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1  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Octopus in a hurry! on: October 20, 2010 07:31:32 PM
When I asked my 3 year old what she wanted to be for Halloween this year, she said either an octopus, a dolphin, or Thursday.  I went with octopus.  It was incredibly easy!  

I took one of those cheap, thin fleece blankets from the drug store and folded it in half, then cut triangle-shaped strips up to about 5 inches from the folded edge.  Like construction paper grass.  I sewed down the legs (this is where my crooked seams came in handy- they made them wavy) and then joined the two ends together to form a circle, and added a million felt circles on the undersides.  I used wire hangers to get them to curl in different directions, and then stuffed it all and added some elastic for the waistband.  Then I had to add elastic shoulder straps (that I still need to sew in) because the weight of 6 hangers pulled it right off her waist.

Unfortunately, my old blanket was the last thing anyone ever made in maroon, so she has to wear a black leotard and tights under, with some homemade legwarmers from old knee socks.  Still, it cost me $6 and took about 3 hours to do, and she absolutely loves it.

with the legwarmers & tights

2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / kitchen island from kitchen-related objects on: April 10, 2010 08:06:12 PM
My handy husband made this over his spring break!

We started with my lovely 30's enamel-top kitchen table

and some very ugly and abused cabinets from the habitat for humanity store.

Throw in some molding and fancy drawer pulls (and several hours of work), and ta-da!

All three middle drawers were broken beyond saving, so we found some nifty baskets to replace them.  Since they were exactly the right size (that never happens!) we were even able to use the drawer sliders.

Potato storage action shot:

3  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / influential women in history: Anne Boleyn & the Golden Girls on: November 01, 2009 07:44:55 PM
This was our first halloween party since we had our daughter, so I went a little overboard!  Anne, in all her headless glory:

This is a poor man's version of this awesome Marie Antoinette http://www.nicolemagne.com/blog/category/costumes/headless-2006/
She used foam rubber and copper pipes, I used paper mache and wire hangers.  My dress was made from a graduation gown and one of those cheap, panel/valance all sewn together curtains.

Bea and the girls:

The golden girls' heads are made of salt dough.  Their bodies are just bunched up fabric sewn to felt.  Our first thought was to use dolls, but I quickly realized I can't sew doll clothes.  I can wad fabric with the best of them, though, so here we are.  The absolute best part of this costume is that he put speakers in his purse and blasted 'thank you for being a friend' all night.

Hope you all had a happy Halloween!
4  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / little Ms. Kennedy on: October 26, 2009 12:40:15 PM
My daughter is ready for some candy!  I can only take credit for the idea for this costume. My mom (who did not pass on her amazing sewing skills genes) made the suit and found the thrift-store pillbox hat.  For some reason I already had the enormous pearl necklace in my jewelry box.

The sunglasses cause major tantrums, so I think I'm scrapping those.  She looks cuter without them anyway.

5  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / suggestions for headless costume construction? on: September 23, 2009 09:43:09 AM
I'm attempting a headless Anne Boleyn this year, but I'm having a few problems.  So far I've made a neck-and-shoulders out of several layers of hose stuffed and sewn into a low cut shirt attached to the big dress.  Looks great without me in it, but when I put it on and move much everything just falls and I look like a hunchback with 2 necks.  I think things are too floppy with all the stuffing, and it might need some kind of frame or support.  Anyone ever made such a thing?

My goal is to have the shoulders sit about 4 inches above mine, and to have my head sticking out of the dress about where the chest would be, held by a fake hand/arm. Any ideas how to keep things in place?  Thanks!
6  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / pancakes in pajamas party for 2 year old on: May 13, 2009 01:21:35 PM
I thought a pancake party would be cute for our daughter's birthday, but I'm a little stumped as to what we'll do besides eat.  We have cute pancake molds and a nebulous plan about seating, but I haven't gone beyond decorating and cooking.

Can anyone think of some good activities?  We don't need many; our tentative schedule is 10-12.  I wasn't planning anything outside, but it's an option.  Also, is eating first a good idea?  I thought it would be good to get it out of the way, but now I'm thinking that it will just lead to stomach aches and syrupy handprints on the walls.

Here are the invitations.  We're on day 5 of a nap boycott and my lack of time to work on these shows, but I think they turned out pretty well.  They get the 'pancake in pajamas' point across, anyway!

Any game/activity ideas are greatly appreciated!  Thanks!
7  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / free custom frames! on: March 20, 2009 11:43:40 AM
I bought these great prints for 25 cents at an estate sale years ago.  Thought it was a great deal until I looked at the cost of framing them.  They sat sadly in my closet until today, when I found a roll of electrical tape and came up with this:

I see now that one picture is slightly higher than the other, and I'm okay with that.  I'm more of the 'cut the tape after it's stuck to the wall' sort.  If you aren't, you might want to draw some guidelines.

The tape was pretty forgiving, and isn't so sticky it ruined the paper when I repositioned it.  Don't know what it will do to the walls or the prints when I take them down.
8  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Afternoon delight? Lunch bag and man thong (pictures galore) on: October 23, 2008 08:15:23 AM
Our 7th anniversary is Monday, and I'm so excited about the presents I made for my husband!  The traditional 7th year present is wool or copper, so I ran with the wool...

First, I saw these awesome pi scarves and thought it would be perfect for my math teachin' man.  However, I have no idea what to do over there on the wrong side.  My solution was to join my little chain and work up a tube, so I'm always looking at the front, and the tangled mess that comes with not knowing how to carry colors is hidden inside.  Here's my result:

It was neat, but too thin for a scarf.  So I turned it into a handle for a nifty lunch bag:

Happily, it was the perfect size to hold an empty baby wipes box, which helps keep the boxy shape (and makes it look less like a purse).

The man thong worked up in about 15 minutes.  Double crochet mesh in vague triangles joined with a waistband & string.  I think I made the string part too long and the front part too short, which will be hilarious.  Who's going to take a wool thong seriously, anyway?

9  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Super easy bag, or what happens when you teach yourself to crochet on: October 15, 2008 08:38:44 AM
I don't know if this is truly crochet.  I did use a crochet hook, anyway.  I tried to teach myself from a book without pictures, and when I read 'turn your work' I thought it meant just keep going around in a clockwise circle, not flip it over.  Then I wondered why all my projects turned out like little boats, and went to find a book with pictures.

Years later, I really needed a big pit of a bag for diapers.  I remembered my mistake, and turned it into this:

A bad picture of the bottom:

I just kept going around and around and around.  I started with a chain that was about twice as long as I really wanted the bag to be, crochet the first row normally, and then instead of flipping and going back the other way, I just rounded the edge and worked across the bottom of the chain.  After that, it's super easy, although somewhat boring.  I threw in some double crochet for a while to break it up, and then just skipped a bunch of stitches on each side to make handles.

Oh, and because I learned without pictures, I don't usually pick up both loops of a stitch, but just use the one furthest from me.  The result is a lot like a knit stockinette stitch.  I don't know if this bag is possible if you crochet normally.
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Dirty fan fix on: October 15, 2008 07:08:43 AM
Due to shoddy housekeeping, the white ceiling fan in my kitchen had filthy, darkened blade tips.  I thought about repainting the blades white, but why take a chance that I'll have to do it ever again?

Here's my solution:

Bring it on, dust and grime.  I'll never know.

(Please ignore my peeling ceiling.  That's just not something I'm going to fix any time soon.)
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