December 20, 2014

A Curated Christmas

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Hang a Shining Star Upon the Highest Bough

Here's wishing everyone a very merry little Christmas in 2o14. Last year I took my visitors on a tour after Decking My Halls. Though much is different this year, many of the changes are subtle or in the detail rather than the bigger Picture. I have mentioned in the past that Christmas is my favorite holiday by far. There is a Magic to the Winter Solstice and the observation of the birth of the Son of Light that both lightens my heart and causes me to stop for reflection on the year almost passed. While it is on one hand, probably the busiest time of the year, it is also my time to get quiet within and hear the small still voice that is too often drowned out by life's activity. A paradox perhaps, but one I have long since learned to live with.

Baking Cookies

I have been trying to get to this, my final post of this year, for days now, but I am hosting a Christmas party for my children and grandchildren this weekend, so holiday baking and finishing off the decorating has taken the front seat. I have lost count of how many dozens of cookies I have baked— there are two kinds of fudge in tins on the kitchen counter— and I have done some of the prep work for our more savory Christmas goodies. Holiday baking is one of my traditions, something that I have done for so many years now that it is ingrained, part of the pattern that I live within.

These particular cookies have been a favorite for several years now. They are Martha Stewart's Lemon-Glazed Candied-Ginger Cookies and they are yummy. I make gingerbread too. My family loves the warm, spicy sweetness of ginger, and I think it adds a bit of digestive comfort to the rich fare of the season.

Looks like some of the old cards in my Mom's scrapbook from the 1940's

I have been thinking a lot about how our Christmas Holiday is influenced by the internet and social media.

My Pinterest account has been extremely busy this month. I have numerous Christmas and Holiday themed boards, and since this is my favorite season, there are images of holiday decor and art sprinkled on many of my other boards. Some links follow for anyone interested in taking a look.
Irregardless of the time of year, I have always had a goodly percentage of my Pins that are Christmas oriented. In fact, my most repinned image ever was from the holidays last year. So, as you can see, I have Christmas covered. It was not so long ago that the Holiday Season meant pouring through magazines, sifting through clippings and files of ideas for creativity and decorating. Now, it is on this mesmerizing screen, at our fingertips, and the influence on every aspect of our lives is  unmistakeable. Sites like Pinterest, Etsy, Tumblr and the many other personal collection and curation platforms that are cropping up, provide doorways into the maze that is the world of blogs and small businesses on the internet. I have discovered numerous cool and exciting shops and blogs that I would never have found on my own. Though it sometimes overwhelms, I have been inspired by the creativity, the ingenuity and the fashion savvy of my fellow voyagers through this ocean of blogs and social media. What follows are some peeks at what I and my Step-Mom have done with some of these inspirations...

Glass Baubles

A crystal bowl filled with thrift-store glass ornaments, some bead garland and icicles becomes a study in reflected light.

Glass Worlds

Tiny worlds caught up in glass. More thrift shop ornaments adorn a shelf.

Oh Deer, o deer!

My house is filled with glass bowls and jars containing snow, trees and tiny Deer. This provides more laughter as there is a running joke among several in our family concerning deer figurines and the phrase "Oh Deer". The fact that deer are an omnipresent ornament to this Christmas Season only serves to fuel this humor.

More Deer in the Kitchen

Look, there are more Deer in the Kitchen. Along with a couple more thrift shop jars with winter scenes, the Deer on the left is a vintage candle from a hoard of items from Christmas Past that my mother recently gave me.

Hot Chocolate Station

Another cup of Cocoa please!

Another new addition to the kitchen landscape this year is the Hot Chocolate Station. The consensus among my significant other and the kids seems to beWhy haven't we had one of these before? Apparently, having it organized and appealingly situated makes the cocoa all that more delicious. I just like the cuteness factor. Also, with the little shaker of cinnamon handy, I have taken to adding it to my coffee, a tasty touch that I love.

A Little St. Nick

Just one of my many Santas. This one graces the prim bench in the foyer.  He is not vintage, but I love the style. I have Santas that are 50 or 60 years old in my collection, but many of the newer ones are just as dear to me. I usually add one or two to my growing collection every year.

Santa Tree

While the tree in my foyer is festooned with handmade and prim style ornaments, many of them made by my children and even grandchildren over the years, the living room tree is my Santa Tree. It is indeed a living tree. We still do the traditional evergreen rather than giving in to the easy convenience of all artificial trees. Though I call it the Santa Tree, it would be more apt to name it the Santa, star, angel, and Star Trek tree. What can I say. We are a household of Geeks, and a collection of now becoming vintage Hallmark Star Trek ornaments are always on the tree. 

Tiny Tree

Aside from the two larger trees, I also have a couple of tiny trees around the house. This one is in my Workroom. Look, another deer. Apparently this one wanted to ride in the sleigh rather than pulling it. This little tree is simply decorated in white and displays some beaded ornaments I made several years ago.

Christmas at my Dad and Step-Mom's House

I wanted to include this vignette of photos from my Dad and Step-Mom Sue's House as it is always a showplace at Christmas Time.  From the nine foot tall tree with winter village and toy train in the living room, to the slender tree festooned with coastal charm in the cozy fireplace room, the house is filled with seasonal delights for the eye. And yes, that is a Deer on the dining room table.

Pink poinsettias

I have rambled on longer than I planned already, but the Season is about the natural decor also, and what Florida Christmas would be complete without our outdoor beauty. Pink poinsettias line the wall before out front entrance. They began life in pots flanking the door a couple of years ago, then were transplanted in the spring to this spot. I learned the secret to getting the lush mounded blooms from my Mom. I cut them back in mid-August, and give them a good feeding. This is the lovely result.

Pink Christmas Cactus in a hanging basket

I have had this Christmas (sometimes Thanks giving or Easter) Cactus for several years. One of my photos of this one was among my most Pinned images last year, in fact. This year it actually split the difference, blooming between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will be curious to see if it follows last year's pattern and blooms again in spring.

Blush Pink and White Christmas Cactus

Last, but certainly not least is a gorgeous combination blush-pink and white Christmas cactus that I picked up at the nursery down the road from us for 99 cents last year. It was in a two inch pot at the time. It has flourished, and the color still amazes me.

Well, this is goodbye for 2014. I wish you all a safe, happy and oh so Merry and Blessed Christmas and New Year.

December 9, 2014

Say Hello... Part II

Introducing Kaylah

River Watch

I am sure she will turn around in a minute. Kay spends a lot of her time either behind or in front of a camera. The first image in this post was from a local shoot she did last summer. She sends me quite a few photos, and doesn't mind if I use them in my work or otherwise have some fun with them. I actually like the post-production phase of photography even more than taking pictures. Kaylah loves to take pictures, so we just might have the makings of a team.

Kay with Glasses
This then, is my beautiful and talented Granddaughter Kaylah. Anyone who saw the last post introducing my beautiful, talented Daughter Gaia might notice that they appear to be close to the same age. Gaia is the eldest by a bit more than a year. Kaylah is however, taller by several inches and has been for much of their lives. While Kay is as outspoken as Gaia is introverted, both of them love clothes (though their styles are completely different), art, crafts, photography, animals (particularly cats) and my cooking. As of yet, neither of them seem inclined in any culinary directions, though Kaylah does work at a restaurant presently.

The Faces of Kay
The faces (and haircolors) of Kay
Kaylah is naturally a blonde, but quite willing to try something new occasionally. She plans on becoming a cosmetologist, and to specialize in make-up. She has been experimenting on her sisters as well as herself for years. I have been amazed again and again at the films and photographs she has been making since she was still in elementary school, using home-made props and her willing siblings to fuel her creative drive. Like Gaia, she has a genuine talent for drawing and sketching but is pulled in other directions of expression.

Kay-- Deer make-up

 Using her face as the canvas Kaylah is always pushing the limits, looking to explore different means of envisioning and making art. She is very contemporary but impossible to categorize. I laughingly describe her as a bohemian, rock-a-billy, new spiritual, millennial. That is a beginning perhaps, but she has depths I still would not even try to classify.
Oh Deer!

Here, posing in front of mine and Gaia's photo wall for the recent Halloween Barn Party is Kaylah's version of a Woodland Deer Princess.  I just loved the floral antlers.

The photo at left is another example of a collaboration between Kay and myself. She did an afternoon photo shoot of her younger sister and sent me several of the images. I did this version of Nat as a Little Angel in Photoshop.

Take a picture...

Behind the Camera
Kay may possibly be one of the pioneers of Selfies She was taking them and sending them to me long before that phrase was ever coined, or at least long before I'd heard it. Not only is she the Mistress of maneuvering a camera or smart phone around so as to get the best shot, but she mastered the use of the tripod and self-timer for photographs while still a child.
She is currently in love with vintage cameras, particularly Polaroids, and is the proud owner of several.

Another of Kaylah's favorite pastimes is Thrifting and shopping at vintage stores. Her eye for spotting a collectible bargain is just as good as her photographer's eye. She has surrounded herself with all sorts of kitschy and very fashionable goodies that she has found on these shopping expedtions.

Kaylah Up Close

I look forward to working with Kaylah in the year to come, both in the Etsy Shop we plan on opening and in doing the art and design for the website I want to create along with the shop. No matter what direction this endeavor takes us, I know that we can only expect new and amazing things from Kaylah in the years to come.

I hope to do one more post before Christmas, but just in case...
Happy and Blessed Holidays to all

December 2, 2014

Say Hello to My Co-Conspirators in Creativity

Part One... Introducing Gaia

Gaia Graduating by Gaia R.
Yes, it is December. Christmas is looming much closer than I am actually comfortable with under the circumstances. Those circumstances being that, as always, I have too much to do and not enough Time or energy to get it all done. I have, however, nearly finished with my Christmas shopping. This is unprecedented. I am a procrastinator of the highest caliber, and I have never before completed fulfilling my gift list much before the holiday itself. Though I have undoubtedly overlooked someone or something yet, I take heart that I have at least accomplished this. The Christmas boxes have been retrieved from the attic and the house is about 30 percent decorated.

For me, that is indeed something, so I will take a little break from being overwhelmed to acquaint you with my Girls. My daughter Gaia, and in a post to follow in a week (or 2 at most) my granddaughter Kaylah will be introduced. For the record, my life is pretty much overfilled with female relatives— aside from my Mother, Step-Mother, and several aunts, I have three sisters, three daughters (and one son), and at last count four granddaughters.  Each and every one of them is beautiful, remarkable and special to me, but Gaia and Kaylah share my love of photography, arts, crafts and other creative pursuits. Both of them are talented, and far more gifted each in her own way than I ever will be. They are also a delight to spend time with, and have both taken an interest in starting a creative business with me.

Gaia tending succulents in the Garden House

 As this year is quickly drawing to a close, I am setting my sights on getting our new enterprise up and running early in the New Year. It is long in coming, but perhaps as with all things, I have to accept that it will happen when, if and as it is supposed to.
Gaia-- Summerluv

Gaia is the youngest of my three daughters at 20, and Kay the eldest of the granddaughters at 19. Gaia is Kaylah's Aunt, but they were great friends as children and remain complete opposites in most every way.

Gaia and Kaylah growing up
Gaia on the Left and Kaylah to Right!

 Gaia is quiet, studious and a perfectionist. Kaylah is very verbal, spontaneous and inquisitive. While Gaia spends her time sewing, playing video games, reading and working in the house and garden, Kay enjoys photography, fashion, travel, decorating her space and visiting friends. They both love the beach and the casual Florida lifestyle. At present, neither has any interest in settling down or having children of their own. Both of them hope to pursue their creative talents and perhaps make at least part of their living doing things they are passionate about.

Gaia Collage

Gaia has long been one of my favorite (victims :-) photographic subjects. As I struggled to learn more about Photoshop and image manipulation, she was always a handy model. She is a lifelong fan of Anime, and has been interested in cos-play since High School. She was both determined enough and lucky enough to get to attend a pilot Early College High School when we lived in North Carolina. It was a great experience for her. Her fellow students were motivated, unique and more accepting than the teenagers you usually find in mainstream schools. They bonded on a deep level, and their interests covered a range that usually can only be found in much larger institutions. She graduated right after her eighteenth birthday with not only a high school diploma but an Associate of Arts Degree. She is still not certain what she ultimately wants to do, so for the present she is devoting herself to her creative endeavors.

Gaia as the Mad Hatter
 As you might guess, Gaia loves it when we put together one of our Celebrations here at the House. Not only is she an indispensable help to me but she never lets an opportunity to dress up pass her by. She was the Mad Hatter at last spring's Alice-in-Wonderland Birthday Party, an Oriental Princess at our last All-Hallows Barn Party, a Terry Pratchett character and Mad Scientist on previous years. She has dressed for school plays, for my crazy photo shoots and just about any time there is an excuse.

She collects, among other things, hats. I do not know how many there are of them— everything from bowlers to stovepipe, berets to bonnets, chullos to coonskin— she has fedoras, at least three witch hats, various baseball and patrol style caps, a tricorne, santa hats, kitty ears on a knit cap and more. Thus, she is always ready for the next adventure with the proper millinery.

Gaia's imagination is as vast as her hat collection. She began sitting in on craft classes at the shop I owned when she was eight or nine years old. Bead-work did not really interest her, but she was quite taken with polymer clay and even sold some of the tiny fantasy creature figures she created. Though she enjoyed working with the clay, she was more fascinated by sewing and various forms of needlework, and with a bit of help from the constant flow of creative adults she was around at the store, she began hand stitching small dolls and other figures.
Gaia's Creation

She loves to draw as well, and her creations are influenced by her love and admiration of popular Japanese art forms like manga and anime. She has collected, studied and played the Pokemon games since she was small. She sketches equally well with pencil or stylus, enjoys doing pixel pictures and is exploring the use of shading in contour and shape.

Meanwhile, her sewing has progressed from the small, completely hand-stitched dolls made from craft felt, to the greatly expanded options the use of a sewing machine allows. She draws her own patterns and is currently working on a new line of dolls with moveable arms and legs, beautifully expressive embroidered faces and custom designed clothing. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Gaia's Children

She calls her line of dolls, some of them fashioned after nature, others purely sprung from her mind and imagination— Gaia's Children. Since she was named for that ancient goddess that is embodied by our own Mother Earth, it seems only fitting that she should be the creative mother to these small folk that populate her world.

This is just a peak into Gaia's creative life. She will have a lot more to show you in the year to come. It is my hope that she will help with the blog writing chores, that she will perhaps share some of her patterns and ideas, and help you with some of your own.

Till next time...

November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

From Our Family to Yours
Pilgrim Couple by Gaia Robinette
Thanks to artist Gaia Robinette for this image!

Wishing everyone an abundant and blessed Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2014

Autumn Yard Sale

Another Sunrise
Another Sunrise

Teddy Bears to Tea Pots... and Everything in Between

I know that I have begun more than one post on this blog with a sunrise photo taken just outside my door, and here is another one. However, the morning of our recent yard sale dawned so very beautifully that it was impossible to resist snapping a shot of it as I hastened to get ready for the big event. Since this was before the November time change, and the sale began at 8 a.m., I was literally out before daylight moving items out of the garage and on to the wide expanse of our driveway. Though we have a large garage, I determined that it would be better if the sale itself were outdoors. That way I didn't have to worry about over eager customers exploring Larry's tool shelves or bottle-necking in a cramped area.

I decided to have a sale several months earlier than it actually occurred. Though I had a fair amount of stuff, it wasn't really enough to warrant an individual sale. I checked in with the family, and several of them wanted to participate. Things were sort of on hold for awhile, giving everyone time to go through things and decide what they wanted to sell. And, this being Florida, waiting for the worst of the summer heat to abate. I attended a few sales during the summer, but not many. Having sweat roll off in sheets beneath a merciless sun on someone's driveway is no pastime for the less than dedicated bargain hunter. The lead time was a good thing for me. It gave me the chance to get to the cleaning and organizing of items for the sale. In my view, preparation is crucial to a successful yard sale.

Getting Ready for a Yard Sale

I did a bit of research, using Pinterest, as I so often do, to find blogs and websites with useful information. My search yielded all sorts of valuable advice and great tips for making the sale a success. I just wanted to pass along what I found particularly useful, and what I learned from this sale.

Yard Sale
As I have already said—Prepare. Have your items clean, sorted and priced beforehand. My daughters who were joining in this sale brought their stuff over several weeks before, so we had a good idea of what we were dealing with.

I placed an ad in a local paper and we also advertised on Craigslist and Garage Sale Finder (I found this neat site on a Pinterest Board). Since one daughter had a lot of baby items, we noted that in the advertisements. I also went to the bank and got a stack of $1 and $5 bills. I figured it was better to have more than I needed than to run short. A surprising number of people do not carry small bills, especially since many get their cash from ATMs. More than one blog I looked at emphasized the need for bright, eye catching signs, and since we are in a rural area, I purchased several sheets of florescent poster board. My youngest daughter did the lettering and arrows. The success of our signs was brought home on sale day when numerous people inquired about a sale nearby. I had seen their signs when I put up my own. They were small, cream colored with lettering impossible to read from a moving vehicle. 
Yard Sale Day
I had everything ready to go on the morning of the sale. We had several tables and some benches to put merchandise on. We had quite a bit of clothing, and I really did not look for it to sell well. However, I did know from experience that it was much more likely to be sold from a rack. I had one small one, but that was not nearly enough space. A bit of invention on my Better Half' s part provided us with ample room to display clothing. He hung a wire shelving unit from the garage door tracks, and it made a splendid clothing rack. As it turned out, clothing sold much better than I anticipated. I posted a sign on the wall with prices of standard items such as sweaters, tops and slacks, etc. Specialty clothing was individually marked with prices, and we attempted to make certain sizes were marked or easy to locate.

Sale Tables
I had several autumn themed vinyl table cloths which were great for sprucing up and tying together the tables.  We tried to group like items together— large baby furniture, toys and the like lined the edge of the driveway. One table had housewares, with glasses, dishes, etc. at one end and linens at the other. A small table held shelves, wall art and accent pieces, and another collectible teddy bears.
Teddy Bear Table
We did not have room to place all items on the table, so some were displayed beneath. Note that we were careful to keep walk ways clear though, so no one would trip. Other items were displayed initially on blankets spread out on the driveway or in cardboard boxes. Many of these were then moved onto tables as space cleared, keeping everything as neat and organized as possible. One other note, again on a tip I gleaned from exploring other bloggers experiences, was to put out a Free sign. I placed items such as non-functioning small appliances and technology, broken or otherwise damaged goods on a blanket next to the gate. I made a prominent (flourescent) sign stating that these items were non-working etc. and slated for disposal. Every item I put out disappeared. ( I wish I had cleaned out some more stuff from the barn. Live and Learn.)

Overflow items
We scheduled our sale for a Friday and Saturday, closing up at 2 pm each day. I think the closing time was appropriate, as we saw a drop off of customers after lunch time both days. Surprisingly, Friday was far the better day both in volume and money made. We had more casual lookers on Saturday, but many of them were more passing the time than actually serious shoppers.

Something I saw mentioned on more than one blog, and that I will pass along here, is to have an ice chest of at least water to sell to thirsty shoppers. I had a variety of soft drinks also, and it went over very well.  I sold water for 75 cents and drinks for a $1. I wouldn't have a sale without it again. I actually sold drinks to a number of people who were not even purchasing items from the sale.

There you have it. Sale done. Garage and house cleaner and less cluttered, and I made a couple of hundred dollars in the process. Altogether, we netted about $700 for the two days. Not a fortune, but satisfying. If you are planning a sale—good luck. I hope I have helped.

November 10, 2014

(Ice) Queen for a Day...

My Ice Princess

The Making of an Icicle Tiara

I promised in my All-Hallows Aftermath post to provide some more information on the construction of the crown or tiara that I made for my costume this year. When we started out on our search for suitable party gear at the second-hand and thrift shops in the area a couple of months ago, I really had no idea what I was looking for. Our theme, as I mentioned in a previous post, was a Princess Party. It originally came about after my oldest granddaughter's remark one day while we were out Thrifting, that we needed an excuse to dress up in some of the fabulous formal wear that one so often finds, for literally a fraction of its original cost, at these shops. When it was time to start planning the Halloween Barn Party, that conversation sprang back to mind— we added tiaras, crowns and/or jewels to the mix— and we had a theme. Sorry guys. We will try to come up with something more unisex next year.

Winter Queen's Bling
  I was becoming discouraged,  having determined that if I wanted to be a witch, or revisit last year's darkly Gothic look there would be no problem. Black dresses were omnipresent. And when I found something that might do in some other color, it was invariably either the wrong size, or more than this tight-wad was willing to pay for a Halloween Costume.  Finally, one daughter mentioned having found "the Dress" waiting for her in a shop at the other end of town.

My youngest daughter, Gaia and I, took a ride at first opportunity, down to that group of thrift stores we had not visited in months. It was kismet, perhaps, as we both found dresses that day, not at the same shop but at two that are just a few blocks apart. Mine was the silver-gray with icy glitter accents that provides a background for some of these photos, and hers was an oriental style tunic or mini. Now we were getting somewhere.

Ice Faerie Queen Crown
The color and style of my dress made me think of winter and ice. I had already done a bit of searching on Pinterest and found a selection of crowns and tiaras. I immediately knew what I wanted— I just was not sure how to go about creating it.  After searching online for icicles and crystals that would fit the bill, I finally stumbled across the Factory Direct Craft web site.  As always, cost is a big factor with me, and I not only found the supplies I was looking for, but at far more reasonable prices and shipping than other sources I came across. I ordered two sizes of the acrylic twisted and swirled iridescent icicles, and a package of beautiful crystal look garland. Within a few days, I was ready to go...

Since I already had other supplies on hand (being the craftaholic magpie that I am), I will provide a list of everything that I used in the crown construction. I already had two or three metal headbands, the kind with the teeth. You could use something else, but I do not know of another type that would provide enough stability as a base. They do carry them at Factory Direct Craft, but only in black as far as I can tell. I used a silver-toned one, but it will be mostly covered when the project is completed. I am certain they are available—a quick Google search yielded a couple of sources for under $9.00, but not at suppliers I have used or can recommend. So, here is the supply list for the tiara/crown I made.

  •  1 Jewelry Designer Metal Headband (with teeth)
  • 1 Package 4" iridescent icicle ornaments (15 in package, I used 14 of them)
  • 1 Package 5" clear acrylic icicle ornaments (6 in package, I used 5)
  • 1 package Silver iridescent Diamond Twist Garland  (I used about 28")
  • A roll of 24 gauge silver craft wire
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
The only other tools you really need are scissors and a pair of wire cutters.

Tiara Supplies and tools
If (probably when) I make another similar crown, I will try some different approaches. I was not really sure how this one would come out, and not thinking ahead to tutorial, so I only took a few pictures. However, the assembly is pretty straightforward, so I will explain as well as I can.

My first step was to lay out a pattern of sorts. I seldom sketch things out, but I know that some people like to. I ended up with a design that sort of rose and fell, giving it some symmetry without being too structured. If you need to know, my pattern was, from left to right, as follows:
3- 4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 2-4" icicles, 1-5" icicle, 3- 4" icicles. (a total of 19 icicles)
Having removed the hanging ties included on the icicle ornaments, I cut a long piece of wire (about 2 to 3 feet) and began wiring the icicles into place. Be certain that the icicles are facing away from the metal teeth of your headband base. Begin where the teeth start, and wrap the wire once or twice around the band between each new icicle.

Wiring the Tiara
The tiara will remain quite wobbly and hard to keep straight during this process, but all you really need to do is make certain they are all lined up in same direction and evenly spaced. After all of the icicles are wired into place, trim and secure any remaining wire. (If you need more wire as you work, just secure end of last piece and start a new one by wrapping it securely around the band. Just be sure any wire ends are tucked in neatly and on the side of crown away from your head. No one wants a wire sticking in them.) 

You will need  something to support the crown when your start hot gluing. I just used a small box I had handy. Since it is a little unstable at this point, I recommend, hot gluing 4 or 5 icicles into place, then setting them on your support to cool and harden before moving on to the next group. That gives you a chance to make certain that the icicles stay properly oriented as you work.

Hot gluing the Tiara
 When all of the icicles are hot glued into place and cool, the crown may still seem a bit wobbly, but when you wire the garland into place, you can wrap the wire around the base of the icicle as well as the metal headband, and that will firm it all up nicely.

 Since the garland I choose was fairly thin, I cut a piece long enough to be double across the face of the headband, covering both the band and the glued base of the icicles. Just for fun, I let about 3" of garland dangle to one side.  Start the garland at the same place as you began the icicles, where the teeth start on the headband. It is 12" or 13" across the base of the crown, so cut your length accordingly. I used about 28".

Tiara Detail
As before, cut 2 or 3 feet of wire (whatever you are comfortable working with). I simply wired the garland tightly to the base, using the opportunity to strengthen any icicles on the crown that needed it. Add more wire as needed. Secure your wire end and trim.

You've just made a crown worthy of any Ice Queen or other Cool Character you can dream up.

Ice Queen
Mab, the Queen of Winter Faerie
I really enjoyed coming up with a way to make my idea of a crown work, and want to try some other themes, such as Mermaid Princess or Woodland Faery in the future. The possibilities are endless. Since my costume was modeled after Mab, the Queen of Winter Faerie in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books, I also made jewelry to complete the ensemble.

Harry Dresden Locket
While I initially contemplated using the icicle theme for earrings and necklace, my inability to locate some smaller icicle ornaments that matched those in my crown led me to explore other possibilities. The locket on my necklace is simply a dollar store ornament with a clip art picture of the character Harry Dresden who is the Winter Faery Queen's Knight in these tales. I used an assortment of clear glass and some large iridescent white acrylic beads that I had to complete it.

My Snowflake earrings were nothing more than two lightweight Christmas ornaments I put on earring wires. It was all easy and fun.

  Now, whenever I get to feeling Queenly, I can just whip out my crown and play the part. (I know the party had a Princess Theme, but since I am either mother or grandmother to most of the other Princesses present at this event, I decided it was perfectly within my rights to be Queen.)

I will close this post today with just a couple of observations about the Princess  Mentality that has become so pervasive in our culture. After an epoch of being the oppressed gender, of being chattels, servants and often having little more to say on their own behalves than slaves, it is perhaps understandable that in a more egalitarian age, Girls and Women want to feel special, to be more than just ordinary. However, It worries me to see the Great Divide between sexes widening again. I am not telling women to be like men, but I am suggesting that they tread carefully through the minefield of their hard-won equal rights. If you are going to be a Princess, be a Self-Rescuing One. Blessings to All...

Halloween Costume 2014-- Ice Queen

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