Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Orb of hatching spiders

You will need:
White glue
2 bowls
Plastic spoon
Balloon (I used 11 inch size)
Cheesecloth cut into 12 to 16 strips (3 x 18 inch)
Clear fishing line
Plastic spiders (I used 16 but wish I had bought more)

Empty the glue bottle into a bowl. Fill the bottle halfway with water, shake it to dilute any remaining glue, and add the contents to the bowl. Stir mixture well.

Inflate the balloon and set it aside in the other bowl.

Individually dip the cheesecloth strips into the glue, gently squeezing out the excess fluid.

Spread the strips flat on the balloon. Cover the balloon this way, leaving 3 or 4 small gaps and a 1.5" opening around the knot for tying the spiders on later. 

Let dry. I left mine to dry overnight.

Pop the balloon with a pin and remove it. 

Tie a loop for hanging the egg at one end of a long piece of fishing line. Near the top of the egg, insert the other end of the line through the cheesecloth, then reach inside and pull it out through a nearby gap and tie a spider to it. Gently pull the line back until the spider comes to rest against the egg, thereby securing the line. 

Use more fishing line to create strings f spiders. To tie them to the egg, thread one end of the line through the cheesecloth and out a gap, knot the line, and pull the knot back inside the egg. You can also attach more spiders directly to the egg simply by poking 2 or 3 legs through the cheesecloth.

Here is our finished product!

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Halloween creepiness around the house

Floating Witch hats

Vengeful bride

Little Playmate


My rat familia

Little Evie - She may look sweet.....

Even the greenery gets the treatment

Collection of oddities

Friday, September 19, 2014

Snakes on a Wreath

This is a super simple project that has a lot of impact. I love the way it turned out!

You will need rubber snakes (I used four but if you are using a larger wreath, you will want more)
Black spray paint
Grapevine wreath
Floral wire
Wire cutters

Spray paint the snakes black.

Spray paint the wreath black.

Affix snakes to wreath using the floral wire and hang.

You could fancy this up even more by using black ribbon or tulle, spiders, whatever. Looks pretty cool as is though :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prep time

Some Fall and Halloween prep around the Scott pictures.

Painted some spooky trees using watered down black paint, a straw, and breath!

Spray painted some branches black
Took a walk around the stores and looked at all of the awesome Halloween decor.
Got out some of my Halloween decorations because I couldn't wait any longer!

                      Put Ms. Watkins on the door and admired her life-like oh. Surely not.

                 Cut mice out of black construction paper and taped to stairs. This looks so real in candlelight.

This is as far as I got today. I was hoping the hubby wouldn't notice that I had decorated just an eentsy bit but he did. Must have been the gargantuan tarantula climbing the stairs. I am doing quadruple Halloween decorating duty this year. I have the house, the library Halloween Carn-evil, the annual Bonfire and maybe (fingers crossed) another little shindig in the works ;)
I think a little head start to the season is called for!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This is how I remember it.........

One thing that I like to do when thinking up a concept of a story is to explore my past for hidden gems that I can tweak and manifest into something else. Sometimes I do not even need to change all that much….our histories are laden with moments of mystery and meaning and what may have seemed straightforward or minimally important can become layered and significant in retrospect.

I am going to recall my childhood; the people and the places that made up my very existence. I will not use names but I am sure some of my fellow cohorts will recognize some of these. Memory is fallible. Memory is unreliable. How and what I remember may contradict greatly with another person’s memory. What doesn’t change is the feel of a memory and I have tried to capture that in my recollection.

  • The building is formidable. A three story structure that rises straight from the asphalt playground, uninterrupted by frill or fancy.  It is brick. It is tall. It is unadorned. As with a lot of places in my childhood, I remember the place dimly lit. The long hallway leading to the gym and cafeteria was full of shadows. Even darker than the hallway was the basement classrooms. All dim and feeling as if they should be damp. From the basement up to the second floor equaled three flights of stairs. It may have stemmed from a dream or perhaps I viewed it this way since I was so young, but that last flight of stairs was scary. Crazy scary. Like something you would find in a funhouse. They were steep and seemed to tilt backwards so you felt like you were climbing on an incline. Looking back I think there was a strong psychological factor in the principal being on the top floor.
  •    Looking for lice with rickety, shaky fingers. Waiting and dreading your turn, just knowing he was going to find something in your hair. Forget the fact that up until that moment you had not felt the slightest movement… every damn follicle in your head was vibrating. If he lingered too long, you were tainted. They tried to keep it discreet but it was of no use. Everyone knew the length of time counted for something.
  • She was old. She was ancient and looked like Stone.
  • She walked to my house through the snow wearing sandals. (What a fabulous image to base a story off of)
  • She ate duck, a greasy black looking meat. I had never even thought of it as an edible animal. She had an entire outfit chosen from a JCPenney catalog. As someone who mixed and matched their outfits depending on what was on clearance, this impressed me greatly.
  • The waterbed was always freezing. I would wake up with no blankets on top and no sheet on the bottom. Just bare skin against cold plastic. I bet that is what it would feel like lying on a mortician’s table.
  • An endless supply of Doritos. A house that had a soul and whispered.
  • They had the same type of canned goods that we had in our pantry. I felt a sense of kinship with her because of this.
  •  A bouncy boy with short sleeve oxford tops and brown/black trousers. Constantly taming back the side swept part to his hair.
  • His face was highlighted by the glow of the TV and he wasn’t watching it so much as he was watching us. We piled into her bed like sardines but I am pretty sure I did not sleep that night.
  • She is beautiful now. She didn’t fit the mold back then.
  • He had white spots on his nails. He may have been my first kiss in a shed with a broken deep freeze.
  • She ran funny and always wore the sides of her hair up. She broke her front teeth off on a speaker in an old convertible. I loved her because she was silly and sometimes dumb and she made you feel like you had something to offer the world.
  • Long silken brown hair that he wore pulled back in a low ponytail. He always grabbed the bottom hem of his shirt and pulled it out.

That is just the top layer of memory. Who knows what I could uncover if I explored a bit more.  
However, as I write this, I hold back. I find that I don’t post quite a few of my memories for fear of offending someone. Never mind the fact that what I remember isn’t all that bad. Never mind that life, real life, isn’t all pure and spotless. It is messy and filled with not so good memories too. Surely we all know that this is what creates a whole person. That the bad and negative contribute as much to the total being as the good and positive. I suppose that is why authors put a disclaimer in the front of their novels stating that their work is a piece of fiction and any resemblance or similarity to real life persons is merely coincidental.
Sure it is.  

It takes great courage to look at something with honest, open eyes. It takes just as much courage to read something and recognize one’s own self there, especially if what is being described is less than flattering. But I think that is the true beauty in a book. We read to find ourselves, to recognize and relate to humanity. To know that there is someone else out there who has experienced or felt or hurt or loved the way we do – even if that means there was ugliness involved. I can easily recognize myself in other people’s writing. I can celebrate the fact that there is someone else out there who has thought those same thoughts or acted in a similar manner. But I can do this quietly because the interaction, the moment, is between me and the story. Writing about it though, putting the truth down on paper (because there is always truth in fiction) involves a courage that I don’t yet have.
I am a work in progress. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

My last post was in February. I had no intention of stopping. I had a calendar set up with various post ideas all the way into June. I don't know what happened. I think it was hard for me to justify keeping this going when there was not an obvious reward for doing so. I am not making money. I am not changing lives. I definitely don't need something else to occupy my time. I kept telling myself that the time I spent working on a blog could be better spent writing my book or playing yet another round of Disney Princess match game with my daughter or reading all those hefty classics I missed in college. So, I just stopped.

Something happened though. For one, none of those things I mentioned above came into play. I think I just swept more floors and looked through all 398 pages of new items on Modcloth. More than that though, I realized that I was rarely doing anything creative. Almost all of my posts required some type of artistic or creative expression. Creating a post, whether it be for a recipe or a craft project or even a photo board for my yard sale finds requires one to slow down and be present in the step by step process. Instead of thinking about what you are going to cook for dinner or when the house is finally going to get re-sided, you are fully in the moment watching the grains of salt spill into the bowl or smelling the glue that is holding your paper together. Your post demands that you pay attention. You have readers. They may be few but they deserve your fullest attention, do they not?

I miss that. My mind, like so many others', constantly flits from subject to subject, from past to future, rarely stopping to enjoy the present. So, here I am......ready to give this another try. This time I am going to back off of my attempts at structuring everything and just feel my way through it. Will I post three times a week? Who knows? Pablo Picasso states that "The chief enemy of creativity is good sense". Point taken Pablo. Point taken.