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I love a good mantle change. Once Miriam’s birthday passed, it was time to move into a more macabre motus.

Budget decorating: photographs I took and edited of a creepy house, almond wood cut from my parent’s trees and a couple gourds. It is a lost-in-the-woods sort-of motif.

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We used to host a party for All Souls’ Day/Day of the Dead. I saved the cards with prayers for the dead. You can see a detail of one of the photographs from the oldest Catholic Church in Stanislaus County with the most amazing cemetery.

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Pictures add big impact without taking up large amounts of storage space. I use the almond wood during various times of the year. My husband cut holes for candles.

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I could resist neither this wire basket nor drapey, black fabric.

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The broom was another consignment store find from Selective Antiques here in Hughson.

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I am so glad my husband conceded to my decorating the top of the piano. I keep it minimal…or try to. With children, all decorated surfaces must be up high.

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I kept our shipwreck items and with slight editing made it reference a haunted mansion.

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Themes are only references, not rules. They help a person pick colors, textures and shapes.

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The more time goes by, the more I love the colors I chose for our living room. The walls are neutral gray (Colonnade gray by Sherwin Williams) and the fireplace bump out, cabinets, and weird tv nook are all the same dark green. My dining chairs and an antique, living room chair are upholstered with the same.

I feel the colors I decorate with really pop against these two, along with making things appropriately moody if I so choose. Our fireplace tile is leftover from our kitchen backsplash and works well with the dark brown laminate floors. I miss our Victorian window/fireplace screen but after stealing its wood base for the mantle, we agreed to leave it out for winter to ease access to the fireplace.

The kids are not left out! We have a dancing broom bought from Keller’s that sings Shakespear (“double, double, toil and trouble), fake spiderwebs outside, along with a giant spider (made from rolled wool socks and pipe cleaners). We are playing with ideas for the exterior when Halloween comes.