Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scarlet Pimpernel Costume

My almost-8-year-old chose to be the Scarlet Pimpernel for Halloween. Sir Percy Blakeney is known for his impeccable fashion taste. I don't think he would have worn rolled-up jeans, but that's okay.

Step One: The Coat - My son tried on several women's coats at the thrift store. This is the one he chose because it's supposed to be "really fancy." He didn't like the solid navy wool coat that I chose because it wasn't fancy enough. I relented because I'm trying to let him make more choices (even though I wouldn't have needed to modify the navy one to fit him!). He knew what he wanted and it was perfect. Or soon would be. Once home, I put the coat on him inside-out and pinned along the underarm seam and down the sides of the coat. He helped with the sewing. After sewing I trimmed the seam allowances with pinking shears. I also turned up the sleeve cuffs. Simple and easy. I even sewed and trimmed right over the pockets! The coat is nice and long on him. He seemed upset when I seam-ripped the shoulder pads out, but I didn't feel like giving in on that point.

Next comes the lace: The jabot (jah-boh), cravat (not pictured, but what is just a rectangular strip of white fabric tied around the neck), and the cuffs (which have elastic on them). I never thought I'd ever buy lace for my son's Halloween costume!

The jabot is made of strips of gathered lace sewn to a trapezoid of cotton (actually, two), then sewn to a ribbon with a velcro closure. This particular ribbon and velcro originally came around the Christmas pajama pants I got the kids from Target last year. Yes, I saved it. Yes, I used it. I think I deserve a pat on the back for that. I just realized that I forgot to make lace and/or buckles for his shoes. Ah well, Halloween is always rushed. I don't think I would have had time, anyway!

I didn't know if anyone would recognize "what" his costume was supposed to be, so I asked Alexander if he wanted me to make him a name tag. He said yes, as long as the writing was fancy enough. Apparently my penmanship met his approval. I used some parchment paper scraps I just happened to have around.

The oversized scarlet pimpernel flower was a cheap-o poinsettia from the dollar store. It used to have seven petals but I cut off two to make it star-shaped and hot-glued the empty spaces together as I was gluing the flower to the name tag. Yes, I also have a stash of brooch pin backs.

The green vest was from an old white rabbit costume that my sister wore in a ballet recital many years ago. I'm glad it didn't clash with the coat. Black trouser socks and dress shoes finished off the bottom half of the costume. The sword helps balance out the masculinity of the costume. Sink me! If only I had time to find a magnifying glass for a chain around his neck.

They seek him here, they seek him there...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Tree

I had this branch and I had this base (for a flag) so I put the two together to make a spooky Halloween tree. TA DAH!!

I got some cute scrapbook paper with vintage Halloween greetings. The kids helped me laminate, cut out, and glue ribbon to each one to hang on our Halloween tree.

The tree got a makeover for Thanksgiving: I added silk autumn leaves. It was a long time before we got our Christmas tree this year, so we left this up in the meantime (bare). It truly looked like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree--probably worse!

Monday, August 6, 2012

How to Make a Wax Seal Stamp from Sculpey Clay

I was making some test wax seal stamps today for a project and I thought I might write up the instructions to share.

Here's a wax seal stamp of a leaf that I sculpted when I was 17. I've kept it all these years, but for some reason I had never actually used it until today! I can't remember specifically what tool I used to sculpt it. Probably a toothpick, paperclip, pencil, or something similar.

Now I'll show you how to make one using a small item as a mold:

1. Start with Sculpey Clay. You can find it at most craft stores. It's $11.99 at Hobby Lobby.

2. Take a lump of clay and warm it up by kneading it in your hand.

3. Roll the clay into a cylinder. Try to get it as perfectly round as you can, ideally 3/4" in diameter.

4. Next pick the item you want to use as your mold. I used these jewelry charms. You could also use interesting buttons, small toys, etc. 

5. Take your item and place it face down on the clay and press it in. Your wax seal will come out in mirror image.

6. Use a pin or toothpick to carefully pull out your item and then smooth down any imperfections in the clay.

I made the owl on the opposite side of treble clef. I also made the owl stamp a little more oval.

7. Next bake your clay (or let it air dry, depending on the kind of clay you use). You should bake Sculpey at 275 degrees F for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of clay. I baked these for 15 minutes.

8. When your wax seal stamp is cool get it nice and lubricated with some oil (I used olive oil). Here are some links to wax seal instructions from Nostalgic Impressions: 
Instruction page here
Instruction video here

9. Let your wax cool a bit longer before stamping than you would with a regular metal wax seal stamp. The first time I stamped it came out mushy, so I tried again letting it cool slightly longer, adding more oil, and also holding the stamp down longer while the wax cooled even further. I'm not not sure which one was the magic ingredient, but it definitely came out better the second time:

Here's the treble clef:

Fun, isn't it? I'm excited to try out more. I'll be making these with my kids for school this coming year. We'll try both sculpting and mold-style wax seal stamps.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Scripture Brief Cases - Missionary Style

I finally made the boys some scripture/church cases. This is another one of those projects that has been a couple years in the making. I knew I wanted some manly briefcase-style scripture totes, but I didn't find the unfinished cases I wanted until just a couple weeks ago (Hobby Lobby for about $7, if I remember right. AND, by the way, Alexander's already needs a new latch!).

Once I had the right cases I still didn't know what I wanted them to look like. I knew I wanted their names on the outside and the missionary name tag popped into my mind. Then the whole shirt and tie just came together after that. I already knew I wanted some fun patterned paper, although I had considered vinyl for a leather look. My mom and I had fun making the name tags in Photoshop from an image of a real missionary tag. Then we put the kids' names on them in a font that turned out to be surprisingly authentic-looking (after a bit of stretching). FYI, I blurred out the last names for privacy on the www.

The white paper is textured so perfectly. It looks like a woven shirt. I had such a hard time with the Mod Podge, though! You can see I got wrinkles in all three papers, even though they were of various thicknesses. What's up with that?

 These scripture cases were the boys' Easter present from me. They found them under their Easter baskets.

I wish I could say I have some really cute pictures of my kids in their Sunday best holding their missionary scripture cases. And lovely photos of the interiors, all neat and organized with the perfect-sized 6x9" writing/drawing tablets, writing utensils, and scriptures all tucked inside. All those have really existed at one or two points in the last week and a half, I just don't have the pictures to prove it. I could wait and post this after (and if) the stars align and I get some awesome pictures later. But my blogging has been so sparse lately that I think I'll just post it as-is. So you have these photographic gems to look at:

P.S. Did you spy what the Easter Bunny brought me? No, not Pat the Bunny and a wooden castle. Those are Ivory's. 
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