Elarlier this summer, we stayed at a beautiful old resort on the southeast end of Mackinac Island where, late one night, we ventured through narrow hallways and creaky staircases to discover a ballroom that looked straight out of the game of Clue, complete with an ornate fireplace and huddle of couches in front of it, definitely something where Harry, Ron and Hermione would have gathered to conspire in the Gryffindor wing. I tucked it away for Halloween inspiration later this year.
Knock-knock...it’s later this year. Which brings me to this very important seasonal dilemma: Come October, do you decorate for fall or do you decorate for Halloween? I have a system (oh God, here she goes with one of her “systems”): I decorate for Falloween. We throw a big kids’ Halloween party every year, so we’ve invested in some fun decorations that I like to get good use of, so I blend Halloween and fall decorations until after Halloween. I try to do this as tastefully as possible. Halloween can get a little tacky, but I love Halloween, my kids love Halloween, so we go all in. As I once said–perhaps one of my more eloquent quotes: We draw the line at blood and chainsaws.
So, back to that little Gryffindor library inspiration. A few weeks ago, I ran into Goodwill and saw this huge framed piece of art in the corner–ugly and outdated, of course, but way cheap!
I knew if I could find the right art for it, it would be the perfect focal point on the mantle for my Halloween vision. I painted the green inner matting black and then watered down some black acrylic paint and brushed it over the frame to tone down the gold tones and make it look more aged. Then it was time to find the perfect photo to put inside. I wanted a vintage portrait and found several great ones on Art.com. I ended up choosing this amazing solemm portrait of Emily Post (it was only $15 when I bought it–price went up), but also loved these:
You can search “vintage portrait” on Art.com, Zazzle.com or any art site and find several to choose from.
This was the mantel before.
And this is the haunted mansion mantel after. Get me a mug of butter beer! I need to sit next to this fire and study for my Potions exam!
At the very least, I figure Ms. Post will guide us through the fall season, channeling all the good manners. See that face on her? That’s the face of disgust after Dash burps out loud in front of her. Dear Emily, we’re sorry. Please help us.
The portrait makes a statement on its own, so I didn’t want to add too much more, but what’s a haunted mansion library without candles? I love the look of taper candles, but the dripping wax? I’m OVER IT. I’ve Googled every brand of taper that doesn’t drip, and while Root brand was the closest to actual no-drip, it’s just too hard in Florida where our air conditioner runs all day, so there’s always uneven air current from overhead vents. So flameless taper candles it is (mine are Mikasa, and I love them).
The gauzy fabric was $1 from Dollar Tree, the crows are from Joann’s, and the garland is from Hobby Lobby.
Now if we can just get Miss Emily to move within her portrait before our Harry Potter family night next month. C’mon, Emily! You can do it. (Heidi, the other day: “So help me God, I catch that woman’s eyes moving, and I swear I’m never coming to your house again.”