Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Prep Round Up

More Halloween? you gasp


More Halloween.

Go Big or Go Home, folks.

Here's some more Halloween Prep we got taken care of over the weekend!

Okay, so, explanation time:
We have the above giant barren wall in our entryway.
Granted, it's not barren now. In fact, it rarely is. I had these grand visions of getting a cozy little padded bench with storage for shoes and such, and maybe a snazzy little portrait or picture gallery...but usually it's just this great blank canvas of a space that gets altered every couple of months (admittedly, usually with construction paper) to coordinate with the season.

So the entry way wall now sports this spiffy little yarn wreath, which I already had wrapped and languishing in a corner somewhere. I just added some Dollar Tree Ribbon and Voila! Hallowreath!

The construction paper bats just sort of took over.
Isabelle was down for the count Saturday and the other two natives were getting restless, so I put them to work tracing and cutting out bats. It kept everyone relatively happy for a good couple of hours. Score.

My favorite bit about the wall right now? The One-Legged Red Mummy riding a bad (see above). It's Mr.Man's little addition to the decor. Sophie's was a black blob of construction paper she cut out and stuck onto the closet door. When asked (in the nicest way I could possibly find) just what the heck it was, I got a patronizing look and an eye roll. "Mooo-ooom, it's a Walrus. Get it? WALL-rus?"  That kid is creepy smart. And funny. I got pwned by a four-year-old.

The Monkey is also responsible for the Punkin Patch lining the baseboards all around the entry way and adjoining hallway. I told you they were quiet and busy for a couple of hours!

And then...we carved pumpkins!
And by we...I mean me.
Because The Munchkins always seem to love the idea of carving pumpkins, just notsomuch the execution of it all.  I think The Monkey forgot how icky scooping out pumpkin innards can be.

Mr. Man was, appropriately, making monster faces in nearly every picture.

Except for this one!

Check out those gourds, baby!
It was a LOT of seeds. Seriously. A LOT.

I have no idea what's going on in this picture...

Bell, obviously, still flu-y and not happy about  missing out, decided to sit and watch. Then she promptly went to throw up again. Ew. Poor little Munchkin.

And, after all the decorating and pumpkin carving that went on this weekend, we still had more to do! Since Halloween itself falls on a Monday, there were class parties to prepare for.
*caveat* did you know that in public schools you actually aren't allowed to call them Halloween Parties? Everyone is having "Harvest Celebrations" AND, down to brass tacks, the classrooms themselves aren't even allowed to recognize any Holidays on the calendar at all with the exception of a "Friendship recognition" in February and an "End of the Year" celebration in May. Poor things. 

But, YMCA to the rescue!
The Munchkin's Before & After-School care programs were having a monumentally gargantuan Halloween celebration this afternoon. So, the excuse was born to try our hand at Caramel Apples.

My God, what a pain in the ass these were. Seriously. 30 Caramel Apples later I've vowed to spring the $2 a pop for them next time. It's so worth it.  Don't believe all the blogland divas out there who say whipping up your own batch is a piece of cake! I did. I desperately wanted to believe I could turn out gorgeous, evenly coated apples with a minimum of fuss and muss. But I couldn't.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the disaster that was Cake Pops.
Those little boogers just weren't happening. Maybe I'm just a perfectionist? But if it looks more like poop on stick with googly icing eyes? It's. Staying. Home.  I'm not sending poop on a stick in for 20 four-year-olds to giggle at. I have my pride. 

So the PreSchoolers got individual treat bags full of tootsie rolls and suckers and candy sticks...and I ran out this afternoon on my lunch hour to replenish the Trick-or-Treating stash. Thank goodness I keep random crap like ziplock trick-or-treat bags on hand! See? Being a pack rat pays off. BooM.

And Biz & Mr. Man, ultimately, after some unique swearing and after-hours drinking by yours truly, skipped off to school with 30 Caramel Apples.

Plus a few extras, because I was already swearing, and drinking, and covered from fingertips to elbows in semi-dried caramel.

Happy Halloween, gang. Happy Halloween.

Little Red... and a continuation of the sew-along

I. Have. Been. Slacking.


But I'm making up for lost time.

I've completed my second (of the three months I'm supposed to be participating in! Typical.) project from the Oliver+S Little Things to Sew sew-along over at a little gray!


Also typical? SO not the project everyone else was doing this month.

Don't get me wrong, I had the material all picked out and the pattern pieces all transferred over to freezer paper for the Bias-Trim Apron, it just got set aside at the last moment in favor of a Halloween-Emergency Little Red Riding Hood Cape.

Here's me furiously stitching the lining in last night.
I used a deep crimson, thin-wale corduroy for the exterior and the cherries quilters weight cotton for the interior. I used a snippet of bright blue grosgrain ribbon for the button closure and just an old antique-y looking button from my stash to finish things off.

Also? I apologize in advance, dearest daughter, if the bottom hem falls out at some point during Trick-or-Treating. You see, I snapped my last machine needle clean off when I stitched right through a pin. Argh! So that bottom hem there? The bit that should have taken me another 30 seconds to stitch up and turn and be done with? That bit took me nearly an hour in hand-stitching. I would never complete anything if I hand stitched everything!

Still. It looks pretty awesome.
(Tooting my own horn)
And I'll have completed pictures tonight once the eldest Munchkin gets her grubby little paws on it.
(It was completed sometime around the 2:30am mark last night. *yawn*)

Huzzah for procrastination and last-minute projects!


The Biz loves her new capelet.
She wore it to school Monday, Trick-or-Treating, and I caught her wearing it randomly around the house the next day as well. I'd call this one a successful project!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zombie Walk

So Saturday was my second favorite annual even of the year!
My first is the Polar Plunge, which benefits the Special Olympics, but the Broad Ripple Zombie Walk is a close fact, with its rapid-fire growth? It may just eclipse into "Favorite".
Each year partners with local business to host the Broad Ripple Zombie Walk to benefit Gleaners Food Bank. It's a massive 1000+ throng of the undead who shuffle through the main and side streets of Broad Ripple Avenue. with a donation of 10lbs of food you can snag yourself a sweet, limited edition Tshirt, and the satisfaction of doing a little good for your fellow man.

You would be amazed how into this event people get. Makeup has gone from slapdash white and green and red to movie-grade cosmetics and prosthetics. There are people that go NUTS over this. And this year? This year the event not only included the walk, a feast, a prom, and a night of insane music at Tru afterwards but also? A real, live, legally binding wedding. That's right. People got married. In Zombie Regalia.

And guess who got tapped to help decorate the "wedding gazebo"?
Yours truly.
Oh. Yeah.

So, a few yards of white material, green and black gauze, hanging paper lanterns, bloody cobwebs, and a bucket or so of fake blood later, and our little pop up tent was transformed (with the help of one brilliant Jen- It's a Pop Up, People!-Smith. xo)

This is also the first year that I've allowed The Munchkins to come along.
Previous years I've held this night in reserve as a grown-up outing. Mostly, let's be honest, so I could run around and be ridiculous. But they'd been begging for two consecutive years now to attend, so I relented. They had a blast. Not one tear, not one worried face at all the gruesome displays, and just a teeeeny bit of whining once we reached the witching hour and they realized they'd been going full-steam ahead and on their feet for hours on end.

Oh and this year? We raised 5,349 pounds of canned food according to the reps from Gleaners.
For those of you playing along at home? That's over TWO TONS of food for our local homeless.
And our shuffling horde grew to a whopping 1000+ zombies this year.

For an event near and dear to my dark little heart I feel like bragging to EVERYONE.
Look what we can do when we really try, people

Seriously. Don't you want to be a part of this next year?

It's NEVER too early to start planning next year's costume
Zombie Walk 2012

The Shins

This is my bliss today

If I can't have time away listening to the soft roar of the surf on a beach...

If I can't lift a hand to shield my eyes from the glare slanting down into the shadow of a mountain...

If I can't measure my heart beats by the drum of running shoes slapping the pavement...

I'll be here, at my desk, listening to this and breathing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Costumes: Raccon Suit

Because I have, quite possibly, the worst short term memory On. The. Planet. (Sorry, Elise!!!) I am still in possession of one little-man-sized Raccoon Suit

I used (and altered for a size 6mo. infant) Jessica of Running With Scissors' Woodland Animal Pattern. It's such a well-constructed pattern, that the adjustments to the size and the accessories were easy to make.

I constructed the bulk of the body just like the Fox costume, but I swapped out the zipper in the front for a Velcro closure (mostly because it was what I had on hand, to be honest about it) and I dipped into my faux fur stash to add some rings to the Raccoon Tail and interiors of the ears, forgetting what an enormous, ridiculous MESS that stuff is. There are still stray 'raccoon' hairs embedded in the carpet I'm sure.

All in all, the costume came together quickly and I'm getting better at the fine-tuning of the pattern the more I construct it. It's a comforting place to be in, knowing that my sewing chops have improved to the point where I can take & alter an existing pattern in small ways and not completely screw the entire thing up...

I fit some other, assorted sewing in over the weekend (a few headbands for the girls, a fully reversible Vampire Cape for Mr. Man and some more leggings for The Monkey, as the temperature is finally dropping here) More on all that later!

Happy Monday, gang.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Afternoon Crafting: Halloween Edition

Last Saturday afternoon, the kids were getting squirmy.
I decided there was a dearth of Halloween decor at the house, and they needed something constructive to do before I sent them all to their rooms for pummeling each other. So we made playdough Ghosts and spooky Halloween trees.

Making your own playdough at home is ridiculously easy.
We just combined a cup of flour, a cup of salt and a half cup of water in a large mixing bowl. Stir until you get a nice uniform consistency and divide evenly between each kid.

 They pinched and pulled their way into a horde of ghosts and gravestones

Then we just microwaved the ghosts on a plate one or two at a time for 20- to 30-second intervals until the dough was fairly firm (maybe one& a half or two minutes in total). Be sure to let them sit for a minute before prying them off the plate - those suckers are HOT!

Then, just decorate your ghosts and gravestones with permanent markers! Voila!~

We also tried twisting small, leftover paper bag lunch sacks into spooky trees, but The Munchkins got frustrated with this one, and decided it was best to let momma twist up the trees while they arranged everything to their liking on the kitchen windowsill.

  The little pressed paper houses they decorated with a combination of markers and watercolors to make their Haunted Houses. I found the lot of them at Hobby Lobby for about a dollar each. I initially thought they'd make great houses for the Peg People we've been churning out, but the kids decided they needed haunted houses instead.

The Monkey's Haunted House still ended up playing home to a slew of princess peg people...

I'm a pretty  big fan of The Biz's (above) The Little Red Riding Hood peg people found a home here.

So there you go, an entire afternoon of crafting and painting and sculpting and twisting and gluing and laughing and not pummeling each other. It's a miracle I tell you. Worth every minute of the hour and a half cleanup later that night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zombie Accessories

It's that time of year again!
We're prepping for the annual Broad Ripple Zombie Walk at my house this week.

That means corn syrup blood and Zombie Manicures

There are a couple of great options for DIY Fake Blood.
The most popular I've found is just a half cup dark Karo corn syrup + red food coloring + a couple teaspoonsful of cocoa powder to get a nice, thick, gritty consistancy.

I also mixed a batch of blood using just a cup of dish soap & a couple drops of red food coloring. It was a brighter red blood than the corn syrup, but dried much more quickly (a good spray bottle to have for day-of application!)

And...finally, the girls and I all gave ourselves Zombie Apocalypse Manicures.
For that, I've-just-eaten look ...


Two coats of white nail polish.
Then, holding the nail brush an inch or so from the nail, let one or two drops fall on each nail. Swirl and scratch colors around the nail using a toothpick for a splattered look.
Ta Da! Nails fit for the Undead.

~  Until next time, guys & ghouls!  ~

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