk to mark out where the shoulders start, extending to the armpit, going all the way down the pin line. Remove the piece, pin it back together, and cut off the fabric outside of your chalk line.

Sew the sides of the garment together, using a zigzag stitch, starting at the armpit. Now, make sleeves by finding the middle of another piece of fabric and pinning it to the armhole, right sides together, until you reach the armpit. Sew together with a zigzag stitch.

Have your model try on the garment, and pinch and pin the sleeve part around the arm. Mark along the pin line with chalk, take it off, re-pin and sew it closed with a zigzag stitch.

Cut off all excess fabric, and make the other sleeve, using the first as a guide. When we return, we’ll show you how to complete your look.

Welcome Back! So, you’ve got the fundamentals to your Lady Gaga costume complete. Now, there’s only a couple more steps left, and you’re done!

Alright, so the next thing you want to do is cut yourself a piece of lace roughly 1 ½ ft x 1 ½ ft. Fold the fabric in half, and then, at the top of your lace, trace a small hood shape. Then, sew along your line, cut off the excess, turn it inside out, and you got yourself a hood!

Alright, next step, you need a train of lace fabric for the back. This piece needs to be about as tall as you are, and almost like a triangle, trailing off at the end.

Now, pin and attach the train to the back of the collar by gathering and sewing together from one end to the other.

Next, take your hood, and pin it to the front of your collar. Then, like the train, sew it on with a zigzag stitch from one side to the other.

Lastly, make yourself a couple of holes for your fingers to make some fingerless gloves, throw on a blonde wig, some sexy red shoes, and you’re ready for the paparazzi!

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Sep 29

How to Cook – Pumpkin Brulee

Learn how to make a pumpkin brulee just in time for the holidays in this video from FoodWishes Blog.

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Sep 29

How to Make Stationary – Stitched Cards

Learn how to make your own stitched stationary just in time for the holidays with this video from ReadyMade Magazine.

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Jun 13

Gift Ideas for Dads and Grads

Tech savy gift ideas for Father’s Day and Graduation in this video from dwjtelevision

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May 05

What to Give Mom for Mother’s Day

Unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from

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May 05

How to Make Cupcake Bouquet for Mother’s Day

Learn how to make Mom a Cupcake Bouquet with this video from CIAProChef.com.

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Apr 08

How to Roast a Rack of Lamb

Learn how to roast a rack of lamb for the holidays with this video from Cooking.com.

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Feb 16

How to Cook a Ham

Learn how to cook and carve a ham from the professionals at Cooking.com

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Feb 14

How to Make Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Learn how to make chocolate dipped strawberries for your special someone with this video from ChefMelissa.tv.

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Feb 06

How to Make a Simple Valentines Day Dessert – Chocolate Mousse!

Learn how to make a yummy and simple dessert for Valentines Day with this silly yet useful video from FoodCommander.com showing how to make an easy chocolate mousse.

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Feb 02

How to Make a Delicious Valentine’s Day Dessert of Molten Chocolate Cake

Learn how to make a delicious Valentines Day dessert that will make your loved one swoon in this video from www.Mahalo.com.

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Feb 02

How to Make your Valentines Day Roses Last

Learn how to make your Valentines Day roses last twice as long with this video from 1800Flowers.

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Jan 03

How to Store Christmas Lights, Tangle Free!

This short video demonstrates an ingenious way to store your Christmas lights, tangle-free, using only a plastic bag from the grocery store!

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Dec 01

How to Make a Pumpkin Cheesecake

This “how to make a one bowl pumpkin cheesecake” video is from our own site owner, Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.! This is the famous “She Devil’s Pumpkin Cheesecake” that is required fare during the holidays, and for which she always gets requests. Now in “how to” video form!

Here’s the recipe to go with the video!

You may also find this helpful:

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware 9-Inch Springform Pan

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Nov 30

How to Make a Feather and Egg Holiday Wreath – Perfect for Easter!

This unique feather and egg holiday wreate is perfect for Easter, and can be adapted with Chrismas ornaments for an even more unique Christmas holiday wreath! A neat idea from IdeasInFives.com.

You may also find this helpful:

Wreath Magic: 86 Magnificent Wreaths, Garlands & Swags To Make

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Nov 30

How to Make Easy Food for a Holiday Party

Here’s a great “how to” video showing you how to make easy food (appetizers and desserts) for a complete holiday party! This how to make easy food for holiday entertaining features Marc Silverstein of the Food Network.

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Nov 29

How to Play “Jingle Bells” on the Piano (Part 2)

Learn how to play the verses of Jingle Bells on the piano with this Part 2 of the “how to play Jingle Bells on the piano” videos from Brad99r! (Part 1 is here.)

You may also find this helpful:

Piano Lessons: Learning the Piano Keyboard, how to play piano instructional DVD

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Nov 29

How to Play “Jingle Bells” on the Piano (Part 1)

Learn how to play “Jingle Bells” on the piano with this video from Brad99r! This is part 1, the chorus. In part 2 you learn how to play the verses of Jingle Bells! (Part 2 is here.)

You may also find this helpful:

Piano Lessons: Learning the Piano Keyboard, how to play piano instructional DVD

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Nov 28

How to Make Holiday Fairies

Learn how to make holiday fairies with this “how to make fairies” video from MCMilker of Not Quite Crunchy.

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Nov 25

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Want to learn how to make fresh cranberry sauce? This recipe video from Cooking.com shows you how to make cranberry sauce with orange zest and triple sec!

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Nov 24

How to Crochet a Snowman

How To Crochet A Snowman (courtesy of Craftmastery.com)

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Nov 16

How to Wrap a Gift

How To Wrap A Gift (courtesy of ThisLadeeMags)

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