Friday, October 31, 2008


Here are some Halloween movies I've recently watched.

. The ending is shocking and the whole thing is memorably creepy and strange.

Cat People. Not really too scary, more of a moody film focusing on psychological tension.

No vintage Halloween movie fest is complete without Vincent Price. His films are always fun, but I usually forget the plots. He always plays the deliciously evil villian mastermind.

Silent Classic, Nosferatu (1922)

I actually like the Werner Herzog remake Nosferatu, the Vampyre better. The ending is changed from the original and is even more haunting.

I don't know why FOX doesn't run the Simpson's Treehouse of Horror on a continuous loop:

Is it all in her mind? Classic haunted House film The Haunting

Ever had mice in your basement or revenge fantasies? Willard is the film for you!

There are so many great Halloween movies! Have a fun day!

edited to add: Yipes! It just occurred to me that my daughter is a mouse for Halloween! (See Willard, above)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I haven't been very good lately about sharing my projects. I've been in pouch production for awhile now. I have a show coming up in December and another big custom order that came in so I'm sort of swimming in these things.
Pile of pouches

American Road Trip. Now that gas prices are down again, we might allstart taking the road trips we put off. This one brings back memories of our stuffed car trips up to Minnesota for the holidays. We don't have to do that anymore, but it was fun in the days before we had the kids!
American Road Trip Pouches

Here are some holiday and non-holiday treats:
Holiday Treat Pouches

Here are the treats I like to stitch. The cupcake is the easiest to cut out. Gingerbread man is really hard to cut because he needs to be symmetric. Hershey's Kiss cookies are a holiday tradition for us.
CupcakeGingerberad ManHershey's Kiss Cookie

Finally, for today, I have these sock monkey pouches. The applique is from some great novelty fabric.
Sock Monkey Pouches

Put fray check on the outside of the fabric cut out to keep it from unraveling.
Sock Monkey Detail

I've got more, but I'll share them tomorrow. All the pouches are interfaced for fabric stability. They have a velcro closure and measure about 7 inches by 5 1/2 inches. A few are listed in my Etsy Shop, including a Red Riding Hood and a Big Bad Wolf. I plan to list more, but most of the inventory will go into the show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another 40th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Blair!


Today is the day my brother turns 40 and for just about 2 weeks we are the same age. My whole family (Mom, Dad, Brother) has our birthdays in the same 2 week period, so we always look forward to our get-together for Family Birthday Weekend. That's me sitting quietly back on the lounge chair and he's the little guy in front ready to entertain.

I did not make anything handmade for my brother's milestone birthday. Have you heard me say before that crafting for men is very hard for me? To me it can be a little bit like being trapped in hell. Even so, in the past I've given him many things. When we were teenagers I stenciled a big Christmas goose on his underpants and he wore those every holiday for many years. At least he told me he did, I didn't actually see them. When he was married I made him and his wife a new bed-sized quilt that I actually completely hand quilted. One day I'll get a photo of that as it predates the digital era. It was THIS pattern.

Brother and I grew up very close. He is extroverted to the extreme and I am less so. He is very funny and was a terrific youth minister at a very large Presbyterian church until he changed careers to have more time for his family. We were involved in the same high school activities including stage crew, band, Amigos, and the church youth group. We have many of the same long term friends from those days and even spent some time as roommates at the college we attended together.

Here's a more current photo of us. It's an unflattering angle of me and a little bit blurry. Practically every other digital photo I have of him he's hamming it up in some silly way.
Me and My Bro
Have a great day, Blair! Enjoy the 40's! It's a great age!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fridays at the Movies

Yes, we already saw HSM3. That clip is from the HSM2 which played on tv this summer. This sequel was good, although Troy and Gabriella are a bit too much for my taste. I like the Sharpay character (movies like this need a fun villain) and she was pretty scarce this go around of HSM. The audience in our theater squealed at the opening shot of Zac Efron and again later on when he took off his shirt. Our cineplex canceled the showing of whatever it was that was supposed to be playing in one of the theaters and filled it up with overflow ticket holders for HSM so I predict this will get a #1 showing when the receipts are tallied at the end of the weekend.

The place was awash is squealing little girls. Our poor son was dragged along and declared it the worst thing he's ever seen and insists that we owe him a movie. Twice they "punished" a character by making him go paint sets and hang lights which was exactly what I used to do in theater in high school. On the crew, we worked 5 days a week for several hours after school and all day long every Saturday. I'm pretty sure we had way more fun backstage, but nevermind about that.

I love it that musicals are making a comeback. They really are fun. This one isn't nearly as fantastic as Mamma Mia, but we had a good time. It did make me long to see Grease again. That was my favorite as a kid.

I love the week of Halloween because the movie channels show all kinds of vintage horror. If we had TiVo I would really be in b-movie horror heaven. I don't like to see scary films in the theater, because they are too strong. Actually I don't really want to see any horror films that date much later than about 1980. I like them better if it is all sort of stylized and unreal or very dated. A couple years ago I saw Suspiria on IFC. That one boasts what is probably the creepiest theme music ever. I was going to embed a videoclip, but the ones I found were kind of gory for a crafty blog. Some of you might have preferred to watch that than High School Musical 2, but I'll let you do your own You Tube search.

Here are some not at all scary ghost pins I made that same year I saw Suspiria. They are not inspired by the movie:
Felt env.and Ghosts

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Sailor's Grave!

This is my latest Tea Towel Tour embroidery. Sewphie asked for a nautical/tattoo/ pinup/okay with skulls towel. Hers already had 2 pretty temptresses and a georgeous ship stitched on it, so I went with this. It was an image that kept coming up when I was searching for vintage tattoo images. Every time it came up I laughed. Her towel is already a bit racy and this is really a teetotaler's dire warning, isn't it?
A Sailor's Grave!
It's an old Sailor Jerry Tattoo design. Check out THIS flickr photoset of a collection of these vintage designs. I'm hoping to stitch up a nautical pinup towel for my dad to use. So many projects!

Here is the towel so far. Only one person left! The detailed stitching by my swap partners is truly amazing. Check out our gallery HERE.
Tea Towel Nautical Theme

See the quilt underneath? That's a project for my mom that I've been working on for months. It just came back from the quilter's and all it needs is the binding and a label.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Craft Critique and Craft Collective

My review/tutorial of the Clover Quick Yo-yo Maker ran yesterday at Craft Critique. I gave this fantastic tool 12 out of 10 stars. The Jumbo version of this tool should be coming to stores soon. I've been watching for it!

In other news, Chicagoland Craft Collective members are being recognized worldwide! Martha is featured in a German scrapping mag. She also has a Martha Stewart Crafts Project Sheet up at Michaels.

Another of our members, Melanie, is excited to have a project of hers published in a beadwork magazine. Melanie doesn't have a weblink, but her project will be in the March Issue of the mag. When it comes out in a few months, I'll show you. Melanie works with very small beads and one time she taught some of us how to make these beaded beads. The project was complicated and not for the faint of heart!

Beaded Bead

We have a great time at our very casual meetings. We just share our crafty books and projects with each other and we usually do a fun craft that is achievable in a restaurant setting. Last meeting Donna helped us make Halloween candle jars. She got some of that elusive glow-in-the-dark Mod Podge for us to achieve some extra spookiness. Here's my project. I did a cute Frankenstien based on a project in one of her Magazines:

Frankenstein Votive

It was so fun and easy! I'm going to gather a bunch more jars and make more with my kids.

None of us at the Chicagoland Craft Collective are associated with any particular craft company or retailer. A few of us dabble in craft shows, blogging, and Etsy, but mostly we have fun connecting with other craft obsessed people like ourselves. Join us sometime if you live in the outlying suburbs of Chicago!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election Countdown

My daughter made some posters for us to use to cheer our candidates in last night's final debates.

McCain's poster says: "Don't go with something that everybody else wants. Be a MAVERICK!"
Vote for the Maverick

The McCain campaign might not like the implication that they are coming from behind, but they'd surely love the youthful look of the candidate here.

Obama's poster says: "Shade your change with Obama. Change"
Vote for Change
Here Obama brings a sunny optimism implied by the rainbows.

My husband wants me to blog about taxes and earmarking, but he can get his own blog. This is as political as I plan to get.

When can we vote already? I am totally ready!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goofy Videos

Maybe figuring out how to embed this video is more trouble than it is worth... I missed this goofy song, "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" from 30 Rock when it made the rounds last fall.

And this is a 10 minute video in Japanese of cats stealing fish. I cannot lie, I watched the whole thing:

Thanks to Cutesypoo for posting the cat video. Check out her blog for more entertaining videos.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Virgo Embroidery

This is my latest embroidery for my Tea Towel Tour swap on Craftster. Nannetta asked for a Zodiac/celestial theme towel and her sign is Virgo. This Virgo pattern was posted in the Flickr group Hoop Love, HERE.
Virgo Embroidery

People are doing some amazing, impressive things with their fill-in stitches this round of our swap. I hesitate to start filling in areas because once I get started doing that, I want to fill everything in and then I feel like I might as well have appliqued the design.

I decided to do a sort of a wood block look for her hair and outline her dress with a double line of chain stitches.

Virgo Embroidery

My next towel is a nautical/pin-up/tattoo theme. I think if I keep doing these swaps, I'm going to have to invest in a tattoo design book, because it really is a popular theme and I try to be careful about copyrights even though our swaps are all just personal use gift type exchanges. Pin-ups just seem to get more and more popular!

Friday, October 10, 2008


What a week! The financial news is such a bummer. It's going to be a rough few years, I think.

Maybe appropriately, people are getting out their spooky Halloween stuff. I made the skeletons that were posted over at The Small Object. I Haven't perfected them yet, but they go together easily. I ordered the cotton heads from the online store she recommends in the tutorial and they came within days.

I might make them into a Halloween garland with a bunch of fabric yo-yo's I'm also doing.


Saturday, October 4, 2008


I saw this at Gawker today: a video on drunk monkeys. Evidently, the hard drinking monkeys are more accepted by the other monkeys as leaders:

This is the sort of thing that distracts me from putting up new listings in that Etsy shop...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cute Pouches

I've been fiddling away at this pile of pouches for a couple of weeks.

Fabric pouches

Here is a pic of their square gusset bottoms:
Pouches have gussets

I did some Little Red Riding Hood on pink:
Little Red Riding Hood Pouches

Little Red goes with these Wolves I put on blue fabric. Wolf is very interested in that picnic basket full of treats:
Wolf Pouches

My felt appliques are all hand cut and hand stitched. I do use some fabric glue in places like the wolf eyes and nose.

Here I did some more simple sock monkey pouches. I love these fabrics. The Monkey medallion is hand appliqued with embroidery floss:
Monkey Pouches

In order to list these at Etsy, I have to set up all my photo stuff and try to get perfect pictures at perfect angles with perfect lighting... Hopefully I'll get to that this weekend. I hope the sun comes out again here. I switched from hot weather to the mid-50s really fast. Usually some snow flies here by Halloween so I guess it's time!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Crafty Daughter

Emma's Pumpkin

This was my 8-year old daughter's "secret project". She was inspired by the stack of synthetic felt I gave her to use in any project she chooses. This is impressive to me because she used her sewing machine all by herself without any supervision. I think she did a good job top stitching those pieces onto her pumpkin. She told me she even ripped out a seam with the seam ripper and didn't tear anything.

Tooth Fairy
Last week daughter made a brass shrine of her tooth to impress the tooth fairy. She has been trying to extract more $$ from the tooth fairy with little success.

Craft is Cool

I saved this poster she made this summer. It says, "Craft is Cool, Oh Yeah". I wanted to make it in felt and embroidery, but haven't gotten to it yet.

My son sums up our family interests in a paper he did the first week of school, "On Sundays during the fall, me and my dad watch football. My sister and mom are really crafty. I'm not crafty." I wish my son didn't feel that creating things like this is a girl thing, but he just takes after his dad and appreciates this as a hobby, but is interested in other things. Son makes charming drawings of people with giant arms and hands and is interested in filming videos.