Rain Reigns Supreme

Rain Hat

Here is my Halloween costume for 2014.  Yes, it looks like rain. It IS rain.  In fact, a colleague said I was the Raining Queen!

I was inspired by this picture on Pinterest and I’m very pleased with the results.

IMG_0087

Once I found this beaded curtain online, I was off and running.

I bought a large wire wreath form at Joann Fabric and Crafts (I made three visits to the store, which was crazy this time of year) and used that to start my hat.  Duct tape, nylon mesh and some hot glue gave me the rest of the structure and then I piled on the nylon net and tulle to form the big cloud.

Grey chiffon which my mom and I fashioned into a capelet, was worn over a black chiffon skirt, grey t-shirt and boots that I already had in my closet.  My sister Sarah helped with sewing and loaned me silver raindrop earrings.  I added some stick-on sequins to the capelet and used some on my face as well.

Close Up Rain

With California in a state of drought, rain seemed like just what we need.  We’re supposed to get it tomorrow, but I’m not sure I want to take credit or blame if it messes up the Giants World Series Victory Parade or trick-or-treating.

More Rain

I enjoyed the many lovely compliments I received and was pleased that all my hard work on this costume resulted in a prize at our Halloween fundraiser lunch event.  I won the “Black & White” category (costume could be black, white or black and white).

There were other creative costumes, including a plethora of different Dorothy’s in gingham and ruby slippers for one department’s hilarious group entry: 50 Shades of Dorothy – each with a different take on the classic. Scary costumes were also represented like this frightening creature with wings that opened and closed.  Great work, Jon!

Hawkman

Wishing you a very happy, safe and yes, even soggy Halloween.

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Black & White

Black & White

Here is a little preview of my Halloween costume.  Last year I was very colorful.

This year I’ve been working on something that is less colorful but very effective.  Almost all the items in the picture are part of the final costume: duct tape, black nylon mesh, white netting, grey chiffon and ribbon, crystals, beads, ribbon and thread.  The silver nail polish will be part of the whole ensemble but is not actually part of the costume.

Not shown but part of the costume: a wire wreath form and grey tulle.

Tune in Friday for costume photos!

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Silly Spiders and Yummy Mummies

Mummies and Spider

I’ve got two quick and easy little projects for you.  To tell you the truth, I think the little spiders are cute but I’m not entirely sold on the mummies.  However, since I’ve made them, I may as well share them and let you decide if you like them or not.

spiders in pumpkin tree

The spiders look pretty adorable and goofy and if you made a few Little Yarn Pumpkins, these spiders go well with them.

Spiders and Pumpkins

Now before I go any further, I have to include this disclaimer: I know spiders have eight legs and mine only have six and they’re also pretty much missing a body.  You can make more realistic spiders, if you prefer, and I made one just to show you that I could:

8-legged spider

But the following directions are for rare 6-legged spiders.

Spider supplies

You will use two black pipe cleaners, googly eyes, adhesive if the eyes are not self-stick (I used small glue dots) and a pair of scissors that you can use to cut the pipe cleaners.  In some craft stores and sites, pipe cleaners are called Chenille Stems, but they’re really the same thing.

Cut the two pipe cleaners in half, making four pieces.

Four Half Pipe Cleaners

Twist three of the pieces together right in the middle, twisting a few times.

Twisted Pieces

Wind the last piece around the twist in the middle, going around three or four times with each wrap next to the one before, not on top of it.  Then turn back and wrap a second layer of pipe cleaner over the first.  It should be snugly wrapped, but not too tight.

Wrapped center

At this point, it kind of looks like a spider that has had an unfortunate encounter with a shoe.

Make bends at the ends of each leg for little spider feet.

Flat Spider

Then bend each leg so the bend is higher than the body – kind of making it shrug it’s little spider shoulders.

Spider shoulders

Now you just need to add eyes.  You can put on as many or as few as you like, but I generally go with two.  I use small glue dots to adhere the googly eyes.

A reminder about using glue dots: take the embellishment, in this case a googly eye, to the glue dot.  Press it onto the glue dot, than peel off the embellishment and the glue dot together.  This is much easier and more efficient than trying to peel the glue dot off the paper strip and getting it stuck to your fingertips before you can adhere it to the embellishment.

Spider Trio

That’s it!

If you purchased some glue dots for making the spiders, you might want to try these Yummy Mummies: cheesecloth wrapped candy bars.  I went to the free weekly Craft Gym at Once Around last Tuesday mostly because I wanted to see if they had restocked orange chenille yarn to make more pumpkins.  I figured I’d also pick up googly eyes for making spiders.

The mummies are kind of a cute way to dress up a candy bag for Halloween but I think that most people who would be happy to get candy, wouldn’t care if it came done up as a mummy.

Mummies eye spider

I had cheesecloth at home and when one of the other crafters gave me some candy bars (I shared DIY tips and supplies for both Yarn Pumpkins and Silly Spiders), I decided to make some at home.

I used cheesecloth, scissors for fabric, an ink pad and a sponge, a distress dye stain (you only need one form of ink or dye – even a brown felt marker will work), googly eyes, adhesive, and thin candy bags like the Hershey’s in the photo.

Mummy supplies

When I picked up googly eyes for the spiders, I found these eye stickers by Jolee’s Boutique and grabbed a package. I’ll try them on some mini pumpkins.  You can also use a small circle punch and a hole punch to create eyes.

Cut a small nick one one side of the cheesecloth to get started, then tear several strips, about two inches wide. My fabric was 36 inches so my strips were 2 x 36 inches.  You can cut it if you prefer, but tearing it adds a great raggedy edge.

Fold up the strips and then sponge or smudge ink on the edges of the fabric.

Distress Inked Edges

When the ink or dye is dry, use a small glue dot or a bit of adhesive (directions at craft class said to use hot glue, but you’re likely to melt some chocolate that way), even double stick tape will work, and stick one end of the strip of cheese cloth to the back of one candy bar.

Wrap the bar, using several strips as needed, finishing with the end glued to the back of the bar.  Add eyes and that is it.

Yummy Mummies

To make paper eyes, I used a small circle punch, I think it is 1/2 inch, and a standard hole punch.

Making Eyes

I drew red veins on white paper and punch out two circles.  Using the smaller hole punch, make two smaller dots or circles.  I actually drew on the white paper with blue-grey marker and punched the irises from that. A black marker created the pupils. Foam dots adhered the eyes to the mummy.

Tied Eyes

I still think the spiders have the mummies beat (6 hands down) but with the right chocolate bar, I might be persuaded otherwise.

In the meantime, get your Orange and Black on and Go Giants!

Go Giants

Thanks for creeping by.

 

 

 

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Nifty Fifty Inchies Card

Nifty Fifty Inchies Card

Here’s another inchies project – a card celebrating my friend Maria’s 50th birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Maria! Yes, you can celebrate all week, or do what I do and celebrate birthday month!  With a day that started with chocolate and included champagne, and lots of laughter with friends, she observed her special day in style.

A milestone birthday was a good reason for creating this card.  I enjoyed my previous inchies project and confess to making another that I didn’t share here because I forgot to take pictures.Angled 50

Most of the time for this card was spent looking through my bits and pieces of paper ephemera to find  as many variations of 50 that I could.

50 degrees

An old dictionary provided a definition, artwork showing a celestial chart and decorative paper with tape measure designs are a few of the things I found.  A small calender page just needed a little editing – I think I created the month of Maytober.

Sparkly 50

Maria is a math instructor so Exercise 50 from an old math textbook was perfect.  A pink square with large white numerals just needed some sparkle to be included.  A glue pen and glitter took care of that.  Every inchie didn’t have a 50 on it.  I wanted to get some other sweet images, more color and more pizzazz, so I added a small tag with a stamped heart, washi tape and printed paper with some gel pen embellishment.

Complete Poems

An old British map, the back cover from sheet music and a Japanese postage stamp all made the cut.  I wanted to include polka dots and the color pink, two things I associate with Maria.  I added a punched out star to the little “Wish” embellishment.

The finishing touch is the gold number 50 stickers called thickers.  A thank you to Carson for writing about crafting with thickers – I was convinced I needed these in my craft arsenal and they really complete this design.

Gold Thickers

All the very best to you, Maria.  I really do think you are nifty, smart and absolutely hilarious!  I was delighted to celebrate your special day with you.

Thank you all for the visit.  This is my 400th blog post!

Bright gold

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Little Yarn Pumpkins

Mantle Pumpkins

I’m ready for Fall, even though we’ve been in a heat wave that feels very summery.  It’s been getting into the 90’s but we expecting “only” a high of 87 today. I made a batch of these cute little Yarn Pumpkins at the free weekly Craft Gym at Once Around. They had directions from the parenting site Make and Takes which has lots of kids craft projects and recipes. Make and Takes made Yarn Apples first but I think the project is more suited to pumpkins.

They are very simple to make and look pretty adorable in little groups.

White, Orange, Green

I brought some to work and put them on the counter by our Department Administrative Assistant, Monica, and she said people were commenting on them all day long.

Supplies needed:

  • Yarn
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • A little scrap of cardboard is helpful but I usually just use my fingers

Yarn and Pipe Cleaners

Cut your pipe cleaner into two pieces, about 2/5ths and 3/5ths.  I used tan in this picture but green for the stem in some other pictures.

Pipe Cleaner

Now take your yarn and start wrapping it around the piece of cardboard or around your fingers.  Don’t wrap your fingers too tight!

Wrapping Fingers

My big hand with my fingers spread out like this made a pumpkin similar in size to a grapefruit.  Wrap at least 100 times around – for smaller pumpkins or if your yard is pretty chunky you can do less.  My smallest pumpkins were between 80 and 100 and wrapped around two fingers, spread out a bit.

Once you finish wrapping, take the shorter piece of pipe cleaner and put it under the yarn then bring the two ends together and twist very tightly.

Full Wrapped with Pipe Cleaner

Twisted Pipe cleaner

Trim the ends.  If the wire in the pipe cleaner is poking out,  mush the pumpkin down on the table to press the ends flat.

Take your second, longer piece of pipe cleaner and put it through the opposite side of the yarn, twisting it tight. This is the top of the pumpkin and the ends of the pipe clear make the stem.  After twisting close to the yarn, I fold one end of the pipe cleaner than wrap the other end around  it.

Top of Pumpkin

Now you just need to foof it out!  Bang it on the table a few times, get your fingers into it and squish the yarn around until you are happy with the shape.  I think it looks more pumpkin-like if it is a little flat, not completely round and spherical.

If you use the cardboard, the steps are the same.

Wrap the yarn around the cardboard.

Using cardboard

Put pipe cleaner under the yarn and twist the ends tightly together.  Folding the cardboard makes this a bit easier.

Yarn on cardboard with pipe cleaner

Trim the ends of the pipe cleaner on the bottom and put the second piece of pipe cleaner through the yard and twist tightly for the step at the top.

Bottom

Top

After twisting pipe cleaner for the top of your pumpkin, bend one end down and wrap the other end around it to form the stem.

Twisting Stem

Now just fluff it and foof it and play with it until you’re satisfied with the shape.

Mix of real and yarn pumpkins

Here’s a mix of yarn pumpkins and real mini-pumpkins together.

2 yarn, 1 real

I like how it looks with pumpkins made from different yarns, especially the plushy, soft chenille yarn they had at Once Around (the green one in the photo, above).  It was great going to the Craft Gym because everyone was sharing the various yarns around the table which meant more variety without having to buy all the different yarns.

I made a few using two colors by adding orange or green yarn on top of white.  Several people in our craft class made pumpkins by twisting two strands of yarn from different skeins at the same time, but I didn’t try that.

White with Green

This is wavy white yarn wrapped around the cardboard with a bit of green wrapped on top, before the pipe cleaner step.  The finished pumpkin is in the top photo.

Little vines

After I took some pictures at my mom’s house, I decided to add a bit of curly “vines” to some of the little pumpkins.  I unraveled a strand of green yard and using single ply, I wet it and wrapped it around the handle of  paint brush.  A chopstick or pencil would also work.

Wrapped Yarn

Using a heat tool, I dried the yarn while it was still wrapped around the paint brush.  I experimented a bit, trying hairspray, hair gel and mat medium but found that just using water and heat was effective.  If you don’t have a heat tool, a blow dryer should also work.  You can easily loosen the curl to look more like a vine.

Staight to Curly

Drape a strand or two of curled yarn around the stem of your pumpkins if you want to take the extra step.

Texture

Now I’ve got some cute fall decor, maybe fall weather isn’t too far behind

Thanks for the visit.

Curly vines

 

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Make Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Good morning, Sunshine! Yes, I admit my diet isn’t always quinoa and kale.  This sunny plate includes a pluot from the Farmer’s Market, one scrambled egg that I got directly from the person who keeps the chickens (lucky me, a co-worker gives away super-fresh eggs) and refrigerator cinnamon rolls baked on a waffle iron.

Packaged rolls and waffle iron

Our Emeril “Professional” Waffle Iron (I don’t know what makes it professional).  Yes, each and every waffle says “BAM” on it.

Emeril Waffle Iron

I saw these on Pinterest and naturally couldn’t wait to try them.  Heat the iron and spray with nonstick spray.

We made two waffles from four regular sized rolls for dessert and decided that they were too toasty.  They were bigger than the ones we cooked the next morning for breakfast.  Maybe it was the temperature of the iron.  I really don’t know.  But they were good both ways, just better when less toasty.

Rolls on the waffle iron

I grated fresh orange zest over the icing.

Orange Zest

Shortly after fixing these, I saw a post about Daniel Shumski and his blog and book “Will It Waffle.” He has waffleized many things.  There are more possibilities than I ever dreamed of.

Cinnamon Roll close up

Maybe he has one made with quinoa and kale.

Thank you for stopping by.

 

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Art Journal: Stitching on Paper

IMG_0062 This two-page spread, Birds of a Feather, came about because a crafting friend, Phoenicia, sent me a picture of embroidery on an old page, here.  I followed several links until I found PaperStitch and more about the artist, Jessica, along with some tips on how to embroider on paper. Embroidery is not my thing, but I loved how it looked and wanted to try it. I got off to a bit of a rocky start because I didn’t have any embroidery thread or an embroidery needle.  I tried it with regular thread and ended up losing track of where I was on the project.  I had knots on the back and then on the front and it was a mess. I realized I needed to start over once I had the right supplies. My sister Kathleen let me have some embroidery thread  and a needle.  I glued a sheet of graph paper to the back of an old page from a math textbook to give it some strength.  The old paper is kind of brittle. Embroidery Thread I used a feather template that I’d previously found at Lia Griffith handcraft your life (sometime I’m going to make some paper feathers, which is what the template was for) and scribbled on the back of the page with a pencil so I could transfer the design to my paper.  Jessica at PaperStitch said to put your design on the back of the paper so it doesn’t show in the finished piece. Scribbled Pencil Feather Next, I pierced holes in the paper following the pattern. Pierced More pierced I threaded the needle with three strands of embroidery floss and started stitching the feather design.  Because I’m working on paper instead of cloth, I’m careful not to try and do more than one stitch at a time because I don’t want to tear the paper. Stitched Feather The paper is old but I wanted to distress it even more so I used some ink around the edges of the page which you can see on the finished spread. I’ve had this sweet bird stencil for awhile and thought it would compliment the feather design. Stenciled Birds The background is a thin layer of gesso brushed then scraped across the page with a plastic card then inked up with some distress inks.  The birds are done with several colors and types of felt pens that I used to ink a stiff brush. Flowers cut from different papers finished the birds page.  I mounted some with glue dots for a little dimension. Flower detail I’m pleased with the finished pages and will probably do more embroidery on paper.  Maybe I’ll even learn some proper stitches. Embroidery close up Birds of a Feather Thanks for stopping by.  Thank you to Phoenicia for lighting a creative spark. Feather + Birds

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