Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stripes Are A Good Thing...Part One!

I picked up this plain navy blue dress the other day for $2.  Since it was polyester with some lycra mixed in, my first thought was to just take it in on the sides for an easy pullover dress.  However, when I brought it home, it happened to match perfectly with a striped polo shirt hanging in my refashion closet.  The wheels in my head started turning and I decided to kick it up a notch with some stripes!

The end result was this....

Keep reading for the step-by-step on how it was done.

At this point, the refashion could be finished, but I wanted the neckline a little higher, plus I thought the added detail would be nice.

This next step was just to get a better fit.  It worked well since the fabric had some stretch to it.  With non-stretch fabric it would probably be better to remove the sleeve, trim everything down and then replace the sleeve.

 And that's it!  Pretty simple, very comfortable, and the best part...enough fabric left over to make a skirt!  Coming soon!

I like to link to these great parties!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Night in Bethlehem

Our church always has an annual Christmas dinner.  Sometimes its the usual sit-down dinner with some light entertainment.  One year it was a breakfast at the North Pole.  We have even had Christmas in Nauvoo.  But this year, we went all the way back in time to Bethlehem.  We have done this before and its always a lot of fun.  

Upon arrival, each person must stop and sign the census, pay their taxes (canned food for the needy) and pick up a bag of coins to purchase things in the marketplace.  Everyone is encouraged to come dressed in biblical attire.  If you don't have a costume, you can visit the tailor shop upon entering the city and get outfitted for the festivities.   Townspeople enjoy walking around the open market of Bethlehem for good food, music, and the smell of spices in the air.  The kids have fun making beeswax candles, shaping things from clay, and making wooden mallets in the carpenter's shop.  Each family can pick out something from the gift shop.  If you're tired, and you want to spend one of your gold coins, you can sit in the inn to eat your food.

A garland of bagels helps to define the bakery shop filled with many delightful home-baked goodies.

Next to the bakery was a shop offering lentil soup and smoked salmon.  Further down was the Pita Inn offering delicious pita pockets filled with chicken salad and cucumber slices.

Jasper, the donkey, was watching over the photo area.  Just a side note...Jasper is a well traveled donkey.  He has been south of the border, to Nauvoo, Bethlehem, and other various locations (depending on what church activity we're having!)

The fruit stand offered a variety of fresh fruit.

The gift shop was filled with ornaments depicting the nativity, small clay figurines of the nativity (some from red clay, others from fimo), simmering spice potpourri, and other small items.

Other shops were the dairy, serving cheese cubes and olives, and the "winery" serving grape juice.

The pottery shop allowed the kids to sculpt something from self-hardening clay.

The shop also had some pottery on display.

The other two shops were the candle shop, where beeswax candles could be made, and the popular carpenter's shop where a lot of enthusiastic pounding was taking place!

After everyone had enjoyed the market place, townspeople made there way into the chapel for a reenactment of the Christmas story and the singing of hymns, ending the evening with our thoughts toward the real reason that we celebrate Christmas.  I am thankful for the birth our Savior and for the life that he led so that we might have a perfect example to follow.  May we all strive to be more kind, more patient, more loving, more forgiving, more like Him!

Below is a beautiful, short video about the most important gift ever given.

This is a fun activity, but needs a lot of advance preparation for it to be a success.  You can find several ideas for this if you search the web.  A couple of things we did the first time was to get several castoff sheets from a local hotel.  I cut a cardboard stencil and used spray paint to make the stone walls surrounding the city.  I also dyed several sheets brown, blue, burgandy, and green.  These have come in very handy for covering all the tables.  The upright supports for all the awnings are 2x2's that are attached to the table legs with duct tape...lots of duct tape!  All of the baskets, pottery, fringed fabric, table runners, greenery, etc. were purchased over time from thrift stores (a fun assignment to have, I might add!)  We're lucky enough to have two large plywood boxes that fit on the roll-around carts under the stage for storage...and they are filled to the brim!  It takes several hours to build the city of Bethlehem, but with enough workers, only about 45 minutes to take it all down...yay!

I like to link to these great parties!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gears, Gadgets, Goggles...Steampunk!

Every year our church has a Harvest Festival, which includes a chili cook-off, entertainment, trunk-or-treat, and costumes!  I love costumes and thought this year it would be fun to dress in a steampunk style and decorate the "trunk" of our van to match.  In case you don't know what steampunk is, here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

So basically, I like to think of steampunk as Victorian Sci-fi, i.e. really fun costumes!  Of course a trip to the thrift store was in order.  As luck would have it, I discovered a local thrift store had already gathered steampunk inspired clothing and decorations and made a whole display from them.  Plus, it was half off women's clothing that day, so I got my jacket, black velveteen vest, and crushed velvet skirt all for $7!

I found a lace skirt at another thrift store.  Add that to the hat, belt, jewelry, boots, and victorian blouse I already had and I was well on my to completing my costume.

The victorian era blouse with the lace collar was just what this costume needed.

My pocket watch necklace originally made its appearance on my blog back in January of 2012.  It was the perfect accessory for this outfit.  The other necklace and wristwatch that I wore on my belt was already in my stash.

I just gathered and pinned the skirt up in the front to showcase the lace skirt underneath.

Of course, no steampunk outfit would be complete without the goggles!  I found a pair of green glasses with kaleidoscope lenses at a thrift store for 25¢.  I cut the sides down with my Dremel and drilled a couple of holes in each side so that I could attach some strapping. 

But first, I painted them gold and then layered on some copper and black metallic paint to distress them.  I super glued earrings to the side for decoration and used leather lacing to secure my straps.

I picked up a jewelers loupe at Harbor Freight for a few dollars and clipped it in place.

My husband and I like to match (or maybe its me that likes to match), either way it was time to work on his costume.  I picked up some welding goggles at Harbor Freight and got to work.  After taking them apart, I first sprayed them with a plastic primer hoping that it would make the spray paint adhere better.  Even so, the gold and silver spray paint crinkled up, but it was perfect for what I wanted.  Using a scrunched up piece of plastic wrap, I dabbed on copper, silver, and black metallic paints for a distressed effect.

I added some strapping and placed it on his top hat.

I found a lone knee pad at a thrift store and thought it would be perfect for his shoulder.  It basically got the same paint treatment as the other gadgets.  I added some straps and a buckle and he wore the pad on his shoulder with the straps going around his chest and back.

My husband is a good sport about dressing up, but it always helps to sweeten the deal if there are weapons involved.  In fact, we have been a gangster and flapper, pirates, a mediaeval knight and maiden, and Indiana Jones characters, to name a few...all involve weapons!  So this year it was no different.  Our futuristic steampunk weapons are in reality a squirt gun and toy gun that were worked over by a paint brush.

I used the same metallic paints as I did with the goggles.  I didn't worry too much about getting everything perfect considering they've probably been through a few battles already!

For the trunk-or-treat, we decorated our van in the same theme.  I rounded up things I had at home, and picked up a couple of things at the thrift stores.  My son had a plasma light that added some electric fun to the scene.  I also downloaded some vintage film footage of the industrial age and had it playing on the laptop.  To complete the whole feeling, we blasted Electro Swing music from the speakers...its a rather catchy genre of music!

The old dictionary was turned to the page featuring gears.  I highlighted the entry with this fun hands-free magnifying glass.

It was a fun style to dress in and made for a fun evening of food, entertainment, and handing out lots of candy!

I like to link to these great parties!

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