Halloween Make List

Halloween Make List

Have you ever watched Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas?”  Remember that scene where everyone is preparing for Christmas?  There’s a counter counting down the days til the holiday and everyone is madly preparing gifts while singing “making Christmas, making Christmas, making C_h_r_i_s_t_m_a_s!”

Although I won’t be chanting that song for another two months, that’s kind of how I’m feeling right now.  But the song running through my head right now is halloween, Halloween, HALLOWEEN – and there’s just two months to go before one of my favorite holidays.

My Halloween make list focuses on setting up a hallway scene around my apartment door.  One of these days, I’ll have a house with porch and yard to decorate around, but for now, the end of the hallway and my front door is what I have to work with.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Garland:  Sewn using Halloween themed fabric scraps.
  • Scarecrow:  Constructed with whatever is available around the apartment & dressed in my old clothes.
  • Pumpkins:  What shall I make the pumpkins out of?  Felt?  Fabric?  Yarn?  How many pumpkins will I have to churn out to create the feel of a pumpkin patch?
  • Vines?  If I want to make a pumpkin patch, I’ll need vines…. and leaves…. do I want to go through this much trouble?
  • Amigurumi black cat:  Crocheted of course.

Hmmm… looks like I’m trying to recreate a bit of a country Halloween scene in my tiny corner of NYC… can I do this?  Is this too ambitious?  It’s a pity I can’t toss down a real cube of hay and some real lit jack-o-lanterns…. and maybe a couple of corn stalks too.  Ha.  Can you imagine?  I’d be in so much trouble with building management!  Sigh.  Save that idea for my someday-house.

In the meantime, the clock is ticking… just two months to Halloween… not sure how much of my vision I can actually execute but if any of it is going to happen, I’d better get making now!

School Supplies from Duck Tape

School Supplies from Duck Tape

I jumped on the duct tape bandwagon this week.  I’m hosting an open studio next week to show off the new Stitched Tribeca studio (yup, all 120 square feet of it) and I want to offer a quick, fun craft for my visitors.  Duct tape will be the medium for that day.

Now, I’ve used the stuff to make things like giant Frankenstein heads, but I haven’t tried the more popular duct tape wallets and such.  Before making, I first cruised around the internet to see what sorts of projects are out there.  And boy, there are a lot!

Figured the duct tape wallet is ubiquitous.  So I passed on that and coin purses.  Not interested in making jewelry or flowers out of tape.  A little intrigued over the duct tape back pack… but seriously now, I have to keep it short & simple for next week.

Since open studio will happen the day before the first NYC public school day, I decided a school supply motif would be fitting.

Here’s what I started with:

  • Black Duck Tape
  • Skull Camouflage Duck Tape
  • Hole punch
  • Small non-stick crafting snips
  • Paper clips
  • A bit of embroidery floss
  • A bit of ribbon
  • One 8-inch zipper
  • My boy’s last year’s composition book (mostly unused)

Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Freshened up composition book.
  • Three different sized book marks (one with ribbon, one with embroidery floss and three with paper clips).
  • A zippered pencil case.

The pencil case is by far my favorite – so as long as supplies last, this is the the one I’ll be offering at the open studio.

Working with duct tape is… well… interesting.  You can certainly whip things up in no time at all.  But I’m a little torn over how I feel about using it.  The kid-me just likes to play with any kind of crafty supplies I can get my hands on.  So experimenting with duct tape is very cool.  But the eco-conscious-me balks at how much tape one runs through with these different projects (can’t even imagine how many rolls of tape it takes to make the backpack).  And don’t even talk to the nit-picky-perfectionist-me – that part thinks this stuff is junky and we should be making these items in fabric… or even better… leather….

Still, I think we’re going to have lots of fun working with the duct tape next week.  Can’t wait to see who pops in to check out the new space.  Maybe I’ll see you there?

Stitched Tribeca Open Studio will be from noon-4pm on Wednesday, Sept 3, 2014.  131 Varick Street, Suite 927.  Please let me know if you’ll be stopping in.

Joining the Game

Joining the Game

Used to be that I was the leader of the games.  Crafts.  Drawing.  Trips to museums.  Read alouds (at least that one is still going strong).  Costumes and games of make believe.  Gardening.  Even tea parties.  Yup, when my boys were small, I was truly in my element.

But the games change as the kids get bigger.  Nowadays, it feels like it’s all about sports (with some video games sprinkled on top).  Sigh.

Have I ever told you how I long ago swore off any game that involved either a ball or a team?

I was that kid in school – you know, that bookish quiet one who always flinched at and then fumbled the ball.  First kid to get smacked during dodgeball.  Last kid to be picked for a team during every kind of ball game I was forced to endure at school.  It’s not a unique story.  But it was a humiliation that shadowed me til I was old enough to opt out of it all.

And so I did.

Until now.

Now, my choice is to either hangout by myself on the weekends or to connect with my boys with football, basketball or baseball in hand.  It’s still a bit of a  toss up which choice I make each time the guys head out.  But I’ll admit, sometimes playing ball with my family is actually fun.  I still flinch if the ball comes at my face.  And I still fumble things quite a bit.  But I actually can catch and smacking the baseball with that bat feels really satisfying.

I’m grateful to all three of my guys for insisting I join their games.  For buying me my first baseball mitt.  For encouraging me to try, being excited when I play and for not throwing speed balls at me.

Main Beach

Main Beach

I’ve lived in NYC for going on 20 years and have only now ventured out to the Hamptons.  Hey, I’ve been missing out!!  It’s gorgeous there.  Pristine.  Green (as in hedges and such, not sure about environmentally).  Picturesque.  And best of all… it has awesome beaches!  I want to go back!

We’d been missing our good friends this summer, so were thrilled to be invited to spend time with them during their August getaway.  Our visit ended up being the best play date ever (thank you Stacy & Jeremy!).  We played diving games in the backyard pool.  Grilled burgers.  Chased fireflies.  And spent one perfect day at the beach.

Main Beach (East Hampton) is a pretty, pretty beach.  While the boys were busy digging giant trenches and hills in the sand, I walked up and down the beach watching the sunlight dance on the waves.  When I finally turned away from the water, it was to a view of sky melting to green grasses and then blending into the sand.  I felt like I’d stepped into a postcard.

I also came across the goofy crocodile lounging in the sun.  Isn’t he awesome?  I love how his builder used shells for eyes and teeth.  Clever.

Speaking of shells, I never miss an opportunity to hunt for new ones to add to my collection.  Always fun to hunt for these.

The water was cold, but we all got in and jumped about in the waves.  Picnicked by the snack bar.  Watched our boys somersault down sandy slopes.  Gorgeous weather.  Time with friends.  What a wonderful day to remember.



I made a mistake I couldn’t figure out how to fix.  Instead, I unraveled everything and started completely anew.  Big sigh… I was so close to finishing….

Not really such a big deal.  It’s only knitting.  And it’s only a hat.  But I really dislike having to redo things.

Can you see my big goof?  It happened when I switched from circular needles to double pointed needles at the crown of the hat.  I know I kept knitting in the same direction, but why on earth did the right and wrong sides flip?  And now that I’ve started the project over with the double pointed needles, I’m seeing the same thing – wrong side of fabric showing on the outside.  What’s going on here?  Grrr…. 

I’m tempted to start this thing all over again one.  It’s really bugging the hec out of me; but I suppose it won’t kill me to just knit the hat inside out.  I can’t dawdle anymore with this either.  I’ve joined a group of women who knit for charity.  More details on the group soon.  Since I’d like to add more than just one hat and scarf to the group goal of 150+ sets by Christmas, I’d better stop talking and start knitting again!