10/22/21

France

I mentioned that I didn't enter Trevor's Raptors in the GHOST Acrostic Challenge, so obviously I have to show you what I did enter in that challenge. 


This page documents the day Trevor and I spent exploring La Havre, France. G is for grid, H is for heart, O is for one-word title, S is for stickers, and T is for trim. Or tag. GHOST is actually a pretty easy acrostic for scrapbooking. 

With this page done, I only have a single layout left for our 2019 Europe trip. I'll share that next week. 

10/21/21

Trevor's Raptors

Last weekend, I participated in an online crop with Victoria Marie Designs. The theme was Crafty Mysteries and everything was Halloween-inspired. I love Halloween, but I'm up to date with my Halloween scrapping (until the 31st when I take new photos). So I had to make the challenges work for the photos I had. Fortunately, Victoria is very flexible when it comes to what counts for her challenges! 

The first page I completed was this:


Trevor has always loved birds of all kinds (second only to rabbits). When he was young, my mom had him select a bird to adopt from the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. Since then, it's become a tradition for him to select a different species the following year. The adoption packet includes a poster of the raptor-in-residence, which Trevor hangs in his bedroom. I scanned the posters, used PicMonkey to put group pairs on a 4"x6" print, then cut them apart to make the layout. 

I'd originally intended submit this layout to the GHOST Acrostic Challenge (G is for green, H is for heart, O is for owl, S is for stripes, and T is for tiny title), but I ended up making a different GHOST layout. So this one is now entered in the Traditions Challenge. I'm really happy with the finished page. 

10/20/21

Dracula Smores

Smores aren't just for summer. Nor are they just for camping. They are just as appropriate indoors for Halloween. Evidence: 


I had so much fun making these! They came out exactly how I'd hoped. Affiliate links and cooking suggestions below. 



Dracula Smores


Materials:


Steps: 


Prepare the Candy Melts according to the package directions. You'll need about 1.5 discs per finished smore. (I used 8 discs for 6 smores and it was just right.)

Dip the top of each marshmallow into the melted candy, then turn it to allow the candy to start to drip down one side to make Dracula's famous widow's peak. Stop the dripping by turning it upside down again. Within 20 seconds or so, it will firm up enough not to drip anymore. 


Use a toothpick to dab a small amount of melted candy to the back of the candy eyeballs and place them on the face. The dip the end of the toothpick in candy and press it to the marshmallow, just above the eyes, to make the eyebrows.


Use the toothpick to make a tiny dot for the nose and attach a white heart sprinkle. Draw a melted candy mouth with the toothpick and attach two heart sprinkles to make the fangs. I had to warm up the melted candy halfway through making my six Draculas. 

Place the Draculas on top of graham cracker halves. You can put a dollop of melted candy down first if you want them to stay in place. I didn't, because I wanted to experiment with cooking my smores. 



Experiment 1: Microwave. 

I set one smore on a plate and put it into the oven for 45 seconds at 50% power. As expected, it puffed up huge. I didn't not expect the eyeballs to pop off, nor for the face to basically melt away. 


Verdict: Quick, and easy, but with no browning it's missing most of what's good about smores. Not to mention, the end result is decidedly not adorable.  2/10


Experiment 2: Stovetop.

I poked a skewer into a Dracula and heated it over the stovetop, attempting to get a perfectly-golden toast while not letting anything drip or drop into the stove and make a huge mess.


Verdict: Not as quick and easy as the microwave, and definitely less safe. The eyes slid a bit despite my efforts to keep that side up. The back of the marshmallow got some nice browning and I was able to get some gooey melting going on.  5/10


Experiment 3: Toaster Oven. 

I must have been feeling confident, because I put two smores on foil into the toaster oven with the setting on TOAST. Within 30 seconds, their eyes started sliding downhill and their tops were bubbling...


... so I took them out, laid them on their backs, and put the eyeballs back where they belonged. Then I slid them back into the toaster oven. 


When their faces had a decent tan, I took them out and set them back up on their graham crackers. 


Verdict: This took more effort than the other methods, but it yielded the best browning and melting. I was concerned that the hair was burnt, but it wasn't. It tasted like the sugar on top of creme brulee and was nice and crackly. Yum! I think if I'd used white candy melts to attach the eyeballs, it wouldn't be as obvious that they're drooping in the finished Dracula. Next time.  7/10

Enjoy!

10/19/21

Frankenstein Hand

I loved my witch hand so much that I thought about making enough to link them together for a banner. Later, I realized it would be more fun to have a banner with a bunch of different Halloween hands. I'm not sure how many I'll eventually do, but for now I have one more: Frankenstein! (Technically, Frankenstein's monster, but whatever.) 



Frankenstein Hand


Materials:

  • cardstock (light green, cream)
  • microtip scissors
  • colored pencils
  • craft glue


Steps:


Trace your hand onto the light green cardstock. Cut out the hand, then snip off the last 1/4" of each fingertip. Round just the corners of the snipped-off fingers. Use green and grey colored pencils to add knuckle lines and shadows, then shade in the hand.  

Cut five tiny rectangles from cream cardstock. Each should be the width of one of your fingernails, but much shorter. Shade them with grey, cream, and brown to look like old, diseased fingernails. 


As an aside, if you've been following my colored pencil journey, you know that I'm eager to try out what I've been learning. When I was cleaning up after finishing my pencil inventory, I found an unopened package with a Derwent burnisher and blender (affiliate link) in with my pastels and charcoal pencils. I have no idea when I got them. I tried both on the Frankenstein hand to get a feel for them. 


You don't need to do this for your Frankenstein hand. But you can. 

Use a dark grey to draw knuckle lines and a row of stitches. I have no idea if Frankenstein's (monster's) hands are stitched on versus already attached to 'donor' arms, but I like the look. It makes it more Frankenstein ('s monster) than random ogre.

Finally, glue the fingernails in place. 


I'm excited to start working on my next Halloween hand. So many ideas... I'm not sure which to do next. 


10/18/21

Coloring State Butterflies

Fun fact: 48 of the 50 states have an official state insect. (The two that don't are Iowa and Michigan.) Some states have named more than one state insect, where others have multiple categories of insects. For example, Alabama has a state insect, a state agricultural insect, and a state butterfly. (Oddly, their state insect is a butterfly, but they named a different butterfly as their state butterfly.) Delaware has a state bug, a state butterfly, and a state macroinvertebrate. Tennessee has the most, having designated two official state insects, a state agricultural insect, and a state butterfly.  

It's the butterflies that I'm focusing on today. 

There are 29 states with either a state butterfly or state insect that's a butterfly. Seven are monarchs, and one is a Mullerian mimic to a monarch. I've made a couple of monarch crafts fairly recently, so I wanted to focus on some of the other state butterflies. And, of course, I've been working obsessively with colored pencils lately, so that's what I used. 

Here are the seven butterflies I made, representing: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia (Eastern tiger swallowtail); Arkansas (Diana fritillary butterfly); Florida (Zebra longwing); Maryland (Batimore checkerspot butterfly); Montana (Mourning cloak butterfly); New Hampshire (Karner blue butterfly); and Wyoming (Sheridan's green hairstreak). 


In retrospect, I made things WAY harder for myself than necessary. Rather than drawing the butterflies myself, or printing out line drawings, I used a black pen to alter an existing coloring page from a Leisure Arts coloring book (affiliate link). I went through all the state butterflies and the seven drawings on the coloring page to decide which images would work for which butterflies. Then I started blacking in the changes. It was very tedious and took much (MUCH) longer than drawing them would have. Not to mention, I was left with lines from the original designs that didn't belong. Nevertheless, I pushed on. 

Here you can see that I've begun altering the butterfly on the bottom right of the page. I'd originally started to change it into an Oregon swallowtail (which is why you see "Oregon" written above it) but I ended up making the similar Eastern tiger swallowtail. You can see in my notes that I planned to turn the butterfly directly above the sentiment into "Arkansas or Colorado." I went with Arkansas' Diana fritillary butterfly. 


Here are each of the butterflies fully colored, along with my notes. You can also see a few places where I swatched my colored pencils. 


The next step was fussy-cutting all the butterflies. That took awhile, too. 


Finally, I mounted each butterfly on white cardstock and added a typed label with the scientific name and the common name. I love the way the butterflies all look together. 



This was a challenging project that taught me a lot. Someday I might redo these (drawing them by hand instead of starting with lines that shouldn't be there) and adding in the remaining state butterflies. But it's not going to be anytime soon. I'm officially taking a butterfly break.