Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trick or Treat Time!

Little boys & Halloween go together (as Forrest Gump would say-),
"like peas and carrots"!
At least, they did in my household.
For over twenty years I have been outfitting & hosting all manner of goblins
and ghoulies, and with the arrival of my grandson five years ago,
a new generation of "Trick or Treaters" was born.
When my boys were growing up,
we spent hours turning our front yard into the neighborhood cemetery
(Bonnie & Clyde, Jack the Ripper &  Bluebeard were all buried here),
transforming our basement into a fabulous Haunted House!

In our Haunted House, no "sissified" things were allowed.
Our visitors were treated to jars of eyeballs, ears & tongues,
bats, rats & bones,
cobwebs that were hung on anything that stood still,
the requisite green slimey stuff that I didn't even want to know about.
Here also,
Frankenstein slept in a bed, Dracula peeked from behind an old door-
and Elvis played his guitar in the corner.
For many years, Halloween meant moonlit hayrides back down our country road,
and one year, we held my son's birthday party in the basement.
My favorite little spooks!
Alas, little boys grow up,
and all too soon it is sooo not cool to dress up for Halloween.
I bemoaned this fact for a couple of years,
but then, our grandson was born
and I built my studio-
and suddenly I had a new little goblin on the block,
 a new Haunted House to decorate!
My studio-
It was time for the adults to celebrate,
so last year I had a grand Halloween dinner for my Supper Club crew.
My apple green dining room served as a perfect backdrop
for the ghostly decor...
You can never have enough cobwebs!
While my favorite witch, Hortense, held court in the dining room,
we sat down to a "spooktacular " autumn meal,
complete with Ouija Board placemats
a black burlap table runner (decopaged with a wide assortment of
bones & skulls) that I had made especially for the occasion.
Each guest had his own little tombstone beside his plate...
complete with a foreboding epitaph.
Mine of course read:
Carol Reynolds
What can we say?
She was
in every way.

Today, another generation of little goblins is enjoying Halloween
"Mimi" style.
We are getting ready for the big day
by decorating a haunted gingerbread house...
No.... those are NOT our real teeth!!
Here's wishing you all a wonderful Halloween,
and while you are out & about that night-
keep a close look out for two rather spooky
Trick or Treaters!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Autumn Afternoon on My Porch


Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:
And, in our home, there is no better place to spend a warm October
afternoon or evening than on our back porch.
My love affair with porches began many years ago when my husband and I
would spend time at his grandmother's cottage in what we now call
"the old Destin, Florida."
Perched on a bluff, her screened-in porch overlooked the little harbor,
and for many years, had a wonderfully uninterrupted view across the dunes to the Gulf.
That of course has changed, but the ambiance of her porch with its old
swing and wicker furniture remains with me today-
and stirs the fondest of memories.
Our own porch overlooks the Harpeth River in Franklin, Tennessee,
and provides us a wonderful window from which to view the changing seasons, as well
as the occasional "river critters" that often wander by.
Although the porch is only 12 years old, it was in need of some sprucing up,
and, we wanted to add a fireplace in order to extend its use into what we consider
the best season of the year~autumn!
And, as I simply can't resist 'Before & After' pictures,
I decided to do a little picture diary of our project:
With a little "camera magic,"
I have fast forwarded our project for you. Our new fireplace was built where
the original porch doors were located. I am fascinated with the workmanship of
stone masons.  They were able to replicate the look of our other chimneys perfectly.
The floor is waiting for a fresh coat of creamy white paint,
and if you look up, you can see the old mahogany rowboat hanging from the ceiling!
The boat is truly amazing and belonged to my husband's grandfather.
While the workmen were busy with the construction,
I found a few projects of my own to keep me adequately busy until they were finished.
First up:
My old columns.
I'm a fool for architectural salvage, and I have had these on the porch for quite some
time.  I decided to strip the old paint off and to expose the natural color underneath so they would
blend with my new porch furniture.
Accomplishing this distressed look was almost my undoing, as once I started the process
there was no turning back!  I gave up counting how many layers of paint there were-
and I don't want to even think about all the lead in that old paint that I probably came
in contact with...even though I did try to be careful.
The finished product was just what I wanted. 
I added touches of some of these luscious Benjamin Moore colors ~
love, love, love them!
Next up:
Now, I do NOT sew anything on a sewing machine.
So, I headed to my favorite source: ETSY.
There I found exactly the pillows I needed, and after receiving them, I decided
to embellish them with two of my favorite fabric combinations:
Burlap & Velvet.
Pillow Perfect!
Seat covers for my chairs.
Again, I used burlap (from some old mulch bags! Who knew?!).
This time I did a transfer of my initial onto the burlap:
By this time the workmen were making strides toward actually finishing the porch.
So it was time for me to start looking for some vintage accessories to place
strategically around. I wanted ambiance... but no clutter!
These are just a few things I picked up to go on the shelves that flank the
fireplace.  The little branches give off a nice little glow in the evening.
Finally, after much ado,
the porch was ready for us!
Love my Blue Heron pillows. They inhabit our river~ and we are in awe of them.
Also love my indoor/outdoor carpet. They are making incredible outdoor furnishings
these days!  Speaking of furnishings, the sofa and matching side chairs came from
Restoration Hardware.
We our found our coffee table in Birmingham, Alabama, and the wicker rockers in the
picture below actually came from the "old Destin" cottage.
That's a football game alright!
And, a perfect October afternoon to enjoy it.
It's a perfect afternoon for this, too!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ladies of the Night

Most of my close friends would certainly have good
reason to believe that Christmas is my favorite
holiday...and they would be correct.
Halloween runs a very close second!
Jack-o-lanterns- bats- spiders-candy corn-
I love it all!
I am particularly fond of witches-
and would love to introduce you to a few of these
"frightfully fashionable"
Ladies of the Night!
These are my dear friends
Hortense, Issobell & Euthanasia.
All were sculpted with papier mache
and since they are all widows,
are wearing antique mourning clothes.
We modern gals should all be forever grateful that we have been spared from wearing these cloying, black wool
ensembles... as they are terribly itchy and their metal
stays are so tight I don't know how one was supposed to be able to breathe!
Most of all, we should be thankful that we are long past
having to wear the dreaded "old lady shoes"!

Now that is a terrifying sight!
Despite their dreary mourning clothes,
the ladies have paid particular attention to their
lovely antique brooches adorn their widow wear,
and all have the requisite
spiders, rats, cats & cobwebs
atop their crooked black hats.
Now, this is Hortense.
Aptly named for a rather dispicable mother-in-law
(luckily not MY mother-in-law!!),
who we keep pushed to the bottom rung of our family tree.
Don't be fooled by her little smile...
She was quite wicked in her ways and use to scare
the p-jeebies out of my sisters & me!
And now for some little witchy gals:

Very cute... but very mischevous!
Now this is Issobell.
Rumour is that she is quite cantankerous & brooding;
complains all the time
and constantly misplaces her broomstick!
she's anxious for a new home to haunt.
You can find her listed at my Etsy Shop:
if you'd like to volunteer your home!
Oh... it's time for Halloween!