Sunday, September 19, 2010
About a year ago, I picked up a publication called "apronology" by Stampington & Company. I have been a fan of Stampington publications, and this one seemed so interesting. The magazine features dozens of aprons that were painted, elaborately embellished, and made from upcycled materials. I thought maybe I would make an apron.
Then last spring, while driving from upstate New York to Texas (I was driving back with my son from college), we stopped in Bardstown, Kentucky, which is in the middle of bourbon country. We discovered a modest antique store. It was there I bought my first piece of feedsack fabric. What a great start for an apron, I thought.
Back in San Antonio, I took that piece of feedsack, shopped for fabric that would match, and dug through my box of buttons and laces to find the perfect embellishments. I was getting hooked on the process of creating aprons. I sewed the apron (I hadn't sewed anything for years), and it turned out perfect! I was really hooked then, because the apron turned out just the way I had pictured in my mind (my crafts don't always turn out that way!).
Shown below is my first apron.
I made another one, and then another one, and then another one! The most fun I have making these aprons is the thrill of the hunt for materials. I am finding wonderful fellow Etsians who have beautiful feedsack and vintage fabrics. Today I went to one of favorite San Antonio antique stores, Back Alley Antiques at Artisan's Alley, and sorted through a box of old doilies and laces searching for apron embellishments.
Pictured below are some of my other creations:
The reverse side of the apron shown above:
I love the cheery colors of this apron. They remind me of cherries and blueberries!
This Thanksgiving apron lovers everywhere will make or purchase breads, wrap the bakery goods in an apron, and give them to someone who needs a lift up during the holiday season. I have included a link to "National Tie One On Day" to the right. Please visit the sites to find out more about how you can "Tie One On" this holiday season!
I had been considering opening another Etsy shop. I knew I wanted to have items that were tied to the past in some way. Well, here I was with these aprons, and I decided that they were perfect for the first items in my shop. Please visit my new new shop, Summer's Place (named for my youngest granddaughter, Summer). Come back often to find more treasures!
It is funny how many of my posts somehow lead back to my mom. She has been gone for many years now, but I still think of her often. She always wore aprons, and would make little aprons for me, too. I think that my new love of aprons connects me to her somehow.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
When I read that the great people at About.com Parenting and Family Channel were seeking blog posts about Halloween for their October Halloween-Themed Blog Carnival, I had to blog! I love Halloween. I remember as a kid going out on the big night and returning with a huge bag of candy, and boy, was I in kid heaven. As an adult, I have always lived in neighborhoods where Halloween is celebrated in a big way. Houses are decorated and lit up. Parents organize trick-or-treating groups so kids can be safe while they have a great time. There is even a huge fireworks display just blocks from my house that is enjoyed by the neighborhood revelers. Last year, I had over 300 trick-or-treaters, so I have been getting ready since the first of September.
I am on a mission. A mission to spread the word about the fun of cascarones--painted eggshells filled with confetti. Cracked over the heads of unsuspecting friends, the result is giggles, laughter, chuckles, and tee-hees--a guaranteed smile.
Cascarones are catching on as favors for the little ghosts and goblins that come a-knockin’ on Halloween. Moms and dads love them because they are sugar-free. Kids love them because they are so much fun. Using your imagination, the humble egg can be a great Halloween treat!
Although I want everyone to visit my Etsy shop, Gracie's Eggies, and buy dozens of my handmade cascarones, I wouldn't be a very good missionary of confetti fun if I didn't share the cascraones secret with the masses. So, here is your complete guide to making cascarones so you can be the "Rey or Reina" (King or Queen) of Confetti Levity on Halloween.
Before I launch into the tutorial, I must ask that readers heed this warning: no matter how many cascarones you buy or make, you will wish you had more! They are infectious. So make plenty.
food coloring, paint, Easter egg dying kit
tissue used for gift bags
Make sure and read the "TIPS" following these step-by step instructions.
Wash hands after working with the raw egg product.
1. Prepare the eggs by creating a hole at the fat end of the egg. To do this, hold the egg, fat end up, firmly in the palm of one hand. Tap the egg with the blade of a knife, making a break in the egg about one inch long. Tap the egg again, perpendicular to the first crack. This will make an "X" in the top of the egg.
2. "Pick" a hole with your fingers where you have made the starter cracks. The hole should be about one inch in diameter. The holes don't have to be perfect--they will later be covered with a round piece of tissue. Empty the eggs into a bowl for future use (see TIPS for ways to use your eggs). Wash the shells in water with a little bit of bleach added and place them hole side down on a dishtowel to drain until dry.
3. Color the shells with paint or by dyeing as you would Easter eggs (see TIPS for drying your painted eggs). Be creative! Decorate your shells with stickers, paint, markers, and other embellishments (see TIPS for making perfect polka dots on your cascarones).
4. After the shells are dry, fill them with confetti (see TIPS for hints to buying and making confetti). Kids love this part.
5. Cover the hole with tissue paper (see TIPS for tissue paper). Squeeze a small amount of crafter's glue on the rim of the hole you made in the shell (see TIPS for glue suggestions). Place a round of tissue paper over the hole and gently smooth the tissue until the hole is completely covered.
Making cascarones is only half the fun. Now go out and shower your world with confetti (see TIPS for instructions for cracking eggs over heads)!
TIP: Eggshells will probably get into the eggs you have emptied into the bowl. The shells settle to the bottom. If you are going to use the eggs right away, pour the eggs into another bowl, and the shells will remain at the bottom of the original bowl. I learned this tip from Ace of Cakes!
TIP: What are you going to do with all of those eggs? I recommend http://www.marthastewart.com for recipes. You can also freeze eggs to use in cake and cookie recipes.
TIP: I paint my eggs and place them on bamboo skewers, then poke the skewers into the ground until the eggs are dry.
TIP: Do you like my polka dot style of cascarones? Here is my secret for the perfect dot: Dip the eraser-end of a pencil into craft paint and kiss the shell with the eraser. Perfectly round polka dots!
TIP: Where do get confetti? In Texas, you can buy bags of confetti in the party goods aisle at the grocery store for $1 per bag. A bag will fill 7-10 dozen eggs. You can also go to your local printer and ask them to save the circles produced when they drill holes in projects. Another idea is to shred colored paper in a home paper shredder and cut the strips into little squares. You can also buy small bags of specialty confetti (how about spiders?) and add to the paper confetti for a special touch.
TIP: Don't obsess over clean up. The confetti vacuums up easily. If outdoors, the confetti will soon be absorbed into the landscape and causes no harm to the environment.
TIP: I use the most inexpensive crafter's or school glue to adhere the tissue paper to the egg.
TIP: Everyone is using gift bags these days, Save the tissue in the bags to make the tissue circles for cascarones. Smooth the tissue, then accordian fold the tissue. Each pleat should be about three inches wide. Cut circles large enough to cover the holes from the pleated tissue. This method means you can cut about 5-10 circles at a time. Your tissue doesn't have to match the color of your egg. Anything that looks pretty will be fine.
TIP: This is the most important tip. In Texas, kids love to "smash" the eggs directly on the heads. No tears are shed and there are no hard feelings, because everyone knows what they are. Kids who are unfamiliar with the tradition might be shocked and dismayed by being hit on the head. This is how to create a no-tears confetti shower: Hold the egg in one hand about 6 inches over the head of recipient. Crush the egg in the palm of your hand and sprinkle the contents over the head. An alternative to this is to "clap" the cascaron between your hands over the head and then let the confetti rain down.
Posted by Debra Amon at 4:24 PM