Post and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin
(Warning. Prepare for an early 1990s flashback!)
Today trance-like eyes glaze as the masses plug-in to the matrix for search, news, banking, shopping, email, social connections and entertainment. Yet…before the Information Super highway reached ubiquity in the mid to late 1990s, society interacted in this earthy plane, on a more tactile level. Though we may dramatically reduce the amount of time we spend online, much of the infrastructure has changed the way we do banking, correspondence and research. Discovering or revisiting how people lived their lives before the internet, is a great way to learn how to live a vintage or unplugged lifestyle. Yet do note that some of these alternatives were simply using a different technology at the time, such as a fax line, television or CD-rom.
Here is a list of modern technologies (Circa 2019) and their former method of achieving that information or utility during the early 1990s:
*Google search: The library or interview.
*Map Quest: Thomas Guide, map or verbal directions.
*Online news: News paper, TV Broadcast, radio
*Movie show times online search: Saw showtimes in newspaper or called for automated list.
*Amazon: Mail order catalog
*Phone number lookup: Phone book telephone directory
*Video Streaming: Block Buster video rental, TV broadcast
*Online gaming: PC software, home video game console system, video game arcade.
*Email / Texting: Landline telephone, office memo, regular post office mail.
*Online Job Application Form: Painstakingly filled job application out by hand. Searched listings in newspaper.
*Online banking: Mailed in check, balanced check book. Visited ATM or bank teller to deposit.
You can view my YouTube video, Life Before the Internet, here.
Post, video and photos by Rain San Martin
Join me as I make a Rustic Autumn Tablescape. Using natural elements found out-doors, the table setting will be made in the vintage homemaking spirit. This will be for a simple gathering of four, yet can be adapted for more. The meals dishes will be served buffet style in the kitchen or on our dinning room built-in cabinet.
To make my rustic autumn centerpiece I started with a short trip to my front yard. I used my branch trimmer, (here’s a similar item: https://amzn.to/2QVzQhh -affiliate link) to cut a few festive branches from an American Highbush Cranberry, which is not to be mistaken with the traditional cranberry, yet can apparently be cooked with sugar and turned into a jelly. I love the decorative seasonal properties. The branches I bent into 3-4 inch circles, then tied with a small amount of twine. Narrow branches are most pliable when freshly cut, as they will dry when aged. A small brown plate with scattered leaves served as a base for the centerpiece. Finally I placed an orange pillar candle into the center of the of American Highbush Cranberry ring (here’s a similar unscented candle https://amzn.to/2qUxtja -affiliate link).
Fill out the table. I had a roll of burlap which I cut to match the size of the wooden table. Next I added wine hued leaf place mats by Better Homes and Gardens. Then I used my everyday dinnerware set from Target (International Kenya 16pc Dinnerware Set in Brown). I did not feature any napkins, yet you could wrap matching napkins and silverware with twine or keep open.
Post and Video by Rain San Martin
Welcome to the Parlor! One of my key motives for writing a blog and having a YouTube channel is accountability. When one researches a subject, takes action steps, then shares what they have learned, big changes can happen. I have seen a gradual improvement in the order and management of the home over these last few years. Flylady is know for her wise statement: “Progress not perfection.” Marla Cilley has always emphasized the importance of staying on top of paper-clutter. By the way I just preordered her latest book: https://amzn.to/2OR987L The CHAOS Cure: Clean Your House and Calm Your Soul in 15 Minutes (affiliate link). I still have boxes I need to work through in the basement from years past, yet I’m making headway.
Here’s how I manage my paper-clutter:
*Sort incoming mail as soon as it comes in. Immediately place junk mail in recycling. Put bills to pay or paperwork to process in “inbox”.
*Once bills are paid place them into an extra large manila envelope. 10 x 13 https://amzn.to/2DJ8pnP (affiliate link) is the perfect size as it allows for breathing room. Label each envelope with two months and the year. For example: Bills / Important Papers 2018 Nov/Dec.
*Shred papers with sensitive information. Here’s a link to the nearly identical model I have: Fellows Powershred 7C https://amzn.to/2ze4g7w (affiliate link)
*Reduce incoming mail. Remove yourself from mailing lists, pay bills online and so forth.*Store Memorabilia into the same sized 10 x 13 clasp envelopes. Place the name of the person and the year on each envelope. Each family member should be given a wooden crate (more vintage style) or plastic bin. Place the memorabilia envelopes into the bin. Over time you may have to purchase more containers or reduce these papers. Have an enchanting week,Rain San Martin
Post and video by Rain San Martin
Accessories have the amazing ability to define a wardrobe style. Without them my wardrobe would have a dark and romantic look, yet with them it is more clear that I am going for a Gothic Steampunk / Antique Gothic or Romantic Gothic style.
The core of my jewelry comes from Etsy. I especially love the hand assembled cameo’s, set in antique brass. I do have a brass pocket watch (affiliate link) from Amazon however. Thin scarves or lace trim are my go-to for sashes and belts. A Victorian Gothic corset or Medieval Waist cincher may be worn over my top or dress. Flowing black crochet or lace sweaters give instance warmth and mystique. A long velvet cloak is nice for a chilly evening out.
I keep my shoe selection at a minimum. About a half dozen pairs, that’s it! When you make your color scheme simple, and stick with a specific look, you will find that there is no need for dozens of shoes and hand bags. This is one of the reasons I love the “Gothic” look. Eighty percent of my wardrobe is black. Personally, I may pair the Raven Black with a rich autumn palate of Branch Brown, Burlap Taupe, Wine or a dash of Pumpkin Orange. I stick to the color scheme year-round!
Only keep the accessories you truly love and use! Donate or toss anything else. This is in keeping with a simple minimalist wardrobe. If you love frilly clothing, then that is what you should keep in your closet. There is no rule that states that being a minimalist means you must dress in plain fashion styles!
Post, photo and video by Rain San Martin
Come carve a pumpkin with us as we create an amazing projection effect against the wall! This old fashioned technique involves carving one side with a “Boo!” word, then cutting a classic Jack O Lantern face on the opposite side. I am joined with our 8 year old son Orion, who also narrates in the video. We followed a Martha Stewart tutorial, yet I changed up a few things as I always do. For the sake of simplicity we used the tools we had on hand, rather than owning an additional pumpkin carving kit.
Here are the basic steps:
Step 2) Cut out a large hole, big enough to easily fit your hand and candle votive through. A stainless steel 1/3 cup measuring tool worked great at scrapping the pumpkin seeds out. We also reserved our seeds in the fridge to bake for another time!
Step 3) Tack on the “Boo!” sign to the front side of the pumpkin. A tack was also used to prick the image of the template directly onto the pumpkin.
Step 4) Scrape out the word “Boo!”A small screw driver was effective for this. Yet do not go all of the way through.
Step 5) Turn your pumpkin around and tack on the Jack O Lantern face template. Prick the shape of the Jack O Lantern with a tack or pen onto the pumpkin.
Step 6) Use a small steak knife or similar tool to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth, all of the way through.
Step 7) Place a lite candle votive into your Jack O Lantern with the face against a wall. The “Boo!” side should be facing forward. You should see the sign dimly lite and the Jack O Lantern face will project against the wall, if it is dark.
Tips: If I were to do it over, I would draw the image directly onto the pumpkin with an erasable marker. Only for a more complex image would I do the pen prick transfer method. If you followed this video tutorial please let me know in the comments. Have fun carving your pumpkin!
Martha Stewart “Two Faced Pumpkin With Wall Projection” Tutorial: https://www.marthastewart.com/267356/two-faced-pumpkin-with-wall-projection
Here is a link to a Moroccan Style Candle Lantern, similar to the one I used in the video: https://amzn.to/2Subaxp (affiliate link)
This is a link to the exact Retro Table Lamp sitting on our living room table: https://amzn.to/2LBYqV7 (affiliate link)
In this video I’ll show you my “Vintage Inspired” Gothic Wardrobe. My style is classically feminine as I wear skirts, lace, dresses and tights. One way to describe my style is Antique Gothic Victorian or Romantic Antique Gothic, which is simply Gothic Steampunk without the gears or goggles!
This wardrobe is minimalist as I only keep a certain number of pieces in my closet at any given time. I also have subtle bohemian and modern influences. Stay tuned for my accessories video. Here is a link to black lace trim which you can use as a quick and beautiful sash belt. Simply wrap it around your waist a couple of times and tie a bow. https://amzn.to/2S4moZj (affiliate link)
*Post and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin
Come join me as I complete the following tasks:
*Straighten and sweep the living room.
*Tidy the kitchen.
Setting the timer is a motivating way of staying focused on a period of work. I have instilled the habit of dressing up at home in a way that is feminine, yet allows me to move freely as I use my cleaning tools. My personal style is Romantic Vintage Gothic / Antique Gothic (steampunk without the gears and googles). I also make a point to wear makeup, no matter the occasion. If you haven’t tried getting completely ready for your work at home, try it for yourself and see how much more productive you can be! In this video you can see some of our Halloween décor as well.
*The Crosley CR31-WA Retro Radio in our kitchen is from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NO9lrA (affiliate link)
Article and Video by Rain San Martin
Looking to furnish your home with simple classy Halloween displays? Minimalist layouts and tasteful decorations will be your guiding principle. You can always rest easy when it comes to minimalist home decor. You automatically have given yourself permission to decorate with less. Though Halloween Hauls can be fun and inspirational, sometimes it may make you want to “compete with the Jones’. Here are a few advantages to sticking with a Minimalist Halloween or Fall Decor aesthetic.
Begin with a clean slate. Put away any residual summer themed decor. Clutter should be out of site. This is a paramount first step toward a “Classy or Elegant Halloween” theme. If you celebrate Halloween year-round however, most likely this would not be a concern of yours!
Minimize synthetic materials! Made-made Chemical Synthesis has been used to create artificial fibers. Though the intent was to improve upon God’s perfect design, the results are generally perceived as less aesthetically appealing. Though plastics were a marvel near the beginning of the 1900’s, time has proven otherwise. Not only will flimsy plastic material fail to last the test of time, it can appear low in quality. Modern day man-made synthetic material may appear cheap. Opt for vintage style materials such as glass, brass, cloth, wood, burlap and iron. Styrofoam, aluminum cans and disposable wares were not around in the 19th century. If your having a Halloween party you may eventually want to transition to using all mason jars and glass plates.
For Classy Style stay clear from anything aesthetically grotesque. I’ll spare you the details of what this could entail. It is recommended to avoid decor inspired by modern gratuitous horror films.
Select a color palette. Basic Orange, black and brown is a go-to choice for those aiming for simplicity. You may wish to decorate in a style and color palette that easily transitions into Thanksgiving. A rustic country theme in these traditional hues would be perfect. Simply omit the black and anything overtly Halloweenie. Purple and Black are also a very popular color palette. Bonus as you can also furnish your place in matching Disney’s Haunted Mansion inspired items such as the Grim Grinning Ghosts Jewelry Box or The Haunted Mansion Hourglass (affiliate links).
Choose focal points you would like to feature. For example: The mantel, front door, and the wall behind your bed. It’s much more effective to group your decor, rather than scatter throughout the home. Visit Pinterest for inspiration. I regularly use the site as a powerful tool, you can follow my Boards to see what I’m inspired about.
Consider year-round Gothic style décor. Such as a quality iron lantern or candelabra. This you may decide to leave up after Halloween. Decorate with classic ravens, bats and black lace spiderweb tablecloths. Recently my husband Sage and I took a trip to Michaels Crafts! I held on to my gift card just for this day! By the way this is a big tip for those who wish to furnish your homes with quality spooky home decor, ask for a gift card to your favorite Halloween retailer as a birthday or Christmas gift, then spend it in September! I picked out a couple of high design year-round Halloween decorations. Two sculptures of a raven on a branch and a couple of bouquets of wine and black roses. First however, we stopped at Barnes and Nobles for Maple Pecan and Pumpkin Spice Lattes to get us into the “Autumn Vibes.”
Rustic Halloween Banner. Banners have been the rage on Pinterest and Instagram for a few years now. Though it may be technically a retro design. What’s not to love about festive elongated triangles of fabric or quality paper. I’ve also posted a video tutorial, DIY Vintage Fall, Thanksgiving or Halloween Banner, where I share how I made one of our families favorite Halloween decorations. Once you learn how to create a flag style banner you can repeat the same principles with other themes. A bedroom flag banner would look amazing as well! Visit JOANN Fabric & Craft Stores during September or October and you could pick up some spooky Victorian brocade, or cute patterns.
*Here is a festive vintage style Burlap Banner, which includes Bat Decal Wall Stickers! (-affiliate link)
Create a Rustic Fall Centerpiece made of branches. My video DIY-Fall Halloween Centerpiece shows how I create this using uniform cut branches from our backyard. Then we brushed on black paint. While still wet, sparkles were scattered on. This truly makes the piece look magical. Finally I wrapped the sticks in twine, placed in a mason jar and tied it with a bow. I believe this same look could be achieved on the front porch.
*Here is an affiliate link to a branch trimmer that you may find useful.
Plant an outdoor Autumnscape. I’m gradually working on improving my gardening skills. 2018 was the first year I was able to see the actual fruit of my work. I was shopping at our local Meijers grocery store and saw a packet of Jack O Lantern pumpkin seeds. Being inspired by a post from the extradinary, whimsical and inspirational Spooky Halloween Blog by Miranda, I decided to give it a go. I filmed a video planting a pumpkin patch with our son and created a wonderful memory while at it! Though we had no pumpkins, it was a success as lovely orange blooms were clearly visible from our kitchenette window.
Display mysterious vintage style portraits. You can easily customize this to your own taste. Buy an 8 x 10 print of Morticia Addams, Lily Munster or a historical figure from the late 1800’s. Next buy a vintage inspired frame. Another idea is to take a photo of yourself , your significant other, or adventurous friend and take a few dramatic photo’s in the cemetery. You can use a filter effect before ordering a print on a site like Shutterfly. Of course once you order this, you may wish to keep up your photo year round! This is where I got my frame: https://amzn.to/2C2lU1X (affiliate link). Of course retailers will often have spooky portraits available, which come framed.
Additional benefits of decorating for Halloween with Minimalist discipline includes:
Saving money. Rather than spending a few dollars here and there, accumulating a mass collection, your purchases may be more expensive yet higher in quality! In the long run you are actually spending far less than someone who regularly makes impulse buying decisions.
Saving time. Set up and tear down will be far quicker. Many pieces could also transition over into November.
Needing less storage space. This could be the year that you almost bought another orange storage bin. Yet because of minimalism, you may very well be creating room in your basement or storage area!
I have also created a YouTube video regarding this topic. I post weekly on the topic of Simple Vintage Homemaking:
Many of these decoration ideas you can leave up through November. Simply remove anything that is overtly Halloweenie. Fall signs, pumpkins and foliage can last through the fall. Enjoy your Minimalist Halloween Decor journey! Welcome your new Autumn Lifestyle.
May you have a productive and whimsical week,
Post and video by Rain San Martin
I unplugged for one week! The benefits of taking a break from music, media, video and the internet are tremendous. You will feel your mind heal, thinking more clearly as a result. You may be flooded with new ideas and see your world in a new way. It’s a wonderful way reconnect with your family. There will be more time for projects around the house. You may also connect again with nature. Now I welcome you to join in this digital detox challenge.
What to avoid when you unplug:
*Anything using electronics
*Turn off smart phone notifications and abstain from apps. Only use for emergency phone calls.
What to do when you unplug:
*Read physical books. Visit the library.
*Write in a physical journal. Here is a nice Vintage Style Moleskin Journal (affiliate link) https://amzn.to/2xvByyc
*Deep clean the house.
*Spend time with your family.
*Explore your town or city.
*Make a recipe using a cookbook.
*Paint, sketch or sew.
*Create a DIY project. Without online tutorials.
*Create a weekly day to unplug. For me, it was Sundays. I’ve now increased it to Saturdays and Sundays!
What to do once you’ve completed the challenge:
*Please post that you participated in the challenge in the comments!
*Once you return to media, consider reducing the amount you use on a daily basis. Track and limit consumption.
Be sure to view my video: Unplug for One Week Challenge-Digital Detox.
Have a productive, creative and fun week!