June and her Cleaver

June lived in a pretty idyllic world. She was the model housewife. Everything was pretty good in her neighborhood until the day she forgot to go to the grocery store. What was she to serve for dinner? There was only one thing to do...

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Serve her family for dinner of course. 

That Wally sure can run.

That Wally sure can run.

Welcome! I'm so glad you could make it.

Welcome! I'm so glad you could make it.

Would you like an h'orderve? Eyeball? Toe...? No?

Would you like an h'orderve? Eyeball? Toe...? No?

Cooking your family is very macabre work.

Cooking your family is very macabre work.

Ugh. Blood Stains.

Ugh. Blood Stains.

I had a ton of fun running around the Presidio in San Francisco brandishing my cleaver. Gritchelle was my partner in crime again for this Halloween photo shoot and our friend Shawn joined us to assist. Plus we got to nerd out a bit with our Land Cameras.

You may remember the Lucy pics we took last year. The dress I'm wearing in these pics was the original dress I'd purchased for my Lucy costume. Since last year I've known I wanted to have a vintage costume again so I could use it. When I found out my friend Wendy had some vintage sweaters I confirmed my idea for a murderous June Cleaver. With the bulk of my costume being the dress and sweater I just had to create a few accessories. My necklace is also vintage that I happened upon at a yard sale in LA. I made my cardboard bloody cleaver, gloves, and apron. It all was topped off with a blond wig. I've never been blond before! 

This is also the second year I've had to explain my costume to kids unfamiliar with classic black and white sitcoms... and I'm sure I'll be explaining to some adults as well.

Photography by Gritchelle Fallesgon with assistance by Shawn Carrico.

I see in 3D

Halloween is a little over a week a way and things are starting to get weird. On their own these 3D glasses aren't so odd but I'm loving the creep factor this head form is bringing. That wig below is a little sneak peak at my Halloween costume. The glasses don't have much to do with my outfit other than I can't stop thinking about the classic movie theater pics from the 50's which is the same era my costume falls into. (Another hint)!

So why the glasses? In my studio I came across this 3D sketch pad I'd forgot I had. Basically anything you draw on the paper in black pops off the page when viewed through the glasses. You know, good ol' fashioned fun with optics. I wanted to give a few sheets to the winners of October's mail game but I'd also need to send them 3D glasses. What to do, what to do? Make some of course! 

I used 3D glasses I already owned as a template but then I cut almond shaped eye holes for the lenses instead of the classic rounded rectangles. I added some zentangle type patterns to emphasize the blue and red halves.

Wanna see in 3D?* If you'd like a pair of your own sign up for my monthly wrap up to play the mail game. I'll be sending glasses to Novembers** winners. Every month three people have the chance to get goodies in the mail from me!

*The author is aware everyone already see's in 3D. 

** November 2014 winners of the mail game will get 3D glasses. Sign up here!

Evil Eyes for Halloween

It's all about the eyeball this year. As shared a couple weeks ago I came up with some creepy eyeball paper flowers that I wanted to incorporate into my Halloween decor. Coincidently I am taking care of twenty air plants this month for a friend. I have some of my own tillandsias and just adopted a couple more. It feels like they're multiplying like tribbles or gremlins so I knew they would need to be a main feature paired with my other creepy plants. 

I've continued to be drawn to summery colors because just yesterday it started to feel like fall in San Francisco. With the warm weather we've been having I couldn't fully dive into traditional fall colors so I went theme eye ball with a nod to the Turkish Evil Eye (nazar). The symbolism is meant to protect from the evil eye but it is also blue which is one of my favorite colors.

During my blog hiatus I made some placemats out of African waxed fabric. I was drawn to the pattern because it looks a little eyeballish but hadn't yet been planning for Halloween. It was fortuitous that they would work perfectly with this decor. It's because I love blue.

DIY Break Down

My original vision for this lantern was to have a billion eyes staring at you. It turned out less creepy than I wanted but I like the slightly eery look. Maybe it will get used year round since it's not obviously Halloween.

To make the shade frame I created a tube with a length of chicken wire. I then stretched out heavy duty white crepe paper and used alcohol inks similarly to the flowers I made awhile back. Then I painted pupils with black acrylic. The alcohol inks allow light to shine through where as the acrylics block light. I then stretched my already stretched out paper over my frame and secured with regular white glue. To light the lantern I took the shade off a lamp I already had and popped this one over the top. I made sure the shade would be taller than the lamp so it could just sit on my bookshelf without needing to be attached.

The pumpkins were also painted using acrylics. You can't go wrong owning some basic paint colors. I've had my tubes since college and they're still going strong. I did buy one gourd that only needed a couple dots of paint to become an eyeball.

And of course you can make some eyeballed paper florals with my tutorial.

Tillandsia Talk

Now for a little Tillandsia Talk since their such a big feature of my arrangements. I recently went to Flora Grubb Gardens for an event featuring a new book Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias. While I've had air plants for awhile and thought I knew how to care for them I learned even more during Zenaida Sengo's book talk. My biggest revelation is to think of them like a living sponge. It's a misnomer that these plants get their nutrients from the air alone. In their native habitats it rains way more than it does in our houses. You can spritz these guys with water but to get the right amount of water they need spraying daily or a good soak once a week. Just like a super dried out sponge it takes more than a spritz to fully hydrate. For more info and plenty of decorating ideas get the book!

Costume randomizer and inspiration

If you can't tell, I love Halloween. As an adult who hasn't gone tricker treating door to door in years there's a few reasons I love it so much. It's a time of year that brings out the creative maker in even those who don't categorize themselves as a craftsperson. For the all year crafter it can be an opportunity to make something with a material not normally used or stretch a little further beyond comfort zones. With costumes there's a lot of forgiveness of imperfection because ultimately it's about fun.

While I don't trick or treat I still celebrate at an annual bar hop with friends. While the bars are a natural social setting there's something different about Halloween. Being dressed up creates an easy way to connect. You can run up to a complete stranger on the street and shout with excitement that you get their costume. You get to witness peoples creativity and there's lots of conversations about how something was made. There's conversations of all sorts. Stimulated by pop-culture and of the moment news stories.

With all the potential fun to be had it can still be stressful to come up with a costume in time. For that I've got some exercises to get the ideas flowing. First I present to you:

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Sometimes it can be helpful to think about new twists on traditional Halloween themed characters. Or combine two of those ideas to make something new. A friend of mine once dressed as a Vampirate. I'll always remember it's punnyness and how she created something new out of two common go-to costume ideas.

Another brainstorming method is to start with a prop you already have. Think of all you can do with it. I love to start with a hat and think of all the costumes it could be incorporated into. You'll recognize some of the hats below from my past costumes.

Sometimes inspiration is instant. When I found the kids helmet at a yard sale I knew I had to be a 49er and the Ranger Hat was calling for me to dress up as my fav mascot Smokey Bear. The pirate hat however I bought on a whim because it was two bucks and found a unique costume twist for it later on.

Lastly I've got some rather strange ideas right here for you. In creating this seasons calligraphy practice list I had to go to the dictionary for some costume inspiration. I made up some character combinations you're unlikely to find in the Halloween aisle. These are costume words that run the A – Z gamut for practicing your calligraphy or if you feel inspired dress up as one of these!

Thanks Gritchelle Fallesgon for the photography of me in funny hats!

Creepy Flowers + DIY Kit!

Do these creepy flowers look familiar? The one's staring at you are a new creation but the green tongued ones are an update to the paper shop of flowers I made last year. Want to make some creepy flowers for yourself? Darby Smart has created a project kit with supplies for both!

And hey, if you already have plenty of paper flower supplies I've got instructions for the flowers peep'n at you. It's over here in this bonus post.

Purple seems to be making it's way into the classic Halloween color palette. How about pink to tone down the scary? 

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Change up the tongue color on the hu(man) eating plant and both flowers can coordinate together.

If you're not too scared to be stared at or possibly eaten by your crafts go pick up this kit!