The fun/burden of being crafty is getting together to do crafts with all your crafty friends. When the craftiest of them all, Kathy Phantastic, is getting married it is all hands (with scissors in them) on deck. Our job was mainly to create mountains of fringe:
Kathy Phantastic knows that proper crafting requires fuel and bribes. They were provided in the form of Topo Chico and pizza.
All that fringe was totally worth the final product: personalized pinata letters!
Some people wait until the last second to get their Halloween costume. Running out to Spirit or Halloween Express the day before a party is not thrifty or creative. You can easily spend upwards of $50 on something you’ll wear once! That’s just crazy talk. Your first stop for costume items should be your own closet. Do you have any interesting items of clothing, or something you rarely wear? Maybe you have an old prom dress, a feather boa, or a fedora you bought, but were never bold enough to wear. Look at these items and use them as a jumping-off point. You can also combine different clothing items that don’t normally go together. You have 50 scarves? Wear them all, all over you and be an old-style burlesque dancer (this is a viable costume in Texas, where it will likely be 80 degrees on Halloween). Still no ideas?
Search friends’ closets (with their knowledge, of course). Maybe one has a red trench coat, and you have a red hat: Bam! Carmen Sandiego costume! Don’t forget that a costume of your opposite gender is also an option. Even a terrible version of a guy dressed as The Little Mermaid is hilarious, so keep those possibilities in mind.
Next stop for ideas, components, accessories, or even whole costumes: Thrift stores. All those people that bought last minute costumes in prior years gave them away, and you can profit from it! Thrift stores are FULL of Halloween costumes, including some brand new items, and they cost way less than at the Halloween stores.
Still need inspiration? Are there any celebrities, cartoon characters, or famous people you resemble? What are some topical ideas you could represent? Maybe you could just wear a suit with a name tag that says “Government” and go around “shutting down” conversations all night long. Look back over some of the big news stories of the year. You can also just google Halloween costume ideas. You can also go back through my archives for some amazingly witty ideas, because I’m great.
Cross Dressing (for girls, sorry dudes)
This made me realize 1) I have been blogging for a long time! and 2) I really do love Halloween, obviously. Costumes don’t have to be expensive, or a big ordeal. Just do something fun!
So I haven’t made an official announcement or anything, but here it is: I’m knocked up! The Hubby and I are very excited to welcome baby NachoNacho BooBoo Tarzan to the family. Pregnancy is incredibly draining however, which has led to a dearth of blog posts. Always helpful, Kornberg and my sis Beans have stepped up with some guest posts! Here is Kornberg’s helpful tutorial about remaking jewelry with jewelry you already have:
So I was cleaning out some of my jewelry and ended up with a huge baggie of stuff–half of it I loved but never wore and the other half was junk. I hated to get rid of some of it but I never wore it! One pair of earrings stung in particular–I loved them. I loved the texture, the pattern and the color but they were uncomfortable to wear. Then it hit me–I can fix this! So next time I was at Jo-ann’s, I stopped by the jewelry area and picked up some supplies. I got 2 sizes of jump rings, 2 packs of chain, 2 sizes of earring hooks and a pack of ring bases–all of it was on a 50% off sale so it ended up being less than $15 and I have plenty leftover for future projects.
I also had 2 small pliers from other projects–having 2 was really helpful because I could use the round tip ones to hold something stable while the flat grippy ones could grab and manipulate whatever I was holding.
Of course I didn’t take pictures before but here is a mock of up of the original inspiration earrings. The top has a post on the back and is really huge–I have other piercings in my earlobe and that smooshed them.
Here is how they ended up. I replaced the old jump ring and put them on long hoops. They brush the curve between my neck and shoulder now and look amazing. Best part is that I got them originally at the city-wide garage sale for $1.
Here are the remains of another piece that I was really upset to get rid of. I loved loved loved the beads but the necklace was an awkward length and was really bulky and didn’t go with anything.
See how awesome those are???
And here is the final product. It’s a really long necklace and the beads are intended to sit at different levels on each side. It’s much more in tune with my style and it looks like I spent a crapton of money on it. I’ve seen things like this on sale for way more than I am willing to spend on costume jewelry. I just took some of the beads from the original necklace and hooked them together in segments and then attached the chain. I would hold stuff up to me to guess at lengths but even if it’s wrong, you can always make things shorter or longer by hooking chain. I made sure to get chain that was easy to work with because I am a total novice and have no idea how the fancier types of links work.
These earrings were another garage sale find. They were on posts and my main problem with them was that they tangled up with EVERYTHING. So I pulled the posts off with pliers and put hooks on them (taken from some other jewelry that I didn’t want to re-use) so now they can hang on my earring ship.
These are locally made earrings that I loved but were too short. I guess I like a longer look for my jewelry because these and the next 3 pieces were all just made longer. All I did was take the hook off and put them on a longer hook.
For these I just stole a length of chain from the awesome bead necklace and inserted it between the hook and jump ring that the earrings came with. I spend a lot of time on the phone right now and those short earrings were so annoying and would clank everywhere. Now they won’t!
These were more garage sale earrings. They were originally wired in silver but one of the hooks had apparently been lost and instead of replacing it, they made a new one out of what looks like a paper clip. It was all janky and made my ear holes itch. I also didn’t like the length–these are way too cool to be hidden like that! So I used some jewelry wire from another project and tried to copy what the original wiring looked like. I have no skills so they are “deliberately” messy–I made them very messy so it looks intentional. I do this with a lof of things in my life–my hair, my make up, my art projects–so that my lack of skills is not apparent. Now you know my secret.
My friend Palmer is amazing, and creative, and productive, and she has started her own online magazine. It’s pretty badass. And who has two thumbs and was asked to write for it? This chick! Here’s my super great article. Read it and praise me!
I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. It’s great for finding crafty ideas and inspiration, and I even found a wonderful board showing how much photoshop is really used in magazines; it is eye-opening. But there are also things that make me roll my eyes so hard I need physical therapy afterward.
complain about discuss tagging etiquette. For the love of Poseiden stop saying “Yes, please!” at the end of everything. You are not shopping on Pinterest. No one is going to hand you the food/crafted item you see. I cannot express how prevalent and obnoxious this is. It makes me want to stab you in the eyes so you can never pin anything ever again.
If you are pinning something, do not write crap like this (taken from an actual pin):
Chef Robin White Aka @canapes45 of @Chatterworks teaches: How to Corn Your Fresh @DArtagnan_Inc Corned Beef. Your INVITED to Pin and Tweet Chat with us: @Chatterworks – @Canapes45 – @KatieSheaDesign – @TheDailyBasics Tweet/Pin with HashTags: #ChatwrksStPat #stpatricksday Tues 3/05 4pm EST Celebrating St Patrick’s Day in #recipes, #drinks, #entertaining and #traditions!
If you are pinning this and don’t delete this garbage you deserve to be slapped with an entire ham. This is impossible to read, packed with useless information, and someone tell me I’m not the only one to notice the glaring spelling error? You are taking up room on my pinterest with your textual garbage. If I wanted to see that I would read yahoo.com (ooh, burn!).
I admit, I am a confirmed cranky old bitch. Phrases like “These kids today have terrible grammar!” complete with impotent fist shaking, are commonplace in conversations with me. I can no longer contain my mockery of pinterest, however, so I created a whole board simply called “Why?”, where I pin terrible things and add my commentary. Follow my journey of snark and ridicule through crafting and recipes. I hope you find it as humorous as I do cathartic.
Hubby and I have a ridiculous Halloween party every year. It’s our favorite holiday, and we try and come up with something new whenever we can. This year, we may have reached the pinnacle. The whole house was decked out like a mad scientist’s lab, and we crafted things for months in advance.
Bloody thift store sheets!
Shelf of specimens! (including baby parts in jars!)
This is an underwear mannequin we own, and what better use for her?
Bloody surgery gloves and tools!
Torture table!! (Complete with Justein Beiber CD!!!)
Unhappy dogs in costume! (Flapjack’s arrived later that night)
Evil surgeon and patient, with happier, de-costumed dogs!
A non-costumed person, vampire, hitchhiker, me, and Batgirl!
My wonderful Hubby was the robot David from Prometheus!
I even used my surgery scar as part of my costume! I super glued metal bits over top to look like staples. We had such a great time, and I have no idea what we’re going to do next year!
As you might know, Mi Madre has a tiny quilting hobby, and that hobby creates a lot of mess in the form of fabric and thread scraps. Being the thrifty, eco-friendly (aside from her GIGANTIC PICK UP TRUCK) lady she is, she came up with a method to use all those scraps. I don’t create nearly as much detritus as she does, but I eventually had enough scraps to use for this project.
Loyal readers/stalkers may remember that my sweet, cutest-dog-until-the-end-of-eternity Flapjack already has a handmade dog bed. They may also remember that he once did this to my carpeting:
He basically did the same thing to the bed in his crate. So we’re going to start with a new bed, and toys while he’s locked up, because he obviously needs something to do other than dig.
You will need a thrift store or other unneeded pillow case, and a bunch of crap to stuff it with. If you are reworking some of your t-shirts, save the scraps for this type of thing. This is a great way to reuse holey socks, stained undershirts, or other fabric that is too messed up for the thrift store.
Stuff it with all that crap you’ve been saving (you can even store scraps in the pillow case while you’re hoarding them up), and make it nice and fluffy. Then pin it shut like so:
Sew that beast shut, and BOOM dog bed! I even wrapped Flapjack’s in another thifted pillow case so I can wash it:
What if you don’t have a dog, or all your dogs already have beds? Make them anyway and donate to your local shelter or pet rescue organization. Dogs can be destructive, as my sweet angel pie has shown, so they need that stuff constantly.
It should be no surprise to anyone that I, and most of my friends, are giant nerds. We love everything from Star Wars, to Harry Potter, to Doctor Who, to obscure, terrible sci-fi B movies. Some of them even profess to like Star Trek, although I really don’t believe anyone can actually enjoy it. In the spirit of nerdy friendship, I decided to make a magic wand for Kornberg. She made me this fantastic cross stitch to give to my surgeon after the Giant Fibroid of Doom. (Kornberg even sells the pattern on her Etsy, so you can make your very own uterus!)
Being the wonderful person I am, I made her an awesome gift, AND recorded the event for all of you wonderful minions. First, get a stick of appropriate length. Try to find one of durable thickness, with as few twigs coming off of it as possible. I used a knife to whittle down as much of the twigs stumps as possible, then sanded the lumps down viciously. I also peeled off all the bark. It helps to find a dog to pose with your future wand.
We had a tiny bottle of gel wood stain laying around the house (it was like $2 at Hobby Lobby), so I used that to stain it. I like that look because the wood grain shows through, but you could easily paint it instead. It also took awhile to dry.
Once it was dry, I used some shirt paint to draw magical symbols and incantations on it. Actually I just made pretty designs. I don’t know anything about magic or magick, and I was too lazy to research any runes or other legit stuff.
Before starting that step, make sure you have a way to prop the thing up to dry, so you don’t end up just holding it like a jackass. Which I did not do. I held it like a lady.
There’s the finished product! It was a fun project that took an hour, plus drying time. If you’re going to do this with kids I recommend preparing the sticks ahead of time, because that was the most time-consuming part. I love getting to trade crafts with my buddies!
As you probably know by now, some girlfriends and I are on a trivia team called the Cupcake Bitches. The name comes from and old inside joke. A couple weeks ago, I was crocheting while hanging out with Kornberg, and since she knows that I am fascinated with anything cupcake related, she told me about someone she knows who crocheted a cupcake. I wondered if I could make one, and her response was “She’s really dumb, so you can probably do it if she can”. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
I have a ridiculous stash of yarn I’m attempting to work my way through, and there just so happened to be some pink and tan that were perfect for a cupcake. As regular readers know, the other basic craft supplies you’ll need are scissors, a crochet hook, trashy TV, vodka and Diet Coke. But that’s pretty basic; I don’t want to insult your intelligence.
Mushroom decided he was going to help by sitting on top of the ball of yarn, and trying to eat it when I pulled it out from under his bulk.
First things first, I crocheted the base. I made a flat circle first to be the base, then a long skinny strip to be the sides. I turned that piece on its side and sewed it shut, and sewed the side to the base. I did it this way because the crochet texture looks more the the ripples on the side of a cupcake paper. I used tan yarn, but you could use white, or some other color to look like those paper cup things.
Here’s the inside of the base. I left some long yarn ends in there for this:
I sewed a jar lid inside to the bottom to help keep the shape flat. My plan was to stuff this thing, and I knew the stuffing would make the bottom bow out if I didn’t have something rigid in place. I just punched holes in the bottom with a nail and hammer, threaded the yarn through, and tied it in knots.
I crocheted the cupcake top separately until I had a size and shape that I liked. Since I don’t know how to use a pattern, that means I ripped it out several times and started over. This process also requires lots of swearing. If friends and pets leave the room because you’re screaming too many profanities, you’re probably doing it right. At one point the stupid cupcake had what appeared to be a nipple on top, so I put a stop to that. This picture is me testing the cupcake top to make sure it fits properly, which is why there’s a crochet hook sticking out of it.
Once I decided the top was complete, I used some multicolor yarn I had laying around to sew tiny sprinkles on the outside. That multicolor yarn is ubiquitous. I swear it’s the result of the rest of my yarn breeding, because I have no recollection of purchasing it. But I finally found a use for a tiny bit of it! Once the top was sprinkle-fied to my satisfaction, I started sewing it to the base. This also took several attempts before I was happy with the results. And I was almost out of vodka by this point, so things were looking grim.
But you know that I rarely show my mistakes (unless they’re hilarious), so you know already that this post ends well. Here is the finished cupcake! I sewed it about half shut, and then put a bunch of stuffing inside (just basic polyfill). I shaped the polyfill for the top into a little dome so it would fill out the cupcake evenly. I also discovered that if you make the cupcake top a little too long, and then sew it tightly to the base, you get an adorable little ripple along the edge. Hooray for drunken crochet! So now the Cupcake Bitches have a new mascot, and I have proven I am at least the equal of a random dumb girl I don’t even know. Mission accomplished.
I love crafting things for my buddies, and I have suspected more than a few of my friends of hanging around for just that reason. But most people are just so excited to get something, it totally makes it worth it. Hubby and I had silk screened the t-shirts for my trivia team, The Cupcake Bitches, awhile back, and our Geeks Who Drink quizmaster, Evelyn, was enamored. She had always dreamed of finding a specific t-shirt that didn’t seem to exist. She then asked if it was something we were capable of. Aww yeah, girl, I can make yo’ shirt. This is her design, made from plain old clip art:
Look how happy she is! Totally worth it. She’s also lost like half her body weight since this was taken (because she’s awesome and working really hard), and so a new t-shirt might be in the works soon.
This is gnome 2.0, and I forgot to take pictures of him before handing him off, so she very kindly sent me this badass picture. He’s about 6 inches tall, and I am super proud of him. Good job, me!
I found this dress at the thrift store, and loved the pattern immediately. I grabbed it so I could turn it into an apron, but it actually fits me! And it fits really well (I mean, I know I’m gorgeous, but in this I look amazing!), I just wasn’t enamored of the neck line. It reminded me of terrible 1980′s, tacky, overly-tan people for some reason.
I used my seam ripper to removed the neck strap, and separate the two booby cups. I then ripped open the end of the strap (which was one long piece), and I pulled out the giant, terrible, uncomfortable beads that were inside it. Yeah, because I want giant chunks of plastic rubbing on my collar bones.
I folded the strap in half long-ways, then cut it into two pieces to be two separate straps. I sewed the ends shut, including the extra hole I made to remove the beads, which wasn’t actually necessary since I was cutting it open anyways. I see that now.
Once I had the strap detached, I put the dress on and pinned the cups until they were the same size and shape. My goal was to create a more 1950′s-style sweet-heart neckline. And I think I succeeded:
BAM!!! See, hotness! I told you! I took the two halves of the original strap and attached them to the top of each cup so I can tie it around my neck. Again, I acheived this by putting the dress on, looking in a mirror and pinning it, then wriggling out carefully, and swearing a lot when I stabbed myself on accident. If there’s a better way to sew, I don’t know it. Hopefully, I’ll learn soon.