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Creative Frenzy

diorama boxes

Ocean Diorama Boxes

Our “BOO-tiful Things” 20% off sale is this Saturday, October 22nd, with my special guest, Leilani Cochran bringing her lovely Chloe + Isabel jewelry. Of course that means I am in a super-creative “GOGOGO” mode, especially with the Artisan Fest coming up at Forest Lawn Baptist Church on November 12th, kicking off the holiday shopping season. Then one more last-minute holiday sale here in my home gallery in December.

The Kukui Lagoon studio is overflowing with projects right now. We’ve got Christmas ornaments (turtles, chickadees, owls, cardinals, bluebirds); Christmas mustache bowls, faux book drawers with vintage style embellishments, and “Daydream” boxes filled with tiny oceans, zen gardens, and koi pond dioramas, along with the colorful painted bowls, zombie balls, tiny signs, and other whatnots!

handpainted christmas ornaments handpainted bird ornaments Bird Ornaments, Turtle Ornaments mustache bowls 1476399617057 steampunk stash boxes 1476672807185 steampunk stash boxes1476818077710
If you’re in the neighborhood of Danville, VA, this weekend, look up Eclectic Dawn Arts on Facebook for the event information and come get 20% off my artworks  – or visit our etsy shop and get 20% off purchases over $15 by using code “20TY15” during checkout!  The new items will be in our online shop next week, and you can use that coupon ANY time!

Next Monday, we’ll announce a NEW CONTEST, so stay tuned!
Eclectic Dawn

10 Cheap and Quick Halloween Decorating Ideas!


halloweenporchCheap and Quick Halloween Decor Ideas

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday for decorating, as it allows for some major weirdness to be expressed. Although there are lots of phenomenal and complicated DIY Halloween decor ideas out there on the ‘net, most folks are looking for quick and easy ideas that anyone with limited time and money could create. I’ve put in my two cent’s worth and alternative ideas, too. Check out the links, as many of the sites have the “how to’s” for the projects. Even without the instructions, most of these are easy enough to figure out on your own. Along with the Halloween ideas, I’ve shared a couple of my newer pieces, and announced our September Art Giveaway contest winner. Now let’s get to decorating!

Involves: cutting out a colony of bats and sticking them to your wall.
Why I like it: super duper simple to pull off, and has visual impact!
Cost: minimal (paper, scissors, tape).
Where I found it: http://www.madeeveryday.com/2010/10/bats.html/

bwporchClassic Black and White
Involves: painting pumpkins black or white, collecting branches, buying fake crows at your local dollar store.
Why I like it: clean and simple, almost elegant in its simplicity. Reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”.
Cost: depends on how pricey pumpkins are in your area. Cheaper alternative:  spray some old plant pots black or white and stand the sticks up in them. Sticks are free. Birds are $1 each. Where I found it: http://www.createcraftlove.com/raven-inspired-halloween-porch/

eyeflowersI’ve Got My Eye On YOU!
Involves: Hot gluing eyeballs into fake flowers. Spray paint some faux foliage and a cheap vase black, and you’ve got a creepy centerpiece that looks back at you.
Why I like it: EASY, and a great effect!
Cost: minimal, as you should be able to get the eyes and foliage from a bargain store or dollar store. A can of black spray paint is a few bucks. A cheap vase (or for a cheaper alternative, wrap a big can with tea-stained cheesecloth for a neat effect). I would definitely fill a vase with more than shown in the photo for more impact. Cheap tip: watch at your thrift stores for old arrangements full of big flowers (you can usually get a good group to disassemble for a couple bucks). Where I found it: http://www.hercampus.com/school/ku/diy-halloween-decorations

headjarHead in a Jar
Involves: putting a mask into a jar of water (for extra creepy factor, put greenish yellow food coloring in the water IF you aren’t worried about ruining the mask).
Why I like it: a great effect with almost NO effort.
Cost: most box stores have a basic “old man” mask that is fairly inexpensive. Your local thrift store should have a few jars (the impact would be even better if there were a small “collection” of these together). Budget version: use mason jars and junk store rubber critters from the toy section. Where I found it: http://howdoesshe.com/halloween-decoration-ideas/

skellybarrowDo a Little Gardening
Involves: throwing some leaves (or dirt) into a wheelbarrow along with some skeleton bones.
Why I like it: this is almost as simple as head in a jar. Move your wheelbarrow to the front yard, throw some leaves into it, and add a skeleton in disarray. Done.
Cost: if you don’t have a wheelbarrow, just pile up some leaves on the ground for the skelly. You can get “bag of bones” or skeletons from Big Lots or other bargain stores, so this is less than $20, usually less than $10 if you find the bones at the right place. Where I found it (AND the next Spider Colony tip): http://decorationlove.com/simple-outdoor-halloween-decorations/

spidersacsSpider Colony
Involves: a ball or water balloon in light colored stockings, attach a bunch of plastic spiders. If you use a water balloon, keep this an OUTDOOR decoration.
Why I like it: ICK. Spiders. In groups. *shivers*
Cost: under $10. A pair of cream-colored tights or nylons is less than $5, and you can get a whole bag of spiders from the dollar store, craft store, or other bargain store from $1 – $4, depending on how many spiders you want in your colony. Where I found it: (see previous link).

spiderdoilySpiders Who Crochet Pretty Webs
Involves: inserting crocheted doilies in a spray painted embroidery hoop, and adding a few plastic spiders, and a wrapped “food source” in the middle of the web.
Why I like it: not everyone likes scary, and this can be gussied up to “pretty”. If you’re more into “creepy cute”, then this is a perfect idea for you!
Cost: reasonable, considering how pretty this looks! Older doilies can be found in thrift stores and new ones are in craft stores, yard sales, and bargain stores. I’ve found embroidery hoops at thrift shops (much cheaper than buying new). Spiders can be found at dollar stores or craft stores. You don’t have to spray paint the hoop – you could darken it with stain for a more Victorian look, and you could add a couple of tiny sparkly buttons or pins around the edges, too. Where I found it: http://www.sadieseasongoods.com/creepy-crawly-crochet-spider-web-doilies

waterballoonsEerie Outdoor Atmosphere
Involves: stockings, glow sticks, water balloons.
Why I like it: atmosphere! Can you imagine walking into a yard full of these? Not only for Halloween, this would be a great idea for almost any summer party.
Cost: stockings, glowsticks, balloons, and more stockings. Big Lots usually has some pretty cheap, or stock up on clearance stockings when you see them during the year. Glowsticks and balloons are at the dollar store. Cost will depend on how many of these you want to put together, but I think that the more you hang, the more magical the effect! Where I found it: on pinterest, with no attribution, but looks like dailydump posted it.

wireghostGhostly Figures
Involves: chicken wire and glow in the dark paint.
Why I like it: lovely, ethereal, and very customize-able. And it looks cool during the day, too!
Cost: chicken wire (or poultry wire) can be found at hardware stores for under $20, but perhaps cheaper at a farm store. Glow in the dark spray paint can be had for under $10, but I’m not seeing great reviews. Alternative: perhaps paint them white and shine a light at the figure, or add some Christmas lights at the base. Where I found it (there’s an explanation of how they did it): http://www.wackyarchives.com/offbeat/easy-do-it-yourself-ghost.html

yardghostsYard Full of Small Ghosts
Involves: styro balls, fabric, rebar.
Why I like it: this sets a scene and tells a story with minimal effort.
Cost: this is probably the most costly on our list. Buy some old sheets at the thrift store, about $3 each. You should be able to get four ghost squares out of a large sheet, depending on how tall you want your ghosts to be. Styro balls are a bit pricey, but you can use them from year to year. Look for a multi pack to save money. Rebar is pretty cheap at your various hardware store. Where I saw it (and they have other cute ideas, too): http://www.listotic.com/16-awesome-homemade-halloween-decorations/9/

And there you have it – my top ten picks for Quick, Cheap, Easy Halloween Decorating Ideas! I hope they inspire you to create a bit of magic for your yard and home this year. I’m sure you’re wondering what have I’ve done for Halloween this year…well, since I am in the midst of prepping for a show, my Halloweenization of our abode has been minimal this year, but still included our skelly on the rusty bike in front of the house (pics next time). I did manage to put together a new door wreath with snakes, black spray paint, cheap purple glitter flowers, spiders, and a little sign. Maybe I should add some eyeballs to the flowers!
A few years ago, I found an amazing, 56″ framed farm print at a thrift store, and I “upcycled” it for Halloween, adding zombies, vultures, a UFO, and various other creepy things. I was so excited to get started, I never took a full “before” photo, but there are sectional “before and after” shots below. It literally takes up almost the entire width of our fireplace mantel, it is so huge.

  dhalloweenwreath d14zombiepainting d3a d2a d1a

And here are a few of the Autumn and Halloween-themed gifts I’ve added to my etsy shop and a very large pumpkin and scarecrow bowl that was a commission for one of my collectors. She always challenges me with fun ideas.
dautumnleavetray dfalltree dotd10kitten6b dotd11dove2b
dpumpkinbowl1 dscarecrowbowl

Contest Winner!

September Giveaway Winner

Congrats, Carol!

Congratulations to CarolSue, who just happened to stumble across our EDA Newsblog during the September contest. She followed the instructions, and won the wineglasses! Another art giveaway contest will start near the end of October, so subscribe to the Newsblog to be notified when it starts! To enter contests: 1) you must be a confirmed subscriber, and 2) leave a relevant comment on any of our Newsblog posts during the contest!** An easy way to possibly win some art! (**Contests are only open to folks with a US mailing address.)

Until next time, keep creating!
Eclectic Dawn

We’re back with more art!



There’s so much life and art stuff to catch up on here, including “thank you’s,” so bear with me! Everything was put on hold after I took JohnnyV to the ER on May 5th. He was bedridden all May, had aortobifem surgery in June, and then recuperated in bed for several weeks after. Some surgeons say this is just about the worst surgery for the body to handle, a 9.5. He is a trooper, for sure, especially after having three surgeries in 2013!

We had some extremely tough days, but we got through it thanks to my Mom, who flew in the day before surgery to help me while John was in the hospital, and my BIL, Tommy, who arrived for the final hospital days and helping us the first week JohnnyV was home! Additionally, my SIL, Nan, sent tons of food with Tommy, and my friend, Colette, brought meals over, which helped when I was too exhausted to cook. Being a caregiver ain’t for sissies!

august, 2016, post-op  2 days after aortobifem surgery 20160612_090438momlo

Neighbors (Fred, Ryan) took turns cutting our grass, friends (especially Andy) hauled heavy things that my back can’t handle, and did errands for us (Bruce & Pat, Dale & Dorsey). We had angels who gifted us above and beyond, and we are very grateful – you know who you are! You sure find out who really cares when you go through a major crisis. When I put out the call that we would have huge medical bills and other expenses, clients almost emptied my etsy shop. 200th item sold
We recently sold our 200th (!!!) item from the EDA shop, and the purchaser of that 200th item got to pick out whatever she wanted, which was a hand-painted henna elephants tray. Congratulations, Nancy B!


beach glass sun catcherBEACH GLASS SUNCATCHERS
I was missing the ocean again, and had a need to touch beach glass. Real beach glass is rather pricey, so I opted for a bag of tumbled glass. I gathered my tools, wire-wrapped the glass, then added bead strands to create sparkly suncatchers, beachy wall hangings. Those undulating branches look like waves! There are ten in my etsy shop, and when these are gone, there will be no more made.
ameth.ex1b  1459868433831311  1625octavia3_tb
Recent bowl subjects: sharks, turtles, flamingos, dots, hearts, finger labyrinths, MidCentury Modern abstracts, pumpkins, peacocks, nebulas, French Bulldogs, puffer fish, seahorses, whales, and octopuses! I keep adding stock to my store, but a lot of times the items are sold on Facebook before I can ever get them into my etsy shop. I am so grateful for my collectors!

peacock feather henna peacock bowl fall leaf bowl pumpkin bowl boston terrier pawprint bowl pumpkin bowlflying swans


Halloween mode begins! For the last few years, I’ve done some sort of DOTD project, including painted skulls and purses. This year: fingurines. Here’s a brief “how-to” if you’d like to make your own (these are in my shop). Step 1: gather thrift store figures. Step 2: scrub and degrease them. Step 3: spray with adhesion promoter. Step 4: spray black. Step 5: draw a few “bone” guidelines with white water-based pencil. Step 6: paint white bones. Step 6: embellish design with other colors. Step 7: wipe away leftover pencil marks. Step 8: spray with clear coat. Step 9: enjoy what you made, or give them as gifts!


Fun work has come across my desk, but the most interesting recent piece was a custom camp sign. The request: “it’s for our bellydance camp, and has to have a hookah and dinosaurs”! Each sign is handpainted (not vinyl lettering), and is designed to your specs, with creativity to bring your idea to life in a colorful way. (Photo: my client and her daughter with the finished sign at a drum and dance camp in Stuart, VA.)


The person who was supposed to sew our camper awning forgot about us, even after I sent material for the valance to her. She didn’t sew it until I emailed her when it didn’t arrive when promised. Then she mixed up ours with another, shipping them to the wrong homes, and I had to deal with the return the day after John had surgery. You think she’d give us a discount or something for the wait and the shipping hassle? Nope. I was disappointed since she’d come highly recommended, but at least the awning looks nice.

Since my bike will be used while we’re camping, I used some of the leftover awning fabric to make a basket liner for my bike. The liner includes a key clip, a phone pocket, and water bottle holder. This was a freebie plain bike, given to me. I peeled off the stickers, pinstriped it, added shiny new bars, white grips, and NOS vintage streamers. Now she’s shiny!

bike pinstriping  bike basket liner  inside basket liner


As of July 9th, Miss Lola has a baby sister! She’s a Chi mix who was in a bad situation and destined for the pound. Puppies are a handful, especially one who had no attention paid to her training needs, but Gigi is smart and focused, and learning quickly. She still needs work on not hassling Lola so much. She fear barks at strangers, but now that she’s had her shots, we hope to try some gentle socializing! Any suggestions to help Gigi over her fear of strangers, please feel free to comment!

THANK YOU so very much for your patience and continued patronage while John was recuperating. It really meant a lot to us, and as a thank you, we’ll be announcing a big contest in early September, so stay tuned! DISCOUNT: use code “20TY15” to get 20% off of purchases over $15 in my shop!

What do you want to read next time? Something artsy, spiritual, a how-to, questions needing answers? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!

Until next time (and beyond),
be kind and patient to each other,
Eclectic Dawn

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