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Costumes + halloween + Party + printable + Projects / Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014

How to throw a Tortured Artist dinner party

It’s all come down to this! After 9 Tortured Artist costume ideas (10 if you include the double Fridas), one full menu with 3 delicious recipes and a skull cake for dessert, 2 free illustrated printables from Danielle Kroll here and here (and one more on the way), 1 playlist, and 5 decor ideas here and here, it’s time to reveal the full dinner Tortured Artist party. 
I mentioned that I’ve always wanted to throw a party where everyone comes dressed as an artist. For this party, we added in a creepy adjective “tortured” because so many of the greats were just that and it’s perfect for Halloween. We applied the term loosely and had some of our favorite artists and paintings in attendance. Can you recognize them all? 
If you’re planning your own Halloween party, here’s how I would do it:
  1. Costumes. It’s the only time of the year when it’s truly permissible, so why would you avoid it? Embrace it. In the invitation mention the dress code. Here it was “Arrive dressed as your favorite Tortured Artist.”
  2. Decide on a decor theme. I mentioned here that our decor was inspired by vanitas, the term used to describe the brevity of life and nearness of death that was reflected in rotting fruits, skulls, taxidermy, and candles (see our decor ideas here) and a costume based on it.  We chose not to do rotting fruits but just living fruits as we didn’t want to gross out our guests. A piece of fruit at each place setting is the perfect adornment (see above image).
  3. Add in the Spooky. I’m not generally a fan of the spooky element, but to make the beautiful vanitas work we needed that extra creepy feel. To the table runner, we added in some ghost faces. I wanted something subtle that you wouldn’t detect right away. Surprise! I’ll be doing the full DIY tomorrow.

4. But also make it gorgeous. Though it’s a bit spooky, it should also be a bit gorgeous, right?! That’s how we like to do it here. Sarah Winward did the gorgeous flowers and used the styrofoam skeleton heads as vases. I love how they turned out. Drip fruits and flowers across the table for that lavish, over-the-top feel.

5. Black candles. Good, subtle lighting is a must. We lit our party with black candles, the only way to go. We got ours from Save-on-Crafts, who is the cheapest and has the best supply around.

6. Customize the event. Danielle Kroll created these gorgeous name tags to go at each setting. I’ll be providing the printable in the next couple of days. She also created these gorgeous invitations and menu cards, which you can get here and here.
7. Artwork. To transform your space feel like a haunted house no matter where you are, we covered up the walls with these free printable portraits, which feel spooky and hysterical at the same time. Check out the tutorial here.

 8. Dessert that mimics the theme. It’s all in the details folks. I was so excited for this vanilla bean skull cake. I think it truly made the party. And it was delicious so there’s that. Get the full tutorial here.

9. A delicious autumnal menu. Ramblin Rose Cafe created the most gorgeous and gorgeously delicious menu for the party including a roasted garlic and cauliflower soup, a perfect autumn cheese board, and roasted root vegetables and a pomegranate ginger elixir to wash it all down.

We had a ball putting this party on, but there’s still a bit more. Two more tutorials and a behind the scenes look at the making of the party. Stay tuned!

Costumes + halloween + Party + Projects / Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014

Georgia O’Keefe costume recipe

Georgia O'Keefe costume recipe

Today is our last costume in the Tortured Artist party series (see the rest here). We’re closing with fellow flower lover, Georgia O’Keefe, whose macroscopic depictions of flower parts seem as current as they were last century.

Georgia made her home in New Mexico and often depicted the setting around her: skulls, desert landscapes, desert flowers. We included those elements into our costume as symbolic touches. Of course, you probably won’t want to walk around with a huge bull skull (or do you?) but a microscopic version like the bracelet is a good alternative. Here we’ll show you how to make the oversized poppy as inspired by her paintings (see here), the dyed kaftan inspired by her close-ups, and a hair and make-up tutorial.

Poppy paper flower tutorial for Georgia O'Keefe
Skull as a bracelet for Georgia O'Keefe
Georgia O'Keefe costume recipe
Paper poppy tutorial
Art directed by Brittany Jepsen

This post was sponsored in part by


  • Grey hair tutorial
  • Creepy make-up tutorial
  • Dyed kaftan
  • bull skull accessories (find some cheap options here or here. Search for things like “taxidermy skull” or “faux taxidermy skull”). The bracelet is gold-leafed a bit for more flair.

To make the paper poppy flower

Materials: watercolor paper, shallow dish, water, scissors, pencil, petal template, aluminum foil, watercolors (dark orange, light orange, and purple), paint brush, glue gun, pom pom template, yarn
Step 1: Use the petal template to cut four petals out of watercolor paper.
Step 2: Fill a shallow dish with water and soak petals in water for about two minutes. While wet, place a petal on aluminum foil and paint one side dark orange. Paint broad edge of other side dark orange, paint middle section light orange, and narrow point purple. Repeat will all petals. Let petals dry.
Step 3: Hold narrow point of petal and the handle of a paintbrush in one hand. Press paintbrush against petal with thumb and use other hand to pull petal upwards, bending the petal around paint brush handle. This loosens the fibers in the paper. Repeat process in other direction on petal. Repeat with all petals.
Step 4: Cut slit in the narrow point of each petal. Overlap the two sides of the narrow point to make a cupped shape and hot glue into place. 
Step 5: Bend broad edges of petals backwards.
Step 6: Glue two petals together (see photo) at narrow points. Fill in gaps with other two petals.
Step 7: Use pom template (see tutorial here) to make a pom. Glue pom to center of flower.
Make-up tutorial
The real Miss O’Keefe has such a unique, fierce beauty that just slaps you in the face.  It’s hard to replicate so instead I wanted to just bring out different “feels” of O’Keefe in the makeup. 
First I started with a matte make up base (get it here) to take away any shine from the face.  I wanted the model, Carly’s, beautiful skin to be able to come through without shine, so I added almost no foundation after the base.  
What we did do though, is bronze. I wanted to evoke the haunting, desert beauty that I felt from Georgia and her artwork, so I bronzed and bronzed and bronzed, concentrating on the edges of the face, under the cheek bones, and below the jawline.  I kept going down the neck, focusing on all the hollows. I had Carly awkwardly flex her neck and shoulders so her collar bones popped out, and then bronzed around them.  
Her lips were nude and natural, you can mix some concealer with a tiny bit of pink or peach lipstick if you don’t have your own nude color lipwear.  
For her eyes we fierced up her brows with ELF eyebrow kit (get it here) and created some drama in her eyes with dark matte grey eyeshadow only on the inner and outer corners. Think ghostly, In the end Carly carried it all with her modeling. 
Kaftan pattern

Materials: Fabric (we used a white cotton sateen from, dye, sewing machine, thread, and bias tape, measuring tape, ruler.
Step One: Measure your height and multiply that by two. This is how much yardage you will need. Depending on how wide your fabric is, you may need to measure how wide you want the fabric to be and cut. I tried to keep the selvaged edges so that I wouldn’t have to finish that seam. 
Step Two: Fold the the fabric in half and mark center with safety pins on both sides.
Step Three: Dye fabric following dying instructions on package.
Step Four: Cut out a hole for your head. Make sure to start by cutting a small hole and then increase the size to fit your head through. Stay-stitch to keep the fabric from stretching.
Step Five: Finish neck edge. I did a bias tape facing. Quick and easy.
Step Six: Put on the dress and pin fit both sides of your body through both layers of fabric. Sew a straight line down each side. 
Step Seven: Sew in a button hole at the stitching near your waist to allow for a belt. (optional)

Grey hair tutorial by Aubrey Nelson

1. Start by coating the hair in white hair chalk to give it texture and grey appearance. A favorite chalk of mine is this one from Kevin Murphy.
2. To give a wispy & effortless look we gathered all the hair with just our fingers and held straight out fem the head holding it by the ends 
3. Then roll the hair up sideways into a simple twist and secure with bobbi pins 
4. To give a more tousled look, massage the hairline and perimeter of style with the palm of your hand to loosely free hair
5. Make finishing touches with white chalk THE END!