Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween from Whazzat Kangaroo!

Happy Halloween from Whazzat Kangaroo! Since the age of 3 I have wanted to be the pink kangaroo from Zoobilee Zoo. Today, me dream came true! And somehow five of my co-workers were convinced to join the Zooble pack too! I’m fortunate enough to work at a company that allows you to dress up for Halloween AND has a costume contest. We spent many weeks of costume preparation, and even rehearsed the intro of the show to perform at the contest. It all paid off because we won first place! We had some tough competition this year, but I’m so glad that people recognized who we were and the time we put into our costumes. 

I had to make the majority of my costume. You just can't find pink kangaroo costumes, and 80's bib vests these days. I'm not sure how many times I'll wear this costume again, but realized how great a full body fleece outfit would make for winter pjs, and the importance of having a pouch to carry around important things like a phone or chapstick!

Happy Halloween! I will now sit and wait for trick-or-treaters that probably won’t come:(

UPDATE: Find a little tutorial on how I made this costume here:)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fractal Radiance Quilt & Pattern

I’m very excited to announce this next quilt, as it’s the first pattern I have ever written! It started with a pillow I made for my friend Lindsay (photo below) which I turned into a small quilt for myself (photo above). It gets so cold at work, and I need something to bundle up in! About the time I finished the quilt, the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild I’m a part of announced they were hosting a pattern contest. Anyone in the guild could submit a quilt idea, and they chose mine! It was such a great learning experience, and I was just one of many, many people who helped get this quilt pattern out into the world. I’m so grateful for each person’s help, advice and feedback.

You can check out more information here, on the KCMQG site. The pattern includes instructions for a small and large lap quilt, and a small pillow. I hope people enjoy it, and I can’t wait to see what quilters create with this pattern!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Inspiration: Historical Gravestones

Somehow last year, I ended up visiting three cemeteries in three different states. This was completely unplanned, and to be honest, I’m not exactly sure how it happened. I don’t seek out old cemeteries, and they aren’t normally places I enjoy spending my vacation time. But when you are visiting old cities with lots of history, it inevitably becomes a part of your trip.

I was actually surprised at how unique each cemetery was, which tells a lot about the city and the people that lived there. New Orleans has above ground tombs because they’re below sea level. Many of the gravestones in Granary Burying Grounds in Boston have skulls with wings. The ones in Savannah are elaborate, and the cemetery is almost like a beautiful park with large trees with Spanish moss and gardens. There's not many places that can be slightly creepy and beautiful at the same time!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Movie Foodie: Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite Halloween movies! Even though it celebrated it’s 20th year, it still feels just as relevant today as it did when I was 9 (though I understand a few more of the jokes now). This one was a little tougher to create a menu for, but "Life Potion" plays a big role in this movie, and that can count as a foodie item, right?

I had to stretch the concept on this one a little bit, but ended up with five food/beverage items. 
Life Potion: Sierra Mist + Lime Sherbet. Makes a lovely, bright green color. Add dry ice to make it nice and bubbly. 
The Children of Salem: pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. I really wanted to do pumpkin bars, so I used a gingerbread cookie cutter to cut them out, and called them “children”. 
Apples: a healthy option, and a small reference from the movie. If you want to turn it into a game, you could bob for apples – but do people still do that, and is it even sanitary? 
Dead Man’s Toe; with Oil of Boil, a dash of Pox and Newt Saliva: breadsticks, and olive oil, paprika, balsamic vinaigrette for dipping. This is pulled from the spell ingredients for Life Potion. The Dead Man’s Toes recipe was an alteration from this Witch’s Fingers recipe
Halloween candy: pick your favorite! I think Reese’s are the best:) 
Apple Cider: Not many people drank this since Life Potion was the main beverage, but it’s nice to have an alternative option.

For decorations I tried to recreate Billy Butcherson’s gravestone out of cardboard. My illustration skills are lacking, so this was really frustrating for me. They didn’t turn out like I had hoped (the skulls “wings” look more like alien tentacles) but it made a good backdrop for the table set up. Black tapered candles (a connection to “the black flame candle”) add to the d├ęcor and create mood lighting. The rest of the items were things I had around the house: old books, crusty bottles, an old crate and a few serving dishes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Decor Kit

I put this together a couple years ago as part of a Halloween swap at work. I still kind of wish I had kept it for myself:) It was pretty easy to put together since I already had some of the materials to work with. I had several crusty bottles left over from our wedding (you can find these at antique shops – I try to spend less than $2.50 a piece, but they can be priced much higher if they are in good condition – so stick with the dirty ones), and had a collection of solid and vintage fabric. The fabric pumpkins came from this tutorial and were fun to do. They are pretty easy, but it does take some hand strength to get the yarn nice and tight for the pumpkin indentions. I found the tapered candles at William Sonoma. They don’t have the exact ones from 2 years ago, but I think these ones are pretty similar. I had to cut them down (using a warm knife to cut the wax) and had to melt the ends a little to get them to fit and be stable in the bottles. The crate box was found at an antique shop and the gravestone place cards were made using a laser cutter (you could cut them out of paper for a simpler option). I painted them with chalkboard paint so you can write/erase and reuse them each year. I quilted a little mini quilt as the runner, using fabric I already had and that was leftover from making the pumpkins.

These are just a few ideas to make a cute holiday centerpiece for your table, or as a little Halloween kit for a friend. A few of the items could even work into Thanksgiving, depending on the fabrics you use.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Scalene Right-Angled Triangle Quilt

Another baby quilt I made last year! You can make this one too. It's really easy and fast to cut out, and pretty easy to sew as long as you don't mind matching up a few points.

Below are a few test photos I took playing with different ways to lay out the triangles. Triangles are fun because they can create so many other shapes and designs just by the way you rearrange them. Since these are scalene (all unequal sides) triangles, it makes the quilt just slightly longer than wide.

The finished dimensions are about 36" x 45", but you could add more triangles to make it a bigger if needed. Cut a rectangle 10 1/8" x 12 5/8", and than cut the triangle in half diagonally. Repeat this step 16 times total, with half the triangles in navy (or another color) and the other half in brighter colors.