Monday, September 24, 2012

Masquerade Mask

I've had this vision for a costume for quite a while now, and finally acquired all the materials to make it a reality. The costume itself isn't actually finished yet, but I just finished the mask and couldn't wait to put some pictures up! So here's the finished product:

I absolutely love masquerade masks; I think they're beautiful! Of course, I wasn't able to find one even close to what I was envisioning. Hubby and I went to a huge costume shop in downtown Houston, which had a large selection of masquerade masks, and he helped me pick out a mask to use as a "base". Here's what I started with:

We loved the unique shape and the half-and-half qualities of this mask, even though the colors were far from what I wanted. I also thought the outlines of some of the points lent themselves well to being used with autumn leaves. Little by little, I transformed the mask to match the image in my mind.

First, I popped off the purple rhinestones and painted the mask.

I started with this supposedly "gold" paint on one half, but decided it was too beige-y. So I repainted it with a metallic gold, which I liked much better, and painted the other half scarlet.

Don't you agree that the second gold color looks much better? At this point I was already liking the mask much better, and was excited to add my leaves. I played around with several colors and placements. I really liked the dark red leaves and the gold/brown leaves because they complemented the mask colors, but the rest of the costume is going to be an iridescent orange/yellow, so I also wanted some lighter leaves to tie it all together. Once I figured out which leaves I wanted, I sewed them on. That was fun, sewing through a couple layers of plastic--not! But the leaves are much more secure than they would have been if I had glued them.

I arranged the leaves so that they followed the original shape of the mask. In this next picture you can see the bottom point of the mask...

...and then how well the leaf lines up with it. I did this on the top points on the gold side, as well.

Once the leaves were finally sewn on (seriously, that took much longer than anticipated), I was finished!

I love how the top leaf on each side plays off of the mask color on the opposite side, bringing it all together. The lighter leaves add some pleasant contrast, and are really going to bring in the costume color. Hopefully I will get the costume made this next weekend (fingers crossed!) and will be able to upload pictures of it all together.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Custom Hall Passes

I'm back from my unintentional hiatus from blogging. An unanticipated move and medical issues filled much of my summer, and suddenly we are a month into the school year! Things have settled down now, and I hope to make a return to my semi-regular blogging. Thank you to all of you who have viewed my page and left comments, even in my absence.

This is just a short post to show you the hall passes I created for my classroom this year. Unfortunately, I did not take step-by-step photos, but it was a simple project. I started with a small wooden plaque, which I painted to match my room. I used a paint pen to do the lettering, which was easier for me to control than a brush. Painting even letters with a paint brush is challenging for me. :) When that was all dry, I glued a long piece of ribbon to the back, forming the hanging loop at the top and the two long trails at the bottom. Finally, I painted clothespins, writing "Hall Pass" on one side and my name on the other, and clipped them on to the ribbons. Ta-da! Cute hall passes!

*Don't have the time or inclination to make this yourself? Check out Apples to Applique on Etsy and have me make it for you!*

After a month of use I can say I'm loving these! My students can just clip one of these on their shirt when they leave for a restroom or water break. Probably my favorite thing about these is that, because they are clipped on, they are not being held with grimy hands or set down in a dirty bathroom and forgotten. One month of school, and my class of third graders have not lost a single one. But even if they did, it would be easy--and cheap--for me to replace, which can not be said for most custom hall passes. I also love that these can be customized with any colors, and, let's face it, they look pretty dang cute hanging up on the wall.