Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Link Costume Part I: Tunic and Cap

 Two years ago, my husband and my oldest had matching costumes for Halloween; E was really into the Legend of Zelda (his mom and dad were playing Ocarina of Time for a while), so M went as Big Link and E went as Little Link. My cousin has a boy who wants to be Link for Halloween, so i'm writing up the tutorial for the costume i made. It was easy-peasy, and most people were able to figure out who he was (though those unfamiliar with Zelda were guessing Christmas elf or Peter Pan).

Since i don't have time or resources to make another costume, i'm just going to show you the finished product, and some paper shapes to guide you through (hopefully well enough for you to learn how to do it). Click on photos to make them bigger.

You will need:
-Green Felt by the yard
-a piece of leather lacing
-a hot glue gun
-a sewing machine
-white or cream colored long johns
-measuring tape
-your child

For the Tunic:

- Measure your child from shoulder to shoulder and add an inch or two to that number. Then measure from shoulder to knee and double it. Cut a rectangle of green felt that size - this is the body.

Fold it in half twice and mark the top folded corner - the center of the fabric.  Cut slits in the shape of a T on the shoulders and front, each starting at the center mark.
-The top of the T should only have to be slightly wider than your child's neck, and the bottom of the T long enough to make a big enough gap to comfortably get their head through.

-Now measure your child from shoulder to elbow and around their upper arm, loosely so it's slightly wider than a t-shirt would hang (Does that make sense? You could also just get one of their shirts and measure that). Cut two rectangles from those measurements, match their centers to the center fold on the body and sew them to the sides of the body. 

Fold the tunic in half, wrong sides together and sew an L from the edge of the sleeve down to the body. STOP sewing and backstitch about three or four inches from the bottom of the body.

Sew the seam allowances down to keep the slits open. The nice thing about felt is that you don't have to finish the edges of the sleeve, neck, and bottom if you don't want to! Punch three or four sets of holes at the neck to lace your leather string through - just make sure they're far enough from the top so that the collar flaps can open up. I'm sorry i don't have a real photo - refer to the top photo, you can kind of see it.

Layer over cream colored long johns.

Link's Stocking Cap:

Measure your child's head where you want the cap to sit. Add a seam allowance and cut out a shape of green felt similar to this one:
Perfection doesn't make a ton of difference, as long as there's enough width to accommodate your child's head in the first three or four inches. The center height (from bottom to point) should be roughly the same as the width of the bottom.

Fold in half and sew the edges together. It may seem confusing (i get thrown by it every time), but the front is the short, straight edge, so the seam will be underneath. Make sure the cap fits your child's head (slightly loosely) before you add the band.

Cut a strip of green felt the same length as the child's head circumference and about two inches wide. Fold it over the edge of the hat and hot glue in place. This reinforces the edge and keeps it from stretching out too easily.

Part II: Link's Boots

Monday, September 26, 2011

Learning To Can

Sorry I've been MIA the last couple months. I haven't really felt inspired to blog lately. Hopefully that'll change soon.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop in quickly and share something that has inspired me - I learned how to can this fall! I know, I know, as a good little Mormon homemaker, i SHOULD know how to can already, but i just never learned. Probably mostly because of the fact that i'm not big on canned peaches, and i also worry too much about doing it wrong and giving everyone food poisoning.

Anyway, i have a wonderful friend who has all kinds of jars and equipment, and I had a Saskatoon berry bush in my backyard that i had no idea what to do with, so she taught me how to make Saskatoon berry syrup (yum)! Then, another friend informed us that he had an over-abundance of crab apples on his trees, so i got to learn how to can those too!

First we did apple juice and apple sauce. it was so easy! My friend has a steam juicer, so we steamed the heck out of those little red apples (they were SO red and perfect!) and canned the juice, then put the soggy apples through a food mill and canned the pulp, which made delicious apple sauce (though i can't stand anything too tart, so i had to add sugar to mine)! i just LOVE the way these jars look on my shelf! So gorgeous!

I promise i didn't add a thing to them (besides sugar to the sauce) - the apples were just THAT red! The juice is like a concentrate - we add two or three jars of water and a little sugar to make a delicious drink! They'll also make fantastic cider in the winter!

Then I found myself with a ton more apples, and i borrowed my friend's juicer and food mill to try something different. I found a recipe for Apple Butter over at "Mennonite Girls Can Cook". It sounded delicious! So i tried it. All by myself I steamed, pulped, cooked, and canned just over 20 cups of apple butter! It smelled like Christmas in my house all day long, and talk about delicious! It tastes like apple cider, and every time i spread it on toast (or sandwiches, or biscuits, or muffins...) i get a nice big bite of Christmassy flavor!

I canned the apple butter in 1 cup jars, and intend to give them away as Christmas treats for friends and neighbors (while saving plenty for myself of course).

There's something very empowering about learning how to can - especially learning to can things i know i'll actually use (I'm doing pears this week!!). I don't know if i'm excited about saving money, learning a new skill, being self reliant, or having delicious preserves - maybe a combination of all of the above - but i have thoroughly enjoyed the experience!