Shasta Claws

What? You don't have a Christmas Costume? I realize I might be the weirdest person on the internet right now so you're probably wondering what's this Christmas kitten all about? 

In years past I've taken part in Santa Con which is basically an elaborate pub crawl where everyone is dressed up as Santa. People often put their own spin on things such as becoming Disco Santa, Boom Box Santa, and Mrs. Claus. By default everyone is greeted as Santa and it's pretty wonderful to always know how to greet someone by name before you've met them. "Hi Santa!" "Hellloooo Santa!" "Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa!" Because I have an S name I've often been called Shasta Claus. This year it hit me. Shaaaaasta Claws! I'm already working away in my workshop to make all the good kitties their toys.

Instead of Santa Con I attended an ugly sweater party so it was the perfect opportunity to create a Shasta Claws branded sweater proclaiming my super powers. It was a costume that could do double duty. Triple duty actually because when I took a visible mending workshop last month I was inspired to mend a moth eaten cashmere sweater with needle felting. I'd finally be able to wear my soft sweater again.

  Watch out for the claws!

Watch out for the claws!

  Stretchy cat

Stretchy cat

  I used needle felting to create the cat mask. You may remember I previously made one for my  Smokey Bear costume.

I used needle felting to create the cat mask. You may remember I previously made one for my Smokey Bear costume.

  I used tape to mask off my nails to create the slivers of claw. My paws were created by needle felting little red felt patches to an existing pair of mittens.

I used tape to mask off my nails to create the slivers of claw. My paws were created by needle felting little red felt patches to an existing pair of mittens.

  All the accoutrements. I used Needle felting to create the little red puffs on the sweater. When I realized it would take forever to finish all the letters I decided to also use sequins with the bonus of a little extra tackiness. Look carefully and you can see my mending below the second S and and near the A and W in Claws. Ears and hat were also needle felted.

All the accoutrements. I used Needle felting to create the little red puffs on the sweater. When I realized it would take forever to finish all the letters I decided to also use sequins with the bonus of a little extra tackiness. Look carefully and you can see my mending below the second S and and near the A and W in Claws. Ears and hat were also needle felted.

Turns out I won the ugly sweater contest by not winning. My outfit was deemed to cute.

Thanks Jen Roberts for the photos of Shasta Claws!

June and her Cleaver

June lived in a pretty idyllic world. She was the model housewife. Everything was pretty good in her neighborhood until the day she forgot to go to the grocery store. What was she to serve for dinner? There was only one thing to do...

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Serve her family for dinner of course. 

   That Wally sure can run.

That Wally sure can run.

  Welcome! I'm so glad you could make it.

Welcome! I'm so glad you could make it.

   Would you like an h'orderve? Eyeball? Toe...? No?

Would you like an h'orderve? Eyeball? Toe...? No?

  Cooking your family is very macabre work.

Cooking your family is very macabre work.

  Ugh. Blood Stains.

Ugh. Blood Stains.

I had a ton of fun running around the Presidio in San Francisco brandishing my cleaver. Gritchelle was my partner in crime again for this Halloween photo shoot and our friend Shawn joined us to assist. Plus we got to nerd out a bit with our Land Cameras.

You may remember the Lucy pics we took last year. The dress I'm wearing in these pics was the original dress I'd purchased for my Lucy costume. Since last year I've known I wanted to have a vintage costume again so I could use it. When I found out my friend Wendy had some vintage sweaters I confirmed my idea for a murderous June Cleaver. With the bulk of my costume being the dress and sweater I just had to create a few accessories. My necklace is also vintage that I happened upon at a yard sale in LA. I made my cardboard bloody cleaver, gloves, and apron. It all was topped off with a blond wig. I've never been blond before! 

This is also the second year I've had to explain my costume to kids unfamiliar with classic black and white sitcoms... and I'm sure I'll be explaining to some adults as well.

Photography by Gritchelle Fallesgon with assistance by Shawn Carrico.

I see in 3D

Halloween is a little over a week a way and things are starting to get weird. On their own these 3D glasses aren't so odd but I'm loving the creep factor this head form is bringing. That wig below is a little sneak peak at my Halloween costume. The glasses don't have much to do with my outfit other than I can't stop thinking about the classic movie theater pics from the 50's which is the same era my costume falls into. (Another hint)!

So why the glasses? In my studio I came across this 3D sketch pad I'd forgot I had. Basically anything you draw on the paper in black pops off the page when viewed through the glasses. You know, good ol' fashioned fun with optics. I wanted to give a few sheets to the winners of October's mail game but I'd also need to send them 3D glasses. What to do, what to do? Make some of course! 

I used 3D glasses I already owned as a template but then I cut almond shaped eye holes for the lenses instead of the classic rounded rectangles. I added some zentangle type patterns to emphasize the blue and red halves.

Wanna see in 3D?* If you'd like a pair of your own sign up for my monthly wrap up to play the mail game. I'll be sending glasses to Novembers** winners. Every month three people have the chance to get goodies in the mail from me!

*The author is aware everyone already see's in 3D. 

** November 2014 winners of the mail game will get 3D glasses. Sign up here!

Costume randomizer and inspiration

If you can't tell, I love Halloween. As an adult who hasn't gone tricker treating door to door in years there's a few reasons I love it so much. It's a time of year that brings out the creative maker in even those who don't categorize themselves as a craftsperson. For the all year crafter it can be an opportunity to make something with a material not normally used or stretch a little further beyond comfort zones. With costumes there's a lot of forgiveness of imperfection because ultimately it's about fun.

While I don't trick or treat I still celebrate at an annual bar hop with friends. While the bars are a natural social setting there's something different about Halloween. Being dressed up creates an easy way to connect. You can run up to a complete stranger on the street and shout with excitement that you get their costume. You get to witness peoples creativity and there's lots of conversations about how something was made. There's conversations of all sorts. Stimulated by pop-culture and of the moment news stories.

With all the potential fun to be had it can still be stressful to come up with a costume in time. For that I've got some exercises to get the ideas flowing. First I present to you:

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Sometimes it can be helpful to think about new twists on traditional Halloween themed characters. Or combine two of those ideas to make something new. A friend of mine once dressed as a Vampirate. I'll always remember it's punnyness and how she created something new out of two common go-to costume ideas.

Another brainstorming method is to start with a prop you already have. Think of all you can do with it. I love to start with a hat and think of all the costumes it could be incorporated into. You'll recognize some of the hats below from my past costumes.

Sometimes inspiration is instant. When I found the kids helmet at a yard sale I knew I had to be a 49er and the Ranger Hat was calling for me to dress up as my fav mascot Smokey Bear. The pirate hat however I bought on a whim because it was two bucks and found a unique costume twist for it later on.

Lastly I've got some rather strange ideas right here for you. In creating this seasons calligraphy practice list I had to go to the dictionary for some costume inspiration. I made up some character combinations you're unlikely to find in the Halloween aisle. These are costume words that run the A – Z gamut for practicing your calligraphy or if you feel inspired dress up as one of these!

Thanks Gritchelle Fallesgon for the photography of me in funny hats!

Lucy in disguise

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Today's the day to be as weird as you want. Dress up as your heroes or worst nightmares. This year I opted for hero.

When inspiration hit to dress up as Lucille Ball for Halloween I was surprised I'd gone all these years without being her. I couldn't be just any Lucy though. I wanted to be Lucy from the Hollywood episodes which are my favorites.

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I recreated her disguise from the episode 'LA at Last' which ends with her famously catching her nose on fire. How does she get in that predicament?

Freshly arrived in Hollywood Lucy, Ethel, and Fred head to the Brown Derby to look for stars.They spot William Holden and Lucy starts sneaking peeks at him. Tired of gawking fans William decides to turn the tables. Lucy finds herself embarrassingly being stared at over a booth median by William. Later on back at the hotel Ricky comes home to tell Lucy that he met William Holden on his movie set and he wants Lucy to meet him. Lucy puts herself in disguise hoping that she's not given away. Comedy ensues and she inadvertently lights her nose on fire. 

For all the laughs you can watch the episode here.

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There were never any I Love Lucy episodes in San Francisco but I have a feeling she would have gotten herself in a lot of trouble had she visited. 

  Shopping! (Union Square)

Shopping! (Union Square)

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  Lucy, you have some 'splaining to do.

Lucy, you have some 'splaining to do.

  Where, oh where, are the stars? (Outside the Sir Francis Drake Hotel)

Where, oh where, are the stars? (Outside the Sir Francis Drake Hotel)

  There will be stars here for sure. (Lori's Dinner on Powell)

There will be stars here for sure. (Lori's Dinner on Powell)

  Lucy doesn't see Marilyn.

Lucy doesn't see Marilyn.

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   (Xanadu Gallery, building by Frank Lloyd Wright.)

 (Xanadu Gallery, building by Frank Lloyd Wright.)

  Trying to embody the rubber faced Lucy. 

Trying to embody the rubber faced Lucy. 

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Costume details.

I bought fake vintage glasses and added additional bedazzling. The wig is a Lucy style available online. Luckily the scarf was a necessary costume accessory as ultimately it's what kept the wig on my head. The scarf was it's own challenge. In the episode her hair is completely covered by the scarf but it was too difficult to style that way with the wig. I opted to sew a slightly stretchy piece of cotton fabric in a long tapered rectangle and wrapped around my head starting from the back. The earrings and shoes I already owned. Fake eyelashes were a must.

The nose! The dress!

For the nose I used an air drying kids clay. I started with white and pigmented it with gouache. I made two so I could light one on fire. For the key costume detail I scoured Etsy for the perfect Lucy dress in my size. Since the dress I bought didn't have a black tie made a "pearl" necklace out of some faceted glass beads. I realize out in the wild my costume is the meme of 50+ years ago so I added the shows logo to my lapel. Why am I wearing pants? Lucy was actually wearing a house coat with pants. This episode and outfit is so iconic there was even a hilarious Barbie made wearing the disguise.

  Who would of guessed that the year I take up calligraphy is the same year I need calligraphy for my Halloween costume.

Who would of guessed that the year I take up calligraphy is the same year I need calligraphy for my Halloween costume.

Lucy is engrained in my childhood. Growing up I dreamed of playing dress up in her closet so you can imagine what a treat it has been to flit around in vintage. It's been fun doing research on the ground breaking lady. A fun nerd fact I learned is that Desilu produced the original Star Trek.

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In case you've forgotten what my real nose looks like it's right here. 

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My Ethel and photographer for the day was Gritchelle Fallesgon. Thank you Gritchelle! I really feel like we had a Lucy adventure in SF. For a moment I could imagine what it felt like to be the real Lucillie Ball. The one who worked long hours and I'm sure exhausted her body for a laugh. 

  One of our prize moments of the day was when Gritchelle and I stole this trolley shot. 

One of our prize moments of the day was when Gritchelle and I stole this trolley shot. 

I love ya Lucy! 

 

Photography and photo editing by Gritchelle Fallesgon