Halloween Time!

Well, I started this costume with no clear idea of how it would look in the end…. I made hair falls, a crochet fruit necklace, a muslin skirt dyed with real fruit, and a pixie hat which I didn’t end up wearing. It all came together and I got nice comments through the day♥ I’m looking forward to trick or treating with my little fairy girls tonight, I think we’ll make quite a trio!

Three More Pumpkin Recipes!


#1
I’ve been making this cream cheese frosted pumpkin roll for years, and it always turns out fabulous! One year I even sold 15 whole rolls under the name Pixiedust Bakery; it really is the best recipe for this dessert that I’ve ever come across!
Best Pumpkin Roll Recipe
Makes 12 slices
Cake:
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Filling:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 15x10x1 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper. In a large bowl, beat eggs on high for five minutes. Gradually add white sugar and pumpkin. Add flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Spread batter evenly in pan. Sprinkle walnuts evenly on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately turn out onto a linen towel dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up in the towel, starting with the short end. Cool.
To Make Filling: Mix confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, butter or margarine, and cream cheese together till smooth. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up again. Cover and chill until serving. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

#2
Sadly another unhealthy favorite of my family, these were cookies that my hubby was raised on, and quickly became a seasonal favorite in our household…
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool.

#3
And finally, a healthier vegan recipe that we just tried last week. This one is a little complex, but delicious! My girls were begging for more!
Oatmeal Pumpkin Loaf
2 cups oat flour (homemade from rolled oats – see directions)
3/4 tsp salt
1 heaping Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ginger powder (optional)+ 1/8 tsp nutmeg(optional) + pinch cayenne (optional)
Note: If there is a chilled ingredient the coconut oil will solidify making the mixture clumpy. Warm all chilled ingredients…
1 cup almond milk (room temperature, or slightly warm)
3 tsp ground flax seeds (or substitute with chia seeds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (organic)
1/2 to 3/4 cup maple syrup OR raw cane sugar
topping: sprinkle of sugar + oats + lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
2. Make your oat flour by grinding whole rolled oats in a food processor or blender until a fine powder texture is reached.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Combine all wet ingredients in a blender and process for a few minutes on lowest setting. This will help activate the flax seeds as an “egg replacer.”
5. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until a thick, wet batter is formed.
6. Grease your loaf pan very well using coconut oil or coconut oil spray. Pour batter into pan.
7. Bake at 415 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 395 and bake for an additional 25 minutes. About 40-50 minutes total should be about right. You can check to see if you bread is done by using the toothpick test. Cool for a good 30 minutes before removing from pan.
As this recipe is a recent addition to our kitchen, it has a link, please click here to see it in its original form: KBlog – Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread

Tulle Skirts for Halloween


My girls’ costumes are done, we finished them in time for their school’s fall festival last Friday. This year, after both initially wanting to be cats, they changed their mind… Meg begged to be “a winter fairy queen” and then she talked her younger sister into be a fairy with her, an earth fairy. With less than a week to pull this off, I went simple and economical, which is also probably how it would have turned out if I had more time… simple and economical being the standard by which I organize most things in my life.


The tulle skirts, supplies about $5 each? (on sale & with extra coupon)
Sew a piece of elastic into a circle, then use a loop tie to attach strips of tulle to the elastic. Keep tying on strips till you can’t see the elastic anymore. I used strips of tulle 3 inches wide and 28 inches long. For the second color, tie the strips between the knots of the first color. I used white tulle I had on hand, but I probably used at least a couple yards of white, and a half yard of color.


The crowns, supplies about $2 each? (on sale & with extra coupon)
For the headpieces, I bought strings of beads from Joann’s, left the string they came on intact, wound thin silver beading wire around the last two beads in the string to join them into a circlet, then continued winding the silver wire around to decorate and strengthen the crown, at the front I attached a pendent bead that I bought already wrapped in silver wire, also from Joann’s, then continued the silver wire around to the back. I attached it with bobbypins.

The rest of their ‘consume’ were just leggings, shirts, layering shits, and fairy wings that we already had on hand. They seem a little ordinary/generic to me, but the girls love their costumes, and that’s all that matters!!

Cheap and Cheerful Werewolf!

First of all I am thrilled the doing a guest post for my sister Starr. I think she is amazing and I love love reading her blog!

Here is a little background for costumes this year in our house. My 6 year old son wanted to be Scooby this year for Halloween. Nothing new, he wanted to be that last year. He adores Scooby so I thought this was perfect. However, strangely enough last year a few weeks before Halloween (and before I started his costume thankfully) he switched to wanting to use his costume from the previous year. Who was I to argue! lol SO this year Scooby Doo was on! That is until I overheard him talking to his dad a couple weeks ago about how excited he was to be a werewolf! What? I told him that it might be a good idea to tell the costume maker!

So……we started on the werewolf! We are on a shoestring budget these days and thanks to my upbringing can be very resourceful and crafty. I am not as good at recycling and upcycling as my sister Starr but I do enjoy the bits I do.

So I went to work, of course to get some inspiration I had some ideas but headed to pinterest and youtube to find out if I wanted to do would work. I had the idea to rough up a pair of jeans and to cut up a shirt and then to sew fur behind it so it would look like the fur was coming through as the clothes were being ripped by the werewolf transformation.

So first I checked my fabric stash and my moms fabric stash to see if we had any fur. Unfortunately we didn’t have any that would work so during fall break from school my son and I headed to Joanns. We found the perfect brown long hair fur! And it was only $17/yard…. (gasp) thankfully 1) it was on sale for 40% off and 2) they had a coupon for an additional 15% off in top of sale prices. So I got 1/2 of a yard for about $5.50 and decided whatever we did we would make it work. Next stop was the Dollar Tree, our local dollar store and we were able to find Halloween make up kit with the correct colors for…$1!!! I was going to head to Goodwill on a 50% off day to see if I could find some clothes to cut up. Before I could get there we had some very unexpected medical bills come up and I was looking for even more ways to cut corners. I remembered that I had just gone through my sons clothes to weed out the ones that don’t fit anymore. We headed to the pile to find something that wasn’t to tight. My light bulb idea was to cut the clothes up anyway, so I figured I could cut the waistband and collar on the shirt to make it work. My son was excited to search through the pile! We found my favorite pair of jeans that I was sad he grew out of and then his favorite worn faded camo t-shirt.

So with my total cost at $6.50 I was excited to get started. I started by “aging” the jeans by taking my gingher scissors, opening them up and scraping them. You need to apply a good amount of pressure to this step. As you do this fuzz comes up from the jeans and eventually you will see the threads start to get bare and show through. At this point I would keep rubbing and pulling threads away. I would then also pull the jeans on either side of the whole to rip and tear the jeans. I then cut out pieces of fur to cover the area that I just ripped. I stitched around the rip and then fluffed the fur out into the rip so it looks like fur is coming through. I also trimmed the fur around and close to my stitching to cut down on so much bulk. I just picked a few random places on the jeans to do this. Then since the pants were too tight I cut through the elastic on the inside of the band so that it wasn’t visible on the outside.

For the shirt I cut 3 slits in a diagonal direction across the front and then pulled the t-shirt so that the knit would curl. I cut a piece of fur big enough to cover the whole chest area and sewed it down. Again once I was done I fluffed the fur out and trimmed around my stitching. I also cut one slit on one of the arms. After that I thought I should rough up the hem on the sleeves and the bottom. So I cut slits and pulled it to curl it. And since I was using an old shirt it looked worn and faded which was perfect!

My son is so so excited to be a werewolf. And I loved that this costume was cheap and cheerful!

Costumes from Last Halloween


Thought I’d take a moment to showcase my kids Halloween costumes from last year. As always, about two months before Halloween I started talking about costumes, and out of the blue Meg said she wanted to be… A GLUE STICK! And not just any glue stick, she was very specific, she wanted to be “the one with the cow on it, the one I use at school”. With no precedent to work with, I just assembled everything as best I could.

Dress
Starting with about a yard of white felt I sewed up the back to form a tube, cut armholes so that the tube was at her chin, and cut the bottom off to rest just above Meg’s shoes. The whole thing kept slipping off, so I cut a few strips of felt, braided them, then stitched them to the tops of the armholes to form inside straps to hold the “glue stick dress” up from the inside, (you can kind of see one of the braided straps in the laughing picture below). She wore a white long sleeved shirt and jeans under it.

Branding
For the decoration I found a high quality picture of the glue stick from the Elmer’s website, and used photoshop to enlarge it. I printed out the large glue stick parts, cut them out, then used the cutouts as patterns to cut the shapes and words out of felt, which we ironed onto the glue stick with Heat n Bond iron-on hem adhesive. We also cut squares of orange and iron attached those to the bottom for the twisty part of the glue stick. Finally, for the logo, I used the paper cutouts to cut the silhouette of the cow out of felt, then sketched the ‘cow’ onto the shape, embroidered it in blue, and attached with the iron on strips.

Cap
The hat we made by cutting a circle out of orange felt, and sewing two strips around the circle, crude but effective.

Meg loved her costume!! Her favorite part was ducking her head down in the high part of the dress so that it appeared she was a ‘closed’ glue stick! She got wildly excited comments and praise at school, during trick or treating, and from family and friends. This was one of those flash-of-inspiration-costumes that really came together perfect!

For Kay’s ghost costume I cut a hole into the top of a square of white felt and sewed uneven strips of tulle to the inside of the collar/hole, adding a tulle hood last, simple and functional! She wore the poncho style costume over white leggings, a white skirt and, a white longsleeved undershirt. Perfect for a quick cheap four year old costume!

My Halloween Costume – Part 3 – Fruit Jewelry

I really wanted to try my hand at making the popular ‘real fruit jewelry’, using these Fruit Jewelry Guides: eHow, Garden Guides, Carrot Museum
The basics seem to be to slice fruit really thin, then put it in the dehydrator and spray with sealer every so often. However, all the sealer/shelac that I could find seemed rather toxic, and I don’t want to ruin my expensive dehydrator. Not to mention running the thing for three days, what a waste of electricity!

So instead I decided to crochet some slices of fruit for my costume… I could not find any patterns, so I winged it. I tried to write out my stiches as I went, and I’m not sure how well I did, so if you decide to try the patterns below, perhaps use them as a guide only, trusting your better judgment to make them work :)

Apple
Fruit, cream, DMC Floss #739 Ultra Very Light Tan
-ch 6, sc in second sc from hook, and in each sc (5st)
-ch 1, twist slightly and sc along the bottom of the chain (5st)
-ch 1, twist slightly and sc along the top of the sc line (5st)
-ch 1, twist slightly and sc along the bottom of the sc line, and 2 sc, 2 sc in sc, sc in sc, sc in sc
-ch 1, 2 sc in ch, ch 1, *sc in sc, then 2 sc in sc*, repeat from * around
-ch 1, 2 sc in ch, 1 sc in 3, 2 sc in sc
-ch 1, 2 sc in ch, 4 sc, 3 hdc, 4 dc, 2 sc along “top”
-4 dc, 4 hdc, 4 sc, 1 slip st
Peel, red, DMC Floss #814 Dark Garnet
-join red with slip st, start at “bottom” go one row of sc around, tossing in 2 sc in one st every 4 spaces or so
-3 slip st at the top of the apple, instead of sc.
Stem, brown, DMC Floss #632 Ultra Very Dark Desert Sand
-ch 5, sc in second ch from hook, sc in last 3 spaces
Leaf, DMC Floss #699 Christmas Green
-ch 5, sc in second ch from hook, sc in last 3 spaces

Cherry
Fruit, red, DMC Floss #814 Dark Garnet
-ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook
-2 sc in each sc (12st)
-*sc in sc, 2 sc in sc*, repeat from * around
Stem, brown, DMC Floss #632 Ultra Very Dark Desert Sand
Join brown with ch, ch 3, sc in second and third ch from hook
Leaf, DMC Floss #909 Very Dark Emerald Green
Join green with ch, ch 3, sc in second and third ch from hook

Kiwi
Fruit, green, DMC Floss #3346 Hunter Green
-ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook
-1 sc in each sc, slip st to join (6st)
-join green with ch 1, 2 sc in each sc, slip st to join (12st)
-ch 1, *2 sc in sc, 1 sc in sc*, repeat from *around, slip st to join
-ch 1, sc in each sc around, slip st to join
-ch 1, sc in each sc around, slip st to join
Peel, brown, DMC Floss #839 Dark Beige Brown
Join brown with slip st, ch 1, sc in each sc around, slip st to join

Lemon
Fruit, light yellow, DMC Floss #745 Light Pale Yellow
-ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook
-1 sc in each sc, slip st to join (6st)
-join green with ch 1, 2 sc in each sc, slip st to join (12st)
-ch 1, *2 sc in sc, 1 sc in sc*, repeat from *around, slip st to join
-ch 1, sc in each sc around, slip st to join
-ch 1, sc in each sc around, slip st to join
Peel, bright yellow, DMC Floss #726 Light Topaz
Join brown with slip st, ch 1, sc in each sc around, slip st to join

Pineapple
Peel, brown, DMC Floss #938 Ultra Dark Coffee Brown
-ch 11, sc in second ch from hook, and all chains across (10st)
-ch 1, turn, sc in each sc (10 st)
-ch 1, turn, slip st in each sc (10 st)
Fruit, yellow, DMC Floss #725 Topaz
-Join yellow with a ch 1, sc across
-sc in each row to top, doing 1 sc in the middle of every other row
Note: also sc in ch space to keep edges looking neat

Strawberry
Body, red, DMC Floss #666 Bright Christmas Red
-ch 7, sc in second ch from hook, and in each til end (6st)
-ch2, dc in the very first ch, dc in remaining stiches, (6st)
-At end of row do 5 hdc to form a “bottom”
-6 dc up the side to the “top”
-slip st all the way around
Stem, DMC Floss #699 Christmas Green
-ch 3, sc in second ch from hook, and in next ch (2st)
-ch 3, sc in second ch from hook, and in next ch (2st)
-ch 3, sc in second ch from hook, and in next ch, then slip st in very first ch

Watermelon
Peel, DMC Floss #904 Very Dark Parrot Green
-ch 11, sc in second ch from hook, and all chains across (10st)
-ch 1, turn, sc in each sc (10 st)
Peel, cream, DMC Floss #739 Ultra Very Light Tan
-join white with ch 1, turn, slip st in each sc (10 st)
Fruit, pink, DMC Floss #892 Medium Carnation
-Join pink with a ch 1, sc across
-sc in each row to top, doing 1 sc in the middle of every other row
Note: also sc in ch space to keep edges looking neat

10 Easy Steps to Dip Dye Fabric with Fruit!

 One of my favorite things to look for when clothes shopping are things that are dip dyed, where the color fades from dark to light. I’ve never even considered that I could do it myself, when I accidentally came across a tutorial while searching for something else. I was unbelievably excited!!…until I discovered how chemical, and plastic laden, the process is :( As I researched it more, finding other tips and tutorials, I learned that it uses harsh chemicals, some suggest that you wear a face mask, all suggest that you use heavy rubber gloves, and I’d need to buy a big plastic bucket that could be bleached after, and a plastic drop cloth that I could throw away after, and… I started to lose my excitement. Then, just at the end of my researching, I clicked a link for “natural dyes”, hoping for something that would be less toxic to myself and the environment. I was instantly thrown back into enthusiasm for the project as I watched a YouTube video of a girl dyeing yarn with onion skins: How-To Make Your Own Natural Dye with the EtsyLabs. But could this be done with fabric? Yes! But could it be used as a dip dye! Double yes! I was most influenced by this fabulous tutorial: Brittany Makes – DIY natural dip-dye

Making a Fruity Dip Dyed Skirt!

Supplies
$2.00 for a 2lb bag of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)
$1 in non-iodized salt
$2 for a white 100% cotton thread
$4 for 2 yards of white 100% cotton muslin (it was on sale)

Instructions
I sewed the cotton skirt with the cotton thread, using my usual skirt pattern.
(click here to view the Effortlessly Earthy Skirt Pattern)
(Also, I forgot to pre-wash my fabric, I do suggest doing this first)

Based heavily on the above tutorial, this is how I dyed my skirt:
Day One…In the evening…
1. Filled large stockpot over halfway full of water, add one cup of salt, and boil the skirt for one hour.
2. Right before the skirt is done boiling, use a blender or food processer to puree the thawed mixed berries, with a half cup of salt, and roughly two or three cups of water. Then boil the mixture in a saucepan for less than five minutes.
3. Place a tarp down and put two mixing bowls on top of it.
4. Pour the skirt and extra boiling water from the stockpot into one bowl. Leaving the top of the skirt in bowl one, stretch the end of the skirt, into the other bowl. (see photo below)
5. Pour the berry dye into the bowl with the bottom of the skirt, and make sure it is submerged.
Day Two… the next morning, roughly 12 hours later…
6. Briefly boil one cup of salt with four cups of water.
7. Poured the newly hot salted water into the mixing bowl with the fruit dye, and very carefully stir around without splashing.
8. Next drag in another portion of the skirt, make sure it is submerged, and leave it alone again.
Day Three…
9. While soaking in the mixture this whole time, the water and dye have slowly climbed up the skirt. Ever so carefully lift the top half of the skirt out of the bowl that was only salted water, and taking care not to let any of the white part of the skirt drop into the dye, take the whole mess to the bathtub.
10. Shower the skirt off, making sure the top stays at the top and gets no dye on it, while washing and wringing the bottom to get all the fruit and seeds gone. From experience, I discovered this is easier with four hands, so have a friend handy if possible. Let the skirt hang dry, then iron it out.

The fruit dye was a deep red, but as the dye came off, the skirt became purple, and as it dried it faded to a lovely light purple/grey. I love this skirt, and can’t wait to wear it out! I plan to wear it first on Halloween as a part of my costume, it’s just too good to pass up, to be wearing a fruit dyed skirt for a fruit fairy costume!

Another great tutorial can be found here: itty bitty IMPACT or simply google “DIY Natural Fabric Dye” for tons of ideas! I can’t wait to try more experiments in organic fabric dyes!

Knitted Decoration Pumpkins

For my next knitted project I wanted to try following a pattern. I found this simple pattern, and finally had time to add the finishing touches!

You can find the free pattern here: Craftsy.com – Halloween Pumpkin
The only changes that I made were to use brown for the stem, instead of green, add the brown happy smile, and use 12mm Black Doll Eyes.

Cabbage Patch Hat for Halloween!

12/5/13 UPDATE: I changed this pattern, to see that post click here: Cabbage Patch Hat Pattern Improved

 

My dear friend, and childhood playmate, asked me to make her daughter a hat for Halloween, the sweet little almost one year old is going to be a cabbage patch doll!!

I could not wait to get going on this new project, so I started at this tutorial: Travis and Jessica – Cabbage Patch Doll, it linked me to this basic beanie hat: Alli crafts – Earflap Hat, but I didn’t love it, so I altered the pattern so I could work in the round, and to make it slightly smaller for a 17 inch circumference.

I was following instructions for the loop stitch from Repeat Crafter Me – Crochet Cabbage Patch Doll Inspired Hat, but something was wrong with the loops, they were too sparse, and when I tried to make more, the hat flattened out. It was not until I came across this tutorial: Dearest Debi – Crochet Cabbage Patch Kid, that I was finally making real progress again because it linked to this much better version of the loop stitch: Crochet Loop Stitch

So to make a long story short, I ended up taking out my stitches twice, all the way back to row four, but third time is the charm! Here is the pattern that I ended up with, cobbling together the bits I liked from the above linked patterns…

Cabbage Patch Doll Hat
Hook: Size H crochet hook, my go-to size!
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice Soft, Toffee color

Size 9-12 Month
Round 1: ch 3, join to form loop, dc 10, join to first dc
Round 2: Ch 2, 2 dc each dc around. Place a “marker yarn” of a different color to keep track of rounds.
Round 3: *2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc, repeat from * around.
Round 4: *2 dc in next dc, dc in next 2 dc, repeat from * around.
Round 5-7: dc in next dc around.
Round 8: sc in next dc around.
Round 9-12: loop stitch in each stich around.

For the pigtails, cut 70 strands of yarn, 20 inches long. Tie a string in the middle of the strands, use the string ends to join between rows 4 and 5. Use a few of the other strands to secure the pigtail well. Tie a ribbon bow over the mess you made in joining. Repeat for the other side!

12/5/13 UPDATE: I changed this pattern, to see that post click here: Cabbage Patch Hat Pattern Improved