Thursday, August 22, 2013

Halloween Dream Catcher

This is the tutorial that I used to learn how to make dream catchers, the step by step photos are very helpful.  The tutorial at shows how to make one with grapevine, also worth reading is their origin of the dream catcher. Someday I'll have to make an old school dream catcher that actually looks like a spider web.

I recommend trying it once with the first method using a metal ring or embroidery hoop to learn the technique before you tackle the grapevine.  The grapevine is slightly trickier, it has some give, so it becomes really important to keep an even tension as you work your way around so the hoop doesn't get twisted. Also I find my yarn snags on the rough surface of the vine as I'm feeding it through. 

The main thing I do differently from the grapevine tutorial is to spray paint it black.  To further complicate things I like to use Fun Fur yarn. I'm honestly not sure why I think a spider web should be black and hairy, but I like the way it looks.  A smoother yarn or waxed cord would probably snag less.  It does become difficult to see what your doing when you get to the center, at that point I use a large eyed blunt needle instead of my fingers to work the yarn.  The good thing is all the wispy hairs help to camouflage any mistakes you make.

Besides using Halloween colors, skull pony beads (not pictured) add a nice touch.  I ordered a bag through the Oriental Trading Company years ago.  We use them for a number of projects and still haven't used them all. 

Of course no web is complete without a spider, and here is how I make mine

You can make dream catchers any size you'd like, but the smaller the hoop the more difficult it is to work. For really small dream catchers you could try using bangle bracelets with a thinner thread and for larger ones try hula hoops with a thick yarn. Using irrigation tubing you can not only make your own hula hoops, but you can make ginormous dream catchers. 

Here is an even easier version for kids at and there is also more information on their site about dream catchers.

One more website, shows a lot of different variations that I'll have to try in the future. 

Last I'd recommend the children's picture book Dreamcatcher by Audrey Osofsky.  It's beautiful in picture and verse. 

Update: For a wintry version check out the ones I did for Creepmas


Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Clockwork Orange Om Nom

To continue on my twisted Om Nom journey here he is to demonstrate that all you need to become A Clockwork Orange icon is a bowler and some false lashes. As always there's one in black and white one for you to color.

My favorite aspect of the movie was Malcolm McDowell’s eerily charming narrative which, among other things, haunts me still. But as melodic as Nadsat sounds from his lips, I prefer it in written form. For me reading Nadsat is like the Pop Rocks of brain candy, it kind of tickles.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Glittered Potions

At last year's craft party a few of the kids added glitter to their potions.  One friend remarked later that every day her daughters would give their potions a shake and watch them swirl around.  She suggested it would be even better if we could make the swirling effect last longer. 

I did a little digging and came across "calming jars".  The idea is that watching the swirling glitter slowly fall has a meditative effect. I saw them mostly in reference to calming toddlers, but I can get lost in the hypnotic sparkling swirls just as well as any three year old.

To make a calming jar you need a jar, water and glitter glue.  You can add food coloring or extra glitter.  Keep in mind the larger the glitter, the faster it falls. 

There are a lot of different recipes, 1 tablespoon glitter glue to 1 cup water seems to be pretty popular.  At the time all I had on hand were some half dried tubes and bottles of glitter glue.  It seemed wrong to go out and buy new glue, just to render it useless with a bunch of water, when I already had a stock of useless glue.  So I added hot water to what I had, let it sit for a few minutes to soften up, gave it a really good shake and voilĂ , magical shimmering water.   

Depending on how gummy and dried up the glitter glue is, you may need to repeat the process a few times to get all the glue out. For the little tubes it's easier to fill them if you twist off the tips, squeeze out all the air and then submerge them in a dish of water.  Once they refill put the tips and caps back on, shake and pour. You can add water weeks or months in advance and just let them sit, time will do all the hard work for you. I love finding uses for stuff that would otherwise just end up in the trash.   

I also tried a few adding a little white glue, I thought it might give a nice murky effect.  It didn't. It took a lot of food coloring to add color and the fine glitter just got lost in it.  I'll save watering down white glue for papier mache. 

I was curious about shelf life.  Now that my bottles are almost 10 months old, I bravely, with no regard to my personal safety gave them each the sniff test. The bottles that contained only tap water, glitter glue and glitter were fine.  Those that contained food coloring had a very dank dark cellar smell. Either food coloring doesn't play well with others, or Cthulhu has been peeing in my potion bottles again. 

My last words of wisdom are about bottles.  Any leak proof bottle will work for this project, but with kids in mind and the Halloween craft party right around the corner I really liked the single serving plastic wine bottles.  I had more fun filling multiple smaller bottles with different glitter combos than one big bottle. The one pictured on the left with the red food coloring and black glitter glue is my favorite.  I like plastic for the younger kids, but not so young that they're going to choke on the caps and I also just like the shape.  Normally I hate getting labels off plastic, but the two different brands that I've tried have thick vinyl labels that peel off easy and leave very little residue. 

By the way those little bottles of wine are great to have on hand for cooking, but using them that way takes a long time to save up a nice stock of bottles. I'm starting to think those mini liquor bottles would look cool too.  Would it be wrong if I plied my friends with cheap wine and liquor just get the bottles?   

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Skullified Footware

I've been hearing about how comfortable these sandals are. They've been my daughters choice of footwear for the past two summers, so when I saw a pair on sale I thought what the hell. 

I really am a function before fashion girl, but these were so blah, I had to do something.  If I've learned anything from my recent Bob the Builder adventure it's that everything can be dressed up with a few skulls.  I used a combination of Testors paint pens and Sharpies.

For the record I don't find them all that comfortable.  I am spoiled, I get to spend most of the summer barefoot, and it's hard to find anything more comfortable than that.  The nicest thing I can say is they are really easy to slip on when I do need footwear and of course now they look really cool.