Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dorothy's (Grandmother's) Search for the Ruby Slippers

I've been raising children since 1978.  This means I've been responsible for children's Halloween finery for the past 34 years.  I honestly don't remember ever making a costume completely from scratch.  It seems you're never too old to try something new.

My youngest granddaughter (Chatty Cathy) wanted to dress as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz this Halloween.  Or so she said several weeks prior.  Knowing how kids are inclined to change their minds right up until dinner on Halloween night, I didn't rush to buy the supplies necessary to complete this costume.  I even went out of state for a couple of weeks with the realization that I would probably get home with just days left to pull together the final costume, whatever that might be.  I was willing to take my chances so as to not waste my time, money, and limited supply of energy.

When I arrived home the weekend before Halloween, I confirmed that yes, Chatty C did still want to be Dorothy.  While impressed with her ability to stick with a decision, I was a little concerned with whether or not I could construct the costume with relatively little time until D(orothy)-day.

I'm convinced there must have been a parade of Dorothys around town this Halloween because there was barely over one yard of Dorothy-worthy gingham left in our local fabric store.  Even though my pattern required 2 1/2 yards, I was sure my (now-dormant) sewing skills would help me stretch that yard into what I needed.  Or maybe I expected Jesus to multiply my fabric much the same as He did with the bread and fishes when faced with a multitude of hungry people.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to fit my pattern pieces onto that tiny piece of fabric, but I finally succeeded.  It was later in the construction process that I realized I had misread the instructions and was actually missing one pattern piece.  But I made it all work somehow.  (Desperation, perhaps?)

Then it was on to finding ruby slippers.  I was certain I could find a pair of shoes around the house that could be repurposed.  After all, I had multi-surface glitter paint and red glitter to sprinkle on top.  How hard could that be?

Turns out it was much more difficult (and time-consuming) than I imagined.  We had nothing on hand even remotely close to what I needed.  I decided to visit my local Goodwill store to look for a pair of size 4 girl's slip-on shoes.  No luck (and I wasn't being picky).  I drove to Walmart.  Surely they had something inexpensive I could use.  Not only didn't they have anything inexpensive (by my standards, at least) they didn't have a single pair of size 4s.  On my drive home I passed another Goodwill, where I found a pair of off-white girl's size 3 1/2 shoes.   I had no idea if they would fit, much less work for what I had planned.  But it was 2 p.m. on October 31st.  I had no choice.

I rushed home and got to work.  The glitter paint didn't provide much coverage, but seemed to work pretty well as a base for the red glitter.  After allowing 30 minutes for the base coat to dry, I coated the shoes with a spray-on adhesive and applied more glitter.  Another 30 minutes and I applied a spray-on fixative with the hope it would minimize the trail of glitter left in my house.

The shoes fit well enough for a couple of hours of community-sanctioned begging trick-or-treating, and the trail of loose glitter was quickly absorbed by the cracks and crevices of my home that hold the rest of the dirt and grime.  I thought Chatty C looked adorable.  And she was quite pleased with her costume.  All was well in my world.  And it only took 34 years to get here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Grandson's First Halloween Card

I'm pretty much a one-trick pony.  At bedtime my children (and grandchildren) heard countless renditions of "Jesus Loves Me" sung off-key.  Playtime usually consisted of endless rounds of "Peek-a-Boo".  It must have been a big bore for them all.

For a couple of weeks in October my newest grandson was subjected to more of the same.  The singing didn't go over very well.  Peek-a-Boo?  Now that was a hit.

I wanted to make his first Halloween card as soon as I returned home.  I always struggle to come up with crafty designs.  But this one designed itself (or at least that's where I'm laying the blame):

The pumpkin is from the Cricut cartridge Create a Critter.  The rectangular frame was designed using Cricut Craft Room Basics.
The ghost is from the Cricut cartridge 3 Birds on Parade.  "Peek-a" was cut from the Cricut Lite cartridge B is for Boy, and the three dots following were cut using the Martha Stewart Screw Punch.
I also used an EK Success punch for the spider and web.  The ghost border inside was cut using a Martha Stewart border punch.
Yes, the card requires an explanation and a well-placed hint on the pumpkin "door", but I was pretty pleased with myself.  Not so much for the card itself, but because I mailed it before Halloween.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Birthday Surprises

Yesterday was my birthday.  At my age there wasn't much reason to celebrate.  Well, I suppose I could celebrate the fact that I did, in fact, wake up. 

My granddaughter had been hinting to me all week that my husband had done something special for my birthday while I was out of town.  She wisely informed me that it wasn't something big, just "really sweet".  It was obvious she was excited about whatever it was.

The morning got off to a rocky start due to what I'll call a "difference of opinion" between my husband and me.  And I wasn't thrilled to be crossing another year off my countdown to death.  I started to think the entire family would benefit if I just stayed in bed all day.  But even I get tired of being lazy after a while.  So I finally dragged my aching body to a semi-standing position and stumbled to the coffeemaker, where I found this:

"Awwww, how sweet!!!" you're probably thinking. 
Not me.  I felt violated.  Someone had been in my craftroom.  Using my stuff!  I felt the same anguish the Three Bears must have felt when Goldilocks invaded their home and ate their porridge. 
But once the shock wore off my heart started to melt.  My wonderful family had crafted.  For me!  They used punches, and stamps and cardstock, oh my!  Hubby even had one of the girls show him how to use my old red Sizzix machine so he could cut out "Happy Birthday".  (From what I was told it was the only die-cutting machine they didn't find too intimidating.)
The wall of Martha Stewart border punches was of particular fascination to my husband.  He had no idea how they worked so my granddaughter showed him how to punch a continuous border.  (If he ever listened when I talk to him he'd realize he's been given a full tutorial on every craft tool I've ever purchased.)  He even found my Mickey Mouse punch and used it for balloons (pretty clever!)  Then they inked and stamped... and stamped some more.
I recently wrote about my suspicions that my husband is a closet crafter.  These have now been confirmed. 
It took guts for him to mess around in my craft room.  But he had the good sense to stay away from my pretty paper.  Sometimes in spite of himself he actually hears something I say.

In the evening the four of us went out to dinner, then came home to enjoy cupcakes in all my favorite flavors.  For a few hours I was able to forget that I'm getting really old, and I simply enjoyed spending time with my husband and granddaughters.  And my cupcakes.