Easy Tips On How To Dress For A Family Portrait

Oh the stress.

As if it weren’t hard enough to drag your screaming, kicking unwilling family along to get the annual family photo taken, but to figure out what to wear? It’s too much!

Never fear, I have a few easy tips for you that will help you along in this process and keep it relatively painless.

What To Wear For Family Photos via Tipsaholic.com

1.  Kick it up a notch

You’ll hear this a lot “make sure everyone is comfortable”. While I agree to a certain point, what if someone’s “comfortable” is their torn up jeans and ratty t-shirt?  Instead I would say have everyone be themselves but kick it up a notch.  Show the more fun side of your personality rather than the couch potato personality!

 

2. Pattens, Layers and Accessories

Patterns are okay in moderation and as long as it’s complimentary to everyone else.

What to Wear for Family Photos via Tipsaholic.com

Typically it’s good to have one or two people with the pattern and everyone else can work around it with complimentary solid colors.  In addition, layers, textures and accessories all add more personality to your overall look so go for it!  For more visual examples I recommend heading over to Pinterest and searching for ‘family portrait style guide’.

 

3. Avoid logos, characters, etc.

On children and adults alike this is a hard fast rule of most photographers.  Why? Refer to #1.  It will make you stand out in the picture and not in a good way!

 

4. Let their light shine

Here’s the thing, our kids often leave our heads shaking when they come out of their rooms beaming with pride having put together the weirdest looking outfit humanly possible.  But just remember that one day they will likely be just as boring as we are, so while they have no inhibitions limiting their choice in outfits, embrace it.  Step in with some guidance however if any or all of rules 1-3 are broken.  Here’s my daughter who insisted on her hair in a messy bun and a pair of glasses ‘just like mommy’ for this photo shoot.  My choice would have been way less memorable – so glad I gave in!

Dressing for A Family Photo Shoot via Tipsaholic.com

 

5. Consider Your Home

Did I throw you off with that one?  This is important for a couple of reasons.  First, we tend to decorate our homes with colors we love and are drawn to.  If that’s the case for you (hopefully it is!) then consider incorporating those colors in your family’s wardrobe selection. This brings me to my next reason which is how you plan to display photos in your home (which I hope you plan to do!).  By having a color palette that compliments your home, it will be a piece of cake when your ready to display them.  For example (of what not to do), I recently took a gorgeous photo of my daughter in a field of sunflowers but I can’t hang it where I would really like to because the yellow flowers don’t ‘fit in’. Sadly, it just wouldn’t work.  However, if you’re intentions are to put the photos in an album then by all means feel free to take a creative leap from your ‘normal’ colors!

Do you have any additional tips you’d like to share based on your own experiences?  Comment below!

Author: Jennifer Faris is a photographer, writer, mom of 3 littles and wife to a rock star (at least in her eyes). You can see more of her work at www.jenniferfaris.com and follow her on FacebookPinterest,Instagram.

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Cooking With Coconut Oil via Tipsaholic.com #coconutoil #healthy #cooking


Chances are you have seen or read recently about all the great benefits of coconut oil: it has easier-to-metabolize saturated fats, it’s better for high-temperature cooking like stir frying, and it can be a healthier substitute for vegetable or canola oil in baking, not to mention its delicious slightly nutty, tropical flavor. Isn’t it time you tasted it for yourself? Here are just a few ways to get started cooking with coconut oil. (Note: coconut oil is packaged in solid form – for many recipes, you may need to warm it in the microwave a bit to liquify it before using).

6 Easy Ways to Cook With Coconut Oil via Tipsaholic.com

1) Make a smoothie: Add richness and a hint of the tropics to your next smoothie. This blueberry coconut smoothie with coconut oil may be your new favorite on-the-go breakfast.

2) Spread it on toast: Spread some coconut oil on warm toast instead of butter for a healthier breakfast.

3) Drizzle it on popcorn: Try using liquified coconut oil for a unique twist to traditional buttered popcorn.

4) Add it to granola: Substitute coconut oil for vegetable or canola oil for your favorite granola recipe. This recipe is my absolute favorite!

5) Whip up a salad dressing: This sweet potato and spinach salad calls for a warm coconut oil and balsamic vinegar dressing – a perfect fall lunch!

6) Bake healthier french fries: Whether you prefer white russets or sweet potatoes, you can make crispy, baked french fries in the oven with minimal fuss using coconut oil. Make the process even easier by following the helpful tip in this recipe from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York to melt the coconut oil on the baking sheet while the oven preheats!

And don’t forget that you can use coconut oil for much more than just cooking! Check out Tipsaholic’s 10 Uses for Coconut Oil.

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

Tips for Organizing Your Garage

Organize Your Garage in 3 Steps via Tipsaholic.com #garage #organization #cleaning

Is your garage floor still covered with the past summer’s pool toys, flip flops, garden tools and bicycles? Are you parking your car outside while the clutter builds up inside, where your car is supposed to be? You’re not alone. Follow these helpful tips to get your gear organized and your car inside before the arrival of the wet, snowy weather. (featured image via Better Homes and Gardens)

3 Steps to an Organized Garage via Tipsaholic

1) Hang it up: There’s a lot of unused storage space in your garage – but it’s not on the floor. Take advantage of the walls and ceiling to get your garage organized. Bikes and garden tools can easily be hung from sturdy hooks anchored to the walls or the ceiling. A peg board or lattice screwed to the walls can provide an easily accessible home for hand tools that you use often. And I love this idea from the Family Handyman: If your garage has exposed joists, attach wire closet shelving to the joists to create overhead storage cubbies.

Keeping your stuff off the floor also means less chance of anything getting ruined when the garage floor is covered with wet winter slush from the car.

2) Box it up: Small items that you won’t need for the winter (balls, sports gear, gardening supplies, etc.) can be put into clear plastic storage bins and put on shelves or stacked in a corner. Using clear bins means that there’s no need for labeling because you can see what you’ve stored away!

3) Recycle it or give it away: While you’re organizing everything that’s in your garage, it’s a good time to evaluate each item you come across. Do you really need to keep saving that broken shovel handle? Or how about the bike your daughter has outgrown? And how much space do you want to devote to a towering stack of empty plastic plant containers? Lighten the load and make your organizing task easier: whether you toss it, recycle it, yard sale it or give it away, get rid of the items you just don’t need anymore.

Now that your garage is organized, how about tackling the kitchen?

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

9 Creative Cookie Recipes

Creative Cookie Recipes to Try

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Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of these creative cookie recipes, featuring tempting ingredients like coconut, lemon, raspberries, and Oreos.

9 Creative Cookie Recipes to Try via Tipsaholic.com

Chocolate chip.

It’s the staple cookie. Everyone’s got a favorite recipe, too, whether it’s a soft and buttery, a melt-in-your-mouth, or a crisp and milk-dunking variety. And they’re good. Sooooo good. But sometimes the old beloved deserves a break. Or an upgrade. Or to be thrown out all together because if your husband asks for chocolate chip cookies one more time, you are making him bake his own. No – for reals this time.

So if you’re ready to give the choco-chippy fave a rest, why not go crazy?

These nine creative cookie recipes may sound a little out-of-the-box, but don’t knock’em till you try’em – you might just find your new family favorite. With tempting ingredients like coconut, lemon, raspberries, and Oreos, you never know which cookie might hijack your bored-to-tears-taste buds and take them on a ride through FlavorTown.

That’s right. Time to get crazy.

Give one or two of these unique cookies a try — you might just be glad the next time you’re out of chocolate chips!

 

Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies by Maybe I Will (picture: slide 1)

Lime. Coconut. Coconut. Lime. A classic combination. So of course it should be put in a cookie. A cookie, perhaps, that you would eat on the beach in the Caribbean, with a coconut full of milk to dip it in whilst your Caribbean hottie holds your hand and you giggle as dolphins leap gracefully from the clear blue sea in the distance. Or alone, in your kitchen – because they’re really too good to share, and why wait for the Caribbean?

 

Strawberry Lemonade Cookies by Gimme Some Oven, via Tablespoon (picture: slide 2)

There are many good reasons to make a cookie. The fact that it is insanely simple and ridiculously cute are two of the best reasons, and this cookie is both.

 

Cookies and Cream Cookies by Notes from Nessa (picture: slide 3)

First of all, let’s point out the fact that this cookie has cookies in it. Is there anything left to say?

 

Blueberry Lemon Cookies by Baker Bettie (picture: slide 4)

Perhaps you’ve met the muffin counterpart to this cookie, but let’s face it – muffins are overrated. They’re crumbly. They’re not very portable. You don’t just make a batch of muffins for kicks and giggles. But a blueberry lemon cookie? Now that’s worth stuffing your face with.

 

Salted Caramel and Nutella Stuffed Double-Chocolate Chip Cookies by Topped with Cinnamon (picture: slide 5)

Okay, I know I said we were giving chocolate chip a rest, but seriously. Try saying this cookie’s name three times and fast with your mouth full.

 

Movie Theater Cookies by I Love My Disorganized Life (picture: slide 6)

If you’re like me, taking your kids to the movies and getting snacks (hoping to keep them quiet) is a joke. Popcorn and chocolate everywhere. So tonight: stay home, fire up the old DVD player, and corral the mess by whipping up a batch of these tasty bites.

 

Chewy Chocolate Orange Cookies by Serious Eats (picture: slide 7)

You don’t need to wait for Christmas to enjoy the delectable flavor combination of oranges and chocolate. Just put it in a cookie!

 

Oatmeal Caramel Apple Cookies by Beyond Frosting (picture: slide 8)

Caramel apples – they look so fantastic, sitting on a tray, peppered with nuts, toffee, and the like. But have you ever tried to eat one? Ha. Underneath all that sugar, it’s still an apple, and a messy one at that. This cookie is the perfect alternative.

 

Raspberry Cookies by I Heart Naptime (picture: slide 9)

Does putting fruit in a cookie make it healthier? Nod your head. Now – bake.

9 Creative Cookie Recipes via Tipsaholic.com #baking #cookies #newrecipe #yum

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyineperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

10 Spooky Kid Crafts for Halloween

10 Spooky Kids Crafts for Halloween via Tipsaholic.com #Halloween #kids #crafts


Halloween is upon us!  What better way to help your kids celebrate this spooky season than with simple crafts they can make with their own two hands?  You and your little craftsters will have a blast together making these fun and easy kid crafts for Halloween. 10 Kid-Friendly Halloween Crafts 1. Paper Napkin Ghosts (bugaboo, mini, mr & me) – All you need is paper, paper napkins, buttons and glue to make these funny little ghoulish masterpieces!

2. Gauze Mummy (mommy savers) – An easy mummy with inexpensive materials – gauze, google eyes, paper and glue!

3. Glue Ghost Necklace (Martha Stewart) – No one will believe you made these ghosts with plain white glue!  Draw on some faces and punch holes in the heads to string them onto a necklace.

4. Paper Plate Spiderwebs (No Wooden Spoons) – Not only are these Lacing Spiderweb Plates super cute, but they teach hand/eye coordination and small motor skills as well!

5. Halloween Luminaries (Jedi Craft Girl) – A paint and glue mixture make these luminaries translucent.  Just use stickers or cut vinyl to decorate them.

6. Name Skeletons (Happenstanced) – Can you find the name  inside the skeleton?  Help your kids practice cursive writing – and they won’t even feel like it’s work, it’s so fun!  All you need is white and black paper, a pencil and scissors and glue.

7. Halloween Wands (Mud Pie Studio) – Bust your craft stash by letting your kids use up your ribbon scraps to decorate dowels.  Top them off with a Halloween silhouette and you’ve got cute wands any kid will love.

8. Glow in the Dark Slime (A Pumpkin and a Princess) – This craft is sure to satisfy the scientist in any kid!  Use simple, easily attainable ingredients to make your own slime, and watch it glow in the dark!

9. Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets (Craft Jr.) – Pipe cleaners, google eyes, and glue; that’s all it takes to create lovable little Halloween creatures for your kids’ little fingers!  Sit back and enjoy the puppet show.

10. Mini Pumpkin Bats (Spoonful) – This is a cute and easy way to decorate a pumpkin.  Paint them black and use craft foam for the ears and wings.  Your kids will want to create a whole colony!

Bonus crafts: Don’t miss this Paper Plate Skeleton  or these super easy No-Bake Skeleton Cookies from Remodelaholic!

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on facebook, pinterest, bloglovin’ and instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(@)yahoo.com

10 DIY No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas

10 No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas via Tipsaholic.com


Fall arrives and suddenly the sight, smell, and taste of pumpkin is everywhere. Who can resist a pumpkin latte or warm pumpkin chocolate chip cookie? We also wouldn’t be surprised if you ate that pumpkin cookie while burning a pumpkin-flavored candle. And then there is the annual search for the perfect pumpkin.

Whether you buy your pumpkins from the grocery store or travel to a nearby pumpkin patch, one question remains the same–how are you going to decorate your pumpkin? This year instead of doing a traditional carving why not try one or more of these fun DIY no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas. We’ve found ten no-carve pumpkin ideas that are sure to bring out your inner crafting goddess.

10 No-Carve Pumpkin Carving Alternatives via Tipsaholic.com

1. Sunflower Seeds & Nuts

These little critters from are beyond adorable and really easy to make. All you need is sunflower seeds, nuts, feathers, and a hot glue gun.

2. Washi Tape

Not sure what to do with your endless rolls of Washi tape? Let the kids go to town decorating their pumpkins.

3. Chalkboard Paint

Chalkboard paint has never looked this good. After your pumpkin dries use chalk to write a special Halloween message.

4. Decoupage

Learn how to decoupage a pumpkin using paper or fabric with this step-by-step tutorial from Country Living magazine.

5. Ric Rac

Designer Eddie Ross proves ric rac is equally chic as it is playful with these darling white pumpkins adorned with black trim.

6. Craft Paint

Lucy from Craftberry Bush demonstrates how craft paint can transform a pumpkin into you or your child’s favorite character.

7. Glitter

When it comes to crafting who can say no to glitter? Don’t let your pumpkins miss out on the fun.

8. Cheesecloth

Making these little mummies requires some cheesecloth, glow-in-the-dark paint, and a little bit of time, but when you’re done you’ll be smiling from ear to ear.

9. Nail Polish

No time to run to the store for regular craft paint? Pull out your nail polish and start creating colorful designs.

10. Brads

Angie from The Country Chic Cottage uses brads to give her pumpkins an extra dose of flair.

 

About the Author: Clarissa Fidler is a 20-something trying to find her place in this world. She grew up in Seattle, attended college in Utah, and now calls Chicago home. In her free time you’ll find her reading the New York Times, cuddling with her cat Harper, catching up on her favorite blogs, running along Lake Michigan, or checking out a new restaurant.  If you’d like to read more by Clarissa, check out her blog West Hawthorne Place.

Beyond Jack-O-Lanterns: 6 Simple Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Simple Ideas for Carving Pumpkins

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Carving pumpkins doesn’t have to be difficult. Try one of these simple pumpkin carving ideas for an ooh-worthy pumpkin without the stress.

We’ve seen them on our neighbors’ porches – those stunning works of art immortalized in the amber roundness of a pumpkin and glowing for all to see. Pirate ships on a bubbling sea, witches soaring across a full moon, haunted houses with bats in the belfry, and all other elaborately carved Halloween magic. But if you’re developing anxiety just thinking about the costumes you’ve got to throw together, the mega-bag of candy you forgot to buy, and how you should probably replace the light bulb on the front porch before All Hallow’s Eve arrives – an intricately carved pumpkin is probably the last thing on your list. If that’s the case, these straightforward simple pumpkin carving ideas will put your mind at ease while giving your porch a pumpkin punch!

6 Simple Ideas for Carving Pumpkins via Tipsaholic

1. Shape up (slide 1)

If you’re tired of trying to create the same old toothy Jack-o-lantern or spending time on intricate patterns, try something like this! A simple, repeating pattern of shapes turns out a unique kind of pumpkin that will certainly shed light on your visitors. A fall leaf shape is a great way to make a decoration that can stay on the porch even beyond Halloween. See the Simple Leaf Pumpkins.

2. Drill team (slide 2)

If you like easy, sophisticated, and luminescent, this idea is for you. Use a drill to punch holes in your gourds and pumpkins and light up the night! See the Drilled “Celestial” Pumpkins.

3. Hole in one (slide 3)

Creativity can take time, but your trick-or-treaters won’t be able to tell how quick this design came together! Cut the holes yourself, or use a couple of ½- and 1- inch drill bits to make it even easier. See the “Mouse House” Pumpkin.

4. Gutless (slide 4)

there’s a lot of mess that goes along with gutting a pumpkin, not to mention the amount of time it takes. So why not forego the gutting altogether with a few linoleum cutting tools and a little trick like this? No cutting, just carving. And – bonus – this one will last longer than a traditionally carved squash. See the Surface Carved Pumpkin.

5. Leave your mark (slide 5)

A monogram letter is a great way to add a touch of class to the front walk. Keep it simple using the first letter of your last name or go crazy and spell it all out! If you’re in the mood for something more complex, spell out a Halloween word or two, such as “spooky” or “boo!” Just print a template from the computer in the font of your choice, cut it out, and get carving. See the Monogram Pumpkins.

6. Creative cuts (slide 6)

A Jack-o-lantern face or a carving pattern from a kit can be found among anyone’s décor. Go a step beyond your former, lack-luster pumpkin boundaries by cutting some basic squares and adding a touch of paint. See the Haunted House Pumpkins.

Or try the same technique with a few of these spooky lanterns (slide 7)! See the Spooky Lantern Pumpkins (and get Country Living’s FREE templates).

 Carving pumpkins doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t have to resort to the same old-same old or spend hours attempting a masterpiece. Your porch can become a work of art without all the fuss this year by trying out a few of these simple, unique carving ideas. And if you’re looking for more Halloween inspiration, head on over to Remodelaholic for some spooktacular ideas!

6 Simple Pumpkin Carving Ideas via Tipsaholic.com #halloween #pumpkins #pumpkincarving #keepitsimple

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyineperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Meal Planning on a Budget in Just One Hour Each Week

Family Menu Planning -- 1 Hour, Once A Week, On A Budget via Tipsaholic.com

Whether your family is going through tough times or you would just like to spend less at the grocery store, sticking to a budget can be tough. One of the most important tips to keeping your grocery bill low is to meal plan and I’m going to show you how to do with without spending hours each week on it.

If you don’t already meal plan and have a budget to keep to, you should give it a try. Sitting down for an hour each week can make shopping and mealtimes less frustrating for everyone.

Start simple: grab a piece of paper and write down every day of the week. Below each day you will write down a meal that’s planned for that day. On the back or another sheet, write down your shopping list of what you need for each meal.

1-Hour Budget-Friendly Weekly Menu Planning via Tipsaholic.com

Here are some tips to make the most of your meal planning:

Take Inventory

Every week, before you sit down to meal plan, take a quick inventory of what you already have. If you have so much food that you think it’ll take you forever to do this, then it looks like you have a lot of food to help you save over the next couple of weeks! Just quickly jot down what’s in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Make note of any produce or food that is going to expire soon so you can be sure to use them this week.

 

The Weekly Ads

Before you start planning meals for each day, go through all of your weekly grocery ads and write down anything that’s a good price that you could use for a meal. The key is to try to plan as many meals as possible around what is on sale or already in your house so you hardly have to buy anything at full price. If tortillas and canned beans are on sale, maybe you should have a taco night. If broccoli and dry pasta are on sale, try having some pasta with broccoli and alfredo sauce.

 

Keep a Price List

If you know what a really good price is, you’ll know when to buy a little extra to stock up. Some people can keep track mentally, but if you have a lot of staples that you need to keep track of then it might be best to have a sheet of paper in your recipe binder or on the fridge. Everytime you buy something that you buy frequently, write down how much you bought it for. After a while you’ll see what the best prices are and can buy a few extra next time it’s at a really good price.

 

Collect Recipes

If you often come across recipes online or in magazines, make sure you save them all in one place so they’re easily accessable. I have a recipe binder and will print recipes I want to try. After you’ve gone through your inventory and seen what is on sale this week, flip through your recipes and find any that are based around sale or inventory items.
Meal planning can really be a money saver and a time saver if you do it right. One big trip to the store each week beats two or three trips because you’re out of something and will also save you money on unplanned items you pick up each time you go. Knowing what’s on the menu each night for dinner takes a lot of stress out of the equasion so that you can enjoy your meals!

 

Aileen is a wife, entrepreneur and animal lover. She lives in a small California town, with her husband and a handful of pets, where she spends her days designing blogs and running her online boutique. You can find more at Life by Aileen where she talks about chasing dreams and her attempts at a simpler life.

5 Pumpkin Carving Tips for a Perfect Jack-O-Lantern

5 Pumpkin Carving Tips for a Perfect Jack-O-Lantern via Tipsaholic.com


This Halloween, I want you to take your pumpkin carving more seriously.

You have taken too much time and invested too much money in crummy tool kits to spend one more Halloween sitting among slimy piles of seeds and newspaper for hours, trying to carve a simple face into the practically impenetrable shell of an orange vegetable (or fruit, if we need to bring that argument up). Stop it.

The following tidbits of jack-o-lantern wisdown and pumpkin carving tips are being handed to you now, that you might experience the actual joys, as opposed to the headaches, of pumpkinery. (featured image via Better Homes and Gardens)

Pumpkin Carving Tips for a Perfect Jack-O-Lantern via Tipsaholic.com

Pick your pumpkin

  • Find one with a smooth, unblemished surface and even color.
  • Make sure your pumpkin sits upright on its own.
  • Look out for mold around the stem. These pumpkins have likely begun to rot!

Tools of the trade

  • Carving kit - this is a fine place to start, but if you really want to make the most of carving, try some sturdier tools.
  • Drills and bits – they come in all shapes and sizes, and make for some seriously simple hole-punching.
  • Linoleum cutters – the perfect tool for curly cues and simple designs on your pumpkin’s outer surface.
  • Keyhole saw – typically one of the best tools for cutting your “lid” and larger details.
  • Carpentry tools – wood gouges are great for scraping patterns into the surface
  • Awl, or other needle-like tools – good for poking holes to transfer patterns to your pumpkin.
  • Metal cookie cutters – an easy way to get creative and available in seasonal shapes! Use a rubber mallet to hammer them all the way through.
  • Sculpting scraper and other sculpting tools – made for clay, these are perfect for scraping out the gunk and putting finishing touches on your carving.
  • Other tools to consider – metal spoons, melon ballers, X-acto knives, toothpicks, serrated knives, ice cream scoops, markers and pens.

The art of carving

  • Cut your pumpkin’s opening at an angle so that the “lid” has a shelf to sit on and will not fall through.
  • Scrape out all of the “guts” and pare down the walls until everything is about 1 to 1 ½ inches thick for easier carving.
  • Start from the center of your design and carve outward, dividing large sections into smaller parts to cut.

Keeping things fresh

  • Rub Vaseline/petroleum jelly on the cut parts of your pumpkin after carving to keep it from drying too early
  • Spraying the pumpkin with a bleach/water mix will keep mold and bugs away.
  • Is your creation drying out and beginning to look less like a happy Jack and more like a shriveled and toothless old man? Try soaking it in water for a few hours!

Light’em up

  • Candles are the old stand by, but battery-powered tea lights, Christmas lights, a strobe light, or even a glowstick can add to the jack-o-lantern experience.

 

Make your pumpkin carving experience extra-special this year – collect a few tools, find the perfect pumpkin, and perhaps try a few new, simple carving ideas. Before you know it, you’ll be lighting things up in a whole new way!

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyineperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.