Married to the Empire

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting Out the Halloween Decor

I really wanted this year to be the one where I decorated for Halloween early in October.  Again, I failed.  Doesn't exactly help that I can't reach the stuff stored in the garage, and I have to remember to ask Steven to get it down when he's home.   And I forgot.  Almost every day. 

I actually put these little guys out earlier than today, but that's because they've been sitting in my craft room since August.

Aren't they cute?  I bought them at The Peddler Show from a crafter.  Their heads are made from little gourds, then the artist added clay and paint to create their faces and ears.  I do need to do something about their snowflake bases, though.  I don't particularly like to mix my holidays.

When I opened the box of Halloween decorations today, I discovered these inside:

A friend gave me this set of plates last year.  Two of each design.  I totally forgot that I had these, so they were a wonderful surprise when I found them in the box! 

I wound up setting one at each place at the table.  (Yes, we do actually have chairs.  I'd removed them to vacuum and took the picture before bringing them back in.)

This is the light decorating I do around the house for Halloween.  But just wait until we do our Hitchcock-themed party next week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Calvin Benefits in a Sad Way

Calvin received a gift last week. 

Steven has a coworker whose cat also had kidney disease.  He had to put his cat to sleep last week, and he passed on his cat's IV bag, needles, and meds to our Calvin.  It's such a sweet gesture that just breaks my heart.  This is the second time Calvin has benefitted from another cat's death from kidney disease.  How does one sufficiently thank someone for giving up what once meant life for their pet?

I've made him a card, and I will spend the afternoon baking.  Baked goods can never say how sorry we are for his loss, but they can, at least, let him know he's on our hearts and minds. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Owl of Wisdom

Today is a Big Deal.  It's my oldest niece's 13th birthday.  She's now a teenager.  As I work with teens, I'm acutely aware of the dangers and temptations she will be facing now and later.  It's tough to be a teenager these days. 

I sent her a regular present, of course, but I also included a letter to her with advice for navigating the teen years as a Christian.  I also made what I'm calling an Owl of Wisdom to be a visual reminder to make wise choices in her life. 

Owls are everywhere these days, including all my craft magazines.  But I opted to create my own pattern. I just drew it out on a piece of paper, then pinned it to some felt, and cut it out.  

Next, I cut out a piece of coordinating fabric and wrote a bible verse about wisdom on it.  I used Daniel 12:3, as I think it gives a nice positive spin to making wise choices.  I ran the fabric through my Xyron to add adhesive to the back, then I stuck it on the back of the owl cutout.

I made eyes and a mask of sorts for the owl and used fabric glue to attach those.  (The felt was too fat to go through the Xyron.  If I'd had more time, I might have sewn them on.)  I turned the right sides facing each other, with a ribbon at the top for hanging, then sewed it up.  I left a space at the bottom for turning it right-side out and for stuffing it full of batting.

I sewed up the bottom by hand to close it off.  Done! 

It's a little lopsided, but hopefully she won't mind that.  In retrospect, I think I'd just sew it up with right sides facing out, as I think it would have retained a nicer shape.  It wound up being a little small and lumpy by doing it right sides together, then turning it out.  But I still think it turned out cute.  At the very least, it's a reminder to my precious niece that her aunt loves her and wants the best for her.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Crafty Pursuits

Life has been busy lately, and frankly, blogging has been at the very bottom of my to-do list.  I even went to the State Fair of Texas this week and didn't bring my camera.  Let me tell you, there was a certain degree of freedom in that. 

I'm trying out some new stuff, such as soapmaking.  With lye.  And the cutest pink digital scale imaginable.  (Bet you never thought a scale could be cute!)  I've been doing some cold-process soap the last couple of weeks, and today I attempted (successfully, it appears) hot-process soap.  This is a fun hobby and not as scary as I thought it would be. 

I recently bought a Xyron for making stickers.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you just yet what I was making in the picture below, but it's a fun little tool.  It definitely is convenient, as opposed to using glue for certain projects. 

I sewed up a few more lavender sachets recently, and still have plenty more to make.  I also have some beaded projects I'd like to get started on.  Christmas is fast approaching, and I have a lot to do!

I've also been busy with more coaster sets for our visitor bags at church.  I've received so many compliments on these, so I feel good in knowing that our church is giving something that's actually attractive and useful, in addition to being very low cost. 

If you need to make attractive, but inexpensive Christmas or hostess gifts, these coasters are the way to go.  I do 9 sets at a time, and I can crank them out lickety-split.  Cost is approximately $2.50-$3.00 per set.  Can't beat that!  (Of course, that assumes you already have the stamps, Staz-On ink, and sealer.)

There's more going on around here, but I thought I'd let you see some of the crafty stuff taking up some of my time lately.  Hopefully I'll get back to more regular blogging at some point, but honestly, the break is nice.