First, I apologize for not posting lately. Hurricane Rita soaked our town's modem connectors, and ever since then the line has taken to crashing ever 5 seconds. We've been told it'll be fixed "in a few days" for over a month now. Arrgh. It puts a cramp in uploading, not to mention composing thoughtful posts that don't contain swear words.
We've had a wonderful break, enjoying a few rare weeks when the weather was just right to open the house up. In the first 5 days we caught colds, made cave paintings on an outdoor wall, built fairy houses, gone to parks, made paper airplanes, got out the atlas and the globe and matched up countries, read books, blown bubbles, drawn lots of pictures, drawn maps, worked on Halloween costumes and right now we're looking for a "learn to sew" book. And people wonder why I don't unschool. I'm about to need a vacation from my vacation.
Then it was time to get serious about costumes. I cheat on costumes. Kwik-Sew makes a mega-pattern for children that has a basic t-shirt, sweatshirt, pull-on pants, pull-on skirt and button-down shirt. It shows you how to make dozens of variations based on those patterns. I use that for most of the patterns I sew.
At Halloween the girls tell me what they want, we look at the fancy patterns, then I modify something from the Kwik-Sew pattern to get the same effect. Medieval dresses are stretch velvet ankle-length t-shirts. Animals are a matching t-shirt and pants with ears and tails. A pumpkin was a sweatshirt with an orange body, green sleeves, and matching green pants. This year the girls wanted to be lady ghosts, so I made ankle-length hooded sweatshirts with sleeves that flare out at the wrists and raided my stock of sparkly silver trimmings. I went as my usual stereotypical Gypsy. My husband wore his pirate shirt which nobody saw under his hooded jacket, and I made another note to sew him a cloak and vest to go with it before next year.
Weekend before last was the Alabama Ren Faire, the only Ren Faire we're able to day-trip. It's our annual dip into the waters of sanity. Most of the year we're surrounded by people who worry far too much about conforming. It's a relief to our eyes to be among people who aren't trying to hide in the mainstream. I didn't have time to make the girls their usual Ren dresses and Red Riding Hood cloaks (which let me spot them instantly when they slip away!) but it was warm enough for them to wear their togas, aka their "Ancient History Dresses". We had a great time as usual.
Last Saturday the nearest coven had a Samhein party. They're over an hour away, so we haven't been going. This year the girls were old enough for the drive. We had a blast. We got to see friends we haven't seen in months. A bellydance teacher showed up for impromptu lessons, and the girls and I had our shoes off in a flash. Brighteyes borrowed my mantle and wowed everybody with her veil work. Then there was a singalong and a pumpkin carving contest. There was a costume contest, which the girls won. As evening fell we had chicken chili, a haunted hayride, trick-or-treating, and a ritual. It was a blast. We must go more often.
Yesterday was Halloween proper. The girls had spilled chili all over their white costumes. I didn't think we would get it all out, but Goop took at the grease and tomato stains and leaving the costumes on the clothesline all Sunday bleached out spice stains. Nobody trick-or-treats where we live now, so my husband took the girls to the mall while I stayed home "just in case". Since Sunshine doesn't let us watch DVDs she deems "scary" I finally got to pull out the Firefly collection and watch the first two episodes. I was impressed with how intelligent it was and depressed with those places where they had obviously run up against network censorship. "You can have all the sex and violence you want; but don't show smart people, complex situations or ethical dilemnas!" Bleah. When the girls came back we watched some cartoons to help them settle down, ate our Samhein supper, had our private ritual, and went to bed.
Today dawned cold and rainy. We might as well get back to lessons. We'll probably take off a week for Thanksgiving, the end of December and all of January. We built up a lot of time off over the summer when it was too hot to go outside.