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Halloween Décor 2014

by Ashley on October 7, 2014

Halloween is coming, folks! As I sit here the window three feet away is open, letting in the perfect 71° air. There’s a slight breeze rustling the leaves of the trees outside, and the tops of those trees are tinged with fall color. Another week or two and they’ll be top to bottom glorious!

This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. The cooler air, the fall colors, the first hints that the holiday season is coming, and Halloween!

I seriously love Halloween. I love haunted houses, and it’s the one yearly chance to decorate my house in a way that would normally be very…wrong.

Right? Perfect for October, not so much for the rest of the year.

Probably my favorite addition to this year’s décor are these “crystal balls”. I got the idea from Bev over at Flamingo Toes. Take the time to go through her tutorial. For the most part, I followed her directions, and she includes the PDF of the images!

Aren’t they the coolest?? The printable image file prints small, like 2 or 3 inches for each picture, but I wanted mine bigger. I just emailed the PDF to my local Staples and had them print it. Then I went into the store, cut out the images I wanted, and had the nice helper-man copy them, blowing them up to 4 inches each. Perfect!

I’m also a huge fan of plastic that looks like glass. Yay for not-so-easily-broken, right? I went to Hobby Lobby and got 4 inch, plastic Christmas balls. They were back with all of the Christmas craft stuff, not with all of the ready-made Christmas balls. Then you just pull out the top part that has the hanger on it. You can throw that away because your ball ends up upside-down.
The tricky part was “smoking” them without melting them. In the original instructions, Bev used a candle to add the smoky effect to her glass balls. Obviously, I couldn’t do that or my plastic ones would end up a melted mess. So we (my mom, my sister-in-law and I) played around until we figured out what we could do. What worked best, though you still have to be careful, was to light a match. Then, as fast as you can, you stick it up into the opening. Move the ball around a bit and pull the match back out. All of this happens in about 3 seconds, and each ball used 3 or 4 matches.
We figured out that the red stuff (whatever it is that lights the match) is what made the best “darkness” on the plastic. Once that red stuff is ignited completely, that match is worthless, so you have to move pretty quickly after striking it. Also, of course, so you don’t melt your plastic ball.
Does that make sense, or are you totally confused? Looking back, I should have made a video…
And, yes, we did melt a couple of balls, so be careful.

Anyway, then you just cut out the image, roll it up with the tab down, and stick in up in the hole. Check out the tutorial over at Flamingo Toes for some great pictures of the process.

Since my crystal balls are 4 inches, they were too big to put in a candlestick meant for a taper candle. I happen to own black candle sticks, so I just needed something to hold my crystal balls in place.
Enter these $1 (I got them on sale for $.50 at Hobby Lobby) votive holders:

Easy peasy! Yeah, these are definitely my favorite new Halloween thing. And we figured each one cost around $1.50, so for about $5 I got all three!

Ok, I got a little sidetracked, So here’s the rest of this year’s décor.
These little rats make me happy.
Because they’re fake.
Because real rats=eeeeew.

We even have one little rebel making his way downstairs!

Many of “the locals” have names, and this is Charlotte. “Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte.”

Creepy, indeed. This is Earl. He was in my wreath before the redo, remember?  We’re not sure what happened to his body, but he’s always welcome anyway.

And this is Earl’s wife, Buna Pearl. She likes to sit by the window and soak in this amazing weather, just like me.

We have a couple of residents without names. That’s Mariah’s job, the naming, and she’s still got a couple to go. Like this giant guy:

We have one more skeletal friend. She’s hangin’ in the bathroom (literally), and her name is Annabelle Rose.

10 07 14 Halloween Decor (8)

This year, in case you missed it, I went with an all-black/silver vibe. Just a “haunted house” feel. Nothing cutesy, no color, just dark. I dig it. Very similar to last year.

Oh, and did you notice my trim and my mantle are painted?! Huzzah! I can’t even tell you how happy I was decorating my mantle this year. I’ll have to tell you all about it, because painting trim is horrible, but so worth it!

I just used the same wreath that I made last year because it fits again this year. I still love it, but I often wonder what people think when they see it. Ha ha.

Notice how similar to this year my décor was last year, but on an orangey-oak mantle. So much better now!
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’m any better at using my camera now than I was then.

I hope you all have some super fun Halloween plans. We’ve got family coming next weekend.
Every year I host Halloween family fun at my house. When we all lived close, it was just a pumpkin carving and dinner. Now that we’re more spread out it has become an entire weekend of Halloween goodness.
This year we’ve got a day at Silver Dollar City, an evening at the Pumpkin Patch, including a campfire with hot dogs and s’mores, a costume get-together and dinner Saturday, Spooktacular at the zoo that night, and the haunted house for anyone brave enough that night.
Busy, busy fun!

Here are last year’s costumes, and here’s last year’s party. Hope this year will be even better!

Happiest October to you!


Ch ch ch ch Changes…

by Ashley on August 14, 2014

Well, hi there! I’m still here, still plugging along, and still working on the house and being Mom. Right now I’m in the process of painting the trim all over the upstairs. Well, except my bedroom. I haven’t even begun to think about that.

I got the entry way painted, the back door, the window over the sink, and the front door. I still have one coat to put on the fireplace, one big window, and the baseboards in that whole area. Then I’ll get to the small hallway up here.

Can I tell you a little secret?
I HATE painting.
I wish I could say that I love it, and I DO love the pay off, but I seem to find all kinds of excuses to not get it done. I just don’t love doing it, that’s all.

Here’s the deal, though.

I just don’t think there’s any way for me to keep up with this bloggy thing on a regular basis. Until you’ve done it, you have no idea how much TIME it takes. For real, I had no clue.
Hours. Every post takes hours.

And there’s a side effect that I don’t love.

I find myself overwhelmed with the number of pictures on my camera(s), and the thought of going through them all, editing them all, labeling and organizing them all is just insane to me. I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to taking pictures. I totally fake it, but then editing takes forever because I have to try to fix everything I messed up when I took the pictures. Does that make sense?

So, what does all this mean?

Nothing, really. I will continue blogging, updating mostly when I finish something in the house that makes me super happy. I may post now and again about family stuff, too, but things will probably be pretty sporadic.

I want to refocus on my family, and the memories that we’re creating.

A few weeks ago, I actually found myself missing my old camera. The one that I had to put a roll of film in, then fill it up (not knowing how good the pictures were), and then take the film to be developed. I remember being so excited to pick up the pictures and see what I captured. Often the pictures were blurry, the flash distorted the colors, and they totally lacked any creativity, but they were pictures of my people. I didn’t have 4,000 pictures of my house, the scenery, or every detail of how I made a wreath. My pictures were just of my people. I miss that.

The last time I had pictures printed was around Halloween 2007.
Seven years ago.
That’s the year I bought my first digital camera.
Every picture I’ve taken since then is stored on CDs, an external hard drive, and here on my laptop.

I do love technology, but I think we can lose sight of how happy simplicity can be.
So I want to go back to simple.
That’s what works for me, so that’s what I need to do.

I do hope you’ll check back now and again, and I’ll be sure to let you know through other social media when I post here, so be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Take care, and thanks for the love!


Coastal Bathroom Cabinet Redo

by Ashley on May 27, 2014

Our home is currently loaded with orangey-oak woodwork, and slowly I’m getting it all painted. Very slowly. I had never painted any sort of woodwork until I got started on this house, and it’s daunting, but totally addictive! I’ve done the trim in several places, but painting the cabinets in the basement bathroom was definitely the most fun.

Titled Cabinet Redo

I had never painted cabinets before, and I admit to being a little scared, but it was so worth it! And you know what? It wasn’t even hard!


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