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Halloween Windows!

This was my entire weekend/Monday and Tuesday evening project.

I've always liked the silhouettes that Martha Stewart has on her website for Halloween. This year I thought I'd make my own.

Two blank canvases, one facing the street and one facing the 3-car driveway/parking area of our apartment building.

After Cory and I did a rough sketch of how we wanted the windows to look, I started doing a bunch of research online, using Google's image search to find clip art and movie stills that would work well in silhouette. I cleaned them up in Photoshop, taking out anything extra and blackening the figures. Then I gave them to Cory, who put them together in Illustrator.

Next, we tiled our images, rather like the Rasterbator but using Illustrator. After printing them out, I taped the pages together to make patterns, and then taped the patterns to thick black canvas.

Ghosts were cut out of black chiffon, which was not a pain until they actually needed to be attached to the background fabric. More on that later.

I had originally planned on just using white fabric for the background, but realized it was boring and decided on some autumn-y colors. I looked for cotton that would let light through, and cut them to fit the windowpanes.

Then I sewed the canvas onto the cotton. The tree took forever because the branches were skinny. Smaller objects like bats and spiders were done by hand. There was no time to wash my hair - much more important things had to be done. :)

This was the most tedious part of the project. I'd originally just tacked the ghosts onto the background fabric with thread in a few spots here and there, and then put fray check on the particularly scary edges. But when I held it up to the light I realized you could see the long zig-zag threads behind. So I bought some Liquid Stitch at the fabric store, cut out new ghosts that weren't as badly frayed, and used my seam ripper to dab miniscule amounts of glue onto the edges so that it would dry as invisible as possible. It took me about an evening and a half to do - of course by the third ghost I was going really quickly because I learned a good technique. It always happens that way.

And now the finished windows:

The side window, and a scary man with a machete. I believe this was a photograph of Michael Myers, but I can't remember.

A very fuzzy picture of the front window. (The night setting on the camera looked better as far as light goes, but the shutter is open so long that if you don't have a tripod it gets fuzzy. Sorry.)

One panel, made of four different clip art pictures.

The middle panel. The witch and cat are from the Martha Stewart mag this month, and the spider, cauldron and ghosts are from other random clip art pictures.

The other side panel, with flash because it doesn't have enough light behind it yet to make it a good silhouette. (I need to find a lamp or a row of candles to set on the windowsill behind these suckers.)

Phew. Now it'll take a whole evening to clean up all my sewing supplies which are strewn all over the apartment.



( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2005 05:14 am (UTC)
That looks SO COOL. You could definitely sell that- you should start a decorations website, you do such neat work for Christmas and Halloween!
Oct. 5th, 2005 12:44 pm (UTC)
If I had ideas more often than once a year, I might be good at it. :D
Oct. 5th, 2005 10:39 am (UTC)
ditto the above comment.

those look awesome!
Oct. 5th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
Oct. 5th, 2005 11:41 am (UTC)
Very very cool. I love it!
Oct. 5th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
Really, it was pretty easy to make, if you know how to sew. 'Twas fun!
Oct. 5th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
*hangs head in shame* I am not a true domestic goddess. I can not sew to save my life. Seriously. I just lack the patience.
Oct. 5th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I do too. Night before last was frustrating because I sewed a seam that was really REALLY crooked and I had to take it all apart. But I figure I'm not going to get better at it unless I work through the frustration and just DO it.
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
That looks amazing! It's much better with the Fall colors than just white...you need to try out for the next Martha Stewart Apprentice.
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
Eww. Have you seen that show? It's baaaaad. :D

I'd much rather try out for the Craft Death Match one on the craft channel or somewhere. That one was funnier.
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, and I always laugh how at the end she feels the need to write them a letter--it pisses me off. You don't see Donald writing a letter! I also find it funny how the people who self-define as "creative types" aren't really, and they are having the most difficulty. So clearly I hate it, but watch it.
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:21 pm (UTC)
The regular Apprentice is much better, though it's still not all that great. But I loved Martha trying to soften the blow with the letters. "Don't think of it as failing, just think of it as not succeeding." Hahahah!
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC)
Hey, I am so going to use that! Today, in fact!
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
Aww, poor employee. I'll write them a letter.
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC)
Man, those are terrific!
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 5th, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC)
Very cool. I like the witch one the best.
Oct. 5th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)
I think I like the tree the best, even though I wish I would have put it on lighter background so you can see it a little better. But I do like the witch one a lot too. Have you seen the Martha Stewart magazine that has her on the cover?
Oct. 5th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
Nope, haven't seen that. Yeah, I was thinking I would have put orange behind the tree. It still looks neat, though.
Oct. 5th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oct. 5th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
Meg that looks AWESOME!!!
Oct. 5th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It'll look even better when I take them down and put binding tape on the edges!
Oct. 6th, 2005 03:24 am (UTC)
Those just look fantastic! You've taken a great idea and executed it well. I must take my daughter over there for a drive by...
I just love this time of year! :-)
Oct. 6th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC)
Well, don't come by yet 'cause they're not completely finished, but give me a couple of days. I'm in the process of putting binding around them so I've gone one down at a time to work on it.
Oct. 6th, 2005 03:23 pm (UTC)
No worries. It'll be a couple of days until I'm out of the house for ANYTHING...
Lucky me... I've got pneumonia and the kid's recovering at her grandmothers house from food poisoning (we didn't want to expose her to my illness.) egads!

But when we're all better- you can bet we'll have to do a drive by... Those look amazing!
Oct. 6th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
Oh no, pneumonia? That's icky! And I didn't know food poisoning lasted so long. Sounds like things aren't so fun at your house! :(

Oct. 6th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
Mostly, Sami's problem is getting her appetite back. And, if she's not eating, her strength is really low. Yesterday was a good day, however. So hopefully tomorrow, she'll be back at school. I hate for her to miss so much. It sets her so far behind- even though she does try to keep up with her classmates on missed assignments.

Upside of the pneumonia thing is that I can stay home and catch up on my HGTV and Martha viewing! :-)
Oct. 6th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
I wish I still liked Martha. Luckily, her magazine doesn't have much to do with her personality. Last night on her Apprentice show, she was yelling at a contestant for wanting to quit and she said something like "I even went to prison!" like it was a noble thing or something. Made me mad.
Oct. 6th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen the Martha Apprentice show- and don't really expect that I ever will. I've just always been interested in the "good things". Too bad the regular Martha Stewart Living show is only on the Style network- I don't really want to have to pay more for expanded cable service.
Oct. 6th, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
I remember when her show first started and was on broadcast TV, before there even was the big fancy craft or style or HG channels. Sunday mornings, I think. It was cool.

I'm thinking I'll buy her mags for Halloween and Christmas, since those are the only two holidays I care much about as far as crafts go.
Oct. 6th, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC)
It's funny. This year, I'm feeling a bit 'craftier' than normal. This fall, I keep thinking about table decorations (even though, right now my table is covered with folded laundry I haven't the energy to put away...)
I just picked up a second computer desk--- one of those metal legged ones with the faux wood top. I'm quite excited because not only do I have room for the laptop, if I want to use it, but I also have a sewing table for those Christmas crafts!
I've been eyeing the Martha Stewart Living Magazines lately, waiting for the good fall and Christmas ones. I do love it this time of year!
Oct. 6th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
When the weather starts to turn colder, I start getting a lot more creative. I think it has to do with not feeling oppressed by the heat and sun all the time. I absolutely adore this time of year, and now is when I start doing crafts and writing stories and poetry and sewing things and all that good stuff. Ah, fall. :)
Oct. 6th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
I love the summer, as it is the time we do so much of our traveling. But there is something about fall that brings out the cook and crafter in me. I don't think that I was like this until I moved here... maybe it's because we never had real 'fall' seasons in Sacramento- not with the color and cold like up here.
Oct. 9th, 2005 06:07 am (UTC)
We drove by this evening (our first venture into the 'outside world' since our respective illness bouts). You did a fantastic job! It's hard to believe that you did that whole thing out of fabric!

I still want to walk by some evening, when I can be out in the cold. It'll be easier to get a look at the front window- there was a white SUV parked out front that made it a bit tough to see.

Sami LOVED the windows! She's now on a mission on how to decorate our place for the holiday!
Oct. 9th, 2005 04:19 pm (UTC)
Aww, you should have stopped by! Though I guess if you're not quite 100% I can understand. :)

Have Sami look at marthastewart.com if she wants some silhouettes. She could do paper ones that would look pretty cool too.
Oct. 10th, 2005 03:35 am (UTC)
Awww, we were about 25%, collectively between the two of us. :-)

We really do have to meet for coffee sometime. It seems so strange to live so close in such a small town and have never have met. :-)

I'll tell Sami about the martha site. Her bedroom window faces the front porch, so she could decorate it. (it's actually the only reasonably sized window in the apartment).

Oct. 10th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think we can walk to each other's places, can't we? Coffee definitely must happen. Do you crochet or knit? I forget. It'd be fun to get together and yarn.
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )