Monday, October 31, 2011

You’re Invited…into my Halloween Home- 2011


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Believe it or not, these are just a few of the photos I managed to take while getting ready for this year’s Halloween party. In fact, I have some fun DIY Halloween projects to come at a later date. After all, it’s never too soon to get ready for next year!!!

(Yes, it’s official…. I’m insane.)

Happy Halloween Everyone!


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Scenes from my Spooky Old Home…

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It’s been pretty hectic around this old haunted place. But of course, since we’re preparing for our Halloween guests. All of those creepy souls that will soon be wandering through our cobwebs and sipping potions from my black cauldron…

Here are some photos that I managed to snap for you. We are almost ready…..


Here’s the entry chandelier with a dangling monster hand to welcome our guests.

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This is a glimpse of the mantel in that pesky daylight.


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Do you recognize this wreath from my Fall decorating days?

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Our hairy neighbor waits patiently for the party to begin…

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Can you see the jeweled spider on the candelabra?

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Do you see the ghost face in the middle of the dark staircase?  Hmm..very scary…

Check back for more scenes from my Haunted House….along with those gruesome details from our Spooktacular Party!  I can’t wait.


Thanks for stopping by!


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to decorate your chandelier for a Halloween Party

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Doesn’t this picture send shivers down your spine? This is a close-up picture of my very creepy, haunted chandelier.

Are you decorating for a Halloween party? I’m going to show you how to transform your dining room chandelier into a perfect fixture for your Halloween festivities. Your adult guests will love it, and it’s amazingly easy to create considering how dramatic the end results are.

Depending on the size of your chandelier, you will need the following items:

  • Dolls from your neighborhood thrift store. (I used six)
  • 1-2 cans of cheap white spray paint.
  • 3-4 yards of cheesecloth
  • fishing wire.

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I covered the doll’s hair, removed the clothes, and sprayed the exposed doll parts with a can of white paint. For a ‘haunted look,’ I think the dolls look best in white dresses… but only one of my dolls had one.

The other doll heads came from miscellaneous dolls that I had picked up at a thrift store. I simply detached their heads and sprayed. I wanted these dolls to be hairless.

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This is the “BEFORE” shot of my chandelier.

As you can see, my chandelier has six arms. After removing the shades, I decided to remove three bulbs and slip doll heads in their place. I kept three bulbs intact to provide some lighting, but you could remove all of the bulbs, it’s really a personal choice.

TIP: Once you put the doll heads on the “candle” they may be sitting too low in the candle cup. In that case, you can prop them up with a piece of masking tape. Simply scrunch the tape beneath the doll’s neck so that the tape is not visible.

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This is the “AFTER” shot of my haunted chandelier

Step One: Begin by cutting pieces of white cheesecloth approximately the length of your chandelier. Don’t worry about measuring, since the cheesecloth is going to be stretched and ripped to achieve the final look.  When you drape each piece, take time to use a fork or pair of scissors to help you pull the cheesecloth apart; don’t cut it, simply pull and stretch the cheesecloth. You could use your fingers to achieve this look as well.


The photo above shows the cheesecloth before it’s been pulled apart. Each chandelier arm gets a separate piece of cheesecloth on it to begin the draping process. The more transparent each layer is, the better.

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Step Two: Continue to add layers and shred until you get your desired look.

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Step Three: Attach the three dolls on the top of your lighting fixture. 

Once your cheesecloth layering is done, attach the three dolls onto the top of your lighting fixture. My dolls could  actually “sit” on top because of the shape of my chandelier. Use fishing wire to tie.


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Step Four: Drill a screw into the top of each remaining doll head and Attach fishing wire to the screw. Tie each doll head to an arm of the chandelier.

You should only be able to glimpse them hanging at the bottom.

I used three doll heads because that’s all I had. As one last touch, I added a few spiders to the cheesecloth and …voila! You’ve just created a scary- looking chandelier that is ready to cast an eerie glow over your ghastly looking guests. Now have a sip of this yummy Witches Brew and enjoy!


 And me? There’s no time for rest,  I’m still decorating my spooky old house so stay-tuned for more Halloween photos and ideas to come.

Thanks for stopping by…




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Mantels, Decorator Secrets and Awesome You!

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My Fall Mantel

Whew. This was supposed to be a quick, last minute post on Fall Mantels. All I wanted to do, was to post a last farewell shot of my own mantel before it goes from Respectable Fall to Creepy Freaky. That’s right. I’ve now entered into The Halloween Zone. But I couldn’t pass up the chance to show my readers more mantel ideas from the blog world. Very lovely but I have to admit, looking at all these gorgeous decorating photos by so many talented do-it-yourselfers, can be very intimidating.

And it brings up an interesting question about all this decorating stuff. You might find yourself wondering…

“Life’s so busy, Why should I bother?”

I understand. I was listening to the Bloomberg News this morning and it was pretty bleak stuff. The economy is downright scary. Everyone’s concerned about their jobs and finances. And whether we work inside the homes or outside the house, most of us are busy enough just trying to get the kids from school to their lessons and practices. And did I mention laundry, dinners and work stuff?

So before I post one more photo of a pretty Fall mantel, I’m here to say one thing: You Are Doing an Awesome Job. You really are. You’ve got so much going on right now, and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done one bit of Fall decorating, or if your Mantel hasn’t changed much over the last few years. If you’re reading these words, it means that you’re taking a moment to be curious. You’re grabbing a quick ME moment and maybe you’re looking for some inspiration. Or even a nice distraction. So before you allow yourself any pangs of home envy over all these perfect looking photos, or insecurity about your own decorating abilities ….

There’s a little secret you should know…

The next time you’re roaming through all the gorgeous interior decorating blogs, remember this one thing. Those folks with a flair for creating beautiful vignettes and designer-looking rooms ENJOY doing that. I can speak for myself and say that I love creating things. Putting stuff together to achieve a certain “look.” No, I’m not professionally trained, but to me, that’s what makes it so fun and challenging.

But please don’t be confused. Because the truth is, I do not live in a perfect-looking house. And if it looks “perfect,” it’s because I’ve just staged and organized a particular room for a photo shot. And by the way, when you spend a lot of time writing, taking photos, blogging, and juggling work and family life, you don’t have a lot of time left over to make your floors look shiny and spotless.  Or at least that’s my experience. So the secret? It’s simply that real homes look “lived-in,” NOT like magazine photos.

creating beauty is a hopeful, positive expression

But whether you enjoy all the details of decorating your home or not, DO take time to create a little beauty in your life. Just for you.

Because no matter how busy or stressful your life is right now, creating beauty in your surroundings is a hopeful, positive expression.

  • It says to the world, “I deserve to enjoy life.”

When you take time to create a little beauty around you, it’s an anti-stress action that says,

  • “I believe that no matter how stressful things are right now, life is good. And things will get better.”

Little things matter

If tackling your home seems too big, remember that when it comes to beauty, little things matter. Start with creating beautiful moments; for example, if you’re a morning coffee drinker, buy yourself a lovely, chunky, bright-colored mug for your morning java. A mug that you really LOVE. Or buy a scented candle and put it next to your bed and make sure you light it, while you read or write your grocery list, or check your I Phone before bed.

Remember. You’re doing an awesome job. You’re juggling a lot. You deserve a little beauty in your day.

And on that note, here are a few more Fall Mantels that might inspire you to add a few pumpkins to your own mantel. And take a deep breath. Because the seasons are changing and yes, there’s good stuff that awaits us.


Photo: Google Images

Sweet Something Fall Mantel its the little things that make a home

Photo: it’s the little things that make a house a home

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Photo; Craftberry Bush

Fall Mantel- Main View A cozyhomesscenesmantle-le-jardin

Photo: acozyhomescenes; thepinkpeonyoflejardin


Thanks for visiting! Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment here or email me. I’d love to hear from you.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Entertaining: Enchanting Ideas for your Party


I love this idea! These are Pumpkin Soup Shooters from the Pottery Barn Website. Here’s the recipe, only I can’t vouch for it since I haven’t tried it yet. Let me know your feedback if you do. And in case you’re wondering, those “fingers” are string cheese pieces, cut in half with red pepper on the tips.

Pumpkin Soup “Shooters” with Ginger and Apple

(Serves 16–24)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Pipin apple, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger minced
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup lightly whipped heavy cream with a pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives (about ½ a bunch)
  • Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, apple and minced ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the pumpkin to the onions mixture and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock or water and cream to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender (stick blender, safer for pureeing hot liquids) or in a traditional blender, until smooth, then return it to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then cover soup and keep warm over lowest heat.
  • To serve, fill large shot glasses 3/4 of the way and garnish with a small dollop of cream and a pinch of minced chives.


These cocktail garnishes are also easy-to-make and very Halloween chic, don’t you think? A touch of spooky but not too gross-looking? I’m sorry. But I like my food to look pretty, even if it’s Halloween. And these eyeballs are simply cocktail onions with peppercorns used as the eyeballs. And those lime drink garnishes? They’re smeared with corn syrup “bloodied’ with red food coloring.

Spooky Table Decor is a Must!



Photos  BHG,  Martha Stewart

In these photos above, the buffet table coverings are simple materials, cheesecloth and white sheets embellished with crepe paper, and a felt runner. Although I prefer to use crushed velvets and silky fabric remnants draped over my tables.

And what a great idea for those cheap, plastic orange pumpkins, spray them black and hang them from the ceiling. This is an idea I’m definitely going to borrow. Stay tuned for my version.

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And what about having Edgar Allen Poe as your very own Guest-of-Honor? Let his spirit be your decorating inspiration.

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You could make this Edgar Allen Poe wreath. Click HERE to see my simple instructions.

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Edgar Allen Poe as Guest of Honor?

And you could decorate your table with mystery books, make placemats from old book pages, and you could use the idea shown here, and place a blank journal and a verse from The Raven at each place setting. The journal has a purpose; each dinner guest can jot down their scariest story to share later, with their after-dinner drinks.


Photo: HGTV

Someday I will have a Halloween dinner party just so I can make these white gloved placecards at my table. You can learn how to make these HERE.

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And each of my guests would have a message at their seat.

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And I could pass around these adorable Halloween delicacies after dinner. Click HERE to learn how to make these chocolate ganache rats and white chocolate eyeballs.

What to wear? Hmm…

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Photo: Vera Wang, Fall wedding collection; 2011

I think I’ll wear this old thing.


And I love these Halloween eyes. What do you think? Decisions, decisions…


But what about you? Do you have your outfit yet? What are you going to wear for your Halloween festivities?

Remember... only 13 days left until Halloween!!!



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