Tag Archives: children

Make It Monday – Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? How to be a mermaid.

Last year was our first year participating in our church’s Trunk or Treat event as Dorothy and the scarecrow, and I did a tutorial about ruby slippers. This year, after a failed attempt at a theme based on the movie “Up,” we’ve decided to be a mermaid and a pirate! When I was a little girl, one of my favorite movies, like so many little girls, was The Little Mermaid. (The only difference between me then and little girls now is that I got to see it when it came out in theaters!)

I have to admit, we’re cheating a little. Remember the pirate costume we put together for the hubs for the renaissance festival?


Yeah, I think I’ll make a vest and call it a day. With a costume as elaborate as a mermaid, I need all the extra help I can get. Especially considering our car’s trunk is going to be dressed up as a giant clam shell. Uh huh.

The pirate costume consists of a thrifted large ladie’s linen shirt (a t-shirt will do,) thrifted men’s linen pants, jaggedly cutoff (khaki will do,) a head scarf (or a hat!) a belt, a piece of “creepy fabric” from the dollar store tied at the waist, and plenty of jingly and sea-shell-y jewelry (thrifted and from home.) Hubs just happened to have a wooden sword – don’t ask. Add black, smudged eyeliner, maybe an eyepatch, a scar or two, and you’re a pirate! A tried and true, easy & traditional costume.

Now for the mermaid.

The unfinished costume.

 Let me first say, I still need to add fins to the bottom of the skirt, using blue and green tulle. I got lucky and scored a bright red (unused) wig from Goodwill for $5, that I’m excited to be able to reuse for costumes like Poison Ivy, Jessica Rabbit, and other fantasy creatures. Any time you can find an “investment” costume piece, go for it!

I made “face fins” inspired by a cool makeup tutorial: http://youtu.be/b5DkwjEelW0. I used blue floral wire and the same tulle as my tail fins, then got a little fancier and hand sewed gold and green sequins to the tulle with gold thread. The tutorial will teach you how to shape and attach the fins.

The “bra” shells are made from purple felt and scraps of iridescent fabric. I drew a simple pattern for the shells about the size of my bra cup, then traced the pattern with a marker onto the felt. I did the same with the iridescent fabric, marking a pretty wide margin outside the line of the pattern. After cutting out the shell shapes, I began stitching the iridescent fabric on top of the felt, puckering the iridescent fabric to create ridges, and gathering the straight stitches tightly to creat a slight curve to the shell. Then I stitched the outline of the shell, and added some natural shells and fake pearls to the bottom of the “cup.” In the picture, the shells are just pinned onto a nude tank top. I plan on pinning them a little higher with safety pins on Halloween. 

I created the tail from stretchy metallic knit that I had leftover from a goddess costume. The fabric isn’t the cheapest (I found it on sale,) but you only need a couple of yards. I traced a fitted, pencil-style skirt with chalk on the back of the fabric, down to knee length, marking where the knees were, and then tapered off into a v-shape at ankle length. I folded the top of the waist on each piece down and sewed to create a neat edge. Then I pinned the pieces (pretty sides together) and sewed seams down to the mark I made for knee length. I sewed a zipper into one of the side seams – it’s really easy! – and cut the excess fabric from the seams. The end result is a tail-shaped fin with slits on each side from the knee down. I plan to cut tulle into fin shapes and sew it to those slits to create the illusion of a mer-fin. Similar to this:

Another great idea for a pin-up style mermaid!

There are so many different ways to do mermaid makeup, I won’t even attempt to suggest one to you. Youtube and Google are full of ideas from natural looks to wacky ones, like the link a few paragraphs up. I will, however, suggest some false eyelashes! I was able to find some in red to match my wig. I also found some fake pearls in colors to match my costume, along with some abalone shell beads, and I’m creating some very under-the-sea jewelry.

As far as the giant shell for our trunk is concerned? You can see it peeking out at the bottom right corner of the pic of my mermaid costume … it’s made from 6 pieces of foam board, cut with a razor, painted with acrylic and accented with some glitter. I’ll either tape or “sew” it together with monofilament (fishing line) and cut a hole in the middle piece of the bottom portion of the shell for a stool to sit on. I’ll sit and blow bubbles as the pirate hands out candy from our treasure chest – a plastic shoe box covered in wood-grain contact paper, accented with a skull and crossbones cut from a styrofoam headstone.

I’ll be sure to post pics of the end result next Monday! Do you have a cool mermaid costume to share?

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Tuesday’s Treasure – Bearseatoats and doeseatoats and littlelambseativy …

… akid’lleativytoo, wouldn’t you?

I’m wiped out today, but this treasury full of vintage playthings makes me smile:

Kids by flabbyrabbit

It reminds me of endless fun with Strawberry Shortcake and Ninja Turtles!

On a related note, if you missed this Etsy blog post, it’s so worth the inspiration:  Modern Kiddo 

What were your favorite childhood toys?

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Thoughtful Thursday – Here Comes The Rain Again

Snuggle Bunnies Rabbits In The Rain by lulufroot

Today is a cloudy, thunderstormy spring day in Texas. Minus the hail (and the occasional tornadoes) we get in May, I love the spring weather here. It’s not the depressingly cold rain we get in late fall and winter. It’s either cool and refreshing or warm, sticky, and humid. It’s the kind of rain you can dance around in comfortably, as long as you’re not worried about your hair or anything.

When I was little, Mom and I used to dance in the rain. It’s one cheap form of entertainment, let me tell ya. Do people do that kind of thing with their kids anymore? It’s one thing to reluctantly say,” Okay, you can go play in the rain … but be sure to take off your shoes before you come in the house. I don’t want you tracking mud all over my {insert expensive flooring or rug here.}” But do people actually grab their kids’ hands and run outside to enjoy the feeling of raindrops collecting on their eylashes?

I guess what I’m saying here is that, inevitably, you’re going to get wet. So, why not enjoy it? Why not make it memorable? I cherish the times Mom and I danced in the rain, or had water gun fights … come to think of it, lots of our activities involved water. – Tap water is cheap and rain water is free! – We got our hands dirty in the garden, we took wrong turns on purpose, we made things together (and still do.) I hope that I still approach life with the same hands-on, rather than hands up, attitude. I want to be the woman who harnesses the fearless spirit of a child. I never want to be afraid of the rain.

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Favorites & Freebies – Wooden Wonderland

Happy Friday, everybody!  This week, our newest favorites are all things woodsy.

Graphicspaceswood is an awesome woodshop with eco friendly and modern nursery and children’s furniture that’s so cute, you just might buy something for yourself.

Woodland Forest Friends Bookends

If you like wood so much you want to wear it, check out VectorCloud, a laser cut jewelry maker with an assortment of other cool products.

Rocker Baby Brooch

On to the freebies!

In need of some unique Christmas cards this year? TheDreamingDragonfly has a set of reproduction Victorian cards that are sure to make the recipient swoon. All you pay is shipping!

Chilly? Win a “bundle yourself up” set by de*nada.

Enter to win this hat, cowl, and glove set in purple and black.

Hint: If you’re on a budget this year (who isn’t?) and have a little free time, enter some giveaways! Don’t just enter for things you like, but things your friends and family might like. It’s a fun way to do a little “shopping,” and if you win it doesn’t cost you a thing. No one will ever know!

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Whatever Weekend – Grandma Joy and Grandpappy Happy & Why I (Still) Love to Color

Well, it’s raining here, so the garage sale we’ve been planning for weeks has been postponed to next weekend. I guess that means I’ll have time this weekend to finish my Halloween projects, and look around to see if there’s anything else I can sell (because I know there is.)  I bought some poppies from the dollar store to add to our Wizard Of Oz trunk decorations to make it “3D.” I’ve really enjoyed this project – dealing with a bigger canvas than usual makes me feeling like I’m coloring a giant coloring book. 

Coloring is kind of a tradition in our family. Someone gets sick or has to stay in the hospital, you bring them a coloring book and crayons. Someone’s having a bad day? Coloring book. Bored? Color. You get the idea. When Mom was sick, I got her an Alice In Wonderland coloring book and some Crayolas. I ended up coloring the most pictures (at her request,) but it helped me escape for a second, and it gave her something pretty to look at. I remember the first time I learned to color the way I still do now, with different strokes, shading in the picture, filling in the lines. I’m still a little kid, just in a bigger package. 

I tell you that, because want to tell you about my Aunt Joyce. She’s an artist living in Las Vegas, who has recently branched out into creating a series of kids’ coloring books. The books are based on two characters, Grandma Joy and Grandpappy Happy, who travel around the United States with their grandkids to teach them about each state through experience. Aunt Joyce also dresses in character as Grandma Joy, and visits kids in school to teach them about the U.S.

Grandma Joy, talking to the kids about Alaska.

She just opened an etsy shop, alstoncolors, for her educational coloring books. So far, Nevada, California, Florida, Texas, and New York are available for purchase. I can’t wait to see her shop fill up! She’s doing great things for her community, and now she’s branched out internationally. I think it’s pretty awesome and inspiring. The books are great for boys and girls, and would make a fun Christmas gift, so check out her shop!

All this talk about coloring makes me hungry. I think I’ll go have some toast and strawberry jam. Enjoy your weekend!

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