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Black Beauties - Halloween Pumpkins

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm not a ghostie, ghoulie, witchie decor fan so I look for more subtle ways to celebrate Halloween. Actually if you want the real truth, I'm really just lazy and always on the lookout for easy projects and ideas (but they have to look good, natch). So saying all this, I was quite taken with these two dark and sinister takes on pumpkins. One even includes a bit of carving up which I normally avoid.

Black Magic

Since I am a carving-challenged kind of gal, when it comes to decorating my Halloween pumpkins I usually just slap a black mask on my pumpkins and thereby save my fingers. But here’s a stunning black crescent moon I spotted at Midwest Living that just might tempt me to try my hand at carving (oh – wait a second does that mean I also have to remove the stuff inside?? I may go with an artificial pumpkin). You can get the stencil for the crescent moon here (but you have to register to get it).

Big, Black, and Scary

Craft and food stylist Paul Lowe at his Sweet Paul blog skipped the carving knife altogether when it came to decorating his pumpkin. Instead he used an artificial one and matte paint to achieve this deceptively stark and so very chic pumpkin. Here are his how-to instructions.

Just a wee note: Although I normally believe that natural is always best, when it comes to stuff like holiday decorations, I don't mind a faux take on a few things (like pumpkins). After all you can keep the thing and reuse it year after year. 

Spotted at Ikea - Pallet Recycling

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

You know that something has gone mainstream when it shows up on Ikea's Livet Hemma site. Instead of pushing their own bed furniture, the stylists at Ikea recently featured a bed constructed from pallets peeking from under an Ikea foam mattress and colourful linen.

And in the garden, Ikea stylists also reused pallets as outdoor furniture.  Can you spot the pallets?

Halloween recycled

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

When friends ask me if they really can create great stuff by recycling, I always reply - why not? It's all a question on how you look at stuff. This was how I decorated my Halloween hall last year and everything is recycled or upcycled (except the for pumpkins under the bench and these I upcycled into pumpkin pies, soup and brownies later). The bench was made from found wood from a nearby construction site - a friend was coerced into making if for me with the promise of pies!

The containers are garage sale finds along with the faux black pumpkin which was originally orange. I used leftover chalkboard paint to transform it. The hydrangeas were pilfered from a neighbour's yard (okay - I did ask) and spray painted with the same chalkboard paint. I add a bit of hair spray (again from a neighbour - I don't use the stuff) for added shine.

The door in the background was another rescued construction site throwaway - love those sites for scavenging stuff. As for the pumpkin pompoms on the bench, I made these using plastic bags from a local art supply store (Wallack's on Bank Street).

No plastic bags? Create similar using orange, white or black wool for the pompoms and a bit of wire for the stalk. See how to make one over at Mollie Makes.

Halloween Frame of Mind

Posted on August 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

So - the back green garden has been blooming despite Edinburgh's wacky weather - the cabbages came in (despite the wood pigeons snipping away at the leaves) and went - can't blame the pigeons on the disappearance of the cabbages!! So now we have a few empty garden boxes to fill up. The wee man (little K) sprinkled some turnip seeds into the empty cabbage box while we adults planted carrots and kale seeds. More plants are coming soon.

Since the weather has cooled considerably, I'm getting into a more autumn frame of mind (I know it's only mid-August but you have to be here to appreciate my mood). Any road, Halloween has been on my mind lately and since I am away from home and all my goodies, I checked out what was out there for inspiration.

Now, the thing about me is that I am utterly useless at actually making stuff that look gorgeous (I'm more your basic idea gal). If it has more than 3 or 4 parts and/or more than 3 steps to create, projects and ideas I look for have to be easy, simple, and cost-effective. Needless to say, they also have to be recreated using recycled materials.

First up is this witty frame arrangement that I found a few years back at Pottery Barn. (Note the frames are no longer available at the store).

Pottery Barn Inspiration

Okay - I'm inept at hanging up artwork straight on walls and usually avoid the task (or get someone else to do it). But this Halloween frame arrangement that I spotted on Pottery Barn seemed ideal for me to attempt as all the frames were stuck together every which way. Perfect, I thought. But, wouldn't you know it, I got plumb tired out at the thought of all the gluing and nailing and hanging I would have to do and, so, I never did make it.

However, it still is an easy enough idea and I think it would be easy to construct if you've got a few old ones around (frames, I mean ... ). Ask friends if they've got some they're not using as well. By the way, instead of buying your picture mats, make your own from any stiff white paper you've got around the house; it's easy (so she says) to make your own. Here's a link to make your own mats.

And you know what? Good old Pottery Barn even put up a free pdf of spookly photos you can download and use in your frames. Go here for the link.

Back Green Garden Update

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, here they are - photos of our lovely back green garden in bloom.

The lettuce (Lola Rosa) patch is already producing enough for most residents ...

I never knew you could grow your own celery ...

Herbs are my favourites as you can pick, and pick, and pick ....

The rosemary and mint in these clay containers give the garden a distinctly Mediterranean flair, don't you think?

Nasturtiums keep the French beans company.

The little guy loves to play under the trees behind the garden where he makes mud pies but he also loves to water the plants in the garden. This garden has been a godsend for me as I find it hard somedays to keep up with his nibs. So much energy in such a little package. Now we spend mornings in the garden enjoying the sunshine - I get to catch up on my reading and the little guy plays happily by himself or with any of the other kiddies that show up. 

Back Green Garden and Street Finds

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The housing association that maintains the grounds where we are living recently created a community garden in the back green (the communal park behing the buildings) and it's been a great hit with everyone, especially the kids. Our little guy enjoys watering the plants and eating the produce. Since he never was a great veggie fan, his Mom is happy that he enjoys the garden's fresh produce which includes carrots, lettuces, cabbages, leeks, onions, courgettes (that's zucchini to you and me!), as well as a variety of herbs and flowers. Right now only the lettuces and a few carrots are ready but he happily will much on both without much persuasian. His mom also grows a variety of herbs and veggies on their balcony and he is especially fond of the peas which he will eat raw.

Don't you just love this little toy horse? Would you believe that this was a street find? I came across the little fellow when I got on the wrong bus the other day and had to get off. While looking for the right bus, I spotted it amidst a pile of rubbish bags on the curb. Quickly looking up and down the street to see if anyone was watching, I snatched it up and high-tailed it to the nearest bus stop home. (Didn't get a funny look from the driver either, as they're used to people bringing anything and everything on board - the other day, I watched two Spanish girls lug a foldable single bed on the bus!)

Once I got the toy horse home and cleaned it up, I googled it and found similar ones made ca. 1920s. It seems it may have had a cart attached originally. His nibs immediately claimed the horse as his own and has been riding it in the garden all day!