Friday, November 11, 2016

Craft Party 2016

This October marked the 9th year of official Halloween craft parties. It's a lot of crazy, but magic happens when you throw a bunch of people in with a bunch of stuff, stir in some glue and sprinkle on a little glitter.  I love seeing everyone feed off each others ideas. It's like being in a vortex of creative energy.

Sadly I didn't get pictures of everything.  I never do, there's so much happening at once, it's hard for me to keep up.

As we do every year, there were potion bottles.  Bottles with labels...

Both this poison label and the one in the first picture are from Life Renewal Potion label from Love Manor.

bottles without...

The bottle below is one of my favorites, staring at the line between the light and dark red was like looking off into the horizon of a red alien landscape. 
Someone said it looked like a core sample from Mars. 

Last year we discovered that if you add glitter to a bottle of water
with a little oil in it the glitter sticks to the oil and takes on
a globular life of it's own when you shake it around. 

This bottle is kind of neat because there is too much glitter for the oil to hold,
so it has both the globular effect and loose glitter falling down when shaken. 

We also did lava lamp style bottles, which are a lot of oil
and a little water with alka seltzer tablets thrown in.
I wouldn't recommend adding glitter to these, it ruins the effect.

We used both corn oil and baby oil. 
Corn oil is cheaper, but yellow and baby oil is clear.

This one is pretty as is, but I wish I had a picture of when it was just plain water,
baby oil and silver glitter.  It almost looked like a storm cloud in a bottle. 

This year I made vampire blood.  Which is super cool, green under normal light, but glows red under UV. I used kale as they did in the instructions, but it's noted that anything green and leafy should work.

I have never eaten kale and after this I probably never will. Just blanching it for a minute smelled really bad, like old broccoli and even after pureeing the crap out of it the solid matter was really fibrous. It was not attractive. I'm just mentioning this in case you think you're going to tempt kids over to the dark side of kale by showing them how "cool" it is.  Cool, it is.  Edible, I think not. 

Anyway moving on, what to do with it? I tried lighting the "blood" from within with a submersible UV tea light.  It needed to be watered down so much for the light to come through that the effect is pretty blah.  Pictured above is full strength vamp blood on the left and watered down on the right, being lit from a source outside the containers. It's just a little strobe UV light, so it was hard getting a good picture. 

I kept the fibrous muck after I strained it out, because that stuff is cool too.  The chunky stuff isn't as bright, but this picture still doesn't do it justice. After it dried, it glow a bit less, but still enough to look cool.  Once it dried it didn't stink, it smelled a lot like alfalfa.

You can write or draw with the liquid and that looks cool too, but I don't have pictures.  Again it fades as it dries.  Maybe mixing with an acrylic glaze would help? Definitely need to experiment more. Like these glowing cupcakes from that use the chlorophyll from mint. Betcha mint smells better than kale.  I wonder if you can make minty vamp blood mojitos? Ok I definitely have to get down to the laboratory.  Igor? Where's an Igor when you need one?

I've been wanting to do papier mache at the party for awhile, but that's not a project that can be finished in a few hours.  So as a compromise, just to get some techniques introduced, we did simple stuff that people could at least get the foundation laid and then paint it on their own once it was dried. Here are some fantastic books my neighbor did. 

Here's a cute little pumpkin and some eyes before painting. Both are done on pieces of cardboard.  The eyes are glass gems over iris printouts from

And some random glass gems over magazine cutouts. 

I've been wanting to make tampon ghosts for ages, but the kids were so young I held off.  You can't really traumatize them if they don't get the joke.  But now that most them are in middle school, I figure the only thing worse than going through puberty would be tampon crafting with your mom. 

Tampons and I go way back, to when I was in middle school.  You know when dinosaurs roamed the earth and mullets and parachute pants were cool. In all that time I never noticed that they are made up of a bunch of really short fibers that fall apart when you futz with them. It may be unnecessary but I spray them with a little starch for longevity.  A clear acrylic spray would probably work well too. If you would like to read more about tampon construction than you ever really wanted to know check out my tampon angel.

I didn't want to add spraying starch as a parlor game inside my house, so for the party we just dipped them in starch.  A little liquid goes along way, so quick dips. My friend had the genius idea to wet the ends with the watered down glitter glue we had for potion bottles and then took it one step further to drop food coloring on the bottoms and let it wick up. Next time I would skip the starch and go straight to the watery glitter glue or maybe brush starch on the top and glitter glue the bottoms. 

I was inspired by her ghosts to make this tampon Cthulhu,
which I will write up a tutorial for, because everyone should
have a super absorbent Great Old One in their life.

The past few years voodoo dolls have been a party favorite. 
The girls love making fashionable outfits for them, so when I saw these ladies at Grandin Road, I thought we could do a similar thing with mini skeletons.

 They came up with some pretty amazing ideas. 

I was inspired to make this last skeleton while cleaning up after the party.  Scraps of this and that were laid out in such a way that the universe was practically begging for this to be made.  I started off with every intention of making a punk skeleton, but the scraps of pink neon lightning material (I have a friend who makes skate costumes, among other things, who donated some really neat stuff.), had other ideas and wouldn't leave me alone until I resigned to go 80's glam rock.

She's missing an arm because pre-party I played around with posing.  Soaking in boiling hot water was ok for minor manipulation. Snapping joints off and gluing into position looked the best, but leaves the joints very vulnerable, which is fine if you aren't going to mess with it much.  Obviously I messed too much and lost limbs along the way.      

We also made box mummies inspired by these but on a smaller scale.
Even though they look very similar we did things differently enough that I'll write up a separate tutorial. 

We did more foam bats this year too. 
Add a wire and you can stick them with your plants. 

We also made witch jars and other silhouette luminaries
No pictures but last year's post has pictures and links to silhouettes we used.

Food.  I'm obligated on penalty of death or at least torture by being tied to the tree of woe and licked by fire kittens to make rat and eyeballs every year. 
This year I went with diseased rat.  He did a fantastic job of oozing raspberry blood, I was very pleased.

I also made cookie dough brains, making the full cookie dough recipe without the cupcakes resulted in about 40 dough balls, which took about 16oz of white chocolate to coat enough molds.  These numbers are approximate because my kitchen is infested with ninja trolls that steal dough balls when I'm not looking. I made intestines, another recipe I'll have to post, and I tried these jalapeno mummy poppers, with a few modifications.  Instead of scallions and garlic, I seasoned them with chipotle powder and instead of salt & pepper I used a chipotle sea salt blend. The jalapeno's were a nice balance to all the sweet stuff. 

Guest contributions included Bat Barf, a meaty queso dip.  I didn't get a picture, but it was very barfy looking.  I did snap a picture of the tag, which makes me giggle, like only emoji barf can do.

On the sweeter side there were eyeballs,


witches hats and broomsticks,

graveyard cupcakes,


and candy corn.

There's also a part that no one else gets to see. When the party's done, when it's quiet, when I can finally process everything...that's when I get some of the best ideas and I owe them all to the wonderful people who choose to share this day with me. 

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