Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Link Round Up

The holiday death spiral is now in full swing so I'm not sure if I'll have much time for crafting, but if I do, you know I'll be posting about it here!

Here are a few holiday projects that have piqued my interest-

Stuff for Kids

Life Size Ginger Bread Playhouse
Snow Globes
Snow Globe Soap
Button Wreath Ornaments 
Rudolph Ornaments
Pom Pom Ball Ornaments
Sparkle Stars
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Coloring Page


Glitter Houses
Paper Evergreens
Stiffened Doilies
Peppermint Cupcake Tower
Felt Poinsettia Bloom
Candy Stick Vase
Christmas Wish Can
Holiday Handprint Pillow
Mod Podge Trees
Jingle On Printable
Hipster Nutcracker Papercraft
German Elves and Tree Papercraft Set

Advent Calendars

Matchbox Advent Calendar 
Quilted Advent Calendar
Little Birdie Advent Calendar 
25 Storybook Surprises
Paper Bag Advent Calendar 
Book Page Advent Calendar 
Countdown Blocks 
Christmas Countdown Subway Art 


Scrolled Paper Ornaments
Wire Snowflakes
Woven Star Ornaments from Old Book Pages

Handmade Gifts

For Grown Ups-
Travel Organizer
Sewing Caddy
Picnic Blanket Tote
Sun Jars

For Kids-
Art Bag
Monster Dolls
I Spy Bag
Rocket Man
Lunch Money Cuff
Hair Pretty Organizer
Felt Food
Shape Matching Game 

For Babies-
Fold Up & Snap Bib
Leg Warmers

Creative Gift Wrap

Felt Tree Bottle Cover
Holiday Cookie Mailing Tubes
5 Minute Bread Bag

Festive Food

Christmas Cake Pops
Christmas Morning Casserole
Homemade Cool Whip
Healthier Spinach Dip
Apple Cranberry Cider

Other Fun Things

Holiday Gift List
Christmas Planner

Hope my round up gives you some inspiration!

The Craftapus

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Crafts- Paper Turkeys and A Quick Link Round Up

A friend of mine posted about these on her facebook page and I just had to share them!

You can download the .pdf here and make your own!

Here are a few more fun projects that I've found around the interwebs, hope they inspire you!

Free Thanksgiving Party Printable Package
Give Thanks Banner
Paper Mayflower
Harvest Block Candle Holders
Gratitude Tree
Classic Turkey Hand Prints 
Fall Coloring Page
Pumpkin Pancakes with Caramel Syrup
Turkey Cheese Ball

  Happy Thanksgiving!

I also wanted to take a moment to plug one of my favorite charities, Farm Sanctuary and their Adopt-A-Turkey program. My family adopts a turkey every year and has for nearly a decade. So, if you care about animals, please take a look at their site for more info about having a compassionate thanksgiving.

The Craftapus

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Guest Blogger Post- Halloween Felt Book with the Thoughtful Mother!

 Heather Thalwitzer, author of the blog Thoughtful Mothering (currently on an unintended hiatus) would love to share her Halloween creation with Craftapus readers. Heather got inspired to make a felt Halloween book originally from a Facebook posting by Craftapus author, Sarah Boye. Heather is passionate about raising a compassionate & caring son, natural foods, Florida's habitats, & she loves all animals.

Tons of Eco-felt (bought at Joanne, etc..)
Hot glue (prefer it for crafting- very nontoxic for the littles.)
Some yarn (found a 99 cent bundle at Joannes)
A thick "yarn needle" - for binding the book
Good scissors
Pen, paper, ideas

I wanted to create an original (not mass produced), sugar-free Halloween treat for my son. When I saw the idea for this this book, I immediately came-up with a way that I could make it. I'm not really a sophisticated crafter, so warning to the elite- it requires lots of hot glue.

 First I came up with scene ideas for the pages. Then I drew out what I thought I couldn't free-hand cut from the felt. For example, the witch, the ghosts, the haunted house, the bats, the smaller jack o lantern, the largest spider, etc... were all drawn on paper first. I placed the paper on top of the felt and cut both at once with a really good pair of crafting Friskers scissors. 

Some of it I just cut- the largest jack o lantern, the small spiders, the fall leaves, eventually some bats, and some of the monsters.

Once I had a whole page cut out, I'd arrange it on a piece of felt and hot glue all the pieces once I was happy with the arrangement.

All scenes were original ideas, with some inspiration from google image searches for a few things (monster, haunted house, fall leaves.) 

I would love to add to the book next year or even make another. I wanted to make a skeleton in a graveyard scene with a spooky tree. My son loves guitars, so I was going to give all the skeletons guitars. Each time I tried drawing a skeleton on paper, however, I was not happy with the results. Too intimidating for now.

Have a safe & happy Halloween, happy crafting, & thanks for the opportunity to guest post.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zombie Pumpkin Display


I've had this little shoebox full of awesome (those would be Attack of the Living Dead figures by the way) tucked away for a while now waiting for an equally awesome craft project and well, I finally got off my tuchas and did something with it!

I started with a funkin (that's a fake pumpkin for those of you not in the know) that I scored for an extra discount since it was damaged (yay pre-Halloween clearance!).

I drew where I wanted to cut (around the damage) my opening for my scene and carved away. It's times like this I had better knives...or at least a real pumpkin carving kit.

Once it was all cut up I had to do a lot of cleanup. Funkin dust EVERYWHERE!

At this point I painted it black with acrylic paint and let it dry. Since the inside of this funkin had a gloss to it, the paint didn't stick well and I got this really great crackled effect. Not what I was going for, but perfect none the less!

Once it was dry I put a layer of spanish moss in the bottom, placed my figures (with a bit of glue), added a couple battery operated tea lights for illumination and finished it off with a few fake maggots.

In the words of Mr. Craftapus;
"Mrs. Craftapus, your pumpkin is really freaking creepy. I hope you're happy."
 ...why yes, yes I am.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I ran out of my typical HFCS laden chocolate syrup and decided to make my own. So, far I'm very pleased with the results, though I sense I will be tweaking the next batch. I found this recipe to be a little too "dark" tasting and not quite as sweet as I'm used to. Those of you that are fans of dark chocolate would probably love this syrup though!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup 

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (stay tuned for a post on making that yourself next month!)
dash of salt

Combine the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat; whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir the vanilla into the sauce. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until serving. 

I stored mine in an old syrup squeeze bottle.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Countdown Calender

This is the first year I'm really able to start holiday traditions in my family. Baby Craftapus is finally old enough to start participating and having our own home makes us proud to be able to decorate and totally get into the holidays. 

I picked up this Halloween countdown calender at Target a few years ago on super clearance and starting at the beginning of October, Baby Craftapus has been getting special treats every morning.

This particular countdown calender has tiny little doors to stash your treats, but you can buy or make a variety of different types. Here's a great tutorial for a Pottery Barn style hanging calender.

Baby Craftapus's countdown calender has lot of different types of treats as of course, I didn't want her to get bored! Most days have a cute Halloween themed sticker, a few days have candy (that I only give her a tiny taste of), there are little slips of paper with activities (story time at Barnes & Noble, pumpkin patch photo shoot, trick or treating, etc) and there are also Halloween dollars (I just printed these out) that she uses to buy various items from the "magic" hall closet. So far, she's bought a board book, her costume, a matching costume for her Build a Bear kitty, a witch My Little Pony (her first MLP *sniff sniff*) and her last dollar will be used to buy a pack a glow bracelets to wear while trick or treating.

Some might call this overkill, but seeing her face light up every morning when she wakes up, remembers the calender, runs to it pointing and saying "that that that" over and over again is just priceless to me. I plan to come up with something similar for December as well.

The Craftapus

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Craftapus's Costume Timeline

Sydney's post inspired me to dig through old pictures of my past costumes. The vast majority of mine are not handmade, but thrown together with a heavy application of zombie make up. Hopefully, you'll get some more ideas!


I believe this is from 1998. I put goth in quotes because I realize that this totally doesn't qualify as "goth"...but whatever, I think it was pretty cute. Also, looking at these pictures make me want to pierce my nose. Oh, and I have no idea what's going on with my arm, but apparently I thought that was sassy or something because every single picture I have in this costume has me doing that pose. 

Ft. Lauderdale Renaissance Faire

My mom and I made this using a standard pattern (can't find a link, sorry!) and the crown of flowers is just made with craft store fakes. P.S. That's not all my own hair. 

"Dead" and Mr. Craftapus as "A Box"

One of my favorite childhood costumes was "dead" where I "killed" myself in as many possible ways as I could think of (gun shot to the head, vampire bites, tire marks on my shirt, I believe I was carrying a phone around since Scream came out that year, ect). Almost every one of the neighbors took pictures of me because they were so impressed/horrified. Unfortunately, I don't think we got a picture of our own. So, this costume was an attempt to recreate my former glory. This time I was only "dead" of one cause, the slit throat, which is a store bought prosthetic with gel blood (check out this video for more info on the different types of fake blood), a good coat of pallor and various decomposition going on thanks to stage make up and to finish off the look, a prosthetic rat that has chewed his way through my throat. This was the first costume to horrify Mr. Craftapus. He hates looking at me in zombie garb and I delight in watching him squirm. 
His costume that year was a box. Seriously. He cut holes in a box, wrote "I am a box" on it and won the costume contest. Life isn't fair sometimes and Mr. Craftapus proves it. 

Zombie Runner

This was for my second zombie walk. I don't seem to have pictures from the first. Anyway, I was a runner who apparently didn't think through her cause of death, but stole someone's intestines to snack on. I made a batch of fake blood for this one with corn syrup and food coloring (instructions here) and the intestines were made with old pantyhose stuffed with fiber fill and soaked with "blood". My eyes have been photoshopped by the way, I didn't have white out contacts (that would have been awesome, but alas, those things are pricey!).

Sarasota Medieval Faire

This one was a slap together job for me. I had been making a historically accurate costume (based on this) but I totally failed at it and this was plan b. The chemise actually worked out, so I have that on (yay, something I sewed worked!) with a store bought corset (not a real corset, just a stretchy, zip up top) and a jersey skirt that I made super quickly the day before. I was pretty disappointed in this one since it was so far from what I imagined.
Mr. Craftapus looks good. I made him those trousers and the tunic with the assistance of my mom (and this pattern) for our first Ren Faire with costume boots and a thirft store coat that he will still totally wear with his everyday clothing if the weather is right. When he does, people talk to him like he's a pirate and he's all "what's wrong with those crazy people?!" and it makes me smile.

Zombie Frumpy Housewife and Zombie Vegetarian

This was for our third zombie walk. This was my first experiment with alcohol activated stage makeup. It's apparently what they use for zombie movies. You mix a solid palette with rubbing alcohol and paint it on. Let me tell you...pain in the butt to get off. But it did last quite a while, so it has it's positives. The prosthetic wounds I created myself with toilet paper and liquid latex (instructions here). The blood here was made with chocolate syrup and food coloring because I found that it's way more pleasant. This trip we made several bottles full to take with us and were very popular on the walk for being able to refill everyone's blood supply. 
Mr. Craftapus wanted to be a vegetarian zombie. He's very resistant to zombie things, so I was only able to do minimal makeup and no prosthetics. I was going to make him green blood and have him carry a head of lettuce, but it just didn't happen for some reason.

There you go! Some of my costumes through the years! 

The Craftapus

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guest Blogger Post- Costumes Galore from Sew Nerdy!

Need some costume inspiration this year? Well, look no further than Craftapus's newest (and first!) guest blogger, Sydney MacDonald (aka Sew Nerdy) for tons of fantastic ideas! Sydney is quite the seamstress, true blue nerd and one of The Craftapus's very bestest friends. Below you'll find a round up of costume's she has made for herself and her family with details about each costume. I do hope you'll enjoy!

The Craftapus

Hi! Sydney here! I spent a lot of time on these costumes which were mostly for cons, but also for the best holiday of all, Halloween! Please keep in mind that I didn't use patterns for any of these costumes, so don't judge me too harshly for the lack of perfection!

Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride was my first *real* costume experience. The wig was handmade by my husband and I. We sewed strips of yarn into a bald cap. The head piece was fake flowers woven together and painted, veil is just a scrap of sheer fabric I had. The corset was bought, but modified with beads, taken in, and had extra padding (because not all of us are built like a comic book!). The skirt was fun. I took a long piece of fabric, and folded the short side into the long side, making a lopsided funnel shape. Putting this on, I adjusted it to my waist, and double stick tapped the seams. It became an instant train! Very easily done.


My skirt was made from a random couch cover I had. The fabric had an insert for the arm rest, which made a perfect train. Just added the front mini skirt, and lace. Gun Holster was made from pleather, and I used white pleather to put a pleated border on the thigh strap. Lace Fingerless gloves as well. Jacket was store bought, but altered. Used an old suede jacket for my husband's costume. Just sewed on patches on the neck and elbows. Used suspenders to support the Lego.

Pregnant Padme Amidala (Star Wars)

My mom and I worked on this costume. I was roughly 8 months pregnant. The pants I found at Ross, the Shoes at Payless. My mom had a Maternity pattern she modified to fit the style of the shirt. The sleeves I made. It was a stretchy fabric, so I only needed to make it tight enough to stay on. We found a great embroidery shop near us, and the man there did the Insignia on the sleeve. The "support strap" was more difficult. I used pleather and sewed the sides together, inside out. Then turned it out. Eventually I figured a way to use velcro to hold it all together.

The 2nd is Barriss Offee (Star Wars)

This is a great example of an easy cape. The only sewing involved was right at the neck, connecting the hood. This was done by hand. I took two large triangles, (the length of the cape) and used double stick tape to hold them together. Hemmed with double stick tape. For the hood, cut a square out of fabric folded in half. Open the fabric, and sew to the cape. It's very easy. Took me about 3 hours total. Double stick on all the hems. This cape is about 5 years old, and holding together fine.

Mirax Terrik, Simon as Boba Fett (Star Wars)

This is my husband's and mine work. The costume I'm wearing was mostly found items. But the gun holster was made by me. I also re purposed a few items for this. Mainly the belt, which was from another costume.

The back of the jacket is in the next picture, hand painted. I just drew the design onto the jacket with a pencil, filled in with general Acrylic paint.
My husband's costume is a Dickies jumpsuit (bought from an outlet). I made a lot of additions to it- pockets, etc. The Spats for the shoes are actually attached to the pants for ease. The shoes were painted with black stripes The cape was sewn just as a square, and then cinched to stay right at his one shoulder, it's tied on with embroidery thread. We then scrapped it on the ground, burned and cut it to get the look of age. All the Lego is held on with Velcro! Just sewed the velcro to the fabric, and then glued the other side of the Velcro to the Lego. All non fabric components are Lego.


My husband made the whole thing out of Lego. The shirt I made with a stretchy vinyl, and vest made as well. Added some extra padding for the Lego chest plate to sit comfortably on his shoulders.

Avalon as Max Rebo (Star Wars)

No idea why this picture won't orientate properly...sorry!
 Max Rebo is an elephant like character. I bought two of the same pajama set. Cut the legs off one for a trunk, and attached it to her pacifier. The hat was a simple skull cap style, just added the ears and buttons for eyes. I used my old Boppy, and sewed a cover for it out of a pillow case. Dyed the cover with tea to look brass like. Then painted on the keys, for his wrap around organ.

Avalon as Princess Leia (Star Wars)

My daughter's second Halloween costume. I found an angel costume on sale for $5, which is cheaper than I could buy the fabric for. I cut off the solid white sleeves, the collar, and some accents that were sewn into the dress. Added the sheer sleeves. Sleeves can be tricky. Once I have then cut out and sewn, it always takes me some time to remember how I sew them in. What I recommend is to pin them first, turn the garment right side out and make sure it's correct. I added the silver belt. No one could recognize the costume when I was done with it.

Avalon as Cindel Towanni (Star Wars)

Another of my Daughter's costumes. The pants are store bought. The under shirt is some left over fabric I had (always keep extra fabric!). I sewed it too small (me and math don't go together well), so added in a gap in the front, with a flap to close. Long sleeves, high neck. I worked with the selvage on the fabric, so the bottom of the shirt has a frayed look without having to do the work. The poncho is made from felt. Very easy to sew and work with. It doesn't fray, so no need for hemming. The straps are ribbon that closely resembles leather, and I bought a leather pouch from a thrift store.

Thanks for looking!
Sydney (Sew Nerdy)

P.S. You can check out more of my husband, Simon MacDonald's LEGO creations here.

Spooky Garland

Another project completed! Inspired by this post, here's my tutorial-

What you'll need-
*Halloween garland template from Paper Crave printed
*Black cardstock
*Craft knife
*Black thread

This one is easy peasy, just takes a little time and patience. Print out the template. I did one set in standard size and one in half size so I could have a little variety in my garland.

Then cut out the shapes on the template (I wish I had some white cardstock I could have printed the template on, it would have made cutting it out much easier).

Trace the template shapes onto your cardstock and cute those pieces out. This is a bit tedious and definitely makes me wish I could afford a Silhouette SD.

Once you have your pieces all cut, arrange them in a pattern that pleases you and tape them to long strands of thread. (p.s. See those fang shapes? I got those from cutting out the bats! The Craftapus never wastes a good fang!)

I made a strip of cardstock (taped together) to tape the finished strands to. Then, simply hang and enjoy!

Now, I just have to do it all over again for the kitchen window so my OCD doesn't keep me up at night!

The Craftapus

Cheesecloth Ghosts

I finally finished a project! At the moment, this is quite the accomplishment as I mentioned life is nuts right now. Anyway, I present to you; cheesecloth ghosts!

I followed Martha's tutorial but deviated slightly. I couldn't find liquid starch so I went with Stiffy fabric stiffener and water. I also gave them a coat of clear spray paint for added durability, a sprinkle of glitter for added effect and I strung them so they could be hung from my magnolia tree.

Here is a photo tutorial of my process-

What you'll need-
*1 package (3 yards) of cheesecloth ($5.99 at my craft store, I used a coupon so mine was only $3.60)
*Stiffy fabric stiffener (also $5.99 at my craft store, again used a coupon so it was only $3.60)
*Paper towel/toilet paper tubes
*Craft wire (I think I used 22 gauge, just what I had on hand)
*Aluminum foil
*Clear spray paint (optional)
*Iridescent glitter (optional)

To start I made the forms by following Martha's tute-
"Build a mold for the body first. Cut several 1/2-inch-deep slits into one end of a cardboard cylinder, such as paper-towel tube; fan flaps out and tape to work surface so tube stands upright.
Near top of tube, make a small hole on each side; push a wire (of about the same length as the cylinder) through holes. Bend wire into outstretched arms. Top cylinder with a crumpled aluminum-foil ball, for the head."

 Next I cut the cheesecloth into strips. No special dimensions, just strips.

Mix 1 cup of the fabric stiffener with 1 cup of water in a large bowl or dish. Then dip each strip in the mixture and squeeze out the excess. I found that the cheesecloth went into strings when wet and the best way to open it back up was to lay it flat on my work surface and starting at one end, spread it back open.

Then lay your moistened strip onto the form in a random way to create your ghost.

 Repeat the above steps until your ghost is as covered as you like. I went with a very airy look personally. 

I was able to get 3 small ghosts and 1 large ghosts out of my one package of cheesecloth. I still have lots of fabric stiffener though, so if I can find some cheap muslin or other sheer fabric I may make more.

After they were dry I gave them a few coats with some clear spray paint to help them last since I intend to hang them outside. You can totally skip this step if you're using them inside. In between coats I sprinkled on some iridescent glitter to add a bit of sparkle. Once that coat was dry I used a regular needle and thread to add a loop at the top to hang them by.

Once we get our lights up, I'll be sure to get a picture of them all hanging in the tree out front.

So, there you have it. For $7.20 I made 4 adorable little ghosts that will be in our Halloween decor for years to come! 

The Craftapus