Belated Halloween post

I know this year has been  a little behind in terms of holiday stuff. School keeps me busy and I’m feeling foggy lately due to my meds that I had to take for my tooth (which is doing better btw yay!) But I wanted to put up a few pictures from our party including the reveal of my costume for this year. My inspiration came from the Starz show Spartacus and I made myself a Roman style dress.

This is Richi and her best friend who also happens to be one of my new awesome friends. We’ve put together our own three muskateers group. Its fun.

J12 with his zombie baby- even zombies are good parents lol

J14 trying to eat the brains of J13’s girlfriend.

J14 in all her zombie glory.

Zombie Jesus… yeah I promise it wasn’t my idea….

My mother in law the pool shark lol

Me in all my barefoot costumed glory.  (don’t ask where my shoes were because at that point, I have no idea but I swear I wasn’t drinking so …. well actually I’m not sure if that’s better or worse)

And then I got into the fake blood I made because it was corn syrup and cherry koolaid mix and really pretty yummy.

And then… then I decided, I may as well really get into it and added a bunch of gore.

Here’s all the zombie crew and our heroes as well. Jarell in full commando gear with his SPAS.

My nephew in his post Halloween sale 90% off Luigi costume.

The rest of these were taken by my sister in law. It was a nice treat knowing that I would have pictures of the party without having to stress over everything else I had to do.

Jen (one of the muskateer’s) and her date

A friend of the family and J12 pre zombie makeup

One of my favorite decorations that I made the year before last

J14 eating brains again lol

Well folks, that’s about all for my post Halloween…. post

Thankfuls? well….

I’m way behind so I’ll do a few.

  1. I’m thankful that for now at least I don’t have to have another root canal
  2. I’m thankful that I’m almost done with the antibiotics because they make me sick to my stomach and make me dizzy *sigh*
  3. I’m thankful to have propane because the weather just decided to get cold on us.
  4. I’m thankful for Jarell. Yeah I know that’s a repeat, but we stayed up into the wee hours last night just talking about our lives and how we got where we are, sharing memories from when we first met, and it just makes me all warm and fuzzy.
  5. I’m thankful for my dad who is an awesome mechanic and is fixing a car up for me. Is that another repeat? I can’t remember lol
  6. I’m thankful that I know how to knit because I’m working on Christmas presents and its awesome knowing that I can make beautiful presents for a small amount of money which, with our budget this year, it very helpful.
  7. I’m thankful for awesome new friends and all the old ones who are in my life as well.

That should about catch me up, right?

 

 

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Tutorial…. sorta… Thanksgiving banner

So remember how I was going to post every day with something I was thankful about? Yeah that failed miserably,  but I will have some thankfuls on another post soon, so don’t think I’ve completely forgotten.

Today I have a tutorial of sorts for you. Its silly simple so I don’t know how much it should count. I even have a free printable for you to go with it- simple decorated letters that took me way too long to make due to computer crashes.

Supplies:

  • Book paper (I used an old dictionary)
  • printed letters from this post
  • scissors
  • glue (I used the hot glue gun on this one)
  • ribbon
  • extra paper for backing
  • ink pads if desired

I started out by printing and cutting out the letters. As a side note to anyone  familiar with Illustrator, they retain their edit-ability (is that even a word? well it is now so pbbbthththt) if you’d like to change up the colors. Anywho, the next step is to cut your pages from your book in half.

Then glue the ends of the halves together to make a longer strip. This is going to vary a bit from book to book, but I needed 3 half sheets to get the right length for the rosettes. Start folding accordion style.


You can line up the definitions to look really cool if you use a dictionary. Just remember about the road to hell and good intentions and such because sometimes you end up with this instead.

Yeah that was a bit unplanned… oh well.

Once you’ve got your sheets of paper accordion folded, overlap the two free ends and glue them together.

This makes a nice tube which you’ll be folding down flat to make the rosettes by bringing the edges of one side together.

please ignore the chipping nail polish

camera happy? who me?? couldn’t be!

Glue a piece of random paper or cardboard in the middle to hold the edges of the page together.

Flip it over, ink the edges of the paper and attach your letter of choice.

Repeat with the rest of the letters.

To attach them to the ribbon, line them up carefully with the letters straight up and down or else you’ll end up with a bit of frustration when you have to repeatedly reposition them after gluing them down only to find out they were crooked. Of course I would never make that mistake, but some people might……

Glue a nice piece of paper over the ribbon (I actually covered these with neat circles after the pic) that overlaps onto the pleats to hold the ribbon in place.

How you attach the letters is up to you. This was a spur of the moment project for me so I used two pieces of ribbon and made a tiered banner, but you could attach them all to a single length to make a longer piece, that part is entirely up to you. Now all you have to do is hang it and I’m sure you can do that on your own so no pictures for that step.

Have fun with this and if you make one, I’d love to see it!

 

 

 

Halloween Projects

I’ve been working on various projects for Halloween, but I haven’t been documenting step by steps for them. Nevertheless, I know that the blogging world is full of creative and talented people so I’m going to share a few of my projects so that anyone feeling ambitious can try and duplicate or improve on them.

This is a Dollar store champagne glass that I drew on with a permanent marker. The swirls and dots are random, but you could draw bats, witches, spiders, or whatever floats your boat.

Add a skull platter from the Dollar store with some hot glue and you have yourself a fancy raised platter.

This chipper fellow is also a Dollar store find. I used permanent marker to darken up the shadows because they were pretty week before-hand. The vase and skulls are from, you guessed it, the Dollar store as well and the potpourri was left over from a Christmas project a couple of years ago. Its apple and cinnamon scented so it works nicely. The spider was a ring with the ring part cut off.

Here in the close up you can sort of see the “spiderwebs” made from strings of hot glue across the top of the vase

This is one of three tiered serving trays made from some flea market and thrift store finds. The trays from the flea market are made by a company called Basket Ease and the pillars are various fancy glasses again hot glued between layers.

Last but not least we have the garden turned cemetery. I have 5 very active dogs who carry  everything off so in order to have any outdoor decorations, they either needed to be up high or out of reach of the dogs. Enter my fenced garden that is fenced to save the plants from my pooches.

We live in a field so there are no trees within a hundred yards of our house. This makes me sad this time of year when I want creep dead trees, but this year I found a solution. We have a large brush pile and in this pile are very long branches from a tree trimming my brother in law did at his house this spring. I pulled out 10-12 of these branches and with the aid of the fence, created a spooky haunted forest around my growing cemetery.

In the picture above you can see the ones I “planted” in the center of the garden by digging a hole about 8-10 inches deep, sticking the branches in the ground, and backfilling around them to hold them in place. It gets windy here, but they’ve stayed put so far.

Here’s our larges tombstone (I have more to put out but they’re locked up in the garage and my husband has the key with him at work) with a bone made from rolled up newspaper and paper mache. It was kind of time consuming, but pretty easy. I hope to get a tutorial up for that soon because I need to make a few more anyway.

Here you can see the tomato cage ghost. I improvised today to see how well it would work. I had a white tablecloth and creepy cloth plus a punching balloon and of course tomato cages because this is after all a garden. I turned the tomato cage upside down, pegged it into the ground with sticks, added the punching balloon to the “top” and draped the table cloth and creepy cloth over top. As you can sort of see in the picture, the balloon is yellow which I wouldn’t recommend for daylight hours, but I imagine once it gets dark, it won’t matter too much.

Last but not least, I added a couple more Dollar store decorations to the main tree to add to the creep factor. More will be going out as I have access to that building in the background where all my decorations are stored. The ones I’ve put out are just the ones I’ve bought this year. Did I mention Halloween is my favoritest holiday of all? Even more than my birthday which tends to suck being New Years with the hungover-ness and all.

So now I’ve added a few more items to your list of things to think about for decorations. I’ve got more on the brain, and a month minus a day to get ready because we do our party the week after Halloween to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Halloween is a’comin

And I’m working on getting ready. I love this time of year and if you’ve been reading my blog for long, you’ve probably noticed that I have a tendency to lean toward things that are slightly dark, macabre, and in general spooky and I don’t just do it for Halloween, I do it year round. Last year we spent a lot of time getting ready for the big Halloween party, but with my husband out of state (as he usually is this time of year) I had too much time on my hands and not enough to keep me busy. This year is slightly different. My sweetie is working out of town, but only over in Saint Louis, so he’s home every weekend which means I’m not as lonely. Add to that the fact that I’m busy with my college classes and you end up with a girl who although stoked about the holiday season ahead, is not as desperate for random stuff to occupy her time.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been busy in my own little way however. This year’s costume is going to be based on the costumes of the show Spartacus that I’ve been watching a little at a time on Netflix. I love Lucy Lawless’ costuming and since the J’s are a little older (and being exposed to the Ren Fest which means they’re not as sheltered) I’m not as concerned about keeping my costumes as G-rated which for me is nice.

Today I’m going to share a project I’m working on that’s not quite finished. This isn’t a tutorial because I don’t have step by step pictures, but its pretty straight forward so I think if you’re crafty, you shouldn’t have much trouble recreating this.

The project for today is haunted banners and pennants.

The end result will look something like this

The materials are simple.

I used a canvas tarp from a hardware store (Harbor Freight if you’re interested), and acrylic paints. I also used a candle to burn the edges for that aged tattered look, but that’s up to you and your inner pyro.

  1. Cut your tarp section to the size you want it. I made a large banner that is still in the works and but for this pennant, I cut off a section about 10 inches wide by 20 inches long give or take a bit. Don’t worry about how straight and pretty your edges are because you want it to look old and beat up. You could even pull out threads to fray the edges if you don’t plan on burning it.
  2. Cut the bottom edge of your pennant into a jagged line to give it that ‘I’ve been hanging in a rotten and moldering old castle for the last 100 years’ look.
  3. This is where the burning comes in. If you’re not comfortable with this step, skip it and leave your edges alone for now. If you are burning the edges, I find that carefully running the edge back and forth through a flame til it catches on fire and then immediately using the fabric to smother the flames works well for me. This is dangerous (you’re playing with fire after all) so I also keep a large bowl of water right at next to me in case things get too out of hand. Once you’ve got three sides burned (left, right, and bottom) you’re ready for paint.
  4. I was having a very hard time deciding what to do for this pennant. I thought about having it say ‘Spooky’ and there’s nothing wrong with words like ‘Boo’ or ‘Stay out’ but I also thought about the fact that if this really WERE a pennant from an old castle, it wouldn’t say ‘Spooky’ on it and I’m a stickler about that kind of stuff. So instead I scoured through my collection of Halloween magazines and found my inspiration in last year’s Martha Stewart Halloween magazine. It was a title for an article about 13 Ghastly something or others and the typeface was perfect. You don’t have to go that route. You can look for free fonts (I like dafont.com) and find awesome creepy fonts or freehand it. I looked at the picture and drew it out as best I could. Its up to you how you do this step.
  5. Paint. Fill in the outline of your numbers, letters, or creepy skull. I used just basic black for this step.At this point it should look something like this.
  6. Now add your details. I painted my hand with a mixture of red and brown paint and then smeared it down one side of the pennant to look like a bloody hand print. I brushed the same red brown along the right edges of the numbers to give them a shadowed look and added green and white to the left edges to add more depth. Paint on some blood splatters and you’re set with the painting unless you didn’t burn the edges. If you still want the blackened charred look without the danger of fire, use a mix of black and brown paint to darken the edges of your pennant. This will have the added bonus of sealing the edges a bit which is nice.
  7. Finally you’ll want to make a pocket at the top of the pennant for hanging or you can fold the top edge over and tack it to the walls if you want to go the no sew route.

Like I said- not the best visual tutorial, but its pretty simple and the end result is pretty cool.

If you want to see more awesome Halloween ideas, check out Sawdust and Paper Scraps for her Halloween link party!

Pipe Cleaner Poinsettia Tutorial

So as I promised yesterday I came back to share these poinsettias with you. Amazing right?

The idea for these little guys first hit me when I was getting ready to go Christmas shopping a couple weeks ago. I had my warm long sleeve red shirt on under my black More Cowbell t-shirt and was all set to wrap up in my new coat that Jarell got me but I was feeling less than festive. Things as I’ve mentioned have not been great the last couple of months and I really wanted something that would help me feel more like Christmas shopping. In about 5 minutes the idea exploded into my brain. My first thought was pipe cleaner snowflake. But then I saw my red chenille pipe cleaners and a whole nother plan formed in an instant. I wanted a poinsettia for my ponytail. Here’s how I whipped it up.

Step One:

Gather Materials. I used red green and white chenille pipe cleaners from Hobby Lobby. They cost me 77 cents per package making this a very budget friendly craft. The buttons came from my Gramma’s button tin making this a keepsake craft as well- I don’t want to use Gramma’s buttons for just anything but their use in this project guarantee’s it will be extra special. The ribbon came from my stash and also cost me probably less than 2 dollars per roll. All in all if you buy the supplies this project can cost 1 dollar and up. Awesome yes?

Step Two: Grab three like colored pipe cleaners and line up the ends. Figure out where the middle is and twist them together a few times like this. (except less blurry…)

Step Three: Spread out your pipe cleaners like spokes on a wheel

Step Four: Fold in your flower petals. Please forgive the blurry shots- my hands were kinda shaky today and the more I tried to hold still the worse it got so everything has a bit of blur to it.

Wrap the end around behind the other pipe cleaners and secure it around front with a twist. Harder to show and explain than it is to do I promise.

Continue on around the flower until all your petals are made.

Step Five: Shape the petals to look like… you guessed it… poinsettia petals. I use one finger in the middle of the loop as shown to make the end of the petal and pinch it shut with the other two fingers

Repeat around all the petals.

Step Six: Now its time to shape the petals. Again with blurriness but I tried like 10 times and got no better than this.

I curled them around my fingers as shown to give them some dimension beyond that of flat pipe cleaners.

Step Seven: This step is somewhat optional. I have not used it for every poinsettia but I’m adding it in anyway as it looks nice. This is the leaf. Make a figure 8 with a green pipe cleaner if desired and follow the instructions for shaping the petals.

 

Step Eight: String the button on your ribbon or pipe cleaner.

Then wrap your ribbon (or pipe cleaner) around the center of your flower and tie (or twist) to secure. Make sure to include your leaves if you’re making them.

At this point I feel I should mention that you can make your ribbon as long or as short as you want. I made mine long enough to be worn as a headband as well as a ribbon on my ponytail.

So now you have yourself a poinsettia. Woo hoo, right?

Oh Christmas Tree

scan0003The holidays have been a very special time for me for as long as I can remember. When I was little B.D. (before divorce) my parents and my little brothers and I would make the trip to Gramma and Grampa’s scan0011house for Thanksgiving. We’d all eat till we were stuffed. scan0002I would run around with black olives on each of my fingers or drag my antique baby doll who was as big as I was up from the family room in the basement. I’d then proceed to re-introduce everyone to Charlotte, the worlds ugliest doll. She had been found on the side of the road by my Grampa, with on arm broken off. That deterred him not at all and he cobbled her back together like some child’s forgotten Frankestein with a bolt that went through both arms. To this day she still survives as a somewhat grisly reminder of my wonderful childhood.

When it came to Christmas, things were different. scan0013My parents stopped celebrating Christmas for religious reasons after I turned 3 and so we didn’t celebrate per se. This lack of celebration never stopped my grandparentsscan0009 in Michigan from sending us several boxes of goodies and as December came I began my watch for the much anticipated UPS truck bringing its wonderful surprises. Always there was at least one box of homemade cookies and candies- oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, peanut butter, ones with gooey candied cherries in them, and many flavors of candy both homemade and store bought. The presents were still opened on and Christmas always yielded a Barbie or two and often ponies as well as homemade clothing and barettes or jewelry. My grandma never failed to make this a special day for us.

I remember as well my birthday that would always come a week later with more gifts and often a family get together. One year in particular I got one of those dolls that actually wet her diaper, a little table just my size. scan0018Another year a homemade piggy bank, my first embroidery set, and a doll with jewels in her hair. The cake was memorable in that it was frosted to look like a gumball machine with skittles stuck into the icing. That was a particularly special year.scan0017

Holidays A.D. were a much different affair and I remember both halves of that first Christmas very well. My parents were both broke and we had just moved into a tiny basement apartment in a rough part of town. My dad was having a very rough time of it having lost his whole family in such a short time as well as a lot of money for the court costs and other bills. I’ll never forget staying at a friend of the family’s house one Saturday while my dad had to work and making an enormous paper chain of different colored papers. I was so proud of it and was very surprised when we got home that day to be taken out in the woods with my dad to find a Christmas tree. My little brother proudly hacked away at the trunk with his little hatchet and then let daddy do the last little bit of work. *wink wink* I was 7 which means he had just turned 5 and he was so proud to be helping.

We took our sad little spruce home and wrapped it round with the paper chain. From somewhere hidden in the basement my dad produced an old box of cherished Christmas ornaments and lights and  we decorated the tree as best we could with the little that we had. I don’t remember what he held it up with- maybe there was a tree stand too- but I do remember that the tinfoil star didn’t want to stay on the top because the tree was a little crooked. To this day I can’t see a Charlie Brown Christmas tree without thinking of that one.

Someone donated a tree to my mom- just a little 3 foot artificial tree and it stood on a box in our little living room. I don’t remember much about the decorations except for one little handmade angel that hung at the top in place of a star.

Gifts were sparse that year. Someone adopted our family and I got Barbie tennis shoes and an amazingly intricate crocheted Barbie ball gown. My dad got me a little digital diary/organizer and it still resides in a box of special childhood toys along with that dress.

I have been thinking back on that day this year as I decorate my tree with ornaments that we have bought as well as a few that I have made. It makes me thankful for what I have now and also reminds me that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for how I grew up. I am thankful for that too.

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Creepy Projects

Altered book for HalloweenI’m sure some of you were wondering if I was ever going to show you the things I’ve been working on and talking about. Well I have the crappy broken camera so getting pictures is…. a bit tricky…. but I did finally get some taken. This first one is an altered book. The only changes I’ve made at this point are the cover but I may be adding a picture inside that will look like the spell book that belonged to the evil step mother from Snow White. I have it all drawn up but can’t find my sketch book- it seems to have wandered off on its own. The cover of this book is actually paper maché made of toilet paper to get a nice leather look. I then coated the whole darn thing with a couple coats of mod podge, spattered on some Adirondack inks, and a bunch of acrylic paints in various orders. I think I like how it looks, but I may decide differently later on because it doesn’t “feel” finished yet.

Altered book for Halloween
These next pictures are of the oft mentioned not Tia Dalma dress that I’ve been working on. The first is the underskirt followed by the dress itself and finally the corset from hell that was a pain in the ass to make but fits great. The skirt is entirely finished. The dress needs either lacing up the bodice or a belt sewn on and then it will be done. I left all the seams unhemmed to add to that whole ragged look and sewed coins from an old coin bra along the hem so that I’ll jingle when I walk.
not tia dalma underskirt

not tia dalma underskirt

  Not Tia Dalma Dress

The corset from hell....
The corset from hell….
The corset needs some bias tape added to it to cover the boning that is actually long zip ties of all things and then it will be done as well. I feel inordinately proud of this costume and can’t wait to get a couple of pictures of me in it so you can get a true feel for the whole thing.

 

Witch's Kitchen Supplies

Witch

Last but not least are the Witch’s Kitchen supplies that I’ve gotten put together so far. The blue jar on the top left is “Jellyfish stingers” made from hot glue, the top right is a headless grows in water snake, bottom right is “Helles Bros. Powdered Pixies” which is really Hills Bros. cappucino mix, and the bottom left is a grows in water Starfish which is huge in its little pint jar. And several of my late tomatoes worked their way into the shot there as well as you can see. Boy my kitchen looks clean here! If only it was like that in real life LOL!

 

Not Tia Dalma Dress