Welcome to my blog!
It's all about whimsy, art and Halloween!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mary England's Sparkley Self Love Book Project

My daughter-in-love, Mary England of Uncustomary Art is one of the most bubbly, wonderful women I know!  Mary is my Self Love guru!

Her life and her website are filled with contagious happiness and fun AND now she's written a book to share her secrets for self love with us - Go Mary! 

How can you help and benefit, you ask?   Fan funding through Kickstarter!

"The Kickstarter is to fund the publishing of my book on self love. The goal is $2,600. The deadline is August 12th. There are lots of rewards, and as long as you pledge $25 you'll get a copy of the book when it's out, ETA: December 2015." 


Monday, June 1, 2015

Needle Felted Sugar Skulls

These projects were a bit different than the 3D pieces I've done. The sugar skulls are low relief. so the backs won't be seen!  Yea!  Less finishing!  Also, fun fact - you don't stab your fingers nearly as much, because most of the work is done with the piece on your felting surface!

I had so much fun with this idea that I want to take it another step and do zombie portraits and Halloween skulls, masks and such!  Ooh, tikis! I LOVE tikis!  So many possibilities!

I mounted the finished pieces by gluing them into dimensional (keepsake) frames.  Then I embellished them with some Blumenthal Lansing buttons, silk flowers, gems, studs and two little ceramic heart buttons that I made a while back.

Off to more needle felting therapy!

Love and blessings


Friday, May 29, 2015

Needle Felting Therapy

I did some needle felting therapy last year.  It was exactly what I needed at a time when I couldn't bring myself to leave the house.  My chair in front of the TV was the safest place in the world!  I even went months where I just couldn't go down stairs to my studio!

Needle felting is the perfect portable craft!  It's a forgiving medium that you really can't screw up.  You can add more wool, or take some away and work it until you decide it's done.  It can be very Zen.  It is certainly healing!

I set a goal with my therapist to accomplish one project each month to keep me from going down the rabbit hole.  I decided they would be Halloween themed, because, well, to paraphrase Tim Burton - Every day is Halloween for some us! 

I took an online class to learn needle felting some years ago and this Pumpkin guy was the project.  I pulled him out to do an upcycle project.  There are so many inspiring projects like this on Pinterest!  I used a candlestick holder. wired ribbon and beads. 

Whimsy and color feed my soul, so I continued felting and upcycling and made this skully guy.

He sits on an overturned candy dish looking gloriously silly.  This wasn't wired ribbon, so I glued wire, covered with felt, on the back to help me shape it.  I love beading, too!  More color and more shine - What's not to love!

I hope that if you 're suffering in some way, you will try some creative therapy!  It really works!

Love and Blessings

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Snow Crown

So this is my boy wearing a crown-in-progress.  The Snow Crown is the only conservatively decorated crown I've made.

In the last post, I showed the various stages of Crown Making.  For this crown, I wrapped the base in cream colored sherpa fleese .
The main differences are:

    I added a row of wire swirls to attach the "peaks and valleys" profile.  There's an additional wire on top of the swirls.

     I completely wrapped exposed electrical wire in 24 gauge wire.

    The only beads are large pearl beads, iridescent clear beads and a string of aqua party beads.

Of course, it wouldn't be finished without dangles, so I bent the peaks in and added them to the inside.  I like it!

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Big Halloween Crown

This is the biggest crown I've made so far.  I took a few photos of the process to share with you so let's go!

I use copper electrical wire for crown making because it's easy to bend and forgiving enough to be straightened again.  I grab Hub's three strand roll and measure by loosely wrapping it around my head three times. Then I strip all the plastic coating off the wires and separate them.

Wrap one strand around your head three times once again and use 24 gauge wire to bind it so it doesn't slip.

Next you'll decide the profile. Will it be tall or compact?  Will it be a flourish all in front like a pageant crown, or peaks and valleys like a king's crown?

I went with tall peaks and valleys for this crown.  To make the profile, you'll take another piece of wire and start bending.  Use the whole wire for this, you can cut extra or add more as you need. Keep in mind that the peaks don't have to be the same height, you can have fun with it.

After you decide the height and spacing, use more 24 gauge wire to wrap and secure the profile to the base.  the more you wrap, the sturdier the frame will be.  Because of the size of this crown, I needed an extra piece of wire.  I doubled the number of peaks to twelve.

Use the third wire to make small scrolls and spirals (or any shape you want to fill in with) and wire them together.  Again, the more wrapping you do, the more blah blah blah. 

After all the pieces are together, you can wrap the base to cushion it.  I used black velour cut into strips to wrap it.  I've also used crocheted scarves and Sherpa fleece from old sweaters.  Choose a material that won't unravel.  secure the material with a needle and thread.  I usually sew beads on as well.

At this point I usually add beads using 24 gauge wire.  I wanted this one to be made with all dangling charms, so added tons of closed loops in the electrical wire.  I made 240+ charms.

The decorating is the fun part! I use all kinds of beads, broken jewelry, knick knacks and doo dads.  It makes any project so personal to use things that have meaning to you.  Here I've used ceramic and polymer clay beads I made and bits from my grandmother's broken jewelry collection.

Monday, January 27, 2014

UncustoMary's February Monthly Marvels

February's Monthly Marvels is here!  The theme is Productivity, and, boy howdy, it arrived just in time!  I have been in such a fog!

The kit includes a photo of the Halloween yarn bomb we did last year, an Envelop Explosion with all kinds of fun things,
a blank notebook with Infinite Potential, a note pad for your Bright Ideas, pencils and Sticky Flags, a note card and Skeleton Key and a calender with Unusual Holidays!  Sweet!

AND...a clear pack with art from Cara of Chewy Tulip!  It includes an Anthropomorphic Mail Art Project!  It's a pre-addressed, prepaid postcard with an animal head, which she invites you to embellish and send back to her!  How awesome is that!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Secret Admirer

I had a secret admirer in high school.  He was smart and funny and full of joy.

The first thing that came was a wanted poster taped to my door.  It was a drawing of me as a western outlaw. Then there were hilarious letters describing my wild west antics.  When he finally revealed himself, he would write nonsensical poems in a made up language - O Manhiem De Lo De Cookie, was one.  They were brilliant!

When he finally asked me out, it was to be a day at the park with kids from school.  Cool, athletic kids.  I was neither cool, nor athletic.  It was a lovely day and we were to play all kinds of sports. 

Yeaaaah, that was a disaster.

I was completely self centered, vapid, vacuous and soooo not into sports.  I wanted the date to be about me.  So I sat, looking as exquisitely dejected as I could possibly look.  The other kids just kept playing, occasionally giving me a desrved stink-eye.

It must have seen to him that I was bored with him, or maybe he felt like I thought I was above all the fun they were having.

After that, he called me a couple of times, just to talk.  I was oblivious to the fact that he still liked me.  Ah, well.  Sorry, Howard Gensler!  You were such a sweetheart!

Had I been less self absorbed, I might have picked up on that, but then, I would not have moved to the east coast with my parents and would never have met my wonderful husband, who saw right through my ridiculously shallow self and saw something good in me, as Howard had, that I simply could not see.   

And that, my dear Mary, is my secret admirer story!