Friday, December 13, 2013

Peyote Santa Skull

One more Santa Skull for the last day of Creepmas. Skulls seem to be my thing lately. Instructions will be forthcoming shortly, but it starts out very similar to my peyote Cthulhu.
In fact, I can see in the future that I will have to merge the two and make a Santa Cthulhu.
I hope everyone had a very merry, very scary, maybe even slightly hairy Creepmas this year.

Update: Took a little longer than I had hoped, but I finally have some instructions done. One thing I forgot to mention, I like the black translucent beads because of the way the Christmas lights glow through.

As with my Cthulhu I’d like to thank Shala Kerrigan for providing free graphpaper and the people at Inkscape for providing an awesome free program which I used to make the beading diagrams.

Also this video by Leslie Rogalski on odd-count peyote is very helpful, as is the one she did on ending and starting new threads. 

I end and start my threads basically the same way, just not in the order they do. I don’t know if there is a politically correct term for when you cockblock yourself by having pulled a knot into a bead that you now need to pass through, but then I’ve never been accused of being politically correct, so why start. It’s more of a problem with teeny tiny seed beads, but I’ve done it to myself enough that no matter what the project I make as few knots as possible until I’m completely done. 

When starting or ending a thread I leave at least a three inch tail which is a lot more that what is actually needed, but easier to work with. When adding a new thread, to keep it from pulling through I just keep my thumb on the end until I’ve made enough stitches to keep the tension. After I’ve finished the project I weave in all the loose ends, then knot, then weave some more and finally snip off the excess. 

Conversely if I have enough thread left to go onto the next part of the project I will tie it off before continuing. For instance once I’ve finished to the top of the Santa hat, I’ll weave the thread away from the top, knot it and then weave back to where I want to add the loop for hanging. After adding the loop I’ll weave, knot and weave over towards the next component, which in this case is the extra loops on the hat tassel and trim. On the bottom of the skull I’ve weave, knot and weave again before adding the beard fringe. It’s probably overkill for an ornament that just has to hang there and look pretty but this way if one of the components does break I don’t have to worry about everything unravelling. I’m not saying any of this is the best way to do it, it’s just the way I like to do it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Creepmas Dream Catcher

Today I made a dream catcher for a little Creepmas spider in need of a home.  I made it the same basic way as my Halloween dream catchers, except in a winter wonderland color scheme with glitter.

The clear faceted beads are just there to look pretty only the white beads have a large enough hole to accommodate the feathers.  To really make it Creepmas, I suggest using pony skull beads, but this one is for a friend, so I toned down the creep factor.  

I won't have time to make one with skulls until after Creepmas, but I think you get the idea.  I also think it would look really cool if the tips of the feathers and yarn hanging down were dipped in red dye.  

Update:  After I finished the dream catcher above, I decided it wasn’t finished and added some sparkly holiday floral accents.  I didn’t take a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for the fact that it still remained simple yet elegant. 

I can’t say the same for the one I made for myself.  It’s big and gaudy, but I love it.  I used some of the mini salt dough skulls to accessorize. If Liberace’s skull vomited winter merriment, I think it would look a little like this. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Creepmas Gift Ideas

A friend sent me a link to this wonderful Cthulhu Santa, at Draig Athar Designs

That got me thinking, what else might a creeper want for Creepmas?
Everyone needs a buddy, how about a Santa Zombie, from Dead Buddies?

Or this cute little pendant from Leggende Segrete?

Maybe you'd rather find this adorable couple, from RevenantFX, under the Creepmas tree?
Who wouldn't want to snuggle up with this guy, by Mint Conspiracy?
This Santa doll is from Natasha Morgan.  I'm pretty sure he can see you when your sleeping, and probably through your skin down to the bone too.
And where would Santa be without his trusty elves?  I found this one at Lorcheenas Boutique
Happy shopping and Merry Creepmas!
This is a gift I received last year because nothing says happy holidays
like a branch of light up eyeballs.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mini Salt Dough Skulls

Yesterday I posted about how to make salt dough cutout skulls.  Today’s post is about how to make simple little skulls with the left over scraps.

Step 1:  Roll the dough into a little ball about a half to three quarter inches in diameter. 
Step2: Press the center of the ball down just enough to flatten it a bit. 
Step3: Gently press in the eye sockets using a rounded tool.  I used the end of a paint brush. 

Step4: Press three lines to make the teeth. In hindsight I would extend those lines to wrap around the bottom edge for more definition.

Step5: Using a slim tool, I use the side of a round toothpick, gently nudge the edge of the dough to push in the sides beneath the eye socket area.


Step6: (optional) I poked the toothpick into the top edge of the skull, to make a small hole. I plan on gluing a wire in there later for hanging. You could make a hole all the way through for stringing. I’ve read the best way to do that without distorting the shape is too insert a toothpick into both ends at the same time meeting in the middle.

Bake it at a low temp along with your cutouts, paint when dry and seal with a clear coat.

I used metallic black, pearl white and clear glitter acrylics to make them sparkly and festive. Tiny rhinestones add a little bling too.

Update: Last time I made these I used an x-acto knife to make the teeth imprints on top and then I also pressed the blade into the bottom edge lining up with the marks on top.  I think it looks a lot better this way.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Creepmas Cutout Salt Dough Ornaments

I thought salt dough ornaments would be a fun thing to try. I think the recipe is pretty standard no matter where you look, one part salt, one part water and two parts flour, but I really liked the helpful tips from Simply Being Mum, especially the bit about the dough drying out your hands. I like it when people state the obvious, in this case it saved me from having to suffer that feeling of having every bit of moisture sucked out of my hands and wishing I would’ve thought to put on gloves. 

A few helpful tips of my own that I’d like to add:

If you’re like me, wear latex gloves when handling the dough.

I find I roll out dough much more evenly if I flip the dough between every three or four strokes with the rolling pin. 

Rolling it out between wax paper makes it easy to flip. I can’t actually roll out dough between two pieces of paper, that's just the type of special I am. I need to see the dough to get it even. I roll it out on wax paper, then cover it with a second piece, flip it over, peel off the first, then roll it out some more and keep going that way. 

This is also useful after you make your cutouts, flip it over and peel off the paper and you don’t have to worry about trying to spatula them up without distorting them.

Use a straw to cut holes for hanging. 

I knew that besides the traditional holiday shapes I wanted to make a few skulls, but honestly right up until the last minute I didn’t know how I was going to make them and then it hit me. Snowman butts! The bottom half of the snowman cutter turned upside down is a perfect skull shape. I also used the bottom of a marker and a slightly larger diameter Play-Doh toy for the eyes and a Play-Doh toy to make teeth marks.


Works for Non-Creepmas too, who knew?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Creepmas at The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock is my favorite tourist trap. 

The first part of the tour, the gate house and the house itself, with the infinity room is phenomenal.

The rest is a bit like one of those antique shops that’s more second hand junk than authentic relics. It has that same musty smell, dim lighting and haphazard order. But I don’t find that detracts from it in the least, there are many treasures to delight and wonders to behold. If you want a detailed catalog of historic artifacts go to a museum. 

In the Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker, people only get to visit the dream sea of Quiddity three times. The first night they sleep out of the womb, the night they lay beside the one they love and the last night of their lives.

Similarly I would suggest the House on the Rock should be visited at least three times, once when you are young before the magic of youth fades, once when you are in love, when the magic in your heart colors everything you experience and once when you are older, when you can tap into the magic of nostalgia, preferably in the company of someone young so you can start the cycle anew. 

And if you are a Creepmas or Christmas enthusiast you should visit it at least once in the off season. We took my in-laws last year because my mother in-law loves everything Christmas and I knew I would find plenty of Creepmas fodder. I should note that even though my mother in-law only celebrates the traditional side of Christmas, she has a good sense of humor about Creepmas and all my other macabre interests for that matter.

One thing to note about visiting during the winter, its cold, even inside. We had our winter coats on the whole time. There were a few warmer areas where it was comfortable coats unzipped, but that's as warm as it got, so dress accordingly.

Second, there is a dining area which during the regular season serves pretty good pizza. To our disappointment there was no pizza, there was chili, hot dogs, fries, and I think maybe cold sandwiches and brats. I ended up having a soft pretzel with cheese, there weren’t a lot of vegetarian options.

I felt this one undressing
my soul with his eyes.
I'm pretty sure he determined
it would taste good with Sriracha.
I also need to comment on the staff. They were an older crowd, and seemed as much a part of the House on the Rock as any exhibit. They appeared to have a genuine affection and a certain amount of pride for the place, they could have just as easily been regaling us with tales of a favorite grandchild. I don’t know if that’s because they staff differently during the off season, or if they are able to give more attention to the smaller number of visitors, maybe there was something in the manner of our group that invited that interaction or maybe it is always like that and I just never noticed.

One man showed us this Easter egg in the carousel room. If you look under the Saint Bernard’s muzzle, you can see Santa’s head. The dogs tongue becomes the top of Santa’s hat and his collar is the top of Santa’s coat. You’ll never see it in the dim lighting, so you have to use your flash or other light source to see it. 

One of the Four

For a written walk through I’d recommend you read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, specifically Chapter 5, starting on page 117, at least in my paperback copy. Also a brief paragraph in Chapter 6 mentioning the organ room, which is closed during the off season, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.


Last words of advice are about the coin operated amusements. I haven’t read American Gods since it first came out in paperback, although I will be reading it again now, but I did read through the passage I noted for this post and Gaiman mentions the three things I feel are most worth my tokens.

The first is getting your fortune told by Esmerelda in the Streets of Yesterday. On these streets is also the apothecary, which is a potion bottle heaven to me. Next is the Mikado room, keep your eyes on the guy in the middle. Last is the mechanical diorama “The Drunkards’ Dream”. Also if you have left over tokens at the end of your tour, they can be traded for credit in the gift shop.

A few more pictures:

I saw one just like this as a child.
I have to admit this guy is cute.
He's like the Buddy Jesus version of Santa.

This one was larger than life.
Imagine that hulking behind you.

Other random non-Creepmas:

Here's a few outside shots during the spring.  During the summer months the pockets of those huge (10-15ft? I'm not good with measurements) dragon planters, which are scattered all over the grounds, are filled with flowers, its very beautiful.