Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Be-hooves One..

AKA How to Turn Your Boyfriend into a Goat.

Well, kinda... For a group costume with some friends of mine, we settled on A Midsummer's Night Dream. We had Titania and Oberon, Queen Mab, I chose to be a fairy (cobweb is best for the season!) and it was decided to make him Pan. (Decided without asking him of course!)

For hooves I started with a pair of his tall boots, covered the bottom with plastic and started layering paper maché. I put a small armature of cardboard underneath to make them less foot shaped, and of course a wicked goat needs cloven hooves...

For the maché mix I simply used flour and hot water. I put it in the fridge overnight while waiting for layers to dry. It's somewhat magical how sturdy paper fiber and flour can be!
I cut off the plastic above and below, and used tape to clean up the edges. There were several coats of black and brown spray paint to seal things and make them shiny, then I added some bone texture with acrylic paint.

Just add fake fur! Lots of fake fur, and ears and horns made from stage latex. Attach a fairy to him and enjoy an evening of Shakespearean cavorting! I hope everyone is enjoying the Halloween costume season, I've been sewing everyday for two weeks to get things ready...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Samhain Time is Here!

Welcome to the dark half of the year! Some of you are rejoicing, the long nights and warm fires are your cup of tea (pun intended). Some of you will bundle up and soldier thru, waiting for the melting snows of spring. The winter time has it's own joys, cold toes are balanced by hot cocoa...

Samhain (say it Sow-ann) is an ancient harvest fest, the third and final harvest of the year. It's a fire festival, and peoples believed that the divide between the dead and living was lifted, and the spirits and gods were able to come among us. It is a time to honor ancestors, to celebrate the bounty of the year, and to prepare for cold months ahead.

Before pumpkins were introduced in the new world, the Celts would carve turnips into faced lanterns to scare off wicked spirits (must have been some awfully big turnips!) People would dress in disguise to hide from ill meaning beings. The hearth would be extinguished and re-lit from a communal bonfire (so called because after a feast, the bones were tossed in the fire as a blessing to the fertility of livestock, "bonefires").

As for today? I feel this is a very important time of year, the blessings of a good harvest are often lost on us in an era of grocery stores. Consider the fruits of a backyard garden if you have one, visit a local farm, go out to the country to see the tractors pulling in this years crops. We must not forget that many hands work to keep us fed!

And weather or not you believe that All Souls Day is a time to commune with the dead, it is a time to remember them. Our ancestors gave us the world we have today (for better or for worse!) and this is a good opportunity to remember their work and lives.

Keep it simple, this card from HeadCasePress is the true spirit of the season!
The sight of a harvest moon always makes me nostalgic, photo be ItsElemental.
A wonderful embroidered cloth from RainFeather13, use it on an alter, use it on a feast table, use it on a shrine, or just admire the beauty!
Illuminate an alter or just a room, this is a changeable lantern from Vermorlian.
Ritual candles from Whitemagic, a lovely color, and just imagine that Dragon Blood scent!

I hope you all enjoy the third harvest. Dress oddly, eat candy, light candles, and enjoy the changing season!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seeds You Need

Need inspiration for next year's garden? Perhaps a gift for the veggie lover in your life? Want to support heirloom seed preservation and a 225 year old company? My attention has been drawn to the current plight of the D.Landreth Seed Company...
The company changed hands 7 years ago, and was returned to a profitable sustainable business, however to acquire the company the current owners had to borrow. Their debts were called in recently, and they are struggling to face down the sum. In order to keep the company running they are hoping to sell catalogs, and in turn those catalogs will lead to future sales!
Why should we care? First off, small seed companies help keep things competitive and put seeds into the hands of home and small-plot gardeners. Secondly, unusual varieties and regionally adapted cultivars and increasingly difficult to find, companies like this work to maintain biodiversity in our food stocks. Take a moment to read their predicament, spend $5.45 on some excellent garden porn, and perhaps discover a new favorite for your own garden! Or click on the "Chip in" link and toss a few dollars towards them, your mouth may thank you later!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Costume Season

Isn't it always costume season? It is for me, but I do use Halloween as a time to debut new cosplay pieces, and I often find myself proffering costume help to others.This year I gave this dress another try. Last Halloween I did this dress in turquoise and yellow, but the finished product was not quite as I envisioned it. In fact there was a lot of cursing involved with the sewing process.
So this year I started from scratch - totally new concept drawing, fresh measurements, and cotton broadcloth instead of fussy poly satins. There are two layers, the yellow being entirely structural and shaping the dress; the fuchsia is overlay to create the two-tone design.

There were a few little road blocks, but the finished product is pretty solid! 4-ish hours of cutting and sewing to produce, and I think it will get plenty of wear. One costume down, three to go!
What are you making for Halloween?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tie One On!

Estate sale find of the week - colorful vintage ties! I was in a house with literal barrels of ties. I pulled out the more colorful and interesting, and cut my self off at 32... The simplicity of using these for straps makes them a bargain at any price!
Anyone else found anything cool at a yard sale recently?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Gettin' Chili Here...

I recently was cooking for a crowd at the house, and I dug into the freezer for some prepared chili, put up a few weeks back. I did a quick survey of the freezer, and realized *gasp* there's no way I had enough green chili to last the winter!

While driving to the fabric store, I happened upon a roadside chili stand, swerved across two lanes of traffic, and victoriously brought home a bushel of fragrant roasted goodness! Warning - a bushel of chili is a lot. Like, filled up the sink a lot.
So we start the processing, and packing, and freezing. But this may last me a little while this winter. What summer yummies are you stocking up on for the cold months?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finds - Squashed

It's that time of year, the produce section begins to feature items that are not for eating, but for decorating. I would rather that all delicious curcubits be served on plates, so here's some alternatives for celebrating this fine food! Pillow by JJMIllustration.

If you need to accouter your table, shy away from the pie pumpkins (they are best used for, yaknow making pie) and consider some non-perishable decor. CatnipStudioToo has a cornucopia of fabulous colorful gourds just right for a feasting centerpiece.

Is there anything lovelier than the gentle golds and rich greens of an acorn squash? Well, perhaps the nutty flavor... This yarn from OtterMoonPatterns captures the tones of a fall meal but with added sparkle. It's a soft wool so don't eat it, just knit with it.

Bedeck your table, and fill a cold set of hands! This wonderful teapot from TerraKiTeaware has nice muted colors, an elegant design, and it will warm your belly in the winter months.

Of course it's not too early to plan for next year, when you've set aside space for hills of Curcubita be sure to mark them with cute signs from CampPineNeedle. It's better than waiting for all your vines to make fruit so you can tell them apart...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art by Craft

Hey locals! This is my last fair of the summer! It's also an amazing collection of local craft goodies paired up with a display of art that pushes the boundaries on defining "craft". Gonna be awesome!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wheels a' Turnin'

The last few weeks have been wild around here, so sorry for the lack of updates! I've been traveling and having family and friends visit, I saw three new states, met lots of new family (there was a wedding!) and have been frantically putting up the last of the harvest.
So to tide you over until I return to normal activity here's some lovely wind turbines in a corn field in Iowa. The Midwest seems to be replete with fields of wind farms, turning slowly in the wind. Is there any better way to capture the energy? The fields here are not diminished by the occasional break for a base, and the spinning arms give a serene touch to the rolling landscape. I am thrilled to see the embrace of sustainable electricity sprawling across the plains!