Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween

Halloween is definitely one of my very favorite holidays.  An excuse to get all dressed up, pretend to be someone else and run around eating candy?  Sounds like a great idea to me!  My love of halloween surely goes back to my childhood days, spending evenings of the nights leading up to halloween creating magical paper mache masks with my dad, mom and sister.  We had so much fun, my dad loves halloween too and always made it memorable for us.  It wasn't so much about the candy (although that was a welcome treat) but about the time spent together, getting creative and letting our artistic visions come to life. 
I'm still just a kid at heart.  I love obsessing about the perfect costume, thinking about how it should all come together and watching my imagination come to life.  The last few years I've been thinking about making a Medusa costume.  In my mind's eye I pictured the way I would create it and how it would look.  Well, after discovering the perfect rubber snakes on a shopping trip earlier this month, I decided it was time to give my Medusa costume a chance to come to life. 
Here's how it looked when I first began:

The beginnings of Medusa!

I started off with eight black snakes, a long black haired wig, and various and assorted forms of wire and cable ties.  I cut the snakes in half and attached them in strategic places all around the wig, using the cable ties and floral wire to secure them to the base of the wig.  It was a time consuming process and I'll admit, when I was done it wasn't the picture of Medusa that I had imagined, but I decided it would do. 
For my face, I read about a technique to use fishnet stockings to paint over and create the look of scales.  I covered my face with powder, applied a thin layer of white face paint to the areas I wanted to look scaled, pulled the fishnet stockings down over my face and painted black face paint on top.  I wasn't sure the black was giving me the look I wanted, so I had some gold glitter face paint and used that on top of the black.  When I pulled the fishnet stocking off, the effect was definitely what I was going for.  There were some areas that I wished I had applied more of the gold glitter, but my forehead looked very interesting and had a scaled affect.  I put heavy eyeliner around my eyes and used some green eyeshadow and mascara to finish off the makeup. 
I debated and debated over what to wear.  I decided at last that I would not go for the classic Greek dressed Medusa but a more modern (comfortable) version.  Since my hair and snakes were black, I decided to just dress all in black and add my favorite black cape on top for warmth.  Really, the focal point of my costume was supposed to be the snake wig and makeup anyway so I might as well be comfortable.  In the end, I was glad I'd decided to go that route.
The finished look:

Striking a pose as Medusa!

I was happy with the outcome.  Most everyone who talked to me at the halloween parties we attended knew right off I was Medusa so I consider that a success.  And, I had a great time seeing the other costumes and being Medusa for a short time.  What a fun holiday!  I hope you all have fond halloween memories too.  What was your favorite costume you ever made or wore?  I need ideas for next year! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Hatchday Sadie Grey!

Sadie Grey, 10/18/2011

Today is Sadie's birthday, she's 3.  She's been going through her terrible two's stage since about the time she was 1 1/2 years old.  She is a little clown, a great talker and a part of my heart.  Right now her favorite things to say are "Alright!!" (said with much enthusiasm), "I need a drink of water." usually followed by "I need a drink of water right now!" "Bottle" (her and my grey Lyric love to play with empty water bottles) "Lyric" (she says Lyric's name frequently but I've never heard her say her own name, except she does say "grey girl" and "girlie") and she lately has been saying "Go potty!" a lot. 

Lyric (left) and Sadie together

Sadie knows how to open Lyric's cage doors.  She usually will open the doors and then play with them, sometimes she opens his food and water doors and steals bites of food and drinks of water before she attempts to pull the cups out and throw them on the floor (this is a real fun game for me.)  This weekend she actually climbed inside Lyric's cage and had a great time playing with all his favorite toys.  They get along alright for the most part but she's a little pushy and overwhelming for Lyric and he doesn't like her to try to get up in his face.  She was inside his cage for quite some time before she got tired of his toys and decided to try to get up in his face and wanted to sit on the perch he was on.  I had to intervene before he got too upset.  I did manage to get a couple of pics of them together though and I was really happy about that.

I hope someday when they are both a bit mellower they will be able to coexist peacefully together outside of their cages.  Happy hatchday Sadie Grey!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Great gifts for the animal lover in your life!

Hello!  You all know how much I love to look for animal related finds on Etsy...well, I thought I'd post about some of the finds that I think would make great gifts for an animal lover.  It never hurts to start thinking about what to get friends and family for gifts a bit early.  Wouldn't you be thrilled to get your Christmas shopping done before Christmas Eve this year?  And, if you buy something handmade from my Etsy finds list not only are you getting something unique and much more exciting than a store bought gift, you are also helping out an artist and showing your support for buying handmade! 

Karen Nordstrom's store, nosetotail, has the most adorable miniature felted animals.  She's inspired by cuteness to create her ornaments, key chains, charms and tiny sculptures.  Look at this teeny chihuahua key chain or purse charm:

Chihuahua Key Chain or Purse Charm by nosetotail
Now, isn't he something?  His face shows that true chihuahua personality too! If dogs aren't your thing, Karen also has mini kitties, a skunk, cougar, wolf and a little lop earred bunny.  Some of her creations are even all dressed up for Halloween.  Another great thing about her Etsy shop is most of the items are around $25.00, with none more than $35.00.

Do you know someone that takes their pets with them everywhere they go?  They may just love a DiBA Dog Tag necklace from Dianne's shop, DiBAdog.  Her pendant necklaces, bracelets and keychains are custom made from a picture of your own pet! 

Custom Bracelet with Your Pet as a Pendant by DiBAdog
You just e-mail your pet's photo to Dianne and she designs the pendant, hand cuts, solders and finishes it. She puts so much time and love into each piece.  Imagine your favorite friend as a wearable work of art.  Your purchase will also help out another animal in need, Dianne will donate a portion from every sale on Etsy to the Toronto Humane Society. 

None of us have spoiled pets, now do we?  Okay, well maybe a little bit... Your furry child (or grandchild?)may be needing a new place to lay his little head at night.  How about getting him a brand new bed made with upcycled pallets?  I love Jessi LeLievre's salvaged wood pallet dog bed from her and her husband's shop triple7recycled:

Salvaged Wood Pallet Dog Bed with burlap by triple7recycled
I think her chihuahua Merle loves his bed, wouldn't your dog too?  I think it's great they are coming up with fun ways to reuse materials that could end up in a landfill.  We should all do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle to help out our planet.

Want something one of a kind, beautiful and custom for your pet loving friend to hang on their wall?  I simply adore the unique creations of Mimi in her Etsy shop, mimilove.  Here's an example of what she can create for you:
Pet Portrait painting and embroidery by mimilove
Mimi combines either watercolors or acrylic paints with embroidery to make her custom pet portraits that showcase the beauty of your pet.  The way she embroiders on top of the painting really adds a unique touch to her work.  She incorporates what you tell her about your pet's favorite things or personality to make something really meaningful and extra special.

My last find of the day is a beautiful pottery bowl that would really delight a bird lover on your list!  Look at MarciG's creation:
Bird pottery bowl by MarciG
These bowls are finished with a food safe glaze so they can be used as a small dish for dessert or can even be finished with a wire for hanging on a wall.  Teen artist Marci has a cute selection of functional stoneware pottery in her Etsy shop that includes flowers, owls and doves.  She hand builds her pieces from paper patterns and uses stamps (some of which she created herself) for the designs. I hope you'll check out her Etsy shop and see what she has to offer.

That wraps up my great gift ideas for the animal lover for today. These would be really lovely and unexpected gifts for the people on your gift list.  If you like my ideas, check back again because I plan to do a few more lists between now and Christmas!  Have fun shopping!