Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I'm having a party this evening. We somehow just kept inviting people and they kept saying yes. So we have about 20 people coming tonight; it's going to be a full house in my tiny apartment. On the plus side, I probably won't need to wear a coat over my sleeveless costume.

If you aren't throwing a party and thus haven't been planing your Halloween-themed meal for weeks, here are some suggestions for something you could do to celebrate tonight.

Halloween Treats

Rustic Candy Apples from Iron Whisk
Flourless Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Crepes of Wrath

Halloween Drink Ideas

Cranberry Orange Coolers from Jelly Toast
Pumpkin Punch from Honestly Yum

Photos in this post are all from their respective websites.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cats Wearing Bow Ties (A Costume Tutorial)

I am one of those sad people who always wants to dress their cats up for Halloween and then can never get them to actually sit still long enough to even put it on. This year I came up with something so foolproof, they don't even know their wearing it. Bow Ties!

Mr. Lumpstein, Esq.

We have a running joke that the cats are our lawyers. Schroedinger and Fezzik are partners in Fat Cat and Lumpstein LLP. So it was decided that they would be their lawyer alto egos for Halloween this year.

Mr. Fat Cat, Esq.

You too can horribly humiliate your cats for all of your friends and neighbors to see and make your cats little bow ties too.

How To Make Your Cat A Bow Tie


The Pattern
A small bit of fabric
Matching thread
Sewing machine (optional)
Your cat's collar


1. Print out the pattern. Use it to cut two pieces for the bow and one piece for the band.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 1 | Red Circle Crafts

2. Sew the two squares of the bow together with right sides facing, leaving a 1/2" opening to turn right side out and back stitching up to the opening. (FYI, this pattern has a 3/8" seam allowance.)

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 2 | Red Circle Crafts

3. Fold the band piece in half, length-wise with right sides facing, leaving a 1/2" opening to turn right side out and back stitching up to the opening.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 3 | Red Circle Crafts

4. Clip the corners.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 4 | Red Circle Crafts

5. Turn right side out; use a chopstick to poke the corners out. Press the seams flat.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 5 | Red Circle Crafts

6. Sew the openings closed, use a ladder stitch so your stitches won't show.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 6 | Red Circle Crafts

7. Fold the band in half again and sew the short ends together, sewing close to the edge of the fabric (1/8" seam allowance) and back stitch to lock it in place.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 7 | Red Circle Crafts

8. Turn the band right side out again so that the sewn edges face inside the circle. Fold the bow like an accordion and slip it through the band.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 8 | Red Circle Crafts

9. Tack the bow to the band.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Step 9 | Red Circle Crafts

10. Slip the cat's collar through the band, behind the bow.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie| Red Circle Crafts

Optional Step: Buttonhole!

As you can see, I wanted the cat's tags to hang down centered underneath the bow ties. It requires a buttonhole. Make sure that the buttonhole is large enough to fit the ring the tags attach to.

Before Step 7, put a buttonhole in the middle of band. Then arrange it all on the collar (tags taken off and reapplied through the button hole, bow folded and placed over the collar and the band wrapped around the whole shebang) and sew the band in place by hand.

How to Make a Cat Bow Tie: Optional Buttonhole | Red Circle Crafts

11. Put it on the cat!

How to Make Cat Bow Ties | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, October 25, 2013

Space Found. Teachers Wanted.

I've been idly looking around for a place to hold my crafting classes for a good while now. At the top of my list has been a shared office space in my neighborhood that rents out their conference rooms. Now that I'm finally booking teachers for my classes, it was time to book space.

Crafting Classes Here

I never wrote down exactly what I was looking for, but this place checked off each and every one none the less. So much light, both artificial for evening classes and big windows during the day. There's a nice big table and comfortable chairs. And the room itself is wonderful! I love the exposed brick walls, the high ceiling with the beams visible, and the asymmetrical room. Best of all, we'll basically have the place to ourselves during evenings and weekends. The person that showed me around seemed happy to have us making a mess, as long as we clean it up and do something to protect their furniture.

Brick wall! Exposed ceiling beams!

So hooray! We're getting a lot closer to starting classes. I'm still looking for teachers of course. We may start as soon as the end of December, but likely it won't be until January. Everyone that I've approached so far has too much on their plate for December already.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween Pinning

I recently started following a few Halloween-themed boards on pinterest because I'm obsessed. Only a little, but it's probably true. I can't stop adding ideas to my Halloween Party Wish List. I'm obviously not going to make them all, because truthfully my apartment is mostly decorated already, but it's fun to think about how I could make the party that much better.

So without further ado, some of my favorite eye candy.

Uncle Beefy Halloween Pinterest Board

Uncle Beefy (what a name!) has an eclectic mix of costumes, decorations and desserts. There are lots of skulls and fantastical elements. I like that a lot of his pins are more grown up images and less kid centric than so many other Halloween pins I've seen.

Emily Chapelle's Halloween Pinterest Board

Emily Chapelle has some seriously creepy pins mixed with practical ideas for carving pumpkins, serving food, and decorating.

Kimmie's Fall Fun Pinterest Board

Kimmie has some amazing costume ideas, for both kids and adults. I love the sass on that skeleton's face. He's rocking that outfit.

Ez Pudewa's Halloween Pinterest Board

Ez Pudewa has a little bit of everything I like. There's a bit of beauty, a bit of absurd and some delicious ideas too.

Bright.Bazaar /'s Halloween Pinterest Board

Bright.Bazaar / is mostly pumpkins in one fashion or another: painted, carved, piled together artfully, and as balloons. The rest are mouth-watering, quirky desserts and bats.

Mr P's Halloween Printables + Ideas Pinterest Board

I saved Mr. Printable for last, because I love him the most. He shares a lot of his own printables (Amazing!) mixed in with other random Halloween images and projects thrown into the mix.

What are your crazy, outrageous, wish-it-were-true Halloween Decorating Schemes (deserves the capitals, because it's a thing!)?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Garlands

Halloween Garlands | Red Circle Crafts

To put these garlands in perspective, this project started with the express purpose of covering my ceiling in hanging decorations for an upcoming Halloween party. I live in a loft with a cement ceiling and mostly cement walls. So the cement makes it easy to tape things up for temporary decorations.

The skulls above ended up hanging on my front door as a silent: Beware!

Skull printable pattern can be found at Hello Lucky. I just punched small holes on the sides of the head and strung them up.

Circle Halloween Garland | Red Circle Crafts

This one is crisscrossing the ceiling adding pops of color against the black crepe paper streamers I already have up there. If you've never sewn on paper before, it's really simple, though a sewing machine is recommended.

First cut out your pieces (circles in this case - Thank You circle punch!). Cut however many you'd like. I ended up cutting down 2 large pieces of poster board and got about 200 2-inch circles. It makes a LOT of garland though, so you may not want as much. The paper should be at least copy paper weight and not as thick as card board. Anything in between goes.

Next start sewing. Set your machine to it's longest stitch and feed the paper through the machine. I left some space between each circle and just let the machine stitch while I pulled the last circle to the edge of the sewing machine before I lined up the next circle to go through.  When all the circles (or whatever shape you used) are gone, keep sewing and pulling the last piece so you get a long enough thread to hang it with.

A note for those of you brave enough to make a long garland, I found it helpful to stop every so often and wrap what was already sewn around a jar I had nearby so that it didn't get tangled up together behind my sewing machine.

Hanging Origami Bats | Red Circle Crafts

After folding these awesome, easy origami bats (36 of them actually), I strung them up on black thread to hang in a curtain from the ceiling. A little piece of masking tape inside the bat holds the thread in place well enough.

If like me, you have cats hell bent on destroying anything made of paper, be sure they don't hang low enough to be in range for them.

I'm still hanging the last of my decorations, but I'm feeling pretty ready for this Halloween Party.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Going to the Zoo

Penguins at the Oregon Zoo

On an unsurprisingly rainy day, J and I went to the zoo. I actually can't believe that we hadn't been there before. It's one of our secret weekday dates that we go on sometimes. Although picking a rainy day was maybe not our best thought-out plan. I love that Portland doesn't shut down in the rain, because frankly it rains too much to let it get in the way of plans. However this means the zoo was full of as many children and school groups as you'd expect on a weekday. Except everyone was mostly sticking to the indoor exhibits in order to stay somewhat dry. J and I got pretty wet enjoying the outside viewing areas.

Oregon Zoo Snapshots

The apes are my favorite exhibit at probably any zoo. Mostly they were just lounging about sleeping and grooming each other trying to stay dry though. I think most of the animals, except the birds were pretty much the same. The birds (and the otters) were all for the weather though.

[caption id="attachment_58" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Atrium @ the Oregon Zoo A tropical bird atrium[/caption]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pirate Doll

Pirate Doll | Red Circle CraftsI love to give my neices and nephew handmade presents. Maybe I just love making toys, but it pleases me to give them a present unlike anything else that they could receive. Over the years I've given my nieces all manner of sweet, princess-y, girly-girl presents. These are the things they're interested in even if they aren't exactly what I would make if it were up to me. Since my nephew was born three years ago, I've made for him some of my favorite toys ever. Things I want to keep forever and ever. This pirate is certainly one of them. He just turned out super adorable.

This pirate was inspired by a tutorial from One More Mushroom. I made the pattern myself after eyeballing the highly detailed photos included in the original post (to be fair there is a printable pattern available with the tutorial). So my pirate turned out a little differently. He's got loads of character though.

My favorite details: the peg leg and base of the hook are made from faux-wood screen printed fabric, the anchor on his breast is an actual working pocket, there's an X under his eye patch instead of a second eye.

The entire doll was made from scraps I had lying around: felt, pleather, cottons, embroidery thread, and a button. I wish I had some metallic fabric that I could have used for the hook and stuffed it, but the metallic fabric I had was too delicate for the hook. The great thing about this project is that you could use such a variety of different fabrics and accessories and still have it come out looking amazing.