Last Minute Decorating Ideas for Halloween

October 28, 2016, 17:24 pm  Posted by Ardi Alspach

Halloween is nearly upon us! Are you still looking for ideas for your kids or for your own soiree? We have you covered! Check out these two amazing titles for some simple crafts you can do over the weekend.

feltoweencover Barnes & Noble

Celebrate the spookiest day of the year by having some crafty fun! The team behind the popular Fa La La La Felt and Heart-Felt Holidays brings you 40 BOO-tiful decorations and costumes for a festive Halloween. Requiring little or no stitching, these felted projects are 100% beginner friendly, including pumpkin candy bags, a huggable vampire stuffy, a creepy crawly wreath, and plenty of ears, headbands, and other wearables for revelers young and old.


Barnes & Noble

These 30+ costume, pumpkin, and home-decorating ideas are not just beautiful–they are scary beautiful. From unique pumpkin decorations to a “blood”-splashed dinner-party centerpiece to a Yard Specter made from two poles, a string of lights, and torn, draped fabric, these creepy but stylish Halloween projects will give your home a spooky, sophisticated look . . . with gothic flair!


Throwback Thursday: Millie Marotta Easter Eggs!

March 17, 2016, 10:00 am  Posted by Ardi Alspach

The egg-decorating fun doesn’t have to end after the eggs are dyed. Last year, Martha Stewart Online asked Millie Marotta, illustrator of the book Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom: Color Me, Draw Me , to produce some Easter-themed line drawings for a fun egg decorating project! We’re sharing it with you again so you can take advantage of this free project as you decorate for Easter and Spring this year.

Durable decoupage finish, by Martha Stewart Crafts, in Matte, $10 for 8 oz.

Detail scissors
Matte découpage finish and paintbrush
Dyed eggs
Fine-tipped markers
Coloring-book illustrations

1. Download and print out Marotta’s coloring-book illustrations. Cut closely around shapes with detail scissors.

2. For each egg, brush back of drawing with a thin coat of découpage finish. Place illustration where desired on dyed egg; smooth down with your fingers.

3. Let dry 1 hour, then color in design with markers.


Christmas Cat Toy Project

December 15, 2015, 14:48 pm  Posted by Ardi Alspach

tis the season to be feltycat1
We’re deep into holiday crafting season, and while we make ornaments, garlands, and other whimsical gifts for friends and family, let’s not forget about our furry friends as well!

I was inspired by Kathy Sheldon’s ‘Tis the Season to be Felt-y and decided to convert one of the projects into a cute toy for my cat.

Please note that the author hasn’t endorsed the use of her projects in this way, and that the nature of felt makes these toys less sturdy than manufactured cat toys. Please supervise your cat while she’s playing with her handcrafted toy! Additionally, when you’re choosing a project to convert, avoid projects that require glue or beads/buttons. You don’t want your cat to end up eating anything that could be potentially harmful.

On to the project!


The gnome from the stocking project was too cute to pass up even though it involved more pieces to sew than other options in the book. Here are some things to keep in mind when converting a regular felted toy into a cat toy:

1. Double up on your thread to add extra strength to your stitches

2. Keep your stitches close together to help prevent teeth and claws from snagging on them.



3. Add an extra layer of felt behind the outer layer to help keep the top layer sturdy.

4. Don’t forget to buy catnip for the filling! I alternated layers of catnip with layers of fiber fill, but you can also make a separate pouch of catnip to insert into the body of the toy before sewing it up.


Pause for a “cat scan.” She has to be sure you’re putting in enough catnip!





5. Again, due to the nature of felt, this is not a project that’s meant to last forever. Keep an eye on your cat to make sure she’s not shredding through it too quickly!

6. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Whether for cats or kids, everyone loves a bit of whimsy with a handmade toy. Imperfect stitches just adds a flair of individuality!


Recipe: Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake

December 11, 2015, 11:17 am  Posted by Ardi Alspach

cheescakeI have a confession to make. I’m one of the rare people in the United States that does not like pumpkin flavored things. Pumpkin pie is the bane of my holidays, and it’s always the pie of choice at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings! But now, I am a changed woman. Marilyn Kretzer, editorial director of Lark Crafts, has made the most delicious cheesecake I have ever had. In fact, I am eating a piece of this delicious dessert right now, and it’s making it difficult to type.

If you want to really wow your guests this holiday season, I beg you to make this cheesecake. Even friends and family who profess to dislike all things pumpkin will be in love. I’ve persuaded Marilyn to share this with us, and I hope you enjoy it! Happy Holidays!



by Marilyn Kretzer

one cup graham crackers crumbs
1/2 cup peacan pulverized into crumbs
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

2 1/2 lbs cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon
7 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups pumpkin puree (either fresh or canned)

Preheat oven to 425. Melt butter. In a small food processor, grind pecans to consistency of crumbs. Do the same with graham crackers. In small bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, and brown sugar. Add melted butter and bourbon and mix together. Press crumb mixture into 9″ spring-form pan and bake for 8 minutes.

To make the filling, set your mixer on low and add cream cheese one bar at a time. Add sugar once all of the cream cheese has been thoroughly beaten. Increase speed of mixer for 2-4 minutes until the cream cheese and sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, bourbon, cinnamon and cloves and mix for another minute. With the beater on low, add eggs one at time until thoroughly blended.  Add the sour cream and continue mixing for another minute. Add pumpkin and mix for another minute. Be sure to scrape the side of the bowl throughout the process.

Wrap the bottom of spring-form pan in tin foil. Pour mixture into cooled off the crust. Place a roasting pan with one inch of water into the oven carefully, then place the cake into roasting pan.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Lower oven to 300 and continue baking for one hour and fifteen minutes. Turn the oven off and crack open the oven door and leave cake in over for one hour to prevent cracking. Wrap in tin foil and chill over night or for eight hours.

Either top the cake with a sprinkle of confectionery sugar, or serve with whipped cream.