Salem-Inspired Spooky Tablescape

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Every fall, like many New Englanders, my family and I make a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts. With its haunting history and one-of-a-kind characters roaming the streets (hey, Laurie Cabot!), Salem is a place like no other. So when it came time for me to plan a bewitching tablescape for an upcoming Halloween party, I thought about those cobbled streets and crumbling tombstones and channeled that mood into a dining table display.

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My first thoughts were that I wanted something just a little bit grim, but also very natural. As we all know, squash and pumpkins are obvious decor for the Halloween season so I was keen to find a faux pumpkin I could fix up to fit my somber setting. This cute little ceramic pumpkin perfectly fit the bill. There were actually several options at Goodwill that day that would have worked, but I went with this one because I liked its shape the best. Plus, the little lid lifts off so you can stash candy inside!

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The other thing I knew I wanted was a moon phase table runner. Maybe more than anything else, this really highlights the witchy vibe I get when visiting Salem. So the next stop on my Goodwill trip was, of course, the fabric section. The muslin fabric I found was only $2 for several yards! The simplicity of the cloth seemed ideal for the look I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with the way it took the fabric paint. Both of these projects are some of the easiest I’ve ever done, but they still make quite a statement! Here’s how you can make your own:

– TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN –

Materials:

  • Thrifted faux pumpkin
  • Spray paint in your color of choice
  • Adhesive letters
  • Washi tape
  • Drop cloth or similar
  • Soft tape measure (used for sewing)
  • Paint pen (optional)

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Step 1: Clean. Paint won’t stick well to a dirty surface, so wash your pumpkin with the correct method for the material it is made of. Mine was marked “dishwasher safe” on the bottom so I got to take the easy way out. For plastic pumpkins or something more delicate, you may need to wash it by hand or even just wipe it clean with alcohol wipes.

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Step 2: Paint! Take your pumpkin outside or to a well-ventilated area. With a drop cloth or newspaper beneath it to protect the surrounding space, paint the pumpkin according to the instructions on your paint. Lids can be a little difficult since you’ll probably want to paint the bottom edge if it’s still visible when the lid is on. I found that this trick with the empty water bottle (I cut off the top) worked really well. You could also paint the lid then flip it over and paint underneath. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to eat treats that have touched spray paint, so if you do paint any part of the inside you’ll probably want to use the jar only for wrapped candy.

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Step 3: Add text. After the paint has fully dried, choose your phrase and find the right layout. Use washi tape and your soft tape measure to plan where each letter will go. I cut my washi tape to the width of the text lines so I could justify the lettering then, starting at the top, pressed it lightly onto the pumpkin in a straight line to make sure my words didn’t get stuck on unevenly. Once the first line of text was in place, I peeled up the tape and moved it down for the next line. Since there’s no punctuation in the sticker pack I got, I used a paint pen to add the period.

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And that’s it for the pumpkin! Now, let’s figure out this table runner, shall we?

 

– TO MAKE THE RUNNER –

Materials

– Thrifted fabric

– Fabric paint

– Poster board, cardstock, or contact paper

– Yard stick or tape measure

– Marking tool

– Exacto knife

– Coarse paintbrush

– Scissors

– Painter’s tape (if using poster board or card stock)

– Something round to trace like a plate or lid

– Scrap cardboard

 

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Step 1: Wash your fabric. If it’s safe for the dryer, you’ll want to do that first, too, to get any shrinking out of the way.

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Step 2: Measure, mark, and cut the fabric. Lay it flat and choose the size and shape you want for your runner. Before you do this, decide whether you’d like to add any seam allowance. I left my edges raw because I wanted an aged and almost primitive look to my design. But, to make it last longer and look more crisp, you might choose to finish the edges.

 

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Step 3: Cut the fabric. I cut out notches on each end of the runner just for fun. To do this, I measured up a few inches from the end and found the center of the runner at that point. I made a little mark then used my straight edge to draw a line connecting each corner to that center mark, thus creating a triangle. Snip away the triangle from there and you’re good!

 

Step 4: Finish the edges (optional). If you’re planning to sew your edges, now’s the time. You could also finish them with Fray Check if you want to prevent fraying and still skip the sewing.

 

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Step 5: Create your stencils. If you’re using cardstock, plan for one moon on each page. If you’re using poster board or contact paper, you might want to create a little grid with evenly-spaced moons so you can move the phases around to play with the spacing between each once it’s laid out on the runner.

 

Step 6: Trace the full moon and two other phases onto the paper. The full moon is obviously just tracing once all the way around your circle. For the other two, trace most of the way around the moon then slide the plate/lid over slightly to one side and trace again on the same edge of the lid to connect the moon’s two points.

 

Step 7: Cut out the first three phases. With cardboard behind each phase, use the exacto knife to cut and extract the centers of each stencil.

 

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Step 8: Flip the two crescent phases and trace them on paper to create the last two stencil pieces. Cut these out.

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Step 9: Find the right placement of each phase on your runner and tape or pin them down. Place scrap cardboard behind each phase so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the work surface below.

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Step 10: Paint each phase! Use your paintbrush to dab paint onto the runner within each phase’s stencil. Make sure you’re dabbing straight down not brushing the paint on so it doesn’t leak under the paper. After you’re done, carefully remove the stencils and wait the appropriate dry time before using.

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Now your crafting is complete! If you shopped for Halloween supplies in our stores, then you have already joined Goodwill in giving back to your community. Of all the things on this table (besides the food, napkins, and paper plates), there are only three items on that aren’t thrifted. The silver serving tray was purchased during my most recent trip, specifically for this tablescape, alongside the fabric and pumpkin. The rest of the items have been collected in my visits over the last decade. That’s a whole lot of assistance I’ve contributed to my local community!

 

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While you’re out thrifting don’t forget candles! I always grab candles when I see them at Goodwill. They’re smart to have on hand for power outages plus they make the spookiest lighting you can imagine for a Halloween party. Oh, and they’re lovely during the holiday season as well. Am I getting a little ahead of myself? Sorry! I can’t help it. After all, you know what comes after Halloween… Until then, happy crafting, my thrifty friends!

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Goodwill = Your Halloween Headquarters

By Marlene Prowant, Retail District Managergoodwill-3

I‘m really excited about our new selection of Halloween merchandise we recently stocked in all of our retail locations! New this year is 70s-era merchandise. We’ve got everything to transform you back in time … from peace-loving hippies to disco queens.

We also have makeup and face art, hats, wigs, capes, tutus, tiaras, fangs, masks, glasses, colored hair spray,  and more … to help create or complete any costume you desire!

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If you need help in selecting your costume, we have staff that can help you create a one-of-a-kind costume or you can select from our new costumes starting at $9.95 or we have a large selection of donated costumes for $3.99 and up. From the scary to the cute, we can help with all of your costume needs.

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We also have your decorating needs covered. We have tableware to home décor to prepare for those Halloween parties. Something new this year is window decorating kits from Wow Windows. These easy to install window posters are back-lit using the lighting from your inside lights.  An easy, fun way to transform your home and “wow” your neighbors and trick or treaters.

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If you are looking to add creativity to your baking this Halloween season we have Wilton baking supplies and treat bags. While shopping, do not forget about pumpkin carving; we having carving kits starting at $1.95.

Come shop Goodwill Halloween Headquarters this year, we are ready to assist you at all of our 16 locations!  Shop early for the best selections.

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Don’t forget to add your costume creation to our Facebook page for your chance to win great prizes! For complete details see our event page.

A DIY wedding fit for a princess

By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing & Events Coordinator

ME

M

att and Radha met on Halloween in 2013. Radha was dressed as Sarah from the movie “The Labyrinth” in a full-length wedding dress, train and all, that she purchased for $30 at Goodwill.

The following Halloween the couple got engaged. This time dressed as Princess Buttercup and Westley from the movie “The Princess Bride.” There fairy tale didn’t stop their, the movie would actually become the theme of their wedding!

The couple chose to DIY (do it yourself) almost everything for their wedding for two main reasons:

Save money

According to wedding planning website The Knot, the average cost of a wedding last year reached a national all time high of $31,213! And that didn’t include the honeymoon! The couple just wanted to celebrate their love for one another without all the debt.

To help to keep costs down, Matt and Radha DIYed as much as possible. They shopped at each Goodwill West Michigan store, looking for unique items, like candle holders and candles to help make their reception uniquely beautiful.

Radha created the invitation, from a hand drawn picture, that was printed with black ink on iridescent card stock. The most expensive piece was the stamps to mail the invitations.

The couple also created their own music playlist for the wedding, saving thousands of dollars in DJ fees and delegating the DJ responsibility to one of their siblings.

Gifts for attendants aren’t always necessary but the couple thought chocolate covered peanuts would be the perfect way of saying “thank you.” They purchased the candy in bulk and bagged it themselves (with the help of their family and friends.) “Anybody want a peanut?” ( Another reference to the movie.)

One of a kind

Matt and Radha are both very creative people, who love knitting, sewing, and crafting. When they got engaged and began planning a wedding they couldn’t imagine someone else creating their special day. They knew it had to be DIY.

According to RuffledBlog.com “This three letter code for putting your own stamp on your wedding day goes beyond just doing-it-yourself. Handcrafted details add warmth, history and thoughtfulness to an event in a way that no store bought item can.”

The centerpieces were one of a kind, and incorporated their theme of the “Princess Bride.” There were 50 mini milk bottles that they found at our Grand Haven Goodwill store.

They decorated the bottles with ribbon  and adorned them with wildflowers. Most of the bottles also had a small vile of powdered sugar attached that resembled the ‘Iocaine Powder’ from the movie; …“it’s odorless, tasteless and highly soluble,” used by the hero Westley in his ‘battle of wits to the death’ with Vizzini.

The bride’s sister also provided her with 40 mason jars that were filled with water peals and led lights to decorate the tables.

The groom created the boutonnieres, and corsages out of silk flowers that they found from multiple Goodwill’s. The bride used the same flowers to craft her flower crown.

They had a guest book, made out of canvas that was decorated with leaves made of card stock and fabric. The leaves were cut out by hand and placed to resemble the branches of a tree.

But best of all, the bride wore the same $30 Goodwill dress she wore when she met her now husband on Halloween in 2013. Radha did all of the alterations on the wedding dress, including removing the train and the poofy sleeves, creating her perfect dress for the ball.

The most delicious part of their story was their wedding cake! The bride and groom both love to bake so they decided to use that love to make their wedding cake. It was a three-tier champagne cake with blackberry filling. Since the guest list was quite extensive they purchased a few sheet cakes for their guests to enjoy.

Their one suggestion: Ask for help.

There as one thing that Matt and Radha didn’t take on, and that was their photography. They were lucky enough to find an local photographer who captured their personalities perfectly. “Having a professional photographer was the best decision we ever made!” said Matt Kaminski. It allowed them to enjoy their special evening without having to worry.

The other important piece to the wedding was the food. The groom’s mother took on all of the catering and even helped serenade the bride and groom during their first dance, accompanied by the groom’s step father and the bride’s mother.

“We can’t say thank you enough!” said Radha, “Our friends and family were so much help in the planning and organizing of our wedding day!”

Each and every person that celebrated with the couple made the day special. The bride was given the gift of having her hair and makeup done for her special day by her sister-in-law. “The whole day was a celebration and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!” said Radha.

”DIY allowed us to make memories with the people we love, add meaning to the things that were special to us and leave out what wasn’t,” said Radha Kaminski. “We will cherish those memories and are so thankful for all the help we received.”

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Get inspired!

Matt and Radha’s story proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to have the wedding of your dreams. If you have a wedding (or party) to plan, visit Goodwill for one of a kind finds!

For more ideas and inspiration, visit our Pinterest board and stay up to date with all things Goodwill West Michigan on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Fall for Goodwill

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … and nope, I’m not talking about Christmas.

Fall is an exciting and busy time for our Goodwill stores. Kids are back at school (and need new clothes), cooler temperatures creep in (think warm sweaters and coats), and best of all Halloween is on the horizon (cool costumes!)

This year we’ve expanded our offering of new Halloween costumes. I think you will be pleased at the quality and selection we have for you, as well as our deep discount prices. We’ve also stocked up on accessories such as hats, wigs, fangs, face paint, and more.

For the more creative types, Goodwill stores are a treasure trove of materials you need to put together a great one-of-a-kind costume. Be a pirate, a cowboy, a zombie, a princess, a cartoon character, or maybe a celebrity or sports hero. The possibilities are endless!

If you need more inspiration, check out our Halloween Pinterest board. We’ve gathered some great DIY costume ideas as well as Halloween décor and food ideas.

Once you create your costume, don’t forget to take a photo and enter our Costume Challenge on Facebook. Entries are accepted Sept. 30 through Oct. 19. Winner receives six passes to Double JJ Indoor Waterpark for a great family getaway!

Also, in case you haven’t heard, we opened a new store in Coopersville in August! Check out all 16 of our store locations and fall in love with Goodwill this fall!

Think Goodwill this Halloween

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

Hi, I’m Jim Cherney. Although I’ve retired my cape this year (see last year’s embarrassing video below), I am nonetheless filled with the Halloween spirit, and here to tell you about all of the great Halloween offerings we have at Goodwill.

In addition to the wealth of donated clothing and donated costumes to choose from, we’ve stocked our shelves with new, packaged, ready-made costumes – for both kids and adults. These amazing, high-quality costumes (the same ones you will find at for-profit retailers priced much higher) are offered to you at bargain prices. We’ve also got wonderful accessory items, such as wigs, hats, and more … again, at great prices.

If this obvious benefit of Cost Savings, isn’t enough for you, here are six more reasons to shop Goodwill this Halloween:

Uniqueness: When you create your costume from Goodwill’s donated items, the result is a unique, one-of-a-kind costume. All you need is a little imagination! And our helpful store staff loves to assist customers with their costume ideas.

Creative Outlet: Exercising your creativity muscle can be good for your emotional health. And you don’t need to be a gifted seamstress or artist to create something great.

Connect with Your Kids: Creating costumes can be a fun, family activity. Take a trip to Goodwill with your kids. See what you find, brainstorm ideas together, and have a great time! It’s an excellent opportunity to foster their imaginations.

Good for the Environment: Shopping at Goodwill at anytime is a “green” thing to do. Reusing and repurposing donated items extends the life of items diverting its destination to the landfill.

Helping a Good Cause: In case you didn’t already know it, over 90% of the revenue generated at Goodwill’s retail locations goes back into our mission of helping people find jobs for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Win Six passes to Double JJ Indoor Waterpark: Once you create your costume, take a photo and enter our costume contest on Facebook. Entries are accepted through October 20. Need ideas?? Check out our great costume ideas on our Pinterest board.

The marketing department put me up to this! (Note this year’s prize is six passes to Double JJ Indoor Waterpark.)