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A Fantastical Transformation
For our special Halloween issue this year, Holiday and Crafts Editorial Director Marcie McGoldrick and her team worked to create a wonderland of magic and mystery -- in which Fairy GrandMartha plays the leading role. Get an exclusive look at what it took to build the enchanted forest from start to end.
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The First Step
First, a large piece of canvas was hung and large branches were assembled behind it. The entire thing was then lit from behind so that the branches could cast shadows onto the canvas creating the forest background. “The art department had images of shadows, and it inspired us," says Marcie. “We wanted to make a set that felt like you were walking through a forest -- the theme this year was 'fairy tale,' but we wanted to take some of the sweetness down, so we added the shadows."
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Laying the Groundwork
For the ground, batting was laid down to serve as a foundation.
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The "Forest" Floor
To create the mossy foreground, a moss sheeting (made with real moss glued to netting) from save-on-crafts.com was used. The crafts team made a larger carpet by taping multiple sheets together. The large sheet was then placed in top of the batting. To make the ground look more uneven and realistic, mounds of batting were placed randomly throughout.
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Highs and Lows
Clumps of additional real moss were glued to the green floor to conceal the seams in the moss sheeting.
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A Fantasy Path
Pine needle straw was laid down to create pathways in the forest.
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A Personal Touch
The wood stumps were cut at different heights to create steps for Martha to pose on. They were from trees that fell on her farm in Bedford, New York.
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Drawing from Nature
Thanks to the crafts team, a large collection of leaves in different sizes and colors were available to place all over the floor. “Every fall we go out and collect leaves -– we keep them all in the crafts room and draw upon them for projects like this. We press some of the best leaves but also keep a large quantity of regular ones for projects like this," says Marcie.
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Large and small scale decorative mushrooms add color and fantasy to the woodland scene. From jamaligarden.com.
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Pieces of Inspiration
The idea for this entire theme, including Martha's costume, was set in motion as early as February. Marcie created inspiration boards with several different concepts. The boards consisted of images and swatches for hair, make-up, style and mood. Marcie and Martha then worked together to refine the costume and the final theme.
Here, the fairy accessories that were the glitzy final detail in Fairy GrandMartha's look.
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"Every year we try to create a costume ‘story,’ and Martha generally opens the story. We like to have a universal theme that appeals to both kids and adults. She knew she wanted to dress up as something ‘good,' so her Fairy GrandMartha costume against the dark forest really worked,” says Marcie.
Here, the completed fairy costume in all of its pink tulle glory.
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The final product of Marcie’s and Martha’s vision came together perfectly as a delightful dream world where Fairy Grandmartha takes center stage. To see the full story –- as well as the elves, sprites, and ogres that accompany Martha -- pick up the issue at a newsstand, get it online, or order by phone at 800-950-7110.
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