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.

How I got 5 Flower Arrangements for Thanksgiving out of $38 worth of Grocery Store Flowers. A Fresh DIY Story, Part 2: the Other Four

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I love it when the house is full of flowers! I managed to glean 5 vased arrangements from about $38 in grocery store flowers (see the first one and all the details here). One large centerpiece, one medium for the bedroom dresser, one smallish one for the coffee table, and two tiny ones, one for each nightstand. Yesterday I showed you the big centerpiece arrangement I did for the dining room table, and as promised here are the other four.

We’ll start with the medium vase for the bedroom dresser. As I said in yesterday’s post, getting creative is the key. Unusual containers and interesting add-on’s (sticks, fruit, etc.) For the dresser vase, I again went with a more high-style arrangement. I started with a vintage black ceramic vase, more sticks from the backyard, and our old friend, Spanish Moss. Just like the centerpiece, first I taped off the vase, then played with the sticks till I liked the placement and taped them down as well, then tucked in some Spanish Moss. I also wrapped a little moss around the end of the horizontal stick.

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Then it was time for a little green (more of the Seeded Eucalyptus) and the flowers, 3 roses and 3 Gerbera daisies, placed following the height of the stick in a triangle shape. (This is a one-sided arrangement so I could get away with fewer flowers. Because it will be against a wall it only needs to look good from the front.) Yes, that’s a glass of wine in the background. That’s just how I roll.

Done! Now on to the other 3…

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The final three are a small one for the coffee table and two tiny ones for the nightstands. Here I picked out a couple unusual containers, including a glass skull shot glass and a simple short drinking glass. The bud vase is part of a pair I snagged for $2 each at a museum sale. First I taped off the larger one, then added the last of the seeded eucalyptus to all three, plus one more small stick to the largest of the three.

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I kept the bud vase simple with a single rose and a touch of Spanish moss tucked in. The tiny shot glass got a single spider mum and a few rose petals in the water for added color. And finally the coffee table arrangement was made up with 2 Gerbera daisies, 3 roses and 3 Spider mums. I kept it low as this fits the space.

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And there you have it! 5 vases of flowers for about $38. Not bad! Here they all are in place:

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Be sure and change the water in your vases as often as possible so they will last longer. Have a wonderful and beautiful Thanksgiving!

(See the Art Magazine Nightstand Project HERE, and the Industrial Coffee Table Project HERE.

The art print on the bedroom wall is by one of my favorite artists, YUMIKO KAYUKAWA

Recycling Halloween into Thanksgiving, Part 2…Outdoor Decor Redo for Zero Dollars

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Fall, Part Deux! As I said in the last Thanksgiving post, because I go a bit over the top for Halloween and Xmas, I like to chill things out a bit in between and go for a simpler look. It took me about an hour to “recycle” Halloween into Thanksgiving out front. Here’s what I did:

BEFORE: (Halloween in full force)

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I removed everything distinctly Halloween: all the black and orange, along with the crows, lights, spooky eyes, and carved pumpkins. What was left was the faux Fall foliage and “whole” (un-carved) faux pumpkins. I added some silk sunflowers I snagged from the Goodwill a couple years ago, as well as a large dried grapevine wreath separated into 4 pieces.

AFTER:

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The pots out in front were the easiest. The faux Fall leaves (originally from the thrift store) stayed in the pots. I just removed the crows and added a few silk sunflowers. (It’s too cold here already for live outdoor plants, (low of 25 tonight!) so faking it is the best we can do.)

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The two pots on the stoop were much the same, a bit of faux fall leaves wrapped around the top, a faux pumpkin (all the pumpkins are also from the thrift store for a couple bucks apiece) plopped in the middle, (no real pumpkins possible here, the ravenous squirrel army would be munching on them within minutes) and a section of dried grapevine wreath added on top. I purchased the grapevine wreath from the floral wholesaler for about $35, and have been reusing it for many years now. You will be able to find these at most hobby shops as well. With a little care they will last for many many years. (I store mine in the garden shed when not in use.)

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Next to the door, the column gets the same leaf-&-pumpkin treatment.

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The table on the other side of the door (patiently awaiting a new paint job) is just a pile of dried gourds, also left over from Halloween.

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The far end of the porch got a nice dried flower arrangement. Dried flowers are a great choice for a covered outdoor area, just make sure they don’t get wet. During the year I dry all my old flowers from indoor arrangements so I can do a few of these outside in the Fall. These dried flowers are just stuck right in the dirt in one of the pots from the garden. The old magnolia wreath laying under the pot has seen better days (I’ve had it for about 5 years) and is no longer suitable to hang on the door, but it works great here on the table. Drying your older fresh flowers is easy. Just put a few together, use a rubber band or twist tie around the bottoms of the stems, and hang them upside down in a dry, out of the way spot. Most flowers will dry well, especially those with woody stems like roses and hydrangea. Flowers like carnations and mums, not so much.

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And that’s it! A sweet and simple Fall decor design for the front yard that cost zippedy-do-dah dollars. Now I get to relax for a couple weeks, before getting all loco again for Xmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s…

 

Recycling Halloween into Thanksgiving…A Mantle Decor Redo for Zero Dollars

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Halloween is over, sniff sniff. I always wax a touch melancholy packing up the skulls and bats, simultaneously mourning the end of the Season of the Witch while savoring the tiny bit of caramel wedged between my molars from the final mini Milky Way bar. Yesterday I bid a fond frightful farewell to my favorite holiday, and made room for the next one: Thanksgiving. Because I go a little nutsy coo-coo for both Halloween and Christmas, I like to go a bit simpler in between the two for Thanksgiving. (Though admittedly my “going simple” is still over-the-top for most people. I’m like the Liberace of Holiday Decorating 😉 I’m also saving for holiday gifts, so spending cash on decor is a big fat no-no. It’s time to recycle!

Thankfully Halloween and Thanksgiving have a lot of crossover decor: Pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves and the like, so it’s easy to do double-duty with the decorations. I simply saved the whole pumpkins and gourds, reused my silk fall leaves and did a little presto-chango on the mantle.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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I thought an asymmetrical arrangement might be fun this year, well that, and I had only one large pumpkin left that was still solid.* I placed the big guy on the far left, then added one spray of my old faux fall leaves next to it on the right. Next I added some sticks and small branches with dried real fall leaves that I salvaged from my Halloween floral arrangements and from the yard. (That’s a great trick for using “faux” flowers and leaves: work in some real ones for a more authentic look). Then I worked in all the smaller leftover pumpkins and gourds. Nothing special here, I just set them in place on the mantle. As a final touch I tucked in some pheasant feathers (I reuse these for Thanksgiving and Xmas every year. You can find them cheap on Ebay), a few dried seed heads (I’ve been reusing these for about 3 years now) and some Spanish moss (I always have a bag of moss around for plants and flower arrangements. It gives the arrangement a grounded and finished look.). Done! I love that I didn’t spend a dime this year, and it still looks great.

* FYI: I don’t know if this is just a fluke, but I bought three pumpkins the first week of October. One from Whole Foods and two from King Soopers. Both Sooper’s pumpkins had started rotting and had to be tossed. The Whole Foods pumpkin is still solid and looks great.

Next time I’ll show you the rest of the Thanksgiving decor. FOLLOW this blog and you won’t miss a thing!

What decor items do you recycle during the holiday season? Tell me in the Leave a Reply/Comment section.