Spooky Fog Machine Effect

This weekend we finally got up all of our Halloween decorations.  Well, almost all.  It’s never fully done until the big day.  And if you have ever visited us IRL you know that we go all out for Halloween.  Well, my husband goes all out.  He creates his own little mini-haunted house in our front yard.

Part of our front yard set up

Part of our front yard set up

So why am I bragging to you about this?  I wanted to share our cool fog effect because it was super easy and makes the yard super eerie.  Basically you are making the fog cold so that it will float along the ground instead of just billowing up into the air.

How cool does it really look?  You can see a video of our front yard with the fog floating along HERE.  Or scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Materials:  Styrofoam cooler, plastic mesh, adjustable rain gutter extension, duck tape, fog machine with liquid fog, optional paint

All the necessary supplies assembled

All the necessary supplies assembled

Directions:

Start with the cooler.  It needs to be stryofoam so that you can cut holes in it.  We picked ours up from a convenience store and then painted it gray to camouflage it.  You are going to cut holes in either side to allow the fog to travel through the cooler and cool down.

The cooler cut and painted.

The cooler cut and painted.

Use the plastic mesh to make a tunnel instead.  You want it to be mesh (instead of a more solid material) so that the ice can really cool the fog while leaving a path through which it can go

Plastic mesh to make the the tunnel

Plastic mesh to make the the tunnel

The mesh tunnel placed inside of the cooler.

The mesh tunnel placed inside of the cooler.

Then use the plastic extendable rain gutter to make the outer tubes.  You can pick this up from the hardware store and just cut it in half.

Extendable rain gutter prepped for the project

Extendable rain gutter prepped for the project

Attach a piece of the rain gutter to the holes on either side.  One end will hook onto the fog machine for the fog to enter and then the other piece is where the chilled fog will exit.

With the rain gutters added to each end

With the rain gutters added to each end

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The rain gutter attaching to the fog machine

And here is the finished product.  It really is quick and easy to make.  It also is sturdy since we’ve been reusing it each year.

The finished set up

The finished set up

Huge thank you to my friend Kendra who discovered this on the internet and sent it our way.  We’ve tweaked a bit and this is what has worked for us.  Enjoy!

Homemade Sensory Table

We recently made a sensory table for the girls to use.  Well, when I say “we” I really mean that I draw up a plan and then Ed did the actual building.  Sensory tables are a great place for your little ones to explore with their senses (hence the name) and for messy projects but they can be pretty expensive.  This design was relatively cheap, under $20, and didn’t take too long to make.  A huge thank you to my friend Kendra for the inspiration.

And here’s a picture of the girls enjoying their finished sensory table.  They were exploring volume using measuring cups, jars, and bottles with the rice and beads in the bins.

Another great part about this design is that it can easily be adapted to meet different size needs. You can build it to whatever size bin you purchase. You can also easily add more compartments, creating a square or a row of stations.

Supplies: 2″x2″ baluster (cheaper to buy in 8 ft segments), 1 1/2″ wood screws, lag bolts (heavy gauge screws with a hexagonal head for a ratchet/wrench), plastic bins, drill, sandpaper, spray paint

 

Measure according to the bins and cut the baluster wood to shape.  When measuring, just look at the sides, don’t include the lip of the bins since you want it smaller so that it hangs from the lip.

Use 1 1/2 inch wood screws to connect the pieces.  We made one large rectangle and then inserted the middle piece.  And use a miter box at a 45 degree angle for all four corners.

Choose the height for the table (we went with about 18″ plus the 2″ of the frame) and then cut the leg pieces also from the baluster.  Attach the legs with lag bolts (really what you want are large bolts that have a hex head so you can use a wrench or ratchet on it.  You will need to drill out the holes first so that you don’t split the wood.  Ed used a larger drill bit so that you can sink the bolts so that they are flush with the wood and don’t stick up.  (The center prong will create a guide hole for the hole you drill for the bolt.)

Sand it so that the wood is even and the corners rounded to make it safer/softer.  You can puddy in the gaps but on ours they were so small it wasn’t worth the effort.  Then paint it.

Drop in the buckets.  For the bins, try to get as flat a bottom as possible.

We’ve been having a lot of fun with our table.  Above, they are having water play with water beads.  They are beads used in floral displays that puff up with the water and are squishy.  They come in all kinds of colors, are fun to tough, and can squish into all kinds of bottles, etc.

Just to show how much money you are saving, here are some similar sensory table designs…

Dragon Wings

I am so impressed with my husband for making these awesome dragon wings for the girls!  He actually made them a few weeks ago but I’ve been reluctant to post them since I really had nothing to do with the process.  All on his own, Ed researched how to make them, designed them, bought the materials, cut out everything, put them together, and even did the sewing.  it was actually the first time he had ever sewed so I did get the sewing machine all set up and showed him how to do that.

But I really think that they are just too cool to not share with everyone.  I mean, who doesn’t want dragon wings?

So here are the directions for making your own awesome dragon wings…

Supplies:
  • Posterboard to make a template
  • Felt, I think we used about 1/2 yard on each set of wings, you will be cutting out two sets of wings to make one pair
  • Heat’N’Bond Iron-On Adhesive Ultrahold
  • Wire hangers (we used about 1 1/2 to make one set of wings)
  • Elastic (white, 1/2 inch wide)
  • Decorative fabric for the inner part of the wings (optional)
Steps:
  • Draw your wings on the posterboard to make your template.  Our wings are 28″ at their widest point.  Be sure to leave a bit of a bar between the two wings to go across the back.
  • Trace the wings onto felt and then cut them out.  You will actually need 2 sets of wings cut from the felt that you will attach together with the Heat’N’Bond Iron-On Adhesive.  Instead of cutting each one out and then trying to carefully stack the layers, Ed would cut the fabric after it was attached to the previous layer.  So for instance, after cutting the wings out of the felt, he ironed those wings to the Heat’N’Bond Iron-On Adhesive.  After ironing it on, then he cut the wing shape out of the Heat’N’Bond following the felt wing lines.
  • Unwind the wire hanger and bend it to make the wing frame.  The hanger only went along the top line of the wings.  Then cut the other hanger into some straight bits to be the “ribs” in the wings.  We did 2 ribs on each wing.
  • Pull off the back piece of the adhesive and lay all the wire pieces onto the adhesive fabric.  Then put the felt over that to make the second felt layer for the wings and press it firmly together.  After attaching the felt, cut it out in shape of the wings.
  • Now is the time to add the extra fabric to give the look of “scales.”  We used gold quilted material for the inner side of the wings and then on the outer part we used some purple/silver scale material.  Using the posterboard template make a new template for the inner part of the wings.  Trace that on the fabrics you have chosen.  To attach the decorative pieces Ed used the adhesive material again.
  • Once all of the pieces were together, Ed sewed the wings together to make them even sturdier.  He sewed along the outer edge of the entire wing piece, then sewed along the edge of the inner wing pieces and sewed lines on either side of the ribs.
  • To reinforce the middle band since that holds the wings together and is a pretty small piece, Ed added an extra piece of the gold fabric on the inner side.  This way there was just one more more layer making it even stronger.
  • Finally he sewed the elastic straps on.  We measured the wings on the girls and found a size that seemed comfortable on them.

Ed working hard making the wings 🙂

 

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