Friday, October 31, 2014

A Blanket Fort a Month: October '14



We made October's blanket-fort-a-month yesterday on Halloween Eve. The inside is quite small--a cozy kind of small. We pinched a bit of the sheet on both sides and hung it away from the side of the bed to create a little more space, but it's still barely enough to sit up inside, let alone sit up tall, yet it doesn't make either of us claustrophobic being inside. The tininess does make us think of claustrophobia, though, and seeing as fear is part of Halloween, I think we did a good job with this month's fort.





If you're looking for more blanket fort inspiration, check out our past blanket forts, or head on over to our Etsy shop to have a look at "A Guide to Building and Festooning Blanket Forts." And as always, tell us if you make any blanket forts and please oh please send pictures!

Happy Halloween 2014



We were just trying to watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out, and then the bats came out instead. I think these must have been the fault of Silkworm's magic--a leak that lead to a fluke, or something--because they don't look like bats in the photograph! Didn't know Silkworm's magic would ever cause relevant flukes, though. This'll make for a nice Halloween greeting card next year. (Can you see Silkworm? It's so dark, but he's standing at my feet, being poked at by two bats!)

Anyway, we've got a busy Halloween ahead. We still haven't carved our pumpkins, I've got a job interview, and we absolutely must take a bike ride around town to photograph every pumpkin we see. By tomorrow, we'll have a ton of stuff to share with you, and lots and lots of news for November, because guys, there's only 54 days until Christmas!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lucy the Yarn Bombed Bike

It's been a long time in the making, but finally we're here to show you the bike I got for my birthday, now delightfully covered in crocheted swatches (and someday, flowers and pom poms). This is the project we were working on in June's blanket fort and all the ones since. We used 100% cotton Sugar & Cream yarns, hoping we'd be able to ride in all weather just in case we ever get caught in the rain.

I don't know, a bike named Lucy just seemed to demand clothing.



I suppose we'll have to cut it all off someday when it gets terribly dirty or moldy, but then we'll only get to replace it with a new outfit. Besides, the faster it gets dirty, the more proof there is of recent adventure.







Here's to many adventures on my bike, making people smile and gawk. Silkworm and I are thinking of crocheting small swatches from cheap yarn to keep in a basket on the bike so we can hand them out to people who have really nice compliments or seem very interested.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mission of Magic: Paint Chip Scavenger Hunt

It worked!



Silkworm and I left a ring of paint chips at our favorite park, yesterday morning, and invited people to go on paint chip scavenger hunts with them like we did earlier. Delightfully, when we went back to get them before sundown, we found PARTICIPATION!



The only thing that took away from the perfection of this Mission was our forgetfulness. It keeps slipping our minds to leave hashtags for people to use on social media to share their findings. We want our Missions of Magic to be a collective happiness for everyone who participates to enjoy, not just for our own satisfaction. We'll have to go back and leave a note where the paint chips where once hanging to say thank you to whoever participated this time, and promise better communication next time.



I love to think a little kid wrote down some of these answers, especially the one about the sky through the trees, but we'll never know for sure. That's part of the magic in our Missions, though--never knowing what happened and getting to wonder about it and create our own stories. I think it's my favorite part, actually. We create an unknown when we go on our Missions of Magic, and that's a very cool thing to be responsible for.



Fact: this was the easiest, cheapest Mission we've done so far. We're definitely gonna do it again and again and again and again...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paint Chip Scavenger Hunt

When Silkworm and I came back from Walmart with a bunch of paint chip samples, we didn't initially intend to write the paint chip poetry we posted about last month. Actually, we planned to go on a scavenger hunt, so this time when we picked up more paint chips, we turned our scavenger hunt idea into a spooktacular Halloween event.



There is nothing inherently creepy about the other colors of Halloween, to me. Purple doesn't speak "evil", nor does orange speak "ghosts and ghouls". Black, on the other hand, speaks ominous whispery volumes of macabre. So Silkworm and I agreed to collect "Cracked Pepper" black things for our day-long Halloween paint chip scavenger hunt.



Visit a Home Depot, or a Walmart, or anywhere that sells paint and lets you take free paint chip samples. Choose one and take it home. Spend the rest of your day searching for objects that match that color. You don't have to collect whatever you find, just find it. Take pictures if you'd like, but it's not necessary. It's your own personal scavenger hunt; you don't need to prove to anybody that you really found 22 "Cracked Pepper" black objects.

"Cracked Pepper" Things We Found
- An inflatable spider
- A crow
- A baby black squirrel
- Lots of mailboxes
- The flag at the fire department
- Too many cars to count



Silkworm and I also took this project to our favorite park, where most of our Missions of Magic go down these days (like our Snap and Scurry project and the time we hung origami dragons in the trees). We left a ring of paint chips hooked onto the sign at the front of the main path, inviting people to take them with them on their hike and write down anything that matched the color they chose. We'll write about that tomorrow morning after we pick up the chips from the park later today!

If you go on a paint chip scavenger hunt and you wanna share your findings, use the hashtag #paintchiphunt on social media. We wanna see! And of course, let us know if you're going on a paint chip scavenger hunt in the comments!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Would You Rather: Michelle at Busy Weekends



This is Michelle. She is the kind of person who recognizes fantastic beauty in every little thing she exists with, and uses her creativity as an outlet for the resulting inspiration. Her brain is obviously one of the most loveliest places to live in in the world, vouched for by her Busy Badges project and the fact that she set up a moon and stars backdrop for a photo shoot one time and subjects would actually sit on the moon. This is what we asked her:

Q: Would you rather have an incredible talent that inspires people but not yourself or have an incredible talent that inspires you and no one else?

A: I’m going to try to break this down in a way that would make sense to another person.

I go on about how inspiring people drives me to create, but the reality is that this is only to the extent that I have found something that inspires people-- the truth is that I would never be able to continually produce something (long-term) that doesn’t inspire me, even if it changes lives.


So that’s the short version.

I honestly feel conflicted about that thought in the same way I feel conflicted about other contradictions in my nature. Recently I made a list of all the things I know about Michelle, and it felt really good to identify and validate those thoughts/emotions/traits for myself, but I came out with two very high priority needs that actually conflict in a lot of ways. Having never put them down on paper, I suppose I didn’t quite understand the inner struggle I’ve felt for years, but now it makes sense. Luckily, you’ll get the break down here because it completely relates to this question.


One of my primary needs/desires in life, historically, has been to be inspiring, useful, helpful... to the point-- necessary, not irreplaceable but not expendable either. There are varying degrees of this (for example, I’m not interested in being used and I honestly won’t engage in acts I don’t enjoy for too long, even if someone I love needs it), but for the most part it has held true throughout my life. It’s caused a lot of weird self-esteem issues.

That said, my prime motivation to live is to enjoy my experience (which also has varying degrees, for example, I’ll put myself in hateful situations just to experience it-- that’s part of enjoying life, to me: learning and understanding regardless of actual pleasure levels).

With that in mind, this question is very easy to answer: Obviously the second one.


But on the other hand, to walk away from something that I know will inspire/help others is really difficult for me. It makes me feel very selfish, and not in a justified way. Though I’m to the core a person who puts personal experience above basically anything else you could think of, that second level is consumed by the drive to help where I can, solve problems, put any skill I might have to a ‘greater good’ sort of use. If I have an ability or skill that might help people, why wouldn’t I use it that way? If you look at my shop prices you’ll understand how little I care about using my ‘gifts’ to make money. I have to sell lots of zines to offset other prices! (Gratefully, I do.)


These two create several conflicts in my life already, so I can see how they would with this decision, too!

In the end, I think I have lived with that struggle, and (in terms of those self-esteem issues I mentioned) with accepting that I could even possibly be useful in any capacity… so I think that I would prefer a lifetime of continuing through that struggle by enjoying what I do, rather than a lifetime of that stale, uninspired lump residing in my throat any time I try to force creativity. I wouldn’t see any reason to create or do my best otherwise.


In some ways, I think my current projects already answer this question. I launch ideas to the public, do projects for myself (that may inspire others) without sharing them, and all the while talk through my process on my blog. I’ve made lots of kits and zines and cycled through many different ideas that have not had any response, or very little. (To be clear, some have had response, but I’m focusing more on the ones that haven’t at the moment.) I still do them. I still produce that content and make those things, because even though they might be geared towards inspiring other people, and yet don’t, they inspire me! It’s difficult to keep my hands busy if I’m not passionate about the process.


I know that was a very long-winded way to say the answer three times, but I think to understand me and what’s going on underneath, it’s important to see that I do have an internal struggle going on almost constantly. Often I’ll choose one side, sometimes the other, but when it comes to something as personal and intense as creativity, I think I would have to side with myself.

- Michelle

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cats in Hats Embroidered Jacket

I fell head over heels in love with this jacket when I spotted it at Target, and though I've been trying not to spend money on brand new clothes, I couldn't pass it up. It's been the only piece of clothing I've bought from a store other than a thrift store in at least a year, probably two.

It's covered in cats, though--really cute cats, actually--and that being said, I knew I wasn't going to be the only person who fell in love with it. I've already seen it on someone else. The cool thing about thrift store shopping is that you typically don't see the clothes you find in anyone else's wardrobe.

I had to bring my kitty jacket up to par. So the cats got some hats.

I am by no means good at embroidery. If there's a way to do it, I've never learned; I just know how to put fabric on an embroidery hoop and poke a needle through and through and through. But I like that a lot about this embellishment. I like that it's imperfect. If I'd known how to fill in shapes better, or outline them better, I don't think I'd like how this came out half as much as I do.

I think I'm going to keep adding hats to the rest of the cats until they've all go their own accessories to scream their personalities. And I do believe one needs a mustache. And they all need names.







Tuesday, October 21, 2014

13 Ideas for Journals to Write

While it's all fine and dandy to document your personal timeline in a journal with a few paragraphs semi-daily, there are zillions of ways to journal, so if you're feeling particularly creative and you think Future You would adore you for making an extra special source of nostalgia, perhaps you'd like to try writing one of these.




1. Write a scavenger's journal.*
Instead of writing about your day, collect your day in souvenirs and put them together like a puzzle on the date's page in your journal. Use the stickers from the orange you ate at breakfast, the feather you found on your morning walk, the tags from the clothes you bought at the thrift store, the gum you chewed on your way home, and the fortune you got from your fortune cookie. Staple, glue, tape, or just toss them in, and maybe write a little bit next to each thing. Flat lightweight objects work best, but be imaginative. If you find a scallop shell you'd like to add but it's too bulky, smash it to pieces and arrange them again on the page. Or, you could make an envelope journal and fill the envelopes, marking them with the date and maybe some information about the objects inside.
*Inspired by Keri Smith's How to Be an Explorer of the World.


2. Write notes to yourself.
Keep track of your own life lessons learned from personal experience by collecting notes to yourself. Start with "note to self:" when writing each note, and maybe add the date and/or time next to them. It'll fill up to be a book of offbeat knowledge to keep you from making the same silly mistakes.


3. Write the chronicles of an imaginary land.
Come up with an imaginary land and begin by writing everything about it: about its inhabitants, its maps, its secrets, its history. Keep adding (make fold-out pages for more space if you run out) while you document the timeline of your imaginary land. Write about civil disputes, natural disasters, or just your everyday visits. Protect this journal with your life, if falling into the wrong hands would spell catastrophe.


4. Draw comics of highlight moments from your day.
Even if all you know how to do is draw stick people and dogs with two legs, you can draw your life. Pick a memorable or meaningful moment from your day and instead of writing about it, sketch it out as it happened. Use speech bubbles for thoughts or spoken words, or narrate the story in captions. Alternatively, you could draw a situation how you wished it had happened. Rewrite awkward dialogues. Rewrite yourself on the back of a unicorn trotting into the sunset after saving the world. It's your journal!


5. Keep a record of your dreams.
Keep this journal under your pillow or beside your bed with something to write with, so when you wake up from a dream you can vividly or vaguely remember, you can whip it out and scribble it down before your memory fades and erodes the impulsive feelings with it. Be sure to portray those feelings in your dream documentation, too; you might feel silly about them when it's not 2am anymore, but they were real once, and that's important.


6. Keep a collection of to-do lists.
If you find yourself writing several to-do lists a week (or even a day), maybe you'd like to hold onto them. A journal like this could duly include to-watch lists, to-read lists, to-make lists, and any other kind of to-[insert verb here] list. They happen to speak a great deal about your life, so keeping a collection of them is especially nifty for people who wish to journal, but simply don't feel like writing specifically to journal. It's best to use a binder for this project, so that way you can keep writing to-do lists on ripped pieces of paper and spare napkins and yet easily add them to your journal using a hole puncher or clear slip covers.


7. Collect quotes.
Silkworm and I are hunters and gatherers of quotes, continuously on the look-out for inspiring words or phrases that make us reconsider life. For a while, we kept losing the best ones because we didn't have a place to put them, but then we made a special spot for them and all was well with the world. Be creative with your journal--print out quotes and cut and paste; paint a background to write over; scan words onto pictures and glue those pictures down, or just simply write down your favorite quotes without the fancy schmancy embellishing. Either way, you'll always have a reliable reference when you're trying to remember a quote you once read.


8. Make collages motivating yourself toward your goals.
Each goal gets it's own page or two. Decorate the page to motivate yourself towards fulfilling the goal. Cut and paste pictures, write what you can look forward to--anything that encourages you. Promise yourself a reward for accomplishing each goal, so when you finally do, throw that tea party for one or buy yourself that trinket from the thrift store. Keep track of your accomplishments, perhaps on the same page as the goals or in the front or back of the journal. Be sure to write a little note of congratulations to yourself, as well. Or, if you've got a major goal you're trying to accomplish, maybe it would like its own journal.


9. Write the playlist from the radio inside your head.
Make a note of what song is stuck in your head everyday. For me, it's almost always something, and whenever I've got nothing, my factory default is set to Here Comes Peter Cottontail. (In my defense, Easter is always on it's way, except for one calendar day.)


10. Document the life of a family of wildlife.
Perhaps you've discovered a family of birds nesting with newborn babies in a bush or tree somewhere, or a similar situation. Visit the nest everyday and document it. Photograph the babies, if you can without disturbing them. Watch them grow up. Make a note of the things their parents bring them for supper. Find out what species they are and research them--the Internet's fine, but check out a stack of books from the library, too.


11. Write about your Missions of Magic as an Enchantemissary.
Silkworm and I created the concept of Enchantemissaries to put a magical spin on random acts of kindness. An Enchantemissary's mission is to make the world more magical for strangers in hopes of proving life isn't as boring and cruel as people like to believe, and to do so, they design and carry out Missions of Magic such as scattering message stones around or releasing plastic animals for a safari at the park. Missions can be as intricate as the Enchantemissary would like, so planning them in a journal can be quite helpful. You could also keep ideas and inspiration in your journal, such as book titles on yarn bombing, craft tutorials, and articles on random acts of kindness around the world.


12. Write a bucket list book.
Fill it with anything and everything you've ever wanted to do in life. Never mind logic; let yourself dream. Make collages of places you want to visit, research animals you want to see in person, include recipes you want to try or tutorials for things you want to make. Keep it optimistic, and keep in mind anything can happen.


13. Adopt a stuffed animal and write about your adventures together.
Name it, make your own adoption certificate, whatever floats your boat. Then document your lives together with pictures and such. Bring your stuffed animal wherever you go so you'll have lots to journal about. If you'd like some ideas of things to do, Silkworm and I put together a list. Perhaps your friendship will last beyond the last page of your first journal!

When it comes to journaling, the best advice I can think to give is to just go for it. Try to avoid looking at other peoples' journals and focus on your own. Don't let yourself be intimidated by blank pages--just write. Make something. And whatever you do, don't wait until tomorrow to get started.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Crevice Menace: An Original Halloween Song



I don't know who might have seen us mentioning this on our Tumblr, but in any case, here's a song we wrote about the monster who lives inside cracks and rips people's eyeballs out.

Sing along!

LYRICS
Lucy was a daring soul
Perhaps it was too much
She always loved to probe and pry
And see and smell and touch
One day, she found a crevice in the wall next to her bed
Her imagination soared
Clouding the common sense in her head
She went and peeked to see what might be hiding deep inside
And everything went black
And the darkness in the hole laughed

He's got three horns on his head
And hundreds more upon his back
But he's small enough to slip inside
The tiniest of cracks
Where he waits and waits and waits
Until somebody wanders by
Curiosity will be the end of that one's eyes
Don't peek inside the cracks
You won't be pleased with what you bring back

Jacob was a naive boy
With lots and lots to learn
He liked to ramble through the woods
With no care or concern
On his last hike, he came across
A cranny in a tree
His brain did somersaults
Wondering whose home it could be
He went and peeked to see what might be hiding deep inside
And everything went black
And the darkness in the hole laughed

He's got three horns on his head
And hundreds more upon his back
But he's small enough to slip inside
The tiniest of cracks
Where he waits and waits and waits
Until somebody wanders by
Curiosity will be the end of that one's eyes
Don't peek inside the cracks
You won't be pleased with what you bring back

There are monsters that live under beds
And those that live in closets
There are ghosts that haunt abandoned houses
And some that haunt your pets
But little is the legend told
Of the creature in the cracks
They call him Crevice Menace
And eyeballs are his snacks

He's got three horns on his head
And hundreds more upon his back
But he's small enough to slip inside
The tiniest of cracks
Where he waits and waits and waits
Until somebody wanders by
Curiosity will be the end of that one's eyes
Don't peek inside the cracks
You won't be pleased with what you bring back

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Printable Halloween Stickers!





Look what we've got for you! For all your Halloween journaling needs, snail mail needs, et cetera--little Zauberbear themed Halloween stickers!



I like to think we're gonna make new themed sticker sets for every holiday from now on. We'll see how that goes.

I am 96.59% positive that if you download these (left-click, right-click, and then "save file as"; it's all one photo) and then insert them into a Word document with .5 inch margins, they should come out at exactly the size they were intended to be, which is exactly 1-inch wide. You let me know how that works out for you because it worked out dandy for me and I would love for it to work out dandy for you, too.

To turn them into stickers, you're gonna need one of those sticker maker machine-y thingamabobs, and I can't give that to you for free, so here's hoping you already have one, or at least some glue or something. I would cut off the black rings, they're kind of just there as guides, but you can keep 'em if you think they're cool.

If you happen to use them for anything, please please please send us pictures or at least leave a comment about it!

PS - You can make the stickers smaller, but don't go trying to make them too much bigger or they'll turn to mush and grossness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cellophane Window Jack-O-Lanterns

You may have spotted these guys before in our post where we presented our spooktacular Halloween decor. They're probably my favorite decoration this year. During the day, my whole room glows orange when the light pours through the orange cellophane, and at night, they can be seen glowing outside, if the lights are on in my room.

They're the easiest peasy-est decoration, actually. Check out the tutorial after the photos!









Ingredients
Black paper
Colored cellophane
Scissors
White colored pencil (for tracing)
Double-sided tape or tacky (for attaching to window)
Tape or glue



Step One: Hold up a piece of black paper to your window to trace the size, then cut it out.

Step Two: Trace a Jack-O-Lantern face on your piece of paper. Cut it out.

Step Three: On the side where the traced marks can be seen, cut out a piece of cellophane to lay over the face of your Jack-O-Lantern. Tape or glue it down.

Step Four: Fit your Jack-O-Lantern in your window and use tape or tacky to stick it there.

Step Five: Make more Jack-O-Lanterns! If not all of the window is covered with Jack-O-Lanterns, you can either cover the rest with construction paper or cellophane. Cellophane will make a lovely colored glow in the room when the light shines through.
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