Tuesday, September 28, 2021

10 Artists That Will Get You Into The Cute & Cuddly Halloween Spirit

Halloween really started early this year, and this sweaty Florida swamp-dweller approves. For some reason I'm feeling Fall like never before, and I just can't get enough of all the pumpkins and ghosts and cute little bats in my feeds. It's all so warm and cozy, minus the sunburns and 400% humidity.

If you're feeling Fall, too, then I've got 10 artists here to get you further into the holiday spirits. Yep, hold on to your PSLs, witches, it's about to get SPOOPY CUTE in here!

Starting with the clay creations of Maikki May Darling Designs:

Come on. How adorable are these??

Maikki specializes in these little ghosties:

Which is appropriate, since I am now ded.


How about a little Hocus Pocus from Laura Ellen Anderson?

Laura is also an author, and she's written (and illustrated!) a whole series about Amelia Fang here:

Look how fun the box set is!

Now even your kids' reading material can be seasonally appropriate.  :)


Next some precious pumpkins and forest witches by Keepers of Nature:

Each little witch has their own accessories and squee-worthy animal assistants:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Our Project Reveal At "Give Kids The World"!

Hiya! Remember when I mentioned this last month?

Our friend Arielle is a theme park designer, and she does some really cool volunteer work, like this mystery project. And since the big grand opening was a few weeks ago, now I get to show you what it is, and what we did!

The cave tunnel is at Give Kids The World, the free charity resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. They have a little train ride there called the JJ Express, which recently got a Jurassic themed makeover. The cave tunnel was turned into an archeological dig, complete with faux dinosaur bones and - here's where we come in - cave paintings.

A quick peek at the train ride from GKTW's Facebook page.

The cave paintings needed to look like real cave paintings, so something like this:

... but they also needed to be paintings of dinosaurs.

(Don't come for me, historians, GKTW is a place of wonder and whimsy, aight? :p)

The three of us were given free rein on the designs, but that much responsibility freaked us out, ha. So thankfully one of the project directors e-mailed some sketches to use. We took the sketches, projected them onto the walls, and arranged a story scene.

We traced everything with chalk, then filled in with extras like footprints and hand prints.

Arielle brought 3 different paint colors: we used one for the fire, one for the people, and one for the dinos.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Before & After: Our New Entryway With A Vintage Style Locker Wardrobe

John built a new thing!

And this time it's for our house.


It took us forever to finish all the details, but I'm finally here with some fun before and after pics.

So let's do this.

First, the oh-so-underwhelming "Before":

This is our entryway, that's the front door on the left. I didn't even try to tidy it up for the photo; I'm serving up a lukewarm slice of REAL LIFE right heah.

This area hasn't changed much in over a decade, except for the addition of the recycling bin. The coat stand is broken and leans to the side, all our store returns & "Free Stuff" bin get dumped on the bench, and much as I love the balloon wall hooks, they only add to the cluttered look.

I wanted something streamlined here that would hide everything: coats, purses, hats, the recycling bin, all the craft goods stored in the current bench, PLUS hold extra bins for our store returns and garage flotsam, since we tend to drop things that go in the garage on that bench, too.

I also wanted it small enough to have display space on top, have a vintage flair, and be themed to fit with the Wonderland room, since it's in the same space:

Remember this? We made over this room in April of 2020, more pics here if you missed it.

Anyway that's the front door, so the entry area is just off camera to the right. Now you know why I didn't show it before. :p

Here's the design John came up with:

I know it doesn't look complicated, but this was such a struggle to nail, lemme tell ya.

Better yet, let me SHOW you. So here's that "before" again:

And, After!

Friday, September 17, 2021

3 Halloween DIYs Using Dollar Tree Baby Dolls That You'll Either Find Funny & Cute Or Super Creepy

 Today we're dismembering baby dolls, my friends, but it's all in the name of creepy/cute Halloween crafts. John tells me this time of year brings out my "weird and morbid" side, so let me apologize now for just HOW amusing I find these DIYs. I'll try to keep my shrill cackling to a minimum.

NOW. Let me show you how to take these Dollar Tree baby dolls:

... and turn them into THREE different Halloween crafts, using 3 different parts of the same dolls, in 3 varying degrees of "oh no you DID NOT" creepitude. Whether you like cutesy, creepy, or white-knuckled terror, I promise this post has something for everyone!

To ease you in, let's start with the cutest craft:

My pumpkin head babies!

When I was working on these I did a Very Scientific Poll and discovered *most* of you agree they're more cute than creepy - but I do like that they have that edge, to keep things interesting:

You can blame Over The Garden Wall for this inspiration, or more accurately, Rachel Maksy and her Over The Garden Wall-inspired pumpkin lady, which John just now walked in, saw on my screen, and demanded I remove, bahaha.

Here, I'll make the photo small, John, maybe that will help:

::squints:: Orrrrrr not.

Anyhoo, my Pumpkin Babies are easy-peasy and fun to make. Everything you need is at Dollar Tree: the doll itself, a foam pumpkin, 2 or 3 silk flowers, and a little decorative ribbon for the waistband:

That's about $3 per baby, a frighteningly good deal.

First, pop off the baby's head. This is best done in front of friend during casual conversation for maximum impact. (Sorry, Arielle.)

Be sure to set the baby head aside... for later. ::eyebrow waggle::

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Yip Yip Stockings, A Kitchen Kabaret Throwback, & The Labyrinth Chess Set You Must See!

I noticed several of my favorite things online lately have been Jim Henson related, so today we are embracing the theme.

Starting with these oh-so-fantastic Yip-Yip Christmas stockings by Carissa Browning:

Of course these don't have to be Christmas stockings; I bet they'd also be perfect for holding plastic bags in the kitchen, or umbrellas, or hair ties, or maybe even - gaspity gasp - cats??

John! I have a new pet bed idea!

If you visit that link on Ravelry you'll find lots of pictures from folks who've made these. Look at this fabulous rainbow row:

::flailing:: Y'all, the last (and only) time I tried crochet I set out to make a scarf and ended up with a bag, but these make me want to try again.

Also did you know the Yip Yips are actually saying "Yep"?

John and I are re-watching Brooklyn 99 right now and I'm getting some serious Jake Peralta energy here.

Yep yep yep, no doubt no doubt no doubt.


Hang on, I have more!

Autumn Jesme shared some baby pics for her little Oskar and they are ADORABLE:

Friday, September 10, 2021

Dragon Con 2021: The Funniest Cosplay You Missed

What, you thought just because I wasn't at Dragon Con this year I wouldn't have any cosplay roundups?



 I spent most of my free time this last week relentlessly seeking out and saving the funniest, punniest, and overall best of the best cosplays to share with y'all, which has been such a blast.

Let's start off strong with the most popular fandom all weekend: Loki. Dragon Con's famous Marriott lobby was actually featured in the show, so you knew folks were going to have a field day making their own variants, right?

Well never fear, because it looks like the Time Variant Authority is here to prune both Totoro-ki and Ky-loki:

(via tjblackburn 81)

Ky-loki, y'all. C'mon. GIVE IT UP. 

Ahh, but wait, I think I can do you one better. In fact, this may be the punniest cosplay of the whole con this year. I'll give you a sec - can you guess who this is?

Did you guess?

Look again. Now?

She's the Delta Variant, y'all.

I'm not sure if that's a wink or a wince, Tom, but really, either works.

I also have to show you this adorable Miss Minutes:

The mask! The clock purse! The TVA belt buckle! I hope she wears this to Disney's next Dapper Day.

Now the coolest TikTok pruning EVER:

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

IT'S FINALLY TIME. My Spirit: Halloween 2021 Store Tour!

Who's ready for some spirited Halloween shopping?


Hey, we're into September now. That counts as Fall.

John and I were actually there the day after our Spirit stores opened, and we went to three different locations to find all the good stuff. (Patience? I don't know her.) One was a flagship store with all the giant displays and animatronics, which we gleefully set about triggering one at a time. Don't worry, I took plenty of video for y'all, but if you can't watch this right now keep scrolling for the photo tour:

I have lots more photos of merch that isn't in the video, so let's gooooo.

But first another look at the fun entryway:

It's a shame Mr. Hale Knope guards the Carv-O-Matic, because the conveyor belt & skeleton workers are so cute!

Friday, September 3, 2021

I Just Binge-Watched Centaurworld In 2 Days, Here's My Favorite Part

Last week on a whim I started watching Centaurworld on Netflix. This is a new show, and going by the preview pic alone I expected a bizarre Adventure Time kind of vibe:


I should mention I never really liked Adventure Time, so my expectations... were low. 

In a matter of seconds, though, I was yanked into the most riveting 3 minute intro. Completely unexpected, completely stunning... I was hooked. 

Now that I've watched all 10 episodes of the first season, I can confidently say that if you don't like Centaurworld after the first few minutes, walk away. This is not a series that takes time to hit its stride: it starts at its peak, maintains that level for about 5 episodes, then slowly declines in the final 5 episodes, though still with occasional moments of greatness. (At least for me, your mileage may vary.)

Centaurworld is a roller coaster of contradictions: it combines a beautiful, heart-wrenching emotional arc with fart jokes and absurdities. So while it does have that wacky Adventure Time vibe I was dreading (not judging, just not my jam) it also has enough depth and characters I instantly cared for to string me along 'til the end.

I'm not trying to convince you to watch Centaurworld, because it's definitely not for everyone. I just want you to watch the one-minute opening song with me, because it's haunting my brain in the best way, and I think more people should be talking about it:

You're OK
You're alright
I'll never ever leave your side
I will stay
I will fight
With you

You're OK
You're alright
I'll stay here through the darkest night
All the way
I will fight
With you

I played this for John, and after a second of stunned silence he demanded, "How is this song in THAT SHOW?!" Then he brought it up on Youtube and we listened to it three more times. :D

John's not the only one befuddled; here's the top comment on Youtube:

Yep. THAT.

If you're a Broadway fan you might recognize the voice from Rider's Lullaby, btw: it's Jessie Mueller of Waitress fame. I've never seen Waitress, but I do like to watch this Tony performance on Youtube from time to time for a good cry, so I love her. 

Centaurworld has tons more songs - I think nearly 30? - but only a few other stand-outs. My second favorite, "What You Need" by First Aid Kit, is another stunner:

That harmony, right? This episode was my favorite.

I hope this made your day at least 20% more beautiful, even if the first song made your eyes leak. I think we all could use a reassuring lullaby right now to remind us we're not fighting alone. ::hugs::

Anyone else watching Centaurworld? What do you think?

Or for everyone else, what's your go-to "good cry" songs? Link me up!


  P.S. We had so many folks enter the Squeegineer give-away this month (turns out y'all really like dino mirrors) that we're picking 4 winners instead of just 2 or 3. So congrats to Angela B., Shannon E., Julie F., & Tricia H.! Please check your inboxes for a message from John, gang, so you can choose your prizes. We'll be making extra mirrors so at least 2 of you can choose a set, plus I added new options to the prize board, so be sure to check that out.

If you didn't win this round, remember you can enter now for my August drawing, it's free!