Friday, October 18, 2013

Witchy Window Silhouette DIY

These wickedly cool witchy window silhouettes come to you via the ever creative and talented, Dave Lowe, and you can snag the templates for your very own spooky abode here.  Seriously, Dave is a HUGE inspiration to me, his imaginativeness and his attention to detail are truly astounding. Hop on over to his blog and be prepared to spend hours scrolling through his many awesome halloween (other holidays too!) projects.  He takes you from rough sketch to the finished product, and let me tell you, that finished product is DISNEY quality in design and polish.

The best part about this project is how ridiculously easy, cheap, and effective it is.  I don't have much of a front yard to construct a haunt for the season, but I did want to add some creep to my pad.  These silhouettes were perfect, since my flat already comes equipped with four very large windows that loom above the sidewalk out front.  

There is still plenty of time to tackle this project, if you're so inclined, since it takes only a couple of hours to complete. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • Templates, which can be found here:
  • Black poster board. Found at Dollar Tree for only 69 cents a sheet.  I recommend getting more sheets than you think you'll require (depending upon the size of your windows), as you are sure to go through a couple of 'test' runs getting them sized appropriately.
  • Double stick tape, or temporary glue dots.  You don't want something permanent here, just something strong enough to hold the paper to your windows.
  • Xacto knife, or other sharp blade for trace cutting, and a cutting mat or other surface you don't mind cutting on.
  • Translucency sheets for overhead projecting.  I had a bunch left over from a presentation, but these can be purchased at any office supply store.
  • Tape measure for sizing your images to your window size.
  • Cardboard box, slightly larger than a bread box (to build a light box for projecting).
  • White crayon or chalk for tracing image onto black poster board.
  • Light source, such as a small lamp or I found the LCD flashlight app on my smart phone to be superior and easiest.
Let's get started...
  1. First, you need to print out your templates. I simply downloaded them to my desktop, and then opened them in MS Word.   You will want to enlarge them so that they fill the page as much as possible, without cutting off any of the image.  This will make sizing them on your wall with the projector easier later.  Print your images onto translucency pages, being sure you set your printer setting to the 'translucency page' if it needs to be.  You will also want to be sure you're printing onto the correct side of the translucency page so that your ink dries properly.   Otherwise, you're going to smear your image and have ink everywhere...
  2. Next you need to create a simple light box/projector.  This is a lot easier than it sounds, and if my instruction is unclear here, there are plenty of tutorials on how to do this on YouTube (look up 'light projector for wall mural how to').  Tape the lid and bottom closed tightly using tape -- you want to be sure you close any seams where light might escape, so using a colored tape, like painters tape works excellent for this.  Use your Xacto knife and a straight edge to cut a rectangle in the front of your box, large enough to tape your translucency sheet across for projecting.  Finally, cut a small channel (about 3 inches wide by 6-7 inches long) in the bottom of the box so you can insert your light source to shine from inside the box.
  3. Pick a witchy image, tape her to the front of your newly constructed light box and turn on the light inside.  Project image onto a blank wall and play with the distance of the box from the wall in order to size the image to your required dimensions for your window.  Moving the box closer and further away will change your image size, but moving the light inside your box closer or further away from the translucency page will make the image sharper or fuzzier on the wall.
  4. Tape black poster board sheets onto wall where image is projected, so that the image is now being projected onto the black surface.  My measurements required me to tape two sheets of cardboard together to capture the entire size of each witch -- but that is because I wanted my witches to stretch tall and fill the entire length of my windows.
  5. Use a white crayon or chalk to trace the outline of each witch.
  6. Move your black board to a surface safe for cutting, like a cutting mat or a flattened old cardboard box, and carefully use your Xacto knife to cut out each witch.
  7. Hang in window pane using double stick tape between the poster board and the window.
  8. Iluminate your windows from the inside by lighting your room as much as you can, or by placing lamps closer to windows from the inside.
  9. OPTIONAL: add colored tissue paper behind your images so that the entire window is now covered from the inside.  This is a final step I have yet to finish, and I have chosen a great chartreuse tissue paper to finish off each window pane.
So there you have a couple of hours, you can create a surprisingly effective ambiance from inside your home this Hallowe'en.  Carve up a couple of Jacks for your front steps and let the ghastly glow of your Window Witches beckon those little tricksters to your front door...

Monday, September 17, 2012

A return to the light...

When I began this blog, I had great misgivings about sharing my thoughts and ideas with the worldwide webisphere.  I had a strong aversion to the very idea, thinking it absurd that anyone, anywhere, would give a shit about what *I* had to say.  Afterall, this old soul finds it difficult to stomach the very exposed, very public life we all lead now thanks to the pervasiveness of technology and social media.  It is as though we all feel entitled to our proverbial fifteen minutes of fame, only we don’t kindly take our bow at minute fifteen.  Instead, we keep prattling on, when we should be pausing to think first about what we are about to say or do…

So why, then, would i follow suit?  Well, because I came across something the Buddha wrote about sharing one’s light with the world. It resonated with me deeply, because for quite some time, I have felt that we each have a duty beyond our selves in this world – ideally, we should strive to be the best we can be, and that should include some stewardship to our fellow human beings in the world around us.   I believe we have the power to change our realities in huge ways even with the simplest of changes in our own lives.  If we spew hate and anger and self-centeredness out into the world, you just add to the weight on that side of the psychic scale.  But what if you chose to actively focus on emitting only positivity, light, and love?  Even on the smallest of scales, with the tiniest of gestures or simplest of words…

At the time I began sharing my light, I really didn’t feel as though I had a light to shine.  I felt like the BIC I had been holding up at the concert all that time was about to just fizzle out and die.  I was in a rather miserable place, though not the most miserable I have ever seen.  I was wallowing through my days trying to decide what to do with a medical degree I did not want and a marriage in which I was sorely miserable.  I was trapped in a life that I had every hand in designing for myself, and I had become a shell of who I was in the process.  I hated who stared back at me from my mirror each day, and I was determined to evolve.  I decided to turn everything in my life upside down, and in so doing, I took a chance on me for a change; and I began to bank on my own creativity and talents when I opened The Crepe Confectionary.  Maintaining my shop, designing and cranking out orders all day was one thing, but blogging was something I saw as a challenge I put to myself in the spirit of my evolution.
It wasn’t always easy to find the time, the energy, or the topics to share, and I often found myself struggling with how personal to become with *you*, my readers, or what direction to allow myself to meander into with my writing here.  When my life began to implode around me about a year ago, the blog became something I hid from.  I felt like my light had all but just about gone out…

But in the year since, while I haven’t been here sharing and sometimes prattling on, I HAVE been evolving, and the result is that I am a wholly different me.  I’m not done with the process by any means, and truly, none of us ever should be; however, I am far more satisfied and hopeful about the direction in which I am going.  In the last year, I have gone from wife to single woman, I have dismantled and said goodbye to a beautiful home into which I poured my soul, I have had to learn to live on my own for the first time in my life, believe it or not.  My life has not been easy or simple or predictable in any way in the last year, but I have absolutely engaged in the process every step of the way.  It has been exhilarating, painful, exciting, bittersweet, frustrating, and enlightening all at once.  I am learning to live without a plan, without a net, and without expectations. I am welcoming in hope, love, patience, understanding, truth, and most importantly, grace. 

I have thought about writing again here for some time, but have not felt as though the time was right until now.  And where to begin?  I guess I was waiting for some signal from the universe that it was time, and I received it today…a comment from a reader hoping for my return.  This new reader could have stumbled upon my dusty old blog, found some stuff interesting, others boring, and moved on, but she didn’t.  She took a moment out of her day, no doubt busy with the work of her own self evolution, caring for her husband and children, tending to a boss, etc., to send me some light and love in the form of a sweet, kindhearted comment.  To find it was a surprise, to read it was a joy, and to know that perhaps my ‘light’ provides some sort of comfort or relief or  (or distraction?) to some stranger in the world, is incredibly gratifying on a level that nothing within me has ever before reached.
So while I may bemoan our addiction to social media and technology from time to time, I am also smart enough to see that it has some positively wonderful side effects as well.  It connects us in ways we never could have dreamed before, allowing us to share our ideas, our feelings, our creativity, and our knowledge.  If we choose, we can send our light out into the world.

The Buddha also said that we are each the universe, that we contain the entire universe inside of us.  As I close my return here, I’ll borrow a metaphor from my high school math lessons in logic (you know, if A = B, and B = C, then A must also equal C, right?).   so, if we send our light out into the world, and we are the world, imagine all that light just waiting for us…

I am ready for that light.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A little Christmas tour of my home...

the entryway...still in need of some more greenery, and a little more snow.

my dad bought this vintage looking Santa head for me a few years ago, and i always hang him in the entry to greet guests.  this year, i placed him atop a vintage bookpage wreath that i made last weekend while watching some SNL (that's how easy it is to make one of those!).

my wee first tree for my first christmas as a single lady.  i love still needs its vintage sheet music chain garland, but that's this weekend's project.

you know my tree would have at least one mushroom on it, and here we have a little glass fly agaric.  my favorite!

the mantle, still waiting on the vintage sheet music candles a la Pottery Barn.  i hope whereever i end up after i leave this home, it has at least one mantle, because there is nothing more quintessentially christmas than a decked out mantle and a fire roaring beneath...

i've had this grapevine star for so many years now, and i literally use it all year long, just changing out its trimmings.  here, i placed a Pottery Barn tin bird ornament, and i think i'll add a little paper banner to it yet...*hmm.

a silver tray filled with greenery, and all of my favorite and prettiest mercury glass ornaments.  it sparkles when the candles i've tucked into it are lit...

more greenery and mercury glass...i don't think you can ever really have enough of either, especially at this time of year!

a small Belsnickle Santa and a Nicol Sayre angel.

the sideboard in the dining room...that vintage typewriter is possibly my best antique treasure hunting find yet!  twenty bucks at this huge antique co-op in Ohio!  its one of my favorite things.  and each time i walk past that picture of my grandmother and grandfather, i am reminded of how much i think she would have loved sitting in my dining room with me for coffee and crackers...
see??  i mean, how awesome is that typewriter?  *grinz*
a snow couple in a pile of snow on the window ledge.  i made those vintage snowballs out of styrofoam balls, some teastained cheescloth, and mica.  super easy, super messy, but super cute in the end. 

looking into the living room...can't wait til christmas eve night, when i'm finally done with all the visiting and merrymaking, when i come home to the quiet of my cozy little home, light a fire in the fireplace, and crack open a bottle of wine.  its my christmas gift to myself...

the kitchen sideboard is an antique passed down to my by my grandmother.  i like having it in the kitchen, because it makes me feel like she is keeping me company while i cook.  the burlap runner was whipped up in five minutes flat.  no kidding.  beginning to end, raw edges, scissors, and two long stitches down the center.  FIVE. MINUTES. LOL.

snowmen and santas...its a little bare now, but for christmas morning brunch, it will be all decked out in goodies and fresh flowers...

finally, the upstairs gets a more 'woodsy', yet still glitzy look.  i collect mercury glass finials and tree toppers, and i love how they look when they're paired with greenery and candles. 

i also added some little glass bird ornaments, and some covered in glitter (of course), along with some glass pinecone and acorn ornies. the den upstairs is full of large windows and looks out into the trees, and i have always felt that it is like sitting in a giant treehouse up here. so naturally, its a birdie christmas, i

jack is excited to see what presents around that tree will bear his name...i think he is going to be quite pleased.  for me, all i want for christmas this year is the happiness and health of that little guy, cuz he is what keeps me smiling.

i wish you the merriest of christmasses, and the happiest of new years!  may you be healthy, wealthy, and wise!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

what i'm all about...

is depicted perfectly in this old snapshot i came across while pinteresting or tumblring one day...

i could stare into this old photograph for hours, and i think i must have sat gazing at it already at least a hundred times since i found it.  at first glance, it is a picture of a rather festive family from long, long ago, celebrating All Hallow's Eve.  it had to be taken at least a hundred years ago...

but there is so much to take in!  first, i scan the faces of the merry partygoers...all of them jovial and almost giddy in their happiness of the occasion.  some of them hold up halloween dolls, or paper mache jack o lanterns, even a paper mache cat sits atop the patriarch's head!  their dress, along with the furnishings in the room, give away the likely time period of the picture -- we see Arts & Crafts style architectural features and decor details (like those drapes! *swoon).  these findings suggest that the photo was likely snapped in the early 1900s, most definitely before the 1920s. 

what i really focus in on, however, are the decorations...they must be inspired by the Dennison Bogie Book for that year (and if you don't know what a Dennsion Bogie Book is, i implore you to do a quick google search on the subject...prepare to be charmed!).  there is crepe paper fringe, in black and orange, no doubt, strung across the room from the gaslit chandelier..from amongst the fringe hang rice paper lanterns along with paper mache jack o lanterns and skulls...the dining table is decked out in a halloween themed paper cloth and skirt, and if you look really closely at the table settings, you can see some handmade skull centerpieces.  the setting looks absolutely magical, and what i wouldn't give to be able to slip into an old victorian frock and right into one of those chairs at the dining table amongst such light-hearted, happy folk to celebrate my most favorite time of year...

i love this photograph for so many reasons...its not simply because it captures a Hallowe'en of yesteryear.  i love it for what it suggests, for the enchantment found within.  i think of the family preparing for the evening, readying the decorations and the table settings, of what they must have eaten that night, if they played any fortunetelling games or held a candlelit seance...i can almost hear the laughter, the raucous joy of the evening.

for those of you who haven't already noticed or heard, my personal life has undergone a great upheaval and transformation in the last months.  it has rocked my world, but in the most surprising ways.  it has been difficult, and painful at times, but i have always known in my heart that it has all been for the better, that it has happened because the universe has greater things in store for me.  i can't thank all of my patrons and friends enough for their understanding and support throughout this time, because The Crepe Confectionary has regrettably had to take a backseat at times to the craziness that has infiltrated my present life.  the lessons i have learned have already been many, and this photo illustrates one of the greatest lessons i've learned thus far: moments shared with the ones you love mean, or should mean, everything.  at the end of the day, its your family that will always have your back, who will love you despite all of your faults, and who will pick you up when you have fallen or been pushed down.  i could not be more grateful for, just wait til they find out what sort of tricks and treats i have up my sleeve for them this year! (*muhahaha!)

HaPpY HaLLoWe'En to ALL, and to ALL, a frightful night!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

EEK!! new pottery barn halloween for 2011!

okay, okay...never mind that it is only the middle of july...and never mind the fact that i've already seen the halloween stock change and preliminary roll out at Michael's a month ago...i always look forward to when Pottery Barn debuts their halloween merchandise for the new year.


these HAPPY HALLOWEEN! string lights are really festive, and i could see them hanging across the doorway on a spooky, dimly lit porch.  they are simply string lights with little burlap shades embellished with stenciled gothic letters.  can someone say 'DIY'??  lol...seriously...i bet this look can easily be replicated using one of your christmas light strands, some scrap burlap, a sharpie or black acrylic paint, and a couple of hours on a saturday afternoon.

this spooky burlap runner looks like it might be a little more complicated to reproduce, but equally as DIY as the string lights above...

these gothic inspired plates make me think i was right on track in thinking i would go for an old victorian theme to my halloween decor this year...i've had this vision that's been marinating in my brain for a few months already that is a cross between From Hell and Sleepy Hollow...lots of dark, rich jewel tones, tons of bunched branches inhabited by darkly feathered crows, a candlelit table set for a seance, a wicked witch's kitchen altar, stacks of macabre books...i could go on, but i think i'm digressing.

these embellished hats and masks are the perfect steampunk-y doodads, rather befitting of my theme, i think...i bet if i kept my eyes peeled at some of the vintage tag sales, i could find some old chapeaus and embellish them rather similarly with some feathers and vintage jewelry bits.

yet another simple DIY project suitable for the season are these text-adorned column candles.  its a look that Pottery Barn has featured before, especially around the christmas holiday.  i find it rather amusing when 'powerhouse' chains such as PB take their design cues from the 'smaller' arts community such as Etsy.  i mention this because i can recall a handful of talented Etsy artisans who crafted this aesthetic and sold it successfully over two years ago, long before the look ever showed up in the pages of a PB catalog...

further proof of PB imitating Etsy life, is the sinister wall decal above.  this one is particularly spooky and i love the fonts and flourishes...

so what about you?  have you started to daydream of crisp fall days, of apple cider and pumpkins yet?  take my advice:  beat the heat by heading on over to Pottery Barn and start planning out your fall decor...what ideas are you excited to try out this year?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a birthday beach bash for jackson...

often in doing custom work for clients, i get to hear all about the details of the upcoming celebration. and, when i'm lucky, my clients will share pictures of aforesaid event and the little guest of honor.  its one of the perks of my job that has quickly become one of my favorites.  as cheesy as it may sound, i relish every snapshot, every smile, every detail...i am always thrilled and inspired to see how each of my creations is used, as well as to see the smiles it all put on everyones' faces.  and besides, i have found that i prefer putting smiles on kids faces with fun stuff they'll hopefully remember, rather than coming at them with a stethoscope or

a festive family photo:  jessica with her husband and son

in the two years i have been operating The Crepe Confectionary out of my little home studio, i have been blessed with some truly inspiring clients, but i wanted to take a moment to introduce you all to one special lady i feel truly lucky to have as a patron.  she hails from the grand old state of texas, and her name is jessica...she's the stellar mom of one very lucky little boy named jackson.  jessica first contacted me two years ago to help with the decorative embellishments for jackson's first birthday, which was crafted to be 'A Whale of a Time', and i shared a peek of the decor here.  i knew, even back then, that jessica and i were on the same creative wavelength.  she would come to me with the seed of an idea, a vision of which only she had in her head, and she entrusted me to help bring it to life.  not only was i inspired by jessica's ideas and suggestions, but i was touched that she put her creative faith in me...

my creative 'soul sistah':  jessica goes ALL out for her celebrations, seeing opportunity for charm and design at almost every opportunity...

i was honored when jessica contacted me again to help her throw jackson's 2nd birthday bash, which was to be a huge july 4th party on  the beach.  i immediately had a million darling little ideas for the decorations, and couldn't be happier to get started on gathering my materials.  needless to say, when i am approached by a client with an idea for a large decor package, the creative half of my brain quickly gets carried away -- i invest in the event mentally, imagining all the little details i would focus on as if i were the one throwing the bash.  the reality is, however, i'm not the hostess, and so i have to rein myself in and focus all my creative energies on the requested pieces for the client.  i think it is why i feel such a creative kinship with jessica...when i peruse her photos of the big day, i always say, 'wow!  that's exactly what i would have done!' or 'yeah!  that's such an awesome idea!'

no matter what, jessica, and so many other great clients like her, never fail to amaze me with their ideas and creative endavors of their own...i am always wowed...and encouraged...and privileged.  its a feeling very akin to the one i used to get when i knew i had really helped someone back when i was doctoring.  it is all about connection, at least for me.  connecting with another like-minded person out there in the world is really what its all about...or else, why are we here?

to all of you -- clients, readers, commenters, inspirers, and even browsers -- thank you.