Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kids are done and the adult evening begins...

The mini denizens of the house (kids and their step-sister)

My full costume:

The porch at night:

Something wicked this way comes

Our front entry:

A few spiders

A pinch of bats

The witch's broom:

A skeleton, a pumpkin or 6

The inhabitants:

Tonight will be fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin pendant

I love those moments when inspiration floods into your mind and immediately you are drawn to create. It doesn't matter if it's 3am but it must be done now. So you fly out of bed to get started and try out your idea. Today it hit me on the way to work and I've been a little nuts waiting for lunch to try it out.

Here is my "first draft". I made this over the lunch hour and some bits were more hurried than others but I think it turned out well. I just wish I'd had some yellow wire for the face.

I coiled copper wire around the handle of a crochet hook until it was long enough. The green stem was coiled around a small screwdriver. There's a piece of copper wire through the middle of the main coil to help it hold it's shape and also to help tie it to the stem. The face is made from one continuous piece ending at the bottom of the nose.

I think it would be fun to make a beaded chain for this with copper leaves hanging from it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To Etsy or Not to Etsy?

Going back to this post, I'm still fiddling. I've made several variations on the theme and the pictures are below.

I have necklaces I've made in many different styles and I tend to get compliments on them when I'm out. I've sold a few that way. I don't mean that in a bragging way but I mention it because the observation brought me to my next thought. What do you know about Etsy? I've heard of it a lot and poked around a bit but I haven't bought or sold anything there before. As a user (buyer or seller), what did you think? I'm considering starting an Etsy store and I'd love your input.

What do you think would be a good Etsy name? I kind of like an unExpected Twist but I would love suggestions.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween decorating

Rather than carving the pumpkins this year I picked up some adhesive backed felt for about a dollar. I found a Frankenstein's monster stencil with a quick internet search (from here).

Just trace the pattern onto the back of the felt and cut out with scissors. Peel off the backing and apply the felt to your pumpkin.

Frankenstein's monster only took half a sheet so I also drew some bats and cut those out for the next pumpkin.

My mantel this year:

And I saw this idea on a couple of blogs (one here and the other I can't find again. oops). The second blog is where I saw the idea for the mummy marshmallow. So cute! All it takes is a bag of marshmallows and multi-colored sharpies.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How To: Washer and wire necklace

Here are all the supplies I used:
Seed beads
One larger bead for the center
Wire (size must fit through the seed beads)
Two washers in different sizes.
Wire snippers
Round nosed pliers
Rubber tipper flat pliers
String or chain to hold the finished product

Wrap the wire around the washer, keeping it pretty tight. Leave the end of the wire loose for now, we'll use it later to bind the other end.

Hold the bead against the washer as you bend the wire so it's close up against it. This will keep it from "wobbling" as much.

If you have a pair of rubber nosed pliers (available at most craft stores) you can squeeze the wire as you go. This helps to mold the wire to the bead and also keeps it from losing it's position after you're done. If you don't have rubber nosed pliers you can use the regular ones but you'll have to be careful not to crack your beads and it may scar up the wire a little bit.

When you've gotten all the way around twist the wire together to keep it from moving around later. I have two twists in here because I didn't use a big enough piece of wire initially and had to add in a second. That's fine because you won't even see this middle part later. Notice that longer piece of wire hanging off of it? It's very important for a couple of things.

It will hold the center bead for starters. Just pass it through and put it in place. The second washer we add in a little bit will help hold it in the correct spot. If the second washer is a lot smaller than the first (like the copper washers pictured at the top) then you will probably want to put some seed beads on either side of the large bead to help keep it centered behind the little washer.

Just to give you an idea of how the second washer will cover up the tie off spots and help keep the bead in place:

Cover the smaller second washer the same way as the first.

Using the longer wire from the first washer I threaded it through the smaller washer's wire to bind the two together. Be sure that they're tight so they won't wobble later. Then you'll need to pass the wire between the two washers and through the middle of the big one so it comes out the back. Next go ahead and wrap it around one of the big washer's wires on the back a couple of times to keep it close against the back and let the rest of the wire stick up.

Use a pair of round nosed pliers, also available at craft stores, to twist the wire around and make a circle just above the top.

Then wrap the wire around itself to tie it off and make a pretty ending. Continue the wrap until the end is hidden behind the washer. Now you can cut it off with a pair of wire snippers and tuck the end in tight (so it won't poke you while wearing it). A pair of flat nosed pliers are good to squish the end in hard.

And voila! You are now ready to attach chain or string to your pendant.

A little pre-Halloween at Borders

Our Borders bookstore had a little Halloween fun for the kids today. They got to make crafts (trick or treat bags), play some games and then trick or treat. Daddy and I got our treat too. Coffee.

Tigger and Sleeping Beauty getting ready to head out:

We got to read a little:

And play a little:

And wrap a little girl into a toilet paper mummy:

All in all we had a nice afternoon. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Have you seen artwork from Rodney White? Normally I don't like the distressed look (I know, just flog me now and have it done) but the first time I saw these two I was immediately in love. They are now hung in my great room and I'm in love with them all over again each time I see them.

But I'm thinking that there are a couple empty spots on the walls and I would like this:

And I am drooling over this. I Loooooooove both of them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin "patch"

We went to the "pumpkin patch" this weekend. Which, this being a desert and all, isn't really much of a patch so much as overpriced pre-picked pumpkins and a couple bounce houses with hay bales and a corn maze thrown in. So I cheated. We bought our pumpkins at the grocery store (they had a better selection anyway) and the kids just played and had ice cream at the pumpkin patch.

Joe made a new girlfriend almost immediately. Last year he told Eric that having one girlfriend (me) wasn't enough and informed Eric that HE had 7 of them. I'll have to keep an eye on him...

The kids climbed all over the hay (there were two bounce house at the very top) while mommy tried not to watch, certain that they were going to fall off and break their little necks.

Ah, to be small again, when the big problem of the day is a spilled drop of ice cream. Heehee.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wordzzle on dreams Part IV

Over at Views from the Raven's Nest, a Wordzzle challenge is posted weekly. The basic idea is to use all 10 words provided in a short paragraph (plus mini challenge words if you can). More information can be found here.

This week's words are (early morning light, Pinocchio, mist, leaves, sandy, coffee, walking, traffic, pray, stomach ) with a mini challenge of (train, art, admirable, cotton, fluffy).

This wordzzle is a continuation of my earlier story.


"How did we get here?" I've asked myself this so many times in the last few days. I thought I was never going to escape this place. I had given up praying and had resigned myself to a lifetime of just making it work and yet...

It's a surreal feeling today. We're walking in the early morning light, watching the mist rise from the freezing ground. The leaves that had been falling just a few short weeks ago are now glued with ice to the sandy sidewalks as we crunch along. My stomach is in knots. It's not because of food, I haven't been able to eat today. I did manage a little coffee this morning but I just couldn't manage a bite of actual food. I'm excited but I can't believe it's really happening.

We cross the street while the traffic waits as we head for the train. The train. Was it only a month ago I was staring longingly at it? And now I'm getting on it. I feel like I'm high, on white fluffy cotton clouds, floating along down the road.

Somehow my mother knew. She knew without me saying that I had to get away from here and she did it. She found a relative in the city for me to stay with and bought me a ticket and I'm getting out of here. She's trying not to cry as she helps me check in. She's turned being stoic into an art, trying to never show that anything gets to her. It's admirable but I can't manage it myself and I start to tear up. I hug her and kiss her cheek and tell her how much I love her and then I get onto the train. I find my seat as the train starts to pull out. As I sit looking out the window and watching the trees fly by I laugh and think, "I'm like Pinocchio. I've got no strings on me".

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

All of the kids' rooms have themes mapped out for them. The girls both have fairies and butterflies, though slightly different from each other, and they're the furthest along. Keith will have a cars room when I get it all done and Joe & Glenn will have a pirate bedroom. But this left me no where to put cute little animals and I kind of wanted to do that somewhere. Then last week I realized that there is a very sad, very blank looking wall by the girls' bedrooms that just needed filling up.

I looked up a few cartoon animal pictures on the web for inspiration. I had the guys at Home Depot cut the MDF down for me to save time (and I actually had a couple pieces left over for my next project). Then I painted all of the squares with some extra wall paint. After that dried I used some painter's tape to mark off the edges. I made the edges a little crooked so it would have more character but you could line them up straight pretty simply with a ruler. I painted the edges white and then went back over it with the brown to make "animal stripes". The animals I projected onto the wood with a craft projector and traced with pencil. Then I used my box of craft paints to fill it in. I also outlined it with a brown sharpie for a little more definition. 6 pieces of 1 ft square MDF wood, some painter's tape and a few bottles of craft paint later it's not art, exactly, but it's cute and it will fill the space nicely!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Home again

I'm home again and now I think my life gets to slow down for a little while at least. My grandmother's memorial was this weekend and it was really lovely to hear everyone's stories about her and to see the family. All 3 children, 8 of the 9 grandchildren and 13 of the 15 great grandchildren were there (2 great grandkids were home with the flu). I'm working on a special post for Nana that I'll have up in a few days.

In the meantime this was the view for the first 3 hours of our drive home. I stopped a lot. :)

The kids and I stopped in at Crater Lake on the way home and they were fascinated when I told them that almost 7000 years ago this was still a mountain (well, volcano) and that when it erupted the whole top caved in and now here we are at this pretty lake. I like it when they are rapt and paying attention.