Little Window of Horrors at The Succulence

The last couple years I've made some creepy crepe paper flowers for Halloween. This year they're back and bigger than ever! I had the pleasure of creating a window installation for The Succulence; a garden store in San Francisco's Bernal Heights. I was able to pair my creepy blooms with some real life carnivorous plants. 

You can find my original man eating plant project here. For another creepy bloom I also have instructions for flowers that stare right back at ya.

The carnivorous plants were provided by  Predatory Plants.

The carnivorous plants were provided by Predatory Plants.

This amazing planted chair was a prop I took right from The Succulence shop.

This amazing planted chair was a prop I took right from The Succulence shop.

For scale you can see my original flower design sitting in front of the giant bloom.

For scale you can see my original flower design sitting in front of the giant bloom.

Evil Eyes for Halloween

It's all about the eyeball this year. As shared a couple weeks ago I came up with some creepy eyeball paper flowers that I wanted to incorporate into my Halloween decor. Coincidently I am taking care of twenty air plants this month for a friend. I have some of my own tillandsias and just adopted a couple more. It feels like they're multiplying like tribbles or gremlins so I knew they would need to be a main feature paired with my other creepy plants. 

I've continued to be drawn to summery colors because just yesterday it started to feel like fall in San Francisco. With the warm weather we've been having I couldn't fully dive into traditional fall colors so I went theme eye ball with a nod to the Turkish Evil Eye (nazar). The symbolism is meant to protect from the evil eye but it is also blue which is one of my favorite colors.

During my blog hiatus I made some placemats out of African waxed fabric. I was drawn to the pattern because it looks a little eyeballish but hadn't yet been planning for Halloween. It was fortuitous that they would work perfectly with this decor. It's because I love blue.

DIY Break Down

My original vision for this lantern was to have a billion eyes staring at you. It turned out less creepy than I wanted but I like the slightly eery look. Maybe it will get used year round since it's not obviously Halloween.

To make the shade frame I created a tube with a length of chicken wire. I then stretched out heavy duty white crepe paper and used alcohol inks similarly to the flowers I made awhile back. Then I painted pupils with black acrylic. The alcohol inks allow light to shine through where as the acrylics block light. I then stretched my already stretched out paper over my frame and secured with regular white glue. To light the lantern I took the shade off a lamp I already had and popped this one over the top. I made sure the shade would be taller than the lamp so it could just sit on my bookshelf without needing to be attached.

The pumpkins were also painted using acrylics. You can't go wrong owning some basic paint colors. I've had my tubes since college and they're still going strong. I did buy one gourd that only needed a couple dots of paint to become an eyeball.

And of course you can make some eyeballed paper florals with my tutorial.

Tillandsia Talk

Now for a little Tillandsia Talk since their such a big feature of my arrangements. I recently went to Flora Grubb Gardens for an event featuring a new book Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias. While I've had air plants for awhile and thought I knew how to care for them I learned even more during Zenaida Sengo's book talk. My biggest revelation is to think of them like a living sponge. It's a misnomer that these plants get their nutrients from the air alone. In their native habitats it rains way more than it does in our houses. You can spritz these guys with water but to get the right amount of water they need spraying daily or a good soak once a week. Just like a super dried out sponge it takes more than a spritz to fully hydrate. For more info and plenty of decorating ideas get the book!

Pin cushion upholstery with Spruce

Spruce Cover

Last week I attended a book tour event for Spruce; A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown. At the event we made pin cushions which were the perfect micro project for using some tools of upholstery. 

The event was hosted at Creative Bug who has created several upholstery tutorial videos with Amanda. I hear there are more to come. Check them out here.

Amanda and I in front a fabulously painted ikat patterned wall. Photo and wall by Courtney Cerruti.

Amanda and I in front a fabulously painted ikat patterned wall. Photo and wall by Courtney Cerruti.

It became very addicting to make these little pin cushions. A lot was learned from making the first one who's lessons were immediately implemented on the next. 

First attempt to last attempt pictured left to right.

First attempt to last attempt pictured left to right.

While making the pin cushions I realized what we were making were tuffets. Little miss muffet sat on her tuffet... So too humor myself, below are little miss muffet stand ins sitting on tuffets.

I've had some experience with upholstery projects and one of the more challenging elements has been working with the staple gun. My parents have helped me with the projects and have always been the muscle behind my non-electric, non-air-powered staple gun. At the upholstery event Amanda had pneumatic staple guns for us to play with. My mind was blown and now I want one badly. Armed with the right tools and this book I know my future projects will have skies the limit results.

The first upholstery project my parents and I tackled was an upholstered headboard (shown below). After reading through the Spruce book there is so much information that could have made that project go more smoothly. I have fond memories building this with my parents but with the right tools and knowledge for implementation it probably wouldn't have taken all three of us to tuft the buttons.

I'll admit a decorating secret (the shameful kind). The bench above I made without any assistance and I finished off the underside with straight pins. It will be the first thing I staple whenever I get my hands on a pneumatic staple gun.

Amanda states in her opening she learned about upholstery through trial and error and the desire to have a unique home that didn't come from a box store. If you share that desire get this book. If upholstery sounds challenging this book will make it feel do-able. And of course start out with a simple project. Perhaps not a headboard like myself. I have a big project brewing in the back of my mind so I don't think this is the last I'll be sharing about upholstery.

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A note of full disclosure. I received a reviewers copy of this book. Words and opinions are my own.