The Shape Of Things—31 Days Of Halloween

 

31 days

So, no Witch Of The Day, at least not yet.  I have a FULL schedule today, with homeschooling, editing, printing AND shooting on the list, so I am lucky to get this blog done!  ( I do have some things I’m imagining on, however–hopefully Witch Of The Day will get to join us soon!)  However, I have received a lot of attention for my Halloween Cut-Out shapes, and today I’m going to upload more.  But these are REALLY easy!

For Valentine’s Day, we all learn to cut out hearts by folding the construction paper and cutting HALF a heart on the fold.  Then you end up with a perfectly symmetrical shape, which is always the challenge when you want an even heart.  Halloween shapes–most of them anyway–work the SAME WAY.

For all activities you need construction paper of various colors, pencil, scissors, and I prefer a sharp craft knife for some of the “inside” cuts.  You will also need the Cut-Out Patterns posted here (right-click and download for free) or you will need to create your own patterns, which is easy enough. Little children can be shown how to cut the outside of the shapes with scissors, and then you can take over when it comes to craft knife cutting.

Pumpkins are particularly nice when created this way. They are pretty, and perfectly symmetrical.  So fold your construction paper, and cut out the shape of the half-pumpkin on the fold, INCLUDING half the mouth and half the nose

13oct_4904 copy

13oct_4908 copy13oct_4913 copy13oct_4915 copy13oct_4917 copy13oct_4927 copy

You may unfold at this point and be impressed at how cool your pumpkin looks.  THEN, refold and cut out the eye shape ONCE, pressing HARD with the craft knife and making sure you have an old magazine or a cutting mat underneath all of this to avoid damaging your table surface.  If you have a sharp knife and if you press hard enough, both eyes will pop right out with only the one cut.  Unfold and admire the majesty of a perfect Jack-O-Lantern!

 

13oct_4937 copy

 

13oct_4943 copy

 

Lather, rinse, repeat.  Repeat-repeat!  Have fun with it!  Make evil faces, funny faces, sad faces, sleepy faces!

pumpkins2

pumpkins1

Then try a ghost–same idea!  There are some bats here for you to cut as well!
. Cut on the fold! Easy-peasy!

ghost

How about a black cat!  Follow the pattern! Work on the fold! Cut him out!  Cut out his eyes with the craft knife, just like you did with the pumpkin, and trim off the extra tail–a little cat-surgery.  Again, simple!

cat

Have fun with this, and remember that ANY symmetrical shape can be done this way–and some, like the cat, can be altered a bit after cutting because they aren’t exactly symmetrical, but close enough.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

Bat-Haired Witch Coloring Page

31 days

Ah, so I haven’t been writing since last week, but OH have I generated some Halloween ideas!  I may not get 31 up, but I’m going to do better than last year!  More to come on that (maybe later today!).  For today, I have a fun Halloween printable that can be used as a coloring page or as a drawing guide for older kids.  I am a firm believer in kids learning to draw from the work of others, and line drawings are a wonderful place to start.

This one is a witch with a bat in her hair, hence the title.  The original drawing is below.  I love the colors and the style.  It feels like a bit of an etching.

witch1

So, I decided to turn it into a coloring page here, for download.  Please feel free to save it to your ‘puter and use it in class or whatever floats your broomstick!

bat-haired witch

I love witches.  Some days I feel I psychically channel them.  I’m sure my family would agree!  Have fun with this one!  MORE to come!

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

ANOTHER 31 Days of Halloween

31 daysLast year I started an ambitious project on the first day of October, called 31 Days of Halloween.  The goal was to write a blog each day during the month of October about some creative activity that could be shared with the children in your lives.  I think I quit after Day 17, or something like that.  The reason was that I received news that my Dad had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  After I got that phone call, I quit blogging.  There were other blogs after that time, all of different topics, but I left my Halloween Blogging project unfinished.

Now, Dad is doing pretty well.  Surprisingly well.  And of course, life just happens, you know.  I couldn’t have predicted it, and I found I couldn’t work through it in my blog.  However, it has been a year.  And, in the back of my mind, I have been considering doing my 31 Days of Halloween project again.  Apparently I don’t have enough on my plate or something like that.  Today, I’m feeling pretty sick–my joints hurt, my stomach is upset, I’m tired.  But I thought that maybe a little writing is the way to get through this day, which has already worn me out even though it is only 9 am.  I wandered over here to my WordPress login, not sure what I would say in my post, but just decided to wing it.

What to do today, that is creative, fun, and related to autumn, I ask myself.  What can I say to the folks who might chance upon this blog and love to do creative things with their kiddos, or grandkiddos, or student-kiddos?   The leaves are still on the trees here, but I can catch tinges of color on the edges.  The sumac is rosy red.  The weather here is….well, they say it’s warm, but I’m currently chilling a bit, so I can’t comment honestly.  Even Soda Pop is feeling under the weather right now–he seems to have a touch of something in his tummy, too.  A vet visit may be in order.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I am dog-tired and my stomach is either really hungry or really NOT hungry.

So, today, I’m going to do a little cop-out.  Not a big one, but a cop-out nonetheless.  All my blogs from last October are still here.  They are still good.  Here are photos from a few of them.

All different, and all beautiful....

All different, and all beautiful….

boct_6861

boct_1585

boct_7165

Check them out today.  Pick something out that you want to do by yourself or with a child and do it.  I have a list of things I want to blog about THIS October, but no energy to complete the projects today.  Writing projects, art projects, illustrating projects, writing your own stories…..And they are coming.

Right after I nap a bit…..

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may purchase her book “I Hate Halloween” here!

31 Days of Halloween–Project 13–TGIF!

Today, after puppet making and photographic tinting, we are doing something simple! How about a Halloween crossword puzzle for the lil’ ones, based upon my book I HATE HALLOWEEN, which can be purchased here! Perfect for a little holiday fun without a major investment in time, supplies, or clean-up! Click the link below, print it out, grab a pencil and GO!

I HATE HALLOWEEN Puzzle

For those of you who don’t have the book, you may look it up an online pdf here to give you some hints!

See you tomorrow with another art project celebrating Halloween! You will need potatoes. That is the only hint I’m giving today! Look us up on Facebook here and like our page! Have a GREAT Friday!

31 Days of Halloween–Project 12

Have you seen black and white photographs with little “pops” of color added back in for accent? They are very popular, and as pro photographer, I perform “digital tinting” all the time. However, before there were computers, Photoshop, digital cameras, or even color film, folks wanted pictures with color in them. And the photographer would print a black and white image on special paper and use transparent oil paints to add flesh tones, eye color, tint clothing, and anything else they felt needed that little pop. I still perform “hand-tinting” today. It’s definitely a high level skill, especially with oil colors and large sized prints. However, it is a very fun activity for kids and adults alike when doing it on a smaller, more personal scale.

Today you will need a variety of colored pencils, and a black and white photograph printed on matte surface paper or cardstock. I’m including two Halloween photographs of Soda Pop, ready to print out that will be foldable into blank, 5×7″ greeting cards.

(Soda Pop is the star of my book, I HATE HALLOWEEN, which may be purchased here, AND the inspiration for my 31 Days of Halloween projects.) Print them on matte surface cardstock at the highest print quality. Let them sit for a couple hours or even a day before you begin tinting the photos to give the printer ink some time to dry and become permanent.

Now, the next part is easy-peasy. Simply pick some colored pencils, and get to coloring!

Use light pressure and build up your tones gradually.

Have fun making realistic colors, or go crazy and surreal, using weird colors in weird places.

Children especially have fun with this activity—give them black and white photos of relatives and they will have a BALL!

And for the adults who want to really take their time, feel free to explore this art form more thoroughly. There are pencils made especially for photo tinting, as well as a line of markers, and of course, photo oils for the advanced artist.

Have fun with this, and check us out on Facebook at Bug Summer here. Become a fan and post some of your own creative fall projects!

31 Days of Halloween–Project 11

Today is totally a Soda Pop day. For those of you who don’t know, Soda Pop is the star of my book, I HATE HALLOWEEN, which may be purchased here, AND the inspiration for my 31 Days of Halloween projects. He is a black cat with attitude. Today, we are going to make something that all children (and many adults) get a kick out of–puppets. Soda Pop puppets.

The supplies you will need are black felt–I got 9×12 sheets of it at the craft store. 2 sheets per puppet. You will also need a hot glue gun (for easy assembly), or craft glue (if you’re patient) OR needle and thread or sewing machine (if you want to be a perfectionist, which I am NOT). And then whatever kind of supplies you want to use to put eyes on your puppet, or any other decorations that you think Soda Pop would enjoy wearing on his person.

Here is a printable stencil pattern to get you started with your Soda Pop puppet.

Print it out, cut it out, lay it down on the felt and cut around it. DON’T cut out the eyes in the felt.  The eye marks on the stencil are there for guidelines for eye placement.   I was able to cut 2 sheets of felt at a time, but one at a time is fine. Young kids will most definitely need help with the cutting and glueing of this little guy.

After you get two Soda Pop cut outs done, it is time to add facial features/decorations or whatever else you can think of on the front of your puppet. My kids chose paint for the eyes. On your stencil, please note the two eyes delineated there. If you have a craft knife, you can cut those eyes out and have openings which you can overlay on top of the felt use as guides to paint/draw/sew your eyes on. You could also cut other pieces out of colored felt and glue them on for the eyes. How about button eyes?  Sequins?  Diamonds?  Hey, go for it.  Here you can see one of my boys painting the eyes on through his stencil.

Of course, you may ALWAYS freehand the eyes and facial features, which is what I did.  I added a nose, mouth, and paws, but you don’t need to.  The REAL Soda Pop’s features are totally black, so do whatever YOU like.

After you apply whatever decoration to Soda’s face/body, you may need to let any paint/glue dry.  Then it is time to attach the front and back cut outs together. I chose hot glue, because I feel it is magic. Really. Yes, you can burn the you-know-what out of yourself, but it is so darn FAST! Or you can use craft glue, if you have a couple hours.  OR, you can use needle and thread to sew the two pieces together, or even a sewing machine. Now, you will glue or sew the two pieces together, keeping the glue/stitches about 1/4″ from the edge, ALL the way around EXCEPT for the bottom of the puppet, where your hand is going to go.  Sew or glue right sides OUT, so there is NO “turning” of the puppet when you are done. It is simply finished with stitching (if you chose to sew) visible.  You will end up with a cat-shaped glove.

My kids love puppets. Even my teenagers, which some may find weird. Personally, I think it is one of the most creative things you can guide your children to make.  And there are people who make their livings doing things like puppetry (Jim Henson, anyone?). Not only do you MAKE something with your hands, but then you can create an entire world of activities/stories/songs/plays, whatever, that are all about the puppet you just made. I’m thinking about making felt “costumes” for my Soda Pop puppet, so he can be just as disgruntled as a puppet as he is when I dress him up in real life.

I am having my two homeschooled boys write stories about what their particular puppets do during the course of an average day. One boy named his puppet Cat Man (feline superhero). The other kid named his Just Regular Cat. I’m interested to read the stories they come up with, and I imagine they will be TOTALLY different, as my boys are themselves. ( I think another fun activity would be to have your Soda Pop puppet read I HATE HALLOWEEN to your children!) You can also have children write poetry, or even a play featuring the puppet.  Make more than one puppet if you like, in different colors.  Make different KINDS of puppets—cats aren’t the only critter out there.

 

Have fun with this, and check us out on Facebook at Bug Summer here. Become a fan and post some of your own creative fall projects!

31 Days of Halloween–Day 10

Complete Tracy Lovett – I Hate Halloween Interview

The Local Record program, hosted by Jenny Burkhiser of the Family Radio Network, had the privilege to interview our own Mayor Tracy about Fostering Pumpkins, Black Cats & Creativity: I Hate Halloween by Tracy Lovett for airing on Shenandoah radio station KYFR, 920 AM on October 27, 2012.

Sometimes less is more. And today, that is my philosophy. So far, we have had lots of projects and ideas presented in this October venture. Today, everyone—including me—has a moment to catch their breath, and perhaps catch up a bit.
Recently, I did an interview for a radio station nearby, and they were happy to give me an mp3 file of the whole deal, so today, I’ve posted it on this blog–click the blue link above all these words!   Take a listen if you have a few minutes, do some drawing or writing with a kiddo (maybe one of the previous projects!) and see if a more creative lifestyle suits you. Later, Gator!

Please see my new children’s book, “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.  Please find Bug Summer on Facebook here, and become a fan–post pictures of your own Halloween projects there as well!

31 Days of Halloween–Day 9

I need to preface this post with a personal note.  Like everyone else, I have big goals–posting every day for 31 days was one of them.  And last week, between 5 days of little or NO internet, my burgeoning fall photography jobs, and, last, but definitely NOT least, a couple personal things that came up, I simply didn’t post.  Not only didn’t I post, but I didn’t do IDEA generation on posts, or projects, or writing towards the blog (which I normally do so I’m ahead).  However, it is a new week, I’m still excited about Halloween, and I believe that we can get 31 posts up this month!  So, here we go!

Today is another fun, easy day in Halloween arts and crafts! All you need are some rounded rocks, paint, brushes, and of course, children.

Kids love to paint. For some reason, sliming their brushes around in sloppy, goopy paint and then making gooey marks with it on paper is one of the highlights of their lives–perhaps, because adults HATE paint. Paint, after all, is messy. It can ruin clothes, carpet, and furniture, and, as an adult, painting is a chore that we must do around our house, forget about being ARTY with it. But whatever the reason, kids find paint magical.

Kids also love rocks. They love to examine them, feel their shapes, learn about their composition, and, if not supervised, they will often find a rock that fits oh-so-perfectly in their palm and they will THROW it, causing possible property loss and/or emergency room visits.   Adults cringe when boisterous children pick up rocks.

So, I thought, why not combine the two—paint and rocks!  Give the kiddos something to do that they will find enchanting, and might make an additional, non-violent use for rocks.  Of course, because paint is involved, it will still be messy.  But, we are all adults here–we can get over it, right?  And, if it’s a warm day, the kids can paint outside.

So, here is the art part—get some paint, acrylic craft paint is fine.  Brushes are important as well, and they will probably need fine tipped brushes.  And let those kiddos create their own set of miniature jack-o-lanterns out of the rocks!  When they are finished, depending upon the age of the child, they may look NOTHING like recognizeable “faces” on pumpkins.  But, I guarantee it—the kids will be THRILLED!

Wash the rocks and dry them.  Let them air dry a little longer if you can.  Then, have the children slop on a base coat of paint, most probably orange.

This then needs to dry before they put on the faces, so send them out to play or something.  Then, give them whatever other colors of paint you have and let them go to town—my kids chose purple and yellow for their faces.

Depending upon the opacity of the paint, you may need to do a second coat both for the base and for the faces–you will have to be the judge.  You can also give them black permanent markers to do the face work, whichever they are most comfortable with.  Then, you may clear coat them with an acrylic spray, if you like, and display them.

Do NOT get hung up on how pretty the pumpkins are, or how perfect the faces are.  That is the WRONG direction for this project.

Not sure WHAT this face is, but I LIKE it!

Remember, with kids (and with beginning adults) it is about process, not product.  The children will be happy with their results, guaranteed.  Do not put your own “stuff” on that, saying it isn’t perfect just the way it is painted.

You can do internet image searches and find beautiful art pieces made of painted rocks.  And if you are tempted to pick up this hobby as an adult, go for it, and feel free to strive for the absolute BEST painted rock portrait you can.  That isn’t what this project is about for the kiddos, however.  It is for exactly this reason I didn’t go ahead and do a rock myself.  I didn’t want to get caught up in the perfection game, which I automatically revert to when doing my own art.  The children don’t need to carry my baggage.

Have fun with this—search for rocks, paint them, put faces on them.  Be free.  Be easy.  And come back tomorrow!  We will be doing more Halloween art!

Please see my new children’s book, “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.  Please find Bug Summer on Facebook here, and become a fan–post pictures of your own Halloween projects there as well!

31 Days of Halloween–Day 8

Happy Monday, creative people! And because it is Monday, I am feeling not-so-ambitious. I spend every weekend, all weekend (in the autumn season, at least) doing professional photo sessions, so, by Monday, I’m a tired baby. So, today I am going to “phone it in” so to speak, and offer up some fun downloadable  note cards with some goals for using them, that I hope I myself can follow.

First up is Soda Pop in his mask. I love this shot. It is one of my favorite for the book I HATE HALLOWEEN (which you can purchase here) and I’m seriously considering making room for a nice canvas print of this one for my wall. Soda just looks so mysterious in his mask, and I love the green and black color palette.  All the notecards are sized 4×5 to fit in invitation envelopes.  They will print out 5×8, and you fold them in half on the top of the image.

Next is my jack-o-lantern illustration from (guess what) I HATE HALLOWEEN. As far as illustrations go, this one is in my top ten. I love the way the color in the shot is focused on the cut-out portions of the pumpkins, just as it would be if it were Halloween night and we were out walking the streets with our bags of candy dangling by our sides.

The third one is also from the book, and it is the cover shot. When I was a little girl, I loved kitties, but I could never have one because we had an allergic family member. But I simply LOVED them. So, one Halloween, I asked my mom if I could make a kitty cat jack-o-lantern, and she helped me map it out on the pumpkin. Every year, to get in touch with the little-girl-Tracy, I make sure I cut a kitty cat jack-o-lantern using virtually the same design as I did back then, and this one is it. I hadn’t planned on using the photo as the book cover. I rather thought I would use an illustration of sorts. But, when it was all said and done, and I was looking through sketches of work that I might use, the photo of the kitty-lantern kept coming to mind, and I decided it was the perfect fit for the book. When I saw it printed full size on my first book shipment, I have to say I agree with my decision wholeheartedly.


So, now you have 3 pieces of “stationery”.  Print them out on high quality cardstock, matte photo paper or even a glossy or luster photo paper at the highest print quality. Now, what to do with them?
Write. Write a letter to someone you need to talk to, but haven’t made the time. Write to someone to say thank-you for something that meant a lot to you. Write to just say “hello”, or “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Halloween”. It doesn’t matter who you write to, really, or what the message is, but put pen to paper and write something to someone, slap a stamp on it and send it the old fashioned way. I still get a thrill when I receive a 1st class letter addressed to me in flowing handwriting, and I bet you do too. I don’t take the time to do this the way I should.

I think it is the rare person who writes letters these days, and a stamp, even at 45 cents, is a bargain. In the days of unlimited calling plans, poorly spelled emails and even worse, abbreviated texting, a letter is a rarity, a precious thing that is so tangible. I have a letter from my Grandmother, a couple years before her death from dementia, and it means so much to me to have that little piece of her, such a PERSONAL thing created by her flowing hand. We need to give that gift to people as often as we can. So, print out these cards. Write a note on them, or, maybe, better yet, write the note on a separate sheet and tuck it inside so the card is more like a GIFT to the other person. You could even go so far as to double your money and stick a self-addressed stamped envelope in there as well, so you can be almost assured of receiving a reply. I’m going to start doing this—and including my kids as well. I’m even thinking about having a “correspondence hour” once a week, where everyone in our family creates little letters for others, and drops them in the mail with no thought of getting something back. Our children have missed the magic of opening the mailbox and finding something special in there just for them. I want them to have it.
So, take these cards, download them, save them, print them out for your own personal letter writing campaign. Get a pen that feels good and right when you grasp it in your fingers and communicate in that beautifully archaic language, the handwritten word. I’m going to do it right now.

All images featured today are from “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.  Please find Bug Summer on Facebook here, and become a fan–post pictures of your own Halloween projects there as well!
Until tomorrow…

31 Days of Halloween–Project 7

Wow! This post will conclude my first week of ideas, crafts, and art all themed for Halloween! Of course, as I’ve said before, this is to celebrate not only Halloween, my favorite holiday, but to also celebrate my first Halloween book, “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.

So, this is part two of our ART TRADING CARD project. For those of you who missed it, ART TRADING CARDS, or ATCs, are tiny pieces of art, 3.5×2.5 inches, created specifically with the goal of swapping with other artists, just like sports trading cards. You are actually sharing something much more important though–a bit of your own creativity and imagination. Read the previous blog post here to learn more.

Today, I’m going to show you a display/trading area where I keep my family’s ATCs and encourage visitors to make their own. It’s simple-simple. Here’s a pic of the back of our piano, where I have it on display.

Now, the frame is simply a frame I had around the house. Use whatever size you have, the larger the better because you can show more cards. There are many tutorials for creating the ribbon “bulletin board” inside the frame, but I will go into mine briefly here. I didn’t go out and buy ANYTHING for this. I found a sheet of nice, heavy corrugated cardboard and cut it to size with a utility knife. This part is NOT for kids.

Then, I grabbed a scrap of fabric big enough to wrap around the cardboard on all sides and hot glued it down to the back of the board. THEN, I grabbed some ribbon and started wrapping lengths of it across the front of the board at various angles, wrapping it around to the back of the board and tacking it down with hot glue.

Now, if you measure, you can make a very ordered, pretty pattern with your ribbon. I did not measure, I eyeballed. And then I gave up the pattern idea and just put ribbon across it in interesting ways. After THAT, I tacked down the ribbon with plain silver tacks wherever it intersected with another ribbon, or wherever it felt loose.

I flipped the board over and tacked the ribbon and fabric down firmly on the back as well. Then, I popped it all in the frame, secured it, and I was done!

Displaying cards is very simple–just wedge them under the ribbons on the board. And put a sign on top explaining the rules, such as “You may take ANY card you like for your very own, but you must replace it with a card of your own creation!”

I also have a basket of supplies—blank ATCs, markers, pencils, crayons, glue stick, tiny collage pieces.

 

If you feel ATCs from scratch are too hard, also include fun sheets of stickers and tiny objects that can be glued on to the cards. Don’t forget, on the back the artist needs to put the title of the piece, the medium, their name, and the date.

Bring a LITTLE art into your life! Change the culture of your home one tiny card at a time!  take pictures of your own ATCs and post them on Bug Summer’s Facebook page here! Have a great day, and do something creative with a child! !