Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mini Jack-o-Lanterns

If you waited til the last minute to get your Halloween pumpkin this year, you may think you don't have time to really decorate anything anyway. Not true! These mini pumpkin Jack-o-Lanterns are super quick and easy to whip up, you can have a whole army of them by Halloween night!

To make these easy mini Jack-o-Lanterns at home you will need:

One small pumpkin
one pair of plastic Dracula teeth (I found mine in a pack of 8 at Target in the dollar section. BONUS: they glow in the dark).
Carving tools
paint or marker

To start, measure your Dracula teeth to see how large of a hole you need to make in your tiny pumpkin to fit them inside. Decide where you want the mouth to be on your pumpkin, and then carefully carve out a space to insert the teeth. I have some linoleum block cutting tools from college, and I think they do a really good job of carving pumpkins, but you do need to be careful as they are sharp and can slip if you aren't paying attention.

Once your mouth hole is carved, you can remove any of the insides of the pumpkin you feel necessary and then insert the teeth. It actually looks pretty creepy just like this, stop here if you want!

Finish your Jack-o-Lantern by adding eyes, etc. with paint or permanent markers. Presto! A tiny Jack-O-Lantern complete with glowing teeth!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tottie the Pug Mask

After the media whirlwind of Tottie's Halloween costume, I joked to my coworkers that I was going to be Tottie for Halloween. After thinking about it a little bit, I decided that it actually wasn't a half bad idea! I used some felt to create this Tottie the pug mask! You can download a free .pdf pattern for the mask here.

To create your own Tottie the Pug mask for Halloween, or a dress up accessory for the kiddies, you will need:

fabric glue (you can also hand sew the pieces if you prefer
felt in at least 3 colors (I chose an oatmeal color, dark brown and black)
piece of elastic (you could substitute string to tie it on, but elastic is preferred)
the printed out pattern pieces

Start by printing out your pattern and cutting out all of the pieces carefully. Next, trace each piece onto the appropriate colored felt and cut them out (or pin the paper pieces directly to the felt and cut around them). I wanted my pug to look as much like Tottie as possible so I used the oatmeal color for the main face cutout, the black for her nose, and the dark brown for all of the other pieces. If you want to make a pug that is special to you, pick out felt colors that resemble your own pug!

After your pieces are cut out, arrange them onto the main face portion of the mask. Once you are satisfied with the placement, use fabric glue to glue them in place (or sew them on if you prefer). Last, attach your elastic band (one end attached to each side of the mask). I usually hold my mask up to my face (or the face of whoever will be wearing the mask) and see where the elastic will best match up with their ears so I know where to attack my elastic so it will be comfortable. I also trim my elastic so it doesn't require tons of stretching to fit around my head, if it stretches too much it will wear out quickly and the elastic will need to be replaced well before your mask has been worn out.

A few tips: If you are making a mask you intend to keep a longer period of time, you may want to cut out 2 pieces of the mask base (main face) portion of the mask and sew them together with a tiny bit of stuffing. This will give your mask a sturdier base to attach your other pieces to. Sewing your pieces together rather than using glue will also make a more permanent attachment that is longer lasting (and using a blanket stitch along edges can smooth them out and make them look neater if your cutting left something to be desired).

Enjoy your new pug mask!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

I'm making a package of goodies to send to my cousins in celebration of their dog, Tottie's, new found viral internet fame. How could that package be complete without some treats for Tottie herself (and her furry siblings)? This is a quick easy recipe for some dog treats you can make for the pups in your life! There are no preservatives, and you can substitute ingredients based on your dog's dietary needs.

To make these treats at home you will need (makes 30-40 treats):

2 cups whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats*
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup peanut butter

*If your dog is on a grain free diet, you may omit the rolled oats and substitute coconut flour, or a mixture of grain free flours. You could also add carob chips to these if you feel like spoiling your pup (dogs should never, ever eat chocolate).

Start by whisking together your dry ingredients in a bowl to evenly combine them. Next, I put my peanut butter and water together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute (two 30 second intervals) and stir them together into a melted mixture (this makes stirring the peanut butter into the dough much easier).

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together to form the dough. You may need to add a bit more water if your dough is too dry (I add an extra teaspoon at a time). Once the wet mixture is mostly incorporated, I usually start kneading the dough with my hands to bring it together. You will end up with a dough that is very dense, and resembles a bread dough more than a cookie dough.

Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into balls with your hands. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, about one inch apart and flatten with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow to cool inside the oven (this will aid in keeping the treats from gaining moisture while they cool and you will end up with nice crispy crunchy dog treats).

These treats will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 4 weeks. To elongate the shelf life, you can keep a few treats at room temp and put the rest in the freezer (in an air tight container) for up to 6 months- just allow the treats to thaw about 20 minutes before giving them to your dog.

You can change these up in lots of ways, substitute low sodium chicken broth or sugar free applesauce for the water (you could also add a thumbprint and give these to your dog with a little sugar free jam or preserves in the center for a special treat!

Package some up for the furry friends in your neighborhood for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Embroidery Stitch Library + A Giveaway (CLOSED)

The Embroidery Stitch Library is up and running! If you haven't already, go take a look and let me know what you think. The library will be updated frequently with not only embroidery stitches, but patterns and projects as well (so you can have some inspiration for practicing your stitches!).

Each stitch has a step by step photo tutorial, with written instructions (in English). I have tried to make the photographs easy enough to follow that you can learn a stitch from start to finish without really needing to read the whole post.

Projects in the library link back to recommended stitches, if there is a stitch you don't know you will be able to click back and learn the stitch while you make a fun new project. There are even tutorials on creating your own patterns to embroider!

To celebrate the stitch library going live, I am hosting a giveaway of embroidery goodies! The giveaway is open worldwide and the winner will be announced Nov 5th. To enter, use the rafflecopter widget below - allow time to load.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway prizes include:

Gingher embroidery scissors
Embroidery hoop
pack of embroidery needles
package of sewing themed iron on embroidery patterns
assorted DMC embroidery flosses
1 yard of cotton muslin fabric for practicing your stitches
Misc. crafty odds and ends from my stash

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wrecking Ball Dog Costume

I have bragged about my pretty awesome cousins in the past, and they have impressed me with their cleverness yet again. McKenna made this "Wrecking Ball" costume for her pug, Tottie, for Halloween and I just had to share it with you all. I'm not a Miley Cyrus fan by any means, but talk about hilarious!

I love my cousins!

To make this costume you will need to measure your own pet to get exact measurements. Supplies used were:

an old Barbie doll
polyester fiberfil
1/2-1 yard dark grey fabric (depending on dog size)
needle and thread
Length of chain
A dog that is fine and dandy with wearing awesome costumes

A lot of trial and error went into this, but you start by cutting out two circles from the grey fabric to serve as the main wrecking ball shape. Cut leg holes based on your dog's dimensions, and leave holes for the head (and tail if necessary depending on your dog breed).

You will sew your circles together (as show above, leaving a large hole for your pups head. Tottie is kinda into wearing costumes, so she actually climbs in the neck hole. If your pet is not so into the dress up, you may want to cut the bottom circle open and add a velcro closure. Attach your chain to the center of the top fabric circle. You will add your Barbie to the chain after cutting her hair and dolling up her makeup. McKenna used red nail polish to paint on bright red lipstick.

As you can see above, the chain was sewn onto the wrecking ball with several overlapping stitches (you could also use a chain leash attached to a harness if your pet needs a better leash option--you would make a small hole in the top of your wrecking ball and pass the chain leash through). When attaching your Barbie to the chain, you can use some thin wire or twist ties if necessary.

This baby is stuffed up with plenty of fiberfil to make a nice stiff round ball shape. Don't skimp on this! See that silly grin on Tottie's face? She loves her new Halloween costume :)

Note: Take care to watch your pets when in costumes, do not allow them to ingest any kind of fiberfil. Pets should not be in costume for long periods of time to prevent any overheating. Be responsible.

I don't know about you, but I want to be Tottie for Halloween. Learn how to make your own Tottie the Pug mask here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Make Your Own Sugar Skull Embroidery Patterns

This time of year isn't just for Halloween. For all those of you who celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, here is a great tutorial with templates to create your own sugar skull embroidery patterns.

Materials needed:

Printed out templates. Or you can use your favorite photo editing software to make patterns on your computer.

Start with a skull outline from the template below and you will be well on your way to creating your pattern:

Next, add in your eyes, nose mouth and any additional decoration. Here are some templates you can use, but feel free to draw extra embellishments yourself:

Many times sugar skulls have floral eyes, so there are several here to choose from, add in any extra swirls, etc you want, just try to keep your pattern from being too difficult with tiny details. Here is my finished pattern:

Then, start stitching! I will be working on this later this week and sharing it on the blog when I am finished. Happy Stitching :)

I will be using these neat Glow in The Dark Threads I found to add some extra wow factor to mine, you can sew with them on their own or blend them into other threads :)