Sunday, October 30, 2011

From the Archive: Clown Fish Pumpkin

This post is a re-post from last Halloween. I entered this Pumpkin into a carving contest. 
It didn't win! Can you believe it?

From this...

To this!

  • pumpkin, preferably medium sized and fairly round
  • cereal boxes or other thin cardboard
  • bamboo skewers
  • craft glue
  • scotch tape
  • craft paint: orange, black and white
  • permanent black marker
  • dark and light blue tissue paper
  • white card stock or bristol board
Step one:
Wash and dry the pumpkin. Once it is thoroughly dry, figure out which side is the face. On the opposite side (the tail) draw a circle with black marker. Draw some stripes on each side. Draw two eyes and a mouth, The eyes look best oversized. Then draw a large circle around the entire face.

Step two:
Fill in the black stripes with white paint. Fill in the eyes and the mouth. Two or three coats will be needed. One the eyes are dry, paint in the pupils.

Close up shot of the face

Step three:
While the paint is drying, draw out the shapes for the two sides fins and the tail. I based the size of the fins on the size of the pumpkin. Took a bit of trial and error until I was happy with the shape of the fins.

Make two drawings of each piece (the fins will be double sided). Paint all the pieces orange. When the base layer is dry, outline with black and add black lines, shown in the pictures. You will need one dorsal fin (the top), two side fins, and a tail. In this picture I also made some extra front fins, but I didn't end up using them.

Flip one half of each fin over. Tape bamboo skewers to the plain side. I used three skewers for the tail, and two skewers for each fin. Add some glue and sandwhich the two halves together. Let dry. Some touch ups of the black lines may be needed. The hard part is over! Assembly is easy, just stick the skewers into the flesh of the pumpkin. Touch up any areas as needed.

Side View
Back View


To make the reef:
I used a lazy susan as the base, and wrapped it with dark blue tissue paper. Next I freehand drew the shapes of the coral on white card stock. Then outlined the shapes in black marker and cut out carefully with small scissors. Next I taped the coral shapes to the base, leaving gaps for the tail and fins. Next I layered the dark and light blue tissue, alternating the colours to make a "bed". I set the pumpkin on top, and it was ready to go!

Cinderella's Coach Pumpkin

This is an old project, from Halloween 2009-but I thought readers might be interested in another painted pumpkin project. My sister and I worked on this project together. For many hours. This was the first time either of us had decorated a pumpkin.

  • Pumpkin
  • Knife to carve the pumpkin, spoon to clean out the inside
  • Pencil, pen, marker
  • Acrylic paint-light blue, silver
  • Paint brush
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Toy horse
  • Satin ribbon ( I used white)
  • Doll or Figure ( I used a paper cut out)
  • Decorations
  • Candle or light (optional)
Step 1: Select the pumpkin. It has to be the right shape and size, preferably well balanced. Unblemished, if possible.

Step 2: Cut a lid into the top of the pumpkin, and scoop out the insides, the same as you would for any jack-o-lantern.

Step 3: Draw a door and windows as desired, and cut those out.
This is up to you, be creative.

Step 4: Paint the entire pumpkin, multiple coats will probably be needed. Once the base coat is dry, you can add details such as the silver veining I added.

Step 5: Once the paint is dry, add any embellishments you desire. I added some white satin ribbon as trim around the door, scrapbooking frames serves and windows. Use hot glue. I also glued feathers around the inside of the lid, and a crystal knob for embellishment. 

Step 6: Assembly. This the hardest part. Unfortunately I don't have photos of the support structure. Basically I found two "spokes" plastic things that looked like spokes and wheels. Painted them silver, and added spokes with black marker. Then I added a "web" of crisscrossed ribbons and sat the pumpkin on top. Lastly, I attached the horse to the wheels with more ribbon. It's hard to explain, and by all means experiment to see what works. It was alot of trial and error to get it sit right.

Lastly, I added a Cinderella paper doll to complete the effect.
If desired, add a candle or light to illuminate the pumpkin.

Happy Carving! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Re-post: DIY Pacman Garland

Make this awesome Pacman garland for Halloween. Love it in black, but I could also see it in colour.

 Image source:

 The template is free! For instructions and the template, click here

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paint Splatter Party Update

I picked up the finished large splatter painting from the studio. Jennifer varnished it, which really brings out the colours.

I installed it in the dining room, it looks great. A real conversation piece. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Transformers 8th Birthday Party

Date: Sunday, October 2, 2011
Location: Rinx, 65 Orfus Rd, North York, ON
Guests: 12 children (ages 4-8), 10 adults
Budget: less than $500
Theme: Transformers

* Photos of actual guests are included in this post, but faces are not clearly visible.

Rinx is a huge entertainment complex featuring an ice rink, a roller rink, glow in the dark mini putt, 10 pin bowling, mini bowling, laser tag, and other games. Various party packages are available, at varying costs.
The Silver party package includes: invitations, 2 activities, a party room, a party coordinator on site,  pizza and pop and all plates, cups, napkins, etc, and a t-shirt for the birthday child.


To be honest, I found the party rooms at Rinx to be shabby, very worn down. There wasn't much that could be done to improve the decor quickly. When the staff said everything was included, I had expected them to provide tablecloths, which they did not.  In retrospect, I should have brought some myself. Oh well, the kids didn't mind. I blew up some over sized balloons, and hung up a Transformer's poster of Bumblebee. When the birthday boy saw it, he asked if we were playing pin the tail on Bumblebee. I laughed, but then I thought, we could have played a version with the transformers logo. Oh well, file that idea away for next time.

Guest Favours:
I created the lootbags by printing out a large Transformers logo and adhering it to the gift bags with double sided tape. I chose a red logo over a black, for a more colourful effect.
They turned out really well, and the kids were impressed.

 Inside the bags were various small items from the dollarstore, including a bouncy ball, glow in the dark bracelets (we wore them during bowling), a transformer's candy dispenser,stickers, and these really cool aliens. They are my favourite item. I actually had a hard time finding affordable Transformers items, so I stretched it a bit to include aliens, since Transformers really are a kind of alien.

Aren't these cool? Love the eyes.


The birthday boy chose Laser Tag, and I chose mini bowling after some discussion with party staff about appropriate activities for the ages of the guests.

Since, everything is glow in the dark, the lighting conditions were not optimal for pictures.
I have a few, but most are blurry streaks.

Laser Tag was the first activity of the afternoon, the on site staff helped the kids get into their vests, and explained how to play. This activity was a bit daunting for some, but most got right into the game. Two adults volunteered to play with the kids, and I stayed close by to keep an on things. A few children got scared, and wanted out. I entertained them with bubbles and balloons in the hallway. A few 6 years olds loved it, and some 8 olds were scared, so it really depends on the personality of the child, but I would say 8 would be the minimum age for this activity.

Mini Bowling turned out to be the highlight of the afternoon. We had the whole room to ourselves, the lanes are about half the size of 10 pin lanes, and the kids used a 5 pin sized ball. It was perfect for them.

Even the 4 year old could knock down the pins!

Now that the kids had really worked up an appetite, we headed back to the party room for lunch. Pizza and pop was included in the package. I also brought a fruit and a veggie tray, popcorn, chips and salsa, and cupcakes.
The pizza was delicious, and is made in house at Rinx.


The Transformers cupcakes turned out great, and they tasted delicious. Two flavours, chocolate and vanilla, decorated with some of the well known characters.  The cupcakes are from the Cupcake Shop


 Optimus Prime


Overall, the kids really enjoyed themselves. One boy exclaimed "this is the best birthday party ever!"
And that's what it's all about at the end of the day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Paint Splatter Party

Date: Saturday, September 24, 2011
Location: 4 Cats Arts Studio, Oakville
Guests: 20 adults
Budget: >$500

*Actual photos of guests are included in this post, but faces are not clearly visible.

For my 30th birthday, I wanted to do something unique and fun and I definitely found it with a Jackson Pollock inspired paint throwing extravaganza. No art experience is required, so everyone can enjoy this activity, plus guests can take their artwork home with them as a souvenir of the day. All art supplies are provided by 4Cats. Cake, drinks and snacks are allowed, don't forget to bring the plates and forks.

Adult party package includes: Two hours studio time, each guests works on their own 11x14 stretched canvas work of art and works together on one large 6x3 foot canvas for the host. The cost is about $25 per person.

I opted to have the canvas stretched, so I will always have a wonderful souvenir from my milestone birthday. Jennifer, the owner/curator of 4Cats was very helpful throughout the planning process. I emailed the studio a list of paint colours I pre-selected, which is a really great idea. This way, I made sure the large painting works with my decor at home. Jennifer made some suggestions as well, so if you are not sure what you want, the studio staff will help you through every step of the process.

Make sure your guests realize ahead of time they will get dirty, including feet! I brought everyone a plastic poncho and some bandannas to tie around their hair.
I am glad I did, we really did get paint everywhere.

Ponchos and Bandannas

Painty Feet

The process:
Step 1: Guests applied a thin layer of watered down paint (also called a wash) in their choice of beige or blue as the background colour.

Step 2: Each guest chose 4 paint colours from a selection of options to fill their palettes.

Step 3: Working with the lightest colour first, we let loose flinging the paint! Some much fun. At first I could tell everyone was hesitant but they soon got into the groove. I discovered my good friend has quite the talent for this technique, his looked amazing! I got him to do some for me.The trick is knowing when to stop. If you load it up too much, it looks messy and the colours can go muddy. The staff walked around and offered advice and suggestions.

The results:

Don't they look amazing? I love how even though we used the same colours, they are all so unique. They look even better when dry, I love the randomness and how in some areas the colours melded in interesting ways.I am so proud of my family and friends for really getting into the artistic zone.

This one is mine.

Next, the large painting:

Step 1: Using the leftover paint in our palettes, we flung paint from brushes.

Step 2: Syringes. Using slightly different colours, we loaded up syringes with paint and squirted lines. This is where we got messy!

Step 3: Paint Balloons. Like water balloons, but filled with paint instead of water.We held them out over the canvas and then squeezed!

Step 4: The Monday after the party, I returned to the studio to view the now dry canvas. It turned out really nice! Jennifer and I discussed how it should be stretched, there was enough canvas that I could manipulate it a little bit. We discussed the best layout, and once the decision was made, Jennifer marked the canvas. Stretching and varnishing takes about a week, so I will update this post once I have the finished painting at home. I think I know where to hang it, I will upload pictures once it's in place.

I cannot say enough about how fun this party was, and how great the staff at 4Cats Art Studio are. Other themes are available; such as Andy Warhol, Georgie O'Keefe, Monet, Van Gogh, so be sure to check out the other options.

For more information, check out their website,

Happy painting!