Friday, November 26

halloween wrap-up.

As Halloween approached, i realized that i was completely and totally uninspired, for the first time ever. No costume seemed at all appealing. Tragedy! Finally Nat suggested that i dress as a fairy (which of course i practically do every day as it is), and immediately i knew that that was it.

Years ago, i did this, and it worked well. All i did was make a wand (a piece of curly willow covered in glue and then sprinkled with glitter), cut some ivy and leaves from behind my building for a head garland, and wear some twee clothing from the farthest recesses of my closet and drawers. (Oh, that was the year that Nat wore a huge kabuki wig, long black trenchcoat, and self-made frightening black-latex-covered surgical mask. We were quite the pair.) At the time, the thought of wings didn't even occur to me. This year, though, it was foremost on my mind.

Images of the flower fairies (above) swirled around in my head, but so did Oona from the movie Legend. Not likely to pull off that hair, though:

What i ended up with was a so-so amalgamation of these two aesthetics. My skirt, while frayed, was quite a bit longer than hers; i powdered and glittered my face to the hilt, and Nat drew curling vines around my eyes and temples with green eye pencil. i wound a long piece of ivy around my body, and grabbed every wired butterfly i could find in the house and attached it somewhere. Made another wand, and grabbed my small bottle of fairy dust (just glitter in a cute, tiny bottle) and tied it around my waist with ribbon. Easy peasy.

The wings, on the other hand, proved to be a bit more... involved than i'd surmised. Following this basic template from Threadbanger, and modifying a bit along the lines of this video (which is much more palatable to watch with the sound off) these babies certainly tested my patience at times. But i just wanted to show that it is definitely doable (please excuse the bad photography):

~Bent 4 wire coat hangers. (Note: if you use thick wire instead, you will have much more shaping freedom. i was going for a dragonfly look, so the hangers were perfect.)
~Stretched one knee-high hose over each and tied them off. (Took a chance on these shorter ones; they were the cheapest, but they absolutely fit! Although, i wish white had been available instead of beige. Color-wise, they ended up a bit darker than i'd wanted.)
~Stared at them, unhappily, for a couple of days.
~Electrical-taped the wire ends and figured out how to attach the 4 pieces satisfactorily.
~Spray-painted them green. (Used this method because we had spray paint at work, and because no green tights could be found anywhere. Alternatively, you can hand-paint them if you have the time.)
~Spray-glittered them. (Don't be stingy, now.)
~After a failed attempt to paint veins on a test piece of stretched hosiery, i made a stencil and laid it over each wing, then spray-painted with silver. (This was very trying, as i used thin cardboard and the paint wanted to meander underneath the stencil. Pushpins in strategic places helped, but only a little. If you can, use something pretty substantial for your stencil.) Then i did the other side of each, too, because i realized that that would be the side visible to anyone looking at my directly. However this caused strange, see-through, incongruity issues because i only had the one stencil. Whatever. i'm not perfect.
~Using a stick of lit incense, made some decorative holes. This was actually really fun, but i wish i had done it before the spray-painting. Probably not the best thing to be inhaling.
~Added some glue/glitter accents and waited for the whole thing to dry.
~Wrapped the unsightly midsection with ribbon, then affixed my gigantic-est butterfly to cover it all up.
~The night of the party, i forgot to bring extra ribbon for arm loops, so i had to just use the dangling ends of the pantyhose (thank goodness i had not cut those off yet!). It was not ideal, but ended up working great.

Only downside? Walking through a crowded apartment filled with other people wearing costumes.

Let's just say that i spent a lot of time on the back porch. And walking sideways.

In conclusion: i hope this inspires someone for next year. It felt really good to make everything, and to not spend $45 at a crappy Halloween Superstore filled with dudes on the prowl for wigs and smoking jackets and girls looking for 'sexy' nurse/maid/pirate/devil/cat costumes.


A few more photos from the night.

Next year: Dia de los Muertos! Sugar skulls, altars and marigolds... i can't wait.

Saturday, November 20

My boss brought in a bunch of branches of silver-dollar eucalyptus that she scored from a neighbor's trash bin. i was removing it from the back of her van when a tiny glint of crimson caught my eye, shimmering in the dusty light. It was a tiny hummingbird, stiff and still and lifeless. Did that glimmer, that great color, cause me to have a burst of energy? i felt it, and sensed it.

So, something from nothing.

i wanted to bury him (her?) that night, under the meteor shower. Instead it was cloudy and we stayed in. i will inter that tiny body under dirt that weighs ten times more than it. The color will go dark, and feed the worms who will nourish the soil that will spring up flowers, full of nectar for the next little hummingbird.