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Monday, October 31, 2011

Winner and Happy Halloween!

To start this party off right, here is the winner of the Crafting with Cat Hair book! (I thought this would be a perfect Halloween Day giveaway.....)

The winner is Sara who said, "Oh my! I really would love to win this! My cat is a furball! Thanks for the great giveaway and cool ideas!"

I'll contact you soon for your shipping information. 

We had a small Halloween party here on Saturday (I spent most of yesterday totally exhausted...each time I throw a party I forget how physically exhausting it is! I need to plan my "recovery" day better, i.e. NOT going to trapeze school when I should be taking it easy, but more on that in a later post!

The boys got to wear the costumes I made them: Mr. P. was a ninja and Doodlebop was a "ninja's" dog.



I dressed as Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas...but just ended up scaring all the kids. 


And maybe some of the adults too...


There were some activities:

pasta skeletons



balloon toss:



cookie decorating:



At one point I caught Doodle sitting by himself at the cookie station literally squeezing black frosting into his mouth. Now, why did I make his costume white???

There was lots of food (still eating leftovers!)



And our friends concocted this very clever "brain" out of a watermelon. Delicious! 


But mostly, it was just kids running amuck in costumes.








And husbands running amuck in costumes.
  



Good times. Good Friends!! (Here's Doodle with his BFF - a marshmallow)


Happy Trick or Treating everyone!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Farm

Living in a big city it is such a luxury to be able to drive 45 minutes away to Underwood Farm. This place is a huge, busting farm boasting pick your own seasonal crops. We come here a few times a year to pick our own veggies, feed the animals and get a taste of farm life. 

During October, the farm transforms into a fall festival with tractor rides, games and pumpkins galore. 


The kids loved cruising around in a wagon with their good friend. 


Pumpkin men lurked at every corner...



The brothers were especially in love this day. 


Did I mention there were pumpkins?


And I found this GQ model striking a pose.


We got lost in a corn maze.


And had a bounce house collapse on the kids (That was actually really scary and not the first time that's happened to us.) There were slide rides through retired tractors. 



Train rides (doesn't it look like Doodlebop's head has been unhinged??!!)


And finally time to come home with.....


a hefty collection of pumpkins!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

this and that

Halloween is fast approaching! Are you ready??


Mr. P.'s ninja costume is finally finished! As is Doodlebop's ninja dog costume!!


So, after waiting a week for the winner of Microcrafts to contact me....they didn't! Which means, it's back to the random number generator and I get to pick a new winner.....


Okay, so the new winner of the book is Laurie who said, I follow on GFC-thanks for the giveaway." I will contact you later today to get your shipping information! 


Next point of business.....a HUGE thank you to Cheri from I am Momma Hear Me Roar who is hosting a Silhouette week complete with video tutorials. 


My machine and I have come a long way from our early days. But I can still use all the help I can get! Check it out and see all of the amazing projects you can do with this machine!


Onward.....
Yesterday I tried to make this trash bag into spider web project featured on What About Orange. 






Hers looks amazing!!! Mine, not so much. But it is a big impact, simple project to try out for Halloween!


That's all I've got! These days have been whizzing by lately with so many preparations and party planning and school events. My mind is spinning just trying to keep it all straight!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

French Night!

After perusing through a Decasse cookbook, my dad (of French-Canadian decent) and I decided we had to get French Night on the calendar. 


Each page in the book was more opulent than the next!


Last Friday, we hosted our first French Night, attended by family members and a friend (who had just gotten back from fashion week in Paris.)


Guests were greeted with a glass of champagne and full caviar service (I mean, if you're going to do Decasse, you have to go all out). 




I created an Edith Piaf station on my Pandora radio to set the mood. 


Here's the menu...I tried my best to recreate French penmanship, but I found it very challenging!




We had a tri-color salad composed of micro-basil, baby tomatoes and endive. 





Next, was the very exotic but delicious fruit and vegetable cassoulet. This was one of the most labor-intensive dishes I've ever prepared - 6 hours in total!! First I had to wash and clean all of the veggies and fruit: turnips, baby artichokes, carrots, grapes.....then prepare the chestnuts! Then brown the grapes in a butter sauce until they caramelized, then cook it all down for a very long time, til everything was tender. To assemble the stew, I sliced paper thin slices of granny smith apples and placed them at the bottom of the bowel, then the stew on top. The combination of fruits and vegetable gave it so much texture!



Once day I'll make that again!


Of course we had baguettes (in France they place the bread not on a bread plate, but on the tablecloth...my kids loved that fun fact.)


My husband prepared the chicken, roasted with purple potatoes from the farmer's market.


 


And for dessert, a homemade almond paste and strawberry tart dusted in powdered sugar! I love that the stems remain on for a rustic look. 




We busted out our fancy plates (that hardly ever get used) and made a real French night out of it...5 1/2 + hours of eating, drinking and relaxing. 


The only thing missing was the absinthe.......

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Salt Dough Shout Out

Lookie look whose Holiday project is featured on All Free Holiday Crafts!!


Go on and take a peek.....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simple Bat T-shirt Tutorial



My kids aren’t the type to go overboard on theme dressing, but I thought a nice, subtle Halloween-inspired t-shirt would be in order to get them in the spirit of things.


Materials Needed:
Freezer paper, silhouette (or cutting tool or Exacto Knife)
Fabric paint
Brush
t-shirt
card stock

After wining and dining my Silhouette machine, she obliged by being oh so accommodating with my bats. I loaded up the machine with freezer paper and let her cut away. (This was actually the first time I’d tried freezer paper).

Step one) cut shape into freezer paper(with either a cutting machine or hand tool like an exacto knife)


Step two) Iron freezer paper to t-shirt (shiny side of freezer paper down.)

Step three) place a piece of card stock in between front and back of t-shirt to prevent bleeding.


Step four) using a brush (I found a foam brush worked better than a bristle brush) apply fabric paint to the stencil area.

Step five) let dry overnight

Step six) carefully peel away freezer paper once paint is completely dry.


I love fabric paint! It won’t bleed during washing! The only thing I haven’t figured out yet it how to apply fabric paint graphics to let’s say a black t-shirt. Do you need to bleach the stenciled shape first??

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Devil Costume Winner!

And the winner of the devilish toddler costume is....

Ticklemetiffy who said, "thanks for a great giveaway and an adorable costume for my littlest one who's just reaching the devilish age ;)"

I'll be in touch soon to get your mailing address. 

Everyone else, don't forget to check out my Crafting With Cat Hair Giveaway happening now through next Saturday!! (check my sidebar for a quick link)

Tomorrow, I'm posting a tutorial (first one in a while!) so check back for a fun Halloween project!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Giveaway!! Crafting with Cat Hair

Have a shedding cat and you just don't know what to do with all that hair - why not craft with it?


Yeah, you heard me right. 


My childhood cat, O'Malley - an over sized mancoon, used to have so much matted hair that she would develop dreadlocks that we would spend hours working out. 
She could ruin any black pair of pants in a matter of seconds. 


Cut to the present, when I was asked to review Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with your Cat by Kaori Tsutaya. 




I will say the author has definitely found her niche. The gathered cat hair is transformed into finger puppets, coin purses and pin cushions. And it certainly fits in with the new upcycling trend. The projects are creative, well-explained and the photographs do all of the projects justice. 


While this is a must-have for any cat lover / crafter, my one criticism is that it is very cat heavy (what did I expect?) What I mean is, the finger puppets are all.....cats, the coin purses feature felted....cats and the pin cushion are decorated in...you guessed it....cats. 




To a cat loving crafter, Crafting with Cat Hair is THE book to buy this holiday season. For the rest of us, we may need to wait for this niche to become a little more mainstream. 
_______________________________________________


I am giving away one copy of Crating with Cat Hair. This giveaway will close on Saturday, October 29th at 11:59 pm et. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment after this post AND become a follower. This giveaway is open to U.S. mailing addresses only (sorry Canada).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sewing 101

Last night, at the urging of friends, I held my inaugural sewing class at my house!

Coincidentally, the participants all showed up sporting orange bags....what were the chances?


They worked at cut and ironed and threaded bobbins and sewed until....


Their envelope pillow cases were complete!



I was also thrilled with the results! And I already have three more people signed up for the next beginning sewing class! After that, we'll branch out and do a bit more challenging projects. 

A friend of mine who is living in Italy, joked with me asking if I could possibly Skype her in. I mean, this is the 21st century, right? After 6 years of teaching college writing online, I think I just may be able to swing an online sewing class.....