As we switch to the fall months and Nick and I prepare for a series of guests (it seems like every other week starting in October people will be visiting us from out East), all I keep thinking about it how to make our home festive for the season.
We have a few things that we acquired over the last couple of years, various kinds of fake pumpkins (glass, wicker, etc.), and a couple of other other odds and ends. The majority of that is great for Halloween, but what do I do after that when Thanksgiving rolls around? I can't keep my Frankenstein Garland up for that.
So this morning I set out to figure out how I can decorate my house for Halloween, but still have a few things that I can leave up when that holiday is over. Of course you can always look at the standard websites like Martha Stewart for decorating ideas and Southern Living also had a video with ideas and a few other videos talking about other projects. But after doing some internet searches the website that I found with the most comprehensive yet basic list of things to do (and how to do them) wasAbout.com.
Overall it seemed like the biggest theme was use of color and nature's own ornaments to decorate your space. For example, one of About.com's ideas was to decorate your mantle piece like these:
Mini pumpkins (which you can get just about anywhere during the season), a fake ivy garland that looks like it's leaves are turning, with some red candles in gold candle holders play with the warm earthy tones that are prominent from September-November. And some of those things you might have at home, or can keep again for next year. So really you just would need to keep buying the mini pumpkins every year. And if you want to get even more elaborate you can go to the craft store and buy some fake or dried flowers that are normally in bloom or popular for this season (like mums or sunflowers, or anything else that's golden yellow, deep orange or reds).
Even something as simple as walking through the woods or trails near your house can produce the supplies you need. Take some twigs and place them around a light like this. And About.com lays that out as the cornerstone of their decorating ideas:
"Take a Walk in the Woods - Some of the most wonderful things you can use to decorate your home for fall are probably in your back yard and won't cost a penny. With a big basket or bucket in hand, collect broken tree branches, cat tails, shafts of wheat, pine cones, or seed pods. You can use just about any natural item in a fall decoration."
A couple of other quick tips they gave that I didn't think of:
Save Your Furniture - Fresh, preserved, and dried items such as leaves, pumpkins, or gourds get soft and "bleed" after a short time. To protect your furniture, either natural wood or painted, always assemble your decoration on a platter, plastic wrap, plate, wooden board, or aluminum foil. This will make it easier to move it to another location, too.
Plan Your Storage Before You Start - If they're stored carefully, most dried corn and wheat stalks, preserved leaves, and berries will last for several years. To keep bugs out, keep your fall decorating items in air-tight plastic storage boxes. Because they tend to be bulky, you might need more than one box. Carefully label the box and store it in a dry lace. Label garlands and other decorations so you know where to put them the next year.
Other pretty popular items were red berries, grape bunches, leaves, apples, pears, gourds, corn, pine cones, and candy.
What's this you say about candy? I don't mean pint sized Milky Ways, I mean this idea from Raftertales.com:
Taking some candy corn or seasonally colored M&Ms you can put them in hurricane jars, empty bottles, or preserving jars...I think I may try this out (and hope Nick doesn't eat all the candy in a week).
And of course, switching out little things like candles, table cloths, and other linens add to the overall effect as well. My summer decor is lemon and green themed. I don't think lemons and pumpkins go well together. Haha.
I'm not entirely ready to get that into a project right now (homework is a real bummer on any fun time of the year). But now that I've whet all of our whistles I think this weekend my big chore will to be to turn our Summer apartment into a Fall one. Off the top of my head I already know which table cloth I'll use, and which decorations I want to take out of storage. And I think there are a few ideas from the websites I want to try out as well. Unfortunately for us we don't have all the great free-bee outdoor options that the East does, but I'll see what I can do. I'll be sure to post pictures to follow up next week.