Category Archives: thrift

Coming Soon to a Blogpost Near You

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I’ve been absent for awhile.  I started up my Etsy shop, and there was so much to learn and to figure out, that I fell down that rabbit hole for awhile and neglected this space.  I think I needed time to reassess just where I thought I was going with this blog anyway.  Three months in, and already losing the path.  Thanks, ADD!  But now I’m back and ready to attack, and I have so many thrift store makeovers to show you, I don’t even know where to begin.

COMING SOON:

An unexceptional jewelry box gets glammed up and vamped out,

A wall shelf that goes from bears and blocks to Beetlejuice,

A Barbie styling head doll into a Little Sister from Bioshock,

Some super-thrifty fun with cardboard and coffee cans,

And we may even get into a cosplay accessory project that I’ve been sitting on for awhile.  All this and more awaits!  Come back soon!!

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On Cheesecloth and Cobwebbin’

I have one word, one very important word for all you home haunters out there: CHEESECLOTH.  Cheesecloth is your new best friend.  If you’ve ever purchased “creepy cloth” at the Halloween store at $7 for 2 yards, or bought those bags of fibrous bullshit that you pull apart and stretch to make spiderwebs, this post is for you.  Cheesecloth is about to change your game up.

No more of this.

No more of this.

Or this.

Or this.

Oh, people of Sherwood, you’ve been had!  Hoodwinked!  Bamboozled!  Firstly, “creepy cloth” (or “freaky fabric”, or whatever they choose to call it at your particular local Halloween store) is just cheesecloth that has been roughed up a bit for you, and therefore costs approximately 3x as much.  Do your own ripping and tearing, and spend more money on candy and booze.  Now, I will admit, I don’t mind paying the extra if it’s a different color, like black, and I’m using it to create an effect other than spiderwebs, because ain’t nobody got time to be dying cheesecloth all different colors in their utility tub.  Fuck that.

And those bags of “super-stretch” spiderwebs?  Has anyone, in the history of ever, EVER had any easy time with that crap?  The effect comes off cheap and cheesy, and it’s a pain in the ass to put up AND to take down.  Cleaning that stuff up is the absolute WORST. WORST!!  The point is, it’s terrible and I hate it.

Lovely, lovely cheesecloth, however, is the bee’s knockin’ knees, you guys.

…I don’t even know what that means.  But what you should take away from this is, cheesecloth is great.

The effect is absolutely stunning, it’s super easy to clean up, and you can re-use it year after year after year.  AND you can use it for like, a hundred other cool things besides making spiderwebs.

SO.  This year, for our medieval theme, we turned our garage into… The Catacombs.  Which, I felt, required the entire ceiling to be absolutely riddled with webs.  I didn’t, in the end, actually get the whole ceiling covered, but…

More on this guy in a minute... but check the webs!

More on this guy in a minute… but check the webs!

The cheesecloth webs have a much more realistic effect than that bag of stretchy cotton will ever be able to provide.  AND they were super easy to put up, thanks to this guy:

This is Dave.

This is Dave.

And this…

...is my cobwebbin' stick.

…is my cobwebbin’ stick.

Because I am a short li’l stack of pancakes, I have a hard time reaching the ceiling in the garage, even when standing on a chair.  And our ladder is too tall to even open up in the garage.  This presented me with a problem.  How would I cover the ceiling in cobwebs if I couldn’t reach it?  So, my big strong MacGyver bent up some metal, covered the edge in Avengers duct tape, and created the perfect cobwebbin’ stick.  It has a hole in the top that is just big enough to allow a standard push-pin to sit in it, but not fall through.  So, we would place the push-pin in its holster, drape the torn cheesecloth over it, and push it up into the ceiling.

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Worked like a charm.

Note the awesomeness.

Note the awesomeness.

I think I’ll get into the games we had going in the garage (and the shaming photo-op) in the next post, so for now, just remember that cheesecloth is the best and that having a fantastical cobwebbin’ stick makes it even better.

HE'S MINE

HE’S MINE.  Get your own cobweb-stick-making hunk.  This one’s taken.


Just Starting… with Severed Heads

I built this thing months ago, and then spent week after week after week trying to decide what the first post should be about.  Every possible ‘first post’ topic was too cutesy, too old, out of season, or dull.  Excuse followed excuse, and here we are, months later, and only virtual spiderwebs adorn this blog.  I said I was going to be dedicated this time!  Shit!

So, in the name of research and advice (and totally not just further procrastination), I read article after article about blogging, and how to build your brand, and how your posts should have purpose, and all kinds of really helpful nonsense, until finally I came across some common sense (somewhere…would link if I remembered)… “Just start”, it said.  Stop trying to make everything perfect and just do the fucking thing already.  So here I am, just starting.

Today, I’d like to talk about severed heads.

We just got done with our annual Halloween party, which this year had a Medieval theme, so obviously I had to mount some severed heads on a wall.  Obviously.

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And the detail views:

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I bought styrofoam heads (like for wigs) at my local craft supply store and proceeded to ‘horrify’ them with acrylic paint, wigs, and a few other odds and ends.  I found the wigs at a thrift store.  I didn’t feel great about touching said wigs in general, and felt even weirder when the clerk rang them up without comment.  I realized in that moment that there wasn’t a single thing I could say right then that would make buying two secondhand wigs, one male and one female, that would make the situation less awkward.  “Don’t worry, they’re not going on MY head,” …nope. “I thought those would be perfect for the severed heads I’m making” …definitely not.  I frequently spend my time in the checkout line at Goodwill trying to think of comments to help explain my purchases so that maybe I’ll seem a little less strange, and inevitably only come up with ways to make it worse.  If anyone out there works the register at a thrift store, and a woman comes through your line with things like gross wigs and Barbie heads and children’s nightgowns and ceramic clowns, cut her some slack.  She’s not a serial killer, and she’s concentrating really, really hard on not creeping you out.

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The Making Of

As you can see above, I keep a very neat and organized work space.

So it turns out that styrofoam has an excellent texture for making severed heads.  Who knew, right?  The heads come with a flared out neck and flat base, so they’ll sit nicely on a flat surface, but I needed them looking messy and mounted on spikes.  So, I clawed the neck bases apart like an animal, breaking pieces off and scratching bits here and there, leaving the rough surface see above.  I think we’re all familiar with the pebbly texture of torn styrofoam.  Turns out, when you cover that pebbly surface with red and black paint, it makes pretty decent rotting flesh.  I used a spray sealer on all of them to give it a shiny, bloody-looking finish, and added white rice for maggots on one:

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WARNING: TRYPOPHOBIA TRIGGER BELOW

Trypophobia, for those of you who don’t know, is a fear of small holes.  Usually, a cluster of irregular small holes, such as a lotus seed pod, or honeycomb.  It sounds ridiculous, but Google it, and see if the images don’t turn your stomach.  I was surprised to find out that a lot of the pictures made me feel really uneasy, like almost nauseous.  This article explains it better than I can. Have fun disappearing down that particular Internet rabbit hole.

Anyway, I figured, “So, that’s gross and horrible and strange and seemingly fairly prevalent, I should work it into a Halloween decoration!”  Because I am the worst.  So that’s exactly what I did.  I bought a sprig of autumn foliage at the craft store that included a lotus seed pod (ugh), sliced off the top of it, and set it with tacky glue (and a metric fuckton of red fabric paint) into the cheek of one of my heads:

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At Dave’s suggestion (Dave is my Hubster), I added black glass marbles into the mix:

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I think we can all agree, that’s nasty.

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I have to admit, the marbles weighed down that side of the face terrifically, so once the heads were mounted on the wall, I had a hell of a time stopping this one from tipping over and spinning around so that the marbles faced the ground.  Stupid gravity, getting in the way of all my plans.

The woman was the first head I made.  I think she is probably the least scary/gross, but for whatever reason, she is my favorite.  There’s not much to her, and I think the wig is mostly what makes her, but even so… favorite.

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When I finished her, I put her in the closet for (fairly) safe storage (always the chance of an avalanche in there), and whenever I would open the door, and her face would be there, seemingly sleeping, I would get this vision of the eyes suddenly popping open.  And that freaked me right the fuck out.

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Eventually I got smart, and turned her face to the wall.  But that is legitimately how I judge the quality of my Halloween crafts… if I don’t enjoy being alone in a room with it at night (or better yet, even during the daylight hours), I’ve done something right.

Speaking of...

Speaking of…

To close out, some photos of the heads the night of the party… apparently the camera HATES the dramatic red spotlighting on them, and they all came out blurry as shit.  Sorry.  But you get the idea.  Pin them anyway.  Pin them all!

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Me & Hubstep aka Thor, with heads in background

Me & Hubstep aka Thor, with heads in background


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