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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

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Glitter & Bones

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For Halloween this year, I headed to the Craft Department where Hannah Milman taught me some easy tips for glittering objects to decorate with. I've accumulated an assortment of faux skulls and bones that I want to coat in a shimmering hue for Halloween arrangements. The transformation from dull gray to a wonderful, tinseled autumnal brown was not only fun, but also informative. Check out these pictures of my process!

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The sparkly skulls are from last year's decorations; I'm recycling and I want them (plus some additional skulls and bones) to have a fresh look!

1 The sparkly skulls are from last year's decorations; I'm recycling and I want them (plus some additional skulls and bones) to have a fresh look!

Those boards with pins sticking up are designed by Crafts to rest a glittered piece on while it dries. This is especially important when coating all sides of an object with glue and glitter.

2 Those boards with pins sticking up are designed by Crafts to rest a glittered piece on while it dries. This is especially important when coating all sides of an object with glue and glitter.

My office is right next to the Craft Department, so I was thrilled for an opportunity to rummage through their supplies!

3 My office is right next to the Craft Department, so I was thrilled for an opportunity to rummage through their supplies!

This gorgeous Antique Silver glitter was a contestant for my skull and bones project.

4 This gorgeous Antique Silver glitter was a contestant for my skull and bones project.

Until I found this tinsel-cut Brownstone hue; how warm and luscious is this color?

5 Until I found this tinsel-cut Brownstone hue; how warm and luscious is this color?

The first line of Martha Stewart glitters were all shades of stone; the neutral hues are so fun and sophisticated.

6 The first line of Martha Stewart glitters were all shades of stone; the neutral hues are so fun and sophisticated.

Testing out glitter! I just loved this tinsel variety. The Craft Department also designed these pans to catch [most of] the glitter that doesn't stick to the glue.

7 Testing out glitter! I just loved this tinsel variety. The Craft Department also designed these pans to catch [most of] the glitter that doesn't stick to the glue.

The Antique Silver color is on the right, but it almost felt like a repeat of last year. The coppery Brownstone is glamorous and unique.

8 The Antique Silver color is on the right, but it almost felt like a repeat of last year. The coppery Brownstone is glamorous and unique.

A lesson in painting glue on a skull; I'm new to this and there's definitely a technique!

9 A lesson in painting glue on a skull; I'm new to this and there's definitely a technique!

Shake, shake, shake! The key is to keep the glue evenly coated and not too goopy, so that it dries well with the glitter on it.

10 Shake, shake, shake! The key is to keep the glue evenly coated and not too goopy, so that it dries well with the glitter on it.

My turn! The first section is a success. We love the look of the tinsel glitter.

11 My turn! The first section is a success. We love the look of the tinsel glitter.

The glue had to be thinned a bit to stay smooth in all the eye and nose cavities. You paint right over the edges of the glittered parts to ensure no breaks in the final layer.

12 The glue had to be thinned a bit to stay smooth in all the eye and nose cavities. You paint right over the edges of the glittered parts to ensure no breaks in the final layer.

Looking spooky; the darker shade of glitter is just a hint more ominous than silver--perfect.

13 Looking spooky; the darker shade of glitter is just a hint more ominous than silver--perfect.

We switched to brown paint that helped fill in the crevices.

14 We switched to brown paint that helped fill in the crevices.

It looks a little like peanut butter but it worked with the Brownstone glitter much better. All glues used were basic water-soluble types.

15 It looks a little like peanut butter but it worked with the Brownstone glitter much better. All glues used were basic water-soluble types.

As I learned how to handle the glue and skulls, the process sped along. I was so excited to see some results.

16 As I learned how to handle the glue and skulls, the process sped along. I was so excited to see some results.

Chavo was concerned about my glittering skills.

17 Chavo was concerned about my glittering skills.

I deftly erased his doubts.

18 I deftly erased his doubts.

Good morning! We let the skulls dry overnight before filling in the missed spots.

19 Good morning! We let the skulls dry overnight before filling in the missed spots.

Here are the other bones I glittered to use in some arrangements. Love the spindly little feet and hands.

20 Here are the other bones I glittered to use in some arrangements. Love the spindly little feet and hands.

The texture of the tinsel glitter is so coarse and reflective; I love how it gives depth to these delicate shapes.

21 The texture of the tinsel glitter is so coarse and reflective; I love how it gives depth to these delicate shapes.

A tray of glittered jawbones.

22 A tray of glittered jawbones.

Gotcha. Spreading a project out over a few days makes it less rushed and therefore less stressful.

23 Gotcha. Spreading a project out over a few days makes it less rushed and therefore less stressful.

The Craft room in our building makes it easy to be creative.

24 The Craft room in our building makes it easy to be creative.

Voila!! A half-dozen bronzed beauties.

25 Voila!! A half-dozen bronzed beauties.

Afterward, we took the glimmer bones to a giant vent to coat them in spray-fixative, a finishing adhesive used by artists to make sure things stay put (charcoal, graphite, glitter). I solicited the help of my assistant Chavo, who aided me in this careful finalizing process.

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How fantastic is the coppery color of my bones?

1 How fantastic is the coppery color of my bones?

We had to get suited up because the funky-spraying fixative has to be handled carefully. I promise I'm excited!

2 We had to get suited up because the funky-spraying fixative has to be handled carefully. I promise I'm excited!

Ready to be sealed in glitter!

3 Ready to be sealed in glitter!

We set up our station right next to the vents.

4 We set up our station right next to the vents.

Hold on, Chavo! Make sure you face the vents while you spray.

5 Hold on, Chavo! Make sure you face the vents while you spray.

Chavo caught on quickly.

6 Chavo caught on quickly.

Getting ready to switch out from skulls to finger and toes and the other bones.

7 Getting ready to switch out from skulls to finger and toes and the other bones.

Carefully transporting our goods.

8 Carefully transporting our goods.

Almost there...

9 Almost there...

This is how it's done, sprayed at a clear 8 inches from the object.

10 This is how it's done, sprayed at a clear 8 inches from the object.

Perfect! These now need to dry overnight so that I can set them in all kinds of new configurations. Halloween goes glam!

11 Perfect! These now need to dry overnight so that I can set them in all kinds of new configurations. Halloween goes glam!

And finally, some images of an arrangement and then a peak at one final vivid element of the composition.

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Here it is! I put together this arrangement of bones and a scull with a little satin ribbon and a refined glass case.

1 Here it is! I put together this arrangement of bones and a scull with a little satin ribbon and a refined glass case.

Isn't the texture from the tinsel glitter just incredible?

2 Isn't the texture from the tinsel glitter just incredible?

Now, for round two of decorating options. I'm attaching the other sculls to these glass pillars with a hunk of wax.

3 Now, for round two of decorating options. I'm attaching the other sculls to these glass pillars with a hunk of wax.

I just crammed the wax into the top of that pillar and let the skull sink into it on top. Easy assemblage and easy clean up afterward!

4 I just crammed the wax into the top of that pillar and let the skull sink into it on top. Easy assemblage and easy clean up afterward!

Gently pressing it into the wax to position. So simple!

5 Gently pressing it into the wax to position. So simple!

There he is! Now, for the finishing touches.

6 There he is! Now, for the finishing touches.

These real preserved butterflies came all the way from Spencer, Ohio!

7 These real preserved butterflies came all the way from Spencer, Ohio!

Aren't they gorgeous?

8 Aren't they gorgeous?

I'm going to glue them delicately to the skull and bones when they're all arranged. One on the front temple, another on a finger or toe... A whole box of these little containers arrived; I can't wait to put it all together!

9 I'm going to glue them delicately to the skull and bones when they're all arranged. One on the front temple, another on a finger or toe... A whole box of these little containers arrived; I can't wait to put it all together!

These real butterflies are all harvested from butterfly farms, places that actually aid the survival and re-population of butterflies to their natural habitats, in addition to fueling rainforest preservation.  I got mine from Connie Hurt at Butterflies and Things; Connie is the only licensed dealer in the US who buys direct from these conservation-oriented butterfly farms. Aren't they completely gorgeous? I hope my glittering project gave you some inspiration for last-minute holiday crafting before the weekend arrivals.

Decorating with Halloween Hues

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Kevin_Sharkey_Orange_hermes_collection

How do you like this picture of me and my collection of orange Hermes boxes?! Fitting for the season, I think. To supplement, I've collected some images of stunning orange and black decorating schemes that I think you're going to enjoy. Lots of these offer inspiration for seasonal decorating that can actually be kept around long after the holidays.

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A single bright orange element draws similar hues out of a tortoise-shell wall element. The bold stripes on the zebra bench accentuate this statement. (www.designsponge.com)

1 A single bright orange element draws similar hues out of a tortoise-shell wall element. The bold stripes on the zebra bench accentuate this statement. (www.designsponge.com)

The leather on this chair is bright and earthy all at once. The tint of the file cabinet and other wooden pieces keep the orange leather from feeling stark. (www.bodieandfou.com)

2 The leather on this chair is bright and earthy all at once. The tint of the file cabinet and other wooden pieces keep the orange leather from feeling stark. (www.bodieandfou.com)

The dark walls and slate flooring here provide a perfect canvas for mauves and sunset oranges. (www.designsponge.com)

3 The dark walls and slate flooring here provide a perfect canvas for mauves and sunset oranges. (www.designsponge.com)

The simple copper lining of this lighting fixture resonates against dark room elements in the same room. (www.designsponge.com)

4 The simple copper lining of this lighting fixture resonates against dark room elements in the same room. (www.designsponge.com)

Black pieces are softened with the addition of gray tones and natural, orange wheat clusters. (http://www.dearlillieblog.blogspot.com)

5 Black pieces are softened with the addition of gray tones and natural, orange wheat clusters. (http://www.dearlillieblog.blogspot.com)

Navy blue bookcases are emboldened with sets of vintage hardback books in all ranges of oranges, browns, blues and reds. The linen furniture keeps the composition comfy. (www.domesticbliss.com)

6 Navy blue bookcases are emboldened with sets of vintage hardback books in all ranges of oranges, browns, blues and reds. The linen furniture keeps the composition comfy. (www.domesticbliss.com)

Clean white bedding keeps these woody oranges from being too overwhelming. (www.designsponge.com)

7 Clean white bedding keeps these woody oranges from being too overwhelming. (www.designsponge.com)

An orange-tiled rug and bone-white wall hangings add subtle seasonal spook. (www.decorpad.com)

8 An orange-tiled rug and bone-white wall hangings add subtle seasonal spook. (www.decorpad.com)

If you're comfortable with bright paints, go all out! With orange, entryways that offer good light allow multiple shades to meld gently. (www.designsponge.com)

9 If you're comfortable with bright paints, go all out! With orange, entryways that offer good light allow multiple shades to meld gently. (www.designsponge.com)

A statement-making orange fabric can be used for temporary and permanent decorations. A new set of pillows, a table runner, and window treatments can all me rotated seasonally or worked into existing arrangements. (www.calicocorners.com)

10 A statement-making orange fabric can be used for temporary and permanent decorations. A new set of pillows, a table runner, and window treatments can all me rotated seasonally or worked into existing arrangements. (www.calicocorners.com)

Unexpected bursts of pink and red keep this room from being too theme-y to last past the holidays. (www.houzz.com)

11 Unexpected bursts of pink and red keep this room from being too theme-y to last past the holidays. (www.houzz.com)

Something as simple as a sheath of corkboard and some strategic pushpinned cutouts can transform a whole wall! (www.theselby.com)

12 Something as simple as a sheath of corkboard and some strategic pushpinned cutouts can transform a whole wall! (www.theselby.com)

This punchy clock could be donned with a pumpkin-stem for instant Halloween hours. (www.flickr.com)

13 This punchy clock could be donned with a pumpkin-stem for instant Halloween hours. (www.flickr.com)

The contrast of dark black elements brings out the orange of wood, especially in a season of those colors. Make the most of woods you have in place by framing them with black additions. (www.theselby.com)

14 The contrast of dark black elements brings out the orange of wood, especially in a season of those colors. Make the most of woods you have in place by framing them with black additions. (www.theselby.com)

I love the industrial base of the wooden coffee table. The geometric rug pattern is also fantastic. (www.decorpad.com)

15 I love the industrial base of the wooden coffee table. The geometric rug pattern is also fantastic. (www.decorpad.com)

This room looks like a bouquet of fall flowers to me. The leafy pattern on that wall is so expressive!

16 This room looks like a bouquet of fall flowers to me. The leafy pattern on that wall is so expressive!

A strand of burnt-orange velvet ribbon makes for an easy silverware holder. (www.mydesigndump.blogspot.com)

17 A strand of burnt-orange velvet ribbon makes for an easy silverware holder. (www.mydesigndump.blogspot.com)

Just a reminder that candles glow in orange! Hints of a twinkling lights tucked in a centerpiece will add mysterious allure to your Halloween decorations. (www.stylemepretty.com)

18 Just a reminder that candles glow in orange! Hints of a twinkling lights tucked in a centerpiece will add mysterious allure to your Halloween decorations. (www.stylemepretty.com)

Eerie branches can be culled in a range of Halloween colors, or they can be spray-painted to work with your existing decor. Gnarly, twisting twigs have that ghoulish elegance to them inherently. (www.pinterest.com)

19 Eerie branches can be culled in a range of Halloween colors, or they can be spray-painted to work with your existing decor. Gnarly, twisting twigs have that ghoulish elegance to them inherently. (www.pinterest.com)

A piece of artwork can transform the whole slant of a designed space. Abstract pieces with rich hues make a quick impression. (www.decorpad.com)

20 A piece of artwork can transform the whole slant of a designed space. Abstract pieces with rich hues make a quick impression. (www.decorpad.com)

Be creative with your pumpkin carving this year! Green and white pumpkin varietals are often still orange inside, so make the most of shaving down designs without all the effort of excavating seeds. (www.pinterest.com)

21 Be creative with your pumpkin carving this year! Green and white pumpkin varietals are often still orange inside, so make the most of shaving down designs without all the effort of excavating seeds. (www.pinterest.com)

This breezy geometric window treatment splashes color and texture in a pinch. (www.decor8blog.com)

22 This breezy geometric window treatment splashes color and texture in a pinch. (www.decor8blog.com)

A cluster of macabre plates makes a statement on a tinted wall. (www.pinterest.com)

23 A cluster of macabre plates makes a statement on a tinted wall. (www.pinterest.com)

Orange roses are gorgeous to cluster or tuck in other arrangements. (www.stylemepretty.com)

24 Orange roses are gorgeous to cluster or tuck in other arrangements. (www.stylemepretty.com)

These wall decals are poignant or eerie, depending on how you use them. (www.urbanoutfitters.com)

25 These wall decals are poignant or eerie, depending on how you use them. (www.urbanoutfitters.com)

Blankets and pillows are especially important in this season, so color-coordinate with your room accessories. (www.cococozy.com)

26 Blankets and pillows are especially important in this season, so color-coordinate with your room accessories. (www.cococozy.com)

For an ultra-mod look, keep whites bold and lines graphic. Mixing in oranges and blacks to a very clean canvas will ensure bursts of color. (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/)

27 For an ultra-mod look, keep whites bold and lines graphic. Mixing in oranges and blacks to a very clean canvas will ensure bursts of color. (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/)

The gentle lines of this creamy orange headboard support a Halloween tint that is plush and sleek. (www.linihome.blogspot.com)

28 The gentle lines of this creamy orange headboard support a Halloween tint that is plush and sleek. (www.linihome.blogspot.com)

The marbled finish on these dining chairs incorporates multiple hues from the room. Remember that natural patterns often contain colors that can bring together brighter pieces. (www.decorpad.com)

29 The marbled finish on these dining chairs incorporates multiple hues from the room. Remember that natural patterns often contain colors that can bring together brighter pieces. (www.decorpad.com)

What are your favorite ways to work Halloween colors into your decor?

Glow In The Dark Design

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So many great Halloween projects play with the nuances between dark and light. Glow-in-the-dark pieces take that idea to a whole new, almost otherworldly level, and this year I'm excited to incorporate some faux-glow elements into table and room arrangements, decorations, and all sorts of Halloween attire.

Here are some image from a past Martha Stewart Living spread that incorporate glowing glass and paint to really make table and surface arrangements pop!

Kevin_Sharkey_Martha_Stewart_Night_Visions_Story_Home_Design_Glow_Dark

Join me as I explore some other intriguing options for day-glo, blacklight, and glow-in-the-dark arranging. Candles and lamplights are for lovely, soft, autumnal radiance, but Halloween is your chance to glow!

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Pom-poms, pipe cleaners, tiny plastic cups, acrylic tiles, beads, feathers, paint, and sand can all be found in neon or glow-in-the dark varieties. The sky's the limit with these supplies! (http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com)

1 Pom-poms, pipe cleaners, tiny plastic cups, acrylic tiles, beads, feathers, paint, and sand can all be found in neon or glow-in-the dark varieties. The sky's the limit with these supplies! (http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com)

Incorporate glow-in-the-dark decals into a wallpaper design for sophisticated flair. (http://architecturas.com)

2 Incorporate glow-in-the-dark decals into a wallpaper design for sophisticated flair. (http://architecturas.com)

Or, simply buy some wallpaper that glows! I love the organic shapes on these patterns. (http://dornob.com)

3 Or, simply buy some wallpaper that glows! I love the organic shapes on these patterns. (http://dornob.com)

These glow-in-the-dark wall decals are more grown-up than the glowing wall stars from childhood bedrooms. Plus, they'll last through your other holiday decorations! (www.wallcandyarts.com)

4 These glow-in-the-dark wall decals are more grown-up than the glowing wall stars from childhood bedrooms. Plus, they'll last through your other holiday decorations! (www.wallcandyarts.com)

By cutting the ends off a handful of glowsticks and emptying them into a jar, you can make an instant glowing lantern! Be sure to shake the jar to coat every side. (www.littleblueboo.com)

5 By cutting the ends off a handful of glowsticks and emptying them into a jar, you can make an instant glowing lantern! Be sure to shake the jar to coat every side. (www.littleblueboo.com)

Turn the mason jars upside down for a lantern-like effect. These will last through the night! (http://slsmithphotography.typepad.com)

6 Turn the mason jars upside down for a lantern-like effect. These will last through the night! (http://slsmithphotography.typepad.com)

And if you flick the ends of the open glow sticks inside the jars, they'll sparkle! (www.curbly.com)

7 And if you flick the ends of the open glow sticks inside the jars, they'll sparkle! (www.curbly.com)

Add a splash of tonic water to drinks and they'll glow under a black light. Tonic water contains quinine, the ingredient that makes it glow! (www.ourbestbites.com)

8 Add a splash of tonic water to drinks and they'll glow under a black light. Tonic water contains quinine, the ingredient that makes it glow! (www.ourbestbites.com)

The same thing works with jello. (www.ourbestbites.com)

9 The same thing works with jello. (www.ourbestbites.com)

Glow rope provides an excellent decorating alternative to its stubbier cousin the glo-stick. It can be wrapped, strung, or wound to create innovative Halloween decor. (www.harborfreight.com)

10 Glow rope provides an excellent decorating alternative to its stubbier cousin the glo-stick. It can be wrapped, strung, or wound to create innovative Halloween decor. (www.harborfreight.com)

Throw glowsticks in a bathtub (or any other container filled with water) to create bright and charismatic displays that can reflect onto other surfaces. (http://leilockheart.tumblr.com/)

11 Throw glowsticks in a bathtub (or any other container filled with water) to create bright and charismatic displays that can reflect onto other surfaces. (http://leilockheart.tumblr.com/)

Bend glowsticks to nestle inside a glass for glowing cup lanterns. To make them drink-friendly, place the glowstick ring between a clear plastic cup nestled inside an opaque one. (http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com)

12 Bend glowsticks to nestle inside a glass for glowing cup lanterns. To make them drink-friendly, place the glowstick ring between a clear plastic cup nestled inside an opaque one. (http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com)

If you don't want to bust open your glow sticks to decorate with them, experiment with styrofoam cups, ping pong balls, floral foam to create glowing little critters. (www.favecrafts.com)

13 If you don't want to bust open your glow sticks to decorate with them, experiment with styrofoam cups, ping pong balls, floral foam to create glowing little critters. (www.favecrafts.com)

Martha Stewart glow-in-the-dark glitter is an inexpensive glow-crafter's dream. Just coat any surface with glue, sprinkle, and glow!

14 Martha Stewart glow-in-the-dark glitter is an inexpensive glow-crafter's dream. Just coat any surface with glue, sprinkle, and glow!

Glowing balloons with goulish faces make quick and easy decorations. (www.marthastewart.com)

15 Glowing balloons with goulish faces make quick and easy decorations. (www.marthastewart.com)

These apothecary jars glint greenish in the daylight...

16 These apothecary jars glint greenish in the daylight...

...and glow at night! Items that work for both dark and light are especially effective!

17 ...and glow at night! Items that work for both dark and light are especially effective!