Happy Fall!

Yes, it’s fall in Maine!  Look at that beautiful color in my backyard.  I especially love that dead tree sticking up above it all.  It’s a favorite place for the crows to hang out, and I have even seen a juvenile bald eagle there once!  It has been busy this fall with the normal start of the school routine, and of course fall sports for the boys.  K started travel soccer this fall and it has kept us busy.  He’s having an awesome time and has improved a lot with the higher caliber of play and coaching.

The girls are doing wonderfully.  We have 1 barred rock and 5 golden comets.  They have been pretty consistently giving us 4-6 eggs per day.  I need to discover some new frittata recipes or something!  Too….many….eggs.  My friends are going to begin to be the lucky recipients of fresh eggs.  K loves hard boiled eggs, but I’ve discovered that you can’t hard-boil the fresh eggs.  Well, I knew that to be true, but I have also proven it several times.  Last time I hard-boiled some, I let them sit for about 10 days before boiling them.  That still wasn’t quite long enough.  The shells are really difficult to remove and you get a mangled egg.  I’m going to try 2 weeks next time.

I made a great kim chi fried rice with fried eggs on top last night for dinner.  I’ll share the recipe this weekend.  The kids don’t like fried rice, but Hubby and I loved it!

My annual Halloween display needs some new additions this year.  J wants to make more ghosts.  I’m not sure what to make though.  Hmm….maybe a floss wrapped bendy doll in the shape of a skeleton?  That might be fun.  Some mini hay bales?  Or maybe these hay bundles?

Of course, the month is getting away from me.  So we’ll see if I end up with time to make anything.  I have a project to make for a fundraiser auction for J’s old school, and of course I haven’t even started on Halloween costumes yet!!  K wants to be a red ninja, and J wants to be Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.  Ninja is not so hard.  Yoshi…..hmm…..more difficult.  I’m thinking this dinosaur tail, plus a hooded fleece cape with some spines down the back.  That’s my project for this weekend.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything but how super-cool are these mushrooms growing up a tree in the woods behind our house??

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Plants vs. Zombies Halloween costumes

We are going with a Plants vs. Zombies theme this year.  For anyone who hasn’t played this highly-addictive and simple game yet, you must try it!  The boys love it.  So, they decided to be Plants vs. Zombies this year.

K is going to be a zombie.  He initially wanted to be the “football zombie” but I was hesitant about the helmet/pads thing and where to get those items, so I convinced him to be just a regular zombie.  For some reason, the zombies look like business executives.  So I bought him a brown corduroy blazer from Gymboree on clearance, and a red tie (that I figure we can re-use for some event at some point in time).  Now, he needs the white shirt and pants.  Hmm…I’m still working on those, but I saw this great idea over on Betz White’s blog for putting “zombie skin” underneath the torn pants.  So, I’m going to try something out with that.

J decided to be a peashooter.  Initially, he wanted to be a hypno-shroom, but I thought that might give the wrong impression (lol) and the idea of making a mushroom costume seemed a bit daunting.  Of course, a peashooter costume wasn’t probably much better.  It actually came together rather well.  First, we made a hood out of dark green fleece from a random Halloween pattern that was supposed to be for an animal jumpsuit with a hood and collar.

Now onto the peashooter part.  Here is the foam model that I used to glue the green fleece to make the head.  It’s a foam craft ball plus an egg-shaped one that I picked up at Michael’s and then trimmed off some sides, and glued together with tacky glue.  Thanks to my friend Katie for suggesting foam and glue!  I had visions of elaborate plushie designs at first.

I glued the fleece onto the egg-shape first going around.  Then, I glued the overlap onto the front piece, and then covered that up with a black circle of felt.  Then I made this random curved shape that I put around the top portion, and glued it around the top edges, but then hand-sewed it down onto the hood.  I couldn’t use the machine because the big foam under-structure was in the way.

I also added velcro to the chin portion of the hood and collar so that it would close tightly around their heads and keep the peashooter from being wobbly.

I added some leaves to the hood collar.  The leaves have a pipe cleaner through the middle to give them some sturdiness, and to help them bend.  It’s just two layers of fleece, with the pipe cleaner up the middle vein, sewed down on each side of the pipe cleaner, then sewn around the outside, and some random sewing through the middle to look like veins.  Then I just tacked them down onto the hood with a lot of zig-zag stitches.

Before adding the eyes

Then, added eyes and a little leaf on the back of the head.  Eyes are just black and white felt that I glued on.  Leaf on the back was just sewn, right-sides together on three sides, turned back inside-out, and stuffed with polyfill.  Sewed up the bottom, and hand-sewn onto the back of the hood.

Then, I made a brown poncho using this tutorial to be the “flower pot”.  Hooray!  It turned out so cute.  We also bought some green foam small balls (a bag of six) just for throwing around and pretending to be peas.

I’ll share the zombie costume later this week when it comes together.

Halloween Flags

Halloween flags

Inspired by a recent post on the Twig & Toadstool blog, J (who is now 6yo) and I made these flags yesterday before dinner.  It was a quick project, and probably took about 45 minutes.  The pattern is a download from the Toymaker website.  There are four flag patterns to choose from – owl, pumpkin, cat and skull.  Like Twig & Toadstool, we went for rainbow paper instead of spooky/Halloween paper.  J chose two of each design, and picked which color paper each would go on.

Then, he cut out the straight border lines on the top and side, as well as the scallop bottom.  I did the inside cuts with an x-acto knife.  Then we used a glue stick to attach some shiny tissue paper to the back.  To hang the banner, I folded the top down about 1/2 inch towards the back, and ran a length of baker’s twine through, and then taped the folded part down.  Since I hung it in the window, and you can’t see the back, it’s not important that the back look as nice as the front.  Then, we have these odd draw pull knobs on our window molding from where the previous owners had a valance hung.  So, I tied the baker’s twine to a few of the knobs and voila!

You can’t really tell in the pictures because of the morning sun casting a shadow, but the paper is bright blue, green, purple and yellow.

I love it!

Adding a new picture which shows the colors of the flags.  Such a fun and easy project!  I need to think about how to adapt the concept for Christmas.

Halloween Houses and Random Crafting

Pumpkins carved by the boys

Pumpkins carved by the boys

Well, October has not been a good blogging month.  I have been busy crafting (and working like a dog at the paid job), just not blogging about it.  And I was able to get together with my girlfriends this weekend for our annual Girl’s Weekend!  Fun!  We went to the White Mountains of NH and it was gorgeous and perfect weather.  A bit chilly, but it is mid-October after all.

I also had my monthly crafty night with my local friends last weekend and got to work on some things.  I made some mummies for the Halloween Houses, and also some ghosts!  I dusted off the scroll saw and made the ghosts from the hubby’s scrap pile.  The first ghost I made from pine, so I decided to paint him with some acrylic paint.  The second ghost I made from some gorgeous curly maple, so I kept him unpainted, and just used a beeswax polish on him.  Love them!  I also did an inaugural run on the wood burner, and burned in the ghosts’ features.

Wooden ghosts

Wooden ghosts

The mummies are just “men” people turnings and I wrapped little strips of an old white sheet around and used some Aileen’s craft glue.  Before I glued on the strips of fabric though, I painted them white with some acrylic paint, and used a thin brush to make some tiny eyes.  I got the idea originally from looking at the little gnome mummies that were posted on Wee Folk Art last year.

Mummies!

Mummies!

And since I had the wood burner out, I pulled out a penguin that I made many months ago on the scroll saw for my youngest.  I hadn’t finished him because I wanted to wood burn the lines in before painting with the watercolors, in an effort to keep the watercolor paint from bleeding into the different areas.  I thought he turned out very well!  Stocking stuffer!

Wooden penguin

Wooden penguin

I have also been working on a little embroidery.  The “pink house” tutorial that Melissa posted on Sew Mama Sew a few months ago.  I love her stuff, and was so excited that she posted a tutorial!

My "pink" house embroidery

My "pink" house embroidery

And then all the other stuff of fall, like pumpkin carving, apple picking and cider making, soccer games, football in the yard, watching football on the TV (Go Blue!), and starting to anticipate winter.  I was watching the Patriots play in Foxborough tonight and it was snowing!  Eek!  Just rain here….so far.

Our new favorite backyard game -- "tackle soccer"

Our new favorite backyard game -- "tackle soccer"

Oh,……and did I forget to mention the super-cute wet-felted wool acorns??  More on those later…

Wet felted wool acorns

Wet felted wool acorns

Halloween Houses, Part 1

IMG_4975 (1024x768)
IMG_4976 (1024x768)

Houses painted inside and out

Houses painted inside and out

Step 1 is completed.  The houses are all painted (standard, black acrylic paint) inside and out, and are now dry.  I did help the boys out and touched up their houses after they had gone to bed.  But, now what, you ask???

The boys are very excited about decorating their houses!  You should have heard them in the car on the way home from school.  They were listing off all the little characters that they could make to live in the houses.  Ghosts, skeletons, headless horsemen, mummies, zombies, Frankenstein, witches, etc.  They have very grandiose plans!  I guess we’ll see how it all turns out.  So far, I’m thinking the following:

1) Cover the inside of some of the window with black crepe paper.  DH had the great idea to buy a flickering battery-powered tea light for inside.  Ooh, spooky!  And then board up some of the windows with popsicle sticks.

2) Thought I would make a few  little pumpkins, maybe find some mini hay bales, etc., to decorate the outside.

3) Mummies! Similar to the ones on Wee Folk Art.

4) Spooky poseable skeleton guys and walking ghosts a la The Small Object.

5) I’m going to try to make a witch out of a clothespin doll.  We’ll see.  I had the idea to make a little witch’s broom using a fallen stick and some raffia or something.  Who knows?

6) I think I might be able to cobble together a Frankenstein likeness with a little wooden gnome guy, painted green with maybe a brown tunic/pants made out of felt.

7) Oh and I want to do something to the roof.  Sarah at The Small Object put black glitter glass on the roof which looked super-cool.  But, I might just try regular black glitter if I can find it locally somewhere.

8) And I think I might Kool-Aid dye some silk scarves in browns and dark greens to function as the base for the houses (or maybe use tea/coffee for the brown ones since brown Kool-Aid is hard to find here, however I have heard of a brown Kool-Aid flavor in Mexico).  The boys want to make spooky trees too, and we’ll need to figure out some spider webs to throw in there.  (And sort of as an aside, check out this thread on Mothering where someone dyed wool yarn with black beans!  Super cool colors.)

Halloween House Craft-Along

Paper mache houses -- Star Wars guys not included

Paper mache houses -- Star Wars guys not included

So, anyone want to craft-along with me as I make a Halloween House(s)?  Last year, Sarah at The Small Object posted the cutest Halloween house project and I’ve been thinking about doing it ever since.

I bought the paper mache houses from Craftsetc.com.  I tried to find them locally at Michaels or ACMoore, but I couldn’t locate any.  Maybe now that it is closer to the holidays, they will be stocking these types of things.  Not sure!  The set came with three sizes, I got them on sale for about $8, but regular price is $12.  The boys already saw them and think that I should decorate the big one, and they get the medium and small ones.  The big one is a perfect size for the man wooden dolls (2 3/8″).  You can get those at lots of craft stores, or online at Casey’s Wood.  And I’d think the little boys size at 1-11/16″ would be good for the smaller houses.  I’m planning on turning the people into mummies, witches, who knows what.  I also really want to make the cool poseable skeletons that Sarah also posted a tutorial about on The Small Object.  I also bought some doll pins and stands, and I might make some sort of spooky painted dolls too.  Who knows?!

Follow along and see what happens!