Crafty Halloween

I have been working on my first ever homemade Halloween decorations this year, Christmas usually gets in the way!

Anyway I thought it would be nice to share with you my creations and hopefully I can inspire you to do the same.    I have tried to keep them friendly, as I don’t really want lots of blood, guts and gore in my living room. So I settled on bugs and bats!

My first point of call was Pinterest. If you go onto my Pinterest page (for which there is a link at the bottom of my web home page), you will find all the original links where I adapted some ideas I found on there. The first project was actually completed by my daughter Annelies, she will shortly be publishing a tutorial on how to make it, but the finished result is this gorgeous bat cushion. She used purple velvet and black felt for the bats. It turned out really well and was really easy to make.

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Next on the list was a quilted wall hanging. This is a piece of fabric I bought a couple of years ago and never used. So I put wadding inside, quilted around some of the designs with an open toe embroidery foot and added a couple of spiders on my digital embroidery machine. It has pride of place above my fire place.

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Next was a labour of love, again the idea was found on Pinterest however I made it much larger and grander! This fits my dining table and it is a fabric with a purple sheen to it that I had in my fabric stash! It is a stiff fabric like they use on ball gowns. I drew a freehand spider web with chalk, I didn’t want it to be totally symmetrical. Then I set my machine to a zig zag stitch, and reduced the length to 0.4 and off I went. I did the first couple with wide zig zags and gradually reduced the stitch width as I came towards the middle of the web. Then after I had finished I randomly did a running stitch around to give it a more authentic spider web feel! Now for a spider! I have the luxury of a digital embroidery machine, so I stitched a spider in the middle and an unfortunate moth on the side. After trimming off the edges it was done. It can even be washed in the machine.

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Then for some mandatory Halloween bunting!  Made with a polyester satin fabric, I embroidered some bugs, this one is my favourite! I stitched in some tassels I had in my supplies and overlapped the bunting and it is now hanging in front of my fireplace.

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Next on the list was to decorate my candelabra which I put up occasionally when we have a nice dinner or something. I used the same bat template as my daughter used for her cushion and threaded ribbon through the bats, attaching some Halloween charms (readily available on Etsy), and then simply tied them on.

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Well that is Halloween complete, I had fun making it all and I am sure they will come out year after year, along with the pumpkins. Let me know what you think.

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Dotty Bobbin x

Sewing aids Mindfulness

Sewing has an ability to bring together people from all walks of life, it is not an expensive activity (unless you want to spend a lot, then you can!), you can sew at pretty much any age, and some have been sewing all their lives, some complete novices inspired by recent television programmes and some have not sewn since they were at school, and now recently retired they have found the time and inclination to try it again. An unlikely group of friends thrown together round a table because we all want to learn to sew.

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WHY?  This quotation sums it up nicely. “I like to surround myself with creative people. They love life in such a contagious way that can’t often be put into words” (Rachel Wolchin) Well, as we become friends in our sewing classes, discussions move from the weather to other matters and  it became apparent that we come from all walks of life. Some are counsellors, lay ministers, doctors, mums, hairdressers, beauticians, business owners, secretaries and many more. What I have found is that almost all of us have found that sewing offers a positive outlet for stress, and mindfulness. Mindfulness is about learning to live in the present, and appreciate and observe what is happening now. Sewing requires concentration on the present task in hand, allowing our brains have some down time from the daily grind of our lives, where we spend so much time planning the future and dwelling on the past.  It is a positive activity where at the end we are able to feel a sense of achievement for what we are learning, even when we make mistakes, it means that next time we are less likely to make these mistakes, and we try to look for these positives whilst we are sewing. The unpicker becomes our best friend!

It is a hobby where we are able to talk to others whilst sewing. Through our conversations I have discovered that a large number of my students have suffered from depression at some point in their life, and all of them find that sewing is mostly therapeutic. I have no experience of depression myself, but I can clearly see the benefit sewing can bring to peoples’ mental health and have witnessed people visibly relax when they start to sew. I am not the first to notice the connection between mindfulness and sewing. There are lots of blogs and articles on the internet about this connection. I urge you to read them and perhaps they will inspire you to take up sewing, if not with me then with someone else, for it is a skill that you can take with you wherever life leads you.

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There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done, one is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow, so today dust off that sewing machine and get creative!

How has sewing helped you to be more mindful? I would love to hear your comments.

http://ecooutthere.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/mindful-sewing/

http://sewhappygeek.co.uk/index.php/2010/12/16/crafting-and-mindfulness-or-how-to-stay-sane-during-the-holidays/