Sunday, 3 November 2013

Crafty Capers

At last!!!  The promised post with all the creative stuff!!!

One of the reasons I love Halloween is the opportunity to make stuff!  This year I made paper mache pumpkins, tin can luminaries  a silhouette for our single front window, and body part cookies.  Let me show you!

Paper mache pumpkins

Okay, I found these on Pinterest and they looked so cute and easy!  Turns out they're really not!  In the end I was happy with the results, but it took a lot more effort than I'd expected.

Here's the basic idea of what to do:  You blow up a balloon with string around it so that it bulges out in a pumpkin shape.  Paper mache a couple of layers.  Ta da!  All done!


First of all, getting the string around the balloon took a bit more working out than I'd thought.  I ended up with a slow and careful process of blowing up the balloon, measuring the string around it, letting all the air out, tying the string, half blowing up the balloon and putting the strings around it (while not letting the air out of the balloon), blowing up the balloon a bit more, moving the strings so that they were a bit more even around the balloon, blowing up the balloon some more, moving the strings so they didn't slide around to one side of the balloon, blowing the balloon to bulging point, and finally attempting to tie off the balloon without the strings sliding around or the balloon popping.

It was great fun.

Anyway, I eventually got three done.  Because there's no stores nearby that have paper mache glue, I made the glue from plain flour and water.  I did about three layers of white and one layer of orange tissue paper (using watered down PVA glue so that I didn't end up with white flour glue spots all over the finished product).

I learned that the Little Big Fella really likes to eat flour, even when it's in the form of a glue paste.  Doing this project with a child around is fun but messy.

Oh!  And by the way, if you attempt this, I highly recommend having a nice big end on the string tie point.  Hanging them on the washing line to dry was slightly tricky with my little ones.  They all fell several times and ended up with a few dents.

My pumpkins sat on my buffet for a couple of weeks and I wasn't quite happy with them.  So at about 4pm, before our 6pm departure for the Halloween walk, I decided to paint vines and leaves on them.  Probably not a good time to do it, but I was finally happy with the results.

Pity it was too dark for everyone to see them when they came trick or treating!!!

Tin Can Luminaries

Another Pinterest find, this is just a bunch of tin cans, washed and with the labels removed.  Fill with water and freeze, then punch holes in patterns with a hammer and nail.  If I did these again, I'd draw my designs on with a black marker before freezing the cans.  This time I made do with a pencil, but it really would have been easier the other way.  Let the ice melt and the tins dry, and if you need to, hammer the base back in so that it'll stand up straight.  Spray paint (so they look nice during the day) and pop a candle in.  Ta da!

Window silhouette

Pinterest is definitely my friend for these kinds of things.  I get to find easy and effective ideas, and also be inspired by other peoples' efforts on the not-so-easy stuff.  This one was pretty simple: Draw a shape on cardboard, cut it out, pin it on the sheer curtain.  I had to add an extra step of spray-painting the cardboard because I made mine using two different, light colours and it would have driven me nuts.  And it looks much more effective in black.

Body part cookies

Again, thanks to Pinterest I came across witches finger biscuits.  I didn't look at the recipe though - just used my chocolate chip cookie recipe.  At the last minute the Little Big Fella and I decided to make them green, which meant a lot of really hard mixing to try to get the green to spread evenly through the dough.  Next time, I'd add the colour at the liquid stage!

The other thing I didn't really take into consideration is that my cookie recipe spreads.

So we tried a few more, making them skinnier and they were better.  But I got sick of making fingers so we switched to eyeballs.

In the end we made little bags with a finger and an eyeball for about 50.  I tried to make the "eyeballs" bloodshot, but they just looked like weird starfish on the biscuits.  Luckily they tasted alright though!

So that's my Halloween creativeness done and dusted.  I also tried these spooky eyes, but they weren't as effective as I hoped - the glow sticks didn't glow enough to give the full effect.

I've also been doing a few Christmas cards ready for the upcoming season.  Here's a sneak peek!

So now it's on to Christmas!  Two months of creativity, carols and celebrations!!!  Woo hoo!!!!!!

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