Thursday, September 30, 2010

Benefit for boobs

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by the local Torrid store if I would be interested in donating a gift basket for a raffle at their event to benefit breast cancer. With about 300 things on my plate right now, I figured what's one more? Plus it's a great cause.

The event is called Breast Cancer Can Kiss My Booty and it's this Saturday (October 2nd) from 3 to 7pm at Jordan Creek Mall in Des Moines. They are going to have window models, a runway show, swag bags, a raffle, snacks, karaoke, and door prizes. If you're local, I hope you can find time to stop in. They will also have $15 off any pair of jeans when you donate $5 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

In my gift basket/raffle prize I included two different sets of Halloween wine labels, a set of creepy jar labels, a set of four spice jars with Halloween labels, a tote, a set of Boo frames, and two tiny treat bags (post on these to come soon!). Total value of almost $65! I'd be excited to win it, so I hope others will be too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For the birds

The new Halloween decoration showed up in the mail this week! It's a vinyl wall decal.
I apologize for the horrendous photos. My camera sucks.
I bought this one from Byrdie Graphics on Etsy. I cannot say enough nice things about them or this graphic. The shipping was super fast. The directions were clear and the application took only a few minutes. The result is great! I'm so happy with it!

I leaned my decorative ladder against the branch and added a couple of feathered crows to the rungs. I think the whole thing looks fun together and goes great with my Edgar Allan Poe display.

The cats, however, are not that impressed with the fake birds. Alven has been swatting at them since they went up. They have already been moved once because of him and I imagine Winston will be even worse once he notices them. Ah well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Little House of Horrors

It's no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday because it's all about fun with no obligations or pressure, until you become known as the Halloween Queen in your circle of friends. Then the pressure is on to have the best decor and costume, but I still love it.

When getting out your holiday decor takes the same amount of time as watching two and a half Halloween movies, it can be a daunting task. With the help of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus and about half of Bram Stoker's Dracula, we got them all out last night. It's official, we need a bigger house or less Halloween decor. Since a bigger house isn't in the cards for a while, I made a bag for Good Will. It's sad, but past time.

The newest display of Halloween fun came without a single new purchase! It's Edgar Allan Poe's writing desk. I got the idea from a magazine and ended up having everything I needed.

The clock normally hangs in the living room and the framed "chalkboard" is actually a frame I had with black fabric inside and the "chalk" is white paint right on the glass that will easily come off after Halloween. The candelabra is from Good Will a few years ago.

The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (with dust jacket removed), plus a couple of antique English  literature textbooks and a pair of unused glasses set the stage. The skull just adds a bit more creepiness.

The recently acquired typewritter was my grandparents' and the old photos are actual relatives - great, great grandparents I think. I was going to start typing The Raven, but Terra had a better idea and suggested using The Shining instead. Now the paper says "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," over and over again. What do you think? I really love it.

One more display to show you quick. Most of the items pictured are from Good Will or the Salvation Army including all the candlestick holders and candelabra, the lanterns on the top of the two shorter bookcases and the pedestal bowls. One can of black spray paint later, they fit right into the Halloween display. The books are all books I own and have read with titles like Murder, Entombed and Shadows. Remove the dust jackets and you've got a creepy library going.

I've ordered one new decoration from Etsy this year and I'll post pictures once it arrives along with a few of the other displays in the house and yard. Happy Haunting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pins around the rosies

As I mentioned in the last post, I decided to make myself some cute and functional pincushions to replace my old, ugly and generally crappy ones. Here's part two: a comfortable wrist pincushion that protects your arm from getting poked.

Again - this is a pseudo tutorial - not super detailed, step-by-step, but enough to get the job done for an intermediate sewer.

For the flower: You need two 3.5ish inch circles. (I used the lid to a jar of peanut butter to make the circles.) Plus a decorative button and coordinating embroidery thread.
1. Sew the circles together, right sides together, leaving a 1" hole.
2. Turn, stuff and hand sew closed.
3. Thread a long piece of thread from the bottom, looping around to the bottom again and pull tight to create some pucker. Repeat 4 times until you have split the circle into quarters. Repeat, splitting each quarter in half so you have eight "pedals."
4. Sew button to the top center. 
Winston, my "helper cat" immediately thought this was his.
For the wrist band: You need a 2.5 inch wide, 20ish inch long piece of felt, a Cool Whip (or similar) plastic lid and a 1.5 inch piece of Velcro.
1. Fold the felt strip in half. Sew both long sides. Turn right side out.
2. Cut a 2" square out of the plastic lid. Snip off or round corners. Insert the plastic into the wrist band and center. Sew a seam on either side to hold in place.
3. Flip in open end and sew all the way around the wrist band about 1/8 inch from the edge, closing the open end in the process.
4. Sew the loopy side of the Velcro to one end on the top, and the hook side of the Velcro to the bottom of the other end.

Hand stitch the flower to the top layer of felt on the wristband, centered above the plastic insert.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pushing Pins

I've been sewing a lot again and finally got fed up with my pincushions for the final time. I had one of those tiny tomato pincushions with the even tinier strawberry attached to it. My wrist pincushion was an 89¢ Wal-Mart special that typically inflicts more injury than it's worth. So I started scouring blogland and found so many cute, fun and funky patterns that I was overwhelmed. From my research, I did come up with two things: 1. I wanted one HUGE cushion that is stable and heavy enough it doesn't go flying every time I pull a pin out of it, and 2. I needed a comfortable wrist pincushion that I can't accidentally stick pins all the way through and into my arm.

Here's what I came up with to fulfill want #1:

I used some coordinating scraps of Viviana by Lonni Rossi for Andover Fabrics. I wouldn't call this post a tutorial, but I think that most beginner sewers could figure this out. Start with two 6" squares (one each of two different fabrics) and a long strip (about 25" x 3") of a third fabric.
1. Cut the two squares into 4 triangles each (corner to corner).
2. Using two triangles from fabric 1 and two from fabric 2, piece them together to make squares again. Repeat with remaining triangles so you are back with two squares.
3. Sew the strip around one of the squares. Then sew the ends of the strip together, cutting off excess.
4. Sew second square to strip, leaving a 2" hole on one side to turn and stuff.
5. Turn right side out, stuff, hand sew the opening closed and attach a button to the center of each side. Viola!

I really like the depth this has. It all has a weight to it so it stays put. It was quick and fun to make and now I might even pin things I'm sewing like I should!

Stay tuned for a pseudo tutorial for a very comfortable and adorable wrist pincushion.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pretty in Paisley

My friend Rae Lynne of Drip, Drip, Drop and fame, is a self-taught and very talented fabric and fiber artist. She was looking for a new logo, and I'm always looking for trades that get me cute, handmade things without draining the checking account!

Here's what she got:

And here's what I am getting in return (I think - it's sort of a surprise):

I think we both are pretty pleased with the results of our collaboration! What do you think?

What's black and white and FREE all over?

This quilt top that I just finished. Thanks to my friend Meredith who donated all the fabric (except one pattern that was left over from a past Halloween costume) I made this entire quilt top without spending a penny! What's better than that? I have the pieces all cut for a second, similar quilt from all these same free fabrics. So two quilts for the cost of backing and batting. Can't argue with that! I think they will both end up being Christmas presents this year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm a quilter!

It's official. I'm 28 going on 68. I finished my first quilt this week and I love it and I loved the process of making it! My grandma would be so proud.
I used 4 smaller prints from Alexander Henry - bats, cats, trees and spider webs. Plus one larger print - The Ghastlies - in 4 different colors. The whole quilt is 88 inches square. Every part of it is my favorite part, but my most favorite part is that it's Halloween but not bright orange and black. At first glance, it doesn't scream "Halloween!"

I am calling my freehand curly-q quilting design "bumble bee" because it looks like the path a cartoon bee would leave behind it. My friend Alisa was nice enough to teach me how to quilt on her mom's long arm sewing machine and we had so much fun! I can't wait to finish the other two tops I am working on so we can do it again.

For the back of the fabric, I used another Alexander Henry fabric with craggy and gnarly owls. The swirly branch lines that the owls are perched on are what inspired the bumble bee quilting pattern.

So what do you think? Not bad for a first crack at a quilt!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It was contagious!

I built a Halloween treasury on Etsy and now I'm featured in 6 treasuries!
They're creepy and their kooky, Mysterious and spooky. They're all together ooky, And you can find them here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like Autumn

Today's high is only in the 70s and the low tonight - in the 50s! To me, that means Halloween! So I created an Etsy treasury that's creepy and elegant mixed with a little fun. Time to start planning a spooky party. So excited!


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