Discoveries: Take Back Halloween!

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Stunt Double, Thumbs Up

Take Back Halloween is a costume guide for women. In their words:

“We’re a resource guide: we come up with the costume designs, explain what you’ll need to pull off the look, and provide links to where you can buy the various components. […]

“We love Halloween. We really love Halloween. We think it’s cool that there’s one day a year when people can dress up as anything they want. What we don’t think is cool is that increasingly women are only supposed to dress up as one thing: “Sexy _____” (fill in the blank). Sexy Nurse, Sexy Cowgirl, Sexy whatever. […]

“There’s nothing wrong with sexy (for adults), and if you want to go that route, fine. Have fun! We just want there to be other options as well.”

I couldn’t agree more – options are always good, since we’re not made in one single mold. And they run a costume contest!

Take Back Halloween 2016-contest_1200x1200

Take Back Halloween!

What we’re looking for: costumes that fit into our own costume categories here on the website. That means a goddess or mythological figure, a great queen, a notable historical person, or a glamorous star.”

Make sure to have a look at the previous winners – they are awesome!

What interests me in all this are the historical women (queens, notable women) and goddesses or mythological characters. Even browsing quickly, they seem to have a variety of options.

Take Back Halloween is the first venture from the Real History Project, which was conceived in 2010 by Suzanne Scoggins.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

These Star Wars Group Costumes Are Awesome

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!, Stunt Double

Liz Stanley at Say Yes shared a Star Wars style, easy-on-the-wallet (and nerves) approach to Halloween costumes:

Say Yes star-wars-costume

Star Wars group costumes. Photo by Ashley Thalman / Say Yes.

Perfect for Halloween: evocatives outfits that are easy to create almost entirely by using everyday items. Sometimes it’s the whole that matters more than individual details. Great job!

Credits: models Aaron, Kayti and little Monroe Oldham; photography by Ashley Thalman; styling by Sarah Larsen; production by site manager Ashley Aikele; creative direction by Liz Stanley at Say Yes.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Making Progress: Breast Cancer Awareness Themed Items for 2014

Ahem Ahem!, Colors, Leveling Up

So far I haven’t created any products for specific campaigns or themes (apart from my usual business charitable giving). This year, I wanted to do a test batch and chose October and breast cancer awareness.

There are some gorgeous pinks and reds in my fabric stash. I selected a few to make a small quantity of lavender sachets and mini storage cubes. Some sachets are plain, some have a heart applique in the front and some were inspired by the Tardis; all are limited run and sold singly. A part of the sachets are in darker colors – burgundy red and purple – as a nod towards male breast cancer. I also sewed two unique sets of two mini cubes; the rest of the cubes are limited run and sold singly. Here is a group photo:

2014 PGH Breast Cancer Awareness

They are now available in my Etsy store; more photos can be seen on Flickr. Five percent of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen. It will be interesting to see how a themed set like this performs compared to my usual selection. At the very least it has been educational to think in terms of a specific collection or purpose.

Happy Halloween!

Colors, Inspiration, Thumbs Up

For Halloween, here are a few arresting, interesting, stunning dark spaces. Halloween decor easily gets tacky, but these tricks / spaces have wider appeal. Enjoy!

Nina had an understated but elegant idea for a table:


Nina at Stylizimo.

Found via Husligheter. (Oh good grief, my brain just went there – “Nana nana nana nana bat fork!” 😀 )

A detail on a desk clad for the fall by Therese:

Desk detail

Therese at Eye on Details.

Black & white & wood in a kitchen:

Sawyer Berson Kitchen WestVillageApt

Architects at Sawyer | Berson.

From an apartment designed by architects at Sawyer | Berson. If I were a fan of dark wood, this would be the tone. 🙂

Open kitchen shelving:

Residence Henrik and Lotta Imberg Furillen

Photo Pia Ulin, styling Cilla Ramnek; Residence 6/2013.

From the home of architects Henrik and Lotta Imberg. Again, via Husligheter.

Who says a dining room hutch can’t hold shoes?

DSponge Jessie Artigue Gerard Brown

Photo by Sara Kerens Photography; design*sponge.

From the home of Jessie Artigue and Gerard Brown. Because when your clothing is awesome, why hide it? Featured at design*sponge (with so many more intriguing photos than this!).

Happy Halloween!

P.S. Three additional links: Nicole Balch (from Making it Lovely) created a fantastic feature on dark walls for Babble. There’s also a great collection of photos of a converted public library and a set of interiors with black & gold at Desire to Inspire. Check them out!

P.P.S. Two additional spaces at my Playfully Grownup Tumblr. This is my official self-promotional moment for the day. 🙂

Carved Pumpkins

Arts & Crafts

Continuing my Thursday post on Halloween and painted pumpkins with a set of inventive Jack-o-lanterns. Scary faces seem to be the ubiquitous choice for lanterns, so I’m always tickled to see other things carved on them.

Brilliant use of the natural features of the pumpkin:

Wrinkly Pumpkin

Photo: Evil Erin.

One of the lanterns at The Great Jack-o-lantern Blaze in New York in 2010:

Checkered jack-o-lantern

Photo: The World Through My Eyes.

An interesting geometric arrangement!

Polka dot lantern:

Polka dot lantern

Photo: Dan Mushrush.

When dots are more to your liking.

Bunny lantern:

Rabbit jack-o-lantern

Photo: Richard Lord.

A special pick for my sisters! 🙂

Elvish script from the Lord of the Rings by Finest Geekery:

Elvish Script Pumpkin

Finest Geekery.

This is a neat take on the glowing lettering on the One Ring!

And the most stunning jack-o-lantern photo I’ve seen in a while by Karen Montgomery:

Kaleidoskope Lantern

Photo: Karen Montgomery.

It looks like a composite, using photos of Jack-o-lanterns, if I had to guess. A very, very neat way of seeing an everyday (holiday) thing from an unexpected angle!

On Halloween and Painted Pumpkins

Arts & Crafts

Being new in the U.S., I’m still wrapping my head around some of the holidays. Halloween, for instance. Oh, I know the whats and the whens, I have participated, and I’ve read on the whys. Being a geek, I’m big on reading and research. There’s only so much reading can tell you, though.

For getting to know a culture, there’s nothing quite like everyday life. Although holidays are by definition not part of everyday, they offer an interesting counterpoint to it and may, therefore, shed more light on the mundane.

(Incidentally, I found that this Ask MetaFilter post is really helpful – it’s listing all possible angles, from love to hate, from silly to serious, from puritan settlers to a dentist conspiracy – and told not by researchers but by a range of ordinary folks, which is what interests me.)

Jack-o-lanterns are maybe THE stereotypical Halloween decor. They are quite well known outside the U.S., as is trick-or-treating. When I still lived in Europe, we were largely on the mercy of mainstream media and what bled through their filters. (Blogging wasn’t yet a big thing back then. Blogs existed, but weren’t as common or varied as now.) Both national and international culture segments were chosen and edited by journalists and other professionals, and published at their pace. Whether their interests met yours was completely up to chance. Finding information on topics not covered by the mainstream media outlets took effort.

After moving to the States, 10+ years ago now, I’ve naturally enough discovered a much wider range of facets than the Halloween scene in E.T. (for example) can convey. Nowadays we’re lucky to have blogs. Blogging has made it much easier to discover other cultures, the everyday as well as holidays, in the writers’ own words, with the range of experiences that is human life.

One new and different thing for me was not carving your pumpkin into a lantern, but painting it. The novelty of funny faces and spiders wore off quite quickly, but fortunately those are not the only things people paint on their pumpkins. Below are a few that I especially like.

Alicia Kachmar painted maple leaves on a pumpkin and glittered the edges:

Leaf-Decoupaged Pumpkin

Alicia Kachmar at Create!

A little twist on traditional Halloween decor. It’s a few years old now, but still a great idea. I’m not a great friend of glitter in general, but this application is nice. Plus, maple leaves are so pretty.

Alisa Burke at Redefine Creativity painted her lacy pumpkins with layers of acrylic and dimensional paint:

Lacy Pumpkins

Alisa Burke at Redefine Creativity.

I’m seriously impressed at the detail! The laciness reminds me of batik fabrics – or gingerbread house decorations, if you can believe me. I guess I have Christmas in my head already. 🙂

Scandinavian-style stars were decoupaged on this pumpkin:

Country Living Magazine Oct 2011, via Babble. Photo by Dana Gallagher.

Country Living Magazine Oct 2011, via Babble. Photo by Dana Gallagher.

Country Living Magazine Oct 2011; found via Babble.

Niki and Ali at Papery & Cakery made ombre pumpkins in two color schemes:

Ombre Pumpkins

Niki and Ali at Papery & Cakery.

Niki and Ali’s pumpkins show that Halloween can be any color, not only black and orange!

And, finally, Sherry Petersik’s pumpkins sport a pantyhose:

Sherry Petersik at Young House Love.

Sherry Petersik at Young House Love.

Not painted, but very clever, very quick and minimally messy. Non-messy is always a good thing! 🙂

(Please follow the links for more photos and descriptions by the makers themselves.)

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.