16 October 2013

Horse Chestnut Spiders

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was create critters out of acorns and horse chestnuts. With help of an awl and some match sticks, we would bring all sorts of animals to life. Now that I have a child of my own, I want to pass these simple nature crafts on to her. Unfortunately I have a hard time finding horse chestnuts here in the US. Acorns a plenty, but chestnuts not so much.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled onto some chestnuts the other day when Lola and I were searching one of Milwaukee’s parks for tiny doors. Not only did we find two of the three doors hidden in Humboldt Park, we also found a plethora of nature’s craft goodies. Sycamore tree bark, beech tree nuts, acorns and acorn caps in every size imaginable, and of course, horse chestnuts.

To make horse chestnut spiders, you need just a few things:
  • horse chestnuts
  • pipe cleaners in the color of your choice
  • awl and/or hand drill
  • wire cutters and pliers
  • glue
  • beads for the eyes

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

Start by poking holes in the chestnut, four on each side. I used my awl for this but found that it was easier to use a small hand drill because my horse chestnuts had dried out and were quite hard. If I had made these spiders as soon as I found the chestnuts, it would have been easier.

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

Next up are the spider's legs. For one spider, you’ll need two pipe cleaners, one for each leg. Cut the pipe cleaner in four pieces using your wire cutters. Because pipe cleaner points are sharp, I always bend the tip back with my needle nose pliers.

Working on one side at a time, drop a little glue in each hole. I used Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive. It’s perfect for working with paper but glues chestnuts and pipe cleaners just as well. It dries clear, which I like.

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

Insert the legs in the holes and let dry. Once the glue is dry, bend the legs upwards from the body just a little, and then bend them in an angle about halfway down the leg. Glue on two little beads for eyes and you’re all set.

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

Lola and I created several spiders which we used in our #spookyspace that we made as part of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores’ Celebrate the Season campaign. You can read all about that here. There is a 50% OFF coupon to use at Jo-Ann's this month, too!



I will be linking up my spiders at:
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions
Pin Me Linky Party at Diana Rambles
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
The Humble Brag at One Project Closer
Happy Hour Projects

14 October 2013

Spooky Space

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

Lola and I were tickled orange when Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores asked us to participate in the Celebrate The Season Campaign by creating a #spookyspace for Halloween. Our original plan was to turn Lola’s woodlands bedroom into a spooky forest, but our stairwell is painted in such a lovely pumpkin orange, I couldn’t possibly pass that up as a back drop to my spooky space.

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

Since I could not use the tree in Lola’s room, my first order of business was to find a nicely sized dead tree. There happened to be one available on the roof deck, but any large branch would have done just as well. After cleaning the smaller branches up a bit, I brought it inside. I considered spray painting it, but rather liked the gray so I left it as it was.

Spooky spaces always have spider webs. I created one with 16 and 22 gauge wire. I started by cutting four 12” lengths of the heavier wire. To prevent poking anyone’s eyes out, and because I like the look, I curled the ends of the spokes before I weaved the thinner wire around them. To make it easier to work with, I cut the 22 gauge wire into roughly 3’ lengths. I needed about four of those.

DGO Spiderweb

Again, I thought about spray painting the spider web, but felt it looked perfect as it was. Some might consider this laziness, but I am all about aesthetics, honestly. After attaching the spider web to the branches with wire, I hung five cute little fleece crows, found at Jo-Ann, in our spooky tree, along with some cheese cloth ghosts from Halloweens past.

Web Bird Ghost

One of my favorite things to do, is make garlands with felt cut-outs. For this I use my trusted Cuttlebug® die cutting machine and Sizzix Bigz dies. I love these dies because they cut though fabric as though it were butter. The Cuttlebug® works with every brand die, so if you’re thinking about buying one, that is the one I would recommend.

I found some lovely suiting fabric in the remnant bin at Jo-Ann’s which I paired up with black wool felt. I affixed them to each other with Heat’n Bond Lite. It bonds really well while still allowing for sewing. By ironing the two fabrics together, it also takes care of any fraying edges. After creating my double layer, I cut the fabric into smaller pieces and ran them through the Cuttlebug®.

DGO Leaf Garland

For this particular garland I used Tim Holtz’s tattered leaves die. From the pile of leaves I cut, I was able to sew two 6’ garlands. Nothing special, just line up the leaves and sew them together with a straight stitch, leaving about an inch of thread in between.

Once the garlands were finished, it was time to stage our #spookyspace. I found two beauty school heads at a thrift store a long time ago, and wrapped one in gauze. Though it’s not new, my Halloween Wreath was brought out as well since it is still one my all time favorite decorations. It looks really good against the metal door.

Wreath Mummy Spider

Lastly, I threw in a pumpkin or two, some rubber mice, a few horse chestnut spiders, and our spooky space was complete. I hope the neighbors like it, too.

Dutch Girl Originals: #spookyspace

If you’re feeling crafty and are looking for inspiration, take a look at Jo-Ann’s Celebrate The Season and Simply Spooktacular websites. What’s more, here is a 50% off coupon for you. Enjoy!

JF13_Halloween_Coupon

I was compensated by Jo-Ann for writing this post. However, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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