Monday, October 31, 2011

The Pumpkin Carving Party

As promised, the festivities began with a lovely refreshment--Bloody Marys. Seriously, the Wild Child lived up to her name in the spiciness of her Bloody Marys. One sip left me gasping, but they kind of grew on me as the afternoon progressed. (Luckily I had come to the party equipped with a Starbucks iced latte chaser, and that helped!)

I used the excuse of having a Halloween cupcake display house as a reason to pick up some Halloween cupcakes. I wish I could say I made them myself, but at least I assembled the stand.

You gotta love a gal who carves a pumpkin using power tools, like this electric drill. I wonder how many Bloody Marys she had?

Here are some of the pumpkins, lined up and ready for a dip in the pool. My brother-in-law got a little crazy with the Disney designs--there are two Disney pumpkins here and I think he had another couple he was still working on when this photo was taken.

Now I know SHE had a Bloody Mary. In fact, I believe she had just returned home from another Halloween party the night before. Party on Ms. K! (By the way, her boyfriend "Marc-with-a-C" asked that he be credited here for his pumpkin mask design. Yep, he was partying all weekend too.)

Sadly, Brad and Angelina were unable to attend our gathering as they had other plans for the day.

I know you'll find it hard to believe, but I didn't actually carve a pumpkin today, so I can't show you mine. I just had fun drinking Bloody Marys, visiting with friends and family, and watching all the other creations in progress. Maybe I'll break out the chain saw pretty soon and get busy on mine. Or maybe I'll just wait a bit and do that on the front patio as a demonstration for all the trick or treaters tonight. Have a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Pumpkin Carving Time

The Wild Child, Soccer Son's Lovely Wife to be Someday, and I are attending a pumpkin carving party today at my friend Lisa's home. The Wild Child will demonstrate her exemplary bartending skills by mixing up the ever popular and oddly Halloween-appropriate drink, Bloody Marys. Lisa is fixing some kind of brunch food. It's sure to be a lot of fun!

I've begun thinking a bit about the pumpkin I'm going to carve. I'm still not sure what I'll do, but I thought I'd share with you some of the inspirational art pieces I came across on the internet. Perhaps you, too, will find a pumpkin that sparks your creativity in the photos below.

Kind of looks like my first mother in law.

Looks a little like a boss I had once.


Psycho pervert. I think he used to live next door many years ago.

Minnie Pearl?


Beatles--for those of you too young to remember Abbey Road.

George Clooney--probably not the best portrait, but then what do you expect from a pumpkin? At least he looks sexier than those first few pumpkins I showed you!

What?! What does that mean?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Weekend is Here!

While many of you were hopping around Blogland today, I had the dubious pleasure of visiting the dentist where I received my new crown. And while the installation is probably the least painful part of the root canal and crown process, for some reason my cheek and gum feel . . . well, I'm not sure how they feel exactly but I guess "damaged" might cover it. Almost burned, maybe? I wonder whether the cement they use could affect the surrounding tissues? Any idea? Oh, well, hopefully I'll wake up in the morning and it will feel fine again. In the meantime, I thought it was an awfully good excuse to have ice cream, but a search led nowhere--no ice cream to be found at Casa de Kim. Woe is me!

Are you feeling sorry for me? I'll tell you about the rest of my day, and I think you won't feel quite so sad. After the dentist, I visited Gran's quilt shop, Fabric Garden, for tea and stitching with Gran. Yes, I should have taken a photo of the table and goodies everyone brought, but as usual, I didn't think of it until the food was half eaten and the table decorations weren't quite so pretty and pristine any more.

Remember I mentioned I was yearning for more Ghastlies fabric? The shop had a couple bolts left, so I brought home some of the clover print in kind of a lavender color. I'd like to make pillow cases or pillow covers to go with the quilt I made and I might use some of this in those. I think I need more, though--some of the portrait or border prints would be nice. Maybe I deserve some since I had to suffer so greatly today and didn't even scream or cry at the dentist's office. Don't you agree?

While at stitchery, after there was no food left to eat, I turned my attention to making three more pumpkins--

I know they don't look like much yet, but I'll paint them this weekend and add the stems and mossy stuff. The six I made last week just aren't enough.

I think I can hear you out there, saying, "yeah, yeah, yeah, who cares? I want to know who WON the prizes yesterday!" Am I right? Was that YOU I heard? Okay, I'll tell you.

I do not know who won the "big" prizes of four yards of fabric. I'm writing this after midnight and Madame Samm hasn't posted the results. I'll edit this post on Saturday when she's announced the winners. (At least I THINK she'll announce them on Saturday and not make us wait until Monday when the hop resumes, but I'm not certain. Madame Samm advises we need to be patient and she'll announce the winner on Monday.)

For my little contest though, the winner of my pattern and two charm packs is Kate B, who told this story:

". . . As for a memorable Halloween experience: more than several years ago, my dad had bought and worn one of those ghastlie rubber masks, with big lips and blood drooling down the side, he loved to scare us and the neighborhood kids. Recently we were clearing out his storage unit, when he came across it. My brother and sister and son, were loading things into his truck and had just made our way back to the unit, when dad heard us, he jumped out and roared, wearing the mask. He got us all once again."

And the winner of the pattern is Quiltin' Jenny, who revealed a bit about herself:

". . . I'm a big wimp when it comes to spooky things, so my funny story will be about a spooky thing. When I was 14 I decided to get over it and go with all my friends to the haunted house. Waited in line for 2 hours, getting more and more nervous with every wail and moan that came from inside the house. The screams got to me as it was just our turn to go in. My friends went first and turned to look for me when I said, "See you at the exit!" and ran. I've never lived it down, but learned my lesson about my tolerance for creepy things. I think that's why I love the Ghastlies - they're so ghoulish but cute at the same time!"

If you enjoy scary stories, go back and read the comments from yesterday. There are some good ones! I also recommend reading October Moments from the blog Somewhere on the Masthead, which is written by a professional writer/editor. Click HERE to access those.

Kate B and Quiltin' Jenny, please email me your mailing addresses and I'll get your prizes in the mail to you.

When a few of you were asking when I'd shut up and announce the prize winners, I think I heard one little voice--or maybe two--asking how the Rabbits Prefer Speed aka Bunnies on Crack was progressing, so I thought I'd show you the latest two blocks I've finished:

Anne of the Cottons 'n Wool blog left a comment letting me know that she and Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill--the designer of Rabbits Prefer Chocolate--were sitting in Houston, waiting for quilt market to start, and had enjoyed looking at my take on the quilt. And I've got to say that even though my version probably isn't quite what Anne Sutton had in mind, she's certainly the inspiration behind what I've done with it so far.

On Sunday, I'm attending a pumpkin carving party. I've been looking at a few pumpkin carving ideas that I'll share with you tomorrow--just to get you in the mood too! In the meantime, I'll leave you with this as inspiration:

Now, what can YOU do to entertain your neighbors?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcome Ghastlies Hoppers!

Are you having fun, hopping around to see all the projects we've been working on? I know I've been very, very tempted to order more Ghastlies fabric so I can make some of the projects shown by my fellow bloggers--aren't they all uber creative?! If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you've probably already seen my Ghastlies project, but if you're new here, I think you'll enjoy seeing the bed quilt I made:

It appears my own Ghastlie familiar, Stitch, is enjoying the quilt! And what's he looking at so intently? Could that be ghostly ectoplasm materializing in the center of the quilt? Or simply my own poor photography skills?

Here's another view of the quilt, just in case you prefer looking at quilts to looking at ghosts:

If you have any interest in making the quilt, I've uploaded a PDF copy of the pattern on Scribd. Just click HERE. You don't want to make the full sized quilt? The pattern will tell you how to make fewer blocks for a smaller quilt or wallhanging.

Now let me tell you a little bit about the OTHER exciting part of this hop. Yep, winning stuff! Please leave a comment for a chance to win your own 4-yard collection of Ghastlies fabric as seen on Madame Samm's blog HERE. (Blogger's being difficult about uploading photos tonight; otherwise, I would have posted a photo of the goodies you COULD win. Or maybe it's the ghost in the machine. By the way, it sure would be nice if the winner would share that fabric with me. I'm just sayin' . . . . Oh, and also? Madame Samm's blog post today about it being the eve of her last day of everything? She doesn't mean this Ghastlies blog hop, so don't panic--we still have another week of goodies to follow this one.)

I'll randomly draw a winner from the comments you leave and will send the winner's name on to Madame Samm, who will then draw two winners from the five names submitted by us Ghastlies bloggers whose turn it is to entertain you today. If you will also take the time to tell me about your most frightening Halloween (or ghostly) experience in your comment--even if it means making something up(!!!)--I will enter you in my own drawing. And what might you win? First place will win a copy of my Eye of the Beast charm pattern and two Christmas-themed charm packs, Flurry by Kate Spain--

I'll also draw a second place winner who will receive a copy of the pattern only. (Winners will be randomly selected and not based upon the scariness of their stories.) And you must check back here tomorrow to see who the posted winners are and claim your prize if one of them is you--I won't email you to let you know you won. I'm kinda mean that way, aren't I?!

I'll be closing comments at 9 p.m. my time (Pacific Daylight Savings Time) to pick the winners. When you're done here, don't forget to hop (or fly) off to visit today's other bloggers:

But before you do, I'll leave you with this to ponder: Are those spirit ORBS on the photo below?



Thursday, October 27, 2011

What a Blast!

Tonight was the glass fusing class that I mentioned yesterday. If you're in the Sacramento area and want to try something fun, check out Gina Rossi and Rossi Sculptural Designs. She teaches classes in welding and glass fusing. Very cool! Let me tell you a little bit about it.

The class took place in the center of Gina's warehouse studio, and her sculptures surrounded us. Take a look at this metal and glass tree--

During class, we each made one large (i.e., tile sized) piece and two small jewelry pieces. There were samples of both to spark our imagination. Here are some of the larger pieces Gina showed us. As with these samples, we could chose to have our pieces formed into dish shapes.

Here are samples Gina showed us of a few pendants. (I'll tell you a little about the gal who owns the bandaged finger in this photo in a minute.)

All of the available glass supplies were arranged on tables so we could make our choices.

The plastic jars on the left side--the ones that look like they'd hold candy sprinkles--contained glass sprinkles. Some of the sprinkles were as fine as glitter and some jars contained chunkier pieces.

Here's my workspace--as defined by the Starbucks latte, right?! And the gal with the bandaged finger? She sat across from me and worked on a really stunning tropical floral piece. Unfortunately, she cut herself several times; hence, the bandaged appendages. For my larger piece, I made a stylized Christmas tree.

Once we were done with our pieces, they were carefully placed in the kiln. My Christmas tree will be formed into a square shallow bowl shape when it's fired.

When I showed the Wild Child the photo of all the pieces, she told me she could easily identify which were mine. Funny how she knows my style! Anyway, these are the "before" photos. I'll be able to pick up my pieces on Saturday after they've been fired and fused. I'll show you the "after" photos then. And yes, this is definitely something I'd love to do again someday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things . . .

I thought I'd share with you a few things that I'm highly interested in at present--besides quilt-making, of course!

The new TV series, Pan Am. Why? It's not a terribly deep or meaningful show, but it's fun to watch and it sure brings back memories of life in the 1960s! This is the first TV show I've watched episodes of on my computer through the network website--because I can't quite bring myself to miss PBS's Masterpiece Mystery presentations on Sunday evenings when it's broadcast on TV. Thank goodness for modern technology!

Sandra Dallas and Prayers for Sale, the book I'm currently reading. I think a couple of you mentioned it was a good one, that that's true--I'm really enjoying it! Thanks for the recommendation.

Fused glass. Why? Well, I've always been drawn to fused glass jewelry and housewares and I have a few pieces. When an introductory class to making fused glass was offered through Groupon, a friend and I jumped on it. Tomorrow night (Wednesday), we'll be taking the class. I'm sure I'm eons away from having the skill to make something like the piece pictured above, but I think we'll have some fun anyway.

What are your favorite things right now?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rabbits Prefer . . . ?

I mentioned a couple days ago that I'd resurrected my version of the popular Rabbits Prefer Chocolate quilt. Just in case you don't know what I'm talking about, the original quilt is a Bunny Hill design from several years ago--here's a photo of the quilt as originally designed--

As many, many of us quilters did, I enrolled in a block of the month class to make the quilt. My first block was fairly similar to the original, but I tweeked it a bit, to make it look like the giant chicken was really running and not just ambling along.

The next month, I decided my baby chick and bunny carts should be racing. And maybe one of them hit a rock and got a flat tire. (Remember when you're looking at these blocks that there are details to be added later, like the reins the bunnies use to pull the egg carts.)

The third month, I thought a huge bunny with a basket of eggs was a little too tame for a race, so I made a huge bunny keeping time.

The single bunny in the broken egg shell? Yeah, I made that to start, but then I got to thinking about making that egg into a train car and adding more. When I resurrected the blocks the other day, that's what I did--I added more bunnies.

And if you compare the bunnies in the egg train to the originals, you'll probably notice I decided my bunnies needed arms. Armless rabbits seemed a little creepy. (My train still needs wheels and something to connect the cars, but that stuff will be added a little later. Oh, and probably some smoke coming out of the engine's smoke stack.)

And just before I put the blocks away last time, I designed and made an Easy Rider Rabbit block. When I pulled that out the other day, I thought he might be a tad lonely, so I added a bunny on a Vespa and another in a sports car.

Here's what the blocks I've made look like so far. I have another couple blocks from the original that I want to modify to use and I have a few more blocks in mind that I want to design and add.

I'm not sure what I'll call this when I'm done, but in recognition of the fact that I have a racing/transportation theme going here, my working title is Rabbits Prefer Speed. Or Bunnies on Crack. It just depends on my mood.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Couple Answers and Some Ghastlies News

Synthia and Sheila both asked questions about the pumpkins I've been working on but both are "no reply," so I'll answer them here--maybe others were wondering the same things.

Sheila asked if I could give directions for making the pumpkins. Well, not exactly, because the pumpkins I made were from a pattern I purchased, and as a pattern designer myself, I'm pretty conscientious about that kind of thing. That having been said, though, there are a few things I CAN tell you that might help you make your own.

When I got together with my stitchery group about a week ago, Sandy had a grouping of three larger stuffed pumpkins on a table, and I learned another member, Imelda, had taught Sandy how to make them. (This was before I even read through the pattern I had.) When I asked Imelda how to make them, she told me she starts by cutting a large circle out of orange fabric and stitching along the edge, much like the technique used in making yo-yos. She then pulls the thread to gather the fabric into a rounded shape and stuffs it with fiberfil before pulling the thread as tight as possible and tying a knot. (I don't remember whether she mentioned what kind of thread she uses, but I suspect something heavier like a perle cotton might work best.) She then wraps the thread around the pumpkin a few times so "sections" appear. I don't recall what she used as a stem, but I believe she glues something--maybe a real wooden branch?--inside the hole where the fabric is gathered. I also think Imelda used green wool to cut leave shapes and glued those on as well.

I'm not sure what size Imelda and Sandy cut their fabric circles for the pumpkins, but you may want to experiment to get the right size, depending on how large you want your pumpkins. For the smaller pumpkins I made, I'd estimate the circle should be as large as a medium-large pot lid. For the larger grouping Sandy had, I suspect the circles would probably need to be cut anywhere from 24" to 36".

Synthia mentioned she'd used mattress springs to hold pincushions--what a cute idea! She asked whether I glued the pumpkins to the springs; I didn't. The pumpkins are light and won't be touched much, but I can easily see the benefit to gluing something like a pincusion to the spring to make it secure.

Finally, I wanted to mention that the Ghastlies Blog Hop is starting today and will last two weeks, five days a week, with weekends "off." There are a TON of bloggers who will be posting photos of projects they've made using the fabric line. The projects of some bloggers will spark your imagination, and other bloggers may provide directions so you can make your own. There WILL be prizes given away to the lucky blog visitors who comment and enter. To get started, click on the Ghastlies Blog Hop badge in my sidebar, which will take you to Madame Samm's Sew I Quilt blog with a listing of all the bloggers and the dates each will be featured. (My day will be this coming Friday.) Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday Stuff

Last night just before I wrote my post, I suddenly started feeling quite ill. At first I thought it might be food poisoning, but as the night progressed, I felt more and more achy, which made me suspect a bug instead. Whatever it was, I felt really ill much of the night, but I slowly got better as the day went on. Now, tonight, I'd say I'm back to about 80 percent of normal.

Last night I wanted to tell you a little bit about my day but by the time I sat down to write, I just wanted to go to bed as soon as possible. Up until the time I became ill, though, it was a really nice day. The Wild Child and I had a mom/daughter date in the afternoon for mani/pedis followed by a late lunch out. I've told you how much I enjoy getting spa pedicures, but I've never mentioned manicures, have I? That's because I never get them. I always think I'm too hard on my hands, so it's not worth it, but the Wild Child and I had a special deal through Living Social, so I thought I'd give it a try and see if I was wrong.

Nope, I was right. Here's how my manicure looked by the evening of the first day. No, I didn't get an orange French.

After painting pumpkins, though, that's what I ended up with. Sheesh!

In honor of Halloween, the Wild Child also got a French manicure, but she got black tips. I should have done that too--it would have looked better with the orange. Almost planned. And since that time? I've nicked up the thumbnail polish with my applique needle. I think I'll stick to just getting pedicures from now on.

While I was sitting around today, recovering from whatever I had, I finished the pumpkins I showed you--

They're each perched atop a rusty mattress spring with name tags--all ready for our Thanksgiving table. I can't believe I'm so far ahead of the calendar!

I also resurrected an old applique project today, Rabbits Prefer Chocolate. I started the quilt in a block of the month class and, as is often typical for me, decided to "tweek" some of the block designs. I'd finished about five of the blocks and then went off and did a block of my own before I put it aside for some reason. Now I'm trying to remember what direction I'd decided to take with it. I'll get a photo to share with you soon of what I've done so far. Now it's time for bed--I sure hope to sleep a lot better tonight than I did last night!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

For this month's Friday Night Sew-In, I decided to work on a project I've been excited about but kept putting off for the last few weeks while I worked on other things--more pumpkins! Here's the pattern I purchased from eBay seller 1804 Primitives:

Yes, I've also purchased rusty bed springs for these and I plan to use them on my Thanksgiving table at each place setting.

Here's the photographic progress of making these--as far as I've gotten tonight:

After the first painting, they're baked until dry, and then another layer of "aging" solution is brushed on before they're baked again. Right now, they're in the oven after having been brushed with the second layer. Tomorrow I'll finish them up and show you the finished project.

I hope you had a creative evening too!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Garden Club Quilt, Part 1

I've mentioned a couple times that my stitchery group decided to work on the Garden Club Quilt--it's the main quilt from this book:

The quilt is meant to be constructed in block-of-the-month type sections, and the first section is the part that's on the cover of the book up in that box in the right hand corner (minus the flying geese on the left side). See that?

I finished that section and wanted to show you--

While I love the darker folk art/homespun look of the original, those shades remind me of fall and winter, and I already have plenty of quilts for that time of the year. Instead, I decided to make mine a little brighter, so it would fit better in my home for spring and summer.

There are additional smaller projects in the book using some of the images from the larger quilt. For instance, there's a wallhanging with the basket of flowers in the center. That wallhanging project uses more flowers in the basket, and I liked that fuller look better, so I added more flowers to my basket in part 1.

I don't think I'll start the next section just yet. I'm not sure what I'll work on next, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do. What are you working on?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Better, Thanks!

Thanks for all your positive comments and good wishes yesterday. Although my problems haven't really improved much, my attitude is a bit better, thanks to you and thanks to spending a happy day with a friend, looking at quilts and having lunch out.

Every three years, our local Sutter Cancer Center auctions donated quilts, and the money raised is used to treat breast cancer patients locally and to conduct research. I donated quilts the past couple of auction years, but because of one thing and another, this time I didn't end up with any quilts to donate--plans to participate just didn't come together. I feel bad about that, but maybe I can make up for it three years from now by contributing two or maybe even three quilts. That seems like a worthy goal, doesn't it?

One of the things I always enjoy, though, is going to view the quilts, which are displayed throughout the public areas on all seven floors of the medical building. It's a lot like going to a quilt show! That's what my friend Sandy and I did today. I took a few photos of quilts, although there are many, many other wonderful creations to see and bid on.

What girl doesn't like shoes?!

This one reminded me of Ms. Philadelphia and her COW quilt blocks.

There were several quilts that featured hand embroidered blocks. I thought this one made a cute kid's quilt and all the stitches were super tiny!

Loved all the basket embroidery. This one was done by a couple owners of a local quilt shop in memory of another owner who had died of cancer earlier this year.

This is my favorite embroidered quilt--several women I know worked on the blocks for this and a couple of them were in my embroidery group, so I was able to watch it develop. Excellent, isn't it?! It shows the same little house through all 12 months of the year.

If you'd like to see more of the quilts, you can look at them by clicking HERE. From that page, click on the link for "view auction quilts" under the quilt picture in the upper right corner. You can also click to look at and possibly bid on the quilts that are available for bidding online--there are 24 quilts available for online bidding. Personally, I loved the one called Cat Nap. I've always said that someday I'll make a snail trail quilt, and this is a great one! (Click on the close up photo to see details.)

If you're in the Sacramento area in the next couple weeks, stop by the Sutter Cancer Center to enjoy the quilts. And don't forget to stop in the research library to view the minis and the line up of decorated bras--I wish I'd taken a photo of those, but apparently I was too busy marveling at the creativity to remember to snap a photo! If you're interested in seeing them, though, the bras appear on page 29 of the auction quilt photos.

Glad you could stop by for a visit!