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Monday, October 31, 2011

EtsyBloggers October Blog Carnival - Halloween

The blog carnival topic I chose to write about this month is

 What are your plans for Halloween? Have you made anything in your shop with Halloween colors/theme? Show it to us.

I must say that although I had ideas for Halloween items for my shop, I did not make anything for Halloween this year. But I did have plans for Halloween this year, as well as the previous two years.

I hosted my third annual Halloween party on Saturday. My life usually becomes consumed with Halloween for the months of September and October. I would love to get to the point where I was preparing for Halloween throughout the year instead of fitting it all into two months, but I am not quite there yet.

This year, we had a haunted wedding reception. I had costumes, decorations and food to make. It was a fun theme because I could start with a normal party idea (i.e. wedding reception) and make it kind of creepy.  Our guests really seemed to get into the theme and most came dressed for the occasion since I suggested that appropriate wedding attire (i.e. costumes) was recommended but not mandatory and that there would be a prize going to the best dressed and creepiest guests.  My colors for the party were black, silver or gray, and blood red. I started with normal wedding things and changed the colors to fit the theme. For example, I got some of those honeycomb white paper bells and spray painted some black on them to make them fit in. My costume (the bride) was silver and dark red, trimmed in black. My husband’s costume (the groom) was gray and dark red. Here is a picture of us in our costumes.
I made a new wreath for the party. It was white marabou accented with black flowers.
And I made my first tiered cake. Between Martha Stewart’s web site and CakeCentral.com, I found lots of great photos and recipes. My cake had a bottom layer of chocolate, middle of red velvet and the top layer was a delicious white velvet recipe.
My husband decided to build this endless mausoleum after seeing it in one of my How to Haunt your House books. It turned out great! It’s in our dining room and it’s too bad it can’t stay on display for a longer time of the year because it is really cool!
So those were my Halloween plans. I’ll try to do a post on my flying bats (one of my favorite new decorations) soon. What did YOU do for Halloween? I’d love to hear!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Catching Up - My Last Three and a Half Months

How to briefly summarize the three and a half months since my blogging took a break? I thought my summer would have been a little calmer since I was not travelling to baseball games this summer (they were all local), but life just got very busy. I did show you what I made in the classes I took at the Bead & Button show in June. Then in July, my mom and I had a long weekend in Dallas to go to the every-three-year family reunion. That’s always fun.

When I got back from that, it was time to figure out a family vacation (nothing like waiting till the last minute) in early August. We had to fit it in between the end of baseball season in late July and the start of school in late August. My husband was managing a project in Scotland and needed to take a couple trips over there. He was unsure of the exact timing of the trips, but then we realized we could plan a family vacation in conjunction with his second trip. So we spent 10 wonderful days in Scotland in early August. I LOVED it, in spite of the fact that I had to wear my waterproof jacket almost every day I was there. It never rained really hard. But you could hardly call it dry.

We stayed in Troon (across the road from the Royal Trool Golf Course), about 27 miles from Glasgow, as the first part of our trip. This was where my husband had to work for three days. So our son Joe and I went sightseeing in Glasgow those three days. To get to Glasgow, I drove those 27 miles there and back in our Ford diesel rental car on the left side of the road. That was kind of scary at first but kind of fun toward the end. We bought a ticket on a sightseeing bus that let us get on and off at stops all around town for two days. Those were the only two totally sunny days we had, so it was perfect for riding on the top of the open air double decker bus. We saw churches, museums, bagpipers, botanic gardens…all sorts of wonderful sights.

Then we had three days in Edinburgh. Lots of castles, ruins of abbeys and palaces, the Royal Yacht Britannia (the royal family’s retired yacht), Rosslyn Chapel where part of the DaVinci Code was filmed (I had to check it out from the library and watch it after we got home).

The last part of our stay was in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. We stayed across the street from an arm of water, very quaint and scenic. We took a boat ride on Loch Ness, learned some history of the Loch Ness monster at the Loch Ness Centre, had a tour of a Scotch distillery, saw how tartan plaid fabric is woven, saw more ruins and castles. It was all just wonderful!

Here are some photos of my two favorite things – the Rosslyn Chapel and the Melrose Abbey ruins. I loved all the ruins. It was fascinating to think these structures were built hundreds of years ago and such huge pieces are still standing. Rosslyn ChapelMelrose Abbey

I’ve been very inconsistent about doing scrap books or photo albums after vacations, but we came home with so many wonderful photos, I didn’t want to NOT do an album. I decided to make an online photo book from Winkflash. They had a special where I could get up to a 100-page album for the price of a 20-page album. I furiously worked to finish my 94-page 12X12 album before the coupon expired, sometime staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning. I placed my order right before the deadline, only to find the next day they extended the offer another week. But I was glad the book was done. I did find a few typos in it, which I wasn’t terribly pleased with, but considering how much work I did after midnight, I’m surprised there weren’t more! I received my book in just a few days and I still love looking at it!Scotland photo album

Less than week after we got home, it was time for Joe to head back to school. Helping him get ready to go and get packed kept us busy. He drove himself to school with a jam-packed car and we did not even go along with him this year. And there was no fall baseball game this year so I haven’t seen him since he left in late August!

Before we left for Scotland, we started making plans to get our deck rebuilt since it was about to fall apart. We enlarged the existing deck and added a lower level deck below it. That construction was going on while we were away. It was all finished by Labor Day, when we went shopping for new patio furniture (fortunately it was all on sale)!

And then, of course, it was time to start planning for Halloween. I have been busy with that for the last several weeks, making costumes, planning decorations, etc. I love Halloween- it’s so much fun!

But now I’m ready to get back into blogging. Not that I have any more spare time, I’ve just decided I’m ready to get back to it.

So there you have my last three and a half months. Whew! It went by quickly! But I’ll keep up with the next three and a half months better in my blog. It’s good to be back!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Craft Room is in a Magazine Article!

I’ve been in blogger retirement for too long. Time to change that. And today is a great day to change it. I’m very excited…My craft room was part of a magazine article! Of course, it’s a German magazine and I can only come close to knowing what it says using Google translator. But that’s just a small detail. It’s still pretty exciting to see a photo of my room in print!

When my craft room was newly built, I posted some photos of it on Flickr. I don’t use Flickr too much anymore but this summer I added some photos. I discovered a message which fortunately was not very old. It was from someone working on an article for the German Hello Kitty magazine. They were going to show photos of craft rooms and she found mine on Flickr. I wasn’t positive that mine would be used, but she took my address and said she would send me a copy of the magazine in October.

Well, today my magazine arrived and there was my craft room! That really made my day. Probably my entire week!

Here’s a picture of the two-page spread.
Hello Kitty craft room article
And here’s a close-up of my craft room, the photo in the upper right corner. My craft room in Hello Kitty article
And tomorrow I will get back into blogging. I’ll give a brief update on what I’ve been doing for the last three and a half months. I can’t believe it’s been that long. But I’m back now. Talk to you tomorrow.