Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Last week a little girl and her mom rang our doorbell; she was selling chocolates.

Naturally, hubby succumbed (okay, I would have too if I had answered the door).

After paying, her mother asked "So, are you doing a pumpkin again this year?"

I had to laugh. I guess the neighborhood has come to expect my annual carved decoration. Each year I do at least one real pumpkin, carved and lit up on our porch to greet young Trick or Treaters. This year is no different.

Yep, Indy is all set:

It looks better lit up

I seem to have also passed on the tradition too.... daughter came by last night and we carved one each.

In past years, I have also done foam pumpkins that can be re-used year after year. Like this pair of Jacks:


Or Dracula

I have decorated with both vintage and not-so-vintage Halloween items around the house:

So we're all set. We'll put in a pizza, sit down at our "Nightmare" adorned table, throw on a spooky movie and wait for the kiddos to arrive.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tim Holtz Tags of 2014 - October

Ah Halloween! My second-favorite holiday after Christmas. Such fun to decorate and prepare for... so this month's tag was both a trick and a treat to create. I got out the stash I thought I would need. As it turned out, I changed my mind part way through as you'll see...

First I cut out two tags (one for me, one for The Scrapbook Cottage) in both cardstock and chipboard (for stability) from Tim's Tag & Bookplates Bigz Die. Then I taped down his "Shatter" Layering stencil over the tag - even though this simulates broken glass, I think it also looks like a spider web.

I spread gesso over the delicate stencil with a palette knife - and after carefully lifting it off, was relieved to see this technique worked! I set the tags aside to dry where little feline paw prints wouldn't ruin them - a necessity when you are creating in a small room where three cats HAVE to keep you company and watch exactly what the heck you are doing at all times.

Next I got out a Graphic 45 Halloween stamp of a black cat - now this is where I deviated from my initial plan... I was going to do a pumpkin with "Boo" spelled out underneath in Scrabble tiles (similar to Tim's sample), but instead of using my own hand-drawn pumpkin (I have a few in my Digidrawn store), I thought this cat would be perfect for a frightening scene with a large spider in the web.

So I stamped the cat with Ranger's Archival black ink, coloured in the edges and shaded a bit with Tim's Distress markers (Black Soot and Spiced Marmalade) and topped it off with Glossy Accents (as he demonstrated on his pumpkin).

For the spider, I simply went into the dining room where I had a few rubber spiders sitting in the bowl of candy (why yes, I DO have a bowl just for us with the best of the chocolate bars and candy... doesn't everyone?)

*Ahem* But I digress... so I brought two spiders into my studio and added some Black Diamond Stickles to their backs to jazz them up a tad. But then I once again changed my mind... (I seem to do that a lot)

Instead of a huge spider on each tag, I decided it would be even creepier to have just THE LEGS of the spider crawling into the edge of the tag... so I sliced one spider into two sets of legs and returned the other spider to guard the candy (which he is a total failure at, by the way).

For the charms, I used Tim's Cash Keys set. It comes with the metal backer and clear epoxy cover. All I had to add was a white oval cardstock piece that was inked on the edge and Tim's "Words" Rub Ons for the saying. I added the cardstock with Glossy Accents and pressed the epoxy cover over top.

Now that the tag backgrounds were dry, it was time to colour them in. We don't have any of Tim's new Distress Sprays that he uses in his demo up here yet (and I left it too late to order any online), so I got out my Distress Stains and made a mess.

Er, I mean, I "created an artistic background"... and a mess to be honest. Good thing I have his craft sheet to work on. I used Peeled Paint, Forest Moss, Dusty Concord, Wild Honey, Crushed Olive and Spiced Marmalade and went to town splattering and spraying with water for some cool effects.

The Graphic 45 Halloween stamp set also came with a stencil (and with all Halloween at 70% off at Michael's, it was a steal for $5) so I used that with Tim's Distress Black Soot ink and Mini Distress Tool to add some spooky sayings. I also used the black ink to darken the edges of the tags and added more purple with some Dusty Concord Distress ink here and there.

Now that my cats were dry, I added them with Glossy Accents and glued the cardstock tags to the chipboard backers with Scotch Quick Dry adhesive. I also coloured in the tag reinforcements and glued them on the front and back of each tag.

The spider legs were also attached with Glossy Accents, creeping in from the edge of the tag. A strip of black jute string was secured with the Tiny Attacher (a smaller version of a regular stapler).

The charm is held in place with ScorTape and secured to purple jute string looped through the tag hole.

Love the way the ink seeped into the cracks to create a web effect.

And the way the cat has spotted the arachnid...

Yeah. I do believe I would react the exact same way...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vampires and Vampyres

Oh October! It's a busy month, but lots of fun too; my favorite time of the year.

I was spoiled on the third with birthday gifts of a yarny nature (natch), we hosted a Thanksgiving family dinner last weekend and today is my parent's 66th Anniversary! I can't believe Halloween is only two weeks away...

Speaking of which, my latest knitting project has a goulish connection: it's called the "Vampyre Shawl" because of the cool bat-like shape. I sent away to Germany for special rainbow wool just for this project; that has a very long, smooth transition between colours. I had never ordered yarn online before, but it was so cheap and quick, I am sure it won't be my last! It came in a huge skein; I separated it into balls of one complete rainbow each and got almost three individual balls and began on one "wing" of the pattern:

I learned a new technique on called "short rows" in order to get the curved effect:

Because I wanted to have the wings match, instead of continuing to follow the pattern straight through to the right wing, I cast off on scrap yarn so I could begin again at the tip of the other side. However, I had to make sure it would curve the correct way, so I reversed all the knits to purls and purls to knits from the left wing and it worked! Six attempts later, I was able to match up the colours (since the transition zones are so long, it was difficult to determine exactly where to begin). After completing the right wing, I watched a YouTube video to show me how to attach two sides of live stitches so they looked knitted together.

Once it was blocked, the shape and colours really ended up turning out beautifully. Even the pattern's designer was impressed and asked to post my project to their Facebook page!

Speaking of transitions and vampires, now I really need to replace my Thanksgiving decor with some spooky Halloween trappings!

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