Monthly Archives: September 2011

Halloween Costume Idea: Paper Eyelashes

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There is a blog that I follow called “All Things Paper,” written by Ann Martin, a quilling enthusiast who tends to find the most amazing paper creations.  First of all, if you don’t know what quilling is, look it up.  Better yet, check out Ann’s Blog because it is some pretty cool stuff.

About a month ago, “All Things Paper” featured a post about some fun, decorative, fashion lashes made out of paper.  The lashes are made by a company called Paperself, and they feature a variety of designs including peacocks, butterflies, and clown lashes among others.

When I first saw these lashes, my mind immediately went to how I could incorporate these into a Halloween costume.  I actually have a friend who is planning to be a peacock for Halloween, and these lashes would be perfect for her!

Without giving too much away, none of these lashes really fit the costume that I have in mind for myself.  I am planning to go as a notorious criminal of sorts, so I immediately thought that lashes with some sort of bomb motif would be fun.  I couldn’t find any lashes similar to what I was looking for, so I figured, why not make them myself?  As mentioned in previous posts, I have a Silhouette SD, and it can do some pretty intricate cuts.  I decided to try my hand at creating my own paper eyelashes.

After a few attempts, I found that the Silhouette could not cut quite as finely as I would have liked.  I ended up using individual lashes that were about 0.01 inches wide, and that were spaced at about 0.03 inches.  It took about 5 tries before I had a design that did not get eaten up by the Silhouette blade, or destroyed when I tried to remove it from the carrying mat.  The final product is shown to the right.

I still was not sure if they would work out, so I decided I might as well try them on!  I applied them above my natural lashes and used an eyelash curler just like you would with any other set of false lashes, and voila!  Home-made false lashes made of paper!

Halloween Decorations: How to Make Cheesecloth Ghosts

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Halloween is just around the corner, and I have been thinking up fun, crafty ways to decorate.  Thinking back, I remember making cute, spooky ghosts using cheesecloth and Elmer’s glue.  In fact, my crafting career started with these cute little guys!  When I was about 12 years old, I had a booth in a children’s craft fair where I sold Halloween decorations that included these cheesecloth ghosts.  Back then, I remember staying up late into the night adding the final touches to my spooky creations.  Embellishments included witches hats, broomsticks, top hats, canes, and tiny trick-or-treat bags that actually contained candy.

I recently decided to give these guys another try.  I had the Charlie Brown Halloween Special, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” in mind as my inspiration.  With the help of good friend, we were able to create four costumed characters.  My husband and I set them up in our back yard and created the above photo.

If you want to make your own spooky decorations, here are the instructions for these cheesecloth ghosts:

What You Need:

  • Wax Paper
  • Plastic Bottle
  • Dowels or Pencils
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Water
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Shallow, Disposable Dish
  • White Cheesecloth*
  • Embellishments, As Desired

Directions:

1.  Spread out the wax paper on your working surface, taping together if needed to protect your table and keep your ghost from sticking.

2.  Create a form for your ghost using the plastic bottle, dowels, and aluminum foil.  Get creative with this!  You can use large or small bottles, styrofoam balls, sticks from your yard, or anything else that you find to make a form.  Just make sure that it won’t stick to the cheesecloth, and is relatively sturdy.

3.  Mix one part water and two parts glue in the dish.  Cut the cheesecloth into approximately 3 inch wide strips and coat with the glue mixture.  Remove the excess glue with your fingers, spread out the cheesecloth, and drape it over your mold.

4.  Repeat step 3 as needed until your mold is covered with several layers of cheesecloth, and you are happy with the way that the ghost looks.  Allow the ghosts to dry for at least 24 hours before removing them from the mold.  They should be dry to the touch.

5.  While the ghosts are cute on their own, you can add hats, eyes, and props to really make these cute decorations stand out!

*Note: You can purchase cheesecloth at the craft store, at the grocery store in the kitchen department, or at the hardware store.  Just make sure to get white cheesecloth, as it also comes in a natural color for more industrial purposes.

Tons of Tomatoes? Make Marinara!

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This year was my first attempt at a garden, and I am happy to say that for the most part it was a success!  One thing that I learned is that one tiny tomato plant  produces lots and lots of tomatoes.  I also learned that they all ripen right around the same time!  When deciding what to do with all of these red beauties (along with a few from our produce delivery service), I felt that marinara was a natural choice.  Home-made marinara is another first for me.  I did a little research, and with the help of my husband came up with a tasty recipe that has a little bit of everything.  Here is what we did:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb Tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Large Mushrooms, Stemmed and Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1/3 Cup Spinach, Sliced into Strips
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, Divided
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar*
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Directions:
Preheat your grill on medium heat.  Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the stems.  Using 2 tablespoons olive oil, brush the cut side of each tomato.  Place the tomatoes cut side down on the grill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  The skin will start to wrinkle and turn brown at the ends and should be easy to take off.  Remove the tomatoes from the grill and remove the skins.
Meanwhile, in a large pot heat the olive oil on medium.  Add the onions and saute until they start to caramelize.  Add the garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and oregano and cook for 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the red wine.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, sugar*, and 1 tablespoon fresh basil.  Bring to a simmer and cook on low, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon of basil just before serving.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
* Note that a few of our tomatoes were slightly under-ripe.  If you are using fresh, fully ripe tomatoes, you may not need to use the sugar.
I hope you enjoy!

The Gadget That Started it All

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I have always been a fan of greeting cards, so much so that I would spend literally hours looking for just the right one.  After a while, I abandoned my searching in lieu of creating my own.  I have been known to cut, paste, and stencil my mornings away in an effort to make that perfect paper creation.  While I still spend plenty of time pouring over designs, I have found a faster, more precise, and all around wonderful gadget to help me with my cutting needs!

Anyone who knows craft gadgets is probably thinking that I am talking about the Cricut, but that’s where you would be wrong.  I first saw the commercials for the Cricut a few years ago and nearly purchased one on the spot, but decided to do a little research first.  I found that as amazing and wonderful as the Cricut seemed, it was not quite suited to my needs.  I needed a gadget that I could be even more creative with; that would accept my designs, rather than the pre-purchased cartridges that the Cricut uses.  It didn’t take long for me to find, and fall in love with it’s competitor the Silhouette SD!

http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/whatisit.aspx

Over the past year or so their software has greatly improved making the little gadget near perfect for making cards and paper creations of all kinds.  I love that I can create my own designs in illustrator and cut them on this little beauty.  For simple shapes, the SD software is perfect.  Also, if designing your own is a little out of your league, they have an extensive library of designs for a great price!

UPDATE!:

The Silhouette SD has been recently discontinued to make way for the new Silhouette Cameo.  I still strongly recommend the SD, and if you can find it for sale, chances are you’ll get a great deal!

I will be keeping my eye out for reviews on the new Cameo.  The Cameo will accept 12″ paper, making it ideal for scrapbook papers.  It’ll also have a quieter motor, which I’m sure my husband will appreciate when I’m working away early in the morning!