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21  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / MEEEEOOOOWWWW!!! Spoooooky Kitty on a fence on: November 02, 2010 03:14:19 PM
It took a long time for me to decide on a pumpkin to enter. I finally settled on my kitty cat on a fence. This was not from a pattern. I used a linoleum cutter to scrape the pattern on the pumpkin.  Grin

22  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / I carved 53 jack-o-lanterns this year. How about you?? :) (almost done!) on: October 29, 2010 10:18:56 AM

 Every year I help with my neighbors with their massive jack-o-lantern display. The display is free of charge with good will donations. All the money then goes to help local children in some way. Last year they donated the money to the movie theatre in town for the children's summer free movie series. Anyway, back to the carving...I help carve for 3 days straight over fall break. They continue to recarve all week to replace pumpkins that go squish. This year I have already carved 52, and I will be going tonight to carve more.  Grin I love this time of year! Please forgive my fuzzy photography. Sometimes I have luck with no flash on my camera and sometimes I just wiggle too much.  Tongue

Here's their facebook page...

Not all these are mine, there are about 20 different carvers that contribute to the display. There are around 200 pumpkins on display at a time.
Here's the big pumpkin, he was around 300 pounds. Just a baby in big pumpkin terms. This pic is of him in progress. I will get a pic of the finished pumpkin tonight.  Grin

this year there was a Seasame Street section

my brain caved in!

more spookables...

pumpkins roasting marshmallows

not everything is cute and cuddley

The Raven is my favorite.

family pumpkins

one pumpkin is for an expectant carver

one hot pumpkin

23  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Gourds! Gourds! and more GOURDS!! a tutorial on: October 16, 2010 09:16:40 AM
How can you craft with gourds? Ever wanted to make a birdhouse, a container, or just anything out of a gourd. This is the process I use to make my gourdy creations. I'm sure there are lots of other ways of doing it, but this is just how my process evolved over time and after some trial and error.  Grin

1. First you must grow lots and lots of gourds in your garden! Pick them all. Hopefully you had a lot of nice big ones. You can also cheat this step and buy some from a local farmer's market or a nearby gourd enthusiast.

2. Throw all your gourds in a garage, barn, or attic. I try to lay them out so they are not touching. Also, I don't know if this happens to everyone, but everytime I have left them on concrete they go bad on me. I recomend laying them on a wood surface. In my barn they are on straw but that didn't seem to cause any problems.

3. WAIT! This is the hard part for me. Your gourds will be ready in about a year. They will dry out and the skin on the outside will get all funky. It may even look a little moldy, as long as it isn't leaking or juicy, the gourd is probably fine.

4. Now the messy part - cleaning the funk off of the gourd.  Tongue I usually do this step outside. I get a big bucket or an empty tote and clean the gourds outside by the hydrant. Today it was chilly and my toddler kept wanting to "help" so I decided to do this in the kitchen sink. I suppose my sink needed a good bleaching anyway.
I have used lots of different types of brushes and scrubbers, but a good old SOS pad seems to do the best for me.

Scrub and scrub and scrub....depending on the gourd and how it dried, the skin can come right off or it can be really stubborn. I am doing a swan gourd in this picture and they are not usually too bad, it is just hard to get all the skin off of the neck.

When you finish the gourd should be nice and smooth. As it dries, it won't be shiney anymore and you will be able to see any rough spots you missed.

5. Now for the fun part - decorating your gourd. The tools I use are a woodburner, watercolor paints, a hole saw (if I am making a birdhouse), and clear acrylic spray of some sort (I'm not set on any particular brand, but I do like the glossy kind).  

If I am making a birdhouse, I use the hole saw to cut the entrance first. The hole saw attaches to a power drill.

This way if you mess up or the hole doesn't go exactly where you intended, you aren't messing up your gourd. Same goes for a container, if I am cutting out a lid I do this first before decorating. I usually use the exacto blade attachment for my wood burner to cut out the lid.

I like to draw on my design first with pencil. Then you use the woodburner to burn the design. Gourds burn much easier than wood. It takes a little practice to get a nice even line. You can use different tips to make different designs, but I like the regular tip most wood burners come with.

When you finish burning your design, use a wet cloth or a baby wipe to clean off any leftover pencil lines. If I am going to add color this is when I do it. I use watercolors because I like for the natural patterns in the gourd to still show through.

The final step is to spray with the clear acrylic sealer (glossy). This step is important because it protects your gourds, seals in any paint, and makes it nice and shiney. I usually spray 2 to 3 coats letting the gourd dry well in between.

There are so many possibilities for gourds. Just have fun with them and you'll find lots of great crafts to make with gourds, gourds, and more gourds!  Grin Grin

24  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Felty, I mean Frosty, the Snowman on: December 11, 2009 12:10:21 PM
I got a needle felting kit in a recent swap. Here are my first attempts at felting.
Actually the first thing I made was a little brown ball, I won't say what it looked like. Then came the sheep and the holly ornament then my most recent addition, Frosty the Snowman.  Grin
Any pointers for a brand new needle felter??

25  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Baby Dinosaur on: November 04, 2009 03:00:10 PM

Here's my entry! My baby dinosaur...Simple is best for my toddler. He had a green long sleeved shirt and sweat pants. Then I made the felt "dino vest" stitching it by hand. I added some spikes to a hat and there you have a baby dinosaur!!

**It took me forever to figure out how to enter this challenge. This is my first time entering any challenge.

26  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / pumpkin carving crisis! on: September 16, 2009 01:43:23 PM
 Huh Help ! I need ideas!! Every year I help with a carved pumpkin display where we carve and display over 250 pumpkins. For around here, that's a lot of pumpkins! I need new pumpkin patterns and carving ideas! We try to be keep it interesting and use mostly new patterns each year. We do have some favorites that repeat. Pumpkin masters puts out new patterns each year and we get those, but I was looking for some other ideas! HELP!! I need crafster creativity!

I promise to display some pictures of the pumpkins closer to Halloween... Grin
27  COOKING / Dessert / creepy crawly birthday part 2: the old rotten stump on: August 30, 2009 02:36:46 PM
I posted the bugs for my cake earlier now here is the whole cake or I should say cakes. We have a rotten stump and a small patch of green grass and lots of good oreo dirt.
And how could I forget all the bugs...

28  COOKING / Dessert / creepy crawly buggy birthday on: August 28, 2009 12:09:15 PM
another kid another birthday cake...
I haven't gotten to the cake part yet, but I have the bugs to put on top. There are also some sticks for extra decoration

close up, I also made 2 big 6's and his name (extras in case something breaks)

29  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / white bread or pink roses or BOTH??? on: August 16, 2009 05:58:28 PM

I made these pink roses using bread/tacky glue "clay". I saw the recipe on a Alene's crafting show a few years back. I just decided I needed to try it out again. Just take 1 slice of white bread (take off the crust) and a good glob of tacky glue, I can't remember if it was one or two tablespoons. Either way it shouldn't be too dry. It will start out as a sticky, icky mess! Work it around in your hands and eventually it will start to stick to itself and not to you. Add in some paint if to color. Work that in to get it nice and even. I made the roses like I would if I was using cake icing. Start with a little cone shape and build up a few petals at a time. And there you go. I got three roses done and then it started to get kind of stiff. I made a little heart with what was left. I am going to spray them with laquer to ward off any mold or badness.
30  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Sock Puppets! on: July 11, 2009 06:15:49 PM
I took some crafty goodness over to my sister-in-law's house and made sock puppets with my niece. Nice girly ones, I only have boys, so sequins and bows don't get much use in my house. They aren't fancy, but they serve their purpose.

I like the yellow argile kitty cat

The puppets like to sing and talk to one another.
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