Monday, September 21, 2009

A Midnight Masquerade...

Hello Everyone~
It's been busy around here lately! Tea parties, and house guests and baking oh my! Not a whole lof of crafting & sewing going on, none that I can share anyway. Teehee! I do have a few craf~tea secrets started up my sleeves, but they'll have to stay secret for a while... I'm trying to get a jump on Christmas and it's already the first day of fall!

Since I can't say much about what I've been up to just yet, I thought I'd revisit something that I created this past spring when my niece, Ana asked me to make her a mask to go along with her outfit for her Junior Prom. I'm particularily happy about the way this project turned out. Of all the things I've made, this is the one I'm the most proud of because 1. Ana LOVED it (yay!!) and 2. it turned out way "beyond-my-skills" pretty, if I do say so myself! (Toot-toot! I think I may have just blown my own horn! Do forgive me.)

This is Ana's dress, what beauty, what style... what? Dang! Va~va~va~voom! When did my little niecy-poo grow enough curves to fill this thing out? It happens fast people. This dress is what I think of when I envision iconic, Hollywood glamour and sophistication. Just gorgeous. (as a side note for anyone who's interested... yes, that is Twilight you see playing on the TV next to the dress, it plays constantly in this house... my niece is just a scouche obsessed, she even does a blog it's over here -------> See it? It's called Dazzled Hearts.) As soon as I saw the dress I envisioned exactly what I wanted her mask to look like. I could see it finished in my minds eye, but could I pull it off? Ana trusted me completely and gave me total creative freedom, which I have to say is pretty amazing for a 16 (at the time) year old girl. Off to JoAnn's to gather my supplies!
I started with a simple, plain black mask. I removed the string which holds it to your head and sprayed the front of the mask with aerosol adhesive, then I sprinkled black glitter over the entire front of the mask and let it dry over night.
Next day I hit a snag. My plan was to lay navy blue lace that matched her dress over the black sparkles so that you could see the lace, but also the structure of the mask glittering underneath. Dimensional you know? Layers of pretty! I started by spraying adhesive over the top of the glitter... ick! What was I thinking? BIG MISTAKE (which you can see above). It made the glitter dull and sticky, yucky bummer! Lesson learned. Back to the JoAnn's for another mask. I sprayed and sprinkled again (in the parking lot of my office - on my lunch hour!), and this time when it came to the lace, I sprayed the back of the lace with the adhesive and ever so delicately laid it over the contours the glittery mask. Perfecto!
Bada Bing, bada boom, this thing is coming together nicely! When I slit holes in the eyes, the adhesive that was on the back of the lace folded perfectly flat onto the inside of the mask, bonus! Next I added lavender rhinestones in a swirly pattern that I'd free handed, I wanted substantial bling, but not gawdy. And can I just say... placing rhinestones is a booger. Then I added the beaded feather piece that you see on the left, and added a few more rhinestones up the center of the large black plume. After this I simply added a few other feathers (I got into the process and forgot to take pictures of this...oops!) You have to be careful at this stage, it's easy to go over board, you have to think with a critical eye. I didn't want Ana to have to fidget around with a mask that actually sat on her face and mussed up her hair & makeup, so I added a handle to the mask. I started with a small dowel, cut it to size, painted it black, then wrapped it in a lattice of lavender, and light blue ribbons. I accented the end with a large Aurora Borealis crystal that I found in the jewelry making section at Michael's. I hung a few more pieces of ribbon from he bottom to give it a little more presence, including one that looked like a delicate silver chain. Here's a better picture of the end of the "wand". As it turns out, the crystal was great because it was rather heavy so it added balance to the entire piece. Without it, the mask might have felt a little top heavy.
I hot glued the "wand" into place, then finished the inside of the mask with soft, black, peel-n-stick felt so that it would look finished, and more importantly, so as not to scratch up a pretty face!
Viola! This is the finished mask, bellissimo! But you don't get the full effect until you see it in the hands of a beautiful girl. So without further adieu... meet Ana.

Fancy hair, check! Pretty makeup, check! Loves her auntie, check-check!

Here are Ana and her Nana, my mother-in-love, Kathleen. Kathleen did the fancy hair job. She's a pro and it was beautiful, there were rhinestones placed here and there all over the back.

She loved her mask, I was so relieved!! I mean, I loved it, but I wasn't sure she would. She said it was the best one at the prom and she carried it around with her the entire night. Awww, that's so sweet!
Isn't she a knock out?? I took so many pictures of her that day that it was almost painful to pick just these few. I wish I could show you all of them, if you were sitting here having tea with me, I would! Oh well what the heck, here's one more with her radiant, happiest smile!
I love her so much! I was really happy to make this for her, and I think it complimented her look so well. I'm usually a thrifty person when it comes to crafting, so I'd have to say that this was not an inexpensive project, I think the materials cost about $40, but we priced masks like this online and they started at around $100. It took some time too, altogether I'd say about 8-10 hours. Also, this is a sturdy piece, not at all flimsy, and who knows what we would have gotten with regard to quality from the internet. Regardless, Ana is a special girl, way more than a niece, she's my friend and this was my gift to her. I was thrilled to be a part of her prom.
Boy, as usual, I'm long winded! Sorry bout that, I hope your eyes haven't gone crossed!
I'd love to hear your thoughts, I might be making another mask soon for a birthday, so please sent any pointers you have my way!


Angela McRae said...

I don't think you were long-winded at all, and I just got through reading every bit of this -- delightful! First of all, your niece is just beautiful! (And I'm a proud aunt myself, so I can tell you are as nuts about your niece as I am about my nieces/nephew.) I had not heard of this mask-as-prom-accessory movement, but I like it! What a beautiful piece you made, and I'm sure Ana appreciates the love and care you put into it. I LOVE your confession about the re-do in the office parking lot. That is sooooo like me! Enjoyed this lovely, lovely post!

my cup of tea said...

Hi Lisa! Beautiful mask! You did a fab job!
Just think of the wonderful ideas you may have for a birthday mask! Your niece looks so pretty!

beedeebabee♥ said...

Oh my goodness Lisa! I so enjoyed this post!
First I have to say how beautiful Anna is, and she looked amazing in her gorgeous outfit! (Twilight girls unite!!!) And next, that mask could NOT have turned out anymore perfect!!! You did a fantastic job girlie!! I loved your idea of putting the lace over the glitter, how cool! Loved the rhinestones and the handle..(you do have a Michael's...YAY!!!) You are one creative lady! It's precious how you adore your niece, and wrote such nice things...what a special auntie you must be, and a fun one too!
Hugs, Paulette ;)