Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY: Centaur Halloween Costume

The Blood of Olympus, the newest Rick Riordan novel, is out! Great bedtime reading, even though it's making my dreams all messed up and epic.
The Blood Of Olympus

Seems a good time to talk about making a Greek myth themed costume, one for the ambitious and/or Advanced Level Crafter.

Walk this way.

It calls for a lot of time, ingenuity, and effort...and better directions than I'm going to offer here. But if you can pull it off, like Santa Barbara's own Mama Beja did, you and your kid are gonna become the stuff of local legend.

For this project, you will need the following:
A Walker with wheels
A horse-colored blanket (you know what I mean)
Straight-haired wig/ponytail extension... in color complementary to blanket
Pillow stuffing
Heavy duty needle and thread
Thin cardboard, and lots of it
Long-sleeved t-shirt of same color as blanket
Twin sheet in white
Large sheets of paper to make pattern...or wing it, whatever
Straight pins
Laurel wreath, horns, or whatever head accessories you see fit
Matching boots (optional)
Pleather or leather scraps for hooves (optional)
A stronger ability to sew than I have...

Step 1: Chimera orientation
Get that walker. Set up the height to correspond to your child's backside, as the walker will become the backside of the centaur. Wheels go to the back, so that your centaur's back legs will roll behind him or her.
Set some time for this project--like, days.
Step 2: Legs, legs, legs!
Slice about 12 inches off one side of twin sheet. Wrap sheet around other two legs and affix. Once toga is draped on your centaur, these legs will be effectively camouflaged.
The looser the wrap, the more it will blend in with the toga
Measure the walker legs. Cut thin cardboard into long, triangular shapes for lower legs, and wider trapedoidal ones for upper legs. Pad with pillow stuffing, then wrap with blanket pieces. Sew inner vertical seams, stack upper leg on, and sew the horizontal seams connecting the two.

Detail of heavy duty stitching.

HEEL! Glue pleather/leather to thin long oblong-shaped cardboard.
Cut bottom of leg at angle and glue on "hoof."
Step 3: The End
Good luck with this part. I recommend that you play with the paper and/or play with the fabric and pins to see how to connect the rear to the hips before you start stitching.

Leave space to pad the haunches, or you'll end up with a bony old nag instead of a powerful centaur.

Attach the wig/hair extension to an appropriate place for a horse's tail. Sew it or stick it on well because chances are folks will be pulling on that thing all day and night.

Step 5: Come Together
You may well be asking, "How does my kid get in to this thing?" Here's what I know: Attach the leftover blanket piece back to the already-dressed walker, leaving a hole for your young hero to crawl in from underneath. The flap can be attached with safety pins to the brown long-sleeved t-shirt and pants. 
Now, your young centaur can walk about freely and not lose his or her behind. 
I have no idea what to say about this photo that won't sound wrong, wrong, wrong.
Step 6: Final Touches
Riordan's characters might get huffy about mixing Roman and Greek elements, but the best way to pull this horse-human look together is a toga, so drape that sheet carefully to achieve maximum leg coverage and movement. Top with a laurel wreath.

If you actually finish this project, YOU will deserve a laurel wreath, not just your suddenly quadrupedal kid.

Apollo cranked up the sun on this kid to indicate his approval.

"Will the Happy Badger or the Badgerettes be centaurs this year?" you ask.

Umm, no. The Badgerettes are more inspired by the natural phenomenon that is my BedHead than by mythology, so they're going as flowers, and I'm going to go as a six-foot tall, white-puff-head Dandelion.

Happy Halloween!

Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Well, It's Storytime Once Again...

My sweet little Arabic Mama always told me that I was a great talker, a born storyteller.

Baby Badger and Mom. Aren't 70s fashions adorable?

True, the times she told me this was when I'd perch on the kitchen counter, chattering away to keep her company...rather than helping her make dinner. Still, I took her words as a compliment.

And God knows I've collected some great stories during decades as a Death Rocker, European backpacker, teacher, Mom, and curb-shopper.

As with the clothing upcycling and crafting, however, I've come to realize that I shouldn't force my friends to listen to my endless prattle any more than I should force them to buy my wares. What I need for my stories is an outlet, like Heather Reid's brilliant Tarrytown boutique, Trilogy Consignment.

Least year, Tarrytown's own Zak Shusterman and Ivy Eisenberg came to the same realization and leaped into action, creating a sweet local spin on PRX's genius first-person, "True as remembered by the tellers" radio show The Moth:

Pros(e) of Pie 

Finally, here's an audience that's willing to cheer on this town's adorably shameless storytellers. Plus, each monthly event is also a pie competition, so for the price of admission, you get all sugared up, too!

Since this is MY blog, I'm going to get adorably shameless right now and send you to Youtube to see a couple of my Pros(e) of Pie stories: a hilarious and horrific introduction to life in NYC, and a Halloween dance among the broken, beautiful "undead" teens of the 1980s Sacramento club scene.

You see, it all started when I forced my mama to make me this very red velvet cape...
When's the next brilliant night of homemade goodness, you ask?

TONIGHT! And it's a good one, too--Halloween Stories at the Chapel of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Here: follow this link, get a ticket, and I'll see you in the audience tonight.

Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Take Me To Church... Literally.

Yes, yes! It's THAT weekend in the legendary Sleepy Hollow, when TWO local churches--Christ Episcopal Church in Tarrytown and Union Church of Pocantico--offer their best sales of the year.

Because quantum physicists have not yet developed an app that allows me simultaneously to be at both all weekend, I'm gonna give my suggestions for getting the most out of these excellent yet oh-so-different sales.

You'll soon recognize that this is not an unbiased review.

Christ Episcopal Church Fall Fair

Christ Church's Fall Fair promises a good time for the whole family. Plus, it makes that promise in both Spanish and English! Susan Copley, the rector, leads from the heart in all she and her church do.

See what I mean? Everyone is welcome.

At the Fall Fair, you will discover that open-hearted attitude in both word and deed. Deals abound--for clothing, housewares, toys, school supplies, bric-a-brac, collectibles, furniture, and much more.

Sleepy Hollow Tarrytown's photo.
Use this opportunity to explore the righteous deals in The Clothing Closet!
Sleepy Hollow Tarrytown's photo.
WHAT IS IN THAT TENT? I have to know.

If you're wavering over a price (not for games or food, mind), let them know--they're more likely than not to meet you halfway. The goal at Christ Church is to find new homes for these fine items, not to maximize profits and then kick the rest to the curb (ahem, see below). They have an excellent reputation for using their funds to help those most in need in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

BIG BONUS: The Fall Fair begins just before the festivities start for Tarrytown's Third Friday. I expect to stop by The Fall Fair a couple times this weekend, and I hope you do, too.

Union Church of Pocantico Hills

photo by Minna Irving for www.visitsleepyhollow.com

If you haven't been to Union Church yet, it's a good weekend to get a first impression. Union Church Fall Harvest Fair is famous for sneaking crazy finds into its masses of goods for sale. A couple years ago, I literally missed out on nabbing a genuine Channel handbag by mere inches. (INCHES.)

Give yourself more than an hour to move from tent to tent and room to room--each offers a different category. And the offerings are vast, I promise.

For those killer deals, show up early because keen eyes and quick fingers abound. If you miss the best of the best, you'll still find pretty darned good.

What you will not find, however, is anyone willing to bargain. I've seen too many smiling volunteers suddenly get tight-jawed when asked, "Could you lower the price on this?" Let me answer that one for you, Folks:


My suggestion is this: Buy it if you really want it and your finances allow. If you like taking chances or really cannot afford what they're asking, come back in the final two hours of the Fair, when everything is half off. Or, if you prefer to keep your cash in pocket, empty your vehicle and wait till the Fall Harvest Fair is over—They Curb LOADS of Furniture.

In any case, make time to visit the church's justly renowned windows, which were designed by Matisse and Chagall.

Union Church is now open for window viewing every day except Tuesdays.

Hours: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays (closed Tuesdays)
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday

Both sales start tomorrow, so hit the ATM or ready the checkbook now because just as in the Good Book itself, you can't get these heavenly deals on credit. 

Christ Episcopal Church
43 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
FALL FAIR: Friday 4pm-8pm; Saturday 9am-4pm

Union Church of Pocantico Hills
555 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591

FALL HARVEST FAIR  (Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m; Sunday 12- 4 p.m.

Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

(I Can't Get No Dis-) Satisfaction

Well, yes, now that you mention it, it HAS been an awfully long time since I last wrote.

I'd like to pretend that I was simply trying to give you, Dear Readers, ample time to catch up on my earlier posts--especially you mysterious Ukrainians and Malaysians who keep coming back for more, even though I'm not that kind of Badger. (May I direct the suddenly perplexed-and-not-reading-with-children to Urban Dictionary)

But the fact is, the 2nd Annual Trip for Trash was so wonderful, so perfect in every way that I came home utterly satisfied. I just wanted to lay under a tree every afternoon while the Badgerettes romped and dream about visiting friends, Fjords, and the raw new planet that is Iceland. Yes: I--The Happy Badger--was too happy to troll about at nights looking for treasure, too full of stories and sensations to share.

Family that are also Friends: Cornwall's "Hurlers"

Fjord, Fjord, Fjord! (plus Prince of the Forest)
For a full month, I wanted to watch How To Train Your Dragon every evening to marvel at how Dreamworks' animators got Icelandic clouds just exactly right.

I'd like to pretend that I'm too adult for this, but I really,
really want Toothless to be my best friend.
Anyway, Autumn is returning now, slapping its barn-red paintbrush about the trees while we sleep. My Inner Squirrel is waking, quickening only as the summertime roar of mating cicadas fades to an occasional grumble.

See what Scandinavia did to me? Turned me into a dreamy poet instead of a wise-cracking Trash Hustler?

Village-wide tag sales and church sales are back--time to wander, to work at saving Things That Are Not Compostable from the trash, to enjoy a spontaneous turkey parade.

I'll be back to tell you more about it all. Soon.

Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier