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Arden thoroughly enjoyed her first foray into the world of trick-or-treating.  Aside from a mini-meltdown while donning her costume, she got right into the groove of things.  We only went to a couple of neighbors and nearby friends houses, but she quickly figured out how to hold out her little pumpkin bag and then check to see what went inside.  When we got home, she trick-or-treated to Daddy and then dumped out her bag of goodies on the floor.

Checking out her lit Jack O' Lantern



Remember this?  Arden modeled Victor Marcus’ cow costume after I had the bulk of it finished.

It was still in progress, and now I’ve finished up the costume.  Here are the final details:

I spent a lot of time deliberating how to make hoof mittens, and then I realized that I could make them two-dimensional and he can just stick two fingers in one side and three in the other.  I think they’re pretty cute, and they’re fleece, so they should be warm!  I purposely left the seams exposed to give them a more rough look.

Here’s a better shot of the hat with horns (remember this was a devil pattern, not a cow, so if the horns look a bit “devilish”, that’s why).

I’m particularly pleased with the little ear tag.  Victor Marcus’ birthdate – February 18, 2008.  My friend Kim doesn’t know I added this little detail; I really hope she likes it.

And finally, the infamous udder.  This was actually relatively easy to put together, I used a salad plate to trace a circle and put four ½” x 2″ darts in the edges.  I don’t remember the exact dimensions of the teats, but they were somewhere around 2″ x 3″ and then rounded at the top.  I stuffed and then hand stitched them to the udder and then sewed the whole shebang onto the costume, stopping about 3″ from the start and stuffing it while still in the machine and then finished the seam. 

I haven’t done a whole lot of sewing with fleece or felt, and I must say it’s pretty fun!  I love how you can leave the seams showing if you want.

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My good friend Kim was lamenting about how she wasn’t able to find a cow costume for her two year old son Victor Marcus  that she liked that wasn’t insanely expensive.  Since I didn’t have anything at all to keep me busy every evening for the next couple of weeks (ha!), I volunteered to make him a costume.  I couldn’t find a pattern for a cow, so I improvised and got one with a devil.  I also couldn’t find cow print fabric in anything besides novelty cotton, so I bought black and white fleece and am adding applique’d spots.  Devil horns look remarkably similar to cow horns, don’t you agree?  I just free-styled the ears, and I like how they turned out.  Arden volunteered to model VM’s costume:

This is also my first post with a collage – do you like it?  I think it’s pretty dandy if I do say so myself.  Totally worth upgrading on Picnik!  I still have a few embellishments to add – hooves and udders.  We got into a long text conversation between Kim, her husband Victor, my husband Dave, and me about cows and horns and udders.  Victor said that boy cows have horns and girl cows have udders and only tranny cows have both.  After I stopped laughing, I responded that most cattle of either sex have horns, so cows usually do have horns and udders, while bulls have only horns.  We all agreed that I would add the udders and they could feel free to remove them if they didn’t like them or thought they looked obscene.  So, I guess I’m off to make me some udders!

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I don’t have any fun projects completed to post, so I’ll just do a quick wrap up of what’s been going on.

We broke ground – literally – on our garage reconstruction.  On Thursday, they took out the old slab, dug for the footings, and put in the foundation walls.  We’re using a treated lumber foundation instead of block cement.  It’s pretty interesting to see.  My brother Jeff is taking a class that was discussing treated lumber foundations, so he came out and took some photos.  On Friday, they backfilled and compacted the fill sand.  The framing and concrete guys are working on other jobs right now, so they’re not expected for a week and a half or so.  But, great progress!

Also on Friday, Arden dissapeared into the breakfast nook and was awfully quiet for a minute, so I went to go find her.  We’ve learned that when things get quiet, somethings up!  Arden had taken all her soft toys out of one of the Tub Trugs we use to store her toys in and dragged it into the kitchen and climbed in.  Of course I grabbed the camera instead of helping her out!

Saturday was CMU’s homecoming, so I took Arden.  I got there just at the right time to get a tour of my sorority house and a cup of coffee before the parade started.  Arden’s favorites were the horse drawn carriages and floats with dogs.  That’s my girl!  I took some photos of her at the house – can I brag a bit about the shirt I made for her, and the sweater I knitted when I was pregnant?  That sweater has fit her (okay, it’s a little small now) for about a year – totally worth the time it took to knit!

After we got home from the parade, I got started on the chairs I showed you from the ReStore.  I got the seat off one and sanded it down.  I probably got a bit ambitious with the sander since I’m going to prime and paint them, but oh well.  I’ve also been working a bit each day on a cow costume for a friend’s son.  I’m pretty excited about how it’s turning out.  I had to use a devil costume pattern since I couldn’t find a toddler cow pattern, and I’m appliquéing (is there actually a verb for appliqué?) on the cow spots since the only cow fabric I found was novelty cotton and not thick enough to keep him warm.  So, I’m using fleece and getting creative with my scissors while watching chick flicks – my husband had started watching Step Up, it wasn’t my idea!  Yes, my husband has — um — varied taste in entertainment!  I guess it’s all fair, since I like to craft, sew, quilt, and knit and also am into marathons, adventure races, and Muay Thai kickboxing.

Decorating our mantle is a little difficult, since it usually ends up being a catch-all for everything we don’t want dogs, cats, or toddler getting into. But with all the inspiring mantles I’ve been seeing, I thought I could give it a try.

The vase on the left was a wedding present and is filled with peanut butter candies.  The lyre candelholder is a gift from one of my AXO sorority sisters.  Various other wedding gift candles and a halloweenish one I’ve had for a few years.  The flower bucket is filled with branches from our yard with a quick coat of black spray paint.  The pumpkin lantern is a hand-me-down from my Mom.  The light bulb was burned out, so I just popped in a tea light for the photo.  It will probably not get a new light bulb this season.  The book is a collection of Edgar Allen Poe works that we already had.  The print isn’t specifically Halloween-y, but it’s Magritte’s Empire of Light and I’ve always thought the surrealism with the daytime sky and nightime house was a bit creepy.  I am also quite thrilled to replace the abstract expressionism Bleu II by Miro that was there previously – it was a red slash and some black dots against a blue background that I never really liked.  Maybe Dave won’t notice if it doesn’t return to the mantle!   The bowl with the rocks in the middle are our wedding “guest rocks” in a wooden bowl we got in Bora Bora on our honeymoon.  Instead of a guest book, we had everyone sign a rock.  I’d put them somewhere else for this, but I don’t have a good place to move them to, and nothing specific to fill the space in the middle.  So, they can be Halloween guest rocks.  The wall color was already pumpkin – Dave has a fondness for this color and it’s in our sun room, dining room, and over the mantle.

I think I have a few other odds and ends that I will add to this, and I think I’ll do some kind of a garland or drape across the print.  Either way, it’s better than it was and forced me to put away the junk that was just cluttering it up.

A local animal rescue sponsors a Dirty Dog run each year where you can run with your dogs on the trails.  Last year I ran with Laser and the oaf dragged me over hill and dale for the entire 5k.  Normally, he poops out and I’m dragging him after the first mile or so.  Turns out he’s not lazy, he’s just bored and it was exciting to run through the woods chasing other runners and dogs.

They encourage costumes, so this year we’re going to try running Sophie and dress her up as a princess to go along with a pea costume I made years ago for a different race where I was the princess:

Princess and the Pea

So here’s how I made Sophie’s princess hat – keep in mind I’m making this for a dog, so I’m not all concerned about finished edges and durability.  This was also a stashbuster project – yay!

I started by measuring Sophie’s head to get the circumference of my hat – 16″ worked fine.  I arbitrarily decided I wanted the cone to be about 8″ tall.  Then I tried to find something round that had a 16″ diameter to use as a pattern.  My chip and dip tray came close, so I used that for starters.  I traced right onto heavyweight fusible interfacing:

Who needs a compass?

I broadened the circle to get my desired size, then I measured the edge of my semi-circle until I got to my 16″ + 1″ and drew a line to the center of the circle:

Rough pattern

Then I cut the shape plus some extra out of my fabric – a bunch of taffetta I had left over from a purse project several years ago:

Press to fuse, and then I turned the bottom edge up and stitched with about ¼” seam allowance.  I didn’t bother to pin or anything since it didn’t need to be perfect:

Turn and sew

For a little whimsy and because I wanted to play with Jane (my new sewing machine), I added a decorative stitch:

Decorative stitch by Jane

Then I added a bunch of ribbons into the top and stitched the back closed with right sides together, keeping the ribbons inside the hat:

Check the fit on Sophie and add some elastic to keep it put:

Princess Sophie

This took less than 20 minutes during naptime – pretty slick I think!  Any suggestions on what to do with another yard or so of the taffetta?

I finished Arden’s Halloween costume!  This was so much fun to do.  I also got to try out the embroidery features on my new machine by adding “Chef Arden” to the hat band.  I’m so happy with the embroidery and other features on my Janome Memory Craft 9700 that I’ve decided to name it.  She will henceforth be known as Jane.

Jane's fine work

Pardon the lint, but I think it turned out really neat.  I’m also debating on putting a pocket on the sleeve with the same embroidery.  I did a test run and the piece is large enough to make into a pocket, but I’d have to mostly hand sew it since the sleeves are already together.  I’m also planning to make an oven mitt to go with the costume and become part of her play kitchen.

I also played around with Picnik for the first time.  I don’t expect a camera upgrade in my future anytime soon, so I need to make due with what I’ve got – a Canon PowerShot A570 IS.  I like the watermarks I see on a lot of other blog posts so I added A Jennuine Life to mine.  I also did some fixing and added a border.  What do you think?  And pocket, or no pocket?

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I made more progress on Arden’s chef costume.  I finished up the pants and the hat and of course had to try them on Arden.  I know most kids don’t like to wear hats and tear them off at every opportunity.  Not Arden.  She’s always liked to wear hats which is great since I like to knit them for her!  It’s somehow very appropriate that one of the signs she’s learned at daycare is “hat”.  That and “bubbles” make frequent appearances.

So I try the hat on her and it’s adorable.  I’m very excited with how the costume is turning out.  Problem is that she wouldn’t let me take it off her all day Sunday.  Here are a couple of photos as a sneak preview:

Chef Arden

Modeling the hat in action in her play kitchen.

Newfound fondess for football

And here she is several hours later while watching some football.  I don’t really follow football, but I miss the sound of a game playing on Sunday – reminds me of snuggling under a blanket with my Dad and a bowl of caramel popcorn.  Arden is not much of a TV watcher, but this seemed to hold her interest for about ten minutes.  Maybe it was the pink the players and refs were wearing for the breast cancer awareness game.

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I’m beginning to see a trend to what I’m working on…  It’s fall!  I love fall in Michigan, though today is a bit dreary.  All the better to stay inside and create cute things and post about them!   

My candy corn cutie!

 I’ve been making these pinafore tops all summer.  With the onset of fall and all things associated, I thought the shape of the top was a bit triangular and would be really cute done as a candy corn.  I measured the length of the front of my pattern and divided by three, added an extra 1/2″ for seam allowance, and cut and sewed them together like piecing a quilt.  Then I proceeded as usual to make the pinafore top, using a cute candy corn print for the reverse side.    

Before I sewed the front to the back, I added a blanket or Parisian stitch to the yellow and orange sections to make it look applique’d, and sewed on one of my new Jennuine Design labels, since I think this might be a sample for the Etsy shop I’m planning to open soon.   

Parisian stitch

Jennuine Design label

Pardon the rumpled appearance of the finished product.  My daughter had been wearing it all morning until I borrowed it during her nap to snap some quick photos.  Plus she’s teething, so therefore a drooling maniac and the top is a bit damp.   

Finished product

Super cute and super quick!

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I can’t take any credit for this one since my Mom made it years ago and gave it to me when they moved to Florida full-time.  I get it out every year, and I think it’s great!

Halloween Doormat

You’ll need a doormat with a prominent grid pattern.  The design could be borrowed from a simple cross stitch pattern, or you could make your own using graph paper.  This was made using 1″ strips of fabric.  Just snip the intervals with scissors and tear – the edges are supposed to be ragged.  Using a large tapestry or yarn needle, or just poking the fabric through with a chopstick, work the pattern like a cross stitch – working a row from the bottom left hole to the top right and then returning from the bottom right to the top left.

Stitch detail

The only catch is that I tried searching online for this type of doormat, and I’m not seeing it.  So, if you have one or stumble across one, here’s an idea for what to do with it.  I also have one for Christmas with “Noel” on it.

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