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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Crafty Things & More Halloween.........

I feel lucky that we have a walk-up attic in our house; technically it's a third floor that is unfinished and was left as attic space by the original builders. It's possible it was once used as living quarters; there are old clothes hooks on the walls in several places. The original owners of our house were a middle-aged couple with a grown son; they were upper middle class and possibly had one or two servants. A bedroom just off the back stairs from the kitchen (which is currently closed off) might have been a room for a servant, or they might have had a place in the attic.

There's plenty of room up there, even though the staircase to the attic goes up at a curve and is very narrow and very steep and I admit that I often run up and down those stairs wearing my house shoes ( flip-flops) and there's been a couple of times where I slipped and landed on my fanny and banged my knee. My mother literally will call me when she knows I'm decorating the house and admonish me to wear "proper shoes" when going into the attic and to use the handrail.( I dare not tell her that there is no handrail!)

So far this year I've managed to make multiple trips up and down without incident and Le Beau Paon Victorien is more and more becoming the' Haunted Victorian', as I like to call it during this time of year.


A new project that I'm working on, with the help of my hubby, Erik, is making a coffin table for the parlor. I got this project idea from Martha Stewart's website; she has a template for how to make the top of the table and the basic instructions. This is the link, HERE.
Erik cut out the shape of the coffin table top from a piece of scrap plywood.

Next, I purchased some heavy black fabric. I chose a stiff polyester/cotton twill. The fabric was double layered and then stapled to the underside of the top using a staple gun.

So here is the fabric covered top of the table. I have it sitting on top of the bench in front of the harmonium because the bench is actually almost the right height of how high off the floor I want the table. In the instructions on the website, they just have you place the top on a stack of books or a couple of crates and then a skirt is made to cover up what you have it resting on, but I wanted my table to be more sturdy and functional, so Erik is making some legs for my table.

I will be cutting a length of fabric to make a skirt, about 19 inches in width, which will then be attached to the perimeter of the table top, effectively hiding the legs underneath and giving the appearance of a three-dimensional coffin. I will post more pictures when I get to that part of the project!


On the picture on the website, Martha's coffin table has a wreath of white roses and candles on top of it. I decided that my coffin table needed a funeral wreath also. I started with a basic grapevine wreath as my base.
 I had these lovely faux flowers on hand....some of them were red that I spray-painted black.
Using some floral wire and some hot glue, I attached the flowers to the wreath and added some ribbon that I had laying around in the craft closet. I also have some candles that will go in the center. I will post pictures of how it all looks later.

The harmonium in the parlor also had to get "spookified" this year. Some creepy cloth draped over the music stand did the trick nicely, as did the funeral nose-gay tied with black ribbon laid across the keys.


Black was the color of choice for mourning by the Victorians,who had very elaborate etiquette for mourning; but purple was also an acceptable color when the stage of half-mourning was reached.

I made the little 'ribbon' tag on the funeral bouquet using card stock and some Halloween rub-on transfers from my stamping supplies. **Interesting side note: this small alcove in the parlor where we keep the harmonium was probably used at least two or three times for a real funeral. In the 19th century
and well into the early 20th century, the' viewing' as we call it, usually took place in the person's home, not in a funeral parlor and the decedent would be laid out in their coffin at home for several days before the church funeral and burial. During research of our house's history, we learned that one of the original owners of our house, who had it built in 1886-1887, died of consumption in 1900. He probably died in the house, but for certain his funeral was held here in the house, as we saw newspaper accounts of it. So was the funeral of another woman, who died in 1919, and of her husband, who died in 1923. He died in a hospital, but his funeral, as was hers, was held here in our house. More than likely their coffins were on a bier in the alcove.
History is so fascinating!

                               

I also used some of my stamping supplies and another rub-on transfer to dress up this simple white candle, which will be one of two going into the center of the wreath.

This was another craft project using transfers. This time I transfered them onto a small white funkin. This funkin was orange (They were completely out of the white ones in this smaller size!), so I just spray-painted it using Krylon Vanilla.


Thanks for stopping by!

5 comments:

Mariette said...

Dearest Katie,

Wow, with all that history on the house, you HAVE a reason to make the house spooky for this season!
Very interesting reading and one wonders IF those stairs and the entire house could talk... You would be able to fill a book.

Have a great week and I sent you sunny greetings from Georgia,

MariettesBacktoBasics

Eastlake Victorian said...

Katie-

You are so talented to tackle all those do-it-yourself projects. I love the coffin table concept. Your harmonium looks very cool all "spooked" up for Halloween! Also, it's so nice that you have that attic space for storage. Would love to have all that extra room!

Does Olive disturb any of your decorations? I know our cats ruin everything they can get their paws on. :-)

-Pam

Tina Dalgren said...

Bwahahaaahahahaha! Mom is always scolding me, too, for not weating "proper" shoes when going up/down my stairs, too. Especially now with Frankenfoot, she doesn't want me going up and down AT ALL!!

Pam said...

Hope you have your sensible shoes on - that is so cute, but since I've stumbled down my mother's steep steps numerous times, I can understand the warning.

Love the coffin table. And that your husband is making legs for it is too funny. I bet your party is fantastic. Take lots of photos.

victorian parlor II said...

Katie,

It all looks wonderful! You are so creative:).

Blessings,

Kim