Batty for Halloween

Bat quilt

Being an American, living in the UK, there are a variety of things that I miss (and don’t miss). I miss boxed cheesy macaroni. The kind with the silver package of artificial cheese spread that you squeeze out of the packet onto steaming hot macaroni shells. I swear they put some addictive chemical in that cheese because, while I’m all for homemade, there ain’t no homemade mac&cheese I’ve tasted that compared to what’s in that box.

Sad.

Another thing I miss? Halloween. Celebrated properly. With lots of little kids dressed up in the neighborhood, ringing doorbells, shouting trick or treat. Candy corn. Caramel apples. My grandma used to give out caramel apples as treats. Mind you, she lived in the country side and you had to be driven there to get them, so she didn’t have to make many. Scarecrows on porches. Pumpkins as decorations. Jack-o-lanterns at every house. Over the past decade or so that I’ve lived in the UK, Halloween has started to be more celebrated here but it hasn’t reached anything remotely approaching US standards. I try my best to encourage the neighbors to get into it by putting up Halloween decorations. I even screeched to a halt in my car the other day when I was going by a specialty greengrocer that happened to have small gourds for sale. Some of them are now sitting on my windowsill for decoration. The acorn squash, quite difficult to find here, is now in my belly.

A decoration I recently completed was my Batty for Halloween quilt, which I briefly mentioned before. I bought some Halloween fabric a couple of years ago when I was in the US during that season and finally found the perfect pattern to make with them. I mean, really perfect pattern!

I used a seam ripper a bit on this one as I did have trouble getting the bat wings from the 3 columns lined up. But the quilt top went together in an afternoon so it wasn’t that bad!

DSC04154

Because I didn’t have a specific project in mind when I bought the fabric, I only had a fat quarter of the fabric I ended up liking for the backing, and it wasn’t quite wide enough for the quilt top. So I cut some squares from my Halloween fabric scraps and added them to the backing fabric.

Halloween fabric

I machine quilted using stitch in the ditch but, because I followed the bat outlines, you see bats on the back too. Which I’m really loving. Look closely and I hope you can see them too.

quilted bat outline

Then, because I miss candy corn so much, not only did I have candy corn bats, but I bound the quilt with that fabric too.

binding fixed

I’m working on more homemade Halloween decorations. Soon I’ll have too many and I’ll be completely over the top. It’s just part of my nostalgia! Do you celebrate Halloween?

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Blog hop? Who me?

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I haven’t been blogging long but have already found such a welcoming spirit in this electronic world. I was nominated by the very talented Hayley Margaret from A Stitch to Scratch (don’t you just love, love, love that blog name!) to participate in a crafty blog hop. I’m not sure where it originated but I’m so surprised but also chuffed to be included! I answer 4 questions below and then get to nominate two other bloggers to participate.

Why do I write?

Most of what I write is really formal, related to work. Lots of technical words, no flowery adjectives allowed, precision writing that takes care and a lot of time. All important and necessary, but lacking personality. When I decided to start a blog, so that I could keep ‘fieldnotes’ on my fabric and flour projects, it also gave me the opportunity to write in my informal voice, the way I would talk to a friend. For me, blog writing is a really quick way to express my creativity, whereas my professional writing is a slower way to describe a different aspect of my creativity.

What am I working on?

I’ve got so many projects, both fabric and flour, that I’m either in the middle of or want to start. To keep track of my fabric projects, I made my own clip boards, out of card board and a bull dog clip, backed the clip board with crafting paper that had quilt-y themes, and then printed my lists using free downloadable backgrounds and fonts (thanks, Pinterest!). I have four which hang next to my cutting table.

mini quilt clipboard

I’m after some washi tape to dress up the bull dog clips and make them look less…boring.

But what I really need to finish is this Halloween quilt.

bat quilt top

Bat quilt top

backing of bat quilt

Quilt back

I “only” have to make it into a quilt. I like piecing quilt tops together, but haven’t embraced quilting yet. To finish in time for this Halloween, I’ll probably just stitch in the ditch, and grumble the whole time. I hope to post about this project soon.

For flour projects, my workplace is sponsoring a charity bake-off on Thursday, which I’ve entered. My planned bake has 6 layers and includes macarons. I’ll be posting about whether this went to plan (or not!) later this week.

How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Hmmm….Uh….[long pause]. I was inspired by a lot of baking and quilting blogs. And something I noticed in the ones I found particularly inspiring was that I got a real sense of the passion and personality of that person. So in some ways, I hope my blog isn’t that different from others of its genre, because I want to share my passion for crafting and baking, in my own voice. If that happens to inspire someone to do a particular project or make a particular bake, then I’d be chuffed about that too. Oh, and the pictures on my blog are different (read: worse) than other blogs – definitely a skill I need to improve!

How does my writing process work?

I literally just sit down and write as if I was talking to a close friend. Although in normal speech I probably swear…And I keep a list of ideas for posts and work on them when the moment strikes. Blogging has also meant that I need to keep crafting and baking so that I can keep posting. It’s my own way to keep myself inspired and motivated.

The blogs I’d like to nominate next week are:

First, don’t forget to follow A Stitch to Scratch! Then, when you’ve done that, you should check out these relatively new bloggers. This took me awhile because there are so many inspiring blogs out there. But…I finally chose based not only on content but, because I want to improve my photography, I’ve chosen blogs whose photos I very much admire. They also happen to be hosted by couples.

I’d like to nominate Perelincolors, a blog about travel to gorgeous places. I love their “About” page too because their posts are inspiring – just what they set out to do. They are also relatively new bloggers and so I’d like to give a shout out to them.

My second nomination is for Amaryllislog. A mix of fabulous photography and entertaining commentary on life, crafts, cooking, nature, and did I mention the photos? This is a more established blog and I’m sure I can learn a lot from them.