Posts Tagged ‘Craft’

Having a preschooler inevitably ends up meaning that when the said small person finds something s/he loves, the parents get sucked into watching it repeatedly or listening to it repeatedly or reading it repeatedly. So, I very carefully choose the things to which I introduce Monster. A few months ago, I sneakily snuck Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog onto the old iPhone we let him play with. Last week, he discovered it and …let’s just say, if there’s going to be obsession in my house, it might as well be from the Whedonverse.

In the afternoon, Monster started running around with one of his Star Wars blasters (which DOES look like the freeze/death ray) saying, “I’m Dr Horrible!” How can a Geeky Mom refuse that? No. Really? She can’t. When he asked for his swimming goggles, I had a brilliant idea.

First I found these:

These are the goggles from his construction worker costume. Hey, goggles for a 3 year old are goggles.

Then, I found two toilet paper rolls and used duct tape to attach them to the goggles thusly:

After attaching the toilet paper rolls, I covered the whole thing in duct tape to make it silver.

And we had the beginnings of a Dr. Horrible costume for the three year old.

However, Dr. Horrible doesn’t wander around with a Captain America shirt. Also, we have ConnectiCon, the local comic/video game/geek central convention coming up. Monster has several costumes. I’m going in costume. What fun are cons if you don’t cosplay? This year though…THIS year…there will be live performances of Firefly/Buffy/Dr Horrible. HOW awesome would it be for him to dress as Dr. Horrible and WATCH IT LIVE? I KNOW, RIGHT?

Thus began the search for the costume. Now, I am a LAZY person. So. Very. Lazy. I would rather purchase something like this any.day. However, after three hours of searching and several search terms (Dr Horrible, led to Mad Scientist – which has an adult costume but no kid version – led to dentist led to smock led to chef coat), none of the options appealed to me. I know, he’s a little kid. What does he know? Well…this is a kid who told his grandparents that a Harry Potter doll was a DOLL not an ACTION FIGURE because the knees didn’t move. So. Yeah. It’s got to be similar enough to look right to be worthy of his attention.

So…I started thinking, I’d need to learn to sew. But WAIT! Mentioning this on Facebook brought up a comment that I could just use iron on hem tape. What?! What was that? NO SEWING? Well, THIS I can do. And, so I did.


Hem tape

Fabric (he’s a kid, I chose the $6.97/yd white cotton cloth at WalMart)



Glue ( I told you, I do NOT sew…not even buttons…)

First of all, I’d like to thank the nice lady in the fabric department at WalMart. She noted, based on the picture, that for a kid’s costume, I could easily just fold the fabric in half, tape it down the sides, and VOILA! costume. Well, it took me a few days to get what she meant entirely, but it made sense as soon as I saw the fabric up against Monster.

1) I laid the kid flat on my bed and traced his outline. This probably accounts for a lot of the issues I have with the final product…I obviously didn’t leave enough ease. Also, one arm is shorter than the other. See how that title says “Uncrafty”? Uh huh. If you’ve got the time, effort, and energy to go a-measuring, force be with you and do it. I’m too tired, lazy and…did I mention lazy?

2) I assembled all the goods. I laid the hem tape along all the edges to seam it up. Following the directions was easy. Note to self: next time add about 3 extra inches to the outline made on the fabric to account for what gets lost. D’oh.

Also, those armpits ended up being a little scrunched up in the end. Upside is, they’re kind of hidden.

3) Now come some of the details. At the neckline, I cut an extra slice so that there would be ease to fit it over the kid’s head. His noggin’ is pretty small, but still, it seemed a good idea. The goal was to make a flap so that I could attach Velcro on either side so that it would close up. This actually worked out pretty well. I laid out a piece of fabric the length of the extra cut. I cut it wide enough that I could put two pieces of tape in the middle and then fold over pieces from the top and bottom. Sadly, I did not photograph this portion of the crafting show. Imagine a piece of fabric shaped as a rectangle, with two strips of hem tape in the center and two flaps to fold up onto those strips. There you have what I did. Once attached, it looks like this:

4) The collar. Dr. Horrible’s collar is sort of a mandarin collar. This was the tricky part. What I ended up doing was cutting a piece of fabric in a rectangle. Then I used some of the hem tape along the edge, like this:

I folded the top over and glued it together. Then, because both edges need to be clean and it needs to stand up, I did the same thing again, like this:

From there, I used three pieces along the neckline to attach the front collar. It’s messy looking. I’m sure if I had done this before or thought more about what I was doing at the time and planned better, it wouldn’t be. However, he’s 3. At this point, it’s close enough.

4) I glued buttons along the Velcro and at the side of the collar. They look like this:

After thinking about it, I might just leave the collar on the front of the costume. It’s hot here this week and using the iron in the unairconditioned kitchen is…not the most pleasant. However, I still have to attach a pocket at some point probably…maybe…

So, how does it look? Well, this picture is before the Velcro close it up nicely and before the buttons but…the preschooler seems happy enough.

Yeah, that’s a happy face. Mostly. It’s also the intense Dr. Horrible face. Which triples as the “Please stop taking my picture mama” face.


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Blue Moon

On February 3, an amazing package landed in my mailbox. I knew it was coming. I had ordered it. I had stalked it. I had counted the days until it’s pretties would come to me. Then, I arrived home, from The Kid’s music class. I drove up the driveway, and in my mailbox, peaking out over the top of the box, I could see white. A white. Plastic. Shipping bag. I nearly left the kid in the car in my haste. However, no need to call children and family services, I did retrieve The Kid before skipping up the stairs to get to the mailbox.

In the mail were my Gorgeously Gothic Spinalong batts.Gorgeous they are. Mine is a beautiful teal, black, gray mohair with angelina mixed in. There’s a hint of sparkle and a lot of color. They’re just beautiful. And soft. Boy are they soft. In fact, they were so soft that not only did I want to cuddle them, someone else did:

Unfortunately, they were not speaking to me. I’ve always wondered how writers can say that the characters talk to them. I know these days. To me, fiber has a personality. It wants to be made into something. However, it doesn’t just want to be made into anything. It has a specific desire.

Fiber has a personality. When I start to spin something, it needs to have a purpose. I do not want it to be “just another project.” It has to represent something to me. I’ve tried album covers, art, and tattoos. This fiber, gorgeous though it is, has a personality that has been begging me to do something with it. I just couldn’t determine what that something was.

I listened to music. I revisited a favorite old band, October Project. For some reason, the song “Deep as You Go” seemed to call to me. There’s something dark and gothic about October Project to me. There always has been. Something about it reminds me of Poe, of Pamela, of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.  In my mind, I searched for the inspiration. Nothing came to me.

Finally, I remembered a night a few weeks ago. Mr. A and I were up late. As we took the dogs outside, the moon cast a blue hue over the yard. With the remnants of snow on the ground, the shadows seemed dark, mysterious, and romantic. Our yard has a large tree in it. We have no idea the age of this tree. All we know is that the yard becomes fully covered in leaves every fall, multiple times over. We estimate this tree to be close to 100 years old given it’s girth and height. Through the moonlight that night, on the stark white snowy ground, the tree’s branches were outlined clearly in black. The dark black against the light blue hued ground seemed magical. I said to Mr. A, “Part of me wants to take the camera out and take a picture. The other part of me wants this moment to just live in my memory.” At that point, we decided to just go to bed, the memory of this moment lingering in my mind while I quietly hummed the song “Blue Moon”.

Putting the music together with this image, the fiber finally spoke to me. I wanted something artistic. I wanted to be able to weave the beads and the silver thread and the sparkly butterflies and the teal ribbon into an art yarn that represented something to me.  However, the next problem was that I did not have a core around which to spin a corespun yarn. After much internet research, I found a tutorial by Jazzturtle on youtube on how to do coreless corespinning. This gave me the final inspiration that I needed. Last night, I began the spinning process.

I’m not spinning alone. I’ve got a a dream in my heart. And a yarn of my own.

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Spin Me Right ‘Round

The other night while seeking inspiration for DawningDreams‘ Gorgeously Gothic Spinalong, I came across PluckyFluff’s Handspun Revolution to be exhibited in Lillehammer, Norway. I found the idea intriguing for several reasons. First, fiber art is something that should be supported, especially given my feelings on the concept of art and handicrafts. Second, I realized after reading that I had the perfect fiber for the project. This particular fiber had me thinking more about the importance of fiber arts in my life.

Why was it this particular fiber? A few weeks ago, I joined a friend at her church for a fundraiser for Heifer International. The children had raised money for Heifer International and were purchasing an alpaca for a family. The children had learned all about alpacas and the fundraiser included a lesson about alpacas, meeting alpacas, watching me spin up fiber, and my friend knitting alpaca yarn. What fascinated me was that my spinning wheel became almost as fascinating as the themselves. Several of the children were so fascinated by the wheel, that they almost forgot the alpacas were in the room.

This particular fiber was the fiber I brought with me. It is a beautiful shade of dark teal. It’s soft. It’s fuzzy. The children were thrilled to pass it around and feel it. They were petting the fiber. Fascinatingly enough, the breakdown was oddly gender based. The girls wanted to touch the fiber and play with it. The boys wanted to spin the wheel faster and faster and fasterfasterfaster. They took hold of the front of the pedals and three at a time were pushing the pedals to make them go. They watched as I drafted and drafter faster and faster and fasterfasterfaster. Yes, the fiber became overspun. Yes, the thought meandered through my mind, “wow, what am I going to do with this? It’s not going to be fit to be finished yarn.” It became lumpy and bumpy in places where they unspun it. It became overly spun in places where I couldn’t draft fast enough.

Last night, in preparation for this post, I navajo plied the single I’d made. Some of it is even. Some is lumpy bumpy. Some is overspun.

I could fib. It’s possible that this could be qualified an “art yarn.” Its imperfections could be argued to be “design” elements, and in some ways, they are. The perfection of this yarn, the reason it will be making its way to Lillehammer, is that it is the prime example of what makes spinning such a wonderful experience.

Spinning is a type of magic. Something raw is processed into something final. It is an experience to touch the fiber. It is an experience to view the fiber. It is, in some instances, an experience to smell the fiber. Fiber has a quality of opportunity. It is a chance for the individual working with it to create from scratch. It is, in many ways, similar to cooking. Basic materials become so much more.

In this case, this yarn, this moment in time, the yarn being sent out is one that also served to educate and inspire youth. One young boy, so enamored of the fiber, “stole” little pieces of it to make a ninja headband/halo/nest for his bird finger puppet. In that moment, the spinning became less than the inspiration of the child’s creativity. Without the moments of wonder that these children showed, the spinning would have been nothing more than another example of an adult performing like a trained seal.

Speaking of adults, several were as fascinated as the children by the spinning process. They stopped by. They stared. They couldn’t get over how interesting/amazing/cool it was. Some of the older adult shared with me stories of grandparents or other family members who had spinning wheels or who used to spin yarn themselves. These adults were just as wondrous as the children. In those moments, the adults were able to, without realizing it, have moments of childhood wonder and innocence. For me, that is what makes spinning amazing.

Spinning is not about the final project, for me. Spinning is about the process. Spinning is about the creation. Spinning is about having the fiber tell me what it wants. Spinning is about making right in a world where so much is wrong. To me, that is what makes spinning so revolutionary. Spinning may not change the world, but it can change the individuals in it, even if for a moment. And in that moment, it can spin you around from someone living in a banal world to someone living in a world of wonder. That is the magic of spinning.

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