Category Archives: New pursuit

Halloween 2011- Silent Movie Star in Grayscale – costume

Being one of the most creative holidays, Halloween is by far my favorite. It lets you create & become new things. Carving pumpkins, creating costumes and dressing up are some of the best parts. I love costumes that really transform a person. They might be subtle or elaborate but they do something interesting all the same. I’m a huge fan of making costumes and would be perfectly happy being hired to make someone’s Halloween costume (just try to book me during the summer 😉 ).

Here’s this year’s costume-

My main costume this year was a silent movie star. There are quite a few things I’d improve if I were to do it again, but overall it’s not bad. Inspired by (AMC’s ?) Silent Sunday Nights, a night of silent movies on TV :), I decided to go the silent movie star route for Halloween, complete with high contrast gray scale. Think Clara Bow style old silent BW movies.

After much searching and review reading, I found the perfect wig. I never found quite the right jewelry, so I pulled out some old rhinestone pieces that  worked pretty well. Unable to find affordable and appropriate clothes, I pieced together a velvet dress with a layers flowy skirt (both from the thrift store) I wore low to give it a 20’s feel paired with some gray mary janes and black gloves. The wig really made it more than anything.

It was a dramatic transformation that took about an hour. (scroll down for better shots)

The flash really reflects off all that make up! I wish I’d gotten some better shots with more colorful backgrounds to compare it to with better lighting. The makeup is actually a subtle gray that I mixed myself with some kyolan aquacolor liquids with Urban Decay’s all nighter spray over it.

It worked reasonably well but it required so much to be fully opaque that it dried super tight. I have very little variation in expression in the shots because I could barely move my face with how tight it got! It eventually cracked and flaked some. For something that was suppose to be crease and crack proof, I was  surprised. However, the all nighter spray and my novice application probably had something to do with that. It was nearly impossible to apply the rest of the makeup over it the way I wanted because the finish was basically like thick tempera paint. So, the eyes and lips didn’t quite get the way I’d intended and I didn’t bother trying to contour or highlight with such an odd finish.

The good thing was that I didn’t have to worry about it smearing or getting on stuff once it was dry. Absolutely no problems there. And, because it’s water based, it washed off remarkably easily. Really, just some warm water and it was gone! It was the easiest makeup I’ve ever had to take off.

light gray gloves and white or gray tights would have been better but they seem to be really hard to find!

The other thing I wished I’d had was a chalk board to write captions on. The cracking super tight paint makeup really limited expression which is one aspect you really need as a silent movie actress so that was a little disappointing.

Overall, not bad. It surprised people for sure. I think it’d be fun to do with a group of people to a big public party and use the chalk boards and maybe even a musical accompaniment :). Maybe next year!

Happy Halloween!


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Filed under Neat thing I had to show you, New pursuit

Halloween 2011- Hatching Dino Pumpkin

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite holiday activities, heck one of my favorite activities period. I’m always looking for new things to try.

I carved three pumpkins this year, but I think this one was my favorite. It’s the first pumpkin I’ve done that’s been completely carved with no cutting. It was conceived as a hatching dinosaur but it looks just as much like a hatching crocodile, alligator or lizard.

the pumpkin I used was really a squash but they were right there mixed in with the pumpkins. It seemed obvious that it was meant to be a hatching dinosaur.

The squash/pumpkin is really neat. The outer skin is the gray green color you see as the shell. The inside then goes from a dark green through to yellow and then down into a bright pumpkin orange. I didn’t know this before getting it but I think I’ll look for one again next year just so I can use those colors on purpose.

the head gives a pretty decent look at the range of colors. And I used the seeds as teeth. However, I couldn’t get them to stand up quite right and they were about a thousand times more slippery than any pumpkin seed I’ve seen.

I did cut a hole and hollow it out a bit so that it would sit level. That made carving it easier.

The best thing is that it seems to survive better than the average pumpkin. The day after carving, we put it in the crisper drawer of the fridge. A week later we took it out and it looked exactly the same. I’ve had it out now for a few days and there is no sign of decay, rot or mold. The face is hard and dry to the touch which I haven’t seen happen with a pumpkin, even those I’ve tried to carve in a similar manner.

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Filed under Neat thing I had to show you, New pursuit

My first Etsy Treasury… addict in the making?

I finally made a treasury, and seeing that they take about 1/100 maybe of the time it takes to create an outfit me post, I think it’s likely I’ll do it again. You can see the images below but you don’t quite get the feel. So check out the whole treasury here:

and post comments on it about how you think my first attempt came out :).

Copper Amber Sunrise

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Filed under Neat thing I had to show you, New pursuit, Outfit Me Etsy!

Oops, where have I been… Updates & Statements

I kept thinking, Surely I will update this. I was going to do a Winter themed outfit me post, and several others and well, it gets terribly busy around the holidays and around the start of a new semester and most places in between. I do so wish there was a quicker easier way to do the outfit me posts because I’d certainly do them much faster. And I had some update but then the cord for my camera broke and it took me quite a long time to find a proper card reader for it.  So, I’ll try to get some stuff up in the next week or so.

Current updates:

I still very much need to get the sewing machine fixed, eitehr one of them. I launched . Which will be a place for my creature based creations like the squid monsters. I have sooo many ideas for things I want to make and have made several prototypes. But then, of course, the sewing machine broke for the 3 or 4th time. I got one to replace it, used, which worked for about 4 stitches. I thought I’d fixed that one, but then it coudln’t spin a bobbin, so I spun one by hand only to find out that the sewing machine doesn’t work at all. At least I gt a great sewing cabinet and stool out of it. Currently, I’m trying to decide if getting another bobbin casing will be worth it or if it will simply destroy it like the last few. I think it may be time for a new sewing machine.

But anyhow, creatureness, I’m excited. I only have a few things up but I already have 1 sale, which was lots of fun. Boxchicken, on the other hand, I have been neglecting, which is unfortunate because the boxchicken cards for valentine’s day are certainly among my favorites. I also have GIF animation (horribly rudimentary like a messy flipbook) but I like them anyway. I’m contemplating offering printables at Boxchicken. This might be easier than keeping a stack of printed stock taking up space and would get them to people faster. I’d love to find out more about how people do this. And there will finally be boxchicken plush once I figure out the whole sewing machine thing.

I’m looking for a new place to buy the white jewelry boxes I use. The last batch I got was only half useable. I’m also looking for a supplier for boxes, (or I may need to make some, possibly pearl folder style), for my new statement necklaces. This is very much the way my jewelry making is going. I have a bunch of other ideas too. With many of them, I am struggling to find quality materials that are affordable and that will do what I want them to do. After getting faulty crimp beads and wire at some point, I’m quite skeptical of materials at the moment.

Here’s some pics of the new pieces. You can find more on my flickr account (the start of the silver & grey binge) or facebook page (statement necklaces) too.

The first one I started experimenting with is a red piece made of fossil. It’s made with a woven design and is the first piece I tried like this. It looks great and the fossil isn’t as heavy as if it was glass or stone, but the necklace is by no means light weight even those it has a very airy feel. I wanted to put this one up immediately, but the back is less than ideal, though still completely wearable. So, it is not for sale. Though, if someone really wanted it, I’d be happy to pass it on too ;). For now I’m wearing it. By doing so I can test the sturdiness of the construction and see if it will continue to hold before I make similar pieces. Expect one made in aquamarine pearls…

The necklace that reminds me of a red berry wreath:

Woven Berry Necklace

I love the sophistication of this piece and how it would just work in a  variety of situations. It’s very wearable for a wide audience. It can easily be worn o work, with a cute top to go out with friends or with a strapless dress for a special occassion. One of the things I really like about jewelry in general is how it transforms you look. You can wear the same outfit but accessorize it differently to completely transform it. Something that seemed boring and drab can become alive and situation appropriate with the right accessories. I also like pieces that have significant wear-time. Though, there are certainly plenty of things I like to have even if I just wear them occasionally or they complete a certain look or are really special, I love the pieces that you can just wear with anything and it boosts the look and gives you confidence. Like your favorite pair of jeans, a favorite necklace or pair of earrings can just make you look great and give you confidence, regardless of what else you might be wearing.


And this red berry necklace gave me a chance to use one of my favorite clasps that I’ve been hanging on to for months now:


I like box clasps, what can I say. They tend to give a really finished look and many of them are really interesting. I have a hard time finding clasps that I really like but they can completely make or break a look it seems. If you know of a great supplier for interesting (and somewhat affordable) clasps let me know!

Here’s another that I’m pretty happy with:

‘Stormy’ is by far my favorite, I think…

Stormy- Deatial

stormy- full


I love the clasp on this one. It’s rhodium plated (non tarnishing yay!) and CZ and it completes the necklace just as I’d want it to. This is such a huge necklace! I could never display it without my new stand that you see in the picture. It has made such a difference in photographing, building and storing necklaces.

And this necklace, Plum Point Fringe, I adore the deep colors and the simple yet dramatic statement it makes. If I can find the shell fringe again, I’ll be making one for myself ;).


Plum Point Fringe, Statement Necklace

So there are a few of my favorite new things. I’ll post another, maaaybe, with the new pink and brass earrings. There are a few other statement necklaces in the shop including two with white/ivory/cream loops. But there’s something for now.

In other news ‘flock’ has been doing remarkably well making the rounds on several blogs, the storque and a squidoo lens on weddings.

Flock- hanging cut paper sculpture

(more pictures here on flickr)

Hopefully, I’ll post more on sculptures, perhaps show you the ones that aren’t for sale and some of the experiments. Paka for now.

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Filed under Backstory, New pursuit

New Earring Boxes

I’ve been looking for new ways to package leverback earrings. I’ve been using cards cut in different ways but it never looks as nice as I feel like it could. I use satin lined boxes and the cardstock just pales in the comparison to the luxurious feel of the satin. I feel silly covering it up. I also find that lever backs in particular are difficult to get to stay nicely on a card. It’s never quite right. So I got to thinking about alternative options.

What I came up with is a ribbon box. I don’t know that I’ve seen this anywhere before but it seems completely logical. I stretched a piece of my brown ribbon across an earring box and glue it on the bottom. Then I poked two holes in the ribbon and simply hung the earrings through the wholes on the ribbon. I added the top and bottom of my earring card with my shop name and URl on it to the box and it doesn’t look half bad. Here it is:

Then I needed to solve the issue of the earrings possibly clanging together. To do this I just tucked the scrap ribbon into the box with one earring on top and one on the bottom so the ribbon sits between them preventing them from rubbing against each other.

(that loose end gets tucked in too)

I normally tie them up wth two ribbons witha  bow in the center. For this one I tied the box up with a single brown ribbon lined up with the one glued to the box and tied it in a bow.

I’m still working on it and change up my packaging regularly, but for now at least I’ve got options for the more difficult to card earrings.

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Pumpkin Decay- the Ultrafuzz, not for the squeamish

In my last post I showed you our carved pumpkins. We were quite happy with them. However, the pumpkin crop here in IL has been most terrible this year. And it may be related or not but we had some of the most phenomenal, rapid, spontaneous pumpkin decay I’ve ever seen.

The pumpkins were fine when I went to work that Monday morning. I came home in the afternoon to find the large pumpkin like this: (if you can’t handel icky things, DO NOT LOOK AT THE PICTURES.

This is the eye:


The whole face didn’t fare much better:


The top had fallen in and the entire inside was covered in fuzy white webs:


You really don’t get the full effect from the pictures. There were several candles inside. You couldn’t see them anymore on account of the fuzz…

My pumpkin decayed like a normal pumpkin. It got wrinkles and shriveled and because of its mouth looked particularly like an old person. (need to find pictures still)

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Filed under Mishap, New pursuit


This year, like every other year, we carved pumpkins. We went to a farm about 40 minutes away to pick some pumpkin. Around here ‘pick’ still just means go take one from the massive pile of pumpkins, something I still find dissapointing compared to the traditional hayride in New England, tripping over vines and pokey things to find your pumpkin a good couple hundred yards away in a big field. Anyway, we got pumpkins. I actually got two. One of them was this fascinating peanut like shape with huge viens through the top I thought I would make into a bird’s talon’s grabbing the pumpkin. The otehr was a much more reasonably size, quite round but square cute one. My husband got one that was a good 35 pounds and round and wide.

my peanut shaped pumpkin (and some cider)

my peanut shaped pumpkin (and some cider)

This weekend was pumpkin carving weekend. We had kept the pumpkins in the car to keep them cool and because we didn’t ahve a place to store pumpkins inside. To my dismay when we got to the pumpkincarving party, my larger most interesting pumpkin was found to be squishy on it’s top side. We found the next day when we removedit from the back seat that it was far more gone than simply squishy. Serious disapointment but I suppose the decay could have been worse. A tiny mishap perhaps?

It took me a long time to decide what to do with my cute round pumpkin. I normally do something I tend to be fairly proud of, always free hand and typically more than simply a face. Last year I did a bulldog (though it was easily mistaken for a tiger) and the year before a very ferocious pirana pumpkin (yesyes the spelling) which went on to be featured in a short fillm where it fought with my research text book.In college I had done a myriad of complex spiderwebs, creatures and of course faces.

poorly done bulldog/tiger:

Bulldog, 2008

Bulldog, 2008

'Pirana Pumpkin'

'Pirana Pumpkin'

This animation is all I could find of PIrana Pumpkin. You don’t getthe full effect. It had detailed scales, fins, spines and a tail. There must be a proper picture somewhere…

I wish pumpkin carving was more accepted year round and that pumpkins were available year round. But then I suppose it would loose some of the intrigue.  [Why not carve watermelons in summer? ] I think it’d be awesome to be a professional carver, but I know that’d probably steal some of the fun away as well.

Needless to say, this year’s went a bit more traditional but I think it still has some character. I tried out the idea for the talons but it didn’t go quite the way I was intending and this pumpkin didn’t ahve nearly the pronounced veins as my other. I found a squishy spot on the front of this one as well but it played into the features of the mouth quite nicely.



My husband went for a traditional face inspired by the pumpkin king pumpkin at the beginning of the Nightmare before Christmas. It is quite menacing. And given it’s only the third pumpkin he’s ever carved, it’s quite marvelous.



His is made doubly eerie by the super bright LED flashlight that’s lighting it up in the above pictures. I’m working on a way to keep something like that lighting them up for Halloween next week. I’ll have to update with pictures with the lights on as well.

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Filed under Backstory, Mishap, New pursuit