20 Great, Scary and Not So Predictable Books (also a cute DIY) for Halloween.

DSC07705_cfg tit

What are you going to do tonight? Are you going to a party or are you staying? I haven’t been feeling well lately, so I’m probably opting for a terrifying indoor night, with old scary movies (“M”), Halloween TV series episodes (that means a lot of Buffy, Fringe, and that brilliant, unmatched classic that is “Blink” from Doctor Who), popcorn, pumpkin candles and… books!

Since we are still going to start the evening with some friends (a brief happy hour before they go to a nightmarish dinner+party and we come home to our freaking evening), I prepared these super cute mini witch hats.

DSC07710_cfg

Creating them is easy and funny:print this file on a white paper, cut it and use it as a template to draw the shapes on a black paperweight paper. Cut, glue and decor them with what imagination suggests! I made a white bow, a dark feather and an orange flower for my hat, and three feathers and a dark bow for my handsome half (here the tutorials). At the end, just glue the hats to a hairpin, a bobby pin, a clip or a hairband.

Curling in a blanket together and reading scary stories will be also funny with them… Wait, aren’t you gonna read horror stories in the dark tonight? Too bad. Seriously, that’s too bad, because I have a spectacular list for you just after the image!

DSC07688_cfg

20 Great, Scary and Not So Predictable Books for Halloween

1. The turn of the Screw, H. James 

Half-seen figures who glare from old windows, playing a evil hide and seek with two innocent children. Day by day, night by night, the creatures come closer, haunting them, with growing horror of the helpless governess. What else do you need?

2. Dracula, Bram Stoker

Poor Jonathan Harker is being “hosted” in a Transylvanian castle by none other than Count Dracula. The standard for gothic horror, when vampires were charming but real villains, and the macabre plot were terrifying. An incredible classic.

3. Tales, E.A. Poe

Tales of Terror, of Mystery, The fall of the house of Usher… every Poe’s book will do. Murderers, premature burials, madness, haunted houses, terror, suspense, dark landscapes: one of the greatest figures in American literary history, but turn the lights on.

4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, R.L. Stevenson

The shocking story of a good man exploring his dark side. A classic horror tale, extremely well written. Good and evil in a scary short novel.

5. The midnight folk, J. Masefield

One of my favorite books when I was a child. Orphan Kay Harker lives in an old house with lots of portraits of his ancestors. One day, his great-grandpapa steps out of his portrait to take him in a creepy, terrifying and funny world of witches, talking cats and pirates that adults can’t see: things are different in the dark when you are a child.

6. The master and Margarita, M. Bulgakov

This is a real classic, not a horror story… But in this surreal, dark fairy tale we have a scary Satan in Moscow with talking black cats, writers, Pontius Pilate and… of course, Margarita. Fear (and humour) everywhere, so maybe this is the right night to read it, if you are looking for a masterpiece.

7. Rebecca, D. Du Maurier

A (not so) modern Jane Eyre marries the dashing and fabulously rich Maximilian de Winter. But once in his famous estate Manderley, she begins to recognize the large shadow of his dead wife, a lingering evil that threatens to destroy them from the grave. This gothic, thrilling book is also a great Hitchcock movie.

8. Sometimes they come back, S. King

Thing is, I can’t read Stephen King. I’m too scared. So you won’t find here It or other novels, because this is his only adult book I’ve ever read. I can still remember the terror of a child who had stolen the book from her brother’s library and is reading it under the bed because she knows that she shouldn’t read it, and really, reading it under the bed doesn’t help.

9. Something by H.P. Lovecraft

I still haven’t read anything by Mr. Lovecraft, but being he the master of classic gothic tales (and one of my fiancée favorites), I can only apologize and put him in the list, looking forward to the day we will meet.

10. Wuthering Heights, E. Bronte

Are you really prepared for this book or do you think it’s just a darker Jane Austen? Love? Yes, but a mad, haunting and demonic one. A cruel, obsessive and vengeful one, which doesn’t end with death and has no redemption, in the isolation of the windy moor. My goodness.

11. In cold blood, T. Capote

Everyone’s worst fear written in an impartial, intense reconstruction that creates both suspense and empathy: on November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered without apparent motive. Monsters are among us. They look like us. And are we really, really sure that we aren’t as much monsters as they are?

12. The rime of the ancient mariner, S.T. Coleridge

Supernatural in poetry. Timeless.

13. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, T. Burton

This was a gift and I haven’t read it yet. But we should always trust Tim Burton.

14. The Picture of Dorian Gray, O. Wilde

Eternal youth and corruption, where vanity leads to cruelty and sin, and monsters are beautiful outside. You don’t need me to explain Dorian Gray, do you?

15. The princess and the Goblin, G. MacDonald

I’m not sure I’m not partial here, but I read this book when I was very young, and the Goblin really scared me.

16. Pandora, A. Rice

From the author of Interview with the vampire, when vampires didn’t sparkle, you know. A classic of the genre.

17. Guilty Pleasures, L.K. Hamilton

When vampires didn’t sparkle #2, in case you need a contemporary novel.

18. Lois the Witch, E. Gaskell

Gaskell wrote gothic tales indeed, but I was more fascinated by her tragic, historical tale of the Salem witch hunt where witches didn’t exist. Set amongst the American hysterical trials and the Puritan beliefs of the 1600s, this story leaves you struggling with anger and pain.

19. Le più belle leggende del Trentino, G. Borzaga

I don’t think you will ever be able to read this book if you don’t know Italian (it is acually not so easy to find also here, anyway if you want to try, here you are), but every country has a nordic, cold district, where light goes out soon and shadows hide scary worlds. Trentino is an italian mountain region with an incredible mythology, full of creepy legends about cruel elves, ghosts, frightening witches and the devil itself.

20. J.K. Rowling

Is she or isn’t she going to give us a new Harry Potter’s short story today?

DSC07704_cfg

DSC07715_cfg

Last-minute toast

DSC07660_

I talked about my parents recently, and I must say I have actually learned a lot from them: my father teached me integrity, my mother understanding. From both I have learned to share: family means I am happy when you are too, and enjoying what I have means sharing it.

That’s why my house has always been open, and my mother has always been great at creating in five minutes a dinner for six. My brother, who is married and hasn’t been living with us since I was a teenager, still has lunch here twice a week, and my fiancée is sort of another son here.

So… last-minute happy hour: what are you going to do? I didn’t have time to create place cards on my pc, but it took me only three minutes and it turned out nice, I think, considering that my guests were already there and I didn’t have time to use any tool. I would like to make them again, in a more polished version: they look like an elegant ribbon or a paper scroll.

DSC07657_

In the meantime, here is the fast version. You just need to cut some narrow strips of heavyweight paper (I recycled scrap ivory paper): write the names at the center of each strip, and be sure to have enough paper on both sides of the name; then curl them, a little bit with scissors, a little bit with your hands or around a smooth-sided pencil. Now your place cards are ready for your chalices.

DSC07659_

A wedding in Villa Caprera – Part 2

In my last post I was giving you a free wedding invitation inspired by Villa Caprera, describing the beautiful event they hosted and promising new pictures and videos for the second part.

I actually delayed this second post because I was hoping to post the great video the guys are making about their show in Villa Caprera. Since I still don’t have it, I am going to show you a little joke instead. This is a one-minute video I created with some of their materials, but only the wives and girlfriends are present (well, with basically hundreds of people), dancing and partying and having fun.

Of course, I am the one with the jumping ponytail.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Wags in Villa Caprera.

And another lovely picture.

A wedding in Villa Caprera – Part 1 (free invitations for you)

DSC02481_cfg

I met this villa during a lovely event, a green happy hour full of music, photography and art, flea markets and some precious vintage sofas.

DSC02413_

DSC02423_

You can see some bites of the event in this beautiful video. We have been dancing for hours, having a lot of fun. If you like folk rock, Men on the Moon is the band for your party or your wedding, really! An huge amount of dancing here!

 

DSC02433_bw

Villa Caprera also organizes beautiful weddings (I am gonna show you some of their works in another post), so… are you inspired by those mustard and green vintage sofas? I am! And I created an invitation set for you.

DSC02480_cfg


You can download the free version for personal use, if you like it. In case you use it, I’d just like to see the result!   

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cartaforbicigatto/15537190555/

Here is the free version for you. You can ask me a pdf version, or you can send me the text you would like on your invitations: I will send you the file, ready to print! And it’s free!

Wedding invitation - free template

DSC02477_cfg

DIY Lace Garland tutorial

DSC02543_cfg

Do you remember the adorable garland I was in love with in the last post?

 DSC02531_cfg

It is an easy DIY for a wedding: a hand made decoration communicates how much your friends and family mean to you, and how happy you are for their presence in your special day. It is a warm welcome. Now, this is how I made it: you will need white paper, cutter or scissors, a lace punch, a stapler.

Tutorial like this one are all over the web, anyway I’m going to explain it briefly for those who may need it.

1.
Cut some strips from the paper and use the punch on both sides of each strip; with some punches you can overlay multiple sheets of paper – in my case no more than two, for a good result.
2.
Fold each strip in half.
3.
Staple the bottom of each heart with the two ends of a folded strip.
DSC02532_tot

Isn’t it precious? I’m thinking about using it even on the Christmas tree.

DSC02539_cfg

Lace and Grey Wedding

Lace and Grey Wedding_

A lace and grey wedding combines elegance and romance. You can use this theme through the whole wedding, with a charming vintage flavour. Here are some gorgeous ideas I’ve found surfing the net. And, since I really love the combo, a whole set for the lace and grey wedding, with a surprise! First of all the invitations:

DSC02357_cfg

DSC02363_cfg No matter the shade of gray you prefer, the invitations will be extremely classy. The best part is gray is an excellent base for whatever wedding colors you love, to complete the palette you desire. DSC02366_cfg

This style is so simple and unique you can use it also in place and thank you cards, and why not a lovely DIY heart garland for the decorations? I am clearly in love with it.


DSC02531_cfg

Don’t forget the program!

 DSC02524_cfg

 Are you having a lace and grey wedding? Is it time to create a seating chart? This is my piece of advice for you.

lace and grey suggestion_cfg

Fall Wedding Stationery

DSC02300_cfg

House decor is in progress, but I needed some warm autumn colors in my graphics, also.

DSC02279_cfg

The idea of a fall wedding is growing on me: the elegance of the shapes, the palettes, if you know what I mean. I’m also longing for tea moments, and I would love a tea party for my wedding: a great sunroom with hot tea and a huge park outside.

DSC02290_cfg

I love using elements of the actual wedding when it is possible. For example, here I used a picture of the villa in which the wedding is going to be celebrated. For Nicola and Luisa’s wedding I put on the cover of their programs a stunning watercolor of the chapel. Personalizing your stationery is another way to make your celebration stand out, unforgettable.

DSC02293_cfg2

DSC02283_cfg2


“A Wonderland Birthday” printables #3

A Wonderland Birthday printables Another Wonderland printable: you can find the first and the second one here and here.

Today, we are going to have the clocks you’ve seen in the pic I posted with the garland.

clock blue copy_cfg
clock pink copy_cfg

clock yel copy_cfg

Autumn Craft and books

DSC02207___cfg copy

Do you ever divide your books according to seasons? For example, I believe that some American authors are more suitable for hot, sunny days (Hemingway, Fante, Steinbeck, Faulkner…) while English authors (Forster, Waugh, and James because I do put James among British writers) are often suitable for gloomy days and a cup of tea. But not Dickens: Dickens is, in fact, a writer for winter, like the majority of Russians (Tolstoj, Dostoevskij, Cechov, Bulgakov).

So now that Autumn is here, I will pull out all those books that I did not feel to read without some cold, a blanket over my knees, a cat, a cup of tea.

DSC02225_cfg

I’m also wearing warm colors. Well, me and the house. Deep red, warm brown, orange, yellow.

DSC02223_cfg

Do you like the candles? They were an old present from a friend, not so charming, with sad labels. I covered them with some heavy paper, and then again with an elegant, calligraphy wrapping paper. A little twine or raffia bow, and here you are two refined, tasteful candles for the fall.

DSC02217_

I then used orange and ribbed paper for a couple of paper flowers, and the calligraphy paper for the leaves.

DSC02221_

So, which are my “cold season” books this year? Of course Dickens, Tolstoj and Dostoevskij. I’m thinking of War and Peace, Bleak House, maybe some Latin philosophers, Franzen and a biography. Oh, and I am also reading this one.