Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy 9th birthday Zari!

Guess what Zari's birthday present request was?

"36-month aged Parmesan cheese and 7-year aged Cheddar cheese"

I love this girl. I gave her a big hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano for her 9th birthday present.

We did our yearly ritual of reading her birth story and looking at her memory book. This year she squirmed and giggled, clearly enjoying the attention.


We had an impromptu dinner gathering tonight. Some friends called us this afternoon and asked if we wanted to go trick-or-treating together.

Me: Sure! Come on over.

Friends: We made chili. Do you want to eat together at your house afterwards?

Me: Yay!

I love friends who bring dinner :)


This year's cake was simple--no soccer balls or caterpillars or globes or fairy gardens or layered ombres. Just delicious brown butter pumpkin cake with brown butter icing. Mmmmmm.

Notice the 36 on the cake? I didn't have 9 candles, but I did have #3 and #6. 3+6=9!

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall Forest Fairies

We missed out on Halloween last year. The closest festival in France involving costumes is Carnival in late February. But it's still not the same...

Zari and Dio both wanted new costumes. I said I'd made them costumes if we could use supplies we already had at home. I found a bin full of leather scraps from a boot factory. And a deerhide (no idea where that came from--probably my dad?) And of course lots of fabric.

Zari wanted a medieval-looking dress and a leather belt that looked like leaves joined together. Once Dio saw Zari's belt, he wanted one, too. There was just enough deerhide to make him a little vest. For the final touches, we picked leaves and stapled them together into crowns. Fall Forest Fairies!

Zari's dress was made of silk dupioni. I made it mostly without a pattern. Zari sketched her ideas on paper, I made occasional suggestions, and voila!

I was having so much fun hammering copper rivets and re-using old belt buckles that I made myself a leather underbust corset. I was going for a Steampunk feel. I used this underbust pattern tutorial and modified it into a 5-piece pattern; with 1/8" thick leather, I wanted as few seams as possible.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall break

We've had six weeks of idyllic fall weather, ending in fall break for all of us. Leaves are just starting to fall, and our kids are thrilled to help rake. To them, raking leaves is play, not work.

Yes, Inga is still in her pajamas at 5 pm. And I haven't brushed her hair for 5 days. C'est la vie chez nous des fois.

Our attic looks like a leather bomb went off. I pulled out a bin of leather scraps and we've been thinking up all sorts of fun ideas for Halloween costumes. I made Dio a deerhide vest. He and Zari also have leather belts made of multiple pieces joined together (Zari's look like leaves; Dio's are rectangles with points on the bottom).

Eric made a pair of flip-flops for Dio this morning.

My newest fascination is riveting. I bought a pop riveter, but it doesn't work well on soft materials like leather. I really really really want to get into copper riveting....I could even make my own copper rivets if I bought this $50 jig (but then I'd still have to figure out how to make the copper burrs...drilling out a penny would work, but the penny is far too large). I might have to settle for buying pre-made copper rivets & burrs. I also NEED a small anvil. NEED!

In the next two weeks I need to make costumes for Zari and Dio, plus cloaks for the kids and myself. I'm trying to use up all my spare fabric and this should make a good dent in my stash.

We also made goo from Elmer's glue and borax. Cheap and hours of fun.

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