Five Days of Fall: Upcycled Scarf Organizer

Welcome to Day Five of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

In my house Fall marks the end of shaving season and the start of scarf season. So I thought it would be the perfect time to share my Upcycled Scarf Organizer.

upcycled scarf organizer

I made it out of these two unexpected items.

scarf storage before collage text

The idea came when I was shopping for a scarf and realized the retail display rack was the perfect storage solution. It was nothing but a series of “pegs” and plastic rings but it held tons of scarves in a small space. So I set out to recreate it in my closet.

The plastic rings were easy to find. The clearance tag was a bonus.

upcycled scarf organizer

The pegs were more of a challenge. I considered building something or using a pegboard and straight hooks like this. But then I found an unused wine glass rack stashed in the basement! (Similar to this one.) Who says hoarding is a bad thing?

Put those two seemingly random pieces together and you’ve got storage for 24 scarves in a 2 foot wide space.

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

Oh and in case you’re not sure how to loop the scarves onto the rings (I wasn’t at first), here ya go.

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

I’ve been using this hanging rack for a couple years and it still works great. Don’t you just love it when the simplest solution is the best one?

Catch up on days one through four here:
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard
Day Three: Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip
Day Four: Autumn Entry On A Budget

SHARE THIS POST

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget

Welcome to Day Four of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

Today I’m sharing my itty, bitty, teeny, tiny Autumn Entry. The only thing smaller than this space is my budget for decorating it so I had to get creative.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

In the end I only spent $2.50 for that little white pumpkin. Everything else I found around the house. (Are you noticing a theme in my decorating style? Maybe I should rename the blog “usingthecrapihave.com”)

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

For example, that orange and white chevron? That’s actually a scarf I pillaged from my closet. And the driftwood branch? It used to be in our lizard tank. Oh and my favorite part is the photo. We took it when Baby Girl was in kindergarten and we were making an alphabet book together – A is for acorn. I love seeing her pudgy little fingers and remembering how much fun we had walking the neighborhood searching for things that started with the letter A.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

The pedestal is actually a thrift shop wine glass and platter that I glued together. It floats from room to room depending on what random thing I decide to use it for. I topped it with a few fake leaves for more color, added my splurge of a pumpkin, and called it done.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Simple but sweet. And cheap. Can’t ask for more than that.

Catch up on days one through three here:
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard
Day Three: Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard

Welcome to Day Two of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn. Today we’re talking chalkboards.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

If you’ve been here for a while you probably recognize this chalkboard that hangs right inside my front door. Last October it looked like this.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

But this year I wanted to go with a Fall theme, something I could leave up through Thanksgiving. I was searching for inspiration one day and spotted this on Instagram.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Super fun and super simple. Perfect for us.

After experimenting with different fonts and sizes I came up with a layout I liked then used this method to transfer it to the chalkboard.

NEW TIP! Did you know you can sharpen chalk with a pencil sharpener? True story. Find one of those cheap little sharpeners with two holes (you’ll use the oversized one) and give it a try. You won’t believe how much easier it is to draw with.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I added some freehand swirlys and leaves to fill things in and it was done.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I love the playful message. I almost changed it to “get off the computer, put down the phone, and go jump in the fling-flanging leaves” but it wouldn’t fit.

(My apologies to those of you who were expecting something pumpkin flavored today. I had it all ready but then my photos turned out kind of suckish so I’m going to try again. I promise it’s coming soon.)

If you missed Day One you can find it here.
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf

Welcome to Five Days of Fall! Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn. Today I’m kicking it off by giving my plain-Jane bookshelf a seasonal facelift.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Before I tell you what I did, check out this before pic. Not terrible but definitely not Fall either.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

First I emptied everything out and lined the back of the shelves with some wrapping paper I’ve had stashed in the basement for years. Yep, that’s paper. It’s from the Container Store but like I said, I’ve had it for years. I don’t know if they sell it anymore but you could pick any paper that says “Fall” to you. I like this one because it adds instant texture.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Then it was time to fill it back up. I started with the biggest piece, a wooden bowl filled with mini pumpkins. (I’m toying with the idea of painting their stems gold but I’m not sure yet.)

Next I added the books. A simple tip for decorating with books: choose ones that match the color scheme you’re working with. You can see I picked mostly orange, yellow, red and black. It adds seasonal color without spending any money.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

All that’s left are a few finishing touches. A dried hydrangea from the yard in a short mason jar and decorative bookend. (You’ll see later the bookend changes because I found something I liked better.)

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

And probably my favorite part of the whole makeover, an owl rock Baby Girl painted for me as a Mother’s Day gift years ago. Still melts my heart.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Those few simple changes are all it took to cozy up this corner. I have to point out that the only thing I spent money on were the pumpkins. Everything else was from somewhere in the house or the yard. I love those kinds of projects.

Here are a couple more shots. Can you spot the different bookend I mentioned earlier?

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Make sure you stop in tomorrow for Day 2. It’s going to be pumpkin-flavored! See you then.

My Halloween Porch

THE GOOD NEWS: We’re making serious progress on the back porch. The exterior painting is done, barely beating the rain, and the floor is well underway. (I’ll share the goods on those projects next week .)

THE BAD NEWS: We’ve had ZERO time for Halloween or fall decorating.

I finally snuck out to buy some mums and pumpkins the other day so I could dress up the front porch. It’s not much but it feels good to finally have something out there.

My Halloween Porch | laughingabi.com

See that red pillow? I ordered the most adorbs Halloween pillow to go in its place but was tired of waiting for it to arrive so went ahead and shot these photos. Guess what showed up in my mailbox the very next day? Yep, you guessed it. So as you look at the rest of these pics just imagine you’re seeing this cutie.

My Halloween Porch | laughingabi.com

The painted branches in the background are recycled from this project a couple years ago. Everything else I dug out of the garden shed or corner of the garage.

My Halloween Porch | laughingabi.com

My Halloween Porch | laughingabi.com

My Halloween Porch | laughingabi.com

The best part of the whole day was when my girls came out to inspect my work. They sat down on the stoop together and I caught this secret-telling moment just as the sun was setting.

My Halloween Porch | laughingabi.com

Doesn’t get any better than that.

How do you decorate your front porch for Halloween? Spooky or simple? Creepy or classy? Gory or gorgeous?

16 DIY Halloween Mantels (Even If You Don’t Have A Fireplace)

Halloween Mantles | laughing abi on hometalk.com

It’s October 1 and while we’re trying desperately to finish up our screened porch remodel before the snow blows (check out our progress here and here), I’ve been up late on the laptop drooling over Halloween decorating ideas. My favorites are the DIY Halloween mantels. Some of you don’t even have a fireplace and you still find a way to decorate an amazing mantel! Here are some of the ideas I’ve been collecting over on my Hometalk page.

 16 DIY Halloween Mantels (Even If You Don't Have A Fireplace)

Christine over at First Home Love Life went all mad scientist on her mantel and created this laboratory complete with floating eyeballs and frog blood.

16 DIY Halloween Mantels (Even If You Don't Have A Fireplace)

This spooky-chic setting is from Sand and Sisal. I LOVE the mercury glass.

16 DIY Halloween Mantels (Even If You Don't Have A Fireplace)

No fireplace? No problem. Vivienne from The V Spot created this beautiful scene on a long, narrow table in her home.

16 DIY Halloween Mantels (Even If You Don't Have A Fireplace)

Looking for clean and modern? This ultra simple mantel from Thrifty and Chic is soooo perfect.

16 DIY Halloween Mantels (Even If You Don't Have A Fireplace)

I had to include this one because I love chevron – and because it’s my mantel.

Those are only a handful of the ideas I clipped. You can see all of them here. I hope they inspire you to get your spook on this month. I know my mantel is the first thing I’m going to tackle — if I ever get this fling-flanging porch done!

What’s your favorite thing to decorate for Halloween? Where do you “file” all your inspiration?

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

Last week I shared my Wicked Halloween Chalkboard and one of you commented that it reminded you of the Evil Queen’s mirror in Snow White (you know, “Mirror mirror on the wall . . .” ). That was all it took to send my mind spinning with ideas. After finding a little Pinterest inspiration (here and here) I decided to make a poison apple for this year’s Halloween decorations.

I started with this cheesy looking fake apple, $2.40 with a coupon at JoAnn’s.

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

Some green spanish moss, $2.50.

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

Glitter (this multi-pack was the only thing I could find with black in it), $2.40 with a coupon.

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

Glossy black spray paint, a mason jar, and glue, which were all already in my crafty stash.

The first super-duper important step is to make sure your apple fits inside your mason jar so you don’t end up with a photo like this.

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

Once you’ve stomped and sworn and ran around the house looking for an appropriately sized jar/bowl/holder thingy, tape off your apple stem with painter’s tape. Then grab your can of glossy black and get your spray painting groove on.

After the paint is dry it’s glitter time. I used Mod Podge to apply mine because I had some handy. Elmer’s glue mixed with water would do the same trick. Anything sticky will work as long as it dries clear. I painted the mod podge on with a small brush, making the edges uneven so it would look “drippy”, then sprinkled the glitter on top while it was still wet. After the glue/glitter has dried you can peel off your tape and VOILA!

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

I have to admit, I like the glass bowl in these pictures better than the mason jar I started out with. I guess every stomping-swearing-sulking fit happens for a reason.

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

Oh, the skull and crossbones is some free clip art I found here. I printed it on linen colored paper, crumpled it up to make it look old, opened it flat again, and lit it on fire — I stood under my range hood with a lighter and burned the paper until it was perfectly “aged”. Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

Poison Apple Halloween Decoration  | laughingabi.com

What Halloween decorations are you making? Has anyone inspired you to try something new?

Wicked Halloween Chalkboard Tutorial

It’s finally starting to feel like fall here in Chicagoland so I’m finally starting to think about Halloween decorations. My first project this season is the chalkboard in my entry. (See more chalkboards HERE.) And since I tried something different this time I thought I would write up a quick Halloween chalkboard tutorial.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

1. Of course the first step is coming up with an idea. I found my inspiration HERE on a blog called Freaking Craft.

2. Next, print your image at the actual size you want it to be on your finished chalkboard. (I only printed the text because I planned to draw the branches freehand.)

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

3. Now you’re going to create a piece of “chalk transfer paper” by coloring the BACK of your image with chalk. Make sure you cover it with a good, heavy layer.

4. Place the paper on your chalkboard exactly where you want the image to be. I used a bit of tape to hold mine in place.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

5. Now for the cool part. Use a pencil to trace the image and letters on your paper. Don’t be too heavy-handed — you don’t want to etch the lines in your chalkboard, just transfer the chalk dust.

TIP: Make sure you look at the transfer from different angles to see if it’s working. It may be hard to see, depending on the light, etc.  Here’s what I saw the first time I tried it.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

I was getting ready to call it a FAIL when my 9-year-old came in and, standing on the other side of the table, said, “That looks cool.” This is what she saw from where she was standing. BOOYA!

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

6. When you’re finished tracing your design remove the paper and you’re left with something like this.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

7. All that’s left is to fill in the lines with chalk. Obviously the smaller or more detailed your image, the more difficult it will be.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

TIP: Dip your chalk in water before drawing. It will look light and washed out at first but when it dries you will get a bright, saturated white. You can see in this photo where a few letter are still wet.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

And that’s it! For my board I still needed to add the branches. Here’s my sketches.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

Here’s the finished chalkboard.

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

Wicked Halloween chalkboard tutorial | laughingabi.com

So I’ve officially started decorating for Halloween! I can’t wait to tackle my new window boxes. Are you getting ready for fall? Are you decorating already?

Bonbon Break

Free Thanksgiving card

I sell cards over at my Etsy shop but this little number is an exclusive FREE ECARD for all my blog readers, Facebook followers, and Twitter followers. Feel free to share it on your own pages. If you want to email it to your grandma just right click on the picture below, select “copy image”, then paste it into the body of your email message. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!free Thanksgiving eCard from laughingabi.com

DIY pumpkin spice sugar scrub

You are not going to believe how easy it is to make your own yummy-smelling, skin-softening sugar scrub. And cheap. I mean really, really cheap, using things you probably already have in your cupboards. This recipe is perfect to give as a Christmas gift or next week as a hostess gift at Thanksgiving. Here we go.

DIY pumpkin spice sugar scrub

Continue reading