Thanksgiving crafts

We’re going to have people write what they’re thankful for on these leaves and then hang them from some manzanita branches as a centerpiece:

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Even the leftovers are so pretty!:

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A’s Wizard of Oz Costume: One Dress, Two Ways

one dress two ways

So, for months, A was planning a veeeery nice and easy (for me) costume. She was going to be a gymnast! (nothin’ for me to do, woo hoo!)  Then, literally 10 days before Halloween, she was talking to one of her friends about Halloween plans and found out that her friend was going to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.  A had just read The Wizard of Oz in the spring (the whole entire original book, I haven’t even done that), so she was very familiar with the story, and she started thinking how fun it would be to be Glinda to her friend’s Dorothy, and her friend thought it would be fun too. So… “easy Halloween costume plans” went out the door, replaced by a new list of multiple pieces that needed to be purchased and created in less than 10 days.

For some reason, the thought never occurred to me to search online for a kids’ Glinda costume and buy it!  I literally just checked online right now and learned that I probably could have bought one for about $25-$50.  But it would have looked like this and it wouldn’t have been as nice as what we ended up with in the end. (Whew, always a relief to realize later — after finding out what your other options could have been — that you would have made the same decision!)

storebought Glinda

Not sure why it NEVER occurred to me to go online and look into buying the costume!  I actually do think it’s a great idea… IF you can buy what you want at a reasonable price.  Maybe it’s because we can’t often find what we want.  (hello? Magic 8 Ball costume? Cookie Jar costume?)  Maybe I always assume it’ll be really expensive and I don’t want to spend so much money on a once-a-year costume… Which is usually pretty bad logic on my part because I always end up spending a decent amount of money on the raw materials to create the costume anyway, not to mention all the TIME I spend on them.  But that’s me, I often manage to find the most complicated way to achieve what I want. 🙂 Which brings me to the 3rd and 4th reason why I like to make their Halloween costumes: you get a more personalize look, and it’s fun for me!  (ok, I’ll admit it)

Anyways, back to the assumption that I was going to make the costume… We started thinking about the dress, and we went to A’s closet to see what we could come up with as a base. We had a couple of options, but ended up deciding to use her flowergirl dress from this summer.  I offered to dye the dress pink (thinking about the Glinda from the movie), but she hadn’t been tainted by the images from the movie yet (she had only read the book), so she didn’t mind being a white Glinda. Plus she was aghast at the idea of dying her beloved flowergirl dress (not that she will likely wear it again).  We did look at pictures of Glinda from the movie for ideas, and later that week we also watched the movie to get into character, haha.

Glinda the Good Witch of the North 2

We decided we needed to work on…

  1. dress — modify it to look less flowergirl
  2. crown — THIS would really shout “Glinda”, you’re definitely not a flowergirl with that ridiculously tall crown
  3. wand — not the dinky handheld ones, but one more like a staff
  4. petticoat — at her request, to make the dress puffier
  5. necklace — a last minute addition I decided to do the night before
  6. evil flying monkey accessories (haha, me and my big mouth, I offered)
  7. large pink bubble to surround her (yes, she wanted this, but I had to draw the line somewhere, plus I’m not THAT talented)

We modified the dress by taking off the flower, adding some silver glittery tulle to the waist area, and I created big puffy sleeves a la Glinda in the movie. I made a tall wand using wood parts that I spray-painted silver and decorated with glitter glue. I knew I had to get the crown right so I made some practice templates to try the size, shape, and height. I learned that taller is better, but make sure it’s not too loose or else Glinda gets a bonus nose shield. :-/

Sample crowns

I have to say, one of the pieces I was most proud of was the petticoat because I managed to make it using only 4 items, in just a few minutes, and it was so cheap!  (The fabric was fortuitously on sale.)  I used a fat embroidery needle and yarn to baste and gather the folded tulle on the rough open end and white duct tape to hold down the gather AND to make the waste area not itchy.  Added more yarn for the tie, and voila, done.  Easy.  And for around $4, can’t beat that.


Back to me and my big mouth…  When A and her friend were talking about the movie, they mentioned that they each had a little stuffed monkey and they could pretend that they were the evil witch’s flying monkeys.  I offered on the spot to sew wings for the monkeys.  Later on I realized that Glinda wouldn’t ever really be around the monkeys, but it was too late, the girls wanted the monkeys with wings.  I have to admit it was pretty fun.  I was wondering how to best attach the wings to the stuffies without permanently hot gluing them on, then I realized that making them little vests and hot gluing the wings to the vests would be the best idea.  And then when I looked up the images online, I saw that they had hats, so of course I had to make little hats too.  And embellish the vests and hats, of course. 😉

Evil Monkeys(I think right after my camera, the next most important tool in my house would be the hot glue gun!!)

These got done with just enough time to pack everything up and get over to school for their annual Halloween Carnival.  Dorothy and Glinda (and the monkeys) looked so cute!

Glinda and Dorothy

Whew!  This year’s costume plans went from “yay, just put on a leotard and be a gymnast!” to a multi-piece outfit, but it was worth it in the end.  A looked Glinda-riffically beautiful (it was so rewarding when several of her friends came over oooohing and aaaahing over her costume) — and most importantly, she definitely did NOT look like a flowergirl, which I’d call a success!  Nonetheless, I’m relieved Halloween 2013 is over. 🙂

For Halloween, K was a…

This is not just any ole’ 8 Ball, not just any ole’ Magic 8 Ball, but one that combines low-tech paper mache with high tech!  We had an iPad attached to her costume which played a randomized slideshow of the Magic 8 Ball answers. I created a digital “Magic 8 Ball” template in Photoshop and K and I populated it with about 19 different fun or funny phrases that we came up with (including the obligatory YES, NO, MAYBE, and ASK AGAIN LATER).  Here are some of my favorites…

4 in one

It was definitely a very unique costume!  I especially loved the basic, low tech look with the high tech element of surprise.  There was a lot of interest in it at the school Halloween Carnival. 🙂

We also had a lot of fun testing it out (I think I literally lost my voice from laughing so hard), and apparently it’s a TRUE Magic 8 Ball!  Here’s what we learned when I asked it a bunch of questions…

Q: Do I need to take a shower?     A: I DOUBT IT

Q: Does K like mushrooms?     A: NO

Q: Is God Real?     A: YES

Wow… Magical… 😉

The behind-the-scenes for K’s costume

Okay, last week I posted a picture of us paper mache-ing K’s Halloween costume. I was able to get some of the other pictures off my cameras (laptop is still in repair though 😦 ) and here’s some of the work in progress…

First you gotta go find a 36″ balloon and blow it up…


Then you apply paper mache all over it.  (this is the picture I posted last week)Image

Then the next morning you go and check on it and see that it has cracked all over. 😦 And you feel really sad and frustrated because you’re not sure how it happened and how to avoid it.


You patch it up as best you can and apply another layer of paper mache all over. Repeat a couple more times before you catch on to what’s going on. You realize that the balloon is contracting and expanding A LOT over the course of the day. (working on it at night and in the garage where it’s cold means the balloon was contracted a bit while at the same time the paper mache was damp and flexible, then during the days, the warmer temps expand the balloon and the paper contracts as it dries — double whammies, a very bad combo.) So… you try to relieve some of the pressure by piercing a hole in the balloon ever so carefully, which worked the first time, but not the second time, and the balloon pops. Thankfully, you had to buy the 36″ balloons in a six-pack, so you blow up another balloon.  THIS time, you’re smart enough not to tie it in a knot, you tie it in a way that you can expand it when you’re applying the paper mache and need the firm structure, and then let some air out as it’s drying. Repeat a couple more times.


(note different color balloon inside, this is at the “relieve some of the pressure, I’m bursting at the seams!” phase)  At one point, the rip was so bad (and the paper mache was already several layers thick) that I had to just pull out the glue gun and some fabric and bandage it up.  But we eventually got to the point where it wasn’t ripping any more and it seemed solid enough to let the air out of the balloon entirely.  Then it was time to cut holes and color it…


(view from inside)

Test if it fits… (it fits!)


Time to spray paint it.  (I hate pictures of my messy garage, and I hate blah pictures of myself even more, but I figured I should include myself so someone years from now will believe I had a part in this.)  I think I killed several of our brain cells from the spray paint, P-U!


Then you apply the very important sticker…


Yes, my 10-year old is revealing that she is a pool shark, haha!  No, really, did anyone ever think her costume would be in this direction???

Well, I have a video of K’s costume, but I can’t seem to figure out how to post a video here.  Hopefully I can do it tomorrow so you can get the full “reveal” of the costume.  Also need to post about A’s costume, which is ENTIRELY different, and I’m awaiting permission to post a picture with her friend. More to come…

Babysitting fun!

I babysat my friend’s kids two weeks ago, and this is one of the things we made:

fairy jars

I’ve seen it called “Fairies in a Jar.”  It’s pretty cool and easy!  You just cut open a glow stick (carefully!) and then pour the liquid into one of many glass jars that your sister has been hoarding and collecting for you any old glass jar you have lying around.  Then you add glitter, cap it, and shake it.  It won’t last forever (maybe only a day), but it will look pretty for the short time that it glows.  The kids LOVED it.  They kept turning the lights on and off to see it glow, and they kept wanting to make more, but I didn’t have enough lids to go with my jars.  Plus, I wasn’t sure how toxic this stuff was, and I didn’t want the kids to wake up with an extra limb or shrunken head.  Uh, worst babysitter ever!… 😛

Breaking Out the Sewing Machine

At some point in every remodel, there comes a time when you need to break out the sewing machine, a.k.a. curtain time.


Side note: K took this picture. She said I looked old in it because I was smiling, and when I smile, I get these “wrinkles on the sides of my eyes” that make me look old. Gee, thanks, dear. Gotta stop that bad habit of smiling… not. 🙂

(A sneak peak of the craft/work area)


I love this curtain I got from Pottery Barn. It’s being discontinued so of course I had to buy a couple extra pieces _just_in_case_ I should ever need more. It’s being used in the dining room to help define the space, and I was making a “mini-version” for the craft room, thus the sewing machine. Can’t wait until you gals can see it tomorrow and Sunday!