Mighty Life List
Sep 29 2014

Glitter Skull Decoration for Halloween

I wanted to make something creepy and festive for our front door this Halloween, and found these papier-maché masks at Paper Source for $4. So many possibilities!

If you’d like to make one like the above you’ll need:

Paper Skull Mask
Glitter in various shades
Glitter Glue
Modge Podge Glue
Paint Brush
Craft Wire or pipe cleaners
Tissue Paper cut into squares about the size of your palm
Bit of Ribbon
Glue gun

First choose the glitter you’ll use to coat your mask and mix it with Modge Podge at about a 1:1 ratio. You’ll need less than you think, and Modge Podge is the secret to using glitter without finding it on all future generations of children born to your family.

Paint the mask with a base layer of glitter. Once it’s dry, you can go back for touch ups. In person, the pink looks less Dawn of the Dead.

Your work environment should be pristine.

While you’re waiting for the first coat of glitter to dry, you can make the tissue paper flowers. I used the technique outlined in more detail here. Just stack five or six squares of tissue paper, accordion fold them like a fan, and secure the center with wire or pipe cleaner.

Then fluff the layers. The glitter dries pretty fast, so by now you should be ready to decorate.

I used a mixture of glue-with-glitter, glitter glue pens, and beads I had left over from a caviar manicure set. The latter looked kind of cool (you can see around the eyes), but they were a huge pain.

If I had it to do over, I’d go all pre-mixed glitter glue pens, which is what I used for the green dots over the eyes and temples. It goes on 3-D, but dries flat, and is super easy to direct. I did my decoration freehand, but here are a bunch of skull designs you can use for ideas.

If you’d like to hang it up, use the glue gun to glue a little loop of ribbon to the back at the top.

Now just hot glue your flowers on the crown and voila! Darth Maul meets Day of the Dead. Jedi! I have been waiting for you.

Jan 18 2010

Matchbox Valentines

matchboxvalentine

Sweet Valentine idea from Inchmark, who made tiny candy boxes out of matchbooks last year. Hello, little Valentines. You are the cutest.

Nov 2 2009

Make 1,000 Lovely Things: Fishy and Jellyfish Costume

fishy1

Behold! The cutest little fishy on the face of the planet.

fishy2

And his little fish bum too! Oh. My. Goodness. The glue-gun burns were a small price to pay.

hallcaptn

Bryan was a sea captain.

hallmomjelly

And I was a jellyfish. I made my hat from a lampshade.

hallbuzzer

The joy buzzer was the best part of my costume.

halljellytentacles

The whole costume only cost me like $11. Before going out for the night I added tentacles and a sweater. Surprisingly, there were tons of jellyfish on the street, the best one being a girl who had affixed blacklights to the underside of a white umbrella. I practically genuflected in the street. Happy Halloween!

Jun 4 2009

Mighty Life List: Lovely Object #2

A birthday cake for Michelle!

Michelle’s artwork was just featured on NPR. She says this is her lucky year, and it’s looking pretty good already.

May 6 2009

DIY J Crew Astrid Sweater with Ruffles

Remember the pink sweater I started after seeing the project over at Orange Beautiful? It’s finished!

DIY Ruffled Cardigan - Mighty Girl

Is this not the grown up version of a tutu? It is quite possibly the pinkest thing I have ever owned. When I wear it, I smell like Bing cherries in a bed of warm cotton candy.

The original J Crew Version was $425, and isn’t available anymore, but I followed the step by step on Orange Beautiful to make this one.

I did things a little differently, because her version required more patience than I could muster, so here’s a run through if you want to make one for yourself. Start with a jacket or slightly boxy sweater, and then embellish it thusly:

1. Buy some fabric. The original rosettes are silk charmeause, but I chose polyester chiffon, because I wanted the flowers to be fluffy instead of cascading. You’ll need about 4 yards of whichever you choose.

2. Cut the fabric in strips and fold it to size. You want your petals to be about 4″ H x 2.5″ W. So I cut my fabric in strips, then folded the strips in half several times until I had a stack of material about the right size. This doesn’t need to be an exact science, but you want something that looks kind of like this:

3. Sew a knot in the middle of the stack to hold the pieces together, and then cut along the folds to create a grouping of square “petals.”

4. Cut the corners off the stack of squares until you have a roughly oval shape:

5. Here’s where it gets a little tedious. Take three layers of fabric at a time, bunch them by hand, and then pass the needle through a few times until you have the ruffles you want. Repeat with the next three layers and so on, until you have a finished rosette:

6. If you don’t like the effect, go back in with your needle and tease apart any layers that are too clumped or whatnot. The back of my rosettes looked like this:

7. When you have about 30 flowers, attach them to your sweater or jacket by hand. I’d wait until you’ve mostly finished the flowers to affix them, because your rosettes will get better as you go along, and you’ll want the prettiest ones up by your face, right? (I didn’t do this, and I wish I had).

8. When all the flowers are affixed, fill in any gaps by sewing down the top and bottom petals of the flowers in areas that need attention.

9. Pull away any stray threads from the flowers’ raw edges.

10. Wear your sweater around the house for a few hours, and pause to trade bon mots with imaginary dignitaries whenever you pass a mirror.

Cute! Now where am I going to wear it? Someone please get married. Thank you.

Mar 11 2009

I’m Making Something Pretty

The Scoop posted a handmade version of the J Crew Astrid jacket a few months back, and when I saw it, little bluebirds flew in the window and landed on my shoulders, and talking mice scurried out of the closet with pins and spools of thread.

Amazing, right? I’ve been working on my own version in bright pink, so it’s extra ka-pow! Here are some of the petals:

It’s almost done, and it’s so good you’ll want to stuff it in your mouth when you see it. Upon seeing it, please restrain yourself, because I’d like to wear it once before I have it dry cleaned.

Making things makes me happy.

Jan 6 2009

Baby Shower ABC Book: How To

I mentioned yesterday that I made this blank, DIY ABC book for my friend Alli’s shower.

Bryan and my friend Jaime really helped — I’d intended to use a store-bought journal, but couldn’t find anything that would work. If you’d like to make one too, here’s how we did it.

We took some white cardstock sheets, 8.5 x 11, and folded them in half to make all the pages. Then we stacked those sheets with the folded edges along what would become the spine of the book.

We used a red file folder as the book cover — it had multiple creases along the fold, so you could expand how many papers it would hold in the file. We folded to the widest creases, and the “bottom” of the file became the book’s spine. Once a ruler is involved, my temples start to throb from all the pressure, so my friend Jaime measured how big the cover needed to be, then marked it off with a ruler and trimmed to order.

Bryan printed up the letters, also on white cardstock. Jaime and I cut out little templates of squares that would fit over the letters, traced a square around each letter, cut them out, and glued them in the page corners. You could easily just write the letters in by hand if you liked too, but I wanted a more polished look.

The binding was the tricky part. We tried hot gluing the pages in, but they weren’t stable enough, so Bryan took an electric drill and drilled holes in the cover, which I then threaded with ribbon. I wish we’d had some little grommets to finish the holes, but it looked pretty good, notwithstanding.

At the shower, while Alli opened the gifts, everyone took turns drawing pictures and writing messages to the new mom and baby.

I like party activities that let you interact without having to make a pregnant woman cry by guessing at the exact girth of her enormous belly. This one is a champ.