Little Window of Horrors at The Succulence

The last couple years I've made some creepy crepe paper flowers for Halloween. This year they're back and bigger than ever! I had the pleasure of creating a window installation for The Succulence; a garden store in San Francisco's Bernal Heights. I was able to pair my creepy blooms with some real life carnivorous plants. 

You can find my original man eating plant project here. For another creepy bloom I also have instructions for flowers that stare right back at ya.

The carnivorous plants were provided by  Predatory Plants.

The carnivorous plants were provided by Predatory Plants.

This amazing planted chair was a prop I took right from The Succulence shop.

This amazing planted chair was a prop I took right from The Succulence shop.

For scale you can see my original flower design sitting in front of the giant bloom.

For scale you can see my original flower design sitting in front of the giant bloom.

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!

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!

Pip pip hurray! DIY paper flower stamen.

You know those little fake pollen bits you see used in paper flower making... Anatomically they're called stamen but in paper flower world they're called pips. And they're not so cheap for something called a pip! You'd think they'd just cost pip cents each. Well some are reasonably priced but I've become enamored with the vintage glass variety. I figured I could make something similar. So I did. Pip! Pip! Hurray! You can to!

— Cotton String
— Bees Wax
— Nail Polish (multiple colors)
— Aluminum dish (for making a double boiler)
— Wax Paper
— Tape
— Lidded Jar
— Crayons (optional)

Making your pips

The second pan has a purple crayon added to the bees wax.

The second pan has a purple crayon added to the bees wax.

1. Get your wax melting in a double boiler while you're setting up the rest of your materials and work area. I used a pan on my stove filled with water and set to simmer. I put my wax in a disposable aluminum container and floated it in the water.

2. Lay out a sheet of wax paper on your work surface.

3. Cut several lengths of string roughly 18 inches each. Each string will make 6 pips.

4. When your wax is liquid begin to dip strings one at a time. I dipped the string making a spiral pattern and then pulled the string straight out of the wax. It will dry nearly instantly when it hits the air. Lay your waxed strings flat on your work surface.

5. Cut off the end of the un-waxed string where you were holding it. Cut each string into thirds.

6. Dip the ends of each smaller string back in the wax 2-3 times. Alternate sides to allow for cooling. A ball of wax will be created on each end forming the pip!

7. Lay the pips on top of a jar to finish cooling so the waxed orb shape doesn't get a flat side.

8. Fold each pip in half and dip the each pip in nail polish of your choosing.

9. Tape the ends of the pips to a jar or ledge to allow to completely dry. (I tested a lot of ways to dry the pips without letting them touch each other and this was the best I found).

Pip pip hurray! You can easily vary your pips with color of nail polish or by adding a crayon to your melted wax. I also tried out using alcohol inks. They worked out great but I preferred using up some of my nail polish. There's only so many times you can paint your nails yellow. 

After you've made your pips and made some paper flowers bury your nose in them and you'll discover it smells like honey! How perfect.


A crafty bachelorette party

What's a crafty bachelorette party? Well it's kind of like a regular crafty get together except the craft is folding paper penises. Add in paper flower craft and you can create bouquets, crowns, or corsages for the bride to be. And when you're crafting "origami penises" there's bound to be some laughter.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting the crafty bachelorette party pictured in this post for two of my gal pals with upcoming weddings. This was a pre-party on a Saturday afternoon to make bouquets that they can take out on the town during their individual celebrations. 

None of the gals in attendance had ever made paper flowers so I gave a little tutorial. Everyone did great! Each guest folded a penis and made a flower to contribute. Some opted to embellish their paper penis with tattoos and piercings. Scroll through the pics to see all their fabulous creations. 

At the end of this post is everything you need to know about hosting your own crafty bachelorette.

Decorate, cut, fold, and glue.

Decorate, cut, fold, and glue.

Making flowers.

Making flowers.

The brides holding their crafty creations.

The brides holding their crafty creations.

Paper penises in all their glory, drawn on, taped, decoupaged, and pierced!

Paper penises in all their glory, drawn on, taped, decoupaged, and pierced!

I finished off the bouquets by wrapping the stems with ribbon.

I finished off the bouquets by wrapping the stems with ribbon.

Want to have a party of your own? You're gonna need some templates! (Includes instructions).

You can incorporate paper penis craft into your party in a number of ways and I lay out some options below. Also an FYI; there were 10 girls at the party I hosted and we created enough paper penis's and flowers for two bouquets. You can get a lot done with crafty team work.

Basic activity
Have the crafting be one component of an evening/day/weekend of fun. As a game alternative have everyone decorate and fold a paper penis. Hole punch and attach a pipe cleaner stem. Pair the penises with pre-bought fake or real flowers to create your bouquet. Tie the bouquet together with a ribbon. (Allow for 1 hour of crafty fun. You can especially keep this activity to an hour if there is some prep work done ahead of time to cut out the parts).

Glue a paper flower center inside the paper penis or use a hole punch and pipe cleaners to create stems.

Glue a paper flower center inside the paper penis or use a hole punch and pipe cleaners to create stems.

The full shebang. Make the whole party about dirty crafts and spend an evening or afternoon folding paper penises and making flower craft. Instead of pipe cleaners use the floral wire technique in the above picture.

Paper flower craft resources
— Check out the post I wrote about the book Paper to Petal. It's full of options and flower petal templates.
— You could make a flower and penis crown instead of a bouquet. Honestly WTF has this great tutorial that could be modified. She demos several types of flowers. Note that she uses glued crepe to secure her flowers and stems instead of floral tape. For a beginner using floral tape will be easier.
— If you really want to customize your color palette you can dye your crepe paper!

Paper penis materials
— Scissors (if you don't own a ton like me ask guests to bring there own)
Glue sticks OR a tub of Yes! Glue. Perfect for paper crafts. Apply with q-tips or craft sticks.
— Things to decorate with (Markers, colored pencils, stickers, washi tape, etc.)
— Hole punch
— Green pipe cleaners for stems
— Ribbon to tie the bouquet together

Optional materials
— Some of my friends were more comfortable with x-actos, rulers, and cutting matte 
— Flower craft supplies (crepe paper, tissue paper, floral tape, floral wire, pips, cotton balls)

Bonus tips and tricks
— It's likely not all the guests will have the same crafty skills. Prep some penises ahead of time so there are options for all skill levels.
— If you make paper flowers I recommend choosing the paper in a limited color palette so everything coordinates.
— During the opening of gifts save all the ribbons and notions so you can incorporate them into the Penis bouquet. 
— At the party I hosted I served fondue along with phallic vegetables because it seemed like the most crafty food one could serve. Well, let's just say there were lots of giggles and wincing when we pulled our vegetables from the cheese. I've got tons of pics here of penises but the fondue photos make me blush so I'm going to spare you. It was however hilarious.

Lastly if you love the idea of the paper penises but aren't throwing a bachelorette party I also sell them as individual cards.