Medusa headdress

My Halloween costume this year was inspired by a Medusa headband I found at a yard sale. It is pretty basic, but I thought it had potential.

I found some rubber snakes on Amazon–a dozen 11-inch rubber ones and another dozen smaller, but more realistic ones–for a total of about $14.00. I wanted to have a variety of sizes and shapes to work with.

I bought some gold spray paint and added a coat to each side of the snakes and to the headband. The headband was already gold, but I wanted everything to match. When the paint dried, I threaded the rubber snakes through the plastic headdress until I was satisfied with the look. I saw some Medusa headdress tutorials that suggested hot gluing the snakes together, but I wanted to be able to change them or use them for another project someday. I did tie a few in place using embroidery thread so they could move around a little. After I had the shape I wanted, I added another couple coats of spray paint.

I originally intended to paint the snake eyes black and the tongues and mouths red, but I couldn’t find my acrylic paints. I experimented with Sharpie and nail polish but found the whole process too tedious and abandoned that idea.

For the costume, I wore a white Greek tunic that I made years ago and added a long black skirt underneath. For Medusa’s wings, I bought a gold metallic wing cape on Amazon. I also bought a set of face paint–I saw a lot of Medusa makeup tutorials online and originally envisioned a green face. However, since my costume was pretty much gold, black, and white, I wanted to stick to a more neutral palette. I mixed some tinted moisturizer with metallic loose pigment and some white face paint. On top of this, I added some black details with a little hint of green. I put a fishnet wig cap over my face and used a brush to apply more metallic powder for a snakeskin effect. It didn’t show up super well, so I used black and gold eyeliner pencils to increase the effect. I brushed metallic gold powder liberally over my face, lined my lips in black eyeliner and filled them in with face paint, added some details to my nose and eyes, and that was about it. There was some green metallic body glitter in the face paint kit (’90s flashback!), so I used some of that, too.

I put my hair into a wig cap leftover from a previous year’s costume, put on the headdress and arranged it so the snakes looked good, dusted some more gold on my hairline, and that was it.

The costume looked great from the front but less so from the back and sides–if I wear this again, I will definitely get some more snakes to fill out the back and distribute the weight more evenly. I had a pretty killer headache by the end of the night.

Oh, and there was one little coral snake I couldn’t bring myself to spray paint, so I threaded it through my treat basket.

Project costs:

Headdress (yard sale): $2
Snakes: $14.12
Spray paint: $4.99
Face paint kit: $16.42
Wings: $15.50
Dowel for wings: $1.49
Total: $54.53 

Not too bad considering I will get a lot of use out of the face paint and the wings. I’m already envisioning the wings in an Egyptian goddess costume.


Tiny books

We are settling into our new home, but we are definitely lacking some furnishings. In preparation for the move, most of our furniture and a good portion of our other stuff went to Goodwill, consignment, friends, family, and neighbors. Not only did we not want to move things 1000 miles across the country, but a lot of things that looked great in our 1910 bungalow did not fit the style or constricted floor plan of our new 1950s ranch. In a quest to find stuff for our house at affordable prices, we have started going to estate sales. This has become a problem. Not only have we not found anything I envisioned (I had dreams of finding a midcentury coffee table, a starburst mirror, or a record player console), but we have accumulated completely unnecessary (but awesome!) stuff, such as a concrete bust of Apollo and this, our most recent purchase:


Yes, a dollhouse. I don’t remember how much we paid for this thing–I do know it was 25% off and, no joke, the women running the estate sale applauded when we bought it. i am a sucker for anything miniature, and I just had to have it.

The dollhouse came with some furnishings, but I thought it would be lots of fun to make my own. I quickly found that there are lots of people out there who take dollhouse miniatures very seriously. After bookmarking a ton of sites, I decided to try my hand at these miniature books. They didn’t look so difficult, and I had all the materials at hand.

I began with the rather ambitious goal of making about a dozen little books for my dollhouse bookshelf, but, to make a long story short, I’ve discovered that I suck at miniature things. The first book wasn’t too bad–I used heavy paper for the cover and cut the pages out of an old booklet, so they were already glued together. However, you can see that my X-Acto blade wasn’t quite sharp enough so the page edges are a bit jagged.


When I tried a beautiful cloth-bound book like the one in the tutorial, though, things didn’t go as smoothly. My fabric, coated with glue, stuck to everything, so I resorted to covering it with waxed paper and bending it into shape with a ruler.


It still looked like it might come out okay, but when it dried and I peeled it from the paper, the corners were frayed and the binding was far from crisp. Yuck. Also, since I didn’t have any white glue, I used wood glue, which didn’t dry clear.


My fingers looked a bit worse for wear at the end of the project, too.


I gave up after just two books. So much for my little dollhouse library–books are pretty passé anyway, no?