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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Costume Parade

It’s a Leisure Arts tradition. Every year on Halloween, our costumed employees parade around our fountain in hopes of winning the Costume Contest. Here are some pics of my favorites:

Patti (She made her costume from duct tape!)


Tina (Now her husband wants her to go duck hunting with him.)

Rob (our computer guru…)

Jean (a good witch?)

Mark (prepress director)

Sharon & a Friend

Susan & guest dessert contest judge Jane (I covet Susan’s dress!)

Rick (our president/CEO)

The Witches of EastWing (our Art Department)

The Dominoes (from the Warehouse)

And that’s all the costumed ghoulies I caught before my camera battery died on me…

Happy Halloween to all of you from all of us here at Leisure Arts!

Scary Dessert Contest

While the rest of Leisure Arts was filling up on Witch’s Stew at our Halloween lunch, several brave judges undertook the duty of choosing the winners of our Scary Dessert Contest. Each judge took a little nibble of each gruesome treat.

There were teeth…

Brains and a grave…

More brains (we’re a brainy bunch), bloody eye pie, & another graveyard…

A Haunted Cemetery or Le Cimetiere Hante, Blood & Guts Cobbler, and bloody Bandaids…

I’m now so full of chili and sugar that it’s scary!

Witch’s Stew

We’re cooking up a Witch’s Stew for our company Halloween lunch today at Leisure Arts! (That’s Sheila stirring up the Stew!)

Want the recipe? (It’s really chili!)

Garden Chili

1 package (16 ounces) frozen vegetable gumbo mix (okra, corn, celery, onion, and sweet red pepper)

2 cans (16 ounces each) pinto beans, undrained

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans,, undrained

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: about 12 cups chili

As you can see from the photo, we’re cooking ours in crockpots (4 hours on high). We also added browned ground beef to some of the pots to make the carnivores happy!

Happy Halloween!

Hope all of you had a wonderfully spooky Halloween weekend! How many of you are still celebrating? The Leisure Arts Halloween festivities don’t start until lunch time, so check back off and on today to see what we’re up to…

In the meantime, return to consuming your fair share of your kids’ Halloween candy while they’re not looking…

{Oh, and that’s PunkCat—all decked out in our Duct Tape Cat Halloween Costume!}

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hat Crocheting Continues…

Hope you’re having a grand Sunday! I’m still crocheting hats for charity. Remember the little hat kits I put together for myself from a pattern in Kay Meadors’ Teach a Group of Kids to Crochet so I could crochet brainlessly anywhere?

I finished all but one of them! These starter kits were one of the best ideas I’ve had in awhile—perfect for picking up and putting down!

This is the one I haven’t finished—’cause I’ve put it somewhere safe…somewhere I could find it when I wanted it…but now I can’t remember just where that is…

So instead, I’m using purple yarn (I think it’s Lion Brand Vanna) and working on a hat from The Crochet Dude Drew Emborsky’s great little book—In All Caps. (I love the size of this book. It fits right in my take-it-with-me bag!)

I’m crocheting Drew’s Cabled Tam which features Back Post and Front Post Double Crochets plus, obviously, Cables. It’s rated Easy and worked in the round. I’m having to pay attention to what I’m doing, so it’s not a TV watching pattern, but rather a—the family’s still asleep, weekend kind of project. Perfect for today! I like what I’ve accomplished so far!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Accidental Quilt Collecting

I’ve always loved quilts—especially handmade vs. store bought ones, and the older (more broken in) the better. Even as a little kid, my mother said I would drag a little quilt around with me (kinda like Linus???). Here’s that very quilt—

I’m not going to tell you how old it is, but the ladies in my mother’s home extension club made it for her when she was expecting me. (Hush, Leisure Arts Ladies…I know you know how old I am.) Do Ladies Home Extension Clubs even still exist?

And, now, however many years later, I still haven’t broken myself of the habit of dragging quilts around with me. In fact, with no real intent or plan on my part, I seem to accidentally have a quilt collection. (The Love-Of-My-Life has quietly requested that I cease adding to my collection ’cause we’re running out of room for it!)

Here’s just a peek at the appliquéd Sunbonnet Sue quilt I found years ago in my mother’s closet. It’s so ragged from repeated washings…

This is the first quilt I ever bought—a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. I just love the different colors and fabrics and admire all the work that must have gone into sewing all those little pieces together.

I wish I could take a good enough picture so you could see the little tiny monkeys riding orange elephants on these petals!

Then I had to have this Trip Around the World quilt. I bought it at an estate sale, but I don’t think it’s old. It’s the quilt I sleep under every night. (I’ve also heard the Trip Around the World pattern called Sunshine and Shadows because the fabrics change from light to dark and back again signifying the good and bad, the ups and downs, in life.)

Next was a Wedding Ring Quilt. Once again I fell for all the multicolored old fabrics, and you’ve got to be impressed by the talented quilter who could tackle curved quilting so beautifully. Plus who can resist the symbolism of the Wedding Ring pattern?

This is what I call my Bow Tie quilt. I don’t have a clue what the real name of the pattern is (anybody?). I just liked the shapes and old fabrics.

My appliquéd Heart quilt—this is the quilt that lives on my chair in the den and gets used on a daily basis. (The Love-Of-My-Life tries to freeze me to death summer and winter.) My dear mother-in-law made this quilt for me and admonished me not to save it but to use it!

And last but not least, the quilt I’m trying desperately to save—a Crazy quilt. Old, tattered, moth eaten, and in need of help, it’s still very, very cool. You won’t find the silks, satins, or velvets in this quilt that you often see in most of the Crazy variety. Instead, it’s made from basic sturdy cottony fabrics—but the embroidery that you want in traditional Crazy quilts is definitely here. Check out some close ups—

a four-leaf clover…


a wishbone…

and there are lots of flowers!

I’d love to find a way to display this quilt where no more harm could come to it. Any suggestions?

Hope you enjoyed my quilts. I have more…but these are my favs! Do you have a favorite quilt? Share a photo with us on Facebook!

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Fall Pincushions

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve got a thing for Fall. (Remember the Leaf Pincushions last month?) Love the weather, love the leaves, and I love the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. Consequently, I whined to our wonderful in-house designers, Anne and Becky, for more Fall-themed pincushion patterns, and look what they came up with—

Pumpkin Pincushions

orange fabric
black or brown embroidery floss


1. Cut a circle from fabric. (Becky started with an 8-1/2" square for her big pumpkin, and I used a 5" charm pack square for my tiny one.)

2. Fold the fabric edge over and use three strands of floss to stitch a running stitch around the edge of the fabric circle to create a poof of fabric.

3. Stuff fabric poof with fiberfill and secure floss.

4. Starting on the bottom middle of the cushion, use floss to create the pumpkin segments, pulling firmly.

5. Run needle through one hole of a stack of 2-hole buttons and back through second hole for stem and secure stem to pumpkin.

Acorn Pincushion

(Anne used pretty tan, green, and brown supplies for her design. All I could find in my supply cabinet to use for step-by-step photos was goldish, grey, and red. Sorry…)

scrap felt
fabric glue
2-1/2" dia felt ball
medium rick rack


1. Cut acorn stem from scrap of felt.

2. Glue stem to top of ball.

3. Starting in middle of ball and gluing as you go, wrap approximately half of ball with rick rack for cap.
4. Done!

So I’ve indulged once again in my obsession with Autumn. What’s your favorite traditional symbol for Fall?

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