Friday, October 26, 2012

Staring down the storm...

So Hurricane Sandy is projected to slam the NE by early next week.  Mr. Liz and I went for some minor grocery stockups today.  I'm thinking we'll get some water "just in case" tomorrow.  Even though I'm hoping it'll all be a big nothing, I made the mistake of reading a blurb that likened it to the big storms in the early 90s.  And even tho I was a little girl, I remember those well!

I hate to play into weather paranoia (they're calling it "Frankenstorm"!  Really!) but I do want to be sensible.  So we'll put some things by, charge up torches and cell phones, and make sure relatives are ok as can be. 

In the meantime, here's a blog update!  The craft room has seen some serious action lately, what with my Halloween costume and its 1001 props.  I did find some time to do some smaller projects, such as a necklace and a mini wunderkammer:

This necklace started life as a vintage buckle.  I picked it up in a teeny little antique store in Key West while honeymooning.  So I had to find some special use for it.  I glued in a castle from a 15th century image (well, the 20th century art history text reprint)....

...backed it with some leaves for support, and added a pretty cotton ribbon left over from wedding decorations.  It's light and summery.  A bit late for the season, tho! Still, it's far simpler than many of my necklaces.  It still makes a statement, but in a subtle way, so it would be good for an office, maybe with some very small antiqued gold earrings.  Since it's such a fond memento, it is *not* destined for the shop :)

Almost forgot this fascinator!  When I was making the fan for my costume, I threw this together as a side project.  The vertebrae are too pretty to sit there unused, but their shape and delicacy limit their applications.  Luckily, they are good for headgear, since they won't be touched much.  I added in some peacock feathers (more wedding leftovers...that was the project that kept on giving!) and a rather pretty plastic button.  The whole thing is glued to a barrette, and looks darling.  This one needs a better photo shoot and an etsy listing!

One of my go-to craft blogs is The Feathered Nest .  Dawn has the loveliest projects, with a scrumptious neutral palette.  So I took some inspiration from her Victorian style and started this mini wunderkammer.  I was about to pitch this box, but it called to me.  It's cream and brown, and pretty sturdy.  The flower on top is grey and cream (a lucky find while purging!).  The objects on the "shelves" are tiny things I treasure.  They were just sitting on my bead organizer, since I like having them near, but I worried about them being knocked over, or falling into trash piles.  No more...

There's a vintage compact that belonged to my Grandmother, from the days ladies would "powder their nose".  Inside is a mix of tiny objects, with a miniature portrait of my Great Grandmother.  The medallion is my Mother in her graduation gear - she was so proud to earn her degree, and I was proud to go with her - even tho I was a little girl!  The corals are from Sombrero Beach in the Florida Keys, a few of many Mr. Liz and I scavenged.  We only took the dead bits that had washed up and bleached, leaving plenty behind for others to find....

This little bottle has a scroll with a line from E. E. Cummings' "i carry your heart", and it also contains itty-bitty fragments of the geode we smashed in our unity ceremony.

Finally, another chunk of coral, and some truly tiny delicate shells from Crane Point in the Keys.  One of the prettiest spots we went to the whole trip :)

Later on, when I find the right scraps, I'll decoupage some stuff on the "walls" to fill the space visually just a little more.  And the whole thing needs some pretty paper on the back to cover up the rough ends of the hanger.  But all in good time!

Now to fix up some dinner and make sure we have plenty of batteries, kibble, and candles!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Medica Della Peste! (props)

This year is the first time since high school I have had a dedicated Halloween costume!  This is quite exciting.  I'm going to be a plague doctor/Venetian carnival reveller.  This ensemble is the product of one late night's hurried inspiration and about 3 days of intense making.  I have modded my wedding skirt slightly into something shorter and poofier (thinking of the sheer volume of carnivale outfits), picked out my plainest shirt and vest (to not distract from the headgear), made the hat of all hats, and an array of props.

Many of the photos are on my laptop, so I'll have to edit this post later.  But I had to share some goodies.  first off all, a good plague doctor will carry charms, prayers, and all sorts of thingums to counteract the foul vapors arising from the city streets!  I carefully drew up an old "abracadabra" charm, and copied a couple from Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year.  

I figured I'd also need a fan to wave away the stench of the plague houses...or the aroma of Venetian canals...

And a mask!  Of course one needs a mask.  This one is a two-buck plastic shell from AC Moore's.  I spraypainted it, lined the edges with gold paint marker, and added a charm because one must.  There is no room for reticence at Carnival.  Or in the Eat, Drink, and Be Merry hedonism of soon to be plague cities...

And one needs mystical things for the otherworldly atmosphere of the Carnival....Behold, a Rider-Waite tarot deck that got a pretty sweet makeover.  A while back, I was going to make a Tibetan-style book.  But I made the mistake of gluing all 72 cards to one side of the papers, thereby making a wedge, rather than the "block" of pages that would then be bound with decorative boards.  Still, there had to be something to do with them....

I cut them out, trimming them to rectangles, which to my eyes looks more "ye olde".

I stamped the backs (which were the plain paper they were affixed to ages ago).  This stamp is little bits of medieval/ren/old typefaces, so it keeps things looking anachronistic.

And here's a half-finished card.  The tarot were not done with their journey yet, however...they had to be antiqued!

Here's some of the cards, laid out on a baking pan, covered with coffee and grounds, in the time-honored DIY paper aging method.  I did this for the programs for my wedding and got pretty good at it.  All you do is  drizzle/sponge coffee onto your paper (let it cool!), sprinkle grounds for added age spots, and bake until dry on your ovens' lowest setting.  You'll have to keep an eye on the paper, and make sure the rack is not right up by the heating element, but you can end up with some really cool results.  And your kitchen will smell of coffee if you're into that :)

If you have one of those pod-brewers like the Keurig, you can still do this.  Just rip the foil off the used pod and you have a few batches' worth of grounds!  This can get messy, but cleanup's easy.  A damp dishrag will rescue your stove and counters.

At the end of this, I was left with a tarot deck that was yellowed, a bit wrinkled, and looked like it had seen some years.  Just the way I wanted it!

Ok, here is the hat of all hats.  It's built onto a fedora my husband wanted to get rid of.  I cut out a larger brim from a cheerios box, as well as a top, and hot glued them to the fedora.  I was inspired by tophat-like carnival head-dresses.  Top hats are pretty basic, so they seem like a good place to start  with DIY millinery.

I proceeded to cover the "shell" with burgundy satin, and gluing the whole thing.  Inch by inch...fold by fold!

 I added all manner of stuff, once it was covered.  Flowers, a little skull, lace for height!  I went nuts.  Since revellers must conceal their identity, I wanted to make sure I'd be covered, so I added a  burgundy velvet placemat to the back of the hat.  There's a similarly colored window valance now as a veil for my face.  Surely, I will be a mystery :)

This was an interim shot, just to show some friends what I did on day 1.  These are the potpurri sachets for the "posey" I'll be carrying to ward off the plague.  They smell divine!  They're 2 blends from that I used in my sachet tutorials.

The posey itself is really an antique salt shaker I found at a secondhand store.  I'm presuming it's really old, since it's metal, but who knows.  It makes a great holder/stand for the posey.

I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I added the skull and jawbones to make a chimeric beast :)  Because I can!

And there you have it, most of the bits and bobbins I'll be putting on myself for this Hallows eve!  I'll have some shots of the full ensemble posted soon!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New work

Oh, how lovely it is getting at the beadboard on a chilly fall day!  It was all about multimedia today, with 3 brooches in progress, and a funky necklace:

This last one is a special took a while to really come together.  Bone can be very hard to work with because of all the little contours.  But I think I have it now.  It still needs a few more touches and an actual pin on the back, but it's coming along :)  There's a wire circle element I linked old chain to, added a broken piece of filigree, and put on top of a watch lens.  The watch lens itself saw a quickie decoupage with a cherub head, dried rose petals, and copper glitter.  I can't wait to see what the next state of this piece will be!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Follow the Money....

I've been featured on BlogHer's Money page!  My list of sane-and-sassy frugal tips tickled the editors and they have put me up there. Now I can officially wear this thing:

You can follow this link to "Friggin' Frugal: A Beginner's Guide" to see what's what!