Friday Wrap: Is October Really Over?

It’s been a wild week at the Andersen house. We closed out the month with plenty of fanfare. Can it really be time to roll into November, though?

Before we do, here are a few of our favorite moments from the week. >>

{ONE} Halloween Shenanigans

The girls had two costumes this year, which I guess makes up for no costume for my teenage son. Haha. Actually, he and his friends were super sweet and took the littles out for trick-or-treating before they did their own thing.

First up were The Little Hungry Caterpillar and Rainbow Fish, which the girls wore to school for book character day. {It was a creative way for their school to let the kids dress up, but not really make it be about Halloween. I guess schools aren’t doing Halloween anymore??}

The “official” Halloween costume of the year were these bear outfits. It turned out to be a pretty cold night, so they were pumped to be walking around in these cozy, fuzzy onesies.

To make them look like Beanie Babies, we just made tags that hung around their neck with ribbon. So simple. My kinda outfit.

Brandon and I made a last-minute decision to dress up. I’m talkin’ 20 minutes before we went to our friend’s house for dinner.

Once Brandon found the red, white, and blue hat in the attic, we scrounged around for anything we could wear with those colors (including the red plastic glasses from the dress-up bin) and just went with it. Go ‘Merica!!

We had such a fun night chillin’ with friends – especially these sweet ladies (even if they did talk me into drinking a “beer” from Bolivia that tasted like black licorice and burned my throat.) I swear I still have indigestion from it.   

Oh, and I made the pumpkin-shaped cheeseball again. The tradition continues…three years and running!!!

{TWO}  Chai Love You

I’m a seasonal sipper when it comes to coffee and tea, but I’m not a huge fan of PSL (I know, I know). What I do love, though, is the touch of spice in a chai latte this time of year. So I stocked my pantry full of some yummy K-cups.

+ This drink reminds me of my sister, KJ. It’s her favorite, too. And she warms my heart. Cheers to more chai!

{THREE} Black & White Photo Challenge

Have you seen the black and white photo challenge circulating on Facebook these days? It’s actually pretty cool, and I have no idea how it all started. Do you??

I was nominated by a co-worker and am currently on day two. My first post included Leo (above). I bribed him with a treat to sit next to me while I did yoga that morning. Lol.

It has only been a couple of days, but so far I feel like it’s great practice for mindfulness. I’m spending the day being more aware of what’s going on around me as I look for the right shot.

Want to join me? Here’s the wording for the challenge. Feel free to use my name as the person who challenged you. Because I am!! Copy and paste this into your next Facebook post – with a photo of your day.

I was nominated by Kate Clark Andersen
Seven days, seven photos in black and white of your everyday life. No explanation, no people, challenge a friend to join every day.
Day 1/7
Today, I challenge {you get to choose!}

{FOUR} Becoming Buzz Worthy?

Y’all, The Neat Nook was mentioned in a BuzzFeed Nifty article! Here’s a link to the post, and here’s a post about the link. Haha! There are so many great tips in here, too. Check it out!

{FIVE} Transitioning to Thanksgiving

In addition to some pumpkin makeovers, I’ve started back up with Thankful Thursdays. I’d love to hear from you each week and share in your thanksgivings. Yesterday was the first post, so be sure to check it out.

That’s a wrap, my friends!

Many blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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Happy Halloween 2017

Hello, gorgeous goblins! I hope you’re ready for a fun night of candy and craziness. We finally got our house ready…lights up, pumpkins out, and costumes on hand. (I promised my family I wouldn’t hang the witch hats this year.) Haha!

Speaking of decorating, though…

Here’s a quick organizing tip!

Do you love how your house looks right now? Did you stick the landing on your entryway decorations and want an encore performance next year?

Then take pictures!

And don’t just take pictures for Instagram, but also print them out and tape them to your storage bins for when it comes time to pull it all down in preparation of Thanksgiving (or even Christmas if you want to jump right to it.) It’s only 8 weeks away. Eek!

Putting photos of your decorations directly on their storage bins helps you remember just how awesome your house looked AND tells you exactly what’s inside the bin. #likeagenie

If your witches and webs are too much for a single bin, not to fear. Print multiple photos and use a Sharpie to circle the items that are inside each bin. Even with clear bins like the ones below, it’s nice to have a snapshot of everything that’s inside.

{shop this bin} – it’s not an affiliate or anything, I just really like these bins. 🙂

PS. Finding holiday-colored lids (think orange for Halloween and green or red for Christmas) makes it super easy to pull all of the right bins – especially if you store them in a dark attic or basement.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the festivities on this spook-filled night!

-Kate

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5 Perfectly Easy Pumpkin Makeovers

Halloween is just a few days away, but there’s still time to dazzle up some pumpkins before your doorbell starts ringing. And I have some super easy, no-carve ideas to share.

As an added bonus, when the Halloween clock strikes midnight, all of these can turn into whole new pumpkins that will last until Thanksgiving!! (No fairy godmothers required.)

Here’s a snapshot of all of the projects. The Halloween edition is on the left and the Thanksgiving makeover is on the right in each photo. >>

Now let’s get down to the details!

Here are the five projects, which include supplies and instructions. You won’t believe how easy these are. For reals!

{ONE} FROM MINI MASQUERADE TO MANY THANKS

– SUPPLIES –

Orange Pumpkin * Pretty Mask * Tulle * Feathers

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Cut strips of tulle and lay them under the pumpkin – like a star. (shown on left)

Gather up the tulle at the stem of the pumpkin and secure ends with another piece of tulle. (shown on right)

Tie on the mask and add feathers for extra fabulous flair.

I used feathers with wire stems so I could just poke them right into the pumpkin.

 – MAKEOVER –

Remove the mask and feathers and gather a few extra supplies.

 – SUPPLIES – 

2 Pieces of Gold Ribbon * Short Strip of Burlap Ribbon * Tag and Gold Pen

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Wrap the gold ribbon around the pumpkin. I used two separate strips of ribbon and tied them at the top.

Make a tag using words like “give thanks” or “grateful” and then tie it onto the stem with the burlap ribbon.

I plan to put this on the buffet in my dining room.

{TWO} A SPIDER TURNS TURKEY

– SUPPLIES –

White Pumpkin * Extra Fuzzy Black Pipe Cleaners * Sharpie

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Use the Sharpie to make two black eyes.

Insert the pipe cleaners directly into the pumpkin. Super easy!

This guy is resting on the armoire in my living room at the moment.

PS. You’ll see why I didn’t make a mouth in a moment.

 – MAKEOVER –

Remove the spider legs and gather a few supplies.

– SUPPLIES –

Brown Feathers * Gold or Bronze Sharpie

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Draw a turkey beak under the eyes.

Add the fancy feathers behind the stem, so it looks like a little turkey.

These feathers had wire stems, so it was a cinch to poke right into the pumpkin.

This might be my favorite pumpkin of all time.

{THREE} SPOOKY TO SENTIMENTAL

– SUPPLIES –

White Pumpkin * Black Tulle * Orange Ribbon * Fake Spider

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Layer the black tulle and orange ribbon into a bow and tie around the stem of the pumpkin.

Hot glue or tie on the spider to jazz up the spook factor.

 – MAKEOVER –

Strip down the pumpkin to its beautiful self.

– SUPPLIES –

Silver or Black Sharpie

– INSTRUCTIONS –

You could start a lovely tradition of The Great Thanksgiving Pumpkin.

Have each person at your Thanksgiving table take turns writing something they’re grateful for – on the pumpkin.

I love the one pictured below.

{FOUR} A CHANGE OF PACE IN THE VASE

– SUPPLIES –

Small Orange Pumpkin * Carving & Scooping Tools * Floral Foam + Gothic Feathers/Flowers

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Okay, so this one requires some carving, but you can preserve the inside of the pumpkin with this handy tip.

Now, cut a “lid” on the top of the pumpkin. Open and scoop out the insides.

{Remember to keep your seeds for these yummy recipes or this darling flower.}

Insert the floral foam in the bottom of the pumpkin and arrange your feathers and flowers.

I used a little Spanish moss to fill the gaps around the edges of the arrangement.

 – MAKEOVER –

Pull out the Halloween-themed flora and gather up a fall harvest.

– SUPPLIES –

Large Bundle of Wheat

– INSTRUCTIONS –

I was able to reuse the floral foam. If it’s too crumbly from your first arrangement, you can always use a fresh one.

Insert a few stems of wheat at a time. I inserted them at an angle so they fanned out of the pumpkin.

You could add Spanish moss or even tuck in a few pine cones at the base to help cover the gaps.

I also added a pretty bow, because I just like them.

{FIVE} THE GREAT RIBBON SWAP

– SUPPLIES –

Orange Pumpkin * Black and White Ribbon * Gold Paint and Brush

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Wipe down the pumpkin and paint stripes and polka dots – or any fun pattern.

Tie a bow around the stem. Boom. Done.

 – MAKEOVER –

Remove the bow.

– SUPPLIES –

Burlap and Gold Ribbon

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Um, all you do is swap out the Halloweenish bow for this beautiful fall bow. I layered the burlap under the gold ribbon.

You could paint lots of smaller pumpkins and arrange them down the middle of your dining room table.

For the Halloween pumpkins, add black candles to help goth-up the look. When it’s time to give thanks, swap out the candles for a cream or burgundy color.

That’s a wrap! I hope this gave you a few fun ideas to try. Which one’s your favorite? Or do you have other ideas to share? Do tell! 😉

In the meantime, I’ll be busy gathering goodies (mountains of candy, more like it) for our little treaters next week.

Blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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Halloween 2016!

Since Halloween is on a Monday this year, I hope you’re having a weekend full of fun so you can enjoy the mystery and magic of the holiday.

Here’s what we’ll be up to in the Andersen house…

OOTD

My girls and their friends will be decked out like emojis. They saw this idea pic on Pinterest, so we made our own.

We took a plain yellow tee from Hobby Lobby and used fabric glue to add the details of the emoji face. We used felt, since it was easy to cut and glue.

Tip: Use a piece of chalk to draw the details of your face on the felt before cutting. It’s easier (and less permanent) than pencil or pen!

This was our Pinspiration. We plan to add black leggings and tutus. We’ll also add big yellow bows to their hair. Cute and super easy!!

I don’t usually get super dressed up, unless we’re going to a themed party. But I do like to wear a little something festive when we take the kids out to trick-or-treat. So I found a cool spider at Walmart, and I plan to turn it into a headband with some hot glue and a bow made out of black tulle. Here’s some inspiration I found online.

spider-headband

I’ll pair this with a poncho, which is another easy DIY project. I found a black poncho at Walmart. (They have tons of them in stock right now!) And I’ll add strips of glittery tape to make “webs.” My goals is to have it look similar to one I saw on Grandin Road. Wish me luck!

Playful food

We plan to head over to a friend’s house for dinner tomorrow, and I’m bringing my favorite pumpkin-shaped cheese ball served with purple tortilla chips.

I’m also going to whip up some cinnamon bats (which take less than 15 min…promise they’re that easy) and I’ll serve it with this fruit salsa.

{recipe}

{Cinnamon bat recipe} > PS. I’ve also made these bats brushed with olive oil and sea salt (instead of the cinnamon sugar). Then I served it with something more savory – like hummus or salsa.

Check the list

Y’all know how much I love lists. Well, I made a Halloween checklist a year or so ago – and I still like to glance at it to make sure I have everything covered. Feel free to check it out.

I also have an easy Halloween menu if you’re having company over or want to serve a fun meal for the fam.

No matter what, I hope you have a goulishly good time, my friends.

XoXo,

Kate

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Halloween Hit & Miss

Hopefully everyone had a frightfully fun Halloween. We had one of those weekends where we had to simply go with the flow. Nothing seemed to go as planned, but we managed to carve out some happiness.

Halloween bears

Clara had fun collecting candy as Supergirl and Avery felt extra pretty as an Indian Princess.

Avery and Clara Halloween

Even the Bear Club joined in the festivities. These were some of my favorite costumes the kids wore when they were tiny. Evan was the lion for his first Halloween. I think Avery and Clara wore the bee and ladybug when they were four? I’m so glad I kept these!!

Here’s a rundown of the night:

Hit: The biggest treat was having my parents (Mimi and Papa) join us. They’ve never experienced the craziness and joy of Halloween in our neighborhood, so they decided to give it a go. We always have hundreds of trick-or-treaters, and this year was no different.

It was also Leo’s first Halloween at our house. I bought him a canine calming coat, and it worked like a charm. In fact, he slept most of the night – even with all of the doorbell ringing and kids screaming, which I will explain momentarily.

Miss: We had grand plans to carve our pumpkins on Friday night, but Evan came home from school with a fever and ended up being sick all weekend. Poor kid. This was the second time he’s been sick on Halloween. Not cool.

Hit: The silver lining was waiting until Saturday to carve pumpkins when Mimi and Papa were here. It turns out my mom is quite the master carver and made a Shrek-looking monster with protruding ears. Kids kept commenting on how cool our pumpkins and other decorations were. Well, most of them…

Miss: Remember the floating witches’ hats that I adored hanging in the archways of my front porch? They were not-so-adored by the little ones. We had two kids (like maybe 2 and 3-years-old) who screamed liked their knees were bleeding when the hats moved with the wind. I’ve never had “scary” decorations before, so this reaction was new to me. I tried to comfort them by explaining they were just silly hats, but they were not having any of it. They were like, “Just give me my candy before I pee on your steps already!”

Hit: In addition to handing out boatloads of candy, I made a few batches of popcorn. You know the Boo Bags I talked about last week? We made those. We offered a choice of “popcorn or candy” and the winner by far was popcorn. One kid ran down the sidewalk yelling, “That house has POPCORN!!” It was hilarious. I plan to do that again for sure – and make more next time.

All in all, the night turned out great. Like I said, it wasn’t perfect – or the way I had imagined it all going down, but sometimes that’s better. If it weren’t for the a few of those misses, I wouldn’t have relished in all of the happiness.

happiness

Here’s to a week full of surprises.

-Kate

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A Frightening Friday Wrap

Whether you call this mischief night, devil’s eve or simply the night before Halloween, we can all agree it has arrived! Our crew will spend it carving up jack-o-lanterns while drinking cups of cider and listening to The Ultimate Halloween playlist on Spotify. Can’t wait!!

It’s been a busy week leading up to this point, but here are a few bright spots along the way:

{ONE} Decorations are set!

I’ve had the pumpkin wreath and orange lights up for a few weeks, but the floating witches’ hats were added yesterday. Can you see them on either side of the door? I used fishing line to hang them from the ceiling. They add the perfect amount of spook-factor when the wind blows.

halloween porch{TWO} Costumes are finished!

Clara is ready to save the world as Supergirl. She knew exactly what she wanted to be as soon as the topic came up in September. We found a Superman tee at Walmart and used this pic as inspiration for the rest of the outfit. I’ll post pictures of her all dolled up tomorrow on Instagram.

Avery, on the other hand, has been teetering back-and-forth on ideas. She contemplated being a wizard until she saw the pointy hat that went with it. #notcool So, I finally gave her a deadline (welcome to my world, sister) and she quickly agreed to be an indian princess. Perfect! I took a white tee and embellished it with leather fringe and ribbon.

Avery carefully chose the ribbon design and did a wonderful job. She’s such an artist in the making. The fabric glue is still doing its magic or else I’d have her model it for you. I’ll share that picture along with Clara’s tomorrow.

(Time will only tell if Evan decides to dress up with his sisters this year. I’m learning that twelve can be a very sensitive age.)

indian princess costume

{THREE} The pumpkin cheese ball is back!

This silly cheese ball was THE biggest hit last Halloween, so momma’s bringin’ it back. It’s easy, delicious and pretty much the only time I let my kids eat Doritos, which is the orange coating on the outside of the ball. It’s worth every bite, though. Seriously. So good. Oh, and the chips are blue tortilla.

{FOUR} Desk makeover in progress!

This is a little sneak peek of my desk makeover. I’ve been gathering (and making) a few things to jazz up my space, and these gold paper clips with polka-dot ribbon are one of my favorites so far. More to come next week!!

IMG_6490

{FIVE} It’s time for a Happy Halloween!

halloween quote

Until next week, have a seriously spooktacular Halloween.

-Kate

PS. Be sure to check out other great bloggers as I’m linking up with Five on Friday and Oh, Hey Friday!

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Non-candy Treats that Aren’t Lame

Let me start by saying, I know most kids are grateful for anything they receive on Halloween night. Even the black licorice sticks and Tootsie rolls feel a little love. I mean, it’s sugar.

Non-candy treats can be just as rewarding – especially for kids who have severe food allergies. It’s incredibly thoughtful to consider offering something everyone can enjoy. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a great example of this.

So I’m a fan of non-candy treats. You can start to enter some interesting territory, though.

When kids get things like rolls of dental floss, I imagine it’s like receiving a package of dust cloths for your birthday. “Honey, here are some nice rags to wipe all of our bookshelves with! Happy birthday!” Hmm. While you might need dust cloths at the moment, and they do smell nice, they’re not exactly what you would have chosen as a gift. The same logic applies for Halloween. Think “less trick” and “more treat.”

There are tons of pre-packaged items at the store, such as bubbles, bouncy balls and spider rings.

Those are all great. Pencils are one of those things that are on the fence, though. If kids love writing, they’ll be excited to get some snazzy new pencils. If pencils remind them of homework, you may have entered Choreland. Proceed with caution.

If you want to handout guaranteed non-lame prizes, here are a few to consider.

To verify, my 9-year-old twins said these would be “awesome” in their treat bags.

{ONE} Spider Friends

Kids love little fuzzy things. My girls are obsessed with stuffed animals. So why not hand out little spider friends?

spider supplies

These are easy to make and only require a few simple items: pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and a glue gun.

IMG_6474

Directions: Cut a single pipe cleaner into four equal pieces. Twist them together in the center. Bend each “leg”. Then glue the pom pom to the legs, followed by the eyes. Ta-da! Instant spider – that’s cute, not creepy.

If you’re feeling extra generous, you can package each spider in a cello bag with a piece of fake spider web so he has a place to live once he gets to his new home!

{TWO} Glow-in-the-dark Stickers

Kids are fascinated with things that glow. It’s the only type of toy that requires total darkness, which is both scary and exciting at the same time. And that’s pretty much the definition of Halloween. You can’t go wrong with anything in the glow zone.

glow stickers

I bought a package of 75 stars for $12. Then I divided them up (three to a treat bag) and secured with a neon ribbon to turn them into more of a treat!

{THREE} Boo Bags

ghost pop corn bags

These are just cone-shaped cello bags found at Hobby Lobby filled with popcorn. I added some details with marker to give them a ghostly look. While this is a food item, it’s still considered non-candy. And kids love salty popcorn, especially if they’re headed home to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown after their hunt!

its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown-9781481435857_hr

Such a classic! We watch this every year. What’s your go-to Halloween movie?

I must mention, some parents are picky about letting their kids eat anything homemade, so this idea might be best reserved for the kids you know really well. You can put a personalized tag around the top so they feel good knowing you took time to make them something special.

Any of these ideas are sure to leave your sweet neighbor kids feeling happy – and claiming you a total rockstar. And you didn’t even have to dress like one.

Here’s to an awesome Halloween!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Feelin’ Like Fall

The calendar just rolled to October, the weather dipped into the 50s, and Pinterest is blowing up with Halloween crafts and goodies. It finally feels like fall, y’all. I officially love this season and all it has to hold. Here are five things on my current “must have, make or do right now” list:

Blogged while smelling a marshmallow fireside and sipping a Starbucks house blend.

{ONE} Lion Costume

This made me burst into laughter thinking about little Leo being a lion for his very first Halloween. What do you think? Should we do it?

{TWO} Fayetteville Ale Trail

There are some cool little breweries cropping up all over Northwest Arkansas. Someone was smart to organize an Ale Trail that allows you to drive around the area and sample a few flights of brewed beer. It’s complete with a ride so you don’t have to worry about driving and passports that you get stamped at each location. This month seems like the perfect time to organize this with friends. Octoberfest, anyone?

{THREE} Beautiful Pumpkins

This is such a beautiful look. And I adore white pumpkins. All you have to do is take a small tube of caulk to decorate a pumpkin. You could use plastic or the real deal. Once the caulk has dried, spray paint the entire thing for a lovely, dimensional effect. I’m totally doing this tomorrow for a crafternoon project.

{FOUR} Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Speaking of pumpkins…I want this double layer pumpkin cheesecake in my belly right now. Doesn’t this look like a little slice of heaven?

{FIVE} Simmer Down Now

This is such a busy time of year with school activities, sports and whatnot. If you don’t have time to totally clean or organize the house, it’s totes okay. You can at least make it smell good until you have a chance to pull out those cute rubber gloves of yours.

Cheers to a wonderful fall weekend, my friends!

-Kate

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Get to know me better!

Hello and happy Friday! It’s a frightfully fun Friday, too. I hope you have your costumes, candy and crazy decorations planned and ready to for tonight. If you need last-minute recipe ideas, check out this post from earlier in the blog.

It has been such a great week meeting new people, sharing a special post with A Blonde Ambition, showing you how to make easy and beautiful pumpkin seed ornaments, and finally creating an “About Kate” page. IMG_3991Be sure to check it out. I’ve included some candid shots and random facts about my life – including my nickname growing up. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know me better. Let me know what other questions you might have.

I’m glad you’re here and excited to be on this creative journey together. You can always connect with me through comments on the blog, Instagram @katejandersen, or email katejandersen{at}gmail{dot}com.

Have a wonderful weekend!

-Kate

 

 

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DIY Pumpkin Seed Ornaments

IMG_4412Earlier this week I listed three ways to use your Halloween pumpkin seeds – other than the usual heat and eat. One idea I mentioned was making a beautiful and easy ornament like this one above. And when I say easy, I mean it took me all of 20 minutes to gather my goods and have this picture taken. Not to mention, I had everything I needed on hand. Hopefully you will, too!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dried pumpkin seeds
  • Small seeds for the center
  • Cardboard circle – about 2” in diameter
  • Piece of felt – same size as the cardboard
  • Pretty ribbon
  • Glue gun
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All of the supplies, minus the glue gun

Ways to make this practically free:

  • The pumpkin seeds can come from your freshly carved jack-o-lantern.
  • The small seeds can be anything from birdseed (which I had in the garage) to poppy seeds (which might be in the spice rack).
  • I raided the recycle bin for cardboard. Then I traced the bottom of a mason jar to get a perfect 2″ circle.
  • Inexpensive squares of felt can be found at any craft store.
  • When it comes to ribbon, I’m like a squirrel. Any time I receive a gift or see ribbon on sale, I stash it away in plastic bins in my craft area (aka garage). I received this gorg velvet ribbon on a gift and knew it would find the perfect craft one day. Hello.

Here’s the step-by-step guide:

  1. Fire up your glue gun!
  2. Glue seeds to the outside rim of the cardboard circle. Then work your way to the center with each row of seeds.
  3. Once you’ve filled the entire cardboard, place a dot of glue in the middle of your ornament.
  4. Sprinkle smaller seeds on top. Birdseed, poppy seeds, even sunflower seeds would be pretty.Steps
  5. Glue your strip of ribbon to the back of your ornament in a loop.
  6. The finishing step is to cover the back of the ribbon with felt. This makes it look nice from all angles.
    Finishing step

    The final steps. Boom. Boom. Done.

    You’re finished! How easy was that? As I was making this, my mind was racing with fun ideas for how to display and use these ornaments. I might be making a few dozen batches of these babies!

  • Hang it to the stem of a pumpkin for some added charm.
  • Tie it to the top of a holiday gift. After all, it is an ornament.
  • Give it as a hostess gift hooked to the neck of a bottle of wine. Be sure to make the ribbon long enough to slip around the bottle.
  • Attach to the center of a bow on wreath for an extra accent like this!IMG_4374
  • Or add to any decorative element. I’m going to put this cuteness on my mantle.Decorative
  • Make festive Thanksgiving napkin rings! Instead of looping the ribbon, glue the ribbon flat in the center so you can tie it securely around your napkin. See below.IMG_4408

Happy crafting and enjoy your lovely pumpkin seed ornaments!

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