Thursday, December 15, 2011

Need a Day Brightener?

This video makes me smile every time I see it.  Don't you just love kittens?

Blessings, Tracy

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haunted House Silhouette

Here are a few quick pictures of the Haunted House silhouette that we display on our mantel every few years.  I don't have it completely set up, but thought I would add some pictures while I am thinking about it. I made this 10 or more years ago and unfortunately, it is really starting to show it's age.  
This is a large two piece silhouette, which was cut out of heavy duty poster board.  The tree (on left), small hill (that you can barely see on the right) and small flying bats are part of the back piece; which is placed against the wall.  The house, grass, gravestones and fence pillars are part of the front piece; which is placed about 5-6 inches in front of the back section.  It is lit using a long light, which is sandwiched between the front and back sections. 
It's been 10 years, and I still remember this silhouette being a CHALLENGE to make.  The poster board was thick and really difficult to cut through.  OMG, cutting out those fine details...let's just say, I remember learning several new swear words while working on it.  I can't imagine having to eventually redo it.  Oh, I do love it though!

 Blessings, Tracy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Psycho Bunny Lives!

So....(I think) this guy is pretty much done.  You may remember his humble beginnings in this post.  Not sure how I feel about him, but I do think he may be a little too cutesy for my taste.  I guess I'll just have to see how he looks, once he is lurking out in our garden at night.  I may have to go back and distress him...possibly add some dried blood and just make the poor thing look a little CrAzIeR.  I would rather he looked rough, like he just spent a long night digging himself up.  If  I have time,  I will try to get some better shots later. These pictures don't do him justice, since he really does look better in person.

All we have to do now, is find him a nice, yet creepy, spot in our garden to hang out.

 Blessings, Tracy

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spooky Halloween Wreath LOVE!

I recently ran across this wonderful idea for a Halloween wreath.  When I first saw it, I immediately knew I had to try to make one for my very own.  The original wreath idea came from the very talented Karen, over at "The Art of Doing Stuff".  I found her tutorial to be very detailed and easy to follow.  Oh yes, and the pictures, for those of us who are a little more visual (like me)...they are great.  Can't say enough good things about this whole project.  I LOVE how turned out.  Go over and check out her tutorial if you have a moment. 

I highly suggest using her tutorial as a guide, but here is my (quick) footnotes on this project.
  1. Like Karen, I made my own wreath base out of three layers of glued together Styrofoam.  The wreath bases I found in craft stores, were too small and really expensive.  Hello...a 4x8 sheet of 1 inch Styrofoam was about $4.  I have a lot of leftover Styrofoam, which is a good thing, since I will use it on some project in the future.  When I finished my Styrofoam base, it measure about 21-22 inches across. After I cut out the inner circle, the ring of my wreath was about 6 inches wide.  
  2. I couldn't find the glitter skulls she used anywhere.  I ended up buying 3 small Styrofoam skulls at Michaels.  I think they were $1.49 each.  I poked a short piece of dowel into the back of each of their heads and then painted them black. Once dry, I painted on a thin layer of glue and sprinkled with Martha Stewart's Onyx glitter. After they were covered with glitter, I gave them a light dusting of Martha Stewart's Black Licorice glitter to accent the Onyx.  The black Licorice glitter has flecks of blue and green added to black, which sparkles nicely in the light.  
  3. Karen used 6 boas, I think I ended up using 8 to cover my wreath.  
  4. When it was time to attach my skulls, I cut a few triangles of tulle/netting and stapled them together a few times to form a half clown collar; similar to the ones her skulls have.  And yes, I used a normal stapler.  The staples won't show, since they will be buried in feathers, so no big deal. I had two different scrap pieces of tulle on hand, one fine and one regular weave, so I used a little of each to give it more interest.  I also added three short pieces of ribbon to each collar.  After I attached the skulls to the wreath, I grabbed a tulle and ribbon collar and pinned it just under each skull; to look like it was attached.
  5. My finished wreath is HUGE...about 25 inches wide.  LOVE IT!!
Completed Styrofoam base.
Skulls before paint.
Paint drying.
Glitter drying.
Netting that is draped on finished wreath.
One of the Tulle fabrics (fine not pictured) & ribbon that I used.
Close up shots of glitter skull on wreath.  The photo makes them look silver, but they really are black.

Blessings, Tracy

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finding Treasures at Hunt & Gather!

If you are ever in the Twin Cities area, you must take time to visit this store. Hunt & Gather is a wonderful flea market type store in Minneapolis, located at the intersection of 50th & Xerxes.  This place is filled to the brim with eclectic antiques and the strangest, coolest, funniest and truly oddest objects that one can imagine.  I could spend hours digging through this store.  As I stroll through the isles, my mind is constantly spinning with ideas as I turn each and every corner.  And best of all....the merchandise is generally very reasonable (a.k.a. - cheap).  Their low prices keeps their inventory moving, so the store is always changing as new items are added. Yep...I am in love!

Blessings, Tracy

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Here we go....

Jennifer Davenport, over at Decorating Ideas Made Easy, has been nice enough to feature our Witch's Urn as part of her recent "Halloween Ideas" post.  This post showcases the ideas of several talented folks who share our love for Halloween AND have some truly clever ideas.  If you have a minute, take the time to go check it out.  
Blessings, Tracy

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Nephew is a Married Man!

Just returned from my nephew's wedding at the Sirata Beach Resort, in St. Pete's Beach, Florida!  Josh and his beautiful bride, Dawn, were married last Saturday.  The wedding and reception were so beautiful & I have to say I shed a few tears. We are so happy for them both!

Blessings, Tracy

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Anniversary....Brother Dear!

My darling brother and his sweet wife are celebrating their second wedding anniversary today. Whoo Hoo!! Also....EEK, I can't believe it has been two years already! 

My brother didn't find the "right" girl until he was a little older (ahem...40), so they were both pretty well established, household wise, by the time they married. Since they had no "real" need for wedding gifts, my sister's husband came up with a fun joke to play on the happy couple. He suggested that everyone go to a local thrift store and purchase a used toaster to give as a wedding gift. I decided that I wanted to add a fun personal touch to the toaster I planned to give, so I looked for one that would be easy to paint. I found the perfect $5 toaster at Goodwill. I ended up painting a cheesy tattoo-ish looking design on the side. If you were lucky enough to know my darling baby brother, who may I add has a very healthy sense of humor, you would realize this design was the perfect fit. I was even surprised, when it turned out much better than I had expected. Really cute!! 

At the reception, my brother and his wife were surprised to find a stack of gifts waiting to be opened. It was funny to watch them open box after box, each containing a used toaster. As we watched them open their gifts, I realized there must have been a secondary competition going on between some of the guest as to who could find the weirdest or grossest used toaster EVER. I have to say, there was some doozies in the mix. When my brother opened ours, he said, "Please tell me this one is new?!" They liked it so much, they still display this toaster on top of their kitchen cabinets. As the night went on, all of the guest chuckled at the thought of the happy couple hauling all of these toasters back to their local Goodwill and trying to explain themselves. Oh....the memories! ;-) 

Blessings, Tracy

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snowman and Snow Girl Ornaments - "How To"

Sorry about these photos.  I realized that I forgotten to take pictures of these guys, as we were walking out the door on Christmas morning.  So I just ended up just opening the box & snapping a few quick shots.

Made this ornament for a good friend's daughter.

Here are instructions on how I made my snowman and snow girl ornaments, back in 2009.  You will have to forgive my memory, since I DID make these about a year and a half ago.  Unfortunately, I finding my memory is getting a bit fuzzy with age.
As I stated in a previous post - 
"Last year, I decided that I should try to make Christmas ornaments each year for my family members.  I was inspired by the snowman ornaments that I saw on "Michelle my Belle's" blog.  This woman is SO creative!  I just love her blog.  Since it was my first attempt at making ornaments, I decided to follow the instructions she posted for her snowman ornaments.  I thought they turned out really adorable and my family loved them."
I suggest you follow her instructions, but here are a few things that I discovered as I made my ornaments and/or ended up doing differently.
  • I placed a short piece of dowel inside of the snowman, to give the body extra strength.  It ran from his crotch area to his head.  
  • The dowel was wrapped with tin foil to form the main body, arms, legs and hat.  
  • On two of the ornaments, I used a small Styrofoam ball for the heads, since I was running low on tin foil.  After these were completed, I thought I should have trimmed the ball down some, since the heads turned out a little bit too big. *For the Snow girl ornament - I used a medium Styrofoam ball for the substructure.
  • This will be confusing, but...I would suggest embedding a separate small chuck of wood or dowel inside of the head, with an eye hook attached (for hanging).  Our first piece of dowel, that ran through his body, didn't line up with the area we needed to place an eye hook for hanging.  This second piece of wood would be added just under the tin foil, with the eye hook sticking out the top; taking into account that you will need the eye hook to stick out over the clay.  I did not do this and found it difficult to come up with a secure way to add the hook to the top of his head.  If you think about it, the top of the head really only consists of a thin layer of hardened clay with tin foil under it.  You can't really screw anything securely into that?!  We ended up using cotter pins that we purchased from The Home Depot.  They kind of resemble a heavy duty bobby pin without the waves.  
    After the ornaments were completed -
    • We drilled a hole in the head of the snowman.
    • Bent the flat ends of the pin apart/out to create tension, keeping the circle at the top tight.  The shape will look like a Tepee with a circle on top.
    • Filled the hole with glue and then gently pressed the bent out ends of the pin together.  Eased the ends through the hole, continuing pressure until they were through the hole.  Once the pin was in the hole the ends sprung out some to help secure them in place. 
  • After the substructure was completed, I used Creative Paperclay to form the snowman.
  • I highly suggest using short pieces of (thicker type) toothpick or wooden skewers to help secure the eyes and nose on the head and to give them strength.  I learned this the hard way when one or both of the eyes kept falling off my first two ornaments.  From then on, I cut off a 1/2 - 1 inch piece of toothpick or skewer, placed a small dab of glue on the end and stuck it into the head; leaving some sticking out.  Once they were secured, I formed the eyes and nose and pushed them on to the toothpicks/skewers.  Make sure you score both sides of the clay and add a dab of moisture to help adhere the clay to the head.  I'm pretty sure I actually used two short pieces of toothpick behind each eye to also help keep them from spinning. *For the skewers, I use the bamboo skewer you would use for Kabob.  You can find a huge packs of them for just a few buck at places like Walmart, etc.  I use them all the time when doing crafts.
  • I pushed a dull pencil into the clay to make the dots in the hats, the holes for the mouth and in the middle of the buttons. 
  • Once the clay was dry, I sanded the ornament with a fine grit sand paper.
  • For hanging, I used a long piece of wire. I attached one end to the eye hook, then wrapped it tightly (about 5 times) around the shaft of a med sized screw driver to create the tight curl and then formed large curls at the top by hand.
For paint -
  • I can't remember exactly, but I imagine I used a pearlized cream colored paint for the main body.
  • For the eyes, I used black, white and a pearlized lime green and light blue paints.
  • For the buttons, I used black and a pearlized purple paint.
  • After I was done painting the ornaments, I didn't add the thin layer of Golden's Interference Gold that Michelle had used.  My local craft store didn't have it and I didn't have time to run across town to the "big boy" art supply store to purchase it.  Instead, I ended up painting on a few coats of Daler Rowney's, "FW Pearlescent Liquid Acrylics" to the main body (snow part) of the ornament.  The name of the color I used was White Pearl.  FYI - This stuff is very thin in consistency; just a bit heavier than water. You can't see it in the pictures, but this really gave the ornaments a beautiful shimmer. Make sure you let them dry between coats.  
Here is a bad picture of my dusty, freshly shook bottle.
Here is a nicer picture of their blue color, shown on the Fine Art Store's website. See how beautiful the shimmer is?!
  • I antiqued the ornaments by using watered down acrylic paint (probably a raw or burnt umber).  I washed the paint over them lightly and then dabbed/rubbed it off.  You would continue to do this until you like the level of antiquing. I actually had to go back and dab small amounts of paint directly into the hat divots, mouth area and in the buttons, since I didn't think these areas came out dark enough.  I just dipped the tip of a toothpick into paint and dabbed a small bit in each divot. 
  • We sealed the ornaments with a few light coats of satin acrylic sealer. We found that this also brought out the shimmer of the paint.
  • Once they were dry, a scarf was cut out of red felt and added to the snowman ornaments.  *Red and white ribbon was added to the snow girl ornaments for hanging.
Blessings, Tracy