Are we in the 1960s?

I’ve been paying attention to the growing animosity between the police and their sympathizers and the growing number of frustrated citizens feeling a distance between the general populace and those sworn to serve and protect.  It is harrowing to see the distrust on both sides and to see damning evidence to support both as well.

My husband and I were watching a show the other day set in the sixties where racial tension was high, as was a wide divide between people increasingly more militant and a movement of peace-loving yet anti-police activism.
It looked a little familiar.
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

It seems to me that (due to numerous cause and effect situations on both sides) the view of the public toward the police has, for many, turned from the protector of the people, to cold enforcers of the law.
Take this video (Sesame Street’s We’ll Watch Out For You) of what I grew up thinking of the police, versus what we see now when our kids google Cops, Police, etc.    See the difference?
There used to be Beat cops.  Then they moved to cars and now tanks.  There is a visual and ethical separation between the populace and the Police force and it is driving wedges hard into that relationship that is such a huge part of our society.  We need laws to prevent anarchy.  Laws need to be enforced, but if the people are the enemy of the police, and police are the enemy of the people, we are left with anarchy anyway.  No one wins.
When I read debates involving these wedges, I see officers or their supporters arguing that if people were more respectful, if there were less bad guys, if this next generation of kids weren’t entitled brats, etc… there would be no need for violence toward the populace. I see people insisting that officers are bullies with power that isn’t questioned.  That the people feel they can’t ask why they are being detained, questioned, etc. because they are accused of resisting arrest and that is reason to be shot now.
I saw a video today talking about how the unrest involving officers would lead to them not protecting the people… it was by an officer.
There are many online people insisting that if you are respectful, sit down, shut up and fall in line, all will be well… but we see plenty of videos where people do this and still have a problem.  Adversely there are still people who provoke the police, attack them and try to kill officers doing their jobs correctly.  It is that cause and effect cycle I referred to before.
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There was a time when Police Officers were the people.  Each one, was one of us who had signed up to put their life on the line to serve and protect.  We protected them as much as they did us.  That was a lot more Sesame Street and less 1963 Harlem Riots.  There was a time when people waved to an officer and supported them.  When we felt telling our kids to go to the police for help was not only right, but the best option.  Now?  Not so much.
So what is the solution? How do we break the cycle? Are we going to live through another 1960s decade of war and peace mongers? What do you think?

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Finding yourself as a mom… or anyone really.

Yesterday, I talked to a fellow mom who felt –as many of us do– that she was losing herself in the midst of being so much for the people around her.  As I nodded emphatically, (because man, have I been there) I noticed that I don’t actually feel that way anymore.  When did that happen?

Is it that my kids are all out of diapers and tantrums are now to a dull, calmer, roar instead of constant three-year old hysteria? Is it that I was a very young mom and have just gotten older?  Is it having things on the side–away from my kids or making more “Me Time?”  Surprisingly, I don’t think so.  I took a lot of hot showers and girls night to fix that void and it was still there despite having the me time. What happened was a lot of drama all at once physical, emotional and financial and I was left with only hope and humility.

When it comes down to it, life forced me to stop pushing back at everything.  Not everything is a battle anymore.  When I stopped trying to prove myself, and make my voice heard, and be everything I thought I wanted me to be and the world wanted me to be, I started to find myself.  It makes sense to me.  I see people that battle through their days at work or school the same as moms–regardless of lack of days off or insane hours.

Think about it.  We gear up for everything.  We research it, we debate it, we obsess until we just can’t live up to our expectations.  We want to be as good at who we are as who we think we should be and half the time, we know we’ll never reach it–or at least not exactly the way we want to. Somewhere in there, all of us wonder who we are and how we forgot that or lost it.

I realized what I had to do that might actually help other people.  Hopefully this helps others act willingly and they don’t have to go through as much before being forced to change their thinking/actions.  I’m sharing this, not to give the absurd assumption that I am above anyone else, but this helped me and I hope it will help you too.

Here’s the closest thing to a process to my attitude adjustment I can organize and they are all easier said than done.  Let’s hope your house, finances, husband and extended family don’t fall apart or almost die for you to start these:

1. Start by complimenting people around you for the things they do right.  Even if they screw up in the midst of making one thing right, genuinely acknowledge the one thing.  It makes a difference in you when you stop treating other people the way you treat yourself (just looking for places to improve). Search for those little nuggets of sunshine. Eventually, you do the same for yourself.

2.  Pick your battles.  –No, just leave the battlefield.  This is probably the most important with yourself and other people and situations.  If you wouldn’t care about it if everything you love were gone tomorrow, let it be. Stop making excuses for yourself and others. Hear what others are saying and if you can’t change how they feel about you or whatever the issue is–accept it.  Listen to them, let them push, but stop pushing back. Even if you are right and you feel wronged. It only wears you out and gives you reason to doubt yourself.  People only change if they want to.  Nothing you say is going to change that.  If they’ve hurt you, they already know it.

When you stop pushing back, it doesn’t make you a victim.  This was hard for me to grasp but I eventually realized that people can’t fight acceptance.  You only have to assert yourself once plainly and after that, accept that people are difficult and may not want to see your side or understand how you feel.  They may still want or try to hurt you, but pushing back only makes you hurt more when they don’t care.  We care too much about closure and validation and too little about peace and happiness.

3. What ever you do–be it at home or out in the world, love it.  Some times it is so tempting to resent the busywork, the chaos, and everyone’s expectation that you fix it all or the insistence that you are responsible for it. See the beauty in your kids, marriage, job, etc.  See the good parts of you in them as well as the difficult.  Find something to enjoy about your job and the people in it. If it were gone tomorrow, you’d miss it on some level.  Find that level and try to understand it and love it.

4. Take care of your body.  Eat right and exercise.  Don’t wait for a heart attack to fix that.  You will feel the benefits almost immediately and see it soon after.

5. Pick up a book.  You do have time.

6. Schedule days to do nothing.  Make those plans solid.  Sit on your butt and relax with people that matter once in a while. Not every day needs to be post worthy and action packed.

7. Find issues that you feel strongly about and force yourself to see and study different sides of them.  It has so many benefits and you’ll be a smarter and better person for it.

8. Stop worrying about losing yourself.  You find yourself when you aren’t so concerned about it.

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Games for a Geeky Ugly Sweater Christmas Party


Geeky Christmas Movie Quiz


One 2-3 person team (preferably couples) will be given a quote.

1 point will be given for each accurate item:

What character said it

Which Actor said it

From what film

After 60 seconds, other teams can steal for a total of 2 points, if their team knows the

character, film and actor.

If one cannot be guessed, every team has the option to steal the point by using their

smart phone for one point total.

1. “Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”

–Zuzu, Karolyn Grimes, It’s a wonderful life

2. “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store, what if Christmas perhaps, means a

little bit more?”

–Narrator, Boris Karloff, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

3. “It’s a one year membership to the Jelly of The Month Club”

–Clark, Chevy Chase, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

5. “He never got his picture on bubble gum cards, did he? How you ever seen his picture on a

bubble gum card? Hmmm? How can you say some ones great Who’s never had his picture on

bubble gum cards?

— Lucy Van Pelt, Tracy Stratford A Charlie Brown Christmas

6. “Uh, since the US Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute

it. Case dismissed.”

— Judge Henry X. Harper, Gene Lockhart, Miracle on 34th Street

7. “Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who

sold it on sale. Amen.”

–Kevin, Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone

8. “We’re your worst night mare…Elves with attitude.”

–E.L.F.S. Leader, Kenny Vadas, The Santa Clause

9. “Fog as thick as peanut butter”

–Yukon Cornelius, Larry D. Mann, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

10. “Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved”

–Adult Ralphie, Jean Sheppard, A Christmas Story

11. “The thing about trains…it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get


–The Conductor:, Tom Hanks, The Polar Express

12. Strange isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves

an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

–Clarence, Henry Travers, It’s a Wonderful Life

13. “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I

am now.”

— Clark Griswold, Chevy Chase, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

14. “Aunt Clara had, for years, labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually four

years old, but also a girl.”

–Adult Ralphie, Jean Sheppard, A Christmas Story

15. “You stink. You smell like beef and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa.”

–Buddy the Elf, Will Ferrell, ELF

16. “You say you hate Washington’s Birthday or Thanksgiving and nobody cares, but you say

you hate Christmas and people treat you like you’re a leper.”

–Kate, Phoebe Cates , Gremlins

17. “Close your eyes, and think of snowflakes and and moonbeams and whiskers on kittens.”

(pokes his eyes) “No peeking! …Of rainbows, forget-me-nots, of misty meadows and sun-

dappled pools. Oh, look! There’s Mr Hedgehog. I wonder where he’s going? Perhaps to Harlem!”

(Punches him in the jaw)

–The Ghost of Christmas Present, Carol Cane, Scrooged

Christmas Trivia

1. Hollow objects, typically made of metal and having the shape of a deep inverted cup widening at the lip, that

sounds a clar musical note when struck, typically by means of a clapper inside made from a white, ductile metallic

element with the atomic symbol of Ag. — Silver Bells

2. A complete absence of sound during the time from sunset to sunrise. — Silent Night

3. A period of one and 5/7th weeks revolving around the winter holiday celebrated on the 25th day of December

–12 days of Christmas

4. It is our sincerest desire for you to experience a December 25th full of cheerfulness & gaiety — We Wish You A

Merry Christmas

5. The only thing I desire to acquire on the 25th day of December is a pair of processes attached to the forward

section my jaw serving for the prehension and mastication of food.  – All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

6. What Christmas-time song did James Pierpont compose in 1857? — Jingle Bells (or One Horse Open Sleigh)

7. What Christmas item takes its name from teh old French word estincelle, meaning spark? — Tinsel

8. Who wrote the songs for the 1954 film White Christmas? — Irving Berlin

9. What is the chemical formula of snow? — H2O

10. Which two states in the US have towns called Christmas?  — Arizona and Florida

Horribly difficult but super funny Mash up– Act out or draw:

I racked my brain coming up with Christmas carols mashed up with Geeky things.  The idea is to break into teams, draw a paper with the mash up clue and then decide if you will draw or act out.

With acting, you can talk but no buzz words, You can do impressions, but no direct quotes.

Drawing, Pictionary rules apply.

These were so hard, but were hilarious.

Joy to the Wookie

Silent Knight Rises

While Shepherds watched their Flock of Seagulls

Rocket Raccoon the Christmas Tree

O Jedi Knight

Buffy the Red-nosed Slayer

Darryl Dixon is coming to town

I’ll have an Ood Christmas with out you

Let it John Snow, Let it John Snow, Let it John Snow

I saw Vader kissing Santa Claus

Spok-y the Snowman

All I want for Christmas is Audry II

Last Christmas, I gave you Doc Brown

I believe in Ferris Beuller

It’s a purple minion world in the winter

Sarah Connor’s coming to town

Angelus we have heard on high

It’s beginning to look a lot like Star Trek

Up on the house top now I have a machine gun

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The Ugly-Geeky Sweater Party

I have been wanting to do an Ugly Sweater Party for years, but by the time I got around to it, it was so cliche that I just decided not to try.  One of our friends reminded me about it last month and said I should do it anyway.  Always up for a challenge, I wanted to spin it so it was still fun.  My husband and I mulled it over and went with a Geek theme that seemed perfect for us and our friends.

One of my favorite parts of the Ugly sweater party concept is that it is wonderfully tacky in an almost cute way.  Geeking that up was so fun.  We’ve been asked to do it again next year, and have already decided it was rather awesome and we’d like to improve on it and give it another go.

In our invite, we specified that guests were to come in a Geeky holiday sweater, either hand made or bought and were to bring a Geeky themed treat and a game to share.  Here are some highlights:


Tee Fury seemed to be popular this year.

My husband and I sported Die Hard and Doctor Who Christmas “sweaters”

Some of our guests were so much more creative.  We’ll have to step up our game next year.


These impressed me so much, particularly as they were last minute.

Their sweaters were ordered from the UK and didn’t get here in time, so they created these sweaters last minute with mostly with felt.  In addition to another geektastic Tee Fury Who shirt, An epic Doctor Who sweater and a Words of Radiance sweater that had this Whovian/Brandon Sanderson fan very impressed.  I mean, look at those Shattered Plains! So much detail!


Again, I’m amazed.  She free handed these awesome yet adorable Firefly sweaters.

A Wash sweater and a Jayne-gerbread sweater.

For our decorations, I used these fantastic tins found at, some printable cube people from Deviant Art, and other touches I hand crafted or dug out of our Christmas decor in the name of Ugly Sweater. I wood burned some tacky, geeky gifts and added some store bought ones.

I found my mom’s old retro tree and used it and I loved the effect and the nostalgia.


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Some of our geeky grub:

Star Trek Insignia cookies (made with a star cookie cutter with the “arms” cut off of the star.)


Andy’s Mint Brownies. Regular brownies with melted Andes mints on top.


SNL’s Schweddy Balls.  AKA Swedish meat balls.


Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer!

And I had to add holiday scarves.


Combined with some of the games I’ll post next, this was such a fun evening with some of our favorite people and we will definitely do it again.

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Filed under Geek, Holidays, Hosting parties, Ugly Sweater

Some Geeky Woodburning

In preparation for our Ugly Geeky Sweater Party, I’ve begun making our

tacky door prizes.  Here’s the first one!


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While house sitting, my daughter found 3 Elf on the Shelf dolls…

Elf on the Shelf kind of creeps me out.  But now I see the appeal….  and I worry about how creative my kid is.  lol

I can’t wait to see what our friends and their kids think when they get home.


This kid went into Detail.  There is an entire book called “An Elf took a Dump in my cup.”

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And then we found out that they aren’t actual Elf on the Shelf dolls.

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DIY Baby Snuggler Swaddle Wrap


Part II of the recent baby shower gift I put together. These snuggler swaddle wraps seem to be popping up on all the registries lately and so I thought perhaps I would make a pattern so my lovely friends could have them in patterns of their choice (instead of the limited styles they have at the store). I made this one as part of the most recent baby shower gift I put together and in doing so I was able to make it out of really cute flannel monster fabric…and I was able to save $20.00 over the cost of the swaddler at Target. The way I see it…that’s win/win. After all If I can make it for less….my friends get more 🙂


First I started by googling snuggle swaddlers so I could break down the pieces needed to create one of my own. There are a surprising number of free patterns from sewing to knitting. I took the opportunity to really assess a few for sewing and then drew out my own. Above is the pattern I made by taping together a few pieces of paper (I used some from the last presentation I went to at work so as not to waist fresh printer paper but do as you like. News paper works well for patterns as well and allows for less taping on small projects like this) and then drawing and cutting out the basic pattern. The straight areas of these patterns line up with the center fold of the fabric you are using. Next iron fabric and cut out both pieces twice (once for the outer shell and once for the liner)

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Next sew together pleats where all of the triangle cut outs appear in the pattern above -2 sets at the feet and one set at the shoulders (as you can see I added two pleats to the bottom of the main piece so it would line up with and match the front pocket piece). Then line up your outer shell and your liner (with the outer patterns facing in and sew from foot pleat to foot pleat leaving an opening between the pleats. Turn both pieces right side out and iron.

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With the outer shell patterns facing in again line up the bottom foot pleats of the main body and the front pouch and sew from armpit to armpit. I used my surger to finish off the fabric at the toes to remove all raw edges. Then flip right side out for an almost completed project. At this point you can happily hold up your very recognizable swaddler and parade around the room proudly showing what you have accomplished.

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Finally attach Velcro as your securing method. I placed a strip of Velcro on the top of the front pouch for the first fold. I placed two pieces horizontally and one piece vertically for the second fold (this allows the front piece to be adjustable based on the size of the baby).

**Update…the swaddle and sleep sack were a great success. Another successful baby shower gift complete.

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Filed under Budget, Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Family, Motherhood, parenting

DIY Baby Sleepsack

20141117_124520 Baby sleepsacks are all the rage throughout the winter months as they keep new babies nice and warm without new parents having to worry about bulky blankets which are a risk for smothering and infant death. Sleepsacks can be purchased at just about every baby store and online registry these days…but many are expensive and there are limited prints and styles. Here is one I made as a baby shower gift for a friend – the total cost was (hopefully my friend doesn’t see this post) about $5.00. There are many variations (zippers in the front instead of snaps, or Velcro along the sides, or even kimono style wrap front designs), no matter which style you choose these are always sure to be a big hit.


I started by picking a fabric I knew my friends would enjoy (they had registered for other fun monster print items) and then I mapped out a pattern. If you already have a sleepsack handy you can literally just trace the one you have. If you don’t you can make a paper pattern by looking up different styles as I did here. (I also used a baby onesie (3-6months) when creating the pattern to ensure the neck and arm holes would be big enough for baby to fit into them comfortably.)


Next cut out the pattern  x 4- front and back of the outside and front and back of the liner. I used a crushed velvet material for the liner and a flannel for the outer shell. Then sew from armpit to armpit leaving about 3 inches of space on one side (this will allow the sleepsack to open so the baby can be placed inside). You can see my opening where I have left pins in the liner.

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Flip the two pieces inside out and stuff the outer shell into the liner and sew together the arm pit holes and the yolk of the neck. You can close the top of 3 shoulders but leave one open so you can turn the sack right side out.

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Open the whole you have left at the top of the shoulder and proceed to stuff the sack through it turning the whole thing right side out.


Now you only need to close up one hole and get ready to add buttons or snaps. I used a blind hem to  close the top of the shoulder so it would match the other three however you can use a straight stitch over the top after you tuck in all the raw unfinished edges.


Finally add buttons to the top for a clean finished look and snaps to the insides of one shoulder and the open side. I used the button on the left to secure the left shoulder (it doesn’t open). The button on the right is just for decoration as safety snaps are what the parents actually use to close the garment up. Vowalla one happy custom sleepsack ready for a new baby.

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A few months ago, my girls came across my steam punk bag.  They of course have their own dress ups, but they were interested in playing in mine.  If you’re going steam, you should do it right. Make up, hair, accessories… They were so adorable we decided on an impromptu photo shoot.

I’m not a photographer by any means, but we’ve been loving how fun my silly little iPhone shoot turned out.

The other fun part about this was… they get it.  The beauty of Victorian/Steam themed clothes and trinkets.  They dressed up and became all too serious about it.   Geeks in training right here.


Steam baby

Steam baby

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Bat-Themed Kids Group Costumes

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When it comes to costumes I have a couple of rules. Fun, Warm, and durable.

Having four girls is rough business for dressing alike.  I tried to do it a lot when they were younger and then thought they’d hate it later and so it wasn’t worth the effort to find that much of one thing.  My girls find their own way of matching anyway. Weeping Angels last year and this year they wanted to do Batman Characters.  They were inspired by these pics on Pinterest.  (I can’t find the original source of these and they are just awesome, so if you know, tell me so I can add the right credit)

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The Cosplayer part of me wanted to take these and make them a little less poofy and more comic booky or kid appropriate gritty.  I started brainstorming.  Batman and Robin for the little girls wasn’t a big deal.  Joker with a tutu was going to e interesting, and Poison Ivy… well my Poison Ivy is 12.  I wanted her covered and still looking like a pre-teen.  A Challenge!

Confession time, unlike my wonderful counterpart Lexivsblog, I do not sew.  Machines drive me batty. Last year’s angel dresses were like a Grandma sweat shop.  My mom is a wonderful and giving woman.  Anything for her grandkids.  This year, I wanted to close down the sweat shop and give mom a break. I needed something that avoided the sewing machine.  These pins the girls picked out looked promising and I decided to use what I could from them with what we had around the house as much as possible.  The only times I make costumes is when it is cheaper than buying.  I wanted it done on the cheap.

The first thing I needed was the crocheted top.  I found these 10 inch tutu tops at The Hair Bow Company, and I was super happy to see that they are lined with a soft fabric.  At $4.25/each this was the most expensive part of their costumes.  Next I found Net instead of tulle for a grittier, gauzy look at 1.25/yrd.  I got four yards for each girl, not knowing how much I would need.

I used this fantastic cutter, cutting 4 in strips of the net.


Then I tied the net through the crocheted top.

One half knot worked just fine.  It doesn’t come out easy.

Also…  word to the wise, netting rips really easily.  Be gentile.

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The skirt with cutting and tying, took about 30 minutes and for Robin’s fluffier, shorter costume, only used two yards. The others were equal to or less than two yards.  I have a TON left over.


Not too shabby for about $7 and 30 minutes

but it needed more,,, and I was really worried about warmth and wardrobe malfunctions.

I poured through the girls’ closets for black long sleeved shirts and black leggings.

I also went through the dress-up bin and found an old Batman costume that was really worse for wear, dating all the way back to 2008.  All that was left was the mask and main piece.


I cut out the Bat symbol from the old costume, and used the mask, and cut off the cape.  The sweat shop did open for making the bottom part of this costume into a skirt for Poison Ivy.

Robin’s R is a paper print out of the Teen Titans’ Robin Logo sewed onto a black felt circle.

Next came Poison Ivy’s Bodice.  The greenery I had was from an artificial grape vine. I stuffed the top with phone books and hot glued the leaves on, leaving the sides for stretchiness.  As it was, it was STILL hard to get her into it after.  If you do this, REALLY STRETCH the crocheted top before gluing.


I wasn’t loving the plain-ness of the top so I added some tool which turned out to be very glittery.


I used the same loops in the top to add some color to the top. I also hot glued a flower of the red tool and some Christmas holly berried to the center.

For the Joker’s costume I made a tulle tie and flower, but it just didn’t have the umph that I wanted.


I poured through Joker costumes and comic book pics and realized that there are many versions of the Joker.

But What is consistent was that the Joker always has a sense of style and flair.  That’s what I was missing.  If the Joker were a girl and the kind of Dame to wear a tutu, what would she need?  I freaking fascinator, that’s what.

I cut a sort of pointy oval shape out of felt, hot glued some net for over the face, and tied a few shorter strips of the colored netting I had into a knot and hot glued that onto the felt and face netting.  Then I added a $.25 purple Christmas bobble to the top, twisting the stem through the knot.  It seriously took 5 minutes.

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I wasn’t sure how it would look bobby pinned on, but it turned out well!

I also added, from our button bin, a Card Fan tie clip and Cuff links.


The costumes wear really well.



So, I spent about 4-5 hours, and somewhere between $25-$30 total for four costumes… not too shabby!

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Filed under Budget, Children, Cosplay, Costumes, DIY, Family, parenting, Pinterest Attempts