Halloween Witch Cross Stitch Pattern

One of my favorite crafty projects is cross stitching.  For me, it feels like putting together a puzzle – I can focus on little areas at a time and suddenly a picture has appeared!  Though tedious, learning and mastering cross stitch has taught me patience and acceptance of flaws.  You see, I’m an insufferable perfectionist – but with cross stitch, most errors cannot be seen nor detected.  My cross stitches are riddled with errors, but can you tell? No sir.

I decided I wanted to try making my own cross stitch pattern.  I wanted to create a great beginner’s pattern that required minimal materials.  I did a lot of brainstorming and debating and have come up with a few to finally debut!  Meet the first pattern!

Cross Stitch evokes a vintage, old-world aesthetic and what time of year is this most appreciated?  Well, Halloween, of course!

This Halloween Witch Cross Stitch Pattern was inspired by two greats, Shakespeare and Harry Potter.  Does the witch look familiar?  If so, then you’re a huge Potter-head!  She was inspired by The Leaky Cauldron sign.

Again, this is a great beginner’s pattern.  All you need is an 8″x10″ piece of “Sandy” aida {the fabric}, DMC 3371 {the thread}, a needle and some scissors.  Ready to give it shot?

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Halloween Witch Cross Stitch Pattern.PDF

$4.00

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7 Favorite Halloween Decorations

‘Tis the season to be spooooooky! Over the years, I’ve collected a number of Halloween decorations whether through buying them myself or being passed down from my parents. Opening my large orange bins every year brings me such joy – and not just because they inexplicably smell of stale candy. As I pull out each item, I’m reminded when I got it and begin to dream up its new destiny amongst my home decor. I love this process.

As I sit here admiring all the fun decorations I have, there are a few that hold a special place in my heart. Here are my 7 favorite Halloween Decorations I’ve acquired over the years.Read More »

Pumpkin Carving Tool Box

 For the first few years of dedicated pumpkin carving, I repeatedly purchased the $5 carving sets that came with a book of templates.

Don’t get me wrong – I love these sets. {As you will soon see.}

However, as my skills began to expand, I realized that some tools are better replaced with more robust tools. Even for beginners, some of these tools will make your life a whole lot easier.

That being said, here is what you need to build a pumpkin carving tool box.

Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit 01

Read More »

13 Days of Halloween Countdown

13 Days of Halloween Countdown 30

Every Halloween, I try to find ways to make the holiday last.  It seems that if you don’t have kids, aren’t a kid yourself, or aren’t in college {you know what I’m talking about}, Halloween is simply a night to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  Not anymore!  I designed this 13 Days of Halloween Countdown calendar to stretch out the excitement and fun of the holiday for everyone.

The absolute best aspect of this calendar is all the activities are held on by magnets.  This allows for rearranging the fun every year to adjust to your changing schedule.  A huge bonus, in my book!

All of my materials were purchased at Michaels, unless otherwise noted.

Would you like to make one yourself?  Here’s how!Read More »

7 Favorite Disney Villains

It’s no secret that I love Disney and I’m thrilled to see them growing the use of their villains during the Halloween season. Without villains, there can be no heroes. So I’m glad to see the villains getting a little bit of show time.

Naturally, over the years, I’ve developed a fondness for certain villains. My appreciation of them does not necessarily rely on how I feel about the full story in which they exist. Meaning, just because I’ve ranked a villain number five doesn’t mean it’s my fifth favorite Disney movie. Speaking of which, I did think it would be fun to rank the villains for this week so the list will go in opposite order (to build suspense – of course). Read More »

Simple Paint Pen Halloween Pumpkin

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for anything monogrammed or featuring a family name. There’s something about seeing the family pride that feels old world-ish to me. There’s a charm to it.

Wanting to add this type of charm to our Halloween decorates, I decided to do one of the easiest and fastest projects on the planet. Seriously. Anyone can do this with limited supplies and 15 minutes.

Here’s what you need…

  1. A Fake Pumpkin
  2. Black Paint Pen
  3. Pencil
  4. Tape

Optional: Black Permanent Marker and Computer PrinterRead More »

7 Favorite Halloween Movies

It’s officially October! Ahhh! So excited for all of the Halloween celebrations and activities. I keep Halloween movies and tv specials on repeat throughout the month to keep the spirit alive. However, I am not a fan of horror or traditional “scary” movies so – sorry, but this list is totally family friendly.

    1. The Nightmare Before Christmas: This Tim Burton classic has made the Pumpkin King the face of Halloween. “This is Halloween, everybody make a scene, Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright, It’s our town, everybody scream, In this town of Halloween.” Try getting that out of your head for the rest of the day!
    2. Hocus Pocus: Disney asked Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker to make a tv special about three witches and it turned into one of the most iconic Halloween movies ever. Give it a shot… it’ll put a spell on you.
    3. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he thinks is the most sincere. Every year, I hold out hope he’s going to pick Linus’s. Also, I hope that Charlie Brown gets something other than rocks.
    4. Casper: The friendliest ghost you know brings the best silly scares every Halloween with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman.
    5. Halloweentown: Another piece of Disney magic. Debbie Reynolds headlines this made-for-tv movie where all manners of ghoulish creatures live in another dimension as happy residents of Halloweentown. But the evil Kalibar has other ideas…
    6. The Addams Family: “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” I never tire of this creepy family and for good reason. It seems every time I watch this movie, I hear a new line that makes me laugh.
    7. The Corpse Bride: In my opinion, this is one of Tim Burton’s most underrated creations (it also inspired my pumpkin carvings last year!) While practicing his wedding vows, Victor, a shy groom-to-be, finds himself accidentally married to another bride. The only problem is… she’s dead.

The Rory Gilmore Reading List Challenge: Year 1 Update

Well… the first year of the Rory Gilmore Reading List Challenge hasn’t gone quite as planned. The past year I dove into a number of books but only four happened to be on the list. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to cheat my original challenge rules, like crossing off books where I’ve seen the movie. But nope – no cheating! However, being one that likes to buy my books, I was fortunate enough to come across a great book sale where I acquired eleven books on my list. Now… to just get cracking.

Oh, and to answer the lingering question, no, the list has not been expanded to include the books referenced in the Gilmore Girls special on Netflix that premiered last year. If I were to add those in, I’d need another five years.

You can find the original challenge post here.

For the Rory Gilmore Reading List, please visit here.

Happy Reading!

7 Favorite Things About Fall

Fall is officially upon us! While I love the long days of sunshine and fun summer brings, autumn truly has my heart. In my opinion, nothing compares to that first crisp fall day and all the season promises to bring. And what do I look forward to the most? Well, I’m glad you asked…

  1. Decorating for Halloween – Call it brainwashing, but September 22nd has always been my benchmark for fall. And fall means “Halloween”. The first weekend following the 22nd my home suddenly looks like a residence in Halloweentown, full of bats, spiderwebs, and pumpkins.
  2. Pumpkin Carving – Turning a pumpkin into a gourd-eous creation is what fall is all about for me. I put quite a bit of time and effort into finding the perfect template and beautiful pumpkin to make a spooky creation I can be proud of. I’ve even been known to host a pumpkin carving party to drag my friends into my favorite holiday activity. You can see my past creations in my Pumpkin Carving Gallery here.
  3. Roasting a Turkey – Turkey is my favorite meat due to its ability to absorb different flavors. Whether I’m hosting Thanksgiving or not, I buy a turkey to make in November. I pull inspiration for recipes from my favorite blogs and websites. Making an overly complicated and flavorful bird is always the goal. Fifteen ingredients and twenty steps? Bring it on. Bonus! The delicious bird provides the base for a week’s worth of frittatas, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
  4. Hot Chocolate – Truthfully, hot chocolate consumption is a year-round activity. However, once fall comes, the beverage takes on a life of its own. I dress up the chocolate with combinations of different spices. My favorite combinations are cinnamon and nutmeg or cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Regardless, always top the hot chocolate off with a spritz of whipped cream.
  5. Sweater Weather – I’m a jeans girl – always have been, always will be. So when the chilly weather of fall starts to settle in, I love pairing my jeans with a cozy sweater. I’m not a fan of winter cold, but I love this time of year when it’s just brisk enough to comfortably wear a sweater, now we’re talkin’!
  6. Football – A lifelong love of football kicks into high-gear during fall. Sundays are spent working my way through my weekly routine to a soundtrack of play calling and whistles.
  7. Holiday Festivities – My calendar doesn’t fill up just with family events but all manner of fun holiday festivities. Themed races (Turkey Trot, anyone?), pumpkin patches, fall festivals, haunted houses, apple picking, and on and on. There’s so much to do and so little time, but it’s all a blast!

What do you look forward to most this glorious season?

7 Things I’m Not Built For

The alternative title for this post is “7 Things I’m Truly Terrible At”. However, since I have accepted these so-called flaws, I like to present them as things I’m not built for. My inability to do these things does not make me “less than”. It just means my skills and attention are better dedicated somewhere else. As such, if you come away from this post with one thing, I hope you look at your “pitfalls” as things you are just not built for – not negative aspects that detract from the wonderful person you are.

On to the fun!

  1. Baking – The chemical science of baking doesn’t click in my brain. I don’t have the patience for sifting flour or making sure I’ve used the exact measurement of baking soda. Also, learning the difference between baking soda and powder was a game-changer for me. I much prefer the fluidity of cooking meals with recipes that can be changed without considering much science of chemical balance. My best friend (who is an amazing baker) and I once attempted to replicate a bread recipe from one of our favorite restaurants. The experiment failed miserably and the result resembled a gray brain mass more than a loaf of bread. While we never figured out precisely where we went wrong, I believe it was my mere presence in the kitchen that caused the attempt to go awry.  For the record, we still ate the brain-bread. It tasted just fine – but it was dense. Very dense.
  2. Keeping In Touch – Social media was made for me. I am terrible at keeping in touch with people. I don’t really like talking on the phone and like FaceTime even less. I may forget to text people back even after reading and considering their messages. I’m notorious for neglecting voice mails. Much of this I can attribute to my profession. I spend a significant amount of my time corresponding with people throughout my day. When I get home, I just don’t want to talk. I want to shut down and give myself a break. Don’t take it personally. I talk to my mom almost daily, always calling her as I’m leaving the office to chat over my commute home. If she doesn’t answer for whatever reason and tries to call me back after I’ve walked through my front door, I’m not answering. Not a chance. I’m in decompression mode and we’ll just have to catch up tomorrow. I value my personal time almost to a fault. In this respect, seeing my friends’ lives unfold on Facebook and Instagram has basically given me a short cut to keep up on their lives while expending minimum effort. It’s selfish – I know. But this doesn’t mean I don’t care about my friends. One of my friend’s 8-year-old daughter regularly writes articles for local publications in Ohio and I read every single one. Another friend is off charging a career as a public figure. I watch every interview he does and read every article he writes. I may not call them up to say, “Hey there! How’s the family?!” But through social media, I can stay peripherally engaged. Plus they all still get Christmas cards. That’s something, right?
  3. Competition – If you are a competitive person, for the love of god, never have me on your team. I know I’m really good at history and pop culture trivia, but I will seriously ruin your game. I am the least competitive person in the world. I’m known to give a hint or two to opposing teams during trivia games. I give extra points to people who are falling too far behind in games. I will even scoot your game piece forward a few blocks when everyone isn’t looking to keep everyone enjoying the game. I don’t understand being competitive with other people. (With myself – it’s a totally different story). Games are meant to be enjoyed and competitiveness ruins it for everyone. *Note: I will most certainly change my tune when my kids play sports. Everyone must lose and my child will be the best!
  4. Horticulture – My home is where plants go to die. The only reason I have anything growing in my garden right now is that San Diego has had an unusual amount of rainfall this year. I am a neglectful plant parent. Truly the worst.
  5. Ambiguous Plans – This is starkly different than being spontaneous. I can be spontaneous and fun. What I can’t do is make ambiguous plans. If we’re getting together for plans, there has to be some form of a game plan. There are few people in this world that I can just “hang out” with. Don’t be offended if you aren’t one of them. It’s not personal. If we’re meeting for dinner, let’s figure out where we’re going before I have to get dressed to go. If we are making plans for a day of shopping, let’s have a goal of what we’re looking for and/or what stores we’re going to. Inviting me over for dinner? Give me a specific time you want me to be there. I do better in life with some idea of what to expect in my plans.
  6. Faking Enthusiasm – I am one of the easiest people in the world to read. I am also one of the most authentic people you will meet. You always know where I stand. I will always tell you how I feel. Some would say it’s a fault and a virtue. Unfortunately, this also means I can’t fake enthusiasm when social convention would expect me to. I’m not much into other people’s babies. So when people bring their newborns into the office, I don’t immediately jump up from my seat to go ooh and ahh over the little bundle of joy. I won’t get giddy over your bridal or baby shower gifts. I’m not much into weddings as a whole so I won’t ask about all your plans, the flowers, your ring, your dress – not into it. I can’t bring myself to get overly hyped up for a work social event. These are just things that live inside me but also moments when my missing enthusiasm is noted. I come by enthusiasm naturally for many, many things but when it doesn’t come… eh. It is what it is. I will always be polite. But there’s a difference between having good manners and being enthusiastic.
  7. Being Graceful – I have spent most of my life covered in bruises from running into things. I don’t fall and have disastrous moments. Nothing dramatic like that. But I consistently run into the same countertop corner, leaving a deep bruise on my hip. I trip over my computer cord daily, even though it never moves. The other day, I closed a door on my forehead. My forehead! Yes, this really happened. I try to be graceful. I try to tap into my inner lady and watch out for sharp corners. But unfortunately, as I’m whisking about the house like a 2017 Donna Reed, I will inevitably ram my elbow into a door frame. It’s just who I am.