Category Archives: halloween

A neckwarmer for Nana and Halloween politics

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This cowl is for Nana but I didn’t think I’d get her to pose for a blog photo. It’ll look sweet with her green eyes. This is the first pattern I’ve finished from the awesome book Crochet So Fine by Kristin Omdahl. I love the patterns in this book because they are all beautiful items that look crocheted. Sometimes crochet patterns look like they are trying to be knit patterns, which just doesn’t work. These lovely, lacey items show off the best of what crochet can do, in my humble opinion. Rob did have to laugh at me a bit for making a neckwarmer because it is the kind of thing that is only worn by people who knit or crochet. You don’t often go to the mall and see a display of neckwarmers. Maybe some day they’ll catch on–it is nice to have a warm neck, no? In the meantime, I hope Nana likes it.

This is my Very Expensive Fairy. We had a bit of an adventure regarding this year’s Halloween costume for Dorothy. I don’t make the kids’ costumes. Store-bought costumes have been, up to this point, cute and affordable, and I don’t like to toil over a project that will only get worn once. I’m all about seeing my kids in their homemades on a regular basis. My favorite Halloween tactic has been to purchase once-used Old Navy costumes on eBay for a just a couple dollars. The Old Navy big-belly costumes are cute and warm and comfortable for the trick-or-treater. Dorothy sized out of them this year, however, and declared that only a “pretty” costume would do. No more fuzzy purple dragons around here. I showed Dorothy some very cool costume ideas from the Family Fun magazine, which I love. She vetoed them all. I pulled up a Halloween website and let her browse the selection to get ideas. What I hadn’t realized yet is that costumes marketed for 5-year-old girls would look more appropriate on a Bourbon Street call girl than on my kindergartner. After lengthy searching and the input of her (older) neighbor girl, Dorothy announced that she found the costume she wanted. I looked. It was a $48 Barbie costume with a slutty vibe and wings.  Wow.  I told her (switching plans on the fly!) that we weren’t actually going to buy online, but I’d take her shopping to buy her costume in person. I remembered seeing some very cute costumes at the Gymboree outlet on my recent shopping trip. Rob needed something from the mall anyway. I figured that once we were there in person she’d fall in love with an age-appropriate “pretty” costume and the whole thing would end happily. When we went into Gymboree, 36 days before Halloween, the costume selection was already very picked over. The peacock costume I’d admired at the outlet mall was only available at this point without the tail (what’s the point?) and many of the costumes were only left in one or two sizes. There was, however, this adorable fairy princess costume. It fit the bill for her–pink, fluffy, “pretty,” and it involved wings like the neighbor’s costume. It fit my bill (so I thought) because there were matching warm tights available, it seemed to be of good quality, and it didn’t make her look like a 5-year-old floozy. I thought we’d really found the solution until the saleslady asked me for $69.91. What?! I’d not even looked at the price, never dreaming we’d be paying so much for tiny bit of tulle and some plastic accessories.  Yikes. But as memories of the Budding Buxom Barbie costume flitted through my mind I paid it. Dorothy never even saw me flinch. And it’s cute. Adorable, even. She’s as sweet as can be in it.

More tricks than treats

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Our Halloween was not exactly as pictured.  First Dorothy, then Worth, then me, then Rob fell to a nasty stomach virus over the course of two days.  Today we’re all recuperating and working on the awful pile of laundry, but the last couple days weren’t pretty.  Dorothy still got to trick-or-treat a little bit in our own neighborhood (that was before the adults got sick), but we missed our ritual of pizza and trick-or-treat with the cousins, who went as the Princess and the Pea.
I’m glad I took my kids’ picture when the costumes arrived instead of waiting for Halloween.  They made adorable rats, even when sick.  I didn’t make these costumes–they are Old Navy costumes that I bought off eBay.  I could never make costumes for the price I got these for, and the Old Navy costumes are nicely made, washable, easy to put on and take off, and reused.  What more could you want?

Dorothy got a new pair of ruby slippers last week and I couldn’t resist a snapshot of the old with the new. She’s worn these little ballet-style shoes from Target ever since she was old enough to wear hard-soled shoes, and they have become a signature fashion item for her.  To the yellow brick road, anyone?

Fall fun

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Yesterday I finished crocheting a sweater I started last fall.  I was pregnant, and I was pretty sure the style of this cardigan would work hanging open over a baby bump.  The further I got on the sweater, though, the bigger my belly got, and I finally decided it was going to look stupid and I quit.  It was fun to pull it out this fall, though, a nearly-finished sweater, and just complete it and wear it.  I haven’t blocked it yet, and I definitely think blocking will help the shape a bit, but I’m still really pleased with it. The wool is nice and warm, too, so even though today was chilly I felt comfortably warm out in the air but not overly bundled inside the car and house.  The pattern is available here, though I didn’t follow it exactly.

Today I wore my new sweater on a lovely walk down Hillcrest Avenue in Louisville, a pretty street in any season, but particularly nice before Halloween.  The street has become known locally as a Halloween destination, with many of the homes decorating exuberantly.  We’ve taken walks down Hillcrest on sunny mornings before Halloween each year since Dorothy has been old enough to care, and it’s become a fun tradition.  Some of the decorations could be gruesome (especially for my small ones) by night but are funny and interesting by day.

This caterpillar drawing came home from school with Dorothy recently.  Her class focused on caterpillars and butterflies for a while, which included artistic representations of both.  This cheery caterpillar drawing of hers has totally stolen my heart.  I want to do something special with it but can’t decide what.  Maybe have it put on a Sigg bottle?  Or a t-shirt for her cousin for Christmas?  Or a mouse pad for myself?

Pumpkins

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Another busy week around here.  Lots of fall fun, including a trip to the pumpkin patch.  We’ve had several house-showings, which is driving us a little crazy at this point.  I think we’ve given up hope of actually selling, and just wish people would leave us alone.  Why do we keep giving free tours of our home to people who will just say things like “oh, it’s so cute!  We just love it!  But we needed an extra bathroom.”  Or first-floor bedroom, or extra square footage, or garage…it’s always something that we clearly didn’t have based on the information in our listing, but for some reason people want to come see it (and not buy it) anyway.

This photo was an accident–he looked away as I was taking it, but isn’t his hat adorable next to the real pumpkins?  I made that for him last year.  I’d just made a similar one for Dorothy and she insisted the new baby would need one too.  Obviously she was right.  Speaking of her being right, today she was putting on her ruby slippers and talking to my mother-in-law.  She said, “when I wear these shoes, people always say, ‘are you Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz?’ But I’m like, ‘ummmm, no, I’m Dorothy from the city.'” 
When did she become such a teenager?  She also seems to have a particular interest in a boy from school, in a way that seems to indicate to me that she’s got a budding awareness of “special” boy/girl relationships.  She always tells me what he’s up to, talks about him often, and last night after church choir (which they also both participate in) she said, “C. sat next to me at choir, then I patted his back, and he went [ insert giggle silly face with tongue sticking out and full body wiggle].  Then after choir I gave him three different hugs.”  Oh my!

Today we made cookies, without boys.  (Except Worth, I guess, who was kept happy with pea crisps while we baked.)  The last few years I have tried several different recipes for pumpkin cookies, but to be frank they all sort of suck.  I mean, the are edible, they made from butter and sugar after all.  But they aren’t good like pumpkin-bread-in-cookie-form or anything.  Today I thought I’d try a different route and make a recipe for applesauce cookies, but sub in pumpkin.  I also added pumpkin pie spice, and substituted chocolate chips for the recommended raisins.  They taste good but are too chewy, and the bottoms basically scraped right off when I severed them from the cookie sheet they were stuck to.  Parchment might have helped with the release, but not the texture.  I think it must be hard to develop a pumpkin cookie recipe because of all the moisture in cooked pumpkin.  If anyone has one, please let me know!

In between house-showings and pumpkin patches this week I did something that makes me feel really smug and obnoxious–I ordered my Christmas cards!  I know it’s early, but it was this gorgeous afternoon, the kids were playing out front, and from the basement I’d just unearthed the holiday dress I’d purchased on clearance last year for Dorothy.  It has a matching dress for her doll, which is always extra special.  Dorothy saw it and had herself and her dolly dressed in no time, so I popped the baby into this little fleece Santa suit left from Dorothy’s babyhood, and clicked away.  I got adorable photos of both kids in their holiday get-ups, so I figured I might as well finish the task while I was on it and selected a pretty photo card online.  Now bring it on, season-accelerating commercial world, I’m ready for you!  Before you even change your displays from spooky to Santa, my holiday cards are done.  Pow!

I am a dork, but you are reading my blog–please love me anyway.  🙂

I made a camper fridgie

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More spookies in the house! A few years ago I got this brainstorm on how to display some of the crocheted doilies that have ended up in my linen collection from various dearly departed relatives. I dyed them black, starched them stiff, and hung them in my windows with suction cups and little plastic spiders. This way I get to enjoy the beauty of the fancywork done by the women who came before me, but I don’t actually have to use white doilies on my dresser. Dorothy has enjoyed arranging (and rearranging) the spiders.

Think back twenty or thirty years and imagine your grandmother’s refrigerator.  It has a little crocheted yarn shape of some sort attached to it with a magnet, doesn’t it?  Fridgies are a bit of an art that time has forgotten (and maybe that’s for the best), but I revived it for this little project as one of the details to finish of my camper’s interior.  My camper doesn’t have an actual fridge, but I’ve attached this one to the galvanized metal backsplash I glued up over the propane range.  Very appropriately campy, I think.

All four sides of the camper are now painted and it’s mostly ready to go.  I hooked up the water as a test, and it works.  The propane range does not work but I’m hoping it’s just because the tank is empty.  I’ve been stashing bedding and kitchen essentials in it (a camper quilt is forthcoming but not done), and today I completed the very important task of putting together a camper art bag, with supplies for sketching or painting scenes, rubbing bark, collecting leaves, and gluing googly eyes and fake hair to acorns.  I foresee many hours of mother/daughter fun at picnic tables, stringing nature finds on fishing wire and creating little woodland whimsies with the help of glitter pom-poms!  I also found an old notebook, filled it with lined paper, and tucked a pen inside.  I hope to keep a camper journal with as much or little as we care to log, as a record of our travels.