Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Ok. Now I have finished time consuming thing #2.... and the surprise is over, so I can post it here. And I brought back the pictures!

Tomorrow is Gwyn's birthday. So today Tracey and Sam threw a surprise happy Un-birthday party! That was of course Wonderland themed. A while ago I asked if I could help out. They were gracious enough to give me two tasks. 1) make the cake (I asked to do this...) 2) Be the Mad Hatter.

So 1) is short... I made Gwyn a G cake! Here are some pictures:

Three Cakes!!
A "G"!
The bamboo is to keep the foil off of it... for storage, and hidding
And final product, at the party!
2) And the Mad Hatter. Tracey and Sam asked me if I would want to be the Mad Hatter for this party. I of course said yes. Shortly after I saw that there was a fairly large and impressive costume shop in the Strip. So I mentioned that I was going to go down there to check out Mad Hatter stuff, Tracey was adimate, that no one was to buy a costume for the party. She did not want people to be financially burdened, so I asked if I could make it... she said yes. At this point I get really excited. Really excited. Mother, you inspired me. I didn't really know how I was going to do this, but I figured that my mother gave me awesome costuming skillz... I could do anything.

So I poked around the web for some inspiration, found a great video on ThreadBanger. On Tuesday, after my computational photography presentation I headed off to Jo-Ann fabrics to get supplies and remnants, also stopping by Home Depot for paint.

Cassidy was kind enough to let me borrow her glue gun! Thanks!

Interesting how little this looks in hind sight.
Warmed up by making the gloves. Fingerless gloves, done. It should be noted that a sewing machine would have been nice.... I hand stitched all of the following.

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of both of your hands...
First thing for the hat, make its supports. This was made using tag board and card board. The tag board was measured and taped to the size of me head (yeah that's right! A Hat that fit perfectly!). Then a round circle of cardboard was attached to the top of it. The size of this top piece determined how much of a flare the hat had... I could easily make a Abe hat that was straight. Then I used a heavy, dark cloth for the sides of the hat. The fabric was glued to the edge of the cardboard, and left plenty long to wrap around inside the hat.
Yeah CMU!
Once this was secured on the top, it was wrapped around, tight, to the inside of the tag board. Another great place to burn my fingers on hot glue. A top was cut out and glued on, with a little lace to give some contrast.

Oh, yeah... I am doing all of this on my bed, while I am on my knees.
So now was the fun part. A hole was cut in the middle of a lightweight fabric, this hole was glued to the inside of the hat. This will eventually form the brim of the hat. I also added a layer of lace to the bottom, do you know how bad it hurts to hot glue lace?

I got smart eventually.... used other fabric instead of my fingers to push the lace.
A wire hoop was fashioned using heavy gauge wire. This lace/brim fabric was stretched over the hoop, pinned and then sewn. This was a little frustrating, the fabric had to be really tight for it to work.
Cut away those scraps.
Sweet! I have a hat! But I figured I could make it way better... so I added a sash around the base, with the Hatters signature 10/6 card. For the party I also was able to get a hold of a peacock feather.

Yoda approves...
Ok. I have an awesome hat. Now for the rest. On Thursday I treaked off to Goodwill to find a shirt, a jacket, a vest and some pants I could mutilate. Found the pants, jacket and shirt right off the bat. I even found some great shoes! The vest took a trip to a different Goodwill. But I found them!

To the Jacket: I added black lace around the cuffs. I really like the effect this gave. Very cool looking. I also added random patches of fabric to the coat, and made a pocket square.

The pants! Yes the pants! Thursday evening, took the pants outside in a makeshift paint box. Used red and green spray paint to add some color to both sides, really just to make them look worn. The next day after things dried, masking tape lines were applied for pin striping. Then all of it was sprayed again, but black. Just as I was finishing the first coat, it started snowing... a fair amount so I had to collapse my painting box to provide shelter from the snow. I really like how they turned out. So cool!

Pre Black
The tie: Just took some fabric. Made a long strip, took a whole to sew, but easy....

I was able to finish just about all of this by Friday noon, when I started baking the G cake. There may or may not have been a Fort party at my house Friday night as well... involving Sam, Tracey, Gwyn, Enchiladas, an awesome fort in Larry's living room, and Drop Dead Gorgeous. So the house had to be clean, and everything stored before Gwyn got here.

So the day of: I talked to some very nice ladies at a hair shop, they suggested I use some beeswax and this temp spray coloring. Didn't quite give the effect I was looking for, but I liked it.  First greased up my hair and beard with the wax. Beeswax gets +10 points for smelling awesome. Then went to town spraying my hair. I am certain that it would have gone better if someone else did it...

Nope... not blood.

Then I was ready to don the full garb. I apologize that a lot of these are in a mirror, and blurry. I was sort of in a hurry. Also I apologize that I don't have a full body shot. Really hard to do by yourself. But I think someone got it at the party, Ill try to track them down.

Yep... eventually eye liner was added.
On my way over to the party, I picked up Sam. Well we needed to stop by wallmart. New favorite Wallmart experience. Lots of funny looks, one lady asked if I worked there. One lady asked if I found Alice yet... lots of kids liked it.

Over all I am super excited about this costume. If I had a costume chest, I would put this one int there. Next Halloween, I am already done.

And it turned out to be a great party! Gwyn's parents tried to used Christmas tree selection as a buffer. So like some people I know her family takes a long time normally to pick the perfect tree. I have a feeling that Chelsea and Gwyn have similar roles... Apparently today they found one in 5 minutes. And they were done... a whole hour before anyone showed up.

Gwyn was completely surprised. She did not see it coming at all. It was great.

Oh yeah... tall guy had to put streamers up.

Notice the shapes... and the theme.

If you really want to see more... you can see all of the pictures here!


  1. Oh! and I may or may not have made it through the entire second season of Criminal Minds while doing this...

    Thought of Chelsea and mom!

  2. How fun!!!! Great theme, great costume! I am glad I inspired you! I am proud... you did a GREAT job... it really turned out well!!! Now I know what you have been doing with your time since your tests/projects were due. Very fun.

    And what a great blog post... right about the time I started asking myself where you did all this, you confirmed that yes, it was in your room. What a challenge. Maybe you need Santa to bring you a sewing machine some year!!! But just wait until the first year you go pick out your own Christmas tree and try to find the biggest and most beautiful (knowing that if you don't YOU are the one whose standards must be met).

    Fun watching Criminal Minds - good use of time. As a side, Carol Hatcher at tech services was once again helping me with a tech problem on my dinosaur of a computer. I responded to her that she was my Penelope Garcia and I loved her... she had to google Penelope to know what I was talking about! I thought President Obama, the Pope, and Penelope were known by everyone ;-) I googled Penelope just to see what Carol read and found out that they are starting a spin off show... Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior!!!