“I know a thing or two about love. Well, maybe just a thing. A big, blurry thing, like Bigfoot.”

Ralph was out of town all weekend. I was so busy it is amazing I didn’t fall ill, or forget to feed some animal and child and find them a skeleton sporting a tuft of fur by week’s-end.

Friday I delivered a sasquatch costume to an Events concern that needed one for a handful of festivities during the year. So far a picture or two has popped up on Facebook, and everyone looks like they’re having a good time – including the first paid person to don the piece. Included with the costume: a few types of black makeup, and a few types of false teeth.


I know, I know. It would have been nice to get more of my trademark detailed pictures of the piece. Well, it was a miracle – in the entire pedestrian usage of the word – I got photos at all. It was quite a rush job.


 For the front closure: hidden snaps in a black canvas underlap. A great technique I’ll be using for more costumes!


Fully lined in a delicious, nubby black satin. The costume feels good on the inside. Ain’t gonna lie – probably a fairly hot experience to wear it!

Toes: sewn and glued to fur spats – a nice, long foot that can be worn out in weather. I even painted little purplish moons on the nails. Who is going to look this close? Well the point is – I do.


So that? Was my last week. Grateful to have the project finished according to my timeline.

Saturday I hadn’t recuperated before hustling my eldest to her soccer game adjacent to a mushroom farm in Olympia (the game ended a 2-2 tie). Came home and worked a bit on my vampire film project. I am getting into Halloween the way my rabbit is into eating slightly overripe bananas!

In the last two days I’ve had an audition, yoga classes, and two volunteer bits – as well as cooking for family and friends and a movie night.

An audition? Oh yes. Today I landed a part in the ensemble cast of a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Kind of a lifetime dream as I have adored the rock opera since I was a little girl – and I was really, really into it as a teen. (Ralph will still put it on when I’m sewing, and having trouble.

So yeah. This next week? A little respite might be nice.


pumpkin seeds roasting, check. stealing candy from the bowl while handing it out – CHECK

Halloween 2013

Nels’ Mario costume turned out so perfect it almost made up for him bitching for ten straight minutes about the spirit-gum application. No one can bitch like Nels can. Promise you.

SO ZOMG I made my son’s costume in the last twenty-four hours. The entire costume. Hat, “overalls”, and shirt. Like, the overalls? Started them this AM when I rolled out of bed. The straps on the overalls are easy-to-remove so after he’s done having a costume he’ll have a long-sleeved shirt in organic cotton, a pair of Carhartt-esque jeans (in a yummy selvedge denim) – and the “M” Mario hat, which I’m quite sure he will want to wear as-is.

My daughter – her costume was easier. And faster. I spent $8 at a thrift store last Saturday. She is a pleasure to work for. Today at school she walked in sans mask and her teacher said, “Huh. You a Canadian?”

Nels’ ability to Mario-pose is freakishly uncanny. He also does the voice. The at-the-very-least-culturally-insensitive Italian Mario voice. He is like a phreakish Mario-parrot.

They’re currently out in the neighborhood getting candy loot; I’m off next door to my mom’s for our tradition of handing out candy on her awesome front porch.

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

more Halloweening

Ripslinger, Size 3

Sent off to L.A. yesterday – a size 3 “Ripslinger” costume as well as a “Bulldog” hoodie (made to go with an adorable crocheted Bulldog cap the client already possessed). This costume, oh Teh Strugglez. First, my online order for fabrics took an inordinately long time. Then, I made a prototype of the hoodie a while back and it didn’t quite work out right  – I’m trying to find a home for it.

But as of yesterday the completed costume finally shipped.

Let’s face it. It’s not nearly as satisfying to get a picture of a flat-laid costume. I don’t have an adorable three year old to grab, at hand (and DAMN MY LIFE FOR THAT), so these quick shots will have to do:

Ripslinger, Size 3

(Shiny shoes courtesy of Nels).

The costume features five pieces: a pair of stovepipe-legged, flat-front sweatpants (made with long hem, so they can “grow” with child), a circular-pocket and stenciled kangaroo hoodie, a lined and be-snapped pilot cap featuring the trademark Planes-esque “eyes”, a nose cone/double-propeller, and set of wings. The clothing is all made from a very soft cotton french terry. The crafted/molded pieces are lightweight and adjustable.

Some close-ups:

Ripslinger, Size 3

The nose-cone as made by Ralph. He is my papercrafting in-house consultant.

Ripslinger, Size 3

Pilot cap with eyes! I drafted my own hat pattern. It is lined, and very cozy. My goal was for the three clothing pieces to be such that the little client can and will want to wear them as much as possible.

Ripslinger, Size 3

The back of the hoodie – little racing Checks. Again – stenciled then topstitched.

Ripslinger, Size 3

The pant leg – a paint-stenciled and topstitched flame motif, and a knit fabric applique for the “13”. I love this paint-stencil method – it gives a good result with a minimum of equipment. Do I want to be someone who can do full-blown home silkscreening? WHY  YES I DO. I am baffled as to how to get started. But, there it is.

The sweats are not my pattern, for a change, but the Parsley Pants pattern by Made By Rae. They have an adorable wide-legged flare and I look forward to making them up with a woven fabric, the pattern’s recommendation.

Here’s “Bulldog” – really just the colors. Another super-fun hoodie to sew up. The pockets are the same size as the above hoodie, but since it is a smaller kiddo, they look larger in comparison.

Bulldog, Size 12/18m

Bulldog, Size 12/18m

SEWING NERD ALERT – I switched thread colors so the thread would always match the fabric used. Yes, these are all inside the garments – the “invisible” side. But, I love details like this.

Bulldog, Size 12/18m

For the armscye, I even switched up the top thread and bobbin thread for the corresponding fabric colors.


Toro T7

you know. like ya do.

Halloween costuming season is drawing to a close. I haven’t even put one toe in the waters of my own kids’ costumes yet, instead being quite involved in creating gear for kids around the North Americas. Today, sent out in the mail:

A TORO T7 LAWN SPRINKLER. For a five year old.

You know.

One of these:

Toro T7

Here’s a close-up of the top. I was told I had to be pretty accurate for this part. Like so:

Toro T7, Top

I finished the costume a little while ago but I was hoping to get a five year old to model. Still, I needed to mail it and five year olds were scarce, so my nine year old son stood in. Unfortunately his head is a little larger than the client’s, but I think you can get the general gist:

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!


Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

Not Real Water.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A close-up of the sprinkler housing. All papercraft – attached to a pleather “skirt” with side and back vents for comfort, and wire in the hems for shaping.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

The top of the sprinkler… I didn’t want to make it uncomfortably tall for a five year old. Lined with a little pilot cap hat that snaps closed and is quite cozy!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A closeup of the water “spray”. Clear tubing and adjustable wire for the right arc.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

100% cotton shell pilot cap and snaps!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

The top. This is the part I’m crossing my fingers on. Hoping the little client is pleased enough with it!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A little card and some care instructions. The costume cost one billion dollars to ship on account of its size – it went off to CA today.

So yeah, I have a 100% return policy for all my stuff. I’ve been joking about this costume that if the customer, God forbid truly, does return it, I can always sell it to someone else.


a little warmth, or maybe a lot of warmth actually

UM, it is super-hard to get rid of inventory. I made this a while back but hadn’t taken photos, posted photos, shared in any way, or even put the garment in a local shop. LOL at me because I am a pretty-okay seamstress but not really a businesswoman in any real sense.

Anyway – here we have an all-fleece Max, more in line with the film’s version of the costume than that of the book. Hoping this version finds its way to a sweet little 2T/3T kiddo out there.

[ Etsy listing ]

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

needle & thread in a cold studio


This weekend I went balls-out, without enough sleep or preparation, to host a booth in the only show I’ve yet brought my wares: the Fiber Arts Festival in Elma, WA. Let me tell you a few things, it is a great group of (mostly) ladies and they have a lot of passion, like don’t even make a joke about how goofy an alpaca looks or anything. The attendants out there raise the animals (alpacas, llamas, Jacobs sheep, angora bunnies, et cetera), clean and process the wool, spin, knit, crochet, tat, make bobbin-lace, and do all kinds of weaving. For some reason at this festival they let my seamstressing ass in although I’m the only garment-maker, ever. I even sold a few pieces – Sea Fan, Squidlet, and a few other odds and ends, including a blue-velour tentacled baby bunting I never even took pictures of.

But I’m glad to be home.

Currently I’m up to my tits in Halloween. Today I’m working up a Ripslinger costume (from Disney’s Planes) for a three year old. The project involves a heck of a lot of stencil work, and, as promised, I am putting together a tutorial on the relatively simple process of making great-looking motifs.

Stencil Work

In the post:

Papercraft Bits

I sent my most recent Max out to NV and am now working up a Max for a 4 year old, a Bulldog hoodie for an infant, and a Louise hat for a grownup.

It’s a little more work than I’ve really got time for.

So if y’all could just come over and do my dishes and give my dog a walk, I’d appreciate it. kthx

Max’d out

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

This is the first year I offered custom costumes online on Etsy. I haven’t done any marketing unless you count the occasional tweet, or Ralph’s Facebook plugs now and then. Now I’m glad, because I have found myself with a good number of costumes to sew this year and I’m late on two. Given this, I am presently only taking ONE more costume item before Halloween.

I’ll be back for Christmas gift awesomeness. If you’ve thought of anything simply wonderful I should sew, let me know.

Today I took pictures in the Max I made for a 9 year old up on Bainbridge Island. I am very pleased with this Max, and I have two more to make – one for a four-year-old, and one for a grown-up! I am also happy to answer any questions you put me on making your own – so you can post them in the Flickr comments or here on this post.

Happy costuming, tweeps. May your sewing machine bobbin run smoothly, and your glue gun not burn your hands.

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

sending the little ones to Dreamland, and the radio dial to “Spooky”

It’s 11 PM on a Thursday, and we Hogabooms are still on vacation, technically. Ralph doesn’t have to go back to work until Monday – even though he has two performances of Rocky Horror this weekend, and those are no-joke – both in time spent and in effort required.

Ralph’s schedule regardless, tonight I’m grateful we still have an unschooling schedule. I’m speaking specifically of my son, at the foot of my bed, fresh out of the bath, with squeaky-clean wet hair and wearing only a pair of wee underwear with scuba-diving skull motif. He’s eating ice cream out of a bowl, lying on his belly at my feet. Now he laughs and says, “Daddy’s biting my toes!”

So I’m speaking of my husband, too. He’s up a little late, and waiting for me to close up shop on the computer so we can watch a B-movie. Typically if Ralph wants to go to bed earlier than the rest of us, he heads into the guest bedroom to sleep. Tonight though, I get both the boys a bit longer; our daughter, a school-kid now, slumbers upstairs. And now, the home is settling into that comforting atmosphere I love, the quiet of night. The dishes are done, the carpets are shampoo’d, the pets are snoring, the little light above my bedroom’s shrine glows.

It’s time to wind down, after a busy day.

Schedule-wise, I’ve been busy enough to be distracted. I’m trucking away with sewing and I have a great deal of work ahead of me. Today another custom costume sold, and I ordered the supplies necessary to create this five-piece bit of awesomeness for a very, very cute child (I saw pictures! He is to-die-for adorable!). I also sewed up most of a baby bunting for the upcoming Fiber Festival in Elma. And this evening a client mailed me measurements of her child, so I can start on another costume – likely the most challenging of this season. My schedule is getting a little crowded and I will soon have to close Halloween orders. I’d love to do some Christmas gift sewing, so I am giving a little thought on what to offer. You bastards reading here know mostly I just want to sew a bunch of little woolen blazer-style coats for kiddos. YES THAT’S RIGHT, you jerks know me and I’m boring AF.

I’m grateful for a busy life; I’m grateful for a healthy and happy family. I am very grateful for being able to earn a little scratch, doing something creative. I’m profoundly grateful for my sobriety, without which I would not be able to be profoundly grateful.

Goodnight, my dear readers. May you rest well, and may you be safe.


I’ve sewn sewn sewn away but haven’t given you all some pictures lately. Here are a few goodies:


A hoodie with secrets! The idea here is your iPod (or whatever) is snug in a secret inner pocket. It stays out of the elements and the cord snakes up through the neckline, where it is secured by little earbud holders! Observe:

Earbud Holders

This way the headphones won’t get caught or pull on anything. Also the little safety-pin deconstructed sleeves, which Phoenix loves – and a secret sleeve pocket. The entire garment is lined, no seams felt on the inside.


Not-So-Scary Red Monstre

Not-So-Scary Red Monstre
Commissioned for an expectant couple down in L.A. Outer shell is wool, inner shell super super soft Michael Miller cotton knit. YES HORNS TOO. & mittens. Tiny, wonderful-to-knit, mittens.

Brown Bear!

Brown Bear
A relatively conservative design all my own. Reminiscent of a very early bunting I made Nels so long ago.


I sew and sew and sew and so rarely document what I sew. Here are two of my children’s Halloween outfits:

My Lovely Li'l Dragon

"What Are You Supposed To Be?"

Can you guess what Nels was? The letter “V”, that’s right (his idea – for months before the holiday). You can see their auxillary costumes in this blog post. I love, simply love corpsey bridal stuff (as evidenced by Sophie’s ensemble last year). This year she chose “dragon” which was kind of a pain, but I rose to the occasion.