Yeah, yeah, it's been 4 months, but there are a few last details from Halloween I wanted to write up before I'm on to next year, one being the nursery decor. You see, it went through quite a metamorphosis this past year. It started as a seldom used guest bedroom with ugly tulip print wallpaper. When we bought the house, it was staged as a little girl's room, but not exactly my style:
When we found out about the cupcake, I knew that wallpaper had to go. I was really worried about scraping it all off, but one day I started picking at it and the whole thing just peeled off in huge sheets:
Underneath it was baby pink, but that wasn't appealing either, so with the help of my BFF we covered it in "tantalizing teal:"
And then we took a big 'ol detour from traditional nursery decor in the month leading up to Halloween, turning the nursery into a N'awlins VooDoo Shop!
This was where the psychic readings took place, I wanted to create an eerie backdrop packed with details so that everywhere you looked, you noticed something new, sort of how Disney has made even the ride queues and long lines part of the attraction by setting the mood. And I wanted to do it on a budget, so I focused on repurposing free stuff, using what I had, and finding great bargains for the rest.
To start with, I arranged the bed as a couch so people could sit and listen to other fortunes being told (and, it turns out, wait in "line" because it was so popular!). I covered it with a $6 black duvet from Goodwill and all the throw pillows from the living room. I used shelves and hutches I already had around the house as the "store shelves". Since the walls were so bright, I draped long panels of fabric around to dull the happy tone and create a more intimate setting. I used fabrics I already had and a few picked up dirt cheap at goodwill (I got real good at shopping on $1.49 days!). I used 3M strips and hooks to hang everything - no way was I re-painting again :)
I gathered all the skulls, crows, and skeletons I had in my Halloween stash, and re-used the bloody rose garland from last year's Queen of Hearts scene. I also pulled a bunch of creepy religious relics I had acquired over the years, a lot of angel Xmas ornaments I had inherited, and some spooky nun dolls I found at the goodwill a few years ago and could NOT pass up.
I filled some bigger spaces with cheap art from Goodwill - remember the distressed painting in the broken down frame and the puzzle in the ornate gold I found back here? Rustic candlesticks and old wine decanters fit in well too. Old photos in antique gold frames also fit the mood, and I picked up a couple sets of battery powered candles at Costco that I mixed in everywhere:
I kept the lights really low, it was dark other than all the battery powered candles and a single lamp (shrouded in white gauzy fabric) on the psychic's table, so that helped to blend the scene together and draw your eye to the details (and away from the empty spaces). More items "from the vault" stocked the shelves - an original Ouija board, a fake heart, plastic bugs and snakes. I saved all the unsold glassware from the summer's garage sale (candle holders, dishes, vases) and filled them with foam eyeballs or water and "grow animals" from the $1 store (make sure you do this a few days ahead, they take a while to reach their full size!).
My favorite was the snakes - I had saved them from the bathroom decor in 2009. I had asked people to save clear jars and containers a few months leading up to Halloween, and my mom came up with this great pretzel jar - don't they look fantastic?
I did a few quick and cheap crafts for this room too. My husband was on a Pelligrino kick so we managed to save a ton of bottles. Rather than going to the trouble of soaking off the labels, I just printed new ones using shipping labels and creepy fonts (yay for 1001 Free Fonts!) and slapped them over the existing labels. I used a black permanent marker to color in some of the words, used fabric paint to simulate contents "dripping" out of the bottles, and voila - creepy "ingredients" for sale at the voodoo shop:
I used the same process for other shapes and sizes of containers too - tea tins held "werewolf fur." A clear jar full of tiny pieces of string became "mummy stitches."
This was actually a pretty cheap & green craft. The bottles were all free & bound for the recycling bin - I just kept them a while longer and decorated them a bit before kicking them to the curb. I didn't even bother cleaning most of them out first - a pickle jar easily becomes slug slime or swamp water with little effort. The paint and labels I had on hand, and these really made up a big part of my "display."
The only other craft project I did was some crudely painted signs advertising various voodoo shop sales and policies - "We Have Wart Remover!" and "Deadly Nightshade - $9.99!"
This room took weeks to actually put together, mainly because I arranged and rearranged everything so often. Turning on and off all of the candles took another chunk of time (and a few fingernails) but it really worked out well. Of course, the main decorative element was the table in the center of the room where the psychic held court:
Luckily The Cupcake didn't try any funny business like showing up a couple months early, or she would have had a voodoo themed nursery that I'm guessing might have garnered some sideways glances (and possible calls to child services). But she cooperated, so I was able to get everything taken down and turned over to a more child friendly look.
This room took time, but saved money. In fact, I think I might have actually come in UNDER budget on this room (don't worry, I blew it + much more on the food). I wish I would have gotten a better pic of how the lighting levels looked, but I'm still a rookie with my camera, so you'll have to take my word for it - the darkness helped, and the final effect was spooky and excellent!