Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween costumes

Trying to decide what to dress up the kids as this year didn't come to me very quickly. I certainly didn't plan to slave for hours over costumes that would probably only be worn once and likely be stained with sticky stuff, mangled, and who knows what. After shooting down the idea of Batman (for my 4 year old girl) and Robin (for my 1 year old boy), I decided to go back to basics and I couldn't resist this costume idea from

I convinced myself that I didn't really have to sew anything and it didn't really look too hard. And it wasn't. I did end up having to make the pilot's cap which could easily be found here due to time and money constraints. I'm not too fond of making up my own patterns for things so I searched high and low for a free pattern download for this very basic cap and came up with nothing. But somehow, I managed to make my own pattern in two different sizes even. And, it came out great (aside from the dreaded trip to Joann's which always ends up making me feel like going postal; standing in line to cut fabric for 20 minutes with people who can't keep track of what number they are on despite the gigantic digital screen. They've also never heard of ribbing or fusible vinyl [nothing to do with this project], anyway).

All the materials and instructions are on the Martha Stewart site so I won't rehash any of that. I don't particularly like hot gluing anything as it is my experience that nothing ever stays glued on. The felt comb on the hat has stayed on well though, and I only severely burned by finger once. The gloves on the sneakers, not so much as my "monkey pants" is no twinkle toes to say the least. So I used a piece of yellow duck tape on top of all the folds at the back of heel to hold everything down and it worked beautifully. The feathers are a bit of a pain to tack on by hand but it's doable especially if you're sitting in front of the TV while doing it. I didn't find a white leotard so I tried to bleach a pink one white but settled for pale pink. For the little suit, I used a long sleeve onesie. And that's about it. I dressed up as farmer girl to complement my little chick that I have to carry around with me most of the time.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Birthday Cake

Having done the 3D pumpkin and frog cakes for my daughter's previous birthdays, I decided to do something more of a traditional cake shape but stylized this year. I thought I would do a cute polka dot and bows type of thing to tip the scales more towards a feminine balance. So a couple of days ago I came up with this idea inspired by a Meomi's September desktop calendar that I totally loved.

It didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned it and I wish I had more time to have added a couple extra details. Because I've only been doing cakes in fondant, I'm not used to making decorations with butter cream anymore so my fern leaves were very blob-y. I should have used royal icing but that pesky time thing again. Although this cake is pretty gender neutral I think it fit the "cute" requirement I was looking for.

"Monkey pants" gets so excited about cake she even ate the pine cone guy. She also caused me a lot more work when I left her eating her lunch on the kitchen counter alone with the orange fondant leaves that were set out under a paper towel to dry. I was in such a hurry to take her to preschool that I didn't even realize the devastation until I came back to clean up the kitchen. All the leaves were gone ... totally gone; not even a fondant crumb was left. It was a good thing she was at preschool because it gave me a couple of hours to cool down.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Face painting

For my daughter's upcoming birthday party, I decided I might try my hand at face painting. I collected some photos from the internet I liked, check out a book at the library, and bought some face paints at the party store. The face paints are not very cheap but cheaper than hiring a face painter, right.

Here's a couple of the faces I've tried so far. Now if I can only get my face painting time down to ten minutes from twenty minutes a face for the party. I think I may have to enlist a volunteer to help out too.

The painting part is actually much easier than it would seem. The only thing that makes it challenging is that the canvas is constantly moving around (at least my canvas). It's not too hard to wash off, but the black takes a bit more scrubbing as the paint is grease or oil based. It makes for a fun activity especially as it gets too cold to go outside. My 3-year old thought it was "amazing" when she looked in the mirror. I even talked my husband into letting me practice on him.

Links & References

I ordered a 14 paint set made by Snazaroo from Ebay but I don't think it will get here in time for the party so I was able to find some locally at my local Zurchers discount party store. I got a 5 paint set made by Mehron for $8 and a couple of single color cups, green and orange for about $3 ea. (although I don't see that they have Mehron paints online).

Here are a couple of really good videos:
Kid's Tiger (I used this one for the tiger I did but changed the forehead to look like "Master Tigress" from Kung Fu Panda with which my daughter is currently obsessed.