Friday, October 31, 2008

sock monkey!

Can you see her sneaking a piece of candy before we even started out?
In keeping with sock monkey tradition, this was a "use what I have" costume. Every item in it down to the zipper came out of the stash.

Not much else to say, I just love looking at that little bum.
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sugar plum fairy

I had the glue gun going up til the time we had to leave the house, but her costume was done in time for trick-or-treating.

She even agreed that she looked more like a sugar plum fairy than an angel. And she was happy about it. (Letting her wear some silvery eye shadow, hair glitter and lipstick may have helped there.)

The yards and yards of lilac lace were out of my Grandma Bev's stash (thanks Bev!). The wings are an old pair that used to go with a Tinkerbell costume. I ripped off the already torn nylon and replaced it with the lilac lace. The silver leaves were in a bag of craft supplies I got at a thrift shop.

There were a lot of leaves...

See what I mean. The little rosebuds were in another bag of junk I thrifted.

Put together, I think it all turned out pretty spectacular. She definitely worked it.
About 30 seconds after eating the last piece of candy we allowed for the evening she asked how many days there were til Christmas.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

thrifty thursday

More garage sale goodness!
The feedsacks may have been the find of my lifetime, but the following would probably count as the bargain of my lifetime. I didn't have any idea what I had until I got home.
It started with seeing a box filled with ziplock bags marked "scrap bags - $1.00". My eye was drawn to one motif showing through the plastic, the bicycle in the fabric just below. I threw it in my pile figuring I liked the bike enough to pay a dollar to applique it to something even if there wasn't another thing in the bag of interest to me.
When I got home and opened it up I found plenty of the fabric I'd liked with even more motifs that were hidden by folds.
This was tucked in the bag as well, though I hardly call over a yard of fabric a scrap. There's also a 3 yd cut of vintage blue calico that I've forgotten to photograph.

One by one, these began spilling out - all precut by someone and all appear to be vintage. I imagine someone had a quilt top in mind. These were mostly blues-

While this group had other colors in the mix as well as a few other sizes.

I think I'll honor that original idea and sew them into a quilt as a Christmas present to myself. Not bad for a dollar.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

guest halloween crafter

The kids are counting down the days until Auntie Trish arrives for her annual Halloween visit. According to Ellie, we have two sleeps to go. I don't have the heart to tell her that Trish's flight doesn't arrive until after she's begun the third sleep.
Trish may not be as nuts about Halloween as we are, but she's certainly in the spirit. She sent me some crafty photos just in time to post and buy me another day of costume sewing.
Her mantel tableau:
My realm is fabric - Trish's is paper as evidenced by her cute banner.

I love these mini pumpkins with their sashes.

This pretty much says it all...

I'll post costumes at some point on Friday. More garage sale goodness tomorrow.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

countdown to halloween quilt

Will someone please tell me what happened to October? Between doing costumes for the show Glenn is involved in, Halloween costumes for the girls, two birthday/Halloween parties, preparing models for the next round of classes at the shop, sewing for the shop's open house... Uncle!
I'm still squeezing in time to sew things I want to make, in addition to what I'm supposed to make, but I can't seem to find a good time to check other blogs I like to follow or even keep up with e-mail. Even sewing has become a last minute type of activity around here. I'd cut out the pieces for this quilt in early September, hoping it would be ready by the beginning of October. Hah. It's almost funny to think how optimistic I was when cutting all those little squares.
The pattern is from Simple Fabric Folding for Halloween by Liz Aneloski (C&T Publishing). I've adjusted the pattern to include 30 pockets instead of the 25 she included. Thirty just makes more sense to me with there being 31 days in the month.
The finished size is about 16X36. The spiderweb is a tight machine satin stitch in metallic silver thread. I even used a piece of fabric from the garage sale to back the whole thing. This is part of my effort to keep her unused stash from becoming my unused stash.
The orange squares above are actually folded pieces of fabric with eyelets at the points. The points hang loose from the quilt so you can do this:
How cute is that? Obviously, this didn't get done in time for a Halloween countdown. Instead, I used it at Trixie's spooky birthday party last Thursday for game prizes.
Need proof this was last minute? Look carefully at the top. Isn't everyone using binder clips to hang their quilts these days?
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Friday, October 24, 2008

school days dress

What to do when I have a perfectly good onesie shirt that doesn't work on a potty trained child and a dress with ruined buttonholes on the bodice? Sew them together.
I got to use more of my favorite buttons too.

Ages ago, someone asked me how I put buttons on by machine and I never got around to posting it before. It's really easy. First, you need to drop the feed dogs on your machine so the fabric doesn't advance as you sew them on. I use an open embroidery foot so I can see the button better, like below.

Put the button under the foot. If it slips a bit, I use a dab of glue from a glue stick on the bottom of the button to give it a little hold on the fabric. Change the stitch to a zig zag - test the width by turning the flywheel by hand. When it's set so the needle goes in the holes on opposite swings, you're ready. Now just sew about 10 stitches. You can either clip the threads close or draw the top thread through to the back and tie them off (the more secure option). This method works well for buttons that are purely decorative. When I'm sewing buttons on by machine that need to work on a blouse, I use another foot that has a pin in the center that gives some extra play in the thread so the fabric on the side with the buttonholes will fit easily under the button. Next time I need to use it, I'll try to take a few pictures.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

thrifty thursday - part 1

Perhaps I should title this one "the mother of all garage sales".
Word went out to my quilting group (and other guilds in the area) that an area quilter had passed away and her family was selling off the stash. I thought I might find a few pieces of fabric and headed out last Friday morning with Trixie. (To make sure I had plenty of time to look, I brought her stroller and a portable DVD player for her. Worked like a charm and I have no idea why it took me so long to think of doing that.) Anyway, I cannot begin to describe what was being sold. In fact, I won't even try. Let's just say I won't be thrifting for awhile because I came home with so much stuff (and returned two more times) that I could sew for the entire year with my new treasures. I'll be posting the finds for the next month's worth of thrifty thursdays.
She had a huge selection of 30's reproduction prints that I was drawn to. The daugher noticed and said that she had 6 bins in the basement of just those that she couldn't get out in time for the sale and perhaps I would like to go in the house and look through them. (This is when I started to do deep breathing.) Her father took me down to have a look.

As I was choosing we started talking and he commented about the styles I was picking. He asked if I liked the feedsack reproductions. I said I did and wished I could find feedsacks that were within my price range. He agreed that the prices being charged for them now were pretty outrageous. Then he said he was pretty sure there was a box of them somewhere if I was interested. (This is when the heart palpitations began.)
There were about 45 actual feedsacks in the box he located. I wound up buying 35. At the most reasonable prices I will ever see in this lifetime.

Keep scrolling down through the next two posts to see the rest.
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thrifty thursday - part 2

A lot of the blues are going to become a quilt.

Some of these may find themselves in clothes for the girls' eventually.

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thrifty thursday - part 3

This one faded in a lovely way when I washed it. I'm thinking the words will look great cut apart and pieced in a quilt.
Love the house in this one.

He asked what I'd do with this one. I'm thinking apron.

I may just need to stare at them for a long time before I can take a pair of scissors to any one of them.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

spooky party games

Party time again!
Our version of bobbing for apples(without the nasty slobbering in a bucket of water).
Wrap the Mummy
Give each pair of kids a roll of toilet paper and let them go. We didn't really have any rules of how you won. I just gave everyone some candy for their bag after they were done laughing.
Pin the Tail on the Black Cat
Ellie drew the cat and cut out the tails for this one. All the tails were remarkably close to hind end of the cat. I think I had a bunch of cheaters on my hands.

The start of the scavenger hunt. They had a blast with this one running all over the yards looking for the hidden clues. The last one led them to a bag filled with the flashlight prizes.

We also had a dress up relay race. The kids were in two teams- each having a bin of dress ups they had to run to, grab one item, put it on, and return to their line and tag the next person. First team to empty their bin won. The boys who wound up putting on the hula skirts and floaty scarves got the most giggles. No pictures of that one because I didn't think to ask other parents if I could post their kids' faces.
Now I need to get ready for Trixie's dress up party this week. Far more low key - just three little friends coming over for a little make believe fun, hot pumpkin and pin the tail on the black cat. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll cut their little sandwiches with the Halloween cookie cutters.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ellie's invitations

Ellie decided that she wanted a "Spooky Halloween Birthday Party" this year even if it meant waiting a month after her actual birthday to have it.
Invitations were sent out.
The paper is brown kraft stuff that I bought at Paper Source in Chicago years ago. The stamps I used were sent to me by Carol and are from the Martha Stewart line at Michael's. The paper is held together by a spider ring and the candy was from Target.
Both were popped into a small (size 1) bag that had been stamped and was sewn shut with a zig zag stitch at it's widest and longest setting. (Yes, this meant hand delivery.) The bags are from a restaurant supply store. You'll want to pick something you'll use a lot because they're sold in packs of 250 or 500. I've had them so long now I can't remember how many I started with.

I sewed favor bags that'll do double duty as trick-or-treat bags on the big day. Ellie wrote out her friends' names after I stamped the tags. (The cat stamp is an old one from Stampin' Up.)
Inside we put a pencil, notepad and pencil topper stamp. The kids each got a mini pumpkin when they were out after playing hot pumpkin (same as hot potato, but with mini gourds). The skeleton was a chenille stem craft we all did at the beginning of the party while waiting for everyone to arrive. Flashlights were the prize at the end of a scavenger hunt. She's eaten the candy she got as prizes for other games.

Tomorrow, pictures of some of the games.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

carissa's blocks

This month's Common Threads challenge was a blast. Carissa gave us free reign to create whatever we wanted - any size, any combinations, even the option to create more than one block. I think being able to do more than one actually helped me get going on this project.
I knew the minute I saw this stripe that I wanted to cut it up and change the direction of each piece. This basketweave block was the result.
This was my interpretation of the blending of the two feature fabrics and the muslin that she sent my way. I played with the stripes again, but added some embroidery to bridge the gap.

The embroidery motifs that I'd add to this fabric were obvious the minute I looked at it. I'm still not positive I like the stripe on that one side, but I wanted to use all three together and I was running very short on the stripe by the time I got to this one. Carissa asked that we send any scraps back if there of significant size. I used every single bit of the stripe.

This one gives me a flashback to girl scout camp in the mid-70's. Didn't we all make God's eyes with popsicle sticks and yarn? I gave hand applique a little go round on this one as well.

Thanks for the fun Carissa!
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