We’re Stumped!

We’re back with yet another Halloween decorating idea.  We’ve already shared a DIY feather wreath and a spooky tree, but why not add a stump side table to an outdoor setting?  We did.  We have a huge woodpile in our backyard.  Usually it helps keep us warm throughout the winter months, but I decided to make it work a little harder.  I picked out a relatively level stump and rolled it to our front walkway and parked it next to our chairs.  I didn’t do anything else to it. 

Then, to Halloween it up a little, I topped it with a vase of pretty flowers, a paper mache skull from Michael’s that I spray painted white, a faux pumpkin from Hobby Lobby (also painted white) and a real baby pumpkin.

 Stump decoration breakdown:

Stump:  FREE

Paper mache skull:  $1.49

Faux pumpkin:  $1.49

White spray paint:  Left over from our DIY dining table

Baby Pumpkin: FREE from a friend

Total for stump and decorations:  $2.98

See the striped pillow?  I made that.  I had a few yards of white corduroy fabric left over from an earlier project, so I decided to use that rather than buy more fabric.  First, I sewed the cover, (here’s a tutorial) turning the fabric inside out.  I wanted the smooth part facing out so it would be easier to paint.  Once I had my cover, I taped off 2 1/2 inch wide stripes.

After that, it was easy.  Use black fabric paint and fill in between the lines.  Remove the tape soon after and stuff with a pillow form when completely dry. 

Pillow budget breakdown:

Fabric:  Left over from another project

Fabric paint:  Also left over from a previous project

Two pillow forms: $8.99 at JoAnn Fabric

Total cost for Halloween Pillows:  $8.99

To add more spookyness on the cheap, I picked up a plastic skeleton from Dollar Tree.

 I didn’t like the color, so covered that baby in white spray paint, too. 

Then, my skeleton fell into the freshly cut grass.  I let him dry and pulled off as much as I could and hit him with another coat of white.  He survived – he’s already dead.  Hang with fishing line and you’re done. 

One thing I loved about the Pottery Barn inspiration image were the candles.  Well, I wasn’t about to spend $30.00 or more on candles, so I looked around the house for suitable substitutes.  I had a few vintage oil lamps, so I added those to the mix.  Toss in a grapevine pumpkin and we’re done!

Miscellaneous decoration cost:

Skeleton: $1.00

White spray paint:  Left over

Oil lamps:  FREE (The black one was hanging on our fence when we bought the house and the red was a thrift store find a few years ago.  I think it was $1.50 or so.)

Grapevine pumpkin:  $2.50 at Target (but can multi-purpose for Thanksgiving, too!)

Miscellaneous Total:  $3.50

Which brings our Halloween decoration grand total to…$20.45!  And here’s how it all looks together.

Of course, we still need real pumpkins, but we’re not quite ready yet.

Eerie Tree

Last week, I shared a simple DIY Halloween wreath tutorial and now I’m back with another cheap spooky Halloween project, again, inspired by this Pottery Barn image.

I  love the look of the glitter potted trees.  I am aware that this version is some sort of foam, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money for something like this.  Instead, I used a dead branch from our birch tree. 

Using a can of black gloss spray paint, I covered all areas of the branch and let everything dry.  Then, I applied a second coat to make sure the color was truly black.  Super simple. 

After the second coat dried, I placed my eerie tree in a planter I had left over. 

To cover the dirt, I spread the remaining nuts from our fall decoration around the base of the tree and threw in a few pine cones.  A little crow from Dollar Tree adds another touch of spook. 

Eerie tree budget breakdown:

Branch: FREE

Black spray paint: $1.00 at Wal-Mart

Planter: Already owned

Nuts and pinecones: FREE from mother nature

Crow: $1.00

Total Cost:  $2.00

So far, our Halloween decorations have cost $4.98, wa hoo!  We’ll cover a few more frugal decorating ideas tomorrow, so come back for more.

Here’s a tip:  If you plan to use real nuts, plan for the squirrels to eat them.  We went out-of-town for the weekend and returned to find all the nuts missing.  I’m sure the squirrels loved it. I pictured a little assembly line of squirrels passing nuts down the line until they were gone and now they’re having a feast.  Yeah, you may want to use bark, mulch or fake Spanish moss.

We’re Nutty for Fall

A few days ago, the weather in Montana changed and we finally got a touch of fall.  So I sprang (get it, spring is the opposite of fall, yes, I’m that lame) into action and whipped up three fall inspired table scapes. 

Cocktail Hour Centerpiece:  This table setting, complete with snacks, is geared toward a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, rather than a sit down meal.  

Here we have a few thrift store flower bowls, both white porcelain and patina brass, holding almonds, peanuts and shells.  I happened to have almonds and in shell peanuts, but any nuts would work great, or candy, too!  See that set of pillar candle holders?  Those came from Goodwill for only $0.49 each!  The wooden wine holder was a gift that a relative made(!) and it holds a bottle of sparkling apple cider, my fav.  I scored the large vase from TJ Maxx for $5.99 and filled it with a pillar candle and free nuts I gathered from my parent’s yard while in Minnesota. 

Here’s a tip:  If you don’t have a tall pillar candle, give it a boost with an upside down glass. 

The wood slice was something I’ve had lying around for a long time, but you can pick up something similar at a craft store or make one for yourself. 

Brighter Cocktail Hour:  Here we have another cocktail hour table scape, but with a little twist. 

We’ve kept the wooden wine holder around, but we’ve added fall flowers for a nice pop of color.  A wooden clearance tissue cover is turned upside down to disguise the clear glass vase, adding another natural element.  Nuts fill hand stitched felt and tweed leaf bowls (more on those next week).  Mustard yellow napkins round out the centerpiece.

Dinner Party:  We’ve finally gotten around to dinner and incorporated a bird theme.

This is a simple setting using basic white dinner plates and everyday silverware, so we’ve added a pop of yellow with the napkins.  Fancier glasses dress things up a bit.  A TJ Maxx bird and nest candle holder serves as a simple, low profile centerpiece filled in with white ceramic bird salt and pepper shakers and a few bowls of nuts. 

Here’s a tip:  If you have small, rambunctious children (like we do), forgo a tablecloth or runner to prevent a catastrophe.   Instead, add color and texture through cloth napkins.

Most items used were already on hand, but the great outdoors are wonderful ways to add natural elements, without costing you a penny!  Do you have any tried and true thrifty ways to decorate for fall?  Please do share.