Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mary Poppins Costume (And Bert)

I have to admit, I had some fun dressing up for the Trunk or Treat last night. There were some things about the costume I loved (mostly everything about Robert) and some things about the costume I did not love (I think my hat should have been more petite, and my umbrella was all wrong).

Here's how I made everything:

Bert: vest and hat were found at Goodwill. The hat was literally the catalyst that got these costumes under way. If I couldn't find a hat like that, the whole thing was going to be a no-go. I sewed the neckerchief out of half a yard of red cotton. Robert already had the shirt and pants and rubbed a little charcoal from our fire pit on his face.

You can read about how I made the chimney sweep here.

Mary: I wore black tights and shoes that I already owned, and the black skirt was from Goodwill. The bag was also from Goodwill (I would have made a shell out of upholstery fabric, but I couldn't find a cheap remnant).

The shirt: The white shirt I found at Goodwill was actually a lot nicer and fit me better than the white shirt I already owned. So I put the Goodwill shirt into my closet and pulled this one out. I removed the collar and sewed in lace in its place. I also sewed lace around the wrists and down the button front on either side. I made a little bow out of red ribbon and attached it to the shirt with needle and thread.

The hat: Not perfect. I think it should have been smaller to show more of my hair. But oh well. I found it at Goodwill for $2.99, purchased some daisies and red berry things at Dollar Tree and attached them with hot glue.

The umbrella: Do not get me started. It was way too big and didn't even look good open in the photos. Ugh.

For my hair, I purchased a "bun kit" in the hair accessories section of Walgreens. It was not easy. My neighbor had to come over and help me. I don't think the bun kit was necessary.

Ideally, I will add a nice overcoat to this costume for next year and get a better hat. And a better umbrella.

But I have a whole year to worry about that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Costume: Down to the Wire

Just a few more finishing touches on the Mary Poppins and Burt costumes so I will be ready for the Trunk or Treat tonight.

I have to make Robert's/Burt's chimney sweep and I need a black umbrella.

I was promised at one blog that the chimney sweep was easy peasy. Just buy a broom at the dollar store, deconstruct it and spray paint the handle black and use the broom bristles and some floral foam (also available at the dollar store) to make the "sweep" part.

Good fortune has been with me during the costume element gathering and I found a broom AND floral foam at the dollar store. In fact, I found a circular, disk shaped piece of foam at the dollar store. What could be better?

I had black spray paint here at home and quickly got to work deconstructing the broom into its chimney sweep parts.

The handle came apart easily enough and I sprayed it black. However, the bristles were firmly stuck in their broom-head assembly. They were NOT coming out. I tried to think of a way to cut them at the base to remove them, but I couldn't slash didn't want to spend time trying to figure it out. Also, the bristles are short and I figured would not make an impressive sweep.

So I went to Michaels, which is honestly a true sign of insanity, for pipe cleaners. As I walked in the store there was one check stand open and about 40 people in line. The line snaked back and forth and I tried to find the pipe cleaners as quickly as possible as more people queued up. I located the pipe cleaners, but guess what? No black. So I grabbed a couple multi packs and figured I'd use my handy can of spray paint to achieve the correct color.

Here's a couple pictures of the sweep before and after the spray paint. Looks like I'm going to need a few more coats.


Now about that umbrella.

I've been to five stores and not found the right umbrella. All I want is a regular, black umbrella.

Target and Ross had plenty of mini umbrellas that pop out with the touch of a button.

Fred Meyer had a $20 sport umbrella, which was huge.

Goodwill had lots of umbrellas to choose from, the day before I got there.

And Nordstrom Rack had a patterned, regular umbrella which I was just about to purchase and attack with my can of spray paint when I noticed it was $51.

T minus four hours until the trunk or treat and I am a umbrellaless Mary Poppins.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Procrastination: Making it Work For You

I have a pretty good exercise routine. The routine is important because it allows me to have a cookie or two, or five and not feel guilty. Or possibly, to purloin several Almond Joy's out of the bag of Halloween candy. (Kids don't like almonds and coconut anyway).

Here's my routine:
On mornings I drive Ethan to early-morning seminary, I return home at 6 am and do 30 Day Shred on DVD. I'm done in plenty of time to return to pick him up and deliver him to school.

On mornings when Ethan takes the bus, I originally woke to see him off to school, then promptly left the house to do 30 minutes of jogging-walking. However, as it has gotten darker and darker, I've now had to move my jogging-walking time up to 8am, which is just after the younger boys get on the elementary school bus.

Now, here is where procrastination has become my faithful exercise partner:

I realize that jogging-walking outside for exercise will probably stop at some point this Fall-Winter. It will get too cold or wet and I just won't want to deal with being outside. And 30 Day Shred can't last forever either. I know that one day will probably be my last day exercising until the Spring when I'm 10 pounds heavier for all the holiday and post-holiday snacking I'm sure to do.

I enjoy being somewhat in shape, and I enjoy the way my clothes fit nicely, and I realize that continuing to exercise is much easier than starting after a long time NOT exercising.

So every morning, when I'm dreading turning on the DVD or heading out into the cold to jog-walk, I ask myself, "Is this the day you're going to quit?"

So far I've always answered, "I can always quit tomorrow."

Just the thought that I can quit if I want to and that it can be as soon as tomorrow, keeps me going one more day.

And it worked this morning as I left for what turned into a 4-mile jog-walk.

I normally do 2 miles, but was feeling good at the point I'd normally turn around and return home, so I kept going. By the time I finally turned around and started heading back, it was cold and rainy and I just wanted to be home.

I thought, "I should have quit today."

But I made it home and took a really long, hot shower, and put on my comfiest jeans and slippers and only then, felt pretty glad I didn't quit today.

I can always quit tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Afton Costumed: A Retrospective

I mentioned in my last post that I hadn't worn a costume for 20 years. In the interest of something to blog about, I decided to dig up photos of costumed me and put them up for all to see.

One costume picture I couldn't find was me as a back up singer to a lip-syncing, also white, Aretha Franklin. All I have to say is that I rocked the blue eye-shadow and ratted out hair. Can I get some R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

In this photo, my roomies and I are getting ready for the polyester prom, an annual event anticipated by all. It required a trip to the thrift store and the ability to dance the night away in thick, unbreathable fabric. In case you can't tell, I'm the beauty in the black and white number. Several at the dance commented that my hair-do that evening had a certain "Emma Smith" quality. (Only at BYU!)

Another annual event was the lip sync contest. This year my roommates and I favored the crowd with a fully choreographed rendition of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana." I was Barry. In the white suit. And I feel the need to tell you that we killed. It outdid our previous year's lip sync of a K-Tel commercial for an Abba compilation. 

That year I was an unfortunate Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus. (I have the picture, but I'm really hard to see. But as a consolation, here's a close-up of me as Barry sans wig and big fake nose).

I can't remember who this guy was, but he was clearly sponging off my polyester, white suit greatness.

And finally, here is my Aphrodite costume for Betsy's annual Halloween party. All the roommates went and had a great time. I don't know what else I can say about a toga except I can't believe I got all the way to my final year of college until I finally donned one.

So, as you can clearly see, I've worn costumes. I can't say that I've particularly enjoyed costumes. I always feel more comfortable in my regular clothes. I remember my Psych major sister trying to analyze me when I confessed this to her in college.

"That means you aren't truly comfortable as who you are." she said.

That never made sense to me. If I want to dress as myself, isn't that how I'm most comfortable?

Psych majors!

Friday, October 19, 2012

In Which I Wear a Costume for the First Time in Twenty Years

The monumental wearing of a Halloween costume by your humble blogger is still a few days off, but items for said costume are being gathered and scrutinized.

The plan is to be Mary Poppins. Robert is going to be Bert. I sprang the news on him just about an hour ago, after spending a few days rustling up the newsboy cap, vest, shirt and makings of a chimney sweeper. He was excited. I think he is still wearing the vest around the house.

I think it's safe to say that for a Mary Poppins costume, the hat is the most important part of the whole ensemble. Without the hat, you're just a dowdy lady with a big purse and umbrella. So the hat has been a little source of stress.

As you can see from the picture above, I've gathered three hats thus far.

Hat #1, on the left, is on loan from Andrea. It's a real hat that she really wears and which she has in multiple colors. (I saw three in addition to this one.) It is cute, but in a "I would actually wear that," way. I am just not getting the MP vibe from it. And besides, I don't want to hot glue stuff onto it, since it's still in her current hat rotation.

Hat #2, in the middle, was purchased today at a Halloween store for $9.99. I believe I saw a sign that said, "no returns." Which is just my luck because as it turns out, I don't think this is the hat for me either. I was going to spray paint it black and try and rough it up a little. Online advice I've read suggested getting it wet to reshape it.

Hat #3, on the right, obliterated any desire I had for straw hat re-shapery. I found it at Goodwill tonight for $2.99. It's crumpled and there is a bit of wire in the rim that will allow for additional mashing up. I just have to remove the netting, satin ribbon, and gold lame band and hot glue my dollar store daisies and red berry things and I think I will be good to go.

Next on the costume assembly agenda: beating myself up for buying a $10, non-returnable hat and general stressing out over how much moola I'm sinking into this costume.

Costume guilt. Great. (This is why I've avoided costumes for 20 years)