Kid Craft – Halloween Ghosties

I like this one because it’s easy on Mommy, and uses stuff you have around the house. Or, at least, stuff I have around the house. Just:

tissue paper (can be leftovers), coffee filters (which you can skip), ribbon (or something to tie with) and styrofoam balls (or pom-poms or bouncy balls or anything round.)

It helps to have an “expert color-er” as well.

Oh yeah, these are some colorful ghosts.

For the little ones (1.5″ Styrofoam balls), I cut the tissue paper into fourths. For the big ones (2″ balls) I used the whole sheet. Cut enough ribbon to tie a loop. Cut a slit as wide as the ribbon in the coffee filter and tissue paper. Slide ribbon through. Curse when you realize you cut the slit too big. Tape ribbon into place on bottom of coffee filter. Pile the whole mess together – ball, filter, tissue paper – and tie another piece of ribbon under the ball. Hand ghost to small child for decorating.

They look great on the mantle.

They* look great on a chandelier.

They will not look great hanging outside.


*The chandelier ones were made with cut up egg cartons instead of balls. I don’t recommend it. Not nicely rounded. Halloween ideas for egg cartons:





Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ding Dong

Doorbell rings at 4:20 in the morning.  Is it:

a) Robbers casing the joint

b) Candygram

3) Cops letting us know that our tree cracked in half and was blocking 3/4ths of the road.

I’m assuming C is the correct answer since the City workers told me the police called it in earlier. I wasn’t about to answer the door at 4 am, though, cops or not! At 7:30, our neighbor called and informed us of the wayward tree branch. City was called at 7:35, City was there by 7:50 when I got back from dropping the Wee One at school, tree branch was cut up and finished by 8:45. Very efficient!

Of course, we got a quote from a tree trimmer about a week ago about all our landscaping needs, including trimming the branches of that tree off the street level and thinning it out so it’s not as heavy. We’re scheduled for early next week. Guess the tree didn’t want to wait! He’s actually coming out today to take a look and see if we can save the tree itself now.

It looks like it was struck by lightning – even though we didn’t have any! It might have happened earlier and the heavy winds we had did it in. But these are definitely burn marks.

The landscaper is also removing about 1/4 of the crape myrtles around the side and back yards, committing “crape murder” on some of the others so we can start over and keep them manageable, and attempting to kill off the trumpet vine. He’s also removing a half dozen small trees in the backyard that are, apparently, wild mulberry trees, and cause staining bird poop. Once he’s done it’s going to look a lot less weedy and random, I hope! And then in the spring we can start the process of landscaping and planting my raised bed garden on schedule.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Stash/Scrap Project – Coffee Cup Sleeve

I’ve been meaning to do this project forever, and finally got around to it when Sew Mama Sew announced Scrap Busting Month. And I’ll do just about anything for a gift certificate to the SMS shop!

This is a great scrap project because you can use such little bits and pieces for the sleeve. I tend to save anything bigger than 1×1″, so it’s nice to have a project to bust some little scraps.

I added some variations at the end, so read through before starting!

Step 1 – go to your favorite coffee shop and order your favorite drink. If you need a suggestion, I recommend a skinny latte, half pump caramel, half pump vanilla – if you’re being good. If you’re being bad, go for the peppermint white mocha. Make sure the drink comes with the cardboard sleeve. After finishing your coffee, carefully pull apart the sleeve.

Now you have a template!

Step 2 – put the template on your inside of choice. You can use Insul-Brite (I did), regular batting (especially if you’re using up scraps of batting!), or interfacing. If you’re using interfacing, though, I’d pick the heaviest weight available. Coffee is hot! Do not use the cardboard as batting unless you plan on never washing it.

Cut out the batting/interfacing in the shape of the template.

Step 3 – pull out those scraps! I used leftovers from the Butterfly Baby Quilt. I had a couple leftover squares that were begging to be pinwheeled, and lots of other little pieces to choose from.

Lay out scraps next to the template-batting to make sure you have enough. I used flannel on the front sides, and they are toasty warm around a cup.

Sew your two sides. I used 1/4″ seams.

Step 4 – put the two sides together, right sides facing each other, with the template-batting on top.

Sew along the template edge.

Leave a small hole to turn the fabric. Not too small of a hole, Insul-Brite at least is rather thick and hard to turn! (I actually stuffed mine after turning, which was also a pain!)

Step 5 – trim away the excess fabric, especially at the corners.

Step 6 – turn the fabric. Insert batting if you forgot it. Sew the hole shut either by machine or by hand. (Or, see Step 7 before sewing hole.)

Step 7 – determine how you want to secure the cozy. I hand-sewed the edges together. It probably would have worked just as well to hold the edges together and whip-stitch it. I don’t think I’d recommend machine sewing the edges, just because it’d be a little bulky of a seam.

But there’s plenty of other ways to finish it. You could:

1) go plain with the fabrics and add a wide ribbon to wrap-tie it, like the crayon rolls.

2) make the left and right side longer and add velcro to the back side before sewing the front and back together.

3) leave a hole on each side and add ribbon to tie.

4) make the sides a little longer and add a cute button and buttonhole. Or a button and fabric or ribbon loop.

5) use hook and eyes to secure it. Or any fasteners or snaps!

Okay, that’s not really plenty. Any other suggestions, add in the comments! 🙂

Step 8 – go back to your favorite coffee shop and order another peppermint white mocha a skinny latte. Slide your new sleeve over the drink and watch everyone ooh and ahh. Feel smug about the number of cardboard sleeves that will no longer go to the landfill…as you sip from your disposable cup.

Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 8:45 pm  Comments (2)  
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Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Goooooo!

The Wee One is determined. That sounds better than stubborn, right? He decided the day after Halloween last year that he was going to be Speed Racer this year. Seeing as he was three and that age is naturally capricious, I didn’t believe it would last and didn’t buy the costume on clearance.

Yeah, determined.

Eleven months later, he still wants to be Speed Racer. The costume is not in stores because, let’s face it, Speed did not do well enough in theaters to merchandise into two years. (I’ve watched it with the Wee One about 600 times now. I still can’t follow the plot.) Meanwhile, there’s more Cars cars released every day.

I was going to go simple – a blue shirt, red scarf, white pants, maybe a white jacket if I felt daring.

But then Hobby Lobby had a pattern sale. One week it was Simplicity, one week McCall’s.

McCall’s has a jumpsuit pattern.

(McCall’s also carries Hilary Duff’s line, and some of that stuff is cute! Um, for, like, tweens and stuff. Hey, she’s on Gossip Girl, I can think she’s cool now, right?)

For 99 cents, I’ll buy a pattern. For about $4, I’ll  buy some white and blue broadcloth. Blue and white ribbon came from my stash, and there you have it. A $5 costume.

Well, not just magically. It took about an hour to cut it out and two hours to sew it.

The Wee One helpfully checks the pattern size.

The cat helpfully…well, no. He’s pretty much just a pain. (The Wee One says Tycho wants to be Speed Racer for Halloween, too, causing me to say “We are not making a jumpsuit for the cat.” Words I’d never thought I’d say before having a boy. Wedge wants to be a “Halloween cat” for Halloween. Since he’s already black, I think we’re good.)

Also note my inspiration, Speed Racer. There’s very few pictures online of the full jumpsuit! (Too bad, because Speed’s butt was very… Okay, nevermind on that one…)

I followed the instructions on sewing the jumpsuit – although, obviously, I didn’t have a color contrast in front. I also sewed the outer legs before I was supposed to, so I had a seam to sew the racing stripe to.

It made the sleeves a heck of a lot harder, but it was worth it in the end.

Still need to hem it, and add the collar and belt. Oh, and find a white helmet somewhere…

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Another Airplane Baby Quilt – Finished!

I bet you thought I forgot about this one… Well, I did! So there! My mother took it to Virginia to bind it for me, and even sent pictures when she finished, and I’m just getting around to posting it. But, it looks pretty good, don’t you think? (So do Mom’s hardwood floors. Jealous!)

Totally semi-related, the local quilt shop teaches a class on how to sew with minkee (which is the real name of evil chenille.) The Wee One wants me to take the class so I can sew him a blankie to match his blankie pouch. (Have I ever posted that? Another day!)

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  

I Wanna Be a Cowboy Baby…Quilt (Finished Front)

Well, that was easier and harder than I thought. It took a while to figure out what order was the best to sew in, but turning the corners really wasn’t that hard. Of course, everything didn’t turn out nice and pointy in the end. I think I need a real 1/4″ foot and not a line drawn on my normal one!

The best method I found for putting together a five point star block was to sew the top two pieces together, then the bottom three star pieces.

Then I added the borders to those pieces.

Finally sewed the two star pieces to the three star pieces, and added the rest of the borders.

See how that’s totally not square? Yeah, I dunno. That’s why I’m taking a quilt class! The first of many! I was able to get it straighter when adding the sashing and borders, but then I chopped off a bunch of the star points. (The border and the very center are a pink flannel.) Hopefully it will look okay once I quilt a star pattern on it. Maybe?

Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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I Wanna Be a Cowboy Baby…Quilt (Fabric & Pattern)

Hee. I just like the name of this one. I was going to go with “The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright Deep in the Heart of Texas” – seeing as it’s a Dallas Cowboys’ quilt and all. But really, Kid Rock just flows better!

So I got a request for a pink Dallas Cowboys’ quilt. Go ahead, do a search for pink Dallas Cowboys fabric. Yeah, doesn’t so much exist. I got the brilliant idea to get the white Cowboys’ fabric and dye it. Except Joann’s online freaking ran out before they filled my order (but helpfully sent me the rest of my order. Now if I don’t have one of the fabrics, what use do I have for the others???) Joann’s in-store didn’t have the fabric, and special ordering required two yards. No thanks, I don’t need extra!! I ended up buying it at – cost more than Joann’s, but they promised not to freaking run out on me!

White Dallas Cowboys fabric….

Pink Dallas Cowboys fabric!

It washed out to a lovely pale pink that goes perfectly with the pink star fabric from The blue fat quarter was from Walmart, snatched up in their misguided closing of the fabric section. I figured more stars can never hurt.

This is my pattern – like I said, more stars! I’m probably going to sash it out in the blue for accent. I’m a little worried about all the star corners – there’s a lot of angles to sew instead of straight lines! But I think I know what I’m doing. We’ll see!

(Also, I’d like to point out the current standings. Giants, 5-0; Cowboys, 3-2. And the mom-to-be is from Jersey. Tsk tsk!)

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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Butterfly Baby Quilt – Back & Quilted

I don’t know if this is the back or the front any more. I do know I’m not happy with it any more! It didn’t come close to squaring up right, the Magic Chalk didn’t work so I ended up quilting it stitch-in-the-ditch, and I was short 2.5″ of the stripe-y flannel, so I had to go to Hobby Lobby and OF COURSE the pattern was horizontal instead of vertical so I had to buy a half yard instead of 3″! Argh!

The only good news (besides that it’s done!) is that I had enough leftover brown dots from the monkey quilt to bind it.

I still have to fold over the binding and hand sew it. Busy work for the car ride to OKC tomorrow!

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Butterfly Baby Quilt – What’s in a Name? (And a Butterfly?)

Well, that was time-consuming! I’m now in awe of anyone who can do big quilts with lots of little pieces. I spent the last two days standing up and walking between my bed, ironing board, sewing machine, and sitting again.

There are 64 individual pieces of fabric in the name Ashley.

There are 27 individual pieces of fabric in a butterfly block. I made four…that’s 108 pieces sewn together.

(Name sewn, one butterfly sewn, two laid out.)

But finally, after way too much work, her name is done, and so are four butterflies! I did almost all of it in chain sewing, but I had to keep everything laid out on the bed and couldn’t get too many steps ahead or I’d get lost and sew something wrong. And I had very little of the stripes left to work with, so I couldn’t get anything wrong. But see, they’re all facing the right direction!

Now all I have left is joining all this together with some stripe-y flannel to make the back (or front?) of the quilt, then I’m breaking out the free-motion pattern. (Is that an oxymoron?)

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Butterfly Baby Quilt – Using the Alphabet

At first I thought this was going to be a quick and easy quilt, beyond the complication of free-motion quilting for the first time. Then I thought it would be a good idea to put her name on it.

Yeah, alphabets suck. EQ gives you the option of lots of corners and intricacies, so I sketched out something simpler on graph paper. Even that has been complicated to cut! And I still haven’t done the triangle pieces to make the corners. But I do know how many of each I need, and wrote myself a reminder on how to cut the stripes…

Can you see her name?

Tomorrow I’ll cut out the eight corners and see if I can sew it all together without messing up. We’ll see!

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment