Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

I used to love taking my kids Tricker Treating, and now that they are to older, I miss it. My son did go with me tonight on a Halloween walk to look at the decorations and costumes. I didn't want to miss all the excitement. There is a historical street in our town that every one used to flock to for Halloween. Crowds of kids and parents all dressed up flooded the sidewalks.Tonight there were small crowds, but not like when my kids were little. I remember it used to take close to an hour just to walk three blocks.
When we were all done we walked back to the car and headed for home. We turned on our street, and right on the side of the road stood this lone female...just standing there. It must have been how the car lights shined on her, cause my son and I both screamed ....she looked just like the girl from "The Ring" movie. Scared us both! Since she was standing on the corner of my moms front yard, we decided to drive around the block, but she was already gone. It was that fast. We thought we'd go look for a few more decorations and call it a night,again. Then, we saw the same girl ,with her boyfriend this time, walking down the street. The funny thing was they were not even dressed in costumes!
That was the creepiest thing we saw all night ...and yes, I went home and called to check on my mom =)

Pumpkin Seeds




Every year we make spiced pumpkin seeds! They smell fabulous when they are baking! Aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg....the guys always start drifting out from their man caves to see what I'm cooking up.
The ones I make are mostly sweet, but there is no limit to the spices you can add. They make great gifts for friends ,neighbors,and teachers, whoever. I know they don't last very long at our house.
Since I was asked how I make them, I re-posted. The recipe is on the link below.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Little Lady Pincushion

I have been making these little lovelies for years. It reminds me of the old time mop caps. They are a perfect gift for a sewer or stitcher.  I like to do the same face pattern for these because it is easy, but I switch up the fabrics and accents and come up with a completely different style for each persons personality. Its not an original, I found the pattern in a craft magazine many years ago & loved it so much I've been making them ever since. They are so easy! I still use the first one I ever made, poor thing is all worn. I did give in one time and made a new one for myself...but it sits in the living room as a cute little decoration.
This one however, is for some one special! She is always losing her needles and pins, so I thought it might help solve this little problem before some one sits down and gets a surprise.

If you want to make one you will need:
* terracotta pot (mine was just shy of three inches tall, but no size was listed. These can be found at craft stores all year round.)
* two to make the top of the "hat" (approx.7 inches cut out), and one for the accent yo yo
( mine was made with a 3 inch circle. )
* embroidery floss or thread
* needle
* scissors
* yarn or trim for hair
* ribbon for a bow
* a button or bobble to add to your accent yo yo
* hot glue & glue sticks
* black fine tipped permanent marker (face)
* paints ~  flesh color to paint the pot, your choice color for the heart on the smile, & a color for the cheeks
* paint or foam brush (pot)
* stencil brush (cheeks)
* stuffing
* tooth pick (optional)

To get started, paint your pot flesh color. I like to paint a few pots at a time and store any Im not using so I can just pull one out the next time I want to make a gift. Once the paint is dry, add the "hair". It can be yarn, ribbon, or fringe trims, any thing you can hot glue on. There is a lip around the top of the pot, I just cover that whole thing vertically. If I use a fringe for the hair, I go back and trim it (if needed) when I'm ready to add the face .

 I used a paper party plate as a pattern for the larger circle. It measured 7 inches, but you can use any size as long as it covers the top of the pot once its sewn and stuffed. For the large circle, just sew around it like you would a yo yo, but do not knot it yet.( I use three strands of floss for this since I've had threads break on this part before.) Pull your thread to start closing the circle, just leave it open enough to stuff it really good with poly-fil or whatever you like to use. After it is stuffed firmly, pull the thread to close it all the way and knot it.The bottom will be in the pot and wont show. Make a regular sized yo yo in your second choice of fabric and set aside.( I used a three inch circle,but again, you can use your own choice of size.)

Once the "hat" (large circle) is finished, hot glue it on the top of your pot. I put a small line of glue on the top ridge of the pot and a lot of glue at the top of the inside edge. Quickly position the "hat", sewn side down and just press it on and let dry. It only takes a minute.
Next your ready for the bow of ribbon. You can tie it as big or small as you like, just remember it needs to show under your accent yo yo. Glue your bow on between the pot and hair line, I like to set mine off to one side.
Now we can glue the finished accent yo yo to the knot of the bow, sewn side up this time, and finally the it on your accent yo yo over the hole and glue it on. All the steps with glue are done.
With the black permanent marker draw your face on the pot.You can practice this step on paper first.( I like to wait till I have every thing put together before I add the face, so I can see where I want to place it, but you can do this step any time after your painted pot is dry.)
Add a painted heart on the center of her smile and let dry.( I make three small dots with a tooth pick, sharp end cut off, and then work them together in the shape of a heart,but use what ever technique you are comfortable with. )
With the stencil brush add color to her cheeks. Note: You want to get a small amount of paint on the brush and then work it on paper until its almost dry... you can practice the application on paper for this step too. You want to get it so it looks like just a bit of blush.
Project done! You should now have yourself one nice looking little lady!

This is my first one...
(Note: If any one knows which magazine this pattern came from I would like to add a link =)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shrinky Dink Postcard

I have a lot of fun exchanging postcards. Now I have a challenge...A student of art in Turkey has exchanged regular postcards with me and now we are going to exchange handmade ones. I did warn her...I have never made a postcard. I have done many other projects so this should turn out ok. Ive been wracking my brain to come up with some thing creative. Ive always wanted to try this, but unless it is specifically requested on the site I swap postcards on, you do not send out handmade ones. Now, I have to figure out what the post office will allow to be sent through the mail & hope it arrives at its destination in one piece.

I like textures and was looking for some thing thick and durable to mail, so my "brilliant" plan (and I am being sarcastic) was to try shrinky dink postcards. Every one loves making those, so I have been playing with them all day. I know, I know, great use of my time, right? They have turned out cute so far, if not a little on the small side. They do not shrink 100% straight though.
I used a full shrinky dink paige which is 10 inches. It shrank down to 4 inches across. I used clear, because that's what I had, but I was hoping I had some left over opaque. First, I used a corner punch so they wouldn't be sharp. Then, I used permanent marker to make the middle line, address, and write out what I wanted it to say. Now its time for the oven.....

The first one turned out good, shrank and then flattened out like normal. The second one shrank but curled up and stuck to itself on one corner. Fail! So watch while it is in the oven. I had a wooden skewer ready when I tried the second one again to keep it from touching, but I didnt need to use it.

This was the fun part...the decorating. I cut the designs out of the napkins that I wanted to use and removed the extra back layer and mod podged them to the front of the shrinky dink (no writing on this side).

After it was done drying I inked the edges and surface wrinkles & sprayed it with a fine golden mist spray (Maya Mists) to add sheen. Instead of being clear like the original shrinky dink sheet it looks frosted, which is what I wanted, you can still see through it but not enough to read it.

Add a clear finishing spray, allow to dry... and done! Just need to add the stamps and get it in the mail.
I did notice that the middle line on the back shows through a little more than I thought it would. Next time I will use the smaller fine tipped permanent black marker.

To my disappointment the post office said these were to small to send through the mail without being in an envelope (sigh). The finished size was 4 inches wide and approximately 3.5 inches, an envie it is.
Hope they like them any way=)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Franken Dotee Doll

I made this Franken Dotee Doll one year for Halloween.Yep, he is an original. I was going to swap him, but I liked him so much I decided to keep him. There are hundreds of versions of dotee dolls ... shaped bodies, straight or tube like bodies, whatever the maker prefers. Its like an art doll. They can have a theme or be all occasion. From my understanding, to be a dotee it will have a body with a face, hanger, and a tail (no arms or legs) and is usually between 3 to 7 inches. Each maker usually comes up with a face and /or hair style they like to make as their own trademark. On the other dotees Ive made I love adding wild and crazy hair styles. Lots of room for creativity.
The body of this one is made of felt and accented with left over scraps of fabrics that I thought went with the Halloween theme.I usually hand sew the bodies-- no machine. His face was done with free hand embroidery and the hanger and tail are made of Halloween colored ribbons. The tails are usually embellished, so I used beads that I already had on hand. Some of them even glow in the dark!

 Little Miss Mummy Dotee  same concept and theme ...Halloween.

These are some of the dotee dolls I have received in swaps. I love seeing all the bead work, colors, designs & embroidery. Its just fun to see what others come up with. There isn't really a purpose besides the fun of it all and the creativity. Some crafters collect them. I've seen photos where some one has even decorated bare branch mini trees with them for Christmas, and it was adorable! Any little girl would love it! I just did mine for the fun, but I do have some favorites. Its good to challenge yourself now and then too.

Heidi also made me a Kitty Dotee when we adopted Khloe our cat. Too Cute!! I love handmade gifts!

This is one of the all occasion dotees that Ive made, and I have to say that she is my favorite so far! She's so sassy!
I have posted this one before, but instead of going back through all my posts I thought it would be easier for any one interested in dotees to see the different styles all together. These are just examples of a few ....if you search "dotees" there will be many many images=)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Comforts

Who doesn't enjoy some thing warm to snuggle up in during this nice cool fall weather. I refuse to turn the heat on this early in the season, so if your cold at my house grab a blanket!
This lovely quilt made in gold and accented with blue and red was handmade by my great grandma as a wedding quilt for my great aunt. My great grandmother had made one for all three of her girls when they got married, but I think this is the only one that has survived all these years. I remember my grandma (right) talking fondly about her own quilt and how much she treasured it and used it in her daily life. She was the youngest child and only twenty when she lost her mother. So, as you can imagine, this holds a special place in my heart.

Ok , this afghan was knit by my mom. The colors appear to be as bright as the flames of heck in these photos, but that is not the case, just my bad photography. Its made in warm colors of brown, red and a shade lighter than orange. I always take it out of storage in the fall to add the colors of the outdoors to the inside of my house. As you can probably tell from my more recent posts, fall is my one of my favorite seasons.
I have to admit that I did not always like this color scheme. I remember when these colors became a decorating fashion. My mom loved it and decorated our whole spare room (sewing room/sitting room) in oranges and brown plaid, and that included the furniture. Yuck!!!  Even though it might have been fashionable at the time it was not one of my favorite trends and being young my opinion didn't count. At least we skipped the shag carpet, to bad I cant say the same for the hip huggers. Needless to say, the house has been updated to modern times and that rooms decor long gone. Even though I hated these colors as plaid room decor I do love the afghan=)

My cousin Heidi took these beautiful photos in Kimball, West Virginia. This gorgeous fall scenery is just a stones throw away from her home. Wow, looks like it should be on a calendar, and she has given me permission to make some postcards with them as long as I send her some! Thank You ....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Front panel and back fabric

Finished blanket- I like to tie the knots so the back fabric colors show on the front.
(So, for this blanket the plaid material frames the printed front panel. )

  I finally got started on some of the fleece I had stashed away. Since fall is here and Halloween is soon to follow, I thought I would get this blanket done first. The thing I love about this one, beside the design, is the fact that it can be used for Halloween and fall. Once Halloween is over, you can just flip it to the plaid side and use for the rest of the season.
 If you have never made one of these fleece tie blankets before, they are super easy!! I finished this one in about an hour and a half. Not bad, I wasn't rushing ... they make nice holiday decorations as well as being practical for this time of year.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Golden Beauty

Every year our soft maple tree turns a beautiful golden yellow with orange & red highlights...and every year I intend to take pictures of it. Usually, I'm busy or don't have my camera ready when I'm thinking about it. So, I procrastinate and each time within one or two days after thinking about it, the leaves fall and the tree is bare before I get to it. It would be totally funny if I didn't have to wait a whole year to try again. Not this year though...I remembered to take the pictures and just in time too. Its raining today and the leaves are falling from the tree as fast as the rain drops. Kudos for me!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

This Cozy House

 I saw where some one mentioned on their blog that they like to see before and after photos of home projects....which got me thinking that I have never posted the make-over pictures of our house. I made a scrapbook of the changes. It was mostly cosmetic, even though we had hopes of more, but I am happy with what has been done so far. This was a few years ago, but I am still proud of the progress. We originally had the old metal crank open windows which were embedded in the walls. They were replaced with new tilt-in windows  & had deep new window seals made for the interior,new front door, roof, new siding and trim, full length porch with can lights and a special support beam for the swing.
 Before the make-over the front yard had two huge trees. Loved the shade, but it always looked dark in the yard and house regardless of how sunny it was outside. Grass was impossible to grow no matter what we tried, which made a muddy mess every winter. At one point the tree in front of the kitchen started causing problems with the plumbing. The roots were growing into the pipes. This was the tree we had removed. I hated to see it go, but I wanted to head off any future problems. We had the yard sodded and a small retaining wall added so no more of our yard would wash away. The city added a front sidewalk about a year after we worked on the house. Its not a mansion, but its home.
 I used to walk pass this house daily in my childhood. It was on my way to school and church. It was also on my paper route when I was a kid. I never in a million years thought that one day I would live here. I had only been in the house once back then. What drew me to it was how cozy it was on the inside, and I loved the fireplace. Years later, I noticed it went up for sale, so we went through the open house. It was still as cozy as I remembered, it just needed a personal touch. We have lived in this house now for almost 20 yrs. and we are still working on the inside one room at a time.
Hopefully, the kitchen will be next on the fixer upper list=)