20 posts categorized "Halloween"

Susan's Halloween present done

 More specimen plants under glass...


Taxidermy songbirds (birds by Barbara Meyer)...



I could keep going, and I probably will, I want to make some books for her zillion bookcases, but since it's November already it's past time to pack up and mail Susan's October box....just need to run to the grocery for a big bag of dried cherries...and maybe to Kilwin's for some fudge.

Since I couldn't come up with anything Halloweenish this year I made stuff for Susan's mini botanist's mini study and/or her mini conservatory....


Oh, I never showed you guys the journal....


Ester says "BOO!"



what Cherry Heaven looks like...

...also known as...the other part of Susan's Halloween present.   All year long I pick things up as I find them, then stow them away in a big basket in my studio, which inevitably overflows into a second basket.  Every October when I dig it all out to box it up I shake my head at how much I've managed to accumulate. Every year the mix is different.

I live in the Cherry Capital of the world, Susan loves cherries...we were meant to be Besties.


So you don't have to squint to read labels...

Cherry Almond Butter, from Gallagher's Farm Market

Cherry Sweet Fire (Bread & Butter Pickles, Peppers, and Cherries) from Groleau's Farm Market

Cherry BBQ Sauce, from Brownwood Farms

Dark Sweet Cherry Preserves, from Cherry Street Market

Cherry Balsamic Grilling Sauce, from Groleau's Farm Market

Cherry Honey Mustard, from Food for Thought

Sour Cherry Spoon Fruit, from American Spoon

Cherry Pie Filling and Topping, from Brownwood Farms

Cherry Butter, from the Cherry Stop

Cherry BBQ Grilling Sauce, from American Spoon

Cherry Garden Salsa, from Benjamin Twigg

Sweet Cherry Conserve, from Rocky Top Farm

Cherry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip, from Brownwood Farms

Cherry Butter Toffee Peanut Butter, from Naturally Nutty

Cherry Summer Sausage, from Little Town Jerky

Cherry Bing Tea, from Benjamin Twigg

Cherry Sours, from 45th Parallel Candy World

Handmade Cherry soap, from Wildflower Soap Works (Theresa's family lived across the street from my husband's family when they were kids, hers is the only soap I use)

Cherry Lip Balm, from Wildflower Soap Works

Cherry Lip Balm, from JTreeLife

A four pound box of luscious dried cherries, from Traverse City Fruit Company  (Pepper, you can buy these off Amazon US, but I've no idea what overseas shipping would be)

Burlap bags of morning glory seeds, that my sister gave out to guests at her wedding...I forgot to label them, hopefully nobody thought they were pumpkin seeds and tried to eat them!

A couple of antique (look at the tags on the bottom, Susan) candles I got at an antique store for next to nothing....they must not have realized how collectible vintage Halloween stuff is

An ammonite ring I got at the Bishop Show in Chicago

An antique cherry gift box I picked up at an antique store

A cherry scented candle, from Fishcreek Soapworks

Not pictured...a bit of fabric I grabbed when Cyd set out her destash pile during lunch in Chicago...and a big sheet of potion bottle stickers or embellishments or something that I got free with an Alphastamps order when I bought the spooky trees

The making of Susan's Halloween present - part two

 Testing placement of all the stuff, making sure the house is going to be set under the highest point of the curved glass, and realizing my spooky chipboard trees aren't going to work now that the house isn't spooky.


 Painting the background and trimming the trees.  I could have painted the trees, but the stickers were faster and easier. 


I built up the ground over several days with thin layers of air dry clay.  I used Crayola Model Magic, since it's lightweight, cheap, and readily available.   I sculpted the cobblestone pathway in the final layer.


 The ground, dried, painted, and ready for turf...

I found some surprise trees in my box of scenery supplies;  I bought them for the tomb a few years ago then didn't use them.  These look much better than the spooky trees; they fit the feel of the piece, plus the trunks and branches are round instead of flat.  I had to whittle the back of the trunk flat on the leftmost tree, which was a pain, but the only way I could put the tree "behind" the stone wall.


Using the plastic trees as templates, I cut two from paper to sit behind the house, adding more depth to the piece.  I glued down green turf stuff, then three colors of autumn turf stuff over the top, for fallen leaves.  Once the ground dried I vacuumed it, then stippled a liberal coat of Elmer's glue over it, working the stiff bristles of the brush into the turf.  I don't want, this time next year, for Susan to have half the turf lying loose in the bottom of the picture frame.   I made all the green leaves and flowers, using my smallest paper punches and thinnest wire.


 Now...for the magic.....

One of Susan's favorite days is the first frost of Autumn.  I  used silver pearlescent paint to create  frost.  I painted it on the top of every limb, dry brushed it on the edges of the shingles, dabbed it all over the ground, etc.   It's difficult to photograph, you've got to turn you  head this way and that, looking at it from different angles, to get the full effect.  It doesn't look like paint, it looks like reflected light.  The piece changes as you walk by it.  It worked wonderfully.



 The antique frame had a damaged spot on one side.  I thought about repairing and painting the frame, but I like the character the imperfection gives.   I gave the frame a light cleaning, then coated the damaged area with wood hardener, thinking that may keep it from deteriorating further.  I'm not sure it did any good, but it certainly didn't do any harm.


 The finished piece...pardon the reflections in the glass.... 


 A side view, showing off the convex glass...


The making of Susan's Halloween present - part one

I saw Jill Castoral's quarter scale Haunted Cottage Kit at the Bishop Show last April.  I immediately thought of it as a candidate for Susan's Halloween present, but already had an antique convex glass frame I wanted to do something with.  I couldn't stop thinking about the haunted cottage, and after my brain cleverly combined the kit with the frame I purchased the kit online.   I decided to make an old spooky cottage deep in the woods, with creepy trees...where an old herbalist might live....whooooo.....





(it almost killed me to set the porch opening off center, I'm a symmetrical gal, but Susan prefers asymmetry...looking at it now still makes me uneasy)



You'll notice that the cottage did not agree to be spooky.  I tried to creepify it a few times, but it just wouldn't work.  Once I surrendered to the cottage the work became easy and fun; I told Susan this year she was getting something pretty.   It wasn't until a couple of weeks past this point when I realized I had subconsciously copied the Hansel and Gretel cottage in Carmel, most likely due to the similarities in the architecture.

I love the stone chimney that came with the kit.  I wanted to make a stone wall and foundation but knew I'd never be able to match the chimney, so I emailed Jill Castoral to ask if I could make a mold of sections of the chimney to cast a stone wall with.  She and Pat not only granted permission but thought it was a brilliant idea and gave me some molding and casting tips.  Thank you both, the project wouldn't have been the same without your kindness.

Next post...the setting....