Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Grinch Inspired Holiday Decorating...

This is my second year decorating my family room in one of my favorite holiday characters. This is a picture of my mantel this year. Very Grinchey!!!

I used to make and sell these Grinch's that you see above. They were a tremendous amount of work so I am glad that I saved a couple for myself!
This is our very colorful Seuss Inspired Christmas Tree this year!

Cindi Lou Who tops our Christmas Tree. I made her last year from felt - very quick project!
I hope this inspires someone else to have colorful Christmas! It makes me smile each time I look into the room.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rescheduled Halloween Party....

If you have been following my blog, then you know that after all my hard work on the costumes, a snow storm to beat all snow storms caused us to miss our party. Luckily, we found a rescheduled party last night to go to. Had a blast dressed as the peanuts!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Couple More Halloween Costumes I Made...

My son and his friend share the same birthday. This year, we decided to do a joint-birthday/Halloween party. His friend has two little brothers that are identical twins. Since, they would be coming to the party too, they needed costumes. One of the twins is named, Frank, and I happened to have a Frankenstein costume that I had made my son years ago. (If you scroll down a bit in this blog - you will see a tutorial on how to make it). The other twin wanted to be a Mummy, so I figured that I could  up whip a costume for him too. This costume took just a few hours to make and was very simple.
Here are the results:
The glasses were added to the picture via to hide his identity.

Again, the glasses were not part of the costume.
I made the Mummy costume by ripping muslin strips (about 3 inches wide) and tea dying them. Then I just let them dry, I wanted them to be a little wrinkled. Next, I sewed them onto a long john set. The important thing to remember is to stretch the material when sewing on, so that when the costume is on - it will be big enough. I did open up the leg and arm seams and then sewed them back up when the strips were sewed on. Sew the strips on using different angles and leave some  strips hanging a bit , like he's becoming unwrapped. I sewed strips onto a white knit snow hat for the head (again stretching the fabric as I sewed). I left a couple of long pieces hanging so they could be wrapped randomly around his face and pinned back to the hat. He LOVED the costume and looked so cute.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Disappointing Halloween....

Well, after almost 3 months of working on our Halloween costumes this year.....a huge blizzard hit our part of the country on Halloween weekend. We NEVER have snow this early...EVER! The roads were so bad that we could not go to our party. I felt like sitting down and crying after all the hard work. Turns out we ended up losing power for 3 days and I am happy to say that power has been returned and I guess, if I look at the glass half full...I am all set for Halloween costumes next year. Now I just have to find somewhere in my house to store these huge Charlie Brown and friends heads until next year.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Toy Story Halloween Costumes

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have written mini- tutorials on how to make all the costumes in the picture below. Just wanted to share this group picture of us all together. You can see each individual post if you scroll down the blog.

Time To Think Halloween (Week 8) Alien From Toy Story Movie

My final Toy Story group costume that I made was the Alien! This costume was pretty simple to make.
This ended up being a last minute costume. My friend, Celina, wanted to be the slinky dog from Toy Story, but after weeks of working on it - I just couldn't get it right. So, with a week to go, I talked her into being the Alien. She agreed and I got busy with the paper mache' head. I used a small size yoga ball and covered it with paper mache'. After it was dry I cut out the mouth and covered the whole head in green felt. I covered some ping pong balls to make the three eyes and added the green antenna on the head. (As you can imagine, this part of the costume stirred up alot of comments - *wink, *wink)
The suit was just a matching sweat suit that I hot glued the felt decorations on and it was done! It actually was a very comfortable costume to wear.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Time To Think Halloween (Week 7) - Mrs. Potato Head Costume from Toystory

This week I am featuring one of my all time favorite costumes that I have ever made....Mrs. Potato Head from Toy Story! I absolutely loved how this one turned out and my friend, Amanda, had so much fun wearing it!
This costume was fairly simple. I purchased brownish fabric and made a big sack. I sandwiched cotton batting in between the outside and the lining to give it some "body". It required a couple of fittings with my friend to get the arm holes just right. Then for the eyes, nose and mouth...all made from felt. Toughest part was the nose. I had a hard time getting it just the right size and shape.
The shoes were purchased clown shoes, but they worked well with the outfit.
Her hat was key for the costume to look like Mrs. Potato Head. I paper mache'd over a small size exercise ball. I believe it was 36" in diameter. I then covered it in red felt, made a flap for the visor and cut a hole for her to look out. To make this hat not so heavy (it actually came right down over her shoulders) I cut a round circle (about 18" in diameter) out of the top of the paper mache, but not the felt. This way the top of her head fit into the hole, taking a lot of the weight off her head and it rested on the felt. This also helped to steady the head, so that it wasn't wiggling all over when she moved.  I did put red netting over the hole for her face, but you could still see her pretty well in the bright lights.
She received LOADS of compliments on her costume and our group did win first prize!
I will be featuring the final Toy Story Costume next week....the Alien!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Time To Think Halloween (Week 6) - Woody, Bullseye & Jessie

Last week I posted about the Buzz Lightyear costume I made for our group costume party last year. This week I will write about some other costumes in the Toy Story group. I made Woody, riding Bullseye and Jessie.
Jessie was simple. My friend ended up making most of her own costume because she's crafty too. She just took an old pair of jeans and hot glued the cow fabric on. The yellow on her shirt is felt with red yarn hot glued to it for detail. I made the red yarn wig for the braid and a purchased hat. Simple!
Woody was pretty simple also. Just jeans a vest made out of the cow material and for the shirt I used red puffy paint to make the square patterns all over it. Bullseye was more of a challenge, but I had made some horse costumes before so I went with what I knew. The horse is made of felt. I made the body so you could just step into it. Added some stuffing to make him plump. It has elastic around the waist. I stuffed the neck and head, made the mane from yarn and face from felt also. I ended up making the reigns long enough so that they would be able to go over my head and around my neck. That way I didn't have to worry about holding him up all night. Worked great!

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Check back next week for more Toy Story costumes......

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time To Think Halloween (Week 5) - Buzz Lightyear

Over the next few weeks, I will be finishing up this series talking about the costumes I made last year for my friends and I. We were all characters from Toy Story.
The first one I am going to write about is, none other than, Buzz Lightyear:

This costume started with white sweat pants and a plain white, long sleeve shirt. I added some lime green pleather (I like this because it's nice and shiny) to the bottom of the sweat pants - making them seem more like bell bottoms. For the shirt, I used a picture of Buzz, to add details that made him look more like the famous space man!
The most challenging part was making the wings. I used my son's football pads as a mold to make a cardboard armature. I folded the cardboard around the shoulder pads to get the shape that I wanted. Then after much duck tape and hot blue to hold it all together, I removed the shoulder pads. I then hot glued white pleather over entire thing. I added longer pieces of card board to make the wings and some puffy paint and felt for detail. The hood was made from shiny purple material.
My friend loved the costume and found it very comfortable to wear.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Time To Think Halloween (Week 4): Bikini Bottom Gang (Sponge Bob)

As I said in one of my earlier "Time To Think Halloween" posts, a group of my friends and I always dress up for Halloween as a group costume. In 2009, we dressed as the gang from Bikini Bottom (Sponge Bob and Friends). Since I am the only one who sews, I make the costumes (which they are all very grateful for each year). This was a BIG undertaking with lots and lots of sewing, lots and lots of mistakes and do-overs, but they came out good in the end. Have a look:

These are the costumes, hanging up, Sandy Cheeks, Squidward, Sponge Bob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs

This picture was taken outside of the party, in the rain, so Sandy Cheeks space helmet is all fogged up. She couldn't see. Squidward hadn't arrived yet!
Sandy Cheeks costume was probably the most challenging. Trying to figure out how to make her space helmet. I ended up getting two clear large plastic bowls and glued them together with super glue. I cut a hole in bottom so she could put it over her head. Glued the felt flower on top and ended up making a felt mask for Sandy to wear underneath. Worked out fine.

Sponge Bob was made from some yellow fabric that I got for $1.00 (I love a bargain) and I used some cotton batting inside and "quilted" some circles on his face, so he looked like a sponge. The chef hat was put on to cover up a mistake I made with his face placement.
Patrick was made from felt and fleece. I sponge painted some darker color pink all over his body to make him look more dimensional. The head had a coat hanger inside to stand up tall.
Squidward was made from from some more discount fabric I found. You can't tell in the picture very well, but he has 4 legs sewn on and just a simple brown collared shirt, that I purchased at a second hand store. His head was a mask. It was difficult to get it right, but I was happy with the outcome.
Sandy Cheeks's body was made from felt and puffy paint was used to decorate. A felt mask under her helmet.
Mr. Krabs was a lot of trial and error trying to get it just right. I purchased navy blue sweatpants (2 pair and put one inside the other and stuffed in between to make him plump. Then sewed a golf shirt to the pants and made a belt. The head was made from felt. My son liked the Mr. Krabs costume so much, that he asked me to make one for him to wear trick or treating. The second one whipped up super fast. I made it the day before Halloween and only in a couple of hours. Practice makes perfect I guess.

Here is my son wearing HIS Mr. Krabs costume!

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Hope something here has inspired you today!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time To Think Halloween (Week 3) - Little Frankie and Family

This was one of the easiest costumes I have EVER made. I saw it on the Family Fun Magazine website and decided to give it a try. Turned out cute!
Little Frankie's head is made from a milk jug (cut off the handle and spout). I used green duct tape to cover the milk jug and then hot glued some black fun fur on for the hair. Then I used real nuts and bolts on the sides of the head (they were very large heavy duty bolts).  Although, you can't see them very well in the picture. For the scar, I used black puffy paint.
For the pants, I just cut off an old pair of black sweat pants and cut them in large fringe pieces at the bottom. I went to the local Salvation Army store and bought a black blazer a few sizes too large and just a black t- shirt underneath.
The shoes were my favorite part. I took an old pair of black high cut sneakers (boots) that didn't fit him any more and cut the top of the toe off. Then some green socks with  the toe stuffed to stick way out over the sole of the shoe. So, it looked like he out grew his shoes!
I just used a picture of Frankenstein to do the make up. It was very simple. When he wore it to his school party, he just went without the make up and it was still adorable.
It turned out so great that we decided to get in on the act and I made my husband (who makes a great Frankenstein because he is so tall) the same outfit and I just purchased mine (Frankenstein's Bride) because I ran out of time. 

My husband didn't have a plain black tee shirt so we had to go with what he had. His head was made the same way except I used a very large plastic gatorade bottle as the milk jug was too small for my husband's big head!

Please stay tuned for more costumes! Feel free to leave comments and you can see where I linked this post to on the right hand side of my blog.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making the Peanuts Gang Costumes.....

Each year, a group of friends and I, get dressed up for Halloween. This year we are going as the Peanuts Gang...Charlie Brown, Pig Pen, Linus, Sally and Lucy to be exact. Here is a sort of tutorial on how I made the costumes:

We started out covering 24" beach balls with the old fashioned paper mache'....newspaper strips dipped in flour and water mixture.

After a few coats of this newspaper method, I began to realize that these balls were going to take a TON of layers to make them as strong as I would like them. So, after much research I switched to a pulp/clay method and this went on right over the existing newspaper paper mache' that we had started with. It actually was much quicker and dried harder.
The paper mache' clay
Fully covered and waiting to dry!
After the first coat dried on Charlie Brown, I added ears. I just took some duck tape and tissues and made a little stuffed ear (wrapped in duck tape, stuffed with tissues) and duct taped it on the side of his head and then did another light coat of paper mache, making sure to blend it in smoothly with the rest of the head.

This is Charlie's head all dry and painted with a white base coat. The face is just a quick penciled on face.
Next I painted the head a flesh color. Painted the eyes on, cut the mouth out with a utility knife. And he was just about done.

Charlie Brown - just need to add the black netting across the mouth.
When I put the head on, I found that it wobbled around alot and my head didn't quite touch the top. It hit my shoulders, so I knew I needed to figure something out to stabilize it. Here is what I came up with:

I purchased replacement head gear that goes in a hard hat, very inexpensive, under a dollar. I just googled it and found it online.

Then I cushioned the top of the head, inside, with  some bubble wrap. This made the head lift off of my shoulders. I simply used Gorilla Duct Tape (that stuff sticks to everything). Then I duct taped the hard hat head gear in and now the head sits secure on my head.

 I did the rest of the heads in the same basic fashion. Sally was a bit of  a challenge. It took me a number of tries to get the hair just right. Her hair is made of yellow felt and yellow pipe cleaners, hot glued on.

I love the way Sally turned out!
For Pig Pen, I drilled holes in his head and hot glued black pipe cleaners in the holes. I used a black oil pastel crayon and made him smudgy and dirty. He may be my favorite.

Pig Pen!
 For Linus, I drilled holes in his head (just like in Pig Pen). Only this time I stuck each end of the pipe cleaner in a hole so it appears that his hair is combed backwards.

Now, Lucy...she was tough for me. I couldn't get her hair just the way I wanted. Took me hours...and I still am not completely satisfied, but she will have to do. Her hair is felt with toilet paper rolls covered in felt, for her curls. I added some batting under the felt on top to give her more of a lift on top of her head.

And here they all are!!! Finished with 1 week left to go! Phew!
I will post pictures of us wearing our costumes after the big Halloween bash!
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Time To Think Halloween Costumes (Week 2) - Chicken Costumes...

About 8 years ago, I convinced my husband (who is NOT a Halloween lover) that we should attend a friends costume party. He finally agreed so I set out to make some funny costumes. We went with another couple. So, my friend and I were yellow chickens, my husband was a rooster and for her husband we glued little pom poms with google eyes and beaks on them all over his clothes and he was a "chick magnet". :)
Here are some pictures: (I blocked out the faces because I am pretty sure my husband would not be happy about revealing his identity in a big rooster costume).
The chicken and rooster costumes were sewn together  and a little stuffing added and then the tedious part. I hot glued yellow and white feathers all over it - layer after layer. It was kind of costly. The hoods were made of felt and some foot covers and they were done. We won second place at the contest and we all had fun doing the Chicken Dance. My husband is VERY tall, so he looked even funnier as a big rooster!

Stay tuned for more costumes! Feel free to leave comments and you can see where I linked this post up to on the right hand side of my blog.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time To Think Halloween Costumes.....(Week 1)...

I have always been a lover of handmade Halloween costumes. Over the next weeks, I am going blog about Halloween pasts and the costumes that I have made.
So, I think I will start with a costume I made for my son when he was about 4 years old.
Jason the Knight!

The costume was made from solid grey fabric with some grey vinyl like fabric on the arms and legs to look like boots, as well as the hood. The fun part of this costume is the "armour". I asked everyone I know to eat potato sticks in the cans and drink frozen canned juice! They all saved the lids for me until I had enough to make a vest like armour. I used an awl and a hammer to make holes in lid (top, bottom and sides) and then I wired them together until I had something he that was big enough for him to wear.
For the trick or treat bag, I drew some black ink pictures on some colored construction paper and then sewed a felt bag with a clear plastic pocket on top that I could slip the construction paper into.
He wore this to his pre-school Halloween party parade and I remember he was the only one in a handmade costume....all the other mother's hated me. :)
One more picture here:

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Time.................

I have been "missing in action" for a while now. My only excuse is summer vacation. For the first time, my son, has had a very "down time" summer. No camps (except for one basketball camp, early on in the summer). So, there has been no time for crafting this summer at all. Which means the fall is going to be EXTREMELY busy. We will be SO far behind in our craft fair production this year, I am already stressed about it.

We were able to have some great fun this summer. We took a nice family vacation to Cape Cod (which we do every year, but this year we stayed in the most amazing home in Bourne, MA. President Grover Cleavland lived on this same property - lots of history and amazing views).

We went on a whale watch while at the Cape and saw probably 50 whales. I snapped this picture and had to share it. It's an unbelievable photo with the sea gull right in the whales mouth. The seagulls try to steal the fish out of the whales mouth when they come up to the surface.

So, stay tuned....I will be back posting soon. I have lots and lots of Halloween costumes from past years to write posts about.