Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Hallowe'en Dinner

So this evening we had the big family dinner, as one does on any proper holiday.  We opted for Victorian red and black for the colours of the evening, purple lights overhead and dishes like Guinness roast, black rice with mushrooms, pasta in Hallowe'en shapes with a deep red, spicy red sauce and gourmet sausages. An assortment of pumpkin and red velvet treats served as dessert with a rich French Roast coffee and spiced cider.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Dressform and Coatrack

I realize I have said other ideas are easy. Well, this one is, too, especially for
anyone who has a coatrack (or tree) standing around somewhere collecting dust. Those
with dressforms seldom allow them to collect dust, and I will bet they already
understand the spooky, haunted Victorianesque home theme forming here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Frame Up

This was meant to be last evening's post, but due to a few technical issues, I am
posting tonight. And my apologies for the cornball title that sounded a bit too much
like an old gangster film line. It is just so difficult to come up with a witty
reference to old picture frames. Although I'm certain at least a few of you will
immediately come up with a dozen or more phrases FAR better than mine. Or one will
occur to me as soon as I post. But I digress.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Lattices

I know, I know. It took me long enough to get to this topic. Fortunately, it does not
take much time or financial investment, but yields probably one of THE best reusable
and versatile items of haunting Victorianesque decor one can add to their collection.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Indoor Autumn Gardening

I have really been looking forward to writing this piece for a number of reasons. The
first being that while most see Autumn as the time of harvest and putting the garden
to rest, the Victorians had some of the best approaches to maintaining a garden year
round. Even though greenhouses have been around since long before the Victorians, one
of my favourite images of grand Victorian homes includes the ornate skeletal
framework and glasswork of their sanctuaries for all things green and flowering
during the coldest months.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Literary Decor

This one probably goes without saying. However, that would make for a very short,
very boring post. Mind you, I am not referring to just having a few of the old scary
classics about. I am referring to books as a display, and with just a little
wordplay, imagination and a half-decent printer or brown marker, a very personalized,
haunted book display. Now that I think about it, this is so deceptively simple, it
may still wind up a very short post. Or shorter than most of my incredibly verbose

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Home Apothecary

This is probably one of the easiest and most popular ideas out there for Hallowe'en
decorating with a Victorian flair: The home apothecary. Nothing says "Victorianesque
Hallowe'en" without some apothecary jars in all sizes, a few posters or banners, and
a collection of oddly coloured liquids, or dried "goodies".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Wicker

Very few things are as Victorian as wicker furniture. And very few styles of furniture
are as unappreciated in this day and age as wicker. I am constantly seeing unloved,
abandoned wicker side tables sitting, slightly tattered in thrift shops and ignored
on front porches. The demand for more durable furniture has led to the creation of
patio furniture woven from strips of vinyl, which, ironically, dry-rots and falls
apart as well.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Old Houses and Amateur Photographers

What adds to the ambiance of a haunted Victorian home more than pictures of other
possibly-haunted Victorian homes? And if you have ever been to any historic home or
hotel that is reputed to be haunted, I am sure you've noticed old sepia photos of
those places back in their heyday, hanging somewhere in the lobby with a short
historic blurb on a plaquard just below, or in a small side room with other mementos
of "back in the day." The same concept applies here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Paint It Black

Now that the Rolling Stones have had their song title stolen, I'll explain why (and fight the urge to run pick up paint for my front door, which quite honestly..needs it).  But I'm not necessarily discussing painting doors. You can, however, paint all sorts of things black for this holiday. So let's do...

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Aging (The Indoors) Gracefully

As many know, the Victorians loved decorating with very nature-based themes.
Wallpapers were designed with curling leaf-like swirls, images of urns and cabbage
roses, all inspired by the desire to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside. Large
homes had solariums and green houses that assisted aspiring gardeners with a safe
haven for more tropical plants as well as providing them a green sanctuary during
colder winter months.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Homage

Now it's time to get a bit personal. What I refer to as an "homage" (pronounced: "o-
maj" with a soft "j", meaning: "Special honor or respect shown or expressed
publicly") is the creative act of taking the opportunity to make use of the energies
and origins of this season, and particularly the holiday to pay respects to our
dearly departed.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Costume Ideas

There is a lot more to Victorian Hallowe'en costumes than tossing on a bustle skirt
and corset or top hat and tails. While in and of themselves, these are great ideas
for costumes this time of year, this is also an opportunity to use some imagination
and make your Victorianesque costume far more personal and unique from all the other
large garden party hats, small boaters, top hats, long skirts, long coats and walking

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Silhouettes

(Photo credit: Country Living Magazine)

Now to a fabulous topic that is actually quite inexpensive and you can personalize it
ANY way you wish. Silhouettes. Silhouettes as forms of personalized artforms,
memorializing loved ones in black on white actually predate the Victorian Era,
however, they have never really lost their popularity and add a brilliant touch to
any Victorian home. In this post I will discuss the use of silhouettes as wall art,
window and mirror art, and provide a link to an amazing artist who has created his
unique form of mildly (by my standards) macabre and gleefully homicidal silhouettes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Spooky Chic

"Spooky Chic".. I wish I'd coined this phrase, but sadly, I did not. On the incredibly "up" side, this wonderfully fun style is to be found everywhere and you can even do it yourself.
"Spooky chic" is a great spin on "shabby chic", the phrase used to describe upcycled
and repurposed furniture and other decorative goodies. When one is looking at shabby
chic decor, the first thing that often springs to mind are bits of old furniture it
pastel or white tones with a worn finish. The idea is that the pieces have been saved
and rather than completely refinished, their worn, aged look adds to their charm and
gives their surroundings a certain homey warmth.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: String lights

Definitely NOT just for Christmas and Winter holidays anymore, string lights in their
myriad colours and blinking configurations have become a mainstay year round for
everything from Mardi Gras and garden lighting to our favourite, Hallowe'en. However, they are not just for stringing along the edges of eaves or the trim of a back patio.
So let us get into many of the fun ways you can use blinking and non-blinking lights
of different hues to set the tone for your haunted Victorianesque home without a huge
investment as most home improvement stores are now stocking up on all manner of
colours, lengths and styles at discounts in preparation for the holiday season.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Music

First off, allow me to begin with an apology. Due to system issues, I was unable to post yesterday's piece. So here it is:
As we all know, a huge part of Hallowe'en is the music. Every good holiday and celebration deserves a soundtrack. There are many different approaches to, and reasons for, good music. Just as there are many different types of music we all enjoy this time of year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: All Hallow's Tree

Considering we are going for Victorian-"esque" rather than straight historically Victorian themes for our Hallowe'en, we are most assuredly allowed a wide swath of artistic license. In this case, we will borrow from one of the most well-known images of the Holiday Season, the Christmas Tree. However, we are going to borrow the usual corner of the Christmas-celebrant's house for this less-fluffy, and in my opinion, more striking, aesthetically pleasing reminder of those sentinels of the end of Autumn, the barren tree.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Fabrics

Now we get into a topic that really does have infinite possibilities and does not
have to break the bank. One of the most iconic symbols of Victorian decor is its
fabrics and their patterns. As wallpaper, room dividers, window treatments, draft
excluding bed decor and table coverings, fabrics in rich colours, detailed
ornamentation and flowing textures define much of what is seen as Victorian.
Plainer fabrics such as muslins and linens also play a huge part in depicting the
crisp, white, immaculate standards of "better" Victorian households. They also play a
huge role in defining our somewhat-romanticized, yet wonderfully decayed
Victorianesque Haunted Home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Season for Compassion, Not Drama

The inspiration for this topic is incredibly well-timed. We are now through the door
into the Holiday Season. This is the time of year when emotions run higher than most
other times of the year, when self-imposed expectations become unreasonably and
impossibly high and when the line between drama and someone truly needing a moment of compassion from friends and relatives becomes annoyingly obscured.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Old Silver and Candlesticks

Part of the charm of a Victorianesque Hallowe'en is collecting all the little
trinkets that will help set the mood. Before the use of spider webs and eerie
lighting, it is necessary to have the objects to wrap them around or upon which to
cast them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: An Introduction

Happy October 1st!

I figured that as we get started on designing a Victorianesque Hallowe'en, it would
be helpful to outline a few things. Hopefully, that will make it easier for anyone
embarking on this lovely, spooky adventure to achieve the dark Victorian affect in
their own unique way, rather than being frustrated by not "matching the photo".