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I have been working on and off all week to get the decorations up. Truth is… I’m still not done. I won’t say I bit off more then I can chew… just that there aren’t enough hours in the day! Also, I still have a few more DIYs coming your way.
But for now, a tiny little teaser of what I have done so far. Gotta say I’m excited about the lights!
With the house and yard starting to shape itself up, let’s turn for a post to another topic. I have been slowly looking at and buying pieces to build my steampunk botanist. I mean, what the point of building up this plant nursery without a mistress to run it?
The basic idea behind steampunk is the product of a particular sect of the Science Fiction community. It is largely based in the Victorian Era, but with a kind of industrial revolution feel to it. It is largely got a technological feel, with the brass and gears, but with the values, and social “settings” (if you will) of the 1800s. Think the Sherlock Holmes Movies. Or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Or Jules Verne books.
I spent a lot of time researching not only the culture, but how to build these costumes. I spent a lot of time trying to decide what exactly I might want. I thought about sewing it, and my momma and I talked about it in-depth. We looked at patterns and at prices for material. Eventually, we decided that it would be best (and cheaper in the long run) to just piece it together with pre-made costumes pieces, then possibly make the accessories. And so I decided to that, to me, the essence of the costume came down to three things. I knew I wanted a corset, a bustle skirt, and a headpiece of some sort. I just figured that if I’m going to do this, I want to do it all out. I want the costume pieces to be big and period specific. I mean, when I watch historical movies or shows, I spend more time paying attention to the costumes then the actually plot. (It drives GL crazy :P) I wanted my color palette to be greens and browns in varying shades. It speaks to the profession of my character, who would naturally be very in touch with the earth as a botanist. I wanted some subtle patterns, maybe slightly mismatched. Lots of rich fabric, lots of layers.
Well… I have the basics of the costume worked out now. I already had these brown boots with buckles that I knew would suit the theme, so I started with them. The first thing I ordered was a skirt piece with a bustle on the back. I was super excited, but it turned out that it left a very significant gap on one side that was not “family friendly,” for lack of a better term. I fixed that problem with a modern green maxi skirt. It gives it that pop of green I really wanted. My shirt was actually a homemade piece from another costume that Mom and I had made a few years ago (pirates… yo ho ho!). After searching for quite a while, I finally found a corset I was happy with on eBay. It is a under-bust, with rich brown texture. Best part was already embellished, so less work for me! Here is what I got so far!
I am still looking for the perfect headpiece. Everything I have seen has been more expensive than I wanted, so I have a feeling Mom and I will be building a little while I am down south visiting. Sounds like fun to me. 🙂
Ok… this project is slightly more involved, but I LOVE it because it is a method that you can use for anything (and not just Halloween)! In fact, I used it to make these shields that hang outside my house. They are painted with the Scottish Seals for the three clans Green Lantern and I descend from!
Anywoo. Let’s get to it.
The first thing you need is wood for your sign. If you are comfortable using powertools, feel free to cut it into the shape you want. Since my hubby doesn’t trust me with a saw (and probably for good reason since I can barely operate a kitchen knife :P) I bought my wood pre-cut from a craft store. I left my wood raw because I want it to wear while it’s outside, but you could stain it if you want here.
The next step takes place on the computer. Figure out what you want your signs to say, or what design you want on them. I used Adobe Illustrator to create and manipulate type, but you could even use office just to type out fonts or use clipart. I chose a font with an old-world, steampunk-y kind of feel. Make sure that whatever you are using has thick clear lines that will be easier to follow during the transfer step. You might want to double check the measurements of your sign to make sure everything is sized appropriately. When you are satisfied, print it out. This becomes your stencil.
I like to cut down the excess paper from the stencil so I can place it better on the sign. Flip it over, and using a pencil, color over the back side of the words. DO NOT do this on top of the wood sign! You will end up with shadows of backwards letters on the sign… not the best effect. 🙂 You might have to do a couple of layers to get a good solid color. Place the stencil on the sign and tape it in place when you are satisfied with the placement.
Now you trace. In the case of my letters, which are thick, I did the outside of the letter, and the inside to create the internal spaces. When you press down on the top of the image with the point of your pencil, the graphite from the back with make a shadow print on the wood. Make sure you get all the lines!! There is nothing worse then picking up the paper and realizing you missed a section! Once you get through all of that, you can pull the paper stencil off and throw it. You will have a perfect guide on your wood to follow.
Now the fun part…. Painting! Depending on the size of your sign, the size of your brush could change. Since I had a lot of little details, I chose a small flat brush. Depending on how intricate you design is, it may take you a while to paint. I did three signs spread over a couple of days just because I didn’t want to rush it, and because I was working on other projects.
If you are making a normal sign, that’s it! Go you! For me, I wasn’t quite done. Obviously my plants are carnivorous… They kill things. SO… I needed a little blood. Using red paint, I applied it with a combination of two ways. The first was spatter painting. I used a paintbrush (but a toothbrush would work better) and ran my finger across it quickly across the bristles while pointing it down. Very easy. After I was satisfied with the amount of splatter, I got a bit more hands on. I actually painted parts of my hand to leave prints and drags across the signs. It really gave it that Halloween feel I was looking for. 🙂
The last thing is deciding how your sign will be displayed. The first was easy for me. I attached it to a yard stake which I got from the hardware store. The other sign, which I intend to hang, was a little more tricky. Luckily my next door neighbors are good sports, and he handled the hardware. Basically we used a long piece of chain (also from the hardware store) and screwed it into the back of the signs. Each sign (since it is two hanging together) has four points on the back where a screw is attached through a link in the chain. We left the top long so I could hang it from the ceiling of my porch. Here the finished products!
Back to work I go!
I had a big photography project come through so I got a little behind on my Halloween Projects. But never fear! I’m back at it and working like crazy! As the inside of my house slowly transforms, I am getting the outdoor themed stuff made as quickly as possible. Which leads us to the DIY for today.
Now, as a reminder, we are working with this steampunk botanist theme, so obviously what I needed was some mutated plants. Because I don’t want them to all be mutated the same way, obviously I still have some work ahead of me. But the first mutation is super quick and easy!
So I found some eyeballs at my local craft store. Already painted, bloodshot and red on the back, and just perfect for what I was needing.
After clearing out the clearance rack of flowers, I chose the sets of flowers that DO NOT have a visible center (i.e. not the daisies or cornflowers). I peeled the petals so they would not be in the way, covered the back of my eyeball in hot glue, and pressed them directly into the center. After letting it dry for a couple of minutes, I pulled the petals back so they would cup around the eyeball, making it look like it was growing out of the plant. It is THAT easy. Can you believe it? Here it is in a couple of different flower options.
So obviously I am using this for my themed house, but it has the versatility of being used in a number of situations. Centerpiece for a halloween table? Check. Being a ghoulish bride for your party? Wrap some green floral tape around a few different types and make yourself a bouquet. Be creative and have fun with it!
Anyway… back to work I go. Still lots to make!
This is a super easy DIY I made for Halloween. And trust me, after I week I had, I needed to do something a little different. Not that I don’t love editing pictures and wandering in and out of doctor’s offices, but seriously… I needed a project that I could do in a splint. This one is quick and fun, and I think will look great outside.
I got the idea from Pinterest of course, though mine process was a little different. The link to the original is here. But the basic process follows.
I got a spider that was a little too big so that I could make it look like it was trying to escape. He also has creepy light up eyes; I thought it would be a nice touch on Halloween night. I took two black wire baskets and hot glued them together around the spider. I brought out fishing wire to tie it together, but ended up not using it. The hot glue really did the trick for me.
After that, I took a section of pre-made spider web that you can find in pretty much any store with a Halloween section and wrapped the baskets in it. Now I did it a few times before deciding exactly what I wanted. I really pulled it apart so it would be thin enough to see through. Once I got it to the consistency I was happy with, I hot glued it in just a few spots to hold it in place. All it leaves me to do is attach a chain to hang it from once I finally get to a hardware store!
Done and Done! Nice to feel like I got something accomplished at least. Little victories.