Something Wicked This Way Comes…Halloween Mega-post, Circa1932-style

NOTE: I was originally going to break Halloween into several posts, but I got behind on my picture editing (oops!).  Considering Halloween is, well, tomorrow, I almost decided to forgo doing any Halloween posts, since odds are y’all have already finished your decorating.  However, I decided “better late than never” – after all, Halloween will be back next year!  So instead of a bunch of smaller posts – here is one big fat Halloween mega-post for your enjoyment.  It’s pretty long – you have been warned.  As always, feel free to comment and ask questions, and Happy Halloween!

I don’t know what it’s like where y’all live, but in my neck of the woods there’s a crispness is in the air and the leaves are changing.  Fall is HERE and I couldn’t be happier to see it arrive. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am a cold-weather girl.  Fall is my favorite season, followed closely by winter.  Sweaters and boots, comfort foods like soup and chili, pumpkin-spice everything – I tell you, it’s enough to make a girl grin from ear to ear.

Well, this girl is grinning extra wide because the changing of the seasons also means bringing out new decor, and with Halloween being tomorrow (crazy, right?), the front door wreath, mantle, and dining room have undergone a spooky transformation.  As always, I was working my hardest to stick to a teeny tiny budget.  Luckily, both my creativity and Pin-spiration are free. So sit back, grab a cup of cider, and take a tour through Halloween decor, circa1932-style.

All told, I spent under fifty dollars on everything.  I have limited funds to decorate for holidays, and Christmas always gets the lion’s share since it’s my favorite, haha.  As far as theme/vibe, I’m not really into blood and guts when it comes to Halloween decor, so you won’t find a lot of that here.  Also missing are blatant references to demons, ghouls, and such – I try to keep things family-friendly in case friends with kiddos drop by.

Instead, I prefer to go with what I call “gothic chic” (with an admittedly healthy dose of Harry Potter).  This has a few advantages.  Mainly, I can find decor elements that work and yet still fall outside the traditional realm of Halloween decorations.  Because of this, I can not only use things I already own, but I can also feel confident knowing that many of the items I do buy can be reused at other times of the year.    I know that some people have inexhaustible storage space where they can keep shelves and shelves of things for one particular holiday or event (I’m lookin’ at you Mom!), but in my case storage is limited, and an item that multi-tasks is always welcome.

For the most part, I limited my color scheme to black and white with some metallic accents.  There’s the occasional pop of red or purple in there for a little fun, but it’s few and far between.  I’ve had it up for a few weeks now, and I have to say I couldn’t be happier – even the Doctor (who fails to share my zest for seasonal decorations despite my best efforts to convince him otherwise) made a point to tell me that he liked what I had done.  Win-win!

Ready?  Here we go!

As for the front porch, I kept this pretty minimal this year – a few pumpkins on the steps and this wreath to greet you when you come in.

halloween front door wreath

To create the wreath, I just wrapped a grapevine wreath form with black feather boas I got at the Dollar Tree.  I tucked the ends into the grapevine to secure them, so there’s not even any hot glue to mess with for this step.  I wired on a black crow, also from Dollar Tree, and plopped a miniature witch hat I got at Joann Fabrics on her head to add some flair.  A confession: to get the hat to stay, I pinned it in place with applique pins.  I just stuck it through the hat and into the crow’s styrofoam head – poor birdie!  Finally, I finished it off with black glitter ribbon and some fake flowers hot glued into place (from – you guessed it – Dollar Tree).  All in all, it cost me less than ten bucks for the supplies, and took about ten minutes to make.  If I were going to do it again, I’d probably spray the flowers black, but I’m pretty happy with it despite the purple.

Once you get inside the house (welcome!), the first thing you see is my entry.  I kept this very cheap minimal as well.  I swapped out my owl vase for a mercury glass skull I got at Big Lots for eight bucks.  I also swapped the silver bowl that is usually on the buffet to hold our keys and phones for a white ceramic pumpkin.  It’s supposed to be a cookie jar I think, and I got it at Target for $7.99.  I love how neutral it is, and after Halloween is over I can use it in my fall decor.  I have plans for that ‘lil bugger, but you’ll have to wait and come back to see what they are!

halloween entry overview

halloween entry pumpkin

halloween entry skull

Moving into the dining room, the focus is all on the table.  See?

halloween tablescape overview

 

Here’s a closer look:

halloween tablescape mid

halloween tablescape skull

Hello there pretty bird!

Hello there pretty bird!

halloween tablescape back

The side facing the wall – even the napkins are getting into the Halloween spirit!

Here’s the skinny on the tablescape. I started with a white twin bedsheet (I think it was $5.00 at Walmart?) as the base.  Over that, I added a lacy black tablecloth that I got at a thrift store for around $6.00.  If you are looking for something similar, I saw some in Big Lots this year – they even came with an orange tablecloth as well (bonus!).

The central tree/branches came from Walmart. I got them many moons ago as part of an art project I did when I was in college (on second thought, better make that many MANY moons ago).  Originally they were all white, but I sprayed some of them black with spray paint to add some contrast.  Most of the year, they reside on my mantle in a vase, but for Halloween they made the perfect framework to perch some more dollar tree crows on (they are just wired on – no glue).

To get the branches to stay in place, I filled a smaller vase with uncooked rice (small pebbles, kitty litter, or beans would work too), and shoved carefully buried the branches in the rice until I was happy with the placement.  The rice weighs the “tree” down, and gives the branches stability.  Then I just put the smaller vase in my larger hurricane vase and filled in-between them with faux spider webbing to hide the interior vase and the rice.  Tip: the more you stretch the webbing out, the more realistic it looks.

To finish it off, I added some gold mercury glass candle holders that I got at Target and Homegoods earlier this year, as well as a mixture of clear candlesticks and metal candlesticks from the thrift store.  A black glass pumpkin from Homegoods’ after Halloween markdowns last year and a chalkboard skull from Joann Fabrics ($5.00!) round out the centerpiece.

Since the only items I bought were the skull, the napkins, the crows, the spider webbing, and the tablecloth, I spent a grand total of $20 bucks for the tablescape.  Pretty snazzy, huh?

We’re almost done – all that’s left is the bar, and the mantle in the living room.

For the bar, I knew I wanted to make a spellbook and potion ingredients as a nod to one of my favorite series – Harry Potter.  Here’s what I came up with:

halloween bar overview

halloween bar spellbook

halloween bar potion ingredients

The spellbook is just an old book from the thrift store that I glued some new pages into.  I created them on my computer, printed them out, and then aged them with tea and distress ink.  To up the spook factor even more, I added a skeletal magnifying glass that I got at Homegoods several years ago.  I saw them there this year as well, so you should still be able to find them.  They come in the gold I bought as well as an aged silver color I believe.  The potion bottles were another DIY – I cobbled together a bunch of ideas I saw on Pinterest to create them.  I think I went a bit overboard with this particular project, but it was so much fun coming up with the labels and ingredients, I couldn’t stop myself!

Last but not least is the mantle in the living room.  Here’s an overview shot (please ignore the unfinished built-ins):

halloween mantle overview

And a few close-ups for your viewing pleasure:

halloween mantle spells

halloween mantle crystal balls

As you can see, I added a crepe paper wreath over the mirror.  Go here to learn how to make your own.  I also hung up a Halloween banner I found at the Dollar Tree, and popped a spooky printable from A Night Owl into the frame where our wedding photo usually sits.  Finally, I added some more potion bottles and some creepy “crystal balls” (inspired by the fabulous Flamingo Toes) atop thrifted candlesticks.

So there you have it – the our little cottage all decked out for All Hallow’s Eve.  Make sure to come back tomorrow for the potion bottle tutorial, and feel free to ask questions or leave comments – it makes my day to hear from y’all!

Till next time,

Sarah

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A girl and her sharpie – aka how I brought Cole & Son wallpaper into my budget :)

Hi again!  See, I told you I’d be back 🙂

So, when we last met, I introduced you to my Larry, my DIY fail.  I also mentioned that I had already redone the accent wall in the craft studio, so today is a reveal post/mini-tutorial.  If you guys want something more in-depth, let me know and I will elaborate with a full-blown tutorial for you.

Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I have a rather long-standing tradition of falling in love with design elements that are WAAAAAYYYY out of my budget.  As much as I love those design elements, I also kinda love a roof over my head, food on my table, and, um, my marriage.  All this means that I can’t blow my budget no matter how much I love a given table, rug, lamp, etc.  But ask anyone who knows me, and they will probably tell you I am stubborn determined (and resourceful).  Luckily, I am also not afraid to take risks with paint.  Here’s why:

cole and sons

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Oh, Cole & Son, your wallpaper is so pretty, so my style, so…FRIGGIN’ SPENDY!  I first saw this wallpaper on Anthropologie (a website I only browse when my wallet is safely in the other room where I will be too lazy to fetch it), but at almost $200.00 a roll, it just wasn’t going to happen.  So, I decided to DIY it.  After looking on the internet, I found a bunch of birch tree stencils, but nixed these immediately since they didn’t really nail the original wallpaper. Plus, I thought it might hurt Larry’s feelings if I tossed him aside, only to do another stencil.  Y’all know I couldn’t risk that, haha.  Further searching led me to this post on Apartment Therapy, though, and I knew instantly that I was close to a solution.

marker tree

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Finally, looking over my Pinterest boards, I found this pin of Vintage Revival’s gold sharpie wallpaper.

DIY Sharpie Wallpaper Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals[7]

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Cue the lightbulb moment:  gold sharpie + hand drawn trees = the perfect solution to my craving for Cole & Son wallpaper.

And here it is!!  Pardon the less than ideal nighttime photos and the “storage unit chic” look this room is still rocking – it’s coming along, but it’s not done yet.

Fotor01014234557

Here’s a quick description of how I did it:

First, I pulled up a picture of the original wallpaper on my tablet so I could refer to it as I went.  This was super helpful in keeping the look uniform and preventing me from getting distracted and just doodling on my walls (not that that was EVER a concern…at all).

Next, I sketched out the tree and branch outlines very roughly in white chalk.  I also added in some knotholes.  I used the standard schoolhouse stuff that you can get at the dollar store and was perfect – not only did it show up really clearly on the navy walls, but it also came right off the with a damp sponge when I was done.

I then took the thinner of my two sharpie pens (I used both the medium and fine tip oil-based paint sharpies in the gold color), and drew roughly horizontal lines across the trunk of all my trees to fill them in.  I spaced these about 1/3″ apart on the main trees in the foreground, and wider on the skinny trees in the background.

Next, I took the heavier point sharpie (medium) and filled in between the lines with a combination of lines and dashes.  I tried to keep the pattern fairly regular between adjacent lines, but vary it overall so that nothing looked TOO uniform.

Finally, I used the fine point sharpie to add extra dashes on the one side of the tree trunks, to make them look more shaded and dimensional.  I also added some fine branches and leaves at this point, and added the Doctor’s and my initials in one of the knotholes for a personal touch.

All in all, I think I went through about 4 fine tip sharpies, and 3 medium tips.  I got all of them at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and used 40% off coupons, so all in all I spent around $15.00 for the whole wall, not including the navy paint.  If you add that in it’s probably more like $30.00.  Regardless, my DIY job was MUCH more in my budget that the $200.00 original. As an added bonus, I got to do it in my chosen color combo, and I kept the Doctor happy 🙂

So there you have it – the basic breakdown of what I did to create my own personal golden forest.  Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, and if enough people ask, I will do a full tutorial with pictures of each step and such.

Till next time,

Sarah

Meet Larry, a DIY fail

Hey there!  Remember me, the girl who hasn’t posted in, oh, forever?  Sorry about that, y’all.  Yes, life had been crazy.  No, that’s not really a good excuse.  I really am sorry for all three of you who have missed me (ha).

Moving on, let’s talk walls. The craft studio walls, specifically. Apparently, I’m on an accent wall kick at the moment (see here), so I couldn’t possibly just paint the craft room walls a single color and leave it (oh, the horror of making my life simple, right?)  No, I knew – I just KNEW – I wanted the far wall of the craft room to be an accent wall.  So, I decided to paint it navy.  This of course meant taping off trim, since such a dark color shows every friggin’ wavy line.  Have I mentioned how much I LOATHE taping?  If not, it’s alot – as in “I’d rather be cleaning my toilet – with a toothbrush” alot.  Yeah.

Anyway, I painted the wall, and it looked like this:

please pardon the mess...just keepin' it real people

please pardon the mess…just keepin’ it real people

Oooohhh….AAAhhhh….shiny, pristine, gorgeous navy wall – Bra-VO, past Sarah.  We’re done right?

Darn that past Sarah, she’s never content.  Apparently I drank the crazy Kool-aid that day, because I decided it needed more.  I wanted something with movement, something quirky, something modern, something GOLD, dangit!  So I turned where we all turn for inspiration, the internet.  That’s where I found this:

"Origami Crane" by DIYstencils

“Origami Crane” by DIYstencils

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It was quirky, it had movement, it was modern, it (could be)  gold, and…it was cranes.  Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with cranes, I just have no real desire to put them all over my walls.  So I decided to design my own stencil (no problem, past Sarah said), cut out said stencil with my Silhouette Cameo (easy peasy, she said), and stencil it – perfectly aligned – on my very old, very cattywampus walls (I am beginning to lose faith in past Sarah’s judgment at this point).  Did I mention that there’s a window on this wall?  And that it isn’t completely level?  Yeah – sometimes I amaze myself with how brilliant I am.  Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though.  Once I get an idea in my head, I’m kinda like a dog with a bone.  I just can’t let it go.  So I decided to try.  Now, I have a particular love of elephants, so I decided to sub that in for the crane.  I found an origami line drawing of an elephant online, and used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to turn it into something my Silhouette could cut.  Here is the finished stencil (I used quilter’s plastic from Jo-Ann fabrics to cut it from).  Y’all, at this point I was SO EXCITED.  I couldn’t wait to try it on the wall.  Like this.  Ta-da!!!

DCF 1.0

And a close-up, because I’m nice that way…

elephants on parade!

elephants on parade!

It was right about this moment that I realized four important things:

1) it was going to take a LOT of math to make everything line up visually given the crooked walls and window – I am NOT a math person.
2) almost every remaining elephant on the wall was somehow going to be cut off by either the walls, ceiling, floor, or window frame.
3) My stencil didn’t want to bend around corners.
4) I didn’t want to cry.

So I decided to admit defeat, and go with something I can freehand (which is actually already done, so look for another post sometime around Tuesday – really, I promise).

So why am I even posting this?  Why put my failure out on the internet for all to see?  Well,  to demonstrate that we all make mistakes, and sometimes DIY fails happen.  But you know what?  That’s okay because we learn from it.  Plus, now I have a super cute elephant stencil that I already have great plans for.  I think I’ll name him “Larry.”

Till next time,

Sarah