Archives for category: Crafts Gone Wrong

I cannot even with this Halloween get-up. But a series of errors has led to the evolution of a costume. One way or another, Toodle is going to be her foster elephant, Ishanga, for Halloween. And, fortunately, at this age she still has low expectations for what she should look like.

This was the first attempt. Nailed it.

Ishanga Costume 1

I was laughing so hard when I took this photo I couldn’t breathe. Omigosh, it was a throwback to my childhood and every time Mom tried to be mother of the year with some such project or another. It never panned out the way she wanted it to. Toodle’s costume definitely looked better in my head.

Anyway, as I was laughing, Toodle was saying, “It’s okay, Mom. The costume is perfect.” Oh, bless your heart, dear one, because you can’t even see over your tusk. Yes, that is supposed to be a tusk.

Ishanga Costume 2

But then I remembered I was supposed to turn Twinkle into her foster elephant, Sities, as well. And I had bought two gray shirts, one for each girl, but erroneously in the same size. Twice. Yes, that’s correct. First I thought I had two shirts in Toodle’s size. So I went back and returned one to get a size for Twinkle. It was after I cut off the tags and washed the shirts that I realized I returned the wrong one and ended up with two shirts in Twinkle’s size. Thank heavens for old t-shirts and low expectations. Toodle is wearing an old t-shirt of mine and Twinkle now has two shirts to pick from.

But, I decided to dismantle one of Twinkle’s two shirts and turned the sleeves into trunks for both girls. It felt a little wrong to rip apart a perfectly good shirt. But the thought of going to another store to get more supplies for these costumes left me feeling maniacal. I’m not a martyr. I never have been. Basically, every time Adam Levine starts singing, “If I got locked away, and we lost it all today, tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?” I always ask, well, Adam, hot as you are, WHAT EXACTLY DID YOU DO that you got locked away and we lost it all? True as toast. Every. Single. Time. That’s what I do. I mean, are we talking a life sentence for murder? Or just a few days in the gray bar motel to sleep one off? Big difference, Adam. I’m no martyr. Mama’s movin’ on.

I finally got the tusks figured out. Smaller is better. Because sight is important. Also, the first round of tusks weighed more than Toodle. Also, low expectations remain critical for success.

Ishanga New Trunk and Tusks

Do you know how many top designers have seen this picture and are calling, asking me to join their team? Oh, it’s endless. Just endless. They’re full of, “Hey, can you come over and rip the sleeves off our new line and turn them into trunks?” And I’m like, “Well, I’m eating a Kit Kat right now so….”

Trick or treating with food allergies has proven to be easier than actually creating a costume. Probably because Toodle has developed her own little system that has worked very well for her.

It started with a Fourth of July parade this past summer. She wanted to get all the candy, and I started to get nervous about that until a friend said, “Let her get the candy. The ‘getting’ is the fun part.” How true for Toodle. She just wanted to experience the conquest of sugary goodness even if she never got to eat her spoils. A bonus dad who was helping his kids get candy, and whose wife also had alopecia, ensured Toodle walked away with a boatload of goods.

And instead of eating her candy, Toodle decided she wanted to simply smell them. Um, whose child are you because I don’t think I am genetically predisposed to only smell candy, and I don’t think your father is either. This kid. She has found aa system that works for her.

And I think that’s because she still gets to be in control. No idea where she gets that personality trait. Instead of telling her she “can’t have” or “can’t eat” something, we have always told her her body simply wouldn’t like it, wouldn’t feel very happy. That has given her a sense of responsibility but also a sense of freedom. She gets to decide how she wants to treat her body. Truthfully, it’s a lesson for all of us.

I have heard of parents who let their children trade in their candy for a toy or approved treat of their choice. I suspect Twinkle would love that approach. Other families look for houses with teal pumpkins, which denote allergy-friendly trick-or-treat options.

The longer I have parented, the more I have come to believe there is no one way to handle anything in life. What works for one family may not be as successful for another family. But that doesn’t mean either family is doing it wrong. It means each of us is uniquely different. Like, maybe some of us are costume challenged while others sew amazing creations, worthy of a runway.

Ishanga Costume 3

Do you think I could get her to pose with her entire costume? Not a chance. Although, for as many tries as it has taken to get to this point, I can’t say that I blame her.

I, for one, am good at other things. Like sneaking a piece of candy when the kids aren’t looking. Because, for the love, is it Halloween yet? I can hold out on the candy for only so long. It’s genetic.


This project started out easy.  Toodlebug and I planned on making salt-dough ornaments for the grandparents.  How cute would that be?  I searched Pinterest looking for a salt-dough ornament recipe.  The one I found had a picture of beautifully shaped circles that looked like they were metal instead of salt dough.  They had been turned into pendant necklaces, so I thought, how hard could a few ornaments be?  I didn’t feel talented enough to make a pendant necklace, so I used our heart-shaped cookie cutters that we pull out once a year around Valentine’s Day.

I couldn’t find the original source of the Pinterest recipe I found, so I searched the Internet and found a picture that is similar to what I was going for.  I totally confess, however, that the recipe you’ll find in the blog below (click on the picture) is likely better than the one I followed.  And you’ll see why.


To get started, I mixed 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt.

Salt Dough dry mixture 2014

Then I added 1 cup of water plus a little more flour and then a little more water and got it to the consistency of Play-Doh.

Toodlebug and I rolled out the salt dough to make perfect little Christmas ornaments for the grandparents.

Salt dough wet mixture 2014

After using the cookie cutter, I used a straw to make the holes at the top of each ornament.  I planned to spray them silver to match the pendant necklaces I found.

Heart-shaped salt dough ornaments pre-baked 2014

This was a good plan since the mixture resembled cookie dough, and I wanted to eat them every time I looked at them.  Toodlebug wanted to eat them, too, so that made me feel better.  Kind of like painting your nails to remind yourself not to bite them.

Once they were baked, I went for the spray can and was about to get started when I realized I couldn’t just spray the hearts right on K-Hubs’ baking sheets.  He’d had those sheets about as long as I’ve had my car.  Longer than we’ve known each other.  I couldn’t just spray the ornaments like that.  I needed to line the baking sheets first or place the ornaments on newspaper on the counter.  No cutting corners.

This reminded me of the time I did a work presentation in Nowheresville in the middle of January, long after K-Hubs and I got married but long before we had Toodle and Twinkle, and on the way home got a bird stuck in the grill of my car.

My car is always parked on the side of the garage that leads into our house.  So it wasn’t until I got out of my car and walked into the house that I noticed something sticking out of the grill.

It was dark enough in the garage I couldn’t tell exactly what it was.  But I had it narrowed down to dead bird or dirty snowball.

I was desperately praying for it to be a chunk of ice that had been kicked up by my tires while I had been driving on rural roads.  Or maybe macular degeneration that would suggest my eyes were playing tricks on me.

So I peaked into the garage again, blinked my eyes, and it was still there.

Returning to the ice chuck theory, I proposed the dirty snow got kicked up by the tires, flew around the front of my car, and landed in the middle of my grill.

But I suspected my eyes were fine and my theory was wrong.

So I called K-Hubs.  “Let me get this straight,” he said as calmly as he could, “you think you have either a dead bird or a dirty snowball in the grill of your car.” Uh huh.  “Do you want me to come home and help you with it?”

“No, I can do it myself!”  Yes, please come home and take care of it so I don’t have to ask for your help or do it myself.  “You know, I just, uh, wanted to get your opinion on how I should take care of this situation since, you know, it could be either a dirty snowball or a bird.  Hey, wait!  Do you think it’s dead?”

“I’d say if it’s a bird, it’s pretty dead.”

“Oh, thank God!  I think.”

“Well, I’d suggest getting a broom out and using the end of it to pry the bird out.”

“Or to break up the chunks of dirty ice.”

“Right, chunks of dirty ice.  And, M, don’t forget to back the car out of the garage before you do this.  You know, in case it isn’t dirty ice.”

You might think he was insulting my intelligence, but the truth is I hadn’t thought to do that.  There was a broomstick right next to the door leading into the house.  And I had contemplated prying the bird out from my position on the stairs, leaving it in front of my car, shutting the door, and letting K-Hubs take care of it on his way into the house.

My luck, I thought, the bird wasn’t really dead.  Just paralyzed with cold fear.  To avoid it altogether, I walked through the front door of our house, broomstick in hand, around to the garage, and got in the driver’s side door to back the car out.

Feeling like this was my moment to prove I was tough, though, I backed the car out to the middle of the driveway, looked around for witnesses, and got out of the car.  Neighbors were at work, and I couldn’t decide if this was good or bad.  There was no one to witness what I suspected was going to be the most absurd thing I had done…recently, but that also meant I was entirely on my own.

Still dressed in my work clothes of a suit and slip-on mules (so practical for a January winter morning), I grabbed the broomstick and went into stealth mode.

This song comes to mind.

I jabbed, breathing heavily, eyes almost shut as I went completely focused on my task at hand.  I moved around, getting different angles with the broomstick extended before me.  The rush of adrenaline pulsated through my forearms and hands.  No pantsuit was going to hinder me.  I had the agility of a pro basketball player.  Mules schmules.  My cute dress shoes weren’t slowing me down either.  I was all over the driveway.  I was an animal.  That bird had nothing on me.

Finally out of breath I opened my eyes to inspect my work. The thing was still stuck to my car.  Crap.  I had been jabbing at the sky.  Really crap.

I looked for neighbors again.  No witnesses and no helpers.  I heaved myself a few inches taller, exhaled loudly, and started jabbing, this time for real.

I screamed and spoke in tongues even I didn’t understand.  And then with the final poke of the broomstick, the bird dislodged flying through the air.

For a moment it seemed my worst fear was coming true.  It was alive, and it was coming for me!

But as luck would have it, just one long wing was fully extended, and the bird finally landed on K-Hubs’ side of the driveway.

Screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs, I ran toward the house and got stuck in a mound of frozen snow.  Pulling my legs out of the snow, I lost a mule in the drift, but I couldn’t stop.  Adrenaline still pulsated through me.  Grabbing my mule and dropping the now contaminated broomstick on the front porch, I ran in the house to call K-Hubs.

“I did it!  I did it!” I said breathlessly.  “It was a bird with a long wing and not a dirty snowball.  But, I left it on your side of the driveway, and you have to clean it up when you get home.”

So, kind of like remembering to back the car out of the garage before dislodging a dead bird, I remembered to put newspaper underneath our salt-dough ornaments before opening the spray can.

But I couldn’t get the lid off.

There were directions for how to spray and what temperature to have the room at when you’re spraying.  But no freaking directions for how to open the damned can.

And then there was a phone number for questions and comments, and I seriously considered calling them to ask how to open their can.  But it was Christmas Eve Eve, so I thought maybe I should try this on my own.


Except all the troubleshooting I found was for once you had the lid off.  I hadn’t made it that far yet.

When K-Hubs walked through the door, I told him how dumb the can was.  “Oh, let me get the screwdriver.  That’s what the square opening is for.  You pry it off with a screwdriver.”

Well, of course you do.

But spraying them when we finally got the lid off didn’t make them look any nicer.

Painted Salt Dough Ornaments 2014

Toodlebug took one look at the hearts yet to be painted, grabbed a few, and fed them to her stuffed animals.  “It’s animal food!”

Baked salt dough ornaments 2014

I’m not sure what she was thinking.  I mean, the photo above is practically indiscernible from the photo below.  Actually, the recipe in the blog below (click the photo) looks better than the one I used.  So next year, Grandparents, watch out, we’re doing this again, and it’s going to be awesome!


Nailed it, people.  Nailed it.

The craft was such a good idea in my head.  Like floral stirrup pants or the hair brushes with the hairspray pump in the handle.  And easy, too.  I even thought maybe it would be too easy to blog about.

I was mistaken.

I’ve gone on craft sprees before.  Like the wicker sun-bonnet craze that spread through the 80s and 90s and adorned the walls of many a home.  I was in on that.  I decorated my own room in them, and when I ran out of space, God love Mom, she let me spread my love of wicker, ribbon, and floral accouterments throughout the rest of our house. Mauve and green bonnets, country blue and baby pink bonnets.  Gingham.  You could never go wrong with gingham. Don’t look at me like that.  I was 12.  Okay, maybe 16.  I don’t remember.

Glitter felt like a natural segue.

I wasn’t kidding last week when I said I wanted hot pink glitter pumpkins.  Since I couldn’t find any in stores, I had the brilliant idea to make my own.  I wanted a styrofoam pumpkin like this.

Pumpkin I wanted

Note the gouge.  This pumpkin was actually Mom’s.  Then I inherited it. And then Toodlebug found it a few years back, thought it was an apple and tried to eat it.

Bite Mark

Anyway, I found this ceramic pumpkin after Halloween on sale for 80% off and decided one wasn’t enough.  I really needed two.  I can’t imagine why they’d be so cheap or why they were still on the shelf.  Look at it, it’s gorgeous.

Ceramic Pumpkins


Anyway, I found them on sale, and they weren’t really what I was going for, but since they were $1.79 each, I thought I’d better take them.

I was really going for something that could be finished to look like this.

Purple Pumpkin

And this.

Orange Pumpkin

I already own these, but they aren’t pink, so they don’t count.

You’ll really need about a gallon of glitter.  And make sure you put down something like newspaper on your work surface before you start.  I almost forgot that step.  Can you just see K-Hubs’ face if I told him I glued hot pink glitter to our kitchen table?  Probably not since you’ve never seen his face.  But it would be bad.

Anyway, I inadvertently glued the pumpkin to the cup.  I think the plastic really adds a touch of class as do the ceramic leaves and flower.  You agree.  I know you do.  And that’s K-Hubs’ hand.  So I guess you’ve seen part of him.

Pumpkin Stuck to Cup

The adhesive I used was really strong.  In the chilly fall weather I had to open all the windows and doors so we didn’t pass out from the fumes.

Because I used spray adhesive, the extra glitter stuck to the newspaper. Somehow I was smart enough to protect the table in the beginning but then forgot why I was protecting it and then labored under the assumption the spray adhesive would just vanish into thin air.  For the record, spray adhesive does not vanish into thin air.  More glitter adhered to the paper than the pumpkin.

Glitter Stuck to Paper

And now I owe Toodlebug more pink glitter since I used all of hers to do about 1/80th of this project.  And the glitter doesn’t even look pink.  It looks purple.  But according to the label, it’s pink.  And really, I thought I’d have lots left over.  I didn’t actually think it would take that much goo to do the project.

Pumpkin Cup Centerpiece

I keep meaning to store the pumpkins elsewhere so I can finish them later.  I honestly have no idea what I was thinking when I decided it was a bright idea to try this.  But here they are, still sitting on the kitchen table like the messes they are, the one still glued to the cup.  Maybe by Christmas I’ll have a better centerpiece.  Maybe a neighbor kid will be selling greenery for a school fundraiser.


Oh my God!  Imagine the damage I could do with greenery.