A little bit about me.

I love tutorials. If I follow a tutorial, even if I don't do it perfectly, I always link to theirs. All photographs are mine, are never taken from the original tutorial, and are never as good as the original.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jack-O-Lantern Parade

White pumpkins are pretty ghostly looking, and have a much softer, more malleable skin than jack-o-lantern pumpkins. It's easier to do a more delicate design on a white pumpkin.

Sugar pumpkins are small and quick, but have a deceptively tough skin.

Traditonal Jack-o-lantern pumpkins.

I couldn't resist doing a cannabalistic pumpkin.

All pumpkins are from Cox Farms and any templates used are from Martha.

Happy Halloween!!!

This post joined the Link Party at Skip to My Lou's

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crochet Mini-Pumpkins

I finally finished my crochet mini-pumpkin project! I used three different free patterns from Ravelry, with 2 shades of orange, brown and green. The pumpkins all have knit i-cord stems, and a couple even have curls of leaf. This was my first attempt at crochet, and it's not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be!

This one's my favorite.

Items purchased:
Kit of varying sized of crochet hooks (JoAnn's Fabrics)
Yarn (Vanna's Choice in Terracotta, Red Heart Soft Yarn Solids in Tangerine, Lion Brand Fun in Brown and Caron Simply Soft Eco in Forest Floor, all purchased at JoAnn's)
Stuffing (Michael's)
Items owned:
Tapestry needles (Michael's)
Double pointed needles (Michael's)
Time Spent: An average of 2 days per pumpkin.
Difficulty: Easy, basic crochet skills needed.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King


Book #100 of 2010 is Bag of Bones by Stephen King. I read this as part of the RIP V Challenge and as the October book for the Nest Book Club (join the discussion today).
This one is another long book for me, and took awhile to get through because my reading time was limited the past couple weeks. This book is advertised as a haunted love story, and I halfway agree. Haunted? Yes. A love story? That's a stretch.
The main character's wife dies at the beginning of the story, and he spends the next four years basically catatonic with grief. Then he stumbles upon some information about his wife that he's unprepared for, and with the introduction of a powerful bullying grandfather trying to steal his grandchild from a young and poor single mother and the discovery that his house is haunted, this guy is in for one wild ride.
I consider myself to be a Stephen King veteran, and this is definitely one of his better books.

4/5 stars

This book is available from Amazon.com, but I got it from my local library.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin flowerpot

This idea comes from Martha Stewart Living. Instead of a real pumpkin, I used a fake carvable pumpkin 'Funkin' (now 75% off at Michael's), and instead of using fresh flowers I used a potted plant.

Measure the circumference of the top of your pot (mine was 9 inches) and using a sharp knife cut a corresponding circle in the top of the pumpkin. Since my flowerpot is smaller than my pumpkin, I made my cuts with a sligtly slanted edge so that the pot would balance on the pumpkin. You could also put newspapers or some other filler inside the pumpkin to bring your pot to the correct height.


Items purchased:

Carvable pumkin (Michael's)

Potted plant (Home Depot)

Items owned:

Knife, measuring tape, pencil for marking cuts on pumpkin

Time spent: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Very easy

Also shown in bottom photo: Mums in jack-o-lantern pot (both from Home Depot), small sugar pumpkin (Cox Farms) and wooden outdoor table (rescued).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Button Headband

For this project, I used a tutorial from Little Miss Momma. Using an elastic Goody headband that I had sitting around (most likely purchased from Target), some black embroidery thread and different colored buttons, I put this headband together in roughly half an hour, from measurement to pictures.

Items purchased:
Package of Favorite Findings buttons (Michael's)
Items owned:
Navy blue elastic headband (Target)
black embriodery thread (Michael's)
embriodery needle
Time spent: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Very easy

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin


Book #99 for 2010 is The Passage by Justin Cronin. I read this book as part of the RIP V challenge.
The Passage is a really long book for me. I picked it up and put it down a couple times during the first couple hundred pages, but every time it got slow or redundant something happened that really grabbed me and then I'd miss my metro stop. I have been enjoying post-apocalyptic and dystopian books lately, and this one falls right into that category.
The sickness that brings about the plot line is similar to books I've read before, or movies I've seen. But this book takes the end-of-the-world a little farther, makes it a little more personal, and that's what makes it completely different from The Stand or I am Legend, and a lot of other books and movies that are out there. The writing is exceptional, and everything is explained in a way that completely draws you into the character's world and into their lives.
And the end! I love/hate it when a book ends in a way I am not expecting. It makes me want to strangle/hug the author. After all, there's very little difference between a bear hug and a good shaking, right?

4.5/5 stars

This book is available at Amazon.com, but I got it from my local library.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Gardening

That's a lot of bulbs! The breakdown:
White Excelsior Dutch Iris (Merrifield Garden Center) - 10
Pink Jewel Late Tulip (MGC) - 20
Cheerfulness Double Narcissus (MGC) - 20
Salome Daffodils (Tulip World) - 35
Misty Glenn Daffodils (American Meadows) - 16
White Ranunculus (TW) - 10
Carnegie Hyacinth (MGC) - 10
Allium Neapolitanum (TW) - 25
Giant Snowdrops (AM) - 15
Wild Blue Star Flower (AM) - 30
Prins Claus Crocus (TW) - 25
Blue Pearl Wild Crocus (AM) - 25
Ruby Giant Specie Crocus (TW) - 25
Joan of Arc Crocus (TW) - 25

I ordered the TW and AM bulbs online several months ago during their 50% off pre-order sale. MGC is very close to me, and I am always impressed with the knowledge of the staff and the quality of their stock. They are, however, pretty expensive. But you do get what you pay for...
We should have color pretty much all of late winter through early summer. It was my original plan to plant some summer bloomers in the spring, but at this point the bed is so full of bulbs that I am positive I would cut them with the spade if I tried to dig in there anymore. I will have to think of something else for that area when the time comes.

Pansies, the 97 cent special at Craven's Nursery & Pottery in Fairfax, VA. I also picked up a very pretty blue glazed strawberry pot for next year (in the background of the above picture) for $20, at 60% off. I have lots of medium and small pots from when we lived in a condo and only had a balcony, and yet every year I feel the need to buy more! I just love container gardens.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

Book #98 for 2010 is How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer. As a soccer fan, I'm not unfamiliar with the sport or how it is followed in different parts of the world. I had just never thought about it quite in this way. This book took me on a trip through soccer stadiums, taking snapshots of various clubs and their fans, showing them in all of their colors - bigoted, racist, unpredictable and either unknowing or uncaring of the true meaning of the words behind their chants.
This book is very European-centric - making little to no mention of South American soccer besides Brazil. All in all, I'd probably only recommend this to someone who already knows soccer - not the rules of play but the comraderie of the sport and the fanatacism of its fans.
3/5 stars
This book is available at: Amazon.com.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Striped toddler scarf

This scarf measures 4" by 48", and is an alternating yellow and pink. I decided the dimensions by looking up the dimensions of a child's scarf at L.L. Bean, and copying that. I want to attempt some more difficult knitting patterns, but first I thought I should re-acquaint myself with the needles. I'd never done a stripe before, and it turned out nice.

Items purchased: Bernat Softee Baby Yarn, one lemon and one pink (JoAnn's)
Items already owned: Size 6 knitting needles (Boyle)
Time spent: roughly 5 hours, it took about a week of spurts of activity
In retrospect: 4" is a pretty thick scarf for that little neck. I'd make it narrower.
Difficulty: Easy

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Crewcuts Inspired" ribbon necklace

I had bought these gorgeous black and yellow 10mm rounds back in April from a seller on Etsy (boxesnbeads whose page has since closed), and have been looking for something to do with them ever since.

I came across the "Crewcuts Inspired" ribbon necklace on Samster Mommy and decided to give it a whirl. Since my beads are smaller than the ones used in the tutorial, I used embroidery thread. Once I started using needles to thread the beads, the project became so much easier.

And... tada! My very own "Crewcuts Inspired" ribbon necklace. I can't wait to show it off!

Items purchased: 10mm Millefiori rounds (Etsy seller boxesnbeads)
9mm Bobbin Ribbon (Michael's)

Items already owned: hot glue gun, black embroidery thread, large-ish needles

Time spent: about 30 minutes from first bead strung to completion.

In retrospect: the embroidery thread kept getting caught in itself. Next time I'll separate the strands.
Difficulty: Piece of cake.