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!

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!

Halloweens past

It's officially October and I am officially freaking out because I don't know what to be for Halloween. This may sound like elementary school problems but this is serious business (fun) in San Francisco. Some years I've chosen my costume for the next year as soon as November 1st so it's a bit frustrating that I haven't found inspiration yet. 

Of course I always make my costume. I believe the first costume I made myself was in 4th grade. I was a bat. I wore all black and decorated black material with glow in the dark puff paint to create bat wings. When I'm making a costume I often get inspiration from something I already own or find throughout the year. This helps keep a budget for other supplies to around $40.

Here's a bit of record keeping for myself of my costumes made in adulthood. Enjoy some semi-embarrassing pictures of myself.

Playing dress up in San Francisco

2012 Smokey Bear/ 2011 A Spider

2012 Smokey Bear/ 2011 A Spider

My Smokey Bear costume was inspired by a ranger hat I bought in yosemite. I felted a mask, ears, and sewed up a fake fur coat. For more Smokey Bear costume pics see my blog post last year. 

My spider was inspired by a hat my mom owns and pants I'd recently bought. More pics available in my 2011 Halloween blog post.

2010 selfies. Pirate Supply Girl

2010 selfies. Pirate Supply Girl

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The Pirate Supply Girl costume was inspired by 826 Valencia. I used a tutu and tights I already owned, a $2 pirate hat found at a thrift store, and a “puffy shirt” my mom bought me one year for Christmas. That Halloween The Giants had just won the World Series so I included a "black beard" in my box of goodies. I sold it to a Brian Wilson jersey'd giants fan for five bucks.

2009 A Witch (hard to dig a picture up for this year). Pictured left my grandma dressed as a witch trying to kill my mom dressed as a black widow (maker).

2009 A Witch (hard to dig a picture up for this year). Pictured left my grandma dressed as a witch trying to kill my mom dressed as a black widow (maker).

Inspired by my grandma and her love for dressing up as a witch for Halloween, in 2009, I chose to dress as The Wicked Witch of the East before the house falls on her in Wizard of Oz. That year my family had a surprise 80th birthday celebration for for my grandma so it was fitting to dress as a witch in celebration. 

2008 Football Player

2008 Football Player

It was serendipity when I found a $5 kids helmet at a yard sale. I already owned a Jeff Garcia jersey so a Halloween costume was inevitable. You can't see it in these pics but I turned a football into a purse. That's always an extra challenge every year. Making sure all my accessories fit with my costume.

2007 Young  Cruella de Vil/ the young "ella" would totally take selfies.  

2007 Young Cruella de Vil/ the young "ella" would totally take selfies. 

My roommate in 2007 owned a pink rabbit fur coat. I taped paper dots to the fur as not to ruin it. I'd lost some by the time these pics were taken. 

2006 My Space/ 2005 A Paper Doll  

2006 My Space/ 2005 A Paper Doll 

The MySpace costume looks a bit crazy but hey remember how distracting the real My Space was. I wore a "wall" that I made out of distracting fabric and ironed on profile and cat pictures. Throughout the evening I handed out quizzes and gathered friends on my wall by using my real Polaroid camera.

In 2005 I had access to a large format printer so I could finally fulfill a costume idea that was haunting me. For the paper doll costume I printed an illustration on Tyvek. I knew it would look like paper without tearing. I held everything together with snaps.

Playing dress up in college

Princess Leah/ Stick Figure

Princess Leah/ Stick Figure

For my Princess Leah costume I used a white graduation robe I owned. The belt was made out of cardboard and silver spray paint and I baked her iconic hairdo out of  bread dough from a tube.

I have know idea what made me dress up as a stick figure but I sure was reflective.

 

PEZ Dispenser

PEZ Dispenser

The PEZ costume is made out of cardboard, spray paint, and suspender material. This costume was held together with velcro so I could fit it in my car. The main lesson this costume taught me is to never make a costume that restricts leg mobility.

Looking back at all these pics I've dressed up as some classics; witches, spiders, pirates, Star Wars, oh my! I'd love some costume suggestions for this year if you have any. I may just have to put another twist on a classic. 

Thanks friends and family who helped dig up some old pics of my Halloweens past.

 

Only I can prevent forest fires

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The secrets out. With this years Halloween costume I have to admit I love Smokey the Bear. As an adult I’ve stalked him in parades to take pictures and now I’ve crafted my own bear suit. I was pretty much born with the obsession. My parents met fighting forest fires so I knew who Smokey the Bear was before Mickey Mouse. 

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Only you can prevent city fires. And OH, I, don’t know why this door says Ohio.

Only you can prevent city fires. And OH, I, don’t know why this door says Ohio.


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Details from the costume: Paper mâché shovel (the “wooden” handle is a wrapping paper tube). The belt buckle is made from hand cut paper letters and spray paint. I sewed t  he jacket   and it'  s the first thing I’ve ever made with sleeves.

Details from the costume: Paper mâché shovel (the “wooden” handle is a wrapping paper tube). The belt buckle is made from hand cut paper letters and spray paint. I sewed the jacket and it's the first thing I’ve ever made with sleeves.

To stay authentic I like to incorporate my purse into my costumes. This year I’ve created a fire pouch from felt.

My Yosemite cap was the true inspiration for my costume. Purchased on a trip this spring I wanted to make sure I’d be able to repurpose my $10 souvenir. The ranger cap is meant for children so apparently I have a head the size of a 3 year old. 

Lastly my favorite part is the mask and ears I sculpted with needle felting.

 Comparing noses with other creatures from the city forest.

Comparing noses with other creatures from the city forest.


Fun fact; Smokey the Bear walks around shirtless. Bear hug anyone?

Thanks Jen, Chanda, Uriah, Sara for my multiple photo shoots and photo direction.