Hour 8 – Word Art

Hi there!

Words are everything… even when we don’t want them to be.

When I art journal I find myself sometimes avoiding words and sometimes the whole page is about words and letters. I am going to show you some examples and then I will be posting pictures of my work as I work on a couple of pieces with you today that feature words and letters as art.

Sometimes it’s all words… and one way or another they paint the picture, like this dandelion simply wishing away or this journal entry from my watercolor journal based on a quote, simple colors and shapes and my own words.

Art from my watercolor journal.

Art from my watercolor journal.

Sometimes just one word is enough… and it says what it needs to, like this doodle art coloring page from doodle art alley.

Coloring Page from Doodle Art Alley.

Coloring Page from Doodle Art Alley.

and sometimes the impression of words… which is what I’ll be showing you as I work on them today. No spoilers… sometimes the fun in words is the many ways they can be interpreted! 😀

Create something today from these ideas or from your own inspiration… come and post in the Facebook group and lets see where words can take us!

Hour 5 – Finger Crochet Ear Warmer

Hi there! Sometimes a gift is best made by hand and this is a quick and very fun little thing that you can make in an hour and spend some time being creative while decorating! The perfect warm and friendly gift for your bff or a co-worker or for yourself on a cold day.

I will be Live online and broadcasting to the feed on Saturday… have some yarn and be ready to play or watch along and ask questions so that you can do it on your own later. 😀

What you will need:
-Chunky or bulky weight yarn in a color you like (recommended brands include Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky, Bernat Chunky and Lion Brand Chunky Heathers or other chunky weight yarns)
-Your fingers
-About an hour of your time after you have practiced slip knots and chaining

The tips:
Choose a fluffy smooth finish yarn… nothing hairy or with big chunky bits sticking out for your first time.
Stay calm. You’re learning a thing.
The first row sucks. It usually does. Building a foundation that is even and will support whatever you want to build on it is always the hardest part. Be patient. You’ll get it.
Looser is better than tighter.

The abbreviations:
HDC = Half Double Crochet

The pattern:
Leave a long tail, about 12 inches and make a slip knot (the long tail is for sewing later)

Chain the number of chains that you determined goes around your head where your ears are so that it is snug without being tight. For me this is 36 chains which measures approximately 21 inches. For you this will be a different number. I am guessing something between 30 and 42 depending on the weight of your yarn and the size of your fingers.

Put your thumb from your “non crocheting hand” on the last chain of the number you need and chain one more. Skip the new chain you made and yarn over your finger and work a half double crochet through the chain you were marking with your thumb.

HDC in the second chain from your finger (or the hook) and chain one, skip one chain and HDC in the next chain then chain one… continue this pattern to the end of the row
HDC in the last stitch of your row and chain one and turn your work

HDC in the first chain one space from the previous row, chain one and continue across the row making a HDC in each chain one space and chaining one between each HDC to the end of the row
HDC in the last stitch of the row, chain one and turn
(repeat for the remaining rows until your headband/ear warmer is about 5-6″ wide)


To sew your piece together lay your crocheted rectangle down and fold it in half so that the ends meet.

Grab the bottom corner of the end on top and flip it once so that it is now the top corner (this puts a twist in your rectangle which will make it easier to fit under your hair when worn as a headband) and line up the edges again.

Using your finger to pull the yarn through “sew” the ends of your project together snugly by looping the yarn around the end stitches on both sides of your work from the top to the bottom of the “seam” where the two ends meet.

Do this again with your other end of yarn to make sure it is secure. Tug them both tightly so that there are no loose loops of sewing thread. Now weave in the ends by feeding the yarn under stitches along the edge. Remember, it’s best to go back and forth and back again so that the yarn weaves through and doesn’t pull out.

I use buttons and pins and silk flowers or crocheted flowers… Valentine’s Day is right around the corner… you COULD use hearts!

For one lucky person participating in today’s prompt there is also a mini prize… decorations and a skein of yarn, you can choose from fluffy bright purple (not pictured) Spring (white with cool color splashes, the same color I worked with today) or Stormy, a dark blue and purple and gray skein of yarn. I will announce the winner after the crochet hour and will post it in the feed. Winners will be chosen from participants posting in the feed and showing what they’re working on.

Useful Videos and Links

How to finger crochet a bulky yarn

Turn regular yarn into a bulky or chunky yarn

Crochet Heart

Crochet Flower

Hour 6

Hi there! Ruth here… good morning to some, good afternoon to the rest of us!

Today is about texture. There are very simple ways to add texture and there are more advanced ways that are still very simple.

Anything you do that adds layers is going to add texture. Anything you do to add bumps, lumps or dents in the surface of your artwork will also add texture.

You can add tape, use your finger and dab paint on so that it leaves tiny little mountains (or great big ones… those are even better.)You can also glue things like beads and buttons and strings to the surface of the card to add texture.

You can use texture to create a picture by rubbing the side of a crayon on paper set on top of a really textured surface… I’ve done this with concrete, bricks, pasta drainers, hot pads, mouse pads, coins from my purse and keys and buttons and… you get the idea. 😀

You can also “emboss” items by rubbing them down into a textured surface with the back end of a round paintbrush or bottom of a plastic paint bottle or chap stick lid or back of a spoon if that’s what you have handy.

Here are some examples from pieces that I am making for this event.

texture color on stamps

texture paste with wrinkles1

crayons, tissue paper, a stamp and a glue stick, then filled in a couple of butterflies with white glue and let it dry... gentle texture

crayons, tissue paper, a stamp and a glue stick, then filled in a couple of butterflies with white glue and let it dry… gentle texture

texture emboss with household objects

texture use your finger and lots of paint

embossed over the bottom of a plastic basket then used my finger to add bumpy texture and dry brush pink glued on a button and drew flower petals with elmer's glue and then used acrylic paint and my finger and sprayed bright yellow watercolor on it before adding pen

embossed over the bottom of a plastic basket then used my finger to add bumpy texture and dry brush pink glued on a button and drew flower petals with elmer’s glue and then used acrylic paint and my finger and sprayed bright yellow watercolor on it before adding pen

texture use paper or polymer clay1

texture use paper or polymer clay3

texture use paper or polymer clay2

polymer clay written on with a toothpick, rolled onto a honeycomb hot pad multiple directions and stamped with a ruler that has raised numbers and marks. dry brush and fingers to add color in layers and get black to stay down in the grooves and color on top.

polymer clay written on with a toothpick, rolled onto a honeycomb hot pad multiple directions and stamped with a ruler that has raised numbers and marks. dry brush and fingers to add color in layers and get black to stay down in the grooves and color on top.

Experiment… by using a dry brush you can bring out the natural texture on an item and by barly brushing the surface with the paint so that the color only “lands” on the top of the texture and leaves all the lower places the original color.

EXPERT TIP: use your fingers whenever possible… it is much easier for your fingers to leave “too much paint” so that you get texture and you can feel when you’ve created mini mountains or left paint on only the high parts of textured or embossed.

Prompt 6 – Hour 11


I love the whole idea of this prompt… you can take anything you want from history and anything you want from the real world and cram them together. You can take a literal view and correct some of the worst urban legends or flawed history reports with some accuracy or you can leave them alone.

Washington Irving is famous for two stories most above all others… The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (the text of which can be found here) and Rip Van Winkle. In the interest of playing with classically accepted Halloween themes, I went for Sleepy Hollow. For those of you who are not familiar, long story short, wronged headless guy rides around taking revenge on a scary big horse. Johnny Depp was in a recent movie adaptation.

Queen Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna – better known to most of us as the beheaded Queen Marie Antoinette -is the victim of malicious rumor and has been much misquoted as having said of the poor in France who could not eat bread, “Well, then let them eat brioche.” She is an actual piece of our history that has been badly corrupted over time.

So… what happens when you put the two together? Or when I do?

I believe the proper story from the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker might have told the story of a much misunderstood decapitated Queen who rode around Sleepy Hollow offering treats to anyone who would accept them on the ghost of a pretty golden pony in order to prove that she was in fact a good and heartfull woman who had never maligned the plight of the poor in her country or any other. The Headless Horseman was created out of shame that the villagers were so terrified of a headless woman offering them gorgeous goodies on a miniature equine at any time of day or night.

I’m actually painting this with you today… and sharing my progress while you come up with your own awesome interpretations of this really wide open theme.

Here she is all dollied up and ready for today’s final painting… you get to watch her come to life, so to speak.




“Pro” Polymer Clay Tip: you can fake fabric in clay by rolling the polymer clay out on a textured surface or actual texture mat – I used an Artistcellar stencil – and then gently stretching it with your fingers until it “drapes” over the figure you are trying to enrobe or cloak.

Borrowed “Pro” Undead Painting Tip: (Thank you, Sarah Trumpp) Use purple and green… they are “almost natural” shadows that also give us an uneasy feeling that something isn’t quite right. The photo above only has the purple layer of color, the green will be evident in the first pictures I post for you in the Art-a-thon.

And finally… a freebie… a life tip that the other teachers here have shared with me and that I will freely pass along to you… it is absolutely imperative that you MUST let yourself go. Embrace the weirdo in you that people look at you strangely for. This is a life lesson it has taken me a really long time to “get.” Make yourself laugh at you. Do you suppose those Ancient Aliens guys might be right and aliens taught us how to build the pyramids? Or better, do you think our some dweeb went back in time from our future and pulled the greatest prank in the history of all pranks ever and built them?

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I have.




melissahalloween2 My take on this prompt I will be changing fairy tales. I don’t think it follows the prompt 100% but its the first thing that came to mind when Ruth explained it to me. I will specifically be changing the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I plan to rewrite the events that take place in the story and illustrating it. There are several different versions of Little Red Riding Hood though most are quite similar. I plan on using this version.
rhondahalloween I am really interested to see what Ruth comes up with for this prompt. I have no idea what it means. I think of possibly some of my old time photos or post cards that I have. Possibly some version of collage where the heads are replaced. My friend Ungala has been replacing heads with cats lately so that comes to mind. Maybe a monster head would be a fun alternative.
sarahhalloween My friend Ann is the queen of this prompt.  In honor of her awesomeness, I plan to paint a series of presidential zombies.


Who doesn’t like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”? The video below is the full version which includes the “Master of Menace”, Vincent Price’s narration. His narration of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” is awesome. You can check that out here. ~Melissa

Prompt 5 – Hour 9



There can’t be anything more fun… or terrifying to create… than monsters.

They come in every shape and size and with every meaning from the morose and horrific to the hilariously endearing. Quite literally from that “thing” in The Grudge that still makes me shiver to Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. From Frankenstein’s tragic creation to the squelchy ugly critters from Labyrinth who were really just grosser than they were anything else.

I have for you some different types… and then we’re going to create some online together… or, well… I’m going to create some and let you see the “how” part by taking pictures along the way.

First… a yarn monster who is sadder than he is scary… my injured decacepholapod… he hasn’t got a name yet. Maybe you can help…

I crocheted this guy with inspiration from a 104 years young woman named Grace Brett who has been yarn bombing Scotland as a member of a group of guerrilla knitters and has become my recently adopted personal Saint. One of the items that was found in Edinburgh this year during the Fringe was an octopus with an amazing face that inspired my unnamed friend here.

My guy has been injured somewhere, we’re not sure where… he is just hoping for an easy life where his only scrapping has to do with paper and scissors and maybe some glue.

I sewed white yarn onto his stumps, added a black yarn eye scar and I think he’s awesome. And yeah, if you lift his legs and violate his privacy a little, he does have a beak because cephalopods have those. This poor guy seems to have bitten off more than he could chew once, though, because his beak has been knocked a little off center. Yep, that’s the story and I’m stickin’ to it.



Second… some silly clay monsters… in all the ways that you can make them, from desk sitters and ornaments to jewelry.






And today… I’ll do some clay crafting and one of you might just win the result… you’ll have to post to the feed during this prompt. Anyone else want a monster pendant? I know I do. And you’re going to decide what it looks like! One eye or two? Should it be a boy or a girl? Lots of choices will be made and lots of creatures will be created!

melissahalloween2 For this prompt I plan on creating swappable monster parts artist trading cards. I plan on combining 3 cards that create a complete monster. Then I can swap parts with others to create a new monster. This idea is based on a Queen of Hearts atc swap I participated on in atcsforall a few years ago.

Here are some examples.


Before swapping.

Before swapping.

After swapping.

After swapping.


In order to make sure everyone’s monster parts align I created a template that you can use. Click the image below to download the template. If you don’t use the template then your parts might not line up with everyone else’s.

All the monsters I create will be up for trade at the end of the art-a-thon. So who will join me?
rhondahalloween As a change of pace I’ve decided to crochet a critter or two. I found this yarn that is super soft and has puff balls along it. I will use some kid safe eyes. Normally Cyclops type monsters make for longer lasting eye supplies but this time I’d like to see how many eyes I can get on one creature and have it still look cute or at least cool.
sarahhalloween YAY MONSTERS!  Monsters are my most favorite thing ever.  I have been on a monster mission of late, creating them out of paint, fabric, plaster, polymer clay, and everything in between.  I am working on making a monster army, so I’ll be rocking it out with these little guys.


Here is a video of A Nightmare on Elm Street’s “Freddy’s Coming for You”. Growing up I loved the Nightmare on Elm Street series; especially the earlier films in the series. Of all the 80’s horror classic villains Freddy Krueger was my favorite; with his hideous face, razors as fingers and stalking and killing teenagers in their dreams essentially turning them into nightmares. ~Melissa