Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Waiting for sequins and glue to dry! [Read more…]
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Waiting for sequins and glue to dry! [Read more…]
We usually take our cue for Halloween costumes from whatever movie our kids are into. They were totally obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, this summer.
My in-laws gave the kids this beautiful Wizard of Oz storybook when they all came to the hospital to meet our newest baby, Annika. That pretty much sealed the deal on what our family costume theme would be.
The Wizard of Oz has additional sentimental value for me: My paternal grandmother was a Kansas farm girl. Like the Dorothy in the movie, she grew up in the wide open space of Western Kansas during the Great Depression. Here she is, in 1951, holding a Kansas sunflower. I grew up near Seattle, the “Emerald City”, and it was there that my grandmother introduced the Wizard of Oz movie to me.
Also, The Wizard of Oz was the first musical in which I was ever cast. I was thirteen, and I was completely stage-struck after that! I am the blonde girl on the left, wearing a black and yellow Jitterbug costume. My hand is resting on the shoulder of my youngest brother. My other brother was the Mayor of the Munchkin City. He is the boy in front, wearing the blue hat. My little sister was the tiniest Munchkin and she is being held by the Scarecrow.
Here we were, backstage with Toto. Fun fact: The boxes behind us were full of fortune cookies. (The backstage area was adjoined to an Asian food warehouse.)
Anyway, back to the present! As usual, it took a village to pull off costuming the entire family. My mother-in-law, Karen, has also been a costumer for years. Whenever I need something extra special, I know who to ask for help! I call Karen the “Accessories Queen”. She always has the best pieces that really complete a look and make a character extra recognizable, like the witch’s broom and black cape that she loaned me for my Wicked Witch of the West costume.
Karen provided hats for Jeff and me
and Emma’s wand.
She surprised us with the darling Toto basket for Eliza
Basically, the moral of the story is this: Even if you are already a costumer, be sure to befriend other costumers in your area and treat them like gold! Build community with them and share costume pieces! You will make friends and save money in the process. Just be sure to be a courteous borrower and return things promptly and in good, clean condition!
Also, in case you are wondering, this is how you pack lots of costumed kids into a Suburban.
In upcoming blog posts I will show you how I made/assembled the pieces for each of our Wizard of Oz character costumes.
Talking about failure doesn’t seem like an inspirational way to start a creative costuming blog. However, I get lots of questions along the lines of “You have five kids! How do you do it all?” The truth is, I don’t! I have files and files of guilt in my brain over things I wish I could do or that I could do better. The sad thing is that I’ve even had guilt over not finishing costuming projects I’ve started. You guys, it’s a bummer when even your hobby can make you sad. However, that is sometimes my reality. Many, many times I have asked myself, “Why is this so hard?” or “Wasn’t this supposed to be fun?”.
I was on top of my game, this September. I was already working on our family’s themed Halloween costumes: The Wizard of Oz. And, by on top of my game, I mean that I was planning and sewing things six weeks before Halloween instead of the usual one week before Halloween. I was shopping in my favorite thrift store and came across something I’d seen there a few times before. It was a GIANT bolt of yellow, fake fur. It was 60 inches wide and there had to be at least 6 yards on that roll. This bolt had been living in clearance for a while, so it was going for $3.25. A screaming deal! It seemed to be calling to me, and I decided it would be really cute as part of Oliver’s “Cowardly Lion” costume. So, I balanced it awkwardly on top of our double stroller and bumbled my way to the checkout counter. I couldn’t fit through the door, so Emma and Elliott volunteered to shoulder the roll out to the car.
The kids had so much fun with the fur when we got home! They held it over their heads like strong men in a carnival show.
They rolled it on the floor. They sat on it. It turned into a goofy “photo shoot”.
I decided to triple-dog-dare myself by posting these pictures on Facebook. If I wrote about my project, that meant I had to deliver and finish it, right? In the subsequent weeks leading up to Halloween, I saw a couple, toddler-sized lion costumes at Goodwill, but I passed them up. I was determined to have a handmade Halloween. My preferred way to costume is to re-purpose existing garments or to make things from scratch. No cheating and buying pre-made things allowed! Well…The night before Halloween arrived and Jeff ran out to Target to perform a mission of mercy for me. He grabbed a “Cowardly Lion” hoodie and a “Dorothy” dress for Eliza. I was disappointed that I didn’t live up to my own expectations.
However, the kids had so much fun, the next day. As far as I could tell, it didn’t matter to them where their costumes came from, although they had enjoyed watching me create some of the pieces. They just lived in the moment and had a blast dressing like characters from one of their favorite movies. They had already had their fun with that ridiculous bolt of yellow, fur fabric. I’m pretty sure we got our money’s worth out of it.
Talking about failure doesn’t seem like a promising way to start a blog. However, I get lots of questions along the lines of “You have five kids! How do you do it all?” The truth is, I don’t! I have files and files of guilt in my brain over things I wish I could do or that I could do better. The sad thing is that I’ve even had guilt over not finishing costuming projects I’ve started. You guys, it’s a bummer when even your hobby can make you sad. However, that is sometimes my reality. Many, many times I have asked myself, “Why is this so hard?” or “Wasn’t this supposed to be fun?”.
I almost gave up on the idea of starting this blog, too. However, I realized that instead of having a host of unfinished costumes, what I really have is a bunch of half-finished costumes. (Is the glass half empty, or is it half full?) I still have the passion to create and write and I want to share that with you.
So, do you have an elephant in your sewing room? Is it a white elephant? Is it polka-dotted, or is it bright yellow and furry, like mine? Are there unfinished skeletons and ghosts in your costume closet that seem to reproach you every time you open that door? It’s okay! I get it. I really do. This blog exists to remind you and me to take a little bit of time to create, despite the odds. “Yes You Can!” is our rallying cry. Yes you can foster imaginative play with the children in your life through your handiwork. Yes you can find inspiration in the everyday and make truly remarkable things that bring joy to yourself and others. In the meanwhile, that bolt of yellow fur is still propped against a corner of the sewing room/guest room. Today, I choose to look at it as a cheery reminder that today is another day to make some magic.
P.S. Does anyone need a giant bolt of yellow fur?
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