Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More!

I own numerous Halloween books, some filled with creepy recipes, some feature seasonal craft projects, and still others feature spooktacular decorating tips.  Some feature a bit of each of these.  Over the years I've become much more discriminating in my purchases and often find new titles are often sadly similar to books I already own.

Witch Craft, a new title from Quirk books, is an exception.  The projects and recipes are all unique and seem simple to replicate.  The instructions are all clear and easy to follow.  Some projects may involve techniques you may not be familiar with, but there are links provided to web sites with helpful information to help you learn to master new skills.

As an added bonus, one of the two editors and contributor of four of the projects is a fellow Pittsburgher and Steel Town Etsy team member.  My overall favorite project is the ruby slippers pictured at the beginning of this post and on the cover of the book.  Another project I'm especially eager to try is the Freaky Finger Food.  It will most definitely be one of the many dishes featured on the spooky buffet at our annual Boo Bash.

The book is available in bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, and Borders, as well as on Amazon.

If you live in Philadelphia, Seattle, or Pittsburgh, feel free to attend these upcoming book events:
Dracula DIY at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, Saturday, October 23.
A Halloween party at Cakespy in Seattle Saturday, October 9.
Shaler Library Costume Halloween Bash in Pittsburgh  October 15.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Thinking Green: TerraCycle teams up with Keebler

This past week I purchased a package of Keebler's Sandies Pecan Shortbread cookies.  On the wrapper, I discovered that Keebler has now paired with TerraCycle to encourage people to upcycle their cookie wrappers.  As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of upcycling everything I can as I figure the fewer items that end up in landfills the better off we all are. 

TerraCycle encourages consumers to save more than just cookie wrappers, though.  They have established trash brigades to allow consumers to earn cash for their trash for a school or other non profit group.  Through this program you can save items such as drink pouch containers, candy wrappers, home storage items (such as ziploc bags), yogurt containers, chip bag, and other items, then redeem them for $.02 each to raise money for programs such as schools.  They then turn these items into products like fencing, eco friendly fire starters, windowbox planters and other garden pots, and much more.  Visit their website for more information on this wonderful program.

Once you learn about the program, contact your local elementary, middle school, or high school and encourage them to participate in this program.  I already send all my paper recycling to our local elementary school to help them raise money and hope to soon start sending cookie wrappers their way as well.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back to School and Back to Blog

I know I've been absent much of the summer, but life just hasn't allowed time to blog.  My boys were home on school vacation most of June through this past Monday.  They kept the Mom taxi running nonstop, including weekly trips to Sandcastle, the local water park, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  In between, I've been busy pursuing my photography and other artistic outlets, vending at several local shows in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Ohio, and participating in the Carrick Art Escape project.

I first found about about the Art Escape project through a Facebook post from my amazingly talented artist friend Kathryn Carr where she mentioned she'd be participating and linked to an article in Pop City about the project.   Several local artists created varied works of art on large panels to be placed in storefronts along Brownsville road primarily, both to beautify the neighborhood and to help make vacant storefronts more appealing to potential occupants.  Originally, I'd painted a large 4 foot wide by 5 foot tall panel burgundy, and mounted photographs of various Carrick landmarks to it, but the panel ended up being too large for its final destination and sadly, the mounting tape I normally use for my photos wasn't strong enough to keep the photos adhered to the wood.  Missy, the organizer of the project, who normally prefers to remain invisible and behind the scenes in the work she does for the neighborhood has put in many hours of hard, and often thankless work, to pull this project together.  She even went above and beyond expectations and remounted my photos to a panel that would fit in the location she wanted to showcase my project in.  While they're not displayed in the same order I originally had them in, my angel statue photo is still at the top and center as the prominent piece.  The conceptual title of my piece is "Angels Watching Over Carrick" and I envision the angels as the residents of Carrick who get involved in making their neighborhood a better place, the other artists who gave so freely of their time and talents to make the project a reality, as well as the statues in the cemetery atop the hill overlooking Carrick.  The Post Gazette blog recently posted a feature entitled Painting Carrick with a few details about the project as well.  If you're in Pittsburgh, and interested in viewing the projects, start at Churchview and continue to Carrick Library on Brownsville Rd.  Carrick has a huge business district, so art panels are sporadically placed where there were empty storefronts or space availability. Below is a list of where the art is located:

Mary Grace Nichol: Carrick Library -1811 Brownsville Rd.
Kathryn Carr: 1824 Brownsville Rd. (across from library; next to Anthony's Pizza/ Permanent Wave Salon)
Tamara Barker: 2018 Brownsville Rd.(across from Madeline St./ Zion Church)
Anthony Stewart: 2018 Brownsville Rd.(")
Malia Rosenfeld: 2018 Brownsville Rd.(")
Leslie (Soulmate Tattoo): 2018 Brownsville Rd.(")
Lynsey Kern: 2601 Brownsville Rd ( Hess Floral Building)
Tommy Mason: 2608 Brownsville Rd.(Previously Artistic Tattoo business)
Dawn Morris : 2608 Brownsville Rd.( ")
Nichole Musser: 2608 Brownsville Rd.(")
David Connelly: 2608 Brownsville Rd.(")
Anthony Stewart: 2608 Brownsville Rd.(")
Gail Matus: 2608 Brownsville Rd(")
Joyce Wasser: 2619 Brownsville Rd( across the street from Artistic Tattoo)
Elizabeth Vogel: 2619 Brownsville Rd(")
Tirzah De Caria: 2621 Brownsville Rd.(")
Hayley Gallagher: 2621 Brownsville Rd.(")

I apologize for the lengthy post, but had I covered everything I've been up to since I last blogged, the post would be far longer.  During my blogging hiatus I also secured a DIY craft book deal and have been busily working on writing it (more on that later), so I will only be blogging sporadically for awhile until it's completed, but I will make an effort to write at least one entry a week.  Those of you who've been awaiting the next installment of my zombie tale for my Tale Tuesday series, leave me a comment if you can't wait until mid-to-late October for the next installment, and, if I receive enough comments, I'll endeavor to find time to work on it during craft book breaks.
If you're in the Pittsburgh area, please take the time to view the Carrick Art Escape installment and let me know if you enjoyed it.  If you'd like contact info for any of the artists, feel free to let me know and I'll get in touch with them.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


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