DIY Classics: Halloween Costumes for the Family

The best thing about Halloween – apart from all the treats, of course – is the chance to dress up the whole family in fun costumes. Yes, that includes everybody in the household. But always purchasing such fancy outfits year after year for everyone can be a problem. Most coordinated outfits that are available in the market are expensive. On top of that, it’s also quite challenging to find a themed costume for the whole household. Luckily, with a few simple items, parents can whip up outfits for everyone in a jiffy. Here are some of our favorite Halloween costumes you can make at home:

one way to celebrate Halloween is to dress up in fun costumes

Classic Flintstones Costumes

Hitting the streets as one of America’s most beloved family is always a marvelous idea. With this cool and amusing DIY Flintstones Outfit from Coolest Homemade Costumes, the whole family can create a suit straight out of the Stone Age using a few pieces of fabric and some leftover school supplies. Turn heads and give fellow trick-or-treaters a smile on their faces by dressing up as Fred, Wilma, and Pebbles.

Neverland Gang Costumes

with the right tools, your family can dress up as the various characters from Peter Pan

What better way to celebrate Halloween than by dressing up as the immortal characters from JM Barrie’s unforgettable novel, Peter Pan. Courtesy of Dessert Chica Ramblings, this DIY idea is perfect for large families. Recreate some of the book’s famous scenes in your backyard. Hunt for treasure and gold chocolate coins when you go out. Kids and grown-ups alike will have a delightful and exciting time with these quirky costumes.

Phineas and Ferb Family Costumes

this Phineas and Ferb costumes will be loved by your children

Take inspiration from Me and My Insanity’s simple and easy DIY project and dress up as the cast of the animated series, ‘Phineas and Ferb’. Have your kids re-enact their favorite episodes. Tell them to be in character when they go trick-or-treating. Make sure to take photos and capture some video. This will be one Halloween your kids won’t ever forget.

S’mores Costumes

these s'mores costumes can be made with the simplest materials

This adorable S’mores costume from Cheerios’ and Lattes is inspired by the timeless snack. What’s particularly great is that you can use everyday items, such as boxes, pillows, and tape. To make the event sweeter, hand out packets of S’mores to trick-or-treaters. Kids will love this awesome and funny twist.

Wizard of Oz Costume

Bring Frank Baum’s Emerald City to this special holiday by dressing up as Dorothy and her friends, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. These Wizard of Oz-inspired costumes from Baby Dickey can be made in no time and are perfect for your cute and cuddly toddlers.

Have a fun time this Halloween with these amazing and practical DIY costume recommendations from Tree Classics.

Photo Credits

[1] Photo by Tom Grill via flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

[2] Dessert Chica Ramblings

[3] Me and My Insanity

[4] Cheerios and Lattes

Create a Sprawling Garden: How to Grow Herbs Indoors

Nothing beats homemade cooking flavored with freshly picked herbs from your own garden. For a convenient way to add culinary flair to your dishes, grow your herbs indoors. Tree Classics’ Create a Sprawling Garden series gives you practical advice on herb gardening to bring freshness straight to your plate!

Choosing a Method

There are different ways you can jumpstart your indoor garden. One of them is by using a hydroponic system. Not only does this soilless method provide your plants with everything they need; it also allows you to set up your garden anywhere in the house. To start, purchase a hydroponic kit, which comes with equipment, special lights, and mineral nutrient solutions that will nourish your plants and stimulate their growth in a safe environment.


Tropical Kitchen by Other Metro Landscape Architects & Designers Savscapes Landscaping Cape Town

 

You can either plant a seed or root a cutting. Herbs like sage, oregano, and rosemary are best prepped for indoor cultivation. Plant a section of their root or stem in a soilless mix. Meanwhile, basil and parsley need to be planted as seeds, although the latter, as well as chives, can also be planted by potting a clump from an existing outdoor plant.

If you have a kitchen window facing either south or east, make the most of it by creating a windowsill herb garden. Bay leaf tree, oregano, rosemary, and most mints are just some of the herbs that are easy to raise on a windowsill. South-facing windows provide your plant with the most sunlight while east-facing ones give you a moderate amount of light (mostly in the morning). Different herbs have varying needs for sunshine, so make sure to find out how much light your herbs require.

Transitioning Indoors

If you are moving an existing outdoor herb garden indoors to prepare for winter, you will need to acclimatize the plants to their new environment first. Gradually introduce them to shaded areas. Instead of directly putting them inside the house, park them in an enclosed porch, an entryway, or a garage. When they have gotten used to it, you can move them to the window where they can receive the most sunshine.


Eclectic Landscape by San Luis Obispo Photographers Jennifer Young

 

Achieving a Balance of Elements

Know how to balance light, temperature, and water. For example, herbs in a clay pot placed on a south -facing windowsill may need more water than plants on an east or west window. Every week, turn each pot around for about a quarter to expose all of the sides of the plant to sunlight. During winter, the air inside your home tends to get dry, especially with artificial heating. Dry air may affect your indoor plants’ growth. As a remedy, spray mist around your plants to keep them from getting brown leaves due to low humidity.

Fertilizing

Your herbs will stay healthy if you fertilize them, but too much of it may keep them from producing the best flavor. Nourish them with fertilizer only once a month, or mix a slow-release plant food into the soil before planting your cuttings or seeds.

Grow your indoor herb garden now and make your meals even more flavorful and special!

Create a Sprawling Garden: Summer Flowers for Beginners

After highlighting summer crops in last month’s edition of Create a Sprawling Garden, Tree Classics will now take a look at four lovely flowers that are perfect for beginners. Not only are these blooms easy to grow. They also handle the extreme heat of summer very well.

1. Red Valerian

Most other plants wither under the summer sun, but the red valerian thrives in such conditions. In fact, this drought-resistant plant can exist in just about any condition except for wet climates. Originally from the Mediterranean region, red valerians are now commonly found in most western states such as California, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Depending on how you look at it, the self-sowing seeds of the red valerian can either be a convenience or a nuisance. If you don’t want them to overpopulate your garden, make sure you deadhead your red valerian before the next bloom. A bi-weekly watering schedule and some bone meal placed in the soil should also be enough to take care of this summer bloom.

Let red valerians cascade from an elevation or grow along paths, rough slopes, and steep banks. Their lasting blooms enliven any dull and listless garden.

Red Valerian
Photo from M Hillier via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

2. Moonbeam Coreopsis

The moonbeam coreopsis flourishes even in the brightest of daylight. You can plant this perennial flower in average or poor soil and it will still blossom radiantly. Because of its endurance, the moonbeam coreopsis is ideal for gardens in humid states, such as Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas.

As with most summer plants, this coreopsis cultivar does not require too much attention. One thing to note, though, is that for the moonbeam to bloom without hassle, you must regularly prune the flowers right after they fade. You can do this for a few times during the summer, and then allow the plant to go to seed at season’s end to reproduce new ones.

The pale yellow bloom of the moonbeam coreopsis adds contrast to the large leaves typical of perennials. Use the moonbeam coreopsis to balance the rich purples and blues of other blooms.

Moonbeam
Photo from F. D. Richards via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

3. Daisy Fleabane

Native to the West Coast, fleabanes are considered one of the most durable summer flowers. It regularly blooms all throughout the harshest conditions of the season, from June to September.

In planting your daisy fleabanes, keep an eye out for “legginess.” It is a condition in which the plants do not get enough sunlight. They grow long thin stems that do not stand upright. When this happens, cut off these plants and remove them from under the shade.

If you’re looking for flowers to place in front of stone walls, then daisy fleabanes are for you. The slender ray petals give a splash of vibrancy to the naturally bland color of stone. Also, the long stalks make these cultivars a classic choice for flower arrangements.

Daisy Fleabane
Photo from wackybadger via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

4. Goblin Blanket Flower

Also known as the kobold, the goblin blanket flower can withstand arid climate and, with enough leaf mulch, remain in bloom through winter. Similar to other summer flowers, it can survive even on low-quality soil as long as it has good drainage. If you plant them in moist garden loam, the stems tend to grow too far apart.

True to its namesake, the goblin blanket flower has an unusual way of growing. Unlike other plants that develop better in rich soil, this flower benefits more from thriving on poor earth. It is not advisable to enrich the soil by adding compost or other fertilizers. Goblin blanket flowers also do not grow properly in heavy clay.

The dark maroon center and golden yellow tips of the petals give the goblin a sunny appeal. Baring some striking resemblance to the sunflower, it also has a wide bloom that ranges from three to four inches. When planting the goblin in a group, you can place it beside taller flowers with warm tones.

Goblin
Photo from Sarah Korf via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Flowers have a unique way of enlivening any space. Try planting these colorful summer blooms to help you define the aesthetics of your outdoors.

Spring’s Over, but Don’t Forget to Organize Your Winter Mess

Try These Winter Organizing Tips to Make Spring Cleaning Less Daunting

spring_cleaning2A big part of spring cleaning is putting away your winter “mess.” So, why not make your future a little brighter by starting to organize your winter mess now. Prepare for warm-weather clean up with these winter organization tips.

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Outdoor Organizing 101

Follow These Tips to Keep Your Backyard Organized and Fabulous

outdoororganizingSpring is here, and it’s almost time to get the lawn and garden furniture out for warm weather!

This article features tips for organizing a stylish backyard and storage tips for keeping items in the shed for when you need them throughout summer!

It won’t be long before your yard will be the backdrop for fun and friends. Try these tips to beautify your backyard space and organize essentials.

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Organizing 101

Organization is a big market–it seems like people are always coming up with new and improved ways to control the clutter and get things in order.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image by nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From organizing holiday decorations (where on earth to store the artificial Christmas tree and boatload of ornaments you never use?) to organizing kids’ closets (how long has that lunchbox been down there?!), there are tips and tricks to getting your home in order. Here are a few easy tips for basic, everyday changes that make a big difference in the overall organization of your home.

1. Find a place for everything.

“A place for everything, and everything in its place” has become so cliché that it’s easy to ignore. But this is a time-tested organizational strategy that really works!

You can break the process into bite-sized chunks by moving through your home one room at a time. Start with a section of a room–a desk, for instance, then an end table, then a set of shelves. Don’t let yourself just relocate the clutter; make sure there’s a place for everything as you go through, or get rid of it. You’ll thank yourself later.

2. Build teamwork.

Unless the whole family is on board, your organizational journey will feel more like a treadmill set on an Olympian’s pace. Talk to your spouse and kids about working together to creatively solve organizational dilemmas and develop a game plan to stay on track.

3. Be creative.

Sometimes organization isn’t just a matter of taking the time to put things where they belong. If you live in an apartment or a small home with limited storage space, you’ll have to look for creative ideas to find all the right places–like using the insides of cabinet doors or repurposing shower curtain rings to organize scarves. Check out this site for a wealth of clever storage ideas that make organization easy, attractive and affordable.

By working through your space a bit at a time, making small, day-to-day changes, and enlisting your family’s help, finding your inner Martha Stewart will be easier–and more effective–than ever.

It’s Warming Up! Time to Clear Out the Shed

Time to Clean the Shed! Use these Tips to Make it Easy

ID-1006801Spring is here! The warmer temperatures have you dreaming of walks in the park and gardening. Before you start running through a field of flowers, remember that task that you put on the back burner until the sun came out: cleaning the shed.

The cold weather has kept you from tackling the clutter in your garage or shed, but now – alas – you have no excuse. These quick tips for organizing your shed or garage will get you back into the spring sunshine in no time!

Shelves

Install shelves in the shed or garage for a simple organizing solution. Build the shelves larger to small, with the larger ones on the bottom and small ones on the top to store less frequently used stuff. Larger shelves can house things like artificial Christmas trees, while mid-sized shelves are perfect for winter clothes boxes or other square-shaped items. Staggering the size of the shelves gives you a host of organization options.

Wall Hooks

Utility hooks offer an easy way to organize large yard tools like rakes or shovels. Simply hang them on the hooks to prevent a pile of tipped tools.

Board Racks

Tools like shears and saws should definitely not be left lying around the shed. Maintain a safe shed or garage environment by storing these tools on a board rack. Board racks keep tools separate to prevent scratching as well as helping to eliminate hazards.

Ramp

If the door to your shed or garage is elevated, install a ramp to make pushing in wheelbarrows or lawnmowers a little less awkward.

Hanging Basket

Hang a basket on the wall to hold wire, garden gloves or other small tools.

Toolbox

Keep your toolbox in top form by putting a charcoal briquette in it. Sounds weird, but the charcoal actually helps prevent rust from forming on your tools. Make sure you stick the coal in a bag first to keep black dust from getting on your tools.

See, organizing your outdoor tools is easier than you thought. Now clap the dust off your hands, rub off the elbow grease and enjoy that sunshine!

Creating the Perfect Flower Arrangement for Spring

It’s springtime! Everything seems to be stirring to life after a long winter season. Finally, a reprieve from the winter blues after the holidays have been boxed up for the year.

Your artificial Christmas tree might be packed away until next winter, but you can pull out a few white or cream colored poinsettias from the Christmas decorations to set off yellow daisies and pink roses. Now is the time to think about springtime flower arrangements to give your home a fresh, bright feel.

Simplicity is in style this season, so it’s easy for you to create classic flower arrangements of your own using fresh cut flowers from your garden or from a local florist. Go with monochromatic color combinations–poppies and tulips are a lively, bright duo that lend cheeriness to any room.

Image c/o marthastewart.com

Image c/o marthastewart.com

By coupling colorful arrangements with simple, modern vases or bowls, you can mix and match an accent that will work well in any room of your home.

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