get your spook on: love manor

My original "get your spook on post" today was going to be about Halloween labels.  I think adding labels to misc. jars adds a great spook factor to your Halloween decor.  While researching Halloween labels I cam across these from Love Manor and as the name of the Manor implies - I fell in love.  These labels are amazing.  I ended up liking much more over at the Love Manor sites that I decided to forgo the labels post and post instead of the Halloween love going on at the Manor.  

No worries...label post to come.  For now enjoy Johnny Love's labels..

If you head over to Flickr you can download these labels and more for your own use.

A few more pictures of the haunted happenings at the manor.  Be sure to check out their website and blog for more pictures and ideas for throwing your own dreadfully delightful Halloween bash.


get your spook on: metal for monsters

I saw these great necklaces over at Blend Creations today.  These creations are from the Metal for Monsters series and a portion of each limited edition necklace goes to UNICEF.

I'm partial to these little guys...

a monster heart

More from this company can be found by visiting their blog.

back to school or centerpieces with a purpose

Do you need some ideas for a back to school bash or maybe for a teacher appreciation luncheon or how about a graduation party?

Here is what we (myself and a few great friends) put together for a church dinner for 350 women held on Saturday.  We had 35 tables and a very small (let me repeat - very small) budget that needed to include table decorations as well as all the paper goods.  

The theme was Back to School and so our centerpieces reflected that theme but also served double duty.  Once the dinner was over the centerpieces were taken apart and packaged up so that they could be sent to school children in Tijuana, Mexico.  It was thrilling to know that everything would be put to good use and now I want to try to incorporate this idea into more of my centerpieces.  
Pencils, notebooks, composition books, rulers and chalkboards all used for the evenings festivities and then off to kids that need them.

Pencils found for $1.00 per 24.  We simply took canned food from our pantries and wrapped the pencils around, securing them with rubber bands.  

The original idea called for tissue paper in the "vases" but I didn't have any when I was doing the mock up so I used notebook paper as a stand-in and realized that the notebook paper was much more appropriate and cheaper.

Vintage flash cards, thanks to a friend were used inside the vases. Hit up ebay, Craigslist or antique stores to find a box of cards.
Like I said the budget was small so I tried to find little accents that would add some panache but still be inexpensive.  For the plain plastic cups I added alphabet stickers to help them tie into the theme.  The font was School Script Dashed and can be found here. With 350 people in attendance we put random letters at each place setting but for a more intimate party I would suggest using the initial of each guest.
No school theme is complete with out cafeteria trays and a friend found these great foam ones online for me.  The cost per tray was much less then regular paper plates and added much more to our theme.

To carry the cafeteria theme a bit further we added pre packaged silverware complete with napkin and salt and pepper packets. Another inexpensive touch was adding the back to school sticker to each package of silverware.
The most expensive (although still reasonable) addition to the centerpieces was the chalkboards.  A friend that owns a wood working business ordered sheets of mdf (at $15 a sheet - I believe) and cut them into 24x24 in squares (8 per sheet)  I bought chalkboard paint for $20 and painted them all up.  The addition of the chalkboards helped ground the centerpiece and served as a fun interactive activity for the dinner guests.  It was quite enjoyable reading all the things that had been written as we cleaned up after the dinner.

This idea can be done easily and inexpensively (especially if you are not planning for 350 people)  If you want to try this theme for yourself and have any questions leave me a comment - I'd be happy to help you out.


get your spook on: creepy curtains

I have loved this simple Halloween idea from Martha since it was first printed years ago.  Who knew a few trash bags could add so much creepiness to your porch, doorways or windows?!?!


get your spook on: oh what a tangled web we weave

I can picture these spider web goodies sitting out on a table similar to the visual candy delights that Amy Atlas creates.  What a fun way to decorate a carmel apple.  These are definitely on my list of must do for Halloween. Instructions can be found over at Martha's.


get your spook on - with a book

I couldn't decided if these bookplates from Manifesto Letterpress were "get your spook on" worthy or just plain cool.  I'm so in love with them but do they really scream Halloween? In the end I decided that it just didn't matter because I dig them so much.

You could use them for a unique hostess gift for all the Halloween parties you attend this season. Give the bookplates themselves or spend a bit more time picking out some Halloween themed books that the hostess might like and add these bookplates to the inside front of the book - I know I would love a gift like this.

hostess love

If you are a party lover then you've visited Hostess With The Mostess. I can't even begin to tell you of my undying love for this website and blog.  Everyday there are great new ideas for throwing a fabulous bash.  My day is not complete with out a visit (or two or three) to the blog.

Imagine my thrill when I got on this afternoon and saw this...

Yes, that's my table in my house on HWTM.  Can you believe it!  I am so excited that Jenn liked my table enough to share it on her blog - thanks so much Jenn!  Here is the post if you care to read more about it.

I was just so excited I had to share.

finally, the winner

I have been trying to get a post up since last night to announce the TIME to celebrate giveaway winner but I was unable to get Blogger to work right.  I apologize for the wait.

Drum roll please...the winner is team chilton.  Congratulations.  I will be contacting you in the next day or two and then your party will be on it's way.  Enjoy it and please take pictures!

If you didn't win this time no worries - I have another a giveaway coming soon and am working on others  so please check back often.


be my guest

Not sure how long it's been going on but Blogger has this great gadget called Following.  I could give you my lame explanation of it or you could read Bloggers explanation here to see how it all works.

I love the idea.  How many times do you come across a blog that you totally only to forget what the name of it is a few weeks later?  Unless you put it straight into your favorite links you sometimes never get back to it.  Following solves the problem.

For those of you that want to be able to come back to Little Ant for more party ideas please go over to my Following widget in my side bar and click to become one of my party guests.  I'd love to have you visit again!

TIME is running out

The giveaway ends today.  Get yourself over here and comment for your chance to win.

get your spook on - seven deadly sins

I came across these great mingling plates while checking out Z Galleries new Halloween products.  When I saw them I instantly thought of a great theme and table idea that I saw at The Special Events Show in Los Angeles in 2007.
The theme for the table was a Sinners Dinner focusing on the 7 deadly sins.  You can read more about the table here at the Special Events website.  While attending the show I was struck with inspiration and borrowed ideas from the Sinners Dinner to use at my own Halloween party last year.  I loved the idea of having mismatched old vintage silverware for the place settings like the "sins" table did so that's what I went with on our Halloween tables.

The vintage, unpolished silverware was one of my favorite elements on the table.  I was especially fond of the fork above - look at its shape.  Is it not beautiful?!?!  Do you think its unhealthy to be in love with a fork?

But back to the plates from Z Gallerie...

I can picture these plates being used for a great Halloween cocktail party.  You can add elements to your party that represent the 7 sins.  Your food table could be "gluttony".  How about setting up a lounge area for "sloth".  What other party ideas can you think of for the other sins?


get your spook on - scientifically

I found this idea over at MAKE magazine and love the possibilities.

All this is is petri dishes with jello, tapioca pudding and lemon pie filling and some additions to give the look of growing cultures - eeeek!  

My boys (ages 7 and 9) would totally dig this but I have to be honest and say that it makes my stomach feel a bit uneasy.  Why not tone it down for us queasy folks or kids that may not be into the gross factor.  Bright colored jello with gummy worms would work just as well.  You'd get a more appetizing looking dessert with a bit of the freak factor with the gummy worms. How about finding some cool candy to throw in.  

Lay these out on a table with some plastic tweezers and you have the start of a great Mad Scientist Halloween buffet.  Your kids would love it.  I also happen to know some adults that would go for some petri perfect dessert.

If you have a local school supply store in your neighborhood you might be able to find some petri dishes there.  If not you can always turn to our friend Google and do a search.

create my events

The nice folks over at Create My Events invited me to be a guest blogger and I just posted my first post.  It's about my TIME party which is old news for you if you have been visiting this site as of late but I'd encourage you to head over to their blog anyway.  You will find some great tips and ideas for throwing a great bash


get your spook on - eat, drink and be scary

There is another great Halloween inspired giveaway going on over at Studio JK Vinyl.  The giveaway ends Monday with a random winner being drawn so head over there now before Monday sneaks up on you.


get your spook on - somebody set the table

I just finished setting our table for the holiday season (no, not Christmas - the other holiday season) and I think it is one of the easiest ways to add some fun to your decor.  

I must throw in this disclaimer...this is a much nicer idea when you have a dining room separate from your everyday eating area.  We do not have that luxury (cut me some slack, real estate is pricey in Orange County) This tablescape gets pushed around more than any bullied kid I know to make room for homework and dining.  

Yes, I said it - dining.  We move the beautifully set table so we can eat on our everyday, sturdy white Ikea plates. Crazy?  Probably, but my husband loves me in spite of it all so all is right with the world.

The "trees" down the middle of the table are from Ikea - seriously love that store!  I purchased them forever ago on sale for like 25 or 50 cents a piece.  I'm not sure why they were marked down so low since they still carry them (current price is just around $5) but I'm not arguing. I originally bought them thinking they would be cute with family pictures tied to them as a family reunion centerpiece.  When I needed something not too big for this table I decided that these would work as a modern take on spooky dead trees.

The place settings consist of orange wooden chargers bought on clearance at Z Gallerie.  Keep an eye on the clearance area of all your favorite stores - you can decorate an expensive looking table for little money if you just shop for bargains.  Want to mimic the look but can't find a good deal on chargers - cut some mdf board or wood from the local home improvement store into the size you want and paint it. Better yet find an orange stain and stain the wood allowing the wood grain to show through.

The silver boney hands also came from Z Gallerie (I think)  I believe I paid full price for these because "I just had to have them" - you know how that goes.  I think that these could be reproduced cheaper with plastic skull hands and silver metallic spray paint.  If anyone tries it let me know how it turns out.

The orange napkins can be found anywhere and then just add your own silverware.  A big pat on the back to anyone that can tell me what movie our silverware has been seen in.
The orange soda bottles I found at Cost Plus (another favorite party store).  I'm not sure of the brand.  You could use Jones or some other orange soda.  I chose this one because it had  plain orange cap with no writing.  The label I made on the computer using s clip art skull and Dead Secretary as my font.
I may add some candles at some point but for now it's good.  I love seeing the traditional orange and black table set up every day and the bonus...it helps with house cleaning since we can't pile bills, papers and other garbage on top of it.

Make some plans to decorate your dining room table for this Halloween.  I even give you permission to wait until it's a bit closer to the 31st so you don't have to push around the place settings you big bully.

get your spook on - terrifying type

Ok, so it's not really terrifying but it is type.  I also realize that this idea won't work for everyone - only those that happen to have a cool vintage typewriter.  So perhaps today's tip is really just for me - my apologizes.  Let's make this yesterdays tip since I just realized I didn't post one yesterday

Remember my happy closet?  That is where the typewriter I found at Goodwill (awesome find, huh?) resides.  I ran across this photo today and the ideas started to swirl in my tiny little Halloween obsessed brain.  

My plan...cover up some of the keys with black and orange paper (I think I will go with circles - not spiders like in the photo) leaving some of the keys exposed.  I like the idea of the letters left spelling out something almost as if a presence from beyond is trying to leave a message.  I'll also need to find a place for my ghost writer typewriter to occupy during this Halloween season.

No typewriter?  Try a ghost writer approach with something else.  How about magnets on your fridge or magnet board?  What about using some of that Christmas snow spray on your window or mirrors and handwriting a spooky message in it - it will give the impression of someone scrawling a message on a steamy mirror or foggy window. What message from beyond is your resident spook trying to share?

TIME for a giveaway

An abundance of Halloween creepiness keeps finding it's way into my home and my garage is going to burst.  My inability to stop spending money on Halloween decor means good things for you.  I'm hosting a giveaway to make room for Halloween.

There has been a lot of interest in my TIME to Celebrate party that I posted about here. Thanks for all the views and comments and a big thanks to Sheena over at Totally Tabletops for her post about my party.  To show my appreciation and like I mentioned to make way for Halloween one lucky blog reader will win the goodies from my party .  You will win... 

8 clocks/plate chargers
6 color block picture holders 
6 watches (tied to picture holders)
This giveaway will get you on your way to having a great little get together.  Whip up some cupcakes to complete the centerpiece or add your own touch by using flowers.  Add your favorite silverware and glasses.  Make it your own.  

To win simply leave a comment and a winner will be chosen randomly on Tuesday the 23rd (my daughter Emily's birthday)  If you send a friend to the giveaway have them leave your name as the person that sent them - not only will your friend be entered but you'll be entered again for more chances to win.


get your spook on - cutest little creepy

I just ran across this adorable vinyl spider and fell in love.  Well lucky for all of us this little guy can be yours if you win the Studio JK Vinyl giveaway.  Not sure how long the giveaway lasts so head over there right now and leave a comment.  If I'm the lucky winner I plan to give him a home on the window by our stair landing.  

I also have some other Halloween ideas that use vinyl wording.  I plan on heading back over to Studio JK to see if she does any custom work. If my idea pans you'll see it in a future get your spook on post.

JUST ADDED:  I went for a longer visit over on the Studio JK site and saw that the giveaway ended today - big fat hairy spider bummer!  You should still check out the site and the cool vinyl creations she has.  


get your spook on - eye candy

I can't get pictures to copy over to my blog for today's Halloween idea so drop what you are doing and click here and go to pages 11 thru 16.  This masterpiece of a Halloween table is fromAmy Atlas and it's fabulous.

I want to have a table like this set up in my front living room so that when trick or treaters look through the door this what they see - can you imagine how the kids eyes would light up?!?!  The problem I see is that we live in a world that most parents (myself included) wouldn't let our kids touch any unwrapped candy or goodies.  Maybe I can come up with something similar with packaged treats - it just wouldn't have the same impact as these gorgeous homemade morsels.


get your spook on - etsy

Looking for some Halloween inspiration?  Have you been invited to a Halloween party and want to take a unique hostess gift?  Need a fun little Halloween treat for your child's school teacher? My suggestion today is to head over to Etsy and check out their Halloween guide.  


countdown to halloween is now...

Get your spook on!  Catchy, huh?

Here is an easy idea to give your ho-hum boring everyday house a little haunted style. Replace the pictures in your picture frames with Halloween images or other spooky feeling images. Granted, silhouettes aren't the spookiest of things but they did add to the over all feel we were going for last Halloween.  I found these Victorian silhouette dingbats (dingbat - name for a font that is pictures/images and not letters or numbers) at Font Space.  I also useDa Font.  Just type in Halloween in their search engine and see what comes up.  For the dingbats you might need to go specifically to that category before searching Halloween.

Can't find a dingbat you like?  Try spelling out words in your frames using a cool Halloween font.  I could use my four frames to spell help, boo!, eeek, fear - you get the idea.

My second idea for the day (yes, you get two ideas - what a bargain) is...Good Will and black spray paint are your friend.  Hit up your local Good Will or a similar store and find frames, candelabras, light fixtures, clocks, anything you like really and get some black spray paint on it - instant haunted house decor or in my case year round decor since the frames pictured below that were last years Halloween decorations are still up.  In case anyone is wondering I did take down the black plastic tile "marble" fireplace - I have to draw the line somewhere.

You would be amazed at what some spray paint can do.  I found a cheap plastic clock at Big Lots for $8 last week that I plan to hit with black spray paint and change the face to a 13 hour clock.  This will make a great haunted edition to my entryway.


countdown to halloween

Today's countdown to Halloween idea really is a countdown.  I saw this idea on Kristi's blogand I love it.

You can find the directions here.  This is a fun way for your kids to countdown to Halloween. If you are not in the crafty mood you can sometimes find Halloween advent calendars at Target or Cost Plus. Pottery Barn Kids has one this year that I am totally in love with but not enough to fork over the $100+ dollars it costs.
How cute is it?!?!  My kids would love this (who am I kidding - I would love this)  How fun to open up a door each day and find a little treat. Maybe I can pick this up after the holiday when it's on sale - I'll have to keep my eyes open.


countdown to halloween - ding dong ditch

Now that you have made your homemade peanut butter cups you need to share the goodness. Todays Halloween idea is "phantom-ing" or some people call it boo-ing.

Every year we go out, treats in hand for some good old fashioned ding dong ditching.  The purpose...to deliver treats and a poem to friends & neighbors without being caught. Those people then make treats and copies of the poem and deliver to more people.  The goal is to have everyone in the neighborhood or ward "phantom-ed" by the time Halloween rolls round.

This is one of our favorite family traditions.  If you haven't done it before you really should. You can google "halloween phantom" or "booing" and I'm sure you'll find lots of ideas for treats and poems.  Do you already have this tradition?  Is so, is it a favorite?

countdown to halloween - pb cup

Sorry for the lack of a Halloween Countdown post yesterday.  We have been getting hit with bad news for the last few days and feeling saddened by it all - I couldn't get myself to post yesterday.  I still can't shake the sadness but thought I would take a minute to post regardless.

So here is yesterdays Halloween idea...Who doesn't love a yummy Halloween treat?  Megan is a huge peanut butter cup fan so when I saw this recipe I knew it was a must try for our family.
Does anyone make homemade candy?  My mother in law makes the best homemade candies at Christmas.  I have made a few, very few, attempts at making candy but it never seems to turn out right.  This recipe seems simple so well see how they turn out.  If you have any easy candy recipe let me know.  I may try to bring some homemade goodness to Halloween.


countdown to halloween - changing portrait

So I didn't love Martha's Halloween idea so I'm sharing a Halloween product that I love.  I am amazed by the work over at Ghoulish Gallery.  I have purchased portraits from this company and they are unbelievable.  As you walk past the portrait it changes.  The one below (Isabella) is one of my favorites.

Lately I have seen very, very cheap knock offs of these portraits at stores and I have to tell you that they don't even compare to the work you get from Ghoulish Gallery.  In addition to getting a great product from Ghoulish Gallery you also get amazing service.  A few years back I needed to get a portrait asap for a friends October birthday and Tim the owner hooked me up.  He is local so he allowed me to come and leave my money in his home mailbox and pick up the portrait all wrapped and waiting for me on his porch.  He was helpful and kind and a pleasure to work with.

I think that these portraits are a necessary purchase for any true Halloween fanatic.  In fact, I think this is my year to purchase.  Believe it or not I have purchased 3 of these beauties and they have all been for other people.  I don't have one hanging in my home but should you come and visit this Halloween keep an eye out for Isabella - hopefully she will be haunting my walls.


countdown to halloween

I know Martha bugs a ton of folks (myself included) but you can't doubt her creative genius and that of her staff.

On marthastewart.com they have a countdown to Halloween with a new Halloween idea of everyday.  I am a few weeks behind with it because I just found it today but now that I'm on board I will share her idea or one of my own every day here on the blog to help us all get ready for the big spooktacular - Oct. 31st.

Here are some of the ideas I like from the past few weeks...

tombstone candy bags - super simple and way cute

This roasted turkey costume almost makes me want to have a baby.  I in no way want more children but I would possibly consider a 5th child if I could put them in this get up.  How hilarious is this costume?  If anyone does this costume for Halloween please send me pictures - I have to see it.
I have wanted to make these paper lanterns for years.  I love seeing the words all lit up.  I like the idea of there being a spooky message to welcome visitors to your home.  I like that this is a cheap idea with a lot of impact.
Have I said how much I love this holiday?  It makes me giddy thinking about decorating my house for Halloween.


TIME to celebrate

 was at IKEA last Saturday and I saw this clock for $2.99.  I picked up a few because I wanted to try using them as plate chargers.  I didn't have a particular party in mind so the plan was to just store them away until I came up with an excuse to use them.

Last Sunday I noticed in our church bulletin that one of my friends had a birthday coming up and I instantly knew I had my excuse to use the clocks - I just had to figure out how to incorporate them into a theme.  I ended up with "TIME to celebrate" You could really use the clock/time theme for anything...school time, it's about time, free time, time after time (thank you very much Cyndi Lauper)

So today I had 7 friends over for a birthday brunch.  Here is the finished table.  Please excuse the bad pictures.  These were taken sometime after midnight - the lights horrible and I was too tired to deal with settings.

The original clocks were clear plastic which I thought was rather boring so I grabbed some spray paint and spiffed them up.
Instead of making a birthday cake or bringing out cupcakes at the end of the meal I incorporated them into the centerpiece - cheap and easy.
I picked up a few watches at Forever 21 on sale for $6 and hung them from colorful block pictures holders that I also found at IKEA for $2
This was a simple party to put together that didn't demand a ton of time on my part or a lot of money.
It was nice to have an excuse to plan a small get together but it was even nicer to have an excuse to get together with friends to laugh and to talk.