Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sewing Halloween

Halloween costumes this year are pretty easy for me. The kids have all picked something that requires minimal help from me, very little sewing, and very little store-bought accessories. Win-win if you ask me!
Though I like to sew, sewing for the kids is not always easy, especially when they breathe down my neck, ready to snatch away finished product as soon as I clip the last thread. Or I can barely get them to stand still while I measure and check, double-check and triple-check the fit. 

This Halloween, Evelyn wanted to be a ghost, then a zombie, and as of today, with her looking like she's coming down with a cold and possibly not going trick-or-treating tomorrow, we've decided she'll use her warmest pajamas (with something even warmer underneath), dot her face with freckles, put her hair into pigtails, and she'll carry around a teddy bear, as if she is a little girl ready for bed. Much easier and less complicated than a zombie. Hopefully she'll feel better tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Gretchen is going to be a witch, using an old costume we already have. The only thing we needed was a witch hat, which we found in the dollar aisle at Target. I'm making her wear tights and a heavy black skirt underneath the costume for warmth, which she is protesting, but as soon as I mentioned, "no tights, no trick-or-treating," she quickly agreed.

Sylvia is a cat. While yard sale-ing one day, I jokingly held up leopard-print pants and shirts and asked if anyone wanted them and Sylvia immediately grabbed for them! Shocked me, for sure. She's been wearing them non-stop and all I needed to do was make a black tail for her and the Target dollar aisle gave us leopard-print cat ears headband. Make-up on her face for whiskers and a kitty nose and we are done!

Peter wants to be a shark. He loves anything fish and for months he has been talking about being a shark.
Easy enough-- dress him all in grey and I'd make a grey skull cap from a grey shirt and a shark fin to attach to the back of his shirt. But it's cold now, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, and I realized the fin won't be visible underneath his coat. Thinking, thinking.. light bulb!

Using an old grey shirt, I cut the long sleeve off and used the wider top part as a skull cap. Cut a thick card board fin and fitted it inside the cap and traced the shape, sewed along the shape and a shark fin cap was born! He loved it! Ran off as soon as I slipped it on his head! 

My sister mentioned seeing a teeth-y mask made with a paper plate, but I thought I could do one better using thick white felt and a bit of the old shirt. I measured around his head and cut a slit into a rectangle piece of fabric, sewed a length of felt on both sides of the slit, turned and stitched a top-stitch to keep the teeth from flopping once on. Added some snaps to the ends to attach in the back and it's pretty cute.

I tried to make the top teeth sit on his upper lip- done; and the bottom teeth sit on his chin, but the bottom isn't cooperating with me. In the end, we all agree that the teeth hanging wide open look pretty good.

Of course, now that I've finished the sewing bit for Shark boy, he declares he doesn't like it and won't wear it. -sigh- Andrew said he won't go trick-or-treating if he won't wear it, so Peter has changed his tune and loves it again. Fickle kid!

More costume pictures later! Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

If it happens, it happens.

We didn't have too much to do, but we are prepared for Sandy and whatever she may bring our way. The biggest thing is that our roof has not been replaced yet-- argh!  It is scheduled to be worked on in the beginning of November! We've been lucky with only light rains so far, but the weather forecast is predicting 3 full days of rain coming up and that does not bode well for the roof and what lies beneath it.

So we pulled out all the plastic tarps we could find, culled the biggest pieces and climbed on the roof to cover the leaky spots. I know it probably won't keep out all the water, but it will deflect a lot of it, and help keep the insulation in the attic from getting soaked.  We already will have to replace the insulation in spots here and there, so any further damage we can prevent will help. Hopefully, the rain doesn't fall too heavy and we'll be ok.

We haven't needed to use our generator in years and Andrew declared it unfit to use this week should our power go out. We'll have to tinker around with it later on, see if we can get it going again.  Perhaps it will be a winter project for Andrew when there is snow on the ground and he can putter around in the shop.

Our pantry is well-stocked.  Several cases of bottled water to drink and I filled every empty gallon-sized container I had on hand with water. We'll also fill the bathtub with water just in case-- after everyone has gotten a shower in tonight. I re-organized the freezer, to make it easier to transfer stuff from the fridge freezer to the big freezer if needed. I'll also be freezing water in several old milk containers so they'll help keep the freezer cold if the power goes out.

Bought more flashlights, the ones the kids had have taken a beating and some of them don't work anymore. Plenty of batteries and candles, too. Caught up on all the laundry in case I can't do laundry for a couple of days.

Except for the roof, we're not really too worried about Sandy. If she comes, she comes.  If the power goes out, it goes out.  We'll cook on the grill or over a campfire. We'll do what we usually do, except it will be by candlelight or flashlight.

Halloween will be interesting.  If it is raining then we'll go trick or treating elsewhere. Or maybe we'll do what we did one year, and let the kids trick or treat at home-- knocking on bedroom doors and Andrew, Mom, or I will answer and pass out candy. Wait and see.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good-Bye, Friend

Before the title of this post gets anyone in a tizzy, thinking I'm saying good-bye to this here blog, let me quickly say, I'm not. Still here. Not going anywhere.

We're saying, or already said, good-bye to our lovely and lonely duck, Cheese. Or maybe it's Quackers. Never could tell them apart. But the girls have decided it's Cheese, so it's good-bye Cheese.

Sometime last week, while we were all asleep, warm and safe in our beds, something attacked and killed one of the ducks. Andrew woke me early in the morning to deliver the bad news. The kids didn't know yet, so I hurriedly dressed, then slipped out quietly.

Poor Cheese, he was walking around and around Quackers. His body still and white feathers scattered all around him. I gathered his body and as much of his feathers as I could and laid his body to rest in the woods.  Then I went about and did my usual morning things, fed the chickens and the ducks, excuse me, duck, and burst into tears at the sight of just one lonely duck.

And he was definitely lonely. Those two ducks were the best of pals, maybe they were brothers, and you never saw one without the other. They teamed up and chased after the cats, the chickens, the dog. They'd waddle away, quite pleased they succeeded in their chase, quack, quack, quacking loudly. They roamed the homestead together, happily splashing in their little pool and came as fast as their webbed feet could carry them when I came out with food and scraps.

After Quackers was gone, Cheese tried to pair up with one of the cats, but the cat just ran away.
Cheese tried to pair up with the old Rooster, but he ran away, looking back as if to say, go away you pesky thing!
He tried to hang out with the chickens, but they ignored him, merely tolerating his presence, but I'm sure, as soon as Cheese was out of earshot, the hens cackled behind his back.
Poor Cheese. 

We didn't want to get another duck, but we knew poor Cheese needed a buddy. There's a lovely little pond, about 20 miles from us, I spotted it while out yard sale-ing, and I remembered there were a bunch of white ducks there. I had the children with me that day and we stopped to ohh and aw over them. Let's take Cheese there, we all agreed. Sunday took us to the pond, and it was, indeed, a lovely little pond, and there were the ducks, all hanging out in the shade of the trees. Cheese would be happy here, we knew. 

Knocking on the door of the house closest to the pond, Andrew explained to the owner about Cheese and what had happened to Quackers, and wondered if it was possible to bring Cheese here and leave him with the other ducks. "Why of course we could," he said!

The next day, we took our last pictures of Cheese with the children, said our good-byes, then Andrew drove off with Cheese in a cage in the back of the truck. He opened the door near the water and stepped away, Cheese poked his head out and looked around, spotted the water, then spotted the ducks in the water on the other side of the pond and took off like a shot into the water! He swam right over to the ducks, and Andrew caught this last picture of Cheese about to join the other ducks, then once he was with them, he lost track of Cheese, for he blended right in with the other ducks.

I think he'll be happy here, with other ducks, swimming in a real pond. There are even girl ducks! The owner said they had 4 girls and 3 boys, and Cheese makes 4 boys, so he might even get a girlfriend! We'll come and visit now and then, say hello, and maybe, if we're lucky, come Spring, we'll see baby ducks and one of the proud papas will be Cheese!