The Xenomorph from Alien

Last year, my husband rocked making a Godzilla costume for our little man Alex — he even made the SF Chronicle’s list of finalist in their costume contest!

This year, it was our oldest boy’s turn to get a daddy-made costume, and he requested the Xenomorph from Alien. At 7 1/2, he has never seen the movie (neither have I, by the way) but he saw the alien itself on youtube and decided that was it. And daddy obliged:

Yes, my husband is insane πŸ˜€ He worked on this costume for about two weeks, roughly 40-50 hours, and has yet to go to sleep since yesterday. But he loves making stuff like this and even more so, when his kid loves it as well. And our boy did.


I love his sweet classmate’s face here, the kids loved the costume and kept asking my husband how he made it.

My husband and his parents were there to help our boy put on the costume, here Gran helps Aidan walk out of the classroom and line up for the parade:

I love the look on Steve’s face here, so happy that his boy loves his costume!

More pics from the parade:


Happy Halloween, everyone!

The 36th AVENUE

Thursday Favorite ThingsWeekend Bloggy Reading

Ohsoamelia

Past Halloween costumes

Before we do the big reveal of this year’s awesome possum Halloween costume, I thought I’d do a little recap of (mostly) the boys’ past getups.

Baby Aidan rocks his reindeer outfit – I love his chubby fingers!

This was his official costume, but on the day of, he was very cranky and spent the evening in a shirt and diaper. But he was a darn cute Superman πŸ˜€

Alexander gives us fierce with his Count Dracula costume:

We won a costume contest at our friends’ party, wheee!

The first time that elephant costume will be seen, this time on Aidan; Alex was a SF Forty-Niner, and as always, the first house was our dear neighbors’, we have been truly lucky when it comes to the people on our block.

Second year for the elephant costume, Aidan was still in the grip of elephant madness, so he wore it again.

Alexander was a little batty that year (ba-dum-pum!) and he LOVED trick-or-treating.

As you can see, we got LOTS of mileage out of that elephant costume. Aidan was moving on to dinosaurs and was a t-rex rider:

This year, Aidan was into Bakugan, so daddy and I obliged. I sewed the wings and Steve made everything else.

Alexander loved Wubbzy, so I made him the outfit, while Steve painted the face on and crafted the tail.

Aidan starts his superhero phase, and looks awesome (she said un-biased-ly) as Captain America:

And, so far, the mother of all costumes, Steve knocks it out of the park with a Godzilla costume for Alexander:

Yeah, we love making stuff, don’t we? This year is Steve’s most ambitious project yet, and it’s coming along nicely. Alexander is wearing an off-the-rack costume — we hadn’t planned it this way but it’s worked out that the boys are getting homemade costumes on alternate years, Aidan’s Bakugan costume in 2010, Alexander’s Godzilla costume last year, and Aidan’s … let’s say, “of foreign extraction” costume this year. Which is nice as I don’t think we can handle TWO fancy homemade costumes AND Halloween decorations every year. Alex did get the Wubbzy costume as well in 2010, but it was just a simple jacket and pants.

Hope your weekend is going great, and best thoughts and luck to all those in Hurricane Sandy’s path.

Final touches to our Insane Asylum

Thanks for the kind comments on our front yard Insane Asylum – we’ve been getting awesome feedback from the neighbors as well πŸ˜€

Steve added some final touches before starting his next project, our oldest’s Halloween costume (more on that in a couple of days).

Side fence is done, my contribution was to hold the wood pieces in place so that he could secure the fence itself πŸ˜€

A creepy touch near our front door is this dropcloth full of nice, welcoming sentiments, including Red Rum, which had to be explained to me since I haven’t seen that movie, and which are dotted with paint that will show up under black light.

You must pass under this sweet smiley face to get candy:

I noticed the shadows on my car and had to get a pic πŸ˜€

Finally, the windows seem to be getting angrier and angrier. Hmmm . . .

So, this is what awaits trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. We’re already thinking of what we (and by we, I mean Steve) will do for next year’s Halloween. It just never ends. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Time to scale down

A couple of years ago, my boys were into dinosaurs. And big animals. Like elephants. Our house was littered with huge beasts and a few huge bins were all we needed to corral their toys. Then came Lego. And Playmobile. And books. Many, many books.

The key to any storage system is that it has to work for you and your needs. And the big bins were not working for anyone. My little one loves to turn a huge bin over and empty it completely so he can play with one thing from the very bottom. Mm-hmm. So the last time I was at the Dollar Store I spied some small green bins that I thought would be perfect to sort and store their playthings, now that said playthings have become smaller. I did a quick sort through their things and this is what I came up with:


Much better than overturned big bins all over the playroom floor!

Now their small items are sorted and labeled:

I got chalkboard labels from Martha Stewart @ Staples because I know their interests will change, and when they do, so will what’s written on the label πŸ˜€

Our book collection keeps growing:

That’s not all of it. There are lots more in the shelves under these, some in my little one’s room, and some that have graduated to our larger bookcases in the living room.

They still have a few large toys; the Godzilla and other larger dinos go here:

And yes, we still have a couple of bins in the play room but it is nothing like it was before, full of tiny toys that could make a mess when the bin was turned over. Now they have stuffed animals like Angry Birds and some from IKEA.

We’ve had the two Billy bookcases for a couple of years and they work really well in our play room, but I feel like their use has been maximized with these few changes.

Thufferin’ Thuccotash!

I am sick as a dog.

Let me rephrase that. I am sick as a cat. My poor cat, Willie-Boo, had the most miserable look about him yesterday. He was just sitting in the middle of the living room, nose almost touching the floor. Very unlike him, usually he’s scampering around, picking fights with Bernie or seeing who can pet him next. He sneezed about 80 times on Saturday, poor thing.

I spent the weekend “coming down with something” and the something is here. It’s a cold, and my youngest and I have been sniffling for hours. Thank you, Willie-Boo, for sharing.

I have no post for y’all today as I have barely any brain left from all the coughing and sneezing. Bleargh. I suffer from allergies and got really bad headaches this summer but I rarely get sick, as in a cold or anything else, so I am more mad than miserable, because people, I HAVE THINGS TO DO!!!

So I’m just going to cheer y’all up with this picture. It’s my husband’s work table in the garage. This is what happens when he gets creative.

Love ya, honey! πŸ˜€

Bond, James Bond

Are you going to see Skyfall this November? I think it’s so nice of the studio to release the movie just before my birthday. Between Skyfall and the Young House Love book, which also comes out just before my birthday, I tell ya, it’s going to be a good start to my 41st year of life. Oh god.

My dear college friend Carina and I went to our little nail polish place a couple of days ago and I fell in love with some of the OPI Skyfall collection. Here is a picture, from the OPI website, of the Skyfall collection

The shades I liked the most were The World is not Enough, a beautiful shimmery taupe, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a purple-gray also with some shimmer. For a very glam holiday look, try the Bond Manicure as described on the OPI site. I also got a cobalt blue (very in color this season) from the OPI Germany collection, called Un-for-greta-bly blue:

Thanks, Carina, for a great time hanging out and for my beautiful nail polishes, I am wearing a Skyfall shade on each hand right now and will probably wear the cobalt blue for my date with my husband ;D

It’s scary out there!


My husband Steve has been working hard on bringing up the scary factor in our front yard – this year we are going with an Insane Asylum theme, so he created a Tim Burton-esque fence. Would you believe an integral part of this fence was oatmeal?

It turns out my youngest’s favorite food makes for the perfect, rusted out texture on the pipes.

Here are two of our tall and spindly friends, Rusty and Crusty πŸ˜€

The PVC pipes were bent with the help of a heat gun, thinner pipe will, obviously, be easier to bend. The fleur de lis tops are made out of workout mat foam and then attached to the pipes. Once the pipes have been primed a mixture of sand and oatmeal go on for texture.

Once dry, Steve dappled orange craft paint on with a sea sponge. While the orange is still wet, he sprayed it with watered down brown paint to give it some dimension. The final layer was red mahogany wood stain, dripped over everything.

A few days ago I posted some details on the Insane Asylum sign on the column Steve built, it’s pretty awesome ;D BTW, 2003 is the year we got married. That’s right, we’re coming up on ten years next June!

Fake Ivy and Spanish moss were added to complete the creepy atmosphere, and some wood planks were added to our house windows. I guess we knew we had done that right when a sweet girl who lives down the block said “it looks like your house is mad at me!” .

That’s our very scary front yard ready for trick-or-treaters, or anyone who wants to know what kind of stuff we do on our spare time. This has been all Steve, though, I take no credit for any of it other than keeping him company at times and keeping him fed and hydrated while he builds it πŸ˜€

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Fashion Friday: Fall Cravings

I am loving all the rich colors in stores everywhere – be it home decor or apparel, deep greens, browns, burgundies, and golds are everywhere. Let me share a few pretties that have caught my eye recently:

1. Wool blend coat from Old Navy

2. Cotton peplum shell by LOFT

3. Polka dot top by Merona @ Target

4. Rose bouquet print skirt by LOFT

5. Leopard print cropped pant by Merona @ Target

6. Hooded anorak from Old Navy

7. Celtic riding boot by Etienne Aigner at DSW

8. Wedge pump by Adrienne Vittadini at DSW

9. Stargazer bangles at Nordstrom

10. Lost in Paradise Earrings at Francesca’s Collections

11. Rustic Wear Scarf at Francesca’s Collections

12. Bellini Lip & Eye Palette by Bobbi Brown

What has caught your eye from among the fall season offerings out there?

A bedroom for Alex


While my oldest boy’s bedroom boasted a pirate theme and then got some superhero goodness as our boy’s tastes changed, our youngest, Alex, had a Mickey Mouse wallpaper border and a couple of Disney paintings. Meh.

Last week I went through Alex’s closet, which had become a dumping ground for old TVs and VCRs, and even his little bookcase was loaded with old shoes he’d outgrown.

Definitely not cool.

The project started when I decided to paint his dresser – Alex chose blue and when I showed him various pictures of blue items, he chose the rug in Emily Clark’s living room. I’m telling you, the kid has good taste. Inspired by the navy-and-off-white rug, I painted his dresser in Valspar’s Night Sky and Keystone.



Alex was so happy to see his dresser in the color he chose, he kept coming up to me as I painted the drawers and saying “that’s my blue!”.

I had some sailboat fabric that went very well with the grayish blue of the dresser, so I made a new cover for his body pillow:

Alex’s bookcase was loaded with some of his favorite books:

And his shelves were decluttered and only a few friends made it back on πŸ˜€ along with one of my all-time favorite pictures of my sweet boy.

Considering that Eric Carle books (and Bill Martin books illustrated by Eric Carle) are some of Alex’s favorites, I purchased a set of prints to liven up his walls. By the way, Alex also chose the color on his walls, Valspar’s Woodsmoke.

A new set of favorite books are the David books by David Shannon. These are hilarious stories about a little boy who gets in so much trouble but everything is well in the end. Alex read one at school and loved it, so I bought him two books from the series.

Here is Alex’s all-time favorite page in the No, David! book – David running nekkid down the street. Hmmm, must remind him of someone, huh?

The final touch, for all those creative moments, was a table I had, which I painted with chalkboard paint.

My boy was very happy with his room and as soon as he saw his David books asked me to read them with him, so we hopped in his bed, with his new pillows, and read them a few times.

I made just a few subtle changes to Alex’s room but now it reflects his preferences, which was the goal, to have a room that has things he likes and colors he chose. Also, the Eric Carle prints can be changed as Alexander’s tastes change, which I am sure they will.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into my sweetie’s room!