Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are You Going?

I'm taking the day off work tomorrow and heading out in the morning for a couple hour drive to Santa Clara, where I'll be taking a class at the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  Will you be going to the show this weekend, by any chance?  It's been several years since I've been to this one put on by Mancuso, and it's huge, with classes each day, tons of eye candy in the form of quilts, and a whole lot of vendors.

The last time I went to this show, I took an applique class and the only chance I had to visit the main rooms was spent zooming around to the various vendors, looking for materials for the class during our lunch break with almost no time to admire the quilts.  I think, if I remember correctly, our class was a two-day class, too, and we were filmed for Simply Quilts--I think this was near the end of Alex Anderson's TV series.  I've been told I show up in the episode, although I've never seen it!

Anyway, this time I'm taking just a half day class that's directed primarily toward learning a technique--needle felting using wool roving on wool applique.  And we're making sheep.  Here's a photo of the teacher's finished project--

Oh, yeah, and there's embroidery involved too--it looks like quite a bit, right?  I've never done needle felting and always wanted to try it, so this is my chance to learn.  If you'd like to see a little more of this process and the thought behind it, check out Debora Konchinsky's blog--she's the instructor.  Just click HERE.

I've booked myself a room and I'm looking forward to an early evening spent in solitary splendor, with a good book, a stitchery project to work on if I feel like it, and a new pair of jammies.  On Saturday, I'll head back to the show and hopefully I'll get to spend more time viewing the quilts than I did the last time I went.  And, of course, I'll take a little time to check out the vendors--after all, I'll have all day before I hop back in the car and head home.  Maybe I'll see you?

Show and Tell

I've pretty much finished the fall/Halloween decorating, but along the way, I did a little crafting too, and I thought I'd share my ideas and efforts with you--these really are super simple to make, so I hope they will spark a little creative interest in you too.

 Here's a little bling pumpkin for those of you who prefer your decorations to be a little bit elegant.  I came across the adhesive trim in the $1.50 bins at Michael's--it took a little over one roll to decorate a medium-sized pumpkin.  The trim comes with a peel off backing, so I just cut strips to length, and then I peeled and stuck each strip on the pumpkin.  I added a sparkly black ribbon to the stem end.

 My friend Imelda gets credit for this next idea.  Another friend of ours moved last year and asked Imelda if she wanted a small artificial Christmas tree she didn't want to pack across country; Imelda said yes, she would indeed like the tree.  A couple weeks ago, Imelda pulled out a can of matte black spray paint and sprayed her tree black.  And oftentimes, whatever Imelda does, I end up copying.  A trip to Michael's with a 50% off coupon netted me a small Christmas tree, and a rummage through the garage turned up a can of matte black spray paint.  After that, I picked up some of the scrap book type Halloween trims, also at Michael's and on clearance right now, and crafted up a few paper ornaments.  A bracelet of skulls and cross bones was deconstructed and restrung, and then the pieces were tied to the tree branches.  And I found a bat for a tree topper.

I've always wanted to try a gourd project, so when I made a trip out to a country farm stand for this year's pumpkins, I picked up a couple of gourds.  Let me tell you, gourds are NOT the quick and easy project that I mentioned at the beginning of this post because they take some soaking and scrubbing, but it's really not that terrible either.  I gave Imelda a gourd and the two of us got together one evening and did a little painting.  Have you ever tole painted?  I haven't but my friend has, so she helped me out with mine by showing me a couple paint techniques.  I still want to paint a second gourd to look like a pumpkin, but I thought I'd make a black cat for the first one--I found a picture of a similar gourd on the internet and the idea appealed to me.  We used painted wool for the ears.


Remember I told you about my sister-in-law's decorated pumpkins?  At that farm stand I visited, I picked up a couple pumpkins for friends and decorated them.  Imelda (yes, her again!) hostessed our recent stitchery gathering, so I decorated a pumpkin for her as a hostess gift.

I also made one for my other sister-in-law . . .

and my good friend Lisa to thank them both for all they did to help with the Wild Child's baby shower last month--I still need to post some photos from that party and tell you about it, but that's a post for another day.

Finally, I decorated a pumpkin for myself.  All of the pine cones that look like roses that I used in decorating were found on my lunch time walks.

If you'd like to decorate a pumpkin, scroll down a couple posts to the link to Mumzie's blog--there are instructions there about how to prepare the pumpkins and how to add the decorations.

Happy creating!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Ugly Truth

I don't think I've ever showed you a "behind the scenes" glimpse at my decorating process, have I?  Be forewarned--it's not pretty!

First I tour the house to make sure I've taken down and put away everything from the previous season's decorating efforts, including all of the decorative quilts and bedding.  Then I pull out the next season's quilts and decide where they will go.  Normally I do these things, in order to set the stage, more or less, the weekend before the big push to change things out.

Once I'm ready to really dig in, the next step is to comb through the garage storage areas for the various boxes and bins that hold the decorations.  I pull some of the boxes into the house and then I start unpacking.  Before long it looks like this:

Kinda like fall vomited all over the kitchen, right?  All of the available surfaces are covered with foliage and "stuff" (my husband would tell you "stuff" equals "junk," I think!).  And these were taken AFTER I'd already sorted though everything and put the mostly-empty boxes away.

I should also mention that we're stalled out on the kitchen cabinet refacing because Soccer Son is super busy right now and we haven't found cabinet doors to match the refaced "boxes" anyway.  As a result, I spent a lot of time last weekend trying to make the kitchen shelves look a little more "decorative"--kind of like the open shelf thing was the plan all along.  And, of course, that took a bit of time.  One of the things I did was to cut a curtain panel and then I re-hem it to cover the opening under the sink--you can see that in the photos.

And then somewhere along the way in the fall decorating, I found I was missing some of my favorite items, like my Halloween dishes, so I made another search of the storage areas in the garage.  Waaaaaaaay up in the rafters with the Christmas decorations, I spotted a box marked "Halloween."  Soccer son came over on Monday to get that box down for me and found four more boxes.  So the decorating continues this weekend, and I hope to have some photos to show you soon.

It's always still fairly warm here in Northern California through most of October, and true to form, our highs have been running in the high 80s/low 90s, so it feels a little odd to be getting ready for fall.  But cooler temperatures are due to arrive a little later this week, and the leaves in the trees are just beginning to turn.

Today it's still going to be pretty warm, but it's fairly cool and breezy this morning.  Now it's time to pour myself a second cup of pumpkin spice coffee and get back to the decorating.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's Decorative Gourd Season!

This weekend, I'm getting ready for fall.  Are you?  I'll show you what I've been up to soon!