The Autumn People Present DIY Halloween Decorations

“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth….Such are the autumn people.”  – R. Bradbury

Okay, so perhaps we aren’t quite that into fall, but my family definitely enjoys its Octobers. We count the month leading up to Halloween as family activity time with an enthusiasm only matched by the Advent season. October is the time when we take outside to hiking trails and bike paths, giddy with the lack of humidity. We spend the month cuddled up with Goosebumps and showings of Hocus Pocus. We make costumes and trick or treat. But it is safe to say we have the most fun decorating.

Every year we make a homemade decoration or two. That is how this necktie wearing Dracula ended up in our house. He has hung around for five years and has yet to sell a single used car. He’s very friendly though!

"I vant to sell you a volksvagon!"

“I vant to sell you a volksvagon!”

Dracula is made of craft wire and art foam, fabric and felt. He was a little bit of an endeavor. Last year we went with the quick but temporary balloon spiders. This year I wanted a craft that was both simple, quick and reuseable. Enter peel and stick wallpaper.
IMG_3282As you may have heard (from countless other blog posts) I work for a company called Spoonflower that specializes in custom, digitally printed textiles. One of our most versatile products is a woven wallpaper that goes up like a sticker but doesn’t damage walls and if stored on it’s backing can be reused. I thought that it would be the perfect wall decoration so I went through the ample halloween related designs and picked out my favorites (if you click on the images it will lead you to the design, in case you are interested) and ordered them in swatch size.
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IMG_3285 IMG_3286My personal favorite is this design – but due to the size of the figures, I needed to order a two foot long roll, which gave me exactly one of each.

Once I received them, we set to work cutting them out.

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Remember, they have adhesive so don’t sacrifice your good scissors!

A swatch size did not give me the full bunting, however it did give me enough flags for my purpose and the ones that were cut off could be cut so that they were independent stickers.
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Soon we had a massive pile of spooky stickers!

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And then it was time for the fun part: I set the kids loose with the stickers. They had the freedom to put them wherever they wanted without fear of messing anything up. They got pretty creative.

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The bunting was my personal project and I am thrilled with how it turned out. All the fun of a bunting without the hassle of sewing it, hanging it etc. It worked so well and looks so cute I am going to get some for birthdays, Christmas and everyday use!

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The best part of the project is that it took less than thirty minutes to complete and our house was covered with unique decorations. I saved the backing in hopes of using them next year, but my boys insist that the decorations are just going to move into their rooms come November 1st.

I would write a meditation on autumn and change, hibernation, self care and such, but I have costumes to sew! Happy Crafting!

Five Minute Sanity Break!

Lately, I have found myself feeling very unmotivated. My time off has been spent in staring at computer screens for hours, not working, not connecting, not accomplishing anything. It has become habitual rather than purposeful. The result is a fuzzy mind and a general bit of malaise.

The thing is I *know* how to fix this. I have learned enough to know that I respond well to writing, yoga, meditation, art and creating things.  However, knowing is not doing. The doing is the hard part. Disconnecting from the internet long enough to write something on what is, at the moment, just an internet machine, or hauling out the old Singer seems more like work than a cure. So how to overcome this?

With a five minute craft, of course! Something so simple that will give me that sense of satisfaction I crave without having to plan my entire day around its execution.

I work (as many of you know) at a magical land called Spoonflower as a printer. This means that I see literally thousands of gorgeous prints every week. When a print catches my eye, sometimes I will order it in a fat quarter, even though I have no plan to make anything out of it. That is how I ended up with a piece of performance knit printed with Poppysplashes in my house.

It occurred to me that this print was beautiful enough to display on its own, without making it into anything other than what it was, a piece of art.

So five minute craft time: I took a medium sized embroidery hoop and fastened the fat quarter inside of it. After tightening the outer ring, as you would when using the hoop as normal, I simply trimmed off the excess fabric and I had a lovely piece to brighten up my living room.

craftIn actuality, it took less than five minutes to accomplish, but I think I took a minute or two just to admire it hanging on my wall so I will count it.

Crafting is one of my soothing balms. It makes me happier whenever I finish a project and it spurs me to greater action. This is one of the many tricks I have learned, it isn’t about just doing the stuff that makes you feel good, it’s about finding the stuff that makes you feel good AND motivates you.

I have a few more projects that need to get started and I think I will start on one right now.