October: This month has so many different attributes related to it: the changing seasons, fall harvests, corn mazes, beautiful colors, mystery & suspense, monsters, demons, fun dress-up costumes and hot cocoa! It also has lots of history associated with it, particularly Superstitions. I thought you might enjoy reading about a few that I found rather fasinating.

Superstitions have been around since the beginning of time and they continue to flourish around the world even in today’s modern societies. I thought it would be interesting this time of year to share some of the history of a few superstitions with you from the:
“Dictionary of Superstitions” by: David Pickering “Quotes are in quotation marks”

Abracadabra: Originally was used as a charm during the second century, BC. It was said to have special powers against fevers and other medical problems, besides giving the person protection against bad luck. Pieces of parchment with the word Abracadabra written on it were folded and placed inside a metal amulet or cross to be worn around the neck, as protection. Such charms were widely worn, even during the 17th century London plague according to Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” 1722. To evoke supernatural forces, one merely had to say the word out loud, thus its use by stage performers and various other entertainers.

Acorns: I found this one intriguing because I had never heard this one before. It is said that: “if a woman carries an acorn on her person, it will delay the aging process and keep her forever young.” So how many of us will be tucking an acorn into a pocket, or making acorn jewelry? I recently found a bag of wooden acorns at the flea market the other day and the first "Lucky 13" people to leave me their contact info in the comments, will receive one of these as a gift from me!

And who hasn’t heard or received the dreaded Chain Letter ? These so called friendly letters were associated with begging and designed to amass a small fortune for the originator by “Blackmailing” others to part with their money. “Originally though, these letters were sold by traveling merchants in medieval times and the letters themselves, contained various charms & prayers.” With the postal services, came the newer variety and now they are even global via the internet.

Did you know the meaning of each leaf of a 4-leaf clover? They are supposed to represent: fame, wealth, a faithful lover and good health. “It is further claimed that anyone who wears a 4-leaf clover, will be able to see “Fairies”. I know a few people who think they can see fairies-what about you? :-D

Crossroads: “The intersection of two roads has long been regarded as an ominous place. Anything that forms the shape of a cross is significant, but roads that cross each other have symbolic meaning and many people dislike being delayed at such an intersection for fear of meeting a Ghost or worse, a Vampire.” I fit into this catagory. I heard the stories about crossroads when I was very young and the stories have stayed with me. I will not linger!

Familiars: are primarily associated with traditions from England or Scotland. They typically took on the shape of a house cat, but could also be a dog or any black bird.

Ok, just one more. We’ve all heard the word Phrenology lately in mixed media art.
It is the invention of 19th century occultists who “refined an age-old practice of reading a person’s character by examining the shape of their head and feeling for bumps. Phrenology divides the head into areas relevant to different spheres of human activity. The neck is associated with love, the upper back of the head to pride, the very top of the head to conscience and the front or forehead, to the impulses of kindness.” What do your bumps say about you? Mine says I am care-free, love good humor and enjoy sharing with others. I have a couple of fun fabric art projects for you this month-I hope you will enjoy them!

"Fabric Rag Garland" Click the photo to enlarge it to see the little bats! They are the next fabric project after the garland-so keep reading!
This month, with the start of the holiday season, for some of us, I decided to do something different. Instead of a featured guest interview, I made some custom decorations last year and decided to share them with you this year. This fabric rag garland is fun to make and the fabric stuffed bats quick & easy. (OK, maybe not quick, but easy!)
You will need to gather up the following supplies to make the rag garland: 5-7 fabric fat quarters which measure 18” x 22” and are available at your local Joann’s. Look for colors in dark rich purples, greens, bright yellows, oranges and of course black. They can be solid colors or prints, but by adding a few Halloween prints you will have some texture and added interest.
(You may want to have extra fabric on hand in case you want your garland longer. Joann’s will not cut fat quarters for you, but your local quilt shop probably will. Or you can pair up with a friend and buy ½ yard cuts and share.)
NOTE: (If you want to make this garland for your Christmas tree, you will need 4-5 times the supplies as it takes about 90+ feet to drape a 6ft. Christmas tree).
I used a medium-thick, inexpensive jute as the base to tie these fabric strips to, by wrapping it on the backs of my dining room chairs for support. It is easier if you stand up while adding the strips to the jute, but if you want to try doing this while you sit and watch your favorite Horror Show-give it a whirl.
First you will need a variety of fabric strips and a bag to put them in. Tear all of your fabric into 1” x 6 1/2” strips and throw them into the bag. When you have all the strips in the bag, mix them all up, as you will be pulling these strips out of the bag, blind-folded.
(OK, so, maybe not blind-folded, but I don’t want you to look! By adding the strips in a random, unplanned method, you can create some terrific finished garland for any holiday!)
Here comes the easy part-drape the jute over the back of your two chairs, wrapping it around the chair to gently secure it. (Use the jute right from the ball, do not cut it to length at this time-since you will make this to the length you need.)
You can tie these fabric strips onto the jute in a simple square knot, or… you can fold them in half, over the jute and use a crochet hook to pull the ends through the loop the folded fabric makes. I didn’t measure the garland I made. I just kept going until I ran out of fabric strips or did I tear more strips? Sorry but I was also making a “fabric wrapped, piping satchel” for Halloween at the time. (“Exploring the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Arts-Vol. I). Anyway, I suggest you have some extra fabric on hand just in case! My garland is perhaps 12-15 ft.: which provided a wonderful full drape. (I attached the garland to my mantle with large office bull-nosed clips. No coffin nails or staples were used.) Have fun! Cindy
P.S. You can also add some wooden beads at random intervals. I used the large macramé’ beads and left them their original color. Sting on a bag or two full of beads that you want to use before you start adding the fabric strips.

This is a full-sized pattern, printable to a standard sheet of copy paper.

"Puffy Fabric Bats" For this fun project, you will need: ½-1 yard of unbleached muslin (Depends on how many bats you want to hang in your belfry or on your mantle.), poly-fiber filling, cheap black acrylic paint, pencil, brush, sewing machine, thread, scissors, thin 1/8-1/4” ribbon, fabric glue and sand paper. (Yes, really!) You’ll also need to print off the pattern!
Cut out the pattern you printed, lay it on top of the folded muslin fabric. (Folded-for a top & bottom bat shape.) Trace around the pattern with a pencil or a sharpie. It doesn’t matter if the ink bleeds into the fabric, since you will be painting this fabric-black! Take your traced pattern to your sewing machine and stitch on the pattern line. Do not worry about an opening for turning-that’s a few steps away. Once you have all your bat patterns stitched, you will want to cut them out, leaving ¼”-1/2” around the pattern, clip all edges for easy turning. Now, pull the back fabric up away from the front fabric and make a slit in the middle for turning. Turn the bats inside out and stuff them with fiber fill. Set aside until you have them all done. Take some scraps of muslin you cut off to make rectangles to cover the slits you made in the back of your bats. Using fabric glue, attach over the slit or you can stitch the slits closed with a needle & thread before covering with the scrap fabric, which is what I did.
Paint the bats, one side at a time, set aside to dry. The paint dries pretty quickly, so by the time you finish the last bat, your first one will probably be dry. Turn them over and paint the back side, making sure to get all the fabric painted, you don’t want any of the muslin fabric showing through. Set aside to dry. Once these are completely dry, scrunch them up and take some sand paper to them, gently. You don’t want to remove all the paint you just added, you just want to distress them alittle.
The last step is to add the ribbon on the top for tying onto the rag garland, spooky gift bags, the ceiling hooks in your dungeon, etc. I did this by hand, with just a few tacking stitches.
(If you wish to further embellish these bats, add a painted wooden sign around their necks with wire, stitch on button eyes, or add some glue backed red rhinestones! Whatever your heart desires. Just have some fun with these little critters! :-D Cindy)

Well that's it folks for the October Zine-I hope it will bring you hours of pleasure. We are hosting some other fun on our yahoo group-link is in the sidebar. October fun begins with a Lottery-hosted by Sharon. This lottery consists of either art studio or digital 2" x 2" creations-like this one:

Brushes Used are courtesy of: AnnikaVonHoldt
For every 31 "Twininchies" thrown in the cauldron this month, there will be one winner who will receive all 31 entries. We just started this challenge and already we are working on our 2nd victim, ughhh, winner. :-D For a really fun treat-visit Sharon's Blog

Also, we have a fun new challenge that was posted this morning! Create a Pumpkin Shrine and win a Trick or Treat Goodie bag, direct from my art studio to your front door, via the delivery broom! Or Postperson, lady, man, whichever is available. The awesome workshop this month, hosted by: Lynn S. is called: "Silver Spoon" and it's a terrific jewelry project that uses resin or Diamond Glaze to create a layout of goodies in the bowl of a spoon. Or if you prefer to create on a flat surface, here is a photo of a bracelet I made using a bracelet blank from CraftersCafe.

These are just a few of the fun art projects we will be creating this month. We also have some new digital tutorials from Tanya coming, so come join us! The link is in the sidebar! We'd love to have you come sit for a spell!
Want to go on the longest blog train ever assembled? The Ghost Train started today, the first of October and has lots of freebies for everyone! click: GhostTrain to get you started!