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

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Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries

Creative blogger confession: I’m not feeling it people.

Halloween is just over a month away. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are steaming on every corner. And the trees in my yard are turning shades of red and yellow. But I cannot seem to get into the Fall decorating groove.

Normally I would go on a Pinterest binge, searching for inspiration. But instead I decided to take a look back at my own blog and check out some of the decorating ideas I’ve shared in the past. Here’s what I discovered: my holiday posts are an unorganized mess! How can I expect you lovelies to see my ideas if you can’t find them?

Fortunately the solution was easy. I created a Halloween and a Fall/Thanksgiving idea gallery! Hover over any thumbnail image to see the title and click on it to read the original post. I also created a “PROJECT GALLERY” link in the menu bar at the top of the page so you can get there without having to find this post again.

HALLOWEEN

Previous

THANKSGVING/FALL

Previous

Some of the oldest ideas are still my favorites like this witch toasting her favorite holiday with a martini . . .

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com. . . and this wicked Halloween chalkboard.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com

I’m including this screen shot so there will be an image of the gallery if you’re trying to add it to your Pinterest board.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com

Oh, I also set up a Christmas/Holiday gallery so when you find yourself humming Jingle Bells you can go check that out.

I hope this makes it easier to find inspiration when you need it. Take a look and let me know what you think. I always love hearing from you guys.

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

A year of chalkboards

The chalkboard in our entry is one of my favorite things to doodle and decorate. Sometimes I’m inspired by a holiday. Other times by the crazy people living in my house. These are some of my ideas from the past year and a link to the Pinterest board where I keep my lettering inspiration. Enjoy!

Love & laughs,
abi

Christmas chalkboard

Valentine's & Halloween chalkboard

Thanksgiving chalkboard

Awesome & Easter chalkboard

Winter chalkboard

Outdoor Halloween decorations – Part 2

I thought I was done. After this post I really thought there was nothing else I could “Halloweenify” in my yard. I was wrong. While the hubs and I were outside last weekend he casually moved a bench from the patio to the yard to rake some leaves. I looked up, saw the old, leaning thing (the bench, not the hubs) surrounded by fall color and knew what I had to do.

We have a big circle of trees in our front yard that’s been screaming for a sculpture or some sort of center focal point for years. What’s more perfect than an old, wooden bench sitting under the trees on a blanket of fallen leaves? Here’s how it came out. Totally my favorite decoration of the entire season.

outdoor Halloween decorations

Continue reading

Fall Goody Bags

Fall goody bags  |  laughingabi.com

I’ve always made goody bags for my daughters’ classroom parties. Not because I’m one of “those” moms, but because we love to make things together and it’s become a mother-daughter tradition over the years.

Halloween is a challenge because our school district doesn’t allow “Halloween” parties. (We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, would we? Insert sarcasm here.) Instead we have fall “Harvest” parties. That means the obvious goody bag ideas are not allowed. No witches, spiders, monsters, skeletons . . . you get the idea. My solution? Owls. Here’s a peek at the fall goody bags we made this year inspired by this post from Tales of a Trophy Wife.

Fall goody bags  |  laughingabi.com

Fall goody bags  |  laughingabi.com

And here are the lovely little hooters we made last year.

Fall goody bags  |  laughingabi.com

Fall goody bags  |  laughingabi.com

I love their crossed eyes. Makes me smile. Do you have any creative fall or Halloween traditions?

Halloween porch and DIY outdoor Halloween decorations.

I’ve spent the last couple weeks sharing all the Halloween goodies in my home – a black and white themed Halloween plate wall, my first chevron stripe on the Halloween mantle, an entry decked out with witch’s potions, and some very happy martini drinking witches. Now it’s time to take a look at what I’ve got going on outside. As usual, most of it is DIY. Some say I’m creative. I’m really just cheap.

outdoor Halloween decorations

A hand-painted monogram & witch’s hat add a little character to this pumpkin topiary.

outdoor Halloween decorations

This DIY witch’s brew is made of spray foam insulation then painted green.

outdoor Halloween decorations

My front porch.

outdoor Halloween decorations

Inexpensive foam tombstones from Michael’s get a little extra paint
and fresh dirt to make a small cemetery in my empty flower bed.

outdoor Halloween decorations

My youngest daughter named this crow Freddy. No idea.

outdoor Halloween decorations

Dead branches, black spray paint, orange lights, and Dollar Store birds.

outdoor Halloween decorations

outdoor Halloween decorations

I had to share this little flag just because I love it.

What’s your favorite outdoor Halloween decoration? Do you go spooky or sweet?

Halloween Plate Wall

Halloween Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

One of my many addictions is collecting cocktail plates and cocktail shakers. I created a rotating display space on my dining room wall so I can pick my favorites and admire them every day. I love to switch them out with the seasons or when I’m burning to change something up but have no dinero to spend – which is all the time. Sadly, when Halloween rolled around I realized I only had three measly plates to hang, zero shakers, and zero dollars. Time to get creative. Take a look at what I did.

Halloween Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

Halloween Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

Halloween Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

Halloween Plate Wall | laughingabi.com

The best part is, I only spent $9! Here’s how it breaks down.

Two plain black plastic plates from Target: $4.
Package of eyeball stickers from Michael’s: $1.
Black & white fabric from Jo-Anne’s: approximately $4.

Everything else came from somewhere in my house.
– The cool scenery plates are the three I mentioned earlier.
– The white plates are from my kitchen cabinet with free silhouette clip art added.
– The black square plate is one I bought at Target with eyeball stickers added.
– The skeleton plate is another Target buy with more free clip art.
– Most of the shakers are wearing free clip art.
– The crow is – what else? – a free clip art silhouette.
– Lastly, the large quilting hoop was already hanging where you see it, I just replaced the fabric to match the new black and white scheme.

If you like this you should check out what Jen did over at Tatertots & Jello. It’s amazing. http://tatertotsandjello.com/2012/09/its-pumpkin-week-diy-halloween-plate-wall.html

Are you done decorating for Halloween? Or for fall? Send me a link so I can see what you’re up to.

Chevron Halloween Mantle

I decided the Halloween mantle would be perfect for my first DIY chevron stripe. If it sucked I could just call it “spooky”. Here’s how it turned out. Totally not sucking, btw.

Chevron Halloween Mantle | laughingabi.com

Chevron Halloween Mantle | laughingabi.com

Chevron Halloween Mantle | laughingabi.com

Chevron Halloween Mantle | laughingabi.com

Chevron Halloween Mantle | laughingabi.com

As always, I did it on the cheap. Here’s a quick run down of my “sources”.

1. Large frame: this frame is actually part of a print that hangs over our fireplace year-round. I simply painted my chevron stripes on a roll of craft paper, trimmed it to fit, and stuck it on with non-permanent scrapbook adhesive.
COST: FREE

Chevron Halloween Mantle | laughingabi.com

2. Small frame: I shopped the little frame from another room in the house. The “31” is printed on more craft paper and stuck on with more scrapbook adhesive.
COST: FREE

3. Candles: I already had these little votives and the holder. I picked them up at a garage sale a few years ago.
COST: FREE

4. Birds and pumpkin: Dollar Store (Paint and embellishments from my craft stash.)
COST: $3

5. Branches: my backyard
COST: FREE

6. Spider & embroidery floss: craft stash
COST: FREE

7. Brown jar: barn sale, purchased specifically for this project.
COST: $1

8. Wood stump: This is actually a votive holder that I turned upside-down.
COST: FREE

My total cost was only $4. And I totally rocked the chevron. Happy-happy, joy-joy.