Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deformed Turkey Treats

I originally saw this turkey years ago when my son was just a little thing and I thought he’d get a kick out of it if we made some.  The first problem I ran into is the recipe says to spread peanut butter on the turkey and sprinkle more Cocoa Krispies® on top for “feathers”.  Yeah, that just didn’t sound good, so I didn’t do that.  Then I discovered what a little bitch it is to get the pretzels pushed in for tail feathers without breaking them.  Only three turkeys got tail feathers before I gave up. So for Thanksgiving we had featherless turkeys. 

The next year I didn’t even think about attempting that fiasco, but I had forgotten the kid factor.  “Mom, are we going to make those turkeys again?” 
I once read in one of those ‘So You’ve Got a Baby, But You Haven’t Got a Clue’ books, that advised to “Start as you mean to go on.”  I took it to mean don’t get into any habits you’ll regret later, with a habit being something you have to do repetitively or at least more than once. I didn’t think it literally meant don’t ever start anything you don’t ever want to do again, and maybe it didn’t, but maybe it did.  Because while my kids have to be reminded daily that they have to pick up their things, do their homework and brush their teeth, it seems if I make a few lousy deformed turkeys one time, and never speak of it again, a full year later they will not only remember those turkeys, but they will expect them every year from then on.  There are quite a few things I’ve done over the years, because I thought it would be fun to try once.  Around here we end up calling those things traditions. 

So following our new tradition I made the turkeys again, without feathers.  My husband and I agreed that the Cocoa Krispies® of the previous year were kind of disgusting, so I used regular Rice Krispies®.  Also, even though the legs weren’t difficult to poke in like the tail feathers, we don’t really eat a lot of pretzels and it didn’t seem worth it to get a whole bag just to make a few stick legs, so I left those off.  I guess I should also admit that my turkey’s had more of a deformed circus peanut shape, than the one in the picture.  That seemingly simple pear shape still eludes me to this day.  I don’t know why.  So for Thanksgiving we had featherless, legless, deformed, albino turkeys. 
And so we went as we meant to go on.
This year I got a little fancy and coated their chubby little turkey bellies with chocolate.  Some in white and some in dark.  I don’t like milk chocolate, and while I’m slowly bringing my children over to the dark side, they’ll balk at dark dark chocolate.  Lindt makes a wonderful sweet dark that’s the perfect happy medium for everyone.  

Nice, but what do turkeys have to with Halloween crafts? Into everything a little Halloween must shine, so I give you turkey zombies.  Decorating with frosting isn’t one of my strong suits, but you get the point and maybe someone with more talent will see this and take it to the next level.  I think I might have liked the richer color of candy melts, but I didn’t have any. 

No actual turkeys were harmed in the creation of this post, but a few Rice Krispies Treats® were horribly brutalized before they met their untimely deaths.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Papier Mache Binder

I tend to be nonviolent but this year I decided to kill a few birds with one stone, three to be exact.  First, I’ve been tossing around the idea of making my own grimoire.  Second, I have wanted to try my hand at papier mache.  Third I’ve been meaning to put together a binder of Halloween crafts for people to peruse at the craft party. 
Someday I hope to make a life size monster mud creature, but for now I’m content to learn the basics on a smaller scale, and this project was perfect for that. 

Stolloween has a great guide for beginners such as myself and his work is truly inspirational.  I deviated from his recipes quite a bit because this was such a small project.  For my papier mache I used a mixture of equal parts glue and water and here are the details on my paper clay

I started with a three ring binder I had on hand.  It had a nice thick pressed board cover that I covered inside and out with torn strips of recycled printer paper. 
I’m not the best artist, so I printed out clip art that was close to what I had envisioned in my head and papier mached that on too.  I wanted hands coming from around the sides of the book, I just traced around my own fingers while holding the book, to get a rough idea for placement. 
I used string to create the spider web.  Paper clay for the spider body and flat toothpicks for the spider legs. As an afterthought I also use one as a tool to press a skull design into the spider body. 
Next I worked on the skull and eyes.  I wanted the thickness of the skull to thin as it got close to the edges of the binder.  I cut angled rings from a toilet paper roll to frame out the nose and eye sockets and then built up layers of paper clay.  I wanted the eyes to be smoother so I used air dry clay. 
I got the idea of using threads of yarn for eye veins from here. A little bit goes a long way, just a few strands makes for a very realistic effect. 
Next I glued on a printed iris. Stolloween has his eyes available which is where I got the idea.  I also found these from Haunters Hangout, and the from Orestesgraphics. For this project I used one from ScrapbookSoftware.   I painted multiple thin layers of acrylic semi-gloss clear coat over the entire eye.

Around the eye I built up a layer of paper clay. Once that was completely dried I layered rolls of air dry clay to create skin folds around the eye. For the lid, I flattened one of the rolls before applying it. 

This mixture of paper clay was made with mostly white paper with a few pink, orange and purple sheets.  This color combo along with the texture happened to create an interesting fleshy looking bit in the corners of the eye, so I left some of it exposed.  

After it was all done, I dripped some more acyclic clear coat onto the eyeball swirling it around by rotating the book instead of brushing it on. Letting it collect in the corners gave it a very wet look.

For the fingers I rolled newspaper around straws, taped the end of the paper and then cut them into finger joint length sections. I glued these into the position I wanted them.  Then started building them up with layers of paper clay, especially the knuckles and putting indents where the fingernails would go. 

The hand along the spine was cut in half so the binder could open and close.  I had recently seen this and while my little project is no where near that caliber of artistry the idea of stitching flesh called to me.  

I needed something flexible, so I used red rubber bands Sharpied black and staple gunned them to the ends of the finger joints.  It's not perfect, with the binder closed the "stitches" are a little tighter than I would like them and opened a little looser and one or two have pulled out altogether, but I felt I needed a little something to bring it together besides just having bloody stumps. 

I cut the skull teeth from plastic which wasn't the best idea. I ended up adding folded paper to each tooth to make them a thicker. A thick cardboard would probably been better to start with.
The nails were also cut from a plastic bottle.  The first ones I cut were too small.  I realized they were flat and lifeless and needed to be shaped.  To shape them I used an open flame and by the time they had some proper curves they were too small. So I made another set both wider and longer.  I added more paper clay to the finger tips to fully flesh them out and then pressed the nails in place and added a tiny bit more clay for cuticles.
After the web, the skull and all the spiders, eyes and fingers where done (Yes, there is a lot going on here, it was more about playing around than have an actual theme.) I went over the whole thing with layers of tissue paper. 
The hands looked so awesome in wet tissue paper. It looked like thin wrinkly skin with the paper clay giving it a mottled flesh color, sadly when dried it was just white. 
I spray painted it gold, masking off the eyes, because I had that can of paint forever and wanted to use it up.

Then I went over it with black, hand painted around the eyes and finger painted on a few highlights.  I paint about as well as I draw. I can lay down a layer of paint with a brush, but if I try to do anything detailed I mess it up. Everything else I do with my fingers and that seems to work best for me.
Then I sprayed the whole thing with a protective clear coat.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skull Beads

I encourage guests at my Halloween craft party to bring along any crafting bits, bobs, odds or ends they have laying about that they don’t use anymore.  I’m know I’m not  the only one hanging onto stuff I don’t know what to do with, but at the same time can’t seem to part with. Letting go is so much easier when you can watch someone else turn your junk into treasure.  Halloween is perfect for odd bits because no one can tell you that your monster can’t have only one leg, three mismatch googly eyes and a pink bow on its head.

This year one of the donated items was a bag of large wooden beads.  Armed with a Sharpie I drew a little skull face on one and then decided he needed a feather Mohawk.  Once the kids saw him, they had to make their own and a new craft project was born.  It doesn’t get easier than this and the kids had a lot of fun making them.  The feathers are easier to glue in if you use at least three or four to fill the hole. Next year I might thread the beads on some twine before I glue the feathers in to make a strand of hanging skulls.  I think smaller beads and feathers would make a cute pendant or even earrings.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Black Widow Spider Eggs

These are Black Widow Spider Eggs.  The eggs are large pearl tapioca.  They looked a little too white and pristine so I swirled some acrylic paint around the inside of the jar.  The font is Spiderfingers by Sinister Fonts.  Large tapioca is very fun to play with.  Add colored water and watch it slowly swell into creepy coolness.  Just remember to toss it before it gets moldy. 


Friday, November 9, 2012

Hobgoblin Boogers

Hobgoblin Boogers for the pickiest gourmand are distributed by Flegme, which is French for phlegm.Leave it to the French to make something I can hock up during cold season sound both elegant and seductive.The boogers are made of Play Doh.My kids mixed together one color too many and it looked like something out of a bad sinus infection.So I took that idea and ran with it.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Juggling Eyeballs

I found this tutorial for Halloween Juggling Eyeballs and knew I had to include it in this year's craft party. 

As you can see our eyeballs aren't as detailed. I decided to go sans paint on the iris and I'm glad. I think the kids had more fun playing in the rice than anything and didn't miss the detailing. Leaving the paint out of this project meant being able to just sweep up the mess afterwords instead of finding clumps of spilled paint and rice stuck everywhere. 

The link provided in the tutorial for making rice juggling balls doesn't work, so I found this one.

I used a half cup rice with 12" round balloons.  It's very important to use a full half cup.  Any less and your balls will not be firm.  It's no fun playing with saggy balls and they won't look right either.

For this cute little skull I cut an extra hole for the other eye and a small triangle for the nose. If you had an orange balloon you could turn that into a Jack-O-Lantern. 

Note: I love asymmetry, but that wasn't what I was going for.  The smaller eye is where I cut the neck and stretch the balloon around the balloon.  I thought I had made the eye holes about the same size and even after fussing with the balloon to even them out, this is as good as it gets.  Next time I'll make the neck cut a little larger and my second eye a little smaller and see what happens. 

To my knowledge no one from the party has learned to juggle as a result of the rice balls they made, including myself, but here is a promising instructional video that I plan to try at some point.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Craft Party Potion Bottles

Every year I throw a Halloween craft party for kids and adults alike. Not surprisingly one of the crafts is making potion bottles.  Here are a few examples of what some of the younger attendees came up with. 
The Ashes of Vampire is old cumin and broken vampire teeth.  The label is free courtesy of Dave Lowe.  He makes amazing props and has wonderful tutorials to go with them.  So stop on by and check them out and while you are over there, do yourself a favor and visit his cartoon Para Abnormal. 

Next up we have an assortment from the people at Bone Pack, including Goblin Flesh (torn paper), Zombie Teeth (colored plastic), Road Kill (assorted rubber items), Bloody Brain (food color and model magic), Alien Skin (a layer of craft glue spread on a real live human arm, the inner mostly hairless part, dried and then pealed off) and Finger Bones (plastic bones from a broken necklace)

Here we have dangerous Man Eating Tarantulas.  They may look like harmless plastic spiders, but the lid says Leave Alone, Danger, Do Not Open, so I think I'll let them be. 
There is also a full bottle of Wake the Dead on hand. The instructions on the back say to pour over a grave and rule the dead.

Dr Jumbie's Magic Beans are really just old coffee beans and glitter. Preparing for the craft party entails cleaning out the pantry.  Anything dried that is past it's prime gets new life at the potion table.  The label is another freebie, this time from Phee McFaddell.

It's hard to see the label underneath all it's ghostliness, but this one is aptly named Ghost's Breath.  The bottle is filled with cotton batting.  A little more cotton makes the head which is wrapped in flowing white scraps of tulle.

This is a jar of Ogre Toes.  The label is a free printable from Fantasy Jr. that has been modified.  The ogre toes are made of Crayola Model Magic, and the toenails are cut from an opaque plastic bottle, both are colored with markers.

Last but not least, I'd like to share with you the Remains of the Zombie. A little water and food coloring really makes these plastic novelties look gruesome.   

I love the fresh ideas my party goers come up with, but the best part is hearing phrases like, "Oh, that's disgusting!" joyfully given as praise.