Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Triceratops!

Oh my gosh, I can hardly believe I am posting this a full FIVE DAYS before Halloween.  And I finished it TWO DAYS AGO!  I have never been so prepared in all my life.  Blogging has made me a much more responsible crafter.

The Boy's Halloween costume is DONE!

The Boy wanted to be a triceratops this year.  I bought a hooded sweatsuit for $9.99 and found some fleece remnants that coordinated, and planned to just wing it.  But as I was at the Walmart fabric counter (buying some of the CUTEST fabric on clearance for $1.50 a yard; I can hardly wait to make something out of it so I can show you), this pattern caught my eye:

That's right, 97 cents.

So I used bits and pieces of it, instead of figuring out on my own how to make the frill, and the shoe covers, etc.

Dino head

Got some good swing in that tail.

I obviously did not use the bodysuit that came with the pattern, but I used the pattern pieces to make the tail, frill, horns, gloves, and shoe covers.  I had to adapt the shoes a bit, as they are intended to be one piece with the legs of the bodysuit, but it just involved making a casing for elastic in the top rather than attaching them to the legs.  I should have sized up for the shoe covers though, because a. I used some of the fabric for the casing, resulting in a slightly smaller shoe, and b. The Boy has enormous feet.    These work, but his toes do peek out.

I also made the claws differently than the pattern described, because I tried it their way and it was STUPID. But man, it was so helpful to have the pattern!  The 97 cents was totally worth it to skip the headache of figuring all this stuff out.

Since The Boy was trying out his costume, OBVIOUSLY Little Sister was going to have to put hers on as well.

Gimme some candy!

Nope, I didn't make hers.  It's the same Old Navy monkey costume The Boy wore when he was two.  And when he was three.  I really doubt I can get her to wear it again next year....well, maybe!

What did the triceratops say to the monkey?  There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere.
Apparently, he says, "ROAAAARRR!"
Practicing trick-or-treating in the little blue house.

A couple of notes:

1.  When attaching the frill, I figured out where it should go on the hood, then pinched the hood fabric up around the raw edges of the frill, front and back,  and sewed the little channel using my machine.  The pattern said to hand, no.  BUT, as the sweatshirt I bought was aallllmost too small to begin with, this did shrink the hood down a bit, and I may add a strip at the back of the neck to extend the hood.  I did hand-sew the horns.  Sigh.

2. The pattern included many, many circles to cut out to make the dots.  Ditto the claws.  May I suggest freehanding the dots?  Or if you really want to use the pattern--just cut out one, and use it again and again.   Why would I cut out 16 identical claws out of paper, just so I could cut 16 identical claws out of fabric?

3. For attaching the tail, I cut a hole the same size as the circle at the base of the tail in the back of the sweatshirt.  Then I pulled the tail through the hole and sewed them together so that the raw edges would be hidden on the inside of the sweatshirt.  Worked great.

4.  I also made a "tummy" pocket out of the same fleece I used for the frill.  The sweatshirt I bought didn't have pockets, and since fleece doesn't fray I just freehanded a shape and left openings for hands (or a place to tuck those bulky gloves when he realizes they inhibit his candy-grabbing abilities.)

5.  I sewed each and every dot onto the costume.  The pattern says to glue them, but I wanted this to go in the dress-up box when Halloween was over, and half-glued, peeling dots are just not going to do it for me.  SO, if you want to sew your dots on, you will have a much easier time sewing dots to the tail BEFORE you sew it closed.  Lesson learned through experience.

6.  This was a fun project for The Boy, because he got to do a lot of the stuffing.  The tail, obviously, but also the frill, horns, gloves, and shoe covers all have some batting stuffed inside.  He was really a great helper with that.  He also enjoyed deciding where I should sew the dots.

7.  I left the pants totally alone.  Nary a fleece dot to be found.  That way, he can wear them as pants when Halloween is over.  Especially good because, although the top and bottoms were purchased as a set, the pants are HUGE on him while the sweatshirt, as noted above, is almost too small.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kid Photo in Repurposed Frame!

I framed another family photo in a frame I got on clearance at...hmmm, I think it was HomeGoods this time.  I got this nice big square frame with a double mat on clearance for $10 with a painting of a bathtub in it.

I didn't measure the actual frame, but the photo opening is 12" by 12", which is awesome because Costco will print a 12 by 12 square for $2.99.

First I pried the back off:

Then I peeled the bathtub picture out and followed the steps I outlined in my post about this process before HERE.

One difference, though.

The heavy fiberboard that they have started using to back these things is really hard to get back into the frame.  So instead of replacing it, I cut a piece of cardboard to fit in the back instead.  Then I used the little metal brads that used to hold the fiberboard in (well, the ones that stayed stuck in the frame; several of them pulled out when I removed the backing) to fold over and hold the cardboard in.  This is totally how I'll do it from now on.  WAY easier than trying to wrangle that fiberboard back into place.

To really look professional, I should have removed the picture hanging hardware, covered the back with brown paper, and then replaced the hardware.  But since this is just hanging in my house where nobody will ever see the back of it, I just left it with a naked back.

And this is the finished product!  Sorry for the weird angle; it's hanging in a narrow hallway where it was tough to photograph it straight on.

I took this photo while we waited in line to slide down the big pink slide at Oaks Park this summer.  For my photo editing, I just used Google's free Picasa software.  I cropped the image to a square, made it black and white, then applied the "Lomo-ish" setting (that's what it's actually called.  Lomo-ish.).  Printed at Costco.  Total project cost = $12.99.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bargain Hunting!

Heads-up--this post is going to bore the heck out of most of you.  Feel free to pass it right on by, and I'll let you know when I'm ready with some of my regularly scheduled programming.  But those of you who know me know that I LOVE to find a bargain.  This post is the low-down on my recent Old Navy bargain score.  Yeah, like I said, feel free to skip it.  But figuring out exactly how much money I saved on stuff is totally satisfying for me, so since this is my blog, I decided to document it here.  Nyah.

So, first of all, I got a Gap visa a while back, and I have to say I love it.  Gap is usually too expensive for me, but I shop Old Navy clearance (both in store and online) pretty frequently.  For every $1 you spend in one of their stores, you get 5 points, and 1000 points (so, $200) equals a $10 reward to spend in their stores.  You can earn points on other things too, but I pretty much only use this card for Old Navy and Gap stuff.  Works for Banana too.  Sometimes they do deals like, use your card 4 times in a month on stuff outside of their stores, and get a $20 reward.  Well, okay then.  I have never carried a balance on my card, so I'm not paying interest or fees, and it seems like a pretty good payoff.  Not sponsored, by the way, just a little background about my Old Navy bargain hunt today.

So, Old Navy has been having these cardholder bonus events where they give you a free tote bag (they are usually pretty good ones), and you get 40% EVERYTHING in the store when you use your card.  That includes an additional 40% off clearance and sale. I pretty much stick exclusively to the clearance rack whenever I shop, so I'm always careful to check for "excluding clearance" types of discounts.

Now for the part that makes me smile--the price breakdown!

I bought a total of 21 items, all womens and toddler girls (except for one big boy shirt).  The clearance selection for men and boys, particularly once you get past size 2T or so, is DISMAL, so I really mostly recommend this for women and girls.  My grand total was $78.  This would have been $68, if I had FOUR more points on my rewards--I had 996 points!  Which means that if I had spent ONE measly additional dollar at Old Navy at some point, I would have had a $10 reward to use on this purchase.  Oh well, next time I'll have some saved up.

Ok, ready to see what I got?

Red toddler mary janes, size 9, original price $16.94, my price $4.80.  Even though these are 3 sizes too big, Little Sister has been wearing them around the house all afternoon.  She loves them.

Canvas toddler espadrilles, size 8, hopefully will fit next summer!  Unfortunately the original price is a mystery, but the clearance price was $1.97, making my price $1.18!  Probably originally in the $14 range.

Two pairs of next-size-up PJ's (3T), Minnie Mouse and Supergirl. Each originally $16.94, my price $4.80 each.

Reversible jersey bubble skirt, originally $12.94, my price $2.09.  Little Sister's reaction, "I no like it."  Hopefully she will by the time it fits her (it's a 3T).

Tunics with button detail and pockets, 1 size 2T, 1 size 3T.  Originally $14.94 each, my price $2.69 each.

Hello Kitty PJ's, size 2T.  Originally $16.94, my price $5.10.  She LOVES hello kitty, and I pretty much only allow licensed characters on undies and pj's, so score.

Woven flutter sleeve tank, size 2T, but it looked huge.  She loves purple, and loves tank tops, so I figured she could wear a shirt underneath while it's cold but it will most likely still fit next summer.  Original price $12.94, my price $2.39.

Chevron is all over pinterest.  That means it's cool, right?

T-shirt dress, size 2T.  I plan to embellish this one for Valentine's Day like I did with this similar dress last year.  Original price $10.94, my price $3.59.

Crazy legs tights--striped on one leg, dots on the other.  Cute!  Originally $7.95, my price $2.99, not as good as a discount as I usually like but I couldn't resist :)

She wore these this evening, and kept telling me they had socks built right in!  So exciting!

The lone shirt for the boy--also not my usual level of deep discount, but I felt bad not bringing him anything!  Unfortunately it will be too big for a while still.  I like that the green and yellow lend itself to some sort of Oregon Ducks applique.  Original price, $14.94, my price $4.80.

And now for my selfish purchases:

I thought this dolman top would be great to wear on Halloween, since I am currently costumeless.  It works for other times of year too, right?  Original price, $17.94, my price $4.18.

It's more orangey in person.

Comfy purple top with sheer-ish stripes, originally $16.94, my price $2.98.

Mixed-stripe tab front tank, originally $12.94, my price $1.78.

Mixed stripe dolman tee, originally $14.94, my price $2.38

Black and white ruffled henley, originally $14.50, my price $1.78 (and I'd been looking for a b/w striped top!)

Because a big part of my SAHM job is refereeing two children.

This one is an "active" top with moisture wicking.  I love this for yoga, when I don't always want to wear a tank.  Original price $14.94, my price $2.39.

Another ruffled henley--I thought this one would be fun for the 4th of July.  Since long-sleeve shirts are almost always necessary around here that time of year.  Originally $14.50, my price $1.78.

This wasn't my usual type of purchase--Old Navy bottoms are typically terrible on me--but this stretch-cord pencil skirt was actually super flattering and kind of fun.  Original price $24.94, my price $5.40.

This one was my major splurge.  I am a sucker for jackets, and I'm a sucker for red, and I recently realized that I DON'T HAVE A RED JACKET!  Phew, glad that time in my life is over.  Hard to tell in the photo, but it's got a hidden waistband that you can tighten to give it more shape.  It is SO cute. Original price $39.94, my price $14.40.

So my total cost at Old Navy was $78.99, but the original prices of all this stuff?  Drum roll, please.....


Pretty good, right? Over 75% off the original price.  I'm pleased.  Oh, and don't forget the free tote--it was especially cute this time!

This is purple, so Little Sister has claimed it as her own.

But it didnt' stop there--I needed some red fabric for a specific project, and so I hit the JoAnn remnant bin on my way home, and lookie what I got:

Full price of all of these suckers would have been $29.42, but I paid $8.03.  And I got the red fabric I needed.

So have I thoroughly bored you?  If there's anyone out there interested in this stuff, let me know, because I might be tempted to do another Beth's Bargain Basement post one of these days.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Upcycled Shirred Waist Shirt!

Dare I call it a peplum top?  Those are all the rage right now, right?  I mean, I see the internets.  People are wearing the heck out of those things.

Gotta work on my smize.

But I think I'll stick to a description I understand--this is a shirred-waist shirt.  It has several rows (six rows, to be exact) of shirring (sewing with elastic thread) around the waistline (well, starting just a teensy bit above, to be accurate).  Would you like a few more parentheticals?  I'm sure I can work some in as I go.  I love me some parentheticals.

Look at me, looking over my shoulder.

I made this shirt out of fabric I salvaged from the curtains that I made for our old Vanagon.  And those curtains were made out of a clearance Urban Outfitters bedspread, from back in the day when I ventured into Urban Outfitters stores.

Count 'em.  Six rows.  I had planned on seven, but my bobbin of elastic thread emptied just as I finished row 6.  You can't fight fate.
To make it, I followed the Most Flattering Shirtdress tutorial from Prudent Baby, but I made mine shirt-length.

But I did make one alteration, and I'm pretty excited about it.

It's this piping.

Necklace by my mom, Deb Steele

But guess what?  It's not piping!  I've never used piping!  I'm afraid of piping!

I didn't have any single-fold bias tape in a coordinating color, and I didn't feel like making any (I've never made bias tape!  I'm afraid of bias tape!  There you go, another parenthetical!).  I did, however, like the way this orange bias tape popped with the blue/green print.  I thought it was a shame for it to all be hidden inside the sleeves and neckline.  I started attaching it the usual way (the Prudent Baby tutorial above explains how to do it), but when I was ready to start sewing the 2nd edge down, I had a moment of genius.  Rather than folding it all the way flat, I folded it so that just a bit of it peeked out on the outside of the seam.  I pinned carefully, so that the visible edge of the bias tape would be fairly even all around, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to keep it even.  And I am not someone who is good at precision.

I kept waiting and waiting to post this, since I loved the way that it turned out so much that I immediately made a dress in the same way and thought I'd double up in the post, but I haven't been able to get photos of myself wearing it yet. {Edited:  the post about the dress is up now!}  These photos (except for the first one) are courtesy of my lovely friend in Tacoma, who agreed to take my picture outside in the cold (note the goosebumps) first thing in the morning when I visited her a few weeks before her sweet baby was born.  Hey pregnant lady, as long as you are hosting me and letting me sleep in your house, why don't you come out here in the cold and let me mooch your photography skillz too?  Ah, isn't it great to have friends to take advantage of?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Idyllic Pumpkin Patch!

We chose the most beautiful day to head out to the pumpkin patch.  For as much as I always want to bundle up with scarves, mittens, boots, and a cup of hot cider for this outing, I must admit that it was really lovely to trade the jacket for sunglasses and pick out pumpkins without getting muddy at all.  We enjoyed our hayride, homemade corndogs, and shared caramel apple, and loaded up the car with pumpkins and produce.

And wonder of wonders--both kids chose clothes to wear that I made for them!  Without any prompting at all from me!

Wandering through the flowers

Tough choices

How about this one?

The perfect pumpkin!

A cute little one.  And a pumpkin.

Can't quite lift this one!

Yes, I'm taking the picture now.
Little Sister is wearing this dress, made from a larger t-shirt, and The Boy is wearing these upcycled pants and this shirt that I appliqued for him (under his vest).

Friday, October 5, 2012

What are you going to be this year?

Halloween is coming up!  And since I'm nowhere near organized enough to show you our costumes for this year, I thought I'd post the costumes we wore last year.  We have been so lucky with gifted and handed down costumes that I haven't had to make much, but I did do some creating and some embellishing to make our costumes last year.

Someday, we will have a whole family theme.  Well, I really really hope so.  But these kids and their opinions!  This year, Little Sister is still pliable enough to be talked in to The Boy's old monkey costume, so we're all set there.  We are getting our money's worth on this thing!  The Boy wore it when he was almost two AND almost three, so this is the third Halloween we're getting out of it.
Little Boy, Halloween 2009.  Oh, for cute.
Monkey costume from Old Navy.  

But, my plan to dress The Boy as the man in the yellow hat was foiled.  Apparently The Boy does not like Curious George any more.  So, Little Sister will be a ballerina monkey (adding a tutu and tiara to the monkey costume), and The Boy wants to be a triceratops.  If I finish his costume in time, I will post it here (planning to make it out of a hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants).  Not sure what the hubs and I will do--any ideas on how to team up with those kid costumes?

Last year, my parents went to Sweden and brought The Boy this Viking dress up set:

To build it up into a full-on Halloween costume, I bought some fake fur (I found remnants, so it was super cheap!) and a bag of leather scrap strips from Joann Fabrics and made wraps for his arms and boot covers. The arm wraps were just rectangles wide enough to go around his arm, then I wrapped some of the longer leather straps around to tie them in place.  The boot covers, I cut into a rectangle wide enough to wrap around his leg, and added a half-circle in the middle at one end, so it would cover the top of his shoe.  Then, same deal--I wrapped it around his leg and used a long leather strip to wind around it and hold it on.  The shield and sword came from the dollar tree, and I used some old stage makeup to give him a burly viking beard.  I was inspired by this adorable viking costume I saw on I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar, and I'm happy with how our version turned out.

Since Dad didn't have a fancy vest from Sweden, I cut a square out of the fake fur for him and cut a slit for his head.  I added another slit toward one of the corners (so the opening looked like a capital T) and poked little holes so I could use a leather strip to lace it up.  And I cut the edges of the square to look a little jagged.  He got the arm and leg wraps too.  I had a hard time finding cheap adult viking hats, and ended up ordering that online, but I added braids from the dollar tree using hot glue and covering the loose ends inside the hat with felt. Add an XXL baggy t-shirt from dollar tree, a brown belt from goodwill, and some dollar tree weaponry:  Instant Viking.

A couple of guys who were up to no good
Little Sister had a super cute little flower costume handed down last year.  No help from me needed--this getup was complete with tights and slippers, and I even found a flower trick-or-treat basket on clearance for about 42 cents!

Binky not included
So I decided that the logical costume for me would be a gardener.  I already had the red checked shirt, so I turned a pair of old mom jean shorts (seriously, why did I even have those?) into a "gardening apron" (totally last minute, so I never blogged it or took photos of the process), found a wide-brimmed straw hat at goodwill, and tucked some gardening gloves and seed packets into the apron pocket (after taking the picture, apparently).  You can't see it in the picture, but I was wearing my rain boots too.

Anyway, I would love to hear about your Halloween ideas!  Next year, look out.  I'm going to start planting some serious seeds now so that I can make these kids think that Goldilocks and the three bears was their own idea for an awesome family costume.