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Spotted Canary Blog

Ideas and musings from the nest: learn what Spotted Canaries are singing about. From planning a theme party to choosing the right kind of glue, our team is always on the look-out for tips and stories to share with you.

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Fall is OFFICIALLY here!

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Fall is officially here – and that means trips to the pumpkin farm and  corn mazes, haunted houses and hay rides – all the fun things geared around Halloween that we love to do with our kids.

This is also my favorite time of the year, I love the deep, rich colors of fall! Another reason it’s my favorite time of the year is it’s getting to be time to make a Halloween costume for my son. I think this year I’m really going to go all out – it’s probably the last year he’ll wear a costume and go out trick or treating with his friends! In the last 12 years I think I have made 7 out of 12 of his costumes.

My rules for making costumes are pretty simple:

  • Recycle as much as possible and use things around the house and from the recycle bin if possible
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to get started
  • If I do buy supplies they have to be cheap

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One year he was a wizard, I made a cape from a remnant of black velvet I found on clearance at the fabric store for a couple of dollars after the 40% off coupon and a wand from a small Styrofoam ball and dowel I borrowed from my husband’s shop.

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Another year he was a handsome Knight in Shining Armor complete with armor, a sword and a helmet. The armor was made from plywood cut to shape by my father and decorated with buttons, hot glue and medallions found on clearance at the craft store and then spray painted silver. The helmet was made from a piece of toile and an army helmet. It was the cutest – he was the best knight I had ever seen, if I do say so myself!

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For two years in a row he was the Headless Horseman. Probably the easiest costume I have ever made! I took a plastic pumpkin large enough to fit over his head and cut a hole in the bottom large enough for his head to fit through.  Then I cut pieces of felt to fashion a collar (and also to protect his neck from the rough plastic) and hot glued them around the opening. A little black paint on his face and it looked pretty realistic! He got the most compliments on his costume those years!

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Last year my husband brought a camouflage Ghillie suit home from work for the weekend and he was a Special Forces Soldier with his BB gun – the cost: zero! That was the cheapest costume so far and the one he had the most fun with his friends with!

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a really creative and fun costume for your kids! Look around your house and garage, brainstorm with your kids and get started. Make a sketch, starting planning and searching for supplies now so you have plenty of time to shop at Goodwill and other second shops to find the supplies you’ll need.

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With that said – I’ve got to get busy with the costume for this year. But before I go, I’ll leave you with this quick Halloween card I made using spooky Halloween and background stamps, embossing and some fun glitter embellishments from K & Company! 

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Thanks for stopping by, I'd love to know what Fall rituals you have and if you make or buy the Halloween costumes for your kids every year.      

Make your own Art Journal

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Art Journaling is pretty popular right now. It’s a way of making sure you create some type of art – and it’s also about working through problems – and it doesn’t matter what type of problems. You could journal about what a bad day you had – and then cover it up with pretty art – or you could use your art journal to work out a design or technique idea that you want to experiment with before committing it to canvas.

I’ll admit, I’m a junkie for making my own journals. I’m also guilty of making lots of journals and not using them much. But lately, something has changed. I’ve been journaling more. But, it’s about making more art. Playing more – even if it’s just a doodle every night in my wire bound notebook – something -- anything to promote creativity and artistic growth.

You could go out and buy expensive art journals – or spend lots of money on art papers and make your own covers; but you don’t have to. You don’t even have to know any fancy book making techniques to make a down and dirty journal in a half hour or so.

Before I get started with a quick step-by-step journal, here are a few of my favorite journals that I’ve been working in a lot lately.   

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  • The top two in the photo are machine stitched journals like I've made in this tutorial
  • The next one is a hand-stitched journal made from a vintage book
  • Second from the bottom is a simple bound Fabric Art Journal
  • The bottom one on the pile is a Copic bound journal with 8” x 10” canvas panels for the front and back covers

If you don’t want to bother to make your own hand-bound journal, you could also use:

  • A composition notebook
  • A moleskin journal
  • A Ring Bound journal with custom sized pages
  • A wire-bound watercolor or drawing paper pad

Let's Make a simple Art Journal: in less than an hour!!

  • To get started with your journal, decide how many pages and what size paper you want to use and use a scoring tool to score them down the center and fold them in half. Use a bone folder to fold each page in half on the scored line. For this journal I started with 8½” x 11” paper and scored/folded each page in half for a finished size of 5 ½” x 8 ½”. To get a journal with 32 pages I created 4 signatures with 2 pieces of paper per signature.

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  • For the cover, search through your recyclables and find a cereal box, cut it down one of the sides to lay it flat. Trim across the top and bottom to remove the flaps. Make sure the chipboard is large enough to cover the front and back of the journal. 

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  • Place the folded paper (2 pages nestled together create 1 signature -- you should have 4 signatures) in the center of the chipboard, be careful to line up the fold of the pages with the fold of the box. Mark the box with a dark marker if you need to make it easier to see.      

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  • Use a sewing machine to stitch along the fold from the top to bottom of the page.  Make sure the folds are lined up down the entire length of the page.

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  • Your journal, with one signature stitched in, should look like this.   

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  • To line up the next signature for stitching, use a marker or pencil to make a mark about 1/8” from the first signature. Line up the fold of the next signature with the line and use your sewing machine to stitch the pages to the chipboard.   

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  • Finish adding the last two signatures in the same manner. Your art journal should look something like this.   

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  • Use duck tape, masking tape or adhesive canvas to reinforce the inside of the front and back of the book.   

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  • Also reinforce the binding on the outside. That's it -- the meat and potatoes of your art journal is complete -- that was easy wasn't it??!! You can cover the chipboard on the inside and outside with scrap papers from your scrap bin and add decorative tapes to help reinforce the binding. 

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I have two journals just like this, they are pretty easy to stick in my purse to take with me on a trip to the bookstore, beach or wherever I need a journal to create in!

 Here a few of my favorite pages:    

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This type of art doesn’t need to be organized or even pretty. Do your own thing – create collages and use lots of mixed media. Pour your heart out and cover it up with paint and paper. Not only will it cleanse your soul, it will make you happy to get your fingers messy with paint and ink!

Thanks for stopping by - and take some time to make yourself an art journal to play around in!  

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