Monday, October 31, 2011

Costume BREAKdown

Hey Crafters!

On this beautiful Cincinnati Halloween day, I'll spin you a crafty tale of my scary (drunken) exploits in "The Tale of How I Became Frida Kahlo".

I had been preparing all week a mighty cool Dia de los Muertos couple for my fella and me. I did test runs of both skull make up and hair. John and I went thrifting for suits, dresses, and accessories. I bought the orange dress to the left, decided I didn't actually want to wear it, cut it into chunks, and made it into a pocket square and a sash with fringe for John and a knotted scarf for myself. I glued the boutonniere (at right) for John that matched my headdress (pictured below, tutorial to come).

And on Friday evening before going to our big shindig I started in on my hair, which took a little longer than expected but that was no big deal. I began applying make up and let me tell you, I have been so spoiled by theatrical make up that the cheap grocery store make up really made me sad that this is what most Americans use on their kiddos. It was thick, waxy, and difficult to put on. I scolded myself for forgetting my stage make up kit at my parents home this year. I was racing the clock by the end of my my application since I still had to glue my purple false eyelashes on and do my fella's makeup but after all those years in college doing other people's stage make up at the last minute I knew I could do it. I started to powder and this is where my evening took a turn. 
Earlier in the week when I had done my make up test run, I must have use just a bit of flesh colored powder to set since I wasn't going anywhere in it. But on Friday evening I loaded up my powder puff and *poof* fleshy spot on my white skeleton make up (picture at right). I should have known better and used baby powder since its white and would have gone right over, but I was trying to cut a corner. Ung. So, I had a mini freak out knowing that I did not have time to redo my makeup and do John's, so he talks me down from the ledge and asks me if I have an extra head band. While he is soothing my freaked out self he manages to make himself a pair of cardboard ears. He reminds me that its not a big deal and, even though he appreciates the work I did during the week, he is happy with anything. He suggests that I go as Frida Kahlo (who I love) so I can use the rest of my costume and he went as a panda (and I still did his make up, haha).

Here we are, late in the evening after I'd had too many drinks, sporting both a unibrow and mustache and John with his own crafty, 3-minute panda ears.

Happy Halloween! BK

PS I entered a costume contest where the crowd went from cheering the last person off to a steep drop in noise and booing me and my unibrow. I may have yelled "Go back to middle school art class, you plebes!" 

Friday, October 28, 2011


Hey Creepy Crafters!

I wanted to share a bit of the inspiration for my Halloween costume based on the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) tradition.

Etsy is chock full of talented amazing artists. The Doll City Rocker makes these great embroidered felt DdlM Skulls that I have been coveting for some time now. She makes them into headbands, clips, boutonnieres and brooches.

This amazing DdlM painted Mary and Jesus has since sold. But I love what pluralform did with those busts that were probably just going to die a boring, dust covered death.

And Miss Lucky Hell Cat Art currently has 10 pained busts of Elvis as Frankenstein, DdlM, skulls, and zombies; among the rest of her art (one painting of Traci Lords as Wanda)!

Stay tuned for my final Halloween look next week (and a step by step of my process!), HalloWeenies! Have a fun and safe weekend!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day of the Dead

Heya Crafters!

I know all that has been on my crafty brain lately has been my Halloween costume. How about you? My fella, John, and I are doing a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) couple costume. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday at the beginning of November when they honor and celebrate their dead. People celebrate by dressing up as skeletons, making shrines with toys and favorite foods of the dead, cleaning their graves, and often eating meals and spending time there. The skeleton is a HUGE symbol of Dia de los Muertos.

He is wearing a black suit, straw cow boy hat, and bolo tie (New Mexico's official state neck wear, no joke) and I, a black dress and a great headdress I made from orange and purple flowers. And we are totally going all out with our skull makeup. I haven't used my stage makeup skills to this level since college and I am salivating at the prospect. I'm working on our accents now (with process and party pictures to come next week).

Here is a picture of John and I a few years ago, dressed as Boy Scouts. And Elizabeth May, my parents hoggy doggie. She often tries to steal the center of attention. Enjoy!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Free Jello Mold 2

Hallo Weenies!

I got my Free Jello Brain Mold (plus S&H $2.95) in the mail a few days ago and here is my first attempt at making some brains. I just want to let everyone know about this cool deal before they run out. And these molds are cheaper to have Kraft send one right to your door than it is to go to Target and buy one (for $5)!

This is my friend, Amy, with her first attempt at making Jello Brains. She was the one who turned me onto the free mold; so Thank You from all of us, Amy! Amy used Agar Agar which is a vegetarian gelatin substitute made of seaweed. She used one package for this brain and decided next time to use two. But I'd say that is one tasty looking brain! Great Job!

You know the Black Light Responsive Brains are my next Jello adventure! Then maybe a whole vodka Jello brain...The possibilities are ENDLESS!


Friday, October 21, 2011

David Lebovitz


I recently stumbled upon David Lebovitz's blog Living the Sweet Life in Paris. I was looking for a Spiced Nut recipe for the Premier Party for The Factory Square Fine Arts Festival, when I found his recipe for Pretzel & Nut Mix. I made 32 batches of this recipe for the party and it is still going strong. It has stayed crunchy and extremely snackable. This Pretzel & Nut Mix is addictively tasty, sweet with a major kick! It was a run away success at the party too!

The success of the Pretzel & Nut Mix got me pretty excited to check out the rest of his site learning that he is a pretty decorated pastry chef from Berkeley, CA who now lives in Paris full time.

Then I saw his blog post about Coulommiers, a French cheese that is kinda smelly and turns gooey as it reaches room temperature. I want to try it! Since living in Wisconsin, I've mustered up the guts about trying all kinds of cheeses. And even though a cheese that turns to mush at room temp is outside my previous cheese experience, I'm intrigued.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sugar Cookies

Hallo Crafty Cookers!

As the party season starts having a solid Sugar Cookie recipe in your pocket is a great go to .  This Alton Brown Sugar Cookie recipe is the best one I've tried (many times). Not that I've tried thousands but I have tested about 3 or 4. My family never got together in the winters to make mass offerings of Sugar Cookies so I didn't have a family favorite to start with or the secret of how to keep them from sticking to the counter. But the kicker to this recipe is using powdered sugar instead of flour to dust! Genius! Keeps 'em sweet and from sticking to everything!

Then again you can simply patronize an Etsy seller like these pictured to the right made by StephanieJscreations or some creepy black sugar cookies from cookiecheers. Or the cute sprinkle  variation above from webvanessa.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Factory Square Fine Arts Festival

Hey Craftsters!

I am working on the planning committee for The Factory Square Fine Arts Festival this weekend in Cincinnati! The grounds will be full of shipping containers turned galleries, installations, and large scale sculpture! Not to mention live music, beer vendors and food carts! Plus the Can Factory Apartments behind the grounds will host the City Flea inside (such a cool refurbished space, by the way). If you live in Cincy, come and see it!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Halloween Snacks!

Hungry, Crafters?

Since Halloween is my favorite holiday you better believe that party foods are on my list of recipes to collect. Not Martha created a pretty cool Meat Loaf Hand dinner that looks really creepy and would be good for any night of the week. She uses a mold to make the hand but I think we could do it with out the mold. And the crispy burn skin look is just cheese!

Disney's Family Fun Magazine created a Haunted Graveyard hummus dip. They blend hummus with spinach for a mossy green, healthy dip, adding crackers for tombstones and twist pretzels for a gate. Its a super cute platter and a good-for-ya option during the Halloween haze of sweets.

And for the over 21 crowd, a bevy of Halloween Jell-o Shots! My Science Project is a really funny and fun experiment site for an older audience; including tips on how to keep your Jack-o-Lantern from rotting. MSP has 11 (count 'em 11) great Jell-o shot ideas for spooky shooters. My favorite discovery is that the quinine in tonic water makes Jell-o black light responsive! You can get the brain molds in the Halloween section of Target for about $5. There is a recipe for caramel and green apple shots that are based on the lollipops. When I was in middle school those caramel apple pops were hot currency and it brought back a little more nostalgia for my trick-o-treating youth.

UPDATE: You can get the Jell-o Brain Mold for free plus S&H (only $2.95) right now on Kraft's website until supplies run out!!!

Busting a Gut, BK

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Drawer Hooks


Design Sponge reader Morgane posted a tutorial for fake drawer hangers (wall hooks) but I think that using real old dresser drawers is cooler and more thrifty. I mean, how many times have you seen dressers sitting on somebody's curb waiting for the trashman!?

If you do it my way, just take a hammer and remove the sides and back of the drawer then add some hanging hardware (picture hangers are available at any hardware store). And if you want, change the nobs and slap (or spray) on a coat of paint.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tee Shirt Ring Scarf

Hey Chattering Crafters,

My Mom forwards me emails from Fave Crafts with a ton of tutorial links and while you have to wade through the crap there are usually one or two tutorials I like. This last batch produced a tutorial I had already devised for myself from a picture but its nice to have someone explain for ya. I call it a Tee Shirt Ring Scarf but the Fave Craft tutorial is T-Shirt Necklace. So, really I suppose the name depends on the thickness of the scarf/necklace. I bet you could put a big charm/pendant on a few strands to make it more necklace like. Tee shirt material is really soft and warm, plus you really have an unlimited number of color combinations since there are so many rings.

EcoShag from Etsy makes her own versions if you'd rather buy one. She does really nice work and I like her variations on the theme (especially the Shag that looks like barbed wire).

Stay Warm, BK