Saturday, August 28, 2010

Halloween, Part Two

All seven of our display windows were taped with giant cobweb patterns.

Day three has ended of our and Halloween Masquerade and Art Show. Another great crowd today and what wonderful weather we had!

As I zipped around the store shooting more pictures to share, I was pleasantly amazed at all that has sold already. I am equally thrilled this allows me to reorder more for you. After all, we do have two more months until Halloween!

Take another look around as I have added a few home decor ideas.

From the window above: I downloaded a few cobweb illustrations and used them as a rough guideline. I also bought 1/2" gaffers tape here. Gaffers tape is used in the film industry and will not leave any sticky residue on your windows (like duct tape) or dry from the sun (like masking tape).But masking tape would be a much cheaper alternative. A very sharp X-Acto blade and knife are highly recommended.

Large and small feather owls perch upon a 6' glitter tree.

Three samples of our elaborate masks shown above with our sparkling black and white
candle holders, an ornate iron mirror, antique wedding cake chandelier
and tiny picado paper garland.

Clock prop, giant silver candelabra and the pair of paper
slippers are from our artist Lesa Dailey.

Our black and white festival papers are one of my favorite items. I could keep these up
all year long. Cut them apart and use small sections on a mantle,
hang as a valance or under a glass top table.

Our giant garden statuary tip-toes through our forest of black bottle brush trees.
A hand crochet mask from artist Julie Reed. Tiny top hat headband
are for sale in the store.

Any old chandelier can become dramatic when you add a dozen feather ravens.

Shot by Carol Spinski

Getting freaky in the kitchen: stainless skull place card holders,
serving tray, pot holders, mugs and more...

More Springheads

Greg Johnson replenished his alien button portraits.

And not to forget the jewelry department, we have some great owl necklaces too.

Shot by my friend Carol Spinski

Popular blogger Artsy Mama interviewed me a month ago about how we plan our Halloween displays. You can read it here.

Believe it or not, many more images to come over the next month. Please stop in!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Halloween 2010

Marie Antoinette meets Alfred Hitchcock; so is the theme of our Halloween Masquerade.

The calendar may still say August, but there isn't anyone in Kansas City who isn't ready for cooler weather. Teasing customers that Fall is just around the corner is what we do best. This past week, from top to bottom, inside and out, the staff at Curious Sofa transformed our summer remains into a Halloween Masquerade illusion.

The list of what we do to prepare for such a makeover might be more than you have time to read about here, so I will condense the boxes of unpacking, endless note taking and cuts and bruises to sharing only the carefully orchestrated details.

Last January while searching for unique products I discovered a wonderful line of black lace curtain panels, valances, and runners. I knew they were special enough for me to build my Halloween season around, so everything else I purchased was to compliment them. Now black lace can go in only so many directions and because this was my fourth year to really do up Halloween in the shop, I had pretty much covered all the possibilities. We've done the antique thing, the haunted thing, Gothic rock 'n roll and a little creepy. What was left? Something a little more elegant.

In April I discovered an artist on Etsy who made incredible handmade masks. I had asked her if we could sell them in the store come September but over time the notion I would really sell $150 masks was pretty slim. So I did what only a creative Midwest retailer would do during a tough economy: I went for the store bought $19.95 version! So with black lace and ornate masks under my belt, my next inspiration came from the most unlikely place: Amadeus.

I can't remember now if I was flipping channels or surfing the web but the image of the masquerade scene from the movie Amadeus came to mind- and off I went in every possible direction.

Trying to create a retail wow while sticking to a budget can be tough but I am notorious for being resourceful where I can be and not so thrifty when I have to. My list of ideas went something like this: black lace, masks, and feathers which lead to Marie Antoinette, white wigs, and gloves, which lead to crystal chandeliers, candelabras and black candles with dripping wax; which then lead to the opera, musical instruments and sheet music which took me to leather furniture, old books, chalk busts, you get the idea. This is how I think.

The entrance to the store was always first and foremost in my mind. Finding the chalk busts was a bit daunting but eventually they reared their lovely heads. I bought a few wigs for the larger busts and had fun piling them one on top of another and tying them with white string for some extra funkiness. Dana was the chosen one to cluster all our crystal chandeliers and I scored the fabulous church windows at the last minute. We also have masks, masks and more masks of every shape and size too.

Antiques, crows, owls, spiders and crystal candlesticks were stock plied in the back room along with tubs of all things black and white. I passed over a ton of typical Halloween merchandise that is always available to stores like mine. You know the kind: pumpkin people with striped stockings, witches flying high with one tooth and a wart, scare crows that are well, scary. When I have a theme in mind I am hell-bent on sticking to it. I do have to bend the rules once in awhile just to supply our customer base, but I still try to give any traditional item a Curious Sofa spin.

One of the many styles of black lace adornments we have.

Speaking of, a few years ago I invited our local artists to bring their goods to sell along with our Halloween Premiere and it was such a hit, it has become an annual invitation. On Thursday, I was so busy getting things ready, I didn't have much time to review the work they were setting up. But then I get a tap on my shoulder and artist Greg Johnson shoved this in my face and I nearly DIED!

SICK and BRILLIANT art by Greg Johnson. He sold out that night.

Something tells me the average household with three kids will be buying these.

One of the many projects we rigged for the event: Vintage bisque doll heads mounted to
old bed springs and doll parts added to wooden dowels. Nothing like art on a stick.

When something is not selling, you change it: A silhouette I made to paint on
an armoire door. Also, the sisal skunks were a crowd favorite.

Would you believe this piano was almost trash! Another happy
accident just in time for the event.

Mercury lab bottles with poisonous graphics.

A final touch: I made witches hats, glitter masks and new sashes to
our awning of beauty contestants. (Yes, actual cities!)

The Art Show ends Sunday at 5:00
but our Halloween festivities continue through October 25.

Part Two of Halloween pics later this weekend.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better Homes & Gardens Halloween Magazine

Last year, after our Halloween season was nearly over, I received a call from Ann Blevins, the editor of Special Publications at Better Homes & Gardens. She had seen my blog post from our 2009 Open House and wanted to shoot some pictures for their 2010 Halloween Tricks & Treats Issue. I was happy about getting press but sad that nearly all of our best Halloween items had been sold by the time she made the call. I told her she was two months late. In fact, we shot these images just days before our Christmas Open House!

Because we were going to tear this all down in a matter of days, Ann and her team couldn't make it to KC soon enough so she allowed me to style and art direct the shoot without them. (Of course I was thrilled by this!) I scrambled fast planning some vignettes that were photo worthy, ordered some replacement items that I needed and off I went trying to make something out of nothing with the help of my friend, local photographer, Bob Greenspan.

Download the image here. Buy the iron on transfer paper here.

Many of you saw these items last year so just pretend they are new to you. I cannot WAIT to show you the pictures from this years Halloween Masquerade. I think you're going to like it. It will be completely different than this!

I had seen a PDF file of this spread months ago when they asked me to look it over but I did not recall the fabulous graphic design details they added to this story. You just never know what an art director is going to do to your pictures; how they crop them, the fonts they'll use or the color of backgrounds and borders. I was thrilled with this and thought the touches they added were a prefect fit!

Look for this cover on newsstands until November 2. (I found mine at Walgreen!).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meet the Artists

Original work from Tag-Team Tompkins

True to form, our Halloween artists have been working non-stop preparing wonderful originals for you to purchase this weekend. Many of you have become fans with them through the years at Curious Sofa and we're excited to have them all back. Take a look at just one or two items they will be bringing (from their dozens of products!)

Shadowboxes from Greg Johnson

Paper Sculpture from Michelle Spaw

Collage Figures from Lesa Dailey

Ribbon Pins with Vintage Buttons from Julie Reed

Hand Knit Devilish Horns from Julie Reed

Embellished Masks, Calligraphy and Hand cut Silhouettes from Diane & Madeline Tompkins

Artists Reception
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 5 - 8 p.m.

The show continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

to prepare, until 5:00 p.m.