October 2010

The Daily: Friday Roundup

by Cat on October 29, 2010

What a week…  Thank you all so very much for your well wishes and for taking the leap with me over to our new space!  Love to all my fellow Designing Moms for your support and strength and voices.  Just wanted to leave you with some Friday roundups.  Next week I’ll be officially introducing our new Biz How To and Daily features so stay tuned!

• {above } :  I found this rather amusing.  A casting agent emailed me for this.  Lifetime TV is going to be creating a new fashion design series competition.  I think she was under the impression from the Zilla Costume post that I could sew.  Ha! Little does she know what a complete wreck I am with a thread and needle.  But I know there are plenty of you who are whizzes at sewing stylish creations so email me (cat@momincdaily.com) if you want me to forward the contact info to apply.   It doesn’t film for weeks on end so it might be good for moms.

• I’m awaiting photos of some of the other Designing Moms’ Halloween costumes so get ready to be blown away next week!  In the meantime, Designing Mom Jackie sent this link to a great handmade Superhero costume over at Aesthetic Outburst.

• And last but not least, a pic (below) of my team this week tweaking the Mom Inc Daily site.  Thank you for your dedication and for burning the midnight oil!  Happy Friday and weekend everyone!


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Reader Question: Book Themed Parties

by Cat on October 28, 2010

How about a little QA today? Reader Elizabeth is throwing a book shower and wanted to get some inspiration. I just LOVE book themed parties and had some immediate thoughts. Designing Moms and readers please do weigh in if you have any ideas or suggestions! Let’s help her make this the biggest, baddest book shower ever!

above: Hanging Book Rack, Flag and Rosette Canvas Bins, Measuring Bin, Canvas Magazine Holder, Dog Print Bin, Owl Bin

To the Designing Moms,
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!!  It fills me with SOOO much inspiration – that I can’t even begin to dream of.. EVERY NOW AND THEN I get a ‘genious’ idea and am able to fully follow through on the theme/scheme/ or plan — but more often than not – it falls slightly short of my vision.
I am assisting with a book shower honoring my sister who is expecting her first child (my nephew).  The shower is the end of November and I volunteered to be in charge of displaying / gathering — the books/gifts as guests bring them.  I volunteered for this THINKING – THere HAS to be a clever way to do this…..I am pretty good at ROLLING with ideas ONCE I GET THEM – so even a few THOUGHTS would help me.
MANY THANKS,  Elizabeth

Answer/Suggestion:  First off,  thumbs up for having a book themed shower…how lucky that your nephew will acquire a mini-library for his nursery.   I love the idea of not only being able to give books as gifts but the display as well for the honoree.  After all, she’s going to need a place for all that kid lit!  If you have a door nearby, this Hanging Book Rack is a great place to start (and it’s under $40).  The bins are made of canvas so they’re just begging to be personalized…you can stencil, glue, paint, stitch.  I pulled some ideas above from bins on Etsy (and you can also purchase them if you are pressed for time!).  My personal favorite is that stitched flag banner.  How cute would it be to create it with fabric scraps in the color of the baby’s nursery?  Or cutting out the baby’s initials for each bin?  You can even have an activity during the shower where the guests  help to decorate the bins.
I hope this gets you a little kickstart!
xx, Cat


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Make: Zilla Costume

by Cat on October 27, 2010

Shinmin’s owl-tastic costume is one tough act to follow but here it is…my Zilla costume. I am STILL not finished with it but thought I’d share what I have so far!  If you’re wondering,  ‘Zilla is the nickname for my 1 1/2 year old.  He has the heaviest feet…can trample over anything (including his mom’s).  It was only appropriate I pay homage to that.

The costume cost under $20 to make…I had leftover scrap, but you really only need felt, glue, eyes, cardstock and some day-glo vinyl or fabric and an old hoodie.  Time…well time is another matter.  I have to confess, I looked forward to mindlessly gluing the scales as stress relief but after about 300 hundred of them I was ready for this thing to go live!

above: fabric…three different shades of green wool felt, day-glo parachute fabric

above: an old hoodie got scaled beyond its wildest dreams.  I used Alene’s glue and started piecing from bottom to top.

above: I may have made the eyes a little too big… we had to take Zilla to an event when his costume was half way finished.  a dad exclaimed, “how cute!  a fish!

above: I love me some accessories.  I think that’s my favorite part of costumes.  I made a flaming bottle cozy for his sippy cup.

above: I am literally still working on this tail.  If anyone has suggestions on how to attach it please email me!  Basically you cut round circles out of cardstock and then glue the felt front to back.  Then run a string and stitch each piece together so that the tail can “swish” when they walk.

And here he is!  Zilla!  I still have to create a skyscraper and plane out of felt which I’ll post later on.


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Make: Crazy Owl Costume

by Cat on October 26, 2010

Hooray!  I am over the moon to welcome all of you to our new creative space, “Mom Inc Daily…home of Designing Moms!”  If you were a reader of our former blog, Designing Moms, than you’ll see that the content still remains but with a few new and exciting features.  Many of our reader emails have consisted of questions about our lives as designers so I’m adding a “daily” that will share this.  And for those of you mamas out there hoping to (or in the throes of) start a creative business while balancing motherhood, we will be sharing biz-how-to’s and features on great Designing Moms to get you inspired and organized.  Please write in and tell me what you think and what articles or posts you’d love to see featured!

So without further delay, let me just jump into our first post here at Mom Inc Daily which has become somewhat of a tradition.  I credit friend and fellow Designing Mom Shinmin for shaming me into creating my baby’s first Halloween costume (a nutty squirrel) last year.  Yes, my knuckles got scorched by a glue gun but I am so thankful she got me me off my butt to create something with my hands.  This year I couldn’t wait to text her and ask her what she was going to make as I was still in amazement by her octopus costume. Before we knew it, the glue guns and sewing needles were rip roaring through the night.  Two years young, but I think we’ve started a tradition.  I’ll post my ‘Zilla costume tomorrow.  I’m not afraid to say it pales in comparison to the masterpiece that you’re about to see…  It’s beyond magical.  Shinmin, you rock!

by Designing Mom Shinmin

I believe that I started a tradition last year of hand making a costume for Mila for each Halloween (a tradition I may regret later).

This year, as Cat and I were discussing costume ideas I was disappointed at my complete shortage of creativity.  I had no idea, no inspiration, and no motivation.  I had too many things on my plate (while not being a very good juggler).  Perhaps many of you know this feeling?

I thought of things that I like…… a hamburger, a donut… a cake… a big wedge of cheese.  I passed these ideas by my husband and his response made a lot of sense.  He said, “Why make Mila into something she won’t understand?  Make something that she will recognize at once, like an animal.”  Ugh, I hate when he’s right.

So I thought about the animals that she knew by name.  A cow… hmmm… that’s going to be difficult.  A dog… too common.  A cat… not crazy enough for this mother.  AN OWL!!!  She loves owls.  She knows its name in both Chinese and English and she says, “hoo hoo” every time she sees one.  That big head, those big eyes, the layers of feathers!  I was immediately excited, “obsessed” is a more accurate word.  I researched owl images all night and sent so many of them to poor Cat in the middle of the night.

I began by thinking about the costume structure.  If I make a feathery body and an owl head as a hat, Mila would just yank the hat off and she would end up trick-or-treating as a headless owl.

I had to think about a headpiece that would stay on, well at least a few minutes before I would have to beg her to put it back on again.  So I came up with the cape solution.

Mila received this great poncho from a friend in Japan.  It fits perfectly, so I used it to create a general pattern.  I drew an outline of the poncho shape onto a large paper bag.

Then I used the pattern pieces as templates for cutting my fabrics.  I didn’t want a literal owl translation with accurate colours, so I used a colour palette that I thought was really fun.  Also if people don’t recognize that the costume is of an owl, I can fall back on the excuse that I took artistic license and created an abstract interpretation.

I had this great gray Italian fabric from last year’s Christmas stocking project and used a bright green fabric as the lining.  I also dug into my scrap bin and found complimentary pop colours.

I wish that I can show step-by-step instructions on my costume making process, but it got so complicated I wouldn’t know how to explain myself, as well as hide my embarrassing goof ups.  This is my first time sewing something on a sewing machine.  This owl developed over many nights and many mistakes.  Before this attempt, my sewing experience consisted of mending holes and reattaching buttons.  So I just have to skip to the end results.

Here is the cape/owl head.  I purposely left the seams on the outside because I simply don’t know how to make clean and neat seams.  Also the raw and slightly frayed edges remind me of feathers.

I made a bubble dress and stuffed it lightly with batting.  I used fabric scrap circles to create the feathers on the body.

And this is my Mila monster in the costume.  She started hoo-ing right away when I put the costume on her.  I was so please that she recognized what it is.

Here is a view from the side.

And here is the back.

Mila is such a busy body, I could not get her to stop pulling off the cape (uh-oh) nor stay in one place.  So I turned on the music and asked her to dance, which she loves doing.  So I snapped some more photos.

Next, I’m hoping that I have time to make her a matching trick or treat bag.  Look HOO’s trick or treating.


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Make: Kimmel Kids

by Cat on October 25, 2010

I think all of you will love this…  Los Angeles based Installation artist Karen Kimmel has a line of educational tools and kits called Kimmel Kids that offer fresh, fun exploration for a kid’s imagination.  I love her stencil kit with its organic cut-out shapes!

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