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:


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? 


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!

Eye'm watching you. Basic paper flower tutorial.

Shhhhh. This creepy flower is actually a regular paper flower in disguise. What I mean is that if you come across these instructions and it's not halloween just change your color palette and don't draw the eye ball.

Supplies Needed

– Crepe paper in black, green, and at least one other color of your choosing.
– Floral tape
– Floral wire
– Cotton balls
– Watercolors or sharpies in red, green, black and brown
– Or pick up the Darby Smart Kit with a variety of supplies

(these instructions are for working with 180 gram italian crepe but they can be easily modified to use other types)

Working with italian crepe paper

– Always work with the crepe paper grain. Unless specified you always want to cut out flower parts so the grain is running the long way within in each piece.

– The italian crepe paper can stretch to almost triple its size. You'll be using this feature to manipulate the fullness and shape of your flowers. Once stretched it won't retract back so pull at the paper lightly until you have the shape desired.

– It's easiest to work with 6-8 inch strips of floral tape versus maneuvering the whole roll.

– To use the tape always pull to activate the adhesive and wrap against itself. It will take a couple tries to see how hard you can pull on the floral tape without breaking it. Using the tape at an angle will allow it to spiral down your stem instead of just circling around it.


Prepping the flower parts

Eye ball

1. Cut a piece of white crepe roughly 4 x 1.5 inches with the grain running along the long side.

2. Stretch crepe until almost flat and square. It will be warbly. That's ok. Alternatively you can stretch a piece of crepe and then cut a 4 x 4 inch square from it.

3. In the center of the crepe square color a circle with a half inch diameter. Use a light colored sharpie or watercolors.

4. Then draw a black pupil in the center.

5. With a red sharpie draw wiggly lines emanating from the Iris to the edge of the crepe square.


6. Cut a length of italian black crepe roughly 3 x 3 inches.

7. Cut fringe into the crepe along the grain two thirds of the way into the black paper. Or if you have crepe streamer that works as well. I glued two pieces together to create a length of fringed paper (pictured).

Petals and Leaves

8. Start by creating a template similar to the petal and leaf images above. (My petals are about 4 inches long with the leaves a bit longer) For each flower you'll be cutting 4 petals, and two leaves.

9. Cut the petals from a colorful piece of crepe.

10. Before cutting the leaves stretch out a chunk of green crepe until almost flat (warbly). Cut your leaves from the stretched crepe.

11. After cutting out the leaves draw green and brown accent lines running the length of the leaf. Draw somewhat lightly using the side of a sharpie. Allow the pen to skip along the paper bumps to create an organic quality. Or use watercolors.

Putting the flower together

1. Create a hook a the top of your floral wire so you have a short length of wire and a long length (your stem). Use it to secure two large cotton balls to the wire. Push the cotton balls into the hook well and twist the two pieces of wire together. This will be the inside of your eyeball.

2. Cut several lengths of floral tape. Continue to cut off lengths as needed.

3. Position the white eyeball crepe centered over the top of the cotton ball. Cinch down the paper over the cotton ball pinching the excess paper against the floral wire. Secure with a piece of floral tape.

4. To adhere the lashes wrap the non fringed end of your black crepe around the base of the eyeball and secure with floral tape. Make sure the lashes are a bit taller than the eyeball.

5. Adhere petals one at a time or if you're confident two at a time. Secure the tapered end of each petal to the base of the eye. Position the second petal opposite the first. Then position the 3rd and 4th opposite each other filling in the remaining holes.

6. Now you'll let your flower bloom by individually pulling each petal away from the center. Start with the outer most petal and work your way in. Position your thumbs on the inside of the petal and your index fingers on the outside. Gently start to pull the crepe while pushing your thumbs into it creating a small cup. Move up each petal allowing them to bloom as much as you desire. 

7. Position one leaf half an inch from the flower base and secure with floral tape. Position second leaf on opposite side of first leaf and 1.5 – 2 inches below the first.

Repeat until you have a bouquet of eyeballs staring you down.

Calligraphy chalk for Chiotras

I recently had the opportunity to take my first stab at chalk pho-calligraphy for Chiotras Grocery. They're my neighborhood corner store and sandwich shop (note they're not actually on a corner). They had a huuuuuge chalkboard perfect for making a menu board. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen some of my progress images. I'm happy to say it's complete! Well except for a couple sandwiches being added to the menu. How could I forget one of my favs; eggplant, pesto, mozzarella!?

I'm really excited to see how this helps out the business. Before the sign was even put up on the wall one of my neighbors remarked "Lox bagel! I want that!" I told him it's always been on the menu. This highlighted perfectly why I wanted to work on this project. I love my little market. It's always a great experience being a customer but I wanted it to be even better for everyone.

Because this chalkboard is so huge it actually wasn't made of slate. That would be hella heavy. That made it a little more difficult to erase mistakes but for the most part windex helped do the trick. In this process I discovered a new tool. Bistro Chalk Markers are just like paint pens but with chalk ink! Erasable! Mind blown. 

Before starting in on the big menu I did some color tests on a mini chalkboard I had and then created the above specials board to start. For the larger menu I sketched the bigger words with pencil along with the dividing lines. You can see some of the pencil marks in the pics below but when looking from a distance you don't see them. The graphite can be removed with windex as well but involved more elbow grease than I had available. 

If you're ever in Potrero Hill and in need of a sandwich take a visit to Chiotras! A great store and great neighbors with yelp reviews to prove it.

Thank you Gritchelle Fallesgon for getting a couple pics of me working on the sign early in the process.