Coming Full Circle and a Blogger Surprise

Party girl, 1920's style

Party girl, 1920’s style

Boy am I tuckered out!  We attended two Halloween parties this past weekend, our own kid-friendly party and another one hosted for adults. Great fun.

I finished my Halloween costume Friday night, but for a few hand-stitches the next morning. Talk about cutting it close.  Party guests arrived here at 1:00 pm Saturday.  Nothing like a little pressure to keep your energy up and your adrenaline pumping.

We host a Halloween party every year for our boys.  We invite adults, too, but the focus is on the younger ones.

Later that night we attended an adults-only party, just a couple of houses away.  It was fun wearing my ‘party dress’ all day.  It’s not often you get to wear pink shoes, false eyelashes and a petticoat.

Many moons ago I attended San Jose State’s Theater Arts program.  Everyone studied a little of everything including acting, literature, backstage work and technical theater, but costumes are my first love.

Coming Full Circle

The inspiration for this year’s costume came from my dear friend Boomdee.  When she visited here in May, she brought me a beautiful hand-made easel decorated with lace paper, ribbons and bows along with tiny hearts and roses.  Featured on the easel: a lovely dancer from the 1920’s, dressed in soft pinks.  She chose the paper with my theater background as inspiration.  Now it’s both art and costume.

costume and muse

My costume muse

cottage craft flowers

I found these flowers at Cottage Craft

Lindy on the petticoat

Lindy is rethinking her costume…or simply keeping my petticoat warm.

Blogger Surprise

As if back-to-back parties weren’t enough excitement, an amazing treat arrived in the mail from Catja at Gjeometry.  Her tag line says it all: It’s in the Lines……hem, seam, stitching, grain, style.  I made it on to her Craft-it-Forward list earlier in the year.  She blew me away!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the full reveal.  Meanwhile, Catja, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Halloween Countdown:

mini pumpkin patch

My son set up our ‘pumpkin patch’. Individual pumpkin creativity ensued

Nature’s Costumes: All Set for Halloween

Our kitties are all set for Halloween. They’ve gone the simple route with their costumes, unlike yours truly who likes to complicate things. I managed to alter a pattern and cut the pieces to my dress this weekend, but with my husband traveling out of the country and my busier-than-usual work schedule, I’m down to the wire.  And speaking of wire, our wireless connection went down as soon as he left town.  Nothing makes me feel dumber than trying to trouble shoot modems, routers, wireless connections and the like.

I studied theater arts in college, with an emphasis in costume design, so it’s fun to dust off my sewing skills once a year.  Halloween is the perfect time of year.  So, I’m sticking to the things I do know (sewing and gardening) and through the magic of mobile phones, our internet is finally up and running.

With that wireless business behind me, I’m back to focusing on costumes.

First up, Mouse the Mighty. I know, I know, he’s not even my cat but try telling him that.  Here he is sporting his Inspector Clouseau costume.

My sweet Lindy is taking the softer approach. Here she dons a head full of strawberry plants for that special Strawberry Shortcake look.

Slinky Malinki is all dressed in black. She’s emulating the children’s story book of the same name: Slinky Malinki…

Beijing is a teenager, and a tired one at that. She’s sitting out the whole costume thing this year, preferring instead to monitor the treats. She’s a natural.

Beijing on the sill

Beijing, the teenager

What’s in a name:

Mighty Mouse: He’s named by our neighbor’s daughter.
Lindy: She came home from the Humane Society already named. We also call her Lindy-Lu.
Slinky Malinki:  Once a stray. We named her after a slinky black cat in a children’s story book of the same name.
Beijing:  Also once a stray.  My son named her Beijing, because she’s neither white nor orange, but beige.

Halloween Countdown:

chocolate pumpkin

Chocolate pumpkin. This tasty morsel was a gift from my Pilates instructor. Yes, I do see the irony in this.

Corpse Bride Costume Update

Corpse Bride: The Run Down

corpse bride ribs closeup

Corpse Bride Ribs

I put the finishing touches on my sister’s Corpse Bride costume this week. What fun!

The battered Corpse Bride wedding dress, is actually two pieces: a thin cotton top from a thrift store and the slip from my wedding dress. I washed the veil, lace and top in a bath of tea, then brushed the lace and top edges with a purple fabric marker.  I cut a hole in the “bodice” to accommodate a set of ribs, purchased from a local costume shop. I added some lace to give it more character and to make the two pieces appear like one.

The bodice lace has its own back story.  It was originally a pair of detachable sleeves for my wedding dress. I didn’t plan to wear them, so put the two sleeves together to make a bridal purse.  17 years later, the purse is now lace trim for a Corpse Bride.

Her veil is a re-purposed drapery panel, also from a thrift store, with a crown of dried flowers from my garden.  The bouquet is from the garden as well.

Corpse Bride Crown

Corpse Bride Crown
Drying Salvia (Mexican Sage)

Corpse Bride Flowers

Corpse Bride Flowers

She’s been working with a friend over several weekends to get her makeup just right. The finished results are breathtaking. I can’t wait to feature her debut.

Corpse Bride Ribs

Corpse Bride Ribs

Costume By Twos

Our party is just two weeks away so I need to get moving on my costume. Well…costumes. I’m making two.

My fitness camp instructor holds a fundraiser each year benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara Valley. It’s also a costume contest so I couldn’t resist. The challenge is putting together a costume that you can wear while exercising. I’ve come up with the worlds easiest costume, heretofore know as “Late for Boot Camp.” I plan to wear a garish pair of pajama pants that I purchased on the cheap (purple leopard anyone?), with a grey tank top I already have. I found a pair of Hello Kitty slippers on the clearance rack to complete the ensemble. The makeup is easy: I’ll got to bed *wearing* mascara, and my pillow will do the rest. I’ll wake up with raccoon eyes and a bright smile. The topper, of course: multicolored foam rollers in my hair. Remember those?

Bella Pilar Dress

Stay tuned for details of my second costume. I’ve pulled the pieces together, but need a few dedicated hours to sew the dress.  If only I could lose 10 pounds by Halloween.

Halloween Countdown

snail eating pumpkin collage

Snail-eating pumpkin
Exploiting a soft spot on the pumpkin

Costume Pieces Made From the Garden

Finally I have some dead and dying flowers from the garden to work with.

She’s lost her marbles, you say?  Not at all.  I’m helping my sister make her Halloween costume.  She’s dressing up as The Corpse Bride, from the movie of the same name. We’re big Halloween fans in our household. It’s license for silliness and creativity.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
(photo credit Yahoo Movies)

Here is what we have so far.

The Veil and Headpiece

We found a sheer ivory curtain panel at a local thrift shop to create the veil. I’ll distress the fabric in a bath of tea to add character. I made the crown from Mexican Sage flowers tied around the base of a headband, then wrapped in purple ribbon. As the flowers dry between now and October, they’ll take on a dusty hue.

Corpse Bride Crown

Corpse Bride Crown
(Mexican Sage)

Sage and Ribbon Closeup

Sage and Ribbon Closeup

The Bouquet

I used spent hydrangea blooms, now a mottled pink and green, and added dried lavender. I mixed in dead Cosmo stems and a few Allium Stellatum, also known as Prairie Onions. (She can smell the part, too). I wrapped the dried stems in garden twine, covered them with black tissue paper, and added leftover bits of purple and black ribbon.

Corpse Bride Bouquet

Corpse Bride Bouquet

Corpse Bride Flowers

Corpse Bride Floral Bouquet

The Gown

We picked up a white sheer blouse and a long linen skirt for a few dollars at a thrift shop.  They’re both made of natural fibers so they’ll die well.  (Oh the puns). Together they’ll make her wedding gown.

There are a few more details, but for the most part the costume is coming together.  Halloween is about eight weeks away.  Can’t! Wait!

Do you celebrate Halloween in your area?  Do you plan to dress up?