Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shelby's Homemade Halloween

At 28 months, Shelby finally gets the concept of Halloween.  For two months, she's told anyone that will listen that she is going to be a mermaid and get candy.  I think every single employee at Joann's Fabric is well aware of her costume by this point.

Finding an easy mermaid pattern was harder than I thought.  Sure, there were several by McCalls and Simplicity, but I was gently told those were too hard for a beginner.  Well, watch out Project Runway, because I designed my own. 

The wig sounded like fun, so I started with it.  E-6000 glue is my new BFF.  I used it to glue yarn and shells to a headband.  It turned out so cute that I made another one for my cousin's daughter also.

Next, it was time to start sewing.  The tail fin was first.  I just drew out a pattern and then cut out the scale fabric.  I had to use no-iron sew-in lining since the fabric melted just by leaving it in the sun.
 I then attached that to a skirt that will be lucky to hold together past 10/31/10.  I predict the elastic will slip out before we make it to the neighbor's front porch...
 Next came some sequin gluing with the magical E-6000 and some added tulle to give the illusion of waves.  Get it?

  The swimsuit fabric for the top was a lucky find in the remnant bin.  I just played around with it for a couple of hours weeks until a shirt appeared.  Shelby then glued sequins and jewels wherever she pleased.  After she went to bed, I re-glued with good ol' E-6000.  That skirt may fall apart, but those sequins aren't going anywhere!

Unfortunately, the tulle and sequins made the inside quite scratchy.  The only way to get Shelby to wear her costume was to put a top and pants underneath.  In the end, I was very excited to see her trick-or-treat in an original costume!

All in all, I had a blast being creative and can't wait until next year.  Heck, I might even make costumes for Bryon and me!

Haley's Homemade Halloween

The very first thing I wanted to sew with my new sewing machine was Halloween costumes for the girls.  Growing up, my mom usually made ours, and they seemed to last a whole lot longer than the plastic ones from TG&Y.  I think my sister and I played with the clown costume for at least a decade, and it lasted longer than the rainbow wig that went with it!

First up was Haley's costume.  Deciding what to make her was easy.  From the day she was born, I called her "My Little Octopus" since she never stopped moving.  Dressing an octopus would be easier than getting her pj's on at night!  Anyway, I found a great tutorial on  The directions were easy enough.  Bryon was able enlarge the pattern on his work printer, so I first pieced it together along with Shelby's "help".

She also helped me make the bobbin.  Something about the sound of the machine and her unending curiosity brought back lots of fond memories of my mom sewing for us.

Jealous of my craft room?  It also doubles as the bathroom!

Being quite the designer, I changed up the pattern a little bit, cutting some of the head section off and using pom-poms for the eyes to give it a little more whimsy. I also let Haley pick the color by holding her up to the bolts of fabric and buying the first one she touched.  Tim Gunn would be proud of her choice.

After two months of encouragement and practice, I've finally convinced Haley to wear her creation long enough to snap a picture or two! 
Lovin' the lollipop

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can something that sucks be all that great?

My vacuum works perfectly fine.  It makes nice, pretty lines in the carpet like it should.  It even claims to clean allergens and crap out of the air.  Who am I to question it?  The only complaint I have is that it is HEAVY.  I work up a sweat once a month (ha!) using it in the hallway to pick up smooshed crackers.  Gloria, my dear housekeeper/nanny, probably curses it once a week...

Anyway, several people had told me how the Dyson had changed their lives.  REALLY?  To tell the truth, I wasn't really buying it.  My shopping bible, Consumer Reports, told me it wasn't worth the price and that "ball" thing was just a gimmick.  Again, who was I to question it?

Well, I fell for that gimmick this week.  I blame Target.  For the whole month, employees each got one coupon for 40% off a Dyson.  Considering they never go on sale, it got my attention.  I have a real problem passing up a good deal.  Label something at "75% off", and I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame, even if it is something I really don't need.  Needless to say, I couldn't let it go.

After three short assembly steps, I quickly put my two-year-old to work.  I'll let you know what Gloria thinks!