Thursday, October 18, 2012

Prepare to be SCARED!

Here's a funny last  year when Beth at Home Stories A to Z had her annual Halloween Mantel linky party, I had all the best of intentions of joining in. I was really excited to participate!


But, by the time I finally had my decorations up, I was beyond fashionably late. That's how I roll, and it doesn't always jive with the rest of the world.So, I told myself, "I'm not late, I'm just super early for next year!"

I had tweaked my little vignette over and over last year till things looked juuuust right, and I felt I had reached Halloween decorating perfection.  I mastered the art of spider web stretching, thanks to some great tips from my neighbor Cherri:

1. Just keep stretching.
2. A little goes a long way.
3. Stretch.
4. Stretch.
5. And stretch some more.

I mean, I really outdid myself! I thought I had reached the scariest type of Halloween table decorating enlightenment possible! That never happens in my world of perfectionism.

I blew my own mind.

Rarely do I throw out decorations and quit messing with them. I'll be walking by and it's "this pumpkin to the left" or "adjust the spider web a little," "it needs more rats...definitely more rats." On and on...

This year, I'm just going to copy the same set-up as last Halloween. It turned out great, and I don't want to mess with a good thing.

As soon as I get out to the shed and dig out my decorations, that is. No, I don't have an actual mantel, but the console near my entry works just the same. It's super spooky alright, and I even scared the crap out of MYSELF a time or two. 

The best part...many of my decorations were from Dollar Tree and Target's dollar section. Take this skull for instance:

I leeeerve me some glitter, but I don't like the mess it makes. I picked this guy up at Target for only $2.50 (they have them again this year). His glittered face came shrink-wrapped in plastic and I just left it that way. No glitter trail, no sparkling on every surface, on my skin, in my food, on the cat...the glitter stays in place and no one is the wiser with it placed under the glass cloche.

Next, I filled my existing picture frames with scary Googled images. I just printed them in black and white and popped them in front of the family photos. I used one from Mel Brooks' classic "Young Frankenstein" (which always reminds me of my dad, he used to make me watch it),  and the other- well, that witch SERIOUSLY creeps me out! That's the stuff nightmares are made of.


Here is the link to her scary face: Super Creepy Witch Face
Do not look her directly in the eyes (thank goodness it's only a mask)!

I also covered a large book with newspaper (it's Strong's Concordance...shame on me!) so it fit in with the aged feel.

On a sidenote: If you jumped on the blog crafting bandwagon and fashioned one of those book page wreaths everybody was posting about (guilty), now would be a good time to put a spider on it and work it into your display. You can see mine in the mirror reflection of the last pic, I've since given it away but I'm kinda wishin' I had it back in moments like these. It would look great with some spiderwebs on it too. sigh of regret.

The little skeleton garlands are from dollar tree. They are super spooky. I cut them apart and tied them to a black wire tree that I had to make them look like dead men hanging.
The potion bottles I have setting on top of my wall mirror are from Michael's, I got them the previous year on clearance for less than a dollar each after Halloween. It pays to plan ahead.
And don't forget the bag of spiderweb with cheap spider rings; they are a necessity.

Even the little raven perched on the lamp is from the dollar store. Now you know I LOVE birds, but not these guys- They give me the Heebie Jeebies!

Why, you ask? Do I even need to explain?

That's the stuff childhoods are made of, right there! I can remember watching this is a kid and being especially traumatized.

True story: a couple of years ago, we stayed overnight at my mom's house and when we woke up in the morning, we had an eerie "Birds" experience. Just like the movie, THOUSANDS of blackbirds had settled on the ground  surrounding the house in my mother's pasture, on the telephone lines, roofs, you name it. We sat at the windows and watched for-e-ver just waiting for something to happen. And then all at once, they flew away.

Moving on:

Don't the jack-o-lanterns give off the best glow at night?

We love a good Halloween scare around here, but I promise, no nightmares for the kids! Look at my Ava, I can't believe how fast a year goes by!

I am excited to FINALLY be linking up today. I've only been waiting 364 days. Go check out the Halloween Mantel Linky Party at Beth's place next:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sweet Pea Garden Bed II

I'm back with more Sweet Pea Garden Bunkbed Sweetness!

I have a few more details regarding the plan for your viewing pleasure. In case you just landed here, you can find out more about this build in the saga called

"The Bunkbed to End All Bunkbeds." Check out the previous posts:


And Here:

And here we are now.

Okay, last I left off, I gave some info for the bed build and  threw in a few pictures of the front panel. I was all intense at first, taking pics of what seemed like every board until I made a mistake with the frame and had to rip apart half of the front panel. Boo!

At that point, after I corrected my errors, I dug in to finish the whole bed. This level of bed building intensity derailed my over-photographing ways. I had no pictures of anything past the front panel. Well, as luck would have it, I  happened to unload a memory card recently and few more pics of the rear panel popped up.


So here you can see how the colorblocking came together on the rear panel. I just painted up my scraps, distressed the edges, and used the Kreg Jig to assemble the small scraps into long boards. I laid them out on the driveway, screwed them together, measured out the length at 77", and cut the pieced together board to the correct length. I burned through a ton of screws here. Each board  had two screws pocketholed into the next. Lots of gluing, lots of screwing.

Not only were the scraps screwed together horizontally, but these boards were also screwed together vertically to make them into solid panels. I laid the boards face down on the ground and "Got Jiggy Wit' It" with the Kreg Jig once again. Glue along the board edges, and screw all of those boards together. Right after you have assembled these panels, flip 'em over and wipe all the  glue drips. Gluing these boards edge to edge can get messy. Since I pre-painted all the pieces, I didn't want to ruin my pretty paint job.

I had my husband help me insert the panels. He held up the frame and I fit the panels in place. These kinds of  chores always make me laugh. I'm out in the driveway building furniture in the summer to the trash cans...and my husband is inside watching Lifetime Television for Women and ESPN. He comes outside to hold things while I pound them into place with the hammer. Haha!

Use a block! The panels were nice and tight and I just started pounding away and dinged up the boards a bit before I realized I needed something between my pretty boards and the hammer. Use a scrap of wood to take the beating so your finish doesn't.

There is a small gap on the lower panel near the frame. No biggie, the mattress will cover it up.

I used my nailgun and glue to attach the shelf brackets once the panels were in place. I just lined them up flush with the top of the board they are nailed to and toenailed them in place. Then I nailed the shelf on top of the brackets.

I LOVE how it turned out! I didn't want the inside of the bed to be boring and all of the bright colors jazz it up. The shelf is so great too. The girls put all of their books and stuffed animals up there. I love how sweet they look displayed.

That's our new kitty "Prince." Why do I let the kids name things? He loves the bed. It's like a giant cat condo that he thinks is just for him.

While you are painting the other million boards, consider painting the slats that go under the upper bunk as well. I figured that my youngest was going to have to stare up at the underside of her sister's bed for her entire childhood and it might as well be fun too.

Did you ever have a bunkbed? I was an only child (minus my stepsiblings that visited once in a while) and I missed out on all of that. Building this bunkbed was just as exciting for me as it is for my girls, I think! I would have loved to have had a buddy to bunk with.

This is where I quit taking pictures of the panel assembly. The sides are very simple. A couple of horizontal frame pieces and the siding panels built to screw into place upon assembly. This bed can move with you. The side panels are glued to the trim pieces, but the trim is simply screwed into the frame. It comes right out so that you can take this bed down and move it with you.

When I put the bed in the girls' room, we put three sides together, then inserted the slats and the lower mattress before putting the last side on. I'm sure if you really had to, you could try to fold the lower mattress in through the front opening, but it is so much easier to just throw it in before the final wall goes on.

I attached the pergola to the bed after I put it in the room. I think you could easily put it on before you moved it around, but I didn't want to take the chance of breaking it as I moved it inside and through the house.

After I cut out, primed, and painted the pieces, it was time to assemble the  pergola brackets.

I assembled these brackets using scraps to keep them even. One underneath the lower piece to keep it level and one on the right to keep the ends flush. They are glued and nailed together where they intersect. The scrap piece on the right in the picture has a measurement of 4" marked. There needs to be a 4" gap between the pieces for the brackets to go around. The top of the bracket rests on the front frame piece and 4" allows the bracket to hug the 2x4 frame.

I placed pocketholes on each bracket piece to screw directly into the front panel. Then I predrilled holes for 3" screws to attach to the front panel as well. I countersunk these quite a bit to make them work.

These attached to the bed easily. One on each side of the opening frame and one on each end of the bed. Be especially careful not to strip the pocketholes so these will fit tight. After the brackets were attached, I pieced the horizontal 2x2 sections one at a time. I  screwed them between the brackets with pocketholes and it was finished!

For decoration, I purchased faux vines at Michael's Craft Store and intertwined them in the pergola. I also bought an extra long patio light set from World Market. The little paper lanterns are long enough to hang on both stories and then some. They have the best glow at night and now we don't need night lights. Another thing I noticed with this bunkbed is that I don't need heavy shades on the windows either. The walls block out the light, and nap time is fine any time of the day! 

 It's so magical! I love this bed! It's not stuffy in there either. It feels like a cozy little cabin but the air circulates through the windows and openings just fine. We have an old house with no central air and we were  late putting in our window conditioners this summer; I thought for sure the girls would by dying in their beds, but they were just fine.

I'll be posting more later, but it's late and I have to go to bed. Stay tuned!