Friday, November 4, 2011

Ex Nihilo

I hope it's not blasphemous to take the phrase typically associated with the way God created the earth and use it to describe the way Jeff and I created this year's Halloween costumes. It probably is blasphemous. I anticipate being struck by lightning any second now.

Just kidding.

Wikipedia says the phrase is used in other contexts as well. They were just contexts unbeknownst to me.

But I digress.

This year, Jeff and I made the boys' Halloween costumes ex nihilo. Out of nothing. Well, okay. We did buy one thing. Yellow ribbon. $1.98. We found all the rest of the materials around the house.

My favorite part of this project was that Jeff and I did every single part of it together as a team. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. See, the way we do things is... I cut stuff out, Jeff sews anything that requires the big, scary sewing machine, and I do all the hand-stitching and cut away all the leftover sewing machine threads. That's how we roll.

Jonathan dressed as Yen Sid, the sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Disney's Fantasia.

For the hat, Jeff and I drew a cone pattern onto a cereal box. I cut out the shape, and Jeff formed it into a cone and secured it with that which holds the universe together. (Duct tape.) Then he glued a blue pillowcase onto it with spray adhesive and cut off the excess.

He made the brim out of a strip of blue sheet and filled it with bean bag beans. Then he ran the bottom of the cardboard cone through the sewing machine to make stitch holes for me, and I hand-stitched the brim to the cone.

Then I cut the moon and star shapes out of some yellow paisley fabric and glued them onto the hat with regular Elmer's glue. I tacked down the edges of the shapes with gold glitter glue, and I covered the fabric with gold glitter paint.

Jonathan deemed it "perfect."

For the robe, which I forgot to have Jonathan officially pose for, I went online and found a one-page sample of a Hogwarts robe pattern. Then I measured Jonathan, and Jeff somehow took the measurements and translated the pattern sample into Jonathan-sized robe panels cut out of an old blue sheet. Then he sewed all the panels together into the robe.

Meanwhile, I took an old light blue sheet and ripped it into big strips. Jeff hemmed the sides of the strips, then I ironed each one in half and he sewed them onto the robe as trim.

For fasteners, Jeff took the velcro off last year's Mario costume and sewed one bit at the neck and another bit mid-torso.

Voila. Yen Sid.

James dressed as Sora, the main character from Disney's Kingdom Hearts II video game.

This costume brought me to my knees. I was like, "Okay, Lord, is it okay if I pray about Halloween costumes? Cuz this is really complex and overwhelming, and I need Your help." I'm not even sure where to start describing. I guess I'll start with the shirt.

I took one of the boys' worn blue logo t-shirts and turned it inside out and backwards. This red pocket is made out of last year's Mario shirtfront and some white ribbon. I cut out the pocket shapes and Jeff sewed them on, along with the ribbon.

I cut a V in the top of the t-shirt, and Jeff sewed the white ribbon to it.

For the pendant, I cut the crown pattern out of corrugated cardboard and covered it with aluminum tape. (Seriously. Who has a roll of aluminum tape floating around the house?) I taped the paper clips to the back of the pendant and linked them together to make the chain. Jeff sized it to fit James and the costume.

The jacket is an old karate gee James wore a couple of years ago during his brief foray into martial arts. I cut the bottom off because Sora's jacket is short, and I cut the front a bit to make the jacket lines a little straighter and less gee-like.

The shoulder applique is one of Jeff's old work t-shirts, trimmed with white ribbon. I cut out the shape and Jeff sewed it on along with its white trim. He also sewed the white trim around the jacket edges and sleeves. And he sewed the little faux pocket. The little yellow decoration is part of that yellow ribbon roll we bought. Jeff sewed that on as well.

The pants. Ah, the pants. Okay. So. This is my old pair of stretchy painting pants. I measured James, and Jeff took the pants in. I cut the legs to length, but I cut them too short, so then I cut a strip from each leg excess, and Jeff sewed it back on, along with the white ribbon. It worked because Sora has white trim at that spot. Jeff used some elastic I found in my sewing bag to gather the hem around James's leg and help the pants poof out a little.

I cut the blue section of out Luigi's pants from last year, and Jeff sewed it on and trimmed it. I cut the belt fabric out of what was left of Luigi's old pants, and Jeff sewed it on and created the belt-buckle-lookin' thing with more white ribbon.

We used up all our actual white ribbon on the jacket and shirt, so for the white trim on the pants, I ripped white fabric from my sewing bag into little strips and ironed them in half.

Jeff designed the yellow trim part and did the machine-stitching portion of attaching it to the pants. I hand-stitched it in various spots to tack it down.

These pockets are made out of last year's Mario sleeves. I cut them to length, then Jeff sewed one end of the sleeve shut. I cut the straps out of last year's Mario pants, and Jeff sewed them to the pocket. Then he attached the top of the pocket to the pants, and I hand-stitched the bottom corners of the pockets to stabilize them.

Jeff cut this hilt out of cardboard. Then he took white PVC pipe sawed to length, cut little slits in it, spray-painted it black, and inserted the hilt into it. Then he covered the handle with our yellow paisley fabric. I painted the yellow fabric with gold glitter paint.

I drew the Mickey Mouse head pattern. Jeff cut the chain links out of cardboard, spray-painted them black, then lightly spray-painted white over them. He linked the chains together and taped the openings with mailing tape.

I drew the blade pattern. Jeff cut it out, inserted it into another slit he made in the pipe, and covered it with aluminum tape. He also wound aluminum tape around the majority of the pipe shaft.

Jeff wound a length of blue Mario pant fabric below the hilt for blue trim, and viola! Sora's keyblade. (Whatever that is.)

We had tons of fun with this project, and as I said, I especially love the fact that it was totally a team effort from start to finish. Girls like that sort of thing.

Now, listen. See how proud I am of these costumes that were worn for one day and will soon be outgrown and discarded?

Multiply that times a trillion bazillion infinity. That's how much God loves that He created you. Which He did ex nihilo for reals.

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine."

~Isaiah 43:1