Magic and Modge Podge: Harry Potter Coasters

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Hello Potterheads! So, here’s an adorable and SUPER easy Potter-craft for you: book page coasters! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • copies of your favorite Harry Potter pages, on regular printer paper
  • scissors
  • black tea
  • brownie pan or glass baking dish
  • Mod Podge
  • sponge brush
  • coasters (I found a perfect set at the Dollar Store; they don’t need to be fancy!)
  1. Tea-stain the page copies
    1. Boil water
    2. Brew black tea
    3. Place copies in baking dish or brownie pan; pour tea over the pages, making sure pages aren’t overlapping (otherwise, there will be white spots that don’t get dyed!)
    4. Let soak for at least half an hour
    5. Remove from tea; lay pages out to dry on towel/paper towel
  2. Cut pages/pictures/text to coaster size
  3. Apply thin layer of Mod Podge to coaster; smooth on first page of text or picture. Let dry.
  4. Continue adding layers of Mod Podge atop paper. Be generous with the layers, but do not “glob” it on all at once.
  5. Let dry overnight.

That’s it! They turn out so cute, and make such great gifts! Try cutting out the chapter illustrations and placing them on top of text, or mixing text in different shapes for a collage effect…have fun!

~Mischief Managed~

“Reign” Inspired Blue & Gold Headband

I’ve recently caught up on the CW’s “Reign,” which even if it is a Tudors/Game of Thrones rip off in some ways, it gets full marks for costumes! I love the Debra Moreland and Jennifer Behr headpieces the ladies sport in every episode. While watching, I somehow found some blue beads and gold wire and made something for myself to wear to court!
 

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Holiday Crafts: Ballerina Ornaments

Snow Queen, Black Swan, Giselle

Snow Queen, Black Swan, Giselle

‘Tis the season for holiday crafts! I’ve started making ballerina ornaments for my friends this year, and thought I’d show you how, too! The images are from my “Kitri” ornament–my inspiration for her tutu and Spanish fan came from what she usually wears in Act I. You’ll need:

  • clothespins
  • white or light pink acrylic paint
  • thick and thin wire (I used gold)
  • Pliers, wire cutters
  • Hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • Light pink satin ribbon
  • Fabric or wide ribbon (color of choice; Red for Kitri, here)
  • Rhinestones, crystals, etc. colors of choice
  • E600 glue (optional)
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Glue the clothespins open. Paint them white or pink with acrylic paint; set aside to dry. Cut a length of your thicker gold wire (12″-18″ should do). Start by twisting a small loop; this will be for the hanging ribbon. Wrap a few inches of thin wire tightly around the twist to secure. Form the wire for the “head” and rejoin/twist it at the neck; wrap thin wire to secure this as well. Extend each wire in opposite directions, and use pliers to fold the wire back at the point you want the arms to end; the fold will make her “hands.” Twist the wires together a few times for the “body.” Wrap thin wire tightly diagonally to secure the arms and body in place. with the neck.

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Measure against the clothespin to see where the excess wire will need to bend, so that the “body” is centered on the clothespin. Use pliers to bend the wire at the point where it will sit snugly on the clothespin. Apply hot glue to the outside of the now open end of the clothespin, to secure the wire/body. Then, tightly wrap thin wire around it (using glue as needed) to further secure the body to the clothespin.

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Once the body is secured to the clothespin, it’s time to put on her “shoes!” Cut 2-3 inches of 1/4 inch wide pink silk ribbon; apply glue to the joined end of the clothespins, and wrap the ribbon rightly around a few times. Cut 1/4 inch of ribbon to cover the bottom of the “shoe” as well. Trim any excess ribbon. Now, to start the skirt: measure a length of fabric or ribbon that will wrap snugly around the clothespin “hips” once or twice. Apply glue to the sides of the clothespin, and wrap the ribbon tightly. Cut 2-3 inches of ribbon, and fold and glue as needed to cover the area where the clothespin and body are joined.

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Once she has an “underskirt,” you can start adding layers to the tutu. I cut 1 or 1/2 inch strips of ribbon that already had a ruffle and layered the strips until the skirt was full and flirty! I folded a bit of ribbon for her “fan,” and decorated with rhinestones using E600 glue. Be creative and have fun!

My Guide to Books for Bunheads

Another recent Facebook “challenge” has swept our collective Newsfeeds: listing the top books that have influenced us most profoundly. It is no surprise that Harry Potter has topped the majority of these lists. The books that have shaped me most, however, are those that have shaped me as a dancer. Growing up, it seemed that I always knew a little extra tidbit of dance history or reference that my ballet school peers had not yet discovered. I think these are the books that turned me from bunhead to total ballet nerd, and I therefore must admit their profound effect on the person I have become. I think it would serve any generation of ballet lovers well to add these to the shelf, if they’re not already there. Each title is linked to its listing on Amazon.com. Happy dance reading!

The Young Dancer, Darcey Bussell

This was probably my first-ever ballet book. Who needs Angelina Ballerina when you can have a book, written by Royal Ballet legend Darcey Bussell with photographs of students at Royal Ballet School? This book presents information about ballet positions, movements, shoes, costumes, and more in a fun, easy to follow format. (more…)

My Ice Bucket Challenge

The point of the Ice Bucket Challenge has been to raise money for ALS Research, and to make a scary disease easier to talk about. It’s a beautiful movement. Apparently there’s just something really fun about seeing people douce themselves with ice cold water–especially Benedict Cumberbatch (see his great video here). What has also been really beautiful is the way all types of celebrities, arts organizations, and even politicians have become involved. Of course, there’s the criticism of individuals for not donating/donating too little/what have you, but this is social media: you literally can’t even give to charity without incurring criticism. Some sources say that the money is not going to make a dent in the research and the real way to help would be to contact your member of congress.  (However, I have to say that for ballet lovers, American Ballet Theatre’s video, starring Marcelo Gomes, is a sight– I’m so used to seeing him in Prince-mode!)

But somehow, this movement has harnessed the positive power of social media and as of August 25, 2014, “Ice Bucket” Donations to the ALS Association have reached $79.7 Million; this is more than 30 times the amount of donations received in this same time period last year. 

I’m amazed, and so happy that this massive force of social culture has managed to spur something that has had a real effect. So, here I am jumping on the bandwagon in my own way. With my meager readership, I want to share the video that Upworthy has dubbed “The Last Ice Bucket Challenge You Need to See– And You Really Should See It.” It was also shared on the Huffington Post, and countless other major sites. This video was made by Anthony Carbajal, who has ALS. With the challenge growing so quickly, it was extremely moving to see Anthony come forward in such a creative way, and so courageously come out and speak to (what has become) an audience of millions. I’ve embedded the video below.

It seems that this video was originally posted on Anthony Carbajal’s personal page on YouCaring.org. According to this page, Anthony recently got engaged, and his family is planning for a November wedding! You can also go to this page to donate to Anthony’s personal fight against ALS.  According to the ALS Foundation, he is one of the 30,000 people in the US with this diagnosis. 

While I do not know anyone personally who suffers from this disease, I do happen to know a little about it. In 2012, after two years of seemingly inexplicable decline, my father had some tests done by specialists at Emory University in Atlanta. One doctor thought it was possible that his diagnosis may be ALS. In the vein of Anthony Carbajal’s courage to speak up about something really difficult and personal, I’m going to tell you what happened. (more…)