Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost Shirts

Ghost Shirts! With glow-in-the-dark paint! Need we say more? How about that they really glow!

ghost_shirts2_titleLast year we made bat shirts with freezer paper stencils and bleach. This year I wanted to do another shirt, and I was going to use bleach again, but then I saw this paint in Joann’s and thought it was worth a try.

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Wild Things (Max) Halloween Costume

We’re sharing a variety of quick and (relatively) easy Halloween costumes this season. See Sarah’s broken doll here and her crazy troll hair here. Today we’re sharing one for the kids, and if you like this, you may want to check out our strong man too!

I may be a bit biased, but I think we’ve found the cutest Max of them all!  Don’t know what I’m talking about? Pick up a copy of Where the Wild Things Are and get ready for a trip down memory lane.

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If you’re making this costume for a kid, they will get so much more enjoyment out of it if you’ve read the book together. Obvious, I know, but just a plug to get yourself to the library and enjoy an afternoon deep in the stacks with your wild ones.

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Halloween Costume Idea : Troll Dolls

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Happy Monday! You have about two weeks to throw together a costume if you’re partaking in Halloween this time around. Last week we shared the Broken Doll and the week before, Katie offered up a few toddler suggestions: a Disco Ball and a Strong Man. Today I’m back with another super simple, yet iconic costume: a Troll Doll. Again, you must forgive the crappy cell phone pics. One of these days I’ll document a costume properly…

I dressed up like a Troll in 2010. At that time it was a throwback, Troll dolls being hella popular in the nineties, but now that the Trolls movie was such a hit, I feel like everyone will be clued in. Even though only a few people guessed my costume correctly back then, when I told them what it was they immediately knew, flipped out, jumped up and down and most gave me a hug. The next question was always about the hair, which every single person then squeezed. Troll dolls man, nostalgia in one cute and slightly strange costume. Here’s how it’s done: live seasoned halloween trolli doll costume-1

Troll Doll Essentials :

Some things explained :

  1. The bellybutton gem : cut a large diamond or circle out of the iridescent paper. Cut the shape much larger than your actual bellybutton as you’ll want it to be clearly visible. Use fashion tape or double-sided tape and adhere it to your nude tanktop.
  2. How to achieve high hair : It’s actually really easy. Find an empty water bottle. Remove the cap. Bend over and flip your head upside down so your hair is hanging down. Place the bottle on top of your head and gently gather all the hair around it, wrap a ponytail around the top of the bottle and your hair. Hairspray it a bunch and then flip your head right side up. The bottle is so light that you’ll forget your hair is up and you’ll most certainly hit it off taxi roofs and other small spaces. If your hair is shorter, use a crap ton of gel without a water bottle to create a similar (and in my opinion more realistic as far as troll dolls go) effect.
  3. How to get great hair color : shake the color spray for at least thirty seconds. Hold the can a foot away from your hair. It’s best to have a friend help and to do this outdoors. Cover your hair evenly, wait 3-5 minutes and repeat as many times as necessary.

That’s that y’all. There’s really nothing to it. This costume is especially great for a whole gaggle of friends. Whatever you do, don’t forget to strike the Troll pose – arms out, fingers spread!

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Halloween Costume Idea : Broken Doll

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Happy Halloweenie! Each year I browse my closet, find a favorite dress, and work towards a costume from there. In the past, this has served me pretty well as Cleopatra and Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn. Last year it sparked the idea of a porcelain doll and to add a little creep factor, I went as a broken one. You could go a few different ways with this costume, cute, sexy, or creepy. I choose creepy 🙂 Forgive the photos, I never have my sh!t together I’m usually too drunk to take high-quality ones on Halloween night.

Porcelain Doll Essentials :

  • Porcelain doll inspired dress – look here for inspiration and then search your (or your sister’s and friend’s) closet or go thrifting.
  • Stockings or thigh highs
  • Mary Jane heels or really any shoes of your choosing
  • Long locks or a wig & wig cap – I highly recommend going to a beauty supply store and trying on wigs instead of buying one online. I spent about $25 on mine, take care to store it, and plan on using it again in the future.
  • Thin satin hair ribbons and matching choker – I simply tied a length of ribbon around my neck and it stayed put all night
  • Makeup – admittedly the hardest part for me! I enlisted the help of my makeup savvy girlfriend shown below.

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That’s that! Super simple with the potential to be incredibly creepy. A major bonus for this costume was not having to talk too much. I like to slip into my costume’s character, which usually means putting on some type of accent or alternate personality, but with the broken doll, I could just stare and blink at people without saying anything at all. Perfect!

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Next Level Landscape Photography

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Ask most photographers what they truly want to shoot and the answer is almost always landscape and travel photography. If there was a viable way to make a living from nature photography, we would all be doing it. It’s not impossible, but it usually comes with the goal of selling something, a product, a place, an agenda, it’s never just a nature shot. That doesn’t stop us from taking our cameras to the woods though. There are landscape shots and then there are landscape shots. Here are a few tips to elevate your game.

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Halloween Costume Idea : Circus Strongman

Making the Strongman

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If you do a search for strongman costumes, you’ll find that there are plenty of ideas out there, so we’re just re-inventing the wheel here. Right now my big decisions are which outfit he should wear. I bought the red and navy blue leggings from Old Navy. Note that you have to look in the girls’ section of their site and store for leggings. The tank top onesies are from American Apparel. I used the sharpies to draw tattoos on the women’s stockings. As yet to be completed – his barbell is going to be made from the two styrofoam balls and a shortened segment of the dowel.

I ended up with the two outfits, because I wasn’t sure what I would find at each store, so I thought it was better to have options and I’ll return whatever doesn’t make the cut. I think we’re leaning towards the black stripes and red pants, what do you think? The next choice is whether we cut the pants or not – I think it’ll look good either way. We’ve had some unseasonably warm 70+ degree days here, so I may wait and see what kind of weather we’re dealing with the day of the parade.

As you can see, Alex wasn’t really up for a fashion shoot when we had him try this on. But it was definitely helpful – the stockings are too wide for his arms. On the one hand, this makes it reasonable to have him wear a shirt under the stockings if it’s cold and/or I could stuff them to give him some muscles. Although, I’m also thinking that it could be worth it to buy a pair of small stockings sized for little girls or babies…

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Altering the Strongman

I made the original set shown above out of a pair of women’s stockings, but they were pretty large, so the tattoos were super wrinkly unless I decided to stuff the arms and give him BIG muscles. I thought about stuffing them, but knew that our finicky guy might refuse that look, so I decided to go back to the store and pick up a pair of girl’s stockings.

After buying them, I immediately realized the second benefit – if I turned the stockings upside down, and cut a hole in the crotch area, I could slide the one piece over Alex’s head rather than cut off the stocking legs to create two sleeves (that I would then have to attach to the onesie in order to keep them up)! win. win. In addition to cutting the hole for his head, I cut off the tighter elastic material around the stocking’s waist area as well as cutting off the toe seams.

I then drew the tattoos (a heart, cloud with lightning, kite, mermaid, whale, sailboat, anchor, spiderweb, rose, stars, and a shell). I only drew the tattoos from his shoulder area down to about his wrist, this still left a bit of stocking length, and rather than cut it off, I folded it under the sleeves to create a double layer for added warmth. They were still a touch wide for his arms, but his cuteness totally distracted anyone from noticing ;-).

And speaking of cuteness, here we are on Friday night, just before going trick-or-treating at the most amazing/bizarre house (we only went to two houses, because that was more than enough for the little guy).

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Funny thing, I had just finished Alex’s barbell (two styrofoam balls and a wooden dowel spray painted black), so this is his first time holding it. As we were about to take the picture, we told him to hold his barbell in the air, and he surprised everyone by doing it!  So that’s us, surprise smiling/laughing as he performs on cue.

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After these photos, he was more than happy to walk down the street holding his barbell and lifting it up whenever prompted. What a little guy! And what a great Halloween.

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Halloween Costume Idea : Disco Ball

Happy October! We first posted this a few years ago, but if you need an idea for a little one, it’s not too early to start. Below is a baby Disco Ball and here is a Circus Strongman.

I feel like it’s been so long since I really dressed up for Halloween. For the past few years, we’ve sat around the house (waiting for those dozen or so trick-or-treaters to show) and would throw on something from my bag of old Halloween costume parts from years past. Witch’s hat, Eskimo, and giant pumpkin for the win! This year Calder said we had to get serious – “don’t get out your witch’s hat” may have been a direct order. Luckily, some serendipitous inspiration struck not once, but twice, last weekend.

Moment 1: It began with me ordering this baby jailbird costume out of desperation. Did you see those tattooed arms?! A few hours after placing the order, I remembered Oh Happy Day’s strongman costume from last year – so awesome, right? And perfect for Little A. If he’s a strongman, then I’m happy to partner up as the bearded lady. And now we have a pair of costumes for our town’s Halloween parade.

Moment 2: Calder was randomly telling me that he wanted to bring 70’s fashion back (no joke). Minutes later we wandered into vintage store and found the most amazing 70’s clothes! Calder walked out with a pair of plaid pants and three rayon shirts with extra large lapels. Me? I’m the proud new owner of a psychedelic jumpsuit. All we needed was a disco ball. Enter Alex. And now we have the family costume theme that we needed for a friend’s party next weekend!

Making the Disco Ball

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Little A is a mover, and we have a strong feeling that he’s not going to put up with having a costume with a lot of frills, bulk, or even a hat. So we have to keep everything simple and make sure that it’s still easy for him to move. What we wanted to do here was to make him a sequined shirt that he could still easily move in. We thought about stuffing it to give him more of a ball shape, but his big belly is round enough.

I’ve been holding onto a sequined dress since high school (thank you Christmas band concert), knowing that it would come in handy eventually. Our plan was to make a simple sequined shirt/vest for Alex to wear over a black shirt and pants. Originally I thought I would use black felt to make the shoulder straps and snaps for closures (shown in the materials photo above), but as it turns out, I didn’t need either!

 

The straps on the top of the dress, are almost perfectly spaced for little A’s shoulders. So, all I had to do was take in the sides slightly, and shorten the dress to the length we wanted. The one challenge to shortening it was that the long zipper. In the photo above on the right, I’m showing you where the zipper ends with my thumb and how short I want it with my finger.

The dress’ sides had been brought in once before (red thread above). I wanted to bring in the seams by another inch or so, and I was going to cut off the excess fabric so that it didn’t add bulk. The one challenge I faced was that the sequins seemed to eat up the thread, and I would end up with gaps without stitching. I was using a cotton thread, maybe there’s a better choice? I handled it by just sewing the same line a few times, and it worked well enough.

The next challenge was the zipper. I’m not a zipper expert, but I do know that these zippers with small-ish plastic teeth are easy to shorten. You begin by marking the point that you want to be the new bottom of the zipper. At that point you’ll sew a bar tack over the zipper’s teeth. To do this, set your machine on a zig-zag stitch that is just wider than the zipper’s teeth with the stitch length as short as it can go (so you’re sewing back and forth over the zipper at the same point). I began by testing the stitch without thread in the needle, manually moving the needle to test stitch widths and making sure that the zipper was perfectly centered so that I wouldn’t hit its teeth with the needle.

After the bar tack is sewn, I cut out the zipper’s extra teeth, keeping my scissors as close to the teeth as possible and leaving the zipper tape intact. To close the hole that was made by the missing zipper, I sewed the excess dress hem (that would have covered the zipper) to the zipper tape on the opposite side, closing that hole. You can see this line of stitching in the photo above on the right. At this point I had a segment of the dress that was the correct width and could be  cut to the right length for the little guy. So, it was time to try it on and get that final length measurement!

He was a willing model first thing in the morning – as long as I didn’t mind him running around with his dog named Cat. He was super excited when he figured out that Cat could ride the bike by sitting in the water bottle holder. With the fitting done, I cut the dress to the length we wanted and our disco ball costume was complete!

 

Here are a few more disco shots, crazy eyes and all!

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Sweater Season

It’s sweater season! … at least for a day. Oh fall, you fickle thing.

I wanted to share the details on two sweaters that I’m excited to start rotating into my wardrobe this season.

Bohus Cowl

First up is the Bohus-inspired cowl neck sweater. It’s from an issue of Vogue Knitting, but lucky for you, the pattern is now available as a free download from their site!

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If you don’t know much about Bohus sweaters, it’s worth going down that rabbit hole and learning about these beautiful designs.

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Recreating Family Portraits Year After Year

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We’ve all seen the amazing examples, family photos taken in the same spot, with the same clothes and poses, a decade spanning the two. We wish we had one of those, but hey, we’re working on it. Year by year we’re taking the time and energy (and appropriate bribing methods) to sit down on the front porch of the beach house and snap a family photo or five.

We don’t bother checking to see who sat where or looked in which direction, however, we’re hoping to amass a large group of photos that depict our growing flock and shifting group of friends who stop by. Sometimes we take a photo during Russian Christmas wearing masks and holding our dogs and other times we scrounge up all the elephant pants we own. Sometimes I accidentally wear a tank top that says fuck on it. It all depends on the month and the amount of caffeine running through our bloodstream.

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Saxis Souvenirs 2017

For the first couple of years that our beach house has been in the family, everyone got homemade t-shirts (first with a sailboat silhouette and then with a blue crab). So as not to overstuff our shirt drawers, we’ve steered away from t-shirts more recently. Last year the souvenirs were canvas bags and water bottles (with clams!).  This year we went with pint glasses for the adults and t-shirts for the kids!

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When thinking about what to put on the souvenirs, Sarah happened to mention that the dragonfly populations were out of control this year. That’s actually a good thing, because the dragonflies love to snack on mosquitos! To add some interest, I played with words and wrote “Where dragons fly.”

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