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Crafting Madness


How to make Jenny's Luminary Grotto

(click on this image to reveal a more detailed view)
Jennys Luminary Grotto

Create a huge luminary grotto in your yard! The space may be used by wildlife during the hottest most bug-infested times of the year and for other activities like reading or writing by candlelight in the cooler months.


  1. The grotto will be outside in the yard.
  2. It will meld with surrounding shrubs so it is unnoticeable to the unsuspecting eye during the day but at night as you read inside it by candlelight the entire grotto will glow from the inside out like a luminary, casting flickering dancing light shadows on the surrounding landscape.
  3. It will be constructed using a combination of large twigs and wild and large loops of drying grape vine, keeping the circular walls thick and dramatic but with enough openings to cast pretty luminary light to the outside world.
  4. Needs to be large enough so several peeps may sit inside on the ground.
  5. Purchase a super-thick and fluffy towel to sit on while in the grotto but make sure the towel is the color of the landscape as to not detract from the natural surroundings.
  6. Purchase a sturdy lantern to protect the candle.

How to make a bunny chair out of office supplies

Bunny sitting on chair

You say you don't have a bunny chair? Well what are you waiting for? Hop to it!


  1. tie wraps
  2. milk crate
  3. desk tray
  4. needle and thick thread or yarn
  5. foam
  6. fabric
  7. hot little wand thingy that melts plastic, can't remember what it is called but it is pictured below:)

INSTRUCTIONS (detailed photos are below as well):

  • Tie wrap the desk tray to the top of the milk crate
  • cut a hole in the front of the milk crate with the hot little wand thingy
  • wrap the hole thing in foam
  • anchor the foam in a few spots with thick thread or yarn
  • wrap the hole thing in fabric
  • anchor the fabric in many spots with thick thread or yard
Bunny chair instructions part 1
Bunny chair instructions part 2
Bunny chair instructions part 3

How to dye a Christmas tree

How to dye a Christmas tree
  1. Big pot of hot water on the stove
  2. an artificial Christmas tree
  3. Rit Dye More Synthetic Fiber Dye (color: super pink), 7 ounce bottle
  4. 2 plastic tarps
  5. old rags
  6. 1 bucket
  7. hair dryer

Has your beautiful white Christmas tree turned yellow? Dye it a different color! I experimented with Rit Dye More Synthetic Fiber Dye this year when my poor white Christmas tree had reached a level of yellowing that could no longer be ignored. The tree was still in great shape so I tried to dye the whole tree pink and it turned out beautiful! Watch my short 5 minute video below to see how I did it as well as before and after shots. This solution might work for you as well, good luck!


Make a Halloween vase out of old plastic orange pill bottles!

click on image for larger view
Halloween vase made from an orange plastic pill bottle.
  1. Raffia
  2. Clean plastic pill bottles (orange)
  3. Plant material for miniature floral arrangement
  4. Water
  5. Black permanent marker


  • Wrap a piece of Raffia around the top of the pill bottle
  • With the marker, draw a pumpkin face on both (outer) sides of the pill bottle (you are creating a miniature floral arrangement that will be viewed from all angles so avoid leaving the backside of the bottle blank)
  • Fill pill bottle with water
  • Add plant material to pill bottle (arrange plant material for viewing from all angles so avoid leaving the backside without artistic expression)

Knit a Halloween scarf with me, no knitting experience required!

Orange Halloween scarf with small black bats on the end.

Knitting is so much fun! I knitted a Halloween scarf for Halloween and I created videos on how to do it, watch the following tutorials to make your first Halloween scarf! No knitting experience required:

  1. How to do the very first row of a scarf, it is called "Casting On": watch video
  2. How to knit the remaining rows of the scarf by doing a "Knit Stitch" for every row: watch video
  3. How to add a second ball of yarn to your scarf: watch video
  4. How to bind Off (this is creating the last row of your scarf): watch video
  5. How to add a spooky bat to the end of the scarf: watch video

Halloween Pet Portraits

Black bunny in a Halloween basket surrounded by tiny pumpkins.

If you have a pet, it is your obligation as a human on Earth to photograph them within a Halloween theme. Pictured here is my adorable bunny, Miss Emily Gretchen Google Bugs Eggnog Ambidextrous Hippity Hoppity Henrietta. This photo session took place in my living room; I took approximately 10,000 photos before finally snapping one that looked half way decent. The remaining 9,999 photos were a comical series of Emily jumping out of the basket, chewing on the pumpkins, and attempting to eat the fake leaf garland.

If you attempt this task, only do so with the best attitude, patience, and pet treats because your pet will not cooperate.  Just let your little angel do whatever it is that they do and you eventually will capture the right moment.

Evil Eyes

Soap eyeballs in the bottom of a sink.

The next time you are out and about, keep an evil eye out for novelty soaps like these. By Halloween, you should have a set of soapy eyeballs staring back at your visitors from the bottom of every sink in your home.

Cake Blob of Horror

Halloween Cake

Making a Cake Blob of Horror is a lot of fun.  It takes little effort and you are left with something messy, spooky, and yummy.  What a great way to spend an hour!  Special thanks to my dear friends, Kourtney and Megan, for spending the day with me and making the two Cake Blobs of Horror featured here.

Supplies you will need:

  • chocolate cake mix
  • chocolate icing
  • Halloween sprinkles (purple, orange, you get the picture)
  • Halloween cookies
  • a fork


  1. Bake the cake.  While the cake is baking, record a spooky greeting on your answering machine.
  2. Let the cake cool.  While the cake is cooling, practice the Monster Mash
  3. Begin icing the cake, but don't ice it as if it were a normal cake.  Place big blobs of icing on some parts of the cake and avoid putting icing on other parts of the cake.
  4. Stick a fork in the cake, twist the fork as you slowly pull the fork out of the cake (this will grind up some of the cake and bring it to the outer portion of the decorated cake area.  Repeat this step a few times.
  5. Add Halloween sprinkles and Halloween cookies to the top of the cake.
  6. Enjoy!

Scary Pictures

Handpainted Halloween crafts: skull, pumpkin, bottles

Switch out all of your framed photos in the house with something a little more sinister. Click on the links below to view and download each photo for printing (these are high resolution images and will take time to load in your browser):

- Tree Frog of Destruction
- Blood Sky
- Evil Berries
- Spider of Doom
- Spooky Path

Painting Your Claws

Black bat painted on red fingernail
White ghost painted on black fingernail
Orange pumpkin painted on black fingernail

Don't fear nail polish you beautiful little goblin. This project is easy and in the end you will look even more fantastic than you already do!

For the month of Halloween, Spooky Jenny uses a combination of cheap acrylic paint from the craft store and regular nail polish to create lasting impressions on the strangers she meets.

Supplies you will need:

  • 1 paint brush
  • 1 bottle of black nail polish
  • 1 bottle of red nail polish
  • 1 bottle of clear nail polish
  • 1 bottle of white acrylic paint


  1. If you are a lefty like me, apply one coat of black nail polish to your right thumbnail (or begin with your left thumbnail if you are right-handed)
  2. Wait two minutes for the nail polish to dry.
  3. Using the paint brush and white acrylic paint, paint a ghost on the thumbnail you just painted black. Practice on a piece of paper for a few minutes to get the hang of it, it's just a white glob; you know you can do it!
  4. Wait five minutes for the acrylic paint to dry.
  5. Apply two black dots of black nail polish on the top portion of the ghost as the eyes.
  6. Wait two minutes for the nail polish to dry.
  7. Apply one coat of clear nail polish to the painted thumbnail. CAUTION: The acrylic colors will smear during the application of the clear nail polish top coat if the acrylic colors are not dry or if you apply the clear nail polish top coat to harshly so make sure your artwork is dry before applying the clear nail polish top coat.
  8. Wait two minutes for the nail polish to dry.
  9. For all remaining fingers, apply one coat of red nail polish.
  10. Wait two minutes for the nail polish to dry.
  11. Apply one coat of clear nail polish top coat to all red nails.
  12. Wait two minutes for the nail polish to dry.
  13. Spend the rest of your evening watching scary movies and reveling in how hot you look:)

Bouquets of Despair

It's time to express your inner despair through dead plant material. Creating Bouquets of Despair for your home is a seriously spooky and inexpensive way to draw all of the demons out of your walls. Do it now before it's too late!

Supplies you will need:

  • 1 glass or plastic bottle
  • 1 bottle of black acrylic paint
  • A few strands of Raffia, burlap or orange/black/purple ribbon
  • Any dead plant material you can find in the yard
  • 1 fake insect


  1. Paint one glass or plastic bottle black using acrylic paint. Paint a ghost on the front if you are feeling frisky.
  2. While the bottle is drying, collect dead plant material from your yard. Remove insects and dust from the plant material.
  3. Arrange dead plant material into a glorious bouquet within the confines of the painted bottle.
  4. Wrap the neck of the bottle in raffia, burlap or ribbon.
  5. Place an insect or snake around the neck of the bottle. In this case I've used a Cicada exoskeleton I found in the yard.
  6. Place Bouquet of Despair in a prominent location within your home to scare the oatmeal out of all who dare enter.
  7. Note: The paint used in this example is not waterproof so avoid using outdoors; also, dead plant material is extremely flammable so avoid placing the Bouquet of Despair near open flame.
bouquet of dead plant material in a black vase

How to Create a Butterfly Garden for Butterflies

It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment with a small balcony or a home with a large yard, either location can successfully maintain a large or small, and extremely useful, butterfly garden.

With the dwindling numbers of butterflies participating successfully in the yearly migration to Mexico, I encourage you to strongly consider installing a butterfly garden on your balcony or in your yard. Please read this article from National Geographic before proceeding, this article highlights the severity of the situation and possible solutions.

Supplies Needed:

Whether your butterfly garden is large or small, there are only 5 things you need for a successful butterfly garden:

  1. Soil.
  2. Nectar Plants (plants that butterflies like to feed on): examples: Lantana, Butterfly Bush, Phlox, Anise Hyssop, Butterfly Weed, Aster, Purple Coneflower, Salvia, Pentas, Passionflower, Mexican Sunflower, South American Verbena, Bee Balm and Aster
  3. Host Plants (plants that butterflies lay their eggs on and their caterpillars like to eat): examples: Milkweed, Dill, parsley, fennel.
  4. Mulch or pine straw as a cover to maintain moisture.
  5. Butterflies. No need to purchase these from the mall, they will show up on their own eventually:)

If you have room; you may add 3 additional items for top notch butterfly bed and breakfast accommodations:

  1. A butterfly house (these are narrow and long and mount a foot or so from the ground – not a tree). Just do a google search on "butterfly house plans", there are several nice ones out there.
  2. A rock/water oasis (a shallow saucer filled with river rock and a small amount of water with a little rotting fruit).
  3. A warming rock. This is a large rock positioned in full sun for butterflies to sit on to warm themselves.

Instructions for creating a butterfly garden (you would plant a butterfly garden in the Spring after your regions' last frost of the season):

  1. Find a sunny spot in your yard or on your balcony. This is where your butterfly garden will reside.
  2. Prepare the soil. If you are planting the garden in a container for balcony living, then fill the container with regular potting soil (pick one that has fertilizer in it already, most brands do). If you are planting the garden in the ground, turn existing soil with a shovel and mix in soil conditioner and fertilizer (you may not have to do this if you have rich soil already, our soil is nothing but clay, rock, and root so we have to do a lot of soil prep).
  3. Plant your plants! If planting in a container, make sure you have at least one host plant (Milkweed is the most important right now so plant Milkweed if you can) and at least one nectar plant. If planting in the ground, be sure to keep nectar plants in close proximity to host plants, butterflies want to lay eggs where they have ample food supplies.
  4. Cover soil with mulch or pine straw to trap in moisture.
  5. Water well.
  6. Sit on a lawn chair and watch the butterflies flock to your new garden.
  7. Do not discard the plants in the winter, remember, moths, butterflies, caterpillars or eggs will begin to exist in the garden so at any given time you may have a different stage of life thriving (even though you may not see them) so maintain the garden all year long.

Specs on my butterfly garden:

  • This is the list of plants I planted in my butterfly garden in May, we live in zone 7: Butterfly Bush, Parsley, Fennel, Milkweed, Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Cone Flower, Passion Flower Vine, Bee Balm and Aster.
  • Plant layout.
  • Bloom opening on the Passion Flower Vine the morning of the planing of the garden.
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