Archive for November, 2013


Well, Halloween has come and gone. My kids dressed up and threatened people for sugar along with their ravenous gang of friends. They’ve entered the time of the year I like least, when the perpetual sugar high from Halloween begins. It’s a sugar high that lasts through the end of the year thanks to holiday baking and stocking candy.

I was able to complete Pynni’s Weeping Angel and I didn’t have to threaten her within an inch of her life to get her to wear it, either. I cannot express to you the rush I felt when she WANTED to wear that costume and was determined to get it on almost two hours prior to trickertreating time. That rush, of having finished. That rush of her LIKING the results of my work. That rush of seeing her traipse along the sidewalk among her friends, completely satisfied with her costume. SUCH a rush.

I’ve made things for people before; worked really hard on them, but I don’t live near a vast majority of those people. I never see them wear what I make. Oh, sure, I get thank yous and lots of great feedback, but somehow, it isn’t the same. It is a GREAT feeling to see her unabashed enjoyment. And she was SO grateful! I was worried that she wouldn’t wear it. Not because she didn’t like it, but she balked so strongly whenever I had her try parts of it on. She would get embarrassed if anyone asked her about it. She didn’t want to be seen in the various parts and stages of this costume, but boy, how she owned the role, when she donned it in its entirety.IMG_1668

So after all the hard work and random moments of drama, The Weeping Angel was finished. I was glad that I’d planned in advance for Chi to be something other than another involved costume creation because I was tweaking Pynni’s costume until about 4pm on Halloween.

Chi decided he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. He likes them an inordinate amount for a kid who doesn’t like scary or freaky things. His costume was purchased and it came with a jumpsuit and a blow-up Proton Pack and gun thingy. He was over the top excited about being a Ghostbuster.

Pieces was the 10th Doctor. I got him a pinstriped suit and a Sonic Screwdriver. He already had the Converse. He, of course, was unbelievable cute in his suit “fixing” everything with his screwdriver. He was, also, super stoked to get dressed in his costume.

I went prepared when we went trickertreating this year. I brought bottles of water and a wagon. The wagon was to hold the costume parts my kids would inevitably shed through the course of the evening. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when my kids kept all of their costumes on almost the whole evening. The only exception was Pynni and her wings. She wore them for probably 80% of the night, but they started getting heavy and she wanted to take them off. Which, wow! My kids have not once, EVER worn their entire costumes all night.

When Chi was Mario, he took off his mustache right away and his hat about 15 minutes into trickertreating (that’s 3 Halloweens). When Chi was Harry Potter, he removed his glasses right away and took off his robes and put down his wand about 15 minutes into trickertreating. When Pieces and Chi were Minecraft Steve and Armored Minecraft Steve, I ended up carrying two heads, an axe, and a sword. Tinkerbell? Wings. Wall-e? Uh, no wait, Pieces wore that all night. He wanted to sleep in it.

Ok, so wow, this post has gotten away from me. So here they are. My kids on Halloween.

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IMG_1680I bought the newspaper for the papier-mâché, which was an adventure all on its own due to it being a Sunday and WHERE DO YOU BUY NEWSPAPERS THESE DAYS? A book store seemed logical to me (the bookstore I worked at in a previous life sold newspapers), but that was a big bust and gave me a good reminder of why I hate malls. So, then I thought about the convenience store I worked at in an even earlier life and how it sold newspapers, and that’s when I started hitting the gas stations. That turned out to be the right place , although the line was stupidly long.

After I got home, I tore the newspaper, which was much easier to do than tearing the tissue paper had been. Then I began dipping and placing. At first, I thought I’d hang the wings and paste like that, but the wings weren’t holding their shape well at the time so I laid the wings onto a covered work surface and started. Even this part was more involved than my brain had planned for it to be. I thought I’d be able to get one whole layer of paper done before letting it dry and doing another, smoother layer. WRONG.

IMG_1649Since the wings weren’t holding their shape, I had to reshape them on the table. AND since the wings to which I was pasting paper weren’t solid either, I was basically creating wings around a wire frame the paper stuck to the table. So after one side of one wing was done, I had to hang the wings up to dry, or the side would dry to the table. It took many hours for the one layer to dry completely, and since I was using a flour paste, complete drying was a necessity to prevent mildew.

When I laid the wings down to work on another side the next day, the previously pasted wing had… warped while drying. This goes back to the whole bit about the wings not holding the shape I wanted them to have. I decided I would do one side of the other wing and find a way to prop it away from any surface to which it might stick while it dried. Then I would reshape the warped wing when pasting the other side of it.

IMG_1648OKAY!

I’m just going to short-story it here for you and say that the reshaping didn’t work as great as hoped. THEN, I remembered that this is a costume that will be worn an entire ONE time, and probably not for the whole trickertreating event because my kids shed costumes on Halloween like cats do fur in the summer: just sort of constantly. THEN, I, also, remembered that it’s going to be dark and little details like feathers and slightly warped wings aren’t going to matter. THEN, I, ALSO REMEMBERED that between having to do a quarter of the wings per day and also having to do the ribs along the top of the wings separately, I WAS RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

IMG_1645The ribs took an entire extra day to dry completely. I think this is because the paper tubes got soaked and had to dry, also. When I tried the wings on Pynni, which aren’t at all as heavy as you’d think, the elastic bands from the Wings That Were were not nearly strong enough to hold the New Wings to her back. They just sort of hung down by her side. And this was BEFORE the wings were even painted.IMG_1646

So, while I waited the extra day for the wings to dry, I crocheted a new harness and a new mechanism to hold the new harness on the wings. And I went to the store to buy paint. I had decided after my “this doesn’t have to be perfect” epiphany that I was just going to spray paint the wings grey. At the store, they had “stone” faux finish spray paint. PERFECT!
Then I painted the wings which took more paint than I could have fathomed, but ended up looking like stone anyway.

The final step to all this was to attach the harness and try the wings on Pynni. After some adjusting of the harness and tightening of it against the wings, everything was about as perfect as I was like to get it hours before the trickertreating started.

I have to admit. I wasn’t happy with the wings even after the alterations. They weren’t exactly how I’d pictured them and they didn’t hang on Pynni’s back the way I wanted. I was, actually, very disappointed in them. I felt a little nauseous. I had done all this work, and this one integral part was not right. In the end, when the whole costume was put together, I was happier than I thought I’d be.

And Pynni loved it.