Category Archives: Hobbies, Art. Crafting

Decoration Ideas for Halloween 2022

Looking for ideas on how to decorate your house this Halloween? Gone are the days of being limited to tired old Halloween themes – just like your costumes have matured beyond witch and cat to more topical, creative garb, your house can level up its decor game too. Here are some fun ideas for decor themes inspired by recent trends for your home this Halloween that you’ll be proud to drive by each night – as a bonus, coordinate your/your family’s costumes too!

  1. Stranger Things: why wouldn’t the most hyped spooky show of Netflix deserve an homage in your driveway? People costumes are easy – hit the thrift store and grab some striped shirts and corduroy pants. Get creative with Christmas lights on the side of the house a la Will Byer’s living room – you can even replace the alphabet with “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” or “TRICK OR TREAT”. A cutout of a Demogorgon in black construction paper on the window and you’ve got a highly affordable start to this theme!
  2. Nope/Aliens: Jordan Peele’s latest foray into bone-chilling terror is far from the only time the extraterrestrial has scared the bejeezus out of us, but it may have flying saucers the topic of many a recent nightmare. Do Nope directly with cowboy hats and whistling wind sounds, or just evoke aliens in general with low green lights in the front yard and The X-Files theme on the boombox.
  3. The Witcher/Dark fantasy: hear me out – we’ve got a deluge of fantasy shows airing these days, and this one in particular illustrates how fantasy can have a scary edge. (The Bruxa had me closer to peeing my pants than The Nun ever did.) The Witcher has some terrifying creatures who draw inspiration from real life horror legends – you could create a cool silhouette of the Leshen (who echoes the fabled Wendigo) or Voleth Meir/the Deathless Mother’s hut (like the Baba Yaga) – and a Yennefer costume is easy enough with a goth witch aesthetic. Plus, you have a great excuse to dress the hubby up as Geralt … Yummy!

    There’s more to be done here if you’re a creative type as well. Lord of the Rings is back with Rings of Power and Game of Thrones is hoping to see redemption from its disastrous Season 8 and series finale with House of the Dragon – if you don’t think those dragons or the Balrog aren’t terrifying, you’re not looking hard enough. Channel your inner elf girl or Targaryen and create a long table with a creepy feast fit for a king (think as described in “Hotel California”) to set the mood.
  4. Witchy Aesthetic: while the witchy aesthetic saw its true hey in 2021, it’s still alive and kicking. Channel your gothiest urges, put on a black dress, decorate with moon phases, crows and crystal skulls. It’s not just on WitchTok anymore to hex the moon – and speaking of magical teen sorceresses…
  5. Riverdale: Who would have thought that a show about Archie comics would turn into a supernatural horror phenom? Whatever your feelings about CW show quality, Riverdale is instantly recognizable and has some great dark themes to add to your All Hallows Eve.

Are you thinking outside the box this Halloween? Share your ideas below!

A List of the Best Ideas and Activities for Your Outdoor Event

For the summer months – and even the spring and autumn – outdoor events are very popular indeed. It’s no surprise because we all love spending as much time outdoors when the weather is good (or even when it’s less than perfect but with a spot of sun once in a while). During this time, we have our share of outdoor events – festivals, picnics, sports competitions, and the like. These events are inherently appealing to us, and they even bring about a sense of nostalgia and wistful feeling that we can’t get enough of – and don’t forget the health benefits as well! But if you are planning an event outdoors, you’re probably thinking of ideas to make it even more fun and exciting. Whilst some ideas – and activities – may have been tried and tested (and you can’t wait to try them at your event), it can’t hurt to have a list of new ideas and activities to try out. Ready for something different? Here’s your list of the best ideas and activities for your outdoor event. 

  • The card game 

This game goes well if you have a large group and serves as an excellent icebreaker. You can divide a large group into several smaller groups, and this game encourages the group members to share a brief story or introduction about themselves. Make sure to give each person an index card and have them write down one thing the other attendees don’t know, and then write their name on the card. Then, gather all the cards, spread them through the group, and have each attendee read aloud something interesting on their card so they can establish connections. 

  • The side stall game

If you want to add extra fun and excitement to your event, you can hire a couple of side stalls and have a contest to see who does best. There are a lot of funfair stalls for hire, but if you want extra fun and nostalgia, you can hire a test your strength game, a ring toss, or the ever-popular coconut shy side stall. The one who gets the best out of three is the winner! 

  • The logo game 

Another icebreaker that works great with large crowds (it can have an unlimited number of players) is the logo game. With this, you can supply your attendees with a pen and a name tag and have them write down their name on the tag along with a logo they identify with. It could be an animal, an activity, a person, or more. And as the attendees mingle with each other, they will find out each other’s names and have something to talk about as they look at each other’s logos. 

  • The treasure chest challenge 

If you want to loosen up the crowd and put them in a good mood, you can play the treasure chest challenge. Divide a large group into smaller groups, then let them hunt for Easter eggs. But each group has a specific colour they must find – their treasure basket – and the first group who finds their basket of Easter eggs wins. 

Image attributed to Pixabay.com  

How to enjoy your Garden All Year Long

Summer doesn’t last sufficiently long enough or so many people think. We spend a few months outside, in the garden, and then we close ourselves again inside our home. But there are ways to keep enjoying the sensation of the outdoor, whether you are inside or outside the house, all year long. Here are some of them.

  1. Keeping an Open Link between the House and the Garden

Who says that your house and your garden should be two completely different environments? Locking ourselves between four walls is a thing people used to do, yesterday. Now, we look for the sensation of being part of nature, as often as we can, and that includes when we are inside the house. How can we do it? By opening it to the outside world through the use of aluminium folding doors and windows, which enable you to literally join both environments, on permitting days (when the weather agrees), and to enjoy the sensation of being in your garden, thanks to floor to ceiling windows and doors. To discover the multiple models, you can visit aluprof.eu/gb.

  1. Install Gas Heaters on the Patio

A great way to make summer last longer, is to use gas heaters on the patio. They are made to keep you warm, as long as you stay withing a certain distance. This is a great trick to add days spent outside, both in the spring months and in the fall. It will even let you dine on the patio, on beautiful but colder days. If you want to enjoy winter days, you can do so using those gas heaters, as well. However, it is suggested that you had a blanket to the chair, so that it keeps you warmer. It is a great way to spend a beautiful sunny January day, while reading a book or enjoying a glass of wine.

  1. Get into Gardening

In locations where it doesn’t snow, gardening can be a twelve-month hobby. In fact, there is always something to do in a garden, when you are really into it. There is a time to sow and a time to reap, but there are also many moments when you need to do some maintenance or simply to prepare the soil. Gardening is a physical activity that lets you benefit from fresh air, as it forces you to go outside. Anyone who is not training their body regularly knows how difficult it can be to get to the task of moving one’s self. Gardening is ideal, as it lets you do so, without having to leave home.

  1. Do Seasonal Activities

The best way to really enjoy your garden 365 days a year is to use it for the purpose it may serve, according to seasons. We mentioned snow in the previous paragraph as something that can be an issue in terms of gardening. However, winter can be a lot of fun in a garden as well. If your backyard is large enough, preparing a skating rink is lots of fun for the kids and adults. If not, you still can go out and build a snowman! Make the most of what the weather offers you; that is the best way to enjoy your garden all year long.

How to Write With a Fountain Pen

Fountain pens are well-known and liked for the elegant penmanship that they offer. However, like all good things, it takes some skill and practice to achieve those beautiful legible strokes of handwriting.

The good news is, learning how to write with a fountain pen is not complex, and neither does it require you to reinvent your writing style. You only need to grasp a few basics to help you get the kind of quality penmanship you have been yearning for. 

So, in this guide, we explore some key tips on how to ace writing with a fountain pen. 

Choose the Right Pen

Fountain pens are not made equal. They are available in different thicknesses, pen casings, and even filling methods. This is great because, amidst the variety of options, you could easily find a fountain pen that suits your writing preferences. 

As you choose your fountain pen, aim for a design that you can handle with ease. Get a feel of the weight of the pen and how it fits between your fingers. If it feels comfortable, then you are more likely to write better and enjoy using it. If not, try a different design. 

Additionally, endeavor to choose the right type of fountain pen for your needs. For example, if you are looking to write some calligraphy, then a calligraphy fountain pen would be best. On the other hand, if you are new to the whole fountain pen experience, consider a beginner fountain pen. You could always advance to something more sophisticated later on. 

These details may seem trivial at first impression but once you get to writing, you will realize that they play a major role in how well you write. 

Choose the Right Fountain Pen Accessories

One of the great attributes of a fountain pen is that it offers considerable flexibility. You can, for instance, choose a type of ink or nib that you feel would improve your writing experience. If you are wondering how to choose the right accessories, here are some insights to guide you. 

Ink

You are likely well aware that you can have your choice of ink color. What you may not know is that there are different types of fountain pen ink and they can significantly elevate your writing experience.

Quick-dry ink, for example, would be a good choice if you are worried about smudging while scented and shimmering inks would be ideal for special pieces of writing like invitation cards. Other options to consider include lubricated inks, waterproof inks, and specialty inks, among others.

Look out for quality brands of ink too because the quality of the ink you pick affects both your writing and the longevity of your fountain pen. 

Nibs

Nibs vary based on the material they are made of, their flexibility or rigidity, and their thickness.

Flex nibs are recommended if you enjoy smooth gliding strokes while more rigid nibs are ideal for more controlled strokes of writing. You can learn more about this on our Flex nibs writing guide. 

In terms of thickness, a stub nib will yield thicker lines of writing whereas an italic nib is a great companion if you would prefer thin lines.

Paper

Fountain pens dispense fresh ink as you write. Although the ink is dispensed in a steady and measured stream, it can begin to blot if your writing surface is made of poor-quality paper. 

Consequently, it is advisable that you choose absorbent types of paper. Look out for leading paper brands like Faber-Castell, Rhodia, or Scheaffer, among others. 

Training

Once you have the right fountain pen and the right accessories, you can officially get down to the business of writing. That said, instead of jumping off the deep end, you could start with some practice sessions.

At this point, you are probably thinking; ‘Why would I need training?’. 

Plenty of reasons. For starters, practice sessions give you a chance to get more accustomed to your fountain pen if you are a beginner. On the other hand, if you have used fountain pens before, practice reawakens your muscle memory and helps you get back in your writing groove. 

Additionally, learning from pros on Youtube and platforms like Instagram could introduce you to a broader variety of fountain pen writing techniques. 

This would also be a great way to find out if you have picked the right fountain pen and accessories. All you need is your ink-filled fountain pen, a writing surface, and some spare time.

Above all, fountain pen writing practice does not have to turn into a boring and rigid class. Keep it light and fun. Think of it like a doodle challenge where you keep building your skillset and unlocking more advanced techniques as you go along.

Technique

Technique refers to more than just putting pen to paper. It encompasses details such as how you hold your fountain pen, the style of penmanship that you choose, and your posture too.

Here are some pointers to help you nail your technique.

Posture

An upright posture goes a long way in ensuring that you can position your fountain pen comfortably and write with ease. As a result, your writing is likely to be more legible and effortless. 

To achieve this, try and invest in a chair with good back support and a quality writing desk for fountain pens. These provisions are especially important if you will be writing regularly or for prolonged durations.

Pen Holding

As with most pens, it is perfectly okay to hold your fountain pen between your thumb and index finger. Some people even opt to use the middle finger for extra support.

However, if you would like to glide your fountain pen away to quality penmanship, make an effort to keep your arm loose. This ensures that you do not exert any undue force as you write with your fountain pen or tire out your hand. Steady and loose works just fine.

Writing

There is no standard measure or acceptable style of legibility. The only goal is to ensure that your writing is consistent, appealing, and easy to read. 

Make an effort to differentiate ascending and descending letters. For clarity, avoid chaining or looping them together so much that they are difficult to tell apart. Spacing between words and letters is equally important as it makes your writing neat and easy for the eye to perceive. 

It is important to mention that if your typical handwriting is illegible, using a fountain pen is unlikely to transform it. It would be best to take up handwriting practice using templates and then advance to fountain pen practice sessions as discussed above. 

Correcting Errors

If you happen to make errors as you write, it may be easier to strike through the error and move on to write what you intended. Trying to write over an error using a fountain pen often results in unsightly blotting or an ineligible muddle of letters.

Final Thoughts

Writing with a fountain pen often looks like a sophisticated art but with the right tools and some practice, it is quite simple and pleasant. Now that you know where to begin, write away!

Improve the Value of Your Home with These DIY Projects

Although homeownership is expensive, there’s one saving grace: DIY fixes.  Increasing your home’s value is usually viewed as a costly endeavor to aim for, but you don’t have to worry about spending too much money if you complete the fixes yourself.

Each of these is a project you can do with minimal training, and each will increase your home’s worth.

Remove Wallpaper and Paint 

Wallpaper goes in and out of style: but the patterns make it clear when it’s been in a home for twenty years or more.  To get rid of wallpaper in your home, you can buy a steamer for thirty dollars or work to steam using a hot water kettle and some towels.  Steam off the wallpaper, sand down any extra glue or unevenness and paint the walls a crisp new color.  This can make a space look more contemporary, which will increase its value.

Strip and Repaint or Stain Cabinets

One of the quickest things to change in home decor is what types of cabinets are in style.  Although it would be nice to afford to replace your cabinets and have someone else do it: it’s not feasible for most homeowners trying to sell.  Instead, put in the time and effort to sand down the cabinetry in your kitchen and paint or stain it into a color that will make it look more modern and attractive.

Put Some Work Into Curb Appeal

Your curb appeal directly impacts the perceived value of your home.  To boost it further, mow and trim your lawn, ensure the edges are cut back, trim any bushes or shrubbery, and put in local flowers or plant life that will show off the look of your home.  This can give your home a new face without making you spend more than twenty dollars on seeds or small starting plants.

Put In New Doors

If you’re wondering ‘What is my home worth?’ you may be looking at the big picture. But it’s important to consider the details.  Replacing your doors, from your front door to the interior doors, can easily give your home a new look and guide people through it.  It won’t take longer than an afternoon to replace all of these doors, and you’ll come away with a home that feels far more unified and beautiful to walk through.  You can also pick out unique doorknobs to take your home’s personality a little further.

Clean Your Gutters And Roof

Gutters that are full of leaves, and a roof that’s also covered in debris, will ruin the value of your home.  People look at these, and they assume your home isn’t well maintained and that there’s a lot of problems inside that they’ll have to find themselves.  To avoid this, maintain your roof by cleaning your gutters and your roof often.  If you have trouble keeping up with your gutters, consider putting in gutter guards that will stop leaves and gunk from allowing them to drain.  Although this is completely free to do, it can increase your home’s value exponentially.