Thursday, November 24, 2011



Today I am feeling very thankful for my husband. He has cooked our entire Thanksgiving feast - single-handedly. Well, I did my part by cleaning the kitchen as he cooked, (it's been through three cleanings so far,) and I set the table. I know, I'm very lucky. He is a much better cook than I am, at least in a modern kitchen. He enjoys cooking where I usually just see it as a chore.

Tonight we will be enjoying: spinach salad, winter fruit salad, baked pineapple, mashed potatoes, rutabaga, green bean casserole (with homemade mushroom sauce) and Beef Wellington with morel mushrooms. (Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin.) For desert we have pecan pie, pumpkin pie and apple pie - all with real whipped cream. I won't be getting on a scale for a while because all those pies average out to a half a pie per person. Yum!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Minifig Cupcakes

I went for easy this year on the Lego-themed birthday cake and didn't make one. I opted to make cupcakes instead. Not very fancy, I know, but my son was pleased. He loved biting off the heads of the extra chocolate minifigs!

(These molds (here and here) made it easy. I looked for them on eBay but they weren't really any cheaper since I would have had to pay for shipping.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Family Affair

My husband can't resist getting in on the Halloween action...

I decided to be a jellyfish this year. Thanks to my husband's great idea to recycle the EL wire from last year's costumes, I was a phosphorescent jellyfish. He did all the wiring to make my tentacles glow, but otherwise it was easy.

I started with a clear plastic umbrella I got a t Wal-Mart for $12.00. I measured the circumference of the widest part and bought that much fabric plus a 1/4 yard more. (I think I ended up buying about 3 1/2 yards.) I sewed the two cut ends so I had a large tube, and then added a casing for a drawstring into both selvage ends. One end I made as tight as I could and poked the end of the umbrella through it - covering the umbrella. The other end, I drew up tightly inside the umbrella and tied tightly around the handle.

I cut small slits in the fabric to allow the EL wire to hang down through the fabric. Finally I sewed long strips of tulle and wired ribbon around the bottom edge of the umbrella to create the tentacles. I also added a bunch of tentacles to the handles to try to camouflage it, and then I just wore black so I could fade in to the background. The small blue circles were made from glow-stick bracelets I sewed to the outside just before we went out to trick-or-treat.

Hubby decided to be an angler fish...

He paper-mâchéd the fish body around a balloon, painted it, and added the EL wire to highlight the fins and the tail. The eyes were made from ping pong balls, cut in half, and illuminated by LEDs from behind. The teeth were done in glow in the dark Fimo clay.

I think we looked pretty cool - one of the Island high school kids said we were "epic," which, I think, is a good thing...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lego Minifig Birthday Shirt

Remember that Lego birthday party we did earlier this fall? It's taken me forever to get this post together, but I couldn't not make my son a Lego birthday shirt.

I searched for a pre-made lego minifig pattern (for you non-legoers, a minifig is the technical term for the little Lego people) but I couldn't find one. No biggie - I made my own. If you would like to use it, click on the image below and download it. You probably can just print it out, but I opened it in Word, reset the margins to .5 inch all the way around the and inserted the image. At full size it should be 7.5 inches across by 10 inches tall. At least, that's how I did it. I suppose you could also just print it out and resize it on a copier...

I did not use the raw edge technique for this applique, so there is no seam allowance included in the pattern. Instead, I traced the pieces onto fusible-web and appliqued it that way.
The dashed lines are to help you with placement. The head and the hands go underneath the shirt, as does the top of the pants. For the face, I just used a colon and a parenthesis :) that I resized until I was happy with it. For the number, just print the number you need in a font you like and resize it until you are happy with it. Then trace it onto your fusible web upside down - that way it will be correct when you iron it onto the shirt.
If you aren't sure how to do applique, you could use the tutorial here. However, I did not use a zig-zag stitch like in the tutorial, I straight stitched about 1/8 of an inch inside the edge of each piece (using my edge stitch foot) and sealed the edges of the fabric with Fray Check. It's been through the wash five or six times so far and it still looks great! (Though I do wash it inside out.)
What do you think?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mackinac Moments

The days may have gotten shorter,
but, despite the rain and the chill in the air,
they are every bit as beautiful.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween on Mackinac Island is alive and well. And I'm glad. To me, Halloween is all about dressing up and having fun, plus I love to make things for the kids!

This year my daughter wanted to be Pegasus. (Talk about giving Mama a challenge!) Disney's Hercules has been one of her favorites lately, and of course she loves horses, so it was no surprise.

I started her costume with McCall's 6185. I left off all the dinosaur parts, moved the zipper to the back, altered the teeth and ears to make them more "horsey," and added the mane and tail. I also made hooves to cover her hands. They were just rectangles of fabric that velcroed around her wrists, but they looked great. The store-bought wings Papa managed to find finished her off perfectly. We added a collar and name tag just to be sure she wouldn't get "What are you?" all night long; instead she heard, "What a cute little........ Pegasus. .......... Oh, you're Pegasus."

I would have liked her headpiece to be more elongated - like a horse's head, but I couldn't find a pattern and I just didn't have the time to draft one myself. She was happy, so in the end it didn't really matter that her head wasn't all that horse-like.

My son wanted to be a werewolf.

His costume was easy - except for the sewing with faux fur part - what a pain that was! You should have seen my sewing room after I was finished with it - it looked like I had shaved a wolf because there was fur everywhere! I used the same pattern for his headpiece, except I altered the ears and made them shorter. Then I hand sewed pieces of fur on the inside of his shirt and pants and then ripped the fabric to let the fur show through. (I imagined him ripping his clothes as he transformed.) Back in August he ripped the knee of of those jeans, but I held on to them (because, remember - I'm a hoarder,) and I found the shirt at Goodwill for $1.89. (It was so cheap because it already had a hole in it.) We finished him off with grey gloves - with fur hot glued to the tops, furry shoe covers, and some face paint. Did he ever have fun growling at his friends Halloween night. I even heard him howling a few times.

Each of the kids got a matching treat bag as well. I love how the bag goes with the costume, but the best part is, it becomes a storage bag. All the costume parts go inside the bag so they stay together. Plus, when I am searching for a specific costume in the Halloween stuff, I know exactly which costume is which.

How about you. What were your kids for Halloween?

My apologies for the odd faces on the kids.
I try to maintain their privacy on line.