Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Leaves Watercolor

Watercolor oak leaf on a book page. Inspired by this craft (via). The owl is super cute, but I was especially drawn to the leaves in the background.

I can't draw too well, at least not in a realistic way, but I just recently got this coloring book (from here):

Lovely, detailed black and white leaves of all kinds in varying sizes. I chose an oak leaf, and used my lightbox to trace the leaf onto a book page with pencil.

(I have a number of old, falling apart books that I keep in my craft room for this very purpose. This page happens to be from an old linguistics book. As a not-terribly-interesting side note, I actually majored in linguistics in college - though this particular book is something I acquired later, for crafting).

Once the leaf was traced in pencil, I went over it with a fine tip pen (a Uniball pen - I love these pens - that is great for use with watercolors. It doesn't run).

Then I used various shades of orange/yellow/brown to paint in the leaf.

The colors aren't as dynamic on the screen as they are in real life. But let me tell you, I am so pleased with how it turned out. I need to figure out what I want to do about framing, and then it's going to be a gift for my guy. Oak trees are his favorite.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Make a Halloween Ghost Wreath

So I hadn't actually intended to make a wreath; I set out to simply needle felt a ghost. After I had made the needle-felted acorns, I thought that it might be fun to make something specifically for Halloween.

I had some black and white alpaca roving (the same kind as the brown that I used here). 

I started with the white, and felted it into a ghost shape. This is part way through the process:

Then I took three small bits of black roving to felt the eyes and mouth right onto the white part.

Once I was finished, I took a small piece of silver ribbon and sewed it through the back of the ghost near the top, so I could hang it.

It was at that point that inspiration struck (as I was trying to think where exactly I was going to hang this small ghost ornament). I remembered that I had a wreath form that I had gotten ages ago, which was languishing in the back of a drawer in my craft room. And as I was wondering what yarn to use, I remembered this skein of black mohair leftover from a(n unfinished) knitting project. It seemed perfectly Halloween-ish as its texture is rather cobwebby. I also grabbed some sparkly silver pipe cleaners.

I wound the yarn around and around the wreath. I was quite generous with the yarn, and went over the whole thing twice, and I still had probably half the skein left (the wreath form is an 8" one).

When I was done wrapping the yarn around, I partially wove the end in, tied the ghost on, and finished weaving in the end.

Then I started at the top, and wrapped the silver pipe cleaner around, attaching each new one to the previous one at the back. I used 6 pipe cleaners for this. There was just enough of the last pipe cleaner left when I had made my way back up to the top to make a little hoop for hanging:

And there it is! A cute little ghost wreath for Halloween.

I think this would be a fun project to do with kids, too. If you were worried about them needle-felting (depending on their age), the ghost could be cut from regular felt, or you could make those kleenex-ghosts to hang from the middle.

Are you making anything for Halloween?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Needle-Felted Acorns (and Other Fall-Themed Goodies)

Not too long ago, I hosted a craft day at my house. To celebrate fall, I made needle-felted acorns that day. I've made some more since then, too. They're really fun and fast to make!

Just before the craft day when I was out on a walk with my guy, we collected a bunch of acorn caps.

I used some brown roving that I got at the Minnesota State Fair, from the alpaca booth.

And for those of you who haven't needle-felted before, I just took some of the roving and jabbed it over and over with a very sharp felting needle as I formed it into an acorn shape [highly satisfying to stab something repeatedly with a sharp needle - good for stress relief. ;)]

I had initially planned on putting a little glue inside the acorn cap to help hold the wool roving in, but actually it stays in really well without it.

My inspiration for the needle-felted acorns came from these lovely handmade velvet acorns that I got at a local gift store.

Here's one of them displayed in my vintage squirrel nutcracker:

It was my guy's idea to put an acorn there, and I think it looks pretty darn cute. (Oh, and the nutcracker was purchased a few years ago from The Sunday Times Market on Etsy).

In addition to the sweet acorns, I got some pumpkins made by the same woman. One for my mom:

And a few for our own fall decorations:

Monya, who makes the pumpkins, is from Minnesota. But if you don't live here, don't worry! Check her website to see where else you can get her pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pretty Paper Garland

The other day I took out my 1-inch square punch, and punched out some squares from pretty colored paper.

Then I ran them through my sewing machine, leaving a little space between each one, to create this happy little garland.

I strung it up over the doorway to the second floor, and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

This was the first time I had sewn paper with my sewing machine, but you can bet I'll be doing it again! This little project was so fast and easy. I can't wait to make more for different seasons and holidays.

I've been doing a lot of 'making' recently, so do check back. I'll be sharing it here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.