Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yesterday... daughter turned 11. I was planning on writing a post about her birthday and my 11 years of being a mother. Then my mom called me (you can guess where this may be going...) and told me that a little girl who I have know since her birth, had died. She was only 5. She had been sick, but I did not think it was at such a critical point. Her mom took her to the doctor's office and she died there in her arms. She was born with a heart defect, had gone through numerous surgeries, the last one was a year ago. She just could never get over that last hurdle and get well....

I was telling my 6-year old this morning that Fahris had died. My boys and Fahris go to the same elementary school where there are only about 500 kids, so everyone knows everyone. I wanted him toknow that the teachers may be sad today. Ethan said, "Oh Mom, she's only in kindergarten. Kindergartners want to live for a long, long time!" Hudson, my 9 year old said, "She didn't deserve that Mom," and "She didn't get a chance to play very much on her new playground." (Make a Wish Foundation installed a new huge playground at their house this summer.) So true Hudson.

Alex, my daughter, was sad the night before, Monday night, the eve of her 11th birthday. She said to me, "Mom- 10 was so good! And I'll never be 10 again!" And I said, "Feel lucky that you get a chance to be 11. Some kids don't." Who knew that my words of wisdom would be so poignant and hit so close to home so quickly after being stated?
So although Fahris was the one whose heart had a "boo-boo" now it is our entire community with a broken heart.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Candy Corn Bean Bags **UPDATED

I am in charge of coming up with a few games for our Trunk-or-Treat. The event is only an hour long so I'm not getting too crazy with my ideas.... just keeping it simple. One game I think would be fun for he kiddos and easy to put together is a bean bag toss. I wanted to make some Halloween themed bean bags, but I was just too tired to go to the fabric store yesterday for cute Halloween fabric, so I went through my stash and came up with this idea.... Candy Corn! I had some yellow flannel, orange fleece and some black and some white cotton something-or-other (I am so limited in my knowledge of what material is called). I started by sewing together strips of the orange, yellow and white. Then I laid out the black and colored pieces right sides facing, and laid an additional white piece on top. This piece will be the lining. Then, taking a trick I learned from Bend the Rules Sewing back in my bib making days, I sewed then cut the material. SO much easier this way. Then I turned the bag right side out, filled them with 1/2 cup split peas and top-stitched them shut. It is sort of hard to top stitch a bean bag when it is already filled with beans, so some of the stitching is a little wonky, but who cares? They are only bean bags!It wasn't until I was all done and got out a few real candy corns that I realized that the orange should go in the middle. Oh well. If I were to do this again I would have used a brighter/darker yellow as well, but I was just using what I had on hand. (Sorry for the lousy photos... its a grey day here today.)

Now I just need to figure out what to toss them into??? My friend offered up a plastic black cauldron. That could work. Maybe a cut-out of a trick-or-treat bag? Any suggestions???

**UPDATE: I went with a big cat. Thanks for the suggestion Amber! He's a little freaky looking, but o-well.

Ethan gave it a trial run when he got home from school. Celia (who I babysit for) confirmed it's creepiness.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rave Reviews....

We have to give a great review to Dawn Rice and her little guy over at Artist Reborne for the Halloween game they came up with. (We found it via The Crafty Crow ...which I just love by the way! So many awesome ideas every day!) She even included pdf downloads, so it was a snap to put together.
We had most of the needed supplies here at home.. and what we didn't have, we just substituted with something we did have. For example, we used some blocks for the bases of the playing pieces. Instead of painting the die, I colored some white stickers and just stuck them on the sides of another block. The drawings are adorable. And though I intended this to be a kid project, I ended up doing most of the coloring on the board... my youngest did help out a little.
We made the game this afternoon and have already played it twice. Thumbs up all around. The boys said, "It's like a cooler version of Candy Land!" And my husband said, with a smile, "Yeah, just shorter!" (Is it just us? Or does it always seem to take 2 hours to play Candy Land???)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Halloween Tree

A few years ago I made a Halloween tree. I used the branches of the Harry Lauder's Walking Stick from my parent's yard. First I spray painted them black, leaving a few of the dried leaves on for added creepiness. Then I mixed up some wood putty (the powdered kind you mix with water) and poured it into a tin bucket. When it started to set up I stuck the branches in and once dried the putty held them tight and made a nice heavy base so the tree won't tip over. To disguise the putty I stuck some decorative moss on the top. A few years ago I made a teeny-tiny paper chain out of green, orange and black construction paper. I also downloaded some vintage Halloween images from The Vintage Gallery to make some hanging ornaments. I need to make some more. Maybe some tiny ghosts?

This is how we had it set up when I first brought it out this year. We added the gravestone candles, Ethan's paper-bag pumpkin from nursery school and our little spooky house (a bird house actually), which we got from Michael's last year and painted in Halloween colors.

Then I found our little grave yard. The fence is shared with the Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations as well, so the graveyard is removable. The base is a painted piece of cardboard. The graves are painted cardboard hot-glued to the base, and we stuck the gravestone candles in there as well as some mummy candles left over from Hudson's spooky birthday party last year. There are also some cute little wooden pumpkins that I keep out for Thanksgiving tucked in there.

Last is my tiny Boo! box made from a match box and some decorative paper, felt, ribbon and a button... and the skeleton guys we made a few years ago. They are made from A wooden ball (I guess.. I am suffering from a brain freeze right now and cannot think of what theheck it is called!). It had a hole in the bottom already. I painted it white and added the facial "features". I stuck half of a chop stick in bottom of the ball (the cheap kind I grab for free when we get chinese food at the grocery store, wrapped the stick in wire and made wire arms and legs as well. then I covered the whole thing in masking tape and drew on the "bones". They are bending and the kids like to re-arrange them. I think that one of them had a black suit when we first made them becasue he was supposed to look like Jack Skellington.


Inspired by Two Straight Lines I put together our Boo packages today for delivery tonight. Here's a peek...I included: hot chocolate mix, mini-marshmallows (I wanted the ghost shaped ones but they didn't have them at my grocery store) popcorn, a votive and a few pieces of candy. I added to the note that the contents would help make a great family movie night and included the date/time for the airing of the classic Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Oh, and I added the super cute skeleton from sewing stars. The instruction sheet came from Organized Christmas.
The kids are super excited about this!! Tonight should be fun!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beautiful Day

Yesterday was great. The kids had the day off from school and the weather was gorgeous! We had planned on going with a group of friends to Stokoe Farms but since we had gone to Long Acre Farm the day before with family, we were pretty burned out on corn mazes and such.... and we were still recovering from Hudson's 9th birthday party extravaganza... so we hung around at home instead. Hudson spent nearly all day putting together his new Lego sets. He got a lot of new Lego's for his birthday.

Ethan spent a good deal of the afternoon creating his "masterpiece" in chalk on the cement slab that we call our side porch.

He said he was finished, so I took a picture... then he changed his mind and went back to work. I love this version of it though. It looks like a Picasso face, doesn't it?

Cate and I feed the chickens a huge feast! Soy beans and corn from the farmer's fields, tomatoes, a huge zucchini, a rotten pepper, apple slices, carrot greens.... just about anything we could find that they might ingest.
Alex asked me to make her a leaf crown. There is probably a better way to do this, but I just braid the stems together and add a new stem every third "twist" or so... kind of like french braiding.
She and Cate dressed up like "fall fairies" (I made Cate's crown from flowers) and played in the leaves. Alexandra seems so mature sometimes for her nearly 11 years, so it is so nice when she acts childish and lets go and does something like this!

Then to top it all off, when I went out to the compost heap I saw this on a tree. Alex's doing.... warmed my heart!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Elephant Bag

I was going to write a post about my Halloween costume progress...but I just finished this bag last night and thought it would be more fun to talk about. It is a Pleated Beauty from Bend the Rules sewing. Only the second one I've made. Number one was for my first (and only) swap.

Back in May I made a tote for Teacher's Appreciation week. It was a raffle prize. Well, a male teacher from our school won it and joked all day about his "man-purse", but then went home and gave it to his wife, and she loved it. The other day I saw his wife and she asked me make a bag for a friend of hers as a Christmas gift. "Ok," I said. "What does she like?" Her answer, "Purple, polka dots and elephants." Hmmmmmmm......interesting...but, ok.

I was lucky to find some cute elephant fabric online. And as soon as it arrived I dove into making a tote. I never use a pattern when I make a tote, and I have even gotten lazy about measuring, but usually they come out ok. But, I must have been in a funk because this one came out horribly!! All weird and wonky... and not in a good way! So I tried again, but this time got out my trusty Bend The Rules Sewing book and actually followed the directions. By this time I had very little elephant fabric left, so I had to use it sparingly. I added the embroidered elephant on the front to tie in the fabric that is on the inside pocket. I also added a tiny patch of elephant fabric on one strap. I hope they see it as arty and not as a mistake.
The little one I watch arrived to day wearing similar colors so I had to get a picture of her slubbering on, I mean with the bag.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Halloween Costume Season

I should be planning and sewing the kids Halloween costumes.... but instead I am entering a contest with last year's costumes!! So, if you feel so inclined, could you stop over at Family Fun and vote for the Headless Guy??? You'll be my best friend! Vote for us!

That's my daughter under there. (Alex won Best Costume in a local contest last year. Here she is holding her winning bag of candy and certificate.)

Here are the boys from last year as well... Ethan was a mummy.... and Hudson was a kid being abducted by an alien. (This one was a real crowd-pleaser, but I didn't enter it into the contest because it was featured in the magazine already. That's where we got the idea.)
If you want you can go to my youtube page to see videos from last year of the kids in their costumes.