Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Ground Hogs Day Kind of Halloween

Well it's past that time of year where you should be thinking about what your children will be for Halloween since its a few days away. You should have it figured out. I guess I haven't had to put much thought into what my boys will be this year. Don't be too worried, I have it all figured out. I'm pretty much off the hook this year.

Last year I made my 5-year son the scarecrow costume from the Wizard of Oz. I made a trip to Savers and some craft stores to put the whole outfit together. I was actually quite proud of how it turned out. To my benefit, my son wants to use this same costume this year. It's like Ground Hogs day but Halloween. There's nothing more special than a homemade costume. I'm more enamored by homemade costumes than store-bought.

My 3-year son will be Super Man. I already had the items for this costume. Last Christmas, my mother-in-law sewed him a reversible red and blue cape embellished with his initials. He already had a Super Man T-shirt, blue pants, and a navy blue sweater to wear under his T-shirt to stay warm. So looks like I'm putting my feet up this year!

Here the two costumes I actually did take time to do last year for on-the-cheap.

Here's how I made The Scarecrow costume:
1.) For the top/hat: I found this tan fleece in the scrap bin at Mill End Textiles. I cut the bottom to a rounded edge and sewed under the edging of the front part around the face. I designed this piece to act as a hood. I added some Velcro to close the flaps and to fit under his face. I used a strip of the fabric to tie the hood under his chin.
For the hat, I purchased black felt fabric. I really had no pattern for this hat and pretty much winged it. I cut out a circle larger than the circumference of his head so it would be wide enough for the brim as well. I cut a triangular shape for the cone part of the hat. I sewed the pieces together and glued a piece of drapery cording to accent right above the brim.

2.) For the shirt: I found this green corduroy button-down shirt at Savers. I glued some craft straw to the pockets and cuffs. I found this drapery cording on clearance at Jo-Ann Fabrics to create a sash and stuffed the shirt with more craft straw. I also accented the cuffs with the cording.

3.) For the pants: I also found these brown pants at Savers. I added some iron-on patches to the knees. I glued the craft straw inside the openings of the ankles of the pants.

4.) For the hands: I purchased gray stretchy gloves for the scarecrow hands. The closest color I could find in stores to the movie was gray.

5.) For the nose: I used brown costume make-up to paint his nose.

Last year I made my 3-year-old a Where's Waldo costume that barely cost me anything.

Here's how I made the Where's Waldo costume:
1.) I purchased red duct tape and cut them into several thinner strips to re-create the red stripes. I stuck them onto a white onesie. I added the tape strips to this white hat I already owned.
2.) These are children's 3D movie theater glasses with the lenses taken out. Here's my little Waldo.

Have a Happy Halloween! I would love to see and hear what your homemade costume creations are.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ten Things You Should Know About Me

So hello world! I bring you this blog in hopes to inspire you with my creations as well as bring down the wall (no pun intended) behind the designer of the fabric wall art and tote bags. This blog is a big step for my technological-resistant self. This is coming from a girl who just got her first Smart Phone a few weeks ago. I want to take you along in my journey as an aspiring entrepreneur and share my latest happenings.
I hope to inspire you in other ways as well through food, wine, running, scrap booking, family and other interests of mine. First off, I would like you to get to know a few things about me and what makes me tick:
  1. I love designing. I had a blast picking out color schemes, paint colors, tile, trim work, carpet, fixtures, and wall decor for our lower level finish a few years ago. I am by no means a designer by certification/education, but I like to consider myself one at heart. Since you only have so many rooms in your house to decorate, my passion has bubbled over to wanting to help decorate others' homes. I love watching pretty much any show on HGTV. However, I don't have a lot of time for TV nowadays. I love mixing and matching color schemes and patterns, which is why I enjoy creating the fabric wall art. It seems like I'm always making things for my house such as curtains or pillow cases. I would love to help others decorate their homes and offices. I'm very interested in consulting with customers who are looking for assistance in color schemes or guidance on how to hang their Tote-ally Inspired wall art. There are so many possibilities out there that making a decision by yourself can be challenging.
  2. I love to sew. I've been sewing since I was little. My start definitely came from being an active 4-H member. My mom  taught me how to sew and I've always enjoyed it. I can still remember playing with fabric scraps and designing Barbie clothes and accessories. It seemed I was always borrowing her machine for various home decor projects. A few years ago, I was given my own sewing machine for Christmas. I couldn't wait to tackle a new project on it. I decided to make my oldest son a Buzz Lightyear tote bag on his 2nd birthday. I wanted him to have a boyish bag that he could carry his toys and books to church, and for long car rides to both of his grandparents' house. And to keep tradition alive, I had to make one for my other son on his 2nd birthday. It wasn't until last Christmas the idea sparked to turn this craft into a business. I worked like crazy trying to finish tote bags for each of my nieces and lone nephew for Christmas. I knew then I wanted to further my hobby into a business.
  3. I am a mother and wife. I have been married for more than six years to my best friend and an amazing man who supports me in everything that I do. We joke about the fact that he is a silent partner in my operation. He helps me build the wooden frames, stretch the the fabric and staple them. I'm trying to depend less on him as time doesn't always allow for him to help me. We have two beautiful boys, 5 and 3 years old, who keep us on our toes and definitely smiling with their crazy facial expressions and silly phrases.
  4. I am a quizzical person and I am always wanting to learn new things. I am often called "the reporter" by friends and family, which is fitting since I worked as one for several years. I graduated with a degree in journalism and minored in nutrition. I've always been a creative person at heart. I switched careers three years ago after the economy took a turn for the worse and caused the newspaper industry to downsize. I'm now working full-time in a public safety position while juggling being a mom, wife and growing my business. Creating/designing is definitely my stress-outlet. I hope to one day publish a children's book. For now, I'm enjoying the challenge of learning the ins and outs of running a business, diving into new projects and designing new things.
  5. I sometimes feel like an old lady trapped in a young person's body. At least that's how I feel with most of my hobbies and interests, but I'm okay with that. I think that's what makes me unique. I hope to teach you a few things from sewing to cooking/baking. I hope I don't jump around to much with my varied interests, but I will warn you, I have A LOT of hobbies/interests. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with them that I just want to take a sabbatical to focus on all of them.
  6. I am an extroverted person although I have been tagged as quiet. I think once you get to know me you will find that's not the case. I am an observant person, so I tend to be a little quieter when I first meet people. I can do a few impersonations and I love making people laugh. I do have a serious side, but mostly am a very positive, calm, and laid back person. I can be a planner, but for some things I like to be spontaneous and may decide to try something or go somewhere last minute.
  7. I love music and movies. I am a self-proclaimed Pandora junkie. I usually have it on while I'm working in my studio, running, or just lounging around the house. I love a variety of music from the Foo Fighters and Shinedown to Coldplay and U2. One of my favorite things to do on a weekend night is watch the latest movie release snuggled up with chips and salsa or popcorn. Everyone can agree that movies provide a great escape from reality. I consider myself a home-body, but I do enjoy going out and sipping on wine and catching up with the girls or watching the latest flick on the big screen with my husband.
  8. I love food. Who doesn't? My current work schedule doesn't allow much time for me to make elaborate suppers for my family, but when I do have the opportunity, man do I make a mess of the kitchen. I love sifting through old cookbooks and Cooking Light issues and trying new recipes. Sometimes my husband has a hard time deciding what I should make because I mix it up too much with new recipes. He's not quite sure what he is craving. I guess I'm really messing up his taste buds. I think cooking has become a lost art and I hope to inspire you with simple, healthy meals and some not-so-healthy delicious dishes! Cooking can be really fun and so delicious compared to processed foods. When time and money allow, my husband and I love trying new local restaurants. They have so much to offer and why not try something outside of a chain restaurant that you've dined at a dozen of times.
  9. I love to run. I know what you're thinking ... "Who says that?" But seriously, there is nothing like a good run to clear your head, crank up the tunes and just escape, and you get a good workout doing it. I got back into running more seriously after I had my youngest son. I have made running a weekly habit and started running competitively in local 5ks. I'm planning on tackling my first 10k this weekend. We'll see what kind of lofty goals I set for myself from there (there's my competitive side coming out).
  10.  I grew up on a farm in central Minnesota helping my family with their dairy and produce operations. I think my entrepreneurial side comes from my dad, who grew the family produce business from a small pumpkin patch to more than 100 acres of vegetables, which are sold to several wholesalers in the Twins Cities area. I am thankful for growing up on a farm. It has given me a strong work ethic that I think has been lost in today's generation.
Stayed tuned for more posts of the becomings of Tote-ally Inspired. To see more of my work check out my Facebook page by searching Tote-ally Inspired or check out my Etsy shop