Saturday, October 29, 2011

Do you BOO?

I've been BOO-ed!

The other day I found this friendly little ghost by my front door.  When I peeked inside, I found a Halloween treat along with this cute little poem.

And, a Boo sign for my front door!

It's a bit blustery today, so my wreath just would not stay still and pose for the camera!

To return the favor, I decided to stick with Reese's Pieces, because they're peanut butter, and well, the bag is orange!  I went to the Boo site and printed out new signs and poems.  They have several to choose from.  I thought this pumpkin design with the black background was cute.

Then, being very sneaky, I dropped off my Boo bags for a couple of my neighbors.

I you?  

Although not related to BOO-ing in any way, this picture was too good not to share.  

We had quite a bit of snow earlier this week.  As a former Cali girl, it's still quite the novelty for me and I love it!  Many of the trees around town, however, did not fare so well.  Those leaves are falling in a hurry now, especially on this blustery fall day!  

Have a great weekend.  


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Canyon Drive

I had a huge anatomy test this week, which is why this post is a bit late.  Fortunately, my test went well - yippee! To celebrate, I decided to take a little drive through the canyon along Cache La Poudre river in search of changing leaves.  It was a beautiful day and very peaceful.  

Have a great weekend!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Create Your Own Pumpkin Patch

Hurray for October!  Now is the time for apple cider, leaf-strewn streets and, of course, pumpkins.  Last week I created my own little pumpkin patch for my Fall Mantel.  I love how my pumpkins turned out and they were surprisingly easy to make.

I found the instructions for these charmers care of that crafty lass, Martha Stewart.  I used the three sizes that she suggested on her site, with fabric cut to 5x10, 8x16 and 11x22 inches.  Based on this formula, you really could make your pumpkins as big or small as you'd like, just cut your fabric so that the length is twice the width.

A note on cutting your fabrics.  Martha suggests cutting the fabric on the bias, which is great, but can be wasteful.  The fabrics that I used included a velour-type, a printed cotton and suiting plaids.  The velour-ish fabric was pretty stretchy, so I just cut it with the grain.  For the smaller plaid pumpkins, I cut them on the bias, but I didn't have enough for the large one, so I cut that one on the grain, too.  I think varying whether you cut on the bias or not helps to add variety to the sizes and shapes of your finished pumpkins.

As you can see in the photo below, my rotary cutter slipped a bit and I didn't end up with completely straight lines.  This project is extremely forgiving, so if you end up with lines that are a bit crooked, just go with it!

Fold your fabric right sides together, with the short ends meeting up.  I used a couple of pins before sewing, but it's just a straight seam, so it's not really necessary.  Stitch down the edge, leaving about a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

I purchased several colors of embroidery floss to create the "lines" of the pumpkins.  I ended up using the floss to gather both the bottoms and tops of the pumpkins, and to attach the stems.  A larger needle works nicely.

To gather the bottom, simply stitch about 1/2 inch from the open edge going all the way around.  I started and ended at the side seam.  I used larger stitches on the larger pumpkins and smaller stitches on the small ones.  Your stitch sizes do not need to be exact - remember, this is a forgiving pumpkin!
Once you've gone around the entire edge, cinch the fabric together and tie it off.

Now is a good time to turn the fabric right-side out and admire your lovely gathers.

Add some poly-fil (or a similar product) and pack it in so it's somewhat compact.  Leave about an 1 1/2 inches of fabric at the top.  Repeat the stitching like you did on the bottom so you can cinch up the top of your pumpkin.

Once you've pulled the gathers together, tie it off, but don't cut the floss.  Go ahead and leave the edges of the fabric on the outside.  It makes a sort of stump that you can attach your stem to.  With this red fabric, I think mine looks a little like a pomegranate!

Start wrapping your floss around the outside to form the "lines."  I made a small stitch on the bottom for each line.  I think this helps to keep the lines in place.  Pull the floss a little tighter so that it starts to create that traditional pumpkin shape.

I know that real pumpkins aren't symmetrical, but I think that 8 lines creates a really cute shape.  When you've finished with the lines, be sure to tie off your floss, but don't cut it just yet.

Squish your pumpkin as much as you can and pass the needle from the center of the top to the center of the bottom and back a couple of times.  This helps to pull the stem toward the bottom and create ridges on the top.

Now it's time to add the stem.  To create the stem, I just cut out "stem" shapes freehanded from a piece of folded brown fabric.

I stitched the edges together on the sewing machine and turned it right side out.  You may need to use something to help push the corners out.  I carefully used my closed scissors.  Add a little poly-fil to the inside and fold the bottom edge under.

Fit your stem around the "stump" at the top of your pumpkin and stitch it on with your embroidery floss.
I had a hard time getting a picture of this, sorry it's kind of blurry (another job for my dream camera!!).

Once the stem is completely attached, tie off your floss and then pass through to the bottom one last time.  Now you can tie off the floss at the bottom and cut off the excess.  You can kind of squish around the filling a bit if it's a little lopsided.  Your pumpkin is now finished and super cute!

I only used my sewing machine for the initial straight seam and the stem.  The rest is done by hand.  If you don't have a sewing machine, I'm sure the entire thing could be done by hand.

Now all that's left to do is decorate with your pumpkins.

Pumpkins in a wire basket.

Pumpkins on a wire cake stand.

Pumpkins in a patch.

These little cuties can grace your home all Fall long.

Happy pumpkin season to you!