Spooky Halloween Sign Tutorial

Why pay upwards of $15 for Halloween Décor when you can make it yourself for $6 or less?

I made mine for the cost of the craft wood (only $2 each). I already had the other items in my home. If you are crafty you probably have Mod Podge, Sharpie markers, and craft paint!



  • Craft or scrap wood
  • Horror book (think Stephen King)
  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • White Marker or White Acrylic Paint
  • Black Paint Marker or Sharpie marker (I use Sharpie Oil Based Paint Markers- they are $6 but one marker lasts forever)
  • Mod Podge Glue
  • Paint Brush
  • Coffee grounds (used and still wet)

Step 1:

Paint your craft wood black. Once dried, add some white streaks to distress along the border with your white marker or white paint. Less is best.

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Step 2:

Cut up your horror book pages, find passages with creepy words or scene descriptions.  Cut them with a curvy edge.  I cut several about 2 x 2 inches and a few smaller 1 x 1 and 1/4 x 2  inch passages.  (Do not just cut one page, or you will see too much white space on the page.) You want all of the text to run together and cover the  wood piece.

Rub your wet coffee grounds gently on your paper to give it a brown, vintage feel.  Brush off gently and pat dry flat with a paper towel. You can start step 3 even if the paper is still damp…

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Step 3:

Start gluing! Cover your wood with craft glue or Mod Podge and start layering your words. Leave the edges exposed. This does not have to be perfect! Just don’t leave any huge gaps.

Cover top with glue to seal.  Allow to dry completely.

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Step 4:

Add your spooky words or cute Halloween sayings with a black marker or paint pen! Fonts I really like are Harrington and Algerian.


Add a silhouette of a raven, black cat, or bat.

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TIP!  Always sketch out words first in pencil and use a ruler to mark straight lines. The second sign I made I did not do this and you can see that the word DARE cuts off at the bottom. Crafting fail.

Enjoy your signs! Once you have the materials handy you can make these signs for just the cost of the craft wood (or use scrap wood you find laying around your garage or barn).

Happy Haunting!

Place on a mantle or bookshelf:



Genbumom Creations: {Custom Canvas and Wood Artwork}


I am excited to announce I am going to start creating & selling custom made Canvas and Wood Artwork in the Indianapolis area!

I’m all set up to take credit and debit card payments. Pretty fancy, eh?! I’m working with an amazing graphic designer at BellStar MarketingLLC to work on a pricing sheet and it will be ready next week!

I needed a page dedicated to pictures of my artwork and designs. I would sum it up as whimsical and colorful nursery and home décor canvas art and modern Shabby-Chic style wooden signs.

I’ll be taking custom orders on a 2-3 week turn around time (local orders only). Eventually, the goal is to start an Etzy shop for out of state orders!

I will keep you posted. Here is a preview for now…

Slideshow: Wood Art for Nursery, Home, Garden, and Gifts

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Slideshow: Canvas Art for Nursery, Home, and Garden


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Below are some of the décor options for the Wood signs.

Items such as burlap, lace, buttons, flowers, jewels, and die cut wood pieces. Decorative knobs and hangers are an additional charge.

I can also add custom painted artwork (dinosaurs, monsters, owl, birds, butterflies, ladybugs, snails, forest or jungle animals, trees, vines, leaves, stars, moon, arrows, trucks, superhero symbols)… and of course CUSTOM QUOTES!

Wood can be painted in array of customer colors, or an option of 3 stain colors. Stain can be plain or with a color ‘overlay.’ See below images.




Dark Walnut


Accents for that Shabby-Chic charm:

Thank you everyone for your continued support, creative input and feedback. I’m very excited to start this journey!


Facial Care with Essential Oils

img_5840You need to use oils in your facial skincare!

This is why…

They are so much  more healing and penetrating than lotions and can actually help reduce breakouts if you use the right type.

If you are a user of essential oils, you are about to get very familiar with my favorite carrier oil: Hemp Seed oil. For facial care it’s Hemp Seed oil or bust.  I won’t use anything else on my face!

It’s non-comedogenic factor of 0. Yes, 0!   It is considered a “dry oil” so it is not greasy.  It heals breakouts, has a greenish tint that masks ruddiness, and leave skin feeling smooth. It contains 80% essential fatty acids.

“Since hemp seed oil is nearly identical to our own lipids, it is capable of penetrating our cells and lubricating the surfaces between them. It is used to nourish not only dry skin but blotches and lesions as well.”

– Learn more here: Natural

I get compliments on my skin tone all the time. I look better rested, wrinkles are diminished, and my skin clarity has greatly improved.  I use it morning and night. It functions perfectly under makeup also.


Yes, this is my eye.  Looking pretty good in the mid 30’s department…thank you oils!


I used a name brand “commonly dermatologist- recommended” face lotion for a week during a temporary bout of, I don’t know, I guess laziness and  insanity?  I broke out, had clogged pores on my forehead, and my skin looked sallow. Yuck.

It’s worth a trip to the fridge to use my Hemp Seed Oil Face Serum!  (Yes, it does need refrigerated).

Featured in the images below are the 5 oils I always use in my face serum. Sometimes I add Carrot Seed oil (it has an SPF factor for skin protection).

If you are a novice to oils or feel you cannot spend so much money, I would recommend the following combos:

  • Lavender & Tea Tree: acne prone skin
  • Frankincense and Palmarosa: oily skin
  • Lavender and Palmarosa: oily skin that is sensitive
  • Lavender and Frankincense: dry and/or mature skin


Repairing Face Serum


  • 1 oz Hemp Seed Oil
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 5 drops Frankincense
  • 5 drops Hyssop
  • 5 drops Palmarosa
  • 5 drops Tea Tree (if you have dry skin,  reduce to 3 drops and see how you react)

Frankincense and lavender are the main staple in my face serum; lavender is moisturizing and reduces inflammation and redness.

Frankincense is extremely healing and may reduce blemishes for many skin types. (It works for my combination skin: a dab of bentonite clay and frankincense, let sit,  rinse off after 10-15 minutes, then apply a dab or frankincense after is a great zit zapper!)

This astringent quality also reduces the appearance of wrinkles,… Anti-Aging: As a Cytophylactic, Frankincense Oil promotes regeneration of healthy cells and also keeps the existing cells and tissues healthy. [1]

Hyssop, or Hyssopus officinalis, has a slightly sweet scent and can promote creativity.  It is often used for skin issues and can treat bites, bruises, and swelling. It also contains antiseptic qualities.


photo courtesy of

Palmarosa, or Cymbopogon martini,  is also known as East Indian Geranium and has restorative and regenerative effects. It has a floral-like lemon smell. If you like the smell of Lemongrass, you may enjoy diffusing Palmarosa with a few drops of Lavender. [3]

The reason I bought Palmarosa was to use during the hot summer months, as it reduces excess sebum (oil) production.  You can create a refreshing toner with unscented witch hazel and a drop of Palmarosa, Lemon, and Lavender on an organic cotton round.

It helps stimulate cellular regeneration and to re-establish the physiological balance of the skin. It can help smooth out wrinkles. It also helps to rehydrate dry skin and hair by helping balance the production of sebum. [4]

Tea Tree, or melaleuca oil can treat many skin conditions: such as cuts/abrasions, gum and teeth issues and acne. “Numerous Aboriginal communities along the east coast of Australia have a long history of using tea tree as an antiseptic for skin conditions.” [5] 

I dot Tea Tree on my skin all the time. I also dilute it in water and combine it with peppermint for a refreshing mouth wash!


Eye Serum


  • 1 oz. Hemp Seed Oil
  • 10 drops RoseHip Oil (if desired- for mature skin)
  • 5 drops Frankincense
  • 3 drops Patchouli
  • 3 drops Elemi
  • 3 drops Cypress

See how you react with 3 drops and you can work your way up to 5 drops each essential oil. Of course, never apply directly in your eye or too close to it!

Patchouli oil is one of my favorite oils in regards to scent. I wear it several times a week mixed with orange and a drop of geranium as a perfume oil (my friend gave me this recipe).

The scent is very earthy and calms me down! I always carry it in a rollerball. I do avoid wearing it before work meetings as this fragrance is not for everyone.

It can help mature skin, especially in the under eye area, in regards to wrinkling or dryness.

“Patchouli oil has long been used in traditional Asian medicine, especially in Malaysia, China, and Japan. It is used to treat skin and hair problems, such as dermatitis, eczema, acne, dry chapped skin, dandruff, and oily scalp. It also has wound healing and scar reducing properties,8 as well as aphrodisiac effects.” [6]

Cypress, or Cupressus sempervirens:  I add it for it’s circulatory and vein strengthening effects. Cypress is often used in combination with other oils to help treat spider and varicose veins.  [7]

I also use this oil in a headache blend (peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender) that I rub on my temples. Skip this oil if you tend to develop under-eye puffiness. Here is a recipe using Cypress for a toning eye makeup remover from Sustainable Baby Steps.

Elemi, or  Canarium luzonicum is known scent-wise to resemble Frankincense but with a hint of lemon. It may help reduce scarring and acne, so it’s a perfect skin care oil. It has many other wellness benefits, so read up more on Elemi oil!

“Part of the same family as Frankincense and Myrrh, Elemi has been used traditionally to support the appearance of the skin.” [8]

BONUS TIP:  I use lavender in any mix I make. It’s moisturizing and calming. It tones down woodier scented oils, like Vetiver or Cedarwood. It masks the balsamic smell from oils like Rosemary or Elemi.

It reduces swelling and itchiness from bug bits of all types: mosquitos, chiggers, mites, etc.


Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any disease. Always exercise caution when using essential oils. Always consult with your primary care physician prior to use.  Some oils are safe during pregnancy and some are not, please consult your medical doctor or obstetrician prior to any use of essential oils. If you are on any medications, please inform your doctor.

  • Frankincense is not recommended for use during pregnancy. [1]
  • Patchouli may not be safe for use during pregnancy [6]
  • Do not use Hyssop oil if you have a history of seizures, epilepsy or high blood pressure. Not to be used on children under 5.  [2]


  1. Accessed August 2, 2016. Health Benefits of Frankincense.
  2. Accessed August 2, 2016.  Herbal Oil: Hyssop Oil: The Sacred Herb.
  3. Callahan, Jeff, December 2, 2012. Palmarosa Essential Oil.
  4. Accessed August 1, 2016.  Palmarosa Oil.
  5. October 2013. Tea Tree: Australia’s Oldest Medicine. University of Sydney.
  6. Accessed August 9, 2016. Patchouli: The Hippie Herbal Oil.
  7. Accessed August 9, 2016. Dr. Axe’s Essential Oil Guide.
  8. Young Living Essential Oil website:

Spicy Basil Pesto

Super simple basil pesto recipe that can be used to top pasta or baked whole-grain bread slices.

Keeps for up to 5 days in fridge. You can also spread cooled pesto on top of whipped cream cheese for a tasty cracker of veggie dip!



  • 2 cups packed fresh Sweet Basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped slightly
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 2 medium jalapeños, seeds removed, chopped (could sub 1 habanero)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Remove stems from basil, rinse and pat dry. Add basil to a high quality food processor with pine nuts, garlic and jalapeños. Blend well.
  2. Add 1/2 cup olive oil and blend well into a paste.
  3. Pour into a bowl and fold in fresh parmesan and the remaining 1/4  cup olive oil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you really like spicy!

Serve over warm pasta with a few slices of tomato or olives for a vegetarian dish, or toss with cooked chicken. I always add a little more parmesan on top of mine!

(Note:  If the thought of 2 jalapeno scares you, reduce to 1. I have made this with just 1 and it’s extremely palatable and not too spicy.) img_6145

My basil comes fresh from my organic garden. I plant it  for a natural garden pest repellent, so I always have plenty for this recipe. 2 cups is not a lot considering I have 6 basil plants!

It’s a prolific and hearty herb that super produces leaves all spring and summer. The more you pluck the more it grows.

Just 2 TBSPs of basil contains 6% of your DV vitamin A and 2% vitamin C.  It also contains phytonutrients.


And, of course,  olive oil contains good heart-healthy fats!

A Few Nutritional Facts about Basil:

“Basil leaves compose of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol.

These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

  • Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.” [1]



  1. Accessed August 3, 2016. Basil Herb Nutrition facts.

Top 15 Cake Decorating Tips

Genbumom’s Top 15 Cake Decorating Tips!

I started out baking birthday cakes when we found out my son was allergic to peanuts. We called local bakeries, searched stores, but had no luck finding a cake that could be deemed 100% peanut free or not made in a facility with peanuts.   So, I started making cakes myself.

It saves me money.  It’s a creative outlet.  It can be time consuming, so I often bake cakes the evening before and ice the next day.

My son has since been cleared to eat tree nuts, which has means I can now use (SOME) Wilton food colorings for my cakes. (Note: A few Wilton colors are still made in a facility where peanuts may be present so always check the Wilton colors before use, but many are just tree nuts). Always check labels.

I stared experimenting with fondant early this year and I’m addicted.  If you can play with playdoh you can use fondant.

Lately, I buy the pre-made fondant at the store (quicker, easier and less mess for this busy mommy!) A tasty homemade marshmallow fondant recipe is linked here: * I have used this before and it turns out very well, but follow the instructions carefully to avoid any lumps.

Needless to say, I’m a proud of hard work I’ve put into these cakes. I really enjoy making them and seeing everyone’s enjoyment!

Top 15 Cake Decorating Tips:

* Indicates the tip came from my decorating mentor Debra S.! Two of her cakes/cupcakes are featured below.
  1. When making a 100% fondant covered cake always do a double layer cake with icing in the middle. It will taste better for the guests who peel off and don’t eat fondant.
  2. Use crafting Popsicle sticks to hold your cake layers together. No need to buy the specialty cake rods! Just warn your guests they are in the cake!
  3. * Coat any pan very well with Crisco and flour (you don’t want to see any shiny spots) this will help your cake slide out easily. If vegan, use cold-pressed coconut oil.
  4. * Always do a crumb icing layer before fondant or your final icing layer using tips. Always.
  5. * Put the cooled off cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes prior to doing the crumb icing layer and sprinkle with powdered sugar to help avoid crumb sticking to your icing.
  6. Put Crisco on your hands and under your finger nails prior to mixing food coloring into fondant to avoid dyed hands and finger nails.
  7. When using a star-tipped icing cap- wipe if off frequently.
  8. If your icing starts to get runny and not “dot” onto the cake well, put it back in the fridge for  5 minutes so it’s not runny. Your hands will warm up the icing through the plastic accordion so you have to get it cold/more solid again.
  9. Don’t invest in the super expensive accordion style icing and tip decorating kits. I purchased a 3 piece kit at a Dollar Tree store and it has lasted me for 2 years. It came with two plastic accordions and 3 tips.
  10. You can use playdoh shape cutters for shapes. See the dinosaur cake- that was made using a kid’s sandwich cookie cutter. You don’t have to invest in a ton of specialty fondant cutters. Look around your house what you can wash and then use. Kid’s plastic toys can be used to make impressions. I’ve used toothpicks as well.
  11. Invest in a few fondant tools: A cutter with a few interchangeable rollers, a fondant roller are my go-to’s. I don’t feel you need a fondant board to roll out the fondant on. Clean very well, Crisco, and flour your countertop very well to avoid stains.
  12. To make fondant circles: Roll a small amount in your handle into a ball and simply press gently to flatten. It’s easier and quicker (in my opinion) than cutting out small circles with a tool.
  13. Use a dot of icing or Crisco to “attach” fondant decorations.
  14. To smooth out fondant mistakes, rub Crisco or coconut oil on top. If it appears greasy or shiny a TINY amount of flour can be rubbed in to reduce shine.
  15. * To smooth out icing (not fondant); dip your knife in warm water in between spreading the icing. A large icing spatula really helps.

Bonus Tips!: Make a batch of circle-cut sugar cookies (my favorite recipe is here) and use any leftover fondant to make a few simple star or heart decorated cookies for your guests to take home. Never waste!

Share your food colors with another crafty mom. There is no reason to invest in 20 colors yourself, when you can share. Wilton colors last a long time when stored properly and just a few toothpick dots of coloring is all that is needed.

Now the Cake Pictures! {and more tips}

Here are two amazing wedding cakes my cake advisor Debra S. has made. She also makes the most delicious cupcakes with surprises fillings in the middle. Yum!

Traditional Wedding 3-Tiered Fondant Cake with pearlescent shimmer, beading, ribbon and flowers:

Each layer of this cake was a different flavor. It’s simple, classy, and gorgeous.

Penguin Love Cake and Wedding cupcakes:

The cupcakes were dark chocolate with mint chocolate chip frosting and miniature chocolate chips and vanilla with raspberry fililng and white chocolate raspberry frosting.

Tip to liven up vanilla cupcakes: Grate real vanilla beans directly into the cupcake batter prior to baking. *



The Genbumom Cake Menagerie:

Elmo cake pan reused to make a Cookie Monster cake. Reduce and re-use! I had not started using fondant yet…just a lot of star tipped icing work!

To use the  Elmo cake pan to make a Cookie Monster cake: Simply remove the nose and change the mouth shape a bit.  Add some cookies around the face. That’s it.  So easy!

Getting a little more creative with these Dr. Seuss cupcakes I made for Halloween. We love our themed-Halloween costumes at the Genbumom house!

Dr. Seuss Cupcakes:

These were easy. Bake in red liners, print black and white photos of Dr. Seuss characters, color, and glue to toothpicks. Stick in cupcake.

Glue Thing 1 and Thing 2 circles onto another red cupcake liner and add on the outside of the cupcake.


img_5820 I hand drew and colored a favorite Dr. Seuss quote  and glued to cardboard and used a craft stick for the sign below.

My son’s costume was just a red onesie,  felt cut-out letters, and a lot of hand sewing. His hat was bought at a Party City store.

He wore that hat for two winters, he loved it so much! Total cost of costume was about $15. (The onesie was from a used clothing shop).

Winnie the Pooh Cake:

This was a double layer cake, covered in icing and smoothed with the warm water/ knife method above (#15). Piped green icing along the base.  I used store bought decorating gels for the water stream and black outlines.

I had to order the bee decorations (edible sugar) from the internet as well as the (non-edible) Pooh characters.  The flowers sugar decorations were bought at Meijer.

The ‘Hunny Pot’ was made from a fake coconut I found at a dollar store. I then used yellow felt for the ‘honey.’


And the Fondant work begins…

Avengers Cake:

My first fondant cake. I just used this approach to mentally attack my first try at fondant: It’s like playing with play-doh.

I used a few internet pictures to help on the superhero logos. I was so glad I had a fondant cutter!

I use this Wilton cutter/embosser tool:
Wilton Cutter Embosser












The Captain America Shield was easy, a series of circles and a star. The Thor Hammer, super simple. Rolling the fondant and shaping letters was fairly easy.

There are small letter- cutters you can purchase:
Wilton 417-7554 40 Piece Alphabet & Numbers Fondant Cut-Outs Set

Iron Man and Hulk were more of a challenge, but a 4 year does not care for perfection!

Bee Cake for a Spring Birthday Celebration:

The complete Bee Cake how-to is linked here.


Flower Cake {Perfect for Birthdays or Wedding Showers}:

I  used a series of plastic cookie cutters that I bought in varying flower shapes and balls pressed into circles for the flower middles. It was a very easy cake. This was also the last time I made my own fondant. I ended up with a few bubbles and chunks in it and was not happy with that!

The Wilton cutter and embossing tool was used to make the vines/leaves.

I invested in a mid-size cake round set and I’m happy I did. Perfect size for small birthday or surprise cakes.

Dinosaur Cake {Birthday cake}:

img_8265Cookie cutter stars were used.  A dinosaur sandwich-cutter was used for the Dino shape and the embosser tool.

This cake was made so I didn’t waste any cake mix or fondant after making the flower cake, so my son got a bonus dino cake that day!



Hello Kitty {Birthday Cake}:

A faux pas happened here… I forgot Hello Kitty’s whiskers but no one noticed!

I think I like the braided popsicle stick the best.  Just cut three long slices of fondant in 3 colors and ‘weave’ together like a braid.


Fondant Baseball Cookies {Baseball themed BBQ & Baby Shower}:

You only need 1 round cookie cutter.

To do:  Bake cookies, (this is my favorite roll out sugar cookie recipe. ), allow to cool, and add a layer of icing (both vanilla and chocolate were used).

Roll out white fondant and make fondant ‘baseballs’  and press on top.  A red decorating sparkle gel was used for details.

I hope you have enjoyed the run down of the delicious and fun wedding, birthday, and specialty cakes.

It’s a labor of love but worth the effort for lasting memories!

If you are going to make cakes for specialty occasions to sell, make sure you are charging your customers for ingredients used, any special materials ordered,  and your time.   I would suggest charging the labor by the hour.

Some cakes take 2 hours and some 3-4 hours to create so charge accordingly.  And of course, invest in a nice camera and take plenty of pictures!



DIY Drawer Art: Trash to Treasure Series {Project #4}



Our crafty friend Allyson M. made this DIY Drawer Art and we knew it would be perfect for our Trash to Treasure series! She turned a junky drawer she got for free (yes, for free) at a garage sale into super cute art.



I will  make one the next time I have a drawer I can use. I cannot wait to make a few of these in various colors and using different pictures!

It would look perfect on a stand, a bookshelf or if you made several of them: as a collage on the wall.

img_1832She sanded it a bit and painted it a teal blue. Then, added a Valspar antique glaze in a few spots (sanded a few spots to distress), glued on scrapbook paper (25 cents), some jute cord (you can buy a large amount for about $5 at craft stores- she obtained hers for free at a garage sale though), and a picture she had taken at a French country store in Charlevoix, Michigan.

She spotted this bike out front and took some candid pictures.  So, go to your local antique mall or outdoor garden store and snap some pictures!

We used the editing app Filters on my I-phone to play around with the picture image/ coloring. You can do a black and white, sepia, or play with the color. I love their Antique and Monochromatic filter options.

She then had it printed for a few dollars into an 8 x 10 size.

Add some cute accents like wood stars, a small terra cotta pot, or a cement tea light and you are done! Of course, Allyson added some rhinestones.  It’s her shabby-chic style with a twist.


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Super cute. Super crafty. Super quick!

Here is another before and after of a project Allyson created recently. She simply removed the vinyl backing, painted teal and pink, and hung up as fence accents.

Thank you for sharing your talents with us and inspiring some creativity!