31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

I know Halloween isn't really a tradition-filled holiday (not like Christmas!), but we do have a couple of family Halloween traditions that we love.   

From my husband's side of the family, we have the tradition of always having chili for dinner on Halloween.  This tradition goes back to Mr. MadeIt's grandparents, so it's fun to continue that tradition in our family.

Boo really liked chili night!  She didn't actually like the  chili, but we invited my family over, and she loved that.  Oh, and we had cornbread muffins, too, which she did like.  (My mom's recipe--yummy.)

And from my side, we have the tradition that a baby always dresses up as a pumpkin for their first Halloween.  It started when my mom found a (fabric) pumpkin trick-or-treat bag and she made it into a comfy Halloween costume for my older brother's first Halloween.  Then the rest of us wore the same costume.  We even have twins in my family, so my mom found another of the same trick-or-treat bag to make a matching costume.

Here's my first Halloween, with my sister and older brother.  Yep, I'm a twin; I'm the one on the right.

And when Boo joined our family, we continued the tradition with Boo in a cute little jack-o-lantern onesie.  With a newborn, we were too tired to be creative, so were all pumpkins that year.  (Aww, Boo was so tiny!)

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

Happy Halloween!

29 October 2011

Our Halloween Costumes--Quick, Easy, and "Boo"-tiful

Yep, Boo is dressing up as her namesake this Halloween.  (When I told my brother that, he said, "Of course.  What else would she dress up as?"  My thoughts exactly.)  I think she looks so much like Pixar's Boo (with lighter and longer hair), but so many people at our church's Halloween party last night asked, "Didn't she want to wear a costume?"  Oh, well.  Boo loved it, and I thought it was adorable, so we're good.

Boo is so excited about her Halloween costume.  It's probably a good thing she got it dirty the day I took these pictures--otherwise, I may not have have been able to convince her to take it off!  

This was, by the way, the world's easiest costume.  Long pink t-shirt + purple pants from Boo's closet + socks from her drawer + pigtails = one excited little cartoon character.

In case you're wondering, Boo does still insist on being called "Boo."  When I took her to the doctor's for her two-year-old check-up, the doctor called her by her given name.  Boo immediately corrected her:  


And here she is watching her favorite movie--which is no longer Monsters, Inc.  Now she likes Toy Story (any of the three, but especially the two with Jesse).  Often, the first thing she says when she wakes up is, "Watch Buzz!"

But I digress.

I love it when entire families dress up according to a theme, so Mr. MadeIt and I tried to figure out how we could dress up to match Boo.  ...But I just didn't want to make Mike and Celia costumes.  It was way too much work for such a uni-tasking costume.

So Mr. MadeIt picked up a couple of capes from Wal-Mart, and we decided to be vampires.

I think I make a pretty good vampire, if I do say so myself.  (But some white face powder wouldn't hurt.)

And this was another super-easy costume:  red Wal-Mart cape (though I would make my own if we'd decided on costumes earlier) + red jewelry + black dress + lots of dark eyeshadow.

And I love it.

But we found out that while a brunette in all red and black (plus massive amounts of dark eyeshadow) looks like a vampire, a redhead in all red and black (with no eyeshadow--I did suggest it) just looks like a redhead wearing all red and black.  Now what?

Mr. MadeIt came up with a great last-minute idea.  He decided to be the Shadow.  Apparently he's a character in an old radio play, but I hadn't heard of it.  Mr. MadeIt whipped up a Shadow costume for himself in maybe ten minutes (but probably less--I love these simple costumes!)...and I realized I don't have pictures of it yet.  I'll have to update this post after our Halloween party tonight.

And for those of you who are shocked that I'd never heard of the Shadow, you can rest assured:  after our church Halloween party last night, my husband and I watched the movie version.  (That guy has such a crazy laugh!)


Are you excited for Halloween?  It's almost here!  Will you be dressing up, or just the kids?

26 October 2011

Tin Can Jack-O-Lanterns

Yes, another jack-o-lantern post.  What can I say?  I like pumpkins.

I had the idea to punch holes in a tin can to make a jack-o-lantern.  (Not exactly revolutionary, but it was cheap, easy, and hopefully nice-looking, so that's good enough for me.)  But how to keep the can from bending...?

Mr. MadeIt and I thought the can would probably bend if we just used a hammer and nail to punch the holes, so enter:  Power Tools.

Well, drilling was a pain.  It takes more pressure than you might think to drive a drill bit into a tin can!  (You might notice, I used another Sam's Club applesauce can, like for my upcycled vase.  Good thing Boo likes applesauce so much!)  But the real problem was that this method left sharp bits of metal poking out of the holes--not good for a family with a two year old!

Pinterest to the rescue!  One of my friends pinned these little guys, so I clicked on over...

(Update:  The pin isn't working anymore; I don't know why.  Here's the link to the tutorial, though.)

The people at Better Homes and Gardens solved the problem of the bent cans by filling the cans with water and freezing it!  (Then using hammer and nail to poke the holes.)  Genius.

For more details, here's the full tutorial.  (There are even templates for their designs!)  I would just like to add that it's way easier if you have someone to hold your can still while you're punching holes.

These could be used as lanterns, like the BHG people did, or they could line your driveway, or you could make them out of different sized cans and cluster them on the mantle...

I've only made one so far; maybe I need to make a few more.

By the way, are your Halloween costumes done yet?  I finished mine last night.  Pictures to follow.  :)

Happy crafting!

24 October 2011

Family Trip to the Great Smokey Mountains!

Saturday night, we got home from our family trip to the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina.  We had such a great time.  It was a lot of driving, but Boo did really well.  (Thank goodness!)  She even fell asleep almost immediately when I told her it was nap time--in the car!  (Hurray!)  That is, until a low-hanging tree branch scraped against our car about half an hour into her nap.  After that, she wanted to sleep in her crib, which obviously couldn't happen, so no more nap time.  Poor thing!  At least she was happy-hyper-tired the rest of the day, instead of cranky-tired.

Aww, I love to see sleeping babies...

We knew the trees in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park would be amazing right now, and we were right!

We took so many pictures...It was great.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Not bad for being taken through the car window when traffic happened to slow down, eh?

Boo's favorite part was when Daddy helped her climb all over some big rocks.

See, look at that happy face.

Hello, love!

Beautiful red leaves...

And I love these tiny flowers.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

21 October 2011

Pumpkin Patch Table Runner/Wall Hanging

Remember way back in this post when I showed you all the fabric I got for a new project?  Well, I finally finished it!

The Pumpkin Patch!

I actually kind of forgot about it, but then I was getting ready to go quilt with some friends, and I remembered I hadn't worked on this since the last quilting night--the month before!

I thought it would be cute to have a wall hanging of pumpkins--all making different faces.  So I made a little Nine Patch pattern of pumpkins (hence the project's name).  I decided it would be a table runner (not that it "runs" much, being a square) since I don't have much wall space.  My kitchen table needed some Halloween lovin' anyways.

I like it, but if I did it again, I would do a few things differently.  For one thing, I'd try to come up with faces with fewer curves.  Sewing around all those tiny curves was such a pain!

The truth hurts, little guy.

Second, I'd add little green stems.  Why didn't I think of that before???  Once I got the green border on, I realized that I should have green in other places, too.  But it was too late to add stems.  I mean, maybe I could, but I didn't leave space for them in the blocks, and to make them match at the edges of the pumpkins...

Third, I might make all the pumpkins out of the same fabric.  Maybe.  I do like having the three fabrics, but I bet if they were all the same, it would emphasize the different facial expressions more, which was the idea of the project.

Ah, well.  You (and my sister--she's planning on making one of these, too) get to learn from my experience.

This isn't going to be a full tutorial--more like a pattern.  If you need help on a specific part, check out one of my previous sewing posts such as...

...Or send me an e-mail at jillmadeitblog {at} gmail {dot} com.

You will need:
1/4 yd black fabric
1/2 yd purple fabric
1/8 yd green fabric
1/3 yd orange fabric (divided among however many different oranges you want to use.)
23" x 23" batting
23" x 23" backing (I used muslin.)
General sewing supplies

Disclaimer:  I think these fabric amounts are correct, but I would feel really bad if you ran out of a color and couldn't finish the project, so you may want to buy a little extra just in case.

{The pattern for the pumpkins and stems is at the bottom of this post.}

First step:  Cutting (My least favorite step!)

From your black fabric, cut four 7 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares, and nine adorable pumpkin faces.  You can use my faces as a guide, but remember:  Tiny curves are annoying to sew!  Another thing to keep in mind is that busier, higher contrast pumpkin fabrics will need larger faces to not get swallowed by the pattern.  So for my orange-on-orange print, I could do intricate little faces, but for my floral orange-on-black fabric, I needed simple, large faces.

From your purple fabric, cut five 7 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares, and a  2 1/2" x 90" strip for binding.  (You'll need to sew strips together to get that length, of course.)  {Update:  The 90" will give you extra, just so you know.}

From your green fabric, cut two 1 1/2" x 18" stripstwo 1 1/2" x 20" strips, and nine pumpkin stems.  {Update:  I think I may have done the math wrong in figuring out how long to make these strips.  Just measure your own nine patch when you're ready to add the green borders, and then cut to size.  Just in case.}

From your orange fabric, cut out your nine pumpkins.

Whew!  Glad that's done!

Now it's time to appliqué.  I used the same technique as I did for my striped butterfly, but using a blanket stitch instead of a zig-zag.

Appliqué the faces onto the pumpkins.

Pin your first stem on to a pumpkin, then center the entire pumpkin on its square (...rectangle, I guess).  Keep the stem in place, but remove the pumpkin.  Stitch around the edges, but you don't have to stitch where it will be covered by the pumpkin.  Then appliqué the pumpkin on top.

Next:  Sewing it all together.

Squares go together in a checked pattern.  Then sew the shorter green strips onto the top and bottom, then the longer strips on the two sides.

Sandwich your top, batting, and backing.  (You'll trim off the excess batting and backing later--it's much easier to have these pieces slightly too big at this step.)  For quilting, I sewed 1/4" from the seams on each of my squares.  I used a slightly longer stitch than normal to emphasize the quilting.

Trim off the extra batting and backing, and bind your wall hanging!

Hurray!  You're done!

Happy crafting!

(Right click, "Save to Downloads")

19 October 2011

Family Night Pumpkin Painting

Growing up, we almost never carved pumpkins.  It's a mess, it's hard for little ones to participate, and the pumpkin goes bad so quickly.  So what we did instead was paint pumpkins!  (Okay, having several little ones painting is a mess, too, but at least it's not a pumpkin-innards kind of a mess.)  Ahhh, good times painting pumpkins...

Mr. MadeIt and I decided to continue the pumpkin painting tradition in our family.  So for Family Night last night, we had our first ever Pumpkin Painting Night!

Here we are, hard at work.  Wow, we look so serious!  Except for Boo.  She was just enjoying her sucker.

...Which stained her mouth blue.

Mr. MadeIt's pumpkin decided to be an Indian for Halloween.  (Ignore the ketchup bottle in the background; we had just finished dinner.)

Boo wanted to keep her pumpkin au natural.  She was very adamant about keeping her cute little pumpkin as is.  (She's very adamant about everything these days.  I think it's because she's two now.)

And my pumpkin would like to wish you a

And happy crafting.

17 October 2011

Mason Jar Jack-O-Lantern Tutorial

You may have realized it by now, but I really like jack-o-lanterns.  (Or any pumpkins, really.)  I don't really get into the scary/creepy/gross side of Halloween, so for me, jack-o-lanterns are the way to go.

So here's another really easy, super-cheap jack-o-lantern craft.  Seriously, I gathered my materials, started watching Project Runway, and was completely done before the episode was over.  (Except that I couldn't find my hemp to tie around the top, but that's not the point.)

Okay, ready?  Set!  Go!

You need:
Orange craft paint
Mod Podge or School glue (I used school glue--it's cheaper.  Water it down to a nice paintable consistency)
A glass jar (I was going to use a mason jar, but then I found a clean pickle jar I'd saved for when inspiration struck!  Sweet!  Even-cheaper craft!)
A dry erase marker
Green hemp, raffia, ribbon, etc
General painting needs:  paper towels, water, something to mix the paint on (I used waxed paper), paintbrushes (I realized after I'd started that I shouldn't have used my nice paintbrushes for painting with glue, but I just washed them out really really well), and something to protect your table (I like kitchen garbage bags)
Tea light (battery-operated or regular)

Draw your jack-o-lantern face on the jar.  (Great thing about dry erase markers--it's so easy to make changes!)

Mix up some paint + Mod Podge (or school glue + a little water) until you like the color strength.  More glue = more transparent, more paint = more opaque.

{After first coat... and second coat.}

 Paint around your outlines.  If you get some paint on the marker lines, you'll have to scratch them off, instead of just wiping them off.  (Still not hard, though--I had to scratch off a couple places.)  

Let dry.  Apply a second coat if you want (I did) and let dry again.  Wipe off the marker outlines.

Paint on an all-over coating of Mod Podge/glue to help protect your little lantern from scratches.  Don't worry; it dries clear.

Finish watching Project Runway while the glue fully dries, then tie your raffia around the top of the jar.

Drop in a tea light, and you're done!

(By the way, I recommend the battery-operated tea lights because it's hard to light a real candle inside a little glass jar.  But if you have one of these guys, it's doable.)

Now just sit back and watch him glow...

Happy crafting!

15 October 2011

Tutu Costume Roundup!

I've been seeing tutu costumes all over Pinterest, and I LOVE THEM!  Oh my goodness, they are so cute! There's this one...

Source: etsy.com via Jill on Pinterest

And this one...

Source: etsy.com via Jill on Pinterest

Not to mention this one...

Source: etsy.com via Jill on Pinterest

{Go to my Pinterest board for more inspiration!}

They are pretty pricy to buy (often about $45 on Etsy) but they are really easy to make!  There are lots of tutu-making tutorials floating around in Blogland, so I'm not going to write a tutorial.  (Maybe later, if I come up with something new and different.)  In the mean time, here are some tutorials for you to check out:

No-Sew Options:
How to Make a Tutu--I've used this tutorial before; it's a good one.  Plus, she has links to other tutu tutorials at the bottom of her post.
Petti Tutu Tutorial--Same process as above, but with a cute edge detail
How to Make a Halter Tutu Dress: Version 2--This tutorial shows you how to make a layered tutu, plus instructions on making it into a dress, rather than just a skirt.

Yes-Sew Options:
How to Make the Perfect Sewn Tutu--Looks really easy to do.  (Who knew there were tutorials on eBay?)
How-To:  Sew a Sparkle Tutu--With a ribbon drawstring instead of an elastic

Oh, and I can't forget this one:

How pretty is that?  I love it.  Don't worry; there's a tutorial for it at The Train to Crazy.

Happy crafting!

14 October 2011

A Family of Pirates--Halloween Costumes

(Don't you love Photoshop?  This picture was taken in my kitchen.)

It's about time for some Halloween costumes, don't you think?  :)  Las year, we were all pirates for Halloween.  :D  I loved it!  The costumes were so easy, but I thought we looked pretty spiffy.  (Except that someone thought I was a gypsy, not a pirate...Hmmm...)

A trip to Goodwill took care of most of our costumes...

For Mr. MadeIt (aka Captain Hook), we found a silky red button-down shirt.  Add to that a few Wal-Mart accessories, his church slacks, and my belt, and he's good to go. 

For me (aka Bootstrap Jill), we found an off-white, coarse-weave button-down shirt at Goodwill.  We also found a Goodwill belt that reminded me of doubloons strung together.  The most difficult part was the pirate vest (and that was super-easy!)  For that, we found long brown dress--I sewed closed the zippered back, and cut open the center front.  (No need to make the edges nice because I'm a pirate!)  A pair of Mr. MadeIt's tan pants (so they'd be too big), a colorful scarf, and pile of old necklaces completed my look.

For Boo (aka...I don't know; I've got nothing), we picked up (from Goodwill again) a long-sleeved white onesie.  I tattered the sleeve edges and drew a skull-and-crossbone onto the front with a Sharpie.  Black tights kept her warm.

What should we do for this year?  We know what Boo's going to be, but we haven't come up with anything for Mr. MadeIt and I that we're actually excited about.

How are you dressing up this year?

12 October 2011

Pumpkin Puzzle Blocks!

That's it:  It is officially autumn.  The leaves are turning red, our garden (tiny as it is) is, well, about done of life, and my mom and I finished bottling applesauce this afternoon.  (Homemade applesauce is totally worth it, but, whew! what a job!)

Anyways, now for my favorite craft from the Craft Night:  Pumpkin Puzzle Blocks!

The original idea for these blocks was to cut six pictures of your family into 2x2 inch squares, and mod podge the pictures onto little 2x2 inch blocks, so you have a cute puzzle of your family members.

But I thought, It is October--wouldn't it be cute to make a Jack-O-Lantern puzzle?  What if you could have different faces, and be able to interchange the parts...

Maybe put three different mouths together...

Or have one eye have two pupils, and the other have none...

Yep, I wanted to do it.

Ready to make one, too?  You need:
to print out my pumpkin designs.  Or make your own.  If you make your own, be sure to have the points where the features cross the cut lines match on all the pumpkins; that way, each block will line up with blocks from other faces.  (Great idea, Mr. MadeIt!)  My pumpkin designs are at the bottom of this post.
nine 2x2 inch wooden blocks
Mod Podge (or water-down regular school glue to a nice paintable consistency)
 foam paintbrush
something to pour the Mod Podge on

Cut the Jack-O-Lanterns on the cut lines.  I did one face at a time for ease of organization.  And because I was running back and forth from one craft to the other as I waited for each side's Mod Podge to dry.

Coat one side of your first block with Mod Podge.  Help me out, experienced Mod Podgers--should it be a thin or thick coat?  Because I sometimes had to squish down ripply paper regardless.  Another lady there did say that you could use a library card, etc, to carefully push out bubbles, but I didn't try it.  (Why?  Well, mostly because I was hurrying, trying to get all three crafts done that night.)

Anyways, after your thin-or-thick coat of Mod Podge, carefully put on one of your pumpkin squares.  You have to get it where you want it pretty quickly, while the Mod Podge is still really wet, because once it starts to dry, the paper's not really going anywhere.

Put another coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper.  Make sure to get the edges really well, since that's where these blocks will take the most beating when they get played with.

Repeat with one side of each block.

Take a break while that side dries.  (If I'd been at home when I did this project, I totally would have taken a hair dryer to it--I'm not much of one for waiting for things to dry.)

And just do that for each side.   Be sure to have the same feature always on the same block.

Like so.

Now you can put together your jack-o-lantern however you'd like!

Um, that's not what I meant, Boo, but why not? 

Happy crafting!

{Here are the jack-o-lanterns to print out.  Remember that each pumpkin needs to be 6x6 inches, so make sure your computer doesn't try to scale them when they print.}

(Right click, "Save to Downloads" or similar command)