Friday, September 28, 2012

Ghosts 101

It's almost October....time to get the Halloween decorations out!
I was checking out Pottery Barn Halloween decor and ran across these fabulous ghosts.  It made me think of the ghosts I used to make years ago.  I was a stay at home mom looking for ways to make a little bit of money.  I decided to make some ghosts and see if I could sell them to a little boutique not far from me.  They were a big hit, I would take a dozen ghosts at a time and she would call me back in a couple of days to see if I would bring in more.  
These little ghosts can sit on a table or shelf and are a much smaller scale than the PB version, but are still cute and fun to make.  

Let's get started....
Materials needed to make basic ghost:
liquid starch
canning jars
water balloons
pipe cleaners/chenille stems

Wrap two pipe cleaners together to make them more sturdy.  
Bend into shape shown.  This will be the arms of the ghost.

The dip in the center sits in the canning jar.

Blow up balloon and set in the jar opening with the pipe cleaner arms.

Cut a piece of cheesecloth (approximately 1yd.) and drape as shown, leaving plenty to puddle at base.   

The cheesecloth comes packaged like this, with the edges in the center.

Refold it like this, with the fold on one side and the edges together on the other side.

Pour some of the liquid starch in a small bowl and saturate the cheesecloth..... it looks like this.

Squeeze some of the starch out, but leave it pretty wet and drape over the jar/balloon/pipe cleaner.  
Adjust the draping and base then walk away and let it dry.  After it has set for awhile it will become stiff enough that you can use a hair dryer on the base to speed up the process.

So, while the ghosts are drying, lets make their little banners....

First, cut - "Boo"- using the Vagabond and Gothic Boo Alterations die out of chipboard.  
Can I just say I'm so exited to use my new Vagabond Machine, it is so fun and easy to use!! 
Paint with two coats of Pitch Black Dabber Paint and let dry.

Distress and sand.
Love the sanding tool, it makes sanding so much easier.

Ink the sanded areas with Vintage Photo Distress Stain

Tie with jute, ready to attach to ghost.

Cut flags from book paper

Cut "spooky" using Word Play Sizzix die and glue to flags.  
Trace around letters with a brown pencil to make letters stand out.  
Distress flags with a little Vintage Photo Distress Stain.

Staple flags to heavy string.

With the banners made we can go back and see if the ghosts are dry.  
If dry pop the balloon and remove the jar and pipe cleaner arms from under the ghost.

Attach the banners to ghost. 
Thread the jute or string into a large eye needle and run through "hands" area in cheesecloth and tie with knot or bow.

Add felt eyes....

Love that you can see through them!

 I think I'm going to attempt to make these with the grandkids this weekend....
...wish me luck!

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Problem Solver #2

Just a quick thought today...
When using a quote that requires many letters I like to spell everything out beforehand to make sure it is:
1. spelled right
2. fits on the space
3. is formatted the way I want it
(in other words, I like to see it all at once before I glue it down)

So yesterday a friend came over and was making a little wall hanging (6 x 9").  The quote was a long one so I had the thought to use a piece of plastic packaging (saved from a Sizzix die) over the background she was working on.  I used the Vagabond to cut out the Typeset letters from Core'dinations cardstock, then she laid out the quote on top of the plastic. 
Once we had it perfect...
she just slid the sheet of plastic off the background, leaving all the letters in place on the plastic and therefore maintaining the integrity of the quote.  She then went back to finishing her background with stamping, tissue tape and a bit more distress ink.
Once the background was complete, she could place the plastic over the background again and adjust her letters if needed.

The next step of course was to actually glue the letters to the completed background.   She started by gluing a line of words down and then another...but still using the plastic to double check the line spacing about every two to three lines.
And as always...if the idea helps me...I'm sure it can help someone else.

ps) if you missed plastic packaging problem solver #1, you can find it here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Distress Ink Labels

I have always wanted to do this, but just never took the time...until now.  Maybe it was because my husband built me another wall shelf so I could see things rather than digging in drawers.  This one is deeper than the last so I had the opportunity to house things that take up more depth like the Distress ink.
I used Avery label #5267 that I bought here and made a list of the names.
Once printed (I did use a laser printer, not ink jet), I labeled each ink pad, then colored with the label once it was on the plastic case.  The inked looked very dark when I did it but the next day they were nice and dry and very readable.  Looks like I am still missing a few of the seasonal colors...that gives a girl something to hope for, right?
let's see, I need gathered twigs, seedless, preserves, ripe persimmon, mowed lawn....9 colors missing in all.  That is a bit too many to remember, so I used the app on my phone to check off the colors I still need.  Super Easy.
Tim Holtz app
And look how good they look on the shelf!

I printed 5 extra copies of labels...if you have a lot of Distress Inks and you would like a set please email me ( and I will send one out to you (first come, first serve). 

The pre-printed label sheets are all spoken for...if you would like my Word Document to print your own I would be happy to send that you but remember, you will need to print with a laser printer so the name will not smear when you add the Distress Ink to the label.

cheers for a great day,

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Another page in the Anthropolgie catalog today...little by little I am filling it up.   I seemed to have taken pictures at the beginning and the end so I might just have to explain the middle part of this one (the part I went a little crazy).

I started by making some big tags with Distress Stain and the new #10 tags.  Loving the pink right now.
Now to the catalog that has been gessoed.
I painted the page with Lettuce paint dabber.
 Once dry, I painted another layer with Mushroom that I thinned with water.
 Not too pretty at this stage.
A little stamping with paint in Cloudy Blue (be sure the wash stamp right after use).  Stampers Anonymous - Mixed Media stamp.
 A little more stamping with archival Coffee (using Dylusions - basic backgrounds stamp set).
I know, it's looking kinda crazy now, but stick with me.
I added one of the big tags with Multi-medium.
 Then sewed on a 6 x 6 paper piece from Paper Stash - Lost and Found
I added paint a picture of my dad...and the end of the tag I had ripped off earlier...another cut up Vial label, chit chat word...
 Now some Tissue tape.
All was going good...
But then I found this...
I ordered a few pieces of ephemera on EBay a couple weeks ago and there was a little paper bag that was sitting on my desk that I had not looked in.  For some reason the bag caught my eye and I thought, I wonder whats inside.  They were old calling cards...and from the bottom of the pile this one appeared.

Perfect really since my dad was a carpenter.  Love how it says in the bottom left corner, "Jobbing Promptly Attended to"...that was my dad in a nutshell.   It was some kind of serendipity, so I had to use it.

Can you hear me ripping the darn page apart?
Well, that's what it is...paula ripping paper out of the book (so this is the crazy part).

So I took a few things off and added more so I could fit the business card into the mix.  I decided to use a stencil from Crafter's Workshop - Mini Cursive Alpha.  BTW: If you missed the post on modeling paste you can see it here.
Once the modeling paste was dry, I went over the letter with Distress Ink - Frayed Burlap.  You can also see where I went a little crazy with some Walnut Ink - reinker.
 I also added Alcohol Ink to the Mini Numerals
Then started building back up.
The heart is just a piece of cardstock I ran through the Vagabond with a mini mover and shaper heart.  I discarded the heart and used the leftover piece.  Frayed Burlap Distress Stain, dry with Heat Tool, Frayed Burlap Distress Ink on the edges then a spritz of water.  Soak up the water with a paper towel.  The water tends to roll towards the die cut center, so when it is removed with the paper towel it highlights the heart shape.
Here is the finished page...the piece of ephemera behind the photo is from the Salvage Stickers - Crowded Attic.  I sure like the way it turned out.  Nice to work on a personal page about my dad.  Today is his birthday, so I guess it's appropriate I finished this one.
I never heard him ever use a cuss word or be cross at my mother.  He was a good man. And he used to take me roller skating.  He could skate backwards and I was so proud of that for some reason.  Funny what we remember about the past.
click on picture to make larger
By the way, the catalog is holding up well with the two pages sewn together.  I layered a lot....adding paint and water numerous times and not even the slightest rip.  So yeh for recycling the mail!
Cheers for a great weekend!
I'm off to watch the Project Runway I recorded...only a few weeks left!