Ok so I love to decorate for Halloween. I don’t know why this really got started, Oh wait maybe it was because I loved how our house always had plastic pumpkin lights strung across the eves for Halloween every year, not creepy just cute orange light up pumpkins. (Mom and Dad do you still have those?) Anyway maybe it stems from there. But Halloween is a challenge, you see I don’t like gore. Nope no bloody yuckiness or haunted house chainsaws for me, NO THANK YOU. No all that is the easy way out of Halloween, the hard way to decorate for Halloween is fun, classy and family friendly. Last year was a little more colorful, I mean how cute are those topiary pumpkins and paper lanterns, adorable! But this year I really loved the black against the gray and blues of our house. So on we go with the Hollow house! I draped the porch in black cloth this year, like a back curtain being pulled back from the window. The wreath is a new addition I created this year thanks to some lovely black spray paint and a few cheap artificial leaves, and the crow watching over all.. Stacked black cauldrons placed in one corner, as if a busy witch has left them out for brewing. 🙂 A wide variety of pumpkins greet you, a few with smiling faces, as cut out spiders dangle in the side windows. Ooohhhhh, you scared yet, I hope not it’s really not meant to be scary so much as fun to look at.
Inside the console table is filled with a fun selection of various brewing paraphernalia. All ready to cook up something spooktacular! I decided my chandelier needed a bit of a twist so I dangled my favorite bat garland I made several years ago from it, with some fun pom poms because they just make it so cute, right?! The mantel has the same garlands strung about, with the addition of some spidery lace. And my favorite addition is the Halloween silhouette village and crooked fence. I saw a similar one of these at crate and barrel and thought “ohh how fun.” But here is the thing, it was CARDBOARD, I live in a moist climate cardboard doesn’t last very well and warps. Second it’s cardboard, every week I pay someone to take all my cardboard away why would I pay for it? It’s painted cardboard for an outrageous price! NO THANKS! So I went to designing my own! I designed some cute houses and then a fence to go along with it. The problem then became how do I make these bendable to stand up and then to store for next year? Hmmmm, Oh hinges! But I was still riding the cheap train and didn’t want to pay for them. Luckily I’m married to an engineer, and he owns a 3D printer! So we made our own, I glued them together with the best glue in the world, E6000, the glue of champions! That stuff I fixed my dance shoes with so believe me it can take a beating! Ohh and it turned out so great! I love it! Perfect for my mantle! I had a little more village so I added some fence to a family room shelf, our Big Hero Six figurines fit perfectly, I love combining little Mr’s toys into decor. The remainder on the table along with another glass cauldron, and a friendly ghost popping out for a scare! Little Mr. calls this his ghost, and I say “yep it is.” I don’t want him to be scared so anything scary like ghosts and skulls are all his and for some reason that makes them less scary. Then those cute, mischievous, mice running about the floorboards are kinda a tradition in our house. So that’s it y’all! I am adding a few little things here and there to finish up the fun. But I’m tuckered and ready to just enjoy having the Hollow House up for the month!
I love decorating for Christmas but I have for years I haven’t be able think of what to do with my tree skirt. I have this cheap velvet skirt that well is nice but it’s just kinda boring. So I have kinda been on the hunt this year for something new. You won’t believe the costs of some of the tree skirts out there! I saw one for $900 dollars, it was beautiful but really $900 dollars, it blew my mind. Undaunted I continued my search. I came upon these at Crate and Barrel last year, their called tree collars, which is something I never heard of before. I really liked the clean lines, no messy fabric to gather dust and it made the tree look like it was freshly cut from the forest. But still, the price was a little high for me. I showed My Mr and without a second glance he said, in his heroic voice, “we can make that”. So off we went to the local hardware store! We found a lovely, large, galvanized pail for $20. My Mr bore a hole through the center we were set, slipped the tree through the hole and TAAA DAAHH! It looks so nice and really like we went out and cut it and plopped it in a pail of water. I just love looking at our tree with it’s fancy new base and I can always paint it or add some fabric to it and give it a new look, Gosh it’s just amazing! Merry Christmas to our Tree!
While last Christmas was a great time of joy as we welcomed our little Mr, it was also one that we felt a little alone. Our amazing friends the Clines who we lived with while little Mr. grew, had left to spend Christmas with family and we were alone in their house. As we watched our little one go through the ups and downs of NICU growth, the stress can be overwhelming and we found ourselves lonely in a city we didn’t live in and had no family. We thought of the gathering and the parties going on back in Utah and while nothing compares to being near your child, the stress of your new situation can make you feel what I would call family sick (homesick). Missing the support and presence of those who can help buoy you up and give a hug in a time of need. There is nothing like family. But we were grateful for our little miracle and I made plans to celebrate with our little one and keep a few of our traditions alive. I didn’t however feel that My Mr. was going into it with the same vigor as me. He kept delaying the food buying for our traditional Christmas eve dinner, or getting traditional items to make our unconventional Christmas a little more homey. I reluctantly thought this must just be stressful for him. But I was wrong, he had something up his sleeve! As the days leading up to Christmas neared I was getting irritated with his lack of urgency, and feeling more family sick. When one night or I should say morning, I got a phone call at 4 AM, as a NICU mom I went into full panic mode as I jolted, drowsily up and looked at my phone. I confusedly saw my Dads name. He told me he had sent a package and that it should be there now, and to go to the door. I was so confused, I stumbled to the front door of our friends home and looked out at a confusing sight. A bright optical Christmas tree perched upon my parents car. I dashed to the car falling into the arms of my Dad, tears welled up in my eyes as we embraced. They had come to us. My parents had left immediately after a party they hosted at their home, packed up, and drove all night with our family’s traditional food and so much more. They literally brought all my Christmas desires to us. My heart was full, they didn’t want us to be alone, it was an act of love that I will never forget. As we all gathered around the little isolette that contained our sleeping baby, and my parents took turns holding their newest grandchild it became a Christmas that I will never forget. Thank you Mom & Dad, I can never tell you what that meant to me.
I have forever been planning the first Halloween with our child. So this year I was so excited I had our costumes completed before September was over, yes I’m a nut and over preparer. Regardless I knew that we had to be something STAR WARS, obviously. But the issue is well . . . . . Leia. So the metal bikini was out right off the bat. And the white dress and ear buns is well so over done I really didn’t want to have to resort to that. And then it came to me, the strong, blaster wielding, forest racing, “I Love you, I know” Leia from “RETURN OF THE JEDI!” It was perfect and of course it made perfect sense that my little Mr. would go as Wickett the always adorable ewok who steals Leia’s heart! My Mr. would round out our costumes with his dashing Han Solo costume, blaster in tow. I prepped our costumes by painting my poncho out of drop cloth canvas (while little Mr. took his naps). Little Mr’s bear costume came in simply the wrong color brown so I got some dye, boiled it in a pot, making it the lovely brown it is, my Mom contributed to our Halloween cause and found some amazing fabric to make his head covering, and we dyed it orange and frayed the edges for the perfect effect. My Mr’s black vest was refurbished from a black long sleeve shirt with the sleeves cut off and strips added to make it look more utility. On the day of the Halloween party I spent forever learning how to Dutch braid my hair to get the perfect Leia look, I will never braid like this again it was insanely hard to do on myself. And regardless of my lovely knee brace the costume still worked out pretty well. It all turned out great and was the perfect first Halloween costumes for our family.