Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treating Doggie Flops

From Dash’s Point of View: 

My Mom really wanted to take me to a Dog Halloween event yesterday, but my parents have had a really busy week and we just ran out of time. She felt bad and apologized to me all day. I have already worn my costume once and will wear it again tonight to hand out candy, so I think I’ll forgive her this time. Since I was supposed to be walking outside potentially on hot or rocky surfaces Mom made me some little flip-flops to protect my feet. I would like to tell they work great, but since I didn’t go to the parade I don’t really know. I tried walking in them in the house, but not for long. If you would like to make a pair to protect your feet while treat or treating with your family my Mom will show you how below. 

You will need: 
  • Foam sheet 
  • 4 covered hair elastics 
  • Paper - for making a pattern 
  • X-acto knife 

Use your dog’s foot to trace a paper pattern for the flip-flop sole. Cut the pattern from the paper. Transfer your pattern onto the foam sheet four times. 

Cut the shoe soles from the foam sheet. You can use scissor...I did.

Use the paper pattern again to make dots at three points on your dog's foot: between the middle toes and both sides of the heel. 

Mark holes onto the foam cut-outs. 

Punch holes through the foam. Keep the holes as small in width as you can. The X-acto knife can make too large a hole if allowed to push through too far into the foam. (It is easy to slip). You do not want the straps to pull through. If you have an awl or a sharp nail they will work also. 

Tie a knot on the side of the hair elastic opposite the seam. Tie the knot with as little excess as possible. 

Push the loop through to the top side of the foam. Use a pen or your knife to help thread the elastic if needed. 

Break the covered hair elastic at the seam. It should pull apart with a little effort. 

Pull the single elastics all the way through to the bottom of the foam. 

Knot each end on the underside. Keep your knots as close to the end without slipping out as possible. 

Pull the elastics back through until they arch on top and Voila!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lanterns are for More Than Lighting

What a busy, yet fun and exciting week this has been...with the promise of it spilling over into next week! My husband’s birthday is this weekend, though it appears we will be tabling it until next, of course Halloween is quickly approaching, and the big fundraising luncheon I am co-chairing is next week! Therefore, with my obvious lack of time for any large projects I want to bring you something completely attainable and show you how it works with projects I have already posted for this Halloween season. 

You can go buy something like this (approximately) 10 inch lantern with a ribbon and a candle or something festive inside for around $50, give or take, or you can make it for oh, around $5. I am sort of hesitant to post this because we are selling decorative lanterns at our fundraiser. They are really cute and the lantern it’s self is more stylized than this one, but the simple fact is you are either the type to buy a pre-decorated, marked up, ready to display in your home lantern, or you are the type that is racking your brain right now trying to remember where you have seen a plain lantern for sale and how much it was, because you already have the ribbon and know how much the glitter skull will cost you. But if you are not the do-it-from-scratch type eventually you are going to think, hmmm...I don’t know that I like that ribbon, that candle, that color, that whatever anymore and I want to change it. Consequently, you may want to use the same ideas to “re” decorate your very pretty, pre-decorated lantern someday. 

Lanterns have been around since Biblical times. Yes, now we use them more for decoration, but it appears to me that there not going out of style anytime soon. The really super thing about them is they are as versatile as a little black dress. You can dress them up, dress them down, display them indoors or out, make them decorative or functional...lots of options, but today I am going to keep it pretty Halloween focused. 

Let me begin by reminding you that not everything in the Halloween decoration isles is tasteful for home beautification. My mom would emphatically tell you that this glittered skull is not tasteful, but I disagree. The skull is an obvious clue what holiday we are approaching. It is not grotesque, it’s glittered! Find a piece, of your own liking, that clearly demonstrates what holiday or season you are wanting to convey, hence, the skull. Remember decorating the inside of your lantern does not force you to exclusively use one singular piece. A lantern filled to the brim with mini pumpkins or candy is just as festive. 

Keep in mind the existing colors in the room when choosing something for the inside of the lantern. Additionally, keep in the same colors in mind when choosing the lantern. Lanterns are available in many colors and you want the one that will be most versatile for your decorating and entertaining needs. Notice I have a lot of black and cream in the room, but, for the season, I have added splashes of orange and rusty fall colors. The orange ribbon has some slight variations in the color allowing it to blend seamlessly with the other shades of orange in the room. The very subtle sparkle in the ribbon is not enough to cause discord with the dramatic sparkle of the skull. The skull being silver keeps it from clashing with the color scheme or competing with the color splashes. As you can see the throw pillow that was posted last week is visible in the background, but also not competing for the rooms attention. 

You can place these lanterns in a grouping of items as shown below, next to the seasonal, ever-rotating candy stand. They are also lovely grouped together in varying sizes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Luminary Hanging Baskets

This idea just appeared in my head and I thought how simple this would be to construct. These pumpkin hanging luminaries are a simple way to bring some festive Halloween decor to the outside of your house while recycling some of your summer plant hanging baskets. Not to mention a super cool way to light the trick-or-treat path to your front door. 

You will need: 
  • 2 Wire hanging baskets 
  • 1 Strand of each orange and green lights 
  • Pumpkins/coconut shell/plants/ mulch (optional) 

Place pumpkins in basket around the plant. Originally, my plan was to not leave any summer foliage, soil, coconut shell or mulch in the hanging basket, but as I played around with the idea I decided it looks quite nice in the daytime. 

Turn the empty basket over and flip chains to the outside. 

Use bottom chains and clips to fasten baskets together. 

Hook the bottom chains into the top chains. 

Slide the female end of orange lights into the bottom of the wire basket. 

Wind the lights around the wires vertically, string across the top, and then back down the other side. Repeat until all of the vertical wires are wrapped.

Finish wrapping orange and green lights to create a pumpkin and stem shape. 

Turn on the lights and Voila! A finished luminary hanging pumpkin.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two-Faced Couch Potato - A double sided Halloween and Thanksgiving pillow

It has been a stressful day. I guess you can probably tell by the blog title. Thankfully this pillow has been on my couch for a week now, so, I am just writing today, not constructing. 

I had the idea for this a few years ago when I bought a really cute, but obviously Christmas pillow. The back side was polka-dot fabric that matched my living room. After Christmas I flipped it around and placed a smaller pillow to the front and side of it. I love that I do not have to store the pillow and I can use it year round. I wanted to at least help you through the fall season with a cute, cheap, functional idea. 

You will need: 

  • Felt 
  • Crochet thread 
  • Wooden letters 
  • Leather laces 
  • Ribbon or braid 
  • Leaves 
  • Soap or chalk 
  • Poly-fill

Layout the wooden block letters and leaves on the felt. With the soap make small dots as place markers for the lettering and then trace the leaves. 

Remove the leaves after tracing them. 

String the letters onto the leather and knot the ends. 

Sew the leather to the pillow between the knots. Allow the crochet thread to be visible over the leather. 

Lay the braid onto the soap marks. Only sew the braid down with the crochet thread at the corners or bends of the leaves. Again, allow the crochet thread to be visible over the braid. 

This is what the leaves should look like at this point. 

Measure the inside of each leaf where the central vein would be located on a real leaf and cut the leather laces long enough to accommodate the length plus knots at the end. Sew each lace to the inside of the leaf allowing the crochet thread to show on the inside of the knots. 

Retrieve the multi-purpose sign you made earlier in the week. I sewed a checkered ribbon around the edge of the Halloween side. It just helps the pillow to appear professionally made and finished. The Thanksgiving side has more color and the leaves help finish the edges. 

Sew it up! 

Leave a hand-sized hole to fill the pillow with poly-fill. 

Pin the hole.

Sew the hole shut with black thread and Voila!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Multipurpose Halloween Decoration

Seasonal decoration helps to keep me grounded in that particular moment of my life. Yes, I suppose that sounds philosophical yogi with a strange Bravo channel twist. But what I simply want to convey is celebrating and embracing the season through home interiors, quarterly fashions, baked dishes, and even seasonal gardening helps me enjoy what life has to offer at that particular moment in time that will soon become a memory. 

The project I am sharing with you today is really a two part project, but I wanted to give you some time to complete and use today’s project before moving on to the second half. 

You will need: 

  • Black felt 
  • Off-white crochet thread 
  • Needle with a large eye 
  • Chalk or a small piece of soap 
  • Picture of a spider web (or use the one below) 
  • Scissors 

We had a record setting hot summer. As a result we lost every tree we planted in the spring. The other day while checking on my pumpkins I noticed a spider had used one of the dead trees as his own canvas for a bit of Halloween decorating. His work rather impressed me. I decided to photograph this intricate web and copy it for my interior decoration...since I will not be allowing this spider to decorate “inside” my home. 

You may use this picture or the finished project as a template if you like. Otherwise, if you want to find a unique spider web of your own you can turn this into a fun nature project for kids. 

Using a thin piece of soap I wrote, “Happy Halloween” and the picture to replicate the image onto the felt. You could also use chalk. 

I did not use a crochet needle. I used a hand sewing needle with a large eye, but to help the bulky crochet thread through the eye I coated it with soap. You can firmly rub the thread across soap or wax to keep the fibers together and slippery enough to thread your needle. 

This project is for display in your home. You want it to look stylish and valuable. Choosing the cream versus a stark white helps keep it from appearing as a “craft” project. 

Double the thread on the lettering and the supporting web threads. 

And an hour in front of the t.v. later... 

You can use it as a placemat or... 

Attach clothes pins and ribbons to hang it as a sign. Get creative! Find many different uses for your new work of Halloween art. And come back to see my other use for it.