Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, we had pictures taken at JC Penney's.  I had neglected to call about it in advance and was happy that they could squeeze us in.  I am THRILLED with the results.  I am also EXHAUSTED from all of our Halloween activities, so I am not even going to try to come up with information about each picture.  Information on making the Cinderella dress can be found here.  Information on making the step sister dresses can be found here. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Completed Costume

Well,  I finished all our family costumes late Thursday night.  Friday, Lydia had 3 costume events to attend, one at 9 am, one at 3pm, and one at 6pm. Thankfully she got a nap in the middle (I would have liked one too!) I was in my costume (and super high teal heals) from 8 am until 9pm.  Fortunately, my costume (and my feet) held up well because today I will be in costume from 2pm until whenever a Zombie Prom finishes.  What I never thought about was how Lydia's dress would look after en entire day of candy eating, apple bobbing, and pumpkin painting. That is important, because the first Halloween event for today is that we are scheduled to have pictures taken.  Next year I will have to plan that better.... and as long as I am planning for next year, someone remind me that Zombie Prom would be a FANTASTIC Witches Brew theme!
Anyway, now that I think I have gotten all the stains out of Lydia's dress, it is time to show off mine! My costume, as usual, was part of a package deal with my sister's costume. I started our costume creations, as usual, at the thrift store. I found a polka dot dress that I thought would work for Jen and then worked on finding coordinating colors. The general idea was to do a mismatched gaudy version of Cinderella's step sisters in orange pinks with hits of lime green and red to make it funky. I bought the dress for Jen for $10, a green sweater for me for a couple of dollars, and a polka dot shirt the same colors as the dress.  I bought several sheets and drapes in the right colors, but ended up not needing them.  I had a green sweater already at home for Jen, so that was my initial idea; green sweaters and funky orange skirts. 
I did some work on my skirt last week.   It started out as a curtain panel and a shirt. I cut the top (arms and neck part) off of the shirt and used the tube as the under skirt. Then I sewed elastic into the curtain so it made a long skirt. I used safety pins to scrunch up the skirt and later decided to add a ruffle to the bottom edge. For some reason (maybe because there wasn't much to make) I just couldn't get going and waited until I had less than a day to finish it.  So I drew a plan for the costumes, starting with the parts I had and adding details to make the drawings look good.  Pretty soon I knew what I needed to do and I set out to add some ruffles and final touches to our outfits.  I was happy that, in plan at least, the costumes referenced each other without completely matching 
I finished both costumes at about 11pm, WAY passed my bedtime, but I am SO glad I added those last few details.  Here is a picture of my skirt. I was able to wear the tank top and the waist band that were originally intended for the circus wedding.  They even inspired the use of the red and white fabric for the ruffle, and I am SO happy with them. In the meantime, a good friend borrowed the ringleader jacket and Lydia's top hat for her costume and she ROCKED them! (I think I have just about costumed the entire 37918 zip code!)
Here is a good shot of my makeup and the edge of my teal tank.  I sewed some of the red strip to the top of it as well.  I did my make up extra heavy (super fun!), added a mole, and piled my hair on top of my head and I was ready for an entire day if being Cinderella's "ugly" step sister.
This picture was taken at the end of a really long, really rainy day, so everything felt a little flat. It does show Jennifer's costume.  I just hiked up her skirt with a safety pin and sewed ruffles onto her slip.  She added a sweater and I pinned on teal sleeves that I cut off an old dress.   You can see the professional pictures with Lydia, Jennifer, and myself in them by clicking here.  You can see prior Halloween photo shoots herehere, and here.
Here is a picture of myself with PJ.  This may be our only Halloween photo as he is preparing for a big car show and may not be able to join us for our photos.  I hate my knees.  Just a thought.  I might have to get new knees before our pictures on Saturday.  Just a thought.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Decorations at Witches Brew 2011

Here are just a few of the decorations that we set upfor Witches Brew, our annual Halloween Party!
We have always put up the spooky silhouettes, but this year they were a part of the glowing black light room.  The jointed glow in the dark skeleton was a splurge at $40 from Target.  PJ added a little black paint to accentuate the eyes, etc.  We intended to place the skeleton on the trapeze (if you are new to the blog.. yep.. I have a trapeze in my living room.  You can read about it here!) but liked it SO much under the black lights, we didn't bother.
You can see the new family room (black light area) occupied with actual party goers in the picture above.
The fireplace always gets some smaller trinkets.  We also put a vintage horror film on the TV with the sound turned down. This year it was Frankenstein.
Speaking of Frank, I found this doll at a thrift store and I think he is the perfect partner for the pumpkin gal.
This guy is new too.  He is also thrifted and fit well on the horse sculpture that lives on our mantle.  I HATE his sweater, bu didn't have time to make him anything more appropriate.  Next year he will get a wardrobe overhaul.  Maybe something like a Jack Skeleton suit.
I have been keeping my eyes open for apothocary style containers at thrift stores.  This year I used them to display plastic Halloween toys.  I use these jars as decorative features for lots of parties, so I pick up good looking containers whenever I find them for a good price.
Our china hutch became the black cat area this year.
The new addition includes a small room off one side that will probably become an office at some point.  For the party we themed it as a fortune telling room.  It had black plastic like the rest of the new addition, but we added glow in the dark spider webs and a small table.
PJ actually made the table so that he could rig it with a glowing crystal ball (a round light fixture from the hardware store with a green light bulb.  We through some playing cards and a magic 8 ball around for added fun.
I found the "Beware" sign last year at a thrift store.  We made custome name tags for the first ever witches brew.  One says "Hello, my HUMAN name is..." and the other says "Hello, my WITCH name is...."
I made a little shrine on an end table with a book about the show Wicked and a few Halloween trinkets.
PJ made tombstones out of plywood scraps from the new addition.
These were MUCH more impressive at night.  They each have a glow stick inside them so they looked like aliens floating in the air by our front door (they are connected to the dog run cable!)
PJ added caution tape at the edge of our property.
Once again, I did my "freak show family" pictures where I swapped out our real pictures for carnival folks off the internet.  I haven't made replacements for all of my family pictures, so this year i wised up and marked the backs of the frames to make it easier next year.
I LOVE the wolf boy and I tell everyone that he is from PJs side of the family!
Finally, we made vampire pumpkins with inspiration from Pinterest (more on our Halloween Pin-spiration here.)

Halloween Pin-spiration

This Halloween was my first post Pinterest holiday.  I have been pinning ideas to pin boards for months and this was my first chance to make several of the ideas I have seen.  I can't take credit for the original idea on any of these (I will try to note original sources where possible), just the execution.  However, I am proud that I actually made something that I pinned! (original graphic found here.)
So, first I saw these Martha Stewart pumpkins on Pinterest.
And I found THESE for $1 at the thrift store.
And I GREW two little pumpkins in my GARDEN this summer (I deserve some extra credit for GROWING my own decorations!)
I pulled all that together to make THESE:
I didn't even bother to hollow them out!  I just carved a hole for the mouth and made the eyes so that they didn't go all the way through.
PJ made several larger, more evil looking pumpkins.
These looked SO good I just HAD to try them.  Salty and sweet are my FAVORITE flavor combination! (Originally from this blog.)
I looked but could not find the square pretzels they originally used.
I started with regular small twists and it still worked out fine.
Unwrapping all those Hugs was a PAIN, but SO worth the trouble!
Of course, I didn't read ANY of the directions, so I just shoved them in a warm oven for a few minutes and then squished them with the candy corn.
I quickly decided that these were unacceptable, ate all the evidence, lowered the temperature, and perfected my technique.
I wanted the oven just warm enough to melt the chocolate, so I turned my 350 oven OFF after it warmed up and then was perfect.  Then I pushed straight down on the point of the Hug and it smushed down to a nice circle.  I even tried to position the corn so the stripes went diagonally because I have OCD tendencies and it bothered me if they weren't perpendicular!
Finally, I was inspired by these table legs on Bubble Gum and Duct Tape.  Actually I am inspired by SO much on that site, it's probably good I didn't look for the directions prior to today! Time to start planning for next year's party!  I didn't notice until today that she cut out the bottom of the show, or maybe it is a fake shoe? SO SMART!  I found a pair of $3 shoes at goodwill and just slid them under the front 2 legs of my table, making the table a little uneven, but no one noticed!  Here is my version.
There are already SO many more ideas that I want to try, but didn't have time for.  Next year, same weekend, same time, stop by to see what new inspirations come to life for my Halloween party.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Better Bats!

Our church is gearing up for Trunk or Treat on Friday night and they asked my sister to help with a photo area and wall decorations.  She came up with the idea to do something with black silhouettes and bats and then promptly recruited me for the execution of the design.  I saw these swarming bats on a favorite blog years ago so I immediately understood the idea.
Searching for more bat images on Pinterest also revealed this similar idea from Country Living Magazine.  It was so nice that Jen and I both had access to similar picture sources via Pinterest.  The blog that posted the image on top also posted a bat pattern and tutorial, but that required cutting a TON of bat shapes.
I am still trying to finish my costume that I have to put on at 7am tomorrow and Jen has nursing school all day everyday, so I wasn't seeing us cutting out a ton of bat shapes.  Jen kept telling me about these easy bats she had seen on Pinterest.  She said they were just a piece of crepe paper streamers that had been tied in a knot to make a bat shape.  I couldn't picture it, and managed to not look it up prior to the agreed upon decorating day. I still can't really find the exact idea.  lots of different sites seem to have done bats out of grosgrain ribbon, but I can't seem to find many from crepe paper....until now!  Here is what we made with less than one roll of streamers!
I already had the witch silhouette.  I actually made that about ten years ago for my house in DC.  It happens to fit my windows in TN perfectly.  It is just white bulletin board paper that I taped to a wall of my classroom.  I turned on an overhead projector and had one of my students pose while I traced the shadow.  Later I painted it black.  They are starting to show there age so I will need to make some new ones soon.  You can see it illuminated in our windows during our Halloween party, posted here.
Ooops, off track again!  Back to the bats.  We already had the spooky silhouettes, so we just cut several long pieces of crepe paper streamers and then tied them with a knot in the center.
Then we made a loop of tape and stuck each bat to the wall.  I tried to arrange them so that it looked like a natural swarm.  The ones by the photo area are swarming out of the witches cauldron.  The rest swarm out of the corner of one door and the corner of one window.  I am SO impressed.  These were SO easy.  They took right at an hour, start to finish, to hang the silhouettes, make the bats and hang everything up.  This is the same large room that I have decorated for most of Lydia's birthdays and several other events and it always takes hours and hours.  I have to remind myself that these are JUST crepe paper streamers.  So EASY it is SCARY!
If you want more ideas for easy decorations with streamers or tissue paper click on the links!