A decoration switcheroo in autum's golden light

Quick! Save your Halloween pumpkins from the compost. It might be possible to give them a makeover and become your fall decorations. If you carved yours into a jack-o lantern then the fruit flies might have already carted them off to vegetable as decoration heaven BUT if you happened to paint yours like I did you might just be in luck.

Before it becomes full on Christmas in my house I thought I'd enjoy autumn a bit. I was able to salvage most of my pumpkins from my Halloween decor. Because I used acrylic paints I was able to wash most of the eyeballs off my pumpkins. 

I kept the tillandsia greenery and added some fall like branches and blooms. And because in San Francisco we don't get much "fall color" I brought out my water color leaves from last years paper craft project. That makes it two centerpiece elements I was able to repurpose!

On a few pumpkins I just flipped them around to hide their eyes from looking at me. I can also store other fall veggies (squash and pomegranate) in the arrangement until I eat them!

It's really been feeling like fall in the evenings with it's golden light. I've been enjoying these fall arrangements as I furiously work away on projects for two upcoming San Francisco holiday fairs. If you're in the bay area stop on by The San Francisco Center for the Book on Nov 22nd or Pier 35 on Nov 29-30th. 

Marbled hearts

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A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a tutorial in marbling from Lynsey Ayala hosted by The Ladybones Print Collective. Check out some of Lynsey's amazing marbling work.

I used a lot of pinks and purples in my prints as I figured the papers would be fun for making valentines.

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Do you see the few hearts in this print? 

Do you see the few hearts in this print? 

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This marbled paper is from Il Papiro a paper shop in Italy. It was brought back to me from friends who visited.

This marbled paper is from Il Papiro a paper shop in Italy. It was brought back to me from friends who visited.

Paper hearts are the simplest valentines to make even if you don't marble your own paper. In grade school we cut them out of red construction paper. Step it up a notch and cut them out of a fine art patterned paper often easily found at art supply stores. You may even find some marbled papers. I suggest getting something heavy weight or plan to adhere to a card stock. Cut into a heart shape and voila, you have an easy Valentine. If you want to get a little DIY you can brush some water colors over a thick piece of paper to cut your hearts from.

Left heart is purchased marbled paper. Right heart is cut from paper with watercolor strokes.

Left heart is purchased marbled paper. Right heart is cut from paper with watercolor strokes.

As for the marbling I do not have a tutorial but I'll let you know the basics. Marbling itself is a simpler concept than I expected. It's mostly about preparation.

Set up: Prepare a shallow vat of water with Carrageen called size. In the workshop I took this was also referred to as gelled water. The vat can be as simple as a large tubber ware container. Pre-treat paper or cloth with Alum to receive the marbling. Do the first two things the day before. On marbling day mix acrylic paints with water to have the consistency of milk.

Marbling: Drizzle your paint on the waters surface and the fun begins. Using various combs and sticks you can pull the paint to make your desired patterns. Lay a piece of treated paper on your pattern. Pull up and blot off or rinse the excess liquid. Whatever was on the surface of the vat will transfer to your paper.

Here's a link with more thorough specifics.

Below is a gallery of some of the process along with papers and fabric I printed. 

Lastly if you'd like to see my first super amateur Instagram videos relating to this I've got a couple here and here. 

Papyrus lampshade

One of my fourth of July weekend crafts was creating a new lampshade for a free lamp I acquired years ago. The lampshade that came with it broke during a windy day last fall.

The left picture was taken before the lamp met it’s demise. Right image shows the interior lamp structure. The small ring at the bottom fits into bulb base.

Because the lamp was originally free I was having a hard time justifying spending a lot of money for a new one. I spent $12 on a piece of papyrus paper and $16 on a container of Yes! glue that will be handy for future projects. I have more paper left so I hope I run into another free lamp.

Tiny envelopes

One of my all time favorite stores is Arch Drafting Supply. It gets double points because it’s a great source for supplies as well as the perfect place to pick up last minute birthday gifts. I have found many an inspiration while wandering around the store. 

I recently purchased this tiny envelope template. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases. Had I thought about it I probably would have just crafted my own. 

Making tiny envelopes is going to be a great way to use up last bits of leftover wrapping paper.