About cmratliff

Wife, sewist, reader, writer, and coffee drinker.

Happy Halloween!

Well, no Friday Faves today. I’ve been too busy helping prep for our church’s Harvest Party that was last night. It was a blast!

Hubs and I were Charlie Brown and Lucy from Peanuts. We had a lot of fun. I was going for a winter version of Lucy.



Despite the fact that no one got my costume (even with the props…), especially when I was without my Charlie Brown, I did get a lot of questions on it. People were amazed I found saddle shoes.

Charlie Brown shirt
Navy dress
Saddle shoes
Mustard sweater – Ann Taylor Loft
Burgundy hat

There were lots of great costumes, fun activities for the kids, and, of course, plenty of candy!

Hope you have a happy Halloween! What will you be today?


Friday Faves: Calendars

With the new year around the corner, I’m thinking about calendars. So many to choose fun and fun to use through the year.

  1. Aww, don’t you need a cute, little Darth Vader?
  2. What a cheery desk calendar to lighten up an dreary office space.
  3. I love these adorable little owls, your feathered friends month to month.
  4. I seriously need a perpetual calendar to keep track of birthdays. This floral one is my favorite so far.
  5. Here’s a cool, artsy calendar to decorate your space.
  6. A nice big calendar for the wall – functional and decorative.
  7. A beautiful hymn calendar will keep you singing all year long. An old friend from college has designed these, and I can’t wait to get mine in the mail. (Last day to pre-order is today.)

Friday Faves: Halloween!

Only two weeks til Halloween! Instead of internet finds I’m sharing a bunch of old Halloween costumes. Ahh…nostalgia…

  1. For some reason I was a stoplight freshman year in college. Felt circles taped together and taped on a shirt. I have no idea why. I was a freshman. Who knows what they’re thinking?
  2. Oh high school…so long ago. This was inter-dorm trick-or-treating. A cowgirl is pretty simple to put together if you have the right stuff. Apparently I was missing the cowboy boots though.
  3. Sophomore year I was a strawberry. I made a cool hat out of felt and wore a red shirt. Easy peasy.
  4. This is one of my faves – who remembers “Legends of the Hidden Temple?” I always knew I would’ve been awesome on that game show. You can totally buy these shirts online if anyone wants to relive their childhood. Then we spray painted some bike helmets bright yellow, and wore khaki shorts.
  5. Senior year was a last minute costume as a pirate. Cheapo toy sabre, eye patch, bandana, and some striped tights you can’t see. But the real star of this picture is my roomie as WALL-E. Best. Costume. Ever.
  6. A few years later I did pirates right. This was the first intense year of costume-making. I used a pattern, and it was a lot of work, but totally worth it. Add some props and fishnets, and we were set. We still pull these out when we’re short on time and need a costume.
  7. I whipped up a pirate vest for Colby so she could join in the fun too.
  8. I developed my love for Star Trek late in life, but thank goodness it came. These were pretty easy to put together – t-shirts with black pieces glued/sewn on to mimic Next Generation uniforms. Our com buttons hubs made our of cardboard, painted and glued to safety pins. I especially enjoyed carrying around a phaser all night. One year I want to make a retro ’70s Uhura dress.

I love Halloween, the fantasy and fun of dressing up in costumes, and I’m so glad that as an adult I still have an excuse to. There was no time to make costumes this year, and we thought about reusing but I really wanted to do something new. So we bought several different pieces to create our costumes. And I’m excited about what we came up with! Any guesses?

What will you be dressing up as this year? Do you like the traditional character costumes, or clever pun costumes? Do you like to make or buy your costumes?

Evergreen and Holly

IMG_3275 - cropped

This deep, lush green reminds me of holly bushes and evergreens. Mmm…smell those Christmas trees. The body is made of green wool felt with gray, white, and red accent fabric. Now available in the shop.

My sewing room is currently a disaster, covered with piles of fabric, and party items for our church Harvest Party in two weeks. But underneath it all is a bunch of cut stocking body pieces, ready for assembly. So keep an eye out for more to come – different colored felts, and different patterned fabrics.


I’ve finally finished a runner that had been sitting around for a while. All it needed was some hand stitching to finish the binding, but I just kept ignoring it. But it’s finally done!

I haven’t been able to get any good full-length pictures yet, but I couldn’t wait to post a couple close-ups. This is a reversible autumn/Christmas runner with a chevron design.


The front uses Kate & Birdie Paper Company’s Autumn Woods fabric collection in 2 rows of chevrons with white in between and a border of patterned brown. (This might sound familiar because I used fabric from the same collection for this skirt.) This was my second attempt at chevrons, the first of which ended  disastrously. This time, I was much better about matching up all my squares, and it turned out beautifully.

I quilted on the colored chevrons so it makes a great subtle pattern on the back, which is made of a bunch of Christmas fabric strips of varying widths.


I love how this one turned out. Once I manage to get some good pictures, it’ll be up in the shop.

Friday Faves: Pumpkins

Our church is planning a Harvest Party for the end of October. Researching games and decorations has put pumpkins on the brain. They’re great for decoration, food, games, food, and carving.

  1. I love Starbucks pumpkin bread, and this recipe is pretty darn close.
  2. We did this pumpkin rolling relay at our Harvest party last year, and the kids had so much fun with it. We’ll be trying it again this year. There are also a bunch of other ideas listed on that site.
  3. Anyone remember Homestar Runner? There were a couple years I used these stencils.
  4. A somewhat less messy option for decorating pumpkins by painting them.
  5. I love chili, seems like adding pumpkin could only make it better. I would totally make this with beef though.
  6. I don’t often do much with home decor, but I do love this look.

Elves at Work

I realize it’s not even Halloween yet, but, yes, I’m already looking towards the holidays.

I wanted to make some items for the shop, first of which is a stocking in wool felt – just simple and classic. A friend gave me tons of Christmas fabrics to work with, and I whipped up a prototype.


I used 20% wool felt, which is softer than the 100% acrylic kind, yet still affordable. The stocking has a fold over cuff with hanger, and stitched fabric accents on the heel and toe. The body is sewn together with a decorative overedge stitch in contrasting thread.

I plan to add the option for a big initial on the body too. With Christmas items I want them to be ready to ship, so I’ve started making up a few, but you know how life goes – with sewing just as a side hobby, there are always plenty of other things that come first. Hopefully, I’ll have some stockings up in the shop soon.

But speaking of Halloween, what are you dressing up as this year? Hubs and I haven’t really decided yet, but it might just be a repeat of a year past. I guess it just depends on how much time I have to work on costumes.

Do you have any cheap and easy costume ideas to share? Are you already looking forward to the holidays?