Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Little things

Usually, life is about the little things. Here are some of the little things that made up our life last week.

Sewing a circle skirt for my babydoll (love the seersucker fabric!). Very easy and quick to sew, I have plans for more skirts.

Having my son accompany me to the office for half a day on most days for the past two weeks (Ryan was on a break from school). I got very little work done but time flew as we discussed office stationery and supplies. We usually topped off our half-day with lunch at the basement where we would share a bowl of noodles.

Sometimes, after lunch, instead of me going back to work and Ryan going over to his nanny's, we would both take the day off and go home to play! Yippee!

Ryan's latest joy is Play-Doh!

He is starting to make up his own puppet stories, complete with dialogue and giggles.

Last week was a heavy sewing week. Having a cat around doesn't help to speed things up. Not a bad thing - when the cat is sitting on the fabric, I use the chance to get up and stretch and get a drink. Maybe it's God's way of giving me a much needed break from squinting at my patterns and my uneven stitching.

The husband and I refreshed our crowning glories last Saturday. We both needed haircuts badly.

Squeezing in some fun in the sun before the rainy season kicks in.

Here's Ryan on the way to an audition! Ryan has been pretty busy with his "career" lately. In fact, earlier today, I got a request for a second-round audition with him and the casting people were even prepared to go to his nanny's place to see him. They were willing to wait for him to finish his nap and asked me what time they could turn up. I told them to go around 7 pm, which is what they did. Looks like Ryan's already calling the shots!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween party at Art Bug

The Halloween party at Art Bug last Thursday was a load of fun and we had a blast! 

I took leave from the office because it was a very busy day. Ryan had an audition earlier in the day and had to be chauffeured to and from his nanny's. I had to make a stop at the Law Society to get something done and then decided I might as well make a stop in the office to pump (my breast pump was in the office and the office is pretty near the Law Society). In between all this shuttling about, I was sewing, sewing, sewing. All's well that end's well and we got to Art Bug in full costume, a little late, but all set to party! Rou Ern was ready and waiting for Ryan to arrive and when he did, the two of them were so pleased to see each other and started showing off their costumes!

Rou Ern was a lovely butterfly princess! She wore a beautiful tulle tutu made by Shann. Shann also painted a butterfly on her face. Magical! Hop over to Shann's blog to see more photos!

As promised, here are more photos of Rachel in her Princess Leia costume!

I pinched this photo from Shann!

Rachel's hair-stocking was comfortable enough to sleep in!

Another photo that I pinched from Shann!
Ryan enjoyed himself thoroughly. There was English speech-and-drama and there was Mandarin story-telling - he listened very carefully and participated eagerly in the action, especially the dancing parts!

Peter Pan and his pal, the butterfly princess!
There were also some art-and-craft stations. Ryan managed to have a go at two of them. This one was the "magic potion" station - draw some images on clear plastic, cut them out and hang them inside a clear container, fill it with coloured water and design a cover for your magic brew!

This "magic potion" activity was a little tough for Ryan because he had to stick little pieces of fishing wire onto the images but the fishing wire was quite hard to see. I had to help him out quite a lot with that. I also helped him to draw some of the images that he wanted - we ended up with a turtle, a spider, a finger, an umbrella and a rabbit. He wrote his name on the cover and chose the colour orange for the potion.

The next station Ryan tried was making a "Trick or Treat Basket". Actually, it was more like a bag. Ryan was pretty independent with this activity which involved colouring the paper bag and pasting felt shapes onto the bag. He liked this a lot and afterwards kept telling Rou Ern, "I have a bag!"

The event was very well attended and almost all the children came in costume. All the Art Bug teachers and staff were also in costume and the studio was decked out in Halloween decor. Fun, fun, fun! The party ended about 9 pm, after which we walked out in search of food. The two little ones drew a fair amount of admiring looks and amused chuckles as they paraded down the street hand-in-hand.

We ate nearby and by the end of the night, Ryan was deliriously tired (he skipped his nap that day). Still, it was obvious that he had a wonderful time, as did all of us. Thanks for inviting us, Shann!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween 2012 - Princess Leia

Yes, Princess Leia! What do you think? I think it's pretty adorable! 

I sewed the white tunic and made the hair piece. I referenced internet images of the ceremonial gown which Princess Leia wore in the very first Star Wars movie that was released in 1977. Here's what I'm talking about.

I did make some changes to accommodate a baby's figure. The collar is much wider on my version, although there is still a keyhole at the back like the movie-version. Also, my version is tunic-length instead of floor-length to accommodate those bendy baby legs.

The belt is sewn onto the front of the tunic but the two ends are left dangling free at the back so that the tunic can be cinched in slightly at the waist if necessary by "velcro-ing" or tying the ends together. The medallions on the belt are made from felt. The shapes of the medallions are true to the movie-version.

The sleeves are folded in the photo above - they're actually much fuller, like trumpet sleeves. You can see them in later photos in this post.

The hair - the signature element of the costume - is a lady's pantyhose/stocking. I stuffed the stocking legs with batting, wound them up and sewed each one to the side. Although the hair is the most important element of the costume, I think I only spent about 15 minutes on it!

The white leggings are Rachel's pajamas (sshhh!!).

The tunic has an attached hood as well, just like the movie-version. In fact, it is constructed exactly like the movie-version, as in, it's not a conventional hood. Rather, it is a (somewhat) rectangular piece of cloth with the short ends sewn onto the tunic so there is an opening at the back.

I am quite pleased with the tunic because I made it a point to make a proper garment and not just cobble something together. It reminded me of why I enjoy making costumes so much - I really enjoy figuring out the construction and design, modifying it according to my vision and testing my skills in the execution. There is just one thing I would change if I were to make this all over again - I would make a hood that snaps on and off and in a lighter material.

I realised, however, that there aren't that many people who are familiar with Princess Leia. More often, they know Queen Amidala from the second Star Wars trilogy. There's a real generation gap here and I'm showing my age with this choice - I'm truly a child of the 80s! Someone also said that she looks a bit like a Chinese princess from the time of the Chinese dynasties! Oh well, I'm not discouraged - in fact, I'm even more motivated to preserve the icons of my generation in future costumes - how about some Elvis Presley or some Beatles? Or even some Michael Jackson?

I don't have as many photos of Rachel here compared to photos of Ryan in yesterday's post - it's not easy to pose a wriggly 4-month old baby, hahaha! Having said that, I have a lot more photos of Rachel at the Halloween than I have of Ryan! That's for tomorrow's post but here's an advance peek!

Rachel at Halloween party at Art Bug (photo pinched from Shann)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween 2012 - Peter Pan

Yes, it's Peter Pan! Any resemblance to this image?

Those of you who saw Ryan's hat earlier and predicted that he was going to be dressed up as Robin Hood - not to worry! The majority of people thought he was Robin Hood even when he was in full costume! I think I made the wrong choice - next time I should pick something that is unmistakable. When I picked Peter Pan, it didn't even occur to me that he might look like Robin Hood, although there are many similarities in their attire. I was inspired to pick Peter Pan because of Ryan's latest haircut - it's so short! Anyway, if you're curious about the differences - generally Robin Hood's get-up has more browns and Peter Pan's has more greens. Also, Robin Hood carries a bow and arrow whereas Peter Pan has a small dagger.  

The green top is my own creation. There are a few tutorials on the internet but it didn't look that difficult so I decided to come up with my own pattern and construction. When I finished it, I realised I had made a tunic and I asked myself why didn't I just buy a green tunic??? Hahaha! No, no, I don't think you can find a tunic like this - it has to be this shade of green, it has to be long enough to cover the butt, with scallop edges on the bottom and on the sleeves. And, of course, it has to be in Ryan's size.

The top that you see above is an "improved" version. This photo below shows the top before I made "improvements".

On the original, the neckline is very large, which is similar to the actual Peter Pan neckline. It had to be large to allow Ryan to put the top on (the material (flannel) doesn't stretch) but I didn't like the way it was gaping. So I sewed on a toggle-and-loop closure and made a placket to finish the neckline. You may also notice a little pocket on the left breast - that was not in the plan. I added it to cover a rip in the top which I accidentally made when I was unpicking the original neckline!

Another "improvement" to the costume was the pair of leggings. I couldn't find leggings in this shade of green so I bought a pair of jeans instead (which you can see Ryan wearing in the original version above). Still, I wasn't happy with the jeans so I ended up buying a packet of green dye and ta-da! the green leggings were born. I think it looks much better than the jeans.

I sewed the belt from suede. It has a little holster for the dagger. The dagger is a fancy plastic butter knife.

I sewed the hat and the feather from felt using this tutorial and pattern and yes, the author does say that it can pass off as a Robin Hood hat as well.

I would have ended the post here, except that I wanted to share some of Ryan's creative poses.

Next post - Rachel's Halloween costume!

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