Design team member of Alpha Stamps, moderator at Craftster, lover of ephemera and junk.

Welcome! Grab a cold one, kick off your shoes, and have a look around.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tiny Haunted House, with Tombstone Tutorial

I love the new Tealight Haunted House Kit from Alpha Stamps, and am really excited about how my final project turned out. The kit comes with a chipboard house, a 6"x 6" base, four tombstones, and a run of rickety fencing. It's so fun to construct and decorate. Beware! I took a ton of pictures.

I covered the sides of the house with a wood plank scrapbook paper, and the roofs with spiderwebs. Dresden trim accents the roof lines. 

The "stone" path in the front is cut from a cardboard egg carton. It's got the perfect texture for pavers.

Tombstones litter the front yard. The kit comes with four; I chose to use three. Buried in the front yard are "Al B. Bach" and "Ima Goner". Sadly, no one knows who lies beneath the cross. I have created a tutorial for how I made the tombstones, and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

The windows in this little house are actually thin sheets of mica. Here in the front,  I put the image of the child behind the mica, so it looks like she's inside. The pumpkin is in front of the mica so it looks like it's outside, sitting on the windowsill.

I used mica in the window because the house is designed to accommodate a tea light. When it's dark, you can light it up and it looks so spooky!

Here you can see the back of the house. I wanted the inside to be as light as possible when the tea light is lit, so I did not paint the walls or floor. You can also see all the mica in the windows. Believe it or not, it's really easy to cut the mica to size with just a regular pair of scissors. (But not your good paper cutting scissors; use the cheap pair!) I used a little white glue to adhere the mica to the back of the house.

The tree is made from a branch of an azalea bush. Perfect! I punched a little hole in the base and just fed the bottom of the branch in. The crow sitting in that tree used to be a bluejay. I filed down the tuft on his head and painted him black. He prefers life as a crow.

Next to the door are a couple of tiny pumpkins and a skull.  Although the house is designed with three windows across the front, I decided to include a door. It's just a piece of painted cardboard, with a window cut into it so the light can shine through. The doorknob is a brad.

The sides of the house are solid. I used some window frames backed with mica to make it look like there were windows there.

I had so much fun making this haunted house! I love that it looks good both in the daytime and at night.
For a complete list of supplies I used, click here! And now, the tombstone tutorial:

(I put together this tutorial after this house was complete, so these are not the tombstones seen above. The tombstones shown here are larger and from another set, but the same process was used.)
Items needed:
Chipboard tombstones
Ratty old paintbrush
Black, white, and grey paint
Straight edge (optional)
Very fine black pen. I used .1 and .05 Copic Multiliner pens (above)
N4 Grey Copic Marker (not shown above)

Dip your paintbrush into each of your three colors and dab it onto the tombstone at random. It's best to use an old stiff brush that's pretty wrecked already.

Keep dabbing on the mixed paints until you are happy with the results. Once I get the mottled look I like, I often dip the brush in just the white paint for some contrast.

Make sure you also paint the back and sides of each piece. If you're making a little graveyard, it's nice if some of the stones are lighter than the others.

Using a straight edge and a .1 black pen, draw thin lines to give the tombstone a 3D effect. If you have a steady hand (or you need to go around a curve, like the stone at top below, just freehand it.)

Use the .05 pen to draw tiny cracks in the tombstones. I also used a grey Copic marker (N4) to give some shadows and dimension. For the tombstones in the haunted house project above, I hand lettered the gravestones, but for these two, I found some odd bits of rub on type that added detail. Either way works great. Now that I've got some new tombstones to play with, I need to do another Halloween project. Hmm....
For a complete list of supplies I used in the Haunted house, click here, and for the set of tombstones used in the tutorial, click here. Happy haunting!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Witch, Please!

I was poking around an antique mall with friends a few weekends ago, when I came upon an old photo that just spoke to me. It was a photo of four women, and the two ladies on the ends happened to have pretty creepy eyes. With Halloween approaching, I knew I just had to make them into a small coven of witches. I trimmed the cardboard the photo was mounted on and added a border made from Dazzles thin line stickers.  The two creepiest ladies each received a nice broomstick, and all were adorned with witch hats. I added a few dark black "buttons", and one skully badge.

Usually, I would scan a photo like this and use the reproduction, but I do feel that using the original photo makes a much better result. It's a little scary gluing things down when it's a one of a kind, but the result is definitely worth it. Here, I enlarged it for you so you can see those eyes, especially on that witch on the left. She's definitely working on a spell.

Stay spooky!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Haunted Halloween Surprise Box

I don't know about you, but if someone gave me a beautifully wrapped little gift that had a tag proclaiming it "haunted", I might think twice about opening it up. It's so tempting, though. I do love Halloween, and look how fun that bow is...

But beware! This is not an ordinary box, it's an exploding box straight from Alpha Stamps. Once you lift the lid, the sides of the box slowly open, and you see exactly what's doing the haunting.

Yikes! It appears to be a forgotten cemetery, and one of the grave's occupants seems to be clawing his way up from underground. I cut those hands off of an unfortunate plastic skeleton.

The chipboard tombstones were painted in mottled black, grey and white acrylic paints, and then embellishments were added: a silver medal flower on the cross, some rub on scrolly lines and a painted RIP on the rounded stone, and a silver skull charm, also painted, on the pointed headstone. Some tiny bats, cut out of a chipboard border, fly overhead. A spooky skull has also made an appearance.

There are also a few pumpkins in the graveyard. The two in the back help stabilize the chipboard fence. The flap of the box with the night sky on it is supported in the back by some clay so it remains upright when the box is opened. I added a faux orange side behind it for symmetry.

Would you open it? Happy haunting! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Teeny Tiny Halloween Shriney (x 3!)

It's the most wonderful time of the year: college football, and Halloween crafting. Yay! Today I present to you three out of the five adorable mini Halloween shrines just released from Alpha Stamps. The opening of each one measures just 2" by 2". The tallest one shown below is a little less than 6" tall. So cute! Here's what I did with mine...

For the Raven October Shrine, I painted the front with acrylics, and gave the raven a witch hat and a red rhinestone eye. The interior is lined with a very dark paper (with bats!) that is pretty much impossible to photograph due to the depth of the box. Please use your imagination.  Three tiny trick or treaters stand on a bed of moss and select from the available pumpkins. I considered printing out the "pumpkin patch" sign, but every pumpkin patch I've ever been to seems to sport a crudely painted sign, so I hand painted the sign in the interest of historical accuracy. Rickrack covers the tabs that show on the front when the box is assembled.

I love the orange polka dot paper that I used on the sides so much that I used it on all three of the shrines.

Here's a slightly better view of the inside.

I considered painting details on the top part of the Haunted House Shrine, but once I painted the back black, I really liked the plain silhouette, so I painted the front plain black as well. This shrine was lined with a dark purple paper with a bed of moss on the floor. A full moon smiles at a black bat, as two little black rats explore the graveyard. Black and white baker's twine hides the tabs on this one.

There's that orange polka dot paper again!

The interior. The rats were actually tiny white mice, but a little black paint made them look more sinister and rat like.

And, the cat. I gotta be honest: I am not a cat lover by any means. However, there was something about this cat that I just couldn't resist. This shrine is similar to the others, so it comes with the 2" by 2" square opening, but I gave my kitty a mouth. And teeth. I cut a piece of shirt cardboard just big enough to attach to the front, and painted a nose and mouth. Once the paint dried, I cut out the interior of the mouth, and it was the perfect size to catch a big ole black rat. The cat looked so happy, that I felt it needed a Halloween party hat.

And yes, the cat got the orange paper sides as well. Kitty better watch out, or that rat's going to get away!

There are two other shrines in this set: a cat sitting on a pumpkin, and a cat in front of a full moon. I might get around to constructing those soon, but I'm working on a different Halloween project for next week first. Meanwhile, if you want to make some of these tiny shrines, click here for a complete supply list.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Another ATC Mailer, now with bees!

I had so much fun with the Mermaid Mailer I just did, that I had to try another one with a different theme. This one is all about the bees, with a butterfly and some rogue ladybugs thrown in for fun. For this mailer, I chose to embrace the brown of the cardboard and use it as part of the design. I had a great black and white ribbon, and used it to keep the mailer closed instead of the tab and slot in the back. A couple of great charms are wired to the ribbon, and a specimen tag is tucked up under the bow. The ribbon slides off for easy opening; no need to untie!

On this photo of the back, you can see here how the flap is just folded down and held in place with the ribbon. The butterfly is attached to the ribbon with a thin strip of double sided tape. I like the natural color of the envelope showing; it really accentuates the nice curves of the flap.

Let's open it up and see the ATC. The inside is decorated with more bees, a friendly fairy with a lucky four leaf clover, and a loveliness of ladybugs (yes, that is the real name for a group of them!)

It's easy to remove the card to add it to your collection.

But wait, there's more! The lucky fairy is actually standing on a craft paper envelope, perfect for holding a surprise ATC. I added a tab to the edge, so it's easy to remove.

There you go. Let's put it all back together and give it to a friend.

 For a complete list of supplies, click here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mermaid ATC Mailer

Alpha Stamps just came out with a fun new ATC mailer, and because we're still in the heat of summer, I decided a mermaid theme would be appropriate. I used some great beachy papers from the Authentique Sea-Maidens 6" x 6" paper pad. I love that these papers include one of my favorite color combinations: turquoise and red! In the collection, there's a great paper that looks like weathered painted boards. I used that on the outside of the mailer.

The collaged area is what shows when the mailer is folded up. This mermaid has found a treasure under the sea: a lovely starfish charm!

Here's the back of the mailer, folded up and ready to go.

When you open the mailer, here's what you find inside - whimsical colorful bubbles, and a mermaid ATC securely inserted into the mailer.

It's easy to pull the ATC out for further inspection.

Here are a few tips on working with the mailer. If you want to cover the mailer with decorative paper like I did, you're really not going to want to cover the folds as the extra paper there will make things too bulky. Therefore, before I added the papers, I painted the folds and cut the papers to fit just within the insides of the folds.

I did want to use the precut flaps to hold the ATC inside, but I didn't want any cuts on the mailer's front surface, so after the inside was covered with the bubble paper, I flipped the mailer over and used an x-acto knife to cut the flaps through the paper on the other side. In the photo below, notice that the folds are painted and the mermaid collage is not yet in place; it was glued on after these cuts to the inside were made.

Now to glue on the front. It's important to not glue the front collage to the flaps. If you do that, they won't flip open to hold your ATC! I inserted a playing card to keep the flaps covered and protected while gluing. I also opted to use some strong double stick taps around the edges, in the middle, and along each flap. This will help hold down that collage. I used a glue stick to fill in the spaces between the tape. Not on those flaps, though - keep them clean! Once the collage is in place, gently remove the playing card and make sure that the flaps are able to open. The ATC will now have a happy home within the mailer.

Now finish that front and give an ATC to a friend!

For a complete list of supplies, click here!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Scary Fairy for Halloween

Just did another swap on, and my partner had the cutest fairies on her Pinterest board. Since the swap was "Halloween in June", I thought I'd attempt a similar fairy, dressed for Halloween.

Her face, hands and feet are paperclay, and her body and arms are made with pipe cleaners. She's holding a scepter that's actually a vintage cupcake pick. But that face!

Her legs are a little spindly, so she demanded a chair. Luckily, I had one that was the perfect size.

She loves to lounge in that chair.

She's a wee thing, and hard to catch, but if you're very, very patient...
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