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DIY Halloween Banner

30 Oct

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Since my wedding I’ve been kind of obsessed with fabric banners. But my sewing machine is on the fritz so I turned to my first love—paper. I wanted something that said “Happy Halloween” but wasn’t tied to a design beyond that. A few Google Image searches later, I found the above design and fell in love.*

Downloading and printing to some cardstock was easy but stringing it up was trickier so I wanted to share some tools and tips:

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To string the banner I needed to create holes for the ribbon to pass through. There is actually a ribbon craft punch for this but I don’t have it so I grabbed my exacto knife and some quilting supplies: a Fiskars self-healing cutting mat (LOVE this thing!) and clear acrylic ruler. As long as you’re very careful about blade pressure, you should be OK cutting on the self-healing mat but I should warn that it’s not meant for this and you could damage yours if you’re not careful. So proceed gently.
IMG_9043I measured over roughly .24″ and cut a series of straight lines to form an elongated rectangle. I didn’t obsess over getting it perfectly measured, but I did use a ruler to guide me for the free-hand cutting. Test your ribbon width and length on the first few to make sure you’re allowing enough room for it to easily pass through.

IMG_9080Once the ribbon was strung, I laid out the entire banner on the floor to fix spacing. I decided not to glue the individual pennant pieces to the ribbon so I can change for spacing in the future if hanging on a mantel, larger doorway, or wall. But I wanted to make sure the same amount of ribbon was on each side of the end pieces, so I measured out about 12″ extra on each side for some wiggle room.

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Since I’d measured the “extra” ribbon end pieces so carefully once I’d spaced out from the middle, I decided to subtly mark the spot where both the end pieces were aligned (as well as the centered, middle pennant piece) for future reference. I just used a Sharpie to blacken out some of the ribbon’s detailing—easy.

The final product:

Printable Happy Halloween banner

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It would have been so much easier to just glue it to some ribbon but I wanted to make it so it lasts for at least a few Halloweens. So I splurged on the cardstock printing and took the time to string the ribbon and I’m so glad I did! It hangs so nicely and has received tons of compliments.

* Cannot for the life of me track down the file now! So sorry for those who have asked for it. The search continues. In the meantime, here is a link to another Halloween banner we printed this year too, (below). It didn’t get the same treatment as the other banner, but it’s still cute I think. Happy-almost-Halloween!

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Fall Traditions

28 Oct

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IMG_9029_wA couple years ago we met up with my friend Shawna and her boyfriend Sterling to pick pumpkins at Nihtila Farm in Massachusetts. It was rainy and I had dressed completely wrong for mucking around in the field so I had to wear trash bags over my shoes; something we still laugh about each trip. Rain, mud and all we had a blast and it became an annual tradition. IMG_9026_w
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Since then, we’ve married those boyfriends and I’ve learned to always wear rubber boots for this excursion. But that’s not all. Shawna and Sterling will welcome their first child this January! While we searched for the perfect pumpkins we talked about how amazing it will be to have their baby girl join us next year for this annual tradition. I can’t wait! I think that’s probably my favorite thing about traditions; having something fun to look forward to.

Since I never posted them back then, here are a few favorites from that first muddy year:
wagon mud
bags

shoes

mud
IMG_4268_wMost timely photo ever I think. ❤


Chic + Cheap Halloween Decor

25 Oct

IMG_9434Halloween has never been my favorite holiday as far as decor is concerned. I love the candy and the costumes, but my giant-wuss-self can’t take the straight scary stuff. Someday we’ll string up the skull lights with the demonic red eyes that Brian bought a few years ago… but I’m just not there yet.

So I decided to get creative and re-purpose some things we already had and am really happy with how effortlessly it all came together. We lucked out being able to re-use a lot of our black + white-striped wedding decor. Together with a few easy DIY art projects, some mini pumpkins and gourds we picked on our annual pumpkin-picking trip, with a few new items sprinkled in, were able to style our place without breaking the bank.

Here is a peek at what we did:
Printable Happy Halloween banner

The b+w striped and solid paper lanterns I bought here for our wedding and the banner was a freebie printable. I loved the design so much I opted to print on some leftover heavy-weight card stock so we can re-use it year-to-year.  I strung it together using some leftover wedding ribbon. Total cost: Free!

IMG_9360Added some spiders I found on clearance last year to this flower wreath my mom made us for the wedding. I debated adding a bow but loved the spooky simplicty so I left it as is.

IMG_9365Found a couple of quality black glitter skulls at CVS for about $4/each earlier this month. Yes please! Nestled in with some very old books I’ve picked up over the years, it’s creepy without being over the top.

IMG_9381A little spider web over a stretched canvas photo a friend gifted us for our wedding.IMG_9417Used a Wilton Armetale serving tray (a wedding gift) to corral some coffee table items, like coasters (from my bridal shower), candy corn and this scorpion votive candle holder (set of 4) that I found at TJ Maxx last year after Halloween for $5!

IMG_9425I have a bit of a gourd obsession. The variety of textures, shapes, and colors is incredible and their small scale makes them perfect for popping into random spots for a pop of festive color anywhere you need it. Eventually I’d like to swap in some faux ones for the real thing so I don’t have to buy them year after year, but for $1/each, they’re hardly investment pieces. We bought them late enough in the season that with proper care, they should last through Thanksgiving too. Bonus!

IMG_9423It’s not Halloween without candy, right? I love how pretty candy corn or wrapped caramels look in some vintage Ball Ideal jars. Plus, the wire closures are just tricky enough to open that I’m usually not tempted to sneak any — they’re for guests!

IMG_9428I’d been reading up on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) when I saw this awesome graphic Sugar Skull on the cover of a Paper Source catalog. I just ripped off the cover, trimmed it to fit an 8.5 x 11″ frame and popped it in before adding it to our wine bar. Cost: Free!

IMG_9431Above the bar I strung up one of the b+w fabric banners my mom sewed for our wedding. I debated adding another printable sign, but I thought it’d be overkill so I kept it simple.

IMG_9438We took this centerpiece home from a wedding we attended on October 4th! Thanks to long-lasting greens, faux leaves, and careful watering of the floral foam base, I only had to replace just 2 of the red roses with fresh ones to keep it looking fresh, before popping it into a nicely tarnished silver champagne bucket. (I was temped to polish it up but actually really liked the look just for Halloween.)

IMG_9443Another freebie online printable banner I strung up on a silver tray we keep on a picture ledge in the kitchen.
IMG_9447This “Autumn Essentials” print is one of my favorites; I love watercolor illustration! It’s a freebie download from Jones Design Company. (Also pictured is my “2013 De-clutter calendar” which I’m obsessed with.)

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IMG_9461Found this little skull picture holder at Kohl’s for less than $5. Eventually when I print some Halloween photos, I’ll display them here. (BTW: The irony of this placement isn’t lost on me since Brian is convinced that Truvia is bad!)IMG_9475Space is at a premium in our teeny tiny bathroom, but a couple more macabre votive holders and a mini pumpkin are festive and simple and about as heavy as I want to go in terms of testing the weight capacity of these shelves!IMG_9479A grapevine wreath with some pretty vintage ribbon and rosettes (made by my mom) is just inside our high-traffic doorway so we’ll see it often. IMG_9485Free printable Halloween subway art in a simple clip frame. I wanted to keep it sleep and simple so I skipped a traditional picture frame. Eventually I may try transferring the print to a large-scale canvas more impact. The table runner pictured here is another wedding item my mom made for us that we use all the time.

So that’s a rundown of how I re-purposed a lot of our wedding decor for Halloween. I’m really happy with how it all turned out particularly because I’m trying to be more mindful of waste. Decorations are a fun addition to our home, but I want them to be multifunctional when possible (like the white wreath) or small and easy to store if they’re not, like the votive candle holder set. By keeping this in mind, I was able to eliminate waste and also save a few bucks. But most important of all, I love how fun and festive our place looks for Halloween this year.