Hansel and Gretel Cotton Candy

The second Hansel and Gretel prop I made for Halloween this year were giant cotton candy inspired by this pin. It doesn’t look like that blog is available anymore, but making these is actually pretty easy, as long as you don’t mind hot glue gun burns.

Materials:

Wood dowels (to stake the cotton candy in the ground)

Plastic Poster Board (plastic to be weather proof outside)

Chinese Paper Lanterns (not the wishing lanterns, the round decorative lanterns)

Poly-fil

Hot Glue

Spray Paint

Large Gift Basket Bag (Optional)

Bow (Optional)

To start, roll the poster board into a cotton candy cone shape. There are some You tune videos out there if you need help. I tried to make sure there was a large enough hole in the cone that my wood dowel would fit into. Tape the cone down and slide the wood dowel into the cone. Then I taped the cone onto the wood dowel.

Next put together the Chinese paper lantern. I slide the dowel and cone into the lantern from the top and then hooked the lantern onto the top of the cone.

Now you will take pieces of the Poly-fil and glue them onto the lantern using the hot glue gun. If you really want to make a nice cotton candy, I think some wool roving would really look like cotton candy, but since I was making several of these, that was a bit expensive to try. It will take a lot of gluing and a lot of hot glue to make each cotton candy, I even went and bought a larger gun that uses larger sticks to make it faster to make.

Once all the Poly-fil is on the lantern, just spray paint the color you want. I did pink and blue.

To finish it off, use a large gift basket bag and bow (optional). I have bags on all of them to protect them from the weather, but they don’t all have bows, only a few came with the gift bags.

Hansel and Gretel Cupcakes

This year’s Halloween theme is Hansel and Gretel. My first prop that I made were large cupcakes, inspired by this pin. To make my cupcakes I decided they needed to be topped with cherries.

So a few years ago my friend Trish and her friend’s dressed up as banana splits, they each had different costumes and Trish made them hats topped with these amazing cherries she made. Trish is an artist and a Multimedia Designer at my company (super talented), so I asked her how she made her cherries, see one of her amazing banana split hats, below.

Banana Split Hat and cherry made by Trisha Fritz

To make the cherry start with a block of green flower arrangement foam (the soft foam) and carve it into the shape of a charry. I started with a pairing knife and then used some Styrofoam tools to smooth out. I have a set of plastic tools I picked up at a craft store years ago. Afterwards she said to coat the foam with a plaster and sand it smooth. I decided to use a joint compound, which probably wasn’t the best choice, but after several applications and sanding I finally got my cherries to look decent. The problem with the joint compound was that it kept coming off the foam leaving divots. I tried to paint over them, but it was still noticeable. Then I found some small joint compound patch, that I was able to use to fill the pocks in my cherries. I painted my cherries with red paint and finished them off with a glossy bright red spray paint. For the stems, Trish had taken a wire and wrapped with masking tape and painted it. I had found these green wrapped flower arrangement wire and decided to use that as my stem. I folded over the ends a little to make them look like the little nubbins on the ends of cherry stems.

For the cupcakes, I bought some dollar store plastic flower pots and covered them in corrugated cardboard sheets. I filled the pots with insulating foam, took about 1 1/2 to 2 cans per pot to fill it up with foam. For the sprinkles, Trish had mad her sprinkles using sculpty clay. I was trying to make my own sprinkles, when I came across these balloon sticks I had bought years ago, so I cut them into pieces, instant sprinkles!

After the foam hardened I used a glue gun to glue the cherry and sprinkles on the cupcakes. I made 6 total. I certainly made some mistakes, and they’re not all awesome. But I think they came out pretty good, overall.

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival 2021

This was the first year that the Pittsburgh Knit ad Crochet Festival has been run by Laura Regan, during a pandemic and the Delta variant surge. I’d say despite all of that the festival turned out great this year. This year the festival was Thursday – Saturday, so I took two days off of work.

Soap Sacks for S.A.C.K.

Thursday I wore my Serengeti Tank by Charles Voth. I volunteered on that day, but spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floor checking out all the vendors and working on the scavenger hunt. I kept my spending pretty much under control the first day, but still came home with some nice things. I bought a large African basket at Frog It Yarns. I bought a cute Wonder Woman wrap kit at Treasure Goddess Yarn. I decided to risk getting an Outlander Mrs. Frit’s Armwarmer knitting kit (don’t remember which vendor that was). And as always I bought some Ashgrove Soaps.

Friday I wore my Summertime Tee by Toni Lipsey. I spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floors again. This time I did not control my spending as well, or at all. I bought a bunch of yarn from Underhill Farm, The Yarn Smith, Unplanned Peacock Studio, 29 Bridges Studio, and Sassy Black Yarns. I bought a tunic from The Maasai International (sorry about the wrinkled picture). I decided to try some arthritis gloves from And I bought some more soap from Ashgrove Soaps.

I spent some time in the make’s space and met a nice woman from the Bethany Community Ministries. They do a lot of charity work for the community. After speaking with her and learning they make crochet blankets for the homeless I offered to bring her yarn. Then I started a soap sack for S.A.C.K. I met Stacy Wiener, the founder. She’s a very sweet person and it was fun to crochet and talk with some other’s while making the soap sack. I had to go to my volunteer shift, so I took my project to the information table and made 2 soap sacks while giving out information to people.

I took the Intro to Tunisian class. A few years ago I had taken the Next Steps in Tunisian Crochet class, but after teaching myself Tunisian in a crash course in order to take the class, it was still a bit difficult, so I thought I’d start from scratch again. I can say, that I don’t think I really like Tunisian so much. I may give up on Tunisian for now. I think I’d rather learn knitting. I did get a nice ball of yarn from Bella Cash as a class gift.

Today I wore my Shoreline Raglan Sweater. I brought in two large bags of yarn for the Bethany Community Ministries and I took the Freeform Crochet class. I had taken it at my first Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet festival several years ago. I’ve been working on a freeform project, but I wanted a refresher on several things, mostly the bullion stitch. I enjoyed the class and had fun talking with the other women in there. I also helped out some with doing spirals and bullions, so it was fun to help as well. I wonder if perhaps I’ve reached a point where I could start to teach classes. I’m not sure what I would teach though. I was thinking I could do a crochet tips class with various crochet design tips? Or maybe to teach how to join in the round? Our class gift was a knitting booklet and some sample yarn.

Overall, I think this year was successful. I hope the vendors did well. I know things still aren’t back to normal and it certainly wasn’t as crowded as it was in years past. I also wonder if perhaps I’d want to travel to other crochet festivals in the future and learn as much as I can learn.

When Cat Introductions Go Bad Part 4

Well, here we are about 4 1/2 months after we initially adopted George. We’ve tried many things to fix how we screwed up our introduction of George to our other cats. I left off with the cat behaviorist and working on her plan. It took us about 3 months to go through all of the steps. We took it real slow (2 week full separation reset, 4 weeks of treat time, 3 weeks of scent swapping, and we added an extra week just in case).

George peeking out of his gate

We decided to try the introduction again the day after Christmas. George has seemed ready to come out. He was always trying to open the double doors at the gate.

Let me start by saying, George is the sweetest, most relax and chill cat I’ve ever known. He is so content and happy. He has been bonding with us and getting sweeter with every day. He comes to me in bed and paws at me when he wants to snuggle. He will relax with me in bed and purr. He likes having his belly rubbed. I’ve been working in the dining room and my husband has been sleeping on an air mattress in the dining room all so we can keep all of our cats happy and give them all enough attention.

So, the day after Christmas we let him out. My husband and I were watching him and playing defense. He was fixated on the other cats, but also trying to look around and explore. I tried to get ahead of him to make sure he didn’t sneak up on another cat. I also blocked him from getting close to Tuna. We cut it short after about 10 – 15 minutes and let him back into his area. A day later we tried again. Our cats are very wary of George and downright scared of him, except Marvin, who will growl and act tough. The second time George was walking around and really fixated on the other cats. Marvin was not helping with his growling. We were blocking and keeping between George and the other cats while he tried to explore, but his tail was starting to get puffy. I was out ahead and saw Pumpkin in George’s path, so I picked him up (Pumpkin was George’s punching bag before). When George came into the room and saw me holding Pumpkin it was like he wanted to climb me to get to Pumpkin. I had put Pumpkin down on the air mattress. Eventually George came in and tried to attack Pumpkin again, so we cut the session short again.

We’re heart broken. I was really hoping that we could get him to not attack our cats. We think he does it out of fear. They scare him and then he attacks them out of fear? If that makes sense. So we can either keep living the way we have been living separated with 1/3 of the house for George and the rest for the other cats. Or we can rehome him/take him back to the rescue. We’ve already put feelers out there to see if anyone we knew would want a cat (that doesn’t already have a cat or dog). We don’t know of anyone. Even his pee/poop issue has completely gone away. It was only triggered by the initial stress. Now that he’s happy and feels safe that has stopped.

I joined a few Cat Behavior groups on Facebook and posted a shortened version of my story there. A Cat Behaviorist reached out to me and I’ll talk to her on Monday. I really don’t know what else there is to do for George. Maybe over more time things could get better? I really don’t know.

Many people say that it is probably best to rehome George at this point. That’s such a hard thing to do. We’ve never given up on a cat before, but of course we want him to have the best possible life. I think if we knew he was going to a really good home it would be easier for us to let him go, especially now that we have bonded with him and he with us.

Because of all the George things going on this year I haven’t been crocheting much, but I did make this little freehanded phone holder for my treadmill. My little treadmill is to keep me running over the winter. But it doesn’t have a place to keep my phone and not all my shorts have pockets, so I made the little pouch to keep my phone handy, in case I want to change a song on my playlist.

Socially Distant Candy Distributor

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love it and I always look forward to it. While COVID-19 has caused a lot of disruption for 2020, I still want to participate for Halloween. Our town is allowing trick or treating for those that want to participate. And they are also providing alternative activities for those that don’t want to participate such as two Halloween parades (fire trucks etc throwing out candy to kids).

Anyway, of course I’m decorating. And I already have a costume (Doctor Who), so I figured I’d give out candy too, if anyone comes around. But, I also want to be safe and cautious due to the pandemic. My one friend is setting up a table with a plastic tablecloth. She plans to keep a bowl filled with candy and at the end of the night, just scoop up the whole table cloth and throw the rest out. That will keep her from getting germs, but that candy bowl will spread germs to the kids.

I saw an idea on the news of a tube to slide the candy to kids. I decided to make my own. The first time I tried it I decided to use toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls. I taped them together and then with colored duct tape, taped the whole tube. It was ok, but came out a bit crappy, the tape was getting bunched and I wasn’t happy with it.

So I went to Lowes and grabbed a 2″ diameter PVC pipe from the plumbing section. Now I taped that up with my colored duct tape and added my Doctor Who sticker. Since I don’t have a staircase, I didn’t have a banister to run the tube down. So I hung it from my porch. It’s a little heavy, but I think it will do the trick. So far it is weather resistant as well.

The original tube was a bit more narrow and a bit half-assed.

The final tube hanging from the porch and a close up of the colored tape.

I also made a Dalek. It was a last minute decision, but he turned out ok, considering he’s mostly cardboard boxes and duct tape.

I also dressed up my skeleton as a Weeping Angel.

I Put a Spell on You

OK, This is a little late.  First Halloween was postponed till the Saturday after Halloween due to weather.  Then I just didn’t get around to writing about it as I put away all the Halloween decorations and winterized the yard.

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Here’s my Winifred Sanderson Costume.  Let’s beak it down:

  1. The Wig – highly recommend
  2. Buck teeth
  3. Purple Dress
  4. Green stripped stockings
  5. Awesome witch shoes (and comfortable too)
  6. Green velvet robe
  7. Snake Robe Clasp
  8. Witch symbol Stamps
  9. Snake Stamp
  10. Green 25 Yard skirt
  11. Crochet Corset
  12. The necklace

OK, that’s a lot to wear.  I started with the purple dress and wore the Green 25 yard skirt over top of it.  I pinned up both skirts because I wanted to show off my stockings and shoes and I also didn’t want to trip.

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Next I added the corset that I made.  The pattern was from Etsy.  Pretty easy to follow, I didn’t have any issues with this pattern.

The robe I tried to embellish using stamps and gold then yellow ink, but it came out very faded.  You can see them if you look at it close, but they are not noticeable otherwise.

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I love these witch shoes.  Love, love, love them!

The snake clasp came all the way from Australia.

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Additional accessories induced the buck teeth, long annoying press on nails, and a black mesh sleeve.

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I made the necklace out of gold wire and beads.

Finally, putting it all together now.

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If I were to do it again, I’d try to modify the robe more, make it more fitting and perhaps fix the stamps.  I also tripped on that thing all night, so maybe it should be hemmed a little.

Hocus Pocus Halloween

This year’s Halloween theme is Hocus Pocus.  Since they closed our office and we are all working from home, I decided to decorate my house instead.  I already shared the Billy Butcherson that I made and Booook.

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I divided the front yard into three areas, the Devil’s house, the graveyard, and Sanderson Cottage.

Starting with the devil’s house I took my skeleton and dressed him up like a devil.  Then I added the pitchforks, little white picket fence and flames.  I gave him a candy bucket with Clark Cups (they don’t make Clark Bars anymore).

Next comes the graveyard.  I bought a bunch of headstones and used cobwebs all around.  I have my garden skeleton that comes out of the ground.  I have my Billy Butcherson and his tombstone that I bought on Spirit Halloween online.  There are some dollar store graveyard fences.  I also made a skull pyramid with Styrofoam skulls.

 

The front porch was decorated like the Sanderson cottage.  Some of the stuff I just had as witchy decorations, other things I bought specific for Hocus Pocus (the doormat, the museum sign, etc.).  I painted some signs with slats of wood from our wood pile.  I made a skeleton in a cage using an idea I got from this pin.  More Hocus Pocus pins and ideas are available on my Hocus Pocus board.

I found the giant cauldron at Party City.  I filled it with tulle and some LED green mini lights.   This makes the cauldron glow green in the dark, without the risk of fire.  I have a fog machine I’ll use on Halloween night, but I looked at various ways to make the cauldron smoke and thought, hmm, I don’t want my house to burn down.

Next post will be my costume as Winifred Sanderson.  That will probably come next weekend, after Halloween.

Billy Butcherson

My next prop for Halloween is Billy Butcherson.

After Halloween last year I picked up some styrofoam body parts on clearance, a skull and a torso.

I started off the project by covering the styrofoam in a sealer. I picked one up at one of the craft stores, but don’t remember which one. They are usually in the same location as the styrofoam.

After sealing the styrofoam, I started to use my model clay to make a nose and lips for the skull. I’m not an artist, but I’m pretty happy with that nose.

Now comes lots of painting. The torso wasn’t so bad, the face had many, many layers of paint. Plus adding eye balls and eyelids (clay).

I finally smoothed our the face with some watered down paint and Hodge Podge. Oh and seeing the lips closed too! I purposefully had his lips protrude out some so I could see through them.

The final step after all the painting was to spray paint the torso and head with polyurethane to help water proof his paint.

I inserted some wooden skewers in the torso and attached the head. The wig is actually an Edward Scissorhands wig. I used a black drape for his coat. A spooky cloth for his ascot thing. And some zombie hand stakes for his hands. I also inserted a sturdy garden stake into the ground and pushed his torso on over top it to stake him into the ground.

I think I’m pretty proud of him.