Notes from the Tulip House

Papier-Mache Sugar Skull Masks

papier-mache sugar skull mask Last year for our Halloween costumes we made papier-mache masks inspired by Day of the Dead sugar skulls.  I never got around to writing a post about it, and with Halloween 2014 right around the corner, I figured now would be a good time to do so.

At age 2, Little Bug didn’t really know what Halloween was, so I took it upon myself to decide what he would dress up as.  I found a cute and simple skeleton romper at Old Navy, but wanted his costume to be a little bit more creative than just a store bought onesie.  I figured there was no way he would let me paint his face, so then I thought, hmm, what about masks, what about papier-mache, ooo, what about sugar skulls, ooooo!

Sugar Skull inspired Papier-mache mask

To make the masks I followed a tutorial I found on the Inside Nanabread’s Head blog, here.  The steps are pretty simple, you create a mold of your face using Aluminum Foil, cover that with strips of paper dipped in homemade glue, let it dry, and then draw and or paint on your design.

backside of papier-mache mask

It’s a bit tricky to mold your face using foil and to have it keep it’s shape.  Even more tricky to mold the face of a 2 year old.  Overall I think our masks came out really well.  After I did a few layers of newspaper “mache,” I did a final layer with regular white printer paper so I would have a blank surface to work with.  I also did a fair amount of reshaping during the drying process so as not to lose my facial details.  It seems as the mask dries it tends to want to flatten.  Once dry, the masks were a bit rough on the underside and sides.  So, I did a bit of trimming around the edges of the masks and covered the cut edges with paper.  If you are going to try your hand at making one of these masks, be sure to give yourself 2 or 3 days.  They take some time to dry and you may find that you need to add some more paper here and there, as well as do some clean up, to get it how you want it.

Toddler papier-mache mask

I did all the papier-mache-ing, The Mister drew the faces on with pencil, and I painted Little Bug’s mask and mine.  The Mister painted his own mask.

The Mister's Skeleton mask My Mask

We were up past midnight working on these masks and the next day, Little Bug ended up wearing his for all of 30 seconds.  Just long enough for me to take a couple of photos!  Which of course I can’t seem to find.  (He was kind enough to let me take a few photos of him with his mask today so I could do a blog post.  Thanks for being a good sport Buggy Bug!)

Happy Halloween!

Folk Art Papier-mache

The Bucktown Arts Fest

Two weeks ago I participated in the annual Bucktown Arts Fest here in Chicago.  The weather was less than ideal, with a torrential downpour on Saturday and intense heat and humidity on Sunday.  But sales were pretty good and it was easily my best show to date.  My only complaint, other than feeling sweaty and gross the entire time, was that as a vendor I didn’t get a chance to shop!  There were 200 vendors, plus food, live bands, and kids activities.  All the booths were 10 x 10 which is a fairly big space, especially when you are selling small items like jewelry.  The following are pictures of my booth.  This time I tried out a new display for both my earrings and my rings.  I was pretty happy with how things looked.  If I do another show where I have a tent, I will probably bring fabric to hang on the walls where I display things vertically.  A white vinyl tent does not make for a very pretty background.

one of a kind pieces

Naturals Collection display


naturals collection

One of a Kind Necklaces


ring table

Ring Display


ring display

Rings after the rain


One of a Kind Rings

One of a Kind Rings


earrings and necklaces

Everyday Necklaces and Earrings


everyday jewelry

Earrings, Silhouettes, Copper Triangles, Tiny leaves, and more


earring display

Earring Clothesline



Silhouette Necklaces


Starving Artist Designs booth Bucktown Arts Fest

My Booth




Golden Hour


Distant Cabins


Our Lodging


Our Lodging




Little Bug and The Mister


Our View


The Old Horse Corral


The Original Stearns Cabin




The Bunk House








Sister Sandwich




Atop "Butt" Rock


A Boy and his Pa






In The Creek






Photos from our July trip to Wyoming.  We stayed on land owned by The Mister’s relatives which backs up against the Medicine Bow National Forest.  As you can see it was lovely there, a BIG Thank You to the Stearns for having us!

My apologies for being so absent on my blog as of late.  I am spending every free moment working on jewelry in preparation for The Bucktown Arts Fest.  It’s one of my favorite Art Fairs here in Chicago and this will be my first year as a vendor!  If you are in the city please stop by.  It is located on the grounds next to Holstein Park in Bucktown, August 23rd and 24th, 11-7, free admission!  I will be booth #3.

Once the craziness of prepping for the fest has passed I hope to be back to regular blog posting.  In the meantime you can catch snippets of my jewelry and stuff on Instagram @TorchandTot.