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The ballerina kitty and the black ghost ready to trick-or-treat in what’s left of a rather early snowfall. Last year’s ninja masks got reused with a few minor changes. Most everything else came out of their closets or from the Goodwill store. Ballerina kitty was inspired by the cat eared headband and got a black tail sewn on from a length of black feather boa from the craft store.

adult Luigi and Mario hat costume

Here’s Rich coming home from work wearing his Luigi costume. One of his co-workers was Mario. I made their hats. Rich’s was made from tee shirt material leftover from turning a short sleeve tee into a long sleeve tee.

And here’s the candy corn wig I made for answering the door. The pattern is Hallowig by Megan Reardon.

candy corn wig hat


Rosalina is a character from Super Mario Galaxy, a game for the Wii, which builds on the story of the long running Nintendo video game characters—plumber brothers, Mario and Luigi. She is the benevolent caretaker of baby stars called lumas. I previously made a few lumas out of felt for the kids.

The girl recently requested a Rosalina dress for her Groovy Girl doll, Sarah. Since she plays with Sarah quite a lot, I decided it was worth doing. I had several fabric choices in my stash and could have gone with a dressier velvet that wasn’t quite the right shade of blue or a satin that would have looked good but would have been very difficult to work with on such a small scale. I decided to use an outgrown tee shirt in the right color for ease of sewing and dressing the doll. Since I’ve made a few other dresses for this doll, it wasn’t too hard to draft a pattern that suggests the general look of Rosalina’s dress. I used a thinner white cotton knit for the trim, using the inherent trait of knit fabric to roll over in my favor. It’s a bit rough but I spent about as much time as I’m willing to spend on a doll dress. Done is better than perfect.

Groovy girl soft fabric doll dressed as Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy hand sewn handmade Rosalina dress Super Mario Galaxy

The star brooch and the crown are made from Sculpey molded over a paper skeleton, baked and brushed with silver paint and decorated with plastic jewels. I had intended to make those accessories out of fabric as well but I couldn’t find anything remotely suitable. Hopefully the paper skeleton inside the polymer clay accessories will give them some chance of survival.

hand made Sculpey polymer clay crown and brooch for Rosalina Super Mario Galaxy

Not that I’m particularly a fan myself, but I suppose this could be considered fan art. Or fan craft. Or something like that.

And yes, Sarah has big feet. Maybe I should have made the dress a little longer.

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The boy (and his sister) decided they wanted to dress up as ninjas for Halloween. This sounded like a good plan to me so I heartily endorsed it. Covered head to toe in something that should be easy to buy or make and could be worn later as pajamas.

Black tee shirts and leggings were purchased. I sewed the balaclavas and belts from material I already had, they will get thrown into the dress-up shelves. I already had two pairs of long black dress gloves that worked perfectly. I made the balaclava pattern a year or two ago for a Batman costume so all I had to do was find it and sew some more. Very fast and easy on the serger in a knit fabric. Men’s black tube socks worn over their shoes and pulled up to the knees provided an extra layer of warmth and silent ninja feet. Because of course, nothing else about the evening was ninja quiet.
Halloween dress-up ninja costumes



The girl put on a fashion show with some of her favorite stuffies the other day. The boy provided music, commentary and urged me to take pictures. I complied of course.


The new looks for fashionable stuffies everywhere, available by appointment only.


The girl did most of this herself, using her own hair things, dress-up stuff and doll blankets, etc. The littlest bear is dressed in a cutoff baby sock, I did that.

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little girl wearing apron and matching headband, Alexander Henry Granville fabric

We have a little friend who is turning 7 soon and I asked the girl what we should give her for her birthday. I was quite impressed that the girl suggested a headband since our little friend does like to wear headbands. Since dress-up is a favorite activity I decided to make a matching apron and headband. The girl and I went through my fabrics and chose this sweet pastoral fantasy print, “Granville” by Alexander Henry. I chose a tone-on-tone Victorian floral in a wine color by Moda to use as the lining.

I remembered seeing a tutorial ages ago for a headband and quickly cut and sewed a scrap version to test my memory of the idea. I couldn’t find the original but here is one very similar. The great thing about this technique is that there is no hand sewing involved yet all the raw edges are hidden neatly and easily. After the test version met with the girl’s approval I cut out the fabrics for the apron and headband. The headband went together fast again and the apron went well down to the last seam which I ended up ripping out and redoing about three times. Arg. But I like the finished project. The apron is two layers of the wine floral with the pocket made from the Alexander Henry fabric which features fanciful roosters, trees and country buildings. I really like this color palette, it’s pretty and girlish but not overly “cute”. I sewed an off center line down the pocket to divide it into two pockets. Here’s a picture of the other side of the headband so you can see the elastic band that holds it snug when worn. Now I have to make a second set for the girl to keep of course.

headband sewn from Alexander Henry "Granville"

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Leopard kitty

Several weeks ago I gave the kids a deadline for deciding what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween. The girl had her mind firmly set on dressing up as a leopard. I bought the leopard print fabric at the local fabric store. It’s synthetic but fairly soft and heavy so I thought it would be warm, especially if I lined it which I did, using hemp/cotton fleece for comfort. I made pants from her regular pants pattern, slightly flared. The pattern for the hooded top was cobbled together using her long sleeve shirt pattern and a comparison of the hoods of two jackets. The tail snaps on to the bottom of the jacket. Placing the pattern pieces on the fabric was rather tricky as there were darker and lighter bands running with the grain and I had to deal with matching those up and deciding how they would go together. I used most of 1.5 yards without much waste. A cool clear separating zipper makes the top into a jacket that she can wear this fall and in the spring. The hood turned out rather large despite the fact that I cut the pattern pieces down from my original tracings before cutting the fabric. Oh well, now I know.
For some reason this is the only picture I have of the girl from the pumpkin party we went to at the home of a classmate of the boy’s. Hopefully we’ll get some better pictures at Halloween. I may do a few more things, maybe some mittens with paw pads?

child's leopard costume

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I think I had to go out at least once every day last week, no picnic for a hermit like me. But I made it through the “princess” a.k.a. Royal Banquet on the Greene birthday party yesterday. It was a little chilly but sunny. The girl and her brother and six little friends enjoyed croquet and crafting bejeweled felt crowns as well as munchies, chocolate cake and pink lemonade. The girl has been planning this party for months. She’s quite opinionated but I figure she’s only 4 once so I would try to accommodate. I think everyone had a good time. Even the boys. The stage was set with a borrowed canopy, an old jewel toned backdrop of a court jester, and a fabric draped throne.

Here she is, the princess holding court, in the dress I made from two colors of stretch pink velveteen I bought months ago from fashionfabricsclub.com. I ended up making my own pattern but the fabric turned out to be quite easy to sew once I finally started.

"princess" dress for a four year old, my own pattern

Her brother, wearing the felt crown he decorated for himself and choosing his croquet mallet with care. He takes this game very seriously.

boy wearing felt crown with stick on jewels

The cake. Three tiers of fluffy German chocolate cake baked in borrowed heart shaped pans. Too late I realized that I had never made any other frosting than chocolate! I am not much of a baker. So I just picked a recipe out of the Betty Crocker cookbook which I had to retrieve from a box in the basement despite the fact it’s been a year since we moved in. Pink frosting did not behave as I was used to! But it tasted fine.

three layer heart shaped pink icing chocolate cake with strawberries and blueberries

Face painting by my friend Jan. This was quite popular with the boys and the girls.

face painting at birthday party

Our sweet little neighbor.

toddler in ruffly skirt holding a pink crown

Opening presents. In the background is the banner I designed for a fund-raising party with a royal theme quite a few years ago. Thankfully I did not have to sew these 5′ x 8′ monsters myself. All I did was cut and iron on the gold lamĂ© appliques which was quite a job in and of itself. There were actually several of them made and I kept them afterwards knowing that eventually another occasion for their use would present itself. Voila, a princess birthday party.

princess birthday party with jester banner in background

I’m pleased that by borrowing a few things, reusing things we already had and making the refreshments myself, I was able to create the royal party my daughter wanted without spending much actual cash. However, I may have to hire a maid to help me clean up the mess I made!

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This is the boy trying out the head of a donkey I made for a skit a few years ago for our church’s Children’s Workshop program. The skit was about Balaam’s donkey, which you can read about in the Bible (Numbers 22). It’s an interesting story, both amusing and powerful. The donkey head was constructed of plastic canvas, nubby fleece, felt, humonguous plastic eyelashes and some jute for the harness. I used a ball cap to get the shape of the head for the wearer and then made extensions from there to shape the horsey nose and ears. I sewed and glued the fleece onto the plastic canvas base. I left eyeholes in the fleece which had black canvas behind them so the wearer could see out but you can’t really see the human eyes underneath. You’ll probably laugh when I tell you that my husband played the part of the donkey wearing a grey sweatshirt and yarn tail along with the donkey head. But go read the story, the donkey has the last laugh!

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Here’s the girl doing a great impression of Cinderella thanks to a kool-aid dyed play silk and an apron my mother made for me when I was a little girl! I should post a close-up of the apron fabric, it’s a wonderful, delicate print of tiny birds amidst bamboo. The play silk I made quite a while ago. My instructions for dyeing play silks in the microwave are here.

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