Act One Scene One Any Estate Sale in America Actors: The same people you see at every Estate Sale in your town. 7:00 am Saturday I am in line for a sale that opens at 8:00am. The above actors are in line ahead of me. […]
I decorate for a living. This is a delight or a curse depending on the month. A delight in October, March, and the rest of the year actually, when I think about it, but a nightmare in November and December. The American public falls into […]
The focal point of most living spaces is the mantle above the fireplace. This becomes a natural place to show off one’s holiday collections. As a collector of every holiday, my mantle gets quite the workout. Actually, these days my mantle is getting more of a workout than me! (That’s another story.) I live in a California ranch-style home built in 1955. I have a long narrow mantle which makes it a challenge to decorate. When we get ready to redecorate the living room one of the first changes I am going to make is to widen the mantle and install an electrical plug on the top for my wreathes and garlands. I own a wide selection of extension cords. They are too long, too short or the wrong color. It drives me crazy when I have a gorgeous mantle decorated and some weird cord hanging off the side of the mantle which I have to disguise. A plug on the top of the mantle will solve these issues. Note: Every time I ask Don (husband) for an extension cord, he gives a giant orange python-like electrical cord that he uses in construction. Unusable, of course, but he tries to help me. Or, does he offer up the wrong things that I will stop bugging him? Back to the mantle…
Strip it down to the bones!
First things first. Everything off! Next, clean the mantle. I know it is Halloween but there is different types of spooky. There is artistic spooky and there is dirty bad housekeeping spooky! It is better to start with a clean palette. I have a relative (No, I won’t tell) who put spiders on her Easter arrangement that I made her. It was spooky in a bad way. Bunnies, eggs and spiders is a mess and rendered me speechless. Not an easy task. Put away the spring stuff. You probably are not going to need to see it until February at the earliest. (Thanksgiving and Christmas come first.)
I like to use props. These can be as simple as books as risers or cakeplates also make great risers. What I mean by a riser is something that changes the height of your display or vignette. It can look boring when everything is in a row. Your vignette is supposed to tell a story. This story is Halloween. Halloween means different things to different people, this is my Halloween story. I love folkart and antiques. I love an Americana Halloween. Not scary, well maybe a little scary.
After placing the books as risers, I like to use lights. I love purple lights and blue lights at Halloween because everything is orange and black. The contrasting colors make orange and black POP!! The lights are held in place by being wedged by the books and using blue painter’s tape. On top of that I have draped 3 yards of spider netting that I bought at Joann’s Fabric. Securing it with tape and the books.
Next, place your focal points. These are the largest items in your vignette or the items which you place the importance in the look. Balance them across the mantle. A good tool is using your phone and taking a picture and seeing if it looks right. I don’t know why this works but it does. I used a Halloween wreath I made as my focal point in the middle. I balanced this off with a Halloween Byers carolers house on one side and a candlestick on the other. On the candlestick I draped the netting and topped it with a candle and big hairy spider.
Halloween Ghoolies from Canterbury Gardens
All my vignettes are a work in progress. I am always fussing them until the day of the holiday. I moving the witches around and playing with just like playing with dolls as a girl. In fact, I have made an informal (very informal) survey of friends that love to decorate and we all loved to play dress up and play with dolls. I loved to make Barbie house with boxes and wallpaper them with giftwrap. Fun!!
Wreath I made with vintage Halloween
Fill in on your mantle with all sorts of Halloween Ghoolies and pumpkins. This is a fun holiday and it is not just for kids. In fact, I think I love Halloween more than my kids!! Pumpkins are a staple in my fall display and I have beaded and felted pumpkins galore. They will be used in my Thanksgiving mantle next month. (I collect vintage turkeys, blame Martha Stewart and my Mom!!) Time for candy corn and Happy Halloween.
I have been collecting costume jewelry as long as I can remember. What’s not to love about sparkly, shiny, silvery pins, earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets? For me, popping a piece of jewelry on a sweater or shirt is prozac. My mood lifts, […]
The Germans made the first candy containers in the 1920’s and 1930’s, up to World War II. They sold them in America in the dime stores such as Woolworth’s. As any Halloween collector knows, they have become incredibly expensive. I own one. Thats it. One. I will never tell you how much I spent for it because my husband reads my blog. A lot of companies make very cute reproductions which we sell at Canterbury Gardens but I thought it would be fun to make one from scratch. This is a great project for kids. It involves a balloon, newspaper, glue and paint. Very messy!! Very Fun!! Let’s get started. Supply list is at the end of the blog.
Step One: Blow up balloon about the size of a cantalope. The old ones were really very small about the size of a navel orange. Candy must of been expensive or the children were smaller. Anyways, start cutting newspaper into strips about an inch wide and 10 inches long. You are going to need a lot of them. Enough to cover the balloon 7 layers. Now, cover 5 books with Saran Wrap. See photo. Cover balloon with a light coat of Mod Podge Paper Mache Glue. Buy this at Michael’s Craft Store. Now start glueing the paper strips on to the balloon by lightly coating one side of the newspaper with glue. FLOP ALERT It will take forever to dry if you use to much glue!! After covering the balloon with overlapping newspaper strips put it on a saran wrapped large book and weight it down with a larger book. See picture. ANOTHER FLOP ALERT Your have to do this after every layer of newspaper strips to be able to have a flat bottom. Let dry for 2 hours. Repeat 5 to 7 layers. I never said it was a quick project.
Step Two: Paint the balloon with some kind of sealer. I used Liquitex Gesso for acrylics because it smoothed out some of the paper bumps. Let dry. FLOP ALERT Snip the balloon knot off, cut a hole big enough for your hand to fit in, not your child’s hand because you want to be able to reach the candy bars. It was damp inside the container because the balloon stops it from drying completely. Take out the balloon and let the candy container dry over night. It will harden up. I promise. Push out the sides if you need to from the inside.
Step Three: Paint with acrylic paints. I used Martha Stewart Adobo to get pumpkin color. I use black on the inside. (better to hide messy streaks and ants. I know you never get ants on your candy.) It took 2 coats of black on the inside and 2 coats of adobo on the outside. Dry between coats. I dry brushed some yellow and green on top of the adobo. Dry brushed means just a little paint on the brush and lightly brush over the top of adobo paint. This gives it an aged patina. Now draw on your face using a piece of chalk. Need inspiration? Look at vintage candy containers online or in a book. I know a book, who would of ever thought it? I like Halloween Collectibles by Mark B. Ledenbach. You will drool. I do. FLOP ALERT Make your face big enough and don’t worry about making a mistake. This is folk art (Art for the People and by the People) Very American. Basecoat the eyes white with 2 coats. The mouth is red with 2 coats of paint. The iris is blue and the teeth are white. The liner work is black. Have fun. Laugh. Stop frowning..This is folk art and don’t forget to sign the bottom with your name and your kids name and the date. It is important. Really.
Step Four: Spray with 2 coats of satin varnish. Dry between coats. Drill 2 holes on the side of the opening of the container about an inch down. I used my Dremel drill but I think you could use a hole punch. Take 18 inches of bailing wire and thread thru and twist to secure. I used 4 small orange wood beads and three large green beads as an accent. Some other ideas for a handle is using rope or twine. How about a leather shoe lace? I am now finished with my first Jack O Lantern Vintage Candy Container. I had a lot of fun. Gotta go, now where are those Hershey bars?
Supply List balloon, newspaper strips, Mod Podge Paper Mache glue, acrylic gesso, Martha Stewart Paint (It is worth it) adobo, red, white, black, blue and yellow. I like Krylon satin varnish and finish with bailing wire and some wood beads.