Friday, October 30, 2015

National Cat Day

Yesterday was National Cat Day, which I didn't realize until about 10:30 p.m. It then dawned on me that I haven't introduced my studio assistant, Tuukka. And let me tell you, she was really p.o.'d when she checked the blog last night.

To make up for my embarrassing oversight, I promised I would do a short photo essay here today. Here we are, having a meeting in the craft room. The main issue discussed was my need to put down things that I am working on to spend more time holding cats.

Here's Tuukka after a stressful day of climbing through the craft closet. You have no idea what a mess that is.

Again, you have no idea.

Finally, here's a shot of her moving her work into the living room to use the laptop. She may have nodded off while working on the new blog banner.

What can I say. She works for cheap. Mostly Friskies pate and belly rubs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mixed Media Halloween Chunky Houses

Here's a recent batch of mixed media "chunky houses." And yes, they were made for a Craftster swap.  (You should be seeing a pattern here.)

What are chunky houses, you ask? Chunky houses stand no higher than 7" in height, and are no wider than 5". Essentially, you create a flat little house out of whatever you want (these use little foam haunted houses as the base) and then you decorate the heck out of them. I used vintage sewing patterns to cover them, then embellished with other papers, ribbons, permanent markers, buttons, etc.

Both sides are done. I like to do similar themes for all the fronts, then do something unique on the reverse sides.

I have plans for a future tutorial on these, should you like to create your own!

Monday, October 26, 2015

More Blasts from Halloween Past

It's amazing what you can do with cigar boxes. I have a lot of them. I love that there isn't just one standard kind of cigar box -- some are a little taller, some are wider, some are shiny and some are very papery. This project was made from one of the taller, thinner, shinier ones. This went out as a swap item last year for a Craftster Halloween swap.

boo. I covered the box with two kinds of scrapbook paper, and the letters are chipboard. The pumpkin is a three-dimensional sticker thing that I had. I keep searching for more of these. Should have bought them when I saw them the first time! Seasonal stuff is so different each year.

Here's the reverse -- the cat is also from some scrapbook paper, while the decorative bits are stickers.

This is the part that I like the best! The skeleton is from a paper bundle by Martha Stewart (released a few years ago), and I added in the "beware!" paper, bats, key, mirrors, flowers and jars. I like how the skeleton takes up both sides of the box.

In the same swap, I sent along this altered paper mache Halloween house. I painted it, added glitter, trees, a pumpkin, orange crepe paper, and a tiny owl. (See middle round window. I don't have a better photo of the owl for some reason.)

And a Hipstamatic photo of the house -- spooky!

Only five more days until Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Owl Always Love Halloween

There are occasions where I make things for swaps that I wish I didn't give away. This would be one of those examples. I purchased two wooden owls at a yard sale that were unfinished, and the lady who sold them to me looked at me like I had two heads for even wanting them. But they were just calling out to me! ("Buy me... you'll paint me... it will be wonderful...")

This is the first of the owls. (The second has been in limbo for some time. I am planning on finishing it up this week. Good intentions and all that.)

I love vintage Halloween owls, so that's what happened to this little fella.

He was so glossy after I sprayed him with sealant -- but that was a great thing, because it really added to the look that I was hoping for.

I miss this one. The recipient loved him, so that's my consolation. The other owl will look nothing like this one, as my husband has requested a Day of the Dead motif. With luck, I'll be posting photos of that soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Halloween, continued.

Another swap wrapped up this week, and these were a few little things that I sent out. Halloween projects never stop! At least, not until November.

Another spoolie -- this one is smaller than the last, but no less festive. (Tell him that, he'll appreciate it.)

I still enjoy the funny little noses.

Next up, a mini village. They are meant to be fairly minimalistic, and I kind of enjoy that here. These are wood block houses, painted with acrylics.

And the reverse - I adore this paper, and wanted the witch ladies to represent. The  rooftops have a crepe paper finish.

Now, back to making things for me! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pumpkins For Sale! Not Really.

I have lots of new projects coming through the pipeline, but am totally exhausted this morning. So let's chat about another blast-from-the-past project. This one is one of my all-time favorite transformations! Here's my pumpkin stand.

It started out as this pink nightmare. I found this at a yard sale a couple of summers ago, and had a vision for it. Most importantly, that vision involved spray painting it black. (Pardon the lovely place mat in the background.)

Here's another angle of the finished stand. The boards across the windows and the sign are all made from chipboard. (Tim Holtz brand, I believe.) The bottles at the bottom are colored with alcohol inks. The pumpkins are these delightful little things that I believe are some sort of seed pod. I was on the hunt for these last weekend because they are just perfect for Halloween crafting, but none of the major stores carry them. I found two giant boxes of them at our local indoor flea market. Score!

A friend came over a few weeks ago and was in my craft room. She found a bag of moss and held it up, and said, "Why? Are you seriously using this?" Well, sometimes I do. Here's proof! Every overgrown pumpkin stand has some moss going on. 

I also enjoy the little stained glass window here. That's a Jolee's embellishment that I had hoarded for ages, and it worked very well in this piece. I also like the skull head in the bowl. (What does that say about me? Never mind.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Two heads are better than one...

Sometimes, I make weird stuff. This post refers back to one of those times. And one of those weird things.

As seems to be the pattern, this was for a swap on Craftster. I believe I made it last year. (Maybe two years ago? Last year feels right though.) My swap partner liked two-headed cats, so that's what I came up with. The frame was something I had picked up at a yard sale, and used to be gold. That was quickly fixed with some black spray paint! The cats themselves are made from paper clay, and painted with acrylics. 

It's certainly one of my more unique creations, but I think it's also fairly hilarious. It was very difficult to photograph, which was why I am holding it in the first photo, and it's propped up precariously against my flour jar in the second. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Typewriter mixed-media canvas

Here's a quick Friday post -- I made this canvas probably a year ago, and it hangs in my cubicle at work. As a writer by trade, I've always had an affinity for typewriters. My mother, aunt and uncle have all been transcriptionists, so typewriters were plentiful in our family. I loved the the way the text punched out, how the machine had funny little accessories that you'd never use on anything else (the ribbons, the little brush, the eraser) and how you had to use carbon paper if you wanted to magically make two copies of something. I wasn't crazy about the sound of an electric typewriter though -- they were loud. When my mother really got going on a transcript, it sounded like a small machine gun was firing away at her desk. 

I got this great typewriter image at A.C. Moore one day, and it made its way into a canvas, along with some dictionary text, some German text that someone sent to me in a swap, some washi tape with cursive writing on it. Then for good measure, there's lots of paint and gessoed stenciling. It was a nice little afternoon project.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Earliest Crafting Days (or why lace from the 1980s needs to stay in the 1980s)

Today, I thought I'd share a few amusing finds from a recent trip to my parents' house. My mother quite literally has boxes of things that I made before I hit the age of 10. Boxes. And I am now significantly older than 10. But it was really fun to realize that I have always loved to make things and play with paper. Here are a few winners from one box. 

On this masterpiece, I was rocking the '80s lace. I was obviously frustrated by glue (which is still a factor today), so it's all held on with tape -- which I have to say did a remarkable job through the years. The flower stickers also seemed to hold their own.

One of my first books! I'm shocked this was never published. "Facts about Cats!" could have been an NY Times Bestseller, I'm sure of it. This one amuses me for several reasons. 

1. I loved making books even back then.
2. I was obsessed with cats even back then.
3. I still love combining pink and red, which most people think is quite gross. Sometimes I add purple.
4. When I opened this book up, I saw that I had a page for each kind of cat that I could learn about. I used to have tons of books about cats, how to draw cats, what kinds of cat breeds there were, you name it. So inside there are four or five pages with cat drawings and my research findings. Then the rest of the pages are blank. I got tired of drawing new cats. I have lived a lifetime of not wanting to finish large projects!

Finally, to keep with this month's Halloween theme, here's my five-year-old attempt at being scary. And lazy, as I evidently didn't feel like making each person a card. Boo.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mr. Pumpkin Pants

Here's another little guy that I made for a Halloween swap -- the theme here, other than Halloween, was that it had to be something small and under 4". That's not always easy, as my projects tend to get a little out of control. But I managed to abide by the rules, and made this little ornament. I think he's pretty charming!

(I took these photos at work. Time is never on my side when it comes to good photos. Something else to work on.)

Here you can see his hanger a bit better -- it's made from wire, which I basically shoved through his little paper clay head and then secured into the spool below. (I apologize for the graphic details.)

I don't know why, but I love the back of his little head! I was also really happy with the shade of this orange.

A profile shot. I'm very fond of his nose. He has the same look of horror that I get when someone is taking a profile photo of me. 

And the other side, for good measure. He has little domino bead feet that I blinged up. His body is a spool, covered in a section from an old dictionary. One of the definitions is "black death" -- he needed a little creepiness to balance his overall cuteness.

And finally, a black and white shot for Halloween. For drama. 

I am hoping to make another one for myself -- a head is already drying. How gross does that sound?

Friday, October 2, 2015

You Like Me... You Really Like Me...

I am always amazed when someone likes my work. Sad, huh? I mean, I like my work. But you? That's incredible!

So I have been geeking out a bit this week as I received not one, but TWO mentions on Craftster, my favorite online craft community. In their "Teeny, Teeny Halloweenie" blog post, my little pumpkin spool buddy made an appearance. (Side note: I was also the proud swap recipient of that adorable stuffed cat with the pumpkin mask, made by Craftster Ludi.)

As if that wasn't enough glory, Max's Bone Shoppe was chosen as a Craftster Featured Project! There he is, down at the bottom. Grinning away.

After a very long week, these were both lovely surprises. Geek, geek, geek.