Monday, April 21, 2014

Meet Us

We are Colleen & Brianna; a mother/daughter duo who love DIY, decor and all things lovely. We love a good thrift store find, re-purposing old belongings into new treasures, a fabulously modern remodel, and everything in between! Stay with us and look around while we show you that good design doesn't have to be expensive.

Meet My Mom
To you, she looks something like this.

But to me she looks a little more like this:
Hubba hubba, right?!

Writing a paragraph about my mom that appropriately captured how awesome she is turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Not because I couldn't easily convince you of her greatness, but because it was almost impossible to narrow it down to just one paragraph. Probably because the biggest thing that is wonderful about my mother is the littlest things...All the little efforts she puts into making every day seem not so everyday. From the family cheer we never missed a night of chanting, to the birthday present scavenger hunts, and the meticulously coordinated themed dinners, she left no opportunity to celebrate uncelebrated!  My siblings and I knew no store bought valentines, no Costco sheet cakes. She pours her heart and soul into every detail of every thing she does, and applies that same dedication to her church calling, her magazine-quality home, and now, to this blog. 

If you asked my mother what her greatest accomplishment has been, she would probably say raising her six children, made possible, of course, by another of her greatest accomplishments; landing an incredible man (and a major hunk) like my father. She is a very involved and dedicated parent, a loving wife, an adoring grandmother, and an amazing friend...slash therapist. Though she was California-born, and is Boise Idaho dwellin', she is a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fanatic, who even had a game dedicated to her on her birthday as a child. She spent many years actively involved with Stampin' Up, even being ranked in the top ten demonstrators in the nation! Known far and wide for her utterly perfect handwriting (seriously ask anyone!), my mother is often told it should be made into a computer font. If they ever come out with a font called "Colleen", it is going to be the most downloaded one on the internet. Less well known of her talents is her almost frighteningly dead-on impersonation of the Wicked Witch of the West. Graced with it at only the most rare and humorous of occasions, we are always shocked and amused at just how misplaced it sounds coming from my dear sweet mother. Whether it was silly impressions, family "leaf races" in the Boise river, or dangerously competitive late-night SNORT marathons (a favorite card game in my family), my mother showed us all a childhood full of unconditional love, uncontrollable laughter, and unforgettable memories.

Still in love after all these years (I told you he was handsome!)

My mother has been my main source of aesthetic inspiration my entire life. From raising me in a perfectly put together home, to teaching me how to put on mascara for the first time, she has equipped me with so many tools that I still use today. My mom taught me everything I know about all things lovely-although she clearly hasn't taught me everything SHE knows yet. I am continually baffled by the beautiful things she comes up with, and the beauty she emanates in every aspect of her life. 

This is my beautiful daughter Brianna

But to me, she will always be my little Nani

Typically dressed from head to toe in outfits that were often an assault to the eyes, Brianna found ways to express her creativity at a very young age. Her now perfectly coiffed hair was then often matted, tangled, and speckled with grass, but as it is with most creative geniuses, she didn't care one bit. She was too busy creating masterpieces out of macaroni and glue. She always loved to paint, to draw, and to adorn anything that wasn't moving (and some things that tried), and she was naturally good at all of it.

Brianna first showed sparks of design genius when she adorned her beloved bike with dangling pine-cones, bells, streamers, soda pop cans and Beanie Babies. Beads lined the spokes of her tires so you could hear her coming from a block away. The memory still brings a smile to my face. Brianna has always had a look and style all her own and was never afraid to be herself. This talent is evident in her home where she mixes current trends with eclectic elements, thrift store junk turned to gems and fearlessly creates a space that screams Brianna (the stylish, cool, on-trend Brianna of now, thankfully....though there may still be a pine-cone or two). We believe your home should be a reflection of you; pine-cones and all!

By day Brianna is a talented beautician with mad nail art skills (think hand-drawn zebra print nails that look manufactured they’re so perfect), but by night, she can typically be found sprucing up her 70 year old fixer-upper rental and snuggling with the love of her life, my grand-dog Macy (yes, grand-dog is a word, cuz I made it one). While Brianna is obviously physically beautiful, I’m here to tell you that her beauty runs much deeper. She is kind, compassionate, loves to give thoughtful gifts to others, and has a soft spot for elderly people (she spends 2 work days a week doing hair in a nursing home and loves her blue haired buddies). Aside from all that sappy stuff, she has a wicked sense of humor, is a pun war aficionado, and a true Harry Potter nerd. 

Baby's third Christmas
From her impeccable style of dress, to her innate ability to spot a thrift store treasure, she puts style in all she does. Brianna brings a younger, edgier vibe to our blog and her unique perspective on how to decorate and fix up a rental without investing much money will bring a much needed view point to the DIY blogging world. With her on board expect to see an occasional fashion, beauty or hair post pop up now and then just to keep you on your toes and looking fine! Ow! Ow!

Our Perspectives:

I’m Colleen, and I’m the boss Mom of this operation. Being a mom and creating a beautiful home for my family to gather in are two of the most important things in the world to me. Our homes are a reflection of who we are and since I am not perfect, let me assure you, neither is my home. However, a home doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful! In addition, let me assure you that bringing style to your home doesn't have to break the bank! As a stay at home mom with 6 children, expensive design and having nice things was not going to happen on our budget. If I was going to have that beautiful, welcoming home I dreamed of, I was going to have to make it happen on a tight budget. And so I did. I learned to shop my own home (continue reading our blog and we’ll teach you just how to do this), shop garage sales, discover the art of shopping thrift stores (I assure you, there are tricks and we will teach you) or when all else failed, I made it myself (or sweet talked my stud of a husband into doing it for me). It can be done and my home is proof! I’m humbly appreciative every time a new friend or visitor walks into our home and says, “Wow! Your home looks like it could be in a magazine!” I assure you, every single room has been done on the cheap. As in dirt cheap. 

My design aesthetic is a bit different than Bri’s and it’s that contrast between our ages and styles that brings so much to the table here at Like Mother Like Daughter. While there are many basic principles and techniques that I have passed down and many others that we have discovered together, the one thing I hope to have really passed on to Brianna is the courage to be herself and to make her home her very own. She has done just that and boy, is it beautiful! I can’t wait for you to see!

My home is a mix of traditional and modern with a little cottage chic thrown in. I love the contrast of beautiful, sleek elements combined with rustic, natural or weathered pieces. My style is constantly evolving, but always relies on the same basic design elements and frugal habits that I have honed over 25 years. So stick around so we can share what has been passed down.......from Mother, to Daughter and now to you!

You know the expression "use what your momma gave you?" Well, that's how the idea for our blog came to be. I'm Brianna, the "daughter" half of Like Mother Like Daughter, and while what my mother gave me, I might not be able to "shake" (trust me, you wouldn't want me to try), she gave me something much more valuable; a keen eye for style, a love for creating a beautiful home, and the knowledge and tools necessary to do so on a budget. I grew up in a home where every room had its own distinctive and cohesive decor. So as I started growing up and preparing to leave the nest, it seemed out of the question that my home be any other way. In preparation, I began drooling with my mother over her home decor magazines, taking interior design courses through high school, and mentally planning down to the smallest detail my own future  home. This is where my mother's thrifty tips have saved me over the years on my own.  Being a self-employed twenty four (and a half!) year old renter, I have to find a way to have my "Pottery Barn" home on a lives-in-a-barn budget.

When you rent a home, compromise is the name of the game. You have to work within the boundaries of the lease, meaning you can't always make the changes you would make if the space were your own, which unfortunately sometimes means embracing that outdated wall paper, or the bright pink ceiling (seriously...who paints a kitchen ceiling pink? It was pepto abysmal!). You have to share your space with roommates, which can also mean incorporating that horrible plaid couch that never did quite find its way out to the curb. Being on my third rental, I have pretty much mastered compromise. In my upcoming posts, I will be teaching you tricks I've picked up along the way to making these little compromises work for you, and how to work with the space you have (or in my case, don't have!). I will also be teaching you ways to make improvements to your home that aren't permanent, and can easily be moved or put back to normal when it comes time to move out.

I have always thought of my home as a kind of optimistic self portrait; each room its own reflection of me, scattered with clues to figuring out just who I am as a person (leaving out most of the bad stuff, of course). My home is very personal to me, afterall, it is where I go to just be myself. It is where I relax, where my friends gather, and where my sweet, four legged best friend waits all day for me to get home to smother me in affection. There is so much love that abides here, so many positive memories that have been made within these walls. It only makes sense to put that same love back into my wonderful home. With each project I complete it feels so much more "invested in," and becomes a bigger part of me as I put more of myself into it.  Never having a surplus of money at any given time, I have learned to pick things up here and there. Therefore, my home is an ever-evolving project, changing with each little purchase I make, each project I complete, and growing with me as a person. Since I have learned to score most of my finds at thrift stores, craigslist, and on clearance racks, having a home that feels like home seems much more manageable one throw pillow or re-purposed treasure at a time. Being the thrift store addict that I am, I have learned to look at things as what they could be, as opposed to what they are, and will be sharing with you tips on how to do the same.

So stick around so we can pass along our passion for a beautiful home; from mother, to daughter, to you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mid-April Reveal (insert squeal of delight)!

Hello friends!

Remember us? We just wanted to remind you that this blog will officially go live mid-April and was created from the beginning as a temporary spot where we would only share a few blog posts while waiting for the "real" blog to be designed and running. It is taking a bit longer than we thought (as in months longer :) ) but some big life events delayed us and now we are almost there! We want it to be perfect for you! We have SO many things we can't wait to share with you, so stay tuned loves for the big reveal and then regularly scheduled posts coming mid-April. 

You won't want to miss it so be sure to subscribe by email!

We look forward to building an online community and place to share our creative ideas and inspiration for creating a beautiful home on a budget, because we believe that good design doesn't have to be expensive.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Allover Wall Stenciling

In a recent bout of ambition that I would later question to be temporary insanity, I decided to try my hand at wall stenciling for the first time. I have a small half bath that I have been remodeling very slowly, since I moved in a year ago. It needed some excitement and the room seemed like just the spot for such a bold and vibrant statement, and happened to have a wall that was the perfect size and texture for a first attempt at stenciling. I felt fairly confident and set off to work on what I was sure would be the perfect project to complete on one of my elusive days off. I really got the rug (or should I say bathmat) pulled out from under me there! It turned out to be a much more time consuming, tedious, and at times downright excruciating project than I had imagined. I laughed, I cried, I painted, I repainted, swore off stenciling for life, probably cried some more, and finally ended up with something that somehow made me forget all the hours I spent cursing myself for not just buying wallpaper. I fall in love with it every time I walk in the room. And best of all, I get to look at it and know I did it myself. As I'd like to think, I learned 500 ways not to stencil a wall. It took me most of the project to perfect my technique, but it could have been much simpler and less time-consuming if I knew then what I know now. This is information that would have really come in handy for me many hours and temper tantrums ago. I would like to pass it on to hopefully make things just a little bit easier for those of  you who might want to give it a try- I promise you it will be worth it!

You will need:
- Stencil of your choice. For my wall, I chose the Casablanca allover wall stencil from cutting edge stencils. This particular stencil included a large allover stencil and two smaller stencils for gaps and edge work (depicted below).
- Interior latex or acrylic paint in the color(s) of your choosing.
- Dense foam roller (I started out using a standard sized paint roller, but after some trial and error, found it was much easier to use a mini foam roller)
-Small, easily controlled paint brushes for touch ups
-Paint tray (or a plate works, if using a mini roller)
-Painters tape
-Low tack spray adhesive (I used Loctite General Performance Spray adhesive)
-Stepping stool
-Punching bag

-Oh and the instructions say you will also need a stencil level, which was said to be included. I'm sure it was. I'm sure knowing me I just lost it, but for whatever reason, I know nothing of this stencil level. Alas! I never even needed it.
Casablanca Allover Wall Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils

You will want to pick a time that you have the majority of a day to devote to your project. While stenciling seems like a fairly easy process, it can be very tedious, and time consuming. I would HIGHLY recommend doing this on a day where you can be sure to get at least all of the full panels of the stencil up, and not have to stop half way through using it. The adhesive is very difficult to remove, so you will want to try to avoid having to clean the stencil until you are completely through with it. If you run out of time (or steam!) and need to save the edge work, or touch-ups for another day, it is much easier to pick up from there than to try to store your sticky stencil or attempt to clean the adhesive off and start back up later. Not to mention if you are unable to remove ALL of the adhesive, it can leave the back of the stencil slightly uneven, and more likely to bleed, making it much more difficult when you come back to it (could i be speaking from experience?!)
First, you will need a game plan! Visualize your desired finished product, and the overall style you would like to achieve.  Decide if you are wanting it to be a  subtle pattern repeated throughout the room, for example, or a bold colorful design on an accent wall or at a focal point in the room. Based on that, decide which wall(s) you will be working with. Smooth, texture-free walls are ideal to ensure the stencil lays flat and minimal bleeding occurs . Select a stencil that fits the style of the room. I was unable to find allover wall stencils anywhere in town, so you may end up having to order yours online as well. Using the free samples provided at any home improvement store, carefully select colors that compliment one another and the rest of the room.

Fill any nail holes or chips in the wall, so you have a smooth surface to work with, then if you are repainting the base color on the wall, select which color you want to use first (depicted by the positive space on the stencil). I would recommend using the darker color as the background if you are undecided on the order of the two. Then when you have to go through and do touch ups (which if you are as skilled as I was, you WILL), you will have a much easier time covering mistakes. I used the lighter of the two colors first, so when I went over the wall to fix the bleed marks, the touch ups often needed two coats in order to cover the dark. Which was double the work!
Tape the selected wall(s) off with painters tape for clean lines, and after painting, make sure you allow at least 24 hours to fully dry before stenciling. Make sure that you know which color needs to be used first to work with the stencil.


Once the base coat is dry it is time to start the actual stenciling. Make sure that you are working with a completely clean and dry surface before beginning. Take the stencil in the garage, or outside away from dirt and wind. Lay it on a clean flat surface that you don't mind if it gets very sticky (I used a big flat board I had in my shed). Coat lightly with a low tack spray adhesive*, spraying in short horizontal bursts, as you would coats of spray paint. Use enough to make it noticibly tacky, but not drenched, and give it a minute or two to dry before making contact with the wall so as to not damage the paint underneath. Choose the least conspicuous corner of the wall for your first panel, to ensure you get the hang of things by the time you work your way to more visible parts of the wall. I started in the bottom right-hand corner of the room.
*The instructions that came with the stencil stated that the spray adhesive was optional, and painters tape alone could be used.  For all I know, this may be true, as I did not opt to even try it without it. However, having spent as much time on the project as I did, I was able to really get a feel for things, and I can't imagine trying to work without it.

Line the corner of the stencil with the corner of the wall, and very slowly and carefully lay the stencil down smooth on the wall, making sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles. Be sure that the stencil aligns as perfectly with both of the walls in the corner as possible. I guess this is where the stencil level would have come in! Run your hand or a dry unused paint roller over the stencil, applying enough pressure to ensure that the adhesive is secure to the wall. Tape the edges of the stencil down with painters tape for additional hold if desired. I only found that to be necessary as a lot of adhesive built up on the stencil, or on tricky corner pieces.
Once the stencil is in place, pour a small amount of paint into your tray, and roll your roller in the paint so that it absorbs most of it. Then, using the flat part of the roller tray, roll as much of the excess paint as you can off of the roller. You may even want to roll it once or twice over a folded paper towel to blot the majority of the paint out, and then blot some more! It is almost impossible to have too little paint on the roller. It is much better to do multiple very thin coats than to saturate your roller. You spend much more time on touch ups than you would have spent had you just been patient and sparing in your coats, and you achieve a much cleaner result.
 Having excess paint will cause paint to seep between the stencil and the wall, creating bleed marks (hmmm...experience again?)

Use very little pressure when applying your coats, as pushing too hard can also cause seepage.  No need to allow each thin coat to dry fully, a minute or two between coats is sufficient. I found it worked best to then immediately remove the stencil from the wall when the last coat had freshly been applied and  let the wall and stencil dry separately for a little while before starting the next panel. Allowing them to dry together sometimes caused peeling of paint and imperfect edges when the stencil was lifted away from the wall.
The instructions state that if you would like to check your progress, you can peel your stencil away from the wall, then lay it flat after you have taken a look. I would not recommend this. Shifting the stencil too much allows room for error and risks paint getting on the back of the stencil, and therefore applied to the wall when it is laid back down.  When the first panel has dried enough that you can move on without compromising your work, you can move on to the next.

The wonderful thing about the damask (allover) stencils is that they are designed so that each panel can lock in with the last, so you can overlap and ensure that the patterns line up perfectly. Just be sure to try to avoid re painting over the shapes which overlap. You should not need to reapply the adhesive with each movement of the panel, especially if you are also re-enforcing the stencil with painters tape, and if you are following the two most important rules: Very little pressure, even less paint. When the stencil does start to lose its tack, you can respray it (always on the same side), still using very light coats. Continue to repeat the stencil until the surface of the wall is covered, making sure that each stencil repeat lines up perfectly with the last (and with the walls, when doing panels adjacent to a wall, the floor, or ceiling), so that the stencil can continue to remain level and maintain its consistency.

When I got close to the edges of the wall and didn't have enough room for another full panel, I overlapped the stencil as far as I could without having to bend it. 

At this point, you really only have the gaps to fill in around the edges, top and bottom.

For the bottom, I used the stencil included for finishing the top and bottom. I simply aligned it with the existing design, and taped it off where I wanted it to stop, to ensure clean lines. 

Around the sides, I found it easiest to just align the stencil with the rest of the pattern, bending it slightly just along the edges to completely cover the remainder of the wall, but overlapping as little as possible. Be sure to keep the walls you aren't planning on stenciling taped off at all times to avoid clean ups later. The best way I found to ensure crisp lines when filling in the corners is to line up the stencil and bend (but not crease) it at the seam of the wall. Then tape again over the stencil to hold it in place and solidify that line, so that you don't get paint on the other wall. For the corner pieces, it was easiest to use a small brush instead of the roller. Foam brushes work well because it is better to dab the paint on than to brush it. Using a regular paint brush also works, just use the end of the bristles and apply the paint in a dabbing motion. Remember to continue to use very little paint on the brush! It is especially easy to bleed on the corner pieces because the thick plastic stencil does not bend easily, therefore does not lay flush with the corner. 

Once you are finished stenciling, all you have left to do is the touch ups. If things went well, there should be very few. If you took a while to find your stride, like I did, this might take a little longer (not to mention the fact that I am an insufferable perfectionist). Step back and look at the wall before you start. Most of the minor imperfections you see when working up close are no longer visible. There is no need to kill yourself spending countless hours retracing each and every shape (remember when I said I was insufferable...yeah.). Use a very small, flat paint brush to fix any spots where the paint may have visibly bled outside of the shape.

When you are finished, peel off any remaining tape and step back to admire your work, and basque in your well-earned satisfaction. 

Once the wall is completely dry you are then free to add personal touches. Hang (or re-hang) any wall fixtures or decor. I am still in the remodeling stages in my bathroom, so I will be moving things around, but I quickly arranged this small vignette to show a (somewhat) finished product. 
Stay tuned for the photographs of the bathroom once the remodel is completed!

Last look at the overall finished product.
Due to the extremely small size of the room,  most of the pictures had to be taken from outside of the bathroom, so I apologize for the limited view. Please excuse the picture quality, as the camera used for these shots was not a high quality (aka: I didn't borrow my moms).

When it is time to clean your stencil, I found it best to lay it flat in the bathtub and run warm, soapy water over it. After letting it sit for a few minutes the paint will just wipe away. You might even want to do this during the process of stenciling if it starts to accumulate a thick layer of paint that might compromise your work after multiple repeats. Do not try to remove the spray adhesive until you are completely done with the stencil. I promise you! Doing so will cause so much unnecessary grief and actually end up being counter productive and making finishing the project so much more difficult and messy. When you are completely done with it, you can try to remove the adhesive to make storage cleaner and easier. One way I found to do it was to leave it soaking in the bathtub after cleaning out the paint until the water got completely cold (warm water just makes the adhesive tacky and is virtually ineffective, not to mention incredibly frustrating), and leaned over the tub, scraping the adhesive off with my thumb nail. This did take a fair amount of time. So, if you don't have the patience (or the fingernails!) to remove the adhesive this way, a small can of Goof Off worked wonders for me! And at only $2.97 at Home Depot, it was well worth the investment. It is a professional strength remover, and a very harsh chemical, therefore requires a little bit of caution when using. Always wear work gloves (it will eat through latex gloves, so use something a little heavier) and don't work on a finished surface, such as a table or countertop, as it will ruin the finish. Leaning over the empty bathtub worked great. Pour small amounts of Goof off at a time onto an old dish rag or towel, and wipe over the adhesive. It comes off fairly easy, with minimal scrubbing. When the adhesive starts to build up on that area of the towel, simply wet a new area and continue working until you have removed all of the adhesive from the back of the stencil. When you are finished, store flat if possible, using large drawers if you have them, or you can sandwich it between two pieces of cardboard, and under a bed. For me, it was easiest and most out of the way to tape it to the underneath side of a large shelf I have in a utility closet, so I don't have to worry about it getting damaged. 

We linked up to The Turquoise Home Work It Wednesday party and Home Stories A To Z

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fall Mantle

Happy fall ya'll! I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather and changing colors. I love so many things about fall! The cool brisk air, a warm cup of cocoa, the changing colors and falling leaves, football season and of course another opportunity to change up the decor a little bit.

Although we hadn't planned on posting anymore until our "real" blog is officially ready to be unveiled, I just had to give you a little sneak peak at what I've been up to around here.

Enter my fall mantle.

Isn't the chalkboard printable fabulous? This beauty is from one of my very favorite sources, the Caravan Shoppe. It's part of a Thanksgiving set called 'All Chalked Up'. This set comes with everything you need to decorate your home and host a stylish Thanksgiving fete. It comes with 3 large quote posters, a large 'Gobble, Gobble Turkey' poster, printable placemats and circle art that could be used for napkin adorning, stickers for take home boxes or anything else your heart desires. It's adorable and I had to have it. The entire set costs $5 and the digital file is sent to your email address immediately after purchasing. Purchase once and print off as many times as you want. Although there are many free printables available on the internet and all over Pinterest, with items from the Caravan Shoppe I know the quality is incredible and the file size is specially made for printing extra large prints so I won't have to worry about quality at that size. Plus, I just love their style! I can spend hours perusing Pinterest for just the right fall print or I can hop on over to The Caravan Shoppe and likely find just what I'm looking for in the click of a button. The print above is the medium size engineer print that I previously posted about here. I printed it at Staples for $3.69 and placed it in one of my favorite thrift store frames (Isn't she a beauty too? For $15.00 she was all mine. After a little happy dance in the aisle). Look for a future post on all the in's and out's of engineer prints coming soon.

Here's a little close up of this not so little beauty.



Moving on.......

Here is a closer look of my fall mantle.

You may notice several items from my Halloween decor post here making a reappearance in my fall mantle. The yarn bottles, wrapped books and white vase are all being re-purposed for this vignette. That's what we're all about here at Like Mother Like Daughter Blog. We believe that good design doesn't have to be expensive. Shopping your own home, re-purposing items from other rooms and carefully selecting thrift store finds can achieve a designer look for a fraction of the cost! Look for a future post on how to decorate a mantle or side table with lots of tips on how to achieve balance and visual interest. For today I will just give you the basics of what I did for this particular mantle. First off,  start out with something that you love....your focal point. You will build your mantle around this key item. For me it was obviously the 'Give Thanks' print. Next I began to place other items in fall colors that complimented one other. I used items of varying heights to create balance. 

Next to the yarn covered wine bottles is a small wooden bowl I found at a thrift store. I dry brushed it with a mustard yellow craft paint and lightly sanded in some places for that chippy, distressed look.

In the center of the mantle are my little thrift store books covered with painters paper. For my fall mantle I changed them up a little by wrapping with twine and threading a few tares of wheat through the twine. Nested on top and to the side of the books are one of my favorite thrift store finds of the month. I picked up these little babies for $.65 each. I adore them. They make me giddy.

The right side of the mantle displays a white vase filled with small sticks and fall leaves. I pulled these from my yard but I will be honest, they have to be changed about every 3-5 days or they start looking a little........well........dead. I have plenty of leaves and branches in my yard that need to be trimmed so I will be supplied throughout the fall, but you may want to take the easy route and go fake. Shhh! Don't tell the decor police that I'm encouraging fake foliage. I hear it's a cardinal sin, but I'm a rebel like that.

Once all my larger items were in place I filled in the gaps with natural elements and textures. With the exception of the pine cone from my yard and the one squash in the last photo, all the other small elements were purchased together in a wicker cornucopia from a thrift store. I knew I likely wouldn't use the cornucopia but $1.50 for all the dried fall accents was a deal I couldn't pass up. I seem to have a lot of those deals I can't pass up don't I? Don't answer that. It was a rhetorical question. 

One last look.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Linking up to:
The DIY'ers

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spooky Halloween Dinner

Happy Halloween my friends! I hope you are having a spooktacular day so far! I started my morning off with a Pinterest fail. Yeah. It was ugly, but we got a good laugh out of it. More on that later. I may even provide a photo for your amusement so stick around.

Last night our family had our annual "Spooky Dinner". I love holidays and traditions and Halloween is no exception. Every year we have a different menu of Halloween themed "spooky" food. I try to never use the same idea twice although that's becoming harder and harder (ideas welcome!). This year we had our dinner a night early because of work schedules. If you're reading this today (on Halloween), you still might have time to pull this off! If you stumbled upon this post at a later time, save it to Pinterest or to your browser favorites because it's never too early to start planning for next year!

I went super simple this year. Like suuupper simple. Normally "Spooky Dinner" is something I prepare for weeks in advance but let's just say this year has been nuts. After helping with a church dinner for 450 people last night, my grandiose plans were looking about as likely as Miley Cyrus joining a convent. Yeah. Not happening. Then this morning my son had to run the missionaries to urgent care with my car. Five hours later, no car, no way to get to the store, my plans had to make a little adjustment. Flexible, people. We must be flexible. So I made this menu happen with 2 hours from the time I was finally able to get to the grocery store, to the time it was on the table. BAM!

You're going to love how easy this is!

I absolutely love a beautiful presentation and today I had to let that go. As much as it may have killed me, this is all I managed to put together for the table. The thing kids loved it! They're not going to remember how I set the table, they're going to remember the time we spent together and the traditions we loved. P.S. The tablecloth is a piece of fabric I found at a thrift store for $1! I love the pattern and dimension it gives the table.

Severed Fingers (like I said......"Spooky" Dinner)

Embarrassingly easy. Slightly disgusting. Slice or tear a small portion off the bottom of the hot dog (for the severed area). Slice marks into the hot dogs to resemble knuckles. Carve out an area at the top for the nail bed. Place in a pot of boiling water to cook the hot dogs until warmed through. The "fingers" really look great at this point and you could serve them this way, but I just took it a step further and placed a small piece of sauteed onion in the nail bed area and secured it with a dab of ketchup underneath. Squirt a little ketchup at the base of the finger and you have yourself a pretty creepy dish. My boys LOVED it!

Swamp Juice found  Here

This "Swamp Juice" recipe found over at Purple Chocolat Home was really easy to make and tasted great! Because of my time crunch I just put the punch in a punch bowI, filled a clear glove with water and froze it as an ice cube for the punch. If I had more time I would've taken advantage of the free Swamp Water printable Here.

Bloody Eyeballs
As much as I would've loved to tell you this is my grandmothers famous meatball recipe, you would see right through that. "See" what I did there? Pun intended. These are frozen meatballs with a pimento stuffed olive on top. The sauce is one of my go to favorites from the time my kids were little, but you could easily use another sauce or bottled sauce. Mix 1/2 C. grape jelly with 1/2 C. ketchup (can also use chili sauce), heat in a saucepan until warm. Pour over meatballs for that eerie bloody eyeball look.

Cobweb Dip Here

I used a very basic bean dip recipe from but you could use any recipe you prefer. I added guacamole to the top of the dip and piped sour cream on in a circular pattern. If you have a piping bag you could use that but I was too lazy so I scooped my sour cream into a ziploc and cut off the corner to drizzle it out. Drag a knife from the the smallest ring in the center to the outside of the guacamole ring to create the webbed effect.

I can't tell you how many pictures like this one are on my camera. Remember my last post? See exhibit A as to why I am never bored.

I froze Dollar store bugs in ice cube trays for a fun addition to the spookiness factor.

Bloody Intestines
I have to admit.....these look pretty gross! They were a huge hit though and they were the first thing gone. Use your favorite breadstick or pizza dough recipe (or use store bought). Roll dough into one large, winding, rope. Twist inside non-stick pan or pan sprayed with cooking spray. I used marinara sauce with garlic to surround the intestines and filled in between each fold. 

Isn't he cute? Store bought bread with store bought spinach dip. Did I mention embarrassingly easy?

Table overview

I found this adorable Halloween Trivia Game with printable cards and envelope at The Mother Huddle. We had a lot of fun playing this game while we ate and visited.

The soda bottle labels are leftovers from the large set I mentioned in my Halloween Decorating post here. They were purchased at Target found in their Dollar Spot. I love them and with 9 labels for $1, I won't feel guilty about tossing them and purchasing new ones next year.

Now as I is this mornings Pinterest fail. Have you seen this photo floating around Pinterest?

Halloween Treat Donut Face

It is a really cute idea that seems easy enough. Right? Ha! Not so much. Here's my attempt:

Feel free to laugh. I did! These poor little guys didn't stand a chance! I'm thinking Krispy Kreme doughnuts are too soft to hold the teeth in place. I put the vampire teeth in the center and within seconds they expanded all the way ripping the faces of those cute little guys right open. Mean ole teeth. One little guy had his face explode and his eye popped off right off and shot across the box. Sad day. It's a good thing Krispy Kremes can make anything better.
As much as I would've loved to have been able to prepare my extravagant, homemade meal that I had planned out in my mind and served it on a perfectly styled table, that wasn't my life today. I considered not posting this meal because of the dark photos and simplistic meal. To some, maybe this dinner is not "blog worthy", but the funny thing is, one of my sons told me he thought it was the best "Spooky Dinner" ever! We laughed, we enjoyed good food, we enjoyed each others company and most importantly we made memories. One memory that I will take with me is the fact that things don't have to be "perfect" to be perfectly happy.

Have a 'Boo'tiful day!