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!

Halloween Decor, Dia De Los Muertos Style! or…What I did outside the house this year…DIY

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I love Halloween!!! I go a little nutso decorating every year, but always on a budget. Most of our things we’ve been reusing for years, (like the fake pumpkins and crow decoys, though we do add a few new things here and there from yard sales, thrift stores, even dumpster-diving. I try and change it up a bit every year by moving things around and using things in different ways. I acquired these “hand-me-down” Dia De Los Muertos skull graphics from a big party I helped with a couple years ago, so they were Free! And I love them. It’s because of them I decided to go all Day of the Dead-ish outside this year. I used a unifying theme of hot pink fabric. (all leftover from other projects) Here is all I did, step by step:

The Front Door. This was probably the easiest thing I did. The Katrina image I printed out on my computer, the old frame I had laying around, as well as the leftover silk flowers and neon flagging tape. I little hot glue and about 3 minutes and it was done. A fun change from the typical wreath.

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The Skull Altar. The silk flowers I’ve collected from thrift store, usually at about $2 a bunch. The dish I’ve had for ages, and the candles were another hand-me-down from that party of yore. (they are about $1.50 each at many grocery stores). The skull was a failed experiment from last year that I found another use for here. It is cello clay (fine Paper Mache) in a skull cake form from Wilton’s that I purchased on Ebay a couple years ago. I spray painted it white, was not happy with it at the time, and set it aside. I found it in the Halloween storage boxes this year, added a little stain to age it, and now it looks like a concrete skull. Great for the theme! I hot-glued it onto an old ceramic plate along with the silk flowers. I put some hot pink fabric scraps over the existing patio table, added a few of the candles and one of the big skull graphics* and voila! The Skull Altar.

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The Patio Table. The patio table is very simple, Just some leftover hot pink fabric (It’s acetate lining fabric originally from Distinctive Fabric that I got for about $1.50 a yard on sale), one of the old fake pumpkins, some of the silk flowers tied in a bunch with an orange ribbon, and a couple of the candles. One of things that makes it look good is that I knotted the fabric in a few random places. (the succulent garden has been on the table all Summer, I just moved it to the chair.)

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The Main Patio Display. The big display next to the door is also very simple. I draped some sparkly hot pink fabric over a string of pink lights, and added the skull graphics* on top of them. I also added a second string of pink lights behind the big skull to illuminate the tissue eyes. I put another fake pumpkin on the existing pots and added a few more of my silk flowers. (the white wrought iron things are always on the porch I just moved them to be part of the display.)

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Crows & Pumpkins. I love my crow decoys. I’ve had them for about a decade and use them somewhere every year. This year most of them are inside, but I played with the two outside ones and came up with this. The holes in the bottoms of the crow just happen to fit perfectly over fake pumpkin stems. I added a little hot glue to hold them there and then glued on a few of the silk flowers, and this is the result. I like the way it turned out.

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The rest of the yard. I placed the rest of the fake pumpkins around the yard, and the two I have that are missing their lights went on the plant stakes in the front pots. I kept it simple this year 😉 If you look closely, you can see a couple more of the big skull graphics in the upstairs windows.

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Here are some more pictures of the front for you. Enjoy!

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* The Skull Graphics. These were made by having Day of the Dead skull images (that were purchased from istock.com) printed out at about 2′ x 2.5′. These were attached to foam-core board with spray adhesive and cut out with an Xacto knife. I also cut out the eyes on a few of them and taped colored tissue on the backs so light could shine through.

A New Orleans House Tour Too Good Not To Share…

I ran across this delightful, eclectic DIY abode on Apartment Therapy and loved it so much I had to share it with you. It’s chock-full of some great DIY ideas. (See the full Article HERE)

The charming New Orleans home of Valorie Hart is full of personality and great ideas. I know it inspired me…

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Great Ideas in the living room: Simple wide black stripes painted on the left wall; Floor-to-ceiling luscious satin drapes (easy to make); and that old 70’s console, brought up to date with a coat of fresh white paint. The bright pops of color in the artwork finish the room perfectly.

 

 

 

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More fun art in this room, against that marvelous “ombre” wall (I AM going to steal that idea.) And of course, a static disco ball. (I have 2 of these in my house!)

 

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I love the fabric draping here, an elegant way to dress up a plain wall. (Attention renters!) The fabric cord cover on the lamps is the perfect finishing touch.

 

 

 

 

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I’m a huge fan of Fornasetti, but it’s way out of my price range. This is a fabulous idea! Print and decoupage your own wallpaper!

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A great example of making a color work by repeating it around the connecting rooms (Here, orange/red, but this can work with any color.)  And you’ve got to love the Union Jack-painted wardrobe!

 

 

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The outside patio is charming.Using the dark slate grey as a base and adding the pops of chartreuse green (and a little hot pink) works fantastically. I love the light-up ampersand with the plates on the wall.

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Yea, I could live here 😉

Clean up the Art Wall: Paint the Frames. Easy & Fast DIY for a Pro Look.

This weekend I unified the art on the “Art Wall” by simply painting the frames. A hodge-podge of thrift store frames is made to look a bit more professional by painting them all the same color. In this case I chose black, as there were already a few black frames on the wall. And I like black. Yes, you will notice a couple new frames and a new screen print. I snagged these at a garage sale this morning (screen print $5, frames $2 each).

First, I removed everything from the frames and cleaned the dust off. Then it was off to the back yard on a rare Spring-like day in February to do a little spray painting. I used 2X Cover in Black Gloss by Rustolium. I love this paint. Two coats, no priming, worked great.

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When they were all dry, I replaced the art and hung them back up. Easy-peasy.

Here is the BEFORE:

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And here is the AFTER:

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…a little cleaner, a little sharper. I like it. The Art Wall is almost full now. Just a few more cool artsy finds to go!

What projects did you tackle this weekend? I’d love to hear about it in the Leave a Reply/Comments section.

 

More Dino-licious Kitsch…DIY Jar Toppers from Thrift-store Toy Dinosaurs

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Yes, I know. You’ve seen these all over the interwebs, too. There’s a reason for that. They’re cute! And crazy-easy. Here’s how:

Step 1: Gather your jars, dinos, glue and spray paint. Glue your Dino to the lid. (I scored both the jars ($1.75 for 4 jars) and the Dinos (a few bucks for a bag full) at Goodwill.) I used a hot glue gun to attach the dinos to the lids. Took less than a minute. (Note: because these were proper canning jars I also had to glue the 2 parts of the lid together.)

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Step 2: Spray the lids. I used Rust-Oleum 2X in Gloss White, (I thought gloss white would make the dinos more “classy” ;-)) but you can use whatever color tickles your fancy. 2 coats is plenty. Do let them dry thoroughly. (I made the big dinos into planters. See that DIY HERE)

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Step 3: Put something in the jars, screw on the lid. You’re done! I’m using mine for dog treats.

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This is hands-down the fastest DIY I’ve done to date. There’s about 5 minute actual labor time, and the cost was about $3. Can’t beat that with stick.

Dino-licious Kitschy DIY Planters from Thrift-store Toy Dinosaurs

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Yes, I know. You’ve seen these Dinosaur planters all over the internet. Ho hum. Well I don’t care, I made a couple, and I’m going to show you how whether you like it or not.

I bought a bag of assorted dinosaurs at the thrift store for a couple bucks, determined to do something fun with them. I decided to turn the bigger ones into little planters. You can put pretty much any small plant in there, I know Tillandsia (air plants) have been a popular choice, as have small succulents, but I wanted to do something different. I found these tiny 1″ ornamental kale plants at the floral wholesaler and thought they’d be perfect (you should be able to find tiny plants at pretty much any nursery. I’ve also seen them at Home Depot.) I’ll probably have to transplant them if they get too much bigger, but for now they are a nice punch of color for our dreary Denver Winter.

I started with the rubbery Dinos, and cut out appropriate size holes with a sharp Xacto blade (If you have the really hard plastic Dinos, you will need to use real tools, like a drill & jigsaw.) I also popped out the squeaky bit on their undersides, which makes a perfect drainage hole.

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Next came the painting. I chose a gloss white, but you can paint them any color you like. Be sure and plug up the planting hole so no paint gets inside, as the plants wouldn’t like that very much. (those other little dinos are for another project you’ll see later this week)

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I let them dry overnight before planting. I filled in the deeper bits with some soil before squishing my little plants into the holes.

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After planting I gave them a good soak, and here they are gracing the kitchen window sill.

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Note: If were doing this again I would have given them 1-2 more coats of paint. That being said, I like them just fine as is. I little fun color for a Winter’s day that makes me smile, and it only cost me about $6.

Stay tuned for another Toy Dino Project later this week!

Simple (ie: Cheap) DIY Valentine’s Day Heather Hearts + Dried Flower Pots

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The day of Hearts & Flowers is almost upon us! These sweet little Heather Hearts are fast, easy and cheap to make. Hang them on a door, stick them in a pot, or wherever you want to show the love. All you need are a couple stems of fresh heather (the longer the better) and a little raffia or thin ribbon.

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Start by overlapping the ends at an angle and winding the raffia (or ribbon) around the crossed bit, side to side and up and down. Tie it off securely.

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Then tie one end of a long piece of raffia at the base and wind it around the stem of heather, not too tight, just enough to hold the side branches in a little. Tie it off about 3″ from the top end. Repeat on the other stem.

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Next, cross the tops over each other where the raffia wraps ended and tie together. Add a longer piece of raffia to tie to the bottom of the heart. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK THE STEMS! I did on one of my hearts, and well, it looks funny. Pull down gently. And you’re done!

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Cuteness. These will dry in place pretty well, but be warned, they will drop some leaves. I used my hearts as centerpieces to my outdoor pots.

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All year I save and dry the flowers I buy for the house when they are no longer suitable for fresh vases. (Not all flowers dry well. The ones with woody stems, like hydrangea and roses, dry best.)

Here’s what I had accumulated:

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I stuck the heather hearts in the middle, and started adding the dried flowers around them with the taller stuff in back. I just stick them right in the dirt. (Dried flowers are fun to use here in Denver this time of year when it’s still too cold to put anything living outside.)

The funny-looking heart is the one where I broke the stems by bending them too far. Don’t do that!

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And here they are all done:

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More fun Valentine’s Day fun & weirdness to come. FOLLOW THE BLOG and you won’t miss a thing!