Martha Must Practice a Lot

22 Oct

The inspiration.

As a kid I loved Halloween, as we all do.  It’s kind of a no-brainer for a kid.  But as an adult, and especially an adult Austinite, I’ve re-learned to appreciate the holiday.  To be totally honest, a lot of it is because it’s so freakin’ hot here until the end of September that the entire month of October seems like cause for celebration.  So I’ve held a pumpkin-carving party for years in my backyard.  But with the addition of the children in my life it’s become even more fun.

I’m not a big dresser-upper however (although I do have a classic where I dress all in black and run pieces of masking tape up from my legs to my neck; I’m a speed bump.  If you know me, you know it’s funny).  I’m more of a Martha Stewart or Camille Styles-type Halloweener; making themed food and crafts for parties.  That is, I would like to be.  Recent projects have reminded me that I have a way to go before I can include myself in the ranks of these august entertainers.

Our luminarias

Ours, not quite the same, but cute!

We posted a few weeks ago about this cool idea for Halloween luminarias.  These are so cute and seem so easy that I included them in our project repertoire for this year’s carving party.  Basically you take an empty jar, paint the inside with acrylic paint (that’s what we used anyway) and then draw a pumpkin or a ghost on the outside.  Drop a tealight in and, voila, a luminaria!  Well, as usual, they don’t look quite like the picture.  Of course I’m guessing that Amanda didn’t have most of hers made by 8 year-olds either.  I’ll let you wonder which one is mine…

Chicken wire ghost dresses

So cool!

I also tried this chicken-wire ghost project.  Yes, of course that sounds like it will turn out terrible.  But the inspiration looked so cool!  Take chicken wire and mold it in to a shape (they did dresses, dead brides I guess? I stuck with a traditional ghost) then spray it with glow-in-the-dark paint.  I imagined them dancing ethereally in the garden, elegant and spooky at the same time.  Not so much.  I had to put those garden stakes in there to keep them from blowing over, and the paint didn’t glow.

Chicken wire ghost


Sigh.  They’re both good ideas, so I may try them again next year.  I’m sure Martha and Camille have 50 rounds of lumpy-looking testers in a junk pile somewhere before they get to that oh-s0-simple-looking final result.  And I have to remind myself that the whole holiday is really about getting together with friends, covering yourself in pumpkin goo and celebrating fall.  Mission Accomplished.

Pumpkin-carving party

This is what it’s all about.

8 Responses to “Martha Must Practice a Lot”

  1. Home Seasons October 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Couldn’t agree with the tagline more! Martha Stewart’s projects always look amazing, but ours don’t turn out as well!

  2. Jenny Peterson October 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    LOL that sounds like me last Easter. I decided I was going to try to use natural dyes like beets to dye my Easter eggs. They all turned out muddy-looking and nasty. Meh is right!

    • redchairmarket October 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      We just have to remember that all those pretty pictures are preceded by lots of ugly tries!

  3. Amanda Formaro (@amandaformaro) October 24, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    You’re right, I made mine, not 8 year olds 🙂 I didn’t paint the inside of the jars though, I painted the outside. Since you painted the inside, you might not want to use real tea lights with a flame, not sure if it being in direct contact with the paint could be a problem. Err on the side of caution and use LED tea lights. Glad you had fun!

    • redchairmarket October 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Ooops, didn’t think about that! I hope I don’t set the house on fire. Readers, you might want to paint the outside…

  4. carol S.A. October 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Anita, I love your writing style…very entertaining, humorous…..and authentically you! That’s the winning combination for a writer. Keep more coming. You, no doubt, have an appreciative audience out there. Carol Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 21:39:33 +0000 To:

    • redchairmarket October 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Thanks! I’m having a lot of fun writing it and meeting new people.


  1. 11 Creative and Cheap Things to do with Spray Paint (Part One: Holiday Ideas) « Red Chair Market - December 12, 2012

    […] is the one that’s still a work in progress.  Remember the chicken-wire ghosts?  Well I decided to try to repurpose them in to trees.  I cut the wire in to a round-ish shape […]

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