Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Thirty-first

Ah, my pretty, we've been waiting for you to drop by.
We've saved some special treats for you.

Don't let the zombie scare you away.
  He's just cranky from eating too many candy brains.  Kinda like the kindergartners will be tomorrow.  That's much scarier than any zombie apocalypse.

Our pumpkins get tricked out fancier every year, but this is one jack o'lantern pattern I won't be repeating--it was the hardest one I've ever attempted even though it was rated Moderate instead of Challenging.  I mighta kinda sorta winged it after I'd transferred the pattern when I couldn't figure out if the dots were to the eyes, mouth or hair.
It did come out cute though. 

Cute is allowable on All Hallow's Eve, right?

Speaking of cute, I can never decide which I like more: the little toddlers in costume (naturally I gave milk chocolate to the one in the sweet cow costume) or the middle schoolers (twins who were in my class many moons ago) who are still having fun dressing up and going door-to-door.  I know some folks think the big kids should stay home but the operative word for me is "kids".  I think we should all enjoy every bit of childhood while we can!  

Maybe I'm just a grown-up kid at heart, said the girl who dressed up like Dorothy, ruby slippers and Toto included.

(No maybe about it, actually.)

I hope you enjoyed your trick-or-treaters as much as we did.  And that you have enough candy left for you to enjoy, but not so much that you regret your lack of self-control.

Bring joy,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My New Halloween Wallhanging or the "I Need A New Camera" Post

Black Friday can't come soon enough for me!

Not that I want Christmas to arrive any faster than usual...but I really need a new camera.  Need not want,  NEED!  Really!

But behold, Exhibit A:  The former Monster quilt in all its hideous orangeousity.
Kinda sorta mostly in focus (I forgot to tell you put on your sunglasses before viewing).

And Exhibit B:  The New and Greatly-Improved Monster wallhanging. Only the front is sewn but it's hangable.  And before Halloween too!

But is there any focus-ness going on in this photo at all, people?  And this IS the edited version with as much sharpening as I could get.

Sigh.  My lens is permanently stuck open.  The camera might focus (or it might not, depending on its mood).

It's frustrating.  I've been productive throughout the summer and fall, but haven't been able to document my accomplishments.  Have you seen any more of the wedding projects of which I'm extremely proud?  Of course not--missed the boat on those. Thank you so much, Ms. Camera, I really had a special use for those that might relate to what I want to be when I grow up.

In short, Mrs. Santa has been combing the early Black Friday ads looking for an affordable steal of a new point-and-shoot.  I'll be reading reviews and doing a hands-on trial beforehand.  And saving my nickels and dimes.

Hang in there, people.  Help is on the way thanks to the Black Friday elves!  Golly, regular posting again complete with photos that are worth looking at.  Insert Big Smile here!

Bring Joy,

p.s. I just now stepped back from hanging Monsters2 above the mantel and did a little happy dance. All the colors play so nicely with the rest of the autumn decor. It's a keeper!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saying A Not-So-Fond Farewell to a Wallhanging

How do you define hot mess?  Let me give you a hint.

I made a Halloween quilt to display over the mantel.  I used an extraordinarily-flamboyant orange fabric.  And some seasonal black to go with it.  As well as vibrant turquoise.  And purple.  And then I hung it in a room with red-trimmed curtains. What was I thinking?

I don't have one single photo of my mantel with the wallhanging.  I realize how disappointed you must be.  Just know that your eyes are thanking me.  And you won't need counseling to overcome your PTSD.

I've hated it every single time I walked by.  For years and years.

I put up all our Halloween decor at the beginning of the month except the obnoxious wallhanging.  I told myself I'd wait until right before All Hallow's Eve so I wouldn't have to look at it for very long. 

Then I realized I had no intention of ever hanging it up again.  Ever ever ever.

No matter how much time, effort and thought go into a project, sometimes it's a failure.  I'm specifically blaming the orange in this case.  It's loud enough that it practically fluoresces in the dark.  I could donate it to a local construction company for their employees' safety vests and I can guarantee that even a driver on a cellphone would avoid them.

On the other hand, last year I grabbed a stack of nice autumnal fabric from my stash and quickly put together a little Halloween gem that I promptly gave away.

A small quilted wallhanging that has orange and black and purple--but in lovely mellow October shades.  It lives at my sister's home.

Have you every seen a happier Frankenstein?  He looks like he's waiting for pumpkin muffins to come out the oven.  Totally content.

The difference between the two pieces is kinda like choosing a double espresso before bedtime instead of a cup of warm milk and a cookie. 

Like feeding your toddler all the Halloween candy at one sitting and letting him wash it down with a Coke instead of dipping graham crackers in milk one by one.

Like growing your fingernails extra long to scratch that chalkboard instead of listening to a dove coo. 

Like...well, you get the idea.

Fortunately for me, I'll be at my favorite quilt show this time next week.  And I'll be looking for some fabrics that will play nicely with my family room decor.  Maybe next year, I'll have a Halloween wallhanging that doesn't make me cringe.

Bring joy,

Monday, October 07, 2013

Spooky Silhouettes

There's a time to go over to the dark side. My kids are grown and my little neighbors are quite a bit taller than I am, so it's safe to spookify my Halloween decorating a bit.

There will still be benign scarecrows and lurking bats. You might find spiders crawling over orange pumpkins. But this year I'm having fun cutting out these seriously spooky silhouettes for my windows.
I copied the templates (Dave Lowe's blog always has inspiring Halloween designs), laid them over some black construction paper and cut away while I was watching Netflix.  I ended up with a blizzard of coal-colored scraps to pick off the carpet, but it was worth it to gain some spooky decor.  I had them laminated for durability.  Yes, it seems silly since construction paper is notorious for fading, but I spent plenty of time cutting them out and I figure that they'll still be provide a nice dark silhouette at night even if they do turn greyish or purply over time.  It's just plain easy to tape them to the window now and you can only see the laminating film if you're really looking hard. 

I have some zombies and other creatures from the netherworld that I'm currently cutting out.

I want to enlarge these to life-size to display in our front windows for All Hallows Eve.  Enlarging them is easy but I haven't figured out how to stabilize them (black butcher paper) since they'll be too big to laminate.  Maybe a clear Contact paper sandwich?  There has to be an answer.  I wonder if I could enlarge them just enough to fit on black poster board?  Hmmm.

Stay tuned.

Bring joy,

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Things I Love - Autumn Edition

I enjoy living in a four-season town. Of course, I love summer the bestest--but there are still plenty of things to love about the other three seasons. Which is lucky because I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings.

So...things I'm currently loving about Autumn:
  • Using the oven again..
  • Pumpkin soup.
  • Chile Chicken Cheese enchiladas.  
  • Not having to think about creative ways to use up ripe peaches for another whole year.
  • Nights cool enough to sleep with a comforter on the bed.
  • A crystalline Lilypad Pond.
  • Baby goldfish unexpectedly appearing in the pond.
  • Noming on golden raspberries every time I use the garden gate.
  • Finding flat stones to replace the river rock gravel around the pond.
  • Embracing a weekly schedule of chores and delighting in how productive I feel.  And how nice the cottage looks.
  • Enjoying our garden and making mental notes for next year.
  • Giving the new Halloween silhouette decorations a whirl.
  • The beginnings of fall color in the maples, oaks and aspens.  Especially aspens.
  • Morning light that's perfect for sewing.
  • An ever-increasing pile of quilt blocks.
  • Decorating the mantel for autumn.
  • Using my upcycled-down (not to be confused with upside-down) pillow forms for the first time.
  • Buying new "teacher" shoes to replace my well-worn and well-loved oldies.
  • The new LED light fixture in our walk-in closet.
  • My newly-reupholstered footstool.
  • Yellow chrysanthemums and purple violas. 
  • Yellow rabbitbrush.
I think autumn is wondrously beautiful in my little corner of the world.

Bring joy,