Monday, November 28, 2011

Tis the Season...

 This year we had the opportunity to partake in an awesome tradition from Tracy's younger years.

Our first "straight from the woods" Christmas tree! Now it may not look like much above, but in our small living room it has enormous character.

The boys of course thought it was an adventure just tromping through the snow and collecting sticks. Once our tree wiped it's last sappy tear and said goodbye to his forest friends we welcomed him into our home for much anticipated decorating.  Each year the boys get to pick out a new ornament for the tree. Usually it represents something that they are into that year and they love pulling out the memories each Christmas.  Not quite sure Evan will be happy to hang Dora on his first bachelor tree, but hey at least he will have the option!  Last year because of the rising cost of well..everything, I convinced them that we should make these.

They each got to paint their favorite color on a homemade Lego ornament.  They loved it!  To keep them happy (insert evil laugh here), I kindly decided that we would make ornaments again this year.  Here is what we started with for less than 10 bucks:

Can you see the vision yet? Next they each got to paint their own with the base color.

This is the drying stage after a few "touch-ups" from mom.  Can you tell yet?

 After the detailing and a coat of clear spray paint, the kids were ready to find them a special place on the tree.

Now we will just cross our fingers that our tree will still be alive for our Angry Birds to nest in for Christmas!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


If this blog were in real-time my kids would probably be getting trick or treat bags filled with turkey and pumpkin pie.  Luckily, I did have the costumes done on time and they did get to go trick or treating on real Halloween.  As promised here is a quick glimpse at how my projects went.
For Leo's Green Lantern I started with this:

A black sweatsuit, an XL men's T-shirt and a couple of felt squares.  The clothes I purchased at Savers and spent about $5.00.  I originally bought the mask and the ring to go with it for $7.00, but then Grandma showed up with the exact same thing off of a clearance rack that she purchased for $2.50 and donated it to our cause! Add a few things from my craft stash, such as hot glue, batting, thread and glow paint and.... Voila!  This super hero came in under 10 bucks!

Next we have Evan as the Flash.  Suprisingly not many kids knew who that was and kept referring to him as "lighning bolt guy".  Here it is in the beginning:

Once again a second-hand store sweatsuit, freshly laundered. A small cut of felt in yellow and the same pickins' from my crafting supplies and we were on our way.  A rinsed out milk jug added stability to his speedy bolts on the sides of his head.

He was so into character that he had to strike this pose everytime someone took a picture of him!
Fast, warm AND about 10 bucks!

As I said before, I feel like I cheated on Jack's costume, but what can you do when a kid really wants to wear a costume that is already made?  Jack had his heart set on being Master Chief from Halo.  You could tell who the Xbox fans were when they stopped to comment on his costume.  All it needed to be ready was a little touching up to the fabulous helmet Tracy made a couple years ago.  We couldn't find the exact same shade of paint, but Jack didn't seem to care.

The only thing he said he was missing were covers for his shoes.  Oops, should of thought of that.

Last, but not least we have Ollie as Wolverine.  I made his last, and he made sure I knew it. This is where most of the creativity came in:

Finding yellow sweats would prove difficult, but I knew I had my good friend Rit dye standing by.  Next problem, couldn't find any white sweats to dye...  settled on two white zip-up hoodies, an XL men's blue polo and some gray thermal bottoms to use as the base for his pants.  Lemon yellow Rit dye: $3.00.  Second-hand store deals on clothes: $7.00.  I think I only had to add one square of black felt to my collection in order to finish this costume, so once again final cost was probably a little more than 10 bucks.  Milk jug for mask stability and don't forget the claws which I sturdied with a sour cream lid cut to shape.

This is what makes it all worth it.  A three year-old who believes that he is Wolverine and wants to wear his costume for hours on end!  You should see his moves!

Here they all are ready for some good ol' trick or treating.

I sure love these guys, even if they did try to eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homemade Halloweens past...

The good news is that I think I have scavengered up most of the things I will be needing to make costumes.  The bad news is that I haven't gotten very far at all!  Everyday the older boys come home from school and ask me if their costumes are done yet.  They must think that I sit on the couch picking and flicking while they are away.  Nope.  Not done. 
I thought I might post a few pictures of some of the past creations...
But first I had to post the Halloween picture that started it all:

Awww.  Isn't that sweet.  Look at us all young and thin and thinking life was all unicorns and rainbows.

Now, not all of our kids' costumes have been homemade and not all of my brain cells are still intact after having all these kids.  This being said, I have no idea where I might find all of our Halloween pictures.  Here is just a sampling.  Just smile and nod if you have seen them before on this blog or anywhere else.

My very first attempt at homemade.  Sweet little Leo/Superman.  Probably sad that I tried to comb his hair Superman style.

Oh my gosh.  I don't even know what to say.  This picture just cracks me up!  Look at puffy little Big Bird/Jack on the left.  Don't you just want to squeeze those cheeks?  I have to say, Optimus Prime was one of the coolest we have created thus far.  The signature semi-truck roof lights on his shoulders even lit up!  Evan's skeleton costume glowed in the dark too.

We thought that our Ollie-gator should be just that for his first Halloween.  Still bugs me that the pants were the wrong color. 

Try creating an Iron Man without a mask... this is what I came up with.  What is great about kids is that you need only come close and their imagination does the rest.  Jack BELIEVED he was Iron Man.  Of course it was before all of the new-fangled store-bought arc reactors came out so he had an LED push light on his chest.

Evan also believed that he was really the Amazing Spider-Man.  The mask and gloves are the only things that I did not make on this costume.

Another one of our favorites.  Leo hates to be the center of attention and you should have seen the amount of people who tried to talk to him!  Good thing he had a Darth Vader sound box inside his helmet that he could use to distract people while he ran the other way!

Check out the cute mugs on these guys.. and the big bobble-head. 

Wow.  You'd think of all of the Halloweens past, I would be able to come up with a few good pictures from the last one.  Instead, these are grainy cell-phone pictures.  I had to put a few of Bowser (that was a complex, but really fun costume to make) at different angles since Evan is nearly cut out of the group picture. 

Taking this trip down memory lane and seeing all of these happy trick-or-treaters gets my creative juices flowing and makes me excited for this year's projects.  It also makes me very tired. 
Good night, don't let the bed bugs bite!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The final choices have been made.

Yes, it is not even October yet, but we start talking about ideas for Halloween costumes about mid-summer.  Usually, the requests change several times before I can even get working on them, but I think we have our winners for this year!  Let me first explain that I don't really know how to sew.  I don't  know how to read a pattern that even calls itself  "Simplicity" to make me feel more stupid . I would love to be a great seamstress, but for now, I settle with a little sewing and a lot of hot glue sticks!
I get stressed out over it every year, but I love making my kids' costumes and seeing their excitement as they come to form.  I don't remember ever having a store-bought costume growing up.  Even if it was stuff from my own closet with a few added accessories, the creativity was the fun part.  So let the creativity begin!

Leo's choice this year is Green Lantern.  I think the final decision making point came when he asked if he would get his own light-up ring and I said yes.

Evan, as you may have guessed, decided to be Flash because he can run sooooo fast!  Although I would like to follow his blue-print, I think the final product will be an amped up version of this 2005 rendering I did for Jack's first Halloween.

Jack has started planning for about the next five Halloweens, but for this year he came out of the blue with Master Chief from Halo.  I feel a little guilty, like I am cheating.  I actually made a Master Chief costume for Leo two years ago.  It conveniently fits Jack now.  After a little touching up, it should be great. 

And Ollie... we talked about being Plex, or a Minion from Despicable me... some of his favorites...
He finally decided on Wolverine and is sticking to it. 

Of course when I make them, they always end up being versions that are much more kid friendly.  And usually padded and warm.... I hated wearing my coat over my costume.  Come on!!
So soon, I will be hitting thrift stores and craft stores to find just the right things to dye, cut, sew, glue, paint and ultimately bring smiles to my favorite little faces.
Wish me luck.