A Halloween Hemlock Tee

A Halloween Hemlock Tee // Boots and Cats

The fact that October is nearly over is a spooky one for sure. It’s been a crazy month around these parts lately, so much so that I’ve barely had a chance to even glance in the direction of my poor ol’ sewing machine. Maybe that’s the true terror of this story. A solid sewing streak I had at the end of summer has come to a screeching halt and probably would have continued if there wasn’t a deadline at the end of this week in the form of my favourite holiday.

Sure, the idea of making my costume this year went out the window weeks ago, but as I placed my order for the coveted Les Fleurs fabric back in August a meter of this adorable Ghosty Ghost Party print also snuck it’s way in. Can you blame them? Look how cute they are, wearing party hats and everything. Plus it’s a knit, thus totally allowing itself into my stash because of my focus to work with more knit fabrics.

A Halloween Hemlock Tee // Boots and Cats

I bought it with the intention of making a simple tee to wear throughout the month to get in the spirit of Halloween. Then I blinked and October disappeared, and as there is only a week left before everything turns to jingle bells and fir trees, it was time to get moving on it. I couldn’t bear to let the ghosts postpone their party until next year. The fabric print is designed by Lizzy House and I am so glad Andover fabrics included this design in their knits collection. It’s cotton/spandex and so unbelievably soft and comfortable with great recovery. I see why a lot of people make leggings or pajamas with this fabric, but I really felt like a cuddly tee was the way to go.

A Halloween Hemlock Tee // Boots and Cats

I downloaded the free Grainline Hemlock tee pattern knowing it would create an easy, comfortable and versatile tee that I could wear in multiple ways. I didn’t make any adjustments to the sizing of the pattern, but I decided to break up the busy print with some contrast side seam panels in a grey stripe knit.

When I first latched myself onto the colour-blocking idea I had it in my head that the pattern had regular set-in sleeves. However, the Hemlock tee has off the shoulder sleeves and a boxy shape, meaning there’s no defined armscye. This puzzled me as to how I would go about creating a side seam insert without messing up the sleeves,  but I had the idea and I was going to make it work.

A Halloween Hemlock Tee // Boots and Cats

To create my contrast side seams, I cut away the amount I wanted to be in the other fabric from my bodice pattern from just below the sleeve notches (on both front and back) and used these new pieces to cut my fabric. I then took the dimensions of what I removed and cut out strips from my contrast fabric.

When assembling the pattern I attached the bodice pieces at the shoulders, then added the sleeves. From there I sewed up the bottom seam of the sleeves up until the point where the contrast fabric would be inserted. I attached the contrast strip along the armpit, then closed up the sides. Thankfully, it all worked out beautifully, despite the origami.

A Halloween Hemlock Tee // Boots and Cats

For a one-size pattern, I am actually super pleased with the proportions without adjustments. It’s comfortably long, the sleeves sit in a nice spot and though it is boxy, it has a nice amount of volume and is very flattering. I initially wanted to make the pattern with the full 3/4 length sleeve, but I unfortunately was a few cms short of fabric to fit it in. In the end, I am actually thankful for that because the print would be far too busy with all that sleevage. As I am wearing it I also think it would be very cute without any sleeves at all (if only it were summer still…). This is a pattern I can definitely see myself sewing again and again to make some pretty basics that pair with everything. There is lots of opportunity to play with more colour-blocking or mixing fabrics.

A Halloween Hemlock Tee // Boots and Cats

I enjoyed experimenting with different ways to style this shirt. Sure, I can wear it relaxed with a pair of jeans at home, but I was pleased to find out I could dress it up a little and sneak my Halloween obsession into the workplace. Most people couldn’t tell I was walking around in a shirt full of ghosts. Ha.

Happy Halloween!

Halloweaving

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

I love Halloween. This can be evidenced by the fact that I am wearing glow-in-the-dark pumpkin socks and eating a ghost cookie as I write. As soon as the calendar flips to October my apartment is fully decorated and I plan in as many spooky (but not scary, mind you) activities to make the most of this holiday.

I can’t really pin-point exactly what I love about it so much. I love the visual aesthetic of orange and black, not to mention the graphic style of vintage decorations. It could also be the child-like sense of fun in creating costumes and getting together with friends. Or it could just be the copious amounts of sugar. Who knows.

What I do know is that I can’t get enough and love to fill my days with Halloweeney things. Best way I find to do this is to infuse the spirit into my crafting. (Pun? I think so.)

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

This year, I happened to buy a loom and take up weaving in September. Loom weaving, especially wall hangings, has been on my radar for the last few years but I never jumped into it- I guess I had too many other crafts on my plate. Then this summer some really stunning work repeatedly popped up on my feed that I felt really inspired and connected to. I went to Etsy and got myself a loom, and an arm load of yarn to play with.

As hard as I tried to take a workshop with Lucy Poskitt while I was in Vancouver (I visited twice recently and BOTH TIMES she taught the day after I left) I didn’t take any classes to get started. I read a few tutorials, mainly from A Beautiful Mess, but I found it pretty easy to get the hang of it. Sure there are some basic techniques you need to know, but once you get those down, honestly the main skill required is patience.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

This isn’t a quick craft, especially as your pieces get larger, but the creative possibilities are actually endless. You can play with geometry and colour blocking, gradient tones and abstract textures, or bold motifs. The bulk of what I’ve seen is abstract work, with lots of chunky elements and fringe, which is stunning, but I find that my default is lots of structure, uniformity and simplicity. My first few pieces were primarily geometric shapes, but the lightbulb went off for me when, in an ABM tutorial, Rachel said “think of shapes in pixels”. My mind rushed with words and  shapes I could incorporate into more graphic style work.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

And with Halloween coming up, there’s no better time to put that idea to work! I knew right away I wanted to play with some cute little ghosts flying around and sketched out some shapes. I found it quite helpful to design on grid paper to keep in the ‘pixels’ mindset. To ensure I kept true to my design, especially on the rounded shapes, I actually drew it onto my warp yarn with a sharpie, to act as a guideline. It might be cheating but it works!

I constructed most of the hanging using a basic basket weave (over one-under one) using contrast yarns for the ghosts and sky. I could have left it like that, but I picked up an amazing orange yarn from Rain City Knits in Vancouver and needed to incorporate it. I used it to add some extra texture and highlight elements. I was a little on the fence about it at first but I think it heightens the overall look. Makes it ‘pop’ if you will.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

Like I said, weaving takes a lot longer to complete than you think. I would estimate there is about 6 hours of work in this little guy. But hey, what better way to binge watch Netflix shows. (I am all about Once Upon A Time right now… that’s kinda Halloweeney right?)

These little ghosties are now hanging in my ‘Halloween corner’ of my living room along with some spooky flowers, pumpkin lanterns and glitter bats and seems to fit right in.

A Halloweaving // Boots & Cats

Now that I’ve completed my fourth weaving, I can stay that I am quite enjoying it. I always loved the fluffy texture and the endless array of colour in yarn, but knitting and I still haven’t completely hit it off. I am already brainstorming many more things I could weave. The loom is relatively non-intimidating to experiment with in terms of design and techniques which is really nice.

Now I just need to get ALL the yarn! Muahahaha

Halloween Costume // How to Steal a Million

How to Steal a Million Halloween! // Boots & Cats

Have I mentioned to you yet how much I love Halloween? It’s not about being gross or scary for me, but I  love the fall aesthetic with dark glittery things thrown in the mix. Decor is so easy for me to put into place. Costumes on the other hand… oi.

I often start brainstorming mid September so I have time to make something, but I always draw a blank. There’s too much pressure to do something awesome and creative. Sometimes Rory and I work together on a costume, but the last minute factor always remains true. (Last year we went as two crows, or an ‘attempted murder’. We were still assembling our costumes as our friends arrived for a party.)

How to Steal a Million Halloween! // Boots & Cats

This year, lost in my cloud of indecisiveness (and Pinterest) I happened upon an image of Audrey Hepburn with some stunning mod make-up. It was a promo shot from the film How to Steal a Million.

I remembered watching that film a few years back and being enthralled with her wardrobe in that film. Lightbulb!

I close to re-create the black lace dinner dress, as I noticed it seemed to be the most iconic from the film as I researched (though not iconic as I thought. Many people had to ask me who I was when I wore this).

How to Steal a Million Halloween! // Boots & Cats

The quality of the film and images I could find made it very difficult to decipher the details, but from what I could tell there was a matching jacket, dress and mask of black lace, white gloves and patterned tights. I could do this!

A trip to Value Village provided a lace button up to act as the jacket. I simply snipped the sleeves at three-quarters and took it in at the waist. If you really look the jacket is a very dark navy blue. Had I the time to find black polyester dye, it would have been taken care of, but alas, you have to cut corners sometimes.

How to Steal a Million Halloween! // Boots & Cats

I then hit up the fabric store for the dress and the mask. The dress was a fairly simple make. The shape was fairly a-line and my lace had a touch of stretch so I could avoid the use of any closures. I traced the shape of a trapeze tunic I had in my closet then cut two layers. I  stitched up the shoulders and side seams, and using a long strip of the lace finished edge, made a ruffled hem. I finished the hem late at night so I didn’t try it on one last time before saying ‘I’m done!”.

About 20 minutes before the party started last weekend I put it on and it was WAY too long. Like midi. YIKES! I grabbed the scissors and did a super quick slice and re-sew. Rory did a double take and couldn’t believe it took less than 10 minutes to fix.

How to Steal a Million Halloween! // Boots & Cats

The most challenging part of constructing the costume was surprisingly the mask. I bought a dainty trim to get the perfect scalloped edge on the mask like the film, but dang it, it’ll do whatever it wants to when you are sewing it!

I dug into my mental box of sewing tricks and used some tissue paper underneath the mask to give it some grip when running it through my machine. This worked for 90% of the trim, but once I tore it away there were still some spots that needed a hand stitching touch.

Add some gloves from the costume box and tights from the closet and we’re done! I pulled my hair into a french twist to give the impression of Audrey’s mod bob and tried my hand at a 60’s cut crease eye shadow (I shot a tutorial for work here. I may have had ulterior motives in putting that together…)

How to Steal a Million Halloween! // Boots & Cats

Tomorrow night includes dressing up for work, attending some improv then dancing the night away to some swinging retro tunes. I hope y’all have fun things in store as well. Have a spooktacular Halloween!

 

5 (more) Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations (that can be done last minute!)

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

Halloween is my favourite holiday (costumes and candy? It’s no contest) and I will admittedly get lost in the decoration sections of every store I see, wanting it all. With my arms full of glittery, cute and pumpkin-ey things, I realize it is more fun to make things yourself and put most of it back. Plus you basically have only one month of the year for the decorations so it doesn’t make sense to drop a lot of moolah on them.

Sadly, I spent way more time making my costume than decorations and I had a party to host this weekend. Oops.

Stuck in the same situation? Never fear, I have 5 more cute, cheap and perfectly Halloween-ey touches to add to your space that will take less than an afternoon to do all of them. (Last year’s 5 here.) Awesome right?

As per last year- in order from most time-intensive to least:

1. Pumpkin Appetizer Toppers (30 minutes crafting – 2 hours drying time)

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

If like me you don’t have much time to craft an exquisitely spooky snack for party guests, just serve regular old fare and top with a cute pumpkin!

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

Using orange foam card, draw out your pumpkins and faces. Get creative with their shapes and faces. Cut them out and if you have a few hours to spare, use a little white glue and glitter to add some pizzazz to their expressions. Glue a toothpick to the back. Wait until dry and spear your snacks. Perfectly on theme!

2. Halloween Banner (20 minutes)

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

Inspired by the banners on A Beautiful Mess this week I totally had to make one. I just used construction paper and a silver sharpie I had on hand and this baby was up in no time. Measure and cut as many  7 cm x 9.5 cm rectangles you need to spell your message and trim a triangle from the bottom to make them more flaq-esque. Use a knitting sewing needle with some twine to string em. I cut an extra flag and used it to make the mini BOO sign on the first image. Nothing to waste!

3.  Front Door Monster (15 Minutes)

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

I have to admit, I had the top row of these gold flags on my door since my golden birthday last November (what can I say, people know which door is ours!), so I decided to add the eyes and bottom row for a scary touch this year.

Using gold glitter stationery cut out 8 triangles for teeth, 2 slimmer triangles for angry eye brows and some eyes. Adhere with double sided tape or painters tape in a loop if you are worried about the paint on your door. Boom. Another one down.

4. Glitter Pumpkins (5 minutes – plus drying time)

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

With the whole pumpkin decorating trend there are limitless places you could take this. But I am all about glitter, so I just loaded up my paintbrush in white glue and painted stripes in the creases of my decorative pumpkins, sprinkle with glitter and let dry. Simple and will be classic enough year by year (since I bought plastic pumpkins…)

5. Oven Spiders (1 Minute..yup)

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

This was Rory’s favourite little touch and it was the easiest to do! With a dry erase marker add some little spider friends to your oven hood. Add webs and as many spiders as you’d like. You could really do anything you wanted here, bats, pumpkin patch, ghosts…possibilities are endless. Just make sure you patch test the marker first to make sure it will in fact wipe off later.

5 Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations // Boots & Cats

And there you have it. I hope you have a a great Halloween week and good luck decorating!

I’ll also be sharing my costume (that took up all my time) later this week so keep your eyes out!

Five Eerily Easy Halloween Decorations (that can be done last minute!)

5-simple-decorations

It’s Halloween! You are having a party! Wait…you don’t have any decorations….

Starting off in this new apartment meant starting from scratch when it came to holiday decorations. That meant I had complete freedom to make everything. Both a challenge and an adventure, I had so much fun making all my spooky things! Here are 5 of my Halloween decorations that were super easy to make (30 minutes or less, not counting drying time) and are totally do-able for last minute prep for an event.

Starting from the most time-consuming to the least…

1. Spooky Candle Holder

easy-candle-holder

What you’ll need: A glass or jar, glitter glue pens

Take your regular old cup or jar, and give it a spooky motif! Using glitter glue pens, decorate the sides with a web pattern. Start on one side of the glass and draw vertical lines, fanning out at somewhat regular intervals. Connect the vertical lines with a swooping motion to get the web effect. Repeat on the opposite side of the glass. Optional: When dried, use a different color of glitter glue to hi-light and accent the web lines. Let dry and place a candle inside (I have an LED one in there since my “glass” was plastic) or fill it with your favorite treats.

2. Glitter Bats

glitter-bats

What you’ll need: Glitter scrapbook paper OR black construction paper and black glitter

These glitter bats are perfect for accents around the house! On the back of your scrapbook paper, trace out the design of your bat in pencil. Draw the bats in various sizes. Cut out and stick to the wall with sticky tack or loops of painters tape. If you don’t have glitter paper, cut out bat shapes from black construction paper. With an old paintbrush, coat the top of the bat with white glue, then coat with black glitter.

3. Washi Web

spider-webs

What you’ll need: Black washi tape.

Add a spider web to your decor without using that candy floss stuff. Choose a wall or fixture that needs some webbing and create a spider web using strips of washi tape. Make sure that your strips are straight and don’t have any creases or bubbles, otherwise you really can’t go wrong. Optional, add a spider with the leftover paper from making bats.

4. Decorative Stripes

washi-stripes

What you’ll need: Seasonally colored washi tape.

Make a corner of your home more seasonally appropriate by adding some decorative striping. I made a little autumn scene on my kitchen island by adding stripes of tape on the wall in orange and brown tones. I finished the look with some pumpkins and flowers. This can be done anywhere, for any season with any tones of tape.

5. Masked Pumpkin

masking-pumpkin

What you’ll need: A pumpkin and a mask

The easiest decoration of them all. Didn’t have time to carve that pumpkin this year? Find a masquerade mask and tie it on. Done! Seriously, so easy and ties the whole Halloween feel together.

Voila! You’ve done it. Decorated and ready to go for tonight. I have also supplemented the apartment with the Halloween garland and some spooky ghost pinatas (tutorial here).

kitty-pinata-boo

Have a spooktacular Halloween everyone!

Halloween Garland

header-awesome

Months ago I spotted this amazing backdrop that was at Blogshop LA and immediately bookmarked it, planning on re-creating it in the future. Then, Bri kindly shared a full make it tutorial for the project in September. It was the kick I needed to get up and make one! With Halloween approaching at that point it was a no-brainer that it was going to be spooky themed!

many-colors

The process is fairly simple, if not time-consuming. In the tutorial they just used solid colored cardstock, but I opted for paper with varying textures and finishes to create more variety and dimension on my wall. I made sure my colors were Halloween-ey enough and cut out a variety of geometric shapes, circles, squares, diamonds, thin rectangles. You can get away with anything really.

double-sided

One thing I didn’t consider when selecting specialty papers (like glitter paper) was that the finish was one sided…and garland flips and moves when hung. Luckily, once again, washi tape to the rescue! On my black glitter paper I covered the back side with black polka dot washi. Now it is even more dynamic!

stitch-away

Once your shapes are cut out- feel free to stitch away! At first I didn’t know how long I needed, so I just started sewing. Turns out, one 30cm x 30cm piece of scrapbook paper gets you almost 4 meters of squares and triangles! This helped me set a mark for how much I would need of the larger shapes that would end up needing more paper.

stitchery

Although, make sure your machine is threaded properly before commencing the stitching. Oops.

purple-stands

And then  keep stitching and stitching until you have as many strands as you desire. I ended up using 7 strands with different colors. It was a good mix and not too overwhelming nor simple.

tangled

The next step is to hang them! I have a large open space in my living room wall, so it was ideal for me. You could definitely hang it anywhere! I like the idea of hanging it in a corner in Bri’s tutorial.

*TIP* When storing your strands before hanging them…don’t leave them in a pile together. They tangle worse than headphones.

matching-washi

Since we are renting, I didn’t want to use push pins and put holes in the wall, nor did I want to use sticky tack as I was afraid it would ruin the paper when I took it down. I want to reuse these! Luckily (again!) I had matching washi tape for each color strand. I used this to fasten the strands to the wall, and it blends in really well!

beware

I started hanging with the larger shapes underneath and layered the other colors on top, playing with different heights and drape. You kind of need to fiddle with it to get it looking balanced and not too disheveled. Then you are done! To add to the spookiness I added two glitter paper bats above the bow.  Since I chose to place it on the open wall…it is a perfect photo backdrop! (I made these super easy cat ears with this tutorial!)

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I hope you all have a fabulous weekend full of spooktacular fun! I can’t wait until Halloween next week. It’s my favorite holiday.