Tuesday, November 29, 2011

simple silhouettes

Last year, I sent a Christmas ornament care package to the sisters. It contained, in part, a set of Nature-themed paper silhouette ornaments. I decided to make some for myself this year, and it only seemed natural to document the process. It's really simple and the result, in white paper, is quite elegant.

Let's get started!

gather supplies

trace or draw silhouettes



gently roll

gently feed

gently arrange

hang and enjoy!

Here are last year's paper silhouette ornaments
and here's Matilda approving of the finished product, as she must.
We'd love to know how yours turn out--leave us a comment with a link to your own ornaments!

Monday, November 28, 2011

yarn bombs

I am sick again. Again! But being sick did allow for a couple days of lying in bed (and on the couch), situations which, for me, often lead to crafting. So on the plus side, I got a little glass ornamenting accomplished. And really, what could be simpler? Vibrant-hued yarn (a little too scratchy for a scarf), shoved right inside an empty glass ball. Fun and festive.

A little yarn explosion of your very own.

But be careful when shoving yarn inside your ornaments.
Sometimes there are sharp bits along the rim of the opening, and then stuff like this happens.

And you end up pulling glass shards from your index finger. Not cool, ornament, not cool.

Friday, November 25, 2011

You should probably paint your pets.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to paint both of my tuxedo kitties together in a portrait. It's probably one of the best ideas I've ever had. I painted Nicholas' corgi for last year's St. Valentine's Day, and it seemed to be a hit, so I felt like the cats needed to be commemorated in an oil painting of their own.
I found an oil paints starter kit at JoAnns (best save those Sunday coupons) and used a rather small, square canvas. I think this was one 6x6 or so. 

I painted a background color first. The most important thing to remember about oil paints is that they take forever to dry. You need a good 3-day drying time before you can do more layering. I waited the 3 days and then sketched out Genevieve, starting with a pencil drawing of her basic shape. I used a photo I took last year as inspiration.


This is what I had after maybe 30 minutes of painting.

After I finished Genevieve, I text messaged it to Nicholas and my sister to see if it actually resembled my cat. They both enthusiastically said, "YES!" So, I let this portion of Genevieve dry for a few days and went back to add in the extra white portions.

Next up was adding in the worst tuxedo cat in the Pacific Northwest--Peanut (Penelope).

I used the same method as before and sketched out her shape first.
I used a couple of photos as guides to her look.

Nice face shot.

The perfect body pose.

After about 20 minutes, this is what I had come up with.

The most challenging part was getting definition in the white parts of their fur. I still think this could have been done better because they aren't that gray in spots. They're brillant white all over. I was uninspired to do the blanket and the background, but I tried something and it seemed to work ok.

Also, take note that oil paints stain. I accidentally ruined one of Nicholas' hoodies while painting.

Stay tuned for more oil paintings!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

La la love you

Yep, that's a Pixies song, but it's also pretty dang close to La La Laurie of Laurie Cinotto Art and Craft fame. I'm thinking of Laurie because I saw her this weekend at the Artist Craft Fair at King's Books. I was way stoked when I checked Laurie's blog and saw that she was participating. I may have squealed, prompting Mom to ask, from the kitchen, "What are you doing back there?"

Anyway, Mom and I headed over to King's Books and each purchased a wee charm from Laurie--who is, I must say, unfailingly kind and gracious. If you have a moment, check out her craft blog (linked above) or her Etsy site, La La Laurie: Handcrafted Fancy Things. And as an added bonus, here are a few of her most recent lovelies from her Flickr stream.





P.S. Another reason to love Laurie: she's the headmistress of the IBKC. What's the IBKC? Why, The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, of course! Hey, we're sporting an IBKC badge. Psst, to the right of this post...

P.P.S. And because the Pixies definitely deserve big time props for retaining their awesomeness, here's a little bit o' the Pix!

Photos by Laurie Cinotto

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Monika vs. the Volcano

I was a Mountain for Halloween. I did a lot of ranting about pyroclastic flows and Plinian eruptions (while constructing my costume I was watching documentaries on Mt. Vesuvius...and the X-Files...and Doctor Who).

I will take you through how I created the look.

Green Meadow Skirt:

Basically I started with a white dress--this one was purchased at a local thrift store. With its fitted corset top and the pleating which created a bell, it made an ideal mountain-esque shape.

To get the background color for the lower altitude meadows I used a basic RIT dye powder pack. Because I only wanted the bottom of the dress dyed and the top to remain white (for the snow cap) I used the boiling water stove top method. I twisted the bottom of the dress and submerged it for a short period so it took a moderate amount of color, wringed out the excess water, and laid it on a dark towel to air dry.

Once it was dry, I used some basic fabric paints to create texture and give the impression that there were various flora scattered about. I just used a small and medium sized brush to dab on the different colors, overlapping and fading as desired.

Yarn from Paulanna at Pergolina. Thanks, Paulanna!

To give it some actual texture, I sewed feathery green yarn sporadically throughout the skirt,
creating patches of tall grass.

These patches were accompanied by small red and yellow flowers which I embroidered.

And after I added my flora I made sure to strategically place a little fauna.

 Sweet little stag.


Icy Terrain:

For the base of my snow cap I used cornflower blue fabric paint and added contour coloring and texture. I also added some little silk flags for a tiny skier to have a fun downhill slalom. I hand sewed these with a little embroidery thread and used a black fine tipped marker to draw the flag posts.

Fun Fact: the peach silk flag (fabric purchased at a garage sale) was actually the same fabric used as the lining in Natalie Portman's dress from the tornado scene of Where the Heart Is.

I also made a bird necklace from miniature doves and wire. You always need to accessorize!

Snow Cap:

I was going to be more of a Mt. Saint Helens and have a cloud headpiece, but then I decided to go with an actual peak so that my costume was a little more discernible, more Mt. Rainier. Luckily, I had some household items to fashion it out of: a white microwavable leftover bag, thin black head band and cornflower blue paint (leftover from above).

I know the microwavable leftover bag seems a bit odd, but it just happened to be on my table. Free from any food stains, I figured it was worth a try to use it to construct the spire, and lucky for me the silver thermal lining gave the paper more memory when I molded it and it stayed in place without any adhesive or rigging. Basically, all I had to do was twist and shape. I used the paint to create some color and contour shading and fastened the head band underneath.


Not a super-long project, maybe a total of five hours all together. But I love it and will always keep my dream of finding a bunch of ladies to form a mountain range with me...

Me and Crisp (aka Olive)

Need a few other DIY costume ideas? Why not go as snazzy skeleton, a fantastic fox, or Jon Snow and Ghost?

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