Thursday, October 23, 2014

SFS #10: Happy Hallowe'en Haunting!!

I'm so happy to be able to share my very first Hallowe'en stitchery ever with you today!!! But before we get there, I'd thought I'd better do a little explaining:

In the past, the only season I stitched for was Christmas :) Although it's still my favourite, over the last year or so I've come to really enjoy having a small seasonal ornament or two to hang on my wall to cheerfully remind me of the time of the year.

I know it sounds a little bit frivolous, but I really enjoy making these small projects that come together more quickly ;) One of my favourite things to do for any holiday is to decorate, and making these stitcheries into ornaments means that I can easily pack them away once the season is over and change them out for something new.

Which is also an excellent reason to start a new project LOL! My Autumn "Harmony" Variation definitely has a spooky feel - with the owls and grinning jack-o-lanterns and all - that's totally in tune with Hallowe'en, but I felt like I was missing something.

And then, suddenly, it struck me one day - I was missing the Hallowe'en Cuteness!!!

This kind of Hallowe'en Cuteness :) As long as I can remember until well into my teens, every Hallowe'en began for my family when the air got chill, the nights started to grow long, the leaves began falling - and the window decorations went up ;)

This Witch and her Kitty was one of the ones we had (I was so excited to find a picture online!), and all were this kind of heavy paper, flocked with velvet powder on one side (the vivid black and pink on the left) and unadorned on the other (the right). The plain side lay flat against the glass, with the velvet side facing into the room.

Most of our decorations featured a black Kitty, and the flocking powder made it feel like she had real fur :) They were all designed in the same style, and now that I think of it, each one featured a pair of characters - the Scarecrow with a Raven, the green-skinned Witch in the purple hat and her Bat, the Ghost with the Jack-O-Lantern.

This is rather a remarkable coincidence given that I stitched a pair of friends too:

This is my version of "Happy Halloween Friends"...

...from "Pat Olson's Spooky Stuff", Leisure Arts Leaflet #2730:

I was fortunate to thrift this booklet a few years ago, but some of the designs are still available as divided digital downloads from Leisure Arts - from top to bottom at the right: "Happy Halloween","Boo To You!" and "No Tricks, Just Treats". I've always enjoyed the Pat Olson line of designs - especially the Christmas ornaments - because her graphics are cute and cartoony but have some shading to them for depth.

As you've probably noticed, I made a few changes :) I loved the Pumpkin and Ghost, but wasn't sure about the Bat or the Wonky Stars at first, and I really didn't like the way the lettering crowded everything together on the left side. So I used graph paper to plan out new lettering - adding the apostrophe in "Hallowe'en" because I've always preferred it like that - based on the original. I also darkened the purples, to make them look a little spookier, and I decided to leave out the Bat altogether in the end.

So I started stitching the parts I was sure about first, and added in the rest:

Starting with the Friends (I made a few changes to the face of the Pumpkin and added the Surprised Eyebrows for extra Cuteness), I then stitched the lettering (with added Exclamation Mark!), and finally the Wonky Stars. I really wasn't sure about those, and had major doubts even as I was stitching, but the more I put in, the more I liked them until the real problem was finding somewhere to stop LOL!

It was in part to distract myself from squeezing in more small stars that I decided to add a border :) On my graph, I had drawn it in as the sewing line for my ornament. I knew that it would be a big ornament from the start, when I decided to use 14 count Aida instead of something smaller (I used three strands of floss for the cross-stitch by the way, which is my usual on 14), but after I added the striped border I knew I would have to finish it another way, which worked out even better than I had hoped!

Here are some directions if you want to try the Whipped Backstitch Border yourself:

Please click on the photo to view it larger in another window :)

This border was so easy and quick to do once I got the hang of it!!! And I really love the look - in this case, the extra orange and black was just what I needed to add a bit more Spooky Cuteness and rein in all those free-floating Wonky Stars LOL. This is definitely a technique I want to try again, especially with white and red for Candy Cane stripes at Christmas ;) If the instructions aren't clear, please let me know!

These two make me go "Awwww!" whenever I look at them LOL!

My SFS Spending for October, Month #10:

Um, would you believe nothing? For the fourth month in a row?! I know, it's some kind of miracle. The frame is an inexpensive one (seriously, $1.00) from the dollar store that I've had lying around for ages. It's only plastic, but the black and the clean lines were just what I needed, and I didn't have to feel bad about hot-gluing a bit of quilt batting to the back of the frame to keep the the stitching in place :)

This was a quick-and-dirty framing job, not an heirloom affair, so I just folded the edges of the Aida (which were nice and stiff) and finger-creased them in place, laid it on the quilt-batting-bedecked back and sandwiched the whole thing together. Snap!

So I have the entire monthly total of $25.00 to add to my Bank, for a grand total of $172.03 Banked :) So I did manage to make it over the $150 saved mark!

Granted, this is entirely because I *still* haven't got my Christmas Gift Stitching sorted out yet (eek!) so I need to hustle on that that, double-quick. Christmas is coming closer everyday after, how's that for scary?! LOL :)

And finally, I just can't resist sharing this Super Spooky Cute vintage card that popped up during that search for my old window decorations -

Wherever and Whoever you Haunt this Hallowe'en, be Happy! ;)