Friday, October 17, 2014


When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
'tis near Halloween.
~Author Unknown

I wanted to do something a little different for my front stoop this Halloween. I've done more traditional topiaries in past years and the photo to the left is last years candy corn topiaries. The directions for building a standard topiary is located below.

SUPPLIES: You'll need 3 pumpkins in large, medium, & small sizes, wooden/bamboo kebab skewers, hammer & decorative accents, i.e. fall leaves, beads or garland.

Make sure the bottom pumpkin, or the largest one is large enough to fit into the bottom of your urn tightly, at least part of its weight should rest in the soil. Place the base pumpkin in the urn, you do not have to cut or gut this pumpkin and do no remove its stem.

Select your middle pumpkin, make sure you have one with a nice stem, cut a circle in the BOTTOM of the pumpkin large enough that it can fit over the stem of the base pumpkin, remove all the seeds and guts from the pumpkin. Now place this second pumpkin on top of the base pumpkin and hammer the long kebab skewers into the second pumpkin until the skewer reaches the base pumpkin. Take your time and hammer the skewer all the way in, it will secure the second pumpkin to the base pumpkin. I usually use about six skewers around the perimeter.

Now repeat the same process to secure the top pumpkin as you did for the middle one, cutting out the BOTTOM and gutting it before securing this top pumpkin to the middle one with skewers. Now add plastic leaves, cattails, branches or Halloween tinsel around the base and fall colored garland for the in between layers. 

Once you have the topiary built you can decorate it. The first step was to add the witches hair I used the purple/glitter spray with spiral ends from the floral department. The spray comes about 3 feet long so I had to trim them down to about 10-12 inches. 

I used these greening pins to attach the hair to the pumpkin. You can find greening pins in the floral department of any craft store. It was easy to press the greening pins into the pumpkin most of the way and then you can use a hammer to secure them all the way into the pumpkin.

Next, I attached the Witch's hat that I found at Michaels using the same  pins. Then I added the spiders with webs for the witch's eyes and another spider for the mouth.

I added this wire enforced garland in between the pumpkins layers to dress the pumpkin topiary. Adding a witches broom with a holiday message for the final touch.

I used 21" wide mesh ribbon to make the swag for the base of the pumpkins.  I gathered the fabric in my hand, twisting the pipe cleaner around the gathered fabric to make the swags. I used the same greening pins to attach the swag to the base of the bottom pumpkin.

The finished product! I hope you enjoyed this DIY project. 

Please leave me a comment to be entered to win a paperback copy of both of these spooky stories. I'll pick a single winner of both titles on November 1, 2014 from all comments. 
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Friday, October 10, 2014


I searched by full blood moon and couldn't find a Halloween fireplace screen to complete my Halloween mantel. So I decided to construct my own. This is my family room, the focal point of the room is this wall with the fireplace. I constructed the metal fireplace screen from several items I put together from a home decorating store and a few craft supplies. The whole project cost less than   $30 and I'm really thrilled with it.

Below is a close up of the completed screen against a white wall by itself so you can see it better.

I found the above metal spider webs with black spiders on them at Gordmans. I thought since they were lightweight they'd could be bound together with metal wire and make the screen. I removed the rings at the bottom of the webs by using a pair of pliers to bend them off.

I wanted to make the spiders on the webs stand out so I painted them with craft paint and then sprinkled them with glitter in a matching color. Here's how they turned out. 

For the bases I located these pumpkin tea light holders also at Gordmans. The bottoms of these pumpkins are freestanding and I thought they'd make a great base for the screen.

After the spiders' paint dried I assembled the three webs using black 16 gauge permanently colored copper wire. (I found this with the jewelry supplies at Michaels) Then I attached the screen to the two bases uses the same jewelry wire, wire cutters, and pliers.

Then I added some additional metal spiders (Joanne Fabrics) to finish the screen. Here's another shot of the finished product with a nice fire behind it!

If you're looking for something spooky to snuggle up by the fireplace this Halloween, feel free to check out my two paranormal romances. For all those Trick-or-Treaters out there Descent of Blood is FREE!

Please leave me a comment on this DIY project. I'll be checking back for questions. Happy reading, reviewing & crafting to you!