Halloween Party (House Warming Party)

Last weekend we had our house warming party (even though it has been a whole 4 months since we moved in). We spent a good part of those 4 months working on home improvement projects getting our house in tip top shape. I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a Halloween party so since it was close to Halloween we decided to tie in our house warming party with a Halloween Costume party.
We had a lot of fun decorating and preparing for our party. I found some inexpensive DIY Halloween Party decorations on Pinterest and combined them with some store bought decorations.

Halloween Party Decorations | Sprightliest.com

I bought the door cover at Walmart for 0.97 cents. The green spooky looking light is actually a projection light we found in the Christmas decorations at Home Depot. It can do double duty since we can use it for Christmas as well. The farther away it is from the house the more it looks like snow falling, but putting it closer gives this nice spooky effect. For my goofy ghosts, I used a black marker to draw faces on plastic gallon jugs and put a glow stick inside.

easy halloween decorations | Sprightliest.com

We found these purple and orange lights at Target for $1 each. The Tombstone set came from Walmart ($14) and the 2 pumpkin balloons were in the party section. The balloons came with led lights inside, but only a few out the package worked. We also hung white balloons with blue and green glowsticks inside from the tree (not pictured).

Fall Mantel Decoration | Sprightliest.com
Fall/Halloween Mantel Decorations | Sprightliest.com
Halloween Mantel | Sprightliest.com Halloween Decorations | Sprightliest.com

This skull came out of the Tombstone set we bought, we thought it would be a nice addition to the fireplace :)

Fall Mantel | Sprightliest.comPainted Wooden Ghost Decoration | Sprightliest.com

I picked up this wooden ghost decoration at Michaels, painted it with acrylic paint and added the ribbon. It has a multi-color strobe light inside where the eyes are.

Halloween Bat Decorations | Sprightliest.com

I found the bat idea on Pinterest and used only the first page of this template to draw the outline of the bat onto folded construction paper and then cut out a bunch at once. I used scotch tape to attach them to the walls and ceiling.

DIY Halloween Decorations | Sprightliest.com

We served finger foods and mini sandwiches and I made these cute deviled eggs and cookie cup ghosts. Some of our guests also brought some goodies with them so we had a good amount of food.

Deviled Eggs | Sprightliest.com

I used this recipe as a base for my deviled eggs but wound up tweaking it a little bit. I skipped the hot sauce and added more mustard, mayo and pickle juice. The devil horns are made from a red pepper.

Ghost Cookie Cups Filled with Cream Cheese Icing | Sprightliest.com

For my Ghost Cookie Cups I used this recipe. I used a mini sized muffin pan instead of regular sized. The sugar cookie cups are filled with a cream cheese icing. The eyes and nose of the ghost are mini chocolate chips.

Pantry Makeover with DIY Shelves

When we bought our house I thought it was move in ready – and it was for the most part. We loved the paint colors in the living room, dining room and master bedroom, the tile and carpet were in good shape, the bathrooms and kitchen had been updated. But oh the popcorn ceilings, they had to go. And then, we decided to do all these other little projects, like the pantry.
I was getting ready to clean the pantry shelves so I could move our stuff in. The wire shelves were sticky and discolored and just yuck. It was at that point that we decided to just get rid of them and replace them with wood shelves instead. I didn’t even bother to finish cleaning them since we were going to get rid of them anyways.
Pantry Makeover - Before with Wire Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Pantry Before with Wire Shelves

Pantry Makeover - Before | www.sprightliest.com

Pantry Before with wire shelves

 

Our new wood shelves were based off the size of the previous wire shelves and we spaced them the same distance apart (13 inches).
We wanted nice and sturdy shelves so we used the knock test and then double checked that with a drill to find the studs in the wall. Knock on the wall in different points and see if you can tell where it sounds hollow or solid. The part that sounds solid is most likely a stud. We then drilled into where we thought the stud was and you can tell it is harder to screw in where the studs are than when just screwing into the drywall.
**I also came across this video that had a helpful hint – studs are typically spaced 16 inches apart and there is usually a stud on either side of an outlet.**
I wrote down the measurements of where the studs were located before patching up the holes we made with the drill. I also patched up all the holes that were left from the previous shelves. Then I cleaned the walls and added a fresh coat of paint.
Off to The Depot we go to pick out our wood. We knew we wanted something that wouldn’t need sanding so we chose a 4×8 sheet of Birch Veneer Plywood. We brought our measurements with us and had the store cut out our shelves. We even had some leftover wood that we will use for something else.
For the ledgers we used a piece of select pine. The ledger is what supports the shelves. We used a piece along the back of the shelf and a piece on each side so the 3 sides that are along the wall are supported.
To cover the rough edge on the front of the shelf, we bought a piece of decorative molding. We attached it to the front of the shelves using liquid nails and then nailing it in with small nails. We did this part before I stained the shelves.
Pantry  Makeover - Attaching molding to shelf | www.sprightliest.com

Attaching the molding to the shelves

I used 2 coats of Minwax Polyshades Stain and Polyurethane in Espresso for the diy shelves and ledgers. Using a natural bristle brush I applied the stain and then after a few minutes I wiped it with a cloth. The first coat wasn’t that dark but once I applied the second coat it got much darker and was the color I wanted so I stopped at two coats.
First Coat of Espresso Stain | www.sprightliest.com

First Coat of Stain

Staining Wood Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Second Coat of Stain

My hubby had the fabulous job of installing the shelves. He first screwed the ledgers into the wall using 2 inch screws and then he screwed the shelves to the ledgers using 1.5 inch screws.
Pantry Makeover - Installing Shelf Ledgers | www.sprightliest.com

Installing the Ledgers

Pantry Makeover - Installing Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Installing the Shelves

I later went back over the screws with wood filler and stain so they wouldn’t stick out so much. If you can countersink the screws it will have a much cleaner finish than screws that are flush with the surface.
**A tip on touching up with stain. Stain is not like paint where you can blend it in. It’s all or nothing with stain so you will be able to see the edges and/or brush marks where you touched up. To help avoid this I used a cotton swab to apply stain on just the top of where the screw or putty was. This worked out well for me and was much less noticeable than when I first tried to use a small paint brush. I had to do 2 coats for it to match the shelves.**
Our diy shelves look so much nicer than the previous wire shelves and I don’t have to worry about things falling through or falling over.
Pantry Makeover- After with Wood Shelves | sprightliest.com

Our New Pantry with Wood Shelves

Pantry Makeover - Shelf Molding | www.sprightliest.com

Close up of the decorative molding

Pantry Makeover - Stained Wood Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Close up of the stain

Pantry Makeover- After with Wood Shelves | www.sprightliest.com

Pantry Makeover Completed

 
Pantry Makeover Before and After | www.sprightliest.com
Next on our list is finishing the ceilings in the other 2 bedrooms and then we are moving on to our master closet! I can’t wait for that project!
What do you think of our new pantry?

Homemade Body Butter

I’ve been using coconut oil as a body moisturizer for awhile now. I would grab some straight from the jar and let it melt a little before spreading it onto my skin. It smells good and feels great but it would leave my skin greasy until it was fully absorbed, hours later.
I recently discovered that you can whip solid coconut oil into a rich and luxurious homemade body butter. Since coconut oil in body butter form spreads much easier, I find that I use less which leaves my skin soft and moisturized without feeling so greasy.

Homemade Body Butter - Whipped coconut oil with grapefruit oil - Sprightliest.com

Whipped coconut oil can be used on its own or you can add your favorite essential oils to the mix for the added aroma and benefits.
For my first batch of homemade body butter, I added grapefruit essential oil. Grapefruit oils’ many benefits include: an invigorating scent that can aid in uplifting the mood, having increased energy, dissolving headaches and boosting the immune system. It’s also known to help with water retention and cellulite.

Homemade Body Butter - Whipped coconut oil with grapefruit oil - Sprightliest.com

*Use caution if you use the body butter on your feet or in the shower/tub as it is oil-based and can make surfaces slippery.
Where can you buy coconut oil?
Coconut oil can be purchased online or at your local health food store and some grocery stores also carry organic coconut oil.
Personally, I use Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It’s unrefined, non-hydrogenated, cold-pressed coconut oil. Nutiva Coconut Oil is also gluten-free, Non-GMO Project verified, USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified.
Disclosure: Please know that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. It costs you nothing extra and it’s a great way to support me and my blog :). I only promote products that I believe in or have used myself.

Coconut Oil: Not just for the skin!

Coconut oil not only makes an awesome homemade body butter but it’s also great to use for cooking and baking. I’ve used it in place of butter in some of my recipes (Butternut Squash Muffins, Chocolate Lava Cakes) and have had great results. I actually prefer the slight coconut taste, especially when paired with chocolate!
Homemade Body Butter
A rich and luxurious homemade body butter. This DIY body butter is made with whipped coconut oil and grapefruit oil.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (measured in solid form)
  2. 25 Drops Grapefruit Essential Oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add coconut and essential oils to a mixer.
  2. Whip together until the oil holds peaks, about 5 minutes.
  3. Store in a covered container.
Notes
  1. *Only solid coconut oil will whip.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Bentos

What is Bento?

Popular in Japan, bento is a meal served in a compact, portable container. Bentos have been around for a long time and are traditionally filled with rice, vegetables and fish or meat.
There are different types of bentos such as, the basic lunch bento, bentos made to be served at parties, bentos made for picnics and bentos served at restaurants.
A more creative and artistic form of the bento is known as Kyaraben (“character bento”) where the food is styled to look like popular characters or Oekakiben (“picture bento”), where the food is styled to look like monuments, buildings, flowers or plants.
I really like the idea of a bento for lunch as it’s a great way to come up with creative meals and add some variety to the mix.
I came across this super cute Winnie the Pooh bento and it inspired me to try my hand at putting together a bento.

Winnie the Pooh Bento


Bento Lunch Ideas

I came up with this salad bento using a hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, pecans, arugula, mozzarella cheese, green onions and black beans.

Bento Lunch Ideas from sprightliest.com

Bento Lunch Ideas from sprightliest.com

Not too bad for my first try! I’m excited to come up with some more bento lunch ideas in the future.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bento

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #8

Chocolate Turtles Recipe | sprightliest.comI used to work for a lady taking care of her dogs and other various household jobs. She had a big sweet tooth and loved these little treats called Chocolate Turtles that were made of chocolate, caramel and toasted pecans. Whenever I would go over to work she would always feed me sweets and one day I got to try one of her beloved Chocolate Turtles.
I have to say I was impressed. I never thought I liked pecans all that much but cover them with chocolate and caramel and they are delicious. Anything covered in chocolate and caramel would be good! I have noticed though that my taste for certain things has changed the older I get. I like quite a few things now that I did not used to like, pecans being one of those things.

Chocolate Turtles Recipe | sprightliest.comChocolate Turtles Recipe | sprightliest.com

I took a little shortcut on this recipe and used already made caramel candies but you can make your own caramel if you are feeling up to it.

Chocolate Turtles Recipe

Yield: Makes about 35 Clusters
1 Cup Pecan Halves
9oz Package of Caramels
1 Cup Chocolate Baking Chips (choose your favorite chocolate chips: milk, dark, bittersweet, or semi-sweet)
-Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
-In a skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans for about 3-5 minutes or until they are fragrant. Stir around every so often to prevent burning.Chocolate Turtles Recipe | sprightliest.com
-Place 3-4 pecans in little clusters on the baking sheets. If you want to make the turtle shape place 4 pecans like the picture:
-In a microwave safe bowl, add the unwrapped caramels along with 1 tablespoon of water. Heat for 1 minute and stir well. If the caramels have not all melted, heat in 15 second intervals and stir well.
-Drizzle some caramel over each pecan cluster.
-Once you finish adding caramel to one of the baking sheets, place it in the freezer while you work on the second baking sheet.
-Heat the chocolate for 1 minute in a microwave safe bowl. Stir well. Heat in 15 seconds intervals until melted, stirring well after each interval.
-Remove the first batch from the freezer and place the second batch in the freezer.
-Drizzle some chocolate over each cluster and use the back of the spoon to spread and smooth over the top.
-Switch out the baking sheets and drizzle chocolate on the second batch.
-Store in the freezer or refrigerator.

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #7

DIY Bracelets | Sprightliest.comI can’t believe Christmas is only a week away. It sure came fast this year (I think I say that every year). These DIY Bracelets are another great DIY Christmas Gift Idea that are simple and inexpensive to make.
I came across these “Jubilee Bracelets” from Quiet Lion Creations and got inspired to make some myself. I even made a pair of matching earrings.

DIY Bracelets | Sprightliest.com


DIY Bracelets

What you’ll need:
.5 mm Stretch Cord
2.5 mm Crimp Beads (2mm would work also but I couldn’t find this size)
4mm Crimp Closures
Chain
Beads
Flat-nosed Pliers (for squeezing crimping beads and closures)
Diagonal or Cutting Pliers (for cutting the chain)
Step 1- Measure your wrist and cut 2 pieces of chain 1/2 inch less than that measurement. If you are making these as gifts, the average woman’s wrist size is about 7 inches. If you are unsure you can make a longer bracelet and add a clasp closure so it becomes adjustable. There is a little give in these bracelets from the stretch cord but there’s a chance they will break if stretched too much.
Step 2- Cut a piece of stretch cord about 8 inches long. I found its better to have extra stretch cord to work with when you have to feed it back through the crimp bead. The excess can be cut off at the end.
Step 3- String a crimp bead and the end of each chain onto the stretch cord. Use your thumb to hold the two chains to the side while you string the end of the stretch cord back through the crimp bead. Pull the crimp bead flush to the end of the chains, making sure the ends of the stretch cord are even. Use flat-nosed pliers to squeeze the crimp bead flat onto the cord.
Step 4- Place a crimp cover over the flattened crimp bead and squeeze shut using the flat-nosed pliers.
Step 5- Thread your beads onto both strands of the stretch cord.
Step 6- String on another crimp bead and the other two ends of the chains. String both ends of the stretch cord back through the crimp bead pull tight and make sure it is flush against the last bead.
Step 7- Crimp down the bead and place a crimp cover over the bead. Trim the excess stretch cord.

DIY Bracelets | Sprightliest.com

I made a matching pair of earrings using earring hooks, stretch cord, beads, crimp beads and crimp covers.

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #5

Peppermint Bark Recipe| Sprightliest.com
I’ve always enjoyed Peppermint bark around the holidays. Instead of buying it this year, I decided to make some of my own using my mini muffin tin as a mold. Peppermint bark is really simple to make and takes less than 30 minutes, including time in the freezer. It’s also another great homemade Christmas gift idea.Peppermint Bark Recipe| Sprightliest.comPeppermint Bark Recipe| Sprightliest.com

Peppermint Bark Recipe – Idea #5

Yield: I got 21 peppermint bark bites from using my mini muffin tin.
10 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips (could also use dark chocolate, or semisweet)
4 Candy Canes
4 Drops of Peppermint Oil (or 1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract)
-Line a mini muffin pan with cupcake liners (you could also use a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper)
-Unwrap candy canes and place them in a plastic bag. Use a hammer or meat cleaver to break the candy canes into small pieces.
-Place half of the chocolate chips (5 ounces) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for another 15 seconds and stir until melted. (add more time in 15 seconds increments if needed until the chocolate is melted.)
-Stir in the peppermint oil.
-Pour about a teaspoon of the melted chocolate into each cupcake liner. Tap the pan on the counter top to smooth the chocolate. Place in the freezer.
-Melt the other 5 ounces of chocolate. Stir in half of the crushed candy canes.
-Remove the mini muffin pan from the freezer and pour about a teaspoon of the melted chocolate into each cupcake liner.
-Top with the remaining crushed peppermint. Lightly press into the chocolate.
-Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
-Remove from the freezer and store in an airtight container.Peppermint Bark Recipe| Sprightliest.com

See Also:

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #1 DIY Christmas Ornament

DIY Christmas Gifts - DIY Christmas Ornaments

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #2 Reindeer Bottle with Printable Tags

Reindeer Wine Bottle

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #3 – DIY Glitter Ornaments

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Candied Almonds