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    One Halloween costume down, one to go. Kids come up with the craziest things. Like batteries. The Frozen crew, as drawn by a four year old. Things I love. The boys picked out orange mums. Fresh fall flowers for the win.

Halloween, We’re Ready

I’m not sure how it happens, but every year Halloween sneaks up on me.  For the past month, the boys have talked about their costumes.  E requested a cloud with rain.


I had every intention of sewing his costume, but didn’t have enough white fabric on hand.  In the spirit of Tim Gunn, I “made it work” by using a sheet of foam core to create two identical cloud shapes.  Fabric scraps connect the two sides, making it a sandwich board style.  Paper rain drops hang from thin fishing line below.  Before Halloween, I need to paint a rainbow to add, because that’s what the little man wants.

V, the crazy kid, wanted to be a battery. Seriously, this kid comes up with some of the most un-kid things.  Credit card at 3, then a stop light, and a Rubik’s cube.  A battery fit in perfectly.


Ben saved me a box big enough for V to fit in.  I wrapped the bottom of the box with two sheets of black poster board (from the dollar store) to get the general idea.  Two sets of paper cut Duracell letters are attached with double-sided tape, and white out to write ‘alkaline battery’ below.  For the terminals, I pulled two different sized canning lids and hot glued them on top.  I suppose I should cut arm holes, but it was a fun costume to put together.

Decorating our entry was just as fun.  E helped me tape paper bats and rats to the walls.  Michael’s clearance several years ago, but we made a few more to fill in.


He made a few custom creations, too.  Can you spy his bat in the picture above?  Later on, he added a witch on a broomstick:


Decorations pop against the white wood wall.


A few dollar store crows sit on the shelf along with rubber rats that the boys especially love.  We found the skull in the back while exploring, so I painted it gold and set it out.


Somehow, a bird got trapped inside a lantern.


Decorating with kids is so funny.  The little things that excite them cracks me up.  Who knew rubber mice could be so hilarious?!  Little boys, that’s who.

A Weekend of Difference

Whew, I’m exhausted today.  Over the weekend we knocked out several projects.  First, I scraped the popcorn off our ceiling.  This is my second go round, so I knew what to expect and followed the same steps as before.  Being home alone, I couldn’t move our big bed out of the room completely.  So I pushed all the furniture to that end of the room.  A layer of plastic protected everything, then I covered the floors and doors.


Scraping went quickly.  With one half done, I cleaned up the floor and pushed the furniture to the other end.  Repeat same process.  I learned something from my last session: when you reach a seam, scrape with it, not against.  If you go against, you could catch the tape and cause unnecessary damage.

Speaking of unnecessary damage, someone patched an area near the light fixture.  Even with the popcorn, the patch was noticeable.


I’ve got that spot, a crack, and small nail holes to fill and smooth before I can prime and paint.  I accidentally peeled the mesh tape off when the mud was wet, hence the hole.  So I have at least two more coats to go here.


It doesn’t seem like it’d make a big difference, but it’s nice to see a smooth ceiling.  Over the weekend, Ben spray textured the recently wallpaper free wall to match the other two.  With that dry, we trimmed out the rest of the room, windows, and doors.


Clearly, I have plenty of priming and painting in my future.


Our other walls are heavily orange peel textured, unfortunately.  At least the three painted walls with match.


While we had texture going, we finished the knock down in the dining room.  I’ll share more on that process soon.  I’m so close to having a painted bedroom I can taste it.  Or that’s sticky caulking on my thumb as I lick off chocolate.  Doesn’t matter, our bedroom is seeing real, noticeable progress.

Big Time Suck

More often than not, I enjoy having a project to work on.  Using my hands, working, creating something that I can (hopefully) be proud of once finished.  Then there are times that totally suck the life out of me.  Removing wall paper that has three coats of paint over is exactly one of those times.  Throughout my 10 hour removal process, I cursed the previous owners for a) putting up this dreaded wall paper and b) painting over it and not removing before.


Using a wide metal spatula, I was able to get most of the paint and paper off, leaving the glue behind.  See how lovely the pattern was?


In a few areas, before painting over the paper, someone spackled over low spots.  Please, I beg you, never paint over wall paper.  Certainly don’t patch areas on top either.  It’s not good.


With hot tap water, I was able to scrape most of the glue backing off easily.   The process left the walls looking like this:


More spots than a dalmatian.  Why did I torture myself?  Because I’ve decided I don’t want to add wood on this wall.  And we need to texture the walls with orange peel (unfortunately, to match the other two) before trimming out the door.  Hence the scraping marathon and my claw hands.  On a more positive note, every window in the house has been replaced.  Now we’re in the process of casing and trimming everything.  I’ve got three windows completely finished.


To match the other windows and doors, we painted the wood accent wall trim white.  I really love the contrast between the two.


Our bathroom window is done, now I have to go back and touch up the wall paint.  A walk in the park compared to the scraping.


After a summer of outside work, it’s nice to get some things done inside, too.  Now to clear out our bedroom so I can start scraping popcorn off the ceiling.

Because misery loves company, feel free to share your worst wall paper experience.

Gimme a Giveaway: Michael Ellis Studios

Yay, it’s Friday!  To celebrate, we’ve got a fun giveaway from Michael Ellis Studios.

This shop is packed with vintage posters that have been digitally enhanced to make beautiful art.  With so many fun options, sorted categories make browsing easy.  Here are a few of my favorites from several sections.

In the Sky:

Botanical prints:

In the Ocean:


Kids and Nursery:

The Goods:  Three winners will receive a $60 shop credit, good for or toward anything in the Michael Ellis Studios shop.  

To Enter:  Leave a comment telling us which art print(s) you’d most want to hang in your home.

For additional entries:

1.  Like Our Humble Abode on Facebook.  Come back to leave a second comment.

2.  Follow Our Humble Abode on Instagram.  Make sure you let us know you’re following.

Contest Closes: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Number of Winners: Three, chosen by Random.org.

Ships: Anywhere in the world!

Other Info: We will select the winners using random.org and announce on Friday, November 7th.

No Sew Basket

Over the past several years, I’ve seen so many cool baskets.  Metal, wicker, fabric, or leather, I like them all.  So useful, almost everywhere.  I was especially intrigued by a clever folding basket design.

A brilliant origami-esque design uses slits to hold the shape without help from other materials.  No sewing, snaps, buttons, zippers or anything of the like.  Wanting a basket to store magazines, I used iron on interface (essentially a sheet of hem tape) to fuse two pieces of fabric together and prevent fraying.

Before cutting, I created a template on Kraft paper.  The areas inside the white show one-quarter of the design.  Just flip to make the other sides.


With my template ready, I traced it onto my fabric, cut, and put the handle through the tabs.


Instant no sew basket, albeit a floppy one.


Honestly, it does keep my magazines contained, but isn’t anywhere near rigid enough to carry.  If you make your own, use a few more layers of fabric.  The stiffer/sturdier, the better.


After this basket failure, I dug in Ben’s leather cache and found a thick, saddle/belt type leather.  He said he didn’t need it, so I made a leather tote to store newspaper.


Same process, but the heavy leather is perfectly sturdy and oh so handsome.  A welcome addition to our fire supply area, now that temps are dropping.


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