Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Halloween Display

Waiting for Brian to finish work last week, I stopped in to the Dollar Store to see what seasonal decorations they had.  I immediately was drawn to a section of crows.  After picking through their supply to find a couple with all surfaces covered by feathers and no huge glue blobs I had the inspiration for my Halloween decor!  I also picked up a pack of glitter pumpkins from target and moved around items I already had in the room and put my display together.  I love how you can see the reflection of the crows in the mirror making it appear there are more ............. Oh no, an invasion of birds a la Hitchcock!

In one corner I brought out my glass pumpkin and switched my pinwheels out of the striped vase for twigs from the yard with plastic spiders I glued on.  I also brought out a small ornate gold frame and filled it with a large plastic ant.

In the center I kept my ampersand with quail eggs but added one of my watchful crows.

To the right I stacked a few pumpkins and gourds under my glass cloche, with a spider perched on top. 

I stacked the cloche on a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories I found at the thrift store.  Another crow perched beside it .......... or maybe it's a Raven! 

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary .....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A BOO-tastic Banner

I am officially in the Halloween spirit. This past girls' craft night and the weekend I worked on making a banner for the front window. I have loved the look of wreaths or banners made from old sheet music so I thought I would give that a try for a Halloween-inspired banner. I found an old book of sheet music on Ebay for pretty cheap. It already had some imperfections (missing cover, torn pages) so I didn't feel too bad taking it apart.

I cut each page in half and then folded the halves accordion-style.

I glued the ends of the folded sheets together until they were long enough to fold into a circle and glued the circle closed (my circles needed 5-6 half sheets).

Next, on to the letters.  I printed out the letters "B", "O", "O", and a couple spiders from clipart and cut them into circles.  I added silver glitter embellishment around the edges.  For the letters I also cut out black construction paper a bit wider than the letter circles to add some contrast between the letters and the sheet music.

Then I glued the letters and spider clipart images onto the sheet music circles and pinned the circles on to a black and white striped ribbon.

Lastly, it was time to hang the banner in the front window!  I had to adjust the placement of the circles to fit the windows (good thing I had pinned them into place!).  And here it is!

I also added a swarm (flock?) of bats I made from felt, swooping across the window.

Maybe not the scariest Halloween display but I LOVE it!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Light Fixtures

This was a project we worked on quite a while ago but I hadn't gotten around to taking pictures because our dining room was a mess!  When I took the pictures of the new placemats and fall decor earlier in the week we did a bit of cleaning and rearranging.  We moved Bay's cat tower to a corner of the living room and that opened things up quite a bit in the dining room.  So without further ado here is a picture of how our dining room looks now with the new light fixture:

Both the dining and living room light fixtures were similar in style when we moved into the house.  They actually were one of the things I initially loved about the house, the stained glass appearance.  Here is the light in the dining room decorated for Halloween last year.

But looks can be deceiving as we later found out, the light shades were actually made of plastic :o(  And with the color of our dining room walls, the yellowish tint to the "stained glass" made the green even brighter when the light was on.  So we decided to find new lights for the dining and living rooms.  We thought an oil-rubbed bronze fixture with white glass shades would look nice and hopefully minimize the florescent color our dining room walls became when the light was on.  Through Home Depot's website we found a couple of lights that we liked and were not too expensive.

Brian was our electrician swapping out the old lights for our new ones.

In the living room we chose a standard three-bulb fixture in a semi-mount style.  We initially had a two-bulb fixture that was a bit dark so we increased the bulb number to brighten things up.

It's a pretty simple and standard fixture, but it works well with our decor.

For the dining room we went a bit fancier with a chandelier type fixture in the same style.

Even though I loved the style of the old lights I really like how the new ones look.  In the evenings when we turn on the dining room light, the green walls are still florescent but I guess that's just something you have to live with when you pick such a bright color.  In natural light  the green is really nice.

The next things I would like to tackle in the dining room are to change the ceiling color a bit and add crown molding.  Ah, to dream :o)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nontraditional Fall Placemats

A few weeks back after I finished my dining room table my family suggested we have Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year.  Right away I got to thinking about how I would pull this off!  But then after the panic eased I got excited and started thinking about how I could decorate!  Since I had worked so hard on refinishing our table, I thought I should make some festive placemats.  I went to Joann's fabrics but I couldn't find anything that really jumped out at me.  The fall inspired fabrics were to "fall-y" for me so I thought maybe I could use something nontraditional but still formal enough for the occasion.

I searched on Joann's website and found a Waverly fabric I really liked, "Tucker" in the moss color.  I know, moss not a traditional color choice for fall but it works with the colors in our dining room (blue and green) and the print seemed to fit.  Nothing says Thanksgiving like a pheasant...........well I guess turkey, but they are along the same lines, right?  And the green would double for Christmas placemats as well.....Woohoo, I was on a roll!  And being all about multiple uses I figured I could put different prints on either side so I chose a more everyday fabric in Waverly's Chippendale Fretwork in mineral blue.  I found the fabric for cheaper on Ebay in an indoor/outdoor fabric which would make them easy to clean if there are any spills.  Perfecto!

Here's a little sneak peak at how things came together.  I did a little fall-inspired decorating just to show that it does work for the season.

Now to the details.  I wasn't sure the measurements of placemats as I didn't previously have any so I did a little scouting at Target.  I found the placemat isle and looked at the measurements on the price tags, 14"x19".  So that probably translates to fabric cut to 15"x20" with 1/2" seams.  I measured things out on my fabric and used a right angle to make sure things were straight.  I tried to keep the pheasant to the center of the fabric so I wouldn't have any headless birds.

For sewing, I placed the two good sides of the fabric together and sewed around the edges, leaving a few inches open at the bottom for flipping the fabric right side out.  I'm not sure my seams were exactly 1/2", I made all the seams the width of the sewing foot because I find that easier.

After flipping the fabric right side out I hand sewed the remaining opening closed.

Here's a picture of how the green-colored side looks:

And the blue:

Then I got to work decorating the table.  I used a strip of canvas from a drop cloth as a runner down the center of the table.  I also bought a few pumpkins and gourds at our local farmers' market that I placed down the length of the table and on a cakestand in the center.   For the cloth napkins, I had left over guinea feathers I had used for boutonniere decoration for our wedding that I held in place with twine.  And I got out the vintage silver my Grandma gave me as a wedding present.

And for more informal occasions:

I'm so excited about how things turned out, I can't wait to share it with my family!

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The Shabby Nest

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Repurposing an Old Sugar Mold

A few weeks back on WUSLU they had old mexican sugar molds for sale.  I thought they were so cool but a bit out of my price range.  So I searched on Ebay and found one for a lot cheaper.  It has a couple chips in the wood at one end but that just adds to the character.  I love the worn wood look and it works perfectly as a candleholder on the top of the short wall in our bathroom!

I also had a fluer de lis finial on the shelf that I bought a while back.  It had previously been red but I painted it with a layer of gold paint then green and did a light sanding to have the gold show through.  I had to go over it again in spots where the gold paint had rubbed off down to the red layer.  I was trying to go for a patina like the base of the bird I also have in the bathroom here:

So it went from this:

To this:

And here is the fluer de lis finial and the sugar mold/candleholder:

And another angle for good measure :o)

And if I'm in the mood for a relaxing, candle lit bubble bath I can move the candleholder to the edge of the tub.