Monday, October 31, 2011

Harry - I Mean Happy Halloween!

Greetings Wizards & Witches and Muggles and Squibs!
Halloween, it's finally here! Too bad it's on a Monday, but I digress... So! I'm excited to show you guys my final Halloween post, I think I've saved the best for last and I hope you like it too.

What I wanted to share with you guys today is a little interior Halloween decor, more specifically, the way I decorated the mantle above our fireplace. After seeing Jill's Harry Potter shrine last year (and this year too, look here!) I knew that this was something that I would love, love, love to do! I'm also a huge Harry Potter fan (to the point of obsession!) but I've already told you that. And although Harry Potter isn't necessarily tied with Halloween, when else could you decorate like this? Never. I'd probably leave my mantle like this year round if I thought I would get away with it. Ready?

I wanted my shrine to look realistic, items pulled right out of Hogwarts. My friend told me she thinks it looks like a movie prop, that made me really happy, that's exactly what I was going for! Ready?

Here is the first shot of the mantle, we'll go through it from right to left. I've packed in lots of little details, so we'll take a look at all of them. Get ready for lots of pictures! You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them for more detail.

The Sorting Hat! I've been sorted into Gryffindor. Yup~yup!

Someone's been into Professor Snape's stores! Boomslang Skin... Lacewing Flies? Could somebody be brewing Polyjuice Potion?

Harry's glasses, and a few of his galleons. Also, what's this?

Felix Felicis! Liquid luck! 

The star of the show, the jewel in my crown, my personalized, hand stitched Letter of Acceptance! You might remember that this was made for me by Gemma, Ms. Crafty & Devious, as part of the Phat Quarter Books Swap.

Harry's things, his books, his wand, the Golden Snitch he caught in his first Quidditch Match, and of course some goodies, Droobles Best Blowing Gum, and of course some Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

This is the symbol of The Deathly Hallows. I couldn't *not* stitch something myself to add to this Harry Potter shrine.

 Is is Scabbers? Is it Peter Pettigrew? Is it Wormtail? This wretched traitor is one in the same!
Scabbers was known to have a raggedy left ear...

 And he was missing a toe on his left foot... that was all that was ever found of Peter Pettigrew.

Sirius Black, have you seen him? He might be in the form of a great, black dog.
Also pictured are Hagrid's keys, he was Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts, we can't forget about our half-giant friend.

And Fawkes, Dumbledore's highly intelligent companion and defender, a Phoenix. An amazing creature.

Fawkes has extraordinary plumage, his feathers are hot to the touch, and he gave two of them to Mr. Ollivander who fashioned them into cores for two wands. Two very famous wands.

I love Fawkes's eyes, they're pitch black.

And of course, who could forget Aragog, the great Acromantula? This must be one of his children, for we all know that Aragog, was a great, great hugely scary spider!

Here we are looking back from left to right...

Oh, and did I forget to mention, floating candles! Just like in the Great Hall.

And in the evening...

That's it my friends! What do you think? I've enjoyed "lighting" the candles every evening, and I've been watching all of the movies, and re-reading sections of the books again throughout the course of the month. It's like visiting old friends. I'll always love Harry and his magical world. There's so much to love Rowling's world, it's a rich tapestry. It's not just for kids either, if you haven't read it I encourage you to give it a go, it is a wonderful literary work.

Now don't think that I'm done here, oh no, I have plans! I'm looking forward to next year, there other things swimming in my mind to incorporate, more characters, more magical items, more fun! This might take over my house, y'all! You can't collect everything at once after all, where would the fun be in that? I'm looking forward to re-imagining this Harry Potter Shrine for years to come.

I hope you've enjoyed my little tour, please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Wishing you all a very happy, spooky, silly, magical, wonderful Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Little Batty Halloween

Greetings Ghoulies!

We're creeping ever closer to All Hallows Eve, only 2 more days, yay! Are you ready for some more Halloween foolery? What I have for you today is my favorite thing I've made this spooky season, a little stitchy, a little quilty and a whole lot of color.

A Little Batty Halloween!
A Bad Bird pattern by Andrea Zuill available in her Etsy shop here.

I stitched this pattern in no time at all, less than a day actually. Once I started, I couldn't stop and didn't want to. This was a truly fun stitch up, it reminded me why I love embroidery so much.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make with this stitchery, a quilted wall hanging to add to my Halloween decorations.

I found this fun Candy Corn printed cotton at JoAnn's after I'd stitched my piece, and the colors and style worked perfectly! I love the way they're both kind of silly and cute, but not too cute, ya know?

The piecing around the embroidery was simple and fast, and I didn't even freak out about the binding this time, bonus! Plus, I'm getting a lot better at corners, all four of these look pretty darned good (if I do say so myself).

To hang this piece, I just made two little tubes to slide a piece of dowel through, then tied ribbon around the end of each side of the dowel. I painted the dowel black to so it would coordinate better with the fabric.

Viola, Halloween art!

I love it!

I still have a couple Halloween tricks up my sleeves to reveal in the next couple of days so stay tuned! I hope you guys have enjoyed these little Halloween posts, I sure have enjoyed sharing them.
See you tomorrow!

p.s. After I hit publish guess what I'm going to do? I'm headed to the kitchen to whip up some Harry Potter themed goodies to take to Jill's Harry Potter Ball tonight, wahoo!! I'm making Pumpkin Pasties and Butterbeer Cupcakes, ooooh! I hope they come out ok! If they do, I'll make sure to snap a couple of shots and share the recipes. Toodle-doo!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Hairclips

Hi Kids~
Continuing on in the Halloween vein, I have another quick little whip up to share with you today. I made these for two of my nieces for Halloween. They're easy and fast, and I like that you could make these any number of ways, or color combinations, as you'll see below.

This one is for my niece Ana. Black and orange are typical Halloween colors of course, but I stitched the edges of the flower petals with contrasting floss in bright lime and an equally bright magenta. I made the little yo-yo with some iridescent green fabric scraps that I had, and added a black, fabric covered button. 

This next one was made for my niece, Anais. She's only 7 years old (just turned yesterday, happy birthday, sweetheart!) so I made the center of her clippy with a brighter, more kid-ish green and a cheerful orange button. I stitched around the petals of the flowers with some light, peachy-orange floss.

The backs are finished with simple hair clips stitched to the center of the flower. I don't think these would do a great job of holding the hair in place, you'd need a different clip for that. These are just for tucking a playful splash of color into their flowing locks.

 Here are the two together. Similar, yet different. One for a little girl, and one for a young lady. I hope they like them, the should be getting them in the mail today.

This is another one I made for Anais for her birthday, along with the giant princess pillow we mailed to her. She looooves the princesses. Oh, to be 7 again...

So there y'are! Another quick, and fun Halloween craft. I think I'm going to make a few more of these for another special lady in my life who has a birthday right around the corner. I'm think I might try to make them in the shape of plumeria, her favorite flower... aloha!

See you again soon!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween (cheater) Quilt

Hello Ghoulies!

Are we ready for Halloween this year? I am! This is in stark opposition to the last several years where I've yanked my decorations down from the rafters in a mad dash, hurrying to get the pumpkins (electric - cuz I don't have kids and I'm lazy) plugged in and the candy in the bowl by the door, before the bell starts ringing. I'm actually ready ahead of time this year, I've got my house decorated, my candy ready and I've been working a little Halloween magic!

I have a few Halloweenie things to share with you guys this week, and I thought I'd start with this little quilt I whipped up last week. I feel a little guilty claiming this is a quilt, because there's no piecing in it whatsoever, but it is quilted, technically, so I'm calling it a "cheater" quilt.

Welcome to Trick or Treat Street! This is a once piece panel from Beverly's, which brings me to something that I've been meaning to tell you guys for a while. Do you guys know about Beverly's Deal of the Day? Every morning at 9am (Pacific Time) Beverly's puts up three coordinating fabrics for $2.97 per yard. Seriously. These are nice fabrics too, quilters quality. Sometimes it's flannel, sometimes there are panels, like the one above, and other times it's chickens. Yes, chickens. I might not like every fabric on the deal of the day, but I still check in daily because you just never know. For this project I bought 1 panel (1 yard) and 2 yards of the backing fabric, for a total of three yards. The cost of the this wee little lap quilt $10.00. I should actually add that the distribution center for Beverly's is in the town I work in, so I get a double score on that end. I call the store, order my fabric, then pick it up after I get off work, so no shipping charges for me, yay! Even still, $2.97 for a yard of fabric?? It's a good deal, you should check it out.

I didn't want to be too perfect with this project, I just wanted to make something quick and fun and useful, and I didn't want to get too wrapped up in the details. I quilted this piece around the borders, and then in just a few places within the center, like this spooky tree.

I do have one little concern, I'm not sure if you can tell in the picture above and I don't know if it's something normal or just something that happens with black fabric (I haven't made anything with black fabric before). But after I finished the quilting, I washed it and the black parts of the panel seemed to fade quite a bit more than I thought they would. The black looks like it's been washed several times, not just the one time... heh. Any clue, friends?

The backing fabric is full of cute little devils. Since I have extra of this fabric, I think I'll make a few place mats for the table.

Here's how the two fabrics look together.

I love little blankets, it's so nice when the weather starts to change and I can snuggle up with one after a long, hot summer. This one is pretty small, literally just big enough to cover my lap (with a little extra for Lola to bury her cold dog-nose under), but it's nice for these coolish October evenings when I'm not ready for my poofier winter blankies just yet. Plus, it looks pretty cute hanging over the back of my couch. It's actually on my lap right now, as I'm writing to you guys. :)

So come back soon, I have lots to show you, and only a few days left til Halloween. Shoot, I might be blogging every night between now and then, woohoo! Have you guys done any Halloween crafty/sewey/stitchy stuff this year? Tell me all about it & point me to it if you've blogged it, I wanna see!

Have a creeeepy evening,

p.s. Lord of the Rings in Concert the other night was amazing!! I didn't get any pictures because I was too enthralled with the performance, but if this comes to your city, do make sure to get yourself a ticket! It's worth every penny.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This & That

Hi All,
Just a quick check in this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Sean and I are headed out for some geeky fun today we're going to Sacramento to see The Lord of the Rings in Concert!

This is our little treat, a celebration of our 10 year wedding anniversary which we celebrated this past Thursday. Ten years, wow... doesn't seem like that long ago. Where does the time go?

Evidence... of time lapse? My nieces. Claire (in the white) and Alex (in burgundy) were 5 and 10 years old, respectively in this photo... they're now 15 an 20 years old.  15 AND 20 YEARS OLD?!? Yeesh...
Oh... where does the time go?
There's no one else like you, Sean. They broke the mold after they made you (and rumor has it, they beat the hell out of the mold-maker)! My partner, my friend ~ here's to another 10 years!

In crafty news, I've been a busy little Halloween bee! I've got several things to show you guys this week, so watch this space! I've been holding back because my new camera will be here tomorrow!! Yaaayy! You might remember, I wrecked my other camera earlier this summer on a camping trip. No amount of rice in a bowl could save it. So, just in case you ever wondered, hot coffee and digital cameras do. not. mix.

I am SOOOO excited about getting my new camera you guys, like SERIOUSLY excited! I even canceled my Bunco date this week so I can attend a Photography Meetup Group in my area. This is the camera I've chosen. It's a huge step up for me, but I think it's worth the investment. I take tons of pictures, and I think this one will last me for years. Isn't it gorgeous??

So yes, as soon as this baby is delivered tomorrow, and I figure out how to use it a little bit, I'm going to be snapping pictures like a crazy woman! And first up, all the Halloween crafty/stitchy/decorating I've been doing. Can't wait!

Anyhoo, time for me to get moving, there's an orchestra waiting for me, woo!
Hope you all enjoy the remainder of this gorgeous autumn weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quick Craft / Quick Post

Hi Guys,
Just a quick post today (by recent standards, hehe). My girlfriend Mel recently had a birthday, yay birthdays! For my birthday, back in August Mel got me this nifty craft book, so for her birthday I thought I'd make her a project from the book she gifted to me. Circular giving, I dig it!

So here's what I made for Mel, I don't think she'll mind me sharing with you.

I whipped her up a monogrammed covered notebook.

M for Marvelous Melissa.

Felt is so great to work with, I love that a clean cut can just be left, and that it won't fray or unravel.
A little Mary Engelbreit notebook tucked inside. Gotta love polka-dots!

Stitched all the way around, easy peasy.

This truly was a quick craft, start to finish about 2 hours including the monogram stitching and the applique to the front of the cover (which I stitched on by machine).

So yeah, how bout that for a quick craft? Quick, just like this wee little post!
Toodle-doo my dearies!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Craft Of A Different Kind

Hello my lovely, lovely friends,

Thank you, thank you, thank you SO much for all of your sweet comments, thoughtful wishes, hugs and condolences for the loss of my Butchie-boy. You people are awesome, I already knew that, but it makes me feel so good that so many of you feel the same way about your animals as I do mine. A pets love is so special, so unconditional, I think we're lucky to get as much time with them as we do, but no matter how long you get, it still never feels like enough.

Let's get back to the crafty goodness, shall we?

Recently, I tried something that's still pretty new to me and it turned out pretty good, so I thought I'd share with you guys. One of my very best friends, Melissa recently became engaged, and I'm SOOO excited for her. I'm going to be in the wedding, y'all! Maid of Honor to boot!

I wanted to send her a "congrats on your engagement" card, but I wanted to do something a little different than just your standard Hallmark fare, something she can keep and that kind of fits with her dream of a fall wedding. My answer, a custom banner!

I have mentioned before, but paper craft isn't my speciality. Not by a long shot. It confuses me, there's so many options, and I don't feel like I have a good handle on what goes with what, and how it's all supposed to come together... so I had some help designing this project, cutting & scoring my "ingredients". Did you know Jill is a paper craft goddess?? It's true. She won't admit it, but it's true none the less. I've been in her playroom. I know her secret.

Jill scored approximately 14 billion little strips of paper for me while I set about cutting all the other pieces out with my Sizzix and some of Jill's die cutters. I didn't take any "in-progress" pictures, but here are some close ups of the way each piece came together.
Each piece was comprised of four different paper elements, the back piece done in purple,

The ruffle, (that's the scored part - thanks Jill!) made with three coordinating papers,

A scalloped circle, which I then ran through the Sizzix again with a texture plate, and the letter. I added a little bit of glitter with a glue pen, and added some gems for sparkle.

After the pieces were finished, I punched holes in the top corners of each of the purple pieces and added little grommet-dealios (that's a technical term) with Jill's Crop-o-dile so that I could run a coordinating ribbon through the tops.

So then, how to ship this thing? Mel & Cory live in southern California, so it was going to need to go through the mail. I wanted it to be safe, and I thought it would be neat for Mel to be able to open the package, pull one piece and have the rest of the banner come out in a neat row, also to have some place to keep it, if she wanted to save it. So I devised a plan.

I used a plain, round craft box from JoAnn's and Modge Podged a piece of pretty fabric to it to make a nice, sturdy box. This was the first time I've really Modge Podged anything like this. I had a few "ooopsie" moments, but I think it came out ok.

I also made a little coordinating tag, ala Alice In Wonderland...

And a little envelope and card which I taped to the top of the box lid.

I'm happy to report that Melissa loved her "card" and even sent me video of her opening it, so sweet! She even said she's going to incorporate it into the wedding reception somehow, isn't that cool?! Melissa & Cory are getting married in 364 days, woowoo!

I liked making this banner, it's fun to do new kinds of crafts and stretch my comfort zone a little. I know as time goes on and we get closer to the wedding, Mel & I will probably be up to some other crafty adventures, so I'm sure I'll have other things to share with you guys. Yay, wedding craft!!

That's all for now, I suppose! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Next up, I have some fun little Halloween projects to show you, so stay tuned.