Late to the (clown) party | Pierrot clown costume

Hello, hello! I missed Halloween festivities this year due to a plague that blew through my husband’s family. Ironically, my symptoms came on just as I’d sewn up the last rosette. (Last year, I was still sewing up my tiger costume minutes before I left for my friend’s party; I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t scrambling to get a costume together the day of Halloween!)

Anyway. I have a hard time picking costumes because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get into character. Anyone who’s ever heard me try to speak with a fake accent knows that this concern isn’t unfounded. A clown, I decided, would be perfect – I can make exaggerated faces and hop around silently as well as anybody. | Pierrot clown costume

The foundation of my Pierrot-style costume was a billowy white 80’s pajama shirt pattern. I love a full gathered sleeve, costume or not, and I would have welcomed more puffiness. Still, I’m tempted to see if I can integrate it into my daily wardrobe. And really, how different is it from this? The neck and leg ruffles are from a linen sheet gifted from my friend (and cosplay whiz) Meris, and the edges are finished on my serger with a very short stitch length. The rosettes are scraps from this top. | Pierrot clown costume

Is there a socially acceptable way to wear a neck ruff in daily life? Should I just do it? I love how it looks. | Pierrot clown costume

After getting gussied up for a mini-shoot with my sis, I couldn’t resist running outside to freak Nathan out from his office window. Happy belated Halloween from this clown.



A Hobbesian costume | tiger costume

I’m not usually a plan-ahead-for-Halloween kind of person, but I decided a whole two weeks in advance to sew myself up a tiger suit this year. Since I’m fairly practical, I have a hard time putting a lot into a one-night costume. My strategy for getting around my practicality was making separates that I would hopefully wear again.

Nathan got in on the fun as Calvin, which transformed my plain tiger into Hobbes. The man drew completely parallel Sharpie lines on his shirt!


I was hoping to make some sort of eared hat before my friend’s party on Friday, but ran out of time. Inspired by Sanae’s owl mask for her daughter, I sewed up a cloth mask before going out on Friday night. I also sewed a tail and basted it onto the back of my pants. | tiger mask

The mask turned out a little bit fox-esque. I may add whiskers and a white muzzle if I wear it again! Or I’ll create a mask that looks more like Hobbes. | tiger costume

I used Vogue 8909 to make my pants and By Hand London’s (free) Polly top. It was a bit risky sewing two patterns I’d never used before on a deadline, but they both turned out amazingly well. I cut out my size in the pants without any alterations; the only change I would make for next time is taking 1.5″ out of the front and back rise.

To increase my chances of a good fit with the Polly top, I compared my taped-up printout with my altered Wiksten tank pattern to get a sense of the fit. Based on what I saw and the finished Polly measurements, I graded between a smaller size through the waist and then a larger for the hips. The only fit adjustment I ended up making was removing 3/8″ from the front and back of the inside shoulder seam – I think that would qualify as a square shoulder adjustment? I also added improvised cap sleeves for a tiny extra bit of warmth. | By Hand London Polly top

The tiger fabric was a black and white Michael Miller cotton (aptly named “Party Animal”) that I dyed orange with my curtains. It felt a bit thicker than what I expect of a quilting cotton and played really nicely with these patterns – no wrinkling or stiffness. I used the wrong side because I liked the subtler coloring better. The white fabric is the same linen as the top piece in my color blocked dress. | By Hand London Polly top

I had a great time on Halloween and I’ll admit to already wearing the Polly top out of costume twice since I finished it on Thursday. I just love it! You’d better believe those tiger pants are going out in public, too. I always think of Patti and Selma on the Simpsons when a costume piece makes its way into “regular rotation”.  Perhaps this has happened to you, intentionally or unintentionally?


Our tree

My post on holiday decorating is considerably shorter than Bee’s! (Decorating has never been my strong suit; I generally aim for minimalism, which mostly involves cleaning and getting rid of things.)

So without further ado, I present you with our tree! I think it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. I’d been scouring the Goodwill and eBay for a vintage ceramic tree when my mom offered to let me use my grandmother’s.

Next year, Nathan and I are planning on stepping it up a lot with a Pacific Northwest native tree from Swanson’s Nursery.  Swanson’s will tell you how to keep your tree healthy, and after the festivities are done, you can either keep the tree or – OR!! – donate it to the Trees for Salmon program and have it planted in the ground. There are some other ways to help out, so check out this link if you want more info: Trees for Salmon program.

Does anyone know of good tree options for non-Seattleites? I hope your holidays are shaping up festively!

Pumpkin party

Sad Clown, Moustache Man, Easy Alien, and Kristin’s Kraken

I meant to write on this topic a lonnnng time ago, but Halloween festivities and a trip to SLC got in the way! The topic is: what to do with your jack-o-lantern when it’s ready to retire?

Now I suppose the more relevant topic would be: what can do you do with pumpkins now that they’re crazy-on-sale since Halloween is over?

I steamed and/or baked the alien pumpkin and made a delicious pumpkin/curry/coconut milk soup and incorporated it into spiced pancakes. I pureed the rest of the cooked pumpkin I didn’t end up using and plan on making pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie filling, and more pumpkin soup later. (My one failed experiment was trying to freeze uncooked pumpkin. It went into the compost; it was spongy and as watery as cantaloupe).

Cooked pumpkin.

 And of course, pumpkin seeds. They’re a lot of work, they’re consumed in 2 hours, and they’re still totally worth it.

Go get yourself a pumpkin if your jack-o-lantern has already expired! You’ll be amazed at how many cooking options you have.