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Welcome! Artfully Musing is a blog dedicated to sharing art and the techniques and products used. I'll be showcasing collage, altered and mixed media art. I have regular giveaways of my art and lots of free tutorials. I hope you'll check back often and are inspired. Thanks for visiting! Laura

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dr. Raven's Pandemonium

Dr. Raven’s Pandemonium is one of the more popular attractions at the Halloween Carnival.
Mr. Yule B. Next, had an unfortunate accident at the Pandemonium this week.  Dr. Raven thought that in light of the goulash condition of Mr. Next, perhaps he would fit right in at the “Dodge the Zombies” game. 
Of course with a business like Dr. Raven’s it’s important to have a wagon for occasions like these.  The bars on the wagon are a must when transporting some of the more unusual oddities to his Pandemonium.
Mr. Skeletony is hitching a ride over to the Boo Bash.  He goes every night hoping to find his lost love (a purported beauty) carrying her picture and moldy roses (her favorite).
The coachman has a pet gargoyle which is sort of a nasty fellow, so the coachman keeps him in a glass dome; it’s the only way he can prevent him from biting people.

The Wagon
The wagon is as a Masonite kit which includes assembly instructions. 
It’s original purpose is for a circus wagon to hold ATCs but as soon as I saw it I knew I would take it in a spooky direction.  I thought it was a perfect addition to my Halloween Carnival.  In the picture below you can see how the top is open if you want to use it for displaying ATCs.
In addition to sharing with you how I embellished the wagon, I’ll describe the changes I made to its assembly.

I started by spray painting all of the pieces black which made the process much faster than hand painting all of the pieces.  Note in the picture below I also painted the slats from the bars.  The slats will become the benches for the coachman and Mr. Skeletony.
Before assembling the main section of the wagon I added paper to the front and back pieces.  
I approached attaching the wheels in a slightly different manner than the one described in the instructions.  I first glued the washers in place on the inside of the wagon.  I pushed the axles through the washers to make sure everything lined up as the glue dried.  The axles are loose and not glued to anything.
Next, I evened up the axles and slid the wheels onto the axles and then the washers.  The instructions call for the outside washers to be glued to the axle but not to the wheel if you want the wheels to turn (not an easy thing to do).  If you put glue in the washer hole, it gets all over the axle as you slide the axle in place.  Instead, I used skull beads to keep the wheels and washer in place.  The particular skulls I used fit snugly on the ends of the axles.
To pull the wagon I used the wolf image from the Halloween Carnival Rides #1 Collage Sheet which contains spooky carousel animals.  To support the wolves and to make them stand on their own, I glued two pieces of a wooden skewer between them.  I used two skeleton hand food picks to connect the wolves to the wagon.  The wooden skewers slide perfectly into the gap between the thumb and fingers on the pick.
At the end of the picks I attached a bead.  The purpose of the bead was to give me a larger surface area to attach the wolves to the wagon.  The beads are attached under the front bench.
To create the benches I glued together two of the pieces that were in between the wagon bars.  The kit comes with two decorative hitches to which you can attach a string to pull the wagon.  I repurposed the hitches and used them as supports for the benches by gluing them vertically under each bench.  Just gluing the benches to the front and back of the wagon was not enough to support the weight of the skeletons.
The blood on the coffin was made by dripping red candle wax.  I decided it was not dark enough so I painted it with Red Pepper Alcohol Ink.
To manipulate the skeletons into the position I wanted, I used heavy scissors to cut them at the arms, elbows and knee joints.  I then glued them into the desired position.
Mr. Skeletony’s monocal is made from a jump ring, bead, eye pin and chain.  It’s attached to his google eye using Glossy Accents.
The posts are made from chevron patterned straws.  These are heavy and stiff paper straws.  The tails of the owls fit perfectly into the straws.
The tent comes from my 3D Tent Digital Image Set which includes 4 different tents.  Some of the tents are available as collage sheets.  For a video tutorial on how to assemble the tents click here. 


You can find the tutorials and more information about building a Halloween Carnival at:

Below is the supply list and description of how and where each item was used.

Alpha Stamps Supplies Used for Dr. Raven’s Pandemonium
Dem Bones Collage Sheet Picture of Mr. Skeltony’s lost love
Black and White Chevron Striped Straws Posts on wagon and tent
Miniature Glass Domes Containing skull perch and gargoyle
Masonite Circus Flag Cut-Outs - Decorating the sides of the wagon
Plastic Skeletons - The coachman & Mr. Skeletony
Jack-o-Lantern Erasers - The coachman’s head
Acrylic Top Hats - Large - The coachman & Mr. Skeletony’s hats
Ceramic Raven Beads - Small - Sitting on the coachman’s knee
Brass Skull & Cross Bones Charm - On the coachman’s hat
Spooky Ghost Buttons - On the sides of the banners
An Eerie Tale Run & Hide Scrapbook Paper - Spider side paper used to decorate the wagon
Brass Owl Stampings Used at the top of the chevron straws
Plastic Tombstone Boxes - Inside the wagon
Mini Ceramic Gargoyle Beads - The coachman’s pet in the glass dome
Small Resin Skull Beads - Perch for the coachman’s pet gargoyle
Ceramic Raven Beads - Small - Sitting on the coachman’s knee
Small Plastic Pumpkins – Inside the wagon
Skeleton Hand Food Picks - Used to attach the wolves to the wagon
Plastic Skeleton Hand - Inside the wagon
40/30 Fancy Oval Settings - Black - Frame for Mr. Skeletony’s lost love
Antique Candelabra Charm - On the sides of the wagon
Tiny Paper Roses Mr. Skeletony’s flowers
Mini Spiders Inside the wagon
Small Wooden Finials - Used to attach the straw posts to the tent
Large Fancy Oval Beads - Used to attach the wolves to the wagon
Black & Orange Mini Gingham Check Ribbon Used on the coachman’s hat and Mr. Skeletony’s bow tie.
Halloween Spider Leg Ribbon Used on Mr. Skeletony’s hat
Thin Orange/Black Stitched Ribbon Reins for the wolves
Metal Patinas - Faded Pickup (Topaz) Used to paint wheels and candelabra flames
Metal Patinas - Retro Highway (Onyx) Used to paint candelabra (first coat)
Gilders Paste - Inca Gold Used to color candelabra (second coat)
Alcohol Inks - Winter Set (Red Pepper) Used to paint wax to simulate blood

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dr. Raven’s Pandemonium

Dr. Raven’s Pandemonium is one of the more popular attractions at the Halloween Carnival.
Mr. Yule B. Next, had an unfortunate accident at the Pandemonium this week.  Dr. Raven thought that in light of the goulash condition of Mr. Next, perhaps he would fit right in at the “Dodge the Zombies” game. 
Of course with a business like Dr. Raven’s it’s important to have a wagon for occasions like these.  The bars on the wagon are a must when transporting some of the more unusual oddities to his Pandemonium.
Mr. Skeletony is hitching a ride over to the Boo Bash.  He goes every night hoping to find his lost love (a purported beauty) carrying her picture and moldy roses (her favorite).
The coachman has a pet gargoyle which is sort of a nasty fellow, so the coachman keeps him in a glass dome; it’s the only way he can prevent him from biting people.

The Wagon
The wagon is as a Masonite kit which includes assembly instructions. 
It’s original purpose is for a circus wagon to hold ATCs but as soon as I saw it I knew I would take it in a spooky direction.  I thought it was a perfect addition to my Halloween Carnival.  In the picture below you can see how the top is open if you want to use it for displaying ATCs.
In addition to sharing with you how I embellished the wagon, I’ll describe the changes I made to its assembly.

I started by spray painting all of the pieces black which made the process much faster than hand painting all of the pieces.  Note in the picture below I also painted the slats from the bars.  The slats will become the benches for the coachman and Mr. Skeletony.
Before assembling the main section of the wagon I added paper to the front and back pieces.  
I approached attaching the wheels in a slightly different manner than the one described in the instructions.  I first glued the washers in place on the inside of the wagon.  I pushed the axles through the washers to make sure everything lined up as the glue dried.  The axles are loose and not glued to anything.
Next, I evened up the axles and slid the wheels onto the axles and then the washers.  The instructions call for the outside washers to be glued to the axle but not to the wheel if you want the wheels to turn (not an easy thing to do).  If you put glue in the washer hole, it gets all over the axle as you slide the axle in place.  Instead, I used skull beads to keep the wheels and washer in place.  The particular skulls I used fit snugly on the ends of the axles.
To pull the wagon I used the wolf image from the Halloween Carnival Rides #1 Collage Sheet which contains spooky carousel animals.  To support the wolves and to make them stand on their own, I glued two pieces of a wooden skewer between them.  I used two skeleton hand food picks to connect the wolves to the wagon.  The wooden skewers slide perfectly into the gap between the thumb and fingers on the pick.
At the end of the picks I attached a bead.  The purpose of the bead was to give me a larger surface area to attach the wolves to the wagon.  The beads are attached under the front bench.
To create the benches I glued together two of the pieces that were in between the wagon bars.  The kit comes with two decorative hitches to which you can attach a string to pull the wagon.  I repurposed the hitches and used them as supports for the benches by gluing them vertically under each bench.  Just gluing the benches to the front and back of the wagon was not enough to support the weight of the skeletons.
The blood on the coffin was made by dripping red candle wax.  I decided it was not dark enough so I painted it with Red Pepper Alcohol Ink.
To manipulate the skeletons into the position I wanted, I used heavy scissors to cut them at the arms, elbows and knee joints.  I then glued them into the desired position.
Mr. Skeletony’s monocal is made from a jump ring, bead, eye pin and chain.  It’s attached to his google eye using Glossy Accents.
The posts are made from chevron patterned straws.  These are heavy and stiff paper straws.  The tails of the owls fit perfectly into the straws.
The tent comes from my 3D Tent Digital Image Set which includes 4 different tents.  Some of the tents are available as collage sheetsFor a video tutorial on how to assemble the tents click here. 


You can find the tutorials and more information about building a Halloween Carnival at:

Below is the supply list and description of how and where each item was used.

Alpha Stamps Supplies Used for Dr. Raven’s Pandemonium
Dem Bones Collage Sheet - Picture of Mr. Skeltony’s lost love
Black and White Chevron Striped Straws - Posts on wagon and tent
Miniature Glass Domes - Containing skull perch and gargoyle
Masonite Circus Flag Cut-Outs - Decorating the sides of the wagon
Plastic Skeletons - The coachman & Mr. Skeletony
Jack-o-Lantern Erasers - The coachman’s head
Acrylic Top Hats - Large - The coachman & Mr. Skeletony’s hats
Ceramic Raven Beads - Small - Sitting on the coachman’s knee
Brass Skull & Cross Bones Charm - On the coachman’s hat
Spooky Ghost Buttons - On the sides of the banners
An Eerie Tale Run & Hide Scrapbook Paper - Spider side paper used to decorate the wagon
Brass Owl Stampings - Used at the top of the chevron straws
Plastic Tombstone Boxes - Inside the wagon
Mini Ceramic Gargoyle Beads - The coachman’s pet in the glass dome
Small Resin Skull Beads - Perch for the coachman’s pet gargoyle
Ceramic Raven Beads - Small - Sitting on the coachman’s knee
Small Plastic Pumpkins Inside the wagon
Skeleton Hand Food Picks - Used to attach the wolves to the wagon
Plastic Skeleton Hand - Inside the wagon
40/30 Fancy Oval Settings - Black - Frame for Mr. Skeletony’s lost love
Antique Candelabra Charm - On the sides of the wagon
Tiny Paper Roses - Mr. Skeletony’s flowers
Mini Spiders - Inside the wagon
Small Wooden Finials - Used to attach the straw posts to the tent
Large Fancy Oval Beads - Used to attach the wolves to the wagon
Black & Orange Mini Gingham Check Ribbon - Used on the coachman’s hat and Mr. Skeletony’s bow tie.
Halloween Spider Leg Ribbon - Used on Mr. Skeletony’s hat
Thin Orange/Black Stitched Ribbon - Reins for the wolves
Metal Patinas - Faded Pickup (Topaz) - Used to paint wheels and candelabra flames
Metal Patinas - Retro Highway (Onyx) - Used to paint candelabra (first coat)
Gilders Paste - Inca Gold - Used to color candelabra (second coat)
Alcohol Inks - Winter Set (Red Pepper) - Used to paint wax to simulate blood

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Altered Bee Themed Bottle & Jars


I have a couple more decorative Bee themed projects for you.  The first is an altered honey bee bottle covered in real beeswax with faux honey and a bee skep topper that I will show you how to make.  I thought this would look cute in my kitchen  and maybe yours too.

Second, are two altered mason jars with cute toppers and with a glow supplied by LED lights.  I think these jars would look lovely on a patio table in the evening and would also make a great hostess gift.
Honey Bee Bottle
To give the bottle an aged look, I used Deco Art Perfect Crackle.  The instructions that come with the product are through and the product is easy to apply.
Next, using a sponge, I applied black StazOn ink to the raised design on the front of the bottle.
I used a honeycomb stencil and a pencil to trace a pattern on the bottle.  Next, I filled in the traced areas with Caramel Alcohol ink.  I left the pencil marks as I thought it looked more distressed.
I melted yellow beeswax and used a small spoon to drizzle the wax down the sides of the bottle.
Now was one of those moments when I decided to add something else to the bottle that should have been added before I drizzled on the wax.  Looking at the bottle I thought that it would look better with some faux honey inside.

I melted some clear glue sticks and added Caramel Alcohol ink to create a honey color.  Next, I poured the melted glues sticks into the bottle.  The only problem was that the heat of the glue melted the wax at the bottom of the bottle.  After the glue cooled, I added more wax to fix my mistake. 

UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) would be a better choice for this process and not as much of a mess, but I was out of it and the glue sticks were a cheap alternative.  I will say, that the consistency of the melted glue was very much like real honey.
In the picture below, you can see the faux honey in the bottle and the wax back in place.

Making the Bee Skep Topper
I decided that a honey bottle needed a bee skep top.  After much thought, I settled on using cording to construct the skep.  It doesn’t matter what the cording looks like as you won’t see the original colors when it is finished.

Start by making a circle with the cording the same size as the top of the bottle.  Begin wrapping the cording in circles gluing each circle on top of the previous circle.  I glued one circle in place, then waited for it to dry before gluing on the next.  For the first 3 circles keep them the same size.
Continue gluing cording in a circle but begin to make the circles smaller and smaller forming the shape of the bee skep. 
Once you have a tiny hole in the top snip away most of the extra cording, poke the end through the small hole in the top and glue it in place.
I found it helpful to add glue to the inside of the beehive to help it keep its shape.
To block out the color of the cording I painted the outside of the hive with white acrylic paint.
Next, I coated the inside and outside of the hive with Mod Podge.
The final step was to use the Caramel Alcohol ink to color the hive.  Because I coated the hive with the Mod Podge first the ink and paint did not mix and lighten the color of the ink.
Once the hive was dry I glued it on top of the bottle.
I added other embellishments such as brass sunflowers, fibers and Masonite bees.  These are the same bees that I used on the other bee projects (see the previous bee projects for the tutorial on how to paint the bees).
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used For the Honey Bee Jar

Small Mason Jar
This next project was inspired by Mason Jar Toppers.  These toppers fit wide mouth Mason jars.  The glow in the jar is from an LED tea light and clear pebbles.
To make the garland, I twisted the stems of paper flowers together.
Next, I twisted each end of the garland together to encircle the top of the jar.  I placed the light at the bottom of the jar then added the clear pebbles to cover the light.  Nothing is glued in place so it is easy to unscrew the top and pull out the light to turn it off.
The topper is painted with Onyx Metal Patina and decorated with one of the round medallions from the Bees collage sheet.  The label holder comes off making it easy to paint the lid and to add images to the top. On the Bird & Bees collage sheet is a small honey label that is sized to fit the holder.
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used For the Small Mason Jar
Mason Jar Toppers - Lid with Holder
Bees Collage Sheet - medallion

Large Mason Jar
I started by coloring the raised design on the jar with StazOn ink to make it pop.  I found the jar at Wal-Mart in the craft section.  Next, I used a tissue and alcohol ink to color the jar.

I painted the topper with Onyx Metal Patina paint.  Note the hook on the bottom and the handle on the top.  These are easy to remove for painting and decorating.

Hanging from the mini mobile are brass bees & Masonite bees.  These are the same bees that I used on the other bee projects (see the previous bee projects for the tutorial on how to paint the bees).  The mobile hangs from the hook under the topper.

Just like with the smaller jar, I placed the light at the bottom and added clear pebbles to cover the light.  Nothing is glued in place so it is easy to unscrew the top and pull out the light to turn it off.
To decorate the topper I rubbed it with Inca Gold Gilders Paste and added a bee themed medallion.
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used For the Large Mason Jar
Mason Jar Toppers - Lid with Knob
Mason Jar Toppers - Mini Mobile
Bees Collage Sheet - medallion