Halloween thoughts & ideas!

Now that Thanksgiving is more or less finished for the year (Mark & I still have thanksgiving turkey to do with my family this week during family dindin night — WOO!! One more turkey dindin!!), I can start working on HALLOWEEN ideas!!! :D

I spent a bit too much time on Pinterest this evening while I was in bed waiting for The Moose(tm) to kick in and as a result, I have a whole bunch of Halloween ideas running through my head that I want to make this year to spiff up the outside of the house with.

The biggest thing I am excited about this year: I want to try to make a whole bunch of “wood-looking” Halloween signs to hang all over the outside of house. I’m thinking that a lot of it will have to be DIY crafty stuff using recycled materials like cereal boxes, paint, construction paper and a roll or two of wood grain printed duck tape so it will be lightweight to hang on the vinyl siding. But honestly, if I had the mad skills to make them as wooden signs, and could afford materials to do so, I totally would!

Cute Halloween sign examples: Break Off In Case of Sparkly Vampires, One Hour Broom Parking Violators Will Be Toad, Spooky Directional SignAnnual Witches Ball – Free Broom Parking Cats Welcome.

For some extra added fun, I have some old text books that I might consider turning into spell books just for kicks! The only problem is that I have no idea where I would be able to put them for display for Trick’or’Treaters to see and ogle over.

Awesome spell & magic book examples: Decorative Spell Books (tutorial), Necronomicon (tutorial), Hocus Pocus Book (tutorial), Altered Halloween Books (tutorial), Book of Shadows (tutorial)

*starts vibrating audibly in excitement!*

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Refashioned Sweater to Cardigan Part II

Hah! I got it almost perfectly separated — there are a couple spots where I accidentally tore the fabric trying to rip the seams (top left & bottom of the V) but I’m hoping a little bit of snipping will help clean it up enough so that I can add on a bit of border.

Question is: should I use a strip of fabric like most people have done or do something radical & crochet one on in something obnoxiously bright and cheery?

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Refashion? Upcycle? What??

So I’ve been spending far too much time on Pinterest lately. That website is probably the most amazing place you could ever log into to lose yourself without even realizing it.

Usually it starts off as a search for something rather boring, and then all of a sudden you see something out of the corner of your eye and you’re immediately sent down the rabbit hole to the next pin that catches your attention.

Seriously. If you have problems with shinies, be warned. You’ll be gone before you even know it.

Anyhow, during this magical foray into the world of never ending Pinterest links, I discovered the terms ‘refashion’ and ‘upcycling’. Both words essentially mean taking an old discarded object that’s of no use to you in its present state, and recycling it into something new — potentially making a better and more useful item than its previous iteration. At least that’s my definition of the concept.

I’ve noticed that upcycling is usually used for discarded items like shipping pallets, wine crates, old gutters, old shelving and other hardware types of things. The item(s) are combined with other bizarrely useless items, combined together, given a new coat of paint, and then it’s now considered magically transformed “up” into something brand spanking new of better use & value to its owner.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder, remember. I mean there are some pretty cool project ideas out there if you’re into the whole DIY thing, of which I totally am and I am totally going to put all the blame on my Dad for this one. He’s the one that I probably take after in the department of scouring junk shops for stuff I can turn into something more fun. TheHubbs on the other hand, for some reason, isn’t so keen.

One of my favourite examples that is super easy and I think happens to be super cute, are cake stands. I absolutely love the idea of being able to make my own unique & one of a kind cake stand! One of these days I’ll get around to going to a thrift store to find some magical one off pieces to make myself something sweet.

You probably have a pretty good idea by now as to what the term refashion means if you apply the above concept to similarly recycling old clothes which are no longer loved or of any use. Second hand shops are obviously veritable gold mines for clothing that one can refashion into a garment that is by far much nicer than its original state.

So far my favourite idea has been simply taking an old, unloved, no longer worn, mens sweater and with a few deft snips of scissors, maybe a pass or two with the sewing machine and you’ve now got yourself a lovely cardigan.

Seriously!

With fall fast approaching (I’m pretty sure I felt the stirrings of season change this afternoon while I was out and about doing labs) I’m really excited to start wearing sweaters. This will be the first year in a really long time that I might actually be cold enough to wear one since we dropped my steroid levels at the beginning of the year. Guys, this is HUGE news!

Anyhow, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen table with one of TheHubbs’ old sweaters that he no has absolutely no desire to ever wear again and gave me permission to sacrifice it for the purpose of attempting my first refashion into a cardigan-ish type of garment.

To be honest, I dunno that it’s going so well.

If I was smart, I would just do what everyone else does and take a pair of scissors to just make a few deft cuts, add a couple seams and be done with it. But no. I’m not that kina girl. In my head, it seems to be that I apparently need to take a seam ripper to this bad boy in attempts of salvaging as much of the sweater’s shape & form as possible to reduce the amount of actual cutting I might need to do… except that it’s probably going up in flames at the moment, as right now it looks like the collar of this thing isn’t actually a separate piece tacked on, but in fact is part of the main body folded over itself and sewn into place..

GAH!!!! *panic!!*

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I. WILL. MAKE. THIS. WORK. DAMNIT!!

Wish me luck ^_^;;

Happy Birthday!

It’s our goddaughter’s first birthday today and to celebrate the special occassion, I’ve made her this adorably floppy and squishy unicorn stuffy.

E=MC^2’s our very own little “haggis wonton” ^_^

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Update: His name is Arthur ^_^ After opening Lil’E=MC^2’s present, we were discussing the creation of Arthur and I mentioned to J & Miss R that even though he’s a pink unicorn, he never ever felt like a girl to me — only ever a boy unicorn. With that information, and after a few name tries, he was decidedly named Arthur.

Darn spiffy art journal challenge for 2012 from Art & Sole.

So I’ve been flitting around the intarwebz looking at different art journal ideas for (future) inspiration and came across this rather fantastic project put out by Art and Sole — the 2012 Postcard Challenge!

The premise behind the idea is that you create 52 postcards, for two fictional characters of your own making, with fictional addresses, and have them write to each other back & forth from the current week’s challenge country.

The brilliance of this is that you end up with a beautiful collection of postcards that you’ve designed, along with a fictional story of your own creation. How you design the postcards and how you choose to assemble them into a collection at the end of December, also becomes a wonderful project in itself.

You obviously don’t have to do all fifty-two weeks, but if you do, you get a pretty fantabulous look at your creative abilities from 2012 all in one place. I’m thinking I would love to do this project myself, but it is seemingly a bit on the intimidating side given we’re already into March and I’ve already missed out on six weeks-worth of countries…. that’s not to say I couldn’t just start now and continue forward, or play catch-up from the beginning, it would just require a lot more pressure, I think, in my case.

Either way, I still think it’s a pretty fantastic project and I just wanted to spread the word about it in case anyone is into art journalling and might be looking for some ideas to create a well-rounded themed art collection.

I don’t know that I can say it enough how much I am loving this idea…

Memory Book Complete!

I finally completed the Memory Book with all the pretty bits & pieces and embellishing!

I am quite proud at how it’s all turned out ^_^

I don’t know that there’s really much more to say about it, so I shall just post the pictures and if there are any questions, by all means, ask away!

Front Cover:

Inside front cover with birthday card pocket lining:


Inside back cover with wedding invitation card pocket lining:


Back cover with elastic clasp sewn onto cover:


Braided spine embellishment from individually binding each card with embroidery floss:


Look! Look! Look!

A couple weeks ago, I made mention of the fantabulous things that were madly running rampant in my head that needed to be excavated from my brain and brought to light in the real world.

Well, I’ve mostly finished the cover to my Memory Book! After spending about an hour yesterday afternoon gesso-ing all the old Christmas cards I had set aside for the project, I decided that I would put the cards with messages that I wanted to keep un-mussed in a separate book. I am going to make second journal that will be just for artsy and creative stuffs. I left a few cards with pretty pics or funny messages on the covers untouched so they could be used as “art inspiration” or whatever you wanna call it — the insides & back covers are totally gesso’d so they can be decorated as I please.

Cover finished! All that’s left is embellishing.

The inside front & back covers of the journal still need to be covered to hide all the rough edges of the fabric & the felt that I used to make it kinda pouffy. I’m thinking that I am going to make paper pockets with my pretty new scrapbook papers to cover up the mess and to hold stuff I might not bind into the journal. The fat quarter ladybug fabric & the pieces of felt I had sitting in my craft stash I bought quite a few years ago when I was making my first crocheted pocket purses. It was kind of nice to find stuff like the fat quarters hiding out in my miscellaneous craft box — it was sort of a big catch-all rubbermaid tub that I didn’t know how to organize up until last weekend when I decided that I wanted to turn the office back into a useable space for me to do creative stuffs.

Inside view of journal

As for the spine of the journal, hindsight is 20/20 and experience is definitely an asset — I should have made the spine taller so you see less of the card backs. I’ll know better for when I make the second journal.

Journal spine

I was originally going to bind the individual cards together in groups of 3-5 to make what I believe are called signatures(?) but I’ve decided that I’m going to be binding in the cards individually so I can put some danglies off the spine for more visual interest I think but I haven’t decided 100% yet. As for the material that I am going to use to bind the cards to the cover, I think I am going to use embroidery floss because I have so many colours available to me in my stash and I could do a multi-coloured effect, having each colour denoting a particular section of the journal. Ie: Green for birthday, Blue for anniversary, Red for wedding invitations, etc…

Different angled view of the journal

Last week I put out a request for recycled bits & pieces that people might be willing to set aside for me like cereal boxes for recycled cardboard, old greeting cards they may not want, old jewellery they may not care about anymore that I could use for embellishments, etc.. etc.. It’s rather nice, in a weird sort of way, to go through the stuff that people are happy to discard so I can repurpose it into something rather neato. The process of making my current journals has been really enjoyable and I’m really hoping that I will have the creativity and motivation to keep up with it.

So yea, that’s what I’ve been up to for the last ten days or so! The journal is almost complete and I’m pretty pleased at how things are going thusfar and am pretty darned chuffed at how much pleasure I am getting from spending time alone in the office with all these wonderful art supplies. I admit I have spent quite a lot of money acquiring the preliminary supplies needed to do all of this craftiness — adhesives of all kinds (basic glue sticks, double-sided tapes, sticky dots, white glue), modgepodge, acrylic paints, water colours, paintbrushes, inkpads, gesso for priming, paper cutters, some pretty stickers & rub-on transfers to add visual interest to individual pages, beads and accessories that can be used for serious bling-action, beautiful scrapbook papers, a bonefolder. This is stuff that I had purchased completely at clearance prices and still it all adds up to being a rather expensive hobby.

But I guess once you’ve made the preliminary purchase of supplies, you really don’t need to buy much as time goes by. Yea there will always be new stickers, transfers & scrapbook papers, but they will all last an incredibly long time and as hokey as it sounds — you can’t really put a price on the amount of enjoyment you get out of the artistic process and the stuff that you eventually create will be absolutely priceless.