Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Week

Halloween Week

Halloween week is upon us and before you know it, the little trick or treaters will come knocking on your door. I've pretty much got the house looking tastefully creepy and all that's left is to buy the candy. Since Halloween falls on a Friday this year, I'm assuming that the kids will be out in force and will stay out longer.
Like most people, I search out bargains after the holidays. I also look around during the year at places like Goodwill and other thrift stores for decorations that other people have gotten tired of. I admit, that using the same decorations year after year for the different seasons and holidays can get boring. Do you feel that way when you pull out the boxes? Same old decorations year after year..........
So every year I try and get rid of the old stuff and look around to replace them with some new, more interesting ones.
You would be surprised what people get rid of. During the year I always find some neat little items, very cheap.
These two items I found in a thrift store last year, but this will be the first year that they make a debut at my place.
I picked up this little pumpkin carriage for $3.00

I especially like this candle holder. Cost $2.00. So for 5 bucks, I got myself two new additions to add to my collection. So when you are out, make sure you check the thrift stores for decorations. You'll be surprised what you will fine.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thrift Store Makeover and another project

Little wood tray at the thrift store-cost $2.00. Needs a little updating, don't you think?

I thought this may make a great little tray to have around for those times when you really need one. I thought about hand painting it but decided against that, so it got decoupaged instead. Using decorative tissue paper cut into little squares, I armed myself with glossy Mod Podge and a small paint brush.

I noticed after I took the photo that the three trees are still showing through, so I'll place another layer over it. Mod Podge looks so great when it all dry, but things tend to stick to it, so I'll apply a few layers of a clear spray to the top. I handy item to have when the kids are sick and have to have their meals in bed (yeah, I ever get that treatment.)

Sharing Ideas

I love to share all my ideas with my readers and I really appreciate when other share their ideas as well. I came across this idea a few months ago and thought I would give it a try.

The idea came from

Michelle gives great step by step directions on how to make a wood trivet. What really attracted me to the idea is the "length" of the trivet when completed. Placed on a large table, you can set down a bunch of items on it. I only wish I had made mine even longer. It's very flexible too so you can adjust its position for different look.

This trivet is made with 12" pieces of hobby wood. Little holes were drilled through each one and flexible craft wire was threaded through each one with a wood bead in between. I painted a small flower on the end of each one.

This wood trivet is great. It beats pulling out separate ones every night for hot plates and dishes.

For more directions check Michelle's blog.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Decorating For Halloween

Halloween is One of My Favorite Holidays

My three kids are getting a little old for all this stuff, but they still love Halloween. Over the years I have accumulated all sorts of things to "get festive" with.

This year it's the mummy cling on in my front window.

He is gigantic and takes up the entire front window of the house. With a light placed strategically behind him, he really comes to life at night. In fact, when you drive by the house, he is all you see. Pretty cool, huh?

Here are some very pretty and creative ways to decorate for Halloween.

photo: courtesy of

Lots of pumpkins involved here, but very cute on a front porch.

A very warm and inviting front entrance way. photo: courtesy of

This arrangement adds a real impact. Little pumpkins all arranged decoratively and carved.
photo: courtesy of

This is some very involved decorating, but tastefully done and very festive. I can just imagine handing out candy from this area.

photo: courtesy of

Complicated, but spooky! I love the use of the netted fabric.
This photo shows the vinyl clings that I used in my window. They are pretty cool especially when lit from the back. Cost: around $19.00.

photo: courtesy of

Gourds, white pumpkins, flowers all make festive arrangements. The small gourds I saw in Walmart this morning were just under $4.00 for a bag of six.

photo: courtesy of

These pumpkins look great, but I'm sure they took lots of time to carve out.

photo: courtesy of

This wonderfully decorated home belongs to Mary McCarthy of Centreville, Md. She has included all the elements including a fog machine, staring eyes, gargoyles, a graveyard and even a bat belfry. Her neighbors refer to her as the "queen of Halloween"-I can only imagine why. This Victorian home was built in 1881 and is perfect for a Halloween presentation.

photo: courtesy of

If you want to see some of the most creative and imaginative Halloween props ever, check out this site. This guy gives you the best step by step directions on creating paper mache pumpkins, skeletons, zombies....etc. Unbelievable!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Thrifty Use of Old Porch Light

For Sure, You Will Think I'm Nuts
Maybe I got a little carried away with this one. You be the judge. I recently replaced the old lanterns in front of my house. I was just about to throw it away when I realized I may actually be able to make something out of them.

Here is what it looked like before. Pretty ugly, don't you agree?

Here is what I did with it. I took out all the surrounding the glass and replaced it with wood, cutting a hole out for the birds and installing a perch. I removed the socket and built a little floor. I caulked all the seams (don't want it raining down on my feathered friends) and sprayed the brass, white. The wood was painted gray. It now matches my house. I'll be picking a tree tomorrow and hanging it up.

So now, the old fixture won't rot out in some landfill, but will hopefully become a home for some birds in the spring. Hey, I'm saving the world in very little ways.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Front Porch Re-Do

The Porch Needed A Face Lift

It started with some rot on the molding around the front door. It lead to repainting the railing, painting some windows, adding some flowers, painting the garage door, adding some urns, replacing the front lanterns, painting the front door and cleaning the windows.

A little rot opened up a large can of worms. One thing just lead to another.

It was a lot of work, but it looks a lot better than it did weeks ago.

Take a look:

After fixing all the rot around the door (if you want to see how I did it or before photos click here: ), I gave the front door a new coat of paint. Black with a border of cinnamon. I installed some new hardware since the old stuff was worn and not very secure.

So what was thrifty about the door? I made the stained glass myself (oh, that saved me plenty), and I happen to have the black paint in the basement, so there wasn't much of a cost. The hardware however, was not cheap but I justified that thinking we need the security, right?

I installed these lanterns. I found two of them on sale at Lowe's. No electrician needed, I did the wiring myself. I do only basic electrical work. The plant hangers beneath were sprayed with black Rustoleum. They use to be a light shade of green.
So now that the front door and trim had a new coat of white paint, I had to do something with the large atrium window above. I hired this job out ($190.00 for priming and painting inside and out). I don't do heights, so it had to be done. Chalk it up to homeownership.
The railing was scraped down with a wire brush, primed with rustoleum primer and sprayed with high gloss black. Looks like new.

One thing just lead to the other. Now that the door looked great, the trim was painted and the railing looked like new......the little tin roof about the front window needed paint. I brushed this from the windows above and finished with a ladder. Not really high, so I could handle it.
These urns I purchased at Lowes. They were on sale for $45.00 each. They are very well made and are pretty large. Best to wait until the end of the season to buy things like this. They are so much cheaper. These urns were $89.00 each during the peak of summer.
These stones I actually had hanging around the yard doing nothing so I used them to build an additional place for flowers right next to the front porch.

Here are some photos of plants in the front containers. The reason I'm showing you this is that some of them are not real. The ferns I added are from Walmart and you can't kill them. You really can't tell that they are fake and add to the fullness of the arrangement. I am not a fan of plastic or fake flowers outside, but I think you can use them together to really fill up garden containers. I find that the greenery works but stay away from plastic flowers. They just look "plastic".

I installed the scalloped garden edging (I also had that hanging around) into the front garden bed. Below another shot of the edging. I dug that all in...what a pain!

The mums I purchased at Aldi's for $2.99 each. What a deal!
New doorbell-$12.00.

Last but not least, the $1.00 clearance- garden gnome....priceless.

Well, it was a ton of work, but satisfying in the end. The front of the house now looks so much better. A coat of paint can do wonders.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall Decorating

Autumn is here and it's Time To Decorate

photograph:courtesy of

Tis the season for those ubiquitous earth tones of red, oranges,brown and gold. I love this time of the year and everything it symbolizes. Autumn is football, Halloween and Thanksgiving. It's family time all season long. Most of my home is decorated in earth tones, so all the fall colors blend very well, but these colors look good in any house.

Decorating is pretty easy for this time of year. Adding some fall floral arrangements, table clothes, napkins and centerpieces is all it takes. If you're ambitious, you can even decorate the front porch with most of those items.
photograph:courtesy of
A very simple and inexpensive natural tie wrapped around a napkin can add to your table decor and give the people sitting at your table a real feel for the fall season.
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Candles can add to the overall seasonal warmth.

photograph: courtesy of

A seasonal wreath displayed on the front door. The wreath below does not scream Halloween or Thanksgiving. It's beautifully generic and fits with this time of the season.
photograph:courtesy of

photograph: courtesy of
It's not fall unless I have planted some mums in my front yard. I found huge mums in "Aldi" supermarket for $2.99 each. I could not believe my eyes. The same mums were over $10.00 in Home Depot and Lowe's. Aldi's is regional and you may not have one by you, but if you do, go in and check it out-great buys.
photograph: courtesy of

Ok....I know, this is looks disgusting, but I laughed like heck when I saw it. The puking pumpkin and you better believe there will be one on my porch. Just imagine how it will gross out all the little kids-ha!! I love it.

photograph: courtesy of
Enjoy this time of the year when the air turns cool and the inside gets warm.

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