Not A Pink Girl

Witches, Witches, Witches: Selections by Helen Hoke

May 10, 2010
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Witches, Witches, Witches Witches, Witches, Witches by Helen Hoke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a wondrous book. If you liked Women Who Run With The Wolves, you’ll enjoy this old book of legends & fairy tale stories. The illustrations by W. R. Lohse are spooky, but the stories are allegorical & thought-provoking. My favorite was Oscar Wilde’s “The Fisherman and His Soul.” I’ll always remember it.

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Reader’s Digest Tricks & Treats: The Ultimate Halloween Book

August 15, 2009
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Tricks and Treats Tricks and Treats by Deborah Harding

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a useful book to have on your craftroom shelf. When you get back from your summer vacation at the seashore, browse this book while you listen to the crickets sing in the morning after you get the kids off to their first days of school. If you look around you, there are signs of autumn everywhere: spider webs on the lawn, yellow leaves falling on the sunniest & warmest of early-September days, morning glories that look (if possible) even more glorious after enjoying a little bit of coolness overnight. Crickets still scratching away as late as 10 AM are a sure sign that harvest fun must be just around the corner.

The introductions to each of the chapters in this book transported me away from the heat & humidity of summer to the cooler days of early autumn. They are a nice addition to the craft instructions & really got me in the Halloween mood.

There are quite a few of what I call “cheesy crafts” in this book, but it’s desirable anyway because of the detailed directions & easily-photocopied patterns. I like the addition of a “General Directions” section in the back. I’ve been sewing & crocheting since I was 7 years old, but this old dog really could use some new tricks, as well as a brushing-up on the old ones.

The Smiling Scarecrow at the beginning of the book is a fun craft that you can put your own unique artistry into & turn out something that the kids will look forward to unearthing from storage every September 21. I like the simple but satisfying Hanging Ghosts – the ones that use balloons & simple papier-mache -because the finished product really is adorable. You won’t feel guilty about just throwing these away after Halloween because you’ll look forward to making them again next year, so storing them doesn’t have to be a concern. I thought these would be particularly spooky if you put a string of mini-lights inside or around their circumference.

There’s a lengthy section on kids’ costumes. There are so many inexpensive Halloween costumes available at the big-box discount stores that I wouldn’t put all the time & energy into making one myself. Use your time sitting with your feet up with a cup of apple-cinnamon tea & a book of Victorian ghost stories while the kids are at school or out playing. Remember: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. The makeup tips are useful & fun, though.

The Pumpkin Head Family is fun & I bet you find more than a couple of new ideas for a comical front-porch display. I love how the authors used the pumpkins’ stems as noses. And you don’t have to make a huge mess carving the pumpkins to give your gourd true personality.

The Fun Foods section includes lots of doable “recipes” that will delight your little partygoers. I know my grandchildren especially love to decorate cookies (& then immediately eat them, of course).

The highlight of this book, for me, was the fusible-web Scaredy Cat quilt, Halloween wall-hanging & pillows. I don’t use fusible web often, but I know it’s easy & quick. I would make the Scaredy-Cat quilt with antique reproduction fabric to make it look like it’s vintage. My mind started to race with possibilities looking at these three projects. I also like things I can hang on the wall or use as whimsical decor touches in the living room.

Check Amazon for this book from used-book sellers. I bet you can find it for not more than a couple of dollars & you’ll turn to it throughout the year. I love Halloween no matter what month of the calendar it is.

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Spooky Halloween Crafts: 35 Hauntingly Easy Projects and Decorating Tips by Susan Cousineau

August 12, 2009
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Spooky Halloween Crafts Spooky Halloween Crafts by Susan Cousineau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was a little worried when I opened this book & immediately thought, “Cheesy crafts.” But I was pleasantly surprised as I continued to read. The author has some good (& unique) tips about crafting that I found useful. I like the Black Cat Candy Cup (& a ghost & pumpkin version) made from Styrofoam balls & instant papier mache. This is a fairly easy craft that could turn out some heirloom-worthy art if you really put your own original spin on the painting & decoration. Also, the Pumpkin Pin Pal (with ghost & cat versions) are really adorable, easy & downright fun. Love the use of “baby bracelet” beads on the ghost pin spelling out BOO. The Frankenstein pizza box is a comical way to recycle that bane of every trash collector’s existence. There’s also a recipe for Cookie Monster Pizza (a big chocolate chip cookie with gummy worms) to put inside the box. I think these would be good crafts for all the kids in the family (that bid kid named Mom especially).

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