Unique Christmas Holiday Decorating, Part 3, Other Spaces…

Happy Holidays people! It’s time for the third installment of the 2014 Holiday Decor, Other Spaces! In Part 1 & Part 2  you saw the entry and main room, now for those little touches of the holiday season in other rooms of the house.

The Kitchen.

I’ve been looking for the right place to display these sweet handmade ornaments my friend Gina made, and finally figured out the perfect spot in the kitchen. I found a fun way to cover up the nails with these colorful kids plastic magnet letters spelling out “XMAS”. They are simply hung on the nails, but a dot of glue from the hot glue gun would hold the letters more securely in place. (My friend Gina also made the ceramic chicken plate on the wall, and the rest of the art above the molding is some my old painted polymer clay art work. The colorful dimensional painting below the molding is a $10 thrift store find.)

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The Living Room.

This room is a tad more modern and funky than the rest of the house, and this hot pink tree fits it perfectly. This is one of those things that is the same every year (so far.) See the DIY on those chairs here. (The painting on the right is by Sandi Calistro.)

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The Master Bedroom.

I like to have just a little Holiday touch in the bedroom for us to enjoy. This is new (well, recycled) this year. All the bits were on a little fake white tree I’d had for years that just wasn’t looking so hot anymore, so I took all of the bits off and tossed the tree. I strung up the sparkly garland over the mirror and hung some of the ornaments from that, and put all the round ornaments in a silver dish. It’s subtle and elegant and suits the bedroom well.

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That’s it for the inside of the house! Next time, Part 4: the Outside. (And I promise a Holiday Decor Video soon as well!)

Elegant, Unique, and Sorta Victorian Holiday Decorating, Part 2, Christmas in the Main Room.

Welcome to Part 2 of my yearly Holiday Decorating series, the Main Room! This is the room we go all-out in. It’s in the front of the house and can be seen from the sidewalk, and is where we wind up doing the majority of the entertaining, so it’s where most of the madness happens for every holiday.

I really didn’t add anything new, just a couple odds and ends I picked up at the thrift store since last season and some new glittered ribbons. If anything I actually toned it down a bit from last year. I do like to change it up a bit every year, using things in different spaces and in different ways, leaving some things in storage, and finding new goodies from my “stash” of supplies to add to the mix. Moving things around is the key to keeping it fresh and fun.

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Coming into the main room from the entry.

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To the right as you walk in the room.

I kept it simple here, using the ornamental cabbage I already had in the white pots for Thanksgiving and adding in my old pine cones and purple balls. Nothing fancy, everything is just sitting in the pot.

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Going counter-clockwise around the room, next comes the bookcase. I simply added some pine boughs to the purple glass vase collection that live there most of the year as well as a couple candles. I hung our stocking (it’s just the two of us big kids so we share one) on the book shelve this year, and put a pine branch behind it. I still love this wacky stocking. I found it years ago at the thrift store.

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Next comes the mantle. It is very similar to last year, just toned down a bit. I used fresh mixed pine boughs instead of the faux garland and added in a new gold glitter ribbon. It has an Old World feel that I really like.

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Daytime mantle.

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Mantle at night.

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Display case to the left of the mantle.

I had some fun creating a little vignette in the display case to the left of the mantle. I put monochromatic ornaments in the glass jars (the same ones that had candy in them for Halloween) and added a little purple light-up tree from the thrift store, some purple glittered ribbon, and a few pine cones. I also added some fresh pine greens and cones around the candle on the little stool in front of the case.

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Next comes the tree. Again, it is very similar to last year, just toned down a bit. The one new addition is the teal ostrich feathers (the same ones I used on the stairs.) I still love our Bohemian India-Asia themed tree with all it’s feathers and unusual ornaments. I do want to get more of the glittered ribbon to add to it.

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Here are a few more shots of the room. I’m very happy with it this year!

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One of my favorite things, the giant gold ornaments hung from the chandelier (purchased at the thrift store a couple years ago).

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Looking into the main room from the living room.

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Next time in part 3, the funky stuff in the Other Spaces!

Elegant, Unique & Sorta Victorian Holiday Decorating (On the Cheap of Course), Part 1 of 4: the Entry

The Holiday decorating is finally done! It only took me 3 days this year 😉 I really didn’t add anything new, just a couple odds and ends I picked up at the thrift store since last season and some new glittered ribbons. I do like to change it up a bit every year, using things in different spaces and in different ways, leaving some things in storage, and finding new goodies from my “stash” of supplies to add to the mix. Moving things around is the key to keeping it fresh and fun.

Today for Part 1 I’ll share the Entry Way. (The Main Room, the Outside, and Other Spaces are coming to the blog soon!)

I actually toned it down considerably from last year, when I had the stairs done in ornament-packed multicolor garland (which is now outside, you’ll see it soon!) This year, I stuck with my jewel-toned decor and just made a few subtle changes. I still used my favorite decorating trick, peacock feathers (sooo cheap and what a great visual impact! Find them in bulk on Ebay), but added some dyed teal ostrich feathers left over from a big party decorating job I did a couple years ago, as well as a new wired purple glitter ribbon I fell in love with.

Instead of adding tons of feathers all up and down the garland like I usually do, I just used them in groupings at the newel posts and center point. They are simply tucked into the garland (this is the same garland I’ve been using for about 7 years now, purchased half-off at Target the day after Christmas.) At the bottom of the stairs I also added a couple of strings of big purple Mardi Gras beads from my supply stash that I acquired from a party years ago. The new purple glitter ribbon is simply added on top and held in place by the wired garland.

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The view upon entering the front door.

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A closer look at the stairs. That’s one of our Dogvacay guest dogs, Cleo the Weimeraner, towards the top of the steps.

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Here’s a close-up of the newel post. Yes, that is a taxidermy peacock “Herman” to the right, one of my most prized possessions. He “lives” there year-round.

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This is at the bottom of the stairs, just to the left of the front door. The big lamp is simply adorned with a bit of gold glittered ribbon (I used more of it in the main room) and a sprig of fresh pine. In the mirror is a “sneak-preview” of the Main Room, coming to the blog next!

The Big Switcharoo…Halloween into Thanksgiving, Decorating Quick & Cheap.

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Halloween is over. Sigh. All the skulls and spiders and crows are packed away, (and the leftover candy has been packed away…mostly into my thighs ;-). It’s time to settle into the Fall, tone it down a bit, and gear up for the fabulous feast that is Thanksgiving. Here’s a look at what I’m doing for decor this year.

My favorite decorating “trick” for Fall are pumpkins and gourds. They serve double-duty, working great for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. By the way, another great decorating tip is to “shop” your own home! Moving things around and re-purposing stuff you already have is free decor at it’s best! You’ll see me do that a lot here…After I removed all the “spooky” stuff, I set aside the squashes along with the faux-Fall leaves and plan my Thanksgiving decor. This year, I added to the mix two ornamental cabbage plants and 3 tiny Kalanchoes for a total of $14. That’s it.

Because I go over-the-top for Halloween & Christmas, I like to tone it down in between. You can see all the Halloween madness HERE.

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The Table: The purple tablecloth is the one that is almost always on the table. I added an old purple runner that I sometimes break out for the holidays as a way to ground the gourd display. I put down a fake Fall leaves garland first, placed the giant gourd in the center, then arranged the smaller pumpkins, gourds, little Kalanchoe plants and my old stand-by Thanksgiving ceramics I’ve been using for years. (the trick to this is using the old stuff in new ways every year so it all looks fresh.) Lastly I threw in a couple votive candles and tea lights. (I use these for every holiday, they go with everything!)

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The mantle is similar to the table, nice and simple. I started with a pair of Mackenzie-Child’s plates in Fall colors that I’ve had for years, then I scoured basement storage for Fall-colored pillar candles. Putting the candles on the little wood pedestals gives them a look of importance. Then it was pumpkin and gourd time. Finally I added in my beloved old pair of purple glass turkeys and a few fake Fall leaves.

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I love my white pots by the window, and tend to just switch the contents out for the holidays. Here is where I placed those 2 ornamental cabbage plants, then I added in a few gourds and a few of those faux-Fall leaves. I love how these turned out.

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In the entry, I just simplified what was there for Halloween by removing the crows, black fabric and the tri-colored and pumpkin lights, leaving just the amber lights and Fall leaves.

That’s it! We’re all ready for the month of November. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Want to see what I did last year for Thanksgiving? Just click here.

The Biggest Mistake People Make in Decorating for Halloween…How to Pull it All Together: Helpful Hints & Tips

What sets a well-decorated home apart from the rest? You know it when you see a well-done house, it just looks good. But what is it that sets it apart? There are a few things that tie together a good Halloween house, but the Biggest Mistake is…

Mistake #1: Throwing up the Halloween decorations on top of the everyday decor. (This goes for every holiday, not just Halloween!)

It’s messy. It’s cluttered. It’s hodge-podge. It looks thrown together, like you didn’t care. It looks like “Why did they bother”? The best way to get a good look for your Halloween decor is to put away the everyday stuff (at least some of it) and create holiday vignettes where you want the decorations to shine. (Usually the best places to go all-out are where people will be gathering: The porch or patio, the front entry, the dining room. I have a huge antique trunk in the dining room. This is where all the “every-day” decor and tchotchkes are carefully stored away for the holiday season (Halloween-New Years) so I can get crazy and look good for the holidays.

Mistake #2: No theme.

All kinds of stuff, from different eras, tossed randomly around the house. It doesn’t really work. Organize your spooky goodies into themes, by area. I have all sorts of different goodies that I’ve collected over the years from thrift stores and yard sales, but I make it work by grouping by color, era, or subject matter. Do you have an awesome collection of vintage pumpkins? Group them on a table for a delightful vignette. Have a bunch of cool skulls? Display them together on the mantle. Collections have a much greater impact than objects placed individually. Have a bunch of miscellaneous Halloween stuff that’s just all orange? That works, too. And lastly, if you are into the scary stuff, keep that together as well. Cute and scary don’t get along so well in the same space. Try creating a theme in each room, or at least in different areas of the same room. In my main room, I have several different vignettes: The white and black stuff is together on the tall cabinet; the Devilish stuff is on, in or near the short cabinet, and a skull collection resides by the window. All my Dia De Los Muertos decor is grouped on the front porch.

Mistake #3: No unifying factor.

The unifying factor is what pulls it all together. It’s what makes the eye flow easily from one space to another. My unifying factor is sheer black fabric. It goes with every vignette in the house, and even though the displays may be different in the room, the use of the black flowing from one to the other pulls it all together.

Here are a couple examples:

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BEFORE: the Tall Cabinet

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AFTER: the Tall Cabinet

I removed the purple glass collection and grouped all the what and black items here, with some of the “unifying” sheer black fabric.

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BEFORE: the Mantle

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AFTER: the Mantle

Again, all the regular every day decor has been packed away for the glory of Halloween.

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BEFORE: the Small Cabinet

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AFTER: the Small Cabinet

All the “devilish” things are in this corner. I cleared out the cabinet and put my devil head in there with some red lights. Instead of packing away the candles, I decided to just use them differently. You can never have too many candles, they create a great atmosphere. You’ll notice the sheer black fabric repeated here as well.

See all the Halloween decor here: The Front Room, The Entry & Stairwell, and Outside.

Victorian Gothic Halloween, A Home Tour: Part 2: The Entry & Stairwell.

As promised, here is the entry and stairwell, all set up and ready for this year’s Halloween shenanigans…

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This year I brought all my old crow decoys inside the house (see the Front Room decor HERE) and I love the way they look on top of the newel posts, so dramatic! Attaching them was challenging, but I figured it out using zip ties. (Look below to see how I attached them.) I also used zip ties to attach the garlands and lights to the railing. So quick and easy, and super fast to take down. That’s our regular Dogvacay guest Cleo the Weimeraner at the top of the stairs in the second photo. Oh, I almost forgot the mice. Good ol’ Martha Stewart mice, from Micheal’s craft store. I’ve been using them for about 4 years now.

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Here is how I attached the crows with zip ties. I then used sheer black fabric to cover up the bases and the zip ties. I also did the lights a little different this year. Instead of just stringing the tri-color and amber lights along the railing, I gathered more of the sheer black fabric around them, and draped more of the fabric down from the railing here and there. I like the look. On top of that I wrapped in my old fake fall leaves garland. (All of the garland was purchased at the thrift store years ago.) After Halloween, I’ll remove the black fabric, tri-colored lights, and crows and just leave the amber lights and leaves up for Thanksgiving.

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Here is the landing at the top of the stairs. I put a couple of those fun blinking eye shoe boxes here under the chair for a little ghoulish surprise.

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Lastly, here is the front entry at the bottom of the stairs. I used more of that sheer black fabric to drape the mirror (over a string of purple lights), the pedestal, and the chair. The skull on top of the pedistal “smokes” and changes colors. These are also from Target a few years back. I also added some little black bats across the front door. I just printed them off the computer, cut them out and attached to the wall. The graphic on the door is also just a printed image on glossy photo paper. The fun ghoul portraits on the walls next to the front door I bought at Target about 5 years ago, half-off the day after Halloween of course 😉 My vintage “trick” light at the bottom of the stairs is still one of my favorites. It was purchased at a garage sale over a decade ago for a few dollars.

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I promise to post a video tour of the Halloween decor within the week. Happy Halloween everyone!

Victorian Gothic HALLOWEEN!!!!!! A Home Tour: Today, the Front Room. Decorating on the Cheap DIYs, Tips & Tricks.

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Did I happen to mention I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I live in an old “Denver Square” Victorian home, so our decorating tends to be a sort of  “Victorian Goth” style. Today we’ll tour the Front Room, where most of the Halloween Magic happens. Everything you see is either DIY, found, reused, or picked up cheap at the thrift store. This year the only things I spent actual cash money on are a couple of pumpkins, the little gourds, and of course the candy. The biggest splurge was a giant 20 pound white heirloom gourd. It was just too cool to pass up, and I’ll use it for Thanksgiving too. TIP! The trick to keeping your Halloween decor fresh is to use your old stuff in new ways. Move it to another room, create new combinations, or paint it.

Let’s start with the table shall we? (See picture above). Most everything on the table I’ve had for years. The candy jars and beakers I’ve been collecting from the thrift store whenever I find them, usually about $3-5 each.  Even the candy corn is “reused. (I put it in the freezer after last year’s celebration ;-). Those plastic bones were leftover from a cheap “Bag of Bones” that we used pieces from for our voodoo costumes last year. TIP! The awesome big skull, the black tablecloth, and the skeleton salad tongs were purchased half-off at Target years ago. The day after Halloween they mark everything half-off. That’s the time to stock up!

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The Mantle. TIP! The mass of sheer black fabric is what makes the look. I happened to get the fabric as free hand-me-downs from a previous large event I decorated, but you can find it cheap. The fabric is simply knotted and draped over the mantle, with red lights underneath. The red string lights serve double-duty for Xmas. The “Happy Halloween” garland I made last year. (See the DIY HERE). The pumpkins and gourdes are from the grocery store, and the glitter skulls came from Target a few years back. The pumpkins-and-crows graphic I printed out on the home printer last year and reused. See if you can spot the “ghost dog” in the second photo 😉

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For the cabinet to the right of the fireplace I created a new vignette by putting all the white decorations together there. These are all things we’ve been using for Halloween for years except the mask. It’s been hanging in our closet for a couple years and I decided to add it into the mix for Halloween this year. (we have a thing for masks 😉 And there’s more of that sheer black fabric. You’ll notice it all over the room, used as a “unifying” factor for the decor. Knotting it adds interest.

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For the cabinet to the left of the fireplace, we had a little fun. I emptied the cabinet and created a little scene in there with a few “devilish” items we had elsewhere in previous years, keeping it fresh by moving things around from last year. The top of the cabinet is the same as last year (See a DIY on those candlesticks HERE) There is nothing new here, just the old stuff “re-purposed”.

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Remember those ghoulish blinking eyes that were outside last year? Here they are, moved inside. This is just 3 of the shoe box eyes stacked on top of each other and covered with the sheer black fabric. The black glitter sticks that were outside last year have been placed behind the eyes this year, and I removed the regular art on the wall and replaced it with a couple vintage dime store masks I’ve also had for years.

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The Window. I love how this looks. These are my old crow decoys that I usually put outside. I brought them all inside this year and put two of them in the big pots. I added some more of the sheer black fabric and some black feather boas to create a “nest’ for them and cover their bases. There’s that giant gourd I mentioned earlier. The skull collection inside the black and white display is actually there year-round. There’s a reason why our  friends call us “Gomez and Morticia”!

Here are a couple more pictures for you to enjoy. I hope you’ve been inspired! Next time: The Entry and Staircase.

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That’s our pug Emma in the first picture, and our “guest” Miss Cleo the Weimeraner in the second. (we dog-sit through Dogvacay) What hams!