Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween 2014 - Team Rocket/Meowth

Logan has been obsessed with Pokemon this year so it was really no surprise that he wanted to be Ash Ketchum for Halloween this year.

And I nailed that costume! Really... stay tuned for a post about how I made it coming soon.

But today I'm going to show you how I turned me and Terry into Team Rocket. Since Logan is going to be Ash, we figured he needed the Pokemon "bad guys" hanging out with him on Halloween night.

Well... I just thought that Team Rocket seemed like a relatively cheap and easy costume to make... but we'll say that it was planned... yeah... planned...

In case you weren't sure what Team Rocket looked like, here they are.

Jessie, James and Meowth (their Pokemon mascot)

As you can see, Jessie is a typical anime woman - impossibly tiny and not wearing much.

ACK! Since we would mostly be hanging out with children this Halloween and since I'm a normal sized girl, a mother and in my 30s, there is no way I was going to do the bare midriff thing.

Basically for the costumes I bought 2 large white t-shirts for $6 at Michaels.
For Jessie, I cut the t-shirt so that it would be short and sewed a red fleece R on it. I hemmed the bottom with the little v-groove thing in the centre. Then I took the bottom of the t-shirt I cut and made an elastic casing and threw a bit of elastic in for a skirt.

I'm wearing black yoga pants and a black tank top underneath. I bought long black gloves from the Value Village. For the signature green earrings I found some small earrings that I don't wear anymore and hot glued large, round green beads to them.

We then went to look at all the fun Halloween stuff they had in the old Future Shop on Regent and found a raspberry red wig to wear to complete the look.

For James, I just cut the other t-shirt a bit shorter and sewed a red fleece R on it. Then I hemmed it with that same v-groove in the centre.

Terry looks really enthusiastic about being James doesn't he? Oh well. We bought some blue hairspray stuff to colour his hair with on Halloween if he wants to. And he can carry our Meowth around to make the costume work better.

Logan was taking the pictures for us, so forgive the blurriness - he was busy trying to swat his sister out of the way when he was taking these.

Although Lane is being Princess Belle for Halloween, she wanted to get in on the Pokemon spirit (and wig wearing) spirit with us while we were taking photos. We decided that this look - complete with borrowed pink wig from me - is the Princess Pokemon Gym Leader look.  Doesn't she look cute posing with James?

And here she is posing with Jessie.

And we couldn't be Team Rocket this year without our trusty Meowth. I used this free pattern to crochet Meowth. He worked up really easy and looks really cool.

A link to my Meowth project on Ravelry.

Stay tuned for more Halloween 2014 posts featuring Ash Ketchum and Princess Belle. :D

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Winter Purse: Granny Square Love!

I am in love with the backpack bag that I made to use this summer. It was perfect!

But it's not so good to use in the autumn and definitely a nuisance in the winter. Backpacks don't really fit over huge winter coats.

So I knew that I had to make a new design for the changing season. I also knew that I wanted to make something that incorporated granny squares - but there was no way I was going to attempt an afghan again.

I decided to combine my need for a new bag with my love for granny sqaures and came up with this:

The pattern I used called it a Berkshire bag and it was free! :D

It was super easy to figure out even going into details about actually making all those granny squares. Phew!

Nice and big and colourful. A perfect bag to drive away the winter blahs.

I lined it with fabric from a vintage sheet I found at Value Village. Fantastic fall apples. I always like to line my bags with a lighter/brighter fabric because then it's easy to see what's at the bottom.

I've been using this bag for about a month now and it's working out great. I think this one is definitely a keeper!

Link to my Berkshire bag project on Ravelry.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Project Project Runway #13: The Finale

This week's challenge:

"Create a collection inspired by the ancient city of Rome. On the show they needed to create 10 pieces, for our purposes you can design are many pieces as you like or one look that would be the showstopper finale of your show." (Courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

I thought about Rome and since I've never been there I had to go with what I saw on the show and what I've seen in books etc.

I was thinking about the ancient-ness of the city and decided to do a collection inspired by the first beginnings of woman all the way up to the modern girl.

Yipes, that's a lot of work with though.

Here's what I came up with:

I chose to do a three look collection with faux furs and leather as my main fabrics.

Let's start with my modern "cavegirl" look. All wrapped up in faux sheep wool with leather ties.

Maybe the choice of model was my downfall with this look. Ariel's red hair is screaming Wilma Flintstone at me. Oh well.

Next we have a long leather skirt. I was inspired by the luxurious long gowns that women were sure to have worn to balls in Rome. Then I westerned it up a bit with the leather. I topped it with a skimpy wool top. I think this would definitely be my show stopper look at the end.

I really like the proportions of this outfit. Not too overwhelming, but still looks expensive and fashionable.

Next we have Aurora in a pilot jacket inspired outfit. Actually I cut the leather from a jacket that was given to Logan when we was a baby. I kept some of the features in the collection, like the snap you see at the bottom of the skirt and Sally's long leather skirt actually zips up in the back using the original zipper that was at the sleeve of the jacket.

I didn't do pants with this collection! That would have surprised the judges for sure. I'm usually all over the separates. And I still am... just no pants this time.

All in all I think the collection is definitely cohesive. Maybe a little bit to matchy matchy but I'll say that the rest of my imagined collection would have different fabrics (although they would stay true to the natural stuff that woman have been making their clothes out of since the beginning of time).

I think that even my cavegirl looks modern and I really like all these pieces. It's a very westernized take on Rome though. I would have to defend it pretty well as my interpretation of the ancientness of the city. Still very lux and definitely me. 

What do you think? Would it show well at fashion week?

To see all the of showstopper looks by the Project Project Runway designers, check out the Flickr Group.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Iron Craft #21: Creepy, Spooky, Eerie

This week's challenge:

"Halloween is just around the corner, so let’s embrace that. This week’s challenge is to create something for Halloween or Day of the Dead. I always think this is such a fun season for crafting." (Courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

Last year I made one of my very favourite projects for this challenge. Remember Paulo and Stella - the Zombie Conjoined Twins?

So this year I decided that since I gave the twins to my sister, that I would perform a little more stitch witchery and make something equally as creepy to keep for myself.

A 4 Leaf Clover is considered a mutant clover. So Clover is the perfect name for my little mutant girl (and she's holding a 4 leaf clover in her tentacle). Lane stared at her in the book I used for the template for a really long time and then declared that miss Clover looks lonely and that we should hang her someplace where we are all the time and forever not just for Halloween. Clover is now in the laundryroom/studio/playarea room where we will see her everyday several times a day.

I found an old Mini Wheats box to use as the backing. I sewed some denim around the edges for a frame and then taped it onto the cardboard. It's a little crooked and warped, but we decided that Clover would like it best that way (or in other words, I haven't had time to fix it before the challenge deadline hehehe)

To view all of the Iron Crafter's creepy projects, check out the Flickr Group.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Crocheted Rainbow Dash and Siren Minion Winter Hats

I've come to the realization that I can't fend off winter any longer. It's gonna happen with or without me, so I might as well at least prepare a little for it.

And this year I can crochet! :D

Oh my gosh! 

That means HATS!

So far I've made this one:

Rainbow Dash!

And this one:

And would you believe that both of these hats come from one awesome designer?

Her shop's name is BriAbby and I love every. single. pattern.

Here is the link to her Etsy Shop.
Here is the link to her Ravelry Shop.
And of course here is a link to her website.

I can not say enough nice things about these patterns.

The pattern was for a generic unicorn pony (well... it sorta resembles Twilight Sparkle *wink wink*). I just changed the colours and made one sorta resembling Rainbow Dash instead.

The instructions were super easy to follow and the sizing and tips and tricks were bang on.

I think I might have gotten a little carried away with the hair. I love it so much. Lane wears it and it tips over to the side a bit unless she arranges the hair down both sides. Ooops. I think an easy fix would be to anchor the hair with thread myself so that it doesn't move as much. But when she ties it on, it's perfectly fine.

Lane has gotten about a billion compliments on her Rainbow Dash hat so far.

You should totally crochet one.

Here is a link to my Rainbow Dash project on Ravelry.

Same with the minion siren hat - the pattern was easy to follow with lots of clear instructions. Very easy to figure out and put together.

It's the little details that I especially love about this pattern. The twinkle in the eye, the 3D-ness of the eye and goggles and the little shines on the sirens is what makes this hat super special.

The mouth was probably the most difficult to accomplish, only because I kept thinking it looked more like an eye than a mouth. Maybe it needs a tongue? I don't know. Anyway, I always have trouble with mouthes. When I made Dave and Stuart (the stuffed minions mouth) I had a heckuva time getting it right.

Here is the link to my Minion Siren hat project on Ravelry.

You should totally crochet this one too! :D

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Corn Maze 2014 - Autumn Fun

A couple of weekends ago, we made our annual trip over to the Corn Maze.

It was a bright sunny day, but cool enough not to be able to wear shorts. Which we found out is a good thing. Last year we went to the maze too early and it was super warm. We were all wearing shorts and all got cut up legs from climbing on the hay bales. :( This year was much more appropriate corn maze weather.

We didn't do too badly on finding the various survival things we needed to find throughout the maze. I think we ended up with 6 out 8.

The kids climbed to the top of the hay bales. It was a busy day, so I couldn't manage a photo with them at the top. But they were nice enough to sit down and pose for this one. The wind was blowing hay pieces right into their faces in this shot, so I'm surprised they let me take it.

Lane visited her favourite part of the corn maze fun - the petting zoo. Lane has such a strong bond with animals. She's so gentle and nurturing. Makes me wish we would work on finishing our fence so that we can get her a puppy.

The pumpkin crop was plentiful and made for a beautiful backdrop for photos.

By the end of our little adventure, you can see that Logan has about had it with photos. Oh well. His silly "I don't wanna stand here and pose" face is even funnier and better than the serious photos we took. Love it!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Food Friday: Puffy Cinnamon Buns with Caramel and Pecan Topping

A couple of weeks ago I got the big idea to spend a good chunk of the day making cinnamon buns from scratch.

Was it worth it?


Just look at those things. Yummy Nums!

Here's the recipe in case you might just be cray cray enough to spend a few hours making them as well.

Ingredients: (Originally printed here on All Recipes without my notes of course)

For the Buns:
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 package of dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups all purpose flour

For the caramel sauce and filling
- 3/4 cup butter (although I think that more butter is needed to make more sauce because it was super delicious)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
- another 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup melted butter

How to put it all together:

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and salt; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cup flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. (If you are like me and have kids that need picking up at school for lunch and laundry to do and stuff to sew and a house to clean, then you should know that 1 hour isn't a strict time. If you let it rise over an hour until you have time to get to it that's fine too).

While dough is rising, melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bottom of pan with 1/2 cup pecans; set aside. Melt remaining butter; set aside. Combine remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup pecans, and cinnamon; set aside.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roll into an 18x14 inch rectangle. (I couldn't get it perfect, but it doesn't matter. As long as it's close). Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered; sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Starting at long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. With serrated knife, cut into 15 pieces; place cut side down, in prepared pan. (I ended up cutting 17 pieces and throwing to the 2 ends out because they are small and oddly shaped because I couldn't get a perfect rectangle). Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume. (Again, I ended up letting them rise while I took the kids back to school after lunch and finally got to them at about an hour and a half. They were huge and puffy!) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from the pan onto the rolls.

This is what they looked like after baking before I tipped them over and let the sauce cover them. They were so big that they were fighting to puff right out of the pan!

Easy peasy! um..... maybe not... but in a short 4 or so hours you can have freshly baked cinnamon buns!


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Project Project Runway Challenge #11: The Highest Bidder

This week's challenge:

"Create a look from found items around your home. You can use fabric that is in other things like old clothing, but do not use fabric from your fabric stash. Make sure to make fashion and not a costume." (Courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

One of our neighbours dropped off a box full of weird Halloween stuff and other oddball items on the weekend. Not sure what we were supposed to do with all that stuff, but this strange hat stuck out as a good thing to take apart and make into an outfit for this project.

Ugly French Birthday hat.

I took the yellow candles apart and came up with this.

Lane's Princess Celestia Equestria Doll is modeling a pretty yellow dress. I used the rose from the hat to adorn the middle and the trim stuff from the hat to edge the bottom of the skirt.

I know that yellow dresses have gotten a bad review on Project Runway before, so I'm sure the colour choice is what is going to be the point of focus here. But I really just didn't like the green or the blue of the other candles. And the white from that hat would make my model look like she was wearing a towel.

And notice that the dress matches the model's makeup? Yup, I think I can defend yellow as my colour choice.  And her boots work pretty well with the whole look as well without looking too matchy matchy.

The whole thing kind of gives off a 70s disco dancing dress kinda feel - which the judges will understand is definitely part of my design aesthetic.

So maybe I'm safe this week.


To see all the other designs, check out the Project Project Runway Flickr Group.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Days of Halloween Past

Most of you who have followed me throughout the years know that Halloween is kinda like my Olympics! Costume making is my favourite. Check out some of my creations from years past and stay tuned for Princess Belle for Lane and Ash from Pokemon for Logan coming soon. Woo boy! I always have my work cut out for me don't I? Bring it!

I was just looking over these costumes and realized that with the exception of 2 (Tinkerbell in 2013 and Mermaid from 2012) I have designed and made all of these costumes from scratch without a pattern. And today, making Belle - I have altered the pattern beyond recognition to satisfy my own design aesthetic and Lane's specifications. To heck with patterns! They just slow me down and hinder my creativity anyway!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Iron Craft #20: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

This week's challenge:

"Every week I find the projects from the other Iron Crafters so inspiring and I always see new things I want to try. So, for this challenge we want you to find your inspiration from a past Iron Crafters project. You can do your project exactly how they did or put your own spin to it." (Courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

I agree! There are always so many cool projects from the Iron Crafters that I want to try out. It was super difficult to choose.

I finally let Lane decide for me. I was looking through the Iron Craft Flickr Group at all the photos from all the challenges, and one of them caught Lane's eye while she was playing near the computer.

This is a project by Iron Crafter Mirimam. At the time she made this cool little baby doll cradle that turns into a purse I didn't know how to crochet. But now I can! yay!

So I came up with this one.

Hmmm seems I forgot to make a little blanket for poor Toad. I ended up giving Lane one of the first "sampler" crochet pieces I made when I was practicing the basic stitches to use as a blanket.

And it wraps up into a neat little cupcake purse. Mirimam says that these were originally made for church going to keep little girls busy during long sermons. Hah! Good idea! I'll have to remember to bring ours with us when I know we'll be waiting for a long time at a doctor's office or something.

Lane loves to fold and unfold her little cradle surprise. She's replaced Toad with a tiny fairy baby doll that she much prefers to carry around.

Ooops! I didn't do a very good job of photographing this purse to look like a regular cupcake. It's so lopsided. Oh well.

Anyhoo... I am really happy with this project and I thank Mirimam for the inspiration!

To see all of the Iron Crafters projects, check out the Flickr Group.