HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here is the Video House Tour as Promised…

Here it is. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!! Here’s a 5-minute video of our house all done up for the frightening fun. !

http://youtu.be/IW3n1ByNCPE

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:

halloween2014insidediningroomcabinetbefore2

BEFORE: the Tall Cabinet

fall2014cabinet

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.

halloween2014insidediningroommantlebefore

BEFORE: the Mantle

fall2014mantle

AFTER: the Mantle

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

halloween2014insidediningroomcabinetbefore

BEFORE: the Small Cabinet

fall2014cornerdining

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…

fall2014stairs4   fall2014stairs2

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.

halloween2014insidestairs4 halloween2014insidediningroom

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.

fall2014stairs3   fall2014stairs5  

 

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.

fall2014topofstairs3   fall2014topofstairs
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.

fall2014entry2 fall2014entry

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.

fall2014table

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!

fall2014mantle  fall2014diningroom

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 😉

fall2014cabinet

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.

fall2014cornerdining

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”.

fall2014diningcorner2

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.

fall2014window  fall2014window2  fall2014skullcollection

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.

fall2014withemma  fall2014diningroom2

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

halloween2014porchdusk3

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.

halloween2014porchdoor

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.

halloween2014porchdusk4  halloween2014skullaltar3  halloween2014skullaltar2

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.)

halloween2014porchday3  halloween2014porchtable

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.)

halloween2014porchday1  halloween2014porchday5  halloween2014porchnight2

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.

halloween2014porchcrowsbefore  halloween2014porchday2  halloween2014porchcrow  halloween2014porchdusk10

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.

halloween2014porchday6

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

halloween2014porchdusk5  halloween2014porchdusk6  halloween2014porchdusk1 halloween2014porchdusk7  halloween2014porchdusk9   halloween2014porchdusk3

halloween2014porchdusk2

* 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.

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

falldecoroutside7

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)

HW2013porchdusk

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:

falldecoroutside8  falldecoroutside9

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.)

falldecoroutside6  falldecoroutside5

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.)

falldecoroutside

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

falldecoroutside4

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.

falldecoroutside2 falldecoroutside3

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.

falldecoroutside7

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…

 

How I Did My Yard for Halloween This Year…And it’s All on the Cheap, of Course.

HW2013frontfull

Halloweeeeen!!

Did I mention I LOVE Halloween? Here’s a look at our front yard this year…

HW2013front  HW2013gateleft  HW2013frontgate

The Front Gate. The 2 pots are changed out every season. This year I simply added fake Fall foliage and my beloved Crow decoys. All my Fall foliage was been gathered over the years at thrift stores for a couple bucks a piece. I scored all my crow decoys on Ebay. I’ve had them for about a decade and still love using them every year. They are indestructible! I added a little orange sparkly ribbon this year. The sign on the gate was an alley find: Free!

HW2013yardleft  HW2013yardright2  HW2013yardright

To the left just inside the gate is the “Ball Garden”, where I’ve added a few fake pumpkins. To the right, more fake pumpkins, and more foliage and crow decays in the tall pots. A little trick with the fake foliage: I fill the pots with real Fall leaves (we have no shortage of those this time of year!), then add the fake stuff. It helps fill in the pots visually. OK, I hear many of you purists scoffing at my fake pumpkins. Believe me, I’d have real ones if I could, but the ravenous army of squirrels around here would eat their faces off within 24 hours (unfortunately I know this from experience). So faux pumpkins it is! We’ve been collecting these over the years from various thrift stores for a few bucks a piece.

HW2013porchdusk  HW2013rightstoop HW2013frontstoopleft  HW2013leftstoop

I continue the faux pumpkins up the steps (I still need to tape down the extension cords) and onto the porch (I do like a solid theme, I guess you’d call mine “Crows & Pumpkins”). The two pots up on the stoop are also changed out for the seasons, and these I wrapped in translucent black fabric with a little orange ribbon, and there are strings of orange lights in the pots just under the crow decoys. This year I added the Glittery Black Sticks to the pots. They sparkle like crazy! The columns on either side of the stoop are simply wrapped in more orange light strings and sheer black fabric, and topped with a little of the orange ribbon..

HW2013doortable

On the left side of the porch sits another fabulous alley find table, awaiting a paint job. I dolled it up with more of the black fabric, some old dried out gourds (I save and dry out gourds every year, after they have been used fresh on the mantle inside), and of course, another crow decoy.

HW2013frontstoopleft  HWdoorlight  HW2013doorcrow  HW2013door

To the right of the door sits this white column, done up in similar fashion. The door itself is surrounded with more orange string lights draped over with more of the translucent black fabric. I snagged the Fall wreath at the thrift store, and added a bit of the black fabric and orange ribbon (after Halloween, just remove the fabric and ribbon and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving!) The image above the door is just vintage crows and pumpkin clip-art I printed onto gloss photo paper on my home printer. (The porch is covered, so no moisture can get at it)

eyesdusk

My favorite part this year are my home-made Monster Eyes that blink at night. They look great! We always save one of the faux pumpkins for the porch light, using a compact florescent of course so there is no fire risk. Here are a couple more night shots:

HW2013night  HW2013porchdusk2

Almost everything in the yard came from the thrift store or is home-made. The only things I bought this year are the spool of orange ribbon and the sticks and glitter paint. Everything can be reused for years to come.

Next time, the inside of the house!

How did you decorate for Halloween? I’d love to hear about it in the “Leave a Reply/Comment section below.