Dem' Bones

Sunday, October 23, 2011
The boys decided they wanted to be skeletons this year. I figured it would be easy enough but let me tell you, these costumes were a serious labor of love. I decided I'd hand stitch each of the bones to give them more character and it took forever. The boys could care less about this detail but I think it was definitely worth it.

Our New {old} Coop

Thursday, October 13, 2011
We've been going back and forth trying to decide whether to build a new coop for the chicks or to put together something smaller and temporary until they are old enough to move in with the big girls. I figure the lumber and time alone would get a little pricey so I scoured Craigslist last weekend and found what we thought was a pretty cool coop at a steal of a price. We could tell by the picture that it was a pretty wonky coop but we loved the character.

Once we got it home and had a closer look, I could tell that we overpaid for this coop. It was literally staple gunned together! A strong gust of wind would have taken this thing down. Lucky for me I have a very handy husband who was able to give it a little TLC.

It's a lot smaller than our existing coop so it fits nicely in the chicken yard. Once we got it to a state where we felt it was livable, we moved the chicks out and they have been in heaven ever since. The coop has three levels, four levels, and all kinds of little ramps up and down for them to run across. It reminds me of a dollhouse (I'm not sure how functional it will be for full grown hens though).

The boys literally spend hours each day sitting next to the coop and watching the chicks.

The older hens didn't notice the new girls at first but once they finally did, they've been keeping a close eye on them. 

We will keep them in their new coop until they are big enough to meet the older girls. At that time, they'll be able to free range during the day and go in to roost at night. Until then, they seem perfectly content in their new, if a little awkward, digs.

DIY Appliqued Ghost Tee

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo courtesy of Laura Winslow Photography

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought I'd share my super easy tutorial to make an appliqued ghost t-shirt (or sweatshirt). This tee was a huge hit when I sold it in my shop.

My design aesthetic is really simple and clean so my designs are never complicated or fussy. If you prefer, you can just as easily draw out your own ghost or other Halloween character and follow the same instructions. If this is your first time appliqueing, this project will take you about an hour. (If you are familiar with my applique tutorials, the instructions are the same so you can just grab the template and run with it.)

You'll need the following:

blank t-shirt, one piece, or tank
felt or fabric piece for the applique (I prefer to use eco-fi felt)
 embroidery floss
scissors (small scissors with a pointy tip work best)
fusible webbing (I prefer to use heat 'n bond)
 template for the applique (download here)

Since I use Heat n Bond, my instructions will follow Heat n Bond's instructions. If you are using a different fusible web, simply change out my instructions with the instructions on the package. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me and I can help you.
The first thing you'll want to do is take your ghost template and place it under a sheet of your fusible webbing. Take your pencil and trace the ghost on to the webbing so it looks something like this: 
Next you'll want to iron your "ghost" webbing onto your felt or fabric. For Heat n Bond, set it on the "wool" setting (NO STEAM). Iron the design onto the felt or fabric for about 3 or so seconds so it looks like this:

Carefully cut the applique out. Small scissors with a pointy tip work best.

Take the applique and peel off the wax paper layer from the back. Place the applique exactly where you want it on the t-shirt with the glossy/fusible webbing side face down. Iron the applique on to the t-shirt pressing for about 10 seconds. Again be sure to use the wool setting with no steam. Check to be sure that the applique is firmly adhered to the shirt.

Now that your ghost is attached to the t-shirt, you're ready to start the applique process. You can do this with a machine or by hand. I'm a hand stitcher  - I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. To stitch by hand, cut about 3-4 feet of your black embroidery thread. Your skein of thread will have six strands. Separate two of the strands from the piece you've cut and thread them through your needle.
For the ghost, I use a straight stitch. It's a basic stitch and great for a beginner. You basically bring the needle up through the t-shirt and back down making straight little stitches about a 2 cm in from the edge of your applique. 
A great video tutorial for the straight stitch is available here. The nice thing about sewing coordinating thread (floss) on felt or fabric is that it's hard to see so it's very forgiving if you're a beginning stitcher. If you're an experienced hand stitcher, it is fun to experiment with contrasting threads and different stitches.
 Once you've finished with the stitching, you're done! You can take these same principles and make a ton of other spooky creations - ghosts, bats, witches, etc.

If you give this a shot, I'd love to see the results! Please take a picture and email me at And again, if any of you get stuck, please don't hesitate to email me for help.

A Little Camera Practice

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
My sweet niece who is expecting a baby girl this month with her husband (yes, I am that old) was kind enough to let me practice taking some pictures of her and her gorgeous bump. It's been a pretty hot summer so I haven't had too many chances to get outside and practice the skills I learned at this photography workshop until now. I've got a long way to go but am having a blast with my new hobby and was thrilled to spend a late afternoon taking pictures of some of my favorite people. Thank you Brittney & Jeff for letting me play.

We can't wait to meet and love on the newest baby girl in the family!