It was somewhere between soldiering on, sewing an apron despite my 30-odd-year-old sewing machine smoking and crackling (from dust, apparently) and paper mache-ing a Clone Trooper helmet that I realised something: I've become THAT mother. The over-the-top over-achiever. Ooops. The kids' Book Week parade was today and we went all out!
A few weeks ago they told me what they wanted to be: Alice in Wonderland and a Clone Trooper from Star Wars. Layla was relatively easy - I just made a circle skirt and apron (both very ill-fitting - I'm not a great sewer; I basically just sew costumes so they're only ever designed to stay together for one day!) and stuck a black velvet ribbon onto a headband - she had the rest of the items. But I did forget to puff up the sleeves of the blue shirt and it bugged me all day!
Zak's costume wasn't quite as easy! I'd been collecting cereal boxes and other small snacky boxes for a while - they're the perfect thickness for making sharp folds the armour needs. Last week I started putting it altogether. I found a good pic on Google images and just started making some pieces. Elastic stapled or tied to the cardboard meant he could slip them on and off easily and they'd stay put. The chest plate and belt were made of a thicker cardboard box, hot glue gunned together and then everything was painted white. I did plan to spray paint it white but chose the cheapest paint in the shop (who wants to use the good stuff on a costume?). That was a waste - the cardboard soaked up all the paint; it was quite the vanishing trick! So I ended up using the remnants of our bathroom paint and hand painted it on - it didn't take long at all to do and it dried really quickly near the heater.
The helmet was another story - I blew up a balloon, sat it inside a strip of cardboard stapled into a circle and papier mached the whole thing. When it was dry, I popped the balloon (and prayed it fit Zak's head as it was done while he was asleep!) Then I had to add to it to create the "bill" at the front - it was really just trial and error and I just kept adding folded up or rolled up bits of newspaper soaked in papier mache glue to build up the sides. I did a few layers at a time, then would blow dry or leave it to dry overnight or in the sun (this was obviously over a few days!) Finally, I painted it, cut out the eye hole (cut it too high, hence the black strip of cardboard covering it at the top a bit!) and drew on a few markings with a Sharpie. Done! Here are some in-progress pics!
To top it off, I spray painted a water pistol we had black and he was all done! He looked so great - yes, it was a lot of work but Zak is pretty funny about dress-ups - he's not that keen normally and often pulls out at the last minute joining in the parade. But he kept on and on about this costume SO MUCH that I couldn't disappoint him. You should have seen how excited he got with each new piece I made - he'd try it on and act out the part. So cute. He also hates having his photo taken, but this morning didn't complain once when I picked up the camera - he was quite the little actor!! So to see him so chuffed was worth every second of working on it! Plus, the helmet looks cool in his room and I have no doubt the costume will be worn again and again until it falls apart!
The torrential rain this morning had we worried he would "melt" before we even got to school, but the rain stopped and the sun came out just long enough for them to get to class, then poured down again, and stopped for the parade - thanks Mother Nature! Here is one more, with Immy, who is ... herself!
The school also held a fruit and vegetable creation competition recently. Despite it being a bit of a waste of food (although you could take it back if you wished; or it went to the chickens), we gave it a go using what we had at home already and kept it minimal.
Layla's stage had to make a critter and she wanted to do a ladybug, so I suggested an apple body with sultana spots - she came up with seeds for eyes and the cherry stalks as antennae. I cut the apple for her and she put the rest of it together - sticking the eyes on with Vegemite (of course!). She came third place for her efforts - a pretty darn good job considering some of the other entries. But I was told later she was chosen because it was obvious she had created it herself - clearly some of the other entries hadn't even been touched by a child! It's also a great little afternoon snack with a difference!
Zak's year had to create a monster and he came up with this guy all by himself - I just cut the mouth. The teeth and fingers are the inside of beans and the eyes and hands are cherry tomatoes with peas as eyes. He's pretty cute and looks like he wants a hug! Ha!
I'm proud of their creativity and involvement in school activities. And I'm so grateful I'm able to go to these things - I remember my own book parades and Easter Hat parades and working with mum on my hats and costumes. And I remember how much fun I had - I hope my kids remember too!