September 30, 2010

i'm so excited and i just can't hide it

A short, short post this week because I am madly sewing for Crafty Bastards, the craft fair that I have been obsessing over for months.  In an exciting turn of events, the good folks at the Washington City Paper got a real live cartoonist to illustrate the how-to for the wreath of recyclables that I blogged about a while ago.  They did a great job and, to be perfectly honest, I actually shivered with excitement when I saw it on the screen.  The weather is supposed to be great this weekend, so if you happen to be in the DC area, why not pop on by?  I will be the spazzy vendor scaring customers with her out-of-control zeal.

September 22, 2010

and we're back to costumes

So, today I got an email from my son's nursery school teacher, a desperate plea for a sewing parent to help out by whipping up some new costumes for the imaginative play corner.  Even though I am sewing around the clock for Crafty Bastards and have not even started the jellyfish and crab (yes, that's right, Little Brother has now migrated from sea tortoise to crab--sketch to follow), I of course committed to sewing new costumes for the preschool.  Turns out the problem is that a particular four-year-old so favors the lion costume that she has worn it down to a nub.  Also, she makes it look so exciting to be wearing it that, though intended to provide joy, the lion costume is now causing dissent amongst the Fours.

I took a look at the favored costume and it was quite simple, just a little polar fleece tunic with a tail and a matching cap with ears and what I assume used to be the mane.  The teacher expressed a need for some other costumes of a similar type, so I thought, maybe a monkey?  In my brainstorming mode, I turned to Etsy to see what sorts of costumes those folks were coming up with.  I found quite a few that would be great for Halloween or anytime:

Two Little Bluebirds offers loads of fodder for imaginative play, including a Pink Pirate Set and this Superhero Set.  You do see a lot of superhero capes on the market, but I love that she has included a belt and the cuffs and even that little badge at the throat.  That kind of detail is really the strength of this shop--the pirate set even includes a little roll-up map and a bag of "booty" (not the R. Kelly type).  Fantastic.

Tangle Wit Designs really knows its way around some polar fleece, and these hats do double duty as dress up outfits and real cold-weather accessories, complete with ear flaps.  The Cardinal Hat is especially great for those little ornithologists in your life.  Actually, I might buy this myself.  It would be a great way to pick out your kid on the slopes! 

Her Flying Horses has a wonderful selection of very reasonably priced costumes ideal for pretend play.  My son would adore this Dragon Cloak (which is just a great idea) because it would be so easy to throw on and get right to the fun part of chasing his brother and roaring at the top of his lungs.

Imaginative play is such an important part of childhood.  According to all sorts of sciencey people, it is essential to developing well-adjusted, bright, happy humans.  And while it is sometimes frustrating for me when I address my son and he replies with, "I am a robot I am a robot" in his automaton voice, I know that this is crucial for him on almost every level.  And imaginative play also gives them something to do while I am sewing.  Which I need to go do now.

September 15, 2010

two and a half weeks? are you kidding me?

The Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair is going to take place in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C.  on October 2, a scant two and a half weeks away.  This is a well-known fair in these parts and beyond, bringing together tons of super-talented vendors from all over the dang place.  For me, it is exciting because I will be sharing a booth at said craft fair with my great friend of many years who co-invented a tres flattering dress called the Coralilie.  But it is even more momentous than that, as it is the first time I will be in any craft fair at all.  So I am completely freaking out.

Aside from ignoring my children, spouse, dog, household, and job so that I can hole up in my dining/sewing room and develop carpal tunnel, I am just becoming more and more aware by the hour that I have no idea what I am doing.  Sure, I have been to my share of craft fairs, being the craft-fair-loving gal that I am, but I am such a stranger to on-the-ground selling.  I couldn't even hold down a job at the Disney Store when I was 16.  I am planning to bring about 800 items and see what people like.  As I am planning to do this, the words of Jen Menkhaus, whose wonderful work I admired at Pile o' Craft in Baltimore is ringing in my ears--to streamline your offerings, thus preventing your guileless customer from wandering off in an overwhelmed haze.  But it does seem like a good opportunity for me, as the seller, to actually see with my own two eyes how people react to my work.  Maybe they will think, "What, no owls? No mustaches? I'm outta here."  Maybe they will think, "This beautiful youngish lady is just the person to write that book my publishing house has been looking to put out." Maybe they will think, "Why is this vendor staring at me as I look through her things?"

Oh, and if anyone I work with/for is reading this, just kidding about ignoring my job.  Have you seen my sewing scissors?

September 8, 2010

adventures in costuming, part I

Halloween season is upon us and my son has requested that I make him a costume.  For his first couple of years, he was content with the Children's Place/ Old Navy/ Fill-in-the-Blank Chain Store costumes that we inherited from our benevolent hand-me-downers, but this year I could tell he had something special in mind from the moment the first Halloween-themed catalog crossed our threshold.  For quite a while, it seemed inevitable that he was going to go with Octopus, since he has been obsessed with that particular creature all summer.  I was stumped by the arm/leg situation--would I incorporate his existing arms and legs into the eight required legs or kind of start from scratch?

Luckily he has changed his tune and decided that he wants to be a jellyfish.  I have some preliminary ideas involving polar fleece and various shiny/iridescent materials, and, actually, he had a lot of good ideas, too, mostly regarding the stingers (which seem to be the crux of the entire costume for him).  We have also determined that his baby brother will wear a complementary Sea Turtle outfit.  (Again, in a stroke of good fortune, we moved off of the idea of the baby going as Lobster--it would be adorable if executed well, but in my hands I am afraid he would look like he was dressed as a Chewed Twizzler.)  Because nothing looks worse than things I sew from a pattern, I knew that finding some delightful McCall's costume was just not going to fly.  So, I will chronicle this odyssey in crafting, beginning with my preliminary sketches herewith:

Wish me luck!  I heartily welcome any words of wisdom.