27 July 2014

Lughnasadh Altar Wreath Craft

This article is part of Kallan's wonderful Sunday Stew. Please hop on over and read all the different flavors added by each chef. I know that you will love it!

Last year I made a nice Lughnasadh banner craft, if you haven't seen it, it's here. It's a great craft to help kids learn symbolism of the Sabbat.

I'm still in the process of trying to use all of my current stock of craft supplies. I dug through my items and slowly put together a craft in my mind to make for Lughnasadh. I found a grapevine that I had forgotten about. I found some corn husks from a couple of years ago that were left over from other Lughnasadh crafts. I looked at my clay and came up with a way to use it. I found some material that I cut into strips.

I went on a morning walk and found some gorgeous sunflowers. This would be the only thing that I didn't have. I tried using a kitty litter method to quickly dry the sunflowers, it ended up being a big NO NO. I then ended up running back up the hill in the rain, laughing, with scissors in one hand and a bag in the other, to get some more sunflowers. I hope that the flowers dry nicely, but if they don't I have more to replace them that are currently hanging to dry. So I've made this with my fresh sunflowers, but you can use fake or dried, if you would like.

My process for making the wreath was in this order:

1. I made my clay decoration.

I used Original Sculpey clay. I remembered a Lugh bread tutorial from a couple of years ago and I translated  it to my clay. I want to make it look like wheat. Here are my steps:

I made a base for the wheat. It is 5 1/2 inches tall by 3 1/2 inches at the widest top part:

I rolled out another bit of clay and using scissors I cut it into strips. I laid the strips on the base like so. (ignore my nasty clay baking pan)

Next, I rolled out lots of little balls around this size, flattened slightly. This will be the wheat tops.

With a pair of small sharp scissors I cut down the middle, without cutting in half, I stopped just short of the end.

On each side of the middle cut, I cut small slits. You don't want to cut all the way to the middle cut and again, stop just short of the bottom.

Place them all over the top of the base, covering the ends of the strips.

Now roll out three skinny strips and braid them.

Place the braided strips like so. Now your wheat is ready for baking. I baked at 275 for 30 minutes. 

When it comes out of the oven and cools, paint it all over with an off white color. I used Apple Barrel English Lace acrylic.

When the base coat has dried, give it some highlight color......like it is baked bread. I used burnt sienna mixed with king's gold.

While the wheat baked, I formed the grapevine into a wreath.

I took the fabric that I found, cut it in half down the middle, and then tied it together, making one long piece to wrap around the wreath.

I also had a small piece of the fabric and made a small bow to place on the knot at the bottom. You'll see it in a later pic.

The next step is making corn dollies for your wreath. I'm going to make a boy and a girl.

First you take two husks and place back to back.

Take a third husk and wrap around the top of the two.

Separate the two husks upside down over the wrapped part.

Tie them down with a string.

Separate one husk into 3 pieces. This will be the arms.

 Tie together at one end, and then braid.

Slide between the husks. Place so that you have an even amount of arms on each side.

I wrapped and tied another husk for her waist.

Then I shredded the skirt.

For the boy, you follow the same process as above, but after you tie his waist. You separate the bottom part of the husks into to legs and tie them off at the knee and the feet. I also did not braid his arms, I just tied them off.

When you are finished making all the parts of the assemble your wreath as you want it. To attach the sunflowers you can hot glue or you poke a wire through the base of the sunflower and then tie it to the wreath. Sunflowers have a good sized base so this makes it easy for attachment. I glued my corn dollies and clay wheat and wire attached my flowers.

That's it for this craft. I hope you like it and make one of your own!

Brightest Blessings,

13 July 2014

Halloween in July

This article is part of Kallan's wonderful Sunday Stew. Please hop on over and read all the           different flavors added by each chef. I know that you will love it!

Every year around this time I long for the fall. I start thinking about Halloween/Samhain, about fall decorating, about pumpkin and apple flavored goodies and drinks, leaves falling, and fall attire. I'm not sure why I do this during the hottest part of the year. I think maybe it's the tree we have in our front yard. Every year in the heat of summer it starts dropping its leaves. Then I have a small area of autumn right there in my very own yard. Maybe that kicks in my thoughts of cooler nights and pumpkins?

The tree in the front yard
The leaves that have fallen

At any rate, I thought it would be a good excuse for a Halloween craft. It's never too early to start your decorations, right?? Come, let's revel in our thoughts of autumn and hayrides and the flight of witches over pumpkin fields!

I'm really on a clay kick right now. It's an awesome material to work with. I'm also trying to use a lot of the craft items that I have lying around. So for this project, I'm going to make a decorative paper mache box. A little painting, a little clay, maybe a little decoupage; nothing too difficult.

The figures will all be shadow, because they are easy peasy.

Take your box and choose your base colors. I wanted to make it seem like a sunset at dusk, with the darkness coming in at the top. I mixed bright pink with orange and as I went to the top of the box, I painted a lilac and white OVER the orange/pink. I didn't paint it even, I watered it down a bit, so that it would have a cloudy sunset look to it, as seen in the pic on the left. After that dried, I watered down a black and just did the top portion of the box, as seen in the right pic.

For the lid, I did the top in black only, but for the edge, I treated it the same as top of the box. White lilac, covered with black.


I also took the solid black and made a black bottom. This will be the shadow of the ground.

Now, just decide what you want to put on your box. For mine, I'm going to paint some trees with a few leaves left on and in the air.


I'll put a happy little cat under one tree, watching the leaves fall. In another I'll put an owl keeping watch for its dinner.


Under this one, I'll put a lit jack-o-lantern, shining the Samhain spirit into the coming night.

 Now, I think that I want to add a scarecrow in his field of corn.
And now a pumpkin patch.

A witch flying over the pumpkin patch. She's on her way to
the Witches Ball!  

I also added a few stars in the sky. Different colors. Dip the wrong end of your paintbrush in the paint and make a dot. When the dot dries, water down some paint of the same color and put it around the dot, to give it a glow.

I need a graveyard, so I'll put it between two trees with a simple 
ghostly shape rising from the grave. 
Another black cat hissing at the rising spirit.

Since I'm finished with the painting of the box, now I want to make a topper for the lid. All that's needed is a moon. I'm going to put a silly looking moon on the top made from clay. First, I'll figure out how big I want it, by making my ball of clay. I'm using premo! sculpey.

After you have figured out the proper size of the moon, make a cross on the front to keep your face evenly placed

Next, make two small balls for the eyes and place them on the cross line. After you have placed them, flatten out two pieces of clay for the upper and lower lids.

Now, place a ball of clay in between the eyes and spread out to make the nose. For the top lip I rolled a "worm" and placed it below the nose. I made nostrils with a wood clay tool.

Continue shaping the nose and smoothing. For cheeks, just put a ball of clay under each eye and smooth down to blend. Place another "worm" of clay for the bottom lip and blend with your thumb until smooth.

I also put a ball under the bottom lip for the chin, I continuously smooth until I was happy. I also add craters with a wooden tool.

Now I baked the moon for 20 minutes at 275 degrees.

When you have your moon baked and cooled, then paint it your chosen colors. I am using a cream mixed with a bright yellow. For shadows, I'll add a bit of black. 

Now, I'll just glue him to the top. The moon also serves as a "handle" for the lid. 

 You can't see it well because of glare, but I have put a circle of gold "shine" underneath the moon for his moonglow. After everything is finished, I put a coat of protection on it and let it dry.

This project definitely helped ease my hankering for fall! Thanks for joining me!

Brightest Blessings,