October 26, 2013

DIY: Spaghetti & Meatballs Costume

As I may have mentioned a time or million two, I'm a fan of Halloween. More specifically, I'm a fan of Halloween costumes, and even more specifically, I'm a fan of DIY Halloween costumes. (Incidentally, I'm also a fan of specifics). Making mine every year is a ritual for me, starting with the brainstorming process in, oh, July or August.

This year, I was low key and didn't finalize details until late September and only made two sketches. Living on the edge! Since I didn't have plans for a Halloween party, I didn't want an elaborate costume if I wasn't going to get a chance to wear it, which is why I went with this - my version of a "low key costume." Yes.

Luckily, I did get invited to a party and the costume went over well. It was fun to wear, but I'm used to costumes that I can't sit in, so take that for what it's worth. Plus, the spaghetti yarn feels like a snuggly shawl. I wish I could wear it that way forever, but I think I'd get looks.

Want to make this costume too? Here's everything you need to know! I'm breaking down the instructions for each costume piece to keep is simple(r). Let's start with something easy:

Small Styrofoam Balls  //  Brown Paint  //  Black Paint  //  Sponge Brush  //  Paper Towel(s)

(If you have whole styrofoam balls, first cut them in half with a knife. I'm re-using old ones from my Broadway Corn on the Cob costume, which is why mine are yellow.) 

Paint your balls brown and let them dry [a]. Next, mix some black and brown paint to make a dark brown shade. Dab this new color over the balls with a paper towel [b]. This gives the meatballs a textured appearance and makes them look more authentic, but feel free to skip this because no one besides me will care about the authenticity of a fake meatball on a Halloween costume, trust me.

Finished meatballs! While they dry, we'll move on to the...

Spaghetti Hat
Thick Yarn (in a spaghetti-ish color)  //  1/4" Elastic  //  Styrofoam Half-Ball  //  Fork  // Hot Glue Gun

Put a dot of hot glue on the bottom edge of the styrofoam ball and stick the end of the yarn to it [a]. Wrap the yarn around the bottom perimeter of the ball, gluing it down as you go [b]. Continue to wrap and glue the yarn around the ball [c]. When the ball is almost covered, stab/poke (stab sounds more fun) your fork into the top of the ball. Take the fork out, dab a little glue on the end of the prongs, and insert it back into the holes you just made [d]. Continue to wrap the yarn, and when you get to the top, wrap and glue the yarn around the fork [e]. Snip off excess yarn and glue the end of it to the fork [f].

Cut your elastic to whatever length you need to go around your head and glue the ends under the base of the ball. I put a circle of felt over the underneath area to cover the elastic and make it softer on my head (styrofoam + hair seems uncomfortable), but that isn't required. It will be on the test, though.
DONE! Much easier than you thought, right? I think we have the confidence to move on to the...

Spaghetti & Meatballs
Thick Yarn  //  Red Felt  //  Scissors  //  Hot Glue Gun

First, cut two shapes from your red felt like the one pictured below. It's kind of an orzo shape, but that sounds insane so just eyeball it. Actually, it kind of looks like an eyeball so go with that. I'm going to pin this piece to a t-shirt for the final costume, so I measured the length against the sleeve for accuracy.

Cut a length of your yarn and glue one end to each red felt shape. You want this to be long enough to drape over your chest [a]. Cut various lengths of yarn and glue them to each red felt shape [b]. I glued them all as loops because it's twice as fast and who has the time? Kind of a ridiculous thing to say at this point though, I guess. You want the red shapes to be covered in yarn pieces, so keep cutting and gluing [c]. Note: these red shapes will be on your shoulders, so I created a "front" and "back" row of strings so they would hang all over me [d].

When you're done draping the spaghetti start gluing the meatballs all over. I went with a random pattern and put more on the front, careful not to give myself a meatball nipple because come on. You don't want to work this hard to have some jerk at a party tell you that your meatballs look like nipples. Just try it on before you glue is what I'm saying.
Pinky raise optional.
Phew! You maybe kind of hate this already, but we're so close! Let's just make the...

Red Gingham Apron
Red Gingham Fabric  //  Measuring Tape  //  Scissors  //  Pins  //  Sewing Machine

Step One: BUY AN APRON! Just kidding - kind of. If you are less insane than me, just buy one, ok? For the brave of heart, read on:

I wanted this to be reminiscent of a table cloth at an Italian restaurant, thus the red gingham. First, we'll make the strap. Mine was about 3" wide, so I cut 6" of fabric [a] since I'll be doubling it over, right sides together, before sewing [b].

Sew the bottom seam and end seam, leaving one end open. The awesome thing about cutting and sewing gingham is that the lines are a perfect guide for straight cuts and stitches.

I ended my strap in a diagonal stitch to give my tails little points, but that's optional. I also made my strap in two pieces (meaning I did this process twice) because I didn't have the width I needed in my fabric scraps.

Next, flip the strap right-side-out via the open end [a]. If you made a diagonal end, trim the excess first. Once you're done, sew the open end shut [b].
Since I did mine in two pieces, one end is flat rather than pointed. I sewed both pieces together at the flat end.
Next, cut a piece of fabric large enough for the apron. Because we want the apron to have some poof (duh) I made mine pretty wide because we'll be gathering it later. Cut the bottom corners in a rounded shape (optional) and hem the sides and bottom.

Next, run a basting stitch along the top edge of the apron.
Enjoy this illustration/dramatic recreation because I forgot to take pictures of ALL of this.
Take the end of the thread and gently pull it so that the fabric starts to bunch up.
Arrange the bunched fabric to your liking, making sure the final width is right for you, and sew the finished strap over the top of the apron.

Kind of easy, right? No, I'm losing my mind? Oh, okay.

The Final Costume
Pin the red felt shapes onto the shoulders of your shirt and wear it with red tights
 and red shoes (should I even have to say this?!). I also went with red nails and lips because I love nothing more than a theme. Also, please curl your hair so it looks like spaghetti. Bonus points if your hair is also red and white to match, but that was just a coincidence.
You can also see my eye makeup here, which I did with Wet n Wild's Silent Treatment palette.
Spaghetti Hat close up:
Also, this costume provides many opportunities for "hilarious" poses, such as:

Okay, that was A LOT. If you read even some of that, BRAVO, sir or madam (probably madam, right?). This was a lot of fun to make, plus now I have a new apron! Watch out, baking projects.

Do you like to buy or make your costumes? Have you ever dressed as a food item? What are you being/what were you this Halloween? Add a link if there's a picture of you somewhere so I can creep on your costumes!


October 22, 2013

BEAUTY: Halloween Nail Art Tutorial

It's no secret that I'm pretty into Halloween, and as with most holidays, I like to show that appreciation on my nails. The colors and themes of Halloween are just so much more fun than other holidays (sorry trees and eggs) and they really lend themselves to nail art. I was planning an eyeball manicure this year, but today I had second thoughts and was struck by indecision, resulting in a different design on every digit.

There are SO many other options that would be fun to add here, like candy corn, Dracula, witch, candy apple, werewolf...I ran out of fingernails way before I ran out of ideas. Here's my take on Halloween nail art and a step-by-step guide on how you can recreate the look:

White Nail Polish {White by Wet n Wild}
Blue Nail Polish {Blue Me Away! by Sally Hansen}
Red Nail Polish {223 by NYC}
Lime Green Nail Polish {Innocent by Sinful Colors}
Gray Nail Polish {Light Grey by Forever 21}
Orange Nail Polish {Orange Overload by Savvy}
Seche Vite Top Coat  //  Sharpie(s)  //  Dotting Tools  //  Nail Art Brush (optional)

Paint a colored base for each nail. I applied white polish on my pinky and index finger, orange on my ring finger, green on my middle finger and gray on my thumb.

For the blood spatter design, first paint a red stripe at the tip of the nail. Using a nail art brush or small dotting tool draw drips of red polish from the stripe toward the middle of the nail. Messy is fine here!

For the jack o'lantern design, use a Sharpie to draw the eyes and mouth. My orange polish reacted weirdly with the Sharpie for some reason, so I topped mine with black nail polish. Usually drawing with a Sharpie works wonders and is SO much easier than nail polish, but it can be unpredictable.

For Frankenstein, draw a zig zag line near the base of your nail [a] and fill in the empty space [b]. Next, use a dotting tool to make two white dots slightly above the zig zag [c]. Draw a black line above the dots with polish or a Sharpie [d] and add short perpendicular lines over it to look like stitches [e]. Add small black dots over the white dots to complete the eyes [f].

For the bloodshot eyeball, use a nail art brush or small dotting tool to draw squiggly red lines around the borders of your nail [a]. Next, draw a blue circle in the center of your nail with a dotting tool [b] and top it with a smaller black circle for a pupil [c]. Optionally, you can add a tiny white dot over the black and blue area as a highlight [d].

For the mummy, draw a thick-ish black stripe about a quarter of the way down your nail with polish or a Sharpie [a]. Use a thin brush or Sharpie to add random diagonal lines for the wrapping [b]. Use a dotting tool to make two white dots in the center of the black stripe [c] and top them with smaller black dots to finish [d].

Finish everything with top coat and ta-da! Your motley crew of Halloween nail art characters is complete. 

Here are some closeups of the designs:

Are you into holiday themed nails? Have you ever tried Sharpies on your nails? Don't you think that, despite his flaws, Frankenstein is kind of adorable?


October 15, 2013

OBSESSED: Found Photos

I've always been the type of person who likes to learn things about people. Sometimes that means asking a lot of questions, and sometimes that means peeking into people's lit up windows when I drive by at night. I'm not a creep, I just like seeing regular, run-of-the-mill moments of people's lives, whether I know them or not. Okay, that does sound mildly creepy, but I promise it's innocent intrigue. 

A healthy less public way to indulge this interest is via found photos. Found photos are just that - photos that have been found by someone else. One way or another, these photos ended up discarded or lost and in the possession of someone who doesn't know the photo subjects. You can find them at antique stores, flea markets or just on the ground, but I like to hunt them online.

I especially love photobooth finds - intimate moments and narcissism at their finest!

I love them because they tap into that curious (okay, nosy) thing inside of me that likes to peer into people's lives. If I could just walk into strangers' houses and see what they keep in their refrigerator or what posters they put in their bedroom, I totally would, but since that is frowned upon, found photos offer a fun peek into strangers' lives and activities. Vacations, proms, dates, holidays, sleepovers - they all get captured on film. Flash forward fifty years or so and those mundane actions are suddenly exotic and cool.

It's fun to imagine who these people are and what their lives were like. You can really create any story you want. See that dude above, with his sunglasses-wearing dog? That could be a photo taken by a friend of a hilarious party moment or the result of a tripod and self timer showcasing a weird, lonely night and a dog trying hard to stifle his "please rescue me" face. You'll never know!

Let's not downplay the fashion inspiration! There are good things to be found in these vintage treasures. Look at those hot flapper babes!

The bird is camera shy, I assume.
As is often the nature of found photos, I don't have any original sources for these photos, but if you do feel free to pass them along!

It's crazy to think of our own personal photos ending up online or in someone's collection years in the future, but that's what happened to all of these fine people. Can you imagine if a photo of you looking totally badass while eating a popsicle on the hood of your hot rod was being admired on someone's blog in 60 years? That would be amazing, actually.

If you want more found photo goodness, follow my Vintage board on Pinterest, which has basically evolved into a never-ending stream of these goodies. Do you love vintage photos? Do you think it's weird to collect pictures of strangers? On a scale from 1 to 10, how big of a creep am I? Have you ever taken a picture of you dancing with your poodle?


October 8, 2013

Top 10 Weirdest "Sexy" Costumes

Halloween is a HUGE deal to me. I love DIY costumes, but I'm also fascinated by the nonsensical "sexy" costumes we're confronted with each season. I'm not talking about all sexy costumes, and I definitely don't care if you like to show a little skin on Halloween. I think everyone should be able to wear whatever they want, but some of these so-called "sexy" numbers make me scratch my head.

Blow Pop costume and Beaver costume. Subtlety has never been a strong suit for this industry.

Where are these ideas coming from? Who is running this industry? Someone somewhere is seriously sitting at a desk drafting a "Sexy Twizzler" costume? Is that what you're trying to tell me?

Browsing this year's offerings provides so many questions and so few answers. Why are there "Sexy Pacman" and "Sexy Pacman Ghost" costumes, but no Ms. Pacman in sight? Who is buying a Fembot costume in 2013? Why is the Baywatch costume considerably less risque than the actual outfits worn on the show? Why does every animal costume include furry leg warmers?

It just seems...unrealistic.

Here are some of the "sexy" Halloween costumes that I couldn't help but laugh at this year:

You know a costume is pretty terrible when you have to add a clue about what it is right on it. I don't recall Michael's lucite heels, teased hair or cleavage, but I guess I didn't catch all of the Halloween movies. To refresh your memory, Michael Meyers is a mass murderer/all around creep - not super sexy, in my opinion. According to the costume maker, "You won't have to chase your next victim down they will be lined up waiting for you!" (grammatical errors included). Also, where the hell is the mask?!

Why, yes, this is a sexy toddler costume! Did you know you can also buy "sexy" Girl Scout and Brownie costumes? THESE SEXY COSTUMES ARE BASED ON CHILDREN. Aside from that minor hang up, this is just unnecessary - there are plenty of adult options if you want to be a beauty queen…perhaps you've heard of Miss America? The kiddie-socks-and-heels and baby tutu are overkill (also creepy as hell). Basically, don't make me have to put the words "sexy" and "toddler" in the same sentence again, okay? 

My inner Scrabble nerd is kind of excited to see this game get some play, but this weird "sexy" version seems to be made from the same cheap plastic one might find in a dollar store tablecloth. The tiles on the dress spell out Halloween-related words, like "Dracula" and "creepy" so I give them bonus points for that (not a triple word score, though). I won't even harp on the fact that you couldn't actually play "Dracula" in a real game of Scrabble since it's a proper noun. Whatever, I'm totally over it. (I'm not).

The product description says "He'll be dying to show off his large...vocabulary" so good luck with that.

Again, you should NOT have to write "Beetlejuice" on the costume to tip me off. The weirdest thing about this "sexy" costume is that they obviously ditched those pesky details about what he actually wears to incorporate a short dress, but still felt the need to keep it authentic with the crazy gray hair and dark-circled eyes. It's like half slutty, half creepy, which in theory I like, but here it comes off like an identity crisis. Also, this seems to be a repurposed pirate costume. "A" for effort in the tiny tie department, though. 

Yes, that Barney. He doesn't strike me as the kind of character that needs a "sexy" costume in his honor, but I felt the same way about Tweety and Oscar the Grouch. It seems costumers love taking anything you may have held dear as a child and slitting it up to there. Not only is this costume supposed to be a sexy dinosaur, but also a sexy children's television star. That's a lot to ask of one measly sexy costume. Doesn't it look like Barney is eating her head? Hey, maybe Barney is kind of sexy!

This one reminds me of something you'd find in a bad rom-com, where the leading lady tries to land her man in a grand gesture by combining everything he loves: SEX & PIZZA. Antics and miscommunications ensue, and at some point he wipes her tears with a pepperoni slice. In reality, this costume is truly lacking, and I can't help but think that the pizza point is supposed to be a not-so-subliminal arrow to her lady parts. Try not to get it confused with the pizza costume for men, which looks like, you know, actual pizza.

Oh, I'm sorry - did I say "Sexy Sriracha Costume"? This is actually called the "Sexy Chinese Hot Sauce Costume" which is just as catchy! I get that they had to lose the brand name, and this would still clearly read as Sriracha to fellow party goers, but the loss of the classic rooster (aka cock) mascot in favor of a bunny is nothing short of ironic. Also, Sriracha is Thai, not Chinese, but I don't expect racial sensitivity from the industry that brought us the "Pow, WOW! Sexy Native American" costume.

I don't mean "Jolly Rancher" as in a joyful farmer or something; I am, in fact, referring to the colorful rectangular candies. The costume bigwigs had such high hopes for this one that they produced it in FIVE COLORS, just in case. You can't even get that many options for a sexy witch, but rest assured if you want to dress as a sexualized hard candy you can do so in your favorite shade. Perfect for groups who lack creativity and decision making skills! Look out for next year - I see sexy Warheads in our future! 

My main problem with costumes this simple is that people actually buy them. You don't even have to DIY - this can be assembled so cheaply. Those socks are half the costume and they aren't even included! There are a few ladies in the Where's Waldo? world, but they still call this costume "Waldo Sexy Dress Costume" (great name, btw). This one mostly annoys me on principle because Where's Waldo? is so simple and innocent and they've made it more like Where's Waldo and Also Do You Want to See My Cervix?

This pose seems ripe for Photoshopping.

What are woolly mammoths known for? Their enormous tusks! Here, they're downsized to look "cuter." Also, no trunk? Like, at all? Oh, wait - it's up there with those tiny tusks. Perhaps you missed it since it's about the size of a candy bar. There should probably be fur all over instead of whatever that weird vinyl body suit is, since woolly mammoths were kind of covered in the stuff. Why not just name this after another animal since this is clearly not a woolly mammoth?

For comparison, here's what a woolly mammoth actually looks like since it seems they forgot.

Don't think that your dog is being left out of the fun! This "Sexy Schoolgirl Dog Costume" can be yours if you can stomach looking at the photo on the package for more than two seconds:  

Arch that back, baby.

Now, why would you opt for the above costume when you could be putting this on your dog?

I mean, right?!

I encourage everyone to wear whatever Halloween costume they love, regardless of how weird/confusing/unsettling it may be (hey, I was Broadway Dancing Corn on the Cob a couple years ago - I get it). That said, some costumes will always perplex me.  

What is the weirdest costume you've ever seen - "sexy" or not? The funniest? Most importantly, what are you dressing as for Halloween this year?!


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