October 30: Costumes all done

October 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Two more hats, for Waldo and Wenda, and a bone for Woof. The bloody costumes are done — it would help if I could sew and had a sewing machine — but they are done. A lot of work for 2-3 hours spent in the rain collecting high fructose corn syrup candy.

Okay, okay, I am excited. The veil between the worlds is thin and children get to run wild outdoors for one night. It’s a good holiday.


October 29: Halloween Collage

October 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is always enjoyable to make holiday collages, especially if you have some Martha Stewart’s magazines (often to be found at thrift stores and libraries for 10 cents) lying around. J. started cutting out pictures but fell asleep before he was done. I continued, and with the help of glitter die-cuts, made a fun Halloween collage.

It’s easy to be creative at the end of October, with Halloween and Day of the Dead. The question is not whether I will find something to do tomorrow, but whether I will get all the crafts done on time.

Ignore the white glue that is still drying on the page.

October 28: Complaints box

October 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

The older I get, the more fearful I become. There are so many things to fear, so many reasons to worry. This is no way to live, so while I work on figuring out a more forceful approach to the problem, I have turned a cardboard jewelry box into a box to file away fears, worries, and complaints, and leave them there for the Universe to deal with.

It never hurts to be a little tacky, hence the heart stickers. Some lavender sprinkled in there. On the outside, the phosphorescent Virgin from an excellent Loteria (Mexican Bingo) set I bought ages ago in Tucson and just found today while browsing through some drawers, along with some other excellent future art materials. My first note is written on handmade paper and rolled up.

Doing this reminded me of a quote from one of  the favorite books of my early twenties, Teachings of Don Juan: “The first enemy of a man of knowledge is Fear.”

October 27: Ofrendas

October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Having been spoiled by the lavish celebrations of the Day of the Dead in Tucson, we were pleased to find that the Tacoma Art Museum displays altars every October and holds a large community celebration of the Day of the Dead on the first weekend in November. We went to the museum today to peek at the altars without the crowds. As always, they were life affirming, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always beautiful. As I get more knowledgeable about my camera, I am able to capture the spirit of things I photograph a little better. Here are the highlights of the photo shoot.

foggy memories, forgotten, and censored

shrine for Carlos Fuentes

truffula trees, part of the Dr. Seuss shrine

sand painting

October 26: Henry Darger and knitting

October 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is how I spent the last part of the evening


The good life: a documentary about Henry Darger from the library, loose leaf tea, and an attempt at knitting a red scarf. It is nice to stop obsessing about work and look around to see the richness of the world.

October 25: more about costumes

October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

My littlest Waldo Watcher was not cooperating, so I barely managed to take a picture of her striped outfit with a pompom:

As for our biggest Waldo fan, who is the reason we are all dressing in red and white, he is going as Woof (Waldo’s dog if you didn’t know), so today I attached some ears to his hat (he ended up some glue on his hair, which resulted in an unplanned hair trim), and D. made him a striped tail, and he is almost ready to go:

Waldo and Wenda still need hats. I expect those will be done by the end of the week.

I never thought I’d be making Halloween costumes, but I really enjoy it. Last year we made an R2D2 costume for J, and he was the only kid we saw all night in a homemade costume. Apparently, store-bought costumes and face paints are toxic, so Green America has come out with an alternative Green Halloween. Check it out.



October 24: Hat

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you read my blog at least semi-regularly, you know that I am a flawed crafter. I can’t knit, can’t sew, and don’t go for perfection. Today’s project is no exception. I made it with felt, needle and thread, and a glue gun. It would not last more than one evening, so it’s fortunate that we only need it for that long.

Certainly now it is clear what we are going as for Halloween. The entire family will wear red and white, and pompoms on our heads!

October 23: Pompoms!

October 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

There is only a week left until Halloween, and our costumes are not quite ready yet. We are close, though, and today I made pompoms for our hats. Can you guess what we are going to be for Halloween?

I have to mention Laura again for sending me a link to a great blog post, The Perfect Gift: Yarn Ball Bookmark, which had easiest instructions for a pompom I have seen.

I realized that I started this project so I could find more time for myself during the day, not so I would do the projects at night instead of sleeping; so I made the pompoms at 5pm and it was great. The effects were calming and invigorating both, just as the article I mentioned yesterday promised. Working with yarn made me want to learn to knit again. Or maybe I will just knit a scarf for O. Certainly, I can knit that much.


October 22: Paper flower

October 23, 2012 § 4 Comments

My friend Laura sent me an article today, named “This is your brain on crafts.” The article states, “crafting can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, and even improve sleep,”  and reports on research that shows that crafting is good for your brain and reduces stress. This is good to know. But sometimes crafting is as stressful as anything else. Sometimes I just get mad at myself. Like tonight, with another hopeless origami book I couldn’t follow. Just as I was starting to relax into it, realizing that I finally know how to make a bird base without looking at instructions, feeling cocky, I got stuck again was unable to complete two out of the three items I started to make. But that one I did complete was really nice, and the plan is to put it in J’s lunch box tomorrow. I think he will like it.

I suppose I am just tired. I dream of going to bed at 8pm. I have also been feeling uneasy about how much privilege I have — for example having the luxury to make crafts every night.

In any case, the article also says, “Looking at something aesthetically pleasing distracts your brain from worries — beauty can literally crowd out negative images.” Maybe not the most beautiful, but certainly the cutest and perhaps even most aesthetically pleasing was the image of O. in her shiny Hello Kitty shoes, so I will end with that:

Thanks, Laura!

October 21: Portable shrine

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Because I had to dismantle the altar where I kept my goddesses, seasonal decorations, and other inspirations to make room for the baby changing table, and because I was advised to do so by my new creativity book mentioned in yesterday’s post, I made a miniature version of an altar, i.e. a portable shrine. It looks a little like the shrines one sees around Tucson, and a little like an I Spy scene. The best part is, it can be dismantled or rearranged at any time.


It contains lots of things, even a Lego version of the golden snitch that J. made, a “Vote Socialist Workers” button from the 70s, some acorns I found today (relevant due to a recent dream), sage, and even a sunflower eraser from the Van Gogh museum. What it does not contain are nice looking push pins. This is the first time in ages that I didn’t have exactly the right supply for a project. Now, D. is the real shrine master in this house. If he lets me, I may photograph his shrines for the blog in the near future.


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