Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween Wrap Up: The Ones That Didn't Make It

Only 361 days until Halloween!

This is the last Halloween post, I swear.  And it's reserved for the tutorials that I just didn't get to...this year.

Photo from

First, the Hula Hoop Spider Web.  Ugh!  So sad this one didn't work out.  It would've been a good use for the hula hoop I never use.  For mine, I wanted to cover my pink and blue hula hoop with black electrical tape since it's removeable and then use some old black acrylic yarn for the web.  Unfortunately, every store I went to had assorted electrical tape colors, except black.  Seriously!  I couldn't find it anywhere.  Time ran out and I just never made the web.  Next year!

Photo from

This one was one of my favorites!  This was the pillowcase tutorial I mentioned a couple days ago that I also wanted to make but didn't have a stock of pillowcases for.  It would have been great for the chairs at the shop.  If I find pillowcases at garage sales (meaning, if I actually go to any garage sales this summer), I'll make them for next year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Wrap Up: The Party!

362 days until Halloween!

Not much to say here.  Other than we had a great time, as usual!

Candy corn martinis and a Christmas Ball!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Wrap Up: The Costume(s)

Only 363 days until Halloween!

So my first costume.  Yes, I said first.  I had two for this year.  One was the cute decent one.  The other was the more, um, revealing one.

But the first one.  I wore this one to the shop's party and on Halloween.  I found yet another tutorial I just had to make this year.  Yes, the girl in the tutorial is about 8 years old.  Yes, it's made out of a pillowcase.  Yes, I thought I could squeeze myself into this same costume.

Photo from

And I did.  But it was tight.  My butt and hips are a little too big for it, but it was fun to wear anyway.

For my costume, I bought white pillowcases at Target.  I might have to take the designer's advice and scour some garage sale next summer for pillowcases so I can make a different tutorial (to be seen another day).

For the bottom border I used some fabric I loved at Joann's.  I used the same fabric for the straps.

The eyes and mouth were made out of the wrong side of Dad's jeans.  He had me cut some black pants into shorts for him this summer and I saved the denim.  Good thing cause it came in handy when I realized I had no black fabric for my costume!  The wrong side was a bit darker than the right side so I reversed it.  Otherwise I would have used a Sharpie to draw it all on.
Another eye option from

I wore my tunic with some leggings and a black sweater- way too cold this year for sleeveless.  I also made some Halloween legwarmers.  Mom had bough me some toe socks that I couldn't stand to wear anymore (passed that phase in high school...) so I cut the toes off, serged the edges and wore them as legwarmers :o)

The final product!  Sorry for the crappy cell phone picture.  Must find a new place to take self-photos...

As for the second costume, well, it never happened.  If you haven't heard, New York was hit with SNOW that Halloween Saturday.  Seriously.  It never snows in downstate NY until after Halloween.  Upstate is a different story, but down here no no no.  I was sooooo not putting on a mildly skimpy outfit and taking the train to a bar that night.  And I'm very happy with that decision.  Kyle and I went to his friend's house to watch the UFC fights instead.  Read- Steph knit all night in a room full of macho guys (and a macho girl who's awesome though).  Gotta say though, they're a great group of guys.  And they like my baking.  They were the recipients of the shop's leftovers from the Halloween party.

My costume was going to be a Greek goddess.  I even bought jewelry and accessories for it this year.  I've had this dress for a couple years now.  It was $18 on a clearance rack at Macy's and I thought it would be great for Halloween.  A drapey halter top dress with a gold empire band detail could be the goddess, an angel or Marilyn Monroe (if I take the band off).  I haven't used it yet!  But I have a costume for next year!

And for those of you who do wear skimpy costumes on Halloween I have some advice- find a local dance supply store and purchase yourself a pair of appropriately nude colored dancer's tights.  Best thing to wear for those bare legs when it's a chilly Halloween.  Someone should've told those super skimpy (refraining from saying a different word) younger teen trick-or-treaters who claimed they weren't cold.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Wrap Up: The Decorations

364 days until Halloween!

I stared decorating the shop well ahead of time.  Most of the decorations really were just cobwebs around the shop.

The challenge is to get spooky without blocking any merchandise.  Not the easiest to do in this shop!

Notions Graveyard

No cash register is safe from me!

Madeline Tosh Display

I also hung some spooky curtains on the door and windows.  And my knitting witch plaque <3.  I got this when I was in college at Joann's.  So perfect for me :o)

Stitching Witch

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Wrap Up: The Food

Only 365 days until Halloween!

What's a party without some fun food?  As usual, I went overboard but it was totally worth it.

This year we have to thank Betty Crocker for most of the food.  I knew I wasn't going to have time to make everything from scratch, plus was being lazy in trying to avoid too much hand mixing.  I already had a lot planned for the week and wasn't sure if I'd be subbing at all (I did on Tuesday!) so I played it safe and used the handy dandy boxed mixes.

First, I made cupcakes.  There was a fun holiday mix that had orange sprinkles in it, and I bought the Halloween version of the Rainbow Chip frosting (my favorite).  I also made chocolates to decorate with.

The chocolates were both white and black (white chocolate flavored).  I had a mold already for spiderweb lollipops that had little spiders molds too.  I made white webs (without the lollipop stick) and painted the spider on and made little black spiders.  I used the spiders to top the cupcakes.

The new mold I bought this year was a skeleton in pieces.  The display was to make brownies and "dirt" and make it look like the skeleton was coming out of the grave.  No time for that so I just made a box of brownies and messily cut/broke them up and put the chocolate bones into my cauldron bowl together.  I also used some limbs to decorate the cupcakes.

My last bit of food was sugar cookies.  These I was disappointed in, but it wasn't Betty's fault.  I decided to forego using cookie cutters* this year and found 2 new cookie pans to use.  I bought the Wilson Creepy Finger Cookie Pan.  I had high hopes for this pan but was disappointed.  Not the pan's fault, I just have to finagle cooking times on this and I only had 2 trays to try it on.  They all came out overcooked.  They were also a pain to ice with confectioner's sugar+water icing.  The pan was SO easy to clean though.

I also made some cookies (and a couple cupcakes) in a Wilson Silicone Mini Pumpkin Mold.  I figured I'd try it out for the cookies and it wasn't too bad- I, again, just have to figure out the amount of dough to put in and how long to cook for.  They got good reviews though.  I tried to use this with my other silicone mold tray, but apparently Kitchen Aid and Wilson don't work together to make their trays compatible.  All well.  I put it on an old cookie tray to get it in and out of the oven.

And time for another tutorial!  I found this one and had to make it.  Instead of using cake circles, I bought some cheap festive plates (orange, brown and green) at Michael's and used mini paint cans instead of a vase.  I "glued" my candy corn on with plain frosting and filled my paint cans with Reese's Pieces and Halloween Dots.  I "glued" it all together with the frosting too.   You bet this will make a reappearance around Thanksgiving!

*Good thing because apparently they've all be ruined in the screen house.  I had bout that big box of Halloween/Autumn cookie cutters at Michael's a couple years ago.  Either they got rained on (possibly during Irene) or just the summer humidity got to them.  They're all rusty.  I don't think they're useable anymore :o(.  Must get a job and find a place to live that my stuff isn't constantly getting rained on.  Or find a Sugar Daddy but I don't think Kyle would appreciate that one...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Only 366 days until Halloween!  Yes, I know I'm crazy.  But now that it's over (and I'll hopefully have time for blogging again), here's what I've been up to the past week.

This website could be the death of me.  One Pretty Thing is a site that does a little roundup of craft tutorials online.  And I had a blast with a couple of the Halloween ones this year.  Thank you to everyone who made tutorials- I had a blast bonding with my sewing machine and serger again.

Ann and Kathleen (wonderful Village Knitter owners) gave me permission to throw a party at the shop during our Thursday night group.  So I finally had the opportunity to use some of those great tutorials.

I spent a lot of time and frustration working on my table runner.  Such a simple project (except when your sewing machine is mine).    Because my machine was in storage in the backyard shed for a couple years after college, it doesn't exactly function all that well these days.*  It works good enough for me for now though.  My frustrations though working on it really had nothing to do with the functioning of my machine.  More several little things going wrong.  

But first, let's talk about the runner itself.  The one in the tutorial used ribbon and burlap but I was a bit limited.  I got a ride from Dad to Michael's so I could get the ribbon and everything else I needed for the Halloween party, but Joann's is not exactly down the block.  I figured I'd be able to find something to use at Michael's though for the burlap.  Sure, it just happened to be $7 felt.  I mean, it's felt.  Not real wool felt.  Typical craft polyester felt.  But it was big enough.  But it was $7.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much on something that wasn't exactly what I wanted.  The felt is thick (don't want any drinks spilling near our projects!) and it was super white- not exactly a "Halloween" color.  So I didn't buy it (though it felt like I bought everything else in the store....but that's coming).

I eventually found the perfect material at Target- a shower curtain!  Ok, so it was perfect because I found it for $2.17 in the clearance section.  But that works for me!  The shower curtain is a dark gray with lines of circles/dots that are formed with a different texture.  They were helpful in keeping my sewing ::sorta:: straight.  As straight as I can get it.  There's a reason Crooked Knits is the title for this blog...

So the frustrations- There were 3.  1- You try pinning 9 feet of ribbon to a plastic curtain.  Oy!  I didn't have enough pins to pin everything at once.  Not sure where all my pins went.  But the pinning was just the beginning.  2- Sewing with all that length of ribbon was quite a pain.  There's a lot of, um, un-straight parts and parts where my zigzag stitch starts to run away from the ribbon.  But also the vinyl shower curtain puckered a lot.  I wasn't anticipating that.  3- UGH I hate my bobbin.  This machine has always given me bobbin troubles.  The thread tangles.  And then the bobbin thread breaks.  All the time.  Halfway through a length of ribbon I would realize it.  Except it broke 3 inches in.  Oy.  Ann told me my needle might not be sharp enough and could be cutting it by accident.  Or on purpose.  I bet that machine enjoys seeing me get frustrated.

But overall I love the project!  And of course it can be adapted for any holiday.

I swear I won't blather so much about the rest of my projects :o)  That was the only one that gave me any problems or had much of a story to go with it.  Ok maybe that's not so true.  The costume story will probably be a bit long.  But you'll have to wait to read about that one :o)

*My poor little Janome must've gotten some water damage in the shed.  When I push the pedal, nothing happens.  To make it work, one must push the pedal and hand turn the Hand Wheel (uh, duh on the name) and only then will it run.  This really isn't such a big deal except when:  winding a bobbin, doing a short backstitch, working in tight corners.  But really, it's manageable.  It's really tempting that a nice basic Singer is on sale at Costco right now.  Must hold out/save for an industrial machine though.  And a spinning wheel.   


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