Day Of The Dead Halloween Inspiration

jestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration4Oh Happy Day

Halloween decorations can be awesome or extremely tacky. There is no middle ground.

This year I have decided to stay away from gaudy and embrace some kind of stylish décor, if possible. Against me, as always, are my kids. They want blood and plastic. A hard line to walk! I want them to participate and be creative, but I also need to teach them the importance of decent taste- a major lesson for a 2 and a 4 year old, surely.

What I am planning to do for Halloween this season is to keep a simple color scheme and embrace “Day of the dead” décor. This Mexican holiday is beautiful. Full of bright colors and cute Calaveras, I think it’s the perfect middle ground for my kids and I to achieve a peace deal where I am the sole decider and they become my lovely minions.

On the other hand, I am worried about it not being spooky enough because “Day of the dead” decorations are far from scary, unless I bring some kind of twist to it. I will do a Mexican-American version of Halloween, I have decided.

Here are some photos and DIY projects that I found for inspiration. Let me know what do you think:

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jestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration10 Happy Thoughtjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration7 Oh Happy Dayjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration2Woman’s Dayjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-12 Brit.cojestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-13Etsyjestcafe-com-ghosts-for-halloween6Jest Cafejestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration6 The Lettered Cottagejestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-5 Country Livingjestcafe-com-halloween-inspiration-3 Deco Pequesjestcafe-com-halloween-decoration-ideas1The Green Head

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An Afternoon Doing Flower Arrangements

My mom is visiting from Chile this week. She likes flowers, so I took her to the Flower Market in DTLA, obviously. What a gem that place is. One of the reasons I love this city so much.

The idea was to buy flowers and spend the afternoon creating flower arrangements. If you follow this blog, you know that I have been trying to improve my flower arrangement skills in the last year (you can find proof here and here). This time, I wanted to do something special.

Choosing the right flowers for the arrangement is a very important first step. We chose the color scheme and the right flower sizes for the bouquet we wanted to do. My mom went big and bright. I went small and dark. In retrospect, I wonder if these choices have hidden psychoanalytic meaning.

If you like flowers, you know it is dahlias season right now, and who doesn’t love dahlias aside from a heartless and sad soul. We went for dahlias and many other flowers at the market. It was beautiful to see. (Remember to bring buckets with water to take your flowers back home, so they last longer.)

We also bought flower vases. My mom wants to take some to Chile and you can find a wonderful variety at the market. She bought 10. You might be wondering how is she going to take all of them back home. I am wondering the same.

We spend the afternoon arranging flowers and listening to music. It was so nice and relaxing. A beautiful day. My mom loved the “activity,” so I recommend doing this if you have visitors and want to do something outside of the tourist circle monster trap.

Next week, I will share some tips and tricks to do better flower arrangements. It is not as hard as it looks.

If you are going to the Flower Market, DTLA:

  • There is parking on the second and third floor of the Flower Market, entrance is on Maple Ave, between 7th and 8th Street.
  • Some of my favorite vendors close at 9 am, so be there early!
  • You can rent carts at the parking lot for $1.
  • Bring buckets with water for your flowers. If you don’t, your arrangements will last a lot less. I have proof. Hi there, Mami! is the arrangement my mom did. Her way of doing it was to place her main flowers in the middle and then add fillers as she felt like.

This is the one I did.

Hope you like them. Have a fun day!

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A Couple Of Ideas To Entertain Kids During The Summer

Now that the kids are on vacation, I have been coming up with ideas to keep them entertained at home. Here are a couple of activities we have done in the last couple of weeks with great success.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t love staying home alone with the kids. I will much rather go out. Wouldn’t you agree that at home the kids get restless, rowdy, and annoying? Well, at least mine do. There, I said it, now let’s move on)

Making Masks


  • Paper Plates
  • Cardboard – different colors
  • Scissors
  • Multi-purpose glue or glue gun (I used a glue gun in low temperature but be careful with the children)
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Bamboo skewers or short sticks
  • Animal children books for inspiration (or the Internet)
  1. I asked the kids which animal mask they wanted to make. Víctor wanted a frog, Max a puppy. I looked over children animal books to find the features that made those animals recognizable. The frog, for example, needed high eyebrows, something I would have never thought about without looking at frogs in children’s book.
  2. Cut the holes in paper plates for the eyes. Make sure the distance between holes is similar to the distance between your kids eyes. I have a punch hole but it wouldn’t reach the place where I wanted to cut the holes, so I drew them and cut them with an utility knife.
  3. Draw the different shapes you will need to create the masks on the cardboards. You can be very creative about this. The kids can help cutting them.
  4. Assemble the mask to make sure it looks like you want it to. If it does, go ahead and glue the different pieces to the plate starting with the ones at the bottom.
  5. Tape bamboo skewer to the back of the mask so your kids can grab is and play with it. A Teepee

The morning of 4th of July, my kids were pretty restless so I built a teepee for them in the backyard. 3 hours later they were still playing in there! They took food, books, and toys and played with each other for what it felt like a beautiful eternity. If you don’t have a yard, you can do this inside home, too.


  • Large blankets, sheets, or tablecloths.
  • Long sticks. Any material would do. Be creative! We even used a ladder.

Built the structure with the sticks. The best is to position all the sticks on one branch and spread them out to create the teepee style figure. Cover the sticks with whatever you have available. I used blankets and tablecloths.

Don’t forget to give your kids some snacks and toys to play in there. You will see the teepee will become their secret magic place for a whole morning. Good luck!

Here is another craft idea for your kids, in case you are looking for more.

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Before & After Campaign Dresser And A Trick To Help You Drill had to drill 128 wholes to finish this dresser in the photo above. 128 wholes that needed to be perfectly straight. Not an easy task.

Here is how the dresser looked like before: is how it looks now: better, don’t you think?

I wanted to go for a campaign dresser look. I added flat corners and pulls. Sprayed them gold and attached them to the dresser. I started drilling, I failed miserably. I couldn’t do a straight hole! If you don’t master a straight hole, the brackets end up crooked, so I needed to figure this out. Interesting how DIY bloggers mention drilling like it is the easiest thing to do when it is NOT. But it is not the hardest neither, once you learned this one trick that George mentioned:


To do this,

  1. First, look at the drill from above and make sure it is not tilted to the right or left. It needs to look like this:

2. Now, look from the side and make sure the same is true. Your drill needs to be perfectly straight. Not tilted to the bottom or up, so, don’t do this: 3. After making sure Step 1 and Step 2 are in place, apply force when drilling and you are done.

So there, now you know all the secrets to have a wonderful DIY life.


Also, a post on how to paint your walls, three beautiful flower arrangements, and a lavender wreath DIY.


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How To Install Wallpaper

Installing wallpaper for the first time is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult, time consuming and frustrating so you are better off leaving it for professionals.

My issue is that I don’t have the budget to leave it for professionals so I tried to do it myself, but I soon realized this project was way above my skills set so I brought my handy husband to the rescue like a damsel in distress.

There were two reasons why this project was more difficult for us than it should be for you:

  • The wallpaper I chose had a pattern that had to match exactly. No room for error.
  • My house was built in 1941 and has not been updated so the walls are crooked and uneven.

So, how did we do it and what did we learn? Let’s go step by step. 

– Wallpaper – we used Underwater World from Hygge & West

– Wallpaper paste- we used a basic one that was very thick, so we had to add water to thin it

– Drop cloth

– Measuring tape

– Scissors

– Sponge

– Utility knife

– Bucket for water

– Tray to mix the paste

– Pencil

– Level

– Paint roller

– Smoothing tool


1) Prepare your walls

Most instructions on how to install wallpaper wants you do add wallpaper primer. Well, we didn’t. The wallpaper primer helps you stick the wallpaper to difficult surfaces like glossy paint…our walls are not glossy so my husband thought it was not necessary. We installed the paper 6 weeks ago and so far so good.

What did we do to prep the walls? We washed them and covered the holes. Also, please, sandpaper small imperfections! We didn’t do a good job at sanding small bumps and we almost ripped the paper when trying to smooth it out!!!

2) Cut the wallpaper

Measure the height of your wall and cut your first piece of wallpaper 4 inches longer than your wall’s height. If you care about which part of the wallpaper motif is on top of your wall and which one is in the bottom, you need to consider that when making these cuts. We didn’t care about this, so our starting point was the beginning of the  roll. your wallpaper on the floor and line up patterns correctly. Cut the rest of your wallpaper so the pattern matches exactly. Mark your wall

Our wallpaper was 27 inches wide, so we marked our wall 26 inches from the edge (1″ less than the width of the wallpaper), to give us room for error (in case your walls are crooked). did a line from the top to the bottom of the wall that was perfectly vertical, with the widest part being 26 inches. Again, our walls are uneven, so the line was not 26 inches from the side of the wall on all places. Use your level to create a vertical Apply wallpaper paste

We soon realize our paste was too thick, see for So we added water to thin it and then applied it to the back of the wallpaper. Place your drop cloth under the wallpaper to keep the paste from sticking to the Hang the wallpaper

Line up your first strip to the vertical line you created in step 3. You should have extra wallpaper on top, bottom, and side.

You have around 10 minutes to adjust your wallpaper after you hang it. It is important to keep that time frame in mind when you are trying to align the different strips. Smooth your wallpaper

After you hang the wallpaper, you will see it has wrinkles and bubbles. You need to smooth those out with a smoothing tool – we used one that was 6″ wide. Do this gently! from the center to the outside. Trim the edges

Use your utility knife to trim the edges and make sure the blade is VERY sharp, or you will tear the paper when trimming Remove excess paste

Use your sponge and bucket with water to remove excess paste. If you don’t remove the extra paste, your wallpaper might get stained.

9) Hang next strip

When hanging the rest of the strips, you will see that it is difficult to have the patterns match exactly. Make sure that the pattern matches at eye level first; this helps align lower and higher levels later. Butt the edges together, don’t overlap them!  And remember the wallpaper will dry out in around 10 minutes, so you have that time to align patterns. Clean the seam with a wet sponge to remove excess paste.

10) Repeat and don’t stress out

Because installing wallpaper is hard and stressful, take your time to do this project and try to relax. A project like this will take you all day to complete if it is your first time so don’t hurry.

How to trim around windows 

When you reach a window hang the next length of paper so that it overlaps the recess. Make horizontal cuts in the paper to release it and, using your utility knife, trim the paper so it fits around the window sill. Trim the edges. On applying too much paste

For beginners like us, it was hard to figure out how much paste to apply on the wallpaper. Now we know that you don’t need a lot. Lightly damp is enough paste. If you apply too much this will happen to you:
Lots of paste can ruin your wallpaper because it can stain it and because it requires using your smoothing tool a LOT to get rid of the bubbles formed by the extra paste – if you have uneven walls this process could rip your paper, so be careful.

Final result

As hard as it was to do this project, it was totally worth saving the money by doing it ourselves. The wallpaper looks great and the job looks professionally done. Can you spot the seams in final photos below?

I hope these instructions are helpful! and good luck installing your own wallpaper! It will be hard but rewarding, just like creating this post.


Also, a post about how to paint your walls, cool wallpapers for a nursery, and, light fixtures for your living room.

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