False Front Book Box, Jello Molds, Crayola Projects and Tiny Portraits.

Finally finished a couple of projects… started a few more and worked on even more. Let me catch you up on a few of the done ones.

False Front Book Box: This is one from the “To Get Done” list, number 15. When I saw this on Etsy.com, I thought it looked easier than it turned out to actually be. Finding the books was easy and getting the box created was fairly simple and straightforward. I used a miter saw to cut the majority of the book away, leaving between 2 inches and an inch and a half. Unfortunately the saw caused the pages to be a bit jagged, especially at the top and bottom. It became a real challenge to join the books to each other and in the end, using clamps to hold the books together as the glue dried caused the width of the total books ended up being shorter than the box (meaning you can actually see the box). I am still considering ways to fix this, but am unsure at this point. Like I said, this was not as easy as the original idea looked. I have a new found respect for some of the artisans who have found ways to work around these issues.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know two things: one, I love to go to thrift stores and look for treasures. And two, my kitchen (and attached dining room and living room) are ‘Kitchenaide Red’.

Last week on one lunch run to a nearby thrift store, I found this set of aluminum molds. I am sure that they were jello molds, they reminded me of something that I am sure that we had in my own home when I was a Kid.

Well, spray painted with a coat of primer followed by two coats of matte dark red paint. I glued small hooks to the back for hanging using E-6000 glue. A couple of hours of drying time and a lithe kid on the counter and they were hung on either side of the red trivet over my sink in the kitchen.

This weekend was filled with crayola projects. First were using up all the off branded crayons collected during the Kid’s younger years of visiting those restaurants where they give kids crayons while they wait for dinner. We had a lot!

My son jokingly calls me a hoarder on occasion as when the opportunity presents itself, I snatch up bargains and clearance items even if I have no idea where or how I can use the items. I usually have some vague idea of what it could be used for and usually I do use it eventually.

That is what happened with both the silicon molds and the frames in these next projects. Me and the Kid sorted and peeled off labels and then broke the crayons into manageable pieces. Then using the molds, we filled them and placed the molds into a 450 degree oven. For the snowflake molds, being smaller, it only took about 15 minutes for them to melt. A few required a few more pieces to get a nice fill. It was surprising how much the crayons melt down.

The gingerbread man molds required much more crayon pieces considering that they were larger and deeper. For the most part, I wanted to make singular colored gingerbread men. Most of the crayons were red, blue, yellow and green, but I did have some orange and brown.

These were in the oven about 20 minutes when I had to add to these to fill up the molds. I had enough for almost all but the brownish-orange one. One of them was part blue and part yellow. They went back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so. The one downside to the silicon molds are they are difficult to move since they are so flexible. When I moved it, a bit of melted crayon ran from one color to another. I think next time I would use another cookie sheet and not move them until they’ve cooled and hardened a bit.

I will definitely be doing this again. One thing I learned is that less quality crayons have a bit more wax and tend to separate a bit, so I would probably stir the wax when it come out of the oven. Its a little hard to see in the photo, but the gingerbread men have a lighter looking layer, I guess the colored portion is heavier. I’ve seen a number of these projects on pinterest.com ranging from hearts to circles and even rocks, but my favorite by far is a cupcake mold. I will be keeping my eyes open for other interesting molds and of course, continue to collect crayons whenever possible. I will probably be on the watch for Crayola brand crayons to be on sale, like during back to school sales. I also like the idea of multi-colored remakes, like shades of red or orange swirled together.

The other set of crayola projects were the initials and the heart shape frame in the shadowboxes. These gorgeous frames were a deal found at Michael’s in the “as is” bin. Marked originally $9.99, they were on sale for $1.25 a piece! Too good of a deal to pass up.

So, it was simple enough to open up text edit on my Mac and sift through the myriad of fonts that I now have installed (did I mentioned I bought 10,000 fonts for $20?) to find a clean capital letter S and J. Simple sizing until I had it right and googled for a heart shape and printed them out. Then it was a simple matter of sizing, cutting and gluing the crayon pieces into place and letting them dry over night. Setting them into frames this morning and they were complete.

One things I did realize is that Crayola brand crayons have used (or currently use) different styles of branding on their crayons. Different fonts, sizes and styles in labels. There is one mistake in the crayola heart by using a crayon that didn’t match the others.

There is this story that I read when I did a lot of quilting. The story was about the Amish and their quilting and how they always put one ‘mistake’ into their quilts because only God was perfect. I always like that. So, even though I don’t plan for mistakes, when I do make them I embrace them. I like the idea of only being human. There is also the quilting idea of ‘better done than perfect’, meaning that you could work on something in trying to perfect it, but sometimes it is simply better that one finishes the project and moves on to another one. I like that idea too.

So, the final project of the weekend was a quick yet satisfying one. While out material gathering, I ran across these tiny stretched canvases and the small easel. They were adorable and at a buck and a half, I couldn’t resist.

I had been playing around with some larger canvases and came up with a process of printing on tissue paper and then gluing the image to the canvas using a watered down white glue mixture. It makes the tissue paper ‘crinkle’ looking a bit like exaggerated brush strokes on the canvas. I found three shots of the Kid when he was younger and sized them in Photoshop and printed them on the tissue paper and mounted them on the canvas. This is going in my office and will rotate the canvases from day to day.

Isn’t he adorable?

So, I know that it has been a while since I posted, but I hope it was well worth the wait. Like I said earlier, I have several other projects in process and a few more about to begin. I hope you will come back and visit real soon.

Happy crafting y’all!



Valentine’s Day Polish; Angry Birds Bowling

Hello my fellow crafters!

Today’s posting will be short, but wanted to post anyway. Last week my friend, Jessica and I had our nails done – we usually do this over lunch about every other week on Thursday or Friday. I went with my usual French tips but in honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, I had them add a little heart outlined in black on my right ring finger. Just for fun. 🙂

The second project is also one from my “To Get Done” list, item number six. I saw this original posted on pinterest, although I can no longer find the link anymore. But this was easy enough to duplicate.

These are simply vegetable cans with the pull tab openings, so the cans have a smooth opening – safe for little hands. Spray painted with green paint, I then hand drew the outlines for the faces of the pigs, using images I found on the internet. I’ve always had a pretty good eye for being able to copy images, so I did most of the drawing by sight. I used my favorite Elmer’s paint pens to fill in and outline the faces. Most of them required multiple coats of paint, allowing them to dry in between.

One of the pigs was to have a helmet, unfortunately, I never found what I needed to replicate it. So I simply painted the top of a one of the cans silver. I will keep an eye out for something that will work and add to the can when I find it.

For the angry bird ball, I simply found an inexpensive rubber ball at my local Target store in the size that would match the cans. It got a couple coats of red spray paint and then a coat of high gloss clear sealant. Following, I outlined the face and filled it in using the same Elmer’s paint pens.

I think I will add four more cans to actually provide ten cans – more closely resembling the real bowling configuration. And maybe a few “back up” cans, so that as they are possibly damaged through use. I may take them to work, they seem like the perfect way to waste a few moments during a busy or stressful day.

Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s crafts. I have brought my “To Get Done” list down by  10 projects, almost half. I will keep whittling away at the list, although I have already started thinking about future projects.

Thanks for dropping by and Happy Crafting y’all!

Lined basket, cross stitch pillows and a denim rag rug.

I love re-purposing. And I love baskets. I especially love lined baskets. So when I have the opportunity to be able to re-purpose a basket simply by spray painting it and adding a lining, I am all over it.

This was a basket that was destined for the trash at work. Christmas time is full of deliveries and this one was a tray of cookies and breads. It was a ghastly purple color, but a nice size and well constructed of a hemp-like material. After attempting to spray paint it a couple of times and finding the color absorbed into the material and turned a garish pink, I determined that it had to be sealed first. So using a high gloss clear sealant, I covered it twice. This did the trick. Then a primer coat of white following by three coats of high glass candy apple red. I only did the outside as it was my intention to line it from the start.

To create the lining, I simply collected an assortment of red strips of fabric from my scrap stash and sewed them together. Then a quick hem and cut and sewed the corners for a nice snug fit. I added a couple of layers of scrap padding to the bottom of the basket and then slipped the lining on. Viola!

Next, since I was already in my sewing room, I decided to finish up a couple of the projects on my “To Get Done” list. The two large cross stitch projects were finally made into pillows. I had bought the upholstery fabric and pillow forms a few weeks ago and so it was just a matter of putting them together. A half hour and they were done. If only the actual cross stitching was that fast!

There was a Stephen King movie marathon on television while I was in my sewing room and was smack dab in the middle of the movie “Christine”, so I thought I would work on another project until the end of the movie. So I grabbed my denim rag rug that I had almost completed. Once I thought I had it done, I ran it through the washer and dryer which gave it a nice soft feel but it also revealed some bare spots.

So, I laid the rug out, marked the areas where I needed to add more fabric and simply sewed while I finished watching the movie. I still wasn’t really happy with the results and determined that the biggest mistake I made was using a white base for the rug, too easily seen through the denim strips. If I were to do this again, I  would start with a base that was either denim or dark blue.

To rectify the problem, I dyed the whole thing using a dark blue color. Once completed, I ran it through two more wash cycles to ensure that any excess dye is removed. Then threw it in the dryer until dry.

I wasn’t entirely happy with how it turned out. Before dyeing, the rug had some really nice color variances, some of the denim used was worn almost white and there is black denim as well. The first wash and dry cycle also made for some nice fraying and you could pick out pocket corners and seams occasionally. These details are now lost since it was dyed.

If I were to do this project again, I would start with much smaller size. Between the denim and the size, it became very cumbersome and difficult to work with and manipulate under the sewing machine needle. In the end, I do like the final result and will take it downstairs to the home theatre room (the ‘denim room’ as it is becoming to be known).

Well, on to working on a few more projects from the list and hopefully will have more to share very soon. Happy crafting, y’all!

Denim blue rocker and an Undersea (Quilt Pattern) Bathroom

Just doing a little catch up on some former projects, one new; one not so new.

A little over three years ago, I bought a rocking chair from the Salvation Army for my Mom to use. She had a little garden patio and liked to sit out among the flowers in the spring and enjoy the summer evenings. Unfortunately, the wooden rocker took a lot of weather damage, down to the seat splitting. She was going to have it thrown away, so instead I brought it home. Gave it a lot of TLC.

Started by sanding it down, almost down to the original wood. Then, using wood glue, I clamped the seat together and let it dry for two days, then went over the glue joints with a fine grit sandpaper. Once this was done, I primed the whole thing with high gloss spray paint. To get every angle, it took several paint sessions. Once it was thoroughly primed, I let it ‘cure’ for a few days. Then I started with the deep blue high gloss spray paint. Once everything was thoroughly covered, I gave it a very light sanding with the finest grit sandpaper I could find. Then another coat of paint.

My home theatre is outfitted with a large sectional sofa and matching oversized love seat and three ottomans all upholstered in a soft, broken-in, well-worn denim fabric. Additionally, there are another half of a dozen floor pillows that I made using recycled denim (all very loved jeans). This rocker fits nicely into the decorating scheme. To top it all off, it is just a very comfortable chair to sit in.

The other project actually is a much older project, in fact, it is the Kid’s bathroom from our previous house in California. Originally, his bathroom – a full bath with a tub – had been decorated in a Winnie-The-Pooh theme, but as he was passed his eighth birthday, I realized that he was getting much too big for such a juvenile theme. I had been in the throes of some serious home remodeling at that point, actually have tried my hand at tiling and found that I was quite good at it. I was also at the height of my quilting frenzy and had come across a pattern that I thought would translate nicely into a tiling project.

I took it as a sign that I should proceed when I ran across a cast iron tub with the correct (and unusual) left hand return reduced to more than 90% off it’s original price! A $1000 tub for $75… now I say that is the remodeling gods speaking to me. And considering that the bathroom had been fitted with an acrylic tub/surround combination that I just despised, I knew that I had to demo this bathroom right down to the studs and start over.

I enhanced the quilt pattern to encompass the entire bath tub surround. And then decided to take it even further. I started collecting the necessary 4″ tiles in over 10 colors, no small feat. At the same time I started demolition on the existing room. Once the room had been demo’d, and the new tub installed, I moved onto the installation of the new tile surround. I rented a tile saw and took a few days off from work and set about to cutting all the tile and laying the pattern out on the floor of the garage. It was then a matter of transferring the tiles from there to bathroom. More than 1400 tiles.

I have a bunch more shots, for some reason many of them turned out looking much more purple as opposed to the blues that the tiles really were. The tiles nearly ran all the way around the bathroom, including the frame around the mounted mirror and the mirror that hides the two medicine cabinets. There is also a new floor tile, new smaller child-size toilet, new vanity and sink. Everything was customized for the Kid.

My design included a half glass partition to be installed on the left side of the tub to deflect water when the shower was running. The plan was to have a wave edge and etched with waves to keep with the “underwater” theme. Unfortunately, just as I was putting the final touches on the bathroom remodel, we opted to sell the house and move from California. And the house sold in three days after contacting a Realtor. One day before the house went on the market. We had to move quickly just to allow the Kid to use the tub once before we moved.

Once I get the other shots color adjusted, I will post those. I was very proud of this project and how well it turned out. And proud of the fact that I did most of the work. I hope the young family who bought our house (and their future children) love this bathroom just as much as I did.

Well, thanks for dropping by! Happy crafting y’all!

Don’t drop the ‘F-Bomb’!

Finished another project last night and just had to let them sit over night to allow the glue to bond permanently. This was also a project from my ‘Get It Done’ list, number five. Again, apologies in advance for not taking more photos. I had most of this project done before I realized that I hadn’t taken more photos. They turned out pretty well, but I am thinking about doing it again with a different ball and if I do, I will take more photos then.

I originally saw this idea on pinterest.com (how I love that site!). This seemed like another easy one to replicate. I kept my eyes open at my local craft stores, eventually locating paper mache balls, about 3 1/2 in diameter. I bought five just to make sure that one or two of them would turn out correctly. I then used a three quarters dowel and cut about 1/2 inch segments for the top piece. I also drilled a hole in the center to accommodate the fuse that would be added later. I glued the wooden disks to the top of the balls using E-6000 glue. These were set aside to dry.

Next, I bought a six inch length of electrical wire and pulled it apart. That give me six inch segments of a pliable metal wire. I took two pieces and twisted them together to create the ‘fuse’.

Once the ball assemblies were dry, I then primed them with high gloss white paint. This was easiest to do by setting them into empty small cans so that they didn’t roll around and would be held still while the paint dried. Because they were essentially paper, it took quite a few coats of paint. And of course after each coat dried, I had to turn them upside down to keep the coats of paint even.

In the meantime, I searched for wood letters about the same height as the ball assemblies. I finally found them on eBay from a wonderful seller that I am sure I will use many more times. She is azwoodlady and she has some great customized wood letters and numbers in many sizes and reasonable prices. And quick shipping, too! Tell her I sent you!

I purchased five 3″ letter “f’s” and primed them at the same time as the ball assemblies. This ensured that they had a consistent appearance. When I was satisifed that everything was primed evenly, I then spray painted everything with a bright silver metallic paint. When all the pieces had been allowed to completely dry, I then cut to a visually pleasing length a piece of the ‘fuse’ and slightly curved it and then threaded it into the top of the ball. It was a nice tight fit, so it didn’t require gluing. I repeated for all five.

I then lined up one of the letters in front of a ball until I had the alignment correct and then marked on the letter where I needed to place the glue. I held it against the ball for about 30 seconds to keep it from moving and then set it back on the empty can to dry overnight. Again, repeated this process for the remaining four. After a couple of hours, I checked them and found that I the weight of the fuse was causing the ‘bomb’ to not stand up but roll over. I fixed this by glue a one inch washer to the bottom where the bomb would sit. Again it was returned to the can to dry.

Be careful and don't drop an 'f-bomb'!

The next morning, the f-bombs were completed! A couple of quick photos before I headed to work. I have already given one to the first person I heard ‘drop an f-bomb’, my cube-neighbor where I work. It elicited quite a laugh! I can say that it was quite a hit with the folks I work with.

I hope that you enjoyed this little craft and if you decide to make one (or more) of these, I’d love to see your results.

Happy crafting, y’all!

An Update on my ‘To Get Done’ List

I am making a little headway on my “To Get Done” list. In the past week or so, I’ve managed to complete five projects and one that wasn’t officially on the list. I wrote about number 4, which were the oversized Scrabble Tiles (you can see them here) and the iPad case – Number 11 – made from a child’s book (the post here). In addition, I have completed the following projects:

Number 1 – Felt Tree: I liked the way it looked and even without instructions, this one was pretty easy to replicate. Using four different colors of felt, I cut as many leaves as I could. Using four different colors of ribbon, I simply attached the leaves to the ribbon with one or two stitches. In various lengths, I attached the ribbons to the tree. I created the trunk of the tree with three large branches, also made using felt and stuffed it to be good and solid and when completed, I found a shallow pot and set the tree into it and filled it with polished river rocks. Before putting the trunk together, I added a knot on the front of the trunk, although you cannot see it in the photo. The Felt Tree now sits proudly in the front entryway.

Number 3 – Updated an old school desk: This was very straight forward. I sanded the chair seat and back rests with a course sandpaper moving to finer grit papers until I had the wood in a nice clean state. Then I taped it off with blue painter’s tape and spray painted the metal part of the chair. It took a couple of coats, as red is such a unforgiving color when applying over marks and discolorations. When the paint was dry (and I gave the paint a few extra days since the temperatures had dropped, it seemed prudent to allow a few extra days in the house to cure. I then applied a clear stain to the wood, slightly sanding in between coats. When it had dried, I simply moved it into a proud position in my living/dining room/kitchen and set a red potted plant on the seat.

Number 12 – Six Foot “Ruler”: This was so easy and turned out really well. I may be inclined to do more of these.

Using a six foot length of white pine, choosing a piece that was relatively clear of knots and heavy grain. I applied two coats of a clear stain after routing the edges. If I do this again, I may try to replicate the actual shape of a rule, that half of the piece is sloped to a narrow edge. I might even go as far as attempting to add the metal edge that is found on most rulers.

Following a light sanding of the last coat of clear stain, I marked the intervals for each foot, including quarters, halves and whole. Then, mimicking the steps for the Scrabble Tiles, I traced the numbers for each foot. I then used the Elmer’s painter pens and drew the lines and then filled each number in. I then let the paint dry overnight and sealed it all with one more clear coat of stain. It now rests proudly propped against the wall next to my craft cabinet. I think all that is missing is a large pencil or paint brush.

The final project I completed this week is a fun and simple project that I have seen a few times on pinterest.com. Often referred to as a ‘cowboy wine glass’ or ‘hillbilly wine glass’, it consists of a inexpensive crystal or cut glass candle holder glued to the bottom of an ordinary jar or canning jar or ball jar. I had these jars waiting to be taken to the recycling center and knew that I had to match them up with the candle holders I had just purchased for a dollar a piece at my favorite thrift store. It was simply a matter of gluing the jars – using my trusy E-6000 glue – to the candle holders and allowing them to dry over night. I have several cans of glass paint in the garage, I may go another step and paint them, perhaps purple or pink. Can you think of anything more fun?

I could offer one last thing, and that was my blog of yesterday, three thousand words and pictures on all the Halloween costumes that I have made for my son over the years. He has been my inspiration and happiness and I have to admit that of all the things that I have had a part in creating, he is by far the most beautiful creation of all. I hope that you continue to come back and share with me my crafting. And I hope that my little efforts to beautify and make interesting my little corner of the world gives you some inspiration as well.

Happy crafting y’all!

A History of the Kid’s Halloween Costumes

I’ve been wanting to do a blog (or something) about the Halloween costumes that I have made for my son over the years. I have often told people that it is a good thing that I ended up only having one kid, because the kind of thought, effort and time that I put into most of his costumes would just not have been possible for more than one.

Photos of the costumes pretty much speak for themselves. His first Halloween was just a few months after his birth and he loved dressing for Halloween and continued until peer pressure caught up with him and he decided to stop at 13. I had planned for the last one, even bought most of the materials, who knows, maybe as a young adult he will want the costume for a party. I miss the planning and creative process.

1995 – Baby Lion: This series of baby animal costumes was very popular around this time. They are so adorable. I had to go one better though and added many more multiple layers of ribbons in varying colors and widths. I included some down the chest and on the tail.

I dressed in a blue one-piece jumpsuit with the words “Zoo Keeper” on the back. I picked him up from his nanny and brought him to work for a Halloween party. We entered the costume contest and won first place for team costume. Everybody loved him and he loved the attention!

1996 – Dinosaur: This one was fun. His second Halloween, so still wasn’t sure about what was going on. I know he didn’t like the headpiece and was almost impossible to get the photo without him fidgeting with it. I used a ‘pleather’ material for the spikes and used a fabric pen for the spots. On the first go around, the legs were much too long and I had to shorten them and ended up making them almost too short. I used an elastic straps to keep the pantlegs in place. The tail is actually a separate piece attached with velcro.

1997 – Robin Hood: This costume was a last minute decision. I had been working some incredible hours at work and we were commuting more than an hour each way every day. The cape and tunic nearly required almost no sewing, using a soft fleece, I was able to cut the edges so that they didn’t require hemming. Thankfully he was still young enough to not know that he was wearing girl’s dark brown tights. We already had the boots and I just found an old belt in the closet that I was able to shorten. He should have had a bow and arrow (and maybe a quiver or a knife on his belt) but like I said, this was so last minute. I was lucky that the outfit wasn”t ruined during trick or treating so that we were able to go on the weekend and get photos. He was still pretty young, so I recall that we only went to a few close houses.

1998 – The TinMan: I started planning this costume much earlier this year. This was a joy. He had seen the movie for the first time that year and although I wanted him to be the Scarecrow (he had already been a lion, so the Cowardly Lion was out), he had a strong desire to be the TinMan. I think he wanted the ax. 🙂 The body of the outfit is made with a soft metallic looking fabric and made it a little large so that he could wear sweats underneath it in case it was cold. The large ‘heart’ and the ax was found at a costume store. The funnel was found at Home Depot – attached to the head piece with velcro – and it and his boots (which he already had) were spray painted silver. I wanted to put silver makeup on his face, but when we tried it on a few nights before, he didn’t like the way it felt, so I went with just the rouge on his cheeks. In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t use the makeup, because he is so adorable without it!

Because we had planned this one with time to spare, I actually even made an outfit for me – I was Dorothy, down to the ruby sparkly shoes and french braid pig tails. We were a funny site, with Dorothy carrying both Toto in his basket and the TinMan around at the same time (once he’d grown tired). This was one of my favorite costumes and it had turned out well.

1999 – A Hobbit: A few years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Kid had been given an animated version of “The Hobbit” by a family friend. He nearly worn this VHS tape out watching it. I had made him a cape to wear for play, which had a hidden pocket on the inside for his ‘vial, which contained the light of eärendil’. He could practically recite the words of the story word for word. You can imagine his delight with the release of the movie trilogy.

This was another costume that wasn’t overly complicated. It started with a heavy fleece that looked like it could be a rough tweed for the tunic. Same for the pants. Simple construction with a elastic waist. Again, the whole thing was made just slightly larger than needed to accommodate something warmer underneath for the actual trick or treating event. I found some fun trims and a simple cording for the belt. Of course he had to have ‘sting’, a dagger large enough to be a sword for a hobbit. The funnest part of the costume was the large, hairy feet that every hobbit has. At a local costume shop, we found fake bloody feet… pretty much weren’t either left or right feet, so we were able to buy two. I cut the top of the ‘foot off’ large enough to slide a slipper into it, painted them “flesh colored’ and darkened them like they were dirty. Then using faux fur that I was able to clip and glue to the tops to make them ‘hairy’. Then when Halloween came, he simply stepped into the slippers and he was able to walk easily. This was the first costume that he wore to school – kindergarten – and sadly, most of the children (and even the parents) had no idea what he was supposed to be. He was simply about four years ahead of his time and the first Lord of the Rings movie.

2000 – Buzz Lightyear: This was another costume that required a lot of planning. And actually was pretty expensive and in the end I failed to make it come out like I wanted. You see, I really wanted to have his helmet actually swoosh back and open, like the character in the Toy Story movie. So I started with the body piece and helmet. I got a large piece of foam and warped it around him and secured it in the back. I covered it was a shiny nylon fabric that happened to come in all the right Buzz Lightyear colors. The buttons were actually the tops of deodorant sticks and a jar lid. I recreated all the patches and sewed them on.

I did a lot of searching and finally found at an industrial lighting place a large plastic globe that had the right demensions to fit over his head and around his neck. Using a very fine saw blade, I carefully cut the globe in not-quite-half, which would allow the front half to pivot into the back section. I was able to put two pivots at the sides and then was able to attached the back portion to the body piece. It was perfect!

For some reason I had the whole thing in my car when I went to work, I don’t recall exactly why. Perhaps I had wanted to show someone that I had shared my plan with, but there it was and there it sat all day in the California warm autumn. It was just warm enough in the car that it caused the plastic globe to warp and flatten the top pretty significantly and it would no longer pivot open. I used a hair dryer and spent many hours trying to get it reshaped, but it was no use. It had been ruined. I ordered another from the same lighting store but it had to be backordered and by the time it arrived, I was in a hurry and when I cut it in half, I apparently was a hurry and it caused the cut to be jagged and when I went past the halfway mark, it caused a large crack, and it couldn’t be salvaged. each globe was around $80 and just didn’t want to spend the money on a third attempt. 😦

The remainder of the outfit was pretty easy. His wings were put together from foam board and were pretty light. They attached to the chest piece using velcro. Boots were spray painted white and then the green and purple details were added by hand. It really turned out good and if the helmet had worked out, it would have darn near perfect. The chest piece was slipped on over his head and was pretty form fitting, it wouldn’t have fit if he had grown at all!

2001 – Prince Charming: This is my all time favorite costume. And we had a fantastic photographer who took a large amount of poses and used a bunch of different lighting. They came out excellent. This one with the soft focus filter is my favorite of all of them.

My father and his family are Swedish and this country still has a King as it’s head of state. The crown’s colors are blue however, not the standard deep red. So when I set out to make to create Prince Charming, it had to be a Swedish prince.

This was made from a pattern, but done with special touches all around. The trims were carefully selected. Again, because the autumns are beautiful in Northern California but can still be chilly, I had him in black leggings and boots. The crown is actually two tiaras glued back to back and I added rhinestones and dusted it with a glitter lacquer. The scepter is actually just a rod painted gold with a glass door knob attached to the top.

2002 – Pirate: This was another fun one, and one that the Kid chose – I think – because it allowed him to have a sword. Until his 13th birthday, he wasn’t allowed to play with violent toys, such as guns and knives, but was allowed to have them if they were part of his costume.

This was all pretty straight forward stuff, created from patterns. It allowed me to work with some really fun and bright fabrics. We even fashioned him an earring (though you can’t see it in this photo) or a large ‘gold’ ring that was pulled apart enough to slip over his earlobe. I created ‘boots’ by making covers out of pleather and are simply slipped on over his shoes and pants. We thought of some additional details too late, but it would have been fun for him to have had an eye patch, a bird on his shoulder and maybe a hook or wooden leg. He did ‘argh’ his way all over the neighborhood and make a couple of kids walk the plank. All in good Halloween fun.

2003 – Soldier: His Mom was a solider, his Dad was an Airman and many more family members with military backgrounds, it only seemed right that he had a desire to dress in a uniform. I think there has been some sort of military action/war etc., going on during his entire lifetime, so when he chose to dress in a military uniform, I wanted to do it correctly. I made most of the uniform and the remainder and many of the details came from an Army Surplus store. He even is sporting actual official dog tags. I created his name and the Army insignia as close to official as possible. His boots are recreations of actual combat boots. Here is standing as parade rest. He took this very seriously. (Here he is getting ready for bed, insisted on wearing his dog tags for weeks following.)

2004 – Hans Solo: This was another costume that wasn’t decided on until very close to the holiday. Another easy one and I think brought about by the purchase of a light saber. Again, another pretty easy costume. I can’t seem to put my fingers on a photo right now, I have so many photos of that Kid strung across five or six computers and various hard drives and DVDs. I will upload one at a later date if I find it.

2005 – Link: This is probably my second favorite costume. And one that I am pretty proud of how it turned out. And again, we had a photographer who took his time and took a lot of photos and poses, so I was able to get some really good shots.

This is Link, the primary character in the Legend of Zelda game. The Kid has this on Wii, Nintendo and I am sure on his computer. Seemed like a doable character.

So, most of the costume, again, was pretty straightforward. Tunic over a light green t-shirt and tan sweat pants (no more fooling him into wearing girl’s leggings) and boots. These were a pair of my old heel-less slip on flats. Then a belt with a scabbard. Then I worked on the hat and the shield. This was a flat out fun project! And I was so happy with how it turned out, especially the hat. And I think he enjoyed wearing it trick or treating as well.

2006 – Bender (Futurama): This is another costume that I cannot seem to locate a photo. Usually I am so good about taking photos and framing and hanging at least one, but again, I am at a loss at putting my hands on one at this time.

Bender is a lovable ‘bad boy’ robot from the animated series Futurama. I was able to create the costume by beginning with a large cardboard barrel spray painted silver and the details carefully drawn on. I attached the arms by using dryer tubing – the soft, ribbed, bright silver tubing to either side. This would slip over the Kid’s head and rest on his shoulders. He wore grey/silver sweats and boots and grey gloves.

I created the ‘helmet’ out of padded silver material – the kind generally used for making potholders – and crafted the eyes out of glass Christmas ornaments. The head was large enough that the Kid’s eyes were positioned at the mouth, so I made it out of a mesh material that he could see through. This didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped, and was a little flimsy, so I stuff the top and added cardboard ‘frame’ to make it stiffer and stand up.The finishing touches included a felt cigar.

This was difficult for him to walk around in and consequently he didn’t trick or treat in the costume. This had the makings of a great costume, unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations.

2007 – Neo (The Matrix): This was a very simple and easy costume but effective. I believe that he had chosen the costume after seeing the movie for the first time. He had recently buzzed his hair and seemed to work. He wore black jeans and shirt. New black boots. I created the criss-crossed holsters that held his faux handguns. I sewed a long black trench coat over a beautiful suede material and we searched the town for the perfect pair of wrap-around sunglasses.

We headed to a fairly new and empty parking lot to take photos and then I played with them in photoshop. I even recreated the famous ‘dodge the bullet’ scene from the movie, down to the bullet trail I love the way his photos turned out, and in the end, that is what counts, that the Kid and I are happy with the results.

2008 – Knight in Shining Armor: This ranks pretty high on my favorite list as well, it’s amazing what you can create from fabric. This costume was inspired by the discovery of the two handed sword. Don’t let it’s looks deceive you, it is made completely of wood.

This was made from a pattern. All of silver parts are material and I stumbled onto the material that appears to be chainmaille and really lends an air of authenticity to the costume. We found a simple pair of knee high leather boots that just seemed to bring it together (those are just black sweats under it all).

I did a google search on knight crests and found this one. I simply transferred the pattern to the front and using some padding, I sewed on the lines. It resulted in an embossed design that works perfectly.

We headed over to a beautiful wooded area not far from us and took photos. I have always maintained that he should be an actor or model, he loves the pose and the camera loves him as well.

Like I said, this was the last costume that he wore. And asked for. I think he decided that he was just too old to trick or treat any more and he wasn’t being asked to attend any Halloween parties… yet.

Future – HeadCrab Zombie: Like I said, this costume was never made but planning was started and most of the material was purchased. If he decides in the future to need or want a costume for a party, this will be the one. I figure I will start with a baseball cap which will form the basis for the headcrab. I bought a light suede material that has a nice quality for manipulation.I also bought a variety of spray dyes for creating the subtle coloring. Just create the crab form with tendrils int he front (to be able to see between them) and fill it with stuffing.

From that point, it is a simple task to have blue jeans, a white button down shirt and a t-shirt that is “blood stained”. Then it is just a matter of hunching over a bit, dragging your feet and grunting or mumbling. Viola!

Over the years, I have also made my own costumes. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I had made my own costume to accompany the Kid in his TinMan costume as Dorothy. I will have to take the time to write about those costumes as well. For now, I have written over 3,000 words and I don’t think anyone wants to read more at this point.

Tomorrow’s post is going to be about the seven projects that I have managed to complete from my “To Get Done” list. For now, I am going to head to bed and wish y’all happy crafting!

%d bloggers like this: