October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween !!

My birthday came a little early this year - my niece made me this wonderful decorative Halloween witch's hat.

It's a tall piece - it stands about 14" tall and looks wonderful as the centerpiece on the dining room table.

She made it by starting with some papier mache items from the craft store - a cone and a round box.

After painting a base coat of black on the outside, she covered the hat pieces with decorative Halloween paper.  I think she did a super job selecting the paper to have a great contrast between all the elements of the hat.

But wait!  It's not just pretty to look... there's so much more!

The top of the hat has a countdown calendar!

In this photo you can see that the card says "It's Halloween".  I think you can make out the opening on the tag holder on the right.  There are cards that start the countdown 10 days before Halloween, and you just reach in and change the cards as the days count down.

... and there's CANDY!

The top of the cone is hinged to add little treats.  The treats dispense at the bottom of the cone.

The trick-or-treaters are actually a door.  See the long green nose on the character on the left?  It's longer than it looks and the tip is holding the door closed.  If you move it, you can get some candy (there's an orange piece on the left).

The interactive elements are so much fun I had to make a movie...check it out, and have a Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2013

Baking and Crafting - A Perfect Day

My niece had no school today so we spent the day together.  We had a plan - I had just received the new We R Memory Keepers Gift Bag punch and we decided to make treat bags and fill them with home baked cookies.

So we dug out the sugar cookie recipe and baked some pumpkins, cats and ghosts.  While they were cooling, Sarah figured out how to use the punch. Then some decorating - aren't the cookies cute?  I especially like the whiskers on the cats and the ghosts with mouths like an "O".

Back to the workroom again to work on the treat bags.  We used the Martha Stewart spider web border punch to make a decorative border on the top of the bag.  Sarah then put the bags together and found some cool "Halloween-y" fibers that she braided to make the handles.  We die cut spider webs and spiders and a cat out of grunge board to hang as a charm.

Everyone got one of each of the cookies in their treat bag, and a there were some extras to share. The "great pumpkin" cookie was made from all the leftover dough at the end of rolling.  The cookies were yummy, and thanks to the great new punch, the treat bags were a fun, quick project to make.

October 27, 2013

From A to Z

Ever since Graphic 45 came out with their Typography paper line I knew I wanted to try to make 3-D alphabet letters. So here is what I came up with... the letter "a" and the letter "z".

Each letter is 6 inches by 6 inches, and 2 inches thick.

They are completely made out of chipboard and are hollow inside.

Here are some close-ups....

The "a"

and the "z"

The camera angle is a little odd on this one - it really is pretty square.

October 16, 2013

A Fairy Subdivision

My niece and I have had a lot of fun making Fairy Houses from Laura Denison's (Following the Paper Trail) Summer Fairy House pattern.  It was a really great construction project - both of us learned some new techniques and we exercised our creative muscle by adding some unique touches to the houses (wait until you see what Sarah did inside her house!).  Here are the houses we made - Sarah says hers really looks like summer - it's the sunny house in the middle.

And here are the houses "after dark".  We added LED tea lights behind the windows so the fairies in the tower and front room would be illuminated.

Here are individual shots of the three houses.

First Sarah's house... if you look closely, you might be able to spy a fairy in the tower window and one in the front window.

And these fairies have a faithful companion - see him lying on the front lawn?  Sarah found a small figurine just the right size for her house.

A few dried flowers in the chimney complete the house.

Sarah used DCWV's Painted Petals stack on both the inside and outside of her house.

October 14, 2013

Halloween Carnival - "Glass" Hot Air Balloon

I gave myself a challenge to try and make a hot air balloon that looked like it had been made out of glass - I have Steampunk on the brain.

The balloon itself is actually a very straightforward construction.  I used the template available from Laura Carson (artfullymusing.bogspot.com) on her Hot Air Balloon tutorial page and just modified the length.  The five sides were made out of vellum.  A plastic piece was attached to each side and scored to give a look of individual glass panels and to give some flexibility to the sides.  Before I closed up the balloon completely I inserted a long screw post through a small hole in the top.

I reinforced the rim and then added a hinged door so that an LED tea light could be inserted to give the balloon a glow when it's dark.  I found some flat sided light bulbs and added them to the rim.

I wanted to have the option of either hanging the balloon or putting it on "legs" so it could stand at the back of my Halloween Carnival, so I attached the basket using some thin skewers so the whole unit would be sturdy.  I covered the skewers with waxed linen thread so they would look like thick rope.

The basket is a five sided chipboard box covered with embossed metal foil tape.  The characters are from Laura Carson's Halloween Collage Sheets.  I used her pin technique in the bottom of each character so they could easily stand up in the foam core base of the balloon's basket.

I painted two corks and suspended them from a chain to simulate ballast (don't you love the irony of corks for ballast?)  I added a couple of more gears on a skewer.

October 13, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Zombie Zipper

Today I'm answering Laura Carson's challenge to create an element of my own design to go with her Halloween Carnival.  To learn more about this challenge and the carnival project including details, tutorials and videos, please go to Laura's page dedicated to the carnival.

I knew I wanted to make a ride with some height so I searched for images of carnival rides and found one that I thought could work...the zipper.  I knew that capturing all the different movements would probably be too challenging, but I thought that I could design something that was similar.  The zipper turns on one central access point and the cauldrons swing and move as they go around.  I must confess that the side tower support design is basically the same as the system Laura designed for her ferris wheel.

October 12, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Stare Down a Gargoyle and the Haunted Carousel

Today we'll look at the last two elements I made using tutorials from Laura Carson's (artfullymusing.blogspot.com) Halloween Carnival - Stare Down a Gargoyle and the Haunted Carousel.  For more details, tutorials and videos, and to make your own version of Laura's fantastic project, please go to her page dedicated to the carnival.

Stare Down a Gargoyle - Win a Season Pass - this was a fun element because it included both building something and learning a new technique.

First the building...The main vertical construction is a masonite box (CubbyHoles 4 Compartments - AlphaStamps.com) which is easily put together.  I love these masonite constructions - I have built many different ones.  A handy supply/tool to have for these is the Quilled Creations Precision Tip Glue Applicator Bottle.  It puts out a fine line of glue - as my niece says "I don't know how we ever managed to do any crafting before we got this".

October 11, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Stump an Owl and Boo Bash

Today is the third of four installments looking at the elements I have made for my version of Laura Carson's (artfullymusing.blogspot.com) Halloween Carnival.  For more details, tutorials and videos, and to make your own version of Laura's fantastic project, please go to her page dedicated to the carnival.

Let's start with Stump an Owl.  I haven't got all the elements that Laura has on her version yet.  There's a book that I want to add but I need to improvise something to put it on.  I think it definitely needs that additional element, and I think I will follow Laura's lead and add some foliage or other decorations to the top (there's a nice ledge there).

The figurine is Bat Boy Ben.

October 10, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Hot Air Balloon and Pumpkin Pets

Today is a continuing look at the elements I have made for my version of Laura Carson's (artfullymusing.blogspot.com) Halloween Carnival.  For more details, tutorials and videos, and to make your own version of Laura's fantastic project, please go to her page dedicated to the carnival.

First off is the Hot Air Balloon.  Laura actually posted this tutorial along with a video before the carnival series began.  She included not only the balloon, but also a dirigible.  You can see the tutorial and the video on this page on her blog.

This was a super fun project to make.  Laura has great tips on how to put the balloon together very easily.  I used Graphic 45 Steampunk Spells paper from both the 8x8 and 6x6 paper pads.  I really love this paper collection.

Just about all of the collage elements are from one or more of Laura's collage sheets.  The exception is the bats.  I just couldn't face cutting out 20 bats!  Luckily a friend had a die and cut out oodles of bats for me to use both on this element and other elements in the project.

October 9, 2013

Halloween Carnival - Ticket Booth and Directory

Ever since Laura Carson (artfullymusing.blogspot.com) announced her Halloween project for this year - a Halloween Carnival - I couldn't wait until she started posting the videos and tutorials.  You can see the entire project and instructions on her blog on a page dedicated to the carnival.  I've lost track of the count of all the elements that can be built - there's booths and games and rides - and even a hot air balloon!

I've made eight of the projects so far - the Ticket Booth, Directory Signpost, Pumpkin Pets, Stump an Owl, Boo Bash, Stare Down a Gargoyle, the Haunted Carousel and the Hot Air Balloon.  I also accepted Laura's challenge to create a element of my own -I'm calling it the Zombie Zipper - which is almost done and I will show it in a later post.

Throughout the projects I have used two paper collections - Graphic 45 Steampunk Spells and Wicked by My Mind's Eye.  I used images from all of Laura's Halloween collage sheets from both this year and last year.

In the photos you may see one of the Lori Mitchell Halloween figurines I have been collecting over the last few years.  I am always on the lookout for new ones in a shop we frequent on vacation.  This year I added two - the mummy (thanks to my sister) and the little bat boy.  I knew when I saw the carnival it would be the perfect environment for these characters and it is!

Today I'm featuring my versions of the Ticket Booth and Directory Signpost.  These were the first two I made.  I followed Laura's directions and used many of the items she listed in the first tutorial.  The only change I made was to add the two shutters to the Ticket Booth - I wanted a little more width.