Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Baby Bird

Happy Halloween!

I'm so excited to share Everett's costume with you! It turned out just how I imagined but also SO MUCH BETTER than I expected!

He's a bird. Just a generic bird. That's how he understands the creatures anyway, so why complicate the matter?

I actually got the idea from Pinterest and specifically this blogger. I now know that she got the idea from someone else, but her project gave me the "spark!" She made her daughter fabric feather wings that were just so adorable, and I thought they would adapt perfectly to a costume for Everett.

The original wings were a cape that tied around the neck and wrists, but being that Everett is just 17-months-old, I didn't think he would quite understand ribbon choking him and grasping his wrists.

I really enjoy building on a hoodie. It's a comfortable piece of clothing that simply fits over another outfit, so we can drive to Zoo Boo or to trick-or-treating in a normal outfit and then throw the hoodie on when we reach the destination. The only issue is if it's too hot at the end of October--which is a real possibility in California.

We made his costume on a hoodie last year, and it worked out great! We lucked out that we had a hoodie with ears already on it (bear ears?). We made him a porcupine! I'm saying "we" so much because Brian, my husband, helped me a lot more with that costume--since I needed it!

Don't get me wrong, the porcupine was suuuuuper cute, but I think it's funny that we spent so much more time building the quills last year than I did making the wings this year. And I think I actually like the bird costume more!

If you're interested, the felt quills are sort of like cones (triangles?). Not rolled, just folded and hot-glued. Then we painted the quills, stuffed them, then hot-glued them to the hoodie (felt and stuffing glued to the hoodie). Isn't hot glue the most wonderful stuff?!?

I'm just remembering. Our hot glue gun stopped working the day before Halloween (or the day before Zoo Boo). Halloween is NOT the time to buy a new hot glue gun! My mother-in-law went to Michael's, and they were out! My mom saved-the-day by bringing over one of her extra guns! Haha. Funny memory.

If you're interested, Brian "carved" those pumpkins with a drill with hole-cutter bits. You can tell how much I enjoy carving pumpkins. Blech! I think they turned out great!

Back to the wings . . . 

As much of a tutorial as I can muster:

I wanted to sew his costume this year, just in case he wanted to wear it over and over and we had to wash it (just wishful thinking on my part). 

I laid out the hoodie and traced the shape of a cape on a neutral piece of fabric. Cut it out.

I then made pattern pieces out of paper that fit onto the fabric.

yes, Everett needed to be involved. He's a very talented artist already.

Here are the pieces (all but the smallest that I used to create new patterns for the feathers on the front of the costume). When I cut the fabric, I cut at least an inch, maybe an inch and a half, extra at the top. I realized that the stitching would show if I made the pieces this thin.

I would have used tracing paper if I had it, or had it in big enough sheets.

I machine sewed the strips to the cape, starting at the bottom. Each strip covering the stitching of the previous line. I trimmed the neural cape then cut another cape to be the backing. I didn't really need to line it, but by lining it, there's color when he lifts the wings. Also, the backing has bottom feathers, which the neutral cape didn't (does that make sense?).

The backing (lining, whatever) doesn't exactly match up with the bottom feathers (it's a stretchy fabric, but so feather-y!). But it doesn't matter because it just makes it seem layered.

I was very lucky we had a wedding to go to in northern California last weekend. Brian drove the whole time, and I was able to do the hand stitching. I vote for a road trip every year the weekend before Halloween! I was able to finish the entire costume!

I wanted to hand stitch the visible bits. Since I didn't plan to finish the ends of the "feathers" and let them fray, I wanted to encourage the "folksy" nature of the outfit. I did blanket stitches for the eyes and beak and cross stitches for the wings.

I was proud of my creativity with the eyes. They're actually flowers on a fabric I really like, surrounded by a darker fabric. 

I had no intention of lining the inside of the hood, but the hoodie I found had camouflage inside the hood, so I had to cover it! I really like that extra touch, and I never would have thought of it on my own. Thank you makers of bellicose children's clothes. You're an inspiration! Ha.

I'm very happy with the result. I think it's beautiful, and I'm very gratified that Everett knows it's a bird costume and makes "caw caw" sounds when he wears it. I really wanted him to be something he understood.

Thanks to my best friend Rachel who let me pilfer her fabric stash. I don't have much of my own yet (although a few were mine--including a piece of my dad's old flannel shirt!).

Have a happy Halloween!!

My Colorful Animal Friends

I have a few new projects that are one step away from being done, but I wanted to post something, so you know the kind of shape this blog will take, my tone, etc.

Let's talk colorful animal lawn ornaments!

I thought of this project when I was planning my wedding. I'm a believer in the principle that doing a few big decorations is more memorable for the guests, easier for the host, and potentially more beautiful than doing a bunch of little, fiddly decorations.

When we got engaged, we set our wedding date for May 29th 2010. A spring wedding in a park. I thought buying (or stealing/borrowing) animal lawn ornaments and spray painting them fun, spring colors would make for AWESOME center pieces (or decorations down the center of loooong picnic tables).

I had found and painted two animals when we had to reschedule our wedding for December. The animals didn't seem appropriate for a winter wedding, and besides, my wonderful in-laws basically planned our whole wedding because I was in NO MOOD to plan a wedding (hmmm . . . what is she getting at?).

BUT, when it was time to plan our April baby shower (ah-ha!), I thought the animals would be a perfect addition to the shower tables.

I found and painted two more animals before the party.

Animal lawn ornaments are surprisingly hard to find, and when you do find them in a retail location (like OSH, Miner's, or Ross), they're more expensive than you might think. So we used a combination of the animals and colorful pots and flowers (we already had the pots).

I'm not saying this has to be an expensive project. It could be really cheap if you find animals at a yard sale or flea market (our Ross find was pretty cheap).

AND, unlike most center pieces, these can be re-purposed! We love having ours out in the yard. They're a fun play on the lawn ornament tradition.

I think especially fun if you have kids or grand kids!

The only bit of "tutorial" advice I have is, you're going to need to do quite a few coats. Animals have all sorts of nooks and crannies, and you'll need to get the paint in from every direction multiple times. It's best to do it over a few days, and just give a few coats a day. I used both satin and glossy paints. Both work. I'm usually a "matte" girl, though.

I hope this inspires you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First Post

You may be asking, "why a third blog?!?" I already have my personal blog where I mostly describe my son's monthly development and talk about family outings and events. I have my fine art blog where I write about my painting, drawing, and art history interests.

So why a third? Well, my husband and I are doing some interesting renovation and home design projects, and I do some crafting every once in a while. I want to share these projects without subjecting strangers to my baby's milestones or bogging down my fine art site with craft (not to say that craft and design aren't as important as 2D/"fine" art, but if someone comes to to look at my paintings, I don't necessarily want them to find kitchen backsplash pictures and paper chains).

And if you're suuuuper perceptive, you may have realized I'm thinking that if my crafting is popular on the interwebs and on sites like Pinterest, it might bring attention to my fine art site, and I might sell some paintings on Esty. You never know. {:

By the way, I only intend to update this blog sporadically, as I have something to post. On my fine art blog, I have a blogging schedule of three posts a week that I stick to quite faithfully. If you like regularity, this isn't your blog, this is. Wow. I really crack myself up sometimes.

Now instead of posting a craft on and apologizing, I'll just write a line of explanation and link it. Similarly, I'll be able to link from my personal website here, so the family who follows that site can see my crafting (and our home design!).

I may also stick non-art/non-craft/non-design posts here. For example, I'm considering writing about all the TV and movie gems we've discovered on Netflix Instant Watch. No need for a post like that to be private, but it's certainly not fine art. {: