Happy Halloween!

Pretty perfect holiday here. Matching shirts (made at the last minute, of course... remind me to make them weeks in advance next year so they can be worn for, well, weeks), perfect weather for a trip to the playground, pizza with friends for dinner, and trick-or-treating with the same friends. And then, of course, consuming large amounts of sugar, and Cailin *finally* giving us a robot dance in costume. Not on camera, of course. :)

A few glimpses of our day:

(I thought it was funny that she was standing like this... until I caught a glimpse of my own shadow at that exact same moment...)

And from this evening... our jack o'lanterns, which we carved yesterday--

Cory's and Janey's (I'll leave you to decide which is which, ha):
And Breanne's:
Trick-or-treating... at home:
Sugar crash!
Happy Halloween, everyone!


Costumes 2011

I've noticed this time around that in all the crafty blogs I read, there are basically two types of costume-makers. One type loves it, and goes all out with the details, all homemade, etc. And then there are the others, who make it as quickly and cheaply as they can, as they figure their kids will only wear it once or twice. I am definitely in the first camp. I want my girls to have nice (read: durable! comfortable! well-sewn and nice materials and not going to fall apart!) costumes, and I don't mind it at all if that means I have to make it all myself, even if it doesn't save me tons of money (though it can definitely save me some). My girls dress up all the time--I would honestly guess at least 5 days of the week. The costumes they've had for the last few years are literally being torn to shreds. (And yes, that literally is being used correctly.) If I can make them cute, durable costumes that I know they'll wear for a while, I am all about putting in the time and effort to do so. I don't just put their costumes in a box in the garage when the holiday is over, either. They go straight into the costume box for play. And they're played with constantly. The time is a worthwhile investment to me (especially since they turn out so much more durable), and I really do enjoy thinking of ways to make the costumes even more special for my girls, little details that I know they'll appreciate.

So, that being said... here are the girls' costumes, in all their glory. The two older girls chose their own costumes this year, and Cailin's was ultimately my decision, influenced heavily by her interests. :)

We all know that Cailin already does an adorable robot. About the same time I discovered that, I was contemplating what she should be for halloween, when it hit me. :) I absolutely love the way this costume came out. I couldn't actually find a costume image to even work off of, so this was all my own creation. I got inspiration from these different robot images and stuffies. The gages turned out great, and I love the hood, even though she has very little interest in actually wearing it.
It is actually a square(ish, actually technically a rectangular prism?) with a hood inside to help it stay on her head. It's interfaced to give it stability and to keep it square. I seriously love that it actually worked. I wasn't sure it would up until it was attached. I also love her arms and pants. Yes, those are strips of fleece sewn together. I just love the color and playfulness of them.

Pink Bunny Janey:

Janey's costume, pre-ears. We just used a headband set of ears for that, and the ability to put them through the costume was my last minute addition, at Janey's request (I want pink ears, mom! Not white ears, pink!). And yes, I did make this hoodie. Out of fleece. It's perfect for our cooler evenings, and for the days too, since Janey's been sick. Don't be surprised if you just see more of these showing up, sans-costume attachments. They're comfy, and simple.

And what would a bunny be without a tail? Again, I was going to go with the even-bigger white one JoAnn's had, but Janey insisted on the pink. Now what to do with the blue, green, yellow, and white ones also from the package?

And Wicked Witch Breanne:

(Hi again, Hazel. See how this cat is always trying to steal the show? But I guess a good witch needs a cat?)
While everyone else hemmed and hawed about what they wanted to be for Halloween, Breanne has known for months that she wanted to be a witch. With a black dress, with some orange. And orange hair. And warts on her face. So, a quick trip to the fabric store later, we had this combination. And yes, the bodice is lined, and has a zipper. But no, it's not reversible. :) For the final edition of the dress, I actually folded and sewed the waistband sash more nicely and tacked it down in the front, and added some belt loops on the sides. It looks a lot neater than these pictures, but I don't feel like waiting to take more pictures before I put this post up. You can see it better in the last post about all our activities.

I really loved the combinations of fabric on this dress. The spiderweb stuff on the bottom was my favorite part, Breanne liked the sparkly black on top (and underneath the skirt). The tulle sleeves and sash were my idea, but Breanne gladly welcomed them. She wanted desperately to be an evil witch. I was worried that she'd be sad when she realized all her girl classmates were princesses, but she still seemed to absolutely love her costume. Well, except for the part where her broom fell apart, but I guess that's what we get for spending $2.50 on a decorative broom and sending it to kindergarten. :)

So there you have it. :) I spent a couple hours on each costume--Janey's and Breanne's were really pretty quick, coming together in maybe 3-4 hours. Cailin's took longer, but mostly just because I was afraid of making the hood, because I didn't feel like going to the fabric store again to buy more fabric and interfacing if it didn't work out. That being said, I did complete pretty much all of it on Wednesday, so it didn't actually take that much longer than the other two. It did require some hand sewing (on the gages) though, which I am TERRIBLY slow at, so that added an hour to it all. All in all, though, absolutely worth it. I love all three costumes this year, and am absolutely proud to say that I made them. I don't feel like I'm making excuses for how they look at all. And most importantly, the girls love them, too, and feel like they got exactly what they asked for. When I can't completely please them all the time, I'm glad to give them this one thing. :) Happy Halloween indeed!

BTW, I'm linking up to AmyLouWho's sew'n'tell again, as well as a few others. :)

Partying Already!

This Halloween season is crazy for us. Anyone else feel the same?
We've had:

Janey's class party yesterday morning:

(is she not the cutest pink bunny ever?)

I could've sworn I had a video of her "shaking her bunny tail" but I can't seem to find it. So I'll take another one tomorrow when she's in costume again. SO cute, and so worth it. :)

And a playgroup party with our ward yesterday afternoon:

(My good friend and photographer took these first three beautiful photos at the party. The others are mine, and crappy. But hey, photos. Right?)

I asked Janey for a rabbit face. She was concentrating on scrunching up her nose. :)

(most adorable robot EVER, am I right? After much initial fight (for fittings, before it was done), Cailin decided that she was happy to wear the costume, as long as she didn't have to wear the hood/head. Britney and I timed the photo just right so she snapped it as soon as I moved my hand from putting the hood on her head. I can't get over what a cute robot she is. :))

(I asked for a witchy face. I'd say it worked out well. :))

(waiting for the pumpkin-bowling to be set up again... and yes, she did pick her shoes out. How can you tell?)

Janey and her best friend Payton, with another little girl we don't know as well in the middle. Still, super cute. :)

Goofball. I love that face.

Just knocked down all the "pins" with her pumpkin... on the 4th try. :)

Janey's favorite part of the activity, making a "spider" out of Nilla Wafers, chocolate frosting, and pretzels, with some nerds for eyes.

And then we had Breanne's class parade and party this morning:

She wanted warts all over her face. I consented and gave her 3. She was a satisfied customer.

Gotta love the spiderman poser in front of her. She was super concerned because all the branches fell off the bottom of her broom, so it was just a stick at this point. Poor girl.

I always get choked up when she's walking away from me as such a big girl. What is wrong with me?

That's my girl, blowing me kisses, flashing the I love you sign. It's kind of our thing. I love it, and so does she (thankfully).

We also had a playgroup down in Gilroy that the two younger girls attended in full costume but no real pictures from that. And then tomorrow there's our actual ward Fall Festival, complete with a trunk-or-treat. And then, you know, actual Halloween with trick-or-treating. Plus carving pumpkins sometime between now and then. So while I'm kind of exhausted, we've also just been loving it and soaking it all up. The girls love dressing up, and love their costumes (with the exception of Cailin, who mostly just tolerates it, ha), and I thoroughly enjoyed making them.



My girls have been coloring more lately. I love it. Breanne was coloring a picture the other day, and stopped to show me how well she was coloring in the lines, and how she was using a variety of colors, and pressing hard at different times to change the intensity of the colors. She asked me "Don't you think my picture is just coming to life now, Mom?" I'm so glad she, and her sisters, are finding joy in such simple things. At least occasionally. :)

I love watching Cailin, in particular, as she colors. She just looks so focused.

And, mostly for grandma, here is a minute of her coloring. Not exciting, at all, and there's a lovely pile of laundry in the background, but I just love how sweetly she's just laying there focused on coloring. These kinds of quiet moments with her are rare, to say the least.

Oh, and if you're wondering, I believe those are Breanne's shoes she's wearing. The girl couldn't care less what clothes she's wearing, as long as she gets to pick out her own socks and shoes. I love the little quirks.


Sneak Peek

Costumes are *almost* finished. And none too soon, as we have parties galore this entire weekend, starting tomorrow. One for Janey's class, one with our playgroup, one for Breanne's class-with a parade-, one for our ward-a whole fall festival!-with a trunk-or-treat, and finally trick-or-treating on Halloween itself on Monday. Wahoo!
I don't have full pictures of the costumes yet, but here are a few teasers--one from each costume.





Yay Homemade!

A few days ago, Janey picked out and put on this outfit all by herself:

And guess what? I made all of the clothing you can see on her. I'm so proud! :) I wouldn't necessarily have paired them together, but still. Pretty darn cute. The model helps though, for sure.

I made the baby legs a long time ago--like 1.5 years ago... and they're still going strong. The skirt is made from pre-ruffled fabric (there's a store just a few minutes from my house that sells it for $5 a yard!! I need to go back there), and is a super simple elastic waist skirt. I didn't even hem the bottom, thanks to the ruffles hiding the edge (which is some sort of knit that doesn't fray... hallelujah!). Love that stuff.

I haven't shown the shirt here before, but I thought it deserved a mention too.

I made this shirt a few weekends ago. I've been lucky enough to be a pattern tester for Shwin and Shwin lately, and I LOVE it. This is Shauna's basic bodice, which hopefully she'll release at some point, because it's great. I've also used it for cutting out both Breanne and Janey's costumes, with some modifications. I love having a good solid place to start for clothing--it definitely has helped me figure out how to make the stuff I sew look more decent. Now if I could just take decent pictures... one thing at a time though, right?


Halloween Bag Mini-Tutorial

So... I was planning on making another trick-or-treating bag so I could show you all how I made them. Turns out, though--I don't feel like making yet another bag. I did have Cory take pictures along the way while I was making a Frankenstein bag for a friend, but I actually made it exactly the same way Jill did here. Which is different from how I made the original bags, so I'm going to just show you the basics of how I made them. They're very, very simple bags, and are actually quite similar to the messenger bags I made a few months ago, so if you have any questions about the actual construction of the bag, you can just look there. Or leave comments or email me or whatever. I'm flexible like that. Just let me know.

And now, a mini-tutorial of sorts.

So this is what we're going for:

A cute little ghosty bag. Yay!

To start, you're going to cut out your pieces. You'll need two ghost shaped pieces, and enough strips of white to go all the way around the edges, and to make a strap the length you want it to come out. Then you'll also need your face pieces--eyes and a mouth for each side on this guy. If you plan to reverse-applique them, like I did, you'll need to make each piece a little bigger than you want it to appear when complete.

Once you have all your pieces cut out, you'll start by sewing the face pieces onto the back side of your ghost faces. When you're finished they should look something like this (keep in mind this is the backside of the ghost):

After the face is all sewn on, it's time to start assembling the bag. Take your strips of white fabric, and cut them to the lengths of the sides of the ghost--one to match the bottom edge, and one for each side, ending up high enough that there's a good-size opening to the bag. Then, like the backpack tutorial, sew them together into one long strip (don't sew the handles on yet though), and then sew them onto the bag. As fleece is very stretchy and shifty, I would highly recommend pinning a LOT, and start with the bottom, as it is the most crucial part to match up--the sides can be trimmed down if they stretch, but the bottom needs to match up fairly well too look nice. Ask me how I know. :) When it's sewed on, it should look something like this:

Next you're going to attach the strap--I'd recommend doubling up the fleece, and topstitching down each side (not shown on this bag) to give it more strength--the fleece, like I said, is just too stretchy--if you get a couple pounds of candy in there, it's going to drag it down. Strength is good with kids. :)

Turn the bag right side out, and cut out the white over your face features. Just pinch the two layers apart, then cut very carefully into it, and trim the excess away, revealing the black underneath. Feel free to play around with how you trim them out--for this side, you can see that I cut basically up to the stitch line.

On this side, however... oh wait, you can't see it. Dang cat. Does anyone else's cat seem to like hanging out in the most inconvenient area? Haha.

No seriously. I couldn't leave this photo out though, haha. The ghost is terrified of the cat! Ahhh!

Ok, enough with my lousy humor (though I am very funny. Seriously, guys. I am). On this side, I didn't trim the eyes all the way out--I trimmed out my initial cut to make the hole, and realized that I was in love with the scared ghost look.

So I left it.

And there you have it. One cute little ghost bag. Yay! If you're doing the pumpkin, you don't have to worry about the bottom of the bag, so it's even easier--just sew one long strip all the way around, stopping where you want to the top of the bag to be. The only tricky thing is making sure the two faces of the pumpkins stay matched up--so don't stretch it at all as you go. And then add the handle in green. Keep 'em lined up. And then, enjoy watching your kids fill those new bags with goodies.... that hey, you can sneak later, right? :)