Excuse Me While I Make a Scene

In The Studio

Over at the Imagine Crafts blog, that is!

My latest project involved stamping on the pages of a Clear Scraps album that I’ve been holding onto for absolutely ages, just waiting for the right project to come along. Inspired by my renewed interest in stamping and the memory of seeing the multipane camera in the One Man’s Dream exhibit at Disney World (it’s a shame that’s closing at Disney Studios), I combined different styles of stamps to create this scene in a book.


The display at One Man’s Dream, Disney Studios (2013)

My much-smaller interpretation!

My much-smaller interpretation!

You can find the step-by-step play-by-play right here: Making a Scene on Imagine Crafts

And don’t forget to check out my other Imagine Crafts project where I turned some papier mache boxes into faux stone lidded beauties.

Black and white marble treatments and a little lapis lazuli for good measure!

Black and white marble treatments and a little lapis lazuli for good measure!

For the how to, see this post: Faux Stone Finished at Imagine Crafts

That lapis lid is, by far, my favorite one of the three. The little flecks of gold Creative Medium peeking through the dark blue paint… swoon!

* * *

This weekend is the annual Rose Festival in Thomasville with the parade tonight and Art in the Park tomorrow. Of course, it’s currently wet and rainy in these parts, and I’m not sure if there is a rain plan as the Tallahassee news shows were boasting about how it’s never rained on the Rose Parade in it’s 94 previous years… And the street dance afterwards might be a bit sparse if it’s still actively raining.

Guess we’ll just have to wait an see.

The good news is that the rest of the weekend is supposed to be dry so, hopefully, we’ll be able to see the artists at Art in the Park–last year it rained that morning so no one set up (or the couple that did tore down right after. We went by mid-afternoon and there was only the zip-line set up and that’s not really our cup of tea.

If the parade and all goes as scheduled I plan to have some video to show you next week of it. You can see how much like Stars Hollow our little town really is on days like this! And if not, well, it’s not like I don’t have projects to work on, complete, and otherwise dream about.

Hope you have a great weekend!


What a Tangled Web We Weave…

Everyday Adventures

This post is part of an ongoing promotion with Oriental Trading Company. All opinions and photos, below, are my own.

Simple Halloween Dining Room

View from the back hall doorway into the dining room

How much am I loving our decorated dining room? A lot!

Though I think I may add something to the drapes… maybe a large black bow over each? I’ll have to give it some thought.


Can you spot some lurking Halloween monkeys?

The hanging spider decoration from Oriental Trading Company didn’t look like much in the package, but is pretty impressive when opened up! Thanks to our 10′ ceilings not even our tallest guests will have to worry about plastic spiders skittering through their hair, but I love the way it peeks through the view from the door and throws shadows onto the wall behind it.


Some of the wall decals made their way into the dining room, as well.

I’ve given up any effort to make the dining room symmetrical. The room is about 14′ square, with the chandelier in the center of the ceiling. Yet, if we were to center the table under it, said table would block the path between the library and the kitchen. (Granted, the kitchen wasn’t added on until later, so it wasn’t a big consideration at the beginning.) On the other hand, we could line the table up with the fireplace, but then there wouldn’t be room for anyone to actually access the far side of the table.


The tall “picture” there is actually a dish towel from Kohl’s draped over a canvas board. It added some nice height to our alchemist’s mantel.

Since nothing else lines up in the room, it seemed less prudent to go through the trouble of moving the 8′ table to be able to center the spiders over it, so we opted for placing it over the walkway and I think I actually like it more!

I keep the table decorations simple, both because we do use the dining room for 99% of our evening meals and because in another week or so it’ll be covered completely by serving dishes for our Halloween party. There’s so much food at our parties that tablescaping is wasted effort!


Meanwhile, the living room presented me with 3 blank walls and a hesitancy to actually hang things on them since I’m not certain that it wouldn’t make the plaster fail faster! So I needed a way to add some sort of interest in a quick and simple way.


Cue more creepy cloth (aka freaky fabric, aka spooky cloth… depends on the store you find it at)! I drapes sheets of it over the drapes in the bay window and then had Todd help me by attaching small brads to the picture rail that rings the room and swagging the cloth between them.

Our mantle is partially hidden by the television (one day it will be mounted on the wall, once it’s been shored up enough to securely hold it!) so it’s a simple assemblage of skull candlesticks, pumpkin candles that I refuse to burn because I may never find the cuties again, and a glittery house silhouette.


Finally, over one of our sofas, we arranged a mix of wall decals to create a small scene over the chair rail. The witch, cauldron, and a good but of the bats came from the Oriental Trading Company wall decal pack, mixed in with the Tree and bat decals we purchased from Lowe’s last year.

And, of course, the monkeys decided to hand out on the sofa-back as well.

I’d like to give one more thank you to Oriental Trading Company for the opportunity to incorporate some of their new Halloween products in our home, this year! We’ve certainly had a lot of fun putting them into play and  hope our guests appreciate them at the party next weekend. There’s still a couple more days left in their sweepstakes, so don’t forget to head over and enter!

Of course, I’ve got plenty more Halloween fun to share over the next couple weeks, so I hope you’ll come back next week to see what’s next!

Setting the Halloween Scene: Outdoor Decor and More

Just for Fun

This post is part of our ongoing promotion with Oriental Trading Company. All projects, thoughts, and images are my own.

I remember the first Halloween in our last neighborhood when it became apparent we were “that house.” Part of it was the giant pixie sticks we were handing out (leftover from our Toddlers & Tiaras-themed pumpkin carving party) and part of it was our outdoor decorations. That was the first year the witches made an appearance, and we’ve only improved from there. After all, we moved into a 100+ year old Victorian home, we’re practically made for Halloween.


By the time I got everything set up we’d totally lost the daylight, so please forgive my makeshift spotlight! I’m sure passers by wondered what I was doing out in the front yard with a camera and a flashlight at 8pm!

These ladies were the first decorations we put up outside this year, on the grassy, open side of our front yard. They’re made out of plywood in a shape that I designed and Todd cut with a jigsaw back for our Fairy Fest Midsummer party years ago. When Halloween came around I thought it’d be fun to re-purpose them with some black, rip-stop nylon and some witches hats with built-in wigs. Their brooms are made from small branches and parts of a grass skirt table decoration.

For trick-or-treating we’ll set up our electric cauldron in front of them with more of that grass skirt spread around like rushes in a fire bed.

On the other side of the front walk, though, that’s where things get spooky!

Hanging heads, tombstones, and ravens--oh, my!

Hanging heads, tombstones, and ravens–oh, my!

Can you spot the goodies from Oriental Trading Company?

First, we set up our hanging heads using the Day of the Day Bags.

step-by-step shrunken heads

step-by-step shrunken heads

Once I got the gift bags open I realized that the backs of the bags were clear plastic. Since I didn’t want my stuffing showing all willy-nilly, I doubled the bags up, one inside the other, with the printed front of the interior bag visible through the clear back of the outer bag, then stuffed them with plastic bags, bubble wrap, or anything else that wouldn’t compact or get too soggy should it rain over the next few weeks.

My next thought was how to hang them so they’d stay perfectly straight instead of lolling to one side or another. My solution was to thread twine through 1″ buttons and nestle them on top of the packing materials before sealing up the “neck” of the bags with packing tape. I tied the twine into a small loop that I could then thread my hanging string through when I put them in the trees.

How do you say "Peek -a-boo, we see you!" in Spanish???

How do you say “Peek -a-boo, we see you!” in Spanish???

Underneath the tree the heads are hanging from is our first graveyard scene, currently made up of your standard foam decorations. Todd’s working on a beefed up wooden version that we hope to have completed before Halloween.

Spectral orb or ill-placed flash... I'll never tell!

Spectral orb or ill-placed flash… I’ll never tell!

Then, nearer the porch railing we have our other tombstones (again, currently foam, wooden replacements are also in the work for these).

Oops, looks like someone wasn't quite ready to leave!

Oops, looks like someone wasn’t quite ready to leave!

Todd built that ground-buster coffin corner a few years back and it’s always such a nice touch. To really sell it, though, it helps to have some fresh earth to put around it.


Because this side of the yard has more tree cover and less grass, it takes a mixture of sand and potting soil all stirred together to really make the coffin look like it’s part of the landscape.

If you look just above the tombstones, though, you’ll see eyes looking back at you…

Ravens, bats, and cats--the Halloween trifecta, no?

Ravens, bats, and cats–the Halloween trifecta, no?

Perched on our porch railing are some foam and feathered black birds, and from the eaves hang our bat lanterns. I alternated the small and large lanterns, and then hung the purple lanterns we bought from the dollar store, last year, onto the smaller bats, like the bats are carrying them.

Subtle is the name of the game with these silhouettes.

Subtle is the name of the game with these silhouettes. I prepped the rats at the same time, but they’re strictly indoors and will be on the next post!

Finally, you can see the cat silhouettes resting in our windows. I added the red crystals for eyes, flipping half of each silhouette set over to get more “poses” out of each. On the back of the foam cats there’s some printing,  but it’s nothing that a few swipes of a permanent marker couldn’t cure.

Heeeere kitty kitty...

Heeeere kitty kitty…

Could the cat silhouettes stand to be a bit bigger, sure? Especially since our windows are 70″ tall! But I really didn’t want huge. I wanted something there that you’d notice out of the corner of your eye, a break in the pattern, that makes you do a double take, and I think the little kitties did that just fine.

Come to the door, if you dare!

Come to the door, if you dare!

Finally, to come up the steps and onto the porch (which I did make the kids do last year to get their candy, even though I was sitting outside–the screen door is very slammy), you’ll see a Halloween welcome mat we’ve had for years, a wreath that I made even longer ago hanging from the porch eaves, and our skeletal greeters. You can also see another of the toothily-grinning bat lanterns just hanging around.


“Leonard” is a glow-in-the-dark skeleton that we dressed in some old clothes (and stuff with a pillow and extra bubble wrap for support)  The makeshift screen is a curtain panel we purchased last year that I affix to the screened door frame with a staple gun. (Incidentally, that’s also how I fixed the birds onto the porch railing.)

Aside from the props that Todd’s building and a couple of pumpkins for the porch steps, I think we’re pretty much done with the outdoor decorations. Now to get busy on the inside!

Do you decorate your yard for Halloween?

Halloween Haul with Oriental Trading Company (video)

Just for Fun

It’s my favorite time of year: Halloween!!!

We go all out for Halloween, so when Oriental Trading Company’s blogger outreach program invited me to have a mini shopping spree and blog about how I used their Halloween products to decorate for this year, of course I said yes! So this week and next I’ll be posting room by room decorating pictures, along with some simple crafts, starting with this haul/unboxing video!

(Direct Link for the feed readers: Halloween Haul with Oriental Trading Company)

So big thanks to the folks over at Oriental Trading (and, yes, I see now that I misspelled Trading in the title card–doh!) for the opportunity to have fun with some of their products, again. If you want to check out their Halloween shop, head over here: http://www.orientaltrading.com/holidays/halloween-a1-550760.fltr

Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see our outdoor decor, Friday for the big staircase reveal (trust me, you want to see this!), Next week we’ll show you our photo booth set-up for our upcoming Halloween party on Tuesday, and how we’re sprucing up the living and dining rooms on Thursday. We’ll also be doing a new Halloween House Tour once we’ve got everything set-up. If you want to check out last year’s, click here: Gingerbread Diaries 1.6: Halloween House Tour.

Also, they have a contest going on now through October 17, 2015!


Visit www.spooktaculargiveaway.com today and enter to win our weekly prize — $250 in Halloween products of your choice from Oriental Trading. Plus, we’re giving away a $25 Oriental Trading gift card every day! Contest ends October 17, 2015.


Inspiration for Change

64 Arts

Have you gotten the itch, yet, to make your bedroom into a true sanctuary? To make it lush and inviting? Relaxing or invigorating?

If I didn’t have quite a bit of work still to do on our living room (namely custom slipcovers for 2 sofas and a love seat, throw pillows* and art for the walls) I’d be heading to the hardware store to pick up just the right shade of antique gold paint and a few spare curtain rods (closet doors bug me, especially the hanging roller-track things of the 70s that are in our home; solution: take ’em down and hang curtains!)–that and a nice picture frame or two would go far to making our room that more cozy.

But where do the ideas come from? If you’re looking for a change, where do you go for inspiration?

I found the inspiration for our living room while wandering the aisles of a Tuesday Morning (overstock housewares store for those unfamiliar) where I came upon a small box in a blue and black pattern. We had some blue lamps and brown walls–tadaa!

Other places I like to browse for ideas: Better Homes & Gardens’ website, Apartment Therapy, and IKEA showrooms (they have the power to make me believe I could actually live in 700 square feet if it was laid out correctly). Sometimes it’s a complete room image that seizes my imagination, other times it’s just a single thing or piece of fabric. Touring open houses is also a good way to get ideas; even if you’re not in the market for a new home, professionally staged homes are a fount of inspiration.

A couple of blogs that come to mind are The Cottage Nest and Making it Lovely. I learned about both of these blogs through a BHG competition a while back and have remained a fan and subscriber since then. The former in is in the midst of a move right now but has, in the past, posted great pictures of cottage-style decorating and her own transformation of her (now former) home in the charming cottage style. The latter, though, not only runs her own stationery & more store, pink loves brown, but she is also is in the process of transforming her home. In addition to her own progress pictures and stories, she frequently puts together series taking one or more key pieces and takes them through various rooms and living situations giving a host of options for using investment pieces in your decorating.

What are your favorite spots for interior decoration inspiration?

*I’m not a devotee of shabby chic but I do like some of the elements of it. I created a technique I call “shabby applique” for my living room throw pillows and show the complete how-to in one of my articles for eHow.com.