Going Gothic for All Hallows Eve


This is our first Halloween in the new house and I knew I wanted to switch up my decorating style to be more Pottery Barn ‘gothic’ than the typical ‘cutesy’ or all out ‘gore’ you often see this time of year. I purged my decorations and sold quite a few items on the buy/sell pages to fund the purchase of new items. But I ended up only spending about $18 for this new look!

I started by pulling out anything in my décor stash that was black or white and tackled the mantel first. A couple of candle sticks topped with flameless candles, a doily wrapped pumpkin, some spooky artwork, a skull and my pretty raven make up a simple, but spooky arrangement.


The artwork was a free printable quote from Michal Jackson’s “Thriller” that I found here and an oversized numeric cut out I made with my Silhouette. Both frames were items I already had on hand, so I just repurposed them.  The skull lights up and was one of only two items I purchased this year. Originally priced $12.99 I got him on sale for 20% off, saving me a few dollars and the time I was planning to spend to create one that looked similar!


I wanted the entry way to feel like a witch’s potion brewing station, so on one side I filled a pedestal that I DIYed forever ago with several different size and style bottles holding various items you might expect to be in a spell recipe. I planned on creating vintage-looking labels for each, but ran out of time. So here’s what they are labeled in my head:

  • Full moon dust (sugar)
  • Goblin teeth (candy corns)
  • Eye of newt (white pebbles)
  • Black magic beans (navy beans)
  • Spider venom (purple glitter)
  • Toad tongues (split pea)


I added a little flameless votive in a small jar and a chalkboard sign to round out the vignette.  On the other side I used another free printable, found here, paired with a fun little jack-o-lantern votive and a cast iron frog under a cloche. The jack-o-lantern is part of a set with metal hook posts that are meant to be put along a walkway, but I always worry that they will get blown off by the wind and break so this is a much safer option.


I finished off the area with a pretty orange and black bunting from my photo props and my ‘welcome’ ghost sign on the opposite wall.


Out on the porch, I added a new welcome mat with an adorable ghost and some spooky pumpkins. Pay no mind to that empty pot on a pedestal in the corner by the door. I had plans to add some painted branches to it with lights and spider webs, but I never got that far and at this point it just ain’t worth the effort for one day! Those spider webs are the other item I bought and since I didn’t use them they will be in my tub and ready for use next year!


In the dining room I used two more jack-o-lantern votives from the same set I mentioned earlier and paired them with my cherished “Boo” Ghost lantern.


So that’s my Gothic Spooky Halloween décor. It’s not much this year, but it’s a good starting point for next year. So what do you think? Is the old fashioned gothic look better than the cutesy scary stuff or do you prefer a more “goriesh” style for Halloween decorations?

A New & Improved Doggy Door

DogDoorFinishedWhen we first moved in we installed the sliding door doggie door insert we’d used while in Kodiak.  It worked fine, but we could never seem to get it seal well against the slider door sine it was shorter than the door opening and it reduced the width opening to the deck considerably, which was a pain when the hubs was going in and out to grill on the deck.  So we decided to install a new door in the wall.

The hubs picked out a double flap model to improve energy efficiency.  I’m hopeful that it will keep the outdoor debris at bay a bit more as well.  Because it sits a little higher, we don’t have an issue with water seeping in when it rains like we did with the old door, which should also be handy when it starts to snow.

We originally planned to hire a handy man to do this installation, but the hubs’ co-worker convinced him that he could do it, so I dug out the pictures I’d taken of the wall during construction to make sure we knew what he’d encounter inside the wall (I’m so glad I documented every step for this exact reason!).

We knew there was electrical wiring to deal with because of the outlet and light switch nearby, but the pictures showed us where the wire ran so he made sure to watch for them and then just tucked the wire to the side of the opening once he had the hole cut as you can see below.


Thankfully I wasn’t around for most of the install process due to a photography session, so I missed out on the messy “in-between” stages, although I’m sure they looked similar to the scene above. The hubs did say he reframed a bit around the new opening since he had to cut the stud that was in the middle of the opening and he added spray foam insulation behind the interior panels that make up the portion within the width of the wall.

We’ve had a couple of windy days since it was installed and it seems to do better at staying closed than the slider insert door did, so I’m very happy about that.  And because there are two flaps, even if one doesn’t catch all the way the other keeps the opening closed for efficiency.  The hubs still plans to add a bead of clear silicone around the entire opening on both sides, but overall it seems much more weather tight than the old door was.

We did have to relocate the dog’s water bowl since this is exactly where it was before the install.  For now we’ve just moved it down the wall a bit, but I have plans to incorporate it into raised feeders for all three of them very soon.  It took everyone a bit to get used to the new door.  Both Bacardi and Stoli kept going to the slider door and pawing at first, but after a few times they’ve got it figured out.  And even Luna has adapted, although it did take a gentle push through the first time. 🙂

My New “Old” Fruit Bowl


Some time ago, my fruit ‘bowl’ became the hubs’ catch all spot for when he comes home and empties out his pockets. In the meantime I’ve just been using a bowl from our regular dish set, which worked just fine but I knew that wasn’t a permanent solution. So I’d been on the hunt for a simple and inexpensive replacement.


This little milk glass beauty fit the bill perfectly. I picked it up for just $4.50 at a local antique store I just discovered! I kept eying it as I wandered through the aisles and finally decided it spoke to me. There were actually two of the same bowl, but one was marked $10 and the other $6, so I took the cheaper bowl knowing I’d get an extra 25% off thanks to the open house sale they had going on!

Eventually, when the side counter is no longer a tool bench for indoor projects, I may rearrange the hubs’ drop zone and use something different so I can reclaim the original bowl. If and when that happens, I’ll use this one for centerpieces and other decorating. But until then, I think it does a mighty fine job as the counter top fruit bowl!

An Artful Disguise

As promised, here’s my other bargain art piece from my recent Target shopping spree.  I’ve been looking for a subway art piece for the wall between the entryway and the office for a while now, and actually purchased a canvas from Michaels to create my own.  Luckily, before I got to that little project I spotted this on sale at Target for around $20.  The color was a great contrast to the wall and I love the phrase, but what I really love is how it’s doing double duty!


How you ask?  Well it’s hiding the not so lovely thermostat!  How clever is that?!  Of course I can’t take credit for this brilliant idea since I got it from Pinterest, but I’m still super happy with how it turned out.


All it took was a couple of hinges and it was bye, bye boring thermostat!  The hubs did notch out the frame of the canvas just a bit so we could center it on the wall, but that was due to my preference on location.


This same idea could be used to disguise other wall mounted items like alarm systems or old intercom systems.  Have you decorated around your thermostat or disguised something in your home?  Tell me how with a comment below!

The Hubs’ New Desk Chair & A Few Other Bargains

Check out the hubs’ new desk chair! Isn’t it pretty?! I’m loving it, not only because it can also double as a photography prop (whoop, whoop), but because I got a great deal on it.  Originally marked at $218 at Target, I asked customer service to price match their website where I found it for $152.  And to make it an even sweeter deal I used a $5 off coupon, plus $10 in ShopKick rewards and got another 5% off thanks to my Red Card. Let’s just say I was doing my happy dance!


I also found a couple of other bargains on that shopping trip.  The first was this pouf, which the hubs has been enjoying using as a foot rest when he sits on the couch.  It’s indoor/outdoor material so it can be used on our deck next summer, but in the meantime it can also serve as extra seating when we have guests over.


I snagged a couple of bargain art pieces as well.  One became a little project I’ll share with you next week, but here’s the other.  I found this pretty little piece on clearance for just $7!  It was the perfect size for the blank wall next to the mirror in our guest bathroom and it fits the colors I’ve used in that space exactly.


Just another example of why I adore Target and shop there often!  I think the only way it could get better is if they would pay me to shop!  A girl can dream right?! 🙂

More Crafty Storage!

CraftShelvesI recently picked up some simple white floating shelves at Lowes and had the hubs install them above my craft cabinet for some additional storage. I originally planned to DIY these, but at $20 each it was worth saving the hub’s time for other more important projects. 🙂

Although they can only hold a few pounds, they are the perfect way to display some of my finished crafts and inventory as I prep for the upcoming holiday bazaars.  Of course what I display here will change as my projects do, but it’s nice to have a spot to show off my work or stash things that are “in-progress” while keeping my table top clear for working.

That roll of kraft paper you see on top of the cabinet will soon be mounted to the wall just an inch or two above the table surface so I have a quick and easy wrapping station as well!

Saving the Floors

After fixing the scratches from the camp chair in the office I decided to make my pretty purple chair more floor friendly since it has tried to leave marks on the floor as it’s moved back and forth as well.  The culprit was these little plastic “feet” on the base of each leg.  They weren’t really necessary, so I pulled them off.


That left me with a flat wooden base.  I was afraid that this might eventually get rough and also scratch the floor, so I decided to add a layer of protection with felt.


I cut a few squares from some scrap felt I had on hand and used gorilla glue to attach them.  The brown color blends in with the leg so you don’t even realize it’s there.


Now when I push the chair in or out, it slides on the floor without issue. In fact, it’s so nice I plan to do the same to all of our dining table chairs and bar stools.  Although I’m saving that little project for one day this winter when I’m trapped indoors due to weather!

Floor Scratch Removal

So remember that folding camp chair the hubs was using on his side of the new desk? Well it’s metal feet under the hub’s manly frame wasn’t very friendly with the floor…



Luckily, I have a secret weapon, a wood stain pen.  Although I purchased this to disguise any little dings on our kitchen cabinets, it works just as well on the floors and furniture.


I actually first used it on the bathroom floor after the hubs installed some molding at the bottom of the cabinet and his drill left a sizable divet in one of the planks.   I just colored it in with the pen and let it “soak” in.  Now that spot just looks like a small knot in the wood.  Of course you can find it if you really look for it, but because it blends in no one ever will. 🙂

In the office, I cleaned the floor so there wouldn’t be any dirt or dust in the scratches and then lightly ran a fingernail over each scratch to take off any small rough pieces of the vinyl left behind.  Next I just colored on the floor.  Literally, I just squiggled across each area and then drew a line over any scratches that extended outside the main group.  I let that sit for a few minutes then wiped off the excess with a rag.  Here’s the end result.


If you look really closely, you still might spot a few of the scratches, but if you were to walk past this area you’d never notice anything that would make you stop and look.  That was the exact reason we chose this flooring material.  It’s tough, so it’s scratch resistant and even when we do manage to scratch it, I can correct the problem quickly and easily!

Coat Check


Now that cooler temps have arrived the hubs and I are both wearing a coat each day. And those coats usually end up on the backs of our dining table chairs or barstools each evening because it’s a convenient location to leave them as we arrived home from work. It’s not a big issue, it just looked messy, which bugged me so I decided to figure out a solution.

Our laundry room is just off the garage so we pass through it every time we enter and leave the house. Although I’d love for this room to pull double-duty as a mudroom too, there isn’t enough room for both functions. But keeping our coats in check would be a nice compromise!

The idea initially came to me when I spotted a simple board with hooks on it for sale on one of the buy/sell pages for $10. Although I contacted the seller several times, she wasn’t responsive and then the ad just disappeared. I decided to look for something similar at local retailers and found one at Lowes for $28. A little more than I wanted to spend, since I could have had one for $10, but still not horrible.

I wanted to make sure it would be able to hold a bit of weight since we would be hanging coats on it, so the hubs broke out the stud finder and located the studs on the wall wall between the door to the garage and the door to the dining room.   A couple of screws and it was up.


It works perfectly, just enough room to hang a couple coats and my purse.  One day I might re-do this whole wall in board and batten with hooks farther apart, but for now this serves the purpose.


Our Massive DIY Desk – Part I

From the moment we signed the contract to build our home I envisioned a massive wall-to-wall desk in my office/studio, with enough room for both the hubs and I to have workspace.  But that wasn’t a high priority project, so the DIY desk we fashioned from a freebie door and two filing cabinets while in the rental was serving the same purpose at the new house.  It was certainly functional, but definitely not anything amazing.


After moving into the house we’d purchased a few other filing cabinets to serve as the bases for the rest of the desk, but they sat collecting dust in the garage for months.  Then, a few weeks ago the hubs decided it was time to make room in the garage get this project rolling and purchased wood for the desktop.  He brought in the other two filing cabinets and then lined up the wood planks to form the top.


At some point we took the top drawer out of one cabinet and Luna decided that was the perfect hiding spot, at least until she realized it was right at doggy viewing height!  Tequila was very concerned that her kitty was trapped in the cabinet. 🙂


The hubs had prepped the boards with small biscuits to create joints between the planks.  He also predrilled counter-sunk screws down the length of the boards.  The combination of the biscuit joints and the screws make the entire top a sturdy and solid piece.



Here’s the new set up!  As you can see the desktop doesn’t go all the way to the wall on the near end, but that leaves room to install the sliding barn doors in the future which will allow me to close off the studio for clients when needed.


We still need to add molding around the bottom of the two new cabinets, add a pull-out shelf to the middle cabinet for the printer to sit on, paint all the cabinets white, stain the top and then install shelves above the desk for storage, but for now it’s just nice to have a little extra room for us both to work.  I’ve since found a new chair to replace the camp chair on the hub’s side, thanks to a great deal at Target.  Watch for a post on that soon!