Under the Sea Headdress

My under the sea costume headdress is almost done. I finished it yesterday, but it wouldn’t stay upright on my head. I slept on it (the problem, not the headdress) and once again the answer became clear. Instead of using an elasticized headband, I need one that grips the hair and sits upright. I’ll probably cut the elastic off of the band I’m using, and then resew the entire piece on to another headband. Does that make sense?

under the sea headdress underpinnings

Scrap of packaging plastic, festooned with glitter, beads and moss. Sparkle branches, elasticized headband and the secret garden key with a glass heart, once attached to a very special gift.

I started small, then added layers,careful to keep the piece light in weight. Using a piece of plastic from a disposable container, I cut a half-moon shape following the curve of my head. I spritzed it with glue, then added bits of moss, leftover beads from Mike’s helmet, a plastic fish from an earring and lots of sparkle. Once the plastic was dry, I encased it in a pocket of tulle, sewing the edges together after wrapping it around the headband. I added a snippet of blue sparkled branches along the band’s curve. It still needed some volume, so I added more tulle, gathered into a fan shape and sewn to the back. One more piece of glitter branch, also sewn on the back gave it more height. With glitter in my hair, on my face, and down the front of my jeans, I declared the head-piece sufficiently blinged!

under the sea headdress

Under the Sea Headdress

Gloves/Arm Wraps

Using the sleeves of a thrifted gauze shirt, I made a pair of arm covers to emulate gloves. After fitting them to my arms, I added a piece of elastic to keep them in place over my ring fingers. I made a shank style button, joining two buttons together with elastic, then covering them with a scrap of glitter material left over from the top half of the dress.

My son announced that they just ‘look like sleeves and not gloves’ taking the wind right out of my sails. He didn’t mean to be unkind, just passing on his honest opinion. I’ll try them on with the dress this weekend, and if they work well together I’ll use them.

under the sea gloves

Under the sea ‘gloves”

No-Candy Countdown:

Instead of giving out candy this year, I’ve decided to give little bags of pretzels. Pauline suggested bookmarks to go with them, another great idea. I have about nine more days till the wee ghosts and goblins grace my doorstep, so once the costume is a wrap, I’ll come up with a bookmark prototype. This will be another fun way to promote the Little Free Library. Still candy free.

Pumpkins on Parade:

Sad news on the pumpkin front. Like me, their once firm flesh is now soft and wrinkled. I fear one over-zealous costume change may put them out of business for good. A visit to a pumpkin patch is probably in order. Mike will need a bigger canvas for carving next week. For now, I give you Ghoulish Pumpkin.

the ghoulish pumpkin

Dark! Dark! The horror of darkness, like a shroud wraps me and bears me on through mist and cloud.

– Sophocles

Halloween Traditions: You’ve Been Boo-ed!

Have you been ‘Boo-ed?”

The act of ‘Booing’ also known as ‘Ghosting’ is popular in our neighborhood and it goes something like this: Someone rings your doorbell after dark. (This already sounds ominous, right?) You look out the window and no-one is there. (Scary, still). Your kids get a bit nervous, but when you finally check outside, a Halloween surprise awaits you.  Over the years our boys received small toys, candy treats, light-up wands and even Halloween liquid soap.

Along with the kids loot are instructions to ‘Boo’ two more neighbors within two nights, and the tradition carries on.  Our boys loved receiving the surprise at the door year after year, and they were equally delighted to ring and run when it was our turn.

As our neighborhood ages and small ones become teenagers we see fewer and fewer little ones on our street. Rather than abandon the tradition, someone in the hood added a new twist. A friend posted a photo on Facebook of a plate of home-made cupcakes and a bottle of wine along with the ‘You’ve been Boo-ed’ sign. I guess you can’t keep a fun tradition down.

I’ve created my own small tradition revolving around fairy gardens. A few times a year, at Halloween and at Christmas, I put together a small bag of fairy garden treasures for two little girls across the way. Only their mom knows its me. She  graciously shares photos so I get a little window into their joy. This weekend I made a couple of pumpkin cards using tag board. I added ink and vintage pages from a small book about a Faerie Queen. I stamped a pumpkin on a couple of cotton treat bags, added beads, and filled them with origami paper, foam pumpkins, erasers and other small items to use in their garden. I hope it continues to bring them the joy that it brings me.

fairy garden halloween treasures

Fairy Garden Halloween Treasures

Traditions might be fun but they can also be taxing.  I know that more than one mom on our street dreaded the idea of ‘one more thing to do’ this time of year. I read something similar in an article as well.

I think it’s fun making up your own traditions, removing all expectations with an established goal of having fun. Do you have family traditions that are uniquely your own?

No-Candy Countdown:

Yes, folks, the gardener remains candy-free.

candy-free countdown

Candy-free Countdown

Under-the-sea Costume Update:

Mike bought a helmet to go with his guardian of the sea costume. The crescent on the top is reminiscent of a wave.  I regret not taking ‘before’ photos, but we’re having fun modifying it from its original state.

I save and re-purpose my wall calendars every year, but this is the first time I’ve used one on a costume. I took a page from last year’s sailing calendar, and tore the edges to suggest waves.

Guardian of the Sea Helmet

Guardian of the Sea Helmet

It’s a photograph of a sailboat in dark seas. I tore a few layers, glued them to the helmet crest, then sanded the paper for a textured look. I added a bit of dark green ink, and in a happy accident, realized the glue dots, once sanded, looked like bolts.  We’ve more to add in the way of seashells and a bit of glitter shimmer. It is under the sea after all.

Pumpkins on Parade:

Aloha! Today’s pumpkin is ready for a tall, cool drink under a palm tree. Her grass skirt is nearby when the music begins. She’s kicked off her sandals for a walk in the cool grass.

aloha pumpkin

Aloha Pumpkin

aloha pumpkin closeup

Please hold my calls

She’ll be back tomorrow, refreshed and contemplating the latest wardrobe change. We hope to see you then.

A Different Kind of Selfie

A selfie is a photo of oneself taken with a smart phone for posting to social media.

This is a different kind of selfie.

It’s soft and full-bodied like me and it closely approximates my size. This selfie, however, is headless.

[cue the horror movie soundtrack]

Introducing my body double:

dress form box

Dress Form Selfie

While working on a degree in theatre arts, I learned a variety of pattern-making techniques. In the fashion industry, the person making patterns is a pattern maker, however in theatre we’re referred to as cutters. In addition to flat patterns, you can create costumes by draping fabric on a dress form. I fell in love with this technique working summer stock. I draped half a dozen, bias-cut, ball gowns for a scene in the Sound of Music. I’ve lusted after a dress-making form ever since.

The theatrical versions are heavy and I assumed quite pricey.They also come in pre-determined sizes so costume shops have several. Then I found this:

dress maker form

Singer Dress Form Selfie

I looked at several versions on different sites and finally decided upon the Singer. It was on sale for $107, no tax and free shipping. Score!!!

The form has several adjustable dials so you can get a more precise fit. You can adjust the height, the neck and the bust, waist and hips. Most importantly for me, the length. I have a long torso and find it challenging getting the right fit. I’m really having fun with her.

No-Candy Countdown:

Throughout October, I’m keeping track of the candy I **don’t** eat.  Candy is not my friend. I’m trying to whittle my waistline and develop better eating habits. Please join me in the countdown.

Yesterday I tried downloading several calendars for my countdown. Everyone else makes it look so easy but in my ineptness, I finally gave up. I’ve just re-read yesterdays blog and saw the dangling sentence suggesting as much.  Oops. Sorry about that.

I mentioned that I was looking for a candy alternative to give out Halloween night and Pauline had this to say:

Congrats for the ‘so-far-so-good’ score on no candy. And kudos for considering a swap for something else. Not having the foggiest notion of what else might work, I Googled and found this site: Family Education and thought maybe you could offer a bookmark with those pretzels?

Thanks, Pauline. I love that idea, and many of the others featured in the article.  If you’re looking for a candy alternative for the door-to-door goblins, please give it a look.

Under-the-sea Costume Updates:

Now that I’ve assembled my form and it accurately reflects my size I’m ready to drape my costume. I’m starting with this peacock patterned dress from The Cancer Society store. I picked it up for $9.

under the sea costume fabric

Under the Sea Costume Components

I’ll be layering from here, using the chiffon from the bottom half of a second dress, and making trim from a third dress. I shopped at three different thrift stores and made purchases for a song: two yards of silky aqua fabric for $4, another panel of fabric for $3 and the dress. I spent much less than I would spend in a fabric store, and the money goes to a variety of non-profits.

Pumpkins on Parade:

Special thanks to LB of Life on the Bike for the third suggestion this month. LB says:

Well, you know I’m going to suggest a helmet … bicycle, motorcycle, whatever!
Looking forward to your Halloween blog take over!

pumpkin biker

Biker Pumpkin

You can read more about pumpkin-dress up month at, NEWS FLASH! Halloween Takes Over Gardening Blog.

If you have any suggestions for ‘pumpkin costume of the day’ please let me know. I’ll see what I can do.