Halloween Ideas for Adults and kids too

First, let me say,  I have never been one to go overboard on Halloween décor.  Even when my children were home (and I was motivated for their sakes) I put a pumpkin on the front steps and called it a day.  Who has the time when you have costumes to create? 
But I spent a few hours on the internet this weekend and just had to share all of the cuteness that is out there.  Well, not all, but some of the great ideas and clever ideas that abound.

If you are having a party (school or otherwise) these treat bags make it easy to hand things out.
Find the free printable and tutorial at Sarah Hearts.

There are lots of cute pillows on Etsy.  Here are a couple.

Click here.

Boo! Pillow, Halloween Pillow, Halloween Decor, Porch Pillow, Autumn Decor, Fall Decor, Burlap Pillow, Lumbar Pillow, Halloween decorations
Another fun shop. I guess I have a bat thing. Ha!
I love this treat cone idea for a party or any small group of friends – like a book club meeting or a Bible study group.  So fun.  Yes, adults like treats too.
Free Halloween Printables from LivingLocurto.com, PaperGlitter.com, and PaperCrave.com
All kinds of cute printables on this blog.

Welcome pumpkin Decal, welcome decal, pumpkin stickers, welcome fall pumpkin decor, welcome pumpkin for front porch decor, autumn porch

This decal makes it easy to add a welcome greeting to your front entry.  And, of course, it lasts beyond Halloween, or as long as your pumpkin does.


I thought I would roast my pumpkin seeds this year, instead of tossing them out.  I want to try this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website.


And those pumpkin seeds will go so well with this Caramel Apple Punch while I am handing out candy.
Don’t you just love seeing the younger children in their costumes? So cute!

Happy Halloween everybody!


Sometimes you work on a room, making huge improvements in style and function, and then you come to a standstill.  You know you aren’t done, but you aren’t sure what the next step should be or what’s missing.  You just know it doesn’t feel complete.
That is the case with many rooms in my house, but today I am focusing on my office.
It is a small bedroom that sits right across the hall from the master bedroom and measures 10′ x 10′. 
After my older son moved out to his first apartment I gradually converted his bedroom into my office.  I just moved a desk in at first.  I wanted him to feel that this was still his home, so I didn’t want to do away with his bedroom entirely.  I think the gradual approach was good for both of us.

And then, my husband and I did a renovation and addition that added bedrooms to the basement.  By then my son had been out of the house awhile and I moved his bed downstairs.  So I had an entire room for an office!  It was time to make it my own.
  I still love how painting this desk modernized and updated it.  See the before, below.

Here is the first iteration of the office.

After painting the desk, I wanted to make the space look more updated and modern rather than the vintage cast-off look going on here.  When I found an old black etagere at a thrift store I had an inspiration.

I spray painted it gold for a totally new look.
At first, I was excited about the storage possibilities, and I do put some books, magazines and notebooks here.  It’s more decorative though, and I love that.

For the area over my computer desk I really wanted shelves or some type of wall-mounted shelving unit.  You can always use more storage, right?  But after studying many offices on the internet and in magazines, I decided that shelves would be too heavy and perhaps seem cluttered in my tiny office.  And I had many items that would look good on a gallery wall.

I collected all the things I love (and couldn’t find another place for) and started arranging.
I keep changing it up though.  There are a lot of nail holes in that wall.

This is how the wall looks now.
I have had several chairs in the corner by my computer desk.  This chair I recovered to go in my family room, but it seemed out of place there.  Then I realized the colors were perfect for my office.  Sometimes I think I have an unconscious decorator inside me doing things, waiting for my conscious side to notice the obvious. Ha!

This is how the chair looked when it came home with me.

So that’s where things stand for now.  But in going through this process (with you) some improvements have jumped out at me.   One thing you can see above.  I  put only one coat of paint on these wood file cabinets and they just don’t look good. A good coat of semi-gloss will fix that up. Two, the bulletin board is blah.  I’m not sure what to do with that, but I do need a pin board.  Three, a new rug might be just the thing to really amp up this space.

This picture gives a small glimpse of the rug which is a neutral sisal with plenty of texture.  I am trying to decide if I should go with a traditional style oriental or a more modern cowhide or stripe?
It feels good to be at a point where I finally know what needs to be addressed.  Now I can start looking for inspiration and ideas to move forward.
Let me know what you think! 

Five Entertaining Essentials To Look For at Thrift Stores/Garage Sales

When we were first married we had many parties without worrying about having the right dishes and glasses.  We just dove in with our basic china and stainless and that was fine.  What made the parties fun were our friends.
But if you want to step it up a notch without spending a fortune you can totally do that.
Unique and beautiful entertaining items can be found at thrift stores, garage sales, consignment shops.   Below are a few of my favorites. 

White damask napkins are abundant at flea markets especially.  They do look better ironed, although I have whipped them out of the dryer and folded them right away.  They are presentable that way.  These napkins make a holiday dinner or a more formal occasion extra special.

Vintage water glasses like these look beautiful on the dinner table.  After cocktails and wine with dinner everyone wants/needs water.  In fact, I am usually busy jumping up to keep the water pitcher filled because my guests are replenishing their glasses so often.
I found two sets at garage sales and I use them all the time. 

You can never have too many serving utensils!  I am always finding unusual ones in my thrift store browsing. Of course they are not sterling, but are often silverplate and have interesting carvings or other features that make them look old and antique.   Just place them in the dish before bringing to the table so that no one notices the tarnish marks! I have tried to remove those marks (any suggestions?).

When I have a cocktail party, I try to have a variety of serving dishes to make my table look more interesting and inviting.  it seems that every time I have a party I realize I lack a bowl or platter of a particular size.  But I know I will be able to find something special for a couple of dollars at the thrift store.

And baskets are always so useful for holding crackers and breads!

Honestly I could go on and on, but this is a good start for anyone looking to amp up their entertaining style.

What are your favorite entertaining essentials?  Please share in the comments!

A Day in the Shenandoah Valley

Tom and I were invited to a wedding this past weekend.  We were happy to be invited, not only to see our friend’s son get married, but also because the wedding was held in a beautiful area of Virginia.
The Shenandoah Valley offers so much scenic beauty, along with quaint towns, apple orchards, pumpkin patches.  We crammed in as much as we could.  We started off canoeing on the Shenandoah River.

There were a few rapids, or “ripples” as the outfitters called them.  Just enough to add a little excitement.

These turtles were enjoying the sun.

We had a very peaceful hour on the river.
Then it was off to a cute little town in search of pumpkins and apples.

This cottage was engulfed in roses!

This beautiful church has become a yoga studio.  I wish I could have done yoga there.  I know it would have perfect karma.
We did find pumpkins and apples. 

I should have bought more.  There were so many different types, with names I had never heard of:  ladies who lunch, long island cheese, snowball.
We are making plans for a return trip to this beautiful area.