Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Early Halloween! Yes! It's already HALLOWEEN PROJECT TIME in da SCRAPiVERSE!

What a week!  Summer is killing me in all its 112 degree weather, the air conditioner in my house broke, I found out my drivers license has been expired for two months, and to just top it all off- the hotel I ran away to, during the air conditioning tragedy, had a little surprise in store for me, as well.  Not seconds after they took the payment, I learned they were hosting some kind of national drag queen beauty pageant.  And I don't know if you know this or not- but drag queens are LOUD.  I am pretty sure that I'm suffering a form of PTSD.

Enough of my hardships-  HELLO! How ya doin'?!  I bet you thought I'd never ask!  Where were my manners?!  Oh, that's right.  They were destroyed in the soul crushing reality that hinders my every move.  Just kidding.  I love my life.  Without it, I'd be dead.

What's all this talk about evil death on a lovely Saturday?  HELLO!  Really?  You don't know?  I'll tell you:  It is now less than two months until Halloween.

Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I bought my first plastic skeleton at TG&Y.  (For you young people, that was like our Wal-Mart.)  I love everything about Halloween:  The costumes.  The decorations.  The wild, drunken parties where you can convince a few of the least intelligent 'Sexy Nurses' to help you steal all the beer out of the host's bathtub and take it with you to the next party.  You know, all the great Halloween traditions.

Of all the Halloween-inspired activities that thrill me, Halloween crafts will always be the thing I look forward to the most...  So tear open that fresh box of wine you picked up on the way home from work yesterday, pop in a set of plastic vampire teeth, and have a look at my Little Goblin.

That's my Little Goblin.

I was at Wal-Mart about a week ago.  I hate that place- as would anyone who hates fighting loud, pushy people with seven kids who are holding up the line while they try to convince the cashier that YES YOU CAN BUY BEER WITH FOOD STAMPS NOW.  Just as I wanted to scream, 'GIVE IT UP, LADY, YOU WON'T FOOL HER- SO LET ME  CUT AHEAD OF YOU IN LINE AND I'LL HOOK YOU UP WITH THIS CRAZY LADY I SORTA KNOW WHO TRADES FOOD STAMPS ON THE BLACK MARKET!,' - yeah- just as I was about to scream that- something caught my eye.  No, it definitely wasn't Ms. Food Stamp 2012 *OR* her husband with the always classy Confederate flag tank top.  It was one of those fly-by-night Halloween Craft/Decor magazines.

Now, I say 'fly-by-night,' but I don't mean it in the traditional sense of the phrase- this was a Better Homes and Gardens publication.  I mean 'fly by night' as: it isn't a regularly published thing, and most of the projects seem to be gathered from past regular issues and/or hurriedly commissioned.  However, take no offense, Better Homes.  Kory loves you, he ain't talkin' no smack.

I PROMISE to return, find the issue (and probably buy it, too- it does have some cool stuff) and tell you the actual name of it and the name of the designer who inspired my Little Goblin.  In the magazine, there's a cute pair of little creatures- created from wire and clay, on top of those little papier-mâché (thanks, spellchecker!) boxes that you can always find for a dollar at the big craft stores.  The project looked so fun that I knew I had to run home and create my own version.  Well, I had to run to Jo-Ann, first- of course- papier-mâché boxes don't materialize out of thin air!

Just in case you're tempted to get right to work at creating a Little Goblin of your own, here's the supply list:

  • Little papier-mâché box.  
  • A very lightweight, air-drying modeling clay.  I used FIMOair and give it my highest recommendation.
  • Some kind of bendy wire.  I used some kraft paper-wrapped floral wire.  I forget what the article said to use- but I'm pretty sure she used some kind of floral wire, too- but it wasn't paper wrapped.
  • White floral tape (to wrap your wire- but if you use paper-wrapped, you could just as easily paint it or use some Distress Stain.  Believe me:  there will be much more about the magnificent multi-functional amazements that are Mr. Holtz's products later!  
  • Wire cutters.
  • A selection of 'colors.'  Paints (especially watercolor), gelatos, pastels - whatever you have and want to use for your colors, gather up a nice Halloweeny selection. 
  • A small piece of cardstock, for the flag.  (This should be easy- if you don't have any cardstock laying around, I have no idea why you're here or where you came from.)
  • A 'Happy Halloween' stamp, or if you have lovely handwriting- a nice pen.
  • Some scraps of fabric, to create a charming little ensemble for the little critter.  Unless you're creating a little nudist goblin.  Well, in that case- you'll still need a bit of some fabric.  From what I understand, they always carry a towel in case they need to sit down.
  • A small styrofoam ball- in whatever size you want for your goblin's head.  The ball I used was just a bit bigger than a golf ball.

A little note about the 'colors,' mentioned up there:

I used quite an assortment of Distress Inks, Distress Markers and Distress Stains-  and even some of Dyan Reaveley's jaw-droppingly amazing 'Dylusions' ink spray.  (Yes, I'm full of praise for the genius of Mr. Tim Holtz's products and for Ms. Reaveley's Dylusions, but trust me- the praise is deserved.  So, so effing deserved.)  Yeah, so - forget what I said about using anything else.  If you don't have any of Mr. Holtz's colors, go buy them all right now.  I'll wait.  Are you back?  Sorry, I forgot to tell you to buy all of Ms. Reaveley's ink sprays.  You'll hafta run right back out.  Go ahead and buy every color, up front.  Trust.

Okay, then?  Okay, then!

I had planned on painting the papier-mâché box a plain, flat black.  But after running around the city in 100+ degree weather for most of the day, I was tired.  All of my bottles of craft paint were on a shelf, ten feet away, safely nestled in a box.  Yes.  I was TOO LAZY to get up and get a little bottle of black paint which was BARELY TEN FEET AWAY.

However, it turns out that my laziness is a good and beneficial trait.  How so?  Instead of painting the little box with plain old black paint, I used things within reach!  I rubbed some Rusty Hinge Distress Ink all over the box and inked some edges with a combination of Frayed Burlap and Walnut Stain.  It didn't seem to be bright enough- I wanted a bit more orange.  And there it was- my brand new bottle of Dylusions, in 'Squeezed Orange.'  The bright and translucent Dylusions over the darker (and definitely more Halloweeny) Rusty Hinge and Frayed Burlap combined to give me the look that I didn't even know I wanted:

Except for cutting two little holes in the box's lid to stick the little goblin's feet through so's he can stand up proper, that's it for the base!  How easy is that?!  

Next, take the wire and form it into a goblin skeleton.  I love this kraft paper covered wire- as I played with it, I kept coming up with all kinds of ideas for projects to use it on- I picked it up in the floral supply section at Jo-Ann.   

See how the wires extend at the tip of the 'foot?'  Kinda like those monkeys with the long toenails?  No, I don't know what I'm talking about, either.  Anyways- stick those through the little holes you cut through the box's lid and bend them over to secure your little goblin's skeleton to the base.  Now, it's nothing but PURE fun from here on out!  It was at this point I was still trying to decide: color the kraft paper or leave it kraft-y?  I went ahead with the white floral tape.  Pulled the skeleton off of the base, wrapped his little limbs with the white tape and liked it- looked very skeletal!  Now: time for the head!

Push a styrofoam ball onto the neck.  Tear off a big enough lookin' piece of the FIMOair clay.  Warning: here's where my instructions get VERY technical.  Take the piece of clay and like you did with Play-Doh, smoosh and flatten it into a fairly thin 'pizza crust.'  Lay it over the styrofoam ball and squish it into place.  Pinch a nose on, make some eyes and TA-DA!  

Your goblin is almost alive.  He's still somewhat fetal, so be gentle, dammit.  Put him somewhere safe while his head dries out and get to work on the rest of him.

The minute I saw how the wire arms looked, I knew he needed to be carrying a little flag!  I used the "Tattered Banners" die from Tim Holtz to make the flag.  I ran the die through my BigKick with a piece of manila cardstock, stamped it, colored the letters in with Distress Markers and inked the edges.  I used one of the biggest banners, so cut it in half to fold the cut edge over another piece of that wrapped wire.

I dug up a few pieces of scrap bits of fabric.  Found a bit of burlap that I thought would make a nice scarf.  Found some dense canvas like stuff for his pants.  For his shirt, I found a sleeve I'd cut away from a flannel shirt - no,  I wasn't getting dressed up for a monster truck rally.  It was part of my zombie costume from a few years ago.  I knew I'd need the sleeve one day!  Sometimes, hoarding does pay off!

Now, don't get all scared and think you'll need sewing skills.  Cuz ya don't.  He's a goblin, who probably makes his own clothes.  They're supposed to look a little raggedy, a little crazy.  He's a goblin, not a contestant on the new season of Project Runway.

The pants were the trickiest part- and they were still very easy.  Just cut out two 'pants shapes, like I did up there-    No!  Put the needle down!  You don't need it!

Yeahp!  I used the Tiny Attacher!  I did one seam inside out and flipped it- kinda like real sewing- but I wanted some of the staples to show, so I did the other seam on the right side.

Goblins might be a little trashy, but they still don't wear white pants after Labor Day.  I misted them with a bit of water and rubbed some Black Soot and Vintage Photo Distress Stain all over them, added a belt, and- yeah, I didn't think this skeleton bit through all the way- so I had to disconnect him from the base yet again, to get him into his pants.

There they are, with a bit of twine for a belt, too.  The shirt was so easy and fast, I forgot to take a pictue of the moment I made it-  just a long rectangle with a 'neck hole,' which I cut a slit from one side (to dress him, without popping his head off).

Time to paint his face!

Again, I used Distress Inks.  How great are these products?!  Stamping, embossing, distressing, aging, painting- you can do ANYthing with Distress Inks.  I tapped the pad against the craft sheet and used my water-brush.  Love those things!  I didn't have any pre-planned ideas as to how to decorate my goblin's head.  I just went at it:

And from behind:

I really like how the shades of Distress Inks blended together.  Looks like old bone, doesn't it?  I wrapped his little burlap scarf around his neck, put the flag in his hand- and I was done.

Wow.  If you made it this far through this overly long, rambling, poorly written and unedited post-  give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy two more pictures of my goblin!

I've got another fun Halloween project coming soon!  Hope to see you back!


  1. Your goblin ia fantastic, as is your blog.

  2. This is just genius Kory, omg and I laughed so much along the way. I LOVE HALLOWEEN, I think its because its my birthday month. I love that little skeleton the pants are simply adorable! Super, super cute thanks for the tutorial, I will be back for more Halloween goodness!

    hugs! Frank

  3. I am in love with your Goblin!!!! He's my dream fella haha. Seriously, he's absolutely brilliant. And I love your tutorial. Both you and Frank are putting me to shame with the hard work you both put into your tutes and posts. I sit here just trying to lap up even a trickle of the talent you possess. And as always, your writing kills me. It's what makes your posts so utterly superb, unique and special. I don't celebrate Halloween so much. I would love it if I lived over there, I'd be looking for Michael Myers on every corner. Over in the UK, it's all about grubby children demanding sweets and/or money. I normally black out the windows and make like we're not home until the feral nuisances leave us alone. Miserable git? Me? nooooo. haha Pxx

  4. Good grief - what are you, the male version of me? I found out my license was expired when I was trying to get on an Air Force base to see my son graduate from basic training. How's that for embarrassing? Even better, I'd FLOWN there and no one even noticed!

    Anyway, back to your sweet little guy. He is adorable and I think I might need to make one! As always, your writing makes me laugh (seriously, LOLing) - you have a gift!! I'm always excited when I see your blog jump to the top of my list.

  5. Love your little goblin, Kory! Here's hopin' your AC is fixed now, and/or the temps drop soon - life would just not be the same if you melted into the pavement.

  6. Kory, I love your goblin. You are so creative! Really like that wire you used.

  7. I bow down in awed worship to your Distress inking skills. He is adorable! What are you going to do with him?

    Hey I just discovered that Paul Browning is my alter-ego. A Hallowe'en bah humbug? That's me. I'll be out the back with the curtains closed pretending I'm not in, watching old recordings of Most Haunted before they brought in numbnuts Brian. :)

    When are you getting the a/c fixed?

    RedSquirrel from XX


    Your little goblin is great - as was your post about how to make him :D