So this halloween I decided to embrace it, unibrow and all. It just took one visit to the thrift shop and a little digging in my closet to come up with a colorful Frida-esque costume.
Soon after becoming friends with Kasandra in college I discovered we had one big difference: she celebrated holidays.
Kasandra is from Connecticut where they have four seasons, a long history, darkness in the summer and tolerable cold in the winter. These reasons are why East Coasters celebrate holidays differently from Alaskans.
“I love that the East Coast celebrates every holiday to the fullest,” Kasandra said. “It makes me look forward to the seasons.”
I visited Kasandra and her husband, Gary, in their hometown seven years ago in May. As she was giving us a driving tour of a road used to deliver mail during the Revolution, I was seeing house after house ridiculously adorned with flags and patriotic banners. I asked, “What the hell is going on here?” and she said “It’s Memorial Day weekend.”
Feel free to contradict me, but Alaskans just don’t celebrate this way. Sure, I’ll carve a pumpkin in October and string up some lights at Christmas, but there isn’t a single house on my block right now with Halloween decorations outside.
So today I wanted to show off a little of what Kasandra has going on in her neck of the woods to hopefully inspire Alaskans this Halloween.
Kasandra maintains that frugal collegiate spirit but includes East Coast charm and sophistication. All of her crafts are easy, quick and affordable. Here are three that she shared with me.
1. Bedazzled Pumpkin
Paint a pumpkin. Stick craft store jewels all over it. No glue necessary if the paint is still wet.
2. Mummy cookies
Melt some white chocolate. Dip Milano cookies halfway into chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over the cookie to make it look like a mummy. Stick on sugar eyes.
3. Monster mouth snacks
Peel some apples and slice them into wedges. Spread peanut butter on one wedge. Add some yogurt-covered raisins to look like teeth. Top with another apple.
So, get out there, Alaskans, and show some last-minute Halloween spirit!
It’s been a busy month here in Alaska blogland. Akshopgirl, Tessie Style, DJ Spencer Lee, The Sawbuck, Fernanda Conrad and I have been providing tips, costume ideas, music mixes, cocktails, decor projects and more for the Halloween season.
This week is dedicated to all those procrastinators. We’ll be featuring last-minute Halloween ideas, but today I wanted to feature a costume that if you have a few hours to spare this week you could still pull off.
My friend Kait sent me photos of her daughter’s costume and it was too darn cute not to share.
Little Bea’s armor is constructed out of soda pop tabs and jump rings. Kait said she used about 350 tabs. Construction wasn’t the hard part, she said. It was collecting the tabs themselves.
“That’s the long game part of it,” she said. “You have to start collecting and asking around if people will help.”
Luckily she was able to find a friend with a whole bag of tabs.
Kait used 10cm jump rings to connect the tabs, but if she were to do it again she said she would use 12 or 14cm instead so it would use fewer tabs and take less time to make.
The dragon emblem was part of a handmade birthday card her husband received in the mail and the belt and crown are made from a belt purchased from a rummage sale.
Bea’s costume doesn’t stop here. Bea’s father is going to be her damsel in distress and Kait will be dressed up as a dragon.
Kait is already planning for next year.
“I’m thinking famous scientists.”
It’s been a fun couple of weeks here in Alaska blogland, with akshopgirl taking the lead in week one with “Where the Wild Things Are,” and the whimsical wonders of week two’s “Woodland Creature” theme.
In a similar vein, we are dedicating this week to Wes Anderson. We’ve got costume ideas, knitting patterns, cocktails, music mixes, and in this post I’ll show you how to set your table for a Wes Anderson theme party.
We’re all adults here. Our days of Halloween ragers have long passed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. This theme party is for the folks who have left their kids with the grandparents for the night. It’s fun, it’s classy and you can probably find all the materials in your house (I raided my parents’ place, which, as it turns out, is very Tenenbaum-esque).
A huge thanks to Black Cup for letting us stage our tablescape in their remodeled cafe. The floor tiles alone would make Royal Tenenbaum stop and smirk. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at Cafe Del Mundo’s makeover, I highly recommend it.
Here’s what you’ll need to host your very own Wes Anderson dinner party.
- An old atlas
- Red cloth napkins
- Brass figurines
- Decadent salt shakers
- Silver fruit bowl
- White plates
- Low vase in emerald green or pink)
- Red pitcher
- Gold candlesticks
- Red or pink candles
- Filagree-patterned coasters
- Wine glasses
- White mugs (provided by Black Cup)
It’s T-minus 12 days till Halloween and if you haven’t pre-ordered your costume then that means you’re like me and you leave it to the last minute, thrift stores and luck.
In Anchorage, one of the best places to build your own costumes is the Bishop’s Attic on Gambell. This place is ’80s costume heaven (and keep it in mind for those ugly sweater parties during the holidays).
And this week’s theme is definitely thrift store appropriate. We’re dedicating the week to all things Wes Anderson.
So here are three Wes Anderson costumes that are easy to slap together with a visit or two to your local thrift shop and some rummaging through your closet.
1. Suzy from “Moonrise Kingdom”
From the thrift store:
- Knee-length dress
- White, long-sleeved dress shirt
This outfit was easy to find at the thrift store. I recommend washing the beret before wearing. And if you’re able to use your own pea coat you’ve just created a perfect Alaska-friendly costume (yay for staying warm!)
- Retro suitcase
- Pea coat
- Knee-high socks
- Saddle shoes
2. Dudley from “The Royal Tenenbaums”
From the thrift store:
- Retro t-shirt
- Cargo shorts
- Safari Hat
- ’80s glasses
This costume needs no additional elements. It’s perfect. But some Croakies couldn’t do any harm.
3. Team Zissou from “The Life Aquatic”
This is the simplest costume I was able to find at the thrift store. Just have a look in the uniforms section of the shop and grab some hospital scrubs. Top it off with a red hat and you’re solid. Go the extra mile and print off this free logo and tape it to the shirt.
If you have a spare few hours this week, knit yourself a Zissou cap using my free pattern.
It’s week two of our Halloween Blog Party and the theme is “Woodland Creatures.” So far we’ve had fairy flower crown and forest garland tutorials, a woodland fairytale mix by DJ Spencer Lee and today I’ve got a super quick baby costume that requires minimal crafty skills and a shoestring budget.
This was my son’s first Halloween costume and I love it so.
A while back AK Shopgirl was inspired by our little gnome. She decided to dress up her twin baby boys as more traditional David the Gnome.
Here’s all you need to achieve a gnome-tastic baby outfit:
- 1 piece of white felt (24 cents from Wal-Mart)
- A large mug
- safety pin
- a dark-colored onesie
- gnome hat (knitting pattern here)*
*If you aren’t a knitter, I suggest making a gnome hat the way AK Shopgirl did using a sheet of red craft foam fashioned into a cone, adhered with a hot glue gun. Ohhappyday.com has a free template here, if you want to get technical.
How to make the beard
Place the mug upside down in the middle of the white felt, 1.5 inches down from the top edge. Trace a circle for the neck hole.
Use the mug to shape the corners of the beard bib.
Draw a line at the top of the neck hole to the top edge of the felt. This will be the opening of the beard bib. I just love saying “beard bib.”
Freehand the shape of the beard. Cut out your beard bib.
Dress up baby of choice in the onesie, pants and booties. Use a safety pin to connect the back edges of the beard bib. Place pointy hat atop baby.
Presto. Baby gnome.
It’s week two of the Halloween Blog Party with AK Shopgirl and Tessie Style Blog. This week’s theme is “Woodland Creatures.” We’ll be featuring crafts, costumes, decorations, cocktails and music mixes that represent the fairies, flora and fauna of the forest.
Earlier this week I posted a video tutorial on how to make a fresh flower crown. I’m kicking it up a notch today with a fresh garland to decorate your woodland creatures party or to spruce up your mantle. No video for this tutorial, but I encourage you to watch the time-lapse flower crown tutorial as the technique is similar.
DIY Fresh Garland
Here’s what you’ll need:
- About four feet of twine
- floral wire (available at crafts stores)
- Fresh greens such as salal, plumosa ferns and eucalyptus
- Wire cutters
Happy October! As I glance out the window at the trees half shed of their leaves and the drizzly, cold rain, I am eager for the festivities of fall.
In celebration of Halloween, my blogging friends Leslie Shroyer (a.k.a. AK Shopgirl) and Tess Weaver of Tessie Style and I are collaborating to present fresh, fun and accessible Halloween ideas and do-it-yourself tips. Each week during our Halloween Blog Party we will curate a collection of costumes, décor, crafts, and last-minute ideas focused on a weekly theme. Local traveling speakeasy, The Sawbuck, will contribute craft cocktail recipes, and DJ Spencer Lee will create a playlist to complete the party.
This week Leslie takes the reins with “Where the Wild Things Are.”
You just have to check out her darling DIY costumes for children and adults.
I thought I’d give a brief tutorial on how to arrange grocery store flowers for a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme party — or if you just want to spruce up your living room on the cheap.
It’s by no means my most impressive arrangement, but it only takes a few minutes to put together and I feel as though I’ve accomplished something by doing it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
The safflowers, $8 at Fred Meyer, remind me of the character Max’s crown as he parades through the forest with the wild things. The vase, a Mason jar painted like mercury glass, was just $4.50 at JoAnn Fabrics. The mixed bouquet was $5 and the baby’s breath was $1.60 a stem at Alaska Wholesale Flower Market.
First, fill your vase with water and stir in the flower food packet. The packet came with the flowers, so you might as well use it, but it’s of course optional.
Next, trim the baby’s breath so about three inches of the blooms stick out of the vase. This acts as the framework and velcro for the arrangement. Without it the other flowers would flop around. Baby’s breath keeps it all in place.
Start cutting away the safflowers and placing the short stems around the lip of the vase. Try and get the leaves to curl around the lip. This gives the arrangement more continuity.
A good tip for trimming stems is to bring the vase to the edge of the table and line the stem up to the vase. Determine what height you prefer and cut the stem at an angle so it draws up water more easily, thus prolonging its vase life.
Start filling out the arrangement with the remaining flowers. Stagger the heights of the yellow flowers and have them point in different directions if you’re going to have the arrangement be a centerpiece. That way it’s lovely from all angles.
A rule of thumb is to use an odd number of focal blooms. It’s more pleasing to the eye, I suppose.
Add other flowers here and there, filling in any gaps in the baby’s breath, until you like what you see.
Now place your arrangement in a calming spot and revel in the fact that you just did something nice for yourself.
Check back all month for more Halloween crafts and tutorials. Take a peek at what akshopgirl is up to this week so you can have your own wild rumpus.