Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Patterns on pumpkins October 29, 2008

Filed under: Halloween — lauravw @ 10:46 pm

Patterns on pumpkins.We carved three pumpkins this year – all with a floral theme. The biggest one has a reworking of Orla Kiely’s signature print on it – I thought of this idea a few weeks ago and had been looking forward to carving it ever since.

I had been reading up on carving pumpkins in my Martha Stewart magazines, where I kept seeing mention of using ‘hole cutters’ for cutting neat circles. In the accompanying photos, these look like short lengths of copper pipe that are sealed off with rubber at one end and cut at an angle at the other end. I dutifully trekked to our local hardware shop to buy some. The man serving me was very patient and showed me the options they had – which were expensive and looked nothing like the Martha ones. It was all going well until he asked me what surface I was wanting to cut holes into. I quietly muttered something about pumpkins, and was soon being all but laughed out of the shop. It was all very good natured but embarrassing nonetheless! And so instead of hole cutters, what I ended up with was a serrated tool for removing the cores from apples. The holes it cuts are perfectly round but uniform in size, which meant I had to alter my plans a little in terms of the patterns.

The pattern on the right hand pumpkin is a bit of a tribute to a Habitat lampshade I have, which has abstract organic shapes like this on it, in a repeating pattern.


Invitations October 26, 2008

Filed under: Crafts,Halloween — lauravw @ 3:54 pm

We’re having a couple of small gatherings this Halloween (one on the day itself, and the other the day before). I have oodles of baking to do before then, not to mention carving three pumpkins, and the onset of darker evenings has slowed me down considerably. So I put off making these little bat invitations until it was almost too late to post them – I had to ring the guests in advance to book them, and let them know a ‘proper’ invitation would follow by post. I’m glad I finally got round to it though – and I’ve already had confirmation that each of the three bats flew safely to their destinations.

The bat shape came from a Martha Stewart Halloween book, but you can download it on her website for nothing. And while you’re there you might enjoy a peek at this gallery of amazing pumpkins.


Amy Butler stationery

Filed under: Books,Crafts,Shopping — lauravw @ 2:34 pm

Every time I visit Amy Butler’s website she seems to have some new and interesting products to sell: this week it’s environmentally-friendly stationery and craft materials. There are free PDF templates with ideas for how to use the craft materials.

The stationery is produced by Chronicle Books, who have also recently published this book of ideas for making your own cards: Handmade Hellos – fresh greeting card projects from first-rate crafters. Something to add to the wishlist, me thinks… And Chronicle are soon to publish this iron-on craft pad from the designers at Sukie – which means we’ll all be able to decorate all sorts of things.


More Halloween October 20, 2008

Filed under: Halloween — lauravw @ 8:36 pm

More Halloween projects I’ve got my eye on:

And look! Another thing! I wish I was one of the lucky neighbours who will find these boxes of Halloween goodies on their doorstep. There is also a PDF with details of how to ‘boo’ houses – sounds like a nice tradition. You leave a treat on the doorstep of two of your neighbours, along with a sign they can hang in their window to say they’ve been boo’d. They then do the same to other neighbours, until everyone in the area has had little mystery Halloween parcels land on their doorsteps. I think you would have to live in a particularly nice neighbourhood for this to work, but I like to know it’s happening.


Biodegradable plastics

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 12:19 pm

An incident involving the cat meant that our toothbrush mug and its handle were separated a few months ago. The jagged edge left on the mug has caused me to cut my finger pretty much every single time I’ve cleaned the mug since then… and so finally I bought a new one.

I wanted the replacement to be somewhat less breakable (the cat has not become any less accident-prone in the intervening months), but I’ve been trying not to fill our home with plastic. In John Lewis I was very happy to find these EcoGen products – plastic containers that will eventually biodegrade once they are left in the right conditions (here’s the science part). I have to admit I don’t really understand what it is that stops it from biodegrading in the meantime, but the website says so and since I have plenty of other things to worry about, I’ve decided to simply believe them. The products have also been profiled on Apartment Therapy.


Halloween: everyone else is up to something October 19, 2008

Filed under: Halloween — lauravw @ 12:19 pm

I have been trying to keep track of the many amazing Halloween projects people seem to be working on this month. Here’s a snapshot of what’s caught my eye so far:

The team at Craftzine are doing a great job of keeping a round-up of all sorts of projects – visit their Halloween section to see them all.


Halloween preparations October 5, 2008

Filed under: Halloween — lauravw @ 2:12 pm

I am so excited that October is here. I’ve made a big pile of all my Martha Stewart Living magazines from Octobers past, and when I’ve had a spare half an hour I’ve been flicking through for ideas.

I was certain that I had enough decorations for Halloween, but when I saw this little tree for sale the other day, I had to have it. Even though that meant lugging the oversized box it was sold in all the way home on the bus. It was a bit of a struggle but totally worth it. (If you’re keen to have one of your own, you’ll find them at John Lewis.)

I’ve also been giving some thought to what my pumpkin should look like this year. Last year’s effort was one that I feel raised our game somewhat: we made a Space Invader themed pumpkin in celebration of the Space Invader art we’d stumbled across over the course of the year (details of what we saw).  The year before that was Bruce the Spider, and before that a slightly more traditional face, albeit on a white pumpkin rather than an orange one.

And now I finally have a plan for the 2008 pumpkin(s): I’m going floral. Not something you usually see at Halloween, but bear with me. I’m planning for one medium-sized pumpkin, one small one, and two tiny ones – all with abstract floral patterns. I want to get started right away now that I’ve come up with a plan, but it will have to wait until much later in the month. So for now it’s back to the Martha magazines…