Sharing the fun and creativity in my world and encouraging the same in yours.

Posts tagged ‘costumes’

Fun and Creative Costume Memories

We never bought a costume when I was a child. As a result, I’ve always loved putting together costumes with items and clothing we already had at home.

To this day, I can remember this beautiful, full-length, paisley skirt that I wore quite a few times as a gypsy outfit (and sometimes just to play in). What it was originally purchased for, I haven’t a clue. All I had to do was add a white peasant blouse, big hoop earrings, perhaps a scarf around my head, a few bangles on my wrists, and voila!

Hey, it was in the 1970′s. What mom didn’t have a few extra bangles, a scarf and a pair of big hoop earrings that her daughter could borrow? :D

I loved that skirt. I would twirl around and then quickly sit down on the ground so the skirt would swirl and settle in a full circle around me. Golds, browns, creams, and orange surrounded me. I felt like a royal gypsy princess!

Other years, I’d grab my dad’s army cap and field jacket, a branch from our backyard, tie a red bandana filled w/pebbles or socks at the end of the branch and go trick-or-treating as a hobo (bum). Oh yes, and wipe some charcoal on my face for a’dirt’ effect. Didn’t cost a cent! As far as trick-or-treat bags go? I believe we always used pillow cases.

As I grew older, I put together costumes in college for Halloween Dances and/or Masquerade Dances. Sometimes bits of them were borrowed from roommates. Occasionally, my mom would send me something she picked up at a yard sale. One time she sent a bright pink flapper dress that had black fringe on it! That was a fun costume! Luckily, I already had black high heels and a long pearl necklace to add to it.

This Storm Trooper costume was good for a few years of trick-or-treating!

Years later, I became a mom. That opened up a whole new world of playing dress-up with my son and realizing there weren’t a lot of dress-up, fun clothes for boys in the world. So I pulled out my sewing machine (I’m not a seamstress but I can sew fairly well, just don’t ask me to put in zippers or elastic), bought some fabric, hunted in thrift stores or yard sales, and pulled from my clothing, my husband’s, and my son’s clothing to create various costumes for school projects, Halloween, or just for fun.

Have any other mothers run into this shortage of boys’ costumes for playing dress-up and Halloween? What great DIY costumes have you put together? I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

Copyright 2012, 2013 – All rights reserved.

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Suit up, it’s Halloween!

Some of the most creative and fun costumes are made within hours or minutes of trick-or-treating.  Use what you have on hand, swap clothes with your brothers and/or sisters and/or parents.  Just make sure you have permission, of course.

One prime example is this Man in Black costume my son wore several years ago.  It was great!  I think the shades really made it. 🙂

Man In Black

Man in Black

He used one of my husband’s old suits, (from hubby’s bank management days) along with a tie.  We already had the white Oxford shirt but a polo shirt with a collar could work as well), and you don’t have to worry about shoes.  Sneakers (any color) work beautifully with this look.  You do have to have sunglasses for this costume, they really cap it off.  Everything, totally free!  Not one cent spent.

Sadly, I believe this was the last year my son trick-or-treated because some idiot at the far, far end of our neighborhood got really angry with him, yelled that our son was too old for trick-or-treating, and refused to give him candy.  My son’s feelings got hurt and when I found out, I was appalled.

Had I been out with him that night instead of my husband, I would have given that man a piece of my mind.  No one messes with my son!!  I believe it was the first night I’ve ever thought about egging someone’s house.  I never was allowed out on Mischief Night (the night before Halloween up north) as a child.  This Halloween night, I was very close to following through but…I didn’t.  I have to say, though, the thought of it gave me some joy.

My son was only 14 or 15 years old at the time and, honestly, what would it have cost this guy to give a bite-size piece of candy to my son.  Really!  Life is too short to dash someone’s fun, especially when that fun is harmless.  This guy not only stole that Halloween from my son but it prevented him from going out for his last two years of high school. 😦

Rules of trick-or-treating

I say you can trick-or-treat right through high school as long as you’re creative about it.  I don’t like it when it’s obvious that the teenagers didn’t put any thought into their costumes or aren’t even wearing costumes!!  That’s just wrong because it honestly doesn’t take a lot of effort to be creative.

And if you’re wondering…yes, I’m the woman who makes you say “Trick-or-Treat!!” before you get the candy.  😀  I had noticed the children were slacking off on this wonderful tradition several years ago.  The following year I didn’t have to remind anyone to say it.  🙂

Dorian Gray

In my son’s senior year in high school, they had a dress-up day for Halloween with a theme: come as a character in a book.  He chose Dorian Gray and yup, we used the same black suit.

I grabbed an old jean vest I had from my college days, a scrap of white muslin left over from some curtains I made years ago, and one round pearl-like earring.  We used the same white Oxford shirt, folded up the collar, wrapped the piece of muslin around his neck and formed a beautiful ascot, then took my earring and pierced it through the center of the ascot.  My son loved the way he looked and how he felt in this costume: rich.  It was quite impressive.  😀

Rich Man

This exact same suit can also be used if you want to dress as a “rich or wealthy man” for Halloween.  Just add a pocket watch and a cane for trick-or-treating.

What costumes have you made from a suit?

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

It’s Halloween! Got a sheet?

Another year has flown by and you realize it’s October 31st.  Your child can’t wait to go trick-or-treating, or is eager to dress for a school or friend’s Halloween party.  You then realize you didn’t buy a costume or haven’t had time to buy a pattern, the fabric and sew it up.  Quick!  What do you do?  Grab a sheet.

The Mummy – You probably have a couple of well-loved sheets that have seen better times and have a few worn spots or small holes in them.  Yes?  Well, grab one of those.  Make a little snip on the edge (make 2-to 4-inch wide strips), and rip it apart.  Continue until you have enough.  You can easily tie the pieces together and wrap your child up.

I made this costume one year at the spur-of-the-moment and it was great!  I do suggest wrapping your child up right before going out trick-or-treating.  Once they start walking, the bandages will loosen a little but that’s okay!  (Just make sure they’re not tripping on anything.) But, don’t worry if there are pieces flapping in the wind, it just makes the mummy more realistic.  Stick some reflective tape on the back, (or even use a reflective safety belt), make sure flashlight is in hand and you’re all set! 🙂

A Ghost – The age-old good-to-go costume at the last minute.  For smaller children, you might want to tear the sheet in half or even quarters.  Make sure your child doesn’t trip on the sheet, so cut or tear it to ankle length.  Also, a good safety measure is to wrap a strip as a belt around their waist (or use a belt), and make sure their little arms can move freely.

Also, cut a nice big hole to reveal the child’s face so they can see clearly and completely.  In order for the sheet to not move over your child’s face when walking, pick a favorite play hat (or any hat!) and plop it on their heads over the sheet.  No one says your ghost can’t have a little flair! 😉

Types of hats you can use?  Ski cap (in colder climates), cowboy hat, fireman’s helmet, bicycle helmet (great because they usually have reflective tape on them already), crown or tiara.  Use common sense with this aspect of the costume and the age of your child, please.

If your child is older, you can cut large eye holes and they should be alright.  A quick tip to keep the sheet from traveling over your face while walking, you can use a safety pin in the back to keep it snug around the face (older children only).  Again, I would also recommend a hat to help with this as well.  Use your imagination!!

Charlie Brown’s ghost – Remember good old Charlie Brown?  He had a little trouble with the scissors?  This is the time to have fun.  Grab that old sheet and start cutting medium and large holes and follow the rest of the safety instructions above.  If you feel creative, draw Charlie Brown’s infamous yellow t-shirt with the black jagged stripe on the front of the sheet using fabric markers or fabric paint!  Your child can help color in the lines too. 🙂

Injured person – For the teen crowd, tear a sheet up and use the strips as bandages.  Put one around your head to cover a pretend wound (get out that red magic marker!)  Wrap another one around your arm and/or leg.  Turn another large swath of the sheet into a sling.  Grab a branch and you can use it as a cane.  Or you can borrow someone’s old crutches or your grandfather’s cane.

To top off this sort of costume, make up your own story to go along with the costume.  Are you a hero on a quest thrown from your horse?  Have you battled a dragon?  Were you a firefighter that saved someone?  Come on, teens, you play all sorts of online games fighting all sorts of creatures, use that imagination!!  Wear clothes appropriate to your story (and a lot of them can be simple jeans and shirt), and you’re all set.  Above all, have fun with it!

Happy Halloween!  Stay safe! 🙂

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

Star Wars StormTrooper costume

Halloween is almost here!! 😮

Here is the Star Wars StormTrooper costume that was a real winner for Halloween trick-or-treating for several years.  Whether you spell it Storm Trooper or Stormtrooper or StormTrooper (I’ve seen them all in my Internet search so I’m putting them all out there), it’s actually a pretty easy costume to make.

This Storm Trooper costume was good for a few years of trick-or-treating!

Please forgive me if I stumble with these instructions.  It’s been about 8-10 years since I made this costume and I’m trying to remember all the bits and pieces.  Here we go! 😀

You need the following:

  1. a pair of black pants, jeans or sweats
  2. a long-sleeved black shirt
  3. white sneakers (we were lucky, our son’s were already white.)
  4. a bicycle helmet (we were lucky again, our son’s helmet was already white.)
  5. 2 empty toilet paper rolls or an empty paper towel roll cut in half
  6. foam sheets (can be bought at any craft store in various widths/sizes)
  7. a glue gun with glue sticks
  8. craft glue
  9. some Velcro (hook-and-loop fasteners)
  10. some double-sided tape
  11. scissors
  12. a black marker

Where did I get the idea?

My son came home from his weekly trip to the library with a huge book on Star Wars entitled: Star Wars : The Visual Dictionary written by David West Reynolds; special fabrications by Don Bies & Nelson Hall; new photography by Alexander Ivanov.

This is a fantastic book for you to get an up-close look at all the costumes, gadgets, ships, creatures and more that were created in Star Wars! There actually are several of these books to cover later episodes of Star Wars as well, but the above book is the one he brought home that day.

Decision made!

We found a great photograph of a StormTrooper and I went to work brainstorming on what sorts of materials I could use.  As someone who used to be the Operations Manager at a fabric and craft store, I mentally went through the store I used to work at to see all of my options.  Shopping list in hand, I bought numerous white foam sheets of various widths and some double-sided tape.  The rest I had on hand at home.

Construction made easy

I used one of the thinnest sheets of foam to form the visor or front part of the helmet.  I cut out the pieces for his eyes, and using a second sheet of foam, cut out a wide “W” to glue under both eyes for added depth.  (Sorry, you can’t really see that in this photo but you’ll understand when you get the book.)  I then cut out a “frown”, colored it with a black marker and glued it on with craft glue.  Don’t worry about over-spill; the glue dries clear!  I then drew on the hashes and the air-thinga-ma-bobber on the chin of this visor with black marker.  See it?

Remember: The trick to the eyes is to make sure they’re the right shape but also large enough for your child to see through completely.

Now, if you notice the photo in the book, you’ll see the bottom of the front of the StormTrooper helmet is rounded.  That’s where the toilet paper rolls come into play.  For this, I simply rolled the sheet around the two rolls using craft glue.  I had my son hold onto them while they dried.  Once dried, I used a strip of double-sided tape to attach this visor to the front of his bicycle helmet.

For the back of the helmet, I trimmed another thin piece of foam sheet to the shape of the helmet in the book and attached it using double-sided tape. 🙂

Star Wars Storm Trooper

I wish you could see the back of this costume too, but I didn’t think to take a picture of it years ago.  Using a thicker foam sheet (probably about 1/4-inch), I created the StormTrooper’s backpack, cutting out pieces from a thinner foam sheet and gluing them onto the thicker base to add depth and create the pack-look in the book.  It came out beautifully.  Again, I used craft glue here.

I used a medium thickness foam sheet to cut out the front chest piece and the belt as well as the lower torso pieces (front/back).  I believe I used a thinner foam sheet for the ‘wings’ on the shoulders.  I also used the thinner foam sheet to cut out the arm and leg pieces as they needed more flexibility.  Play with it yourself and see what works best for you!  These foam sheets are very inexpensive (especially when they’re on sale, so don’t be afraid to play). 🙂

Final assembly!

I believe I glued the shoulder ‘wings’ onto a long piece of 1/2 or 3/4-inch wide white piece of ribbon then glued them onto the chest piece (front and back).  My son could then slip this piece on over his head quite easily.  As you can see, I used black hook-and-loop fastener to attach the front & back chest pieces together, and did the same for the lower torso but with white hook-and-loop fasteners.  I believe I used a couple of dots of hook-and-look fastener for the belt.  What did I use to attach the hook-and-loop fasteners to the foam sheets?  🙂 Hot glue from the glue gun.  Read on to discover why.

I originally hole-punched and tied the above-referenced pieces AND the arm and leg pieces in the back using white ribbon (10 ft. for $1) because when I was talking to a friend and expressed my choice of using a glue gun, she exclaimed, “No! You can’t do that! It’ll melt the foam sheet!”.

However, after the first Halloween, we discovered that the leg pieces (especially the thigh pieces) kept sliding down.  I just couldn’t tie them tight enough and the ribbons kept loosening and untying themselves.

So, with that in mind the next year, I used the glue gun!!!  And??? It worked like a charm!  No, it didn’t melt the foam sheets.  I glue-gunned the pieces of hook-and-loop fasteners to upper and lower torso pieces as well as the leg and arm pieces.  Easy on-and-off.  The thigh pieces stayed in place for the most part although, in the above photo, they had slid down so it looks like his leg pieces are all…well, one piece.  They aren’t.  If he had pulled up his thigh pieces, you would be able to see the separate calf pieces with black knees showing in-between them.

Afterthoughts

If I made this StormTrooper costume again, I would somehow attach the thigh pieces to the lower torso pieces, just so you don’t have to keep pulling them up.  But…other than that, it was surprisingly simple to make and lasted a long time.  Just make sure to take it one step at a time and be creative!

Oh, and because the helmet is almost completely enclosed, it does get a little warm in there.  Make sure you have your child take off the helmet throughout the night to get some fresh, cool air.  Here in Florida, the weather in October can be pretty warm sometimes.

I hope you have fun with this Star Wars StormTrooper costume or any other costume you feel inspired to create from that Star Wars book or any other book!

**Looking at the picture once more** Wow, we really did luck out with his white sneakers and his white bicycle helmet, didn’t we?

Have a Happy Halloween!!!  Stay safe!  😀

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

Button, button. Who’s got the button?

One of the most annoying things when getting dressed in the morning or for an evening out is to discover you’re missing a button.

Most of the time, you only need one button to replace the broken or missing one, and you can’t buy a single button from the store.

You end up buying a “pack” of two-to-four buttons, buying more than you actually need.  That’s not very cost-efficient and let’s face it, the buttons themselves can be expensive. Plus, who has time to run to the store or wait for a sale when you need that extra button right away?

A small glass jar lets you easily see what you have available.

One tip I learned long ago, was to remove all buttons from your worn-out, stained, ill-fitting clothes before you throw them away and place the buttons in a glass jar like this one.  Don’t forget to add those extra buttons that come attached to your clothing (skirts, shorts, slacks, shirts) too.

Keep the jar with your sewing items or in a special drawer.  It’ll save you a lot of stress when you or someone in your family is running around yelling, “Button, button, who’s got the button?

Bonus tip: If you really want to be efficient, put a small spool of thread (black, white, and/or color of most of your clothes) with a needle in the jar as well.

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Welcome!

For several months now, I have written drafts of pages and blog entry ideas for this fun, new blog.  I’ve noodled around with all the settings, transferring photographs from my old computer to this one, taking new pictures, and letting my mind work out how I want to share my experiences, projects, and knowledge with you. 🙂

Sneak Preview

Included in this creative space, will be all sorts of fun adventures in the following topics:

  • Costumes (and other sewing projects like place mats, Christmas stockings, etc.)
  • Gardening and nature
  • Money-saving tips (I save between $10,000-$12,000+ a year in many ways and can’t wait to share them with you!)
  • Projects (designing furniture like a file bench, office desk, creative interior painting, and some crafting)
  • Recipes, (including dairy-free and egg-free meals) 😀
  • Solutions for every-day tasks
  • Writing (fiction and non-fiction)

Included in each post, there will be wonderful photographs taken by my talented son and a few taken by me.  I hope you enjoy your visit! 🙂

If any of the above topics pique your interest, please subscribe to see what’s new!  Thank you! 🙂

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.