Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011 Teaser

It's too late and I'm too exhausted to post a completely Halloween roundup.  So, instead, I'll leave you with one fuzzy photo from the evening and the promise of more information and pictures tomorrow.

Here, we have Hermione (aka my oldest) along with Crookshanks (aka my youngest).  Bonus points for anyone who can guess what my husband's costume is.  Those of you who know me IRL (and have seen a closeup of that name tag on Facebook) can't play.  


Friday, October 28, 2011

You know you're a potterhead...

You know you're a Potterhead when, while you're working on your son's Harry Potter Halloween costume, he points his wand at you and yells, "Stupify," but before he can finish, you point your butter knife (which you're using to try to pry the monster eyeballs out of gag glasses so that he can use them for Harry's glasses) and yell, "Protego," before he can finish.

And he freezes.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: NaNoWriMo

Lately, I haven't had any inspiration at all.  I haven't written anything in nearly a year.  I've captured a line or two here or there, but I haven't written anything of substance since last year.

This past weekend, my muse returned.  She's been doing the polka in my mind ever since.

I wrote a first chapter and a few other bits and pieces.  I'm letting the story unfold in my head for now.  I'll make a point of recording it in earnest next month for NaNoWriMo.

A small portion of the first chapter was inspired by moments like this.  That's my son back when he was 4 months old.  He's just shy of 6 years old now.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday
or Wave Your Hands In the Air (Ow!)

And the hits just keep on coming.  

Today, while carrying boxes of winter clothes out from the basement, the doorway attacked.  It tore some skin off and hurt like crazy.  It also bled like crazy.  So of course, my first rational thought after, "OW!  Freaking OW," and a long stream of expletives was, "Oh please don't bleed on the clothes.  I don't need more wash to do."  

My priorities, they're baffling.  Then again, so too is the amount of laundry we produce.  

The slashes are on my pointer and middle finger and the knuckles which made it impossible to use bandaids.  So my left hand got festive by dressing up as a mummy.  I used gauze over the bleeding mess and wrapped it with tape.  I have photographic evidence of what a lousy job I did.  

Later in the day, while food shopping, I pulled a little piece of skin from my ring finger.  You all know where this is going. Itty bitty piece of skin = fountains of blood.  It bled like MAD.  Of course, I was in line to pay at the time.  Of course I was.  The only time something like that happens is when you have to interact with the general public.  I hid my bloody stump of a hand and paid.  

Picked the big kids up from dance, came home, started to unload the bloody groceries and the fridge door put up a fight.  Long story short (I know.  Too late), I got my same poor abused ring finger (still covered in blood by this point) caught in the fridge door.  

I just have two things to say:
  1. Thank G-d I'm right handed
  2. Does anyone have a plastic bubble I can borrow?  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We're Off To See The Wizard

I just stumbled across some older Halloween photos and I figured I'd blog about them before life got in the way (as it has a habit of doing). In 2007, my girls decided they wanted to be Dorothy and Glenda from the Wizard of Oz. My oldest was inspired by a dress her grandmother gave her which looked remarkably like Dorothy's.

Since that was taken care of, all she needed was sparkly shoes. In the books, the shoes are actually silver.  Should we make ours red or silver?  I debated this for a while and eventually decided to take the movie route and made them ruby slippers. Red just looks better. I checked out the sparkly red shoes at the stores, but they were too expensive. The girls had a pair of worn dress shoes I bought for 50 cents. They were falling apart, so I just used some glue and sprinkled on some red glitter. They looked fantastic.

 I made Toto using the adorable Scotty Dog tutorial at AllSorts. I actually used scraps of the black fabric left over from the suit my husband wore when we got married.  No particular reason for that.  It's just what I had in my bag of scraps.  The kids still play with that stuffed dog.

Glenda was super simple.  I let her pick her favorite fancy dress.  Then we made a crown out of cereal boxes, construction paper, foam stickers and glitter.  She grabbed a wand from the dress-up box and I added some ribbon.

Now their little brother was supposed to be Jack Skellington.  I bought the costume for him the year before, but it was too cold that year (which was unusual), so he wore it under his lion jacket and no one ever got to see it.  Besides, his daddy is the one who's the Nightmare Before Xmas fan and he was deployed during our son's first Halloween anyway.  So I planned to reuse the costume when my husband was around to enjoy it.  Unfortunately, in our usual fashion, we procrastinated on bringing the box down from the attic (and by, "We," I mean, "My husband," since I'm barely taller than a garden gnome and couldn't reach the attic door).  So on Halloween morning, I found the Jack costume was too small.  D'oh!*
Your mom dresses you like a dork.

After some quick thinking, I threw together a munchkin costume.  More specifically, he was a member of the Lollipop Guild (because I feared a regular old munchkin wouldn't be recognizable).  I used his dress shirt and a pair of shorts (we lived in the South at the time, so it was warm enough to go out in shorts).  I grabbed a torn pair of my daughters' tights (which I always kept "just in case," and which I always told myself I should just throw away).  I painted on red stripes (you can't see the tear because they're under the shorts) and topped them off with his brown soft-sole shoes.

His hair was really what made the costume.  I split it into three and added some gel.  His hair is naturally curly, so it was easy to shape into three curls.  Now, pardon me a minute while I stare at that photo and sob for the red-head that once was.  At nearly 6 now, my son's no longer a ginger, much to my dismay.  ::sob::

I scoured the house for something to use to create a lollipop.  The red round lid for the raisins looked the best, so I let the kids finish off the entire container of raisins that Halloween (4 years later, they STILL remember that part fondly).  I used white paint marker on it,  glued that to a craft stick, and added some ribbon.  Viola, instant adorable munchkin.  I think it took me 1/2 an hour to create the whole costume.

While trick-or-treating that night, only ONE person realized that their costumes coordinated (and I wanted to kiss that one woman when she recognized it).  :::sigh:::  I guess that was better than the year my twins went as "Monkey See" and "Monkey Do" (complete with the word "Do" and the letter C pinned to their monkey costumes) and someone asked, "Why do those mice have letters on them?")

*You would think I learned my lesson, but NOOOOO.  The following year, I would, once again, find ON HALLOWEEN that the costume I planned to use for my son was too small and I would, once again, find myself throwing together a last minute costume for the poor kid.  That', however, is another story for another day (or more precisely, another costume for another blog post).  

Harry Potter "Lumos" canvas (Wordless Wednesday)

The kids and I are a wee bit addicted to Wizard Wrock.  Yes, it exists and it has for some time.  Yes, some of it is painful, but much of it is fun and some of it is actually very good.  Among our favorites are Roonil Wazlib ("Bookworm" and "Not the End" are our very favorites), How Airplanes Fly ("Sidekick",  "To Fall in Love",  "Forget the Girl", "Believe" and "Purely Educational"
 are among my favorites, but honestly, all the songs are fantastic) and the Hermione Crookshanks Experience (Go listen to this album. It's amazing.  Along with that, we love "Not the Messenger," "Train Doubts and Dreams" [My youngest will often ask for "Not An Owl" and "My train song."], and "Lumos").  I just love "Lumos."  I knew I wanted to create a wall hanging for the kids using that song, but I wasn't sure what to do exactly.

Through Pinterest, I found this which gave me the inspiration I needed.  I decided I wanted a wand in the darkness with the lyrics in light.  I stumbled around my boards on Pinterest until I found the map I had pinned from the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.  That's my background and I also used a picture from one of my very favorite HP artists on Deviant Art.  Seriously, have a look around at her gallery.  I've been through all things Harry Potter on Deviant Art and hers is some of the very best.  Her character sheets are perfect.  I LOVE how she draws the characters.  Her Ginny is exactly as I imagined her.  If you read the books, you know that this is exactly how the long-awaited kiss should have been.

I used the library card generator to create one with the "Lumos" lyrics.  The call numbers are 62442 (M-A-G-I-C).  I printed a copy.

I found 8x10 canvases at Michaels on clearance for 89 cents plus I had a 20% off coupon.  I stocked up because I knew I wanted one for this and I wanted some so the kids could make their own art.  I painted the edges of this one black.  Then I used Mod Podge to attach the map, the art, and the card.

I painted over the map using Mod Podged tinted with blue paint.  I did a few coats with different amounts of pigment.  I wanted to make sure you could still read at least portions of the map and see the picture of the trio.  I did the same over the card using just a bit of yellow paint.  When it was dry, I coated the lyrics with a few coats of glow-in-the-dark nail polish.  That way, the lyrics glow in the dark.  I also gave Ron a crown using that nail polish, but you can only see it in the dark.  Weasley is our king, after all.  I tried adding a dark blue swirl in the upper right corner, but I hated the look.  So I painted over it.  I dabbed on gold and copper translucent glaze which is left over from when I painted our bedroom wall.

I found this great tutorial for creating a wand from rolled paper.  So I used scrap paper and created a small one.  I followed the directions and painted it, then did a wash of black and wiped it off.  I used gold paint marker to highlight the raised decorative lines.  I then attached it to the canvas using tacky glue once all the paint was completely dry.  I should have taken pictures of the wand before I attached it, but I was so anxious to finish that I didn't.  So I don't have a good photo, but you'll have to take my word that it looks so cool.  You'd never be able to tell it's paper by looking at it.  It really does look like wood.

Not the best, but some detail on the wand.

Closeup of the tip of the wand

Here's the back of the wand. 

I like how it turned out and the kids seem to as well. So woo hoo!  I'll hang this up in the basement soon.  The plan is to turn our huge basement playroom into Hogwarts.  I've been collecting ideas for months, but we haven't had the time or effort to create it just yet.  One of these days...



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Goat Rodeo Runs Head-first Into Chaos

This time of the year is so rough.  It's one thing after another.

In this area, schools go back just after Labor Day.  We homeschool, so that doesn't affect us too much, but that's also when dance classes, Hebrew school, Girl Scouts, and other extra-curriculuar activities start back up.

This year, all four of the Goat Rodeo were old enough for some activities and they all had something that caught his/her eye. I am among the least organized folks in the world, but even I went so far as to create a spread sheet to organize which classes were available which days and times.  I even color-coded them by age-range.

When we finally settled on classes/groups, then we had to start shuttling back and forth to them.

Soon after the start of classes came the high holidays.  Just as you start to get back to normal after Rosh Hashanah, a rogue Yom Kippur appears.  So you fast.  It's very effective (Don't be fooled.  I'm not a gamer, but my husband is).  Once Yom Kippur ends, you breathe a hugh sigh of relief (and stuff your face) only to realize Sukkot is just around the corner.  Because the baking of Rosh Hashanah and fasting of Yom Kippur weren't enough, now you need to build a house.  Not just any house, one which meets very specific requirements for what it's made of and where it rests.

Add into all that the fact that writing and computers are forbidden for a good deal of time during the holidays.  What you're left with is very little time for thinking breathing blogging.