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Friday, October 29, 2010

Witchy Apron

I wanted something festive for Halloween that would be easy to wear on top of my regular clothes.  I had an apron in mind, and after browsing the handmade items on Etsy.com (a great place to get ideas, by the way), I had a plan for something quick to make, easy to wear, and best of all, inexpensive.

For my witchy cocktail apron, I scored supplies on discount at my local Hobby Lobby.  They even had the perfect mini witch hat headband to pair with my ensemble.  I was going to try to make one of these, too, but at 40% off and the fact that I was quickly running out of time, I just snatched that baby right up!

Needed:  

3 bandannas - I lucked out to find ones that were    black with spiderwebs (solid black on reverse), discounted to $1.27
    
1 glittery fairy dress-up skirt from The Dollar Tree (child size), for (you guessed it) $1!
              
1 spool of Halloween ribbon, discounted to 99 cents



First, I cut one of the bandannas in half and sewed one half to each side of a full bandanna, right sides together.  I did this so that I wouldn't have a seam running right down the middle of my apron.  Those are just creases from it being folded.


Next, I trimmed maybe one-third off the top of the last bandanna and sewed the rest of the piece centered along the middle section, black side up.  I moved it down about two inches from the top so that I would have a strip of coordinating fabric along the waist.


Then I took the fairy dress-up skirt and opened the seam so that it could lay flat.

I pinned and sewed this along the top edge of the black bandanna piece I had just attached.

Since there was a skinny elastic waistband to the fairy skirt, I stretched it as I sewed so that it would reach all the way across the black section.  It resulted in this part being slightly ruffled when finished. 


Then I put a length of the Halloween ribbon near the bottom edge of the black piece of bandanna.

And also a length of the same ribbon along the top edge of the fairy skirt.  I put it just low enough to cover the white elastic, but still have a teeny ruffle of tulle poking above.  Again, because this was along an elasticized cloth, I had to stretch and pin it in sections. When it was held taut as I sewed, the ribbon covered the length of tulle and had a slight gathering when finished.

I used black thread and sewed right along the black stripe in the middle of the ribbon.

This picture shows the ribbon after I had it pinned and before it was sewn.  When I let go of the elastic, it would bubble up.
But here is what it would look like when I pulled the elastic tight to stretch the fabric out.  This is how I sewed it, feeding small sections through the machine at a time.









This is what it looked like at that point, a large rectangle, with a center portion gathered by elastic.


Next I folded the rectangle of apron in half down the center, put it flat, and trimmed a curved edge along the side.

I did a simple zig-zag stitch on this raw edge so that it wouldn't fray.  The beauty of using bandannas for this is that most of the edges were already finished and I didn't need to hem anything! 






I trimmed just enough off these scraps to make two long, thin rectangles to use as part of the ties.  I trimmed the extra third that I had cut off of the center black portion to make two additional long, thin rectangles, four total.  Remember, these were black on one side and spiderweb on the other.




Sew two of these together at the short end, right sides matching.  And then again, so that you have two long strips when finished.


Next you fold these right sides together and pin.  You'll have one long skinny strip.






 


When you begin sewing the length of these strips, start at the corner by the fold.  Sew a diagonal line over close to the edge.  Stop the machine, pick up the presser foot while the needle is still in the fabric, and pivot so that the whole piece is straight.  Then continue sewing the seam along the edge, down to the end.  This gives the end of your tie an angled edge.



Don't forget to trim off that corner of loose fabric before you turn your strip right side out.  Otherwise there is a crumpled bunch stuffed in the corner.

Turn right side out.

Now press the strips nice and flat with an iron.

To attach to the apron, I pinned it one quarter inch over to the right of the seam at the top edge by the black and orange ruffle section.  The length of your strip will be going toward the center of your apron. 






After you sew this, you flip the strip back so that it's along the top edge of your apron, with the flap of curved fabric underneath.  


Top-stitch both top and bottom edges from where the tie is attached, out to the edge of the apron.
 

That's it!  The ties are long enough to wrap around and make a bow in front.  Here is the finished project.



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monster Bowling

Our church is having a Trunk-or-Treat event for Halloween, and I have been very busy preparing several carnival-type games for the kiddos to play.  Last year, one of our moms had the idea of Pumpkin Bowling.  She had actually done this for her daughter's birthday party, but then the bowling "pins" got put out with the recycling afterward and were not available for us to use for Trunk-or-Treat.  Her version was two-liter soda bottles painted to look like Jack'o Lanterns, and using a pumpkin as a bowling ball.  I have seen this same idea with the bottles painted white with ghost faces.  So, all since last year's Trunk-or-Treat I've been scheming to make this game to use this year.  My take was to recreate the Monster Bowling set from the fabulous Melissa and Doug toy company.

This was my inspiration...

Over the winter, I saw a friend post a photo of CoffeeMate creamer bottles decorated as snowmen.  It hit me that those bottles were the perfect size and shape to make into a mini bowling set!  Here were my supplies - empty creamer bottles (the larger size, and I used six like the Melissa and Doug set), then a variety of acrylic paint, felt, pom-poms, chenille stems, and google eyes.

I put paint into the empty bottles, capped them tightly, and shook and rolled them until the paint coated the interior.  Then I let them dry upside down on a grid of cardboard.  This was the longest process, because it took several coats.  Even now, weeks after completion, the paint is starting to come off the plastic.  I think filling them with colored shredded paper might be a good alternative to paint.

Once painted on the inside and dried, I recapped the bottles and got to work with my glue gun and supplies to create monster bowling pins.  You could make these into farm animals, zoo animals, you name it - anything to go with the theme of a party!  Here are the finished monsters.  I think I like the one-eyed one the best.

 


And here is a photo of the game in action.  We used half of a refrigerator box, wrapped with a black plastic tablecloth, as a bowling "lane."  It was a big hit!





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Toilet Paper Roll Pumpkins

My boys have made these at their preschool and I still get them out every year to decorate my mantle with for Halloween.  A fantasticly easy craft to do with little ones!

You need:  roll of toilet paper
                 big square of orange fabric
                 scrap strip of a green fabric
                 brown craft bag or lunch bag
                 some rafia














First, lay the toilet paper on top of the fabric, and then start pulling the fabric up and tucking it inside the tube.  Go all the way around until the roll is covered.





Then fold and twist your paper bag, which will become the pumpkin's stem.



Two ways to do the "leaves."  1) Fold the strip of green fabric in half lengthwise.  Then cradle it around your twisted paper bag "stem."  Or 2) Lay it over the top open, tucking in slightly, so that it becomes two leaves.


Finally, wrap some raffia loosely around the base of your "stem", and push it in the top.  Twisting gently helps secure it.  Presto pumpkins!


Coffee Filter Ghost Lollipops

I was looking for a quick way to whip up these cute ghost lollipops, to hand out as treats at our "ghostly" decorated mini van for Trunk-or-Treat this year.  As I had multiple projects going for this event, I didn't want to spend the time cutting squares of fabric or tissue paper.  Rushing down the aisle on a hectic grocery trip, I passed the coffee section and had a light-bulb moment - coffee filters!  White, pre-cut, uniform size, perfect-o!

My cousin pointed out that they had always used tissues to make these ghosties, but the marker would rip the tissues apart when it came to drawing the faces on.  Coffee filters are a little stronger.  I did notice that they bled the ink a bit though, but that could be solved with a pen adjustment.

I tied mine with curly white gift ribbon, but these would be cute with orange or black, too.  I chose a styrofoam slab to "serve them" with.


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