Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Jack-o-Lanterns

Happy Halloween!

I'm busy making mummified cake pops and gathering supplies for some spooky drinks to have while we pass out candy tonight with some friends over at our house, but I thought I'd pop in to post a couple pictures of our jack-o-lanterns.
This year I experimented a little more with carving into the pumpkin while still leaving some of the "meat" to form teeth. It was a bit tedious, but I also kind of liked it. Sort of cathartic. I think next year I might actually carving a face or an object into the side of the pumpkin, sort of like this or this but much simpler. lol
The hardest part was actually trying to get the teeth thin enough so that some light would show through at night. I'll let you know how I did when I post pictures from tonight's trick-or-treating fun.

Chris also stepped up his game this year with this awesome ghost guy. I totally love it!
One thing I did a little differently this year is that I cut my pumpkin open from the bottom, leaving the stem attached to the whole pumpkin. I thought this would make the whole thing a lot more seamless. You can see from Chris's pumpkin on the right that he went the traditional route.

The only issue with cutting out the bottom is that you have to be careful when moving the pumpkin to remember that the bottom piece isn't attached. So you either move it in two pieces or keep your hand under it. When it came to carving the pumpkin, though, it was basically the same. You just have to be careful not to tip it all the way upside down and smash the stem.

But I like the look of it and I was able to get my design a lot closer to the stem than I would have been able to if I had cut a circle around it.
So there's this year's pumpkin carving adventures. Hope everyone has a wonderful time trick-or-treating or handing out candy tonight!
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Monday, October 28, 2013

My New Vanity

Introducing my latest furniture makeover: a desk-turned-vanity and a chair.

In the past I've used the upstairs powder room to get ready in the morning. It has a cute little vanity up there that's perfect for holding my makeup and hair dryer. Unfortunately, the temperature is a bit of a problem. In the summer, it's too hot to use a hair dryer without sweating my makeup off, and in the winter it's pretty cold for sitting up there in my bathrobe.

My solution? This new setup downstairs in the guest room.

I bought the desk at Salvation Army back when Chris and I were living in our apartment. It was cream colored with gold trim. I had painted it pink and added decorative paper to the drawer fronts. Then I grew out of that style and tried to sell it in our last garage sale without luck. So it's been sitting in our garage for the last year. And then I put two and two together ...

I painted the whole desk flat white (leftover from the powder room walls) and spray painted the bottom section gold. I saw this style online and loved the "gold dipped" look. I was unsure about painting the hardware white since it was kind of pretty, but I think the all-white look is really nice and still ornate enough.

The chair was purchased at a garage sale years ago for about $3. I kept in the apartment and then the house for a while, then moved it out to our patio table.

It ended up being a pain to rehabilitate it for the house again, but totally worth it. I had to wash the cushion and remove the old fabric. Then I had to sand and wash everything. The new purple fabric for the cushion is actually a skirt from Thrifty Shopper.

I definitely made a mistake with this chair at first though. I thought a shade of purple that's darker than the guest room walls would look nice on the chair. So when I got a coupon for a free test pot of paint from Lowe's, I jumped on one of their new fall colors.

But once it was on the chair ...

I just wasn't digging it. Luckily, I knew enough to admit that I had made a mistake, so I stopped painting and waited for the purple paint to dry so I could try something else. As I was walking away, I noticed that the stripes on the side were actually kind of cute.

Just not in purple. So out came the gold spray paint, which I used on just the sides of the back panel and down the sides of the back legs.

Then I went over everything else in the same white I used on the desk. It wasn't too hard to keep a straight line since it was along the edges.
It's a subtle effect, but I think it ties the chair and the vanity together nicely.
I think it turned out pretty nicely because the cats have been fighting over who gets to sleep on the new chair cushion. They are sitting on it constantly. Pretty high compliments, huh?

I still need to get a bigger mirror to hang over the desk, since the one that's there now is a little small and still off center ... Maybe I can find one with a big frame I can paint dark purple to match the chair cushion? Or gold to match the desk and chair? Or no frame at all for a sleek look? Any votes or suggestions?
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 Zombie Bar Crawl

Once again, Chris and I had a blast at the annual zombie bar crawl. Who doesn't love tearing up Salvation Army clothes and covering them in fake blood? haha
This year, I decided to get a little trendy with my costume. Have you seen this music video?
Chris went as a zombie on vacation. And our friends Kristen and Matt rocked out the old couple zombie costumes. Love Kristen's rollers!
This is the first year Chris and I didn't wear matching costumes, but we had fun nonetheless. And I think we still looked pretty cute together.
Well, Chris looked terrifying at times ... lol
Although I had my moments ...
Matt's brother Kevin and his wife Sara dressed up as zombie Mary Poppins and Burt. How fantastic is that? The whole gang looked amazing and it was such a fun night. Now to start brainstorming next year's costumes ... haha
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Decorating, Take 2: Thrift Shopper's Revenge

Last week was pretty slow at my work, so I had a lot of time off. And for me, a lot of time off in October directly translates into "a lot of time to work on Halloween decorations." So after a bit of perusing Pinterest for ideas, I was off to the thrift stores.

My first find was a plain old mirror for $2 or $3. Square black frame, nothing spectacular about it. So I flipped it over and sanded a circle on the back of it, removing the mirrored stuff so I could sort of see through the glass (it was scratched up, obviously).

The front then looked like this. Still smooth, but something weird was going on in that corner.

Then, I took to the Googley-net and found a picture of a hag/witch that I liked terrified me.
Then it was time for some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint on the frame. I'll explain the other items in the picture below shortly.
Once the frame was dry, I put the mirror back in place and taped my printed picture to the back of the mirror, right where I had sanded the reflective surface away. So now when anyone checks themselves out in the mirror, they may end up doing a double take. Creepy lady staring at you from the other side of the mirror! Watch out!

My inspiration for this project can be found here. I would have liked to find a beveled mirror like in that picture, and maybe make my hag a little bigger, but overall, I love how this came out.

The truth is, I did find a beveled mirror at the next store. It had a lovely patina and the frame was even shaped like a tombstone! So then I had the idea to turn it into a tombstone and leave a spot so you could see your reflection on the grave.

So as you saw in that spray painting picture a few back, I taped off part of the middle and sprayed the frame with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. My intention was to then go over it with gray, but let some of the black show through for dimension.

But to be honest, once I saw what the oil-rubbed bronze spray did to the mirror, I loved it so much I couldn't bear to paint over it. It looked like something that would be in the attic of the Haunted Mansion in Disney World. Sort of old, creepy, and glam all at once. So that was another quick project for under $3.

Another picture frame I bought for $3 was this clown painting. Real painting that someone had professional matted and framed. But you gotta admit, even before I touched it, this thing was a little creepy.

Not to say that I couldn't make it much, much creepier ...

All that took was some black paint (I painted right over the glass since it was professionally bound together and I couldn't get the back off) and some fake blood (again, just put it right on the glass).

Once it was dry, I used it to along with some other fabulous finds to create a little tableau in my dining room.

I bought the bleeding candles at Spirit Halloween store, but if you have red wax candles, you can just drip them right onto your white candles and it will look even better than these.

I cut the silhouette of Frankenstein out of black construction paper. Then I just taped it to orange paper and put it in a 50-cent frame from Salvation Army. I did a witch for the other frame that I hung just above this one. Also, I spray-painted the wood frames when I did the mirrors. The skull on a pedestal is from Michaels last year.

The tray was also at one of the thrift shops. Thought it was glamorous but also could have been used in the Tower of Terror Hotel or something. Roses are from Target. Crow plucking the eyeball out of a skull is from Michaels.
Here's the full scene again with a little more light. I realize the little witch frame is way too small over there, but I was mostly trying to use existing nails without making a bunch more holes in the walls. But I may move things around a little if I can create better balance.
Oh and did you notice my plates on the wall? Those were my favorite project, although they required the most time and work. I saw some cool plate walls here and here and here, so I figured I would try my hand at it. I found a ton of white dishes at the thrift shops for like 50 cents each, so I grabbed three that I thought looked good together.

I tried to pick designs that didn't require too much detail since I didn't have a super fine Sharpie marker, just a "sort of" fine one. lol Then I just looked around on Google and Pinterest until I found the specific images to look at and draw. I think I drew all three images on paper really quick, just to figure out where I would probably screw up and have to pay closer attention when I drew it.

The brilliant thing about a Sharpies on ceramic plates is that you can wipe away mistakes without a trace just by getting them wet. Also, you can just keep making your lines thicker until you get them even. Once you're finished, you just have to be careful not to touch the marker parts too much. They don't really smear once they are dry, but you can still pull up the design a bit. So it'll be fun figuring out how to store these things.

I hung the plates with little metal plate holders/hooks my mom had bought for me a while back.

I also added these little guys. They were in the dollar section at Target.

And I put some pretty witch paper in one of the frames along the staircase.

But Chris had to get in on the Halloween decorating action too, so here's his awesome contribution:

That's right. Our bushes have eyes.

The flash on and off so they eyes are just peaking at your sometimes. Pretty awesome. We are so ready for some trick-or-treaters now!
He bought those as Spirit Halloween, too. 

So there's round two of Halloween decorations. Will there be a round three? Who knows?
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Earlier this month, Chris and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary! Crazy, right? My sweet sweet husband took me to Beardslee Castle for dinner and it was wonderful, as always. Just a couple pictures to share. :-)

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Halloween Decorations 2013

If you have met Chris or I, you probably know that we love all things Halloween. Kind of obsessed. So knowing that, it probably comes as no surprise that I always have a ton of fun decorating the house for the season.

Each year I pick up a few more things, usually on clearance. If you can stand to wait, hit up the stores on November 1st and get some really good items for like 70% off. And then next Halloween, when you go through your Halloween decorations stash, you'll be surprised when you find all this new stuff you completely forgot about and hardly remember. Try it out. You'll love it.

So anyway, by our 50th anniversary, we're probably going to have more Halloween decorations than real decor. Then you can come visit our haunted house year round. haha But anyway, here's where we stand so far.

I just started acquiring our little outdoor cemetery. I have a 40% off coupon for Michaels on Sunday, so I'm thinking about going to get some skeleton limbs to have climbing out of the graves. Maybe I'll even leave a shovel in the ground? Also, I may need to get or make a couple larger tombstones.
This guy isn't really Halloween so much as just autumnal, but whatever. He's cute.
And how cute are these little wooden signs?

A close up on my tiny graveyard.

We also have a pumpkin that's on a timer so its face glows at night. And you can just barely see the glow-in-the-dark skull in the window. (Also, you can see that I finally finished dividing my irises! Yay! Cross it off the end-of-summer to do list!)

Ok. Now come on inside and see what other decorations we have brewing ... if you dare. Mwah ha ha. (Ok, I'm lame). Oh, and in case you can't tell from the picture, I simply wrapped our usual drift wood wreath with a garland of sparkly purple leaves from Michaels and then hung a cute little sign and a spider from it.
Inside, things get a little darker ... (both the decorations and my photography. Oops!) Looks like a murder took place in the kitchen!

Perhaps these nefarious potions had something to do with it?

The cute bottles are just casually mixed in with my kitchen stuff on the back of the oven. Thought that would be a fun find for someone snooping around my house.

And this purple feather wreath has taken the place of the usual mirror in the entryway area.

This picture is terrible, but I draped gauze on the bannister and hung this scary chained ghost guy that we bought a couple Halloweens ago at an apple orchard.

Oh no! Looks like the bloody murder has moved into the dining room as well! Perhaps the victim was trying to get to Chris's computer to send an email for help? Haha Or look up the best way to kill a vampire? Who knows?

 These are self-adhesive decals, by the way. I didn't paint the walls and floor. $5 at Target.

 Still love love love the banner my mom made for us.

 I draped the other doorway in the living room with lighted garland. And then of course, there's Wise Crackin' Jack just hanging out.

Have you been properly introduced to our little friend?

We found him at an apple orchard as well, but he wasn't for sale. He was just part of the decor. So we got his name and looked him up online the moment we got home. A short while later, he showed up at our doorstep and has been a member of our scary little family ever since. What a guy.

Like my pitcher full of eyeballs? Shall I pour you a glass? Or do you need a zombie finger sticky note to mark your favorite pumpkin recipe in a magazine?
 Here's another new addition. How freaking awesome is this? Wasn't on sale when I went to Michaels today, but I just had to have it. LOVE IT. Especially in front of my black pillar candle holders. :-)

See that orange pumpkin in the background of the picture above? Here's that little superstar:

This was one of the items I bought last year after Halloween was over and saved a stupid amount of money by waiting. Halloween can be so expensive if you're not careful!

Here's my little tableau in progress. I use a battery-powered tea light for the skull because it's not a very big cavern in there. Sort of a fire hazard, and that's just not good for anyone.

Even my laundry room has a scary look about it. But I have to chalk this one up to happy terrifying accident. haha We ran on Monday with our running group and wore some of our zombie clothes. We finally decided it was time to give them a wash, but I didn't want to move them to the dryer because they're so tattered. Why shouldn't I hang bloody garments to dry from the ceiling in my dark basement? Boy I hope nobody peers in the windows. Then again, it might keep the burglars away. Who wants to mess with someone who killed a bride and at least one other guy?

 My frame wall is also feeling a bit more spooky.

Here's a freebie decorating tip. Chris loves the seasonal Halloween cereals, so I just cut up the boxes and taped them right to the glass of a few frames. It's cute and it cost nothing at all! Not everything about Halloween has to cost an arm and a leg (or require decorating with them, for that matter. haha)

And then of course, we have some old favorites:

I forgot to take pictures of a few other things, like the cute "Fraidy Cats Welcome" sign my mom gave me and the pumpkin garland hanging over the window in the dining room. But it's all up and looking spooktacular as well. :-) Even the zombie soap in the bathroom, which isn't a Halloween decoration at all. Just an awesome souvenir from Hawaii ...

What are you guys up to for October? Any spooky decorations?