Welcome to my creative online journal

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

For this year's Halloween our older son decided he wanted to wear a costume that he had worn before, that of a headless man!

This was it! (remade for this year):
He got so many compliments his dismembered head nearly swelled with pride!

...and this was his brother (with a titchy bit of special effect):
The headless costume was made from a cardboard box tube that has a hole cut out for the head.  The shirt and jacket are put around the cardboard and false hands made from gloves are attached to the sleeves.

I took a small group of boys round the houses, but we were very good and only went to houses displaying pumpkins.

We displayed our own this year. It was from a design we've seen on the internet:


Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Shrunken Apple Head Halloween Puppets

The apples I left to rot for a month shrunk considerably and during the last week I have made them into character puppets with hair and clothes:

The one on the left with his beady eyes looks more worried than scary so my husband and I made this little animation today:

"Aaaaaah! I can see children in scary Halloween Costumes!"
resize images

"Have they gone yet?"

The apples were on sticks which were decorated with black material for clothes and buttons were stuck on with a glue gun down the front. I also added felt hands.

Matted string was also glued on for hair and beads for the eyes.   They were made into puppets that hide in their paper cups by pushing a hole into a paper cup with the stick.


I was given the idea (thanks Marc) to put a torch in the pot so they are going to look extra scary come night time.

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Halloween Door Decorations

My boys went with their grandparents to a Severn Valley Steam Railway Halloween event this week and came back with some great haunted themed colouring books.  The only problem is that my boys don't willingly colour in anything, unless its for a competition where they might win something, like Lego or when they have to do so for something at school.   So, if I was going to have these pictures on display for Halloween this year, I was going to have to be the one to do the colouring in, unless...

I scanned them in to my computer and used a few settings on the free part of Picnik - Contrast, Invert and Neon and this was the result:

So for a little bit of effort I have managed to make some great child-friendly pictures that I can hang on our front door for the young Trick or Treaters that come round on Monday.

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Friday, 28 October 2011

Just 2 more days to go...

Today I finished of the birthday countdown calendar that I started the other day (post here).  See that post for the free black & white or pink & yellow printouts of the text part of the calendar, available from Heidi Swapp.

I did the '2 days and 1 day to go' cards first:

I think I may have got a little carried away with the distressed effect but I still like them (and they are for boys!)

I also made some minor modifications to the ones I'd already done and here are all 6 in their entirety:
..And then I made the card for the birthday itself:
..and our family birthday countdown calendar is complete.

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sleepy Sheep

It's been a while since I entered one of my photos to the Gallery at the Sticky Fingers blog, but I love following both the challenges and the day to day adventures of Tara and her family.  They are Official Toyologists for Playmobil and Toys'r'us and get to play with test out some great fun toys.  Never mind the children, I want to do that job! lol.

But when I saw the theme of this challenge, Faces, I remembered a picture that I took earlier in the year that I thought was perfect, and it is this one of a sheep sleeping:

It was taken during lambing time in early Spring and it was situated in a marquis at a children's farm visitor centre (Hatton Country World, near Warwick).  Loads of noise was going on around it, young spring lambs jumping up and down, children squealing with excitement at the exploits of the recently born baby lambs and there this sheep was, very calm, standing up and dozing.

Strangely enough, looking at this picture now makes me feel calm, almost sleepy, but maybe that is the unconcious association that I get about 'counting sheep to get you to sleep'. 'You are feeling sleepy.... you are feeling sle...'   Zzzzzzz

To see how others have interpreted the word 'Faces' take a look at The Gallery here

Thanks for stopping by and for any comments,

Countdown to Birthdays

I love the way the american crafter, Heidi Swapp, really relishes birthdays!  I've seen on her blog some fantastic parties she has done for her family.  Just take a look at the latest party she did for one of her sons on a halloween theme here.  Such fabulous make up for the young party goers and all done in secret too, Wow!

On her blog also was this free printable download to a Birthday countdown.  Its a page of number countdowns starting from day 6 and comes in masculine black and white or, for those that want, there is a pink version too.  With predominantly male members in my household I had to go for the former, even if I had wanted the pink (& yellow).  The link to both versions is here.  

I took my number sheet along with lots of coloured papers to my Tuesday craft group and made up a few of the pages.  I made them like little scrapbooking pages with a similar theme and layout on each:

This was number 3:
(The edges creased a little whilst applying the distressed effect but flattened out when put in the frame)

These are some of the other numbers:
..and this is how they will look in the frame:
The frame was a £1.50 bargain charity shop find.

I made sure I steered clear of any pink, I'd be sure to get complaints from my boys if I hadn't! 

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Stencil 101 - Christmas & Halloween Tags

I haven't done a 'hands dirty' papercraft for quite a while and when making these tags today I realised how much I enjoyed it.  Gotta do more, many more!

These tags started as exercises in what type of inks, paints, tools and techniques work best with stencils.

I hadn't got any parcel tags or a die for a tag so I used a template and watercolour paper and cut each tag out individually.  I love the texture that shows through on the watercolour paper, it gives it that extra bit of interest.

The 'Stencil 101' is a free online course run by Julie Fan Fei Balzer of Balzer Designs (link in my sidebar, email her to join) and its fab!  My vast collection of stencils had been gathering dust because I couldn't work out how to use them properly and now I am having fun discovering how. 

One element I have particularly loved whilst making these was layering.

This tag has three layers - the 'R' was stencilled and cut out of the tag and some green textured paper was stuck on from behind.  I used red distress ink on the surface layer of the tag, plus some subtle stars with white shoe polish.  The third layer I made with Whiteout paint and punchinella, which made the teeny dimensional stars.  

Other news and I spotted that our High Street stationery & fun gizmo shop, Paperchase, have just started stocking Washi Tape!  Woohoo!   I can finally buy some without having to pay postage, yay!  Hope they stock it as an all year-round item and not just for Christmas.  

Thanks for stopping by and for any comments,

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Creative Photographic Playing

Regular followers of my blog will know how much I love Picnik, the free online photo service owned by Google.  Today was no exception and this time I worked with pictures that I had recently taken using the hipstamatic app on my iPhone. This meant that they already had a distressed effect on before I even started altering them again...and again...and again. (Such fun! ☺)

I should point out that some of these effects aren't available on the free version of Picnik, I do pay for a subscription.  Don't ask me how I did each of them though, I just enjoyed 'playing' with the images and the various editing tools.

I made more than these three and my plan is to put all of them into a mini handmade book with pockets, like this one I made last year using just one 12 x 12" piece of Tim Holtz paper.   (Instructional video available on that link):
Have a good weekend, thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Not for the squeamish- Snail Painting!

I spotted this activity on an american blog called Filth Wizardry and thought my boys would love doing this!  Well, one boy did but the other one was bored. I think the snails moved a bit too slowly to keep his interest.

The snails didn't seem to mind taking part in the activity, they didn't even retreat back into their shells when we changed their food colouring colour, lol.  We also gave them a bath of clean water before putting them back where we found them.
Another activity I we did was for the younger boy's primary school.  We were asked to bring in a repurposed pot with a winter plant in for the school garden.  Not knowing much about plants I 'cheated' and made a pretend lollipop tree:
(Ignore the unkempt lawn grass on the bottom!)
The 'lollipops' are coloured table tennis balls stuck onto balloon sticks.  I painted the ping pong balls with clear nail varnish to give them shine. The pot was found put out for rubbish by our local corner shop.

Finally, another shoe picture, fancy these?:
Available in my local River Island!

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Christmas Craft - Chocolate Mint Decorations

My readers from the craft forum of Moneysavingexpert.com will probably recognise these christmas decorations made simply using card, stickers and some creative doodling.

You can see from this picture that they aren't flat, they are a mint chocolate and cardboard 'sandwich.' 
The mints inside are wrapped chocolate mints called 'Elizabeth Shaw' Crisp Mints and they are glued inside the punched scallop shapes with some temporary glue dots.

The card scalloped circles have a smaller punched circle stuck on the outside, which is decorated with stickers or a stamped image:

(This design is thanks to Helen of the Itsallfiddlefart blog)
The lettering, snow and the spots around the outside were doodled before putting the decoration together.

I made these at my craft group today - I was going to make them last year but I scoffed all the mints before they became decorations I hadn't got the correct size of punches! ☺

Thanks for looking today and for any comments,

Monday, 17 October 2011

Heebeegeebee Halloween Photos

It's amazing how many horror related things I have accumulated over the years of celebrating halloween.  I decided to hunt all around my house and put everything together in one place and goodness me, what a lot I've got!

After I'd laid them out on the table (quite a lot were toys found in my boy's very messy bedroom!) they looked a little bit scary, but then I waited until it got dark.  I turned off the light, got myself a torch and started shining them on individual pieces and I even almost scared myself! Even more so after I'd added the 'night light' effect to some of the photos using Picnik.

(It is actually only a bottle containing bubble mix! ☺)

Even my eldest boy's anatomy model looked quite sinister when he was given the 'night light' treatment:

Torch light is a very effective and simple way of making even quite ordinary objects look extra spooooky!

This is just a small selection of the collection:
...with the light ON! 

Thanks for stopping by and for any comments,

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Vivid Halloween Decorations

I love bright colour contrasts and I love colouring in!  So that is what I've been doing the last couple of days, creating very colourful pieces to put on the walls and windows.

 This was part of a free download set spotted yesterday on the bloesem kids blog, which I coloured in with the intention of making some shrink plastic pieces.  I did shrink it but unfortunately it curled under itself and point blankedly refused to uncurl, grrr!  I've now decided that I am going to use this image, along with the others in the set to make some window stickers next time.

Another piece I did was this one:

Again, I didn't create the picture, I just coloured it in with my vast collection of Sharpie pens.  It's part of one of those velvet colour-in sets which produce such vivid colour contrasts.

It was from this, ahem, children's set, made by Djeco: 
'Meant' for ages 4-7, but I don't think you ever grow out of the fun of colouring-in, do you? ☺

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Homemade Advent Calendar

OOps, I slipped and made another Christmas craft instead of a Halloween one!

Today, at a new local craft group I have started to go to, I made this:
It was the type of group where you do your own thing and whilst the others favoured knitting wooly blankets, I spread out all my papercrafting materials and got on with making this countdown type of advent calendar.

The backing is a covered piece of A4 card left over from a sketchbook and the numbers were created by paper piercing onto scraps of christmas paper, cut out and stuck onto white paper.

I've nearly finished making all the other numbers so I will be extra prepared and ready for the countdown (in December!) to Christmas.
Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Saturday, 8 October 2011

A Christmas Craft - Edible Snowmen

Breaking for an interval from my Halloween posts, I bring you a craft for children (or yourself!) to make for Christmas:
Marshmallow Snowmen

This was a craft I found in a children's craft book I got from the library called 'My First Craft Book' by Cico Kidz publishing.   As the process is described in steps in the book, I had better not impose on their copyright by doing the same.

I can, however, briefly describe how I made each of mine.  For each snowman I used:
 Two white marshmallows with a cut toothpick in the middle, an orange long chewy sweet (loosely tied into a scarf shape), black writing icing for drawing on the face and buttons, and a small dollop of white writing icing to use as a glue to stick on the nose and hat (made out of a large chocolate button and a mini marshmallow).

Safety note: Please make sure that when you give these out that the receipients are aware of the cocktail stick in the middle!

I made several:
...and it seems a shame to eat them!

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cartooning iPhone style

Just a quick post today, posted using my Blogger app on the iPhone.

I've just been testing another new (to me!) app called Toonpaint on my latest picture of the apple shrunken heads, that I showed you the other day.

Both apples are looking pretty revolting now, and have gone quite mouldy. Hope they last until Halloween!

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Note: The Blogger app isn't as good at layout as I was hoping, I had to amend the layout on the computer afterwards.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Halloween Photo Effects

Ooooh, they've added yet more scary effects that you can add to your family photos using Picnik.com again this year.  Some are really garish, yes, even more than these:

I've kept the picture size small because I don't want to frighten any readers of a nervous disposition! 

(My son was wearing a set of false teeth, taken from a pull-apart toy shark)

Have a go yourself, some of the effects are free on picnik.com...

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Decorating for Halloween

With the start of October, my thoughts turn to Halloween and creative decorating.  In the past, and certainly before I had children, I rarely did anything towards Halloween, but now I relish the thought of creatively decorating our old victorian house.

This is how I've made a start:

 Shrunken heads made from apples

This is the kind of project that you need to do now because you need to dry out the apples for a month so they look even more grizzly! 

It isn't my own idea, I found it in this children's craft book:
Creepy Crafts by Tina Vilicich-Solomon

You simply carve out the skull face out of an apple (or 2)
..and put small pieces of spaghetti in its mouth for gruesome teeth.

This is how they looked yesterday:
Even after one day they have started to look uglier (see top picture).
What are they going to look like after 30 days?!


Thanks for looking and for any comments,
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