Halloween Cards: Crafting from my Garden

This year I’m crafting Halloween cards from my garden. It’s been a lot of trial and error, but I’m having fun.

My approach to crafting Halloween cards is often catch-as-catch can. I’ll spot a few things here and there in a store, or I’ll pull together items from my stash. No two cards are alike, and I’m fine with that. For me, that’s part of the fun.

Halloween cards

Halloween cards from prior years

This year, using my Big Shot die-cutting gadget, I’ve made several chlorophyll prints from the abundant pumpkin leaves trailing across my garden. The leaves transferred beautifully, revealing wonderful detail.

pumpkin leaf chlorophyll print

Pumpkin leaf impression

With success on my side, I decided to try making prints using the bright yellow pumpkin flowers. I had to be judicious, because although the pumpkin’s leaves last for weeks, the flowers close and drop within a day or two. I made flower impressions in phases, also enjoying the process.

Pumpkin flower impression

A: Pumpkin blossom, B: Pressed pumpkin blossom, C: Partially removed, and D: pumpkin flower imprint

Though the flowers transferred well, the color didn’t last. Within a few days the brightness faded to a soft peach. I used the imprints anyway, for a subtle suggestion of color and because they work well with my Halloween theme.

Since I was on a roll, I braved the crazy heat, and gathered a few more items: the drying flowers of the Nepeta (cat mint) and some of the dropped pine needles from a neighboring tree. The dried flowers left a mottled brown impression, perfect for the pumpkin stems, also known as a peduncle.

nepeta going to seed

Nepeta going to seed

Drying Nepeta flowers and leaves on paper before pressing

Drying Nepeta flowers and leaves on paper before pressing

nepeta impressinos

Nepeta impressions for peduncles and background

The pine needles made a wonderful textured paper. I wanted to suggest the ribbing you would see on a real pumpkin. It’s subtle, but I like the way they turned out.

I rubbed yellow ink on the textured paper, then stamped two more layers of the stamp set with orange and russet ink. After stamping two different pumpkin shapes, I cut the small pumpkin images using my Big Shot. I made the stems using the Nepeta paper print.

Here’s the design:

I used a clever die to create the black card-stock base of the card. I used the pumpkin leaf imprint on one side and the flower imprint on the other. In the center I cut two small pumpkins from the pine needle paper using a clever die and stamp set that allows layering for a more realistic effect. I cut the stems, known as a peduncle, from the mottled Nepeta print for a natural look.

This particular style is labor-intensive, so I only managed to make eight cards. That said, I did a lot of experimenting along with using new tools. Next year I’ll be able to apply what I learned.  I punched squared out of all the different materials I used and mounted them on a piece of card stock. This will help me remember the different techniques for next year.

I used the remaining chlorophyll prints to make traditional fold-over cards. They were equally fun. I’ll blog about them later this week.

Are you trying something new and interesting?

Note:

To my friends out of the area, please know that we are safe. There is an active series of fires, 100 miles north of San Jose. Though we are sheltering from the heavy smoke as best we can, we are not in danger. My friends in Santa Rosa are safe. You can read more at the link below.

http://m.sfgate.com/news/article/2-big-wildfires-prompt-evacuations-in-Napa-County-12262945.php

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

One Thing

Have you ever popped in to a craft store to get one thing? Then you pay for one thing and you’re quickly on your way?

That’s never happened to me either.

So it goes with my decision to make a handful of Halloween-themed cards. Scrapbook Island is one of those places that holds you in its grasp. You zig and zag, cooing at the beautiful paper and then you end up chatting with one of the creative women on staff. Then someone pops in to buy a spider web stencil, changes her mind, and before you know it, that stencil ends up in your hand basket. Wait a minute. When did I pick up a hand basket? Wasn’t I in here for one thing?

Like a kid in a candy shop, if you’ll pardon the expression, my eyes are bigger than my actual time available.  I don’t do much scrapbooking anymore, as my boys now eschew all motherly attention and heaven forbid, photographs. I’m lucky to get a couple of candid shots on Christmas day. Thanks, however, to the talented influence of my sister Sharon and my crafty friends Boomdee, Kristi and Stephanie, I’ve caught the card-making bug.

So on a hot day in late September, I sat near the window and made cards.

DSC_0029 DSC_0031 DSC_0034 DSC_0035 DSC_0036 DSC_0037 DSC_0038

I listened to Pandora Radio’s Halloween Party station to get into the right mood. I used my new stencil, old book pages from a vintage shop, and ribbon from the Island. I bought plenty of black paper that day, and a few yards of silky ribbon.  After some brief instruction on the virtues of different inks, a small bottle or two came home as well. In the end, I made seven cards and a big ‘ol mess but oh what fun, what fun!

envelopes and stamps

Envelopes and stamps

The post office doesn’t sell Halloween stamps, so I settled on Ray Charles in a bright orange shirt and assorted farmer’s market stamps.  No sense making a card and a fancy envelope, only to settle for dull and boring postage.  Now to address those cards and get them in the mail.

No-Candy Countdown:

I’m candy-free, 23 days and counting! We can talk about my paper habit in another post.

Pumpkins on Parade:

Or in other words, a parade of pumpkins. Can you believe it?

October pumpkin harvest

Pumpkins on Parade

I ran out of daylight, so I harvested these in the dark. Now that the nights are cooler, the plant is closing down. The leaves are turning to brown in some places, powdery with mildew in others.

My mystery plant grew over the edges of the box, while at the same time producing eight pumpkinesque pieces of fruit. Did I mention that it grew without a trace of water at the roots. No signs of squash bugs either. One of my readers suggested a possible hybrid. I wonder if there is a way to find out? Unlike the vines I’m used to, all the fruit formed close to the soil line on short stems. The plant just started to send out vines in the last few weeks.  This fruit is hard as a rock and heavy too.  I’m just tickled to pieces to see so many of them turn orange. I’m leaving them outside to harden for a few days, unless we get that promised rain.

Gosh I love October.  Color me orange with joy.