Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mid-December Update

One would think I fell off the planet after the whole Creep-a-Day circus ended, judging by the state of this lonely blog. This is partly accurate.

Writing anything has been pushed so far off the back burner, the pan is back in the fridge. Life gets complex and hectic and so many people need so much that something (sadly) has to get dropped. I'm sad that it was my writing that suffered.

 To make that sadness worse, the few stories I had out in Submission Land found their way back to me with resounding "well-written, not quite what we're looking for, best of luck finding a home for this one" wishes.
(I always wonder if they really mean "Good luck trying to find a home for this piece of crap!")

Anywho, after Thursday, I should have all of my commitments and demands sated so I can sit for hours and hours over my holiday break playing with words. I'm excited, nervous, and scared.

I've even got myself a nice schedule set up for blog updates in 2015, fancying up my website, and other fun things going. See you soon!




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello November!

So today I'm putting away all those awesome craft supplies and feeling very tired from a great Halloween. I also decided to put away items from my work Halloween party and clean the cesspit I call the office. I hope you all had a splendid holiday!!!

Tomorrow we set the clocks back and the downhill sprint to January begins. Later this month I'll be selling items at a craft/vendor fair and I'll be adding more items to my Etsy store so if you liked any of the jewelry I made during the Creep-a-Day Challenge, check out my store and you might see some very similar items available.

I thought about doing NaNoWriMo this year, but have other commitments (writing-related) so I am skipping the fun this year. If you are taking the challenge, I salute you and cheer your success.

 There may be a cool thing coming up next year and once I discuss it with the hubs and get a firmer plan, I will share it here. Don't you love vague statements like that?

Happy November!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 31

Polymer Clay Fingers
Can you point me in the right direction?


Happy Halloween! Thank you so much for following me through this magical month of crafting insanity! I'm glad and sad to see it come to a close, but hey, there is always next year!

Since this is the last night and we'll have trick-or-treaters and other fun things going on, I thought I'd do something simple, yet fun. Behold...polymer clay fingers! These awesome candy molds have been tucked away in a closet, waiting to be used for at least five years. FIVE YEARS! Well, they shall wait no longer.

Cautions: Polymer clay can give off fumes--make sure you are in a well-ventilated kitchen. They say it is best to keep your polymer clay tools strictly for polymer clay.

Supplies:
Polymer clay in various colors (I used Sculpey)
Candy mold
Baking dish
Parchment paper

The How:
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure your candy molds are clean and dry.

Select the fingernail color and break off a piece of clay, kneading it into a ball roughly the size of a hazelnut. Once it is softened, press the ball of clay into the mold, filling in the nail area.

Select another color and knead the clay to condition it. Roll it out into a snake shape and lay it into the mold.
Someone chipped a nail!

Making a finger
Press and stretch the clay to fill out the finger, making sure you have a nice point of contact with the nail color.

Turn your mold over and on the plastic until the finger is free. Flip the finger over and press the nail carefully to make sure the two clays have bonded. Smooth out any rough edges.






Place the clay finger on the parchment-lined dish and bake for about 15 minutes. You can bake more than one finger at a time. Let the fingers cool off before handling.

If you want, you can poke a hole in the base of the finger before you bake it (some might call it a proximal phalanx or phalange...) so that you can put a wooden dowel or stick in it for decorating purposes later on.






Remember: the mold you use cannot be used for food so no melted chocolate or fondant or anything. Sorry, thems the breaks.

If you have leftover clay, you can store it in a zipper bag.

She needs to tidy up her polish...
Happy Halloween!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 30

Shrunken Skull

Shrinky Skull!


I've had a Shrinky Dink kit for jewelry for several years and only made a few things out of it. A few weeks ago, I thought about making an articulated Shrinky Dink skeleton, but the paper I have isn't big enough for the size I wanted. Sifting through my royalty-free clip art collection from Dover, I decided to make a skull ornament.

Supplies:
Shrinky Dink plastic sheets
Felt tip pen
Aluminum foil
Baking pan
Oven

Tools:
Scissors
Hole punch (mine came with the kit)

The How:
I traced out my image on the rough side of the Shrinky dink paper, per the instructions, adding shading where appropriate. It was time-consuming but it reminded me of my college osteology class. We spent a lot of time sketching the different bones in the lab and I still have many of my drawings.
Base image

With Shrinky Dink paper and my sketch over the top


Lifting the sketch off

My sketch





















































I trimmed around the skull and positioned the hole punch...then applied too much pressure apparently because the hole punch shattered in my hands! Oh the humanity... There was only a slight impression in the Shrinky Dink paper so I used a razor blade to cut the hole.

With the baking pan prepped per the kit directions, I baked my skull and let it cool. That sounds weird.

It was scary making the skull because the heat of the over warps the plastic material and you want to cry, but it eventually straightens out. I liked the skull so much, I decided to make a polycephalic conjoined twin...

Happy Halloween Eve!!
I first saw this image in osteology class. Hello, old friend.




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 29

Spooky Halloween Album

My own Halloween pictorial history


Today's craft was unplanned. I thought I knew what I was making...but had swapped the craft out for a different night that had no craft earlier this month. What to do? What to do??? I couldn't sleep because of this then I thought of all the supplies I have the most of. Paper. Good gravy, do I have paper! And doo dads. Lots and lots of doo dads. I would combine the two to make a spooktacular Halloween photo album.

Supplies:
2 book boards (I used 8x8)
8x8 Halloween scrapbook paper
2 Binder rings
Halloween scrapbook paper in contrasting colors/patterns
Glossy Accents
Tim Holtz metal corners
Photos
Tim Holtz word bands
Brads
Double-sided tape
Tim Holtz Clear Rock Candy Crackle
Tim Holtz ornate plates
Tim Holtz gears

Tools:
7 gypsies Binderie Punch
Scissors

The How:

A wee bit of what you need
I had different sizes of book boards and the 8x8 size already had holes punched in them so that helped me decide what size to make my album. With the holes on the left, I put a squiggle of Glossy Accents in the top and lower right corner of one board and placed a corner over it with the design side up. I let it dry a few minutes then folded the back flaps over the board. This would be the front cover. For the back cover, I repeated the process but with the holes on the right and glossy accents on the top and lower left corners. 






Holey punch!
I stacked my 8x8 paper in the order I wanted it in my album and inserted the stack into my Binderie punch, making sure they were centered. With a press of a button, two holes were punched through the stack of papers. If you make these kinds of albums and use book boards, I really recommend getting this type of punch because it punches neatly, quickly, and easily through heavy stock.

Next, I sandwiched the paper between the book boards and used the binder rings to make a book. I used five sheets of paper but will add more as I print up more photos.



On some of the pages, I added trimmed accent paper using the double-sided tape. I added the photos on the accent paper.

To give the album more character, I used several Tim Holtz doo dads. I know that isn't his term for his wonderful creations, but I like saying doo dad.

I'm very pleased with this album and can't wait to add more fun Halloween photos of me and the hubs.






Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 28

Mother of the Year

This could easily be rendered into a cake. Hint-hint...


I bought this paper pulp pumpkin on clearance last year, not knowing what I'd make with it. As this month progressed, ideas ranged from a newspaper-covered pumpkin to a button-covered pumpkin to a googly eye-covered pumpkin.Staring at the naked pumpkin, the idea of the pumpkin being an egg sack both terrified and delighted me. The spider on top is the Mother of the Year for protecting her soon-to-be hatched hellions.

Supplies:
Paper pulp pumpkin
White acrylic paint
Black paint (I used a paint pen as well as acrylic)
Styrofoam ball
Crackle Glaze (I used Tim Holtz® Clear Distress Crackle Paint by Ranger®)

Tools:
Paint brush
Palette
Knife

The How:

I applied a thick layer of white paint over the pumpkin except for the stem. I only used one layer because I wanted a webby/woven appearance.


You won't need string for this one--this photo was before the spider idea took over my brain



















Thank goodness the egg sacs aren't this big in real life!





















I painted the stem black and made a circle of black around it for the body then in the grooves down the side of the pumpkin, I drew lines for the legs.



Meh...too one-dimensional




After staring at it a while, I didn't like the small body so I enlarged the black area and added a head and made the leg lines fuller.













Still unsatisfied, I took a Styrofoam ball and cut it in half. I applied black paint to the exterior of the ball and let it dry. Once dry, I applied a little white glue to the stem and shoved it into the flat side of the "body." The head painted on the pumpkin didn't look right so I sculpted a small roundish head out of the scrap of Styrofoam and painted it black. I attached it to the body via a black stir straw. I added two rhinestones for eyes and a spider was born!

To finish it off, I added a layer of crackle glaze just on the white part of the pumpkin. I think it turned out okay and I'm probably going to have weird dreams about spiders dragging their egg sacs across the bedroom floor. *shudders*
Her other babies can't wait to meet the newest hellions!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 27

Spooky Silhouettes

Don't be scared!


Each year, I come up with different silhouettes for our front windows and I usually have all of the supplies for this project on hand. Bats always look awesome and crows look cool too. If I'm feeling extremely ambitious, I cover the windows in colored cellophane. This year, I was only feeling mildly ambitious.

Supplies:
Black paper (card stock or construction paper)
Colored cellophane (the stuff you wrap gift baskets in)
Tape
Pencil

Tools:
Scissors

The How:

Some of what you need
I start out folding a piece of construction paper in half and cut out a rough pumpkin shape. This guy was tall
so I folded the paper long-ways and cut.

With the paper still in half, I drew a large X where I thought the eyes should go. I opened the paper to make sure the placement was good. Next I drew an open, wailing mouth.

I refolded the paper and carefully, I poked a "pilot hole" in the center of the X and began cutting it out. I did the same for the mouth. 

I opened the paper and cut out a piece of cellophane to fit over the cut-outs. With the pencil-marked side up, I taped the cellophane over the eyes and mouth, making sure not to have any tape cover the cut-out area. (it looks cloudy when viewed from outside)

RIP Jack O' Lantern!




















With one pumpkin done, I made a shorter, fatter pumpkin and a black cat.

I arranged them in the windows, the side with the cellophane facing inside the house and taped them in place. I used small strips of tape so it was less visible from outside.


Cross-stitch Zombie Day 2

I kept my word and finished this beast of a craft project. I won't say when I began or when I finally finished...but I'd say over 7 hours were put into this thing today only. If (this is a big if) I do any other cross-stitch projects in the future, I seriously would consider getting a magnifying light of some sort. Or just do needlepoint on bigger canvas holes.

Anyway, this is my cross-stitched zombie that will be gifted to my hubby.
The craft project that would not die!
I'll post Day 27 very soon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 26

Cross-stitch Zombie...Part One
Such a cool kit!


I purchased this amazing cross-stitch kit a couple years ago, but never got around to working up the ambition to make anything. A long time ago in a world far away, I was in 4-H and my awesome mom taught me the fine arts of needlepoint and cross-stitch. I knew I could do this project, but knew I was rusty in my needling skills. Oh, if only I knew how rusty I truly was!

So I should let you know that I just got back from a 3-day trip to Michigan to see the lovely fall scenery and visit our favorite haunted attractions. It is now 9:31 p.m.

Today, I cross-stitched in  moving car until the squares of the cloth became a blur and the sun sank too low to even see what I was doing. It was fun and challenging and I know I screwed up a handful of stitches...because I am very rusty.

This is as far as I got today, and I'm okay with that. I have all day off tomorrow so I will finish the zombie and work on a super cool craft idea that you can feel free to copy.
Believe me, that is a leg. More to follow tomorrow!
Stay tuned!




Saturday, October 25, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 25

Painted Skull

Not my best paint job, but not my worst!


Nothing says Halloween or scary like a grinning skull. I bought this one on clearance last year promising myself that I would paint it one day. Well, today was that day.

Supplies:
Paper pulp skull
White acrylic paint
Paint pens
Green acrylic paint
Waxed paper

Tools:
Paint brush
Palette

The How:


Work in progress
We took another road trip today and I knew it would take a while for a layer of white paint to dry, so I took my supplies with me and painted while the hubs drove to our destination. It was tough, but I got it done and by the time we got back, I could break out the paint pens and decorate my skull.
Such a lovely smile
 I painted on a pretty pink flower and added designs around the eye orbits and gave her teeth and pretty pink lips.

We all need a little heart


Isn't she lovely?


















Beautiful death

I added a few leaves just because.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 24

Shrouded Suckers


Four little ghosties

I remember these shrouded suckers from when I was little...I think they may have used muslin and yarn tied in a bow. Anyway, today was jam-packed with adventure so I needed an easy, car-friendly craft. Enter the ghostly candies.

Supplies:
White felt
String or yarn
Suckers
Black paint marker (or permanent marker)

Stuff you need
Tools:
Scissors

The How:

Remove any stickers from your sheets of felt. Match the short ends of a piece felt together to fold in half. Cut the fold. Repeat for each cut piece so that you end up with four rectangles of felt.

Cut several 5 to 6 inch pieces of string.




Wrap that sucker!
Center the sucker under a rectangle of felt and wrap the felt around it. Tie a piece of string under the round sucker then make two black dots for eyes.















Faceless and nameless




















You now have a bunch of cute little ghosties.
Spooky and sweet!




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 23

Repainted Pumpkins

Two fake pumpkins


I can't remember where I got these fake pumpkins, but the yellow in them was always a little off-putting to me, so much so that I kept them hidden away in a plastic bag. Not anymore! With a fresh coat of paint, they look a little better to me.

Supplies:
Fake pumpkins
Acrylic paint
Paper towels
Waxed paper

Tools:
Paint brushes
Palette

The How:

Not a fan of the yellow...



I covered my work surface with waxed paper so I didn't get paint everywhere. Next, I selected to colors I
wanted to paint the pumpkins. I had a nice orange and then I mixed up a bit of orange and brown as a secondary color.










Before...

I painted a thin layer of plain orange over a section of yellow, feathering out the edges a bit.
















After-ish
I took a piece of paper towel and wadded it up to dab the wet paint for a mottled-effect. I liked the way it turned out and did that on every yellow section then let it dry


Finally, I added a layer of the darker orange I mixed up to the previously yellow sections for some depth and dabbed it with a fresh piece of paper towel.

They aren't the prettiest pumpkins in the patch, but I think it is a definite improvement.



All better!











Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Creep-a-Day Challenge Day 22

His and Hers Coffins

Creeptastic!
Today was a rough crafting day! I didn't sleep much and I had a 6:30 a.m. blood draw for our yearly wellness thing at work. All day I've been tired, cranky, and a bit sore but hey, the crafts must go on. I mean...I've gone 21 days. I can't say "eff it" with ten days left. Anywho...

I found these little wooden coffins at a craft store and the price was right, so I bought them. I didn't know what they would contain, but I had a vague idea. Deep in my sticker and embellishment horde, I had these cute die cuts I bought almost ten years ago and I figured it would be good to use them.

Supplies:
Two pre-made wooden coffins
Black acrylic paint
Glossy Accents
Halloween embellishments of your choice
Silver Sharpie marker

Tools:
Paint brushes
Palette
Waxed paper or paper towels

The How:

That's a hot mess right there...
Cover your work station with either paper towel or waxed paper. I forgot the waxed paper so used some
paper towels.

I sorted through the embellishments until I found a couple of ghosts and some bones. I wanted to use the skeletons, but they didn't fit in the coffins and I didn't feel like cutting them apart. Not today.







I squeezed out some paint onto my palette and painted the interior of the coffins first. By the time the second coffin was done, I could move onto the outside of the first coffin. I let them dry completely, adding paint to any bare spots, but I only did one coat. That's pretty much all I could muster today, sorry!

A squiggle of glue...
Next, I glued the ghosts into each coffin with Glossy Accents, putting a different side face-up for contrast. With the ghosts in place, I put a thin layer of Glossy Accents over the whole ghost and to the edges of the coffin floor. I let this dry completely.
















They look surprised














A haunting we will go!


It seemed bare, so I added a bone to the inside of the coffin lid but didn't coat it with Glossy Accents.


















I wanted to add something to the coffin exteriors, but had no other supplies or ideas so I took a walk to our bookstore where they carry metallic Sharpies. I tested a small dot of silver on the back of the coffin and liked the result so I added flourishes to the sides of the lid and wrote "RIP" on the top of the lids. The hinges were too shiny for me so I colored a layer of the Sharpie over them and I like how it gave it a more matte look. Not sure how long that will last.

There you have it, his and hers coffins to store small odds and ends.
Maybe I'll hide candy in the coffins...