Halloween Light

I’m enjoying a scaled-down version of Halloween this year. It’s been a positive transition away from the usual hustle and bustle. We’ve also had an extremely rare and powerful storm blow through, which makes it feel more like autumn instead of summer-light.

Further, nothing screams “autumn” like foraging squirrels. One of the California Grey’s sent my miniature tea-house akimbo outside our kitchen window, which I interpreted as an invitation to make seasonal changes.

The birdhouse gourd, aka teahouse, came indoors for a dust-off. Here is a picture of the teahouse in its former glory.

Summer Tea House

I’ll put the gourd into the fairy garden rotation for next summer. I reused the tray, the moss, and the miniature seashells, along with the tiny “tree stump” to bring a bit of autumn magic to the fairy garden.

Autumn vibe

Building the fairy house was a breeze. I used a regifted candle holder for the base, then added an inverted coconut shell, once a floating candle holder, for the roof. The chimney is a tiny watering can with a bit of wool roving for the smoking chimney.

I used my crafting dye to spritz a bright green wood slab into a darker, earthier color. A seashell makes the perfect door nob. I used the same dye to darken a pair of take-out wooden chopsticks, then adhered seashells to create a fence.

Seashells from New Zealand
Autumn Scene

Rounding out the miniature setting, I used blue glass vase filler, white sand, and a pair of arched shells to create a tiny brook along the front of the garden.

Nestled Near the Little Free Library

Those clay pumpkins were also a gift several years ago (my friends know me well), with the tiniest pumpkin made from a bead and a twist of jute.

The autumn miniature spent most of the month next to the children’s Little Free Library where it stayed till a heavy storm arrived over the weekend. It’s now having a bit of a dry-out under the eaves.

Card-making also found its place in October.

Earlier this summer, I played around with my gel press and brayer, creating patterns and textures on white paper. I used several of those gel press images to make moons and pumpkins for Halloween cards.

The pumpkins are die-cut from some of my brayer images, while the stems use leaf impressions made from garden greens.

A couple of months ago I treated myself to a new die. I used it for the majority of my cards. I like to invest in dies that I’ll get a lot of use from, and this one fits the bill. Here is a quick video of how the die-cutting gadget works.

Here are a few of my cards.

Black-embossed cat, gel press moon, and green patterned paper cut with my new die
Silver embossed cat, gel press moon, and green textured paper
Two for one: I used the off-cut of this blue background to make a bookmark.
Card series showing dies used in two different orientations. I like the first image the best.

The card in the lower-left corner is for my sister. I used her favorite color for the moon, cut the leaf pattern from sheet music paper, and made a shiny black cat, complete with notched ear like her sweet kitty, Queen B.

It wouldn’t be Halloween if I didn’t use a few pumpkins in my designs. My friend Jasmin gave me that bottle of gorgeous bath soak for my birthday earlier this month. It’s the perfect compliment to my cards. I used holographic paper for the border, then die-cut the pumpkin, lettering, and stem from various gel press images.

The second pumpkin card is framed on two sides by spiderwebbed Washi tape but it doesn’t show well in this photo.

This final card is made from a sheet of acrylic embossed with spider webs. It’s been part of my stash for years. I liked it when I bought it, but I could never quite figure out how to use it. I think I used it on a card many moons ago, but I couldn’t say for sure. I like the effect.

A few assorted bookmarks rounded out the month before I cleaned off my desk and put the Halloween leftovers away. It’s been a great stress-buster and a chance to connect with friends by mail.

Boo-k marks

The Clock is Running Down: Four More Days of Halloween Fun

Who knows where this month went. It was here just a moment ago, a freshly turned page on my wall calendar. I think the unseasonably warm weather led me to believe it was still August…or September. Is it really October 28th? Only four more days of Halloween fun.

Just chilling in the wee garden

Just chilling in the wee garden

I had a restless night with so much rattling around in my brain. I got up around 5 am and finished Mike’s costume. We have a party tonight and two more tomorrow. I really cut things close this year. Life doesn’t stop just because I want to play all month-long. That said, I squeezed in a lot.

October 1/2:

I celebrated my birthday weekend in Santa Cruz. It coincided with Mike’s company picnic along the Boardwalk, so we celebrated with work friends, then slipped away for some shopping, dinner, a movie and a night’s stay at Chaminade.  We had lovely weather and a relaxing time.

santa-cruz-weekend-october-2016

All month-long, friends and family treated me to dinner, high tea, a movie, a live show, wonderful cards and thoughtful gifts making me feel just like one of those entitled white men we’re always hearing about. (cough-cough) It’s nice to be pampered, eh?

October 8:

I took a four-hour crafting class with my sister where we created a mixed media Haunted Graveyard. It inspired lots of additional Halloween card making at home. She took me out to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants at Santana Row, then we browsed the glass pumpkins on display.

glass-pumpkins-santana-row

The last of the pumpkins are off the vine. In the end, three different plants produced seven pumpkins. What a generous bounty. I enjoy arranging them in different places around the house, as they await carving day. That makes me smile.

Over the course of this month, I’ve spent hours pruning three vines away from the side yard fence. Up and down the ladder I went, using best practices to remain safe and still favoring my surgical foot. There will be no accidents on my watch! Now that the vines are off the fence, I need to start getting quotes to replace it. Broken boards, dry rot and possible termite damage stayed hidden behind the vines. No wonder I’ve been putting off this big job.

It’s finally done and I have the sore neck, dull tools and blisters to prove it. And since I’m a blogger, I have pictures too. Ha!

pruning-the-side-yard-vines

Vines intertwined in the lattice-work made it tricky to free the tangled mess. That’s Mouse the Cat’s tail exploring the scattered vines.

October 28/29th:

We’ve been invited to three costume parties this season, but only one with a specific theme: Sweeney Todd. If you’re not familiar with this gruesome musical, you can read about it here. It’s been a penny dreadful serial, a stage musical, and most recently a film starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. We rented the movie to learn more about the characters, and frankly I found it dark and dreary, beginning to end. There are only three female characters, Mrs. Lovett the baker, Sweeney Todd’s young wife shown in brief flashbacks, and later his teenage daughter. Not a lot to choose from. Since I like to mix things up a bit, I decided to dress as the baker, and make my husband into one of her meat pies. They’re not any old pies, by the way. After the barber slits his client’s throat, they’re cooked in the oven and baked into pies. Did I mention how gruesome the story is?

meat-pie-costume-back

Paper bag pattern (my favorite), distressed inks and stains, silver lame fabric covering a pie-shaped piece of foam, distressed fabric and the back side of the pie tin.

meat-pie-costume-front

I cut two circles of tan-colored felt, then sprayed the edges with stain for a distressed (baked) look. I hand-sewed the two pieces together, stuffed with batting and made slits for various gruesome body parts. A bit of theatrical blood adds drama.

I rented my costume from a family owned shop called Natasha’s Attic. They pulled together all the pieces I needed including Victorian era boots, tights, lace gloves and layers of dresses. I love that place and all the wonderfully creative people who work there.  I bought a crazy wig ’cause that’s how I roll, and if I get the makeup just so I’ll be unrecognizable. Stay tuned for pics of both of us in costume.

Of course I had to make time to bewitch the fairy gardens. The succulents loved this summer’s heat, and doubled in size, making the garden look over-grown. Perfect for Halloween! How do I get so lucky?

fairy-garden-over-head

Setting the Scene

overgrown-fairy-garden

It’s a fairy garden jungle

fairy-garden-background

Hollowed trees and gauzy skies (the neighboring tree shed’s its bark in late summer. I picked up a few pieces and saved them for the bewitched fairy garden

fairy-garden-boo

A little fairy garden haunting (tombstones from my son’s long ago Halloween crafts)

tea-in-the-fairy-garden

Come join the ghosts for tea and pumpkin soup (I found the tea set at a craft store for $3)

Happy Halloween!

Haunting in the Fairy Garden

It was a dark and stormy night in the garden. Strong winds whistled through the stark, barren trees. Lightning split the blackened skies as thunder rumbled like an angry troll. Tiny fairies scaled the tall pumpkins, stumbling upon a petrified fallen log nestled at the base of the pumpkin’s stem.  Out of nowhere, a tall ladder appeared reaching skyward.

Fairy garden log

…stumbling upon a fallen log.

A large, white cat mewed at the base of the decaying stump, reminding them that they must trudge on. They climbed the ladder slowly, chin to chest, to avoid the fierce and brutal wind. Reaching the top, the fairies emerged in a magical forest where homes were made from stickers and tiny cats were one-dimensional.

Halloween Fairy Garden

Halloween Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden Cats

Frolicking cats

They stumbled along a grey stone pathway littered with fallen leaves leading to a house. Larger than life tombstones stood at an odd angle nearby. Were they imagining things or was that really a ghost?  If you’re a fairy meandering through a forest on a dark and stormy night, it’s easy to let your imagination get away from you.  It’s probably just a balloon stuck in a tree.

Halloween Fairy Garden

Going up?

Suddenly, someone yelled “surprise!!!” it’s almost Halloween!

Only wonderful things happen in fairy gardens, and this was no exception.  Purple flowers bloomed in the nearby forest.  Cool, green baby tears lined the forest floor. Resident cats, Petals and Blossum frolicked in the tall grass.  A Pyjama Gardener cut flowers for the party table nearby. The fairies stayed to help decorate.  We’ll see what they are up to tomorrow.

Halloween Countdown:

Happy pumpkin

I’m so happy!