From Halloween

Milk and Cookies Toddler Halloween Costume

I am certain I threw my mom a few curve balls when it came to Halloween costumes when I was growing up.  For example: one year I asked to be Humpty Dumpty.

An egg.

That falls off a wall.

So that’s why I wasn’t surprised by Ike’s initial request to be an octopus for his fourth Halloween.  I was ready.  I was up for the challenge.  Then, out of no where, Ike had a nightmare that included a T-Rex taking away his little brother.  That’s when most things, including an octopus, were “too mean looking” for him.  Poor thing—he’s still recovering.

That’s how we landed fair and square on a nice wholesome set of cookies and milk.

Given that my darling three-year-old thinks everything in the world belongs to him, including the sun and the moon (literally), I was delighted when Ike wanted to share his costume with his little brother.  Of course, Lincoln got downgraded from sprinkles to chocolate chip, but he’s not complaining and neither am I.

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Toddler Robot Costume

I know that Halloween is, like, so last week, but I’ve got a costume to share.  Allow me to introduce to you our little black robot.

I really, really meant to post this before Halloween…you know, when someone might have actually had time to be inspired and make their own version.  But I’ve had dozens of people contact me or pin Ike’s brown cow costume from last year, so I am quite certain this might be useful to someone in the future.

Speaking of inspiration, I had plenty of it when making this costume.  A few weeks ago I shared my inspiration for the robot look I was hoping to achieve.  Because Ike has a Halloween party at daycare during the day, I wanted a robot costume that was easy to transport, put on and wear for a few hours at a time.  This led to the idea of a “sweatshirt” type top with robot panels sewed and glued into place.

I truly made this up as I went along, so I’m sorry to say I don’t have a proper tutorial. But, I am confident that event the most moderately crafty person could figure this one out!

For the base, I used store-bought black fleece pants and a bright-colored striped thermal shirt.  I made the black pullover using heavy fleece fabric, but you could easily just use an existing sweatshirt (cutting off the arms, or leaving them.)

The silver material on this costume is something I happened upon at our local fabric store.  It’s the lining for potholders!  It was less than $5 for a piece large enough to make a front, back and hat panel.

I sewed the silver fabric on and lined it with ribbon and metallic Ric-Rac, but you could easily glue it on.

I made the hat using leftover fleece, but again, you could purchase one to achieve the same look.  I measured Ike’s head and cut the pieces to fit.  I used blue felt to sew the rectangles that were stuffed with random pillow stuffing before inserting them into the seams of the hat.  Then I folded up the unfinished edge and hid it with more metallic Ric-Rac.  I used a Sharpie to free-hand the robot’s smile and then added the googly eyes for good measure.

I got the idea to put “Ike Bot” on the costume after seeing a picture of my friend Kelley’s son.  She used reflective mailbox letters on her son’s robot costume when he was three.  I had wooden letters on hand, so I just used some metallic paint to shine them up.

In the end, Ike was pretty thrilled with his costume, but it was touch and go for a while.  Those who follow me on Instagram (@domesticadventure) and Facebook have seen their fair share of this costume in progress and heard the reports that Ike was more than reluctant to actually wear his beloved robot costume.  But, sure enough, he gained the courage to try the costume on just the day before his Halloween party.

Success!

And because it’s far too easy to make things looks pretty and simple on blogs, Instagram and Facebook, you should know that in exchange for making this costume, I fed my child PB&J for dinner and skipped cleaning our toilets for more days weeks than I care to admit.  I call it selective prioritizing.

Hope you had a happy Halloween!

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Jack-o-lantern wall hanging {and some thoughts on traditions}

I’m getting just a little serious here on the blog today.  This post started out in my head like most do: “I made something this weekend and I’m going to share it with you—not because it’s amazing or original, but because it means something to me and it might inspire you, or mean something to you, too.”  But then I thought a bit more about why I made what I made last weekend.

I made a jack-o-lantern wall hanging even though I’m not exactly a wall hanging kind of girl.  Don’t get me wrong, my home will never be super sophisticated and well decorated for each season like a Pottery Barn catalog.  But still, I don’t usually envision my home filled with decorations like the one I’m showing you today.

Despite all of this,  I really, really had my heart set on making this jack-o-lantern to add to my holiday-themed wall hangings (see the Christmas tree and Thanksgiving versions).  And I think I figured out why.

From my own childhood I remember a few key decorations that were displayed as the seasons and holidays changed, and few key traditions—activities that I could anticipate and experience to help mark the time and the change in season.  Carving pumpkins.  Making applesauce.  Baking Thanksgiving pies. Cutting a Christmas tree.  Coloring Easter eggs.  Raking leaves.  Sliding down the hill in our front yard.

As a parent I now acknowledge that we sometimes work so hard to create special experiences for our kids to remember that we forget that it’s the every day things they will remember most.  Amidst the chaos and craziness of our daily lives, I want Ike and Lincoln to see and experience small and subtle things that will create a sense of anticipation and comfort throughout the year.

I want this simple jack-o-lantern wall hanging to help teach the boys the concepts and vocabulary of fall and Halloween at age two.  I want it to go relatively unnoticed by my too-cool-for-school kids at age 10, knowing they would miss it if it wasn’t there.  I want my kids to give an exaggerated eye roll when I hang this during their college fall breaks, even though they will be secretly happy for this small reminder of home and their childhood.  And someday I want my kids to hang this in their own home, just because it is tradition.

I know this is a lot of pressure to put on one small jack-o-lantern pieced together during the span of one afternoon nap, and I recognize that this piece is more likely to end up at Goodwill or in a dusty attic than in the home of my grandchildren someday.  I get that.  But it stands for something simple.  Something free.  Something I made.  Something that can follow us wherever we go and can fit with whatever we have—no matter how much or how little we have.  Something that will evoke memories of fall in our house.

Life is unpredictable and sometimes scary.  Jack-o-lantern wall hangings that come out every October like clockwork are predictable and nice.  Traditions may never be trending on Twitter or pinned on Pinterest, but they never go out of style.

Here’s to new traditions, even if they come in the form of  jack-o-lantern wall hangings.

What traditions are you starting with your family this year?

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Our fall porch

This week has completely exhausted me (and it’s only Thursday) so this post has fewer words and more pictures.  I present to you our completely predictible fall porch with mums, pumpkins, burlap and chevron.

The chevron fabric is leftover from the quilt that I am making for Lincoln.  I just ripped strips of fabric, which is oddly satisfying.  You can save time and get a little frustration out all at the same time—it’s a win-win.

Based on these photos, you might think I was going for a sophisticated, traditional look.

But, wait.  What is that white fabric hanging in the background?

It’s Tennis.  Tennis the friendly ghost.

You’ve never heard of him?

Me neither.  Ike made it up and I went with it.

We don’t really get trick-or-treaters at our house, so this ghost is all for Ike.  I’m trying to introduce Halloween-related items and vocabulary while not scaring the little guy, and this seems to have helped on the ghost front.

Happy fall!

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Fun and Funky Halloween Garland

As I promised on Monday when I posted my mummy lanterns, I’m back with a second Halloween project this week.  For those of you who have been kind enough to hang around this blog for a couple of years, you’ll know that my hallway floating shelves are a stand in for a proper mantle and I try to keep them decked out when the seasons or holidays change.  Ever since I pinned this picture a couple of years ago I’ve had my eye on making some fun and original Halloween garland for the shelves and this year I made it happen during a single nap session.

Now, before you start thinking I have my act together, please know that I still have candles in our windows from last Christmas and I can’t tell you the last time my laundry was properly folded and put away.  It’s just that I am prioritizing Halloween decorations over those other tasks.  Naturally.

My approach to this project was not very strategic.  Basically I gathered all the Halloween-looking craft supplies that I could find.  Then I taped, glued, stamped and painted until I had a few garland pieces that made me happy.  This means I rolled up balls of tissue paper and taped them to other things.  Very fancy.

Then I attached everything to a string (again, using tape on the back of the garland items–nothing fancy) and strung the garland across the shelves.

The spiders were made out of pipe cleaners.  I just cut a single pipe cleaner into four equal parts and twisted them together in the middle so that there were eight legs.  Then I wrapped another pipe cleaner around and around to make the center.  Easy peasy.  And Ike says, “look, a spider, just like the song!”  (You know, the itsy bitsy spider…)

I mentioned that I made this during a nap time and that particular nap time included Chris.  When all of the boys woke up, Ike exclaimed, “Mommy, you made Halloween for ME!” and Chris simply asked me why I hung cheese graters on the shelves.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but apparently he thought the brown paper with a rubber stamped design on them looked like cheese graters.  Whatever.

What do you think? Anyone else making Halloween decorations a priority over other important tasks?  Have you been taping and gluing, too?

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{Halloween} Mummy Lanterns

Big news, people.  I actually completed and photographed two Halloween-related projects this weekend!  Sure, my laundry is still dirty and I definitely didn’t exercise, and please don’t look at my floors.  But, man, one small corner of my house certainly looks extra spooky and styled.

Today I present to you my unoriginal and completely copied mummy lanterns.

Yes, you may have seen projects like this featured in magazines and on Pinterest, but my mummies are special.  Why, you ask?  My mummies represent my little family of four, which makes them extra special.

You see, I started by just making two mummies using Ball jars.

Then I tried to explain them to Ike.  The conversation went something like this:

IKE: “Mommy, you made Halloween for ME!?”

ME: Yes, Ike.  These are mummies.  Not mommies, mummies.  This is one mummy and this is another mummy.”

IKE: “Okay.”

ME: [Pointing at one mummy.]  “Ike, what is this?”

IKE: “Mummy!”

ME: [Pointing at the other mummy] “And what is this?”

IKE: “Ikey!”

He clearly didn’t get the whole “mummy not mummy” thing.  But, he did inspire me to make a family of mummies seeing how he thought one of them represented him.  So, I found a pizza sauce jar that was slightly smaller than the Ball jars to make the Ike mummy, and then wrapped up an empty baby food jar to make a little Lincoln mummy.

Please, tell me that this little baby mummy isn’t the cutest thing you’ve seen.  I dare you.

Anyway, I did take a couple of shots to show you how this little project came together.  Many tutorials suggest using cheese cloth or gauze, but decided to use what I had lying around the house.  I tore some strips of white fabric from scraps I had on hand and used googly eyes that I still had from last year’s Halloween costume.

My method was to wrap and tuck some fabric, then place the eyes.  I decided to just tape the eyes on since I will likely dismantle the mummies and use the jars for something else between now and next Halloween.

Once the eyes were in place, I wrapped more fabric around for good measure.  All four mummies were done in less than 30 minutes, so it was a fast project with loads of spooky impact.

I’ll admit, I kind of love decorating for Halloween now that we have kids.  Three years ago I would have been trying to do something more sophisticated and classy.  Now I am settling for 30-minute projects with plastic googly eyes and having just as much fun, if not more.

Did you work on any Halloween projects this weekend?  And how do you explain a mummy to a three year old, anyway?

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