Grrrr Arrrgghhh *insert other zombie noises here*

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Well this weekend has been an absolute blast and allowed me to indulge in a bit of an obsession of mine…Zombies!  Long have I wanted to do one of the experiences where you’re chased by zombies but I’ve never had the opportunity so when a very good friend of mine told me about a local Zombie Walk I jumped at the chance.

The idea is a basic one, you dress as a zombie then join a group of other zombie fans and shuffle through the town centre of a few hours scaring all the locals whilst shaking a few buckets for charity.  Sounds easy?  Well I’ll admit, the slow, limping drag of the undead is actually quite hard to keep up for that length of time but it’s fun!

Roux and Hurricane were at their Dads this weekend so sadly couldn’t join me (now they’ve seen the pictures, they’re quite gutted – next year children!) so it was left to the Monster and I to do our bit.  I’d seen a picture on Pinterest ages ago of a woman wearing a baby facing out under a t shirt and I’d been desperate to give it a go so I was killing two zombies birds with one stone so to speak.

The actual costume part was super simple – a very large t shirt (I got xxl and it was only £2.99) and some fake blood from the pound shop.  Obviously you also need a baby carrier, in this instance I used my Melkaj Mai Tai, a baby helps and I also bought a couple of fake limbs that Monster was supposed to play with while we were wandering around.

I cut small notches in the t shirt where the head and arms needed to go, once I’d done that I tore the holes larger so it looked like he’d burst out a bit more.  Then I was quite liberal with the fake blood and gave the openings and the front of the t shirt a good dousing with the stuff.  I’ll warn you, it took days to dry and in the end I took a hair dryer to it.  Despite that, it still rubbed off on anything it touched and as of yet, I’ve not yet got it out of the top Monster wore underneath.  It also stained my fingers pretty badly as you can see here, it took 4 days or so for that to wear off.

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The make up was a littler harder but no where near as difficult as I’d envisaged.  It probably helps that as I do only get 4 hours sleep a night I do a good impression of a zombie most mornings but in reality, I followed a very good tutorial by Natalia Issa and it pretty much used items I already had in my make up.

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This is old, cheap make up that I’d been bought approximately 10 years ago (*cough* hoarder) and had never used.  It was absolutely perfect for this.

I’d had my hair cut the previous day and it was looking beautiful but I took the comb to it and backcombed it like crazy so after just 20 minutes I looked like this…

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It goes to say that you know you’ve done a good job when even your own Mum doesn’t recognise you!  I sent the picture to my sister as well and she had to be told it was me.  I was very chuffed with the result but when I got to my friends house she had latex which I’d never played with so I slapped some on my cheek bones and turned to this.

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Monster didn’t escape either, he’d fallen asleep so I didn’t get chance to change him into his dark coloured clothing but I did take advantage and did my best and gently attacking him with facepaint.

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See that fake blood around his mouth?  Well I’d put that on top of white face paint hoping it would stop it staining his skin.  It didn’t.  *hollow laugh*

Once I got there, I strapped him onto my front, whacked the t shirt over us both and made our way to the pub that we were meeting at.

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See him there playing with the hands?  Well that’s the ONLY time he deigned to play with his two fake limbs.  I had images of him chewing on those limbs looking even more like a scary zombie baby than he already did but would he play ball?  No.  Not one bit!

Once we got there one of the fellow zombie enthusiasts let me into a secret – Black Jack sweets.  Give them a good old chew then push them into your gums and they give you blackened teeth.

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Quite disgusting isn’t it!  The costume went down a storm and Monster got a lot of attention from bystanders that weren’t running away from us.  I’ve never worn him facing out before so it was quite an odd sensation but he loved it and even joined in making zombie noises for part of it.  It’s such a shame he was a bit too big for the outfit really as his feet stuck out the bottom of the t shirt which did spoil the look.  He’s 14 months now so I suppose this would have been better with a 6 month old but Halloween happens in October not February and I can’t shrink him so we just went with the flow.

I absolutely loved this and I’m so glad I took part.  I’m already counting down to next years and wondering what I can do for our next costume.

Photos enclosed are by me (obviously!), the wonderful Tom McGuire and Ken McDonald.

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Mermaid Crown

photo 4Hello and here’s to my first tutorial on my new shiny blog!  I’ve been using another popular platform for blogging but I didn’t find it too user friendly so thought I’d have a bit of a change, now all I’ve got to do is work out how to transfer everything from that one to this.  Not today though!

So, to Mermaids… my life has been taken over by these fishy ladies recently.  Niece #2 and Hurricane are mad about them and set me to making mermaid tails for their numerous dolls, this led to watching mermaid cartoons on YouTube and before I knew it Niece #2 was battering down the bathroom door whilst I was using the facilities as she was so desperate to show me Brooke and Bailey of CuteGirlsHairstyles swimming about in their Mermaid tails.

The challenge was set, could I make a Mermaid tail, nay, a Mermaid OUTFIT! With two very eager faces staring at me how could I say no?  I’m halfway through the tails but my sewing machine has developed an issue or two (I think it’s fed up of purple lycra and has demanded a rest) so in order to have a break I made a start on some crowns/headdresses/headpieces/something pretty to wear in their hair. Here is how you can do it too.

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You will need:

  • A strip of hessian fabric approximately 75 inches by 2.5 inches (I’d advise wearing an apron as this gets everywhere)
  • Ribbon approximately 40 inches
  • Wire (you can use strong thread instead)
  • Shells
  • A selection of pearls, beads, buttons and shiny things
  • Some fake tropical flowers
  • Thin elastic
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters

I had most of this in my craft stash luckily so my only outlays were:

  • Hessian was £6.25 a metre in Boyes so 63p for a strip
  • Ribbon cost 45p
  • Large diamantés  were £1.99 for 6 but I only used 3 per headdress so cost was £1
  • A few extra buttons that I couldn’t say no too cost me another £2 per crown
  • Lucky spot of the shells was £2.99 but this gave me enough for two with some left over so I’m going to say £1
  • Fake flowers were £1.99 with again, enough for 2 so cost for 1 is £1

That gives an extra cost of £6.08 which I didn’t think was too bad.  I didn’t have to purchase the extra buttons or the large diamantés so could have made a saving there.  The shells were a lucky find, I live right near to the beach so my original plan was to collect some and glue them on using my gun but these had a hole so could dangle which was something I thought I’d prefer, well, it’ll be easier!

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So to start….

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Cut a strip of hessian that’s approximately 2.5″ wide and 75″ long, if you can crochet or make chains by hand then chain this along it’s length.  If not, divide this strip into 3 smaller strips 25″ long, knot them together with a strip of ribbon and plait it, securing it at both ends.

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Your finished length of chains or plait should be approximately 18″ long.  This won’t fit around your head, we’re going to use elastic eventually to close it and make it fit on your head.

Now get your ribbon, I’ve obviously chosen purple to match the beads and shizzle that I’ve already selected.

Attach it to one end of your chain/braid.  You see those little loose threads in the picture below? Well I tucked the ribbon under the chain then tied it together using those threads.

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Once it was secure, I wrapped it round and through and round and through before securing it at the other end in the same way.  I wrapped another shade of purple ribbon through as well.

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Now for the fun bit, all those lovely beads, buttons, shells and sparkly gubbins needed to be added on with the help of some wire.  Don’t worry if you haven’t got wire, this would work if you used some strong sewing cotton.  I’d recommend you use at least two length of threads held together for extra strength.

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As you can see, what I’ve done here is push the wire through the hessian and then knotted it on itself to secure.

At this point you need to randomly add beads and buttons using the same method as the ribbon, wrap it around and push it through the hessian.

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I got these fantastic buttons from my local yarn shop, I love the pattern of the wheel type ones.

IMG_1918I know this is slightly teaching you how to suck eggs to attach the buttons you thread through one hole, push down to the chain/braid and then loop the wire through the second hole and pull tight.

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At some point you’re going to want to add at least one flower.  I purchased these flowers from a local shop called Chiltern Mills but you find them all over.  I wanted a tropical flower but didn’t find the ones I wanted at a price I was willing to pay so I settled for these purple orchards.

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As I said before, these orchards were super cheap but good quality so I settled on these rather than continue looking for something more tropical.  You can get fake flowers everywhere from terribly expensive ones that look incredibly real to the almost transparent ones in poundshops and the like.

They’ve often got thin wire going through the centre of the plastic but a large pair of scissors should be sufficient to cut through.  Separate the flowers from the stem and decide how many you want to use.  To attach to the headdress you can wrap wire around them tightly but I found a pony bead fitted the short stems perfectly.

IMG_1900 See look, it’s a perfect fit!IMG_1913 Now, I hope I can explain this clearly enough as I think it’s a bit difficult to see in the photographs.  Thread the pony bead onto the wire then push the short stem through the bead.  Make sure you hide the stem in one of the folds of hessian.  Now wrap the wire around the stem above and below the bead.  That should make it pretty secure.IMG_1922IMG_1923At this point I was joined by my eldest, Le Roux, who wanted part of the table for his modelling clay!IMG_1932 It was also discovered that some of the pearly buttons made fantastic shields for lego figures.IMG_1931The shells, luckily for me already had holes in so I just threaded them on like beads.

Once you’ve threaded as many buttons, beads, diamantes, shells and flowers as you think it needs secure the wire to the end of the chain/braid and you’ve nearly finished!

Lastly, take the elastic (this is about 1/4″) and tie in the same way you attached the ribbon.  Test it on a head, I’m using my daughter, Hurricane, here with the 4 braid plait that she asked for this morning looking quite messy now after a day at school and just see how big you need to make it.  Knot it to the other side, trim the excess and you’ve done!

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I would absolutely love to see ones that you’ve made so please comment to let me know how you get on.  photo 2 photo 2(1)