How To Tuesday – Hanging Bat Chandelier

tutorial This bat chandelier is inspired by one that Pottery Barn Kids had for sale a few years ago. Their version had felt bats (and you could do that too!) Their version also had pom-poms, which are not spooky enough for me, but feel free to add them if you love the way it looks!
Here’s what you’ll need:
black card stock or you can use stiff black felt, or pre-cut paper bats
black craft paint
white colored pencil if you use felt you may need a white seamstress marker instead
embroidery hoops in three sizes you can make your chandelier as big or small as you want by the size of your hoops
black tape washi tape or electrical tape
black quilting thread
1. Take apart your embroidery hoops and paint all three of the plain wooden hoops black. You will not need the outer hoops that have the tightening hardware, but you could save these for another project.
2. While the hoops are drying you can cut out your bats. I just folded a piece of paper in half and cut out a bat shape, but there are bat templates here and here that you could use instead. I was able to fit about 6 bats per page, and then doubled up my paper when cutting them out so I would get two cut at a time. Do not worry about the bats being super detailed. I used the white colored pencil to trace my bat design and then made sure to cut inside my lines.
3. Once the embroidery hoops are dry we are going to attach the thread and get them hung up. Take the largest hoop and 3 lengths of thread. Tie each thread securely around the hoop (trying to keep them equal distance apart) and then bring all three threads together in the center and tie them into a knot.
4. Now it will be easier to work with if you can hang your top tier on something. I hooked mine on the bottom of our dining room chandelier because it was an easy to work with height. Now you want to add the second and third tier. Like the big hoop tie three threads around the edge and instead of bringing them together at the center, you will tie the ends to the big hoop which is hanging. The amount of distance you leave between the hoops is up to you, just remember once it’s hanging you don’t want it to be too long if you plan on being able to walk underneath it.
5. once all your tiers are hung in place you can start to hang your bats. I used the tape to secure a length of string to each bat and a bit of tape to hang it to the hoop (you could also tie them onto the hoop instead) Start with the lowest tier and work your way upward. If you want to add pom-poms, just use a needle to string them onto your thread. Your bats can be put on very neatly, even spaced…or just added at random (which is what I did)
6. Now find a place to hang your bats and enjoy!

September Crafternoon

Can you believe it is already time for another Crafternoon? I feel like the time since my last one just flew by. This month the date I picked for the crafternoon fell on the first day of fall, perfect for making felted acorns! Katie of The Mossy Cottage does indeed live in a mossy cottage in the woods and was kind enough to bring hundreds of acorn caps for the craft (psst that’s Katie’s new blog isn’t it lovely!!).

I ordered some wool roving in fall colors& grabbed a few small batts that I had stashed in the attic with my spinning supplies, but even with eight people we had more then enough wool to each make as many acorns as we wanted, and I still had quite a bit leftover.

Making the acorns is super easy, all you need is:
wool roving in fall colors
-acorn caps
-a small bowl with just a tiny drop of dishwashing liquid and warm water
1. Just grab a very small amount of wool, dip it in the water just to dampen and begin to roll it over between your hands as if you were making a ball with clay. You don’t have to push hard or squeeze the wool. Keep going and the ball will felt and smooth out around the outside.
2. The great thing about acorn caps is they come in so many sizes that you can test your ball in different ones until you find just the perfect fit.
3. Allow your balls to dry out (they dry pretty quickly) and then glue into caps. We used either hot glue or aleene’s tacky glue and both worked great.
For food I decided to give soup a break and make some lasagna. Perfect for making a day ahead of time and then just popping into the oven to bake right before the party. I made a classic cheese lasagna (but using low fat ricotta and part skim mozzarella) and a butternut squash and sage lasagna that I have been wanted to make for months. Again I also used the lower fat/part skim cheese, almond milk in place of the heavy cream, and veggie stock in place of the chicken stock…but I think it turned out wonderfully and I would make both recipes again. I also served salad with some quick dressings Katie and I made before the party, and bread.
For dessert I went a little bit crazy, the party was the day before my birthday so I wanted it to be a extra special birthday cake. I made a Black Joe Cake with Salted Caramel Filling & Mocha Mascarpone Frosting and followed the recipe almost exactly. The only thing I did differently was make it a 3 layer cake (by dividing the batter into 3 cake pans) and I didn’t cut the circles of parchment paper for inside the pans, and I regretted that. My two bottom layers stuck and I had to sort of salvage them back into place. I ended up putting the top layer into the freezer until I could pop it out of the pan. So for goodness sake, cut the circles!! The cake was really yummy, but be careful you’ll want to sample it the whole time…a little bite of filling, a crumb or two of the stuck cake, a taste or three of the frosting. It’s really good! And I found the caramel, fleur de sel, and espresso powder all at Wegmans.

The only new thing we did this month was a White Elephant Gift Exchange, and it was so fun! I think we will try to do it every month. I asked everyone to bring a gift either thrifted or handmade between $5-10, and everyone brought such great stuff! I had found a little pyrex dish with a lid so I filled it with some candy and included a potholder. I got a handmade framed papercut by Sean with a owl he thrifted. Now I’m looking forward to next month’s Halloween themed Craftnoon, and can’t wait to sit down and plan the menu for that.