Category Archives: Make It Monday

Make It Monday – Puppet Shows and Superheroes

Life is funny when you’re a professional “crafter.” After painting a couple of nursery name sets as baby shower gifts, a friend from church asked if I would paint letters for her son and daughter as a custom order! I’ve never thought of myself as a painter, even though I love to dabble, so it’s flattering and exciting to have someone pay me to do it. I have thought of myself as a draw-er (is that a word, other than one of a “chest of …?”) so I sketch the layout of the design on the letters to give me a little more confidence when painting. It’s kind of like paint by number. I lucked out with these kids in particular, besides the fact that they’re both precious, because the girl is in love with all things Disney princess, and the boy is a superhero buff! I get the best of both worlds; one set will be pink and sparkly with Disney fairytale characters and pink organza ribbon, and the other will be black and superhero colors (and hopefully glow-in-the-dark paint) with emblems and old-school onomatopoeia bubbles like “bam!” and “pow!” It’s a challenge, but I’m so up to it.

Meanwhile, I was asked by another friend to help with our new children’s ministry, which is going to include regularly featured puppets and skits with zany characters. Right up my alley. We brainstormed, going down the list of lesson topics that our children’s minister smartly listed from A-Z. So far, we’ve come up with ideas for a time machine, a few characters and puppets, and what props and costumes we’ll need to use over and over again. I really feel like this is God’s answer to so many prayers to involve the congregation with what the kids are doing, and really get the kids excited about learning what the Bible has to teach! I was so excited that I stayed up until 2 o’clock in the morning working on my first project, a snake puppet:

Tom and Mr. Snake meet for the first time.
 
Now, we don’t have any kids yet, but we have lots of nieces and nephews, kids of friends, and, let’s face it, we’re just big kids, too. Every kid that saw the puppet, or saw pictures of the puppet got so excited! Puppets are relatively easy to make, and there are so many different ways to make them. Mr. Snake is made from a shirt sleeve, cardboard, felt, and google eyes, but you can make puppets from socks or paper, and make them little enough to fit on fingers or big enough to fit on both hands. I encourage you to try it out, even host a puppet workshop with your kids and their friends, because it’s so much fun, and can be catered to any skill level. First, I’ll attempt to give you the step-by-step for Mr. Snake, then I’ll share some helpful links with tutorials on other kinds of puppets so you can find your favorite flavor.
 
How To Make Mr. Snake
 
What you’ll need:
 
A sock or long sleeve made from stretchy material (stripes or solids are snake-y, but you can go with any pattern you like)
Black felt
Red felt
Yellow felt
White felt
Two google eyes
Cardboard scraps
Pencil
Scissors
Your preferred glue (hot, tacky, E6000 …)
 
How to make it:
 
1. Cut off the end of your sock, or cut off the desired length of the sleeve. I used a shirt a friend gave me that suffered a DIY project gone wrong. Oops.
 
2. Fold the edges of the end you just cut inward, as if you’re going to hem the raw edge. Use an iron to press the edges if you’d like help keeping things even. I folded my edge inward about 1/2 inch.
 
3. Fold your piece of cardboard in half. Place your hand on the fold so that your thumb is on the bottom, and your other four fingers are on top, sandwiching the folded piece in your hand. With a pencil, trace an oval about 1/4 inch out around your four fingers on top. This will create the mouth of your puppet.
 
4. Keeping the cardboard folded, cut out the oval shape.
 
5. Unfold the cardboard (which should look kind of like a giant hot dog now) or open the mouth, and place it on your black felt. Cut out the felt in the shape of the cardboard mouth, and repeat to create two identical felt ovals.
 
6. Glue the felt to each side of your cardboard. This will be the black inside of the snake’s mouth, and will give you a nice, soft but easy-to-grip surface on the inside of the puppet.
 
7. Once the glue dries, take your sleeve or sock and begin stretching the folded end over the edge of your felt-covered cardboard, keeping the oval unfolded (or the mouth open.) This is the tricky part. I stretched the fabric over the mouth so that the folded edge lay flat on the cardboard, creating a 1/2 inch border around the oval. Then I lifted up the fabric in small sections and glued them down to the felt-covered cardboard mouth. Once you’ve glued all the way around the fabric opening, you’ve made the snake’s mouth!
 
8. Once the glue has dried, slip your hand inside the puppet and fold the cardboard mouth in half with your hand. Open and close your hand a few times to open and close the mouth, and re-establish the fold in the cardboard.
 
9. Cut a long tongue with a forked end from your red felt and glue it to the bottom half of the mouth.
 
10. Cut two fang shapes from your white felt and glue them to the top half of the mouth.
 
11. Cut two nostrils from your leftover black felt. Set them aside.
 
12. Place your google eyes on top of your yellow felt, and cut around them, leaving a border of at least 1/4 inch. Glue the eyes onto the yellow circles.
 
13. You can stop here if you want, glue the eyes and nostrils to the top of the snake’s head and be done.  The result will be a cool sock-puppet snake. If you’d like to add more dimension to the snake’s head, read on.
 
I’m not going to number these steps, because I’ll have a hard time explaining exactly what I did to creat the snake’s head. I’m going to try! Take a look at a house slipper, and you’ll see where I got the idea. I cut a half-circle the length of the top of the mouth from cardboard and cut two triangular notches (like darts in a blouse) on the rounded side. I carefully curved the shape by folding it like the bill of a baseball cap. Then I pulled the edges of each notch toward each other, overlapping them and gluing them down. Once they were glued, each notch created the space for the nostrils of the snake. I turned the puppet inside out, gluing my new cardboard snout to the top half of the mouth piece. While the glue was drying, I created a brow by tracing the yellow eyes on the cardboard, about 1/4 inch apart, then drew a brow shape on top of the eyes. I drew several tabs around the edges of the brow shape, and cut the whole shape out. I folded the tabs back to create a kind of easel for the eyes to stand on, then glued those tabs to the snout. I turned the puppet right side out, then glued the yellow eyes and black nostrils onto the fabric on top of the new head structure.
 
If you’re having a hard time making heads or tails of my snake tutorial, and I don’t blame you if you are, here are some other puppet tutorial links:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have a picture of a puppet you’ve made? Share in the comments below!
 
Share the Love,
Chelsea
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Make It Monday

Make It Monday – Embroidery Madness!

Before I delve into the world of embroidery, let me just say what an awesome time we had at the Dallas Comic-Con Sci Fi Expo on Saturday! We got to meet sweet/funny/genetically-blessed-with-amazing-bone-structure Eliza Dushku, and I got her autograph:

A classic Faith pic from the Buffy series, signed (with kisses) by Eliza Dushku.

 
She even said she liked my JuJu Eyeball fuzzy eyeball earrings! I didn’t give her a card like I did anyone else who liked them, because, well, I was starstruck and thought it might look a little sleezy: “I’m a big fan! … Oh, you like my earrings? Here’s my card (insert cheezy salesewoman smile.) No, really, I’m a big fan!” I mean, you only have so many seconds to make an impression, and, call me crazy, but taking the earrings out to give to her also seemed a little creepy.
 
So, on to today’s topic! My grandmother and great aunt used to embroider all the time when I was little, and I was fortunate enough to inherit some of their supplies. Over the past few years, I’ve picked up the needle and multicolor thread again as a hobby, but recently I’ve decided to incorporate embroidery in some of my work for the new shop. I’ve always enjoyed creating and drawing monsters and creatures, so I decided to start on my first monster embroidery project to see if I would be able to transfer some of my drawn ideas from paper to a fuzzier medium. Here are the results so far:
 

Still trying to come up with a name for this guy ...

 
Comment below if you have any monster names for this guy! The idea is that I’ve seen lots of really scary monster drawings, and a lot of adorable plushie monsters that tend to incoporate embroidery, but I wanted to create something somewhere in the middle. Still cute, but something a hardcore creature fan could appreciate.
 
If you’re looking to start embroidering, or if you’d like to try to embroider your own design, here are some links and tips:
 
Sublime Stitching has great, basic tutorials for beginners.
 
Transfers that you find at craft stores are great for practice, but there aren’t any rules that say your design has to look a certain way! If you’ve come up with a cool sketch you think would translate well to stitchery, use a transfer pen or paper, or simply pin a copy of the drawing to the back of your fabric and trace with a pencil if your fabric is thin enough.
 
You really only need a few stitches to embroider most designs. My top 3 are backstitch, split stitch, and satin stitch. Depending on what style embroidery you decide you like, your top 3 might be stem stitch, french knot, and running stitch! Build up your arsenal of stitches to find out which are your favorites. P.S. – If you’re looking for a style with less variation, try crosstitch. You stitch “x”s the whole time, and the design still turns out looking awesome.
 
Anything you can sew, you can embroider: paper, fabric (towels, clothing, curtains,) trim, canvas …
 
Two more great contemporary resources for ideas, tutorials and patterns are Mr. X Stitch and Urban Threads.
 
Finally, you may mess up. Your thread may knot, you may use the wrong stitch or wrong thread color. The cool thing is, though, that you can snip the thread, pull, start over again, and no one will ever know!
 
Share the Love,
Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Make It Monday

Make It Monday – A Very Belated Reveal

Um, wasn’t Halloween yesterday? No, wait, that was Christmas. Where did the time go?!?

Anyway, here’s the very belated reveal of my finished mermaid costume and our Trunk Or Treat decorations:

It’s hard to tell that I’m super glittery in the pics, but I assure you I was glittery for a week after! (And it was the glow in the dark kind …)

Share the Love!

Chelsea

1 Comment

Filed under Make It Monday

Make It Monday – Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? How to be a mermaid.

Last year was our first year participating in our church’s Trunk or Treat event as Dorothy and the scarecrow, and I did a tutorial about ruby slippers. This year, after a failed attempt at a theme based on the movie “Up,” we’ve decided to be a mermaid and a pirate! When I was a little girl, one of my favorite movies, like so many little girls, was The Little Mermaid. (The only difference between me then and little girls now is that I got to see it when it came out in theaters!)

I have to admit, we’re cheating a little. Remember the pirate costume we put together for the hubs for the renaissance festival?

Yarr.

Yeah, I think I’ll make a vest and call it a day. With a costume as elaborate as a mermaid, I need all the extra help I can get. Especially considering our car’s trunk is going to be dressed up as a giant clam shell. Uh huh.

The pirate costume consists of a thrifted large ladie’s linen shirt (a t-shirt will do,) thrifted men’s linen pants, jaggedly cutoff (khaki will do,) a head scarf (or a hat!) a belt, a piece of “creepy fabric” from the dollar store tied at the waist, and plenty of jingly and sea-shell-y jewelry (thrifted and from home.) Hubs just happened to have a wooden sword – don’t ask. Add black, smudged eyeliner, maybe an eyepatch, a scar or two, and you’re a pirate! A tried and true, easy & traditional costume.

Now for the mermaid.

The unfinished costume.

 Let me first say, I still need to add fins to the bottom of the skirt, using blue and green tulle. I got lucky and scored a bright red (unused) wig from Goodwill for $5, that I’m excited to be able to reuse for costumes like Poison Ivy, Jessica Rabbit, and other fantasy creatures. Any time you can find an “investment” costume piece, go for it!

I made “face fins” inspired by a cool makeup tutorial: http://youtu.be/b5DkwjEelW0. I used blue floral wire and the same tulle as my tail fins, then got a little fancier and hand sewed gold and green sequins to the tulle with gold thread. The tutorial will teach you how to shape and attach the fins.

The “bra” shells are made from purple felt and scraps of iridescent fabric. I drew a simple pattern for the shells about the size of my bra cup, then traced the pattern with a marker onto the felt. I did the same with the iridescent fabric, marking a pretty wide margin outside the line of the pattern. After cutting out the shell shapes, I began stitching the iridescent fabric on top of the felt, puckering the iridescent fabric to create ridges, and gathering the straight stitches tightly to creat a slight curve to the shell. Then I stitched the outline of the shell, and added some natural shells and fake pearls to the bottom of the “cup.” In the picture, the shells are just pinned onto a nude tank top. I plan on pinning them a little higher with safety pins on Halloween. 

I created the tail from stretchy metallic knit that I had leftover from a goddess costume. The fabric isn’t the cheapest (I found it on sale,) but you only need a couple of yards. I traced a fitted, pencil-style skirt with chalk on the back of the fabric, down to knee length, marking where the knees were, and then tapered off into a v-shape at ankle length. I folded the top of the waist on each piece down and sewed to create a neat edge. Then I pinned the pieces (pretty sides together) and sewed seams down to the mark I made for knee length. I sewed a zipper into one of the side seams – it’s really easy! – and cut the excess fabric from the seams. The end result is a tail-shaped fin with slits on each side from the knee down. I plan to cut tulle into fin shapes and sew it to those slits to create the illusion of a mer-fin. Similar to this:

Another great idea for a pin-up style mermaid!

There are so many different ways to do mermaid makeup, I won’t even attempt to suggest one to you. Youtube and Google are full of ideas from natural looks to wacky ones, like the link a few paragraphs up. I will, however, suggest some false eyelashes! I was able to find some in red to match my wig. I also found some fake pearls in colors to match my costume, along with some abalone shell beads, and I’m creating some very under-the-sea jewelry.

As far as the giant shell for our trunk is concerned? You can see it peeking out at the bottom right corner of the pic of my mermaid costume … it’s made from 6 pieces of foam board, cut with a razor, painted with acrylic and accented with some glitter. I’ll either tape or “sew” it together with monofilament (fishing line) and cut a hole in the middle piece of the bottom portion of the shell for a stool to sit on. I’ll sit and blow bubbles as the pirate hands out candy from our treasure chest – a plastic shoe box covered in wood-grain contact paper, accented with a skull and crossbones cut from a styrofoam headstone.

I’ll be sure to post pics of the end result next Monday! Do you have a cool mermaid costume to share?

Share the Love,

Chelsea

1 Comment

Filed under Make It Monday

Make It Monday – Snafoo!

Well, I’ve run into a few problems with my current 3 DIY projects. I can’t find a broom skirt to make my summery dress, I can’t find little plastic ice cubes to make a cooling necklace, and haven’t found fabric I like for the window treatment project.

Why is it that when you actually want something, something that you see all the time but don’t need at that moment (ahem, broomskirtsandicecubes) you can’t find it?

This is definitely a craft snafoo!

So, I’m going on the hunt today. Thrift and dollar stores, look out!

Share the Love,

Chelsea

Leave a comment

Filed under Make It Monday

Make It Monday – Top 3 Craft Projects

Now that I’ve finished the first 3 of my “top 3” picks, it’s time to move on to the next 3! The whole purpose of this is to break down the massive list of craft and DIY projects I’ve accumulated into make-able chunks of 3. Once I complete 3 of the projects, I’ll move on to the next chunk. The idea is to try to complete all of them within one or two months to keep things moving.

So, without further adeu, I present my next 3 assignments:

The ingenious "Cooling Necklace"

This is, without a doubt, one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. This is so simple and super appropo, considering we’ve had temps over 100 farenheit for the past two weeks!

Incredibly easy shift dress by Martha

I have a shift dress similar to the one in this tutorial, and I love it! It’s so breezy and comfortable, but the one I have is richly dyed with an intense purple, and needs to be hand washed. Let’s face it, if I can’t throw it in the washer, I don’t wear it much. I’m a low-maintenance gal.

A valance or pelmet for each of our humongous, utilitarian windows.

This project hinges on whether or not I can find a fabric that matches our extremely eclectic living area, and whether or not it’s affordable enough to make two of these monsters. The apartment we live in used to be office space, so think giant office windows. Yeah.

Anyway, I can’t wait to get started on these projects! I’m going to have to make a trip to the thrift store for a skirt to use for the dress, and possibly the hosiery for the necklace, and if I’m lucky, fabric for the valances.

Share the Love,

Chelsea

 

1 Comment

Filed under Make It Monday

Make It Monday – Paperclip “Chandelier” Project Result

Finally! The paperclip chandelier project is complete:

Colored paperclips and faux multicolored crystals.

The project took about half a day to make. If I had been working from a pattern, it probably wouldn’t have taken as long, but I decided to be brave and go without one. I altered the project by using multicolored paperclips and adding “crystals” – because you can’t have a chandelier without crystals! I eyeballed the size I needed, made the wire hoops, and started linking the paperclips in a triangle/diamond pattern. The hubs came home to a colorful surprise – and he really likes it. Which is good, considering it’s above the desk he uses in the kitchen. Since I already had the steel wire, this project cost me less than $2 in paperclips; well worth the investment.

This is the third and final of the first group of top 3 projects I picked last month. I’m so excited to finish the list and move on to new craft projects! Next Monday, I’ll list my next 3 projects to complete.

What are your top 3 project picks?

Share the Love,

Chelsea

2 Comments

Filed under Make It Monday