Upcycling Workshop

Posted on October 12, 2016 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm holding a Halloween workshop at an after-four program at a local community centre and had to really put my thinking cap on to figure out what kind of projects that kids aged 6 to 8 years would enjoy. Of course, I wanted to ensure that recycling was part of the theme and when I looked through my bits and pieces I found I had a lot of stuff that could be reused.

For example, the witch hats were just made from cardboard shaped into a cone and glued to a paper plate. Then I painted the hat black.  Of course my Stephen King street find will be used to create my macabre skull garlands. Instead of pumpkins, I'm reusing my folded (in this case, rolled) books into perches for ravens and other Halloween cutouts such as witches, bats, etc.


DIY Halloween Leaf Bunting

Posted on October 3, 2016 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I had been out of town for a few days this past week and arrived back on Sunday - the day I take on the little ones in our apartment building. No time to prepare anything (you'd think I'd be more organized by now), so I took the kids out to collect what we could find along the Rideau Canal and Confederation Park. There were, fortunately, loads of pretty fall leaves that hadn't been cleaned up the parks maintenance guys, so, we took a pile home. Now what to do with these? Putting my thinking cap on, I remembered that my friend Colette, who visited me from Germany this summer, mentioning that she likes to paint leaves into miniature 'ghosts' and string them up as Halloween bunting (that's garland to you and me).

So, here's what we did:

First we painted a bunch of maple and oak leaves (back and front) using white poster paint (all I had on hand - and it's easy to clean). As each leaf dried, we added on the eyes and noses with some black paint. When all the leaves were done, we tied the leaves with twine into bunting.

By the way, I covered my table surfaces with brown paper grocery bags and they did not look as pristine as the photo above shows when we were finished.

And here's what we ended up with. Nice.

Tutorial - Workshop Wreath Making DIY

Posted on September 28, 2016 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

My Halloween workshops all went well and, if I can find the time, I will try to squeeze another one in before Halloween even though right now my mind is focusing on Christmas workshops.

Meanwhile, for those of you who couldn't come to my workshops and want to know how we did what we did, I will be posting DIYs so you can create your own versions of these Halloween decor ideas, if you're so inclined.

Halloween Wreath How To

Up first is the Halloween wreath we made. Because time was limited, we couldn't create a large wreath so I limited my materials to a paper plate as the backing for the paperback book pages.

First you will need to cut out the centre of the paper plate, then set the it aside for now. Next make the 'leaves' of the wreath.

The paperback pages were folded as shown above - sort of an S-shape and the stapled at the bottom. Make a whole pile (it's really quick) of these and then start creating the wreath.

Next, staple each of the folded page leaves to the paper plate in rows. 

When you get to the last row, tuck the edge of the 'leaves' under as shown above and then staple in place. Then decorate with anything you've got that's disgusting and weird. I cut out a few old crows, insects and snakes and also later added a cheesecloth spider's web.

Easy, no? And very quick. If you want to make a larger version, you will need to cut out a circle from cardboard. Just ensure that the doughnut formed is at least 2 inches around the sides.

Halloween Workshop News

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Is it really time to start thinking about Halloween? Yes, it sure is and when you come to our Halloween Decorating Workshop, you’re in for a ghoulish and ghastly time. There's not a pumpkin in sight. Instead, think Edgar Allen Poe meets Alfred Hitchcock, then you'll have an idea of what I've planned for my three Halloween workshops. Deliciously wicked but with a touch of elegance. The good news is that almost everything I'm planning (whether it's a wreath, bunting, or scary images for your tableware), can be recreated from what's hiding in your recycling bin and cupboards.  

Are you ready to be frightened (but only in a good way)? For more information and to register, click here.

UPDATE: All Halloween workshops are sold out. Keep watching for our last minute Halloween decorating workshop. Our Christmas workshops are coming up soon. 



Last Minute Halloween Upcycling

Posted on October 30, 2015 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

A friend called me yesterday evening for last minute Halloween ideas. As a working mom she had little time to whip up a costume and no time to hit the shops for something her child would like. And, oh, yes, Sylvie needed a trick or treat container as there was nothing suitable in the house.

Little Sylvie is a bigtime magic fan so I thought that a magician costume would be perfect. Luckily she's got the cape and the magician's wand- all that was needed were a few accessories, including a moustache and bowtie which Sylvie insisted every proper magician could not do without. 

Fortunately, Sylvie and her mom had almost everything we needed in their recycling bin. I alsow brought along a few items from my own bin. When I arrived, we set to work. We made the little top hat using a cardboard paper towel roll and cardboard from a cereal box. The hat band is actually a paper straw cut open and flattened. The paper bowtie and glasses (instead of a mask) were made using templates I found online and the moustache was cut out freehand from a bit of fuzzy fabric and backed with double-sided tape. 

Next up was the trick or treat pail for Sylvie to use when she and Mom went trick and treating tomorrow evening. This is the before and after shot. The pail is actually a plastic coffee container and the handle is a wire coat hanger (of course!). 

While we were waiting for the paint to dry on the pail, Sylvie's mom asked if I had any ideas for some decorations we could make. I thought that a rosette garland using pages from a discarded paperback and cutouts from some wrapping paper I brought. The garland would decorate their windows and the front door. Sylvie cut out the skull illustrations out of wrapping paper while we adults folded. Then we all assembled the rosettes, attaching each one to length of a jute twine. 

Except for the paint, glue, and tape, everything we made came from discards in the recycling bin. All you need is a bit of imagination (or desperation!).

TIP: The trick to making rosettes quickly is to stack several pages together - 3 or 4 depending upon paper thickness - and fold all together. Easy-peasy! By the way, once Halloween is over, the garland can be reused for Christmas by simply removing the skull images.

Workshop News

Posted on September 30, 2015 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm really chuffed that two more of my workshops have been sold out. The Halloween Harquelin-inspired Mask workshop sold out almost immediately. To go with the mask, participants will make matching hair barrettes. Besides being a wearable craft, the mask can also be used as wall art on Halloween.

My introductory Book Art Folding workshop has also sold out. Book folding is now a major trend among decorators and some sellers make and sell these for hundreds of dollars! In this introductory workshop, I'll be demonstrating how to choose the right book, how to prepare it and basic folding techniques which can be used in many different ways to create a one-of-a-kind book sculpture.

At my last book-folding workshop, someone said that she found book folding very soothing and very addictive - she can't pass by a book without the urge to fold the pages it. No wonder it's also call folding therapy! It's the only craft I know that only requires two elements - a book and a pair of hands!

More workshops are on the way including a series of Christmas workshops for both kids and adults.