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Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Halloween at the last minute!

A jellyfish and chia pet costume let you stay warm, dry and hairy for the Alaskan Halloween holiday

There are only a few days left until the big scramble to scrape together a costume becomes futile and you settle for the now-too-small pirate costume from three years ago that's still in your closet (because you could have a use for it someday). What kind of a craft companion would I be if I let you go out like that? Don't worry, even last minute crafters deserve love on Halloween, so here are a handful of helpful costume hints to get you geared up - and quick!

Quick Costumes with Alaskan Themes:
Poking fun at the summer scene in Juneau is an endless winter pastime, so why not take it one step further? Whether you are alone, in a couple, or in a group, these Alaskan summer-themed disguises will keep you in giggles all night long. 
This age-old (literally) costume can be done in a several ways. For a couple, wear matching jackets and lots of layers. Or go alone as a "Q-tip" by throwing on a white wig and white shoes. And don't forget the clear rain-cap, plastic sack rain jacket and extra-large camera. Wandering into the street distractedly in front of cars is not recommended.
Dog musher/Glacier Guide and Rafting Guide:
It isn't hard to spot guides who wile away their days on top of the ice: just look into their eyes - actually, around their eyes, where they have major raccoon looks from all the sun and goggles up on the icefield. Recreate this style by applying bronze make-up to fake a tan everywhere on your face except around your eyes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Between Trick and Treat: An Artist's World

A new doll created by local artist Alana Ballam-Schwan

Little girls with enormous eyes and devious smiles, gnomes and elephants frolicking in fields, hanging bats whispering through tin-can telephones, ghoulish graveyard scenes and little skeptical sunken-eyed dolls draped in cloaks. Expect to find these as you enter the cozy home of local artist and crafter Alana Ballam-Schwan, whose work dances in the lines between innocence and adulthood, between fantasy and reality, between trick and treat.
Halloween, a holiday that combines children's excited innocence with creepy-crawlies and ghoulish themes, is right up Ballam-Schwan's alley, whose dining room is currently covered in ready-making for the big day. Creating handmade costumes each year for herself and a few others is all part of the tradition she's formed as an outlet for her creativity. Greatly inspired by filmmaker Tim Burton and illustrator Edward Gorey, much of Ballam-Schwan's art and craft centers around storytelling, for children in particular.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween is Scary (for me that is)

Read on to find out how to make these and other costumes for the big night!
Halloween scares me. No, no, not in an "aack, zombies coming to eat me!" kind of scared, but more like a "I can never live up to the crafty expectations of this holiday" scared. I mean, seriously, Martha practically puts out a book on the holiday each year. A book! But, I am also in love with its inventiveness. From the ingenuity of first-time crafters (or so they'd like you to think) who turn into a Transformer from a box and some duct tape, to the well-seasoned sewer who stitches together an Eighteenth Century corseted gown to wear once "because it's fun," I revel in their brilliance and know I am simply out of my league. 

So this year, I am putting my fears aside and thinking to the future by devoting two full columns to DIY costume inspiration (much of which I have seen out and about right here in Juneau). See you out there!

Get started now on these costumes that take a bit longer (with Alaskan themes!): 

Group: The Tongass
Get a group together for a crafting session of tall trees. Clad yourselves in brown and throw on funky faux bois (fake wood grain) fabric toga wraps. Then create hats that peak into treetops. Either use real fallen tree limbs or cut your own from fabric, and a box as the base. Cut a large circle from cardboard and cut along a radius to the center. Pull the circle into a cone shape that will fit your head like a dunce cap and secure with glue. Poke holes in the cone and insert the branches, or simply glue on fabric branches you've created. Don your hats and watch an entire forest emerge. Finish the look off with attached birds, squirrels and moss.